Rhody Festival parade now set for August

By Diane Urbani de la Paz Thursday, July 29, 2021 PORT TOWNSEND — Blackberry and lemon cake with Italian buttercream. Spiced, gluten-free chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache. This is dessert — the ninth annual Cake Picnic — for the 85th Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade, now rescheduled for noon Aug. 14. Uptown’s East Jefferson Fire Rescue station, at Lawrence and Harrison streets, will be the starting point for a procession unlike any Rhody parade in history. For one thing, the fresh rhododendron blooms of May won’t be prominent on the 2021 floats, said festival president Lori Morris. The organizing committee is yet undeterred. Still, “we need more people,” said Rita Hubbard, keeper of the entry forms. So far, 28 applications have come in — about a third of the number in past parades held in May. She hopes for many more before the Aug. 9 deadline. Prospective 2021 entrants will find applications at www.rhodyfestival.org while information is available by emailing rhodyfest@gmail.com. So far, several parade stalwarts have signed up: local steampunks, midwives, kinetic sculptures, hardware and marine companies and the Kiwanis Club will sashay down Lawrence Street to Monroe Street to downtown. The Port Orchard Fathoms of Fun festival, Sequim Irrigation Festival and Washington state Daffodil Festival floats will make the scene. Port Townsend’s own Rhododendron Festival float will carry Queen Jenessah Seebergoss, Princess Hailey Hirschel and Princess Brigitte Palmer while the Boeing Bluebills serve as grand marshals. Missing: marching bands. School’s out for summer, so Hubbard and Morris are wondering…

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Port Townsend theater wins grant with community backing

By Diane Urbani de la Paz Sunday, July 25, 2021 PORT TOWNSEND — Key City Public Theatre has received its largest-ever grant, executive artistic director Denise Winter announced, thanks to the local supporters who came forward first. The playhouse at 419 Washington St. has been under renovation for more than a year now, with Winter and her crew hoping to reopen for a holiday show this year and a season of plays in 2022. Meantime, work with contractors and vendors — on new seats, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, touchless fixtures — devours Winter’s days. “When all is said and done, this is about a half-million-dollar project,” she said. On Friday, she at last got to talk about the giant piece of good news: KCPT’s $176,500 award from the Murdock Charitable Trust based in Vancouver, Wash. The trust was established by the late Melvin J. “Jack” Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. To win this kind of grant, Winter said, her nonprofit theater had to prove its abundant community backing. The story of the Murdock money started with an exchange between Winter and one patron, who back in 2019 called to ask how to help fund a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The playhouse has been too hot or too cold for too many years, and some attendees have come once and never come back, Winter said. Teaching artists Bry Kifolo, left, Brendan Chambers and Maggie Bulkley will lead two youth theater workshops — one for 8- to…

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Nature & Nurture: Caring for Our Children and Community

By Tom Moore, JCF Volunteer Jefferson County is a child care desert. Child Care of Washington reports there are only 166 licensed child care slots for the 962 children under the age of 5 in the county. This represents a decrease of 303 spots from 2015 to 2020, while the number of infants born to local families over the past three years has ranged from 166 to 199 annually. Based on these numbers, Jefferson County has child care capacity for only 5% of all children 0-3 years old. With 65% of families having parents working outside the home about 625 of the 962 children under the age of 6 are left needing child care. In addition, between 2015 and 2020, Jefferson County lost five licensed child care programs. Making this situation even worse, a recent study by Lending Tree found a 55% increase in child care costs per child in Washington during the pandemic, with the statewide average annual cost of child care rising from $11,744 to $18,237. The study also found Washington households allocated on average 14% of their income toward childcare. For Jefferson County, whose 2019 median income was $55,127 per household and $29,678 per individual, parents face the prospect of paying an even higher percentage. These statistics are nothing new to local healthcare and education experts. Dunia Faulx, Director of Population Health and Care Transformation at Jefferson Healthcare, states it clearly: “We’ve been saying there's a problem with childcare in this community for the…

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