The Washington Department of Emergency Management is passing along information from Columbia County, which is reporting that the Dyno Nobel chemical plant near Saint Helens had a release of ammonia early this morning. Around 1:30 am, DEM contacted Cowlitz County, saying that there could be a slight smell of ammonia in the air around Woodland or the surrounding area, depending on the wind direction. The cause and the size of the release hasn’t yet been disclosed.
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Kalama Police are looking into a burglary reported yesterday morning at an espresso stand on North Hendrickson Drive. A passer-by called 911 at about 9:40 yesterday morning, reporting a broken window at Twin Perks Espresso. When officers checked the building, they found that someone had shut the power off to the building, and then they used a rock to break a window and gain entry. The suspect got away with an undisclosed amount of cash. No suspect information has been developed as of yet.
Joshua Goble, 30, of Kelso is being charged with vehicular assault after Friday afternoon’s multi-vehicle collision that sent four people to the hospital. This happened around 1:40 pm on Friday, at the intersection of 38th and Ocean Beach Highway. Longview Police say that Goble was southbound on 38th, in the turn lane waiting to go onto Ocean Beach Highway. During a red light, it’s alleged that Goble pulled out and hit a motorcycle ridden by Steven Morris of Longview. Goble’s pickup continued on, crashing into a pickup driven by Dennis and Valerie Loney of Longview. The impact knocked Loney’s pickup into the patio of the nearby McDonald’s restaurant, damaging several metal railings. Loney’s truck also hit Diana Johnson of Longview, who had been seated at one of the outside tables. Fortunately, she was able to move before the impact, avoiding serious injury. Steven Morris, Valerie Loney and Goble were also taken to St. John Medical Center to be treated for various injuries. Captain Robert Huhta also says that it appears that Goble was impaired at the time of the crash. Search warrants were served to obtain a blood sample from Goble, and on his pickup truck. After his treatment at the hospital, Goble was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail.
A man who had been out on bail after being charged with delivery of heroin is back in jail, charged with additional counts of heroin delivery. The Longview Police Street Crimes Unit reports taking Michael C. Lien, 40, into custody on Friday, charging him with two counts of heroin delivery. Lien had been arrested earlier in the year for heroin delivery, but was out on bail, awaiting trial. Street Crimes Detectives says that they got a tip that lien was selling again, so they set up two additional buys, using an undercover agent. Lien is now in the Cowlitz County Jail, held without bail pending his next court appearance.
A Kelso woman who is accused of owning dangerous dogs has been sentenced to four days in jail, and was fined $243. This is going on as the Humane Society and other local agencies continue to try and find the dogs that Ingrid Sacha, 45, owns. Sacha was recently arrested and convicted in a bench trial, with the judge ruling that Sacha failed to register the dogs, and to keep them restrained. She also failed to obtain additional liability insurance, as required by law after the dogs were declared as dangerous. The four dogs involved have been named in at least eight biting incidents; one of the dogs was involved in an attack in 2011, where a woman required stitches in her face. Animal control officers have been working for several months to find and these dogs, but it’s believed that friends of Sacha are hiding them. It’s reported that the dogs will be euthanized if and when they are found.
St. Helens Police report breaking up a stolen car chop shop, following up on citizens tips to make the bust late last week. Chief Terry Moss says that the case got started on Sunday, the 13th, when a car was stolen in Rainier. The next day, some suspicious activity was reported at a home on South 9th Street in St. Helens, including blue smoke coming from the garage. At that time, the homeowner refused to allow officers onto the property to check things out. On Wednesday, someone on that property called SHP to say that they were taking some scrap metal away to be recycled, including some car parts. A check of a VIN number showed that it had been obliterated; further checking showed it to be from the stolen car in Rainier. A search warrant was obtained, and a search of the property turned up additional parts from the stolen vehicle. Jason Thackery, 36, and Alicia Thackery, 35, were arrested at that time, charged with first-degree theft, unlawful use of a car, possession of meth and first-degree criminal mischief. Two other suspects have also been identified, but haven’t yet been arrested.
St. Helens Police continue to investigate a theft reported earlier this month at the St. Helens Senior Center, where someone got into the building and stole dozens of cans of coffee. Chief Terry Moss says that the theft took place some time between the 8th and 9th of this month, when a storage shed was broken into. The only thing taken from the shed was thirteen cases of Folgers Coffee, packed six cans to a case. Moss says that the sheer bulk of the cases means that there was probably more than one person, and that a vehicle was needed to take the coffee away. It was also noted that only the regular coffee was taken, all of the decaf was left behind. Moss is hoping that someone who may have seen some suspicious activity will give them a call at 503-397-3333, extension 219, or call Columbia County Dispatch at 503-397-1521.
You can check out the artistic talents of local middle and high school students at the “Celebration of the Arts,” which opens today at the Cowlitz County Expo Center, and will continue through Thursday. Dozens of pieces are on display from students in the Kelso and Longview school districts, presented in a variety of media. There’s an opening reception for all of exhibitors today, running from 6 to 8 pm. The show will continue 8 am to 8 pm tomorrow and Wednesday, and from 8 am until 2 pm on Thursday. Live performances are also planned, starting with the R. A. Long Choirs at 6:15 this evening. Tomorrow, the Mainstage Theatre group will do some improv between 3:30 and 4:30 pm, the Butler Acres Ukuleles will perform at 6, and the Mount Solo 8th Grade Band will perform at 7. The Robert Gray Percussion Ensemble and the Northlake Fan Dancers are scheduled to perform at 6 and 6:30 pm on Wednesday. Admission is free.
Mark Houk, the Principal at Woodland Elementary School, is now being charged with three counts of fourth-degree assault, charges connected with the alleged abuse of a third-grade special education student. Woodland Police took Houk into custody yesterday at the school, booking him into jail on the gross misdemeanor charges. He’s now free after posting bail. The charges stem from an incident that took place on the 26th of February, where it’s alleged that Houk used excessive force in trying to restrain the student. Chief Brad Gillespie says that it took longer than anticipated to conduct the investigation, due to complexity and number of interviews needed to collect all of the facts and evidence. Gillespie says that it’s more important to conduct a complete investigation than it is to move quickly. Gillespie also says that the School District cooperated fully with the investigation. Woodland Superintendent Michael Green says that with the conclusion of the police investigation, the district will resume an internal personnel investigation, which he hopes will proceed as quickly as possible. Houk was placed on administrative leave in March, and will remain on leave until the case is concluded. Houk’s first appearance in Cowlitz County District Court is scheduled for the 29th of this month.
The local lead for getting people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act says that they far exceeded the goal that had been set for them. The Cowlitz Family Health Center in Longview had been chosen as the lead organization by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, working with nine other local groups to train and supervise in-person assisters called “Navigators.” During the open enrollment period between October 1st of last year and March 31st of this year, the FHC and those associated groups signed up 485 individuals and families in Qualified Health Plans, 3,855 under the expanded Washington Apple Health Medicaid program, and renewed Medicaid coverage for another 2,327 people. Looking overall at the numbers, the Family Health Center and its partner groups exceeded its enrollment goal by more than three thousand. FHC CEO Dian Cooper says that they fully expected to beat the goal, but they were “truly amazed” by the final numbers. While open enrollment is currently closed, other opportunities to get signed up may still be available. Contact the Family Health Center to get more information.