Columbian Newspaper

Gas prices dip just below $4 for the first time in 5 months
Author: Associated Press

DALLAS — Gasoline prices have dipped under $4 for the first time in more than five months — good news for consumers who are struggling with high prices for many other essentials.

AAA said the national average for a gallon of regular was $3.99 on Thursday, down from the mid-June record of $5.02. However, that’s still about 80 cents higher than the average a year ago.

Energy is a key factor in the cost of many goods and services, and falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes are giving consumers a bit of relief, although inflation is still close to a four-decade high.

Glen Smith, a for-hire driver, sized up the price — $3.85 a gallon — while waiting between rides at a gas station in Kenner, Louisiana.

“I’m not tickled pink, but I’m happier it’s less than what it was,” Smith said. “There for a while, every two days I put $50 of gas in my car. It’s $12 to run from the airport to drop off in the city — $12 a trip!”

Oil prices began rising in mid-2020 as economies recovered from the initial shock of the pandemic. They rose again when the U.S. and allies announced sanctions against Russian oil over the country’s war against Ukraine.

Recently, however, oil prices have dropped on concern about slowing economic growth around the world. U.S. benchmark crude oil has recently dipped close to $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June.

It is unclear whether gasoline prices got so high that consumers cut back on their driving. Some experts believe that is true, although they acknowledge that the evidence is largely anecdotal.

“I don’t know that $5 was the magic amount. I think it was the amount of increase in a short period of time,” said Peter Schwarz, an expert on energy pricing and an economics professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “People were starting to watch their driving.”

Schwarz expects oil prices to remain relatively stable at least for the next month or so, particularly after OPEC and partners including Russia agreed to only a small oil production increase in September, which won’t be enough to drive prices lower.

Christian vom Lehn, an economics professor at Brigham Young University, said the price of oil is the key factor for gasoline, but that seasonal trends could also keep prices from surging again.

“We are coming to the end of summer, and summer is a peak travel season, so demand is naturally going to fall,” he said. “That is certainly contributing to the most recent decline” in gas prices.

The average gas price has dropped 58 straight days, but that streak will end soon, predicted Tom Kloza, head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service. He said the industry will face challenges to meet gasoline demand for the rest of the year.

Kloza noted that it’s still early in the hurricane season, which in the past has shut down some of the nation’s biggest refineries that sit in hurricane-prone areas of the Gulf Coast; the Gulf of Mexico is speckled with oil-producing platforms. Also, he said, “refinery runs will come down because of a lot of delayed maintenance that can’t be delayed indefinitely.”

Prices at the pump are likely to be a major issue heading into the mid-term elections in November.

Republicans blame President Joe Biden for the high gasoline prices, seizing on his decisions to cancel a permit for a major pipeline and suspend new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Biden said over the weekend that a family with two cars is saving $100 a month because prices have dropped from their peak in mid-June.

“That’s breathing room,” he tweeted. “And we’re not letting up any time soon.”

Biden has also sparred with oil companies, accusing them of not producing as much oil and gasoline as they could while posting huge profits. “Exxon made more money than God this year,” he said in June.

Exxon said it has increased oil production. The CEO of Chevron said Biden was trying to vilify his industry.

Biden has also ordered the release of oil from the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve this year. While not large enough to account for the drop in gasoline prices, the extra supply from reserves might have helped stem the rise in pump prices, according to analysts.

The nationwide average for gas hasn’t been under $4 since early March. Prices topped out at $5.02 a gallon on June 14, according to AAA. They declined slowly the rest of June, then began dropping more rapidly. The shopping app GasBuddy reported that the national average dropped under $4 on Wednesday.

Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest.

A year ago, the nationwide average price was just under $3.19 a gallon, according to AAA. After a long climb, that price has dropped steadily this summer, falling 15 cents in the past week and 69 cents in the last month,

“If you talk to people who are not economists, gas prices always go up faster than they come down,” said Schwarz, the energy-pricing expert. “These are still high gas prices.”

The Chronicle - Centralia

Celebration of Life for Earl and Neva Conzatti

Please join us for a celebration of life to honor Neva and Earl Conzatti. 

Stop by anytime between 1 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, at Riverside Golf Club and Bistro in Chehalis. It will be open house style.

We would love to see you, and bring a memory to share!

In Loving Memory of Berenice Barney: 1920-2022

Vincent Barney, of Tenino, was born Aug. 23, 1920, in Bucoda, Washington, and passed away Aug. 2, 2006, in Tenino. 

Berenice Barney was born Nov. 19, 1920, in the Hanaford Valley in Centralia, Washington, and passed away at 101 years old on Aug. 2, 2022, in Prestige Care of Centralia. 

They both graduated from Centralia High School and being high school sweethearts married Sept. 10, 1939. Together they owned and operated Barney's Auto Service of Tenino for 46 years, retiring in 1991. 

They are survived by three children, Sheri Barbeau, Vici Wicklund and Larry Barney (Georgia), and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. 

A private committal for Berenice will be held at Forest Grove Cemetery in Tenino.

In Loving Memory of Harry Warren: 1931-2022

Harry Warren passed away peacefully on June 28, 2022, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. He was born on Aug. 31, 1931, in Centralia, Washington, to Rena and Harry Warren. After graduating from Centralia High School, he joined the U.S. Army, where he was a radio repair instructor. After being honorably discharged, he began his college education at Centralia Junior College. During this time, he had a variety of jobs, including working as a golf caddy, cab driver and service station mechanic at LeDuc’s. In 1960, he married Elva Mae Harwood and they moved to Bellingham, where Harry earned a degree in education from Western Washington State College. After graduating, his first teaching job was as an industrial arts teacher at Renton High School. During this time, Harry and Elva had three kids, Lisa, Jeff and Gary. Harry then moved to teach at Hazen High School, where he eventually became vice principal. 

The family moved to Burlington in 1977, where he became the principal at Burlington-Edison High School. He was proud of his time as a principal and rarely missed any school activity that involved his students. He retired in 1994 after 35 years in education and built a home at Lake Samish. Even after retiring, Harry continued to make a difference by mentoring student teachers from Western Washington University.

On Feb. 15, 1997, he married Theresa Gilmore at their home at Lake Samish. Harry and Terry treasured retirement together, especially traveling and family celebrations. Harry cherished the many friendships he made as a long-time member of the Burlington Kiwanis Club. He also liked tinkering in the garage with woodworking and motorcycle projects.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents and stepson, Max Gilmore, and is survived by his wife, Theresa Warren. He is also survived by his daughter, Lisa (Mark) Wolfe; sons, Jeff Warren and Gary (Rose) Warren; stepdaughter, Tammie Shannon; stepson, Sean Gilmore; ten grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

His patience, sense of humor and capacity for unconditional love were gifts he shared with everyone he met. His family would like to thank Whatcom Hospice House for the extraordinary and compassionate care they provided for Harry during his last days.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, M/S 818-F, PO Box 5371, Seattle, 98245-5005, or Burlington-Edison Alumni Foundation Scholarship Fund, PO Box 350, Burlington, WA, 98233.

In Loving Memory of Mildred Lehman: 1929-2022

Mildred E. Lehman, 92, of Centralia, Washington, passed away Wednesday, July 27, 2022, just 10 days shy of her 93rd birthday. 

Mildred was born Aug. 6, 1929, in Tacoma, Washington. She was adopted by Harry and Helen Terry of Chehalis, Washington, not long afterward. 

A graduate of the original Chehalis High School, Mildred later attended and completed business school. Over the years, she worked for Sears, the City of Chehalis, Gar-Penley Accounting, Durgin and Calkins Accounting, and The Berry Basket. 

Mildred married her sweetheart, Arthur R. Lehman, on her birthday in 1955. The couple met on a blind date and enjoyed a short courtship before the wedding. He preceded her in death on March 21, 2019. 

Mildred was a sweet and kind woman who loved and enjoyed her family dearly. This included her church family at the Twin Cities Church of Christ, and the many friends she met over the years. While she is tremendously missed from our presence, we are happy she is together again with dad. 

Mildred is survived by her son James “Jim” Lehman and daughter-in-law Beth; daughter Karen Groshong and son-in-law Scot; former son-in-law Richard (Rick) Longabaugh; grandchildren James Longabaugh (Melinda), Cameron Longabaugh (Kajsa), Jacob Ponce, Morgan Lehman and Sarah Mendiola; and great-grandchildren Tate Longabaugh (James and Melinda), and Lux and Benni Longabaugh (Cameron and Kajsa). 

A graveside service was held on Aug. 4, 2022, at Mountain View Cemetery in Centralia. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Twin Cities Church of Christ at 502 E. Plum St., Centralia, or the Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area, at 627 N. Pearl St., Centralia.

In Loving Memory of John Petersen: 1942-2022

John Calvin Petersen, 80, passed away July 25, 2022, at Providence Centralia Hospital. He was born June 19, 1942, to Arnold Petersen and Viola June Dent. John grew up with five siblings, Marilyn, Garth, Kathleen, Diane and Kaye. He attended Westminster High School and Orange Coast College in California.

On May 7, 1976, he married Joyce Elaine Petersen in Centralia, Washington. Between the two, they had six children, Robert, Kim, Aaron, Rhonda, Randy and Calvin.

John worked for the Pacific Power & Light (steam plant). He was a member of IBEW and was the labor steward for many years. John was CPR certified while he was employed at Pacific Power & Light. 

After retiring, he worked for other subcontractors to help with outages in Estacada, Oregon; Boardman, Oregon; and Longview Fiber. In his younger years, John enjoyed working a second job at Wisner’s Gun Shop.

John loved spending time with his family more than anything. He loved hunting, camping, anything outdoors, family barbecues, working on his classic cars and casino trips. He shared his extensive knowledge and special skills with his loved ones. John also enjoyed playing billiards and belonged to several leagues throughout the years. He served in the U.S. Army for two years during Vietnam. One of his greatest achievements was showing his family and friends what unconditional love truly was, without asking for anything in return. His love for his family will always be remembered and cherished.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold Petersen and June Baker; brother, Garth Petersen, sisters, Kathleen Petersen and Marilyn Brendel; his wife’s parents, Bud and Georgia Butterfield; brother-in-law, Melvin Butterfield; sister-in-law, Lissa Butterfield;granddaughter, Angel; and grandson, Jason Petersen.

Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Joyce Petersen, who he spent most of his time with; six children, Rob (Leesha) Smith, Kim (Mike) Gunnell, Aaron Petersen, Rhonda Smith, Randy (Amy) Smith and Calvin (Jennifer) Petersen; 18 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, that he was blessed to be an important part of numerous their everyday lives; sisters, Diane (Dennis Vasquez) Winters and Kaye (Sal) Aguilar; brothers-in-law, Bruce Butterfield and Larry (Dorothy) Butterfield; and many family and friends, including nieces, nephews and cousins.

We would like to thank the Centralia Providence staff and the EMT’s, who were on duty during our painful process the day our dad passed on. They showed great kindness and compassion to our family. We would also like to thank our friends, family and businesses for their kind words and gestures during the heartbreaking loss of our dad. He truly was one of a kind and made friends wherever he went. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

John was an exceptional example of what a great man was: great work ethic, honest, dependable, caring, loyal, an avid outdoorsman and a wonderful father, husband and friend to all who knew him. His unconditional love will shine on all of us and get us through this difficult time. 

A celebration of life potluck will be held Aug.14, 2022, from noon to 5 p.m. at Fort Borst Park. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Sticklin Funeral Chapel.

In Loving Memory of Marlene Brenning-Palmateer: 1932-2022 

Marlene Dian (White) Brenning-Palmateer, 89, with family by her side, went to be with Jesus Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Lexington, Washington. 

Marlene was born Aug. 22, 1932, to Clarence and Sophie (Isaacson) White in Seattle, Washington. She lost her dad when she was 2. As an only child, she spent most of her years growing up with her many aunts, uncles and cousins. She lived the majority of her life on the family homestead in Winlock, Washington. 

Marlene accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior in her teens and dedicated her life to serving the Lord in any way she could. She was gifted with a beautiful singing voice, which she used to bring joy and the salvation message whenever and wherever she could. 

Playing her accordion and singing for Jesus took her literally around the world. 

She met her future husband, Warren Brenning, while singing at a mission in Seattle, Washington. She was working at a bank and ministering through song in her spare time. They were married a short time later and had eight children within a 10-year period. 

Marlene and Warren spent a great deal of their life singing with their children songs about Jesus and traveling as a family wherever they could to share the love of God through their music. Their family ministry took them all over the United States and 27 countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. 

Later in life, Marlene was involved in Women’s Aglow, a ministry for women. She served on the board in various capacities for many years. 

She also started a secondhand store ministry with her good friend Mary Torbenson in the town of Winlock to help people in need and share the love of God with her community. 

Later in life, she married Jerry Palmateer and spent their retirement years together on the family homestead. 

She has accurately been described by all who had the pleasure of knowing her that she had the most beautiful smile and was one of the kindest people they knew; someone who had a heart of gold. 

Marlene is survived by seven of her children, Joyanne, Julie, John (Jill), Jana, Jeanne (Dean), Jenny (Dean) and Joel (Cindy); grandchildren, Jeromy, Jackie, Jessica, John, Justin, Jasper, Jani, Julien, Jaci-anna, Jared, Josh, Jason, Jacob, Joshua, Jamie, Jeff, Jennie, Derek, Jaylene, Joseph and Janie; and numerous great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. 

She is preceded in death by her first husband, Warren Brenning; second husband, Jerry Palmateer; daughter, Jodie Cothren; great-granddaughter, Samantha Kelley; and great-grandson James Robinson. 

A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, at the Vader Assembly of God Church in Vader. 

A potluck reception will be held after the service. Bring a dish to share, along with your favorite memories. 

We’ll say goodbye now, 

God’s love be with you now. 

Until we meet at Jesus feet, 

We’ll keep our eyes stayed on Him. 

To view the obituary, please go to

Western Washington Man Accused of Murder in Fatal Beating With AR-15 Rifle, Prosecutors Say

King County prosecutors have charged an Auburn man with first-degree murder, alleging he beat a man to death with a rifle.

Francisco Ochoa-Prado, 31, is accused of entering Daniel Parkinson's Auburn home on the night of Aug. 1 and fatally beating him with the stock of an AR-15 rifle.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Parkinson's death a homicide due to severe blunt force trauma to his head.

Ochoa-Prado knew Parkinson owned an AR-15 rifle and kept it in his home, according to court documents. Ochoa-Prado told investigators he intended to use Parkinson's rifle to kill him, court documents say.

Ochoa-Prado entered Parkinson's home through sliding doors, found the AR-15 and entered Parkinson's room with the rifle, according to the documents. He then pointed the rifle at Parkinson, who was asleep, and twice tried pulled the trigger, the documents allege.

The gun did not fire, and Ochoa-Prado proceeded to beat Parkinson to death with the butt of the rifle, according to the documents.

Auburn police learned through interviews that Ochoa-Prado's girlfriend had just broken up with him that morning. His girlfriend lived in the same house as Parkinson, documents say, and Ochoa-Prado assumed the two were in a relationship.

She told police she ended her relationship with Ochoa-Prado because he was abusing drugs, according to court documents.

Ochoa-Prado is being held in the King County Jail as he awaits an Aug. 18 arraignment. His bail was set at $2 million.

NYT Politics

Read the full transcript of Merrick Garland’s comments on the F.B.I.’s search of Trump’s home.
Author: The New York Times
Here is what the attorney general said on Thursday about the process that led up to the action at Mar-a-Lago.

Washington State News

Storm seek sweep of Lynx in Sylvia Fowles' farewell
It's been dubbed "Syl's Final Ride," an ode to Sylvia Fowles' final WNBA season and her love of bike riding. Fowles and the Minnesota Lynx are hopeful that Friday night's home game with the Seattle Storm isn't her final appearance at the Target Center in Minneapolis. At 14-20, Minnesota is one of four teams tied for the final two playoff spots with two games left. The Lynx held the seventh seed to begin the weekend, cou