Aberdeen and Hoquiam students hit the streets for Foodball 2014

The 33rd Annual Foodball Competition begins Friday November 7th in Aberdeen and Hoquiam, and it runs for 10 days until a final weigh-in on November 17th. “It’s always a great event for our community to help support the food bank,” Aberdeen School Superintendant Tom Opstad reminds parents and drivers, kids will be out combing the neighborhoods collecting donations of non-perishable food or cash.
Each dollar is worth ten pounds of food in the friendly competition that Aberdeen has let Hoquiam win for the past four years.
For the past two years Aberdeen and Hoquiam have collected a combined total of over 1 million pounds of food which is then donated to Coastal Harvest who distributes it to local food banks. The final weigh-in will be held at 5 pm at the Grays Harbor PUD on November 17th.

While Foodball may be a friendly competition between schools, the real winners are those in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. All of the food and cash will be donated to the Coastal Harvest Food Distribution Warehouse for local families. Coastal Harvest also delivers food to over 50 food banks, senior centers, tribal centers, and feeding programs across Washington.

Coast Guard seeks public comment on waterways analysis study of Grays Harbor

 

Coast Guard officials are seeking public comment while conducting a waterways analysis and management system review of Grays Harbor.

Officials are seeking information from local mariners regarding the general use of the waterways and any issues with the visibility, placement or location of aids to navigation in that area before the comment deadline of Jan. 31, 2015.

This WAMS is the second combined WAMS and includes five old waterways: Grays Harbor Main Channel, Hoquiam Reach, North Bay, South Channel and South Bay.

Coast Guard officials use WAMS to validate the adequacy of the existing aids to navigation systems and to get a better understanding of the uses of each waterway and general safety issues. WAMS focuses on the waterway’s present ATON system, marine casualty information, port and harbor resources, changes in recreational and commercial marine vessel usage and future dredging and development projects.

Continue reading Coast Guard seeks public comment on waterways analysis study of Grays Harbor

Hoquiam house fire started near wood insert stove

A stubborn house fire displaced a Hoquiam mother and two children yesterday. Captain John Bickar tells us they responded to the home in the 600 block of Queen Avenue around 10:30 Tuesday morning. “We showed up on scene, had quit a bit of smoke coming out of the wall and the eves over by the chimney. Went in and we had fire in the walls, opened those up and it went right upstairs and into the attic. So the crews exposed that and extinguished it.”

No one was injured in the fire, the renter had just left about 10 minutes beforehand with a fire going in a the wood insert-stove. Bickar said it appeared that the chimney failed somewhere between the stove and the wall. Damage estimates were over $30,000 mostly from smoke, crews were able to keep the damages mostly over the front room and a second bedroom in the attic space.

 

Hoquiam outsources ambulance billing, drops resident write-off

No more special treatment for Hoquiam residents when it comes to ambulance billing. The Hoquiam City Council last night adopted a new ordinance that outsources that department, and standardizes rates. Resident Dave Forbes said during the public comment period “I know that our city’s in a real financial bind, but the citizens of Hoquiam have stepped forward several times in the past with special fees that we’ve been paying for a long time that were supposed to have helped pay for the ambulance service for the average citizen in Hoquiam and it sounds to me like we’re doing away with just about all of that.”
The council last night got a look at a balanced budget proposal by Finance Director Mike Folkers, which assumes lower service levels, and the changes in ambulance fees. “As you know today we go out, we take you on an ambulance trip, we bill your insurance. Anything that’s left over from that trip we write off, for Hoquiam residents. That’s problematic for us for a number of reasons but it doesn’t help us.”
City Administrator Brian Shay likened the problem to your water department “The average homeowner pays a water bill every month, they get a water leak, they want us to come over and shut their water off, we send a guy over there with a truck and we charge him $30. We get a call for someone to check their blood pressure, we’ll send two highly trained personnel in $100,000 ambulance, and [currently] there’s no charge.
Attempting to put the brakes on the idea, Councilman Greg Grund postponed a vote on one of the the committee reports “You know you can charge somebody to death with all of these fees and everything, I think it should be tabled because people have the right to know what’s gonna happen and what’s gonna change. Tabling this until the next meeting I don’t see how that does any harm.” His motion stalled the non-transport-section of the ordinance which allows the city to bill you a flat rate if an ambulance shows up but doesn’t transport you. The council went on to adopt the new billing policies, and an Indigent Care policy last night.

Active Shooter Training at Miller Junior High School in Aberdeen – just a drill

Police will storm Miller Junior High School in Aberdeen this weekend, over and over again. It’s part of Active Shooter Training for local departments. Aberdeen Police Captain John Green tells us his department, in conjunction with the Aberdeen Fire Department and numerous other Law Enforcement and Fire Agencies within Grays Harbor, is conducting a multi-agency Active Shooter Training Drill will be held at Miller Jr. Hi the morning of November 1st.

This training drill is the second in a series of events planned by local law enforcement and fire departments to test and evaluate our joint response to active shooter type incidents. The November 1st drill has been in the planning phase for over two months.

The drill is expected to last a total of five hours and involves the following agencies.

Aberdeen Police Department

Aberdeen Fire Department

Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office

Hoquiam Police Department

Hoquiam Fire Department

Grays Harbor Fire District 2

Grays Harbor Communications (911)

Grays Harbor Community Hospital

Aberdeen School District

Sheriff’s office seeks tips on overdue hunter

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office is requesting any assistance in locating a 65 year old, overdue hunter.  Joe Calimlim was last heard from his spouse at 0900 hours on Friday morning (10-24-14) when he telephoned her saying that he had just arrived at the “Donkey Creek Area.”  Joe did stop at a Hoquiam gas station earlier that morning.  Joe is driving a silver, 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche, WA Plate – B52448G.  The pick-up is lifted and is a “No Fear” dealer package with No Fear decals.  There is also an NRA decal on the back.  The truck has a cover over the bed (no canopy).

Joe indicated that he planned to spend Friday night in a Hoquiam hotel but did not do so.  It is unlike Joe not to call his spouse daily.  Joe is 5-6, 190 pounds, brown eyes and very short black hair (shaved bald on Thursday).  Joe is of Philippine descent.

Drug Takeback Day everyday at the Hoquiam Police Department

Got Drugs? You can now drop off your unused or unwanted prescription drugs at the Hoquiam Police Department any time. Thanks in part to Jefferson County who donated the large metal drop box.

Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us they have participated in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Drug Takeback day twice a year for the past four years, collecting and safely disposing of over 1,307 pounds of unwanted medications.

Myers said the program provided an opportunity for citizens to safely dispose of unwanted prescription and over the- counter medications. Safe disposal prevents diversion of medications to children, teens and drug abusers; it also prevents chemical derivatives from ending up in the water table from medications being flushed into the sewer system.

For most teens, drug abuse starts from within the family medicine cabinet, not from the drug dealer.

The DEA provided boxes for each collection day and the department shipped the filled boxes back to the DEA for incineration. The most recent DEA Take Back-Day was September 27, 2014 whereby the department collected 165 pounds of medication from 58 people. This volume of medications filled six large boxes.

To date, the Hoquiam Police Department has successfully collected and safely disposed of 1,307 pounds of unwanted medications. Myers said it’s a great program, but limited to certain dates.

“Inevitably, within a few days of the last Drug Take-Back day, citizens came in with medication wondering when the next collection day would be? Each year it was not clear if the federal government would continue to fund Take-Back days. Our sergeants felt it was important to provide safe medication disposal more than just twice per year.”

While at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department on a recent investigation, Det. Sgt. Shane Krohn was able to obtain a brand-new, metal Drug Take-Back box; Jefferson County donated it to HPD.

Image Signs of Hoquiam marked the box before it was installed by Police Services Officer Roy Kinney in the police department lobby. PSO Kinney recognized the important need of this service and finished the installation on his day-off.

Myers said “I am very proud of the ingenuity and dedication of our staff in serving the citizens of Hoquiam with programs such as this Drug Take-Back drop box. HPD is the first law enforcement agency with this service, so we hope all citizens in Grays Harbor will take advantage of safely disposing of medication 24/7 in our lobby drop-box. Although there is a nominal measure of work added to our evidence custodians, as well as a small fee for incinerating these medications, our department leadership team felt the benefit outweighs the cost.

The Grays Harbor County Health Department is currently applying for a $2000 grant to assist in supporting and promoting this valuable service. I would like to commend Det. Sgt. Krohn, Officer Gaddis and PSO Kinney for their work in implementing this program.

 

Wreck South of Cosmopolis sends two to hospital

Driving too fast for conditions was the cause of a wreck South of Cosmopolis yesterday. The Washington State Patrol reports that just after 11 Sunday morning a 54 year old Hoquiam man lost control of his 1997 Toyota Pickup on a corner and slid into an oncoming 2011 Ford F250 that was towing a 24 foot 5th wheel camper trailer. Trooper Richardson said both the driver of the pickup, and his passenger, a 41 year old Humptulips man, were injured and transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen with undisclosed injuries. The Toyota was listed as totaled, both vehicles and the camper were towed from the scene.

 

Hoquiam credit union receives coveted Northwest award

Left to Right: Photo (L-R) Denise Gabel, COO, Northwest Credit Union Association Richard Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union (2013 winner)   Ynette Gibbs, CEO, Newrizons Federal Credit Union Troy Stang, CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association
Left to Right:
Photo (L-R)
Denise Gabel, COO, Northwest Credit Union Association
Richard Hein, CEO, OSU Federal Credit Union (2013 winner)
Ynette Gibbs, CEO, Newrizons Federal Credit Union
Troy Stang, CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association

Newrizons Federal Credit Union located in Hoquiam for nearly 50 years was recently awarded the highly competitive 2014 Credit Union Innovation and Impact award by the Northwest Credit Union Association. “This is like getting an Oscar. It’s a very big deal,” said Ynette Gibbs, CEO. “Of all the great work that credit unions do in Washington and Oregon, Newrizons was chosen for what we naturally do in Grays Harbor County.” What they do is amazing according to those who know Newrizons. Last year their IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program returned over $600,000 in tax refunds to 375 Grays Harbor low-and-moderate income families for free.

Newrizons started GHC IDA raising $75,000 in community funds and receiving a $75,000 federal grant.This program rewards savers with $1 of federal and $1 of community for every $1 they save for first time home ownership, college or trade school. “People work for this, stick to a savings plan for at least 6 months and take financial education.” Another reason why Newrizons received the innovation and impact award is their homegrown credit and financial counseling program. Newrizons’ 3 full-time, certified financial counselors help Grays Harbor County residents rebuild poor credit and pay collections or garnishments.

Ynette credits the Newrizons’ team who work confidentially one-on-one to jointly build realistic and manageable plans paying old and current bills in a way that really works. People increase their credit score an average of 62 points in just 6 months. Sometimes this includes negotiating settlements or debt consolidation loans but the real secret is the ongoing support for new choices achieving what at first feels impossible.

Newrizons, located at 120 Firman Street in Hoquiam, is a US Treasury-certified, community-development financial institution dedicated to the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”.

No foul play expected in Hoquiam death investigation

Hoquiam police do not expect foul play in the investigation of a death yesterday. Several neighbors in the 2000 block of Broadway Avenue reported a woman outside of a trailer screaming about a man laying in bed with a gun.
Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us they discovered the man in the home, he appeared to have been dead for a while, a weapon was also recovered.  Patrol officers located the female down the road and transported her to the station for an interview. She was apparently a friend of the victim.

Myers said at this time, the police department is not considering this to be a homicide investigation. The Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office will notify next of kin and determine the official manner of death.