New signs on local highways may have a new look, but not one that you may notice.
In a recent request by Grays Harbor County, the Federal Highway Administration said that they will no longer be using Clearview as the font for new highway signs. The font style, used by cities across the country as well as the Department of Transportation, will no longer be allowed on any signs.
It is not the official font recommended for use by the FHWA, and states were required to request interim approval from the Federal Highway Administration to use it in their signage.
Neil Gaffney, Public Affairs Specialist for the Federal Highway Administration tells KXRO, “We plan on rescinding the interim approval altogether and are not approving further use of the font anywhere going forward.”
The font was the only federally approved alternative to the existing FHWA Standard Alphabets, intended to provide a more visible look for signs. In use since 2004, Testing found that Clearview was 2 to 8% more legible in daytime and nighttime viewing than the Highway Gothic font style that was the standard on overhead signs, particularly benefiting older drivers, with a 6% increase in legibility distance.
Gaffney said that the FHWA has provided interim approvals for Clearview, thinking that it would be an improvement over the standard fonts, but that the narrower alphabet did not provide enough benefits, and that the critical factor nighttime visibility and legibility was mostly based on retroreflective sheeting, not the font.
“We’re working with Grays Harbor County to help them provide appropriate signs based on the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which sets minimum standards and provides guidance on road signs to reduce accidents and improve mobility on roads.”
According to Aberdeen Public Works Director Malcolm Bowie, the city only uses the FHWA Standard Alphabet and not Clearview.
The font is still used elsewhere, and was adopted as the standard typeface for signs in the province of British Columbia in 2006. Numerous other fonts are approved for use throughout the state for signage, such as Parks.
The Quinault Indian Nation is looking to expand their business in Aberdeen to include a full gas station and market, and construction could begin as soon as next week.
The Nation purchased 5 pieces of land between their current Trust Land holding Q Mart and Harbor Tool Rentals for $117,500 in August of last year. The Assessed value of the property was $94,500.
Employees of Q-Mart II told KXRO that the new facility could begin construction as soon as next week to build a larger tobacco and alcohol store, as well as add gas pumps to the land currently housing the store in East Aberdeen. The building housing their business currently will then move to Oyehut to replace the smaller Q-Mart store already in operation.
The land sale featured the empty lots directly to the east and south of Harbor Tools, as well as a sliver of land on the corner of Wishkah and Fuller streets, historically used for political and garage sale sign postings.
Harbor Tool owner John Vanairsdale told KXRO in September that the Nation approached him to purchase the land and he decided that it was an opportunity he could not pass up. At this time, the Harbor Tool land and building are not being sold.
Currently, the new building would be on recognized US Trust Land, and the new property purchased by the QIN would be used for storage and parking.
Land not held in trust may only be acquired for a tribe in trust status when officials determine that it is necessary to facilitate tribal self-determination, economic development, or Indian housing.
In order to convert the lots over to US Trust Land, the tribe would need to file a letter of intent with the City of Aberdeen. After a public comment and environmental testing period is complete, the decision to transfer the land into non-taxable would be made by the Regional Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
If the property becomes Trust Land, the Nation would not have to pay any taxes to the city on the property and would only be responsible for utilities.
As the former Harbor Paper cleanup continues, over the next three weeks, the Grays Harbor PUD will pump over 28-million gallons of treated water from holding basins at the site into the City of Hoquiam’s sewage treatment system.
Working with the city, 775 feet of pipe is connecting the facility with the city’s sanitary sewer system and water will be pumped into the city’s treatment system for disposal.
“We are grateful to the City of Hoquiam for their assistance in helping the PUD move forward with its responsibilities at the Harbor Paper site,” said PUD General Manager Dave Ward. “We have a responsibility to clean our share of the site, but our first responsibility is to our ratepayers, to ensure that the project is completed at the lowest possible cost. With the help of the city, we are meeting both obligations.”
The 28.25 million gallons represent the last water to be treated at the Harbor Paper facility. Before power was cut to the site in September, the system was flushed to remove any organic materials. The water is held in a basin and test by the city show that it is essentially free of contaminants.
The water removal is the first significant step in the PUD’s clean-up of products accumulated over the past 20 years of paper production. Under its agreement with Rayonier, who own the land, the PUD is obligated to clean and remove the water treatment system and remove solid bi-products including piles of bark/rock mixture, sand ash and other materials.
The PUD tells KXRO that they are working to fulfill those responsibilities while having the least possible impact on the PUD’s customers.
Cleanup work continued last night on 2 grain cars that tipped over near State Street Tuesday morning. Puget Sound & Pacific crews told KXRO that they were using cranes to get the rail cars upright.
The Port of Grays Harbor says that the incident could have been worse if safety procedures weren’t followed.
Kayla Dunlap, Public Affairs for the Port said, “It is unfortunate when these events occur but the relatively low train speeds on the PSAP helped to minimize the impacted railcars to one or two. The G&W commitment to safety pays off in these situations as they demonstrate firsthand their ability to respond quickly and efficiently to minimize damage and delays to the community.”
Dunlap added, “the derailment has become the primary focus of the PSAP and Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) Western Region leadership as they begin repairing and investigating the incident. The Port is confident that the railroad will be proactive in their approach to investigating the incident to fully understand how and why the derailment occurred. From that point they will review and change operating procedures to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
Joel Haka, Western Region Vice President of Genesee & Wyoming Inc tells KXRO that this incident should not be directly related to the crude by rail reviews currently underway. “Crude transport will induce major upgrades to the PSAP and the use of high railing (trucks used for inspecting the track) will preclude all oil train movements over the PSAP.”
Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad is investigating the cause of the derailment.
A recently released prison inmate was arrested for plotting to blow up a large store and gas station as part of a bank robbery scheme.
The 53 year old from Shelton is charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The man allegedly began plotting the bombings and bank robberies while still serving his prison sentence for identity theft. After being released from prison on April 14, he described his plot in detail to someone he thought would assist him with his crimes. The person he met with was an undercover officer working for the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force.
U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan tells KXRO that law enforcement learned that the suspect told others in prison of his plan to rob banks in Shelton using bombs at various businesses as a diversion during which he would commit violent takeover style robberies. Following his release from prison, an undercover officer posed as someone who could assist him in getting weapons and explosives.
Twice this month, he was recorded on audio and video describing his plot involving powerful bombs at Walmart, Arco, and Chevron to the undercover officer as they drove around Shelton. The plot allegedly anticipated that while first responders were busy with the bombings, he would rob three banks, looking for the maximum loss of life in the bombings and the bank robberies. The officer was able to get the suspect four firearms, modified so they would not fire.
The 53 year old was arrested when he met again with the undercover officer, and attempted to ignite a car bomb. The “bomb” was inoperable.
Solicitation to commit a crime of violence is punishable by up to twenty years of imprisonment. Being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment.
Another boat has washed onto Ocean Shores, and authorities are investigating if it is from the 2011 tsunami.
Ocean Shores Police originally called the Coast Guard when the boat was found, according to Deputy Director of Emergency Management Chuck Wallace, before the Department of Ecology took control of the case.
Some of the officials working with the boat say that writing is visible, but at this time it is not known if it is in fact Japanese.
Department of Ecology is currently running tests to discover where the boat has been.
Ecology Department spokeswoman Linda Kent says it was covered with barnacles and seaweed. It was taken to a state Parks maintenance facility where the marine life is being removed and tested for invasive species.
Kent says it’s obvious the boat was floating a long time, but there’s no indication yet where it came from.
Wallace said that it may be up to a week before any determination can be made.
Another boat was found last Wednesday near Long Beach, also covered with marine life. It also was taken to a state Parks facility and no sign of its origin was found.
Kent says there has been no confirmed tsunami debris since last year.
Photo: Karen Rasmussen/Ocean Shores Police Dept.
Drivers may encounter lane closures and short-term rolling slowdowns on State Route 8 near McCleary through Thursday.
Washington State Department of Transportation maintenance crews will be removing hazard trees next to the highway.
From 8 a.m. to 4 pm through Thursday, crews will work near eastbound SR 8 between milepost 5 and 5.5.
Traffic will be cleared from the area using rolling slowdowns and lane closures during tree falling.
Drivers are advised to plan for delays and add travel time to reach their destinations.