Train traffic through the area was shut down for almost an hour last night, after the engineer on a freight train reported that he may had have hit someone, just south of the Kelso Train Depot. The incident was reported around 10 minutes to 10 last night. The engineer said that he thought that he had “clipped someone” on the west side of the train. The tracks were shut down, while Kelso Police and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue checked the area. Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Rail Police also responded to the scene. They checked the area for about 40 minutes, and were unable to find anything. The area was cleared and train traffic resumed around 10:35 pm.
Archive | January, 2011
Longview Police report that there was another graffiti spree yesterday evening, this time in the area of 28th and 29th Avenue, along Colorado Street. The first incident was reported by a man living in the 300 block of 29th, at about 6:40 pm. The resident says that he caught a group of four young people spray-painting gang-type graffiti on his house. The man was that he followed the group, which included two black females, a young white male, and a hispanic male. The resident claims that the group was laughing at him, and was also “throwing gang signs.” The man’s daughter came home later, and was able to provide a possible name of one of the suspects to police. A little later in the evening, additional victims were found in the 2800 and 2900 blocks of Colorado, with at least eight incidents reported. Over the past couple of months, Longview Police have responded to several of these types of sprees, with dozens of victims recorded. It’s unclear at this time if this group is responsible for all of these incidents. The investigation is continuing.
The man accused of shooting and killing Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter earlier this month is due in Columbia County Circuit Court today. Daniel Butts, 21, of Kalama is scheduled to be arraigned today at 3 pm. Last Friday, a grand jury handed down an indictment charging Butts with nine counts of aggravated murder, five counts of attempted aggravated murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, reckless endangerment and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Columbia County District Attorney Stephen Atchison explains the multiple murder counts in this way; there are as many as a dozen “theories” or scenarios that constitute aggravated murder in Oregon, and under Oregon law, he has to charge each scenario that applies to the case at hand. Each of those scenarios constitutes a separate count, even though there’s only one death.
There are a couple of things going on today, intended to help support the Painter family, along with the family of Cowlitz County Deputy Dave Anderson, who recently died from a sudden heart attack. There’s a show planned for tonight at Truluck’s, what used to be Henri’s out on Ocean Beach Highway, intended to raise money for both families. “Clay Chambers and the Last Ride” will play from 6 to 9 pm; along with the live show, an auction is planned, as well. All proceeds will be going to the Painter and Anderson families. There’s also a all-you-can-eat spaghetti and garlic toast feed today at Stuffy’s Two on Ocean Beach Highway. This will run from noon until closing; donations of $10 (or more) per person will be accepted, with all proceeds from the spaghetti feed going to the Anderson family. Stuffy’s is located 804 Ocean Beach Highway, right next to the Twin City Center, while Truluck’s is located at 4545 Ocean Beach Highway, at the intersection of 46th and Ocean Beach Highway.
New Third District Congresswoman says that she heard some things that she liked, and some that she didn’t like in last night’s State of the Union address by President Obama. Jaime Herrera Beutler says that she approved of the portion of the speech where the President pledged to cut government bureaucracy by eliminating or streamlining government agencies, and she also supported the call to correct the “1099 flaw” in the Health Care Reform bill, a provision that requires all small businesses to file tax documents on all transactions over $600. Herrera Beutler says that she was concerned about what seemed to be a focus on continued spending, rather than reducing expenditures and the size of government. Herrera Beutler is making he first trip back to the District this weekend, planning to tour several areas, along with holding Town Hall meetings in Cowlitz and Clark Counties. Dates, times and locations for those meetings haven’t yet been announced. Both of Washington’s Senators praised Obama’s speech; Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both say that the President presented a “strong vision” four getting the economy back on track. Murray likes what she heard about investing in the nation’s infrastructure, while Cantwell supports the discussions on the “innovation age” and clean energy.
It’s being reported that power has been restored to most of the east end of the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. Mark Smith with Eco Resort tells the Daily News that the Forest Service restored power to his facility at about 7:10 pm; power to Hoffstadt Bluffs was also restored. The far end of the highway, Coldwater Ridge and Johnston Ridge are still without power at this time, and Forest Service officials say it could be a full week before power is fully restored. The area east of Kid Valley had been down since last Friday night; there’s still no word on what caused the outage. A meeting is scheduled for this Friday, to discuss the long-term power issues along that stretch of highway will be discussed. That meeting had been set up prior to last Friday’s outage.
Cowlitz County opened the second round of bids on the Cowlitz County Landfill Systems Modifications project, and while the low-bidder in the first round ended up losing out, the county may actually end up getting a better deal. The first round of bids had to be rejected when it was discovered that the county hadn’t advertised in the “official paper of record” for Cowlitz County, a violation of state law. Rotschy Construction of Yacolt had come in with the low bid in that first round. They had threatened to protest, saying that the project had been published in other locations. The County Commissioners acknowledge that this was a “raw deal,” but under the law, they had no choice but to reject the bids and start over. In the second round, Anderson Environmental Contracting of Kelso came in with a bid of $268,500, well below Rotschy’s original bid of $310,000. Rotschy’s second bid actually came in higher, apparently because of increased subcontracting costs. Rotschy actually came in seventh in this round of bidding. The county will now review the bid by Anderson Environmental to insure that it is “responsive” before awarding the contract.
Kelso won the GSHL 3A title with a 56-12 victory over Mountain View last night. R.A. Long took the GSHL 2A crown with a 44-21 win over Mark Morris. Castle Rock captured the 1A league title with a 44-27 win over Ilwaco…..In boys hoops, Mark Morris raced to an easy 67-20 win over Woodland…..The Kelso girls basketball team defeated Fort Vancouver 51-37…..Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a hip contusion, but no serious damage after an MRI yesterday. He’s listed as probable for tomorrow’s game with Boston…..RealDawg.com reports that the Huskies received a verbal commitment from Gonzaga Prep RB Bishop Sankey, who had earlier committed to WSU…..The Mariners invited pitcher Chris Ray to spring training. Ray, 29, pitched for SF and Texas last season.
The Willapa Hills Audubon Society has a program planned for this evening. Kit McGurn of Conservation Northwest will present a program called “Columbia Highlands, Washington’s Last Wilderness Frontier.” This is an area of northeast Washington that serves as a “habitat bridge” between the Cascades and the Rockies. Populations of grizzly and black bears, wolves, caribou, lynx, moose, deer and elk are still thriving in this area, with pristine forests through the region. McGurn will talk about this area, along with the efforts under way to preserve it as wilderness. Tonight’s program will be held in the Cowlitz PUD Auditorium, with refreshments served at 6:50 pm, and the program starting at 7. It’s free and open to anyone interested.
The Mark Morris girls basketball team stayed in the league title hunt with a 52-36 victory over Woodland. The Beavers are 7-1 while the Monarchs are right behind at 6-1. Tonight, the Kelso Lassies travel to Fort Vancouver…..In boys play, Kelso defeated Fort 59-36. Tonight, the Mark Morris boys travel to Woodland…..Big wrestling action tonight as Kelso hosts Mountain View with the league title on the line. In Civil War wrestling, Mark Morris hosts R.A. Long tonight…..The Blazers had a five game winning streak snapped last night as Sacramento came up with a 96-81 victory at the Rose Garden…..Hopes that the New Orleans Hornets may come to Seattle were dimmed last night when the Hornets reached the attendance threshold to extend the arena lease.
The Kelso School Board is moving ahead on a pair of policy and procedure packages that district officials say are intended to help contribute to student safety. School Board President Bob Simmons says that the policies dealing with telecommunications devices and Maintaining Professional Student/Staff Boundaries are really geared toward the idea of preventing abuse. The policy on Students and Telecommunications Devices defines the when and where that students can possess and use devices like cell phones, iPads, Kindles and other telecommunication devices during the school day. The policy also states that by bringing these types of devices to school or school-sponsored events, the students and parents consent to possible search of those devices for inappropriate content. It’s emphasized that the devices would not be searched without probable cause. The procedure dealing with the issue also defines “sexting,” lining out what kind of content is inappropriate for the school setting. The procedure also designates the reporting procedure for possible violations. In the policy and procedure on Maintaining Professional Boundaries, the district discusses the need to maintain mutual respect and trust between students and staff. They define the kinds of things that are inappropriate behavior, and sets up the process for reporting those incidents. Student Services Director Mark Hottowe says that they don’t want any “witch hunts,” but he also says that the district has a responsibility to spot and prevent situations like Mary Kay LeTourneau. That policy was passed on first reading. Both will be back in front of the Kelso School Board at its next meeting.