Grays Harbor College now offers ASE Certification for Auto Technicians

For automotive technicians working in the area, Grays Harbor College now provides Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification and re-certification testing. Until recently, those working in auto mechanics fields had to travel to Longview or Puyallup for these exams.

For those already working in the field, the renewals are good for 5 years, and the testing is handled by Jim Sorensen, GHC testing specialist. For more information about the ASE mechanic testing, contact him at 360.538.4049,

Students in the College’s Automotive Technology program now take the initial certification tests prior to graduation, according to instructor Denis Samson. The first student to prepare and successfully complete the tests was Brandon Reeson, who graduated last June and now has relocated to Bellingham for a job in his field and possibly continuing his education at Western Washington University. Reeson earned 9 ASE certificates before he graduated, which are good for the first two years of his new career.

To inquire about GHC’s Automotive Technology program, please contact the instructor, Denis Samson, 360.538.4131,, or the College’s Workforce Education office at 360.538.4011.

WSDOT will curb road construction to keep traffic moving over Memorial weekend

Using the Washington State Department of Transportation predicted travel volumes and online tools is the key to starting roadway travel for Memorial Day 2014.

With summer travel season getting underway and weather reports calling for just a few scattered rain showers, travel is expected to increase on typical holiday travel routes, including Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 over Stevens Pass, Interstate 5 through Thurston and Pierce counties and I-5 between Bellingham and the U.S./Canada Border.

In addition to the holiday weekend travel guide, real-time travel and traffic information are also available. These include:

  • Online tools that provide traffic camera images, ferry schedules and a map of highway incidents and closures.
  • The 511 travel information hotline. For out-of-state callers, it’s 1-800-695-ROAD (7623).
  • The WSDOT mobile appemail alerts and other tools, such asTwitter and Facebook.
  • Overhead and roadside electronic signs.
  • Highway advisory stations, 530 AM or 1610 AM.

Please remember to drive sober, safe and avoid distractions as any traffic collision or incident can result in additional traffic congestion.

To help ease traffic congestion, WSDOT and its contractors will suspend most state highway construction work at noon Friday, May 23, until Monday, May 26.

SR 520 weekend toll rates will apply Monday, May 26, due to the holiday. There is good news for Lake Washington boaters: the State Route 520 Floating Bridge and Landings Project contractor will open the east navigation channel underneath the existing SR 520 Bridge for holiday boat traffic from 9 a.m. Friday, May 23, to 7 a.m. Tuesday, May 27.

Travelers whose weekend plans include a trip by ferry, train, personal aircraft or bus should also make plans to avoid holiday delays:

  • Washington State Ferries expects heavy traffic Memorial Day weekend, and suggests that ferry riders consider traveling outside of peak times. Holiday schedules and other information can be found online or by calling 888-808-7977.
  • Amtrak Cascades offers 18 stops along the I-5 corridor. Amtrak Cascades trains often sell out during holidays so make reservations early. Plan to arrive one hour before the train leaves. Check online or call 800-USA-RAIL for more information.
  • WSDOT provides updates on state-operated airports. Check online or call 800-552-0666 for information.
  • Most public transit systems will follow a holiday schedule, and some transit systems will not operate fixed-route or Dial-a-Ride service on Memorial Day.

Permits filed for third Oil-by-rail terminal at Port of Grays Harbor

SEATTLE – U.S. Development Group is seeking permits to build an oil terminal on the Washington coast that could handle about 45,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The $80 million proposal at the Port of Grays Harbor is one of several in Washington that together would bring millions of barrels of oil by train from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.

About 17 million barrels of oil were shipped across Washington state last year, mostly to refineries in Anacortes and Cherry Point near Bellingham. That number is expected to triple this year, according to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chaired a congressional hearing Wednesday on oil shipments by train.

“We need to have the right policies in place to prevent accidents and respond to emergencies when they do happen,” Murray said at the hearing.

Charla Skaggs, a spokeswoman for U.S. Development, said the company has a proven safety record and is committed to safety on the project at Grays Harbor.

Texas-based U.S. Development has developed more than a dozen bulk liquid facilities in the U.S., and “they have an exemplary safety record,” Skaggs said. “They’ve operated very safe facilities for years, and that’s their commitment at Grays Harbor.”

The Grays Harbor Rail Terminal project would bring about one unit train to the facility every two days. A unit train typically has 120 rail cars, and each car can hold about 28,000 gallons.

The company filed permit applications Monday with the city of Hoquiam, Skaggs said. The state Department of Ecology and the city are expected to begin an environmental review process.

“It’s a terrible idea,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice representing the Quinault Indian Nation, which is worried about the impacts of oil shipment and storage.

She said oil would be stored in a fragile shoreline area, and billions of barrels of oil would travel through the Grays Harbor estuary, a thriving area for tribal and commercial fishing.

The Grays Harbor Rail Terminal is the third crude-by-rail facility proposed at the Port of Grays Harbor.

The environmental review process for two other projects, by Westway Terminal Co. and Imperium Renewables, began this month.

Health of marine life at bottom of Bellingham Bay declines

BELLINGHAM – The tiny critters living in the mud at the bottom of Bellingham Bay are showing signs of stress, according to a recently released report by the Washington Department of Ecology (

A bay-wide survey found that the abundance and diversity of sediment-dwelling (benthic) invertebrates like clams, snails, sea stars, crabs and shrimp are unusually low.  (See link to pictures under “For more information”, below.)

“This is a strong indicator that the sediment quality in the bay is declining,” said Valerie Partridge, Ecology’s lead author for the report.
Continue reading Health of marine life at bottom of Bellingham Bay declines

Three more Haagan stores closing, Aberdeen Top Food & Drug not among them

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Haggen grocery chain is closing three more stores in Washington, but the Aberdeen location will remain open. The Bellingham company announced this week that they are closing” TOP Food & Drug” stores in Kent, Auburn and Yakima.
Earlier this year Haggen announced plans to close stores in Tacoma, Lacey, Federal Way, Bellevue and Shoreline. The company says the closures are part of a long-term plan to improve competitiveness. They currently operate more than 20 stores in Washington and Oregon under the Haggen Northwest Fresh and TOP Food & Drug names.

Record setting rainfall across Western Washington

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Saturday’s rain set records across Western Washington, from Olympia to Bellingham. And the National Weather Service says the rain isn’t over yet.

Record rainfall of 1.71 inches was recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday. The weather service says that is more than double the old record of 0.83 of an inch set in 1948.

A record rainfall of 2.93 inches was set in Olympia, breaking the old record of 0.82 set in 1971.

A record was also set at the Hoquiam airport, where 1.78 inches fell on Saturday. The old record of just over an inch was set in 1962.

Another record was set at the Quillayute airport, with 1.93 inches of rain. That broke the previous record of 1.32 set in 1971.

Grays Harbor College named one of Washington’s 27 most military friendly

Washington community and technical colleges on the Military Friendly Schools list are: Bates, Bellevue, Bellingham, Big Bend, Cascadia, Centralia, Clark, Clover Park, Columbia Basin, Edmonds, Everett, Grays Harbor, Green River, Lake Washington, Lower Columbia, North Seattle, Olympic, Peninsula, Pierce, Renton, Shoreline, Skagit Valley, South Puget Sound, South Seattle, Tacoma, Walla Walla and Whatcom.

For a complete list of schools in Washington and across the nation, visit

Washington Commemorates Worker Memorial Day

Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says more than 1 million people are injured on the job every year, and more than 4,500 lose their lives.

Robinson says workplace safety has been a particular challenge recently in light of state budget cuts which have affected his department and most others.

“Many times, we work shorthanded – and quite often, they have to do the best they can and we don’t have, sometimes, adequate staffing to care for those who need the care. In fact, we have over 90 vacant positions here at the hospital.”

The Lakewood ceremony is to start at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the hospital, 9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW. A Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony was held in Everett on Wednesday. In addition to the Lakewood event, others are coming up today in Tumwater, Friday in Bellingham and Seattle, and Saturday in Spokane. A calendar with details on the Washington ceremonies is online at

Aberdeen Officer Joins WDFW Ranks

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is about to release some small frys back into the wild. The department introduced five new officers that graduated from the CJTC Basic Law Enforcement Academy on April 6th. Officer Chris Smith of Aberdeen joins Carly Peters of Bellingham, Will Smith of Ephrata, Taylor Kimball of White Salmon, and Casey Wilkinson of Everett attending specialized law enforcement training in Olympia. The new recruits will then join Field Training Officers at the end of the month.

Cantwell Announces $37.7M for Washington State Homelessness Programs


Projects receiving award funding are listed below; some projects received multiple awards.   



Grant Type


Archdiocesan Housing Authority



Auburn Youth Resources



Bellingham Housing Authority



Benton and Franklin Counties Department of Human Services



Benton Franklin Community Action Committee



Blue Mountain Action Council



Building Changes



Catholic Community Services



Child Care Resources



Church Council of Greater Seattle



City of Bremerton



City of Seattle Human Services Department



City of Spokane



City of Spokane



Columbia River Mental Health Services



Community Action Center



Community Psychiatric Clinic



Community Services Northwest



Community Youth Services



Compass Health



Compass Housing Alliance



Council for the Homeless



Development Association of the Goodwill Baptist Church



El Centro de la Raza



Friends of Youth






Housing Authority City of Kelso



Housing Authority of Island County



Housing Authority of Snohomish County



Housing Authority of the City of Bremerton



Housing Authority of the City of Tacoma



Housing Authority of the City of Vancouver



Housing Authority of Thurston County



Housing Hope



Joint City of Republic-Ferry County Housing Authority



Kent Youth and Family Services



King County Department of Community and Human Services



King, County of



King, County of



Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority



Lewis County



Low Income Housing Institute



Mason County Shelter



Multi-Service Center



Next Step Housing



Northwest Youth Services



Olympic Community Action Programs



Opportunity Council



Pierce County



Pierce County



Seattle Housing Authority



Second Step Housing



Serenity House of Clallam County






Skagit County Community Action Agency



Snohomish, County of



Solid Ground Washington



Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners



Sun Community Service



The Family Support Center of South Sound



The Salvation Army



Triumph Treatment Services



United Indians of All Tribes Foundation



Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program



WA State Department of Commerce



Walla Walla County



Washington Gorge Action Programs



Womens Resource Center of North Central Washington



Yakima County






YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County