Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Street Light Grant

December 15th, 2014

The City of Kelso is getting a Washington Department of Commerce grant that will help complete the installation of LED street lights throughout town. Commerce announced $8.6 million in grant awards late last week, going to higher education institutions, local governments and state agencies for energy efficiency projects. Kelso is getting $123,000, which City Manager Steve Taylor says will help pay for LED street lights in the city. This is similar to the project that Longview did two years ago, which is now saving the city tens of thousands of dollars in electricity costs.

Bridge Grant

December 15th, 2014

Bridges in Winlock that have needed repair since the last major flood event will now be repaired, thanks to grant money that is being awarded by the Washington Department of Transportation. Last Friday, WashDOT announced grant awards of $70 million, passing through money provided by the federal government. Winlock is getting just over $3.5 million for two bridges; the largest award is 2-point-8 million dollars for replacement of the Fir Street Bridge over Olequa Creek. That bridge has been closed since last March, when it was damaged in a storm. Winlock will also get $767,000 dollars for “scour repair” on the Walnut Street Bridge, which also spans Olequa Creek. The city will have to come up with a local match of about $400,000 to fully access those funds.

Street Work

December 15th, 2014

Weather permitting, the City of Longview plans to do some paving on 33rd Avenue, a project that is scheduled to start today, and should run through Wednesday. Starting this morning, 33rd Avenue will be closed to through traffic between Washington Way and William Avenue. Local access will be maintained for people who live along that stretch of roadway. You should use alternate routes to avoid delays.

Recyclables Deal

December 15th, 2014

After years of searching, Waste Control says that it finally has a solid market for the recyclables that come in to their facilities, a deal that could pay dividends to the City of Longview and other customers of the company. At its last meeting, the Longview City Council approved a contract change with Waste Control, extending that contract while making changes that will allow Waste Control to sell the recyclables to a customer in Asia. Waste Control officials say that they’ll bale and ship containers of plastics and papers to a company in Asia, without having to sort those materials. The profit from selling those materials will also come back to the city, possibly more than $70,000 a year.

Monticello Food Drive

December 15th, 2014

Today is the deadline to make donations to a Food Drive that’s being conducted by The Outreach Room at Monticello Middle School in Longview. The Outreach Room operates as a non-profit organization inside the school, helping to provide food, clothing and other basic necessities to Monticello students and their families. Over the past month, The Outreach Room has been collecting donations of food, clothing and other items that will go to students and families who will not have access to the district meal program during the long holiday break. If you would like to help out, call The Outreach Room at 577-7787.

Wind Storm

December 12th, 2014

The Cowlitz PUD reports that things are pretty close to being back to normal after having to respond to multiple power outages that were caused by falling trees, limbs and other flying debris from yesterday’s windstorm. The final numbers aren’t in yet, but PUD dispatchers currently estimate that more than ten thousand customers were without power at some point yesterday afternoon and evening, with large and small outages reported all across their service area. Despite all of the downed trees and limbs, as of 4 am, the only remaining major situation was up on Cloverdale Road near Kalama, where a barn roof blew off, damaging several poles. That outage won’t be finished until those poles are replaced.

There were dozens of incidents involving downed trees and limbs, blocking a number of roadways for a time. West Side Highway was closed for a while near Hoyer Road, and Highway 30 was shut down for several hours near Clatskanie. Green Mountain Road between Kalama and Woodland is still closed this morning, but everything else is open once again. There still could be some debris on area roadways that you’ll need to be looking out for, and some traffic signals still need to be reset, so they’re flashing, instead of operating normally.

Robert Schneider, 61, of Rose Valley was taken to St. John Medical Center after he was hit by a tree that fell into his garage yesterday afternoon. He was treated and released. It’s also reported that a car and a truck were crushed in South Kelso when a tree fell onto a carport.

The peak gust recorded at the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso came in at 49 miles an hour, at 4:35 pm. The peak gust in Naselle registered at 77 miles an hour and 53 miles an hour on Abernathy Mountain. The peak gust of 67 miles an hour at Portland International Airport is the highest since November of 1981. The highest gust out of this storm was recorded on Mount Hebo, east of Tillamook, coming in at 90 miles an hour.

Toledo – 2 Hours Late
Clatskanie Sch. Dist. – 2 hours late, due to road closure Route 5 will be on snow route, all students go home on 3:15 bus run.
St. Helens Sch. Dist. – Snow routes for buses 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, O and Kinder routes Chick, Bear and Horse.
Scappoose Sch. Dist. – Due to road obstructions caused by storm damage the following routes will be on snow routes today: 4, 6, 7, 8.
Clatsop Community College and WSU Vancouver are both closed today.

Longview Budget

December 12th, 2014

After years of doom, gloom and “cutting to the bone,” City of Longview officials are expressing optimism as the 2015-2016 biennial budget is finalized. Finance Director Curt Sacha tells the City Council that the financial picture is brighter than it has been in years. The total 2015-2016 City of Longview budget comes in at just less than $208 million, which is actually about $3 million less than the 2013-2014 budget. Sacha says that’s due to smaller capital projects in the next two years. Sacha says that revenues are up, especially on the sales tax side. The increase in revenues will allow the city to fund several new police officers, will help pay for increased indigent defense costs, and will restore funding for street maintenance materials. Sacha says that this is the best financial picture since before the 2007-2008 recession; he also says that the outlook is brighter than it has been in years, pointing to downtown development and other business improvements in the city. Final adoption is planned on the 23rd of this month.

Interim City Manager

December 12th, 2014

With Bob Gregory’s retirement right around the corner, and the process of finding his successor still ongoing, the Longview City Council is moving ahead with the appointment of Curt Sacha as the Interim City Manager. The City Council met for two hours prior to last night’s meeting, going over applications for the position. No names were announced after that executive session, but it’s possible that a list of finalists will be announced as possible candidates are contacted. Gregory’s last day on the job is the 31st of this month.

Guilty Plea

December 12th, 2014

The woman who was at the wheel of an SUV that was involved in a fatal crash on Tennant Way back in February is pleading guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, DUI and vehicular assault. Today’s Daily News reports on the plea agreement involving Nicole DiFuria McCaslin, 33, of Portland, who was driving in the wrong lanes on the evening of February 21st, when she collided with three other cars, including a car driven by Brett Dawdy of Longview. He died in the crash, while his wife and daughter were seriously injured. McCaslin works in Longview, and admitted to drinking prior to the collision. Prosecutors tell the paper that the plea agreement had been in the works for several weeks, prior to Monday’s scheduled trial. They’re recommending the maximum sentence available, which would be more than 11 years in prison. Sentencing is set for next Wednesday morning at 9 am.

Wings Arraigned

December 12th, 2014

The couple from Vader that are accused of homicide by abuse in the October 5th death of a three year-old boy that had been left in their care are pleading not guilty. Danny Wing, 26, and Brenda Wing, 27, were arraigned yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court, and both entered “not guilty” pleas. The couple is accused of homicide by abuse, or the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter, in the death of Jasper Henderling-Warner. The boy’s mother says that she left him with the Wings while she looked for housing in the Vancouver area. The boy was found unconscious and not breathing at the couple’s home; they claim to have tried CPR, but an autopsy shows that there were multiple bruises and other signs of abuse. The couple’s trial is currently set to begin on January 26th of next year.