Lights & Sirens

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Category: Mount Rainier


Mount Rainier plant operator pleads guilty to dumping sewage in Nisqually River, resigns

A treatment plant operator accused of directing 200,000 gallons of sewage into the Nisqually River pleaded guilty today and resigned his post at Mount Rainier National Park.

As part of the plea deal, 52-year-old James Barber resigned from the Park Service and agreed not to enter the park for five years.

Federal prosecutors charged him with violating the Clean Water Act, a misdemeanor, after he failed in August 2011 to stop a buildup of sewage at the plant that serves the Paradise Inn and Paradise Visitor’s Center.

The filters at the plant became clogged due to an influx of

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Mount Rainier plant operator charged with dumping 200,000 gallons of sewage into waterway

A treatment plant operator at Mount Rainier National Park has been charged with dumping 200,000 gallons of sewage into a river that winds through the park.

James Barber will appear in federal court Friday morning to enter a plea. He has been charged with violating the Clean Water Act, which is a misdemeanor.

Barber worked at a treatment plant that handles waste from the Paradise Visitor Center and the Paradise Inn. Because the park sees fewer visitors in the winter, operators do not treat the sewage as often as they do in the warmer months.

Federal prosecutors contend Barber failed

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Crews fighting fire near East boundary of Mount Rainier National Park

Crews are working to put out a fire started by lightening Sept. 8 that is burning near the east boundary of Mount Rainier National Park, within a mile of Three Lakes, park officials said Sunday.

The fire has burned 5 acres and is expected to be fully controlled Tuesday.

25 people are working to put out the blaze, including North Cascades Smokejumpers, Mount Rainier National Park firefighters a helicopter crew and personnel from Denali National Park.

North Cascades smokejumpers got to the fire this morning to help with ground operations.

All trails in the park are open, except the Laughingwater Creek Trail,

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Climbers recovered from Mount Rainier died of hypothermia

Two climbers who disappeared in a series of winter storms and were recovered from Mount Rainier last weekend died of hypothermia, according to the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The bodies of Michelle Trojanowski, 30, of Atlanta, and Eunsork Yang, 54, of Springfield, Ore., were found Friday near a snowy campsite strewn with equipment.

A helicopter crew spotted Trojanowski’s body hanging over a crevasse around 8,200 feet and rangers recovered the bodies Friday.

Still missing is Seol Hee Jin, 52, of South Korea.

Mark Vucich’s body was found last month nearly a mile from where Trojanowski and Yang were discovered

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Oregon man sentenced to more than 2 years for Mount Rainier car prowls

A federal judge today sentenced a 35-year-old Oregon man to 26 months in prison for a series of car break-ins at Mount Rainier National Park two years ago.

U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle also ordered Matthew J. Mortinson to pay more than $7,000 in restitution.

“You can’t understand the impact on the victims of your conduct,” Settle told Mortinson. “It is a serious interference with the quality of their lives.”

National Park Service investigators said Mortinson and Pamela N. Williams broke into 16 cars parked at various trailheads  in May and June 2010. They stole computers, purses, wallets, backpacks

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Eatonville man killed in last week’s crash was Mount Rainier employee

An Eatonville man who died last week in a one-car crash on state Route 7 was a Mount Rainier National Park employee, according to the Park Service.

Douglas S. Chappell, 40, was an engineering equipment operator who worked on the road crew for five years plowing roads to Paradise.

“He was a team member, took great pride in being an NPS employee and will be sorely missed by friends and family,” the Park Service said in a statement.

Chappell was driving south on SR 7 on July 29 when his car left the road near Ohop Valley Road and struck

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Winter storm warning in the Cascades

With 16 inches of snow expected to hammer the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park tonight, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning.

The warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Forecasters say freezing rain could hit the highway passes for several hours tonight before transitioning into snow.

The heaviest snowfall is expected on the highways to Paradise and Mount Baker. The 16 inches anticipated for tonight is in addition to the 5 to 8 inches of powder that has already fallen this afternoon.

The Weather Service warns that avalanche danger is high and driving

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Family of man accused of killing Mt. Rainier ranger issues statement

The Seattle Times reports that the family of Benjamin C. Barnes, who’s suspected of killing a Mount Rainer National Park ranger on Sunday, has issued a statement.

“First and foremost, the Barnes family would like to extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of everyone affected by Ben’s actions,” the statement begins.

Read the entire statement here.