Calkins trial nears end

Burlingame Grocery was profitable at the time it was destroyed by fire, but would it have remained so?

It's just one of the critical questions facing the jury as the arson trial of owner Tom Calkins nears its end.

Calkins, charged with setting the fire, was expected to take the stand in his defense Monday afternoon in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Closing arguments were to follow Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors have argued that Calkins set fire to his store to collect the insurance money. But Jay Sickler, a principal with the Thompson, Wiest & Sickler accounting firm, testified Monday that the store actually would have increased in net income by more than $20,000 if it had not been destroyed by fire Sept. 18, 2001.

Sickler, testifying on Calkins' behalf, used a calculation based on sales in 2000 and the $137,000 in sales revenue earned by the grocery in the eight months before the four-alarm fire. Given those factors, Sickler said Calkins' net income would have been $215,000.

Sickler's claim was quickly challenged by prosecutor Ethan Knight, who asked Sickler to calculate monthly sales on a bulletin board. Knight then pointed out that the store would have had to make an additional $200,000 in the last three months of 2001 to produce the net profit that Sickler had predicted.

The store's sales revenue had declined for the previous five years, from $3.4 million in 1997 to $2.8 million in 2000, Sickler said.


4 locals survive capsizing

Investigators say it could be months before they find out why the fishing vessel Taki-Tooo capsized off the Oregon coast, killing at least nine people.

The 32-foot vessel capsized Saturday morning in rough ocean waters near Garibaldi after hitting high waves while exiting Tillamook Bay. The eight survivors Ñ four from Portland Ñ were treated for hypothermia and exhaustion at a Tillamook hospital. Four of the survivors were wearing life jackets. None of those who drowned wore life jackets. Rescuers on Sunday morning called off the search for two people missing and presumed dead.

The victims were Steven A. Albus, 53, Ephrata, Wash.; Sigmund Bohnet, 63, Collinsville, Ill.; Kathy Corley, 49, Ukiah, Calif.; Douglas Davis, 66, Garibaldi; Larry Frick, 61, Spokane; Terry Galloway, 46, Portland; Richard Hidalgo, 53, Green Bay, Wis.; Edward Loll, 65, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Dennis Tipton, 70, Ukiah.

Missing are Tim Albus, 43, Madras, and Barry M. Sundberg, 52, Cheney, Wash.

Survivors were identified as Tyler Bohnet, 28, Canby; Mark Hamlett, 52, Portland; Daniel Hamlett, 18, Portland; Chris Hamlett, 23, Portland; Brian Loll, 34, Vancouver, Wash; Richard D. Forsman, 48, Vancouver; Dale Brown, 47, Portland; Tamara Buell, 22, Cloverdale.


Swimmer bound for ocean

Christopher Swain will power through Portland this week for the final leg of his 1,243-mile swim down the Columbia River.

Swain said the goal of his epic swim is to raise awareness of water quality problems and environmental challenges in the Columbia by swimming the entire length of the river.

If, as expected, he completes the final 150 miles of his journey this summer, Swain will become the first person in history to swim the entire river Ñ from its source in British Columbia to its mouth near Astoria.

Swain began his swim June 4, 2002. He has passed 14 dams along the way and fought off six ear infections and four colds.

In a recent news release, Swain said: 'I am not an environmentalist. I am a swimmer who wants a clean river to swim in, and a dad who wants his daughter to be able to play safely on the beach at Kelley Point Park.'


D.C. librarian invited back

The director of the District of Columbia Public Library has been invited back to Portland to interview for the vacant job of Multnomah County library director.

Mary E. 'Molly' Raphael was among a group of four finalists who visited Portland last week for a round of interviews, tours and public forums. Raphael, the only one invited back, will return in July for meetings with the Board of County Commissioners, the Library Advisory Board, the Library Foundation, the Friends of the Library and library staff.

'We had applicants from some of the most prestigious and visible library systems in the United States,' said Diane Linn, board chairwoman. 'I was particularly impressed with (Raphael's) proven ability to leverage the existing assets of the D.C. system to bring significant outside resources into it.'


Security upgrades planned

A $510,000 federal grant from the Department of Homeland Security will pay for gate upgrades, monitoring and surveillance equipment and new sensor alarms at the Port of Portland's Terminal 6.

The terminal, located on the Columbia River in north Portland, is Oregon's only container terminal for loading and unloading oceangoing vessels, and Portland was the only Oregon port to get a grant when Homeland Security handed out almost $170 million to fund 388 projects.

Port Executive Director Bill Wyatt said T-6, which handles more than 400 ships a year carrying containers, break-bulk cargo and automobiles, is small when compared with ports in Los Angeles and Seattle.

'But it's arguably the highest-profile marine facility in Oregon and on the Columbia River,' said Wyatt, who added that about a thousand regional businesses use the terminal to export and import goods.

The port's grant is part of a $7.8 million combined request by ports and other marine interests along the 465-mile Columbia-Snake river system. The request was prepared by the Regional Maritime Security Coalition, formed in 2002 to look at security on a regional basis.

Ñ Tribune staff

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