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

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City of Aberdeen begins “Phase 1″ of more aggressive stance on panhandling

The city of Aberdeen is taking a more aggressive stance on panhandlers. Police Chief Bob Torgerson said this morning. “One of the things that they were looking at is the Gateway

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City of Hoquiam to lay off 4 firefighters

The City of Hoquiam is laying off four firefighters. City Administrator Brian Shay said they gave formal notice to the department early Tuesday. Staff said in a press release Tuesday “The

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Hoquiam City Council split 6-6, declines Marijuana zoning ordinance

The clouds almost parted over Hoquiam’s moratorium on marijuana businesses last night, as the city council adopted their revised zoning ordinance that would have allowed state licensed stores in some areas on a close 7-5 vote. But then they rejected revisions to their business licensing ordinance voting 6-6 against it – making it briefly legal to locate a store in some zones, but illegal to get a business license for a marijuana business. Mayor Jack Durney said after that vote “OK friends we’ll think about that huh? Kind of a contradiction in terms if we change our zoning but then we say we’re not going to license them.” City Attorney Steven Johnson explained “Our ordinance says that we cannot issue a business license if it violates federal law. By not passing this [and passing the other] they’re legally zoned, but we can’t issue a business license.” After councilwoman Kay Diehm said she was unclear on the issue, the council reconsidered the original vote and failed to pass it’s marijuana zoning ordinance 6-6 against. It took Mayor Durney to break that same tie on another vote to send the ordinance back to the public works committee “I don’t think we should have a moral discussion about this at this point. I think we need to deal with what the public has told us to do.” The council will revisit the same ordinance, with one line omitted that would have made medical marijuana collective gardens not only illegal in city limits, but also a public nuisance and subject to abatement by the city. Councilman Paul McMillan said the change wouldn’t sway his opinion on the matter, and felt that Hoquiam should wait for Colorado to pioneer the issue before challenging federal law. Councils John Pellegrini, Kay Diehm, Greg Grund, Paul McMillan, Darrin Moir and Bill Nelson all voted against allowing recreational marijuana businesses in Hoquiam.

Meeting for new Flood Insurance Rate Maps draws crowd in Aberdeen

Over 200 attended a meeting at the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen Thursday night on new flood insurance rate maps, released recently by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Region

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Montesano Public Works employees settle union grievance over suspensions

MONTESANO, Wash. - Union grievances filed against the city of Montesano over employee suspensions have been settled, Mayor Ken Estes tells us he was notified yesterday that Teamsters Local 252 will not be going forward with grievances filed by three employees.
A statement will come out later in the week about that. It's all done as far as we're concerned and it's time to move ahead, get back to work for our citizens and do the right thing." - Montesano Mayor Ken Estes
Earlier this month the city suspended three Public Works employees without pay after an investigation of their computers found inappropriate images, and thousands of hours wasted surfing the internet.
Two employees were suspended for 5 days while another was suspended for 10 days. Estes said had the grievance gone to arbitration, it could have cost the city about $40,000.

City employees suspended after investigation finds thousands of hours wasted online

MONTESANO, Wash. - Three employees of the City of Montesano have been suspended without pay after an investigation of their computers found inappropriate images, and thousands of hours wasted surfing the internet. Montesano Mayor Ken Estes said at their council meeting this week "I believe there has been a culture of time wasting, definitely caused by poor supervision, a lack of respect for public property, and an unconcern for public resources. I sincerely hope this culture is broken, that employees have learned from this experience, and now look forward to regaining the public's trust.”
After confiscating eight computers from their Public Works department last summer, a forensic investigator uncovered about 8,000 hours of personal use over the past five years that included sexual content, fishing, sports, and car websites. The computers have been turned over to the Washington State Patrol to determine if any felony laws were broken.
All three employees told Mayor Estes that they were never told they couldn't use the computers in that way, and that their previous manager had often participated. Estes noted that while a computer policy has been in place since 1997, there was no requirement to show that an employee had read it.   
Two employees were suspended for 5 days while another was suspended for 10, all three have filed grievances with their union over the suspension. Estes estimates arbitration over the suspensions will cost the city another $40,000. 

Okeedokees Cafe in Cosmopolis to be demolished

COSMOPOLIS, Wash. - If you can call them landmarks, Cosmopolis is losing two at the entrance to their city in the coming months. Public Works Director Darrin Raines told the council the OkeeDokee's Cafe, and a tarp-covered home across the street are being demolished. "Those two big eyesores should be taken care of here within about a month, month and a half."
The Okeedokees Cafe has been empty for years, the other home belonged to a Cosi firefighter but has since sat vacant and awaiting asbestos removal to be demolished.
OkeeDokees Cafe in Cosmopolis

Photo provided by erika eve

Union drops two grievances with city of Montesano

MONTESANO, Wash. - Two union grievances filed against the city of Montesano are being dropped, Mayor Ken Estes tells us city staff learned Friday that Teamsters Local 252 will not be going forward with either the discipline or termination hearing of former public works lead Russ Burke. Both parties will split the cost of an arbitrator.

The city suspended, then fired Burke in June over allegations involving missing paint for striping city streets, and Mr Burke's street striping business.

Road work continues in downtown Montesano, expected to complete in October

MONTESANO, Wash. - The construction continues in downtown Montesano, Public Works Director Rocky Howard told the council at this week's meeting that base rock will be down by the weekend, so downtown Montesano should be a little smoother than last weekend.
"The roads will be open on the weekend. September 12 roads and gutters are done, September 20th blacktop is placed." Howard added that the Main Street Phase 2 project should be complete in October "First week in October we should be complete and ready for striping and some of the fine details."