Find us on Facebook!


Fritz Passes

Local law enforcement officers will be wearing black stripes across their badges for the next few days, as they mark the passing of the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office K-9. Yesterday morning, the Sheriff’s Office announced that “Fritz” had to be put down after a “short, intense illness.” They say that the decision was made Tuesday night to put the dog down, and they say that Fritz is now “playing in heavenly pastures with Nitro, Xaran, Trux, Raccer, Brix, and Toby.” The German Shepherd joined the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office in 2009, and was reported to be between ten and eleven years old. Fritz had been involved in hundreds of operations over the years, and was said to be just a few months short of retirement. Sheriff Mark Nelson says Fritz and his handler, Deputy Brent Harris, served the citizens of Cowlitz County “with great courage and honor,” and that he will be sorely missed. Nelson that employees in his office will be wearing the black memorial bands through 6 am on Monday at a minimum. Information on a memorial or an escort will be forthcoming.

Millennium Permit

The first major permit connected to the Millennium Bulk Terminals coal terminal was issued yesterday, as Cowlitz County announces that the Critical Areas Permit for the facility has been approved. The Critical Areas Permit is one of eight permits that are needed from Cowlitz County; in all, 23 permits will need to be in hand before construction of the export facility can begin. In the “Notice of Action” from Cowlitz County, it’s noted that the county has “accepted the adequacy of the SEPA Final Environmental Impact Statement” on the project, which will involve 190 acres at the old Reynolds Metals plant in West Longview. County officials are giving general approval to the mitigation plans that have been presented, saying that they should be adequate to mitigate for negative environmental impacts. Yesterday’s announcement opens a 21-day review and comment period, with any actions to “set aside, enjoin, review or otherwise challenge” this decision needing to be in by August 16th. Documents related to this decision can be reviewed and comments can be submitted at Cowlitz County Building and Planning, located on the second floor of the County Administration Building in Kelso.

Runaway Search

Kelso Police are publishing photos of Aryanna Rix-Smiley, 14, of Kelso, who apparently has run away from home. KPD reports that Rix-Smiley ran away around 11 pm on the night of Monday, the 10th, and hasn’t had contact with family since that time. It’s speculated that the teen is likely to be hanging out with other local teens; a reported sighting last night in South Kelso turned out to be a false alarm. Aryanna Rix-Smiley is a white female, 5’2″ and 110 pounds, with dyed blue hair. She was last seen wearing a black button-up shirt, with small designs on it. Call Kelso Police at 423-1270 if you have information, or send them a private message on the KPD Facebook page.

100 Women Who Care

The Dino Doozer Foundation is getting a big infusion of cash, after the local childhood cancer support group is chosen to be the beneficiary of the latest meeting of 100 Women Who Care. Earlier this week, the Lower Columbia chapter of 100 Women Who Care met at the Longview Country Club, where $9,600 was collected on the spot. Those connected to 100 Women Who Care say that donations are still coming in, and they expect the final total to be in the area of $11,000. Special credit also went out to Kristen Cheatley, as she made an additional donation to the last beneficiary, “Harlie’s Angels,” She also helped to start the “Harlie’s Hoops” program. 100 Women Who Care Lower Columbia is a local group of women who meet quarterly, each donating $100 apiece that is then donated to a local non-profit or social service group. The corollary group for men is called 100 Men Who Care. Go to their Facebook page to get more information.

Laundry Love

The 20th Avenue Laundry will be open for free this evening, as a local group opens up the facility for those in need. “Laundry Love” will run from 6 to 8 pm this evening at 417 20th Avenue, providing assistance to those with an economic need. Each guest will be able to wash and dry up to three single loads or one large load for free. Volunteers and community donors are supplying quarters, detergent and dryer sheets. It’s free to take part, but they have some guidelines, to try and help serve as many people as possible.

Thursday Events

They continue to “Celebrate the Decades” at this evening’s Kirkpatrick Family Care Summer Concert at the Lake. The Beatles tribute band “Crème Tangerine” will be playing at tonight’s show, which will start at 6 pm on the bandstand at Martin’s Dock at Lake Sacajawea. Bring your low-back chairs and your picnic dinner to enjoy the show; concession booths will also be set up.

The Columbia County Fair opens today and runs through Sunday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, located just west of St. Helens on Bachelor Flats Road.

Rainier Outages

While crews from the Clatskanie People’s Utility District work to restore power along C Street and Fern Hill Road in Rainier, authorities are working to find the semi that supposedly caused the outages. It’s reported that the big rig hit a power pole at about 10 last night, causing outages that went along C Street, and up Fern Hill Road. Utility crews worked through the night to restore power, while Rainier Police worked to find the truck that’s responsible for causing the outages.

Fire Responses

The Red Cross is providing assistance to a family that was displaced by a fire at their home on Derek Drive in Kelso. Few details are available at this point, but they do say that assistance is being provided to two adults, nine children and 15 pets. The fire was first reported at about 11:30, at a home in the 100 block of Derek Road, up in the Rose Valley area. The cause still hasn’t been pinpointed, but they do say that it looks like the fire started in a kitchen garbage can, after something hot had been placed inside of it. The Red Cross is providing assistance with housing, food and other needs, while the animals have been taken to a shelter.

Cowlitz Fire District 1 in Woodland is helping out with a two-alarm fire that was reported this morning in Ridgefield. Around 3 this morning, Clark County 911 put out a call for assistance with the fire on Northwest Hillhurst Road; District 1 was able to sender a tender down to provide additional help with the fire attack. Other information about the fire hasn’t yet been released.

Teen Arrested

A juvenile male is in custody, after being found inside of a home in Kelso that wasn’t his. Around a quarter after 5 yesterday, a call came into 911 from a house on 4th Avenue in Kelso, with the caller reporting that there was a strange man inside the house, lying on the couch. The caller says that they didn’t know who the person was, though they did say that it looked like the man was intoxicated. When the man was questioned about being in the house, he reportedly said that he thought it was “just a place to stay.” When officers ran the ID check, they found that the juvenile had an outstanding felony warrant. The 17 year-old is now being held on that felony warrant.

Church Break-In

Kelso Police are investigating a burglary that was reported yesterday morning at the Church of the Nazarene on South 4th Avenue. Officials with the church called KPD shortly after 8 am yesterday, saying that they found damage inside the building. A quick inspection showed that material inside the building had been damaged, but they couldn’t see if anything had been stolen. No suspects have been identified.