It is a nightmare on local highways this afternoon, with three serious collisions happening within an hour, all causing major traffic problems. At 2:10 PM, at least one person died in a multi-car crash on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway near Hall Road; the highway was completely closed until about 4 pm. One lane re-opened at 4, with traffic alternating in each direction. At 2:30 pm, at least one person was killed in a multi-car crash on Ocean Beach Highway near Coal Creek, completely closing that road. The Washington Department of Transportation re-opened that highway shortly after 4 pm, with flaggers alternating traffic in each direction. At 3 pm, two lanes of I-5 southbound were closed near La Center after a multi-car collision, with critical injuries reported. Severe backups are reported on the southbound freeway, as well. There’s been no estimate yet as to when any of these situations will be completely cleared.
Archive | May, 2013
There aren’t really any organized activities, rallies or events planned, but you’re still being asked to make tomorrow special, as we have our first-ever “Day of Kindness” in Cowlitz County. This event is the brainchild of Bill Ammons at the Pacific Barber Shop in Kelso, who says that he’d like to see people take part in acts of kindness all across the region. Ammons says that the response has been tremendous, with people going out of their way to make special donations, along with other activities. Several school groups, churches and scout troops do plan to go out for special activities, and several local businesses also have special plans. There’s going to be a free bike repair clinic across from the Kelso City Hall, and a park cleanup, as well. Ammons says he’d just like to see people “be a little bit different,” and perhaps it will rub off for the rest of the year, as well.
Jennifer Ann Soderstrom, 42, is under arrest, arrested yesterday morning as Sheriff’s Deputies investigated a report of suspicious activity out in the 7200 block of Willow Grove Road. A local resident reported seeing a pickup parked near the beach, and said that he thought that he’d seen the man and woman inside shooting up drugs. He also said that the couple may have been engaged in sexual activities. Deputies met with Soderstrom and a 55 year-old man. During that contact, felony fugitive warrants from Columbia County popped up on her, along with local warrants for driving while suspended. Soderstrom is now being held without bail in the Cowlitz County Jail, while the man was sent on his way.
The overall message appears to be that progress is being made, but there’s still much work to do in improving the overall quality of life here in Cowlitz County, as Pathways 2020 presents the 2013 Report Card for this area. At last night’s rollout of the 2013 Cowlitz County Report Card, it was noted that Cowlitz County still lags significantly in median household income. The data shows that high unemployment is contributing to a lack of access to affordable health insurance, which can contribute to other poor health outcomes. The county is getting high marks for increasing the number of eligible children enrolled in Head Start, but that could be threatened if the federal government cuts funding for that program. Progress is also being made in reducing the percentage of high school dropouts, which is now below the state average of 4.1 percent. Paul Youmans with Pathways 2020 says that there is some serious concern about access to healthy foods in the local area, with the number of kids on the Free and Reduced Lunch program now at more than 54 percent county-wide. Other data shows that nearly 25 percent of pregnant women in the county smoke, more than 15 percent above the state average of less than ten percent. Progress is being made on gonorrhea infections, but Chlamydia continues to be a serious issue. Cowlitz County’s rates of child abuse and domestic violence also continue to be well above state averages. The overall crime rate continues to drop, and is now below the state average, and suicide rates are also below the state average. Youmans will be making full presentations of the Report Card to local governments and community groups over the next few weeks.
Five people are also being honored as the 2013 Healthy Lifestyles Champions. Linda Brigham was honored for her support of Healthy Lifestyles, marking her support for the Physical Education Program grant, the Asthma Outreach Program and other various anti-drug groups in the community. CVG Elementary School PE teacher Lori DeGraff was recognized for her work on student fitness and health, and the creation of the CVG Walking and Running Club. Darcy Mitchum was a leader in helping to get Harry Gardner Park restored, and continues work in development of new trails between Toutle and Kid Valley. Dave Knoeppel co-owns Longview Physical and Sports Therapy, and has volunteered as the sports trainer for Castle Rock High School for the past 15 years. He’s also organized sports training seminars for local middle school and high school coaches. Dee Richardson was also recognized for her work in helping to develop the School Gardens at CVG Elementary, also helping to promote healthy eating and active living for the kids at that school.
Cowlitz County Solid Waste is taking its Mobile Household Hazardous Waste Collection Unit to Cathlamet tomorrow, holding a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event between 9 am and 1 pm in the PUD parking lot, behind the Wahkiakum County Courthouse. You’re invited to bring pesticides, solvents, paint and other hazardous chemicals from your home for disposal. Business-generated waste will NOT be accepted. If you can’t make this event, remember that the permanent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility is open at Waste Control on Saturdays and Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Call Cowlitz County Solid Waste at 577-3125 if you have other questions.
The LCC Symphonic Band performs Friday night, presenting a wide ranging concert of both recent and older classical music pieces. Curtain in the Wollenberg Auditorium at the Rose Center for the Arts is set for 7:30 pm. Admission is free for LCC students and employees.
An English satire called “Cloud 9” continues this weekend in the Center Stage Theatre at LCC’s Rose Center for the Arts, going through June 8th. Curtain each night is set for 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at the Rose Center Box Office, prior to each performance.
“Rock Students” from the Shekinah Christian Center will be putting on a “Night in the City” auction and dinner on Friday night, helping to raise money to send those kids to youth camp. Award-winning pianist David Buker will perform and there’s a Hawaiian-themed menu, along with the silent auction and raffle. Things get starts at 7 pm at the Shekinah Christian Center on 3rd Avenue in Longview.
The 5th annual “I Topped the Rock” fun run will be going off at 10 am Saturday morning, starting and ending at Castle Rock Middle School. The “Little Rocket Run” for kids age 7 and younger is also planned to start at 11. The event is a benefit for the Castle Rock PTO, which serves all three school levels in Castle Rock.
The 23rd annual Ethnic Support Council International Festival will be held on Saturday, celebrating the diversity of our community with dance, food and vendors from around the world. Things get starts at 9 am with the “Human Race” Diversity Walk, and then the Festival itself will start at 10. Remember that this year’s International Festival is being held at Mark Morris High School; admission is free.
The second distribution of cardboard for this year’s Longview Cardboard Boat Regatta will be held in the old Sears store at the Three Rivers Mall, starting at 10 am on Saturday. Be sure to bring gloves, along with materials for securing your load.
Head out to Rose Valley for a bargain hunt on Saturday, as the 19th annual All Community Garage Sale is held. More than 40 families are taking part; maps will be available at the H & I Grocery and at the Carrolls Country Store. Donations to help pay for the maps will help support the Lower Columbia School Gardens projects at Rose Valley and Carrolls Elementary Schools.
The second annual Kalama Blues-Chocolate-Wine Festival is set for Saturday night at the Kalama Community Building, going from 7 to 10 pm. Homemade chocolate will be on the menu, along with fine wine and craft beers. Three blues bands will also perform. The festival is helping to raise money to support the Community Building; tickets are available in advance at the Kalama City Hall, or will be available at the door.
The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market continues on Saturday, open from 9 am until 2 pm in the parking lot on 7th Avenue across from the Fairgrounds. The market runs through October. This week, local senior citizens will be able to pick up vouchers that will help pay for veggies, fruits and herbs being sold at the market.
The Downtown Farmers Market is settling into its new location on Sunday, heading to the parking lot at 15th and Broadway, across from the Longview City Hall. Along with the fresh veggies, flowers, hanging baskets, fresh veggies, plant starts and handmade crafts, strawberries are expected to be in this weekend, and they’ll also have belly dancers performing. Hours are 10 am to 4pm on Sunday.
There’s a piano recital planned for Sunday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Longview, featuring students of Karla Dudley. This Spring Recital will start at 6 pm on Sunday, and admission is free.
Nick Franklin hit his first and second MLB HR’s, while King Felix was masterful over eight innings as the Mariners cruised to a 7-1 win over San Diego. The M’s and Pads split the four-game series, as Seattle now heads to Minnesota to open a three-game set, KLOG coverage at 4 pm…..The weather should be great and the teams should be well-rested for tonight’s NWAACC baseball championships, which will be played today at LCC’s Story Field. Everett can win its first-ever NWAACC title if they can get past Pierce. The game starts at 5:05 pm…..Kimberlee Souza’s 8th-inning walk-off HR gave the UW a win in the Women’s College World Series. The Huskies play Tennessee at 4 pm today…..#2 Rainier takes on #1 Dayton for the Oregon 3A softball title at 4 pm today in Corvallis.
Columbia County District Attorney Steven Atchison says that Oregon State Patrol Trooper Justin Oxenrider was justified in using deadly force when he shot and killed 27 year-old Josiah Fischer of St. Helens on the 3rd of this month. The shooting took place at the end of a high-speed chase that started on Highway 30 near Scappoose. Oxenrider had pursued Fischer onto the back roads, and then forced his car into a ditch near the St. Helens Golf Course. The investigation shows that Fischer was holding a loaded pistol when he got out of the car, and that he refused to obey Oxenrider’s commands. The Trooper fired nine shots, hitting Fischer multiple times. Trooper Robin May was also on the scene, but she didn’t fire her weapon. Fischer died at the scene. Oxenrider and May have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting; both are now expected to return to duty some time this week. Atchison says additional information regarding this investigation is expected to be released later in the week.
Justin Minh Tran, 20, of Longview is under arrest on multiple felony charges after an incident that took place Saturday at St. John Medical Center, where he allegedly held a fork to the throat of a nurse in a brief hostage situation incident. Today’s Daily News reports on the incident; Tran had been arrested on the 20th of this month, picked up in connection with a first-degree burglary case. He reportedly told jail workers that he’d swallowed baggies of illegal drugs, so he was taken to the hospital to be checked out. At the hospital, he allegedly put a female nurse in a head lock, and put the fork to her neck. As a Corrections Officer moved toward the pair, Tran supposedly tried to use the nurse as a shield. The nurse was able to force Tran’s hand away from her neck, and the officer began punching Tran in the head. The nurse escaped as the two men went to the floor, and the guard claims that Tran tried to take his gun. Tran was eventually subdued and placed in restraints. He was eventually returned to the jail, where he now faces counts of second and third-degree assault, second-degree escape, and attempting to disarm an officer. Along with the previous counts, his bail now totals $255,000.