Ocean City gas station burglars grab beer, Swisher Sweets, and change

A couple of burglars made off with two 18 packs of beer, Swisher Sweets, and a handful of change from the Sunshine Deli & fuel station at Hogan’s Corner on State Route 109 on Tuesday.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office tells us just after midnight Tuesday morning alarms were reported at the store, responding deputies found the glass on the front door had been broken with a large rock. Video surveillance showed a pair of men believed to be in the 20’s ransack the store.

Shumate said Deputies learned that two individuals had entered the store after breaking the front door glass with a large rock.  The two individuals then proceeded to steal two 18 packs of Icehouse Beer in cans, several individually wrapped Swisher Sweet Cigarillos, and a small amount of change.  The suspects then fled the store and ran north.

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WDFW will hold two public meetings on hoof disease in S.W. Washington

OLYMPIA – State wildlife managers believe they are close to determining the cause of hoof disease in southwest Washington elk and plan to hold two meetings in April to share results to date and answer questions from the public.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled public meetings at the following times and locations:

  • Vancouver – April 15, 6-8 p.m., Community Room, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way.
  • Chehalis – April 16, 6-8 p.m., V.R. Lee Community Building (Recreation Park), 221 S.W. 13th Street.

Sandra Jonker, WDFW regional wildlife manager, said department staff will discuss results to date of ongoing tests designed to identify the cause of deformed or missing hooves in elk, primarily in Cowlitz, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.

Since 2009, WDFW has collected tissue samples from 43 elk for testing at diagnostic laboratories at Washington State University, Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, the USDA National Animal Disease Center and the University of Liverpool in England.

Jonker said recent tests of diseased hooves point to the presence of treponeme bacteria, which have been linked to hoof disease in cows and sheep in many parts of the world.

“It’s premature to announce a final diagnosis, but tests from three independent diagnostic labs appear to show an association between the diseased hooves and the presence of treponeme bacteria,” Jonker said. “That’s a real concern, because the options for treating the disease are extremely limited.”

Kristin Mansfield, WDFW epidemiologist, said treponemes have been linked to an increasing incidence of hoof disease in livestock for two decades, but have never been documented in elk or other wildlife.

There is no evidence that these bacteria are harmful to humans, she said, noting that tests indicate the disease is limited to hooves and does not affect the animals’ meat or organs.

Mansfield said scientists believe animals pick up and transmit the disease through wet soil, characteristic of the lowlands of southwest Washington. Livestock infected with treponeme bacteria may respond to repeated courses of antibiotics, but frequently become re-infected once they are returned to pasture, she said.

“Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for this disease,” she said. “Livestock that don’t respond to treatment or become re-infected after treatment are usually sent to market and slaughtered.”

For purposes of comparison, WDFW has collected elk from areas both affected and not affected by the disease, Jonker said. Testing of tissues taken from 11 elk in January will help determine whether treponemes are the primary cause of the disease or opportunistic bacteria that invade hooves that are already damaged, she said.

“Test results taken from those samples are due this summer, and should help us answer an important question about this disease,” Jonker said.

Meanwhile, WDFW is developing a management approach based on input from WDFW staff and two advisory groups created to help guide the department’s course:

  • A 14-member technical advisory group, established to recommend diagnostic approaches, will assess findings of the diagnostic laboratories and advise on disease control options. The group is composed of veterinarians from universities, government agencies and local veterinary practices in Washington and other states.
  • An 18-member public working group, made up of people from southwest Washington, is working with WDFW to share information and discuss management and research needs. The advisory group includes county commissioners, public and private landowners, hunters, sportsman groups, local business owners, and others concerned about the area elk herd.

“As with many wildlife diseases, there are no easy answers to this problem,” Jonker said. “But we need to be ready to take action, because doing nothing is not an option.”

As a precautionary measure, WDFW will ask the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to adopt a new regulation requiring hunters to remove the hooves of any elk taken in southwest Washington and leave them in the area to prevent the disease from spreading.

In addition to the two public meetings sponsored by WDFW, wildlife managers will also participate in meetings sponsored by county officials concerned about hoof disease. Those meetings are scheduled at the following times and places:

  • Longview – March 27, 6-8 p.m., Cowlitz County Conference Center, 1900 7th Ave.
  • Cathlamet – April 2, 6 p.m., River Street Meeting Room, 25 River St.

To learn more about hoof disease or report a sighting, see WDFW’s website at

Cap-and-Trade Proponents Look Longingly at New England

The U.S. House passed a climate bill that includes cap-and-trade more than a year ago, although unlike RGGI, many of the emissions credits would initially be given away instead of auctioned off. Shattuck thinks that could reduce the system’s effectiveness at reducing emissions.

Cap-and-trade opponents say the systems are costly to implement, and bad for business and consumers. But Jessica Finn Coven, an energy policy specialist for Seattle-based Climate Solutions, believes the benefits make cap-and-trade worth a closer look, especially in this economy.

“The budget crisis is the reason we should be doing something like this. You know, in 2008 Washington state spent over $16 billion importing fossil fuels. That’s all money that we could invest in our economy and creating jobs here, for Washingtonians.”

Finn Coven says Washington could start its own system as soon as 2012 if lawmakers could agree on it; or the state could be part of a regional system through the Western Climate Initiative. Either way, she adds, it will take some political will, and the success of RGGI could convince skeptics that it’s worth a try.

Grays Harbor Public Market News – Easter Egg Edition

The Hoquiam Farmers Market has a fantastic supply of eggs from hens who are celebrating the end of winter! These are the freshest and best eggs that you can find, unless you have hens of your own. One word of caution however- the fresher the egg, the harder it is to get the shell off when it has been hard boiled. So get these eggs for frying, scrambling, omelette-ing, baking- anything but hard boiled! Not only do you know that this is a good local egg, but you also know that the chicken has had the freedom to run around being a happy chicken. Factory chicken farms never allow the chicken to even see the light of day, much less to romp and scratch in a field.

Beginning on Wednesday, we will have home grown seed potatoes available! Wait until you hear what kinds they are; Yellow Finns and German Butterballs! Doesn’t that sound better than the ordinary russet?? Growing potatoes doesn’t require much skill at all, but the results are phenomenal! You get this impressive plant appearing above ground, and come harvest time the resulting search for buried treasure beats any pirate’s hoard. These seed potatoes come from Lubbe Farms in Satsop, tried and true varieties grown especially for our fickle Grays Harbor climate!

Easter is often the occasion for families to gather, and feasting is a longstanding tradition of Easter. If there is one thing that the Farmers Market is really good at promoting, it is feasting! Given an honest-to-goodness excuse for cooking great food, we go a little bit crazy! Nancy will be baking all kinds of pies this week, and the annual Hot Cross Buns will appear on Friday and Saturday. I recently learned that Hot Cross Buns were once illegal in England, but due to the threat of mass rioting, Queen Elizabeth the 1st made it legal to bake and sell them only for Easter and Christmas. Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about our Nancy becoming an outlaw for bun baking.

Speaking of outlaws. Honestly, I didn’t even have to plan that segue, it just happened! This Saturday night, April 3rd, the Hoquiam Business Association is hosting Dan Whyms, the Johnny Cash Living Tribute concert at the 7th Street theater. We all know that Johnny has been gone for a few years, but you’d never know that by listening to this man’s music! I never had the privilege of hearing the Man in Black in person, so I am thrilled to be able to attend a world class tribute artist singing Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line. Swooning may occur. Tickets are available at Les Blues in Aberdeen, Harbor Drug in Hoquiam, the Farmers Market, or online at www.brownpapertickets.com. For only $15.00!

This Wednesday is the birthday of a very special person in my life. I was in fifth grade when I met Jean Hogan. She was my teacher. Every child should have a teacher who changes their life. A teacher who makes such a difference that they cannot imagine how life would have been without that teacher. Sometimes we don’t realize how enormous of an impact a particular teacher had, and often- all too often- the teacher never knows. I think that part of the reason I understand how lucky I was is due to having lived in Hoquiam all of my life. The stability of knowing people from an early age and having them be a part of one’s life as maturity slowly but surely does its’ work- I have a continuity that doesn’t exist for someone who has bounced around from one place to another. They have other skills that I lack, but I am thankful beyond words for what my community has provided for me. You see, I didn’t know my teachers only in the classroom- they were also part of my church, members of the Olympians Hiking Club, volunteers at bazaars and car washes, Girl Scout leaders. A constant and abiding presence. I knew that they had the full authority of a parent no matter where I was or what I was doing. Jean Hogan Savidge is celebrating her 80th birthday on Wednesday, and I am grateful for the opportunity to let her know how precious is her presence in my life.
Don’t wait for a birthday announcement- hug a teacher today!

Barbara Bennett Parsons, contented manager of the Grays Harbor Public Market, fondly known as the Hoquiam Farmers Market. Open 5 days a week! 538-9747