Grays Harbor E-911 celebrates Telecommunicator Week with local awards

National Telecommunicator Week began on April 13th, and this year four local operators were honored at the Grays Harbor E-911 Center’s board meeting on Tuesday. Director Peggy Fouts

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Five years later Roanoke Conference in Ocean Shores continues to thrive

Ocean Shores, Washington – For the fifth year in a row right-leaning elected officials, young professionals, campaign operatives, policy advisers and grassroots activists will gather in

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Conservative group says Olympic National Park has lost $3 million in first 10 days of federal shutdown

Washington, D.C. - As the 10th day of the government shutdown looms, more than seven million Americans have been kept out of national parks and $750 million in visitor spending has been lost, with huge repercussions for the economies of gateway communities and entire states that depend on national park tourism, according to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR).

CNPSR-gathered figures show that the shutdown is resulting in:

* 715,000 visitors lost daily (based on October 2012 national park attendance numbers).

* $76 million in lost visitor spending per day.

* $450,000 in lost revenue each day that would go directly to the National Park Service ($300,000 in entrance fees and $150,000 in other in-park expenditures, such as campground fees, boat rentals, etc.)

CNPSR Chair Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of Everglades and Olympic National Parks, said: “These figures are mind boggling and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America – our national parks. Towns, cities, and even whole states that depend on park tourism are feeling an increasingly strong pinch. And if Congress continues to hold our national parks hostage, these communities will soon be reeling from what is in many cases the main driver of their economies.”

NOAA awards nearly $1M for marine debris cleanup

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A federal agency is providing nearly $1 million in grants to support marine debris cleanup projects in U.S. coastal regions.

NOAA says in a release that the funding will be used to remove derelict vessels, trash, tires and other debris from coastal waters and shorelines. NOAA says the projects were chosen from among 46 applications requesting a total of nearly $5 million in funding.

Cleanup projects sharing in the $967,000 in approved funding are in Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Washington state and Puerto Rico.

Applications are due Nov. 1 for the next funding cycle. It is not yet clear how much money will be available for that next round.

Grays Harbor Kitsap and Mason County Law Enforcement Leaders Join National Child Abuse Prevention Campaign

160 Washington law enforcement leaders join national colleagues on letter speaking out about abuse/neglect fatalities; Report shows half of child abuse and neglect can be prevented though voluntary home-visiting. 

SEATTLE, Wash. - As millions of Americans recognized National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, one hundred and sixty law enforcement leaders from across Washington, including six from Kitsap and Mason Counties, joined a nationwide letter calling on Congress to support proven child abuse prevention strategies.

At least 6,500 Washington children suffered abuse or neglect in 2010—nearly 18 children every day and 125 every week, on average. Child abuse and neglect also claimed the lives of at least 1,560 children nationwide in 2010, including 12 Washington children. More than 1,560 law enforcement leaders and survivors—one for every child who lost their life to abuse or neglect—have signed the letter urging Congress to protect and expand funding for evidence-based home visiting services (see a list of all Washington law enforcement leaders who signed the letter).

Grays Harbor, Kitsap, and Mason, County law enforcement leaders who signed the letter are:

H. Steward Menefee, Grays Harbor Prosecuting Attorney
Mike Whelan, Sheriff Grays Harbor County

Sheriff Steve Boyer, Kitsap County
Chief Michael Evans, Squaxin Island Tribal Police
Chief Jon Fehlman, Bainbridge Island
Chief Craig Rogers, Bremerton
Sheriff Casey Salisbury, Mason County
Chief Alan Townsend, Port Orchard

The letter emphasized the benefits of voluntary home visiting services, which help new parents cope with the stresses of raising a young child. Research shows quality, voluntary home visiting programs can cut child abuse and neglect by up to 50 percent, significantly reduce later crime and save taxpayers money. They say that evidence-based home visiting can save as much as $21,000 for each family served by reducing abuse, neglect, juvenile crime and other negative outcomes. Washington recently received a multi-year, $25 million dollar federal grant to expand home visiting services statewide. And the 2012 supplemental budget signed by Governor Gregoire includes nearly $1 million dollars per year in state general funds for home visiting.

The signatories, members of the anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, pointed to hundreds of thousands of cases of abuse or neglect that occur every year and said that the scope of the problem should “shock the conscience of every American.”

“From a fiscal, moral and public safety perspective, we have an obligation to invest in home visiting and protect children from the harm caused by abuse and neglect,” the leaders agreed.

Olympus Rally Returns to Grays Harbor

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. - The Rally America National Championship schedule resumes at the end of April with its two-event West Coast Swing in Washington and Oregon. The Olympus Rally April 30th-May 1st runs along the beautiful shorelines of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.  More than 50 top teams representing the United States, Canada and Great Britain will travel to the seaside community of Ocean Shores, WA for the third round of six Rally America National Championship events.
The season has already delivered surprising results. Perhaps the biggest surprise comes from privateer New Hampshire driver Travis Hanson, a Super Production Class competitor, who currently leads the overall Championship over many quicker, factory supported Open Class teams.  Hanson, a rally school instructor from Littleton, NH, and his father, Terry  from Traverse City, Michigan drew a line in the snow by winning the season opening Sno*Drift Rally in Atlanta, Michigan last January 2011.

Weyerhaeuser to Sell Short Line Railroads, Including Two in Washington

The Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad is one of the last logging railroads in the US. Washington State - Yesterday Patriot Rail Corp. a privately-held short line and regional freight railroad holding company, announced that it has agreed in principle to purchase the short line railroad assets of Weyerhaeuser Company. The acquisition is subject to certain closing conditions, including Patriot’s due diligence and regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The six railroads operate over approximately 160 miles of track in four states and currently handle approximately 60,000 carloads of freight annually. The railroads include:

  • the DeQueen and Eastern Railroad Company consists of two railroads -- the DeQueen and Eastern and the Texas, Oklahoma & Eastern railroads -- that operate over a total of 87 route miles in southeast Oklahoma and southwest Arkansas;
  • the Columbia & Cowlitz Railway operates over 8.5 route miles in southwest Washington;
  • the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad operates over 30 route miles in southwest Washington and connects directly to the CLC;
  • the Golden Triangle Railroad operates over 13.3 route miles in central Mississippi; and
  • the Mississippi & Skuna Valley Railroad owns 21 route miles in Mississippi.

Memory chip makers will pay $173 million for price-fixing

SEATTLE – The Y2K bug was the big concern in the computer world when makers of DRAM computer memory conspired to raise prices. More than a decade later, the companies and a group of state attorneys general have negotiated a $173 million antitrust settlement in principle with six of the world’s top manufacturers.

“This settlement will make up for some of the harm caused by memory chip manufacturers who conspired to drive up computer costs,” Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “The agreement will also prohibit the companies from manipulating prices in the future.”

Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) is a common form of memory chip found in computers, servers, printers and other electronics.

State-federal settlement bars LifeLock from claiming it can prevent identity theft

SEATTLE – LifeLock – the identity theft prevention provider whose CEO published his Social Security number in advertisements – can no longer claim its services protect consumers from all forms of identity theft.

“The states and Federal Trade Commission picked apart LifeLock’s claims and alleged the company couldn’t deliver on its promises,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said. “Today’s agreement deadbolts LifeLock’s ability to claim its services eliminate the risk of identity theft.”

A group of 34 state attorneys general joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today in announcing an agreement with LifeLock, under which the Tempe, Ariz.-based company will pay $11 million in restitution to consumers. Although the FTC and state attorneys general share jurisdiction to investigate unfair and deceptive practices against consumers, a joint enforcement action of this magnitude is unprecedented.

Each year, about 8 million Americans, including 5,000 Washington residents, become victims of identity theft or identity fraud. Given these alarming statistics, attorneys general said consumers are looking for ways to protect themselves and their pocketbooks.

One washington Highway Added to America’s Byways® Collection

WASHINGTON – U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced 42 new designations to the America’s Byways® collection, including five All-American Roads and 37 National Scenic Byways in 26 states. This increases the number of America’s Byways® to 151.

“By enriching the National Scenic Byways program with their own unique historical or aesthetic quality, these new additions help our national road system tell our country’s story,” said Secretary LaHood. “These routes continue to offer Americans exciting new opportunities to explore the nation – whether they travel close to home or across the country.”
With Massachusetts and New Jersey included in the 2009 designations, 46 states have America’s Byways® in them.