Annual maintenance will have the Gee Creek Rest Areas on I-5 near La Center closed this week and next week. The northbound rest area will close this morning at 6 am, and will be completely closed until 8 pm on Friday. The southbound rest area will close next Monday at 6 am, and will be closed until 8 pm on Friday, the 24th. During the closures, each of the rest areas will be “deep-cleaned,” damaged pavement will be repaired, and routine electrical and plumbing inspections will be done. Barrels will be used to close the off-ramps to the rest areas, and advance warning signs will also be posted. Interesting trivia: The Washington Department of Transportation says that the Gee Creek Rest Areas are among the busiest in the state, with approximately 800,000 visitors each year. That number is calculated by the number of toilet flushes at each rest area.
Archive | ‘Local News’
Tonight’s Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event will also help a local charity, with 20 percent of the proceeds going to Altrusa of Cowlitz County. This month’s event is being held at Banda’s Bouquets in downtown Longview, which is billed at the “largest home, gift and flower shop in the area.” Business After Hours will run from 5:30 to 7:30 this evening, with food, beverages, dessert and door prizes being offered up. You can get a break on your admission fee by registering early; do that by going to the Chamber website, at kelsolongviewchamber.org, or you can call them at 423-8400.
An investigation is under way after a fire was reported in a garage next to a house in the 29 hundred block of Dover Street. A neighbor reported the fire at about 7:25 pm, saying that he had heard a large explosion, followed by smoke coming from the garage. Longview Fire responded to the scene, but they haven’t yet disclosed any information about the possible cause of the fire. There’s also no dollar estimate on damage at this time. No injuries were reported.
The Red Cross assisting a person and a dog who were displaced by a house fire that took place Saturday in the 100 block of Upper Naselle Road, just outside of the town of Naselle. Few details about the fire have been released as of yet; the Red Cross is providing food, temporary lodging, comfort kits and additional information about disaster mental health services.
No injuries were reported in a Friday afternoon fire that destroyed a home in the 700 block of North Bodine Road. The fire was reported at about 4 pm on Friday, when the woman living in the home and a neighbor saw flames and smoke coming from an outside wall of the building. Ellen Bodine, whose family has lived in the area for more than 100 years, went in and rescued her mother, who is confined to a wheelchair. Because of the remote location, the fire response took more than 15 minutes; it took another 15 to 20 minutes to get the fire put out. No injuries were reported. The dollar loss is estimated to be around 70 thousand dollars. It’s reported that the house was not insured. The occupants are currently staying with family members.
Cowlitz County’s unemployment rate held steady in February, holding onto the 6.5 percent that was reported in January. Scott Bailey with Washington Employment Security says that over the past 12 months, local payrolls have added 2,100 jobs, for a growth rate of 5.7 percent. 500 construction jobs were added in the past year, 200 manufacturing jobs, 700 jobs in trade and transportation, 300 jobs in education and health services, and 100 jobs in local government. 300 jobs were also added in other categories that aren’t broken out separately. The 6.5 percent unemployment rate is more than a full percentage point below the 7.6 percent reported in the same period last year.
Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is being appointed as the Vice-Chair of the Financial Services and Government Oversight Appropriations Subcommittee for the 114th Congress. This committee sets spending levels for the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the FDIC and other agencies. Beutler says that it’s an honor to serve as the Vice Chair on a powerful committee like this, helping to increase Southwest Washington’s influence on those agencies. Beutler says that she’ll be working to help set spending priorities that will benefit this area.
The spring swim lessons start today at Gaither Pool in Kelso. The classes are a half-hour in length, and will run through the 23rd of this month. You can find out more about these swim lessons and all of the other offerings they have at Gaither Pool by going to the Kelso High School web page, or you can call Gaither Pool Manager Connie Kramberg Craddock at 501-1855.
A man who worked at the Estetica Day Spa in Longview between September of 2013 and August of last year is under arrest in Vancouver, accused of “inappropriate touching” of clients at the massage facility he had recently opened in Vancouver. Valentin Delgado was arrested on the 2nd, charged with three counts of indecent liberties. Investigators say that they think that there are other victims, but they don’t think that there are other suspects connected to this case. Vancouver Police are asking people who may have been “touched inappropriately” to give them a call.
A settlement is being announced in a federal lawsuit that was brought by three girls who attended Clatskanie Middle School, where the girls were claiming that school officials were not protecting them from sexual extortion and bullying by male students. Cell phones and their use at school was at the center of the $2.5 million lawsuit filed by the three girls; boys were involved in a “game,” involving the collection and distribution of nude, semi-nude and/or sexually explicit photos of girls at the school. Under the settlement, each of the plaintiffs is getting $75,000 from the school district; the district is also updating its policies regarding use of cell phones at school, along with sexual harassment training and mental health services for students. An attorney for the girls says that the suit was never about money, it was about instilling changes at the school, to help prevent other girls from being victimized.