A man is in custody after a standoff this morning at an apartment on Florence Avenue. Lower Columbia SWAT was mobilized just before 9 am, when it was reported that an armed man was holding a woman and a child. Somehow, they were able to get out of the apartment, and were safely removed from the scene. Around 9:30 am, SWAT members used a pepper ball to break a window, they tossed a “throw phone” into the building, but there was no response from inside. A few minutes after 10 AM, two tear gas canisters were put into the apartment, and the male suspect gave himself up a few minutes later. So far, the man’s name has not been released.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office is now reporting that Alana McCammon, 28, of Vancouver, is undergoing treatment at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, after being airlifted from the 7,000-foot level of Mt. St. Helens. Undersheriff Dave Cox says that McCammon fell into a snow cave some time last night, and then it took until almost 9 pm for her companion, Kyle Knight, 25, of Petersburg, Alaska, to hike out and reach a call box. It took about 2-1/2 hours for rescuers to reach her last night; she was stabilized and then was airlifted to the Climber’s Bivouac. There, she was shifted to an ambulance and transported to Vancouver. The total extent of her injuries are not yet known.
Lower Columbia SWAT is surrounding a residence on Florence Avenue in North Kelso, after an apparent hostage situation. Officers responded to the residence shortly before 9 am, when it was reported that an armed man had a woman and a child as hostages. Around 9:30 am, SWAT members used a pepper ball to break a window, and then they tossed a “throw phone” into the building. So far, there’s been no response. Authorities are continuing to monitor the situation.
The Trail Blazers remain hot with a 111-104 victory over Oklahoma City last night. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 38 points. Portland has won 14 of 15 games and host the Jazz tomorrow night…..In boys hoops, Mark Morris beat W.F. West 57-54 behind the 23 of Grant Gibb. Owen Bertram scored 26 in R.A. Long’s 77-70 win over Centralia. Yelm beat Kelso 59-53 despite Zack Cummings 20 points. RAL host an Australian team tonight…..In girls play, it’s a 2A championship rematch as Mark Morris hosts W.F. West tonight. Also, Kelso is at Battle Ground, KLOG 6:55 pm…..The search for a new Husky head football coach continues with multiple reports that Chris Petersen, Doug Nussmeier and Justin Wilcox has candidates. Marques Tuiasosopo will be the interim coach in the bowl game.
A rescue effort is currently under way on Mt. St. Helens, with crews now working to get to a 28 year-old woman who fell while skiing on the mountain yesterday. Current reports say that the woman is around the 7,000 foot level on the mountain, after having fallen about 200 feet, in a location near Monitor Ridge. The male companion of the injured woman had to ski and hike to an area where he could get cell service, finally reaching 911 just before 9 pm. North Country EMS and the Volcano Rescue Team mobilized, reaching the injured woman early this morning. They say that she spent the night in a snow cave, and while she is in a lot of pain, she’s also conscious and breathing. Rescuers are requesting a Coast Guard helicopter to come in and airlift the woman to a hospital. No names have been released at this time.
The cold snap continues in the local area, with forecasters now saying that there’s a slight chance of snow in the area. In fact, reports are coming in of a light dusting of snow on the ground in the Rainier area. A weak low pressure area is expected to drop along the Oregon coast tonight, and then will swing inland. If there’s precipitation coming with that system, it will come in the form of snow. At this time, they’re saying that the most likely areas for snow are to the south of us, in a line going from south of Tillamook, going to Salem and the Santiam Pass. One to two inches is possible on the Willamette Valley floor.
They’re also warning of dangerous wind chill conditions tomorrow night and Saturday in the Cascades and the Columbia River Gorge. Daytime highs in those areas are expected to be no higher than the 20’s, with overnight lows possibly dipping into single digits. East winds of 25 to 40 miles an hour are also expected in the Gorge, with gust of up to 60 miles an hour. Wind chills could be as low as 20 below zero. People who plan to be out in this weather need to take precautions by having adequate winter clothing, and by minimizing skin exposure. Pets and livestock also need protection, with a warm, dry shelter, along with access to food and fresh water.
Locally, the Warming Shelter at the Kelso Christian Assembly building remains open from 8 pm to 8 am each night. The folks staffing that facility say that they have a real need for additional warm blankets. That’s in addition to other things like snacks and other personal items. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter during their operating hours, or you can call Mountain Ministries at 442-0612 to arrange pickups of larger.
The teen charged with shooting a rival gang member early on Thanksgiving morning is now being charged with attempted murder, and will be tried as an adult. Today’s Daily News reports on the first Superior Court appearance of Gregory Richard Brown, 16, of Longview. It’s reported that Brown has an extensive criminal history, with at least one felony conviction. It’s alleged that Brown, known on the street as “Fry Guy,” approached the victim, Corey Huebner, 16, in the alley behind the Store-n-Deli. Brown allegedly asked Huebner who he was “banging,” or which gang he belonged to. When Huebner stated he was with a rival gang, Brown reportedly pulled a gun and fired at Huebner’s chest. Huebner was eventually able to provide investigators with Brown’s name, and the suspect was arrested Tuesday in Kelso. Judge Michael Evans set Brown’s bail at a $500,000, with his next court date on the 17th.
A Winlock man who used to work for UPS is under arrest, accused of stealing cell phones with a value of about $50,000 from a United Parcel Service distribution center in Chehalis. The Centralia Chronicle reports that Ronald E. Camps, 30, is being charged with nine counts of first-degree theft and nine counts of trafficking in stolen property after his arrest several days ago. On November 26th, a UPS security supervisor contacted Lewis County law enforcement, after learning that boxes of cell phones weren’t delivered to Fred Meyer and GameStop. A trace of the phones showed that they were being used all over the country. When confronted, Camps reportedly admitted to stealing at least two boxes of phones, selling one locally and then sending the rest back east to be sold. Bail for Camps is set at $10,000, with his next court date set for December 12th.
A sewer pump failure will have 34th Avenue in Longview closed at Olympia Way for the next couple of weeks. The City of Longview alerted emergency agencies about the problem just before 9 pm last night. They’re now saying that local access to the area is being re-routed to 32nd Avenue, a detour that will remain in place as pipe is being replaced. It’s currently estimated that this closure will be in place for about two weeks. Signs are posted, and additional information should be released later today.
Work also continues on the Emergency Water Main Replacement Project in the Highlands. City of Longview officials say that Advanced Excavating Services is progressing with new water line installation in the alley between 16th and 17th Avenues. They’re working in two directions, going north from Beech and south from Nichols, removing concrete and installing a new eight-inch water line. To continue this alley work, AES plans to close Baltimore and Cypress between 16th and 17th, closures that are expected to be in place for at least three weeks, possibly longer. Traffic will be detoured to Beech and Nichols. Work continues Monday through Saturday, from 7 am to 5 pm, with no work planned on Christmas Day. Contact the City of Longview if you have other questions.
Only about a half-dozen people attended last night’s Longview Planning Commission meeting, where the panel held a public hearing on the proposed buffer zones for marijuana-related businesses in the city. Only two people spoke; one was Aaron Barr of BarrCorp, who want to buy land at the Mint Farm, which he would then rent out to marijuana producers and processors. Barr says that he wants to understand what the limitations might be…pothearing…Under the proposal approved last night on a 7-1 vote by the Planning Commission, retail business could only be located in the Central Business, Regional Commercial, General Commercial, Office-Commercial and Mixed-Use Industrial zones. Producers and processors would be restricted to industrial zones, along with the Mixed-Use Industrial zone. Buffer zones around schools, residential areas, mobile home, RV and trailer parks, transit centers, libraries and similar areas will end up restricting any possible producers to the Mint Farm and some adjacent land. Retail outlets could be similarly restricted, but there are some other small spots that could be available in other sites in town. The Washington Liquor Control Board will actually examine those buffer zones, and will make the ruling if a specific business can go into a specific location. The proposal will go before the Longview City Council at its first meeting in January. The Kelso Planning Commission is holding a similar public hearing next Tuesday at 6 pm.