Aberdeen Safeway store among Washington’s “Luckiest” for Lotto

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, Washington’s Lottery announced its annual list of “Luckiest Stores” – retail locations that sold the most winning tickets worth $1,000 or more in the previous year. Lottery officials released a “Luckiest Stores” list for six regions around the state, including Tri-Cities, Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Eastern Washington, Southwest Washington, and Central Washington.

With six big wins in 2014, five retailers around the Olympic Peninsula take the top spots.

“We love offering customers a chance to play Washington’s Lottery,” said Carl Roberson, Store Manager at the Belfair QFC. “For a lot of customers, this is their store – the one stop shop where they can do everything, and we’re honored to be their ‘lucky store!’”

The top 10 “Luckiest Stores” around the Olympic Peninsula are:

6 Big Wins: QFC at 201 NE State Route 300 in Belfair

6 Big Wins: Fred Meyer at 5050 State Highway 303 NE Bremerton

6 Big Wins: Fred Meyer at 1900 SE Sedgwick Rd in Port Orchard

6 Big Wins: Penny Saver Mart at 2140 E Sims Way in Port Townsend

6 Big Wins: QFC at 1890 Irondale Rd in Port Hadlock

5 Big Wins: Port Orchard Market Chevron at 5455 Sidney Rd SW in Port Orchard

5 Big Wins: Safeway Store at 3355 Bethel Rd SE in Port Orchard

5 Big Wins: Safeway Store at 680 W Washington St Bldg F in Sequim

5 Big Wins: Safeway Store at 221 W Heron St in Aberdeen

4 Big Wins: Safeway Store at 19245 10th Ave NE in Poulsbo

When winners from the Olympic Peninsula region were asked how they plan to spend the money, here is what they shared:

“Pay for my daughter’s college fund.” – Anonymous, Langley

“We’re going to completely redo our kitchen!” – L. McAllister, Hoquiam

To learn more about Washington’s Lottery and for all up-to-date winning numbers, please visit walottery.com.

WASHINGTON’S LOTTERY: Since 1982, Washington’s Lottery has generated more than $3 billion to support important state programs including the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account. Money in the Pathways Account goes toward helping students achieve their higher education dreams and supports early childhood education learning programs. The state’s Lottery offers consumers several types of games: Mega Millions, Powerball, Lotto, Hit 5, Match 4, The Daily Game, Daily Keno and Scratch. For more information, visit www.walottery.com or join our online community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/walottery and follow us on Twitter @walottery.

Coho fry lost after equipment fails at Kalama Falls Hatchery

An estimated 200,000 coho salmon fry died last week after a generator and pump systems failed at the Kalama Falls Hatchery in Cowlitz County.

The salmon fry suffocated March 9 after a generator failed, destroying one pump and damaging two others, which reduced the flow of water to the hatchery’s incubation room, said Cindy Le Fleur, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Le Fleur estimates that approximately two-thirds of the hatchery’s 2014 late coho fry, measuring about an inch long, were lost.

“We don’t have a firm estimate yet, because some of the fish that survived are in a delicate condition and we don’t want to disturb them to count the survivors,” she said.

Le Fleur said approximately 1.1 million fall chinook and 500,000 spring chinook fry have been moved to state hatcheries on the Lewis River as a safeguard, while WDFW personnel work to repair the damaged pumps.

“We hope to have things back in operation at the Kalama Falls Hatchery by the end of this week,” she said.

Built in 1959, the Kalama Falls Hatchery raises spring and fall chinook, late coho and summer and winter steelhead.

Visit Washington state parks for a ‘free day’ March 19

Washington State Parks turns 102 years old on Thursday, March 19, and visitors are invited to help celebrate by getting out to enjoy a state park for free that day.

With the 2015 spring and summer seasons just around the corner, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds the public that there are recreation opportunities available in more than 100 parks, trails and recreation sites all over the state. March 19 is the third of 12 State Parks “free days” in 2015, when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass to visit a park.

“These free days are great way for people to explore a new park or return to an old favorite,” said Commission Chair Pat Lantz of Gig Harbor. “Once people realize just what they have in Washington state parks, we hope they consider buying a Discover Pass. Revenues from the pass are so important; they help keep our parks open and accessible.”

For information about Discover Pass, visit online at www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov.

Free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 “free days” each year when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. Discover Pass is required to access DFW and DNR Lands on State Parks free days.

The remaining 2015 State Parks free days are as follows:

  • April 4 – (Saturday) A springtime free Saturday
  • April 22 – (Wednesday) Earth Day
  • May 10 – (Sunday) A springtime free Sunday
  • June 6 – (Saturday) National Trails Day
  • June 13 – (Saturday) National Get Outdoors Day
  • August 25 – (Tuesday) National Park Service’s 99th birthday
  • September 26 – (Saturday) National Public Lands Day
  • November 11 – (Wednesday) Veterans Day

The Discover Pass provides daytime access to parks. Overnight visitors in state parks are charged fees for camping and other overnight accommodations; day access is included in the overnight fee. The Discover Pass does not replace the Sno-park permit requirement for use of Sno-Park winter recreation sites.

About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

Follow Washington State Parks:

Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site atwww.AdventureAwaits.com.

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, visitwww.discoverpass.wa.gov.

Westhaven State Park closed for paving March 23 through April 17, affecting beach access in Westport

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces that Westhaven State Park will be closed from March 23 through April 17, while crews pave the gravel parking area. Vehicles and pedestrians will not be able to access the beach from the park.

The closure will significantly affect beach access and parking to the Westport Jetty and the beach directly south of the jetty. This area is very popular with surfers and with jetty fishermen this time of year. As an alternative, visitors may park or drive on to the beach about 1 mile south at Westport Light State Park. (View a map of the area: http://j.mp/1NT3iOn) Additional parking also is available at Half Moon Bay parking lot along Jetty Way Road near the Coast Guard tower.

Also closed during this time will be the section of the Westport Light Trail that runs through Westhaven State Park. There are no detours around the park. The remainder of the trail remains open.

Each year, from April 15 to the day after Labor Day, the beach closes to vehicle use from north of Schafer Road at Twin Harbors State Park to Westport. This is to accommodate the increased non-motorized and pedestrian traffic in the spring and summer seasons. Driving is always prohibited on the section of beach that runs through Westhaven State Park.

For more information about the temporary closure, contact park staff at 360-267-4301. For more information about Westhaven State Park, visit: www.parks.wa.gov/285/Westhaven

About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.

Follow Washington State Parks:

Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site atwww.AdventureAwaits.com.

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, visitwww.discoverpass.wa.gov.

Shelton Police find over $10,000 in drugs during car search

Shelton Police searching a vehicle found methamphetamine worth over $10-thousand last week.

The Department reports an officer was following up on a tip regarding narcotics sales in the 1900 blk. of First St. looking for the suspicious vehicle. The officer saw the vehicle that had been described by the “tipster” parked in front of a home on First St. The owner of the vehicle saw the officer and immediately got out of the parked car and went in to a nearby home to avoid contact, leaving the vehicle illegally parked. At that point the officer had no probable cause to chase the suspect into the home.

The officer then called for the assistance of Shelton Police K9- Lilly. K-9 Lilly was able to detect the presence of narcotics in the vehicle and based upon that, the officers were able to obtain a search warrant. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers’ located a large amount of methamphetamine, with an estimated value of over $10,000. A variety of other narcotics was also located, this included prescription pills, cocaine, and marijuana.
Unfortunately the suspect had fled the area before the officer could get assistance securing the car and the house that the suspect had fled to. However the suspect was identified as 42 yr. old Michael Darnell of Shelton, anyone with information regarding Michael Darnell is encouraged to contact the Shelton Police Department.

Governor Inslee declares drought for three Washington regions

Snowpack conditions across Washington state mountains are near record low levels, prompting Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a drought emergency forthree key regions.

Watersheds on the Olympic Peninsula, east side of the central Cascade Mountains including Yakima and Wenatchee, and Walla Walla region will be hit hardest with drought conditions.

Snowpack is a mere 7 percent of normal in the Olympic Mountains. It ranges from 8 to 45 percent of normal across the Cascades, and is 67 percent of normal in the Walla Walla region.

“We can’t wait any longer, we have to prepare now for drought conditions that are in store for much of the state,” said Inslee. “Snowpack is at record lows, and we have farms, vital agricultural regions, communities and fish that are going to need our support.”

An unusually warm winter has caused much of the precipitation to fall as rain, leaving mountain snowpack a fraction of normal. And a healthy snowpack is what would slowly feed rivers across the state and sustains farms and fish through the drier summer months.

“We’ve been monitoring the snow conditions for months now, hoping for a late-season recovery,” said Washington Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “Now we’re gearing up to help provide relief wherever we can when the time comes. Hardships are on the horizon, and we’re going to be ready.”

Short and long-range weather forecasts are not expected to bring relief, calling for warmer and drier weather.

With snowpack statewide averaging 27 percent of normal, 34 of the state’s 62 watersheds are expected to receive less than 75 percent of their normal water supplies.

Ecology has requested $9 million in drought relief from the legislature. The money would pay for agricultural and fisheries projects, emergency water-right permits, changes to existing water rights, and grant water-right transfers.

For now, water suppliers in the Seattle, Tacoma and Everett areas are in decent shape and are not projecting much hardship.

To track snow and watershed totals, Ecology is posting daily updates to its drought website – www.ecy.wa.gov/drought, and providing routine updates on Facebook and Twitter – search @ecologywa or #wadrought.

FAA, WSDOT seek feedback on proposed Unmanned Aircraft Systems requirements

The public has two chances to comment on proposed safety requirements for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations in the nation’s airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is accepting feedback directly, but the Washington State Department of Transportation also welcomes public comments to help shape its agency response.

The proposed requirements address non-recreation UAS operations, including:

  • Crop monitoring/inspection
  • Research and development
  • Educational/academic uses
  • Power-line/pipeline inspection in hilly or mountainous terrain
  • Antenna inspections
  • Aiding certain rescue operations such as locating snow avalanche victims
  • Bridge inspections
  • Aerial photography
  • Wildlife nesting area evaluations

 

The FAA also proposes changes to its regulations (known as14 CFR) to clarify UAS categories, hours of operations, registration, certification and other requirements.

 

Please submit feedback to WSDOT by Monday, April 13. Email comments to Rob Hodgman, WSDOT Aviation senior planner at Hodgmar@wsdot.wa.gov.

 

Comments are due to the FAA by April 24.

 

Learn more about the proposed UAS requirements and how to submit comments to the FAA.

State employee contract negotiations to remain secret

This Sunday (March 15) is the beginning of National Sunshine Week. The motto for this national celebration of government transparency is “Open government is good government.” Based on the untimely death of SB 5329 (Requiring public employee collective bargaining sessions to be open meetings) this week in the Senate, however, state employee contract negotiations will continue to be conducted under a total eclipse of secrecy with the public kept in the dark.

Under SB 5329, public employee negotiations would have been subject to the state’s open public meetings law, so that the public, media and lawmakers could see what tradeoffs and promises are being proposed before final agreements are reached. This is similar to the transparent process used in several other states when deciding the compensation of government employees and the amount of tax dollars required to fund the agreements.

Although this open government reform had been placed on the Senate floor, it was not voted on before yesterday’s 5 p.m. cutoff. This means the bill is technically dead for this session.

This does not mean, however, the Legislature can’t act this session to provide more transparency for these negotiations.

The Legislature still must decide whether to approve the secretly negotiated contracts agreed to by Governor Inslee last summer. This decision is most definitely considered Necessary to Implement the Budget (NTIB) which means a bill could be introduced on the topic of approving the contracts. Depending on the bill title, such a discussion could also address whether future negotiations should occur in a more transparent way.

While the policy proposed by SB 5329 did not receive approval, perhaps a variation could still win legislative support this session. One potential idea would be to require a process similar to what the City of Costa Mesa in California uses to keep the public informed called COIN (Civic Openness in Negotiations).

Under this type of system all of the proposals and documents that are to be discussed in closed-door secret negotiation must be made publicly available before and after the meetings with fiscal analysis provided showing the costs.

While not full-fledged open meetings as proposed by SB 5329, providing access to all of the documents before the meetings would better help inform the public about the promises and tradeoffs being proposed with their tax dollars before an agreement is reached. This would also help to keep make clear whether one side is being unreasonable, and would quickly reveal whether anyone is acting in bad faith.

State and local employment contracts should not be negotiated in secret. The public provides the money for these agreements. Taxpayers should be allowed to follow the process and hold government officials accountable for the spending decisions they make on our behalf.

Though the open meetings proposed by SB 5329 may be dead, there is still time for the Legislature to let the sun shine on government employee contract negotiations and end the practice of keeping the public in the dark until it comes time to ask taxpayers to pay for the agreement that was written in secret.

Jason Mercier
Director, Center for Government Reform

Belfair woman attempts to help neighbor, mistaken for attempted abduction

A concerned neighbor helping a child appeared more like an attempted child abduction in Mason County this week. Detective William Adam with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office reports around 3 Tueday afternoon they received a call from staff at the Sand Hill Elementary School in Belfair, that a young girl was approached earlier that day while she was waiting for her school bus. According to the child, a woman stopped and asked if she could provide the girl a ride to school. The school bus then arrived and the woman left.
On Wednesday March 11th, the adult woman came into the Sheriff’s Office in Belfair and said that she was most likely the one that the Sheriff’s Office was looking for. The woman explained that she knows the little girl, and was afraid that she had missed her bus. She said she offered the girl a ride, and left when the school bus showed up.

The school district, the elementary school and the little girl’s family were all notified about the concerned neighbor and that it had not been an attempted child abduction.

Montesano Mayor replies to former councilwoman’s allegations of harrasment

Montesano Mayor Ken Estes has released a statement regarding allegations made by a resigning councilwoman that the city failed to accommodate her hearing disability. “I’m very disappointed and a little bit upset, we received the resignation letter from Marisa Salzer tonight.” Estes told the city council at Tuesday’s meeting “Her letter contained many inaccuracies, and some troubling statements.”

Read the Salzer resignation letter, and Estes Statement on Salzer here.

Continue reading Montesano Mayor replies to former councilwoman’s allegations of harrasment