Archive for October 2009

Forest Service Meetings to Discuss Land Management

MONTESANO, Wash. – The Quinault Forest Service is hosting two local meetings to invite the public to meet the new District Ranger, Dean Millett, and share their interest in the future management of the Humptulips, Quinault, and Matheney Forest Service lands.
 
Dean will give us an up-date on the 2010 project to start thinning the W. Fork Humptulips, as well as keeping access open to river bars with the help of the “Eyes in the Woods” organization. 
 
The public is invited to share what is important to them. Some issues identified so far include; road access, atv/quad use, seatbelt requirements, fire wood cutting and dispersed campsites. 
 
Meetings are Wed., Nov. 4th at the GH County Commissioners Mtg. Room from 6 to 8 PM. and on Thurs., Nov. 5th at the Forest Service Headquarters in Quinault from 5 to 7 PM.
 

Contact Dean Millett at 360-374-1222 or Dan Boeholt at 532-7046.

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Draft Wolf Management Plan is Met With Concerns, Skeptics at Thursday Meeting

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Northern Gray Wolves were listed as an endangered species at the Federal level in 1973, at the state level in 1980. The Department has been working for three years on a management plan for the wolves that have migrated into Eastern Washington from recovering populations in Idaho and Montana.

The draft plan is the preferred alternative among four presented in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), as required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The DEIS and draft wolf plan are available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/gray_wolf/. Desk copies of the DEIS will be available at WDFW regional offices and public libraries by Oct. 9. Those unable to view or download the DEIS on the website can request paper or compact disc copies by calling (360) 902-2515.

 

Comments can be submitted through Jan. 8 electronically at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/gray_wolf/mgmt_plan.html, by FAX to (360) 902-2946, or by U.S. Mail to: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

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GHCH Board of Directors Opposes Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033

The Washington State Office of Financial Management projects the initiative will also reduce general fund revenues supporting public safety, infrastructure and general government activities by an estimated $694 million for counties and $2.1 billion for cities by 2015.
 
I-1033 will directly harm GHCH. The Washington State Hospital Association has calculated the difference between the projected increase in the cost of caring for Medicaid patients and the inflation increase allowed under Initiative 1033.  The hospital association projects that under Initiative 1033′s more restrictive inflation formula, GHCH will experience $2.3 Million in Medicaid payment shortfalls over the next six years.
 
“We count on state funding for health care services through Medicaid, Basic Health, and Apple Health for Kids,” said board chairman Mike Melville. “We are very concerned about the impacts of Initiative 1033 on our ability to maintain the excellent health services we provide in this community. We are also concerned about the impact of
I-1033 on emergency medical response, fire protection and other local government services critical to public safety and which we rely upon to provide patient care.”
 
“GHCH has joined an ever-growing chorus of voices in opposition to Initiative 1033,” said Cassie Sauer, spokesperson for the Washington State Hospital Association. “This initiative takes away local control, slashes funding for health care and education, and makes the tough times we’re experiencing even worse. Voters across the state should reject it.”
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Contractor pleads guilty to felony theft of sales tax, workers’ comp fraud

The Marysville resident admitted reporting less than one-half of one percent of the sales tax he collected on drywall work between 2003 and 2008, and failing to pay workers’ compensation premiums on employees he hired to do those jobs.

As part of his plea agreement, Standley agreed that the egregious nature of his offenses would allow the sentencing judge to give him an exceptional sentence higher than the standard sentence imposed for theft. 

Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow said this may be the most egregious tax fraud he’s ever seen, but it won’t be the last he’ll prosecute.

“We won’t let dishonest businesses get away with lining their pockets with taxes intended to provide essential services or help injured workers,” Marlow said.  “It’s not fair to those who depend upon those services, and it’s not fair to honest businesses that play by the rules.”

The charges were brought in August by the Financial Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Office at the request of Revenue and L&I.

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Transit and School Bus “Slow-Speed” Collision

ELMA, Wash. – A Transit Bus collided with a School bus yesterday afternoon in East County, just before 4 pm at MP3 on the Elma McCleary Road an Elma School bus was stopped allowing it’s last passenger, a 6 year old girl, to get off the bus when a Grays Harbor Transit bus was unable to come to a complete stop resulting in what Undersheriff Rick Scott described as a low-speed collision.

Scott said "no one was injured, there were four passengers on the transit bus plus the driver, and one passenger on the school bus plus the driver." Minor damage was reported to both vehicles, the driver of the Transit bus was cited for failure to stop for a stopped school bus.

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Missing Mushroom Picker Located, Serves as Reminder

GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office responded to a missing person report on the Upper Donovan yesterday afternoon, where an 85 year old Westport Man and his 82 year old Wife had gone mushroom picking. The two became seperated when the man was able to get back to their vehicle and contact authorities.

Undersheriff Rick Scott said that they were able to locate the woman around 5:30 evening.Scott said this incident is a reminder "when you go out, whether it’s hunting, or mushroom picking, or just out for a hike in the woods, you always got to go out there with the mindset that you may find yourself lost and unable to make it back" Scott said that Wednesday’s outcome could have been far worse.

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Washington draft wolf management plan – meeting Thursday night in Aberdeen

The draft plan has been under development by WDFW staff since early 2007, with the help of a 17-member citizen advisory group. The draft plan has been reviewed by wolf experts and other scientists and will also undergo a blind academic peer review.

"As wolves naturally re-establish in our state we need to conserve them and consider management strategies that will result in them being a part of Washington’s wildlife ecosystem," said WDFW Director Phil Anderson.

"Citizens on the Wolf Working Group have provided a wide range of perspectives in developing this plan, including how potential wolf-livestock conflicts should be resolved and how many wolves should be present in Washington before the species is removed from state endangered-species protection," Anderson said. "Now we want to hear from the public at large before we present a plan to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for consideration."

A final EIS will be prepared following the public comment period, and will be presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for consideration. The commission is expected to consider next year whether to adopt the state wolf plan.

The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is listed as endangered and protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the western two-thirds of Washington and throughout Washington under state law (RCW77.15.120).

There are no federal or state plans to reintroduce wolves into Washington.

Washington’s first breeding wolf pack in at least 70 years was confirmed in western Okanogan County in July 2008, and a second was confirmed in Pend Oreille County in July 2009.

"Individual wolves have been moving in and out of Washington in recent years as their populations recover in nearby states," said Harriet Allen, WDFW’s manager for threatened and endangered species. "We knew it was just a matter of time before wolves returned to Washington and the plan will help us be ready to manage them."

The 12 meetings, all conducted from 6:30 to 9 p.m., will include information about wolves in Washington, the DEIS and preferred alternative draft wolf conservation and management plan, and an opportunity for public comments and questions. Participants will be encouraged to submit input through Jan. 8. The meetings will be held in the following locations:

  • Clarkston, Tuesday, Oct. 20, Walla Walla Community College lecture hall, 1470 Bridge St.
  • Richland, Wednesday, Oct. 21, Pacific NW National Laboratory auditorium, 904 Battelle Blvd.
  • Yakima, Thursday, Oct. 22, Red Lion Hotel Yakima Center, 607 E. Yakima Ave.
  • Colville, Monday, Oct. 26, N.E.WA Fairgrounds Ag-Trade Center, 317 West Astor Ave.
  • Spokane, Tuesday, Oct. 27, Spokane Valley Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place.
  • Vancouver, Wednesday, Oct. 28, Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way.
  • Aberdeen, Thursday, Oct. 29, Rotary Log Pavilion, east of Aberdeen, off Highway 12.
  • Seattle, Monday, Nov. 2, REI store, 222 Yale Ave. N.
  • Mount Vernon, Wednesday, Nov. 4, Cottontree Inn Convention Center, 2300 Market St.
  • Sequim, Thursday, Nov. 5, Guy Cole Convention Center at Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake Ave.
  • Omak, Monday, Nov. 9, Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex, Highway 97 South.
  • Wenatchee, Tuesday, Nov. 10, Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.
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