Raymond Fire Chief Todd Strozyk announced his official retirement at the January 4 Raymond City Council meeting effective at the end of the month.
"At the end of this month, I am retiring from the city of Raymond, and I have accepted a job with Pacific County Health and Human Services as one of the program managers," Strozyk said at the council meeting. "I'll be helping them lead the COVID response for our county.
"It's a pretty bittersweet moment for me, I've been with the city for 31 years," said Strozyk, who is also a South Bend School District Board Member. "While I'm excited for change, I'll be honest with you guys, I'm scared to death 'cause I've never done anything else in my life."
Chief Strozyk thanked the city of Raymond and the citizens of Raymond.
Last week, Pacific County recorded 24 more cases of COVID-19. This brings the total of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 673. The Pacific County Health Department is monitoring 39 active cases.
Overall, Pacific County has had 21 hospitalizations and 8 deaths due to COVID since the start of the pandemic. Pacific County cases per 100k per 14 days is 184.8 and the test positivity rate is 17.1%, which has come down a little from the previous week.
Even though Pacific County cases dropped a bit, as a region in the Roadmap to Recovery plan, the county is still in Phase 1.
In accordance with Gov. Jay Inslee's Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery, the WIAA revamped Season 1 while moving traditional fall sports to Season 1 and will review Seasons 2 and 3. Willapa Harbor high schools hope to participate in the sports of football, volleyball, cross country, girls soccer and boys soccer.
The first day of practice is scheduled for Feb. 1, but first the governor's new guidelines and metrics must be met. However, it may be difficult to get sports started in the next phase since Inslee has Pacific County lumped in the West Region along with Grays Harbor, Lewis and Thurston counties, which have many more COVID-19 confirmed cases than Pacific County. At press time, the WIAA was scheduled to review Seasons 2 and 3 at yesterday's board meeting.
The governor's Regional Approach plan went into effect last Monday (Jan. 11) and it has eight regions, including West, Southwest (Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania, Wahkiakum), Northwest (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason), North (Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom), Puget Sound (King, Pierce, Snohomish), South Central (Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Kittitas, Walla Walla, Yakima), North Central (Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan), and East (Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman). These regions are largely based on the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regions used for evaluating healthcare services and the impact COVID-19 has on the healthcare system.
Raymond citizens will get a chance to replace Raymond's oldest fire engine with an upcoming $525,000 bond measure vote on the February 9 special election ballot. The funding would be used for the new fire engine, its required equipment and training to use it.
According to Raymond Fire Chief Todd Strozyk, the department's oldest fire engine, a 1992 Seagraves, "is now at the end of its service life...has failed portions of its annual pump tests, and the cost of repairs nearly exceed the value of the vehicle." Also, other safety points are not being met causing the city of Raymond to not receive full credit for its ISO (Fire Insurance) Rating.
Raymond had a Fire Engine Bond in 2003 to purchase a new fire engine, and the bond passed and was paid off in 2019. "That fire engine is a 2004 Pierce and is still in service," Strozyk said, adding, "This fire engine is still in excellent shape and should be able to continue to serve our city for the next 10 to 15 years."
Chief Strozyk said the RFD needs to keep two fire engines.
"In order to maintain our ISO rating, we are required to have at least two fire engines," he said. "Both engines must meet minimum safety and testing standards to get full ISO Credit for Fire Apparatus."
Fire engines are indeed expensive.
Flowers by Lynne, an established business in Raymond for nearly four decades, closed its doors on New Year's Eve 2020. Owners Lynne and Les Goodwin put Flowers by Lynne on the market a couple of years ago and now want to enjoy their retirement.
Lynne said that it was not a very difficult decision for them to sell the building and retire.
"We had thought about it for a while as Les and I are both at the age of retirement," she told the Herald.
Lynne talked about what originally inspired her to go into business in the first place. In December of 1981, when the country was suffering from high-interest rates and a poor business market, Lynne and her husband, Les, rolled the dice, and the gamble paid off.
SOUTH BEND - As long as Washington is safe enough from COVID-19 to compete in sports, the tentative date to start practices for the local sports of football, volleyball, girls and boys soccer and Willapa Harbor Tri-District Cross Country is February 1. In all, it will include a total of eight local sports. Last Wednesday, Evergreen state schools were given the go ahead by the the WIAA Executive Board, which voted to amend its season schedule, while moving traditional fall sports to WIAA Season 1. The WIAA will review Seasons 2 and 3 at its January 19 meeting.
"I think the WIAA's decision to move fall sports to Season 1 is the right move," Raymond HS Athletic Director Mike Tully told the Herald Friday afternoon. "It makes sense when you look at what is allowed in the governor's new reopening plan.
The first COVID-19 vaccines went out and into arms last week. The Pacific County Health and Human Services partnered with Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco and Willapa Harbor Hospital in South Bend to administer the vaccine.
Priority group 1a was the first to receive the vaccine during a drive-through event on Wednesday, December 30, 2020. This group consisted of local high-risk health care workers, and staff and residents of long-term care facilities, which followed along with the Washington State Department of Health guidelines.
Basically, anyone who has direct patient contact and is unable to telework. It is estimated that there are about 500 individuals in Pacific County that fall in the 1a group.
Pacific County received 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Last week, there was another death in Pacific County attributed to the coronavirus.
As of Wednesday, December 30, 2020, Pacific County Health Department reported an additional 16 positive COVID-19 cases. This brings the total cases up to 576 since the start of the pandemic.
There are 29 active cases being monitored by public nurses. The current case rate per 100k over 14 days is 157.1.
On December 21, members of the Pacific County Sheriff's Office had the privilege and honor to help spread the joy of Christmas cheer to a local family. Each year the Sheriff's Office participates traditionally in the local Shop With A Cop Event. If you haven't experienced that event, you are really missing out! They usually have a big breakfast, shopping, police vehicle lights and sirens parade and so much more. Many giving and generous people and businesses donate money and time to the event. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing that type of event was put on hold.
However, that didn't stop our office or several other people to help and donate to try and make sure one family received some holiday cheer. Thanks to the Pacific County Guns and Hoses group for their more than generous donation as well as Michelle Layman for assisting with behind-the-scenes logistics.
This fall South Bend High School's Family Resource Navigator Kathryn Staats noticed that she was running low on supplies to give to South Bend students in need.
Together with the South Bend High School Key Club, and the South Bend Kiwanis Club, they stepped up to support their community by collecting donations to purchase and deliver the necessary supplies.
The supply drive started on October 26, 2020, and continued for two weeks. They collected donations of money and supplies from the community. Pioneer Grocery donated a $75 gift card along with $117.02 from the community. The Kiwanis Club generously donated $300.
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