Jozelle Fernandez, 25, of Seattle is in critical condition at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center after being injured in a two-car crash that closed I-5 southbound north of Kelso for several hours. The State Patrol says that the crash happened at about 1:20 yesterday afternoon, when a car driven by Daniel Elmer, 60, of Battle Ground left the northbound freeway at milepost 43, crossed the median, and then crashed head-on into a car driven by David Nguyen, 26, of Kent. All three lanes of the southbound freeway were closed as LifeFlight was brought in to transport Fernandez to Vancouver. Nguyen was taken to Saint John Medical Center with lesser injuries, while Elmer was unhurt. Traffic backed up for miles as the injured were handled, and a landing zone was set up for LifeFlight. The freeway re-opened to traffic at about 4:30 pm. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but WSP also reports that vehicular assault charges are being filed against Elmer.
Archive | May, 2017
State Troopers continue to investigate a one-car crash that happened yesterday morning on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway near Toutle. The collision was reported at about 1:20 yesterday morning, just west of milepost 29 on State Route 504. A car was found in the ditch, and a man was inside, bleeding profusely from an injury to the back of his head. It was also reported that the man was bleeding from the ear. A landing zone was set up at Toutle Lake High School, as LifeFlight was activated and the man was airlifted from the scene. Other details on the collision are still under investigation; the man’s name has not yet been released.
At least a half-dozen law enforcement officers spent time checking the woods and bushes around Gerhart Gardens Park in Longview early yesterday morning, after a man claimed that a “mountain lion” tried to attack him. The man called 911 shortly before 1 yesterday morning, claiming that a cougar was staring him down. The man says that he was near the boat launch when the big cat confronted him; he says that the cougar weighed about 90 pounds, and was just five feet from his car. He claims that the cougar wandered through the parking lot, walking right in front of his car. The cat was last seen heading toward the river, moving in a southeasterly direction. The area was checked extensively, but no sign of a “mountain lion” was found.
The Longview School District is once again going on-line to try and get an idea of what citizens think about the proposed plans for district facilities. The district published links to the survey yesterday, and will be taking comment through Sunday, June 4th. You will first be asked to look at information from the Facilities Plan, and then to provide comment. In a few weeks, survey participants will be contacted to take part in the “Star Step” in the survey, where you’ll be able to review comments from other citizens, and then will be able to rank the ideas that are most important to you. It’s emphasized that confidentiality will be preserved during this step, as you read and review the thoughts of others. Superintendent Dan Zorn says that step will give the district what the sense of “shared values” in the community. Get more information on the Longview School District website.
Sales tax returns in Longview are back to the record levels that were set back in 2007, according to Longview Finance Director and Assistant City Manager Kurt Sacha. The 1st Quarter General Fund review was presented at last night’s City Council meeting, where Sacha says that they can start thinking about putting some money away to pay for city facility maintenance. Sacha says that his projections now show that the city will end 2017 with a Fund Balance of more than $10 million, and he suggests that about $400,000 be put into the Building Depreciation Fund. Sacha says that city expenses will continue to outpace revenues, but the revenue stream is strong enough to maintain double-digit reserves through at least 2022. At this stage, the city is fully able to fund core programs and services, while still looking for ways to reduce expenses. The contribution to the Building Fund was approved on a unanimous vote.
Also at last night’s meeting, the City Council approved a new three-year contract with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3375, retroactive to January 1st of this year. The union approved the contract last week, which was followed by last night’s Council approval. The members of IAFF Local 3375 will get a three-percent raise this year, followed by two-percent raises in 2018 and 2019. The firefighters will also get a general wage increase that’s based on 100% of the Portland-Salem Consumer Price Index in all three years. Adjustments are also being made to contributions to health insurance coverage. The new contract was approved on a unanimous vote.
As many of us are trying to get out of town for the holiday weekend, re-paving work on Industrial Way may slow that escape down a bit. Last night, a closure of the eastbound lanes between California Way and Oregon Way went up, with traffic moving in the westbound lanes, one lane in each direction. This closure is expected to be done by 8 am today, but other work could also contribute to traffic congestion. Pavement has been ground off of the westbound lanes between 3rd Avenue and Oregon Way, leaving a number of utility access holes as raised traffic hazards. The road surface is also extremely rough. Budget some extra time for heavy traffic if Industrial Way or Oregon Way is your planned escape route.
Reminders are going out from local public safety agencies, as we start to deal with the first real heat of the season. Public safety agencies are out with reminders that even though it’s hot outside, local rivers and lakes are still extremely cold, making them extremely dangerous. With rivers temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees, hypothermia can set in very quickly. Local streams are also running higher than usual, and those swift currents are also extremely dangerous. Be sure to wear your life jackets if you’re planning to play in the water this weekend.
The City of Longview has some closures that you need to be aware of. The Longview Public Library is closed today, as they conduct a staff training day. The Library will re-open tomorrow. The Longview Police Station at 14th and Hudson will be closed on Monday for the Memorial Day Holiday. Officers will still be on duty, but the station will not be open. Dial 911 to report emergencies, or call 442-5800 for non-emergency incidents.
You’re invited to Lower Columbia College at noon on Friday, as the Color Guard of LCC Veterans will be conducting a ceremonial Laying of the Wreath, honoring all veterans who have paid the ultimate price. Sgt. Norman Smith will play on the trumpet, and the LCC Choir will also perform. This will take place at noon on Friday at the flag poles between the Admission Building and the LCC Student Center.
You can also stop by the Veterans Corner inside the LCC Student Center, where you’ll be able to buy a duck in the Rubber Duck Raffle that the Veterans Alliance will hold on May 31st.
The second-to-last Angel Closet dress giveaway is set for this Friday, going from 3 to 6 pm at 1811 Washington Way in Longview. Local girls can get a dress for an upcoming formal event, along with shoes and accessories. Find out more on the Angel Closet Facebook page.
“The hills are alive” at this weekend’s show from Three Rivers Christian School, as they present the Broadway version of “The Sound of Music.” Performances are set for 7 pm on Friday and Saturday, along with a matinee at 3 pm on Saturday at the New Life Fellowship Church, located at 2441 42nd Avenue in Longview. Tickets are available at the door.
The Broadway hits continue across the Columbia in Clatskanie, as the middle and high school classes combine to present “Bye, Bye, Birdie.” This is also the first-ever performance of a musical by the drama program at Clatskanie High School. Performances are set for 7 pm Friday and Saturday night, along with a Saturday afternoon matinee.
The Lower Columbia College Drama is going WAY back for its spring show, putting on a production of the classic Greek tragedy “Antigone,” by Sophocles. Performances in the Center Stage Theatre at the Rose Center for the Arts are set for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday night, and at 3 pm on Sunday. Tickets are available on the LCC Theatre department web page, or at the door.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, you’re invited to bring the family Tam O’Shanter Park in Kelso for “A Day in the Park.” A variety of groups are involved in the event, which will have a photo booth, crafts, games, snacks and other fun. This will run from 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday.
The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market is now open for its annual run, set up on Saturdays and Tuesdays through October in the parking lot on 7th Avenue, right across from the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. Along with plant starts to get your garden off and running, they will have fresh baked goods, honey and hand-crafted items for sale. Hours are 9 am until 2 pm.
One things that will NOT be happening now is the installation of the new Squirrel Bridge in front of Kessler Elementary School. The Longview Sandbaggers has been working with the City of Longview to arrange for a street blockage, but with this postponement, that closure will not be needed. The installation will be set for another date.
Come by the Kelso United Methodist Presbyterian Church this Sunday for an evening of “jazz fellowship” with the church’s jazz band. Thigs get started at 6 pm Sunday evening, in the church located at 206 Cowlitz Way in Kelso, just east of the Peter Crawford Bridge.
The Kelso Bridge Market continues this Sunday, starting at 10 am at the Three Rivers Mall. Local farmers and crafters will be set up with fresh items, artworks and specially-made crafts. Admission is free.
Longview American Legion Post 155 will be hosting its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday morning, starting at 11 am at Longview Memorial Park and the Steele Chapel, located in West Longview on Industrial Way and Mt. Solo Road. There will be special speakers, and “Taps” will be played. All are invited to attend.
You can help to dedicate the new Veterans Monument that has been installed at R. A. Long Park, inside of the Civic Circle in downtown Longview. This will get started at 1:30 pm on Monday, and will include a special keynote speech by retired Navy Commander and Superior Court Judge Jim Stonier. Complimentary refreshments will be served at the Monticello Hotel following the dedication. Seating is limited, so you should bring your own chair, and parking will also be across from the park at the Longview City Hall.
The Mariners snapped a five game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Nationals. The M’s are at Boston today, KLOG 3:00 pm…..The LCC Red Devils pounded Mt. Hood 10-1 at the NWAC Championships last night. The Devils take on Everett tonight at 7:35 pm at Story Field…..Wahkiakum meets Colfax in the 2B State baseball semi-finals tonight at Centralia, 7 pm…..The Kelso Lassies open 3A State softball in Lacey today with a 10 am game against Edmonds-Woodway…..The State Track & Field championships are underway at Mt. Tahoma in Tacoma and EWU in Cheney…..The State tennis championships are also going on at the UW Nordstrom Center…..The Cowlitz County Amateur Gold tourney begins tomorrow through Monday with stops at 3 Rivers, Country Club and Mint Valley.
The Nationals beat the Mariners 5-1 yesterday. Washington goes for the sweep today, The start time has been moved up due to weather, KLOG 8:00 am pre game…..The NWAC baseball championships begin today at LCC’s Story Field. The first game is at 9:35 am this morning continuing on to the nightcap where the Lower Columbia Red Devils take on the Mt. Hood Saints, KLOG 7:30 pm…..Taft eliminated Rainier 8-1 in the first round of the Oregon 3A baseball playoffs…..The Rainier softball team advances in State with a 12-1 victory over Irrigon. The Columbians host Amity Friday afternoon…..Aunica Rybar of Mark Morris finished 20th at the State 2A girls golf tournament with an 84 yesterday. Zach Kochis of R.A. Long shot an 81 to take 33rd at the 2A boys State.