Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Red Cross Alert

July 23rd, 2014

An urgent call is going out from the American Red Cross, saying that there is an immediate need for blood and platelet donations. They say that donations are down about 8 percent over the past 11 weeks, totaling about 80,000 fewer donations than usual. They’re asking for blood donors of all types to step up, but there’s also a particular need for the O negative, B negative and A negative blood types. There’s an opportunity to help out today, with the regular blood collection event going on from 1 to 6 pm at the National Guard Armory on Vandercook Way in Longview. Go to the American Red Cross website, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment.

Fishing Robbery

July 23rd, 2014

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office is out with an alert, after a Vancouver man was robbed at gunpoint as he was fishing near Salmon Falls. Undersheriff Dave Cox says that the incident happened last Saturday, as the victim had stopped to use the restroom. As the man was returning to his rig, two men rode up on motorcycles. One of the riders approached the victim, brandished a gun, and got away with about 250 dollars in cash. The suspect and his companion then rode off on large “cruiser-type” motorcycles. Deputies and other law enforcement checked the area, but didn’t find the suspect. Cox says that this is an “unusual event” for this area, and he says that they are “extremely concerned.” They’re requesting anyone with information to call the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office at 1-509-427-9490.

Animal Control Incident

July 23rd, 2014

A Longview resident reports that someone who was posing as an Animal Control Officer visited his home earlier this week. A real Humane Society Animal Control Officer relayed a call from a person living on Estate Drive, reporting that a man had come to their home on Monday, asking about dog licenses. It was noted that this person may have asked for money, but it doesn’t appear that any cash was given. The Humane Society of Cowlitz County says that they do have someone going door-to-door, but that person is driving a marked Humane Society vehicle, and is also dressed in a uniform, with a badge. The person involved in the incident on Monday was not wearing any kind of uniform. The callers were able to provide a description of the man to Longview Police. Humane Society officials say that if you have other questions, call their office at 577-0151. If you see or are approached by a suspicious person, try to get a license plate number, and call 911 right away.

Fish Giveaway

July 23rd, 2014

Lower Columbia CAP is handing out 200 summer-run salmon that are being donated from the Lake Merwin Salmon Hatchery, starting at 2:30 this afternoon. To be eligible to receive one of these fish, you’ll need to bring your USDA Commodities card or your EBT card, along with some sort of container for transporting the fish. The distribution will take place in the 12th Avenue parking lot behind the CAP offices in downtown Longview, right next to the Help Food Warehouse. Call Lower Columbia CAP at 425-3430, extension 252 if you have other questions.

PUD Hearing

July 23rd, 2014

It appears that there’s little public interest in the latest rate adjustment that’s being proposed for the Cowlitz PUD, as only one person who wasn’t with the PUD staff, the Energy Rate Advisory Committee or the media attended last night’s event. The ERAC is recommending that the “basic charge” for providing electricity be increased, effective September 1st. PUD General Manager Don McMaster says that the plan that was put into motion last year appears to be having the intended effect…pudrates…During the first meetings of the ERAC, it was disclosed that commercial and business customers were subsidizing residential customers, so a process for equalizing those rates was developed. It was also suggested that the process be spread out over three years. At last night’s hearing, PUD budget managers showed that the adjustments were moving the rate classes toward equity, also suggesting that the process should continue. It’s now being proposed that the “basic charge” for residential customers be raised from $12 to $17 per month, effective September first. No change to the rate per kilowatt-hour is being proposed. Basic charges for other PUD customer classes are also being adjusted upward, but their kilowatt-hour charge would be reduced slightly. The one person who attended the hearing expressed concerns about how this increase in the basic charge penalizes people who are conserving electricity. The PUD Commission plans to have the increase on its meeting agenda on August 12th at 2 pm.

June Jobless Numbers

July 23rd, 2014

Employment Security officials say that Cowlitz County’s unemployment picture is “like a see-saw,” rising one month and dropping the next. The June jobless numbers dropped more than a full percentage point in June, going down to 7.1 percent. That compares to 8.5 percent in May, 7.7 percent in April, and 9.4 percent in March. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that employment in the county was flat in the month of June, virtually unchanged from May. Bailey says that Cowlitz County has 800 more jobs from June to June, but most of that job growth took place last summer. He also says that both employment and unemployment have been pretty stable in recent months, despite the see-saw swings in the monthly rates. Bailey says that those swings don’t accurately indicate what is actually happening on the ground in the local area.

Clatskanie Chief Sold

July 23rd, 2014

After nearly a century of family ownership, the “Clatskanie Chief” newspaper is being sold. The publishers of the Chief and the St. Helens Chronicle are jointly announcing the sale of the weekly newspaper to Country Media, Incorporated, the parent company of the Chronicle. The Clatskanie Chief has been owned by the Steele and Hazen families for 92 years; Deborah Hazen says that it’s sad to let go of the paper, but they’re encouraged to know that it’s going to a family-run enterprise that also has a “proven affection” for Northwest Oregon. Country Media is owned by Steve and Carol Hungerford of Portland; they also own newspapers and other periodicals in Lincoln City, Tillamook and Manzanita in Oregon, along with similar publications in North Dakota and Montana. Chronicle publisher Don Patterson will also assume editor and publisher roles for the Chief. The sale is expected to become final by the end of this month.

OBH Fire Closure

July 22nd, 2014

A large brush fire along Ocean Beach Highway near Stella is causing a traffic backup as fire agencies respond and deal with that scene. Cowlitz County Emergency Management says that the fire was first spotted at about 2:05 pm, and was reported to be approaching an acre in size. The highway was shut down between Coal Creek and Mill Creek at about 2:45 pm, and then was re-opened to limited traffic flow at about 3. The fire was fully knocked down at about 3:30 pm. Even as traffic begins to move again, fire crews are still on the scene, so the flow is extremely slow. You’re advised to use an alternate route like Highway 30, or avoid traveling through that area for several hours.

Volcano Study

July 22nd, 2014

Starting this morning, a team of 75 geophysicists will be fanning out around Mt. St. Helens, setting up seismic measuring instruments as part of a massive study that’s intended to accurately map the “plumbing” of our local volcano. Peter Frenzen with the U. S. Forest Service says that an “Equipment Center” is being set up at Woodland Intermediate School, where field crews will collect equipment that’s being set up all around the mountain. 23 seismic charges have been placed in specific locations all around the volcano, and those charges will be set off overnight tonight and tomorrow. The explosions are intended to produce vibrations that will mimic a magnitude 2 earthquake, but those vibrations should probably not be felt. Scientists say that they’ll be recording the vibrations, with a goal of developing a clear picture of the inner workings of Mt. St. Helens. Since the explosive shots are in underground boreholes and will be done at night, there will be little to see when the charges are detonated. However, you can track the shots and see some of what the scientists are seeing by going to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network website.

River Death Investigation

July 22nd, 2014

County Coroner Tim Davidson says that the autopsy on the body found in the Columbia River near Woodland on Sunday has been completed, but the identity of that person still hasn’t been determined. Davidson says that the body is that of a female, estimated to be between 20 and 40 years of age, with a slender build. Due to the advanced state of decomposition, they still haven’t been able to determine the race of the woman. He does note that there didn’t seem to be any signs of violence or trauma connected to the death. He does say that the cause of death is drowning, and that the manner of death is “pending,” as the investigation continues. Davidson says that the Sheriff’s Office is also continuing to investigate the incident; if you have possible information on this woman or her death, you can contact Davidson’s office at 577-3079, or contact Detective Sergeant Brad Thurman at 577-3092.