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 or the Washington State AMBER Alert plan at

Additional information on the Wireless Emergency Alert system can be found at

State to fine owners of Mason County water system for neglect

The Washington State Department of Health intends to issue a $17,640 penalty to the investor-owners of Ripplewood Tracts water system in Mason County. The planned fine is for violating a state directive to bring the water system into compliance with drinking water regulations.

In March, the agency directed the owners to hire a certified operator to run and maintain the system, to test the water for nitrate contamination, and to notify customers that the water system had violated state drinking water regulations. As of October 30, the owners had not complied with the directive.

The state requires public water systems to employ trained, certified operators to ensure safe operation of the water systems.

Operators routinely test the water for contaminants, including nitrate, which poses a serious health risk because it reduces the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. Infants and people who don’t have enough stomach acids or with an inherited lack of the enzyme that converts affected red blood cells back to normal (methemoglobin reductase) are especially at risk.

The water system ownership includes Heritor Inc., a Washington corporation; and Ripplewood Utilities, Bristol Group, a Washington corporation. The registered office for the water system is 843 S. 212th St., Suite 105, Kent.

The agency issued a $22,680 penalty against the same investor group for violating state drinking water regulations in its operation of the Green Mountain Acres water system in Kitsap County. The penalty, issued Feb. 13, 2014, is under appeal, and negotiations are under way to transfer ownership of that system to Kitsap Public Utility District #1.

“We hold water system owners and operators to very strict standards because of the role they play in protecting public health,” said Clark Halvorson, director of the agency’s Office of Drinking Water. “We’d rather work with owners to find solutions than penalize them, but when they shirk their responsibility, we have little choice but to issue financial penalties.”

The owners filed an appeal on October 16. The penalty is suspended until the appeal is resolved.

The Department of Health website ( is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Raymond Junior/Senior High School Recognized As 2014 School Of Distinction

Raymond Junior/Senior High School has been recognized as a Washington State 2014 School of Distinction. This award acknowledges outstanding improvement in reading and math sustained over a five-year period, and is limited to schools in the top 5% of improvement for their grade band. Statewide, there were 17 high schools recognized.

This is the eighth time School of Distinction award has been made in Washington State. Statewide, 54 elementary schools, 22 middle schools, 17 high schools, and 8 alternative schools received the award. Describing the schools that are designated as School of Distinction award winners, Greg Lobdell, President of the Center for Educational Effectiveness noted, “These schools are from alI regions of the state, all sizes of towns, with a range from 2.7% to 100% poverty and enrollment of English Language Learners as high as 40%. These schools demonstrate that significant improvement is occurring all across our diverse public schools.”

Each regional Educational Service District throughout the state will be hosting an award ceremony to recognize the award winners within their districts. Dates will be announced in subsequent, regional press releases. Dr. Rich McBride, Superintendent of the North Central ESD in Wenatchee and leading this work for the ESDs stated, “At a time when our schools and classrooms are experiencing the pressure of reform initiatives at the state and national level, it is great to celebrate the success and hard work of our highest improving schools across the state. This celebration provides important validation and highlights our need for the continued support of improvement efforts across Washington that are making a difference for all students. Our congratulations to the staff, students, leaders, and communities for their exceptional passion and dedication.”

One killed, another injured after car wreck North of Shelton

One woman is dead, another was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center Sunday morning, after a head-on collision on State Route 3 about 5 miles North of Shelton.

The Washington State Patrol reports a 23 year old Shelton woman was attempting to pass too many vehicles over a double yellow line when her 2005 Honda Acura hit an oncoming 1995 Honda Civic, it happened around 6:30 Sunday morning. The driver of the Civic, a 20 year old Shelton woman was pronounced dead at the scene, her family notified by the Washington State Patrol.

The woman in the Acura was charged with Vehicular Homicide, the cause of the accident listed as improper passing.

Wreck South of Cosmopolis sends two to hospital

Driving too fast for conditions was the cause of a wreck South of Cosmopolis yesterday. The Washington State Patrol reports that just after 11 Sunday morning a 54 year old Hoquiam man lost control of his 1997 Toyota Pickup on a corner and slid into an oncoming 2011 Ford F250 that was towing a 24 foot 5th wheel camper trailer. Trooper Richardson said both the driver of the pickup, and his passenger, a 41 year old Humptulips man, were injured and transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen with undisclosed injuries. The Toyota was listed as totaled, both vehicles and the camper were towed from the scene.


Public invited to comment on oil transportation study

The public is invited to provide feedback on a preliminary study assessing risks associated with increased transportation of oil through Washington state. Public meetings are scheduled next week in Spokane and Olympia to accept comments regarding the study and recommendations.


The Marine & Rail Oil Transport Study: Preliminary Findings & Recommendations, released Oct. 1, was developed at the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature. The study team is led by the Washington Department of Ecology, in collaboration with the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and several other agencies. The purpose of the study is to assess risks associated with oil transportation and outline recommendations to protect the health and safety of the people and the environment of Washington state.


Millions of gallons of oil move across Washington’s lands and waters each day. The state saw approximately 17 million barrels shipped in 2013 with a projection of 55 million barrels in 2014. The amount of Bakken crude oil transported from North Dakota by rail is expected to increase by more than 220 percent, depending on refinery expansion.


The public meetings are scheduled for:


5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30
Double Tree Hotel Red Lion Inn
322 N. Spokane Falls Ct. 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW
Spokane Olympia


From 5 to 6 p.m., there will be information booths with marine, rail, and spill response experts available to answer questions. The study team will make a presentation at 6 p.m. and public comments will be heard starting at 6:30 p.m.


Comments may also be submitted electronically or by mail. Address comments to Ecology Spills Program, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA  98504-7600.

Westport woman dies after wreck near Stafford Creek Corrections Center

A Westport woman died this morning after pulling out in front of a truck on State Route 105. The Washington State Patrol reports they have notified family of 59 year old Geri Lee Robbins, her 2003 Toyota Corolla was struck on the driver’s side as she attempted to enter traffic just before 7 this morning near Stafford Creek Corrections Center. The 1966 Ford F150 truck was travelling around the posted speed limit when the two collided. The impact pushed both vehicles across oncoming traffic and into the Southbound ditch. Trooper Blake started her failure to yield was the cause, no charges were pending.
A 27 year old Aberdeen man in the truck was treated at the scene and released.

Elma man arrested on child pornography charges

A 29-year old Elma man has been arrested for possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct first degree on the evening of Friday October 17.

Elma Police tell KBKW they began investigating when they received a complaint that an 8-year old female had been possibly sexually assaulted by her babysitter. The Children’s Advocacy Center assisted in the investigation due to the girl’s age.

Police retrieved a cell phone from the suspect and applied for a search warrant of his phone which was believed to be used to photograph the girl. A search of the phone revealed several hundred images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct that had been previously deleted by the suspect. The images were recovered by the Washington State Patrol High Tech Crime Unit using special equipment.

The suspect was booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail with no bail.

The family received support from Beyond Survival throughout the investigation. Beyond Survival is a useful resource center for sexual assault victims in Grays Harbor County.

Search for missing hiker in Olympic National Park ends when hikers walks out Monday

UPDATE: Kelly Hall arrived in the area of the Elwha Ranger Station shortly before 10:00 a.m. Monday, safe and well and contacted a park employee.
“We are overjoyed to have this search reach a successful and happy conclusion,” said Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.
Searchers who contributed to the effort include National Park Service employees and volunteers, an aircraft and crew from Washington State Patrol, and volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clallam County Search and Rescue and German Shepherd Search Dogs.



A helicopter and tracking dogs have been added to the search efforts for a hiker overdue in Olympic National Park. Authorities say 64-year-old Kelly Hall is three days overdue from his planned six-day, 39 mile hike in the northeast corner of the park. Hall was scheduled to meet family members Thursday. When he didn’t show up, they reported him missing that night.
The second day of searching for 64-year old Kelly Hall of Bainbridge Island continued Sunday, but revealed few clues regarding the missing hiker’s location. Hall was reported overdue Thursday evening after failing to rendezvous with a family member as planned.

Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum renewed her appeal for the public’s assistance. “We are very interested in talking with hikers who were anywhere along Mr. Hall’s itinerary in the past week,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Anyone who may have information helpful to the search is urged to call the park as soon as possible at 360-565-3120.”

Hall began his hike on Saturday, August 30, setting out from the Obstruction Point Trailhead near Hurricane Ridge. His planned itinerary was a 39-mile hike through Grand Valley to Grand Pass, continuing over Cameron Pass, through Dose Meadows, over Gray Wolf Pass and along the Gray Wolf Trail to the Slab Camp Trailhead on Forest Road 2875. He was reported overdue by a family member on Thursday evening when he did not appear as planned at the trailhead. Another hiking party reported having seen Hall on August 30 in Grand Valley, about four miles from his starting point.

Today’s search activities included:

· Sixteen ground searchers were in the field today, searching both trails and off-trail areas along or near Hall’s intended itinerary. About ten searchers are camped in the wilderness tonight and will resume search efforts Monday morning.

· Three search dog teams joined the search Saturday evening and continued their search today.

· An aerial search by helicopter was conducted this afternoon.

· Investigators attempted to make contact with the approximately 20 other hikers who had wilderness permits for about the same times and locations as Halls’ intended itinerary. One party reported having seen him on August 30 in Grand Valley, about four miles from his starting point.

An aircraft equipped with heat sensing forward-looking infrared (FLIR) equipment will fly over the search area before sunrise Monday morning. Continued ground and helicopter searching will begin shortly after.

Hall is described as being 6’5” tall and weighing 220 pounds. He has a blue backpack with a fishing pole and orange flip-flops strapped to the outside. An earlier description of his tent was inaccurate; Hall is believed to be using a dark gray netting tent with an orange floor and poles. It has a silver rain fly, so may appear either dark gray or silver, depending on whether the rain fly is in use.

Searchers include National Park Service employees and volunteers, and volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clallam County Search and Rescue and German Shepherd Search Dogs.

Kelly Hall, 64 years old 6’5”, 220 pounds Overdue from six-day hike from Obstruction Point, to Grand Pass, Cameron Pass, Dose Meadows, Gray Wolf Pass. Planned to be picked up at Slab Camp Trailhead on USFS Road 2875 on Thursday September 4. • Blue backpack • Blue ‘Mountain Hardware’ stocking cap • Fishing pole and orange flip flops strapped to outside of pack • Believed to be using a blue-gray tent Anyone who has seen Hall since August 30, please call Olympic National Park at 360-565-3120.
Kelly Hall, 64 years old
6’5”, 220 pounds
Overdue from six-day hike from Obstruction Point, to Grand Pass, Cameron Pass, Dose Meadows, Gray Wolf Pass. Planned to be picked up at Slab Camp Trailhead on USFS Road 2875 on Thursday September 4.
• Blue backpack
• Blue ‘Mountain Hardware’ stocking cap
• Fishing pole and orange flip flops strapped to outside of pack
• Believed to be using a blue-gray tent
Anyone who has seen Hall since August 30, please call Olympic National Park at 360-565-3120.

One injured, one cited in Grays Harbor Transit bus accident North of Hoquiam

The Washington State Patrol responded to a transit bus off the road on State Route 109 about 25 miles North of Hoquiam this morning. Sources tell us one person was injured, the bus only had a few people on it at the time.
A 46 year old Pacific Beach man, was not injured, while a 14 year old young man was injured and transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen.
General Manager Ken Mehan at Grays Harbor Transit tells us their insurance company is investigating. The bus driver was not injured, and no delays in service are expected.
The Washington State Patrol reports the Southbound transit drifted off the roadway to the right, over corrected to the left, then left the roadway on the Northbound side, coming to rest in the trees. The report also states that the cause was inattention, and the driver was cited for “wheels off the roadway”