Outgoing councilman challenges city to stop airing dirty laundry

MONTESANO, Wash. – It may be time to bring in the laundry and “make Montesano what it used to be.” Outgoing city councilman Doug Streeter last night issued the challenge to fellow council, city staff, and residents to make my job more difficult “I’ve always been proud to say that I live in Montesano. The last year and a half it’s been an utter embarrassment to me. We’ve got a lot of healing to do, we need to come together as a community and stop airing our dirty laundry in the newspapers.” Streeter motioned to myself and the editor of The Vidette, adding “I know, Steve and  Dave you guys have jobs to do. We need to stop using sources to get our agendas done – whatever those agendas might be.” – thanks Doug, you probably owed me one, anonymous news tips can be emailed to news@kbkw.com by the way.
The city has been in litigation more than some lawyers lately with union grievances, employee suspensions, and internal investigations. With most of that behind them now, councilwoman Pam McElliot replied “We’re going to turn ourselves around, get on the right track, and I think. I think everything’s going to be just fine.
Election results were certified last night, Marisa Salzer will be filling Streeter’s position 2 seat on the council at their next regular meeting.

Former councilman wins posthumously, Transit tax finishes with over 70% support

MONTESANO, Wash. – With results certified at the county auditor’s office, Voter turnout for Grays Harbor finished at 48.35% for the November General Election.
In Aberdeen, Incumbent city councilman John Smith trails to Tawni Andrews by 9 votes, while incumbent Alice Phelps leads over Roberta Myers by 42. The memory of John Erak holds 26 more votes than appointed incumbent Alan Richrod. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson explained to council this week “The fifth ward will have a vacancy, we will take letters from candidates, and on the December 11th council meeting we will have interviews and vote that night.
On the Hoquiam side, Richard Pennant leads by 8 votes over incumbent council John Weidl and Denise Anderson leads by 44 votes over incumbent Brenda Carlstrom.
Incumbent Port Commissioner Chuck Caldwell finished with over %70 of the vote, as did a vote to support the Grays Harbor Transit Authority with a sales tax increase.
Election results are available online at http://vote.wa.gov/results/current/graysharbor/

Montesano softens changes to water bill, may reconsider strict leak policy

MONTESANO, Wash. – After taking heat over a drastic change to the city’s water leak policy, Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said last night that they will phase in the new policy that offers no forgiveness for leaks that can pull a water bill into the thousands of dollars for homeowners unaware of an issue. “We recognize that this is a change for our water customers. Therefore until January 1, 2014 in order to phase in this change, the city will allow a period of adjustment.
Under a policy adopted by council earlier this month, the city will charge a resident, even if they find an expensive leak.
Councilwoman Pam McElliot placed a review of that policy on the agenda of their next meeting, noting that it was more strict than neighboring cities.

Rural fire districts work out payment plan, sign new agreement with City of Hoquiam

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Three fire districts that cover remote areas of Grays Harbor county have come to separate agreements with the City of Hoquiam to pay back debt and maintain ALS service.
The fire districts in Copalis Crossing, Humptulips, and Pacific Beach received letters this summer telling then that Hoquiam will only send out an ambulance for trauma-related injuries until their accounts were brought current.
City Administrator Brian Shay said this morning “Those issues have been resolved, and we adopted new contracts with district 8 and 16 last night. So we’re back to the original status quo of the city of Hoquiam providing the same fire and ambulance service that we have for many years with those districts.”
Commissioners from district 8, 16, and 17 have been working with Hoquiam officials to iron out a payment plan for thousands of dollars in back bills. The city council last night approved agreements with two of the three districts, Shay said district 17 is the only one that has not signed an agreement, and they’re expecting one soon.

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over patrols running through New Year


The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently asked people what the goal should be for the number of traffic deaths in Washington. Everyone indicated they would like to see fewer people killed. But when asked what the goal should be for their family members, everyone responded, “zero.” (Well, almost everyone. Visit www.WAdrivetozero.com to see what residents think about zero traffic deaths).

To reach zero traffic deaths takes effort from everyone. Please join law enforcement in working toward zero traffic deaths. Make sure all the people at your Thanksgiving table are also around to celebrate the New Year. Visit www.WAdrivetozero.com to review important safety tips, such as:

*Call 911 if you see a suspected DUI driver on the roads.

*If you drink, use marijuana, or take other drugs, don’t drive. Make plans before-hand for how you’ll get around.

*If you are hosting a party, make sure your guests get home safely! Plan to have sober designated drivers available. Buy a few extra air mattresses so guests can stay the night. If it’s an office party, limit alcohol, provide shuttle service or book hotel rooms. Remember, as a party host, you are liable for the actions of the people who leave your party intoxicated.

*Talk with your children about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Help them understand the ways alcohol and marijuana use can harm their bodies, their brains, and their future. Let them know that they can call you instead of ever getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking, using marijuana or taking drugs. WEBSITE: Start Talking Now

*Give the best gift of all at the Holiday Season with the Designated Driver Gift Card.

*Addiction is a complex issue. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol, marijuana or drug abuse, call or check ONLINE- the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1 (866) 789-1511.

November 22, 2013/Washington Traffic Safety Commission News Release

Grays Harbor’s reluctant Prosecutor-appointee worries Superior Court Judge

 “What do you do over there if we have a major felony case -even a minor felony case, but what about a horrible tragedy situation, and the person is convicted, and goes up and raises the issue that constitutionally that prosecuting attorney is not authorized by law to prosecute me?
At the special meeting yesterday Samuel asked the commissioners why they chose her over Deputy Prosecutor Katie Svoboda, both were on a list of three provided by the democratic party after former prosecutor Stew Menefee retired in September.
Two commissioners replied that they felt she would do a good job, commissioner Wes Cormier said “I thought that the process that was conducted at the PCO meeting was just a slap in the face. If you put yourself on the list, then you’re subject to being picked.

First December razor clam dig approved for “exceptional” digging

The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

- Nov. 30, Saturday, 4:28 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Dec. 1, Sunday, 5:13 p.m.; -0.9 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
- Dec. 2, Monday, 5:59 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
- Dec. 3, Tuesday, 6:44 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
- Dec. 4, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
- Dec. 5, Thursday, 8:17 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors
- Dec. 6, Friday, 9:05 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors
- Dec. 7, Saturday, 9:56 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Grays Harbor PUD conducts outage in Crane Creek, Quinault area

The Grays Harbor PUD conducted an emergency outage Monday, November 25, 2013, at approximately 3:30 p.m. in order to make repairs to a transmission line. Affecting customers in the Quinault, Crane Creek, and Wynoochee Dam areas, it lasted less than 2 hours.     


Customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment by unplugging those items and leaving them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored.


Also, please remember that it is not safe to make repairs to electrical systems during outages without having the power disconnected, as the duration of the outage is only an estimate and power can be restored at any time.   

Multi-state challenge: Arrive Alive on I-5 this holiday weekend


Four simple strategies for drivers this holiday weekend can help keep our highways safer:


  • Slow down;
  • Pack your patience;
  • Drive sober;
  • Buckle up.


Speed continues to be a leading killer on our highways and, mixed with aggressive driving, it is even more deadly,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.  “This weekend, plan ahead and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.  Dangerous driving will not get you there sooner; it just creates hazardous driving conditions for you and everyone else on the road.”

OSP Superintendent Richard Evans emphasized that all three agencies are joining highway safety partners and law enforcement organizations across the country on the lookout for impaired drivers.


“Join us in the commitment to keep our highways safer by having a designated sober driver at all times,” Evans said. “Driving while impaired seriously jeopardizes your safety and the safety of others on the road around you.”


All three law enforcement leaders expressed their appreciation that each state has excellent compliance rates for seat belt use, but they also said more can be done as evidenced by the fact that unrestrained vehicle occupants continue to die in traffic crashes. WSP Chief John Batiste notes that more than a hundred people lost their lives in his state in 2012 while not using seat belts.


“It’s bad enough that we have to notify a family, on what should be a holiday, that they’ve lost a loved one in a traffic collision,” Batiste said. “It’s doubly heartbreaking when simply buckling up could have saved that person’s life.”


The agency leaders stressed that the “I-5 Challenge” is a challenge to prevent traffic fatalities, not a competition between police agencies for issuing citations or making arrests. Each agency will mix strategies to provide additional enforcement presence including using overtime grant funding and shifting of available resources already on the road to the I-5 corridor.


You can join the effort by committing to driving safely at all times and reporting possible intoxicated or dangerous drivers by calling 9-1-1 or your state law enforcement agency’s dispatch center.


Here are some tips for making the four strategies above work for you:


Getting Ready for the Trip:

* Plan ahead to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.

* Stay informed about weather conditions, potential traffic hazards and highway closures.

* Check road conditions by visiting your local state’s road and weather website or phone numbers

* Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter driving starting with good tires, a good battery, and a full tank of gas.

* Carry an emergency kit and chains or traction tires, especially if traveling over mountain passes.

* Snacks and bottled water also are a good idea for long trips, especially with children.

* Carry a map in case weather or road conditions force you to take a detour. Keep family members or friends aware of any significant changes in your planned route before you take the unplanned route.

* Get plenty of rest before you leave on any trip.

* Clear snow, ice or frost from windows and headlights before you leave.

* Make sure everyone is using safety restraints and secure any cargo.

* Always have a designated driver for any holiday activities that include alcohol.

On the Road:


* Drive according to conditions. If it’s wet, icy, snowy or foggy, slow down and increase your following distance behind other vehicles to at least a four-second distance. Keep in mind that conditions may not be perfect to drive at the posted speed.

* Use headlights even in daylight to help other drivers see you.

* Don’t use cruise control in wet, icy, snowy or foggy conditions.

* Be patient with all the other traffic on the highways.

* Watch out for pedestrians now that the days are shorter and darker, and remember they’re often dressed in dark clothing.

* If you get tired or drowsy, stop and rest during your trip or get a rested and sober licensed driver behind the wheel.

* There are still many construction zones on our highways, and even though work will be inactive over the holiday weekend there may be equipment, detours, and incomplete changes in the roadway. Stay alert and slow down because all work zone speed limits still apply and fines increase in these areas.

* Don’t drink and drive or get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.

County eager to lease Grays Harbor Raceway, seeking promoters

ELMA, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Commissioners are hoping to open the gates on the Race track in Elma by early next year, but for right now, they’re under a red flag until they figure out what they own. County Commissioner Frank Gordon said last week “There’s some issues going on now about who owns which.” 
The commissioners canceled the contract with Great Northwest Promotions LLC in October, citing unpaid bills. Gordon said they have a more clear contract written up for future promoters. “So whoever we get in next we won’t be having this problem, but things are kind of on hold – their lawyer is talking to our lawyer.”
Meanwhile the county is looking for a promoter to lease the Grays Harbor Raceway “By the first of the year we’re hoping to get this leased to somebody so they can start working out the races for the summer.” Anyone interested should email contact information to commish@co.grays-harbor.wa.us for details.