Dense fog has once again settled in over the local area, with visibility down to a quarter-mile or less in some areas of Cowlitz County, the I-5 corridor and the Lower Columbia River. A Dense Fog Advisory is up until 10 am this morning, extending down through the Portland-Vancouver area and the Coast Range, as well. It’s reported that visibility was down to a couple of hundred feet in some spots near Vernonia. You’re reminded to slow down, increase your following distance, and be sure to have your low beams on, so other drivers can see you.
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The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office is working to find three male suspects in connection with a knifepoint robbery reported yesterday morning at a home just north of Castle Rock. The incident was relayed to CCSO just after 8 yesterday morning; Amanda Dickerman, 21, says that the suspects forced their way into her home at about 7 am, wearing masks and wielding knives. Dickerman’s companion, Yuni Hernandez, 28, has a card to grow medical marijuana, and the suspects stole a bag of marijuana that was around one gallon in size. The suspects also took several hundred dollars in cash and the victims’ cell phones. The suspects are thought to be in their late 20’s or early 30’s. There was a delay of about an hour in reporting the crime, as the victims drove to a relative’s home in Longview to make their report. If you have information on this incident, call the Sheriff’s Office at 577-3092, or cal Crime Stoppers at 577-1206.
Romualdo Rodriguez, 52, of Hesperia, California is being charged with second-degree negligent driving after a semi rollover that gummed up traffic yesterday morning on I-5 southbound near Headquarters Road. State Troopers say that Rodriguez was southbound with a tractor and an empty trailer when the rig went off the freeway to the right, crashing into a dirt embankment just after 10 am. The impact caused the truck and trailer to tip onto its side, blocking the right lane of the freeway. Rodriguez and a passenger escaped injury in the crash. The wreckage was cleared by about 11:45 am. Rodriguez was cited and released.
Two men are recovering from injuries they received in a Sunday motorcycle crash that took place on I-5 north of Castle Rock. The State Patrol says that the crash happened at about 1:30 pm on Sunday, when Thomas Gibbs of Rainier, Washington, 58, was riding in the left lane, going at a high rate of speed. As Gibbs tried to pass another vehicle, he lost control of his Harley, dumping the bike and then skidding across the freeway to the right shoulder. Gibbs was treated and released from Centralia Providence Hospital, while Woody Pittman, 33, of Olympia was LifeFlighted to a hospital in Vancouver. He has since been released. Troopers say that excessive speed caused the crash; Gibbs was cited for negligent driving, driving while suspended and no motorcycle endorsement.
Work starts today on street panels and damaged sidewalks in the area of 19th and Beech Street in Longview. The City of Longview says that this work will be done on the south side of the intersection at 19th and Beech, causing a closure of 19th Avenue at that intersection. Eastbound Beech Street will also be reduced to one lane while this work is going on. 19th Avenue will be open to local traffic only, with access available from Alabama Street. These closures are expected to be in place for about two weeks. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.
Pile-driving connected to the Washington Way Bridge Replacement Project begins today, and is expected to continue into early March. Contractors will begin driving wood and steel piles at 8 am today, with work continuing until 4 pm, Monday through Thursday. Noise-deadening curtains will be used to try and reduce the noise, but people living near the project will be hearing this work, and there will also be some vibrations felt, as well. Get the latest on this project by going to the City of Longview web page, or by checking the city’s Facebook page.
Today marks the start of the second annual “Fire It Up” adult reading contest at the local libraries throughout Cowlitz County, with weekly prizes being offered, along with three county-wide grand prizes. Entry forms are now available at the libraries in Longview, Kelso, Kalama, Castle Rock and Woodland, or you can download an entry form from the web page of any of those libraries. No library card is needed, and you can enter as often as you want; just submit a form for every item read. Local businesses are donating the weekly prizes; the grand prizes include a Kindle Fire, $200 in gift certificates, or a $200 outdoor recreation package. The Longview Library is also offering an additional incentive of using your completed entry forms to offset overdue fines; reduce those fines by up to five dollars by bringing your filled-out form to the main desk at the Longview Library. The “Fire It Up” adult reading program will run through February 28th. Contact your local library for more information.
There’s a fundraiser planned for this afternoon and evening at Panda Express in Longview, in support of the Rainier Junior-Senior High School History Club and the school’s chapter of Rho Kappa National Social Studies Honor Society. The school will get a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds between 4 pm and 7 pm today. Contact Andrew Demko at Rainier Junior-Senior High School for more information.
Marking Martin Luther King Day as a Day of Service, the Cowlitz AmeriCorps Network plans to be out in the Highlands neighborhood today, doing a number of service projects around the area. AmeriCorps volunteers will be cleaning walkways, working on the Community Center, along with various activities with kids in the Highlands. In addition, they’ll be taping a documentary on the Highlands, looking at like “then and now.” You’re invited to come by and be a part of this project, just visit the Highlands Community Center from 2 to 4 pm today to be a part of this.
Schools are out today, and all levels of governmental offices are closed. There’s no mail, and Post Offices are also closed today. Most banks and credit unions are closed today, though some in-store branches could be open. Local libraries are closed, as is Lower Columbia College. River Cities Transit and Waste Control are on regular routes. Today is a “Free Day” at Mt. Rainier National Park and other National Parks in Washington, with entrance fees to the park waived. This is the first of six “Free Days” at National Parks in Washington. This is also a “Free Day” at all Washington State Parks, with no Discover Pass needed for day use activities at every state park, along with sites managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Natural Resources.
Heather Nicole Hoselton, 22, of Longview is under arrest on car prowling and theft charges, picked up last night after an incident on 28th Avenue. A man living in the 500 block of 28th Avenue called Longview Police around 11:45 pm, saying that a woman was walking through the neighborhood, trying car doors. The caller also said that the woman eventually did get inside a parked car. Officers responded and contacted Hoselton a few minutes after the initial call. She was arrested on three counts of car prowling, three counts of third-degree theft and first-degree criminal trespassing. She’s currently being held without bail in the Cowlitz County Jail.
Lower Columbia SWAT helped to take a robbery suspect into custody on Friday, helping to secure a residence on Oxbow Road near Woodland as search and arrest warrants were served. The Sheriff’s Office says that the robbery took place on the 11th at a home on the Lewis River Highway. The investigation led to the home on Oxbow Road, where the suspect, Jason C. Neal, 47, was located and arrested. He’s now being held without bail on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree unlawful possession of a gun and possession of illegal drugs. Jeremy Wayne Henry, 36, was also arrested on an unrelated warrant, and will face a new drug possession county. Undersheriff Marc Gilchrist says that this investigation is continuing, and additional arrests are expected.