The clock is now ticking for the Cowlitz County Department of Health and Human Services, as the County Commissioners set a 90-day deadline to set up improvements and to better manage the county’s Syringe Exchange program. Commissioner Dennis Weber wonders why the numbers of needles being traded increased by nearly double in the last two years, while the number of clients stayed pretty close to the same; Weber says that the inability to accurately track the numbers is concerning. About 80 people attended last night’s meeting of the County Commissioners, who also act as the Cowlitz County Board of Health. All three Commissioners had strong concerns a perceived lack of accountability, particularly in regard to the numbers of needles being exchanged. County Health Officer Jennifer Vines says that the Syringe Exchange Program is crucial in helping to keep the number of HIV and Hepatitis cases under control, and she says that the program is also a gateway for drug users to access treatment options. Public comments ran about 50-50 in support and against the program, though there did seem to be a consensus that improvements could be made. On a unanimous vote, the Commissioners voted to suspend the program in 90 days, unless five conditions are met. The Health Department will be required to confirm that the syringes are being exchanged on a one-to-one basis. They will be required to give a report on the program every 90 days, along with quarterly reports on blood-borne disease rates in the county. Exchanges will be limited to 80 needles at a time per client, and so-called “starter kits” will no longer be made available. There’s also a 30-day deadline to make a progress report back to the Commissioners.
Archive | June, 2017
Millennium Bulk Terminals is re-applying for the Water Quality Permit that was denied by the Department of Ecology, looking for a second chance to obtain that permit, which is one of the big keys for their coal export terminal project. The Department of Ecology announced yesterday that Millennium Bulk Terminals is re-applying for “401 Water Quality Certification” on the project in the four thousand block of Industrial Way. Ecology says that MBT is withdrawing its previous request, and is re-applying, with no changes reported in the project proposal that was rejected earlier. A 30-day public comment period is now open; it’s noted that if you provided public comments under the previous application, you do not need to re-submit them. New comments are also welcome. Get more information on the Department of Ecology federal permit web page.
The local fireworks stands open at noon today, and will be allowed to sell fireworks through July 5th. The State Fire Marshal’s Office reports that 857 retail fireworks stand licenses were issued across the state this year. The legal hours for sales of fireworks is from noon until 11 pm today, and from 9 am to 11 pm tomorrow through July 4th. The stands can also be open for sales on Wednesday, the 5th from 9 am until 9 pm. The legal hours for discharging fireworks is close to that for sales, with a few extra hours built in. Legal discharge hours are noon to 11 pm today, and from 9 am to 11 pm from the 29th to July 3rd; on the 4th, the hours are 9 am until midnight, and on the 5th, you can legally shoot fireworks from 9 am to 11 pm. Be sure to exercise extreme caution when setting off fireworks; be considerate by observing the legal hours, and clean up your debris afterward. Contact your local fire agency for more information on fireworks safety.
The first burn ban of the season goes up this Friday in Columbia County. Columbia River Fire and Rescue joined with fire agencies from across the county in announcing the backyard burn ban, which will start minute after midnight on Saturday, July 1st. Recreational fires will be allowed at private residences, as long as regulations are followed, and a designated fire pit is in place. Burning of garbage or yard debris would not be allowed; fires must be attended by a “responsible, sober, non-impaired adult,” with fire-extinguishing equipment on hand. Columbia County residents can find out more about these restrictions by going to crfr.com.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office continues to look into a Tuesday incident that took place at the Haapa Boat Launch, a few miles east of Woodland on the Lewis River. Deputies were called to the launch at around 2 pm on Tuesday, when another person reported seeing a pickup submerged in the water. They’re not sure of exactly where the truck went into the river, but it’s reported that the male driver was able to safely escape and get to shore. It’s reported that Deputies have been able to contact the girlfriend of the registered owner, who confirms that the man is healthy, safe and sound. They still haven’t been able to interview the owner, to try and get a line on the how and why of how the truck ended up in the water. The investigation is continuing.
Remember that Washington Way will be closed between 20th and Larch Streets today, while work continues on a sanitary sewer project. The full closure of Washington Way goes up at 7 am, and could continue as late as 9 pm tonight. Local access will be maintained; you’ll want to use alternate routes to avoid delays.
Plans are now in place for the replacement of the Chamber Way Bridge over I-5 in Chehalis. The Centralia Chronicle reports on the update, which was presented to the Chehalis City Council last Monday night. It’s now planned that a temporary bridge will be used while the replacement bridge is built. The span over the southbound freeway was seriously was severely damaged in July of last year, when an over-height truck hit the bridge. A temporary span is now in place. The alternate bridge is suggested by the winning contractor on the project, Quigg Brothers Construction of Aberdeen. Work is scheduled to begin at the end of July, and should continue through October of next year.
Get your fresh summer produce each Wednesday at Northlake Elementary School, as the Lower Columbia School Gardens open up for a weekly Produce Sale. Along with the fresh-picked fruits, veggies and flowers, you can also meet with the Garden Rabbits, and find out why local kids are so excited about growing their own food. Hours are 10 am to 1 pm each Wednesday through August 30th at Northlake Elementary School on Olympia Way in Longview. Get more information by calling 431-6725.
The Phillies scored the game’s final eight runs as they beat the Mariners 8-2 last night. The M’s host the Phils for a day game today, KLOG 11:30 am. Felix Hernandez makes the start for Seattle…..The Giants beat the Rockies 4-3 in 14 innings last night. Bud Black’s Rockies are in a seven game tailspin…..The Florida Gators beat LSU 6-1 last night to win the school’s first NCAA baseball championship…..Kelowna scored eight runs in the first two innings and held on to beat the Cowlitz Black Bears 8-6 last night in British Columbia. The finale of the three game set is tonight at 6:35 pm…..Today is a travel day for the Hilander Dental Senior Legion team as they will begin play at the Cowboy Classic in Twin Falls, Idaho tomorrow.
Clint Dempsey’s goal in stoppage time allowed the Seattle Sounders to pull out a 2-2 tie with the Portland Timbers last night…..The Houston Astros hit three long homers and went on to beat the Seattle Mariners 8-2 yesterday. Seattle has a day off today before hosting the Phillies tomorrow night…..The Cowlitz Black Bears rallied from down 10-3 to beat the Port Angeles Lefties 16-12 last night at Story Field. The Bears begin a six game Canadian road trip tonight at Kelowna…..In Legion ball, Hilander Dental beat Wilsonville 10-0 and lost to Moundtime 8-2 in games Sunday at the Willamette Invite in Salem. HD hosts RBI today at 5 pm at Rister Stadium…..Roots Sports led by Josh Wilson and Casey Frandsen lost the title game in the Spokane Hoop Fest 6 foot and over division.