Beacon Magazine - Fall 2022

Page 26

MAGAZINE Beacon

Fall/Winter 2022

DRUMBEAT OF MORTALITY

On the job with the medical examiner

INSIDE

KICK-START YOUR DAY

Breakfast is important – and can be tasty

READY TO RETIRE? Financial advisers share their best advice

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The Beacon Publishing team is pleased to present the fall and winter edition of The Beacon Magazine.

We think you’ll enjoy this issue, whose wide variety of stories will help keep you inspired during the gloomier time of year. But we Washingtonians – most of us, we think? – don’t stop living – seek new adventures, no matter the weather.

Like snow? We’ve compiled a list of fun activities to see and do in our favorite Bavarian village, an easy day trip from Snohomish County on Highway 2. Love schnitzels? Thick sausages? Craft brews? Sledding down a snow-covered hill? This story only touches on a few attractions, but we’ve provided resources for further exploration.

Looking to eat closer to home? Check out our recommended breakfast places, the best part of starting your day. But don’t think we’re just about fun and food here at Beacon Publishing. We’ve got an easy-to-understand and enlightening story on how to make the most of your retirement. As well, we take a look at our school counselors and the challenges they face in this post-COVID (we think) time. Ever wonder what a day in the life of a medical examiner is like? We all deal with the end of life; it’s something that awaits us all. How does Snohomish County’s top coroner deal with death every day? The story might make you appreciate life just a bit more.

But let’s return to the fun stuff. Read a profile of a local, award-winning Elvis impersonator and what set him on his path to honor the King, and welcome a new magazine feature – a spotlight on the many talented artists who live around us.

We can’t wait to start our spring issue to share more stories with you.

Got any stories you’d like to see us take up? Email edmondseditor@yourbeacon.net.

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Come see for yourself! Schedule a tour today.

Come On In

The King lives

By day, you might give him a passing thought. But when he takes the stage, he transforms into one of the best Elvis Presley tribute acts you’ll ever see.

Facing the end – every day 8

Dealing with death on a constant basis is not for everyone. But Snohomish County’s top coroner says the career can be fulfilling for those looking to solve riddles and help families cope.

2022

Artist’s corner ............................................... 13

In this new feature, we ask local artists about their work while spotlighting one of their signature creations. First up: Edmonds’ David Varnau.

14 Leavenworth in the winter is the definition of a “winter wonderland.” There’s plenty to see, plenty to do, in this Bavarian-themed mountain village. Breakfast and brunch ..................... 21

Looking for a nutritious place to get your first meal of the day? Or brunch? Tradition abounds, as do options for the more daring.

Financial advice

Retirement can be fraught with questions. Many questions. We asked a few financial advisers to lessen the anxiety of entering the golden years.

Counselors tell all

After two years of COVID and remote/in-person learning, how are school counselors helping their students adapt to new realities? Season

A delicious recipe from a local favorite, Chef Navi, from Navi’s Catering Kitchen.

4 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
Fall/Winter
14 13 29
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Splendor in the snow
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............................................................................. 29
to taste .................................................................................... 35
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Our Contributors

Brian Soergel

Managing Editor Brian Soergel has worked for Beacon Publishing since 2015. In addition to overseeing editorial functions, he writes and edits the Edmonds Beacon. He previously worked as a reporter, editor, and copy editor at various newspapers. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He lives in Edmonds with his wife and cute-but-grumpy cat.

David Pan

Mukilteo Beacon Editor David Pan joined Beacon Publishing in 2015. He previously was the longtime sports editor at the Enterprise and Weekly Herald newspapers, and wrote for the Lynnwood Today website. David is a huge Paul McCartney fan and has attended 10 McCartney concerts since 1990.

Maria A. Montalvo

Maria A. Montalvo has served as a columnist for the Beacon newspapers since 2016, and wrote a blog for the online Beacon before that. She writes the Beacon’s biweekly restaurant and art review column, Arts & Appetite, as well as her own column, Moment’s Notice. She works in the nonprofit sector, and lives in Edmonds with her husband and beach-loving dog, Lulu.

Neely Stratton

Neely Stratton has been a freelance contributor to Beacon Publishing since February 2022. She has a dusty bachelor’s degree in communications from Western Washington University, which she is thrilled to be finally putting to work. Her “day” job is in property management.

Neely lives with her husband and two very curious cats in Edmonds.

Publisher Jenn Barker

Managing Editor Brian Soergel

Editorial David Pan

Advertising Sales Tina Novak

Administrative Martine Grube

Design/Production Debbie Magill

About the Cover

Rob Schwertley has always been an Elvis Presley fan. But it was only after a life-changing karaoke performance on a cruise shop that he realized he might have a side gig as an Elvis tribute act. Today, he’s an award-winning performing much in demand in south Snohomish County.

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(425) 347-5634 www.mukilteobeacon.com www.edmondsbeacon.com www.millcreekbeacon.com THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 5
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– Shea Sullivan photo

Bringing it all back home

Today’s young Elvis impersonators have it easy.

Rob Schwertley’s hip to this. He’s created a nice side gig as Robbie Dee’s Tribute to Elvis, frequently performing at public and private events around Snohomish County. He’s 42 now – the same age as Elvis Presley when he died, a fact he’s well aware of  – but it wasn’t easy for the budding Elvis fan to hear his music as a teenager before the streaming magic of Spotify and YouTube.

Take “Suspicious Minds.”

“I remember listening to the radio and trying to record it onto a cassette,” said Schwertley, who grew up in the Picnic Point area, graduated from Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, and went on to Seattle University. He now lives in south Everett. “And whenever you try to do that, it means they’re not going to play the song.”

He’d wait for hours so he could listen to it whenever he wanted to.

Schwertley turned on to Elvis as a preteen – his sister played a few songs – and he quickly became a fan, picking up records, poring over magazines. He dressed up as Elvis for Halloween one year.

But life moved on. Real jobs beckoned, including as an advertising sales rep for local newspapers, including the Edmonds Enterprise and The Seattle Times. He joined the

Local Elvis impersonator
Rob Schwertley is one of the best
6 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
Shea Sullivan photo

Edmonds Chamber of Commerce – which he’s still involved in. He was board president last year.

These days, Schwertley works in digital advertising with a company called Yieldmo.

Through it all, Schwertley continued as an Elvis fan because, well, Elvis fans are for life.

And Schwertley’s obsession morphed into a side profession 15 years ago during a cruise with family. There was a karaoke night. Schwertley, always good with impressions, took to the stage, belting out one of his favorites: “Viva Las Vegas.”

The audience, as Schwertley recalls it, was “enthusiastic.”

A few years later, he was invited to play with a live band at MoPOP (formerly EMP/Experience Music Project). He competed in the Seattle Elvis Invitationals – Seattle’s search for the best Elvis tribute artist. Playing to a packed house with 20 or so Elvis impersonators and tribute artists further encouraged Schwertley’s journey.

In 2015, he returned to the competition and won with his stunning rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

“That was kind of what told me that maybe I should (continue). People gave me lots of encouragement. I got people giving me tips. People told me I should perform more.”

Since then, he’s performed at festivals – including Taste Edmonds, the Mill Creek Festival, and Tour de Terrace  – corporate events, private parties, and even weddings.

“I did a wedding a couple of years ago,” he re-

called, “and they wanted the bride to walk down the aisle with ‘It’s Now or Never.’”

Schwertley’s biggest honor came this June at the annual Penticton Elvis Festival in British Columbia, Canada’s largest. He took first place in the nonprofessional category after finishing third and second in previous years.

Robbie Dee’s Tribute to Elvis (“Dee” is for his middle name, “Donald’) is now well-known among Elvis impersonations on the West Coast.

The gigs, the jumpsuit

Some shows are early Elvis. Sometimes it’s the jumpsuit. Which Elvis era does Schwertley prefer?

“I used to really like the ’70s. But I’ve come to appreciate things about all the different eras. Probably the late ’60s and early ’70s are my favorite periods.”

In September, at the Classic Car Show in Edmonds, Schwertley did both.

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 7
Elvis impersonator Rob Schwertley entertains the crowd during the Classic Car Show in Edmonds, September 2022. LOCAL ELVIS on page 25 Brian Soergel photos
I used to really like the ’70s. But I’ve come to appreciate things about all the different eras. Probably the late ’60s and early ’70s are my favorite periods.

Dealing with death

Drug overdoses keep Snohomish County medical examiner busy

A Day in the Life

Aday in the life of Snohomish County Medical Examiner J. Matthew Lacy typically begins with a group meeting. But when that day ends could be anybody’s guess.

“Our day really begins around 8 o’clock with our version of morning rounds,” said Lacy, a personable 50-year-old who leads the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office at Paine Field in Everett.

The meeting includes a chief investigator and on-scene investigators from the previous night.

Lacy and his staff will run through a list of what investigators have discovered while working on cases. That could be anything resulting in death: car accident, suspected murder, suicide and, most common these days, fatal drug overdoses.

Photos will be passed around. Lacy will see what the investigator saw. He’ll learn about any information about the medical history forwarded by the family of the deceased.

Lacy then slips into scrubs. Depending on overnight activity, he could have one autopsy this particular day, or several. His day has begun.

Autopsies

On a recent tour in Everett, Lacy strode through the entire office, stopping in the main cooler where bodies wrapped in plastic were stacked up three to four racks high. Office workers went about their work diligently, carting in several bodies from a white van.

8 THE BEACON MAGAZINE –
2022
Matthew Lacy starts his day with a meeting – then gets down to business.
FALL/WINTER
Brian Soergel photo

Lacy’s seen worse. During the height of COVID, more than one body had to be placed on gurneys, sometimes two or three if there was a small body.

When Lacy is ready to work in the main examining room, a body is placed on a metal gurney for an initial external examination, surrounded by techs. Clothes and personal items are stripped off the body and documented.

After the exam – with notes, photos, and diagrams –  Lacy and the techs move a body to the stainless steel internal examination table where the autopsy begins.

As a pathologist stands nearby, Lacy begins his work.

“We do incisions so they will be easy to hide,” he said. “We’ll put samples into jars in case I need to go back and look at more under the microscope. We keep samples for two years.

“The next one comes in, and I’ll just do as many autopsies we have on a particular day.”

After the day’s autopsies, Lacy will remove his scrubs, walk back to his corner office and begin dictating his day. He signs off on death reports. Meanwhile, results from previous cases flow into the office with their toxicology reports.

The reports are crucial, for possible crimes and especially for family members.

“Families often request the autopsy reports, which document all our findings,” Lacy said. “So if I get hit by a bus on the way out or sucked up by aliens and disappear off the planet,

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 9
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that report will exist for somebody to come along behind me and be able to see the descriptions of what I saw and come to their own conclusions.”

The rest of the day is typically spent following up on pending cases.

Hopefully, Lacy said, he can go home in time for dinner. Due to shortages of staff – two associate medical examiner positions were vacant as of the end of September – Lacy is on call every day instead of once every three days. There was also one lead investigator position open.

Investigators need to be available 24/7.

Prevalence of fentanyl

Not all bodies entering the medical examiner’s office are examined. The majority of deaths in Snohomish County are natural and don’t require autopsies for a death certificate. Think heart attacks, cancer, and traffic accidents.

Today, the majority of autopsies are performed on those who overdosed. As of September 2022, there were 188 overdose deaths in Snohomish County, 82 of them involving opioids, 68 involving fentanyl, and 67 involving meth.

One of Lacy’s recent examinations detected fentanyl, amphetamines, methamphetamines, opiates, and methadone, the latter used to treat narcotic addiction.

Another examination found the deceased had cocaine, methadone, and ethyl glucuronide in the body. The latter is a breakdown product of alcohol. Lacy said cocaine is not detected as much anymore. He said it’s much more popular on the East Coast and in Canada.

Here, it’s meth, opioids, and the powerful and deadly fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Alcohol is also ubiquitous in overdose autopsies, Lacy said.

“Every year, (fentanyl deaths) keep going up and up and up. And it’s just kind of the dominant theme. There are plenty of stories out there saying it’s 500 times worse than heroin, and one of the more common forms of paraphernalia that we find are the blue M30s. They are clearly counterfeited – they don’t look like professionally made pills.

“Most of our cases are knowingly using fentanyl.”

What about THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis? Today, with marijuana legal in Washington, Lacy said it’s everywhere but doesn’t typically lead to death in and of itself.

A career helping the living

Lacy graduated from the University of Chicago and the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. His postgraduate training in forensic pathology came at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City.  Lacy moved up from Snohomish County associate medical examiner to chief medical examiner in January 2020 upon the retirement of Daniel Selove. Before that, he was an associate medical examiner in the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office; a hospitalist and director of autopsy services at Harborview Medical Center; and an associate medical examiner with the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

10 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
Matthew Lacy stands in front of images and information of missing victims whose cases have been solved.
Most of our cases are knowingly using fentanyl.
Brian Soergel photo

Lacy grew up in Virginia and says he enjoyed reading Patricia Cornwell novels – which debuted in 1990 – featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, whose stories are mostly set in that state. That was part of the appeal for Lacy.

“It was very important in my thinking about this early on,” he said, adding that today he enjoys reading the novels of C.J. Box, Michael Connelly, and especially Craig Johnson. Entering medical school, he studied pathology and internal medicine. He said he’s enjoyed his career.

“It’s just like a regular doctor. They are solving problems and have the satisfaction of maybe that person getting well. But on this end, it’s totally different. You get the satisfaction of figuring out what happened. And you don’t have to deal with the person who has a problem, because they’re on your table. But you do have to deal with family and courts.”

Life as a medical examiner or investigator can be intellectually stimulating, he said.

“We get to help people at the worst time in their life. You can give family members answers to questions that they’re only going to have a chance to get answered one time, at this moment. And sometimes you can help bring closure, you can figure things out that no one else can. And you can explain it to people in court or in another form in a way that has very important implications for the justice system and various other agencies.

“No day is like any other.”

Leaving work at the office

Lacy lives in Seattle with his wife and two teenage children. His wife is Lara Strick, an infectious disease physician with the Washington State Department of Corrections.

“Long story short, we have some interesting table conversations at night,” Lacy said.

But after a long day at the office, the medical examiner admits more often than not he tries to leave his work there.

“One of the things I do is I turn it off when I go home. The phone’s not ringing. I’m not thinking about work. I used to run,

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 11
Matthew Lacy is pictured behind a skeleton in his conference room. At right, cadavers in the cooling room. Brian Soergel photos

but I have a hip thing. I do ride my bike. I just like to hang with the family.

“I’ve got two teenagers. Neither one of them has shown a tremendous amount of interest in pathology. And they’re not interested in infectious disease, either.”

He chuckled. “Not really sure why that is.”

With a career centered on death investigation, Lacy said he knows his efforts can lend a big assist to both families and to law enforcement. He also knows he must separate work and family, but it’s not always easy.

“You have to have some sort of way of dealing with it. It would just be too hard.  But I don’t dwell on it as much. I try to focus on the scientific aspect. I mean, there are certain types of cases that are really more horrible and hard to deal with.

“I noticed that when I had my children coming up, they were like plus or minus a year around that age group as they’re moving through where I just really didn’t want to do those autopsies. And it’s still kind of that way.”

Pediatric autopsies are by and large the toughest cases for Lacy, for many reasons.

“They are tough to deal with, but particularly where there is afflicted injury or a challenging case that’s hotly contested. Legally, it’s one of the cases where causation is actually

shouldn’t have. It’s very straightforward.

“With pediatric cases with inflicted injury, your cause-of-death statement is really the basis of the homicide charge, so it’s all about you and every little mistake you make. Others can try to blow it up and get experts from all over the country to say what a terrible pathologist you are. So these are challenging cases. They take forever, they’re very hard, and they’re often, as a bonus, just steeped in tragedy for everybody involved.”

Aging also, as you’d expect, has a way of clarifying the mind: he refers to “the drumbeat of mortality.”

“Nowadays,” Lacy said, “I’m always remarking how tragic it is when somebody who’s younger than me has died. I

12 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
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Nowadays, I’m always remarking how tragic it is when somebody who’s younger than me has died.

Artist's Corner

Born and raised in rural Indiana, David Varnau grew up appreciating the lyrical in nature all around him.

He now lives in Edmonds, where many of his sculptures are on businesses’ private property.

“For me, the genesis of each new sculpture is my desire to capture the wonder and appreciation that I feel when I witness anew the beauty of the human form. What inspires me often is a pose that conveys a mood that I find compelling, that, while expressing some common human experience, is visually evocative.”

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 13
Joie de Vivre depicts a young girl standing with her arms outstretched, her smiling face gazing up into the sunshine. A breeze blows her clothing and hair, creating a dynamic image and capturing a joyful moment in time. It reflects the moments of our lives when all is well, our senses are heightened and we feel the grace of being alive. Kids readily identify with its message, often stepping up onto the rock and joining the sculpture to embrace life. At times, we adults believe joy is not available to us. Her image challenges us all to find joy wherever we can – and to savor it! Sited in front of Kelnero in Edmonds at 545 Main St., the sculpture greets you as you walk west from Sixth Street. Bryan Stewart, owner of the property, graciously agreed to have the sculpture placed there on loan. – David Varnau Artist bio

Willkommen to winter at Washington’s Bavarian village

You’ve been to Leavenworth during the summer. It’s fantastic, yes, but the heat and the crowds, right? How about Leavenworth in the fall and winter? There are crowds, yes – more than 2 million a year –but it is also the best time to really experience Leavenworth in all its snow-globe, charming glory.  Leavenworth is a great choice for a day trip no matter the season, but its colorful autumn and snowy winters are especially enjoyable.

It’s an easy drive to Leavenworth on Highway 2, but as always be prepared for winter weather and travel restrictions as you plan your trip.

Getting to Leavenworth is part of the adventure, as the winding highway offers jaw-dropping views of Stevens Pass and roaring Wenatchee River as it winds its way down Tumwater Canyon into downtown, 1,166 feet above sea level with nearby mountains rising to 8,000 feet.

Finding a niche

First, a little history.

Leavenworth wasn’t always the charming Alpine-style village that launched thousands of yodels with its Bavarian flair.

14 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
The town of Leavenworth is all aglow during Winterfest. All photos featured in Schnitzels and Snow provided by Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce.
THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 15

The earliest people known to inhabit the Wenatchee River Valley were Native Americans, mainly of the Yakima, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes. They hunted for deer

elk and fished for salmon in Icicle Creek.

Homesteaders arrived in the late 19th century, and in 1893 the town was platted by the Okanagan Investment Co. and named for Charles Leavenworth, its president.

Many years later, in the 1960s, the town had to reinvent itself after the decline of the rail and timber industries. What to do?

Well, looking around at the mountain peaks surrounding town – you couldn’t help but notice the resemblance to the Alpine glories of Bavaria in Germany – planners hatched a game-changing idea for drawing tourists.

In-town buildings began their Bavarian-themed designs in 1965. The first building transformed was the Watson Electric Building at 807 Front St., now home to Icicle Creek Clothing.

The result: tourism gold.

Check out leavenworthmuseum.org for more info.

Winter

Snowflakes typically begin their descent in November, peaking in December and January with 30-inchplus totals each month. No light west-of-themountains snow, this.

You can take a day trip to Leavenworth simply to take in the splendor of Leavenworth decked out in lights while

16 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022

eating and shopping your way through Front Street and beyond. December through February are when the city celebrates the Village of Lights. Pick your month, or pick them all: It’s Christmastown in December, Winter Karneval in January, and Love from Leavenworth in February. For the more adventurous, experiencing the great outdoors beckons with sleigh rides, skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, sled-

Here are some

Sleigh rides

Holiday Sleigh Rides: Provided by Icicle Outfitters & Guides, 7935 E. Leavenworth Road. You’ll glide through open meadows and along the Icicle River in a two-horse-drawn sleigh. Open December-February. Walk-ins welcome.

Info: icicleoutfitters.com

Leavenworth Sleigh Rides at Mountain Springs Lodge, 19115 Chiwawa Loop Road. Options include a one-horse open sleigh (sing the song!), an old-fashioned sleigh, and a Santa Sleigh. Reservations required.

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 17
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equipment; plenty of rentals are available.

Alpine Ski & Snowboard, 10701 Ski Hill Drive. Featured are two groomed hills serviced by rope tows. It’s a popular option for beginning skiers.

Northwest Mountain School has backcountry ski guiding tours in Leavenworth and Icicle Canyon.

Info: mountainschool.com.

For Nordic skiing, the Leavenworth Sports Club maintains 16 miles of tracks and skating lanes that offer a variety of skiing terrain across three areas around Leavenworth. Each of its three locations offers a slightly different experience both in

scenery and terrain.

Icicle River Trails is for beginners, Golf Course trails for intermediates, and Ski Hill is for advanced skiers.

Info: skileavenworth.com

Ski jump: The only ski jump on the West Coast is in Leavenworth. Beginning jumpers usually start with a ride down the landing hill and work their way up to the 49-foot jump, finally graduating to the 27-meter jump. A rope tow pulls the jumpers back to the top after

Hi! We’re Community Transit. And we’re here to get you where you want to go — all over Snohomish County and beyond. Leave the driving to us to save money on gas and enjoy the scenic ride.

Come ride with us

communitytransit.org/fallbus

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Alphorns perfectly capture the mood of Leavenworth.

are the reason for the Bavaraian influence of the city. Winter is an especially fun time for the village to show off its style, with the holidays being no exception.

each run. Info: skileavenworth.com

Fat biking: “Fat bikes’’ are mountain bikes with tires that are 4.25 inches or wider, suitable for riding in snowy conditions. There are 3 miles of lighted biking trails.

Info: skileavenworth.com

Snowshoe: Available at all Leavenworth Winter Sports Club locations: Icicle River Trails, Ski Hill, and Golf Course. Info: skileavenworth.com

Snowmobiling: There are more than 150 miles of trails to explore nearby, so have at it. Leavenworth Snowmobile Tours is at 19115 Chiwawa Loop Road.

Info: leavenworthsnowmobile.com. Rentals are available at leavenworthsnowmobilerentals.com.

Food & drink

So many options. So little time.

Many restaurants have outdoor dining areas and patios where pets are welcome. There are also numerous restaurants with gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options.

Here are just a few of the many options:

Leavenworth Sausage Garten, 636 Front St. A wide variety of gourmet sausages are available. Recommended: the currywurst (yellow curry, pork, heavy cream). viscontis.com/ sausage-garten

Visconti’s Ristoranate Italiano, 636 Front St. Creative Italian dishes with local farm-fresh ingredients.

Munchen Haus Bavarian Grill and Beer Garden, 709 Front St.: Beer and cider, of course, with charbroiled sausages, too. Popular outdoor area in summer, with a walk-up window. Try Helga’s Giant Kelbassi, with onethird pound of smoked beef. Slightly spicy.

Blewett Brewing Co., 911 Commercial St. Plenty of brews, plus pizzas like Mr. Bacon (bacon, mozzarella, chive, parmesan, caramelized sweet onion) and Hot Mama (thick-cut bacon, peppers, aged mozzarella, arugula, parmesan).

Andreas Keller Restaurant, 829 Front St. Why not try German food? The Schweinshaxe is a giant, Munich-style rotisserie-broiled pork hock. With fried potatoes, Weinbraut and, of course, red cabbage. Or try breaded or grilled schnitzels, thin meat breaded and deep-fried.

Yodelin Broth Co., 633 Front St. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and rice bowls are on the menu. But also, as its name says, artisanal bone broth soups starring wild salmon, halibut, chicken bone, and organic coconut carrot ginger lime.

Shopping

There’s more than trinkets, soap, candles, beer steins, clothing boutiques, music boxes, and snowglobes in Leavenworth.

Here are some shops you may find interesting. A Book for All Seasons, 707 Highway 2. It’s a beautifully inviting bookstore with friendly staff and a good selection of current fiction and nonfiction.

The Oil and Vinegar Cellar, 633 Front St. There’s a

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THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 19
The Alps-like landscapes around Leavenworth

selection of infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Also on hand: sea salts, including the intriguing black truffle, habanero heat, lime fresco, and wild porcini.

Leavenworth Boutique, 715 Front St. The shop says it best: “If you’re wondering what sophisticated hippies look like, step inside and find out. From home decor to accessories and jewelry, you`ll have a groovy time shopping at this boutique.”

Nutcracker Hause/Tannenbaum, 725 A Front St. Looking for nutcrackers for the holidays? This is the place.

Kris Kringl, 907 Front St. It’s a year-round Christmas shop started in 1986. A must-stop.

Black Swan, 639 Front St. Funny T-shirts, trendy gifts,

bizarre hats. Here’s where you go for that.

Apple Annie Antique Gallery, 100 Apple Annie Ave., Cashmere. Yep, 70,000 square-feet of antiques, collectibles, consignment furniture, and other treasures. For serious antiquers. It’s a little farther down the road, but worth a side-trek.

Where to stay

If your journey to Leavenworth is more than a day trip –there’s just so much to see and do – book early for a hotel or one of the many cabin rentals at www.airbnb.com/leavenworth-wa/stays.

There are hotels right on Highway 2 for various budgets: Der Ritterhof Inn, Bavarian Lodge, Linderhof Inn, Alpine Rivers Inn (right on the Wenatchee River), but also B&Bs (Peak View House), campgrounds (Leavenworth KOA), and camping (Eightmile Campground on Icicle Road). n

Resources

– Visitor’s guide: Leavenworth.com. The place to go online. See the 48-page online visitor’s guide, which you can also pick up around town.

– Vrbo:: bit.ly/3UojEpJ

– Airbnbs: bit.ly/3dmFYQ7

– Hotels: bit.ly/3RTqC4z

– Der Wördbook: Brush up on your terminology.

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Startthedayoff BRIGHT BRIGHT

great breakfast can put you on the right track

Our doctors and nutritionists have said it for years: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What you eat at the start of the day gives you energy (and enthusiasm) to study, work, take care of family, exercise, pay bills, clean the yard, wander in your favorite shop, and all of the other things you need to get done.

South Snohomish County knows the importance of a good breakfast, as is exemplified by the wide array of breakfast options in Mukilteo, Edmonds, Mill Creek, and surrounding areas. So get out there and start your day off right at our many fantastic coffee shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Coffee and a croissant

Mukilteo

Red Cup Café: This inviting café sits on the hill overlooking Puget Sound (and the ferry) and is a distinctly community-focused spot. After you spend a morning enjoying a cup of coffee or an espresso drink at the Red Cup, you will leave well cared for and well-versed in the goings on around town.

The breakfast menu offers the classics: croissants and bagels, fresh pastries, and breakfast burritos.

– facebook.com/RedCupCafe

Edmonds/Lynnwood

Cottage Bakery: The Perrinville bakery welcomes you with the wonderful smells and sights of fresh-baked bread, pastries, and coffee.

The rows and rows of loaves – French, olive, sourdough, focaccia, etc. – are so beautiful you will get at least one more

A
THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 21

than you need. Also: Their famous pretzels, pastries made from apples or berries, with mascarpone or cardamom, lemon and lavender, and strawberry rhubarb. Everything at the Cottage is a work of art.

– cottagecommunitybakery.com

Mill Creek

Bequest Coffee: Bequest Coffee is serious about coffee – really serious. This family-owned business is devoted to offering a supreme coffee experience, serving only ethically- or direct-traded organic coffees, preparing them so each bean lives up to its potential.

You can get anything from a Cuban espresso, to an Italian soda, to a smoothie. Create a bespoke breakfast sandwich or omelet, order the perfect acai bowl, or choose from their tastily diverse list of fresh pastries (blackberry and cream cheese turnover!).

Did I mention they make their own vanilla and lavender syrups, chocolate, and caramel sauces, and chocolate and vanilla whipped cream?

– bequestcoffee.com

Breakfast and brunch fare

Mukilteo

Mukilteo Speedway Café: This café has sister restaurant in Saw Mill Café in Mill Creek (see page 23), and they both have similar menus (consider their kielbasa and eggs, pulled-pork breakfast burrito, or a Popeye omelet). But the Speedway Café makes sure it is decidedly “Muk”

in its atmosphere.

It has more of a nautical theme. It’s homey, and hosts a wide variety of civic organizations, business breakfasts, and families looking to eat well together in their neighborhood.

– mukilteospeedway.cafesinc.com

Edmonds

Bistro 76: This restaurant is so pleasant inside, with a warm, homey setting and fantastic, friendly service. Each time means a wonderful breakfast.

Whether it is the lemon yogurt cake, banana donut (yum), house-made biscuits and gravy, or the remarkably delectable Cuban pork hash, you will be very happy diners. Their espresso bar provides the perfect accompaniment to brunch. You will leave satisfied and happy.

– bistro76kitchen.com

Pancake Haus: Don’t let the name fool you – the Pancake Haus menu is full of a wide range of breakfast favorites – steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy, pancakes or waffles, omelets, and more.

The descriptions of the dishes let you know exactly what is going to be on your plate and how it

22 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
Maria A. Montalvo photo Maria A. Montalvo photo

It’s no wonder that Waterfront Coffee Company has a devoted following – it was the first espresso bar in Edmonds, opening more than 25 years ago.

Now into their third year of providing delicious coffee, fresh treats, and super-friendly service, co-owners Greg Goss and Haley Goldie – who updated their shop with a warm and modern remodel – welcome new customers daily with their delicious formula.

The father-daughter duo and their team continue to brew delicious coffees using

Coffee, treats, and friendly service

• Featuring Mukilteo Roasters Coffee

• Delicious local artisan pastries

internationally-acclaimed Mukilteo Roasters

beans, tasty breakfast burritos, sandwiches, fresh pastries, Lopez Island Creamery ice cream, and other comfort food.

Dogs are welcome. So much so that your pooch could be featured on Waterfront’s VIP (Very Important Pup) wall. Regular customers can take advantage of a loyalty program – every 10 points is a free drink up to $6. There are new specials weekly and monthly.

Waterfront Coffee Company is at 101 Main St., Edmonds. Call ahead for even quicker service at 425-670-1400.

will be prepared. It is what it is, and it is good. The servings are generous, and whatever you are looking for, they will have it.

Everyone at the Pancake Haus seems content. The kind of content you feel when having a classic breakfast at a neighborhood restaurant that has been serving neighbors for more than 50 years.

– pancakehaus.com

Mill Creek

Saw Mill Café: The Saw Mill Café is closely associated with the word “yummy,” at least according to state Rep. April Berg of Mill Creek. She says it is the place for breakfast in her hometown.

The atmosphere and the menu demonstrate a commitment to homestyle cooking, with breakfast classics prepared just as you would hope. Eggs Benedict, so many hash variations, scrambles, and even migas nearly keep you from looking further down their amazing breakfast menu of waffles, pancakes, and four different kinds of French toast (mmm … almond crunch).

They buzz with happy customers throughout their breakfast hours, and the 1940s diner-feel has a distinctly local and community-oriented vibe.

– sawmill.cafesinc.com

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 23 Call (425) 670-1400 101 MAIN ST., EDMONDS, WA 98020 www.waterfrontcoffee.com
The baristas of Waterfront Coffee Co.

A twist on the classics

Edmonds

Fashion Dim Sum: Dim sum is believed to have inspired the whole idea of brunch, the combination of breakfast and lunch into one large midmorning meal. Whatever the history, dim sum is a brilliant way to dine, and Fashion Dim Sum makes it even better by demonstrating a commitment to quality and delicious food for each item.

They grind their own flour for their noodles, and the steam carts you usually see are absent here, with each dish made to order. There is nothing on the menu that is

not prepared with care, and you will leave wanting to schedule your next visit.

Be sure to leave room for one of their sweet Piggy Buns at the end of your brunch, with a lovely custard filling and their cute bun faces.

– fashiondimsum.com

Jaiiya Café: This is a truly unique and fantastic breakfast spot. From bagels and lox, avocado toast with a poached egg, or Turkish eggs, you will love their hearty fare, as well as their famous breakfast bowls.

They pay as much attention to detail in the preparation of their coffees, from perfectly prepared Frenchpress coffee to a delicious turmeric chai latte or a classic cappuccino.

Their menu features tasty options for everyone, from vegans and vegetarians, to those who want gluten-free options, and those who look for fresh and nutrient-rich ingredients in delicious food.

– Jaiiyacafe.com

We can all tell our doctors that we are taking good care of ourselves and making sure our breakfasts start our days off right, here in south Snohomish County. n

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is
Red Cup Café photo

There, his backing band was a music machine. Other times, he performs with his band, Graceland Station.

When he performs as the later Elvis, he wears a custom jumpsuit handmade by – this is true – Pro Elvis Jumpsuits in Nanaimo, British Columbia. (Elvis is big up north.)

“They do really good work. When I was first competing in the Elvis Invitational, my mom made my jumpsuit.”

The look, the image. It’s all part of any Elvis impersonator’s act, of course. You don’t want to see a bald Elvis. One with torn blue jeans. Or shorts. But while the thrust of any Elvis impersonator’s act requires a measure of schtick, what may be lost is the fact that Presley was an immensely talented performer who changed popular American music.

“People really connected with his music and the way he’d put his feelings and emotions into a song,” Schwertley said. “He was magnetic. But despite all the fame, most people would consider him a pretty humble person.”

Schwertley, like Elvis, is pretty humble, as well. Most who come in contact with him in his day job or at chamber meetings would have no idea of his “tribute” life. That life is a big part of his now, more than ever.

“We like to call ourselves Elvis trivia artists. I don’t know why people think that we don’t really know or care that much about Elvis, that we just like to get up there and get attention by singing. It all just comes naturally to me, because I’ve done it for a long time. The other stuff, like the costumes and the stage moves, those are really new to me by comparison, you know?” n

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LOCAL ELVIS from page 7
Joe Grube photo Top right : Rob Schwertley and his band perform at Taste Edmonds, August 2022. Above: Schwertley with other contestants from an Elvis Presley contest in British Columbia. Schwertley placed 1st. Rob Schwertly photo

The Great (retirement) Resignation

The numbers are staggering.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021 rose to 47.8 million – an increase of 33% from 2020, when 35.9 million hit the exits. The mass exodus of workers has been referred to as the Great Resignation, a term used to describe the record number of people who, partly as a result of the pandemic, took a hard look at their profes-

sional lives and decided they needed to make a change.

Matt Perrone, a financial planner at The Retirement Solution Inc. in Mill Creek, saw an influx of new clients directly attributable to COVID-19.

“Financial planners, us included, saw a ton of people who said, ‘This is making me reevaluate my life.’ There are headlines out there about the Great Resignation. It is real. It is happening.”

Paul Ellis, president of Ellis Wealth Management in Mukilteo, also was attuned to changes in some of his clients’ professional lives, though not

26 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
More people are deciding it’s time to retire. Financial advisers are ready to help
David Pan photo

all were entirely voluntary. “You’ll also find that many companies want to encourage people to leave the payroll sooner rather than later because they can hire someone younger for less money,” said Ellis, who has lived in Mukilteo for 16 years. Many of Ellis’ clients aren’t ready to quit working entirely, and instead are looking to take their experience and apply it elsewhere. Some start their own business or transition to a consultant role. “It’s not about when you retire as much as it is how you plan for the phases of your life,” Ellis said. “That really is the key.”

One of the most important decisions for those who decide to step away from the daily grind of work is when to cash in

on Social Security. The age you start collecting benefits affects how much your monthly check is.

The earliest people can start collecting Social Security is at age 62 (except for those with disabilities). The monthly benefit, however, is lower than what people receive if they wait until their full retirement age.

The age for full retirement benefits is either 66 or 67, depending on when you were born. People who delay collecting Social Security will see an increase in benefits until age 70. There is no incentive to delay filing after age 70. Perrone’s advice for those trying to decide when to take Social Security is not to make the decision in isolation.

“My answer is it depends on like 10 other things in your life,” said Perrone, a native of Texas who has been with The Retirement Solution for seven years. “Are you still going to be working? What are your assets that are available? What’s your life expectancy and your health? Are you married? What I tell people is that the most important thing is context. You can’t just read all these articles that say you should take it at 70 because you’ll get the most, or you should do it at 62 because you’ll get it now while you’re alive. Those are too general.”

Ellis agrees that there are no one-size-fits-all decisions on when to file for Social Security.

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 27
Financial planner Matt Perrone has worked for The Retirement Solution Inc. in Mill Creek for seven years. Paul Ellis, president of Ellis Wealth Management, has lived in Mukilteo for 16 years.
You’ll also find that many companies want to encourage people to leave the payroll sooner rather than later because they can hire someone younger for less money.
– Paul Ellis
David Pan photos

“The rule of thumb is the longer you can postpone it, the more money that you’ll purportedly get to receive,” Ellis said. “The sooner you take it, the less money you’re probably going to receive.”

But Ellis cautions people against wanting quick answers to complex questions and to be cautious of rules of thumb.

“Quick answers will probably be wrong answers most of the time,” he said. “A general rule of thumb is good for a general populace. But are you looking to be part of the general populace? Or do you want to live your life as you desire and what gives meaning to you? So, you can start with a rule of thumb, but it’s really important to do the planning.”

One of Perrone’s clients drew an analogy of Social Security with a Rubik’s Cube. “Imagine if you just solve one side of it,” he said. “Have you really done anything? That’s where good planning comes into play.”

Ellis and Perrone want to help their clients understand all facets of their personal financial puzzle. “That decision (on Social Security) comes after looking at the overall financial situation,” Ellis said. “What do they plan to do?”

Ellis also talks with his clients about their projected expenses in retirement. He reminds them they need to be aware that the economy is not simply straight-line math – a client has this much money, and divides it by X amount of years equals how much money a client will have each month.

“That works in a straight-line economy,” Ellis said. The economy has been anything but a straight line recently. In June, the inflation rate rose to 9.1%, the highest rate in four decades. Gas prices reached an all-time high, and food prices often draw gasps of surprise with their double-digit increase this summer.

“It’s important for people to understand what their costs are, what the projected costs are,” Ellis said. “What are the possibilities or probabilities based on where you are living? Living in New York City is probably a lot more expensive than living someplace in the Dakotas. I’m just saying where you choose to live – San Francisco, New York City – it’s going to have a different monthly outflow than some other locations.”

THE GREAT RETIREMENT on page 34

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School

The COVID pandemic presented many challenges to both students and the school counselors charged with helping them navigate a complex landscape of social expectations and academic pressures.

But it seems possible that the pandemic may also have offered opportunities.

Aside from the obvious issue of seeing students in-person during the initial two years of the pandemic, when many schools had to close their doors and switch the focus to virtual meetings and counseling sessions, many students found themselves lacking the chance to develop the integral social and mental skills to fully embrace their school careers.

students needed to be successful in their school journey.

“The lack of social experiences growing as an adolescent was so significant,” said Sinex. “They weren’t able to take baby steps and develop these skills.”

But Sinex believes that, despite the challenges of virtual meetings and the anxiety inherent in the very nature of the pandemic itself, there were some positives that grew out of the experience.

School Counselors

“Trying to get connected was really challenging, like trying to build the plane while you are flying,” said Allie Sinex, a college and guidance counselor at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett.

“We knew our students needed support and needed to be cared for, but that was really hard to do through Zoom.”

Sinex and Vice Principal John Matusak at AMHS discovered that it was going to be hard to provide both the academic support as well as the basic social and emotional skills that

“One of the positives coming out of COVID is that kids have been more open to help,” Sinex said. “They’ve been willing to engage in the process of help and support.”

Matusak agrees with Sinex, and believes that some of the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly anxiety and depression-related issues, has been removed because of the pandemic for both students and parents.

“Both as a parent and an administrator, I don’t think we really understand the full impact of the COVID dilemma on our students yet,” Matusak said. “It was really impactful to students, but also faculty and staff working with kids. It was really challenging.”

Matusak even began bringing his dog, Bubba, to school last year to help students feel more comfortable and to help them feel connected and encouraged to speak with counseling staff about their concerns.

Caring
Counselor Kind Ask Helpful Career College Academics Collaboration Relationships Teachers Compassion Students Resource Discuss Classroom Support Behavior Listen Encourage Honesty Believe Intervention Empower Positive Advocate Confidental Parents Problem-Solve Smile Reinforcement Plan Group Individual Tools
Differences
THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 29
COVID left its mark, but opportunities
students
counselors speak out
remain for

Triage

Counselors throughout the area found themselves in a position of providing triage for a wide range of both academic and emotional issues that came to the forefront during the pandemic.

Bryan Stelling is a career and college readiness counselor at Kamiak High School in the Mukilteo School District. He found that the virtual aspect of the school experience during the pandemic was both a negative but, ultimately, also may have led to some positive results in helping students.

“A lot more kids were experiencing general anxiety and depression (during the pandemic),” Stelling said. “They weren’t adapting well to the online experience.”

Among Stelling’s concerns, and many other counselors, was the lack of opportunity for students to develop and hone their social connections while only able to use virtual communications.

“Kids are more immature. It took a lot to get back to the expectations of school,” Stelling said. “The in-class expectations are higher than the virtual ones, and some kids are two years behind socially, especially the younger kids.”

Stelling acknowledges the pandemic brought with it heightened anxiety, although issues surrounding aca-

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Kamiak High School counselor Bryan Stelling: “Coming back to school, kids are doing better socially and emotionally.” Brian Soergel photo

demic performance and social expectations have always been a part of what counselors help identify and address.

“More students are dealing with anxiety,” he said. “I don’t see that it’s changed now, but it is a bigger focus.”

Another challenge came from reaching students who lacked the appropriate equipment or data access necessary to fully embrace the academic challenges of school during the pandemic. But Mukilteo, like many local school districts, found ways to overcome this problem by providing computers and streamlining programs to allow better digital access even after the initial wave of COVID.

“People are starting to use technology more, and the resources are more readily available,” Stelling said. “But coming back to school, kids are doing better socially and emotionally. A lot of students didn’t have the skills, the social skills learned at school.”

Alex Costumbrado is a counselor at Edmonds-Woodway High School in the Edmonds School District. He also cited the pandemic experience as a big adjustment for both students and staff.

“No doubt the mental health aspect is really important,” Costumbrado said. “The idea of providing emotional grounding for kids to seek help when they need to is critical. We need

THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 31
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Archbishop Murphy High School Vice Principal John Matusak with his emotional support dog, Bubba, who comes to school with him to help students, and Allie Sinex, a college and guidance counselor. Neely Stratton photo

to continue being proactive in addressing the mental health aspects.”

However, Costumbrado is also finding other lessons that the pandemic helped teach the students who come to see him, and the virtual learning they had to engage with during the pandemic.

“It really empowered students to under-

stand the importance of academic ownership,” he said. “They had to really take responsibility for themselves during the pandemic.”

Costumbrado mentioned that over the next three years, the Edmonds School District will be adding more counselors to the staff at various schools and reducing caseloads that have increased since the beginning of the pandemic.

32 THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022
Edmonds-Woodway
High School counselor
Alex Costumbrado:
“No doubt the mental health aspect is really important. The idea of providing emotional grounding for kids to seek help when they need to is critical.”
Brian Soergel photo

Among other changes, social workers have been added to the staff to help address a wider range of issues than school counselors alone can handle. He has found that the need for counseling has increased and that school resources regarding counseling need to be accessible in the classrooms.

“We are pushing into classrooms to help with access and explain mental health issues,” he said. “We need to keep helping students. What is that, and what does that look like?”

The Edmonds School District is not alone in planning to provide additional resources for schools in addressing the variety of counseling and academic needs.

Matusak, from Archbishop Murphy, said the school has hired a fourth counselor to help with their 450 students and provide more one-to-one counseling in all aspects, including academic, social, emotional, and college and career planning.

Stelling, from Kamiak High School, mentioned the creation of a Student Advocate Team to help address student needs more comprehensively, as well as addressing changes to the grading process to allow more flexibility in establishing a grade-point average.

“We are giving grace to kids because of online learning,” he said. “A lot of kids just weren’t engaged.”

Outside the classroom

One of the other positive outcomes of the pandemic has been a resurgence of students engaging in extracurricular activities and taking advantage of the social opportunities that schools are in a unique position to provide.

Stelling said pre-pandemic schools were struggling to get students interested and engaged in extracurricular activities, but now they are more eager to join clubs, activities, or athletic teams – and forge those social connections.

“It’s a real positive,” he said. “A lot of kids are engaging more now.”

Sinex, from Archbishop Murphy, has noticed the same phenomenon with students there.

“They (students) want to be involved, a piece related to the pandemic,” said Sinex. “Kids are turning out for extracurriculars in increased numbers. Kids want to be involved; they want to be connected.”

Although the pandemic brought many challenges to students and counseling staff at local schools, it helped increase awareness about mental health issues, as well as providing new tools through technology and developing more robust school resources to address student needs academically, socially, and emotionally.

“We are headed in the right direction,” Sinex said. “A lot of excitement surrounds this school year.” n

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Another piece to the retirement puzzle

It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but most people’s health care is tied to their jobs.

Those who are age 65 or older are eligible for Medicare.

But for those people wanting to retire earlier than 65, health insurance often is seen as a major obstacle. “That’s the number one reason people don’t retire – health insurance,” Perrone said. “And to me, that’s a bit of a bummer. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Ellis sees pre-Medicare health care as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. Clients will have to self-fund or purchase private health insurance. “If someone wants to retire at age 52 or 55 and they’re not eligible for Medicare, I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” Ellis said. “Let’s take a look at what your self-funding opportunities are.

“You might be able to design something much, much better than what a group of people in Washington, D.C., who by the way are not on the same system, are deciding to roll out to others.”

Perrone said that in addition to the health exchanges (medical insurance market), often the easiest path for continued health insurance is COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), which allows people to keep their existing employer-based coverage for at least 18 months. Under COBRA, people pay the entire premium, including the

former employer’s share. “It’s expensive. But it’s expensive because you get to keep your plan that you already know,” Perrone said. “But what I always tell people is that it’s a temporary expense.”

Another option is health share programs, which resemble cooperatives. These are not insurance companies, Perrone said. They are typically faith- or moral-based groups who voluntarily share the cost of each other’s health care. These programs typically are less expensive than plans through the health care exchanges.

Perrone added that some clients decide to go without health insurance, or simply self-insure. They may look back at the last 10 years of their good health and decide it’s a reasonable bet that they won’t face a catastrophic event for a couple of years.

Options, options, and more options

If early retirees think pre-Medicare health insurance is complicated, they better get ready for the complexities of

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THE GREAT RETIREMENT from page 28
That’s the number one reason people don’t retire –health insurance.
– Matt Perrone

Chef Navi's Butternut Squash Risotto

Chef Navi's Butternut Squash Risotto

FFall is harverst time, and squash is one of the most popular foods harvested. With its exquisite colors, this magnificient risotto is the perfect recipe to jazz up your autumn dinners and tantilize the taste buds.

Ingredients

Serves 4

• Arborio rice: 1 cup

• 1 lb. butternut squash

• 1 med diced onion, quartered

• 6 cups chicken stock

• 4 oz of parmesan cheese

• Salt and pepper

• 1/4 lb. butter

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/2 cup heavy cream

• 1 cup white wine

Preparing butternut squash

• Dice butternut squash 1-inch cubes and toss with oil

• Add salt and pepper

• Oven roast for 15 minutes at 350 degrees

• Once butternut squash is roasted pull out of oven and set aside to cool

Preparing the risotto

• Put pan on stove and turn on medium heat. Add butter

• Add garlic, cook until it releases the fragrance

• Then add onions, cook until translucent

• Add measured arborio rice

• Keep stirring pan until the rice is nice and toasted (2-3 minutes)

• Add 1 cup white wine

• Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for 3-4 minutes

• Add your chicken stock, 1 cup at a time

• Do not add more rice until chicken stock has absorbed

• Make sure rice is fully cooked

• Add salt and pepper to taste

• Fold in parmesan cheese

• Fold in butternut squash

• Serve

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to Taste

Medicare, often described as federal health insurance for people 65 or older.

The first decision people make when signing up for Medicare is whether to enroll in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Original Medicare includes Part A (hospital care) and Part B (doctor and outpatient care).

Those wanting drug coverage can add a separate drug part – Part D, and a Medicap policy (Medicare supplement). Medicare Advantage is a government-approved plan from private companies that bundle Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. These plans may offer additional benefits that Original Medicare does not, such as vision, dental, and hearing services.

Whether people select Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, they face what many see as an overwhelming number of options in both programs.

Most people have been on an employee health plan for most of their working lives, and their employers have done the job of sorting through the hundreds of options to provide the employee a limited number of options, said John Russell, a volunteer for the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a division of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

SHIBA offers free, unbiased assistance with Medicare through its Welcome to Medicare online seminars and personal appointments. SHIBA has a partnership with the Edmonds Waterfront Center, which previously used to host in-person events.

Those were discontinued due to COVID-19 restrictions. Volunteers receive extensive training on Medicare and the associated software program that sorts through the myriad of options.

“People tend to be shocked to find out how complicated Medicare is,” said Russell, a retired registered nurse who spent 42 years in the field and has a master’s degree in health administration. “With Medicare, they suddenly have 23 drug plans or eight different types of supplemental plans from 26 different companies. It’s just overwhelming.

“It is unusually complicated because there are so many options. Americans like choices and, boy, do they get it with Medicare. Be careful what you wish for.”

The consequences of selecting the wrong drug plan could mean thousands of dollars of additional expenses in a year, Russell added.

The Welcome to Medicare seminars are designed to give participants a big-picture view of Medicare. Those people with more specific questions about their personal circumstances can make an appointment with a volunteer.

“We can address issues specific to a certain individual or family member,” Russell said. “One of the things different about SHIBA that’s really important is that we can provide unbiased advice. We are not selling anything. We’re not getting any commissions for signing up for

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The Maids Northwest

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425-610-4931

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Aranka Fruehauf Windermere Real Estate North, Inc. Mukilteo, WA 98275 425-478-7270

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425-776-3600

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Harbour Pointe Senior Living 10200 Harbour Place Mukilteo, WA 98275

425-493-8555

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425-218-6318 or 1-877-668-0866

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THE BEACON MAGAZINE – FALL/WINTER 2022 37

something. We don’t have biases one way or the other.”

SHIBA also offers services to those already enrolled in Medicare. “If they suspect fraud, they can call us and we can help them,” said Kari Graves, SHIBA customer service specialist. “There are different situations, like urgent situations. Someone has to have surgery and they just moved here from Florida. They have to have emergency surgery. They can call us.”

Another resource offered by the Edmonds Waterfront Center is its Aging Mastery Program workshops. The program covers topics such as exercise, nutrition, finances, advanced care planning, community engagement, and healthy relationships.

A new phase of life

Retirement is not simply about numbers and charts.

Ellis and Perrone sometimes take off their financial planning hats and assume something like a life-coach role.

Most of Ellis’ clients are family-oriented professionals, who prefer to delegate, but also know how to make decisions.

“They don’t want to be calling at five o’clock in the morning or six o’clock in the morning making day-trading decisions,” Ellis said. “They really want to be focused on planning for the family, their career, and then their involvement in the community.”

Some people experience anxiety as retirement approaches and Perrone tries to help them ease into the next phase of their lives.

To start out, Perrone typically encourages clients to take the longest vacation they have ever taken. Most people have previously only taken a one- or two-week vacation.

“Why don’t you go on a four-week vacation?” Perrone asks. “They say, 'What? That’s going to cost a lot of money.’ I say, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll help you with that part. But just go do it.’ It tells your brain that you’re in a new phase of life. What I find is that people need permission to retire.”

A quote attributed to Confucius – “We have two lives, and the second one begins when we realize we only have one”–sums up Ellis’ view on retirement

“That’s why I suggest people invest in what they love,” he said. “Most people are interested in their family, their community, and their career. We can take nothing from this world with us, materially. The legacy that we leave behind is everything. Most of my clients look at their wealth as tools –tools for family, tools for society, and community. And they recognize they’re not taking any of it with them.

“You can react to life or you can be proactive. We can’t always be in charge of what comes our way. We are in charge of how we deal with it and how we navigate it.” n

– Resources: The Retirement Solution, Inc. (theretirementsolution.com)

– Ellis Wealth Management (elliswealthmanagement.net)

– SHIBA (insurance.wa.gov/statewide-health-insurancebenefits-advisors-shiba) or (bit.ly/3CczfQZ)

– Edmonds Waterfront Center (edmondswaterfrontcenter.org)

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