Archive for December 2009

Mason County Detectives Request Public’s Help To Identify Suspect

SHELTON, Wash. – Mason County Sheriff’s Detectives are requesting the public’s help in identifying a man who made unwanted advances to a 7year old boy at the Theler Center in Belfair on the afternoon of November 24, 2009.

According to investigators the boy was attending a Cub Scout Meeting at Theler Center during the late afternoon hours.  The boy went to the restroom and was confronted by a male who tried to engage him in conversation and then accosted him.  The boy was able to escape without injury.  The incident was not reported until the next day when the boy disclosed details of the incident to his mother.

Detectives say they have exhausted all leads in this case, but say they want to talk to the white male in his late teens to early 20’s, who was wearing a dark T shirt with a sail boat across the chest with cursive writing below the boat.  This person of interest is described as about 6 feet tall, with short brown hair and a thin build.

If anyone has information about this person or the incident, they are requested to call the Mason County Sheriff’s Office at (360) 275-4467 (Ext 313) or 911.  As always, citizens are encouraged not to approach suspects, but simply call and report.

Special Weather Statement for Grays Harbor County

    The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for the Southwest Washington Coast, indicating a increasing threat for coastal flooding Thursday through Saturday over this New Year’s Holiday.
   Increasingly high astronomical tides, due to a full Moon, Southwest winds ranging from 20-33 MPH and very large coastal wave swells between 20-25 feet will combine to create minor to moderate tidal overflow conditions.
   There will be two wind episodes that will impact the coastal areas. The first will begin Thursday afternoon which will arrive at the same time as one of the highest high tides of the year.  The second Southwesterly wind episode will develop midday Friday (New Year’s Day) and continue through Saturday morning. A full Moon and extremely dangerous surf conditions with swells reaching 20-25 feet by Friday afternoon and lasting into the late night hours will add to the problems. The chance of tidal flooding is far greater over Friday into Saturday. Rain will continue to fall and the runoff into the rivers will add to the magnitude of the tidal and coastal flooding.
   There is still uncertainty as to how much of an impact these conditions will create upon the area.
 
   Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is asking all who venture onto the beaches for the area Clam digs over the New Year’s Holiday to exercise extreme caution. DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK TO THE SEA! Dangerous wave swells will be very unpredictable and can reach 20-25 feet with long runs up the beaches by the onrushing water. Waves will be powerful enough to sweep a person from the beach. Be alert for logs, debris and beach erosion, as this is common during high surf conditions.  

Special Weather Statement for Pacific County

South Bend, Washington – The National Weather Service, Portland Office issued a special weather statement, regarding the potential for wind and coastal storm surge later in the week. 
 
Increasingly high astronomical tides combined with moderate southerly winds Thursday through Saturday may result in the potential for coastal flooding toward the end of this week. The first episode of wind will occur midday Thursday which coincides with one of the highest high tides of the year.
 
A second wind event will develop midday Friday also near the time of high tide, continuing through Saturday morning. The most susceptible time for tidal overflow or coastal flooding will be midday Friday and again midday Saturday. 
 
At Toke Point near Willapa Bay astronomical high tides of 11.1 ft will occur at the midday tides Thursday and Friday. Water Levels over 11 ft create minor tidal overflows while 14.5 ft is the threshold for more widespread coastal flooding. The magnitude of tidal anomaly is still uncertain. 
 
In addition, rain showers may be mixed with snow in the coast range, with snow levels rising above 3000 feet in the afternoon. 
 
Residents are urged to check the National Weather Service website prior to travelling over the holiday weekend at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/

Record coho returns boost Columbia River restoration

The rise in adult coho returning past seven or more mainstem Columbia dams to spawn this winter in upriver tributaries exceeds all expectations, said Tom Scribner, the Yakama Nation’s project leader. While most of the returning fish came from hatcheries, an expanding share comes from natural spawning that biologists hope will resurrect self-sustaining wild stocks.

The return of spawning coho to the upper Columbia reflects the success of a pioneering reintroduction strategy that no one had attempted before. The program is funded by BPA, Chelan County Public Utility District, Grant County Public Utility District and NOAA-Fisheries.

Biologists began rekindling the upriver runs in the 1990s with hatchery-bred fish from the lower Columbia, since no local coho adapted to the upper Columbia were left. Some wondered whether lower river fish, after many generations in hatcheries, could rebuild runs that would have to migrate hundreds of miles farther up the Columbia, past several major dams.

“There was a question whether it was really possible to do this so far above the dams,” said Roy Beaty, BPA’s project manager for upper Columbia coho restoration. “We really didn’t know whether the fish could swim that far.”

Coho returns past Rock Island Dam on Columbia River
Coho returns past Rock Island Dam on the Columbia River near Wenatchee, Wash.
BPA

Irrigation diversions and development wiped out some 90 percent of native coho from the middle and upper Columbia during the late 1800s. A remnant population hung on but largely vanished by about 1980. Upriver coho did not receive protection under the Endangered Species Act, since none were left to protect.

“Coho are a kind of Rodney Dangerfield of the Columbia River anadromous fish world – they don’t get much respect,” said Nancy Weintraub, a BPA project manager who works on coho. “It’s great to see them succeed.”

BPA now funds the coho restoration program through the Columbia River Fish Accords and is completing an environmental impact statement assessing the construction and long-term operation of program facilities.

BPA is a not-for-profit federal electric utility that operates a high-voltage transmission grid comprising more than 15,000 miles of lines and associated substations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  It also markets more than a third of the electricity consumed in the Pacific Northwest. The power is produced at 31 federal dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and one nuclear plant in the Northwest and is sold to more than 140 Northwest utilities.  BPA purchases power from seven wind projects and has more than 2,300 megawatts of wind interconnected to its transmission system

Grays Harbor PUD Looks to Rate Increases in 2010

“In addition, the economy is having an impact on revenues from secondary power sales. Grays Harbor PUD has a good track record in selling surplus power in Western electricity markets and using that revenue to reduce or prevent rate increases. But power prices are down, and that means revenues from surplus power sales are declining. We are projecting decreased revenues in 2010 from the sale of surplus power which plays a significant role in our financial situation,” said Casey.

Voter-approved I-937, now known as the Energy Independence Act, requires utilities with 25,000 or more customers (Grays Harbor PUD has over 43,000) to provide a specific percentage of their energy from renewable energy resources and implement “all cost-effective” energy conservation. The PUD has been obligated to make significant investments in developing wind farms and other renewable projects because hydropower, which makes up most of the PUD’s power resources, is not an “eligible renewable resource” that can be applied to the meet the state mandates.

Grays Harbor PUD, which has not increased customer rates since 2001, receives 78 percent of its total power resources from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and has been significantly impacted by the costly rate increase enacted by BPA last October. Based on Grays Harbor PUD’s BPA contracts, the impact to the District is a 4.6% increase in cost.

The proposed rate increase would also provide funds to pay for future capital improvements which will reduce the utility’s long term debt.

The Board of Commissioners will consider PUD staff recommendations regarding the possible rate increase at the January 11, 2010 Commission meeting.

In addition to covering the significant costs of increased power rates and conservation and renewable energy investments, the Operations and Maintenance Budget approved by the Commission, totaling $84.8 million, also provides additional funding for tree trimming to minimize power outages caused by vegetation, substation maintenance work, and investments in the communication system that monitors and controls the electrical system, ensuring continued first-class and reliable PUD service.

Hoquiam Harbor Drug Burglary Targets Narcotics

Officers processed the scene for latent evidence and did recover an item apparently left by the suspect. Information regarding the burglary was forwarded to the Investigations Division for follow-up, as well as detectives in the Grays Harbor Drug Task Force. A summary of the case will also be referred to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration which tracks prescription diversion crimes across the region.
 
Although the method of entry was similar to a burglary at Chris’ Motorcycle Shop back in September, the suspect in that case is currently in custody. He was located last weekend and interviewed by Detective Sergeant Fretts. Some of the leather motorcycle jackets stolen in the burglary have been recovered and the suspect did provide a statement regarding the crime.
 

Persons with information regarding the burglary of Harbor Drug are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Steve Fretts at 360-532-0892 x 102 or Detective James Gaddis at x 109.

Hoquiam Assists in Grays Harbor Drug Task Force Bust

One 21-year old Hoquiam man and one 51-year old Hoquiam man (who is also a level I sex offender) were booked at the county jail on felony drug charges (both reside at the home). A 28-year old man who was apparently staying at the house was arrested and booked at the Hoquiam Jail on an outstanding Hoquiam warrant for disorderly conduct and obstructing a law enforcement officer. The man later posted bail to the court and was released.
 
The Grays Harbor Drug Task Force is a multi-agency team made up of detectives from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department, the Aberdeen Police Department and the Hoquiam Police Department. Detective Sergeant Keith Fouts, the DTF supervisor, characterized this raid as a “local clean up” of an alleged neighborhood drug dealer that the DTF came across while working a larger investigation.
 

The Hoquiam Police Department is very appreciative of the efforts of the detectives assigned to the Drug Task Force and recognize that raids such as this send a strong message to drug dealers in our neighborhoods. The homeowner will be put on official notice that subsequent drug dealing from her home may subject the property to forfeiture.

School Rivalry Turns Into School Bus Vandalism

The bus driver (who was alone in the bus at the time) then heard a loud bang which she believed was a gunshot, followed by one bus window shattering out. Officers investigated the damage and determined that it was likely caused by a blunt object, such as a baseball bat, and not a firearm.
 
Administrators at Hoquiam High School were notified of the incident and did report that there had been some issues between some students at the earlier Hoquiam-Longview basketball game. The case has been referred to the school administration as well as detectives for additional follow-up. The suspect(s) responsible for the damage are encouraged to contact the school immediately.
 

Persons with information regarding the damage to the bus are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Steve Fretts at 360-532-0892 x 102 or Detective James Gaddis at x 109.

New WA Payday Loan Limits Take Effect Jan. 1

She says the installment plan gives the borrower 90 days to pay back a loan of $400 or less and 180 days for larger amounts. The new law also sets out specific rules for when and how often a lender can contact a borrower who is behind on payments.

According to Bortner, payday lenders do not like the new law because they make more money by rolling over one loan into another. However, with more than $1 billion in short-term loans made per year across the state, she says lawmakers decided both lenders and borrowers needed some limits.

The DFI web site contains an explanation of the new laws and offers the ability to verify whether a lender is licensed, at www.dfi.wa.gov.

Monthly Testing Time for AHAB Sirens

Montesano, WA – Grays Harbor County will conduct its monthly countywide AHAB (All Hazard Alert Broadcast) Siren test on Monday, January 04, 2010, at noon.
 
AHAB sirens are located in Pacific Beach, Copalis Beach, Ocean City, Ocean Shores, Hoquiam, Aberdeen, Moclips, Westport and Grayland.  All Grays Harbor County sirens will be included in the test beginning at noon.
 
AHAB sirens have a range of about one mile in radius depending on topography and weather. The activation will be Westminster Chimes followed by a test voice message. These sirens are meant to provide emergency notification to people who are outside.  Residents and businesses located within a tsunami inundation area are encouraged to maintain a working NOAA Weather Radio.