Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Office Hour Changes

February 1st, 2016

Office hour changes start today at Cowlitz County Building and Planning, and at the Environmental Health Unit at the County Health Department. Starting this morning, Building and Planning will be open from 7 am to 6 pm, Monday through Thursday. The office will be closed on Fridays.

The Environmental Health Unit will now be open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Thursday. County officials say that these shifts are intended to expand the hours of service, and to better make staff available. It’s also expected that the two units will have some better continuity, being open for similar hours. Call 577- 3052 if you have other questions.

Month-Long Clam Dig

February 1st, 2016

For the first time in more than a decade, Long Beach will be open for razor clam digging for an entire month. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says that the season will open this Thursday, and will remain open for digging on the evening tides through March 10th. No digging will be allowed before noon on any of these days. Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres says that the late start to the season and abundance of clams combined to make this opportunity available. Only Long Beach will be open at this time; Ayres says that they’re limiting access on other beaches, to ensure that those beaches can be opened later in the spring.

United Way Allocations

February 1st, 2016

The United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties is announcing its third quarter allocations, reporting that $7,059 was distributed between nearly 30 agencies in the local area. Allocations ranged from a high of $1,175 to the St. James Family Center in Cathlamet to a low of $6.22 allocated to the Cowlitz Family Health Center. Executive Director Dave Green says that this distribution is “well above” the third-quarter distributions in recent year, coming in more than $2,000 higher than the previous year. The full list of payments is available from the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties.

Oil Terminal Closes

January 29th, 2016

The crashing oil market has claimed some local victims, as the operator of the crude oil terminal near Clatskanie announces the closure of that facility. Global Partners announced yesterday that it was closing the crude oil terminal at Port Westward, laying off 28 of the 47 people who work there. Making yesterday’s announcement, Global Partners CEO Eric Slifka says that the workforce reduction is “difficult,” but he says that these changes are needed to help keep the facility running. Slifka says that plans are in the works to convert the facility to ethanol handling, with a goal of having that facility up and running by this summer. Slifka says that it’s possible that some of the laid-off workers could be recalled at that time. At its peak in 2013, the Global Partners facility had been one of the busiest in the region, unloading three unit trains per week. At the end of last year, activity at the facility was down nearly 90 percent from the year before.

Travel Updates

January 29th, 2016

Cowlitz County is announcing that North Pacific Avenue could be closed through the weekend, as they deal with the landslide that closed the road Wednesday night. County officials report that Patriot Rail continues to remove rocks and debris from the tracks above the road, while geotechnical inspections of the slope that failed are being planned. They say that the road would not open before tomorrow at the earliest.

All three lanes of I-5 northbound are open again just north of Woodland. The Washington Department of Transportation made that announcement shortly before noon yesterday, also saying that the Dike Access Road on-ramp to the freeway is open, too. The right lane of the freeway had been closed for more than a month, after a landslide came down during the rainstorm of December 9th.

While work continues on a washed-away portion of Highway 12 near White Pass, WashDOT is also on a west-side landslide on the highway near Elma. The highway was closed at about 5 yesterday morning, when debris was found on the road near Porter, about seven miles east of Elma. The highway was completely closed until about 8:30 last night, when one lane opened for alternating traffic. If you’re heading to Aberdeen, Hoquiam or Ocean Shores, be ready for some delays in that area.

If you’re heading into the Portland-Vancouver area this weekend, be ready for possible backups on I-5, as electrical work is done on the bridge over the Columbia River. From 9 pm Saturday until 8 am on Sunday, the right and center lanes of the southbound freeway will be shut down. The ramp from SR 14 to the southbound freeway will also be closed at the same time. From 10 pm Sunday to 5 am on Monday, the left and center lanes of the southbound freeway will be closed. Be ready for possible delays, or use I-205 as an alternate route.

SCU Again

January 29th, 2016

The Street Crimes Unit Detectives are at it again, announcing two more arrests yesterday afternoon. Detectives served a search warrant at 109 Cowan Court in Longview, where they reportedly seized heroin and drug paraphernalia. Chelsea Raven Reid, 35, is now being held without bail on a heroin possession charge, while Erik Burton Bussanich, 37, is being held on a no-bail Department of Corrections warrant. Police continue to investigate these incidents, and additional arrests are anticipated.

Church Incident

January 29th, 2016

Jeffrey Nathen Nelson, 38, is in custody after an attempted burglary was reported last night at the Latter-Day Saints Church on North Pacific Avenue, next to Ostrander Road. A 911 call came in just before 9 last night, claiming that there was a man inside the building, smoking marijuana and attempting to take tools. It was also reported that the suspect was armed with a machete. The man ran as Deputies responded to the scene; a K-9 was also called in. Deputies eventually met up with Nelson at a nearby transient camp, where they supposedly found the machete. Nelson was arrested without further incident, and is now being held for attempted second-degree burglary, attempted third-degree theft and making false statements to police.

MIP Mishap

January 29th, 2016

A 13 year-old Castle Rock-area girl got more than a MIP citation yesterday afternoon, when she apparently fell and impaled her hand in a shed on Green Acres Drive. Castle Rock Police and aid crews were called to a home in the 100 block of Green Acres at about 4:15 yesterday afternoon; those on the scene say that the girl was intoxicated when she fell inside the shed, landing on a nail that was sticking out of the wall. The girl reportedly admitted that she had been drinking vodka prior to the fall, and a breath test showed a blood alcohol level of .036. Paramedics got the girl out of the shed, who was then taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment. Officers say that the girl is being referred to juvenile prosecutors on the MIP charge.

River Rescue Honor

January 29th, 2016

Local longshoremen Kelly Palmer, Laik Kell and Mike Ford are being honored for their efforts in saving the life of a ship crew member who had fallen into the Columbia River. Late last year, the bulk carrier “Sadlers Wells” was moored at Berth 2, and the Chief Officer of the ship was checking its draft when he slipped and fell some 20 feet into the water. Palmer, Kell and Ford were working nearby, and witnessed the fall. They rushed down below the dock, and were able to reach the man, who had become pinned between the ship and the dock. They were able to safely free him; the Chief Officer was treated for hypothermia, but was unhurt otherwise. The three millwrights were presented with Lifesaving awards at this week’s meeting of the Port of Longview Commissioners.

Strange Lights

January 29th, 2016

A Longview resident reports seeing some strange lights in the sky last night. This call came in around 8:35 pm; a person living in the 2000 block of Florida Street reported seeing “lighted orange-colored orbs,” that appeared to be coming up from the south and were moving left to right. The caller reported seeing about a dozen of these “orbs” over the space of a half-hour. No other sightings were reported, and Longview Police also did not report seeing any of these “orbs.”