Following last Tuesday’s arrest of Chris M. McNicholas, 44, of Woodland on charges that he defrauded a 91 year-old woman out of $2,500 for window repairs that were never done, the Sheriff’s Office now reports that other victims are coming forward. A 79 year-old Kelso man claims that he advanced McNicholas more than $300 for home repairs that were never completed, a case that dates back to 2009. The man produced receipts from a couple of businesses that McNicholas claimed to be running, and both are now defunct. A 75 year-old Vancouver woman also that McNicholas tried to pressure her into giving him cash in advance for home repairs, but she never gave him any money. A search warrant was served on a vehicle owned by McNicholas, reportedly producing a large amount of evidence showing that there may be numerous victims. It’s also being reported that McNicholas is the subject of investigations from the Washington Attorney General, Longview Police and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Additional charges could be filed.
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The pickup trucks stolen in last week’s burglary at Wayron in Longview have been recovered, but the suspects in the case still remain at large. A few minutes after 5 yesterday morning, a newspaper carrier called the Sheriff’s Office, reporting that she had been looking for a delivery box for a home on Woodard Road near Castle Rock. As she was going along the road, the woman says that she spotted two “Wayron” trucks parked on some property in that area. Deputies responded and found the stolen trucks parked next to a shop on some property in the 100 block of Woodard Road. The trucks were recovered by the company, driven back to the Wayron property on California Way. No arrests have been reported, but the investigation is continuing.
Cowlitz County Corrections says that upcoming changes to the visiting and commissary procedures, also announcing that inmate visiting will close at the end of this month. The shutdown will be in place until the changeover is complete. Corrections officials say that new visiting equipment is being installed, and the commissary is also being changed. The exact length of time for this switchover isn’t known, but they say that inmate visiting, both in person and online, will end on the 31st of this month. Visiting and commissary service will resume after the installation is completed, but the date for that isn’t yet known. The Cowlitz County Jail will also end its relationship with InmateCanteen.com on January 31st; you can still use that service until that date; the website for the new service provider will be linked to the jail once the new systems are in place. Contact Cowlitz County Corrections if you have other questions.
The first in a pair of meetings on Water Quality Certification for a proposed Liquid Natural Gas project near Warrenton is being held this evening, followed by another meeting tomorrow night in Vernonia. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is holding these meetings, saying that this certification is needed for any project that could result in a discharge into navigable waters. The purpose of these meetings is to provide information on the certification process. It’s emphasized that this is NOT a time to comment on the project itself, or the permits needed for it to move ahead. The Corps of Engineers, the Oregon Department of State Lands and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development will be in attendance, with the focus on the permitting and certification process; technical aspects will NOT be discussed. Tonight’s meeting is being held in the Warrenton Community Center, while tomorrow’s meeting will be held at The Cabin in Vernonia. Both meetings start at 6 pm; the Oregon DEQ has more information.
If you or someone you know is a senior citizen, and would to improve your skills in using computers or other electronic devices, the Longview Public Library invites local residents to sign up for a Digital Literacy Skills class called “Get Connected” that starts today. The class is being held from 10 to 11:30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Somerset Retirement Home, located at 2025 Tibbetts Drive in Longview. You do NOT need a library card to participate, and the class is free. Space is limited to 20 students, and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Call Elizabeth Partridge at the Longview Library to get signed up.
The first set of weekly prizes in the “Fire It Up!” adult reading contest are being announced, with Saundra, Christine, Sean and Stacie winning awards. Prizes include month-long memberships to the Y, T-shirts from Athlete’s Corner, gift cards from Nipps, Starbucks gift cards, tote bags, and a handmade wooden box, created by Bob James of Kelso. Weekly prizes will be awarded through each of the public libraries in Cowlitz County, followed up by the grand prize awards at the end of February. Three grand prizes are up for grabs, including a Kindle Fire, $200 in gift certificates, and a $200 outdoor package. Contact your local library for details on entering.
You’re invited to the Longview Library between 3:30 and 5 pm today, as Youth Services Librarian Jan Hanson is honored prior to her retirement. Hanson started with the Longview Library in 2003, and has worked hard to upgrade programs and facilities for local youth since day one. Some accomplishments during her 12-year tenure include the development of the Teen Space, the beginnings of bilingual programming, re-purposing of the small meeting room into the Marion J. Otteraaen Early Learning Room, just to name a few. In 2010, she was presented with the Visionary Award for Youth Services from the Washington Library Association. Come by this afternoon and wish Jan Hanson well as she heads off into retirement.
Diane Marie Norris, 52, of Longview is under arrest on a second-degree domestic violence charge, after she allegedly used a piece of a wooden chair in an attack on her boyfriend, hitting him in the eye. The male victim called Longview Police at about 6:45, claiming that he had been hit while in an apartment in the 1900 block of Dorothy. The man says that he was bleeding from the eye after having been struck with a piece of a wooden chair. He made his call to 911 from another apartment, while Norris remained in the apartment where the alleged crime took place. The victim declined to go to the hospital, while Norris was arrested about a half-hour after the initial call. She’s now being held without bail in the Cowlitz County Jail.
An alert is going out from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, reporting that someone is calling local citizens with a scam about jury service. A woman called the Sheriff’s Office last week, saying that she had received a call from an unknown man, who claimed that she had missed jury duty, and that an arrest warrant had been issued. A check with the Clerk’s office shows that no jury service notice had been sent to the woman, and she was not listed to serve on a jury. Deputies say that a couple of other calls of this nature have been received, and they are also checking into those. The Cowlitz County Clerk says that if you do fail to report for jury duty, you may get a call from the Jury Management Clerk, but you will NOT be asked to provide personal information, nor will any financial demands be med. It is a misdemeanor to “blatantly refuse” to serve as a juror, but there’s a whole legal process that would be started if you did refuse. Any warrant connected to that process would also be served in person. Call the Sheriff’s Office at 577-3092 if you have any other questions.
After ten years of negotiation and cleanup, Georgia-Pacific and Clatsop County have come to an agreement involving 27 acres of land near the Wauna Mill, with that property being donated to the county for a new park. The Clatskanie Chief reports on the land transfer, which actually goes back to 1971. Clatsop County had leased land from the Westport Lumber Company for a boat launch, but that parcel went to James River in the 1980’s, for development as a cottonwood plantation. That land was sold again in 1999, except for this 27-acre parcel, which was assumed by the Wauna Mill. Georgia-Pacific offered the land to the county in 2004, but it was found to be contaminated with hydrocarbons, which were traced back to the old Westport Lumber operation, which burned down in 1957. Design on the park started in 2010, and in April of 2013, the state of Oregon declared that there was no risk to public health on this land. The donation was finalized at the end of last year, and development of the park is hoped to begin in March of this year.