Archive for December, 2013

Monday RV Fire

December 26th, 2013

Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue is still working to figure out what caused a Monday fire that destroyed an RV and the truck that tows it. Around 11 am Monday morning, fire crews were called to a home near Topeka Road and Kingsbury Road, where they found a fifth-wheel travel trailer completely engulfed in flames. The full-sized diesel truck that was attached to the trailer was also destroyed in the fire. The blaze did an estimated $103,000 in damage, consuming the truck, the trailer and all contents. No injuries were reported.

Cornelius Pass Fatal

December 26th, 2013

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office says that alcohol may have been a factor in a fatal car crash that took place Christmas Eve on Cornelius Pass Road. Around 2:45 pm on the 24th, A Honda Civic driven by Neil Schneider, 45, of Scappoose crossed the center line and collided head-on with a Hyundai Sonata driven by Janie Edwards, 42, of Hillsboro. Schneider died at the scene of the collision, while Edwards was taken to a Portland hospital with injuries described as “non-life-threatening.” Witnesses told Deputies that the Honda had been driving erratically prior to the crash. The road was closed for about five hours after the collision.

Chicken Report

December 26th, 2013

Recent studies on the USDA’s response to salmonella outbreaks at Foster Farms chicken plants in Kelso and California are highly critical, saying that the agency isn’t doing enough to protect public health. The Oregonian recently reported on the study from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also coincides with a recent study by Consumer Reports, also saying that much of the chicken sold in supermarkets is contaminated. The Pew study looks at two outbreaks; one ran from June of 2012 to April of this year, and was traced to the Kelso processing plant. The second started in March, and is still ongoing, tracked to three Foster Farms facilities in California. So far, 550 people in 29 states have been sickened in the outbreak, including cases in Washington and Oregon. However, those are only the cases that have been reported, and it’s estimated that as many as 15,000 people have been affected. A spokesman for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says that the reports confirm the need for procedures that are already in the process of being implemented. Both reports say that not enough is being done. Additional details are available on OregonLive.com.

Waterline Street Closure

December 26th, 2013

You need to be aware of a street closure that’s planned for today in the Highlands, as the contractor working on the Emergency Water Main Replacement Project continues to connect residential services to the new 12-inch main that has been installed along Beech Street. Westbound Beech Street will be closed today between 17th and 18th Avenue, in a closure that’s planned to go from 8 am until 3 pm. This is so the contractors can complete the connection between the new water main on Beech with existing line that runs down the alley between 17th and 18th. Westbound traffic on Beech will be detoured to Alabama while this closure is in place. You’re advised to use alternate routes to avoid possible congestion or delays.

MMHS Cams

December 26th, 2013

The Longview Police Department is out with an alert, saying that the school zone speed limit detection cameras on 15th Avenue in front of Mark Morris High School will go live on Monday, January 6th. Testing of the newly-installed cameras started on Monday of this week, and will continue to be intermittent until the cameras are made fully active on January 6th. During this testing period, the cameras will flash, but no warnings will be issued. Once the cameras are activated, there will be a 30-day period where violations will receive warnings instead of tickets. At the end of that 30-day period, violations in the school zone in front of Mark Morris will get a $124 ticket. The latest statistics from LPD show that 581 tickets were issued in the five existing school zones with detection cameras; tickets for violations in those school zones will continue to be issued during the warning period at Mark Morris. Year-to-year statistics also show a substantial reduction in speed violations, which are down 27 percent at CVG Elementary and down 25 percent at Mint Valley. A full report on the school zone speed limit cameras is planned in the spring of next year.

November Unemployment

December 26th, 2013

The November unemployment rate ticked up just a bit in Cowlitz County, going up from 9 percent in October to 9.1 percent in November. The Employment Security Department says that there were 200 more jobs in Cowlitz County, reflecting normal seasonal hiring trends. Retail trade added 100 jobs for holiday hiring, along with another 100 jobs in the K-12 educational field. Leisure and hospitality hit its seasonal low, losing 100 jobs in the local area. Regional Economist Scott Bailey also says that a year-to-year comparison also shows that there have been some small gains in manufacturing, retail trade and health care, while construction, hospitality and “other services” have show declines. Initial unemployment claims and continuing claims are continuing to show a downward trend. Statewide, the November unemployment rate came in at 6.6 percent, down from 7 percent in October.

Canterbury Sanctions

December 23rd, 2013

The State of Washington is imposing sanctions against the Canterbury Gardens Memory Care facility on 3rd Avenue in Longview, after finding that the facility committed several serious errors that led to the death of Norma Sheldon, 88, of Longview. Sheldon was found dead in an outdoor courtyard at the facility early on the morning of December 6th, after having got out of her room, and into an open area in freezing temperatures. An autopsy shoes that she died from hypothermia. DSHS says that the facility is required to do hourly bed checks, but Sheldon’s last check was about three hours before she was found. Alarms installed on the doors to the courtyard where Sheldon was found were “not on”; further investigation showed that other door alarms at the facility were broken, and one door didn’t have an alarm of any sort. It’s reported that DSHS revoked the facility’s license late last week, finding that they were at fault for Sheldon’s death, and put the other 61 residents at risk. The facility cannot accept new patients at this time, and additional restrictions are also being imposed. In a written statement, Koelsch Senior Communities says that they are aware of the DSHS concerns, and are taking steps to satisfy the agency’s concerns. The license revocation will be deferred as an appeal is prepared, with the Canterbury Gardens getting the opportunity to respond and resolve the matter. Koelsch officials say that they’re continuing to devote efforts to making sure that residents are cared for and are safe, and they plan to earn the trust of DSHS to ensure the safety of those residents.

Delaware Creeper 2

December 23rd, 2013

About a week after a man had entered the Delaware Plaza, entered a female resident’s room and then started fondling himself, there’s been a similar incident in the parking lot of the building. Around 10 pm last night, security staff at the facility reported finding a man lying on his back in the rear parking lot of the facility, apparently “pleasuring himself.” When confronted, the man jumped up and ran off, heading in between some nearby apartment buildings. Around 1 this morning, security called Longview Police again, saying that they had found an open window with the screen removed, and a length of rope nearby. It doesn’t appear that anyone got into the building. It’s not known if these incidents are all related.

Recall Withdrawn

December 23rd, 2013

The recall petition against PUD Commissioner Ned Piper has been withdrawn, with the main backers of the petition now starting to figure out what they will do next. Judge Stephen Warning granted a motion to withdraw the petition at Friday morning’s hearing, after the attorney for Chuck Wallace, Doug Irvine and Bill Ammons said that he needed more time to review the case and its legal issues. Wallace says that they’re just getting started with the process. In a hearing that took about an hour last Friday morning, Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning that that there were “multiple issues” with the recall petition. Warning dealt with several motions, including several coming from the Cowlitz PUD and one of its employees. The PUD is asking that confidential attorney-client communications be kept out of the record, also asking that executive session material be kept confidential. A “John Doe” whistleblower is also asking to be kept out of the proceedings. Warning ordered that those attorneys submit material related to their claims, but also ordered that those materials be kept under seal. He also granted a motion from Piper’s attorney, ordering the petitioners to pay Piper’s attorney fees. As expected, Piper says that he’s pleased with the result of the proceedings. It was noted that the petitioners will be able to re-file if they so desire. Bill Ammons says that he’s disappointed by the ruling, claiming that “the people” are losing out. Wallace, Ammons and Irvine have said that they’re hoping to re-file, but they’ll be taking some time to confer with their attorney before making that decision.

Hospital Prowler

December 23rd, 2013

Wilbur Alan Forman, 61, is in the Cowlitz County Jail after he was identified as the person who was prowling cars last night in the parking structure at St. John Medical Center. Around 10:45 pm, a woman alerted security at the facility, saying that a man was outside the building, asking about cars parked inside, and asking for money. Around 12:30 this morning, security took Forman into custody, after that he had broken into a parked vehicle. Longview Police booked Forman into the Cowlitz County Jail on charges of second-degree car prowling, third-degree theft and third-degree malicious mischief. His bail totals $3,000.