Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Winlock Fire Update

March 3rd, 2015

The painstaking work of hand-sifting through the debris from last Thursday morning’s fatal house fire in Winlock is continuing. The Centralia Chronicle reports on the latest into this investigation, saying that they transported debris to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office so that it can be searched by hand for human remains. The fire took place early on Thursday morning at a home on Northeast 1st Street in Winlock. A man and two young boys escaped the fire, but a woman and two young girls did not get out. The names of the victims still have not been released. The cause and origin of the fire also hasn’t been determined as of yet. In the meantime, fundraising events to support the survivors are being set up, including a poker run that’s being set up for the 21st of this month, and a youth baseball tournament that’s being set up for the 28th and 29th of this month.

Former Cop Charged

March 3rd, 2015

A Columbia County grand jury is handing down an indictment against a former Vernonia Police Officer, charging him with child sexual abuse. The Saint Helens Chronicle reports that Gene Baska, 62, was indicted on the 26th of last month, charging him with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of luring a minor. Baska was first arrested on January 7th, after a 13 year-old accused Baska of felony child sexual abuse. The arrest came after Baska allegedly sent the victim a sexually explicit text. Deputies obtained a search warrant, seizing electronic equipment thought to contain videos, photos and other records of child pornography and other sexually explicit materials. Additional possible victims have been identified, and investigators are still looking for other potential victims. Tips are being taken at 503-366-4698. Baska remains out on bail on the previous charges, and is expected to be in court on these now counts later this month.

Road Work

March 3rd, 2015

Starting at 7:30 this morning, the City of Longview Water Division is doing some valve maintenance at 1116 15th Avenue, work that will close the alley in that area through Friday afternoon. The 1100 block alley between 14th and 15th will be closed to through traffic from Florida Street to Hemlock Street while this work is going on, expected to be done by 4 pm on Friday.

Delameter Road will be closed today between Garlock Road and Hazel Dell Road, as the Cowlitz Public Utilities District removes some overhead wire in that area. The closures is scheduled to run from 9 am until 3 pm today. A detour will be clearly posted.

The City of Kelso is asking for drivers to avoid the intersection at Minor Road and Allen Street during peak hours, as they work on options for repairs of a damaged traffic controller at that intersection. In September of last year, the traffic signal detection equipment was damaged by a crew that was trying to locate utilities for another project. City officials say that a permanent repair would be expensive and complex. They’re asking for your cooperation and patience as this research work is done.

KHS Assistant Principal

March 3rd, 2015

Christine McDaniel is getting a promotion in the Kelso School District, being appointed as the newest Assistant Principal at Kelso High School. McDaniel first joined Kelso Schools in 1996, starting as a teacher in the elementary, middle school and high school levels. She has worked in several leadership roles, and has had additional training in several specialized areas. Kelso Principal John Gummel says that they’re fortunate to add McDaniel to the team, saying that she “brings a wealth of instructional knowledge” to the position, along with compassion for students and an eagerness to get right to work. McDaniel starts her new position on July 1st.

Tuesday Movie Night

March 3rd, 2015

Tonight is another “Tuesday Movie Night” at the Longview Public Library, starting at 6 pm. They’ll be screening a movie that was recently released to DVD, but because of legal issues, they’re restrained from announcing the name of the movie; let’s just say that it’s a re-telling of some favorite children’s fairy tales, and features some major movie stars doing some song and dance numbers. The movie will be shown in the Library Auditorium; the doors will open at 5:45 and the show will start at 6. Admission is free and no library card is needed, but space is limited, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the Longview Library at 442-5321 for more information.

United Way Grant

March 3rd, 2015

The United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum is announcing that the agency is being awarded a grant of nearly $52,000, money from the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. They say that this money is intended to help supplement local emergency food and shelter programs in the local area. A local board comprised of members from United Way and other food and shelter agencies will determine how these dollars will be distributed. Public or private voluntary organizations who would like to access some of that money have until the 13th of this month to submit an application. Call the United Way at 423-5320 for information on the application process.

United Way Posting

March 3rd, 2015

The Board of Directors for the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum is posting the Executive Director’s position, soliciting applications for the post through the 27th of this month. In the announcement, the Board says that the Executive Director will serve as the “Chief Professional Officer” and Chief Operating Officer of the local United Way chapter, also lining out the core competencies required for the posting. A full job description is also being posted. Board President J. D. Rosetti says that applications are being taken through the 27th of this month; the pile will be narrowed down by April 10th, with interviews planned for the week of April 13th. It’s hoped that a job offer could be extended by April 27th, and that the new Executive Director could start work in early May. The position came open several weeks ago with the dismissal of Kalei LaFave, who was let go after financial irregularities were supposedly found at the agency.

7th Avenue Investigation

March 2nd, 2015

Longview Police continue to investigate the discovery of a woman’s body inside an apartment on 7th Avenue, an incident that the department says is being investigated as a homicide at this time. The investigation got started at about 5 pm yesterday, when the woman’s roommate reported finding the body in the apartment that they shared. Detectives say that evidence found at the apartment shows that this could be a homicide, but no other details are being released at this time. A search warrant was obtained, so Detectives could spend more inside the unit. Additional information could be released after that work is completed.

Generator Stolen

March 2nd, 2015

Organizers of a bicycle race that was held yesterday morning down in the Woodland area say that someone stole a generator that they had rented. Employees of Zone 5 Promotions reported the theft at about 9 yesterday morning, in the area of Whalen Road and Dike Road. The Honda S2000i suitcase-type of generator had been left unattended between around 7:30 and 8:30 am, when someone noticed that it was missing. The generator is valued at $850; those on the scene say that a black Subaru Forester or a similar vehicle was seen in the area around the time of the theft. No arrests have been reported.

United Way Support

March 2nd, 2015

As controversy continues to swirl at the top of the local United Way chapter, the 23 partner agencies of the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum are out with a joint letter, expressing their support for the local organization. In the letter, the partner agencies say that they are “essential providers” of services that comprise the local safety net, and they collectively carry out the United Way mission each and every day. They share in the commitment to nurturing local youth, strengthening families, promoting heath and providing basic needs. The partner agencies thank the United Way for its generous support over the years, and say that they will continue to support the United Way, while continuing to mobilize the “caring power” of the community. The letter is signed by all 23 partner agencies.