Aberdeen drivers may notice more commercial vehicles and experience some traffic delays on local roads during the next few months. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and contractor Kiewit-General (K-G) are going full speed ahead to complete new pontoons for the aging SR 520 Bridge. But as work ramps up, traffic may slow down a bit. Motorists should plan for higher than normal traffic volumes and possible slight delays on US 101, W. Wishkah Street, E. Terminal Road and W. Heron Street from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. weekdays. An average of 150 trips will be made daily to and from the SR 520 Pontoon Construction Site near the Port of Grays Harbor. Project-related traffic is expected to decline in early June when most of the materials and equipment needed to build a pontoon casting facility will be on site.
Rubby De La Rosa allowed two hits over 5-and-two-thirds scoreless innings, Corey Smith hit a three-run homer and Marcus Thames had a solo shot, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-1 win over Seattle last night in the final exhibition game for both teams for the season. The M’s now head to Oakland for Friday’s opener against Oakland. Pregame show begins at 6PM on KXRO Newsradio.
Lawmakers reacting to a recent tragedy in a Washington prison are hurrying to enact sweeping new laws before the legislative session adjourns next month. In a sign of how important the issue of prison safety is, identical reform bills are moving through both the House and Senate this week in Olympia. Both bills would implement the recommendations issued by the National Institute of Corrections in the wake of Monroe prison guard Jayme Biendl’s murder in January of this year. Representative Troy Kelley, a University Place Democrat, is a sponsor of the House version, which starts by ordering an immediate and comprehensive review of security policies and procedures throughout the state’s prison system including Grays Harbor’s Stafford Creek Corrections Center. The bills also mandate additional staff-safety training in every prison and require corrections officials to explore new technology and non-lethal weapons to help prison personnel protect themselves.
A struggling budget and reductions on state funding are forcing the Montesano School District to alter its bus service. The move will mainly impact students who live within one mile of the schools as routes will be eliminated or combined with others in order to save money. In a release sent home with students, the district says “student safety is of the utmost concern and decisions for changes have been made with regard to sidewalks available for students and age appropriate walking distances from schools”. New routes are available on the district website at http://www.monte.wednet.edu.
A new report looking at wellness in nearly all the nation’s counties, says San Juan County is Washington’s healthiest county. The rankings released Wednesday are based on data from vital statistics and government health surveys. Grays Harbor and Pacific County were not so good. Grays Harbor ranked 31st and Pacific County 29th overall out of 39 counties. Some of the factors the report looks at include premature deaths, low birth-weight babies, obesity, unemployment, high school graduation rates and pollution.
Baseball and fastpitch rained out
Montesano 2, Tenino 0
Rocjester 5, Elma 4 (OT)
Garrett Stutz came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points, and Wichita State romped past Washington State 75-44 last night to put the Shockers in the NIT championship game. Stutz also had 11 rebounds for Wichita State, which surpassed the 1954 team for the most wins in school history with a record of
28-8. Reggie Moore and DeAngelo Casto scored nine points each to lead Washington State, which finished 22-13.
The Chief of Central Park’s Fire District Two is headed east. Dan Prater has announced that he will be taking over as Chief of District Five in East Grays Harbor County. Prater says he will take take on his new job at the beginning of the month, but will still serve in Central Park until the end of April, wrapping up the obligations to a district he says he will miss. District 5 is one of the larger districts in the county, covering Bush Creek, rural Elma, Satsop, Porter and Malone along with paramedic service in McCleary, Elma and Fire District 12.
24th District Representatives Steve Tharigner and Kevin Van De Wege didn’t sugarcoat their message to a Montesano open house on Tuesday night: filling a $5-billion budget gap is going to have an impact on the Harbor with cuts in healthcare and education. Tharinger’s first year in the Legislature comes as the House and Senate grapple with some of the most sever spending issues the state has ever seen. However, the over 80 people who came to Beacon Elementary School wanted to see there areas of interest preserved. That included Montesano attorney Vini Samuels plea for a stop to tuition hikes in higher education and Montesano Superintendent Marti Haruff beating the drum for K-12 education and the state’s responsibility to fund basic education program. Van De Wege says despite those pleas he knows voter initiatives like I-728 and 732 will be suspended and new programs to help kindergarten through fourth grade enhancements will be threatened, although he is hopeful that cuts to levy equalization funding can be limited. College and school concerns were the most talked about issues, but they weren’t the only ones. Speakers also plugged for cost of living adjustments to pensions, efforts to save state parks and a request for an investigation into the federal Wild Olympics effort.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to open ocean beaches for a second round of razor-clam digging in April if marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat. In addition to the dig tentatively scheduled April 7-9 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, WDFW also hopes to open those beaches for clam digging April 19-23 and two others April 21-23. Final word on those digs – all scheduled on morning low tides – will be announced about a week ahead of time, once the results of the marine toxin tests are available. “The weather was pretty rough during the March opener, so diggers didn’t get as many clams as we thought they would,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “That gives us an opportunity to schedule a second dig in April.” If the toxin results are favorable, Long Beach and Twin Harbors will reopen for digging April 19 through April 22, until noon each day, plus April 23 until 1 p.m. Two other beaches – Copalis and Mocrocks – will be open for digging April 21-22 until noon and April 23 until 1 p.m. under that plan. Fishery managers agreed to an extra hour of digging Saturday, April 23, because