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Archive | January, 2012

Sword Attack

Posted on 9th January 2012 at 10:07

Walter Eugene Moyer, 49, of Longview is under arrest on charges of second-degree assault and fourth-degree domestic violence assault, after he allegedly drew a samurai sword during a dispute at a home in North Kelso. A 911 call came in to Kelso Police at 6:15 yesterday evening, with the caller claiming that Moyer had the sword out, and was threatening to kill people. A second person on the phone claims that Moyer was intoxicated, and was refusing to leave the home. Officers responded and were able to get Moyer to put the sword down; he was arrested without further incident, booked into the Cowlitz County Jail without bail at this time.

Rape Arrest

Posted on 9th January 2012 at 10:07

A man wanted in a 2008 sexual assault against a Kelso girl is now in a California jail, arrested after the case was shown on America’s Most Wanted. in June of 2008, Michael Randolph Fritz was living in Kelso, working for a local street sweeping and sanitation company. It’s alleged that he molested and raped the 13 year-old daughter of a friend at that time. Kelso Police had investigated the case and submitted it to the Prosecutor’s Office for charging. A warrant was issued in December of that year, charging Fritz with two counts of molestation of a minor. Authorities say that Fritz took off before the warrant could be served, and the case was featured on the TV show. The U. S. Marshal’s office recently turned up the intensity in the search for Fritz, following up on a tip provided to AMW that he was living in the Bakersfield area. On the 5th of this month, Marshals and members of the Regional Fugitive Task Force converged on an address in Bakersfield, arresting him without incident as he tried to drive off. Fritz is now being held in the Kern County Jail, and now awaits extradition beck to Kelso.

Caucus and a Movie

Posted on 9th January 2012 at 10:06

Local labor organizations are gearing up for what they plan to be a “massive” demonstration when the first grain ship put in at the EGT grain terminal, an event that’s projected to happen some time later this month. The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council is calling a “special labor caucus” at 5:30 this evening, to discuss the “Call to Action” that the Council put out at the beginning of this month. They’re asking for all labor organizations involved in the CLC to attend, along with other unions not affiliated with the region. Both the CLC and the ILWU support a demonstration of some sort, but the Longshore Union is also urging caution. They say any demonstration cannot disrupt port operations, as that would be a violation of federal law, and could subject the Longshore Union to additional sanctions. This evening’s special caucus will be held at the Union Hall at 536 Oregon Way in Longview.

There’s also a special movie showing tomorrow night at the Kelso Theatre Pub, in what’s being called a “Community Action Movie Night.” There will be a special screening of “Bloody Thursday,” a documentary about the formation of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in 1934. The movie screening is about an hour in length, then will be followed by a slide show of current events involving the union. The Pub’s doors will open at 6 pm tomorrow night, then the movie will start at 7. Organizers say that they expect a large crowd to attend, filling all 300 seats at the theatre.

ILWU Update

Posted on 9th January 2012 at 10:05

It’s now being reported that the number of Longshore Union members and supporters who’ve had misdemeanor trespassing charges dropped is up to nine, as the review of each case continues. The Daily News is also publishing names of those who’ve had the charges dropped, reporting on a court filing from December 30th. Three Kelso residents, Cary Brister, Matthew Hellem, Lowell Lovegren are among those with cases dismissed, along with Jeffrey Bryant, Lenora Bryant and Gregory Cares of Vancouver. they’d been arrested on September 7th, in connection with a demonstration outside of the EGT grain terminal. In addition, misdemeanor charges are also being dropped against George Johnson of Kelso, Shelly Porter of Longview and William Roberts of Clatskanie, who were picked up on July 25th. Except for Roberts, the cases were dismissed “without prejudice,” which means that they could be refiled at a future date. As we reported last week, County Prosecutor Sue Baur says that each case is being reviewed before it moves ahead, she says that charges could be dropped in each of the weaker cases. She says that the resources of her office will be directed to their stronger cases. More than 130 people have been arrested in connection with the protests in July and September of last year, including nine that still have felony charges pending against them.

Rainier Council Apps

Posted on 9th January 2012 at 10:05

So far, five people have filed applications for the two open Rainier City Council seats that were opened up by the recall of Russ Moon and Dave Langford. David Sills, James Bradfield, Michael Kelly Miller, Brian Able and Michael Kreger have put their names in the pool, and officials with the town of Rainier say that they’ll continue to accept applications until replacements are chosen for both seats. A City Council workshop is planned for 6:30 this evening, where the remaining Council members will discuss how they’ll proceed further with the replacement process. The regular City Council meeting is scheduled to start at 7 pm. Moon and Langford were removed from office last month, after a petition drive was started, claiming that both men were involved with abuse of city staff and council members, along with allegations of making improper agreements. In each case, more than 70 percent of Rainier’s voters supported the recall.

SRS Dollars

Posted on 9th January 2012 at 10:04

The project to raise the spillway on the Toutle River Sediment Retention Structure is moving ahead, as the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that money for the project has been appropriated by Congress. Tim Kuhn, the Toutle River coordinator for the Portland District, tells the Daily News that the appropriation came in recently-passed legislation, and that they’re now waiting for fisheries and other environmental permits before they can move ahead. Kuhn says that process is going slower than expected, but they also don’t anticipate any problems. The project to raise the spillway on the SRS by ten feet is expected to go out to bid in May, with work to start some time in July.

Painter Vigil

Posted on 6th January 2012 at 09:08

Several hundred people gathered last night at Rainier Riverfront Park, taking part in the Candlelight Vigil to mark the passing of one year since the shooting death of police Chief Ralph Painter. Pastor Paul Rice with Riverside Community Church helped to lead the event, noting how the flames on the candles are similar to the brevity of life; he also says that those flames help represent Painter’s dedication to his family and his community. Several people spoke at last night’s vigil, each making sure to tell Amy Painter and the rest of the family that they’re not alone as they deal with the loss. Community member and friend Roger Thomas calls Painter a “big cop in a small town.” Sergeant Eric Bunday with the Hillsboro Police Department related how Painter helped him get his current job, after being laid off from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, saying that Painter “took care of us,” even if they didn’t work directly for him. Rice also noted that Painter was more than just a good police officer, he was an amazing father and an amazing man, and he says that the Rainier community is worse off, now that he’s gone.

Bragg Ceremony

Posted on 6th January 2012 at 09:07

More than 100 people packed into the Kelso Eagles Lodge yesterday, taking part in the Celebration of Life for Army Specialist Mikayla Bragg of Longview. Her father, Steve Bragg says that the community support since she was killed in Afghanistan has been amazing; he also says that people seem to understand what a great person that his daughter was. Yesterday’s event featured readings from Scripture, along with representatives from local veterans groups, thanking Bragg for her service and pledging their camaraderie. Longview School Superintendent Suzanne Cusick and Mark Morris High School Principal Rod McHattie also offered remarks; Cusick says that Bragg is remembered with “great fondness,” appreciating her sacrifice while noting that her own daughter is stationed in Afghanistan. McHattie says he and other staff members at the school remember Bragg’s “sweet smile,” also calling her a “wonderful daughter and outstanding student.” Classmates from Mark Morris noted how Bragg could always get people out of a funk, soothing people when they were down and getting them to laugh. Memorial services for Bragg are planned tomorrow at 1 pm, to be held at Christian Faith Center in Federal Way. More than a thousand people are expected to attend that event. The public ceremony will be followed by a private event at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, where Bragg’s remains will be interred with full military honors.

Stafford Event

Posted on 6th January 2012 at 09:07

At 11 am today, a funeral mass and a Celebration of Life will be held at Saint Rose Catholic Church in Longview, being held in honor of Craig Stafford of Longview. The 23 year-old died suddenly on New Year’s Eve, suffering fatal complications from a seizure last Saturday morning. He died the day following his older sister’s wedding, having just returned to the United States after spending three months studying abroad in Argentina. Stafford was a senior at Central Washington University, after having graduated from Mark Morris High School in Longview. While at Mark Morris, Stafford was a star water polo player, earning MVP honors before heading to Ellensburg, where he played rugby for four years. He was on schedule to graduate from Central this spring with a degree in law and justice, and had a dream of being a firefighter. Today’s mass is open to the public, followed by a gathering in the Parish Center. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made in Craig Stafford’s name to Saint Vincent DePaul, or to CURE Epilepsy.

Marshall Retires

Posted on 6th January 2012 at 09:06

The Kelso School District is beginning the process of finding a new Principal for Kelso High School, as Adele Marshall announces her retirement. Marshall has been Kelso’s Principal since 2006. She came to the Kelso District in 2004, after nearly 30 years of work in the Longview School District. She started as a teacher in the Longview schools back in 1976. In 1987, she transitioned into a school counselor position, then was named Assistant Principal at Cascade Middle School. In 1997, Marshall moved up to be an Assistant Principal at R. A. Long High School, then was named as Principal at Coweeman Middle School in Kelso in 2004. Marshall’s formal retirement request will be presented at next Monday’s Kelso School Board meeting; she says that it’s been an “incredible journey,” but it’s now time for “new challenges.” Marshall says that it’s been a wonderful experience to work in Kelso Schools; she also says that being an educator has given her an opportunity to work with “our greatest asset, our youth.”