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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
May 12, 2011     Shelton Mason County Journal
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May 12, 2011

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Thursday, May 12, 2011 Year 125 -- Week 19 -- 8 Sections -- 54 Pages --- Published in Shelton, Washington -- $1 By NATALIE JOHNSON After years and years of wait- ing, local racing enthusiasts will soon have a drag strip and road course to call their own. The Ridge Motorsports Group %Ve had to begin the land use was granted a use permit to begin process which is the most difficult construction of its raceway on its process in all," he said. property on Eells Hill Rd, bringing Powelrs group has been work- racing back to Mason County, said ing since 2008 to get to the point Rod Powell, of the Ridge Group. they're at now. In the past several weeks, crews have been "stumping The entire facility should be and grubbing," or pulling stamps ready for the 2012 racing season, and vegetative material out of the he said. ground to get ready for grading. Powell partnered with Joe Now that they have the use per- Manke several years ago to form mit, crews plan to start grading the group. Much of the 173 acres any day now, Powell said. of land that will make up the park "We hope that we can have rac- was once Manke timberland. The ing surfaces, racing surfaces only, group is in the process of acquiring down by the middle of August," Powell said. See Drag on page A-7 Missing man found dead By KEVAN MOORE The body of a Shelton man who has been missing since April 12 was found Saturday, May 7, in Lake Limerick. Shelton resident Edward Andrew Lawrence, 40, was last seen alive by family members at about 9 p.m. ~in ' April 12. - Lawrence's body was spotted in the lake on Satur- day at about 8 a.m. by a local resident and was re- 'covered by the Mason County Sher- iffs Office Lawrence dive team. Mason County Coroner Wes Stock- well said that an autopsy was performed Tuesday morning and Lawrence's body had no signs of trauma. "The results are still pending," Stockwell said. "We are not able to come up with a definitive cause or manner of death yet. The pa- thologist is going to do some more examing of tissues and run toxicology tests.~ Mason County Sheriff's Office deputies began a search of Lake Limerick on April 17 when a canoe was found overturned under a dock and other property as- sociated with Lawrence was located in the lake. That search and a subsequent search of the lake failed to See Body on page A-7 Births B-8 Community Calendar B-3 Entertainment/Dining B-3 Journal of Record A-6 Obituaries B-7 Opinions, Letters A-4 Sports C-1 Weather A-6 oI I!!II#!!!!INII Cole Schlender, 7, attended the 32nd annual All Saturday at the Shelton High School Minidome. through 62 attended the event Journal photo by Rick Kennedy Butokukan Tournament on Competitors from age five By KEVAN MOORE e . An impromptu meet'rag of Mason County commissioners this past Wednesday, May 4, may have violated the state's Open Public Meetings Act. The e-mail notice for the meeting to discuss "potential department restructuring" only went out 14 minutes beforehand and took several elected officials, in- cluding Commissioner Tim Sheldon, who was in Portland at the time, by surprise. Commissioners Lynda Ring-Er- ickson and Jerry Lingle approved a measure during the board's regular Roslaniec meeting the day before that desig- nates Wednesdays as an additional briefing day. Prior to that, briefings were only slated for Mondays and regular business meetings were slated for Tuesdays. Ring-Erickson said late last week that she saw a memo from Facilities Manager Mike Rut- ter, at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday announc- ing that he was bumping up his retirement to June. Lingle said that he saw the memo at around the same time and agreed that a 3 p.m. meeting was in order. "Given the short and surprising time line, Department Directors and electeds were in- vited to give us their initial ideas on what type of process we might develop," Ring-Erickson wrote in an e-mail this past Friday. Ring-Ericksen also noted that the meeting was on the record and the recordings and notes are available for review. "we got some good ideas," she added. "No decisions were made or even discussed. There were about ten people who attended." Ring-Erickson's e-mail came, in part, as a re- sponse to criticisms from Brenda Hirschi, who made an unsuccesful bid for the commis- sion earlier this fall while running against Lingle. "Speaking as a Mason County citizen/ taxpayer/voter, I question whether this meeting violated the Open Public Meet- ings Act. An e-mail notice sent primarily to county officials fourteen minutes prior to holding the meeting did not allow the public to be informed of the conduct of the people's business. If not a violation, this inci- dent certainly didn't support the spirit of the law. Fourteen minutes -- come on!" Attorney Chris Roslaniec, an open govern- ment expert with the Allied Law Group in Se- attle and a co-author of"An Overview of Wash- ington's Public Records Act," agreed. "Fourteen minutes is obviously not adequate notice for a public meeting," Roslaniec said. =Regardless of calling this a briefing, or what- ever else they want to call it, it's still subject to the Open Public Meetings Act. They can call an emergency meeting on short notice, but this doesn't qualify, or they can call a special meet- ing 24 hours in advance. They can do whatever they want, but they almost always need 24 hours. It's kind of an odd thing for them not to New web site tracks crime in Shelton. By KEVAN MOORE Shelton residents can now get up to date crime reports with the click of a button. The She!ton Police Department announced that a free online crime mapping service became available ..... last week that allows residents to track police activity in various neighborhoods throughout the city. The data, which is accessible by clicking through the city's web site at or at crimereports. corn includes the type of crime, approximate address, date, time and a police case number. State registered sex offenders are also mapped in the program. Users of the new servic# can also sign up for automatic e-mail notifications for any time specific types of crime occur in a neighborhood. A free iPhone app is also available and users can access information from some 700 participating law enforcement agencies from across the nation. o do that, Just announcing we're having a brief- ing day is not adequate.~ Roslaniec also said that there is no reason the commissioners couldn't have held a meet- ing on Thursday, May 6, as a special meeting with 24-hours notice. "Mr. Rutter is leaving in June, it's not like he was leaving that afternoon,~ Roslanlec noted. "I can't imagine what Mr. Rutter was doing that day that would send the county into some sort ofanarchy by waiting to see what they could do to replace this gny.~ Another one of the people who couldn't make the meeting was Mason County Prosecutor Mike Dorcy. "Fourteen minutes notice for a meeting or a briefing, I think, turned out to be insufficient for a lot of folks to find out what was going on or make it on time, including myself," he said. But, Dorcy said that the meeting, which fol- lowed the beard's decision the day before to designate Wednesdays as a standing briefing day, may not have violated the Open Public Meetings ACt (OPMA) because the county is a "public agency" and not a "state agency." "If a meeting is open to the public, it comes down to notice," Dorcy said. "If it's a special meeting, no it's not in compliance and violated the act. If it's a regular meeting, it might not have been a violation.~ Dorcy also said that state agencies and cities have different rules and regulations than See Open on page A-7