Wed, Sep 23, 2020
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Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
Traveler's Companion
(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577
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Low humidity and fierce winds spark wildfire danger in state

On Labor Day evening, the sun set with a brilliant flash of red across the horizon, then the smell of smoke drifted down on the breeze. The smoke increased overnight so that the Willapa hills looked as if they were covered with blue fog. Turns out that the blue cast is a covering of smoke from out-of-the-area wildfires.
Smoke from fires as far away as northern California are being blown in on a strong wind travelling from an easterly direction. Washington state is in a dangerous historical weather event with high temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds.

"With the red flag [weather] warning in place with the high temperatures that we have had and the east winds, wildfires have become a significant concern," said Pacific County Emergency Management Agency Director Scott McDougall.

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Fires, COVID-19 continue to devastate Washington

All but five counties in Washington state have reached Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee's reopening plan, allowing some businesses and everyday amenities to open with COVID-19 restrictions in place as of last Friday. Through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, there were a total of 79,826 COVID-19 cases after an increase of 350. The Washington State Department of Health counted 7,081 hospitalizations from COVID-19, up 33. Statewide, more than 1,644,585 COVID-19 tests have been administered, up 13,423 from Saturday's count. State health officials reported 544 new COVID-19 cases and six additional deaths in Washington on Friday.

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Classifieds 9.16.20
Classifieds 9.16.20
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COVID death rate confusion

Last week the CDC released a data report that was misconstrued because a part of the data was taken out of context and made it seem that only 6% of the deaths were the only deaths from COVID-19. After going back to the original report, that impression of the data has been determined as being false.

"They [the CDC] put out a release and a certain part of that release was taken up on Twitter and not really understood," said Pacific County Health Department COVID Response Program Manager Stephanie Michael. "That created a lot of issues."

In the data 6% of the deaths were listed as COVID-19 being the single cause of death. The other 94% of the deaths had COVID-19 and an underlying factor listed on the death certificate.

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Inslee wants new wolf management rulemaking By the HERALD and Staff Reports Gov. Jay Inslee Friday sent a letter directing the state Department o

Gov. Jay Inslee Friday sent a letter directing the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to initiate a new rulemaking relating to wolf management. The directive comes after Inslee accepted the appeal from the Center for Biological Diversity that challenged the Department's decision to deny the Center's petition to amend current wolf management rules. The petition argued that current rules fail to prioritize non-lethal management of endangered wolves.

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Classifieds 9.9.20
Classifieds 9.9.20
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Agritourism, agricultural industry guidance update

Gov. Jay Inslee Friday announced updated guidance for agritourism and the agricultural industry as part of Washington's Safe Start reopening plan. The guidance for Agritourism has been updated to allow for additional activities, including animal viewing, hay/wagon/train rides, children's play equipment/games, and private firepit/bonfires.


COVID-19 Moderately Steady

As of Sunday, mid-afternoon, there were another 441 coronavirus cases confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 74,320, including 1,905 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.

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Pandemic Unemployment requires extra step each week

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants have to answer more questions each week in a procedural change.

During the weekly claim procedure, the Employment Security Department (ESD) asks each claimant a series of questions designed to determine the claimant's qualifications for benefits. People qualifying for PUA will see new questions each week.

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Classifieds 9.2.20
Classifieds 9.2.20
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Inslee issues guidelines for museums, bowling, agritourism

Through Sunday late afternoon, there were another 417 coronavirus cases and six deaths confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 71,012, including 1,863 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. At least 6,530 people have been hospitalized in the state due to the virus. The DOH is in the process of changing its methodology for reporting testing numbers and isn't currently reporting the percent of tests in the state that have been positive.

State Icon, Gorton, Passes

Slade Gorton, who rose from the Washington Legislature to state attorney general to U.S. senator, inspired both loyalty and fury with his positions on some environmental issues and tribal fishing rights. Known as an independent thinker, he broke with the GOP in calling for President Nixon to resign and backing impeachment of President Trump. Gorton was 92.

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Classifieds August 26, 2020
Classifieds August 26, 2020
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PUBLIC SERVICE-COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

PUBLIC SERVICE-COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Board of Mason County Commissioners will hold a public hearing via call in conference phone by dialing 253-215-8782 entering Meeting ID 872-2319-8850 and Passcode 537464 on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 9:15 AM.

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Classifieds 8.19.20
Classifieds 8.19.20
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Inslee: State facing urgent crises

Through Sunday, another 549 coronavirus cases and no new deaths were confirmed in Washington, bringing the total number of diagnoses to 63,072, including 1,688 deaths, according to the state DOH. Data reporting issues have prevented the state from recording new negative tests results for more than a week now. The U.S. has officially recorded more than 162,000 deaths and 5 million cases of COVID-19, just 17 days after reaching 4 million cases, but experts agree the number of cases is actually much greater - potentially 10 times higher than what's been reported, according to federal data.

Trump Fails on Stimulus

Last Friday, Gov. Inslee said, "We are facing an urgent economic and public health crisis that demands immediate congressional action and leadership from the Trump administration. Millions of Americans are unable to work, put food on the table and pay their bills.

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Protect Honey Bees:  Report sightings of the invasive Asian giant hornet
The Asian giant hornets have been trapped near the Canadian border.
Protect Honey Bees: Report sightings of the invasive Asian giant hornet

OLYMPIA - As summer gets into full swing and people spend more time outside, state and federal officials and local beekeepers hope the public will keep their eyes open and report any sightings of the Asian giant hornet.

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Classifieds 8.12.20
Classifieds 8.12.20
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Man talked down from suicide atop Megler Bridge
Photo Courtesy Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones - A 28-year-old man was talked down from committing suicide off the top of the Astoria Megler Bridge recently.
Man talked down from suicide atop Megler Bridge

ASTORIA, OREGON - Hundreds of travelers were impacted by a standstill after a 28-year-old Hispanic man climbed atop the girders of the Astoria Megler Bridge and stopped southbound and northbound traffic for five hours last Saturday (July 25) afternoon and evening before being persuaded to come down by his father.

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Protect Honey Bees:  Report sightings of the invasive Asian giant hornet
The Asian giant hornets have been trapped near the Canadian border.
Protect Honey Bees: Report sightings of the invasive Asian giant hornet

OLYMPIA - As summer gets into full swing and people spend more time outside, state and federal officials and local beekeepers hope the public will keep their eyes open and report any sightings of the Asian giant hornet.

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Classifieds 8.5.20
Classifieds 8.5.20
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Inslee begins rollbacks as COVID ravages Washington

During a press conference on Thursday, July 23, Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of Health John Wiesman announced changes to the Safe Start Plan that has been guiding Washingtonians for the last four months. The reason is the increase in coronavirus cases, which is over 50,000 and the death count, which is over 1,500.

The changes are in addition to the statewide mask mandate, which Inslee acknowledges that residents are doing a good job masking and that in Yakima County it has slowed the infection rate. The problem right now is that Washington is near the edge of a cliff and if it tips over, the pandemic will begin to look like Florida.

"These actions we're taking today are certainly not an attempt to punish businesses," Inslee said. "In fact we've had enormous responsible actions taken by our business leadership. We do know this, at the moment the only effective tool against this pandemic is to change some of our practices and we need to do that. Unfortunately we know this, the rate of transmission has been increasing around the state. ...

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State COVID-19 Updates

It's been four months since Gov. Inslee announced his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Cases in Washington have risen from 2,000 to almost 50,000, and deaths have increased from 110 to nearly 1,500.

Thursday, Inslee and Secretary of State John Wiesman are changing guidance and regulations around restaurants, bars, and fitness centers, as well as weddings and funerals. The changes will also affect family entertainment centers, movie theaters and card rooms.

"We do not take these steps lightly," Inslee said. "We know every prohibition is a challenge for individuals and business owners. But we know that if we fail to act, we expose people and businesses to even greater risk down the line."

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Classifieds 7.29.20
Classifieds 7.29.20
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Inslee extends pause for reopening, No social gatherings over 10 people

With the gradual increase in COVID-19 cases in Washington, Governor Jay Inslee has extended the pause for reopening the state. This pause is now in effect until July 28, but may change depending on the trajectory of the virus. For counties in Phase 3 one of the biggest changes is the limit on the number of people at social gatherings fell from 50 back to 10.

"We know that public health matters to everyone and we know that what happens in the next few weeks will determine what happens this fall," said Inslee during a press conference on July 14. During the first pause, live entertainment and bar top service was removed from the current phase of reopening.

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Additional $600 in federal benefit for unemployed workers set to end this week

OLYMPIA - Unless Congress acts to extend or adjust it, the additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Program (FPUC) benefits, available under the federal CARES Act, will stop after the week ending Sat., July 25, 2020. FPUC is entirely federally funded and available only at federal discretion. State employment agencies administer the benefits but do not have a say in whether these benefits are extended.

"We are committed to supporting both workers and employers as they navigate the changing workforce landscape," said Employment Security Department Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. "ESD and our partners in the WorkSource system are here to help in the search for a new job or a new career, or maintain benefits if you cannot yet go back to work. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, many employers are still hiring across the state, and with the expiration of the additional $600 in benefits on the horizon it is a good time to look for your next opportunity. WorkSource offices around Washington offer online workshops, training opportunities and virtual one-on-one help with everything from writing resumes and cover letters, to job application assistance and interview preparation. Go to WorkSourceWA.com for information about your local WorkSource office as well as job listings and resources for job seekers and employers."

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Classifieds 7.22.20
Classifieds 7.22.20
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