A terrible accident on the Wishkah Road on Tuesday night resulted in the death of a child. The Grays Harbor County Sheriff and State Patrol are investigating the accident that took place at between 5:00 and 6:00 last night. Reports are a mini-van skidded sideways on the road and was struck by another vehicle. There were two occupants in the mini-van, a woman and a six year old girl. The girl was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene while the driver was taken to Community Hospital.
Cosmopolis and Fire District 15 will be paying less than expected for their EMS availability. Aberdeen City Councilmember Paul Fritts brought forward 2 agreements for the respective districts. The EMS revenues were estimated to be 1.15 million yet, came in slightly higher at 1.17 million, which allowed the contracts with the 2 districts to be lowered.
Cosmopolis will be charged just over 61 thousand dollars for EMS availability while Fire District 15 will be charged just over 12 thousand. Fritts added that in addition to Cosmopolis and the North River area, Grays Harbor Fire District 10 which serves the Wishkah area will also see a drop in the rate of their agreement.
Hoquiam Police are investigating an arson fire which started in a dumpster behind an auto body repair shop in the 400 block of Ontario Street. Video surveillance caught the suspect first walking past the location in the alley and then walking back to light combustibles left in the dumpster. The flames spread up and through the back of the building, causing thousands of dollars in structural and interior damage. The quick work of the Hoquiam Fire Department prevented a total loss of the structure and contents.
The suspect appears to be a younger male, average height and build.
There have been additional small arson fires in the area over the past several months, mainly limited to recycling containers behind businesses. At this time it is unknown if related to this case.
If you have any information you’re asked to contact Sgt. Don Wertanen at the Hoquiam Police Department: 532-0892 x 282. Report any suspicious activity in your area to 911.
Aberdeen streets are going to be a little safer after last night’s Aberdeen City Council meeting. Police Chief Bob Torgerson swore in Officer Jessica Mahon at Tuesday’s meeting and introduced her to the council.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting the city council accepted a grant to put 2 more officers on the streets. The COPS grant will fund two patrol officers’ positions for 3 years. The total amount from the grant is just under $583,000 to be split between the positions over the 3 years including fringe benefits and yearly raises.
The council also accepted a $15,000 grant from the Tamaki Foundation for the annual maintenance of K9 dog Nitro for 2011.
The Port of Olympia is hoping that they could be the site used to build 44 supplemental pontoons for the SR520 Floating Bridge. This will not impact the construction happening in Grays Harbor.
33 larger pontoons are set to be built at The Port of Grays Harbor, but the Aberdeen site is not large enough to build all 77 needed for the floating bridge. Construction at the Aberdeen facility is scheduled to start in 2011 with the bridge being complete in 2014.
“We plan to begin construction next spring and look forward to putting hundreds of people to work in Grays Harbor,” said state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “These pontoons will be available to form the backbone of the floating bridge and keep this vital transportation link open.”
Next year the State could be closing one prison and start the process to build a new one. Budget cuts have lead to officials proposing the closure of the McNeil Island Corrections Center next April, and city officials in Raymond and McCleary are hoping their communities will be the home of a newly proposed 1,000 bed state prison intake facility.
The state is asking local governments to sponsor applications for a new Prison Reception Center, the first place offenders go after they are sentenced to incarceration in a state prison.
The proposed 356,000-square-foot center would cost about $167 million and be ready by 2016. The plan would allow the state prison in Shelton, currently being used as a reception center, to transition to a regular prison again. The new facility could create as many as 600 new jobs In Grays Harbor or Pacific County.
Raymond Mayor Bob Jungar says the process will be competitive but “anybody who doesn’t consider a pitch for this facility would be crazy.”
McCleary Mayor Gary Dent says it’s a great opportunity to create jobs and restabilize his community.
The Grays Harbor Public Utility Board of Commissioners approved a 7% rate increase effective February 1, 2011. Over half of the increase would be used to cover the rising cost of renewable resources and conservation needed to meet voter-approved mandates under the Energy Independence Act, as well as a small portion to cover anticipated increased costs in 2011 for power purchased from the Bonneville Power Administration.
The BPA rate increase would take effect October 1, 2011. BPA is currently proposing an 8.5% increase which, if approved at that level, would mean an additional cost to Grays Harbor PUD of about $800,000 for the last quarter of 2011. Once a final BPA rate is determined this summer, the PUD will evaluate the need for an additional rate adjustment.
The remaining funds would be set aside to fund future capital improvement projects to reduce the PUD’s long term debt.
For the average residential customer, the rate increase will result in an increase of $6.63 on their monthly bill.
While power supply costs are on the rise, Liz Anderson of the PUD assures KXRO that they will continue to reduce internal spending through cost-savings measures by about 10% in 2011. The cost savings include continuation of staffing reductions through attrition, reductions in travel and training and reductions in tree trimming and pole treatment and testing.
An accident in Pacific County over the weekend is a good reminder to travelers. On Friday, a driver fell asleep 7 miles north of Raymond and the vehicle left Highway 101 and went down a 60 foot embankment before landing on its top. Both the driver and the passenger were transported to the hospital for injuries, the vehicle was totaled, and the driver was cited with Negligent Driving.
It’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®, a National Sleep Foundation public awareness campaign to educate drivers about sleep safety. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a new study showing that the tragedy of drowsy driving is more pervasive than shown in previous estimates. Their study shows that drowsy driving involves about one in six deadly crashes; one in eight crashes resulting in occupant hospitalization, and one in fourteen crashes in which a vehicle was towed. These percentages are substantially higher than most previous estimates, suggesting that the contribution of drowsy driving to motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and deaths has not been fully appreciated.
During the holiday traveling season it is important to remember not to overextend yourself while driving. If you begin to feel tired, it is important to pull over. Driving while drowsy is impaired driving, just like driving while intoxicated. You can find more information online at drowsydriving.org.
25 years of service was recognized last night as Bob Smith retires as Cosmopolis Fire Chief. Mayor Vickie Raines says Smith has served the volunteer department for a quarter century, continuing a family tradition of 90 years of work with the department that included his father and brothers Bill and Tim. Smith was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the city. Starting next year, Albie Burrows will take over as the city fire chief.
Work within the City of Cosmopolis was recognized at the final council meeting of the year on Wednesday night. Mayor Vickie Raines presented the award for Employee of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. Ryan McCullough was named as Volunteer of the Year for his work as city chaplain and a number of smaller projects like painting and gardening. Employee of the Year went to Public Works Foreman Tom Visler for his work on a number of city projects, most recently keeping city streets clear during the November snow storm. In addition, Wednesday also saw the presentation of plaques of appreciation to the city by the Economic Development Council and Cosmo Specialty Fibers CEO Michael Entz for the work to welcome the company to the city. Raines says the Cosmo opening and the downtown corridor project and the possible sale of the vacant police building to a local law firm are some of the high points the city is looking forward to in 2011.