Washington Legislature approves new courthouse protections

Senate Bill 5484 extends protections currently granted to some courthouse, legal and law enforcement personnel to all visitors to Washington courthouses. The bill:

· Increases the penalty for misdemeanor assault in and around a courthouse to a felony – regardless of the victim; and

· Makes committing a felony in and around a courthouse – regardless of the victim – an aggravating factor for a judge to consider during sentencing.

It garnered wide support from law enforcement, prosecutors and victims’ advocates.

ESB 5484 was amended in the House of Representatives to clarify exactly when and where the protections apply and to increase notice to the public.

“Public order is founded on the rule of law,” said Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), prime sponsor of the House version of the bill and chair of the House Public Safety Committee. “Our courthouses are sanctuaries of the rule of law and must therefore be kept safe and secure for our citizens who seek justice there. This new measure will ensure that anyone violating the sanctity of the courthouse will be properly held accountable.”

“As a former judge, I’ve seen firsthand the anxiety and stress people experience when they must testify in a criminal case or engage in a contested small-claims case,” said Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee. “I’m proud we were able to work in a bi-partisan manner to protect everyone who accesses our courts.”

“As a lawyer who has spent significant time in courthouses around the state, I know it is not easy to help regular people feel comfortable in a court of law,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), another key sponsor of the bill. “This bill is an important step toward reassuring these people and others they will be safe.”

The measure is sponsored by Sens. Kline, Frockt, Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island), Christine Rolfes, D- Bainbridge Island, Padden, Fain and Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Belltown). 

It originally passed the Senate 40-9. It was amended in the House of Representatives and passed 83-10 with five excused. The Senate agreed to the amendments and passed the bill 35-9 with five excused.

ESB 5484 was delivered to the Governor on Sunday. The Governor has 20 days after adjournment to act. After this deadline, if he has not signed the bill, it will become law without his signature.

Hit and Run Driver Allegedly Surveyed Victim

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Police are asking for tips in the investigation of a hit-and-run incident in Aberdeen last week that, according to eye witnesses, threw one man to the ground. Captain John Green tells us it happened in the 100 block of South Park street just after 6 Thursday evening.
One witness said he heard tires squeal, turned, and saw the victim in mid air. The witness said the driver stepped out and looked at the victim, then sat back in the car and fled.
The car was described as a silver Chrysler PT Cruiser with tinted windows. The driver was described as a Hispanic or Native American male, mid 20’s to early 30’s in age, about 6-00 foot tall, athletic build, with short dark hair, clean shaven, well dressed and wearing sunglasses.

Green said the 40 year old man struck appeared to be highly intoxicated, his injuries appeared minor with visible scrapes and abrasions. He was treated and transported to GHCH by the Aberdeen Fire Department. 

Anyone with information is asked to call APD at 533-3180 or the Tip Line at 538-4450.

Grays Harbor Community Foundation Grant Recipients Announced

The Grants Committee was intrigued by all of the applicants for both the Capital Project Initiative and Discretionary Programs. “I believe this opened our eyes to some of the unseen needs in our community.” Grants Committee Chair Dr. David Westby said, “This Capital Project Initiative was something we have never done before, and it was a great learning experience. Although we were not able to fund all of the proposals we were certainly inspired by what these organizations are accomplishing.”


The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission “to improve the quality of life in the communities throughout Grays Harbor County.”  This is accomplished through many projects and processes that work through or in support of other non-profit organizations, including a quarterly discretionary grants cycle with applications accepted on the first business day of January, April, July and October.


Tax deductible donations may be made to:

Grays Harbor Community Foundation, P.O. Box 615, Hoquiam, WA 98550


You may find out more by checking the foundation website:  www.gh-cf.org or you may contact the Foundation staff at 532-1600 or by e-mail at:  info@gh-cf.org.

US 101 Simpson Avenue Bridge in Hoquiam to close for routine inspection May 6-8

Motorists are encouraged to allow extra time for their commutes during the daytime bridge closures. WSDOT recommends leaving early, carpooling or taking transit.

Drivers can also check travel conditions and learn about upcoming construction by downloading the WSDOT mobile app, visiting tacomatraffic.com, or by dialing 5-1-1.

Hyperlinks within the news release:

Bass Pro Confirms New Store Location Planned for Tacoma

Bass Pro Shops was recently named by Advertising Age magazine as one of the Top 10 Hottest Brands in America along with name brands such as Old Spice, M&M’s, iPad and Droid.  Also, Bass Pro Shops has been recognized numerous times for their conservation and outdoor education efforts, as well as being named by J.D. Powers & Associates as one of the top eight retailers in America for customer service excellence.


“This will be the first Bass Pro Shops in the state of Washington and we are glad they chose Tacoma. The arrival of this destination retailer will attract more shoppers into the city, boost our tax base and create new jobs,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “This investment in our community by Bass Pro Shops further demonstrates Tacoma as a great place to do business.”


Bass Pro Shops’ unique, award-winning outdoor stores are known for combining retail with entertainment, conservation and outdoor education. More than just a fishing and hunting store, Bass Pro Shops stores offer equipment and clothing for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more.  A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture. Their expansive boat showroom will feature Tracker, Nitro, SunTracker, Tahoe, Grizzly and Mako boats built by Tracker Marine Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats.


The Tacoma Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World will feature the popular Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill. This nautical-themed entity located within the store, features a truly unique atmosphere and design geared for family fun and dining. Twelve lanes will offer customers the chance to bowl ‘in the ocean. Casual family dining will be available in the Grill where customers may select from a menu featuring a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and burgers.


Bass Pro Shops’ unique exterior and interior motifs have branded them as visually appealing, high quality outdoor stores. The outdoors feel is brought indoors through massive log and rock work, large indoor aquariums and water features stocked with native fish species as well as an extensive collection of museum quality fish and wildlife mounts.  Historic photos and exhibits will pay tribute to the regions great outdoor heritage.

Grays Harbor Community Foundation Awards $179,000 to Eleven Harbor Organizations

ABERDEEN, Wash. – The Grays Harbor Community Foundation yesterday awarded just under $179-thousand through their fourth quarter grants cycle. Program Officer Cassie Lentz tells us “We received 8 discretionary grant applications and we funded 6 of them, total funding was $44,973. We received 22 Capital Project Initiative Applications. We funded 5 of them for $133,965.” 

The board of directors met yesterday to make the decisions, Lentz is now notifying each of the applicants and expects to have a press release with the names of those awarded out soon.

The foundation earlier this year decided to address the continuing need of local nonprofits to fund capitol improvements, and asked applicants to think beyond the day-to-day operations when they applied for the new “capital project initiative” grants.

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission “to improve the quality of life in the communities throughout Grays Harbor County.” for details, or to make a donation, visit their website at www.gh-cf.org

Grays Harbor Could Play a Role in Statewide Drone Flight Center

The proposal identifies Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash., as the location of the flight center’s principal office and facilities. In addition, the proposal identifies several locations in central and western Washington where a broad range of testing may occur. For example, the proposal provides a testing range over the Pacific Ocean near Grays Harbor for those developers needing “blue water” testing capability. To evaluate the next generation of aircraft traffic control systems, a testing area that simulates an active airport environment – similar to activity experienced daily at a metro airport– is also included. A map of the testing facilities is below.

Consortium members possess technical research and development capabilities in areas such as advanced navigation, collision avoidance, and alternative fuel system development. Through research and test flights in its test ranges, located over remote and sparsely populated areas in Washington, the consortium says it can advance the application of unmanned aircraft use in search and rescue, weather data acquisition, agriculture crop management, avalanche control and snow pack analysis.

“Siting a new flight center in central Washington will allow the state to build off of the established strengths of its thriving aerospace industry,” said Bart Phillips, vice president for economic development for Innovate Washington. “The Flight Center supports the commercial growth of the UAS sector, attracting and additional aerospace research and development dollars, providing users with cost-effective, safe, flight testing facilities and fostering the development of more companies and high quality jobs in Washington.”

The consortium members include Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Innovate Washington, the Ports of Moses Lake and Grays Harbor, Washington State University, University of Washington, Washington Army National Guard, the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing at Everett Community College, the Governor’s Office of Aerospace, Washington State Department of Commerce and economic development agencies in Klickitat and Grays Harbor counties.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 enacted by Congress calls for establishing six unmanned aircraft system research and testing sites in the U.S. The final proposal submittals are due to the FAA by May 6, with decisions on siting the flight centers scheduled to be made before December 31, 2013.

Innovate Washington is the state agency charged with making Washington the best place to develop innovative ideas and launch innovative companies. We bring together public & private leaders and capital to implement the states economic development strategies, grow our most promising sectors, support world-class companies and create high value jobs. Visit our web site or follow Innovate Washington on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America’s most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. PNNL employs 4,500 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion, and has been managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by Ohio-based Battelle since the laboratory’s inception in 1965. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

State Parks seeks Boating Safety Advisory Council member

Interested applicants are required to provide a completed application along with a resume and letter of interest explaining why they are qualified to serve on the council. To request an application, contact the Boating Safety Program at doni.thomas@parks.wa.gov, P.O. Box 42654, Olympia 98504-2650, or call (360) 902-8832. 

When submitting an application for the council, please consider that State Parks serves a culturally diverse population and is committed to representing that diversity in our staffing, volunteers and advisory groups. The agency is especially interested in increasing representation from outside the Puget Sound area and by people of color and people with disabilities.

For more information on the Boating Safety Program, visit www.parks.wa.gov/boating. 

Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at www.facebook.com/WashingtonStateParks, www.twitter.com/WAStatePks and www.youtube.com/WashingtonStateParks. Share your favorite state park adventure on the new State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Washington State Parks turned 100 years old on March 19, 2013, and will celebrate with events in parks all over the state, all year long. For more information, visit www.parks.wa.gov/events/.

Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

No Injuries From Small Structure Fire in Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Fire crews quickly dowsed a small structure fire in the 1300 block of Morgan street this morning. Fire Chief Tom Hubbard reports no injuries “little, looks like a 10 by 10 garden shed, older and who knows what was in it. Right now we’re just doing overhaul.”

Black smoke, then white smoke, then only two walls remained after just minutes before 7 this morning. The home’s address is on Morgan street, the fire was in the backyard alongside Division street. Hubbard said a utility pole, and siding on the home across the street suffered some minor heat damages.

State to begin health tests of popular beaches

The BEACH Program posts signs to notify people when there is a higher risk of illness at our most popular saltwater beaches. The program sends timely email notifications and social media posts to inform the public when beach health problems arise.

While the main goal is to monitor water quality and notify the public when bacteria levels are high, BEACH also works with local and state partners to investigate and correct the problems whenever possible.

The program is accepting public comments about the proposed list until May 20. Send your comments to Christopher Clinton at christopher.clinton@ecy.wa.gov or call him at 360-407-6154.

Sign up to receive BEACH’s email alerts at:  http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=BEACH

Here is the list of saltwater beaches proposed for monitoring in 2013:

Clallam County
Cline Spit County Park 
Hollywood Beach 
Salt Creek Recreation Area

Grays Harbor County
Westhaven State Park, Half Moon Bay 
Westhaven State Park
South Jetty Westport – The Groynes

Island County
Freeland County Park 
Windjammer Lagoon 
Windjammer Park

Jefferson County
Fort Worden State Park 
Irondale County Park 
Herb Beck Marina

King County
Alki Beach Park
Carkeek Park
Golden Gardens Park 
Lincoln Park 
Redondo County Park 
Saltwater State Park 
Seahurst Park

Kitsap County
Arness County Park 
Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park 
Evergreen Rotary Park 
Fay Bainbridge Park 
Illahee State Park 
Indianola Dock 
Joel Pritchard Park 
Lions Field 
Point No Point Lighthouse Park 
Pomeroy Park – Manchester Beach 
Scenic Beach State Park 
Seabeck Conference Center Saltwater Lagoon 
Seabeck Conference Center Beach 
Silverdale Waterfront Park

Makah Nation
Dakwas Park Beach 
Front Street Beach, East 
Hobuck Beach 
Sooes Beach 
Third Beach, Neah Bay 
Warmhouse Beach
The Makah Tribe’s Beach Program is funded with a separate BEACH grant from EPA

Mason County
Allyn Waterfront Park 
Potlatch State Park 
Twanoh State Park 
Walker County Park

Pierce County
Browns Point Lighthouse Park 
Chambers Creek Park 
Dash Point County Park 
Kopachuck State Park 
Owens Beach/Point Defiance Park 
Purdy Spit County Park 
Sunnyside Beach Park 
Titlow Park Waterfront Dock / Ruston Way

Skagit County
Bayview Boat Launch 
Bayview State Park

Snohomish County
Edmonds Marina Beach Park 
Edmonds Underwater Park 
Howarth Park 
Jetty Island 
Kayak Point County Park 
Mukilteo Lighthouse Park 
Picnic Point County Park

Thurston County
Burfoot County Park

Whatcom County
Birch Bay State Park 
Larrabee State Park 
Little Squalicum Park 
Port of Bellingham Marine Park