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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
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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

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Read about four overdue from Mount Rainier …

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

Read about it, here

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‘Like an ice box’: Sleeping in a pickup in snowy woods

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Updated 11:59 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

There’s no place like home.

A half dozen young people from Morton will quite probably bypass any snowman building tomorrow after a miserable unexpected overnight stay inside their truck near the Mount Adams Wilderness area.

Victoria House, 21, and her boyfriend Jason Toups, 22, along with four of their friends piled into two pickups late Saturday night to take a drive to the Orr Creek Snow Park south of Randle.

“We just wanted to go up there and see, just go up in the snow,” House said yesterday.

They saw the snow park and headed back toward home, taking the Forest Service Road that led to Packwood.

But the snow was so deep the Dodge pickup got stuck, and then the Ford F-150 did the same some 120 yards further up the road, House said.

Toups and Kory Holmes tried repeatedly to dig out the vehicles and finally gave up out of exhaustion, Toups said. They had a shovel with them, but it wasn’t enough, according to Toups.

House was only dressed for sight-seeing, slippers because of a healing broken ankle, and sweats. She had brought her “Romeos” shoes along though, she said.

Even with six of them spending the long night inside one truck together, and periodically starting the engine to fire up the heater, it still felt like being inside an ice box, House said.

“The hardest part for me was being hungry,” House said.

Her friends fed her cough drops; she’s pregnant and while she’d eaten dinner before they departed, she promptly had thrown it up, she said.

They fired off a gun, to get anyone’s attention, but nobody came.

When daylight came Sunday morning, the “boys” attempted again to dig out their trucks to no avail, House said.

House, Michelle Holmes, Tajha Franz and Sarah Amber Lopes stayed behind, while the young men set out to hike back to the snow park.

Toups estimated they walked about four miles when they came upon a  a dog sledder. He left to get help, and it wasn’t long before a pack of snow mobilers roared up, according to Toups.

Four of the snow mobilers went to retrieve the women and they all met back in a little fireplace-warmed cabin at the snow park where they they were fed soup and chili.

About the same time, a sheriff’s deputy was headed down to Walupt Lake where someone had heard they may have been going the night before.

A fish and wildlife officer showed up around 3 p.m. and the six of them got back on the road, in the trucks of strangers, to make their way to the Randle Fire Hall, House said.

None of them got frost bite, and only House went to the hospital, because of concerns about her pregnancy.

Toups offered this advice to those who travel on on snowy roads: “Be prepared, take clothes, a shovel,” he said. “Be prepared to stay the night if you have to.”

House would bring even more for another outing, she said.

“Take food, water, blankets, shoes, and tell more than one person where you’re going,” she said. “And, and estimated time you’ll be back.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting a major snow storm beginning tonight in Western Washington with the largest snow accumulations – besides in the mountains – to occur in greater Lewis County.

Somewhere between four or six to 14 inches of snow accumulations are expected in the southwest interior – that means places such as Olympia, Chehalis, Onalaska, Toledo, Pe ell, Oakville, Lacey and Tumwater, according to meteorologist Ted Buehner.

A warning issued this afternoon for the west slopes of the Cascade Mountains suggests two to three feet of new snow could fall there by tomorrow evening.

By just after 11 p.m., the warning indicated slightly less snowfall, suggesting 5 to 10 inches in the southwest interior.

The main impact is expected to be extreme travel difficulties.

Major interstates will be hazardous, secondary roads will be treacherous to impassable, according to the weather service.

Buehner said today there is the possibility of freezing rain south of Olympia, probably in the afternoon tomorrow.

If you must travel tomorrow, weather people warn, carry an extra flashlight, and yes, food, water and blankets.

The snow is currently expected to start taper off tomorrow night and warming may begin on Friday.

The state Department of Transportation says:

• Drivers can prepare for snow and ice by checking travel and roadway conditions on the WSDOT website and packing winter weather supplies, including tire chains.

• For travelers or non-travelers, that means it is decision time. Staying in? Have a full tank of gas, just in case. Going out? Pack tire chains and a winter car kit and drive for conditions.
•••

Read  “Search underway for group missing outside Randle since last night” from Sunday January 15, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

DRUGS, DRUGS, DRUGS

• Three students were arrested on Friday on Southwest 16th Street at W.F. West High School in Chehalis, each for possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to Chehalis police. The 15-year-olds – whose names were not released because they are juveniles – were released and not booked into custody, according to police.

• A drug dog found 29 grams of suspected heroin after a car was impounded following a traffic stop just after 9 p.m. last night in Chehalis, according to police. The driver was pulled over for speeding on the 500 block of Chamber of Commerce Way and a passenger, Anthony B. Velazquez, 29, of Centralia, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail, police Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The vehicle was impounded and several suspicious items possibly related to drugs were found, according to Wilson.

• A 20-year-old Centralia man was arrested when he was found hiding in a garden shed yesterday afternoon in Centralia as he had reportedly tossed a suspected “heroin kit” while he was chased by police in the area of East Summa and Roosevelt streets. Zachary A. Cadwallader was sniffed out by a police dog and booked into the Lewis County Jail for a warrant and a drug violation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Michael D. Richardson, 47, of Chehalis, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and a warrant after a traffic stop on Southwest Seventh Street in Chehalis on Sunday night. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• A 29-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after a traffic stop on Northwest Front Street and Pacific Avenue in Chehalis on Saturday afternoon. Brian M. Hull was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 40-year-old Longview woman detained for suspected shoplifting at Wal-Mart on the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue on Friday night was arrested when suspected methamphetamine residue was found on drug paraphernalia she had, according to police. Teresa Hull was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 36-year-old Chehalis man was arrested after a police dog tracked him late Friday night on private timber land in Onalaska where he was reportedly trespassing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. William R. Long, 36, of Chehalis, was found lying in some brush off the 300 block of Clark Road and allegedly in possession of numerous small plastic baggies containing drugs, according to the sheriff’s office. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

BURGLARY

• Police think a sliding door was forced open to get inside a home on the 900 block of South Silver Street in Centralia where collectible items including dishes were stolen. The break-in was reported about 11:15 a.m. on Sunday.

• Two cases of Red Bull energy drink plus $65 cash were stolen when someone broke into an espresso stand on the 12000 block of U.S. Highway 12 sometime between 5 p.m. on Thursday and the following day, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. A rock had been thrown through the window, according to sheriff’s office.

• A gas-powered golf cart and a garbage can containing scraps of copper wire were stolen from inside a utility building at Taidnapam Park near Glenoma sometime between January 6 and Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $1,650.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called just after noon time yesterday about a car prowl on the 300 block of West Pine Street in Centralia. Missing was a stereo, a flashlight and a radar detector, according to Centralia police.

• Centralia police were called about 5:20 p.m. on Sunday to the office of AMR ambulances on the 1200 block of Borthwick Street to a report someone smashed the driver’s side window to an emergency vehicle and stole a GPS unit and an electronic rear view mirror, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone broke out a window to a vehicle on the 500 block of South Gold Street in Centralia and stole a cell phone and its charger, according to a report made to police on Sunday.

• Centralia police took a report on Saturday afternoon about a vehicle prowl on the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. A window was broken and stereo taken, according to Centralia police.

• A window was broken out and a vehicle prowled on the 300 block of East Pear Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday morning.

STREET FIGHT

• Police responded just after 2 o’clock on Sunday morning to an altercation on a sidewalk on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia and arrested three individuals for violating the city’s fighting in public ordinance. Cited and then released were Kimberly K. Kohlmeier, 27, and Shaden R. Beaber, 26, both of Centralia as well as Jessica R. Alefteras, 24, of Napavine, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MISSING SNOWSHOER FOUND IN GOOD CONDITION ON MOUNT RAINIER

• KOMOnews.com reports the 66-year-old snow shoer who survived two days in a blizzard at Mount Rainier burned money to keep warm. Yong Chun Kim was conscious, alert and able to walk when three rescuers found him about 2 p.m. yesterday, according to park spokesperson Lee Taylor. Read more here

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Brrrrrr: Big snow possible through Wednesday

Monday, January 16, 2012 at 10:25 am
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Noontime today looking north from 13th Street interchange in Chehalis.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Area fire departments are bracing for whatever comes as snow falls that began Saturday are forecast to increase in strength.

“We’re just waiting to see what Mother Nature’s going to throw at us,” Winlock area Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson said this morning. “They’re calling for five inches Tuesday night and more Wednesday morning.”

A winter storm watch was issued early today because of the potential for a major winter storm on Wednesday in Western Washington.

The National Weather Service says there is the possibility of significant snow in both the lowlands and the mountains.

Responders were especially busy Saturday night in the Napavine area, with lots of “fender benders” and then a serious rollover accident on Interstate 5 near the Avery Road and U.S. Highway 12 interchange, according to Firefighter Brad Bozarth.

Since Friday afternoon, troopers in west Lewis County responded to four minor-injury collisions and 14 non-injury collisions, according to Washington State Patrol Sgt. Shane Nelson.

Calls about crashes on icy roads slowed yesterday, with just one vehicle in a ditch in east Lewis County and a two-car collision on state Route 6 near Spooner Road, according to the state patrol and Fire District 6.

A winter storm warning is in effect already for tonight for areas in the central and north Cascades including eastern Lewis County with accumulations of as much as two feet of snow in places by late tonight.

In Rochester, all the stationed are fully staffed today, “waiting for the big one,” Firefighter-EMT Rocky Lyon said this morning.

Lyon said he was hearing reports of snow falling in the Gate area and expecting it to move east later this morning.

The weather service cautions that if folks must travel, they should carry extra flashlight, food, water and blanket in case of an emergency.

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A reader came by this on Forest Road 23 just outside Randle this morning. / Courtesy photo by Tiffany Reed

•••

Keep an eye on the official predictions for your area by clicking on the “Weather forecasts” link always on the right-hand sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.com – Remember, the forecast can and does change.

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Search underway for group missing outside Randle since last night

Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Update: 3:22 p.m.

They were just found stuck in the snow on the 21 Road, by personnel from state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

All are fine, according to sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust.

They are working to get them unstuck, Aust said.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A group of as many as six individuals are the subject of a search outside Randle today.

Victoria House, 21, and Jason Toups went with some friends last night to play in the snow and haven’t returned home, House’s mother Bobbie Howell Dalton said this afternoon.

The sheriff’s office has set up a command post at the Randle fire hall, according to Lewis County Fire District 14 Chief Jeff Jaques.

“Some young folks went out to play in the snow last night and haven’t been seen since,” Jaques said.

Dalton said she called 911 about 10 a.m. when she realized her daughter missed a morning appointment.

All six are from Morton, Dalton said.

“My daughter’s three months pregnant and recovering from a broken ankle, so we’re kind of doubly worried about it,” she said.

Dalton said she has been told one of them texted a friend about 11:10 p.m. last night and said they were headed out the 23 Road to the Orr Creek Snow Park in the Cispus area south of Randle.

She believes they are driving in two trucks, she said.

She said she was told Lewis County Search and Rescue was out looking for them.

Lewis County sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust said this afternoon a formal search had not been set up as they didn’t know for sure where the group had been headed.

Friends were out looking for them though, he said.

A deputy was headed out to Walupt Lake about 3 p.m. after learning they had been spotted there, Aust said.

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News brief: Snow shoer missing at Mount Rainier

Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

Updated at 4:35 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

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

The hiking group is from Tacoma, she said.

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

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

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

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

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Read about legislature eyes limits on coroner’s inquests …

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Kirotv.com has a story today that says lawmakers next week will examine a proposal to change state law over arrest warrants after the coroner’s inquest into the 1998 death in Toledo of former trooper Ronda Reynolds led to the arrest of her husband and stepson.

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Ronda Reynolds

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

The pair were immediately released after Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told a judge he didn’t have enough admissible evidence to file criminal charges.

Kirotv.com’s news story from Mike Baker of the Associated Press said the bill has the support of the Washington Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners.

Read about it here

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

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Read about Winlock police to patrol Vader …

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

Read about it, here

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Plea agreement reached in 2006 Centralia drive-by shooting

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A man accused of a drive-by shooting in Centralia from 2006 made a plea deal yesterday instead of going to trial.

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Colbert A. Salmeron

Colbert A. Salmeron was 19 years old when he was arrested after an incident on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue.

A group of four individuals were standing next to a pickup truck in a parking lot when someone – allegedly Salmeron – fired several shots shattering its window and striking a nearby car and another truck, according to charging documents. No persons were hit.

Salmeron was facing multiple charges of first-degree assault and hiding out in El Salvador when he was captured last year.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes said he believed Salmeron was motivated to plead guilty because of a similar case during that period when  Centralia teenager Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr. was sentenced to more than 90 years in prison.

“Mr. Salmeron could have been in a similar situation had he been convicted as charged,” Hayes said.

Police said both incidents were gang-related.

Salmeron, now 25, faces a sentence of somewhere between about 14 years and a little more than 19 years in prison.

He pleaded guilty yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court to one count of first-degree assault, two counts of third-degree assault and bail jumping.

The prosecutor’s office dropped a charge of drive-by shooting, a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, and firearm enhancements which each add mandatory extra time that must be served consecutively.

Salmeron has been described by police as a Texas resident who was visiting Centralia that summer, and as associated with the Little Valley Lokotes.

One of the alleged targets, Brandon Cagle, told police he had a brief relationship with Salmeron’s ex-girlfriend, and he believed that was why they were shot at, charging documents state. The others named as standing near the pickup truck are Tyson Anderson, Michael Lumpert and Katie Sullivan. Salmeron named Edgar Juarez as one of the victims in his formal statement of guilt yesterday.

His sentencing is set for Jan. 25 at 1 p.m.
•••

Read background on the case, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 10:23 am

THEFT, THEFT AND MORE THEFT

• A 13-year-old boy was arrested for burglary yesterday after he allegedly stole a rifle, a bottle of vodka and two computers from a home on the 1400 block of Oxford Avenue in Centralia. It happened sometime during the day yesterday and was reported about 6 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department. Friends talking to friends led police to their suspect, who was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to Officer John Panco.

• Police were called about 7:35 p.m. yesterday after an individual left his ATM card in a machine at a Centralia bank and then learned money was withdrawn from his account. The card was used at a second location as well, according to the Centralia Police Department. How much money was stolen and where it occurred was not revealed by police.

• A weed eater and a trimmer were taken from a shed on the 1400 block of South Gold Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

• Centralia police were called about 4 p.m. yesterday about the theft of mail from the 700 block of South Tower Avenue.

• Police were called about 7:30 a.m. today about a car prowl at the 400 block of South Diamond Street in Centralia.

• A third suspect was arrested yesterday in connection with three engines, a tractor blade and various scrap metal stolen Monday from the 1900 block of Seminary Hill Road in Centralia, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Daniel W. Slaven, 36, of Olympia, was contacted in Centralia yesterday and reportedly admitted helping load up the items and taking them to a recycling center in Centralia, sheriff’s detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree theft and trafficking in stolen property, Breen said. Slaven was set to be released this afternoon without charges pending further investigation.

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Furnace-area fire ravages Oakville home

Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

They lost everything, he said.

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

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

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

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

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Former historical museum director pleads not guilty to thefts

Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm
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Debbie Knapp leaves after making her plea today in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The former director of the Lewis County Historical Museum pleaded not guilty today to multiple counts of theft from the non-profit organization dating back to 2008.

Deborah Sue Knapp, 52, appeared in Lewis County Superior Court with her attorney Ken Johnson.

She has been out of custody since she was charged at the end of December in connection with thousands of dollars missing from the Chehalis museum which she was in charge of.

“Not guilty,” was all Knapp said during the five-minute hearing.

Knapp is charged with 10 counts of first-degree theft, but prosecutors have said they expect further charges when an audit of the financial records going back to 2006 is completed.

She was arrested at the end of an investigation into revelations the museum’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained in less than four years.  Knapp was hired in July 2006.

Prosecutors allege Knapp routinely issued herself extra pay through payroll draws and used the museum debit card for personal expenses.

Knapp said she had no comment.

Chehalis attorney Johnson said it was premature to speculate on any of the facts, as he expects a “mountain” of evidence” to go through, which he has not seen yet.

“It sounds like there was poor record keeping in this case,” Johnson said. “Who’s responsible for that, I don”t know. Maybe we’ll find out.”

Attorneys set a trial date for the week of May 21, farther into the future than usual because of the numerous instances of alleged theft over such a long period.
•••

For background, see “Prosecutor: Former museum director gave herself thousands of dollars in fraudulent payroll draws” from Friday December 30, 2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10:47 am

HIT AND RUN AT BANK

• A 22-year-old Chehalis driver was arrested last night after reportedly crashing into a brick planter in front of Sterling Savings Bank and leaving a trail of bricks strewn up the block. It happened just before 7 p.m. at the 400 block of North Market Boulevard in Chehalis. No injuries were reported. Richard E. Engel was cited for hit and run and then released, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SCHOOL BUS AND JEEP COLLIDE

• Chehalis police were called a little after 4 p.m. yesterday to the intersection of 13th Street and William Avenue when a school bus and a Jeep Cherokee collided. There were no children on the bus and no injuries, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Officer Linda Bailey said the bus was eastbound and preparing to turn left onto William when the driver of the Jeep  behind it tried to turn as well.

BURGLAR MAKES HIMSELF AT HOME

• Police were called to a residence on the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue about 5:30 p.m. yesterday when a woman returned home after being away a couple of days and found it appeared someone had been staying there, according to Centralia police. A computer was missing. It’s not clear how the intruder got inside, Officer John Panco said.

ENGINES STOLEN

• Two Centralia residents were arrested yesterday in connection with three engines and various scrap metal stored under a tree on property on the 1900 block of Seminary Hill Road in Centralia that were stolen on Monday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Arrested and booked yesterday for second-degree theft were Jordan C. Yocum, 28 and Daniel G. Church, 50, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Deputies are looking for a third suspect. The loss is estimated at $1,100.

‘SOMEONE’S BEEN LOGGING ON MY PROPERTY’

• A 48-year-old Winlock man was arrested yesterday in connection with someone cutting down maple trees on 65 acres near Toledo owned by an Onalaska man. A deputy was called Tuesday to the 200 block of Bill Creek Road when a neighbor observed someone using a chainsaw on the property and took down a license plate, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Dave W. Sohrakoff was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday for first-degree malicious mischief, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The loss of six trees is estimated at $6,000, Brown said.

UNRULY RESIDENT ARRESTED

• A 68-year-old resident of an “assisted care facility” in Centralia was arrested after police were called yesterday afternoon and told he was being disorderly. An officer called about 2:45 p.m. to the location on the 900 block of South Schueber Road reported when an officer tried to talk with Donald L. Cowan, he refused to answer and when an officer tried to detain him, Cowan tried to get away, Officer John Panco said. Cowan was arrested for disorderly conduct and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Breaking news: Arsonist sought in Centralia

Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

It was called in by a passerby, he said.

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

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

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

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