J425 Digest: Updates on Aquafest, Julian Willis, Mo Jaiteh, Sewer District vs Local Biz, City of LS New Campus, LSSD Superintendent Search
A dozen links and updates including GBB playoff preview, Kolton Matson 2x State POY update, the LSPD Officer Involved Shooting probe and J425's special investigation re: death of Antonio Mays at CHAZ
LAKE STEVENS - I just thought we’d take a moment to pass along links and summaries of J425’s recent reporting, ongoing stories and a rundown of a few notable news items across the 425.
January is always a slow month at J425, something about the rampant pace of fall that drains me and my battery runs low for a few weeks. I spent the time investigating several ongoing stories and a few new ones (have you seen the Antonio Mays Jr investigative video?) as well as cataloging our 2023 work.
I took a look with my initial value prop to readers – I promised 2-3 subscriber posts per week, explaining that it just takes time to do the actual reporting and production. Over the last 24 months, we’ve far far outpaced that promise. I’ve averaged 5.5 original stories per week accompanied by an average of 2.8 pieces of original video content.
We’ve also delivered 25 originally-reported installments of our special investigation into those who prey on children, publishing over 72,000 words of reporting on this close-to-home-topic in 2023 alone. During this time, we’ve identified and removed multiple predators from within public schools, breaking the national story on Julian Willis and effecting his arrest. We’ve led regional reporting on the identification of additional sex predators.
We were first to fully report the tragic story of Marayna Rodgers, the Snohomish girl killed outside Vegas, and we were the only local outlet covering events like the Lake Stevens PD Officer-involved-shooting.
Enough of me making justifications for a slow January.
We’ve been back at it recently, pumping out serious content across multiple platforms and I thought it might be helpful to provide a summary post.
May I suggest that you follow J425 on Instagram at J425Live? There is considerable additional free coverage posted daily, running the gamut from sports highlights, original videos, follow-up reporting and photography/videography.
J425 publishes original, reader-supported journalism centered on the 425. To receive breaking news as it’s published and to support our investigative reporting, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. J425: the home of Viking Football.
NEWS and LINKS
Sewer District Evicts Salon Michelle, Ending 24-year LS Biz Success Story
It was a rough December for the Lake Stevens Sewer District, at least from a PR point-of-view. The soon-to-be-former agency made significant waves across the community by effectively shuttering popular local business Salon Michelle, ending Michelle Myers’ 24-year-run of entrepreneurial beauty services, advice and information. People who cut hair know what’s up. I tried to tell y’all. If that was all, it’d be a bad issue not a bad month.
With respect to the last-second raises shrouded in secrecy, our reporting finds multiple issues that raise process, compliance and transparency questions. J425 don’t make the rules, but we certainly asked the MRSC whether some of these tactics count as breakin ‘em. Our reporting on this issue includes a 2000 word investigation and another 1200 of analysis, with more to come, including an analysis of whether process and transparency guidelines fell by the wayside, whether the salary adoption process met ethical guidelines and if there could be knock-on effects impacting the city and the district’s ongoing merger negotiations.
City/Sewer District Recent Background
Nov. 1 Utility Committee meeting SD unveils transition plan calling for complete unification completed by end 2024.
December 14 meeting commissioners acknowledge protest letter regarding Salon Michelle but no open discussion.
Minutes from December 28 meeting salary increases adopted with no discussion and no attached information in packet.
I don’t ask often. Please consider subscribing to J425. We are doing important work and I really think you’re getting your nine bucks a month-worth. No one does local investigations or prep sports like us and we’ve augmented our football coverage this year with in-depth reporting and original photography and videography covering volleyball and girls basketball.
We’ve also delved deeper into the world of recruiting, especially with regard to how this quickly-changing world relates to the Lake Stevens football dynasty that Tom Tri has going right here in Lake Stevens.
We’ll continue to provide one-of-a-kind all-access coverage of the back-to-back state champion Vikings including game recaps and stats from the Hall of Famer Mike Anderton and original game and practice reporting plus original multi-media content creation from yours truly.
Lake Schools Search for New Superintendent
The Lake Stevens School District is embarking on the process to locate their new Superintendent of Schools after the upcoming retirement of Dr. Ken Collins (J425 coverage on the Collins announcement here). A quick word from the district:
Lake Stevens School District is seeking its next Superintendent. Help shape the vision for our next leader by taking the Leadership Profile Survey now through March 29.
Take the survey here.