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Three vehicle accident North of Hoquiam sends Four to hospital

Washington State Patrol

A three vehicle accident North of Hoquiam yesterday sent four people to the hospital and blocked the road for hours. The Washington State Patrol reports a 38 year old Hoquiam man was Southbound on State Route 109 when his 94 Chevy Suburban crossed the center line and collided with two Northbound vehicles around 4:30 Thursday. Three 58-year-old Tonasket women in a 2005 Ford Escape were injured. An Italian couple in a 2014 Hyundai Sonata were also involved, but not injured.
All four were transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen with undisclosed injuries. The driver of the Suburban was cited for Negligent Driving in the 2nd Degree.

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Washington’s Clean Boating Program wins $1.5 Million federal grant for waste pumpouts

Pumpout Washington is a project of Washington Sea Grant, in partnership with the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a $1.5 million grant to the Washington State Parks Department’s Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program, which works in partnership with Washington Sea Grant to help marinas install and operate septic pumpout stations, educate marina owners and boaters about the importance of clean water and proper onboard sewage disposal, and distribute free adapter kits that make pumping easier and cleaner. The grant is one in a $16.1 million package awarded competitively to 21 states’ CVA programs. Washington, which has one of most active and innovative CVA programs, received the fifth-highest award.

“Clean water is a fundamental need for both people and wildlife, and a perfect example of how the fates of both are intertwined,” USFWS Director Dan Ashe said in announcing the grants. “Clean Vessel Act grants not only help ensure that clean drinking water, sustainable ecosystems and healthy recreational areas are accessible to the American people, they also provide a substantial economic benefit for local communities.”

This year those benefits will be especially directed to the San Juan Islands, which have rich marine habitats, heavy boating activity, and limited pumpout facilities, as well as South Puget Sound, Hood Canal and Lake Washington, longtime boating and water-quality hotspots. Washington State Parks is currently seeking sources for the 25 percent match required under the grants to fund a second pumpout boat on Lake Washington and a free pumpout service in the San Juans.

Clean Vessel Act funds come from manufacturer excise taxes on fishing tackle, import duties on recreational boats and fishing gear, and motorboat and small engine fuel taxes. Last year, Washington’s Clean Vessel Program diverted more than 5.6 million gallons of raw sewage that would otherwise have contaminated state waters, threatening fish, shellfish, and human health.

Washington Sea Grant and its partners, including the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S Power Squadron, have delivered hands-free pumpout adapters to more than 7,000 boaters. Sea Grant has also created a Google map showing all 146 CVA pumpout locations in Washington, available at www.pumpoutwashington.org.

Boaters, yacht clubs and other organizations that would like free pumpout adapters should contact Aaron Barnett at (206) 616-8929 or [email protected].

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Cosmopolis man cited for DUI after SUV slides into tree

Washington State Patrol

A Cosmopolis driver was cited for DUI at the scene of an accident on State Route 101 last night. The Washington State Patrol charged the 60 year old with Driving Under the Influence after his 2005 Chevy Trailblazer lost control in the Southbound lane just after 9 last night, the truck over-corrected and crossed the oncoming lane, then slid sideways into a tree about 2 miles South of Cosmopolis. The driver was transported from the scene with undisclosed injuries.

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Washington joins emphasis patrols on 5,600 miles of road with the I-90/94 Challenge

WSP Emphasis Patrols

Motorists will notice an extra law enforcement presence when driving on two of the country’s most highly traveled interstates during a four-day enforcement campaign in early August.

The Washington State Patrol and law enforcement officials in 14 other states are joining together with a goal of zero deaths on Interstates 90 and 94 between Washington state and New York Aug. 1-4. That’s more than 5,600 miles of road.

This combined effort is known as the “I-90/94 Challenge.” It’s not a competition between states, but a challenge to drivers to stay safe on one of the country’s busiest highways.

“We will have zero tolerance for the violations we know cause the most deaths and injuries,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “Speed, DUI and the failure to wear seat belts continue to cause preventable tragedies and rip families apart.”

Batiste urged drivers to answer the challenge by tweeting “#9094challenge” when they’ve arrived safely at a destination.

Coordinated by the Minnesota State Patrol, the challenge will use education, awareness and strict enforcement to save lives and remind all motorists to drive safely and obey important traffic laws.

Traffic crashes kill more than 33,000 people each year in the United States. Local, state and national traffic safety officials agree too many of those fatalities are happening on I-90 and I-94.

In Washington, regularly scheduled troopers will focus their work time on I-90. A few additional troopers are being brought on specifically for the emphasis patrol. I-90 splits into two highways, 90 and 94, in Montana. I-94 does not exist by that name in Washington State.

“The first weekend in August is the mid-point between two other driving holidays- Independence Day and Labor Day,” Batiste said. “We’ll use this emphasis patrol to help drivers maintain good driving habits.”

I-90/94 Challenge is intended to help the International Association of Chiefs of Police reach its goal this year of reducing U.S. traffic fatalities by 15 percent.

More information on is available at www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or follow the hashtag #9094challenge.

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Attorney General charges Wheelchairs Plus with Medicaid fraud for selling used chairs

Washington Attorney General sues Wheelchairs Plus

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against Michael Mann, owner of Wheelchairs Plus Inc., in Thurston County Superior Court. The AGO alleges Mann committed the crimes of First Degree Theft and Medicaid False Statement when he fraudulently provided 119 Medicaid recipients with used or refurbished wheelchairs while billing Medicaid as if they were new.  Mann billed the State Medicaid system a total of $606,980 for the wheelchairs.

Overview of the alleged scheme

As stated in the Certification for Determination of Probable Cause, the AGO investigation found that from 2006 – 2012, the defendant allegedly purchased previously used wheelchairs from websites such as craigslist.org or from nursing homes. The defendant would then refurbish each chair with a new coat of paint or replacement parts and then put a new label or serial number on it.

After the defendant had delivered the used wheelchair to a Medicaid client, he would allegedly submit a false claim to Medicaid stating that he had provided a new wheelchair.

The arraignment is currently scheduled for August 12th in Thurston County Superior Court. The charges contained in the information are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

“The Attorney General’s Office will vigorously investigate and prosecute the defrauding of taxpayers,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Medicaid Fraud Control in Washington state

The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of healthcare provider fraud committed against the state’s Medicaid program. The unit also coordinates with local law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect in cases involving vulnerable adults residing in Medicaid-funded residential facilities.

State Medicaid authorities, including the Health Care Authority and Department of Social and Health Services, assisted significantly in the fraud enforcement of these matters.

The DSHS Office of Fraud & Accountability investigates client fraud. You can report Medicaid Client Fraud via the Department’s Online Complaint Form, call the Welfare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-562-6906 or send the complaint to Welfare Fraud Hotline, P.O. Box 45817, Olympia, Washington 98504-5817.

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Department of Ecology opens 288 Washington Conservation Corps jobs

Washington Conservation Corps

The Washington Conservation Corps, a part of the Washington Department of Ecology, has opened 288 jobs that help protect and restore the environment.

Working in partnership with AmeriCorps, the WCC provides annual member positions for 18 – 25 years old and no age restrictions for Gulf War Era II veterans, reservists and dependents.*

Those selected to become a WCC/AmeriCorps member will gain valuable, hands-on experience working with the environment. Project work includes restoration planting, invasive species removal, trail building, and more. The most recent project supported by members is the Carlton Complex wildfire, the largest and most devastating wildfire in Washington’s history.

From re-building boardwalks and trails, to disaster response for wildfires and landslides, the positions provide paid, career-transferable training and leadership opportunities.

In addition to paid career training, members receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,645 (scholarship) upon successful completion of one year of service (1,700 hours). Basic medical benefits are provided and educational loan forbearance is available. Apply Online at www.ecy.wa.gov/wcc and read a recent WCC success story at ECOconnect blog.

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Aberdeen man cornered in Grays Harbor City swamp

Hoquiam Police Department

An Aberdeen man was cornered in a swamp North of Hoquiam this morning, after leading police on a car chase through Hoquiam, then foot chase through the woods of Grays Harbor City.

Sgt. Jeremy Mitchell with the Hoquiam Police Department tells us the 33 year old was driving with a suspended license when an officer attempted to pull him over downtown around 9 Wednesday morning. He sped down side streets toward State Route 109 where he ditched his car on Harborview Court and disappeared into the thick woods. About an hour and a half later, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s K9 unit found him in a swampy area near the bay. Mitchell said the chase adds felony eluding charges to driving on a suspended license. A passenger in the car, a Hoquiam transient, was also taken into custody on outstanding warrants from the Department of Corrections.

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