Two people are recovering from injuries they received after a three-car collision that took place yesterday morning in West Kelso, a crash that ended up with one car hitting a house. The crash took place at about 8:30 yesterday morning at Southwest 5th and Catlin. Witnesses tell Kelso Police that a southbound Honda Accord ran two red lights, then hit a pickup that was westbound on Catlin Street. The pickup then hit an eastbound van, while the Honda went off of the street and hit the house at 500 Catlin Street. Two people in the pickup were taken to Saint John Medical Center with minor injuries; the Honda driver is being cited for second-degree negligent driving, no valid operator’s license and no registration. Names have not been released.
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A Ryderwood man says that he may be the victim of an online fraud. The man called the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon, saying that he had been contacted by e-mail, notified that he had won an auction for a non-working tractor on proxybid.com. The auction was held in Phoenix, and this man reportedly “won” the auction for $2,500. The man says that he’s certain that he didn’t place a bid. When he contacted the company that was selling the tractor, they told him that he was still responsible, but they would settle for $300. The man called proxybid.com, and they said that they would investigate if the man had a report from law enforcement. The man was supplied with a case number, and he plans to contact proxybid.com again.
George Bainbridge, 54, of St. Helens is in the Columbia County Jail on first-degree animal abuse charges, after he allegedly used a bow and arrow to kill a neighbor’s pig. Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson says that Bainbridge used a compound bow and two arrows in killing the pig that was owned by his neighbor, 56 year-old Michelle Fudge-Snow. In interviews with Portland TV news, Bainbridge claims that he was protecting his property from Fudge-Snow’s animal. Yesterday, Deputies served a search warrant at Bainbridge’s home on Robinette Road, seizing evidence and taking Bainbridge into custody. Bainbridge is currently being held on two counts of animal abuse and one count of second-degree criminal mischief, with bail set at just over $36,000. The investigation is continuing.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is now reporting that contraband was found in the cell of Brent Ward Luyster, the man accused of killing three people and wounding a fourth person at a home on Woodland. It’s now being reported that a search of Luyster’s cell turned up a 15-inch “sharp item,” along with a weighted cord that had a hook on the end of it. They say that the cord was long enough to reach the ground from a broken window that was discovered at the Clark County Jail on Sunday. Luyster was due for arraignment on charges connected to the July homicides, but that hearing has been postponed, as new charges are filed. That arraignment hearing has been postponed to next month, as Luyster says that he wants to defend himself on these new counts. Luyster continues to be held without bail, with his next court date currently set for March 6th.
PeaceHealth is announcing that it’s selling off its laboratory services operations, a move that could affect as many as 500 employees of the health care chain. Yesterday, PeaceHealth and Quest Diagnostics jointly announced that Quest will acquire the outreach laboratory services operations of PeaceHealth Labs. Under this professional laboratory services agreement, Quest will manage eleven labs in three states; PeaceHealth would still own the labs, but they would be run by Quest Diagnostics. Officials with PeaceHealth say that these agreements are designed to improve access to innovative, convenient and high-value lab services; they also say that doctors and patients will benefit from an enhance test menu, advanced diagnostic capabilities and an expanded network of service centers. It’s reported that this move does affect current PeaceHealth lab workers, as about 500 of the more than 900 current employees will be laid off. Quest plans to hire about 275 people, and affected employees are being encouraged to apply for these positions. Affected employees will be contacted by the 24th of this month.
Local business people are riding a school bus today, heading to Mark Morris High School for today’s “Business Back 2 School” event that’s being put on by the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce. Participants will tour the Career and Technical Education programs at MM, checking out classes in things like digital photography, computer integrated manufacturing, marketing, the Microsoft IT Academy, Computer-Aided Design and Drafting, and Introduction to Engineering. Things get started at 8:30 this morning, boarding the bus in the parking lot at Lowe’s. Future Business Back 2 School events are being planned in May at R. A. Long and Discovery High School.
LCC’s Fitness Center Managers, Shelby and Jarrad Miller, will be the featured speakers at today’s installment of the Community Conversation lectures. At noon today, they’ll present “Building Community and Lifelong Fitness.” The free lecture will be presented in the Laufman Lecture Hall at LCC, located on the first floor of the Health and Science building.
The Kalama School District Career Fair happens today, with sessions planned from noon to 3 pm and from 5 to 6:30 pm at Kalama High School. Kalama Schools are teaming up with the Port of Kalama for today’s Career Fair, showcasing the wide variety of jobs and companies that operate in the local area. The early session is geared to students, while the evening session is intended for the parents to come in and participate. Get more information by contacting the Kalama School District.
The City of Longview plans to roll out Phase 3 of the Downtown Streetscape Project in a public meeting that’s set for this afternoon at the Mill City Grill. This is the final phase of the project in downtown Longview, and will be focused on improvements in the 12 hundred block of Commerce Avenue. The city plans to replace and upgrade sidewalks, crosswalks, bulb-outs, street trees, lighting and furnishings in that block, starting from the south side of Hudson and ending and the south side of Hemlock. Work is expected to run from April through June; work will be limited from 7 am until 6 pm, and won’t be allowed on both sides of the street at the same time. Full details are available at this evening’s meeting, or on the city website at mylongview.com.
They’re asking “What if…” at tonight’s Town Hall meeting in South Kelso, starting at 6 pm. The Cowlitz Community Network, the South Kelso Neighborhood Association and the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office are putting on this evening’s event at Wallace Elementary School, looking to “start the conversation” on how local residents can get together and improve their community. They’ll also have K-9 demonstrations, activities for the kids, door prizes and a raffle. Anyone interested is invited to attend.
The initial returns are not looking good for the $14.2 million bond measure being run by the Toledo School District, as that measure is currently well below the 60-percent approval needed for passage. After last night’s ballot run, Lewis County Elections reports that the bond measure received 55.42 percent “yes” votes, with 716 votes for the measure, and 576 against. District officials are still expressing some hope, with ballots remaining to be counted, but they’re already working on community outreach, in an effort to try and figure out what the citizens will support, before they try to run the bond again.
A three-year Maintenance and Operations Levy that would collect $1.1 million per year for the Toutle Lake Schools is passing easily, with more than 61.5 percent approval. A three-year replacement levy is also passing in the Woodland School District, with more than 51 percent “yes” votes in Cowlitz County, and more than 55 percent approval in the Clark County portion of the district. Levies require only a simple majority for passage, while bonds in Washington need 60 percent approval.
Embattled Longview School Board member JD Rosetti says that he will NOT resign. Speaking to the Daily News on Tuesday, Rosetti says “I definitely want to do the job I was elected to do, which is putting the interests of the Longview School District first.” Monday night, a large group attended the School Board meeting, demanding Rosetti’s resignation. This comes after Rosetti was acquitted on domestic violence assault charges. It was pointed out at the Monday night meeting that there are only two ways for Rosetti to leave the board at this time, either through voluntary resignation, or be a recall vote.
Karen Grafton is the newest member of the Kelso School Board, selected Monday night after two candidates were interviewed. Grafton was elected on a unanimous vote, following interviews with her and with Kuyler Devine. David Matney took his name out of the running on Monday morning. Grafton works locally in the health care field, with a degree in business and accounting from Portland State. She has served on local boards before, including work on the board of directors for Lower Columbia CAP and on the Lower Columbia College Medical Assistant Oversight Board. Board President Bob Lucas says that they’re “thrilled” to have Grafton on the Kelso School Board; she succeeds Patty Wood, who was recently elected to the Washington State Board of Education.
A team of nearly 20 people is starting work on the examination and analysis of the facilities in the Kelso School District. Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich says that the Facilities Improvement Team has been convened to guide the process of evaluating how well Kelso School District facilities are providing adequate space, infrastructure and safety to support the best learning environment for students. The Facilities Improvement Team includes school board members, teachers, administrators, community members and members of school support staff. The meeting schedule and other activities of the F-I-T will be published on the Kelso School District web page. Gelbrich says that they also need to hear from the community on facilities planning, so they’re opening up an online community input page through Thoughtexchange. Those who get signed up will be able to share their thoughts between the 17th and 27th of this month; those who shared their thoughts will be able to prioritize ideas between March 7th and 19th. Reports and results from that input will be shared in April.