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.
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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.
Longview Police and the State Patrol continue to investigate a fatal car crash that took place early Saturday morning in the 3100 block of Pacific Way. It’s being reported that there was one male victim, age 23, and that his car lost control before crossing the center line of the road at about 12:20 am. The Honda Civic collided head-on with a van coming in the opposite direction. They say that the 53 year-old van driver suffered minor injuries. Names of those involved have not yet been released.
North Pacific Avenue is closed in the Rocky Point area, after a landslide came down onto the roadway last night. This report came into Cowlitz County 911 at about 6:30 last night, reporting that the northbound lane was completely blocked, and that rocks were covering the southbound lane. A second caller reported that a car got stuck on the rocks in the southbound lane, but no injuries were reported. The slide has been reported to Patriot Rail and to Burlington Northern-Santa Fe, but they haven’t said if there’s any impact to rail traffic in the area. North Pacific Avenue is now closed between Cowlitz Gardens and Pacific Avenue Spur; Cowlitz County Roads plans to be out at the scene this morning, to assess the situation and to start determining their repair options. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.
Lower Columbia College – Opening at 10 am
Longview – Closed
Kelso – Closed
Castle Rock – 2 Hours Late, No AM preschool, Buses on snow routes.
Toutle Lake – Closed
Kalama – 2 Hours Late
Vernonia – 2 Hours Late
St. Helens – 2 Hours Late, Buses on snow routes
Scappoose – 2 Hours Late, Buses on snow routes.
Elementary schools start: 10:15 a.m.
Middle school start: 10:20 a.m.
Scappoose High School start: 10:35 a.m.
Sauvie Island Academy start: 10:45 a.m.
Jewell – 2 Hours Late, Buses on snow routes
NW Regional ESD: Columbia Co. – 2 Hours Late, No AM preschool
Three Rivers Christian – Closed, No preschool. Early Learning Center/childcare is also closed
EOCF Head Start/E-CAP (Woodland) – All Head Start and ECEAP classrooms closed Monday.
RiverCities Transit – LIFT providing only life-sustaining trips. Visit rctransit.org for route info.
Columbia Co. Rider Transit – 2 hour service delay. Find info on columbiacountyridertransportation.com or call 503-366-0159. Other parts of the county may have additional delays or no service until road conditions improve.
The Port of Longview Commissioners are now going over a report from the consultants working on the Barlow Point Phase 1 Feasibility Study, taking a first look at possible development options for that 280 acres of land. Port of Longview CEO Geir Kalhagen says that it’s a really good start…barlowpoint…Principal goals for this study are to maximize the use of the land that is available for development, to identify a “best economical use,” job creation and to find opportunities that won’t damage or compete with existing revenue streams. This initial report indicates that the property should be developed for dry or liquid bulk commodity handling, with a rough cost estimate to the port of $200 million to $250 million. The consultants plan to finalize this Phase 1 document, with a goal of getting into the scoping process late next year or early in 2017. In other action, Jeff Wilson was sworn in as a new Commissioner, and the documents taking ownership of Willow Grove Park were approved.
Longview Police say that tips from neighbors helped lead to a major drug bust yesterday morning, with a dozen people arrested yesterday morning. In the wee hours of yesterday morning, the Street Crimes Unit served a search warrant at 2311 West Castleman Street, eventually taking 12 people into custody. Detectives say that they recovered heroin, meth, scales and drug packaging materials in the house. Ten of the 12 suspects are now being held for possession of meth, possession of heroin, or both. Two others are being held on outstanding warrants. LPD says that residents of the area have been complaining about this house for about a year, and crime analysis shows 20 calls for service to this neighborhood in the past nine weeks. The investigation is continuing. The names of the suspects are as follows:
• 34 year old Raymond E. Chance was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 21 year old Ellen R. Buxton was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 34 year old David M. Meyer was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 35 year old Jennifer L. Bronson was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 35 year old Steven M. Bremer was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 45 year old Todd C. Olmstead was booked for possession of methamphetamine.
• 26 year old Christos J. Cheliodakis was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 51 year old Charles R. Harrison was booked for possession of methamphetamine.
• 31 year old Edmund H. Hardin was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 23 year old Tia L. Moyer was booked for possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine.
• 42 year old Cheri L. Olmstead was arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.
• 29 year old Vasseli J. Cheliodakis was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant from Snohomish County Washington.
You’re invited to come and help develop the plan for the future of West Kelso at a workshop that planned for this evening at the Kelso Senior Center. Tonight’s workshop will include a recap of findings from the first workshop, a presentation of the vision statement and guiding principles, along with a discussion and survey of alternative design options and development regulations. Organizers say that the goal is to get input and feedback that will help to create a “preferred alternative” that will be folded into the plan, and will help guide decisions regarding future development in West Kelso. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t attend the first workshop; this evening’s event runs from 6 to 8:30 pm in the Senior Center, located in the old Catlin Hall at 106 Northwest 8th. Additional information is available on the City of Kelso web page.