The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is looking into an alleged assault from earlier this week, where someone apparently used bear spray in an attempt to rob a pizza delivery driver. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown says that the incident took place Monday afternoon, as the driver was taking a pizza to a home on Gleason Road in Centralia. A man named “Anthony Kramer” had ordered the pizza, and as the driver was pulling on Gleason Road, a man stepped into the roadway. As the driver pulled over, the suspect walked up to the car, said “Sorry I have to do this,” and then sprayed the driver in the face with the “bear deterrent spray>” Despite being sprayed, the victim drove after the suspect, who jumped into a waiting car then drove off. The victim declined medical treatment; contact the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office if you have information on this incident.
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Donations to help a family that lost their home in a fire last Friday on Burma Road are now being accepted. The fire is being characterized as “accidental,” but resulted in the total loss of the mobile home that Tony Stewart, 55, and his wife were living in. Stewart was also treated for smoke inhalation, as he tried to put the fire out himself. It’s reported that Stewart and his wife are now staying with his mother, who also lives at the Paradise Cove RV Park on Burma Road. Stewart says that he and his wife are in need of clothing, bedding and other personal care items. Donations can be dropped off at space 3 at the RV park on Burma Road.
Unemployment in Cowlitz County dipped a bit in February, going from 9.3 percent to an even 9 percent. Scott Bailey with Employment Security says that non-farm employment held steady during the month, with only minor changes reported in four main sectors. Year-to-year, payrolls in Cowlitz County have grown by 2,100 jobs, a growth rate of 5.1 percent. The 9 percent number is nearly a full point lower than the same time last year. Bailey also says that the labor force and resident employment numbers for the local area are being revised upward, while the numbers of new and continuing unemployment claims continues to be at “very low levels.”
Today is the deadline for applications to the Longview Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. This board performs studies and makes recommendations to the Longview City Council in regard to use and management of Longview’s park properties. The Longview Parks Board meets once per month, at 6 pm on the third Monday of each month, at the Parks and Recreation Building on Douglas Street. Applicants must be Longview residents. Applications need to be in to the Longview Executive Office at the City Hall by the close of business today. You can download a form from the City of Longview web page, or call 442-5004 for more information.
Longview Police are out with their Year 4 Report on the city’s school zone speed photo enforcement program, reporting that school zone speeding violations are continuing to decline. The Longview Police Department reports that in 2014, there were 10,182 ticketed violations in the six school zones that are monitored with cameras. In the CVG School Zone, the number of violations dropped by 28 percent between 2013 and 2014. In the Mint Valley School Zone, the number of speeders dropped by 20 percent. Chief Jim Duscha says that they have consistently seen reductions of 20 to 32 percent in each year of the program, which helps to improve safety for kids and others who are in those school zones. At this time, he says that the program is a success. The Year 4 report is available on-line on the Longview Police Department web page.
If you live in the Longview School District and you have a child that will be going into kindergarten in the fall, then you’ll want to go to the “Countdown to Kindergarten” event that’s planned for this evening at your neighborhood elementary school. District officials say that you’ll be able to register your child for school, while also meeting the school principal and staff. Kids will receive a free picture book and activity packet, and you’ll also get other key information about starting school. You should bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate and immunization records, along with utility bills or other documents that verify your residency. Go to the Longview Schools web page for more information.
Danny Wing, 26, of Vader is pleading guilty to several charges connected to the death of a three year-old boy that he and his wife were taking care of at their home. The Centralia Chronicle reports that Danny Wing accepted a plea agreement, and is now pleading guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter-domestic violence, and third-degree domestic violence assault, in connection with the November 7th death of three year-old Jasper Henderling Warner. Danny Wing and his wife, Brenda Wing, had been asked by the boy’s mother to care for him while she looked for housing in the Vancouver area. It’s also being reported that Brenda Wing refused this same plea agreement, and that Danny Wing will testify for the prosecution when she goes to trial on homicide by abuse charges. First-degree manslaughter carries a possible sentence of life in prison, but prosecutors plan to ask for a term of 16 years. Sentencing is currently set for May 7th, but it will probably be set over until Brenda Wing’s case is concluded.
A husband and wife living on Riverside Drive in Kelso helped to rescue a woman who was in the Cowlitz River. The wife called 911 at about 4:15 yesterday afternoon, reporting that there was a woman in the water, clinging to a log about six feet from the shore. Lynette Harlin told dispatchers that her husband was able to throw a rope to the woman, and helped to get her out of the water as emergency responders arrived. Kelso Police report that the woman was out of the water by 4:40 pm, and was taken to St. John Medical Center for a checkup. There’s no word yet on how the woman ended up in the river.
The State Patrol is taking up the investigation into a Sunday night car-versus-cyclist collision involving a Longview Police Officer. WSP reports that the collision took place at about 9:30 Sunday night, at the intersection of Ocean Beach Highway and Pacific Way. Dylan Cassi, 19, of Longview was westbound on Ocean Beach Highway, when he was hit by a Longview Police SUV, driven by Officer Nicholas Woodard of Longview, who is 37 years old. Troopers say Woodard was turning off of Ocean Beach, heading onto Pacific Way. The SUV hit the bike in the crosswalk; Woodard claims that he was blinded by the headlights from an oncoming car, and didn’t see Cassi in the crosswalk. Cassi was taken to St. John Medical Center, and then was taken to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. He was released from the hospital yesterday morning. At this time, no charges have been filed.
The Cowlitz County Health Department is on the alert for possible measles cases in the local area, reporting to the Cowlitz County Board of Health that they’ve had three “suspect cases” earlier this month. County Health officials say that this instances show the need for vaccinations; Epidemiologist Elizabeth Vaughn says that the recent Whooping Cough outbreak shows how vaccines can help prevent the spread of disease. Vaughn says that the first suspect case of measles showed up on the 3rd of this month, in an unvaccinated 9 year-old boy. Steps were taken to isolate the boy and to learn who he might have had contact with. Lab tests eventually confirmed that the boy did NOT have measles; a second case also turned out to be negative, and tests are still pending on a third suspect case. Health Department officials say that the internet scuttlebutt on vaccines is misguided, and that they’re an essential tool in fighting the spread of disease. Contact the Cowlitz County Health Department or your own health care provider if you have other questions.