The Sheriff’s Office is looking into a malicious mischief incident reported yesterday morning, where a man being evicted from a home on Vision Drive allegedly trashed the place before he left. The owner of the home contacted Deputies at about 10:45 yesterday morning, saying that the suspect had threatened to take all of the doors off of the house if he was evicted, and that he would do other damage. Yesterday was eviction day; when the homeowner checked the house, he learned that the suspect had followed through on his threat. All of the doors had been ripped off of their hinges, and additional damage had been done inside the house. The damage is estimated to be in excess of $10,000. The suspect has been identified, but hasn’t been located.
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The investigation continues after a stolen car pursuit and suspect search that took place yesterday morning in the area of North Pacific Avenue and Ostrander Road. Deputies say that this got under way around 5:20 yesterday morning, as they were pursuing a vehicle that had been stolen from Longview. After doing about 85 miles an hour on I-5, containment for a K-9 unit was set up after the suspect crashed. The track went north and east, with the dog eventually finding a hat and a coat that were thought to have been dropped by the suspect. Further searching was unsuccessful. Deputies are still working to identify and locate the suspect.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is out with an alert, saying that a “Danger Zone” is being set up in the Pacific Ocean next to Camp Rilea, the Oregon National Guard base near Astoria, an area that will be off-limits while weapons are being tested. The “Danger Zone” will only be enforced when the training activities are being conducted, with a week’s notice being provided to the Coast Guard and other agencies. Red flags or lights will be posted on the beach during closure times, and warnings will be broadcast on Coast Guard radio channels. Public notices will also be posted on the Corps of Engineers web page.
The Corps is also taking public comments on its plans to accept funding from Clatsop Diking Improvement Company #9 on behalf of Oregon Liquefied Natural Gas. The dollars will help to pay for the Corps’ review of Oregon LNG’s proposal to modify flood risk projects near Warrenton, where the company is planning to build an export facility. Comments on this proposed funding source are being taken through March 23rd; full details are available on the Corps of Engineers website.
Wahkiakum County officials say that their new ferry, the “Oscar B,” is scheduled to arrive at the Puget Island Ferry Landing around noon tomorrow, and that ferry service between Cathlamet and Westport, Oregon will shut down in the middle of the day today. Wahkiakum County Public Works Director Pete Ringen says that the exact timetables are still being “fine-tuned,” but they’re saying that the ferry will be down until next Monday. Ringen says that the shutdown is needed for piling work, crew training and U. S. Coast Guard inspections of the new ferry. The old ferry “Wahkiakum” will go out of service at 11 this morning, and will head down river to Astoria for berthing. Starting later today, crews will start their training runs on the “Oscar B,” also seeing how this new and larger boat will deal with the temporary landings that are now in place. Ringen says that they hope to put the new ferry in service on Monday, following Coast Guard inspections. Work will continue on the upgrades needed at the ferry landings on both sides of the river, with a goal of having those finished by early May.
Lower Columbia College is announcing that former 19th District Senator Sid Snyder, a favorite son of Kelso, is the college’s 2015 Alumnus of the Year. Snyder, who spent more than 54 years working with the Washington Legislature, was born and raised in Kelso, and attended LCC in the early 40’s. Snyder passed away in 2012; his wife of more than 61 years, Bette, will accept the award on his behalf. It was be part of the festivities at the upcoming LCC Foundation “Horns and Halos Gala,” which is scheduled for March 21st. Previous Alumnus of the Year award-winners include Paul Laufman in 2013 and Rob Quoidbach in 2014.
The next-to-last winter term Community Conversation lecture will be focused on cancer research. Lower Columbia College Biology instructor Lucas Myers will present “Cancer Research: Perceptions and Reality” at noon today in the Wollenberg Auditorium at the Rose Center for the Arts; admission is free.
You’re invited to bring the entire family to the LCC Student Center this evening, as the Associated Students of Lower Columbia put on Family Cultural Night. Organizers say that they’ll be exploring the countries of Ireland, Somalia, Brazil, Italy and Switzerland, with an Irish band, Brazilian coffee, chocolate from around the world, henna tattoo artists, kids’ arts and crafts and caricature artists. This will run from 6 to 8 pm; it’s free and open to all.
The Marx Brothers won’t be there, but it will still be a spectacular night at the Rose Center for the Arts, as the LCC Music programs present an “Opera Gala,” starting at 7:30 pm. Admission to this event is also free.
Cabaret Follies of Lower Columbia invited one and all to the Mill City Grill in downtown Longview tonight, as the organization holds its annual meeting. This will get under way at 7:30 this evening, where they’ll go over the work done in the past year, and where members of the organization will vote for the board of directors for the coming year. Along with the brief business meeting, there will be additional fun and frivolity, along with information on how you can get involved with the group that’s bringing Cabaret back to the area in fall of 2016. Anyone interested in being involved with Cabaret can come on by and take part.
Darrell Dewite Chafin, 65, of Kelso is being charged with first-degree assault, after he allegedly shot his daughter’s boyfriend in the leg during a dispute at Chafin’s home on Williams Avenue in North Kelso. The Sheriff’s Office says that the shooting took place shortly after 4 pm, when there was a dispute between Chafin and Kevin P. Reid, 37, who had been staying at the home with Chafin’s daughter, Heather Castaneda, 34. They say that Chafin himself called 911, saying that he was trying to get Reid to leave, because Reid had been arguing with Castaneda. When Reid refused, Chafin reportedly got out a .380 pistol, and shot Reid in the upper leg. The bullet traveled through the leg; in fact, Deputies say that Reid left the hospital after getting bandages and an X-ray, because he wanted a smoke. He showed back up at the house in Kelso, riding a bicycle. Chafin is now being held without bail on the first-degree assault charge, while the investigation continues.
Kelso Police are working to find the man who broke into an apartment on South 7th Avenue, and then stole cash from the female resident, while armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a handgun. This incident was reported just before 7 pm, with the report relayed by a neighbor of the victim. She says that the suspect smashed the front door of the apartment, cutting his hand in the process. The 911 caller reportedly confronted the suspect, who supposedly said “Everyone is OK” before jumping a fence into the alley. The suspect is described as a white male in his 30’s, around 5’8”, with a medium build. The suspect wore a black ski mask, but they say facial hair could also be seen. The man had dark brown eyes, a black coat and blue jeans. KPD is also checking into the possibility that there could be a second victim. Call 423-1270 if you can help out with this case.
Community House Director Frank Morrison says that their facility in downtown Longview is strapped for cash, and is in urgent need for funds to help meet payroll. Morrison went out with an appeal yesterday, explaining that the shelter on 11th and Broadway is down to $11,000 in the bank, with payroll coming due in the next week. He says that they did recently receive a mental health service contract with Cowlitz County, but that money is separate from the funds needed to run the shelter, and cannot be used for operations. Morrison says that the support they get from Cowlitz County and other local governments, but the main source of funding comes from community donations. Morrison is also out with a reminder that the majority of the people that they help in their clean and sober facility are women and families. More than 70 percent of current Community House residents are women and children, with more than 50 kids currently housed at the facility. Morrison also says that these are people you might known, as nearly 90 percent of clients are from Cowlitz County. Morrison says that they are in desperate need of a cash infusion to help get them to their 5th annual “Community Cares” campaign, which is coming up in April.
Kelso Police are expressing their displeasure with the opening of the new Love Overwhelming low-barrier shelter at 304 Cowlitz Way, the old Emergency Support Shelter, saying that the number of police calls connected to the facility has skyrocketed. In today’s Daily News, Captain Darr Kirk says that a “conservative estimate” is three to five calls per day, including at least three calls within a few hours yesterday. Kirk tells the newspaper that they have serious concerns for the safety of the people staying at the shelter, which does not require that people be sober to stay, though drugs are not allowed on-site. Executive Director Chuck Hendrickson says that they’re aware of the problems, saying that they’re being hit with more clients than they expected. Hendrickson says that they’re working to increase staffing, and to take other measures to increase security. He says that they should be able to get through this “hump,” and to provide the services people need in a safe and secure manner.