We need to make a clarification on our story regarding the notice being served to the Lower Columbia College Nursing program. The program is not on “probation,” but the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing is requesting that the college submit a “follow-up report” by early 2017, showing that the program has met two specific conditions. One deals with internal evaluation, and the second asks that all faculty have at least a Masters degree. The ACEN is quite specific in stating that LCC would be required to, “provide evidence as to why it should not be removed from the list of accredited programs,” if it does not meet these conditions. Wendy Lapic-Hall with LCC says that the college has already met the evaluation condition, and she also says that current faculty is working toward the “Masters” goal. Lapic-Hall says that the college is working hard to meet these conditions, and they have full confidence that the conditions can be met by the 2017 deadline.
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In an effort to make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding proposed school zone safety improvements, the Longview City Council invited the Longview School Board to a workshop, where they reviewed and discussed possible upgrades and improvements for schools all across the city. Mayor Don Jensen says one definite step will be the installation of flashing beacons at the entry of all school zones in the city. There was considerable discussion about the possibility of installing a traffic signal on 15th Avenue, at the entry to Mark Morris High School. City officials say that funding is dependent on action by the Washington Legislature, but the city’s grant application to pay for that signal reportedly ranks high on the list that’s being considered by the state. If they can score this grant, the bulk of the estimated $300,000 cost would be paid by the state. If the grant is awarded, city and district officials agreed to split the $30,000 that would be needed for a local match. Depending on that decision from Olympia, which could come next month, construction could begin next year.
It was a time for honors and awards at last night’s annual Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Pillars of Strength and Crystal Apple Awards banquet. Misty Velke is this year’s K-12 Teacher of the Year, while Mary Beth Tack is the K-12 Administrator of the Year. Klint Hull is being recognized as the Higher Education Person of the Year, and Shannon Cahoon was named as the Workforce Education Person of the Year. The Salvation Army is the 2015 Small Non-Profit of the Year, while Lower Columbia College is the Large Non-Profit of the Year. Swanson Bark and Wood is the Small Business of the Year, Koelsch Senior Communities is the Large Business of the Year, and our own Joel Hanson is the Business Person of the Year. Dawn Gregg is the Rising Star of the Year, Eric McCrandall is the Walt Naze Ambassador of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Gus Nolte of the Drug Abuse Prevention Center and Marti Johnson with Life Works.
Later today, members of the Longview Youth Soccer Club will be installing a new banner at 7th Avenue Park, marking the renaming of a portion of the facility as the “Tom Hutchinson 7th Avenue Park and Soccer Complex,” recognizing the untold hours that he has put into the development of that facility. The City Council approved the move at last night’s workshop, where Hutchinson says that he’s simply overwhelmed by the way that his friends and neighbors turned out to support him. Hutchinson, who currently serves on the Longview City Council, is battling a serious medical condition, and remains in high spirits. He emphasizes that “the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” Other members of Longview Youth Soccer talked about the inspiration that Hutchinson has provided over the years, giving him credit for spearheading the development of a soccer complex that is the envy of cities all over the state. Seth Cockrill with Longview Youth Soccer says that “if everyone volunteered one percent of what Tom Hutchinson has done, this would be utopia.”
Salmon and steelhead anglers are going to get an early shot on some of the area’s favorite waters, as the Department of Fish and Wildlife moves up their opening dates. Starting tomorrow, the Lower Green River and the South Fork Toutle River will open for hatchery steelhead fishing, while the Lower Elochoman River will also open for Spring Chinook and hatchery steelhead. WDFW also says that “selective gear rules” will be in effect on all of these waters; Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead endorsements will also be required. The daily bag limit on the Green and Toutle will be two hatchery steelhead, while there’s a six-fish limit on the Elochoman, with a minimum size of 12 inches. There’s also a limit of two adult Chinook or steelhead on the Elochoman. All wild fish must be released. Full details are available from Fish and Wildlife, or at your local outfitter.
Kress Lake will be closed to the public for fishing today and tomorrow, but kids between the ages of 4 and 14 will be allowed to fish during tomorrow’s Kress Lake Safety Day. From 10 am until 2 pm, Cowlitz Fire District 5 out of Kalama will have a number of displays, exhibits and activities, all geared toward helping everyone understand the importance of safety. Kids and parents will be able to learn and demonstrate safe behaviors that can help to prevent injury or death. After finishing the Safety Course, kids will be allowed to fish in a special netted section of the lake. Rods and bait will be supplied at the lake, so you can leave your fishing gear at home. Kress Lake is located just east of I-5, next to exit 32. There is no cost for taking part.
Stageworks Northwest continues with a musical adaptation of “Little Women,” running each weekend through the month of May. Showtimes at the Longview Theatre on Commerce Avenue are set for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday night, and at 2 pm on Sunday. Go to the Stageworks Northwest web page for more details.
The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market will be open on Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm, set up in the 7th Avenue parking lot across from the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. They’ll have plants and plant starts for sale, along with fresh produce, hand-crafted gifts and garden items, honey, baked goods and more. Admission is free.
The Kelso Bridge Market is open on Sunday in its new venue at the Three Rivers Mall. This year, the Bridge Market is operating in the space across from the new Three Rivers Cinema, open from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday near the Southwest door of the mall. They’ll have special bouquets for sale this weekend, along with fresh produce and plant starts, hand-made craft items and other specialty items.
Monday-Memorial Day Ceremonies:
9 a.m. at Cowlitz View Memorial Gardens in Kelso
10 a.m. at the Silver Lake Cemetery
11 a.m. at the Whittle-Hubbard Cemetery in Castle Rock. The Glen Hoyer American Legion Post 175 is sponsoring the services in Kelso, Silver Lake and Castle Rock.
11 a.m. at Longview Memorial Park. Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson will give an address and the R.A. Long High School Marching band will perform. The service is sponsored by the American Legion Post 155 in Longview. There will be no military flyovers.
11 a.m. at the Kalama IOOF Cemetery. Sponsored by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
A man wanted in connection with an Amber Alert issued in Nampa, Idaho, was arrested yesterday in Cowlitz County, after an alert driver spotted the suspect vehicle on I-5 northbound. Around 2 yesterday afternoon, police in Nampa asked that an Amber Alert that had been started on Tuesday be extended to all of Washington and Oregon. About a half-hour later, a man driving on I-5 northbound near Castle Rock reported that he was following the suspect’s minivan. Castle Rock Police started giving chase, and they were joined by the State Patrol. They got the van stopped just north of milepost 58, where Joshua Wayne Reavis, 31, was arrested, and two young children were taken into protective custody. The children have been turned over to Child Protective Services, while Reavis is being held in the Cowlitz County Jail on a no-bail fugitive warrant, awaiting extradition to Idaho.
The Nursing program at Lower Columbia College is on probation, after the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing reported a couple of faults that they would like to see corrected. The ACEN says that the nursing faculty should all have Masters degrees, but President Chris Bailey says that finding that kind of staff is difficult for every nursing school in the country. The ACEN would also like to see LCC improve its internal systematic evaluation. LCC is being required to provide a follow-up report early in 2017, addressing both of these issues. If the college can’t show compliance with the findings in that follow-up, then they could be in danger of losing accreditation. If LCC can show compliance, then the program would be accredited through 2022.
Local marijuana retailers passed their first test from the Washington Liquor Control Board, passing recent compliance checks where minors were sent into stores to try and buy weed. The WCLB says that four out of 22 marijuana retailers failed the test, allowing underage individuals to buy marijuana. The tests were conducted from the 15th to the 18th of this month, checking stores in Cowlitz, Skagit, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Four stores in Longview and Kelso did NOT sell to the underage test subjects, while two stores in Tacoma and two stores in Everett failed the test. Those four businesses are being cited for selling to minors, while the individual clerks involved could also face criminal prosecution.