21 counties approved for Phase 2 reopening

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. — Seven additional counties have been approved to move to Phase 2 of the governor's plan to reopen the economy, the state announced Saturday.Cowlitz, Grant, Island, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific and San Juan counties join 14 other counties in reopening retail, hair and nail salons, restaurants and more under the Safe Start plan.The 21 counties are: Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Pacific, Pend Orielle, San Juan, Skamania, Spokane, Stevens, Wahkiakum and Whitman.Clallam, Kitsap and Thurston are eligible to apply for Phase 2.Kittitas and Clark counties' applications are on hold while public health officials investigate outbreaks.To apply for a variance, counties must have an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day period.

Industrial fire in Shelton sends black, possibly toxic smoke into air; some residents urged to evacuate

SHELTON, Wash. -- A large industrial fire Wednesday night forced the closure of State Route 3 in Shelton and the black, possibly toxic smoke from the blaze led authorities to advise residents within a half-mile to shelter in place and those with breathing issues were urged to evacuate, Mason County authorities said."Central Mason Fire and Mason County Fire Districts 4, 11, 16, and Mason County Medic One are on the scene of a structure fire next to a tire warehouse in the area of 1000 SE State Route 3," Mason Fire & EMS said on its Facebook page.  "Please avoid the area as heavy smoke from the fire is blowing across State Route 3 and the area increasing the likelihood of collisions with other vehicles.

Suspect in bizarre shooting of Mason Co. man dragging dead animal pleads not guilty

SHELTON, Wash. –  A Fircrest man pleaded not guilty in Mason County court Monday (July 24) after deputies say he shot a man, then ran over him because he thought the victim was dragging a dead dog down the road.According to court documents, the 28-year-old stopped his truck on June 25 when he saw the victim dragging a dead animal along State Route 3.Deputies say Kevin Schumacher confronted the man and started yelling at him about hurting the dog on the rope.The animal was actually a dead raccoon that the victim had found floating in Coulter Creek.