Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Another town meeting: Got a question for the sheriff, the prosecutor?

Monday, May 25th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sheriff and the prosecutor have set aside an evening to talk with citizens, answer their questions and listen to their concerns.

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Sheriff Rob Snaza

It takes place next month in Toledo, as part of their series of town meetings around Lewis County.

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza and Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer conducted their first such gathering in March in Salkum.

Meyer called the first meeting successful and indicated he enjoyed it.

“Transparency in the prosecutor’s office is important and I am happy to share our successes and challenges with the public we serve,” he stated in a news release.

Snaza called it a great opportunity to have a conversation with citizens.

“Partnering together to address community issues is paramount to keeping Lewis County a safe place to live,” Snaza stated.

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Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer

The two elected officials plan to continue with similar meetings in various other communities around the county throughout the year.

Snaza, who is just beginning a four-year term, is introducing himself and his office to the people in other ways as well.

Earlier this month, he hosted what he called “A day in the life of the sheriff’s office” by inviting 10 people to spend a Saturday touring his facilities, and engaging in hands-on activities such as lifting fingerprints and participating in a shoot-don’t shoot simulation.

What: Town Meeting with Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza and Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer
Where: Cowlitz Prairie Grange, 5184 Jackson Highway, Toledo.
When: Wednesday June 24, 2015
Time: 7:30 p.m.
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For background, read “Sheriff, prosecutor talk about changes in crime fighting efforts” from Sunday March 29, 2015, here

News brief: Phone service still down in Centralia

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The large telephone service outage in Centralia that began on Tuesday continues with no estimate of when repairs will be finished.

A construction crew cut through CenturyLink’s communications cables affecting 1,172 customers.

Splicing of the repair cables continues around the clock, according to a spokesperson for CenturyLink. Spokesperson Brian Dalessi indicated he doesn’t know when it will be fixed.

The incident shutdown landline phone service and Internet service, but not cell phones, according to CenturyLink.

The area affected has been described in general terms only, as mostly west of Interstate 5.

Dispatchers at the Lewis County 911 center indicated on Wednesday afternoon the outage could last for 72 hours.
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For background, read “No phones, Internet for 1,172 Centralia customers” from Wednesday May 20 2015, here

News brief: S’more safety

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – There’s almost nothing better than sitting around a campfire, but officials are worried that forests on both sides of the state are more more vulnerable than usual to catastrophe this weekend.

2015.0522.smorecampfireIn Western Washington, the snowpack is a fraction of normal, and much of Eastern Washington has endured years of persistent drought, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

DNR urges everyone to be careful and please help prevent wildland fires over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer.

Simple steps to do your part include: before leaving home, check to find out what the campfire restrictions are for the area you plan to visit.

And then, authorities advise:

If campfires are allowed; extinguish them properly before leaving:
• Never leave a campfire unattended at any time.
• Drown fire thoroughly with water.
• Stir until cold.
• Drown fire again and stir.
• Never leave a campfire until it is completely out and cool to the touch.

Already this year, the state agency has responded to 124 wildland fires.

Stay connected during the wildfire season through DNR’s Twitter at http://twitter.com/waDNR_fire

News brief: Lightning strike damages Napavine residence

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Firefighters called for smoke inside a Napavine home yesterday evening discovered lightning had struck an approximately 40-foot tall tree, run down the tree, jumped to the corner of the roof and ruined a portion of the family’s electrical system.

It actually ended up damaging two homes, Firefighter Brad Bozarth said.

The Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue crew called about 6 p.m. to the 200 block of Meadow Lane in Napavine found a mother and two youngsters outside, he said. Nobody was hurt.

“They didn’t know what happened, they just saw a big flash and noticed smoke,” Bozarth said.

He described the damage to the roof as involving little pieces of wood everywhere.

Debris was also found on the neighbor’s roof and there, all the electronics inside were ruined, according to Bozarth.

News brief: ‘Click it or ticket’ includes buckling up kids

Friday, May 15th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Now might be a good time to brush up on properly restraining children when they ride in motor vehicles.

Beginning on Monday, law enforcement officers around Lewis County will participate in extra patrols focusing on seatbelt safety especially regarding youngsters, with the support of the Lewis County DUI Traffic Safety Task Force.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional deaths among children in the United States, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Between 2010 and 2012, in Washington, 26 child passengers age 12 and younger died, and another 122 were seriously injured as a result of traffic crashes.

The majority of these tragedies likely could have been avoided had these children been properly restrained, as dictated by Washington state law, according to a news release from the WTSC.

For example, children under the age of 13 are required to ride in the back seat.

The emphasis patrols involve the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington State Patrol and police departments in Centralia, Chehalis, Morton, Toledo and Winlock. The current campaign goes until the end of May.

For more information about child passenger safety, check out the law here

News brief: Stockpile of suspected stolen jewelry uncovered in Glenoma

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Hundreds of pieces of jewelry believed to have been stolen in various burglaries during the past year in the east end of Lewis County have been recovered at a residence in Glenoma, and the sheriff’s office is looking to reunite the pieces with their rightful owners.

The cache of goods was found by detectives on Friday following a complex investigation conducted over several weeks, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

“It is believed many victims may not have reported the theft of their jewelry and/or may be unaware any is missing,” the sheriff’s office states in a news release today.

Much of the find is costume jewelry dating from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

Among the pieces are earrings, broaches, bracelets, necklaces, tie clasps, specialized pins, watches, belly dancing chains, tourist collection coins, rings, and cuff links. They are being held in the custody of the sheriff’s office.

Brown indicates an investigation is ongoing, so authorities are not releasing further details about the recovery of the items.

Members of the public are asked to call detective Gene Seiber at 360-740-1324 if they believe they are missing any of the aforementioned described jewelry. They will need to provide specific description of the jewelry prior to it being released, Brown states.

News brief: Local election results finalized

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The final results of the special election certified yesterday show voters in the Mossyrock area failed to approve a bond to build a new fire station.

They needed at least 60 percent yes votes, but just shy of 56 percent of voters were in favor of the proposal for up to $1.2 million in bonds.

The Centralia area’s Riverside Fire Authority passed a measure to continue its EMS levy, with 70 percent of voters checking the yes box on their ballots.

The results of the April 28 special election can be found here.
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For background, read “News brief: Election day for three local measures” from Tuesday April 28, 2015, here

News brief: A time to say thank you to police

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
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Red roses for remembrance share the pedestal with The Guardian statue in Chehalis.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A medal of valor and other commendations will be awarded tonight as Centralia police recognize courage, service and sacrifice among their ranks.

The annual ceremony will take place at Centralia City Hall during the city council meeting, according to Chief Bob Berg.

It’s National Police Week. Friday is National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, time set aside and established by Congress to pay tribute to those officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities, according to Berg.

The retiring police chief notes that 117 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty across the country last year, an increase of 10 from the year before.

Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza took the opportunity yesterday to issue a news release noting the week is a solemn reminder of how dangerous their jobs can be.

“My hat is off to all of the men and women in law enforcement who choose this honorable profession, are true guardians, and are willing to lay down their lives to protect their neighbors,” Snaza stated.

The Lewis County Law Enforcement Memorial, a bronze statue installed outside the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis last year, will be decorated with red roses each day this week, as a tribute to fallen local officers.

News brief: Tired driver flips van on dark highway

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Updated at 8:58 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 44-year-old motorist was injured last night when he fell asleep and his Volkswagen van drifted to the shoulder, hit the ditch and flipped several times along state Route 6 west of Chehalis.

Troopers called about 11:30 p.m. to the scene near Chandler Road at Dryad report the vehicle was totaled and came to rest in the eastbound lane.

Donald R. Silver was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Lewis County Fire District 16 Chief Greg Feuchter said he had a few cuts, but avoided life-threatening injuries.

Silver, from McMinnville, Oregon, was cited for second-degree negligent driving, the state patrol reports.

News brief: Elk blamed for wrecking patrol car

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

While the investigating trooper reported a Long Beach Police Department officer from Curtis was injured when he struck an elk on the highway early Monday, his chief says he was unhurt.

“He’s fine, nobody was hurt,” Long Beach Police Department Flint Wright said.

Officer Michael T. Parker, 38, was crawling about 15 mph on northbound U.S. Highway 101 about three miles east of Long Beach because he came upon a herd of elk, and two of the animals came off the side of the road and T-boned his patrol car, according to Wright.

Parker was transporting a prisoner to the jail and they went to the hospital as a precautionary measure, Wright said.

The damage to the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria was described as “reportable”, but Wright said the estimated $6,000 to $7,000 to repair it meant it probably won’t get fixed.
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For background, read “News brief: Police officer from Curtis hospitalized after colliding with elk” from Monday May 4, 2015, here

News brief: Police officer from Curtis hospitalized after colliding with elk

Monday, May 4th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Long Beach Police Department officer who lives in Lewis County was injured overnight when his patrol car struck an elk on the roadway.

Michael T. Parker, 38, of Curtis, was transporting a prisoner to jail when he came upon a herd of elk on northbound U.S. Highway 101 about three miles east of Long Beach, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers called to the scene about 1:20 a.m. report Parker was taken by ambulance to Ocean Beach Hospital. Information about his condition was not readily available.

His 60-year-old passenger, who was reportedly not seat belted in, was transported by aid to the hospital as well, as a precaution, according to the state patrol.

The damage to the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria was described only as “reportable.”

The speed limit there is 55 mph, and the car was slowing, according to patrol spokesperson Trooper Russ Winger.

The animal that was hit ran off and was not located last night, Winger indicated.

Chilly waters and sunshine prompt safety message, life jacket discount

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Public safety personnel are cautioning residents that with the warmer days of spring, rivers and lakes are still very cold and pose dangers, such as hypothermia.

Lewis County Fire District 5 Lt. Laura Hanson says life jackets and other personal flotation devices are recommended and reminds parents that children should be closely supervised by an adult at all times while swimming and near water.

Coupons for 25 percent off life jackets are available now through Big 5 Sporting Goods, in partnership with Washington State Drowning Prevention Network, Safe Kids Washington, and the Spokane Regional Health District.

Hanson, on behalf of area public safety agencies, reminds the public that new underwater hazards such as limbs and logs can be expected to have been created over the winter.

Personal flotation devices are required for all children under the age of 12 on boats 19 feet or shorter, according to Hanson.

In Washington state, an average of 25 children and teens drown every year, according to the Washington State Drowning Prevention Network. Most of them are swimming, boating or just playing in or near water.

“Safe recreation and accident prevention is a concern for your local responders and is the responsibility of everyone,” Hanson states in a news release.

She offered a safety checklist, from the Centers from Disease Control:

Tips to help you stay safe in the water:

Supervise When in or Around Water. Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times. Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.

Use the Buddy System. Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards when possible.

Seizure Disorder Safety. If you or a family member has a seizure disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around water, including swimming pools. Consider taking showers rather than using a bath tub for bathing. Wear life jackets when boating.

Learn to Swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing to prevent unsupervised access, are still important.

Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could save someone’s life.

Air-Filled or Foam Toys are not safety devices. Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, instead of life jackets. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

Avoid Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.

Don’t let swimmers hyperventilate before swimming underwater or try to hold their breath for long periods of time. This can cause them to pass out (sometimes called “shallow water blackout”) and drown.

Know how to prevent recreational water illnesses. For more information about illnesses from recreational water, see the More Information section.

Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous.

News brief: Election day for three local measures

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Ballots must be postmarked by today or hand-delivered before 8 o’clock tonight for the special election that includes measures for two fire departments and one for the Napavine School District.

The Mossyrock area’s Lewis County Fire District 3 is asking voter’s to approve up to $1.2 million in bonds maturing within 15 years to build a new station.

The main station downtown is too small and in a location without room to expand, according to Fire Chief Doug Fosburg. The district has five acres just outside of town where it would like to construct the new building, he said.

They need at least 60 percent yes votes, according to the  the Lewis County Auditor’s Office election department.

Riverside Fire Authority which protects Centralia and the surrounding area is asking voters to renew an Emergency Medical Services levy for the next six years, which imposes 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property owners. Last year, voters passed a special maintenance and operation levy for the department which was put into place for just one year.

The top reason people call RFA for EMS help – according to numbers complied from 2010 to 2014 – are for fall victims and the age group with the largest number of calls are those 81 to 90 years old, according to Chief Mike Kytta.

A simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote will pass the levy.

The Napavine School District is asking for approval to issue $17,995,000 in bonds to expand and modernize school buildings.

Ballots were sent out earlier this month for the all vote-by-mail election.

Ballots can be dropped off at the Lewis County Auditor’s Office at 351 NW North St. in Chehalis or a drive-by ballot drop box at the Twin Cities Senior Center at 2545 N. National Ave. in Chehalis.

Watch for election results tonight at Lewis County Auditor’s Office: Election Department

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

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

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
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For background, read :

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