Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Aquarium Visit

February 25th, 2015

The Oregon Coast Aquarium will actually be visiting school kids in Kelso today and tomorrow, part of an ongoing tour of the “Aquari-van.” This is part of an 18-week tour of Washington, Oregon and Northern California, bringing marine science-themed materials and fun to local primary schools. The Aquari-van has four different themed programs, which are rotated through the year. The Oregon Coast Aquarium Aquari-van will be visiting Wallace Elementary School today, followed by a visit to Catlin Elementary tomorrow. Get more information on the Oregon Coast Aquarium web page.

Zorn Contract

February 24th, 2015

The contract for Longview’s new Superintendent of Schools is now in place, approved at last night’s Longview School Board meeting. The three year contract with Doctor Daniel Zorn is effective from July 1st of this year, and runs through June 30th of 2018. The base salary for the contract is $160,000 per year, and also includes a $4,000 auto expense allowance, but he will NOT be furnished with a car. Zorn will be reimbursed for up to $6,000 in moving expenses, and the district will contribute $5,000 to his retirement account each year. Zorn will also be paid $727 per day for a “transition period” of six days, prior to the contract going into effect. By way of comparison, Suzanne Cusick was paid 185 thousand dollars the final year of her contract as Longview Schools Superintendent.

Centralia Super Search

February 24th, 2015

The current Superintendent of Schools in St. Helens is now on the short list of finalists for the same position in Centralia. Dr. Mark Davalos has been running the St. Helens Schools since 2011, coming to Columbia County from the Portland School District. He’s going up against Deborah Holcomb with the Highline School District, Joseph Potts of Kent, and Richard Thompson with the San Juan Island School District. The Centralia School Board is setting up public meetings with each of the finalists, which will be held next week.

Gangbangers Banged

February 24th, 2015

Four people are under arrest after a chase and search that took place early this morning in Longview. They say that this got started at about 1:20 this morning, when two subjects on bicycles refused to stop for an officer. Shortly after the pursuit got under way, both subjects dumped their bikes and took off on foot. The Longview K-9 “Chase” was in the neighborhood, and quickly tracked down one of the suspects. Officers traced the other suspect to a home in the 3100 block of Field Street. Christian McKenzie Thompson, 18, is now being held on two contempt of court warrants, while Dallas James Lewis, 22, is being charged with obstructing an officer, and will also face a drug count. The people in the house, Christopher Matthew Jones, 18, and Larissa Lee Gaebel, 22, are both being charged with obstructing an officer, and are each being held on $1,000 bail. It’s also noted that Thompson and Lewis were wearing “gang attire,” so the investigation into their activities is continuing.

Victim ID’d

February 24th, 2015

The man who was killed Saturday morning on the train tracks near Kalama is now being identified as Dustin Thomas Volz, 40, an active-duty member of the military who had been on a day trip from the Tacoma area, heading to Portland. The County Coroner’s Office says that Volz died from “multiple blunt force traumatic injuries,” killed instantly at about 10:30 Saturday morning as he stepped in between the two main rail lines off of the 300 block of Dupont Road near Kalama. Volz and a female companion had been heading to Portland when they pulled off to smoke a cigarette and take some pictures. In the past six months, four people have been killed by trains in Cowlitz County.

Drug Court Report

February 24th, 2015

At today’s monthly meeting of the Cowlitz County Board of Health, Superior Court Judge Gary Bashor, researcher Nick McRee and Nick Pithan with the Cowlitz County Court system will present the most research on the Cowlitz County Drug Court. Pithan says that this up-to-date research is a key to the prolonged success and efficiency of each Therapeutic Court program. He says that by regularly evaluating these outcomes and adherence to national standards, they can be sure that these programs are meeting the needs of their clients, while ensuring the best benefits to the community. Today’s presentation is scheduled to start at 10 am in the County Commissioners Hearing Room, and is open to the public.

Blanket Drive

February 24th, 2015

There’s a Blanket Drive going on through March 6th at Kelso High School. Hannah Guler with the Kelso High School Leadership Program says that they’re trying to help out the new Love Overwhelming Shelter in Kelso, which is in serious need of blankets for the people who come in. Guler claims that the Shelter doesn’t have enough blankets right now, with some of the clients using shower curtains, instead. Donations can be dropped off at the main office at Kelso High School, with those donations accepted through Friday, March 6th.

Heart Screen Results

February 24th, 2015

Last Saturday’s heart screenings that were held last Saturday at St. John Medical Center reportedly turned up issues with six local youth, which will require follow-up by other medical specialists. The Teen Heart Screening was jointly organized by Spencer Best’s HeartStrong Foundation and St. John, with 120 local kids coming in for tests and screening. Spencer’s HeartStrong Foundation was formed after his near-fatal cardiac incident several years ago, and is working hard to raise awareness of heart issues and sudden cardiac death in local youth. Spencer’s father, Richard Best, says that “Words cannot express the thanks we have for our medical partners”; he also sends thanks along to PeaceHealth for their support, along with the support of the community. This is the third years that Spencer’s HeartStrong Foundation and PeaceHealth have teamed up for this screening event.

Smoke Inhalation

February 23rd, 2015

Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue reports that a 21 year-old Kelso man was overcome by smoke from a cooking fire, an incident that took place Saturday night. Fire crews were called to a home in the 1300 block of South 10th, when a neighbor heard the smoke detector going off. When fire crews got to the house, they found that it was filled with smoke; they also found the man unconscious on a couch. It was determined that the smoke came from some food that had been left on the stove, which eventually caught fire. The unidentified man was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment; there’s been no report on his condition. The burnt food was removed from the house, which was also aired out. No other damage was reported.

Train Death

February 23rd, 2015

Authorities are still working to complete next-of-kin notifications before releasing the name of the vicimt in Saturday’s fatal train-versus-pedestrian incident that took place Saturday near Kalama. Cowlitz County Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig say that a man and a woman were on a day trip from Tacoma to Portland, and they had stopped in the 300 block of Dupont Road to smoke and to take some pictures. The male victim walked out between the two main lines after a northbound freight train had passed, apparently unaware that a southbound Amtrak train was coming through. The man was hit and killed by that southbound train. The woman was unhurt. The Amtrak train was delayed for about three hours. Additional information should be coming out of the County Coroner’s office.