Dawson A. Dunn, 13, of Kelso is now being charged with first-degree manslaughter, arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of his friend on October 14th of this year. 13 year-old Edgar Vasquez of Kelso died after being hit with a shotgun round, an incident that Dunn claims was an accident as they were playing with the gun. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office reports on the arrest of Dunn, based on the evidence of their investigation from the night of October 14th. They say Dunn told Deputies that he had been shooting the shotgun earlier in the day of the shooting, and he had ejected a shell from the gun. He then racked the gun another time, and based on what he saw, Dunn thought the gun was empty. Dunn says that he pointed the gun at Vasquez and pulled the trigger, and then he was surprised when it went off. Vasquez was hit in the upper body, and he died at the scene. Dunn says that he didn’t mean to shoot his friend, but Deputies still don’t know why he had the gun pointed in the direction of Vasquez. Under the advice of legal counsel, Dunn has not been interviewed. Dunn is currently being held without bail in the Cowlitz County Juvenile Detention Facility, and is due for a court hearing later today. The Sheriff’s Office states that the decision to charge Dawson Dunn rests with the Prosecuting Attorney.
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Fire and aid crews are responding to NORPAC this morning, after a fall was reported on the millsite. Aid crews were called to the paper recycling and processing facility shortly before 5 this morning, when it was reported that a man had fallen down some stairs, hitting his head. Other information about the identity of the man or the severity of the injuries haven’t been disclosed as of yet.
A Flood Watch goes up later today in Lewis County and points north, as heavy rain moves into the region today and tonight. The Flood Watch covers the western portion of Lewis County, along with much of western and northwestern Washington. The Weather Service says that the first shot of rain today and tonight will dump between 3 and 5 inches of rain on the Olympics and the Cascades, followed by another 2 to 4 inches of rain on tomorrow and tomorrow night. With the snow level above 8,000 feet, most of this will come down as rain, which will then cause local rivers and streams to rise. At this time, they’re saying that any flooding will be minor, and should be confined to areas like the Skokomish, Skagit, Nooksack, Snoqualmie and White rivers.
Lower Columbia College now reports that the Welding Lab will stay closed for the entire fall quarter, as air quality in the facility continues to be substandard. On the 8th, the college announced that air quality tests showed that air in the lab did not meet standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Yesterday, they announced that a second round of tests showed results that were similar to the first round. College officials say that the air quality levels are well below the legal limit, but they plan to leave the lab closed, for the safety of students and staff. Over the quarter break, a professional cleaning company will come in to clean the lab, and it should re-open for winter quarter. The college is working to make sure that current students are not affected by the closure, working with them to ensure that grades, financial aid and program completion rates are up-to-date. Call 360-442-2273 if you need more information.
2018 utility rates are on the agenda tonight for the Kelso City Council, along with mid-biennium budget adjustments, and a request to name portions of Kelso as “drug-free zones.” The Council is looking at a rate package that would increase water rates by about 2.4 percent, raising the average monthly bill from $126.75 to $129.80 per month. The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Narcotics Task Force and Kelso Police are also asking for the “drug-free zone” designation for the Catlin Spray Park, and around City Hall. Such a designation would increase penalties for sales, use or delivery of illegal drugs, increasing fines, also establishing a 1,000-foot buffer around those areas. Tonight’s meeting starts at 6 pm in the Kelso City Council Chambers.
The Port of Kalama is filing an appeal of the ruling from the Shorelines Hearings Board, claiming that they followed all of the rules regarding the Environmental Impact Statement regarding the proposed Kalama Manufacturing and Marine Export Terminal. Back in February, the Cowlitz County Hearings Examiner approved the shoreline permits for the $1.8 billion Northwest Innovation Works methanol plant, but the Shoreline Hearings Board rejected that decision in September, saying that greenhouse gas emissions weren’t properly addressed. Port of Kalama Executive Director Mark Wilson says that the EIS fully disclosed potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and “properly concluded” that those emissions are not a significant impact. Wilson says that the SHB wants a GHG emission analysis that goes far beyond the impacts of the project itself. Wilson says that there’s no basis for the extra analysis in state law, and he says that the interpretation of current law is “unprecedented.” While the Port is filing this appeal, they also say that they will continue with Northwest Innovation Works on additional review of the GHG issue, and they plan to ask for a Supplemental EIS, focused on the Greenhouse Gas emission issue.
Now, there are four Democrats that are taking aim at the 3rd District Congressional seat now held by Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas. WSU Vancouver Political Science Professor Carolyn Long announced yesterday that she plans to join the race, running for Congress in her first-ever political campaign. Long says that she plans to take a partial leave of absence to conduct the campaign, and she plans to line out her candidacy in more detail at her official campaign kickoff later this month. Long joins Vancouver businessman Dave McDevitt, Iraq War veteran Dorothy Gasque and Vancouver writer and businessman Peter Harrison in the race. As Long enters this race, it’s now being reported that at least 20 different people have signed up to run for Congress in 2018, which is a new record for the state of Washington.
Commercial crabbers in Washington and Oregon are going to be hanging out in port for a while, as fishery managers in both states delay the opening of the season. Washington Fish and Wildlife announced yesterday that the commercial crab season will be delayed to December 16th at a minimum, to give the crabs a chance to fill up their shells. WDFW officials say that a test fishery showed that the crabs don’t have sufficient meat to meet industry standards. Oregon is postponing the commercial crab opener, due to low meat levels. Fishery managers are also keeping a close eye on Domoic Acid levels. Recent test show that Washington crabs are safe to eat. Recreational crabbing remains open along Washington’s coast, and in some Puget Sound areas.
Amtrak’s Cascades passenger rail service between Vancouver, BS and Eugene is getting an upgrade, as new state-of-the-art locomotives go online. Amtrak officials say that the new “Siemens Charger” locomotives are significant upgrades from the current equipment. These Charger locomotives are lighter and quieter, they meet new EPA emission standards, and they have greater rates of acceleration and top speed. It’s noted they will be limited to 79 miles an hour on this route. The engines have “computerized on-board positive train control,” hardware that will stop the train in the event of a dangerous situation on the tracks. Amtrak also says that these new 16-cylinder, 4,400 horsepower Cummins engines are more reliable than the existing fleet. These new engines will be used on all routes served by the Amtrak Cascades.
After about 12 hours of deliberation, a jury in Clark County Superior Court found 37 year-old Brent Ward Luyster of Longview guilty on all counts connected to the shooting deaths of three people at a home in Woodland in July of last year. The jury returned the verdict at about 10 am on Friday, saying that he is guilty of three counts of aggravated first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm. Luyster now faces a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Early on the morning of July 15, 2016, Luyster’s then-girlfriend drove him to a home in Woodland, where he shot and killed Joseph LaMar, 38, Janell Renee Knight, 43, and Zachary David Thompson, 36. He also wounded Brianna Leigh, 32, by shooting her in the face. It’s reported that Luyster smirked in the courtroom, and then flashed a smile to his mother as he was being led out, while family members of the victims were jubilant outside of the courtroom. Sentencing is set for Monday, December 4th; action on Luyster’s attempted escape from the Clark County Jail will also be dealt with at that hearing.