The investigation into yesterday morning’s collision involving two kids trying to get to a school bus on Beacon Hill Drive is continuing. Around 7:20 am, a 12 year-old boy and an 11 year-old boy were hit and injured in the 100 block of Beacon Hill, as they crossed the road while their school bus had its red lights activated and had its “stop paddle” extended. Jared Waliezer, 32, of Kelso was driving northbound on Beacon Hill, and for unknown reasons, didn’t stop for the lights and paddle. Both boys were hit; one received a leg injury and the other had some facial injuries. Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig says that the boys were taken to St. John Medical Center, but he says that the injuries are not thought to be life-threatening. According to Rosenzweig, Waliezer doesn’t remember seeing the boys, and also doesn’t remember the collision. He stopped right after the incident, and is cooperating fully with the Sheriff’s Office. He is consenting to blood tests, along with examinations to his phone and vehicle. No charges have been filed as of yet, but the investigation is continuing. It’s noted that the area where the collision took place is straight, flat and has wide shoulders; several witnesses also saw the incident, and are being interviewed. If you have information on this incident, call the Sheriff’s Office at 577-3092, or call Crime Stoppers at 577-1206.
Longview Police now report that an arrest has been made in connection with the Thanksgiving Day shooting that took place in an alley off of 15th Avenue. A teenage male was found early on Thanskgiving Day, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Based on an interview with the victim, Longview Police indicated that this was a gang-related incident, and they obtained the name of a 16 year-old as a possible suspect. It took several days to develop probable cause for an arrest; it also took several days to locate the suspect. They didn’t have any luck with that until LPD Detectives and the Street Crimes Unit started monitoring locations that the suspect was known to frequent. Yesterday afternoon, they spotted the suspect riding in a car, leaving a home in Kelso. That car was stopped a few blocks away, where the suspect was arrested without incident. He’s now being held in the Juvenile Detention Facility on charges of first-degree assault and felon in possession of a gun. The gun used in the shooting has not been found, so the investigation is continuing. If you know where this gun might be, or have other information on this incident, call Longview Police at 442-5800, or you can leave an anonymous tip on the Crime Stoppers Hotline by calling 577-1206.
The man convicted of the 1985 murders of Ed and Minnie Maurin of Ethel is being sentenced to 103 years in prison. The Centralia Chronicle says that more than 50 people attended yesterday’s sentencing hearing for Rick Riffe, mostly family members of the murder victims. A number of them spoke at yesterday’s hearing, berating Riffe for his actions. Riffe’s defense attorney still supports his client, saying that the 55 year-old man makes no apologies for something he did not do. John Crowley says that an appeal is already in the works. Because the crime took place in 1985, Riffe was sentenced under the guidelines that were in place at that time. Under those rules, the judge had to set a specific number of years for incarceration, not just “life in prison.”
It’s now being reported that the Washington man who died over the weekend in a shark attack near Maui is a Longview native, who eventually worked for Boeing, then moved to Stevenson after his retirement. Today’s Daily News reports on Patrick Briney, 57, saying that he graduated from Mark Morris High School back in 1974. After attending Clover Park Technical College in Tacoma, Briney worked for Boeing, eventually retiring last year. Briney still has family in the local area, who says that he and his family vacationed in Maui every year. Briney had been “kayak fishing” about a mile offshore near the island of Molokini, when a shark gashed his leg and bit his foot off. A fishing partner tried to assist, putting a tourniquet on the injured leg, while a charter boat helped get the men to shore. Despite those efforts, Briney died before he could get to the hospital. This is the second fatal shark attack off of Maui in the past four months.
The Cowlitz and Skamania Sheriff’s Offices are asking for your help in finding a Japanese man who is missing after a trip up to the Mt. St. Helens area. Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig says that Yosuke Onishi, 26,had gone up to the mountain on November 27th, with a goal of climbing the volcano. On the 26th, Onishi had hitchhiked to Cougar, in the company of a woman that he had met at a hostel in Portland. That woman has been located and interviews; she says that she left on the 27th, with the understanding that Onishi wanted to climb the mountain. The owner of the Lakeshore Store and Deli says that he saw Onishi get into a car on the morning of the 27th, driven by a man and a woman who may have been of Asian descent; that car came back to the store later in the day, and indicated that Onishi was “still up there.” Skamania County Deputies picked up the investigation, learning that Onishi had borrowed a pair of snow shoes at the Lone Fir Motel, leaving a sleeping bag behind. That sleeping bag was missing on November 30th, but it’s not known who picked it up. Skamania County conducted an extensive search of the mountain over the weekend, but they found no sign that Onishi had been up there. Skamania County is continuing the search effort, while Cowlitz County continues the missing person investigation. They’re focusing on trying to find the couple that had given Onishi a ride. If you have information on this case, call the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office at 577-3092.
The City of Kelso is extending its moratorium on marijuana-related businesses to February of next year, as work continues on development of the zoning regulations for such businesses. City Manager Steve Taylor tells the City Council that they’re looking at a couple of options, including the use of the city’s sexually-oriented business zone ordinance as a model…kelsocannabis…City Planning Manager Nancy Malone says that part of the difficulty is that they’ve been pursuing a bit of a “moving target,” as the state continues its work in finalizing the rules and regulations for marijuana-related businesses. City officials also say that they don’t want to set up a series of rules that would then have to change if the state approves something different. The Kelso Planning Commission has a public hearing planned for next Tuesday at 6 pm on the proposed zones, similar to tonight’s 7 pm Longview Planning Commission meeting.
The Kelso Police Association and its records specialists have a new four-year contract with the city, arrived at after eight months of negotiation and mediation. The new contract was approved without comment at last night’s Council meeting, described as a “reasonable alternative to the uncertain conclusions of the arbitration process. It includes a wage raise of 2.3 percent for this year, along with wage increases of three percent each year through 2016. KPA members will be moved into the city’s new Health Benefit Policy, including their high deductible plan offering in the coming year. The city and the KPA are also working on operational modifications that will work to reduce overtime staffing as an alternative to minimum shift staffing levels. The KPA membership ratified the new contract back on November 18th.
While work is continuing on the West Main Street Realignment Project, Community Development Director Mike Kardas reports that contractors have run into a “surprise” on the west end of the project, discovering some previously undetected underground storage tanks. Kardas says that additional research shows that there are actually three tanks on the site, apparently dating back to the 1930’s. At this time, it’s not known if the ground around the tanks is contaminated, but they don’t think that the discovery will do much to slow the project. The Furniture World building and the McLean attorney office buildings have been completely razed, but those materials won’t be going far. The concrete from the buildings is being ground up, and will be recycled as road bed material for the revamped crossover and Catlin Street.
A Holiday Bazaar is planned for this evening at Red Leaf Organic Coffee in West Kelso. The bazaar will run from 7 to 8:45 this evening, with nine vendors planning to take part. They’re also planning at least 18 giveaways during the event, including displays from Avon, Pampered Chef, Advocare, Pure Romance and others. Red Leaf Organic Coffee is located in the 200 block of West Main, just west of the Flying K convenience store.
As overnight temperatures head down toward the teens, a warming shelter is being set up for people out on the street. The shelter is being set up in the basement of the former Kelso Christian Assembly, located at the corner of 4th and Cowlitz Way. The shelter will be open from 8 pm to 8 am daily, each day that the temperature drops below 30 degrees. The Kelso Christian Assembly, Community House, Mountain Ministries and Faithful Servants House are teaming up to sponsor the shelter, but they’re also looking for donations of blankets, pillows, personal items, snacks and other convenience foods. Donations can be dropped off at the shelter during operating hours, or you can call Mountain Ministries at 442-0612 to arrange pickup of larger quantities.
The Blazers host the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, KLOG 6:05 pm. OKC won at Sacramento last night 97-95…..The Mark Morris girls opened the season with a 60-40 win at Camas last night. Karley Eaton led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points. Centralia defeated the R.A. Long girls 53-46. Sarah Luedke had 21 points and 12 boards for the Jills…..In boys hoop action tonight Mark Morris is at home against W.F. West, Centralia pays a visit to R.A. Long and Kelso opens the season at Yelm…..Castle Rock defeated RAL 47-21 in wrestling action last night…..Forget about Jim Mora coming home to coach the Huskies. Mora has signed a six-year extension to remain the UCLA football coach…..Former OSU star Jacoby Ellsbury leaves the Red Sox for a $163 million Yankees deal.
Two middle-school students are recovering from injuries they received this morning after being hit by a car as they were crossing Beacon Hill Drive, trying to get to their school bus. The collision took place at about 7:20 am, in the 100 block of Beacon Hill Drive; the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident, but it’s currently being reported that a car heading north on Beacon Hill failed to stop for the red lights on the school bus, and hit an 11 and a 12 year-old that were crossing the street. The two children were taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment, one with a leg injury and the other having suffered a facial injury. At this time, those injuries are not reported to be serious. The name of the injuries kids haven’t been released, nor have they released the name of the driver. The school bus did have its red lights activated and its “stop paddle” extended at the time of the incident, so the driver of the car involved could face charges. Additional information is expected.