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Grounded Ship

The U. S. Coast Guard is putting out a “notice to mariners” this morning, reporting that a 600-foot cargo ship has run aground in the Columbia River near Longview. Coast Guard Operations in Astoria says that the ship was coming downriver early this morning when it lost power for s short time near Crim’s Island. The crew was trying to anchor the ship when the stern apparently touched the bottom of the river. They were able to safely complete the anchoring process, while the Coast Guard was notified. A tug is now with the ship, and a second one is on the way. Coast Guard officials say that the vessel will then be taken to safe anchorage for inspection. No damage or leakage has been reported.

KapStone Vote

Months of tense and sometimes heated labor negotiations could be coming to an end, as KapStone Paper and Packaging and the Association of Pulp and Paper Workers jointly announce that a tentative contract agreement has been reached. The announcement came out of yesterday’s negotiation session, saying that issues regarding health insurance may have been resolved. This latest contract offer includes a Kaiser Permanente package, along with a company-provided option. Full details are not being disclosed until the union leadership meets with the rank-and-file to provide details. Informational meetings are being set up for next week, which will then be followed by a ratification vote.

Solvay Expansion

Brussels-based Solvay SA is announcing a multi-million-dollar expansion of its hydrogen peroxide production facilities on Industrial Way in Longview. In a press release issued yesterday, Solvay says that they plan to increase North American production by about 20 percent, with the bulk of the work occurring at the Longview production facility. Solvay says that this expansion is needed to meet growing demand from pulp and paper producers around the Northwest and in other markets throughout the U. S. The expansion is planned in two phases, with phase one starting later this year; the work should be finished late next year. Stage two is dependent on market conditions. Company officials say that the impact on employment isn’t quite clear at this time. The Solvay plant on Industrial Way opened in 1989, providing hydrogen peroxide that’s used to bleach paper, and in other industrial processes.

Brenda Wing Trial

It’s now being announced that the homicide by abuse trial of Brenda Wing is now scheduled to start May 18th in Lewis County Superior Court, and her defense attorney is telling the media that she does plan to testify. Wing is accused of being involved in last fall’s death of three year-old Jasper Henderling Warner, who had been left in the care of her and her husband, Danny Wing. Last week, Danny Wing accepted a plea agreement, entering guilty pleas to charges of first-degree manslaughter and third-degree domestic violence abuse. Brenda Wing’s attorney, John Crowley, tells the Centralia Chronicle that her story will be quite different than the one that Danny Wing is telling, and that she was “scared to death” of her husband. The trial is expected to take between two and three weeks.

Sea Lion Shooters

As the sea lions, sea gulls and eagles continue to feast on smelt in the Cowlitz River, people living along the river are now reporting that people may be shooting at the marine mammals. Shortly after 1 pm yesterday, a woman living in the 2900 block of West Side Highway reported hearing six gunshots, and then she claims to have seen a dead sea lion floating down the river. Deputies checked the area, but didn’t find any shooters. Be aware that sea lions are covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the killing or injuring of one of these animals could leave a person open to federal prosecution.

LFD Report

Longview Fire Chief Phil Jurmu says that his department is continuing to try and improve its efficiency as he presents the 2014 department report to the Longview City Council. Jurmu says that the statistics show that fire and EMS units are getting where they need to be, when they need to be there. The Longview Fire Department responded to 4,376 incidents in 2014, including 204 fire calls. Jurmu says that about 67 percent of those calls were EMS runs. That’s down from more than 4,900 calls in 2013, with just over 300 fire calls. Discussing the EMS responses, Jurmu says that the part-time ambulance that Longview Fire staffs transported 56 patients in 2014, billing more than $73,000. Only $22,282 were paid back, a collection rate of 30.5 percent; Jurmu says that’s in line with the industry standard. He says that they’re continuing to participate with agencies from around the county in development of a county-wide EMS response system. He also says that design of Station 83, which would be built in recently-purchased property near Lowe’s, is expected to get under way next year.

United Way News

The posting for the CEO position at the United Way of Cowlitz and Wahkiakum closes today. Earlier this week, it was announced that six applications had been received for the position, which came open after the termination of Kalei LaFave. She has actually re-applied for that post. United Way Board President J. D. Rosetti says that they will start reviewing the applications after the close this afternoon, with a plan of narrowing down the finalists by April 10th. Interviews would be conducted during the week of April 13th, an offer would be made in late April, with the goal of announcing a new Executive Director and CEO during the week of May 4th. LaFave was let go after financial irregularities were reported at the agency.

Tomorrow is the “Dine Out for United Way” event, with local restaurants planning to donate a portion of their proceeds to the local charity. In Longview, the Olde Creekside Café, Hop-N-Grape, The Pancake House, Hart-C’s, the Shamrock Tavern, Office 842, Guadalajara and Sweet Spot are taking part, along with Poker Pete’s in Kalama, Gilliano’s Pizza in Woodland and Sharon’s Pizza in Cathlamet. Take a selfie of your “dining experience,” e-mail it to the United Way, and you could also win some cool United Way T-shirts or other swag. The e-mail address is bfisher@cowlitzunitedway.org.

Weekend Events–3/27-29/15

Friday:
The whole family is invited to the YMCA of SW Washington on Friday night, as they host the “Family Spring Festival 2015.” This will run from 6 to 8 pm Friday evening in the Multi-Purpose Gym at the Y, with Bingo, crafts, cookie decorating, face painting, games and other prizes. Contact the Y at 423-4770 to find out how your family can be involved.

Ashley Opgrande will be crowned as Miss Thunder Mountain 2015 at a fundraising dinner that’s planned for Friday night at the Cowlitz County Expo Center. You can save $5 on your tickets by ordering in advance; call or text Michelle Opgrande at 430-4003 for more information.

Stageworks Northwest has all of the showtunes that you ever wanted to hear, at “Songs on Shuffle,” which will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Longview Theatre on Commerce Avenue. You’ll be able to pull songs out of a hat, which Stageworks cast members will then sing on the spot. Showtimes are at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, 2 pm on Sunday. Donations will be collected at the door, with all proceeds helping to support Stageworks.

There’s a Clam Chowder Benefit for the Toledo Senor Center on Friday, running from 4 to 7 pm. The Toledo Senior Center is located at 150 Coal Street. Call 360-864-2112 if you need more information.

Saturday:
The Gold Wing Road Riders Association “Chapter P” will be hosting a Swap Meet and Flea Market on Saturday, running from 8 am until 4 pm at the National Guard Armory on Vandercook Way in Longview. Along with the vendors that will be set up, they’ll have a silent auction, food and games. This is NOT limited to motorcycles, or to one specific brand of motorcycle.

The Rainier Junior-Senior High School History Bowl team is working to raise enough money to send the team to Louisville, Kentucky for the National History Bowl competition in late April, so they’re holding can, bottle and newspaper drives on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm, you can drop off your donations at the Ace Hardware in St. Helens; from 1 to 5 pm on Sunday, they’ll be collecting those donations in the Rainier High School Commons parking lot.

Gather up your quarters and warm up your trigger finger for the 5th annual Cowlitz Gamers for Kids Expo on Saturday at the Cowlitz County Expo Center, going from 10 am to 5 pm. Along with the retro and throwback video games, they’ll have vendors, a silent auction, a costime contest, tournaments and prizes. This is a fundraiser for the Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center.

There’s a Health and Safety Jamboree planned for Saturday down in Cathlamet, running from 11 am to 1 pm at the St. James Family Center gym on Columbia Street. This is sponsored by the center’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.

Longview Parks and Rec is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday at Vandercook Park, with signups at 1 pm and the hunt starting at 1:30. Donations will be collected to help support the Longview Recreation Junior LEGO League Robotics Team, which is trying to get to St. Louis for the National LEGO Championship. Contact Longview Parks and Recreation for more information.
Restaurants all around the area are ready to serve you and your family, while also helping gout the local United Way at “Dine Out for United Way. Eight Longview restaurants are taking part, along with eateries in Kalama, Cathlamet and Woodland.

The 40th annual Quincy Grange Chicken Dinner is set for Saturday afternoon at the hall on Rutters Road near Clatskanie. Dinner will be served from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday, serving up “real” fried chicken and all of the regular fixin’s. Proceeds will help to support the Grange scholarship programs, the “Words for Thirds” dictionary program and other efforts that the Grange is involved in.

From 4 to 8 pm on Saturday at the St. Rose Parish Center in Longview, it’s the 13th annual “Taste of Italy,” a benefit for Lions Club scholarship programs. Along with all-you-can-eat pasta, salad and bread, they’ll have live entertainments and raffles. The St. Rose Parish Center is located off of Washington Way on 26th Avenue, right across the street from the church itself.

Scott Coon presents a “Tribute to Elvis” on Saturday at the Kelso Senior Center, going from 4 to 6 pm. Your $10 entry will also include a pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw and chips. Proceeds will help to support the Senior Center, located in the old Catlin Hall at 106 NW 8th Avenue in West Kelso.

There’s a Bunco Party planned for Saturday at the Beaver Homes Grange, a fundraiser for the Grange’s Relay for Life team. If you plan to go, you’re asked to bring a potluck dish, along with your entry fee. They’re also collecting items for a silent auction that will be held. The Beaver Homes Grange is located off of Highway 30 near Goble. Turn on Nicolai Road and follow the signs.

Saturday night at the Kelso Theatre Pub, they’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of “The Breakfast Club,” with a free screening of the movie at 9 pm.

Sunday:
The Willapa Hills Audubon Society is gathering on Sunday for a special program on Vaux’s Swifts, the small birds who put on a spectacle as they collect and then swoop into local chimneys for a night’s rest as they migrate. The free program is scheduled for 7 pm Sundat at the Kelso Senior Center in West Kelso. All are invited to attend.

KLOG Friday Sports

Gonzaga is looking for a NCAA Sweet 16 win today when they take on UCLA in Houston, 4:15 pm on CBS…..The Trail Blazers take on the Suns in Phoenix tonight, KLOG 6:05 pm. Portland hosts Denver Saturday night…..Rainier and R.A. Long split a baseball double header yesterday, Columbians 2-0 and Jacks 6-2. Today, Mark Morris hosts Aberdeen at 4 pm…..The LCC baseball team plays a single game at Grays Harbor Saturday and then hosts Pierce in a 1 pm Sunday at Story Field, klog.com…..The LCC softball team hosts Pierce in a 1 pm DH Saturday at Tam O’Shanter…..Kelso edged Union 4-3 in softball, while MM beat Fort 11-6. RAL is at Aberdeen today…..The Senior Smash boys volleyball fund-raiser is tonight at the Kelso Gym featuring Kelso, MM and RAL, start time 6 pm.

KLOG Thursday Sports

The Blazers snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating the Utah Jazz 92-89…..The NCAA Sweet 16 begins tonight with four games. Gonzaga plays UCLA tomorrow night in Houston…..Loyola of Chicago eliminated Seattle U. 63-48 in the CBI tournament…..Taijuan Walker tossed six scoreless innings in the Mariners 3-2 spring win over the Cubs. The M’s split the squad today playing the Brewers and the Royals. The KC game can be heard on KLOG at 6:55 pm…..Mark Morris defeated Rainier 5-4 in prep baseball. Rainier plays two today at R.A. Long beginning at 3 pm…..The Kelso softball team hosts Union at 4 pm today…..In boys soccer, Washougal beat MM 1-0 and Hockinson edged RAL 2-1…..The MM track team hosts Ridgefield today at 4 pm.