Raid on suspected drug house in Ocean Shores nets three arrests

Serving a search warrant last week on a suspected drug house in Ocean Shores netted 3 arrests. Police Chief Mike Styner tells us On Thursday, April 9th, Officers from the Ocean Shores Police Department, the Hoquiam Police Department and Deputies from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant on a suspected drug house in the 800 block of San Antonio Court NE in Ocean Shores.

During a search of the premises narcotics, paraphernalia, and packaging materials were located and seized. A vehicle belonging to the resident was seized. The 48 year old female resident was arrested and booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail for Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act and two outstanding warrants.

A 31 year old transient male found inside the residence was arrested on an outstanding warrant out of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office and booked into the Grays Harbor County jail. In addition, a 27 year old Ocean Shores man was arrested and booked into the Hoquiam Jail for outstanding warrants out of Department of Corrections and the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayor of Olympia to speak at Grays Harbor College

City of Olympia’s Mayor Stephen Buxbaum will speak about Civic Engagement in a Time of Rapid Change at Grays Harbor College on Saturday, April 18, starting at 1 p.m. Buxbaum will be speaking to the “Health From the Inside Out” class, which is part of the Evergreen State College’s Grays Harbor program. Members of the public are welcome.
Buxbaum will be using examples from his more than 30 years of work in community and economic development to speak about ways that individuals and communities are rising to the challenge of climate change.

“Social, economic and environmental challenges are coming at us simultaneously and very rapidly” Buxbaum says. He believes that issues such as food and energy policy need to be addressed at a community and individual level if we are going to successfully meet these challenges.

Continue reading Mayor of Olympia to speak at Grays Harbor College

Joan Brewster – Director, Grays Harbor County Public Health & Social Services

The health of our community, and what the Public Health Department does to improve that. Joan also talks about Tobacco, and Marijuana use locally. This year’s numbers show a slight decrease for tobacco use. Are “E-cigarettes” off-setting those numbers?

Substance abuse and mental health issues in Grays Harbor youth.

Joan Brewster
jbrewster@co.grays-harbor.wa.us
(360) 500-4062

Interrupted burglar hides in woods near home off of Wishkah Road

An interrupted burglary turned into a brief man hunt off of the Wishkah Road this morning. Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us the 911 enter received a call from a home on Hay Road in Aberdeen about an interrupted burglary just before 8 this morning. This location is off of the Wishkah Road near the Wynoochee-Wishkah Cutoff Road. The resident reported hearing someone in their home as the resident was upstairs. When the resident went downstairs, they noticed a subject run off toward the neighbors field with what appeared to be a black plastic bag full of something.

Several deputies responded and contained the area. Deputy Tracy Gay and his K-9 partner Max were called out and arrived at approximately 8:50 am. Shortly thereafter, they started tracking in the direction that the resident had seen the suspect run. At approximately 9:06 am, Max located the suspect in a brushy area and the person was taken into custody. The suspect received minor injuries from being contacted by Max. Stolen items were located nearby that came from the residence. The suspect was identified as a 29 year old Aberdeen man. The subject is known to law enforcement and does have prior criminal offenses. At the time of this release, deputies were on scene conducting the investigation of the burglary. The suspect was being transported to the hospital by deputies to be cleared for incarceration. He should be booked into the county jail later today for Residential Burglary.

Changes Made to Earthquake and Tsunami Planning since the 2011 disaster in Japan

Last month, the anniversaries of the March 27th 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami, (M 9.2, which impacted Grays Harbor County), and the March 27th 2011 Japanese “Tohoku” Earthquake and Tsunami, (M9.0), passed without much fanfare.  I contacted John Schelling, the Earthquake/Tsunami/Volcano Programs Manager at Washington Emergency Management Division to ask the question, “Have any changes been made to U.S. and/or Washington State planning since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami?” His response is below.

 

FROM GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT:

Four years has elapsed since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, I was wondering if any significant changes have been made to any U.S. planning, (or worldwide planning)?  One significant change in Washington State and Grays Harbor County, is the Ocosta School District Elementary School Project where they are building the first vertical evacuation, tsunami engineered, safe haven building in North America, but have there been any other changes?

 

THE REPLY FROM JOHN SCHELLING:

The short answer is yes, there has been a lot that has changed. Here are a few…

 

Lesson from Japan: Plan for the right hazard. Japan planned for a smaller M8.2 event…and then had a 9.

In Washington: Fortunately, our paleo tsunami and ghost forest history has shown that we have had to worry about a 9.0 as well as smaller events. However, science is not a static process and new research should give way to updated hazard assessment. We have been re-examining the tsunami hazard from Cascadia and updating the coastal hazard assessments using an earthquake that generates a greater amount of slip, which makes a bigger tsunami.

 

Lesson from Japan: Vertical evacuation can save thousands of lives…if they are high enough

In Washington: We conducted site-specific hazard assessments for current sites proposed for vertical evacuation using a larger scenario and added additional factors of safety to account for uncertainty.

 

Lesson from Japan: Don’t rely on your technical warning systems to alert people as there may be issues in getting an accurate warning out before the telecommunications infrastructure is impaired.

In Washington and the US: We continue to educate coastal populations on natural warning signs of a tsunami and recommendation evacuation when people feel the ground shake. The technological system is there as a secondary source of information, if it’s available.

 

Lesson from Japan: Global Positioning Systems, (GPS) can help identify BIG earthquakes more quickly than traditional seismometers.

In Washington and the US: There are discussions moving forward about how to integrate GPS data into the traditional seismometer-based warning network. Additionally, Washington State is home to one of the larger GPS networks, the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA), which is run out of Central Washington University. For more information on PANGA go to: http://www.panga.cwu.edu/about/news/

 

Lesson from Japan event here in Washington: Limited English Proficiency communities may be unaware of tsunami hazard zones, tsunami warning sirens, and tsunami evacuation maps/routes given evacuations in Grays Harbor County to a local hospital

In Washington: The State Tsunami Program, in conjunction with state and local partners, including Grays Harbor County, has begun to develop a series of products and outreach materials, such as Public Service Announcements, (PSAs), in Spanish to more effectively educate local coastal populations.

Montesano man in custody after brief high-speed chase

A 23-year-old Montesano man is back in custody after a high-speed chase from Hoquiam into Aberdeen. Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers tells us the man was at Grays Harbor Community Hospital for an evaluation when Aberdeen police received the report that he had left. Hoquiam Sgt Mitchell spotted a suspicious vehicle that had been reported near an auto dealership on Simpson Avenue just before 3 pm Wednesday. Mitchell reported that the vehicle sped off at a high rate of speed into Aberdeen as he approached. When the Ford pickup rounded the corner from Simpson Avenue onto Park Street it rear-ended an SUV. Myers reports no injuries to either the man or the driver of the vehicle he struck, but the damage disabled his vehicle enough that he put it in reverse and drove into the parking lot near another dealership and struck a U-Haul truck. At that point Mitchell was able to pin the truck and make an arrest with the help of responding officers.

23-year-old Derek Robecker was in Grays Harbor County custody this morning for multiple charges dating back to the summer of 2014.

Myers said it appears that he had just been released that morning, left the hospital and stole a truck from a parking lot near the Grays Harbor PUD. From there it appears he attempted to break into a home on Aberdeen Avenue but was confronted by the homeowner, fled back to the truck, and was then spotted by Mitchell.

On Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at approximately 1435 hours, Aberdeen PD was advised of a subject who had walked away from Community Hospital; he was apparently at the facility pending a mental health evaluation. A passerby later reported giving the subject a ride from the top of the hill down to the area of the Dollar Tree.

At 1445 hours, Sgt. Mitchell was dispatched to a car lot in the 2700 block of Simpson Ave for a report of a suspicious person who had just arrived in a blue and gray older model Ford pick-up. The subject had quickly exited the truck and jumped a six foot-barb wire fence into a nearby alley. Sgt. Mitchell checked the registration on the truck, which returned to an older gentlemen from Copalis Beach; the description of the driver did not match the owner.
Sgt. Mitchell and other Hoquiam officers checked the area in an attempt to locate the subject to no avail. Sgt. Mitchell returned to the car lot a few minutes later to find the male sitting in the truck now parked on the sidewalk. As Sgt. Mitchell pulled over, the suspect rapidly accelerated out into traffic, nearly striking the patrol car. As the suspect entered Simpson Avenue, he lost control of the truck, nearly striking a passing car.
Sgt. Mitchell activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop the pick-up. The driver accelerated and weaved back and forth between both lanes of Simpson Avenue around other traffic at a high rate of speed. The sergeant was forced to slow for heavier traffic in the 3000 block, but the pick-up driver avoided traffic by driving down the parking strip and then up onto the sidewalk.
Upon entering the city of Aberdeen on Simpson Avenue, the driver weaved from sidewalk to sidewalk around other traffic. The suspect approached Aberdeen Corporal Snodgrass parked on the side of the street intending to deploy spike-strips to stop the truck; the suspect passed by the patrol car at a high rate of speed, only missing the side of the car by inches.
The suspect entered the corner from Simpson Avenue onto Park Street whereby he lost control and apparently struck the rear of a green Jeep in traffic ahead. The pick-up sustained damage to the left front corner, apparently making it difficult to steer.
Sgt. Mitchell attempted to cut-off the pick-up, but instead the driver threw the truck into reverse and careened across both lanes of traffic, over an adjacent grass strip and into the corner parking lot near the old middle Swanson’s store. The driver continued in reverse until he struck the corner of an unoccupied U-Haul truck.
Sgt. Mitchell used his patrol car push-bars to pin the side of the truck to prevent the driver from trying drive off. The suspect, a 23-year Montesano man was pulled from the truck and taken into custody; he was not injured. The occupants of the green Jeep were checked by Aberdeen Fire Department, but apparently were not injured. It was determined the suspect arrested from the pick-up was the same person who had earlier left the hospital.
Officers discovered the pick-up had been stolen from the parking lot of the PUD office during the time-frame after he had left the hospital. Unfortunately, the truck owner had left his keys in the ignition when he went inside to pay his power bill.
Hoquiam officers were later advised the same suspect had forced his way into a home in the 2700 block of Aberdeen Avenue in Hoquiam between the time he stole the truck and led Sgt. Mitchell on the pursuit. The homeowner was concerned as the suspect had been acting strangely and refused to leave, demanding to use the phone. The suspect never made a call and finally left after a few minutes.
Aberdeen PD is investigating the stolen vehicle and related traffic collisions; Hoquiam PD is investigating the trespass at the home and the felony attempt to elude a pursuing police vehicle. The suspect was booked at the Grays Harbor County Jail, ironically where he had just been released that morning after serving his sentence on prior offenses. Aberdeen PD and Hoquiam PD are coordinating all the charges against the suspect with the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to Review Northern Spotted Owl Endangered Species Act Status

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is commencing an evaluation of the status of the northern spotted owl, as required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
This review is the result of a petition to change the status of the owl from threatened to endangered. The review will also serve as the five-year review of the species as required under the ESA, and which was last completed in 2011. A five-year status review evaluates whether a federally protected species should remain listed, or if it meets the criteria for reclassification.

A petition from the Environmental Protection Information Center requested the northern spotted owl be reclassified from threatened to endangered under the ESA. The ensuing 90-day finding, which will publish in the Federal Register on April 10, determined the petition included substantial information that warrants further review, which automatically triggers a 12-month species review  The Service will not make any finding as to whether the status of the species has changed until after that review.

The population of the northern spotted owl, which is currently listed as threatened, is declining across most of the species’ range. The most recent available data on the owl report a 2.9 percent range-wide population decline per year, although declines as high as 5.9 percent per year have been observed in some areas.

The two main threats to the survival of the northern spotted owl are habitat loss and competition from barred owls.  Barred owls have spread westward, encroaching on spotted owl territories and out-competing them. While the Northwest Forest Plan has helped reduce habitat loss on federal lands since 1994, the threat from barred owls has intensified. Preliminary results from an experiment testing the effects of removing barred owls from select areas of northern spotted owl habitat show promise in benefitting northern spotted owls and will help inform this review.

“The best tools we have to prevent spotted owls from going extinct are continued habitat protection and barred owl management, both of which are recommended in the recovery plan,” said Paul Henson, Oregon State Supervisor for the Service. “On a positive note, the experimental removal of barred owls is showing real promise, with early reports indicating that spotted owl populations rebound when barred owl populations are reduced. Our review of the spotted owl will tell us whether current efforts to address threats are sufficient.”

The Service will use the best available scientific and commercial information, including data from the barred owl removal experiment, in the review. To assist in the review, the Service is requesting input from the public and scientific community, including information on biology, possible threats, population trends and habitat conditions for the species. Information can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, or by U.S. mail or hand delivery at Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2014–0061, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Va. 22041-3803.

For more information on the northern spotted owl, visit http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=B08B.

Cosmopolis Lions Club hopes you ‘see’ Lions Recycle for Sight drop boxes

As spring cleaning gets underway, the Cosmopolis Lions are asking people to look through dresser drawers and closets for used eyeglasses and donate them to the Lions Recycle for Sight program.
During the month of May the Cosmopolis Lions Club will be emphasizing the collection of used prescription eyeglasses and prescription and non-prescription sunglasses as part of a unique recycling program. The collected glasses will be cleaned and prepared for distribution in developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible. “We need everyone to donate their used eyeglasses,” said Lion Rod Matye, “In most developing countries, an eye exam can cost as much as one month’s wages and a single eye doctor may serve a community of hundreds of thousands of people.”
The donated glasses will be shipped to the NW Regional Lions Eye glass Recycling Center where they will be cleaned, categorized by prescription and prepared for distribution by Lions and other groups.
The Cosmopolis Lions will be out May 1st and 2nd for the annual White Cane fund raising event at the following locations: 1). The Cosmopolis Post Office 114 F St. Cosmopolis; 2). Swanson’s Food, 217 N. Boone St. Aberdeen and 3). Dennis Company 220 N. Boone St. Aberdeen
You may also donate used glasses (including sunglasses and reading glasses), by placing them in the specially marked Lions Recycle for Sight collection boxes at these locations.
The Cosmopolis Lions Club has 41 members and meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6:30pm at 601 2nd St.. Lions clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. For more information or to get involved with the Cosmopolis Lions Club, please contact us at 533-7779 or stop by on our meeting dates.
Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in 205 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit the website at lionsclubs.org.

 

Lions Recycle for Sight

In just about any dresser drawer, one can find a pair of eyeglasses that are no longer being used. That same pair of eyeglasses can change another person’s life.

That’s why we started the Lions Recycle for Sight program. Everyone can help.

Throughout the year, Lions, Leos and other volunteers collect used eyeglasses and deliver them to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers (LERCs). LERC volunteers clean, sort by prescription strength and package the glasses.  Most of the recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in developing countries where they will have the greatest impact.

Eyeglass Recycling – How You Can Help

If you have used eyeglasses you no longer need, you can donate them now. Lions accept prescription and reading glasses, sunglasses and plastic and metal frames. Children’s glasses are especially needed. Here’s how you can help.

– See more at: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/how-we-serve/sight/index.php#sthash.dNeAaHXO.dpuf

Washington AG sues firm over illegal student loan practices

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced action against a student loan debt adjusting firm that exploited borrowers for financial gain.

Ferguson filed a lawsuit Monday charging StudentLoanProcessing.US (SLP) and its president James Krause with violating Washington’s Debt Adjusting Act and Consumer Protection Act, including charging illegal fees for debt adjusting and failing to inform customers of important rights as is legally required. The same services SLP offers are available — for free — through the U.S. Dept. of Education (DOE).

“My office will aggressively crack down on those who prey on student loan borrowers — many of whom are already overburdened — for profit,” Ferguson said. “This firm charged exorbitant and illegal fees for services that student loan borrowers can obtain for free.”

Many student loan debt adjustment firms have sprung up as a result of the $1.2 trillion debt burden carried by nearly 40 million American borrowers. Most offer to help students fill out and submit paperwork to DOE to consolidate their federal student loans.

Since July 2011, SLP has marketed and advertised for-cost services to assist student loan borrowers applying for DOE federal student loan repayment programs, including the Income-Based Repayment Program, and Direct Consolidation Loans.

SLP charged each consumer an upfront enrollment fee of $250, or one percent of their outstanding loan balance, whichever was greater. A vast majority of consumers paid more than the $250 enrollment fee, even as high as $2,000. Washington’s Debt Adjustment Act places a strict limit of $25 on initial fees, meaning even SLP’s minimum fee was ten times the legal limit, the Attorney General’s Office alleges.

The Debt Adjustment Act also dictate’s that a debt adjuster’s fee may not exceed 15 percent of each payment, which SLP’s monthly fee of $39 did for most Washington consumers.

The AGO also alleges SLP failed to include language in its contracts informing consumers of their three-day “right to cancel” period, a further violation of the Debt Adjustment Act.

Violations of the Debt Adjustment Act are automatic violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

A total of 88 Washington consumers, with an average student loan debt of approximately $58,000, used SLP’s services. SLP has received roughly $132,000 in fees from these consumers.

The AGO is seeking:

  • To void all SLP contracts with Washington consumers;
  • Restitution for consumers for all fees paid to SLP;
  • An injunction against SLP prohibiting future violations of the Debt Adjustment Act and Consumer Protection Act;
  • Payment of $2,000 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Act; and
  • Attorney’s costs and fees.

The complaint can be found here.

Assistant Attorneys General John Nelson and Ben Roesch are leads on this case.

Apply for U.S. Department of Education federal repayment programs for free

For most federal borrowers, the consolidation process is fairly straightforward:  The borrower fills out a two-page application, verifies his or her employment and income, and submits the package to the DOE.  This service is done through the DOE for free and typically takes four to six weeks.  Learn more here: www.StudentLoans.gov.

Free student loan debt assistance

Ferguson urges current and former students never to pay upfront for help with student loan debt relief.  For information on legitimate sources of free assistance, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the National Consumer Law Center.

For problems with your student loan servicer or a debt collector contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Loan Ombudsman at 1-877-557-2575 or www.ombudsman.ed.gov, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

Advocates and campers working to cleanup site near downtown Aberdeen

Cleanup continues near the Chehalis River Bridge where several campsites along the river have been getting attention. Sources tell us the City of Aberdeen hauled out more than 20,000 pounds of trash last week. Campers and volunteers were using rakes to pile the trash Monday when we spoke to Natasha. “Although it is a problem, 60 to %70 of it is not the campers, it’s the trucks coming in at 2, 3, and 4 in the morning.” The former postal worker from Pacific Beach has been the unofficial campground host for about 8 months now, she said there’s really not an easy solution for folks that live there “It’s such a wide range of people down here for a wide range of reasons that everybody’s needs, and what’s going to help everybody, is going to be different from person to person.”

To the left is a campsite recently cleaned by Tasha, to the right is the pile of garbage they removed.
To the left is a campsite recently cleaned by Tasha, to the right is the pile of garbage they removed.

Tasha was 10 years into buying her own home, when – as she puts it “life happened and then the next thing you know I’m here.” Now she lives in the big blue tent that’s visible from the Chehalis River Bridge, it has a fireplace and space for guests. She said she spends a lot of her time helping others find food, clothing, or shelter. “And I mean I have plans not to be down here in the long run, but I also have plans to stay down here until everything’s fine.”

The city’s code enforcement officer handed out eviction notices giving the campers until March 31st to move out, that deadline was extended to April 13th after Mayor Bill Simpson spoke with land owners involved.

This area has one of only a few gravel beaches along the Chehalis, with tides bringing the water level almost to the campfire.
This area has one of only a few gravel beaches along the Chehalis, high tides bring the water level almost to the campfire.

Other advocates are working behind the scenes to procure property and come up with a more permanent solution, however Aberdeen’s city ordinance still prohibits camping on private property – with or without the owner’s permission, an issue that has been addressed elsewhere at the city council level.

During our interview, Tasha explained why so many are choosing not to use other resources like the Union Gospel Mission. She also talks about life along the river before getting the recent attention, and what they are hoping for afterward.