Archive for October, 2013

Street Crimes Bust

October 30th, 2013

Three people are under arrest after action by the Street Crimes Unit from yesterday. John David Aye, 29, was initially arrested on two counts of heroin delivery within one thousand feet of a school. Detectives claim that Aye had heroin, cash and drug scales on his person at the time of his arrest, so he’s also being charged with possession of heroin with intent to deliver. Booked into the Cowlitz County Jail, Aye is also dealing with a Woodland DUI citation, along with Clark County warrants for DUI, a probation violation and driving while suspended.

In a separate action, a father and son from Toledo were arrested as they allegedly tried to make a drug deal with undercover officers. SCU Detectives report that Conner Wharton, 21, and his father, Francis Wharton, 50, were arrested as they allegedly met with Detectives to try and buy Suboxone and heroin. During the arrest, the father was supposedly found to be in possession of several types of controlled drugs, all without a prescription. Connor Wharton is now being held for attempted possession of Suboxone and attempted possession of heroin. Francis Wharton is being charged with three counts of possession of a synthetic drug and criminal conspiracy. Both men are being held without bail, pending their first court appearances.

Landfill Permit

October 30th, 2013

The Department of Ecology is announcing that the first of several permits needed for Cowlitz County’s operation of the Headquarter Road Landfill has been issued, on a conditional basis. Earlier this week, legal notices were published, announcing that a temporary Wastewater Discharge permit has been issued, contingent upon the county completing the acquisition of the landfill. DOE says that the landfill discharges approximately 432,000 gallons of wastewater per day, which is currently transported to the Weyerhaeuser Longview pulp and paper mill for treatment. Cowlitz County is planning to construct a ten-mile pipeline from the facility to the county wastewater treatment facility, at an estimated cost of ten million dollars. Still needed is the operating permit itself, along with an air emissions permit from the Southwest Washington Clean Air Authority. Chris Bischoff with Cowlitz County Environmental Health says that they are still working through the process, but he anticipates having an announcement by the end of this week. He also says that the discussions with the Clean Air Authority are also continuing. Cowlitz County has to have this issue resolved by the end of November, or they will have to start long-hauling the county’s trash to eastern Washington at a cost of $170,000 per month.

SR432 Website

October 30th, 2013

You now have the opportunity to track and comment on the progress of the SR 432 Rail Realighment and Highway Improvements Project, as the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments launches the project website. Phase 1 of this project is currently under way, with the project partners currently in the process of exploring concepts and soliciting ideas to address congestion, safety, freight capacity and system mobility along specific rail segments, highway segments and intersections going from I-5, up Tennant Way and along Industrial Way to the Millennium Bulk Terminals facility. Melissa Taylor with the COG says that they are currently anticipating three phases, with phase 1 involved with initial planning and concept development. Phase 2, which will get under way next year, will further refine the concepts, and will undergo environmental analysis under state and federal laws. Projects that come through Phase 2 will then undergo design, permitting and construction in Phase 3, as funding can be secured. You’re invited to stay up-to-date on the entire process by going to www.SR432Corridor.org, where you can sign up for project announcements and public meeting notices via the “Contact Us” page.

Catlin Street Closed

October 30th, 2013

If you travel through West Kelso on a regular basis, be aware that a major project is going on at the intersection of 1st and Catlin Street. Work crews removed pavement at that intersection yesterday, in the same area that was the site of a major closure earlier this year. Back in March, the intersection was closed for nearly a month, after a manhole subsided due to a void underneath that piping. A temporary fix was installed at that time, with plans to return and install a more permanent fix. That intersection is also involved in the West Main Street Realignment Project, as the city works to revamp the traffic pattern coming off of the Allen Street Bridge, going through the west part of town. The right-hand southbound lane of 1st Avenue is closed, with traffic cones being used to divert traffic around the work area. City officials haven’t said yet how long they anticipate this traffic change will be in place. Drivers who use Catlin Street to get through West Kelso will need to use an alternate route.

White Pass Update

October 30th, 2013

The Washington Department of Transportation says that they expect to have White Pass fully re-opened just in time for the holidays. WashDOT announced yesterday that they expect to have Highway 12 completely re-opened by Thanksgiving. The road was closed for a short time after a washout that took place back on the 1st of this month; a temporary fix was installed, and traffic has been alternating through the one-lane repair since that time. The slide took place in the same area as a major slide back in 2005, about five miles east of the White Pass summit. Additional study is being done, to see if a permanent fix can be developed.

District Court Assist

October 30th, 2013

In an effort to try and help clear a backlog of Superior Court cases, the Cowlitz County Commissioners are turning to the District Court judges for an assist. In an agreement approved yesterday, District Court judges will preside over Superior Court cases two days per week, with assistance from an additional court clerk that will be hired. County Clerk Bev Little is also agreeing to provide additional assistance with cross-training, jury selection assistance and collections processing. Administrative rules from the State Supreme Court allow for this type of arrangement. The County Commissioners say that this is the kind of creative solution that will help improve the situation in the courtrooms, as the Commissioners still work to cut $4 million from the upcoming budget. It’s estimated that the additional clerk will cost about $70,000.

Seahawks Experience Winner

October 30th, 2013

Robin Tangen of Woodland had a special time at the Seahawks game against the Tennessee Titans, courtesy of the Washington Lottery. Tangen was one of four “Fan Four Experience” winners, after she sent a non-winning “Seahawks” scratch ticket back to the Lottery office. As one of the Fan Four Experience winners, Tangen got a one-night hotel stay in Seattle, a limousine ride to and from the game, a sideline tour, game tickets, an autographed jersey and football, other Seahawks gear, “concession bucks,” a ride on Seattle’s Big Wheel ferris wheel, and another pack of “Seahawks” scratch tickets. Tangen says that she had an “awesome” time, and she reminds people that you do have to play if you hope to win. Washington Lottery officials say that you can still win a similar experience at a Seahawks home game; just sign your non-winning “Seahawks” scratch tickets and send them by mail to “Seahawks Experience,” P. O. Box 1200, Woodinville, Washington, 98072.

KLOG Wednesday Sports

October 30th, 2013

The Portland Trail Blazers open the regular season tonight with a game at Phoenix……The Red Sox can win the title with a victory in game six of the World Series tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm…..Pierce visits LCC in a key college volleyball match tonight. First serve is 7 pm at the Mark Morris Gym…..In prep volleyball, R.A. Long defeated Washougal 3-0 to set up a big showdown at Ridgefield tomorrow night. The Spudders beat MM 3-0 last night. Also, Columbia River defeated Kelso 3-0…..The LCC women’s soccer team plays its final home game of the season today as Tacoma visits for a 4 pm match at Northlake Field…..In girls soccer, Kelso edged Prairie 1-0 in OT and Ridgefield beat RAL 2-0…..The 3A and 2A Sub-District girls swim meet begins today at Propostra Pool in Vancouver.

School Survey

October 29th, 2013

Given the results of a scientifically valid phone survey that was conducted by the Longview School District in late September, the issue of school closure, consolidation and long-term facility planning is officially being moved to the back burner. Ben Patinkin of Patinkin Research Strategies reported the results of the survey at last night’s school board meeting, saying that a strong majority of Longview residents aren’t convinced that this is a major problem, and doesn’t really need to be addressed immediately. School Board President Jerry Stinger says passing a new levy is now job one…schoolsurvey…Patinkin says that residents have a high opinion of Longview Schools, and they’re generally aware that the district has lost students over the past decade. However, only about 30 percent of survey respondents say that the declining enrollment is a “serious” problem, and only 20 percent strongly support a reduction in the number of school buildings at this time. Patinkin also says that a majority of residents want the district to continue to look for “creative solutions” to the district’s problems. Stinger says that the message is pretty clear, and that the Board’s focus now needs to move to passage of next year’s replacement levy. He also says that there will be a new Board makeup in the next year, and it will be up to the new School Board to decide on those priorities. District officials say that the full survey, results and questions will soon be posted on the Longview Schools website. http://www.longview.k12.wa.us/

Longview Levy

October 29th, 2013

The Longview School Board is moving ahead with a resolution to place two four-year levy measures on the February ballot, meshing with Kelso’s plans to also run a four-year levy on the February 11th special election ballot. Board President Jerry Stinger says that this is a good plan for Longview…lvlevy…Similar to Kelso, Longview is putting forward a levy that will maintain the same tax rate as this coming year. The levy resolution puts forward a tax rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, raising between $15.1 million and $15.5 million between 2015 and 2018. They’re also putting up another Technology and Capital Projects levy, coming in at 34 cents per $1,000 over the four years, projected to bring in about $1.5 million each year. Half of those dollars will go to district technology needs, and half will go to preservation, renovation and modernization of district buildings.