Etcetera - 03/04/11

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The Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force recently honored four local law enforcement officers for outstanding efforts to remove impaired drivers from our counties highways, roadways and city streets.

The Task Force honors the top DUI arresting officer from each local agency every year, said Nancy McClenny-Walters, Target Zero manager.

Plaques went to Trooper Mike Jensen with the Washington State Patrol; Deputy Gerrod Martin with the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office, Officer Steve Echevarria with the Walla Walla Police Department and Officer Allan Thonney with the College Place Police Department.

The officers removed more than 80 impaired drivers from area roads during 2010, Nancy said in a release.

Cited for their diligence in helping reduce the number of serious injuries and fatalities in Walla Walla County due to improper seat belt use were Officers Eric Knudson and Marcus Goodwater and Troopers Shawn Williams and Mike Jensen. They received a special award coin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Eight local volunteers who share their personal stories and experiences at the Victim Impact Panel each month were recognized for their courage and strength: Cristal Harris, Mary Ann Gonzalez, Ruthy Elliott, Paul Elliott, Nina Conn, Gerrod Martin, Miguel Sanchez and Alvaro Lamprea.

The Traffic Safety Task Force has for the last 11 years recognized businesses and individuals who have impacted traffic safety in the county. Recipients: Super Star Award winners Mike Humphreys and Gary Bainter; Public Health Award Nina Conn; Law Enforcement Award Trooper Joe Klundt; Youth Initiative Paul Elliott; Educational Outreach Award Mark Higgins; Media Awareness Walla Walla Union Bulletin; Legislative Leadership Rep. Maureen Walsh, Community Program Leadership Blue Mountain Community Church; Citizen Activist Ruthy Elliott; Business Leadership E Street Driving and Good Samaritan Katie Christianson and Kathryn Southwick-Hess. They were chosen for the hard work, time, financial commitment and energy they have put in to traffic safety awareness in Walla Walla County, Nancy said. The Traffic Safety Task Force celebrated its 20th year in the county. The Task Force was formed through a grant with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the efforts of Gary Bainter, Peggy Needham and the late Bernie Lang. Task Force members bring traffic safety programs such as Victim Impact Panels, DUI Memorial Sign programs, car seat and booster seat education and "Every 15 Minutes" program.

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