The state added an estimated 6,700 jobs in March and the unemployment rate is holding steady at 6.3 percent.
In numbers released Wednesday by the state Employment Security Department, officials said that the rate matches February’s jobless numbers, which had been revised down from an original estimate of 6.4 percent.
Officials said that during the one-year period ending in March, nearly 61,000 jobs have been added statewide, including more than 18,000 since the start of the year. The biggest job gains in March were seen in professional and business services, like office workers. Manufacturing also saw a boost, as did the retail sector, private education and health services and construction.
Job losses were seen in government, wholesale trade, financial activities, and other services.
In February, Grays Harbor unemployment increased to 12.3%. With an increase of 0.7% from January, the number is still lower than last year when the rate was 13.9%.
County by county unemployment for March is expected to be released April 22.
The Port announced that the 501(c)(3) that owns and operates both Friends Landing and Sterling Landing in Montesano asked the Port Commissioners to consider incorporating, not purchasing, the land. Port Commission President Stan Pinnick has asked staff members to investigate the properties and the needed improvements, and report back to the Commissioners.
Executive Director Gary Nelson said, “The recreational opportunities provided by these sites align well with the Port’s mission of providing public access to our waterfront and promoting tourism for the betterment of the region. My initial thought is they complement our holdings at Satsop Business Park, but like every opportunity that presents itself to the Port, we will carefully analyze how these properties might fit with our mission and our business objectives.”
Friend’s Landing includes 152 acres of land, with a 32 acre man-made lake, 1.7 miles of paved trail, a handicap accessible boat launch on the Chehalis River, and RV and tent camping facilities with full hook-up sites.
Sterling Landing is an undeveloped 30-acre site with a gravel boat launch located on the Wynoochee River outside of Montesano.
This land would not be purchased, merely transferred in ownership from the Friends Landing 501(c)(3) to the Port of Grays Harbor.
Port staff are expected to make a presentation of their initial findings at the May 13th Commission meeting.
Last night, Representatives Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege spoke directly to residents of the 24th Legislative District, and questions regarding Grays Harbor received multiple calls.
“Sherry” from Grays Harbor called, asking the representatives about the high unemployment locally and what is being done to counteract that.
Representative Tharinger said, it’s not that easy, and that there is not just one answer to spur economic development.
Representative Van De Wege said that with the timber industry being a large part of local commerce, they are offering tax incentives to bring in new business. He said that they are also focusing on the local tourism and parks to bring more money into the area for improvement.
“Blair” called to ask the Representatives their thoughts on crude by rail, and the possibilities of it coming into the Port of Grays Harbor. Her concern was the number of accidents from crude oil trains over the last year and the impact to communities.
The representatives said that there has been an increase in rail traffic due to Bakken fracking, and the only way they would put support behind a local facility would be with extra safety measures.
The Cosmopolis Police Department isn’t going anywhere in the near future.
Following a presentation by the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office in March, the city council has tabled any plans to replace the current police department in Cosmopolis with Sheriff’s Deputies.
Grays Harbor Sheriff Rick Scott spoke in front of the Cosmopolis City Council, explaining the costs behind the decision by other cities to do away with local police. At that time, he said the main reason was funding.
According to Councilman Carl Sperring, when they looked at the price to maintain the level of service the city already has, it became clear that now is not the time.
According to Sperring, to have Sheriff’s Deputies on duty at the same level as current police, it would increase the city’s cost by over $100,000 a year.
In March, both Scott and the council members said that Cosmopolis already has a well trained and effective police force, and that this conversation has nothing to do with staffing, but it is about the cost of operation.
A motion was made by Councilman Frank Chestnut to suspend the discussion indefinitely, saying that in the future there may be a need, but at this time the city has no issues with their police; financially or otherwise.
The motion to suspend discussion passed unanimously by all in attendance.
Four Grays Harbor teens were arrested this week following a burglary at the Brady Food Mart.
Just after 4 am on Tuesday, Sheriff’s Deputies were called to the Brady Food Mart in Brady for a burglary sometime overnight.
Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate told KXRO that security cameras show that teens broke the front window just before 1 am and stole a number of items before fleeing.
Just before 6:30 am, Montesano Police responded to a call from a parent saying that their teenage son did not come home overnight. When the parents told deputies the last thing he was wearing, it matched one of the teens in the video from the burglary.
Officers were told that 3 more teens had been with the boy. All 4 had skipped school that day.
Tuesday afternoon, a citizen called to report 4 teens walking on the Monte Brady Road matching their description.
Three of the boys were 15, all from Montesano students. The other boy is 16 from Aberdeen.
All 4 were arrested and interviewed before being released back to their parents.
Shumate says that paperwork will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office recommending burglary charges.
A Level 3 Registered Sex Offender is moving within Aberdeen.
The Aberdeen Police Department tells KXRO that 44 year old Matthew J Tardiff has told authorities that he will be living in the 2400 block of Aberdeen Avenue.
Tardiff was convicted in 1991 for Rape of a Child First Degree in Grays Harbor County.
Tardiff has been classified as a Level 3 Sex Offender with a High Risk to re-offend.
He is not wanted by police at this time.
There are over 19,000 sex or kidnapping offenders who have registered (since 02/28/90) and are currently living in Washington State. Approximately 400 of these are registered to Grays Harbor. Approximately 150 are registered to Aberdeen.
Timberland Regional Library will be closing this month as they hold training for their staff at each location.
Each branch in Grays Harbor will close for one day on a rolling schedule to ensure the public still has access to services.
Timberland Regional Library employees will have a day of training at their local branches. Staff will participate in training to enhance their knowledge and skills in library service to the public.
County Library Closure Date
Grays Harbor Aberdeen May 7, Wed.
Amanda Park May 22, Thurs.
Elma May 8, Thurs.
Hoquiam May 22, Thurs.
McCleary May 7, Wed.
Montesano May 23, Fri.
Oakville May 8, Thurs.
Westport May 23, Fri.
The TRL Administrative Center will not close.
Grays Harbor County Emergency Management will be holding a free All Hazard Weather Radio event in Elma tonight, open to all residents of East County.
Residents can come to the Elma City Council Chambers and attend the 30 minute class, learning about the radios and receiving hands-on programming a free All Hazards Weather Radio
This event is free and open to all Grays Harbor County Residents.
Another event is scheduled later this month on April 28th at St Andrews Church in Aberdeen.
The Washington Student Achievement Council and Association of Washington School Principals announced 196 high school seniors recognized as Washington Scholars or Washington Scholar Alternates for 2014, including an Aberdeen student.
According to the Washington Scholars, this recognition is the highest academic honor conferred by the State of Washington.
“Washington Scholars exemplify the best in student academic performance, commitment to rigorous standards, and personal accountability. This honor demonstrates that effort and academic discipline matter, and that setting and achieving learning goals is foundational to success,” said Student Achievement Council Executive Director Gene Sharratt.
Three high school students from 49 legislative districts receive the Washington Scholar award each year, and an additional student from each district is designated as an alternate. This year, Aberdeen High School senior Sadie Smith was named as an alternate for the 19th Legislative District.
High school principals nominate candidates based on their grade point average and SAT/ACT scores, as well as leadership, community service, and other activities. Sadie was also recognized for her musical skills as a trombone player.
“These awards not only highlight outstanding academic achievement, but they also recognize efforts in leadership and community service. These recipients represent well-rounded students who are poised to make positive contributions to our society,” said Gary Kipp, Executive Director of the Association of Washington School Principals.
In addition to recognizing the achievements of the seniors, the Washington Scholars program encourages privately funded scholarships by non-state organizations.
The Aberdeen School Board approved a new look for the band at last night’s meeting.
Currently, the Aberdeen Marching Band is using uniforms that are 19 years old. Students and staff have been working on finding a new design and they showed off the prototype at last night’s meeting.
Band Director Dan Patterson said that a lot of work has been done by students to find the perfect design.
The new uniforms are already in this year’s budget and are expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000.