Montesano man in custody after brief high-speed chase

A 23-year-old Montesano man is back in custody after a high-speed chase from Hoquiam into Aberdeen. Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us the man was at Grays Harbor Community Hospital for an evaluation when Aberdeen police received the report that he had left. Hoquiam Sgt Mitchell spotted a suspicious vehicle that had been reported near an auto dealership on Simpson Avenue just before 3 pm Wednesday. Mitchell reported that the vehicle sped off at a high rate of speed into Aberdeen as he approached. When the Ford pickup rounded the corner from Simpson Avenue onto Park Street it rear-ended an SUV. Myers reports no injuries to either the man or the driver of the vehicle he struck, but the damage disabled his vehicle enough that he put it in reverse and drove into the parking lot near another dealership and struck a U-Haul truck. At that point Mitchell was able to pin the truck and make an arrest with the help of responding officers.

23-year-old Derek Robecker was in Grays Harbor County custody this morning for multiple charges dating back to the summer of 2014.

Myers said it appears that he had just been released that morning, left the hospital and stole a truck from a parking lot near the Grays Harbor PUD. From there it appears he attempted to break into a home on Aberdeen Avenue but was confronted by the homeowner, fled back to the truck, and was then spotted by Mitchell.

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at approximately 1435 hours, Aberdeen PD was advised of a subject who had walked away from Community Hospital; he was apparently at the facility pending a mental health evaluation. A passerby later reported giving the subject a ride from the top of the hill down to the area of the Dollar Tree.

At 1445 hours, Sgt. Mitchell was dispatched to a car lot in the 2700 block of Simpson Ave for a report of a suspicious person who had just arrived in a blue and gray older model Ford pick-up. The subject had quickly exited the truck and jumped a six foot-barb wire fence into a nearby alley. Sgt. Mitchell checked the registration on the truck, which returned to an older gentlemen from Copalis Beach; the description of the driver did not match the owner.
Sgt. Mitchell and other Hoquiam officers checked the area in an attempt to locate the subject to no avail. Sgt. Mitchell returned to the car lot a few minutes later to find the male sitting in the truck now parked on the sidewalk. As Sgt. Mitchell pulled over, the suspect rapidly accelerated out into traffic, nearly striking the patrol car. As the suspect entered Simpson Avenue, he lost control of the truck, nearly striking a passing car.
Sgt. Mitchell activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop the pick-up. The driver accelerated and weaved back and forth between both lanes of Simpson Avenue around other traffic at a high rate of speed. The sergeant was forced to slow for heavier traffic in the 3000 block, but the pick-up driver avoided traffic by driving down the parking strip and then up onto the sidewalk.
Upon entering the city of Aberdeen on Simpson Avenue, the driver weaved from sidewalk to sidewalk around other traffic. The suspect approached Aberdeen Corporal Snodgrass parked on the side of the street intending to deploy spike-strips to stop the truck; the suspect passed by the patrol car at a high rate of speed, only missing the side of the car by inches.
The suspect entered the corner from Simpson Avenue onto Park Street whereby he lost control and apparently struck the rear of a green Jeep in traffic ahead. The pick-up sustained damage to the left front corner, apparently making it difficult to steer.
Sgt. Mitchell attempted to cut-off the pick-up, but instead the driver threw the truck into reverse and careened across both lanes of traffic, over an adjacent grass strip and into the corner parking lot near the old middle Swanson’s store. The driver continued in reverse until he struck the corner of an unoccupied U-Haul truck.
Sgt. Mitchell used his patrol car push-bars to pin the side of the truck to prevent the driver from trying drive off. The suspect, a 23-year Montesano man was pulled from the truck and taken into custody; he was not injured. The occupants of the green Jeep were checked by Aberdeen Fire Department, but apparently were not injured. It was determined the suspect arrested from the pick-up was the same person who had earlier left the hospital.
Officers discovered the pick-up had been stolen from the parking lot of the PUD office during the time-frame after he had left the hospital. Unfortunately, the truck owner had left his keys in the ignition when he went inside to pay his power bill.
Hoquiam officers were later advised the same suspect had forced his way into a home in the 2700 block of Aberdeen Avenue in Hoquiam between the time he stole the truck and led Sgt. Mitchell on the pursuit. The homeowner was concerned as the suspect had been acting strangely and refused to leave, demanding to use the phone. The suspect never made a call and finally left after a few minutes.
Aberdeen PD is investigating the stolen vehicle and related traffic collisions; Hoquiam PD is investigating the trespass at the home and the felony attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle. The suspect was booked at the Grays Harbor County Jail, ironically where he had just been released that morning after serving his sentence on prior offenses. Aberdeen PD and Hoquiam PD are coordinating all the charges against the suspect with the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor.

Stolen statue honoring fallen soldier Tim Davis is returned to mother’s porch

A statue honoring fallen U.S. Airman Tim Davis has been returned to the porch from where it vanished in late September. The soldier’s mother, Sally Sheldon tells us the statue was stolen from her front porch “And today they returned it. It was on my front porch when I opened the door. I’m so thankful.”
Sally’s son Tim was killed during combat operations five years ago near Bagram, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. “my brother Jim Sheldon of Montesano had given me a carving of an eagle, perched on the Air Force insignia and it said ‘Tim Davis: Hero’ on it.”

The statue vanished in late September, and without as much as a note it was returned this morning. “I don’t know what to say I’m so thankful, I’m so very thankful.”
The Eagle is missing his marble eyes, and it doesn’t say “Tim Davis: Hero” on it anymore. The carving looks as if someone was trying to rebrand it to sell as a chainsaw carving, but the lightning bolt and jolly green feet were still visible on the Special Tactics insignia.
The 1999 Montesano High School graduate was killed His mother Sally pled with the burglar(s) in September through the Aberdeen Daily World, and just under a week before Veteran’s Day, the statue was returned.
Tim Davis Aberdeen

 

Montesano acquires certified interpreter, says show will go on

The Montesano City Council meeting will take place tonight, with a certified American Sign Language interpreter. The Tuesday night meeting was recessed just minutes into their agenda, after councilwoman Marisa Salzer said she was unable to understand her sign language interpreter.
City Attorney Dan Glenn said the meeting could not go on if they could not provide effective communication for Salzer.
City Administrator Kristy Powell said that they didn’t know Salzer had troubles understanding Alice Akrish, the woman who interpreted for the October 13th meeting. The second interpreter at that meeting; Brenda House, contacted the city before the November 27th meeting to tell Powell that Salzer could not understand the other interpreter because she was not certified. House is certified, but was unavailable for the 27th meeting.
Powell confirmed this morning that the city has a certified interpreter to cover the meeting that begins at 7 tonight.

Montesano council meeting stalled over “Qualified” vs. “Certified” ASL interpreter

The Montesano City Council meeting last night was postponed (actually recessed) until Thursday night, after city councilmember Marisa Salzer was unable to understand her sign language interpreter.
Just minutes into the regular agenda, Salzer told the council “I’m not voting tonight because I can’t understand my interpreter, she’s not certified.” City Administrator Kristy Powell said that while she wasn’t certified, she was qualified and was one of two interpreters provided at Montesano’s last council meeting.
ASL Interpreter Alice Akrish
“I have never had, in my lifetime, a deaf person not understand me, ever.”

Last night’s interpreter, Alice Akrish, has been %85 deaf all of her life, with her deaf father at her side, she said after the meeting “I have never had, in my lifetime, a deaf person not understand me, ever.”

Salzer said last night that Brenda House, had notified Powell that Salzar required a certified, rather than qualified interpreter; House is certified.
The previous provider for the city, ASL Professionals, notified them earlier this month that they can no longer provide services because of “the situation it was putting their interpreters in.”
Powell said after the meeting that a qualified interpreter is all that they are required to provide to allow reasonable accommodation.
The ADA defines discrimination of hard of hearing and deaf individuals as “…a failure to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services…” The ADA definition of “auxiliary aids and services” includes “qualified interpreters or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments.”
The key phrase used by the ADA when it comes to deaf and hard of hearing individuals is “effective communication.” Whatever is necessary to ensure effective communication is required, by law, to be done.
Although the details of what “effective communication” entails may be hazy in some cases, there’s no doubt that ultimately sign language interpreting is the most straightforward way for institutions to fulfill their obligations under the ADA.
Therefore, any place of public accommodation is required to provide sign language interpreters or other effective means of communication for hard of hearing individuals. Depending on the situation, other effective means of communication may include assistive listening devices.

 

 

 

FEMA to review Grays Harbor County Risk Report at October meeting

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has completed a detailed risk assessment for Grays Harbor County to include all Cities within the County which has been summarized in a report which can be downloaded here. The risk assessment includes a detailed assessment on every building in each community and determines losses due to flood and earthquake, and also assesses impacts from tsunami and landslides. In addition to the risk assessment, a mitigation action section highlights potential mitigation projects as identified through the risk assessment and also includes an overview of actions in the current mitigation plan for each jurisdiction.

They will be holding a meeting to discuss the report and have a detailed discussion with the community on mitigation and resiliency. The meeting will be held on October 23rd at the Log Pavilion in Aberdeen, WA located at 1401 Sargent Blvd from 1:00-3:30pm.

FEMA will be attending along with various state agencies to include Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Emergency Management Division and Washington Sea Grant.

related article Coastal Flood Hazard Study for Grays Harbor County enters appeal period

Continue reading FEMA to review Grays Harbor County Risk Report at October meeting

Community Foundation awards $128,900 in Discretionary Grants and $40,000 in After School Program Fund Grants

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is pleased to be able to invest $128,900 into the community through its third quarter discretionary grants cycle. The Foundation has long been a resource to Grays Harbor County nonprofit organizations by offering a quarterly discretionary grants cycle. This quarter, the Foundation awarded 13 grants that totaled $128,900 in discretionary funding. “This is the largest discretionary grants cycle, in terms of number of applications, as well breadth of organizations requesting funding,” Program Officer Cassie Lentz said. “We were pleased to see the extensiveness of programs and projects that were seeking funding, from all corners of our county and beyond.”

The organizations that were funded through this discretionary grants cycle include: Montesano Community Outreach for summer art camps, Our Aberdeen for mural restorations, Grays Harbor College for making ballet performance accessible to children, Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services for legal advice clinics in Grays Harbor County, Nonprofit Leaders Conference of Southwest WA for their 2014 conference, Artic Community Association for roof repairs, Child Care Action Council for their “Raising A Reader” program, Aberdeen Revitalization Movement for phase one of their operations, Catholic Community Services for the Grays Harbor Youth Center, Beyond Survival for the “Where We Live” program, McCleary School District for STEAM education, Northwest Justice Project for an employment opportunities legal fellowship in Grays Harbor, and Montesano School District for the field turf project at Jack Rottle field.

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation was also able to award $40,000 to four After School Programs here on the Harbor through a designated fund set up specifically for that benefit. Supported programs included: McCleary School District, Montesano Community Outreach, North Beach School District, and the YMCA of Grays Harbor for Harbor After-School program sites in Hoquiam, Elma and McCleary.

Grays Harbor Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission “to improve the quality of life in the communities throughout Grays Harbor County.” This is accomplished through many projects and processes that work through or in support of other non-profit organizations, including a quarterly discretionary grants cycle with applications accepted on the first business day of January, April, July and October.

Tax deductible donations may be made to:
Grays Harbor Community Foundation, P.O. Box 615, Hoquiam, WA 98550
You may find out more by checking the foundation website: www.gh-cf.org or you may contact the Foundation staff at 532-1600 or by e-mail at: info@gh-cf.org.

Don’t let a DUI ruin your Summer fun, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Summer is a time for parties and picnics in the sun, but don’t let a DUI ruin your fun.  Even though Washington legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, it is still illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of marijuana or alcohol.

“Specifically, we want people to know that marijuana doubles the risk of a fatal crash,” said Darrin Grondel, Traffic Safety Commission Director.

“With new retail marijuana stores in the mix, we want to remind the public that prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as illegal and recreational drugs, can impair driving ability,” Grondel said.

That is why between August 15 and September 1 extra officers will be on our roads looking for drivers under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs during the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. Many of these officers have special training to identify when a driver is under the influence of drugs as well as alcohol.

Drivers are encouraged to find alternative transportation or ride with a sober designated driver. “More people may be using marijuana recreationally, but that should never be mixed with driving,” said Lt. Rob Sharpe, Commander of the Washington State Patrol Impaired Driving Section.

Lt. Sharpe noted that law enforcement has been arresting drugged drivers for a long time and will continue to identify and arrest drivers who make the poor choice to drive under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs.

Additionally, law enforcement reminds young drivers that impairment laws are much stricter for anyone under the age of 21. A young driver who has any marijuana in their system or a blood alcohol concentration of .02 or higher is considered to be driving under the influence and is at risk for arrest.

During 2013 in Grays Harbor County, 449 people were charged with DUI.*

The Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Elma, Hoquiam, Montesano and Ocean Shores Police Departments, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will participate in this Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign with the support of the Grays Harbor County Traffic Safety Task Force.

All of these extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.

Washington Primary Election deadline is today

Washington state voters this week will decide who advances to the general election in 10 congressional races including our 6th District, and dozens of legislative races including our 19th and 24th Districts.
Today is the last day to get your ballots in, or postmarked for the state primary.

Locally, 4 are vying for the District 3 County Commissioner seat, 3 for County Assessor, 3 for PUD Commissioner.
Also on ballots of those affected is the question of whether to form a Public Hospital District in Western Grays Harbor County, and which commissioners will make up it’s 7 board members.

There are no statewide offices on the ballot, but the match getting the most attention is the 4th Congressional District race to replace U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, who is retiring after two decades in the seat. A dozen candidates crowd that race, though four Republicans appear to be the front-runners.

Under Washington state’s primary system, the top two vote-getters in each race advance to the general election, regardless of party.

The Deadline to register for the state’s General Election is October 6th, ballots will be mailed out later that month for the November General.

 

Ballot Drop-Off Locations
If there is an election in the area, ballots may be dropped off at any of the locations listed below from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. – on Election Day only. Locations only accept voted ballots then transport them to the Auditor’s office. Sites do not offer replacement ballots, voting assistance, or other services.

Aberdeen Hoquiam Cosmopolis

YMCA Convention Center
2500 Simpson Ave
Hoquiam, WA 
 

 

Ocean Shores

120 W Chance Ala Mer Ave
Ocean Shores, WA

 

McCleary

VFW 158 Summit Rd
McCleary, WA

 

Oakville

Methodist Church
204 E Harris

Oakville, WA

 

Westport

506 N Montesano St
Westport, WA

 

Montesano

Auditor’s Office
100 W Broadway, Suite 2
Montesano, WA