Quinault Tribe Sends Sharp Message

ABERDEEN, Wash. – A reply letter from the Quinault Indian Nation says they plan to move ahead with a QMart2 store near B street 7-11 in Aberdeen. President Fawn Sharp said in her letter that a best-use analysis led to the plans for a convenience store with fuel, and seafood.
Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson wrote a letter to the Liquor Control Board recently, protesting a liquor license for the store, due mostly to the crime rate in the area near the trust land.
Sharp said sharply that it was unfair and misguided to lay blame on the Tribe for problems Aberdeen faces with crime, and regretted that the city had been had been unable to deal with these challenges more effectively.

Washington Employment Numbers Surge in January

For example, benchmarked data show that Washington gained about 53,500 jobs in 2011, compared to the 26,600 jobs previously reported.

“These numbers show that our economy is gaining strength, and that’s great news to start to the new year,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause.

Industry sectors that had the most job growth in January were professional & business services, which added 5,500 jobs; retail trade, up 2,700 jobs; education & health services, up 2,300; wholesale trade, up 1,100; leisure & hospitality, up 1,100; construction, up 900; information, up 500; and financial activities, up 500 jobs.

Industries with the most job losses included government, down 1,100; other services, down 200; and mining & logging, down 200.

Since the low point in the recession, the state has regained about 98,000 jobs.

An estimated 291,400 people (seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in January. As of Feb. 25, 74,616 workers in Washington had run out of all unemployment benefits.  

Hoquiam Teacher Resigns Amid Investigation of Immoral Behavior

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Wesley Phillips has resigned as science teacher at Hoquiam High School. Placed on administrative leave earlier this month, Phillips faces felony charges of voyeurism and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes involving as many as four 12- and 13-year-old girls.
School Superintendent Mike Parker tells us some science teachers have been shuffled around within the district to fill the vacant desk.The district has also hired a substitute teacher at the middle school to backfill one position.
Phillips tendered his resignation at a special school board meeting earlier this morning.

Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Leap Day Edition

Okay, back to earth momentarily. Fran Brongil needs canning jars for a project! Fran is always coming up with outrageous new projects, and this one is under wraps until she unveils the final result. But this we know- it involves canning jars.
Fran is our vendor who makes the gorgeous jewelry in the booth just to the left of our front doors. If you have any jars to donate, just bring them in and put them in her booth.
I used to wonder if there would ever come a time in my life when I would be coy about my age, try to ignore birthdays, and wear age inappropriate clothing. Wait- I probably do push it on the age appropriate clothing part- but I could never get away with hiding my age. When you live in the same small town as lots of people you went to school with, it just isn’t possible. They’d fall over laughing if I tried to pull that sort of silliness! So instead, I’m the first one to crow over the fact that I have another birthday coming up this week. This isn’t a milestone birthday, so don’t rush to throw me a party, that can wait until next year. Better put it in your 2013 calendar though.
I love the old guys who still see me as a hot chick. Bless them! Every woman needs to have that sort of affirmation in her life. My second father( I know, it’s a long story, my weekly readers know the history) was the same age that my own dear father would have been. John always saw me as ‘the kid’ and treated me as if I’d been his very own daughter. We were sitting at breakfast one morning many years ago, when I was a youngster of just thirty five. John got up for more coffee and suddenly I yelped as he yanked a hair from my head. He held a revolting grey hair in his hand, a look of triumph on his face. Said it had been bothering him for days and he couldn’t bear the thought of me having a grey hair. It was a startling way to begin my day, but it makes me chuckle to recall. Naturally, that was the one and only grey hair ever discovered on my auburn tresses. Right?
There have been good years, not so good years, pretty awful years, and great years. It’s taken every single one of those years to mold me into the person I am, for better or for worse. I think that birthdays are a good time to think about the people who have given a helping hand along the way. As a teenager I had allergies and took twice weekly allergen shots. Donna Vanderwegan was the nurse with the needle, and she dispensed wisdom and kindness along with the medicine. Donna had a way of being interested in my life and gently offering advice that has stayed with me always. Probably the same advice that my mother gave, but no one listens to their own mother at that age. There was my high school English teacher, MaryAnn Mason, who referred to me as being a catalyst. I had to ask her what that meant. Uncle Alan had another way of saying the same thing- he called me ‘Storm Along’, my middle name being Gale. I still don’t get it, since my self image is of a shy wall flower. Go figure.
Most of all, on my birthday I think about my parents. I imagine their struggles, recall the occasional misery I caused them, and I remember the last days that we spent together back in 1974. I would give anything in this world to be celebrating my birthday with them again. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss them, so I talk to them anyway. They listen.
Now I look in the mirror and see my mother’s eyes, my father’s smile. All those lessons that they were certain I didn’t hear come flooding back to me now, they have become the rulebook by which I live. My parents gave me life, and they gave me unending love. That is what I will be celebrating on my birthday.
Barbara Bennett Parsons, born March 2nd, 1953. Manager of the Hoquiam Farmers Market. A cinnamon roll will do quite nicely as a birthday cake!
1958 Riverside in Hoquiam, 538-9747, Deidra’s Deli 538-5880

Strong Returns of Columbia River Chinook, Coastal Coho Projected

Phil Anderson, WDFW director, said protecting and restoring weak wild salmon populations will continue to be the top priority as fishery managers develop salmon seasons.

“Over the next few weeks, we will work with tribal co-managers and constituents to establish fishing opportunities on abundant runs of hatchery salmon while ensuring we meet or exceed conservation objectives for wild fish populations,” said Anderson.

Anderson noted that state budget reductions over the past three years are also a factor in designing fisheries that can be managed effectively with a reduced staff. State general-fund support for WDFW has been reduced by $38.2 million, or nearly 40 percent, since 2009.

As in past years, salmon-fishing prospects in 2012 vary by area:

  • Columbia River: About 651,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River this season – a run size similar to the last couple year’s returns, said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy coordinator for WDFW.
    More than half of the chinook anticipated this year – about 353,000 salmon – will be “upriver brights” headed to the Hanford Reach area and the Snake River. That would be the fourth largest run of upriver brights since 1964, when fishery managers began keeping detailed records, said LeFleur.
    While the chinook run is expected to be up, the forecast of 317,000 Columbia River coho is about 45,000 fish below last year’s projection.
    “I’m expecting salmon fisheries to look a lot like last year,” said LeFleur. “We had some great fishing in 2011, especially for fall chinook in the mainstem upstream of Buoy 10. Anglers fishing that section caught a record 28,300 chinook last season.”
  • Washington’s ocean waters: Nearly 191,000 hatchery chinook are expected to return this year to the lower Columbia River. Those salmon, known as “tules,” traditionally have been the backbone of the recreational ocean chinook fishery. The 317,000 coho salmon bound for the Columbia River also account for a significant portion of the ocean catch.
    “It’s still early in the process, but we will likely have an ocean salmon fishery similar to what we have seen the last two years, when we had an abundance of chinook in the ocean but low numbers of hatchery coho,” said Doug Milward, ocean salmon fishery manager for WDFW.
  • Coastal bays and rivers: Strong returns of wild coho salmon are expected this year to many of Washington’s coastal streams, including the Queets, Quillayute, and Hoh rivers, as well as to Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay area rivers, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW. 
    “If the wild runs come in at forecast, fishing opportunities for coho in those areas should be great this year,” he said.
  • Puget Sound: Overall, coho returns to Puget Sound are expected to be lower than last season. About 732,000 coho are forecast to return to Puget Sound streams, 249,000 below last year’s forecast.
    But there are some bright spots for coho in the Sound, including returns to the Nooksack and Samish rivers, said Steve Thiesfeld, Puget Sound salmon manager for WDFW. Coho returns to those two rivers are expected to total about 88,000 fish this season.
    Thiesfeld said another bright spot for anglers is Baker Lake, where an abundant sockeye salmon return of about 35,400 fish is expected this season.
    Meanwhile, summer/fall chinook salmon returns to Puget Sound are expected to total about 224,000 fish, slightly below last year’s projection of 243,000. The bulk of that return is hatchery chinook. 
    To protect low returns of wild chinook to the Skagit, Snohomish, Stillaguamish and Green (Duwamish) rivers, fisheries throughout Puget Sound will likely be limited to those that focus on hatchery chinook, said Thiesfeld.

State, tribal and federal fishery managers will meet March 2-7 in Sacramento, Calif., with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to develop options for this year’s commercial and recreational ocean chinook and coho salmon fisheries. The PFMC establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.

Additional public meetings have been scheduled in March to discuss regional fishery issues. Input from these regional discussions will be considered as the season-setting process moves into the “North of Falcon” and PFMC meetings, which will determine the final 2012 salmon seasons.

The PFMC is expected to adopt final ocean fishing seasons and harvest levels at its April 1-6 meeting in Seattle. The 2012 salmon fisheries package for Washington’s inside waters will be completed by the state and tribal co-managers during the PFMC’s April meeting.

Agencies Take Action to Prevent Wild Geoduck Poaching

“This situation represents a significant threat to a highly valuable shellfish resource,” said WDFW Director Phil Anderson. “Geoduck poaching is particularly damaging because the species grows slowly over a long period.”

While recovery on south Puget Sound’s closed commercial tracts progressed as expected until 2000, it has slowed or declined significantly over the last decade, according to state biologists.

WDFW and DNR are working together on a number of fronts to respond to the stalled recovery. As part of the response, WDFW and DNR will work with tribes, which also are affected when poaching decimates wild stocks.

Strategies include enforcement action aimed at preventing poaching, evaluating environmental factors that may be contributing to the decline, seeking legislative budget support for additional field enforcement and reviewing harvest regulations. The proposed house budget contains a half million dollars for increased enforcement.

Geoducks are the largest of the state’s native clam species, growing to an average size of about two pounds by the time they are four to five years old. They can live for more than 100 years and reach weights close to 10 pounds. The clams are highly valuable, fetching up to $160 per pound on the international retail market.

Wild geoduck harvest in Washington State

DNR manages the submerged marine lands in which the wild geoduck grows. At public auctions, DNR offers the right for private businesses to harvest specific quantities from specific areas of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. DNR monitors all managed harvesting activities.

Goals for the State’s Geoduck Program are to encourage a stable and orderly harvest; provide maximum benefits of geoduck resources to the people of Washington; minimize affects to shoreline residents during harvests; and ensure effective enforcement of the state harvest.