The mother of a man who was killed as he was walking along Gable Road in St. Helens in September of last year is filing suit against the teenage driver that was involved in the collision. The St. Helens Chronicle reports on the three million-dollar wrongful death lawsuit that’s being filed by the mother of Arthur Studer, 34. The mother is also suing the mother and stepfather of Kody Allen, 19, of St. Helens, along with Tobacco World and its owners. It’s now alleged that Kody Allen bought two boxes of nitrous oxide canisters from Tobacco World on September 5th of last year, and then he consumed some of that material in the parking lot of the store. After that, Allen drove about a mile on Old Gable Road, where he swerved off of the road and hit Studer, as he was walking along the shoulder. The lawsuit claims that Tobacco World knew that Allen was a frequent customer, and that he was not using the nitrous oxide for its intended purpose. They say that the owner, Vishal Nisher, knew that it was selling and profiting from nitrous oxide that was being used for illegitimate purposes. Allen is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree manslaughter, tampering with evidence and DUII after the crash. The case is being filed in Columbia County Circuit Court.
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Chehalis-based Barcott Construction just landed a $428,000 contract from the Port of Kalama; the Central Port Storm Water and Lot Improvement Contract deals with improvements to storm water quality and for improving the subject lot for increased industrial use. The contract covers the Central Point Industrial Area, and will include construction of a storm water infiltration pond, while also capping existing outfalls to the Columbia River. They will install storm water lines to direct storm water to the new infiltration facility, they’ll demolish two unusable buildings, they’ll remove concrete structures and utilities from the old Columbia Fiber site, and they’ll do some fill and cover of existing depressions in the lot. Work is expected to go through June.
Fibre Federal Credit Union continues a series of High School Financial Reality Fairs, which are hands-on, interactive simulations of careers and personal financial management. Fibre Federal says that these simulations give local high school students a chance to “test-drive” their careers, giving them an idea of how much money they will make in a certain career, and then to see how they can deal with housing, food, transportation and other “life necessities.” Volunteers are still needed to help with today’s Financial Reality Fair, and with the Fair that’s coming up on Thursday. Contact Fibre Federal to learn more.
Workforce Southwest Washington is hosting a workshop this morning, called “Managing the Generation Gap in the Workplace. This will run from 7:45 to 9:30 am at the Ilani Casino Resort, just off of I-5 at exit 16, near La Center. Go to Eventbrite.com and search for Workforce Southwest to get signed up.
Backers of the $42 million Castle Rock School Bond are hosting “the Grand Finale” this evening, a Community Forum that’s intended to help educate voters about the “financials” of the bond measure, while also answering questions that voters might have. This Community Forum will start at 6 pm at Castle Rock Middle School, and it’s open to anyone interested.
The second-quarter meeting of the Lower Columbia Chapter of 100 Women Who Care happens this evening at the Longview-Kelso Elks, starting at 5:30 pm. More than 100 local women are expected to attend, each contributing 100 dollars cash that will then be presented to a beneficiary that’s selected by the group. Belly Brigade, a local group working to feed the homeless and the needy, was the first-quarter beneficiary. Find out more by going to the chapter’s Facebook page.
This month’s Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event is happening at Columbia Bank on Washington Way in Longview. They’ll have food and drink, prizes, networking opportunities and other fun. Get a break on your admission by going to the Chamber web page to register in advance.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office now reports that Jennifer Hart of Woodland was legally drunk when she drove the family SUV off of a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway on March 26th. They also say that Sarah Hart and at least two of the children that were recovered had been drugged with Benadryl. Autopsy results released over the weekend show that Jennifer Hart had a blood alcohol level of point-102, and they also say that Sarah Hart and two of the children had diphenhydramine in their blood stream, which is a main ingredient of Benadryl, which is used to treat colds and allergies. Benadryl can also make people sleepy. Toxicology tests are not yet complete on the third child that was recovered. Authorities also say that identifying a body that was recovered last week has been difficult, as they haven’t been able to use dental records to compare. Investigators say that they haven’t been able to find a dentist that treated the children. DNA tests will take a couple more weeks to complete. It’s believed that Jennifer Hart intentionally drove the family SUV over the 100-foot cliff near Westport, California, just days after child welfare authorities made an attempt to contact the family over reports of possible abuse and neglect.
No injuries or serious damage was reported after an elderly female apparently took a wrong turn Friday night, and drove on the railroad tracks for several miles. Shortly before 9 on Friday night, a call came into Kelso Police about a pickup truck that was driving southbound on the railroad tracks. The truck was seen going underneath the Allen Street Bridge, and then stopped near the Train Depot. They contacted Burlington Northern-Santa Fe to halt train traffic. A tow truck was needed to come in and actually lift the truck off of the tracks. Field testing also showed that the elderly woman had a blood alcohol level of .036. When she was questioned, the woman says that she got onto the tracks near Ostrander Road. So far, no citations have been reported.
It’s going to be several more weeks before a Columbia County judge will rule on the mental competency of the man who’s accused of shooting and killing Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter back in January of 2011. Daniel Butts of Kalama was in Columbia County District Court last Thursday, where defense attorneys challenged many of the contentions being made by prosecutors regarding the mental state of the defendant. Attorney Patrick Sweeney accuses District Attorney Jeff Auxier of “misconstruing or altering” statements that are in the evidence queue. Auxier contends that his office’s positions are legal and proper arguments, and are completely accurate. He also says that the statements are “positions, not facts,” and he claims that they are appropriate for arguing his case. District Court Judge Ted Grove says that he needs more time to consider Auxier’s arguments before making a ruling on the competency of Butts, who continues to be held in the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.
Claiming that they’re being “stonewalled” by the Cowlitz PUD, the Chief Operating Officer of MiningSky, Incorporated, is putting down a deadline of May 1st for an agreement on electricity supplies, or his company is pulling out. The Daily News reports on the complaints from COO Eric Lundgren, who claims that the PUD is holding things up. Cowlitz PUD General Manager Steve Kern disputes Lundgren’s claims, saying that they are working as fast as they can; he also claims that MiningSky hasn’t been completely forthcoming on the amount of electricity that they are actually going to need. Back in February, MiningSky announced plans to lease Longview’s old water treatment plant on Fishers Lane, installing supercomputers that would then “mine” for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. It’s reported that MiningSky would need between three and six megawatts of electricity for the operations, amounts that would put the facility into the top ten of electricity users in the county; if six megawatts is needed, they would be in the top five. Lundrgren is threatening to pull out and put their resources into another facility in Port Angeles if an agreement isn’t in place by May 1. Kern says that they are moving as quickly as possible, so that Lundgren and his company can make their decision.
After initially announcing that the locally-prepared health study regarding the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals coal export facility would be ended, Cowlitz County officials now say that study will be completed. Elaine Placido with Cowlitz County Building and Planning made the announcement on Friday, after a meeting of the Health Impact Assessment Team, which is comprised of the Cowlitz County Departments of Health, Building and Planning, and the State Department of Health. After that meeting, the team determined that they should complete the report. The HIA Steering Committee and the HIA Team plan to meet early next month to talk about “process concerns,” and it’s planned that the Steering Committee will provide direction at that meeting. They also say that there will be a final workshop in the early summer, to review the final draft and to complete any recommendations that the Steering Committee may have. All materials generated during this process are currently available on the Cowlitz County web page.
Be aware of some road work that will soon be getting under way. The Washington Department of Transportation is getting ready for a bridge resurfacing project between Kalama and Woodland, working on the North Fork Lewis River Bridge and the I-5 Railroad Bridge, both on the southbound freeway. WashDOT officials say that an unusually cold and wet winter coupled with the weight of heavy traffic to cause damage to the pavement. They say that one southbound lane will be closed continuously for several weeks, while nighttime two-lane closures are also planned. Intermittent closures of the Todd Road on-ramp to I-5 will take place, the speed limit will be reduced to 60 miles an hour, and the work is weather-dependent, so the length of the project could be extended.
Work on the State Route 409 Bridge preservation project between Cathlamet and Puget Island is also set to begin this week, with workers preparing the site for work. Structures for repainting the bridge will be installed this week, and traffic will be reduced to one lane, using flaggers to alternate traffic in each direction. Overnight bridge closures are also being set up, as the worn asphalt and aged timber decking is removed and replaced. WashDOT is working with local emergency service providers to make sure that there’s access on and off of the island when the bridge is closed. Get more information on the WashDOT web page.
A special meeting of the Longview School Board is planned for 6:30 this evening, where they plan to discuss possible next steps regarding the re-running of a Capital Facilities Bond. After hearing a presentation called “Building a Culture of Hope,” the School Board will look at several scenarios for a second run at a Capital Facilities Bond, while also going over the public input that was received after the failure of the bond that was run last November. They will also discuss Safety and Security, prior to conducting an evaluation of Superintendent Dan Zorn. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm in the School Board Hearing Room at the Longview School District offices, located at 2715 Lilac Street, next to R. A. Long High School.
You can still review the Math Curriculum Materials that are under consideration for use by Kindergarten through Fifth-graders, today through Friday at the Longview School District offices. Public review of these materials will be available from 8 am until 5 pm, today through Friday, the 20th. Contact Longview Schools at 360-575-7009 to learn more.