July, 2014

Rockets Burst Over the River for Rainier Days


CELEBRATIONS OF OUR NATION and communities continued with Rainier Days in the Park July 10-13 culminating with the fireworks display Saturday night, July 12. The annual events draws thousands of visitors. Photos Courtesy of Fred Schondebare

15 Arrested in County-Wide Burglary/Drug Ring Bust

by Adam J. Wehrley

In a multi-agency operation led by the St. Helens Police Department (SHPD), law enforcement officers county-wide arrested 14 subjects July 9, and another on July 10, all associated with a burglary and drug dealing ring centered in St Helens.

In what SHPD described as the largest tactical operation in recent Columbia County history, more than 35 officers representing every agency in Columbia County and the United States Marshals’ Office spread out across the region seeking criminals involved in drug dealing, burglaries and thefts.

The operation was part of an ongoing investigation into a string burglaries occurring in the St. Helens area over the past two months.

“Traditional law enforcement methods like gathering clues at a crime scene, or trying to capture a criminal in the act have not been effective in solving this problem. We can’t afford to sit by and wait,” said Chief Terry Moss. “Not all of these suspects are responsible for the burglaries, but their criminal behavior is part of this problem. We want them to know that we are serious about this,” Chief Moss continued.

On Wednesday, July 9, officers started in the Rainier area and made stops at 25 addresses, arresting 14 individuals on various charges. Some of the individuals were wanted for unrelated crimes. Others are suspects in the recent burglaries.

Those arrested Thursday were:

Sierra Rae Bahl, 30, formerly of Columbia City, Probation Violation.

Kyle Glen Gatten, 22, of St. Helens, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).

Robert Eugene Westmoreland II, 19, of St. Helens, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).

Brook P. Waits, 30, of Rainier, Contempt of Court.

Jace Allen Massutti, 30 of Rainier, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).

Shalisa M. Hill, 27, of Columbia City, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).

Gracie A. Beeler, 48, of St. Helens, Failure to Appear.

Anthony M. Dehererra, 28, of St. Helens, Parole Violation, Felon in Possession of Weapon, Contmpt of Court.

Jennifer L. Hawkins, 42, of St. Helens, Probation Violation.

Abigail J. Schneider, 23, of St. Helens, Probation Violation.

Cory D. Holbert, 24, of St. Helens Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), Theft III.

Christopher S. Mollenhour, 24, of St. Helens, Theft II.

Kyle T. Deherrera, 25, of St. Helens, Failure to Appear.

Ryan Hamilton Hall, 27, of St. Helens, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine).

Allen Captured, Yeramian Wanted


Joseph Yeramian

Following a long car chase ending in a motor vehicle crash near Rainier on Thursday, July 10, Jeffrey Allen was arrested on the following charges related to the crime ring: Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine I, Unauthorized use of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of the Stolen Vehicle, Theft I, Criminal Mischief I, and two counts of Failure to Appear I.

After the July 9th operation SHPD posted wanted pictures of Allen and Vaughn Joseph Yeramian describing them as “high priority targets.” Yeramian is a 33-year-old white male who is 6’2” tall and weighs approximately 140 pounds. He has brown hair and may have a goatee.

SHPD stated “Investigators are very pleased with the progress of these cases.”

Information gathered last week uncovered new leads and identified potential witnesses expected to lead to  more arrests.

Rewards Offered for Further Information

SHPD encourages anyone with information regarding these cases, or knows the whereabouts of Yeramian to call Sergeant Phil Edwards or Detective Leonard Olsen at 503 397-1521.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and St. Helens Police Department in conjunction with the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics team (CENT) are offering a reward of up to $1,000 dollars for information. CENT is offering the reward for specific, credible information that leads to arrests and convictions in this case.

People with information concerning these burglaries can contact St. Helens Police Sgt. Phil Edwards at 503 397-3333 or Sheriff’s Detective Lenard Olsen 503 366-4611.

Local 4-Hers Featured at Columbia County Fair


LOCAL 4-H MEMBER Jayden Makinson is one of dozens of area young people participating in competitions this week at the Columbia County Fair. Jayden will show her Hampshire cross “Clover” on Friday. In addition to many kinds of 4-H exhibits and competitions, fair officials report over 200 new open class exhibitors this year with over 3000 entries, plus 108 open class horse entries.

The 2014 Columbia County Fair & Rodeo, with the theme, “Country Roots and Cowboy Boots,” opened Wednesday, July 16, and runs through Sunday, July 20, with numerous competitions each day in addition to entertainment, a carnival and rodeos on Friday and Saturday nights, beginning at 7 p.m. in the fair arena.

The Youth Livestock Market Auction is set for Saturday, July 19, at 3:30 p.m. between the 4-H barns.

The fair book with more information and a schedule of events was inserted in last week’s Chief. A schedule of events is also available on-line at Chief Photo by Molly Wehrley

Clatskanie City Council Awards Scout Lake Grants

by Deborah Steele Hazen 

The Clatskanie City Council awarded Scout Lake Fund grants to five local programs and projects totaling $4,100 at its meeting July 9.

The Scout Lake Fund was created with revenues from harvesting timber on the property surrounding the lake, which was donated to the city for recreational purposes by the Evenson family in the 1930s.

The city uses interest from the Scout Lake Fund to award grants to Clatskanie recreational programs and projects.

Scout Lake Grants, recommended by the city’s Recreation Advisory Committee and approved by the city council, are:

Clatskanie Senior Citizens, senior field trips, $250; Kiwanis Club of Clatskanie, playground equipment for the city park, $1,000; Clatskanie Arts Commission, for the Missoula Children’s Theater, $1,500; Lakota White, for Eagle Scout project at Scout Lake, $350; Clatskanie Boosters, contribution to new multi-purpose room, $1,000.

Street Improvements, Museum Waiver

In the only other action items of the evening:

• The council approved applying for a State of Oregon Special City Allotment grant for funds to help in improvements to North Nehalem Street.

Also related to North Nehalem Street, public works director Ray DiPasquale suggested putting  “Use Turn Signals” signs up at the intersection of NE and NW 5th Street and North Nehalem to help lessen confusion.

DiPasquale said that the county’s paving of Conyers Creek Road, to which the city is contributing, has been delayed until August. The city is anxious to have the work done before school starts, since school buses travel that route.

• In recognition of the service the Clatskanie Historical Society provides in preserving historical items and archives for the community,  and acknowledging the very minimal usage, the city agreed to waive the monthly water and sewer for the Clatskanie museum now located at Grannis Square, subject to the ability of the city to terminate the waiver with six months notice.

After moving from the I.O.O.F. building earlier this year to allow for reconstruction work there, the museum is relocated in a space at Grannis Square which is being donated by Merry Melonas.

Still in the process of organizing displays, the Clatskanie Historical Society volunteers have not yet reopened the museum.

Generator Project

Randy Larson, community/government relations coordinator for the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (CPUD), presented information to the city council regarding the community emergency generator project.

The Georgia-Pacific Wauna Mill donated a generator to the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District, which in turn donated it to be installed at Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS), which could be used as an evacuation center in case of a disaster, such as it was in the flood of 1996. The Wauna Mill has also donated a 600A three-phase double throw safety switch, Larson reported.

The project to install the emergency generator will run concurrently with a service upgrade project to CMHS being performed by CPUD.

The scope of the work to connect the generator will include installing underground conduit, one fused disconnect, a three-phase CT cabinet, a 13 jaw meter socket, a double throw safety switch, a copper bus reconfiguration, and conduit installation in the CMHS electric room.

While CPUD is donating much of the labor for the project, cost for equipment is estimated at between $47,000 and $50,000.

The city council took under consideration the request to help fund the cost of installing the emergency generator.

Port of St. Helens commissioner Mike Avent, who was present at the meeting, said the Port would consider contributing to the project.

Farmers’ Market Licenses Discussed, Kudos on 4th, Retirement Honored

City Manager Greg Hinkelman and the council discussed the need to revisit the city’s business license ordinance to find a better solution for seasonal businesses such as vendors at the Clatskanie Farmers’ Market.

Mayor Diane Pohl, the city councilors and Police Chief Marvin Hoover complimented the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce’s Heritage Days Committee, the city crew, and the citizens in general for the 4th of July celebration, and the restraint regarding illegal fireworks.

Hoover had announced that citizens setting off illegal fireworks would be cited and fined $1,000 per violation. There were no citations issued.

On behalf of the council, Mayor Pohl presented Deborah Steele Hazen, the retiring publisher/editor of The Chief, with a bouquet of roses in recognition of her many years of providing news coverage for the City of Clatskanie.

PUD Sets Two-Day Strategic Planning Session

Clatskanie People’s Utility District (CPUD) board of directors and managerial staff will meet for a two-day strategic planning session July 22 and 23.

The sessions will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, upstairs in the Hump’s Restaurant banquet room.

The meetings are open to the public, but there will not be a time set aside for public comments.

Expected to be discussed at the strategic planning sessions are plans for the next several years including capital projects, staffing, rate increases, bond sales, etc.

The CPUD board also met on Wednesday evening, July 16. Agenda items for the workshop meeting that began at 5:30 p.m. included discussion with financial advisor Alan Dashen and CPUD attorney Larry Cable, as well as a “CPUD District Planning Model Presidentation” by Eric Hiaasen and Paul Dockery.

The workshop was preceded by an executive session on legal matters.

During the regular meeting beginning at  7 p.m., the PUD board was expected to act on a revised credit and collections policy, and decide a course of action regarding the Bonneville Power Administration’s “contracted for/committed to” (CF/CT) rate decisions.

Keyser Honored with Community Service Award

WEBKeyserServiceSTANDING BESIDE THE PICTURE of the man for whom the award was named, Robert Keyser was honored with the City of Clatskanie’s highest award for community service, the Oren C. Tweet Community Service Award, at a reception in his honor in the City of Clatskanie council chambers July 9

A lifelong Clatskanie resident, began his community service as a volunteer with the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District, then became a professional member of the CRFPD staff as a full-time paramedic/firefighter.

After a career move from the CRFPD to owner/operator of Clatskanie Builders Supply, Keyser was elected to the CRFPD board of directors, on which he continues to serve. He has also served on the Clatskanie Library District board and the Clatskanie city council.

A tireless advocate for economic development, Keyser serves as chair of the Port of St. Helens board of commissioners.

Among his many community service activities, he has also held leadership positions in the Clatskanie Kiwanis Club and the Clatskanie Masonic Lodge #133.

Sale of The Chief Announced

The owners of The Clatskanie Chief Publishing Co. announced this week that an agreement has been reached to sell their weekly newspaper.

The Chief’s publisher and editor, Deborah Steele Hazen, said the new owner as of July 31 will be Oregon-based Country Media, Inc.

In addition to Deborah, the newspaper’s current owners include her husband, Philip Hazen, and their daughter, Amanda Moravec. The newspaper has been owned by four generations of the Steele and Hazen families for 92 years.

“As sad as we are that The Chief will no longer be in our family, we simply feel the time has come to redefine how we’ll spend our remaining years,” said Deborah. “The decision to sell is made easier by knowing that the new owner is itself a family-run enterprise with a proven affection for northwestern Oregon.”

Country Media’s principal shareholders are Steve and Carol Hungerford of Portland. The company owns the newspapers, affiliated periodicals and websites in St. Helens, Lincoln City, Tillamook and Manzanita, Ore., as well as seven community newspapers and websites in North Dakota and Montana.



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