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  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Jan 25, 2024

    This is a story about how to improve your body’s existence. All you need is a floor and a rug. And a wall. I received an email last week from Nils Marcks von Wurtemberg, a friend a few years older than me. He lives in Sweden. His email reported his latest adventure … and its aftermath: “We have minus 13.5 degrees Celsius today in Stockholm. Tomorrow it will be colder. … Last Sunday I skated 40 km on the Baltic Sea with my long ice skates on quite soft ice, which was awful. I have never been so...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Jan 25, 2024

    The power of ‘yes’ Editor, the Journal, ■ 60+1: an age for contemplating retirement. ■ 60+1: exceeding the speed limit on U.S. Highway 101 (a bit.) ■ 60+1: a supermajority — the percentage of “yes” votes needed to pass a bond measure for school construction. We are retired, live in Union, and have no children or grandkids who attend Hood Canal School, where passage of the current bond measure will do much to bolster “Orca Pride.” In fact, the improvements the bond addresses, if passed, will do much to enrich our entire community. Recently...

  • GUEST COLUMN

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Jan 25, 2024

    The last quarter of 2023 was busy and productive. Your Financial Services Department finalized and published the Mason County 2022 Annual Report. The Auditor’s Office is responsible for reporting the complete activity for prior-year finances, per RCW 36.22.10(4). You can find this report at www.tinyurl.com/ye22b2ne. To better support veterans, your Recording Department team provided the ability for veterans to record, process or obtain certified copies of their Form DD214 Certificate of R...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Jan 18, 2024

    We in Western Washington are in our hardest stretch of weather. It’s mostly freezing rain, showers, rain, more rain, drizzles, mizzles and downpours, and we’ve got another few months of it staring at us. Our cold and rain loom like an extended sentence in the hole. In 1989, I lived just outside of Washington, D.C., where I worked for Gannett News Service and was around people from around the nation. I’d often ask those people what they thought when they thought of our state, and a common answe...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Jan 18, 2024

    Vote 'yes' for Hood Canal schools Editor, the Journal, Things are changing at Hood Canal School District. The student population is increasing. As a result, there is need for more classrooms, teachers, and paraeducators. Administrative leadership is stabilizing with the hires of our new superintendent, Lance Gibbon, and principal, Steven Torres. Current staff deserve the kind of space and equipment that allows them to teach to the demands of the 21st century and our students deserve the...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Jan 11, 2024

    The light bulb in our kitchen started flickering last week and I realized I hadn’t replaced a light bulb in maybe a year. It used to be light bulbs going out was a constant irritant of modern life, but with incandescent bulbs being replaced by longer-lived fluorescent bulbs and LED lights, we can go months now without thinking about light bulbs. I brought this matter up with Mrs. Ericson. Remember when, I asked her, we used to put light bulbs on the list of things to get? Do you remember when w...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Jan 11, 2024

    Have we learned? Editor, the Journal, After nearly 75 years, Capitol Lake will be turned back into an estuary, a decision demonstrating we have learned that estuaries are a biologically rich environment playing an important role in the lives of many species. Or have we?  Near Capitol Lake, at the end of Hammersley Inlet, is the beautiful natural estuary of Oakland Bay.  Our state government - the Department of Natural Resources - is considering whether to lease publicly owned aquatic lands a...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Jan 4, 2024

    The world is getting worse and better, and it’s all happening at the same time. Don’t generalize. Generalizing is always bad. The odor of a banana makes honeybees want to sting you, according to an interview with a North Mason beekeeper that ran in the Dec. 14 edition of the Journal. So … that’s one more thing you must keep in mind as you go about this hard and complicated life: Never attack a beehive with a banana. When dogs and cats suddenly find themselves in the middle of a sunbeam while l...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Jan 4, 2024

    Join a caucus Editor, the Journal, Dear fellow neighbors of Mason County, All across our state the precinct caucus will take place Saturday, Jan. 13. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. for registration, with the caucus beginning at 10 a.m. and will conclude by approximately noon. What is a precinct caucus? At its core, the county caucus is about unity. It's about bringing together diverse voices under shared principles and goals. It's a significant gathering of the "grass-roots" right here in our...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Dec 28, 2023

    The flagpole outside the PUD 3 building on Cota Street in Shelton is catty-corner (or is it kitty-corner?) to the Journal’s office, and our view from the newsroom gives us a wide view of that skinny pole. Several months ago, the flag went away. But that’s not what this is about. When the flag was at half-staff, we’d often wonder why that was so, and sometimes I’d go to the Governor’s Office website to dispel our wonder. If you type in “Washington Governor’s Office flag display,” then scroll to ...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Dec 28, 2023

    Democratic answer Editor, the Journal, Mr. Anvik recently posed questions to Democrats regarding abortion. One caused me to seriously ponder. He asked that since half of aborted fetuses are female, if not aborted by law and grown to womanhood, how would they feel about abortion? Interesting question. If they knew they were unwanted, it would likely have an undesirable impact on the relationship with the birth mother and increased likelihood of other emotional issues throughout life. Child psychologists suspect children born to a women forced...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Dec 21, 2023

    The scene: Several luminaries are gathered for Jesus’ 2023 birthday at the Prophet Muhammad’s house. Attendees include Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Abraham, Siddhartha Gautama, brothers James and Simon, Adi Shankara, Desmond Tutu, the Brahma, Zarathushtra, Mary Baker Eddy, Mother Mary, father Joseph, Father God, Mary Magdalene, Confucius, Zhaung Zhou, Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir and Rosalynn Carter. It’s a surprise party. Jesus opens the front door …) All: Surprise! Happy birthday, Jesus! Jesus: Oh, yeah. A...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Dec 21, 2023

    Concerned about expansion Editor, The Journal, I am writing to voice my concern about expanding the capacity of the Community Lifeline homeless shelter. Like those who testified at the hearing last Monday, I consider myself a compassionate and caring person who is deeply troubled by the invasion of the ever-growing drug culture throughout our community. It is tragic and I am heartbroken for the families and individuals whose lives have been destroyed by these drugs. I am deeply grateful for...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Dec 14, 2023

    Here are some jokes for you. Some are ones friends have told me, some have been riding in my head for years and others I found by doing thorough joke research. Why can’t you believe anything an atom says? Because it makes up everything. A couple is lying in bed. It’s the middle of the night and there’s a knock on the door at 3 in the morning. The guy gets out of bed and opens the door. He comes back to bed and his wife says, “Who was that?” The guy replies, “Some stranger who wanted a push. I t...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Dec 14, 2023

    Unjustice system Editor, the Journal, There's an important development happening in our Superior Court in Mason County. Everyone needs to know how unjust our justice system has become. The appeal court had a resentencing for Asaria M., one of the co-defendants in the murder of my daughter in 2012. In September, our Superior Court had a resentencing for a murderer. The courtroom was full. The people who showed for the victim, Barbie G., were family and close friends. The defendant had every...

  • FROM THE AUDITOR

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Dec 14, 2023

    In May, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Second Substitute House Bill 1474 creating the covenant homeownership account and program. The intent of this program is to address housing discrimination due to racially restrictive real estate covenants. This law will result in an increase of $100 in the recording fee for each document recorded by your Auditor's Office Recording Department. This fee is collected as an assessment for the covenant homeownership program. As part of the program, the state...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Dec 7, 2023

    It’s amazing how technology evolves. I recently learned you can get an at-home prostate test. How could that possible work? Do they just mail you a polyurethane model of your doctor’s finger? The phrase “missing person” is inaccurate. The “missing person” isn’t really missing. He’s just not where everyone has already looked. To really appreciate poetry, being in emotional distress helps. At this moment, you likely have some Tupperware item in your possession that needs to be returned to its righ...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Dec 7, 2023

    Xinh was an icon Editor, the Journal, To say that Xinh was an icon would be an understatement. I got to know her when I ran the shucking competition with Jef Conklin at OysterFest for 15 years or so. This was during the years when she won her championships. She was a world-class shucker. More importantly, she was a world-class person. Over the years, the shucking competition evolved. There were the locals, old-timers and newcomers, people coming from different parts of the world that made our area their new home. Restaurant people from Seattle...

  • GUEST COLUMN

    C.J. Singh|Dec 7, 2023

    Life involves significant milestones like buying a home, starting a family and planning for your children's education. Amid these, creating a will often is overlooked. Despite its somber nature, a will is crucial for ensuring your wishes are respected and your loved ones are supplied for after you are gone. A will is a legal document detailing how you want your assets distributed posthumously, serving as a guide for your loved ones in managing your estate. It helps avoid the complications of...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Nov 30, 2023

    After a lifetime of not doing so, I started making our bed two months ago. The spur was mostly a desire to improve order in the courtroom, which it has, but we’ve also discovered the satisfaction of slipping into a smooth invitation at the end of the day. Your mind drifts while making the bed, and mine drifted the other day to a question: How many people make their bed? In 2011, an organization asked America just that. It’s 70% of us, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Last week, I sen...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Nov 30, 2023

    American virtue Editor, the Journal, Sheriff Ryan Spurling recently spoke to The North Mason Rotary Club. He shared plans, statistics and Peelian principles of ethical policing. To be average, the Sheriff’s Office needs 80 officers, but it has only 48 (FBI UCR/LEOKA 2019). The jails are re-accredited (waspc.org). The violent crime clearance rate is up 7.8 percent compared with the last 10 years (cde.ucr.cjis.gov). Alternatives to jail are thriving for veterans, people addicted to drugs, and people with mental illness (masoncountywa.gov). I a...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Nov 23, 2023

    Annoying words and phrases infect our speech with frequency and tenacity, and I can’t stop it. I try, but I’m only one bro, one bruh, one dude, one dawg, one homeboy. But if I was king, I could send out a minion with a stiff back to proclaim, “Listen up, peasants. The following words and phrases are banned. Any of the king’s subjects heard uttering the following phrases shall be playfully chastised upon first and second offense, and on the third offense, the subject shall be drawn and quartered,...

  • FROM THE AUDITOR

    Steve Duenkel, Mason County Auditor|Nov 23, 2023

    The Nov. 9 edition of the Shelton-Mason County Journal published statistics for the number of challenged ballots as of 8 p.m. on election night, "Mason County had the highest percentage of contested ballots in Washington's 39 counties, with more that 3.5% of the votes being cast contested." So, what's going on? The contested ballots included many rejected for "signature mismatch." Signature verification is done by trained, experienced elections staff. Despite training and experience, signature...

  • THESE TIMES

    Kirk Ericson|Nov 16, 2023

    “To the earth you are scattered You’re going home, so what does it matter? To an atomic mind Scattered here while you travel time.” — The Kinks, “Scattered” My 64th orbit of the sun will be complete in a couple of weeks, and one thing that amazes me about this accretion of years is how slow it’s gone. I would have thought I’d be 100 by now. In the interest of taking stock from this vast vista, and sparing my survivors the burden of busy work, here’s my sanctioned obit: Kirk Ericson Kirk Eric...

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

    Nov 16, 2023

    Value of diversity Editor, the Journal, For 10 years, I was on the board of trustees for a small Christian college that emphasized the importance of educating students who would not otherwise have access. I loved meeting these students and hearing their stories and watching them throughout their four years grow into thoughtful, articulate, courageous, well-educated adults. As the student body, staff, faculty, administration, and board of trustees became more diverse, the lives of all involved...

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