Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

PUD Usage Response

February 12th, 2016

While upset customers continue to heat up social media with complaints and threats of a class-action lawsuit, the Cowlitz PUD is announcing that an independent outside agency is being brought in to conduct an audit of the utility’s meters and the transmission of data from those meters. In a statement issued yesterday, PUD officials say that they are committed to making sure that each and every bill is correct and accurate, and that customers are being properly billed. They say that “numerous” home statements have been pulled and reviewed, and that no problems have been discovered as of yet. They say that the results of the meter audit will be published on the PUD web page, and they also will present those findings at a PUD Commission meeting. Also, after first announcing that the “MyUsage” app would be shut down, they now say that the app will continue, but they want customers to know that “MyUsage” is just a “monitoring tool.” Utility officials say that MyUsage isn’t a real-time reflection of actual power usage. They also invite customers with questions or concerns to contact their customer service department from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday by calling 423-2210.

Bond Road Fire

February 12th, 2016

Cowlitz Fire District 6 out of Castle Rock had some work to do last night, responding to a mobile home fire in the 200 block of Bond Road. This incident was reported around 7:30 last night, with fire crews reporting that the mobile home was fully involved when they rolled up. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue also responded, and additional resources also responded. It was reported that all of the people in the home were able to escape, but a dog may have been trapped inside. The road was closed for a time while firefighters dealt with this blaze. Details regarding the cause of the fire and the total amount of damage done have not yet been disclosed.

Medical Problem

February 12th, 2016

Kelso Police say that it looks like a pickup driver had some sort of medical issue yesterday afternoon, as he was coming west over the Cowlitz River. Shortly before 5 yesterday afternoon, several calls came into 911, reporting that a large Dodge pickup was driving west in the eastbound lanes of the Peter Crawford Bridge. No collisions were reported as the pickup came slowly across the bridge. Officers report catching up with the truck at the old car wash at the intersection of Cowlitz Way and Washington Way, where 911 callers reported that the male driver was “out of it.” Further examination showed that the driver was having a medical problem, possibly a diabetic reaction of some sort. The man was taken to St. John Medical Center for examination and treatment. No citations are anticipated.

Body ID’d

February 12th, 2016

The body found on Mandy Road near Toledo last Thursday has been identified as that of Patrick Pemberton, 48, of Tumwater. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported the discovery last Thursday night, saying that the man’s body was found underneath a freeway overpass. An autopsy shows that Pemberton died from multiple blunt force injuries, all consistent with the fall from the overpass. Sheriff’s Deputies have reports that Pemberton had been walking along the southbound freeway prior to his death, and had been “erratic” just before the body was found. Lewis County Deputies continue to investigate the death.

New Radios

February 12th, 2016

A move to improve portable radio coverage for Cowlitz Fire District 5 in Kalama and Fire District 1 in Woodland is having a benefit for the Longview Police and Fire Departments, as those agencies are also going to be able to upgrade their own radio systems and coverage. Longview Fire Chief Phil Jurmu says that they found some disturbing gaps in radio coverage during some recent testing…newradios…The Longview City Council is approving a $160,000 purchase of new radios for fire and police, which will piggyback onto the new equipment being installed by Fire Districts 1 and 5. These new radios will replace radios that are as much as ten years old, and are not digital-compatible. These new radios will be compatible with both digital and analog systems, and will also allow communication between agencies. LPD’s portion of the $160,000 will be paid out of the Criminal Justice Equipment Fund, while the Fire Department’s portion will come out of the General Fund, though the city is also looking into the possibility of using some cash out of the Traffic Safety Fund, which comes from the school zone cameras.

Casino Deal

February 12th, 2016

It’s being reported that the Cowlitz Indians have settled an agreement to provide fire and emergency medical services to the tribe’s new reservation, just outside of La Center. The Vancouver Columbian reports that the tribe signed an agreement with Clark County Fire and Rescue on Wednesday; tribal officials say that this government-to-government relationship will benefit tribal members and the citizens of Southwest Washington as a whole. It’s noted that Indian tribes are exempt from paying taxes; Fire District officials say that the tribe will pay the same fee that’s assessed on similar large buildings, which is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. They say that the tribe will pay $70,000 this year, $140,000 next year, and $210,000 in 2018, when the casino resort is expected to be fully operational.

Oscar B Update

February 12th, 2016

The ferry “Oscar B” is back up and running, taking vehicles back and forth across the Columbia River between Puget Island and Westport, Oregon, but officials in Wahkiakum County say that the end of the story involving the brand-new ferry’s breakdown has yet to be written. In this week’s Wahkiakum County Eagle, the County Commissioners are talking about their plans to pursue compensation for the repairs, claiming that a “design flaw” led to the problems that the boat has been having. Commissioner Dan Cothren tells the paper that they’re going through all of the bills and the paperwork, trying to determine exactly who they should go after. The new “keel coolers” that were installed cost about $120,000, and new shaft seals cost another $2,300. The Wahkiakum County Prosecutor is reviewing the county’s options; county officials say that this issue will probably take a “long time” to resolve.

Weekend Events–2/12-14/16

February 12th, 2016

Saturday, Sunday and Monday, no day-use fees will be charged at sites that are managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Forest Service sites will be free on Monday only, which is President’s Day. Day-use fees will be waived at forest sites, beaches, wetlands and mountain locations all around the Northwest. The free weekend does NOT apply to National Park Service sites. Officials say that this weekend would be a great time to take the advice of President Teddy Roosevelt, and to “delight in the hardy life of the open.”

The Charlotte House in Cathlamet invites you to indulge at their 1th annual Chocolate Extravanganza, which will take place Friday afternoon and evening at the Hotel Cathlamet. This is an annual fundraiser that help to support sexual assault and domestic violence services that are offered by Charlotte House, which is a program offered by the St. James Family Center. The Chocolate Extravaganza runs from 4 to 7 pm on Friday.

Down in Woodland, the Love Street Playhouse is presenting Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” running at 7:30 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. They also have matinees at 2 pm on Sunday. Check out Oscar and Felix each weekend through the 28th. Go to for ticket information.

Bring your donations of non-perishable food to the Fred Meyer store in Longview on Saturday, where the Longview Police Department Cadets will be holding a Food Drive. From 11 am to 5 pm, the Cadets will be accepting donations of non-perishable food, toiletries, paper products and cleaning supplies. Donations will then be distributed through the Highlands Neighborhood Association.

The strong dogs will be on display this weekend at the Cowlitz County Event Center, as the Cascade American Pit Bull Terrier Weight Pull Competition is held. Hours are 8 am to 6 pm each day. Call 360-508-4660 for more information.

There’s a Flea Market planned for Saturday at the Cowlitz Regional Conference and Events Center, starting at 9 am and going until 5 pm. Admission is free.

The Goodtymes Program at the SW Washington YMCA is holding a Valentine Dance on Saturday; you’re invited to bring your sweetheart for a DJ dance, there will be lots of prizes given away, and there’s also a large chocolate-filled heart that will be given away. This is being held in the main gym at the Y, with the doors opening at 5 pm on Saturday. Call 423-4770.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Longview hosts its monthly Community Supper on Saturday, running from 6 to 8 pm at the church on Kessler Boulevard. You’re all invited to come by and enjoy “good food and warm friends”; Emmanuel Lutheran offers this free dinner on the second Saturday of each month. The church is located at 2218 E. Kessler in Longview.

There’s a “Paint Your Valentine Wine Party” planned for Saturday night at the Broadway Gallery in downtown Longview. This will run from 6 to 9 pm; your admission fee will cover canvas, paints and brushes, along with the wine, chocolate and appetizers that will be served. The Broadway Gallery is located at 1418 Commerce Avenue in Longview; call 577-0544 for details.

The Kelso Theater Pub is hosting its second “free movie” of the month, presenting a free screening of “Valentine’s Day” this Saturday night. The theater doors open at 8:30 pm, and the show starts at 9 pm. The KTP kitchen will also be open for orders.

Saturday night in Clatskanie, you can take a trip back to the Big-Band Era, as singer Diane Lines bring a show called “Jump!” to the Birkenfeld Theater. “Jump!” is billed as a musical journey through the Big Band Era, featuring a wide catalog of swing, jump and boogie-woogie tunes. Showtime is 7:30 pm on Saturday; get tickets at Hump’s, or at the door.

This Saturday out in Skamakowa, the annual Valentine Diamond Dinner is being held out at the Grange Hall. They’re located out next to the Wahkiakum County Fairgrounds. Contact the Grange for ticket details.

Treating your sweetie to some “Dutch Luv” on Sunday will also help benefit FISH of Cowlitz County. All during Valentine’s Day, one dollar from each drink sold at local Dutch Bros. locations will be donated to FISH, helping to support that agency’s efforts in providing food and other support to the needy in this area.

There’s a special Valentine’s Day Dinner planned this Sunday at Grounds for Opportunity in downtown Kelso. Two seatings are planned, one at 5 and one at 7 pm. They’ll be serving a four-course meal, along with a glass of wine for each diner. Proceeds from the event will help to support the local Meals on Wheels program. Tickets are available at Grounds for Opportunity on Pacific Avenue in Kelso, at Lower Columbia CAP, or by calling 703-3020.

Kidney Transplant

February 11th, 2016

Two years after being born without kidneys, the daughter of Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is now recovering from surgery, after a kidney donated by her father was transplanted on Monday. Abigail Beutler is the first known survivor of a prenatal condition commonly called “Potter’s Sequence,” where the baby’s kidneys fail to develop. The Congresswoman underwent experimental treatment during her pregnancy, resulting in a successful delivery, but Abigail Beutler has been on dialysis since her birth. In a Facebook posting, Beutler announced that her husband, Dan, had donated a kidney to his daughter, and both are now safely recovering from that surgery. Beutler says that she plans to stay in communication with staff during the recovery of husband and daughter, also pledging to remain in touch with constituents and with Congress during the recovery, commuting to and from the Capitol to take votes. Beutler is also pregnant with her second child, a son that’s due later this year.

Outreach Center Closes

February 11th, 2016

The Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Center that’s been set up at the Kelso City Hall for the past week or so closes at the end of business today. The SBA says that low-interest, long-term loans are available to businesses and individuals who suffered damage in the storms, flooding, slides and winds that ripped through the area between December 1st and 14th of last years. Businesses and non-profits can borrow up to $2 million; disaster loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners for the repair or replacement of damaged or destroyed real estate, while homeowners and renters can get loans of up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. The Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open in the City Council Conference Room from 9 am to 5 pm today. Get more information on the SBA website, or call 1-800-659-2955 for more information. The deadline to file for property damage connected to this disaster is March 28th; you have until October 28 to file claims for “economic injury.”