Grays Harbor Community Hospital received the needed signatures to put a measure on the August ballot to possibly convert the facility into a Public Hospital District, but questions remain for residents.
The hospital has scheduled a series of public forums to address the questions regarding the possible formation of Grays Harbor Public Hospital District No. 2, and what it would mean for citizens.
The first forum is scheduled for Monday in Montesano. Representatives from the Grays Harbor Public Hospital Steering Committee will be available to take questions.
For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/GraysHarborPHD
Monday, April 21st – 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Montesano City Hall
Tuesday, April 22nd – 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Hoquiam High School Commons
Wednesday, April 23rd – 6:30 – 7:30 pm – Aberdeen High School Commons
Friday, April 25th – 12:00 – 1:00 pm – Grays Harbor Community Hospital – Conference Room C
Monday, April 28th – 6:30 – 7:30 pm – North Beach High School Commons
The Department of Health has closed part of Vaughn Bay in Pierce County for all shellfish harvesting due to high levels of fecal bacteria. Officials also identified 14 more shellfish growing areas that could be closed in the future if fecal pollution continues to get worse. This includes a portion of Grays Harbor and Pacific County.
“The good news is that the pollution problems in almost all these areas can be found and fixed,” said Bob Woolrich, Growing Area section manager. “There have been many successful pollution correction projects using partnerships with local and state agencies, Tribes, and others.”
The agency shellfish program evaluates the shellfish growing areas every year to see if water quality is approaching unsafe limits. If so, areas are listed as “threatened” with closure.
Shellfish harvesting areas threatened with closure include:
Grays Harbor County – Grays Harbor
Pacific County – Bay Center and near the mouths of the Naselle and Nemah rivers
Jefferson County – Hood Canal near Dosewallips State Park
King County – Poverty Bay; Kitsap County – Port Orchard Passage
Mason County – Hood Canal near Alderbrook and Pickering Passage (McLane Cove)
Pierce County – Penrose Point and Rocky Bay
Snohomish County – Port Susan; Thurston County – Henderson Inlet
Whatcom County – Portage Bay.
Being designated as “threatened” can serve as an early warning to help focus pollution correction work that can help avoid closures. Pollution investigation and efforts to fix the problems are underway in several threatened areas and will begin soon in others.
The agency has invested more than $6 million over the past three years in pollution reduction projects. The money comes from federal National Estuary Program funds aimed to support local governments to begin pollution identification and correction programs in shellfish harvesting areas. These programs are a proven way to open shellfish beds that have been closed. Fecal bacteria come from animal and human waste, and may contaminate shellfish and make people who eat them sick.
A map of the 2014 threatened areas is available on the Department of Health website.
413 schools across the state, including 8 in Grays Harbor, were named as Washington Achievement Award winners by State Superintendent Randy Dorn and State Board of Education Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer.
Schools are recognized using multiple categories, including: Overall Excellence, High Progress, Reading Growth, Math Growth, Extended Graduation Rate, and English Language Acquisition.
Mayer said, “These awards shine the light on what is working well in schools across Washington.”
Dorn added. “So many schools in our state are doing good work to make a difference for kids,” he said. “These awards represent some of the best. It’s an honor to recognize them and celebrate their success.”
The award-winning schools will be honored at a ceremony on April 24 at Timberline High School in Lacey.
Local award winners:
Aberdeen Stevens Elementary for High Progress
Cosmopolis Elementary for Special Recognition Math Growth
Hoquiam High School for Special Recognition Reading Growth
Montesano Beacon Avenue Elementary for High Progress
Montesano Simpson Avenue Elementary for High Progress
Pacific Beach Elementary for Special Recognition Math Growth
North River School for Special Recognition Math Growth
Ocosta Junior Senior High for High Progress
State Route 109 was blocked last night after a Hoquiam man rolled his vehicle while driving under the influence.
According to Washington State Patrol, a 59 year Hoquiam man was driving south on 109 near Burrows Rd, north of Hoquiam, in a 1995 Corvette when the accident occurred.
The driver crossed over the other lane, driving between 2 vehicles heading north. When he left the road, he struck an embankment and rolled the car before coming to rest upside down.
He was taken to Grays Harbor Community Hospital for his injuries.
Washington State Patrol reports that drugs or alcohol were involved. Charges are pending.
High surf is expected on the coast Saturday night into Sunday.
Large waves, 16 to 19 feet, are expected to reach the coast Saturday night and continue into Sunday.
This weekend is a razor clam digging weekend for Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Those planning on clam digging or any other beach activities should be alert for waves suddenly racing farther up the beach than normal.
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.