U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen visited a few of the 535 businesses in San Juan County that benefited from the bipartisan CARES ACT on August 12, 2020.
Larsen holds samples of some of the ultrathin foil filters produced by Luxel. The graphic on the wall shows the different results obtained by using different filters on telescopes studying the sun.
In March, 2020 Larsen voted for the CARES Act that included the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses retain employees and stay in business. According to the Small Business Administration, PPP loans have helped more than 8,500 small businesses in the Second District, and saved more than 60,000 jobs during the pandemic.
Larsen visited Pelindaba Lavender Farms, The Whale Museum, and Luxel.
Luxel owner Travis Ayers explained that the company - which was started by Gordon Steele - produces items used in the fields of space flight, semi-conductors and brain research. Harvard and the Allen Institute are leading the brain research project. Read more about the space flight projects - including Solar Orbiter (SolO) - that Luxel is part of on their website.
Ayers showed Larsen some of the ultra thin foil filters produced by Luxel.
View of Zylstra Lake on San Juan Island
Larsen also met with San Juan County Land Bank staff at Zylstra Lake. Eliza explained the organization’s “Moveable Feast” conservation project. The Land Bank is using a $47,000 grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on its project to create habitat for the Island Marble Butterfly. xThe grant enables the Land Bank to set up an experimental habitat creation project at three of its preserves over the course of the next three years. Currently the only population of Island Marble Butterfly lives at American Camp on San Juan Island.
Habeggar shows Larsen one of the 25 squares at Zylstra Lake where grass is being smothered so field mustard can be planted.
Land Bank Executive Director Lincoln Bormann gave Larsen a short tour of the area near one of the two small dams on the Zylstra property. The Land Bank is extending the time period the interim management plan will be in effect by two years. Public comment on the draft is due August 21. The organization received a million dollar grant for providing habitat for wild ducks and birds.
Larsen and Bormann look toward the second lake on the Zylstra preserve. Sharon Kivisto photos