Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Rain could cause creeks to fill up this week

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Not a flood warning, or even a so-called flood watch, but a “hydrological outlook” for all of Western Washington that says rain, rain, rain which could lead to flooding on some rivers by mid-week.

Total rainfall amounts through Wednesday are predicted to be in the 2-inch to 4-inch range on the southwest facing slopes of the Central Cascade Mountain Range and the Olympic Mountain Range, according to the National Weather Service.

The bulletin issued just before 5 p.m. today says this amount of rain will likely cause the Skokomish River in Mason County to flood at some point about mid-week and possibly cause some smaller creeks to run near “bankfull”.

A flood watch however was put in place this afternoon in Pierce County for the Puyallup River near Orting.

The weather service recommends people stay tuned to the latest forecasts.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, October 28th, 2012


• Police were called about 1:25 a.m. today to a tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia after a woman threw a beer glass at a bartender’s face. Further details were not readily available.


• Centralia police took a report just after midnight that an individual’s debit card was stolen while at a tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue and was immediately used locally. The case remains under investigation,  according to the Centralia Police Department.


• An 18-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 10 p.m. yesterday at the 500 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia for possession of stolen property in connection with knives reported stolen on Friday from a shed on the 400 block of North Oak Street. Nathan A. Cheney was booked in to the Lewis County Jail  also for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 24-year-old Portland man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and marijuana when contacted by an officer about 7:45 p.m. on Friday at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Rico F. Mendez was booked in to the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Halloween lawn decorations were reported stolen from the 500 block of South Gold Street in Centralia yesterday.

• An iPad was was reported stolen on Friday afternoon from an office on the 1700 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. A possible suspect has been identified, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police broke up a Friday night party with as many as 100 individuals at a small residence on East Cherry and South Diamond streets. The visit from police stemmed from a complaint of noise and lots of juveniles drinking and being disorderly outside the home. Four officers, with help from sheriff’s deputies, spent about two hours “processing” dozens of party-goers to determine which were younger than 21 and drinking, according to the Centralia Police Department. Seventeen young people between the ages of 15 and 20 were cited for minor in possession of alcohol, according to police. Six of them who were under 18 were released to their parents, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said.

Synthetic marijuana found at Chehalis fire station building

Friday, October 26th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Chehalis firefighter has been charged with possession of synthetic marijuana after “Spice” wrappers were found in the trash in the fire station building.

Adam Myer, 42, resigned from the department last week.

The one count of possession of a controlled substance filed in Lewis County Superior Court is a class C felony.

Myer denied using the drug during work hours.

Spice is one of numerous products that were legal until about a year ago, according to Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher.

“You used to be able to buy them over the counter,” Meagher said.

According to charging documents and Chehalis police, a police detective this summer was interviewing fire department employees about suspected thefts of small amounts of cash around the department.

That investigation didn’t lead to anything, but Chief Kelvin Johnson told the detective about a garbage bag containing suspicious empty packaging which had been discovered in the bathroom of the old police department next door.

Detective Rick Silva was told Myer spent a lot of his off-duty time at the station and at one point had spent several hours in that restroom, which his co-workers thought was odd.

The residue found with the wrappers was tested at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Vancouver and had a chemical known as Naphthoylindole, which is now classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, according to charging documents.

Spice refers to a mixture of herbs typically sprayed with a synthetic compound similar chemically to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana; it is usually smoked, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

It is known by various labels including or K-2, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie and Zohai, according to the DEA.

The documents allege Myer told the detective on July 20 the packaging was his, but he had not used the substance for some time and “straightened up” after a long talk with a fellow firefighter.

Chief Kelvin Johnson was unavailable to offer comment on Myer’s employment status, but co-workers yesterday said Myer last worked on July 20 and resigned last week.

Myer confirmed that yesterday, and said he didn’t want to discuss the case.

He said he has a medical condition that forced him to give up his job.

He disputed he admitted to the detective the Spice packaging was his.

“I never knowingly bought anything illegal,” Myer said. “It was a legal product bought from a store in Chehalis.”

He said it was perhaps unwise, but not against the law as far as he knew.

Myer said that after he spoke with detective Silva the first time, stores in Chehalis were still selling the product, saying he knew of three local businesses engaged in its sale for the better part of the summer.

“If they’re going to consider something illegal, they ought to prevent the sale of it, so people don’t unwittingly buy it,” Myer said.

Chehalis Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said  he isn’t aware of any businesses still selling the banned products.

It’s not something officers saw a whole lot of, although it did start to increase a little bit not long before it was banned, according to Kaut.

The Washington State Board of Pharmacy last autumn permanently banned the sale, possession and use of chemicals contained in products such as Spice, K-2, Bath Salts and others, made with either synthetic marijuana or synthetic stimulants.

An increasing number of reports from poison centers, hospitals and law enforcement prompted the DEA to control the active ingredients in synthetic marijuana beginning in March of last year. A measure signed in to federal law this summer added 26 synthetic drugs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Deputy Prosecutor Meagher said no merchants have been charged in Lewis County under the new law. Less than five individuals locally have been charged with possession, Meagher said.

Myer has been summonsed to appear in court on Nov. 6.


In Cowlitz County, prosecutors recently dismissed similar charges against two individuals because at the time they possessed the substances, it was not illegal yet to possess them. Read about it here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, October 26th, 2012


• A deputy was summoned to Winlock Middle School yesterday afternoon about a 13-year-old student being found in possession of a small amount of marijuana. The boy said it was for his personal use but he had not used it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The student was turned over to his mother; the case will be referred to juvenile prosecutors for a charging decision, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.


• A 69-year-old resident on the 700 block of Curtis Hill Road called the sheriff’s office about 6:20 a.m. yesterday when he discovered a burglary to his cow barn. Missing sometime since the day before was a Honda pressure washer and two 25-foot sections of insulated copper wire, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Police took a report about 6:50 a.m. today of a car prowl on the 1500 block of View Avenue in Centralia. Someone cut the cloth top on a Jeep and stole a purse and credit cards, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A window was broken out of a vehicle parked at the 200 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in  Chehalis and a CD player stolen, according to a report made to police just after 9 a.m. yesterday.

• A car stolen from Centralia turned up yesterday at Delano and Blair roads north of town, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The owner was contacted and retrieved the 2001 Honda Accord, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 19-year-old Chehalis area resident received minor cuts when he rolled his car yesterday morning off Brockway Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The teenager said he was not paying attention and drove his Oldsmobile Cutlass off the road, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. There was major damage to the car, Brown said. The driver was issued a citation for wheels off the roadway.

• A 21-year-old driver from Centralia was cited for wheels off the roadway after she reached for her chap stick and ran into an embankment on the 600 block of Centralia-Alpha Road east of Chehalis yesterday evening. A deputy arriving about 5:45 p.m. reported she and her passengers were evaluated by medics and none were injured,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 2004 Ford Focus sustained major damage, according to the sheriff’s office.

News brief: Onalaska firefighters save most of shop, all of mill in less than 24 hours

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A fire broke out this afternoon in Onalaska claiming a 25-foot travel trailer and almost taking out a two-car garage and shop built just two months ago.

Firefighters called about 2:30 p.m. to the 200 block of Dluhosh Road found the metal sided building had begun to burn, according to Lewis County Fire District 1 Chief Mark Conner.

Three firefighters from Onalaska and two from Lewis County Fire District 6 extinguished the blaze, he said.

The fire appeared to be related to an electrical issue in the trailer, which was a total loss, Conner said.

Conner said the owner was home and had moved some items, including a boat which had just a little damage. He estimated the shop was about 30 percent affected.

Onalaska firefighters last night stopped a fire at a mill on state Route 508 near Alexander Road. When they arrived following the approximately 11:30 p.m. call, they found small flames and smoldering wood shavings beneath some equipment according to the chief.

“It didn’t really spread, there was no equipment or property damage,” he said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, October 25th, 2012


• A 73-year-old Onalaska woman called the sheriff’s office yesterday when she realized she’d been tricked into sending $2,500 to a stranger. It happened late last month when she received a phone call from someone who identified himself as her grandson saying he was in New York where he’d gotten arrested for driving under the influence and needed the funds to get out of jail and get back to his base in Utah, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said the caller sounded sounded like the victim’s grandson who is in the military residing in Utah. The caller put his “attorney” on the phone, who helped arrange for the grandmother to wire the money via a local Western Union service, according to Snaza. She subsequently has been in contact with her grandson and discovered it was not him, according to the sheriff’s office. Snaza says the sheriff’s office urges folks if they are ever suspicious of something that could be a scam to call 911. Investigators are trying to figure out how the caller knew the young man’s details, Snaza said, but cautioned people might consider personal information they post online in places such as Facebook.


• A green 2001 Honda Accord was reported stolen from a residence on the 100 block of West Roanoke Street in Centralia yesterday. The missing car has a black fender on its passenger side, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police were called about 12:20 p.m. yesterday about a car prowl in which someone stole a stereo from the 100 block of Virginia Drive in Centralia.


• Chehalis police were called yesterday to a home on Southwest Gales Avenue where the 30-year-old resident said someone cut the wires on his house for the telephone and internet overnight. There is no suspect, according to police.


• A 41-year-old Centralia man picked up on a warrant overnight was allegedly found with a zipper case in his pocket that contained suspected methamphetamine and scales. Harold J. Bland was taken in to custody about 1:50 a.m. at a gas station on the 1200 block of Mellen Street in Centralia, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession with intent to deliver, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said.


• Also, as usual, various arrests for outstanding warrants, and misdemeanors such as shoplifting and marijuana.

News brief: Centralia pizza prank leads to criminal investigation

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police are investigating after a Dominoes Pizza delivery person showed up at a Centralia man’s door with more than $400 worth of pizza and beverages he did not order.

An officer who responded to the home on the 500 block of Yew Street last night learned someone used the 52-year-old man’s credit card to place the order, but it wasn’t him.

Sgt. Kurt Reichert said the unknown caller gave the man’s correct phone number for verification.

The man is a regular customer, he said.

“The pizza place was willing to go on past history, and deliver it to the guy,” Reichert said.

The sergeant said he wasn’t sure how many pizzas were delivered, or what was done with them after it was discovered it was a bogus order.

They did learn it was a female who called for the delivery, he said.

The victim passed along a name of a person who has had access to his credit card in the past, and the investigation continues.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012


• Police were called to Wal-Mart yesterday morning to a complaint a customer refused to leave, pulled her pants down and was “talking with her butt cheeks.” An officer who responded to the 10 a.m. call to Northwest Louisiana Avenue said the woman who was in her 30s denied exposing herself. She was “trespassed” meaning she was told she may not return to the store, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “We don’t know what she was trying to do,” Sgt. Brian Hickey said.


• Someone stole two sets of diving equipment and a racing bicycle from the 900 block of South Silver Street in Centralia, according to police. An officer called about 9:10 a.m. yesterday was told a lock had been cut off the garage. The loss is estimated at about $10,000, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A deputy was called yesterday morning to the theft of a maroon 1999 Ford Ranger from a driveway on the 400 block of South Street in Centralia. The vehicle went missing sometime between 9 p.m. on Monday and 8 a.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Centralia police were called at 8:48 p.m. yesterday to an interrupted burglary to a shop building on the 2400 block of Eureka Avenue. The victim observed a male wearing a dark-colored Oregon Ducks shirt, gray sweat pants and black with orange shoes running from the building, according to the Centralia Police Department. Nothing was immediately reported as missing, according to police.


• A woman who parked her car at Schaeffer Park north of Centralia while she walked her dog last night returned to find a window broken out and her purse missing. A deputy called about 8:45 p.m. to the parking lot on the 800 block of state Route 507 canvassed the area but found no suspect, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss of the handbag, cash and credit cards is about $450, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Also, as usual, various arrests for outstanding warrants, reports of misdemeanors such as theft and assault, as well as traffic issues and complaints that were not confirmed.

Read about Sheriff of Wahkiakum County dies of gunshot wound …

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports the sheriff of Wahkiakum County died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home late yesterday afternoon.

Sheriff Jon Dearmore, 50, who was elected in 2010, spent nearly 25 years in law enforcement, and oversaw a department of five full-time deputies, a small support staff and a handful of reserves, according to news reporters Leslie Slape and Natalie St. John.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson said it appears Dearmore may have been despondent over medical issues related to a lingering line-of-duty injury suffered several years ago.

Wahkiakum County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call from Dearmore’s wife about 5 p.m. when she reported he was making suicidal statements and she was concerned for his welfare, Nelson said in a statement.

“When the deputies arrived on scene, they found Sheriff Dearmore in his shop,” Nelson said. “As they entered the door to talk with him, he shot himself. Both deputies are long-time sheriff’s office employees and friends of Sheriff Dearmore.”

Wahkiakum County Undersheriff Mark Howie contacted Nelson and asked for assistance, according to Nelson. Coroner duties are being handled by Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson’s office at the request of Wahkiakum County Prosecutor and Coroner Dan Bigelow.

Deputies with Cowlitz County are providing patrol services for the eastern portion of Wahkiakum County, while Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson’s office is providing patrol services on the west end of the county, according to Nelson.

“Sheriff Dearmore was a loved, well respected member of the Wahkiakum community, as well as the region.” Nelson said. “He was my friend, and I’ll miss him.”

Read more here

News brief: Don’t run over the firefighters, please

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters will be “occupying” the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Haviland Street near the Centralia Outlet Mall on Friday afternoon as they conduct a “boot drive” fundraiser.

Dollars collected will benefit burn victims and their families, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

“This an opportunity for our community to raise money and awareness for burn prevention and help families affected by burn injuries begin the healing process,” Firefighter-paramedic Jennifer Ternan stated in a news release.

Donations will go the the Northwest Burn Foundation, to assist with housing for families while their loved ones get treatment at the Seattle Burn Center and for children who have survived burns to attend summer camp, according to Ternan.

The event takes place between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and may cause traffic congestion, according to the fire department.

Ternan offers some facts and advice:

• In Washington state, scald injuries are the second leading cause of death to children ages 4 years and younger.
• Just one second of contact with hot liquid can injure a child for life.
• Scalds can be prevented by lowering your water heater’s temperature setting to below 120 degrees.
• Never leave any child alone in the bathtub or in the kitchen.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012


• Deputies were called about 4:20 a.m. today to a rural Chehalis home after a resident said his rabbit hutch was broken into by neighbor dogs. He said he awoke to the sound of a squealing rabbit and saw two German shepherds running away, one with his rabbit in its mouth, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The 44-year-old fired a shot at the dog, but missed, according to the sheriff’s office. It happened at the the 1000 block of state Route 508. The rabbit died and the dogs’ owner was issued a citation for a violation called prohibited activities by dogs, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Chehalis police were called just before 3 p.m. yesterday to a grocery store on the 2100 block of North National Avenue where they were told a young man had slipped a fifth of booze down the front of his shorts and departed without paying. Shop ‘n Kart’s surveillance video showed it was a fifth of Jagermeister, priced at just over $30, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart about a suspected car prowl that occurred while its owner was shopping about 11:30 a.m. yesterday. The woman said she tore the vehicle apart looking for her turtle but it was gone. The reptile turned up later, according to Officer Linda Bailey.


• An officer was called to a nursing home on the 1300 block of Alexander Street in Centralia yesterday afternoon to take a report about money stolen from two residents. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 55-year-old firewood seller was arrested near his home in Eatonville yesterday morning after he allegedly fled property on the 9000 block of state Route 7 north of Morton with a truckload of wood. When the law caught up with Homer F. Roger, he said the property wasn’t posted no trespassing so he didn’t think he did anything wrong, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Roger was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree trespass, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The wood was from a slash burn pile and a value could not be established for theft, according to Brown.


• Centralia police took a report about 4:30 p.m. yesterday from he 500 block of Yew Street about the theft of prescription medication. They have a potential suspect and are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 17-year-old boy was arrested last night for allegedly choking his mother during an argument when she wouldn’t let him leave the home. Deputies called about 11:15 p.m. to the 1600 block of Pleasant Valley Road west of Chehalis reported they were told the woman briefly could not breathe while her son’s arm was around her neck. The teen was taken into custody for second-degree assault, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Morton police are investigating a Saturday incident in which a man was walking down a sidewalk with friends when a stranger came up and hit him in the face. It happened about 11 a.m. at Main Avenue and First Street, according to the Morton Police Department. The suspect is a male in his 20s, according to Chief Dan Mortensen.


• Someone tagged a playground wall at Edison Elementary School on the 600 block of H Street in Centralia, police were told yesterday morning. It was immediately painted over by school employees, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A woman and three girls from Toledo escaped serious injury when she rolled her vehicle onto its side after encountering four or five deer in the roadway  last night. A deputy called about 10 p.m. the South Jackson Highway near state Route 505 near Toledo was told by the 37-year-old driver she braked and swerved to miss the animals and the Ford Explorer went down an embankment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A 14-year-old passenger was taken to the hospital with neck and back pain, according to the sheriff’s office. The others, including girls ages 13 and 5, were reportedly uninjured. “Amazingly, there was no damage to the vehicle but it had to be towed from the ditch,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Updated at 5:32 p.m.


• A Winlock man was arrested after he reportedly called 911 eight times over the weekend to say he’d been poisoned, there were suspicious people outside his home and he needed sleeping pills because he’d been awake for five days. Deputies who responded to the 100 block of Bethany Lane suspected he might be under the influence of something because of his odd behavior, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He said he had used methamphetamine, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Matthew T. Johnson was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after first calling 911 on Saturday and was then released, according to Brown. Johnson repeatedly called 911 until Sunday morning, when deputies arrested and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for telephone harassment, she said.


• Chehalis police are investigating an incident in which a kitten was shot on the 1400 block of Mills Avenue. An officer called about 6 p.m. on Friday was told by the 20-year-old owner the feline was found under the neighbor’s porch and the veterinarian suspected it was a .22 caliber bullet that went through the spine, according to police. Sgt. Brian Hickey said he understood the kitten didn’t survive. An officer is still attempting to contact individuals to conduct further interviews, Hickey said.


• A 26-year-old intoxicated woman from Lacey was arrested about 1 a.m. on Saturday when she allegedly took a swing at a firefighter who was trying to help her get up. Police were called to the 2100 block of North National Avenue to assist aid crews which had been summoned about a woman who was having trouble breathing, according to the Chehalis Police Department. She told the firefighter to “FU” and grabbed his legs when her punch didn’t connect, according to police. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault but is being released without the felony charge pending further investigation.


• Someone stole a sledge hammer, tools and a moving cart from a residence on the 200 block of Van Buren Street in Centralia, according o a report made to police yesterday afternoon. They also removed the siding from a shed and made off with fishing poles and a tool chest, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Deputies located a burglary suspect last night near Toledo and booked him into the Lewis County Jail. David M. Meyer, 31, was wanted in connection with a Oct. 12 break-in to a home on the 100 block of Collins Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Meyer was found about 7 p.m. in the 1500 block of state Route 505, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Centralia police took a report on Saturday morning of a car stolen from the 300 block of Jackson Street. The victim later found her Honda in the area of Anderson Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning a blue and white tow dolly valued at $1,000 was stolen from near a driveway on the 2700 block of Sandra Avenue in Centralia on Oct. 12. The victim just reported the theft on Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It has spoked rims, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 55-year-old man was arrested for driving under the influence after a two-vehicle minor injury collision on Harrison Avenue and Johnson Road in Centralia on Friday evening, according to police. An officer called about 8:10 p.m. to the scene issued a citation to George M. Solomon, of Centralia, and then released him, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 42-year-old Winlock man was arrested for driving under the influence after a non-injury, single vehicle collision Friday afternoon in the Toledo area in which he allegedly ran away from the scene, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A detective arriving about 3 p.m. located Douglas F. E. Jerome and brought him back to the wreck, according to the sheriff’s office. It happened near Jackson Highway and Frost Road near Toledo. His car sustained only minor damage, , Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• A 25-year-old motorist was arrested yesterday evening after a police pursuit that reached speeds of more than 50 mph in a residential neighborhood on Southeast First Street in Winlock, according to police. Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams reported the driver fled his vehicle on Ash Street where he was apprehended. Marcus A. Church of Silver Creek was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine, according to Williams. A search of the vehicle by police dog Misha and her partner turned up drug paraphernalia and an illegal weapon, according to Williams. Church was booked into the Lewis County Jail about 7:20 p.m. for attempting to elude, possession of meth and possession of a dangerous weapon. It began with a traffic stop related to driving with a suspended license, according to the chief.

Aged flood survivor loses her stock of prize-winning canines for the second time

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Nancy Punches realizes she was in over her head.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

DRYAD – Authorities seized dozens of foxhounds from a 79-year-old woman who lives in Dryad; animals they said were living in deplorable conditions.

All but a few seemed to be well-fed but their living area was overrun with feces, according to Lewis County code enforcement officials.

Code Enforcement Supervisor Bill Teitzel said he didn’t believe she was selling the dogs.

“I think she essentially is not physically able to care for the dogs and they were breeding among themselves,” he said yesterday.

Authorities rounded up 68 or 69 canines during Friday’s operation on the 400 block of River Road, 20 of them puppies, according to Teitzel. They found one dead pup which will be examined, he said.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Steve Aust said once they get the results of the necropsy, they will evaluate if there is a criminal issue of abuse or neglect.

The foxhounds are descendants of four puppies who – along with their owner Nancy Punches – survived Lewis County’s December 2007 flood while her 16 champion show dogs perished.

Punches endured a nightmarish 36-hour ordeal alone in which she was trapped inside her mobile home as flood waters rose to within inches of her ceiling. She floated upon a tipped-over antique bookcase after placing her five-week-old dogs inside a styrofoam shipping container.

Lewis County Commissioner Bill Schulte who lives in the same community about 14 miles west of Chehalis tipped off enforcement employees there might be a problem. Schulte told Teitzel early last week Punches has been a responsible dog owner for years.

“Her bond (with the dogs) is a little different than before,” Schulte said.

Punches, a longtime breeder of show dogs, has been mostly cooperative.

“I don’t want to blame it on the flood,” Punches said. “But I’m not the same person I was before the flood.”

“I always try to do too much, and it just caught up with me,” she said.

Animal enforcement employees visited Punches’ rural property a week ago and observed feces and sawdust stacked up to eight inches in the outside run area, according to Teitzel. Punches works out of town and they had a hard time catching her at home, he said.

When they returned on Friday morning with a warrant to inspect the premises, it had rained, he said.

“The first thing my staff noticed, that had totally liquified, and the dogs were wading through it,” he said.

Inside the dogs’ central building, waste was mounded to more than a foot, he said, and conditions were severely overcrowded.

They amended their warrant to allow for immediate confiscation of the dogs.

The roundup lasted until long after dark, he said. Assisting with collecting and subsequently housing the canines were animal control employees from Clark County, the city of Chehalis and the Lewis County Animal Shelter. The non-profit animal rescue group Pasado’s Safe Haven in Snohomish County helped as well.

Some went to veterinary clinics with minor leg injuries or possibly urine burned feet, according to Teitzel.

It became a struggle crating up 70-plus-pound foxhounds, he said.

“As we got about two-thirds (of the way) through, some had never been handled,” he said.

Punches, who assisted them during the wrangling, called it bedlam and traumatizing for many of the dogs.

Next-door-neighbor Jim Chown called Punches a sweet lady who has a hard time letting go of things.

“She knows every dog, she knows their names,” Chown said.

Punches spent yesterday with her adult son who traveled from his home in Burien to help his mother.

“I’ knew it was bad,” she said. “I’ve known the past couple of months I was over my head.”

It’s not for lack of trying though, she says.

At 79, she is on her feet all day, working four 10-hour days a week in the lab at Morton General Hospital. Her commute is an hour and a half each way.

That leaves about enough time and energy to feed her dogs, feed herself and sleep until her next shift, she said.

“It’s hard to get good help when it comes to shoveling (kennels),” Punches said.

She said she didn’t intend for the dogs to multiply the way they have, but the fencing between the males and females has deteriorated in places.

She’s spoke with fencing people about replacing it, as soon as she could get the money, she said. She’s talked to contractors about a replacement roof.

“I tried to get a loan, but it’s a double-wide, a used one,” she said of her home that was donated after her first one was destroyed in the flood.

They go through 150 pounds of dog food a day.

Punches has attempted to find homes for some of her dogs, spending her time off last weekend delivering four of them partway to Montana. It’s hard to choose which ones to keep, she said.

She knows for sure she would not willingly give up Noah and his sister Spirit, two of the pups that she kept warm inside her shirt as she wandered hypothermic and disoriented through her former home on Dec. 4, 2007; or Hawk, the grown dog she said had to save himself.

The generosity of strangers afterward was tremendous, she said, with cards and much-welcome and needed donations of money.

Punches chokes up and pauses, saying she doesn’t usually cry.

“People were so nice, I’m afraid when they hear about it …,” she said.

She worries those people will think their kindness then was a mistake, she said.

Her first dog show was in 1956, she said. “I’ve never had a problem like this.”

Changing the topic, she admits she doesn’t know what will happen next.

Amy Hanson from the animal shelter offered her a deal on Saturday, in which she would be willing to return four of the dogs if they are “fixed”, she said, in exchange for signing the rest of the dogs away.

Some of them are championship foxhounds, she said.

“Those dogs are valuable to the breed,” Punches said. “If they’re spayed or neutered, they’re no good to the breed.”

CORRECTION: This news story has been updated to correctly reflect the number of dogs Nancy Punches lost in the December 2007 flood.


The sheriff’s office counted 47 adult dogs and 18 puppies with four of the puppies taken to Cascade West Veterinary Hospital in Centralia for treatment and one dead puppy found in a cage. Two of the animals are fox terriers, the rest foxhounds, according to Code Enforcement Supervisor Bill Teitzel. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office



The dogs’ housing at the property on the 400 block of River Road west of Chehalis. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

Breaking news: Family of Napavine man fatally shot by deputy files federal lawsuit

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Updated at 1:49 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An expected lawsuit regarding the fatal shooting by a Lewis County sheriff’s deputy of an unarmed Napavine man has been filed in federal court.


Steven V. Petersen

The sheriff’s office in a news release “vehemently denies” Deputy Matt McKnight acted recklessly or negligently in any way when he shot 33-year-old Steven V. Petersen last year.

The action filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma alleges McKnight engaged in a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ approach to law enforcement, according to the news release.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield says McKnight did everything he was supposed to do.

An attorney for Petersen’s family has said their investigation would focus on the sheriff’s office training, supervision and decision-making in the field when using deadly force.

It happened on June 20 in Napavine, when police and deputies responded to an approximately 2 a.m. call that Petersen left stab holes in the door of his ex-girlfriend’s mobile home while trying to get inside and then left on foot.

Deputy McKnight found Petersen a few blocks away, and after Petersen refused to take his hand out of his pocket and began to charge McKnight, the deputy fired four shots, according to the account given by local authorities. The dead man had no knife.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer concluded McKnight’s use of deadly force was justified, based on an investigation conducted by outside law enforcement officers. McKnight was also cleared by an internal review at the sheriff’s office.

The complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages, but the claim that preceded it asked for as much as $10 million.

More to come.


For background, read:

• “Multi-million dollar lawsuit coming in deputy-involved shooting in Napavine” from Wednesday June 6, 2012, here

• “Details emerge in Napavine officer-involved shooting” from Saturday July 2, 2011, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Updated at 4:40 p.m.


• A 41-year-old former Pe Ell man who vanished after he was charged five years ago with molesting his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter was located and arrested yesterday west of Dallas by Texas Rangers.


Michael T. Yeager

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives have been looking for Michael T. Yeager since 2008, at one point even conducting SWAT operations where they thought he was camping in the woods around Pe Ell, according to the sheriff’s office. Local detectives learned family member’s of Yeager were assisting him by giving him a place to live in Quitman, Texas and asked the Rangers for assistance, according to Sheriff Steve Mansfield. Yeager was arrested late yesterday afternoon and will be extradited back to Lewis County. Mansfield said Yeager was living out in the woods and tried to escape by water in a canoe. A Ranger tracked him down and found he had a large amount of survival gear, a rifle and a fishing pole. Mansfield said. The case involves an allegation he molested the girl over a several year span while they resided together in Pe Ell, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Somebody stole stole thousands of dollars worth of materials and equipment from a business on the 800 block of state Route 507 in an overnight break in, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy called to the rock pit about 9 a.m. yesterday learned that 250 feet of copper pipe and 100 feet of copper wire were among the items taken, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Centralia police are investigating a theft from a household furnishings rental center on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue. A report made to police yesterday afternoon indicated a customer stopped making payments  on a living room set and a television, according to police.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, October 18th, 2012


• Firefighters were called to the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia yesterday evening to extinguish a burning Dan Swecker campaign sign. The case was turned over to police.


• Centralia police were summoned to Oakview Elementary School around noontime yesterday when marijuana was found in a 12-year-old boy’s pocket. The case involving a small amount of the suspected drug is being turned over to prosecutors for evaluation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Deputies were called about 4:25 p.m. yesterday to a burglary at a residence on the 800 block of Logan Hill Road outside Chehalis. A girl told them when  let herself in after school, the door felt like it was unlocked, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A neighbor said he heard a car start up and leave the home about 10:30 a.m., and noted it was a white Honda, perhaps a Civic or  Prelude, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Among the valuables missing are a Toshiba 32-inch flat screen television, a Dell computer monitor, antique silverware and $70 cash, Brown said.


• A Chehalis police detective traveled to Hoquiam yesterday to arrest a  21-year-old resident for a shoplifting incident last Friday morning at Wal-Mart in Chehalis. Surveillance video which showed someone carrying merchandise our an emergency exit and get into a waiting vehicle led police to Justin A. Dunlap, according to Chehalis police. Dunlap was booked into the Lewis County Jail for retail theft, according to police. Taken was a backpack and stereo equipment valued at about $230, Officer Linda Bailey said.


• A passenger car and a Twin Transit bus collided about 10 a.m. yesterday at the intersection of North Pearl and West First streets in Centralia. The driver of the car ran a red light, according to police. Nobody was injured, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Someone broke the window out of a vehicle on the 1400 block of Logan Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police just before 5 p.m. yesterday.

• Centralia police were notified yesterday morning of graffiti spray painted overnight on the back of a building on the 500 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012


• Chehalis police were called to Green Hill School yesterday to take a report of a second-degree assault. A 16-year-old boy had punched a 15-year-old boy in the face at the juvenile detention facility and broke his jaw, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case is being referred to juvenile prosecutors.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 19-year-old Centralia man yesterday for a September 27 burglary in which stereo equipment and other items were taken from the 800 block of State Street East in Centralia. When a deputy took Sam M. Burleson into custody, a glass pipe with unspecified residue was found in his pants pocket, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Centralia police were called about 7:45 a.m. yesterday to fenced construction yard where someone had broken into three vehicles and also drained 35 gallons of diesel from a dump truck. Also among the items stolen from the 200 block of East Chestnut Street were jumper cables, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Someone broke into a car parked at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street in Chehalis and stole a flat screen television and a DVD player, according to a report made to police yesterday evening.


• Morton police were called about 3 p.m. on Sunday to a report of a crying infant being left in stroller on the river bank off Main Avenue while its parents were fishing some 15 to 20 feet away. The parents were contacted and cautioned about their behavior, according to Police Chief Dan Mortensen. An officer had them move the baby and an adult into their car to keep the baby out of the rain and cold, according to Mortensen.


• Chehalis police and aid responded to a report but 7:25 p.m. yesterday of a toddler with a 40-ish man who was laying face down on the sidewalk at Southeast Sixth Street and Washington Avenue. The man smelled of intoxicants and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to police. The child was picked up by a relative, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• reports a man is dead in what Yakima police called an officer-involved shooting after officers went to a man’s home today to check on him in connection with cleaning staff at a Lewis County motel finding blood in the room when the man checked out. For more, see “Bloody Lewis Co. hotel room leads to fatal shooting in Yakima” from on Wednesday October 17, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.

News brief: Burn ban ending

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Restrictions on outdoor burning in Lewis County will be lifted tomorrow, according to county fire marshal Fred Chapman.

A burn ban went into effect on Aug. 13 because of the fire danger caused by hot, dry weather.

Permits are still required. Outdoor burning remains prohibited in cities, towns and their urban growth areas.

For further information contact: Lewis County Community Development, in the Lewis County Public Services building, at 2025 NE Kresky Ave., Chehalis or call 740-1146.  Burn permits may be obtained online at the county website.

Thurston County’s burn restrictions were lifted yesterday.

Slaying of Onalaska baseball referee brings 30 year prison term for son

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Joshua L. Vance glances back after his prison sentence is decided in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Twenty-five-year-old Joshua L. Vance was sentenced this morning to 30 years in prison for taking a knife to his sleeping father in March in their Onalaska home.

While lawyers and the judge didn’t disagree Vance has mental health issues, all agreed he should be locked up for a long time.

“It’s true he does suffer from some psychosis disorder,” Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told the judge. “While that played a part in this thing, Mr. Vance knew definitely what he was doing, and why he was doing it.”

Vance, a Centralia College student who lived with his father, grandmother, uncle and nephew on Pennel Avenue, pleaded guilty earlier this month to first-degree murder.

He called 911 early on the morning of March 7 and said he’d killed his dad. Terry Vance, 58, was stabbed at least 11 times; his throat was cut, according to court documents.

Terry Vance was a baseball coach and official, whose death was mourned by many.

“Your honor, our family truly loves Josh and prays for his soul, but don’t believe he’ll ever be able to be a productive member of society,” his Uncle Larry Vance told the judge today.

He called his nephew an angry person, one that kept the family walking on pins, needles and nails.

“I feel when Josh murdered my brother, Josh died as well as far as I’m concerned,” Larry Vance said.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt agreed with the prosecutor’s recommendation of 30 years, plus three years on community custody after his release. Defense attorney David Arcuri had asked for 25 years.

“An untreated mental health condition such as exists here is a threat to society,” Hunt said.

The handcuffed and shackled Joshua Vance kept his gaze toward the judge throughout the hearing. He chose not to address the court when offered the opportunity.

Joshua Vance has been diagnosed with psychotic disorder, major depression, amphetamine dependence and alcohol abuse, according to a report from Western State Hospital.

His family said he’d gone off his medication because he couldn’t afford them. His lawyer told the judge today it was an insurance issue that caused him to lose his medications.

He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and had the case ended with that plea in place, he would have faced time in a state mental hospital; potentially as long as the rest of his life.

A psychiatric evaluation by a doctor hired by prosecutors, however, didn’t indicate Vance qualified for an insanity plea. Arcuri said his client just wanted to get the case resolved, so they accepted a plea agreement.

Meagher today said the younger Vance had long term, deep seated anger toward his father, citing passages from an interview with a detective in which he said his father was never there for him, never gave him advice and treated him badly.

Prosecutors said previously Joshua Vance had told deputies and hospital personnel he also intended to kill the rest of his family, but couldn’t after he cut his own fingers.

As part of the plea agreement, Meagher dropped three charges of attempted first-degree murder regarding Larry Vance, Bonnie Vance and his 11-year-old nephew. They were rolled into one count of third-degree assault, an offense Joshua Vance didn’t commit but to which he pleaded guilty, pursuant to a doctrine called “In re Barr”.

His sentence for third degree assault will be served concurrent with the murder sentence.

His grandmother Bonnie Vance was among his family members in the Chehalis courtroom today. She chose not to speak to the judge directly, but a letter she wrote was read aloud.

Her writing addressed the worst day of her life, when she awoke to hearing her son yelling “No” to her grandson, and then found her grandson standing over him with a knife.

“My sons lost their brother,” she wrote.

“I ask each day what I could have done to stop this; I know I could not.”

“God knows I love my grandson Josh too,” she wrote. “I wish I could have done more to help him know how special he was to all of us.”

The judge ordered mental health help for Joshua Vance while he is incarcerated, according to Meagher.

The earliest he will be eligible for release is after 27 years, according to the state Department of Corrections.


The family of Joshua and Terry Vance await a judge’s decision in the first-degree murder case.


For background, read:

• “Joshua Vance admits to killing his father” from Thursday October 4, 2012 at 7:52 p.m., here

• “Breaking news: Plea agreement made in Onalaska murder case” from Monday October 1, 2012 at 7:23 p.m., here

• “Insanity” of Onalaska murder defendant to be decided by a judge” from Tuesday August 21, 2012, here

• “Onalaskan’s insanity plea in alleged murder of father bolstered by mental exam” from Wednesday July 11, 2012, here

• “Onalaska family that lost one to knife attack, loses home to fire three months later” from Friday June 8, 2012 at 9:22 a.m., here

• “Onalaska man pleads insanity in father’s fatal stabbing” from Tuesday May 8, 2012, here

• “Two murder cases stalled by requests for psychiatric evaluations” from Thursday March 22, 2012 at 9:34 p.m., here

•  “Murder suspect: “When he was good, he was such a good young man”" from Friday March 9, 2012, here

• “Coroner’s office names Terry Vance as victim in Onalaska home” from Wednesday March 7, 2012 at 7:53 p.m., here

• “Breaking news: Homicide investigation in Onalaska” from Wednesday March 7, 2012 at 8:57 a.m., here