Olympic National Park Obstruction Point Road Open Three Miles to Waterhole

The first three miles of the eight-mile long Obstruction Point Road is open. The road is clear of snow and has been graded as far as Waterhole.

Visitors are advised that there is limited parking at Waterhole and asked to use extra care to avoid blocking the gate.

Beyond the gate, crews are working on clearing and preparing the remaining five miles of road.

The Hurricane Hill Road (the 1.5 mile of road that leads past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to the Hurricane Ridge picnic area and Hurricane Hill trailhead) is open.

More information on visiting Olympic National Park and current conditions of park roads, campgrounds and other facilities is available at the Olympic National Park website at http:www.nps.gov/olym.

62-year old woman arrested for trafficking in child pornography

Detectives from the Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force (MECTF) have arrested a Westport woman on charges of trafficking in sexually explicit images of minors.

 

Detectives allege that 62-year old Molly Walker coerced a teenage relative into providing sexually explicit pictures of herself, and then trafficked those images on the internet. The investigation began earlier this week, but detectives believe the production and distribution of sexually explicit images has gone on for approximately two years.

 

A search warrant was served at Walker’s residence on Thursday, after which she was arrested and booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail.

 

Detectives are interested in hearing from others in the community whose children might have had contact with Walker. They are also investigating potential recipients of the images, and more arrests are possible.

 

The Missing and Exploited Children Task Force is made up of detectives from the Washington State Patrol and the Shelton Police Department.

 

New business heating up at Satsop Business Park

There’s a new business stirring things up at the Satsop Business Park, Manager Alissa Shay told Port Commissioners this week. “Brady Homestead LLC, Owned by Chayne King. He is using our kitchen in the S-1 building to make homemade salsa.”
King is a returning business owner to the harbor. He still runs his tech company adnets through business contracts, but this venture started in North Dakota. He recalls how his secret recipe came about “We were in a large house, a bunch of us from Washington lived there. I had always made a pico, and Mike asked me if I could make Salsa [I asked] Pico? He said ‘Let’s make it more red’ so I made something, a hybrid. Everybody loved it, and it just started evolving.”
Salsa samples at the Elma Farm StandChayne said he went from making a couple of quarts per week for friends, to selling more than 33 gallons in the short time that he’s offered free samples of “HBBP Salsa” at the Elma Farm Stand.

What does HBBP stand for? We’re not sure, but Chayne assures us it’s a conversation starter.

A familiar name returning to a familiar building, Chayne King was one of the first couple dozen employees at SafeHarbor, the last big tenant to use the S1 building. He watched that tech company balloon from 20 employees to more than 300 in it’s heyday. (Safeharbor is now part of Enghouse Interactive – developer of call center solutions.)

King said he’s starting small; selling mild, medium, and hot, versions of his salsa in Elma. He also plans to have some of the one-pint jars on the shelf of All Wrapped Up Coffee in Montesano by next week.

Elma Farm Stand

Aberdeen Fire Department honors retiring Captain Mark Dulin

The Aberdeen Fire Department last night celebrated a retirement, Chief Tom Hubbard told the council “Tonight I would like to recognize Captain Mark Dulin, who is retiring on May 31st 2015 after serving 37 years and 3 months with the Aberdeen Fire Department.”

Chief Tom Hubbard’s speech at the Aberdeen City Council meeting on 5/13/15

Hired first as a dispatcher in 1978, Dulin became a firefighter 9 months later. “Mark has exemplified everything you’d expect from an officer, honor, tradition, and selfless dedication to providing safety to the citizens of Aberdeen, and those that he worked with.” VFW Firefighter of the year for 2012, Mark Dulin has been a firefighter paramedic for over 37 years.

Washington and Oregon update oil spill plan, input sought on Lower Columbia River plan

In response to the uptick in the amount of crude oil being transported by rail through inland areas of Washington and Oregon, the western states are teaming up to update oil spill response plans for the shared waters.

The most recently updated plan developed by the Washington Department of Ecology and the Oregon Department of Environmental Equality outlines strategies for responding to oil spills near the Lower Columbia River.

Published in 2003, the Lower Columbia River plan covers the lower 145 miles of the Columbia River from its mouth at the Pacific Ocean (Astoria, OR/Ilwaco, WA), upstream to the Bonneville Dam. The updated plan is available for public review and comment now through June 8, 2015.

Most oil transported to the Pacific Northwest states by rail enters at the Washington/Idaho border near Spokane. Rail carries the oil along the Oregon and Washington shores of the Columbia River to terminals and facilities in Vancouver, Clatskanie, and Puget Sound. At Columbia River terminals, oil is transferred to tank vessels and transported out of Washington and Oregon to California.

The plan considers several sensitive and cultural resources. It also focuses on areas that preserve hundreds of species of birds and other animals:

 

The Lower Columbia River plan is one of eight geographic response plans Ecology aims to complete before June 30, using special funding the Washington Legislature dedicated to help the state prepare for oil spills.

Comments on the plan can be emailed to grps@ecy.wa.gov, or mailed to:

Washington Department of Ecology

Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (LCR-GRP)

P.O. Box 47600

Olympia, WA 98504-7600

Razor clam digging closed for the season on ocean beaches

Digging will remain closed on ocean beaches for the remainder of the razor clam season because of elevated toxin levels.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has canceled two openings that were tentatively scheduled to start May 15 and May 22 due to high levels of domoic acid. WDFW canceled three days of a four-day dig earlier this month due to elevated toxin levels.

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Razor clams absorb domoic acid into their fat cells and can retain it there long after the ocean water is free of toxins, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.

“Based on the most recent test results that show increased levels of domoic acid, razor clams will not be safe to eat for the remainder of this month,” Ayres said.

More information about domoic acid can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_acid.html .

“We’re disappointed to close early, but it has been a remarkable season for razor clam digging in Washington,” Ayres said. “We’ve had healthy and abundant clam populations that have drawn thousands of visitors to our ocean beaches.”

Shellfish managers estimate diggers harvested 5.7 million clams since the season began last October. Diggers had more opportunities to hit the beaches than any season since 1989, Ayres said.

Annual razor clam seasons typically end in mid-to-late May, when the clams begin to spawn and are less desirable for eating, Ayres said. This razor clam season was scheduled to end after the May 22 dig.

WDFW will continue to monitor toxin levels and conduct razor clam stock assessments as usual this summer.

“We hope toxin levels will drop and razor clam digging can begin again this fall,” Ayres said.

Since 1991, when the toxin was first detected on the Pacific coast, outbreaks of domoic acid have prompted the cancellation of three entire razor clam seasons in Washington – the last one in 2002-03. Kalaloch Beach, jointly managed by WDFW and Olympic National Park, also was closed for much of the 2004 season due to high toxin levels. In 2005, WDFW closed Long Beach for two days due to elevated toxin levels.

More information about Washington’s razor clam seasons can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/

Transient arrested after police pull him off of woman at Aberdeen campsite

One man was arrested after a fight at the makeshift campsite near the Chehalis River Bridge in Aberdeen yesterday. Aberdeen Police tell us they were responding to a 911 hang-up call from the area along the Chehalis River around 1 o’clock Tuesday. Officers found a man with injuries to his face, holding down a woman when they arrived. He was taken into custody on domestic violence assault charges, and later told police that his injuries were self inflicted “to prove his love.” He has court today in Aberdeen, the woman was not injured.

New Washington state directs storage of DNA evidence for 99 years in some cases

Governor Inslee signed a bill Monday that could put more guilty people in prison. Dan Frizzell reports DNA evidence has played a key role in U.S. court cases for almost three decades. In those 30 years genetic fingerprinting has helped convict thousands of murderers and rapists, and hundreds of wrongly convicted defendants are free today because of it. But even after all this time, many states haven’t bothered to set up basic policies on storing DNA evidence. Washington was one of them, but thanks to the governor’s signature on a bill sponsored by Representative Tina Orwall, that’s about to change.

We spoke with her just before the bill-signing on Monday afternoon. “It needs to be stored for years, because it may be that the case needs to be reviewed, or something has happened to bring light back to a case, and so it’s true for people who have been prosecuted, it’s also true for cold cases. We have cases that have sat on shelves for years, and we’re going to need that evidence to move forward.”
Orwall, a Democrat from Des Moines, wrote the bill to require DNA collected in violent felonies and sex offenses to be stored safely for 99 years in most cases, or at least until a convicted defendant has died or the statute of limitations for the crime has elapsed.

In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.

Alternative plan aims to reduce carbon emissions and create jobs in rural areas

Reducing the state’s carbon emissions has been a focus of the governor and several lawmakers since before the legislative session began in January. On Monday, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam offered an alternative plan that would benefit the environment, K-12 education, and rural economic development.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D- Hoquiam said“What I did was introduced a bill that put a little different spin on the whole idea. It would take the carbon pricing program and make a reinvestment in rural economic development to try to put more people back to work in our lumber mills by adding an incentive payment for wood that would go into those lumber mills. So I think it kills two birds with one stone and will focus on one of our biggest needs which is more jobs in rural areas.”

Money generated by the auction of carbon pollution would also add $500 million to invest in our state’s K-12 education system, and would create a Working Forests and Local Mills economic development program. The legislation includes protections ensuring costs won’t be passed on to consumers at the gas pump.

Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia.

Hoquiam council sets workshop for zoning restrictions on wholesale liquefied petroleum products

The Hoquiam City Council last night delayed a decision on zoning restrictions for petroleum-based products. Mayor Jack Durney suggested a June 1st workshop “This is where we decide, and we make a decision and legacy for what the town is going to look like. What the waterfront is going to look like, and I think that this is important stuff.”
All four versions disallow oil storage anywhere in Hoquiam, Mayor Durney suggested the council adopt option ‘D’ which would further restrictions on other types of bulk liquid storage facilities – sometimes called “tank farms,” only allowing them on the East side of the Hoquiam river.
The city adopted a moratorium on the storage facilities a few months back, but have yet to work out the zoning changes that would allow existing companies like Imperium Renewables to operate and expand.