As the merger with WestRock continues to move ahead, KapStone Paper and Packaging is announcing a huge boost to profits in the first quarter of the year, mostly due to benefits from the recently-passed Tax Cut and Jobs Act. The company is reporting net sales of $799 million in the first quarter, which is $33 million higher than the first quarter of last year, an increase of four percent. Net income comes in at $33 million, $27 million higher than last year; that’s an increase of 446 percent. Diluted earnings per share of 33 cents is 27 cents above last year’s report, which is a 450-percent increase. KapStone President and CEO Matt Kaplan says that these results build on the positive momentum that was building at the end of last year, with increased demand for containerboard, corrugated boxes and kraft paper. A price increase for containerboard is paying dividends, while equipment upgrades in North Carolina is helping with reliability and efficiency. Kaplan says that Victory Packaging had a solid first quarter, and he says that work on the merger with WestRock is continuing.
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Carnival rides in downtown Long Beach are looking for a new home, after the Long Beach City Council says that they can no longer be kept on city-owned property. The Chinook Observer reports on the dilemma of Russell Maize and Chris Summerer, who got a permit last June, allowing them to use about three dozen parking spaces for four carnival rides. The paper brought up questions about the gifting of public resources, so the council asked Maize and Summerer to pay $100 a month, an arrangement that was extended to March 31st of this year. Last month, Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips said that he was against extending the permit again, saying that he was getting a lot of heat from residents. After a lot of discussion and citizen input, Phillips eventually cast the deciding vote to deny the permit. The Sidewinder, the Paratrooper, the Spinning Apples and the 100-foot Super Slide must now be moved off of city-owned property, and Summerer says that he may have to sell them.
The Longview City Council meets tonight in a workshop session, starting at 6 pm. They will hear about a request to apply for a SAFER grant, with the money from that grant directed to the hire of additional firefighter-paramedics, who could then staff an ambulance for the Longview Fire Department. Longview Fire officials say that this move would help to reduce the number of “Level Zero” incidents in the city, where no ambulances are available.
The second subject at this evening’s workshop will look at establishing monthly billing cycles for city utilities. City staff is recommending the move away from “larger, less-predictable bi-monthly billings,” going to regular, recurring monthly bills. They say that this move will help bills be more predictable, and should be easier to budget for. The workshop starts at 6 pm in the second floor Training Room at the Longview City Hall, and the workshop is open to the public.
The final razor clam dig of the spring season opens today and runs through Sunday. Mocrocks will be open all four days, with digging allowed on the morning low tides. Long Beach and Twin Harbors will be open Saturday and Sunday, and Copalis will be open Saturday only. The dig also coincides with this weekend’s Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, coming up on Saturday. Diggers will need to make sure that they have current shellfish licenses, and they’ll need to observe harvest rules and bag limits.
Longview Police are coming back with “Coffee with a Cop,” planning to meet with citizens this morning at two locations in Longview. Officers will be available to listen to citizens and to ask questions at this morning’s “agenda-free, informal meeting.” Coffee with a Cop will run from 9 until 10 this morning at the Ocean Beach Highway Starbucks, and at Zojo’s on 14th Avenue. All are invited to attend.
There’s a Networking and Career Fair happening today at Lower Columbia College, where jobseekers will be able to meet with employers and community organizations. You’ll be able to explore current job openings, develop professional networks, and you’ll be able to practice interviewing skills. More than 25 employer representatives are expected; you’re advised to “dress for success,” bring your resumes, and learn about additional skills in your field, which will increase your competitive edge. The Networking and Career Fair runs from 10 am until 2 pm in the LCC Student Center.
Social Science Instructor Courtney Shah will present “The Extraordinary Life of Soujourner Truth” at today’s installment of the Community Conversation lectures. The theme for this term’s lectures is “Heroism”; the free lectures start at noon in the Laufman Lecture Hall, located on the first floor of LCC’s Health and Science building. Anyone interested can attend.
The Riverview Community Bank’s Classic Film Series continues today at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, with two screenings of the 1952 Gary Cooper-Grace Kelly classic “High Noon.” Showings on the big screen at the Columbia Theatre are set for 2 and 7 pm, and tickets are just five dollars apiece. Get ticket information at columbiatheatre.com, or call 360-577-8499.
There’s a Family Fitness Night happening this evening at CVG Elementary School in Longview. This will run from 5:30 to 7 pm, with parents being invited to come and participate with their kids in nine fitness activities that have been set up all around the school. School officials say that around 150 students and parents participated in last year’s event.
Learn about the return of mountain goats to Mount St. Helens at tonight’s Longview Views and Brews event from the Mount St. Helens Institute, happening this evening at Ashtown Brewing on Hudson Street. Nathan Reynolds is an ecologist for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and he says that mountain goats are now naturally re-populating the area around the volcano. He’ll also talk about the importance of mountain goats to the Cowlitz Indians, who hunted the goats and also used their wool for capes and blankets. The doors open at 5:30 pm, and the presentation starts at 6:30 pm. This is a 21 and over event.
They’re still tallying up the donations, but it’s being announced that Cowlitz County Habitat for Humanity is the recipient of this quarter’s donation from the Lower Columbia chapter of 100 Women Who Care. Stacy Delgarno says that about $7,300 has been collected so far, but she also says that some members were unable to attend Tuesday night’s gathering. She says donations continue to come in, and they have a plan to present the check to Habitat for Humanity on May 5th. Get more details and learn how you can donate by going to the 100 Women Who Care Facebook page.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is now confirming that the body recovered from the Pacific Ocean is that of Ciera Hart, 12, of Woodland. She’s one of six confirmed deaths after 38 year-old Jennifer Hart of Woodland drove off of a 100-foot cliff on the California coast back on March 26th. Two of the Hart family children remain missing after the crash, Devonte Hart, 15, and Hannah Hart, 15. Mendocino County authorities say that Jennifer Hart intentionally drove off of the cliff on March 26th, just a few days after child welfare authorities in Cowlitz County were trying to make contact in regard to claims of possible child abuse and neglect. Toxicology tests are now showing that Jennifer Hart was intoxicated when she drove off of the cliff, while 38 year-old Sarah Hart and at least two of the children had high levels of Benadryl in their systems. Benadryl can make some people sleepy. Toxicology test results are still pending on Ciera Hart and on one other child that was recovered right after the crash.
Longview Police are looking into an assault reported last night, where a man was injured after being hit in the head. The incident was reported just after 10 pm, in the 3100 block of Washington Way. The 911 caller reported that the victim was on the ground, bleeding from the head after being hit with a metal bat or something similar. Those on the scene say that the suspect is a Hispanic male, who took off in a silver or gray Jeep Cherokee, driven by a heavy-set Hispanic woman. The victim was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment, while the effort to find the suspect is continuing.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is being called in to work on an alleged assault case, where someone apparently was pepper-sprayed. The person that was sprayed called 911 at about 4:20 yesterday morning, reporting that the incident happened in the 4300 block of Cambridge Lane in Longview. The victim says that she knows the suspect, identifying that person as the mother of the caller’s niece. The 911 caller was treated for the pepper spray exposure, while Deputies work to contact the supposed suspect.
The man who was at the wheel of a speeding boat that rammed another boat at Buoy 10 last summer has died. Video of the crash involving Marlin Larsen’s boat bearing down on the fishing boat on the Columbia River went viral last year. The three people aboard the fishing boat are seen jumping overboard as Larsen’s 31-foot Bayliner runs over the stern of the 20-foot Weldcraft. The three people on the smaller boat were all rescued by fellow fishermen, and were unhurt. They’re now suing the estate of Larsen, claiming that he was not paying attention to his vessel, and that he has caused lingering injuries to those three people. Larsen, 75, had been charged with three counts of fourth-degree assault, three counts of reckless endangerment and reckless operation of a boat, but those charges are being dropped, after Clatsop County officials learned of Larsen’s death. It’s reported that Larsen died in February at a hospital in Roseburg, where he also owned property. Hearings on the suits being filed by the victims are currently scheduled for the fall.