Family rescued from car on beach seconds before waves roll it over

An Ocean Shores Police Officer rescued a Kent family from the surf this evening.

At about 6:54 pm today, Grays Harbor 911 received a report of a vehicle in the surf near the W. Chance ala Mer beach approach in Ocean Shores. The caller reported that a woman and an infant were still in the vehicle. Two other adults, a male and a female, were already out of the vehicle.

When Officer Watson arrived on scene less than two minutes later, he found the car in the surf. An adult male was in the driver’s seat, with an older female and an infant in the passenger seat. The car had sunk into the wet sand, so the Officer had to force the door open to get the occupants out.

He helped the woman (who was carrying the six-month old baby) out of the car and started leading her up the beach. The male was able to get out on his own. The people were only about 20 feet from the car when another wave hit, lifting the car up and rolling it onto its top.

Other Officers arrived and helped the family of four get clear of the water. They were all checked on the scene by Ocean Shores Fire Department Paramedics and released.

The car had to be flipped over by a bulldozer, then it was removed from the beach by a tow truck.

The driver told Officers that the family was driving on the beach in their brand new Infinity, when they stopped at the edge of the surf to look at the water. The tires sank into the wet sand, so they were unable to drive away when the waves began pounding the car.

Senate Passes bill to upgrade crude oil regulations in Grays Harbor

The Senate has passed a bill to set up new safety regulations for oil trains that travel through Washington. The bill would tax oil moved by rail or tanker at 5 cents a barrel to fund spill cleanup efforts, and requires upgrades like tug escorts and other water transport safety measures for oil shipped via Grays Harbor. An amendment to extend those requirements to Puget Sound oil shipments failed.

ASSE International seeking host families for exchange students

ASSE International Student Exchange Programs (ASSE) is seeking local host families for boys and girls from a variety of countries around the world. These students are 15 to 18 years of age, and would like to come to this area for the upcoming high school year or semester. These personable and academically select exchange students are conversant in English, are bright, curious and anxious to learn about this country through living as part of a family, attending high school and sharing their own culture and language with their newly adopted host family.

Those persons interested in obtaining more information about becoming a host family should call toll free: 1-800-733-2773. There are many students to choose from, so call and begin the process of selecting your new son or daughter today!


ASSE International (formerly American Scandinavian Student Exchange) is a non-profit, tax-exempt, public benefit organization. ASSE is officially designated as an exchange visitor program by the department of state, was founded by the Swedish Ministry of Education, cooperates with the Canadian Provincial Ministries of Education, and is approved by the Australian and New Zealand departments of education.

Hoquiam to rename a portion of Queets Avenue after James McQuade

The City of Hoquiam last night voted against committee recommendation and renamed a portion of Queets Avenue to McQuade in honor of a fallen Vietnam veteran who’s chopper was shot down while searching for missing soldiers under fire.

“On June 11th, 1972 the 23 year old pilot from Hoquiam Washington, [his gunner] and the copter was right above their leader’s chopper when it was shot down itself.” Dan Discher grew up on Queets Avenue with James McQuade, he told the council last night that McQuade left the Harbor to become a 1st Lieutenant in the Army, and flew for the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade.

1Lt. James R. McQuadeMcQuade was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1974. “Col. Jack Kennedy, McQuade’s Commander was there, and he said ‘In the 25 years and two tours of Vietnam I never met a braver man than Jim McQuade’.”

City Councilman Paul McMillan got choked up when he explained that 5 other Hoquiam residents died during the conflict in Vietnam, “but only one got the Distinguished Service Cross, and that’s why we wanted to honor him, cause Jimmy volunteered to go into that, I think he needs to be honored tonight.”

Councilman Ron Tibbets suggested they send the report back to the Historic Preservation Committee, noting the time and effort put into the decision by the voluntary group. The council instead voted unanimously to reject the committee report that recommended against the rename.

McMillan noted that the street addresses won’t change, the new names will be placed over the existing street signs similar to Art Pocklington Way on a portion of 7th Avenue, and Roger Jump street on a portion of Cherry Street near Olympic Stadium.

First Lieutenant James Russell McQuade of Hoquiam, WashingtonFirst Lieutenant James Russell McQuade of Hoquiam, Washington, was 23 when his Light Infantry Brigade helicopter was shot down over Vietnam on June 11, 1972; his remains were found and his family notified in October, 1999.

“Lieutenant McQuade’s voluntary participation in a desperately dangerous mission demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) James Russell McQuade, United States Army (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Troop F, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade. First Lieutenant McQuade distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 11 June 1972 while serving in support of the 1st Army of the Republic of Vietnam Division in the Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant McQuade was participating in a rescue mission of a downed helicopter crew in an extremely hostile area. Lieutenant McQuade, knowing that the downed aircraft had received intense automatic small and heavy anti-aircraft fire, volunteered to go into the heavily infested enemy territory to search for possible survivors. Upon initial entry into the enemy held terrain, Lieutenant McQuade reported taking heavy automatic weapons fire from all sides. With complete disregard for his own safety, he continued flying towards the crash site. As he proceeded to the area of the downed aircraft, he reported taking further anti-aircraft fire. At approximately 750 meters from the crash site and completely engulfed in hostile fire, Lieutenant McQuade reported taking numerous hits and, shortly thereafter, was hit with a missile of unknown type. His aircraft disintegrated in mid-air. Lieutenant McQuade’s unselfish concern for the welfare of his fellow soldiers resulted in the loss of his own life. He was well aware of the risks involved but refused to give up the search in the face of the fanatical enemy resistance. Lieutenant McQuade’s voluntary participation in a desperately dangerous mission demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 56 (December 31, 1974)

Westport Winery earns gold in New York Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

Westport Winery brought home five medals from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, New York. This is the competitions 15th year with 73 judges from around the world judging 3708 wines from 27 countries.

2015 Boom FrontDirector of Winemaking, Dana Roberts, earned a gold medal on Boom Runner, a sparkling pomegranate wine that benefits Hoquiam’s Polson Museum. Silver medals were awarded to Smoky Nor’wester Sangiovese, Shorebird Chardonnay, and Elk River Riesling.


Smoky Nor’wester benefits the Museum of the North Beach in Moclips and features grapes from the renowned Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA. Shorebird Chardonnay benefits the Grays Harbor Audubon and features grapes from Conner-Lee Vineyard near Othello. Elk River Riesling, also from Red Willow Vineyard, benefits the Twin Harbor Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

2015 Smoky Front

2015 Mercy FrontCidermaker Carrie Roberts earned a silver medal for Mercy, her hard apple cider. Each of Westport ciders (Mercy, Courage, Hope and Grace) benefits Mercy Ships an organization providing surgical care to the poorest of the poor in Africa.

Westport Winery’s award-winning wines are exclusively available at the winery. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website at

2013 Shorebird PosterLaunch spring at the winery’s unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, all located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. You will see why Westport Winery was named Best of the Northwest Wine Destination.



Wildlife Commission lists tufted puffins as state endangered species

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted new big game hunting rules for the upcoming season and an interim policy for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries during a public meeting April 9-10 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also agreed to place tufted puffins on the state’s endangered species list and remove Steller sea lions from the state’s threatened list.

New hunting rules approved by the commission will expand hunting opportunities for virtually every big game species and gear type. New regulations will:

  • Add two more days to the modern firearm season for mule deer.
  • Shift archery elk season to start the Saturday after Labor Day to provide better opportunity for hunters in cooler weather.
  • Double the amount of spring bear permits available in northeast Washington.
  • Allow elk hunters using muzzleloaders to hunt in more game management units (GMUs).
  • Increase moose permits to 170 from 136 in the northeast part of the state, where moose populations are near an all-time high.


The commission did not adopt a proposal to restrict the use of bait when hunting for deer and elk. Instead, the commission directed WDFW to work with stakeholders to bring forward new options for consideration next year.


All of the hunting rules approved by the commission will be included in the 2015 Big Game Hunting pamphlet, which will be available later this spring on WDFW’s website at, in sporting goods stores, and at other license vendors throughout the state.

Tufted Puffin colony occupancyIn other business, the commission added tufted puffins to the state’s endangered species list to provide them with additional protection. Tufted puffins are native seabirds once considered common in parts of Washington. In recent decades, however, the population has significantly declined. WDFW will develop a plan outlining actions necessary for the species’ recovery in the state.

Steller sea lions, on the other hand, have rebounded in recent years, prompting the commission to remove the species from the state’s list of threatened species. The federal government has also delisted Steller sea lions. The species will remain as state protected wildlife and will still receive protection under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

After receiving a briefing from state fishery managers on a long-term salmon-management policy for Willapa Bay, the commission adopted an interim plan that will be in effect through 2015. The interim policy is designed to accelerate the recovery of natural-origin chinook salmon by reducing the incidental catch of wild fish while encouraging the harvest of hatchery chinook.


WDFW will work with stakeholders in the coming weeks to designate the 2015 salmon fishing dates in Willapa Bay, based on the new interim plan. The interim plan is posted on WDFW’s website at

The commission also took public comments on a proposal to reopen recreational fishing for flounder, sole and other flatfish – except halibut – in Quilcene Bay and the northern portion of Dabob Bay in Hood Canal. A separate public hearing was held on management of Columbia River sturgeon.

In other news, April’s meeting was attended by fishing columnist Dave Graybill and retired public health physician Kim Thorburn, who were appointed to the commission by the governor last month.

Swinomish Tribe says “No More Oil Trains on Our Land”

A Native American tribe says too many trains, some of which carry volatile Bakken crude, are crossing its reservation and it’s suing the rail company to stop them.

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community alleges BNSF Railway is violating an easement agreement made in 1991. The agreement set limits on the numbers and lengths of trains to cross this part of the Puget Sound area, and requires the rail company to inform the Tribe about the types of cargo.

Tribal chairman Brian Cladoosby says getting oil to a coastal refinery seems to have taken precedence over the original deal.

“The last letter we received from them indicated they weren’t going to abide by our agreement, and that they had to provide this [crude] to the Tesoro refinery,” says Cladoosby. “So, they basically indicated they were going to keep doing what they’re doing.”

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle asks that BNSF stick to the original agreement: one train per day in each direction across the reservation, of no more than 25 cars in length, with the added specification of no Bakken crude on those trains.

Cladoosby says oil trains of more than 100 cars began crossing the reservation in 2012, and the Tribe has been asking about them since then. He says spills or worse aren’t risks the Tribe is willing to take.

“The trains run in real close proximity to our economic development area,” Cladoosby says. “Where we have our casino, our hotel, our bingo hall, our gas station, our RV park, our sewer treatment plant. So, it’s pretty close proximity.”

In a report last month, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission cited 14 instances in which hazardous materials leaked from BNSF rail cars in a recent four-month period, and the commission claims not all were reported promptly.

BNSF said it found inaccuracies in “more than 90 percent of those allegations.” The company has ordered 5,000 new and updated oil tank cars.

Members of the Swinomish Tribe, seen here at a tribal ceremony, are concerned that long trains of oil tank cars are crossing their reservation every week, a development the Tribe says violates its 1991 easement agreement with a rail company. Photo credit: Leslie Dierauf/U.S. Geological Survey.
Members of the Swinomish Tribe, seen here at a tribal ceremony, are concerned that long trains of oil tank cars are crossing their reservation every week, a development the Tribe says violates its 1991 easement agreement with a rail company. Photo credit: Leslie Dierauf/U.S. Geological Survey.

Changes Made to Earthquake and Tsunami Planning since the 2011 disaster in Japan

Last month, the anniversaries of the March 27th 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami, (M 9.2, which impacted Grays Harbor County), and the March 27th 2011 Japanese “Tohoku” Earthquake and Tsunami, (M9.0), passed without much fanfare.  I contacted John Schelling, the Earthquake/Tsunami/Volcano Programs Manager at Washington Emergency Management Division to ask the question, “Have any changes been made to U.S. and/or Washington State planning since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami?” His response is below.



Four years has elapsed since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, I was wondering if any significant changes have been made to any U.S. planning, (or worldwide planning)?  One significant change in Washington State and Grays Harbor County, is the Ocosta School District Elementary School Project where they are building the first vertical evacuation, tsunami engineered, safe haven building in North America, but have there been any other changes?



The short answer is yes, there has been a lot that has changed. Here are a few…


Lesson from Japan: Plan for the right hazard. Japan planned for a smaller M8.2 event…and then had a 9.

In Washington: Fortunately, our paleo tsunami and ghost forest history has shown that we have had to worry about a 9.0 as well as smaller events. However, science is not a static process and new research should give way to updated hazard assessment. We have been re-examining the tsunami hazard from Cascadia and updating the coastal hazard assessments using an earthquake that generates a greater amount of slip, which makes a bigger tsunami.


Lesson from Japan: Vertical evacuation can save thousands of lives…if they are high enough

In Washington: We conducted site-specific hazard assessments for current sites proposed for vertical evacuation using a larger scenario and added additional factors of safety to account for uncertainty.


Lesson from Japan: Don’t rely on your technical warning systems to alert people as there may be issues in getting an accurate warning out before the telecommunications infrastructure is impaired.

In Washington and the US: We continue to educate coastal populations on natural warning signs of a tsunami and recommendation evacuation when people feel the ground shake. The technological system is there as a secondary source of information, if it’s available.


Lesson from Japan: Global Positioning Systems, (GPS) can help identify BIG earthquakes more quickly than traditional seismometers.

In Washington and the US: There are discussions moving forward about how to integrate GPS data into the traditional seismometer-based warning network. Additionally, Washington State is home to one of the larger GPS networks, the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), which is run out of Central Washington University. For more information on PANGA go to:


Lesson from Japan event here in Washington: Limited English Proficiency communities may be unaware of tsunami hazard zones, tsunami warning sirens, and tsunami evacuation maps/routes given evacuations in Grays Harbor County to a local hospital

In Washington: The State Tsunami Program, in conjunction with state and local partners, including Grays Harbor County, has begun to develop a series of products and outreach materials, such as Public Service Announcements, (PSAs), in Spanish to more effectively educate local coastal populations.

Olympic National Park Staff Prepare for Summer Season: Come Find Your Park This Spring

As migrating birds return and wildflowers bloom in the lowland forests, employees at Olympic National Park are turning their attention to spring cleaning and preparations for the main visitor season.

“We’ve had an early spring at Olympic National Park and we’re happy to see people already coming out to enjoy the warmth, sunshine and budding trees,” said Olympic National Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “It’s still wintry at the park’s higher elevations though, and no matter the elevation, visitors should always be prepared for changing conditions, as rain and even snow are possible at any time of year.”



The Staircase Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be available during for the summer season from May 22 through September 28.



The Dosewallips Road remains closed due to a washout outside the park boundaries in Olympic National Forest, so access to the campground is walk-in (5.5 miles) only.


Deer Park

Deer Park Road and campground are both scheduled to open by mid-June, snow permitting.  While most of the road is snow-free, drifts remain at the upper elevations.  If conditions allow, this area may open earlier than scheduled. The campground provides primitive camping, with pit toilets and no drinking water.


Hurricane Ridge Road and Heart O’ the Hills

Hurricane Ridge Road is currently open as weather and staffing allow. People should call the Road & Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131 for current conditions and road status.


Beginning in early May, the road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or late spring snow storms cause it to close temporarily.


The Hurricane Hill Road (the 1.5 mile of road that leads past the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center to the Hurricane Ridge picnic area and Hurricane Hill trailhead) is expected to open by mid-June.


Reaching elevations over 6,000 feet, sections of the Obstruction Point Road are still covered with four to five feet of snow, with higher drifts in some areas.  This road is expected to open in mid-June snow permitting.  If conditions allow, it may open earlier.


The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only beginning May 2.  Weekend hours will continue through June 7.  The Visitor Center will be staffed daily beginning June 12.  The snack bar and gift shop on the lower level of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center will be open on weekends only from May 3 – May 18 and will open daily beginning May 22. Check for more information.


The Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Heart O’ the Hills Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.


Elwha Valley

The Olympic Hot Springs Road is open to the Boulder Creek Trailhead, unless road work or weather conditions close it temporarily.   There is currently no access from the Olympic Hot Springs Road to Glines Canyon or the former Lake Mills, as construction of a new parking area and viewpoint continues. This area is expected to open this summer.

The Whiskey Bend Road is closed to vehicle traffic at Glines Canyon Overlook, one mile above the intersection with Olympic Hot Springs Road. Winter rains caused a major washout that destrobyed a 500-foot section of road. The road remains open to foot, bicycle and horse travel, but all horse trailers must be parked and stock off-loaded at the Elwha picnic area. Horse trailers are not allowed on the Whiskey Bend Road because there not  currently a turnaround that will accommodate trailers.


The Elwha Campground is open year round for primitive camping (pit toilets and no water.)  Drinking water and flush toilets will be activated for the summer on April 17 through September 14.


Altair Campground is closed until further notice because of damage and loss of campsites and roadway caused by high winter flows along the Elwha River.  A timeline and plans for repairing and reopening the campground have not been completed.


Olympic Raft and Kayak, based just outside the park along the Elwha River, offers guided raft trips on the Elwha River, as well as kayak trips and other opportunities.  Check for more information.


Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent Lodge will open for the season on May 2 and will remain open through January 1, 2016, offering a range of lodging options, a dining room, boat rentals and gift shop.  More information is available at


Fairholme Campground will open this summer from May 21 through October 5, with drinking water and flush toilets available.  Beginning May 1, Fairholme General Store will be open Friday through Sunday through May 17.  Beginning May 22, the store will be open daily through September 7.


The Log Cabin Resort will open May 22 through September 30 for lodging, RV and tent camping, a boat launch, dining room and store.  More information is available at


La Poel Picnic area will open for day use on Saturday, May 23.


Sol Duc Valley

The Sol Duc Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.


The Sol Duc Campground is open year round; drinking water and flush toilets will be activated on April 16.


The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, is open for the season with lodging, dining, hot springs and a small store.  More information is available at


Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest Road is generally open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause it to close temporarily.  The Hoh Rain Forest Campground is open year round with drinking water and flush toilets available.


The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is currently operating out of a temporary trailer while the main visitor center is under renovation.  The visitor center is now open Friday through Tuesday and will be open daily from June 17 through September 7.  The primary visitor center is expected to reopen this spring, at which time the temporary facilities will be removed.


Pacific Coast

Kalaloch, Mora and Ozette—Olympic National Park’s road-accessible coastal destinations—are open, including all roads, campgrounds and trailheads, except for the Beach Four parking area and trail, which are closed due to erosion damage.


The Kalaloch and Mora campgrounds both provide drinking water and flush toilets.  The Ozette Campground is primitive, with pit toilets and no potable water in the campground, however, water is available nearby.  South Beach Campground, a primitive campground located just south of Kalaloch, will open on May 15.


The Kalaloch Information Station will be open five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) beginning on May 19.  Daily hours will begin June 16.


Kalaloch Lodge is open year-round with cabins, lodge rooms, dining and a gift shop.  For more information, check for more information.


Queets Valley

The Lower and Upper Queets roads are both open 24 hours a day, unless road work or weather conditions cause temporary closures, however the Lower Queets Road is closed about a half-mile below Matheny Creek (one mile before the end of the road) due to road damage. The Queets Campground is open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no potable water.


Quinault Rain Forest

The Quinault Loop Road, which includes the Quinault North Shore and South Shore roads, is open. The Graves Creek and North Fork roads are also open.  All Quinault area roads are typically open 24 hours a day, unless temporarily closed by road work or weather conditions.


The Graves Creek Campground and North Fork Campground are both open for primitive camping with pit toilets and no drinking water.


Park Trails & Wilderness Information Center
The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center (WIC), located at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beginning May 12.


Visitors are encouraged to stop by or call the Wilderness Information Center located within the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 360-565-3100 for current trail reports, spring hiking safety tips and trip planning suggestions.  Information is also available at the park’s website.

Several feet of snow remains on the ground, beginning at elevations above 4,000 feet. Even at low elevations, hikers are reminded to use caution and be aware of downed trees, trail damage, high and swift creek crossings, and changing weather conditions.