The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the discovery of a man’s body, reported yesterday morning by a fisherman near Kalama. The angler called 911 at about 7 yesterday morning, after he reported finding the badly decomposed body on the river bank, about a mile south of Kalama. So far, there’s no information on the identity of the person, or on the cause and manner of death. The Cowlitz County Coroner now has possession of the body, and is working to determine the identity of the person, along with information on how that person died.
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Kelso Police are working to find the person who left a suspicious package behind the Drug Abuse Prevention Center building on Grade Street, an incident that prompted the calling of the Portland Police Bomb Squad. The package was reported at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon; the 911 caller says that there was a box covered in tape, with a note that said “Don’t touch if you want to live.” The area was evacuated as the call went to Portland Police. The Bomb Squad arrived around 6 pm, and was able to confirm that the box was not dangerous. KPD is now working to find out who put the box in that location.
Samuel William Skondin, 40, of Ferndale is under arrest after a trespassing incident and K-9 search near the Millennium Bulk Terminal facility on Industrial Way. Around 2:20 yesterday morning, a security officer reported making contact with a man who had been hiding on their property. The man ran off after being spotted. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s K-9 “Fritz” was called in, along with Deputy Brent Harris, his handler. Deputies found some pipes piled near a fence, where it appears that someone was trying to steal them. They also found a hole in the fence, which the suspect had used as an escape route. Fritz tracked the suspect across Industrial Way and into some brush, where Skondin was found and arrested. He’s now being held on a single count of second-degree burglary, with bail set at $15,000.
Officials with the City of Longview are cheering the result of a recent meeting involving the city, the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service, with that last agency making a move that will allow Cowlitz River water to be pumped for flushing of Lake Sacajawea. City Manager Dave Campbell says that NMFS dialed things back when it was determined that the city can help the agency with its tracking of endangered smelt. Back in November, NMFS had issued a Biological Opinion on the City of Longview’s request to pump water from the Cowlitz River, using that as the fresh water supply for Lake Sacajawea. That opinion has some very stringent requirements; for instance, the original opinion said that pumping would have to be shut down if even one tiny smelt egg or larvae was found in the pump screens. NMFS is now accepting a plan that will include monitoring and measurement of the numbers of smelt that are sucked in by the pump, along with the amount of mortality after going through the pump. The city is proposing an initial three-year plan, which would then be reviewed and adjusted going forward. Public Works Director Jeff Cameron says that the city will be allowed to pump without restrictions this year and next year.
The City of Longview is doing some street repair on Robbins Street between Ocean Beach Highway and Oriole Drive. Street Supervisor Chris Collins says that there are several concrete panels that are broken, with repairs needed in a number of locations. Collins says that this work is now under way, and is expected to run four to five weeks. There will be alternating lane closures in the areas where these repairs are needed. Traffic will be reduced to one lane through each construction site, with traffic yielding to the open lane of travel. Emergency vehicles will have open access at all times. You’re advised to use alternate routes to avoid delays.
Another eight-day razor clam dig opens today and runs through next Friday. Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks are open on this morning’s tide, which will take place around 6 am. All four main razor clam beaches will be open on tomorrow and Sunday’s morning tide; Monday through Friday of next week, only Long Beach and Twin Harbors will be open. This also coincides with this weekend’s Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, with all kinds of great fun going on out on the peninsula. Be sure to have your current shellfish license, and be sure to observe digging regulations and bag limits.
From 10 am to 3 pm on Friday, the Anti-Fraud Coalition of Cowlitz County invites you to bring your personal papers to the Longview Fred Meyer store for shredding. The Coalition is bringing in a special truck from LeMay Mobile Shredding, which will be available from 10 am until 3 pm today. You can bring up to four medium-sized boxes, which will then be shredded for free. There’s also a food drive connected to today’s event; donations of non-perishable food will be accepted and then will be turned over to the CAP Help Food Warehouse. If you have other questions, call Stephanie Bullock at Heritage Bank; her number is 501-7365.
Check out the skills of local crafters, students and hobbyists at the annual Grange Contest, which is being held Friday and Saturday at the Catlin Grange, on Shawnee Road in North Kelso. Photos, Arts and Crafts will be judged on Friday, and then Sewing, Needlework, Baking and Canning will be judged on Saturday. Call 423-5373 for more information.
In connection with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Hope Project volunteers will be set up at the 7th Avenue Walmart in Longview, where they’ll discuss their campaign called “Be the Solution.” The volunteers will discuss resources and victims’ rights, and everyone who visits their booth will be entered in a prize drawing. Things get started at 10 am on Friday.
The Woodland Tulip Festival called “A Taste of Spring” concludes this weekend at the Holland America Bulb Farm, going from 10 am to 4 pm each day. The early arrival of Spring has the Holland America Bulb Farm opening its U-Pick fields up early, open from 9 am to 5pm Monday through Friday, and from 10 to 4 on weekends. The Holland America Bulb Farm is located on South Pekin Road, just outside of Woodland. Follow the signs off of the I-5 exit.
The 20th annual Cowlitz County Earth Day Celebration runs from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday at the Cowlitz County Expo Center, a full day of ecology-related activities, performances, demonstrations and vendor booths. The Farmer’s Market will be set up, they’ll have live animals, a trout pond, science fun, a rock-climbing wall and much, much more. Admission is free, but they will also be accepting donations of non-perishable food for local food banks.
The annual Dibble Point Beach Cleanup is planned for Saturday, starting at 9 am. If you would like to help clean up the popular recreation area just downstream from Rainier, meet at the Dibblee Beach entrance off of Dike Road in Rainier. You can also pre-register for the work party by going to solveoregon.org. Call 503-556-0457 to get more information.
From 8 am until noon on Saturday, the 13th annual Clatskanie Bulky Waste Cleanup Day will be going on, with residents of that area able to dispose of large and bulky items for a nominal charge. Clatskanie-area residents will be able to get rid of appliances, scrap wood, tires and similar items for $10 per pickup or carload; there is a higher charge of $15 to dispose of appliances that contain Freon. Tires will be accepted for $1 apiece, as long as they’re off the rims. No commercial loads will be accepted, and no food or household garbage will be accepted. They’ll also have a shredding truck available from 9 am until noon in the Umpqua Bank parking lot. Proof of residency will be required, such as some sort of ID with the 97016 ZIP code. Contact the City of Clatskanie if you have other questions.
The Lower Columbia Safe Kids Coalition is holding a Car Seat Clinic this Saturday, going from 10 am until 1 pm at the Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue Main Station on Vine Street in Kelso. You can get your child safety seats checked for free at this event, and they’ll also have discounted car seats available if yours turn out to be obsolete or defective. Call 575-6280 for additional details.
The Sons of Norway are hosting their monthly social on Saturday, starting at 1 pm at the lodge on Catlin Street in West Kelso. This gets started at 1 pm on Saturday; they’ll have a silent auction, along with a ham dinner that you can purchase. The Sons of Norway Hall is located at 224 Catlin Street in West Kelso.
The “How Fun Is That!” group is putting on a fundraiser for Cabaret Follies of Lower Columbia on Saturday night. They’re going to have silent and live auctions, a “finger-food potluck,” music and dancing. This is being held at the Longview Eagles, located on 12th Avenue in downtown Longview. Donations for the auction are being taken from noon to 7 pm on Friday and from 10 am until noon on Saturday at the Eagles. Call 360-703-2615 or 360-270-7739 if you need more information.
Meet “Mr. and Mrs. Eagle” on Saturday night at the annual Citizen of the Year banquet at the Castle Rock Eagles Hall. The social hour starts at 5 pm, followed by a spaghetti dinner at 6 pm. Call 274-9723 for ticket information.
Saturday night in St. Helens, the St. Wenceslaus Youth Group is hosting a “Kids Night Out” at Eisenschmidt Pool. Activities will include waterslides, climbing walls, games, prizes and the “polar bear swim.” Kids under 7 must be accompanied by a parent in the water; parents can swim for free. Kids need to bring swimsuits, towels and money for refreshments. Call the pool at 503-397-2283 if you need to know more.
John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny Cash and June Carter, will be joined by John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at the Columbia Theatre on Saturday night, presenting “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” a show that’s based on the making of the landmark album from 1971. This multi-media show will start at 7:30 pm Saturday night; call 575-TIXX or go to the Columbia Theatre web page for more information.
There’s a fundraiser for the Bits and Bots Robotics Club planned for Saturday night at the Youth and Family Link building on Douglas Street in Longview, featuring “Slim King and the Queen Bees,” a local party act from the ‘90’s that’s reuniting for this event. The local band “Off the Hook” will also perform. Sets are planned at 7, 8 and 9 pm Saturday evening. Admission for the all-ages show is $10 at the door.
The Columbia Theatre “Rainy Months” series concludes on Sunday at 2 pm, as the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company presents “Lewis and Clark.” The two actors performing in this show will relate the story of the cross-country expedition involving Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Prior to the show, you’re invited to bring your kids to the free carnival, which will start at 1 pm in the theatre lobby.
The annual Southwest Washington Symphony Young Artist Concert is set for Sunday afternoon in the Wollenberg Auditorium at the Rose Center of the Arts, featuring cellist Jared Devine of Kalama as this year’s Young Artist. The Symphony will also perform Dvorak’s Symphony Number 8, which is better known as the “New World Symphony.” Curtain is set for 3 pm on Sunday. Tickets are available through the Rose Center box office.
Kelso Police are investigating a report that a Huntington Middle School student used a razor blade to cut two other students at the school. The incident was reported at about 2:20 yesterday afternoon. It was noted that the victims were not badly hurt; in fact, they declined medical assistance. No arrests have been reported at this time, but the incident is being fully investigated.
The Kelso Housing Authority reports that someone set a fire next to a building that the agency owns in the 200 block of North Pacific Avenue. This incident was reported at about 1:20 yesterday afternoon. KHA employees say that they discovered some damage to one side of the building, but it didn’t appear to be serious. No suspects have been identified.
Columbia Riverkeeper is stirring the pot once again, expressing their concerns about a proposal to build a crude oil refinery at the Port of Longview, a proposal that the Port says has been dead for more than a year. Yesterday, the environmental watchdog group issued a statement, criticizing a proposal from Riverside Refining to build a low-sulfur crude oil refinery at the Port of Longview. It would have been the first refinery on the Columbia River, and the first built in the United States in a quarter-century. In response to Riverkeeper’s announcement, Port of Longview officials say that there has been tremendous interest in the Columbia River ports from the energy industry in the past five years, and they say that Longview has “seen its fair share” of proposals from these companies. Two months ago, the Port provided documents to Riverkeeper in regard to the proposal from Riverside Refining, also noting that the proposal “went dormant” shortly after the initial approach in the early part of last year. The Port notes that Riverkeeper included a Memorandum of Understanding between Riverside and the Port, a document that was never signed by either party. Port CEO Geir Kalhagen says that each proposal that comes to them is fully evaluated and vetted, prior to being presented to the Port Commission for action in the public square. Kalhagen says that this original proposal from Riverside did not move forward, but he notes that they do continue to work with Riverside Energy.