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Process to move Chalet in Olympic National Park begins, Enchanted Valley closed to camping September 1-14

Enchanted Valley Chalet

Work to temporarily relocate the Enchanted Valley Chalet in Olympic National Park to protect the East Fork Quinault River is scheduled to begin Monday, September 1. 

Monroe House Moving, Inc. of Sequim, Washington has been awarded the contract to move the building.  The contractor plans to complete the relocation operation by mid-September, weather permitting. 

To protect contractor and visitor safety, Enchanted Valley will be closed to all public camping for the duration of the project, September 1 through 14.  

Hikers and stock users may continue to travel through the valley, but between September 1 and September 14, must be escorted by park staff.  The camping closure and escort-only hiking restriction extends from the steel bridge at the downstream end of Enchanted Valley (mile 13 on the East Fork Quinault River Trail) to one mile upriver of the chalet. 

The Graves Creek Stock Camp (located near the Graves Creek trailhead) will also be closed between September 1 and 14 to accommodate stock animals and handlers involved in transporting supplies and equipment during the project. 

“Visitor, employee and contractor safety is our top priority,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “Moving a two-story structure is inherently risky. We appreciate the public’s patience and cooperation during the process of relocating the chalet.” 

Using industry standard house-moving techniques, the contractor will move the Enchanted Valley Chalet a distance of 50 to 100 feet from its current location where it is undercut and in danger of collapsing into the East Fork Quinault River.  The threats to natural and wilderness resources posed by the structure collapsing into the river warrant temporary relocation of the building.  Additionally, preventing the chalet from imminent collapse will allow time to examine and plan for the long-term future of the structure. 

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. 

The National Park Service is charged with protecting all of Olympic National Park’s priceless resources, from historic structures to fish, to the unique and irreplaceable character of the Olympic Wilderness. 

The Enchanted Valley Chalet is located 13 miles from the nearest road, deep within the Olympic Wilderness.  The chalet was constructed by Quinault Valley residents in the early 1930s, prior to establishment of Olympic National Park.  The chalet served for several decades as a backcountry lodge and more recently, as a wilderness ranger station and emergency shelter.  The chalet was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.    

Photos shared by park visitors in early January showed that the main channel of the East Fork Quinault River had migrated to within 18 inches of the 1930s-era chalet.  Last winter’s storms and high flows resulted in the Quinault’s main channel continuing to shift by at least 15 feet.   Recent photographs show that the river has undercut the building by approximately eight feet.  

Migration of the East Fork Quinault’s channel is common in the loose, unconsolidated soils of Enchanted Valley.  Storms, fallen trees, rockslides and simply the constant process of erosion can all cause the river to shift and carve a new channel. 

The EA and the FONSI, along with other supporting documents, are available for review at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/EVCEA.  

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offers online hunting tips

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

OLYMPIA – Wildlife biologists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have compiled the best information available to help hunters have a successful hunting season.

Those reports, which include information for every region of the state, can be found on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/ .

“This is one of the best planning resources available for hunting in Washington,” said Dave Ware, game manager for WDFW.

The reports include information on deer, elk, waterfowl, turkey, upland birds and other species, as well as suggestions on techniques and places to hunt, and other details that will help hunters improve their chances in the field.

“We encourage hunters to spend time reviewing all the information, not just familiar hunting areas,” adds Ware. “Washington has an incredible diversity of habitats and game populations. These prospects provide insights into all the locations and species to hunt.” 

Staff reports are available for all 17 wildlife districts in the state. Each district has at least one biologist responsible for monitoring local wildlife populations and recommending appropriate seasons, based on criteria such as past hunter success and typical weather patterns.

Hunters should pay attention to reports from districts, such as District 6, that were affected by this summer’s wildfires. Those reports include information on hunter access and adjustments to hunting permits.

Additional resources at WDFW’s website include:

FBI seeks information on bank robber nicknamed the ‘Quick-Change Bandit’

Quick Change Bandit

The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force is seeking information about a bank robber nicknamed the “Quick-Change Bandit.”

The unidentified bank robber is believed to have robbed at least two different banks within an hour on Monday, August 18 and changed his clothes between the two robberies. This quick clothing change led to his nickname. Investigators believe he may have also robbed a bank on Saturday, August 16.

The subject may be a black male in his late 20s or early 30s, around 6’0” tall, and of stocky build. He threatened tellers during the robberies.

 

 

 

 

 

The subject is wanted for his alleged involvement in at least three bank robberies:

  • Saturday, August 16, 2014, approximately 12:30 p.m.—Chase Bank, on Gravelly Lake Drive SW, Lakewood, Washington
  • Monday, August 18, 2014, approximately 11:40 a.m.—Bank of America, on 104th Avenue SE, Kent, Washington
  • Monday, August 18, 2014, approximately 12:30 p.m.—Chase Bank on A Street SE, Auburn, Washington

Anyone with information as to the identity or whereabouts of the suspected robber should refrain from approaching him and is urged to contact law enforcement immediately.

Anyone with information that can help identify this individual is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information given leads to an arrest and charge of the person(s) involved.

The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force (SSSTF) includes members from the FBI, Bellevue Police Department, Auburn Police Department, King County Sheriff’s Office, and Seattle Police Department. The SSSTF is working with the Kent and Lakewood Police Departments to identify and apprehend this robber.

Grays Harbor College offering ‘EDventure’ voyage on Lady Washington

Lady Washington at sunset

The EDventure with Grays Harbor College Continuing Education Department and Grays Harbor Historical Seaport begins on September 17th at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, 500 N Custer Street, in Aberdeen.  Meet us at 9:30 am for a tour of this historical landmark, lunch, and a two hour cruise on the Lady Washington.  Perhaps we can convince the Captain to do a cannon salute.

Cost of the trip is $68.25, which includes cruise, tour, lunch, and snack.  Sign up today online at www.ghc.edu/ce or in-person at Whiteside Continuing Education Center, 418 E First Street, in Aberdeen.  Please contact Bethany Barnard at [email protected] or 360.533.9733 for further information.  Pre-registration is required.

Summit Pacific Medical Center mandates flu shots for employees

Summit Pacific Regional Medical Center

Elma, WA – Summit Pacific Medical Center has decided to require all staff to receive their flu shot this fall, and will begin letting new hires know that their employment with Summit Pacific is reliant on them receiving the vaccine. There are two opt out options available for those with allergies and religious objections. Both reasoning’s will need to be backed up with documentation from their primary care provider and/or their religious organization’s leader.

“Over 96% of our staff have already been receiving their flu shot,” Employee Health Nurse Vicki Cambern shared, “However, in line with our vision to be the national model for patient centered care, our goal has always been for our staff to be 100% compliant. We do not want anyone coming to Summit Pacific and contracting the flu from one of our employees, and we want to make sure our employees are protected and not getting sick because they are offering care to somebody with the flu.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all those over the age of 6 months receive their flu shots as soon as they are available, preferably by October (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm). Starting September 2nd, Summit Pacific Healthcare Clinic, Elma Family Medicine, and Mark Reed Healthcare Clinic will begin providing flu vaccines for their patients. To schedule an appointment to receive your flu shot at any one of the clinics, call 360-346-2222.

Pacific County Deputies assist commercial gillnet vessel with engine failure

Mason County Sheriff's Office

South Bend, WA. – On August 25th at approximately 6:10 PM, the Sheriff’s Office received a request for assistance from the operator of a commercial gillnetting vessel that had experienced engine failure. The vessel was forced to anchor in Willapa Bay near Bay Center. Deputies responded from the South Bend area in the Sheriff’s Office patrol and search and rescue vessel to assist.

 

Deputies successfully provided safe passage and tow for the vessel and the operator back to the South Bend boat launch. Sheriff Scott Johnson stated, “I am very pleased with the quick response that our office was able to provide in this situation. We have been working very hard to increase our services to the public. Our marine services division is one example of a service that didn’t exist in years past. We recognize that our public’s safety is equally important on or within our waterways.”

 

Sheriff Johnson also added, “We are grateful for the positive support that we have received from the Board of County Commissioners, helping to aid us with jumpstarting the marine program”.

Grays Harbor College auditioning for production of “Back in the World”

GHC Bishop Center

Auditions for Grays Harbor College’s Fall premier production of “Back in the World” are set for Saturday, September 20 at 10 a.m. and the following day, Sunday, September 21, starting at 2 p.m. All tryouts will take place in the Bishop Center on the main GHC campus in Aberdeen.

“Back in the World” is an original musical about the plight of soldiers returning home from war, debuting on the Bishop Center stage the first two weekends of November. Composed by GHC alum Alex Eddy with lyrics by GHC instructor Lynne Lerych, the show is sad, angry, funny and ultimately uplifting. Sandy Lloyd is the show sponsor.

The production includes principal roles for six males and four females, ranging in ages from late teens to 50s or 60s. All roles are singing parts and there also will be a chorus of at least eight. For more information about the production and auditions, contact Lynne Lerych at [email protected], 360.538.4156.

Two Aberdeen teens injured in car wreck on Long Beach Peninsula

Washington State Patrol

Two teens were injured overnight on the Long Beach Peninsula, after swerving to avoid a deer and colliding with a telephone pole just after 2 this morning. The Washington State Patrol reports the 17 year old driver, and a 15 year old female passenger, both from Aberdeen, were transported to Ocean Beach Hospital with undisclosed injuries. A 47 year old Aberdeen man was also in the 1992 Pontiac Firebird but was not injured. The driver was cited for driving over the center line, without a license, or insurance. Trooper D. Knox also reported that the road was closed for about an hour during the investigation.

Kreidler announces limited special enrollment period for people struggling with health coverage

Washington Health Plan Finder

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced a limited special enrollment period – effective Aug. 27 – for people who have experienced difficulty enrolling in health coverage through Washington’s Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, or who have had billing or payment issues.

The special enrollment period starts Aug. 27 and is scheduled to run through Nov. 14, 2014. Only people who attest to having enrollment, billing, or payment issues with an Exchange plan may change plans during this time.

General open enrollment for 2015 individual and family coverage starts Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015.

“The Exchange is making real progress in reconciling the cases of those consumers who’ve experienced ongoing claims and payment issues,” said Kreidler. “Today’s announcement should not take away from their efforts. It’s just one more option for consumers who still need coverage. It will not be the best option for everyone, but hopefully it’ll bring immediate relief to some.”

Consumers who choose to leave the Exchange and switch to a health plan sold outside of the Exchange will lose their premium and cost-sharing subsidies. Consumers may also lose any credit toward their cost-sharing deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.

During this limited special enrollment period, if you have experienced difficulty getting or keeping health coverage through the Exchange, you can:

  • Stay with your health insurer inside the Exchange, but “reset” your coverage (you may lose any credit toward your deductible or out-of-pocket maximum)
  • Stay with your health insurer but switch to a plan sold outside of the Exchange (you will lose your subsidy)
  • Switch to a new health insurer outside of the Exchange (you will lose your subsidy)
  • Switch to a different insurer inside the Exchange (your subsidy amount may change)

 

If you decide to change your coverage – either inside or outside of the Exchange, you must select a plan with the same “metal level” that you have today. Metal level refers to the type of coverage and cost-sharing requirements.

A list of answers to questions about this temporary special enrollment is available on the insurance commissioner’s website.

Consumers still have the option to keep their current health insurer and pay through the Exchange or pay their premium directly to their health insurer.

Who’s eligible?

Anyone who has been unable to get or keep coverage in a plan through the Exchange because of an error in their enrollment, bill, or premium payment.

People with Washington Apple Health are not eligible for this temporary special enrollment period.

How will this help?

This is an option for consumers who have experienced difficulties with their health coverage over the last several months. It will not be the best option for everyone.

Approximately 85 percent of people enrolled in a plan through the Exchange receive premium or cost-sharing subsidies. If they move to a plan sold outside of the Exchange, they will not be able to keep their subsidy.

Everyone must re-enroll or select a new plan for 2015 during the general open enrollment period, Nov. 15, 2014 – Feb. 15, 2015, even people who use the special enrollment to change plans now

“I’ve created this special enrollment period in direct response to consumer complaints I’ve heard over the last several months,” said Kreidler. “I continue to support the Exchange and the work it has done to successfully enroll over 90 percent of the people who applied for coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. They are dedicated to solving these technical issues and they are making progress. But as insurance commissioner, it’s my responsibility to do what I can to give consumers as many options as possible for getting coverage.”

Vehicle of missing Seattle woman found abandoned near Neilton

Missing - Donna Van Zandt

The vehicle of a missing Seattle woman was located last week in the Olympic National Forest, 33 year old Donna Van Zandt was not. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells KBKW last Friday evening, United States Forrest Service notified the Sheriff’s Department of an abandoned 2000 Honda Civic that had been located by hunters scouting an area near Neilton. The location was a very remote logging road approximately 5 miles in on Quinault Ridge Road. A deputy was eventually able to make his way to the vehicle and determined the car most likely had been at the location for several months due to the vegetation that had grown up around the car. The keys to the vehicle were still inside in addition to camping and hiking gear. There was no other obvious information to indicate what may have happened to the driver/occupants.

Donna Van Zandt

The vehicle was registered to Donna Van Zandt, a 33 year old female from Seattle. On Saturday investigators worked on locating family and friends of Van Zandt. At this point, it appears the last family contact was in April of 2014. Family members did explain that in January of this year, Van Zandt’s father was apparently murdered in New York, and April was the 2nd anniversary of her mother’s passing.

On Sunday, numerous search and rescue members searched the area where Van Zandt’s vehicle was located. Van Zandt was not located on that day.

Here is the vehicle that was located, in addition to a picture of Van Zandt.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Van Zandt is asked to call Detective Keith Peterson of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office at 360-249-3711.

Donna Van Zandt car