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mt-about1SITE CHANGES JAN 1st 2014 - As I made the regular readers aware a couple of months ago, we here at MT are moving forward.  For the last two plus years the concentration has been on strictly local issues.  Most are aware that I do a national radio show.  That format will be ported over here as the next two election cycles are so very important and transcend the local arena.

Starting shortly the live show viewer will be functioning on a daily basis along with the call-in feature.  For those of you with an interest in national politics /cultural issues you may find it of interest.  Follow Montesano Today on Twitter also for topical information on a daily basis.  Our LIVE SHOW VIEWER page for more information as it moves forward.  Menu bar at top of every page for our new archive features.

While I will continue my column here in the local newspaper for the time being on local issues,  our focus here on the website will return to the national stage. …….Tom



Film – Early Grays Harbor 1920s – our history

From the UW description of the film:  “A collection of recovered films from the 1920s and ’30s gives insight into the life and times of the small Washington communities in Grays Harbor County. The films, meticulously restored by the UW Libraries film preservation experts, were shot by photographer Charles D. Anderson and reveals how the sense of community in this southwestern Washington town has stood the test of time.”

ED NOTE:  this was recently sent to me and I was unaware of the films.  I contacted our local newspaper editor who was aware and in fact had one of his reporters looking into it at one time.  Will post information here as I learn more.  Tom


April 15th 2014 – the Editor of The Vidette here in Montesano was kind enough to forward a report that none other than our current sitting City Councilman Marisa Salzar wrote.  Thank you to the Vidette for sending and allowing to re-post the information on our shared history here in the harbor…Tom.  Visit THE VIDETTE


Published 3-7-13 by Marisa Salzer

A rare collection of newsreel films featuring Harbor life at its economic peak in the 1920s has made a nearly century-long journey back into the hands of its descendants and residents.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words — moments frozen in time, some of them decisive — movies can move us with their magic. They can be a time machine,” said John Hughes, chief historian for the secretary of state, lifelong Harborite, and former editor and publisher of The Daily World and The Vidette.

The public will have a chance to see these films for the first time at the premiere showing of the documentary of these films at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 9, at the historic 7th Street Theatre. The documentary is narrated by Hughes.

“These newsreels are nothing less than a community treasure,” Hughes said.

A box of highly combustible 35 mm tinted and black and white nitrate film was discovered in a commercial storage unit in Seattle after its contents were purchased during an auction several years ago. Randy and Gina Noll brought the films to the University of Washington Libraries after learning about the university’s Home Movie Day event.

Though the University of Washington did not have the capacity to “work with the deteriorating reels,” Hannah Palin, film archives specialist of the special collections division at the university, said, it sought the expertise of the Library of Congress. “According to George Willeman, Library of Congress nitrate vault film manager, the films were extremely rare newsreels shot by C.D. Anderson, a photographer from Aberdeen. The films were shown in conjunction with national newsreels on the movie screens of Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Grays Harbor,” Palin said.

Noll recognized its importance and donated the films to the university in 2004, to give the films an opportunity to be restored and brought back to life, explained Joyce Agee, associate director of development for the university’s library.

One of the films contained a strange scene that was released to the public approximately a year ago in attempts to identify what was being filmed. A group of children and adults were seen walking in a circle in a large field, then standing still. With the center of the circle cleared, a man stands on a crate in the center of the circle and hands a document to a boy who holds it over a fire until it burns. The crowd then ran in one direction, disappearing from the scene.

“It was the utter weirdness of that clip that got me interested in the project. I looked at the project as a mystery that needed to be solved and I took it on as a personal challenge,” said Roy Vataja, vice president of the Aberdeen Museum of History board.

Vataja explained that on a hunch, he determined that the scene took place at the end of a school year, and searched newspaper clippings for any clue that would solve the mystery. His hunch proved to be correct — he determined the gathering was of school children and adults for what might be a mortgage burning ceremony for Franklin School, located near the site of the since-demolished natatorium in Hoquiam.


With the help of two grants from the National Film Preservation Foundation, preservation was done by Colorlab in Maryland, producing new prints of the original films, then transferred to a high-end master videotape with DVD viewing copies, Palin said. Another grant was awarded to write a collection guide and to post the entire collection on the university’s digital collection’s website.

The final portion of the collection, consisting primarily of tinted footage, was preserved with funding from the Apex Foundation.

While the films were being restored, the University of Washington Libraries formed a “true partnership,” Agee said, with representatives of the Harbor to create a documentary featuring many of these films. Those helping include Hughes, John Larson, director of the Polson Museum, Mickey Thurman of the 7th Street Theatre Association and Realtor and local historian Tom Quigg.

“It is a great example of a collaborative effort that was executed well,” Larson explained.

In fact, the university hopes the documentary project encourages other communities in Washington to look in their storage units and dig up their own old films and bring them to the university, Agee said.

Under the direction of Ann Coppel, of UWTV, the documentary came together with interviews from those involved in the project as well as current-day shots of where the scenes were originally filmed. The Grays Harbor Community Foundation provided the final grant that gave the university the support to “take the production from good to great,” Agee added.

The person who was most instrumental in bringing this film together was Vataja, said his partners on the project. He “was able to make it all come alive,” Larson said.

“Roy has been an absolute Godsend,” Thurman agreed. “He has spent countless hours at the library researching old newspapers.”

Vataja’s fascination with Harbor history began when he was a young child in the 1970s, he said.

Reflecting on what he was seeing in downtown Aberdeen, he said, “The buildings are so cool. I noticed that there were no buildings older than 1903, which made me ask why and the next thing you know, I was at the library, reading old newspapers on microfilm.”

In fact, Vataja was so involved in Harbor history, he was named to the Aberdeen Museum of History’s Board at the age of 17 and currently serves as vice president.


The “roaring” ’20s was named “because prosperity reigned all across America. On the Harbor, people from all walks of life and ethnicity were joiners. There was a profusion of fraternal, social, church and union groups: The Elks, Eagles, Moose and Masons; the Odd Fellows, Rotary and Neighbors of Woodcraft; guilds, ladies’ auxiliaries and the venerable Daughters of the American Revolution with their pinkies in the air. There were Finnish halls (three, in fact), Swedish, Norwegian, Croatian and Italian Halls. People went to the movies at least twice a week; to dances and parties every weekend. Afterward, they went to Chinese restaurants that stayed open until 2 a.m. They knew their neighbors and gathered often to play cards or charades; to listen to the radio, gossip and laugh,” Hughes said.

Hughes estimates that nearly 70 percent of the historic buildings, some of which are shown in the films, are still standing today. The Harbor was the lumber capital of the world during this time, in which Aberdeen’s population topped 22,000 and Hoquiam’s at 15,000, he explained.

In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Aberdeen’s population at nearly 17,000 in 2012 and Hoquiam at nearly 9,000.


The documentary will be shown twice — at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 9.

Guest speakers will include Lizabeth “Betsy” Wilson, Dean of the University of Washington Libraries; Paul Constantine, associate Dean of the University of Washington Libraries and director of special collections; Nicolette Bromberg, University of Washington Libraries visual materials curator; Hannah Palin, University of Washington Libraries film archives specialist; Ann Coppel, director of UWTV; Ray Kahler, president of the 7th Street Theatre Association, Hoquiam Mayor Jack Durney, Larson of the Polson Museum and Vataja of the Aberdeen Museum of History.

A surprise guest of honor will be featured during the 7 p.m. show.

“Anderson’s movies are ‘reel-life’ — everything from a wedding at the county fair to fire drills at every school in town. The nuns in their habits shoo the kids down the stairs at St. Mary’s; high schoolers at the towering Terrace Heights School flood onto the front lawn, the girls in their starched dresses and hair bows. On Thanksgiving, Aberdeen and Hoquiam football players in their leather helmets square off on a quagmire as thousands cheer,” Hughes said.

In Memoriam – King Joffrey

memoriam joffery

As we gather today to mourn the recently departed Lion King Joffrey, who left us far too soon, we may take comfort that his deeds and example will live on. Despite the many personal attacks, he bore the heavy responsibility of his crown with pride and above all…a knowing of his responsibility and respect to his people.

Certainly he will be missed by his many friends and most of all his family, which was oh so very important to him.

Already an accomplished warrior, he had been looking forward to a reign of peace and prosperity with his lovely new bride, yet as history has often shown, those who truly wish to serve their people are ofter the subject of attack from those less kind.

As many of us seek solace with our grief counsellors, our pain too will pass.  Replaced with the memories of his deeds and vision.  The tears dried and slight smiles returned to our now sobbing gasps of disbelief.  I think we can all agree that one would consider himself lucky to have seen a lord and sire like Joffrey, even but once in a lifetime.

Perhaps his greatest lasting legacy will be the example he was able to provide in his far too short of years.  As he is laid to his final rest, the crossbow he so loved at his side, lift your glasses with me now – to you, King Joffrey, you will be so dearly missed.

Global Warming mis information in Grays Harbor


The following is a guest editorial submitted for posting by Randy Dutton, Montesano


I regret missing the ocean acidification and sea level rising workshop. Someone needed to be there to dispute the data being put out. From what I read in The Daily World, the Wild Fish Conservancy’s agenda is to panic the public into accepting their proposals. Setting aside the hopeful talk of creating new businesses, it’s their justification of rapidly rising ocean levels along our shoreline to which I take exception. When I read, “Sandell said the model they used has a vertical error of one to three meters,” I knew the public was being misled.

According to UW Climate Impacts Group and Dept of Ecology, “On the northwest Olympic Peninsula, very little relative Sea Level Rise (SLR) will be apparent due to rates of local tectonic uplift that currently exceed projected rates of global SLR. Along the central Washington Coast the ‘uplift is occurring in this region, but at rates lower than that observed on the NW Olympic Coast.’”

Point is, the 4th IPCC projected 7-15″ for their lowest scenario and 10-23″ for their highest, but that didn’t include tectonic uplift, which negates most of the rise for Grays Harbor County. This same IPCC predicted we would get less snow, much warmer temperatures, disappearing ice caps, etc. Those aren’t happening and progressives are getting desperate to keep taxpayer money flowing to their projects.

Secondly, I didn’t see anything in the article that discussed the methane released by an anaerobic tidal marsh with low salinity. If one is worried about global warming, know that methane is 28X more effective as a global warming gas than CO2, and nitrous oxides about 296X worse. Yet environmental policies mostly subordinate methane. According to one McGill Univ. study, “Wetlands typically contain little or no oxygen and so carbon is largely prevented from decomposing to CO2. But anaerobic conditions in low salinity waters promote the growth of microbes that produce the extremely powerful greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide.”

It’s time the public and press stop accepting self-serving consultants at face value. There’s a financial reason this dog and pony show made a presentation. I suspect it’s to ensure taxpayer money is used to subsidize the outlined projects. Don’t be sheep. Question everything, particularly their financial motives.

Randy Dutton
CDR, USNR-Retired
Montesano, WA


Grays Harbor leaving tax money on the table


One wouldn’t have to delve too deeply into the writing I produce, both here as well as in my Vidette newspaper column,  to know I am not a fan of taxes. Well, some taxes anyway.

We as residents here in Washington State have a covenant with the powers-what-be in the hallowed halls of Olympia. That being – you stay away from a state income tax and we will pay a healthy retail sales tax. Nobody complains too much, even me. The state has to fund itself somehow, and believe me after having to live in the once great state of California for a number of years doing business… can get a whole lot worse.

Our covenant only works, however, if we do pay the retail sales tax as required. Allow me to relate a story.

I currently operate a business that has three suppliers. I purchase small things that are tax exempt. The State supplies me with a tax certificate that expires every three – four years as it does for all businesses doing business here in Washington State. We have to justify our purchases tax free. They do this to keep an eye on things, weed out people who abuse the system, etc.

As my recent Tax Exempt Certificate was set to expire this month, I received notices from two of my suppliers reminding me to stop in and bring in my new certificate so that they could update their in-store records.   Otherwise, they would not be able to continue to sell to me tax free.   They required a copy of the new certificate type of thing in case of an audit to verify that I was indeed, allowed to purchase certain items tax free.   I did as instructed with the two establishments and as I had not heard from the third, a major big-box store that I am not naming here, I decided to stop in and just do it while out and about.

After being told by the customer service desk that they weren’t interested in updating said Tax Exempt Certificates I asked to speak to a manager. One approached and was very nice and also completely ignorant on the subject. When I related that without updating legal Tax Exempt Certificates they were probably no more than 50/50 compliant with people authorized. In other words, selling tax exempt to probably thousands of harbor individuals. Each using old numbers from businesses either not authorized, or even out of business.

Just to double check, I opened and closed a business back in 2005 and that number is still active in their system. I could walk into any of their stores across the country and buy anything I wanted tax free. I wouldn’t, but I could…and there are a lot who would.

In this day and age, I am somewhat stunned that a corporation as large as what I am referring to would both be so sloppy as not to require active legal tax exempt certificates, weeding out those that expire and the such, but putting themselves in a position to be audited by the state department of revenue. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that stores that do not even purge expired certificates, yet continue to sell tax free, would not be subject to past due amounts due the state. Even fines for non compliance.

As this particular store has many stores in Washington state, I am going to estimate the state is probably failing to collect millions, if not tens of millions – from this one group of stores alone.   Perhaps enough, considering the what should be Grays Harbor share,   enough to fund say our public transportation.

This is just one store…..there are other big box outlets and I expect one would find the same circumstances.

Taxes are important. If put to the people in a fair situation, we don’t fret and complain too much. I have to wonder, however, if the state was actually collecting what was coming to them, perhaps they would not be as high as they are.

In a private correspondence, I did relay the store information to a county official, I just don’t feel it appropriate to list here.  Considering the dire financial strait the County is in, I would be going after this tax money.  Well, in this case – the tax money not even being collected.  Millions.


NOTE:  While situations like this are most always just poor communication, it does illustrate how complicated things can become.  As far as the Dept of Revenue here in Washington State is concerned, I have to call them about once a year or so for some question or other.  We are blessed that both our Dept of Motor Vehicles as well as Dept of Revenue are so well run.  Really they are.  Efficient and friendly,   truly there to help not hinder business.  Us little guys pay strict attention to the regulations, the big guys should too.