A cash reward of up to $5,000 is now being offered for information that lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who shot a sea lion that eventually ended up on a sand bar in the Cowlitz River. The animal spent about a week on the sand bar just upstream from Gerhart Gardens Park, unable to move, eat or drink; the sea lion was eventually put down. A post-mortem examination shows that the sea lion had been shot in the head. The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and the Humane Society of the United States announced the reward yesterday. It’s noted that the shooting is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act; the suspect or suspects could face up to a year in a federal prison, along with a criminal penalty of up to $100,000. Civil penalties of up to $11,000 could also be imposed. Call the Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 if you have information on this incident.
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Longview Police say that it looks like a woman was trying to get her ex-husband in trouble, when she called 911, claiming that he was trying to lure teenage girls into his van. Around 12:45 yesterday afternoon, a call came into the 911 Center, claiming that the man had actually gotten one girl to get into his rig. When Officers stopped and talked with the man, they learned that it was a company van, and the “girl” was actually a co-worker. The man says that he’d run into his ex-wife inside the store, and he suspected that she started the report, trying to get him arrested. Instead, the 911 caller was cited for filing a false report.
The YMCA of Southwest Washington is using the latest technology to get visitors into the facility more smoothly, while also increasing security. Current YMCA Executive Director Janine Manny says that this “Raptor” scanning system is allowing them to get visitors in more quickly, while also helping to identify people who shouldn’t be in the building. Manny says that the old system of having people sign in when they were coming to watch things like indoor soccer, T-ball or basketball created a big bottleneck, and also did nothing to help identify people who are on sex offender registries. Using this scanner, YMCA staff will know in just a few seconds if the person is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry. All visitors to the building will be required to go through this scan, as will YMCA members who forget their member cards. Get more information by calling the YMCA at 423-4770.
By an overwhelming margin, students at Lower Columbia College say that they will support a 25-dollar quarterly fee that will help to pay for operations and maintenance of the new Fitness Center at Myklebust Gym. ASLCC officials say that 16 percent of students participated in the vote, with 355 voting “yes” on the fee, while only 99 voted “no.” The $25 student fee and $50 staff fee could go into effect this summer.
LifeFlight is once again expanding its operations, announcing that they now have a base at the Warrenton-Astoria Regional Airport. This base will now bring air ambulance services to the people of the southern Washington and northern Oregon coastal areas, providing 24/7coverage to that area. The helicopter stationed in Astoria can fly from there to Portland in about 25 minutes. Local officials are applauding the move, saying that it will be a huge benefit to the citizens and emergency responders in that area.
It’s a busy day in the area, starting with the Highlands Partners Awards Luncheon, starting at 11:30 this morning at the McClelland Arts Center. They’ll be celebrating the community’s generosity in helping to improve outcomes for kids and families in the Highlands. Call 442-0612 for more information.
Mark Morris Choir Director Brian Mitchell and local businessman Jeff Wilson are scheduled as the guests of honor at today’s meeting of the Lower Columbia School Retirees Association, starting at 11:30 am in the dining room at the Kelso Elks. Mitchell will be bringing some of his students in for a singing performance, while Wilson will talk about the Shay Locomotive restoration. Call 425-5428 if you need to know more.
At 6:30 pm, the Longview Citizens Water Supply Committee will meet to continue their work on identifying issues and possible repairs for the city’s water delivery system. At this evening’s meeting, the 14-member panel will review the evaluation criteria that have been developed, with a goal of identifying and ranking those criteria. Today’s meeting is being held in the second-floor training room at the Longview City Hall.
The Kelso High School drama department opens a production of a fairy tale musical called “Into the Woods,” starting tonight and tomorrow, and then continuing later this month. Showtime tonight and tomorrow night at 6 pm in the Kelso High School Auditorium. That time moves to 7 pm on the 28th and 29th, along with a 2 pm matinee on Sunday, the 30th.
Pathways 2020 will be presenting the 2015 Cowlitz Community Report Card at a dinner event planned for this evening at the Cowlitz County Expo Center. Along with the Report Card, six Community Champions will be honored, John Wiseman with the Washington Secretary for Health will be the keynote speaker, and LCC President Chris Bailey will also outline a “vision for the future. Things get started at 5:30 pm.
Crews from Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue have been up early this morning, dealing with a fire reported at a home on the east side of Kelso. Fire crews were called to 800 North 23rd Avenue at about 3:45 am, when a fire was reported. There’s been little other information released so far; we don’t yet know anything about the cause of the fire or how much damage was done. Additional information should be released later today.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Riverdale Raceway near Toutle yesterday afternoon, after it was reported that a man who had been riding a motorcycle had suffered a head injury. This incident was reported at about 12:40 yesterday afternoon; LifeFlight was put on standby as emergency responders made their way to the track just east of Toutle. It was eventually reported that the victim was conscious and breathing, and the man was eventually taken to the hospital by ambulance. His name and his condition haven’t been updated this morning.
Today marks the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the event that altered the landscape of this area for generations to come. A ceremony is planned this morning at the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater Ridge, commemorating the eruption and the 57 people who died during that event. That ceremony is scheduled to run from 10:30 to 11:30 this morning. From noon to 4:30 today, there will be a “Celebration of 35 years of Science Discovery,” where scientists from the U. S. Geological Survey will be available to talk about what has been learned since the eruption, and where the science is taking us now. You’ll be able to see one of the “spiders” that are used to gather data, and there will be an eruption of the “Trashcano” at 1:30 pm. All visitors centers at Mount St. Helens are free today.
It’s now being reported that Woodland Middle School Principal Cari Thomson has been cleared of most of the allegations that were made against her earlier this year. The Daily News reports on the results of a multi-month investigation, initiated after parents, students and staff made multiple allegations of verbal and physical assaults, use of vulgar language around students, retribution against staff members and violation of personnel confidentiality rules. Thomson was placed on leave back in January, as an independent firm was brought in to conduct the investigation. Working through a public records request, TDN obtained a copy of the report, showing that nearly all of the accusations were either hearsay, or didn’t have enough evidence to support them. Thomson hasn’t said if she plans to try and return to her job. The Woodland School Board is expected to take action on the report in the near future.