Wed, Jun 20, 2018
Home Town Debate
Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
Traveler's Companion
(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577
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South Bend Utility Excise Tax forthcoming

During the May 30, 2018 South Bend City Council Meeting the council and those in attendance learned the city's budget is in the negative. The City of South Bend is now reportedly looking to raise the Utility Rate Excise Tax by 5% because the city is currently operating in the red and it's against the law to do so.

South Bend City Treasurer Dee Roberts informed the council and members of the audience that the best and only solution at the moment is to impose a Utility Rate Excise Tax to get the city out of the red. "What can I really say about it," Roberts told the Herald. "We have taken and taken from our reserves and nothing has been put back. At this moment this is the best option and quite honestly only option."

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June 5 PUD Commissioners Meeting: System discrepancies and more

The first of two June PUD Commissioners meetings kicked off without a hitch on June 5. PUD Manager Jason Dunsmoor addressed the commissioners with his monthly report. In attendance were Commissioners Dianna Thompson, Mike Swanson and Dick Anderson along with several PUD employees who regularly attended the meetings.

Discrepancies
Dunsmoor informed the commissioners that PUD had completed its audit of the Bay Center Water System and found several discrepancies in the billing system. Several accounts were learned to have been being billed for the wrong hook up size for years.

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Burglary suspects caught, one escapes

Raymond Police received an anonymous tip on Tuesday, June 5 that led to the arrest of two juveniles in connection with the burglary at the Menlo store and attempted burglary at Riverdale Grocery.

According to Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor the department received an anonymous tip that led them to a residence where the two were staying. A joint-operation between Raymond PD and the Pacific County Sheriff's Office landed both suspects in custody. "Deputy Jesse Eastham set up surveillance of the home," Chief Spoor stated. "He was able to notice the stolen items through a window and immediately called for backup. While waiting for me to arrive one of the suspects came outside and he was able to arrest him."

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Pacific County Fair awarded much needed grants

The Pacific County Fair has been awarded two separate grants that will enable some much need upgrades and repairs to the grounds.

Bill Monohon took over as the manager of the Pacific County Fair in April and quickly learned that grants were open with only a short time to apply. "When I first started in April after Dosti, I started going through our mail here," he said. "I stumbled upon a piece of mail that had information for some grant money. So I fired off an email to see if there was still grants and learned there was and I barely had a few weeks to apply."

Monohon openly admitted he had no experience writing grants, but figured it couldn't hurt to try. Mentioning though, that he had previous management experience in a large gas company and drew upon that experience to get things moving on the grants.

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Community Center: MOU? Or Not?

Alliance for Better Community has been eager to get going with plans at the Raymond Theatre Community Center, but things didn't go as planned when sparks flew at the Raymond City Council Meeting on May 21.

At the prior City Council Meeting it was agreed upon that the city would allow ABC a trial run at the Community Center free of charge to see what they could do. However, a MOU [Moratorium of Understanding] needed to be drafted and approved by the City Council before any action could take place. A drafted MOU missed a few steps along the way when City Attorney Will Penoyar nor the council were able to look it over before Mayor Nordin signed it.

After public comment was allowed and Kyle Hubly, who is associated with ABC, expressed his irritation with the ongoing process. Councilor Pam Nogueira-Maneman chimed into the debate when she asked Mayor Nordin what exactly happened.

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Logger seriously injured

Wednesday, June 6 at approximately 8:25 a.m. the Raymond Fire Department and Pacific County Fire District 3 were dispatched to a report of an injured logger.

The accident happened 8.5 miles up Wilson Creek north of Old Willapa when a tree hit a timber cutter roughly 500ft down a canyon. Once on scene Raymond Fire and PCFD 3 learned the victim had serious injuries to his head, chest, and spine.

Airlift Northwest was called to the scene to transport the patient to Harborview due to the severity of his injuries and the distance and time to the nearest hospital.

The logger has been identified as 45-year-old Seqouyah Lorton. He has family in both Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. His sister Kelly Lorton has informed the Herald that he is still at Harborview and they're holding hope he will progressively improve with time. At the the time of the incident Lorton was paralyzed from the neck down.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Lorton's fiance and children at this difficult time at https://www.gofundme.com/help-sequoyah-and-family. A separate fundraiser has been set for July 28 at Oakridge Golf Course in Elma where a tournament and silent auction will take place.

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Robberies rattle Raymond early Monday morning
Robberies rattle Raymond early Monday morning

Paul Kim, owner of Raymond Deli and Riverdale Grocery, is offering a $1000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects who attempted to break into his Riverdale store.

Monday, June 3 at approximately 1:50 a.m. two suspects armed with what is believed to be some sort of a crow bar attempted to pry open the front door at Riverdale Grocery before attempting to smash the door window in. Both attempts failed and the duo fled the scene down the alley behind the store.

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Opinion: Roundabout oh roundabout...

It's not every day that a journalist is asked to write a top-of-the-fold opinion piece regarding such a controversial local issue, but given I personally spoke with Washington State DOT on Friday, May 31 in an exclusive interview over the forthcoming roundabout, I figured why not.

Raymond residents along with the city council and mayor who attended the Raymond City Council meeting on May 22 learned the roundabout project is set to begin on July 9. After my conversation with DOT, I can backup that information even though they have yet to officially announce it.

The roundabout has been a hot topic among local communities for the last several years and why shouldn't it be, who honestly wants one? There were a small few who love to debate and vindicate the project with big words and "data", but in that regards the many outweigh the few and most don't want any roundabout at all. A poll conducted by the Herald showed approximately 78% of the 874 people who cast a vote said no to having a roundabout.

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Raymond Council chooses Option Two: Airbnb

Monday, June 4 the Raymond City Council voted unanimously for option two of the apartment option proposal Councilors Chris Halpin and Kaley Hanson provided the council on May 21.

Option two will turn the two apartment units into an Airbnb and rent them out on a nightly basis once they are refurbished and updated. The cost to refurbish/update the units is anticipated to cost between $20,400-$23,000 and could generate $13,000-$22,000 in revenue annually.

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Options on theatre apartments proposed, decision tabled

Raymond City Council members Kaley Hanson and Chris Halpin supplied Mayor Nordin and Council with proposal options of what the city could do with the theatre apartments during the May 21 Raymond City Council meeting. Outlined in the proposal were four options. Three of which could bring the city in revenue and one that would ultimately leave things as they are.

The apartments have spent the last year vacant. After a revitalization push by Mayor Nordin early on in his tenure as mayor, both Councilors Hanson and Halpin began proposing the city use the space as an Airbnb. Over the past 5 years the theatre building has cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and hasn't nearly broke even in some time. The council is now putting all options on the table to help it start getting closer to being self-sufficient.

Option one of the proposal would be to refurbish the apartments to rentable condition and then rent them out at a yearly basis. The cost to refurbish both units is anticipated to be approximately $1,400-$1,500 with anticipated revenue of $14,200-$15,600 annually.

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