The Chronicle - Centralia

Letter to the editor: It's high time we get more honesty and transparency from our elected officials, advertisers and media entrepreneurs

Kristen Chilson, of Winlock, recently submitted a letter to the editor containing malicious speculations attacking a local person she disagrees with, Brittany Voie.

The letter discussed records from the Washington state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) and how Voie was paid $500 by the Concerned Taxpayers Accountability Center to create the framework of an informational website,

It goes on to speculate Ms. Voie should have further disclosed her involvement in building a simple website when writing an editorial disseminated in a local publication.

Conveniently omitted from her letter was Kirsten Chilson’s role running Northway Strategies, itself a company paid to create websites for political organizations and itself a company involved in numerous local PDC issues. In fact, Ms. Chilson designed Lewis County Republican Party’s new website the second time in 2023 after LCRP first paid the Silver Agency (which is owned by Chronicle owners Chad and Coralee Taylor) for the same work.

No disclosures within her letter. No proper and ethical labeling or way for readership to distinguish that Ms. Chilson had her own company in this very same arena, a company which has actually been directly involved in specific recent PDC issues.

The hypocrisy doesn't stop there.

With her public facade as a political strategist, Chilson sanctimoniously attacks people like Ms. Voie who challenge an often overreaching local network of nepotism and corruption by exercising government accountability tools such as the Public Records Act and PDC, which are afforded “we the people” to keep our government open and honest.

Grifter Chilson submitted this letter for what? Relevance? Clients? A new tin hat?   

Her blatant disregard for truth in pursuit of personal gain is shocking.

Instances of unreported in kind donations and other work by Northway Strategies raise concerns of corruption and potential violations of campaign finance and disclosure laws, some of which are currently pending.

The Chronicle also reported the same day Chilson’s letter was published about The Chronicle’s own recent PDC issue regarding commercial advertising transparency — suggesting broader concerns in this area locally. In this reporting, it was mentioned there are numerous outstanding PDC complaints locally, two specifically relating to Lewis County Republican Party and Commissioner Candidate Riley.

Both of those complaints also involve Kristen Chilson’s Northway Strategies having provided the services that were never reported and which gave rise to both issues to begin with.

The blatant hypocrisy of Ms. Chilson’s letter attacking Ms. Voie regarding the very things Ms. Chilson is currently involved in transcends political endorsements for gubernatorial candidates — it's a reflection of our community's lack of standards in this area.

It's high time we collectively move beyond these issues and into more openness, honesty, and transparency from our elected officials, advertisers and media entrepreneurs.


Kyle Wheeler


Letter to the editor: With hate speech reporting line, we are teaching an entire generation to be constantly offended

I am writing in opposition to Washington state’s new law establishing a “hate speech” reporting line.

It is a shame that our state has succumbed to writing and passing needless laws designed to create a “tattle tale” system of government, similar to the one established by the Nazis during World War II, an evil regime that murdered over 70 million people, and where neighbors were encouraged to “report” other neighbors.

While many brave men and women stood up against their brutality, most either ignored it or joined in.

Our nation has always held freedom of speech as a high honor and rare privilege, and while many choose to abuse this freedom, is it wise or democratic to criminalize people’s words?

This weekend, I was in Costco where I could have reported a man for “hate speech.”

His voice was loud, obnoxious and spewing hatred toward several entities.

But did his uncontrolled speech constitute a crime?

In wisdom, our laws in the past were written to punish actual crimes, not words, which do not carry any weight without action behind them.

I can say “I’m going to rob a bank,” but unless I actually do it, no crime has been committed.

Will we now have people reporting on each other like a child tattles to his mother because his brother called him a “fatty, fatty two-by-four,” a taunt often flung out by ill-mannered children?

With a hate speech reporting line, we are teaching an entire generation to be constantly offended, and that when they are, they can “get someone in trouble.”

It is time for Washington state legislators and our governor to grow up, and to uphold the right to speak about personal convictions without fear of retribution; or it will only be a matter of time until those who oppose current societal trends will be labeled as criminals-maybe even shuffled off to death camps?


Virginia Schnabel


Letter to the editor: Toxic takes on Trump

Good old letter writer Marty Ansley. Without Marty, we’d never know who is toxic.

Marty’s an expert in toxicity. He employs it with relish when he attacks presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Thanks for the poison, Marty.


Thomas Higson

Clark County

Letter to the editor: Donald Trump is the swamp

Congressman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, chair of the U.S House Intelligence Committee, recently stated that members of his own caucus (MAGA/Republican) have repeated Russian propaganda on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Congressman Mike McCaul,R-Texas, has seconded that view.

Congresswoman Margorie Taylor Greene (Performance Artist-Georgia), otherwise known as “Moscow Marge” by former congresswoman Liz Cheney, along with others of the Putin/Trump wing of the GOP repeat Vladimir Putin’s words verbatim. No filter. Between Trump and Putin, Greene and her comrades are lost in a wilderness of lies.

That the Republican Party, once the home of Ronald Reagan and other staunch opponents of the Soviet Union would now be the home of a bevy of what the old Soviet KGB called “useful idiots” is astonishing.

Now you have former president, currently private citizen Donald Trump heavily influencing U.S. foreign policy (a violation of the Logan Act?) through his congressional toadies on behalf of his Russian puppet master, Vladimir Putin.

What Trump and other MAGAs like Greene, Matt Gaetz and our own Neville Chamberlain wannabe, Joe Kent, seem to miss entirely is the fact that when historians and analysts say Putin would not stop with Ukraine they are basing that view on the fact that Russian imperialism is a perennial thing. Just when you think it might be dead, like Rasputin, it blooms again.

Russians have asserted for hundreds of years their right to rule over pretty much the known world. Putin’s claim to rule is just the latest incarnation. He is serious about it. Russians have always been brutally serious about it, a fact not lost on their newly free neighbors who sought the protection of NATO soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian disinformation is dangerous enough, but the homegrown, Donald Trump variety is even more perilous. Repeated claims of “election fraud” regarding the 2020 election have undermined public confidence in U.S. elections by half the population. As the late Sen. John McCain said, “They’re doing Vladimir Putin’s work for him.”

Trump and his MAGA pals are now mongering the fear that illegal aliens are pouring over the southern border to cast votes in the 2024 election for Joe Biden. A study of 23 million votes in the 2016 election cited by the conservative CATO Institute in their April 11, 2024, commentary “The Right’s Bogus Claims about Noncitizen Voting Fraud” revealed a possible but not proven 30 cases of noncitizen voting.

MAGA letter writers to The Chronicle defend Trump as a victim who would “drain the swamp.” Far from Trump being persecuted, if any other American stood accused of breaking the laws Trump has been accused of breaking they would be in jail. Yet he shows nothing but contempt for the grace he has been given.

Lewis County voters might pay attention to the chorus of former Trump Administration officials who worked closely with him and have repudiated him, warning “he is not fit for the office” of president. They all say the same thing.

“Donald Trump is the swamp.” 


Marty Ansley


Letter to the editor: Lewis County Republicans are wild

As someone who fully intends on casting my ballot for Bob Ferguson this fall, I’d love nothing more than to see him face off against Semi Bird.

By all means, Republicans, continue nominating the absolute worst candidates such as Loren Culp or Bird. I mean, why would you want to support Dave Reichert, the candidate easily beating Ferguson by 9 points in a recent poll? Wouldn’t you rather have the candidate losing by 16 points?

And the badges of honor he carries, like being kicked off a school board, are laughable. Semi Bird may end up having more baggage than Loren Culp, which would be quite an impressive feat.

All of this is to say, if you’d like to be shut out of the Governor’s Mansion for another 40 years, please continue to run terrible candidates. But coming from someone who used to call himself a Republican, maybe consider finding some self respect and support a serious candidate.

Or if you’d prefer to stay the course, keep backing Bird and cry “stolen election” when he loses this November.


Sean Wills


Richard Stride commentary: Beginning to understand the meaning of understanding

I love watching documentaries, usually those that are about history or historical figures.

My wife likes sitcoms.

If you saw us at home sitting on the couch together, you would see that she is watching the TV and I have my headphones on while watching something on my tablet, usually a documentary. I have the need to learn something from what I am watching or reading.

My wife and I do love watching movies together, especially Marvel and monster movies (Godzilla, King Kong, etc.). I do watch things for the enjoyment of just watching, but my preference is to watch something from which I can learn.

I recently happened upon a PBS documentary titled “An American Conscience the Reinhold Niebuhr story.” I had read some of his writings years ago and was impressed. His most famous book, “The Irony of American History,” written in 1952, can be difficult to follow but is worth the read.

Prior to this classic work, he wrote a book titled “Moral Man in an Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics,” written in 1932 during Hitler’s rise to power. But who was Reinhold Niebuhr? What did he say? What can he teach us today?

He was an American theologian who wrote extensively concerning America’s role in the world. New York Times writer Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called Niebuhr “the supreme American theologian of the 20th century.”

David Brooks, another writer from the New York Times who is also featured in the documentary, said of Niebuhr, “Niebuhr had the audacity. He wrote with audacity. He wrote big books on big subjects. He took big public stands.”

He may be most famous for the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

Alcoholics Anonymous adopted the prayer in the 1940s as something that encapsulated their struggle with the disease of alcoholism.

But he said and wrote much more.

In his widely read and studied book “The Irony of American History,” he wrote, “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in a lifetime: therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in our immediate context of history, therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone, therefore we are saved by love.”      

That is profound, don’t you think?   

Niebuhr believed in America, in democracy, in democratic societies and what democracies stood for, famously saying, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”

Prophetically, as if speaking to our own time, he said, “Everybody understands the obvious meaning of the world struggle in which we are engaged. We are defending freedom against tyranny and are trying to preserve justice against a system which has, demonically, distilled injustice and cruelty out of its original promise of a higher justice.”

He did not believe that we would ever be able to achieve a utopian democratic society, but democracy was the world's best hope for peace.

Niebuhr also was keenly aware of our human nature.

Another celebrated theologian, Cornel West, who also was featured in the documentary, said it best: Niebuhr knew of the Civil War within our hearts that rages between good and evil.

In other words, what we know is the right thing to do, and our nature toward selfish fulfillment.

I think we can learn a lot from Niebuhr.

I think, further, if we take to heart what he is trying to tell us today, we can begin to understand the meaning of understanding.


Richard Stride is the current CEO of Cascade Community Healthcare. He can be reached at

Bail set at $100,000 for Centralia man accused of having drugs in his car

Bail is set at $100,000 for a Centralia man accused of handing fentanyl and meth to the passenger in his car during a traffic stop in March.

A sergeant with the Centralia Police Department had conducted a traffic stop on the car for expired tabs on March 28, according to court documents, which noted the sergeant knew the vehicle’s driver, William Sacks Jr., 61, “from prior law enforcement-related contacts.”

At the time, Sacks was arrested for third-degree driving with a suspended license and reportedly gave officers permission to search his car.

Inside, they reportedly found “a small bag of fentanyl pills and a baggie containing methamphetamine in the car, in a hidden compartment next to the driver’s side of the vehicle.”

Sacks “could not be booked into the Lewis County Jail at that time due to exceedingly high blood pressure,” according to court documents.

Sacks was reportedly transported to the Providence Centralia Hospital’s emergency room and was released into the care of hospital staff.

Meanwhile, the passenger in Sacks’ vehicle was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail on an outstanding Centralia Municipal Court warrant. She reportedly had small bags of fentanyl and meth in her bra when she was booked into the jail. When questioned, she reportedly told the Centralia sergeant “that when Sacks saw the officer, he handed her two small baggies with the controlled substances in them, which she hid in her bra.”

Sacks was charged on April 9 in Lewis County Superior Court with one count of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver.

“As of the date of this declaration, Mr. Sacks’ whereabouts are unknown to the state,” the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office stated in charging documents filed on April 9.

According to defense attorney Rachael Tiller, Sacks was at Providence Centralia Hospital up until the early morning of April 15, when he was discharged and immediately arrested on a $25,000 warrant for the new charges.

At the time this case was filed, Sacks was out of custody on unsecured bail for an unrelated 2022 possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver case.

Trial for that case was scheduled to begin April 18.

Judge Joely Yeager’s decision to set Sacks’ bail at $100,000 for this case was based on that 2022 case and Sacks’ criminal history.

Arraignment was scheduled for April 18.

Northwest Wind Symphony presenting spring concert at Centralia College Saturday

The Northwest Wind Symphony will present its spring concert on Saturday, April 20.

Titled “Desserts,” the show will start at 7 p.m. at Centralia College’s Corbet Theatre.

The cost is $12 for general admission. Students can enter for free with a paying adult. For more information, visit

Toledo Track and Field to host breakfast fundraiser

The Toledo School District will host an all-you-can-eat biscuits and gravy fundraiser later this month in support of the high school track and field team.

The event will run from 8 to 11 a.m. on April 27 at the Toledo High School commons, located at 1242 state Route 505 in Toledo. The fundraiser costs $5, and tickets will be available at the door.

For questions or more information, call Head Coach Don Schaplow at 360-560-2314.

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