Archive for Dave Haviland

Editorial: Greater Grays Harbor Inc. supports “Yes” vote for Public Hospital District #2

Greater Grays Harbor Inc.

If Grays Harbor Community Hospital does not become a public hospital, our economic health will be in jeopardy. That is why the board of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. has voted to support the formation of Grays Harbor Public Hospital District #2.

Community Hospital has struggled the past few years to balance its budget, and the primary reason it has been unable to do so is because of its “payer mix.” Today, about 80 percent of its patients rely on Medicaid or Medicare to pay for their healthcare. Unfortunately the government does not pay enough to cover the costs the hospital incurs just caring for those patients. Eight out of ten times when a patient walks in the door, the hospital is losing money just by doing what they are mandated by law to do.

In the times of economic prosperity, most of the hospital’s patients are employed and have health insurance, and they subsidized everybody else – a fact of life still at most hospitals in the U.S. And the hospital has been cutting costs. But there is no fat left to trim. And the hospital cannot expect two patients to carry their own costs and a portion of those of eight others – it is deeply unfair and fundamentally unsustainable. The hospital needs to be paid a fairer price for what it provides to all of its patients.

GHCH, along with three other rural community hospitals in much the same position, asked this fiscal fairness of the state legislature this past session, and the legislature agreed to increase the reimbursements for Medicaid patients to match the higher reimbursement rates of Medicare patients. However, the law mandates that the hospital must be owned and operated by a public entity – a hospital district.

There are benefits to being public besides recouping a greater portion of Medicaid costs. The hospital will be able to run levies to support its operations. Elected hospital commissioners will set the rate, and county commissioners are in charge of approving anything up to $0.50; anything above that to a maximum of $0.75 goes to a public vote. The average public hospital levy is $0.50, which means $4.17 for someone who owns a $100,000 home, a very small price to pay for the service (Aberdeen residents pay $6.69 per month for storm drain maintenance, for example.) Elected officials and levy votes will make GHCH accountable to the people.

Another effect of the levy process is that those patients who are costing the hospital are chipping in to pay for the cost of the services through rent and property taxes, which makes it more equitable. And no one in Grays Harbor can say they don’t use the hospital – you never know when you, or someone you care about, will need their services. It’s not like a store or a bank.

It is also worth dwelling on what will happen if the public district does not come to pass. Unfortunately, that is a murkier view. It is very likely that many of the hospital’s more than 650, mainly family-wage jobs will be lost and services cut. This alone would be devastating to local businesses, and property values would surely plunge as former medical staff move to jobs elsewhere while others are dissuaded from living in an area which does not have a full suite of medical services.

And forget persuading new industry to set up shop here. Few industrial businesses, and no large scale operations, want to open in an area where the only hospital is a critical access facility that stabilizes and ships emergencies to Olympia. Our area’s dependence on Medicaid would continue and possibly grow, further limiting the hospital.

And think about the medical transport by ambulances – it will tie up our cities’ emergency services. They will be responsible for taking emergency cases from here to Olympia – valuable time where they may be needed for emergency calls here, and a valuable chunk of our communities’ budgets.

None of this addresses what it means if, say, the Family Birthing Center closes up shop – a definite possibility. Will you or your family member need to go all the way in Olympia for routine OB care, never mind the birth? The hospital will certainly provide a lot less primary care to patients, and possibly a great deal less surgery. We have doctors who can do all manner of surgeries, from replacing knees and hips to reconstructive surgery, to cancer surgery. The Harbor stands to lose those services if the hospital district isn’t formed.

A levy is truly a small price to pay for stability, economic development, public safety and accountability. And it’s cheaper than the cost of appointments in Olympia, on the cost to the cities of transporting emergency cases to Olympia.

That is why we support the formation of the Gray Harbor Public Hospital District No. 2, and we urge you to vote Yes.

Signed,

The Board of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.

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National Night Out block parties adding up in Hoquiam

National Night Out 2014

The Hoquiam Police Department is proud to sponsor 2014 National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 in Hoquiam.

National Night Out is an informal, community based event held all across the country on August 5th.  The idea is for neighbors to get together at a block party so they can visit and get to know each other better.  Neighbors who know each other tend to look out for each other.  Strong neighborhoods make for safe communities.

At this time, Hoquiam has seven scheduled block parties:

o Elk’s Lodge at 624 K Street
o Channel Point Village
o 914 Maple Street
o 408 J Street
o 1420 Marion Street
o 2641 Pacific Avenue
o 330 Eklund Avenue

But, it is not too late!  All hosted block parties will receive give-away items from the police department as well as a visit from police, fire and city officials during the night.  If you want to host a BLOCK PARTY in Hoquiam, please sign up with Tracy Wood at 538-3970 or [email protected].

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Greater Grays Harbor Inc. selects Andre “Dru” Garson as new CEO

Greater Grays Harbor Inc.

Andre “Dru” Garson was offered and has accepted the position of CEO of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.

In addition to being a Development Specialist with the Alaska Department of Commerce and Community Economic Development in Juneau, Garson has worked with disadvantaged regions of Alaska to develop and establish economic development and tourism programs. Garson has his master’s degree in resource recreation and tourism, and has worked in many regions of Alaska to develop tourism and workforce development with focus on key industry clusters in that state.

According to Board Chair Mike O’Dell, Garson’s qualifications aligned well with the projects that the board has established in their strategic planning for the organization.

“We are excited about the assets Dru will bring to the community, and believe he is well qualified to not only complete community projects that are in process, but also to establish new directions and relationships essential to the success of GGHI,” O’Dell said.

Garson, who is finishing a project for the state of Alaska, will be starting as CEO of GGHI in September, and is looking forward to being here.

“There are a lot of similarities between the economy of Grays Harbor and many communities that I’ve worked with throughout Southeast Alaska,” he said. “I’m excited about moving to Grays Harbor and look forward to meeting and working with the local business community.”

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Joan Brewster and Dennis Morrisette – proposed Public Hospital District #2

(Our apologies for the long load times, please be patient.)

 

Part 1

Part 2

(Our apologies for the long load times, please be patient.)

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a debate tonight (Wednesday, July 23rd) on the formation of a second public hospital district at the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen. It starts at 6, but video statements from commissioner candidates of the proposed district’s board will begin at 5:30. The meeting, and statements will also be airing on Eagle TV and North Beach TV.

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McCleary man arrested after stealing motorbike in front of deputy

Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department

A 46 year old McCleary man was arrested overnight, after running from deputies, stealing a mini bike in front of one, leading them on a brief chase before he was caught in an East county yard. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us last night at approximately 7:00 pm, a deputy observed two men in a heated argument and preparing to fight in the 400 block of West Simpson Avenue in McCleary. As the deputy approached, one of the males, who was not wearing a shirt, fled on a bicycle. The deputy made contact with the other male and determined that no assault had taken place. The man advised he just did not like the other person and wanted him off his property. The man gave the deputy a name for the subject who fled however there was no computer record found.
Approximately 40 minutes later, a citizen called to report the person who fled from the deputy earlier was seen in the 800 block of Elma McCleary Road. In an attempt to identify this person, McCleary PD and the deputy checked the area and again found the shirtless man however he immediately fled into a nearby wooded area. The officers did not give chase as they still did not have a crime. Shortly thereafter, Deputy Gay with his K-9 partner Max, had arrived in the area and observed the same shirtless man standing next to another male on Elma Hicklin Road just west of Church Road. The other male was holding onto a mini-bike. Once the shirtless man saw Deputy Gay, he grabbed at the mini-bike and fought briefly with the other male, eventually pushing him down and fleeing on the mini-bike. Deputy Gay pursued the mini-bike at speeds between 30-40 mph. The suspect then headed east in the westbound lane of Elma Hicklin Road before dumping the bike in a yard near the 800 block on Elma Hicklin Road. At this time, the other deputy along with two McCleary officers had arrived on scene. Deputy Gay with his K-9 partner Max chased the suspect around the residence. The suspect circled the home and then attempted to get back on the mini-bike. The suspect was contacted by the officers however continued to resist arrest. He was eventually taken into custody.
The man was a 46 year old McCleary resident who had a number of outstanding felony warrants. He was booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail on the warrants, Robbery 2nd for forcibly stealing the mini-bike for the owner, as well as Eluding, Resisting Arrest, and driving on a suspended license.

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Washington State DOT funds available for freight rail projects

Washington Rail Map

The Washington State Department of Transportation is accepting applications to receive state funding for freight rail projects in Washington that create family-wage jobs and demonstrate the economic and environmental advantages of freight rail.

Railroads, port districts, rail districts, private companies and local governments are eligible to apply for part of nearly $8 million in project grants and loans available through two state programs – the Freight Rail Assistance Program and the Freight Rail Investment Bank.

Selected projects will improve freight mobility, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help ease congestion on busy highways, reduce wear and tear on state roads and strengthen the state’s economy through domestic and international trade.

Applications and additional information are available at www.wsdot.wa.gov/Freight/Rail/GrantandLoanPrograms. Applications are due August 29.

 

Washington State Department of Transportation’s call for projects for the Freight Rail Assistance Program and Freight Rail Investment Bank is now open. Applications are due by 5pm on August 29, 2014.

For additional information, answers to frequently asked question and application requirements, please see the 2015-2017 biennium project application packets below:

Freight Rail Assistance Program application packet (pdf 311 kb)
Freight Rail Investment Bank application packet (pdf 311 kb)

Additional questions about this call for projects can be directed to:
Chris Herman, Freight Rail Policy & Program Manager
360-705-6921

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Proposed Hospital District #2 meeting tonight in Aberdeen, and later tonight in Brady

Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Summit Pacific Medical Center administrators

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a debate tonight on the formation of a second public hospital district at the Rotary Log Pavillion in Aberdeen. It starts at 6, but video statements from commissioner candidates of the proposed district’s board will begin at 5:30.

News Director for Jodesha Broadcasting Dave Haviland will be moderating, and on the proponents side we’ll have Dr. Ed Brewster president of Grays Harbor College, Lisa Smith with Imperium Renewables, Patrick Wadsworth from the GH Democrats and Dr. Anna Marie Wong. On the opponent-side we’ll have Aberdeen councilman Alan Richrod, Local Republican Jim Walsh, Claudia Woodward -Rice, and John Farra.

Hospital Administrators will be on hand to answer questions until around 6:30 when a couple will head out to a second meeting hosted by Fire District #2 on the topic that is being held at Station 32 in Brady tonight at 7.

The hospital district, and it’s board members, are on the primary election ballots – which you should have received by now, with votes being tallied on Aug. 5th.

The Vote

The Grays Harbor County Elections Department reports that the Commissioners on your ballot with the most votes from their district will become the new district’s Commissioners for the next 6 years. There will be no vote to determine commissioners in the November General election – regardless of the number of candidates in the district.

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