National Night Out party lists for Aberdeen and Hoquiam

National Night Out locations 
August 5th from 6 – 10 PM

National Night Out provides an opportunity for all community members to get to know one another and build strong networks of communication throughout neighborhoods. Last year, neighborhoods

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Smaller taxing authorities could feel strain, or benefit, from new Public Hospital District

About 40 attended the first of two meetings to discuss the protection of the Central Park Park Fire District’s ability to levee at the fire station last night. With a new hospital district potentially pushing smaller fire districts throughout the county closer to their taxing authority maximum, District 2 Chief Leonard Johnson said “We may have a tax impact next year that may result in us increasing property taxes in the fire district from a process that we’re allowed to under law, but it doesn’t require us to go to [ask] the taxpayers.” Johnson described the complicated levee payout process that could put the smaller districts at risk of cap, but also caps out the larger districts taxing authority district-wide. This can incentivize what’s called a buyback, where a larger district pays a smaller not to use their levy, in order to tax at a higher rate across it’s entire district – all legal under RCW. Asked if both districts were interested, Johnson said yes. With the proposed formation of a Public Hospital District #2 in Western Grays Harbor, and the possible expansion of District #1 in East county, portions of Fire District 2 have become the knot in the middle of a game of tug-o-war. Fire District #2 Chief Leonard Johnson Many questions last night asked if Grays Harbor Community Hospital was putting it’s debt on the public dime, CEO Tom Jensen explained “We’re not trying to become a public hospital district to “tax” we’re trying to become a public hospital to get access to a higher reimbursement rate from a bill that was put together and lobbied for two years. If we can get the bill, it means bringing into this community another 3 million dollars. And it says right in the bill that if you want access to this you have to become a Public Hospital District and you have to own and operate it. Now that doesn’t mean Tom Jensen, that means you as the community will own and operate that facility, and I will tell you that with an extra 3 million in the bank, that organization will make money. Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Summit Pacific Medical Center administratorsCentral Park resident Frank Scherer asked Jensen “What are the current debt of the hospital, and liabilities outstanding, and why do the taxpayers have to make that up to make this hospital solvent?” Jensen replied “Long term debt bonds are about 36-million dollars, technically the bill doesn’t state that it has to be taxed, to that will be up to the commissioners. It won’t even be up to me, So the commissioners will make the decision on what that tax rate  will be, we’re just communicating what it could be. And more than likely the most that we could get if we became a Public Hospital District is 42 cents.” Along with whether to form the district, your August Ballot will ask you to select a District Commissioner, and 2 at-large Commissioners, for a total of 7 that will make up the public board if the district is approved. If it isn’t approved, you might just see a proposition on the November ballot to add a few cities into the current Hospital District #1 in East County. Seeing that some of the new district’s potential commissioners are former and current employees of the non-profit hospital, one woman asked why? I asked Police Chief Bob Torgerson if he was planning on stuffing his pockets from the public coffers “The reason to run for any public office is to serve the community, the other reason is that I’m not part of the group that is currently running the hospital. I’ve had 40 years of public experience being in the public eye, doing public service, but the whole purpose is to make it better for everybody.” Torgerson is running against the hospital’s former CFO Tim Howden for the 1st At Large position The question and answer session lasted about an hour last night, you’ll have more chances to ask questions at one of two meetings next week. Hospital Administrators will be at the Log Pavillion in Aberdeen Wednesday evening, July 23rd for a debate hosted by the League of Woman Voters beginning at 6, then a second meeting hosted by Fire District #2 is being held in Brady that night at 7. Listen to Johnson with Doug McDowell on CoffeeTalk earlier this week.

PSnP, Genesee & Wyoming respond to recent derailments with plans to invest in local line

We’re sorry, embarrassed, and fixing our recent purchase. That was the sentiment from Puget Sound and Pacific this week to Commissioners at the Port of Grays Harbor, after recent slow-speed derailments in Grays Harbor. “We’re in the business of moving freight, and we know that there is a lack of confidence in us to successfully move freight, and that’s what we do for a living.” Joel Haka, Senior VP of the Pacific Region railroads for Genesee & Wyoming, told Port Commissioners this week that the recent derailments are unusual, and unacceptable. “We don’t like to see derailments, and unfortunately we’ve had 3 pretty good sized derailments in the last month. We had a real small fourth one in Centralia about three weeks ago, in which nothing tipped over but it did leave the tracks and we had another issue.” Haka said the first two derailments in Aberdeen were caused by mud spots, where he said mud pushed through stone underneath the railroad ties, the third derailment, behind Central Park, was caused by a thermal misalignment of the rail or “sun kinks.” They purchased the local line from Rail America 18 months ago, Haka said they should have kicked the tires a little more, but “We believe in this railroad, we don’t have a lot of history with it quite frankly. We did not realize the state of the railroad and what it was , and now to insure that we don’t have any further derailments we have a real comprehensive 3-year plan.” Haka said the company plans to spend over 4.3 million this year, and nearly as much again next year on improvements to the line “That’s about three times the amount of money that Rail America put into this property. [in the two years prior]” The Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad operates about 150 miles of track from Centralia to the coast.

Montesano man jailed after high speed chase on stolen motorcycle

A tip led police on a high speed motorcycle chase, the wreck of a Montesano Police vehicle, and K9 track to arrest a Montesano man Tuesday night. Grays Harbor County Undersheriff David Pimentel tells us around 10:45 last night detectives learned that a black motorcycle stolen from Federal Way would be traveling down Central Park Drive toward Montesano, where it was going to be sold. A few minutes later Deputy Tracey Gay spotted the motorcycle, where it took off at a high rate of speed down Central Park Drive to Devonshire road, where it dodged a Montesano PD road block and headed toward Pioneer, this is where the Montesano Police SUV slid off the road, as we reported earlier this morning. The motorcycle headed to main street, then onto State Route 12 where it drove Westbound on the Eastbound lanes at speeds of 100 MPH and turned at Devonshire, again heading Northbound – this time striking an Ecology block on the West Wynoochee. Pimentel said the driver fled on foot, and was tracked by K9 Maxx shortly after. A 28 year old Montesano man was taken into custody, treated at the hospital for injuries, and then booked into Grays Harbor County Jail for Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree, and Felony Eluding.

Hoquiam police arrest couple sleeping in their car, recover drugs and gun

Hoquiam police found a couple of people passed out in their car, and recovered a firearm that may have been stolen recently from Aberdeen. Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us just after 2 A.M

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Grain train derails North of Friends Landing in Montesano

The third train derailment in three weeks occurred in Grays Harbor County Thursday afternoon in West Montesano. It happened just after 4 p.m. at the Devonshire Road crossing near Central

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Grays Harbor vehicle prowls on the rise, mostly taking advantage of unlocked doors

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents of vehicle prowls throughout the county that seem to be taking advantage of unlocked doors. Chief Criminal Deputy

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