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News brief: Drug court survives

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The three Lewis County commissioners voted unanimously today to approve a one-tenth of one cent local sales tax to fund drug court and other related programs.

County Commissioner Bill Schulte said public testimony given today was running two to one in favor of the measure.

He estimated about 30 people gave their opinions during the public hearing that just about filled the commissioner’s meeting room.

“What happens is we pay one way or the other,” Schulte said. “What happens is unfortunately, it costs more and we get poorer results if we do mental health through the jail.”

The proceeds can only be spent on what are called therapeutic courts – such as drug court and mental health court – and certain other measures to reduce substance abuse and help keep mentally ill individuals stable.

Consumers will likely see the change in October and it will take a couple of months before the county actually begins to see money coming into their account, according to the commissioners.

Supporters have said the increase would amount to about $20 per household per year.

The commissioners next will set up an advisory board to guide them in allocating the receipts, expected to amount to about $900,000 next year.
•••

Read background here

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News brief: Chehalis chooses new municipal court judge

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Attorney Dale McBeth has been appointed the new judge for Chehalis Municipal Court, the city manager announced today.

McBeth, who has practiced law locally for some 35 years, has been serving as the city’s acting judge since Judge Steven Buzzard retired at the end of last month.

He has sat in as the pro tem judge for the past few years, according to City Manager Merlin MacReynold.

“His long experience in Lewis County and experience as our pro tem judge made him the best fit for the position and we look forward to his permanently stepping into the position July 1st,” MacReynold wrote in his announcement to the city council today.

McBeth was chosen from among four applicants, and his new job won’t be finalized until after he and the proposed contract are confirmed by the council. MacReynold will be seeking that confirmation at the June 27 meeting.

The Chehalis-based lawyer was just honored last month by Lewis County Bar Legal Aid for taking on the most pro bono cases last year locally.

Buzzard’s retirement led to a new municipal court judge in Centralia as well; his son James M.B. Buzzard was selected to fill that position the week before last.

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Breaking news: Deputy shoots, kills burglary suspect in Napavine

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 4:41 am

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Law enforcement officers examine the scene of the shooting this morning at the intersection of West Vine Street and Second Avenue in Napavine.

This news story was updated at 10:45 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

NAPAVINE – A Lewis County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man early this morning in Napavine.

Deputies were assisting the Napavine Police Department with a call to a burglary in progress, in which a man reportedly armed with a knife was trying to break into a home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The deputy observed a suspect a short time later; the suspect refused to take his hands out of his pockets and then charged the deputy, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The deputy shot the man who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. It happened at 2:12 a.m., according to Brown.

The deceased is a 33-year-old Napavine resident, according to Brown.

The burglary call was on Fifth Avenue Northwest; the deputy was situated “on containment” on Third Avenue Northwest, according to the news release.

A team of outside investigators were on the scene this morning.

The Regional Shooting Response Team is made up of law enforcement officers from the counties of Thurston, Mason, Pacific, Grays Harbor and Lewis, according to Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield.

The investigation into today’s shooting doesn’t include a member from Lewis County, Mansfield said.

The incident began with a call to a house where the man left stab marks through the door and several stab marks on a vehicle; it was some kind of dispute, the sheriff’s office said this morning.

“So somebody’s acting pretty violently,” Chief Brown said.

Napavine Police Department Officer-in-charge Silas Elwood said the house wasn’t randomly chosen; there was a relation between the resident and the man.

Napavine Officer Noel Shields responded to the 911 call, as well at at least two deputies, according to authorities.

The name of the dead man has not been released. His body lay this morning in the street at the intersection of West Vine Street and Second Avenue, several blocks from the targeted house.

Inside yellow police tape were a large white crime investigation van belonging to the regional response team and numerous law enforcement officers.

Nearby neighbor Don Webster said he heard shots in the night, but didn’t think a lot of it.

“I heard gunshots, four, rapid,” Webster said.

He thought it might be someone shooting at animals, like raccoons and didn’t hear more afterward, he said.

The deputy was not injured. His name has not been released.

He has been placed on administrative leave as is standard procedure, according to Mansfield.

The sheriff said it appears the deputy followed protocol, but “that’s why we’re doing the investigation.”

The last time a Lewis County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot someone was in 2002, when Deputy Hal Sprouse shot a man as the two struggled in a ground fight in the Rochester area, according to Brown.

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Law enforcement officers examine the scene of the shooting this morning at the intersection of West Vine Street and Second Avenue in Napavine.

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Breaking news: Armed robber hits Centralia smoke shop

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police are looking for a man who robbed a smoke shop on West Main Street in Centralia this evening.

Officers were called about 7:07 p.m. to the business on the south side of the 600 block of West Main Street where a clerk said a male came into the shop, displayed a small handgun and demanded money.

The clerk, who is in her late 20s to early 30s, told police he slammed her head into a door and took all the cash in the till, according to Officer Chris Fitzgerald.

She was alone in the store, Smokin’ J’s Smoke Shop, Fitzgerald said.

The subject left on foot, heading east on Main Street, according to the Centralia Police Department.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office K-9 was called to the scene to assist in the search; its track ended in an alley a short distance away, according to police.

The robber was described as about 6 feet tall with a medium build. He was wearing a dark blue or black “hoody” type sweatshirt with the hood up, along with large gold sunglasses and a white baseball cap, according to police.

The clerk thought he might possibly be Hispanic, but she didn’t know, Fitzgerald said.

Police would like anyone with information about the incident to call 911 or the Centralia Police Department.

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Breaking news: Alleged big drug dealers arrested; one is Salkum gunshot victim

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm
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Denise Salts, left, and Venus Hamilton wait their turn to go before a judge on Friday afternoon.

This news story was updated at 6:30 p.m. on  Friday June 17, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sheriff’s office says it arrested two of the main narcotics distributors in East Lewis County yesterday, and one of them is Denise R. Salts – the woman who was shot in the face when her boyfriend and two others were slain last August.

Salts, 52, of Glenoma, was arrested for delivery of methamphetamine after sheriff’s deputies and their SWAT team served a search warrant yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Also arrested for the same offense was Venus D. Hamilton, 47, of Morton, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said today.

Brown said members of the Lewis County Narcotics Task Force conducted several undercover drug buy operations during May and June in East Lewis County.

Salts was the lone survivor when in the night on August 21, her live-in boyfriend David J. West Sr., his 16-year-old son and a friend from Mineral were fatally shot inside a Salkum-Onalaska area home off of Gore Road.

John Allen Booth Jr. is charged with her attempted murder, murder, attempted extortion and unlawful possession of a firearm. His trial is scheduled for August. His former cell mate Ryan J. McCarthy, 29, is also charged in the case.

Brown didn’t say when or where the arrests were made yesterday.

She did say both individuals were taken into custody without incident and booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Hamilton is shown as being booked at 3:21 p.m. yesterday and Salts was booked at 12:49 a.m. today, according to the jail roster.

Also yesterday in East Lewis County, a 48-year-old Randle man was arrested at his home following undercover purchases of marijuana made during June, Brown said.

At about 5 p.m., deputies searched David E. Bellamy’s residence on the 200 block of Skinner Road and turned up almost 42 grams of suspected marijuana, scales and what Brown called a ledger.

When Bellamy arrived home just after 6:30 p.m., he was taken into custody without incident, she said. He was booked for three counts of delivery of marijuana, according to Brown.

•••

CORRECTION:  David J. West Sr.’s name was corrected to reflect he is the senior West, not junior.

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Read about John A. Booth’s counsel named top lawyer in Thurston County …

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian writes that defense attorney James Dixon has been honored with an award as Thurston County’s lawyer of the year.

Dixon is the court-appointed attorney who represents John A. Booth Jr., the former Onalaska resident charged in last summer’s triple homicide in the Salkum area. Booth’s trial is set for the end of August and expected to last for about 10 days.

The Olympia-based attorney started working in Thurston County 21 years ago, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

Read more here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

Updated at 6:15 p.m. on Friday June 17, 2011

IT’S RAINING SEX TOYS

• Centralia police were called downtown about 8:30 last night to a report of people on the top of a building throwing sex toys into the street at passing cars. Before the officer arrived to the 200 block of North Tower Avenue, somebody had gone and gathered them up and no suspects were anywhere in sight, according to police Sgt. Brian Warren. No vehicles or pedestrians were struck by the objects, as far as police could tell, Warren said.

FAKE BILLS PASSED

• The pictures on the two $20 bills were blurry and they had the same serial number; leaving the manager at Airport Depot in Chehalis to conclude they were counterfeit. Police were called yesterday to the business on Northwest Louisiana Avenue and agreed, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

ASSAULT ARREST

• Deputies arrested a 62-year-old woman who allegedly assaulted her boyfriend with a small piece of wood, poked holes in a bedroom door with a stick and disconnected the phone when he tried to call 911. Lisa A. Bistranin, of Shoreline, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault after deputies responded about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the 100 block of Northview Drive outside Chehalis, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown reported yesterday. Bistranin was subsequently released pending further investigation.

THEFT

• Deputies took a report last night of a burglary at the 100 block of Josephine Loop in Onalaska. The victim said she was away between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and when she returned, she discovered someone had taken a computer monitor, a laptop computer and other electronics from her home, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss was estimated at $2,200.

• A deputy took a report yesterday evening of the theft of yard tools and other items from a storage shed on the 2800 block of King Road outside Chehalis. The victim said he was in the process of moving in and had left about 10 p.m. Wednesday and returned about 1:30 p.m. Thursday when he discovered the break-in, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police were called to the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue about 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday where they were told an older man tried to steal a shopping cart of food. When he was confronted, he abandoned the cart and fled on foot, according to the Centralia Police Department. The incident was captured on surveillance cameras, police reported.

• Someone took a mattress and bedding from a room at a business on the 700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Wednesday morning.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday that someone broke in to a Packwood restaurant sometime between 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 8 o’clock the following morning. Two doors were forced open at Peters Inn on the 1300 block of U.S. Highway 12, according to the sheriff’s office. Nothing appeared to be missing.

• Centralia police were called about noon on Wednesday to the 1100 block of Elm Street to take a report of a car prowl.

DRUGS

• Deputies arrested a 26-year-old man wanted for a municipal warrant about 8 a.m. yesterday at the 200 block of Kennedy Road in Onalaska, and subsequently found suspected drugs in his pocket, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Joseph M. Gomes, of Winlock, was contacted behind a residence and taken into custody, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said today. In his pocket was a baggie containing a white crystal substance and a pipe, Brown said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of drugs.

VEHICLE VERSUS BUILDING

• Aid and police were called about 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday when a passenger vehicle jumped a curb and ran into the front of the Michaels store in the Twin City Town Center. There was little to no damage to the building, but the 65-year-old driver was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be checked out, according to police.

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Coroner’s appeal in Ronda Reynolds’ case heard by three-judge panel

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 7:53 am
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Barb Thompson answers news media questions after the hearing in the state Court of Appeals in Tacoma.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

TACOMA – The new Lewis County coroner and Barb Thompson – mother of former state trooper Ronda Reynolds whose 1998 death in Toledo remains under scrutiny – were at the state Court of Appeals in Tacoma yesterday as three judges pondered the case.

Former Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson’s appeal of a 2009 judge’s order to remove suicide from Reynolds’ death certificate remains active, even though newly elected Coroner Warren McLeod has indicated he wants to revisit the cause and manner of death.

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Ronda Reynolds

The case was the subject of a judicial review in Lewis County in November 2009 after which a panel of citizens concluded then-Coroner Wilson’s determination that Reynolds’ died of suicide was arbitrary, capricious and incorrect. A judge ordered Wilson to change the manner of death, but Wilson appealed.

A panel of three judges heard from attorneys on both sides yesterday in downtown Tacoma.

The 2009 judicial review was unprecedented and Thompson wants to see its scope expanded while the coroner’s office lawyer has been fighting to see it narrowed.

“I think one of the reasons we’re here today is to try to clarify the law,” Thompson said.

Her lawyer, Royce Ferguson, wants a judge to be able to decide more than that a coroner’s decision was wrong.

“If it’s not suicide, what is it?” Ferguson said. “And if it’s homicide, who changes (the death certificate)? The judge? The coroner? The prosecutor?”

Olympia attorney John Justice, who was hired by the Lewis County Prosecutors Office to represent Wilson, told the three appeals judges yesterday that’s beyond the scope of any case law.

Thompson has been vigorously questioning her daughter’s death – believed by the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office to be suicide – for more than a dozen years.

The 33-year-old woman was found with a bullet in her head and covered by a turned-on electric blanket on the floor of a closet in the home she shared with her husband of less than a year, Ron Reynolds, the principal at Toledo Elementary School

Even though one of McLeod’s first acts after he took office in January was to change Reynolds’ death certificate from suicide to undetermined – and then he announced he wanted to hold a coroner’s inquest – he put that on hold as the appeal works its way through the system.

It could be months before the Appeals Court rules, according to Ferguson.

And yesterday, the justices questioned how any decisions they might make could apply to the new coroner, as he is not named in the case.

“My question is, is anything we do going to have any meaning at all?” Judge David Armstrong said during the proceedings.

Judge Joel Penoyar encouraged both sides to agree to substitute McLeod’s name for Wilson’s in the appeal.

McLeod spoke afterward, saying he has to consult with his attorney before deciding what he may or may not do but the way he sees it, he inherited the case.

Ideally, he still wants a coroner’s inquest, McLeod said. And he’s starting to question his inclination to hold it in another county, and to entirely turn the proceedings over to an outside coroner, he added.

It needs to be resolved, it’s gone on too long, McLeod said.

“I want to see the truth come out, I want to see this case resolved finally,” he said. ” For Barb, for the citizens of Lewis County.”
•••

Watch KOMOtv.com’s video from the Appeals Court here

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Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod listens to Ronda Reynolds' mother after the hearing in the state Court of Appeals in Tacoma.

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Onalaska murder trial set for next week

Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Attorneys yesterday confirmed they are ready for trial next week in the case of the Onalaska man who allegedly shot at two suspected burglars outside his house last year, killing one of them.

Ronald A. Brady, 60, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 56-year-old Thomas McKenzie of Morton and first-degree assault for allegedly opening fire on McKenzie’s estranged wife Joanna McKenzie as she fled.

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Ronald A. Brady

Brady has pleaded not guilty.

The trial in Lewis County Superior Court is expected to last about five days.

Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes however indicated to the judge yesterday there were still last minute negotiations going on, which may or may not lead to a plea agreement and no trial.

Hayes is handling the case with Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke. Centralia defense attorney Don Blair represents Brady.

The lawyers met with Judge James Lawler yesterday afternoon to sort out the ground rules for trial, including how much and how to characterize Joanna McKenzie’s presence at the property that night.

She has made a so-called Alford plea, not admitting guilt, to attempted burglary.

According to charging documents: On April 19, Brady reported somebody had broken into his house he had been renovating on the 2100 block of state Route 508, moving items stored in his garage. He saw a back window had been broken and found the garage door opened about two inches.

Brady returned to his nearby rental home where he lived, collected his .22 caliber rifle and 12-gauge shotgun and then went back to his unoccupied house on state Route 508. He told sheriff’s detectives he was staying there in case the burglars returned

He described to deputies hearing noises, opening his garage door and finding two flashlights shined in his face; then he opened fire.

Thomas McKenzie died from a gunshot wound to his chest and leaves behind nine children and other family members.

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield announced last summer he believed the shooting was justifiable and he wouldn’t arrest Brady.

In September, the Lewis County Prosecutors Office charged Brady with first-degree manslaughter for Thomas McKenzie’s death and two months later upgraded the charge to first-degree murder, “based on the facts of the case.”

Among the witnesses listed are, for the defense, private investigator Jerry Berry; and for the prosecution, Brady’s neighbor Jack Tipping,  Joanna McKenzie, a fire chief, a pathologist and several sheriff’s deputies.

Brady’s defense is general denial and self defense, according to documents filed in his case. He remains free on a $50,000 unsecured appearance bond

First-degree murder is a class A felony with a possible penalty of life in prison and a $50,000 fine. Its elements include intent and premeditation.

•••

Read background on the case, here

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News brief: Lewis County Jail on board with fingerprint sharing with immigration agency

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County is getting set to implement a program run by immigration authorities that Sheriff Steve Mansfield says he hopes will “increase the number of people getting put back on the bus.”

Called “Secure Communities”, the system allows the fingerprints of anyone booked into the Lewis County Jail to be checked against databases at U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a division of Homeland Security.

Mansfield told Lewis County commissioners yesterday it’s “kind of controversial”.

But Lewis County wouldn’t be doing any so-called profiling, Mansfield said, as all fingerprints will be submitted.

The prints are sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and it’s the FBI that would be sharing them with ICE, who make the decisions about the individuals they have issues with and want to hold, he said.

Some people may be found to be in the country illegally, but also some legal immigrants who violate certain laws will then be dealt with by immigration authorities, according to Mansfield.

ICE describes the program as improving public safety by changing the way criminal aliens are identified and removed from the country; and leveraging existing information sharing capabilities.

Lewis County is one of eight counties in Washington that have requested access to the program, according to a news story on Saturday in the Yakima Herald-Republic; Yakima County will be the first when it begins next week.

Lewis County Jail Chief Kevin Hanson said he’s hoping the system will be put into place in the next month.

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Former Chehalis official jailed for stealing from city

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge sent a former Chehalis official directly to jail today when he was sentenced for stealing cash from a city safe.

Jeffrey C. Shine, 41, was arrested and fired in April. The 16-year employee was the city’s building official, responsible for looking over construction sites and making sure code is followed.

Shine pleaded guilty today to second-degree burglary and third-degree theft.

Prosecutors say he admitted going into the community development building at night wearing gloves and stole about $750. An estimated $360 was money donated for the medically ailing daughter of Jeff and Angie Elder, a pair of police department employees. The burglary was discovered in mid-November; the bottoms were cut from locked money bags.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt was blunt when he sentenced the Longview resident this morning to two months in jail and two years of community custody.

“You cannot steal from the vulnerable and the citizens of Chehalis without there being great consequences,” Hunt said. “As you go down to the jail, what you should be thinking about is who it is that put you in this position.”

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer had asked for three months incarceration, the top end of the standard sentencing range for the crime.

Defense attorney Kenneth Johnson requested “something comparable to a suspended sentence with no jail time.

Johnson spoke at length about the penalties his client has already endured.

His career is basically “down the drain, his good name is ruined and he’s embarrassed his family, Johnson said.

The family lost two-thirds of its income, his wife has a Montessori school in Longview that basically shuts down in the summer, and they are facing potential bankruptcy and the loss of their house, he said.

“It was a combination of a bad situation he got himself into and his depression which led to this crime,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Shine found himself the victim of a swindle after he made an $18,000 credit card purchase over the Internet of what he thought was gold but turned out to be worthless. The bills were coming due and he was afraid his wife would find out, according to  Johnson.

“This is a defendant the court is not likely to see back, he’s very embarrassed and wants to make it right,” he said.

The judge was unswayed by Johnson’s appeal and by Shine’s statement’s before the sentence was announced.

Shine called it a stupid decision.

“I destroyed my job, I’m just severely embarrassed,” he told the judge. “I just can’t explain how remorseful I am.”

Johnson said his client had even offered to pay the city back, but they declined.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm

BEER SHOPLIFTED

• Centralia police were called about 12:30 p.m. yesterday about the theft of beer from a business on the 600 block of North Tower Avenue. Officers have a suspect in mind, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 16-year-old boy for possession of illegal drugs yesterday morning at the 800 block of Eshom Road in Centralia.

ASSAULT

• A 29-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for third-degree assault late yesterday afternoon at the 1700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Diane M. Price was booked into the Lewis County Jail for misdemeanor assault as well, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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News brief: Suspicious blaze damages mobile home in Grand Mound

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fire that broke out in a Grand Mound mobile home last night.

Firefighters called about 11 p.m. to the 20300 block of Old Highway 99 Southwest found the backside of the uninhabited single-wide mobile home burning, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

About a dozen firefighters from four agencies quickly brought the flames under control, Fire Chief Robert Scott said this morning.

He estimated about one-quarter of the structure was damaged.

The mobile home is adjacent to the old Grand Mound Motel, he said.

Nobody was living there and it appeared someone was in the process of tearing it apart, Scott said.

There was no power service to the structure, making it a suspicious fire, according to Scott.

The cause is being looked into by the sheriff’s office and West Thurston fire investigators.

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News brief: Heroin dealing investigation leads to Chehalis apartment

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:22 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police seized an estimated quarter-pound of black tar heroin when they searched an apartment last night in Chehalis.

Three people were arrested in what the Centralia Police Department calls the culmination of a month-long narcotics trafficking investigation involving individuals from as far away as Puyallup.

A search warrant was served about 8 p.m. at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street, according to police.

Arrested were Darin L. Miles, 38, of Chehalis; Scott T. Johnson, 44, of Centralia; and Jose G. Estrada-Alva of Puyallup.

Officers collected items such as power tools and sports memorabilia believed to be stolen in various thefts and burglaries in the greater Twin Cities area, according to a new release this morning from  the Centralia Police Department.

Police called the quantity of heroin significant; they also found a small amount of suspected methamphetamine and some pills, according to the news release. The exact weights have not yet been determined, police said.

The street value of a quarter pound of heroin in Washington state, according to tracking by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration  is about $12,800, Officer Chris Fitzgerald said. It sells for about $100 per gram here, she said.

Miles’ girlfriend and two small children were at the home when officers arrived and allowed to leave with a relative, according to police.

The three men were booked into the Lewis County Jail, initially for offenses including possession and delivery of a controlled substance,  as well as unlawful possession of a firearm, according to the news release.

The Centralia Police Anti-Crime Unit was assisted by Chehalis police and members of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Update Thursday June 16, 2011 at 12 p.m.: The amount of heroin turned out to be just a few grams shy of a pound, according to Officer Fitzgerald. Street value: approximately $43,600.

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News brief: Much money raised for local Special Olympics athletes

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 11:21 am
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Runners carry the torch through Lewis County on June 3. / Courtesy photo by Jason Baker

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics  raised more than $2,600, according to organizer Doug Lee.

About 25 people ran on June 3, in a route that began in Winlock and ended in Centralia, according to Lee.

The money will go to local Special Olympics athletes.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

WINNING HORSE RACE TICKET STOLEN

• Centralia police are investigating the theft of a wining horse racing ticket. A man went to the police department yesterday afternoon to report the incident. It occurred on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue, but further details were not readily available, police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said this morning.

ASSAULT ARRESTEE DAMAGES PATROL CAR

• Deputies responding to a dispute about 3:45 this morning on the 600 block of State Street in Centralia arrested a Centralia resident for allegedly assaulting his mother and a 55-year-old man. Christopher J. Draskovich, 23, was detained after throwing what was later found to be a knife sharpener and arrested for fourth-degree assault, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown didn’t identify the nature of the attack, but said the mother told deputies she was not injured and the other victim complained of pain in his ribs. Brown said after Draskovich was placed in the backseat of a patrol vehicle, he partially kicked out a passenger window, adding the offense of first-degree malicious mischief. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

PACKAGE MISSING FROM CENTRALIA PORCH

• Police were called about 6:25 p.m. yesterday about mail and packages being stolen from the front porch of the 400 block of South Iron Street in Centralia.

DRUGS

• A 47-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine early this morning, according to police. Robert E. Lansidel was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with officers at the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia just before 3 a.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 49-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine last night on the 1300 block of Crescent Drive in Centralia. Robert J. Knutz was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Read about more than 100 cats rounded up from Boistfort home …

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

KIROtv.com reports that more than 100 cats were “rescued” from a Boistfort area home yesterday.

Read about it here. See their video here

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News brief: Two big rigs destroy Volvo, Centralia man survives

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 25-year-old Centralia man escaped serious injury when his car was hit by not one but two semi-trucks on Interstate 5 in Chehalis today.

Tyler C. Mohoric was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital with neck and back injuries, according to the Washington State Patrol. His 2009 Volvo was totaled.

Aid and troopers were called about 1:48 p.m. to the southbound lanes just south of Chamber of Commerce Way interchange.

A southbound Freightliner changed lanes and clipped the Volvo, spinning it around sideways into the path of a 1997 International semi truck, according to responders. The car was pushed down the freeway some 300 yards, Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Ted McCarty estimated.

“It was lucky there was nobody in the passenger side, they would have been severely injured,” McCarty said.

Firefighters were already at the scene nearby of a two-vehicle crash on Chamber Way and Louisiana Avenue and Police Chief Glenn Schaffer was stopped for a third wreck on one of the ramps, McCarty said.

The International was driven by a 57-year-old Portland man who was reportedly unhurt, but his truck sustained an estimated $6,000 damage and was towed, according to the state patrol.

Troopers blamed the driver of the Freightliner – a 44-year-old Sacramento man – for inattention and an unsafe lane change. His truck was able to be driven from the scene. He too was reportedly uninjured.

Update Tuesday June 14, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.: Mohoric has been treated and released from the hospital.

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Registered sex offender notice: New home in Winlock

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced a level three registered sex offender moved to a new address in Winlock.

Kenneth N. Rock, 22, is registered as living on the 100 block of Nelson Road.

He is not wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant to inform the public and enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.

Rock was convicted at age 15 of first-degree child rape and molestation involving a 3-year-old boy he knew, according to sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty. He was released from custody in early 2007.

The sheriff’s office designated him as a level three sex offender, meaning they believe he is a high risk to the community, according to McGinty.

Rock is described as 6 feet tall and weighing 250 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

To see more details from the bulletin and a photo of Rock, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site level three sex offender page, here.

Questions? The sheriff’s office says call 360-748-9286 for detective McGinty or Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

DEPUTY STOPS FOR BARE BUTT

• A 46-year-old man was arrested after he showed off his bare backside to a passing deputy yesterday morning on the 100 block of state Route 505 in Winlock. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports Donald Craig Johnson was walking along the sidewalk just after 9 a.m. and as the marked patrol car drove by, he turned his back and pushed the waistband of his pants down. Johnson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for indecent exposure, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

WRECK IN THE WOODS

• Four people sustained minor injuries when their vehicle went off the road and struck a tree on Forest Service Road 23 in East Lewis County yesterday evening. A deputy on patrol came across the tree in the road and saw smoke coming from an embankment at about 6 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy provided first aid until the fire department arrived and three were taken to Morton General Hospital with various cuts, according to the sheriff’s office. They were transients ages 20,19, and 18, along with a 15-year-old runaway from Oregon, the sheriff’s office reported. Three were cited for being minors in possession of alcohol and the driver’s case will be referred for a possible charge of driving under the influence, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

ASSAULT

• A 31-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for second-degree assault after he reportedly choked his wife leaving bruises on her neck. A deputy took a report on Friday afternoon in Chehalis and subsequently went to where the assault occurred and took Mario Luna Lara into custody and booked him into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 21-year-old Morton-area woman was arrested in the emergency room at Morton General Hospital after she allegedly fought with law enforcement officers, scratching a Morton police officer and spitting on a sheriff’s deputy  late Friday night. Police responded to a call about a suspicious person in the area of Second Street and Westlake Avenue in Morton and Laura J. Shiprack was subsequently taken to the hospital to be evaluated, according to the Morton Police Department. She became combative and subsequently was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, Chief Dan Mortensen said.

TEXT THREAT PUTS MAN IN JAIL

• A 45-year-old Chehalis was arrested and booked Friday night after allegedly sending a text message to his wife saying, “I will shoot you both.” James J. Hall was booked into the Lewis County Jail but has since been released.

THEFT

• Somebody broke into a home on the 600 block of U.S. Highway 12 outside Chehalis and made off with a flat screen television, jewelry and five antique dolls, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. It happened sometime between June 3 and Friday, the victim told a deputy.

• A yellow and black 2008 Suzuki dirt bike was stolen from where it was left temporarily on a trail off the Forest Service Road 23 near the North Fork Campground yesterday afternoon. A Randle man and his daughter out riding parked it briefly when it began to rain and rode to his truck before returning to retrieve it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $1,500.

• Somebody pried open a window and stole a GPS device from a vehicle on the 800 block of J Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 6 p.m. yesterday.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested two people for possession of methamphetamine after contact at the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue in Centralia yesterday afternoon. Booked for possession and also for warrants were Jose F. Lopez, 34, of Longview, and Alisha M. Rowley, 27, of Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MAN WITH HOSE HOLDS BACK HOUSE FIRE

• Fire burned a covered porch and began to burn the backside of a house before it was extinguished in Centralia on Saturday afternoon. Riverside Fire Authority was called to 700 block of Chestnut Street where a quick-thinking neighbor had already gotten to work with a garden hose, according to fire Capt. Casey McCarthy. Nobody was injured; and McCarthy described the amount of damage as moderate. A shed also burned, McCarthy said. Authorities believe a 9-year-old boy was playing with matches or a lighter, according to police.

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News brief: Fire commissioner posts draw challengers

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:32 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Four fire districts in Lewis County will see contested races for commissioner positions in the coming election, according to the list of candidates who filed last week to run for various offices.

In Lewis County Fire District 5, in the Napavine area, James M. Guenther will run against Kevin Hanson.

In the Winlock area, Lewis County Fire District 15, Dan Godat will run against Randy Pennington.

In Lewis County Fire District 6, rural Chehalis, Kirk Johnston is running against James Martin.

They are all six-year-terms, according to the Lewis County Auditors Office which is responsible for elections.

Two individuals have filed to run for a two-year unexpired term in Lewis County Fire District 2, Toledo. They are Clark Spahr and Jacqui Spahr.

They will be on the November 8 ballot.

On the August 16 primary ballot will be three-way races for positions on some city councils, school boards and the board of the Centralia Port District.

Also on the primary ballot is an emergency medical services levy – six-year – for Lewis County Fire District 10 in Packwood, according to Elections Supervisor Mariann Zumbuhl.

A special three-day filing period runs through Wednesday afternoon to accept candidates for positions in which nobody applied for during filing week.

Those include a fire commissioner position in Packwood, and three commissioner positions in Lewis County Fire District 17 near Ashford, according to the auditors office.

District 17′s chair of the fire commissioners Elizabeth Marzano said they all three plan to stay on, and she doesn’t believe her term is set to expire this year.

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News brief: Judge Buzzard to replace Judge Buzzard

Friday, June 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia Municipal Court is getting a new judge, and it’s the third lawyer from the same family to sit on its bench.

James M.B. Buzzard was selected from five finalists for the position, and offered the job earlier this week, according to the city’s human resources director Candice Rydalch.

The city council must approve the contract on Tuesday before he can be sworn in, Rydalch said today.

Buzzard’s father, Steven Buzzard, retired last week from the position he held there since January 2005. Steven Buzzard had been appointed Centralia Municipal Court judge when his other son, R.W. Buzzard left the post to become a judge in Lewis County District Court.

James M.B. Buzzard works with Buzzard and Associates in Centralia, and has periodically served as a substitute judge for Centralia, according to Rydalch.

His background includes Seattle University Law School, University of Washington School of Law and he is a 1993 Centralia High School graduate, she said.

The expected salary for the judge in $4,666 per month.

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News brief: House fire in Morton

Friday, June 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Fire erupted in a house in Morton this morning, displacing its residents.

Lewis County Fire District 4 was called about 11:10 a.m. to the 400 block of Westlake Avenue where a kitchen was fully engulfed in flames and the windows were blowing out, according to Fire Investigator Ted McCarty.

Nobody was injured, but the kitchen was destroyed and the rest of the home suffered smoke, heat and water damage, McCarty said.

McCarty said it began when the contents of an oil lamp were accidentally spilled on the electrical outlet for the hot water heater. The resident went to get a rag to clean it up and when he returned he saw smoke and then fire started creeping up the wall, McCarty said.

The damage was extensive enough the residents can’t stay there, according to McCarty.

“The Red Cross has been called and they’re putting them up, I understand, for a few days,” McCarty said.