Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Read about school principal Ron Reynolds fighting to keep job …

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports documents they obtained show that shortly after the coroner’s inquest in which he was named responsible for his wife’s death 13 years earlier, Toledo Elementary School Principal Ron Reynolds’ employer wrote a letter saying they wished to fire him for work performance problems.


Ron Reynolds

Reynolds, who has been principal since 1997, was placed on paid leave after the October inquest and it appears he will fight attempts to terminate him,” news reporter Natalie St. John writes.

While the inquest jury ruled unanimously Ronda Reynolds’ manner of death was homicide and named Ron Reynolds and his son Jonathan as responsible, no charges were brought for lack of evidence.

Read more here

News brief: Alleged drug house busted south of Winlock

Friday, April 6th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 51-year-old Winlock man was arrested this morning when a SWAT team and drug detectives went to his home on the 700 block of Winlock-Vader Road.

A 9-year-old child there was turned over to Child Protective Services because of living conditions at the home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Four other individuals were detained, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

The visit and subsequent search warrant follow a lengthy investigation into narcotics being sold from the residence, according to Brown.

George D. Pruett Jr. was booked into the Lewis County Jail for two counts of delivery of methamphetamine and one count of child endangerment, according to the sheriff’s office.

Detectives remain on the scene conducting a search, according to Brown.  They are also in the process of determining any involvement by the four unnamed subjects.

Read about seven die from heroin overdoses in Cowlitz County …

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Updated at 10:46 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports seven people have died from extremely pure heroin in just five days in Cowlitz County.

Two of the deaths occurred Friday in Kelso and Longview, according to news reporter Leslie Slape.

Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson urged people to immediately call 911 for aid if a family member, loved one or friend uses heroin or any drug and becomes unresponsive, according to the Daily News.

Davidson said the overdose deaths have been instantaneous – respiratory failure – with needles found in the arms or in the hands of the victims.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod indicated this morning there have been no known heroin overdoses in Lewis County at all this year. The Thurston County coroner said he’s had none there.

According to Davidson, the problem is that for whatever reason the uncut, or undiluted, drug has gotten onto the streets and those using it unknowingly inject a lethal dose.

A 49-year-old man was found in the restroom at Fred Meyer in Longview on Friday night, but his partner, a woman who used the same drug, was taken to the hospital and survived, according to Davidson.

All the deaths have occurred in and around Kelso and Longview, but Davidson is hearing from his pathologist of others in regions to the south of Cowlitz County.

The dead include four men and three women from their early 20s to their late 50s from “all different walks of life,” Davidson said.

“It’s not isolated to one little group,” he said.

And other individuals locally have overdosed and been saved in the past few days, he said.

Yesterday as he was monitoring the radio he was still hearing of more overdose aid calls, he said, although the most recent death was Monday night.

On Tuesday night, the body of a 39-year-old Kelso man was found dumped on the west side of Longview by his buddies who got scared, Davidson said.

Cowlitz County might normally see about two heroin overdose deaths per month, he said.

Law enforcement is investigating to see if they can figure out where it’s coming from, but his biggest concern is public safety, Davidson said.

Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers anonymously, he said.

Read more, here

News brief: Neighborhood watch in Vader

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Vader area residents interested in reducing crime are invited to a gathering next week to be held at Vader City Hall.

A Neighborhood Watch meeting has been scheduled by and will by facilitated by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Support Volunteers.

The program is designed to help curb crime by educating residents on prevention techniques and helping neighbors get acquainted, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Support Volunteers coordinator Melody Nelson said a resident of the area requested the event because “they’ve had some problems going on down there.”

Neighborhood Watch, sponsored by the National Sheriff’s Association, is meant to bring citizens and law enforcement together to help make communities safer.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. on Thursday April 12.

Read about still few leads on the missing Kayla Croft-Payne …

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News writes that nearing the second anniversary of her disappearance, there have been few new developments over the past year in the case of the missing Kayla Croft-Payne.


Kayla Croft-Payne

Croft-Payne was reported missing on May 5, 2010  by a friend who hadn’t seen or heard from her for several days. She was 18 years old and living outside Chehalis.

Last summer, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said it had followed tips up into Pierce County, and down into Cowlitz County, saying the last place they could verify she was seen was a trailer park in the Toutle area.

News reporter Natalie St. John reports a volunteer group conducted a search outside Winlock about a month ago that turned out to be  dead end.

Read St. John’s news story here

For background, read “Kayla Croft-Payne: Missing Lewis County teen’s parents still seeking answers” from Friday March 25, 2011, here

Read about not a SWAT raid in Centralia …

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Updated Friday March 30, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter reported they took their cameras when a SWAT team conducted a raid in Centralia today, but that didn’t actually occur.

KIRO’s Richard Thompson described how police were looking for a man with a drug warrant and showed video of officers entering a building using a K-9, as well as the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office armored personnel carrier which transported them there.

Centralia police and the sheriff’s office said it didn’t happen.

“It must have been a slow news day or something, I don’t know,” Sheriff’s Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. “That happened a couple weeks ago.”

The footage was from the morning of Friday March 9 when law enforcement went to a building known as the creamery on the 1000 block of North Pearl Street, according to Brown.

On that morning, deputies with the Lewis County Regional Drug Task Force were joined by Centralia police about 8:45 a.m. in a raid.

At the time Brown said one unnamed person was detained following a two-month long narcotics investigation.

This news item has been updated to reflect the correct day in which these events occurred.

Lewis County apologizes for sharing a link to a misleading news story.

News brief: Pancakes and preparedness info

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Boistfort Emergency Assistance Group and Boistfort Fire Association are holding their second annual pancake breakfast tomorrow with the goal of helping folks prepare for their own safety.

The 8 a.m. to noon event at the Baw Faw Grange will include disaster preparedness information and displays, fire truck tours and raffles, according to Lewis County Fire District 13 Chief Gregg Peterson.

Plus sausage, eggs and all-you-can-eat pancakes.

The Boistfort Emergency Assistance Group began in the fall of 2006 after a windstorm damaged the elementary school and made its mission to create an evacuation center for use during a  disaster, according to Peterson.

The BEAG made changes at the Baw Faw Grange so it can run on a generator and propane, conversions that proved invaluable during the December 2007 flood, according to Peterson. The grange opened its doors at 7 a.m. that morning and within an hour had heat, lights and warm food in preparation for distressed citizens, according to Peterson.

The cost is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children.

News brief: Subject found from truck that hit freight train

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police acting on a tip spoke to a male overnight who said he was a passenger in the dump truck struck by a train yesterday evening in Centralia.

He said they ran off because they were scared, Officer John Panco said.

Police were called just after 6 p.m. yesterday to a railroad crossing on Floral Street where they found a wrecked large dump truck, but no driver.

The 1965 International dump truck suffered severe front end damage and a crossing arm was bent. The freight train which had kept going subsequently discovered a rupture in one of the cars, spilling soybeans.

Panco said a 200-foot-long trail of what might have been brake fluid suggested the accident may have been cause by a brake failure.

Officers spoke to the male in Chehalis, got a name of the supposed driver and are following up to confirm what happened, according to Panco.

For background, read “Truck versus train in Centralia” from  Thursday March 22, 2012 at 8:05 p.m., here

Read about Tenino police chief quits amid plans of inquiry into his conduct …

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Tenino Police Chief Sean Gallagher resigned today after the mayor said he planned to put the chief on leave pending an investigation into “conduct unbecoming of an officer” related to the inquiry into his wife’s 2010 suicide.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes Gallagher said he resigned because the mayor was trying to take over operational control of the police department.

Read about it here

Read authorities seeking family of man killed by train …

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports the man killed by a train last week north of Castle Rock is 56-year-old Juan Aurelio Garza, a resident who has lived off and on in Castle Rock and was on his way to the library when he was struck.

The Cowlitz County Coroner’s Office has not been able to locate Garza’s family, although they learned he previously taught at various colleges and high schools and lived in several other states, according to the newspaper.

Read more here

Read about several seek the bench in Thurston County …

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that four individuals plan to run for Thurston County Superior judicial seats this fall.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that attorney Allen Miller, former state Rep. Brendan Williams and Thurston County Court Commissioner Indu Thomas announced their candidacy for the position held by the retiring Judge Thomas McPhee; and that Court Commissioner Christine Schaller seeks to fill the spot opening up when Judge Paula Casey retires.

Olympia attorney James Dixon has already been appointed to the vacancy created by Judge Christina Pomeroy’s retirement, according to Pawloski.

Read about it here

News brief: Prison for Olympia man follows gun show sales investigation

Monday, March 19th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 70-year-old Olympia man was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison today for unlawfully dealing in firearms in a case that began at a Centralia gun show.

David Devenny, who reportedly sold a gun that a week later was used to kill Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton in 2009, was also fined $12,850 and will get three years of supervision after his release, according to the U.S. Attorney’ Office.

“Defendant lined his pockets by funneling guns to criminals, and others paid the heavy price for his actions,” U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan stated in a news release. “Those who ignore laws that are meant to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and children take heed.”

Davenny was arrested in November 2010 after selling guns to a convicted felon and a person with a domestic violence conviction, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

He came to the attention of law enforcement who conducted undercover purchases at guns shows in Western Washington.

He pleaded guilty previously to unlawfully dealing in firearms and two counts of selling a firearm to a prohibited person, according to the news release.

Prosecutors in asking for a significant sentence noted that for eight years Davenny dealt countless guns illegally and “flooded the streets with untraceable firearms,” according to the news release.

He was sentenced in Tacoma today by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle, who called Davenny’s behavior “cavalier.”

For background, read “Man’s arrest for illegal firearms sales follows undercover operation at Centralia gun show” from Saturday Nov 20 2010, here

And, “Undercover purchases at Centralia and other gun shows lead to four federal indictments” from Monday May 2, 2011, here

News brief: “This is a drill, only a drill”

Friday, March 16th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Attention scanner listeners: Dispatchers in Lewis County’s 911 center will be participating in a drill today, practicing how to deal with an undisclosed emergency situation.

The radio communications will be conducted on a secondary frequency, and will be preceded by an announcement it is an exercise, according to Laura Hanson at Lewis County Communications.

The drill is expected to begin about 1 p.m. and could continue until as late as 2:30 p.m., depending upon actual emergency communications needing attention at the same time, Hanson said.

The mock scenario will involve some type of incident taking place close enough to the Historic Courthouse on Main Street in Chehalis that dispatchers would have to “shelter in place”, Hanson said.

Also taking part in radio and phone communications simulating their response will be Chehalis police, fire, the sheriff’s office, the jail and other county departments, according to Hanson.

For the 911 center, it is an opportunity to check and refine their continuity of operations plan, according to Hanson.

News brief: Minor flooding in Grand Mound

Friday, March 16th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Chehalis River at Grand Mound reached flood stage at 6 o’clock this morning and is expected to crest around 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rains yesterday caused minor flooding on the Chehalis and Skokomish Rivers, the weather service reports. A flood warning continues on both rivers; the Chehalis in Thurston County until late tonight.

The Chehalis River is expected to continue to rise slowly today and crest just above its flood stage of 14 feet, according to the weather service.


Check the National Weather Service, here

News brief: Montesano resident killed in freeway collision north of Rochester

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 40-year-old woman from Montesano is dead after her car was struck by a semi truck on Interstate 5 near Maytown just before 5 p.m. today.

The Washington State Patrol reports she was southbound when she lost control, spun out and came to rest in lane one. A southbound Peterbilt tractor-trailer rig ran into her Hyundai Elantra and forced it into the concrete barrier, according to the state patrol.

Her name was not released.

The driver of the semi, Sarbjit Dhudwal, 33, of Chehalis, sustained a minor injury, according to the patrol.

The cause and any possible charges remain under investigation.

All lanes of traffic were reopened by just before 9:15 p.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

Update Wednesday March 14, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.: The victim has been identified by the state patrol as Cheryl A. Dimler, 40, of Montesano.

Read about train kills man near Castle Rock …

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a man was killed by a train north of Castle Rock about 9 a.m. today.

Their news item notes it occurred while the as-yet-unidentified man was walking on the Toutle River railroad bridge.

Read more here

Police: Couple selling heroin from Chehalis home

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police found a “pretty good amount” of heroin when they raided a house on Southwest Fourth Street near McFadden yesterday and arrested two individuals for dealing.

Sgt. Gary Wilson said the visit by some 10 officers at 9 o’clock yesterday morning followed an approximately two-month investigation.

The couple were arrested and jailed and two small children there were turned over to Child Protective Services, Wilson said.

Zane Verley, 33, was booked for three counts of delivery, one count of possession and another count of possession of methamphetamine, according to police. Stephanie Fuller, 26, was booked for one count of delivery, police said.

Another individual in the house at the time was detained but released because he was not wanted for anything, Wilson said.

Officers spent a couple of hours searching the home, he said. The couple had just recently moved there, according to Wilson.

The serving of the search warrant followed undercover “buys” and assistance from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Wilson said.

Read about outsiders including Lewis County judge dealing with Montesano courthouse attack suspect …

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times writes that Lewis County District Court Judge R.W. Buzzard oversaw the probable cause hearing on Monday for 34-year-old Steven Daniel Kravetz, accused of stabbing a judge and shooting a deputy in the Grays Harbor County courthouse.

News reporter Sara Jean Green reported that Kravetz was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and ordered held on $750,000 bail amid beefed up security.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation and keeping Kravetz in their jail, Green wrote.

Read more here

Read about search still on for suspect in Montesano courthouse attack …

Friday, March 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports authorities are still looking for the man who stabbed a judge and shot a sheriff’s deputy this afternoon at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse in Montesano.

It is believed the man identified as Michael Thomas is armed with the deputy’s .45 caliber handgun, according to news reporters Jennifer Sullivan and Jonathan Martin.

Read more here

Update on Saturday March 10, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.: The Seattle Times reported the suspect – Steven Daniel Kravetz, 34  – was arrested in Olympia today. News reporter Emily Heftter noted he has a 2008 conviction Lewis County for an incident in Centralia.

News brief: Drug investigation comes to North Pearl Street

Friday, March 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

One person was detained following a two-month long narcotics investigation after the sheriff’s office served a search warrant this morning in Centralia.

Deputies with the Lewis County Regional Drug Task Force were joined by Centralia police about 8:45 a.m. at the 1000 block of North Pearl Street, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Also assisting were SWAT teams from both agencies, according to Centralia police; as well as personnel from the state Department of Corrections, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Brown did not say who was detained but expected to release more details after the weekend. Further arrests are expected, she said.

News brief: Fire destroys Rochester home

Friday, March 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Six people are displaced by a fire that tore through their Rochester home last.

Nobody was injured but firefighters are still on the scene this morning putting out hot spots, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

Crews were called about 10:25 p.m. to the two-story home on the 11600 block of 183rd Avenue Southwest, according to Chief Robert Scott. Flames were already coming through the roof and the second story, Scott said.

The occupants are two adults and four children, he said.

“I think they were getting ready for bed when they were alerted by a working smoke detector at the top of the stairs,” Scott said. “If this had happened in the middle of the night, the outcome would have been much different.”

The family got them selves and their pets out, and called 911, according to Scott.

The house is still standing, but what wasn’t burned by fire is damaged by smoke and water, he said. He estimated the loss at $100,000.

Five area fire departments assisted, bringing water because its an area without fire hydrants, Scott said.

He said the wood home, built in 1901, was a challenge because of hidden spaces and multiple roofs.

The Red Cross was called in to help the family, he said.

The owner of the house has insurance, but the family living there did not have renters insurance, according to the fire department.

Investigators are there this morning trying to determine the cause, he said.

News brief: Electrical issue may have sparked Salkum business fire

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The preliminary cause of the blaze that destroyed a mechanic’s shop business in the Salkum area yesterday afternoon is something electrical, according to Lewis County Fire District 8.

Four fire departments responded the call just after noon at Schoen and Stowell roads about a mile north of Salkum, according to District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel.

When he arrived, flames were shooting some 65 feet above the building, and propane tanks were exploding, McDaniel said. Burning tires made it harder to extinguish.

“It was one of the hottest fires in my 30-year career,” he said.

Nobody was there when it happened and nobody was injured, according to the chief. Robert’s Repair and towing business is pretty much a total loss, he said.

Salkum firefighters were joined by crews from Mossyrock, Onalaska and Napavine. More than 20 firefighters were on the scene about five hours, he said.

A fire investigator is looking into the cause.

McDaniel, 46, was just named chief of District 8 early last month replacing Chief George Penzenik.

News brief: Napavine pump company employee recovering from power line shock

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The man who was shocked unconscious by an overhead power line while working on a well at a Rochester fish farm last week is back home in Lewis County and recovering.

The state has opened an investigation of the incident with his employer, a Napavine company.

Jeff Duren sustained burns and stopped breathing after the boom on the piece of equipment being used came into contact with a power line on Wednesday according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Bystanders did CPR and he was taken to the hospital.

His was released from Harborview Medical Center on Thursday afternoon, according to his wife Susie Duren.

“He’s doing okay,” she said yesterday.

Responding firefighters were surprised their patient survived the jolt from the commercial line.

Jeff Duren was working for Skyline Pump and Machine of Napavine, according to the state Department of Labor and Industries.

There was also a general contractor at the site, according to department spokesperson Elaine Fischer