KapStone Paper and Packaging’s mill in Longview now has some of the highest certification standards in the paper-making industry, as the company announces that the Longview facility is now certified under the Sustainable Forest Industry and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Chain of Custody standards. The mill had previously been certified to the SFI fiber sourcing standards; KapStone President Randy Nebel says that these new certifications give the company one more way to demonstrate performance in the area of environmental protection. He says that it shows that the company is performing at the highest levels of protecting water quality, conservation of wildlife habitat, biodiversity and much more.
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Work starts today on the chip sealing program in the City of Kelso. Starting today, the city plans to chip-seal North 1st Avenue from Pacific to Division, North 2nd and North 3rd from Donation to Barnes, North 4th from Division to Barnes, all of Croy Street, all of Division, all of Ineer Street and all of Maxwell. The work is scheduled to begin at 7:30 this morning, and should be completed by 4 pm. There will be some traffic disruptions connected to this work, and street will also need to be completely clear of vehicles. Those vehicles not cleared may be towed at the owner’s expense. Detours will also be posted around work areas; you should use alternate routes to avoid congestion and traffic delays.
The County Commissioners stay in-house for their new Public Works Director, promoting Mike Moss from his position as the Event Center Director, effective September 16th. Commission Chair Mike Karnofski says that Moss has the experience and background to oversee the county’s roads, bridges, water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste facilities. For the past nine years, Moss has been running multiple operations as the Cowlitz County Event Center Director, overseeing management of the fairgrounds and Expo Center, along with the Cowlitz County Regional Conference and Events Center. Prior to that, Moss worked in the private sector as a general manager, a plant supervisor and a production supervisor. He also has an educational background in business and human resource management. The Commissioners haven’t yet determined what they plan to do with Moss’ current position; they may provide some direction on that within the next week or so.
The City of Kelso put a ribbon on the completion of phase one of the West Main Street Realignment Project yesterday afternoon, while also saying that more work remains to be done. At yesterday’s ribbon-cutting, City Engineer Mike Kardas says that phase 2 needs to be finished, along with work on the rest of West Main. Mayor David Futcher and officials with the Washington Department of Transportation have high praise for this project, saying that it not only solves some significant traffic flow and street quality issues, but also helps set the stage for future development. Futcher and Kardas both say that attention will now turn to completion of the final phase of the project, which will include right-of-way acquisition and extension of the five-lane Catlin Street between 4th and Ocean Beach Highway. Streetscape improvements along West Main are scheduled to get under way later this year. City officials expressed their thanks to the designers and contractors that helped to complete the project under budget and as quickly as possible, along with thanks to the West Kelso businesses that bore the brunt of problems and traffic snafus while that construction was going on .
The investigation into a fatal plane crash that took place last night near the Chehalis-Centralia Airport is getting under way. The crash took place around 7 pm, when a “Midget Mustang” kit plane took off from the airport, and then immediately started having problems. Witnesses say that the plane took off, banked sharply, and then crossed I-5 before crashing at the Chehalis Collision Center, damaging two trucks that were parked there. Only the pilot was aboard the plane, and it has been confirmed that the pilot died in the crash. The name of the victim hasn’t yet been released. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are both sending investigators to conduct this investigation.
Two girls from St. Helens are being charged with first-degree arson, being accused of setting a fire that burned more than a half-acre of land, and did about $10,000 damage to the Women’s Resource Center in Saint Helens. St. Helens Police Chief Terry Moss says that the fire was reported at about 5 pm on Monday, when a grass fire was reported in between the Lincoln Square Apartments and the Resource Center on Shore Drive in St. Helens. The Center was evacuated as the fire spread and threatened two other homes. Firefighters from Columbia River Fire and Rescue were eventually able to get the fire put out, but not before the Women’s Resource Center was damaged. Witnesses reported seeing two young girls running from the area prior to the fire; police located and questioned two 12 year-old girls, who reportedly admitted that they had started the fire while playing with matches. The girls were arrested and taken to the Juvenile Services Center in Longview. The Red Cross is providing assistance to Center residents that were displaced by the fire.
Rainier Police are looking for your help in finding Kennon Ray Leon Halverson, 33, who has been missing since last Thursday morning. They say that Halverson was last seen at 5 am on the 21st, when he dropped his kids off at the babysitter’s house. Yesterday, Halverson’s car was found in a remote location in Clark County, but there was no sign of him. Kennon Halverson is a white male, 5’7” and 130 pounds, with sandy brown hair, blue eyes and a goatee. On April 29th of this year, Halverson was arrested in Longview, after he allegedly tried to cash a bogus check, and was eventually charged with forgery. If you or someone you know has information on the current whereabouts of Kennon Havlerson, you’re asked to call Rainier Police at 503-397-1521 right away. You can also leave an anonymous tip on the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 577-1206.
The city of Federal Way got a big jolt yesterday afternoon, when Weyerhaeuser announced that it’s moving the company headquarters out of its 430-acre campus just off of I-5 to downtown Seattle. Weyco President and CEO Doyle Simons says that the complex in Federal Way is too large and too costly for the company’s needs, and by moving to downtown Seattle, they will have access to a larger talent pool. Weyerhaeuser plans to sell the land in Federal Way, though they will continue to maintain a tech center with 120 employees in that city. Weyerhaeuser is having a building constructed on Occidental Avenue South, which is scheduled for completion in 2016. It’s projected that the move will affect about 800 employees at the facility in Federal Way.
You’re invited to a special presentation that’s being co-sponsored by the Kelso and Longview School Districts, a program talking about how strong adults can have positive impacts on kids and the community. Doctor Robert Brooks is scheduled to present a program called “The Role of Charismatic Adults in Our Community,” speaking on the themes of resilience, motivation, school climate, positive work environments and family relationships. Brooks has lectured around the nation and around the world on these topics, and he’s scheduled to speak from 1 to 2:30 this afternoon at the Cowlitz County Expo Center. The event is free and open to anyone interested; you are asked to RSVP to the Longview School District. Get more on that by going to the Longview Schools web page.
Today, tomorrow and Friday, the Kelso School District will be working to sell off surplus property. The sale of surplus equipment and materials is being held at Ed Laulainen Stadium at Schroeder Field, going from 10 am until 2 pm each day. Today, the sale is open to public and private schools, and students from the Kelso School District can come by and purchase old textbooks between 8 am and 2 pm today. The sale will be open to the general public tomorrow and Friday. The full list of surplus materials is posted on the Kelso School District web page; they also have two vehicles that will be sold via sealed bid. Those bids are due by 3 pm on Friday, September 19th.