Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

YMCA Safety Scans

May 19th, 2015

The YMCA of Southwest Washington is using the latest technology to get visitors into the facility more smoothly, while also increasing security. Current YMCA Executive Director Janine Manny says that this “Raptor” scanning system is allowing them to get visitors in more quickly, while also helping to identify people who shouldn’t be in the building. Manny says that the old system of having people sign in when they were coming to watch things like indoor soccer, T-ball or basketball created a big bottleneck, and also did nothing to help identify people who are on sex offender registries. Using this scanner, YMCA staff will know in just a few seconds if the person is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry. All visitors to the building will be required to go through this scan, as will YMCA members who forget their member cards. Get more information by calling the YMCA at 423-4770.

Center Fee Approved

May 19th, 2015

By an overwhelming margin, students at Lower Columbia College say that they will support a 25-dollar quarterly fee that will help to pay for operations and maintenance of the new Fitness Center at Myklebust Gym. ASLCC officials say that 16 percent of students participated in the vote, with 355 voting “yes” on the fee, while only 99 voted “no.” The $25 student fee and $50 staff fee could go into effect this summer.

LifeFlight Expands

May 19th, 2015

LifeFlight is once again expanding its operations, announcing that they now have a base at the Warrenton-Astoria Regional Airport. This base will now bring air ambulance services to the people of the southern Washington and northern Oregon coastal areas, providing 24/7coverage to that area. The helicopter stationed in Astoria can fly from there to Portland in about 25 minutes. Local officials are applauding the move, saying that it will be a huge benefit to the citizens and emergency responders in that area.

Today’s Events

May 19th, 2015

It’s a busy day in the area, starting with the Highlands Partners Awards Luncheon, starting at 11:30 this morning at the McClelland Arts Center. They’ll be celebrating the community’s generosity in helping to improve outcomes for kids and families in the Highlands. Call 442-0612 for more information.

Mark Morris Choir Director Brian Mitchell and local businessman Jeff Wilson are scheduled as the guests of honor at today’s meeting of the Lower Columbia School Retirees Association, starting at 11:30 am in the dining room at the Kelso Elks. Mitchell will be bringing some of his students in for a singing performance, while Wilson will talk about the Shay Locomotive restoration. Call 425-5428 if you need to know more.

At 6:30 pm, the Longview Citizens Water Supply Committee will meet to continue their work on identifying issues and possible repairs for the city’s water delivery system. At this evening’s meeting, the 14-member panel will review the evaluation criteria that have been developed, with a goal of identifying and ranking those criteria. Today’s meeting is being held in the second-floor training room at the Longview City Hall.

The Kelso High School drama department opens a production of a fairy tale musical called “Into the Woods,” starting tonight and tomorrow, and then continuing later this month. Showtime tonight and tomorrow night at 6 pm in the Kelso High School Auditorium. That time moves to 7 pm on the 28th and 29th, along with a 2 pm matinee on Sunday, the 30th.

Pathways 2020 will be presenting the 2015 Cowlitz Community Report Card at a dinner event planned for this evening at the Cowlitz County Expo Center. Along with the Report Card, six Community Champions will be honored, John Wiseman with the Washington Secretary for Health will be the keynote speaker, and LCC President Chris Bailey will also outline a “vision for the future. Things get started at 5:30 pm.

N. 23rd Fire

May 18th, 2015

Crews from Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue have been up early this morning, dealing with a fire reported at a home on the east side of Kelso. Fire crews were called to 800 North 23rd Avenue at about 3:45 am, when a fire was reported. There’s been little other information released so far; we don’t yet know anything about the cause of the fire or how much damage was done. Additional information should be released later today.

Riverdale Wreck

May 18th, 2015

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Riverdale Raceway near Toutle yesterday afternoon, after it was reported that a man who had been riding a motorcycle had suffered a head injury. This incident was reported at about 12:40 yesterday afternoon; LifeFlight was put on standby as emergency responders made their way to the track just east of Toutle. It was eventually reported that the victim was conscious and breathing, and the man was eventually taken to the hospital by ambulance. His name and his condition haven’t been updated this morning.

MSH @ 35

May 18th, 2015

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the event that altered the landscape of this area for generations to come. A ceremony is planned this morning at the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater Ridge, commemorating the eruption and the 57 people who died during that event. That ceremony is scheduled to run from 10:30 to 11:30 this morning. From noon to 4:30 today, there will be a “Celebration of 35 years of Science Discovery,” where scientists from the U. S. Geological Survey will be available to talk about what has been learned since the eruption, and where the science is taking us now. You’ll be able to see one of the “spiders” that are used to gather data, and there will be an eruption of the “Trashcano” at 1:30 pm. All visitors centers at Mount St. Helens are free today.

Woodland Principal Cleared

May 18th, 2015

It’s now being reported that Woodland Middle School Principal Cari Thomson has been cleared of most of the allegations that were made against her earlier this year. The Daily News reports on the results of a multi-month investigation, initiated after parents, students and staff made multiple allegations of verbal and physical assaults, use of vulgar language around students, retribution against staff members and violation of personnel confidentiality rules. Thomson was placed on leave back in January, as an independent firm was brought in to conduct the investigation. Working through a public records request, TDN obtained a copy of the report, showing that nearly all of the accusations were either hearsay, or didn’t have enough evidence to support them. Thomson hasn’t said if she plans to try and return to her job. The Woodland School Board is expected to take action on the report in the near future.

Filing Wrapup

May 18th, 2015

As always, a flurry of activity wrapped up Candidate Filing Week, setting up some contested races, while other positions have yet to see anyone file. Anthony Fillipello is running against Jeff Wilson for a seat on Port of Longview Commission, as Darold Dietz declines to run for another term.

There are several contested Kelso City Council races, while one newcomer will get a free pass. Kelburn Koontz and Dale Barto are filing for seat currently held by Mayor David Futcher, Jim Hill is running against incumbent Gary Archer, while incumbent Gary Schimmel is going against Nancy Malone and Adena Grigsby. Dan Myers is declining to seek another term, so Larry Alexander will win that seat by default.

All of the Longview City Council races are unopposed, but there will be one new face, as Tom Hutchinson declines to run again. He will be replaced by Scott Vydra, the owner of Pets, Pawns and Instruments.

Woodland Mayor Grover Laseke is giving up that position, and will challenge Karl Chapman for a seat on the Woodland City Council. Will Finn will run unopposed for the Mayor’s position. Susan Humbyrd and J. J. Burke are vying for one Woodland City Council seat, while Matthew Jacob and Mike Benjamin go after another seat on that panel.

Rosemary Brinson-Siipola is challenging incumbent Kalama City Council member Don Purvis. Bruce Rader also plans to challenge sitting Kalama Port Commissioner Randy Sweet.

Roberta Alba-Estrada has apparently decided not to run for the Longview School Board post that she was appointed to; Richard Lord and Ryan Scott Searcy will both run for that spot. Beth Johnson is also declining to run for the Kelso School Board position she was appointed to; Rob Gibbs will now run unopposed for that seat. There’s a contested Castle Rock School Board position, with Val Tinney and Brent Blackburn running for the seat that Glen Paget is leaving.

Some seats that usually don’t get much attention are contested this time around. Curtis Hart is running against Bill Hallanger for a Cowlitz 2 Fire Commission seat, while Russ Hovey challenges Butch Breneman for his position on the Cowlitz 3 Fire Commission. Kyle Uhrig is going after the Cowlitz Fire District 5 Commission position now held by Frank Kockritz, Diann Bonkowski will challenge Dick Miller for a Cemetery District Commission position, and Keath Huff is running for the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer Commission seat now held by Dean Takko.

A special filing period will open this Wednesday, looking for candidates for three seats on the Toutle Lake School Board, one Fire District 6 Commission seat, commission seats for Cemetery Districts 4, 5 and 6, and one seat on the Woodland Swim and Recreation Commission. The special filing period ends at 4 pm on Friday.

Project Longview Deadline

May 18th, 2015

Today is the deadline to submit applications to be included on the Project Longview committee. Over the past few years, Project Longview has been working to build and maintain a “vibrant Longview,” providing recommendations and support for a number of projects. Project Longview has helped with beautification planning, streetscape planning, and city signage. A new city wayfinding system is a major focus for this year. Applications for Project Longview can be downloaded from the City of Longview web page, and are due into the city by the close of business today.