Smoke returns to Eatonville as Grand Mound fire erupts; JBLM resumes controlled burns

By Bruce A. Smith

Thick acrid smoke filled Eatonville’s skies this week as a major grasslands fire ignited in the Grand Mounds area Tuesday afternoon, and westerly winds pushed the conflagration towards us. Over 100 homes were evacuated in the Scatter Creek neighborhood, and videos from KOMO and KIRO TV showed multiple buildings engulfed in flames. Reports from these media outlets also stated that what began as a small grassland fire west of I-5 moved east and jumped the Interstate, then engaged hundreds of acres of woodlands and residential and commercial areas.

The smoke traveled thirty miles to Eatonville and settled into our skies by late afternoon, lingering until late evening.

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Posted in Eatonville News, Health, Politics, Smoke | 1 Comment

Eclipse in Eatonville

By Bruce A. Smith

Although I saw a very partial solar eclipse when I was a kid, I saw my first major solar eclipse today. I suppose for most people it was probably their first one, too. Here in Eatonville we had a superb viewing of the event, unlike my youth when I had to look through a tiny sun filter and gaze through the hazy cloudy skies of New York.

Here are my thoughts and observations of today’s eclipse, and hopefully readers will share their experiences in the commentary section that follows this posting.

In Eatonville we were blessed with clear skies and bright sunshine, and I started looking at the eclipse at 9:30 am. I only had to walk out of my abode, stand in the driveway and look up – with eclipse glasses, of course. My glasses were gifts from my neighbors, Doug and Jan, who got a bunch from their friend Sue – a wonderful communal sharing.

The sun was about 20% darkened.

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Posted in Eatonville News, Environment, Nature, Weather | 4 Comments

Public Health impacts stable as the smoke invasion enters its 2nd week

By Bruce A. Smith

As our smoke-filled skies broached its second week, local health experts report that they haven’t seen any increase in respiratory distress.

Fortunately, we haven’t seen a uptick in 911 calls for breathing problems,” South Pierce Fire and Rescue Chief Lloyd Galey told the Mountain News on Monday, August 7.

Chief Galey’s observations were buttressed by the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department’s smoke expert Judy Olson:

The good news is that we haven’t seen any change in the number of Emergency Department visits,” she told the Mountain News on Monday. “But we will be looking at cardio-vascular issues in the upcoming days and week because there are often delays between exposure and a hospital visit for those patients.”

Official concerns exist across agencies.

Everyone is concerned about the health impacts of the smoke,” affirmed Camille Saint-Onge, Communications Director for the Department of Ecology, who forecasted unhealthy air through Wednesday for western Washington.

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Posted in Eatonville News, Environment, Events, Nature, Science and Technology, Weather | Leave a comment

Smoke continues to choke Washington even as temperatures drop a few degrees

By Bruce A. Smith

Day 6 – August 6, 2017.

Smoke from regional forest fires continues to plague Washington residents, especially in the Puget Sound Basin. Air quality has improved somewhat since Thursday, August 3, the nadir of air quality, but we still have gray-brown skies throughout much of our area.

Over twenty major conflagrations are raging in British Columbia, and northern winds are pushing smoke from those blazes into our skies. We also have smoke coming from fires in Chelan and the Okanogan in Washington, along with smaller fires located on both sides of the Cascades.

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Posted in Environment, Health, Politics, Weather | 9 Comments

Smoke fills our skies as the heat scorches everything else

Bruce A. Smith

Heavy clouds of smoke descended upon the Eatonville area on Tuesday, August 1, accompanying a severe heat wave. Temperatures have been in the 90s throughout the week, but more distressingly the heavy, gritty smoke has walloped many people, such as asthma suffers and cardiac patients, as air quality plummets and breathing becomes problematic.

The Washington State Department of Ecology (WA-DOE) announced Thursday afternoon that air quality in the Puget Sound region had reached “very unhealthy” levels.

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Posted in Environment, Health, Nature, Politics, Weather | 4 Comments

Exercise classes for seniors to start in Graham

Special to the Mountain News-WA , from the GKCC.

The Graham – Kapowsin Community Council (G-KCC) is excited to announce that the long- awaited Golden Age exercise classes will begin on Thursday, June 8th!

There will be six (6) classes this summer. The dates are: June 8 and 22, July 6 and 20, August 10 and 24. All classes will be held on Thursdays starting @ 10:15 a.m. at the Graham Public Library, located at 9202 224th St. E. Graham. Continue reading

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Untidy Beaches – An update on the medical waste wash-ups along New York and New Jersey beaches

By Bruce A. Smith

An Insider’s Story of the Medical Waste Wash-Ups in New York during the Summer of 1988 and Current Update

In the summer of 1988, the beaches of New York and New Jersey were hit with wash-ups of syringes and slimy medical wastes, including bloody bandages. The gunk, particularly the syringes, still comes ashore, but no one knows about it because the media doesn’t report it, and the beach managers and politicians keep it a secret. But I’ll tell you what I know, and what I think is occurring.

In 1988, I was the owner and founder of Sandsifter Beachcleaning Company, the biggest commercial beachcleaning service in the metropolitan New York area. My clients were many of the small and mid-sized beaches of Long Island and the Jersey Shore. I was also the area representative for Cherrington Beachcleaner, the manufacturer of the machines I used to sift the sands. Through my efforts to sell and service these machines I became acquainted with most of the mangers of the major beaches in the area.

The ’88 wash-ups radicalized me to become an environmental activist, and it was also my first experience with governmental cover-up and media complicity. Continue reading

Posted in Back East, Environment, Nature, Politics, True Stories for Fake Times | 2 Comments