The Simpson Lumber mill on 3rd Avenue in Longview is among four mills that the company is selling to British Columbia-based Interfor Corporation. The total value of the deal is put at just less than $95 million, along with working capital and contingent future payments. Officials with Interfor say that the acquisition will increase their lumber-producing capacity by 30 percent, which is now claiming to be the fastest-growing lumber company in the world. Duncan Davies, Interfor’s President and CEO, says that this is a great strategic fit for the company, with “significant operational and financial upside.” Mills in Meldrim, Georgia, Georgetown, South Carolina and on Commencement Bay in Tacoma are included in this deal; Simpson’s mill in Shelton is not. Interfor officials say that there should be little effect on staffing and operations at all of these facilities.
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A mother and daughter from Silver Lake are under arrest on fraud charges, and Deputies also say that the daughter picked an interesting place to try and hide to avoid arrest. Back in October of this year, Joshua Most of Longview reported that his wallet had been stolen. He also reported that some of his stolen credit cards had been used in the Centralia area, and that some of the merchandise was shipped to an address on Hall Road in Silver Lake. Detectives eventually identified Emery Kaylene McCoy-Scott, 52, and Linzi Jordan Scott, 24, as the suspects, and went to their home with a search warrant. Emery McCoy-Scott was apparently arrested without incident, but they claim that Linzi Scott was found hiding in a clothes dryer; when questioned, she reportedly said that she hid there because of a Department of Corrections warrant. Both women are now being held on counts of second-degree identity theft; Emery McCoy-Scott is also being charged with possession of illegal drugs.
As we head toward the upcoming Legislative session, local legislators are getting their committee assignments. It was announced yesterday that 19th District Senator Brian Hatfield will serve as the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, and will also serve in the same role on the Natural Resources and Parks Committee. Hatfield says that he’s looking forward to working with the chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, 19th District Representative Brian Blake. Hatfield says that they plan to try and make sure that the voice of rural Washington is heard, while taking a “smart approach” to protecting agricultural and natural resources in the state. Hatfield will also serve on the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Wahkiakum County could be transferring ownership of the County Fairgrounds property in Skamakowa. The Wahkiakum Eagle reports that County Commission Dan Cothren met this week with the Commissioners for Wahkiakum Port District 2, to discuss reports that the Port was interested in taking ownership of the fairgrounds. If the deal is consummated, the Port would own the land, but Wahkiakum County would still run the annual County Fair. Port officials say that they’re interested, given the success that they’re having managing other park properties, like Vista Park and the recently-acquired County Line Park. Some plans for expansion of use of the property are already under way, with a goal of turning the fairgrounds into an “economic development engine.” They’re making arrangements for a January workshop to continue the discussions.
Make sure that you have your raincoats, umbrellas and rubber boots at the ready this weekend, as an extremely wet weather system bears down on the region. The Weather Service says that we have a “rainy weekend” ahead, with up to 10 inches of rain expected in the mountains, 4 to 8 inches of rain on the Coast, in the Coast Range, and in the Cascade foothills. Valley locations could see up to 4 inches of rain tomorrow and Sunday. There could be some flooding out of this system, particularly those rivers and streams that come out of west-facing slopes on the Coast and in the Cascades. They say that these heavy rains could also contribute to mudslides and rock falls in areas with steep terrain.
It may be a bit wet, but the beaches will still be open for razor clam digging this weekend. Long Beach, Twin Harbors will all be open on the evening tides, starting tonight and going through next Tuesday. Copalis will also be open for dinning tomorrow night only. Mocrocks will be available for digging tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. Be sure to have your current shellfish license, and be dressed for the weather.
Each weekend through the 28th, Stageworks Northwest invites you to take part in their “Christmas Party” at the Longview Theatre; you’re asked to wear your “ugly sweaters” or other festive apparel, and bring an inexpensive White Elephant gift to “exchange.” Shows are at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, and at 2 pm on Sunday.
The Castle Rock High School class of 2016 is holding a gift wrapping-bake sale fundraiser on Saturday, going form 10 am until 4 pm at Peper’s 49er, just off the freeway at exit 49 in Castle Rock. You’re invited to come by and enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and cookies while the kids wrap your Christmas gifts. Donations will be accepted.
You can take the kids over to the Kelso Theatre Pub on Saturday morning, where they’re going to have a free showing of “Home Alone.” Come on over for a great family get-together, or you can drop them off and finish up that Christmas shopping. The doors open at 11:30 am, and the show will start at noon. This is a free community event, sponsored by KLOG, KUKN and The Wave.
The Kelso First Baptist Church is holding its monthly “Soup’s On” community lunch and clothes closet, with the doors opening at 11:30 am, and then serving until 1 pm. There’s no cost to attend, you’re invited to “Come and Share With Us.” The church is located at 214 South 4th in Kelso.
Get out your Rudolph nose and antlers, tie the jingle bells on your running shoes and get the rain slicker out for tomorrow’s “Jingle All the Way” 5K Fun Run and Walk, brought to you by the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce. The Rudolph Run/Kids Event will go off at 4 pm, and the 5K will start at 5. The starting line is at Commerce and Broadway in downtown Longview. Contact the Chamber for registration information.
The Goodtymes Program at the Southwest Washington YMCA is holding its King and Queen Winter Ball Saturday evening, starting at 5:30 pm. Along with the music and dancing under the mirror ball, the “Royal Court” will be chosen, and all of the ladies will be given a “special gift.” Snacks and refreshments will also be provided. Call Les Cornwell at 423-4770 to get more information.
The VP Party for the Toy Drive and Adopt a Family Event that was held this week is planned for Saturday evening at Hooligans Tattoo shop on Commerce Avenue in Longview. This will run from 4 to 10 pm. Those who brought toys or made donations earlier this week are eligible to attend. They’ll have live music and beer from Ashtown Brewing at the party. Call 442-0680 for more information.
Bring the family to the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts on Sunday, for a special program of holiday songs and readings called “In the Christmas Spirit,” which will start at 3 pm. Don Correll, Jennifer Cheney, Michael Cheney, Melinda Leuthold and Gian Morelli will be involved in the program, which is intended for the entire family. After the hour-long performance, you’re invited to come and enjoy cookies and punch in the lobby. Admission is free; the doors will open at 2:30 pm on Sunday.
Kelso Police continue to investigate yesterday afternoon’s discovery of a body behind a business on Minor Road. The first calls about the body came in around 1:30 yesterday afternoon, when it was reported that an adult male was face-down on the ground behind the building in the 100 block of Minor Road. Kelso Police now identify the body as that of Gregory Richard Wilson, 54. They’re still not discussing anything about the possible cause or manner of death, pending the results of an autopsy through the Cowlitz County Coroner. Additional details will be disclosed as they become available.
The Washington Attorney General is filing a petition in Cowlitz County Superior Court, asking to have James Wynn, 53, civilly committed as a violent and predatory sex offender. Back in 1991, Wynn was convicted on two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree kidnapping, and was sentenced to just less than 29 years in prison. They say that he is due to be released this weekend, but the AG is filing this petition, alleging that he is mentally ill and sexually dangerous. This past Tuesday, a Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge found probable cause to believe that Wynn IS a sexually violent predator, a first step that allows the state to detain him for additional proceedings. The state now has the burden of proving these allegations in court. The dates for such a hearing haven’t yet been disclosed.
Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Stephen Warning split the difference between the maximum and the minimum when he sentenced Nicole DiFuria McCaslin, 33, in connection with a fatal car crash on Tennant Way. Today’s Daily News reports on yesterday morning’s sentencing hearing, where McCaslin was sentenced to nine years in prison. Earlier this month, McCaslin pleaded guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, DUI and vehicular assault. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum sentence, which was 11 years, 3 months. Defense attorneys asked for a 5-year sentence, but Warning landed on nine years for the prison term. She will also serve 18 months of community custody after her release, and will also be ordered to pay restitution. McCaslin apologized for her actions, saying that “I will be sorry every day for the rest of my life.”