Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's A Barn Raising!

As it turns wasn't really the old fashioned type of barn raising where with the help of neighbors you have it up in a day. hire a builder!

Instead of a hundred friends and neighbors...machinery does the heavy lifting.

Everyday it was a treat to see the progress.

On the top is a cupola (coop-a-la)

The cement truck pulls up and fills the floor except for the horse stalls where you will have dirt and mats.

In one of my best ideas of 2011 we painted the top while it was under construction and on the ground. We will have a family painting party when we get a stretch of warmer weather.
Final picture to come soon! Very soon!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ann Rule To Write About Washington CPS

Crime writer Ann Rule plans to write Susan Cox Powell’s story
Isabelle Zehnder
Missing Persons Examiner

PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) -- Crime writer Ann Rule announced last week that she will be publishing a book about Susan Cox Powell, the young West Valley City, Utah mom who went missing in Dec. 2009.

Susan literally vanished without a trace. Three weeks ago Susan's husband, Josh Powell, set his rental house on fire killing himself and their two young sons in what police have called a double-murder-suicide. He was the only person of interest until his death.

Susan’s father, Chuck Cox, wants to make it clear that he and his wife do not wish to profit from the book. Rule made a contribution to the Susan Cox Powell Foundation, and any other money entitled to the family will be used to advance the foundation’s mission, Chuck said.

Rule told KIRO 97.3 radio, “This would be in the top five things that have shocked me over the last 30 years. A lot of parents kill their children to get revenge on an ex-spouse, but they usually don’t die themselves.”

Chuck says he is in support of the book because he believes it will bring attention to his daughter’s case. He wants people to know what went wrong during the investigation into Susan’s disappearance as well as shortcomings by Washington child welfare agencies. He believes those shortcomings include emphasis on family reunification over the safety of children. As a child and family advocate in the State of Washington, I agree wholeheartedly.

On Thursday Chuck, his wife, and their attorneys joined State Senator Pam Roach (R) at a press conference and town hall meeting in Olympia to discuss Roach’s demands for a review of child welfare policies following the death of Charlie and Braden.For more on Thursday’s hearing read: Coxes, attorney call for changes in Washington State’s CPS, DSHS systems.

Roach rightfully criticized the state’s approval of the children’s visitations with their father after concerns were raised that the boys had been exposed to pornography at the home of their grandfather, Steve Powell, where they were living for over two years with their father.

The boys died during a supervised visit with their father at his rental home in Graham. Josh lured the children saying, “I have a surprise for you,” dragged them inside, locked their social worker out of the house, attacked the boys with a hatchet, and then set the house on fire after dousing it with 10 gallons of gasoline.

Josh left messages to family members saying he couldn’t stand to live without his children, who had been placed in the custody of their maternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, after Josh was investigated in a child pornography case involving his father.

Chuck said if he has to he will file a wrongful death lawsuit to facilitate change. He said he’s optimistic that he can make his points outside the legal system by working to revamp public policies. Chuck will have a tremendous amount of support in his endeavors as a great number of people have been crying out for change within the systems that are supposed to be there to protect children and so often fail them.

Chuck also said he doesn’t blame any of the case workers for what happened to his grandsons, and that he believes they had Charlie and Braden’s best interests at heart. A review of nearly 1,000 pages of documents from DSHS shows that to be true.

The Coxes will keep up the work of the Susan Cox Powell Foundation. The foundation was formed in 2010 to give support to other families with missing loved ones. Chuck is hoping to work with other foundations dedicated to families who have gone through a tragedy.

"When people have a difficult situation, they’ll know there is someplace to turn," Cox said. "I’m kind of excited about that, trying to make something good come out it."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thank You To All Who Helped With the Cox Press Conference

Chuck and Judy Cox were wonderfully brave and well spoken at the press conference. Thanks goes to the many citizens who participated in the comment period, attorneys Ane Bremner and Steve Downing, and to interested press who are helping to carry the message of changes needed at CPS.

Sen. Roach, Powell grandparents question Child Protective Services

Sen. Roach, Powell grandparents question Child Protective Services

Auburn Reporter
February 23, 2012 · 5:22 PM

Chuck and Judy Cox today joined Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, 31st District, in urging changes at Child Protective Services that they believe will help protect children.

Judy and Chuck Cox are grandparents of Charlie, 7, and Braden Powell, 5, who were murdered by their father, Josh Powell, on Feb. 5 at the beginning of what was supposed to be a state-supervised visit. Josh Powell let the boys in his Graham house, then blocked the social worker from entering. Moments later, the house exploded into flames.

During the hearing, the boys' grandparents, their attorneys – Anne Bremner and Steve Downing – Roach and members of the audience offered ideas to prevent what went wrong from happening again.

"Some of what needs to change will be up to the Legislature," Roach said. "Some of it can be addressed by the governor issuing a directive to the executive agency responsible for child safety in these matters, the Department of Social and Health Services."

Cox and his wife emphasized the need for grandparents to be given the same level of credence as a biological parent, pointing out that the boy's father was able to say anything during the custody process without having to back it up with proof.

"We had a feeling something bad was going to happen," Judy Cox said. "(The boys) did not want to go for the visit that day."

She said she wanted to call and say they were sick, but she and her husband were afraid to say anything for fear they would lose custody of the boys.

Roach and the attorneys for the Cox family emphasized that DSHS knew Utah's West Valley City Police Department was conducting a murder investigation based on Susan Powell's disappearance and that they were looking at Josh Powell as a suspect. The attorneys noted that search warrants had been issued in Nevada, Utah and Washington.

On Wednesday, Roach filed several bills to address the concerns in the Powell case and will be introducing legislation similar to what she offered in 2010, which gives grandparents standing in dependency proceedings.

Roach's new bills include:

• Senate Bill 6602 – creating child welfare transparency committees within each of the six DSHS regions. The four legislative caucuses, the attorney general and governor would appoint the six members.

• Senate Bill 6603 – preventing a child custody award to someone considered a suspect in an active murder investigation.

• Senate Bill 6604 – establishing what is to be contained in background information for guardians ad litem. The list includes a statement of financial affairs, number of years of experience, level of formal education and founded allegations of child abuse.

• Senate Bill 6605 – requiring Child Protective Services workers to be licensed social workers and bonded.

• Senate Bill 6606 – breaking the Department of Social and Health Services into the Department of Children and Family Services, Department of Public Welfare, and Department of Medical and Rehabilitative Services.

(Looks like the Grandparents standing in court was dropped from the list. I also want truthfulness guidelines like the State Patrol has adopted...then a CPS worker lying in court can be fired...just like a trooper would be fired for lying.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cox Family to Urge CPS Changes Today

Powell in-laws to discuss social services changes in Olympia
Josh Powell's in-laws are traveling to Olympia to discuss changes in how the state handles child protection.

The Associated Press

Most Popular CommentsHide / Show comments No comments have been posted to this article.
Associated Press from Seattle Times

OLYMPIA, Wash. —
Josh Powell's in-laws are traveling to Olympia to discuss changes in how the state handles child protection.

Chuck and Judy Cox plan to join Republican Sen. Pam Roach at a news conference Thursday. The Cox family had cared for Powell's two young boys until he killed the children and himself in a fire earlier this month.

Roach is introducing a measure that would prohibit a child custody award to a murder suspect.

Powell's wife, Susan, has been missing since 2009 but Utah authorities never publicly labeled her disappearance as a murder. Investigators also never called Powell a suspect

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preparation for Cox Press Conference

Being up front in Olympia is not usually appreciated. I have found that characteristic to be lauded by the public, but really barely tolerated by members and others. It used to be seen as a breath of fresh air by the press, but they clearly like the more guarded legislator these days. Boring is better.

I want people to know what I am thinking. So, I initiated a call to the governor's DSHS policy advisor. She wanted to know what would be covered at the press conference. I told her what I thought the people in public comment might say about needed changes at Child Protective Services. I suggested that the governor could adopt most of the suggestions without implementing legislation.

I had a high ranking member of the Attorney General's staff in my office. We chatted about some of my observations of CPS performance. I have a detailed memory of the cases which I have investigated. I told him that the people wanted social workers who lie to the family court judge to be fired. He seemed to agree at least that perjury should not happen. He is only the messenger.

Washington Families United, Executive Director, Dave Wood, was one of my interviews. Dave is a hard core Democrat. He has traveled across the state advocating for families who have been wronged by the department. I will count him as one of the people who never gave up in trying to protect families by reigning in CPS. He has confirmed literally EVERYTHING that I have observed.

I had an unexpected conversation with a family court commissioner. I was looking for volunteers for the Romney campaign and stumbled across the judge. He agreed, if you lie in should lose your job. Judges cannot get involved in partisan races so the conversation had shifted to CPS.

Getting a good overview from different perspectives is, I believe, an important step in preparing for our press conference and public comment period.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

House Dems Budget Gives Away Taxing Authority

Much is being said about the House Democrat proposal to budget with a 25th month. Digging into the next biennium by taking a month's income prematurely puts our future at risk. But, let's not overlook another detail of the budget. It would give local government the authority to tax without a vote of the people.

So, Dems would cut the amount of state money given to local government (saving the money for themselves)....and then let the local elected officials tax the people at will to replace what the state dollars would have bought. Sounds like a shell game to me.

Erik Smith of the Washington State Wire recaps the WA House budget plan:

"The House plan also would give local governments the ability to raise taxes on their own, with up to a tenth-of-a-cent sales tax increase in the state’s seven largest counties, and two-tenths of a cent elsewhere. The taxes could be imposed by city and county councils and commissioners, without a vote of the people.

From Utah KSL: Child Protective Services Has Serious Problems WA Senator Says

Please cut and past for TV coverage. Thanks

SALT LAKE CITY — After Josh Powell killed his two sons and himself, a Washington State senator says Child Protective Services needs to be fixed.

Chuck and Judy Cox, the maternal grandparents of the Powell children, will join Sen. Pam Roach at a news conference and hearing on Thursday to discuss the issue. Attorneys for the Cox family will attend as well.

The purpose of the meeting is to explore what Sen. Roach calls "serious" problems within Child Protective Services in the state of Washington. It also aims to offer solutions to situations and actions that may hurt a child.

A public comment period will be held after the press conference.

In a press release posted on Sen. Roach' website she said, "Everyone in the room will have a story to tell. We are going to ask them, in short comments, what changes should be made in the way the department does business."

The meeting comes after the horrifying actions of Josh Powell in which he murdered his two sons during what was supposed to be a supervised visit by a CPS worker. Powell locked the worker out of the house, attacked the boys then set the house on fire, killing everyone inside. Powell's actions occurred two days after he was denied custody of his boys and was ordered to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation.

The Cox family now is considering a lawsuit against social service agencies in Washington for allowing Josh visitation with the boys when there were signs he had serious psychological issues.

A recently released psychological report on Powell reveals investigators found several hundred sexual images of cartoon characters drawn by Powell. Those images are one reason a judge in Washington ordered Powell to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation and take a lie detector test.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chuck and Judy Cox Join Pam Roach Regarding CPS

From the Auburn Reporter

Chuck and Judy Cox to join Sen. Pam Roach at conference, hearing
February 17, 2012 · 4:20 PM

Chuck and Judy Cox will join Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, in a news conference and hearing Thursday in Olympia, with the purpose of exploring the serious problems within Child Protective Services and offering solutions to actions that may cause children harm.

Attorneys for the Cox family, Anne Bremner and Steve Downing, also will be in attendance.

"CPS needs to directly hear from the public," Roach said.

A public comment period will be held after the conference.

"At the end of the meeting the department will be presented with ideas for change,"

Roach said.

"Everyone in the room will have a story to tell. We are going to ask them, in short comment, what changes should be made in the way the department does business," said Roach.

(Chuck and Judy Cox are the parents of Susan Powell and grandparents of Charlie and Braden Powell.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Roach Open Government Bill Moves Forward

The Auburn Reporter posted the following:

Roach bill to require web postings of public meeting materials passes Senate

February 16, 2012 · 5:01 PM

Pam Roach, R-Auburn, won full Senate support this week for her bill to require web postings of public meeting materials.

Senate Bill 5553 requires the governing bodies of counties, cities, towns, and special purpose districts that maintain a website to post regular meeting agendas at least 72 hours before the meeting. Special meeting agendas must be posted at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Along with the agendas, the text of any ordinance, rule or regulation to be considered at the meeting must also be posted. Meeting minutes must be posted within 15 business days after adoption.

Postings must remain on the website for one calendar year.

"People need to know what actions are going to be taken in time to prepare to testify and ask questions," Roach said. "My bill is about transparency and the people's right to know what their elected officials are doing- before they do it."

The bill provides exemptions for:

• Counties with populations under 30,000 and the special purpose districts and school districts within those counties.

• Special purpose districts providing services to less than 1,000 residents.

• Cities or towns with a population of less than 8,000.

• Port districts with three or fewer staff members.

Roach is a member of the "Sunshine Committee," a blue ribbon committee dedicated to government accountability and transparency, and tasked with making recommendations to repeal or amend exemptions to the Public Records Act.

2SSB 5553 is now before the House of Representatives for consideration

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Letting Kids Stay With Powell Was "Outrageous"

News | February 9, 2012
State senator says letting kids stay with Josh Powell was outrageous

Isabelle Zehnder
Missing Persons Examiner

PUYALLUP, Washington (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) – Washington State Senator Pam Roach (R) said it was “outrageous” that the court granted Josh Powell visitation with his sons and is asking to see what West Valley City Police shared with the Washington agency in charge of child welfare.

“This material should be made public,” Sen. Roach said. Her district includes part of the county where Josh murdered his children Sunday and died in the blaze he set at his Graham, Washington rental home. She said, “I want to see it all.”

This week Roach sent a public records request to the Department of Social and Health Services asking for materials WVCPD sent to the agency before the supervised Sunday visit.

On Sunday a social worker, following court orders, picked Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, up from their grandparents, Chuck and Judy Coxes’ Puyallup home to take them to their father’s rental home for what was to be a “supervised” visit. She was unarmed and alone with the children. She said the children were one step ahead of her as she approached the door.

(The entire article can be read at the

Continue reading on State senator says letting kids stay with Josh Powell was outrageous - National missing persons |

Friday, February 10, 2012

Utah Police Tried To Warn Washington Officials

On a hunch I called the police jurisdiction in Utah that has been investigating the disappearance of Susan Powell. I asked if they had communicated information about Joshua Powell to our children's services and they said that in fact they had. They were worried about the well being of the two young sons. The release is dated Feb. 1, 2012, the date of the placement hearing.

What I thought was so interesting is that it wasn't enough to send WA State the information, but that the Utah police felt they needed to send out a press release about having done so. It is almost like they felt they had to let the public the public could demand attention that the police in Utah felt would not be accomplished in WA State. For some reason, West Valley City, Utah police wanted attention to the fact they had sent they were worried it would not make a hill of beans difference to the authorities on Washington.... Yeah.

In the mean time it is day two and I still do not have a copy of the information sent.
West Valley City, Utah Thayle “Buzz” Nielsen
CONTACT: Sergeant Mike Powell-Public Information Officer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: February 1, 2012 Time: 17:19
The West Valley City Police Department is aware of the current child custody matter in the State of Washington involving Joshua Powell and his two children. During the course of the investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell, the wife of Joshua Powell and mother of their two children, the West Valley City Police Department discovered information specifically related to their children’s welfare. This information was provided to authorities in the State of Washington.

The investigation into the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell remains a priority for the West Valley City Police Department. The public is reminded there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Susan Cox Powell and encourages anyone with information to call the West Valley City Police Department at (801) 840-4000.
# #

Pam Roach And The Powell Case...NBC Tonight at 10 Pacific Time

Please tune in to Channel 5 tonight at 10 PM Pacific time to see the national NBC coverage of the Powell Case.

As the result of the following press release I was with the press all day yesterday. KSL radio in Utah, the Salt Lake Tribue, and the Deseret News were among the interviews. Please also see the release from the Utah police which I requested and which lead to my request of DSHS.

For immediate release For interviews contact:
Feb. 8, 2012 Sen. Pam Roach (360) 786-7660

Roach requests Utah police warning to DSHS in Powell case

OLYMPIA Under public disclosure laws Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, today formally requested information sent by Utah police to alert DSHS in the placement of the children of Susan and Joshua Powell.

The letter to Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Robin Arnold-Williams asked for the records at her earliest convenience.

The West Valley City, Utah, police department, in a press release dated February 1, 2012 indicated they had sent a warning to Washington regarding the placement of Charles and Braden Powell.

“It appears DSHS was forewarned about information regarding Joshua Powell and the treatment of his boys,” said Roach.

“DSHS needs to come clean with what they knew. Having information pertinent to the welfare of the Powell children, and not acting on it, may have actually contributed to their deaths,” said Roach.

Recent news reports from Utah indicate the investigation into Susan Cox Powell’s disappearance in 2009 has been conducted as a homicide investigation for at least six months. During that investigation correlated information unrelated to the death of Susan Powell, but concerning Joshua Powell and the children was discovered.

Please see attached West Valley City, Utah press release.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gay Marriage Will Be On The November Ballot...Only If The People Put It There

Referendums are not that common in Washington State. They come about when a bill is passed into law and the people want to repeal that law.

To do so the people must gather signatures and put the measure on the ballot for a statewide vote. There is another way. The legislature itself can send an issue to the people for a vote.

Tonight the opportunity to send the gay marriage bill to the voters by way of a referendum was defeated on a vote of 26 to 23. There were Republican Senators who helped defeat the referendum. Senator Cheryl Phlug was one of them.

Just now, as I sit at my floor desk on the Senate floor ...there are more press in the wings than I have seen in years. Tonight we will vote in gay marriage and then the presses will roll. That is...the presses printing the referendum petitions. Repeal of gay marriage referendums will make there way out to the people to gather signatures.

Only half as many signatures are required in a referendum as in an initiative. 150,000 will do it. That is the only way that voters will have any say in the issue of protecting traditional marriage. The legislature did not want the voters to decide this important matter. I will vote no on the bill before us. I support one man and one woman in marriage.

The bill passed 28 to 21 and the galleries exploded with cheers and sustained clapping. 7:58 PM and now the final gavel.

Sen. Pam Roach's Trip to Oil Fields Sparks Pipeline Push

Last fall visited Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada, the start of the proposed Keystone XL crude oil project. Yesterday, I held a press conference to announce a joiont memorial to Congress and the president urging the go ahead which is stalled in reelection mire.(Labor wants the jobs and enviros don't want what they say are risks...even though we have hundreds of oil pipeline already successfully crisscrossing this nation. I presented a resolution that I sponsored with the American Legislative Exchange Council. The resolution was passed unanimously among legislators from around the country.
I was joined by Senators Holmquist-Newbury and Benton who also spoke.

The News Tribune writes:

Sen. Pam Roach’s trip to oil fields sparks pipeline push
Post by Jordan Schrader The News Tribune
Jan. 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm

After touring a booming oil-producing part of Northern Alberta, state Sen. Pam Roach today handed out vials of oil sands to supporters of a pipeline project that President Obama has rejected.
Here’s Roach’s blog post on the subject, which details her October trip to Fort McMurray, Alberta, and meetings with members of the Canadian Parliament. She wasn’t allowed to take the oil sands on the plane, she said, but a gallon of them was FedExed to her.
The proposed pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast may be far from Washington, but Roach wants the Legislature to formally go on record supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline, citing jobs and national-security benefits.
Backed by the engineering union whose members would help build the pipeline, Republican lawmakers support a legislative letter to Congress modeled on one being pushed in multiple states by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. It’s unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
In rejecting the application, Obama said a timeline imposed by Congressional Republicans didn’t provide enough time to examine environmental risks.