An investigation is under way after fire damaged two buildings and a number of vehicles at Triangle Motors, on Washington Way in Longview. Longview Fire and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue responded to the used car lot in the 1000 block of Washington Way at about 10:30 last night, when the owner of the lot reported seeing that the office was ablaze. The owner says that he was in the repair shop on the property when he spotted the fire; he was able to escape before the fire spread to the shop. The fire also spread to several of the cars parked on the lot; firefighters say there were a number of explosions that made their work more difficult. Most were car tires exploding, but there was one fuel tank that ruptured. Gas spilled underneath that vehicle, which then erupted into flames. It took about 90 minutes to get the fire put out, which was then followed by extensive overhaul of the scene. There were about 30 vehicles and one boat on the property; ten of those cars and the boat were destroyed in the fire. Neighboring businesses were undamaged, but the Domino’s Pizza that is next door was evacuated for a while as a precaution. The cause of the fire is not known, and there’s no dollar estimate on damage. The investigation into this blaze is just getting under way.
Archive | May, 2018
The bail for the Winlock man who’s accused of gunning down a neighbor has been increased to $5 million. The Centralia Chronicle reports on yesterday’s hearing in Lewis County Superior Court, where Randolph Thomas Graham, 58, was formally charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and drive-by shooting. It’s alleged that Graham pulled up to the driveway of his neighbor, Randy Lester, 44, as he was playing basketball with his 15 year-old son on the night of May 23rd. It’s claimed that Graham pulled a handgun and then started firing at Lester and his son. Lester was hit multiple times, including at least two shots in his back as he tried to run. A final shot in the back of the head was fatal. Authorities say that the track of the rounds also show that Graham was trying to shoot the 15 year-old as he ran for safety. Graham was arrested at his home, after a standoff of several hours. It’s reported that there has been an “ongoing dispute” between Graham and Lester; Facebook posts indicate that Graham has been keeping the Lesters “under surveillance.” Defense counsel was appointed for Graham; arraignment is set for June 14th.
The lawsuit being brought against the State of Washington in regard to its denial of permits for the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility in Longview is moving ahead, after a federal judge denies a motion to dismiss the action. Today’s Daily News reports on yesterday’s hearing in U. S. District Court in Tacoma, where Judge Robert J. Bryan denied a motion for summary judgement, ruling that the suit can continue. The parent company of Millennium, Lighthouse Resources, Inc., filed the suit in January, claiming that state officials have a bias against coal, and they claim that their permits have been unfairly denied. Several states are joining in the suit, contending that Washington is trying to control their commerce. Burlington Northern-Santa Fe is also joining the suit, claiming that the state is trying to dictate what can be carried on the rails. State officials stand by their decisions, saying that the permits were appropriately denied. During oral arguments, Bryan reportedly wondered how the federal suit can be resolved when several actions are still unresolved in state courts. Questions were also raised about the railroad’s involvement. Currently, the suit is scheduled to go to trial in May of next year, but Bryan is reportedly directing the parties involved to work separately to resolve issues prior to those hearings.
A meeting of the Cowlitz County Solid Waste Advisory Committee is being set up for the afternoon of Thursday, June 7th, where possible management reforms for the Headquarters Landfill will be discussed. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm on the 7th, in the General Meeting Room on the third floor of the County Administration Building in Kelso. At the request of the County Commissioners, the county is going through the process of reviewing management and operation of the facility, soliciting proposals from private waste management companies. It was recently announced that the county had selected Republic Services as the sole company to be involved in these negotiations. Cowlitz County Solid Waste is also being given an opportunity to present a management and operations plan. Several industrial companies and the Cities of Kelso and Longview are opposed to the county losing control of the landfill. The meeting on June 7th will be open to the public.
Ned Piper’s eligibility to run in District 2 of the Cowlitz PUD is being questioned, with a formal challenge filed with the Cowlitz County Auditor’s Office. The Daily News reports on the complaint filed by Donald Bornstedt of Kelso, who contends that Piper and his wife were not living in District 2 when he filed for the seat. For many years, Piper served on the PUD Commission from District 3, living in a house on Maryland Street in Longview. In May, Piper and his wife moved to the “Minthorn Home” in Longview’s Old West Side, which is in District 2. In his complaint, Bornstedt claims that Piper didn’t live in the house when he filed for the seat on May 18th. Sue Piper tells the paper that she had her eye on the house for some time, having been for sale for several months. After making an offer, Sue Piper says that she realized that the house was in District 2, and she encouraged Ned to run. Records show that the Piper’s offer was accepted on April 29th, and a housewarming party was held on May 16th. Ned Piper says that he stayed in the house on May 17th, and has been there every day since. County Auditor Carolyn Fundingsland held a hearing on the challenge yesterday afternoon, and she plans a decision on Piper’s voter registration by tomorrow. The challenge to his candidate filing would be held in Cowlitz County Superior Court.
It looks like the newly-reconstituted Clatskanie School Board could be reversing a previous vote, looking at the possibility of offering a new contract to Brad Thorud, the Principal at Clatskanie Elementary School. With four new members on the five-person panel, the Clatskanie School Board met last night, starting with a line-by-line review of the district’s $11.5 million budget for the coming school year. The turmoil involving Thorud and the departure of most members put the board behind on its budget process. After that budget review, the board went into executive session; on the return to the open meeting, there was a vote to appoint new board members Kara Harris and Kathy Engel to work with Interim Superintendent Jim Carlile to negotiate a new contract with Thorud. A previous decision to cancel Thorud’s contract led to a community revolt, leading to the resignation of one school board member, and the recall of two others.
The Longview School Board is holding a special meeting today, where they plan to talk about the Equity Task Force, followed by a discussion on the possible development of a Skills Center in the local area. The meeting is set to start at 7:30 pm in the School Board meeting room at the Longview School District offices on Lilac Street, next to R. A. Long High School. The meeting is open to the public.
The Mariners bullpen struggled again last night as Texas rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Mariners. The M’s and Rangers close out the four game set tonight, KLOG 6:00 pm…..The Cowlitz Black Bears open the season tonight with a non-league home game against the Northwest Honkers, 7:05 at Story Field. The West Coast League home opener is Monday against the Portland Pickles. The Bears are at Bend this weekend…..The Cowlitz Nationals beat the Lewis Americans 8-7 in the 41st Southwest Senior All-Star Feeder Game in Centralia yesterday…..The NCAA Softball World Series begins in Oklahoma City today. The Oregon Ducks play Arizona State at 9 am followed by the Washington Huskies against Oklahoma at 11:30 am.
The Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts is out with the 2018-2019 season, with some big-time acts coming in, along with a return of the Eugene Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.” The season starts on September 15th with “Aureum Aerial Arts,” a Cirque de Soliel-type of production. The first big act comes in on September 28th, when the multi-hit “Little River Band” comes in. Peter Yarrow of the 1960’s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary performs on January 18th, and the classic western band “Asleep at the Wheel” is scheduled for March 23rd. There will be two big musicals from Portland-based Stumptown Stages, with “Dreamgirls” being presented on the weekend of November 9th and 10th, followed by “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Mrch 8th and 9th. Members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra will present “The Wizards of Winter” on December 8th, and the Seattle International Comedy Competition will return on November 17th. Other shows include “Dracula,” two Celtic-type productions with “The Choir of Man” and The Irish Comedy Tour; “One Man-Stranger Things” is set for April 13th, and “Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles” closes the season on April 26th. Get the full list and get ticket information on columbiatheatre.com.
Looking for some grassroots support for her Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Protection Act, Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler met yesterday with several professional fishing guides, looking for personal stories about the impacts of increased sea lion numbers on their industry. Beutler says that it’s very difficult to communicate the damage being done to local salmon runs, and she says that we’re on the brink of losing the salmon and the sea lions. Beutler met with a half-dozen local fishing guides, who talked about how sea lion numbers have increased over the past decade, to the point where “colonies” of sea lions are setting up camp along the main stem of the Columbia. The guides say that the current hazing program isn’t working, since it doesn’t actually provide any negative feedback to the sea lions. The guides say that more aggressive measures are needed, and they say that the sea lions need to see these measures first-hand, so that they understand that the Columbia River is not where they should be. Beutler says that her bill would not necessarily increase the number of sea lions that could be lethally removed from the river, it would simply streamline the process for identifying and removing problem animals. Beutler says she’s hoping for a floor vote on the bill in August.