The Coast Guard is keeping an eye on a salvage operation that’s getting under way on the Columbia River near Goble, after an 82-foot tugboat sank Sunday night, spilling diesel oil into the river. The owner of the boat, Clay Jonak, reports that the boat had about 100 gallons of residual diesel aboard when it sank at its mooring, but Coast Guard officials say that divers helped remove more than 300 gallons of material from the sunken boat. Containment booms are set up to contain any additional fluids that might leak from the boat. Authorities used resources from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to cover the cost of these operations, along with the divers that were brought in. They haven’t decided yet if the boat will be raised again; Jonak owns several old boats, barges and tugs that are moored near Goble, and reportedly is trying to scrap or salvage those boats.
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The investigation continues into the Sunday night fire that destroyed another vacant house in Kelso. At 11:23 Sunday night, fire crews were called to 813 Coweeman Lane, where it was reported that a house was engulfed in flames. Firefighters say that flames and smoke were visible when they rolled up, and about half of the exterior wall was also involved in fire. The house is now considered to be a total loss, but there’s still no dollar estimate on the damage. The cause of the fire also remains under investigation, with Kelso Police assisting on that investigation. No injuries were reported.
Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was busy again this morning, after a fire was reported in the garage of a home in the 900 block of Cedar Street. Firefighters were called out at 7:24 am, and they say that the fire was extending from the garage to the rest of the home. They got the fire out before it got to the house, but the cause still is not known. Two people inside the house were able to safely escape.
Investigators now say that a “person of interest” has been identified in connection with the murder of Apache Rose Hightower, 24, of Portland. Her body was found one week ago, dumped down an embankment near Salmonberry Lake in Columbia County, off of Pittsburg Road near Saint Helens. An autopsy shows that she died from “homicidal violence.” Detectives now say that they want to talk with Jesse Allen Lane, 28, in connection with this death, and they’re circulating photos for the public to see. They say that the last known address for Lane is in Jackson County, Oregon, but he has also been seen recently in the St. Helens and Portland areas. Photos of Lane are now posted on flashalert.net, and are being distributed by the media. They say that he should be considered as “armed and dangerous.” If you know where he is, call 911.
The second trial of Sergey Fedoruk is under way in Cowlitz County Superior Court, with testimony resuming this morning. The Daily News reports on this proceeding, which came about after the Washington State Court of Appeals threw out a 2012 murder conviction, saying that there was misconduct by prosecutors, and that Fedoruk’s defense was inadequate. The 43 year-old Kelso man is accused of beating his brother-in-law to death back in August of 2011; the Appeals Court ruled that Fedoruk’s attorneys should have tried to raise an insanity defense, and Fedoruk’s mental health is a key point during this trial. It’s reported that the trial should be wrapped up later this week.
Longview Police and Sheriff’s Deputies are working to find the suspected drunk driver that was involved in an incident last night, where property was damaged and other cars were nearly forced off of the road. The first call came in from the 4600 block of Ohio Street shortly after 10 pm, when another driver said that they were nearly forced off of the road. Near-misses and collisions were also reported near 48th and Olympia Way, on Buckskin Place and on Pacific Way. One property owner on Buckskin says that the suspect ran over a cement box and a flamingo, narrowly missing an RV before driving out through the yard. The car was finally ditched in the area of 46th and Julie Place, with the driver heading into the brush. A search was conducted, but the driver wasn’t found. The car involved has been impounded; authorities are working with the registered owner to identify and locate the driver.
A man who was out in the woods near Castle Rock claims that two men with guns threatened him yesterday evening. The man called the Sheriff’s Office a little after 8 last night, saying that he was on some Sierra Pacific forest property off of Delameter Road when two men riding four-wheelers pulled up. The man claims that one of the man chambered a round in one of the guns that he was carrying, and then said “If you want to make it out of the woods tonight, you’d better get going.” The caller left without any further issue, and then he called 911. The caller claims that both men were armed, carrying pistols on their hips; one also had a rifle, while the other carried a shotgun. The man says that he was on a “walk-in” trail, an area that ATV’s are not allowed. Deputies met with the caller, but they didn’t identify the men on the four-wheelers.
There’s some consensus on the Longview School Board that the district needs to deal with its aging elementary schools very soon, but there’s a lot more to discuss before they can settle on a long-term plan for the district’s buildings. The board is trying to identify three options out of seven that were presented by a citizens’ advisory group, but the Daily News reports that there’s little agreement past the elementary school issue. The options regarding the high schools seems to be a sticking point; five of the seven options recommend closing or altering operations at one high school. Several board members are also expressing concern about using up all of the district’s debt capacity to fund all of the recommended fixes. There is consensus that the district needs to solicit private funding to renovate and repair Longview Memorial Stadium, and they should continue to try and eliminate the use of portables. These discussions will continue, with a goal of developing a long-term management plan in the near future.
Former Longview School Superintendent Grant Hendrickson is dead at the age of 84. It’s reported that Hendrickson died Sunday at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, after having battled Parkinson’s Disease for more than a decade. Hendrickson led the Longview Schools between 1978 and 1992, but he was also known for his community involvement. He served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, along with Community Home Health and Hospice and the Longview Rotary. Hendrickson also loved gardening, and was an expert with roses. He served as the volunteer manager of the Longview Library Rose Garden for a decade, and was also certified as an American Rose Society judge. They haven’t published a date yet for a memorial service, but Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Seattle is handling the arrangements.
The 3rd annual Senior’s Prom happens this evening at the Cowlitz County Expo Center, an event for local seniors to get out and enjoy themselves. This is being hosted by the Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities and Lower Columbia CAP, and will start with dessert and coffee and 6 pm. The “sensational” Providence Hospital Stage Band will be performing live big-band music, going from 7 to 9 pm. Contact Lower Columbia CAP for ticket information.
Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was up late last night, dealing with another house fire in the south part of Kelso. At 11:23 last night, fire crews were called to 813 Coweeman Lane, where it was reported that a house was engulfed in flames. Firefighters say that flames and smoke were visible when they rolled up, and about half of the exterior wall was also involved in fire. It’s also noted that this house was vacant when the fire started; the house is now considered to be a total loss, but there’s still no dollar estimate on the damage. The cause of the fire also remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.