Multiple arrests made in connection with interrupted Montesano burglary

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department has made multiple arrests in the investigation of an interrupted burglary just outside of Montesano last week.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate tells us around 3:30 Tuesday, investigators arrested a 30 year old male resident, and his 23 year old pregnant girlfriend at a home in Hidden Valley Mobil Home Park. At approximately 5:30 pm, investigators then arrested the owner of the 1989 Mazda pickup that had allegedly been stolen and used in the burglary/robbery. And then at approximately 7:00 pm, a 23 year old Montesano man was arrested for also being involved with this crime.

Shumate said investigators learned that the 30 year old Montesano man had borrowed the Mazda pickup from the owner/friend on Thursday April 3rd . He then proceeded to drive around the east county area with his pregnant girlfriend, and the 23 year old Montesano man, looking for residences to burglarize. The suspects noticed the home in the 100 block of Monte Brady Road and it appeared that nobody was home. The suspects drove into the driveway and the 30 year old entered the unlocked front door and took a large glass container of coins and returned it to the pickup. The 30 year old then returned to the residence a second time and was then confronted by the home owner who had been in the back of the residence. The home owner armed himself with a .40 caliber pistol. The suspect pleaded with the home owner not to shoot him and then convinced him to come outside and see that he had a pregnant girlfriend. The homeowner went outside with the man and did notice the pregnant female as the middle passenger. The home owner then attempted to call 911 on his cell phone and the 30 year old attacked the victim and wrestled the gun from him. During the altercation, the firearm discharged twice however nobody was injured from this. The suspect then took the firearm from the home owner and fled the scene.

The suspects immediately drove to the logging roads off of Camp Creek Road and discarded the Mazda pickup. They called the owner of the pickup and had him pick the suspects up. The owner of the pickup then decided to report his vehicle stolen in an effort to throw off the investigation. While the victim of the Burglary/Robbery thought the 3rd passenger may have been a female, this person was actually the 23 year old Montesano man. This same person was also involved with the numerous East Montesano and Brady burglaries from a month ago.

Last night, Investigators recovered the firearm that had been taken from the homeowner. The pistol was buried in the back yard of a residence in Hidden Valley Mobil Home park. The Mazda pickup was also located on the logging road and impounded as evidence. At this point, the 30 and 23 year old Montesano men have been charged with 1st degree burglary and 1st degree robbery. The owner of the Mazda pickup was booked for rendering criminal assistance for those two crimes. The pregnant female was released pending further investigation.

Pizza Hut donating 50% of two-day sales to Oso mudslide victims

Pizza Hut restaurants across Western Washington are donating 50 percent of all pizza sales from 108 participating locations today to victims of the mudslide disaster in Oso, the restaurant in Smokey Point, closest to Oso, is donating 100 percent during this two day event that began Wednesday.

“Everyone has been emotionally impacted by what happened in Oso, and our hearts go out to the families,” said Terry Hopkins, CEO and owner of Emerald City Pizza, Columbia Basin Pizza Hut and Spokane Valley Pizza. “As a local business, we immediately contacted city representatives and the American Red Cross to find out how we could help. We were able to get our restaurants from across the state to work together on a fundraiser that will immediately benefit those in need.”

Proceeds from the two-day effort will be given to the American Red Cross to be used in support of the relief efforts. Those looking to participate can do so via delivery, carryout or dine-in.

What can be done to save the Historic Enchanted Valley Chalet in the Olympic National Park?

The Enchanted Valley Chalet in the Olympic National Park is reaching a tipping point, 13 miles above the Graves Creek trail head in the Quinault Valley, the historic chalet is loosing ground to the the East Fork of the Quinault River.

Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said they are reviewing what can be done, however “One thing that’s off the table right now would be going in and inserting [inaudible] into the bank. The bank is a 12 foot vertical and it is inside the wilderness boundary, and we are directed by law to let natural processes run so that’s a little bit tricky.”

The National Parks Department said the river has shifted toward the home by at least 15 feet in the past three months, and as of late last week was undercutting the chalet by about four feet.

The National Park Service said earlier this month that as it has for many years, the main channel of the East Fork Quinault River has continued to move across the Enchanted Valley floodplain this winter, further eroding the river bank and undermining the 1930s-era Enchanted Valley Chalet.

This winter’s storms and high flows have resulted in the Quinault’s main channel shifting by at least 15 feel in the past three months.  As of late last week, the river had undercut the chalet by approximately four feet.

“Within what is technically and economically feasible, we continue to do our very best to protect the area’s natural and cultural resources and its wilderness character,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  “Our options are limited, however, given the size and force of the river and the valley’s remote location within the Olympic Wilderness.”

An Olympic National Park crew recently returned from Enchanted VAlley, where they assessed and documented the Chalet’s condition and removed equipment, supplies and hazardous materials.  The building’s windows were also removed to both prevent glass from impacting the river and downstream natural resources and to preserve elements of the historic building.

Park staff continues to work closely with partners to develop the best course of action, both in the long and short term.  Key partners include the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer, Pacific West Regional Office of the National Park Service and concerned organizations and citizens.

“We understand that the Chalet occupies an important place in the history of this area, and we know that people hold deep regard and affection for the building,” said Creachbaum.  “We invite anyone who’d like to share photos or memories of the Chalet to post them on our Olympic National Park Facebook page.”

The park’s Facebook page is found at  The page, including a new album of Enchanted Valley photos, is visible to anyone with internet access.  People must have a Facebook profile in order to post their own photos and memories, however.

In early January, photographs and visitor reports revealed that the Quinault River had migrated to within 18 inches of the building.  Subsequent aerial photos illustrated the river’s continued movement toward the chalet.

Migration of the East Fork Quinault’s channel is common particularly in the loose, unconsolidated soils of Enchanted Valley.  Storms, fallen trees, rockslides and simply the constant process of erosion can all cause the river to shift and carve a new channel.

Located 13 miles up trail from the Graves Creek trailhead in Quinault Valley, the chalet was build by Quinault Valley residents in the early 1930s, prior to establishment of Olympic Natiaonal Park.  It served as a lodge for hikers and horse riders until the early 1940s.

Enchanted Valley is within the Olympic Wilderness, designated in 1988, and is a popular wilderness destination.  More recently, the chalet has been used as a backcountry ranger station and emergency hikers’ shelter.  The chalet was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Amazon announces plans to open its fourth fulfillment center in Kent, Washington

Seattle, March 14, 2014, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced plans to open a nearly 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Kent, Wash. Amazon will create hundreds of full-time jobs at the site when it opens. This will be the company’s fourth fulfillment center in the state. Amazon’s other Washington fulfillment centers are located in Sumner and Bellevue, and a DuPont site is near completion.

“We’re excited to bring hundreds of great full-time jobs with benefits to Kent and proud to further invest in Washington state with this new fulfillment center,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations. “We are grateful to local and state elected officials who have supported Amazon in bringing a new fulfillment center to the state of Washington.”

“Amazon’s expansion is great news for the people who will be working in the hundreds of great jobs there, as well as for all of Washington,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Amazon is a marquee company for how Washington innovation can change the world.”

Amazon offers hourly employees innovative programs like Career Choice, where the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch last summer, employees are pursuing degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few. Amazon fulfillment center jobs pay on average 30 percent more than traditional retail jobs. In addition to highly competitive wages, Amazon also offers comprehensive benefits on day one, bonuses and stock awards.

“Amazon’s latest expansion of their hometown footprint, bringing so many great jobs, is extremely important to help grow and diversify the Kent Valley economy,” said Brian Bonlender, director for the Washington State Department of Commerce. “The company’s decision also highlights the numerous advantages that attract and keep world-class employers in Washington State, including a highly competitive business climate, well-educated workforce and outstanding quality of life. We are proud that Amazon continues to invest in our state and look forward to supporting their growth.”

At the facility, Amazon employees will pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics and consumer goods.

“Amazon’s decision to invest in Kent is a tremendous vote of confidence in our community,” said Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. “This announcement signifies we have the infrastructure, the workforce and the business-friendly climate needed to support a company like Amazon. This bodes well for Kent’s future in attracting high-tech industries.”

IDS Real Estate Group and Clarion Partners are building the site as part of a joint venture. To learn more about working at an Amazon fulfillment center, visit

DNR now accepting Community Forest Trust nominations

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now considering nominations for lands to be included in the state Community Forest Trust.

Local communities interested in having lands included in the Community Forest Trust need to file the request for nominations form by June 2, 2014. This form can be downloaded from DNR’s website at:

In 2013, the Teanaway Community Forest in Kittitas county became the first Community Forest Trust property in Washington.

Included in the application is a checklist of materials needed to submit a nomination and a desired timeline for the process.

DNR Community Forest Trust program
Working forests in Washington are a vital part of our economy and culture. However, since the 1980s, more than one sixth—17 percent—of Western Washington forests have been converted to other land uses. As working forests vanish, so do many benefits for communities, including local timber, natural resources jobs, clean air and water, and recreation.

To address this, in 2011, DNR worked with the state legislature to create a new tool for local community partners to participate in protecting working forestlands that benefit their communities—the Community Forest Trust.

The first state community forest was established in 2013 in the Teanaway River Valley, just north of Cle Elum in Eastern Washington. This new category of working forestland is held by the state and sustainably managed by DNR, consistent with the values of the local community.

WA Lawmakers urged to think beyond school day in education funding

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington Legislature already has some marching orders, from the governor’s budget proposal to a bill by state School Superintendent Randy Dorn to raise sales taxes to fund education. A 2012 court ruling said the state must increase school funding and improve student outcomes – and advocates of after-school programs say they can help.

Lynne Tucker, education policy and advocacy director, School’s Out Washington, said research has proved that after-school and summer learning programs help kids who are falling behind academically, at a fraction of what it would cost to keep them in school longer.

“If we look at Expanded Learning Opportunities and summer learning programs as a tool and a strategy to closing the opportunity gap, it would be one of the more affordable and scalable options. And I think, given the times right now in Washington state, this would be one of our best options,” Tucker said.

Math, science and health are all part of Yakima Valley after-school programs, some of which focus on teaching kids culinary skills. Photo courtesy 21st Century Afterschool Program.
Math, science and health are all part of Yakima Valley after-school programs, some of which focus on teaching kids culinary skills. Photo courtesy 21st Century Afterschool Program.

Tucker pointed out that almost half of Washington’s public school students live in poverty, and said giving them safe after-school and summer options that keep them learning is critical to closing their achievement gap. At risk, she added, are kids whose families cannot afford specialized camps and private lessons, especially in the months between school years.

“By the time they get to ninth grade, two-thirds of the achievement gap is attributed to the cumulative, year-after-year impact from summer learning loss. So, it really sets them up for dropout, for not graduating – and down a different pathway,” she warned.

There aren’t enough of these programs around the state to serve all those who need them, however. Tucker said this session, after-school providers and children’s advocates will propose legislation to create what they’re calling an Expanded Learning Opportunities Council.

“They would talk about increasing access to Expanded Learning Opportunities, finding community-based organizations and working with them on quality programs and technical assistance, so they can create an opportunity in the community,” Tucker explained.

They are also working to implement quality standards for after-school and summer learning programs, she said, and to train more providers.

More information is at

WA Natural Resources Board OKs purchase of Wahkiakum forestland for Common School Trust

OLYMPIA – At its regular monthly meeting today, the state Board of Natural Resources authorized the purchase of 834 acres of working forestland in Wahkiakum County from a private seller for $2.19 million.

DNR will manage the acquired parcels, located near the town of Skamokawa, to support quality stream and forest habitat for fish and wildlife, while producing sustainable long-term income to the Common School Trust, which funds public school construction statewide.

Continue reading WA Natural Resources Board OKs purchase of Wahkiakum forestland for Common School Trust

Conservative group says Olympic National Park has lost $3 million in first 10 days of federal shutdown

Finnerty added: “The only thing that would be crazier than shutting down America’s national parks would be for Congress to allow wide open access to the parks without NPS’s dedicated and hardworking employees in place to protect the sites. By essentially enabling looting, poaching, and vandalism, Congress would be taking what is already a dark episode in the history of our national parks and making it worse, including the theft or destruction of national treasures of incalculable value.”

The following is CNPSR-gathered data for the lost visitors, visitor spending, and jobs at risk for 12 leading national parks across the U.S.:

* Acadia National Park (Maine) – 68,493 lost visitors in first 10 days, $5,263,013 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 3331 total jobs at stake, including 3147 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Badlands National Park (South Dakota) – 26,767 lost visitors in first 10 days, $656,986 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 475 total jobs at stake, including 375 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Boston National Historic Park (Massachusetts) – 54,794 lost visitors in first 10 days, $2,032,876 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1019 total jobs at stake, including 904 non-NPS jobs.

* Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio) – 68,219 lost visitors in first 10 days, $1,545,205 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 819 total jobs at stake, including 599 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Everglades National Park (Florida) – 25,083 lost visitors in first 10 days, $3,857,534 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 2364 total jobs at stake, including 1951 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania) – 27,397 lost visitors in first 10 days, $1,796,712 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1141 total jobs at stake, including 1051 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Glacier National Park (Montana) – 60,273 lost visitors in first 10 days, $3,076,712 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1994 total jobs at stake, including 1632 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – 120,000 lost visitors in first 10 days, $11,750,684 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 6825 total jobs at stake, including 6167 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee) – 257,534 lost visitors in first 10 days, $23,123,287 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 11,766 total jobs at stake, including 11,367 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Olympic National Park (Washington) – 77,808 lost visitors in first 10 days, $2,912,328 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1673 total jobs at stake, including 1395 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) – 80,821 lost visitors in first 10 days, $4,821,917 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 3033 total jobs at stake, including 2641 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) – 98,630 lost visitors in first 10 days, $9,452,054 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 5572 total jobs at stake, including 4481 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Yosemite National Park (California) – 106,849 lost visitors in first 10 days, $10,021,917 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 5607 total jobs at stake, including 4602 local/non-NPS jobs.

* Zion National Park (Utah) – 72,876 lost visitors in first 10 days, $3,495,890 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 2401 total jobs at stake, including 2136 local/non-NPS jobs.

A note on data: Visitation, economic impacts, and job numbers for the 12 parks are drawn from Headwaters Economics, “Land and Communities, National Parks Service Units, Economic Impacts of Visitation and Expenditures” at Topline numbers for NPS daily visitation provided by Coalition of National Park Service Retirees using National Park Service data. 


The over 900 members of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees are all former employees of the National Park Service with a combined 25,000 years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources. In their personal lives, CNPSR members reflect the broad spectrum of skills and expertise that distinguished their National Park Service careers. CNPSR members now strive to apply their credibility and integrity as they speak out for national park solutions that uphold law and apply sound science. The Coalition counts among its members: former national park deputy directors, regional directors, superintendents, rangers and other career professionals who devoted an average of nearly 30 years each to protecting and interpreting America’s national parks on behalf of the public. For more information, visit the CNPSR Web site at:

Westport Winery Earns Medals in Colorado and Connecticut

WESTPORT, Wash. – Westport Winery has again brought medals from international wine competitions to Grays Harbor.


In September, at the Denver International Wine Competition, Elk River Riesling and Captain Grays Gewurztraminer were awarded gold medals. The grapes used to craft these wines were grown at Red Willow Vineyards in the Yakima Valley AVA. Bog Berry Blush, the winery’s blend of Gewurztraminer and cranberry earned a silver medal.


At the Amenti de Vino Competition in Connecticut, Westport garnered silver medals on Ancient Mariner’s Pear, Bog Berry Blush, and Bordello Blonde, while Little Wild Blackberry brought home the bronze. Again, all the grapes for these wines were grown at Red Willow.


Westport Winery, the 2013 Best in the Northwest Destination Winery, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Westport and Aberdeen. For more information or dinner reservations call Westport Winery at 360-648-2224.

WSDOT teams with WSP to keep Shelton road construction safe

Motorists traveling through the area are directed onto a 10 mile detour that uses Brockdale Road, McReavy Road, Dalby Road and State Route 106. Only those residents who access their homes as far as East Purdy Cutoff Road/Skokomish Valley Road on the north end of the construction zone, or East Eagle Point Drive on the south end of the construction zone, are allowed beyond the detour points. 

 US 101 detour around Purdy Canyon closure

“We understand that the detour is inconvenient and that motorists are tempted to stay on US 101,” said Olympic Region Administrator Kevin Dayton. “But safety has to take precedence. I’m talking about the safety of both the motorists and construction crews. A lot of activity is going on out there, and the added hazard of unexpected traffic puts everyone at risk.” 

More than 300 dump truck loads of soil are removed from the construction zone each night as crews work to stabilize a slide-prone hillside along Purdy Canyon. Throughout the project, crews will remove 76,000 cubic yards of soil as they carve a new face into the hillside. 

Under a contract with WSDOT, state troopers will increase their presence through the remainder of the project, which is scheduled to last through November. “Fines can range up to several hundred dollars for driving through a work zone,” said WSP Captain Chris Old. “It’s both safer and cheaper to simply follow the detour signage.” 

Between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day, one lane of traffic is allowed through the construction zone. A temporary signal is used to direct one-way traffic.