If you are planning on spending the July 4th holiday weekend in the forests of Washington for a camping trip, the Department of Natural Resources is asking you to keep fires in approved fire pits. The DNR summer burn ban begins tomorrow and runs through the end of September. Recreational burning will only be allowed in approved fire pits inside state, county, municipal and other campgrounds. The DNR says the burn ban is the best way to protect forestland and encourage ecosystem growth.
The Obama administration is ready to take its shot at one of the nation’s long-running conservation problems: how to save the spotted owl from extinction.
For two decades, the bird has been at the center of legal and political battles in the Pacific Northwest. Its numbers are still declining, and it faces new competition from a bigger migrant from the East Coast, the barred owl.
On Thursday, the government is to release a plan to save the spotted owl and also allow logging in national forests – a balance neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations were able to strike. The plan won’t be the last word. It could go to court. And yet to come are decisions about setting aside critical habitat for the spotted owl and killing barred owls.
While loud noises on the 4th of July are not out of the ordinary, the Washington State Department of Emergency Management wants to remind residents that they will conduct the monthly countywide All Hazard Alert Broadcast Siren test on Monday, July 04 at noon.
AHAB sirens are located in Pacific Beach, Copalis Beach,Ocean City, OceanShores, Hoquiam,Aberdeen, Moclips,Westport and Grayland. All Grays Harbor County sirens will be included in the test beginning at noon.
AHAB sirens sound the Westminster Chimes followed by a test voice message and reach about one mile in radius depending on topography and weather. Reminder, that these sirens are meant to provide emergency notification to people who are outdoors. Residents and businesses located within a tsunami inundation area are encouraged to maintain a working NOAA Weather Radio.
Please DO NOT CALL 911 regarding this testing. If you have any questions or reports regarding the test, please contact Grays Harbor County Emergency Management at 360-249-3911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Rasmussen, a third and fourth-grade teacher at Ocean Shores Elementary School today begins the first of two five-day legs aboard the research vessel Tatoosh. Rasmussen will be immersed in hands-on marine science research, working side-by-side with scientists surveying marine ecosystems in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.
Rasmussen is one of 33 teachers nationwide chosen from more than 250 applicants to participate this year in NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program. Now in its 21st year, the program has provided over 600 teachers the opportunity to gain first-hand experience participating in science at sea. Rasmussen will keep a blog of her experience, which will soon be accessible through NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program website, http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/.
An annual comparison of county assessor statistics has been published online by the Washington State Department of Revenue.
The numbers counties reported for their budgets, FTE levels, and appeals were as of March 2011 and may have changed since then. The report also tallies assessed values, number of parcels, new construction, number of appeals and other relevant figures.
The report is intended to provide property tax administrators and decision-makers with a uniform set of comparative statistics to assist in the analysis and evaluation of assessment operations and the adequacy of assessment resources.
Washington’s thirty-nine county assessors operate within unique local geographical, political, and economic environments that often influence the attributes of a county’s assessment system and the level of services they provide. Consequently, making direct comparisons between individual counties may result in distorted or misleading conclusions unless additional information is considered or more in-depth analysis is conducted. The report is available at;
Work is continuing on the cleaning out of the Hoquiam sewage lagoon. City Administrator Brian Shay says the Department of Ecology will begin testing today to make sure that 50-years worth of bio-solids have been cleared out. If given the green light, the lagoon will be drained, a dike built and one side filled with 300-thousand cubic yards of soil from projects around the state, including the 520 pontoon site.
The Hoquiam City Council got its first look at an ordinance which would begin the process of annexing the city into the Timberland Regional Library System. If approved by the council, the city will save money from their general fund in the coming years, a fact made more important by the loss of tax revenue caused by the closure of Grays Harbor Paper. If the Timberland Regional Board agrees, the question would go before the Hoquiam voters during a special election.
A meeting of all the Grays Harbor County Department heads is needed to find a way to fill a $600-thousand hole in the 2011 budget. Budget Director Rose Elway informed the commissioners on Monday morning that the county was coming up short in it’s general fund and if action wasn’t taken soon, the county will run the risk of gutting its reserves, possibly taking it as low as $1.2-million. “That’s just crazy. You can’t run that big an organization with such a small reserve”, says Commissioner Mike Wilson.
While the county does have the ability to borrow from other funds to help right the ship, such an act is not good for business and seeking spending reductions is the only responsible way to cut into the deficit. Wilson says that may include a hard look at personnel levels. “You’d be living under a rock to says personnel issues aren’t the highest cost to the county, so certainly they’ll be looked at”, says Wilson.
The county remains optimistic that funds which have yet to arrive on the county books will help fill the gap, but until then the meeting of the department heads is the proactive move to solve the budget crisis.
The Aberdeen Fire Department was dispatched to the report of clothes dryer on fire in the 900 Blk of W. Market St on Saturday. AFD crews arrived quickly to find smoke venting from the rear of the structure. The fire was quickly extinguished and smoke was removed from the house using positive pressure fans. The homeowner reported that he heard the sound of fire at the same time the smoke detector activated. The home owner reported he attempted to extinguish the fire without success prior to calling 911.
Smoke and heat damage was isolated to the clothes dryer and laundry room area. The cause is believed to be electrical. Total damage estimated to be $1000.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. It is important for everyone to clean their dryer filter screen after each load of laundry.
Sunday marked two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Lindsey Baum, the 10-year old girl who vanished while walking home from a friend’s home in McCleary. The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s office has announced that thanks to anonymous donations, they are increasing the reward for information leading to Lindsey’s whereabouts to $35,000.
The investigation into her disappearance remains open and active, with a task force composed of the Grays Harbor County Sheriff, FBI, State Patrol Missing Persons Unit and the Department of Corrections. The task force maintains an office in McCleary and continues to follow-up on tips and leads. GTI Trucking has again placed the trailer bearing Lindsey’s image in McCleary in hopes of keeping her story alive in the minds of the residents of her home town.
Anyone with any information is asked to call 1-866-915-8299 or 360-249-6070, ext 574.