Pages of the Past, Oct. 6

A weekly collection of stories from The Vidette archives.

125 years ago

Oct. 9, 1891

Auditor Boyington is busy indexing and arranging all papers on file in his office and putting them in such order that should anyone wish to see any one of them and know just what he wants, it can be found without trouble. This is an action which will be appreciated by any of those having occasion to call for any of the papers, as it will save much time.

100 years ago

Oct. 6, 1911

E.W. Hammill and Fred Paulsfoot were seriously injured at Lester’s camp Monday, when they were caught under a rolling log and their legs and ankles badly bruised. Fortunately, no bones were broken. Dr. Fitz gave surgical attention to the injuries.

75 years ago

Oct. 9, 1941

6,000 must pay — old personal property delinquencies to be collected

Within the next few days, nearly 6,000 Grays Harbor property owners will learn the truth of the old saying that nothing’s so sure as death and taxes.

For between 5,000 and 6,000 “notices before distraint” will be mailed by County Treasurer Minnie Swisher to delinquent personal property taxpayers, largely for taxes unpaid since 1931, 1932 and 1933.

It is estimated that approximately $160,000 of unpaid taxes is involved, plus interest at the rate of 10 percent per year since the date of delinquency.

This action is being taken on the order of the state examiner, advising these taxpayers that legal action will soon be taken to collect these past due accounts, with interest. If the taxpayer fails to pay, the treasurer is required by law to levy upon and sell enough of his personal property to assure collection.

This constitutes probably the heaviest mailing of delinquent personal property tax notices in the county’s history. A large number of the delinquencies involves personal property taxes on automobiles.

50 years ago

Oct. 6, 1966

Six Monte teenagers in close auto call

Six teenage Montesano boys luckily escaped crucial injuries this past week when the auto in which they were riding was completely demolished as it struck a utility pole one mile west of Monte on old Highway 9.

Four of the car’s occupants — James M. Felton, 18, the driver, and three 15-year-olds, Mike Warren, Bruce Rambo, and Peter Durham — were hospitalized at St. Joseph’s in Aberdeen. Robert Randall, 18, and Charles Nichols, 17, were treated and released.

State Trooper Robert Larsen reported that Felton apparently lost control of the 1955 vehicle as he was rounding a curve early Saturday morning. The youth said he did not see the pole through the fog until it was too late to miss hitting it.

Felton, the most seriously injured with head and facial lacerations, was rushed to the hospital by the Grays Harbor County sheriff’s rescue truck. The other three, also cut about the head and face were taken there by the New Aberdeen Garage ambulance.

Warren and Durham were released from the hospital over the weekend and Rambo was discharged Monday. As The Vidette went to press on Wednesday, Felton was scheduled for discharge.

The State Patrol has yet to announce whether or not it will file a traffic charge against the driver. As a result of an infraction September 23 within the city limits of Monte, Felton was cited by Patrolman Charles Mero with negligent driving.

25 years ago

Oct. 3, 1991

Spill response vessel here

Oil spill preparedness in Grays Harbor took a step forward this month with the arrival of a 32-foot Fast Response Vehicle (FRV).

Owned and operated by Foss Maritime of Seattle, the FRV is one of nine vessels being stationed around the state’s coastal waters as the “first line of defense against the spread of oil spills,” according to the Port of Grays Harbor.

The FRV will be permanently stationed at the Port’s Terminal 1. In the next few weeks, a second FRV will be brought in and stationed at the Westport Marina.

Although the risk for oil spills in the Harbor is low, according to officials, the system was introduced here because the area is environmentally sensitive.

“No other state in the union has the early response we’ll have now,” said Hal Sehuyler, chairman of the Washington State Maritime Commission. The recently created commission was charged by the 1990 legislature to develop an oil spill response system. They have contracted with Foss Environmental, a division of Foss Maritime of Seattle to run the operation.

Foss Environmental manager John Felton said the company has invested nearly $3 million in the nine FRVs, which are all brand new. The vessels are capable of speeds up to 30 knots.

Up to now, the Coast Guard Station at Westport has had responsibility for initial response to oil spills in the Harbor, but “we’re not equipped to do clean up,” said Westport Coast Guard petty officer Rod Storle. He said state law requires that whoever causes a spill is responsible for the cleanup. The Coast Guard investigates and monitors, and may make arrangements to bring in professional cleanup crews through its Portland marine safety office, but the offending ship gets the bill.

Storle said that in the past two years, there have been about 20 oil spills inside the Harbor, most of them less than 10 gallons. A Coast Guard helicopter patrols the Chehalis River on a daily basis looking for pollution.

In most cases, the spills are so small and so diffused by the time the Coast Guard arrives, the oil is allowed to dissipate in the water.

10 years ago

Oct. 5, 2006

County eyes 2007 requests

Between a bump in revenue and a settlement over the courthouse lawsuit, Grays Harbor County is enjoying fiscal health not seen in more than a decade.

A draft $24.8 million general fund budget for 2007 released this week estimates the county will end the year with cash reserves nearing $3.6 million.

Commissioner Bob Beerbower of Elma said the county’s financial position is the best he’s seen since taking office nearly 11 years ago.

But budget projections also show that if commissioners do nothing, they’ll spend $887,130 more across the board next year thanks to rising costs alone.

The reserves quickly dwindle to $1.26 million if they grant all of the 12.3 positions sought by the various county departments seeking partial relief from a decade of cutbacks.

Six of the new positions are being sought by Sheriff Mike Whelan. He’s asking for two more deputies, two jailers, an animal control officer and a support specialist.

Whelan’s annual request for more help is an annual irritation to Beerbower, who says the sheriff should know that the county cannot afford to replace six positions all in one year.

Moreover, one year of financial health is not necessarily the start of a trend, he said.