Two homes are now evacuated in the Elochoman Valley near Cathlamet, as authorities continue to monitor a large piece of land that could break away and slide at any moment. Wahkiakum County officials have closed the valley, due to the threat from the potential slide. County officials say that they started checking the area after local residents heard “popping and crackling” during the night; when they checked the area the next morning, they discovered signs of land movement above one of the houses. The timberland owner, Hancock Forest Industries, checked the area and found a large crack in the hill above the home. A geotechnical engineer was brought in, and that person confirmed the landslide potential. They say that an area a quarter-mile wide could fail, and it could be even larger than that. The slide threatens two houses with their outbuildings, along with the county road. If the slide is large enough, it could even cross the road and go into the Elochoman River. After an emergency meeting of the Wahkiakum County Commission, the Elochoman Valley Road is now closed and gated at milepost 7.47, and people could be cited for going past the gate. Other logging roads provide additional access to the area.
Chicago scored five runs in the first inning and went on to beat Seattle 10-4 last night. The White Sox host the M’s again today, KLOG 1:00 pm…..R.A. Long pounded out 17 hits and took advantage of seven Mark Morris errors in a 19-1 Civil War baseball win yesterday at Story Field. Alex Brady pitched aa four-hitter for the win. Evergreen blanked Kelso 9-0…..In prep softball, Woodland shutout RAL 10-0 and Ridgefield beat MM 6-4. Today, Prairie visits Kelso and RAL is at River…..The LCC softball team is at Centralia for a 3 pm DH today…..In boys soccer today Kelso is at Fort (5pm) and MM at River (7pm)…..The Kelso track teams pay a visit to Prairie this afternoon at 4 pm…..In girls golf, RAL hosts Woodland and MM is at River.
Washington Labor and Industries is now investigating the Friday mishap at GT Metals and Salvage in Longview, an incident that resulted in the death of a worker. Longview Police and aid crews responded to the metal recycling yard on 38th Avenue last Friday afternoon, after a large piece of metal fell over and crushed Christopher Cobb, 34. People on the scene and security videos from the metal yard say that a large piece of metal that had been leaning against a forklift over, pinning and crushing Cobb. It’s estimated that the piece of metal weighed about 500 pounds. Cobb was taken by LifeFlight to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where he eventually died. The state is now investigating the incident, while a family friend is starting a GoFundMe campaign to try and raise money to help pay for funeral costs and other expenses.
It’s now being reported that the giant poaching ring that involves several Cowlitz County residents is expanding, with additional charges being filed, along with the identification of additional locations where animals were illegally taken. The Centralia Chronicle reports on the latest in the investigation, saying that new charges are being filed against David McLeskey, 59, of Woodland, his son-in-law, Aaron Hendricks, 35, of Woodland, and Aaron Colby Hanson, 38, of Kelso. Investigators say that they have seized additional video evidence involving the three men, supposedly showing how they were using dogs to illegally hunt and kill bobcats in Pacific and Jefferson Counties. Washington Fish and Wildlife Police say that ten people are now suspected of being involved in the ring, accused of taking more than 100 animals in Cowlitz and Skamania Counties, along with other locations. The suspects reportedly filmed many of their outings, and those videos are now being used as evidence. It’s also possible that charges could be filed in Oregon, and additional suspects could be identified. Because of the size and the ongoing nature of the investigation, court processes involving these suspects have been slow in coming.
County Treasurer Kathy Hanks is out with a reminder about first-half property taxes, letting us know that property owners have until the close of business on Monday, April 30th to make those payments. The Treasurer’s Office is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday to take payments. You can also mail your payment, make the payment over the phone, or go on-line. Get details on the County Treasurer’s web page, at co.cowlitz.wa.us/treasurer.
Kelso Police are investigating a burglary that was reported yesterday morning at a business in the 25 hundred block of Talley Way. The break-in was discovered and reported just before 8 yesterday morning. Employees say that someone broke in and stole a laptop, then they found that a company vehicle had been stolen, along with checks and other items. The stolen panel van was found about two hours later, parked and running in the Mint Farm Industrial Area in Longview. No suspects have been identified.
The Oregon Department of Transportation is announcing an upcoming closure of Highway 47 near Vernonia, as a bridge is replaced. ODOT announced last week that they plan to replace the bridge over Beaver Creek, a project that will require a two-month closure of the highway. They say that the highway will be completely closed between McDonald and Johnson Roads, with traffic detoured onto Timber Road. Local access will be maintained for residents, but through traffic will not be allowed. The project is currently expected to begin on July 9th, and then they expect to open the new bridge on September 7th.
Woodland High School is celebrating a state title, but it’s not the highest-profile competition. It’s being announced that the Woodland High School Floriculture Team won the Washington State Floriculture Championship, with Woodland students taking five of the top 20 places, out of 75 students that were competing. Cooper Kaml took first place in the competition, and has qualified to compete in the National FFA Competition, which is coming up in October. Mary Ellen Vetter of Woodland High School was also honored as the Outstanding Southwest Washington Agriculture Teacher of the Year. They’re looking to expand on these classes, as the Woodland Middle School receives five thousand dollars from Lowe’s, money that will help to start a new Horticulture Class and an afterschool Garden Club at Woodland Middle School.
Voters in the Castle Rock School District have until 8 pm tonight to return ballots in the $42.3 million bond measure that the district is running. The district is asking voters to approve a 25-year bond, with the proceeds helping to build a new middle school. The bond will also pay for upgrades at the Elementary School and the High School, along with safety and security improvements across the district. This is the first bond measure in the Castle Rock School District in some 20 years. 60 percent approval is needed to pass the bond, and at least 40 percent of the people who voted in the last General Election need to cast votes to validate the election. Ballots can be mailed, but they must be postmarked by 8 pm to be valid for counting. Ballots can also be dropped off at ballot boxes in Castle Rock, Kelso and around the county.
The Friends of St. John Medical Center are opening up their “$6 Sale,” starting today and running through Thursday in the cafeteria at the hospital. They say that there will be “something for everyone” at the sale, with prices ranging from $1 to $15. Hours are 8 am to 5 pm today and tomorrow, and from 7 am to 3 pm on Thursday. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Friends of St. John Scholarship Program, along with special projects at the hospital.
Learn about and provide input on “advancing Active Transportation” in the City of Longview at a workshop planned for this evening at the McClelland Arts Center. The main topic of discussion at this evening’s meeting will be the possible creation and submission of an application, starting the process of becoming a Bicycle Friendly and Walk Friendly Community. They’ll be focusing on the “five E’s” of the application, which include Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation. This evening’s meeting runs from 6 to 7 pm, and is open to anyone interested. Get more information on the Longview Parks and Recreation Facebook page. A follow-up meeting is also planned for May 8th.
“An Evening of Mystery and Magic” is planned for this evening at the Longview Public Library, as authors Paula Stokes, Sheryl Scarborough and Tina Connelly come in to discuss their teen novels. The novels from these three women feature teen detectives and teen witches; those attending this Northwest Voices event will have a chance to interact with each author, you can get books signed, and there will even be a prize giveaway. Things get started at 6 pm at the Longview Library; it’s free and open to all.
The WSU Master Gardeners will share information on how you can reduce the amount of water you use in watering your garden at a workshop that’s planned for this evening. At 6 pm this evening, Master Gardener Dixie Edwards will demonstrate how you can build a simple and inexpensive sprinkler system that can be used in your vegetable garden, hanging plants, porch plants and other locations. They say that this system will help to save water and save money, while also insuring that your plants are properly watered. The free workshop will be held in the County Event Center at the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. Call 360-577-3014 to learn more.