Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886

Articles written by June Williams


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 136

  • Turmoil for Fire 12

    June Williams|May 23, 2024

    In the past week, Fire District 12 has lost insurance coverage, been declared a disaster area and saw all three of its commissioners resign. Mason County Administrator Mark Neary said the May 17 disaster declaration was "unprecedented" for a fire district. "I've done a lot of research and I've been unable to find this happening anywhere else," Neary told commissioners. "We are in uncharted territory," he said. Residents of the district, which covers western Mason County, including Matlock and...

  • Owners hope priority for 'structurally deficient' bridge

    June Williams|May 23, 2024

    A group of Stretch Island property owners is hoping Mason County Public Works makes replacement of the Stretch Island bridge a priority. The bridge has been declared "structurally deficient" according to the department's 2024 Annual Bridge Report. The bridge is the only way on and off the island and now has a posted load limit. "The Stretch Island Property Owners (SIPO) is in receipt of Mason County's Public Works Department's 2024 Annual Bridge Report. Accordingly, we have formed the SIPO, an...

  • Fire 12 may lose insurance

    June Williams|May 16, 2024

    Fire District 12 is set to lose its insurance Friday and can’t provide EMS services until new coverage is found, Commissioner Nick Jones told community members Monday at a meeting in the Matlock Grange. Jones said Fire 12’s insurer, VFIS, canceled the policy due to “serious failure” to comply with financial reporting and accounting, among other things. The insurer sent a certified letter to Fire 12 “but no one ever received it. It got returned back to VFIS,” Jones said. Jones then read a portion of the letter. “The reasons for this policy c...

  • Commission discusses rental regulations

    June Williams|May 16, 2024

    The Mason County Planning Advisory Commission presented draft short-term rental regulations to Mason County commissioners in a workshop May 7. Commissioner Randy Neatherlin said the briefing was “only a work study” and nothing had been finalized yet regarding potential new rules. “The Planning Department has been directed by the Mason County Board of Commissioners to review the short-term vacation rental (Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, etc.) situation in Mason County. The county has never regulated, nor does it currently regulate short-term renta...

  • Patient sues Mason Health after breaking leg

    June Williams|May 16, 2024

    A man recovering from hip replacement surgery alleges that his Mason General Hospital nurse improperly asked him to walk on his own, causing him to fall and break his leg. Bryan Palmer claims his 2021 surgery “was uneventful and went as planned,” in a suit against Mason Public Hospital District No. 1 dba Mason General Hospital filed May 10 in Mason County Superior Court. Palmer says his injuries happened after a nurse failed to help him walk while he was on medication, still recovering from the surgery. “Following surgery, the plaintiff was m...

  • Life in prison for murderers of local family

    June Williams|May 16, 2024

    Three men convicted of killing a Seabeck family, including the father whose body was discovered on a tree farm in Mason County, were sentenced to life in prison May 7. Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Kevin Hull handed down a life sentence without the possibility of parole to Danie Kelly Jr. and brothers Robert and Johnny Watson for the murders. John Careaga, 43, his wife Christale Careaga, 37, and her 16-year-old son Johnathon Higgins and 16-year-old stepson Hunter Schapp were all killed in January 2017. The mother and sons were found...

  • North Mason Fire levy on August ballot

    June Williams|May 16, 2024

    North Mason Regional Fire Authority will have a levy restoration proposal on the Aug. 6 ballot that will allow the district to add two firefighters, according to the department’s statement about the levy. NMRFA saw a 53% increase in call volume in 2023 compared with 2009, when voters approved the last levy. In 2009, the levy rate passed was $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value. State law now limits an increase of 1% per year for the fire levy collection, meaning NMRFA currently collects $0.81 per $1,000 of assessed property value. T...

  • New Patrol troopers

    June Williams|May 9, 2024

    After 26 weeks of training and 10 weeks of coaching, Mason County has two new Washington State Patrol troopers. A.J. Gomez and C.B. Zimmerman are now patrolling county roads from busy U.S. Highway 101 to remote Forest Service Road 23. Both troopers spoke to the Journal about the job from the Shelton detachment office on the grounds of the WSP Academy. The 190-acre academy, at 631 W Dayton Airport Road, has been a training facility since 1969. The campus has dorms, classrooms, a gym, water...

  • News Briefs

    Compiled by reporter June Williams|May 9, 2024

    Shelton man headed to prison for crash A former Shelton resident will be spending up to 12 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a pregnant woman and her son in Olympia. Draedon James Jorgenson, 28, pleaded guilty in Thurston County Superior Court on May 3 to two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault. Jorgenson caused the wrong-way collision that killed Samantha Denney, 31, and Adonis Denney, 2, on Interstate 5 north of U.S. Highway 101 on Nov. 10, 2023. Prosecutors said Jorgenson had a blood alcohol content...

  • Sea lions still hanging around on Allyn dock

    June Williams|May 9, 2024

    Port of Allyn commissioners continued to discuss ways to get sea lions, who have taken up residence on the port's dock, to leave. At the May 7 regular meeting, Commissioner Michael Curtin, who was also elected secretary, suggested purchasing a float to be moored away from the dock, so the sea lions would have an alternate perch. "It's not going to work," Commissioner John Sheridan said. "If you give them more platforms, they'll just take it up." Sheridan said he's spent decades working on...

  • New salaries for county officials

    June Williams|May 2, 2024

    Some Mason County elected officials will be getting raises, a commission studying the issue said in a news release April 23. The Mason County assessor, auditor, clerk, coroner, county commissioners and treasurer will make $104,501 per year and the sheriff will make $164,232 per year, starting Jan. 1, 2025. The salaries will increase in steps starting May 1 for all the officials except the sheriff, so salaries will rise from the current $87,565 to $95,979 this year. Sheriff Ryan Spurling’s current salary of $160,226 is 5% above Undersheriff T...

  • Rescue training

    June Williams|May 2, 2024

    The High Steel Bridge is known for its breathtaking views, but it also has a history of misfortune. The area surrounding the 375-foot-tall bridge, including the deep canyon that plunges into the south fork of the Skokomish River, is restricted to hikers but that doesn't stop them, Mason County Fire District 6 Assistant Chief Cody Daggett told the Journal. Daggett ran a search and rescue training at the bridge April 24 and 25 for attendees to get certified in rope rescue. District 6 is the only o...

  • Crime Briefs

    Compiled by reporter June Williams|May 2, 2024

    Taylor Shellfish break-in A man discovered inside Taylor Shellfish’s fenced property by Taylor Town Restaurant was arrested April 23 for allegedly stealing fuel cans. Mason County Sheriff’s Office Deputy J. Ogden said he received a dispatch call after Taylor employee Carl Goldsby saw a man walking inside the restricted area. “I approached the alleged suspect vehicle and noted a male, later identified as Edgar Mendoza Castillo, 29, lying down at the front of the vehicle, and appearing to be looking up under the vehicle. I also noted two gas c...

  • Shellfish harvest areas may face restrictions

    June Williams|May 2, 2024

    Increased fecal bacteria may cause harvest changes in Annas Bay and the Hood Canal 6 area near Hoodsport, according to the state Department of Health. The state analyzed water sample data and found increased levels, the DOH said in a news release April 25. High fecal bacteria levels can prompt the state to change “harvest classification which could lead to a seasonal, environmental, or year-round closure,” the release says. Fecal bacteria come from “many different sources throughout the watershed,” Kara Kostanich, with the DOH, told the Jou...

  • North Mason students get help budgeting

    June Williams|May 2, 2024

    A Financial Reality Fair for North Mason High students is today in two sessions from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Before the event, students will download an app on their phone or borrow a device that has the program. "Teens are given a fictional occupation, salary, credit score, spouse and a child, student loan debt, credit card debt and medical insurance payments. The teens then walk around to various table-top stations to 'purchase' housing, transportation, food, clothing and other needs. Fortunately,...

  • Alleged McLendon's shoplifter is arrested

    June Williams|May 2, 2024

    Police arrested an alleged shoplifter outside of McLendon’s Hardware in Belfair after the store manager called to report the theft and said the thief punched him. The incident happened the morning of April 25 when employees opened the store and a woman walked in acting “weird,” according to the Mason County Sheriff’s Office probable cause document. Store manager Roy Arbogast said the woman, later identified as Anne Belson, 29, began walking down store aisles removing products from their packaging. “Roy kept an eye on Anne while she was in th...

  • Water break temporarily closes North Mason schools

    June Williams|May 2, 2024

    A water main break April 24 at North Mason High School caused classes there and at James A. Taylor High School and Hawkins Middle School to be dismissed early. The schools were closed all day April 25 while repairs were made and students moved to remote learning. Buses operated on normal hours Thursday morning so students could come to school and collect computers and grab-and-go food. Buses then took students back home, according to the North Mason School District. Schools returned to normal schedules April 26 following repairs of the water...

  • Commission Briefs

    Compiled by reporter June Williams|Apr 25, 2024

    Public defenders receive honors Mason County commissioners recognized two county public defenders who have received the Washington Defender Association President’s Award at the April 23 commission meeting. The award singles out the state’s best public defender, according to Mason County Chief Public Defender Peter Jones. Rose Boughton was named this year’s recipient and Ron Sergi won the award in 2018, but was not recognized by the county at the time, Commissioner Randy Neatherlin said. “This is pretty huge for Mason County public defense...

  • Judge rules court lawfully appointed Seattle lawyer

    June Williams|Apr 25, 2024

    Mason County Superior Court Judge David Stevens on April 22 denied a writ of mandamus filed by a Seattle-area attorney suing a Mason County District Court judge for appointing him to defend a local man charged with DUI. Jonathan Lewis, who has a legal practice in Seattle, sued Mason County District Court and Judge George Steele on Feb. 27, saying Steele improperly appointed him to defend Martin Andres Alonzo, who was being charged with DUI for the third time and whose primary language is Kanjobal. Lewis said the appointment violated GR 42, a...

  • Couple allegedly threatened by man painting Ukraine flag

    June Williams|Apr 25, 2024

    A husband and wife who confronted a group of men allegedly spray painting a Ukrainian flag with a heart symbol in the middle of Forest Road 23 say a man from the group threatened them with a gun. Reuben and Leila Bashans were driving down West Govey Road, known as Forest Service Road 23, near Browns Creek on April 14 when they came upon a group of men “actively spray painting something in the road,” according to a Mason County Sheriff probable cause document. Reuben Bashans said the men “were not moving out of the way, and he told them they...

  • Sportsmen's Club commemorates public access

    June Williams|Apr 25, 2024

    The Bremerton's Sportsmen's Club is finally getting recognition for a good deed done in 1948. That's when the club donated waterfront properties on Wooten, Devereaux and Haven lakes in Mason County and Mission and Wildcat lakes in Kitsap County to the Department of Game, now the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The club wanted to preserve public access to the lakes at a time when shoreline property was being bought and developed for private use. Local fishers, canoers and kayakers now know who...

  • Fire 12 meeting contentious

    June Williams|Apr 18, 2024

    Fire District 12 Commissioner Nick Jones accused Chief Brian Walsworth of “dereliction of duty” at the April 9 commission meeting after Jones saw the state of disrepair in fire station 12-3, on Beeville Loop Road, he said. Community members told him April 3 that the station was left open, so Jones went to take a look with three witnesses. Jones said they went inside the open building after notifying the sheriff. “All I could smell was mouse feces and urine,” he said. There was a dead mouse in a fire engine compartment, rodent nests, and “a...

  • Sheriff seizes animals in cruelty investigation

    June Williams|Apr 18, 2024

    Mason County Sheriff's Office deputies seized more than 60 dogs and one horse from a woman in Grapeview during an animal cruelty investigation, according to a MCSO news release. Deputies confiscated animals on the property Sunday, April 14, with support from the Humane Society of Mason County volunteers. "This incident occurred in the Grapeview area. We are currently serving a search warrant at the location and working with outside agencies, including the Humane Society, to ensure these animals...

  • News Briefs

    Compiled by reporter June Williams|Apr 18, 2024

    Couple sue Harstine Island HOA over wheelchair modifications A Grays Harbor County couple is suing the Harstene Pointe Maintenance Association for improperly denying them a building permit that includes Americans with Disabilities Act modifications, according to a complaint filed in Mason County Superior Court April 9. Daniel and Jolene Tupper want to add wheelchair access features to their home on Harstine Island that’s subject to the nonprofit homeowners association covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). The Tuppers submitted t...

  • Two killed in 101 crash

    June Williams|Apr 11, 2024

    A horrific crash on U.S. Highway 101 at the intersection of Lynch Road 6 miles south of Shelton killed two Kitsap County residents and injured a Washington State Patrol trooper. Charles Ferree, 72, and Deolia Blandford, 49, both of Ollala, died at the scene of the accident when their vehicle collided with a southbound WSP patrol vehicle en route to an emergency April 6, according a WSP news release. The patrol vehicle was traveling south on U.S. 101 and had activated lights and siren at the time of the collision, Mason County Sheriff’s O...

Page Down

Rendered 05/29/2024 15:34