Today’s News Headlines

KELA News Headlines for Wednesday,March 1, 2017

Meeting to appoint Napavine City Council members cancelled

Tuesday afternoon’s special meeting of the Lewis County Commissioners in Napavine to interview the applicants and make appointments for three vacant positions on the Napavine City Council was cancelled about an hour before it was to begin. The meeting was to have started at 4 PM. The County Commissioners office sent out a press release shortly after 3 PM announcing the cancellation, but it gave no reason for the cancellation. District 2 County Commissioner Bobby Jackson told KELA/KMNT the reason for the cancellation is that the Commissioner’s Office received word that the Napavine City Council has petitioned the Governor’s office to make the appointments.

Winlock man arrested for DUI after fiery crash

A Winlock man was arrested Monday afternoon for suspicion of DUI after he crashed his vehicle into a 500 gallon propane tank at Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers in Napavine, causing an explosion and fire. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says when deputies contacted 56-year old Stephen G. Kamhout, he appeared to be under the influence of intoxicants. He told deputies he thought he was on North Military Road in Winlock.  He was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was admitted for a head injury. He is being referred to the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office for DUI.

Thurston County Public Defense director asked to resign

After an executive session Tuesday morning, the Thurston County Commissioners directed the county manager to ask Daryl Roldrigues, the Director of Thurston County Public Defense, for his resignation, effective immediately. According to Commissioner’s office, the basis for the decision was that the commissioners had lost confidence in Mr. Rodrigues’ ability to lead the department of Public Defense, both financially and through personnel action. Patrick O’ Connor will serve as the Interim Director until a new permanent director is hired.

Thurston County appoints new Public Health director

The Thurston County Commissioners have appointed Schelli Slaughter as the new Director of Public Health and Social Services for the county. The Commissioners voted unanimously during a public meeting on Feb. 23 to select Slaughter for the position. They instructed the County Manager to offer the job to Ms. Slaughter and she accepted.  She will begin her role as the Public Health director on March 27. Schelli Slaughter is currently the executive director of the Family Support Center of South Sound.

Squatter eviction bill passes Senate

Private-property owners frustrated by squatters are a major step closer to relief and increased protection. The Washington State Senate on Monday unanimously approved legislation that would give law enforcement clear authority to evict squatters and bar them from returning to the property they had illegally occupied. The measure follows multiple high-profile examples of squatters taking over homes in Pierce County and statewide in recent years. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

Prisoner transport costs taxpayers big money

Washington state’s corrections department has been shuttling prisoners back to the state on airplanes routinely used by Gov. Jay Inslee. The King Air trips have cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. The News Tribune reports that records show the state used its two State Patrol planes nine times to transport 14 inmates from January 2013 to September 2016. Some of the trips were to move problematic prisoners to out-of-state facilities, while other flights were dedicated to picking up probation violators who left the state. Corrections official David Flynn says transporting the prisoners, who have been deemed high-risk, on commercial flights would pose a danger to other passengers.