It appears that a gray whale has died after becoming entangled in ropes from a crab trap. The yearling male gray whale was found last Friday on Long Beach, and authorities say that a crab trap and ropes were wrapped around the whale’s mouth, flipper and tail. It’s speculated that the whale drowned, as the tangled ropes prevented him from getting to the surface to breathe. The whale was discovered by John Weldon, a wildlife research volunteer who lives in Long Beach. The stranding was reported to the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding network, and they arrived to examine the animal on Sunday. Researchers say that the animal appeared to be in good shape, other than the ropes that caused some scraping of skin. If the surf and tides don’t move the whale back into the ocean, then plans will be made to dispose of the whale, probably by burial.
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Today is the deadline for local high school students to submit their pieces for the annual Congressional Art Competition. Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler says that the competition is open to all students in grades 9 through 12, who attend a school inside the Third Congressional District. The winner and a guest will be flown to Washington, DC, where their artwork will be displayed in the U. S. Capitol for a year. Second and third-place winners will be invited to display their works in Beutler’s office. Contact Beutler’s office in Vancouver to learn more; that phone number is 360-695-6292.
NASA Ambassador Greg Cermak is the featured guest for tonight’s meeting of the Friends of Galileo Astronomy Club, which will be meeting tonight at Mark Morris High School. This month’s meeting is being held in the Large Group Instructional Center at Mark Morris, starting at 7 pm. Cermak will provide an update on NASA and the current projects that they have under way. The meeting is open to the public.
The King Brothers will be playing at tonight’s April Spring Fling at the Longview Moose, a benefit for the Longview Senior center. Get things started by taking complimentary two-step dance lessons from Jim Perkins, going from 6:15 to 6:45 pm. The dance itself will go from 6 to 10 pm at the Longview Moose; you can save some money on admission by getting your tickets in advance at the Longview Senior Center, located at 1111 Commerce Avenue. The Longview moose Lodge is located at 921 Washington Way.
There’s consensus on the Longview School Board to once again go out to voters for a Capital Facilities Bond, but the exact size of the bond and the date for the election hasn’t yet been chosen. School Board President C. J. Nickerson says that the needs across the district still exist, and still need to be addressed. The School Board held a special meeting last night, where they reviewed the community input from several sources following the failure of last November’s bond election. There was general agreement that the district did not do a good job of communicating the needs at each building before last November’s election. They also say that not having a “Yes” argument in the Voter’s Pamphlet hurt the effort. Several board members talked about the need for the district to be extremely specific about the planned improvements for each building, and they also talked about the need to have “something for everyone.” There was some discussion about including improvements to athletic facilities, while also reviewing the last proposal. The goal there would be to see if there are some adjustments that can be made to reduce the size of the bond, or to include more work, while keeping the bond the same size. Superintendent Dan Zorn says that they plan to have additional information for discussion and possible action at the School Board’s first meeting in May.
One week after going on medical leave, Clatskanie School Superintendent Lloyd Hartley is tendering his resignation. Following a special executive session of the Clatskanie School Board that was held last night, a vote was held to accept Hartley’s resignation, and to enter into a separation agreement. In a statement that was released last night, Hartley does not discuss his reasons for resigning, but he does offer to “assist with transitioning” to a new Superintendent. Hartley says that he plans to stay in the Clatskanie area, and he says that his kids will continue to attend school in Clatskanie. He thanks teachers and staff on behalf of his sons, and he also thanks the School Board for its continuing service to the schools and to the community. Hartley says that he will be “looking at other options” as he decides what his next steps will be. The Clatskanie School District is currently in turmoil over the School Board’s decision to terminate the contract of Elementary School Principal Brad Thorud; one member of the school board resigned after public backlash, and two others are facing a May 1st recall election over Thorud’s termination.
Tessita Woodard, 43, of Castle Rock is going to jail for seven days, and is being banned from owning horses for two years after her conviction on second-degree animal cruelty charges. Back in October of 2016, the Humane Society seized a horse named “Dust,” who was owned by Woodard, and was suffering from malnutrition and a severe infection caused by flies. Woodard was arrested in January of 2017, and was charged with first-degree animal cruelty. The Daily News reports on the two-day trial in Cowlitz County District Court, where Judge David Koss convicted Woodard on a single count of second-degree animal cruelty. The court ruled that Woodard failed to provide emergency assistance to the animal, or to have the horse humanely put down. Woodard took the stand in her own defense, claiming that she has cared for horses her entire life, and she did what she thought was right for Dust. In the end, Koss stated that “It goes without saying that this is an animal undergoing unnecessary suffering and pain.” Dust is now being cared for at a rescue facility.
Longview Firefighters got some hose work in on Sunday, as they helped to deal with grain that was spilled onto the roadway. At about 1:15 Sunday afternoon, a truck hauling grain was going through the area of Industrial Way and Prudential Boulevard, and spilled a portion of that load onto the road. Fire officials say that the “rain-wetted grain” became very slippery, making driving through the area very tricky. Firefighters responded and used their hose to clean the roadway. We haven’t heard yet if the driver is being cited.
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.
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.