Archive for November 2012

Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – #1 Elf Edition

Geez, she’s been baking cookies for more years than I can count, she doesn’t need their help. And when the hot chocolate comes out, do they ever think to set a mug aside for me? Nooo! Sometimes I wonder why I ever applied for this job as Head Elf. Just listen to me complaining! Ridiculous, isn’t it- they all know how much I love this place. Come the first time out on the sleigh, I’m the one jingling the bells, singing at the top of my lungs, and wanting to stay the longest.

So, the list of appearances. Should get that confirmed right now. The old fellow really loves seeing a line of children waiting to see him when he arrives. And hot mulled cider, he loves that stuff! Okay, says right here on my Ipad calendar that our very first visit is in Hoquiam, Washington, United States- on the west coast. Time of arrival, 11am. Good, that means that they’ll be serving us lunch. It’s a long trip from the North Pole to Hoquiam, my oatmeal will be worn off by then. Ah, says that this is a Holiday Open House at a Farmers Market! Oh, yeah, so much better than a Department Store. Homey, good stuff made by the local folks- kind of like our best workshop products, the ones we save for the discriminating kids and adults who appreciate things like wooden toys, hand knit slippers, tie dye T-shirts, great art work, stained glass, one of a kind jewelry, garden sculptures, wooden drums, and really fine pies and cookies. That’s the kind of place that the old fellow really appreciates. Like the old days, when everything was crafted by hand. Yes, we’re going to enjoy this one. I see that the folks at the Farmers Market are inviting customers to come over and sample all the food with us! Oh, us elves are a sociable bunch. Nothing we like better than loading up a buffet plate with goodies and getting to know somebody new. Always learning things from these outings- who’s been naughty, who’s been nice, who makes the very best cookies in town. But even elves can’t live on cookies alone. We need our veggies and fruits, and for protein we’re awfully partial to fine sausages. Yup, they have those too. Sounds like this place fits the bill perfectly- now I’m getting excited for the Christmas season!

Barbara Bennett Parsons, #1 Elf during the Xmas Season. 538-9747

Dec. 1st , 11am Santa arrives in Hoquiam!

Public Meeting in Raymond to Address Japanese Eelgrass

RAYMOND, Wash. – The state Department of Ecology (Ecology) is holding an informational public meeting about developing a new water quality permit for commercial shellfish growers to treat non-native Japanese eelgrass that has colonized their commercial clam beds in Willapa Bay in Pacific County.

The growers asked Ecology to develop a permit for the use of the aquatic herbicide imazamox to help them manage the growth of Japanese eelgrass on their shellfish beds.

The permit would be a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit issued by Ecology. It would not cover geoduck culture and it would only be allowed on commercially managed clam beds in Willapa Bay.

Ecology will hold a public informational session at 1 p.m., Dec. 6, at Riverview Education Center – Room 101, Grays Harbor College, 600 Washington Ave. in Raymond. See map here, at the bottom of the web page.

Japanese eelgrass is listed as a noxious weed. For more information visit the Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board website.

Ecology will hold further public involvement opportunities while the permit is being developed. If you have questions about the meeting, contact Ecology’s Nathan Lubliner at 360-407-6563.

Public invited to reception honoring Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner Tom Casey

ABERDEEN, Wash. – A public reception will be held December 14, 2012 honoring Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner Tom Casey who is retiring from the Board of Commissioners after almost 30 years of service. Casey is the longest serving Grays Harbor PUD Commissioner, he will conclude his fifth term at the end of 2012. The public is invited to visit anytime between 2pm-6pm, December 14, 2012 at the Nichols Building meeting room located at 220 Myrtle Street, Hoquiam, Washington (corner of Myrtle and Sumner Ave.). Cake and refreshments will be provided.

Tom Casey was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1982.  He was a Citizen Activist on energy and utility issues four years prior to his election.  He was a Policy Analyst with the Washington State House of Representatives from 1973 to 1978.  He currently serves on the Board of Energy Northwest.  Tom lives at his upper Satsop cattle ranch with his family and was recently elected to serve his fifth term as PUD Commissioner – a term which will run through 2012. Tom is the President of the Shelton Drag Racing Association and enjoys racing his “vintage” muscle cars. 

Two Arrests Made in Elma Bank Robbery Investigation

ELMA, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department reports they have made two arrests in reference to the Anchor Bank Robbery in Elma on November 20th. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us investigators contacted authorities at the Mason County Jail and presented the photograph of the suspect from the bank surveillance footage. A correctional officer was able to identify the suspect as Jerry Thomas Upson of Shelton. Upson is 32 years of age and has prior Robbery convictions in Thurston and Mason Counties.

Investigators were assisted by the Mason County Sheriff’s Department in contacting friends and family of Upson. They learned that Upson did own a white colored Dodge Stratus which was the same vehicle seen in the surveillance video of the suspects. This vehicle has since been located and impounded, Upson was located and arrested later yesterday.

Investigators also learned that Upson usually associated with another Shelton man. This individual was located in Shelton and arrested on an unrelated warrant. Investigators eventually learned that this 26 year old Shelton man was with Upson when the Robbery occurred. This individual was subsequently transported to the Grays Harbor County Jail and booked for first degree robbery.

Grays Harbor County Detectives located Jerry Upson Thursday morning at approximately 11:30 am near his parent’s residence in Shelton and took him into custody. Upson was booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail for 1st degree Robbery.

Public Meeting Planned on Grays Harbor Navigation Improvements

The Grays Harbor federal navigation deep draft channel is 250 feet wide at Cosmopolis, increasing to 1,000 feet over the Bar at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The currently maintained channel depth is -36 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) from the South Reach to the Cow Point Reach, where Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 4 is located. The channel then decreases to -32 feet MLLW through Cosmopolis.
The Corps is investigating the feasibility of dredging the channel from the South Reach upstream to Cow Point to its fully authorized depth of -38 feet MLLW. This project covers approximately 14.5 miles of the 27.5 mile channel. Deepening of the relevant portion of the Grays Harbor navigation channel to -38 feet MLLW was authorized by Congress in 1986, but a 1989 economic evaluation found that dredging only to -36 feet MLLW was economically justified at that time. The study will evaluate implementing the previously authorized -38-foot depth through a Limited Reevaluation Report and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), building on the original 1982 EIS and its 1989 Supplement.
The Corps dredges the deep draft channel annually at an average cost of $9 million. The annual volume removed averages 1.7 million cubic yards. Westport Marina and the entrance channel require infrequent maintenance dredging. However, periodic maintenance of the groin, revetment and breakwater structures is currently required.
Although there are overlapping resource considerations, such as disposition of material dredged from a deepened channel, this Navigation Improvement Project is distinct from and independent of the Long Term Management Strategy addressing operation and maintenance of the present channel.
For additional information about Grays Harbor Navigation visit our website at: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil 
and click on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under “Most Requested.”

No Need to be Alarmed at Disaster Drills in Elma

ELMA, Wash. – A full scale disaster exercise next week in the East County might turn some heads, Chuck Wallace with the county Emergency Management Agency tells us an exercise involving Northwest Pipeline (Natural Gas) and various Grays Harbor response agencies on Wednesday Dec 5th will conduct Earthquake, leak, explosion, injuries and response drills at the Grays Harbor Energy facility off of Keys Road in Elma.
Also – There will be equipment and fire apparatus moving throughout the exercise. While this is just a drill, it will result in some road closures along low traveled roads in the area.

Body Armor Donated in Memory of Slain Hoquiam Officer

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The Aberdeen Police Department, and it’s interagency SWAT Team will be getting some new body armor, compliments of a new tenant at the Port of Grays Harbor. Reed Composite Solutions will donate 10 sets of the lifesaving equipment at a special ribbon cutting ceremony in December.

Ryan Reed from Reed Composite Solutions told port commissioners recently that he’s been pretty busy since the startup leased space in the port’s Coastal Innovation Zone. “We’ve already done some work with the City of Aberdeen, and we’re working with the Department of Homeland Security in their new office. The local police forces have taken quite an interest in the body armor plate. I’m happy to report that not only do we have backlog business locally, nationwide, but also internationally.”

Donald M. Burke

The equipment is being donated in the memory of Hoquiam Officer Donald M. Burke, killed in the line of duty when a routine traffic stop turned tragic on April 16th, 1980.
The company’s partner Victory Tactical Gear is providing the plates, founded in 2010 by active and retired law enforcement officers, their mission is to design and manufacture important life protection equipment and tactical gear.

Montesano Banks Another Percent of Property Tax

MONTESANO, Wash. – The city of Montesano this week opted again to skip it’s annual property tax increase, avoiding a hike of about $8 per ratepayer. Councilman Rich Klinger said before the vote “I know we could use it, but on the other hand for the people that aren’t working; that adds up. There’s a lot of people that are barely making their house payments.”
The council voted to do the same last year, a common practice for taxing authorities wanting to give their ratepayers a break. However as Community Development Director Mike Wincewicz pointed out last night, they could be making a tough pill to swallow for future generations. There’s no limit to how many years a municipality can bank that 1% increase “so if council chooses to bank one percent for ten years in a row, a new elected body comes on board, they can bump property taxes 11% in one year.” Since 1986, the state Legislature has allowed the practice, The agencies can exceed the 1 percent increase because they didn’t collect the taxes allowed in years past, choosing to “bank” the increases instead.
The Montesano council voted to bank their 1% for a second year, next year the council will decide on a 3% increase. The state department of revenue estimates there is about $108-million in “Banked Capacity,” or about 3.4% more than current levies statewide.

Bill Hardy General Q and A

Bridge Replacement Project West of Raymond Lowers Speed Limit

RAYMOND, Wash. – Drivers on both directions of State Route 105 west of Raymond will encounter an enforceable speed limit reduction starting at 7 a.m. Monday, Dec. 3.

The speed limit will be temporarily reduced from 55 mph to 25 mph from just south of the Smith Creek Bridge to just north of the North River Bridge (mileposts 9.7 to 10.9).

The speed limit reduction will be in place while contractor crews working with the Washington State Department of Transportation replace the existing timber trestle bridges over Smith Creek and North River with wider, safer crossings.

This speed reduction will be in effect around the clock until bridge construction is complete. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2014.

Stay informed of traffic impacts by visiting WSDOT’s travel alerts and construction update web pages.