Archive for March 2011

Human Skeleton Found Near Mineral

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating a partial human skull found in a wooded area near Mineral on Saturday, March 26, 2011.

The skull was located by someone hiking in the area. Detectives, with the assistance of Lewis County Search and Rescue, are continuing to search the area for potential evidence.

At this time, identification of the skull is unknown. The skull will be sent to a forensic pathologist for further examination.

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Time to Check for Unclaimed Property

If you don’t have money coming from Washington’s unclaimed property, you may have it coming from other states where you once lived. That includes Peggy Hagerman of Seattle, who just discovered she has $3,800 in unclaimed cash in California. She went to, a link to other states’ unclaimed property programs that she learned about through Washington’s site.

Hagerman said the funds were in a bank account that her late mother had administered for the estate of an aunt.  “I had no idea any funds were left, so that was pretty exciting,” she said. “We can use it!”

The Department even contacts individuals with large amounts of unclaimed money.  Take Larry Miles of Bellevue, who learned from the Department’s finder, Frank Marshall, that he had $16,000 due from the cash value of a life insurance policy.

“It was a little bit of a windfall that I was unaware of,” Miles said.  “Had he not made the outreach, I certainly would not have known it was out there.”

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Kreidler fines insurers $167,000 for violations, including overcharging customers

Fines and disciplinary actions so far this year include:

  • Aetna Life Insurance Co., of Hartford, Conn., was fined $65,000 for violations, including unreasonably denying 220 claims for acupuncture treatment. The company also refunded $16,427 to policyholders.
  • Ace American Insurance Co., of Philadelphia, Penn., was fined $50,000 for violations, including using rates that it had not filed with the state.
  • Progressive American Insurance Co., Progressive Northwestern Insurance Co, and Progressive Max Insurance Co, all of Mayfield Village, Ohio, were fined $30,000 for improperly deducting sales tax and fees from cash value calculations in more than 1,700 auto claims. The company also refunded $415,299 to customers.
  • Homesite Insurance Company of the Midwest, of Mandan, N. Dakota, was fined $12,000 for overcharging more than 300 policyholders for renter’s insurance. The policyholders are receiving refunds.
    • Austin Mutual Insurance Co., of Maple Grove, MN, was fined $10,000 for issuing insurance policies that weren’t in accordance with the rates it had filed with the state. As a result, 324 policyholders were overcharged a total of $26,200. The company also agreed to refund the overcharges to policyholders within 60 days.
    • Doctors and Surgeons Benefit Association, of Charlestown, Nevis, West Indies;  and several related entities were ordered to stop selling unauthorized insurance in Washington state.


In addition, Kreidler also took the following actions against agents or brokers:


  • Mitchell A. Steitz, of Cashmere: License revoked, effective March 31, for misappropriating $12,500 from clients and spending it himself, rather than investing it.
  • Allen D. James, of Sumner, agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for failing to promptly pay a premium refund to a client.

Enforcement actions like these are often prompted by consumer complaints to the insurance commissioner’s office. Anyone with a complaint against an insurer, agent or broker can contact the office at 1-800-562-6900 or file a complaint online at

Orders and other documentation about these cases are posted online at


Note: In some cases, the fines were larger, but a portion was suspended on the condition that the companies follow compliance plans to remedy the problems. The fines listed above are what’s actually being paid.

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April brings flurry of ‘opening days’ leading to statewide lake trout season

Licenses and permits are avaiIable online , by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state. A list of license vendors is available online and from local WDFW offices around the state.

Key dates for anglers and hunters to keep in mind for the month of April include:

  • April 2-3 – A two-day spring turkey hunt for hunters age 15 and younger is scheduled statewide.
  • April 4 – Spring chinook fishery closes below Bonneville Dam, but could reopen after a catch assessment.
  • April 7-9 – Morning razor-clam dig scheduled at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, pending the results of marine toxin tests. See WDFW’s razor clam webpage for details.
  • April 15 – The general spring turkey hunt opens for hunters of all ages and runs through May 31. See WDFW’s Washington Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet for details.
  • April 16 – Lingcod fishing opens off Neah Bay in Marine Area 4. The fishery has been open in ocean marine areas 1-3 since mid-March.
  • April 19-23 – Morning razor-clam dig scheduled at several beaches, pending the results of marine toxin tests. See WDFW’s razor clam webpage for details.
  • April 30 – Several hundred lowland lakes open to trout fishing across the state for the biggest “opening day” of the year.

For more information about these and other outdoor activities coming up in the weeks ahead, see the region-by-region Weekender Reports on WDFW’s website. These reports are updated throughout the month for changes in fishing rules and other developments throughout the state.

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County Commissioner Herb Welch

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Conservative Comments with Mike Yarmakovich

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Commentary from the Left with Gary Murrell

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