4/1/2020 4:46:00 PM Mary Stroebel staying home from grocery job
Spending their $1,200 once it comes
By Ken Stern
Are you ready for your check – or direct deposit – from the federal government, your part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last week?
How much and who gets a check: $1,200 for those making $75,000 or less; down to $50 for $98,000 in income. The amount doubles for couples. Kids under 17 bring in $500 each.
Nothing for those making $99,000 or more. Some 150 million households, of the 330 million citizens, will get a check.
How will you spend it? Alan and Dominique Darcy will pay the rent and buy groceries. Mike Carlisle and Nancy Crowell are putting it toward their mortgage.
Tim Hyatt and Nicolette Harrington will pay their property taxes.
Dan O’Donnell is sending it to his daughter in Bellingham.
Cindy and David Tracey will visit their grandchildren.
Bob Raymond is saving his money.
Mathew and Bailey Wend will pay off medical bills and then support local business.
Connie and Larry Moore will also help shop owners. Connie writes “the best we can do right now is to support the restaurants that are still open for carryout.”
Ollie Iversen will also “spend to help our businesses become vibrant again, here and everywhere. So with that, I guess I’ll just spend it to give it back.”
The local newspaper publisher will cover some 20% of the mold remediation bill for mold removed from under his building.
A person asking to be anonymous will support friends or those “who would most benefit. I am lucky. I want those funds to land into the hands of people who could really use them and use them to make ends meet. Another option is a donation to help the parts of our planet who can’t vote, speak for themselves as to their survival.”
Comments offered: Darcy: “$1,200 is really not a lot when you think of the needs of two people. I keep telling people ‘we are truly in unchartered waters now, and there is no one at the helm!’”
Iversen: “These are times I hope I never see again and maybe we can all learn something from this, such as we need each other and that is what has been taken from us, togetherness.”
Cindy Tracey: “First I was so sad and heartbroken, that so many people were dying, Alone! I cried for a day! Then I was pissed that if leadership had taken this seriously in January and shut down the whole country and caught cases before it spread, we would not be in this fix!”
Hyatt: “If you’ve got to stay in place during a lockdown, La Conner is a great place to do it.”
If folks could travel, they would go: Some place warm and sunny. Shetland Islands. Spain.
Mathew Wend: “Germany to see my sister who lives abroad.”
The Moores: “That money would go a long way to buying some authentic Shetland sweaters, and a few drinks of Scotch and Irish Whiskey in the countries where they originated!”
Iversen would head for “Italy as it was several months/centuries ago as she is beautiful and will need the dollar volume after this crisis.”
The best estimate is that automatic deposits will arrive by the end of April and checks will be mailed in May.
Most everyone is abiding by Gov. Jay Inslee’s “stay home, stay healthy” order.
None more so than Mary Stroebel.
The beloved longtime Pioneer Market cashier, a fixture at the local store since hiring on with then-owners Lois Coonc and Pam Johnson more than three decades ago, is taking a hiatus from work due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
She has gone home – for the time being.
“I’m 73,” she told the Weekly News in a telephone interview, “and I don’t want to catch it (the coronavirus) or give it to someone.” It was a tough decision.
“Mom decided it would be best for her to no longer work (at this time) because of COVID-19,” said daughter Jaime Stroebel-Reinstra, the youngest of Mary’s and husband Clint’s three children.
Few, then, are as eager as Mary Stroebel for the coronavirus to run its course. She is hoping to return to Pioneer Market at least a couple days a week once the virus crisis is over.
“I do miss it already,” she said.
Just as Stroebel is missed.
“Jaime put up a post about Mary not working,” Clint Stroebel said, “and right away there were over 80 comments.”
The heartfelt responses came from near and far, shared by a mix of friends, Pioneer Market customers, co-workers, and former colleagues who have always appreciated her quick wit, easy laugh, and caring nature.
Not to mention her free counseling sessions.
“Mary is a total class act,” said Tim Dunlap, a La Conner native now living in the Philippines. “I’ve been missing her for years.”
Washington State Rep. Debra Lekanoff recalled how Stroebel helped her set down roots here when she first moved to the La Conner area. “Seventeen years ago when I came to Swinomish,” said Lekanoff, “Mary was and continues to be one of the kindest people. She reminded this lost Alaska girl that I could find a place to call home in the Skagit Valley.”
Others variously described Stroebel as a “La Conner institution,” an “icon,” a “second mom,” and “sweet soul.”
The adoration flows two ways.
“I’ve worked with and for so many great people,” Stroebel said, “and I’m really grateful to all the people in La Conner. They’ve been amazing.”
Stroebel has shown her appreciation on several levels over the years. The examples are endless.
For instance, when Chip and Lysa Sherman’s son Caleb was a baby, Stroebel would place him in a basket on her counter and keep watch while the couple shopped.
Once, when La Conner was hit with a driving rainstorm that clogged the store’s gutters, it was Stroebel who braved the nasty weather and slippery footing to climb atop the roof to clear them.
On yet another occasion, she was faced with what at first appeared to be a dire situation.
“Somebody came into the store and said you’ve got a body lying by the store,” Stroebel recalled. “It was face down so I couldn’t see who it was. I just knew I didn’t want to touch it.”
She tried yelling, hoping the person was merely passed out. Despite her best efforts, there was no response.
Stroebel then went inside the store to call the fire department and EMTs. But when they pulled into the store parking lot, the body was gone. The incident remains a mystery to this day.
Less mysterious is Stroebel’s lofty standing in the community.
“She’s the last original Pioneer Market worker,” Stroebel-Reinstra said of her mom. “She started serving our community over 36 years ago. She’s the cashier everyone knows and loves.”