McCleary man arrested after stealing motorbike in front of deputy

A 46 year old McCleary man was arrested overnight, after running from deputies, stealing a mini bike in front of one, leading them on a brief chase before he was caught in an East county yard. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us last night at approximately 7:00 pm, a deputy observed two men in a heated argument and preparing to fight in the 400 block of West Simpson Avenue in McCleary. As the deputy approached, one of the males, who was not wearing a shirt, fled on a bicycle. The deputy made contact with the other male and determined that no assault had taken place. The man advised he just did not like the other person and wanted him off his property. The man gave the deputy a name for the subject who fled however there was no computer record found.
Approximately 40 minutes later, a citizen called to report the person who fled from the deputy earlier was seen in the 800 block of Elma McCleary Road. In an attempt to identify this person, McCleary PD and the deputy checked the area and again found the shirtless man however he immediately fled into a nearby wooded area. The officers did not give chase as they still did not have a crime. Shortly thereafter, Deputy Gay with his K-9 partner Max, had arrived in the area and observed the same shirtless man standing next to another male on Elma Hicklin Road just west of Church Road. The other male was holding onto a mini-bike. Once the shirtless man saw Deputy Gay, he grabbed at the mini-bike and fought briefly with the other male, eventually pushing him down and fleeing on the mini-bike. Deputy Gay pursued the mini-bike at speeds between 30-40 mph. The suspect then headed east in the westbound lane of Elma Hicklin Road before dumping the bike in a yard near the 800 block on Elma Hicklin Road. At this time, the other deputy along with two McCleary officers had arrived on scene. Deputy Gay with his K-9 partner Max chased the suspect around the residence. The suspect circled the home and then attempted to get back on the mini-bike. The suspect was contacted by the officers however continued to resist arrest. He was eventually taken into custody.
The man was a 46 year old McCleary resident who had a number of outstanding felony warrants. He was booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail on the warrants, Robbery 2nd for forcibly stealing the mini-bike for the owner, as well as Eluding, Resisting Arrest, and driving on a suspended license.

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.

Grays Harbor Fire District #2 to host info meetings on Hospital Districts

Grays Harbor Fire District #2 will host their second public meeting this month to discuss the proposed formation of a second Hospital District, and the proposed annexation of a couple cities into Hospital District #1 in East County.

They would like to get the word out on how both could affect their taxing authority, representatives from both hospitals will be on hand to answer questions.

• Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. @ Station 32 in Brady

Public hospital district 1 commissioners in East County have approved an annexation plan that would ask the voters in November to put Montesano, Brady, Black Creek and Melbourne in the taxing and coverage district for Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma.

Grays Harbor County Sheriff warns of increased vehicle prowls in East county

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department is warning of recent car prowl incidents and “crimes of opportunity.”
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us two separate vehicle prowls occurred west of Elma between Sunday evening (06/08/14) and Monday morning. One vehicle prowl occurred to a 2013 Chrysler van at a residence in the 100 block of Firlawn Drive which is off of Monte Elma Road. A navigational system and two sets of head phones were taken.

The other vehicle prowl occurred to a 2002 Ford Explorer at a residence on Hennick Place which is off of Firlawn Drive. Stolen from this vehicle was a purse that contained credit cards. Fraudulent charges had already been made on some of the cards when the victim noticed the theft. Investigators are working on leads surrounding the charges.

Shumate said it appears that both vehicles were left unlocked at the time of the crimes.

Anyone with information on this crime or others are urged to call the sheriff’s office at 360-249-3711.

Two arrested after attempting to load U-Haul from East County shop

Two men were arrested yesterday after they apparently pulled their grandfather’s rented U-Haul up to the back of a building and began loading tools from a shop in rural East Grays Harbor County. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office tells KBKW at about 3:40 Wednesday afternoon, deputies were dispatched to the 600 block of Monte Elma Road (just east of Brady) reference a reported burglary in progress.  A resident at that location called to report a U-Haul backed up to his nearby shop and two men who appeared to be loading items from his shop into the U-Haul.  The home owner actually confronted the suspects and blocked the driveway to his shop however the suspects did not cause any problems and remained until deputies arrived shortly thereafter.  Deputies detained a 33 year old Lacey man and a 37 year old Olympia man.  Deputies then found that the two men had stacked several tools up next to the entry door and were preparing to place them into the U-Haul.

Multiple arrests made in connection with interrupted Montesano burglary

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department has made multiple arrests in the investigation of an interrupted burglary just outside of Montesano last week.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us around 3:30 Tuesday, investigators arrested a 30 year old male resident, and his 23 year old pregnant girlfriend at a home in Hidden Valley Mobil Home Park. At approximately 5:30 pm, investigators then arrested the owner of the 1989 Mazda pickup that had allegedly been stolen and used in the burglary/robbery. And then at approximately 7:00 pm, a 23 year old Montesano man was arrested for also being involved with this crime.

Shumate said investigators learned that the 30 year old Montesano man had borrowed the Mazda pickup from the owner/friend on Thursday April 3rd . He then proceeded to drive around the east county area with his pregnant girlfriend, and the 23 year old Montesano man, looking for residences to burglarize. The suspects noticed the home in the 100 block of Monte Brady Road and it appeared that nobody was home. The suspects drove into the driveway and the 30 year old entered the unlocked front door and took a large glass container of coins and returned it to the pickup. The 30 year old then returned to the residence a second time and was then confronted by the home owner who had been in the back of the residence. The home owner armed himself with a .40 caliber pistol. The suspect pleaded with the home owner not to shoot him and then convinced him to come outside and see that he had a pregnant girlfriend. The homeowner went outside with the man and did notice the pregnant female as the middle passenger. The home owner then attempted to call 911 on his cell phone and the 30 year old attacked the victim and wrestled the gun from him. During the altercation, the firearm discharged twice however nobody was injured from this. The suspect then took the firearm from the home owner and fled the scene.

The suspects immediately drove to the logging roads off of Camp Creek Road and discarded the Mazda pickup. They called the owner of the pickup and had him pick the suspects up. The owner of the pickup then decided to report his vehicle stolen in an effort to throw off the investigation. While the victim of the Burglary/Robbery thought the 3rd passenger may have been a female, this person was actually the 23 year old Montesano man. This same person was also involved with the numerous East Montesano and Brady burglaries from a month ago.

Last night, Investigators recovered the firearm that had been taken from the homeowner. The pistol was buried in the back yard of a residence in Hidden Valley Mobil Home park. The Mazda pickup was also located on the logging road and impounded as evidence. At this point, the 30 and 23 year old Montesano men have been charged with 1st degree burglary and 1st degree robbery. The owner of the Mazda pickup was booked for rendering criminal assistance for those two crimes. The pregnant female was released pending further investigation.

East Grays Harbor County residents asked to report suspicious activity

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department is warning Brady and Satsop residents of an increase in Burglaries, Thefts, and Vehicle Prowls. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us over the past week and a half, there have been four separate incidents in the area including burglaries on the 18th and 25th in Brady, a burglary in Satsop on the 20th, and aparrently someone stole batteries out of vehicles in the 500 block of the Monte Elma Road East of Montesano on Wednesday. Then just before 7 last night, Shumate reports residents in the 300 block of that road – closer to Brady, watched as a white or lighter colored Jeep Cherokee pull into their driveway and turn off it’s headlights. When asked, the occupants claimed to be lost, but sped away when the residents tried to help.

The driver was described as being a white male in his late 20’s to early 30’s with a skinny build and bald/shaved head. The Jeep was further described as being “beat up looking”. There was a white female passenger of about the same age who was described as having a bigger build than the male.

Anyone seeing a vehicle matching this description in that area is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 360-249-3711 or the Grays Harbor Dispatch Center at 360-533-8765.

On 02/18/14 the department investigated a burglary that occurred at a residence in the 100 block of Winkleman Road (Brady). Suspect(s) broke into the residence and stole several items that included a large flat screen TV, a DVD player, a computer and a laptop. The victim also noticed metals had been taken from around his shop. Investigators eventually developed a suspect of the metal theft and he was located and arrested. It is unknown at this time if he was responsible for the burglary to the home. That investigation is ongoing.

On 02/20/14 the department investigated a burglary that occurred in the 1000 block of Monte Elma Road (Satsop). Suspect(s) burglarized a shed and stole items from the carport. Items included a 10 speed bike, a drill press, and miscellaneous tools. It was believed this crime occurred at night.

On 02/25/14 our agency investigated a burglary that occurred to a residence in the 500 block of Monte Elma Road (Brady). The home owners had only been gone a few hours mid day when they returned home and discovered that suspect(s) had forcefully entered their residence and shop and stole numerous items. Some of the stolen items included a flat screen TV, food, clothing, jewelry, and tools. Due to the extent of theft, detectives were called to assist deputies with this investigation. The sheriff’s department K-9 unit was also utilized however it was believed the suspect(s) arrived and left in a vehicle.

On 02/26/14 residents in the 500 block of Monte Elma Road (Montesano) discovered that someone had stolen the batteries out of their vehicles.
Anyone with information on the above referenced crimes are asked to call the sheriff’s department at 360-249-3711. We are also requesting residents in that area to report any unusual or suspicious activity.

Hoquiam council packed with public comment, as city moves forward with EIS

Concerned citizens packed the city council chambers in Hoquiam last night, most wearing red, all opposed to any action by the council on two efforts to export Crude by Rail from Grays Harbor.
As Judy Shirdal said “I am against Crude by Rail, and Crude oil storage in our community. If these projects pass, and are implemented, it could forever change the health and safety of our towns.”
The comments centered around hazards that crude-by-rail could bring, as Karoonuh Johnson said “Leadership has to accept that if we have a global economy, we also have a global environment.”
East County resident Radley Young added that the council’s actions affect so many more cities than just Hoquiam. “There are a tremendous amount of small communities that are bisected by the railroad, and they’ve been like that for a long time. But they’ve never had to deal with such a potential threat.”
As we reported earlier this month, City Administrator Brian Shay told Port of Grays Harbor Commissioners “With any luck 30 days from now we will be formally launching the EIS, and done 12 months from now.
City council last night adopted the report by staff recommending a consultant begin the Environmental Impact Statement process for Westway Terminals and Imperium Renewables, two companies that would like to expand export operations in Hoquiam.

Grays Harbor County adopts levy shift again this year

MONTESANO, Wash. – The Grays Harbor County Commissioners yesterday adopted their regular Property Tax Levy for 2014. They also adopted a levy shift that moves $500,000 from their road fund to their general fund. Commissioner Wes Cormier voted “no” on both.
Terry Franklin lives down an East county road, she said during the public comment period “You got to figure out what to do, and quit using our road money because I haven’t had lines on my road for three years. One of these days one of us is going to end up in the ditch because there’s not even a fog line, there’s not a center line, there’s nothing there anymore.
Commissioner Frank Gordon said at least they’ll be able to call 911 “We’ll I’m going to tell you the most important thing “quality of life” for me, because I lived in the country most of my life, is if I call 911 I know I’m going to have a Sheriff’s Deputy there. Well you know something, sometimes we have to take choices between one’s safety, or a line down the road.
For the third consecutive year the commissioners approved the shift, the first two years they shifted $750,000, they are authorized to shift up to a million of they need to shift their taxing authority to prop up their budget. County staff suggested they “ween” themselves off of the option, over the next few years.
The Commissioners yesterday also postponed a vote to adopt their 2014 budget until Monday the 9th.

Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Department arrests 5 in ongoing investigation

The man ran to a running green colored Nissan Altima and got into the passenger side.  The driver of the vehicle then attempted to flee the scene however Deputies blocked the exit of the station and attempted to order the passenger out of the vehicle.  The man refused to comply with the orders and moved furtively throughout the vehicle. He was also trying to get the driver to put the vehicle in gear.  Knowing that the man had stolen firearms in the past, and was a suspect of recent thefts, deputies had to kick the window of the passenger door out in order to apprehend the suspect. 

During the arrest of the suspect, the man swallowed a bindle of what deputies believed to be methamphetamines.  The man was eventually transported to Summit Pacific Hospital in Elma and remained there overnight for observation.  He was booked earlier this morning on numerous charges.  In addition to the 29 year old McCleary man, a 31 year old East County transient, and a 28 year old Lacey man  were arrested.

A number of stolen items have been recovered to include firearms.  At this point, investigators are continuing to identify additional suspects and locate additional stolen items.