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Archive | July, 2013

Thomson Trial

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 16:06

After years of delays, the California trial of the man suspected of killing Lori Hamm of Longview back in 2006 is set. Today’s Daily News reports that John Wayne Thomson, 53, is scheduled to go on trial September 3rd in San Bernardino County, with jury selection in the case is expected to begin on August 12. Thomson is accused of killing a 55 year-old man near San Bernardino on August 1st, 2006, which was the end of a killing spree that started in Spokane in July of 2006. During that spree, Thomson allegedly took advantage of and then shot Hamm to death. She knew Thomson casually, meeting him while singing karaoke in local bars. She was last seen on July 16th, 2006; her car was found in the Home Depot parking lot on July 21st, and her body was found on August 1st of that year, the same day he was suspected of killing 55 year-old Charles Hedlund in San Bernardino, California. He was arrested after an attempted carjacking on August 7th, subdued by two newspaper pressmen who witnessed the incident. Continued switching of public defenders has delayed the case; Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur says that she still plans to pursue the local case against Thomson, regardless of the outcome in California.

Fire Danger

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 16:06

There’s a Fire Weather Watch out for the Gifford Pinchot, Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests, warning of the possibility of wildfires as dry lightning storms are possible today. The alert went up at midnight last night, and will be in effect through tomorrow night. Cowlitz County Emergency Management says that the storms are expected to move up from the south, starting today and continuing through tomorrow night. With “critically dry” fuels in the woods, the possibility of these storms starting a fire is extremely high. In addition, effective immediately, all outdoor burning is banned on lands protected by the Department of Natural Resources, including campfires and prescribed burns. Until further notice, NO campfires are allowed on DNR-protected lands, even in developed campgrounds. RV’s will need to have operating spark arresters, and you’re advised to avoid parking vehicles in dry, grassy areas, as residual heat from exhaust systems could ignite those grasses. You’re also reminded that it’s illegal to discharge fireworks on DNR lands, along with the use of incendiary ammunition or exploding targets. Get more information on the DNR website, or from Cowlitz County Emergency Management.

Baltimore Robbery

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 16:05

An “attempt to locate” has been issued for a 2002 Chevy Malibu, reported as stolen in a robbery that supposedly took place last night at an apartment in the 1300 block of Baltimore. The man living in the apartment called 911 at about 8:20 pm; he says that he answered the door, and then a man came in, swinging a hammer. The suspect then took the victim’s car keys and told him if he called police, “there’s a lot more of them out there.” The suspect and a female companion then took off in the car. The car has a license plate number of 472-YYK, and also has a broken back window. Contact local law enforcement if you’ve seen this car.

Bob’s Burglary

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 16:04

The suspect in yesterday morning’s break-in at Bob’s Sporting Goods is now identified as Norman Michael Schmidt III, 22, of Kelso, and Longview Police claim that he was trying to steal guns from the business. Officers responded to the store at 11th and Hudson at about 5:20 am, after an alarm activation at the bait window was reported. That was followed by an alarm trip in the gun room. Officers and Deputies arrived and surrounded the building, and public address announcements were made. A man was seen trying to leave the building, but when he spotted officers, he slammed the door and went back in. A while later, Schmidt’s mother contacted LPD, saying that she’d received a call from her son saying that he was “in big trouble.” Around 6:15, Schmidt gave himself up, and he was arrested for second-degree burglary, attempted first-degree theft, and multiple counts of theft of a firearm. A bag full of guns was found near the door. Schmidt is now being held without bail, while Longview Police continue to investigate the incident.

LCC Budget

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 16:04

The 2013-2014 operating budget for Lower Columbia College is now in place, and students will be pleased to know that there is NO tuition increase planned in the coming year. College officials say that the $23.46 million budget reflects a modest 5.6 percent increase in funding over the previous year; LCC will be getting just over $11 million in state appropriations, which also include the restoration of nearly 300 thousand dollars that was cut from the 2012-2013 budget. That was part of a state-mandated reduction in funding for state employees. The remainder of the operating funds come from tuition, local funds, reserves and carry-over from the previous year. LCC plans to spend $2.4 million to cover debt payments on the new Health and Science Building; they also plan to restore eight tenure-track faculty positions, casualties from cuts that were made over the past few years. LCC President Chris Bailey says that they’re pleased to be able to restore these positions, especially with no tuition increase. The college is projecting 2,900 full-time equivalent students, down two percent from last year, but still 13 percent above the state-funded budget.

Bridge Meeting

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 15:55

Some of those in attendance likened the three-hour meeting to “herding cats,” but the Longview City Council, the Longview Historic Preservation Commission and the Longview Parks and Recreation Advisory Board finally came to a consensus on a “preferred alternative” for the replacement of the Washington Way Bridge. They’re looking at a pre-cast concrete bridge with five travel lanes with aesthetic improvements, concrete support piles, and eight-foot sidewalks. Longview City Manager Bob Gregory says that they’ll now submit this decision to state and federal officials for approval…wwaybridge…A second open house on the bridge replacement is planned for Wednesday, August 21st, where you’ll have an opportunity to review and comment on this preferred alternative. In September, the Historic Preservation Commission and the Parks Board will discuss the proposal; approval from both of those panels is needed before the City Council can take action on a preferred design in October. It’s currently planned that the $5.3 million project will go out to bid in May of next year, with construction to start in July of next year. Completion is projected for September of 2015. Additional details are available on the City of Longview website.

WSH Closure

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 15:53

The Washington Department of Transportation is planning a complete closure of West Side Highway in Kelso over the weekend, starting Friday night and continuing until Monday morning. Wash-DOT now says that they plan to completely close 1st Avenue between Catlin Street and Washington Street, starting at 8 pm Friday night. They plan to replace crumbling concrete panels, and will rebuild a portion of West Side Highway at that spot. Traffic will be detoured onto 2nd Avenue; you’ll need to use alternate routes, or budget some extra time to deal with traffic delays in that area.

I-205 Closure

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 15:52

Work on the new interchange at Northeast 139th in Vancouver will cause an overnight closure of I-105 southbound, starting tonight and going until 5 am tomorrow morning. Five new concrete girders will be installed overnight. Detours will be posted; traffic heading to Legacy Salmon Creek will need to get off the freeway at the Northeast 179th Street exit, next to the Clark County Fairgrounds. Additional closures are planned for this fall, as other new girders are installed and the old 134th Street overpass is demolished. Get full details on the Washington Department of Transportation website.

Microsoft Competition

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 15:51

Three Kalama High School students are in our nation’s Capitol, taking part in an international information technology competition. Earlier this month, it was announced that junior Morgan VanRiper, junior James Willman and sophomore Brady Harmon had each taken first place in the national Microsoft IT Academy competition, and would compete in the international competition. VanRiper placed first in Microsoft Word Expert, Willman was first in Excel, and Harmon placed first in PowerPoint. They’re now competing in the Microsoft Office Specialist World Competition, which runs through Saturday in Washington, D. C. The Microsoft IT Academy provides training and certification in a variety of Microsoft products, along with training in advanced topics like programming, web development and database development.

KLOG Wednesday Sports

Posted on 31st July 2013 at 14:51

The Red Sox beat the Mariners 8-2 last night as rookie Brandon Workman collected his first Major League victory. The M’s and Sox play again today, KLOG 3:00 pm…..The Cowlitz Black Bears beat the Bend Elks 6-2 last night as Cody Rogina got the win. Kyle Knigge, Ryan Littlefield and Derrick Salberg each had two hits. The Bears and Elks play again tonight at 6:35 pm…..Sandy Oregon shutout Longview 9-0 at the Cal Ripken 70’ 12-yer-old Regional in Centralia yesterday. Longview continues pool play today with a 2 pm game against Meridian Idaho…..Kalama/Woodland open the Senior Babe Ruth Regional in Klamath Falls today with games at 9 am and 4:30 pm…..Portland’s Will Johnson and Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin will take part in the MLS All-Star Game tonight in Kansas City.