The City of Kelso is moving ahead with Minor Road Reservoir Replacement Project, as the City Council approves a $628,000 contract for engineering and design on the $5.9 million-dollar project. However, Community Development Director and City Engineer Mike Kardas says that they still need to figure out how this project will be funded…minorroadreservoir…The Minor Road Reservoir consists of two million-gallon tanks that were built back in 1924; city officials say that they are nearing, or have passed, their planned useful life. A recent evaluation of the tanks shows that they would NOT withstand a magnitude 6.0 earthquake; failure of those tanks would cause significant damage to the northbound lanes of I-5. The Minor Road Reservoir currently accounts for about 40 percent of Kelso’s water storage. The total cost of the project is put at just less than six million dollars; the city has received a $1.5 million-dollar grant that will help pay for construction, but the remainder of the funding needs to be secured. Kardas says that they do have an application for a loan from the state’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund program, but they will have to come back to the Council to discuss other options if that loan fails.
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Officials in Wahkiakum County say that progress is being made on the culvert replacement project near Naselle, and the highway could re-open to traffic in the near future. One of two box culverts being put in was completed last week, and the second one could be done in the next week or so. Two small culverts are being replaced with more “fish-friendly” box culverts. Traffic has been traveling on a detour and oversized loads have been banned on Ocean Beach Highway since mid-August.
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David Hahm, Jr., is being selected to serve in an interim capacity on the Woodland School Board, chosen to fill the seat opened up by the August resignation of Jeremy Stuart. Hahm was selected at Monday night’s Woodland School Board meeting, and will fill out Stuart’s unexpired term, which runs through 2017. Hahm currently works as a Representative for the Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and has two children in Woodland Schools. Hahm says that he sees this as an opportunity to give back to the community. He will be sworn in at the next Woodland School Board meeting, set for next Monday evening.
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Woodland’s Chief of Police is hosting a Community Forum this evening, inviting local residents to come by and talk things over. Police Chief Phil Crochet says that he’ll be sharing the latest crime statistics, and will also have information on Woodland’s drug usage as compared to other communities in the area. Crochet also says that he’ll be taking questions on other topics related to the Woodland Police Department. Tonight’s Community Forum starts at 6 pm in the new Woodland High School.
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A Longview woman who was running last night at Lake Sacajawea claims that she was attacked as she went underneath the bridge on Louisiana Street. The woman called 911 a few minutes before 8 pm; as she was going underneath the bridge on the Kessler side of the lake, she says that a man grabbed her by the arm and angrily asked what she was doing. The woman says that she kicked the man in the knee, ran to her car and then called 911. She describes the man as a white male in his 30’s, about 6’2”, with a medium build. She also says that the suspect wore a black hoody and blue jeans. Longview Police checked the area, but didn’t find the man. The woman was not injured in the incident, while police continue to follow up.
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The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says nothing was found after a bomb threat was reported at Winlock Middle-High School. Students, faculty and staff were evacuated from the building at about 12:30 yesterday afternoon, when a student reported finding a message saying that a bomb was going to go off later in the day. Students were evacuated to Winlock Elementary School, while bomb-sniffing dogs from the State Patrol were called in. Three dogs searched the school, but nothing was found. Classes will resume this morning, and students will be allowed to recover property that was left behind during yesterday’s evacuation. The investigation continues.
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The ink is now dry on the new two-year contract between the Kelso School District and the Kelso Education Association, as the Kelso School Board ratifies the pact on a unanimous vote. School Board President Patty Wood says that this was an extremely difficult process, but she and the rest of the School Board are ready to move ahead. The School Board also approved the revised school calendars, adjusted to make up the eight days of class time lost due to the strike. The first make-up day is set for this Friday, October 9th. Students and staff will be giving up vacation and holiday time to make up some of these days; November 30th is now a school day, along with December 21st, 22nd and 23rd. February 12th, March 11th and March 18th are also school days. Kids at Wallace Elementary will start making up class days right away, going to class all of next week; that originally had been scheduled as time off for the Wallace kids, who started school back in mid-August. That alteration is causing some consternation with Wallace school staff and families, saying that the short time frame conflicts with plans that have already been made. The new calendars were approved on a 4-1 vote.
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Maksim Les, 20, of Vancouver is in critical, but stable condition this morning, after he was injured in a two-truck collision that closed all lanes of I-5 northbound in Woodland. The State Patrol says that the crash happened shortly before 8 yesterday morning, as Les was driving a box truck northbound. Troopers say that Lloyd Cooper, 46, of Longview was also driving a truck northbound, driving on the right shoulder and in the right lane as he was having engine problems. They say that Les rear-ended Cooper’s truck, totaling both vehicles. Les was taken by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland; Cooper was unhurt. Troopers say that the crash was caused by following too closely, and citations could be issued.
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Longview Police are looking into the theft of Boy Scout camping gear, taken from a storage unit at a church on 26th Avenue. Officials with St. Rose Catholic Church called Longview Police shortly before 9 last night, after finding that the storage unit for Troop 385 had been entered. They say that the burglars took tents, camp stoves and propane tanks. Church officials say that the theft could have happened over the weekend, but no suspects have been identified. The loss is still being assessed.
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The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is out with an update on the recovery of the Columbian White-Tailed Deer, saying that the species has come back to the point that they’re suggesting a downgrade on the deer’s status. Yesterday, Fish and Wildlife issued a proposal to downgrade the deer from “endangered” to “threatened.” Deputy Director Richard Hanna says that the deer’s numbers have doubled since its first listing back in 1967, going from 450 animals back then to about 900 today. If the deer is reclassified, then new rules for management of the deer can be written, allowing greater flexibility in management of the animals. A 60-day comment period on the proposal opens on Thursday, and will be open until December 7th. Go to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service web page for more details.
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