Wildfire season in Washington State begins today

Wildfire season officially begins April 15, as specified by state law, and already the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has had more than 60 forest fires reported this

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West Nile virus infection confirmed in Washington resident

A Walla Walla County man is the first Washington resident in 2014 known to have been infected with West Nile virus in our state. The man in his 20s was likely exposed near his home and was

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Grays Harbor Transit among 18 awarded $5.2M in federal grants to improve transit services

More than $5.2 million in newly awarded federal grants for new buses and facility improvements means service improvements are coming to 18 public transportation providers in Washington.

The

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Construction of BPA’s Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line begins in May

The Bonneville Power Administration will begin construction of the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project in May. The new line is expected to carry over 800 additional megawatts of renewable wind energy, enough to power about half a million Northwest homes when the wind is blowing. The 38-mile, 500-kilovolt line in Washington will connect the new Central Ferry Substation in Garfield County to the existing Lower Monumental Substation in Walla Walla County. It is expected to be energized in December 2015. “Building the right facilities in the right place at the right time is a key principle of our long-term transmission services planning process,” said Richard Shaheen, BPA vice president for Engineering and Technical Services. “Specifically, this project will add critical transmission grid capacity, support new transmission requests from generators in the Snake River area and be a welcome boost to local and regional economies.” For more than 75 years, BPA has been the major developer of energy infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. Electric utilities and electric power consumers depend on BPA to maintain reliable transmission service at low rates and meet growing demands for electricity. Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line ProjectOver the past several years, numerous power generation projects, including large wind projects, have requested interconnection with the BPA system in the Snake River area. After studying the transmission system and identifying where capacity is available, BPA determined that there is not enough available transmission capacity to accommodate the requests. Building the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental project will allow BPA to meet the requests for transmission and allow additional power to flow between areas east of the Cascade Mountains to heavily populated areas in the west. In August 2011, the Central Ferry-Lower Monumental Transmission Line Project was put on hold because of uncertainties regarding the need for the new line. However, in August 2013, BPA notified customers, landowners and stakeholders that it was moving forward with construction of the line. Existing customer need coupled with an agreement for Portland General Electric to acquire Phase 2 of Puget Sound Energy’s Lower Snake River Wind Project, which PGE renamed the Tucannon River Wind Farm, required construction activities to begin this spring. The Tucannon River Wind Farm is a key infrastructure investment that supports PGE’s balanced energy portfolio. Tucannon River will help PGE satisfy Oregon’s renewable energy standard, which requires the utility to supply 15 percent of the electricity its customers use from renewable resources by 2015 and 25 percent by 2025. In early 2011, BPA completed an environmental impact statement and preliminary engineering design for the project. BPA issued a record of decision to build the line in March 2011. Since then, BPA has conducted additional environmental review of some access road modifications and a material yard. The contractor hired to build the new line is MYR Group, a leading specialty contractor serving the electrical infrastructure market throughout the United States. It has the experience and expertise to complete electrical installations of any type and size. MYR Group’s power line capabilities include transmission, overhead and underground distribution and substation projects. BPA also will be holding two “Meet the Builder” open-houses in late April so the public can learn more about the construction process and schedule, speak with representatives of the MYR Group and meet the BPA project team.  To learn more about the project, go to www.bpa.gov/goto/centralferrylomo.

State revokes, suspends licenses, certifications, registrations of health care providers

OLYMPIA ¾ The Washington State Department of Health has revoked

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Grays Harbor College named one of Washington’s 27 most military friendly

OLYMPIA, Wash. – On the heels of its ranking as top community college in Washington state last month, Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen has again made a national list.
Twenty-seven Washington community and technical colleges are among the top military friendly schools in the nation according to Victory Media, a media entity for military personnel that are transitioning to civilian life.

The 2014 Military Friendly Schools list released this week honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools that do the most to ensure the success of military service members, veterans, and spouses. Grays Harbor College offers many programs and support staff to help local military students be successful.

Victory Media compiled the list through research and data-driven analysis of surveys from more than 10,000 federal Department of Veterans Affairs-approved schools nationwide, along with a survey of more than 4,000 student veterans. The results were independently audited by national accounting firm Ernst & Young. Washington’s community and technical colleges were among 1,818 schools nationwide to make the list.

Westport Winery Earns Gold, Double Bronze at Seattle Wine Awards

SEATTLE, Wash. - The largest and most influential independent wine recognition program in the state, the Seattle Wine Awards (SWA), announces the winning wines in 26 categories spanning three retail price ranges and comprised exclusively of Washington state appellation wines. 

Seattle Wine Awards Executive Director, Christopher Chan, launched the awards as a wine-recognition program focused on Washington-grown grapes and wine in 2006. The inaugural event garnered only 274 entries. This year, however, the program received nearly one thousand bottles of Washington’s highest quality wines for consideration. A top-tier panel of experienced local and national wine-savvy professionals committed to tasting and evaluating this year’s entries.

Westport Winery’s voluptuous red blend Bella earned a gold medal at this year’s Seattle Wine Awards in April. A portion of the proceeds from Bella, a blend of Tempranillo, Refosco, Barbera, Primitivo, Merlot and Syrah, benefits the Mt. Rainier Chapter of the American Red Cross’s blood bank. This wine’s label is in homage to the region’s fame as home to the Twilight book and movie series.

Westport’s other red blends, Jetty Cat and Boom Runner, each earned bronze medals in this competition. Jetty Cat, a scrappy blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc, benefits the Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA). Boom Runner, a bold blend of Syrah and Merlot aged in French oak, benefit Hoquiam’s Polson Museum. Founded in 2006 by Christopher Chan the Seattle Wine Awards is the largest wine competition in Washington State.

Correctional Workers March on State Capitol

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Hundreds of Teamster correctional workers, their families, community allies, and other Teamster members rallied on the steps of the state Capitol in Olympia yesterday in an effort to stop the cuts that they say are endangering the lives of prison workers and our communities.  Teamsters Local 117 represents more than 6,000 correctional workers throughout the state.

Waving signs reading, “Safety, Dignity, and Respect for Correctional Employees,” prison workers from 13 Washington state institutions, many of whom traveled on buses from cities as far away as Monroe, Walla Walla, Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and Clallam Bay, marched from Sylvester Park in Olympia and around the Capitol before assembling for a noontime rally. 

Contingents of corrections workers met with legislators in their offices throughout the day on Thursday to inform them of the dangers of the cuts. They also presented the governor with a list of proposed cost-saving measures that the state can implement at the Department of Corrections (DOC) without compromising safety.

Volunteers needed to count bicyclists and pedestrians for annual statewide survey

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Volunteers are needed in communities across the state to help count the number of people who walk or bike to their destinations. The information gathered this fall will be used to track progress toward the state’s goal of increasing bicycling and walking in Washington and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven.

 

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Cascade Bicycle Club are enlisting volunteers and organizations like FeetFirst and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington to count the numbers of people bicycling and walking on paths, bike lanes, sidewalks, and other facilities on Oct. 5, 6 and 7.

 

“We are working on ways to reduce the number of miles we drive each year, and counting bicyclists and pedestrians at specific locations can help us more accurately measure demand and the benefits of existing paths and trails,” said Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “The counts also help us identify where future bicycle and pedestrian facilities are needed.”

Hoquiam Farmers Market News – Warm Weather Edition

The heat is on!! Finally some real growing weather is here! Our garden responded immediately to the sunshine! The strawberries went from pink to red to deep red in the space of a few hours, developing a sweetness that shouts out ‘Summer’!
The Spooner Strawberries will be ripening faster than the pickers can harvest them. Our supply of strawberries arrives by 9:30 each morning, just in time for a mid morning snack.

Tomatoes adore hot weather, and our garden tables at the Farmers Market are crowded with huge, healthy tomato plants in need of a spot in a garden. We have big tomatoes, little tomatoes, yellow ones, heirlooms, beefsteak, you name a tomato variety and we have it! Some are even on sale now, just when you thought that there was no chance of tomato growing weather. In no time at all you can be harvesting your very own tomatoes, and you will be amazed at the sense of utter contentment that comes with serving something this luscious that you grew.