The picketing continues at KapStone Paper and Packaging, as the strike by the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers is now in its fifth day. The Sheriff’s Office is now investigating an incident reported last night on the strike line, as one of the union picketers apparently was struck by a car leaving the millsite. There have been several complaints coming from the 300 block of Fibre Way, with union officials complaining about contractors and others crossing the picket line at high rates of speed, while company officials complain that picketers are blocking traffic coming in and out. Around 6:40 last night, picketers called 911, reporting a fight and an assault, with one of picketers reportedly hit by a vehicle leaving the mill. Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig says that this was a very slow-speed impact; a union representative says that the picketer couldn’t get out of the way, and that the driver kept going, even with the striker right in front of him. The victim, identifies as Steve Blanchard, was taken to St. John Medical Center, but he declined treatment. Rosenzweig says that his office will continue to monitor the picket line, as long as manpower is available.
Archive | August, 2015
There could be another labor confrontation brewing in Kelso, as the Kelso Education Association files a request with the Public Employment Relation Commission to request mediators to help settle their contract. In an announcement issued Friday, Roy Maier with the Kelso Education Association says that the Kelso School District is refusing to adequately compensate teachers for increased class loads and additional classroom time. He says that the KEA is currently working without a contract, but teachers still plan to show up for class when the first kids show up today. The two sides have been bargaining since the end of April; both Maier and district management say that pay is the main point of contention, and they’re hopeful that a mediator can help to resolve the differences.
Summer is over for some school kids in the local area, while other have another few days before the school doors swing open. Today is the first day of school for first-through-fifth graders in the Kelso School District, and it’s also “Transition Day” for 6th and 9th-graders, giving those kids a full day to become acquainted with their new buildings. All other students will start classes tomorrow. Winlock Schools will open classes tomorrow, while Longview, Kalama, Toutle Lake, and Wahkiakum will all start on Wednesday. Next Tuesday, Castle Rock will open for 1st through 6th-graders and 9th-graders, followed by all classes on Wednesday. Rainier is also opening next Tuesday for 7th and 9th-graders, along with students new to the district. Clatskanie 7th-graders will start next Tuesday, then all students will get going on Wednesday, the 9th.
About a week prior to the first day of school in Woodland, you’re invited to come by and take a tour of the brand-spanking-new Woodland High School. The Woodland School District is holding a Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting ceremony this evening, starting at 6 pm. The doors will open at 5:30 pm, then at 6, Superintendent Michael Green will speak, the Woodland High School Jazz Choir will sing the National Anthem, and Student Body President Jared Cloud will raise the American flag for the first time. School Board President Janice Watts will offer a few words, and then the school design team will cut the ribbon. After some additional remarks by local dignitaries, the school will open for tours, either with or without a guide. The first day of classes is set for Wednesday, September 9th.
The Washington Department of Ecology is fining Foster Farms in Kelso $44,000 for releases of untreated wastewater from the company’s chicken processing facility in Kelso. DOE claims that Foster Farms released untreated wastewater on June 6th of this year; they also claim that the volume was large enough to overwhelm the Three Rivers Water Treatment plant, and then reach the Columbia River. Large amounts of grease and chicken feathers were found at the treatment plant; nearly a full cubic yard of material was removed from the plant’s inlet screen. Along with the fine, Foster Farms is being ordered to update its operation and maintenance manual to try and prevent similar discharges in the future. Foster Farms officials say that they plan to make the required updates, and they also plan to pay the fine.
Kelso Police are looking into an incident reported last night, where a man claims that someone pulled a gun on him, right in front of the Police Station. This incident was reported shortly before 9 pm, in the 200 block of South Pacific Avenue. The victim says that he was on a bike when the suspects pulled up next to him; the victim says that the people inside the car started making threats to hurt him, and then one person drew a silver-colored revolver and pointed it in his direction. The suspects then drove off, last seen heading off to the north. The victim gave police a description of the car and the people inside, but no arrests have been made.
There are some projects around the area that might slow your travels. The City of Longview plans to start a three-week concrete street panel repair project at 15th and Commerce, with that work starting today. Street Supervisor Craig Collins says that they plan to repair panels on both sides of 15th Avenue, along with the ADA ramps on both sides of the street. One lane in each direction will be closed during this work, along with other alternating lane closures. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.
If you’re heading into Vancouver this week, be aware of some nighttime lane closures that are planned on I-5, I-205 and SR 500. Tonight, one lane of I-5 southbound will close at Northeast 78th Street, going from 9 pm tonight until 5 am tomorrow. Tomorrow night, the southbound off-ramp from I-205 to SR 500 will close for repair of an expansion joint. Wednesday night, two lanes of I-205 northbound will close from Mill Plain Boulevard to SR 500, as work is done on bridge decks and expansion joints. You should use 511 or go to the WashDOT web page to check on current road conditions.
Two of the area’s more significant accounting firms are announcing a merger. The Futcher-Henry Group and Chace and Spurgeon are announcing that they’re combining companies to become what’s now call The Futcher Group, with David Futcher, Jori Scruggs-Brown and David Spurgeon listed as the company’s shareholders. The merger comes after the retirement of Bob Chace, who plans to focus his professional attention on “other endeavors.” Following the merger, the Futcher Group will have three additional CPA’s and six other professionals to provide tax planning and preparation, business consultation and other financial management services, located at 700 Lincoln Street in Kelso. Get more information on the Futcher Group web page at futchergroup.com.
Area teens are invited to the Longview Public Library for the Mad Hatter Tea Party, running from 3:30 to 5:30 pm in the Rose Garden on the east side of the Library. Along with croquet and other lawn games, they’ll also be serving iced tea and other treats. Organizers say that costumes are encouraged, as prizes will be awarded. This even is being arranged by the Rainbow Community Diversity Youth Groups, which is devoted to celebrating diversity in a bully-free environment. It’s free and open to all area middle and high school teens.
The White Sox beat the Mariners 6-5 in 11 innings on Sunday. The M’s are in Houston to play the Astros tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm…..The Seattle Sounders held off the Portland Timbers in MLS soccer yesterday…..The Portland Thorns and Washington Spirit ended in a 3-3 tie at Providence Park last night…..The LCC women’s soccer team went 1-1 at the NWAC Friendlies event in Eugene over the weekend. Saturday the Devils beat Portland 2-0 then Skagit downed LCC 3-0 on Sunday…..The LCC volleyball team opened the season with a 3-0 win over Multnomah on Friday. The Devils host Pacific University tomorrow night at 6 pm…..UW coach Chris Peterson says he will not name a starting QB until right before game time Friday night at Boise State.