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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
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October 23, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 23, 2014
 

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............................. 0000Mason County 217 W Cota St /" f 38 143 1476 Shelton WA 98584-2263 r" !" "J'""l'H"lJl.'"'lhlhjlh,JlllfljlJl,.i,,m,,id,lq , J, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014- Week 43- The Voice of Mason County since 1886- $1 Trend: Commission keeping doors closed Number of executive, closed sessbns on rise By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com In the past four years, the Mason County Commission has met behind closed doors with increasing frequency. The commission held 49 sessions closed to the public between January and August 2014, averaging about six ses- sions per month, according to a Mason County Journal analy- sis of county meeting agendas. In contrast, in 2011, the commission met in private an average of four times per month. Members of the Mason County Board of Commission- ers said the increase in closed meetings reflects the work of the board to prevent lawsuits, negotiate its 11 union con- tracts, and sensitively handle grievances. "I think we're doing what is required under state law," said Commissioner Tim Sheldon. The commissioners said that although the number of closed meetings has increased, those meetings follow the let- ter of the law. "We're not in violation of anything," Commissioner Ran- dy Neatherlin said. "I believe the situations that arise deter- mine the necessity for those executive sessions." Of the 49 closed-door meet- hags as of Aug. 31, five were to discuss litigation, 15 involved real-estate discussions and 29 involved labor discussions. Some county residents have grown concerned with the increase, most notably Tom Davis, who refused to leave a previously scheduled closed see MEETINGS, page A-22 % k SOUND CLEANUP Journal photo by Gordon Weeks Volunteers drop off beach garbage Oct. 16 near the Arcadia boat ramp during the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association's 17th biannual beach cleanup. Volunteers collected nearly 54 cubic yards of debris. Almost 91 percent of the debris was plastic foam, tires and public trash. Participants last week also found a ship in a bottle, hide-a-bed, refrigerator, tent and toilet. Testimony begins in double-homicide trial Journal photo by Natalie Johnson Charles S. Longshore listens during pretrial motions at his first-degree murder trial Tuesday. Longshore is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in a May 2012 double homicide. By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun com Testimony began Tues- day in Mason County Su- perior Court 2 years af- ter two Shelton residents were killed in what au- thorities have deemed a drug-related shooting. Charles S. Longshore, 24, is charged with two counts of aggravated first- degree murder in the shoot- ing deaths ofAnitrea "Roxy" Taber, 37, and Tyler "Red" Drake, 19. In 2012, Long- shore pleaded not guilty. The shooting took place about 1 a.m. May 28, 2012, at 213 W. Harvard Ave. in Shelton. Attorneys for the pros- ecution and defense gave very different accounts of the events surrounding the shooting. "You're going to hear a lot of evidence in this case, but it will all lead to one conclusion -- that the person who pulled the trig- ger on that gun sits right there at the council table, Charles S. Longshore," deputy prosecutor Jason Richards said during open- ing statements. see TESTIMONY, page A-22 Transgender school-district policy sparks heated debate School Board's (arnahan calls move 'offensive' By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncoun corn A Shelton School Board meeting Oct. 14 dissolved into a shouting match as members of the Shelton School District Board of Direc- tors discussed a district policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender students. The board voted 3-2 to approve the poli- cy with School Board members Jim Carna- han and Sandy Tarzwell voting no. A video of a portion of the meeting was posted on the Internet last week. The video can be viewed at youtu.be/yI0y033cxek. During the meeting, board Vice President Carnahan voiced his opposition to the policy. "This is offensive, the law is offensive," Carna- han said. School Board Presi- dent Brenda Hirschi at- tempted to restore order as School Board and au- dience members shouted back and forth. "Just vote on the stu- pid thing and get it over Carflahan with. This is ridiculous," Carnahan said. "There is no law that re- quires us to pass this policy." According to the state Office of the Su- perintendent of Public Instruction's (OSPI) "Prohibiting Discrimination in Washing- ton Public Schools" guidebook, all state school districts are required to publish a nondiscrimination statement containing language supporting state and federal non- discrimination laws. "I believe that there is a law that re- quires all school districts to have an anti- discrimination policy," Superintendent Art see POLICY, page A-21 Candidates sound off at public forums Page A-3 Joint public parking, plaza proposal an option Page A-11 School Board reverses course on Theler Center Page A-29