State agencies in Oregon are planning to step up landslide monitoring in Columbia County, this coming after several large slides that took place last years. A spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation says that they have particular concerns about a location near Rainier, as milepost 39 on Highway 30. A large slide came down during last year’s big storms; ODOT officials say that they had to wait for months for the area to dry out enough to be able to do work. Additional emphasis is planned in this area over the next weeks; the first plan is to create a “catchment area” to get through this winter, and then a permanent fix is planned for next summer. They say that Highway 30 is prone to slides in spots, but they say that the risk to drivers is low. ODOT has more information, while the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries has maps of Columbia County landslide zones, available through their web page.
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The final totals are now in from the Give More 24! On-line giving event, with organizers now reporting that they raised more than $920,000 for social service and charity organizations across the region. It’s right below the $1 million goal that was set, but the total comes in at nearly $225,000 more than last year. In Cowlitz County, 730 separate gifts were made to 25 local organizations, with a total of $117,925 donated. The Southwest Washington Symphony was the largest recipient, with donations of just over $29,000; Community House on Broadway got just less than $16,000 and the Emergency Support Shelter received $12,400. The full donation list is posted on give-more-24.org.
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Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has some news coming out of “the other Washington,” reporting that bills that she is backing are moving through. Beutler says that her bill that’s intended to help support mothers and parents who are traveling with infants is through the House and is on its way to the Senate. It’s reported that the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act, or the “BABES Act,” was passed with unanimous support. Beutler says that she introduced the bill after hearing from parents who have undergone excessive scrutiny, or have had to waste breast milk due to TSA restrictions. The BABES Act would require TSA to go through additional training, which will lead to better and more consistent enforcement of rules regarding breast milk, infant formula and feeding equipment.
Beutler says that she worked with both of Washington’s Senators in getting a final rule passed by the Federal Aviation Administration, a rule that will finally eliminate the so-called “Pearson Box,” which covers air operations at the historic Pearson Airpark in Vancouver. Beutler says that she applauds the FAA for finding a solution that allows continued operation of one of the oldest airfields in the country, while also looking out for airspace safety.
Beutler says that her bill dealing with the potential removal of predatory sea lions from the Columbia River is through the House Natural Resources Committee, and will move to the House for action. Beutler says that the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act provides the tools to manage this situation.
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Debates between Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler are being set up, with two events now planned. The first planned meeting with challenger Jim Moeller is planned for Monday, October 10th, going from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at Camas High School. The second event is planned for Tuesday, October 25th at the Oak Tree Restaurant in Woodland, running from noon to 1 pm. Moeller is giving seat in the Washington House to run against Beutler, who is running for her fourth term as the Representative from Southwest Washington.
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The Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce holds its Quarterly Luncheon meeting today, where the leaders of Kelso and Longview will present the annual State of the Cities report. Mayor David Futcher and City Manager Steve Taylor will review 2016 and then will look ahead at 2017 in the City of Kelso, while Mayor Don Jensen and City Manager Dave Campbell will do the same for the City of Longview. Today’s luncheon meeting is being held at the Elks Lodge, located just off Grade Street in Kelso. The doors open at 11:30 am; you can save money by registering in advance. Call the Chamber at 423-8400, or go to kelsolongviewchamber.org for more information.
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WSU Extension is once again offering its highly popular Composting Class, starting at 6 pm tonight at the Cowlitz County Training Center, next to the Hall of Justice on 3rd Avenue. Along with the training on how you can turn your food waste and garden material into compost for your garden, participants will also be able to purchase compost bins for just $10. The bins have a regular price of $85 apiece. Pre-registration is REQUIRED for tonight’s class, and there is a limit on registration. Call 577-3014, extension zero for more information.
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The Coast Guard is keeping an eye on a salvage operation that’s getting under way on the Columbia River near Goble, after an 82-foot tugboat sank Sunday night, spilling diesel oil into the river. The owner of the boat, Clay Jonak, reports that the boat had about 100 gallons of residual diesel aboard when it sank at its mooring, but Coast Guard officials say that divers helped remove more than 300 gallons of material from the sunken boat. Containment booms are set up to contain any additional fluids that might leak from the boat. Authorities used resources from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to cover the cost of these operations, along with the divers that were brought in. They haven’t decided yet if the boat will be raised again; Jonak owns several old boats, barges and tugs that are moored near Goble, and reportedly is trying to scrap or salvage those boats.
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The investigation continues into the Sunday night fire that destroyed another vacant house in Kelso. At 11:23 Sunday night, fire crews were called to 813 Coweeman Lane, where it was reported that a house was engulfed in flames. Firefighters say that flames and smoke were visible when they rolled up, and about half of the exterior wall was also involved in fire. The house is now considered to be a total loss, but there’s still no dollar estimate on the damage. The cause of the fire also remains under investigation, with Kelso Police assisting on that investigation. No injuries were reported.
Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was busy again this morning, after a fire was reported in the garage of a home in the 900 block of Cedar Street. Firefighters were called out at 7:24 am, and they say that the fire was extending from the garage to the rest of the home. They got the fire out before it got to the house, but the cause still is not known. Two people inside the house were able to safely escape.
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Investigators now say that a “person of interest” has been identified in connection with the murder of Apache Rose Hightower, 24, of Portland. Her body was found one week ago, dumped down an embankment near Salmonberry Lake in Columbia County, off of Pittsburg Road near Saint Helens. An autopsy shows that she died from “homicidal violence.” Detectives now say that they want to talk with Jesse Allen Lane, 28, in connection with this death, and they’re circulating photos for the public to see. They say that the last known address for Lane is in Jackson County, Oregon, but he has also been seen recently in the St. Helens and Portland areas. Photos of Lane are now posted on flashalert.net, and are being distributed by the media. They say that he should be considered as “armed and dangerous.” If you know where he is, call 911.
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