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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Updated at 5:23 p.m.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THAT …

• Centralia police responded about 1 o’clock this morning to the 1200 block of Mellen Street where an individual said they gave a friend a ride to store and when he arrived, he discovered $100 missing from his wallet. The friend entered the store and then ran out the back door, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Chehalis police were called about 8:40 a.m. yesterday regarding a car prowl on Southeast Washington Avenue.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Former Centralia resident Laura Lynn Hickey appeared in court briefly yesterday to set a date for a hearing  on an issue that stems from a decision from the Washington State Court of Appeals regarding her 2012 second-degree murder conviction of her prematurely born infant. Hickey is serving 30 years in prison but is back in Lewis County so the court can strike language from her judgement and sentencing documents referencing the baby suffering from acute methamphetamine intoxication. Hickey was 25 years old and about halfway through her pregnancy when she used a serrated knife to cut off her baby’s head  as it was trying to take a breath after she unexpectedly delivered it into a toilet. The three-member panel concluded in its Oct. 10 decision her conviction stands, but the document must be revised. The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. next Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court.

COLLISION

• Two people were injured including a 40-year-old Rochester resident in a two-car wreck on state Route 507 about three miles south of Yelm yesterday morning. Troopers responding approximately 7:20 a.m. determined Corey R. Tribble, 40, from Rochester was traveling northbound and collided with an oncoming Toyota Tercel in the southbound lane, according to the Washington State Patrol. The Tercel’s driver, Kenneth T. Brackett, 51, of Rainer, was transported to Harborview Medical Center, according to the state patrol. Tribble was booked into the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of vehicular assault, the state patrol reports. His Honda Accord was impounded. The cause of the collision is under investigation.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, misdemeanor theft, collision on city street .. and more.

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Windstorm passes through

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 10:32 am
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The aftermath: Barn, tree on Logan Hill. / Courtesy photo by Robin Williams

Updated at 11:28 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Onalaska was hit pretty hard with wind last night, keeping the fire department busy removing trees from roadways.

Power in the area was knocked out and remains that way this morning, according to Lewis County Fire District 1.

“Responders watched lawn chairs blow across the roads and flags coming off (their poles),” Fire Chief Mark Conner said this morning.

No injuries have been reported, but Conner said a tree fell on a house on state Route 508 near Carlisle Avenue. He assumed the residence was unoccupied, because nobody requested the fire department for it, he said.

It was a relatively quiet night for firefighters at the North Pearl Street station in Centralia, where the highest wind gust was recorded at 35 mph, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

The National Weather Service recorded gusts as high as 46 mph at the Chehalis-Centralia Airport.

Just before 9 p.m., the Washington State Patrol asked area residents to just stay indoors until the storm passed, because of the number of trees falling onto state routes.

One close call occurred about dinnertime, just east of Onalaska beyond Parnell Road, according to Conner.

A UPS truck was forced off the road when a maple tree fell in front of it, Conner said.

“I think maybe a few branches hit it and it went into the ditch,” he said.

State Route 507 north of Centralia was shut down for hours overnight because of trees and power lines on the ground.

Centralia City Light which serves about 10,000 customers responded to power outages from around 4:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Roughly 1,200 were affected at different times, but all service has been restored, according to Line Superintendent Rick Evans.

The latest information from Lewis County PUD’s website – at 3:30 a.m. – shows power outages in places such as around Big Hanaford Road, around U.S. Highway 12 to Mayfield Lake and roads in the Chehalis area.

However, PUD spokesperson Corenne Moses said at midmorning, while she didn’t have a “head count” of the number of customers without electricity, they have several power lines down still.

“We hope to get the greater Onalaska-Salkum area up by noon,” Moses said.

Utility crews responded to calls through the night all around the county and are still working, she said.

Moses reminds members of the public whose power is out to unplug their electronics, to prevent possible damage when their electric service is restored.

The National Weather Service cautions that the increased risk of landslides continues through today, because of the rainfall in recent days.

PUD customers who want to report an outage may call 360-748-9261 or 1-800-562-5612

Customers of Centralia City Light may report an outage by calling 330-7512 during business hours or 736-7040 after hours.

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News brief: Police chief in Centralia stepping down

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia Police Chief Bob Berg is retiring this spring, and a search for his replacement is already underway.

Berg, 63, whose law enforcement career began in Centralia in 1972, moved on to other jobs and then returned as chief in early 2004.

He is retiring in May, according to the city’s human resources director, Candice Rydalch.

The pay for the head of the department with 31 commissioned officers in Lewis County’s most populated city is being advertised as between about $100,000 and $122,000.

Rydalch said yesterday they have already begun a nationwide search.

Applications are being accepted through the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs  through Jan. 8.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm

PEDESTRIAN WITH WALKER HIT BY TRUCK

• An elderly woman using a walker was struck by a small pickup truck on a dark county road early this morning. Firefighters called about 5:10 a.m. to the 500 block of Logan Hill Road in Chehalis said the 84-year-old victim said she had ankle pain, but other than that, she fared very well. Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter-EMT Kyle Iswald said he believed she was just out for a walk. The woman was transported by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital, Iswald said.

CAR VERSUS SCHOOL BUS

• Firefighters called to a collision involving a passenger vehicle and a school bus about 3:05 p.m. yesterday at Johnson Avenue and  Southwest 16th Street in Chehalis concluded no one was injured. The front end of the car impacted the side of the bus, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

BURGLARY DOTY

• Someone got into a residence on the 100 block of Doty Street and stole assorted coins and US Cellular WiFi tablet, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The break-in happened sometime between 7 a.m. on Tuesday and 5 p.m. yesterday, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• A 24-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine last night after contact with an officer at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. Natasha A. Grubb was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, protection order violation, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence of drugs; responses for disputes, suspicious circumstances, collisions on county roads .. and more.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm

WIRE HEIST

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning it is checking with neighboring businesses on the 100 block of Ribelin Road in Chehalis to look for clues to the theft of $4,000 worth of copper wire from Sound Wood Products. The victim reported someone kicked in a gate to his fenced area sometime between Friday and yesterday and stole a spool of 400 feet of the wire, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies are hoping to find video surveillance images of the incident, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Brown says anyone with information wishing to remain anonymous or to earn a reward can contact Lewis County Crime Stoppers.

AUTO THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 9:20 a.m. yesterday regarding a 1991 Acura Integra stolen overnight from the 300 block of Southwest Third Street. The car had already been found three hours earlier in Thurston County, minus its four tires and wheels, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

EASY PROWL

• Chehalis police took a report of a someone snatching a purse from a vehicle yesterday while the victim was helping her companion into a clinic on Bishop Road. She left the car door open and when she returned, her purse was gone, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, drug violations, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, dispute, possible fraud, suspicious circumstances … and more.

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Morton’s Officer Perry Royle passes away

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm
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Perry Royle
1960 – 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Morton Police Officer Perry Royle died yesterday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was 54.

Royle was on duty a week earlier when he suffered an unspecified medical issue, summoned help and and then lost consciousness at the hospital.

A procession of law enforcement officers from various agencies accompanied Royle’s body back to Lewis County yesterday evening, ending at Brown’s Funeral Chapel in Chehalis. A candle light vigil was planned in Morton.

Royle had been with the department since 2002, and was Chief Dan Mortensen’s only officer.

Morton Police Department Clerk Michelle Matchett said Royle’s family, and Chief Mortensen, were with him when he passed.

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Courtesy photo by Jim Hill Photography

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 8:42 pm

BUSINESS BURGLARY

• Chehalis police responded yesterday morning to a burglary at an automotive shop on the 100 block of North Market Boulevard. A cash box was taken as well as money from Christmas trees being sold on the honor system, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There was no signs of forced entry, according to police. The loss was more than $700, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called just before 7 a.m. today to a vehicle prowl on the 200 block of Southwest William Avenue.

• Centralia police took a report of a vehicle prowl yesterday that occurred last Thursday at the 1000 block of Mellen Street in Centralia.

“JOHN DOE” BOOKED

• Centralia police arrested a male this morning for no driver’s license and no identification. The approximately 4 a.m. encounter at the 200 block of South Tower Avenue led to the unidentified male getting booked into the Lewis County Jail as “John Doe”, according to the Centralia Police Department.

NOT CHICKEN LITTLE

• Chehalis police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday when something fell from the sky onto a car at the 100 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue. It was a piece of roof torn off a building by a passing vehicle that caught an overhead wire, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said this morning he wasn’t sure if the offending vehicle was located.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, probation violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, misdemeanor assault, harassment by classmate, a man bleeding from the head who said he fell down, a drunk man in pajama pants and rubber boots banging on an apartment door,  collision on city street, collision on county road … and more.

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News brief: Speed possibly contributed to fatality on Centralia-Alpha Road

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The wreck that killed 25-year-old Dustin N. Meyer on Centralia-Alpha Road southwest of Chehalis on Saturday night remains under investigation, but the sheriff’s office believes speed may have been among the factors involved.

Meyer was northbound at a righthand curve when his car left the roadway and hit a tree, spun around and then struck a second tree, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened near Senn Road just before 9 p.m.

The Centralia man was wearing a seatbelt but died at the scene of multiple blunt force injuries, according to authorities. He was driving a Hyundai Sonata.

The Washington State Patrol assisted deputies in investigating the collision, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

CORRECTION: This has been updated to correctly reflect the middle initial of Meyer’s name. Erroneous information was initially provided by the Lewis County coroner.

•••

For background, read “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – FATAL WRECK” from Sunday December 7, 2014, here

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Centralia mother who decapitated premature newborn back in court for technical issue

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An appeals court says its enough that a 25-year-old Centralia woman used a kitchen knife to end the life of her severely premature infant after she gave birth, and the fact it did or didn’t have drugs in its system won’t change her 30-year-sentence.

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Laura Lynn Hickey

Laura Lynn Hickey pleaded guilty to second-degree murder almost three years ago, in Lewis County Superior Court and was sent off to prison. She’s back in the Lewis County Jail for an expected hearing on an issue that stems from the October decision from the Washington State Court of Appeals.

It was an early March morning in 2011; neighbors had phoned 911 after hearing calls for help coming from Hickey’s home at the Peppertree Motor Inn and RV Park on Alder Street. She was taken to the hospital where at first she said she’d had a miscarriage, and then police found the decapitated newborn in a Tupperware container under the kitchen sink of  her fifth-wheel trailer.

At sentencing, Hickey’ lawyer asked the judge to give his client about 12 years in prison, for what she viewed as a mercy killing when her approximately 21-weeks-along fetus was unexpectedly delivered into a toilet. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer recommended 80 years, saying it was a crime so heinous, she should lose the ability to “walk among us.”

Attorneys disagreed if the infant boy was far enough along he could have survived outside the womb.

Because Hickey not only admitted guilt, but stipulated to an aggravating factor the victim was particularly vulnerable, the judge could have imposed a sentence all the way up to life in prison. The standard sentencing range for the crime was between about 12 years to 20 years.

At the time, the woman apologized, cried and told the judge said she would accept whatever sentence he gave her. But her appeal attorney appealed the exceptional sentence.

Her lawyer contended the trial court violated Hickey’s Sixth Amendment rights as articulated in Blakely v. Washington, by making findings the victim was particularly vulnerable not only because of age, but because of drug intoxication

The three-member panel concluded in its Oct. 10 decision that Judge Nelson Hunt’s finding was incorrect, and sent the case back to Lewis County so the reference to methamphetamine intoxication could be struck from the findings.

The appeals court however, affirmed the exceptional sentence of 30 years.

One of the reports submitted to Lewis County Superior Court, from a psychologist, noted both Hickey and the victim had significant amounts of methamphetamine in their blood stream at the time of the offense. Another, from the autopsy stated the infant suffered from acute methamphetamine intoxication.

Neither Hickey’s appeals attorney or the appeals court suggest the information is untrue, only that it should not have been considered at sentencing.

Prosecutor Meyer indicates Hickey is scheduled to go before a judge at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, although the actual hearing may take place at a later day.

•••

For background, read:

• “Centralia woman gets 30 years for decapitating premature infant” from Wednesday February 22, 2012, here

• “Laura Hickey pleads guilty to killing her premature infant” from Tuesday February 7, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Updated at 2:51 p.m.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER SON INJURED

• A 29-year-old Glenoma man was arrested on Friday after a deputy responded to White Pass Elementary School where a 5-year-old boy said his father had dropped him on his head the evening before. Paul A. Leggett said he’d picked his son up by the feet and ankles to get him to stop jumping on the couch, a form of discipline he said he uses because the child is afraid of heights, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Leggett said however, he didn’t know how the boy struck his head, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The child on Friday said his head still hurt and he had a bump on the back of it, Brown said. Leggett was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree child assault and a warrant for contempt of court, according to Brown. He is not being charged with the felony pending further investigation.

GUNS AND JEWELRY MISSING

• Chehalis police are investigating a burglary to a house on the 200 block of Southwest Lewis Street in which the victim is missing jewelry and firearms. It’s not clear yet when the valuables were taken, but the report was made on Saturday, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Deputies are looking for who it was that pulled more than 100 feet of guard rail, including 15 posts, from the ground and left it all in the middle of a county road east of Centralia. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning nothing at the scene on the 300 block of Centralia-Alpha Road suggested a collision.

• Centralia police took a report about 1:15 p.m. yesterday of a window that got broken on the 800 block of South Pearl Street.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Two men arrested by Centralia police on Saturday were released from jail with no charges filed. Ernesto Monrroy-Hernandez, 37, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, for allegedly assaulting two officers as they tried to take him into custody. Edward K. Gonzalez, 21, of Centralia, was arrested for second-degree robbery domestic violence in connection with an afternoon call to West Plum Street. The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office today declined to file those charges.

FROM THE APPEALS COURT

• A Centralia man locked up for thirty years lost his appeal last week of his first-degree murder conviction. Weston G. Miller, age 30 last year when he was sentenced for the shooting death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson, contended insufficient evidence existed to find he acted with premeditation and made other arguments, according to the opinion filed by the Washington State Court of Appeals. The three-member panel of justices disagreed in their filing last Tuesday. Miller’s attorney said his client was delusional and preoccupied with people being after him, being in danger.

WRECK

• A 41-year-old driver and a 12-year-old girl were injured this morning when the car in which they were traveling was rear-ended by a Toyota Corolla on U.S. Highway 12 in Salkum. Troopers responding just before 8 a.m. report everyone was seat belted but both vehicles were totaled. Ronald L. Rosenberg as westbound but stopped for traffic when his Jetta was struck, according to the Washington State Patrol. Trisha F. Day, 43, of Mossyrock, was to be cited for a violation of the basic speed rule, according to the state patrol. Day was reportedly uninjured. The injured, both from Chehalis, were transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the investigating trooper.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  trespass, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor assault,  driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, vehicle into ditch … and more.

•••

CORRECTION: This has been updated to correctly reflect the gender of the child in the car accident.

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Read about a reunion more than 50 years in the making …

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm
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Courtesy photo Lesa Buchanan Givens

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

From the hills west of Centralia to the east coast, a wedding ring lost after a 1959 small plane crash and discovered years later by a local logger has made its way onto the hand of its owner’s daughter just this week.

Q13 Fox News in Seattle reports Nick Buchanan found the piece of jewelry while hiking in 1997 and kept it safe for nearly 20 years.

Reporter Jamie Tompkins wrote that with the help of his nephew’s research, Buchanan connected with Joyce Wharton in New Jersey, who received her mother’s five-diamond ring in the mail on Wednesday.

ABC News reporter Gillian Mohney via Good Morning America wrote yesterday that Wharton’s parents Hazel and Hugh Armstrong, from San Antonio, Texas, had been on their way to see family when the plane crashed; Wharton was just 23 at the time and newly married.

New York Daily News writer Lee Moran yesterday described Wharton’s reaction: “‘It’s such a precious memento and this logger found it when he was out in the woods poking around at the base of a tree with a stick. This ring just popped out and he’s been looking for me ever since.’ ”

The tale first surfaced on Lewis County Sirens companion  Facebook page last Monday when Buchanan’s daughter, Lesa Buchanan Givens, shared what she called a Christmas miracle.

“This is a wonderful ending to a story that has been part of our family for many years and I thought it was worth sharing.” Givens wrote.

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Read about former POW, lawyer, from Winlock dies on Veterans Day …

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A hero to every boy from Winlock, whose longing for Christmas during his years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam prompted the small town to decorate itself as such for his July 1973 homecoming has died.

Edward W. Leonard, a highly decorated veteran who grew up in Winlock, was shot down on Memorial Day and passed away last month on Veterans Day, two of those “boys” related as they recalled a childhood idol.

He became a lawyer and lived in Astoria and then was was mayor of Ilwaco, Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said.

Another of those who went in the practice of law, Dana Williams, spoke of Leonard being honored with a medal rarely given.

“Eddie was a hero to every kid from Winlock, including me,” Williams said.

The Chinook Observer writes that Leonard spent five years as a POW, three and a half of those years in solitary confinement.

Brosey said Leonard and now Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were in adjacent cells at the so-called Hanoi Hilton.

His obituary says the former Air Force pilot was 76 years old when he died in Portland, Ore. on Nov. 11. Internment and military services will be in the spring at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, according to the obituary published Nov. 25, in the Chinook Observer.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

FATAL WRECK

• A 25-year-old driver lost his life on Centralia-Alpha Road southeast of Chehalis last night when his car struck a tree, according to Lewis County FIre District 6. Firefighters were called at 8:50 p.m.  by a motorist who had to drive to her parents house to call 911, because of no cell phone service, Firefighter Mike Goodwillie said. It happened just before Senn Road, on a very dangerous stretch of Centralia-Alpha, Goodwillie said. It appeared as though he spun out, and the driver’s compartment impacted a large tree down an embankment, he said. He was the only occupant in the vehicle. Goodwillie said the family whose phone was used previously lost their son in a wreck on that road, and he himself can recall two other fatal accidents in the area.

CAR VERSUS BUILDING

• Firefighters were called about 8:20 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of St. Helens Avenue in Chehalis where a car ran into a house. The vehicle sustained significant front end damage and the woman driving was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital with a broken leg and facial lacerations, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

POLICE ASSAULTED

• A 37-year-old Centralia man was was arrested about 7 p.m. yesterday after he allegedly assaulted two officers who were trying to take him into custody. It happened at the 600 block of Jefferson Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. Ernesto Monrroy-Hernandez was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to police. Details about why police were initially detaining Monrroy-Hernandez were not readily available.

DOMESTIC INCIDENT

• A 21-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for second-degree robbery domestic violence yesterday in connection with a 2 p.m. call to West Plum Street. Edward K. Gonzalez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WTH?

• Centralia police were called just before 2 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of North King Street because someone had stolen a dead house plant from the front porch of a home.

NOT-SO-FUNNY MONEY

• An officer took a report yesterday afternoon from a business on the 100 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia about a $5 bill which had been altered to look like a $100 bill.

VANDALISM

• Someone scratched the pain on a vehicle and slashed all four tires at Washington Avenue and Pear Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 1:15 p.m. on Friday.

• Someone threw a rock and broke a window at the 300 block of North Gold Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday morning.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  trespass, disorderly conduct, driving under the influence; responses for domestic misdemeanor assault … and more.