Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: Tenino police chief let go by mayor

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Tenino’s mayor says he plans to hire a new police chief as as soon as possible after letting go Chief John Hutchings yesterday.

Hutchings was hired by Mayor Bret Brodersen’s predecessor in the summer of 2012.

“It’s just a difference in philosophies,” Brodersen said, calling the termination a release from service.

The small department is budgeted for a chief, three officers and a part time administrative person, but currently has only two officers, according to Brodersen. He appointed one of them as officer in charge for the time being, he said.

“I’m looking forward to improving the police department and continuing to provide quality services in the future,” Brodersen said. “I thank Mr. Hutchings for his service to the community and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

News brief: Hospital to turn on backup generator Saturday morning during electrical system upgrade

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A planned brief shutdown of the power at Providence Centralia Hospital on Saturday morning means its outpatient pharmacy and outpatient lab will be closed.

Several departments, including the emergency room, will be using generator power during that time, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Providence has been working with Centralia City Light to improve the reliability of its power supply, according to spokesperson Chris Thomas.

“We upgraded the electrical transformer in September connected to the east side of the building, and now we’re connecting the west side of the building,” Thomas said. “We don’t anticipate any problems.”

It begins at 7 a.m. and won’t take very long, but they’ve given themselves a two-hour window to complete the work, according to Thomas.

News brief: Thurston County prevails on accidental bite by K-9, of another officer

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An appeals court ruled in favor of Thurston County yesterday, regarding an incident in late 2010 in which its police dog bit a Tumwater officer in the testicle during a search in a darkened building for a burglary suspect.

According to Thurston Deputy Rod Ditrich, K-9 Rex thought Tumwater Officer Bryent Finch was a threat when Finch shouted at the suspect to show his hands, at the same time Ditrich was calling Rex to come back to him.

The two men were standing next to each other.

Finch drove himself to the hospital, underwent surgery and then on June 6, 2012 filed suit against the county, the sheriff’s office, the deputy and the deputy’s wife, according to court documents.

A judge hearing the case in Mason County Superior Court granted a summary judgement to the respondents dismissing the strict liability claim. Finch, and his wife Patricia Finch appealed.

The opinion issued yesterday by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, held the legislature abolished strict liability claims for injuries from lawfully used police dogs, even though the police dog exemption didn’t go into effect until the day after Finch’s suit was filed.

The Finches initially also claimed negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but had dismissed those two portions after the Mason County decision, according to court documents. Deputy Ditrich and his wife are immune from civil liability under a statute regarding police dog handlers acting in good faith, according to the appeals court.

The three-member panel was unanimous.

For background, read “Read about police dog bites police man in groin in Thurston County …” from Friday November 19, 2010, here

In case you missed it: Coroner hopes releasing name of dead woman will lead him to next of kin

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

The Chehalis Police Department says this picture of Sara Candice was taken in about 2007; authorities are looking for her relatives.


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The coroner is appealing to the public for help to find family of the woman whose skeletal remains were discovered on a wooded Chehalis hillside a month ago.

Scroll down to read more, or click here.

Coroner hopes releasing name of dead woman will lead him to next of kin

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

The Chehalis Police Department says this picture of Sara Candice was taken in about 2007; authorities are looking for her relatives.


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The coroner is appealing to the public for help to find family of the woman whose skeletal remains were discovered on a wooded Chehalis hillside a month ago.

All attempts to locate next of kin by his office and the Chehalis Police Department have been unsuccessful, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said today.

McLeod released her name, Sara Candice, her age, 56, and where she lived, which he described as the Twin Cities area.

How and exactly when she died remains unknown.

The human remains were found by a surveyor about a quarter mile east of the 2200 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue on Feb. 23. The spot was remote, a rugged hike from  property where some earthmoving is underway east of Yard Birds Mall.

Police estimated she had been there about a year, based on personal papers found in a handbag-type bag near her. There were no signs of a homeless encampment and no obvious signs of foul play at the scene, according to police.

Her identity was confirmed through dental records the coroner secured using a name found in the papers. She was not reported missing, as far as police know.

McLeod said today he couldn’t give out any information about the woman, such as what they have learned about where she lived or where she worked, citing confidentiality.

“We don’t know anything about any employment,” he said, however.

He has been told she might have a brother in Alaska or Canada, and he believed she traveled a lot, he said.

“One of the contacts we were able to find said she used to go all over the country, and send her post cards,” McLeod said.

The decedent was a roommate of the contact’s niece, he said.

McLeod said he didn’t know her middle name, but that police might, since they have her identification. Chehalis police say they don’t have a middle initial or name.

Chehalis detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said they found former addresses for Candice in both Chehalis and Centralia. Her most recent residence was an apartment on the 400 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia where she lived alone, Wilson said.

“She didn’t have a lot of associates and didn’t have any real connections,” Wilson said.

They located some people Candice had business dealings with and they gave indications she pretty much kept to herself, he said.

Wilson said police could not find that she had a driver’s license in any state. The only local law enforcement contact with her was in 2012, he said.

“So, she was just one of those people who was not in trouble with the law,” he said.

The receipts found with her go back to March of last year, he said.

When detectives went to the apartment where Candice last lived, nobody was living there, WIlson said.

“The people who controlled the apartment hadn’t heard from her, rent was not being paid, so it was being cleaned up,” he said.

Chehalis police secured a photo taken of Candice from a law enforcement agency in Arizona, which Wilson said he thought was taken in about 2007.

Wilson said he doesn’t feel like police are any closer than they were a couple of weeks ago to finding out how or why she died.

The goal for both police and the coroner right now is to locate her relatives.

The condition of her body was such that no autopsy could be done, but her remains have been sent to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office where a forensic anthropologist may or may not be able to determine a cause of death, according to the coroner.

McLeod asks anyone with information regarding the decedent and possible next of kin to please call the coroner’s office at 360-740-1376.

For background, read “News brief: Dental match confirms identity of Kresky Avenue remains” from Thursday March 5, 2015, here

Town meeting: Got a question for the sheriff, the prosecutor?

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sheriff and prosecutor are getting ready to hit the road, for a series of town meetings around Lewis County, to talk with citizens, answer their questions and listen to their concerns.

2015.0322.2010.1112.rob.snaza_2 copy

Sheriff Rob Snaza

Newly-elected Sheriff Rob Snaza and Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer plan to speak about projects their offices are involved in, their agency goals for the future and their accomplishments.

Both will welcome interaction from the audience, according to a joint news release.

The first meeting is set for Wednesday afternoon, at the Salkum Timberland Library in Salkum. It begins at 3 p.m. and goes until 4:30 p.m.

Snaza, elected to a four-year term in November, says he’s always felt such gatherings are beneficial to provide transparency about what they do.

“Partnerships between law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, and the citizens living in the county are so important when trying to reduce crime and deal effectively with community issues,” Snaza states.


Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer

Meyer, who ran unopposed in November and won a second term, encourages those who can attend to do so. He thinks it will be a productive meeting.

“I believe this meeting will be an excellent opportunity to share how well we are doing to ensure justice is served for victims in Lewis County,” Meyer states. “I look forward to answering questions about the process involved in prosecuting those who break the law, and talking about some of our successes these past few years.”

Future town meetings will be held throughout the year in different communities in Lewis County.

What: Town Meeting with Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza and Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer
Where: Salkum Timberland Library, 2480 U.S. Highway 12, Salkum
When: Wednesday March 25, 2015
Time: 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Police: Centralia resident tries to rob Titus Will

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 26-year-old man was arrested this morning for robbery after he allegedly beat up an employee at a Chehalis auto dealership, trying to get vehicles without paying for them.

Police called about 7:15 a.m. to the 2500 block of North National Avenue were told the employee was approached by the man in the parking lot at opening time, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

“He told the employee he wanted three cars, struck the employee, threatened he was going to kill him and struck him a couple more times,” department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

The suspect was gone when officers arrived, but was subsequently located by Centralia police, Bailey said.

She said she didn’t yet have all the details, but the victim said his assailant didn’t make much sense. The 55-year-old declined aid, Bailey said.

One witness at Titus Will Chevrolet Buick told officers the man mentioned he had a family to feed, she said.

Jonas K. Doyle, 26, from Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree robbery, according to police.

News brief: Chehalis Golf course restaurant investigating credit card issue

Monday, March 16th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Riverside Golf Club’s restaurant in Chehalis has stopped taking credit cards temporarily while they track down a potential breach of their system.

Manager Jena Sorenson said today she was contacted over the weekend by a woman who said her credit card was hacked, after it was used at their establishment.

The woman told her that the charges didn’t go through, but someone attempted to make purchases at Rite Aid three days after a lunch at Riverside, Sorenson said.

The woman posted it on Facebook, and then Sorenson got calls from two others who claimed a similar experience.

Sorenson said at this point, she’s not certain the problem is related to their business, but she’s not taking any chances.

She’s been in touch with their computer software company in case somehow malware has gotten into their system. She’s contacted their credit card processing company, and they’ve started an investigation, she said.

She’s confident it’s not an employee.

She wants to reassure customers nobody is at risk by coming to dine with them, as they just won’t accept credit cards until she’s 100 percent sure it’s safe to pay that way.

Riverside Bistro and Bar is at the golf course on Northwest Airport Road, along the Chehalis River. Her family has owned it for the past nine years, she said.

The golf course uses a different machine and credit card processor, according to Sorenson.

Sorenson was troubled the customer announced her issue on Facebook before even calling the restaurant, and frustrated there wasn’t anything she could do about it over the weekend, she said.

Riverside is as much victims of whatever may have happened, as the customer is, she said. And it can be damaging to a business to have such things shared widely that way, she said.

Credit card companies are pretty good with the protections they provide cardholders and it’s something that’s increasingly common for people in general, according to Sorenson.

“Almost everybody I know has had their credit card compromised,” she said. “This is the age of how people don’t steal your wallet, they steal your credit card (number).”

News brief: Chehalis police looking for info about possible attempted luring

Monday, March 16th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police are asking the public to contact them if they have any information about a possible attempted child luring incident that took place on Friday evening near the elementary schools on Southwest Third Avenue off Market Boulevard.

Officers were called about 6:15 p.m. on Friday when a 9-year-old girl said she was approached by a male on foot who told her she was cute and asked her to come to his home, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The girl, who had her bicycle with her, rode away from the individual who didn’t try to follow her, according to a news release issued this afternoon.

He was described as having a darker complexion and acne, possibly of high school or college age, according to police. She also said he was wearing white tennis shoes, blue “skinny” jeans and a gray and black coat, according to police.

Anyone with information on the incident may contact police by calling the non-emergency number at Lewis County dispatch, 360-740-1105.

Chehalis bicyclist escapes collision with no broken bones, but with hospital bill

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Douglas Blankenship was carrying seven pounds of hamburger with him as he bicycled back home to Chehalis after a trip to Reicherts Meats in Centralia.

It happened really fast, he said.

He was headed down Cascade Avenue near the post office, when the door of a parked car opened, he said. He pulled his hand away so it wouldn’t get crushed.

“I was in the air, I went over the handle bars,” he said. “I just tucked my head.”

Blankenship said he hit the ground and when he opened his eyes, three women were sitting next to him, telling him not to move.

The accident about 3:45 p.m. last Monday sent him to the emergency room at Providence Centralia Hospital.

No bones were broken, just a lot of scraped skin and bruised body parts, he said after getting released.

Now, the 40-year-old is wondering if anyone else saw what happened. The police report didn’t make note of any witnesses, he said.

Blankenship said he’s not working, he doesn’t have insurance and he’s got medical bills.

“The doctor said the lady’s insurance should cover it, but when I mentioned about the lady’s insurance, the officer wasn’t really going that route,” he said.

After the incident, the Chehalis Police Department said the driver was getting ready to go into the post office and said she checked but didn’t see him, before opening her door. The bicyclist told police he was traveling close to the sidewalk, although not on it, and went to go around the car when its door opened, police said.

Blankenship said the hospital finished with him around 7:30 p.m. or 8 o’clock that night, and nurses – or someone – paid for a taxi to get him over to the fire department, where his bike and hamburger were.

He was appreciative of all of them for helping him out, he said. But now he’s uncertain what to do next.

“I’m just taking it step by step, this has never happened to me before” he said. “I’m trying to find out if anyone saw it.”

He didn’t think to gather names of witnesses himself before the ambulance took him away, he said.

He said he vaguely recalls a woman in a vehicle across the street, and is hoping she saw what took place, and will contact him. He can be reached at 360-388-388-0114.

News brief: Toledo woman dead after I-5 car, motorcycle wreck

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The scene on Interstate 5 near Toutle Park Road. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Department of Transportation

Updated at 1:12 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 52-year-old motorcyclist from Toledo was killed in a collision yesterday on Interstate 5 in Cowlitz County that was caused by debris on the roadway.

Troopers were called just before 4 p.m. to the scene about three miles north of Castle Rock where a Ford Mustang had landed on top of the center barrier and the motorcyclist had been thrown across it onto the southbound lanes, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Both had been traveling northbound, according to the state patrol.

The wreck partially shut down the freeway for hours.

It began when Patricia L. Warrick, 55, of Ocean Shores, struck an object on the roadway causing her to lose control of her car which hit the motorcycle, according to the state patrol. The 2013 Harley Davidson SLD103 then hit the jersey barrier and went over onto the opposite lane.

The motorcyclist is identified as Nadine A. Beaman, 52, of Toledo.

The investigating trooper reports Warrick was injured and transported to Providence Centralia Hospital. She was treated and has been released by this morning, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Trooper Will Finn, a spokesperson for the state patrol, said he was told the item on the road was a 10-inch by 10-inch by 10-inch piece of metal that appeared to belong to a commercial vehicle, as though it had fell off a semi truck.

Both vehicles were impounded. No charges are expected.

News brief: Child luring attempts reported in Pe Ell

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Pe Ell Marshal Mike Hartnett is urging parents to talk with their children about what their safety plans should be following two reports of attempted child lurings.

Hartnett, in a news release he asked the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to distribute, said both situations involved 10-year-old boys who said a man asked them to get in his pickup truck.

The first incident occurred about 1:30 p.m. on Friday in which the the subject told the boy if he got into his vehicle, he would give him money and a game;  and the other about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday a block away in the area of state Route 6 and Seventh Avenue where the subject offered an Xbox, according to Hartnett.

In both cases, the children told the man no, they didn’t need a ride because they lived nearby, according to the news release.

The vehicle is described as a dark blue Ford Ranger extended cab pickup with green pinstripe on the door. The driver is described only as a white male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt pulled down over his head.

The truck left east on state Route 6 the first time and westbound after the second incident, according to the marshal.

Hartnett, who has been policing the tiny West Lewis County town since July, said nobody in Pe Ell has seen that vehicle before.

“I’m reaching out to other agencies in the three to four county area to see if they’ve had any similar incidents,” he said.

The marshal commended the youngsters for their responses.

“The boys did an excellent job avoiding the offers to get into the vehicle and reported the incidents to their parents and the parents contacted law enforcement,” he wrote in his news release.

He is requesting anyone with information to contact law enforcement.

News brief: Toledo infant’s cause of death unknown

Saturday, March 7th, 2015


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County coroner announced yesterday nothing suspicious was found during an autopsy of an 8-month-old Toledo area baby.

Deputies responded about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the 200 block of Foster Creek Road where the father said he’d found the infant boy in his crib not breathing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CPR was conducted and medics responded as well, but the child was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office is investigating the death, but has not revealed why.

Coroner Warren McLeod indicated yesterday there were no signs of trauma to the baby and he doesn’t yet know what caused the death.

It could take three to four months to get back the results of tests, information he needs to make a determination, according to McLeod. The tests are ones automatically done on unexplained infant or child deaths, he said.

For background, read “News brief: Infant death investigation underway in Toledo area” from Thursday March 5, 2015, here

News brief: Dental match confirms identity of Kresky Avenue remains

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The skeletal remains found last week on a hillside along Kresky Avenue in Chehalis have been positively identified, but the name is being withheld until authorities can locate and notify next-of-kin.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said the female in her mid-50s was living locally, but no missing person report was filed with police by anyone.

Investigators found papers in a bag near her body with her name on them, and found dental records locally to compare with the remains.

Dr. Kathleen Taylor, the forensic anthropologist at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office made the identification using the records, according to McLeod.

Chehalis Police Department detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said earlier this week their investigation of the death was is in somewhat of a holding pattern, waiting for the coroner to tell them who she was.

As of Tuesday, neither office had been in contact with family of the woman.

The human remains were found by a surveyor about a quarter mile east of the 2200 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue on Feb. 23. Sgt. Wilson estimated she had  been dead about a year. Her cause of death remains undetermined.

For background, read “Possible ID could come this week of remains found off Kresky Ave.” from Tuesday March 3, 2015, here

News brief: Infant death investigation underway in Toledo area

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an 8-month-old boy in the Toledo area.

Deputies responded last night to the 200 block of Foster Creek Road because of a report of an aid call about a non-breathing baby with CPR in progress, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies learned the father had found the infant in the crib not breathing, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Nine-one-one was called and CPR begun, Brown said.

The efforts were unsuccessful, she said.

Brown didn’t say if the death was suspicious or why law enforcement was investigating, but did say no further information will be released until after an autopsy, which could possibly take place tomorrow.

News brief: Griel Road residents plead not guilty in marijuana case

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

James and Laveta Arnold, left, appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Onalaska couple charged with growing lots and lots of marijuana at their rural property pleaded not guilty today.

James L. Arnold and Laveta L. Arnold were arrested on Feb. 10 following an investigation by Centralia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office into alleged money laundering.

Prosecutors allege they generated about $136,000 a year selling what initially was grown as personal medicinal marijuana.

Police seized more than 40 pounds of marijuana and 614 plants from an indoor garden, along with  cars, trucks, firearms and a den full of mounted animal heads from their home on Griel Road.

The couple were accompanied this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court by Kent attorney Bradley G. Barshis. At least 11 friends, family and supporters sat behind them.

They are free on bail.

In the brief hearing, they pleaded not guilty to manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to to deliver and with money laundering.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said he and their lawyer agreed to modify their conditions of release to allow for travel in all of Washington and also northern Oregon, as they have business and ill family to tend to.

Both the Arnolds and their attorney declined to comment outside the courtroom.

A trial was scheduled for the week of May 4.

For background, read “Onalaska arrests: Big medical marijuana enterprise funded African safaris, say police” from Friday February 13, 2015, here

Read about changes at Medic One, Toledo Fire Department …

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Winlock’s Town Crier reports the board of Lewis County Medic One eliminated the position held by Grant Wiltbank, who has long been the face of the shared ambulance service.

Reporter-editor Stephen Floyd writes the move came at a Tuesday regular meeting amidst funding challenges and a lettering detailing a no confidence vote from the medics’ union members.

The group, originally the Interlocal Organization of Lewis County Fire Districts 2, 7 and 15 serving the areas of Toledo, Vader-Ryderwood and Winlock, grew to provide services in central Lewis County. Recently Lewis County Fire District 5 in Napavine began contracting with AMR instead.

Floyd also writes Wiltbank was terminated in December as chief of Toledo’s Lewis County Fire District 2.

For more, read “Medic One eliminates role of operations chief” from Tuesday Thursday February 17, 2015, here

News brief: Three men on the short list for Centralia police chief

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three police chief hopefuls were interviewed yesterday in Centralia as the city continues its work to replace outgoing Chief Bob Berg.

The men include Centralia Police Department Cmdr. Jim Rich, Capt. Carl Nielsen of the Turlock (California) Police Department and  Lt. Maury Richards of the Chicago Police Department.

Centralia City Manager Rob Hill said this morning he will probably make an offer to one of them early next week.

Twenty applications from the nationwide search that began in December were narrowed down to five finalists who were interviewed by city department heads and select community members on Tuesday.

Berg is retiring in May.

The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs has been assisting with the recruitment and hiring process.


For background, read “Police chief hopefuls undergo two days of questioning in Centralia” from Wednesday February 18, 2015, here


James Rich



Carl Nielsen


Maurice Richards

News brief: Oakville house burns, no one hurt

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
2015.0218.oakvillehousefire.983857_640653746080079_6222503643609380613_n copy

Smoke billows from single-story house near Oakville. / Courtesy photo by Grays Harbor Fire District 5

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Four fire departments battled a blaze that broke out yesterday outside of Oakville, destroying a single story home and its contents.

“No injuries, just an extremely broken up family,” Grays Harbor County Fire District 1 spokesperson Shawn Burdett said.

The fire at Southbank Road and Craftdale Road about four miles northwest of town was reported by a neighbor about 12:48 p.m., Burdett said.

It spread throughout the house rather quickly, he said.

The cause is not yet known, he said.

The department was assisted by Grays Harbor Fire District’s 5, 2, 12, West Thurston Regional Fire Authority and Riverside Fire Authority hauling water with a half dozen tenders.

“I just want to say we all are tremendously thankful to the other agencies,” Burdett said. “Without their help, this would have been much worse.”

Burdett said he hoped to have more information later to release.