Traffic is moving once again on the Kalama River Road, as a landslide is cleared out. The road was closed at about 5:40 Sunday afternoon, when trees, rocks and mud slid onto the road, blocking both lanes. Cowlitz County Public Works says that the slide was examined by geotechnical engineers, who then gave the OK to clear the slide. The debris was removed, but one lane remained closed for some additional time, as a phone company made repairs to a damaged line.
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Traffic across the Lewis and Clark Bridge was snarled for a time yesterday afternoon, after a head-on crash near the top of the bridge. Few details have been released; pictures of two damaged passenger cars were published on social media at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon, but other details haven’t yet been disclosed. It’s not yet known if anyone was injured. Traffic is moving normally on the bridge this morning.
Shane Chandra, 24, of Ridgefield is now in the Cowlitz County Jail, arrested last night after a car chase on I-5. The Sheriff’s Office says that this got started around 10:20 pm, when they tried to make a traffic stop on Ross Avenue, near North Pacific Avenue. They say that the driver sped up instead, going onto Allen Street and then onto I-5 south. Speeds immediately got up to 80 miles an hour, and then the pursuit was terminated as the driver weaved his way through a construction zone near the Longview Wye. The chase resumed after the construction, where a “rolling slowdown” was attempted near Kalama. The driver took exit 30 in Kalama, reportedly throwing something out of the car before speeding up to 76 miles an hour on the Frontage Road. The driver got back onto the freeway, heading south to milepost 24, where he ran out of gas and hit a guard rail. Deputies say that the driver ran, while a passenger was taken into custody. Longview Police K-9 “Ike” was used to track the suspect, who was eventually found and arrested. Chandra is now being held without bail on a single count of Attempting to Elude, while the investigation proceeds.
Longview Police are still working to find the suspect in a Friday stabbing that took place at a home on Hudson Street. An 18 year-old man says that he was at home in the three thousand block of Hudson, when a man knocked on the door. The victim says that there was a white male at the door, wearing a mask. The suspect turned and walked away, while the 18 year-old followed. The suspect turned and stabbed the victim in the abdomen, leaving the knife stuck in his body. The victim was taken to St. John Medical Center with injuries said to be “non-life-threatening”; it’s reported that he has already been released from the hospital. The knife has been recovered, and is being submitted for DNA testing. Detectives are now asking for your assistance in the investigation, looking for people who might have information in the case. Call 360-442-5800 to help out.
It’s being reported that trains are in the final stage of testing of the Positive Train Control system that will soon be employed by Amtrak trains all along the Amtrak Cascades line. Janet Matkin with the Washington Department of Transportation says that the final pieces of the Cascades fleet is now being tested and approved, so that these trains can go into service using this Positive Train Control system. Matkin says that the new PTC equipment is now installed on the tracks and in the trains, working with a computer server in the Amtrak offices. Congress ordered the rapid installation of the PTC equipment following last December’s fatal train crash near DuPont, where three people died as brand-new locomotive set was making its inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass, a re-route of the Amtrak trains that’s intended to reduce travel times between Seattle and Portland. It’s speculated that this Positive Train Control equipment could have helped to prevent that crash. There’s a deadline of December 31st to have the PTC up and running, and Amtrak officials say that they will be meeting that deadline.
Officials in the Scappoose School District report that they’re dealing with an outbreak of the virus that causes Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease. This is a viral condition, reported to be common in young children. The HFMD virus causes sores in the mount and a rash on the hands and feet, and reportedly has found its way into adolescent students in Scappoose. So far, at least ten cases have been reported at Scappoose High School, and there’s been one confirmed case at Petersen Elementary School. Letters have been sent to every family in the district, with a guide of symptoms to watch out for. Those include a fever, reduced appetite, a sore throat and a general feeling of being “unwell.” Painful sores develop after a few days, followed by a rash on the hands and feet. Handwashing can help to reduce the spread of the disease, and the school district is working to be extra-diligent with cleaning of showers, locker rooms and sports equipment.
In the effort to monitor and control hoof rot in elk in Southwest Washington, Washington Fish and Wildlife is expending the number of game units where the disease has been found. Four game units in Clark, Klickitat and Skamania counties are being added to the list of where Hoof Rot has been found. Hunters who bag an elk in these units will be required to remove the hooves and to leave them in the field, in an effort to try and prevent the spread of the disease. Lean more by going to wdfw.wa.gov.
The Kelso City Council meets at 6 pm, starting this evening’s meeting with a tribute to Cindy Donaldson Schimpf, who died recently from a sudden heart attack. Under Council Business, the Council will be asked to approve a revised Interlocal Agreement with Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue, along with consultant contracts for an update of the Water System Plan, and for a Utility Rate Study. There’s an agreement with the Washington Department of Transportation for cleaning of the Coweeman Bridge, and the Council is expected to make allocations of 2019 Lodging Tax funds. A discussion is planned regarding the Marijuana Overlay Zone in the city, suggesting that zone be altered to allow weed sales only along an area along Allen Street and Grade Street. Action is planned on a proposal by local students, who want to paint a mural on the Allen Street Bridge wall that faces Pacific Avenue. The meeting in the Kelso City Council chambers is open to the public.
Local Candidate Forums continue this evening, with today’s forum featuring Sheriff Mark Nelson and Sheriff Sergeant Brad Thurman, who is looking to unseat the long-time Sheriff. The forum will take place at 7 pm tonight, at Canterbury Park on 3rd Avenue in Longview. Anyone interested is invited to attend.
The Cowlitz Indians are hosting this evening’s Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event, being held from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the tribe’s offices on Fir Street in Longview. Along with traditional fry bread, Summerland Catering will be serving food, they’ll have tours of the facility, prize giveaways from the Ilani Casino and music. Get a break on your registration fee by getting your ticket in advance, and you can do that by going to kelsolongviewchamber.org. The event is being held at 900 Fir Street in Longview; learn more by going to the Chamber web page.
Teen Night at the Longview Library fires up again this evening, offering a number of projects and activities for local teens on Tuesday nights into December. Each Tuesday will feature a different DIY project, game or a movie. This is open to teens all across the area; there’s no need to register in advance, and no library card is needed. This evening’s project will be Faux Stained Glass, creating a piece that can then be used at a decoration for the home or the bedroom. It’s free and is open to all middle and high schoolers in the area, and snacks are served at most events.
The Longview Pioneer Lions are putting on a Sock Hop this evening at the Kelso-Longview Elks; the doors open at 6 pm, and the music runs from 7 to 10 pm. Your ticket includes a Nacho-Taco Bar, while raising money for Lions Scholarships, Camp Leo for diabetic kids, and other community projects. Save money by getting you tickets in advance at the Elks; call 360-270-9519 for more information.
The Kalama River Road is completely closed near Mahaffey’s Campground, after a large landslide came down yesterday afternoon. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office reports that the slide came down at about 5:40 yesterday afternoon, just east of Mahaffey’s in the 1300 block of the Kalama River Road. Power was also knocked out by the slide. Closure signs are posted on both sides of the slide, and the emergency route over Weyerhaeuser’s 8100 Road has been opened up. That road connects to the Little Kalama River Road, which then connects to the Lewis River Highway. Geotechnical experts are being brought in today to assess the slide; those people will evaluate the slide, and then will determine if it’s safe to remove the slide. Power has been restored, after being knocked out for several hours. Local schools have been notified, along with fire and EMS responders. Updates will be issued as information becomes available; Cowlitz County Emergency Management is posting updates on social media.