A Mint Valley Golf Course employee found more than he was looking for Wednesday morning, as he was trying to scoop golf balls out of one of the ponds at the city-owned facility. Around 7:15 Wednesday morning, the employee called Longview Police, reporting that he had found a gun in one of those ponds. Police didn’t say what type of gun was found; it also appears that the firearm had been in the water for some time, as they are planning to send the gun to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab to see if the serial number can be restored. There’s no indication how long that process might take.
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Cheryl Strong, 48, of Packwood is facing prosecution after her rant with the White Pass School District led to a three-hour lockdown of the Elementary School. Lewis County Deputies went to that school at about 7:45 yesterday morning, after district officials reported getting threatening phone messages from Strong. She was apparently upset that the school bus had dropped her child off at the wrong address on Wednesday afternoon, after the family had moved. Staff members contacted law enforcement after they had heard the messages, saying that they were concerned for their safety. The lockdown was ordered, as Deputies went out to find Strong. She was located shortly before 11 am, apparently on her way to the school. Strong was arrested on a charge of felony harassment, and is currently being held without bail in the Lewis County Jail.
The Longview City Council and the Longview School Board are pledging to work together to find about $133,000 that would pay for upgrades and improvements to signage and other reminders that will help drivers know when they are approaching or are in a school zone in the city limits. Mayor Don Jensen says that the main goal is making sure that kids are safe…schoolzonesafety…At last night’s joint workshop, city staff presented findings from a study that was commissioned with Kittleson and Associates, looking at the existing school zone policies compared to state and national guidelines. One of the early findings is that there is some inconsistency in how school zones around the city are marked. They also recommend that all school zones in the city be active from 7 am to 4:30 pm, to improve consistency around the city. They also suggested a slate of “treatments” for individual school zones, with the base cost for those improvements put at about $133,000. Those include flashing signs, improved visibility of existing signs and other improvements. City and District officials say that they’ll pursue grant funding to try and reduce to budget impacts, but will also work together to make sure that at least this “base package” of improvements is in place before the next school year.
Fishery managers are optimistic that the smelt will be hanging around for tomorrow’s last recreational smelt dip season. Dipping will be allowed in the Cowlitz River from 6 am until noon tomorrow, with a ten-pound limit per person. The masses of seabirds and eagles along the lower Cowlitz indicate that there are still large numbers of smelt in the river. Washington Fish and Wildlife says that this additional day of dipping will also help with their ongoing research into the strength of this year’s run. This is the first time in four years that recreational dipping has been allowed in the Cowlitz.
The Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce opens another “Small Business Boot Camp” this morning, starting with its “financial series” of workshops. Seminars are planned each Friday morning for the next six weeks, going from 7:30 to 9 am in the Heritage Room at LCC. Boot camps on Human Resources and Marketing and Sales are also planned later in the year. Contact the Chamber for registration information.
Head over to the Kelso Theatre Pub tonight, where you’ll be able to see how smart your friends and neighbors are (or aren’t), as Altrusa of Cowlitz County hosts its 6th annual Spell-Ebration Adult Spelling Bee. Three-member teams will compete, working to spell words, also competing for best costumes, crowd favorites and other categories. Our own Ray Bartley will be acting as the Master of Ceremonies. Proceeds from the event will support Altrusa scholarship programs. Pacific Tech Construction and Stageworks Northwest are also co-sponsors. Things get started at 7 pm; the whole family is invited to attend.
The Lower Columbia College Symphonic Band presents its Winter Concert on Friday, featuring the “Lord of the Rings” symphony. Curtain in the Wollenberg Auditorium is 7:30 pm Friday. Admission is free for LCC students, staff and faculty. Tickets are available at the Student Center, or at the Rose Center Box Office.
In the Center Stage Theatre at LCC’s Rose Center for the Arts, they’re presenting Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” with performances set for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday night. This production continues each weekend through March 15th. Tickets are available at the LCC Bookstore, Encore Concessions, and at the Rose Center Box Office.
“From Light Into Darkness: Seven Eclectic One-Act Plays” will open this weekend on the Dana Brown Main Stage at R. A. Long High School. This is a Mainstage Theatre community production, featuring local high school kids and other members of the community. Performances are planned for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday nights, along with a 2 pm matinee Saturday afternoon. Tickets will be available at the door.
The “Electrifying Shamrock Run” is set for Friday night at Lake Sacajawea Park, sponsored by Longview Parks and Recreation. This will get started at 6:45 pm, at the Lions Shelter at Lake Sacajawea; your $20 entry fee will get you a T-shirt and a glow necklace; for those 21-and-over, you’re also invited to the Shamrock Bar and Grill for after-race food and drink specials. Check with Longview Parks and Rec for more information.
The Sons of Norway in Kelso invite you to a Corned Beef and Red Cabbage dinner that’s being held Friday evening at their lodge on Catlin Street in Kelso. The doors open at 5 pm, and there will also be a slide show on the Peace Corps. They’re also planning a Saturday morning breakfast, featuring Norse waffles, pancakes, baked ham, scrambled eggs, coffee and juice. That will run from 8:30 to 10:30 am Saturday morning.
It’s 3.1 miles of “Sand and Misery” at Saturday morning’s “S&M Challenge” at the North County Sports Complex in Castle Rock. Registration for the 5K obstacle course race organized by the Cowlitz Valley Runners will start at 8 am; the first wave of individual runners will go out at 10 am and the second wave will be at 10:30. Team waves will go out at 11, 11:30 and noon. Get more information on the Cowlitz Valley Runners website, or by calling 430-0745.
The annual Native Tree and Shrub Sale put on by Cowlitz Farm Forestry and the Cowlitz Conservation District is going on Saturday and Sunday at Bob’s Sporting Goods in Longview. They’ll have a variety of native trees and shrubs for sale, with seedlings ranging from $1 to $3 in cost. Hours are 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and 10 am until 2 pm on Sunday, or until their stock is gone. Proceeds will go to Natural Resource Student Scholarships.
The program that Alan Rose from Lower Columbia CAP was going to present at the AARP meeting a couple of weeks ago is now scheduled for Saturday. That free program is scheduled for 12:30 pm on Saturday at the Kelso Senior Center, located inside the old Catlin Hall in West Kelso.
“FOLK,” the Friends of the Kalama Library, are hosting a Talent Show on Saturday night, running from 7 to 9 pm in the Kalama Community Building. Proceeds will benefit FOLK and its activities in support of the Kalama Library.
The 25th season of the Clatskanie Arts Commission wraps up Saturday night with a performance by world-class Russian pianist Kirill Gliadkovsky. He will be featured in a solo recital in the Donovan Wooley Performing Arts Center, starting at 7:30 pm Saturday night. Tickets are available at several locations in Clatskanie.
On Sunday, the Columbia Chorale of Oregon will present “Songs of Hope” in the sanctuary of St. Helens First United Methodist Church. This will start at 3 pm, and admission is free.
The Rough and Ready 4-H Club in Kalama is presenting the first of two programs for local young people on Sunday at the St. Joseph Parish Hall. “Just the Basic” is for boys between the ages of 8 and 18, and is billed as a unique day of learning the art of interviewing, personal appearance, public speaking and “dressing for success.” Call Maxine at 673-4479 if you need to know more.
Prepare yourself for another day of blustery weather, as one more strong Pacific storm blows through the region today. Sustained winds of 50+ mph were recorded this morning on the Naselle Ridge, with gusts of 80 mph also being clocked. 47 mph gusts were also being recorded at Abernathy Mountain. The overnight peak gust at the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso is 25 mph, and the Cowlitz PUD had a peak gust of just over 27 mph. They responded to one significant power outage overnight, when a tree fell into overhead lines along West Side Highway near Castle Rock. 482 customers were knocked off-line at 11:13 pm; repairs were complete just after 1 am.
A High Wind Warning remains in effect for the South Washington Coast until 1 pm today, with sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts up to 65 mph. The strongest winds are expected through 9 am, but strong gusts are possible into the early afternoon. The High Wind Warning extends into the Coast Range until 1 pm, with gusts of up to 70 mph possible. The strongest winds are predicted through about 10 am. Inland, there’s a Wind Advisory up until 3 pm, with sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts of up to 45 mph. We also have a report of water over the far west end of Ocean Beach Highway in Pacific County, affecting both directions of travel. Drivers need to be ready for some challenging driving conditions this morning.
Murder charges are pending against Stephen William Kovacs, 51, of Portland, who’s accused of stabbing and killing former Lower Columbia College instructor Peter John, 56. Portland Police say that John died Tuesday afternoon at his home in North Portland, where he had taken Kovacs in, trying to help the man “get on his feet. Apparently, John had planned to move to a new home in the country; when he told Kovacs that he couldn’t come with him, that set off the fatal encounter. John was a history instructor, having worked at LCC between 1989 and 1998. He also taught at San Diego State University before he moved to Portland. Kovacs was found and arrested about a block away from where the stabbing had taken place, and was arraigned yesterday on charges of murder and unlawful use of a firearm. He’s now being held without bail in the Multnomah County Detention Center.
Authorities in Wahkiakum County are looking for a couple from Rosburg that hasn’t been heard from for nearly a week. The Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office says that Lonnie Ray Chavis, 54, and Audrey Chavis, 53, were last seen leaving their home on the 27th of last month, at about 8 am. They were seen leaving with the black Pomeranian dog, named “Poncho,” leaving in their silver Kia Rio, Washington license number AJF-8540. It’s noted that they left all of their belongings and property behind; it’s also noted that Audrey Chavis suffers from Lupus and is in need of medical care. They have been known for going on short trips to Long Beach or Astoria, and they’re regular members of a local church. The Sheriff’s Office says that there are no indications of suicidal intent or other foul play. They say that this disappearance and lack of contact is “highly unusual.” If you have information on where Lonnie and Audrey Chavis of Rosburg might be, call Deputy Bill Tawater at the Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office at 360-465-2202.