Archive for June, 2012

Fireman’s tips for a happy Fourth of July

Saturday, June 30th, 2012
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Dr. W. William Benton, left and Ron Grant, staff the fireworks stand on South Market Boulevard in the parking lot of Ace Hardware. The Kiwanas Club of Chehalis stand will be open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, or until their stock runs out.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

While the big day isn’t until Wednesday, fireworks are already on sale and being put to good use.

Riverside Fire Authority’s Assistant Chief Richard Mack wants the public to celebrate safely.

Just last week, a 34-year-old former Toledo man lost part of his hand when a mortar-type firework exploded as he was setting it off in Centralia.

Mack offers the following advice to prevent injuries and fires:

• First, set family boundaries – only adults should light fireworks. Supervision is paramount in keeping children safe.

• Second, fireworks should not be readily available to tempt the curiosity of young children and should be stored in a secured location to prohibit their access.

• Most importantly, talk about safety. Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and vulnerable to fire. The snow and ice storms that occurred in January left a tremendous amount of tree debris on forest floors, which is tinder dry today. Use care in selecting the area where you will be discharging fireworks.
•••

Read “Mortar-type firework explodes in man’s hand” from Friday June 22, 2012, here

County moves to remove tenants from Nix Road, Clark Road homes housing ex-cons

Friday, June 29th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Round one: code violations.

Round two: zoning violations.

Lewis County officials continue in their attempts to shut down what they now call boarding houses, two residences in rural communities in which a handful of individuals recently released from prison live together.

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110 Nix Road

At issue is a three-bedroom home on Nix Road west of Chehalis where neighbors have said they’re afraid to let their grandchildren outside alone to play as well as a similar operation on the 200 block of Clark Road near Onalaska.

The county has filed a civil suit in Lewis County Superior Court asking a judge to declare the property owners are in violation of zoning rules by using the houses for anything other than single family residences.

Named in the complaint are Judy Chafin-Williams who leases the houses and acts as property manager for the tenants, Janice I. Thompson who owns the properties and Larry G. Gladsjo who is co-owner of the Clark Road property.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield has told a block watch group on Nix Road his goal is to remove the felons from their neighborhood, implementing a zero-tolerance policy for any incidents there and working with other arms of county government to discover if any code or zoning rules have been violated or even craft new ordinances.

Lewis County Commissioner Ron Averill said today the county has  already looked to see if got they’ve got more members of the households than allowed for the particular septic systems.

“At one point they had about nine people and they were informed they were exceeding the septic limit and they had to get that down,” Averill said. “And I understand they did.”

In March, elected officials and other county employees spoke at a block watch meeting for Nix Road, sharing what they believed they could and could not do.

At the time, Chief Civil Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Carter said among the questions they were pondering is what exactly is meant by “single-family” dwellings. It’s not black and white, he said.

However, the complaint filed Wednesday focuses on where in unincorporated Lewis County single family residences are allowed and where they are not.

Both the Nix and Clark road homes are situated in zones called rural development districts. Multi-family residences are not allowed in those zones.

By contrast, there are areas of the county which were more densely populated before the state Growth Management Act was put into place – such as Onalaska, Packwood, Glenoma and similar communities – where multi-family uses are permitted.

The complaint is for an injunction, declaratory judgement and abatement of nuisance.

Part of the request is for a judge to set monetary penalties if the respondents fail to comply within 30 days of an order.

Chafin-Williams, who oversees the homes as well as similar houses in the cities of Centralia and Chehalis, describes her work as Christian-based, and the owners as people who got tired of renting to drug addicts.

The number one house rule is no drugs or alcohol, according to Chafin-Williams. These are simply people who need assistance getting back on their feet after they’ve done their time in prison, according to Chafin-Williams.

She said she was served notice today of the lawsuit.

“I do have an attorney, and we are going to fight it,” she said.

The property owners Thompson and Gladsjo couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

They have 20 days to file a response to the complaint.
•••

For background, read:

• “Discord on Nix Road: Newest arrivals unwelcome” from Saturday March 3, 2012, here

• “The backstory: Intelligence gathering, possible fines and code enforcement tools ‘not normally used’ ” from Sunday March 4, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 29th, 2012

CAT SAVED, HOME LOST IN PE ELL FIRE

• A Pe Ell home was pretty much destroyed by an attic fire this morning, but after it was extinguished crews found a pet cat hiding on top of a kitchen cabinet. The cat was fine, Lewis County Fire District 11 Michael Krafczyk said. Crews called about 6:40 a.m. to South First Street across from the school found flames coming from the roof, Krafczyk said. They conducted an interior attack but a portion of the roof caved in and there was significant smoke and water damage to the contents, according to the chief. The man who lives there had already left for work, he said. Some 15 to 20 personnel responded from District 11, 13 and 16. “We got great help from the other districts,” Krafczyk said. “Everything went as best as it could. Nobody got hurt.” An investigator is on the scene looking for the cause.

THEFT

• Centralia police yesterday afternoon arrested a 34-year-old man for burglary and possession of methamphetamine in connection with an address on the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue. Jake A. Ruble, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail and officers are looking for his female companion, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police did not note what might have been stolen.

• A deputy was called yesterday about a burglary to a detached garage on the 200 block of Gore Road near Onalaska, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Among the items missing were old baseboard heaters, metal shelves, cabinets, a small refrigerator and two air compressors, the sheriff’s office reported. It apparently occurred sometime in the previous two weeks, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said.

• An individual arriving at an unoccupied home on the 900 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis called police about 6:30 p.m. yesterday when she heard someone inside and then saw two males run out the front door. A backpack was found inside and a 33-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for burglary, according to police. The other individual wasn’t found, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Richard S. Warren was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Carrell said.

• Centralia police were called about 5:25 p.m. yesterday to a report a male stole a bottle of alcohol from an unnamed business on an unspecified portion of South Tower Avenue in Centralia.

“OUT OF SORTS”

• Chehalis police were called at least three times last night about a man who appeared he might jump from a freeway overpass and finally was reportedly doing cartwheels down the middle of Southwest Interstate Avenue. The first call came about 7:20 p.m. at the Main Street overpass, but the individual told police he was just waiting for someone, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Later a caller noted him in the area of 13th Street and officers learned an employee at the AM / PM had asked him to leave. “He was acting really out of sorts,” Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. The 22-year-old was contacted about 11:25 p.m. after returning to the convenience store and arrested for trespass. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

DRUGS

• A 30-year-old Centralia man was arrested for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine about 9 p.m. yesterday at East Reynolds Avenue and North Pearl Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Rodolfo Romo was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• A 27-year-old Winlock man was arrested last night after he was contacted trespassing on railroad tracks near the 1400 block of Ferrier Road in Winlock. During a search, a deputy found a baggie containing suspected methamphetamine and needles, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Gabriel S. Huffman was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to detective Sgt. Dusty Breen.

TRESPASS

• A 33-year-old Centralia woman found again in an uninhabitable residence on the 700 block of North Tower Avenue yesterday morning was arrested for trespassing, according to the Centralia Police Department. Amber Metcalf was given her citation and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK WITH LOG TRUCK

• A mother and two young children were hospitalized yesterday morning after their car pulled in front of a fully loaded log truck near Castle Rock. Aid and deputies called about 7:35 a.m.  Westside Highway at Magpie Drive found the family was taking their cat to the vet when it escaped its box causing a distraction, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office. Shannon Strozyk was seat belted and her 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl were strapped in the car seats in the back, according to the sheriff’s office. The driver of the North Fork Timber log truck, Michael McNew, 49, of Toledo, was reportedly uninjured, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. The log truck had been southbound on Westside Highway when Strozyk attempted to turn northbound from the side road, according to the sheriff’s office. The Strozyks were taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview, the sheriff’s office reported.

MAN KILLED BY TRAIN NEAR ELMA

• The (Aberdeen) Daily World reports a man laying on the tracks was killed yesterday morning by a train about two miles west of Elma towards Oakville. The newspaper writes he may have been transient as personal possessions and a bicycle were found nearby.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

THEFT

• Police were called about 2:45 a.m. today to the intersection of South Washington Avenue and Centralia College Boulevard where a taxi driver said a pair of passengers tried to pay with a fake $100 bill. When the driver noted the counterfeit money, the two men ran off, according to the Centralia Police Department. The currency was actually an altered $5 bill, according to police.

• Officers were called about 4:45 p.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia where two teenage boys allegedly stole alcohol from a store. Centralia police noted in a summary nobody was arrested but also reported one 15-year-old was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, while the case involving the other 15-year-old was referred for a charge of theft as well as possession of alcohol by a minor.

• Centralia police took a report of misdemeanor theft of money from the 900 block of Johnson Road yesterday afternoon.

• A laptop computer was reported stolen from a business on the 1500 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis yesterday morning.

• Makeup and medication were reported missing a vehicle on the 100 block of McFadden Avenue in Chehalis yesterday.

FIREWORKS START FIRE

• Riverside Fire Authority said it was juveniles and fireworks that caused a fire that destroyed a vehicle Tuesday evening off the 400 block of West Reynolds Avenue in Centralia.

WRECK

• One driver was hospitalized with a laceration to his forehead after a near head-on collision this morning on the 1300 block of Mellen Street in Centralia. Police called just before 7 a.m. reported that one vehicle turned in front of another and the ensuing collision pushed it into a third vehicle.

• A 32-year-old Chehalis man was among four people injured on a car versus truck collision yesterday on U.S. Highway 12 just west of Montesano, according to the Washington State Patrol. Brian A. Schweitzer was a passenger in a Ford 150 pickup that was running out of gas and slowly moving to the shoulder when it was rear ended by a passenger car shortly before 1 p.m., according to he state patrol. All were hospitalized but none of the injuries were life threatening, the state patrol reported.

CENTRALIA 5-YEAR-OLD APPLAUDED FOR CALLING 911

• A 5-year-old child will be honored by the Lewis County Board of Commissioners after making a 911 call summoning aid to Centralia on Sunday morning. The child used a cell phone and stated “Daddy is sick” but couldn’t provide an address, according to a news release from the Lewis County dispatch center. A call taker used satellite coordinates while the little one consoled the ill parent and responders found the location, according to the news release.

Morton founder of missing children organization loses appeal on felony conviction

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An appeals court has upheld the insurance fraud conviction of Jennifer M. Mau, a Morton woman best known for her private endeavors to search for missing children in high profile cases.

Mau, then 30, and her boyfriend David Eden, then 47, were found guilty in September 2010 of making a false insurance claim involving a U-Haul trailer they said leaked and damaged their belongings during a move from Centralia to Morton three years earlier.

According to the findings issued by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Mau was told the loss from rain and water damage was not covered under the protections she had purchased but told to make a report to U-Haul’s insurance company anyhow.

Mau provided a seven-page list of items totaling approximately $16,000, but said they had taken the damaged items to the dump, according to the decision.

The claims administrator found it suspicious and the claim was denied, according to the decision.

Mau testified it was her understanding it was a preliminary list of items that potentially could have been damaged.

Her appeals attorney argued the list was not made under a contract of insurance. Eden’s appeal involved a denial he was an accomplice. The panel of three judges disagreed in their opinion issued on Tuesday.

The crime is a class C felony, which prosecutors said at the time of conviction could mean up to 12 months in jail.

Mau, a criminal justice student, was founder of the Mount St. Helens Chapter of a Texas-based group called Guardians of the Children, an organization she said helped with abused and missing kids.

In the summer of 2010, she organized volunteer searchers who eventually found the body of a missing 16-year-old Morton boy with the help of a Portland psychic.

A 21-year-old friend of Austin King was subsequently convicted of manslaughter in his death.

Mau, who has since started a different group called Search and Seek, indicates she will appeal the decision.

Napavine man lightens burden of traveler’s tragedy

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
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Firefighters finish putting out travel trailer fire south of Chehalis. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter


CHEHALIS – After the flames that virtually consumed Ken Schumann’s travel trailer on Interstate 5 were extinguished, a local man stuck around to help the Alaska resident salvage what he could of his possessions while they waited for a tow truck.

Schumann was relocating to Arizona, pulling the 31-foot trailer that has been his home for the past two years. Most everything he owned was inside, except his dog which was riding in the far back of his GMC Yukon sport utility vehicle.

“We found a coin collection, some old album photos and, I think that’s about it,” Antonio Martinez said.

Schumann, who turns 80 next month, was southbound near milepost 68 outside Chehalis just before 11 a.m. on Sunday when he thought he might have a tire fire. He pulled over and grabbed his little fire extinguisher, but quickly realized it was a losing battle, he said.

About that time, Martinez and his family were crossing the Avery Road overpass, on their way to breakfast at Spiffy’s and the father of three could see the motorist attempting to unhook his truck from the burning trailer.

“I saw the old man was struggling,” Martinez said. “I can’t believe how many people were on the bridge, taking pictures and video. I told my wife, I’m going to go help him.”

Martinez said the fire was growing so big, he told the elderly gentleman they needed to get the dog out of the truck. They struggled until they realized the end of his leash was stuck.

Schumann said he had to unhook the leash from “Spook’s” collar, and sure was glad he wasn’t alone on the side of the freeway with his unleashed pet.

Two passing motorists also stopped to help, one from Oregon and another on his way to California, Martinez said.

“In less than 10 minutes, it was gone, the trailer,” he said. “It was amazing how fast.”

Lewis County Fire District 5 found the trailer fully engulfed in flames, and put it out.

Schumann said he’d tucked away cash, not much but it was his savings, inside the trailer. He literally jumped up and hugged two firefighters at the same time, when they managed to find the money – soaking wet – among the ashes, he said.

And while the backside of his truck was “baked” as if badly sunburned, it was still drivable, according to Schumann.

“I don’t feel 80,” Schumann said Monday night after he rested. “At least I didn’t until the trailer situation.”

Schumann’s Alaska-based business, before he retired, involved traveling to do service calls to repair electronics. He liked to tinker, he said. Which is why he had three flat screened televisions and various other projects in his trailer, he said.

For about 10 years, he lived in Central America, still taking on some repair jobs after he turned his business over to his son.

“I sold my little house in Belize, took the money and bought a trailer,” he said. “All my life I’ve admired people who traveled in travel trailers. That was my chance.”

At one job on a military base in Honduras four years ago, he picked up a retired Air Force guard dog that looks like a miniature German Shepherd, but is actually a Belgian Malinois, with eyes so light blue he named her Spook, he said.

Spook has traveled with him ever since, and is a good companion except she barks too much, he said. The ordeal on Sunday apparently cured her of that.

“She has not opened her mouth a squeak since she sat and watched that trailer burn,” he said.

While Schumann and Martinez waited for the right kind of tow truck to come on Sunday, they scavenged through the debris looking for a coin collection and other items the retired businessman hoped to save.

The 32-year-old Napavine man sent his family on to the restaurant without him.

“My wife said, hey, you gonna come to breakfast? I said, I don’t think so, because everybody had left,” Martinez said. “He was shaking so bad, I felt bad to leave him alone.”

Martinez’s wife brought them back burgers, plain for the dog.

As they picked through the remains, Schumann lost his balance and fell from the wreckage onto a pile of debris on the pavement.

Schumann said he swung his arm back, gouging his wrist on a sharp beam. He didn’t see the wound, but Martinez grabbed his forearm like a baseball bat and held pressure on it until medics arrived, he said.

Schumann was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital.

Lewis County Fire District 5’s Lt. Laura Hanson said they often find that folks stop briefly to assist in bad situations, but she called Martinez a good samaritan who stayed and helped above and beyond.

Martinez took the dog to his Napavine home, and then went to the hospital to wait until Schumann was released at about 8 p.m. The family invited him to stay over, but he wanted to overnight in Longview, so he could get to the tow yard first thing in the morning, he said.

He wanted to check for some keepsakes, he said, like a belt buckle personally given to him by Elvis Presley in Biloxi, Mississippi, and perhaps his medications from the V.A., he said. But the floor was six to 12 inches deep with charred wood and soot.

The medicine cabinet was nonexistent, and, Schumann said, come to think of it, he never even saw what had been the bathroom.

Schumann stopped Monday evening back at the Martinez’s Napavine home; he’d forgotten to write down his address. He was on his way to Wal-Mart to buy a charger for his cell phone, and then on to Seattle to talk with his insurance company.

He couldn’t have asked for a better man to help him than Martinez, he said. “All the way through this, he was so much help,” he said.

“If you use the word hero anywhere, the right place might be Antonio,” Schumann said.

The idea of moving to Arizona was his son’s he said. He was actually partial to wintering in southern Texas, in a place that is half giant flea market, half mobile home park.

“You know how crazy this is turning out, I don’t have any reason to go to Phoenix anymore,” he said.

“The insurance will cover the trailer, but at my age I wonder if I want to buy another one.”

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Southbound Interstate 5 near milepost 68 on Sunday. / Courtesy photo by Kristal Tardiff

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

THEFT

• Police were contacted by a Centralia business yesterday morning after the discovery their debit card had been used over the weekend racking up spending of around $800. The card had been stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police called yesterday afternoon to a shoplifting incident involving clothing at an Outlet Mall store in Centralia are investigating are the possibility multiple stores in the mall were hit yesterday by the same subjects, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday about an incident on Saturday at Wal-Mart in which a customer apparently stole a Shark steam cleaner and tennis shoes, and returned them in exchange for a gift card.

• Chehalis police were called about 7 o’clock this morning about mail found in a yard on the 1800 block of Southwest Fair Avenue.

• Centralia police were called about 3:25 p.m. yesterday to the 400 block of South Iron Street about a license plate getting stolen.

UNCOOPERATIVE SHOPPER

• Chehalis police contacted an individual in the parking lot at Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon after employees called because they found drug paraphernalia including needles inside the restroom. Chehalis police Sgt. Gwen Carrell said for whatever reason he was uncooperative and was taken to the ground by officers. The subject was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital for observation because of apparent drug usage, Carrell said.

WRECK

• A 37-year-old motorist was hospitalized overnight after he totaled his car on Interstate 5 just north of Centralia. Troopers were called just before 3 a.m. after Stephen K. German’s 1996 Geo Metro struck a bridge railing on the right hand side of the northbound lanes, crossed over and hit the center barrier and overturned, according to the Washington State Patrol. The Salem, Ore. resident was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with a head laceration, according to the state patrol.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

POLICE: MAN BREAKS GIRLFRIEND’S NOSE

• Chehalis police called to an apartment complex about 2 o’clock this morning found a 22-year-old woman who said she was trying to leave and her boyfriend attempted to to drag her back inside by her hair. James R. Payne, 31, of Chehalis, was arrested for second-degree assault as an officer learned the victim had been hit in the face a couple of days earlier leaving her with a broken nose and possibly a broken eye socket, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Payne was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said.

ALLEGED DEATH THREAT

• A 41-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for harassment last night after he allegedly told his girlfriend to sit on the bed and that he would kill her if she moved. An officer called about 11:45 p.m. to the 1500 block of Southwest Mills Avenue was told the man was drinking all day and broke some items inside the home, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail but is being released without charges.

STOLEN CAR RECOVERED, MAN ARRESTED

• A Thurston County man was arrested yesterday for extortion after allegedly contacting the victim of an auto theft and saying he would tell her where her vehicle was if she paid him $500. The red PT Cruiser had been stolen from Centralia the weekend before last and the man somehow learned who it belonged to, according to detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald. The owner contacted police and yesterday detectives met the suspect in Grand Mound, Fitzgerald said. After he led them to the car, they arrested him, he said. Ezra L. Yoder, age unavailable, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for extortion and also for trafficking in stolen property, according to police. The partially stripped vehicle was in the woods on the Chehalis Reservation, Fitzgerald said.

INTRUDER RIFLES THROUGH BEDROOM

• A deputy was called to a home on the 200 block of Wilson Road near Mossyrock yesterday where a woman said someone had been in her bedroom and left her dresser drawers and closet door open, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The light was left on as well.

GUNS, OTHER VALUABLES MISSING AFTER BURGLARIES

• An M1 rifle, a Mossberg shotgun and a 55-inch HD 3-D television were among the loot when a Chehalis area home was burglarized yesterday. It happened sometime between between 1:50 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on the 100 block of Juanita Lane, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at more than $7,000.

• A deputy called yesterday to the 200 block of Bevin Lake Road in Packwood to a report of a break in to a recreational vehicle was told a Glock 22 handgun, a compound bow, a shaving kit, a first-aid blanket and a splint were among items missing. It happened sometime since Thursday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

MISSING MOTORCYCLE

• A 1990 Honda motorcycle was stolen from near a front porch on the 800 block of Davis Lake Road near Morton, according to a report made to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office yesterday.

THREE BIKES TAKEN

• Police were called about 12:15 a.m. today to the 500 block of West Cherry Street in Centralia to a report of two bicycles stolen from the driveway. One was a white women’s Peugeot with yellow handle bars and the other a red, yellow and blue GT mountain bike, according to Centralia police. The same victim said a third bike had been taken during the previous week.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called about 5 p.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of Southwest William Avenue where someone had broke into a vehicle and taken luggage and prescription medication.

• Tools were stolen from a vehicle parked at the 1200 block of Mellen Street in Centralia sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BAD SHOT, BUT CAN HIT THE SIDE OF A HOUSE

• A deputy was called about 9:10 p.m. on Saturday to the 200 block of Brim Road near Ethel after an apparently stray bullet came through the side of a home and struck an entertainment center. The person reporting the incident had heard what he thought were people target shooting, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. The person who fired the shot wasn’t found, according to Brown. Further details were not available.

WRECK

• A 19-year-old Rochester woman lost control of her Honda Civic last night on the 600 block of Independence Road, rolling it and leaving it totaled, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She said she was not injured, just sore, according to the sheriff’ office.

Read about coming limits on public defender caseloads …

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports on the expected financial impact on local governments of new case limits for public defenders – attorneys appointed to represent poor defendants – imposed by the state Supreme Court.

“Beginning in September 2013, public defenders should not handle more than 300 to 400 misdemeanor cases or 150 felony cases a year, limits designed to make sure the lawyers have enough time to devote to their clients and ensure those defendants are getting their constitutional right to an attorney, Gene Johnson of The Associated Press writes in the Seattle Times.

Read more here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 25th, 2012

CENTRALIA GIRL FLEES WHEN SHE FINDS INTRUDER INSIDE HER HOME

• Police responded to a residence in north Centralia yesterday evening after a 12-year-old discovered a strange man inside her home. The girl said she came inside from playing with her dog, went to use the phone in the kitchen and heard a man’s voice talking on the phone in her parent’s bedroom, according to Centralia Officer Wayne Compton. She then saw him in the living room and he said something to the effect of “come here,” Compton said. The 12-year-old fled out the back door and ran first to a friend’s house, but the friend wasn’t home so she ended up at a store on North Pearl Street where the owner called 911 at about 6:35 p.m., according to police. There was no indication he tried to hurt her, Compton said. A police dog was summoned and attempted to track the intruder in the area of the 100 block of Cindy Road but was unsuccessful, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was described to officers as in his 30s, wearing a blue button up shirt and possibly Asian.

BUSTED

• More than a dozen young people were arrested when deputies broke up a Saturday night party on the 100 block of Troutman Drive in Winlock. Officers arriving about 12:40 a.m. found numerous juveniles sitting around a bonfire outside a large shop building, some drinking beer, some vomiting, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Inside was a large pyramid built with full cans of beer, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. With the help of officers from Winlock and Morton, the youngsters ages 15 to 20 were rounded up, cited for MIP and either released to parents or taken home, according to Brown. At least one teen was disorderly, throwing items around and was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, Brown said. One 21-year-old is facing a potential charge of furnishing alcohol to minors, Brown said. A 17-year-old boy who lived there said his parents were out of town, Brown said.

SMASH AND GRAB IN CHEHALIS

• Someone broke into a business on the 1000 block of State Avenue in Chehalis about 2 o’clock this morning, making off with a cash box containing about $300. Police responding to an alarm at Outback Nail and Staple found the glass on the front door shattered and a large amount of tools near the door, according to Officer Linda Bailey. A witness had seen an older pickup truck with a loud exhaust in the area, Bailey said.

1,000 POUNDS OF SCRAP METAL STOLEN

• A 64-year-old man discovered his stockpile of about 1,000 pounds of copper pipe and other scrap metal missing from the 300 block of Little Hanaford Road outside Centralia on Saturday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim told a deputy he had been accumulating it for about 30 years and took a piece of copper pipe to a Centralia recycling center to get a price, according to the sheriff’s office. He was going to use the money to build a fence, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. He was told they had recently purchased the same type of metal from someone else, and when he went home to check, found his metal was missing, according to Brown. The sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate, Brown said.

BREAK-IN AT CENTRALIA RESIDENCE

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that sometime between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. last Thursday, someone broke into a residence on the 600 block of Roswell Road near Centralia. A window was broken but nothing appeared to be missing, according to the sheriff’s office.

STOLEN VEHICLE FOUND ON BLOCKS

• A Winlock man called the sheriff’s office yesterday when his stolen truck turned up on property near the 100 block of Sandy Lane in Centralia. A property owner contacted the victim after discovering the vehicle on blocks at the end of an old logging road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Winlock man had already been reimbursed by his insurer, so the truck was towed, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

DRUGS

• A 48-year-old Randle man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and a warrant for driving with a suspended license after he was observed driving with no tail lights in the area of Kiona Road and U.S. Highway 12 about 9:40 p.m. on Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Jon C. Knowles was booked into the Lewis County Jail, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

WRECK

• A 22-year-old Winlock woman possibly broke her hand when she rolled her vehicle on Saturday morning on the 200 block of Brim Road near Ethel, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 2005 Kia Rio hydroplaned before it left the road, according to the sheriff’s office. It was described as totaled.

UP IN SMOKE

• Two men lost pretty much everything they owned in two separate vehicle fires over the weekend. A 53-year-old homeless man watched his belongings go up in smoke when his pickup truck caught fire overnight on Interstate 5 in Chehalis. And yesterday morning, an Alaska resident relocating to Arizona pulled over on southbound Interstate 5 near milepost 68 south of Chehalis when his travel trailer burst into flames.

The Chehalis Fire Department was called about 2:40 a.m. today to the parking lot at Denny’s restaurant off 13th Street where a canopied 1977 Ford 250 was burning. The driver had pulled into the middle of the lot and bystanders were trying to put it out with buckets of water and fire extinguisher’s Fire Capt. Casey Beck said. Firefighters saved several boxes of his belongings from the back of the truck, but they will never be the same, Beck said, noting smoke damage. Beck didn’t know where the driver was from, but said some of his friends arrived to help him out. He thought something might have gone wrong with the carburetor.

Yesterday just before 11 a.m., a man and his dog escaped injury when their trailer caught fire on the freeway. The trailer was fully engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived, according to Lewis County Fire District 5. A passerby from Napavine had stopped and helped get the dog out of the man’s SUV and tried to put the fire out, Lt. Laura Hanson said. It’s drivable, but the trailer and most of its contents were a complete loss, according to Hanson. Because he was moving to Arizona, the man’s savings – a significant amount of money – was tucked away inside the wreckage, but responders were able to retrieve it. “It was unharmed, pretty amazing,” Hanson said.

The Napavine man, Antonio Martinez, stayed with the victim, assisting him in salvaging what they could, according to Hanson. Hours later, firefighters were called back to the scene when the driver fell from the trailer injuring his arm. He was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital. Hanson said she did not know where the man would be staying.

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Southbound Interstate 5 near milepost 68 / Courtesy photo by Kristal Tardiff

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

HIGH SPEED CHASE ENDS WITH WRECK AT HARRISON, I-5

• A 33-year-old Chehalis man was arrested last night after a police pursuit in Centralia in which he allegedly rammed a police car and subsequently struck at least one passenger vehicle when fleeing the scene. Just before 9 p.m., officers responded to a theft at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue and found the suspect driving a white Jeep farther north, near Foron Road, according to the Centralia Police Department. The driver, later identified as Edison C. Church, turned around in a long driveway and reportedly rammed a police car before speeding back towards Interstate 5 on Harrison Avenue, police reported. Centralia police say he collided with several vehicles when he attempted to get on the freeway’s northbound ramp and then hopped out and fled on foot. He was quickly taken into custody, according to police. Riverside Fire Authority said it responded to a two-vehicle collision in which neither occupant wanted to go the hospital. Church was booked into the Lewis County Jail for to counts of assault and felony eluding, according to police.

NIGHT FIGHT

• Two individuals were arrested after a fight downtown Centralia around 2 o’clock this morning in which they slammed into a storefront window breaking it. It happened at the 300 block of North Tower Avenue, according to police. Desirae M. Lafferty, 33, and Larae H. Young, 30, both of Centralia were cited for fighting in public and malicious mischief and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

NOT A DUI

• A 69-year-old Centralia man who was intoxicated used a “designated driver” but was arrested for reckless endangerment when his driver – a mentally disabled person – caused a wreck, according to the Centralia Police Department. There were no injuries in the Friday night incident at the 1300 block of Harrison Avenue, according to police. The 36-year-old unnamed driver apparently lost control of the vehicle, hitting a fence and damaging a vehicle parked on the other side of the fence, according to police. Ronald W. Justice was cited and then released, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 1:30 a.m. today to the 800 block of South Gold Street in Centralia where the back window of a canopy on a truck was broken. The victim saw a white truck fleeing the area, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Recovery underway for climbing ranger killed on Mount Rainier

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A recovery effort is underway to retrieve the body of a Mount Rainier National Park climbing ranger who yesterday fell more than 3,000 feet to his death.

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Nick Hall / Courtesy photo by Mount Rainier National Park

Nick Hall, 34, died during a rescue attempt on the mountain’s northeast side of a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas, according to park spokesperson Kevin Bacher.

Hall, a native of Patten, Maine, is unmarried and has no children, according to Bacher. He is a four-year veteran of the park’s climbing program.

A ground team is enroute to Hall’s location, but currently at Camp Schurman at 9,500 feet encountering heavy precipitation and thickening clouds, park spokesperson Patti Wold said today just before 2 p.m.

Air operations are grounded and it’s not known if they can complete their mission today, according to Wold.

Yesterday the group from Texas were on Emmons Glacier at the 13,700 foot level when two climbers fell into a crevasse. They called for help by cell phone and during the rescue just before 5 p.m. as Hall was assisting the other climbers for extrication by helicopter, he fell to about the 10,000 foot level, according to the park service.

Three were flown out, but one of them overnighted on the mountain with climbing rangers.

Stacy Wren is walking down today with a team of climbing rangers. The others, Stuart Smith, Ross Vandyke and Noelle Smith are hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to Wold.

Mount Rainier has had 117 climbing-related fatalities since 1897, according to Wold. In 1995, two climbing rangers fell 1,200 feet during a rescue on the same Emmons Glacier.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

SHERIFF: UNAUTHORIZED LOGGING FOILED

• A 32-year-old woman was arrested last night after employees of timber company found a pickup truck loaded with eight freshly cut logs on their property at the end of Hemenway Road in Winlock. A deputy was told the truck traveled around a locked gate onto  Port Blakely property and got stuck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff”s Office. Stacey L. McCarty, of Winlock, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft and second-degree burglary, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said.  Deputies are looking for a 33-year-old Winlock man who they were told was with McCarty cutting the trees, Breen said. The 18-inch diameter pieces are valued at about $4,000, he said.

MEDS MISSING

• A deputy took a report yesterday of a burglary between 10 p.m. and midnight the night before at the 900 block of Koontz Road south of Chehalis. Missing was a quantity of oxycodone and hydrocodone, according to the Lewis County Sheriff”s Office. The loss is $30. There did not appear to be any forced entry into the home, according to detective Sgt. Dusty Breen.

TOOLS TAKEN

• A Stihl chainsaw, two cordless drills and their accessories were reported stolen yesterday from a shop building on the 2100 block of Young Road near Mossyrock. The theft occurred sometime between June 4 and yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff”s Office.

SHED PROWLER

• Police called to the 1100 block of Crosby Avenue in Centralia about 2:20 p.m. yesterday arrested an 18-year-old for allegedly breaking into his father’s shed and trying to take items that did not belong to him. Alex M. Folden was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.

RAINING FIRECRACKERS

• Chehalis police were called about 8:40 p.m. yesterday to a complaint at the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue that someone was throwing firecrackers from an apartment window down to where children were walking. A warning was given.

DRUGS

• A 27-year-old Centralia was arrested yesterday afternoon for possession of heroin in connection with a contact with Chehalis police in February at K-Mart in which suspected drugs were taken from her. Breann N. Woodring was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Mortar-type firework explodes in man’s hand

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A former Toledo man lost part of his hand last night when a mortar-type firework exploded as he was setting it off.

Aid called about 7:30 p.m. to the 1000 block of Grand Avenue in Centralia arranged for the 34-year-old to be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Thomas Eric Strom underwent emergency surgery overnight, according to his older sister.

“The surgery, thank God, was successful,” Tanya Strom Gadsden said this morning. “He’s alive and we’re really lucky.”

Gadsden said her brother was in good spirits when she arrived at the hospital last night, but is expected to have a slow recovery.

“As soon as it was lit, it blew up,” she said. “We’re thankful it was his left hand, he’s right handed.”

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dusty Breen said Strom had purchased the firework earlier in the day at the Chehalis Reservation.

He was holding the tube so it wouldn’t tip over, Breen said.

“The projectile that fires up (into the air) for whatever reason didn’t leave the tube,” Breen said.

The trauma to his hand was substantial, according to responders.

Strom is from Toledo but lives in Idaho, where he works as a salesman, according to his sister. He was getting ready to leave on a business trip and was visiting friends, she said.

Fireworks are not legal to light off until this coming Thursday.

Under state law, fireworks are allowed to be set off between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. during the week around the Fourth of July, except they can go one hour later on July 4 and can’t start until noon on June 28, according to Breen. After July 5, they are prohibited until New Years.

Certain cities may have more restrictions on the hours.

News brief: Trio of elk crossing I-5 leads to collision

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A motorist escaped serious injury when she struck an elk on Interstate 5 in Chehalis early this morning.

Three elk were trying to cross the freeway near the 13th Street exit when a northbound passenger car hit one of them, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers and aid called about 4:30 a.m. found the Longview woman had just minor cuts to her head and hand. Kelly Reser, 36, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital.

“I guess those three elk have been hanging out in the area,” Chehalis Firefighter Derek Pedersen said. “Now there’s only two.”

The impact caved in the windshield of her car, which troopers described as totaled.

Trooper Jerry Kuzminsky said they commonly see elk farther south near exit 63, but recently a trooper spotted one near the Chehalis Wal-Mart interchange.

“It’s getting to be a bigger problem,” he said.

News brief: Emergency closure of state Route 508

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The state Department of Transportation closed the state Route 508 South Fork Newaukum Bridge to all traffic this afternoon when a routine inspection found significant corrosion on the bridge girders.

The highway will be closed there for emergency repairs until further notice, according to DOT.

Drivers should use U.S. Highway 12 to get to their destinations, DOT spokesperson Abbi Russell said.

The bridge is five miles east of Onalaska, just east of Centralia-Alpha Road.

There is no estimated timeframe yet for the repairs, according to Russell.

Eastbound traffic can take Leonard Road to U.S. Highway 12. Westbound traffic can take Cinebar Road to Silver Creek Road (state Route 122) to U.S. Highway 12.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

CENTRALIA MAN FINDS HIS STOLEN TOOLS

• A Centralia man who didn’t even realize he’d been burglarized yesterday morning was out and about when he spotted what looked like his tool box in the back of a truck. He followed the truck to a Centralia scrap yard and took down a license plate number, leading to the arrest of a 30-year-old man for trafficking stolen property, according to police. The burglary victim went home, found his tool box missing and called police, Officer Mike Lowrey said. Michael P. Doven, 30, of Winlock was pulled over about 1:25 p.m. near West Pear and South Pearl Streets and arrested and then booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

GUN, JEWELRY, TOOLS STOLEN

• At least $8,000 of valuables were stolen in a Winlock area burglary reported yesterday. A deputy called around 5 p.m. to the 400 block of Hemenway Road learned someone forced their way inside a home and shop sometime since Saturday and left with jewelry, a firearm, a toolbox full of tools and a chainsaw, according to the Lewis County Sheriff”s Office.

CENTRALIA HOME BURGLARIZED

• Police were called about 9:40 p.m. yesterday to a burglary at a residence the 300 block of North Diamond Street in Centralia in which two hunting bows and several pieces of jewelry were stolen.

OFFICE BROKEN INTO

• Police were called just before 9 a.m. yesterday to a burglary to an office at the 2000 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Someone forced open a door and rifled through cabinet drawers, but nothing appeared to be missing,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

AUTO THEFT

• A black 2003 Chevrolet pickup was reported stolen from about 4:45 p.m. yesterday from the 1100 block of Chestnut Street in Centralia. The vehicle, with a license plate reading B83476N, was taken sometime during the night, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report just after 4 p.m. yesterday of a maroon 2005 PT Cruiser missing from he 100 block of West Maple Street in Centralia. It has a license plate of 815 YXY, according to the Centralia Police Department.

OFF-DUTY OFFICER CHASES DOWN WANTED MAN

• A 34-year-old Chehalis man was arrested after a short foot pursuit about 7 p.m. yesterday near Northeast Boistfort Street and Market Boulevard in Chehalis. An off-duty Chehalis police officer recognized Sean Holzberger and knew he had an outstanding warrant, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Holzberger threw down his groceries and ran, she said. Holzberger was arrested for obstruction, Carrell said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

HALF DOZEN VEHICLES SOLD TO MAN WITH DEMENTIA

• Chehalis police were called yesterday afternoon by a woman who said her ex-husband who has dementia bought six cars from an auto dealer, even after they’d been told not to sell them to him. She thought it was a crime, but was told it should be taken up in civil court, according to police.

BUSTED

• Centralia police broke up an underage drinking party last night arresting 17 young people. Officers responded about 10:40 p.m. to a complaint of a loud party at the 1600 block of Winterwood Drive found the owner of the house was away and her child or children had a number of guests who were drinking alcohol, according to the Centralia Police Department. All of the individuals arrested for minor in possession or consuming alcohol were from Centralia and between the ages of 18 and 20, according to police. A 22-year-old male was arrested for obstructing. All were cited and then released, according to police.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

BREAK-IN

• Deputies are looking for a man with short red hair and a scruffy beard seen loading items into the trunk of a silver car at a residence that was broken into yesterday south of Chehalis. Deputies called about 4 p.m. to the home on the 3500 block of Jackson Highway learned that sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. someone stole more than $2,500 worth of valuables, including a 42-inch Samsung television, two wedding ring sets, other jewelry and about $600 cash, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Also missing are three pocket knives with mother of pearl handles, Chief  Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A deputy was called yesterday morning to a residence west of Chehalis where someone apparently slipped inside and stole a laptop computer that was sitting on a dining room table while someone was home. The 47-year-old victim at the 400 block of Bunker Creek Road said her boyfriend may have left a door open when he let the dogs in, according to the Lewis County Sheriff”s Office.. He saw the computer about 8 a.m. and when he returned 10 minutes later, it was gone, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. There is a “person of interest” in the case, Brown said.

THEFT

• A little more than $200 was reported stolen from a locker at the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia yesterday afternoon, according to the Centralia Police Department.

COUNTERFEIT CASH

• Centralia police were called just before 6:30 p.m. yesterday about a male and a female attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at the 600 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. No arrests were made, according to the Centralia Police Department.

UNRULY MAN

• A 39-year-old Centralia man was arrested for disorderly conduct at the 100 block of East Maple Street in Centralia at about 9:15 p.m. yesterday. Michael A. Kauer was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STROLLING POULTRY

• Police were called about 6:40 a.m. today about a chicken walking on Chamber of Commerce Way in Chehalis.