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News brief: Chehalis picks new fire chief

Monday, April 27, 2015 at 9:44 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The city of Chehalis enthusiastically announced the hiring of a fire chief, a man the city manager says brings a wealth of experience and will provide the needed leadership to help chart the course of the department over the next five to 10 years.

2015.0401.fChFC.PhotoKenCardinale

Ken Cardinale

Ken Cardinale starts work on May 18, according to City Manager Merlin MacReynold.

“He is the right fit for our fire department, the city administration and our community and we are looking forward to him starting,” MacReynold stated in a news release this morning.

Cardinale has over 32 years of service as a fire professional with 29 years with the City of Palo Alto, California, according to the news release. He and his wife Beth moved to Kelso to be closer to family and will soon relocate to the Chehalis area, MacReynold stated.

The Chehalis Fire Department last had a full time chief in April of 2013, when Chief Kelvin Johnson retired.

Cardinale has served in numerous positions including battalion chief, acting EMS chief and acting deputy chief.

“I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to help move the Chehalis Fire Department in a positive direction into the future and I look forward to serving the citizens of Chehalis and the community,” Cardinale stated in the news release.

Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Casey Beck, who is president of the IAFF Local 2510 representing his department’s union members, indicated this morning he’s pleased with the choice.

“He’s a great guy, highly qualified,” Beck said. “He’s somebody we can really work with.”
•••

For background, read : “Chehalis fire chief search winding down” from Monday April 6, 2015, here

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Relatives seeking answers, financial accountability for funeral homes’ body mixup

Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The lawyer for the family of the man who was mistakenly cremated and whose casket was inhabited by a stranger at his funeral service in Chehalis said they held back on filing a lawsuit until the state licensing authority finished its investigation.

It didn’t provide them all the answers they were looking for, attorney Shawn Briggs said.

“It focused on where the initial mistake was made, and it really stopped there,” Briggs said. “It didn’t address how the mistake was perpetuated.”

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Jerry Moon

Jerry Moon was 72 years old when he died in October 2013 at a hospice facility in Longview.

He and his wife Jan Moon lived in Castle Rock, but he, having been born and raised in Chehalis, had plans to be buried in his family plot in Claquato Cemetery, according to Briggs.

Sixteen years earlier, he had entered into a pre-arranged contract with Brown Mortuary Service of Chehalis, at a guaranteed price of $4,655, that provided for arrangement and professional staff services, and various other items including embalming, viewing, funeral and graveside services as well as disposition by burial in a casket, according to the lawsuit.

Jerry Moon feared cremation, according to Briggs.

Briggs and Briggs of Lakewood filed the complaint for damages last week in Lewis County Superior Court on behalf of Jan Moon and other immediate family members.

According to the lawsuit, and to an investigation conducted by the Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, on October 13, 2013, acting at the request or direction of Brown Mortuary’s parent company Service Corporation International, an employee of Dahl McVicker Funeral Home picked up Moon’s body from Community Home Health and Hospice in Longview. In the same trip, he collected the body of another man who had died there at nearly the same time.

Instead of putting identification bracelets on the bodies at the hospice, he brought them back to McVicker’s where he put Moon’s bracelet on Robert Petitclerc; and he placed Petitclerc’s bracelet on Moon.

On Oct. 15, an employee of McVicker’s released the body labeled Moon to a Brown’s employee for transport to Lewis County.

Another employee of McVicker’s took the body labeled Petitclerc to be cremated on Oct. 17.

The state licensing board placed blame for the mixup on Dahl McVicker, and the sanctions for unprofessional conduct included a fine of $12,500 and one year of probation, according to an agreed order signed last May.

Christine Anthony, a spokesperson for licensing board said they found no wrongdoing on the part of Brown Mortuary, concluding it was unaware of the misidentification and didn’t commit any violations.

The lawsuit filed on April 21 seeking an unspecified amount of damages names both entities, specifically Service Corporation International, doing business as Brown Mortuary Service and The Pierce Group, doing business as Dahl McVicker Funeral Home.

SCI, a Texas corporation, describes itself as the North America’s largest deathcare provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services.

Moon’s funeral service was held on Oct. 21, 2013 at Brown’s.

The lawsuit contends Brown’s conspired to cover up that Moon had been mistakenly cremated, and that defendants knew the wrong body was delivered to Brown’s and acted in concert to conceal the error.

The suit states Brown’s knew or should have known the body – of a man in his 90s – they embalmed and dressed in Moon’s clothing was not Moon.

In preparing for the service, Brown’s was provided with over 60 photographs of Moon.

“When the casket was opened at the end of the service, guests were horrified by what appeared to be a plastic bag covering the head and face of the body in the casket,” the lawsuit states. “When the plastic was removed, guests at the service, including the plaintiffs, were shocked to discover that the body inside was not Moon’s.”

Despite knowledge to the contrary, representatives of Browns insisted and tried to convince Moons’ family the body in the casket was Moon and should be buried as planned in his grave, the lawsuit contends.

“The manager was insistent it was him,” Briggs said. “Saying, people do look different after death.”

“They don’t grow a full head of hair,” he said.

Moon was bald with a recently shaved head when he died.

Briggs said the conversation continued until Brian Moon said, “Show me my dad’s colostomy bag.”

“And in the next breath, the manager said, ‘No, it isn’t him, but it wasn’t my fault’.”

Briggs said Brown’s then put the son on the phone with McVicker, and he was in total shock and grief, learning his father had been cremated.

“It was chaos,” Briggs said.

The suit also claims Jan Moon was charged $8,834 by Brown’s to do what it had previously contracted to do for $4,655, and that afterward, sent her a refund check for $92.72.

“Instead of being treated with dignity, Jerry Moon’s family was demeaned and denied the opportunity to honor their loved one in laying him to rest,” Briggs wrote.

Multiple phone calls to Brown Mortuary manager Daniel LaPlaunt seeking comment were not returned.

The suit asks for damages for the plaintiffs’ emotional distress, financial losses and other special damages to be proven at trial.

Briggs said he previously represented the family of the other man, Petitclerc. They never actually filed suit, he said, they discussed it and negotiated a settlement.

The defendants have 60 days to respond to the complaint, once they are served, he said.

After that, “We go though the litigation process,” he said. “Put people under oath and ask people questions about why they did what they did, and then we end up in front of a jury.”

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News brief: Five years later: Vigil set in Chehalis park for Kayla Croft-Payne

Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The family of Kayla Croft-Payne will host a gathering tomorrow in Chehalis to mark the five year anniversary of the disappearance of the then 18-year-old Lewis County girl.

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Kayla Croft-Payne

The vigil will be held at 2 p.m. at Penny Playground in Recreation Park in Chehalis.

Croft-Payne was living in a trailer between Chehalis and Napavine on April 28, 2010 when she last logged onto her MySpace internet account. She was reported missing on May 5 by a friend who hadn’t seen or heard from her for several days.

Last year at this time, a detective with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office attended the get together at the park and said he had some investigating to follow up on in the coming weeks.

Anyone with any information on her whereabouts can contact the sheriff’s office at 360-748-9286.

Anonymous tips can be left at: Crime Stoppers of Lewis County 1-800-748-6422.

What: Vigil for Kayla Croft-Payne
Where: Recreation Park, Penny Playground in Chehalis, 221 SW 13th St.
When: 2 p.m. Sunday April 26, 2015
•••

For background, read :

• “Kayla Croft-Payne: Detective actively on a trail for missing Lewis County girl” from Saturday April 26, 2014, here

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News brief: Where there’s smoke, there will be firefighters practicing tomorrow

Friday, April 24, 2015 at 5:50 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Napavine area residents can expect to see smoke and flames as early 10 a.m. tomorrow, as firefighters-in-training burn down a house.

Personnel and equipment will be on scene in the 900 block of Rush Road, according to Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue, formerly known as Lewis County Fire District 5.

Firefighter Maria Kennedy said crews from multiple area departments will participate.

“This type of training provides firefighter recruits with a controlled and realistic fire behavior experience, with emphasis on firefighter safety,” Kennedy states in a news release.

Kennedy said how long it lasts will be in part weather dependent.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, April 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Updated at 4:13 p.m.

WOMAN AND DAD BOTH JAILED FOR ASSAULT

• A 68-year-old Chehalis man and his grown daughter were arrested yesterday afternoon following a family fight. Responding deputies heard varying accounts, including that 35-year-old Linnea M. Weilacher threw unspecified items at her mother, that the father grabbed the daughter by the throat and hair to try to get her out of the house and that the daughter stabbed her father with a crochet hook, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The mom said the daughter only scratched him with it, according to the sheriff’s office. Richard C. Peters, 68, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Weilacher was booked for fourth-degree assault, according to Brown.  Peters was released with no charges filed pending further investigation.

DRUGS AT SCHOOL

• A pair of 14-year-olds were arrested at Chehalis Middle School yesterday for allegedly having roughly a gram of marijuana in a pill bottle, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The boy and the girl were booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report of graffiti to  building yesterday at the 600 block of J Street.

CHIMNEY CATCHES FIRE

• Firefighters were called about noon yesterday for a chimney fire at the 300 block of Downing Road in Centralia. The flames were confined to the chimney and the homeowner was advised to get it inspected, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drugs, allowing unauthorized person to drive, driving with suspended license; responses for stolen wallet, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 11:51 am

Updated at 12:09 p.m.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police took a report about 11 a.m. yesterday of a vehicle stolen from the 1600 block of North Schueber Road. The missing car is a blue 1995 Buick Regal with a license plate reading 237 UGG, according to the Centralia Police Department.

OTHER THEFT

• Police took a report yesterday afternoon of a briefcase stolen from the 1300 block of Alexander Street in Centralia.

CAR PROWL

• An officer was called yesterday morning about someone stealing items from an unlocked vehicle at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

PATIO FIRE AT APARTMENT BUILDING

• Centralia firefighters were called about 9:30 a.m. today to an apartment complex about a fire on the patio of a second-floor unit on the 1400 block of Harrison Avenue. An occupant met the fire engine outside and said it was put out with a fire extinguisher, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Damage was minimal to the patio and siding, according to the fire department. A department public information officer indicates it was accidental due to smoldering, discarded cigarettes in a combustible container.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, harassment, malicious mischief, protection order violation, second-degree domestic assault, driving with suspended license; responses for suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 11:38 am

LIQUOR THEFT SUSPECT LOCKED UP

• A 32-year-old Castle Rock resident was arrested yesterday in connection with at least two nighttime two break-ins to a grocery store on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in which alcohol was stolen. Centralia police say Mark A. Peltchie was detained in Chehalis as he matched the description of the person who broke a window at Fuller’s Shop ‘N Kart, and was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary.

WOMAN IMPLICATED IN THEFT OF “TABLET”

• Police are suggesting charges of burglary and trafficking in stolen property for a 23-year-old Centralia woman who allegedly tried to sell a “tablet” that had recently been stolen in a case associated with the 700 block of North Washington Avenue, Centralia police reported this morning. The suspect was not arrested, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ETHEL ROOF CATCHES FIRE

• An ember from a neighbor’s burn pile ignited the cedar shake roof of a house on the 100 block of Pinkerton Road in Ethel late yesterday afternoon, according to a fire investigator. Firefighters called about 5:45 p.m. extinguished it fairly quickly but an approximately 10-foot by 10-foot section of the roof was burned, according to Lewis County Fire District 8. The neighbor’s burning brush pile was not all that large and was approximately 120 to 150 feet away, Chief Duran McDaniel said. Investigator Ted McCarty said the person doing the burning noticed what happened and went next door to let the neighbor know.

VEHICLE VERSUS TREE

• A motorist was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday after his truck collided with a tree on East Brown Road near Ramsey Road west of Napavine late yesterday afternoon. The truck was totaled, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

POLICE LOOKING FOR SUSPECT IN HIT AND RUN

• A 77-year-old Onalaska woman escaped serious injury when she was knocked to the ground by a vehicle in the parking lot at Subway in Chehalis yesterday afternoon. Police called about 4:20 p.m. to the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue were told the white pickup truck was backing up slowly and its driver may not have even been aware of what happened, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The truck left and officers are still investigating, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drugs, underage drinking, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, harassment, misdemeanor theft  … and more.

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Life sentence overturned for Twin Star bank robber

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 6:55 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The state Court of Appeals today reversed a life sentence given to a man convicted of attempting to rob Twin Star Credit Union in Centralia five years ago.

Michael Anthony Lar, now 62, lost his appeal, but was successful in a personal restraint petition.

Lar was found guilty by a jury in Lewis County Superior Court of first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary in March 2010 for events two months earlier.

Prosecutors sought and were granted a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release, based on the Persistent Offender Accountability Act, the so-called three strikes law.

He had previously pled guilty in federal court to bank robbery on two occasions, each time involving two robberies.

Lar, through his lawyer, contended his prior convictions were not comparable to “most serious” convictions under Washington law and appeals judges agreed.

It was an early January morning in 2010 when two employees arrived to the bank on South Gold Street and found a man who’d gotten inside by breaking a window. An arriving officer was able to pull one woman to safety and fired two shots before an hours-long standoff.

Police surrounded the bank, but after hiding in nearby bushes nearly 12 hours, a wounded Lar called a taxi and headed to Olympia, where he was arrested the same night, according to court documents.

According to the opinion issued today, at sentencing Lar’s lawyer objected to use of the 1985 and 1997 federal convictions.

In its review, the three-member panel noted in order for a trial court to determine that a prior conviction from another jurisdiction is comparable to a strike offense, it must first query if the “foreign” offense is legally comparable, that is whether the elements of the two are substantially similar, the judges state.

If the elements of the “foreign” offense are broader, then the sentencing court must determine if the offense is factually comparable, the judges wrote.

The appeals court concluded the trial court’s analysis on the second line of inquiry fell short, and that at least one of Lar’s previous convictions should not have been used as strike offense.

The appeals court remanded the case for resentencing.

While Lar awaited sentencing in 2010, a Centralia police detective got DNA samples that matched material found on duct tape from an unsolved similar robbery at the same financial institution a year earlier.

Prosecutors charged him with that crime – in which he allegedly managed to get away with approximately $360,000 – but the case was dismissed before going to trial.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Updated at 2:09 p.m.

BEEPING BOX EMPTIES CENTRALIA LIBRARY

• A package sent to the Centralia library which began beeping this morning caused the building to be cleared out and a bomb squad called around 11 a.m. Centralia Police Department Sgt. Stacy Denham said the box was X-rayed, and turned out to contain someone’s personal belongings, as though someone else had packaged them up for them. It included items like a small Hibachi, a watch a speaker, and an ID card, Denham said. Police suspect the sender used the library’s return address on South Silver Street because they didn’t want the parcel to get returned to their address. Police are trying to contact the intended recipient, who they believe knows nothing about it, he said.

K-9 TRACKS TO APARTMENTS AFTER MORNING BREAK-IN

• Centralia police were dispatched about 2:45 a.m. today to an interrupted attempted burglary at the grocery store on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in which the suspect appeared to be the same person from an incident the night before. A Lewis County Sheriff’s Office police dog assisted with a track in the area which led to a nearby apartment building, according to the Centralia Police Department. Yesterday at about 4 a.m. officers responded to the same place after someone broke a window to grab a bottle of liquor. The investigation continues, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police yesterday took a report of power tools getting stolen from the back of a pickup truck at the 1700 block of Shamrock Lane on Friday night.

MISSING LICENSE PLATE

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by an individual who said the license plate was stolen from their car while parked at Safeway on South Market Boulevard.

EXPOSED

• A 37-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday for indecent exposure in association with an approximately 10:25 a.m. call to the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard. Charles R Simpson  booked into the Lewis County Jail,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

COLLISION

• Chehalis police responded to the area near Kresky Avenue about 2:40 p.m. yesterday for a two-vehicle collision that may have involved one of them traveling the wrong direction on a one-way street. Further details were not readily available.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, vandalism, hit and run, big dog attacking little dog, stolen jewelry, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets … and more.

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News brief: One dead in single-vehicle collision

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 7:05 am

Updated at 12:50 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 35-year-old Mossyrock man died last night when his truck collided with a tree in Silver Creek.

Troopers called just before 8 p.m. to state Route 122 report Joseph A. Cowles had been traveling eastbound when his Chevrolet pickup left the roadway and struck a tree on its right side. It happened about 500 yards west of the entrance to Ike Kinswa State Park, according to Lewis County Fire District 3.

Cowles was deceased at the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Fire Chief Doug Fosburg said the load of plywood he was carrying shifted from the force of the impact, and went through the passenger compartment into the windshield of the work truck.

The truck was totaled; it was impounded, according to the state patrol.

The cause is under investigation.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 20, 2015 at 9:16 pm

DOMESTIC ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called to a physical dispute about 10 a.m. on Saturday at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street where they arrested an 18-year-old male for second-degree assault for allegedly choking a 17-year-old female. He said she stabbed him with scissors, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Jacob J. Killian, of Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• A 46-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for second-degree assault and his son for fourth-degree assault after police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis. A Chehalis Police Department spokesperson said an officer was told the dad grabbed the son by the neck and began to choke him and the son got angry and “went after him.” Raymond R. Welch, 46, and Robert B.T. Welch, 18, were both booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. Prosecutors declined to file the felony charge against the older Welch.

ALCOHOL HEIST

• Centralia police responded to the 500 block of South Tower Avenue about 4 o’clock this morning where someone had broken a window to a business and stole liquor. The investigation is ongoing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FOOD HEIST

• Someone stole food from a garage pantry and freezer on the 100 block of Pinkerton Road in Ethel sometime between 8 o’clock on Saturday night and 10 o’clock the following morning. They also took the garage door opener, a box of old cassette tapes and packaged bathroom tissue, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BARN THEFT

• A deputy responded on Friday to the 100 block of Baker Road in Randle where someone had stolen an air compressor from a barn, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office.

BOAT THEFT

• A 54-year-old Oakville man called the sheriff’s office on Friday after discovering his stolen aluminum boat for sale on Craigslist. The 12-foot boat vanished from his rental property on the 100 block of Sheridan Street in Centralia sometime between April 10 and last Wednesday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police were called to the 1300 block of Rhobina Street just after 3 p.m. yesterday when a female caught someone rifling through he vehicle, however, the subject got away, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A window was broken on a building on the 600 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a  report made to police about 9:15 p.m. yesterday.

• Centralia police took a report of a window getting broken on a truck about 1:45 a.m. yesterday at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue.

LOST AND FOUND

• A baggie of a crystal substance was found on the floor at Wal-Mart last night and turned over to the Chehalis Police Department. No need to try to claim it, it’s going to be destroyed, according to police.

WRECKS

• A 54-year-old-man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence after his rolled his 2006 Ford Ranger on Friday evening on the 600 block of Boistfort Road west of Chehalis. Timothy D. Lyon ended up with minor abrasions to his hands, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was wearing a seat belt, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 39-year-old Chehalis woman escaped with scrapes to her face but her car was totaled when a deer jumped out of a ditch on the 1600 block of Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday evening, causing her to swerve, lose control and roll her car, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 30-year-old Portland man was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital on Friday afternoon after his Honda Prelude struck the concrete center barrier then a semi truck, then rolled and came to rest on the barrier on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis. Sean T. Gaston’s car was impounded and towed; the Freightliner was able to be driven from the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol. Gaston was cited for wheels off the roadway.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, shoplifting, malicious mischief, protection order violation, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana by a 19-year-old; responses for alarms, dispute, harassment, hit and run, stolen cell phone, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, collisions on county roads, someone getting accidentally locked inside the Lewis County Mall at closing … and more.

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A 1994 Honda Prelude came to rest on the center median near milepost 67 on Interstate 5 on Friday afternoon.

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News brief: Tree claims life of skier at White Pass

Monday, April 20, 2015 at 10:48 am

Updated at 11:41 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A skier died at White Pass this weekend after colliding with a tree.

The 60-year-old Olympia woman lost control after going over a “roller” or bump and was traveling backwards when she went into the tree line on Saturday, according to authorities.

An off-duty ski patrol member witnessed the approximately 11:30 a.m. accident, but efforts to revive the woman were unsuccessful, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Cathy Carlson was pronounced dead before responders got her to the lodge.

Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the incident occurred at the White Pass Ski Resort’s Couloir run in the newer expansion area.

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Guest column: Volunteer chaplains bring calm to crisis

Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm
2015.0322.curfman.ChaplainsCommissioned

The new chaplains are front row, left to right: Theresia “Brook” Yri, Connie Densmore, John Anders, Victoria Erskine, Kim Thompson, Jane Anderson and Mike Griffee. In the back row from left to right are: Edgar Densmore, Thomas Walker, Matthew March and Louis Hopkins.

By Kevin Curfman
Lewis County Chaplaincy Services President

Across Lewis County, crisis strikes our communities every day. It may be a residential house fire, an elderly spouse experiencing a cardiac arrest or a tragic accident at a workplace.

Regardless of the event, it is traumatic for the individual, family members and friends that are involved. These types of calls also can have a heavy toll on the emergency responders who respond on a daily basis.

Responding alongside those emergency responders are dedicated chaplains from the Lewis County Chaplaincy Services (LCCS).

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Kevin Curfman
Lewis County Chaplaincy Services President

These dedicated men and women are there to help to bring a calm to the scene and to assist all those involved during and immediately after the crisis.

They may explain to the family members the actions of the emergency responders and help to provide for their immediate needs. They are there to assist them through the event and will work to put together a support system of resources that will assist them with rebuilding their lives after a tragedy.

For the emergency responders, the chaplains are there to support them in their jobs and to be a “listening ear” when they need to talk about that especially bad call to which they recently responded. It is our goal that all emergency response agencies have a chaplain connected to their department that they can work with and consider to be their chaplain.

Emergency chaplaincy services began in Lewis County in 1989.

A program was started in the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the Centralia Police Department at the same time a different one was started with the Chehalis Fire Department. In 1993, the two programs merged into the Lewis County Chaplaincy Services. It has since been available to serve all emergency agencies in the county including law enforcement, fire departments, the dispatch center and the coroner’s office.

Since the programs joined, I have had the privilege of serving as the director and president of the board of directors for the chaplaincy since that time. Over the years we have added more chaplains and expanded our services in various ways. Two years ago we were asked by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to begin overseeing the volunteers who come into the jail to work with inmates and provide chaplain services to them. This has proven to be a great extension to the work of LCCS.

We have also had other exciting changes.

One is that we recently commissioned a total of 11 new chaplains to serve in Lewis County. Some of these chaplains will be working in emergency response and others in the jail ministry. This will give better and more efficient coverage for calls especially in the east end of the county. We are excited to have the new chaplains on-board and they are currently undergoing training to prepare them to respond.

With the recent growth, the board of directors saw the need to have someone to focus on the daily operation of LCCS. We are happy that Chaplain Betty Kitchen has accepted the position of executive director. I will continue to serve as president of the board of directors.

We also have expanded the board by adding two new positions. One is a board member to represent the jail ministry. The other is the position of community pastor which has been filled. This gives us six board members from the emergency agencies and the community that we serve.

I look forward to seeing the LCCS continue to grow and serve those responding to and in crisis situations across our community.

Sincerely,

Kevin T. Curfman, President
Lewis County Chaplaincy Services

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Man, grandson burned in Randle fire

Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Updated at 6:16 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two men were injured in a fire early this morning east of Randle, one of them a 67-year-old who was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Firefighters were called around 4:30 a.m. to the 700 block of Carr Road by a neighbor, according to responders.

Lewis County Fire District 14 Firefighter Ron Blankenship said he and his wife – both advanced EMTs – arrived first and found the man and his 23-year-old grandson walking toward the road.

About 200 yards behind them, he could see what he understood was a trailer house fully involved in flames, he said.

The grandfather had burns on 20 percent of his body, on his arms, legs, chest and head, Blankenship said.

The younger man had minor burns on at least one hand and his front, he said. He was taken to Morton General Hospital, he said.

Firefighters were joined by members of Lewis County Fire District 10 in Packwood.

Fire Investigator Jay Birley said there was so little left, he couldn’t be certain what it was before it burned and doubted he would pinpoint a cause.

“It looked like he had a trailer, there was a metal frame on cinder blocks,” Birley said. “It looked like wood frame structures were added onto the sides.”

The resident had no electricity, and Birley learned from a deputy on the scene, the man had had issues with his wood stove door.