Today’s News Headlines

KELA News Headlines for Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lewis County Jobless Rate Drops in May

Lewis County’s unemployment rate dropped again in May. The latest numbers released Tuesday by the Washington Employment Security Department shows the county’s jobless rate at 6.2 percent, down from 6.7 percent in April. Other counties in southwest Washington showed similar declines in May.  Thurston County’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, Grays Harbor County dropped to 6.5 percent and Pacific County to 6.8 percent. Cowlitz County’s jobless rate in May was 5.8 percent. The statewide unemployment rate in May was 4.7 percent.

Fire Destroys Garage, Vehicles in Centralia

Fire destroyed a garage in Centralia Tuesday afternoon but firefighters were able to keep it from spreading to the adjacent house. Riverside Fire Authority responded to the report of a residential structure fire in the 300 block of Teague Road about 2:30 PM. When firefighters arrived they found the garage fully engulfed in flames with several vehicles burning. Units were able to put out the fire and also extinguished a small brush fire behind the residence. The garage and the vehicles were a total loss. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Thurston County Motorcycle Crash Victims Identified

The Thurston County Coroner’s Office has identified the two people who died in separate motorcycle crashes on Saturday. The Olympian reports 36-year old Arturo Pena of Tacoma died of injuries he suffered when he crashed his motorcycle in a pole Saturday afternoon. Coroner Gary Warnock says 27-year old Sally Jones of Olympia was killed when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger collided with a vehicle in Olympia Saturday night. Olympia Police say she and the driver were both ejected. Jones died at the scene.

Centralia School District To Offer Free Summer Meals Program

The Centralia School District is again offering a free summer meals program this year. School District spokesman Ed Petersen says it is in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He says it is for anyone 18 years old or younger. Breakfast and lunch will be served at Edison and Oakview Elementary Schools, and a sack lunch at Centralia Middle School, starting on Monday, June 25. They are also partnering with Cooks Hill Community Church at 2400 Cooks Hill Road in Centralia for a sack lunch. The meals programs are Monday through Thursday but will not be available on July 4.

State Revenue Forecasts Increase

An updated forecast shows Washington state is expected to see a net increase in revenues of nearly $300 million more than previously thought for the current two-year budget cycle. The state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its latest projections on Tuesday. The forecast show that collections actually increased by $536 million for the current biennium, but the net increase is $298 million due to various changes the Legislature made earlier this year. The projections for the next two-year budget that ends in mid-2021 will also increase by nearly $287 million.

New State Fish and Wildlife Director Appointed

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission last week appointed Kelly Susewind of Olympia as the new director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The commission voted unanimously to select Susewind after interviewing seven candidates in May and narrowing the field to three finalists who were interviewed for a second time. Susewind is a Grays Harbor area native who received an associate’s degree in engineering from Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen and a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from Washington State University.