The discovery of a corroded grenade at Lake Sacajawea generated some “fake news” on local social media over the weekend. A man who was “magnet fishing” near the 20th Avenue Bridge last Saturday afternoon, and just after 1 pm, he pulled up what he determined to be an actual hand grenade. Longview Police responded to the scene, cordoned the area off, and then called the Portland Police Bomb Squad. There was some speculation on the “local news” Facebook pages that a body had been found, a rumor that spread quickly. A Portland TV station even made an inquiry on the story. The PPD Bomb Squad arrived and safely secured the grenade, which is being taken to a safe place for destruction. Following the incident, Longview Police issued a statement, saying that people need to “avoid spreading information that hasn’t been verified by our department.” Community Service Officer Cindy Lopez Werth says that this type of false information can impede the work that officers are trying to do.
Archive | October, 2017
It’s been nearly seven years since Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed as he responded to a car theft report at Rainier Sound Authority, but it now looks like the case could finally go to trial. The Columbia County Spotlight reports that a trial date is tentatively set for spring of 2019, while Daniel Butts of Kalama continues to be held in the Oregon State Hospital. A hearing was recently held in Columbia County Circuit Court, where a tentative trial date was set. Butts has been under mental health examination and treatment since Painter’s murder back on January 4th, 2011. It’s claimed that Butts fought Painter as the chief responded to a car theft call. During that struggle, they say that Butts got hold of Painter’s gun, and then shot him to death. Butts was declared mentally unfit to stand trial, and a judge ordered that he be forcibly medicated. At this most recent hearing, they discussed trial dates between February and April of 2019; one member of the team says that they will be tied up in other capital punishment trials until 2019. A mental competency hearing is also planned for February 6th of next year. Butts could face the death penalty if he’s convicted.
Jury selection continues today in the triple-murder trial of Brent Ward Luyster, 37, of Longview. The Vancouver Columbian reports that the trial opened yesterday in Clark County Superior Court, with 18 potential jurors excused for a variety of reasons. They report that the pool started with 92 people in the pool, and the initial 18 were excused to various hardships. The remaining pool filled out questionnaires, which are being reviewed by attorneys on both sides. The attorneys will question potential jurors today, and it’s hoped that the jury could be seated by the end of today. Testimony is expected to start tomorrow, after final pre-trial motions from prosecutors and defense attorneys are handled. It’s reported that the trial will take up most of November, possibly going until the 27th. Luyster is accused of killing three people and wounding a fourth at a home in Woodland in July of last year.
A man from Columbia County who is wanted on multiple counts of sexual abuse and sodomy is in the jail in St. Helens, after having been arrested in China earlier this year. It’s reported that Toby Andrew Mendenhall, 41, formerly of Columbia City, was wanted on eight counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of sodomy. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reports that the case on Mendenhall was opened in June of last year, looking into sex crimes that occurred between 2009 and 2012. Warrants were issued in December of last year, and they say that’s when he took off for China. The U. S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force found and arrested Mendenhall; he was booked into the Washington County Jail on October 24th, and is currently being held on bail of $2.5 million.
KapStone Paper and Packaging is reporting an ammonia release to Cowlitz County. Yesterday afternoon at 4:40 pm, KapStone got in touch with the Sheriff’s Office, reporting a “significant statistical release” of ammonia from the plant in the 300 block of Fibre Way, also saying that it was “ongoing” and was “previously reported.” They say that at least 662 pounds of ammonia had been released over a 24-hour period; just after 5 pm, another call came in from KapStone, saying that the release was “more than normal,” and that complaints about odors may come in. Notifications were made to county, state and federal officials.
Ronald William Borkowski, 54, is under arrest after a traffic pursuit that happened yesterday afternoon. Longview Police say that they tried to stop the truck that Borkowski was driving, shortly after 4 pm in the area of 26th and Industrial Way. They say the truck had expired tabs. The officer reported that Borkowski refused to pull over, driving onto Prudential Boulevard and Crocker Way before finally pulling over. During the traffic stop, the officer says that a $5,100 failure to appear warrant from Lewis County popped up, and they also say that Borkowski was driving while suspended. He was arrested and booked into the County Jail on a charge of failing to obey a police officer, along with the driving while suspended charge and the warrant. LPD also reports that towing Borkowski’s truck was complicated, as it was weighed down with scrap steel and metal. They say that he could also be cited having no insurance and an open container of alcohol.
After getting a clean report from the Washington Department of Health, Washington Fish and Wildlife is now reporting that Mocrocks and Copalis will also be open for razor clam digging this weekend. Copalis will be open for digging on the evening this Thursday and Saturday, while Mocrocks will be open on Friday and Sunday. Long Beach and Twin Harbors will also be open this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Make sure your shellfish license is current, make sure that your lanterns are ready, and be sure to observe the harvest rules.
Longview City Council member Ken Botero says that they’ll have a Halloween theme for today’s Community Forum at the Longview Women’s Club. Botero says that the November forum is being moved up, due to scheduling issues. He says that today’s forum will start at the regular time, 10 am, and will also feature Longview City Manager Dave Campbell. Botero says that you can dress up if you’d like, and he’ll still be serving coffee and doughnuts. The Longview Women’s Club is located at 835 21st Street in Longview.
The 16th annual Street of Screams happens this afternoon and evening from 3:30 to 7:30 pm at the Cowlitz County Conference and Events Center, an indoor trick-or-treating event for local kids between the ages of 3 and 13. Admission is $1, or a can of food that will be donated to local food banks. Proceeds from the Street of Screams help to support Camp Leo, an outdoor camp for kids afflicted with Juvenile Diabetes.
There’s also a Harvest Fest going on this evening at Lower Columbia College, running from 6 to 8 pm. This will be in the Student Center, and will feature candy, games, activities and food, all provided by the ASLCC. This event is open to LCC students and to the entire community; they’re suggesting that you bring an item of canned or boxed food for your admission. College officials say that all proceeds will go to LCC students.
The LCC women’s soccer team qualified for the NWAC playoffs with a 3-1 tie-breaker victory over Bellevue yesterday. The Devils will be at Lane in Eugene tomorrow at 6 pm. It’s LCC’s first soccer playoff game since 2005…..The 2A girls District soccer playoffs continue tonight with R.A. Long at Hockinson (7 pm) and Mark Morris at Tumwater (5 pm)…..The Timbers and Houston tied 0-0 in the first leg of the MLS playoff series, which moves to Portland Sunday…..The Trail Blazers scored just six points in the second quarter and lost to Toronto 99-85 last night…..The Seahawks traded Jeremy Lane and two draft picks for All-Pro offensive tackle Duane Brown of Houston…..The World Series resumes tonight with game six in Los Angeles, KLOG 4 pm. Houston leads 3-2.