Two people are under arrest after a suspected shoplifting incident that took place yesterday morning at the 7th Avenue Walmart store. Store security contacted Longview Police at about 11:25 yesterday morning, reporting that they had been monitoring the movements of Sunny David Cronk, 37, of Kelso and Meagan Ashley Bruce, 28, of Longview. Security says that the couple spent more than an hour in the family bathroom at the store, where it’s suspected that they may have been doing drugs. When police made contact with the pair, they turned up Department of Corrections warrants on both people. Police say that Cronk was also in possession of heroin, while Bruce allegedly made false statements to police prior to her arrest. Burglary charges could also be filed, since both suspect had previously been trespassed from the store.
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The Coast Guard helped to evacuate a man who was injured while working aboard a ship that was anchored in the Columbia River near Astoria. Representatives of the “Ergina Luck” contacted the Coast Guard shortly before 5 yesterday morning, reporting that a man had been injured. They say that the contract worker had fallen into a bilge area on the ship, while he was installing a recirculation system. Crew members reported that the worker inured his legs and his back, and was unable to walk. The Coast Guard responded with a motor lifeboat from Cape Disappointment, along with 11 members of the Clatsop County High-Angle rescue Team. That team went onto the ship and immobilized the victim before they carried him up three flights of stairs, then they lowered him over the side to the motor lifeboat. The man was taken to a hospital in Astoria, but his condition hasn’t been updated this morning.
The first meeting of the Longview Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials meets today at the Longview City Hall. Longview City Code requires the Commission to meet in each even-numbered year, prior to the first of June. The Commission is charged with studying the relationship of the salaries paid to Longview City Council members and the Mayor, along with the duties they perform. The Salary Commission last met in 2016. Currently, Longview City Council members are paid $900 a month; the Mayor makes $1,500 per month, and the Mayor Pro Tem is paid $950 per month. This was after $150 per-month raises that were approved by the Salary Commission in 2016. This is the initial meeting of this group for this year; they could meet multiple times before announcing a decision on salaries for the Council. A public hearing would be held before any formal action is taken. Today’s meeting starts at 5 pm, and will be held in the City Hall Training Room. The meeting is open to the public. Previous minutes of the Salary Commission are available on the City of Longview web page, at mylongview.com.
The State of Washington could soon have another Tourism office, as a bill sponsored by 19th District Senator Dean Takko makes it out of the Senate and heads to the House. Senate Bill 5251 would create the Tourism Marketing Authority, a group that would develop and implement a tourism marketing plan, intended to help drive tourism dollars to all corners of the state. In 2011, Washington pulled the plug on the Tourism office, as huge budget cuts were made during the recession. As it stands now, Washington is the only state in the union that does not currently have a statewide tourism program. Takko says that this new group will help to encourage people to come for a visit, while also helping to bring “much-needed dollars” into rural areas of the state. Takko says that the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority would be funded through by directing two-tenths of one percent of retail sales taxes that are paid on lodgings, car rentals and restaurants. SB 5251 passed out of the Senate on a unanimous vote, and now goes on to the House for consideration.
The Lower Columbia College Fighting Smelt competitive speech team continues to haul home the hardware, picking up several awards at the recent 2017-2018 Northwest Forensics Conference, Division Three. In the season awards, the Fighting Smelt came in second in the Debate Sweepstakes, while also finishing third in the Speech Sweepstakes. The entire program was also presented with the NFC Division Three Bronze Medal. LCC officials are out with special kudos to Debate Coach and Communication Studies Instructor Alex Brehm, along with the students who are taking time to compete.
Longview City Council member Ken Botero continues his monthly Community forums this morning, starting at 10 am at the Longview Women’s Club. For today’s gathering Botero says that he’s invited representatives from Life Works to come in and talk about the situations that the agency is facing as they work to place local disabled people in jobs. Over the past two years, Life Works has been experiencing turnover rates as high as 45 percent, and they say that rising minimum wages are also putting pressure on their placement services. The Community Forum is open to anyone interested, start at 10 am in the Longview Women’s Club, located at 825 21st Avenue. Coffee and doughnuts will be served.
Bloodworks Northwest is in town for a special Blood Drive that’s being held today at St. Rose Catholic Church in Longview. This will run from 10 am until 4 pm, with a built-in lunch break between 12:30 and 1:30 pm. Anyone age 17 and over, who weighs at least 105 pounds and is in good general health should be able to donate blood. Appointments are recommended, and you can call 1-800-398-7888 to set one up. Walk-ups will also be accepted. St. Rose Catholic Church is located at 26th and Nichols in Longview, just off of Washington Way.
You can come down and check out the new brewhouse at Ashtown Brewing at this evening’s Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event. This will run from 5:30 to 7:30 pm tonight, at the brewery in downtown Longview, right next to Bob’s Sporting Goods. Get a $5 break on your admission price by picking up your ticket in advance. Check the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce web page or call 360-423-8400 to learn more.
No injuries were reported in a trailer fire that happened last night in Kelso. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was called out just after 9 last night, when a fire was reported in the trailer park behind Taco Bell, located in the 1000 block of Allen Street. The 911 caller said that the rear of a vacant trailer was engulfed in flames; nearby trailers were evacuated while fire crews worked to get to the burning mobile home. It took just a few minutes to get the fire knocked down, and a search of the unit showed that no one was inside. Because the trailer was vacant at the time of the fire, the cause is considered to be “suspicious” at this time. The investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing.
The Longview Fire Department is still investigating a fire that was reported early Saturday morning at a home in the 2600 block of Baltimore Street. Fire crews were called out at 1:15 Saturday morning, when flames were seen coming through the roof of the house. Fire was also extending through a window by the time firefighters rolled up. Neighbors said that the house was vacant, but firefighters were unable to get inside, due to large amounts of debris that were piled up. They switched to a defensive attack, to try and minimize the spread of the fire from the outside of the building. They were eventually able to get the fire extinguished, but they were still delayed in doing a secondary search, because of the unstable debris inside the building. There’s no dollar estimate on the amount of damage done as of yet.
Reports are coming out about a possible fatal crash in the Castle Rock area from over the weekend. Saturday morning, a 911 call came in from the 100 block of Buland Drive, reporting that a pickup was about 100’ down an embankment. The caller reported that his neighbor had been having some issues, and had been speeding up and down the road in his Chevy truck. The truck that was over the bank matched the description of the neighbor’s truck. The caller says that it looks like the truck hit a tree, then went down the embankment. When Deputies got down to the truck, they found that it was occupied. Other details have not been disclosed at this time; additional information should be released later today.
The Clark County Medical Examiner now has custody of a body that was recovered from the East Fork of the Lewis River over the weekend. Two fishermen called 911 at about 9 am on Saturday, as they were drifting in the river about three-quarters of a mile downstream from Daybreak Regional Park. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says that it looks like this person had been in the water for some time, and could not be identified at this time. They did eventually say that the person was a male. It’s hoped that an identity can be made and the cause of death can be pinpointed through the post-mortem examination.