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Morrill Passes

We’re learning of the passing of former Longview City Council member and local businessman Barry Morrill. Family members say that Morrill died on Monday, not long after being admitted to Community Home Health and Hospice. Morrill was 84 years old, and had been dealing with health issues for some time. Morrill was also involved with a number of community groups, and was also a member of the Longview Sandbaggers. Memorial services are pending; the Steele Chapel at Longview Memorial Park is handling the arrangements.

MBT Appeal

Officials with Millennium Bulk Terminals are confirming that last Friday’s negative ruling from the Shorelines Hearings Board will be appealed. Late last week, the SHB issued a summary judgement that upheld last November’s decision from the Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner, denying two key permits. The decision from the Hearing Examiner was based on the Environmental Impact Statement, which states that there are areas of harm from the proposed coal export facility, negative impacts that can’t be mitigated. Millennium contends that the Hearing Examiner made a mistake in relying on the assessment on the entire project, rather than the first two phases that are being submitted. In a response to last week’s ruling, Millennium President and CEO Bill Chapman says that the proposed terminal meets the standards set under the county’s Shoreline Master Program, but they claim that the Hearing Examiner didn’t use those criteria. Chapman says that they’re looking forward to presenting their case to a judge, where they expect to prevail.

Jobless Numbers

Joblessness ticked up just a bit in Cowlitz County during March, according to the latest numbers from Washington Employment Security. The March employment report shows a rate of 6.7 percent, slightly above the 6.3 percent from last year. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that the newest numbers from the feds show that Cowlitz County added 400 jobs in the month of March, with total employment of 39,700 jobs. Seasonally-adjusted, the increase comes in at 200 jobs. The gains in March came from durable goods manufacturing, trade, transportation and warehousing, and in state government. No job declines were reported. Bailey says that about 3,100 Cowlitz County residents are currently jobless and are looking for work, an increase of about 200 from the same month last year.

Today’s Events

Clear the calendar, because you’re going to be busy all day. The 2nd annual Seniors vs. Seniors Bean Bag Baseball Tournament happens today at Monticello Park, with local high school seniors coming over to take on the senior citizens at Monticello Park. Opening ceremonies are set for 10 am today, and the competition will continue until 4 pm. Proceeds from the tourney help to support local Safe and Sober graduation parties.

The Northwest Voices Literary Series continues today, as poet and storyteller Alex Vigue (vig-you)comes in for a writing workshop and a reading. Vigue is from Ridgefield; he has been published in a number of magazine, and he brings his poetry into Clark County schools, helping to make sure that poetry is being taught to kids by poets. The author of “The Myth of Man” will conduct a writing workshop from 3 to 5 pm in Room 145 of the Main building at LCC, followed by a 7 pm reading in the Longview Library Magazine Reading Room, starting at 7 pm. Both events are free and are open to all.

From 5:30 to 7 pm in Castle Rock, a Community Workshop is set up for this evening, looking for community input on the Six Rivers Trail, a trail that would eventually connect Cowlitz County from Castle Rock to Woodland. The focus of this evening’s meeting is to help identify “challenges, solutions and community solutions,” going from milepost 57 on the freeway to Lexington. The Six Rivers Trail Castle Rock Community Workshop is being held in the Castle Rock Senior Center, located at 222 2nd Avenue SW in Castle Rock. Call Pathways 2020 at 360-423-8704 to learn more.

Learn how to make Hypertufa flower pots and planters at a workshop that’s being offered this evening by the WSU Master Gardeners, held in the Floral building on the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. Phyllis Gardner will lead tonight’s workshop, where you’ll learn how to make pots and planters out of this lightweight cement. You’ll mix the ingredients and will cast the planter, then you’ll get additional ideas and pointers for making more forms at home. There is a nominal fee for class materials, and there’s a limit of only 12 in each class. Call 360-577-3014 for more information.

Democrat candidate for Congress David McDevitt plans to be in Longview this evening, holding his 55th Town Hall meeting as he works to chase down the Third District Congressional seat that’s currently held by Jaime Herrera Beutler. The Town Hall is scheduled to go from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Longview Public Library. Anyone interested is invited to attend.

Firefighter of the Year

Longview Fire Marshal Jim Kambeitz is being honored as Longview’s Firefighter of the Year. He received the award at the recent annual Longview Fire Awards Ceremony, which was held at the McClelland Arts Center. Kambeitz started with Longview Fire back in 2003, serving as the Fire Marshal. Along with his duties of conducting fire inspections, new construction plan review, fire investigations and community education, Kambeitz also serves as the second-in-command to current Fire Chief Phil Jurmu. It’s noted that Kambeitz was selected in a unanimous vote; one nomination form notes how Kambeitz has all of the qualities that you list when you think about the ultimate firefighter.

“Above and Beyond” awards were also handed out; Firefighter Mike Mann was honored for his “outstanding and steadfast” fundraising efforts connected to the annual Seattle Firefighter Stair Climb. Mann singlehandedly raised $11,650 dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ranking him number 7 overall out of nearly 2,500 participants. Firefighter-Paramedic Steve Lame was recognized for his positive “Can Do” attitude, and his efforts in helping new firefighters. Master Firefighter Jim Trussell got an award for his efforts with the Longview Firefighter Salmon Derby, along with other fundraising work; he also works as a fire investigator, and helped to write the specs for Longview’s new ladder truck. Lieutenant Brett Johnson received an award for his efforts connected to the professional development of Longview Firefighters.

KLOG Wednesday Sports

Marco Gonzalez and four relievers combined on the shutout as the Mariners beat the White Sox 1-0. The series concludes today, KLOG 10:00 am…..The LCC softball team swept Centralia 5-2 and 9-1 yesterday. The Devils travel to Salem to play Chemeketa today at 2 pm…..Jayda Speed got the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th to give the Kelso softball team a 3-2 win over Prairie. The Lassies are 5-0 in league. Today, Washougal is at MM and RAL is at Hockinson…..In prep baseball today Kelso is at Prairie and Mark Morris at Columbia River…..Angel Hernandez had two goals to lead Kelso to a 3-1 win over Fort. River shutout MM 4-0…..The Kelso girls track team beat Prairie 89-70, while the Hilanders lost to the Falcons 76-69.

Elochoman Slide

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.

KLOG Tuesday Sports

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.

Worker Dies

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.

Poaching Ring Expands

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.