Judge Doherty Will Not Seek Re-Election

A longtime North Olympic Peninsula lawyer and jurist says he will not seek re-election to his Forks-area District Court 2 judge position.

70 year-old Judge John H Doherty of Beaver emailed his decision Monday to Clallam County Bar Association members.

      Wed April 11 News

Doherty told the PD Tuesday he would rather spend the next four year doing something else – like carpentry or electrical work.

Doherty is  a native of Clallam County and a 1966 Port Angeles High School graduate, has been a lawyer for 42 years.

Doherty was appointed to the District 2 judgeship in 2012, succeeding Erik Rohrer, who was elected to Clallam County Superior Court.  Doherty won election to the position unopposed in 2014.

John D. Black, a Sequim resident who practices in Forks, announced March 9 that he plans to seek the part-time judgeship.

Doherty said he does not plan to endorse Black, and Black said Tuesday that he was hoping that Doherty would not run for re-election.

Filing week for the Nov. 6 general election is May 14-18.

Kinder Morgan Suspends Trans Mountain Pipeline Project

Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was in doubt Monday after the company announced a suspension in all non-essential activities and related spending on the project.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Sunday that the decision by Kinder Morgan to halt the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was the result of “uncertainty” of the project due to continued opposition by the BC government – and sustained protests at Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.

      Tue April 10 News

Kinder Morgan says it will make a final decision on the pipeline by may 31.

The pipeline would nearly triple the flow of oil from Canada’s oil sands to the Pacific Coast – and dramatically increase the number of oil tankers traveling the shared waters between Canada and Washington state.

Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean said Monday the company would be open to Canadian government investment if it brought certainty. However the BC government continues to battle in court against the project – while the Alberta government says it’s open to government involvement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the project in late 2016, saying it was in Canada’s best interest.

The project has drawn legal challenges and opposition from environmental groups and Native American tribes as well as from municipalities such as Vancouver and Burnaby.

It’s also sparked a dispute between the provinces of Alberta, which has the world’s third largest oil reserves, and British Columbia. About 200 people have been arrested near Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby during recent protests.

Banks will get Trial date April 19

The expelled Forks High School student who allegedly threatened to kill a classmate last month, will get a new trial date April 19.

19 year-old Kelvin Richard Banks was in court Friday.

He is charged with one count of felony harassment — threats to kill for allegedly threatening the life of a female classmate in a fourth period science class March 6.

      Mon April 9 News

Banks pleaded not guilty.  He posted a $100,000 bail March 22 and was placed on electronic home monitoring.

Lewis Guilty of Arson in Beaver House Fire

A Sedro-Woolley man has been convicted of arson and other charges in the New Year’s Day 2016 fire that left the Beaver home of his former girlfriend uninhabitable.

38 year old Marshall Jay Lewis was found guilty of first degree arson, residential burglary, telephone harassment and cyberstalking. His sentencing is set for April 24.

      Fri April 6 News

Deputy Criminal Prosecuting Attorney Steven Johnson said Wednesday he will recommend a prison sentence of at least 5½ years based on Lewis’ criminal history, which includes a conviction of third-degree rape in Snohomish County in 2010.

The former girlfriend was in Florida at the time of the fire.

The presiding juror, Norman Vorhies of Sequim, told the PD that Lewis’ interview with authorities, voicemail messages and traces of DNA at the home were the key pieces of evidence against Lewis.

Lewis, a convicted sex offender, will be sentenced at 9 a.m. April 24 in Clallam County Superior Court.

National Park Fee Hike Plan May be Amended

Could the Department of the Interior be re-thinking its controversial plan to nearly triple entrance fees at National Parks including ONP?

It’s possible.  Reports from the AP and the Washington Post say that is the case.  However, Park officials says they have not gotten any guidance from the Interior Department which is facing widespread opposition to a plan to impose steep fee increases at popular national parks.

      Thu April 5 News

The plan would raise entrance fees from $25 to $70 per vehicle at the  nation’s most popular parks — including Olympic National Park — during the peak summer season.

The reports cited anonymous sources saying  officials have “taken the public’s suggestions seriously and have amended the plan to reflect those” comments.

However, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Penny Wagner said Wednesday that recent news reports were the first she had heard of an  amended plan.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the proposed fee hike last October, saying it could raise $70 million a year to pay for maintenance projects at the National Park Service.