Longview Police are working to find the suspect in a fraud perpetrated against Lower Columbia CAP, where someone used the agency’s bank information to forge at least two checks. Checks for $575 were cashed at Key Bank and at Columbia Bank; they say that CAP uses Heritage Bank for its financial dealings. Police have several names that were on the checks, and they’re now working to contact those people. No arrests have been reported.
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The Washington State Liquor Control Board is taking action against the Oregon Way Tavern, suspending the bar’s license to serve alcohol. LCB agents asked for Longview Police to accompany them as they went to the tavern to serve the suspension, making a call around 12:30 yesterday afternoon. They now say that the liquor license suspension will be in effect until 1 pm next Tuesday afternoon; the LCB says that the tavern can be open, but they are not allowed to serve alcohol until the suspension ends next week. The owner reportedly advised the agents that they plan to be closed during the suspension. Longview Police were asked to keep an eye on the establishment, and to contact the Liquor Control Board if they see that the tavern is open, of if a large crowd is assembled outside.
Longview Police are posting photos of a man who’s suspected of using a stolen debit card at local stores. LPD posted a photo of the male suspect on Facebook yesterday afternoon, asking for its “community cadre of criminal catchers” to help identify this man. The case started last Sunday afternoon, when a man living in the 800 block of 32nd Avenue reported that his pickup had been prowled, and his wallet was stolen, along with other items. The thief apparently used the debit card that was inside the wallet to make purchases at the AM-PM on 15th Avenue, and at Jack in the Box, early on the morning of Monday, the 11th. Police also say that the suspect made several online purchases, and tried to buy gas at a local Shell station. The illegal transactions took place between 2:30 and 6 am on Monday, the 11th. The video from AM-PM provided full-length photos of the suspect, who’s described as a white male with brown hair, a mustache and a “chin-strap” beard. If you recognize this man, you’re asked to send a PRIVATE message to LPD, and to NOT post any names on the public Facebook page. Longview Police say that this is also a good reminder that you shouldn’t leave gifts or other valuables, whether it’s locked or not.
Cowlitz County has a new two-year budget, passed yesterday on a 2-1 vote of the County Commission. Concerns are being raised about the use of reserves and landfill revenues to balance the budget, with Commissioner Joe Gardner casting the dissenting vote on those grounds. The new budget comes in at $48.9 million for 2018 and $50.1 million for 2019, with deficits of $4 million in 2018 and $4.8 million in 2019 being covered by the use of reserves, and the transfer of $1 million each year from revenues generated by the Headquarters Landfill. Concerns are being raised about the “sustainability” of the budget through the use of reserves, and the Commissioners say that they’re going to keep a close eye on expenditures as the biennium moves along.
The City of Kelso is also being honored for excellence in financial reporting, also being presented with a Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. In addition to this highest award from the GFOA, Kelso Finance Director Brian Butterfield is being presented with the Award of Financial Reporting Achievement, presented for his role in preparing the report. This is the 13th consecutive year that the City of Kelso has been presented with this award.
The City of Longview is maintaining its contract with the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, actually moving to increase the amount of money that the city pays for animal control. At last night’s Longview City Council workshop, Humane Society Executive Director Keenan Harvey lined out how the agency is actually losing $100,000 per year under the current contracts with Longview, Kelso, Woodland, Castle Rock and Cowlitz County. Harvey tells the city that they’re actually performing two services for the price of one, also claiming that they have never had the correct funding schedule in place. Back in June, the Humane Society sent notices to the jurisdictions, announcing that the contracts would need to be reworked. City Manager Dave Campbell says that the city actually has an obligation to explore other options, but there’s not enough time to do that before the end of the year. In the end, the Council voted to increase its payment by $60,000, while also directing city staff to increase boarding fees through the next year. Staff is also being directed to explore other options for animal control services inside the Longview city limits.
You’re going to get the chance to ring in the New Year with a razor clam dig, as Washington Fish and Wildlife announces the next rounds of available digging days. Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks will all be open for digging on the evening tides on December 31st; Twin Harbors and Mocrocks will also be open for digging on the Monday evening tide. Digs are also being planned from Sunday, January 28th to Saturday, February 3rd, pending the results of ongoing toxin tests. Digging is only allowed on the evening tides; get full details on the WDFW web pages.
The Kelso-Longview Community Dancers present “The Nutcracker Ballet” this Friday and Saturday night at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Performances are planned for 7 pm each night; call the Evergreen Dance Studio at 360-423-7410 to get more information.
CoolWater is presenting a Christmas Concert this Friday night at the East Hills Alliance Church, located at 1405 Burcham St. in Kelso. It’s free and open to all.
“Christmas is Coming” will be presented this Friday and Saturday evenings at the Longview Theatre on Commerce Avenue in Longview, another production from Stageworks Northwest. This will be a lively mix of songs, skits and audience participation events, starting at 7:30 pm each night. This is also a “pay-as-you-will” production, with you paying as much as you think you should to get in. Get details on stageworksnorthwest.com.
The Friends of the Castle Rock Library are holding a Book Sale this Friday and Saturday, going from 11 am to 6 pm on Friday and from 10 am until 3 pm on Saturday. The Castle Rock Library is located right behind the Castle Rock City Hall, at 137 Cowlitz St. in downtown Castle Rock.
There’s another chance to have Breakfast with Santa Claus this Saturday, courtesy of the Longview Eagles. Breakfast will be served at the lodge on 12th Avenue from 9 to 11 am, and then Santa will be available for pictures between 11 am and 5 pm. This event is being hosted by the Crusaders Relay for Life team.
You can honor area veterans at a Wreath-Laying Ceremony that’s being held at the Silver Lake Cemetery, being held in connection with the Wreaths Across America observance. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and their Auxiliary are putting this event on, honoring the nation’s fallen military personnel, prisoners of war and those still missing in action. More than 1,000 memorial sites across the country are participating in the event, all going on at the same time. You’re asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the 9 am start time.
Safe Kids Lower Columbia is putting on the final Car Seat Clinic for 2017 on Saturday, going from 10 am until 1 pm in the truck bays at the main station for Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue, located at 701 Vine St. in Kelso. Certified car seat technicians will make sure that your car seat is properly installed, and that your children are being properly secured. Get more information on the Safe Kids Lower Columbia Facebook page.
There’s another “Soup’s On” community lunch event coming up this Saturday, going from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the church on S. 4th Avenue in Kelso. The Clothes Closet will also be open. Call 360-423-2513 to get more information.
Head over to the Kelso Theater Pub On Saturday, where they plan to show the films from last year’s NanoCon International Science Fiction Film Festival. Doors open at 3 pm, and the show will start at 3:30. Door prizes will also be awarded; proceeds from the screening will help to support the NanoCon Mark Five Science Fiction Convention.
The Cowlitz Cobras are putting on a “Paint for Fun” event this Saturday evening, going from 6 to 9 pm on Saturday at the Highlands Neighborhood Community Center. Only 20 slots are available, so you’ll need to act fast. The HNA Community Center is located at 292 21st Avenue in Longview. Call 360-701-9633 for more information.
“Celebrate Star Wars” on Sunday at the Children’s Discovery Museum, going from 1 to 4 pm. They’ll have all kinds of Star Wars fun, including a dence corner, laser puzzles, a puppet theater, a Star Wars selfie booth and more. The Children’s Discovery Museum is located next to the old Macy’s store at the Three Rivers Mall; admission is free.
There’s a Gift-Wrapping Relief Fundraiser happening this Sunday at the Highlands Neighborhood Community Center, going from 1 to 4 pm. Prices for each package will be based on size, as the HNA works to raise money to send students from that area to Washington, DC. The HNA Community Center is located at 292 21st Avenue in Longview.
Head to the Columbia Theatre this Sunday afternoon for “A Rocky Mountain Christmas,” a John Denver tribute that’s performed by Ted Vigil. Curtain is set for 3 pm on Sunday at the historic theatre on Vandercook Way. Get ticket information on columbiatheatre.com.
The North West Jazz Orchestra presents “Big Band Christmas” this Sunday, starting at 3 pm in the First Baptist Church on Wheeler St. in Longview. They say that the show will features “jazzed-up” versions of your favorite Christmas tunes. Admission is free.
No injuries were reported in a kitchen fire that took place yesterday evening at a home in the 400 block of 20th Avenue in Longview. Crews from Longview Fire and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue were called to 467 20th Avenue at about 5:50 last night, when the resident of the home reported that his kitchen was on fire. The man says that he stepped out of the kitchen for a few minutes as he was cooking dinner. When he returned, the man says that he heard “cracking and popping,” and then found that the fire was extending from the stove to the cabinets and walls in the kitchen. Firefighters reported that smoke was pouring from the front door of the home when they arrived, and there was a glow coming from inside. As firefighters were pulling hose to attack the fire, there was a “flashover” inside the house, causing a fireball that broke a side window. The fireball that came from that window threatened a neighboring home. The fire was quickly put out, but there was substantial damage done inside the house, both from heat and smoke. Fire officials say that this is a good example as to why you should never leave stove-top cooking unattended, and to “cook with caution.”
Authorities in Lewis County are now saying that a fatal 4th of July shooting at a campground near Randle was self-defense, and they say that no charges will be filed. The Centralia Chronicle reports on the ruling from the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office, as they examined the shooting on Independence Day. John D. Arnold, 63, of Glenoma says that he went to talk with Dusty Phelps, 51, about his unsafe shooting. Arnold claims that Phelps fired two shots into the ground as he approached Phelps campsite, which was near the intersection of Cispus Road and Forest Road 2801. Arnold says that Phelps pointed his pistol into the SUV being driven by Arnold. Arnold says that he pushed Phelps’ pistol away, and then fired a single round from his own pistol, hitting Phelps in the head. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports that the evidence supports Arnold’s version of events; deputies say that they found several guns and a lot of ammunition in Phelps’ campsite, along with a bullet hole in the Arnold’s SUV. Arnold and his wife were unhurt in the incident.