Inspired by one texting tragedy, Lake Washington students fight back as another strikes

February 25, 2011


by Mark Horner
Everything seemed to be lining-up perfectly for three Lake Washington High School students as they prepared to share their new knowledge about the dangers of texting while driving. The three seniors began their research in early January by studying eye-opening statistics about TWD.  They had grown to feel  emotionally connected to Wendy Lerch, the mother of a 19-year-old woman killed in a texting crash south of Olympia last year.  Mrs. Lerch had responded to the students’ e-mails and she had answered their questions.

This week marked the first anniversary of Heather Lerch’s death.  And her crumpled car was on display Tuesday, Wednesday and today at Lake Washington High. Seniors Shannon Bebee, Taylor LaFave and Kaylin Wilson had worked hard to make it so. This was the culmination of their project.

But on February 18, another young woman died  texting while driving in Heather’s hometown.  Police say 22-year-old Ashley R. Jones-Davis crossed the center line and struck an oncoming truck.  The driver of the truck was not injured.

Rochester, Washington rests on a little more than 2 square miles of land. Yet the town of less than 2,000 people is connected to two TWD fatalities in just short of a year.

No, things didn’t line-up quite perfectly for the Lake Washington project. But the very recent loss of Ashley’s life heightened the students’ sense of urgency for sharing their new message:  Don’t let an LOL become an OMG.

Many people taking advantage of email renewal notices

February 24, 2011

New seven-character license plate formatA legislative proposal to encourage the use of email renewal reminders for our state’s cars and trucks to save the state $3.8 million per year is getting a lot of attention in the media. Under this proposal, vehicle owners would be given the options of signing up for free email renewal reminders, paying an additional fee to continue receiving traditional paper vehicle renewal notices, or skipping renewal notices altogether.

Informal online polls and reader comments on news websites indicate many people think the time is right for switching to email renewal notices. The good news is that DOL already offers email renewal reminders. The benefits to signing up for them go well beyond cost savings, and more than 300,000 people have already signed up.

Email renewal notices have a link to DOL’s popular online vehicle tab renewal system. You can open your reminder, click the link, and have your new tabs on their way to your home in a matter of minutes. This means no more writing checks or driving across town. Email renewal reminders also are much more environmentally friendly than the paper notices.

You can sign up all your vehicles (and boats) right now at the DOL website.

Check the status of business and professional licenses online

February 4, 2011

 Always be sure that the person you’re doing business with is properly licensed. If you want to find out if a person or business has the proper license, you can search business and professional licenses on our website.  You can also get information on:

  • If a person or business has a professional license.
  • If a business is licensed with a city or the state.
  • If your business or professional license is active.
  • When a business or professional license will expire.

You can search by name, license number, type of license or location.  The search will only provide information about business and professional licenses issued by the Department of Licensing. For information about licenses issued by other agencies, visit the list of licenses.

Click here to watch our YouTube video about our license lookup system.