KELA News Headlines for Thursday, April 24, 2014
Lewis County's Jobless Rate Drops
Fewer people were looking for work in Lewis County in March. According to the latest numbers from the state Employment Security Department, the county’s unemployment rate dropped to 10.7 percent from February’s revised rate of 11.4 percent. Employment Security economist Jim Vleming says Lewis County has seen an increase in the number of non-farm jobs including in logging, construction, transportation, warehousing and utilities. Vleming says he thinks we will continue to see lower unemployment rates over the next few months as seasonal employment picks up. The March jobless rate for Thurston County was 6.9 percent. In Cowlitz County it was 9.4 percent and it’s 11.4 percent for Grays Harbor County.
Over 1 Million Washingtonians Sign Up for Health Coverage
Washington Healthplanfinder announced Wednesday that more than one million total Washington residents have accessed health coverage from October 1, 2013 through March 31 of this year through wahealthplanfinder.org. This includes an updated total of more than 164,000 individuals who have enrolled in private health plans. The numbers released this week also show that 285,000 adults who were newly eligible for Medicaid signed up plus almost 138,000 who were previously eligible for Medicaid but had not enrolled. Another 485,000 people renewed their Medicaid enrollments.
Crews Pouring Concrete Deck for New I-5 BridgeDrivers on I-5 in Centralia will notice a lot more activity on the new bridge that is being built over the freeway just south of Mellen Street. Abbi Russell with the Washington Department of Transportation says the contractor has begun pouring the concrete for the bridge deck. Russell says pouring the concrete for the bridge deck is a real milestone in the project which has been going on for several months. She says although drivers will see the concrete trucks as they are working, there should be little or no impact to traffic on the freeway. Once that is done, crews will begin building the approaches to the bridge and reconstructing the Mellen Street interchange and the Louisiana Avenue connection.
Weyerhauser Expanding Fee Access System
Weyerhauser is expanding a fee system for access to its lands that it started in Lewis County last year to much of its St. Helens Tree Farm in Cowlitz County and its property near Aberdeen. The permit will allow hunters access to Weyerhauser land every day it is valid. In the past much of the land was open for motorized access only on weekends during major deer and elk seasons. According to Weyerhauser, the fee access program is the latest development in gradual restrictions on the public’s access to private timberlands. Company officials say the pilot project in the Pe Ell and Vail tree farms in Lewis County was a success from the company’s point of view.