The Cowlitz County Commissioners are moving ahead on a proposal to purchase the building that’s currently occupied by the Love Overwhelming homeless shelter. The County Commission voted yesterday to offer $250,000 for the building at 304 Cowlitz Way; Commission Chair Mike Karnofksi says that this is the right time to move on this…lo-purchase…The Emergency Support Shelter currently owns the building, and made the decision to sell the building about a year ago, with the intent of paying down debt on their current building. As the current tenant, Love Overwhelming has the right of first refusal, and it’s reported that the Love Overwhelming board was going to vote on that possibility last night. The result of that vote is not yet known. Love Overwhelming has also been in discussions with other organizations, looking at the possibility of moving. The Shekinah Christian Center on 3rd Avenue in Longview reportedly has been talking about taking the shelter in, but that would require a lifting of the current moratorium on shelters inside the city limits, along with a zoning change. Additional information on this situation could be released later today.
The County Commissioners are giving approval to a new three-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Sheriff’s Deputies and Sergeants Guild, a contract that includes two percent raises in each year, along with an educational improvement component. Deputies that receive Bachelor’s degrees or higher can have the salaries increased by as much as three percent. The new contract covers some 30 deputies and six sergeants in the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Department.
Utility rates in the City of Kelso will increase by an average of 2.5 percent in the coming year, if the Kelso City Council holds firm to the schedule that was approved at last night’s meeting. Water rates will increase 2 percent, sewer rates will go up 2 percent, stormwater rates will go up 4 percent, and garbage rates will rise 4 percent under the schedule that was reviewed last night; while concerns are being raised about increases of any sort, there’s also some relief that the increases are well below what had previously been projected by city staff. The proposed increases would add $3.15 to the average monthly household utility bill. The Kelso City Council plans to take formal action at its next regular meeting, which comes up on Tuesday, November 1st. The public will have an opportunity to comment prior to action by the City Council.
The Port of Longview Park Advisory Committee meets this morning, gathering to discuss and handle issues connected to Willow Grove Park and Boat Launch, and to provide recommendations to the Port of Longview Commission. On today’s agenda will be a review of the Park Rules and member comments; they’ll get information on the newly-selected Park Host, and they’ll also get an update on the Payment Kiosk. In New Business, the Park Advisory Committee will look recommendations for Capital Projects in the coming year, and will also get a presentation on a possible grant application for work at the Boat Launch. There will also be an open discussion about the Equestrian Usage Policy at Willow Grove Park. Today’s meeting begins at 5:30 pm at the Port of Longview offices, located under the Lewis and Clark Bridge. The meeting is open to the public.
Kelso Police are looking into an assault that was reported yesterday morning in the 300 block of Cowlitz Way. A man called 911 at about 7:45 yesterday morning, claiming that another man had headbutted him in the face. The suspect was last seen walking south on 4th Avenue. Kelso Police checked the area, and did cite one man that they met with. No other action is being reported at this time.
The Family Health Center is expanding, announcing the opening of a new clinic on 14th Avenue. The FHC has renovated and re-opened the old Women’s Clinic at 784 14th Avenue, offering primary and preventative health care, family planning services, chronic condition care and assistance with enrollment for health insurance. This now brings the number of Family Health Center clinic locations to 13, offering a wide array of health and support services to people in Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Pacific counties. The Family Health Center-14th Avenue Clinic also offers extended hours and same-day appointments, open Thursday through Saturday from 8 am until 9 pm on those days. If you need more information, or if you would like to make an appointment, call the Family Health Center at 360-703-6400.
The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe is receiving national recognition, being honored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with their “Culture of Health Prize.” The Shoalwaters were chosen out of 200 communities from around the country, honoring the tribe for its efforts to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier and more productive lives. Foundation officials say that the Shoalwater Tribe was chosen “because of its success in bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health.” A half-dozen representatives of the tribe are in Princeton, New Jersey today to receive the award; that ceremony will be live-streamed on rwjf.org, starting at 9 am local time.
If you’ve been looking for a different way to get up on your feet and be active, the R-Square-D Square Dance Club is offering lessons, starting this evening at the Kelso Senior Center. Craig Abercrombie will be the instructor; Plus classes start at 6:30 pm, Beginner classes are at 7:30, and Mainstream classes will be held at 9 pm. They say that these classes are for new and experienced dancers, and all are welcome, singles, couples or even teens. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing you can move in, and there is a nominal costs to attend. The class is being held in the Kelso Senior Center, located in the old Catlin Hall in West Kelso. Get more information by calling 431-7553, go to r-square-d.info, or go to the R-Square-D Square and Round Dance Club Facebook page.
The R.A. Long girls soccer team defeated Washougal 1-0 last night in a match that went to an epic penalty kick shootout. The Jills missed the first PK then rattled off 10 straight to take the match. Also, Columbia River defeated Mark Morris 4-0 and Kaylee Murray had two goals to lead Kelso over Hudson’s Bay 3-1…..The LCC soccer team plays at Green River today at 4 pm…..The LCC volleyball team host Pierce at 7 pm tonight…..In prep volleyball last night, Kelso swept Evergreen 3-0, Washougal downed RAL 3-1 and Columbia River defeated Mark Morris 3-0…..The Hilander Hoop Club will be having girls and boys tryouts this Sunday and Monday at the Kelso High Gym. Get schedules and information at the Hilander Hoop Club Facebook page.
The State Patrol is now reporting that the man who was critically injured last Saturday on I-5 north of Kelso is now dead. Jason Wright, 40, of Vancouver was injured a few minutes before 5 pm on Saturday, when his car hydroplaned on I-5 northbound at milepost 44. The car spun off of the freeway and hit a tree; Wright was taken by ambulance to PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, where he died at about 4:45 yesterday afternoon. Troopers say that Wright was driving too fast for the conditions at the time of the crash.