Archive for May 2011

Grays Harbor Paper Employees Get Time to Clean Out Their Lockers

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Former Grays Harbor Paper employees have 3 hours per day until Thursday to clean out their lockers at the mill. Rick Piercey, president of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers local 913 said that employees have between 10am and 1pm today through Thursday to get any personal belongings left at the mill, an informational meeting for employees is being held by the AWPPW 10 o’clock Tuesday morning at the Aberdeen Elks building.
Health coverage for those employees will end this evening. Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney, also of Durney Insurance said employees must have an application in by 5PM today to have no gap in coverage.  Monica Ewing with Durney Insurance said that coverage will also cover less, and cost more
“The lowest deductible on an individual plan is $1000 and most group insurances have lower deductables than that.” Ewing warns that time frames and loopholes can trip up former employees that may loose elegibility simply by missing a deadline.

Increased Charter Numbers Increasing Aquarium Numbers

 

WESTPORT, Wash. – With Bottom fishing booming, and Salmon Season later this month, the oddities are flying into the Westport Aquarium from local charter boats. Owner Marc Mercell said when charters catch the rare and unusual, they know who to call, but private fisherman need to understand “if we get a call from a boat, we go down and we collect it at the dock, they’re not in trouble and they can do that. as soon as they hit land and start walking towards the aquarium, then they can’t do that.”

Newer additions to the aquarium include a 5 foot Wolf Eal, and a Giant Pink Star Fish caught last month. Mercell said the Aquarium spent the memorial day weekend monitoring 4 stranded seal pups along the coast.

 

State Patrol Throws Hoops at Grays Harbor County

MONTESANO, Wash. – The State tells Grays Harbor County that they need to do more to access a national database to check for illegal immigrants. After attempting to integrate with the Secure Communities Interoperability Initiative, Grays Harbor county Sheriff Mike Wheelan said their agency was told they need to do morev “I’m now getting a second letter from Washington State Patrol saying [we] need to get the permission from everybody that books prisoners into your jail before [we] can participate.”
The program would allow the county jail access to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement database of known illegal immigrants, Wheelan said they are now being asked to get permission from over 20 police stations and municipal courts within the county in order to apply to the program.

Insurance Coverage Dwindles for Paper Mill Employees

According to Durney, there are some definite timeframes to keep in mind:  They must have an application in by May 31st at 5PM to have no gap in coverage.  There is a 90 day window to avoid underwriting and still have guaranteed acceptance, a 63 day window to still get credit for the 9 month pre-existing condition waiting period, and only a 31 day window to get children insured.  Timeframes begin with the date of coverage loss:  May 31st.

 

Monica’s phone number is 532-0905 (x-107 if you get our voice mail) and she is happy to answer questions.  Medical insurance is an EXTREMELY complex topic and she is a true expert.

Grays Harbor EDC Seeks Help in Wake of Shutdown

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Grays Harbor Economic Development Council has formed an exploratory group to investigate all options available for the Grays Harbor Paper facility in Hoquiam, Washington.  Core members of this team include the City of Hoquiam, City of Aberdeen, Grays Harbor Public Utility District and Port of Grays Harbor.  In addition, the Washington State Department of Commerce is working with the group.

 

Tim Gibbs, EDC Execudtive Director said several considerations are on the table, however it is too early to tell what options may be available for the facility and the workforce.  A commitment has been made to work through this situation as quickly as possible.  Restoring the family wage jobs that were lost is top priority. 

Revised Draft Wolf Plan Review Process

The plan is intended to guide state wolf management while wolves naturally disperse and re-establish a sustainable breeding population in the state. The plan contains recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists, as well as management strategies to address wolf-livestock conflicts.

 

The revised draft plan affirms 15 successful wolf breeding pairs as the goal for statewide wolf recovery. Among the revisions are proposals regarding lethal control of wolves observed attacking livestock and dogs, and WDFW management options if wolf predation limits at-risk populations of elk, deer or other ungulates.

 

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission—the citizen panel that guides WDFW policy— will be briefed on the draft plan and review process during its June 4 meeting at the Natural Resource Building in Olympia.

 

The 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group, which helped draft the plan, will meet June 8-9 to review the proposed revisions. The meeting will be held at the Heritage Center of the Kittitas Valley Event Center, 512 N. Poplar St., in Ellensburg, and will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 8, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 9.  As with past meetings of the advisory group, the working group’s meeting is open to the public but it is not a public-comment opportunity.

 

WDFW will consider guidance from the working group and may release further draft plan revisions, with an updated environmental impact statement, before the Fish and Wildlife Commission takes public comments on the draft plan during its Aug. 4-6 meeting in Olympia.

 

Two commission workshops on the draft wolf plan are scheduled in eastern and western Washington in September and October. Those workshops will be open to the public. The commission is scheduled to consider adoption of the plan during its Dec. 2-3 meeting in Olympia.

GRAYS HARBOR PAPER NEWS RELEASE

May 26th, 2011

 

For Immediate Release

 

Grays Harbor Paper, LLC, announced today the permanent shutdown of the Hoquiam, Washington facility effective immediately.  Patrick Quigg, President of Grays Harbor Paper (GHP), explained the continued high price of raw materials, lower than expected sales of high-value products, and accompanying cash flow considerations are the major factors contributing to the decision to shutdown. In addition, a recent major refinancing effort undertaken by GHP did not materialize.

 

For the past eighteen years, GHP has found innovative ways to make quality products and grow market share in a difficult business environment, while remaining cost competitive. “I want to  acknowledge the continued support of the stakeholders in our community and the industry, especially our loyal employees, without whom we would not have made it this far,” said Quigg.

 

Grays Harbor Paper is a manufacturer of uncoated copy and printing papers, currently employing 240 people. All of the employees will be affected by the shutdown with the exception of a small support crew to maintain the facilities and sell all remaining inventory. As for the company’s physical assets and equipment, Quigg indicated all options would be considered, including the potential sale of the entire plant to a business that would be capable of restarting operations.

WILD OLYMPICS, WILD NIGHT AT CITY HALL

Sparks flew, expletives were not deleted, but in the end, Aberdeen joined other groups and municipalities last night as city council members passed a resolution by a vote of 8 to 3 to oppose the Wild Olympics campaign.  Opponents of the campaign, including a group known as the “Working Wild Olympics”, say it is a 900 million dollar land grab.  U.S. Representative Norm Dicks has been steadfast in favor of the Wild Olympics. 

GRAYS HARBOR PAPER SHUTS DOWN

Up to 230 workers are out of work today following the shutdown of Grays Harbor Paper yesterday.  While we’ve been piecing together information for the past few days, it appears that paper production stopped around 11 am yesterday, after the company was unable to secure necessary financing to allow continued operation.  Current high market prices for wood pulp, a necessary ingredient in the manufacture of paper, was likely a major factor leading to the shutdown.

Grays Harbor Paper was once a part of the ITT Rayonier operation in Hoquiam, and was re-opened about 18 years ago by a number of local investors.

First calls regarding layoffs came in late Tuesday, with reports coming in from other sources inside and outside the company much of the day yesterday.

Management declined to provide any information yesterday but indicated that a public statement should be available sometime today, which hopefully will shed some light on the future of Grays Harbor Paper and the many employees who are now without jobs.

Feral Cat Program Receives Grant Funding

The funds for this grant award are made possible by the sale of Washington State “We Love Our Pets” license plates. In an effort to be proactive regarding the pet overpopulation problem in our state, revenue from the sale of these license plates have been earmarked through an agreement with the State of Washington for actual spay/neuter surgeries for dogs and cats in our state.  Since the sale of the “We Love Our Pets” license plates began in 2006, more than $230,000 in grant funds have been awarded by The Federation, enabling the completion of nearly 9,000 spay/neuter surgeries in Washington State.

Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project’s mission is to save the lives of homeless cats by providing access to high volume spay/neuter surgery in a safe and humane environment, collaborating with others and mentoring like-minded organizations to increase spay/neuter in their regions.  This grant will be used to fund five extra clinics that will be open exclusively to cats 6 months of age or younger.  To find out more information about dates of these clinics, call 425-673-2287 x2.