On a 2-1 vote, the Port of Longview Commissioners are voting to increase the port’s tax levy in the coming year, going from 23 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to 45 cents per $1,000, with all of that tax income now being dedicated to payment of debt, preservation of assets and investment in new infrastructure. The Port’s Executive Director, Geir Kalhagen, says that they have a goal of getting away from long-term debt…portreport…The tax bill on a $150,000 home in the Longview Port District will go up $33 under this collection plan. It’s emphasized that none of these tax collections will go to salaries or day-to-day operations at the Port, and will be entirely directed to capital projects. The Port’s overall budget of $34.4 million actually includes three percent in overall cuts in all departments, also in line with increasing efficiency. One of the major projects in the coming year will be the reconstruction of Berth 4, with $2.3 million currently budgeted for that project. Aligned with that “pay-as-you-go” goal, that money is or will be in-hand, and won’t require any long-term bonding or financing.
Archive for November, 2013
That wasn’t a Christmas card from Cascade Natural Gas in local mailboxes earlier this month. The local natural gas utility is notifying customers that residential rates are rising 18 percent, effective on the first of this month. Cascade filed for the rate increase in September, citing a rise in the cost of gas pipelines, reservation and storage costs. Cascade General Manager and Executive Vice President Scott Madison says that this is a “straight pass-through” of their increased costs. Commercial gas rates are also going up 20 percent. Cascade Natural Gas has 260,000 residential and commercial customers in Washington and Oregon.
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The Cowlitz PUD contacted Longview Police yesterday afternoon, reporting that someone has been trying to scam money out of Hispanic businesspeople in the local area. The PUD called LPD a little after noon yesterday, saying that several local businesses had contacted them, saying that someone claiming to be from the PUD had called about a supposed unpaid bill. The caller would then instruct the business people that they could rectify the situation by going to Walgreen’s, where they would purchase “Green Dot Money Paks” in the amount of the unpaid bill, and then would provide the redemption information to the caller. Longview Police tried to trace the caller, and they say that the number comes back to a Magic Jack account in Utah. The PUD is sending out an alert about this scam, including the businesses that were already called. They’re also alerting Walgreen’s about the details of the scam. It’s not known if anyone sent money to the scammer, and police have not identified any suspects at this time.
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Most of downtown Kalama was without power for several hours last night, after a problem cropped up at the Cowlitz PUD substation at the south end of town. At 5:41 pm, a breaker at the substation opened up, taking 1,126 customers off-line. The outage affected downtown Kalama, also extending up China Garden Road. They got power restored to about 900 of those customers at 9:30 pm, and completed all repairs at 11:30. At this point, it’s not known why the breaker opened up.
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The State of Washington has been accepting applications for marijuana production and sales since the 20th of this month; it’s now being reported that more than 800 have been received, including seven operations that would be based here in Cowlitz County. The Washington Liquor Control Board released details on the applications yesterday, reporting five applications for production operations in Longview, one on Ostrander Road in Kelso and one on Sandy Bend Road near Castle Rock. So far, there have been no applications for retail outlets in the county. To date, 444 applications for production have been received statewide; 327 applications for processing and packaging have been received, and 158 applications for retail sales have come in. There’s a deadline of December 19th to get this first round of license applications in.
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The Cowlitz County employment market continues to languish, rising to 9 percent in October, up from 8.7 percent in September. The Employment Security Department says that Cowlitz County had 35,400 jobs in October, which is 400 fewer at the same time last year. The county did pick up 600 jobs in the last two months, mostly connected to the beginning of the new school year. The rate of 9 percent is nearly a full point lower than last year, but Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that the drop is due almost entirely to people dropping out of the job market, rather than any improvement in the local economy. Bailey says that the local labor force has fallen by nearly 5 percent in the past year, a total of 2,100 people. Bailey says that there is good news as the initial unemployment claims to trend downward, but there are no new jobs being generated at this time.
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Monticello Middle School Principal Angela Allen is being honored for her continuing work in improving student performance, recognized by the St. Helens region of Middle School Principals as the Distinguished Principal of the Year. Allen came to Monticello Middle School in 2011, and helped to continue an improvement process that was started a couple of years before. Allen was honored yesterday at a school assembly.
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The Portland Trail Blazers shoot for a 12th straight win tonight when they play the Suns in Phoenix, KLOG 5:05 pm…..The Washington men’s basketball team beat Montana 83-79 last night. C.J. Wilcox led the Huskies with 28. Former MM player Eric Hutchison played 17 minutes for the Griz and had a rebound and two blocks before fouling out. Gonzaga beat Chaminade 113-81 at the Maui Classic. The Bulldogs play Arkansas today. Oregon State pasted SIU Edwardsville 101-81…..The Red Devil Classic men’s basketball tournament begins Friday at Mark Morris. Four games are slated beginning at 1 pm. LCC opens the season against SW Oregon Friday night at 8 pm…..The Seahawks signed cornerback Parrish Cox yesterday. Cox previously played for the 49’ers and Broncos.
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The chances of her surviving to be born were originally pegged at somewhere between zero and none, but it’s now being reported that Abigail Rose Beutler, the infant daughter of Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband, Dan, could be home for Christmas. The Vancouver Columbian reports on the progress that Abigail Rose is making; it’s believed that she is the first-ever baby to survive a diagnosis of Potter’s Syndrome. That’s a situation where a lack of amniotic fluid leads to the non-development of the baby’s kidneys and lungs. Beutler underwent an experimental treatment, where saline solution was injected into the uterus, helping the lungs to fully develop. It’s reported that that the Beutlers were able to check the baby out of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto several days ago, transferring her to an outpatient facility in California. A spokesman in Beutler’s office says that they are “thrilled” to be at this next step, and look forward to bringing the baby to Southwest Washington. While Abigail’s lungs are fully functioning, her kidneys are still undeveloped, and she will need a transplant at some point in the future.
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A 16 year-old boy is in custody at the Cowlitz County Juvenile Services Center, after he allegedly ran away from the facility early yesterday afternoon, then was chased down on foot by Longview Police. Around 12:45 yesterday afternoon, the boy’s father called 911, saying that the teen was planning to turn himself in on a couple of felony warrants. When they arrived at the building, he ran instead. The father speculated that the teen might be trying to get to his mother’s house in west Longview. About 20 minutes later, officers spotted the boy in the area of the Campus Towers. A foot chase ensued, going through the sports fields for Mark Morris High School. The teen was eventually chased down and arrested in the 21 hundred block of Ocean Beach Highway, and was booked into juvenile detention on the warrants for absconding while on probation and third-degree assault. It’s possible that new charges of obstructing an officer and resisting arrest could be added.
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