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Journal Shelton-Mason County

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Port of Shelton considers eliminating workshops By MARY DUNCAN The Port of Shelton Commission may move to two meetings per month rather than meeting on a weekly basis. Commissioner Jay Hupp made the suggestion at Tuesday’s workshop meeting. He said eliminating workshop meetings would decrease the load on staff and save money as well. “It’s come to a point where these workshops are not accomplishing anything more than what we could be doing with briefing with the staff,” Hupp said. The “If port currently something holds a comes up workshop we could meeting always call every other a special Tuesday meeting.” with business meetings held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. “Most ports don’t hold workshops,” Hupp said. “Some only hold one meeting a month. “From my perspective I think we take a lot of the load off staff by not having to prepare for a meeting each week. It costs us 300 bucks every time we hold one of these meetings,” Hupp said. Commissioners receive a per diem of $104 per meeting they attend, up to 96 meetings per year. “We need to take a serious look at moving away from these workshops,” Hupp said. “If something comes up we could always call a special meeting. Meeting for the sake of meeting, it kind of rubs me the wrong way.” “We can’t make a decisions today but I agree with you,” Commissioner Tom Wallitner said. Commissioner Jack Miles was not at Tuesday’s meeting. Hupp asked that the idea of eliminating workshop meetings be placed on the October 5 agenda for business meeting, which begins at 2 p.m. at the port office at Sanderson Industrial Park.

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Year 124 — Week 39 — 6 Sections — 50 Pages — Published in Shelton, Washington — $1

Brush picker killed By KEVAN MOORE The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a homicide after a brush picker was found dead Wednesday with a gunshot wound to his back. Chief Deputy Dean Byrd said another brush picker called police at about 10 a.m. Wednesday from an area just off California Road, about three miles west of Highway 101. The witness told police that he heard a loud pop and saw the victim fall. Police have not released the victim’s name, but said that he is about 25 years old and Hispanic. Chief Byrd said detectives were being assisted by a relative of the victim who speaks Mam, a Mayan language spoken in Guatamala, while conducting interviews Wednesday.

The victim’s wife and child were also notified of his death. Chief Byrd said Wednesday that there were no suspects or a known motive. A detective at the scene said that the shooting possibly could have been a “hunting accident gone awry.” A search dog was utilized at the crime scene which was being systematically mapped and analyzed by deputies and detectives throughout the afternoon. Mason County Coroner Wes Stockwell x-rayed the victim’s body Wednesday afternoon and said that he had been shot. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday morning. Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 427-9670, Extension 313, or dial 911.

Journal photo by Kevan Moore

Mason County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jack Gardner carries evidence from the crime scene in which a Hispanic male in his mid-20’s was shot Wednesday morning. The man was picking brush just off California Road, about three miles west of Highway 101.

City eyes changes to water rates By NATALIE JOHNSON

Journal photos by Natalie Johnson

Anti-biomass protesters gather outside the Shelton Civic Center before last Thursday’s informational meeting on the proposed biomass cogeneration facility at Simpson Lumber in Shelton.

Simpson, city: Don’t fear the Reaper By NATALIE JOHNSON If anyone was concerned that the battle over biomass lacked any theatricality before, they certainly have no right to complain now. An unidentified man dressed as the Grim Reaper attended last Thursday’s informational meeting on the proposed construction of a cogeneration biomass boiler at Simpson Lumber Company in Shelton, hovering in the back of the room and occasionally muttering his staunch support of biomass incineration. More conventional protesters gathered in front of the civic center before the meeting as well. Many other members of the community, who voiced both support and concerns over the proposed biomass boiler, attended

A man dressed up as the Grim Reaper to protest the proposed biomass cogeneration facility on September 23, at Simpson Lumber in Shelton. the meeting, which was hosted by city of Shelton officials, Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) representatives, and Simpson representatives, including Dave McEntee, vice presi-

dent of operational services and external affairs. At this meeting, city representatives, including city planner Jason Dose, Steve Goins, director of community and economic development, and city engineer Mike Michael, listened to public input and provided information on the project, which they are currently reviewing. The cogeneration biomass boiler, proposed by Solomon Renewable Energy Company LLC, would replace Simpson’s current biomass boiler and would produce up to 31 megawatts of power per hour. There was some confusion among the audience about whether or not Solomon Renewable Energy was a part of See Simpson on page A-7

The Shelton city commission listened to a dense presentation Monday from representatives of FCS Group, a utility rate consulting company, detailing how the city will need to restructure its water rate billing system in coming years. In 2008, the Lane vs. Seattle court ruling determined that cities could no longer pay for fire protection through water utility rates. The ruling stated that fire protection is a basic government function and all funding for it must come out of a city’s general fund. The city contracted with FCS group to do a rate study to help the city update its Water Comprehensive Plan through 2016 and to determine what they need to do to fund fire control through the general fund rather than from water rates. FCS was also charged with the task of developing a wholesale water rate for the future city water lines on Johns Prairie. “In addition to the city rate adjustment which incorporates a lot of the capital improvements that we were anticipating as part of our update … we have these other factors that are being considered,” Steve Goins, community and economic development director, said. The city has to update its Comprehensive Water Plan every six years. The first thing FCS representatives discussed with the city was its $11.2 million capital improvement plan for the next six years, which will pay for aquifer studies and well and reservoir maintenance as well as larger projects, like looking for a new water source and securing water rights. They also discussed changes in water rates and utility taxes needed to comply with the Lane vs. Seattle decision. FCS representatives said that in See Water on page A-7

St. David tries to be good neighbor, builds a fence By NATALIE JOHNSON The St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in downtown Shelton has long been a friend of the homeless. The Mason County Homeless Shelter originated within the church, and members continue to run a cold weather emergency shelter and provide free meals and showers there. However in recent months, some neighborhood residents have com-

plained that some of the homeless who take advantage of the church’s charity have been contributing to crime and general disorder within the neighborhood. “I had my carport burglarized,” Rod Whittaker, a neighborhood resident, said. The problems have left some residents feeling desperate. “Somebody is going to get hurt,” local resident Mike Olson said.

In response to several reports of this nature, including vandalism, vagrancy, public drunkenness and even assault, neighborhood residents met with church and city representatives last Wednesday evening to try to resolve these problems. “My goal here is just to get people to start talking to each other,” said Rob Wilson-Hoss, a local attorney who represents St. David’s and who acted as a

mediator at the meeting. The biggest complaint voiced by residents was that some homeless people are sleeping on church grounds overnight. “I am not against the cold weather homeless shelter. I really like it. I knew it was here when I bought property and moved in,” Olson said. “Our biggest issue is somebody in this church knows these people are sleeping here through the summer.”

Church representatives admitted that one or two homeless people had been given permission to park their cars on church property overnight but were never given permission to sleep there. They said that because no one stays at the church overnight, they can’t constantly monitor who sleeps on the grounds. One person in particular betrayed church members’ See St. David on page A-7

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Journal Shelton-Mason County

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Year 124 — Week 41 — 6 Sections — 58 Pages — Published in Shelton, Washington — $1

Community in mourning By KEVAN MOORE

Ehron Alan Erickson

Shelton teenager missing By KEVAN MOORE The family of a Shelton teenager are hoping that someone can help find their missing son. Ehron (pronounced Aaron) Alan Erickson, 19, of the 500 block of Allen Road, was last seen in the late afternoon on Friday, Oct. 8, and is believed to have been walking near Allen and Lynch roads. Erickson is 5’10”, weighs about 165 pouonds and has shoulder-length curly light brown hair. He was wearing jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt and possibly aviator-type sunglasses. Erickson apparently took his father’s gun and left a suicide note prior to his disappearance. “If you live in a wooded area, please check around your home,” states a flier with Erickson’s photo on it. “Searchers may be in your area looking for him, please do not be alarmed if you see them.” The sheriff’s office is investigating Erickson’s disappearance and deployed a tracking dog to try and find him. But Mason County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dean Byrd said the agency’s search and rescue team has not been deployed. “The people we send out are volunteers, in other words, civilians,” Byrd said. “This guy is armed and we’ve got a policy to not risk the lives of the civilian volunteers.” Byrd said that family and friends have been conducting their own searches with ATVs in a wide radius near where Erickson went missing. “It’s also my understanding, though, that the note says, ‘Don’t even try searching around the residence because I won’t be here,’ ” Byrd added.

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If 2,800 miles seems like a long way to go, that’s because it is. But, when you start to think about how many people have made the journey from Todos Santos, Guatemala, to Shelton, it doesn’t seem that far at all. Carlos Pablo-Carrillo made the trip in 2008 and his life was cut tragically short on September 29 when he was shot and killed in an apparent hunting accident while picking salal just off California Road. His death sent a devastating blow to the local Guatemalan community, which has particularly deep ties to Todos Santos and has already faced unbelievable tragedy in recent years involving men from there that have died here. About 100 people turned out for a vigil at Post Office Park this past Friday evening to honor PabloCarrillo’s memory and to comfort his wife, Marta Gomez-Mendoza,

Photo courtesy of Al Barrus

Marta Gomez-Mendoza, right, grieves for her husband during a candlelight vigil at Post Office Park this past Friday, Oct. 8. and their daughter, Jeyli; and easily twice that many folks attended an open-casket wake at St. David’s Parish Hall on Sunday. Longtime immigrant activist and advocate Tobie Kevin said this week that he has spent time with Carlos, Marta and Jeyli and described them all as “fantastic people.” Kevin said that Pablo-Carril-

...she still does not understand why a pair of hunters ran from the scene of the shooting. lo was motivated to come to the states in order to support his family after his father was struck and killed by lightning.

Shelton pride

“As best I know he had been your 22-year-old brush picker poster boy,” Kevin added. Kevin said it would be tough to guess how many folks from Guatemala are living in Mason County, but said it’s “probably at least a thousand.” “In this town, the majority of our Latino immigrants are Guatemalan rather than Mexican and would better be described as indigenous Indians,” he added. “I think it’s about a 60-40 or maybe 70-30 split, and they mainly come from two towns in Guatemala and speak Mam.” At the Friday night vigil, a clearly sad and grieving Gomez-Mendoza spoke about a lack of communication with local law enforcement about what is being done to pursue the case and noted that she still does not understand why a pair of hunters ran from the scene of the shooting. Gomez-Mendoza also said that See Community on page A-7

School budgets to be chopped By MARY DUNCAN State revenue projections and budget reductions indicate a $122,890 shortfall for the Shelton School District and could mean a potential Reduction In Force (RIF). Superintendent Joan Zook delivered the grim forecast at the Shelton School Board meeting Tuesday evening. Last month Governor Christine Gregiore issued an executive order directing 6.3 percent across-the-board cuts in the 2001-11 operating budget beginning October 1, 2010. Zook said such a reduction will effect kindergarten through third grade staffing enhancements ($23,840), the Highly Capable Program ($2,340), student achievement funds ($6,583), middle school vocation program ($2,002) and

levy equalization ($88,125). None of these are defined as basic education needs. “These are all vulnerable,” Zook said. The K-3 staffing enhancements provide extra funds if class sizes remain small enough to qualify so the district would have less money to put into smaller class sizes, Zook said. The levy equalization is money that comes to “property-poor districts” like Shelton and other districts which do not have enough property value within the district to support all the things a levy supports, she said. Losing this source of funding “can have devastating effects on out ability to run the district,” Zook said. She said the richer districts like Mercer Island are not affected and See School on page A-7

Deputy flips patrol car By KEVAN MOORE Journal photo by Natalie Johnson

Hiram Highclimber claps during the Shelton High School homecoming spirit assembly on October 7.

Fairgrounds hopes to get out of red By MARY DUNCAN Although operation of the fairgrounds finished in the red since the Port of Shelton took over in February, future projections indicate it could bring in a positive cash flow over the next three years. That’s what John Dobson, executive director, told the commissioners in a report on October 5. The port took over the fairgrounds after Mason County commissioners decided to terminate the 50-year lease with the port in November 2009 with three years remaining on the lease. The county was given 90 days to remove all property from the grounds. “When we accepted ownership (on Feb. 4, 2010), the port was not too sure what

we had our hands on,” Dobson said. The port hired a consultant, Helix, to prepare a report on what needed to be done to the buildings and property. The report indicated a cost of $1.8 million over a five-year period to make repairs and improvements. To keep the fairgrounds operational for the remaining three years on the lease, the port decided to go a different route, what Dobson call “Band-Aids and bailing wire.” Several buildings were demolished. Dobson said black mold, a health hazard, was found in one of the buildings. “Instead of repairing it let’s remove it and leave slab there,” Dobson said. He also outlined “some of the things See Fairground on page A-7

A Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputy was involved in a single-vehicle collision and rollover shortly before midnight this past Saturday. Deputy Sean Dodge, responding to a Belfair disturbance call, was heading northbound on State Route 3 near milepost 10 when the rollover occurred. Also in the vehicle with Dodge was a drug-sniffing dog named Kona. It appears that the vehicle rolled multiple times. A sheriff’s office memo dated the next day and written by Deputy Michael Sargent indicates that Dodge was taken to Mason General Hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries and released. Narcotics K-9 Kona “was examined at the scene and appeared shaken but uninjured,” Sargent wrote. Mason County Sheriff’s

Office Chief Deputy Dean Byrd said Monday that the Washington State Patrol was investigating the wreck, but a spokesman for the patrol said that’s not the case. Trooper Todd Bartolac said that sheriff’s office personell took measurements at the crash site and towed the wrecked vehicle before the WSP even responded. “The only thing we did was a collision report and the only document we’ll have is a collision report — vehicle info, driver info, a diagram, etc.,” Bartolac said. “My understanding is that there were outstanding circumstances and this is just the way this one was handled. That’s all the information I can give out. Mason County is the one that handled this one.” When asked, Trooper Bartolac said that Dodge See Deputy on page A-7

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Brenda Trogstad, district director of finance, said the board would adopt a budget and then have to go back and do revisions to it once the final state budget is adopted. Trogstad attended a meeting Monday in Olympia and was told the state reduction in the education budget could be as much as 10 percent. “So the ranges we need to consider are 6.3 percent to 10 percent. That’s what we need to get out there,” said Jim Barrett, board member. Sue McCausland, board president, urged community members to contact legislators and “tell them what’s important for education in our community. They need to hear from a group of people besides just board members and superintendents.” “The good news is that K-12 basic education is constitutionally protected even though it is not fully funded,” Zook said. “The continued erosion of state funding increases the district’s reliance on levy funding for basic education programs.”

Continued from page A-1 “that is unfair.” “The bigger issue is long-term support for levy equalization,” Zook said. She and board members urged members of the community to contact legislators and let them know the importance of this source of funding. Student achievement funds are used primarily for staff development and resulted from the passage of Initiative 728, Zook said. The Highly Capable Program, known as HiCap, is for gifted students in elementary school. Board member Brian Major said he had talked with three families who said they would leave the district if that program is cut. “In situations like this what districts sometimes do is to RIF, which is demoralizing,” Zook said. The proposed reductions will begin on October 1 for the district, Zook said, but the funding will not be taken away until May or June after the legislature meets.

we inherited” when the port took over. There was a large amount of raw garbage and a “full-sized” rat’s nest was found in Building 22. He said the first “big chance” to rent the fairgrounds came with the Mason Area Fair in July. Other successful events included the Gig Harbor Kennel Club Shoe and OysterFest. Between February 4 and October 5 the port spent a total of $75,834 in expenses and generated revenue of $42,850 for a loss of $28,789. (See chart

rifle at the time, but was not arrested. He underwent administrative booking at the jail two days later and has yet to be charged. Prosecutors say they are waiting for the sheriff’s office to conclude its investigation and issue a report before any decision is made in regards to charging Aldrich. In the meantime, of course, the local Guatemalan community is reeling. Carrillo’s death is the latest in a long line of tragedies involving the unexpected deaths of former Todos Santos residents here in western Washington. During the Easter season a few years back, a former Todos Santos resident was killed in a rollover wreck in Grays Harbor County. Only a year later, another van rolled and another former Todos Santos resident perished. Then, most recently, in the summer of 2008, another man died in a drowning at Spencer Lake.

Community Continued from page A-1 she and her family are not out to seek revenge or retribution, but very much believes as a matter of fairness and justice that the person responsible for her husband’s death should share in her family’s financial burden. Shelton resident Gerald W. Aldrich, 39, went to the sheriff’s office about six hours after the mid-morning shooting and said he may have fatally shot Pablo-Carrillo by accident. Aldrich told police that he and a friend were bear hunting in the area that morning when he thought he saw a bear and fired. He told police that he thought he had missed and left the area before he later saw news reports about the shooting and turned himself in. Aldrich turned over his


Fairgrounds 2007-2010

Continued from page A-1

Expenses Salaries Operating Facilities Rodeo Total Expenses Revenue Fair Op. Rodeo Facilities





$26,549 $9,870 $39,416 long term

$70,978 $199,432 $17,000

$189,820 $116,629 $133,223 $48,720

$182,994 $140,262 $116,087 $38,392






$166,410 $21,000

$105,005 $30,178 $49,980

$112,836 $20,492 $42,366


Total Revenue





Total Loss





for a comparison of expenses and revenue from 20072010.) “We did this in less than six months,” Dobson said. “We will not be losing money over the next three years.” The port will maintain the fairgrounds until De-

cember 31, 2013, per the terms of the lease, but after that things will change due to Federal Aviation Administration regulations that do not allow for operations such as fairgrounds in close proximity to an airport. “Whatever we do over

the next three years, this community has got to come together,” Dobson said. “What do we do when we grow up?” Dobson said he personally favored some private entity to come forward and workout some solution prior to expiration of the lease.

Courtesy photo

Deputy Sean Dodge’s patrol car was totaled Saturday night after he hit standing water on State Route 3 and rolled the vehicle. Both Dodge, and his narcotics K-9 Kona, were not seriously hurt. The deputy was responding to a disturbance call out of Belfair.

Deputy Continued from page A-1 likely wouldn’t be cited with any kind of infraction. “There’s other ways that officers and troopers are disciplined when it comes to a collision,” Bartolac said. Chief Byrd said that heavy rain and standing water in the roadway contributed to the wreck and that Dodge’s vehicle hydroplaned before flipping. “This is one of those things where there’s ‘the rest of the story’ and we’d like to give you as much of that as we can, understanding that it’s still under investigation,” Byrd said. Byrd later seemed genuinely surprised on Wednesday to learn that the state patrol was no longer in-

volved in that investigation. “They’re not handling the Dodge investigation?” Byrd said. “Really? I’m being told, and our computer says, it was referred to another agency.” Byrd later said that he spoke with Deputy Dodge to get some clarification. “Deputy Dodge said a trooper came to the hospital and talked to him and his impression was that they were handling the investigation,” Byrd said. Byrd also said that Dodge doesn’t appear to have violated any sheriff’s office policies. “Initially, our understanding was he was traveling to this call pretty much within policy and speeds, within 10 mph of the speed limit with emergency lights activated. He’s one

of our better drivers. He’s an instructor, as a matter of fact.” According to entries from a 911 call report, a disturbance was reported in the 100 block of Rainbow Lane in Belfair at 11:39 p.m. The caller stated that a man “was just shooting a gun at her outside” and said “he took 30 shots at her outside her house.” About 11 1/2 minutes later, the rollover was reported. Deputies from Mason County, Kitsap County and troopers from the state patrol eventually surrounded the home. According to an incident report, the man told police that he was firing an air soft gun in the direction of his neighbor’s shed because her cats kept coming into his yard and he was trying to scare them off. No arrests were made.

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Shelton-Mason County Journal -Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 - Page A-7

Journal Shelton-Mason County

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Election results hold steady

Year 124 — Week 45 — 7 Sections — 56 Pages — Published in Shelton, Washington — $1

Broken homes

Charges in for shooter of brush picker By KEVAN MOORE

By KEVAN MOORE Last Tuesday’s election results remain essentially unchanged following the counting of more than 6,600 more ballots this past Friday. And with just one more count to go, the outcomes of local races are all but set in stone. “We don’t have enough ballots in our office to make a difference in any of the races,” noted Mason County Auditor Karen Herr. The election canvassing board will meet at 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 22, and a final count of some 35 ballots will take place at 4 p.m. that day. The election will then be certified the next morning at 9 a.m., November 23. Local turnout in the election was a whopping 75.6 percent. As things stand, the city of Shelton’s EMS levy will pass while voters rejected the creation of a new cemetery district. Port of Shelton voters approved district-wide, at-large elections for commissioners and voted to reduce commissioner terms from six years to four years. Port voters also voted against expanding the board. Voters rejected a levy lid lift in Fire District 4, but approved EMS levies in Fire Districts 6, 9 and 11. After Friday’s additional ballots were counted, Independent Jerry Lingle had 57.15 percent (13,110) of the vote compared to Democrat Brenda Hirschi’s 42.85 percent (9,830). In the prosecutor race, Republican Mike Dorcy had 54.16 percent (12,694) compared to Democrat Monty Cobb who had 45.84 percent (7,695). Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury was reelected with 66.68 percent (15,398) compared to his Independent challenger, Rich Germeau, who got 33.32 (7,695). See Election on page A-7

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Journal photo by Natalie Johnson

A danger notice from the City of Shelton is posted on the back door of a local house. See page 2 to find out how the city is tackling its’ dilapidated homes problem.

Mark of a veteran The military tradition of tattoos evolves through the generations By NATALIE JOHNSON The ancient practice of tattooing has evolved over the centuries, with artists creating new styles, techniques and trends, but one thing has remained the same. Tattoos are a permanent statement – what many say is a work of art forever stamped on the wearer’s skin. Among veterans of any branch of the U.S. military, for many of whom, getting tattoos is a time-honored tradition, they remind the wearer of home, triumph through hard times and personal dedication to an ideal. Sarah Hartman’s nine tattoos are not traditional military tattoos, she said, but like her tattoos that say “Justice and Judgment,” and “Death Before Dishonor,” in Irish, and “I Dare,” and a portrait of the Valkyrie, the mythic angel presiding over battlefields, symbolize the reasons that she chose to serve in

Journal photo by Natalie Johnson

World War II veteran Gordie Richmond shows off his dancing girl tattoo that he received while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. the Marine Corps since 2003. “Basically what it is is having that moral compass and the selfconfidence and ability to make your own decisions and think for yourself,” she said. “That constant struggle of doing what was morally right or doing what was politically right … and standing up for yourself and standing up for what you know is right even if it’s not the easiest thing to do.” It has long been a tradition for sailors to get tattoos, said Pete La-

serinko, who served in the Navy in the 1980s and 1990s. He said that tradition most likely started with merchant sailors, long before the United States, or its navy for that matter, even existed. “When the sailors would leave home they were gone for a year or three years and they would hit a lot of exotic places and ports,” he said. “They would see the ancient tribal people with their tattoos … getting See Tattoo on page A-7

A Shelton man suspected of mistaking a brush picker for a bear and shooting him dead has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors charged Gerald Wayne Aldrich, 39, this past Friday in Mason County Superior Court. The state claims that Aldrich killed Carlos PabloCarrillo, 25, who was gathering salal off the California Road, on the morning of September 29 through criminal negligence. Pablo-Carrillo, who hails from Todos Santos, Guatemala, is survived by his wife, Marta Gomez-Mendoza, and their daughter, Jeyli. According to the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Aldrich and a hunting companion mistook Pablo-Carrillo for a bear at around 10 a.m. September 29 when Aldrich fired his gun. Later that afternoon, Aldrich showed up at the sheriff’s office and told investigators that news reports led him to believe that he may have shot Pablo-Carrillo by accident. Aldrich told police he thought he had missed his target before leaving the area earlier that morning. Another man who was picking brush with PabloCarrillo at the time of the shooting said he he heard a loud pop and saw Pablo-Carrillo victim fall to the ground before a pair of men in camoflauge left the area on foot. On the day of the shooting, sheriff’s office detectives were assisted by a relative of Pablo-Carrillo’s who speaks Mam, a Mayan language spoken in Guatamala, while conducting interviews. If found guilty of the manslaughter charge, Deputy Prosecutor Mike Dorcy said that Aldrich likely faces a prison term of 21 to 27 months, with another three years added on to that due to a firearm enhancement.

Eagle Scout gives direction to Huff n’ Puff By NATALIE JOHNSON Local Eagle Scout Chris Chase recently led an effort this fall to give direction to Shelton’s Huff n’ Puff Trail, designing and installing, along with fellow scouts, a set of trail markers in the park. “Even as we were putting in the posts we had people thanking us,” Chase said. Chase embarked on the project in an effort to win the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. He not only achieved that goal but was also recognized by the city of Shelton for his service. The Shelton city commissioners recognized Chase for his work in their city commission meeting on Monday, November 1, thanking him for his efforts on the trail. “I didn’t know what to expect, I just thought it would be a quick thank you to me for doing this,” he said. “I don’t know how many awards for appreciation they give out to Eagle Scouts but I was really impressed – I’d never had that expe-

Journal photo by Natalie Johnson

Eagle Scout Chris Chase explains how the trail markers that he designed work.

rience before.” When setting out on his Eagle Scout project, Chase said that at first he wasn’t sure where to start, but his scout master led him to the city of Shelton and it’s parks and recreation department, where parks supervisor Mark Ziegler told him about the need for trail markers on the Huff n’ Puff trail. “I just got a phone call from him one day seeking out possible projects

in the parks,” Ziegler said. The project includes directional markers to more clearly delineate the separate trails and service roads throughout the park, as well as mile markers to aid runners marking their progress. “The service road gets very confusing because the trails go over it,” Chase said. “When I first started the project I didn’t know, I could barely orientate the map up there to get it set up.” The project was funded by a donation from the estate of Elizabeth Rublin, Ziegler said. He explained that Rublin loved the Huff n’ Puff Trail, and set up a part of her estate to fund any future projects to improve the park. Chase has been working his way through the ranks of the Boy Scouts since he joined when he was 11 years old. He said that only 2 to 5 percent of all Boy Scouts reach the rank of Eagle Scout. “Eagle Scout, as many people know is one of the highest ranks you

can get in the scouts,” he said. “Getting up to it is quite a process – it goes from a scout when you first join and then you get your tenderfoot and then you get your second class rank, then your first class rank, after that I believe it’s star, and then life and then eagle, so there’s a lot of ranks that go along with it.” Chase’s troop produces an Eagle Scout about every year, which he said was a little above average. Now 17, and having attained one of the highest ranks available to a Boy Scout, Chase is looking at the future, thinking about taking photography classes and taking time off after high school to go on a series of hikes. “When I first joined scouts I had no idea what was in store for me. I thought it was just trying to get through the ranks and get all the badges,” he said. “After a period of time I started to realize it’s more than that … I would probably be a different person if I didn’t join scouts.”

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