Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Martin’s Bluff Report

August 29th, 2014

The Washington State Department of Transportation is announcing that the Environmental Assessment for the Martin’s Bluff Rail Improvement Projects “Task 5 and Task 6” is now available for review. WashDOT officials say that this EA evaluates rail construction projects between Kalama and Kelso, with a goal of improving passenger rail service along the entire Pacific Northwest rail corridor. “Task 5” deals with a new siding near Kelso, while “Task 6” focuses on improvements at the Kelso-Longview rail junction. Public comment on the EA is open until September 27th, and there’s a public hearing on the EA planned for the afternoon of Thursday, September 18th, to be held in the John Searing Auditorium at the Cowlitz PUD building in Kelso. You can get more details by going to the project websites for each project, which are posted on the WashDOT website.

Pending Speelyai Closure

August 29th, 2014

If you and your family want to use the popular Speelyai Bay Day Use Park on Lake Merwin, you had better do it this weekend, as PacifiCorp is preparing to close the facility for repairs. The utility says that the park will close on Tuesday, the 2nd, and should be closed until at least mid-December as the facility is renovated and enhanced. Contractors are being brought in to replaced the park’s septic system, to make parking lot improvements, upgrade the picnic area and to install additional ADA access. Boat launching will still be available at the nearby Cresap Bay Park; day use facilities are also available at Cresap Bay and at Merwin Park. PacifiCorp officials say that they wanted to have the facility open for the popular Labor Day weekend, but they also posted signs and will be distributing notices about the pending closure.

KSD Surplus Sale

August 29th, 2014

Today is the last day of the Kelso School District Surplus Sale, which will run from 10 am until 2 pm at Ed Laulainen Stadium at Schroeder Field. The district is selling off old textbooks, furniture, miscellaneous equipment, floor tiles, athletic uniforms and more. Sealed bids on two vehicles are also being accepted, with those bids due by September 19th at 3 pm. Get more information on the Kelso School District website, or by calling 501-1340.

Weekend Events–8/29-9/1/14

August 29th, 2014

The Three Rivers Mall kicks off its “Reel Pop-Up Movies” this weekend, with free screenings of “Spiderman II,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Mummy.” They’ll also have matinee screenings of “Despicable Me.” This will be near the SW corner of the mall, and you can get the current movie schedule on, or on the TRM Facebook page.

The Toutle Valley VFW Auxiliary is holding a Garage Sale and Silent Auction, going from 8 am until 6 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at the VFW Hall on Hansen Road in Toutle. There will be “no pricing” on any of the items; you’ll be able to donate what you think is right for the purchase. Proceeds will help local veterans and their families.

Youth and Family Link continues with its Family Open Gym Nights on Friday, running from 6:30 to 8 pm. You’re invited to bring the whole family down for movies, crafts, bingo and other fun. Youth and Family Link is located at 907 Douglas Street in Longview.

There are actually three events planned for this weekend at the Elochoman Marina in Cathlamet, including the Wooden Boat Festival and the Buzzard Breath Chili Cookoff, which have been moved from other days. The Fall Fishing Frenzy Salmon Derby starts on Saturday morning, and will run until Sunday, September 7th. Derby tickets are available at the Elochoman Slough Marina office, at Vista Park, and at the Bank of the Pacific branches in Cathlamet and Naselle.

The Wooden Boat Show will run Saturday and Sunday in the Marina, starting at 10 am on Saturday. Along with the boats that will be on display, they will be talks about local history, poets, clinics on boat restoration and a “rubber ducky race” at 2 pm on Saturday. Sunday will have a “farewell parade” of the wooden boats at noon.

The Buzzard Breath Chili Cookoff will also be held at the Marina on Saturday, with teams competing to make the “Best Chili.” Also marking the change in this event, there will be a special pot of Clam Chowder made, as well. Public tasting is planned from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, at a price of $7 a bowl.

The final Music on the Mountain Concert is planned for Saturday evening up at the Johnston Ridge Volcano Observatory Amphitheater, featuring Longview native Daniel Kirkpatrick and his band, “the Bayonets.” The free concert runs from 6:30-8:30 pm, and the Lions will be selling food and adult beverages.

A little further down the mountain, the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club will be teaming up with Cowlitz County Tourism to host “An Evening with the Stars!” at the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center. This is an open stargazing event that is scheduled to run from 8 pm to Midnight on Saturday. Club members will be setting up telescopes for viewing of celestial delights, or you can bring your own scope or binoculars for viewing. This is also a free event, but it is weather-dependent.

The 11th annual “Cruise to the Country” car show and shine is set for Saturday at the Amboy Territorial Days Park, with pre-registration planned from 11 am until 1 pm on Friday at the park. Breakfast starts at 7 am on Saturday, and then the show starts at 9. Proceeds benefit local veterans programs.

Come to the Cowlitz Community Farmer’s Market and find produce, plants, crafts, baked goods, eggs, entertainment, and fun! Come on down and join the fun there’s something good for everyone! Hours are 9 am until 2 pm on Saturday in the parking lot on 7th Avenue, across from the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds.

The Downtown Longview Farmers and Artisans Market is open from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday at 15th and Broadway in downtown Longview . Along with the locally grown produce, they’ll have all kinds of hand-made crafts, specialty foods, flower baskets and other items for sale. Find out more by calling 957-2515.

Labor Day:
The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Central Labor Council invites local union members and their families to their annual Labor Day Picnic, which is scheduled to go from 11 am to 4 pm at the Toutle River RV Resort, just off exit 52 of I-5, three miles north of Castle Rock. You can bring the kids and a dish to share; they’ll have swimming, kids’ games, live music and a giant croquet tournament. Contact the CWCLC for more information.

Pipeline Agreement

August 28th, 2014

It’s being announced that the Northwest Innovation Works ethanol plant project at the Port of Kalama is taking a major step forward, as NWIW and Williams Northwest Pipeline sign a preconstruction agreement for the three-mile-long lateral pipeline that would supply natural gas to the facility. The Cowlitz Economic Development Council is also announcing that NWIW has hired the consulting firm of BergerAbam to provide permitting and environmental expertise on the project; BergerAbam also has a separate agreement with the Port of Kalama for permits that the port may need for this effort. NWIW President “Vee” Godley says that this significant progress on crucial components of this $1.8 billion project, taking them “two steps closer” to making this project a reality. The CEDC says that the actual permitting processes for the pipeline, the NWIW facility and the Port of Kalama will begin soon, and will include opportunities for public comment and engagement.

Port Westward Roadblocks

August 28th, 2014

Plans for a similar ethanol production facility across the river near Clatskanie are running into some trouble, as a state panel rejects a proposal to convert a large parcel of land at Port Westward to industrial purposes, and an application for a dock development grant is also rejected. It’s being reported that the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals is rejecting a previous decision to re-zone 800 acres of land at Port Westward for industrial development. In making its ruling, LUBA stated that the Port of Saint Helens did not prove that there is a need for additional industrial lands. The issue is being sent back for additional review, and could be re-submitted. The Oregon Transportation Commission also rejected a “Connect Oregon” grant that would have paid for dock improvements at Port Westward that would have also helped the Northwest Innovation Works ethanol facility that’s being proposed there. Port officials call this decision a political move, and they say it’s not based on a fair review of the possible uses for the proposed dock improvements.

Suspect Pix

August 28th, 2014

a14-2570_male[1]The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is releasing pictures of a man and a woman who are being listed as suspects in a credit card fraud investigation. Detective Rob Stumph says that the couple made purchases at Walmarts in Longview and Chehalis. In the security photos that are being released, the suspects are middle-aged Caucasians; the woman is seen wearing a black and green jacket, a white hat, and a black and white shirt. The man is heavy-set, and was wearing a white golf shirt and a black ball cap. It’s claimed that the male suspect is the one who actually had possession of the victim’s credit card. Stumph also says that the couple may be associated with an older-model white station wagon, but the make and model isn’t known. The photos are posted on If you have information on these two people, call Sheriff’s Detective Rob Stumph at 577-3092.

Community House Plugged

August 28th, 2014

After nearly two days of severe restrictions on water use, things are once again running normally at Community House on Broadway, after some plugged drains were eventually located and cleaned out. Today’s Daily News reports on the problems that started earlier this week. The drain problems started on Monday, and weren’t fixed until yesterday afternoon. Residents of the facility at 11th and Broadway say that there were some significant issues, as they were allowed only to urinate in bathrooms, and were not allowed to flush toilets. Porta-potties were set up outside, but there apparently was some confusion about the permissions to enter and exit the building to use those at night. There were also meal problems, since the kitchen was unable to wash dishes. Community House Director Frank Morrison says that they finally found the problem in a drain behind a wall in the women’s bathroom, which had to be removed to complete the repairs.

Longview Council Preview

August 28th, 2014

Longview’s water quality will once again be a topic of discussion at tonight’s City Council meeting. City officials say that the situation with scale in the water pipes is continuing to improve, but complaints continue to roll in about spotting and mineral deposits, odor and taste. The Council plans to honor the Southwest Washington YMCA as the city’s first “Make Longview Beautiful” award-winner, along with a presentation of a Host City Award for the 2014 Babe Ruth World Series. They will hear a recommendation to change the name of R. A. Long Park to R. A. Long Memorial Park, and City Manager Bob Gregory will present the mid-year budget review. Tonight’s meeting starts at 7 pm in the City Council chambers at the Longview City Hall, and is open to the public.

EPA Fines

August 28th, 2014

Emerald Kalama Chemical and two fuel stations in Woodland are among the more than 50 companies fined by the Environmental Protection Agency in the second quarter of the year. The EPA fined Emerald Kalama $18,340 for violations of the EPA’s leak detection and repair regulations, an incident that happened on May 27th of this year. In addition, Wilson Oil was handed two separate fines of $420 apiece for Underground Storage Tank rule violations that were discovered at the Pacific Pride fuel station and at the Woodland CFN station, with both violations reported on June 27th.