Archive for KBKW News

Live, local, and late breaking news featured on KBKW

WDFW seeks public’s assistance to monitor hoof disease in elk

For more information on elk hoof disease, see WDFW’s recent news release at and the department’s wildlife health webpage at

OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers are seeking help from hunters and the general public in monitoring the spread of hoof disease among elk in 10 counties in southwest Washington.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) asks that anyone who spots an elk with hoof deformities in the area that is limping or dead report their observations at A map on that website shows the department’s primary focus of interest.

Sandra Jonker, WDFW regional wildlife manager, said the department is primarily interested in receiving reports outside the primary area of infection around Cowlitz County, where the disease is already well documented.

“Our focus now is on assessing the spread of the disease to other parts of the region,” Jonker said. “Gaining more information about the incidence and geographical distribution of the disease will help determine how best to manage it.”

She noted that the website is designed to accept reports from the field using a mobile phone. Once filed, those reports will immediately appear on WDFW’s website.

Diagnostic testing conducted over the past year indicates hoof disease in elk closely resembles a contagious bacterial infection in sheep. There is no evidence that the bacteria are harmful to humans, but there is no vaccine for elk that contract the disease, Jonker said.

To help prevent the disease from spreading, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recently approved a new rule requiring hunters in 10 southwest Washington counties to remove the hooves of any elk they harvest and leave them on-site.

Enchanted Valley Chalet relocated away from East Fork Quinault River

Enchanted Valley Chalet Relocated

Work to temporarily relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet in Olympic National Park to protect the East Fork Quinault River was completed Friday, September 12.

“I am very proud of our park staff, and appreciative of the contractor and his work,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “We are very pleased to know that the chalet is now further from the river.”

Work to temporarily relocate the chalet began September 1. Contractor Monroe House Moving of Sequim, Washington, used hydraulic jacks to push the structure 100 feet along steel beams and away from the eroding river bank.

Once the move was complete, the building was lowered onto cribbing towers and secured. The building will remain closed to the public while in its current temporary location.

A planning and environmental analysis process will begin within the next year to determine the final disposition of the building.

The chalet relocation project was examined in the “Emergency Action to Temporarily Relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet for the Protection of the East Fork Quinault River Environmental Assessment” (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued on July 25.

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After anonymous complaint, audit finds two errors at City of Montesano

City of Montesano
The State Auditor’s Office has issued two findings to the City of Montesano after an anonymous tip about a recent property sale. City Administrator Kristy Powell said that State Auditors also agreed with the city that they properly advertised and sold 47 acres of property along the Chehalis River in 2012. Powell said last week “That anonymous caller that turned in the audit suggested that there was something wrong with the land sale. The auditors made a statement that there was nothing wrong with the land sale except that documentation of the sign was not there.”
The errors were found in the city’s accounting. Powell said one finding was the second in a row over the way they pay city employees from different departments, “Last year we were given a finding on the same thing, and we immediately adopted a resolution and started tracking time but the auditors didn’t feel that we did enough.” To address that issue, Powell said they’ll enforce daily time tracking and move to cost-based accounting.
Another finding was issued for the way they transferred funds from one department to another – an error on Powell’s part, she said she plans to review the complicated budgeting, accounting, and reporting manual to resolve.
The last finding to the city of Montesano was in 2011, when then-Police Chief Ray Sowers used a city credit card to make nearly $17,000 in purchases. Sowers pleaded guilty to theft and identity theft charges, and was sentenced to 6 months jail time.
Audits conducted by the State Auditor’s Office are available through their website at

Solid gold response to Hoquiam’s “Chief for a Day” Program

Hoqiuam Police Chief Dylan Ellefson
A big thank you to the families and businesses that contributed to the Hoquiam Police Department during their Chief for a Day program. Police Chief Jeff Myers said “I want to thank everyone out there in Grays Harbor. You know we may be a small community, we have a lot of challenges and we often focus on the negative. But when you see a program like this come together, and you see the love in the donations that come from us, it really shows you what a special kind of place this is.”
The department even received a mysterious donation for Dylan Ellefson, in an unmarked envelope. Myers said jokingly “It was thick and bulky I thought it was like a letter bomb. So I gave it to my Deputy Chief to open then I ran to my office. Inside of it was a piece of paper folded up, there were four coin sleeves taped to the paper. Each coin sleeve had a $100 bill in it, and when you unwrapped the $100 bill there were four solid gold coins.”
They don’t know who donated the coins but Myers adds “I’m hoping through getting the word out that whoever donated this wonderful, unexpected, and extremely benevolent gift will know that it was received, and greatly appreciated.” The 4 gold coins, two South African Krugerrands, and two American Eagles, will be sold, and the money used to setup a college fund for Dylan.

Changing music on phone likely cause of wreck North of Ocean Shores

Washington State Patrol

Changing music on a cell phone was the cause of an accident on State Route 109 North of Ocean Shores Saturday morning.
The Washington State Patrol reports a 19 year old Hoquiam girl’s 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee drifted across the center line into the ditch and rolled just before 10 AM Saturday. She was injured and transported to Community Hospital, her passenger; a 19 year old Taholah man, was not injured. The report says charges are pending.

Lauren Kuhn named as 4th Runner Up at Miss America Finals

Photo Credit: The Miss America Organization

Lauren Kuhn has been named 4th runner up at the Miss America Finals in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Sunday. The Aberdeen High School graduate was crowned Miss Grays Harbor’s Outstanding Teen 2008 and Miss Grays Harbor 2013, then Miss Massachusetts 2014 and to the Miss America 2015 stage, where she took 5th place over the weekend in Atlantic City.

Kuhn is a attending Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston where she holds the title of Miss Massachusetts, the 75th to hold the title.

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America 2015 at the birthplace of the legendary competition in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall Sunday. The Miss America Finals were broadcast live on ABC.

Kira’s acceptance of the highly-prized crown is just the beginning of a journey that will take her to every corner of the nation during her year of service as Miss America 2015. She will embark on her national speaking tour about her platform, Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence and act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children’s hospitals, is the national platform partner of the Miss America Organization.

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First Salmon Return to the Upper Elwha in 102 Years

A member of the Olympic National Park fisheries team snorkels just above the remnants of Glines Canyon Dam.  Three Chinook salmon were sighted during a snorkel survey this week.

Following an observation by a fisheries biologist and member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe of a possible Chinook salmon in the former Lake Mills, two Olympic National Park fisheries staff conducted a snorkel survey of the Elwha River above the old Glines Canyon dam site.

They found three adult Chinook salmon, all between 30 and 36 inches long, in the former Lake Mills, between Windy Arm and Glines Canyon.   Two fish were seen resting near submerged stumps of ancient trees; the third was found in a deep pool in the former Lake Mills.

“When dam removal began three years ago, Chinook salmon were blocked far downstream by the Elwha Dam,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “Today, we celebrate the return of Chinook to the upper Elwha River for the first time in over a century.”

“Thanks to the persistence and hard work of many National Park Service employees, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and many other partners, salmon can once again reach the pristine Elwha watershed within Olympic National Park,” said Creachbaum.

In addition to the three Chinook, biologists counted 27 bull trout, nearly 400 rainbow trout and two small sculpin during their survey above Glines Canyon.

The biologists began their snorkel survey in Rica Canyon three miles above the old Glines Canyon dam site.  They then snorkeled downstream through the Canyon, through the former Lake Mills and downstream to a point just above Glines Canyon.

Last week, park biologists confirmed that two radiotagged bull trout had migrated through Glines Canyon and were in Rica Canyon.  The three Chinook observed this week were not radiotagged, but were seen by observers on the riverbank and in the water.

The following day, biologists counted 432 live Chinook in a 1.75 mile section of river just downstream of Glines Canyon, but still above the old Elwha dam site.

Elwha River Restoration is a National Park Service project that includes the largest dam removal in history, restoration of the Elwha River watershed, its native anadromous fisheries and the natural downstream transport of sediment and woody debris.  For more information about this multi-faceted project, people can visit the Olympic National Park website at

Reminder: Drivers strongly urged to avoid I-5 in Olympia over next two weekends

WSDOT Travel Advisory

OLYMPIA – The busy Interstate 5/US 101 interchange in Olympia will be the focus of vital bridge structural repair work over the weekends of Sept. 12 and Sept. 19. Preparations for the two weekends will require lane and ramp closures each Thursday night, Sept. 11 and Sept. 18.


During the two weekends, contractor crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will replace a 171-foot-long bridge expansion joint that spans the width of the roadway. The 28-year-old expansion joint has deteriorated to the point that temporary repairs no longer are effective, and it must be replaced to keep drivers safe and traffic moving.


Both weekends include day and night lane and ramp closures for both directions of I-5 near Capitol Lake. Over a typical weekend, more than 276,000 vehicles use this stretch of I-5. Roughly 190,000 vehicles travel on US 101 approaching I-5. WSDOT traffic engineers warn that drivers likely will face lengthy backups and delays because no convenient alternate state routes are available. Even with traffic volumes decreasing by 30% over the two weekends, traffic models show backups reaching 14 miles, with especially heavy congestion expected on southbound I-5.


“The I-5/US 101 interchange is one busy interchange, and it’s a tough place to work,” said WSDOT Project Engineer Ricky Bhalla. “We need drivers to change their normal driving habits to help prevent miles of backups over the next two weekends while our contractor completes this important work.”

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Grays Harbor Community Foundation announces Donor Advised Fund Distributions

Grays Harbor Community Foundation

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation had, for many years, a Board member who was very supportive of our activities and programs through a private family foundation he controlled. When Dr. Scott Weatherwax passed away, he left control of this family foundation to his stepdaughter, Paige Hounsley, who has never lived in Grays Harbor, and now lives in southern California. Her only connection to the Harbor was her stepfather.

As trustee for the family foundation, Mrs. Hounsley is required by law to make distributions of a percentage of the foundations assets each year. While not required to support Grays Harbor, she is determined to continue her stepfather’s intentions, and continues to employ the Community Foundation to provide information and data to help her make those annual distributions.

Each year, she contacts the Community Foundation staff with a couple of issues or activities she would like to know more about, then the staff researches Grays Harbor nonprofits and projects to provide her the requested information. She then sends a donation to the Grays Harbor Community Foundation with a distribution request including instructions on how to distribute those funds.  She also provides significant support for scholarships in Grays Harbor through the Community Foundation, the Abel-Weatherwax Memorial Scholarships.

This year, several local nonprofits have benefited from the unrestricted gifts and the generosity of this donor. Those organizations are Grays Harbor Young Life, Keystone Learning Center, Beyond Survival, the Lyle P. Smith Fund at Coastal Community Action Program, Grays Harbor Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Dislocated Workers fund at WorkSource of Grays Harbor, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grays Harbor, the Arc of Grays Harbor, and the Domestic Violence Center.

“It is a pleasure to provide information to this donor, so that she is able to continue her good work in Grays Harbor;” says Executive Director, Jim Daly.  “It is a wonderful experience to provide these surprise checks to organizations and people with a passion for the work they are doing.”

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation with a mission “to improve the quality of life in the communities throughout Grays Harbor County.”  This is accomplished by many projects and processes by working through or in support of other non-profit organizations.

The public is encouraged to contribute to their favorite charities and may donate to the Grays Harbor Community Foundation to support any of these projects or for a variety of other purposes.  Tax deductible donations may be made to:

Grays Harbor Community Foundation, P.O. Box 615, Hoquiam, WA 98520

You may find out more by checking the foundation website: or you may contact Jim Daly at 532-1600 or by e-mail at:  [email protected].

WDFW seeks public comment on razor clam season options

Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include:

Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.

Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.

Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.

Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.

Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. (This beach is closed to harvest until further notice)

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting public comments on digging days, catch limits and other management options for the upcoming razor clam season.

Suggestions for the 2014-15 season, which is tentatively set to begin the second week of October, can be sent by email to [email protected] or by postal mail to: Razor Clams, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563.

An overview of the just completed 2014 coastwide razor clam stock assessment and a look back at the 2013-14 season are available on WDFW’s website at

Comments regarding fall digging opportunities must be received by Sept. 23, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

“Based on our assessments, the razor clam populations on some beaches exceed the near record levels found in 2013,” Ayres said. “We expect the 2014-15 season to be just as good – if not better than last year.”

To learn more about how WDFW assesses razor clam populations, watch the department’s video at