A man who was at the center of a race relations discussion in Longview is now being charged in Federal court, accused of being involved in a racially-motivated assault in Vancouver. The U. S. Attorney’s Office reports that Zachary Beck, 31, and Kory Boyd, 25, both of Vancouver, are being charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights and interference with a federally protected right. Beck is also being charged with witness tampering. The indictment is connected to an incident that took place at a Vancouver bar on January 7th of this year. Beck allegedly approached the bartender, telling him that the lone African-American man in the bar “had to leave.” Authorities say that Beck and Boyd then went outside and talked with others about possibly attacking the man, and when they came back in, Beck supposedly told the man “he needed to leave or there would be a problem.” Beck supposedly tried to hit the man, while Boyd threw a bottle, showering the victim with broken glass. The man and his friends stood up to Beck, Boyd and a third man, who eventually left. The police investigation identified Beck and Boyd; the witness tampering charge relates to Beck’s attempt to get his girlfriend to provide an alibi. If convicted, each man faces up to ten years in prison. In 2007, Beck caused a local stir when he rented the McClelland Arts Center for a meeting of a group called “Church of Jesus Christ-Christian,” which is connected to the Aryan Nations white supremacy organization. In 2004, he was arrested after a standoff with Longview Police, eventually entering an Alford plea on burglary and assault charges. He also has a 2008 cocaine possession conviction on his record.
Archive | August, 2010
John Allen Booth, Jr., 31, is now in custody, arrested Wednesday evening in Spokane. Booth is the main suspect in last Saturday’s triple-murder in Salkum, where David West, Sr., 53, David West, Jr., 16, of Salkum, and Tony Williams, 50, of Mineral were shot and killed. The Eastern Washington Fugitive Task Force reportedly arrested Booth without incident at a home in Spokane; the people in the house say that he’d been brought there by a friend, and supposedly needed a place to crash after having “marital problems.” Police got a tip that Booth was in the area, and picked him up after about 16 hours of surveillance in the neighborhood. Booth was arrested without incident, and is expected to be transferred back to Lewis County in short order. Earlier this week, a $10 million warrant was issued for Booth, charging him with the three murders.
Work on a culvert replacement and paving project on the Scappoose-Vernonia Highway in Columbia County is set to start today. The work site is about three miles off of Highway 47, and will require daytime single-lane closures. The $482,000 project is intended to improve fish passage in the Upper Nehalem River watershed. Single-lane closures will be in place through the duration of the project. Delays of up to 15 minutes at a time are possible.
Deputies are following up on a cable theft reported earlier this week out in the Rose Valley area. On Tuesday, Qwest reported that someone had stolen about 60 feet of overhead cable from an area off of Brighton Place, causing damage that was going to cost several thousand dollars to repair. Shortly before noon yesterday, a tip came in that two men were trying to dispose of cable that matched the material that was stolen. Deputies were directed to an auto wrecking facility out on 38th Avenue in Longview. They checked the scene and met with two men, but so far, no arrests have been reported.
The Longview City Council meets tonight, and on the agenda will be a proposal to enter into a professional services agreement with Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions, setting the pilot project for Automated Traffic Safety Cameras in the city. The pilot program would have red light violation detection cameras set up at four intersections in the city, along with two school speed zone detection cameras. Nine intersections will be evaluated, including the Ocean Beach Highway intersections at 15th, 30th, Olympia Way, Pacific Way, 38th, Northeast Nichols and Northwest Nichols. The intersections at 15th and Washington Way will also be evaluated, along with Washington Way and Nichols. It’s suggested that the Mark Morris High School and Northlake Elementary School zones be the ones evaluated, as well. It’s proposed that the city enter into a one-year pilot project, with an option for a two-year extension after that. ATS says that once the locations and permits are approved, they can have the cameras operational in 45 days. After an initial warning period, violators would receive a $124 ticket. ATS is charging $4,750 per month for each camera, with revenues over and above that amount then going back to the city. Tonight’s meeting is set to begin at 7 pm.
County Commissioner Kathleen Johnson was honored yesterday at the Cowlitz County Administration Building, as she moves closer to her retirement at the end of this month. Johnson says that she had been planning to serve out her term, but health issues got in the way; Johnson says that she’s had an extremely rewarding career, and still plans to be involved in the community. Commission Chair George Raiter says that Johnson was completely committed to her job and to her constituents; Johnson says that it’s been an honor to do what she’s done, following what she calls her “servant’s heart.” Johnson says that she knows that Mike Karnofski will do a good job as her successor. Johnson says that she’ll be spending some time with her husband and her grandchildren, but she also says that she’ll be doing some volunteer work, particularly at the Kelso Senior Center.
It’s back to the bargaining table for Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging and the AWPPW, as member of Local 153 overwhelmingly reject the latest contract offer from the company. AWPPW area representative Ken Smith says that 85-point-1 percent of the local membership voted on this latest offer, and by a tally of 634-1, the rank-and-file rejected that offer. Smith says that they’re planning to be back at the bargaining table this afternoon; it’s reported that main sticking points in the negotiations deal with health care benefits and the employees’ pension plan. Smith says that workers are still on the job, and there’s been no decision made to strike at this time. He says that they’re still hopeful of arriving at a fair contract, without having to resort to a strike.
The company that owns Longview Fibre’s timber lands is closing its holdings to public access, because of rising fire danger. Longview Timberlands LLC announced yesterday that their timber lands in Washington and Oregon are closed to the public, effective today, until substantial rains reduce the threat of wildfire. Longview Timberlands officials say that conditions are very dry, and long-range forecasts indicate that the dry weather will continue for some time to come. The closure covers 316,000 acres in Washington and 333,000 acres in Oregon. Additional information is available on the Longview Timberlands website at longviewtimber.com. There’s also a Red Flag Warning up for much of Western Washington until 6 pm this evening, warning of extremely warm and dry conditions in timberland areas throughout the region.
Cowlitz County is moving ahead with its proposal to purchase the Weyerhaeuser Headquarters Road Landfill, outlining the rationale and process in a discussion that was held yesterday morning. Commission Chair George Raiter says that one of the main drivers is that the facility will help to solve Cowlitz County’s solid waste disposal problems for the next century. The county is offering $19 million to purchase the facility, but there are a number of conditions that have to be met prior to the purchase becoming final. Weyerhaeuser would be required to cover any cleanup or mitigation costs for the first 30-year period, and the purchase would be contingent on the inspection of the facility by an outside group, looking for hazardous materials or operations. The purchase would not go through if the county can’t obtain a municipal waste permit for the facility, along with other environmental reviews. It was disclosed that they’d plan to use trucks to haul the garbage from Waste Control’s transfer station in Longview to the landfill, with an estimated 50 trucks a day making the trip. Raiter says that much work remains to be done, but they’re still hopeful of voting on the purchase contract before September first, when Commissioner Kathleen Johnson retires.
Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge James Warme is announcing his retirement, opening up another slot on the Superior Court bench. It’s reported that Warme sent a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire on the 19th, announcing that he plans to retire on April 30th of next year. Warme’s retirement goes with the departure of Judge Jill Johanson, who was recently elected to succeed C. C. Bridgewater on the Court of Appeals. The Daily News reports that there are already a number of candidates lining up to fill the open positions, including Court Commissioner Gary Bashor, Longview City Attorney Marilyn Haan, and District Court Judge Michael Evans. It’s hoped that the Governor will move quickly to name successors to the open positions prior to the time that the judges actually leave the local bench.