Grays Harbor E-911 Director recognized with APCO International Life Membership

Grays Harbor E-911 Director Peggy Fouts has been recognized as a recipient of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officers (APCO) International Life Member award at their annual meeting in August.

The highest membership honor APCO International can bestow is that of LIFE membership. Designation of Life Member is an honor reserved for members of APCO who have made a significant contribution toward the objectives of APCO International above and beyond the chapter/state level. Life Members must have maintained membership for 15 or more years and made at least five major accomplishments that have contributed significantly to the betterment of the association.
As a recipient of this award, Peggy Fouts is recognized for her dedication to the profession of public safety communications, to APCO and for her service to the field of public safety communications. Mrs. Fouts has served or currently serves APCO as the APCO Executive Council Representative from Washington, a member of the Board of Directors for the Western Region of APCO, the chair and/or member of a number of technical and leadership development committees of APCO, and the Chair of the APCO Management Committee and the APCO Finance and Budget Committee.
On behalf of the Operating Board of Grays Harbor Communications E9-1-1 I am proud to commend Peggy Fouts for this recognition of her service to, and efforts on behalf of, APCO and the public safety communications profession.

Kilmer, Heck Announce National Heritage Site on the West Coast

TACOMA, WA – Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Denny Heck (WA-10) joined local officials to announce a bill to create the first national heritage site on the West Coast. Their legislation would establish a National Maritime Heritage Area in Washington state – the only one in the country focused on maritime history. Following the announcement the group also toured the Foss Waterway Seaport.

Congress has designated 49 areas across the country as National Heritage Areas to promote local economic growth and preserve sites and landmarks with cultural and historical significance. After being approved by Congress each area is managed by local officials, with no new regulatory authority over management or preservation given to the National Park Service.

“From fishermen to shipbuilders, the maritime economy has been central to our region for generations,” said Kilmer. “We take pride in how rich this history is. Traveling along our coast you’ll find unique stories about our tribal heritage, fishing economy, and even boundary disputes. Today, we’re shining a spotlight on our maritime traditions in the hopes of reminding future generations of how important our ties to the water are while bringing in visitors from across the nation that will support tourism businesses. This bill seeks to maintain these national treasures through local control so they don’t fade away and would not have happened without a grassroots campaign to secure a heritage designation. I look forward to continuing to work with local communities to create this area.”

“Not only will the establishment of a maritime heritage area encourage people to learn about this special place, but to also visit and experience its brilliance in person,” said Heck. “This designation will also preserve the area for many generations to enjoy our region well into the future.”


What are National Heritage Areas?

info sheet imageNational Heritage Areas (NHAs) are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Through their resources, NHAs are a grassroots, community-driven approach to heritage conservation and economic development. Through public-private partnerships, NHA entities support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects. Leveraging funds and long-term support for projects, NHA partnerships foster pride of place and an enduring stewardship ethic.


US DOT issues emergency order requiring stricter standards to transport crude oil by rail

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today issued an Emergency Order requiring all shippers to test product from the Bakken region to ensure the proper classification of crude oil before it is transported by rail, while also prohibiting the transportation of crude oil in the lowest-strength packing group.

“Today we are raising the bar for shipping crude oil on behalf of the families and communities along rail lines nationwide —if you intend to move crude oil by rail, then you must test and classify the material appropriately,” said DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “And when you do ship it, you must follow the requirements for the two strongest safety packing groups.  From emergency orders to voluntary agreements, we are using every tool at our disposal to ensure the safe transportation of crude.”

Emergency orders are issued to protect the public and environment from the likelihood of substantial harm created by an imminent hazard. Today’s Emergency Order, the fourth from DOT in less than a year, was issued in response to recent derailments involving trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken region and out of concerns over proper classification that are currently under investigation as part of Operation Classification, also known as the “Bakken Blitz.”

Effective immediately, those who offer crude oil for transportation by rail must ensure that the product is properly tested and classified in accordance with federal safety regulations. The Emergency Order also requires that all Class III crude oil shipments be designated as Packing Group I or II, thereby requiring the use of a more robust tank car. Packing Group III, a lower risk designation, will not be accepted, until further notice.

Shippers are required to use nine hazard classes as a guide to properly classify their hazardous materials. Proper classification will ensure that the material is placed in the proper package and that the risk is accurately communicated to emergency responders. Shipping crude oil – or any hazardous material – without proper testing and classification could result in material being shipped in containers that are not designed to safely store it, or could lead first responders to follow the wrong protocol when responding to a spill.

In addition to Operation Classification, which includes crude oil spot inspections and investigations, PHMSA will be in Minot, North Dakota this week conducting a classification workshop. Field personnel will present training at the 60th Annual State Fire School sponsored by the North Dakota Firefighters Association to provide information about hazmat response, including how to use the Emergency Response Guidebook.

Rail safety is a national priority, and DOT continues to work aggressively across multiple fronts to enforce its requirements and reduce risks regarding the safe transport of all materials. PHMSA and the Federal Railroad Administration have issued several safety advisories related to the safe transport of crude oil by rail, including the recent January 2 Safety Alert and is currently engaged in the ongoing rulemaking to improve the design of the DOT 111 tank car. In August 2013, PHMSA and FRA launched Operation Classification in the Bakken Shale region to verify that crude oil was being properly classified and announced the first proposed fines associated with that ongoing investigation last month. Additional activities include unannounced spot inspections, data collection and sampling at strategic locations that service crude oil.

Click here to view (pdf) Emergency Restriction – Prohibition Order (Docket DOT-OST-20014-0025

Click here to view (word file) Emergency Restriction – Prohibition Order (Docket DOT-OST-20014-0025

Hatfield’s bill designating official oyster passes Senate

The Ostrea lurida is one step closer to becoming the official oyster of Washington state.
The small oyster would earn the designation under Senate Bill 6145, sponsored by Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond. The bill cleared the full Senate on Thursday and now goes to the state House for consideration.
Ostrea lurida, sometimes called the Native or Olympia oyster, is a species native to Pacific Northwest waters and a popular component of Washington’s $270 million shellfish industry. The inspiration for the bill came from Claire Thompson, a student at Olympia’s Nova Middle School. Thompson asked Hatfield to propose the bill as part of a school project and to bring attention to ongoing threats to the state’s waters.
“I’m excited to see this bill move through the process. It’s an opportunity to shed light on an industry vital to our state’s economy and culture,” Hatfield said. “It’s also an excellent opportunity to share a lesson in civics with a young student in our state.”
Ostrea lurida

PUD Honored Nationally as “Reliable Public Power Provider”

Criteria within each category are based on sound business practices and represent a utility-wide commitment to safe and reliable delivery of electricity.

Receiving the RP3 designation means a lot to us, it’s an honor to be recognized on a national level for the work we are doing here locally in Grays Harbor. – Rick Lovely, General Manager of Grays Harbor PUD

This is the seventh year that RPrecognition has been offered.  APPA is the national organization representing more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community- and state- owned electric utilities.  It is located in Washington, D.C.

Washington Vying For New National Monument

He says they have been waiting for Congress to designate the land as a National Conservation Area, but the bill has languished. On a recent visit to the area, Salazar suggested trying for National Monument status, which takes a presidential signature rather than a vote. Stephens says they would be happy with either.

Local residents have two major concerns about the future of these spots, Stephens adds.

“Two very important things are keeping these preserved and not having them sold off, where they could become private, and also keeping local control. They can be accomplished through placement in the national landscape conservation system.”

The San Juans also have fans of the idea who aren’t locals. Rick Hegdahl lives in Bellevue, Wash., but he feels strongly enough about preserving the land to write a recent Seattle Times commentary.

“It’s just one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s not so much that I go there every day, but just the fact that it’s nearby and, if I feel like it, I can go there on a day trip. Preserving lands for future use – if we have an opportunity to do it now, let’s do it.”

Some residents have voiced concerns that fishing or boating could be restricted in the area, but either type of federal designation would require local input into the management plan. Last week, the San Juan County Council sent an official request asking that the land be considered as a National Monument.

- Chris Thomas

Applications Begin for Pontoon Construction Site

ABERDEEN, Wash. (KBKW) – The Pontoon Project in Grays Harbor is one step closer, the Washington State Department of Transportation has applied to perform work in Grays Harbor waters, including construction of the casting basin, excavation of an access channel across uplands and through inter-tidal and sub-tidal portions of Grays Harbor, as well as designation and construction of a pontoon storage area.

The public notice issued by the Department of Ecology and the Army Corps of Engineers also details mitigation plans to compensate for a total wetland fill of .90 acre. Ecology is accepting public comment on the application until January 22nd.

For more details, see the notice at


Laws prohibiting texting and requiring hands-free devices took effect in 2008, but have been considered secondary violations. Officers had to witness some other infraction in order to make a traffic stop. The new designation as primary offenses mean police can stop drivers for a texting or cell phone violation alone.

Batiste is disappointed that the laws’ previous status didn’t win more voluntary compliance. In some cases there was outright defiance.

“They would look right at our troopers with phones held to their ears,” Batiste said. “They knew that without another violation we couldn’t do anything.”

The texting and cell phone requirements are intended to save lives and reduce injuries by eliminating these two major sources of driver distraction.

Since the laws went into effect in 2008, WSP has written approximately 3,000 tickets and given about 5,900 warnings. The patrol believes the number of collisions caused by inappropriate use of mobile devices is greatly under-reported.

“Few drivers are going to admit they were on a cell phone, or texting, after a crash,” Batiste said. “We are choosing to take action before a collision occurs in hopes of preventing these needless tragedies.”

The fine for a violation is $124.