Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 10th, 2013

OOPS

• A load on a log truck struck the Chamber of Commerce Way overpass on northbound Interstate 5 in Chehalis yesterday afternoon spilling at least some of the logs onto the roadway. Troopers called about 4:15 p.m. cited the driver, Curtis G. Fasano, 50, of Chehalis, for carrying a load over the legal height, according to the Washington State Patrol. There was no damage to his Kenworth truck or the trailer, according to the state patrol.

NO FISHING DAY

• A 77-year-old Centralia man contacted the sheriff’s office yesterday morning after he discovered the electric trolling motor was missing from his boat at his shop on the 2500 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia. He said it was taken sometime between 9 a.m. on Tuesday and 8 a.m. yesterday and realized it was gone when he went to go fishing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CAR PROWL

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning by an individual who said an iPad was stolen from their vehicle the day before while parked at Wal-Mart.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft; responses for minor collision, alarm, someone possibly attempting to cash a forged check, a child throwing rocks, suspicious circumstances … and more.

Centralia murder trial: In the defendant’s own words

Friday, May 10th, 2013
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Weston G. Miller consults with his lawyer, J.P. Enbody during a recess in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Jurors yesterday heard Weston G. Miller describe the events inside his Centralia home that led him to pull a 9 mm handgun out of his sweatpants pocket and fire multiple shots at a houseguest.

Miller, 30, is charged with first-degree murder for the March 13, 2012 death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.

The trial in Lewis County Superior Court which began on Monday is expected to wrap up today.

The only other person who was in the house on B Street – Carson’s girlfriend Sara DeSalvo – has described how she and Carson were inside a bedroom that day and Miller kept coming to the door to tell them to stop arguing.

The former welder did not take the witness stand, but portions of a two-hour taped interview with police were presented to the jury yesterday.

The fragmented interview suggested Miller was rescuing DeSalvo from getting beaten.

Miller indicated he invited DeSalvo to stay in his home and didn’t know she was bringing a boyfriend with her.

Under questioning by two Centralia police officers, Miller spoke of DeSalvo telling him of the things Carson had done to her and that Carson was the kind of guy who would cut someone’s throat.

He said he heard yelling like DeSalvo was getting “choked out”, went to the bedroom and found Carson with his hands all over her.

“I said wait a minute, this is my house, my kid’s room, this is not happening here,” Miller said.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher has described for jurors that three times Miller came to the bedroom door to confront the couple.

Miller, in his interview with police, said he would then stand outside the door listening to the couple.

At one point, he went to the back of the house to get his gun, he said.

In a portion of the sometimes fuzzy audio, it sounds like Miller told police he heard DeSalvo saying why don’t you just go kill him now and Carson saying shut up, shut up.

Miller described Carson whispering in a deep voice.

The final time was when he fired his gun.

“I opened the door and he was like right there, he came right at me,” Miller said.

With what? he was asked.

“Like a “freaking rusty kitchen knife,” was his reply.

Closing statements will be heard this morning in the Chehalis courtroom.
•••

For background, read “Centralia murder trial: Self defense or premeditated?” from Thursday May 9, 2013, here

News brief: Beware of caller posing as Chehalis police

Friday, May 10th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A local couple were hit with a new twist on an old scam with a caller pretending to be an officer from the Chehalis Police Department.

Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said the scheme involved the fraudster somehow managing to make the recipient’s caller ID appear as though the phone call came from the police department.

“They’re using one of our officer’s names, asking for Western Union type payments,” Wilson said yesterday.

Wilson said he was contacted on Wednesday by the target who got suspicious and called him instead of falling for the trick.

The sergeant wants to remind the public to never give out personal information to anyone who calls asking for it.

The Chehalis Police Department does not ever ask people for payments over the telephone, he said.

“The bottom line is we would never ask anyone to send Western Union or money to anywhere,” Wilson said.

In this particular case, Wilson said, a Chehalis woman was told on the phone an officer would contacting her in a follow up phone call and her husband answered when that call came.

He was skeptical and began grilling the person on the phone, Wilson said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Updated at 8:15 p.m.

THE OPPOSITE OF A JOY RIDE

• A 48-year-old fired carnival worker reportedly took off from the fairgrounds in Chehalis with his employer’s semi truck yesterday, hauling two trailers loaded with at least one kiddy ride. A deputy came upon the big rig abandoned and stuck in a ditch at Tono and Big Hanaford roads in south Thurston County yesterday afternoon; its two trailers tilted over, according to the Chehalis Police Department. A deputy tracked down the driver a few miles away. “The deputy saw a guy sitting on a park bench in Bucoda and put two and two together,” detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. The man was apparently upset because his boss wouldn’t provide him transportation home after discharging him, according to Wilson. He told the deputy that as he was traveling, he noticed the truck was sluggish and looked behind and thought the trailer with the kiddy ride was gone, Wilson said. He tried to unhook the trailer, but ended up getting his bicycle and belongings and taking off, Wilson said. James McGuire, from Salem, Ore. was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for taking a motor vehicle without permission, according to police.

GAMES STOLEN

• A home on the 600 block of South Tower Avenue was burglarized, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department about 7:40 p.m. yesterday. Missing are Xbox games and controllers, according to police.

HONDA STOLEN

• A silver 1999 Honda Civic was reported stolen from the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia about 2:15 p.m. yesterday. It has a license plate reading ADJ 2205, according to police. Officers report they have a suspect and are investigating.

TOOLS STOLEN

• A deputy was called just after 8 o’clock last night to the 400 block of Telegraph Road south of Winlock when a 51-year-old resident saw three males trying to get into his shop. The subjects ran north and a vehicle was heard starting up, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The same building was broken in to sometime after 5 p.m. the night before, with an estimated $2,500 loss of various tools, according to the sheriff’s office. Nobody was found, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

OTHER THEFT

• Centralia police reported this morning they are recommending charges of forgery and theft for an 18-year-old Centralia man in connection with an issue at the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue. Further details were not readily available.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 11:20 a.m. yesterday to the 1400 block of Lum Road where a stereo and a garage door opened were stolen from a vehicle while its owner was at work.

• An officer responded about 9:12 a.m. yesterday to a vehicle prowl at the 1000 block of E Street in Centralia. Missing were a purse and a GPS unit, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FUNNY MONEY

• Police were given a license plate number for a vehicle that fled the 600 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia abut 9:30 p.m. yesterday after one of its occupants attempted to pass suspected fake $20 bills, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A warrant arrest about 1 o’clock this morning led to a jail booking for possession of methamphetamine as well. Wilbert Stovall, 44, of Centralia, was arrested after contact with police at East Summa Street and Roosevelt Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A response by police about 3:30 p.m. yesterday at the 300 block of Bryden Avenue led to a recommendation of charges of possession of marijuana by three teens. One is 16 and two are 17, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police contacted a couple engaged in an intimate encounter in a car parked next to Fort Borst Park about 5 o’clock this morning and booked the 29-year-old Centralia woman in to the Lewis County Jail for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. Krista R. Cate has been scheduled to be released from jail this afternoon.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• A June court hearing was set for 32-year-old Centralian Joshua D. Rhoades, after his lawyer filed a motion for a new trial, in the case of a street fight in which a 17-year-old boy was knocked unconscious. Rhoades was convicted by a jury in Lewis County Superior Court two weeks ago of second-degree assault. His attorney said today he filed the motion after he got information from his client that jurors may have seen him being handcuffed. In general, the custody status of a defendant is supposed to remain unknown to jurors, according to Baum. Baum said he hasn’t investigated the issue yet and will be doing so and filing a more detailed motion. Rhoades’ conviction came with a deadly weapon enhancement and a so-called aggravator that the incident was intended to enhance his affiliation in a gang. The extra findings mean a judge would be free to send him to prison for as long as 10 years.

• A 38-year-old Randle man arrested in November was found guilty yesterday of five counts of rape of a child in connection with sexual assaults of a young relative over a three year period beginning when she was 13 years old. David C. Haviland, who worked at Hampton mill for 16 years, according to his attorney, remains in jail following his three-day bench trial in Lewis County Superior Court. Judge James Lawler scheduled Haviland’s sentencing for June 19. According to court documents, his wife told authorities he told her he was drunk, he felt horrible and would take it back if he could.

BUSTED

• Police say the 14-year-old arrested after he was caught spray painting graffiti on Railroad Avenue in Centralia defaced at least 18 rail cars and tagged one piece of heavy equipment. He and an 18-year-old man ran when a deputy tried to contact them about being on railroad property at about 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the Centralia Police Department. One of them was carrying a backpack containing numerous cans of variously colored spray paint as well as large permanent markers, according to detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald. The boy was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center; the case involving his companion – whom police think had more limited involvement – was referred to prosecutors for evaluation of charges, Fitzgerald said in a news release. While the tagging can probably be removed by less costly means, a verbal estimate by a BNSF employee placed the cost of repainting just one rail car at about $10,000, Fitzgerald said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, DUI, underage person in possession of alcohol, violation of a no contact order; responses for minor collisions, disputes, misdemeanor theft, children breaking off flowers, suspicious circumstances such as a stranger ringing someone’s doorbell at 5:30 a.m. to ask for a cup of coffee and someone who looks like a tweaker in a passing car making gang signs at another driver … and more.

CORRECTION: This has been updated to reflect accurately who David C. Haviland allegedly told he was drunk, he felt horrible and would take it back if he could, regarding the rape of a child case.

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Tagged rail car in Centralia. / Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Centralia murder trial: Self defense or premeditated?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013
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Weston G. Miller stands next to his attorney in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The murder trial of Weston G. Miller continues this morning in a Chehalis courtroom, with a videotape of Miller’s interview with police expected.

Miller, 30, is charged in the March 2012 shooting death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson who had been staying at his house on B Street in Centralia.

Centralia defense attorney J.P. Enbody has told jurors there’s no doubt his client shot Carson, but contends it was because Carson came at Miller with a knife.

Only one other person was present, Carson’s 46-year-old girlfriend Sara DeSalvo who spent more than two hours on the witness stand, and was repeatedly asked by the judge to focus.

“Again, listen to the question and answer the question that’s asked,” Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said numerous times.

DeSalvo, at times distraught and at times seemingly irritated by questioning, apologized, saying she knows she talks fast.

Yesterday, jurors heard the pathologist who conducted the autopsy describe a grazing bullet wound on Carson’s left forearm as a probable defensive wound.

Miller was charged last year with first-degree murder in the death. Prosecutors have not offered a motive, but the case got off to a slow start because of questions whether Miller was competent to stand trial.

Police called the afternoon of March 13 to Miller’s house on B Street found Carson dead inside with two bullet wounds in his chest and chased down Miller who had left in a pickup truck. Officers were told Carson and DeSalvo had been arguing and Miller told them to stop.

Jurors have heard that Carson and DeSalvo were off and on homeless after Carson lost his job. After they were kicked out of one Centralia home, DeSalvo asked Miller if they could stay a short time, in exchange for her doing some much needed major house cleaning.

DeSalvo, on Tuesday afternoon and yesterday morning told the court about the week prior and the day of the shooting.

She described Carson, the love of her life, as amiable.

“He never had any disagreements with anybody, he was very soft-spoken and quiet,” DeSalvo said.

She spoke of Miller wanting to be friends with Carson and hanging out smoking pot together.

Under questioning, it became apparent Miller grew weary of his house guest’s arguing.

On the last day, Carson and DeSalvo were in the bedroom and Miller repeatedly knocked on the door and told them to stop fighting.

Weston was being a jerk for no reason, she said.

He knocked on the door one last time, according to DeSalvo.

“He said, ‘hey man, can I talk to you for a minute’,” DeSalvo testified.

Carson kissed her, handed her his pot pipe and opened the bedroom door, she testified.

“As soon as it closed, as soon as I heard it click, I heard pop, pop, pop,” DeSalvo said.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher has told jurors no knife was found in Carson’s hand. Enbody has pointed out three knives found in the guest bedroom where Carson stumbled onto his back and lay dead.

Today, jurors are expected to hear testimony from neighbors who rushed in to the house to see if they could help Carson.

•••

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

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Sara DeSalvo sobs on the witness stand.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

• A driver heading the wrong direction on a one-way street in Centralia last night realized his mistake when he saw a patrol car approaching which switched on its emergency lights. It happened about 9:30 p.m. on North Gold Street in Centralia at Union Avenue, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Brian T. Bircher, 44, of Winlock, was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence, with a suspended license and without his required alcohol detection ignition interlock device, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• A 23-year-old Chehalis woman found herself in jail after she was seen cutting a flower from someone’s garden just after 6 o’clock this morning, was contacted by police and arrested for an outstanding warrant along the 600 block of F Street in Centralia, according to police. Jennie B. Young was also booked for possession of methamphetamine as when she was searched, assorted drug paraphernalia was discovered, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 25-year-old Centralia woman arrested just after 11 p.m. yesterday at a motel on the 1200 block of Alder Street in Centralia for a warrant found herself in more trouble when jail staff discovered a plastic bag of suspected methamphetamine and a pipe in her brassiere while she was getting booked. The police contact with Kindal M. Powell came during an investigation of an unspecified animal complaint, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called to Chehalis Middle School yesterday morning after a 14-year-old boy was allegedly caught with a small amount of marijuana. The case will be referred to juvenile prosecutors for potential charging, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

THEFT

• Police were called about 11:20 a.m. yesterday regarding a burglary at a residence on the 500 block of State Street in Centralia. Police said the subject damaged unspecified property inside. They have a suspect, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone stole a silver Honda Pilot sometime between 5 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Monday from where it had been parked at the 100 block of Veteran’s Way in Chehalis, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 9:35 a.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 100 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police arrested a 14-year-old Centralia boy yesterday after he was reportedly caught spray painting graffiti on train cars at the 500 block of North Railroad Avenue in Centralia.

• Centralia police took a report about 2 p.m. yesterday of two windows damaged with a BB gun at the 200 block of South Tower Avenue.

WRECK

• A horse was killed when it was hit by a pickup truck on the 700 block of Boistfort Road west of Chehalis early this morning. The driver was not hurt but the right front fender of his Ford F150 was damaged, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called to the scene just before 4 a.m. warned the horse owner about the prohibition on animal’s running loose but no citation was issued because the 42-year-old driver from Napavine said he’d already exchanged information regarding the truck damage, according to the sheriff’s office.

OUTDOOR LIGHTING MAY HAVE IGNITED PORCH IN ONALASKA

• Someone driving by an Onalaska area home around 5 o’clock this morning smelled smoke and saw what looked like smoke coming from beneath a large wood front porch that turned out to be fire just getting ready to take off. Lewis County Fire District 1 called to the manufactured home on the 300 block of Tauscher Road tore away the deck and found flames starting to spread under the crawl space, Chief Mark Conner said. The resident said she woke up when her satellite TV kicked off, he said. The cause is under investigation but it looked like it could have been related to landscaping lights installed about 10 years ago, Conner said. Other than the porch, damage was minimal, he said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor assault, driving with a suspended license, shoplifting; responses for minor vehicle accidents, disputes, possible overdose, alarms, suspicious circumstances, a request to please do something about a neighbor who won’t mow his lawn … and more.

News brief: Timberland fires still burning near Glenoma, Littlerock

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The wildfire at Dog Mountain in eastern Lewis County isn’t expected to be fully contained until weekend because the terrain is very, very steep, a spokesperson for the state Department of Natural Resources said this afternoon.

Crews have been battling the fire since it was reported on Saturday afternoon, south of Glenoma on property owned by Port Blakley.

Janet Pearce, the communications manager for the state agency, indicated it is covering 160 acres of but is 60 percent contained.

The expected morning weather is encouraging, according to Pearce.

The fire was one of two large ones that broke out this weekend on area timberland.

The brush fire in the Capitol Forest about eight miles northwest of Littlerock, should be fully contained tomorrow, Pearce said.

The blaze, dubbed the C-Line Fire was 70 percent contained this afternoon and had burned 80 acres, according to Pearce.

West Thurston Regional Fire Authority sent four people there today to assist. The Rochester-Littlerock fire department was the agency that first responded to the fire about 12:15 a.m. on Sunday.

Chief Robert Scott said today it was called in by several people and crews found two bonfires had spread from a gravel pit about three miles south of Capitol Peak, in a common area for “kid parties.”

“Everybody had scattered,” Scott said.

He called it an “off the grid” destination for underage drinking parties

It’s about twice as windy at that roughly 1,000-foot elevation as down below, and embers had blown around, Scott said.

The investigation into the cause is being conducted by DNR, but the bon fires are the point of origin, Scott said.

News brief: Model Mayhem website not involved in missing Lewis County girl’s case

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Detectives ran into somewhat of a dead end when they followed up a family member’s lead that the 2010 disappearance of Lewis County teen Kayla Croft-Payne may be related to a photographer she met with on a website called Model Mayhem, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said today.

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Kayla Croft-Payne

Using a search warrant to get information in mid-March from the company that houses information for the site, deputies were told there was no account history on the website for Croft-Payne, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release detectives worked with Internet Brands Inc. looking at all the accounts from Western Washington. They checked the young woman’s identity information, email addresses and used facial recognition imagery in  reverse, according to Brown.

Croft-Payne was 18 and living in rural Chehalis when she was reported missing in the spring of 2010, by a roommate who hadn’t seen her for several days.

Her aunt, Karen Hinton, recently told detectives the girl’s last posting on social media sites suggested she had gone to get pictures taken for a modeling portfolio and asked them to look into Model Mayhem. Hinton had begun working with a Vancouver, Wash.-based organization.

In March, National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation contacted numerous members of the press to describe how Croft-Payne is one of three young women around the country who posted photos and information about themselves on the same modeling website and left for modeling only to never return home.

Brown indicated today that when detectives briefed family members of what they discovered, they were told a family member had located the particular account she had seen and it turned out to be on a different modeling website.

The sheriff’s office will follow up on the new information, Brown stated.

Last week, the Vancouver group announced it has created a task force to investigate online modeling sites which are involved in criminal activity, saying it is aware of many cases that involve rape, trafficking, murder and other violence and abuse toward females.

Brown says the sheriff’s office is actively following up on all leads and tips related to Croft-Payne’s disappearance. They ask anyone who knows anything about the case please call them or contact Crime Stoppers of Lewis County, at 1-800-748-6422.
•••

For background, read “Kayla Croft-Payne: Family of missing girl questions link to modeling website” from  Monday April 29, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

ANGRY PEDESTRIAN SCARES PEOPLE IN CENTRALIA

• A 63-year-old homeless man was arrested for disorderly conduct yesterday morning after he alarmed two women with his behavior near Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Police were first called to the area about 9:45 a.m. because a man was standing on a corner hollering, “I’m gonna blow your head off, I’m gonna get a gun,” Officer Corey Butcher said. A woman on a sidewalk across the street wasn’t sure who he was talking to but was scared and called 911, Butcher said. Officers eventually located the same man at Dennys restaurant where he was shouting the manager from inside the bushes he had jumped into, according to Butcher. Arthur C. Bass, 63, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRONG ANSWER

• A 25-year-old Longview man was jailed early this morning after an officer saw him riding a bicycle near the 1100 block of North Tower Avenue without a headlight about 4 a.m. Officer Corey Butcher said he’d just conversed with the man who gave what turned out to be a phony name. When Butcher contacted him about the headlight, the man refused to give any information, Butcher said. Brady M. Kendig was booked into the Lewis County Jail for obstructing a public servant, according to police. He was also arrested for being in possession of medication without a prescription, but Butcher later determined the drugs were properly prescribed to Kendig, the officer said.

DRUGS

• A 33-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver after he was contacted by an officer about a warrant around 5:30 p.m. at the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Steven Ingle Jr. was booked into the Lewis County Jail,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

APPARENT THEFT ATTEMPTS THWARTED

• Police were called just before 9:30 p.m. yesterday when a citizen spotted someone trying to break into a shed on the 1000 block of Grand Avenue in  Centralia. The suspect took off on a bicycle and was not located, according to police. Nothing appeared to be missing from the shed,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about 9:30 p.m. yesterday when the victim of a vehicle prowl caught a teenager breaking into his vehicle at the 1000 block of West Main Street but the boy got away before officers arrived. He was described as about 16 years old with curly, dark, long hair and a suntan, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STREET FIGHT LEADS TO ARREST OF CHEHALIS PAIR

• The Olympian reports a Chehalis couple were jailed for allegedly beating a man on a downtown Olympia street, breaking several bones in his face. News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes Reginal Brown, 25, and Jonell Brager, 21, were each arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault early Saturday morning after a patrol officer spotted one of them knock the victim to the ground and the other pummel him.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving with a suspended license, warrant, misdemeanor assault; responses for minor vehicle accidents, disputes, alarm, possible DUI; complaints of loud music  … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Updated at 7:42 p.m.

MOSSYROCK FIRE SLOWED BY PASSERBY

• A man on his way to church in the Mossyrock area yesterday morning is credited with stopping a structure fire from ruining people’s belongings at a storage business on the 100 block of Kjesbu Road. Lewis County Fire District 3 Chief Doug Fosburg said crews were called about 7:45 a.m. to a former chicken barn converted to 22 plus storage units. The passerby grabbed a fire extinguisher and kept the fire contained to a mechanical room containing a compressor, a welder and the electrical panel box that is suspect, according to Fosburg. The items in the other units didn’t even suffer smoke damage, he said.

OUTDOOR BURNING GETS OUT OF HAND

• Tenino area firefighters were called about 1:45 p.m. yesterday when embers from a pile of stumps being burned spread and caused a brush fire at property on High Valley Lane off 143rd Avenue Southwest. Crews were dispatched about 1:45 p.m. and were on the scene roughly seven hours, protecting structures including homes from the fire that spread to about five acres, Thurston County Fire District 12 Battalion Chief Jim Fowler said. “The wind was just way too windy for anybody to be burning anything yesterday,” Fowler said. Firefighters from the state Department of Natural Resources were summoned and used a small excavator to dig a trail around the area, he said. It was stopped at nine acres, according to DNR.

GLENOMA WILDFIRE BIGGER BUT HALFWAY CONTAINED

• At noontime today, DNR reported the fire in east Lewis County on Dog Mountain had burned about 100 acres within a 170 acre area of forest land, but called it 50 percent contained. Bulldozers, fire engines and water-dropping helicopters are employed in the task of extinguishing the fire that was initially fanned and spread by dry east winds, according to public information officer Chuck Turley. Steep terrain increases the challenge of reaching pockets of burning material, Turley noted. Members of all five fire districts in the east end, along with some from Napavine and Toledo, responded on Saturday and worked into the late evening with crews from DNR and personnel from Port Blakely, the timber land’s owner. DNR said today approximately 80 individuals continue to be assigned to the fire fight south of Glenoma. The cause remains under investigation, according to Turley.

CAPITOL FOREST FIRE GROWS

• A noontime update on the wildfire in the Capitol Forest northwest of Littlerock pegged it as only 6 percent contained, with about 80 people working to put it out. The fire has burned 60 acres of land that contains logging slash and 20-year-old trees, according to DNR. Some recreation trails and roads in the area of the C-Line and C-400 roads remain closed, according to a news release. Crews from West Thurston Regional Fire Authority initially responded about 12:15 a.m. on Sunday after a report of a fire at Capitol Peak. Bucoda’s Fire Chief Jim Fowler was among those who responded as he and a fellow firefighter teaching nine students at the McLane-Black Lake Fire Department on Sunday loaded their class up and headed to Capitol Forest. It was unexpected field training for a wild land Firefighter II class, Fowler said.

POLICE: VERY SURLY DRUNK

• A 31-year-old Centralia man allegedly threatened three males with a knife after they intervened while he was allegedly beating his girlfriend inside a vehicle in an alley in Centralia yesterday evening. Officers called about 5:35 p.m. say the trio pulled Pioquinto Rodriguez-Garcia off the 41-year-old woman and he slashed all four tires n the vehicle before fleeing the area on the 600 block of Marion Street. Police found Rodriguez-Garcia a short distance away and also took into evidence a knife police dog Lobo found in a nearby yard, according to the Centralia Police Department. The initial dispute was because the girlfriend didn’t want Rodriguez-Garcia driving while intoxicated, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for two counts of second-degree assault, misdemeanor assault and malicious mischief, police reported.

UNDERAGE PARTY BUSTED IN CENTRALIA, ONE HOSPITALIZED

• About a dozen young people found themselves in trouble over the weekend when a Centralia mother returned home and found her son and daughter were hosting a drinking party, and which subsequently included a 20-year-old male getting transported to the hospital. Deputies and Centralia police arriving at the 1100 block of Long Road about 12:15 a.m. on Saturday found the unconscious subject laying outside in massive amounts of vomit and summoned aid, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The cases involving one 19-year-old and 10 other individuals under 18 were referred to prosecutors for filing of charges, according to the sheriff’s office. A 16-year-old who was reportedly seen trying to open the doors of all the patrol vehicles on the scene was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

MISSING TRAILER

• A deputy was called Saturday to the 200 block of U.S. Highway 12 south of Chehalis about a cargo trailer stolen overnight from Garrison Auctioneers. The 1991 trailer with a black top and white sides has a license plate of 804 6UY, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It was taken sometime between 6 p.m. on Friday and 7 o’clock the following morning, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

SNOW, DARKNESS, END MOUNTAIN BIKER’S OUTING

• Deputies retrieved a mountain biker on Saturday night who headed up a forest service road in East Lewis County wearing only shorts and a light shirt, not realizing that there was four feet of snow at his destination and found himself in the dark with no flashlight. The 37-year-old Cinebar resident called 911 about 9 p.m. on  his cell phone and asked for help getting back down, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He had planned a ride to Newaukum Lake and around Rooster Rock, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. He was located about five miles up the Forest Road 71, and taken home, Brown said.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• It took lawyers until about 4 p.m. today to pick a jury for the first-degree murder trial of Centralian Weston G. Miller. Miller, 30, is accused of shooting 43-year-old David Wayne Carson in Miller’s house on B Street on March 13 of last year. He claims self defense, prosecutors say it was an unprovoked attack. Opening statements are set to begin in the morning in Lewis County Superior Court.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for driving with a suspended license, warrants; responses for minor vehicle accidents, shoplifting, intoxicated people, kids and dogs running around without supervision, parental custody issues, possible suicide, wallets missing and found  … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

ARSON WATCH

• No overnight fires in Centralia since the arsons early Friday morning at the church building on West First Street, the Centerville western store at the north end of the Centralia Outlets and the attempted arson at Cooks Hill Community Church, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Chief Jim Walkowski recommended the public be extra watchful after the night that kept crews hopping from call to call. Two other blazes were extinguished the same night – at a coffee stand in north Chehalis and a church in north Centralia – but those were not deemed suspicious.

BURGLARY

• Someone broke a window to get inside a residence on the 800 block of K Street in Centralia and ransacked two bedrooms. The break in was reported about 11:40 a.m. on Friday. It wasn’t immediately clear if anything was missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Tires and rims were stolen from a backyard on the 1100 block of Crosby Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday evening.

VANDALISM

• Police reported yesterday someone threw paint on a grave marker at the cemetery on the 1800 block of Van Wormer Street in Centralia.

• Centralia police took reports yesterday of damage to vehicles at the 400 block of South Oak Street and the 300 block of West Pine Street.

CHILLY WATERS AND SUNSHINE PROMPT SAFETY MESSAGE

• Public safety personnel are cautioning residents that with the first hot days of spring – with temperatures in the 80s – rivers and lakes are still very cold and pose dangers. Lewis County Fire District 5 Lt. Laura Hanson says life jackets and other personal flotation devices are recommended and children should be closely supervised at all times while swimming and near water. Last May, authorities theorized it was a very warm day and very cold Chehalis River that caused an otherwise healthy 16-year-old Rochester boy’s death. The combination can cause a person’s diaphragm to constrict and make it suddenly hard to breathe. Rochester High School student Christopher Puentes-Garay was with friends and relatives on May 16 when he tried to swim across and went under. New underwater hazards such as limbs and logs can be expected to have been created over the winter as well, according to Hanson. Hanson shared a lifejacket discount coupon offered from Seattle Children’s Hospital and Big 5 Sporting Goods, which can be downloaded here

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, DUIs; responses for minor vehicle accidents, misdemeanor theft … and more.

Second area wildfire breaks out overnight

Sunday, May 5th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Air support is on the scene for a 40-acre fire that ignited overnight in the Capitol Forest overnight.

Firefighters from the Rochester and Littlerock area responded about 12:30 a.m. after a 911 caller reported a large fire at Capitol Peak, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority.

The blaze is described as approximately eight miles northwest of Littlerock and three miles south of the C Line. The fire chief is asking the public to stay out of the area.

Steep terrain and steady wind with gusts has made it difficult to fight, according to Lt. Lanette Dyer.

Crews from the McLane-Black Lake fire district are on the scene as well as the state department of Natural Resources.

DNR spokesperson  Karen Ripley said smoke is already visible from Olympia.

“There’s an off-road and ATV festival going on this weekend in the forest and there will be unexpected trail closures,” Ripley said.

Ripley said the cause is under investigation. Lt. Dyer called if suspicious, in part because it’s not yet very dry out, she said.

It’s burning on DNR trust land in logging slash and a 20-year-old old plantation, Ripley said.

In Lewis County at the Dog Mountain Fire near Glenoma, Ripley said there is little change this morning from last night.

As many as 50 firefighters were there last evening on property owned by Port Blakely. It too is burning in steep terrain and was described as spotty fires inside a 100-acre perimeter.

Engines patrolled the area overnight and a strong effort will be made today to extinguish the fire, according to Ripley.
•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Large brush fire burning south of Glenoma” from Saturday May 4, 2013, here

Breaking news: Large brush fire burning south of Glenoma

Saturday, May 4th, 2013
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Looking toward Dog Mountain from Falls Road. / Courtesy photo by Miriam DeShasier

Updated at 7:09 p.m. and 8:33 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A large wind-fueled wildfire that started east of Morton this afternoon has spread and is still growing.

Seven fire departments plus firefighters from the state department of Natural Resources are on the scene on Dog Mountain, at the east end of Riffe Lake.

Various reports have suggested the blaze is as large as 200 to 700 acres, but a spokesperson from DNR said the fire was within a 100-acre perimeter but very patchy and spotty.

Only about 10 acres is actually fire, Karen Ripley of DNR said after speaking with the incident commander about 7 p.m.

“There’s a lot of fuel in the area, but not a lot of it has dried out” Ripley said.

Ripley said the Dog Mountain Fire on land owned by Port Blakely is in an area both recently logged and with 8-year-old trees.

Lt. Laura Hanson from Lewis County Fire District 5 said the initial call came in at 1:22 p.m. More than 50 firefighters are working the fire, according to Hanson.

The Taidnapam Park area has been evacuated, but no structures are threatened, according to Hanson.

The incident commander told Ripley the wind is beginning to die down. She said crews would likely be out there for a couple of days.

Dog Mountain, just south of Glenoma,  is known as a favorite spot for hang gliders.

Miriam DeShasier, who lives in Glenoma, took a drive down Falls Road this afternoon and said it appears the east side of Dog Mountain was burning.

“A lot of the smoke is gone from the area now,” DeShasier said this evening.

 

Judge sends former Lewis County museum director to prison, criticizes disengaged board

Friday, May 3rd, 2013
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Deborah Sue Knapp sits with her defense attorney Ken Johnson as she is sentenced for theft.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Judge Richard Brosey blasted board members of the Lewis County Historical Museum today when he sentenced its now-former executive director for stealing possibly more than $200,000 during her time at the helm.

The theft was brought to light after revelations the non-profit’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was gone.

Both the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney in the case deny Deborah Sue Knapp took all of it, Brosey said. Both say the museum simply lived beyond its means.

“The endowment apparently was used as a piggy bank,” Brosey said.

Being on a board is not just a ceremonial job where members can attend meetings once in awhile and nod in agreement, it comes with responsibilities, Brosey told a nearly packed courtroom this afternoon.

“I’m going to impose punishment to Mrs. Knapp for what she did,” Brosey said. “But the board of directors has to take an active role. You can’t just sit there and do nothing.”

The Lewis County Superior Court judge said he was personally offended that the heritage of Lewis County was abused, noting how difficult it is to build endowment funds, and how this scandal will make it even harder.

The endowment was in an account meant to be left untouched, so it could generate interest which could be used for operating costs.

“It’s egregious its depleted,” Brosey said.

Knapp was arrested at the end of 2011, five and a half years after she was hired to run the institution that inhabits a former rail station on Northwest Front Way in Chehalis.

After months of trial preparations and negotiations, the now-53-year-old agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentencing recommendation. The hope was she could do about 12 months of jail time on work release, if she could find a job.

That didn’t work out.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead and defense attorney Ken Johnson’s back up plan was to ask the judge to give her one year plus one day, so she could serve her time in state prison instead of in a county jail.

State prison was at Knapp’s request, in part because it’s better equipped to deal with her ill health, according to her attorney.

The top of the legislatively mandated standard range for the crimes to which she pleaded guilty is 14 months.

Judge Brosey today imposed 14 months and ordered her immediately into custody.

Knapp was taken away in handcuffs, although she had hoped not to check into the jail until the evening before transport to prison, because of issues regarding bringing her heart medication into the jail.

Prosecutors alleged Knapp basically doubled her salary for a period of time, by obtaining “draws” that weren’t subsequently accounted for, writing her own payroll draw checks without anyone else’s knowledge and many times listing them in the check register as voided. She used the museum’s debit card to pay personal expenses, in an amount the two sides don’t agree upon.

Halstead had told the court he believed he could prove she took in excess of $124,000 and said it appeared she took more than $200,000, but that wasn’t provable.

“Reports that over $400,000 was taken by Mrs. Knapp, that’s just not true” Halstead told the court.

He said he knew the deal would make outsiders on both sides unhappy, but he wanted both for her to do time and be able to pay restitution.

Knapp’s attorney told the court his client has already paid $20,000 in restitution, money she borrowed from a relative.

“Mrs. Knapp is ashamed and embarrassed to be in this position,” Johnson said. “She would like to apologize to the entire community.”

He took a moment as well to share his view of the museum’s books, noting it operated without a budget or accountability.

“The endowment was used routinely to balance things out, they were living beyond their means,” Johnson said. “Anyone who’s attempted to blame Mrs. Knapp for that in total is simply mistaken.”

The final deal saw Knapp pleading guilty to five counts of first-degree theft.

Knapp herself addressed the judge only briefly. She said she appreciated the judge’s consideration and she was sorry.

Edward Fund spoke to the court as a member of the museum who has been involved in fundraising over the years.

“I just want people to actually learn from this,” he said.

His wife, former museum board member and newly elected Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund, focused on the betrayal, sharing examples of how she felt Knapp manipulated her and others.

“I didn’t know she would go from a very good friend to someone who would exhaust the museum fund,” Fund said.

The museum’s current board of directors is said to contain both old and new members.
•••

For background, read:

• “Knapp confesses she stole money from Chehalis museum as its director” from Wednesday March 13, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

BURGLARY AND THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 6:50 p.m. yesterday to take a report that someone stole a safe and a computer from a residence on the 600 block of South King Street.

• Chehalis police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a burglary at an apartment on the 500 block of Northeast Jefferson Avenue. The resident arrived home to discover the door partway open and its lock broken, according to police. Missing were cigarettes, a piece of jewelry and pain medication, detective Sgt. Gary WIlson said.

• Police took a report from the 900 block of Goff Street in Centralia about 4:10 p.m. yesterday that someone stole jewelry, coin “banks” and other items from a home.

• A deputy was called yesterday to a break-in to a large shop building at the back of property on the 900 block of Ceres Hill Road west of Chehalis. The victim said among the missing items were a propane tank and torch, a ladder and numerous car parts to include one bumper and 15 automobile hoods, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A woman who left her purse in a shopping cart when she went to load her groceries in her car at Safeway in Centralia returned to the cart to find the purse gone, according to a report made to police about 5:15 p.m. yesterday.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took reports yesterday of gang-type graffiti spray painted on a shop and traffic sign a the 2200 block of North Tower Avenue. More graffiti was reported later in the day to a fence on the 1700 block of Hillview Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for trespassing, driving with a suspended license, violation of no contact order; responses for shoplifting, minor collision, suspicious people, suicide attempt … and more.

Arson: String of Centralia fires under investigation

Friday, May 3rd, 2013
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Response at Centerville Western Store on Lum Road / Courtesy photo by Riverside Fire Authority

Updated at 6:12 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three fires broke out within less than an hour overnight in Centralia, causing damage at two church buildings and a third at the Outlet Mall.

They are under investigation.

It began about 3:20 a.m. when a female showed up at the front door of the downtown fire station and said she thought there was a fire next to the Centralia Church of the Nazarene on the 1200 block of West First Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Tim Adolphsen.

At 3:35 a.m. crews were called to the Centerville store off Lum Road, he said.

And just after 4 a.m., they were notified of another at a church on the 2500 block of Seward Avenue, he said.

Nobody was injured, he said.

Investigators have concluded already the last fire, at Calvary Chapel in north Centralia, was from an electrical issue, but the other two are arson, Chief Jim Walkowski said.

Fire investigators and police going to have a busy day, he said.

“We’re trying to find people who may have wanted to do harm to these buildings,” Walkowski said.

The most seriously damaged was the house just west of the Nazarene Church, which is used for youth activities, according to firefighters. The bulk of the fire was in its garage area however, Walkowski said.

He estimated the loss to as much as $50,000.

“That has been deemed a set fire, that’s an arson,” Walkowski said. “From where it started and the burn patterns, it was definitely a set fire, not an accident.”

The chief said he was just arriving at the scene when they were informed of an alarm activation at Centerville, the western store at the north end of the Centralia Outlets, so he headed that way instead.

Flames there originated in a hot water tank enclosure attached to the east end of the structure, he said.

“We were able to get inside quick enough so they will be open for business today,” Walkowski said.

The chief is asking residents who may have surveillance cameras to take a look at their footage to see if they show any vehicles or even people walking down the streets. And to please call him at 736-3975 or the police department if they find anything.

“We’ve solved lots of fires with these,” Walkowski said.

Four other fire departments, from Rochester to Napavine, assisted, he said.

The fire damage at the church on Seward Avenue was minimal, although it sustained some smoke and water damage, according to Walkowski.

By 10:30 a.m., crews learned of an attempt to burn yet another building, Cooks Hill Community Church on the 2400 block of Cooks Hill Road. They don’t know when it occurred, because it failed.

“One of the workers walked outside and found the side of the church had scorch marks,” Walkowski said.

The chief said they are asking folks to be hyper vigilant, and be sure to move any combustible materials away from the exterior of their homes or buildings.

A fire earlier in the night at the north end of Chehalis remains under investigation as well, he said.

Crews were called about 1 a.m. to the Firehouse Espresso stand on the 2300 block of Kresky Avenue. Flames were found on the backside, which were quickly knocked down, according to Chehalis Fire Department Firefighter-Investigator Jay Birley.

Birley said they had a garbage can behind the structure, and he’s suspicious about cigarette butts.

“It’s looking toward accidental, but I won’t know more till later today,” Birley said.

He’s described the damage to the coffee stand as moderate.