Several charges are being filed against a man who is accused of illegally having emergency lights on his vehicle, an incident from Friday morning. Around 8:40 am, a vehicle with “police lights and sirens” pulled up to the Emergency Department at St. John Medical Center, with the occupant apparently looking to get a hand injury treated. The driver, identified as a Longview resident, reportedly said that he was a firefighter, and had a badge. When questioned further, the man reportedly admitted that he was a “reserve,” but when Longview Police checked with the fire department, they learned that this man had quit the agency two years ago, and did NOT have permission to have these emergency lights on his rig. The man was eventually cited for reckless driving, reckless endangerment, illegal use of emergency lights and criminal impersonation.
Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category
Work starts today on the Talley Way Overlay Project, a restoration of the road surface on the main route through Kelso’s industrial area. Work will be done during daylight hours, and will disrupt traffic. Detours will be posted, and streets will need to be clear while this work is done; vehicles not moved could be subject to tow at the owner’s expense. Work is supposed to run through September 6th.
Work also starts today on catch basin replacement along Allen Street, working between North 23rd and Crescent Avenue. This work will also be done during daylight hours, and could also disrupt traffic. Temporary detours will be posted. This project is scheduled to run through this Friday.
The City of Longview continues its flushing schedule, working this week in the area between Tennant Way and the Columbia River, going from Oregon Way to the Cowlitz River. Work will run from 8 am to 4 pm, today through Thursday. Advisory signs will be posted; you’re advised to avoid using water while the flushing is being done, and you should flush your own pipes afterward.
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There’s a memorial service planned for today, in honor of one of the brothers who helped to start Lukken Maytag in Kelso. Clayton Norel Lukken died on the 21st of this month, after a long battle with cancer. He co-owned the Last Chance Tavern, and also helped start Lukken Maytag before he opened C&L Electric on his own. Today’s memorial starts at 2 pm at Longview First Baptist Church, located on Wheeler Street, next to Home Depot. The family is asking that memorial contributions be made to Community Home Health and Hospice, or to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
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Brian Del Kitts, 43, broke down in tears as a jury foreman announced a verdict of “not guilty” of first-degree murder in the February, 2000 murder of Shannon Cox. The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for about two hours before returning the verdict, after a trial of nearly two weeks in length. Kitts sobbed openly, as did his wife and other family members; his father-in-law, Mark Dykstra, says that this has been an extreme experience…kitts verdict…Kitts had been charged with the murder after Cox’s son, Donovan Allen, was freed after 15 years in prison; exonerated by DNA evidence that the Washington Innocence Project presented. Defense attorney Kevin Blondin made the case that as a close relative, one that visited Cox’s residence regularly, his DNA would naturally be in the home. Kitts also testified that he had fired the .22 rifle that was used as the murder weapon on several occasions, so it wouldn’t be unusual for his DNA to be on that weapon. Weeping profusely after the verdict was announced, Kitts also thanked the jury from across the attorney’s desk. Yesterday’s acquittal leaves prosecutors with no suspects in the 16 year-old murder, as both main suspects in the incident have now been found “not guilty.”
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Long-time Kelso teacher and local mental health care advocate Bernie Altman is now in critical condition at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, after being attacked and stabbed at his home in Kelso. Kelso Police report that they were called to 1000 North 20th yesterday evening for a welfare check on the homeowner, and they found that the 92 year-old Altman had been severely injured. They say that Altman had been beaten and stabbed, and that his son, David Jack Altman, 52, is the attacker. Bernie Altman was taken to Saint John Medical Center, and then was transferred to Vancouver with injuries described as “life-threatening.” David Altman was arrested by Kelso Police; it’s claimed that Altman assaulted an officer during the arrest. He’s now being held without bail on a single count of attempted first-degree murder. For many years, Altman and his wife were advocates for retirees and for mental health services in the local area, chairing the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health. In recent months, Altman had stepped away from those activities, while he acted as a caretaker for his wife. The motive for the attack is unknown at this time.
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A machine recount confirms that Teresa Purcell has displaced incumbent JD Rosetti in the November General Election race for Position #1 in the 19th Legislative District. The final tally released by the Washington Secretary of State shows Purcell with 6,411 votes, while Rosetti received 6,361 votes, a final margin of 50 votes, out of more than 26,500 votes that were cast. Purcell will now face Republican Jim Walsh in the General Election. Walsh was the top vote-getter in the Primary, but it’s noted that Purcell and Rosetti split the Democratic vote, and this seat has been in Democrat hands for many years.
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It’s being reported that the little girl that went under the water at Paradise Point State Park has died. Sakura Marie Hern, 5, of Tualatin had been pulled from the East Fork of the Lewis River last Saturday afternoon. She had been at the park with family, and was reported as missing shortly after 2 pm. Others at the park helped get the girl out of the water and then started CPR. The girl was eventually taken to Randall Children’s Hospital, but doctors said that there would be little chance of recovery. Hern was removed from life support yesterday morning, and she passed away a short time later, surrounded by family. A Celebration of Life is being planned for Sunday, and a GoFundMe account is being set up to help the family with expenses.
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The Red Cross is providing temporary housing and other assistance to a family that was displaced yesterday morning when a fire destroyed their RV. About 12:30 yesterday afternoon, Woodland Fire was called to the 1000 block of A Street in Woodland, where an RV fire was reported at the Woodland Shores RV Park. Two adults and a child were displaced by the fire, but other details have not been released. There’s no word yet on the cause of the fire, nor is there a dollar estimate on damage.
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Three people are under arrest after action by the Street Crimes Unit earlier in the week. On Tuesday, detectives served a search warrant at 264 Colorado Street in Longview, where they claim to have found heroin and methamphetamine. Bobby R. Rather, 48, is now being charged with possession of meth and possession of heroin. Maria L. Saenz, 49, is in custody for possession of meth with intent to deliver within a school zone, and possession of heroin, and Matthew S. Sund, 27, is being held for alleged possession of meth. This is part of an on-going investigation by the SCU.
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A Mass Casualty Drill is planned for today in Wahkiakum County, going from 10 am until 5 pm, and they’re in need of “victims” for the event. The Wahkiakum County Department of Emergency Management says that they’re setting up for a major event, looking for as many as 125 people to aid in the event. Volunteers will be made up with gunshot wounds, broken bones, burns and other injuries, and then they will be given scripts and and instructions for the events. They say that there will be loud noises, “yelling” and a simulated fire/collapse situation. Local law enforcement, emergency medical services, mental health professionals and school district emergency response staff will be involved. Call Wahkiakum County at 795-7876 for more information.
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