Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Volcano Study

July 22nd, 2014

Starting this morning, a team of 75 geophysicists will be fanning out around Mt. St. Helens, setting up seismic measuring instruments as part of a massive study that’s intended to accurately map the “plumbing” of our local volcano. Peter Frenzen with the U. S. Forest Service says that an “Equipment Center” is being set up at Woodland Intermediate School, where field crews will collect equipment that’s being set up all around the mountain. 23 seismic charges have been placed in specific locations all around the volcano, and those charges will be set off overnight tonight and tomorrow. The explosions are intended to produce vibrations that will mimic a magnitude 2 earthquake, but those vibrations should probably not be felt. Scientists say that they’ll be recording the vibrations, with a goal of developing a clear picture of the inner workings of Mt. St. Helens. Since the explosive shots are in underground boreholes and will be done at night, there will be little to see when the charges are detonated. However, you can track the shots and see some of what the scientists are seeing by going to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network website.

River Death Investigation

July 22nd, 2014

County Coroner Tim Davidson says that the autopsy on the body found in the Columbia River near Woodland on Sunday has been completed, but the identity of that person still hasn’t been determined. Davidson says that the body is that of a female, estimated to be between 20 and 40 years of age, with a slender build. Due to the advanced state of decomposition, they still haven’t been able to determine the race of the woman. He does note that there didn’t seem to be any signs of violence or trauma connected to the death. He does say that the cause of death is drowning, and that the manner of death is “pending,” as the investigation continues. Davidson says that the Sheriff’s Office is also continuing to investigate the incident; if you have possible information on this woman or her death, you can contact Davidson’s office at 577-3079, or contact Detective Sergeant Brad Thurman at 577-3092.

Motorcycle Chase

July 22nd, 2014

State Troopers are still looking for a motorcycle rider that sped away from a traffic stop that took place last night on I-5 north of Kalama. Troopers called for assistance from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office at about 7:35 pm, when they reported that the rider had taken off from a traffic stop near milepost 31 on I-5 southbound. The Trooper on-scene reports that the rider hit 120 miles an hour as he sped off, leaving the freeway at exit 30. It’s reported that the bike was last seen heading north on Old Pacific Highway; Deputies joined in checking the area, but the bike was never located.

Park Arrest

July 22nd, 2014

A man wanted in Columbia County on a felony warrant for possession of meth and eluding a police officer was arrested early this morning at a park in Kelso. Police officers went to Lads and Lassies Park at 8th and Elm at about 1:30 this morning, when a woman reported that a man was sleeping on the covered slide. Officers met with Tom Miles Durrett, 32, of Longview, and found that he had a local misdemeanor warrant for driving while suspended. He was arrested on that warrant, while further checking also showed the Columbia County warrant, with bail set at $75,000. Durrett is now being held in the Cowlitz County Jail.

“Big Event” Rally

July 22nd, 2014

About 100 people came to yesterday’s “Big Event” political rally, an event arranged by Kelso barber Bill Ammons as a way for people to hear from all of the candidates for all of the races that are on the August 5th primary election ballot. At least 20 candidates spoke at yesterday’s rally, which Ammons hopes will motivate people to be involved in the process…ammonsrally…While the highlights of the rally included speeches from contested races like County Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney and County Commissioner, even office holders that are running unopposed took time to stop by and speak to the crowd. Ballots for the Tuesday, August 5th Primary Election were mailed out late last week, and should have already shown up in your mailbox. Contact Cowlitz County Elections at 577-3005 if you haven’t received your ballot by the end of this week. Ballots must be postmarked or dropped off by 8 pm on Tuesday, August 5th to be valid for counting. Additional information is available on the Cowlitz County Elections website.

PUD Hearing

July 22nd, 2014

The Cowlitz PUD Commission is holding a special meeting and a public hearing this evening, where they will take comments on a proposed residential rate hike. Tonight’s hearing follows the recommendations of the Electric Rate Advisory Committee, which said that the utility should raise the PUD’s “base rate” by $5. This is part of a three-year process to equalize the portion of rates paid by residential, commercial and business customers; a comprehensive study that was completed last year shows that commercial and business customers have been subsidizing residential customers, which is a violation of state law. After the report, PUD officials developed a multi-year process for equalization of the rates. Tonight’s hearing is set for 7 pm in the John Searing Auditorium at the Cowlitz PUD Building, and is open to anyone interested.

Library Programs

July 22nd, 2014

The Cowlitz County Health Department will be talking about some of the “less pleasant,” but natural processes that we all go through at this week’s Summer Reading Program presentation, putting on a show called “Grossology” at local libraries. They’ll be talking about burps, farts and other unpleasantries in programs that are set for 11 am today at the Kelso Library, and then at 2 pm in the Castle Rock Library. “Grossology” programs are also planned for 3 pm tomorrow at the Longview Library, and at 2 pm on Thursday at the Kalama Library. All area kids are invited to attend.

From 3 to 6 pm today, the Longview Public Library will be one of 14 sites in Washington state that will be hosting the “UNI Early Learning Kiosk.” The resources of this kiosk will be the centerpiece of today’s “Celebrating A STEM-tastic Community,” highlighting providers of science, technology, engineering and math programs around the area. The UNI program consists of cubes that create an attractive street-level public gathering space, also providing access to high-quality books and hands-on early learning activities. The concept is to boost the parent as the child’s first and most important teacher, while also sparking the child’s curiosity and imagination. Today’s “STEM-tastic” event is geared to children from zero to six years of age, and will also feature other activities and demonstrations. “Celebrating A STEM-tastic Community” is free, with no library card or registration required.

Fair Entries

July 22nd, 2014

We’re into the home stretch prior to Thursday’s opening of the 2014 Cowlitz County Fair. Entries in the Vegetables and Fruits competition are being accepted from 9 am until 9 pm today, along with Grange entries. Entries in the Floral competitions are being accepted from 6 to 9 pm this evening. The final deadline for Floral entries is from 7:30 to 9:30 tomorrow morning; your last chance to get Vegetable and Fruit entries and Grange entries is from 8 am until 9 pm tomorrow. Forestry and Natural Resources entries will be accepted from 9 am until 4 pm tomorrow. Get additional information by contacting the Cowlitz County Expo Center at 577-3121.

River Body

July 21st, 2014

The Cowlitz County Coroner and the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office are now working to identify a body found floating in the Columbia River near Woodland. A fisherman reported seeing the body floating in the water yesterday afternoon, drifting in the area of Lions Day Park. Shortly after the initial sighting, several other anglers reported seeing the body. Those on the scene reported that the body was extremely decayed, and appeared to have been in the water for an extended length of time. Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig reports that it does appear that the body had been in the water for several weeks or longer. Coroner Tim Davidson now has possession of the body, and is now working to identify the person, along with pinpointing the date, cause and manner of death. Witnesses reported seeing some specific characteristics, but Rosenzweig says that because of the extensive decomposition, they’re not speculating on the gender or age of this person. Additional information should be coming from the Coroner’s Office.

Bridgewater Passes

July 21st, 2014

After dealing with heart problems for the past several years, former Cowlitz County Prosecuting Attorney and Washington State Court of Appeals Judge C. C. Bridgewater died over the weekend, passing away at the age of 70. Today’s Daily News reports on Bridgewater’s passing, saying that he died at home early yesterday morning. After several years in private practice, Bridgewater was first elected to be the Cowlitz County Prosecutor in 1986; he also won re-election in 1990. In 1994, he was appointed to the Appeals Court bench, a position he held until 2010, when he suffered a massive heart attack while vacationing in Germany. After missing the deadline to file for re-election, Jill Johanson was appointed to succeed him. Despite his cardiac issues, Bridgewater was still active in a number of local causes and organizations. It’s reported that Bridgewater was aware of his impending death, so he went home with his wife, Kay and asked for his favorite meal. After eating about half of his anchovy pizza, Bridgewater went to sleep, and peacefully passed away early yesterday morning. Memorial services are pending.