Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Houk Arrested

April 18th, 2014

Mark Houk, the Principal at Woodland Elementary School, is now being charged with three counts of fourth-degree assault, charges connected with the alleged abuse of a third-grade special education student. Woodland Police took Houk into custody yesterday at the school, booking him into jail on the gross misdemeanor charges. He’s now free after posting bail. The charges stem from an incident that took place on the 26th of February, where it’s alleged that Houk used excessive force in trying to restrain the student. Chief Brad Gillespie says that it took longer than anticipated to conduct the investigation, due to complexity and number of interviews needed to collect all of the facts and evidence. Gillespie says that it’s more important to conduct a complete investigation than it is to move quickly. Gillespie also says that the School District cooperated fully with the investigation. Woodland Superintendent Michael Green says that with the conclusion of the police investigation, the district will resume an internal personnel investigation, which he hopes will proceed as quickly as possible. Houk was placed on administrative leave in March, and will remain on leave until the case is concluded. Houk’s first appearance in Cowlitz County District Court is scheduled for the 29th of this month.

ACA Signups

April 18th, 2014

The local lead for getting people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act says that they far exceeded the goal that had been set for them. The Cowlitz Family Health Center in Longview had been chosen as the lead organization by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, working with nine other local groups to train and supervise in-person assisters called “Navigators.” During the open enrollment period between October 1st of last year and March 31st of this year, the FHC and those associated groups signed up 485 individuals and families in Qualified Health Plans, 3,855 under the expanded Washington Apple Health Medicaid program, and renewed Medicaid coverage for another 2,327 people. Looking overall at the numbers, the Family Health Center and its partner groups exceeded its enrollment goal by more than three thousand. FHC CEO Dian Cooper says that they fully expected to beat the goal, but they were “truly amazed” by the final numbers. While open enrollment is currently closed, other opportunities to get signed up may still be available. Contact the Family Health Center to get more information.

Earth Day

April 18th, 2014

You and the kids are invited to the Cowlitz County Expo Center for the annual Earth Day celebration, running from 10 am to 3:30 pm, rain or shine. Admission is free, but they will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food for the Help Food Warehouse. Along with the hands-on exhibits and live demonstrations, they’ll have the Reptile Road Show, “Cameron the Caterpillar,” a gyroscope that you can ride, the OMSI science festival, a trout pond and all kinds of other interactive fun. At least 40 exhibitors will be at this year’s event, along with 20 other acts and features. Some of the freebies include tree seedlings, car wash kits and emissions testing of your car.

Razor Clam Festival

April 18th, 2014

They’re greasing up the giant fry-pans for this weekend’s Razor Clam Festival out in Long Brach. Events are planned for both Saturday and Sunday, with one of the highlights being the Clam Fritter Cook-Off at 3 pm on Saturday. They won’t actually be using the “World’s Largest Fry Pan” for the contest, but the competitors will be using a specially-constructed 600-pound giant pan, where students of the Ilwaco High School culinary arts program will compete. There’s a Clam Chowder Taste-Off at 1 pm on Saturday, and they’ll be re-dedicating “the World’s Largest Spitting Clam” at 2 pm on Saturday. Razor clam-digging lessons will be offered at 8 am tomorrow and 9 am on Sunday, you can get your picture taken with a mermaid, there’s a beer garden and all kinds of other fun. Find out more on the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival website.

Shred Day

April 18th, 2014

You can get those personal and sensitive documents shredded for free today, during the annual “Shred Day” event that’s being sponsored by the Anti-Fraud Coalition of Cowlitz County. This will run from 10 am until 3 pm today in the parking lot of the Fred Meyer store on Ocean Beach Highway in Longview. You can bring up to four medium-sized boxes for shredding. There’s no charge, but the Coalition will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food, which will then be turned over to the Help Food Warehouse. The Anti-Fraud Coalition is a collaboration of 65 local businesses and organizations, with the goal of combating fraudulent activity in the local community. Call Jamie Gorley with Fibre Federal Credit Union at 423-8750 for more information.

Bits and Bots Gig

April 18th, 2014

Dave Koenig may have a new “Mission from God” as he plans to help out his brother Bob this evening, bringing his Blues Brothers tribute act to the Kelso Elks lodge to try and raise money in support of the Bits and Bots Team 3812 high school robotics team. Bob Koenig is the advisor for the team of local high school students, who recently qualified to compete in the FIRST Robotics World Championships, which are being held next week in St. Louis. Dave Koenig has been playing “Jake Blues” at Universal Studios in Orlando for the past 13 years, while his son Matt plays “Elwood Blues.” Koenig’s daughter, Kyleen, also gets in on the act, coming in as “Mabel” to sing songs like “Respect” and “Think.” The fundrasing gig had been planned prior to the Bits and Bots team qualifying for the World Championships, but the timing is now even more critical, as the team needs to raise about $30,000 to get to St. Louis. The doors at the Kelso Elks Lodge will open at 5:30, with shows planned for 7 and 9:30 pm. Admission is ten dollars per person. Donations to the Bits and Bots team are also being accepted through the Mark Morris Booster Club and the Longview School District offices. You can also make an on-line donation through the School District website.

Easter Egg Hunts

April 18th, 2014

The annual Hometeam 1490-ESPN Radio/Cookin’ Country/101.5 The Wave-Fibre Federal Credit Union Easter Egg Hunt is planned for Saturday morning at Roy Morse Park, starting promptly at 11:30 am. This is open for all area kids age 9 and under, with tons of candy up for grabs, along with special prize eggs.

The Kalama Lions Easter Egg Hunt is set for Saturday the 19th from 9:00 am – 9:10 am at Camp Kalama on Meeker Drive. This is for kids age 0-13, with prizes, an activity booth and bunnies.

This is an invitation to the annual Solid Rock Foundation Easter Celebration and Egg hunt for the children!. The hunt at Riverside Park in Lexington starts at 10 am and goes until 2 pm on Saturday. This celebration is geared to the children of Cowlitz County, but ALL are welcome!

There’s an Easter Carnival from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturday at Robert Gray Baptist Church on 46th Avenue in Longview. There will be games and prizes, face painting, a cake walk, and an Easter egg hunt with a “special prize egg” for ages preschool to 5th grade. All are welcome!

The annual Clatskanie area Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Clatskanie Kiwanis Club is set for 10 a.m. sharp at the Clatskanie Middle/High School athletic fields. The free event begins promptly and is over within minutes. Toddlers and children to age four, and five to seven-year-olds will be assigned to the football field. Children eight to 10 will hunt in the baseball outfield area. There are prizes for everyone, and parents are urged to accompany and supervise their children during the event.

An Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Rainier Eagles will be held in Rainier Riverfront Park on Saturday, April 19, beginning at 10 a.m.

An “Easter basket swim” is being held Saturday, April 19, at the Briarcliff pool at Rainier High School from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Following a swim time, participants will receive a bag/basket of toys and candy. Cost for the event is $4 and pre-registration is required. Swim passes will not be accepted as payment. Register by calling the pool at 503-556-4217 and leave a message including child’s name, age and gender. Signups will be accepted at the pool office through 3 p.m. on Friday, April 18, and after hours on Friday from 3-8 p.m. by calling 503 396-3335 or 503 728-2333.

The 14th annual “mEGGa Egg Hunt” will be held at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in St. Helens on Saturday, April 19. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. and the hunt, featuring more than 30,000 plastic eggs, begins at 11 a.m. sharp. Admission is free. Babies and children up to age 12 will be divided into groups according to age. A hunt designed specifically for physically and cognitively-challenged children is planned. Other scheduled activities include pictures with the Easter Bunny, horse rides, petting zoo, face painting, and archery and robotics demonstrations. Parking at the fairgrounds, located at 58892 Saulser Road in St. Helens, is limited. Free shuttle bus rides will be available from the St. Helens High School every 15 minutes from 9:15 a.m. to closing.

Weekend Events–4/18-20/14

April 18th, 2014

Friday:
There’s a fundraising show at the Kelso Elks on Friday night for Bits and Bots Team 3812, the local high school robotics team, which is working to get to the World Championships in St. Louis. Dave Koenig and his kids bring their Blues Brothers tribute to the Kelso Elks on Friday night, with shows at 7 and 9:30 pm. Admission is $10 at the door, and they’re also accepting donations for the Help Food Warehouse.

Rising Star Productions is presenting a show called “The Enchanted April,” a story of renewal that’s set at the end of World War 1. Performances are being held Friday and Saturday evenings at the Three Rivers Mall, with the curtain set for 7:30 pm. Sunday matinees are also set for 2 pm. Call 749-5212 for ticket information, or go to the Rising Star Productions website.

An hour-long, live, interactive musical drama titled “Journey to the Cross” is being held this weekend at the Kelso-Longview Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Performances are planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the doors opening at 6:30 pm each evening. Admission to the church off of West Side Highway in Lexington is free.

Youth and Family Link on Douglas Street in Longview is holding a free “Friday Family Night,” going from 6:30 to 8 pm. The whole family is invited to come down for open gym time, arts and crafts, movies, play time or other activities. It’s free to attend, but you do need to pre-register by calling 423-6741.

The 38th annual Columbian Artist Spring Show is under way at the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso, and will continue through April 13th. Around 40 artists from all over the area are displaying works in a wide variety of media, and many of these works are available for purchase. Hours of the show are 10 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday, 10 to 7 pm on Saturday, and 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday. Admission is free.

The “Wood is Good” art show is going on up in Toledo, continuing each weekend through the 27th of this month. The show is open from 2 to 6 pm, Thursdays through Sundays at Gallery 505 in downtown Toledo. Admission is free. Find out more by going to www.artgallery505.com.

Saturday:
It’s the annual Earth Day Observance on Saturday at the Cowlitz County Expo Center, going from 10 am to 3:30 pm, rain or shine. Along with the more than 40 exhibits and 20 interactive events, they’ll also have live entertainment and other hands-on activities. Admission is free, and they’ll also be accepting non-perishable food donations for the Help Food Warehouse.

Safe Kids Lower Columbia is holding a Car Seat Clinic on Saturday at the Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue main station in Kelso, going from 10 am until 1 pm. Call 578-6280 if you need more information.

Tomorrow and Sunday out in Long Beach, it’s all things Razor Clam, as the town opens up for the Razor Clam Festival. They’ll have clam chowder and clam fritter competitions, clam-digging lessons, a re-dedication of the Giant Spitting Clam and much more fun. It’s all out on the peninsula, going all day tomorrow and Sunday.

The historic Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens open this weekend for the annual Hulda Klager Lilac Days, where you’ll be able to wander the fragrant gardens, tour the farm hours and can purchase all manner of lilac-based products. Hours are 10 am until 4 pm through Mother’s Day.

The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market is now open for its annual run at the County Expo Center. They will have plants, honey and other handcrafted items available for purchase. Hours in the 7th Avenue parking lot at 9 am until 2 pm on Saturdays and Tuesday through October.

The League of Women Voters of Cowlitz County holds its monthly meeting on Saturday, starting at 10 am at Cassava in downtown Longview. This month will involve planning for upcoming educational and candidate forums. The meeting is open to anyone interested. Cassava is located at 14th and Broadway in downtown Longview.

A group called Cowlitz County Oathkeepers is holding its inaugural meeting on Saturday. Organizers say that if you “believe in the Constitution” you should probably come by. This first meeting is planned for 10 am in the John Searing Auditorium at the Cowlitz PUD building. Call 270-3145 if you need additional information.

Starting on Saturday, The Southwest Washington Family YMCA is holding an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Class. Would-be lifeguards need to be at least 15 years of age, and will also need to pass a swimming skills test to proceed. Call Janine Manny at 423-4770, extension 205 if you need more information.

Sunday:
Churches all around the area have special services planned for Easter Sunday. Check with your local house of worship for details on exactly when these special services are going to be held.

Highlands Flasher

April 17th, 2014

Two women report that a man exposed himself to them in separate incidents reported yesterday afternoon in the 200 block of 22nd Avenue. One woman called 911 at about 3:25 yesterday afternoon, claiming that the man stopped as he was walking down the street, dropped his pants and then grabbed his genitalia. She says this happened right in front of her window, and was directed right at her. The man then continued down the street. The woman was able to provide a description of the suspect, saying that he was a white male in his 20’s, wearing baggy pants and a sweatshirt. Four Longview Police officers responded to the area, but they didn’t find the man. During this check of the neighborhood, a second woman reported a similar incident. The suspect remains at large.

Fishing Shack Fire

April 17th, 2014

There’s no word yet on the cause of a fire that destroyed a fishing shack last night on the banks of the Cowlitz River near Castle Rock. Around 11:30 pm, a person driving along Pleasant Hill Road reported seeing a large fire on the river bank. Cowlitz Fire District 6 from Castle Rock and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue responded to the scene, which turned out to be near Cook Ferry Road and Hoyer Road. They found a small fishing shack fully involved in fire; the firefighters got the fire put out quickly, but the shack was completely destroyed. Damage was limited to the shack itself, and the monetary damage is expected to be minor.