No injuries at Elma Apartment fire that displaces several families

An apartment fire in Elma displaced about a dozen people last night. Fire Chief Dana Smith tells us they were called to the Woodsvilla Apartment complex just after 4 Thursday afternoon. No injuries were reported from the blaze that destroyed at least two apartments in one of the six unit buildings, Smith said the other units in that building are un-inhabitable due to damage to the roof and shared attic space. Smith said they know where the fire started, however “the unit the fire started in was so rapidly involved and burned so hot.” it’s not likely they will find a cause of the fire.

The fire burned so hot that crews started their response in a defensive stance, protecting the nearby Microtel motel and other units in the complex from the fire spreading.

The Elma Eagles Lodge brought out dinner for the firefighters and families affected during the response last night, the Red Cross was also contacted to assist the families with housing.

Those looking to aid Harbor families in times of emergencies, can make donations to the American Red Cross. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Grays Harbor Fire District #5 along with firefighters from the City of McCleary, Grays Harbor Fire District #2 and the…

Posted by Grays Harbor Fire District 5 on Friday, April 17, 2015

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 www.westportwinery.com.

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.

 

 

State to fine owners of Mason County water system for neglect

The Washington State Department of Health intends to issue a $17,640 penalty to the investor-owners of Ripplewood Tracts water system in Mason County. The planned fine is for violating a state directive to bring the water system into compliance with drinking water regulations.

In March, the agency directed the owners to hire a certified operator to run and maintain the system, to test the water for nitrate contamination, and to notify customers that the water system had violated state drinking water regulations. As of October 30, the owners had not complied with the directive.

The state requires public water systems to employ trained, certified operators to ensure safe operation of the water systems.

Operators routinely test the water for contaminants, including nitrate, which poses a serious health risk because it reduces the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. Infants and people who don’t have enough stomach acids or with an inherited lack of the enzyme that converts affected red blood cells back to normal (methemoglobin reductase) are especially at risk.

The water system ownership includes Heritor Inc., a Washington corporation; and Ripplewood Utilities, Bristol Group, a Washington corporation. The registered office for the water system is 843 S. 212th St., Suite 105, Kent.

The agency issued a $22,680 penalty against the same investor group for violating state drinking water regulations in its operation of the Green Mountain Acres water system in Kitsap County. The penalty, issued Feb. 13, 2014, is under appeal, and negotiations are under way to transfer ownership of that system to Kitsap Public Utility District #1.

“We hold water system owners and operators to very strict standards because of the role they play in protecting public health,” said Clark Halvorson, director of the agency’s Office of Drinking Water. “We’d rather work with owners to find solutions than penalize them, but when they shirk their responsibility, we have little choice but to issue financial penalties.”

The owners filed an appeal on October 16. The penalty is suspended until the appeal is resolved.

The Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Public invited to comment on oil transportation study

The public is invited to provide feedback on a preliminary study assessing risks associated with increased transportation of oil through Washington state. Public meetings are scheduled next week in Spokane and Olympia to accept comments regarding the study and recommendations.

 

The Marine & Rail Oil Transport Study: Preliminary Findings & Recommendations, released Oct. 1, was developed at the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature. The study team is led by the Washington Department of Ecology, in collaboration with the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and several other agencies. The purpose of the study is to assess risks associated with oil transportation and outline recommendations to protect the health and safety of the people and the environment of Washington state.

 

Millions of gallons of oil move across Washington’s lands and waters each day. The state saw approximately 17 million barrels shipped in 2013 with a projection of 55 million barrels in 2014. The amount of Bakken crude oil transported from North Dakota by rail is expected to increase by more than 220 percent, depending on refinery expansion.

 

The public meetings are scheduled for:

                                   

5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30
Double Tree Hotel Red Lion Inn
322 N. Spokane Falls Ct. 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW
Spokane Olympia

 

From 5 to 6 p.m., there will be information booths with marine, rail, and spill response experts available to answer questions. The study team will make a presentation at 6 p.m. and public comments will be heard starting at 6:30 p.m.

 

Comments may also be submitted electronically or by mail. Address comments to Ecology Spills Program, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA  98504-7600.

Board of Natural Resources acts to reimburse Pacific and Wahkiakum counties for marbled murrelet restrictions

The state Board of Natural Resources yesterday authorized the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to transfer about 66 acres of forestland, managed for the benefit of Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, into conservation status. The parcels were selected because each has timber harvest restrictions related to the endangered marbled murrelet.

 

“Today’s unanimous action by the Board of Natural Resources shows how the State Forest Trust Land Replacement Program is working to support struggling rural timber economies while protecting habitat for the marbled murrelet and other endangered species,” said Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands, who chairs the Board of Natural Resources.

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As a result of the board’s action, Pacific County will receive $356,000, based on the timber value of about 17 acres of State Forest Trust land, when the parcel is transferred into the Naselle Highlands Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). The legislatively funded replacement program for state trust lands also will provide about $25,000 for DNR to purchase replacement working forestland better suited for producing revenue that supports county services.

 

In a separate action through the replacement program, Wahkiakum County will receive $320,000, based on the timber value of 49 acres of State Forest Trust land, when it is transferred into the Skamokawa Creek NRCA. DNR will use the parcel’s land value of $73,000 to buy replacement working forestland.

 

Created in 2011 by the legislature, the State Forest Trust Land Replacement Program allows DNR to transfer certain state-owned forestlands that are encumbered by federal endangered species restrictions into conservation status and replace them with other working forestlands. The replacement program targets small, economically stressed rural Washington counties that depend heavily on timber revenue to support public services.

 

Addition to Elk River NRCA
The board today also approved the transfer of 194 acres of state trust land into the Elk River NRCA through the state’s Trust Land Transfer Program. The $1.6 million timber value of the parcel, located near Westport in Grays Harbor County, will be used to support public school construction statewide. Its $349,000 land value will be used to purchase a less environmentally sensitive replacement property for the Common School Trust. The 5,413-acre Elk River NRCA contains the largest and highest quality, intact estuarine system remaining in Washington or Oregon.

 

In other actions, the board authorized DNR to offer $217,000 to purchase a 40-acre property west of Lake Roesiger in Snohomish County from a willing private seller. The acquisition will add to the Roesiger State Forest which DNR manages. The board also authorized DNR to purchase a 130-acre parcel of Douglas-fir and red alder abutting a large block of state trust forest in Pacific County for $495,000. Both properties will be managed for long-term revenue for the Common School Trust.

Quinault Elders in Aberdeen traffic accident Tuesday

ABERDEEN, Wash. (AP) — A tribal spokesman says eight Quinault Indian Nation tribal elders and staff members have been injured in a traffic crash in Aberdeen.

Spokesman Steve Robinson says the Quinault group was headed to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday morning when their van collided with a pickup truck. Robinson says two elders were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, one with a broken pelvis and the other with a broken pelvis and broken ribs. Other injuries in the crash included broken bones, bumps and bruises.

None of the injuries was considered critical.

The crash caused the van to flip over. Robinson says the two people in the pickup were not seriously hurt.

“The truck just came out of nowhere,” one of the victims said. The accident put an abrupt end to the elders’ plans to attend a conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Upon hearing of the accident, tribal staff rushed to provide support.
“This was a terrible accident,” said Tribal Councilman Larry Ralston. “The Tribe and the families will take every precaution with our elders and provide all the support we can to help nurse them back to health. I just wish people would slow down and be more cautious,” he said. Preliminary indications are that the pickup truck ran a red light when it crashed into the tribal van. The accident is being investigated by local authorities.
Among other things, the Tribe is setting up grief counseling, as a precaution, for the seniors and their families.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible accident,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Nation. “We do all we can to keep our seniors safe. They are very precious to us. We extend our gratitude to the local police, Harborview, and Grays Harbor Community Hospital and all other emergency services personnel who rendered aid in this morning’s emergency.”
The names of the victims were withheld until consent to publish them is provided.

Forest Service Road improvement could block access on the West Fork Humptulips River

The National Forest Service plans to block vehicle access to a popular gravel bar on the West Fork of the Humptulips River through proposed improvements to Forest Service Road 2203040 that include a turnaround and parking lot. State Representative Brian Blake is opposed to some of those changes, he tells KBKW “There’s a small rivulet that has been diverted and now runs down the access road to the gravel bar, and they’re using it as an excuse to cut off access, and that’s what I’m opposed to.”
The $12,000 Forest Service grant application says they need to block the access to restore fish habitat for salmon and trout apparently seen in the mud puddle for the past three years. “Oh no I’ve never seen salmon there in my life, no. Why would they do that?” I spoke with Jerry Lillybridge in front of his 24 foot camper responsibly parked on the gravel bar Sunday. He said he and his family have camped there for years, and while he hasn’t run over any fish that he can recall “Here’s what I’ve seen in the last three days, the otters, we’ve seen the ducks, yesterday I was up here getting firewood and I saw a red hawk take a grouse out and I’ve never seen nothing like that in my life, right in front of us.”
Lillybridge worked in the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s office for years, and for years he passed State parks, camp sites, and groomed fishing outlets on his way out here. “You can’t go nowhere and enjoy this without a big fee, or having a lot of people around you. I’m 41 miles from my house in Aberdeen to right here, and look at this – this is remote. There’s nothing more beautiful than here,” adding that most campers clean up after themselves, but; “If they don’t and most of them always leave it clean, I clean it up anyway because I don’t want the Forest Service to ever shut something down because I was messy.”
Meanwhile Blake worries “When we loose that gravel bar, and they won’t commit to preserving access to the downstream gravel bar – and I believe personally that’s critical for the launching of the drift boats especially because they can be anywhere from 300 to 600 pounds. So I think it’s important that we preserve that public access, for those boats, to the public river.” Blake added that “Not everybody can afford a forest pass, not everybody can afford a travel trailer. But having the public be able to pull out there and have a picnic, or spend the night in the summertime, I think is one of the reasons we live here.
While it won’t be specifically addressed at these meetings, the public has a few more chances to provide their input on a sustainable roads plan for the Forest Service this month.  The next meeting starts at 4 this afternoon in the Shelton Civic Center. They’ll be at the Aberdeen Rotary Log Pavilion Thursday afternoon.

Picky store burglars leave one brand behind

Detectives investigating a recent burglary know their ‘perp’ doesn’t smoke one brand of cigarette. Someone broke into a closed grocery store in Westport recently stealing 50 bottles of alcohol and every tobacco product, except their supply of Virginia Slims.

It was the first of two recent break-ins for the Ted’s Red Apple/Westport Market. The only grocery store in Westport has been closed since early June, it’s owners working to reopen tell us the total loss is about $5,000.

Westport Police discovered the first burglary Thursday afternoon July 31st, the owners tell us they had just left the store earlier that day. Thieves also stole about a dozen of the rolling hand-carts that you’re starting to see more of in grocery stores, and the owners are hoping someone might recognize them. They are black baskets with wheels and a tow-handle, and can be carried or pulled.

Also stolen was a black shopping cart with a black fabric basket and “Asian” writing, some soda pop, and all of their tobacco products including some chewing tobacco, rolling tobacco, and many related products – except the Virginia Slims. Store Manager Staci Bridgeman tells KBKW they also tried to get into a cash register, and apparently left traces of beef jerky all over the store.

A reward is being offered, anyone with any information is asked to call the Westport Police Department at (360) 268-9197

State Update: Fires hold steady as victims get help

The state’s lead fire fighting agencies—the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)andthe State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Washington State Patrol (WSP)—continued to lead state government’s response today to multiple wildfires  in central and eastern Washington today.

 

Okanogan County: Fires were cooler this morning on the Carlton Complex, but were bad yesterday as 41 homes were destroyed near Alta Lake. County emergency management estimates a total of 150-200 homes have now been destroyed in Okanogan County. The Carlton Complex has burned 299,897 acres. Brewster, Pateros, Twisp, Winthrop and other communities in the county are temporarily powering water systems and sewer services on generator. Two of the four gas stations in Winthrop have power now, making it less of a problem to gasoline and diesel fuel.

 

While Okanogan County has been the hardest hit due to the sprawling Carlton Complex, wildfires are also burning in Chelan, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Spokane and Yakima counties.

  • The Chiwaukum Complex has burned 11,051 acres and continues to grow.

o   The Mills Canyon Fire, branch of the Chiwaukum, has burned 22,571 acres

  • The Saddle Mountain Fire in Kittitas County has burned 20,200 acres but will demobilize at midnight.
  • The Watermelon Hill Fire in Spokane County has burned 8,000 acres.

 

Other state activities

 

The Washington State Department of Transportation is working to keep roads open. The latest on road closures and openings is at http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/default.aspx.

The Department of Commerce’s Energy Office says approximately 7,000 customers of the Okanogan PUD and Okanogan Electric Cooperative are without power. Power for feeders along Interstate and state highways and from there into Pateros and Winthrop is estimated to be restored by the end of week. It is estimated that full restoration along county roads and to individual homes and businesses in Okanogan will take several weeks.

 

The Washington National Guard has four Blackhawk helicopters, two fuel trucks and 21 personnel deployed to Carlton Complex. There are two Chinook helicopters, two fuel trucks and 17 personnel on the Mills Canyon Complex. An incident communications package staffed by five personnel is setting up at Omak. Having completed pre-mobilization preparations, 100 National Guard soldiers are standing by in Yakima to support Department of Natural Resources fire fighters. Through July 19, Guard helicopters dropped 400,440 gallons of water on fires.

 

Personnel from the Department of Health’s (DOH) Environment Public Health Division are consulting with wildfire-impacted counties about air quality and water quality issues. DOH and the Department of Ecology are partnering to analyze and monitor how smoke and ash are affecting air quality.

 

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) deployed two trained crews with a total of 20 youths to support DNR firefighting efforts.DSHS and the American Red Cross are co-leading state-level mass care and emergency assistance efforts with support from FEMA Region 10.

 

The Department of Enterprise Services is assisting Okanogan County with a liaison to manage donations, and another liaison to support operations in the county’s emergency operations center in Omak.

 

Gov. Jay Inslee and Maj. Gen, Bret Daugherty from the Washington Military Department toured the Paschal-Sherman Indian Boarding School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs facility on the Colville Indian Reservation. The school is being considered for housing displaced individuals from the Carlton Complex fire, or National Guard and emergency services personnel supporting fire-fighting efforts.

                                                                                                                    

Non-government agencies—The American Red Cross is operating shelters in Chelan, Omak and Winthrop and opening a shelter in Brewster tonight. The Red Cross and Southern Baptist Disaster Services began providing meals in Okanogan County today. The Red Cross is establishing a shelter in Brewster so residents from there will be closer to home. Many Brewster residents are currently using the shelter in the town of Chelan. The Chelan shelter will not close until people are no longer staying there. In coordination with the Red Cross, Okanogan County Health is contacting medical suppliers to ensure that Winthrop residents are able to get replacement oxygen bottles.

 

State agencies coordinate their support to the wildfire response through the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Camp Murray. The Logistics Section of the State EOC is processing requests for generators from Pateros, Twisp and Winthrop. The three communities are already using back-up generators to power utility services and need more. A liaison from the State EOC’s Operations Section worked with utility officials in Okanogan County today as they assessed power requirements in Twisp and Winthrop.

Measles case count up from last year, continuing to spread in Western Washington

Washington has had more measles cases so far this year than in the past five years combined. State health officials are sounding the alarm to remind people that vaccination is the best protection against the spread of this serious and preventable disease.

So far in 2014 there have been 27 measles cases in Washington, up from the five reported in 2013. The most recent cases reported in the past month have been in King County (11 confirmed cases) and Pierce County (two confirmed cases). This is the third measles outbreak in our state this year and the number of cases so far is the highest reported in any year since 1996. People can check the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and Multicare websites for a list of places visited by cases while they were contagious. Anyone who visited places at the listed dates and times should find out if they’ve been vaccinated for measles or have had the disease.

Washington’s trend reflects the national trend. From Jan. 1 to July 3 of this year, the U.S. has experienced, the highest number of cases since elimination of ongoing measles virus circulation in the U.S. was documented in 2000.  Almost all of these cases are attributed to 17 outbreaks.

The resurgence is linked to several factors — people not being vaccinated, and the fact that measles is still common in many parts of the world including parts of Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. Travelers with the measles continue to bring the disease to the U.S. and it spreads when it reaches communities where groups of people aren’t vaccinated.

Continue reading Measles case count up from last year, continuing to spread in Western Washington