Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Flying K Shooting

August 18th, 2016

22-year Kelso Police veteran John Johnston is now on paid administrative leave, also recovering from injuries that he received in yesterday’s fatal shooting at the Flying K convenience store and gas station in West Kelso. Sheriff Mark Nelson describes what happened just after 8 yesterday morning. Police actually got their first heads-up on the man involved at about 1:30 yesterday morning, when a clerk at the 24-hour market reported that a man walked out of the store with some items, after his card was declined. At that time, it was reported that the man was “carrying a block of wood,” and that he threatened a volunteer firefighter who was on the scene. Yesterday’s events unfolded after a second shoplifting incident, and then the shooting took place as the officer was talking with the clerk about that incident. It’s alleged that the victim attacked a customer, a clerk and Officer Johnston, reportedly hitting Johnston in the face with the piece of wood. The man’s name has not yet been released; they say he’s a transient who may have come to this area from eastern Washington, and may be from the Sudan. An update is planned at 11 this morning.

Social media lit up after the shooting, including some speculative statements about Blacks Lives Matter protestors supposedly being “on their way,” urging local residents to arm themselves and to confront those people. BLM never showed up, but there was a peaceful vigil yesterday evening involving about 40 local residents, led by local pastors and police chaplains. They held prayers and sang songs, but no disruptions were reported.

Missing Woman

August 18th, 2016

Jeremy Milutin, 36, of St. Helens is being held in the Lane County Jail in Eugene, while efforts to find a missing St. Helens woman are continuing. Cheryl Hart, 35, hasn’t been seen since August 4th, and Milutin is considered a “person of interest” in her disappearance. Lane County officials are also extremely concerned about Hart, saying that it’s “very probable that she’s in grave danger,” given the length of time she has been missing. Hart was last seen alive the 4th of this month, when she was with Milutin at a home in Eugene. On August 5th, Milutin is seen on a security video at a store in Eugene, but he’s by himself. After driving to Klamath Falls, Milutin was arrested later on the 5th, while allegedly driving a car that had been stolen in Saint Helens back on July 26th. Hart’s family and friends are trying to organize a search party, but they really don’t know where to start looking, given the wide expanse of travel. Milutin is being held in the Lane County Jail on several misdemeanor and felony counts that are unrelated to this case, while the investigation into Hart’s disappearance continues.

Excessive Heat

August 18th, 2016

An Excessive Heat Warning goes up at 2 pm today and runs through 9 pm on Saturday, with the Weather Service predicting extremely high daytime temperatures into the weekend. High temperatures are expected to be in the upper 90’s for the next three days, with a high of 101 predicted for tomorrow. You’ll need to take precautions to protect yourself from the heat; you should also check on your elderly friends and neighbors, along with those who don’t have air conditioning. Stay hydrated, try to avoid being in the direct sun, and make sure to NOT leave pets or children inside of closed-up cars.

There’s also a Red Flag Warning up in the South Washington Cascades, starting at midnight tonight and running through 8 pm on Saturday. Forecasters say that high winds and low relative humidity are combining to take the fire danger level in the Cascades and the foothills to critical levels. Relative humidity could be as low as ten percent, while east wind speeds could be 15 to 30 miles an hour, with gusts up to 45 miles an hour. With these conditions, any fires would be expected to spread quickly.

Campfire Ban

August 18th, 2016

The Department of Natural Resources says that the “most dangerous fire weather of the year” is on the way, so the annual ban on campfires on state lands is now in effect. Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark issued the ban, which went up at noon yesterday. Campfires are now prohibited on all DNR-protected lands, a ban that is scheduled to be in effect through September 30th. The ban applies to all state forests, state parks and forestlands protected by DNR. ALL outdoor burning is banned, including campfires in fire pits and the use of charcoal briquettes. Stoves fueled by propane or white gas can still be used; the ban does NOT cover federal lands. So far this season, there have been 572 fires that have burned more than 3,300 acres. Last year at this time, there had already been 803 fires, burning more than 319,000 acres.

Casino Challenge

August 18th, 2016

The Grand Ronde Indians of Oregon are making one more legal challenge to the Cowlitz Indian Casino Project, claiming that they would lose a huge part of their revenue stream if the Cowlitz Casino is allowed to open. The Salem Statesman-Journal reports on this story, saying that the Grand Ronde are claiming that they would lose as much as 41 percent of its revenue is the Cowlitz Casino is allowed to operate. That’s estimated to be as much as $100 million. Earlier this month, the Grand Ronde Council voted to file a motion with the Supreme Court, asking that construction on the Cowlitz Casino be halted. If that fails, then the tribe says that it would “explore other revenue options.” It’s unclear as to when the Supreme Court might rule.

Thursday Events

August 18th, 2016

You can learn how to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud by going to a class that’s planned for this morning at the Longview Senior Center. The Center is teaming up with AARP to offer this class from Jim Perkins, a discussion about how to spot ID theft and fraud. AARP has developed the Fraud Watch Network, which can help you recognize fraud and scams when they try to target you. This class starts at 11 am at the Longview Senior Center, located at 1111 Commerce Avenue in Longview.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers some support for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s, a gathering that will go from 6:30 to 8 pm this evening at the Kaiser Permanente clinic on 7th Avenue in Longview. If you’re caring for someone with memory loss, or if you need information and support, you’re invited to come and learn, share and gain emotional support from others who are going through the same journey. These meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month, in Conference Room 6 at Kaiser. Call 261-4612 for more information.

“Sweetwater” will be playing the country hits this evening in Saint Helens, as 13 Nights on the River continues. The concert will start at 6 pm on the waterfront in Olde Towne Saint Helens, following the open-air market that opens at 3. Admission is free.

“Business After Hours” goes on the road tonight, as the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce teams up with the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce to celebrate at ToledoTel. You’re invited to nosh and network with food from Crowded Kitchens and wine from Bateaux Cellars, and they’ll also be giving away a Bluetooth speaker. This will run from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at ToledoTel, located on Plomondon Road in Toledo. Call the Chamber at 423-8400 for details.

Officer-Involved Shooting

August 17th, 2016

There’s a lot of police activity in West Kelso this morning, after a fatal shooting that involved a Kelso Police Officer. This incident took place shortly after 8 am, after a man allegedly used a stick to attack two clerks at the Flying K convenience store. That man was gone when the officer arrived, but they say that he came back and resumed the attack. It’s claimed that the attacker used a stick to hit the officer in the face; that’s when the officer drew his weapon and shot the man, fatally wounding him. The officer was taken to St. John Medical Center to be treated, while Longview Police and the Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene to begin the investigation. It’s reported that the attacker was a black male, but there’s no other information yet on his identity. The investigation is just getting under way, and more information is expected later on.

Heat Wave Coming

August 17th, 2016

It’s time to start making preparations for a heat wave that’s predicted for tomorrow and Saturday in the local area. The Weather Service is issuing an Excessive Heat Watch for most of Western Washington and Oregon, warning of daytime high temperatures near or above the 100-degree mark. The heat watch starts this afternoon and runs through Saturday afternoon, with tomorrow expected to be the hottest day. Local highs are expected to be at least 95 degrees.

Forecasters say that this combination of high heat and high humidity makes for a dangerous combination, where heat illnesses are possible. They say that the elderly and the very young are most affected by excessive heat; be sure that everyone has plenty of fluids and access to air conditioning, if possible. You’re advised to stay out of the direct sun, and to check up on relatives and neighbors. This is also a time that you should be sure NOT to leave children or animals in closed-up cars. They can heat up to dangerous temperatures within just a few minutes. If you’re heading to a local waterway to cool off, be sure to have your life jackets.

Gun Bag

August 17th, 2016

Cowlitz County Deputies are checking into the discovery of a duffle bag containing guns and ammunition, reportedly found floating in the Columbia River near Mill Creek. This call came in at 9:20 yesterday morning, with a citizen reporting the discovery about a half-mile west of where Mill Creek comes into the river. Deputies say that they found several items in the water and in the rocks along the bank. Cowlitz County Dive Rescue was called in to search among the rocks for additional items and evidence. The source of these items has not yet been determined.

Warrant Arrest

August 17th, 2016

A juvenile that was wanted on several warrants is now in custody, picked up early yesterday morning as Longview Police were checking into a report of a stabbing. At 2:10 yesterday morning, a man called 911, claiming that he had witnessed a stabbing in the 200 block of 20th Avenue. That man would not provide his name, and hung up on dispatchers as they asked for more information. As Officers were checking the area, they stopped a car at the southern end of 20th Avenue, and spotted a juvenile male in the back seat. He was known to have had multiple warrants for his arrest. They also say that Cowlitz County and Castle Rock Police have warrants on this subject; Castle Rock wants the teen on a count of felony eluding, while the county warrant is for car theft. The teen was arrested without incident, and is now being held in the Juvenile Services Center.