Sound Community Bank Completes Acquisition of Three Columbia Bank Branches on the Olympic Peninsula

SEATTLE, Aug. 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sound Community Bank (the Bank) (Nasdaq:SFBC) today announced the completed acquisition of three Columbia Bank branches on the North Olympic Peninsula. Sound Community Bank now offers banking services in Port Ludlow and expands its market share in Sequim and Port Angeles. The Port Ludlow branch marks the Bank’s first presence in Jefferson County. Sound Community Bank received approximately $22.2 million of deposits and $1 million of loans from the transaction. Sound Community Bank paid Columbia Bank a 2.35% total deposit premium.

Sound Community Bank now has six retail offices, the virtual “EZ Branch” and one loan production office. In Port Angeles, Sound Community Bank will operate the current Columbia Bank branch as Sound Community Bank until Monday, November 10. It will then consolidate into the existing Sound Community Bank branch 8 blocks east at 110 N. Alder St. In Sequim, the Bank operates at its new location at 645 West Washington St. immediately and will permanently close the original branch at 541 N. 5th Ave. at the close of business Friday, September 12. There is no location change in Port Ludlow and this branch will begin Saturday hours, 9:30 AM to 1 PM, Saturday, October 4.

Laurie Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sound Community Bank said, “We are delighted to welcome the clients and employees of Columbia Bank. The acquisition of these Columbia Bank branches helps us expand our market share and our community impact on the Peninsula. We are pleased to offer our great products and services along with our expert client service to the residents of Clallam and Jefferson Counties.”
Sound Community Bank is a full-service bank, providing personal and business banking services in communities across the greater Puget Sound region. The Seattle-based company operates banking offices in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Jefferson and Clallam Counties and on the web at Sound Community Bank is a subsidiary of Sound Financial Bancorp, Inc.

Washington Attorney General sues owner of Olympic Animal Sanctuary

A Forks resident who raised $300,000 for a non-profit dog rescue organization, but failed to register with the Secretary of State or produce required records of how the donations were spent, has been sued by the Attorney General’s Office for violating Washington’s Charitable Solicitations Act and Consumer Protection Act.

Stephen C. Markwell, founder of Olympic Animal Sanctuary, is accused of unlawfully soliciting and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable donations while not being registered as a charity with the Secretary of State.

According to the Attorney General’s complaint, filed today in Clallam County Superior Court, Markwell also failed to maintain records of how the charitable donations were spent.

“Olympic Animal Sanctuary failed to account for how charitable money was spent,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  “When organizations don’t comply with the law, we step in to protect both the public and the vast majority of our state’s charities that do comply with the law.”

Markwell registered Olympic Animal Sanctuary as a federal, tax-exempt non-profit organization in 2007.  However, his operation was not registered in Washington as required by law, until April 2013, when he was contacted by the Secretary of State.

During the six-year interim, his organization reported more than $300,000 in revenue generated from public donations.

As of Dec. 2013, Markwell no longer operates the Olympic Animal Sanctuary and has surrendered the dogs to a shelter in Arizona.

The Attorney General’s action does not address allegations of animal abuse or neglect as those issues do not fall within the Consumer Protection Act or Charitable Solicitation Act.

Concerns regarding animal welfare should be directed to city or county law enforcement and local animal care and control agencies. Consumers with concerns specifically about Olympic Animal Sanctuary and Stephen Markwell can contact Clallam County Animal Control at (360) 417-2459, or the Forks Police Department at (360) 374-2223.

For more information on finding charities, visit the SOS charity lookup. Consumers can also visit the SOS website for tips on giving wisely.

Hoquiam becomes 164th city nationwide to earn TsunamiReady and StormReady designation

The city of Hoquiam is now TsunamiReady and StormReady. Ted Beuhner with the National Weather Service attended the council meeting last night presenting the city with the award, and two new TsunamiReady signs. “On behalf of myself and all of us at the National Weather Service in Seattle, Renee and everybody that she works with in the Washington Emergency Management Division, Chuck Wallace in Grays Harbor County Emergneyc Management, and the citizens of Hoquiam, congratulations.

Starting off National Tsunami Preparedness Week, the city became the 164th city nationwide to earn the designation. Beuhner added “In fact, all up and down the coast from Pacific County up to Clallam County, all the outer coastal counties are currently Tsunami Ready.”

Schools, playgrounds, hospitals, factories and homes are often built in areas vulnerable to tsunamis. The TsunamiReady Program, developed by the National Weather Service, is designed to help cities, towns, counties, universities and other large sites in coastal areas reduce the potential for disastrous tsunami-related consequences.

Since June 20, 2001 TsunamiReady has helped community leaders and emergency managers strengthen their local operations. TsunamiReady communities are better prepared to save lives through better planning, education and awareness. Communities have fewer fatalities and property damage if they plan before a tsunami arrives. No community is tsunami proof, but TsunamiReady can help minimize loss to your community. Find out what’s involved in becoming TsunamiReady.

TsunamiReady Hoquiam, Washington

February special elections underway across Washington state

Voters have begun casting their ballots for the February special election in Washington. Registered voters have until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, to return their ballots at voting centers, drop boxes or by mail. All mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and require first-class postage.

If you haven’t registered to vote in Washington but want to vote in the February election, you have until Feb. 3 to register in person at your county elections department.

Elections will be held in 36 counties and 220 districts, encompassing about 59 percent of those counties’ registered voters and over half of the state’s voting population. This is a significant increase compared to last year’s February election, which involved 31 percent of state voters, said Patty Murphy, a voting systems specialist for the Office of Secretary of State’s Elections Division.

Ballot measures center primarily on education funding this year. Out of 283 measures, 270 are school district levies or bonds, almost tripling last year’s 100 measures in 84 districts.

The only counties not having an election are Clallam, Ferry and Garfield counties.

More information, guidelines and election results can be found here:

Public invited to comment on Regional Transportation Plan

Port Angeles 
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 
Wednesday, Dec. 4 
Clallam County Courthouse 
Commission Board Room, room 160 
223 E. Fourth St. 

11 a.m. 
Friday, Dec. 6 
Ironwood Meeting Room 
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe 
1033 Old Blyn Highway 

Port Townsend 
7 – 8:30 p.m. 
Thursday, Dec. 5 
CoLab (Above the Silverwater Café) 
237 Taylor St., Second Floor 

4-5:30 p.m. 
Monday, Dec. 16 
Commission Chambers 
Mason County Building 1 
411 N. Fifth St. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information 
Accommodation requests for people with disabilities can be made by contacting the WSDOT Diversity/ADA Affairs team or by calling toll-free, 855-362-4ADA (4232). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may make a request by calling the Washington State Relay at 711. 

Title VI Notice to Public 
It is the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) policy to assure that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin or sex, as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise discriminated against under any of its federally funded programs and activities. Any person who believes his/her Title VI protection has been violated, may file a complaint with WSDOT’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). For additional information regarding Title VI complaint procedures and/or information regarding our non-discrimination obligations, please contact OEO’s Title VI Coordinators, George Laue at (509) 324-6018 or Jonte’ Sulton at (360) 705-7082. 

Coast Guard rescues teenage hiker from Olympic National Park

SEATTLE, Wash. – The U.S. Coast Guard medevac’d a 15-year old hiker after she fell from a 15-foot cliff north of the Hoh River in Olympic National Park, in Clallam, Wash., Monday.

The hiker was reported in stable condition.

At approximately 10:46 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle received a request from National Park Service employees to rescue a fallen hiker.

The hiker, an Idaho native visiting the park on a school field trip, had reportedly fallen head-first onto a beach and was in-and out-of consciousness.

The duty flight surgeon from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., spoke with National Park Service rangers and agreed to perform the medevac.

A HH-65 Dolphin crew arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer. The girl was hoisted aboard the Dolphin at approximately 1:12 p.m. and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

FEMA Dollars Begin to Flow Into Washington

Following the March 5, 2012 Presidential disaster declaration, the State Emergency Management Division (EMD) and FEMA began processing public assistance applications throughout the 11 disaster declared counties. Projects in Seattle, Lacey, Renton, the Shelton School District, the Cedar River Water and Sewer District, as well as others, were among the first applicants to be approved.

“Our primary goal is to get to ‘yes’ on projects so we can help these Washington communities recover as quickly as possible,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Karl at FEMA’s Lacey-based field office. “This initial funding approval is the first of many to come.”

Eligible counties include Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, and Wahkiakum. FEMA will pay 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures, repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas, and similar publicly owned facilities.

Under the PA program, the state is able to forward federal funds to eligible state, local and tribal governments as well as certain private non-profit organizations providing essential community services that incurred disaster-related costs.

Information about the WA/FEMA PA process is available at:

State Representatives Tharinger and Van De Wege to Visit Grays Harbor

Both Tharinger and Van De Wege represent the 24th Legislative District, which includes all of Clallam and Jefferson counties, and parts of Grays Harbor.  The 24th District is one of the state’s geographically largest legislative districts.

Van De Wege says the district’s size makes multiple town hall meetings necessary.  In previous years, Van De Wege has held town halls throughout the district outside of the legislative session.  He has also held several telephone town halls, which allow people throughout the district to participate in a virtual town hall by phone.  Although both Tharinger and Van De Wege are considering hosting a telephone town hall as well, Van De Wege says now is the time to speak to people in person.

“A lot of tough decisions are going to be made in order to balance the state budget, and it’s important to find out what people’s priorities are,” Van De Wege said.

Beacon Elementary is located at 1717 East Beacon Avenue in Montesano

Emergency Declaration Includes Grays Harbor County, 16 Others

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire declared an emergency Wednesday for storms that hit Washington in December.

The declaration means state agencies can spend money beyond budget appropriations to offer aid. Emergency Management Division spokesman Rob Harper says the statement also may bring in federal money.

The declaration covers storm damage Dec. 8-18 in Clallam, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum, and Whatcom counties.

Snow, high winds and heavy rain caused flooding, landslides and power outages.


The results are in from the recent Drive Hammered, Get Nailed enforcement campaign conducted from Nov. 25, 2010 through Jan. 2, 2011.

In Jefferson County, 23 motorists, (compared to 13 during the same patrols in 2009), were stopped and arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). There were 83 DUI arrests in Kitsap County, 57 in Grays Harbor County, 27 in Mason County and 26 arrests in Clallam County,. Statewide, law enforcement officers arrested 3,577 drivers for DUI, according to a Jan. 10 summary from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.


During 2009, impaired drivers were responsible for more than half of the 491 deaths on Washington’s roadways. For additional information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, visit <>