Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

News brief: 911: For emergencies only please

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County 911 center wants to remind the public to call 911 for emergencies only.

If someone’s power is out or they want to report a road-related issue they should call those entities responsible, according to Laura Hanson of Lewis County Communications-911.

“We just want to keep the 911 lines open for emergencies,” Hanson said.

She offers some phone numbers:
• Lewis County PUD: 748-9261
• Centralia City Light: 330-7512
• Lewis County Public Works: 740-1123

Also, for information on road closures or restrictions, try:
Road conditions, Lewis County
State highway travel alerts

News brief: Roof snow hazard

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Warmer temperatures expected today – into the mid-30s – has prompted Lewis County Emergency Management to caution folks about the hazard of heavy snow on roofs.

Emergency Management Deputy Director Sgt. Ross McDowell says the snow is wet and heavy and could cause the collapse of awnings or other structures not in sound condition.

“Especially vulnerable structures are ones with flat or low-pitch roofs, older homes that weren’t built to today’s construction standards, and aged roofs,” McDowell said in a news release.

The safest way to remove snow is with a long pole-shaft snow rake and to pull the snow off in small chunks, according to McDowell.

McDowell says most wood homes are designed to handle up to about four feet of snow, while mobile homes can hold only about half that amount.

It’s strenuous work, so some people should seek help from family, friends or neighbors, McDowell writes.

A freeze is expected overnight, so folks should also clear any drains or downspouts around their homes, possibly repeatedly over the next few days, McDowell adds.

Read about four overdue from Mount Rainier …

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune writes that four other people are overdue from climbing and camping at Mount Rainier.

Park authorities believe they may be waiting out the bad weather.

An extensive search is not planned because of the risk to rescuers during the current severe weather, park spokesperson Patti Wold said today.

Read about it, here

News brief: Snow shoer missing at Mount Rainier

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Updated at 4:35 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A search is underway in the Paradise area of Mount Rainier Park for a 66-year-old Tacoma man who got separated from a group of snow shoe hikers he was leading yesterday afternoon.

Yong Chun Kim slipped down a steep slope, was unable to ascend the slope and told the group he would go around and meet them, park spokesperson Lee Taylor said this morning.

His companions returned to Paradise and when Kim failed to return by 3 p.m., a search began that went on until 9 p.m., Taylor said.

Kim is an experienced snow shoer, but was not equipped for an overnight stay, Lee said.

The area experienced severe weather yesterday, including blizzard conditions with gusts of 30 to 50 mph and received five inches of new snow overnight, according to Taylor. The snow is expected to continue.

The hiking group is from Tacoma, she said.

Kim was last heard from at 2:30 p.m. yesterday when he radioed his group to say he was okay, according to Taylor.

Twenty-five searchers were on the ground this morning, from Tacoma, Seattle and Everett mountain rescue units along with National Park staff.

Nearly 50 searchers, joined by three German Shepherd dog teams, continued through the day looking for clues to Kim’s whereabouts in the snowy terrain above Paradise, Taylor noted in a 3:30 p.m. update.

If the effort continues into a third day, the road from Longmire to Paradise will remain closed on Monday so that park visitors don’t interfere with the search, according to Taylor.

Read about legislature eyes limits on coroner’s inquests …

Friday, January 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter has a story today that says lawmakers next week will examine a proposal to change state law over arrest warrants after the coroner’s inquest into the 1998 death in Toledo of former trooper Ronda Reynolds led to the arrest of her husband and stepson.

pc.ronda Copying_2

Ronda Reynolds

Ron Reynolds and his son Jonathan Reynolds were named responsible for Ronda Reynolds’ homicide and while Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod vacillated in his next step, he issued arrest warrants as the law said he “shall” following the inquest jury’s decision.

The pair were immediately released after Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told a judge he didn’t have enough admissible evidence to file criminal charges.’s news story from Mike Baker of the Associated Press said the bill has the support of the Washington Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

Read about it here

And, read how nearly a year ago Prosecutor Meyer was preparing for the possibility of an arrest when Coroner McLeod was in the earliest stages of planning an inquest, here

Read about Winlock police to patrol Vader …

Friday, January 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports the Winlock Police Department will respond to calls in Vader after the small south Lewis County town lost its only paid officer.

Read about it, here

Furnace-area fire ravages Oakville home

Friday, January 13th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An Oakville couple is without a home as fire raced through their two-story house yesterday evening.

Firefighters called just before 4:30 p.m. to the 500 block of North Schaeffer Street found the residence fully involved in flames, according to Grays Harbor Fire District 1.

It was an older wood-frame home, according to Fire Chief Buck Graham.

“We were there within six minutes of the call but the house burned to the ground,” Graham said.

They lost everything, he said.

More than a dozen firefighters from four agencies battled the blaze that appeared to have started in or near an oil furnace, according to Graham.

The resident heard the furnace making a funny noise, went into the furnace room and saw flames, he said.

She gathered up two or three of her dogs and got out, he, said, although he believed there was one dog she could not find.

Red Cross was contacted to help them out, he said.

Breaking news: Arsonist sought in Centralia

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities are on high alert after four fires were set in a Centralia park yesterday evening.

Firefighters called about 7 p.m. to Rotary Riverside Park on Harrison Avenue found the contents of three trash cans burning around the area and a fourth fire lit inside  a restroom, according to Fire Chief Jim Walkowski.

There was no damage to the masonry building, and the flames were contained to a garbage can inside, Walkowski said.

It was called in by a passerby, he said.

“At this point, we don’t have any other information, other than that,” Walkowski said.

The Centralia Police Department and Riverside Fire Authority are investigating. They have no suspects, according to the chief.

Walkowski noted there have been no similar incidents in the recent past.

He is asking anyone with information to contact him at 360-736-3975.

Up in smoke: Indoor marijuana garden fire extinguished

Monday, January 9th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An outbuilding used for growing marijuana east of Napavine burned to the ground last night.

Nobody got hurt and nobody got high, according to Lewis County Fire District 5 Chief Eric Linn.

The 60-year-old wood frame structure was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived; it and its contents were basically incinerated, according to Linn.

Responders, of course, were wearing their breathing apparatus so there was little danger of them being affected, he said.

Firefighters were called about 10:30 p.m. to the 30-foot by 30-foot building off South Prairie Road. They were on the scene until about 1:30 a.m., he said.

Linn said he did not have an estimate of the number of plants inside, but a deputy verified it was a valid medical marijuana grow.

Since the building had been secured and did have power to it, they are looking at a possible electrical problem as the cause, he said.

Read about man fatally struck by Amtrak train near Castle Rock …

Monday, January 9th, 2012

This was updated at 5:06 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a man was killed by a train in the Castle Rock area last night about 6:40 p.m.

Few details were offered except he is believed to be from the area.

The (Longview) Daily News said it was a 31-year-old man walking south toward Caste Rock who failed to get out of the way of a northbound train and that a blood test will be conducted to learn if he was “impaired”.

Read more here.

Breaking news: Plea offered in Randle beating death

Friday, January 6th, 2012

This was updated at 6:30 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Randle taxidermist charged with second-degree murder is expected in court today following a plea offer in the case of his father-in-law who died after injuries that included  broken eye sockets.

Erik R. Massa, 44, was charged almost a year ago in the death of Guy W. LaFontaine, a 58-year-old welder, from Federal Way.

Massa’s trial is currently set for the week after next in Lewis County Superior Court.

Update: Massa’s case was pleaded down to second-degree assault and he was sentenced this afternoon to as much as the judge could give someone with no criminal history – nine months in jail.

He was taken directly into custody.

More to come. See it here

News brief: Police seeking missing Napavine man

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

This was updated at 5:50 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Update: Officer Elwood says Taylor has been found; his truck was spotted by the sheriff’s office plane on a logging road in the Pe Ell area.

Police are looking for a 67-year-old Napavine man who left home the day before yesterday and hasn’t been seen since.


Michael A. Taylor

Napavine Police Department Officer-in-charge Silas Elwood said Michael A. Taylor’s family is worried something might have happened to him or he might possibly be suicidal.

Taylor was last seen at 2 p.m. on Tuesday leaving his home driving a black 1990 Chevrolet Sport pickup, according to Elwood.

Taylor vanished one a year or so ago and Elwood tracked him through his cell phone, but this time Taylor left his cell phone behind, Elwood said.

He was spotted earlier Tuesday at the Lucky Eagle Casino, leaving police to suspect he could be staying at a motel or a casino.

“He might in like the Pe Ell, Doty or Dryad area, the family is from there, so people out there should really be on the lookout,” Elwood said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Elwood at 360-880-0113 any time of day or night.


Taylor's black 1990 Chevrolet Sport pickup is similar to this one, except Taylor's does not have a spoiler.

News brief: Commissioners: Get Uncle Sam to let you grow weed

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – If a person can get a federal permit to grow marijuana, then Lewis County officials will allow them to apply for a local permit to create a so-called collective medical marijuana garden in unincorporated portions of the county.

That’s the gist of the proposal Lewis County commissioners will take public comment upon and then vote on Jan. 23.

A draft of the expected new ordinance should be available on Jan. 11, county commissioners said yesterday.

A state law went into effect last summer allowing up to 10 medical marijuana patients to grow their cannabis in a single plot, but county officials put a moratorium in place while they studied the issue.

While state law allows it, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, a contradiction commissioners say they were attempting to address.

Lewis County Civil Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Carter told the three commissioners yesterday federal permission is hard to get, but named at least one facility in the country which has obtained one.

Commissioner Bill Schulte said the “climate” for such approval by the federal government could change in the future.


For background, read “County leaders want your opinions on how to grow (medical) marijuana” from Tuesday August 2, 2011, here

News brief: South Chehalis house rammed by vehicle, again

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Chehalis home that was hit by a bus early last year was the scene of another vehicle collision last night.

Nobody inside was injured but two little girls from the offending vehicle were taken to the hospital with scrapes, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

Police and aid were called about 9:10 p.m. to the split-level home on the 100 block of 13th Street, near William Avenue, according to Fire Capt. Kevin Curfman.

A pickup truck drove through a fence into the driveway, where it ran into two parked vehicles shoving one of them several feet through the closed garage doors, Curfman said.

Curfman said it didn’t appear the driver put on his brakes. The children, ages 4 and 5, had been buckled into car seats and their injuries were minor, he said.

There was lots of broken glass, he said.

Chehalis police did not have a completed report this morning, although Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said the driver was checked and found not to be under the influence.

Residents Hieu Duong and Liu Li were home last February with their children and mother when a Twin Transit bus plowed through a fence and the yard before striking the house. None of them were hurt then either.

“The poor home owner, I really feel for him,” Curfman said.

Breaking news: Wreck west of Oakville claims three lives

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three people were killed in a single-vehicle collision west of Oakville this evening.

Firefighters were called about 5 p.m. to the 400 block of Brooklyn Road, six or so miles southwest of Oakville, according to Grays Harbor Fire District 1.

There were two men and two women in a small pickup truck which ran into some trees, Fire Capt. Ryan Graham said.

Firefighters from District 1 as well as Riverside Fire Authority used the Jaws of Life to extricate the adult female who survived, Graham said. She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, he said.

Read about Rochester 4-year-old shot in arm …

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a 4-year-old Rochester boy apparently shot himself in the arm at a home on Guava Street on Friday afternoon.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes the child was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a wound that started at his wrist an ended at his elbow.

Read more here

Read about medical marijuana gardens in Castle Rock restricted to two spots …

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports collective medical marijuana gardens will be limited to two commercially zoned locations near Interstate 5 in Castle Rock.

News reporter Barbara LaBoe writes the new zoning rules mandate the gardens must be secured and may not be visible from public streets.

Read more here

Read about evidence still being analyzed in Winlock murder-suicide …

Monday, December 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News writes once again yesterday about the Walter family who died in March in their Winlock home in what authorities called a murder-suicide, however, like the Daily News’ November follow up on the case, they report only that evidence is still being analyzed by experts to try to learn details about what occurred.

Rodney Walter, 57, Cathy Lee Walter, 65 and their 18-year-old son Devon Walter, along with their family pets, were found dead of apparent gunshots at their two-story log cabin on the 300 block of Frost Road.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office concluded the deaths of the Winlock father and son were homicide and the mother shot herself.

Read reporter Tony Lystra’s news item here.

Salkum triple homicide: Verdict reached in two hours

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Jurors have a verdict in John Allen Booth’s triple murder trial in Lewis County Superior Court.

They left the courtroom to begin deliberations at noon and finished by 2 p.m.

Verdict details to come.


John Allen Booth Jr. relaxes after the jury left the courtroom to begin deliberations



Gunshot survivor Denise R. Salts, right, stands as the jury leaves the courtroom at noon today to begin deliberating.