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Former Centralia high school student wins a second appeal of virtual life sentence

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 8:14 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – For the second time, the Washington State Court of Appeals has struck down Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt’s nearly 93 year sentence for a drive-by shooting committed by a former Centralia High School student at age 16. Nobody was killed.

The three-member panel also agreed Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr. is free to move to disqualify the judge from the case.

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Guadalupe Solis-Diaz Jr.

Solis-Diaz Jr. was arrested after gunfire was sprayed along the east side of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, missing six bar patrons the summer of 2007. Witnesses testified it was gang-related. Solis-Diaz maintained he was innocent.

He was tried as an adult and convicted of multiple offenses, including one count of first-degree assault committed with a firearm for each bullet that was fired.

The six assault counts were ordered to be served consecutively and each carried a mandatory extra five years because they were committed with a firearm. While nobody was injured, the sentence given was at the high end of the standard range.

In 2012, the Court of Appeals ordered the local court to conduct a new hearing, referencing various matters that it believed should have been handled more thoroughly, given the defendant was a juvenile.

At the end of the hearing when it was finally held in the spring 2014, Hunt criticized the appeals court decision calling some of their conclusions insulting and ludicrous and said he found no merit in any argument he should lower the sentence. He sentenced Solis-Diaz for the second time to 1,111 months in prison.

A different three-member panel which issued its opinion today stated that on remand, the sentencing court must conduct a meaningful, individualized inquiry into whether Solis-Diaz’s youth should mitigate his sentence.

“Solis-Diaz argues, and the state concedes, that the sentencing court erred by refusing to consider whether application of the multiple offense policy warranted an exceptional downward sentence,” Justice Thomas B. Bjorgen wrote in the unanimous opinion. “He also argues the trial court erred by refusing to consider his youth as a mitigating factor and by imposing a 1,111-month prison term on a juvenile offender in violation of constitutional prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment.”

The appeals court agreed with the two contentions, but stated it did not consider whether the sentence violates the constitutional prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment.

“Accordingly, we vacate Solis-Diaz’s sentence and remand for remand for re-sentencing,” Bjorgen wrote.

Today’s decision was the topic of some casual conversation in Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey’s courtroom.

Judge Brosey mentioned the issuing of opinion to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Nelson and defense attorney Joely O’Rourke after they finished the business of preliminary hearings.

Brosey spoke of political correctness and how clerks are the ones who write the opinions the justices sign their names to.

Brosey alluded to his thinking that the age of the person  holding the gun doesn’t change what happens at the other end of a gunshot.

Judge Brosey and Judge Hunt have announced they are retiring at the end of this year. O’Rourke is running for election to Brosey’s position on the bench.

Solis-Diaz is represented by Longview lawyer John A. Hays. Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh argued the appeal for the state.

Justices Bradley A. Maxa and Rich Melnick concurred with today’s decision, however Melnick added a few paragraphs.

Melnick stated he agreed the sentence must be reversed, but didn’t believe the appeals court should be telling the trial court what issue to consider on remand.
•••

For background, read “”Do-over” on drive-by shooting sentence yields no change for Centralian” from Monday March 3, 2014, here

And Washington Courts: Court of Appeals Division II: State of Washington, Respondent V. Guadalupe Solis Diaz Jr., Appellant: 46002-5, here

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News brief: New charge lodged for convicted burglar of prosecutor’s home

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 6:16 pm
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Janet L. Gleason, center right, is brought before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia woman who missed her sentencing hearing last week in connection with breaking in to the county prosecutor’s house last year was charged today with bail jumping.

Janet L. Gleason, 43,  pleaded guilty in March to numerous felonies and is facing a recommended prison term of seven years. She was free on $45,000 bail on two combined cases and didn’t show up to court on Wednesday.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dan Riordan said the bail bondsman found her and picked her up. He got a call Saturday night, he said.

Riordan didn’t offer details of her apprehension, but said he was thinking it wasn’t in Lewis County, as it took the bondsman quite awhile to arrive.

Gleason was booked into the Lewis County Jail around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.

A conviction for bail jumping can bring a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Gleason’s bail for that charge was set at $25,000, but she is being held with a no bail hold for her recent convictions of residential burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and second-degree malicious mischief as well as a separate possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

Her arraignment is scheduled for Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court.
•••

For background, read “Role reversal: Lewis County prosecutor reflects on becoming a burglary victim” from Friday November 6, 2015, here

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News brief: Vehicle accident child victim was from Rochester

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 5:33 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office indicated today the 8-year-old girl who died in yesterday afternoon’s traffic collision in Centralia is Jaredsi Torres, from Rochester.

She was a passenger in a vehicle that struck a parked pickup truck near Galvin and Gallagher roads, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Troopers with the Washington State Patrol’s major accident team are conducting the investigation.

Centralia police responded to the approximately 2:45 p.m. wreck and indicated yesterday the female driver was seriously injured and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center.

The identity of the driver has not been released, nor have any updates on her condition.

Centralia police referred media questions to the Washington State Patrol. A spokesperson for the state patrol said he only knew what had already been released yesterday and referred reporters back to the police department for information.

Trooper Will Finn added that he was aware a prosecutor responded to the scene yesterday and he understood a trooper was sent to try to interview the driver.

Police yesterday said the child died at the scene. Coroner Warren McLeod said today her cause of death was blunt impact head injuries and the manner is accidental.

The Rochester School District announced on its web site it is mourning the loss of a sweet second grade girl who died in a tragic auto accident Monday afternoon.

“Please join us in keeping her family in your thoughts and prayers,” the notice reads. “Click here for resources on helping your child cope with the loss of a classmate.”
•••

For background, read “News brief: Girl dead, driver airlifted following Centralia wreck” from Monday May 16, 2016, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 9:54 am
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•••

Updated at 10:36 a.m.

ELECTRICAL OUTLET IGNITES IN RESTAURANT

• It turned out the smoke inside a pizza restaurant at the Twin City Town Center in Chehalis last night was caused by a “fried” outlet behind the Pepsi machine. Firefighters were called to Little Caesars Pizza on the 1500 block Northwest Louisiana Avenue at 10:15 p.m. because workers getting ready to close could see smoke, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. The arriving crew could smell something burned but it took about an hour and a half to find its source, Firefighter Pennie McCarty said. They examined the outlet behind the machine, pulled the plug and shut off the breaker switch, McCarty said.

CHAPEL BREAK-IN

• Centralia police were called to a church on the 1600 block of Military Road yesterday morning to take a report of an overnight burglary. Unspecified property was damaged and electronics were missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BUSINESS BREAK-IN

• Police were called yesterday about a burglary to an office that occurred sometime over the weekend on the 2800 block of Russell Road in Centralia. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STOLEN HONDA RECOVERED

• Two individuals were arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle in Centralia yesterday. The Honda Accord was missing out of Oregon and an officer contacted John C. Franken, 32, of Centralia, and Regina D. Ashley, 29 of Roseburg, Oregon, at about 12:15 p.m. at Lakeshore Drive and Pear Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. They were booked into the Lewis County Jail.

MONEY TAKEN FROM SHOPPER’S WALLET

• Chehalis police were called to Wal-Mart just after noon yesterday when a 20-year-old shopper discovered her wallet was missing only because somebody turned it in. She had conducted some business there at the 1600 block Northwest Louisiana Avenue including cashing a check for $300, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The victim got the wallet back minus its cash, according to police.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 1:25 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Harrison Avenue to investigate a possible internal theft.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called at 4:30 p.m. yesterday after an individual witnessed a car prowl behind Safeway on South Market Boulevard. Police were told a young male punched out the window, grabbed a purse and then fled, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The suspect was not located, according to police.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning regarding an overnight car prowl at the 500 block of Hilltop Drive. Among the property taken was a registration, receipts and a wallet, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES

• Morton police reported yesterday an officer responded to the 200 block of Division Avenue to a report of suspicious envelopes being left on reporting party’s doorstep as well as some neighbors on Thursday afternoon. The handwritten message seemed to be religious in nature and the addressee was from the 8000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma, according to the Morton Police Department.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Chehalis police contacted a suspected hit and run driver a couple blocks away from an incident at the 100 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue just after 9 a.m. yesterday and the 33-year-old motorist was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital to be checked out. There was a “rub” mark on the rear bumper of the parked vehicle and police are trying to determine if it occurred because of some kind of medical event, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, third-degree theft, failure to obey officer, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, shoplifting, missing wallet, hit and run, civil issue, suspicious circumstances, protection order violation, suicidal person, collision on city street, political signs stolen from front yard … and more, among 174 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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News brief: Girl dead, driver airlifted following Centralia wreck

Monday, May 16, 2016 at 5:22 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A child is dead and a driver is in serious condition after their vehicle struck a parked pickup truck in Centralia this afternoon.

Police and aid were called at 2:47 p.m. to the collision near Galvin and Gallagher roads, according to the Centralia Police Department.

The driver, described only as a female, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, according to police. The girl, described only as younger than 10 years old, was declared dead at the scene, according to police Cmdr. Pat Fitzgerald.

Troopers with the Washington State Patrol’s major accident team are conducting the investigation.

Fitzgerald indicates Galvin Road, up to River Heights Road,  may remain closed for the next hours as they do their work.

The parked truck was unoccupied.

Both victims have been identified, but their names will not be released until after their next-of-kin are notified, according to police.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, May 16, 2016 at 1:32 pm
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•••

Updated

BLAST OUTSIDE BOWLING ALLEY UNDER INVESTIGATION

• An explosion that drew police to the 800 block of South Market Boulevard over the weekend appears to have resulted from dynamite or something similar, Chehalis police said today. Several people called 911 to report hearing an explosion and authorities were told a man was laying on the ground behind the bowling alley just before 6 p.m. on Saturday, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An arriving officer found a person sitting up against the building, police said. He was unhurt but was intoxicated, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. He told police that “cars with CIA people pulled up and set off a nuclear bomb next to him,” Bailey said. An arson investigator from the fire department was summoned and found a small amount of damage to the cinderblock structure and also recovered debris from the blast, according to Bailey. Bailey said there was at least one report of a vehicle in the area but it was gone when police arrived. The incident is under investigation, she said.

SEXUAL ASSAULT REPORTED

• Centralia police are investigating a report of a rape at a motel on the 1300 block of Belmont Avenue from last night. An officer contacted just before 8 p.m. indicates the two were traveling together and the 34-year-old man from Lakewood said it was a consensual sexual encounter while the 30-year-old woman from Murrieta, Calif. said she was raped, according to the Centralia Police Department. The investigation is ongoing, according to police.

UNCOOPERATIVE TRIO

• Three people were arrested for obstructing a law enforcement officer when police responded to the 700 block of Euclid Way in Centralia about 8:30 p.m. yesterday.  Bryant R. Elliott 19 of Vancouver, was cited and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department. Cited and booked into the Lewis County Jail were Bradly M. Elliott, 25, of Centralia; and Haiden A.A. Cole, 19, of Pe Ell, according to police. Bradly Elliott was also arrested for violating a domestic violence protection order, according to police.

CELL PHONE TRACKED

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from an individual who said she lost her cell phone the night before at a business on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue.  She was able to locate it by the GPS at a location in Thurston County and the phone was subsequently recovered by the Thurston County Sheriffs Office, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Deputies called about 1:20 p.m. on Saturday to the 200 block of Clinton Road found that Justine K. Abbott, 26, had brought an acquaintance to her parents home and while there, the acquaintance allegedly took clothing and a cell phone from Abbott’s sister’s room. Deputies subsequently arrested Abbott for a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and booked her into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 20-year-old friend was picked up by Centralia police for an outstanding warrant, sheriff’s Cmdr. Dusty Breen said. The sheriff’s office is referring a case for third-degree theft against the friend, according to Breen. All the items except the Note 3 cell phone were returned, Breen said.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police were called about 7:45 a.m. yesterday to the 200 block of East Van Buren Street where an individual reported unknown person or persons cut the hose from his propane tank to his travel trailer, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BACK TO NATURE

• A Chehalis police officer spotted someone going to the bathroom in a grassy area near the park and ride lot on the 800 block of West Main Street about 8:30 a.m. yesterday and issued a 66-year-old homeless man a citation for urinating/defecting in public, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, third-degree theft, hit and run, civil issue, unfounded report, suspicious circumstances, possible shoplifting, suicidal person, teenager being harassed by cell phone, possible theft of iPhone from a shopping cart  … and more, among 115 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 6:50 a.m. today.

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News brief: Homeless man’s tent burned by acquaintance

Monday, May 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Law enforcement officers are looking for a Centralia woman who allegedly pulled a knife on her companion and lit his tent on fire early yesterday morning  near the Chehalis River in Centralia.

Centralia police were contacted about 4:30 a.m. by the 36-year-old victim at Mellen Street and Old Airport Road, who subsequently reported to deputies what had occurred.

Deputies were told the two got into an argument and that 29-year-old Kayleigh S. McDaniel set his tent on fire and grabbed him by the neck, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Dusty Breen said this morning the 36-year-old man was able put the fire out and get away, but then McDaniel produced a knife. He disarmed her and they parted ways, according to Breen.

The man’s tent, where he resides, was in an area west of Interstate 5 near milepost 81, according to Breen.

Law enforcement has been unable to locate McDaniel, Breen said.

The sheriff’s office is referring a case for first-degree assault and first-degree arson to prosecutors, according to Breen.

The tent is valued at $50.

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Read about Salkum man faces charges after death of beloved elk named Bullwinkle …

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Yakima Herald-Republic reports a 76-year-old Lewis County resident has been charged with second-degree unlawful hunting of big game in connection with allegedly shooting the biggest bull elk in the Kittitas Valley near Ellensburg, in a location closed to such hunting and moving it to a private field where it would have been legal.

News reporter Scott Sandsberry writes that Tod Reichert, 76, of Salkum, has a pre-trial hearing in Lower Kittitas District Court on May 31, despite his Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s special eastside elk auction tag for which he paid $75,000.

Read more about it here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm
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•••

BIG KNIFE, BIG TROUBLE

• A 20-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for first-degree assault when police responded to a dispute between roommates at a residence on the 400 block of West Pear Street in Centralia on Friday evening.  Angelica J. Parker was allegedly throwing items and ended up displaying a decorative knife with an approximately 12-inch long blade, according to the Centralia Police Department. She reportedly was swinging the knife, but nobody was cut, according to police. Parker was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

ASSAULT ALONG RIVER

• Centralia police contacted an individual about 4:30 a.m. today at Mellen Street and Old Airport Road who reported being assaulted at a transient camp near the Chehalis River. The suspect has not been identified and the case is currently under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DOWNTOWN THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 10:45 a.m. yesterday to a business on the 200 block of North Tower Avenue to take a report of a burglary involving the theft of cash.

PORCH PROWL

• Police were called about 12:25 p.m. yesterday about a bicycle stolen from a porch at the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia.

• Centralia police reported this morning an officer was called about 1:35 p.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of J Street where someone had stolen tables from a porch. One of them was subsequently recovered in an alley nearby and returned to its owner, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were contacted about 1:20 a.m. yesterday by an individual who reported financial information was stolen from their vehicle at the 100 block of North Buckner Street. The victim reported problems with his bank account, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone stole a lighter from an unlocked car parked at the 200 block of South Buckner Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police at about 2:40 p.m. on Friday.

DRUGS

• Police arrested a 20-year-old Winlock resident early this morning at the 1000 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia for a warrant and also for possession of methamphetamine. Trevor L Bartley was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with officers around 2:55 a.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, probation violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more, among 149 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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Coroner report: Zero homicides for last year

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 9:38 pm
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Compiled from information contained in Lewis County Coroner’s Office annual report

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Coroner’s Office has released its annual report showing that last year 33 individual’s deaths here were accidental, 11 of them were suicide and none were found to be homicide.

Of the 767 deaths occurring in Lewis County during 2015, most of them were labeled as natural, meaning they occurred from the natural disease process.

The coroner’s office serves the county by investigating sudden, unexpected, violent, suspicious and unnatural deaths.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod is responsible for finding the cause and manner of death. He was elected to the half-time position at the end of 2010 and since has been authorized into a full-time position.

In past years, the coroner has generally been unable to determine the manner of death for five or fewer people annually. At the end of 2015, McLeod had 13 cases in which he could not say why the person died, according to the report.

The majority of the eight-page report primarily describes the coroner’s office’s purpose, mission and methods.

McLeod’s summary does not offer any data on the causes of death predominant in Lewis County.

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Investigation: Fatal Ham Hill fire cause not clear

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 1:18 pm
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Courtesy photo from Centralia Police Department investigation

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A joint police and fire department investigation has concluded the blaze that killed three children in their Centralia home was accidental but could not pinpoint a certain cause.

Investigators learned of two possible reasons for the March 4 fire on Ham Hill Road. The fire was believed to have started inside near the front door of the split level home.

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•••

One potential culprit was a compact florescent light bulb in a lamp and the other is recently laundered oily towels, both which had been at the point of origin, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Because more than one possible cause exists, the cause of the fire is officially ruled undetermined.

Their mother who had been sleeping downstairs escaped but the children never made out it out of their upstairs bedrooms. Benjamin D. Tower, 12; Madeline R. Tower, 10; and Samuel J. Tower, 7, died from smoke inhalation.

A police officer who responded to the approximately 12:45 a.m. was injured when he broke a window trying to rescue the kids.

Sue Tower had moved her family into the rental home less than a year earlier.

The Centralia Police Department issued its findings today.

A news release from Cmdr. Pat Fitzgerald states that police detectives and members of Riverside Fire Authority have been diligently investigating.

They knew that morning the origin was within about four feet of the front door.

“At the point of fire origin, there had been a lamp with a compact florescent light bulb (CFL), this light bulb could have malfunctioned and caused the fire,” Fitzgerald wrote. “No remains of the bulb were found.”

The other possible cause is the spontaneous combustion of oily towels, according to Fitzgerald. They had been washed and placed in a crate, near the front door, he indicated.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm
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•••

Updated at 6:12 p.m.

WRECK: BURNING TRUCK IGNITES TREES NEAR PACKWOOD

• A 67-year-old driver who thinks he fell asleep escaped serious injury when he ran off the road and collided with a tree and his truck caught on fire yesterday afternoon near Packwood. A deputy was called about 2:15 p.m. regarding the wreck about three miles up Skate Creek Road South, according to authorities. Lewis County Fire District 10 Chief Lonnie Goble said passersby brought the man into the fire station and told them about the fire. Firefighters found the 2000 Dodge Ram on its side against a tree and flames burning an approximately 50-foot circle around the vehicle. Goble said one tree landed on the back of the truck and six or seven trees partially burned before they got it extinguished. The man, from Graham, was seen by medics at the Packwood fire station for scrapes and told to go see a doctor, according to the fire department and the sheriff’s office. The deputy issued a citation for wheels off the roadway, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

FIRE BREAKS OUT ATOP TALLEST DRAPER VALLEY TOWER

• Chehalis firefighters climbed to the top of a 138-foot tall tower at the Draper Valley Farms’ plant off West Main Street at State Avenue yesterday for a fire. Crews called about 11:20 a.m. arrived to find workers had already got at it with fire extinguishers and knocked down the flames, but it was still smoldering, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. Grain mash had gotten plugged up at the top and the friction with the conveyor belt ignited the materials, Fire Capt. Kevin Curfman said. Curfman and another firefighter carried and then hoisted five-gallon water cans up to finish putting it out. It’s a concern, because any dust can be an explosive hazard, Curfman said. “In fact, years ago they had an explosion there and a gentleman was killed,” he said. The fire department cleared the scene at about 1:30 p.m. The damage was minimal, according to Curfman.

BREAK-IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called about 6:40 p.m. yesterday for a burglary to a home at the 600 block of West Cherry Street. A neighbor had seen two males enter and take items out of the residence, according to the Centralia Police Department. Among the missing valuables were electronics and clothing, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police called about 12:15 a.m. today to a report someone had pulled out and cut wires to a TV cable box at the 1100 block of South Tower Avenue ended up arresting 31-year-old Adam P. Chapman for third-degree malicious mischief. Chapman had a previous relationship with the resident and was booked into the Lewis County Jail for the alleged domestic incident, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called about 10 a.m. yesterday morning for a report of of a window broken out of an SUV overnight at the 2800 block of Van Dyke Street in Centralia.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for drugs, warrants, shoplifting, protection order violation, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, vandalism, third-degree theft, suspicious circumstances, telephone harassment, dog alone in hot car, collision on city street, woman who thought her purse might have been stolen from her cart while shopping; request for help removing handcuffs from a child who had been playing with them … and more, among 179 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 7 a.m. today.

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News brief: Wildland fire threatens house near Cinebar

Friday, May 13, 2016 at 9:39 am

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Two times in as many days it appears outdoor burning has ignited out-of-control brush fires in Lewis County.

Firefighters from four departments spent several hours yesterday afternoon attacking flames on the side of a steep hill east of Onalaska.

Underbrush and trees caught fire, consuming approximately one acre, according to Lewis County Fire District 1.

Fire Chief Andrew Martin said the fire came within 100 yards of one home, so they assigned an engine to stand by there for structural protection.

District 1 was called about 2:45 p.m. to the area of the 100 block of August Road, just north of state Route 508, toward Cinebar, according to Martin.

They were assisted by personnel from Districts 8, 3 and 5 and notified the state Department of Natural Resources, Martin said.

The fire is believed to have been started by a yard trimmings pile that was being burned on nearby vacant property, according to Martin.

On Wednesday afternoon, crews responded to the 600 block of Centralia-Alpha Road east of Chehalis for a brush fire that most likely started with a land clearing debris pile that the owner believed was out when they left the property, according to Riverside Fire Authority. That fire was quickly contained.

Chief Martin said various fire departments around the county are planning to hold informational meetings on how property owners can prepare in advance to defend their homes from the threat of wildfires.

Onalaska, Salkum and Mossyrock are organizing a joint gathering for residents in their communities, he said.

“I encourage people to watch for and attend these short meetings,” Martin said. “It may make the difference between their house standing at the end of fire season or it not being there.”

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News brief: Adna teen finds dead birds left on his windshield at school

Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – No criminal charges will be filed against two Adna High School students implicated in defiling a fellow student’s vehicle with dead baby birds and derogatory messages.

The incident was investigated at the request of the victim’s grandfather, but the boy told a deputy yesterday he did not want to press charges, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The grandfather contacted the sheriff’s office at the beginning of last week to report someone had thrown birds against the vehicle and written “I love (the N word)” and “I love men” in blood, according to the sheriff’s office.

A deputy responded to the high school and found the rear window of the Toyota 4Runner dusty with a freshly cleaned area and was told dead birds had been found under the windshield wipers and on the ground, according to the incident report.

The deputy interviewed the principal, the two suspects and their parents and was told by one of the suspects they’d found an abandoned nest with four deceased baby birds in the dugout at the baseball field and that they “smeared” the birds on the 4Forerunner, the report relates. The second suspect admitted he wrote one message on the vehicle and then wiped it off.

The victim’s parents also told the deputy they did not want to pursue criminal charges, according to the deputy’s report.

The deputy noted the video footage he viewed was grainy and it wasn’t clear exactly what the two boys were doing at the vehicle and also that he couldn’t tell if the birds were actually thrown or if they were alive.

The incident report notes the school principal suspended one student for two days and the other student for three days.

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News brief: RFA douses two brush fires outside Centralia

Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Centralia area fire department is urging the public to use extra caution when conducting outdoor burning, noting an unusually warm and dry spring after twice yesterday evening responding to brush fires.

At 4:50 p.m. crews were called to the 600 block of Centralia-Alpha Road where they found grass and light brush on fire covering an area of approximately 50-feet by 20-feet.

“The fire was quickly brought under control without any complications,” Fire Capt. Scott Weinert stated in a news release.

It appeared to have originated where brush had been piled up next to an area where the ground was being developed for some type of construction, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

“The RFA wishes to remind everyone that outdoor burning must be attended by a responsible person and a burning permit must be obtained from Lewis County,” Weinert wrote. “All conditions of the permit must be adhered to at all times.”

Twenty minutes after that call, the fire department was dispatched to TransAlta on the 900 block of Big Hanaford Road where employees discovered a nearly half-acre fire that consumed brush and ignited a pile of power poles as well as an over-sized tire and a debris pile, according to Weinert.

The workers had used a bulldozer to create a trail around the perimeter to prevent the fire from spreading, Weinert said.

It was just four days ago when three area fire departments spent all night attacking a wildfire on Crego Hill in Adna.

Last summer saw some of the largest, and fastest moving wild fires around the county, and the region, in recent history due to an exceptionally hot and dry summer.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 10:54 am
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TEENS CAR PROWLING

• A Centralia mother turned in her teenage son last night, suspecting he was involved in vehicle prowls in the Cooks Hill Road area. A deputy called just before 9 p.m. yesterday spoke to the mom and then interviewed the 16-year-old, who reportedly confessed that during April and May, he and a friend stole property from three separate vehicles, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The deputy was told they prowled unlocked cars with valuables in plain view, according to the sheriff’s office. Among the loot were backpacks, credit cards and at least one laptop computer, Chief Deputy Bruce Kimsey said. Some of the missing items were recovered from a 15-year-old boy’s bedroom, Kimsey said. The two teens were arrested and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for vehicle prowl, second-degree theft and second-degree possession of stolen property, Kimsey reports.

CHEHALIS FIGHT UNDER INVESTIGATION

• Chehalis police were called about 7:40 p.m. yesterday for a dispute at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street that may have involved a knocked-out tooth on a child. The incident is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VEHICLE THEFT

• Chehalis police were notified about 6 p.m. yesterday that the black with gray 1970 Chevrolet pickup truck stolen the day before from  the park and ride at the 800 block of West Main Street had turned up in Pierce County. A deputy there found it unoccupied, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• An 18-year-old Chehalis resident was arrested last night after allegedly punching out the window of a building at the 200 block of Railroad Avenue in Centralia. Officers called about 9:45 p.m. issued a citation for third-degree malicious mischief to Griffyn B. Dollarhyde and then released him pending a court date, according to the Centralia Police Department.

SNACK, BEERS AND HOME REPAIR LEADS TO FELONY CHARGE

• A 54-year-old man who allegedly stopped at his former girlfriend’s Winlock home, repaired her table and left a note asking if she wanted to buy some firewood was arrested for violating a no-contact order but charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with burglary. A deputy back on April 4 reportedly went to the woman’s home on the 300 block of Hawkins Road looking for Rodney D. DeWolf because he had an outstanding warrant and found DeWolf hiding inside. Later when the deputy interviewed the woman, she said she had returned home to find it looked like DeWolf had been there, as he’d fixed some food to eat, drank several beers, left a note and also her table had been fixed, according to charging documents. DeWolf was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail on April 28, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The charge of residential burglary is class B felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

AND MORE

• And, as usual, other incidents such as arrests for drugs, warrants, shoplifting, trespassing, protection order violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, oven fire, hit and run, third-degree theft, disorderly conduct, unfounded report, suspicious circumstances, deer walking down middle of road … and more, among 161 calls for local law enforcement and / or fire-emergency medical services in the 24-hour period ending about 4:30 a.m. today.