Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Windy Weather

October 22nd, 2014

Cowlitz PUD line crews and county road crews have been busy overnight, as gusty winds continue to rake the region. The rain hasn’t been extremely heavy, but the winds have picked up overnight, knocking down trees and blowing debris into local roadways. PUD dispatchers report multiple outages through the night, and they say that crews are out, working to clear those lines and restore power. There are no totals yet on the number of outages, or the number of customers affected. The winds really started picking up around 11 pm, and are expected to continue through mid-morning. Sustained winds of 20 to 25 miles an hour have been blowing through the Kelso-Longview area through the night, with a peak gust of 38 miles an hour recorded at the Southwest Washington Regional Airport at 12:15 am. There have been multiple gusts above 30 miles an hour since that time. Longview had a peak gust of 35 miles an hour, a gust of 53 miles an hour was recorded on Abernathy Mountain, and a gust of 63 miles an hour was recorded on Naselle Ridge at 4:20 this morning. A High Wind Warning on the South Washington Coast,calls for gusts of up to 70 miles an hour until this frontal system moves through. Rain is expected to follow this wind system, with one to two inches possible by tomorrow afternoon. Some minor urban flooding is possible, mostly due to storm drains being clogged by leaves and other debris.

Train Death

October 22nd, 2014

Kelso Police say that the victim in yesterday morning’s train-versus-pedestrian collision has been identified as Kassarina Rochelle Kohler, 22, of Longview. The crew of a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train contacted Kelso Police at about 4:10 yesterday morning, reporting that they had hit someone in between the Allen Street Bridge and Cowlitz Way. The train was stopped and a search for the body was begun, with a Kelso Officer discovering the body just north of the Allen Street Bridge. The County Coroner has taken possession of the body, as the investigation into the death is continuing. It’s noted that authorities had contacted Kohler earlier in the night, but the nature of that contact hasn’t yet been disclosed. This incident happened within a few dozen feet from where 55 year-old Chantal Ann Zimmerman of Kelso was hit and killed on the morning of Thursday, the 9th. So far this year, at least ten people have been hit and killed by trains in the state of Washington.

Coins Stolen

October 22nd, 2014

An alert is going out from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, who is reporting that 40 collectible Morgan Silver Dollars from the early 1900’s were stolen in a home burglary that was reported yesterday morning in Longview. Sergeant Joe Reiss says that the burglary took place in the 400 block of Pacific Way, discovered yesterday morning by the homeowner. The residents of the home had left Sunday afternoon, and when they returned home yesterday afternoon, they found that a door had been forced open and the house had been ransacked. Along with the silver dollars, a Sony digital camera, numerous pieces of jewelry, electronic notebooks and a Wi-Fi router were stolen. Reiss says that it looks like the loot was carried out in a green or purple pillowcase. If you have information on this case, call Sgt. Reiss at 577-3092, or contact the on-duty supervisor at the Sheriff’s Office. You can also leave an anonymous tip on the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 577-1206.

Internet Theft

October 22nd, 2014

A Kelso woman is telling the Sheriff’s Office that she is the victim of internet theft, reporting that someone got into her credit union account, and wired $40,000 from her savings to a bank in Maine. The woman contacted the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon, saying that the theft took place some time on the 10th of this month. She says that the suspect correctly answered several security questions to gain access to her account, and that neither she nor anyone in her family was involved in the transaction. Deputies plan to follow up with the woman and with the credit union as the investigation continues.

Unemployment Drops

October 22nd, 2014

Cowlitz County’s unemployment rate continues to improve, dropping to an even 7 percent in September. The Washington Employment Security Department says that’s slightly less than August, and nearly two full points lower than the 8.8 percent that was recorded at the same time last year. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that the county’s labor force has increased slightly over the past year, and the number of employed residents is “up substantially.” Bailey also says that there’s been an offsetting drop in the number of unemployed residents, which are all positive signs for the local employment picture. The number of continuing unemployment claims is continuing to drop, and the number of initial claims is at “very low levels.” The number of Cowlitz County non-farm jobs grew by 900 in September; construction grew by 400 jobs, along with another 300 jobs in public education. Over the past 12 months, local payrolls have grown by an extremely healthy 2.4 percent.

Council Actions

October 22nd, 2014

Longview’s water gets a below-average grade from its citizens, the results of a survey conducted by the consulting team that the city has contracted to study the city’s water supply. The Daily News reports that results of the survey were presented in a workshop held last night; Riley Research Associates interviewed around 300 Longview residents and almost 130 customers of the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District, and they graded Longview’s water at 4.5 out of 10. They report that “very few” people rated the water over 5. One of the biggest complaints is the spotting from silica; taste is also a significant issue, along with odor and color. The consultants report that 82 percent of the people surveyed have some sort of complaint about the city’s water. When asked about possible rate increases to pay for an alternative water source, more than 50 percent “strongly oppose” an increase of $20 per month, while an increase of $5 per month was “strongly supported” by 38 percent of the respondents. Additional information on the survey and its results will be presented at the November 6th meeting of the Longview City Council.

The 2015 utility rates for Kelso are set, after action last night at the City Council meeting. Water and sewer rates will rise two percent each, while stormwater rates will rise by 18 percent. Monthly water rates will rise from $30.66 to $31.27, sewer rates will go from $54.48 to $55.57, and stormwater rates go from $7.55 to $8.91. The rates go into effect at the beginning of next year.

Wednesday Workshop

October 22nd, 2014

The Wednesday Workshops at the Cowlitz County Historical Museum in Kelso continue today, giving local school kids a chance to connect with the facility on Allen Street. The topic for today’s workshop is “National Book Month and More,” and will run from 3:30 to 5 pm. The kids taking part will be involved in a number of hands-on activities. The Wednesday Workshops are free, and are open to all elementary school-are kids in the area. Pre-registration is required, and you can take care of that by going to the front reception desk, or by calling the Museum at 577-3119.

Clam Dig

October 22nd, 2014

You’ll need the rain gear and you’ll need to make sure you keep an eye on the surf, but the next Washington razor clam dig opens today and runs through next Tuesday. Long Beach and Twin Harbors are open for digging on the evening tides all seven nights; tonight’s low tide is at 6:31 pm, and tomorrow night’s is at 7:07 pm. Mocrocks will be open for digging Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Copalis will be open on Saturday. Be sure to have a current shellfish license, dress for the weather, and be sure to observe the bag limit regulations. Go to the Fish and Wildlife website or contact your local outfitter for more information.

Benefit Dessert

October 22nd, 2014

They’re serving up some sweet treats tonight at Kelso High School, as the Husky Helpers at Huntington Middle School work to raise money to help the family of a recent Kelso High School graduate who is battling cancer. Hailey Spears recently graduated from Kelso, and is now undergoing cancer treatment at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Kelso School District Custodial Supervisor Gary Spears is traveling back and forth to be with his daughter, after he completes his duties at the school district. The expenses connected to this effort are mounting, so the Husky Helpers are putting on a Dessert Benefit that will be held this evening in the Kelso High School Commons. The doors will open at 5:30 pm, and tickets are 5 dollars apiece. If you’re unable to attend, cash donations are also being accepted by the Husky Helpers at Huntington Middle School in North Kelso. Call 501-1700 if you need more information.

Train Fatality

October 21st, 2014

Kelso Police are investigating yet another fatal train-versus-pedestrian collision that took place shortly after 4 am in the 100 block of North 1st Avenue in downtown Kelso. Few details about the incident have been released, other than to say that an unidentified person was killed after being struck by a moving train. This is the second incident of this type in Kelso in the past two weeks, and the tenth fatality of this type this year in Washington state.