Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

More Coal Trouble

September 16th, 2014

Ambre Energy just had another roadblock go up in their effort to build a coal export terminal in eastern Oregon, as the Corps of Engineers announces that its environmental review of the proposed project at Boardman is on hold, as the appeals of a state agency decision move forward. Oregon’s Department of State Lands is denying a construction application for the Coyote Island Terminal, citing negative impacts to fisheries on the Columbia River. Ambre is appealing that decision, along with at least two other groups. Yesterday, the Corps’ Portland District Commander announced that continuing the environmental evaluation at this point would be “inappropriate,” given the current unknown status of the state permit, and because of the amount of time needed to complete such a review. If the decision is reversed, Ambre would be allowed to ask for that process to resume.

Port Westward Expansion

September 16th, 2014

The company that’s moving crude oil from North Dakota through Port Westward near Clatskanie is announcing that it’s preparing to invest between $50 million and $70 dollars for an expansion of that facility. The South County Spotlight reports on the latest meeting of the Port of St. Helens Commission, where representatives of Global Partners LP made that announcement. They say that the current setup allows them to transload crude oil OR ethanol, but not both. General Manager Daniel Luckett says that they’re looking at an expansion that would once again allow for ethanol production at the site; they would also expand the number of rail unloading stations, would add holding tanks, replace the existing pipeline to the dock, add additional dock, and would expand the existing Beaver Dock. This would increase the number of unit trains using the Pacific and Western rail line that goes through Columbia County, but plans are also in the works to increase train speeds to 25 miles an hour in certain sections along that line. They claim that could reduce some of the congestion caused by the mile-long unit trains going in and out.

Audit Findings

September 16th, 2014

The Washington State Auditor’s Office and the City of Longview are butting heads over accounting procedures regarding federal pass-through money that goes to the Cowlitz Transit Authority. In its latest audit report regarding the City of Longview, the Auditor took issue with the follow-up to a 2012 audit finding regarding the CTA. That finding indicated that the CTA wasn’t maintaining adequate “time and effort documentation” connected to federal grant dollars; this year, they’re chastising Longview for failing to follow up on that previous finding. They say city staff did not dedicate the resources necessary to ensure compliance with the grant requirements, and as a result, they question salary and benefit costs of $17,259 that were charged to the grant. In its response, the city challenges the Auditor’s definitions and methodology, and claims that all of the rules were followed. They also say that these questioned salary and benefit dollars had no effect on the amount of money that the city received, and had no effect on the allowability of charging those costs to the grant. City officials say that there’s no impact on the city’s financial statement. In response to that, the Auditor thanks the city for its commitment to resolving this finding, and will review the corrective action in the next audit.

Water Flushing

September 16th, 2014

Longview’s water main flushing schedule continues this week in “Area #2,” working in the area between 33rd Avenue and Nichols Boulevard, going form Ocean Beach Highway to Washington Way. Work is being done tonight, tomorrow night and Thursday night, going from 7:30 to 11:30 pm each night. Advisory signs will be posted in work areas; you’re advised not to use water while this flushing is going on, and be sure to flush your own pipes after the work is completed. Call the City of Longview at 442-5700 if you have other questions.

Scam Meeting

September 16th, 2014

They’ll be talking about “Scams and Cons Aimed at Seniors” at today’s meeting of the Lower Columbia School Retirees Association. Along with the discussion about criminals who are trying to take advantage of senior citizens, there will be a door prize. This meeting starts at 9:30 this morning in the dining room of the Somerset Retirement Apartments at 2025 Tibbetts Drive in Longview; you’ll also be able to buy breakfast if you like. Get more information by calling President Adrienne Gorman at 425-5428.

Vaccine Clinics

September 16th, 2014

“Back-to-School Vaccine Clinics” open today in Longview, offered by the Longview-based Cowlitz Family Health Center. FHC officials say that these clinics are intended to help families make sure that the kids are vaccinated before we get into the main cold and flu season. Standard, age-appropriate vaccines will be offered at each of the clinics, helping local school kids have a healthy start to the year. The clinics will start today, going from 3 to 6 pm at the Longview Family Health Center Clinic on 12th Avenue. This will also be open to families that are not existing patients of the Family Health Center. Two other clinics will be held at the Longview Clinic on October 7th and October 14th. In addition, vaccinations will be held on October 1st in the Wahkiakum Clinic, October 21st in Woodland, and on October 29th at the Kelso Clinic. Get more information by calling Julie Nye at 636-3892, or go to the Family Health Center website.

Pe Ell Fatal

September 15th, 2014

A collision involving four motorcycles on Highway 6 near Pe Ell has resulted in the death of Teresa Jessee, 47, of Longview, along with the injury to five other people. State Troopers say that this happened Saturday afternoon, as a group of bikes were traveling eastbound on SR6. Shawn Jessee, 41, apparently failed to negotiate a left-hand curve on the highway, going off the road to the right. He hit the guard rail, ejecting him and his passenger, Teresa Jessee. The motorcycle continued on, veering back into the highway, where it was hit by Ronald Carr, 56, of Castle Rock. He was ejected, while Cheryl Palm, 50, of Castle Rock lost control of her bike and got dumped. She was hit by William Brown, 57, of Clatskanie, who was partially ejected from his motorcycle, along with his passenger, Laura Brown, 48. Teresa Jessee died at the scene, while Shawn Jessee and Ronald Carr were taken to Centralia Providence Hospital. Carr was eventually transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and was listed in serious condition yesterday. Palm was LifeFlighted to Oregon Health and Science University, but was released over the weekend. William and Laura Brown were not transported. The crash investigation is continuing.

Fire Danger

September 15th, 2014

As evidenced by Friday’s five-acre fire off of Ocean Beach Highway near Bergly Lane, fire danger is at critical levels in the local area and throughout the region. The Weather Service is continuing a Red Flag Warning for much of southwest Washington and most of western Oregon, with low relative humidity, critically dry fuels, and the possibility of dry thunderstorms later in the day. Some gusty winds are also possible in the Cascade foothills. Forecasters say that you need to be extremely careful with any sort of heat sources, and fires will start easily and will spread with extreme speed.

The Weather Service also says that we could see smoke from the 36-Pit wildfire that is currently burning near Estacada. This fire started over the weekend, possibly started by some target-shooters. East-to-southeast low-level winds could carry smoke from that fire over the northern portion of Oregon, and possibly could carry into this area. They say that this smoke could reduce visibility, and could also cause some air quality problems.

Bergly Lane Fire

September 15th, 2014

Crews from the Department of Natural Resources were working west of Longview over the weekend, cleaning up the remnants of Friday afternoon’s five-acre brush fire off of Ocean Beach Highway near Bergly Lane. The fire was first reported around 3 pm on Friday, and spread to about five acres. A local resident fired up his personal bulldozer and cut a line to help protect a neighbor’s house, so no buildings were damaged in the fire. Four or five homes were threatened for a short time. It took about 50 firefighters and a helicopter to get the fire under control, which took about five hours. DNR hasn’t pinpointed the cause of the fire as of yet, but they have identified a man and a woman that they would like to interview in connection with this incident. Those people are not called suspects at this time, but an “attempt to locate” has been sent out to local law enforcement agencies with the names of those people.

ATV Crash

September 15th, 2014

Adam Kersting, 23, of Longview is recovering from injuries he received Friday night in an ATV crash in the area of Abernathy Creek Road. Sheriff’s Deputies say that Kersting was riding on the street at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the ATV in a curve, rolling the machine and ejecting him. They say his helmet came off in the crash, and he sustained chest and back injuries. Kersting was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment. At this point, no citations have been reported, but the crash investigation is continuing.