- Written by Tina Werner, WSDOT Communications
State agencies cleaned nearly 22,000 miles of Washington’s roads in 2021
OLYMPIA – Every year, more than 12 million pounds of litter ends up on Washington’s roadways and up to 40% - almost 5 million pounds - comes from unsecured cargo blowing out of trucks and cars. This debris isn’t just unsightly, it’s dangerous to motorists, people who walk, bike or roll, and roadside workers. To recognize this, Washington is marking National Secure Your Load Day on June 6, which commemorates people whose lives were impacted or taken by unsecured loads and encourages drivers to properly secure their loads every time they drive.
“Washington is the most beautiful state in the country, and to keep it that way we all have to do our part to keep litter and debris off our public spaces,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “Unsecured loads are a threat to our safety and to the health of our fellow Washingtonians. We’re reminding every driver about the importance of securing their cargo and keeping Washington litter free.”
Today marks the first anniversary of the We Keep Washington Litter Free campaign, which initially focused on alerting Washingtonians about the significant safety and environmental impacts of unsecured vehicle loads. The statewide Secure Your Load for Safer Roads program is a partnership between the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Washington State Patrol, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission aimed at increasing safety and reducing roadside litter.
“Last year, debris on highways caused about 300 traffic crashes and 30 injuries in Washington. So far this year, we’ve also seen two known fatalities related to unsecured loads. This is devastating because these crashes were all preventable,” said Sgt. Darren Wright, a public information officer with the Washington State Patrol. “It’s so important to properly secure your load before driving. Anything that flies off a moving vehicle is dangerous, and can even be deadly. In order to save lives, every driver in Washington needs to secure their vehicle load every time they drive.”
As a part of the annual campaign, state troopers are conducting emphasis patrols across the state for three consecutive weekends, starting June 10 and ending June 26. Drivers can get pulled over and ticketed if their loads are not properly secured in accordance with state law. Fines for littering and unsecured loads range from $50 to $5,000. If an item falls out and causes bodily harm or property damage, the driver could also face jail time. The largest fines are for “lit debris” — primarily cigarettes — and items that can cause vehicle crashes.
Roadside litter is an expensive and unrelenting problem in Washington. The Washington State Department of Transportation and Department of Ecology together spend $8.5 million a year on efforts to clean the state’s roads and highways. Last year, Ecology-funded pickup programs spent more than 125,000 hours collecting nearly 5.2 million pounds of litter and cleaning nearly 22,000 miles of road. In just the first four months of 2022, WSDOT’s Adopt-a-Highway volunteers and maintenance crews have already found and removed 136 tons of litter and debris from roadways and rights of way.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done with local government and state agencies to lessen the harmful environmental impacts of roadside litter, but the truth is that more litter is deposited every year than we can pick up,” said Amber Smith, statewide litter prevention coordinator at the Washington Department of Ecology. “Litter from unsecured vehicle loads affects every corner of Washington and can contain harmful chemicals or cause injuries to wildlife, as well as people. Please, help keep our roads safe, beautiful and litter free by making sure your cargo is properly secured before driving.”
Tarps, straps and cargo nets are easy and effective solutions for securing many types of vehicle loads and preventing road hazards. The Washington State Department of Ecology is piloting cargo net giveaway events in King, Thurston and Yakima counties in June. Up to 40 statewide retail hardware store partners will also share best practices and products to safely secure loads.
In addition to unsecured loads, the We Keep Washington Litter Free campaign focuses on additional littering behaviors in several sub-campaigns. Statewide advertising for the 2022 Secure Your Load for Safer Roads campaign runs through June.
The public can lend a hand cleaning up roadside litter through WSDOT’s Adopt-a-Highway volunteer program. Anyone interested in joining can learn more on the Adopt-a-Highway program webpage.
- To learn more about this campaign, please visit SecureLoadsWA.org or SujetaTuCargaWA.org.
- Call 911 if you see a dangerous unsecured load or something fall from a vehicle.
- Learn more about Ecology’s litter pick up and prevention programs.
- Written by Carol A. Kibler, Administrative Office Manager, CFR
Chelan Fire and Rescue
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 3:00 P.M.
232 East Wapato, Chelan, WA
The CFR Board of Commissioners will conduct the meeting in person at the fire station, you are welcome to join via Zoom. The public is welcome to join by following this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87284665516 Meeting ID: 872 8466 5516 or dial +1 253 215 8782
Proposed Chelan Fire and Rescue agenda pending Board approval.
Regular Meeting Call to Order:
Introduction: Captain Adam Jones and New Recruits
• Revenue and Expenditure Report: April 2022 from prior Agenda and May 2022 (County Treasurer delay)
• Payroll: April 22, 2022 to May 23, 2022 / Paid 06-03-2022 for $132,521.44
• General Account Vouchers: 05-06-2022 transactions 482 to 494 for $10,778.68; 05-13-2022 transactions 496 to 508 for $9,585.42; 05-20-2022 transactions 519 to 528 for $8,371.04;
• Capital Account Vouchers: 05-21-2022 transaction 529 for $500,000; 05-23-2022 Transaction 543 for $5,877.91
• Minutes: May 9 and 18, 2022
Fire Chief Report: (Chief Asher)
• 2022 Budget & Financial Report – May 2022 Financials (County Treasurer delay)
• May Emergency Response Report / Operations / Community Risk Reduction / Apparatus Update
Assistant Fire Chief Report (Asst. Chief Sherman)
• Volunteer Recruitment / Training
Firefighters Association Report (Ron Simmons)
Apparatus Planning Team
Entry Level Hiring
Flooring (station 71)
• KOZI – Community Connection June 16, 2022 @ 8:25 a.m. – Commissioner TBA / Chief Asher
• Monday, July 4th weekend starting Friday, July 1, 2022
Board for Volunteer Firefighters:
- Written by Paul Leonetti, CCFD5
This year, 260 Chelan County residents have signed up for the Wildfire Ready Neighbors program and we’re a little over halfway to our goal of 440 sign-ups before June.
With summer just one month away and fire season around the corner, we need more Chelan residents to take action to build community resiliency.
Sign-up is simple: to get a free plan, participants just visit WildfireReady.com and click ‘Sign Up’. You will be asked to provide some basic info about your property and then you will receive a free Wildfire Ready Plan customized to your unique needs to get you started. Steps may include:
- Clearing gutters of pine needles and leaves
- Removing flammable materials within 5 feet of their home
- Installing metal mesh panels in the openings around their home
- Pruning and thinning trees and vegetation within 5 – 200 feet of the home
- And many more…
Residents can also schedule a free consultation from a wildfire expert if they’d like an expert to come out to assess their home and property.
As you know, for several summers, Chelan County has endured bone dry and hot conditions that create tremendous wildfire risks for communities. Last summer alone, 60 fires burned more than 36,500 acres.
- Written by Chief Chris Foreman, Commander, Columbia River Drug Task Force
The Columbia River Drug Task Force is still processing items seized from the search warrant that was served in the 100 block of N. Keller on May 20th, 2022. Victims are being identified and stolen property is being returned to the rightful owners. Items we suspect are stolen that still need owners:
* Appliances-washer, dryer, stove, ovens
* Water heaters
* Electric fireplace
* Concrete finisher
* European oak flooring
* Evoke German flooring
* A lot of high-end alcohol
* Paint sprayers
* Numerous big screen TV’s
* Miter Saws
* Table Saws
* Heat pumps
* A lot of electrical wiring still in packing (receipts and/or proof of purchase needed)
* Assorted lumber/beams
Unfortunately, we have not seized small tools, small power tools (nail guns, skill saws, etc...).
The trailers located on the property have been returned to their owners.
What is needed for the CRDTF to release property:
* Case number from a law enforcement agency
* Serial number
* Description of items/s stolen to include identifying marks, photos, and/or receipts.
The public support has been outstanding. We thank you! The CRDTF has been inundated with phone calls and at this time we do not have the capacity to return every call. We hope this release will help clarify what property we do have and can possibly be released.
- Written by Chief Adam Musgrove, CCSO
Sheriff Brian Burnett reports on Sunday May 22nd at approximately 4:15 pm RiverCom dispatch advised CCSO Deputies of a water rescue at the Lake Creek campground. Lake Creek campground is approximately 28 miles up Entiat River Road. The caller reported a 14-year-old Wenatchee girl had been washed away in the river. It was also reported a 20-year-old East Wenatchee male was stranded in the middle of the river on a rock.
The call triggered a massive response of searchers and rescue swimmers from Chelan County Sheriff's Office, Chelan County Fire Districts 1, 7, and 8, Douglas County Fire District 4, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue, Chelan County Mountain Rescue, and Ballard Ambulance. Approximately 40 rescuers responded.
Chelan County Sheriff's Office Air Support Unit also responded to the area to search for the missing girl from a helicopter. The helicopter crew located the missing girl in fast moving water downstream from where the male was stranded on the rock. Water Rescue personnel and other rescuers used a rope system and ladders to access the girl. Unfortunately, she was deceased.
As the recovery of the missing girl was in progress, a hoist capable helicopter from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island responded to the scene to hoist the male to safety. He was transferred to Ballard Ambulance. The recovery of both the girl and the male were at approximately 8:00 pm.
Names of the involved people are not being released at this time to protect the privacy of the family.
- Written by Chief Chris Foreman, Commander, Columbia River Drug Task Force
The Columbia River Drug Task Force reports that a search warrant was served on May 20th, 2022 in the 100 block of North Keller in East Wenatchee resulting in the recovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen property from new construction sites in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Franklin Counties. Part of the CRDTF’s expanded mission is to combat emerging crime trends in the Wenatchee Valley. CRDTF learned of widespread theft occurring at construction sites in Chelan, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, East Wenatchee and Rock Island going back as far as January of 2022. Detectives began compiling clues from construction contractors and the deputies and officers that took the initial reports that the suspect vehicle appeared to be a dually style pickup truck.
An attentive citizen contacted a Hispanic male with a dually pickup truck on a job site in the Sunnyslope area off of Easy Street in the early morning hours. The pickup truck was stuck in a ditch and the citizen wrote down the license plate which eventually made it to law enforcement for follow up.
CRDTF began surveillance on the truck and residence on Keller Street and applied for a search warrant. On May 19th, 2022 a Douglas County Deputy on patrol, ran a license plate of a trailer being pulled by the suspect vehicle and the trailer came back stolen out of Quincy, WA. The vehicle was stopped and a suspect was arrested for possession of stolen property. A male passenger was identified and released at the scene. The dually pickup truck was impounded and will be seized since it was used in the commission of a felony.
CRDTF detectives served the search warrant at the residence in the early morning hours of May 20th, 2022 and discovered a large amount of items that had been reported stolen from Sage Homes, Real Homes, Eider Construction, Pinnacle Custom Builders, Carlisle Classic Homes, along with numerous others. At the residence location over 12 Heat Pumps were located, 7 which had been stolen from new construction sites in Rock Island and Sunnyslope in the last month. Thousands of dollars in stolen lumber was recovered as well as flooring, siding, window packages, and numerous appliances. 3 stolen trailers were recovered to include the one being towed during the traffic stop, one of which was stolen out of Franklin County, WA. The amount of property seized took over two days to process with 4-6 detectives working 10-14 hours each day. Some of the property located was processed and returned to the owners. Professional movers were brought in to load up all of the unclaimed property and transported to a temporary site for processing and hopefully will be returned to the rightful owners. At this time it is believed that over 15-20 stolen property cases were closed as a result of this operation. This is believed to be one of the biggest caches of stolen property law enforcement in our area has ever come across.
CRDTF is asking for the communities help in returning other stolen property to its rightful owners. 100’s of unopened bottles of alcohol were also recovered and believed to be stolen as well. If you had a construction site that was burglarized or you know of a large amount of alcohol that was stolen please call 509-664-2310. An appointment time and location will be set up for viewing the property.
CRDTF and its law enforcement partners would like to thank the community for assisting in this investigation. The case wouldn’t have been successful without the help of watchful eyes from the community we serve. CRDTF is grateful and appreciative of the teamwork and support exhibited by Wenatchee Police, East Wenatchee Police, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Prosecutor’s Office, the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office and the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.
- Written by Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT communications
Use WSDOT tools, allow extra travel time during popular travel weekend
OLYMPIA – With Memorial Day just around the corner, now’s the time to make a travel plan for this traditionally busy travel weekend.
For those who are traveling, consulting the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Memorial Day weekend traffic volume charts can help determine best times to travel on key routes, including times to avoid if possible. The Interstate 5 Canadian border forecast is not included in these charts because testing/vaccination requirements and the length of time the border has been open doesn’t allow for reliable forecasts at this point. Travelers should also check ahead for any COVID-19 safety requirements at their destinations or stops along the way.
By following these steps, travelers can “know before they go” and plan ahead, whether they’re just traveling across town or across the state:
- Get informed about WSDOT's online tools, including the WSDOT mobile app, traffic cameras and email alerts.
- Visit online traveler information for traffic, weather, ferry schedules and a real-time travel map.
- Follow WSDOT on social media, such as several Twitter accounts and Facebook
- Pre-program your vehicle radio to 530 AM and 1610 AM for highway advisory radio alerts.
- Call 5-1-1 for updated road conditions.
- Have a backup outdoor destination as parks and other outdoor recreation sites tend to fill up quickly on holiday weekends. If a site’s parking is full, never park along road shoulders, as this is unsafe for everyone on the roadway.
- Allow extra time for travel to avoid rushing or distraction.
Highway construction paused
Most state highway construction work is suspended through the holiday weekend – including Monday, May 30 – to ease congestion. However, please stay alert for new lane shifts or work zone staging areas that may remain in place. And please give any emergency repair crews plenty of space to work safely.
No lane closures or other construction is planned on I-90 from Friday, May 27, until to Tuesday, May 31. However, the usual holiday increase in traffic volumes means travelers should expect delays, especially eastbound on Friday, May 28, and westbound Monday, May 30 (see charts for more detail). Text message alerts about significant delays are available by texting the words “WSDOT Snoqualmie” to 468311.
Chinook and Cayuse passes
State Route123/Cayuse Pass is scheduled to reopen by 8 a.m. Friday, May 27, in time for Memorial Day weekend. Relentless winter weather with continued snowfall and high avalanche danger will keep State Route 410/Chinook Pass closed until it is safe to reopen. Travelers can check the Chinook Pass and Cayuse Pass online reports for updates. Both these passes close each winter due to weather and hazardous conditions.
In the Puget Sound, weekend toll rates will be in effect on Monday, May 30, on the SR 520 bridge and SR 99 tunnel. The I-405 express toll lanes will be free and open to all drivers on the Monday holiday. Out-of-town travelers, including those using rental cars, can learn about toll roads and short-term account payment options on the Good to Go! visitors page visitors page.
People boarding a state ferry by vehicle should prepare for long waits. Peak travel times on most routes are expected to be westbound Thursday and Friday, May 26-27, and eastbound, Sunday and Monday, May 29-30. Customers also can bypass vehicle lines by traveling as a walk-on passenger.
- All riders should double check the sailing schedules as some routes are operating on timetables that are different than prior to the pandemic.
- Visit the Washington State Ferries website for more details on vehicle reservations, ferry email alerts, checking terminal conditions and COVID-19 travel updates.
- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends wearing face masks on indoor transit, but they are no longer required.
Trains, airports and transit
Travelers making a trip by train, personal aircraft or bus also should plan ahead to avoid holiday delays:
- Amtrak Cascades passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets early and should plan to arrive at the station one hour before departure. All Amtrak Cascades trains require reservations. The federal CDC still recommends wearing face masks on indoor transit, but they are no longer required. Visit amtrakcascades.com or call 800–USA–RAIL for details.
- For information about traveling via state-operated airports, visit wsdot.wa.gov/travel/aviation/airports-list or call 800-552-0666.
- Check with your local public transit agencies for any holiday schedule or service changes, including some Dial-A-Ride and fixed-route service that may not run during holidays.
- Written by Undersheriff Tyler Caille, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
North Central Washington Special Investigation Unit (NCW SIU) detectives are continuing to investigate the shooting incident which occurred in front of the Living Hope Community Church located in Wenatchee, WA. The investigation received assistance from the Central Basin Investigative Team and the Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Response Team.
NCW SIU detectives have identified the subject killed in the incident as Alexander J. White, a 36 year-old East Wenatchee, WA resident. Detectives have identified the three Wenatchee Police Department (WPD) Officers who discharged their firearms during the incident:
Officer Corey Fuller – 13+ Years Law Enforcement Service with more than 4 at WPD
Officer Brian Hewitt – 8+ Years Law Enforcement Service with more than 1 at WPD
Officer Aly Mustain – 4+ Years Law Enforcement Service with more than 1 at WPD
Officer Hewitt was the officer injured during the incident. He was subsequently treated and released for his injures the same day of the incident.
All the involved officers remain on administrative leave which is standard practice following an officer-involved use of force incident.
Investigators continue to examine evidence, conduct follow-up interviews and review officer worn body camera, in-car camera and surrounding surveillance camera footage as part of the investigative process.
Due to the amount of information to review and the importance to maintain a transparent and credible investigation, it is expected to take several weeks to complete the investigative process before the case can be forwarded to the Chelan County Prosecutor.
- Written by Barbara LaBoe, WSDOT communications
OLYMPIA – After more than two years, volunteer groups across the state can once again participate in the state’s free coffee program at selected safety rest areas, providing coffee to the traveling public.
The free coffee program promotes safe highways by providing coffee to reduce drowsy driving. Volunteer non-profit groups dispense the free coffee at 34 designated rest areas operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation. In addition to coffee, travelers get a chance to learn more about the local volunteer group and can also make a voluntary donation for the coffee. The popular program was shut down in March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic safety concerns.
Groups can now start making bookings for slots for Friday, May 20, through the end of the year by vising the program webpage for details (www.wsdot.wa.gov/about/contacts/rest-area-free-coffee-program).
Participating groups should follow good sanitation and COVID prevention practices and follow https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/21-14.3%20-%20COVID-19%20Vax%20WA%20Amendment%20%28tmp%29.pdf
Governor Inslee’s Amended Proclamation 12-14, including providing a declaration to WSDOT that the group meets the proclamation’s vaccine verification, exemptions and accommodations requirements (more details available online).
Free coffee program details:
- An updated reservation system is available this year through email on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications also can be mailed (more details on the website).
- Only coffee and other non-carbonated beverages can be dispensed; food cannot be part of the free coffee service.
- Not every location has free coffee volunteers every day; service depends on volunteer group availability.
- Some sites may not have volunteers scheduled on the first available weekend. Groups will have signs out at near coffee dispensing areas when they’re on site.