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Archive | ‘Local News’

Filing Update

Posted on 21st May 2018 at 09:36

Filing Week for the 2018 Election is over, and we definitely have some races coming up. One of that should get a lot of interest is the race for Commissioner District 2 for the Cowlitz Public Utility District, as Ned Piper of Longview files once again for that panel. Piper apparently has moved, as he previously served in PUD Commission District 3. He’s now running against incumbent Kurt Anagnostou and challenger Duane Dalgliesh of Longview.

The normally sedate runs for District Court judge are all contested this year, as the two current sitting judges are retiring, and voters will select a third District Court Judge for the first time ever. District Court Judge Position 1 is a three-way race, involving Chelsea Baldwin of Longview, Debra Burchett of Longview and Kevin Blondin of Longview. Position 2 has Jaime Imboden of Longview squaring off against Corey Larson of Longview. In the Position 3 race, John Hays of Longview will be running against Tom Ladouceur of Kalama.

Most of the Cowlitz County elected positions are unopposed, but we do have some contested seats. Long-time Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Thurman is running against current Sheriff Mark Nelson. Republican Karen Walker of Longview is running for Treasurer, going against incumbent Democrat Debra Gardner of Castle Rock. County Commissioner Joe Gardner is also being challenged, as Jerry Cooper of Kelso is filing to run as a Republican. Gardner is filed as an Independent.

19th District Representative Brian Blake of Longview and 20th District Representative Ed Orcutt of Kalama will each face primary races, as multiple challengers have filed for those seats. Republicans Joel McIntire of Cathlamet and David Parsons of Kelso are filing to run for Blake’s seat, while Democrat Brennan Bailey of Chehalis and Independent Mark Smith of Kelso are running for the seat currently held by Orcutt. 19th District Representative Jim Walsh of Aberdeen is being challenged by Democrat Erin Frasier of Adna, while 20th District Representative Richard DeBolt will be going against Democrat John Thompson of Silver Lake.

The Third Congressional District currently has seven contenders, including incumbent Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler. Two Republicans are mounting a primary challenge to Beutler, Earl Bowerman dos Camas and Michael Cortney of Vancouver. Beutler is also being challenged by three Democrats, Martin Hash of Vancouver, David McDevitt of Vancouver, and Carolyn Long of Vancouver.

Races with more than two challengers will be involved in the Primary Election on Tuesday, August 7th; the top two vote-getters will then go on to the General Election on Tuesday, November 6th.

Willapa Bay Search

Posted on 21st May 2018 at 09:35

A search effort in Willapa Bay is being suspended for the time being, after a crab boat went missing over the weekend. The search got started Saturday afternoon, when the wife of the skipper of the 43-foot “Kelli J” reported him as overdue. It’s thought that Kevin Soule had some sort of mishap while he was pulling crab pots; yesterday afternoon, Coast Guard searchers found the boat completely submerged yesterday morning, under water in the area between Oysterville Sea Farms and Bay Center. They say that strong currents in the area are making the recovery very difficult; divers are attempting to block vents on the boat, to prevent diesel fuel from leaking into the bay. It’s noted that the Soule family has a long fishing tradition in Willapa Bay, with multiple generations involved in the industry. It’s also noted that Soule’s wife is the manager of the Key Bank in Long Beach. Coast Guard officials are continuing to monitor the situation.

Rock Hounder Search

Posted on 21st May 2018 at 09:35

A search effort in Wahkiakum County has had a successful resolution, after a rock hounder got separated from his group. This call came in at about 11:45 last night, from the 900 block of Mill Creek Road. The 911 caller reports that 46 year-old Jim Miller had been out with them, and then got separated from the group. The caller says that they looked for about three hours before calling for help. A group of about a half-dozen people was involved in the effort to find Miller; it was eventually determined that this incident happened in the Bradley Trails area, which is in Wahkiakum County. The Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office reports that Miller walked out of the woods on his own this morning, right around 9:30 am.

Trailer Tumble

Posted on 21st May 2018 at 09:30

Noah Kennard, 32, of Centralia is being cited after a crash that snarled traffic on the northbound freeway yesterday afternoon. State Troopers say that Kennard was driving north on I-5 at 2:45 yesterday afternoon, hauling an SUV on a flatbed trailer. Near the bridge for the East Fork of the Lewis River, the trailer began to oscillate, and Kennard lost control of his truck. The trailer began to whip around, eventually tossing the SUV. That rig then rolled onto its right side, blocking two lanes of the freeway. Troopers say that Kennard did suffer injuries in the crash, but he refused aid. Troopers say that Kennard exceeded a safe speed for towing the SUV, so he’s being cited for allowing the trailer to whip, weave and oscillate.

Port of Kalama News

Posted on 21st May 2018 at 09:28

The Port of Kalama says that construction starts this week on the new amphitheater that is going in at Marine Park, work that will make for some pathway closures and detours during construction. Starting today, some paths through Marine Park and Louis Rasmussen Park will be detoured; they say that the route alterations should take no more than two weeks. The playground will remain open. Along with construction of the small outdoor amphitheater, Port officials say that they plan to replace the asphalt walkway in the parks, they’ll install lighted bollards along the walkway, and they’ll replace the irrigation system in Marine Park. This is the first phase of a multi-phase project.

The Port of Kalama is also announcing that wastewater generated from port facilities is being trucked to treatment plants for a while, as the licensed operator of the existing plant is placed on leave. Port of Kalama Executive Director Mark Wilson is not disclosing any details about the review, calling it a “personnel matter.” He’s also not saying anything about how long the plant might be down, saying that their main objective is to be in compliance with state law. He says that they are working with the Department of Ecology to maintain compliance. As recently as 2016, the Port of Kalama Wastewater Treatment Plant was honored by the Department of Ecology for outstanding performance and operations.

Street Work

Posted on 21st May 2018 at 09:27

Work starts today on a couple of street projects in Longview. A crosswalk replacement project starts today in downtown Longview, working in the 1200 block of Commerce Avenue, and at the intersection of Commerce and Hemlock. On Commerce, they’re replacing one-half of three crosswalks in the southbound lane. The city also plans to replace the entire crosswalk on the west side of the intersection. Be aware that traffic on Commerce will be reduced to one northbound lane in the 1100 and 1200 blocks; southbound traffic will be detoured to 14th Avenue at Hudson Street. Hemlock will be closed on the west side of Commerce, with access limited to local traffic only. Traffic signals at Commerce and Hudson will be set to flashing red. This work is currently projected to last about 11 days. You’re advised to use 12th and 14th Avenues to avoid congestion and delays.

Work also starts today on concrete panel repairs on Archwood Drive, in the area of West Lynnwood Drive. Work is scheduled to start this morning at 7 am, working on the southwest intersection with West Lynnwood. Archwood Drive will be closed at the intersection with West Lynnwood; traffic will be detoured to the northeastern intersection. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.

Eruption Anniversary

Posted on 18th May 2018 at 09:38

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, the day when an earthquake triggered the event that left an indelible mark on the local landscape, while also taking the lives of 57 people. Events marking the date are happening around the area, starting with today’s first-ever Lower Columbia College Volcano Conference. This will run from 11 am to 4 pm today in the Conference Rooms at the LCC Student Center, featuring a number of information sessions, along with performances by the LCC Choir and Drama Departments. Admission is free, and all are invited to attend.

Formal interpretive talks start today at the Silver Lake Visitors Center next to Seaquest State Park, and will be offered each hour while the center is open, through September 3rd.

The Mount St. Helens Institute is marking the event by bringing Bill Nye the Science Guy to Portland for a special event. Nye will be making a special presentation this evening at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland. The Institute is also hosting the “It’s a Blast” science and discovery event on Saturday at the Johnston Ridge Volcano Observatory on Saturday. That’s a day-long festival of hands-on family activities. Go to mshinstitute.org to learn more about both events.

Poverty Report

Posted on 18th May 2018 at 09:36

A new report from the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties shows that 41 percent of households in Cowlitz County cannot afford basic needs, not making enough to cover monthly expenses like housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone. New data released through the United Way ALICE Project also show that 23 percent of Cowlitz County families are just one unexpected expense away from financial distress. The United Way says that 7,230 Cowlitz County households live below the federal poverty level; they also report that another 9,239 families are ALICE familes, which stands for “Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed.” These households make more than the Federal Poverty Level, but they make less than what is needed to survive in the modern economy. United Way Executive Director Brooke Fisher-Clark says that the numbers are increasing, both locally and throughout the Northwest. She says that this report shows how essential workers are overlooked by other economic indicators, and how they are just one step away from financial disaster. The United Way says that the goal of this information is to raise awareness about how close many families are to real financial distress, and to spur local governments into taking action.

KHS Principal

Posted on 18th May 2018 at 09:36

Christine McDaniel is moving from the little kids to the big kids, as she’s named as the new Principal at Kelso High School. McDaniel is succeeding John Gummel, who is leaving Kelso to take a job as the new Superintendent for the Pioneer School District in Shelton. McDaniel is a Kelso native who stayed at home to become a teacher. She started at Barnes Elementary School in 1996, and also has teaching stints with Coweeman Middle School and Kelso High School. She was named as Principal at Barnes in 2015. McDaniel says that she never dreamed that she would one day run the high school that she attended as a teen. She says that she’s “incredibly appreciative” of the opportunity that’s been presented. A search to find McDaniel’s replacement at Barnes is now getting under way.

Video Deadline

Posted on 18th May 2018 at 09:35

Today is the deadline for entries in the Cowlitz Clean Waters 2018 “Solutions to Stormwater Pollution” Student Video Contest. This is a first-time event, asking for kids to produce 30-second public service announcements, promoting behavior changes that address stormwater pollution and cleaning up the waters of Cowlitz County. The grand prize winner will get a $500 Amazon gift card, along with smaller prizes for second and third. Call 360-577-3323 for more information on submitting an entry.