Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Mill Creek Head-On

September 24th, 2014

The State Patrol is still working to locate the next of kin of the two people that were killed in yesterday morning’s fiery head-on collision near Mill Creek on Ocean Beach Highway. Troopers now say that the driver of a Subaru Forester was trying to pass an unknown vehicle in a no-passing zone a few minutes after 9 am, and crashed head-on into a westbound Ford Ranger pickup being driven by Russell Gilchrist, 67, of Longview. The Subaru burst into flames, with the driver and passenger trapped inside. Witnesses were unable to free those people, but they did help Gilchrist get away from his pickup. He was taken by LifeFlight to PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver with leg and chest injuries, and is listed in stable condition this morning. The highway was closed to traffic for nearly five hours after the crash. The names of the two people who were killed have not yet been released, but it’s noted that the Subaru was registered to an address in Cathlamet.

Missing Hunter Found

September 24th, 2014

An autopsy is planned on Jonathan Hill of Hillsboro, 37, after the bowhunter’s body was found yesterday afternoon in the woods southwest of Vernonia. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reports that Hill’s body was actually located by a friend of the family, who was assisting in the search effort. It’s reported that Hill’s body was located near Clear Creek Road and Timber Road, about a mile from where his truck was found parked near the Sunset Highway. Hill hadn’t been heard from since about 9:30 Sunday morning, when family members reported getting a cell phone call, saying that he seemed “disoriented.” During the 50-hour search effort, it was also disclosed that Hill was a diabetic, and did not have access to the insulin that he needed. It’s not yet known if that may have been a factor in his death.

SCU Bust

September 24th, 2014

Street Crimes Unit Detectives say that heroin, meth, guns, cash and other items connected to the drug trade were seized when a search warrant was served yesterday afternoon at a residence on North 1st Avenue in Kelso. Three people were arrested in the raid; Zachery Stan Stefonek, 28, is being charged with possession of heroin with intent to deliver, Kerry Steven Helgerson, 26, is being held for possession of meth and possession of heroin with intent to deliver, and K’Lynn Christine Marsyla, 25, is being charged with possession of meth and possession of heroin. She was also served with warrants for making false statements to police and third-degree theft. The charge against Stefonek also includes a school zone enhancement. Each is currently being held without bail, pending their first appearances in Cowlitz County Superior Court.

Ring Returned

September 24th, 2014

Megan Schleb of Toutle has her wedding ring back. Earlier this week, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office put out a public request, asking for help in finding two men who may have had possession of the ring, which had been stolen in a car prowling incident. Raila Jeanette Walker, 35, of Longview reportedly admitted that she had stolen the ring, and then sold it to one of two brothers living in the Toutle area. Around 3:40 yesterday afternoon, Schleb’s mother contacted the Sheriff’s Office, saying that the ring had been brought to her house. She declined to say who brought it in, or how they came to possess the ring. The Sheriff’s Office now considers that incident to be closed. Meanwhile, the prosecution of Walker continues; she’s being held on multiple counts of theft, car prowling, trafficking in stolen property and making false statements to police. She’s currently being held on bail of $11,000.

Ring Returned

September 24th, 2014

Megan Schleb of Toutle has her wedding ring back. Earlier this week, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office put out a public request, asking for help in finding two men who may have had possession of the ring, which had been stolen in a car prowling incident. Raila Jeanette Walker, 35, of Longview reportedly admitted that she had stolen the ring, and then sold it to one of two brothers living in the Toutle area. Around 3:40 yesterday afternoon, Schleb’s mother contacted the Sheriff’s Office, saying that the ring had been brought to her house. She declined to say who brought it in, or how they came to possess the ring. The Sheriff’s Office now considers that incident to be closed. Meanwhile, the prosecution of Walker continues; she’s being held on multiple counts of theft, car prowling, trafficking in stolen property and making false statements to police. She’s currently being held on bail of $11,000.

Cascade Way Outage

September 24th, 2014

There’s still some cleanup being done in homes along Cascade Way, after yesterday morning’s power outages also led to some flooding when a City of Longview reservoir overflowed. The Cowlitz PUD spent several hours trying to track down the cause of a problem that led to repeated outages along Cascade Way, starting shortly after midnight and continuing until about 8:30 am. Line crews eventually traced the problem to a squirrel that cause a short circuit, which also affected the reservoir above Cedar Place. Equipment that senses when the reservoir is full was compromised, allowing the reservoir to overflow. That led to water flows and mud slides that affected four homes along Cedar Place. Only minor damage was reported. Longview Public Works Director Jeff Cameron says that they’re now working to figure out why the reservoir sensors failed.

Cascade Way Outage

September 24th, 2014

There’s still some cleanup being done in homes along Cascade Way, after yesterday morning’s power outages also led to some flooding when a City of Longview reservoir overflowed. The Cowlitz PUD spent several hours trying to track down the cause of a problem that led to repeated outages along Cascade Way, starting shortly after midnight and continuing until about 8:30 am. Line crews eventually traced the problem to a squirrel that cause a short circuit, which also affected the reservoir above Cedar Place. Equipment that senses when the reservoir is full was compromised, allowing the reservoir to overflow. That led to water flows and mud slides that affected four homes along Cedar Place. Only minor damage was reported. Longview Public Works Director Jeff Cameron says that they’re now working to figure out why the reservoir sensors failed.

PUD Alert

September 24th, 2014

Saying that “dozens” of bars and restaurants in Cowlitz County have been targeted by scammers, the Cowlitz PUD is sending “Scam Alert” letters out to all of its business customers, warning them to be on guard against callers who claim to be with the utility. Customer Service Director Brent Arnold says that the calls usually take place in the early evening, with the caller claiming to be with the Cowlitz PUD, insisting on immediate payment of a past due bill, or the power will be shut off. Arnold says that the callers are “very demanding and very convincing; he also says that the callers try to glean information on the business account, and try to make the business operator believe that they have account numbers and other information about the PUD bill. In the end, the caller will demand that the business person go buy a pre-paid money card, and then provide the serial number to the caller. Arnold emphasizes that these calls are completely bogus, and he says that the Cowlitz PUD does not do business in this manner. If you get a call like this, you should try to get a call-back number, decline to pay the caller, contact your local law enforcement agency, and also notify the PUD during business hours.

PUD Alert

September 24th, 2014

Saying that “dozens” of bars and restaurants in Cowlitz County have been targeted by scammers, the Cowlitz PUD is sending “Scam Alert” letters out to all of its business customers, warning them to be on guard against callers who claim to be with the utility. Customer Service Director Brent Arnold says that the calls usually take place in the early evening, with the caller claiming to be with the Cowlitz PUD, insisting on immediate payment of a past due bill, or the power will be shut off. Arnold says that the callers are “very demanding and very convincing; he also says that the callers try to glean information on the business account, and try to make the business operator believe that they have account numbers and other information about the PUD bill. In the end, the caller will demand that the business person go buy a pre-paid money card, and then provide the serial number to the caller. Arnold emphasizes that these calls are completely bogus, and he says that the Cowlitz PUD does not do business in this manner. If you get a call like this, you should try to get a call-back number, decline to pay the caller, contact your local law enforcement agency, and also notify the PUD during business hours.

August Jobless Stats

September 24th, 2014

The August unemployment rate in Cowlitz County stayed pretty flat when compared to July, but state officials say that the rate of 7.3 percent is nearly two full points better than the same time last year. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that nonfarm employment in Cowlitz County actually grew by 100 jobs, and over the past 12 months, 1,000 jobs have been added to the local economy. He also notes that the number of “employed residents” went up substantially over the past year, along with a corresponding drop in the number of unemployed residents. The number of unemployment claims is also dropping, with both initial and continuing claims at “very low levels.”