During the past two weeks, deputies and detectives with the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department have been working on tips and leads from the various burglaries, thefts, and vehicle prowls in East County. Deputies made a number of arrests on traffic stops and warrant arrests that lead to additional suspect information.
On Monday, detectives with the Sheriff’s office and Montesano Police executed a search warrant at a home on Nelson Street in Montesano. Additional stolen items were located. Yesterday, deputies and detectives executed numerous search warrants in East County, assisted by the Grays Harbor Drug Task Force, Montesano PD, and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Elma Police assisted with the apprehension of one suspect that fled a residence in Elma during a search warrant.
Search warrants were executed at homes on Malone Hill Road (Malone), in the 1600 block of W. Main Street, and a home in the 400 block of North 14th Street, both in Elma.
7 males and 4 females will be or have been charged with various crimes as a result of the various search warrants. Those crimes include Burglary, Possession of Stolen Property, Trafficking in Stolen Property, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, and Drug Possession.
The primary suspect was a 41 year old transient from Elma. He was among the several people arrested yesterday. In addition to the various charges of Trafficking Stolen Property, he was also arrested for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. The majority of the suspects were from the Elma area with two from the Montesano area.
While only 2 to 3 of the suspects were actually responsible for committing the thefts and burglaries, the other suspects were charged with purchasing the stolen property or trading the stolen property for illegal drugs.
A substantial amount of property has been confiscated. Some of those items included jewelry, chainsaws, a generator, various tools, electronics such as TV’s and tablets, and garden tools. Investigators also located illegal drugs and a stolen vehicle during the search warrants.
Detectives will be working on contacting the various victims of the items that had been confiscated.
Last year, the City of Aberdeen held community meetings at local elementary schools, and now the city has scheduled the first of a series of meetings to discuss updates and new issues.
Aberdeen Mayor Bill Simpson has set Monday, March 17, as the next community meeting date, held at the Aberdeen High School Commons from 6:30 till 8 pm, topics will include updates on current activities as well as new information and a time for questions to staff.
All residents are invited.
As the time change approaches on Sunday, March 9, the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds residents that one easy step can help save their lives – changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.
When you change your clocks, take time to change and test the batteries in your smoke alarms. “ Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries so maintenance is a simple, effective way to protect you and your family,” says State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy. Being prepared and knowing what to do, in the event of a fire, can save lives.
In 2013, approximately 20% of fire deaths in Washington State occurred in homes without working smoke alarms and the peak time for home fire fatalities is between 10 pm and 6 am when most families are sleeping.
For more information about fire safety, please visit the State Fire Marshal website at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/firemars.htm.
On March 7, 1989, 25 years ago today, the Lady Washington was launched at Aberdeen.
Since her launch, the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport says that more than 225,000 K-12 students have participated in dockside and sailing programs. More than 800 people have sailed as crew on the Lady. In total, more than one million people have walked her decks.
Today, the Lady is celebrating her birthday in Sausalito, California.
The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport continues their 25 year anniversary celebrations locally, and down the West Coast.
A bronze sculpture of Capt. Robert Gray has returned to its original home at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. The 22 ½-inch, 62-pound bust was sculpted by Shelton artist Molly Casey in 1988 to honor the construction of the Lady Washington, which was launched in 1989 as part of the state’s centennial celebrations.
In 1990, GHHSA suffered a financial setback and was unable to pay Casey for the work. The sculpture was displayed at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano for several years before it was moved to the Port of Grays Harbor offices in Aberdeen. This year, Historical Seaport supporters purchased the sculpture from Casey. The sculpture is on display at GHHSA’s offices at Seaport Landing in Aberdeen.
The purchase of the sculpture is part of ongoing efforts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of Lady Washington on March 7, 1989.
The Historical Seaport is planning several public activities in 2014 to be announced later.
The Lady and the Hawaiian Chieftain are scheduled to return to Grays Harbor on June 6th and will remain at Seaport Landing through Rusty Scupper Pirate Daze and the 4th of July Rich Hartman’s Five Star Dealership SPLASH Festival.
Tuesday, March 11th will mark three years since the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and sent debris into the Pacific Ocean and onto the West Coast. Looking back, officials wonder, are we better off today? Has the U.S. used the event to learn, plan and initiate changes along the coast?
Although three years seems like a long time, in the world of government, it is fairly quick. Homeland Security and FEMA have adopted plans for such an event and are planning to exercise them in the Pacific Northwest in June of 2016, with Grays Harbor being a central location. Washington State Emergency Management, the National Guard and the Department of Defense have been meeting to work on their plans for such an event. According to Deputy Director of Emergency Management Chuck Wallace, their goal is to make the unachievable-achievable. He says that officials are listening and plans are changing.
In Grays Harbor, the Ocosta School District has approved plans for a new Elementary School with Vertical Evacuation Engineering built into the school. This will allow the school to withstand the impact of tsunami while providing a safe refuge for all students, faculty and employees of the school district. This will be the only building in the U.S. with that capability.
A Citizen Expectation Survey conducted by Grays Harbor County Emergency Management uncovered many issues which will confound safety, response and mitigation of the Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake and the following Tsunami waves.
Many people are not familiar with their site specific issues for such an event. Wallace says that only half of all citizens have a family emergency plan. Of those who have plans, many do not include information on specific meeting areas, ways to communicate or how and where to evacuate.
For more information on what to do in a disaster, visit the Grays Harbor Emergency Management Website at http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/dem/Index.asp.
Effective immediately, the speed limit on US 101 south of Artic at Rock Crusher Hill is reduced from 55 mph to 25 mph. Recent heavy rains have caused the recurrence of chronic roadway settlement along a 200-foot stretch of highway.
Maintenance crews have installed additional signs to warn motorists to slow down as they drive through the area.
This closely-watched section of highway is located on top of an active landslide and has a history of pavement settlement. Last summer, the speed limit was temporarily reduced to 25 mph until crews could repair and eventually repave the area. They also installed additional overhead lighting to help motorists more clearly see the roadway.
Previously, WSDOT installed a culvert into the hillside to divert water away from the road. Despite efforts to reduce land movement, the slide continues to move and disrupt the highway surface. Patching and paving efforts, seen as only temporary repairs by WSDOT, will continue until funds for a permanent repair can be identified.
The 25 mph speed limit will remain in effect until further notice.
Razor clam diggers will have a few more beaches to consider in late March and April, following a decision by state shellfish managers to add digs to a list of dates previously announced.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning new digs at Copalis and Mocrocks in April, based on recently updated harvest estimates showing a sufficient number of clams in those areas to support additional openings.
“After last weekend’s opener, we still have ample clams to provide additional digging opportunities for those beaches,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW shellfish manager.
Final approval on upcoming digs will be announced after marine-toxin test results confirm the clams are safe to eat.
The first added new digging opportunity will be at Long Beach on March 31, which is also the last day that a 2013-14 fishing license is valid. Beginning April 1, diggers age 15 or older must have a 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams.
Licenses are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
The department also scheduled additional digs at Mocrocks and Copalis beaches in mid-April.
“Openings in late April and May will be announced after we evaluate harvest levels again next month,” Ayres said.
Proposed digs are tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides (newly added digs are in bold):
March 26, Wednesday, 3:52 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors
March 27, Thursday, 4:48 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors
March 28, Friday, 5:38 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
March 29, Saturday, 6:23 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
Seasonal switch to morning tides
March 30, Sunday, 6:53 a.m.; -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
March 31, Monday, 7:39 a.m.; -0.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
A 2014 license is required for the following digs:
April 1, Tuesday, 8:22 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 2, Wednesday, 9:05 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 3, Thursday, 9:49 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 14, Monday, 6:46 a.m.; +0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
April 15, Tuesday, 7:24 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 16, Wednesday, 8:03 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 17, Thursday, 8:43 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 18, Friday, 9:26 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks
April 19, Saturday, 10:14 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
April 20, Sunday, 11:06 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon beginning March 30 with the seasonal switch to morning tides.
Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
A High Wind Advisory is in effect until this afternoon for Grays Harbor, and a High Wind Warning is in effect for Pacific County.
The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a wind advisory for Hoquiam, Aberdeen, and Westport until this afternoon as wind speeds 20 to 35 mph with gusts 45 to 50 mph are expected.
Gusts as high as 65 could occur in Pacific County.
A Flood Watch is still in effect. No rivers in Grays Harbor are expected to reach flood stage.
A Special Weather Statement on the Possibility of Increased Landslides remains in effect.
It’s been 2 weeks since a fire at the Emerson Manor and the response caused extensive water damage to the building, forcing residents and businesses to evacuate. Starting Friday, some of those displaced will return to the building.
The final evaluation of all reports on the testing at Emerson Manor has been completed. Tests were conducted on air quality, mold spores and for asbestos. Air and mold tests show figures that are well within satisfactory ranges, although asbestos testing has identified a few problem areas. Most have been remediated and the remaining issues will be managed shortly.
Residents were told to evacuate and were forced to find temporary housing, but businesses located in the building were also displaced. On Wednesday, Jerry Raines from the Housing Authority announced that the Senior Center, Anchor Bank, Trinkets & Treasures and Hoquiam Shear Artistry can re-open for business as of Friday.
While the businesses are able to return to their locations, much work remains on the rooms and hallways before they are livable. Tenants were allowed to inspect their rooms this week and determined which personal items would need to be discarded. Many mattresses, pieces of furniture and appliances had to be disposed of due to water damage.
The Emerson Manor tenants are predominantly low income, senior citizens, many who have serious health issues, but who struggle to maintain their daily independence.
Anchor Bank set up a fund to assist the displaced tenants called the Emerson Manor Assistance Fund, and to date there is nearly $3,800 in the account.
Chuck Wallace, Deputy Director of Emergency Management, says that more is definitely needed to replace the beds, furniture and personal belongings exposed to water damage.
Only monetary donations can be accepted due to the specific situations of each tenant.
Donations can be made at any Anchor Bank location.
The Aberdeen and Hoquiam Police and Fire Departments will be holding “Active Shooter” exercises this morning at a unoccupied building in the east side of Hoquiam.
Police chiefs from both cities say that they want the public to be aware that there will be a large-scale response, but it will only be a drill.
The purpose is to evaluate officers from Hoquiam and Aberdeen in an “active shooter” incident. Personnel will be operating on regular police and fire frequencies during the drill. All available officers, detectives and administrators from the departments will likely respond, as well as officers from other agencies, including Cosmopolis and the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department.
In addition to the police response, which will not include lights and sirens, the Aberdeen Fire Department will implement an EMS mass casualty response. Personnel from Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Grays Harbor County Fire District #2 are anticipated to participate.
Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Cosmopolis have been working together to develop a regional response plan for “active shooter” incidents in the wake of school and workplace violence across the country. This will be the first functional exercise on-the-ground and is designed to evaluate the overall response of the various agencies involved.
Citizens are asked to remain clear of the exercise area and should be aware all radio traffic related to an “active shooter” incident will be prefaced with the notification “this is a drill” to prevent any public concern or alarm.