The Cowlitz PUD Commission meets today in a budget workshop, which is scheduled to run from 2 to 5 pm today in the John Searing Auditorium. If need be, this meeting will be extended to 1 pm tomorrow, in the same location. This meeting is open to the public.
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The truck boxes that had been stacked on the corner of the property at Rockcrest Street in Rainier are gone, replaced by color posters announcing the coming of “Columbia Crossing,” a new retail complex that developer say should be open by fall of next year. Pat Lockhart of Lockhart Realty tells the Daily News that they anticipate a mix of offerings, including retail, restaurants and farmers markets. Lockhart tells the paper that they envision a combination of anchor stores, along with something like the Pine Street Market in Portland. Jim Miller with Lockhart Realty says that they hope to break ground later this year, with a goal of being open by fall of next year.
Washington Employment Security reports that Cowlitz County lost 300 jobs in July, but they also say that those losses are mostly due to regular summer school-related layoffs. The unemployment rate did tick up slightly from June, going from 7.5 percent in July of last year to 7.7 percent this year. They say that about 3,400 Cowlitz County residents are jobless and are looking for work, 160 more than a year ago. Employment Security says that numbers of initial and continuing unemployment claims continue at “very low levels.”
There are just a couple more of the “Wednesday Night Summer Fun” events at the Kelso United Methodist Presbyterian Church, and tonight’s event is titled “Learn to Fish.” This is free and open to all area families; dinner will be served at the church, starting at 5:30, and then the program will start at 6. Call 423-7480 to register, or to get more information.
The peak of the harvest season is here, and you will be able to take advantage of the bounty at today’s School Garden Produce Sale, running from 10 am until 10 pm at Northlake Elementary School in Longview. They’ll have fresh-picked vegetables and flowers for sale, and you’ll also be able to meet the Garden Rabbits. Northlake Elementary School is located at 2210 Olympia Way in Longview. Call 431-6725 for details.
A Celebration of Life is being planned in honor of 1940 R. A. Long High School graduate Scott Witt, who passed away on the 18th of this month, at the age of 94. Witt was a tremendous athlete at R. A. Long, excelling in football, basketball, baseball and track. Along with all-state honors in baseball and football, Witt was also a two-time state champion in the high jump, and held the school record at R. A. Long for 62 years. Witt attended Washington State in Pullman, where he kept up his involvement in athletics. After being wounded in World War Two, Witt returned to Wazzu, where he worked for four years as an assistant to the school’s Athletic Director. Witt started working for Weyerhaeuser in 1949, eventually rising to the post of Vice President of Human Resources. Plans are being made to hold the Celebration of Life at Tacoma Country Club; a date has not been announced. The family is asking that memorial donations be made to the WSU Foundation in Pullman.
Red Cross volunteers from Longview are among more than two dozen Northwesterners who are heading to Louisiana to help with flood relief efforts. As of yesterday, 27 volunteers from Oregon and southwest Washington are joining 1,700 other volunteers from across the country who are either on the ground or are on their way to join in the relief effort. Those already on the ground describe the scene as “catastrophic,” with widespread damage and destruction through the area. The volunteers are helping to provide shelter management, providing financial support, while also coordinating with local governments to help deliver help. The volunteers are scheduled to be in Louisiana for a couple of weeks; you can help by sending a donation to the Red Cross by calling 1-888-RED CROSS, or go to redcross.org.
The Sheriff’s Office says that a fellow boater helped a family that was stranded for a while on the Columbia River near the Lewis and Clark Bridge. Cowlitz County Deputies say that they got the call at about 1:30 yesterday, coming from a 19-foot boat with four people aboard. Those on the boat say that they had run out of gas, and were drifting downstream. It was reported that Columbia County didn’t have a boat on the water, and the Coast Guard was also too far away to response. Eventually, another boater towed the disabled vessel to the Willow Grove Boat Launch; no injuries were reported.
The 2016-2017 budget for the Longview School District is now in place, adopted at last night’s Longview School Board meeting. Superintendent Dan Zorn says that this budget helps hone the focus on student success…lsdbudget…The total budget comes in at about $82 million; Zorn says that a major component of this year’s budget includes the hiring of additional middle school counselors, elementary school climate and culture specialists, additional teachers to meet class size requirements, increased paraeducator support and a new budget analyst position. More than $958,000 is earmarked for new math texts in grades 6 through 12, and four buses will be purchased. It was also disclosed yesterday that the district has been successful in refinancing a number of bonds, a move that will cut the district’s debt service bill by $1.3 million over the next five years.
The Port of Longview Commission meets today to discuss the Willow Grove Park Advisory Board, and to consider the port’s future involvement in the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso. In recent months, the Port Commission has informed the Regional Airport Board of its intent to withdraw from the airport governing board, with questions being raised about the long-term management of the facility. Today’s meeting starts at 10 am in the Port office on Port Way, underneath the Lewis and Clark Bridge, and is open to the public.
Teevin Brothers Land and Timber continues to get bigger, getting money from the State of Oregon to improve and expand their facility in Rainier. It was announced yesterday that the Oregon Transportation Commission is awarding a grant of $750,000 to Teevin Brothers, one of 39 projects across the state to get an award. This grant will help pay for construction of seven mooring piles, which would then allow ocean-gooikng tugs and barges to tie up. The total project cost is put at about $1.125 million. Out of 75 applications, only 39 won awards.