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Girl Approached

Kelso Police are on the lookout for a maroon Honda Civic with Oregon plates, after staff at Barnes Elementary School relayed a report that the driver of this car tried to lure a ten year-old girl into his vehicle. School staff contacted KPD at about 3:50 yesterday afternoon, relaying the report from the girl’s mother. The mother was able to get detailed information about the car, including a possible license number. However, they didn’t have much information on the driver of the vehicle. The follow-up into this incident is continuing.

Mortuary Suit

The family of a Castle Rock man whose body was mixed up with that of another man, and then was improperly handled after his death, is filing suit. Jerry Moon died at Community Home Health and Hospice on October 13, 2013, within an hour of Robert Petitclerc, 97, of Kelso. Due to an error made by an employee of Dahl-McVicker Funeral Home, the bodies were misidentified, and Petitclerc’s body was sent to Brown Mortuary in Chehalis, where Moon had pre-paid for funeral services. The mixup was discovered at Moon’s funeral. Dahl-McVicker was eventually fined $12,500 dollars for misidentifying the bodies; Moon’s family is now suing Brown Mortuary, claiming that they “acted fraudulently and with malice” in the handling of Moon’s body, and then conspired to cover up the fact that Moon had been cremated. The amount of damages being sought has not been specified, nor has a court date been set.

A Vision for Kelso

A radical and ambitious 15-year “Vision for Kelso” was rolled out last night in a joint meeting of the Kelso City Council and the Kelso Planning Commission, as consultant Gregg Dohrn presented the proposals for revisions to the city’s Development Plan. Dorhn says that his review and study shows that Kelso has some serious constraints in regard to development. Dohrn says that his study shows that Kelso’s population has been virtually stagnant since 1980, adding only 700 residents since that time. Vacant land parcels make up more than half of the city’s land area, and nine out of ten land parcels in the city are either used for housing or are vacant. 84 percent of all vacant land is also constrained by one or more environmentally-sensitive areas, so the city has virtually NO unconstrained, vacant land available for development. Dohrn says that Kelso will need to re-develop existing land, or develop vacant parcels to move forward. Several “next steps” are planned, including a update of the Zoning Map, completion of the Shoreline Master Plan, and preparation of a Neighborhood Plan for West Kelso. Dohrn says that they plan a comprehensive outreach and review process before these revisions are brought to the City Council for approval. Dorhn’s full presentation is available on the City of Kelso web page.

Marijuana Adjustment

By a vote of 6-1, the Kelso City Council is giving its approval to an adjustment in the land use plan, adjusting the buffer between residential areas and facilities that produce or process marijuana. City Manager Steve Taylor says that this is a pretty common-sense move. Kelso originally had adopted the same buffer as Longview, but a review in the field shows that there would be no impact on surrounding properties, as marijuana production and processing facilities are fully self-contained. Taylor says that the removal of the 250-foot buffer could open up some additional properties for development. The Council also approved a code change that applies the same rules to micro-wineries as currently exist for micro-breweries; as the law was written, a brewpub could be built in West Kelso, but a micro-winery could not.

Employment Improvement

Cowlitz County saw a drastic improvement in the local jobless rate, dropping more than a full percentage point in the month of March. Washington Employment Security says that the March unemployment rate came in at 7.7 percent, well below the February number of 9.1 percent. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that’s also more than a full point during the same period last year. Year-to-year, the county’s labor force has expanded by more than 1,400 people, an increase of 3.3 percent. The number of employed residents has also grown, going up by more than 1,900. New and continuing unemployment claims continue to be at “very low levels.”

Kalama River Rules

Washington Fish and Wildlife says that the Kalama River will remain open for Spring Chinook fishing for the time being, but they are keeping a close eye on things, to make sure that the hatchery return is preserved. The preseason forecast for the Kalama was set at 1,900 fish, with a hatchery escapement goal of 400 fish. Fish managers say that they don’t have any information showing that the totals will end up any different. However, to be conservative, the bag limit is being reduced to one adult hatchery Chinook salmon, along with five juveniles. The season originally had been set to close on Friday, May 1st. Full details are available on the WFDW website.

LCC Awareness Week

“Awareness Week” is continuing at Lower Columbia College, with a series of events being sponsored by the LCC Student Government. Things were kicked off yesterday with a focus on Disability Awareness; a comedy duo called “Friends with Tourette’s” presented a show titled “Preferred Parking.” Today is Cultural Awareness Day, and will include a performance by “Ekome” a tribal dance group out of Portland. That’s scheduled for noon today at the Student Center. Tomorrow looks at Alcohol Awareness, and will feature a talk by Rena Clark. She’ll be talking about the loss of her son due to alcohol abuse. Friday is focused on Suicide Awareness, and will have members of the student government placing pairs of empty shoes around campus, symbolizing the lives lost to suicide. All of these events are open to the community. Contact the ASLCC office if you need more information.

KLOG Wednesday Sports

The Houston Astros scored five runs in the 8th inning to rally for a 6-3 win over the Mariners. The M’s will try and avoid a sweep tonight, KLOG 6:00 pm…..The Trail Blazers are looking to salvage a split of the first two games in Memphis tonight with a win in game two, FM 101.5 The Wave at 4:05 pm…..Steve Rooklidge has stepped down as the head girls basketball coach at Mark Morris. It was an incredible four year run at MM for Rooklidge including three straight 2A championship games and two titles…..The LCC softball team split a DH with Clackamas, winning 5-4 and losing 11-4…..The Kelso softball team beat Heritage 5-2 while R.A. Long beat Skyview 10-1…..Kelso pounded Fort 11-1 in baseball. Today, Kelso is at Rainier, Washougal at RAL and MM hosts Ridgefield.

Woman Approached

A woman who was waiting at a bus stop on 15th Avenue says that a man made some inappropriate and possibly threatening remarks yesterday afternoon. The woman called Longview Police from the 1000 block of 15th Avenue a little after 4 pm, saying that she had been at the bus stop when a man pulled up in a newer passenger car, and told her to get in. She claims that the man told her “you’re going to be my next prostitute.” The man then drove off. Police checked the area, but didn’t find a vehicle matching the description provided by the woman.

Kelso Foot Chase

Broc Joseph Brunelle, 27, is under arrest after a foot chase through West Kelso yesterday afternoon. Kelso Police say that this got started at about 5:35 pm, when officers spotted Brunelle walking along the street in the 300 block of Northwest 3rd. They say Brunelle ran when he saw the officers, running in a westerly direction. The chase went across Long Avenue, Royal Street and Cowlitz Way, eventually ending in the 500 block of Cowlitz Way, where Brunelle was tackled and arrested. The local transient is now being held on a no-bail Department of Corrections warrant, and will also face a new charge of resisting arrest.