Amber Alert led to quick recovery as vehicle is spotted in traffic

Officials from the Washington State Patrol (WSP) were celebrating the quick recovery of an abducted and endangered child as a result of this morning’s AMBER Alert and applauding the public involvement that proved crucial to the child’s safe recovery.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office initiated the AMBER Alert for 18-month old Mason A. Wilhelm, which was issued at 10:23 a.m.  The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system was then activated, which was sent at 10:41 a.m.  An alert motorist, receiving the WEA on their phone, called 9-1-1 at 10:42 a.m., reporting they were following the vehicle.  Deputies then stopped the suspect vehicle at 10:49 a.m. and the child was safety recovered.

The AMBER Alert program is a critical tool that has aided in the safe recovery of over 700 abducted children nationwide since its inception.  “The public may often be our best resource in locating these abducted children and the quick dissemination of this critical information using the WEA system enhances getting these alerts out to the public.  As demonstrated with this morning’s quick and safe recovery, a mere 8 minutes passed from the WEA being seen by a motorist and the child’s safe recovery,” said Lieutenant Ron Mead of the Washington State Patrol.  “The system works and this recovery demonstrates the value of the AMBER Alert program and the invaluable role of the Wireless Emergency Alerts system in alerting the public”, added Mead.

Additional information on the circumstances surrounding the child’s abduction and recovery are available from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Additional information on the AMBER Alert program can be found at http://www.missingkids.com/AMBER or the Washington State AMBER Alert plan at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/crime/amber.htm.

Additional information on the Wireless Emergency Alert system can be found at http://www.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts.

Additional trout releases to focus on lakes in Seven Western Washington counties

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is stocking 47 western Washington lakes with 340,000 catchable-size trout this fall.

This is nearly four times more fish than were released last fall in western Washington.

WDFW is currently stocking lakes in Grays Harbor, Island, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom Counties.

Those lakes, which are scheduled to be stocked between Oct. 12-19, include:

  • Grays Harbor County: Vance Creek ponds 1 and 2;
  • Island County: Cranberry Lake;
  • King County: Angle, Bitter, Deep, Rattlesnake, Shadow, Green, Langlois, Walker, Holm, Fish, Fivemile and Fenwick lakes;
  • Pierce County: Harts, Kapowsin, Bonney and Bradley lakes;
  • Snohomish County: Tye Lake and Gissburg Pond North and South;
  • Thurston County: Long’s Pond, Offutt, Black, St. Clair, Lawrence, Long and Ohop Lakes; and
  • Whatcom County: Fazon Lake.

Other waters that were recently stocked include Island, Lost, Nahwatzel, and Spencer lakes in Mason County; Kitsap Lake in Kitsap County; Rattlesnake Lake in King County; Cascade Lake in San Juan County; and Gibbs, Leland and Teal lakes in Jefferson County.

Additional stocking efforts will focus on different lakes and counties in western Washington and will continue through October and November.

Bonus bag limits will also be allowed on some lakes, doubling angler’s catch limits from five to 10 trout.

A list of lakes to be stocked, those offering the bonus bag limit, and the department’s recently updated stocking plan is available for viewing at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/fall-into-fishing/.

Chris Donley, inland fish program manager, said he expects angling to be great throughout the fall and winter months at all of these lakes. “Most of the trout are 11 to 13 inches long, with a few larger ones in the mix,” he said.

The fall fish plants are in response to anglers’ requests to increase fall and winter trout fishing opportunities in western Washington, said Donley. That effort also includes stocking lakes in southwest Washington for the Nov. 28 Black Friday opener, which offers anglers the opportunity to skip the shopping malls, get outside and enjoy fishing on the day after Thanksgiving.

For those fishing closer to the Puget Sound area, there are thousands of trout available in lakes that can be pursued throughout fall and winter, said Donley. “We encourage anglers young and old, inexperienced or well-seasoned, to get out and take advantage of these great fisheries,” he added.

For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers should follow the department on Twitter or Facebook, accessible from http://wdfw.wa.gov, or see the department’s weekly catchable trout stocking report at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.

Anglers must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2015, to participate in these events.

Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license vendors across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.

Community Foundation awards $128,900 in Discretionary Grants and $40,000 in After School Program Fund Grants

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is pleased to be able to invest $128,900 into the community through its third quarter discretionary grants cycle. The Foundation has long been a resource to Grays Harbor County nonprofit organizations by offering a quarterly discretionary grants cycle. This quarter, the Foundation awarded 13 grants that totaled $128,900 in discretionary funding. “This is the largest discretionary grants cycle, in terms of number of applications, as well breadth of organizations requesting funding,” Program Officer Cassie Lentz said. “We were pleased to see the extensiveness of programs and projects that were seeking funding, from all corners of our county and beyond.”

The organizations that were funded through this discretionary grants cycle include: Montesano Community Outreach for summer art camps, Our Aberdeen for mural restorations, Grays Harbor College for making ballet performance accessible to children, Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services for legal advice clinics in Grays Harbor County, Nonprofit Leaders Conference of Southwest WA for their 2014 conference, Artic Community Association for roof repairs, Child Care Action Council for their “Raising A Reader” program, Aberdeen Revitalization Movement for phase one of their operations, Catholic Community Services for the Grays Harbor Youth Center, Beyond Survival for the “Where We Live” program, McCleary School District for STEAM education, Northwest Justice Project for an employment opportunities legal fellowship in Grays Harbor, and Montesano School District for the field turf project at Jack Rottle field.

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation was also able to award $40,000 to four After School Programs here on the Harbor through a designated fund set up specifically for that benefit. Supported programs included: McCleary School District, Montesano Community Outreach, North Beach School District, and the YMCA of Grays Harbor for Harbor After-School program sites in Hoquiam, Elma and McCleary.

Grays Harbor Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission “to improve the quality of life in the communities throughout Grays Harbor County.” This is accomplished through many projects and processes that work through or in support of other non-profit organizations, including a quarterly discretionary grants cycle with applications accepted on the first business day of January, April, July and October.

Tax deductible donations may be made to:
Grays Harbor Community Foundation, P.O. Box 615, Hoquiam, WA 98550
You may find out more by checking the foundation website: www.gh-cf.org or you may contact the Foundation staff at 532-1600 or by e-mail at: info@gh-cf.org.

Eastbound SR 8 lane closures planned this week

Drivers using eastbound State Route 8 near McCleary will see alternating left- and right-lane closures this week as crews install new pavement markings.

Lane closures will occur between mileposts 4 and 10.5, just west of McCleary to the Grays Harbor/Thurston County line, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Aug. 11-14.

Drivers could experience delays and are advised to add time to reach their destinations.

The work will result in a smoother ride for drivers and pavement with a longer useful life.

Alternating lane closures on State Route 8 near McCleary Friday

Crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation are nearing completion of a project to repave the right lane of eastbound State Route 8 near McCleary.

As part of the final work, drivers can expect alternating left- and right-lane closures to stripe the roadway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8.

Crews have been working to create a smooth surface between mileposts 4 and 10.5, which extend from about two miles west of McCleary to four miles east at the Grays Harbor/Thurston County line.

Drivers are advised to prepare for delays and to give themselves extra time to reach their destinations.

Attorney General charges Wheelchairs Plus with Medicaid fraud for selling used chairs

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against Michael Mann, owner of Wheelchairs Plus Inc., in Thurston County Superior Court. The AGO alleges Mann committed the crimes of First Degree Theft and Medicaid False Statement when he fraudulently provided 119 Medicaid recipients with used or refurbished wheelchairs while billing Medicaid as if they were new.  Mann billed the State Medicaid system a total of $606,980 for the wheelchairs.

Overview of the alleged scheme

As stated in the Certification for Determination of Probable Cause, the AGO investigation found that from 2006 – 2012, the defendant allegedly purchased previously used wheelchairs from websites such as craigslist.org or from nursing homes. The defendant would then refurbish each chair with a new coat of paint or replacement parts and then put a new label or serial number on it.

After the defendant had delivered the used wheelchair to a Medicaid client, he would allegedly submit a false claim to Medicaid stating that he had provided a new wheelchair.

The arraignment is currently scheduled for August 12th in Thurston County Superior Court. The charges contained in the information are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

“The Attorney General’s Office will vigorously investigate and prosecute the defrauding of taxpayers,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Medicaid Fraud Control in Washington state

The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of healthcare provider fraud committed against the state’s Medicaid program. The unit also coordinates with local law enforcement authorities to investigate and prosecute abuse and neglect in cases involving vulnerable adults residing in Medicaid-funded residential facilities.

State Medicaid authorities, including the Health Care Authority and Department of Social and Health Services, assisted significantly in the fraud enforcement of these matters.

The DSHS Office of Fraud & Accountability investigates client fraud. You can report Medicaid Client Fraud via the Department’s Online Complaint Form, call the Welfare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-562-6906 or send the complaint to Welfare Fraud Hotline, P.O. Box 45817, Olympia, Washington 98504-5817.

Mason County search crews find missing 10-year old safe Friday morning

Search-and-rescue crews have located the 10-year old boy missing in Mason County overnight, spotted by helicopter around 9:30, he was reported safe shortly after.
Searchers from Grays Harbor, Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties searched for the boy after he disappeared while picking berries with his sister near Lake Cushman in Mason County. The family searched for him until dark and then called for help. Ground searchers found a footprint earlier that morning.

Over 30 Search and Rescue ground volunteers as well as 4 K-9 teams from Mason County, Pierce County and Thurston County were called and responded to the area. Searchers worked throughout Thursday night. King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter “Guardian One” responded and attempted to check the area, but was forced to discontinue due to heavy cloud cover.

Hernandez recovery missionFriday morning, July 25, 2014, 30 more Search & Rescue volunteers as well as 4 more K-9 teams were called to replace the workers from the night. “Guardian One” also returned and began searching.

Mason County Sheriff’s Office Detectives were called in and began checking out abandoned cabins, questioning local area residents, and contacting registered sex offenders living in and around the area.

Around 10:00 AM, “Guardian One” spotted a boy in the thick woods on a small mountain above where Search & Rescue teams were searching. “Guardian One” directed a K-9 team to the boy’s location and confirmed that the boy was, in fact, the lost boy Nathan.

Nathan was provided food and drink, checked out by Fire District #18 Medics, and then was returned to his family safe and sound.

The family was vacationing from Uvalde, Texas and wanted to express their sincere gratitude and appreciation for all of the Deputies, Troopers, Fire Fighters, Dispatchers and Search & Rescue volunteers who worked to find Nathan and return him back to his family.

Hernandez recovery mission

 

Grays Harbor PUD announces planned outage in Cedarville-Oakville

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District has announced a planned power outage which will impact PUD customers in the Cedarville-Oakville area of East Grays Harbor County.  The outage will begin at 6:00 PM on July 24, 2014 and is expected to last until 6:00 AM on July 25.

During the outage, multiple PUD crews will undertake maintenance work on transmission lines, including the replacement of several deteriorating power poles.

The outage will impact over 1600 Grays Harbor PUD customers, including those on SR 12 from Porter, east to the Grays Harbor-Thurston County line, including all residents of Porter and Oakville.  The outage will also impact all PUD customers on the South Bank Road south of the 200 block, the Dunlap Road, Elma Gate Road, all homes on and roads served by the Capital Ridge, Garrard Creek and Delezene Roads and residents of the Chehalis Reservation west of Anderson Road.

In preparation for this outage, customers are advised to take precautions with any electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, and microwaves by unplugging those items.  You should leave them disconnected until after the power has been fully restored.

The outage time of twelve hours is only an estimate and power could be restored at anytime as work is completed.  Therefore, it is not safe to do electrical work or repairs during that period of time.

Heavy traffic expected on Eastbound State Route 8 toward McCleary for paving project

From 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 11, crews will close the right lane of eastbound State Route 8 from milepost 4 to milepost 10.5 while they rehabilitate and pave various sections of roadway. The lane closure will reduce eastbound SR 8 to one lane from about two miles west of McCleary to the Grays Harbor/Thurston County line.

In addition, speeds will be reduced to 35 mph during the final mile of the 6.5-mile lane closure.

Drivers can expect delays and should give themselves extra time to reach their destinations.

Next week’s paving schedule:

From 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, July 15-18, crews will close the right lane of SR 8 in 2-mile increments from milepost 4 to 10.5.  In those 2-mile increments, speed limits will be reduced to 35 mph.

Board of Natural Resources approves land purchase on Olympic Peninsula for Common School Trust

OLYMPIA – The Board of Natural Resources today authorized the purchase of an 80-acre parcel of forestland on the Olympic Peninsula. The parcel, which is zoned as commercial forest, will be purchased from a private seller for $250,000. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will manage the acreage for plant and wildlife habitat and as a working forest to produce long-term revenue for the Common School Trust, which supports public school construction statewide.

 

Known as the West Siebert Creek parcel, the new acquisition is adjacent to a larger block of state trust land that also is managed by DNR. Funds for the purchase will come from previous sales of other state trust lands that no longer met DNR’s revenue and habitat management goals.

 

Sustainable harvest calculation discussed

Also at today’s meeting, Board members discussed the Western Washington Sustainable Harvest Calculation, which determines the level of future timber harvests on more than one million acres of state trust lands west of the Cascade Mountains. Board members expressed their desire for public input and thorough environmental review of the calculation. The Sustainable Harvest Calculation is designed to ensure sustainable revenue is produced from trust lands while sustaining healthy forest ecosystems and habitat for threatened and endangered species.

 

Board of Geographic Names
During today’s meeting, the Board briefly adjourned to meet as the state Board on Geographic Names, a function assigned to it by the state legislature, to consider proposals from the public. The new official geographic names and locations are:

 

Meyer Creek in Pierce County (Township: 21N, Range 1E, Section 2): This previously unnamed 0.5-mile-long stream flows into Lay Inlet at the town of Rosedale, 2.5 miles west of the City of Gig Harbor.  The name commemorates R. B. Meyer, who purchased a 49-acre parcel in 1928 to establish a dairy farm.

 

Golden Point in San Juan County (Township: 34N, Range 3E, Section 11): This previously unnamed 8-acre cape is located along the southern coast of San Juan Island, just inside the boundary of San Juan Island National Park, and on the east side of Eagle Cove. The name is intended to describe how the point looks at sunset.

 

Lee Island in San Juan County (Township: 34N, Range 3W, Section 4): A previously unnamed island located at the mouth of False Bay, San Juan Island. The name commemorates Emelia “Lee” Bave, an active community member who owned the property across from this island from the early 1950s until her death in 2008 at age 97.

 

Dickenson Cove in Thurston County (Township: 19N, Range 1W, Section 6): A previously unnamed cove, east of Dickenson Point, three miles northeast of the community of Boston Harbor. The name commemorates Thomas Dickenson who was a carpenter’s mate on an 1841 United State exploration expedition to the area.

 

Greenfield Creek in Thurston County (Township: 19N, Range 1W): A previously unnamed three-quarter-mile-long stream that flows into Puget Sound, northeast of the community of Boston Harbor. The name refers to location of the creek’s headwaters at a home site known informally as Greenfield Farm.

 

Longs Pond in Thurston County Township: (18N, Range 1W, Sections 15 & 22): A previously unnamed lake of approximately 11 acres in Woodland Creek Community Park in the city of Lacey. The name designation, which was requested by the City of Lacey Parks and Recreation Department, fulfills a verbal commitment the city made to honor the family of the property’s previous owner, Gil Long.

 

Washington State Board on Geographic Names
The State Board on Geographic Names is authorized by state law to establish the official names for lakes, mountains, streams, places, towns, and other geographic features of Washington State. Names approved by the Board are published in the Washington Administrative Code and forwarded to the United States Board on Geographic Names for federal consideration.