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Archive | ‘Local News’

I-5 Issues

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:39

One lane of I-5 northbound remains closed north of Woodland, after a mudslide came down across the northbound freeway yesterday afternoon. The State Patrol reports that the slide covered all three lanes of the freeway at 3:53 pm, almost exactly in the same place as previous slides that have closed the highway. There was a pickup that got knocked off of the road by the slide, but no one in that rig was hurt. Traffic slowly snaked over Green Mountain Road as the Department of Transportation responded, eventually re-opening the center and left lanes of the freeway around 9 pm. The right lane of the freeway will remain closed until further notice, after engineers can examine the slope, and determine what needs to be done to stabilize that hillside.

Freeway traffic was also slowed in two other locations in Cowlitz County, as WashDOT and the State Patrol dealt with what were originally described as “sinkholes” in the freeway. Two lanes of the southbound freeway at milepost 26 near Kalama were shut down for a short time around 6 last night, as they dealt with what’s now described as a “pothole” in the right lane. A patch was put down, and all three southbound lanes re-opened at 6:10 pm. There was a similar situation reported at milepost 51 northbound, just north of Castle Rock, first reported as a “pothole.” WSP now reports that spot is a “slight depression,” and traffic is being allowed to travel through that area. Delays are still possible in these problem areas.

Fire Victims ID’d

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:38

Authorities in Lewis County report that the victims in a house fire that took place last week in Glenoma have been identified as the occupants of the home. The Coroner’s Office reports that Dennis L. Watson, 51, Lynn L. Lauer, 72, and Alice M. Lauer, 83, all died from smoke inhalation, but the investigation into the manner of death is continuing. The fire was reported early on the morning of Thursday, the 9th, in the 100 block of Frost Creek Road in Glenoma. Those on the scene when firefighters arrived said that the residents were still inside the house, and those three bodies were found after the fire was put out. The investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing, which could also let us know about the manner of death. A press release is planned as that work is completed.

PUD Commish Scam Call

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:37

The criminals picked the wrong phone number out of the book, as one of them called one of the Cowlitz PUD Commissioners, and then tried to run the PUD Bill Scam on them. One of the PUD Commissioners reported getting a phone call at their business earlier in the week, with the caller claiming that the business owed an outstanding PUD bill. The caller said that the power at the business would be shut off immediately unless the bill was paid. The Commissioner knew that this was a scammer, and did not send any money to the suspect. The incident was reported for information. Cowlitz PUD officials are also out with a reminder that they will never make these type of “demand calls”; if they do show up in person at your home, the employee will be driving a marked PUD vehicle, and will have company ID. Call the Cowlitz PUD at 423-2210 if you need more information.

LO Deadline

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:36

Love Overwhelming has until March 31st to move out of its current location in Kelso, as Cowlitz County amends the purchase and sale agreement on the property. The Daily News reports on this latest development regarding the sale of the building at 304 Cowlitz Way. TDN reported that the county cannot purchase the building from its current owners, the Emergency Support Shelter, until the property is empty on April 1st. A 30-day escrow would open on that day, and would run through May 1st. Originally, it was planned for the sale to take place at the end of last year; that was delayed, to avoid putting people out onto the street in the cold of winter. Meanwhile, Love Overwhelming continues to work on finding a new location, looking at the old carpenters’ union building on 14th Avenue in Longview. There are significant issues that would prevent Love Overwhelming from opening as a shelter, including the moratorium that’s currently in place. The current zoning of the building would also preclude its use as an emergency shelter.

Marble Mountain Re-Opens

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:36

Access to the popular Marble Mountain Sno-Park is once again available. Snow and other debris had closed Forest Road 83 earlier this month, cutting off access to the winter recreation area near Mount Saint Helens. The Forest Service went into an emergency reserve, getting ten thousand dollars to get a contractor to go up and clear the road and the parking lot at the Sno-Park. The contractor cleared the slide, which was made up mostly of rocks. That allowed the Forest Service to get in with a bulldozer and a snow blower, clearing the parking lots at Marble Mountain. Those lots have nearly 250 parking spaces, slots that are filled each weekend with people who are snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skiing or mountain climbing. Get the latest on Forest Road conditions and recreational access by going to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest web page.

Salmon Forecasts

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:35

The 2017 salmon seasons on the Columbia River are starting to take shape, starting with the projections for the Spring Chinook and Coho runs. Fishery managers are now predicting a Spring Chinook run of 160,400 fish, with 17,100 of those fish heading into the Cowlitz. The spring run in the Kalama is estimated at 3,100 fish, and only 700 in the Lewis River. That low return on the Lewis will have that river closed to Spring Chinook fishing from the mouth to Merwin Dam, starting on March 1st going until further notice. The main stem of the Columbia opens up to Bonneville Dam on March 1st, and is expected to be open through April 6th. The 2017 Spring Chinook rules will be adopted next Thursday after a hearing in Vancouver.

They’re also projecting another weak Coho run in the Columbia for 2017, news that will affect angler access to those fish in the coming year. Washington and Oregon fish biologists report the projected run of 386,300 fish is nearly identical to last year’s prediction; the actual run count was much lower, coming in at 223,100 fish. These weak numbers will almost certainly lead to reduced harvest opportunities; last year, there was no Coho fishing allowed on the ocean north of Leadbetter Point, and the entire Coho quota was set at 18,900 fish.

Full details on the 2017 run projections will be presented by Washington Fish and Wildlife on Tuesday, the 28th in Olympia. From March 7th to the 13th, the Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Vancouver, when a range of sport and commercial fishing options will be adopted. The “North of Falcon” meetings for setting the offshore salmon seasons will be held in March and April. Dates and times for those meetings are pending.

Weekend Events–2/17/17

Posted on 17th February 2017 at 08:34

Friday:
Join in honoring the 2017 inductees into the Lower Columbia College Athletics Hall of Fame this Friday night, at a banquet being held at Myklebust Gymnasium. Bill Stoller, Mickey Brusco, Mike McNeilly and Carol Carlson will be inducted in this year’s class; there’s a social hour and silent auction that will start at 6:30 pm, followed by the dinner and induction program at 7 pm. Proceeds from the event help to support the LCC Foundation Athletic Excellence Fund, helping to provide scholarships for student athletes, along with program support.

Bust out the bell-bottoms and gold chains for the Lower Columbia Professionals’ “Boogie Nights,” a 70’s-themed dance and party, raising money for the LCP Scholarship Fund. They’ll have prizes for the best male, female and couple “Happenin’ Outfits,” along with “groovy raffle prizes.” “Boogie Nights” happens at the Longview Eagles from 7 to 11 pm Friday night. Call the Chamber of Commerce at 423-8400 for ticket information.

It’s a Wild West Casino Night at the Kelso-Longview Elks, a Membership Drive event that will happen this Friday night. Your admission will get you “cash” and admission to the Taco Bar, and you can win valuable non-cash prizes at the games. You can wear your best Western duds, and the proceeds from the event will support the Northwest Burn Camp. The Kelso-Longview Elks are located right next to the Three Rivers Mall, just off of Grade Street.

The Rainier Eagles invite everyone to “The Bartender’s Ball” on Friday night, going from 7 to 11 pm. Officers from the Rainier Eagles will be dressed as “saloon barmaids,” and will be slinging the drinks all night long. They’ll also have contests and raffles, with all of the money raised going to the Rainier Senior Center. The Rainier Eagles are on the waterfront in downtown Rainier, located at 109 West A Street.

“Southern Comforts” opens this weekend at the Love Street Playhouse in Woodland, running each weekend through March 5th. This romantic comedy will be featured at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday nights, along with a matinee at 2 pm on Sundays. Get information on the production and get ticket information on lovestreetplayhouse.com, or by calling 360-907-9996.

There’s a Family Movie Night being offered this Friday night in Cathlamet, starting at 7 pm. The word is that this is a “documentary” this time around, being shown at the Community Center in Cathlamet. Admission is free for the whole family; you can also phone in a pizza from Sharon’s by 6:45 pm, and they’ll deliver it to the Center before the show.

Saturday:
Meet the artist whose works are currently being featured in the Koth Memorial Gallery at the Longview Library, at a reception planned for this Saturday afternoon. Painter Ruth Herr will be on hand to visit and talk about the works she has on display through the 27th of this month. The reception will run from 1 to 4 pm this Saturday in the Koth Memorial Gallery, located on the lower level of the Longview Library. All are welcome to attend.

Get your crab-crackers and your oyster knives together, and then head out to Puget Island this Saturday night, for the annual Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce Crab and Oyster Feed. This will be held at the Norse Hall on Puget Island. Due to the high demand, there are three seatings planned this year, at 3 pm, 5:15 pm and at 7:30 pm. This is also a 21-and-over event. Tickets may still be available at the Bank of the Pacific in Cathlamet.

Sunday:
The Kelso and Longview Police Departments are auctioning off unclaimed property on Sunday, an event that’s being handled through CTM Unlimited Auctions of Oakville. You can view the auction lists on-line over the city web pages, and then the auction will be held live this Sunday at the auction center in Oakville, which is located west of I-5 on Highway 12. The bidding starts promptly at 11 am Sunday morning. Get more information on ctmunlimitedauction.com.

There’s a Community Potluck planned for this Sunday at Lions Pride Park in Castle Rock, going from 12:30 until 2 pm. This event is “One Hand Helping Another,” being put on by the Helping Hands Ministry, Feed the Need, the Belly Bridge, C-Hope, Family Members and Friends. They will also have clothing available for children and adults. You’re invited to come “kick on back and enjoy some good food with some good ole company!” Get more information on the One Hand Helping Another Facebook page.

I-5 Blocked

Posted on 16th February 2017 at 17:09

Be aware that all three lanes of I-5 north are closed north of Woodland, after a mudslide came down onto the freeway just before 4 pm. The Washington State Patrol reports that the slide came down at 3:53 pm, at milepost 22.6, near the Dike Road exit. All three northbound lanes are closed at this time, and there’s no estimate as to when they might re-open. Traffic is being re-routed back through Woodland, so you should expect extensive delays if you’re heading through this area.

Shelter Committee Meets

Posted on 16th February 2017 at 08:57

Longview’s Ad Hoc Committee on Emergency Shelters reports that they’re still working on the ordinance that covers the siting of shelters inside the city limits, and they will probably be asking for another six-month extension to the current moratorium. Committee Chair Scott Vydra says that there’s still a lot of work to do on this ordinance. A large crowd attended yesterday’s meeting, with most planning to vent about the proposed move of Love Overwhelming to a location in the 600 block of 14th Avenue. Vydra and the committee short-circuited those comments, saying that they are not focused on any single issue or project; City Attorney Jim McNamara also threw a blanket on things, advising the committee to avoid accepting any comments on a specific project or location, since the City Council will eventually be asked to rule on those projects on a case-by-case basis, as conditional use permit applications come in. A number of people did express their concerns about the buffers being considered in the proposed ordinance, saying that they’re not big enough. The committee also took input on the possibility of allowing shelters in the R-4 multi-family-zoned areas of the city. The Ad Hoc Committee on Emergency Shelters plans to meet again in three weeks, at 5 pm on Thursday, March 9th. Other information on the committee and its work to date is available on the City of Longview web page.

Mossyrock Dam Precautions

Posted on 16th February 2017 at 08:56

Tacoma Power is announcing that Riffe Lake behind Mossyrock Dam will be drawn down, as the utility announces precautions in the event of seismic damage to the dam. Tacoma Power announced the drawdown on Tuesday, saying that they have received new information from the U. S. Geological Survey. They say that the probability of an earthquake that could damage the 606-foot dam is “very low,” but these revised predictions show that an earthquake could damage the spillways on Mossyrock Dam. As a precaution, Tacoma Power plans to keep the level of Riffe Lake at 30 feet lower than full, a level they plan to maintain at least into the next decade. Utility officials say that it’s the shape of the dam that is the biggest issue; because of the dam design, specific seismic events could render the spillways useless, which could lead to major flooding downstream. They are exploring some seismic retrofits, but that’s a long and arduous process, which would also involve several federal agencies. Boating, swimming and fishing will still be available on Riffe Lake, but boat launches and swimming areas at parks along the lake will be affected. Additional information is available on the Tacoma Public Utilities web page.