The State of Washington is part of a five-state study of voting records, to see if voter fraud is actually happening; the first report from that study shows that there were 74 instances of fraudulent voting in 2016, out of 3.35 million votes that were cast. This works out to .002% of all the votes that were cast in last November’s General Election; Secretary of State Kim Wyman says this confirms that there is NO widespread voter fraud in Washington, and she says that they also plan to forward this information to county prosecutors for possible enforcement action. That includes three cases in Cowlitz County; it’s noted that the majority of these cases involve people who are registered and then voted in two states. Cowlitz County had two “cross-state” voters, and one instance of a “deceased” voter. Wyman says that they are constantly working to protect the integrity of the voting rolls and the public confidence in elections. Oregon, Colorado, Maryland and Delaware also participated in the study, showing similar results.
Longview Police say that an appeal on Facebook helped to identify a suspect in a theft case that was reported over the weekend. Officer Shawn Close says that the theft took place on the 8th, when a laptop computer was stolen out of a woman’s car, while she was parked and was shopping at the Triangle Shopping Center. After being away from the car for 10 to 15 minutes, she got in to drive away, and then noticed that a rear door was ajar. She stopped to check the door, and then noticed that the bag containing her laptop computer had been stolen. Later, an employee of the nearby Muchas Gracias restaurant called LPD to report that her bag had been left on a table. Police went over the security video, and they got clear photos of the man and the bag. Those photos were posted Saturday morning; Close reported at 5 pm yesterday that the suspect had been identified and arrested. The suspect’s name has not yet been disclosed.
State Troopers say that there are indications that Valentin Reyes-Guitierrez, 51, of Vancouver was drunk or impaired in some way when he stumbled into traffic on I-5, then was hit and killed by a passing car. WSP reports that the collision took place at about 10:30 pm Saturday night, on the southbound freeway at milepost 15 near Ridgefield. Reyes-Guitierrez apparently had been walking on the shoulder of the freeway, stumbled, and then fell in the path of a car being driven by Robert Burris, 53, of Hillsboro. Reyes-Guitierrez died at the scene, while Burris and a passenger were uninjured. No charges are anticipated.
John Kenneth Lewis, 18, of Clatskanie is in the Columbia County Jail, accused of sexually abusing a six year-old neighbor boy. Lewis was arrested late last week, after the abuse allegations came up. Lewis is now being charged with first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree sodomy. It’s noted that Lewis has previous allegations of sexual abuse, and authorities believe that there could be additional victims. Lewis is currently being held in the Columbia County Jail on bail that totals $29,500, while the investigation continues. Call the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 503-397-1521 if you have information regarding this case.
Be aware that a full closure of Highway 12 near White Pass starts this morning. The Washington Department of Transportation says that this work near the Rimrock Tunnel has been planned for a long time, set for the fall when traffic numbers are at their lowest. However, fire closures around the state have caused some traffic shifts, so the numbers are actually higher in the Highway 12 corridor. Starting today, there will be a 30-minute detour on the Tieton Reservoir Road, allowing through traffic to safely traverse the work area, where rock-scaling crews are removing unstable rocks above the road. This detour is expected to be in place for a considerable length of time, extending into November. WashDOT officials say that they do expect to be finished before Thanksgiving. Budget some extra time or explore an alternate route to avoid this work.
There’s another Candidate Forum planned for this evening, featuring the Kelso City Council race between current incumbent Kim Lefebvre and former Kelso City Council member Gary Archer. The forum is planned to start at 7 pm at Canterbury Park, located at 3rd and Hudson in Longview. Anyone interested is invited to attend.
Fall Theatre Workshops for local kids begin today at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Today, kids ages 6 through 10 are invited to participate in the Acting Fundamentals Workshop; they’ll have acting games and exercises prior to working on fundamental acting skills; they‘ll work on improve, monologues, dialogues and scene work, then there will be a “performer’s showcase” on November 10th to show off these newly-acquired skills.
For kids age 8 to 13, a Musical Theatre workshop starts tomorrow and runs each Tuesday through November 1st. In this workshop, the students will find out how musical theatre isn’t just singing and dancing; they say that the acting brings all of that together, to bring us compelling theatre. There is a tuition cost, and space is limited. Get more information on the “Theater Camp” button on the Columbia Theatre web page, or call 360-575-TIXX to find out more; you can also stop by the box office, located at 1231 Vandercook Way.
The Seahawks finally got a touchdown as Russell Wilson hit Paul Richardson with a nine yard strike in the 4th quarter as Seattle beat San Francisco 12-6 yesterday. The 1-1 Hawks travel to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday…..Houston clinched the AL West with a 7-1 win over the Mariners yesterday. Seattle has today off before hosting the Rangers tomorrow night…..In girls soccer tonight, Kelso is at home against Battle Ground (7 pm)…..The LCC women’s soccer team shutout Grays Harbor 4-0 Saturday in Aberdeen…..Mark Morris senior Levi Delamarter won the All Around Cowboy award from the Washington State High School Rodeo stop in Longview Over the weekend. 200 high school and junior high competitors were in town.
The turmoil at Kelso High School got turned up another notch when rumors about an “active shooter” raced across social media. Reports about a possible shooter started showing up on Facebook shortly after 9 this morning, which led to strong reactions, including a number of parents pulling their kids out of school. Kelso Police did bring additional units to the school, but they confirmed that there was no shooter. School officials also confirm that there were no threats or weapons at the school. Classes are proceeding normally.
Kelso High School students reportedly plan to “protest” the school’s dress code today, after a number of girls say that they have been singled out for their clothing. Social media has been abuzz for several days, with several families complaining that their daughters have been singled out at the school for supposed dress code violations. Complaints and pictures are being posted, saying that these girls are NOT violating the dress code, and are being unfairly disciplined. Portland TV has also picked up the story, reporting that students are planning to protest today by wearing T-shirts saying “I am not a distraction.” After-school protests are also being planned. Kelso High Principal John Gummel sent a note to parents and guardians yesterday, saying that they are aware of the protests; he says that some staff members are being “demonized” as they uphold the dress code standards at the school, and that those staff members are doing the jobs that they were entrusted to do. He’s asking the parents to talk with their children, and urge them NOT to violate the dress code today. He’s also asking everyone to wear the T-shirts that were recently handed out to all students by the ASB, showing that “We Are Kelso, WE Are One.” He’s asking all students to show their support for KHS by wearing these new shirts. Gummel says that there’s a process for examining and changing the dress code, and he hopes that parents will follow up. Otherwise, he says that the current standards will be upheld.