They’re still working to determine the cause and origin of a fire that did about $10,000 damage to one unit at a duplex in the 4700 block of Ocean Beach Highway. The fire call came in just after 3 am; crews from Longview and Cowlitz 2 responded, finding a fire in the rear of the building. It didn’t take long to get the fire put out, then the followup took a couple of hours. Fire officials say that damage from the fire was limited to the living room and its contents. Four people were displaced by the fire, and are now being assisted by the Red Cross. It’s noted that the building’s smoke detector did not help to alert the residents; no injuries were reported.
Archive | July, 2011
Two men are under arrest on burglary and car theft charges, after they were identified as the people who stole a motorcycle from a home on Banyon Drive in Kelso. Around 8:45 yesterday morning, a woman called 911 to report that a man had entered the basement of the house on Banyon Drive, then rode off on her dad’s dirt bike. She also reported that two men were involved in the theft. The suspects were followed down to the area of Mill Street and Coweeman Lane, where they supposedly ditched the bike and took off on foot. Kelso Police stopped Joseph Waylon Webb, 26, of Kelso and Lester Wayne Simmons, 25, of Kelso in the 1000 block between 7th and 8th, and the 911 caller identified them as the suspects. Both are now being charged with burglary and vehicle theft; Simmons was also served with warrants from the Department of Corrections and for contempt of court.
A transient is under arrest after a tip jar theft reported yesterday at a fast food restaurant in downtown Longview. A 911 call came in from the 1400 block of Maple at about 4:30 pm, with the caller reporting that a man had stolen a tip jar containing several dollars. The caller followed the suspect down to an area near the Hall of Justice, where Jack Dewayne Hoggatt, 52, was stopped. Longview Police say that he was seen dropping money, and the 911 caller identified him as the suspect. However, when LPD contacted the restaurant, employees said that they hadn’t called 911, and didn’t care to prosecute a man over the theft of a couple of dollars. They said that he could have the money if he needed it that badly. Hoggatt was still taken into custody on charges of obstructing an officer and resisting arrest, and is currently being held on bail of $750.
If you’re heading into the Portland area tonight, be aware of a closure of I-5 southbound that’s planned for this evening. From 11 pm to 5 am, the southbound drawbridge over the Columbia River will be closed for maintenance. A detour will be set up, diverting traffic onto Highway 14 and I-205. Work also continues on a repaving project in Vancouver, with work on the freeway from the I-5 bridge to about 39th Street in Vancouver. That work is scheduled to start around 10 pm tonight, and will run until 5 tomorrow morning. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.
One of the major developments connected to the Longview Wye reconstruction opens to traffic at 10 am today. The Department of Transportation says that the new on-ramp to southbound I-5 from Tennant Way will open this morning. The new ramp takes traffic from Tennant Way, up and over another major ramp at the Wye. This new on-ramp is 1,000 feet longer and a lane wider than the previous ramp, giving drivers more space to safely accelerate and merge with freeway traffic. Even with today’s opening, the project is far from over. A ramp connecting Talley Way to Carrolls and I-5 northbound is currently under construction, and is scheduled to open early next month. Construction also continues on two other ramps on the north side of Tennant Way, which will eventually improve the connection with Old Highway 99 and Tennant Way. Project Engineer Denys Tak says that the $35 million project is on-budget and on-schedule for completion in summer of next year.
The demolition of the old Juvenile Center on Croy Street in Kelso is now under way. Contractors started the teardown of the long-vacant building yesterday morning, calling in Kelso Police to help make sure that the building was empty before the demolition started. Officers used a public address system to call into the building, warning anyone who was possibly inside to get out. It doesn’t appear that anyone was inside. The 16,000 square-foot building has been empty since 2004; Cowlitz County Juvenile Services moved out in 1999, then the City of Kelso leased the building for five years. In 2006, the building was sold to a developer, who announced plans to build a retail center in that area. Those plans never materialized, then the empty building became a target for vandals. Many thousands of dollars in damage was done, making the building unusable. The building went into foreclosure, and in June of this year, the current noteholder announced plans to demolish the facility. The current owners say that they’d eventually like to sell the land for development.
The Cowlitz PUD is preparing for the possibility that Congress may not act to raise the debt ceiling, looking at a course of action that will help make sure that the power stays on for customers who are on Social Security or Federal pensions. At their meeting on Tuesday, the PUD Commissioners took action to suspend or deviate from standard collection and credit policies in the event that Social Security or pension checks are delayed. PUD Board President Mark McCrady says that the action reflects the PUD’s concerns over a possible Federal default, also understanding that some people may be put in a situation where it might be impossible to pay power bills in a timely manner. In the event that Social Security or Federal pension checks were delayed, PUD staff would work with impacted customers, to defer payments without penalty. The PUD would also withhold payments to the Bonneville Power Administration until the situation is resolved on the Federal level. Once the Federal government resumed the normal distribution of funds, then the PUD would repay money owed to the BPA, and would resume normal billing practices.
Three small post offices in this area are on the list of nearly 3,700 that are being identified for possible closure by the U. S. Postal Service, as the mail delivery agency looks for ways to cut costs. On the list for possible closures are the post offices in Skamakowa, Ariel and Oysterville. Yesterday, the Postal Service announced that they were looking at closing a number of “retail outlets,” mostly small facilities that receive little foot traffic. Iin a statement issued yesterday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that customer habits now show that they no longer require a “physical post office” to conduct business; he says that the Postal Service will become “smaller, leaner and more competitive” in its efforts to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value. Communities that lose post offices will have the opportunity to have “Village Post Offices,” facilities that would operate inside other retail outlets like a grocery store or a pharmacy. The Postal Service is now conducting a study of which offices to close, and will be making those decisions over the next year.
Local law enforcement agencies say that they’re becoming concerned about an escalation of violence as members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union continue to picket the EGT Grain Terminal at the Port of Longview. Seven arrests were reported yesterday morning, occurring as the Sheriff’s Office worked to maintain access to the facility. Deputies were joined by Longview Police, Kelso Police and State Troopers in responding to East Mill Road at about 7:20 yesterday morning. Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig says that ILWU picketers were attempting to block cars from entering the facility. They eventually had those workers stage at a separate location, then they were escorted onto the property. Adam Robert Woon, 24, of Longview was arrested on a felony harrassment charge, after he allegedly yelled a death threat at one of the cars entering the property. He’s currently being held without bail at the Cowlitz County Jail. Five other picketers were arrested for disorderly conduct, and one was arrested for trespassing. This group broke up shortly after 10 am, then law enforcement returned around 2:30 pm, to monitor the site as the workers left EGT. A presence was also maintained overnight, monitoring the scene. Rosenzweig says “the protestors are substantially more aggressive in both threats and actions.” He says that aggression is also being turned toward the law enforcement officers who are responding to the scene. Both the ILWU and EGT are blaming each other for the escalation of tension. One union official said that “they’re not looking for trouble,” and they say that the situation could be resolved if EGT lived up to the contract they signed with the Port of Longview, and hire Longshoremen to operate their facility. An EGT spokesperson says that the escalating violence and intimidation cannot be tolerated, saying that the actions are harmful to the local area and the economy. The ILWU is demanding that EGT comply with a contract signed with the Port of Longview, requiring that Longshoremen be used to operate their facility. EGT is suing in Federal court, claiming that they are not bound by that agreement. A trial is scheduled for some time next year.
Jeffrey Levi Entler, 43, of Kelso is under arrest on a second-degree assault charge, picked up last night after he allegedly tried to stab a woman at a home in South Kelso. The woman called 911 at about 8:30 pm, claiming that Entler threatened to stab her, and that he’d left the home on Rosewood Street. A few minutes later, it was reported that Entler was passing 6th Avenue, and had also threatened to stab a man and a dog that were passing by. Deputies caught up with Entler near 9th and Walnut, arresting him at that point. They say two knives were confiscated, as Entler was booked into the jail without bail.