Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886


Series: YEAR IN REVIEW 2023 | Story 5

MAY 2023

Lance Gibbon, a former superintendent of the Oak Harbor and Snoqualmie Valley school districts, will be the new superintendent of the Hood Canal School District, pending a contract agreement.

On May 1, the Hood Canal School Board voted unanimously to hire Gibbon. He replaces Jose-de-Jesus Melendez, who resigned in February after seven months on the job to return to his family in Oregon. According to the district at the time, he was to complete the remainder of his contract on administrative leave.

The district has about 300 students in pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade.

"The concensus regarding his positive attributes were: a thoughtful approach to issues, a commitment to collaboration and commitment, and a relationship-oriented approach to leadership," School Board President Edie Reclusado wrote in an email to the Journal.

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Central Mason Fire and EMS received an "all call" dispatch to reports of a commercial structure fire at All West Coast Auto Wrecking off state Route 3 and Anthony Road.

According to a news release from CMFE, crews arrived within minutes to a 60 by 150 foot automotive warehouse with heavy fire and charged black smoke. The fire spread to about 40 vehicles and several hundred tires, and was fueled by 3,500 gallons of waste fuel including gas, diesel and oil.

"I've been in the business for 36 years, easily in my Top 5 in 36 years," CMFE Chief Jeff Snyder told the Journal. "It was an extremely difficult fire because it was fed by petroleum products, waste fuel, tires, all that sort of stuff."

Snyder said there were two individuals in the shop who were working when the fire started. One person suffered thermal burns and smoke inhalation and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

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Eight candidates have applied for three positions on the Shelton City Council on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.

May 19 was the deadline to register for the election, with 85 people applying for 63 offices. The primary will whittle the candidates down to two finalists for the Nov. 7 general election.

Three of the seven positions on the Shelton City Council are up for grabs. The winners will receive four-year terms.

Mary Eagleson, Tristen Smith and George Blush will compete to replace James Boad as council position 1. Boad, the owner of Wilde Irish Pub in downtown Shelton, decided not to seek a second term on the council.

Melissa Stearns is seeking to replace Kathy McDowell as member number 2. McDowell is the longest serving member, having been part of the three-person Shelton City Commission before a vote by residents expanded it to a seven-member council.

Mark Frazier, Tom Gilmore and Kelly Watson are competing to be member 5. Current member Deidre Peterson, also the executive director of the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce, is not seeking a new term.

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Richard Knight, who served as fire chief for Mason County Fire District 5/Central Mason Fire & EMS for 55 years, died May 20 at his home in Allyn. He was 88.

Knight joined what was then Mason County Fire Protection District 5 in 1955. The next year, he was named fire chief. He retired at the end of June 2011.

"Chief Knight's dedication to the citizens and the members of Central Mason Fire & EMS will forever be remembered," CMFE stated in a Facebook post. "He was a true leader and visionary."

Central Mason Fire & EMS Fire Chief Jeff Snyder was 20 when he joined the district helmed by Knight.

"I wouldn't be where I am now without him," he said of Knight in an interview with the Journal.

Knight was one of the first chiefs in Mason County to focus on paramedics and finding the right tools, Snyder said.

"He saw where EMS was going," he said. "He was a voracious reader of trade magazines."

Knight "protected his people ... but he was also a task master," Snyder said.

"He never backed down from a fight. We joked that he liked to spar."


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