Newspaper Archive of
Monroe Historical Society
Monroe, Washington
July 29, 1976     Monroe Historical Society
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July 29, 1976
 

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New Director Says: By John K. Wiley News Editor There is an industrial complex near Monroe comprised of a furniture factory, upholstery shop, a printing operation and a farm which grosses $2.2 million a year, employs nearly 100 men and pays no taxes on its assets. Its employes are paid between 15 and 40 cents per hour and at quitting time-when their foremen drive home to wives and suburbia-they are taken to a home surrounded by 30 foot walls, barbed wire-topped fences and guard towers. The workers are convicted felons employed in Institu- tional Industries, a branch of the Washington State Reformatory. Their daily tasks are designed to give them job skills necessary on the outside to keep them from returning once they are paroled or released. More than license plates The concept of the institutional work release and prison industries program was developed in 1959, when Washing- ton lawmakers established a commission "to minimize idleness among prisoners and to promote rehabilitation." Since then, Institutional Industries has grown from a license plate shop at Walla Walla to the manufacturer of desks and office furniture for the state's agencies and iii iii!i ?i Robert Parmele municipal corporations and a host of other activities. Institutional Industries at Monroe is comprised of four separate businesses: a furniture manufacturing and refinishing shop which employs 31 men; an upholstery shop employing 12 men; two print shops with 17 men; and the honor farm in the Tualco Valley south of Monroe with 30 equipment, Parmele said. "All we're really trying to do is break even and keep the program operating," Parmele commented. State law stipulates that products made by Institutional Industries can only be sold to tax-supported entities, such as other state agencies, school districts and cities. Bidding against private firms causes concern Concerns were recently raised when the prison 'industries bid against Sue-King Dairy for the Monroe School District's milk and cheese contract. Although the honor farm withdrew its bid last Wednesday, two days after the Monroe school board had moved to delay bid awards, some questions were raised ~s to a tax exempt industry competing with private industries. Asked ff a minimal payroll and tax benefits didn't give Institutional Industries an unfair advantage when bidding ~i~i ~i~i:. against private firms, Parmele replied: "Competition means you sometimes lose, too." He pointed to a bid form for Seattle Community College, Snohomish didn't quite make it across Highway 2 which the reformatory had lost to a Seattle-based dairy, on Ann St. last Friday afternoon. His late model "We have to make sure our product meets the requirements of the customer," said the former production engineer for Kodak, IBM and the Tally Corp. "If we don't measure up, the customer will go elsewhere. We have the same problems of private Industry." DANGEROUS CROSSING "" Scott R. Atkinson of ford collided with the eastbound truck, left, Driver Weekend Accidents Disadvantages: Riot, anyone? driven by Amos B. Cameron of Port Townsend. The accident was one of several which occured at Monroe street intersections and Highway 2 over the weekend. Monroe police responded to a rash of "fender benders" of Snohomish struck a pickup driven by Amos B. Cameron, at the city's intersections over the past weekend and driver 47, of Pt. Townsend as Atkinson attempted to cross error was the cause of most of them, according to Police Highway 2 southbound on Ann St. Parmele said there are more disadvantages to running Chief D.C. Nauman. The Cameron vehicle was eastbound on Highway 2 and the prison industry than advantages; disadvantages which An automobile driven by Daniel Heath, 22, of.Everett was unable to avoid hitting the Atkinson car. Atkinson was give the private sector plenty of opportunities to beat struck the rear end of a vehicle driven by Brian. P. cited with failure to yield right-of-way. institutional industries bids. Blomster, 21, of Monroe, which had stopped for a traffic Damage to the Cameron truck was estimated at $400 The constant hassles of trying to operate a small-scale light at the intersection of Main and S. Lewis. Heath was while the Atkinson late model Ford was listed as a "total" industry within the walls of a prison "would drive a private cited by police for failure to use due care. by police. company to bankruptcy," argues Parmele. Damage to the Blomster vehicle was estimated at $25. On Saturday, a PUD utility pole on S. Lewis between There is the added cost of paying a full-time counselor, Heath's vehicle received little damage. Powell and McDougall streets was a traffic fatality after an employe to "foreman" (guard) ratio of not more than 15 Also on Friday, a vehicle driven by Scott R. Atkinson, 19 (Continued on page 2) State Sen. Frank Woody State Senator Frank Woody, D-39, was in town Tuesday to announce his decision to run for a second term in Olympia and to visit constituents. Woody filed for re-elec- tion on Monday. He has served 31A years in the senate. Woody said he was re- sponding to a challenge by to 1, and such unordinary labor practices as riots and lockups add to his headaches, said Parmele. "Lunch hour" alone takes two hours, he said, because the men must be taken back to their cells and released for lunch in small groups. "If we get a six-hour day In, we're lucky," he lamented. Still, institutional industries manages to produce enough that there are sometimes month-long waits for parts orders to crawl their way through the state's bureaucracy. Many of the miles of paperwork forms which proliferate from the state's many offices are printed in the reformatory's print shop. The shop provides training for printing apprenticeships with the blessings of a printer's union. Shop Foreman Harry Jeffries says the printing section of institutional industries, does do a small amount of contract work for the Evergreen State Fair, but he doesn't pursue local p~'inting jobs "as much as I could." A veteran of 30 years with private printing firms, he says: "I know what it's like to take food from a man's table." There is also a small printing shop located at the prison honor farm, which prints the State's more than 7 million license tabs. Could be a tax savings Shop Supervisor M. A. Gellner of Monroe says the shop actually saves the taxpayers money, because the tabs can be printed much more cheaply than if the state were to put them out for bid. The state is considering opening up the license tabs for bid in 1979, GeUner said. The sprawling honor farm is not the largest operation in terms of men employed, but it probably has the largest (Continued on page 2) men. Proposed Penal The program is completely self-supporting through sales and all profits realized are funneled back into the Gives Monroe Pol ice program to upgrade equipment and develop other employment rehabilitation programs, according to Bob 'A Leg.,, Stand O Parmele, who has been supervisor of Institutional 'l'~ rt' Industries for only six months. II No tax monies are spent on the program and profit is accomplished through sales of office furniture, printing A penal code which will give Monroe police "something jobs, and dairy products and through depredation of ......... seeking re-election, juvenile offenses which con- corrections, citing the $10.5 "In the short time I've corn me. It's a challenge to million maximum security been In Olympia--and three be able to carry through wing to the Washington and one half years is a some of the things I've State Reformatory here as c o m p a r a t 1 v e ! y short started," the senator said one of his more gratifying time--I've gotten into fiscal Tuesday in an interview with projects. areas, areas of school fund- the Monitor. "The present administration ing and educational reform,Woody said he places has been so committed to the and adult corrections and strong emphasis on adult neighborhood prisons that (Continued on page 2) MONROE, SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WASH.- THURS., JULY 29, 1976, NO. 29 A meeting between State 0utfall pipe to cease because the river to enable a crane to Game Department officials dirt was being pushed into place segments of pipe on and Monroe city engineersthe river, an alleged violation the bottom of the river. The was scheduled for early of state hydraulics codes, pipe would eventually carry Wednesday morning after The work was being done treated outfall material from game department personnel at the western end of thethe city's new sewage treat- shut down a portion of the game department's access merit to the river. c i t ~'s secondary sewage area, below the Lewis St. Abrams contended the treatmen~ facility Tuesday bridge, dirt fill was causing siltation afternoon. Construction workers in the river, in violation of Game agent Terrysaid a dirt "bridge" was state codes. Abrams ordered work on an being built to the middle of ..... ~:i:iiiii:ii: ....... Ji i/, a a to stand on" should come before the Monroe City Council within the next month, according to members of the city's ordinance committee. Committee Chairman Mike Me,loud said Sunday that although the proposed ordinance, drawn up by City Attorney Carl Knappe, "is not quite ready yet," the ~'ommittee could hash out its differences and recommend it to the full council at this week's meeting. Both other ordinance committee members, Donetta O An extreme water shortage at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds here has caused concern about the ability to fight a major fire, but has not reached the "crisis" proportions as reported in the county seat daily, according to Fair Manager Ralph Gibson. In a copyrighted article last weekend, the Everett newspaper reported that fairground water capacity is below minimum standards and that no contract for fire protection Walser End Wayne Whisnant, said they felt it would be presented to the council within the next two meetings. The ordinance "Is something we've needed for a long, long time," according to Police Chief D.C. Haman. Knappe admitted the code is "what the police wanted and not necessarily what the public safety or ordinance committee wanted," but said it follows a model ordinance prepared by the Association of Washington Cities for third class cities the size of Monroe. According to Nauman, the code gives local police "something to stand behind them, instead of some vague ordinance." In the past, Monroe has been virtually without a penal code and police would charge a suspect with a vague ordinance and let the county prosecutor's office decide whether to go for a more severe charge, the chief said. If a crime were committed outside the limited statues of Monroe (there is still a 1909 law on the books against has been signed with the Monroe Fire Department. The article alleged negligence on the part of fairground management in not responding to a state fire marshall's report of 1971, which was critical of the system. Gibson argued the article was correct "in part", but said neither himself nor assistant manager Ella Walker were aware of the inadequate fire protection system. He disputed allegations that money had been available but never used to correct the problem. "It Is serious enough to be demanding of our attention. If we had known it was that serious, we certainly would spitting on sidewalks), the suspect would have to be have gone to the county commissioners long ago," Gibson . charged under a county or state statute, Nauman said. And said. transporting suspects to Everett, jail costs and testimony "The state fire marshall works here all the time," and time by Monroe policemen cost the city a bundle, he said. hasn't indicated there was a problem since he took over as The new code should keep some of the free and bail revenue fair manager in January, Gibson said. within the city, Nauman said. Monroe Fire Chief Jim Crawford said his crews would The proposed code is divided into nine sections, continue to respond to calls to the fairgrounds in the future, covering misdemeanor offenses committed against per- although no contract between the county and Fire sons, against public morals, against-the public order, Protection Dist. 3 have been signed." ' property offenses by and against juveniles, against Asked if the Monroe department could put out a fire at governmental order, gambling, weapons and explosives the fairgrounds with the existing water supply, Crawford control and drugs. responded: "That Is a question yon can't answer until it , lauman said the last section, drugs, is one his officers happens." "This is one which really upset the troops. They didn't purchased by the Monroe Athletic Association L-R] Andrew Koehler, David Carpenter, Mike The chief said his crews drill on,the fairgrounds before have needed the most. TOO LARGE? "" Trying on new uniforms Kenny Peterson and T rry Enyeart. [Back row, each fair, "to refresh our memory,' but stated no Monroe have anything to stand on," he said. . and the Monroe Soccer Association are these Millsak and Blair McCloud. The teams will make rigs stand by during the fair because they can respond The proposed drug chapter adopts state ordinances on faster from the fire station. , marijuanapossession, withafineofnotmorethan $350 and youngsters on Robert Carpenter s third and their first appearance in North County soccer in He said there have been no changes in fairground fire 90 days in jail. fourth grade team. Pictured are: [kneeling] the fall. i fighting policies and said the solution to the water problem In the past, police would have to charge a suspect with a there willtakesometime. Mo e Soc Te s Filling l A ti ip tio f Leag e Deb To run a 10 inch water line under the Burlingtonfelony before jt would be considered by the prosecutor's Northern tracks near the Valley General Hospital to the office, saidNauman, nr0 cer am n n c a n 0 u ut fairgrounds would take months of paperwork, Crawford Monroe police became adept at charging troublemakers with disorderly conduct or nuisance violations, which were Teams have begun filling for the Monroe Athletic held earlier this month, according to Bob Carpenter, who said. He laughed at a paragraph m the daily's article the only ones of Monroe's ordinances they felt would stand Association and Monroe Soccer Association program, which coaches a third and fourth grade team." quoting him as offering to extend the water main along a up in court, will field 13 teams this fall in its debut with the North Several girl's teams in the 14 through 17-year-old sewer tunnel under Highway 2. The tunnel has been "We could find some guy with a ease of dynamite In his County Soccer league, brackets are still in need of coaches, Carpenter said. finished and filled back in for a month, trunk and there was nothing we could do," he explained. The teams are comprised of youngsters from second Interested adults may contact Carpenter at 827-8436 or In the meantime, the question of financing renovation of The code would put an end to that. In fuct, the weapons through ninth grades. MAA President Jim Hughes at 794-8720. the water system at the fairgrounds will fall into the hands and explosives control chapter is the lengthiest of the Practices have begun for some of the teams and moreThe season will begin after Labor day and continue until of the county commissioners. (Continued on page 2) than 30 persons participated in a coaches training school just before Thanksgiving.