Archive for December, 2012

Whooping Cough Epidemic Continues into 2013

December 27, 2012 Comments off

The whooping cough epidemic that has plagued Washington in 2012 has slowed, but it will continue into the New Year. Governor Gregoire declared the pertussis epidemic in April of this year.

So far, there have been a total of 4,717 cases reported statewide through December 22, compared to 806 reported in 2011 during the same time period. 590 new cases were reported December 16-22

This year, Washington has seen the most cases of whooping cough in more than 70 years.
As of the 22nd, Grays Harbor has seen 24 reported cases of whooping cough so far this year, while Pacific County has seen 7.

Only Garfield County has reported no pertussis activity in 2012.

One infant who tested positive for pertussis during December has died. Though the child’s brief illness did not meet the clinical definition which requires a cough of 2 weeks duration, the death is considered to have been due to pertussis.

Some areas of the state are still seeing high numbers while others have slowed to pre-epidemic levels.

The number of people getting their booster shots has also increased this year.

Health officials say whooping cough vaccines are recommended for all kids and adults. Kids under seven should get a series of five DTaP vaccines. Kids aged 7 to 10 years who aren’t fully vaccinated against whooping cough and everyone aged 11 and older should get a whooping cough booster, called Tdap.


Categories: Harbor News

Satsop Business Park Comes of Age

December 27, 2012 Comments off

More than a dozen years after a Public Development Authority was created to transform the abandoned nuclear power plant site in Elma into a mixed-use business park, the Board of Directors for the Grays Harbor Public Development Authority will hand over the reins to the Port of Grays Harbor in January.
“The Satsop Business Park has come of age,” said Tami Garrow, CEO of the Grays Harbor PDA, whose retirement in March 2013 encouraged the Board’s discussions about the Park’s future.

Once the board realized that the timing was right, the choice of consolidating Satsop’s assets with the Port became an obvious one, said Steve Poler, PDA chairman.

“Handing the reins over to the Port Commission is the perfect way to end this first chapter of the Park’s life. We’re proud of what’s been accomplished at the Park and what an asset to the community it has become,” Poler said.

Having been there since the Park’s inception, Garrow can recall the events that helped Satsop Business Park become what it is today.

• $3 million worth of new roads, utilities, landscaping and signage to and through the Park were built. This changed the look and feel at the site from an abandoned construction project to the look and feel of a true business park.

• Aggressive renovation of existing buildings was undertaken to provide immediate homes to businesses seeking to locate at the Park.

• $19 million in grant funds and $5.15 million in low-interest loan funds were awarded for Park improvements, including construction of new buildings, installation of telecom, water and sewer infrastructure, and conversion of former nuclear facilities to usable structures.

Through it all, the Satsop Business Park has operated in the black every year for the past 11 years, built two solid years’ worth of operating capital reserves and has no debt.

Garrow said, “With our consolidation with the Port of Grays Harbor, we leave the Park in good hands, thanks to the vision and courage of our Board, the dedication of our staff, and the solid partnerships we have developed over the past decade. For the Satsop Business Park, the future is bright indeed.”

More information on Satsop Business Park can be found at


Satsop Business Park CEO Tami Garrow, third from left, with the board of directors from left, Steve Poler, Shelli Hopsecger, Art Tanner, Jack Thompson, Mike Wilson, John Van Dijk and Tom Casey.

Categories: Harbor News

Grays Harbor Unemployment Rises While State Rate Lowers

December 26, 2012 Comments off

Statewide unemployment numbers in November saw the largest one-month drop since 1977, but Grays Harbor saw its number rise.

In figures released today by the Washington Employment Security Department, Grays Harbor still shows the second highest numbers in the state at 11.4%, an increase from 11.3% in October. Using numbers from the 2011 census, this would equal approximately 8200 workers on unemployment within the county.

In November of 2011, Grays Harbor showed an unemployment rate of 12.8%, compared to the 2010 rate of 12.6%. At the highest, Grays Harbor saw a rate of 15.7% in January and February 2010.

Pacific County remained at 10.5% for November.

Lewis County saw its number rise and holds the highest number in the state, only slightly higher than Grays Harbor at 11.5%.

Statewide unemployment dropped to 7.8% for November, dropping below 8% for the first time since January 2009. 23 of the 39 counties are above the state average.

Up to 60,000 people in Washington will be shut off of unemployment benefits when extended benefits end on Saturday. Unemployed workers could qualify for up to 99 weeks of benefits for much of the recession. Due to the state’s improved unemployment, extended benefits shut off last April.

An estimated 270,000 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work last month.


Categories: Harbor News

Pontoons Pass Safety Analysis Despite Missing Pieces

December 26, 2012 Comments off

The Department of Transportation has said that after a thorough analysis of the first round of pontoons built for the SR 520 Bridge, despite a design flaw, these pontoons should last 75 years or more.

In November, WSDOT reported that rebar with hooked ends was omitted during the first cycle of construction of three longitudinal pontoons. The end walls were designed to have rebar bent as a design measure to minimize potential cracking.

Program director Julie Meredith said. “…we have been very thorough in our investigation and study of this question about the omitted hook bars in three of the first six pontoons built in the Aberdeen casting basin. We now have confirmation that the structural integrity of the pontoons is sound. ”

The top slab of pontoon V still meets structural requirements because of the extensive rebar and added strength from the bolt beam in this location and because the rebar is sufficiently embedded in the concrete. Both of these factors are included in the analysis verified by WSDOT.

Based on this analysis, WSDOT Bridge and Structures Engineer Jugesh Kapur said “there is no reduction in structural capacity”.


Categories: Harbor News

Crews Reach Dock on Penninsula

December 26, 2012 Comments off

After being turned back, a team safely reached and inspected a dock suspected to be tsunami debris.

The team was able to inspect the dock and took live samples of potentially invasive species.

They noted extensive damage to the dock, likely due in part to the rough weather and continued battering of the dock on rocks on the beach. They also looked for, but did not find, an identifying plaque like the one found on the dock that washed ashore in Oregon. However, the team located Japanese writing in one of the holds, and photos sent to the Japanese consulate confirm this dock as tsunami debris.

A tracking beacon is now attached to the dock to track its position. No timeframe has been set for removal.

The expedition is the only time this month crews will be physically able to inspect the dock until early January due to tides and daylight access. Crews will resume operations when tides allow safe access.


Categories: Harbor News

Level 2 Sex Offender Moving in Aberdeen

December 26, 2012 Comments off

The Aberdeen Police Department says that a Level 2 Registered Sex Offender is moving to Aberdeen.

61 year old Terry R. Standstipher is a Level 2 Sex Offender, convicted in 1976 for Rape Third Degree in Polk County Oregon, in 1985 for Rape 1st Degree in Polk County, and for 3 counts of Sex Abuse 3rd Degree in Deschutes County Oregon in 2005.

Standstipher has been classified as a Level 2 Sex Offender with a Moderate Risk to re-offend.

He has moved into the 1900 Block of Harding Rd.

Standstipher is not wanted by the police at this time. The state is authorized to inform the public of an offender’s move when that information will enhance public safety and protection.

There are over 19,000 sex or kidnapping offenders who have registered since 1990 and are currently living in Washington. Approximately 400 of these are registered to Grays Harbor County, and approximately 100 are registered within Aberdeen.


Categories: Harbor News

Winter Storm Warning in effect until 3pm

December 25, 2012 Comments off

The National Weather Service has issued a ‘Winter Storm Warning’ until 3pm Christmas Day in the eastern part of Grays Harbor County. Snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are possible. On the coast, as well as the Aberdeen/Hoquiam area, there’s a ‘Winter Weather Advisory’ until 1pm. Travelers are advised to use caution as roads may be hazardous during this event. The Grays Harbor PUD has reported power outages in the northern part of the county affecting about 700 customers from Neilton to Quinault.

Categories: Harbor News
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