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Grays Harbor PUD Commissioners formally adopt strategic plan

Grays Harbor PUD

The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners have adopted a new vision of the PUD’s future.  On Monday, the commissioners adopted the District’s first strategic plan, outlining the goals and steps the PUD will take in the coming years to improve several areas of internal and external service.


“It’s a big moment and one that was achieved by tapping the minds of our employees,” said Commission President Russ Skolrood.  “We all have ideas about how we can improve as a district, but for the first time, the people that work at the Grays Harbor PUD were asked to be involved in the creation of that vision. That is significant.”


Over the last five months, employee groups have been meeting to discuss the PUD’s development and future plans in six areas:


·         Customers

·         Finance

·         Employees

·         Safety and Reliability

·         Process and Performance Improvements

·         Stewardship

The sub-groups were made up of PUD employees from across the district, from line crewmen to customer support staff.  Meetings involved discussing PUD strengths and weaknesses in those sub-areas, identifying both short-term and long-term goals and planning the steps needed to achieve those goals.  Those goals included:


·         Improved internal and external outreach and communication.

·         Providing stable rates and responsible budgeting.

·         Maintaining system safety and reliability.

·         Addressing employee pride, retention and development.

·         Improved processes and organizational performances.

·         Long-term facilities plans and asset management.


The plan will be reviewed quarterly to ensure that established goals are being met and that updates are made to keep up with the times.


“I am very proud of this milestone moment for the employees and customers of the Grays Harbor PUD.  This is not the vision of one person or one department but of the entire PUD,” said General Manager Dave Ward.  “In placing such a high emphasis on staff involvement, we have produced a plan that is a true representation of the PUD’s goals and desire to move toward a bright future.”

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Puget Sound & Pacific improving railroad crossings at entrances to Olympic Gateway Plaza in Aberdeen

A construction project to improve six railroad crossings at the East Wishkah Street/Olympic Highway/U.S. 12 entrances to the Olympic Gateway Plaza in Aberdeen is planned for Monday, July 21, through Wednesday, July 23, from 7 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. each day.
Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad plans to close and completely rebuild each crossing, raising it back to the level of the streets. Two crossings per day are scheduled to be completed. To minimize inconvenience to shoppers and businesses at the plaza, no more than two crossings will be closed at any time during the project. Each rebuilt crossing will be reopened prior to the closure of any additional crossings.
“We understand that this creates some inconvenience for local business owners and shoppers, but when the last crossing is reopened on Thursday morning, people will have a significantly improved experience entering and exiting the plaza via the new crossings,” says Joel Haka, Puget Sound & Pacific president. “The project doesn’t add any capacity to the railroad but is being done to enhance safety at the crossings and improve quality of life for people utilizing them.”
The rebuild process consists of crews closing and removing the railroad track, tamping the railroad bed, replacing the wooden ties as needed, resurfacing and paving and reinstalling the rail.
Puget Sound & Pacific has invested more than $4.3 million in track upgrades since being acquired 18 months ago by Genesee & Wyoming, which owns 112 short line and regional freight railroads. After a highly unusual series of low-speed derailments two months ago, Puget Sound & Pacific plans to spend another $4.6 million on its track in the next 18 months.

About Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad (PSAP) transports freight over 108 miles of track in Northwest Washington, interchanging with BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. Major commodities include lumber, automobiles, agricultural products, waste, food and kindred products, and chemicals for pulp and paper mills.
PSAP provides the vital link between the Port of Grays Harbor and the national rail freight network. PSAP employees live and work in the same communities they serve and are committed to safely and efficiently supporting the growth that they help bring to the region.
PSAP was acquired in 2012 by Genesee & Wyoming, North America’s largest owner of short line and regional freight railroads and a safety leader in the industry.

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Missing child found walking in Ocean Shores by two ten year old girls, reunited with family

Ocean Shores Police Department

A 4-year old that wandered into the dunes in Ocean Shores was returned to his family with the help of a couple 10 year olds Friday evening. Sgt. Don Grossi tells us around 5:20 Friday, they were called to the report of a missing child near the Polynesian Resort.
A search ensued involving Ocean Shores Fire Department, Fire District #7, and Ocean City State Park Rangers. About a half an hour later the child was found on the beach by two ten year old girls from Edmonds that were playing at the Pacific Beach Approach. They had located the child walking in the surf, wet and cold. He was looked at by Ocean Shores Fire Department paramedics, then reunited with his parents.

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Multiple alarm fire at Sierra Pacific kept to outside of sawmill

Aberdeen Fire Department

No injuries from a conveyor belt fire early Sunday morning at Sierra Pacific. Aberdeen Battalion Chief Troy Palmer tells us they responded to the Junction City area, along with Fire District #10, and Hoquiam’s ladder truck, just after 1:30 Sunday morning to find a 350 foot section of conveyor belt burning along the back of the mill.

A total of 15 firefighters responded to the alarm. 8 firefighters responded from AFD with 1 command unit, 2 Engines, and 1 Medic Unit. A total of 5 Firefighter responded from GHFD #10 with 2 Engines, and 1 Aid Car. A mutual aid Ladder Truck was also requested from the Hoquiam Fire Department that responded with 2 firefighters.

Palmer said the fire took a total of 15 firefighters about 2 and a half hours to get under control, but they were able to contain it to just the equipment and prevented it from entering the wood mill. The cause of the fire is under investigation, damages were not yet available from Sierra Pacific.
It was a busy weekend for Aberdeen crews, they also knocked down a shed on fire in the 200 block of Scott street Saturday afternoon, no injuries were reported there.

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State Update: Fires hold steady as victims get help

Mills Canyon fire at night, July 9, 2014. Photo by Vladimir Steblina / InciWeb

The state’s lead fire fighting agencies—the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)andthe State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Washington State Patrol (WSP)—continued to lead state government’s response today to multiple wildfires  in central and eastern Washington today.


Okanogan County: Fires were cooler this morning on the Carlton Complex, but were bad yesterday as 41 homes were destroyed near Alta Lake. County emergency management estimates a total of 150-200 homes have now been destroyed in Okanogan County. The Carlton Complex has burned 299,897 acres. Brewster, Pateros, Twisp, Winthrop and other communities in the county are temporarily powering water systems and sewer services on generator. Two of the four gas stations in Winthrop have power now, making it less of a problem to gasoline and diesel fuel.


While Okanogan County has been the hardest hit due to the sprawling Carlton Complex, wildfires are also burning in Chelan, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Spokane and Yakima counties.

  • The Chiwaukum Complex has burned 11,051 acres and continues to grow.

o   The Mills Canyon Fire, branch of the Chiwaukum, has burned 22,571 acres

  • The Saddle Mountain Fire in Kittitas County has burned 20,200 acres but will demobilize at midnight.
  • The Watermelon Hill Fire in Spokane County has burned 8,000 acres.


Other state activities


The Washington State Department of Transportation is working to keep roads open. The latest on road closures and openings is at

The Department of Commerce’s Energy Office says approximately 7,000 customers of the Okanogan PUD and Okanogan Electric Cooperative are without power. Power for feeders along Interstate and state highways and from there into Pateros and Winthrop is estimated to be restored by the end of week. It is estimated that full restoration along county roads and to individual homes and businesses in Okanogan will take several weeks.


The Washington National Guard has four Blackhawk helicopters, two fuel trucks and 21 personnel deployed to Carlton Complex. There are two Chinook helicopters, two fuel trucks and 17 personnel on the Mills Canyon Complex. An incident communications package staffed by five personnel is setting up at Omak. Having completed pre-mobilization preparations, 100 National Guard soldiers are standing by in Yakima to support Department of Natural Resources fire fighters. Through July 19, Guard helicopters dropped 400,440 gallons of water on fires.


Personnel from the Department of Health’s (DOH) Environment Public Health Division are consulting with wildfire-impacted counties about air quality and water quality issues. DOH and the Department of Ecology are partnering to analyze and monitor how smoke and ash are affecting air quality.


The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) deployed two trained crews with a total of 20 youths to support DNR firefighting efforts.DSHS and the American Red Cross are co-leading state-level mass care and emergency assistance efforts with support from FEMA Region 10.


The Department of Enterprise Services is assisting Okanogan County with a liaison to manage donations, and another liaison to support operations in the county’s emergency operations center in Omak.


Gov. Jay Inslee and Maj. Gen, Bret Daugherty from the Washington Military Department toured the Paschal-Sherman Indian Boarding School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs facility on the Colville Indian Reservation. The school is being considered for housing displaced individuals from the Carlton Complex fire, or National Guard and emergency services personnel supporting fire-fighting efforts.


Non-government agencies—The American Red Cross is operating shelters in Chelan, Omak and Winthrop and opening a shelter in Brewster tonight. The Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Services began providing meals in Okanogan County today. The Red Cross is establishing a shelter in Brewster so residents from there will be closer to home. Many Brewster residents are currently using the shelter in the town of Chelan. The Chelan shelter will not close until people are no longer staying there. In coordination with the Red Cross, Okanogan County Health is contacting medical suppliers to ensure that Winthrop residents are able to get replacement oxygen bottles.


State agencies coordinate their support to the wildfire response through the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Camp Murray. The Logistics Section of the State EOC is processing requests for generators from Pateros, Twisp and Winthrop. The three communities are already using back-up generators to power utility services and need more. A liaison from the State EOC’s Operations Section worked with utility officials in Okanogan County today as they assessed power requirements in Twisp and Winthrop.

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New phone scam claiming to be Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Deputy

Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department is warning of a new phone scam where a man is calling senior citizens in the county claiming to be Lt. Johnson with their department.

Undersheriff David Pimentel tells us he is claiming that they have outstanding warrants and fines, and wants them to meet withhim in Montesano with cash to cover the warrants and fines. The calls are coming from 360 214-1541 or 360 214-1525.
This is a scam that preys on the elderly and the person identifying himself as Lt Johnson is in no way associated with the GHSO.
Pimentel said if you should receive a call like this do not respond and call the 911 center. If you have any information on who may be making these calls please contact Detective Darrin Wallace at the sheriff’s office.

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Allyn shooting leaves one dead, one in custody

Mason County Sheriff's Office

Detective William Adam tells us around 9:11 Thursday night, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 9-1-1 call of a gunshot heard in the 1 to 100 block of E. Sherwood Lane, Allyn, WA.
The caller said that a woman had shot a man in the face, then fled on foot, and that the victim was laying unresponsive.

Arriving deputies found the 47 year old homeowner dead in front of his front door, the victim of an apparent gunshot wound to the face.
Deputies searched the area and found the suspect, lying in the back yard next door to the victim’s residence. The 34 year old Shelton woman was taken into custody and transported to the Mason County Jail without incident, booked for investigation of murder with a firearm.
Detectives located a firearm while serving a search warrant on the home. The victim is not being identified until his family can be notified.

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