The Chronicle - Centralia

Second person charged in alleged August robbery at Chehalis Walmart

A second person involved in an alleged robbery at the Chehalis Walmart in August appeared in Lewis County Superior Court for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. 

Rainy Alexandra Chenevert, 32, of Onalaska, is facing a first-degree robbery charge for her alleged involvement in an Aug. 26 incident. 

A man she was with, co-defendant David William Day, 39, of Onalaska, reportedly “became agitated” because the Walmart app left a balance of $28 to pay for the items in their cart. When a Walmart employee moved to pull Day’s cart away, he allegedly “punched her multiple times in the face, causing observable injuries,” according to court documents. 

Chenevert allegedly took the cart and left the store with Day. 

“They did not pay the remainder of the balance for the items in their cart,” according to court documents. 

When questioned by a Chehalis officer over the phone, Day reportedly said “he was at Walmart when an employee came up to him and assaulted him.” He said “the employee tried to steal the cart full of items he had and that he only owed ‘$9,’” and added, “the employee had assaulted him and that he hit the employee in self-defense,” according to court documents. 

Day was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail just before 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 28, according to jail records. His bail was set at $15,000, which he posted Aug. 30. He pleaded not guilty on Aug. 31 and trial is scheduled for Nov. 13.  

Chenevert, who was not taken into custody at the time of the incident, was charged with one count of first-degree robbery on Aug. 30. She was issued a summons notice on Sept. 5 for a Sept. 26 preliminary hearing, which she was present for. A judge set her bail at $10,000 unsecured, meaning she does not have to pay any of the amount to remain out of custody as long as she follows the conditions of her release. 

Arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 5. 

Thurston County resident and substitute teacher to compete in 'LEGO Masters' series

Amie Thaler, a 21-year Yelm resident and substitute teacher in Yelm Community Schools, is a competitor at heart. She’s competed in Ironman triathlons, marathons and now has her sights on a new competition.

Thaler and her friend and teammate Karen Bludorn will compete in season four of Fox’s LEGO Masters, where competitors are given different prompts or topics and challenged to create their visions with Legos. The duo is LEGO Master’s first team of grandmothers, Thaler said.

Despite picking up Legos for the first time ever last December, Thaler said she was excited for the new challenge of competing on television on LEGO Masters.

“My LEGO experience is very minimal. It surprised me. I was a little trepidatious going into it until I arrived and met some of the other contestants. A lot of them are as new to LEGO building as I am,” Thaler said. “I’m competitive in nature, so when (Bludorn) asked me if I wanted to join her team, I was like OK, I always give 100 percent in my training,’ and I bought the LEGO sets. I was in 100%.”

Thaler described her teammate Bludorn as being a master LEGO builder. Last winter, Bludorn originally approached Thaler, who “just happened” to be recovering from a foot injury. After learning some more details of what the competition’s process would look like, Thaler said she was all in. She began building LEGO sets in December of 2022.

There was a tryout process for LEGO Masters, which included a building competition over Zoom. Thaler said she and Bludorn were “super happy” after learning they were cast on the show, but she remained nervous because of how new she was to building Legos.

“One of the first people I talked to when we started filming and I was feeling insecure about my skill level, I talked to a grandfather from a grandpa-grandson team, and he told me that he didn’t start building until December, too,” Thaler said. “I said ‘hey, me too,’ and felt a lot better after learning that.”

Since she began building LEGO sets last December, Thaler said she’s found that her favorite sets are typically Disney. She also likes working with LEGO Duplo blocks, which her grandchildren enjoy.

“I have three granddaughters, and the oldest is 3. I have two in Utah and one in Florida, and I bought my 3-year-old some Duplo sets,” Thaler said. “I decided to film myself putting together the sets my granddaughter has and put them on YouTube. I started this Duplo-building YouTube channel.”

Her videos go from unboxing the LEGO Duplo set, to building it piece by piece. She said it has been “an awesome process” of posting her Duplo videos on YouTube, and added that her channel is building fast.

“Right now, my favorite thing to do is build a Duplo and wait for the pictures and videos of my granddaughters building them to come in,” Thaler said.

Thaler originally moved to Yelm in 2002 and eventually became a substitute school bus driver. After taking several years off, she returned to the district but as an emergency substitute teacher. She said her first day of substitute teaching was the same day everything shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2021-22 school year, Thaler taught second grade. She’s currently teaching physical education at McKenna Elementary in a substitute role.

All four of Thaler’s children graduated from Yelm High School, and she said the Yelm community is a great one.

LEGO Masters is hosted by actor and Executive Producer Will Arnett, and Thaler said he keeps the show fun and entertaining. Though the show was filmed during the spring, Thaler said she couldn’t go into much detail about the upcoming season, but that it’ll be “amazing as far as builds go.”

“Everything I do, I give it my all. I always do my best, I went into it like I’d go into Ironman training or marathon training,” Thaler said. “I was doing something every day in preparation for the show.”

She said she planned to have a “watch party” with a friend and her sons for the season 4 premiere of LEGO Masters.

Pacific Logging Congress hosts Live-In Woods Show in Rainier

Deep in the woods of the Weyerhaeuser Vail Tree Farm, over 40 exhibitors in the forestry industry demonstrated the ins and outs of timber harvesting at the ninth Pacific Logging Congress Live In-Woods Show during the weekend of Sept. 21-23.

The event was in Washington state for the first time in 13 years, as it occurs every four years and cycles between Washington, Oregon and California.

Galen Wright, a forestry consultant based in Olympia who has worked in the industry for 45 years, said the event is a great opportunity for people, especially the more than 2,000 students from 31 different schools on field trips, to learn about the forestry industry.

“It gives everybody the opportunity to see lots of different kinds of equipment in one spot. It’s just lovely. It’s amazing how much we’ve mechanized the industry,” he said. “Seeing all these school kids out here is absolutely phenomenal that they get a chance to see some of this and learn where their paper that they write on comes from.”

The event showcased both the Weyerhaeuser Vail Tree Farm in Rainier, as well as active and static industry displays. More than 40 exhibitors, including John Deere, Pape and Timber West attended, displaying a variety of technologies and equipment for timber harvesting such as mulchers, feller bunchers, wood chippers and skidders.

More than 2,000 students attended the first two days of the event and participated in a number of activities, including a forest interpretive trail in which they learned about different classifications of tree stands and forests. They also visited educational booths, including Oregon State University’s forestry program, and learned how to get involved in the forest industry.

“The fact that this event teaches these kids how the industry functions and the different steps they take to make sure that this is a sustainable product and industry is a pretty awesome opportunity,” said Yelm High School teacher Matt Mounts, who brought his sustainable habitats class to the event. “They got to understand what it takes to get a piece of paper in their hand or lumber for their homes. I also wanted them to understand how the industry has to be focused on ecological principles and being environmental stewards of the land.”

Mounts said students from Aberdeen, Black Hills, Tumwater, Shelton, Fife, Lacey and Yelm, among others, were in attendance.

“The industry has come so far from where it was even 20 years ago. The technology that they use, the low-impact practices that they use are quite amazing,” he added. “It’s pretty eye-opening to see what technological advances have evolved and helped make this industry as sustainable as it is.”

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