Archive for the ‘Local News’ Category

Special School Board Meetings

October 17th, 2016

The Longview School Board has a number of special meetings set over the next week or so, starting this evening with a special session on school bonds, including a presentation from Mark Prussing from ESD 112. In addition, they will discuss bonding capacity, and other matters related to school bonds. This meeting happens at 5:30 pm in the Longview School Board Meeting Room. Next Monday evening, the Longview School Board will meet to discussion the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” along with several Federal titles that impact public school operations. There’s also a meeting planned for Tuesday, the 25th, where the Strategic Plan Review Committee will receive its orientation. Next Thursday morning, the 27th, that committee will start its work, starting with a tour of school buildings. Get more information from the Longview School District.

Today’s Meetings

October 17th, 2016

The great-grandson of science-fiction pioneer H. G. Wells will be in Longview today, taking part in a Northwest Voices literary series event. James R. Wells is the author of the science fiction novel “The Great Symmetry,” and he’s also the Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Cygnus Award for speculative fiction. Wells is scheduled at 3 pm for a writing workshop in Room 145 at the Main building at Lower Columbia College, followed by a 7 pm reading at the Longview Public Library. Both events are free, and are open to anyone interested.

The City of Longview is asking for input on possible zoning changes that could be made to the 1st Avenue-3rd Avenue Corridor, working between Washington Street in West Kelso to Tennant Way. Under the current Comprehensive Plan designation, this area is classified as High-Density Residential and Public/Quasi-Public and Institutional Uses. City officials say that they have been approached by people who are looking for more flexibility in the types of land uses that are available in this area. The city is inviting property owners, tenants and the public to an Open House that’s planned for this evening at the McClelland Arts Center, running from 6 to 7:30 pm. Call the city at 442-5803 to learn more.

County Sheriff Mark Nelson is hosting a Community Meeting this evening, scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8 pm at Yale Elementary School. Nelson will talk on a variety of topics, including the current status of the office, community safety, emergency preparedness and more. A Q-and-A is also planned; light refreshments will be served; another Community Meeting is also being set up for next Monday at Kalama Elementary School.

Storm Report/Preview

October 14th, 2016

Limbs and leaves are down all over the county, while the Cowlitz PUD and road crews have spent the night dealing with the impacts of yesterday’s rain and wind. PUD officials say that they had eight crews working overnight, responding to multiple outages. An estimated 3,100 customers were affected throughout the night, but almost all of the repairs have been made at this hour. We’re supposed to get somewhat of a break today, but they’re also gearing up for tomorrow’s big event.

Kelso had a peak gust of 32 miles an hour, and received more than six-tenths of an inch of rain in the six hours between 5 and 11 pm yesterday. Longview had a peak gust of 26.5 miles an hour, with an inch-and-a-half of rain in the past 24 hours. The numbers in Castle Rock were 25 miles an hour and 1.64 inches of rain, Kalama had just less than two inches of rain, and up on Abernathy Mountain, a peak gust of 56 miles an hour was recorded, along with 3.33 inches of rain in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday’s storm could just be a warm-up for the event that’s expected tomorrow. The remnants of Typhoon Songda are expected to come ashore tomorrow; the Weather Service has a High Wind Watch up for much of the region, including Cowlitz County. The Watch is in effect from tomorrow afternoon through the evening, with heavy rains and high winds. Gusts of 50 to 60 miles an hour are possible in Cowlitz County and all along the Lower Columbia.

The Cowlitz PUD and Cowlitz County Emergency Management say that you need to be prepared for this upcoming storm, as there’s a real possibility of widespread power outages and road closures. You’re advised to take precautions in the event that the power goes out, as it might be an extended length of time before the electricity is restored. Make sure your flashlights and radios have batteries, get extra blankets and warm clothes ready, and make sure that you have prepared food and water available. Emergency Management has more information on getting ready for a storm like this.

Events are already being cancelled in advance of this storm; the Ocean Beach School District is opening two hours late today. Lower Columbia CAP is cancelling the Food Pantry that they had scheduled for tomorrow, and the Motorcycle Swap Meet and Flea Market that was planned for tomorrow at Uncaged Cycles on 14th Avenue in Longview is also being cancelled. If there’s something that you were planning to do tomorrow, it’s probably a good idea to check ahead to make sure that event is still going on.

Brandon Parsons Update

October 14th, 2016

Community support is pouring in for Brandon Parsons, 41, of Kelso, as he recovers from Tuesday afternoon’s crash up on Apiary Road near Rainier. Parsons and a co-worker were operating a pavement-grinding machine when William Ottaviani, 46, of Eatonville went around a pilot car, and slammed into the machine. It’s reported that Parsons lost one leg on the spot, while his other leg was severely injured. He’s currently listed in serious, but stable condition at Oregon Health and Sciences University, where doctors still work to save the other leg. Ottaviani is also receiving treatment at a hospital in Portland; his condition hasn’t been updated, while Oregon State Police and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate.

Kelso Youth Football is doing a fundraiser at tomorrow’s games at Kelso High School; KYF also plans to match all donations, up to $500. An account has been set up at Fibre Federal Credit Union, where you can make donations to the Parsons family at any branch. A fundraising event is also planned for next Thursday at Lexi’s Pizza and Frostbite in Lexington, where a portion of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the Parsons family.

Hightower Indictments

October 14th, 2016

Three people are now facing charges in connection with the murder of Apache Hightower of Portland. Her body was found near St. Helens on September 20th, and an autopsy shows that she died from “homicidal violence.” Jesse Allen Lane, 28, of Medford, Charles William Vernon, 29, of St. Helens and Stephanie Toney, 20, of St. Helens are now being indicted in connection with this death. Lane faces four counts of aggravated murder, one count of murder, one count of felony murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of felon with a gun, one count of strangulation and two counts of hindering prosecution. Vernon and Toney face similar counts. Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson says that the “small, but determined” Columbia County Major Crimes Team brought this case together, working between a rural site near St. Helens to Santa Barbara, California, with no fewer than a dozen agencies involved in the investigation. All three are now being held without bail in the Columbia County Jail.

E-Cig Suit

October 14th, 2016

A Kelso man who reportedly lost teeth and was disfigured when his e-cigarette exploded is filing suit against the shop that sold him the device. Today’s Daily News reports on the lawsuit being filed by Sidney Hayes; on December 18th of last year, he went outside his workplace for a smoke break, but his electronic cigarette exploded. Hayes lost eight teeth in the explosion, and his face is permanently scarred. He’s now suing Vape D Lish, located on Commerce Avenue in Longview, claiming that these businesses know that they are selling a product that is potentially very dangerous. The owner of Vape D Lish tells the paper that Hayes had been warned about the overheating, and that he had been advised to return the e-cig as possibly dangerous. This is one of at least four lawsuits that are being filed in this area over defective electronic cigarettes, and dozens from around the country. It hasn’t been stated when the case might go to trial.

Pickup Dunked

October 14th, 2016

Kelso Police are looking into an incident involving a stolen pickup that was dumped into the Cowlitz River. Officers responded to the 1000 block of Riverside Drive shortly after 4 yesterday afternoon, after it was reported that a pickup was submerged in the river. Further checking shows that the pickup had been reported as being stolen from a location in Longview earlier in the day. The owner made arrangements to get the truck pulled out of the water; no suspects have been identified in the theft.

Ceiling Drop

October 14th, 2016

A property manager reports that someone broke into a rental home on Oregon Way, doing some substantial damage before making off with an electrical panel valued at $1,200. The landlord called Longview Police at 10:45 yesterday morning, reporting that a vacant house in the 200 block of Oregon Way had been burgled. They say that the back door of the house had been pried, and then the suspect got into the attic of the house. While crawling through the rafters, the suspect fell through the ceiling of the house; after that the suspect took the breaker box and left. Repairs to the ceiling are estimated at about $200, while the electrical panel is valued at $1,200. Police have no suspects at this time.

Student Leaders Conference

October 14th, 2016

Upwards of 1,000 high school students from across the state of Washington are converging on this area through this weekend, taking part in the Association of Washington Student Leaders Conference. The conference starts today and runs through Sunday, but one of the big events is planned for tomorrow at Kalama High School, where the students plan to assemble 100,000 dried meals for local food banks. This is planned to happen between 2 and 4 pm tomorrow in the Large Gym at Kalama High, with the students working in two 45-minute waves. After completion, the meals will be distributed to local food banks. Additional volunteers are needed to help these kids meet their goal; call the United Way of Cowlitz County at 423-5320 if you would like to help out.

Weekend Events–10/14-16/16

October 14th, 2016

The Kalama Lions are holding a Sight and Hearing Rally on Friday, running from 9 am to 4 pm at the Chevron station, located at First and Fir Streets in downtown Kalama. They will be collecting donations of glasses, hearing aids and cash, supporting the Lions Sight and Hearing programs.

The Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities has its Annual Caregiver Conference on Friday, an event called “Beyond the Physical: Caring for the Needs of the Spirit.” This will run from 10 am until 2 pm at the McClelland Arts Center, featuring nationally-known author Wendy Lustbader. Call 577-4929 for registration information, or go to

There are a couple of book sales this weekend; the Friends of the Kalama Library will selling books from 9 am to 4 pm both Friday and Saturday. The sale will be held in the REMAX building in downtown Kalama. The Friends of the Woodland Library will have their book sale at the Woodland Community Center, running from 10 am to 4pm on Friday, and from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturday.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Southwest Washington Symphony is presenting a free Pops Concert this Friday night at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Guest violinist Jenny Oaks Baker will also perform in a Disney-themed concert that will begin at 7 pm. Call 575-TIXX or go to the Columbia Theatre web page for ticket information.

Presented by Hometeam 1490, Cookin’ Country 105.5 and 101.5 The Wave, the area’s newest Haunted House opens this weekend in the old Triangle Mall Cinema building. The doors of the “Cinema Of Horrors” will creak open at 7 pm Friday night, with the scares continuing until 11 pm Friday and Saturday nights through Halloween. This is recommended for families with kids age 13 and older, with two separate Haunted Houses included with your admission. Find out more at

The Beaver Homes Grange Haunted House opens this weekend, going from 6:30 to 9:30 pm Friday and Saturday night. Along with the Haunted House, they’ll have games for the kids and more. The Haunted House will be open each weekend through Halloween. The Beaver Homes Grange is located off of Highway 30 on Nicolai Road. Just follow the signs.

The “Spirit of Halloweentown” continues this weekend in St. Helens, kicked off with the Haunted House that’s open from 5 pm to midnight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along with special VIP tours at 1 am each night. The “Mystery Hour Radio Theatre, featuring ‘The Shadow’” will run Friday and Saturday night at St. Helens High School, with performances at 7 pm each night. There’s a Mask Making Workshop from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturday at the St. Helens Public Library, Carved Pumpkin judging at the Courthouse Plaza from 11 am until 3pm, and the Severed Heads Tractor Rides start at noon. The Haunted Hot Rod and Hearse Rally goes from noon to 4pm, and “The Very, Very, Very, Good Variety Show” happens at 2 pm. The Howl at the Moon Bonfire happens at 4 pm, and the Four-Legged Friends Costume Contest takes place at 1:30 on Sunday. Get details on the St. Helens Chamber of Commerce web page.

The Sons of Norway invite you to come and learn more about their lodge at the Oktoberfest Cultural Program that they’ll be presenting on Saturday, starting at noon. At 1 pm, they’ll show a historical movie called “Where the Home Fires Burn,” and they’ll also be serving an Oktoberfest lunch of sausage dogs, sauerkraut, macaroni salad, red cabbage and apple crisp. The Sons of Norway Hall is located at 224 Catlin Street in Kelso.

Celebrate National Fire Prevention Week at one of the Open Houses that’s happening on Saturday. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue will hold an Open House from 11 am until 2 pm at the Main Station on Vine Street in Kelso. They’ll have hot dogs, drinks, snacks and cotton candy, an inflatable obstacle course, and the ARR Pirates will be putting on temporary tattoos. Smokey Bear will be there, along tours and demonstrations.

The Longview Fire Department will be holding an Open House from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturday at the Main Station on Commerce Avenue. Smokey will be there, along with Sparky the Fire Dog, activities for the whole family, a Junior Firefighter Hose Challenge and a lot more. They will also be serving refreshments.

The 5th annual Infant Through kindergarten Conference takes place on Saturday; “Let’s Shake, Rattle and Roll” will take place from 9 am until 4 pm on Saturday in the Wollenberg Auditorium at Lower Columbia College. Pre-registration is required, with check-in opening at 8 am. Find out more on the LCC web page.

Celebrate “50 Years with Ken” at the Castle Rock Pharmacy on Saturday, with music, food and fun from noon to 3pm. You should wear your favorite hat, and you’ll get a picture with Ken. The Castle Rock Pharmacy is located at 117 1st Avenue SW in Castle Rock.

There’s a benefit comedy show, silent auction and bake sale being held Saturday evening at the Kelso Theatre Pub, being held in support of 15 year-old Tessica Fisher, who has been battling Cystic Fibrosis since she was 6 years old. The doors open at 8 pm on Saturday, and the show will start at 8:30.

The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market continues on Saturday through October, offering fresh produce, baked goods, honey and more from 9 am until 2 pm on Saturdays and Tuesdays in the 7th Avenue parking lot, across from the County Fairgrounds.

Settled in at a new venue, the Kelso Bridge Market runs from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday at the Three Rivers Mall, right next to the southwest entry.