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Homicide Arrest

Longview Police continue to investigate the incident, but they are announcing that an arrest has been made in connection with Sunday’s killing of Alisha Ann McLeod, 29, a Vancouver native who was living in Longview. Detectives say that McLeod’s body was found Sunday at her apartment on 7th Avenue, and they also say that Lucas Robert Dale Rasmussen, 36, is under arrest in connection with that death. Investigators say that McLeod’s roommate, Hollie Erickson, had come home at about 5 pm on Sunday, just as Rasmussen was leaving. Rasmussen went back into the apartment with Erickson, and that’s when she found McLeod’s body. An autopsy shows that McLeod died from blunt force head injuries, apparently delivered by Rasmussen, using a hammer that he had brought to the scene. In court documents, Rasmussen is quoted as saying that he had been thinking about killing someone for “some time,” and he went after McLeod because “she was rude and needed to be taught a lesson.” Rasmussen says that he chased McLeod and hit her multiple times with the hammer, and she eventually stopped breathing. Afterwards, he allegedly touched her in a sexual manner, and also pleasured himself. Rasmussen reportedly cooperated with police, showing them where he had disposed of the hammer. Rasmussen is now being held on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and for sexually violating human remains. The investigation is continuing, as Rasmussen is being held without bail.

Winlock Fire Update

The painstaking work of hand-sifting through the debris from last Thursday morning’s fatal house fire in Winlock is continuing. The Centralia Chronicle reports on the latest into this investigation, saying that they transported debris to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office so that it can be searched by hand for human remains. The fire took place early on Thursday morning at a home on Northeast 1st Street in Winlock. A man and two young boys escaped the fire, but a woman and two young girls did not get out. The names of the victims still have not been released. The cause and origin of the fire also hasn’t been determined as of yet. In the meantime, fundraising events to support the survivors are being set up, including a poker run that’s being set up for the 21st of this month, and a youth baseball tournament that’s being set up for the 28th and 29th of this month.

Former Cop Charged

A Columbia County grand jury is handing down an indictment against a former Vernonia Police Officer, charging him with child sexual abuse. The Saint Helens Chronicle reports that Gene Baska, 62, was indicted on the 26th of last month, charging him with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of luring a minor. Baska was first arrested on January 7th, after a 13 year-old accused Baska of felony child sexual abuse. The arrest came after Baska allegedly sent the victim a sexually explicit text. Deputies obtained a search warrant, seizing electronic equipment thought to contain videos, photos and other records of child pornography and other sexually explicit materials. Additional possible victims have been identified, and investigators are still looking for other potential victims. Tips are being taken at 503-366-4698. Baska remains out on bail on the previous charges, and is expected to be in court on these now counts later this month.

Road Work

Starting at 7:30 this morning, the City of Longview Water Division is doing some valve maintenance at 1116 15th Avenue, work that will close the alley in that area through Friday afternoon. The 1100 block alley between 14th and 15th will be closed to through traffic from Florida Street to Hemlock Street while this work is going on, expected to be done by 4 pm on Friday.

Delameter Road will be closed today between Garlock Road and Hazel Dell Road, as the Cowlitz Public Utilities District removes some overhead wire in that area. The closures is scheduled to run from 9 am until 3 pm today. A detour will be clearly posted.

The City of Kelso is asking for drivers to avoid the intersection at Minor Road and Allen Street during peak hours, as they work on options for repairs of a damaged traffic controller at that intersection. In September of last year, the traffic signal detection equipment was damaged by a crew that was trying to locate utilities for another project. City officials say that a permanent repair would be expensive and complex. They’re asking for your cooperation and patience as this research work is done.

KHS Assistant Principal

Christine McDaniel is getting a promotion in the Kelso School District, being appointed as the newest Assistant Principal at Kelso High School. McDaniel first joined Kelso Schools in 1996, starting as a teacher in the elementary, middle school and high school levels. She has worked in several leadership roles, and has had additional training in several specialized areas. Kelso Principal John Gummel says that they’re fortunate to add McDaniel to the team, saying that she “brings a wealth of instructional knowledge” to the position, along with compassion for students and an eagerness to get right to work. McDaniel starts her new position on July 1st.

Tuesday Movie Night

Tonight is another “Tuesday Movie Night” at the Longview Public Library, starting at 6 pm. They’ll be screening a movie that was recently released to DVD, but because of legal issues, they’re restrained from announcing the name of the movie; let’s just say that it’s a re-telling of some favorite children’s fairy tales, and features some major movie stars doing some song and dance numbers. The movie will be shown in the Library Auditorium; the doors will open at 5:45 and the show will start at 6. Admission is free and no library card is needed, but space is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the Longview Library at 442-5321 for more information.

United Way Grant

The United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum is announcing that the agency is being awarded a grant of nearly $52,000, money from the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. They say that this money is intended to help supplement local emergency food and shelter programs in the local area. A local board comprised of members from United Way and other food and shelter agencies will determine how these dollars will be distributed. Public or private voluntary organizations who would like to access some of that money have until the 13th of this month to submit an application. Call the United Way at 423-5320 for information on the application process.

Tuesday KLOG Sports

Green River defeated the LCC men 67-60 in a one-game tiebreaker playoff last night. The Devils succumbed to the Gators second half pressure. The LCC season ends at 18 wins and 13 losses…..Nearly 2,000 people attended the celebration of life for Jerome Kersey yesterday. The Blazers are off tonight before playing the Clippers tomorrow…..The Mariners open up spring training action tomorrow against the Padres, KLOG 11:55 am…..The Seahawks opted not to use the franchise tag before yesterday’s deadline. Cornerback Byron Maxwell is the most notable Seahawk unrestricted free agent. The team signed free agent linebacker Mister Alexander, a former Florida State player. The Hawks also missed out on rugby star Jarryd Hayne, who signed with the 49’ers.

United Way Posting

The Board of Directors for the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum is posting the Executive Director’s position, soliciting applications for the post through the 27th of this month. In the announcement, the Board says that the Executive Director will serve as the “Chief Professional Officer” and Chief Operating Officer of the local United Way chapter, also lining out the core competencies required for the posting. A full job description is also being posted. Board President J. D. Rosetti says that applications are being taken through the 27th of this month; the pile will be narrowed down by April 10th, with interviews planned for the week of April 13th. It’s hoped that a job offer could be extended by April 27th, and that the new Executive Director could start work in early May. The position came open several weeks ago with the dismissal of Kalei LaFave, who was let go after financial irregularities were supposedly found at the agency.

7th Avenue Investigation Update

Longview Police now report that an arrest has been made in connection with the death of a woman at her apartment on 7th Avenue, charging that man with murder and other counts. Shortly after 9 this morning, LPD reported on the arrest of Lucas Robert Dale Rasmussen, 36, saying that he’s now being charged with murder, burglary and sexually violating human remains. He was arrested early this morning, after a woman’s body was found in her apartment in the 800 block of 7th Avenue. Officers say that a witness arrived and found the victim’s body, along with Rasmussen. He was detained at the apartment, and then was arrested after an interview. The victim’s name is still not being released at this time. The investigation is continuing, and anyone with information is being asked to call LPD Detective Steve Dennis at 442-5800.