News in Brief
Thurston County Superior Court judge Richard Strophy sentenced the killer of Blaine teenager Ashley Parks to more than 25 years in prison last week following his conviction in April for second degree murder and two counts of child rape.
Parks left Blaine in the company of former Olympia area high school teacher Stephan Kaufman last July after meeting him on the internet. Her remains were found by hikers near Olympia last August 28. Kaufman continued to deny his guilt throughout the trial and sentencing. Police had been led to him as a result of Parks using his computer to email a friend in Blaine.
Blaine police chief Mike Haslip said that his department “has officers trained in internet crime against children, and it’s specifically because the internet is ubiquitous, you use it like the phone. The web’s a wonderful tool but it’s also another portal into your home, and you need to monitor your children’s use of the internet just like you monitor what comes in and out of the front door.”
Parks’s family has started a fund to address the problem of child victims of internet predators at www.theashleyfund.org.
accident waiting to happen
“This case has its own challenges besides having fires,” said county fire marshal Warner Webb of the fire in the 3900 block of Sweet Road that destroyed what the neighbors call a junkyard but the property owner calls home.
Webb said the property owner had been living in a travel trailer inside a shed that burned to the ground June 16 that also contained at least five cars, batteries and propane tanks. He reported to fire investigators that the pilot light on the travel trailer’s stove had been sparking and starting small fires, but that he had not had time to fix it before going to stay with his girlfriend. “That’s what we’re probably looking at,” Webb said regarding the cause of the fire.
This was the second fire in three months on the property, Webb said. Earlier this year the double-wide trailer the property owner had been living in was destroyed in a fire after he used a propane barbecue inside. “The bottle of propane was off a forklift and the thread was not the same,” said Webb. “He was boiling water to make mac and cheese.”
Webb said neighbors had growing safety concerns revolving around the dozens of hulk vehicles on the five-acre property, including another travel trailer, occupied by a friend of the property owner, a camper shell, a boat, and a collection of old hot water heaters, propane tanks and other derelict items. Their concern is heightened by the frequency of fires at the location. “Within a three month period we’ve burned down two structures here,” Webb said. “Statistically this is not supposed to happen.”
Webb said neighbors had filed complaints and the property was being investigated for violating county zoning laws regarding clearing without a permit and junk vehicles. “This is an active case,” he said. However, the fire marshal’s office was not investigating the property owner for any wrongdoing as far as the fire itself is concerned. “These were clearly both accidental fires,” Webb said. “This guy has lost everything he owned.”
Washington citizens selling a motor vehicle now have the option of keeping their current license plates and transferring them to another vehicle.
Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a law that changes the requirement that standard issue license plates remain with a vehicle when its owner sells it. The new law allows vehicle owners to remove their license plates when they sell or otherwise transfer ownership of a vehicle and transfer them to an eligible replacement vehicle. The department of licensing began offering this option June 10.
An eligible vehicle would be one that uses the same type and size of license plate. For example, citizens will be able to transfer passenger vehicle license plates to another passenger vehicle, but not a truck. A pickup truck owner could transfer the plates from one truck to another, but not to a passenger vehicle.
Transferring your current plates to another vehicle will be optional. Owners will still have the option of leaving their current plates on a vehicle when they sell it. The transfer of plates from one vehicle to another will cost $10.
In the past, only vehicle owners with personalized or specialty license plates were allowed to transfer their plates from vehicle to vehicle. The $5 fee for transferring these types of plates was increased by the state legislature to $10 to correspond with the fee charged for transferring standard license plates.