Two stories of local folks helping you | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 10/3/22

There are many leaders dedicated to improving the lives of people here. Two of them are Scott Mauk and Bret Black. 

Scott is the superintendent of the Chimacum School District, and leads the …

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Two stories of local folks helping you | Life in Ludlow


There are many leaders dedicated to improving the lives of people here. Two of them are Scott Mauk and Bret Black. 

Scott is the superintendent of the Chimacum School District, and leads the community’s goal to inform, grow, and protect the young people in the area. In a presentation he gave last week at Rotary, he discussed the district’s purpose being, “To be a caring community for courageous learners.” 

He then proposed the promise that in the district, “Every student is known by name, strength, and need, and is inspired to learn, dream, and become.” 

He provided an abundance of information about the community served by the district leading me to a greater appreciation of their, and thus our community’s, challenges.  

The enrollment in the Chimacum School District has steadily eroded over the past 10 years and the community’s population of 5- to 17-year-old children has gone from 16 percent of the population down to 8 percent.

Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note that this year the district saw a small and unexpected increase to 720 students. 

Scott also noted that the 14 percent poverty rate of the community is almost 50 percent higher than the poverty rate of the state. This is surprising to me given the higher education level of the residents compared to the state as well as the number of veterans living here. (More than 18 percent of the people living here are veterans versus the state’s 9 percent.) 

I suspect it is not new news to you that the almost 60 years average age of the folks in Jefferson County is the highest in the state where the average is almost 38.  

Scott clearly understands the environment and takes pride in the strides the district has made in serving the community. He enjoys being able to operate effectively in this smaller district and thus being able to interact with the staff, students, and parents on a more personal level. One needs to applaud a promise to, “know every student’s name, etc.” and then understand how to get that done given the challenges. 

Scott, the staff, the students, and the parents need to be recognized and supported for their exemplary efforts and accomplishments. 

Bret Black is the fire chief for East Jefferson Fire Rescue, EJFR. He came to the job with a wealth of experience, mostly in the San Francisco bay area. I need to note that his experience includes being on the fire department of George Lucas’ Sky Walker Ranch in Marin County, California. (May the power be with him!) 

We talked extensively about his current responsibilities while noting that this year is the 150th anniversary of the fire service in Jefferson County. EJFR is inviting everyone to join them in a celebration at the Port Townsend City Hall on Oct. 8 as they mark this anniversary with exhibits and competitions unique to the local fire service. It sounds like even the oldest bell tower in the USA above downtown Port Townsend will be involved. Have you climbed those steps from downtown to uptown lately? 

Within the past year Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue signed an interlocal agreement with EJFR to obtain management services from EJFR. This means that Chief Black oversees nine fire stations including both agencies with a vote coming in Port Ludlow authorizing the merger of the two agencies. This would formalize the way Port Ludlow and EJFR are currently operating which I think I can describe as being functionally merged. 

The fire departments manage responses to 911 calls that are categorized as either Basic Life Support (BLS), or Advanced Life Support (ALS). BLS requires an Emergency Medical Technician, an EMT, while an ALS call where there is the potential for eminent death requires more support in the form of a paramedic.

Last year EJFR had 5,000 BLS and ALS calls, an 8 percent increase, while Port Ludlow had 1,000 calls, an 18 percent increase.

Unfortunately, about 30 percent of the 911 calls get stacked which means there are multiple calls requiring response at the same time. In this environment, the need for mutual support from other fire agencies is critical. There are five local fire districts, (EJFR, PLFR, Brinnon, Quilcene, and Discovery Bay), and the Navy fire service who cooperate providing the needed help.   

The challenges the chief sees include the need for additional firefighters to provide the services required in a rural area with a population aging gracefully. Well, maybe not so gracefully as we would like!

These two men provide leadership in two critical areas of the lives of this county, growing responsible young people and protecting all the people from harm. They, and the folks working with them, are doing great service to our community as they meet their responsibilities. 

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week. 

(Ned Luce is a retired IBM executive and Port Ludlow resident.)