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Archive | ‘Local News’

Burn Ban Advanced

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:19

Cowlitz County officials are moving up the Burn Ban that they originally had planned to go into effect on July 1st. At 12:01 this morning, restrictions went up on land-clearing, residential and forest-management burning; this ban also covers camp fires and recreational fires. All current outdoor burn permits are also being rescinded by the Cowlitz County Fire Marshal. Cowlitz County officials say that they’re working with Clark County and other local agencies to coordinate the burn bans, so that they’re consistent across the region. This ban will be in place until at least September 30th, as forecasters predict an early and severe fire year. Contact the Cowlitz County Fire Marshal at 577-3052 if you have other questions.

The Oregon Department of Forestry is also cinching down the fire restrictions in northwest Oregon. Last week, ODF declared the start of Fire Season, enacting restrictions on public use of state forest lands. Restrictions include a ban on fireworks, exploding targets and other “fire-prone activities.” As of last Friday, smoking is allowed only in closed vehicles on improved roads. All open fires are prohibited, including campfires, charcoal fires, cooking fires and warming fires, except at designated locations. Motor vehicle use is restricted to improved roads and designated areas, including motorcycles and ATV’s. Contact the Oregon Department of Forestry for more information.

Oregon Way Operation

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:13

Longview Police were involved in a major operation yesterday morning, blocking off a portion of Oregon Way and Alabama Street for a time as they attempted to make an arrest. Few details have been released as of yet, but this got started shortly after 8 yesterday morning, when an SUV that had been stolen from Oregon was spotted behind a business in the 300 block of Oregon Way. Multiple units were called in and an area around an apartment building was cordoned off. A PA was used to try and call the suspects out; a robot from Lower Columbia SWAT was eventually sent into the building, going in at about 11:15 am. At least one arrest was made, but other information hasn’t yet been released.

School Vandals

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:08

Authorities are going over a security video from R. A. Long High School, to see if the suspects in a recent vandalism incident can be identified. Longview School District officials say that the damage occurred on Monday; a group of at least eight people on bicycles is seen on the video. It’s reported that the vandals damaged a parked car, set off a fire extinguisher, and also broke several lights at the school. We haven’t heard yet about a dollar estimate on damage done. So far, Longview Police have not identified any of the suspects, but they’re continuing to review this video.

Alleged Lake Lecher

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:07

Andreas Joseph Turner, 45, of Longview is being charged with indecent exposure after an incident that was reported yesterday evening at Lake Sacajawea. Longview Police were called to the Lions Island area of the lake at about 6:20 pm, after it was reported that a man was “pleasuring himself” near Kessler Boulevard. Officers responded and met with Turner, eventually taking him into custody. He’s now being held on bail of $500, charged with a misdemeanor.

PUD News

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:07

Former Cowlitz PUD Commissioner Mark McCrady is filing a complaint with the Washington Auditor’s Office, contending that the utility improperly paid former PUD General Counsel Paul Brachvogel’s legal fees. The Daily News has details on the letter from McCrady, who contends that the PUD should NOT have paid $100,000 in legal fees for Brachvogel, charges that were connected to a “bar complaint” that was filed by current PUD Commissioner Ned Piper in 2013. That complaint eventually died, which was then followed by the recall against Piper. Court documents show that Brachvogel supplied information to the three men involved in the recall, and it’s reported that he tried to join the recall as an “anonymous employee,” protected by whistleblower status. McCrady’s claim contends that Brachvogel entered the recall on his own choice, so there were no grounds to pay his legal fees as a PUD employee. The Auditor’s office will now review the claim.

The Cowlitz PUD Commission is also moving ahead with the hiring of a consultant to conduct a search for a new General Manager, as Don McMaster announces his plans to retire. As last night’s meeting, the PUD Commission approved spending up to $18,500 with Slavin Management Consultants to conduct the search. McMaster says that he doesn’t yet have an exact date for leaving; it’s noted that he’s required to provide at least three months notice, and they say that the search could take up to six months. McMaster has more than 35 years in the electric utility industry, coming to the Cowlitz PUD in 2006. He was promoted to General Manager in 2013.

Jobless Numbers

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:06

The May unemployment numbers edged up a bit in Cowlitz County, but state officials say that the local job picture is pretty steady. May’s unemployment rate came in at 7.6 percent, which is slightly higher than April’s 7.3 percent. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that nonfarm employment actually increased by 100 jobs, all in the leisure and hospitality sector. The overall unemployment rate is six-tenths of a percentage point lower than the same time last year. Year-to-year, the Cowlitz County economy has added more than 1,300 jobs; the number of employed residents has increased by 1,500, while the number of unemployed residents has dropped by 170. Both new and continuing unemployment claims continue to be at very low levels.

Wednesday Stuff

Posted on 24th June 2015 at 09:04

Get the freshest produce available at this today’s weekly Lower Columbia School Garden Produce Sale, going from 10 am to 1 pm today at Northlake Elementary School, on Olympia Way in Longview. This is in addition to the volunteer work that’s being done each weekday at school gardens all around Longview and Kelso. Proceeds from the Produce Sale help to support the Lower Columbia School Gardens. Go to their web page for more information.

Today is the kickoff for the “Every Hero Has a Story” Summer Reading Program, which involves the public libraries in Longview, Kelso, Castle Rock and Kalama. Nancy Stewart will be presenting a special concert at 3 pm today at the Kelso Public Library. This program is open to kids from infancy to 12th grade, with programs, prizes, story times, a grand finale picnic and the Cowlitz Black Bears Literacy Night on Sunday, August 2nd. All of the programs are free and are open to all area kids, with no library cards needed. Pre-registration is required for some events. Contact your local library for more information.

The City of Kelso is holding an Open House on the West Main Street Revitalization Project, going from 5 to 7 pm today at the Kelso City Hall. City officials say that this will be a time to gather information, ask questions, provide input and fill out project comment forms. This event is open to anyone interested.

Burn Ban

Posted on 23rd June 2015 at 08:51

With the hottest weather of the year on its way in, the Washington Department of Natural Resources is expanding the ban on outdoor burning from the east side of the state to the west side. Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark says that the westside forests are drying out, and with the continued outlook for warm, dry weather, he says that it’s time for a statewide ban. Through at least September 30th of this year, all outdoor burning is banned on DNR-protected lands, including state forests, state parks and forest lands under DNR protection. Already this year, there have been more than 300 wildfires in the state; that comes on the heels of last year’s record wildfire season. At this time, recreational fires will still be allowed in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds. Fireworks and other incendiary devices like exploding targets, sky lanterns and tracer ammunition are now illegal on all DNR-protected lands. Go to the DNR web page, or contact your local fire agency for more information.

Monticello Moves

Posted on 23rd June 2015 at 08:51

Monticello Hotel owner Phil Lovingfoss isn’t saying much about it right now, but the signs on the building tell the story; the historic building on the Longview Civic Circle is “under new management.” Today’s Daily News shows the new sign over the main entry, but few other details are being made available at this time. The paper says that Lovingfoss is still listed as the owner on the city’s business license, and there’s no ownership transfer or sale recorded with the county. The Monticello Hotel has been listed “for sale” for several months, and it was previously confirmed that a potential buyer was going through “due diligence” on the building. They say that the realtor handling that transaction hasn’t returned any phone calls. Additional information should be made available as the process moves ahead.

Van Vandalized

Posted on 23rd June 2015 at 08:50

A man living in the 2800 block of Hemlock Street reports that his van was extensively vandalized, an incident that the owner says may have been started by a school zone confrontation within the past couple of weeks. The man called Longview Police at about 6:30 yesterday morning, after finding that someone had painted all over the van he had parked in the driveway. “I speed in school zones” was in white paint on the rear hatch, along with other epithets and crude names in other locations on the van. The owner’s son tried to wash the paint off, but it was not water-soluble. The damage is estimated in the neighborhood of two thousand dollars. The owner says that the incident may have stemmed from a confrontation that took place within the past couple of weeks. The owner provided some information on that incident, but no suspects have been identified.