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Fatal Fire Investigation

Officials in Lewis County confirm that three people are dead after a house fire early yesterday morning in Winlock, thought to be a woman and two girls. The fire at the home in the 800 block of Northeast 1st Street was reported shortly after midnight last night; a man and two boys were able to escape the flames, but a woman and two small girls were not able to get out. Winlock Police say that “unidentifiable remains” were removed yesterday, and additional forensic work will need to be done to confirm their identities. It’s reported that a family had been renting the house for about a year, a mother, father and children ranging in age from 3 to 9. Names are not being released until next of kin are fully notified, and the forensic identification work is completed. Grief counselors were brought into Winlock Elementary School, and will also be on hand today. A candlelight vigil was held last night at the Winlock Egg, and donations are now being collected to support the survivors. Donations are being accepted at the Aaron’s store from 1 to 7 pm today, located at the Twin City Town Center in Chehalis; Umpqua Bank branches are also accepting cash donations on behalf of the family.

Shooter Surrenders

Christopher Lee Yourkwitz, 41, of Kelso is now in custody; Deputies say that the man who’s accused of shooting his roommate Wednesday night turned himself in at the Hall of Justice. After friends and family of the victim in the shooting sent out an appeal to have Yourkwitz surrender, the suspect contacted the Sheriff’s office at about 7:40 pm, saying that he was coming in, because he “didn’t want a big deal.” They say Yourkwitz showed up at the Hall of Justice a few minutes later, and was arrested without further incident. They also say that he was unarmed, so they’re still working to find the .45 pistol that was involved in Wednesday night’s incident. Investigators now say that that the shooting may have been accidental. Those on the scene say that an argument got started after the victim, Christopher “Wyatt” Potter, 35, made some disparaging remarks about Yourkwitz’ ex-wife, and Potter was shot during that argument. Yourkwitz is now being held without bail on charges of 3rd-degree domestic violence assault and felon in possession of a gun, as the investigation continues.

West Kelso Robbery

Kelso Police are working to identify two suspects in connection with an armed robbery reported last night in West Kelso. A 22 year-old woman called 911 at about 9:15 pm, claiming that she had been pushed to the ground and robbed at knifepoint, as she was returning to her home after a trip to the store. The woman says that the robbery took place near Clark Street and Northwest 5th. The two suspects pushed her down, produced a knife and demanded cash, also threatening to hurt her if she yelled. The suspects ran off after getting an undisclosed amount of money from the woman. She was taken to St. John Medical Center to get treatment for some superficial wounds. Officers say that the woman was unable to provide much information on the suspects, other than to say one was tall and one was “medium,” and that they may have been juveniles. The investigation is continuing.

Bennu Sold

Bennu Glass in Kalama is going big-time, as one of the country’s largest producers of glass and glass products purchases the company. Today’s Daily News reports that Owens-Illinois is buying the wine and beer bottle producer, saying that the acquisition “enhances O-I’s capabilities in the growing wine market on the west coast and the important craft beer market. No details on the finances connected to the purchase are being disclosed. Officials with Owens-Illinois tell the paper that the transition will be “seamless,” but they’re declining to say if any staffing changes will be made, or if any additional capital investments will be made. The plant will be re-named O-I Kalama. Owens-Illinois is one of the largest producers of glass in the world, with 75 facilities in 21 countries.

Campbell Contract

After action by the Longview City Council, the deal is done and Dave Campbell is now officially Longview’s newest City Manager. He officially takes the position on Sunday, and will make about $133,000 per year, moving up from his previous job as the Assistant City Manager. Campbell succeeds Bob Gregory, who retired from the position at the end of last year, after ten years as Longview’s City Manager.

Campsite Reservations

At 9 am Sunday, you’ll be able to start making reservations at the Lewis River campgrounds that are managed by PacifiCorp. Reservations will be available at Cresap Bay, Cougar and on the A-loop at the Beaver Bay Campgrounds. Swift Forest Camp reservations will open on Monday, March 9th. You can call 1-855-414-0004 for the PacifiCorp campground reservation line. PacifiCorp is also out with a reminder that there’s a “no-alcohol policy” in place at all of their camping facilities, and they also say that ban will extend to marijuana, as well. Additional information is available on the PacifiCorp web page.

Weekend Events–2/27-3/1/15

Friday:
LCC’s Center Stage presents “Book of Days,” a story of small-town strife and struggle, written by Lansford Wilson. This is being performed in the Center Stage Theatre at the Rose Center for the Arts, with showtimes at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday nights, each weekend through March 17th. Check at the LCC Bookstore for tickets, or get them at the Rose Center Box Office.

Check out the Agatha Christie classic “And Then There Were None,” being presented this weekend and next weekend on the Dana Brown Mainstage at R. A. Long High School. Performances from this community theater group will be at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday night, tickets will be available at the door.

It’s the final weekend for the Stageworks Northwest presentation of “The Lion in Winter.” The story of the dysfunctional family of King Henry II will be presented at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday night, along with a 2 pm Sunday matinee, with all performances being held at the Longview Theatre on Commerce Avenue in Longview. Go to the Stageworks Northwest web page for more information.

Friday and Saturday out in Long Beach, they’re holding an Asian New Year Kite Celebration at the World Kite Museum. They’ll have displays of uniquely shaped and decorated kites, along with other folk art displays. The World Kite Museum is located at 303 Sid Snyder Drive in Long Beach.

The Love Street Playhouse in Woodland continues a production of the hysterical musical “Nunsense” through March 8th. This rollicking comedy will be presented Friday and Saturday night at the Love Street Playhouse, located at 126 Love Street in Woodland. Curtain is 7:30 pm each night.

Sydney Turya will be singing in a benefit show in support of the LCC Choir and their May performance trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City, starting at 7 pm Friday night at the Electric Bean on Washington Way in Longview.

Each weekend through the end of this month, Gallery 505 in Toledo is hosting a Metal and Glass Artwork Show, featuring works from a dozen different local artists. Hours at Gallery 505 run from 2 pm to 6 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays. They’re located at 205 Cowlitz Street in downtown Toledo.

Friday Night Open Gym continues at Youth and Family Link on Douglas Street in Longview, starting at 6:30 pm. There is a charge of $3 per adult to take part in the open basketball sessions. Call Youth and Family Link at 423-6741 for more information.

Saturday:
From 1 to 3:30 pm on Saturday, Cowlitz County Search and Rescue is putting on a Bingo/Bake Sale Fundraiser, being held at the Longview Eagles. The cost is $10 per person, with cash and prizes on the line. Get more details on the Cowlitz SAR web page. The Longview Eagles are located at 1526 12th Avenue in Longview.

Deb Kay has another seminar on Plant-Based Cooking, titled “Greens, Grains and Protein,” going from 12:30 to 4 pm this Saturday at the Youth and Family Link building on Douglas Street in Longview. Pre-registration is required. Call 431-4182 for more information.

Take the family over to the Longview Library for “Saturday Salsa,” where they’re going to have a chocolate fountain and churros for dipping, Mexican hot chocolate, games and a bilingual reading of “Grandma’s Chocolate.” This gets started at 2 pm on Saturday, and is open to everyone. No library card is needed to take part.

Down in St. Helens, the Columbia County Bridal Expo will go from 11 am until 4 pm at Columbia River Reception and Events, located at Meriwether Place. This annual event will have vendors and displays that will deal with all aspects of your big day, and there will also be a bridal fashion show at 2 pm. Meriwether Place is located at 1070 Columbia Boulevard in St. Helens, and admission is free.

Sunday:
The Rainy Months events for you and your family continue on Sunday at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, with a New Jersey-based group presenting an original musical based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the “Little House on the Prairie” series of children’s books. Come by the theatre at 12:30 for a free “carnival,” and then the show will start at 2 pm. Go to the Columbia Theatre web page for ticket information.

The 5th annual Janice J. King Memorial Benefit Dance and Auction is planned for Sunday at the Kelso-Longview Elks ballroom. The auction will feature art by the King Family and Friends, antiques, gifts and collectables, while the dance music will be provided by the King Brothers. Proceeds form the event will help Community Home Health and Hospice.

Fatal Fire

Authorities in Winlock continue to investigate a house fire that apparently took three lives this morning. The in the two-story house in the 800 block of NE 1st Street was reported shortly after midnight last night. Lewis County Fire District 15 reports that a man and two boys were able to escape the fire, but a woman and two girls apparently were not able to get out. Crews from Winlock, Toledo, Vader and Napavine responded to the fire, which took more than six hours to deal with. The names of the victims have not yet been released, while the investigation into the cause and origin of the fire is now under way.

Veys Drive Shooting

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating another shooting in North Kelso, this one taking place at a home on Veys Drive. At about 9:15 pm, Christopher “Wyatt” Potter, 35, showed up at a neighbor’s house, saying that he had been shot in the abdomen by his roommate, Christopher Lee Yourkwitz, 41. The two men apparently got into some sort of a fight, which ended when Yourkwitz allegedly pulled a .45 pistol and shot Potter at close range. Yourkwitz took off, while Potter was taken to Saint John Medical Center under a full trauma alert; he’s now listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery. It was learned later that Yourkwitz connected with his ex-wife, apparently making plans to head into the hills with some camping equipment in a four-wheel-drive truck. The ex-wife and the truck were located early this morning at the Kelso Safeway store; she was taken in for questioning, while the truck was impounded. Authorities are still on the lookout for Youurkwitz, who is armed, and should be consider as “extremely dangerous.” Christopher Lee Yourkwitz is a white male, 5’8” and 175 pounds, with a distinctive tribal band tattoo across his face. Call 911 immediately if you have information on his whereabouts.

Facebook Fiasco

If you’re planning to kidnap your child and take off on a cross-country escapade, it’s probably not a good idea to keep track of that journey on your open Facebook page. Kalama Police say that’s how they easily tracked down Keith Chapple, 21, after he allegedly left town with his 1 year-old child on Monday, plans that he apparently announced on his Facebook page. Police Chief Randy Gibson says that they determined that Chapple was on his way to Arkansas, also posting from the Greyhound station in Denver, and posting a photo in Kansas City yesterday morning. Gibson says that they alerted the Missouri Highway Patrol, who caught up with the bus not far from Saint Louis. Chapple was arrested on a charge of first-degree custodial interference, and is now awaiting extradition back to Washington. The baby is in protective custody, as arrangements are made to get the child back to its mother here in Cowlitz County.