Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

School Closures–12/8/16

December 8th, 2016

Longview – Closed
Kelso – Closed
Castle Rock – Closed
Toutle Lake – Early release at noon
Kalama – Closed
Woodland – Closed
Wahkiakum – Closed
Ocean Beach – Closed
Rainier – Closed
Clatskanie – Closed
Vernonia – Closed
St. Helens – Closed
Knappa – Closed
Jewell – Closed
Warrenton-Hammond – Closed
Three Rivers Christian – Closed, No kindergarten or preschool
LCC Head Start/Early Head Start & E-CAP – Closed

Snow and Ice

December 8th, 2016

School districts all around the area are closing today, taking a precautionary stance in regard to the snow and ice that’s supposed to roll across the region. A Winter Storm Warning covers the entire region, going from 8 this morning to midnight tonight, predicting snow, freezing rain and gusty winds. Forecasters say that the snow will start in the south, and will work its way north through the morning. The snow is expected to begin in this area around 11 am, and then the freezing rain is expected to start falling in this area between 4 and 6 pm. They say snow accumulations of two to four inches are possible on the valley floors, and as much as seven inches toward the Columbia River Gorge and in the hills. They’re also predicting that we could get up to a quarter-inch of ice on top of that snow later in the evening. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph will be coming out of the Gorge, and we could see gusts of 25 mph in this area. They’re expecting a warmup around midnight tonight, changing over to regular rain by tomorrow morning.

The Kelso School District says that it’s “taking a leap of faith” in the weather forecasts, and is closing the school district as a precaution. Other school districts all across Cowlitz and Columbia County are taking similar precautions, and are also closed today.

The Cowlitz PUD cautions us to “not be fooled” by the late start for this event, saying that “confidence is high” in the accuracy of these predictions. Driving conditions are expected to be quite extreme later in the day, so you’re advised to avoid travel this afternoon and evening, if you can. It’s reported that several dozen people took advantage of the Warming Shelter that’s been set up at the Central Christian Church on Crawford Street in Kelso, and the PUD also says that the John Searing Auditorium will be open as a warming area between 8 am and 5 pm today. They’re also offering some tips on getting through this storm safely, saying that you’ll need to wear your layers today; be sure to protect pets, keep space heaters away from flammable materials, and protect your pipes.

Homicide Flyer

December 8th, 2016

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is posting a flyer in the Woodland area, looking for public help in the November 22nd murder of “Donny” Howard, 62. Howard’s body was found inside his home on Dahlia Street in Woodland on the morning of November 22nd, after Woodland Firefighters had put out a fire that had been set inside the house. An autopsy shows that Howard died from blunt force trauma to the head. Detective Sergeant Brad Thurman says that this case “remains very active,” with detectives from the Sheriff’s Office and Woodland Police continuing to follow up on leads. No specifics are being released, but Thurman says that they’re “encouraged” by information that has been received so far. In this new flyer, they’re posting pictures of Howard, and they’re asking to speak with anyone that knew Howard, or who might have information on the investigation. If you can help out with information on the killing of Donald “Donny” Howard of Woodland, call Thurman at 577-3092, or call Woodland Police Sergeant Lipp at 360-225-6965.

Hospital Incident

December 8th, 2016

Frank Calbrick, 47, is under arrest on a first-degree trespassing charge, after he refused to leave a room at St. John Medical Center, and allegedly threatened hospital staff. Longview Police were called to the Emergency Department at the hospital just before 3 pm yesterday, saying that Calbrick was refusing to leave a secure area inside the E-D, after having been discharged. They say that he was “highly agitated and aggressive,” and was making threats to staff. A multiple officer response was requested, and they noted that there were other patients in this locked area. Calbrick was arrested at the hospital and is now being held on bail of $1,000.

Fir Street Hoser

December 8th, 2016

A teenage male from Longview is being referred to juvenile prosecutors on charges of reckless endangerment and third-degree malicious mischief, after a neighbor reported seeing the teen hosing down the pavement in the 3000 block of Fir Street. This incident was reported at 10:50 last night, saying that she asked the teen what he was doing and why he was pouring water onto the street, but she says that the boy ignored her. Longview Police responded, and found that there was a section of street about 100 feet long that was coated, and then needed to be salted. Officers met with the teen, and it was determined that he didn’t have enough points to be taken into custody at this time. The case is being referred for review and a possible charging decision.

KapStone Offer

December 8th, 2016

There could be some movement in the long-running contract dispute between KapStone and Local 153 of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, as it’s being reported that union members will vote on a contract offer in the coming week. The Daily News reports that the union is holding several informational sessions on the contract offer during this week, and then the rank-and-file will vote on that offer next week. In an e-mail sent out earlier this month, the AWPPW Bargaining Board says that a “proposal for ratification” came out of recent meetings with the company, and they unanimously support this offer. The last contract between KapStone and Local 153 expired more than two years ago, and several other contract offers have been soundly rejected by union members. KapStone imposed a contract on the union just over a year ago, a move that was upheld in court. Voting on this new offer will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

SRS Ruling

December 8th, 2016

There’s a clash between federal agencies as they look for a long-term solution to flooding and sediment flows from Mount St. Helens, as the National Marine Fisheries Service tells the Army Corps of Engineers that major alterations are needed at the fish collection facilities at the Sediment Retention Structure on the Toutle River. Today’s Daily News reports on the letter from NMFS, telling the Corps that the fish collection facility that’s just downstream from the SRS must be replaced or upgraded before the SRS can be raised again. The Corps is working on long-term solutions for sediment management and flood protection on the Toutle and Cowlitz Rivers, and raising the SRS by 23 feet over the next 20 years is a major component in that plan. In the letter to the Corps, NMFS says that they will have to improve the fish collection facility before they can move ahead. Officials with the Corps of Engineers say that they do have a “preferred option” for the fish collection facility, and they present that option to NMFS in January.

Longview Council Preview

December 8th, 2016

The Longview City Council meets this evening, starting with a 6 pm Executive Session on potential litigation and collective bargaining. That meeting is closed to the public. The regular meeting starts at 7 pm, opening with the public hearing on the proposed 2017-2018 Biennial Budget and Capital Improvement Plan. The Council is also being asked to approve a re-allocation from the Neighborhood Park Grant Program, increasing the grant award for the Shay Locomotive Light Project from $7,000 to $10,620. The Council will also be asked to review the Park Grant program, helping to clarify what types of projects are available or allowable for funding. Tonight’s meeting is being held in the Longview City Council chambers.

Wake Up for United Way

December 8th, 2016

The nasty weather should hold off long enough for you to “Wake Up for United Way” this morning, with several local coffee shops donating a portion of today’s proceeds to the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties. The Dutch Brothers locations in Longview and Kelso will be going on with this project all day today. Others around the area will be participating until noon today. Those include all three Red Leaf coffee shops in Kelso, Longview and Woodland, Zojo Coffee on 14th and on Ocean Beach Highway in Longview, at Kalama Koffee on the Frontage Road in Kalama, and at Waterway Espresso in Cathlamet. They say that this is a good opportunity to pick up some great coffee and treats for the office, while also giving back to the community.

Winter Weather Alert

December 7th, 2016

Forecasters say that we need to be ready for some cold and nasty weather, with icy roads along with the possibility of snow or freezing rain. Overnight lows in the local area are the coldest that they have been all season, dropping down into the upper 20’s in the Kelso-Longview area. We could see some areas of freezing fog in the local area with morning low clouds, followed by mostly sunny skies and a high in the mid-30’s today. There could be patches of black ice on the morning commute, so exercise some extra care as you make your way in.

Things start changing late this afternoon, as east winds start to pick up. Gusty east winds are expected overnight, with wind gusts of up to 75 miles an hour coming down the Gorge, and gust of up to 45 miles an hour in the Portland-Vancouver area. Snow is expected to start falling after midnight, as the overnight lows dip into the 20’s again. One to three inches of snow is expected to fall early tomorrow morning, moving from the south to the north. That’s expected to switch to freezing rain later in the morning, eventually warming up and changing to regular rain by tomorrow afternoon. Forecasters say that we could see one to four inches of snow on the valley floors, followed by up to a quarter-inch of ice accumulation. The heaviest accumulations are expected in the Portland metro area, and heading up the Columbia River Gorge. Be ready for extreme driving conditions, and you should take steps to help neighbors and family members that might be vulnerable.