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Lexington Arson

Yesterday morning’s fire that destroyed the “Bethlehem village” structures at the Journey Kelso Seventh Day Adventist Church near Lexington is being investigated as an arson fire, following a series of incidents at that building in recent weeks. As much as $80,000 damage was done to the structures outside of the church, which are used for the highly popular “Journey to Bethlehem” events at Christmas time, the “Journey to the Cross” at Easter, and for other events. The fire was reported just before 1 yesterday morning, with fire crews finding the structures fully ablaze by the time they rolled up. Fire crews also had to deal with a brush fire and several smaller fires that were set in wooded areas not far from the church. Evidence found at the scene indicates that these fires were intentionally set, but the Sheriff’s Office also says that there’s no indication that anyone is specifically targeting the church. At this time, this is NOT considered to be a hate crime. The Sheriff’s Office is working with Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue on the investigation, along with the Department of Natural Resources. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is also being called in. If you have any information on this incident, you’re asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 577-3092 or Crime Stoppers at 577-1206. You can also use your CCSOTip phone app, and can text the information in to investigators.

Still Hot

The Heat Advisory continues for the local area through 9 pm tomorrow night, with the Weather Service predicting high temperatures in the local area of 95 to 100 degrees, both today and tomorrow. They also say that daytime highs of 85 to 95 will continue through the weekend, possibly going into Monday.

To the south of us, they’re putting up an Excessive Heat Advisory, starting at noon today and going through 9 pm tomorrow night. Highs through the Portland metro area and down the Willamette Valley are predicted to be between 100 and 105 degrees, with the highest temperatures expected in the central and southern portions of the valley, and through the central Columbia River Gorge. You need to take precautions to protect yourself and your family members from this excessive heat.

Axe Attack

Longview Police continue to look into a domestic violence incident reported yesterday evening at an apartment on Dorothy Street, where a woman claims that her boyfriend was hit in the head with an axe. Officers and aid personnel were called to the apartment shortly before 6 pm, when it was reported that a man and a woman were having a loud argument. A few minutes later, a woman called again from the same apartment, saying that another man had used an axe to hit her boyfriend in the head. Officers found the man in a bedroom, bleeding from a wound to the back of his head. The victim was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment, while Terry Lynn Jones, 54, was arrested on a second-degree domestic violence charge. He’s currently being held without bail, awaiting his first court appearance.

KLOG Thursday Sports

Welington Castillo hit two homers off Felix Hernandez to give Arizona an 8-2 win over the Mariners yesterday. The M’s are at Minnesota tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm…..Chris Castellanos got the win and Lars Rider the save as the Cowlitz Black Bears beat Victoria 5-3 last night. The teams play a 1:00 pm game today…..FM Sports defeated Rightline Equipment 10-0 at the State Junior Legion tournament, ending Rightline’s season…..Zach Brown tossed a one-hitter and had two hits in Longview’s 11-0 win over Columbia Basin at the Babe Ruth 15 Regional in the The Dalles. Longview plays Union County at 2:00 pm today…..The Kelso 14’s lost to West Linn 13-5, ending their season at the Regional in Lewiston, Idaho…..The Seahawks report to camp today. The first practice is tomorrow.

Ramp Closure

If you’re a user of the Kelso Drive off-ramp at the Longview Wye, construction that’s scheduled to start on August 7th will alter your travel route. The Washington Department of Transportation plans to start construction of a “compact roundabout” and will also pave the intersection. The off-ramp to Kelso Drive, Tennant Way and Old Pacific Highway will close at 7 pm on Friday, August 7th, and will remain closed until the next Wednesday, the 12th. Access to the intersection from eastbound Tennant Way, Kelso Driver and Old Highway 99 will also be affected, so drivers who regularly use that intersection will need to find alternate routes for several days. WashDOT says that this roundabout will make it easier for traffic to merge, which should improve safety and will reduce the risk of serious collisions. Additional information is available on the WashDOT web page.

Fibre Federal Honored

Fibre Federal Credit Union is once again being honored, ranked by an industry trade journal as one of the “Top 200” healthiest credit unions in the United States. An outfit called DepositAccounts puts out the annual rankings, comparing and rating more than 66 hundred credit unions across the country. Fibre Federal came in at #152, one of only 66 credit unions who have made the list two years in a row. DepositAccounts gives Fibre Federal an overall rating of “A+.” It’s also noted that Fibre Federal is continuing to grow, following their purchase of TLC Federal Credit Union in Oregon. The transition of those branches to Fibre Federal is now under way, expanding their branches into Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Lincoln City and Newport.

Salmon Meeting

The future of salmon management on the Kalama and Washougal rivers will be a topic of discussion tonight at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife offices in Vancouver. State officials say that they would like to hear from anglers, while also discussing methods for reforming hatchery operations to better support wild salmon and steelhead recovery on both streams. Fishery managers will talk about how a refurbished fish-handling facility that was recently installed near the Modrow Bridge will give them much more control about which fish are moving upstream; they also plan to discuss several management options for fall chinook, coho and steelhead in the Kalama. This evening’s meeting starts at 6 pm in the WDFW offices on Grand Boulevard in Vancouver. Additional information is available on the WDFW web page.

Fibre Federal Honored

Fibre Federal Credit Union is once again being honored, ranked by an industry trade journal as one of the “Top 200” healthiest credit unions in the United States. An outfit called DepositAccounts puts out the annual rankings, comparing and rating more than 66 hundred credit unions across the country. Fibre Federal came in at #152, one of only 66 credit unions who have made the list two years in a row. DepositAccounts gives Fibre Federal an overall rating of “A+.” It’s also noted that Fibre Federal is continuing to grow, following their purchase of TLC Federal Credit Union in Oregon. The transition of those branches to Fibre Federal is now under way, expanding their branches into Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Lincoln City and Newport.

Thursday Night Concerts

They’re heading back to the Bobby Sox days at tonight’s Kirkpatrick Family Care Summer Concert at the Lake, as “Wally and the Beaves” comes in for a free show. Not only will the band be playing your favorite tunes from the 50’s and 60’s, the band also features several members who impersonate famous singers from that era. Elvis impersonator Danny Vernon brought the house down when he performed the Lake a couple of years ago, and he’s now with this band, just as an example. Bring the family, your picnic dinner and your low-back chairs, and then step back in the time machine at tonight’s show.

At “13 Nights on the River” in St. Helens, the Portland-based Shanghai Woolies are scheduled to perform, starting at 6 pm. The 8-member group plays big band and swing music, featuring four vocalists and a songbook of more than 150 songs. The free show starts at 6 pm on the waterfront on historic Olde Towne St. Helens.

Fires Set

Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue now reports that as much as $80,000 damage was done at this morning’s arson fire at the Journey Kelso Seventh-Day Adventist Church, as the structures used in the “Journey to Bethlehem,” “Journey to the Cross” and other events were destroyed. Just before 1 am, firefighters and Deputies responded to 77 Solomon Road, when a large fire was reported behind the church just off of West Side Highway. Within 15 minutes, two other fires were reported near a home on Lydia Lane, along with two fires near the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District office. No serious property damage was done, but evidence at the scene indicates that these fires were intentionally set. In fact, they say that there were four “set points” along Lydia Lane, along with other arson fire incidents near the church in recent weeks. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue is working with the Sheriff’s Office on the case, and they say that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms may also be called in.