• Meetings scheduled to discuss fishery management on 13 lakes with loons

    OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold two public meetings later this month to discuss proposed fishery-management alternatives on 13 Washington lakes where common loons nest.

    The meetings are scheduled on:

    July 27 – From 6-8 p.m., at the WDFW Eastern Regional Office, 2315 N. Discovery Place, in Spokane Valley.
    July 29 – From 6-8 p.m. at the WDFW North Puget Sound Regional Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., in Mill Creek.

    During the meetings, WDFW staff will explain fishery-management alternatives developed with an 11-member ad hoc citizen advisory group. The alternatives are expected to include options ranging from status quo to prohibiting the use of small lead fishing tackle in recreational fisheries on lakes with loons, said John Whalen, regional fish program manager for WDFW.

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  • Grays Harbor County Listed to Receive Grant Funding for Shoreline Policies and Development Regulations

    OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is providing $6.3 million in legislatively approved grants to 70 cities and counties in the Puget Sound region to help modernize their existing shoreline policies and development regulations, also called "shoreline master programs." To view the full list of grants: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/sma/SMPgrants_10012009.pdf


    Shoreline master programs are the cornerstone of the Shoreline Management Act passed by voter referendum in 1972. Under the act, communities develop master programs to guide local decisions about shoreline uses such as ports, ferry terminals, residential neighborhoods, and public access to waterfront areas.

    The local regulations are also designed to protect water quality and critical habitat, control beach and stream bank erosion, and increase flood protection along marine shorelines and shoreline areas around larger lakes and streams.

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  • Coast Guard assists 3 aboard disabled vessel

    SEATTLE — Coast Guard assisted an injured boater and two other passengers off of Point Francis, Wash., Thursday.

    Coast Guard Station Bellingham, Wash., was contacted via cell phone at 1:45 p.m. by the passengers of a 28-foot pleasure boat requesting assistance.

    A male passenger was injured while a trying to fix the engine after it failed.  

    A 33-foot boat crew from Station Bellingham responded to the scene.  Two crewman boarded the disabled vessel to stabilize the injured man and the 33-foot boat crew towed the disabled boat to Fairhaven Marina in Bellingham, where Whatcom County Fire and Rescue transported the injured man to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

    The condition of the injured man is unknown at this time. 

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  • West Nile virus activity unprecedented in Washington during 2009 season

    OLYMPIA ¾ The 2009 West Nile virus season was the most active on record. Most activity was on the east side of the Cascades, but Western Washington had its share.

    As of today 36 people have been confirmed with West Nile infection in the state during the 2009 season that recently ended. A Yakima County woman in her 70s was the state’s first death from the virus. Testing at the state Public Health Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed West Nile virus as the cause of death last month.

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  • Hot August, Not-So-Hot Primary?

    SEATTLE – The primary election is coming up next week here in Washington, and even the convenience of mail-in ballots in 38 counties is not expected to improve the turnout, which is projected at only 30 percent.

    Since it’s not a national election year, the August 18 primary is mostly local, for mayors, city and county officials and some judges. If you think there aren’t enough important reasons to cast a ballot, says Aaron Ostrom, executive director of the progressive voters’ group Fuse Washington – think again.

    "If people care about transportation or development and smart growth; about property taxes, about public health or public safety; about parks or libraries, they need to vote in this election. Because these are the folks who are going to be making those decisions."

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  • Governor Signs Attorney General’s Digital Crime Lab Bill

    OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today hailed the signing of a bill that allows his office, in concert with the Washington State Patrol, to lay the groundwork for the creation of a digital crime lab. 

    "We're moving forward with bringing state crime-fighting fully into the digital age," McKenna said. "Thanks to the strong support of legislators, state law enforcement will be better prepared to use technology to gather the evidence they need to bring online predators and other criminals to justice."

    Digital devices can frequently help track down suspects in cases involving terrorism, homicide, illegal narcotics, stalking, child pornography, harassment or robbery. But the Attorney General's Youth Internet Safety Task Force reports that local jurisdictions are not equipped to handle the variety and complexity of technology used to commit modern crimes. To address this challenge, the AGO requested legislation (SB 5184/HB1248) directing the state to create a blueprint for building a digital forensic crime lab to be housed at the Washington State Patrol.

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