Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Gun Flasher

August 31st, 2015

Kelso Police are looking into an incident reported last night, where a man claims that someone pulled a gun on him, right in front of the Police Station. This incident was reported shortly before 9 pm, in the 200 block of South Pacific Avenue. The victim says that he was on a bike when the suspects pulled up next to him; the victim says that the people inside the car started making threats to hurt him, and then one person drew a silver-colored revolver and pointed it in his direction. The suspects then drove off, last seen heading off to the north. The victim gave police a description of the car and the people inside, but no arrests have been made.

Road Work

August 31st, 2015

There are some projects around the area that might slow your travels. The City of Longview plans to start a three-week concrete street panel repair project at 15th and Commerce, with that work starting today. Street Supervisor Craig Collins says that they plan to repair panels on both sides of 15th Avenue, along with the ADA ramps on both sides of the street. One lane in each direction will be closed during this work, along with other alternating lane closures. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.

If you’re heading into Vancouver this week, be aware of some nighttime lane closures that are planned on I-5, I-205 and SR 500. Tonight, one lane of I-5 southbound will close at Northeast 78th Street, going from 9 pm tonight until 5 am tomorrow. Tomorrow night, the southbound off-ramp from I-205 to SR 500 will close for repair of an expansion joint. Wednesday night, two lanes of I-205 northbound will close from Mill Plain Boulevard to SR 500, as work is done on bridge decks and expansion joints. You should use 511 or go to the WashDOT web page to check on current road conditions.

Accounting Merger

August 31st, 2015

Two of the area’s more significant accounting firms are announcing a merger. The Futcher-Henry Group and Chace and Spurgeon are announcing that they’re combining companies to become what’s now call The Futcher Group, with David Futcher, Jori Scruggs-Brown and David Spurgeon listed as the company’s shareholders. The merger comes after the retirement of Bob Chace, who plans to focus his professional attention on “other endeavors.” Following the merger, the Futcher Group will have three additional CPA’s and six other professionals to provide tax planning and preparation, business consultation and other financial management services, located at 700 Lincoln Street in Kelso. Get more information on the Futcher Group web page at futchergroup.com.

Mad Hatter Tea Party

August 31st, 2015

Area teens are invited to the Longview Public Library for the Mad Hatter Tea Party, running from 3:30 to 5:30 pm in the Rose Garden on the east side of the Library. Along with croquet and other lawn games, they’ll also be serving iced tea and other treats. Organizers say that costumes are encouraged, as prizes will be awarded. This even is being arranged by the Rainbow Community Diversity Youth Groups, which is devoted to celebrating diversity in a bully-free environment. It’s free and open to all area middle and high school teens.

KapStone Strike

August 28th, 2015

The strike by Local 153 of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers enters its second day this morning, with around 800 members of that union out on strike against KapStone Paper and Packaging. Yesterday morning at 3 am, the union membership walked off the job, calling this an “Unfair Labor Practice Strike,” rather than it being an “economic” strike. The distinction is important, as the definition determines the course of action that the company is allowed to take in replacing the striking workers. Union officials claim that KapStone has been acting in an illegal manner, and they have filed several allegations of labor law violations with the National Labor Relations Board. The company has had little to say about the strike, other than a previous press release that contingency plans are in place to keep the mill operational. They say that the mill is currently in a “cold outage,” so that machinery can be maintained. The strike comes after 15 months of fruitless contract negotiations; the last previous development was the declaration of an impasse by KapStone, which was then followed by imposition of the last contract offer from the company. This is the first strike at this mill since 1978, a walkout that lasted five months.

Coldwater Fire

August 28th, 2015

The Forest Service was up near Mt. St. Helens yesterday afternoon, working to locate and notify hikers and boaters on Coldwater Lake about a wildfire that was reported. A call came into the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office shortly after 4 yesterday afternoon, reporting that a wildfire had been burning for about two hours in the vicinity of Coldwater Lake. Forest Service officials at Johnston Ridge reported that the fire covered about an acre at 4 yesterday afternoon, and they were in the process of contacting people that were in the area. They also wanted the lake clear, as a helicopter was being brought in to do water drops. The cause of the fire isn’t known at this time, nor has there been an update on the status of this fire.

Water Vote

August 28th, 2015

There’s a lot of consternation over the possible impact to future water rates, but the Longview City Council is voting to move ahead on a feasibility study to see if and where a new Ranney Well water collection system might be installed to provide Longview’s water. Mayor Don Jensen says this is simply one step in a lengthy process. The Council voted unanimously to extend the contract with the consulting firm of CH2MHill to research five possible locations as sites for a Ranney well, while also approving several interim measures that are intended to help sustain or improve the current water supply while this testing and possible construction is done. The cost of the feasibility study is put at about $300,000. City officials say that money is available to pay for that study, with no impact to rates. A contract extension with Confluence Engineering for the interim measures was also approved. There seemed to be agreement by the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District Board of Directors, but they declined to take official action without all three members of the board in attendance. This study is expected to take about a year to complete.

Dougherty Standoff

August 28th, 2015

A 45 year-old Castle Rock woman is undergoing mental evaluation and treatment at St. John Medical Center, after a short standoff that took place yesterday afternoon at an apartment on Dougherty Street. Sheriff’s Deputies and Castle Rock Police were asked to go to the apartment shortly after 10 yesterday morning, when it was reported that the woman may be considering suicide. Family members say that she was despondent over several issues, including suicides by her daughter and son-in-law, the pending deployment of another child, and bi-polar issues. A negotiator was called in, and a call also went out to Lower Columbia SWAT, as the woman had access to at least seven firearms. She eventually surrendered peacefully just before noon.

Pork Recall

August 28th, 2015

A pork processor in Graham is recalling more than 116,000 pounds of whole hogs prepared for barbecuing, after that product was connected to an ongoing salmonella outbreak, which includes victims here in Cowlitz County. The Washington Department of Health has confirmed 134 cases of salmonella linked to the pork form Kapowsin Meats, including at least one case in Cowlitz County. Kapowsin is recalling whole hogs that were produced between April 18th and July 27th; they say that evidence found at the processing plant indicates that this is the source of the contamination. Contact the Washington Department of Health or the Cowlitz County Health Department if you need more information.

South Silver Lake Closure

August 28th, 2015

A Safety Improvement Project will have South Silver Lake Road closed tomorrow. Cowlitz County plans to install cross culverts in the 2900 block of South Silver Lake Road, as part of a curve-widening project that’s under way between Blue Mountain Road and the Headquarters Landfill. Access for local traffic and for emergency vehicles will be maintained. Get more information from Cowlitz County by calling 577-3030.