Imaginary Earthquake Strikes Nearby, Thousands Prepared, Are You?

Imagine, you are settled in at work this morning and your children are in their classrooms at school. Your parents are waiting in line at the supermarket when all of a sudden, the ground begins to rumble and shake. Pictures and computers fall from walls and desks. Light fixtures from the ceiling of your child’s classroom fall, shattering glass all over the room. Bricks, boards and window glass fall to the street from homes and businesses.

For 45 seconds the ground shakes and rumbles as food on shelves tumbles to the floor in local stores. Roadways roll, sway and begin to crack, opening large crevices and potholes. Water begins to push up from the ground as liquefaction begins to erode the foundation of your home, business and the street you live on. Hundreds of landslides begin to impede traffic.

Imagine the Capitol Dome in Olympia and the Sea Tac airport control tower becoming badly damaged. Over 400 people become injured from flying glass and debris. Power outages take place throughout Southwest Washington. Phone service is disrupted. You cannot call to check on your family or friends. You are frantic wondering if they are ok!

All of this happened 12 years ago today, at 10:54am, February 28, 2001. The danger of earthquakes hasn’t lessened over the years but the “Be Prepared” message has grown incrementally. Are you prepared? Recent surveys indicate that most families are NOT prepared for most natural disaster events even though they know the danger exists.

Grays Harbor County Emergency Management urges every citizen to become educated on your site specific issues for all hazards and the risk you have at home, work and your child’s school. Learn what has occurred in the past and what scientists predict could happen. The time to begin planning is before an event occurs.

For more information on family disaster planning and your site specific risks, contact Grays Harbor County Emergency management at (360) 249-3911 or e-mail at

Commissioners Planning to Fund Resident Deputy Program

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. – The Resident Deputy program at the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s department looks like it has been granted funding for at least another year. Sheriff Rick Scott said yesterday “As it stands right now, the board informed me of their intent to restore the funding so that the resident deputy program won’t be something of any further discussion at least for this year.”
The program provides incentives for two deputies covering nearly 800 square miles in the North Beach area, and one on the South beach. It’s funding has been in jeopardy at times over the past few years, Scott said he would like to make the program a permanent part of the department so it doesn’t become a target in the next round of budget cuts.
Scott added that it looked like the courthouse security model that has been in place will survive cuts as well. 

Alice Hutchinson Awarded Key to Montesano

MONTESANO, Wash. – It’s not every day that the mayor presents a citizen with the key to the city. Under the guise of a night out, family and friends gathered in the Montesano city council chamber last night to honor longtime resident Alice Hutchinson.
Mayor Ken Estes said last night before the council “I would like to present this key to the city to you Alice, and to say thank you very much for everything you do in our city.”
Mayor Ken Estes and Alice Hutchinson
Estes read from a laundry list of organizations and events that Hutchinson has donated her time to, including the Methodist Church Harvest Festival Dinner “…and if you have not been approached to buy a ticket, you have not lived in Montesano very long.”
Alice was a little choked up in a packed council chamber “There is nothing outside of my family and friends, and I love this city, we’re so lucky. I’m going to cry in a minute so I’m going to stop myself.” Estes interrupted, “we’re not going to let you cry because we’ve only got an hour.”
Estes said he believed this is only the be the second time in the town’s history that the key to the city has been awarded, in 2011 former mayor Ron Schillinger presented a key to Pat Clemons.

Former Tacoma Banker Sentenced for Defrauding Northwest Commercial Bank

Goodell used phony e-mails to further his fraud by making it appear an executive with the non-profit Rescue Mission had authorized the transactions. When executives first noticed depletions in their account, Goodell sent them a new, falsified statement, saying the previous one was in error. At one point, to keep the fraud going, Goodell shaved his head and claimed he had been diagnosed with cancer and therefore needed to save up his annual leave. In truth, Goodell did not want to take leave or be away from the bank because of the risk his scheme would be uncovered. Goodell was fired by the bank in December 2010.

In asking for a significant sentence prosecutors wrote that for more than six months, Goodell pursued a fraud against the bank “with a vengeance. Not only did he methodically drain one TRM account after another, after he had nearly drained all of its accounts, he fraudulently used the identity of a TRM officer to open yet another account. Even after being confronted by [a TRM executive], Goodell brazenly continued the fraud the day after he assuaged [the executive’s] concern by sending her a fraudulent account statement.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm.

Coast Guard Rescues Three Near Grays Harbor

ASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard rescued three people aboard a vessel taking on water near Grays Harbor, Wash., Tuesday.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received a distress call from the crew of the 58-foot crabbing vessel Persistence at 8:50 p.m. The crew reported they were taking on water approximately 5 miles northwest of the Grays Harbor bar and were low on fuel for their dewatering pump.

Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor dispatched two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews to the scene. The crews delivered two dewatering pumps to the vessel and escorted the Persistence and its crew safely back to Grays Harbor. There were no injuries reported.

Weather on scene consisted of winds of 10-20 knots and seas of 10-12 feet.

WSDOT announces SR 520 pontoon design changes and repairs, results of internal review

Last year, WSDOT convened an expert panel to review causes of cracking and spalling on the first cycle of pontoons built in Aberdeen. The panel’s August recommendations to reduce cracking have been incorporated in the second cycle of pontoons, already under way. The panel was reconvened in fall 2012 to review pontoon structural sufficiency, repairs to the existing pontoons, future options to reduce cracking, and long-term maintenance of the floating bridge. 

“The structural capacity of the SR 520 pontoons is sound, and more than adequate for all anticipated loads,” said John Reilly, chair of the expert review panel. “Achieving the 75-year service life can be accomplished with normal maintenance.” 

There has been limited cracking of concern in the second cycle of construction to date, and the overall level of cracking is lower than the first cycle at this same stage. The second cycle of pontoons is anticipated to float out of the Aberdeen casting basin this spring. 

“Based on the panel’s findings, we will add post-tensioning across the pontoons on Lake Washington, in addition to the length-wise post-tensioning that is already in place,” said WSDOT construction engineer Jeff Carpenter. “The additional post-tensioning and epoxy injections will help seal the cracks and improve their watertightness.” 

Based on the findings of the expert review panel, WSDOT will add transverse post-tensioning to all longitudinal pontoons. Post-tensioning is a process where steel tendons are stretched through the top and bottom slabs and walls of the pontoons through a series of ducts to compress and strengthen the concrete. In the first cycle, the longitudinal pontoons were post-tensioned lengthwise only. Adding transverse post-tensioning across the ends of the pontoons will help close cracks in the longitudinal pontoons’ end walls, particularly at the keel and top slabs. 

Crews will retrofit the first cycle of pontoons on Lake Washington with transverse post-tensioning and will add transverse post-tensioning to the second cycle of pontoons under construction. Transverse post-tensioning will be incorporated into the remaining longitudinal pontoons to be constructed. 

The two cross pontoons are post-tensioned in the lengthwise and transverse directions at the bolt beam location. Transverse post-tensioning will be added at the end walls. 

The SR 520 program has an established budget that includes a remaining balance of $200 million in risk and contingency. WSDOT and Kiewit Construction expect to complete negotiations next month on a change order to address the added work required with the first cycle of pontoons in Aberdeen. Future change orders will address design modifications and schedule delays. 

“We will continue to work aggressively with our contractor to recover schedule delays caused by the repairs and design modifications,” said Julie Meredith, SR 520 Program Manager. “Opening the new bridge to travelers as soon as possible is critically important to address the seismic and windstorm vulnerabilities of the existing SR 520 bridge.” 

Secretary Hammond requested an internal review to determine if employees or managers acted or failed to act in ways that led to greater-than-anticipated pontoon spalling and cracking, deficiencies in contract administration, and lack of proactive resolution of problems. The review also identified areas where WSDOT can improve management, communications, and internal alignment of capital project delivery practices. 

“I agree with the internal review findings that there were technical design, construction management, and decision-making failures by our employees and managers,” said Hammond. “I am directing WSDOT’s chief of staff to prepare the appropriate disciplinary actions, and make the necessary changes to agency protocols and practices.” 

During the course of bridge construction, 44 pontoons built in Tacoma will be joined with 33 pontoons built in Aberdeen for a total of 77 pontoons needed to construct the world’s longest floating bridge. 

Construction on the $367 million SR 520 Pontoon Construction Project broke ground in February 2011 in Aberdeen. Construction on the $586.6 million SR 520 Floating Bridge and Landings Project began in spring 2012. The floating bridge contract requires the new, six-lane SR 520 floating bridge to open to traffic by July 2015, but includes incentives for an earlier opening in December 2014. 

The latest jobs report counted 801 jobs directly connected to the pontoon and floating bridge project sites in Aberdeen, Tacoma, Kenmore and Bellevue and on Lake Washington. 

More project information is available online:

Warrants Served as Search For Elma Man Continues

ELMA, Wash. – Detectives with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department are executing additional search warrants today as an ongoing effort to determine the whereabouts of Louis “Buck” Muller.

Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us Mr. Muller was last seen on October 21st (2012) at his residence in the 900 block of Monte-Elma Road of Elma.

The search warrants today will be executed at two different locations. One location will be a place of business in Montesano where Muller and his wife own an antique store. Investigators are looking at business records for information that may explain Muller’s disappearance. The other location to be searched is the Muller residence. This will be the second search of this residence. Detectives will be expanding the search area as there are several acres of property.

Buck MullerInvestigators know that Muller did not leave in his vehicle however it is unknown how he left the area. Muller has not made contact with his family or friends.
Muller’s wife came to the Sheriff’s Office on October 23rd to report a Domestic Violence situation that occurred on October 21st. It is unknown if Muller knows that she reported the incident. There is an active warrant for this case.
Muller is a diabetic and has not been taking his insulin. According to his wife Muller has been diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder and severe depression. He has made threats of suicide in the past.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Louis Muller is asked to contact the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department. Phone numbers are included in the attached flyer.

Curtailments at Harbor Paper After Wholesale Management Changes

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Operations at Harbor Paper have been curtailed due to market conditions, a press release from the company yesterday states “In light of the recent circumstances regarding operations, Harbor Paper’s Board has made the difficult decision of making a wholesale management change regarding operations at the mill.”
During the transition time, the mill will be temporarily curtailing operations. In the statement the company said they hope these changes will improve viability of the mill as a long term enterprise.

No exact numbers were available from the company at the time of the release.

Grays Harbor Paper

Country Music Star Clay Walker At Grays Harbor County Fair

ELMA, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Fair this summer will feature county music star Clay Walker. The Grays Harbor County board of commissioners yesterday authorized the Events and Tourism manager to sign the $40,000 contract. Walker has released 11 albums, the title track from his most recent album “She won’t be lonely long” peaked at #10 on the Billboard hot country charts for 2010.

The Grays Harbor County Fair this summer will run from August 7th, to the 11th, Walker will be on the Pepsi Stage on August 7th

Mason County Sheriff’s Office to Host K9 Training Conference

Jeff SchettlerJeff Schettler is a Police K9 Trainer and a retired police K9 handler. He has worked for the Alameda Police Department, Amador County Sheriff’s Department, and was attached to the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team’s K-9 Assistance Program designed to apprehend high risk fugitives. Jeff is considered an expert witness in the areas of scent evidence and trailing.
Jeff is the author of “Red Dog Rising”, a chronological account of his police K9 work with Ronin, a modern police bloodhound.  Red Dog Rising won the 2009 Dog Writers Association of America’s Best Service Dog Book Award.   Jeff’s second book, a trailing training manual The“Straightest Path K9 Trailing”  was published in October 2012. He is a frequent contributor to various dog magazines and is the K9 Trailing writer for K9 Cop Magazine.
According to Sgt. Trevor Severance, “this seminar is an exciting opportunity for handlers from multiple disciplines to train in our interesting and challenging environment. We hope this year’s conference is a success and this can become an annual event.”
For more information about this event, Contact Sgt. Trevor Severance via Email.
For more information of Georgia K9 visit their Website.