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Archive | ‘Local News’

Text to 911

Posted on 22nd August 2016 at 08:48

Starting today, you’ll be able to contact Columbia County 911 via text message. Columbia County is one of eight locations in Oregon that will now have the ability to accept text messages to 911, a system that has been in development for about a year. The system is supported by the deaf and hearing impaired, saying that this gives them much improved access to emergency services. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular customers will be able to access the Text-to-911 system, with the costs covered by a 75-cent monthly charge that almost all cell phone customers pay. Contact Columbia County for more information.

Water Flushing

Posted on 22nd August 2016 at 08:47

City of Longview utility crews will be out on the far west end of town this week, flushing out pipes on that end of the city’s water delivery system. City crews will be flushing water mains west of State Route 432 in the Willow Grove area, with work starting at 8 this morning, and will continue until 4 pm. Work will proceed each day through Thursday. Refrain from using water while the flushing is going on, and be sure to flush your own plumbing after the work is done.

Mad Hatter Tea Party

Posted on 22nd August 2016 at 08:46

Local teens are invited to come to this afternoon’s “Mad Hatter Tea Party,” running from 3 to 5 pm today on the lawn next to the Longview Public Library. The Alice in Wonderland-themed event will include croquet and other lawn games, iced tea and much more. Be sure to dress up, as prizes will be awarded for the best costumes. This event is open to all area middle and high schoolers, being hosted by the Rainbow Community Diversity Youth Group, celebrating diversity in a bully-free environment. Call 442-5323 if you need help.

Heat Alert

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:17

The Cowlitz PUD is opening up the John Searing Auditorium as a Cooling Center today, as the heat wave continues across western Washington and Oregon. An Excessive Heat Advisory continues through tomorrow night in the local area, warning of temperatures near or over the century mark today. Kelso had a high of 96 yesterday, Longview had a high of 95, as did Castle Rock and Kalama. Today’s high is expected to be near 100 degrees, while tomorrow is predicted to be just a couple of degrees cooler. Things are expected to cool off substantially on Sunday, with a high of about 80 degrees. The John Searing Auditorium will be open from 8 am to 5 pm today for anyone who needs to get inside and cool down, and they will also be streaming the Olympics.

The PUD is also asking that you “use power wisely” during this heat wave, with high demand as people crank up the fans and the AC. PUD officials say that the distribution system is being closely monitored, so that any heat-related issued and concerns are dealt with quickly. Field crews are prepared to respond to any problems that arise. You’re still advised to shut down air conditioning in empty houses while you’re away or at work, or put a timer on your air conditioner. Take precautions to make sure pets, the elderly and the very young have a way to escape the heat, be sure to stay hydrated, and try to stay out of the direct sun.

Campfires Banned in Parks

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:16

A Red Flag Warning also continues in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and throughout most of western Washington and Oregon, talking about extremely dry conditions in the woods, along with gusty winds. In conjunction with this warning, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is announcing a total ban on campfires in all state parks, and on ocean beaches in the Seashore Conservation Area. They say that this ban is part of a statewide effort to prevent human-caused wildfires, and also complies with the ban that was issued by the Department of Natural Resources earlier this week. All state parks are now under Level 4-Extreme Fire Danger. Fires are restricted to self-contained gas and propane stoves; gas-powered fire rings and pits with on-off switches will also be allowed. Check with local jurisdictions about fire restrictions in city and county parks.

Shooting Update

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:15

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is releasing a photo of the “wooden staff” that was being used as a weapon by the 27 year-old man who was shot and killed Wednesday morning at the Flying K convenience store in West Kelso. Undersheriff Marc Gilchrist describes the staff as four feet in length, one-and-one-half inches in diameter, and weighing two pounds. He also says that the staff was broken in the attack, as the man allegedly used it like a club when he attacked a clerk, a customer and Officer John Johnston inside the store. Gilchrist also says that detectives are now evaluating evidence that was recovered at the scene, while also reviewing the in-store video of the event. Additional interviews of witnesses and law enforcement personnel are also being conducted. An autopsy of the man is being set up, probably to be conducted today. Authorities are still working to locate and notify next of kin before they release the man’s name. Gilchrist says that the next update will be issued when the video and the police audio is ready for release. The owner of the Flying K says that the store will re-open in the near future.

Missing Woman Search

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:14

The family of Cheryl Hart, 35, of St. Helens is starting a GoFundMe campaign, looking to raise money so that they can hire a Longview-based K-9 search team to look for the missing woman. Hart hasn’t been heard from since August 4th, when she was seen at a home in Eugene, while with her boyfriend, Jeremy Milutin, 36, of St. Helens; Eugene Police say that they are “gravely concerned” for Hart’s welfare. Hart’s grandmother has a goal of raising $10,000, so that they can hire International K-9 Search and Rescue Services for Missing People and Pets; as of last night, more than $2,800 had been raised. Cheryl Hart was last seen with Milutin on the 4th, and then he was seen alone on the 5th. He was arrested later on that day, and is being held in the Lane County Jail on charges unrelated to Hart’s disappearance.

Kitts Trial

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:13

The man who spent more than a decade in prison for the murder of his mother was on the witness stand yesterday, testifying against the man that authorities now say is really responsible for the death. The Daily News reports on the trial of Brian Kitts, 43, the cousin who is now being charged with beating and strangling Sharon Cox of Longview back in 2000. Donovan Allen, 35, testified about finding his mother’s body, while defense attorney Kevin Blondin grilled Allen over statements made shortly after the killing. Retired Longview Police Sergeant Danny Jacobs said on the stand that Allen’s confession was “tainted,” when Detective Jeff Davis informed Allen that the murder weapon had been found in the garage of her home. Blondin also pressed Allen about the confession that he signed, and about statements that he made about “hating” his mother. Testimony continues today; the trial is expected to continue through next week.

Addy Jo Celebration

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:11

A Celebration of Life for little Addy Jo Cliffton is planned for tomorrow at the First Baptist Church on Wheeler Street in Longview. Addy Jo died on the 8th of this month, just days after her fifth birthday, and after a two-year battle against Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The Celebration of Life is scheduled to start at 5 pm tomorrow; the family is asking that memorial contributions be made in lieu of flowers, to help the family with expenses, and to support Candlelighters of Portland. That group helps families who have children with cancer, and who may be struggling financially. Find out more on

Weekend Events–8/19-21/16

Posted on 19th August 2016 at 09:10

There’s a lot going on this Friday at the Kelso Senior Center, starting at 9 am with a Blood Drive. The Bloodworks NW Bloodmobile will be set up in front of the Center at 108 NW 8th in West Kelso until 3 pm, with a break from 11:30 to 12:30. Sign up for a donation by calling 1-800-398-7888, go online at, or just walk in. Photo ID or a Bloodworks donor card will be needed.

The Emergency Preparedness Fair for Seniors will run from 10 am until 2pm at the Kelso Senior Center. Along with information on preparing for a fire, flood, earthquake, windstorm or volcano, they will have informational speakers, and special sessions. This is open to the entire community, and admission is free.

The annual Castle Rock Kids’ Clothes Closet event for kids on free and reduced lunches will be held this Saturday, going from 9 am until noon at St. Paul Lutheran Church. Participants will need to have proof of residency. St. Paul is located at 312 First St. in Castle Rock.

Lower Columbia CAP is handing out surplus hatchery steelhead on Friday, starting at 11 am at the Help Food Warehouse on Commerce Avenue in Longview. You’ll need to be a Washington resident, and you will also need to have proof of your low-income status. Be sure to bring a cooler, a plastic bag or some sort of carrier, as CAP will have none available. Call 425-3430, extension 259 for additional information.

Bill Ammons with the Pacific Barber Shop in Kelso has a goal of collecting 300 backpacks for local kids, and Friday is the deadline to make donations to that drive. Donations can be dropped off at the shop on South Pacific Avenue in Kelso; call 274-7871 to get more details.

The Mint Valley Golf Course is 40 years old, and they’re celebrating this Friday with a special 9-hole scramble, fun golf games and special prizes. Rules will be posted at each hole. Social hour starts at 3 pm, they start teeing off at 4, and then the Happy Hour gets going at 6. Call 442-5440 to get signed up.

The 2nd annual Chamber Music Concerts will be held this weekend at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Longview. R. A. Long alums Don Kirkpatrick, Christopher Leach, Grant Mack and Steve Meharg will perform at 7 pm Friday and Saturday evening, and at 2 pm on Sunday. There’s no set admission for any of the shows, though concertgoers will be encouraged to make a donation to the Lower Columbia School Gardens.

“A Yearly Summer Tradition” is the theme of this year’s Wahkiakum County Fair, which runs Friday and Saturday at the fairgrounds in Skamakowa. Friday is Kids Day, with kids age 12 and under admitted for free until 4 pm. Saturday is Armed Forces Day and Salmon Barbecue Day; gates open at 9 am each day.

The second annual Columbia-Willow Grove Beach Cleanup is planned for Saturday morning. Local residents are teaming up with Columbia Riverkeeper for the cleanup, which will go from 9 am until noon at Willow Grove Park. Gloves, trash bags, sharps containers, water and snacks will be provided. Get more information on the event Facebook page.

From 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, the Kelso High School Theatre program is putting on a fundraising Garage Sale, running from 9 am to 4 pm at Kelso High School. Proceeds help support the KHS Drama program and the show they produce through the school year.

In St. Helens, the Legacy Medical Group is putting on a Health Fair, running from 9 am until noon at 500 N. Columbia River Highway. Partners include the Public Health Foundation OSU Extension, Safe Kids Columbia County and others. It’s free and open to the community.

The Kelso First Baptist Church will be putting on another “Soup’s On” Community Lunch on Saturday. The doors open at 11:30 am, and lunch will be served until 1. They will also have a Clothes Closet for those who have a need.

There’s a Street Dance planned for Saturday night in downtown Kalama, going from 7 pm until midnight. The Fabulous Fairlanes will be playing, and they’ll have a beer garden. The event will be supporting the Kalama Community Building.

The 2016 Northwest Classic Fly-In/Cruise-In happens on Saturday at the Scappoose Airport, running from 8 am until 3:30 pm. They’ll have all kinds of specialty cars and aircraft on display, airplane rides, live music and great food. Get more information on the Northwest Classic on the event Facebook page.

The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market continues on Saturday, offering fresh produce, baked goods, honey and more from 9 am until 2 pm on Saturdays and Tuesdays in the 7th Avenue parking lot, across from the County Fairgrounds.

The Winlock Improvement Network and the Winlock Lions are hosting a Farmers Market that will run each Saturday through September 24th, starting this Saturday at the corner of State Route 505 and Highway 603.

The second annual Garlic Festival will take place at this Saturday’s Farmer’s Market in Clatskanie, going from 10 am until 2 pm at Cope’s Park on the Clatskanie River.

The 20th annual Untouchables Car Show happens on Sunday in downtown Kalama, sponsored by Joel Olsen Trucking. Registration will be open from 8 am until noon, and the Parade of Winners will be held at 3 pm. Proceeds will help to support scholarship programs for Kalama students heading to LCC.

The Coldwater Lake chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse are holding a Poker Run on Sunday, raising money to continue the fight against child abuse. Registration at Love’s Leathers in Battle Ground will open at 10 am, and then the kickstands will go up at 11. The run will end at Mary’s Bar and Grill on Ocean Beach highway in Longview.

The Kelso Bridge Market is at a new venue this year, at the Three Rivers Mall. Hours are 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday next to the southwest entry to the Mall.