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Read about outlook grim for four missing at Mount Rainier …

Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 4:37 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports a spokesperson for Mount Rainier National Park says the likelihood of the four people missing on the mountain being found alive is slim.

Read about it here

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Read about Rochester residents get good news about power outages …

Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 4:22 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that after almost a week without electricity, Rochester-area residents were told they should get their power restored by today.

Read about it here

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Read about small earthquake south of Morton …

Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 4:20 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a magnitude 3.4 earthquake occurred about 2:51 a.m. on Wednesday about 10 miles north of Mount St. Helens.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network described the quake as centered about 15 miles south of Morton and a little more than five miles deep.

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Denise Salts: Drug charge decreased to misdemeanor

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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Denise Salts, 52, was taken into custody this morning after pleading guilty to use of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

Updated at 4:05 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors made a plea deal with Denise R. Salts to drop a delivery of methamphetamine charge admitting they were holding it over her head until after she testified in a triple-murder trial in which she was the only surviving victim.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt expressed his displeasure with the attorneys’ agreement Salts should serve no time on a lesser charge, and sent her to jail for eight days this morning.

Salts, 52, was shot in the face when her boyfriend David West Sr. and two others were slain in August 2010 inside her Salkum-Onalaska area home.

Then, the following June she was labeled one of the main narcotics distributors in East Lewis County when the sheriff’s office arrested her, alleging she gave a small baggie of methamphetamine to an informant in exchange for a $20 bill.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher amended the charge to unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor that comes with a sentence of zero to 90 days in jail.

He and defense attorney Michael Underwood agreed to recommend Salts get credit for the two days she served when she was arrested and no more time.

Both said there was no deal in place when she testified last month against John A. Booth Jr.

Meagher did not say Salts was unwilling to testify, only that he had lost track of her and didn’t know where she was. It was always his intent to reward her, he told the judge.

Hunt asked why they made a plea agreement.

“To be quite candid your honor, I felt sorry for her,” Meagher said.

Salts had no criminal history and is a former successful graduate of Lewis County Drug Court.

Hunt calmly blasted Salts for using the resources of his drug court and returning old habits, calling it beyond explanation.

She replied, “I don’t know, I can’t even tell you … I don’t know.”

The judge sentenced her 90 days in jail, with 80 days suspended and gave her credit for two days served.

•••

For background, read:

• “News brief: “Big” drug dealers in court tomorrow” from Wednesday June 22, 2011, here

• “Salkum triple murder: Victims cry, defendant lashes out at sentence hearing” from  Friday December 16, 2011, here

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News brief: Driver injured south of Chehalis on I-5

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm
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Responders at one-car crash off Interstate 5 near exit 72 / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Firefighters called to a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis this morning found a car that had collided with a light pole and several trees, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

It happened just before 10 a.m. in the northbound lanes near exit 72, according to Fire Lt. Laura Hanson.

The driver – the car’s only occupant – was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with injuries that called for an ambulance staffed with advanced life support personnel, according to Hanson.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 10:31 am

FOUR ARRESTED FOR MARIJUANA

• A carful of people were arrested for possession of marijuana following a traffic stop on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia last night. The driver, Kevin I. Sines, 25, of Centralia, was pulled over about 10:30 p.m. for defective exhaust equipment and when the officer smelled burnt marijuana, Sines handed over a pipe, according to Officer John Panco. The officer also found a suspected Ecstasy tablet in the car, Panco said. Cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana were Sines, Derek M. Malarz, 20, of Winlock, Matthew P. Paylor, 20, of Centralia, and Tucker W. Bethune, 18, of Rochester, according to the Centralia Police Department. They were all then release, Panco said. The case is being referred to the prosecutor’s office for a possible charge related to the tablet, he said.

“BLOODZ” GRAFFITI

• Police were called about 10 a.m. yesterday to the 2000 block of North Tower Avenue where someone used red spray paint to write the word “Bloodz” on the side of a van. Also painted were a fence, a motor home and a fire hydrant, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

ATTACK WITH MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SEND TWO TO HOSPITAL

• Police called to a dispute at an apartment on the 500 block of Hillkress Street in Centralia on Saturday night learned that two Centralia men had been beaten with a clarinet. A 26-year-old man had injuries to his face and a 31-year-old had gashes on his head, according to the Centralia Police Department. Neither the victims who were taken to the hospital nor the suspect were at the home when police arrived and the victims left the hospital before giving further details to officers, according to Officer John Panco.

PATIENT ATTACKS NURSE

• A nurse was punched in the chest by a patient at Providence Centralia Hospital last night, drawing officers to the facility on South Schueber Road about 10:40 p.m. The suspect, a male, has not been arrested as police were taking possible “mental issues” into consideration, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BAR BRAWL LEADS TO HALF DOZEN ARRESTS

• Six people were arrested after a melee outside a Chehalis bar about 1 a.m. on Saturday. Officers called to the Paradise learned the doorman was trying to eject a group at the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue and they started fighting with him, Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Two were booked for disorderly conduct; Ross R. Johnson, 24, of Centralia and Tiffany M. Anderson, 23, of Olympia, Wilson said. The others, all in their 20s who reportedly interfered with police, were arrested for disorderly conduct and then released, he said. Officer had been called just two hours earlier to a disturbance at Garbe’s Tavern nearby, according to Wilson.

FIGHT DRAWS DEPUTIES TO CINEBAR

• A deputy was called to the 300 block of Cinebar Road on Saturday evening after a tussle that included a rifle between a 53-year-old man and a 30-year-old Olympia resident. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said that Michael W. Cairns, 30, had taken refuge inside a motor home to get warm when the older man outside fired a gun into the air, prompting Cairns to burst out of the RV into the man. The two struggled in the snow on the ground for several minutes before Cairns gathered up his belongings and walked away, Brown said. The men have some “previous history” with each other, she said. Cairns said he had permission to be in the motor home, but its owner said he did not, according to Brown. Cairns was arrested on a warrant and also referred for a possible charge of trespassing, according to Brown.

THEFT

• A deputy was called Sunday to a burglary at a residence on the 1400 block of Highway 603 outside Chehalis in which a floor safe was among the valuables missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim said someone had broken in between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. the previous evening and also stole an X-Box and 32 games, various silver certificates and old silver coins, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Brown did not say what was inside the safe.

• A maroon-colored 1990 Chevrolet pickup was reported stolen about 7:30 a.m. yesterday from the 700 block of West Fourth Street in Centralia.

• Police were called about 10:15 a.m. on Saturday to take a report of a stolen vehicle from the 100 block of Alfred Street in Chehalis. Missing is a red Ford Ranger.

• Police were called about 7:10 p.m. yesterday to a car prowl on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. A purse was missing from an unlocked vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A traffic stop on the 1200 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis on Saturday night led to the discovery of a small amount of methamphetamine and some drug paraphernalia, according to Chehalis police. Robert M. Church, 46, of Silver Creek was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of methamphetamine and a warrant, Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

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News brief: Blood donors needed

Monday, January 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities are repeating an appeal for blood donations during the coming week as the winter storms have caused the regional blood supply to drop to emergency levels.

Yvette Olive, the donor resources representative for Lewis County, notes the inventory has taken a huge hit.

The Puget Sound Blood Center’s Dr. James P. AuBuchon said in a news release this morning they have a ways to go before normal levels will be restored.

“If you haven’t given blood recently, we’re asking donors to make a special effort this week to donate,” AuBuchon stated. “Donors provide a live-saving gift, and we’re counting on sustained support from donors and the community to replenish our blood supply by the end of this month.”

Two opportunities are available tomorrow to give in Lewis County:

• Lewis County Mall at 151 N.E. Hampe Way in Chehalis from 10 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

• Thorbeckes gym parking lot at 91 S.W. Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Olive says if someone is unsure about their eligibility, they can phone 1-800-398-7888. Walk-ins are welcome at the mall but an appointment can be made here

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Read about four still stranded on Mount Rainier …

Monday, January 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune writes that a break in the weather has allowed for an air search this morning for four people more than a week overdue from climbing and camping at Mount Rainier.

A one-miles temporary flight restriction is currently in place around the mountain however, park authorities reported later this morning.

Over the past week, ground teams have encountered white-out conditions, winds 60 mph and higher as well as snow depths of 10 to 15 feet with drifts up to 50 feet, according to park spokesperson Patti Wold said today.

Read about it, here

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Slick roadways and crashes

Monday, January 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

Updated at 1:09 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities are urging caution as wet roads from melting snow have led to icy conditions around Lewis County.

Responders were called to two injury collisions late last night and another two big rig wrecks since.

“The roads are very icy,” Lewis County Fire District 6 Chief Tim Kinder said this morning. “Drive very careful today, especially on hill tops and back roads.”

His crew went out about 5:45 a.m. to the 600 block of Logan Hill Road in Chehalis where a fully loaded log truck slid into a ditch, Kinder said. The driver was uninjured.

Temperatures fell to near freezing across much of the region and drivers should expect pockets of icy conditions including black ice, the National Weather Service reported this morning.

It should warm up to above freezing by around 10 o’clock this morning, the forecasters say.

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Jason Ashley said this morning county roads were slick but state routes were bare an wet. It was different last night however.

Troopers were called about 11:40 p.m. yesterday to U.S. Highway 12 at Interstate 5 where a semi truck with two trailers slid into a ditch. The driver, a 42-year-old Bellingham woman, was reportedly uninjured.

At about 11 p.m., a 23-year-old Toledo woman was hurt when the vehicle in which she was a passenger ran into a guard along state Route 505 near Henriott Road in Toledo, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver of the Datsun pickup, Michael A. Frank, 42, of Toledo was said to be uninjured when the truck lost control on the ice and came to rest down an embankment, according to the state patrol.

Savannah J. Williams, 23, was transported to St. John Medical Center in Longview with a broken “tibia” and “fibula” the investigating trooper reported. The truck was totaled.

Two individuals were taken to Morton General Hospital after another single-vehicle collision on U.S. Highway 12 near Morton just before 11:30 p.m.

The car was eastbound when it struck a guard rail, according to the state patrol.

A 3-year-old boy in the car was unhurt but the driver, a 41-year-old Puyallup man had an injured wrist and a 34-year-old passenger from Graham had a possible injury to her thigh, the state patrol reported.

Driving too fast on icy roads was blamed for all three wrecks.

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Olequa Creek bank relinquishes class ring after 50 years

Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm
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Winlock High School class ring from 1963, after 50 years on the bank of stream.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Chehalis attorney Dana Williams hasn’t lived in Winlock since 1963, the year he graduated from high school and joined the military.

But he left something behind in the south Lewis County town a half a century ago he never thought he’d see again.

The year was 1962. He’d already bought and was wearing his high school class ring, but it vanished during a Saturday night dance for teenagers at the community building.

Williams was surprised when he got a call last week from local historian and museum operator Roy Richards.

“Roy said, ‘did you lose your class ring?’ ” Williams recounted at the courthouse on Friday. “I said, as a matter of fact, I did.”

The ring had disappeared near Olequa Creek and that’s exactly where it had turned up a few days earlier.

Forty-five year-old Janice Rouska was visiting a friend, who lives in a house next to the community building when she went out back and walked down some rail-road-tie steps to the creek.

She was just taking in the scenery since the water was running high and the snow had fallen, Rouska said.

“I cleared some leaves so I could see the steps and there was a toe ring,” Rouska said, describing a small band the color of a penny.

“Then I moved some more leaves, and there was the class ring,” she said.

Her friend wanted to keep it, she said, but she said no, it belongs to someone.

Rouska visited a local business where an acquaintance examined it, and they could see the year 1963 embedded in the design, she said. She took a trip to the library to see if they had any old high school year books and was directed to Richards.

He runs the Renegade Rooster, a small museum at his Rhoades Road home. It’s all things Winlock.

Among his collection is a roster with the names of every student who graduated from Winlock High School since 1911.

The ring had the initials D.W., Richards said. Only three names like that turned up: Doug Wilson, Diane Werden and Dana Williams, he said.

Richards called Wilson and learned his class ring was sitting in his drawer.

Richards and Rouska learned that Werden had lost her class ring, but it had a white background, not blue like the one found about three feet from the creek.

And so Richards phoned Williams.

All are stunned the tiny piece of jewelry survived five decades apparently in almost the exact spot.

“It’s amazing,” Rouska said. “Considering how much water and dirt had to have been over it all those 50 years.”

The creek itself hasn’t changed much, except for the usual seasonal transformations, according to Richards. In the winter it’s very deep and fast moving and in the summer, one can walk across it, he said.

Williams picked up the ring on Thursday at the Winlock home where Rouska lives.

She’d run it under the faucet and taken a toothbrush to it.

“It’s in beautiful condition, although the silver is little tarnished,” Williams said before he took it out of a drawer at his Chehalis office and placed it on his pinky finger.

It cost about three month’s of the his teenage wages, he said.

The lawyer couldn’t say enough about the efforts Rouska made to track him down, but he was vague about the circumstances under which he became separated from his class ring.

“Let’s just say I was tossing something during a winter eve in 1962, and the ring slipped off behind the old community building,” he said.

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Notes from behind the news: Want to advertise?

Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens

Greetings readers.

I have a really fun story to tell.

However, what follows is an advertisement, not a news story. (Check back in a few minutes to read a mystery about a lawyer and ring)

Want to advertise? Want to reach thousands?

Affordably promote your business, your organization or other enterprise in greater Lewis County.

Advertise on Lewis County Sirens, a popular local news web site with more than 20,000 readers.

That’s huge. It’s a little more than one year old, but that’s twice as many readers as the local daily newspaper has subscribers.

Award-winning Chehalis-based journalist Sharyn Decker writes the news stories folks can read for free at www.lewiscountysirens.com

Lewis County Sirens.com is an independent news provider, focusing on crime, cops, courts, fire and public safety; the topics most everyone wants to keep up with.

Ad pricing is comparatively low,

Our emphasis on publishing the reliable, balanced, fresh and timely news stories readers yearn for has made us the hottest new web site in greater Lewis County.

It’s a well-respected news source that inspires some of the most lively and robust online dialogue among its readers you will find anywhere locally.

Square-ish banner advertisement: (180 x 150 pixels) – $150 month
Shows on the sidebar of the home page and inside pages and may rotate with one other ad.

• Your ad can link to your website if you have a web site.

• Ad design services: no charge for first time advertising. Nominal fee for changes or new design.

• Acceptable formats are .jpg, .gif and .png (.jpg is preferable)

• Ads will be posted after payment received.

Lewis County Sirens tallied more than 200,000 page views in December 2011, (not including traffic generated by robots and other non-humans).

Each ad shows on every page on the site, not just the home page or just an inside page. Readers are people interested in the greater Lewis County area who want to keep current with what’s going on in their community. With a population of more than 70,000 individuals in Lewis County, and only two local news web sites – one of which is closed to non-paying readers – the number of visitors just keeps growing.

Contact: Sharyn Decker

• adminsharyn@lewiscountysirens.com

• (360) 748-4981 or (206) 546-3638

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 10:43 am

Updated at 4:35 p.m. and 6:22 p.m.

THEFT

• Someone got into an unlocked vehicle on the 900 block of F Street yesterday and took an umbrella, according to Centralia police.

• Police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Woodland Street in Centralia where “items” had been stolen from inside a carport.

• Someone broke into a business on the 400 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia and stole a cash box, tools, a computer monitor and a BB gun, according to a report made to police on Thursday morning.

• Police were called just after 11 a.m. on Thursday to the 2800 block of Russell Road in Centralia where someone had stolen a battery from a vehicle.

FIRES

• A generator too close to an exterior wall of a Centralia home ignited a small fire on Thursday evening on the 800 block of South Gold Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

* Firefighters were called to a home on Marion Street in Centralia about 9 p.m. on Thursday to a report of smoke. There were power lines on the roof and then inside, crews discovered a small dresser burning, according to Riverside Fire Authority. It appeared a nearby electrical outlet had some sort of issue, Fire Capt. Casey McCarthy said.

JEEP DRIVER SPENDS NIGHT STUCK IN SNOW

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported on Thursday they were called last weekend to find a 23-year-old Chehalis man who had gotten his Jeep stuck on a logging road in the Lincoln Creek area. The driver had set out Saturday for a rock pit in the area and found his vehicle high-centered, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. A search and rescue mission was initiated on Sunday morning, Brown said. The sheriff’s office Humvee could not reach the man, but a citizen with a Jeep Wrangler was able to free the stuck vehicle and escort it out by about 2:30 on Sunday afternoon, according to Brown. The Chehalis man was hungry but otherwise okay, according to Brown.

WRECKS

• A 78-year-old Randle resident was hospitalized after his Jeep Cherokee ran off U.S. Highway 12 just west of Morton and rolled onto its top on Thursday afternoon, according to the Washington State Patrol. Troy H. Roden was east bound just before 3 p.m. when his vehicle went into a ditch, the state patrol reported. He was taken to Morton General Hospital with a head injury, the investigating trooper reported. The vehicle was described as totaled.

• A 27-year-old Centralia man reportedly escaped injury when his car ran into a ditch and rolled onto its top at Sturdevant and Sears roads early Thursday morning. A deputy called about 12:30 a.m. found the Chevrolet Cavalier sustained major damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES

• The watch for minor flooding on flood-prone rivers in Southwest Washington is extended through Sunday morning. The Chehalis River is singled out by the National Weather Service as one which could spill over its banks. And, there are one or two storms on the horizon next week that would raise its level even higher, the weather service is forecasting.

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News brief: Only 103 customers without power in Centralia

Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia City Light service truck is heading to power outages in the area of North Tower Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue and Northrup as crews aim to get electricity restored for their last few customers this morning.

Two crews from Cowlitz County PUD are working in the areas of Proffitt Road / Salzer Valley, Borst Avenue, Johnson Road and Pioneer Way, according to an 8:15 a.m. update from city light this morning.

Currently they have 103 customers without power, according to city light technical assistant Ashley Stemkoski.

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Very windy weather expected tonight

Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Just as many folks are recovering from deep snow and its aftermath, a windstorm is coming tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

The foul weather could snap tree branches and cause further power outages, according to a wind advisory issued this afternoon.

The weather service says southerly winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph will develop after midnight and continue tomorrow morning.

The advisory is in effect for most of Western Washington, including the Southwest Interior.

Locally, authorities are expecting gusts as high as 50 mph.

Lewis County Emergency Management spokesperson Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown says the winds could cause more trees, utility poles and power lines to fall, with landslide possibilities.

In the Boistfort Valley, the fire chief has informed the community to expect to lose electricity, but was hopeful the increasing temperatures would melt some ice minimizing the risk of ice-heavy trees toppling.

And it will be wet, Lewis County Fire District 13 Chief Gregg Peterson notes in his message.

“The rain may be as much as two inches as this initial front passes,” Peterson writes.

A flood watch remains in place through tomorrow afternoon. An avalanche warning continues for the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.

The Boistfort community is prepared to open their grange if they end up with multiple people in distress, according to Peterson.

The Red Cross has opened several shelters, and the closest locally are at the Moose Lodge in Yelm and the McLane Black Lake Fire Station on Delphi Road in Olympia.

The Red Cross reminds the public of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning during power outages:
• Never heat or cook inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
• Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or in car ports.

•••

Check the forecast and warnings for your area, here and here

Both the above links – “Weather forecasts” and “River levels” are always available on the right hand sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.com

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Lewis County: Swelling streams and rivers possible

Friday, January 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A flood watch is in effect through tomorrow afternoon in Lewis, Thurston, Grays Harbor and other western Washington counties with heavy rain expected to combine with melting of this week’s record snowfalls.

It could drive the Chehalis River, the Newaukum River and the Skokomish River above flood stage, although any flooding is likely to be minor, according to the National Weather Service.

Small stream flooding is possible as well, the weather service says.

All areas could see “ponding” of water, especially around clogged drains and culverts, according to forecasters.

“Uncertainty is high with this event and the snow melt is a big part of that uncertainty,” the weather bulletin reads.

Additionally, an avalanche watch is in place through tonight for the Cascade and Olympic mountains.

Check the forecast and warnings for your area, here and here

•••

Both the above links – “Weather forecasts” and “River levels” are always available on the right hand sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.com

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Electricity slow to return for Lewis County PUD customers

Friday, January 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An estimated 2,000 Lewis County PUD customers remain without power this morning, some who have been without for more than 24 hours.

Exactly when they all will be restored is unknown, according to Alex Lane, assistant line superintendent.

Road closures from continuing falling trees and limbs hampered efforts yesterday.

“It just kept getting worse, it cascaded on us,” Lane said.

State Route 6 was shut down for a period yesterday preventing crews from making repairs in the Doty and Pe Ell area, but workers were being sent out there this morning, he said.

A crew returned to the Independence and Lincoln Creek area west of Centralia about 4 o’clock this morning, after pulling out yesterday due to the dangers of falling trees.

Those places and Winlock are the largest customer areas without power, Lane said.

“And we’ve still got a lot of little spots we’re trying to get to, but it’s a long list,” he said.

PUD crews have been working around the clock since the event began, with crews each getting four hours for sleep at a time, he said.

“They’ve all got a little rest, but they’re tired,” he said.

PUD has brought one east end crew to the west end and have made a call to Cowlitz County PUD to “see if they can spare some bodies,” Lane said.

Lane said they got a request yesterday for help from Centralia City Light but had nobody to spare.

This is as bad for this type of event as he’s seen in 30 years on the job, Lane said.

Customers can hear periodic updates when they report outages to PUD’s main phone number at 748-9261

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Snow’s after affects continuing to interrupt power, travel

Friday, January 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Downed trees and power lines had chainsaws working overtime and blocked roads meant in at least one case EMTs had to hike into an aid call and walk a patient out in the dark.

In Rochester, the fire department responded to almost 100 calls in the past 24 hours, despite losing power and phone service at all their stations.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority was still operating on generator-power this morning at their main station on Sargent Road, according to Chief Robert Scott.

They normally get their calls over the Internet, Scott said, so they’ve been getting information over cell phones.

His Rochester area crews responded to multiple vehicle accidents during the last shift, mostly minor or non-injury, he said.

They extinguished a fire yesterday afternoon in a mobile home park which displaced about five residents, Scott said.

It happened about 4 p.m. at the 10,500 block of 184th. A double-wide mobile home was well-involved in flames when they arrived, but nobody was hurt, he said.

Heavy snow and ice building up on tree branches and power lines from Wednesday’s snow storm have been blamed for widespread power outages in greater Lewis County.

Centralia-area firefighters were called some 40 times yesterday and last night about power lines arcing, related to snow, ice and tree limbs.

About 4 o’clock this morning, an aid crew answered a call up Padrick Road in Centralia and it wasn’t long before they realized they couldn’t drive all the way there, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Ken Colombo said.

They hiked about a quarter mile and ended up walking the patient out, Colombo said.

Downed power lines across all lanes of Interstate 5 in north Centralia blocked traffic for about an hour this morning.

The Olympian reports about 40,000 customers without electricity in Thurston County may have to wait days for it to be restored. Read more about that, here

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News brief: 911: For emergencies only please

Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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

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Homes damaged: Roof caves in Winlock, tree falls in Tenino

Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman narrowly escaped injury when a roof collapsed into her mobile in Winlock yesterday morning.

Lewis County Fire District 15 called to the 1200 block of King Road were told the resident had been sitting in a recliner and just gotten up.

About two minutes later “creak, pop, bang” and where she had been sitting was where most of the debris fell, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson said.

It was a single-wide mobile home with a pole barn-type roof above it, he said.

The weight of the snow was just too much, according to Anderson.

Fortunately the couple had a house they are in the process of remodeling where they could move to, he said.

Crews helped salvage what they could and moved some furniture and food into the other home, he said.

Anderson described the mobile home as beyond repair.

A Tenino family found themselves in a similar situation this morning when a tree sliced through their mobile home.

Crews were called just before 10 a.m. to the home, on Old Highway 99 just inside the city limits, according to Thurston County Fire District 12 Battalion Chief Jim Fowler.

At first, all he could see was the fallen tree and not the structure, Fowler said. He said the trunk was about a foot and a half in diameter and thought it might be a walnut tree.

Nobody was hurt, he said.

If not for the heaviness of the snow, it may not have broken through, he said.

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Snow-laden trees, branches keep knocking out power lines

Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:50 am

Updated 11:35 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County PUD restored power by 4 o’clock this morning to all their customers who lost electricity yesterday, but are back at it as the heavy snow is causing branches and trees to fall on power lines.

Alex Lane, assistant line superintendent, said the calls started coming in again around 6 a.m. today. He estimated this morning about 7,500 customers are without power.

A current outage in the Pe Ell, Doty and Boistfort area he believed was caused by a tree falling across a line about 6 a.m., he said.

The Boistfort area was among the last get power back after yesterday’s calls, he said.

A smaller area affected this morning is in Fords Prairie and Lincoln Creek.

Both PUD and Lewis County Public Works late this morning pulled out of areas west and north of Centralia due to falling trees and seriously icy roads, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

The public is being asked to avoid the areas of Lincoln Creek Road, Michigan Hill Road, Teague Road, Kohse Road, Hyppa Road, Independence Road and Garrard Creek Road because of the associated dangers.

Transmission problems from BPA have affected power to Elbe, Mineral and Ashford this morning, according to Lane.

Crews had a lot of problems yesterday in the High Valley area of Packwood and also Lincoln Creek, according to Lane.

“It’s really snow, rain, built up on the branches and falling on lines,” he said.

About 20 personnel are working today in west Lewis County and 15 or 16 out in the east end, he said. That’s everyone available, he said.

Lane estimated some 10,000 PUD customers have been affected between yesterday and today.

The Olympian reports similar issues with trees in Thurston County, Read about it here

•••

POWER LINE SAFETY TIPS

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office warns of the hazards presented by downed power lines and offers the following safety advice.

• Consider all wires energized and dangerous. Even lines which are de-energized may become re-energized at any time.

• Stay at least 10 feet away from the wire, because, electricity can travel through the ground.

• Electricity can also travel through tree limbs, so don’t try to remove a limb or other object that is touching or even near a downed wire.

• Don’t ever use any object to move a downed wire.

• If a broken power line falls on your vehicle, stay inside until help comes and warn other not to touch your vehicle. If you must leave the vehicle, jump as far away as possible with both feet landing on the ground at the same time.

• If someone makes contact with a downed power line, don’t try to rescue them because you risk becoming a victim yourself.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

POLICE FOLLOW SNOW TRACKS TO SUSPECTS

• Footsteps in the snow led to a pair of suspects in Centralia after police were called about an apparent attempted burglary on the 300 block of West Second Street last night. Police  called about 11 p.m. were told a resident heard his garage door open and when he looked outside, he saw two male figures running away, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers followed the tracks to a home where they arrested Max Cross, 22, and a 17-year-old boy for second-degree burglary, according to police.

WALLET LIFTED BY STRANGERS WHO HELPED WOMAN

• A wallet with more than $1,700 was missing from a vehicle after two passersby assisted a woman getting her vehicle unstuck from the snow along Interstate 5 in Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday when the woman spun out near milepost 71 and a pair of men – a taller skinny one and a shorter chubby one – driving a smaller gray Datsun or Toyota pickup truck stopped to help, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. One of them had gotten into the front seat as they pulled the car out of the snow, Brown said. The owner of the wallet, a 74-year-old Ethel man who had been in the hospital, reported the incident yesterday, Brown said.

THEFT

• Police were called just after noontime yesterday about tools stolen from a garage on the 800 block of Field Street in Centralia.

• Police were called about 8:30 p.m. last night about a car prowl on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue. Several “items” were taken but found later in an alley nearby, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 20-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after contact with police about 5:45 p.m. yesterday at South Pearl and West Van Buren streets, according to police. Chelsea R. Hensley was booked into the Lewis County Jail also for a warrant, the Centralia Police Department.

POLICE DOG WINS ‘HIDE AND SEEK’

• A 25-year-old Centralia man was sniffed out hiding in a backyard by police dog Lobo yesterday afternoon in Centralia after he reportedly ran from police. It happened about 4:25 p.m. near the 1100 block of South Pearl Street and the 1000 block of South Silver Street when officers were looking into an alleged assault of a female, according to the Centralia Police Department. Bryan G. Mako, 25, gave himself up when he saw the dog coming for him, police reported. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail on an outstanding warrant, according to police.

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News brief: Roof snow hazard

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm

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.

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Snow piles up around Lewis County

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 9:32 am
2012.0118.snow.riceroad

The snow stopped falling this morning along Rice Road, just southwest of Chehalis

Updated at 11:49 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The winter storm warning remains in effect through 8 o’clock tonight with total snow accumulations expected for greater Lewis County of 10 to 20 inches, according to a report from the National Weather Service just after 6:30 a.m. today.

A short term forecast issued at 8 a.m. however is suggesting moderate to heavy snow in the area will continue through 10 a.m.

Continue to expect extreme travel difficulties, the weather service says.

Northeast winds will increase through the morning hours to 10 to 20 mph causing drifting of the snow, according to the weather service.

Freezing rain is still possible over the South Sound this afternoon, with ice accumulations of up to one-tenth of an inch possible along the Interstate 5 corridor between Olympia and Chehalis, forecasters say.

Readers this morning have reported various snow accumulations of: 12 inches in Centralia, 14 inches in Chehalis and Doty, 17 inches in Onalaska, 18 inches in Pe Ell, 19 inches in Winlock, 24 inches in Cispus and more than that in Packwood.

Lewis County Superior Court is closed today. Lewis County District Court is open.

Power outages have been reported in Ethel and Centralia.

“We’ve got numerous outages all across the board actually,” Jeff Hoyt of Centralia City Light said this morning.

Their two line crews are out working and he is requesting a contract crew from outside the city to assist, Hoyt said.

Snow on the power lines and at least one tree that fell and broke a utility pole are the culprits, according to Hoyt.

As it warms and the snow gets heavier, he expects further outages today, he said. Hoyt did not have an estimate when all repairs would be made.

At noontime, there was a seven minute wait on hold to report power outages to Lewis County PUD.

A recorded message from about 6 a.m. named outages in some two dozen areas including such places as downtown Toledo, Wildwood Road, Middle Fork Road, Deep Creek Road, Carr Road in Randle and Ashford.

Readers of Lewis County Sirens have been offering continuous updates about their areas on the Lewis County Sirens Facebook group page, here

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Read about Thurston County moving forward on alleged pot dispensary crimes …

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 10:13 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said criminal charges are likely to follow for the rest of 17 people arrested in November at five medical marijuana dispensaries in Thurston County.

Two of the 17 have been charged and pleaded not guilty today to 19 counts related to distributing marijuana, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

Three Rochester residents were among those arrested Nov. 15 in connection with individuals “Triple D’s” on the 21500 block of Old Highway 99 in Grand Mound.

Read more here