Three young men from Vancouver are under arrest, accused of starting the Colvin Creek wildfire that’s burning near Woodland. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office took Michael Estrada-Cardenas, 22, Nathan Taylor, 21, and Adrian Taylor, 23, into custody on Friday, saying that the trio inadvertently started the fire after they were using propane bottle for target practice. Deputy Lorenzo Gladson and an investigator with the Department of Natural Resources reportedly were able to piece things together, leading them to these three men. When questioned, the trio reportedly admitted going into the woods off of Fredrickson Road with four propane bottles and three weapons, a rifle, a pistol and a shotgun. They say that the fire started when they shot the bottles; the three say that they got the flames put out, but there were still some smoldering embers on the ground. All three are now being held without bail on charges of first-degree reckless burning.
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The Department of Natural Resources reports that this weekend’s rain and cooler weather is helping in the fight on the Pacific Cascade Complex of fires, including the Colvin Creek Fire. They now say that the Colvin Creek Fire is 100 percent contained, and after this weekend’s rain, fire activity is considered to be “minimal” at this time. Crews are in mop-up mode along the fire perimeter, but the fire is still listed as “active.” The Germany Creek Fire is also 100 percent contained, while stumps or logs may still be smoldering inside the fire lines. Three other smaller fires are still listed as being under “patrol status.” Even with this weekend’s light rains, DNR officials say that forest fuels are still extremely dry, with hotter weather and higher fire danger expected through this week.
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Tammy Rosa Snell, 49, of Longview is in custody on charges of DUI, reckless driving and hit-and-run after a possible road rage incident that was reported last night. Shortly after 10 pm, a 911 call came in from a home on Ocean Beach Highway, where a neighbor of the victim was supposedly holding the suspect at gunpoint. Longview Police arrived on the scene, and they heard this story; the victim says that she was coming across the Lewis and Clark Bridge when the suspect, who was coming the opposite way, did a U-turn, and then started flashing her lights at the victim. The victim also claims that the suspect followed her all of the way home, supposedly trying to run her off of the road at one point. Those on the scene claim that Snell tried to take off after being confronted, backing into a bush and a barrel. Snell was eventually arrested and booked, and is now being held on bail of $2,500.
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Ronald Hickey, 55, of Centralia is in critical condition after a Saturday night rollover crash on I-5, just south of Kalama. State Troopers say that Hickey was driving southbound on the freeway near milepost 26 when his car went off of the road to the right, went down an embankment and then caught fire. Hickey was extricated from the car and then was taken to Portland. The State Patrol continues to investigate the incident.
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Joseph M. Lowery, 20, of Winlock is pleading “not guilty” to a charge of attempted first-degree murder by firearm, entering a plea in connection with the shooting of Lowery’s ex-girlfriend near a park in Winlock. The Centralia Chronicle reports on Lowery’s arraignment; in court documents, it’s claimed that Lowery shot the 20 year-old woman because she had “disrespected the Juggalo Family”; those people are avid followers of a band called the Insane Clown Posse, and some have been linked to violent and criminal activity around the country. Lowery continues to be held on bail of $500,000; a 16 year-old Centralia boy is also under arrest in connection with the shooting, charged with unlawful possession of a gun and tampering with evidence. Lowery is due back in court on Thursday, when trial dates will be set.
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Rex Calvin Wemmer, 64, of Rainier is going to jail for 90 days, and is being ordered to pay a $100,000 fine as he’s sentenced in connection with his conviction for promoting child pornography. The South County Spotlight reports that Wemmer was arrested earlier this year, indicted on 100 counts of encouraging child sexual, abuse. They say that routine monitoring by the Child Protection System led to Wemmer’s arrest; they collect data from around the world, identifying internet addresses that are accessing child porn. Wemmer will avoid prison time by pleading guilty to six counts; he’s also being ordered to pay $100,000 to child abuse prevention organizations, to be paid in monthly installments of $2,000. Wemmer is also ordered to register as a sex offender, and is restricted from having internet access.
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An alert worker at the Longview Goodwill facility helped to find and return a missing Portland man to his home. An alert had gone out after it was reported that Marvin Krause, 62, had walked away from a care facility in the Wood Village area, east of Portland. It’s noted that Krause is dealing with “moderate dementia.” Thursday morning, an assistant manager with the Longview Goodwill spotted Krause sitting outside the entrance to the building prior to opening. They say that he wasn’t asking for help, but he clearly needed a hand. He was given some food and water, and was sent on his way at that time; Friday morning, a co-worker recognized Krause from a TV news report. He was found again, hanging out at the Shell station across from the Goodwill. Krause was picked up and was taken to St. John Medical Center for a checkup, before being returned to his home.
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“Phase 4” of the Tennant Way Streetscape Improvement Project gets under way today, with contractors starting work on the eastbound lanes between 9th and 11th Avenues. Starting this morning and going through Friday, August 14th, trucks will be barred from using 11th between Tennant Way and California Way; truck detours will be posted. Intermittent closures of the curbside eastbound lane will be conducted, as pavement cuts are made. Access to local businesses and residences will be maintained during this phase of construction. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.
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Memorial services are pending for former Weyerhaeuser mill manager John Walkush, who died last Thursday at the age of 72. Walkush first came to this area in 1982, hired to help manage the North Pacific Paper Company, a joint newsprint-producing venture involving Weyerhaeuser and a company in Japan. He was eventually promoted to manage all Weyco mill operations in Longview, before he retired in 2003. The Steele Chapel in Longview is handling the memorial arrangements.
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A company based in Minneapolis is buying 31 acres of land at the Mint Farm, where they plan to manufacture and distribute utility poles. Bell Lumber and Pole has been in business for 106 years, billed as a “wood first provider of electrical delivery systems, along with commercial and industrial infrastructure solutions. In its first phase, Bell says that they anticipate using the property for peeling poles and logistics operations. In a press release, the company says that this is a long-term commitment, and will add “numerous direct jobs to the local community.” Longview Mayor Don Jensen says that this looks to be a great company and a great fit for the Mint Farm; CEDC Director Ted Sprague says that the long and successful history of the company is impressive, and that the company will bring jobs that will be welcome in Longview and Cowlitz County. Bell says that they plan to start site development in the 4th quarter of this year, with a goal of being fully operational early next year.
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