Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge James Warme has found that Martin Lee Starett, 53, of Longview is mentally incompetent to stand trial on charges of child molestation and second-degree assault. The Daily News has the full story on the ruling that came out on Monday; on August 13th of last year, Starett’s sister reportedly learned that he had been molesting two boys, and she tried to evict him from her house. It’s claimed that Starett lunged at his sister with a steak knife. He was arrested, then about four months later, additional assault charges were added after he allegedly spit on a security officer. Starett was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation, after it had been determined that he had “low intellect, and suffers from an intellectual defect.” After that evaluation, it was determined that Starett is completely unable to understand what’s going on; his attorney, John Hays, says that Starett is no more competent than a five year-old that can’t talk or understand. Warme ruled that the charges against Starett be dropped, and that he undergo an evaluation for a possible civil commitment. Starett remains in custody at this time; Hays says that arrangements are being made to transfer Starett to a group home in Arizona, near the home of a sister.
Archive | November, 2010
Cowlitz County offices will be open on Fridays once again, starting at the beginning of next year. Commission Chair George Raiter announced the re-opening on Wednesday; they say that the county budget does not allow them to add additional staff, but after conferring with elected officials and department heads, they agreed that opening the offices on Friday will benefit the public. He says that they do ask for patience, as lines may be a little long. Friday furloughs will continue through the rest of this year, and the first open Friday will be on January 3rd. On-line services will also remain available. Find out more by going to the Cowlitz County website, or by calling 577-3020 during business hours.
Additional details regarding the possible Cowlitz PUD rate increase are coming out. PUD officials now say that they’re considering a two-stage increase, with part going into effect on January first, followed by a second increase later in the year. Last week, the Bonneville Power Administration announced that it was considering an 8.5 percent increase in wholesale power rates; Cowlitz PUD gets about 90 percent of its electricity from the BPA. Other contract changes will affect wholesale rates paid, and the PUD also has some large pending capital projects, replacing old transmission lines and substations. At this time, the PUD is considering a January rate hike of about 10 percent, to be followed by another hike of five percent. A hearing on the rate proposal is planned for next Tuesday’s Cowlitz PUD Commission meeting.
The Humane Society of Cowlitz County is getting in on the Black Friday thing, offering their own “Black Friday Door Buster Event.” This will run from 10 am until 3 pm at the shelter on Columbia Boulevard. Any dogs or cats that have “black” on them will be available for half of the regular adoption price. Humane Society officials say that they also have a need for canned cat food donations. The Humane Society of Cowlitz County is located at 909 Columbia Boulevard, just off of Fibre Way. Find out more on their website, or by calling 577-0151.
Waste Control is asking for residents in the higher hills around the area to put their garbage cans out today and tomorrow. Many of those areas were blocked by snow and ice earlier this week, and the Waste Control trucks may not have been able to get up to those locations. Company officials say that the trucks will spend extra time after the completion of regular routes today and tomorrow, to try and get caught up on those areas that may have been missed. Find out more by calling Waste Control at 425-4302.
The local college basketball season gets under way this weekend with the 24th Red Devil Classic. There are four games on Friday starting at 1 pm with LCC taking on Penisula at 8 pm. Four games are slated for Saturday and three on Sunday. All LCC games can be heard on klog.com…..The Blazers host the New Orleans Hornets tonight, KLOG 6:00 pm…..The Oregonm Ducks hope to keep thier national championship hopes alive when they host the Arizona Wildcats today at 4 pm. The Huskies take on the California Golden Bears in Berkeley Saturday, KLOG 11:30 am…..The Mark Morris versus Kelso Alumnia basketball games are today at Kelso HS. The game with players 20-30 begins at 4 pm, the 30-40 game is at 5:15 pm and the 40 and older games is at 6:30 pm. There is a reception at the Red Lion at 8 pm.
Overnight lows dipped into the teens in the local area, so that means that local roads remain slick and icy. Many main thoroughfares have been cleared by traffic and yesterday’s sunshine, but side streets, lesser-traveled roads and areas that were sheltered from the sun are still coated with ice. You’ll still need to be extremely careful anywhere that you’re driving today, as the daytime high is expected to only get up to about the freezing mark. Most of the local schools that had been planning to meet today are now closing, and a number of events are also being cancelled. Clouds are supposed to start moving in tonight, and there’s a chance of some snow tomorrow morning, before switching over to rain tomorrow afternoon.
Fire crews have been busy overnight, responding to a number of calls. A double-wide mobile home at 312 Olson Road received significant damage when a fire that started in a garage spread to the house. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was called out at about 11:20 pm, when the family living in the house called 911. They say that the fire was started by a heater in a carport, and spread to the house after the carport collapsed. Two adults and one child evacuated safely, but they reported that a number of animals were still in the home. A firefighter suffered a knee injury at this scene, and was taken to Saint John Medical Center for treatment. Fire officials say that the home was fully involved in flames when they arrived at 11:28. The Red Cross was called in to assist the family. Total damage done is estimated at about $97,000.
Woodland Firefighters were called out just before midnight, when it was reported that 74 year-old woman had suffered burns when her oxygen hose caught fire. This was reported at an apartment in the 1300 block of Woodside Street in Woodland. Those on the scene reported that the woman had suffered burns to her mouth and nose, and also suffered smoke inhalation. LifeFlight was put on standby, while the woman was put on a portable oxygen supply. Her condition hasn’t been updated yet this morning.
Longview Fire got a call just after 4 am today, when a fire was reported in the kitchen of a home at 1060 19th Avenue. The people living in the home reported that the fire had been started by a heater; they took the heater outside and evacuated the house. Those on the scene reported that they’d initially been able to get the fire out on their own, but they said that it kept rekindling. There’s no word yet on total damage done in that fire. No injuries have been reported.
Longview Police are checking into another burglary reported in the downtown core, reported yesterday morning at Hanger Prosthetics, located at 1516 Hudson Street. This was reported shortly before 10 am; they say a door was pried open, and the suspect got away with petty cash and some other items. LPD says that this seems to be the same MO as other recent burglaries in the downtown area, but so far, they haven’t been able to identify any suspects.
The Cowlitz County Commissioners spent about two hours listening to constituents in regard to the proposed acquisition of the Weyerhaeuser Landfill near Silver Lake. One of those who spoke was Commissioner-elect James Misner. He told the citizens at yesterday’s meeting that having a local landfill is a necessary evil. Misner says that there is no legal authority for the county to shut down the landfill without “just cause,” and there’s also no way to prevent Weyerhaeuser from selling the landfill. He says that it makes the most sense for the county to obtain the facility, and to operate it for the benefit of Cowlitz County residents. Misner did offer several conditions; he’s backing the idea that most, if not all, of the waste be taken to the landfill by rail, rather than truck, to reduce impacts on Headquarters Road. He supports a graduated stepdown of Weyerhaeuser’s liability for already used cells at the facility, along with stricter environmental monitoring and testing. The Commissioners are planning to vote next week on a $19 million purchase plan for the landfill, using a combination of cash and bonds to complete that deal. Some citizens are still opposed to the plan, saying that the landfill poses a serious hazard to Silver Lake and local residents.