Commissioners hear about DV programs, discuss dredging


October 5, 2017

Wahkiakum County commissioners recognized the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and handled other business when they met Tuesday.

Susan Schillios, director of the Charlotte House Domestic Violence Shelter, asked the board to approve a proclamation to observe the month.

The Charlotte House has had a busy year, she said. The program has housed 13 women and 11 children for 343 adult bed nights and 363 children's bed nights.

Thirty-three other Wahkiakum County women, and five men, received basic services, and the shelter was involved in 33 crisis calls.

Staff are involved in a variety of prevention activities, with a strong effort in local schools to make youth aware of the problems and advocate healthy behaviors and relationships.

"We really believe prevention is the key," Schillios said. "We believe the way to stop this is to change the culture of violence in the world."

Chris Nogueira, Charlotte House prevention advocate, described programs she provides in schools, including a week long program with high school freshmen and units in the middle school grades about cyber bullying and other issues.

The Charlotte House's annual Chocolate Extravaganza will take place October 27 in the lobby of the Hotel Cathlamet. Twenty cooks will prepare 120 pieces of chocolate, and patrons can buy tickets to sample or boxes to take home.

"The money goes for expenses that our contracts don't cover," she said, "things like diapers or car repair."

Commissioners were happy to make the proclamation for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"Thank you for your work," said Commissioner Dan Cothren.

In other business, commissioners reported slight progress in their efforts to set up beach nourishment programs for eroding beaches at Cape Horn and Puget Island.

Commissioners have established four flood control zone districts, and they need right-of-entry easements from all property owners in a district to create an area large enough for cost effective dredge spoil deposit work.

All land owners in the Cape Horn district have signed, but two parties have yet to sign for the Pancake Point district on East Sunny Sands.

Commissioner Mike Backman said it is possible that one of the two Island holdouts will sign after reviewing documents and schematics.

"I did make contact with him," Backman said. "We're going to send some paperwork showing visibly what it will affect. But it sounded good."

However, another property owner still seems unwilling to sign the easement, Backman said.

Is there something the board can do so the district doesn't miss the next dredging season, asked Liz Buetler.

"You're right," Cothren said. "We don't want to miss that. We'll move on it."

Otherwise, Cothen said, staff are working on the final required permits, which when finished, should get the program established.

"I think the biggest thing is this right-of-entry; we've got to get that done."

He added that even if they lack an easement for the Sunny Sands district, dredge spoils could be placed at Cape Horn.

Commissioners also signed an agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for the state to cover the estimated $100,000 cost of extra runs when the Puget Island bridge undergoes major work next year.

WSDOT will have the bridge deck replaced and the superstructure painted, probably starting in April, according to Public Works Director Chuck Beyer.

Contractors will close the bridge at night to work unimpeded, and the ferry will operate continually during that time to provide access to the Island.

The ferry was shut down a few hours last Friday to allow a diver to do some maintenance work, and it shut down two hours Monday morning because of a problem with steering controls, Beyer said.


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