Community

Stillaguamish Tribe donates $590,000 to Arlington police & fire departments, plus schools and charities

From left, Arlington Police Chief Nelson Beazley, Stillaguamish Tribal Chair Shawn Yanity, Arlington Mayor Pro Tem Marilyn Oertle, Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert, Arlington City Council member Chris Raezer and Stillaguamish Tribal elder LaWana Bruner are all smiles as the Tribe presents $195,000 to the Council for for the city
From left, Arlington Police Chief Nelson Beazley, Stillaguamish Tribal Chair Shawn Yanity, Arlington Mayor Pro Tem Marilyn Oertle, Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert, Arlington City Council member Chris Raezer and Stillaguamish Tribal elder LaWana Bruner are all smiles as the Tribe presents $195,000 to the Council for for the city's police and fire departments on Jan. 23.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Stillaguamish Tribal Chair Shawn Yanity found himself on the receiving end of a succession of handshakes from Arlington firefighters and police officers after his presentation to the Arlington City Council on Monday, Jan. 23.

"We made a commitment," Yanity said, as he announced the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians' donations of more than half a million dollars to area agencies that serve the community and its citizens. "We wanted to help. We asked the police and fire departments what they needed. We wanted hard numbers. We had to ask twice," he chuckled, before turning serious. "We know the impact these hard times have had on everyone."

From its non-compact funding, the Tribe is donating $110,000 to the Arlington Police Department and $85,000 to the Arlington Fire Department, which will cover, among other expenditures, the purchase of two patrol cars and computers for fire trucks, respectively. The Tribe is likewise providing $41,000 to North County Fire District 21 for equipment, $100,000 to the Arlington School District for its local-foods nutrition program and $25,000 to the Arlington Boys & Girls Club for a new gym.

"The tribal economy has a positive impact on the local economy," Yanity said, before extolling the virtues of local public safety and emergency response services in particular. "We can't say enough about the positive things you do for us. Keeping you all fully equipped is insurance that we hope we never have to cash in. We hope we can continue to make this a better community for everybody to live in."

Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert joked that she wished she could begin every City Council meeting this way, before she took the time to thank Yanity in the Lushootseed language.

Tolbert wasn't the only Arlington mayor to attend the Jan. 23 City Council meeting, during which Yanity and fellow Stillaguamish Tribal members presented an oversized check for $195,000 to the Council for the city's police and fire departments. Former Mayor Margaret Larson spoke with Yanity outside the Council chambers and praised him to everyone within earshot.

"This was absolutely worth coming back for," Larson said. "Shawn is a very special person."

Yanity returned the compliment by crediting Larson with facilitating the Tribe's ability to make such charitable donations during her time as mayor.

"We're all excited about this year's Relay too," Yanity said, noting that the Tribe had also donated $30,000 to the Relay For Life on behalf of the American Cancer Society. "We take pride in supporting our local charities and governmental services. The Stillaguamish Tribe is the largest contributor to the Dollars For Scholars program at Arlington High School, and we've provided Snohomish County with full funding for a deputy prosecutor position for our District Court. We want our help to be given to the local community, because they're our neighbors."

The Tribe's $86,000 in funding for a deputy prosecutor for Snohomish County, and its $25,000 donation to this year's Dollars For Scholars at AHS, are among the multitude of its $591,000 in contributions to community organizations for the first half of 2012, as Yanity promised more would come this summer.

"We've had a great relationship with Arlington for a long time," Yanity said. "That government-to-government relationship has been very important. As we grow, we're doing what we can to contribute to the surrounding community's growth, because our businesses and clients are here too."

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