This evening’s performance of the Lower Columbia College Symphonic Band will have a unique sound, as a special guest musician from the African country of Gambia will be featured. Foday Muso Suso is also an oral historian, a man that actually serves as a “living library” for his community, preserving and relaying their history through story and song. Suso plays an African instrument called a “kora,” along with other West African drums. Suso moved to the United States in 1977, and has also worked with a number of noteworthy musicians, including people like Herbie Hancock. This evening’s performance by Foday Musa Suso and the LCC Symphonic Band is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm in the Wollenberg Auditorium at the Rose Center for the Arts. Tickets are available at the Rose Center Box Office, one hour prior to the performance. Admission is free for LCC students, faculty and staff.
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The Weather Service says that things are going to get chilly as we head toward the Thanksgiving holiday. Forecasters say that a “sharp cold front” is expected to move ashore tonight, dropping the freezing level and the snow level to their lowest levels of the season. Snow levels are predicted to drop as low as 15 hundred feet overnight, well below the pass levels. Rain and snow showers are expected overnight, tapering off tomorrow. “Cold and blustery” weather is expected to come in behind this front, keeping daytime highs in the 40’s, and wind chills in the 20’s. They say that icy roads are possible after tonight, and there’s a possibility of some snow accumulation in the southern Willamette Valley, and in some spots around the Puget Sound. If you and the family are planning to be on the road this week, you’ll need to take these factors into account.
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After a lot of cleanup and technical inspections, the Washington Department of Transportation re-opened West Side Highway on Saturday. The road had been completely closed near Hazel Dell Road since Wednesday, the 18th, when a large amount of mud, trees and other debris slid down onto the highway. WashDOT officials says that more than 30 truckloads of mud, rocks and trees were removed from the road. Engineers have also checked the stability of the hillside above the highway, and have determined it’s safe for travel.
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Installation of wiring that’s intended to help improve emergency phone communications between Cowlitz and Columbia Counties will require some lane closures on the Lewis and Clark Bridge, with the first of those events planned for this evening. Work is planned tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday night, with alternating single-lane closures from 9 pm to 5 am each night. Flaggers will control traffic in each direction. CenturyLink and Bridge Masters are doing this work; similar closures are also planned during the week of Monday, December 7th, continuing each night through Sunday, December 12th. Work on this project is expected to extend into early next year.
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Icy road conditions are thought to have been a factor in a rollover crash reported yesterday morning on I-5 at the Coweeman River Bridge. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue reports that the elderly woman was southbound yesterday morning when her SUV slipped on the icy bridge, and she lost control. The SUV went over the median barrier, and then came to rest on its roof in the northbound lanes. Extrication tools were brought in to free the woman, who was pinned inside. A passenger was unhurt. The unidentified woman was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment. Her injuries are not said to be serious. Names have not been released, and there’s no word yet on possible citations.
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State Troopers say that charges are pending against Merilee Johnson, 18, of Kelso, after she allegedly caused a two-vehicle collision Saturday morning. They say that Johnson was southbound on I-5 at about 8:20 Saturday morning, when her Toyota pickup drifted into the median and then rolled several times. Johnson was ejected from the pickup, which continued into the northbound lanes. The pickup then collided with a northbound semi, driven by Susan Morales-Martinez, 30, of San Antonio, Texas. A passenger in that semi was injured in the crash, and was treated at St. John Medical Center. Johnson was eventually transferred to Oregon Health and Science University. She’s listed in good condition this morning. Troopers also say that Johnson was driving too fast for the conditions, and she eventually could be cited for that.
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Woodland Police are looking for help in finding the person or persons who have been involved in a series of vandalism incidents over the past week or so. Between the 13th and the 15th, several people reported that they had car windows smashed, apparently done by someone wielding a small club or a large pipe. They also say that there may be an older-model Ford pickup associated with this incidents, possibly an ‘80’s model, full-size and four-wheel-drive; witnesses say that the truck is maroon in color, with a wide silver or gray stripe going down both sides. Contact Woodland Police at 360-225-6965 if you have information on this case.
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Saying that yet another polygraph is needed, the sentencing of Brenda Wing of Vader is being set over again. The 28 year-old is set for sentencing in connection with guilty pleas connected to last year’s beating death of three year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner, a little boy who had been left in the care of Wing and her husband, Danny. Husband and wife eventually pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault of a child, possession of heroin and witness tampering. Sentencing of both people has been complicated by claims from the prosecutors, saying that neither Brenda nor Danny Wing have been truthful in their statements to investigators. Danny Wing was eventually sentenced to more than 34 years in prison; the standard range for Brenda Wing is 12 to 16 years, but that could be extended if it’s found that she was also untruthful with prosecutors.
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Jeffrey Theodore Kroll, 45, of St. Helens is facing prosecution, as he allegedly furnished alcohol to teenage girls. The St. Helens Police Department reports that Kroll was arrested on the 17th, following an extended investigation. They say Kroll was arrested following an incident that goes back to July, where allegedly gave alcoholic beverages to a 14 year-old girl that’s not related to him. They say that this case goes over “an extended period of time,” so it’s possible that others could be involved. Call 503-397-1521 if you have information on this case.
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The Holiday Season kicks off this evening down in Cathlamet, as the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce announces the opening of the 11th annual Festival of Trees Celebration. Over the past decade, local designers, business owners and other representatives have donated trees, wreathes and other specially-decorated items, which are then auctioned off by the Chamber. Donated items will be on display, starting today and going through December 14th, when they will be auctioned off. Proceeds will help to support the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce. Get more information on wahkiakumchamber.com.
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