County Coroner Tim Davidson says that he got a tremendous response after putting out a public appeal for help in identifying the woman that was hit and killed on the southbound freeway on Wednesday, reporting that the victim is Kaycie Marie O’Reilly, 21, a Kelso resident. Davidson says that O’Reilly died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries, but the manner of her death is still “undetermined,” as the investigation is still open. O’Reilly was killed just before 5 pm on Wednesday morning, hit while in the left lane of the freeway near Carrolls Bluff. It’s reported that O’Reilly struggled with addiction and mental health problems, and had an extensive history with local law enforcement. The State Patrol says that the driver that was involved will most likely NOT face any charges, as the collision was “unavoidable.” Memorial services are pending.
There was some congestion on the southbound freeway again this morning, after a multi-vehicle collision that took place near milepost 31, just north of Kalama. The State Patrol reports that two semis and a passenger car collided a few minutes before 3 am. They say that there were no injuries, but two lanes of the freeway were blocked after the crash. The State Patrol was trying to gather some big-rig tow trucks to remove the damaged semis, but as of 5 am, they still were not able to rally that equipment. Residual impacts could linger for some time.
As expected, the new attorney for Brent Ward Luyster, 35, of Longview asked for and was granted a delay in his triple-murder trial, and it’s reported that Luyster was not happy with that decision. The Vancouver Columbian reports on the latest hearing with Luyster, where attorney Chuck Buckley was granted a request to set the trial back to October; it had been scheduled to start April 17th. Buckley says that the two attorneys that had been working on the case were planning to deal with a death penalty case, and he says that they hadn’t started any fact-finding. It’s reported that the prosecution plans to call 40 witnesses, and they have approximately 10,000 pages of discovery to go over. They say that Luyster objected to the set-over, but Buckley tells the judge that he should be ready to go in October. The judge in the case let Luyster know that his right to a speedy trial needs to be balanced with “effective assistance of counsel.” Even with the last attorneys, the judge says that the case wouldn’t be ready this spring, or even by the summer. Luyster is accused of shooting and killing three people at a home in Woodland back in July.
The Longview City Council is extending the moratorium on emergency shelters inside the city limits for another six months, as work continues on an ordinance that would cover the zoning for those types of facilities. A large crowd showed up at last night’s meeting, with many prepared to vent about Love Overwhelming. City Attorney Jim McNamara nipped that discussion in the bud, saying that focusing on a single project or entity could taint the ordinance. Several people did speak during last night’s public hearing on the moratorium extension, with most saying that they supported the extension. There were a few that spoke against the extension, saying that the Ad Hoc Committee on the Zoning of Emergency Shelters needs to get done with its work, and provide some stability to the situation. City Council member Steve Moon says that they’re “getting close” to having something for the City Council to act on.
Robberies, burglaries, car theft and forcible rapes went up in the City of Longview in 2016, but Police Chief Jim Duscha says that the overall crime rate continues to trend down. Duscha says that he’s encouraged by the overall numbers, as he presented the annual Longview Police report to the City Council. Robberies were up 14 percent, burglaries were up 12 percent, auto thefts were up 40 percent, and forcible rapes went up 37 percent inside the Longview city limits in 2016. At the same time, domestic violence assaults went down 24 percent, aggravated assaults went down 22 percent, shoplifting incidents dropped 39 percent, and weapons offenses dropped by 12 percent. Duscha says that the Street Crimes Unit had a huge year, with several arrest and recovery categories up by more than 200 percent. The Longview Group A Offense Rate is down seven percent from 2015, and the number of calls for service went from nearly 49,000 in 2015 to just less than 46,000 last year.
An electricity rate hike that’s projected for this fall could be higher than first expected, as the Bonneville Power Administration considers a short-term surcharge on power supplies. Today’s Daily News reports on the news coming from the BPA, who sent the message earlier in the week. The BPA informing its customers that a “collapsing energy market” could cause the agency to invoke a special contract provision called the Cost Recovery Adjustment Clause. This language allows the BPA to impose a temporary surcharge on wholesale power rates, to make up for lost income. A rate hike of 3.5 percent for wholesale electricity had already been projected in October, along with a 1.1 percent hike in transmission rates. The CRAC surcharge hasn’t yet been determined; BPA officials say that they’re doing everything that they can to keep from enacting the surcharge. Cowlitz PUD officials say that any surcharge of this sort would most likely be passed through to ratepayers, but they won’t know how much that will be until solid numbers come out of the BPA. The last time that the BPA imposed the CRAC surcharge was back in 2006.
A three-day razor clam dig opens today and runs through Sunday, but one of the beaches that had been on the list for digging will now remain closed. Washington Fish and Wildlife says that Mocrocks will be open for digging on the evening tides tonight and on Sunday, and Copalis will be open tomorrow evening. Twin Harbors had been considered for this dig, but that came off the table when Domoic Acid levels spiked again. Long Beach also remains closed, due to high levels of Domoic Acid. WDFW officials are tentatively planning a four-day dig to start on the 30th, but approval of that dig depends on the results of upcoming toxin tests.
It’s “Flights, Bites, and Trivia Night” this Friday evening at Ashtown Brewing in Longview, as Longview Parks and Rec puts on its second “Date Night” event. This is billed as “an evening of educational culinary adventure,” which will then be followed by a test of your knowledge of random facts. This will run from 7 to 10 pm on Friday, and you’ll have to act fast, as there’s pace for only 25 couples. Get details and a link to tickets on mylongview.com.
The Clatskanie Bloom Open Art show continues this weekend, runining through the 26th. This is sponsored by the Clatskanie Farmers Market, and 30% of each art sale will go to FEAST, a local community food project. “Clatskanie Bloom” will be open from 1 to 7 pm on weekdays and from 1 to 5 pm on weekends at 136 N. Nehalem in Clatskanie. Go to clatskaniebloom.com for details.
The annual Spring Show of the Columbian Artists Association continues run through April 2nd at the Three Rivers Mall. The show will be open from 11 am to 5 pm in the mall space near the Macy’s store through April 2nd. Admission is free; find out more on Columbianartists.org.
Have a great breakfast while helping out Special Olympics, as they’re serving pancakes from 8 to 11 am this Saturday morning at the Faith Family Christian Center on 38th Avenue in Longview. All proceeds from the breakfast will be helping out local Special Olympics athletes. Faith Family is located at the corner of 38th and Ocean Beach Highway, right across from Walmart.
There’s a “Community Indoor Super Sale” planned for this Saturday out on the west end of Wahkiakum County, going from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday at the Grays River Valley Center at Johnson Park. The Grays River Valley Center is located just off of Ocean Beach Highway in Rosburg. Proceeds will help to support the Center and its community activities.
The Kelso High School Class of 1945 will be honored on Saturday at their alma mater. The Class of ’45’s 90th Birthday Party will run from 3 to 5 pm in the Kelso High School Commons, with food prepared by Hilander Catering, a high school club made up of students interested pursuing careers in the culinary arts. The Kelso High School Foundation is honoring the Class of 1945 for their generous support of student scholarship programs, with more than $61,000 in scholarships awarded over the past 15 years.
NanoCon Mark IV (four) lands at Lower Columbia College on Saturday, running from 5 to 10 pm in the Rose Center for the Arts. Things kick off with the NanoCon Mk. IV Science Fiction Film Festival, along with the NanoCon Mk. IV Sci-Fi Convention. You’ll be able to “meet cool speakers, play games, participate in a costume contest and win cool prizes. There is a separate admission for the Film Festival and the Convention. Get details on the LCC web page.
Help raise money for the Pioneer Lions scholarship programs while enjoying pasta, salad and garlic bread at the 15th annual “A Taste of Italy” dinner that’s being held Saturday afternoon and evening at the St. Rose Parish Center. Bring the whole family to this all-you-can-eat event, which will also have live entertainment and raffle prizes. Get your tickets at the door.
The 7th annual Dino Doozer Foundation Masquerade Ball happens this Saturday night, with this year’s theme of “A Venetian Carnival.” This is a 21-and over event, raising money for the Foundation that’s fighting against childhood cancer. This is happening at the Cowlitz County Conference and Event Center; the doors will open at 6 pm. Go to dinodoozerfoundation.org for ticket information.
Saturday night at the R. A. Long Gym, the 3rd annual Senior Buff Puff Showdown happens, with the senior boys from R. A. Long and Mark Morris will square off in a volleyball match. Along with the on-court action, they’ll have a 50/50 raffle, and T-shirts will be for sale. Proceeds will go to the 2017 Safe and Sober Senior Party. Things get started at 6 pm on Saturday.
A high-energy Celtic music and dance show comes to the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts this Saturday night, as “The Young Irelanders” come in. The eight-member group has toured the world, performing with Michael Flatly and Riverdance, on PBS, and at private parties put on by Sting. Showtime is 7:30 pm Saturday night. Go to columbiatheatre.com for ticket information, or call 575-8499.
The Rainy Months Series continues on Sunday at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, with the Grammy Award-winning “kid-hop” group Secret Agent 23 Skidoo coming in for a special show. This group won the 2017 Grammy for Best Children’s Album, and they’ll be at the Columbia Theatre at 2 pm on Sunday. Prior to the show, there’s a free Kid’s Carnival that will get under way at 12:30 pm. Get more information on the CTPA web page.
The Zags and Ducks survive and move on after tough wins in the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga beat West Virginia 61-58 and will play Xavier in the Elite 8 tomorrow. Oregon held off Michigan 69-68 to advance against Kansas tomorrow…..The Blazers never trailed in a 110-95 victory over the Knicks last night…..Felix Hernandez pitched well in the M’s 9-2 win over the Giants yesterday…..The LCC baseball team is at Edmonds today at 1 pm then the teams come to Story Field tomorrow at 1 pm…..Kelso rallied to beat Prairie 13-12 in prep baseball last night…..The LCC softball team showed guts by rallying for a split at Clackamas, losing 16-5 and winning 9-6. The Devils are at Mt. Hood tomorrow at 12 pm…..In prep softball, Kelso beat Ridgefield 2-1 and RAL over Montesano 2-0.
LCC men’s basketball coach Jim Roffler has retired after 26 winning seasons. Roffler had an incredible 71% win total and a 541-273 record. A search for a new coach will begin soon…..Gonzaga takes West Virginia in the NCAA Sweet 16 today at 4 pm in San Jose. The Oregon Ducks play Michigan at 4:30 pm in Kansas City…..The Blazers host the New York Knicks tonight, KLOG 6:05 pm…..The LCC softball team opens league play at Clackamas today…..In prep softball, Rochester defeated Mark Morris 12-6. Montesano is at R.A. Long today…..In prep baseball, Chehalis beat Kelso 9-3. The Scotties take on Prairie in a 6 pm game at Story Field. Also, Mark Morris beat Hudson’s Bay 7-4…..In boys soccer, Kelso blanked Chehalis 4-0, RAL over Washougal 5-2 and MM beat Hockinson 3-2.