Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Pe Ell Fatal

September 15th, 2014

A collision involving four motorcycles on Highway 6 near Pe Ell has resulted in the death of Teresa Jessee, 47, of Longview, along with the injury to five other people. State Troopers say that this happened Saturday afternoon, as a group of bikes were traveling eastbound on SR6. Shawn Jessee, 41, apparently failed to negotiate a left-hand curve on the highway, going off the road to the right. He hit the guard rail, ejecting him and his passenger, Teresa Jessee. The motorcycle continued on, veering back into the highway, where it was hit by Ronald Carr, 56, of Castle Rock. He was ejected, while Cheryl Palm, 50, of Castle Rock lost control of her bike and got dumped. She was hit by William Brown, 57, of Clatskanie, who was partially ejected from his motorcycle, along with his passenger, Laura Brown, 48. Teresa Jessee died at the scene, while Shawn Jessee and Ronald Carr were taken to Centralia Providence Hospital. Carr was eventually transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and was listed in serious condition yesterday. Palm was LifeFlighted to Oregon Health and Science University, but was released over the weekend. William and Laura Brown were not transported. The crash investigation is continuing.

Fire Danger

September 15th, 2014

As evidenced by Friday’s five-acre fire off of Ocean Beach Highway near Bergly Lane, fire danger is at critical levels in the local area and throughout the region. The Weather Service is continuing a Red Flag Warning for much of southwest Washington and most of western Oregon, with low relative humidity, critically dry fuels, and the possibility of dry thunderstorms later in the day. Some gusty winds are also possible in the Cascade foothills. Forecasters say that you need to be extremely careful with any sort of heat sources, and fires will start easily and will spread with extreme speed.

The Weather Service also says that we could see smoke from the 36-Pit wildfire that is currently burning near Estacada. This fire started over the weekend, possibly started by some target-shooters. East-to-southeast low-level winds could carry smoke from that fire over the northern portion of Oregon, and possibly could carry into this area. They say that this smoke could reduce visibility, and could also cause some air quality problems.

Bergly Lane Fire

September 15th, 2014

Crews from the Department of Natural Resources were working west of Longview over the weekend, cleaning up the remnants of Friday afternoon’s five-acre brush fire off of Ocean Beach Highway near Bergly Lane. The fire was first reported around 3 pm on Friday, and spread to about five acres. A local resident fired up his personal bulldozer and cut a line to help protect a neighbor’s house, so no buildings were damaged in the fire. Four or five homes were threatened for a short time. It took about 50 firefighters and a helicopter to get the fire under control, which took about five hours. DNR hasn’t pinpointed the cause of the fire as of yet, but they have identified a man and a woman that they would like to interview in connection with this incident. Those people are not called suspects at this time, but an “attempt to locate” has been sent out to local law enforcement agencies with the names of those people.

ATV Crash

September 15th, 2014

Adam Kersting, 23, of Longview is recovering from injuries he received Friday night in an ATV crash in the area of Abernathy Creek Road. Sheriff’s Deputies say that Kersting was riding on the street at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the ATV in a curve, rolling the machine and ejecting him. They say his helmet came off in the crash, and he sustained chest and back injuries. Kersting was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment. At this point, no citations have been reported, but the crash investigation is continuing.

Child Molestation

September 15th, 2014

It’s being reported that new charges are being filed against a registered sex offender from Toledo, accusing him of child molestation. The Centralia Chronicle reports that Michael S. Oulette was arrested on Thursday, accused of molesting a 15 year-old girl over a “prolonged” period of time. Last Friday, the Lewis County Prosecutor filed charges of first-degree child molestation and other sexual assault crimes; Oulette is currently free after posting bail.

Teen Located

September 15th, 2014

A 13 year-old girl that was reported as missing from her home in Hillsboro was located late last week in Woodland, and her uncle is now under arrest on kidnapping charges. Ivette Gutierrez was reported as missing early last week; detectives with the Hillsboro Police Department developed information that led them to a motel in Woodland. With assistance from the FBI, Hillsboro Police and the Sheriff’s Office, Woodland Police went to that motel shortly before 1 pm on Thursday, where they located Gutierrez and arrested Jose Rigoberto Gomez-Sosa, 44, on a charge of second-degree kidnapping. He’s now being held on bail of $250,000. These are Washington state charges; the case is now in the hands of the Washington County District Attorney, who will make a charging decision in the near future.

Forest Road Repairs

September 15th, 2014

If you’re heading into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, be aware of some bridge-repair activity that might slow you down a bit. Today and tomorrow, there’s a single-lane closure on the Swift Creek Bridge, located on Forest Road 90, about seven miles east of Cougar. Starting on Wednesday, the 17th, overnight closures of the bridge are planned, so that damaged bridge joints can be repaired. The nighttime closures will go from 8 pm to 6 am through Wednesday, the 24th.

Starting today, the Layout Creek Bridge on Forest Road 43 will be closed as a culvert is replaced to try and improve fish passage. This closure is scheduled to be in place until Tuesday, October 7th. A detour is being set up, using Forest Roads 4306, 42, 4206 and 41. Contact the Forest Service for more information on both of these closures, or go to a Ranger Station or Forest Office.

Workforce Development Dollars

September 15th, 2014

Workforce Development Councils around the state are having to deal with smaller allocations from the Employment Security Department, including the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, which covers Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark Counties. Employment Security Commissioner Dale Peinecke says that this year’s overall federal allocation is about $3.7 million less than last year, so the money going out to individual councils is also less. The Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council is receiving $4 million, which is about $100,000 less than last year. The SWWDC uses these dollars to provide counseling, skills assessments, job-search assistance and training to laid-off workers, low-income adults and disadvantaged young people in this area.

Weather/Fire Danger

September 12th, 2014

The Cowlitz PUD reports no outages from yesterday’s gusty east winds, but there were a number of trees knocked down around the county, including one that landed on a house up in the 27 hundred block of the Kalama River Road. This incident was reported at about 12:15 yesterday afternoon, and they 911 caller also reported that there could be a 100 year-old woman trapped inside the house. Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene, along with Cowlitz Fire District 5 out of Kalama. They confirmed that the woman was not injured in the incident; there’s no dollar estimate yet on the damage done to the house.

The U. S. Forest Service is reporting that there’s a fire burning in a remote and inaccessible area of the Goat Rocks Wilderness near Mount Saint Helens. They say that the cause of the “Goat Fire” is undetermined at this time, but it was also noted that this area received numerous lightning strikes in the middle of last month. The fire was first reported on the 7th, and is estimated to be about six acres in size. District Ranger Gar Abbas says that there are no known threats to the public, and they will continue to monitor the situation. They’re actively scouting the area to see where containment or contingency lines might be built, if they are needed. It’s also noted that smoke from this fire may be visible from Highway 12 in the Packwood area.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for much of Western Washington and Oregon until 9 pm tonight, with gusty east winds, low humidity and critically dry fuels. East winds of 15 to 25 miles an hour are expected, with gusts of up to 45 miles an hour near the Columbia River Gorge and on exposed ridgetops. Humidity is in the high teens, and materials in the woods are extremely dry. This combination will make for an increasingly unstable environment, with a rapid fire spread if a fire does get started. Extreme care needs to be taken with any kind of heat sources when you’re out in the woods.

Longview Utility Delay

September 12th, 2014

Two of the three 2015 utility rate schedules that were on last night’s Longview City Council agenda are heading back to staff for more review and study at a future council workshop. The Council declined to adopt the proposed water and stormwater rates for next year, saying that more work was needed. Mayor Don Jensen says that they think that some costs can be shaved, saving ratepayers some money. Staff had proposed a hike of 6.5 percent in water rates, along with a 12 percent rise in stormwater rates. Concerns were raised about revenue numbers in the water utility, and questions were also raised about the need to hire a new engineer to do stormwater inspections in the coming year. The Council did approve a 5 percent rise in sewer rates. The current plan is to conduct this rate review as part of the day-long budget workshop that the Council has scheduled for Saturday, September 27th.