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News Briefs / Olympia


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  • Drought Conditions Impact Washington AG

    The Times|Jul 11, 2024

    OLYMPIA, WA. — According to the USDA, seven days were suitable for fieldwork in Washington, unchanged from the previous week. The continuing drought in Western Washington has caused difficult farming conditions. Central Washington dealt with heat and lack of moisture, which impacted wheat and forage crops. Forage crops had little regrowth; in some areas, cattle grazed fields that should have had a second hay-cutting. In Yakima County, daytime highs for the week started in the lower 80s but neared triple digits by the end of the week. The c...

  • Stay safe and cool this Independence Day

    The Times|Jul 4, 2024

    OLYMPIA — As we head into the Fourth of July, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) encourages everyone to take precautions and prepare for outdoor activities to ensure your summertime fun does not end at the emergency room or worse. The National Weather Service predicts moderate to major heat for much of Washington by the end of this week. Track weather conditions at www.wrh.noaa.gov/wrh/heatrisk/ and plan to monitor people with health conditions, the elderly, and infants to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other heat-related...

  • State Parks urge people to recreate responsibly this Fourth of July

    The Times|Jun 27, 2024

    OLYMPIA — The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) asks anyone planning a Fourth of July celebration at a park or beach to be safe and protect friends, neighbors, public lands, and wildlife. Parks sees high levels of visitation during Independence Day celebrations, particularly on its beaches, which increases the amount of trash left behind. Last year, volunteers collected more than 111,000 pounds of garbage from ocean beaches during the annual July 5 beach cleanup. That’s equivalent to the weight of about seven adult orc...

  • Start the school year by getting up to date on vaccinations

    The Times|Sep 7, 2023

    OLYMPIA — As kids across Washington head back to the classroom, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) encourages everyone to get caught up on their vaccinations to help keep families and communities healthy and safe. Children entering school and child care must meet state immunization requirements. According to 2022-2023 school immunization data, nearly 91% of K-12 students completed their required school vaccinations, which is slightly lower than the past few years. To boost childhood immunization rates, DOH works closely with c...

  • New tax credit for Washington workers

    The Times|May 18, 2023

    OLYMPIA—Individuals and families may receive refunds of up to $1,200 through Working Families Tax Credit if they meet eligibility requirements. The program is modeled after the Earned Income Tax Credit program; applications may be submitted through December 31, 2023. The Working Families Tax Credit aims to stimulate the local economy, promote racial equity, and support the financial stability and well-being of low-to-moderate-income Washington residents and their families. The program is managed by the Washington State Department of Revenue (... Full story

  • Governor signs bill to increase affordable housing supply

    The Times|May 11, 2023

    OLYMPIA—Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill on Monday, initially sponsored by Representatives Klicker, Leavitt, Barkis, Jacobsen, Waters, Chapman, Reed, and Graham, increasing affordable housing options in the state. House Bill 1293 streamlines the permitting process and regulations for developing houses in urban growth areas. The bill requires cities and counties to plan under the Growth Management Act to ensure their design review process is clear and objective. “I’m pleased to see this bill pass because it addresses one of our state’s biggest...

  • Ecology soliciting applications for local flood hazard planning grants

    The Times|Dec 15, 2022

    OLYMPIA—The costs associated with flooding exceed all other natural hazards in Washington state. Each year, there is a better than 80% chance that ten or more flood events will occur, and the frequency of floods will increase as the climate changes. The Washington Legislature established the state Flood Control Assistance Account Program (FCAAP) in 1984 to help local and Tribal governments plan for and reduce their flood risks. “We know preparing for and avoiding flood damages is particularly important because storms are increasing in str...

  • Sno-Park Permits go on sale Nov. 1

    The Times|Oct 20, 2022

    OLYMPIA — Washington Sno-Park permits go on sale starting November 1, 2022. The State Parks Winter Recreation Program manages over 120 recreation sites, or Sno-Parks, across the state, which recreators can enjoy during the winter season. Parking at these sites requires special permits. Seasonal or one-day Sno-Park permits can be purchased at https://tinyurl.com/twek7brb or through a licensed vendors. Snowmobilers must register their snowmobiles through the Washington Department of Licensing. In addition to the seasonal Sno-Park permit, a s... Full story

  • National Hunting and Fishing Day is on September 24

    The Times|Sep 22, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Since 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of September to recognize generations of sports people for their contributions to the conservation of our nation’s rich sporting heritage and natural resources. One of the core goals of NHFD is to recruit new hunters and anglers by increasing awareness of the connections between conservation and fishing/hunting. This year, WDFW will host an online celebration using Instagram at https://tinyurl.com/4bsx77z4, YouTube at https://tin...

  • Superintendent Reykdal Releases Plan for Work Experience in School to Contribute to Graduation

    The Times|Aug 11, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Nearly 30% (45,000–55,000) of Washington’s high school students are employed. State Superintendent Chris Reykdal announced a plan to allow students ages 16 and up to earn elective credits toward graduation through verified paid work experience. “Through work experience, students learn employability and leadership skills––skills like interpersonal communication, personal finance, time management, taking direction, receiving critical feedback, and following through on commitments––that support their long-term success in the workforce a...

  • P-EBT returns to Washington for summer

    The Times|Jul 21, 2022

    OLYMPIA —Thanks to federal COVID-19 relief funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), many families in Washington state will have another round of food assistance available to them while children are home during the summer break. Called Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, these food benefits are available to families with young children who are eligible for Basic Food benefits as well as school-aged children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meal programs. P-EBT benefits can be used to shop at any grocery store, farmers market,... Full story

  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Launches

    The Times|Jul 21, 2022

    OLYMPIA— 988 is the new, nationwide, three-digit dialing code for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The 988 dialing code connects people via call, text, or chat to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), where compassionate, accessible care and support are available for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. 988 is the newest addition to the state’s network of crisis center providers and will not replace any crisis call centers in Washington. The current NSPL number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will remain active alo... Full story

  • Next state land free days, June 11, 12, and 19

    The Times|Jun 9, 2022

    OLYMPIA—The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites visitors to enjoy a state park on Saturday, June 11 in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, Sunday, June 12 in recognition of Free Fishing Day, and Sunday, June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. Visitors are not required to display a Discover Pass for day-use visits to a Washington state park or on lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) on these dates. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation o...

  • Tuberculosis cases on the rise globally and in Washington state

    The Times|May 5, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Washington’s tuberculosis (TB) cases are rising, putting state and local public health officials on heightened alert. Widespread disruptions in public health and healthcare services and missed TB diagnoses due to similarities in symptoms between COVID-19 and TB are thought to have contributed to TB cases rising both locally and globally. TB reporting decreased in 2020 during the first year of the pandemic. Though efforts to prevent COVID-19 may also reduce the spread of TB, the decrease could also have been due to delayed or missed TB...

  • Secretary of State addresses concerns regarding third-party canvassers in Washington counties

    The Times|Apr 28, 2022

    OLYMPIA — The Office of the Secretary of State received multiple reports of third-party canvassers presenting themselves as elections officials and going door-to-door across Washington asking residents about their voter information and other election-related questions. These canvassers are not affiliated with and do not represent the Office of the Secretary of State, its Elections division, or any of Washington’s 39 county elections offices. “I want to assure Washington voters that you are under no obligation to answer any questions from,...

  • Board of Health not to require Covid-19 vaccines for school entry

    The Times|Apr 21, 2022

    OLYMPIA – On April 13, the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) voted not to include COVID-19 in the state’s immunization requirements for school entry at this time. As stated in today’s SBOH meeting, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) supports the recommendation of the SBOH’s technical advisory group (TAG) and thanks the TAG for its thorough and methodical and transparent review of this matter over several months. During the SBOH discussion, it was made clear that both DOH and SBOH continue to support COVID-19 vaccines as bein...

  • Effective anti-COVID drug available for eligible patients

    The Times|Apr 7, 2022

    OLYMPIA–Thousands of doses of a potentially life-saving COVID-19 drug are available in the state of Washington, potentially benefitting those at highest risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Evusheld (tixagevimab co-packaged with cilgavimab) is a monoclonal antibody treatment that can provide protection against COVID-19. An injectable, it can be given to adults and children 12 years and older before infection with COVID-19. At present, those eligible to receive Evusheld include people who are moderately to severely i... Full story

  • Secretary of State reminds Washingtonians to research charities before supporting Ukrainian-relief efforts

    The Times|Mar 24, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs encourages Washingtonians to do their due diligence and conduct research on the charities or nonprofits to which they donate to support relief efforts in Ukraine. “Americans are a generous people. Whenever a tragedy or crisis occurs around the world, we express our compassion by donating to any number of honest, legitimate charities,” said Secretary Hobbs. “These charities have the resources and infrastructure to ensure the money we contribute directly supports their designated causes....

  • Equine Industry Support bill heads to Senate for second reading

    The Times|Mar 3, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Washington state legislative bill HB1928 (2021-22), concerning equine industry support, has passed the House and moved to the state Senate. On February 28, the Senate sent the bill to the Rules Committee for a second reading. Sponsored by Rep. Joe Schmick (R), Rep. Drew Stokesbary (R), Rep. Robert Sutherland (R ), Rep. Emily Wicks (D), and Rep. Tom Dent (R ), the bill could bring $6 million in support to Washington’s equine industry, including but not exclusively horse racing. The funds will come from sales tax collected through ind...

  • Washington's mask mandate ends March 21 for most indoor settings

    The Times|Feb 24, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Governor Jay Inslee last week announced that, on March 21, the indoor mask mandate will be lifted for most settings. The February 17 announcement was made after nearly two years of mandated mask-wearing, and recent rapidly declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Masks will no longer be required in schools, childcare facilities, bars, restaurants, churches, gyms, grocery stores, or retail and business establishments after the goal date. Masks will still be required for dental and outpatient offices, hospitals, long-term care f... Full story

  • Some powdered infant formula has been recalled due to possible bacterial contamination

    The Times|Feb 24, 2022

    OLYMPIA—Abbott Nutrition announced late on Thursday, February 17, that it is voluntarily recalling powdered infant formula produced at their Sturgis facility in Michigan. This includes Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare brand formula. The recall comes after four consumer complaints about infant illnesses related to Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella bacteria. In all four cases, infants were hospitalized, and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating and working with the U.S. C... Full story

  • Department of Health changes COVID-19 dashboard

    The Times|Jan 27, 2022

    OLYMPIA—The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) changed how it presents information on its COVID-19 Data Dashboard on January 21. The goal is to display current trends and information that are most applicable to the current phase of the pandemic. DOH is also adjusting the frequency of COVID-19 dashboard updates from daily to three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The most visible updates are to the Current Status tab on the dashboard. A new format will focus on three measures necessary for monitoring COVID-19 in Washingt...

  • WSBOH clarifies misinformation regarding January 12 meeting

    Beka Compton, The Times|Jan 13, 2022

    OLYMPIA—The Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) will host a public, virtual meeting on January 12. The meeting has garnered much attention on social media from parents and caregivers of school-aged children. Rumors online suggest that the Board will be voting to require a COVID-19 vaccine for all school-aged children; however, that is not the case, according to a release that is available for viewing on www.sboh.wa.gov. The SBOH will not be voting to require a COVID-19 vaccine for c...

  • Pfizer, Moderna vaccines now recommended over Johnson & Johnson

    The Times|Dec 23, 2021

    OLYMPIA‚—The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is recommending people 18 and older choose to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) instead of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. This update follows guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. Individuals who wish to receive the J&J vaccine are encouraged to reach out to their health care provi...

  • New COVID-19 safety guidance released after multi-county outbreak linked to high school wrestling tournaments

    The Times|Dec 23, 2021

    OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH), is updating the health and safety requirements for high contact indoor sports in the wake of a multi-school, multi-county outbreak. The outbreaks are linked to a series of wrestling tournaments held in early December and are linked to an estimated 200 COVID-19 cases. Genomic sequencing recently confirmed at least three cases are omicron. DOH takes these outbreaks very seriously and is changing the existing guidance by adding the following health and safety measures for all indoor, h...

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