The LCC Red Devil Softball team is on a great run at the NWAC Softball Tournament in Lacey, rolling through three consolation bracket games to get to Trophy Monday. If the Lady Devils can beat Edmonds, then they would meet N. Idaho in the title tilt. LCC would have to beat N. Idaho twice to take home the crown…..The Kelso High School diamond teams had a great weekend, as they prep for state next Friday. The baseball team advanced to the 3A Final Four with wins over Gig Harbor and O’Dea on Saturday, while the Lassies shut out Stadium 9-0 to take 3rd at Bi-District. The softball team plays Bishop Blanchet at noon on Friday, while the baseball team will play Edmonds-Woodway at 4 pm next Friday. Kalama baseball and Castle Rock softball teams are also playing at state.
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The City of Kelso is joining the City of Longview and others in asking the Cowlitz County Commissioners to hit the brakes on the plans to enter into a public-private partnership of management and operation of the Headquarters Landfill. Kelso City Manager Steve Taylor is now sharing the letter that was approved at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, asking the Commissioners to delay any decisions until full input has been provided. In the letter, the city refers to the current Management of Solid Waste Agreement, pointing out the role of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and the Governance Committee that reviews solid waste management in the county. The letter says that transfer of the Landfill would “significantly alter the current waste system,” without input or consideration by either the SWAC or the Governance Committee. It’s noted that the greenhouse gas rules that have been identified as a financial burden for the county have been invalidated, so the main impetus for changing management has been removed. Kelso Mayor Nancy Malone signed the letter, asking the Board of Commissioners to delay any decisions until the SWAC, the Governance Committee and the public had had a chance to provide input.
19th District Representative Jim Walsh is announcing that monetary support for Community House on Broadway is being secured. The Republican from Aberdeen says that $129,000 is included in the recently-passed Capital Budget for the state. Walsh says that Community House plans to use the money to purchase a building that will help to provide safe, secure housing for community members that are in need of shelter. Walsh says that this contribution from the state will combine with the local efforts to support Community House and the services that they provide. Walsh says that the Community House model of “a hand up, not a handout” could be a model for other shelters in the 19th District. He says that “Community House is a great platform that should be copied,” and he says that it’s a “sad truth” that more of these facilities are needed all around the region. Community House is currently in the midst of its 8th annual Community Cares Campaign, working to raise 200 hundred thousand dollars for operations, running through June.
Increased security is expected today at the Hall of Justice in Kelso, as Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Michael Evans is scheduled to hand down his decision on the re-sentencing of convicted child murderer Timothy Haag. A large crowd is expected for the hearing at 10 am, with family members and others in the community urging Evans to keep Haag in prison. Back in 1994, the then 17 year-old was sentenced to life in prison without parole, after Haag was convicted in the murder of a neighbor, 7 year-old Rachel Dillard. Two Supreme Court decisions ruled that life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and those cases were sent back for resentencing. Haag’s case is the only one in this area that falls under those rulings.
The Kelso Police Department is celebrating the addition of two new officers to the force, saying that they will help to bolster staffing. Earlier this week, it was announced that Kody Joslin and Adam Swartout had graduated from the Police Academy, and are joining the Kelso Police Department. Swartout and Joslin will now enter a three-phase local training program; once that is completed, they will be able to go out on patrol on their own. Captain Darr Kirk says that the arrival of Joslen and Swartout is badly needed, helping to alleviate staff shortages caused by recent retirements. Joslen and Swartout both are both local boys, and both have previous experience in law enforcement. Joslen was a loss prevention specialist, while Swartout served as a Marine, and as a corrections officer.
The Washington State Patrol is looking for your help in an injury hit-and-run that took place last week. Last Wednesday afternoon, November 22nd, they say that a 14 year-old boy was hit by a pickup, as the teen was walking along West Side Highway. Troopers say that the incident happened at about 5:30 pm last Wednesday, as the boy was walking southbound on the highway near the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District offices. They say that a white Ford F250 or F350 crew cab pickup drove onto the shoulder, hitting the boy and then leaving the scene. The pickup is reported to have a rack in the rear, possibly what’s called an aluminum “headache rack.” It’s believed that the truck is a 1999 model or newer; the driver is said to be a white male in his late 30’s to early 40’s, with dark red hair and a short beard, with a bit of a heavy build. If you have any information on this incident, you’re asked to email tips to Trooper Neil Deffenbaugh; his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The turmoil at Kelso High School got turned up another notch when rumors about an “active shooter” raced across social media. Reports about a possible shooter started showing up on Facebook shortly after 9 this morning, which led to strong reactions, including a number of parents pulling their kids out of school. Kelso Police did bring additional units to the school, but they confirmed that there was no shooter. School officials also confirm that there were no threats or weapons at the school. Classes are proceeding normally.
The sale of the Monticello Hotel in Longview is complete. Officials with Cascade Title report that the sale to Monticello Place LLC was recorded Friday, completing the sale process. People with knowledge about the sale describe the buyers as “an investment group out of Seattle.” Other details about the sale are not available until today. Discussions about the possible sale of the historic building in the Civic Circle have been ongoing for some time, and it was announced in June of 2015 that the building was “under new management.” Those involved say that this sale was a “long process.”
A Kalama-area resident reports being a victim of the “Granddad Scam,” being bilked out of several thousand dollars by someone claiming that a grandchild was in jeopardy. The victim in the crime called the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon, reporting that he got a call from someone named “Gene,” who said that the man’s granddaughter was involved in car crash in Las Vegas. The crash supposedly involved a “high-profile Mexican man,” who would let everything go if the victim bought $15,000 in gift cards, and then provided the numbers to that man. The victim says that he was only able to buy $6,000 in cards, so “Gene” told the man to wire another $19,000 to an account in Mexico. Employees at Red Canoe Credit Union spotted the scam; they prevented the man from withdrawing the money and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies called “Gene,” who reportedly identified himself as an employee with Clark County Detention. “Gene” eventually hung up on Deputies, and cancelled the phone number. No other suspect information has been developed.
About two dozen citizens showed up last night at Mark Morris High School, to share their thoughts and views on how Longview School buildings should be managed over the next 30 years. Superintendent Dan Zorn says that they need to hear from the public as this Facilities Management Plan is developed…lvschools…Zorn says that they’re dialing in on four main issues in developing this plan, critical spaces, building configurations, “important factors,” and priorities and perspectives. This effort comes after last summer’s facilities study, which showed that the district has an estimated $213 million in building upgrades, repairs and new construction. Zorn also says that there’s a lot of pressure on the district after I-1351 passed, mandating a reduction in class sizes. Last night’s session was the first of three that are planned; the second session will be on Thursday, May 12th, starting at 11:45 am at the District Administration Building on Lilac Street. The third is planned for Tuesday, May 17th at Mt. Solo Middle School, starting at 5:15 pm. If you can’t attend one of these sessions, you can go the Longview School District web page, where there’s more information from the facilities study, along with an on-line survey.