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, 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

Whooping cough outbreak growing in Washington State

Whooping cough is on the rise in Washington and state health officials are urging people to get vaccinated against the disease, especially pregnant women.

So far in 2015 there have been 319 cases of whooping cough reported compared to 49 reported cases during the same time in 2014. Whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious disease that affects the respiratory system and is spread by coughing and sneezing. Rates of whooping cough are continuing to rise in several areas around the state, which is a concern to health officials.

While everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated against the disease, newborn babies who are too young to be vaccinated are at high risk for severe disease. That’s why it’s especially important that pregnant women get vaccinated during each pregnancy, toward the end of their pregnancy, to best protect their newborn.

“Women who are pregnant should be sure to talk to their health care provider, doctor, or midwife about getting their Tdap vaccine before they give birth,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, communicable disease epidemiologist for the state Department of Health “It’s also important that everyone else in the family is vaccinated to keep babies safe.”

The best way to protect yourself and your family against whooping cough is vaccination. Your health care provider can determine if you have the highest recommended level of protection. While the vaccine provides protection against whooping cough, the level of protection can decrease as time passes after vaccination. This means it’s very important that children and adults have all the recommended doses for the best protection against whooping cough.

If you are around people at high risk for whooping cough, it’s important to know that it takes about two weeks following vaccination to be fully protected. Getting vaccinated protects both the person getting the shot and other people around them at highest risk for complications, like babies and pregnant women.

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.

Owner given until June 1 to clean up “River Camp” in Aberdeen, campers asked to leave

Time is up for campers living on private property along the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. They are being asked to move out as the property owner works to clean up the site. Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson spoke yesterday with Code Compliance Officer Bill Sidor and owner Michael Lang, they decided that due to the rougher weather and softer ground they would give Lang until the 1st of June before enforcing a recent order to address unsafe conditions on the site. Simpson said the campers need to move along as soon as possible, as the property owner is tasked with the cleanup and has told city officials they do not want campers on the property.

The Code Compliance department last month served notices to vacate to the campers, and contacted property owners about the amount of trash that was piling up on vacant lots along the river.

Mayor Simpson, along with Sidor, and City Attorney Eric Nelson met with campers and advocates on Monday at the site of “River Camp.” Nelson said that even with the property owners approval – which they do not have, the city ordinance would have to change in order to allow camping on the property. “The last time we were down here was seven years ago. So tolerance is something that we have exercised. But we can’t legally permit, we can’t authorize, we can’t allow it because our laws don’t allow us to do that.”

Advocates have been trying to find some common ground – or even just some ground where the campers can live, but without a change to city code their hands are tied.

Natasha - River Camp residentListen to our entire interview with River Camp resident Natasha here.


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.

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.

Olympic National Park Seeks Volunteer Citizen Scientists to Study Olympic Marmots

The Olympic National Park is now accepting volunteer applications for the Olympic Marmot Monitoring Program 2015 survey season. Launched in 2010, the Olympic Marmot Monitoring Program employs teams of volunteers to visit designated survey areas within the park and gather timely and vital information about the Olympic marmot’s population presence and distribution.

The Olympic marmot (Marmota olympus) is an iconic species of the Olympic Peninsula. They are the official endemic mammal of the state of Washington, found only in the alpine meadows within the park and surrounding National Forest and nowhere else in the world.

An Olympic marmot seen at Hurricane Hill, holds the root of a plant in its paw. Ken and Mary Campbell
An Olympic marmot seen at Hurricane Hill, holds the root of a plant in its paw.
Photo: Ken and Mary Campbell

Tracking Olympic marmot populations and monitoring their changes allow wildlife managers to evaluate the population’s status on an ongoing basis. Through cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, monitoring occurs over the species’ entire range.

More than 90 volunteers participate in the project each year, hailing from the Olympic Peninsula, Seattle/Tacoma area, and as far away as Portland, Oregon and British Columbia.

“Over the last five years, the outstanding work and dedication of our marmot citizen scientists has provided important information for continued protection of the Olympic marmot,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Citizen Science programs provide valuable data and unique opportunities for volunteers to take part in in research that influences the management of their park.”

Volunteers must be capable of hiking to and camping in remote areas, navigating off-trail, and working on steep slopes. Survey trips are one to eight days in length. Most survey areas are located between five and twenty miles from a trailhead or road and involve a one or two day hike with significant elevation gain. Survey groups camp out in or near the survey areas and search for marmots for two to four days.

A limited number of day hike assignments are available for the Hurricane Hill, Klahhane Ridge and Obstruction Point survey areas.

Volunteers work in groups of two to six people. To ensure safety, volunteers must travel and monitor with a partner. Volunteers ages 13-17 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

All volunteers are required to participate in a one-day training that includes both classroom and field instruction. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation. Camping fees will be waived at Heart O’ the Hills and other front-country sites for the evening before training. Park entrance and backcountry fees will also be waived for volunteers.

The 2015 application deadline is May 1, but may close earlier if enough eligible volunteers have been accepted, or last longer if some trips remain unfilled. After the 2015 survey season, the program will be on hiatus for several years to allow researchers to analyze the data and evaluate how frequently the program needs to be conducted in order to effectively track the marmot population, so interested people should apply soon!

The Marmot Monitoring Program is made possible by donations through Washington’s National Park Fund. To learn more about Washington’s National Park Fund or contribute please visit

To learn more and to apply to be a Marmot Citizen Scientist,  visits the park’s website,

A short video about the project and the marmot monitor training can be found at

Program Overview and Results of the 2014 Field Season

This was our 5th full year of the Olympic Marmot Monitoring Program, and the 3rd year adding lands on Olympic National Forest. With the addition of USFS lands the program now encompasses the entire range of the species –pretty sobering. In 2014 we had 70 volunteers in 28 groups participate in the program;a total of 3040 volunteer hours were donated.Volunteer training was held on four Wednesdays in the months of August and September.Following training, surveyors spent from 1-8 days in a variety of areas of the Park and Forest, ranging from the front-country on Hurricane Hill to deep in the parkon Skyline Ridge.Volunteer surveyors in all regions traversed high-elevation meadows and rock-fields looking for and documenting sign of marmots and marmot burrows. The late season snowpack was below average;consequently access was not limited by snowfields in 2014. Volunteers surveyed for marmots in 239 survey units located in 50 habitat clusters. Surveyors were able to completely survey 215 units and partially survey 24 others (Figure 2).

2014 Survey Results

Figure 2.  Location of survey units and survey results for units that were completely surveyed in 2013.
Core Sites graph

Of the units that were completely surveyed in the core clusters in the Park in 2014, 52% were found to be occupied by marmots, 18% were abandoned (surveyors saw past but not recent sign of marmot use) and 30% had no sign of marmots.The rate of occupancy has varied between 53 and 48 % during the 5 years of the survey, and appears to be stable (Figure 3).

Graph of USFS marmot monitoring sites

USFS Sites: Unlike the survey units in the park, the USFS survey units were not ground-truthed prior to the 2012 survey season. Ground-truthing occurred throughout the 2012 and 2013 season. Of the 46 survey units identified on USFS lands, volunteers were able to completely survey 17, partially survey 8, and unable to survey 21. The reasons for the incomplete or lack of survey varied, ranging from unsuitable habitat, too steep, or not enough time to get to all the units in the allotted time frame. Of the 17 units that were completely surveyed, only 12% (2) were occupied by marmots in 2013. As these survey areas are continuing to be refined, these data should be viewed with caution.

Conclusions and Plans for 2015
We are going to do one more year of monitoring (2015) and then take a break for data analysis.We plan to work with some statisticians and not only look at the trends in the marmot population, but also evaluate the strengths and weakness of the monitoring program, and see if we need to make any modifications to the study design or implementation plan.Depending on the results of the analysis, we hope to be back up and running with the program in 2017 or 2018.

In 2014 this project was supported by a continuing grant from Washington’s National Park Fund and funding from the U.S.F.S, Olympic National Forest. Training space was provided by Peninsula College. This whole endeavor would not have been possible without the hard work of the volunteer citizen scientists!

Washington State Senate announces bipartisan Capital Budget proposal

The Washington State Senate on Wednesday announced a 2015-17 bipartisan Capital Budget proposal.

“It’s really been an interesting experience to be able to shape the spending that the state does to really invest in our future. And, what we did this year with the Capital Budget was shape that future to be a little more oriented towards education. Public education, especially the smaller class sizes of kindergarten through third grade, as well as higher education, as well as our skills centers. So, those are elements of the Capital Budget that really received a lot more attention this year in this year’s Senate budget.”

As the lead Democratic Capital Budget negotiator, Sen. Karen Keiser of Kent, has spent the past few months of the legislative session working with Senate Republicans on the $3.9 billion proposal announced Wednesday. While there is much to praise in the proposed Capital Budget they are far from a finished product. Keiser added that they are still working to improve funding levels for energy and the environment.

Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia.

Ocean Shores home burglaries on the rise, public asked for help

The City of Ocean Shores has been hit by a string of burglaries over the past few weeks, and now they’re asking for the public’s help.

Chief Mike Styner said so far this year, the department has investigated 29 burglaries. Most of the burglaries have occurred at unoccupied vacation homes. Losses have included mostly small items and several large flat-screen televisions. Entry has been mostly through damaged doors and windows.

The Ocean Shores Police Department is conducting intensive patrols throughout the City, but we are also asking everyone to report any suspicious activity they observe.

Please call the dispatch center at (360) 533-8765.

At this time in 2014, the Ocean Shores Police Department had investigated 14 reported burglaries, while in 2013 there were 44 burglaries investigated by this date.

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