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Child Taken

Oregon State Police are looking for a man and a woman from Longview, both suspected of taking an infant child and leving the area. They say that Andy W. Travis, 34, and Cerena M. Barros, 25, took Cash Travis, 18 months, out of the area on the 17th of this month, in violation of a court order. They are NOT the custodial parents of the baby. Investigators think the couple is heading for California, last seen driving a 2000 Ford F150 pickup with Ohio plates. It’s also believed that the plates have bene switched. If you have seen this truck or have information on where these people might be, get in touch with Oregon State Police at 503-397-3131.null

Charges Dropped

Castle Rock Police are announcing that kidnapping and felon with a gun charges against Andrew Wojtowicz, 27, are being dropped, saying that the story told by the woman who made the original claims doesn’t hold up. Officer Jeff Gann says that they have investigated statements made by the woman and by Wojtowicz, and they determined that the woman’s statements are “inaccurate.” The woman originally claimed that she didn’t know Wojtowicz when he got into her car in Castle Rock, showed a pistol, and then forced the woman to drive to 38th and Pennsylvania in Longview. Wojtowicz was arrested the next morning at the Transit Center in downtown Longview. Wojtowicz remains in custody on a no-bail Department of Corrections warrant. The Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office says that the case is still being investigated, and that a final charging decision will be made in the near future.

Nursing Sanction Clarification

We need to make a clarification on our story regarding the notice being served to the Lower Columbia College Nursing program. The program is not on “probation,” but the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing is requesting that the college submit a “follow-up report” by early 2017, showing that the program has met two specific conditions. One deals with internal evaluation, and the second asks that all faculty have at least a Masters degree. The ACEN is quite specific in stating that LCC would be required to, “provide evidence as to why it should not be removed from the list of accredited programs,” if it does not meet these conditions. Wendy Lapic-Hall with LCC says that the college has already met the evaluation condition, and she also says that current faculty is working toward the “Masters” goal. Lapic-Hall says that the college is working hard to meet these conditions, and they have full confidence that the conditions can be met by the 2017 deadline.

Longview School Zone Safety

In an effort to make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding proposed school zone safety improvements, the Longview City Council invited the Longview School Board to a workshop, where they reviewed and discussed possible upgrades and improvements for schools all across the city. Mayor Don Jensen says one definite step will be the installation of flashing beacons at the entry of all school zones in the city. There was considerable discussion about the possibility of installing a traffic signal on 15th Avenue, at the entry to Mark Morris High School. City officials say that funding is dependent on action by the Washington Legislature, but the city’s grant application to pay for that signal reportedly ranks high on the list that’s being considered by the state. If they can score this grant, the bulk of the estimated $300,000 cost would be paid by the state. If the grant is awarded, city and district officials agreed to split the $30,000 that would be needed for a local match. Depending on that decision from Olympia, which could come next month, construction could begin next year.

Pillars of Strength/Crystal Apples

It was a time for honors and awards at last night’s annual Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce Pillars of Strength and Crystal Apple Awards banquet. Misty Velke is this year’s K-12 Teacher of the Year, while Mary Beth Tack is the K-12 Administrator of the Year. Klint Hull is being recognized as the Higher Education Person of the Year, and Shannon Cahoon was named as the Workforce Education Person of the Year. The Salvation Army is the 2015 Small Non-Profit of the Year, while Lower Columbia College is the Large Non-Profit of the Year. Swanson Bark and Wood is the Small Business of the Year, Koelsch Senior Communities is the Large Business of the Year, and our own Joel Hanson is the Business Person of the Year. Dawn Gregg is the Rising Star of the Year, Eric McCrandall is the Walt Naze Ambassador of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Gus Nolte of the Drug Abuse Prevention Center and Marti Johnson with Life Works.

Hutchinson Honored

Later today, members of the Longview Youth Soccer Club will be installing a new banner at 7th Avenue Park, marking the renaming of a portion of the facility as the “Tom Hutchinson 7th Avenue Park and Soccer Complex,” recognizing the untold hours that he has put into the development of that facility. The City Council approved the move at last night’s workshop, where Hutchinson says that he’s simply overwhelmed by the way that his friends and neighbors turned out to support him. Hutchinson, who currently serves on the Longview City Council, is battling a serious medical condition, and remains in high spirits. He emphasizes that “the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” Other members of Longview Youth Soccer talked about the inspiration that Hutchinson has provided over the years, giving him credit for spearheading the development of a soccer complex that is the envy of cities all over the state. Seth Cockrill with Longview Youth Soccer says that “if everyone volunteered one percent of what Tom Hutchinson has done, this would be utopia.”

Fishing Rule Changes

Salmon and steelhead anglers are going to get an early shot on some of the area’s favorite waters, as the Department of Fish and Wildlife moves up their opening dates. Starting tomorrow, the Lower Green River and the South Fork Toutle River will open for hatchery steelhead fishing, while the Lower Elochoman River will also open for Spring Chinook and hatchery steelhead. WDFW also says that “selective gear rules” will be in effect on all of these waters; Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead endorsements will also be required. The daily bag limit on the Green and Toutle will be two hatchery steelhead, while there’s a six-fish limit on the Elochoman, with a minimum size of 12 inches. There’s also a limit of two adult Chinook or steelhead on the Elochoman. All wild fish must be released. Full details are available from Fish and Wildlife, or at your local outfitter.

Kress Lake Safety Day

Kress Lake will be closed to the public for fishing today and tomorrow, but kids between the ages of 4 and 14 will be allowed to fish during tomorrow’s Kress Lake Safety Day. From 10 am until 2 pm, Cowlitz Fire District 5 out of Kalama will have a number of displays, exhibits and activities, all geared toward helping everyone understand the importance of safety. Kids and parents will be able to learn and demonstrate safe behaviors that can help to prevent injury or death. After finishing the Safety Course, kids will be allowed to fish in a special netted section of the lake. Rods and bait will be supplied at the lake, so you can leave your fishing gear at home. Kress Lake is located just east of I-5, next to exit 32. There is no cost for taking part.

Weekend Events–5/22-25/15

Stageworks Northwest continues with a musical adaptation of “Little Women,” running each weekend through the month of May. Showtimes at the Longview Theatre on Commerce Avenue are set for 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday night, and at 2 pm on Sunday. Go to the Stageworks Northwest web page for more details.

The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market will be open on Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm, set up in the 7th Avenue parking lot across from the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. They’ll have plants and plant starts for sale, along with fresh produce, hand-crafted gifts and garden items, honey, baked goods and more. Admission is free.

The Kelso Bridge Market is open on Sunday in its new venue at the Three Rivers Mall. This year, the Bridge Market is operating in the space across from the new Three Rivers Cinema, open from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday near the Southwest door of the mall. They’ll have special bouquets for sale this weekend, along with fresh produce and plant starts, hand-made craft items and other specialty items.

Monday-Memorial Day Ceremonies:

9 a.m. at Cowlitz View Memorial Gardens in Kelso

10 a.m. at the Silver Lake Cemetery

11 a.m. at the Whittle-Hubbard Cemetery in Castle Rock. The Glen Hoyer American Legion Post 175 is sponsoring the services in Kelso, Silver Lake and Castle Rock.

11 a.m. at Longview Memorial Park. Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson will give an address and the R.A. Long High School Marching band will perform. The service is sponsored by the American Legion Post 155 in Longview. There will be no military flyovers.

11 a.m. at the Kalama IOOF Cemetery. Sponsored by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

KLOG Friday Sports

Baltimore beat Seattle 5-4 in a game delayed by rain. The M’s are in Toronto to play the Blue Jays today, KLOG 3:00 pm…..Ryan Engquist and Ryan Littlefield both hit homers and Kade Kryzsko got the win as the LCC Red Devils defeated Everett 4-3 on the opening day of the NWAC Baseball Championships at Story Field. Four more games today including the Red Devils taking on Treasure Valley at 7:35 pm tonight…..The Kelso baseball team takes on O’Dea at 10 am tomorrow in 3A State action at Yelm…..The Kelso softball team opens Bi-District play today at 12 pm against Bonney Lake in Spanaway. In the 2A District, R.A. Long beat Black Hills 3-0, then lost to Chehalis 16-3…..RAL’s Reagan Swier beat MM’s Jamie Isaacson 6-2, 6-3 in the District tennis title match.