The news in brief July 18 – 25

Susan Riemer returns to the paper; small spill in Quartermaster; water taxi service update, and more

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019 10:41am
  • News

Previous editor returns to Beachcomber

Last week, Susan Riemer returned to the editor position she had left last month and will serve in a temporary capacity while the paper conducts a new editor search.

Peggy Chapman filled the editor position in the interim.

Publisher Daralyn Anderson said she is looking forward with optimism during this period of transition.

“We are glad to have Susan back for now and are looking forward to finding the next editor to carry The Beachcomber into the future, keeping its focus on island news,” she said.

Coast Guard investigates small spill in harbor

The Coast Guard is continuing to investigate a small spill in Quartermaster Harbor that took place during the July 4 holiday.

Brett Ettinger, chief of incident management in Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, said an islander with a drone photo showing a ring of boats in Quartermaster Harbor and an oil sheen extending out from them reported the spill late on Friday, July 5. On Saturday morning, July 6, Ettinger said a Coast Guard boat in the area surveyed the scene and found that the contents of the spill had already evaporated. He added that he estimates the spill covered a couple of hundred yards and was likely less than a few gallons of gas or oil.

A representative from the Roche Harbor Yacht Club contacted the Coast Guard the following Monday, reporting that a member of their party was responsible for the spill, Ettinger said. The person indicated it was an accident. In situations like this, Ettinger said that the Coast Guard might issue a letter of warning or a notice of violation, including civil penalties. He added that he believes the club was “trying to do the right thing” and that makes a letter of warning more likely.

Commodore of the Roche Harbor Yacht Club Thomas Miner wrote a letter to the editor for this week’s issue of The Beachcomber, apologizing for the incident. He indicated that a member’s boat blew a transmission oil line, which was under pressure and lost transmission oil into the bilge. His automatic bilge pumps came on and pumped an unknown amount of oil into the bay.

“We take our responsibility for caring for the pristine waters of Puget Sound very seriously and in no way want to minimize the impact to these beautiful waters,” he wrote.

Boat driver was impaired in fatal crash, KCSO says

The King County Sheriff’s Office recently released the blood alcohol level test results from the crash that killed islander Justin Hagerty and injured five others on March 30.

Hagerty’s blood-alcohol level was .078 and negative for drugs. The state’s blood alcohol limit is .08. Sheriff’s office spokesman Ryan Abbott said the test results indicate Hagerty would have been over the legal limit at the time of the crash.

The Marine unit deputy summarized the results of the investigation:

“After reviewing all of the evidence in this case, I have determined the approximate cause of the collision to have several contributing factors; they include the speed of the vessel, visibility during hours of vessel operation and alcohol use by the operator of the vessel.

Water Taxi adds service for festival

Update: after press time, the scheduled temporary suspension of King County Water Taxi sailings during the week of July 22 to 28 was canceled. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

The King County Water Taxi will add service for this weekend’s Strawberry Festival. On Saturday, sailings will leave downtown Seattle’s Pier 52 every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sailings will leave Vashon on the half-hour between 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Metro bus service has also been added. (For more information on Strawberry Festival transportation, see page 21 of this week’s paper.)

New measles cases in county confirmed

Public Health – Seattle & King County is investigating new confirmed measles cases with possible public exposures. On Monday, officials announced that a nurse at Seattle Children’s hospital acquired the illness. She had been vaccinated and wore protective clothing while caring for an ill child.

Additional cases include a King County resident, a teenager, who visited the Auburn Community Center while infectious before receiving the diagnosis of measles. The teenager is a household contact of a person previously diagnosed with measles.

Public Health has also confirmed measles in an infant who is not known to have been in any public locations while infectious. The baby was a household contact of a person who had previously been diagnosed with measles.

These three additions bring the total to 10 measles cases in King County residents since the beginning of May.

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