Archive for March, 2014

Stormy Weather

March 28th, 2014

Weather forecasters say that the unsettled weather that we had yesterday is expected to persist through the weekend. There were a couple of weather-related power outages in the county yesterday, and it’s also reported that a small funnel cloud may have done some damage in West Longview. The Cowlitz PUD reports that lightning hit and destroyed a transformer on Yale Bridge Road shortly after 3 pm yesterday, knocking power out to 167 customers. Repairs took several hours, as the transformer needed replacement. Around 4:45 pm, two trees fell down in front of 157 Sunset Lane, taking down two spans of overhead wire. Those repairs also took some time. Around 2 pm, Rita Walker of Longview says that strong winds blew a shed and a fence out of her back yard, and she describes seeing a small, black funnel cloud at that same time. Weather officials call this a “cold core funnel,” a brief kind of “mini-tornado” that can happen in these weather conditions. Forecasters say that another strong and wet storm is expected to blow through today, with wind and rain persisting through the afternoon. After the frontal system moves through, snow levels are once again expected to drop down to pass levels tonight and tomorrow.

Hoof Rot Meeting

March 28th, 2014

If the attendance at last night’s question-and-answer session on hoof rot in elk was any indication, there is great interest in this topic among hunters and other residents of the local area. At least 200 people attended last night’s session at the County Expo Center, peppering representatives from Washington Fish and Wildlife and local legislators for more than two hours. WDFW Executive Director Phil Anderson says that this is a major issue that is stirring up strong passion…hoofrot…A number of questions were focused on the use of herbicides by forest landowners in much of the area where the hoof rot has escalated, wondering if the cumulative affect of those materials is having an impact on the elk. A WDFW veterinarian says that the testing doesn’t point to a chemical cause, but is actually pointing to a bacterial cause, similar to a disease also seen in sheep. Tests on young elk taken back in January are expected to help zero in on the exact cause of this disease. A similar Q-and-A session is planned for next Wednesday evening in Cathlamet, while WDFW is also planning public meetings on the topic next month, on the 15th in Vancouver and on the 16th in Chehalis. Additional information is also available on the Fish and Wildlife website.

DEQ Fine

March 28th, 2014

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is proposing a fine of more than $117,000 for the operator of an oil handling terminal at Port Westward, claiming that the operators of the facility are moving far more oil than their permit allows. The Oregonian reports on the penalty being proposed against Massachusetts-base Global Partners LP. It’s claimed that they are moving far more oil than is allowed under the current permit, which is capped at 50 million gallons per year. Records show that more than 300 million gallons crossed the docks at the old Columbia-Pacific Bio-Refinery, the ethanol plant that is being repurposed. DEQ could have fined Global Partners up to $25,000 per day, but this fine equates to $4,500 per week of violation. Company attorneys say they plan to fight the fine, while also continuing to pursue a permit that would allow even more oil to move through the facility.

Hotel Hell/Food Court Wars

March 28th, 2014

TV shows involving local establishments are now scheduled to air, one of them this weekend and the other coming this summer. The Three Rivers Mall episode of “Food Court Wars” is scheduled to run Sunday evening on the Food Network, starting at 8 pm local time. Two teams of potential restaurateurs competed over two days of filming, with the prize being a year of rent-free space in the mall food court. Both teams were from Portland; one is looking to expand a waffle-based food truck menu, while the second is offering a “pressed sandwich” menu. It was also disclosed yesterday that the new season of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hotel Hell” will debut on July 21st; last year, the Fox TV show was at the Monticello Hotel in Longview at the request of owner Phil Lovingfoss, looking to revamp and upgrade the historic building on the Civic Circle. The exact air date of the Monticello Hotel episode hasn’t yet been disclosed.

Weekend Events–3/28-30/14

March 28th, 2014

Friday:
Youth and Family Link on Douglas Street in Longview is holding a free “Friday Family Night,” going from 6:30 to 8 pm. The whole family is invited to come down for open gym time, arts and crafts, movies, play time or other activities. It’s free to attend, but you do need to pre-register by calling 423-6741.

Friday night, there’s a “Comedians for the Community” event at Axis Sports Bar on Commerce Avenue in Longview. This event is a benefit for Ethan Mauro and his family. Ethan was born in December with defective kidneys and no bladder; this event is intended to help raise money for his medical expenses. The show starts at 8 pm, and will be “extremely adult-oriented.” Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

The 38th annual Columbian Artist Spring Show is under way at the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso, and will continue through April 13th. Around 40 artists from all over the area are displaying works in a wide variety of media, and many of these works are available for purchase. Hours of the show are 10 am to 8 pm Monday through Friday, 10 to 7 pm on Saturday, and 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday. Admission is free.

Saturday:
Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland is holding a workshop on “Discouraging Deer from Eating Your Garden,” running from 11 am until 1 pm at their facility on E. Scott Avenue in Woodland. They’ll offer advice on steps you can take to dissuade the deer from munching down your veggies. Admission is free. If you hang on at 1 pm, they’re also having a workshop on dealing moles, as well.

Friday KLOG Sports

March 28th, 2014

LaMarcus Aldridge was rested and ready as he returned to the Trail Blazer lineup last night, scoring 25 points and pulling down 16 rebounds as Portland snapped a three-game losing streak with a 100-85 win over Atlanta. The road trip continues tonight in Chicago, KLOG coverage at 4:05 pm…..All-Star Damian Lillard will show off his range next Saturday at Mark Morris, draining treys in the Dick Hannah Threes4Threes fundraiser. The local YMCA will benefit for every three he drains. The event is free, but you’ll need to get tickets first. Get details on the Dick Hannah Toyota Facebook page…..The Mariners made a move to shore up the back end of the rotation by signing Chris Young away from the Washington Nationals. He’s expected to be the #3 or #4 starter this year.

Oso Slide Assistance

March 27th, 2014

At the request of the Washington Emergency Management Division, Cowlitz County Search and Rescue is sending resources to assist in the search effort in Snohomish County near Oso, which has been devastated by last weekend’s massive landslide. Last night, Washington DEM reported that 12 dog teams arrived on the scene on Tuesday, and they put also out a call for cadaver dog teams to assist in the search for the people still missing after this incident. Cowlitz County is indicating that they will send at least two volunteers to assist in this effort, arriving in Snohomish County later this morning.

Columbia Heights Slide

March 27th, 2014

You need to be aware that Columbia Heights Road is closed to through traffic this morning between Fishers Lane and Laurel Road. A mudslide was reported on the road yesterday afternoon, coming down across the fog line and into the lane of travel. The City of Longview Engineering Department examined the slope above the road and made the decision to close the road. Because of the uphill slope movement, Columbia Heights Road will remain completely closed between upper and lower Maplewood Drive, and only local traffic will be allowed access up to the closure point. Drivers needing access to the area should use alternate routes, including Laurel Road, Glenwood Road and Virginia Way off of Pacific Way, or Nevada Drive off of West Side Highway. This closure will remain in place until further notice.

Piper Hearing

March 27th, 2014

The “John Doe” that has been a major character in the recall petition involving Cowlitz PUD Commissioner Ned Piper is now known, as Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning rules that this so-called “whistleblower” is not protected by confidentiality rules in this instance. It’s now known that current PUD General Counsel Paul Brachvogel is “John Doe,” and it’s thought that he is the person who has been providing much of the source material in the recall effort. Still, Warning ruled that Brachvogel is NOT part of the current court proceedings, where Piper is looking to recover his legal fees in fighting the last recall effort. Piper’s attorney, Matthew Anderson, says that this should be wrapped up in a month or so…piperhearing…Brachvogel had been trying to shield his identity throughout these proceedings, claiming to try and protect confidential and personal information. Warning says that the whistleblower confidentiality laws don’t apply in this case. At the same time, he also says that Brachvogel’s information and activity also have no bearing on Piper’s attempt to recover legal fees from the people who actually filed the recall petition, so he’s being removed from the lawsuit. Warning also says that he has enough evidence to make a ruling in the case involving Bill Ammons, Chuck Wallace and Doug Irvine, so no additional discovery or depositions are needed. The exact date for the next hearing hasn’t been set, but it’s expected in about a month or so.

I-5 Head-On

March 27th, 2014

Traffic on I-5 in the Castle Rock area is back to normal this morning, after being snarled for several hours yesterday afternoon and evening, following a head-on crash at about 3:20 pm. State Troopers say that a Nissan Sentra driven by Angelina Puris, 63, of Centralia went off of the left lane of the freeway, crossed the median at milepost 49, and went into the southbound lanes. She collided with a car driven by Robert Huling of Ridgefield in the left lane of the southbound freeway. Both drivers were seriously injured in the collision, which also caused a six-mile backup on the freeway; they were taken to St. John Medical Center, and then were transferred to facilities in Portland. The freeway was finally fully re-opened to traffic around 8 pm. Troopers say that they plan to charge Puris for driving with her wheels off of the freeway.