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Archive | ‘Local News’

School Starts

Posted on 2nd September 2014 at 09:05

The day after Labor Day is the traditional start of school, but not all area students will be going back to class today. A number of districts are now using this first day as orientation for certain grades. School starts for all grades today in Kalama, the Wahkiakum School District, Winlock, Three Rivers Christian and at Saint Rose Catholic School. In Castle Rock, grades 1-5 start today, along with grades 6 and 9. Grades 8 and 10 through 12 will start tomorrow. Rainier and Clatskanie have grades 7 and 9 starting today, and then all other grades start tomorrow. In St. Helens, grades K through 6 start today, along with grades 7 and 9; Scappoose starts grades 1 through 6, 7 and 9 today; grades 8, 10, 11 and 12 start tomorrow. Longview has some orientation activities going on at various schools today, but all grades will actually start school tomorrow; all grades also start tomorrow in Woodland. In Kelso, grades 1 through 5 will report tomorrow, and they’ll also have “Transition Day” for 6th and 9th-graders. Grades 7, 8 and 10 through 12 will start school on Thursday. The kids up in Toutle Lake actually started school last Wednesday.

Be sure to observe the 20 mile-an-hour speed limits in school zones; the speed limit detection cameras in the Longview School District are being activated, and you can also expected increased police presence at school zones while the kids are going to and from classes. You’ll need to keep an eye out for kids and parents that are going to and from school, and be sure to stop for school buses when their red lights are flashing. Also, for the first time ever, ALL students in the Winlock School District are eligible for free lunches under a new federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision. All students in the Winlock School District will be able to eat breakfast and lunch for free under the auspices of this program. Winlock is the first and only school district in Lewis County to implement this program.


Posted on 2nd September 2014 at 09:04

The Longview Police Street Crimes Unit reports making a couple of recent busts. Last Thursday, Otis T. Pippen, 51, was arrested at his residence in Longview, after undercover agents had allegedly made two meth purchases at that home. As Detectives approached to arrest Pippen last Thursday, they claim that he swallowed a baggy of meth that he had on his person. Pippen was eventually arrested on two counts of delivery of meth, two counts of possession of meth, and one count of tampering with evidence. After being booked into the Cowlitz County Jail, Pippen is currently free after posting bail.


Posted on 2nd September 2014 at 09:02

Last Friday, Street Crimes Unit Detectives served a search warrant at an apartment in the 300 block of Northwest 3rd in West Kelso. They claim to have found heroin, meth, cocaine, prescription drugs, other materials associated with the drug trade and a short-barreled rifle. Anna Dawn Ritzenthaler, 34, was arrested at the apartment, and is now being held in the Cowlitz County Jail for separate counts of possession of meth, coke, heroin and a “schedule three” drug, unlawful possession of a gun, altering the marks on a firearm and possession of an illegal gun. She is being held without bail as the investigation continues.

Bicycle Fatality

Posted on 2nd September 2014 at 09:02

It’s alleged that Kristopher Lee Woodruff, 34, of Vernonia was distracted by a text message when his pickup drifted off of the travel lane on Highway 30 near Rainier, hitting and killing Peter Michael Linden, 74, of St. Helens on Saturday. Oregon State Police say that the collision took place just before 3 pm on Saturday, on Highway 30 just west of Rainier. Linden had been riding westbound when he was hit; his body was found off the highway, after having gone down an embankment. It’s noted that he was wearing a helmet. Troopers say that Woodruff didn’t stop at first, but he was eventually located and detained about five miles west of the crash scene. Woodruff is now being held in the Columbia County Jail on charges of first-degree manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, and was also served with a failure to appear warrant out of Washington County. It’s also noted that Woodruff did not have a valid driver’s license. His bail is currently set at $11,000.

Longview Street Work

Posted on 2nd September 2014 at 09:00

You need to be aware of some work that may extend the length of your trip around Longview over the next few days. Tree maintenance operations are planned today, tomorrow and Thursday along Washington Way, working on both sides of the street between Kessler Boulevard and the Civic Circle. Work is scheduled from 7 am to 3 pm on all three days. The right lane of traffic will be blocked as the work crew starts at Kessler, moves to the Civic Circle, and then works its way back up to Kessler. Flaggers will be used to help control traffic.

Paving of the road affected by the recent sewer main replacement along Ocean Beach Highway is planned to start tonight, working between 15th Avenue and Washington Way. That project is scheduled to start tonight, and will continue each night through Thursday morning. The work is being done on the curbside westbound lane; the other westbound lane may be closed intermittently to allow trucks to enter and exit the work zone. The work crews will also try to maintain access to businesses along that corridor, as well.

There’s another night of intermittent lane closures and temporary detours planned for tonight in the Civic Circle, as a project to revise the pavement markings on Washington Way is completed. The City of Longview is re-striping the entry and exit lanes to the Civic Circle on Washington Way. At the City Council’s direction, city crews are re-striping Washington Way to allow for two lanes of traffic to enter and exit the Civic Circle on Washington Way. It’s hoped that this project could be completed by tomorrow morning.

New COG Director

Posted on 2nd September 2014 at 09:00

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments has a new Executive Director, heading over to Oregon to take William “Bill” Fashing away from the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments in The Dalles, where he had been working as that agency’s Community Development Director. COG Board Chair Susan Humbyrd with the Woodland City Council says that Fashing has 30 years of service in the economic and community development sector, including the past 3-1/2 years in The Dalles. She says that Fashing is “engaging and is truly interested” in this job, and she believes that he will be a strong leader for the COG. Fashing succeeds Scott Patterson, who resigned in April to move back to the Vancouver area for family reasons. It’s stated that Fashing was involved in several significant projects, including development of a $20 million events center, also helping to attract a minor-league baseball team. Fashing starts his new job today.

Longview Water Update

Posted on 29th August 2014 at 09:06

As complaints about Longview’s water continue to come in, city staff says that Longview’s water quality is continuing to improve, and actually rivals or exceeds expensive bottled water in some aspects. At last night’s Longview City Council meeting, Project Manager Amy Blain says that independent examination of a year’s worth of data shows that the city’s water is perfectly safe. Blain says that their continuing study still does show some specific problems in certain locations in the city. Changes in the city’s hydraulic delivery system is leading to a high “water age” in some spots, and the longer that the water sits in these older pipes is when the problems start. Testing also shows that increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen helps to prevent problems, and there is a suggestion that the city begin to inject additional dissolved oxygen into the water. Another recommendation from Blain is to continue with water main replacement, saying that when mains have been replaced in problem areas, the problems “go away.” Replacement of water mains in alleys along 15th Avenue off of Oregon Way are in design, and other water main replacements are suggested. The issue of “white-spotting” caused by silica in the water is still a vexing issue, but does not pose any sort of health hazard. The city is planning some additional outreach to inform water users about dealing with the silica, to prevent damage to glassware, silverware and appliances. The City Council also says that they plan to move ahead with the $217,000 study about the city’s water source issues; Mayor Don Jensen says that “they made a mistake” by moving away from the Fishers Lane plant, and they need some solid information about the costs connected to moving back to the Cowlitz River as a water source.

Glenwood DUI

Posted on 29th August 2014 at 09:06

Korin Rolles, 22, of Longview is under arrest on DUI charges after an incident reported yesterday afternoon in the area of Glenwood Drive and Lynn Place. Calls about an erratic driver started coming in around 5:30 pm, with witnesses reporting that a woman in a small SUV was all over the road. The 911 callers said that the driver was speeding up and slowing down, was swerving into the oncoming lane, and was driving as fast as 50 miles an hour in the residential neighborhood. A Sheriff’s Deputy caught up with the suspect, but wasn’t able to get her to pull over until they got down to 30th and Pacific Way. The Deputy also says that the driver backed into a guard rail during the stop. Field sobriety tests were administered, along with a breath test. Rolles reportedly blew a .231, nearly triple the legal limit. Because of her level of intoxication, Rolles was taken to Saint John Medical Center for several hours, before being booked into the Cowlitz County Jail. Her car was also impounded.

Steelhead Distribution

Posted on 29th August 2014 at 09:05

The final distribution of excess steelhead from the Lake Merwin Fish Hatchery is planned for this afternoon at the Help Food Warehouse in Longview. Lower Columbia CAP says that they will have 300 fish available for distribution, starting at 12:30 this afternoon. To be eligible to take part, you will need to present a USDA commodities card, or a Washington EBT card. It’s emphasized that Oregon EBT cards cannot be accepted. You will also need to bring a plastic bag, a cooler or some other sort of container for carrying your fish. Again, this is the last steelhead distribution of the year from the Lake Merwin Hatchery, and will take place in the 12th Avenue parking lot behind the CAP offices on Commerce Avenue in Longview.

Civic Center Work

Posted on 29th August 2014 at 09:04

Work starts today on revisions of pavement markings for the travel lanes at the Civic Circle in Longview. All entrances from Washington Way and all exits to Washington Way are being re-striped to accommodate two lanes of traffic. Pavement preparation is expected to begin today, and work should be completed by next Wednesday. Intermittent lane closures and temporary detours will be in place during the day tomorrow, and on the evening of Tuesday, the 2nd. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.