Our local Congressional Representative is coming out against the President’s proposal to sell off some assets of the Bonneville Power Administration. In the budget that President Trump released earlier this week, it’s proposed that the BPA’s transmission system be privatized, claiming “major savings and reforms” for the power agency. In a statement released yesterday, Jaime Herrera Beutler says that the proposal is a “non-starter” for residents and employers in the Pacific Northwest. Beutler says that the Northwest enjoys some of the cleanest, most affordable and most reliable energy in the nation, due to the “unique and sustainable model made possible by the BPA.” She says that if this was sold off to the highest bidder, then local residents would face higher monthly power bills, while the needs of rural communities would be lost. Instead, she suggests that the BPA model be expanded to other regions of the country. Beutler points to 33 consecutive debt payments being made to the Treasury as a testament to the effectiveness of the BPA; she says that “Ending this would be a blow to our region’s economy for minimal gain.”
It was a packed house at last night’s meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Zoning Regulations for Emergency Shelters, with those on both sides of the homeless shelter issue sharing their feelings. The Daily News reports on last night’s hearing, which lasted about two hours. People spoke for and against the proposed ordinance that was rolled out last week, which suggests allowing the shelters to be located in the General Commercial and Office Commercial zones inside the city limits, along with the possibility of locating smaller shelters in the R-4 residential districts. The proposed ordinance would also set up buffers of a thousand feet between a shelter and a school, one thousand feet from another shelter, and 325 feet from a park or a residential area. Last night’s meeting was the first of several opportunities that the public will have to comment on the proposed ordinance; public hearings will be held at the Planning Commission and in front of the full City Council before the final ordinance is adopted.
The Longview City Council meets this evening, starting with a workshop session at 6 pm. City Manager Dave Campbell will provide an update on the progress of revising the city’s Comprehensive Plan, along with an introduction to “Complete Streets,” a design process that’s intended to improve city streets for ALL users, including cars, bikes, pedestrians and public transit.
The regular meeting starts at 7 pm, kicked off with a proclamation of “Poppy Month,” in support of the American Legion. The city’s 2017 AWC “Well City Award” will also be presented. Action is planned on the new contract with Local 3375 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, along with a report on the city’s 1st-quarter financial status. The workshop and the regular meeting are open to the public. An executive session that’s planned after the regular meeting will be closed to the public.
The Briarcliff Pool in Rainier will remain open for at least one more year, as Rainier School Superintendent Michael Carter presents a budget that includes operation of the pool. The Clatskanie Chief reports that Carter and the staff at the Rainier School District are working to develop a budget that deals with a significant revenue shortfall, and Carter emphasizes that “there will still be cuts” in this budget. Carter says that the state is providing more money than had first been projected, but they’re still needing to cut some 360 thousand dollars. Carter says that they’ll cover the shortfall with staff cuts; proposed cuts include the loss of a part-time counselor at Hudson Park Elementary, teaching staff at the high school, and a business manager position. This proposed budget now goes to the full Rainier School Board for comments and approval; their next meeting is set for 7 pm on Monday, June 19th.
An investigation is under way after a burglary was reported yesterday morning at Star Rentals on Industrial Way. Workers with Burlington Northern Santa Fe called Longview Police at about 5:35 yesterday morning, saying that the top of the fence on the back side of the rental business had been crushed and damaged; they also say that items from the rental yard were outside of the fence, and had been “strewn about.” Further checking of the area also showed that a hole had been cut in the fence on the back side of Mallory Company. At this time, no suspects have been identified, while the investigation continues.
Workers at the Cowlitz PUD are being recognized for their workplace safety practices, as the utility is presented with the Safety Award of Excellence from the American Public Power Association. PUD officials say that they were presented with the First Place award in the category of 250 thousand to 999,999 worker-hours of exposure. Rick Aguilar with the APPA says that “safety is a top priority for all involved,” and he says that utilities that have embraced a “culture of safety” deserve to be recognized. 270 utilities entered this year’s Safety Awards, which is among the highest number of entrants in the history of the program, which is now 58 years old.
The Columbia River People’s Utility District in Deer Island is reporting that a settlement has been reached with its insurance carrier, putting a lawsuit that had been filed by for four former PUD managers to bed. The suit had been filed in late 2015, with the four former managers claiming wage claim discrimination, unlawful termination, retaliation, and intentional interference with economic relations. Under the terms of the settlement, the Special Districts Insurance Division will waive the PUD’s deductible, and will pay each of the former managers $232,338.08, along with attorney fees. The PUD assumes no liability in the settlement, so there will be no impact on PUD finances. CRPUD General Manager John Nguyen says that they’re glad to put this behind them, so that the PUD can focus on what’s important to the community.
Work starts today on a water line replacement project in the area of Baltimore Street, working between 18th and 19th Avenue. The water line runs through the alley between Beech and Baltimore; starting this morning, Baltimore will be closed to through traffic between 18th and 19th, so that this water line replacement and restoration can be done. Detours will be posted; the contractor will maintain access to private driveways on Baltimore. The work is expected to take about a month, with the street re-opening to all traffic on Monday, June 26th.
The Community Conversation lectures continue today at Lower Columbia College, with Terese Rogmno presenting “Deaf Culture, Sensitivity and Awareness.” The lecture continues on this term’s theme of “What Culture Means to Me,” and will be presented at noon in the Laufman Lecture Hall on the first floor of the Health and Science Building at LCC. The lecture is free and is open to anyone interested.
A reception to honor this year’s Longview School District retirees is set for this afternoon at the District Offices on Lilac Street. The retirees leaving the district this year have a total of 775 years of service to the students and parents of Longview. The reception will run from 4 to 5:30 pm in the district administration building, with a presentation and recognition of the retirees at 4:30 pm. This event is open to the public; refreshments will be served.
We’ll find out how “well” Cowlitz County is this evening, as the 2017 Cowlitz County Community Report Card is presented by Pathways 2020. This event starts at 5 pm today at the Cowlitz County Conference and Events Center, followed by dinner at 5:30 pm and the program at 6. The 2017 Community Champions for Health Lifestyles will be honored, which will then be followed by keynote speaker Dan Burden, who is an expert on walkability. Go to pathways2020.org for more information.
Seahawks great Cortez Kennedy has passed away at the age of 48. He spent his entire NFL Hall of Fame career with the Seahawks…..Seattle is reportedly working out several quarterbacks today to find a backup to Russell Wilson including Colin Kaepernick…..The Washington Nationals destroyed the Mariners 10-1 yesterday. The teams meet again today, KLOG 3:00 pm…..The NWAC Baseball Championships begin tomorrow at LCC’s Story Field. The host Red Devils play Mt. Hood at 7:35 pm tomorrow night…..The Rainier baseball team opens the Oregon 3A playoffs with a home game against Taft today at 5 pm…..The Rainier softball is also at home to open the playoffs, a 4 pm game with Irrigon…..Aunica Rybar of MM and Zach Kochis of RAL have advanced to the final round of State golf.