Beginning Aug. 1, marine waters off of Westport (Marine Area 2) will be open to salmon fishing seven days a week, joining the three other ocean areas already open daily. Also taking effect Aug. 1, anglers fishing in ocean waters off La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day. The new chinook bag limit will only apply to marine areas 3 and 4. Anglers fishing off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport will continue to be limited to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the department initially set a coastwide daily limit of one chinook and limited the number of days open at Westport to ensure that the salmon fishery would not reach the quota too quickly and have to close early. “Our goal is to provide a full season of salmon fishing in the ocean,” Pattillo said. “It’s still early, but after looking at the catch rates we’re now confident we can go to two chinook per day in the northern ports and allow fishing seven days a week at Westport without much risk of shortening the season.” Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners will hold another special meeting today, this time clearing the way for possible layoffs. With the county facing a $734-thousand deficit, which Commission Chair Terry Willis says could see more than $50-thousand added on, department heads have been ordered to trim three-percent from their 2011 budget and treat the new level as the baseline to begin their 2012 budgets. As a result, the commissioners will meet this afternoon to vote on authorizing Willis to sign layoff possible notices. Department heads will have their new budget numbers back to the commissioners by August 12 and the new levels will go into effect in September.
Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad and Rail America have approached the Port of Grays Harbor and the Economic Development Council this week about the possibility of shipping coal from a new bulk terminal at the Port’s Terminal Three. EDC Executive Director Tim Gibbs tells KXRO that if an agreement is reached, the facility would bring 60 new jobs to the Harbor, 50 at the terminal and 10 at the railroad. The terminal would allow the shipment of 5-million metric tons of coal per year from the Harbor, which would mean the addition of one train per day through the rail lines of Grays Harbor. Gibbs says so far, Rail America has been very open about what they want to do and the environmental impacts the shipment of coal would have on the area and steps they would take to minimize those impacts. Although permits have yet to be sought for the endeavor, Gibbs says if all goes well the facility could be running by 2013 or 2014 and could bring $1-million in tax revenues to Hoquiam and aid a county that now leads the state in unemployment.
A flatbed truck struck a woman walking on the Copalis Beach Road on Wednesday night. Chief Criminal Deputy Dave Pimentel says the woman was reportedly taking pictures on the roadway last night at 6:41 when the truck hit her. The woman was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment and while she is in the intensive care unit, Pimentel says she is expected to survive.
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners have ordered the county department heads to make yet another adjustment to their 2011 budgets.
“We ask the department to make adjustment to their budget of three-percent less than what they have at this time,” says Commission Chair Terry Willis, who also ordered the department heads to amend their 2012 spending plans to reflect the new spending levels as they are put together.
The county now finds itself over $780-thousand short on their 2011 budget, thanks to lower than expected revenue and increased expenses and must have the new spending level in place by September 1st. County Assessor Rick Hole says such a cut will impact service and urged the commissioners to look at county spending in the long-term, rather than relying on cuts made throughout the year…
“What are the core service we need to provide, what are people willing to pay for, what are we mandated by law to do,” says Hole, whose thoughts were echoed by Auditor Vern Spatz who says voluntary furloughs and repeated mid-budget cuts are not the answer.
“I think the only thing that will work are mandatory furloughs or we need to look at department levels and trim positions,” says Spatz.
The county will meet with the employees unions on August 4th to discuss voluntary furlough days which would trim some spending, but Spatz says are not the long-term solution according to Auditor Vern Spatz. Whatever the final decision, the department heads have been asked to have their cuts into the Commissioners by August 12th.
The North Aberdeen Bridge will not be renamed in honor of the late Kurt Cobain. The city council voted 10-1 against the resolution on Wednesday night, but did approve naming the piece of land adjacent to the span the Kurt Cobain landing. The vote followed a lengthy debate on the issue that included a public comment against the proposal.
“Is this the legacy we want to leave to our children,” asked Pastor Don Eden?
“We don’t need to strip another part of our history away,” said Aberdeen Museum Director Dan Sears.
“You want to call it Memorial Landing, fine, but leave the bridge alone,” said park creator Tori Kovach.
In addition to the public comment, nearly all the council members, including Second Ward Representative Doug Paling took turns attacking the proposal: “Leave the Young Street Bridge as it is and let old history live with new history”.
In the end, the council not only voted down the bridge renaming, but also an amendment officially renaming the bridge in honor of Alexander Young, for which the bridge may be known, but is not officially named for. Following the vote, the council did choose to name the small area of land next to the bridge for the former Nirvana frontman, once concerns over liability had been eased by City Attorney Eric Nelson. The council action ends a month long debate that started with the Parks Boards recommendation for the name change and continues to show an uneasy relationship between the city and the memory of it’s most famous son.
An offender at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen was found dead inside his cell this morning. At about 8:35 a.m. staff members found Daniel Johnson, 54, unconscious with a bag over his head. The medical staff was unable to resuscitate him. A staff physician pronounced Johnson dead at 8:51 a.m. The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death. The Grays Harbor Coroner’s Office also responded to calls by prison administrators. Stafford Creek will conduct a separate investigation to determine what happened. Johnson began his prison sentence in 1993 after he was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in Lewis County. He was scheduled to complete his prison sentence in March 2015. He had not committed a serious infraction since 1994. Johnson had been at Stafford Creek since he was transferred from McNeil Island Corrections Center in May 2010. He was in a minimum-security living unit.
Aberdeen police are investigating the theft of copper from one of the district substations. The theft from the Market and “A” Street station was discovered on Tuesday morning. Captain John Green says at some point between Sunday afternoon and Tuesday morning, the suspect or suspects cut through fencing and took the copper from the grounding wire and a small quantity of copper was also removed from the main electrical apparatus in the center of the substation. Green says the thieves were fortunate since the station was off-line or they may have been injured or killed. Anyone with information should call 533 3180 or the department tip line at 538 4450.
The Bonneville Power Administration plans to raise wholesale power rates for consumer-owned utilities by 7.8 percent in October.
The Portland-based federal power marketing agency said Tuesday the rate hike was needed to cover the costs of fixing aging dams, fuel purchases and repairs at the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant, and fish and wildlife conservation.
The Oregonian reports that a higher rate increase was avoided by
borrowing more from the U.S. Treasury.
Bonneville sells power from 31 federal hydroelectric dams and the nuclear plant to about 140 publicly owned utilities in the region, most of them consumer-owned utilities. The BPA also serves investor-owned utilities in the Northwest.
The Grays Harbor County Commissioners will hold a special meeting today to “give directions to county department officials on budget reductions”.
“Hopefully we’ll come up with some good solutions to the counties revenue issues and hole we have in our budget”, said Commission Chair Terry Willis during Monday’s board meeting, during which the commissioners were urged to act sooner rather than later by Auditor Vern Spatz.
“Keep on it and help us resolve it as quickly as possible”, Spatz said. “It’s easier for us to manage if we can take whatever cuts we have to do and put them in a longer span of time rather than a shorter span”.
The commissioners appear to have taken that advice to heart. Today’s meeting to discuss the $734-thousand shortfall will begin at 4:00 this afternoon.