The Longview Fire Department reports having to make a technical high-angle rope rescue on Sunday, after a man from Clatskanie got stuck while hiking. The man called 911 at about 5:30 on Sunday from a slope near the 2000 block of 38th Avenue, saying that he was stuck on a steep hillside. The man says that he had worked his way down about 200 feet from a ridgetop when the slope became “perilously steep.” The man tried to backtrack, but got stuck by the snow and ice. Firefighters arrived and were able to make verbal contact, then they got a four-wheel-drive rig up above the stranded man. Other agencies assisted in the rescue, including the Sheriff’s Office, Cowlitz County Search and Rescue, AMR, along with backup from Cowlitz Fire District 5 in Kalama and District 3 in Toutle. Acting Fire Lieutenant Brett Venneri was able to come down on a rope and assessed the man for injuries; additional ropes were deployed, and the man was eventually lowered to safety. The unidentified man was taken to St. John Medical Center, where he was treated for hypothermia; they say that he was uninjured otherwise. The man’s name is not being released.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has three men in custody, claiming that the trio had been stealing mail in Multnomah and Washington counties. Sheriff Jeff Dickerson says that they launched an investigation after checks from a woman living in Warren were stolen, and then were deposited through a U. S. Bank ATM in Saint Helens. Dickerson says that the checks ended up in the account of Rodney Oates of St. Helens, and further investigation showed that 20 checks had been illegally deposited in Oates’ account between December 3rd and January 3rd. Security videos reported showed Oates and three other men depositing the checks; search warrants were served on New Year’s Day at a home in Warren and at an apartment in St. Helens. Dickerson says that large amounts of stolen mail and check stubs were found, also in a stolen pickup that’s been connected to these three men. They say “large amounts” of mail stolen from locations in Columbia City, Saint Helens, Warren, Beaverton, Scappoose, Portland and Hillsboro was recovered. Along with Oates, Michael Welch and Charles Lockridge III are also being charged. Dickerson says that there’s a fourth suspect, but that person has not yet been identified.
Official memorial services for Kalama Police Chief Randall Gibson are now set. The City of Kalama now reports that the memorial service will take place this at 1 pm this Thursday at the New Life Church on 42nd Avenue in Longview. Prior to the service, there will be an exclusive procession of Kalama Emergency Response vehicle, honoring the Chief as they go through Kalama. The exact route and timing will be announced later. At the request of Gibson’s family, you’re asked to make memorial contributions to the Behind the Badge Foundation at behindthebadgefoundation.org. They’ve also set up the Chief Randall Gibson Memorial Fund has been established at Heritage Bank in Kelso and Longview; you can also drop donations off at the Kalama City Offices, located at 195 North First Street. City of Kalama offices will also close at 11 am on Thursday, for this Thursday’s memorial service. Gibson died last Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, having suffered respiratory distress after a “high-stress arrest.”
Wendy Denison of Kalama has a GoFundMe campaign under way, looking to raise money for Jimmy Grulkey, who needs money for a stem cell transplant. Grulkey, who’s known around the area as “Biker Jim,” has been getting treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis for several years, including a drug that has eventually damaged his kidneys. He’s now dealing with stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease, and apparently can be treated with stem cells. Denison says that they’re trying to raise $20,000 to cover the procedure, and they’re nearing the $1,000 mark after being up for only a couple of days. Get details and see how you can help by going to GoFundMe.com, and search for Jimmy Grulkey.
Love Overwhelming of Kelso is one of seven groups that are getting a portion of $2.27 million in grants from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation. The grant awards were announced yesterday during a Martin Luther King Junior Day service project, supporting unique programs that help to engage workers and counselors in connecting people with mental health and addiction assistance, along with help in finding housing. Love Overwhelming $325,000 over three years; they say that the money will be used to develop Peer Support Case Managers, which will then provide “intensive community services to high-need households,” helping those people find, get and retain safe and affordable housing, along with improved services to people who have recently been released from prison.
Because of the snow, ice and freezing rain, the Area 9 DECA Conference that that been planned for today at the Cowlitz County Events Center is being postponed, and will be rescheduled for January 25th in Vancouver.
You’re invited to the new Lower Columbia CAP Community Arts Workshop today, for the National Day of Racial Healing. Saying that “There is Only One Race-The Human Race,” today’s events are sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and CAP. From 11:30 to 1 pm today, they’ll be making posters and drums in the Arts Workshop, and then a “Block Walk” is planned from 1 to 1:30 pm, displaying the posters and drumming around the block. This event is open to all; snacks will be provided.
Cowlitz County Court Appointed Special Advocates will be having a training session for guardians ad litem, people who act as advocates for children who are involved in the court system through abuse or neglect. The guardians ad litem act as the voice for those abused and neglected children; every dependent child that enters the court system is assigned a CASA advocate, with no children turned away. Trained CASA volunteers work to represent the best interests of the children, helping to investigate the case and inform the court, helping to identify resources to address the special needs of a child, and to recommend both temporary and permanent plans for the child. Last year, the number of children needing this sort of support grew by 44 percent in the past year. Training starts today; get more information on cowlitzcountycasa.org, or call 414-5212.
The Washington Wizards beat the Portland Trail Blazers 120-101 yesterday. The Blazers move on to Charlotte tomorrow night. There were five high school basketball games yesterday at the MLF Tribute event hosted by Lower Columbia College. In girls play, Adna outlasted Kelso 53-48 in OT and Kalama defeated Mark Morris 68-35. In boys play, Kelso had a solid second half to rally to a 71-52 victory over Mountlake Terrace. Riley Noah had 27 points. Mark Morris got 24 from Masen Baker in a 80-68 win over Clover Park…..Seahawks front office personnel developers Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer have both interviewed for the vacant San Francisco 49’ers general manager position…..Eastern Washington football coach Beau Baldwin has taken the Cal Bears OC job.
Today is Martin Luther King Junior Day, a national holiday that has schools, government offices and banks all closed. Local, county, state and federal offices are closed today, along with schools and most financial institutions. Public libraries are closed today and there’s no regular mail service; River Cities Transit and Waste Control are on regular routes.
The Cowlitz AmeriCorps Network is continuing on the theme of MLK Day as a Day of Service, with major projects planned for today at Community House on Broadway. Olivia Siipola with the Cowlitz AmeriCorps Network says that they are teaming up with CHOB and the Emergency Support Shelter to do a number of projects. Some of the work includes laying down new flooring, painting rooms, lunch prep and MLK-related activities for kids and adults. They’re also planning to try and help prep the garden space at the Emergency Support Shelter. If you would like to help out, call the Cowlitz AmeriCorps Network at 530-7396.
It’s cold and icy again today, but the Weather Service says that more gnarly weather is on the way. After first warning of the possibility of flooding on Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters are now warning of an extreme “icing” event that could take place from late tonight through tomorrow morning. They say that rain is expected to develop late tonight, and with sub-freezing air trapped at the surface in the inland valleys, “significant ice accumulation” is expected tomorrow morning. Temperatures are expected to climb above freezing around mid-day tomorrow, reducing the threat from the ice. You should be ready for the possibility of extremely icy roadways morning, particularly in areas that haven’t already thawed. We could also wake up to power outages, due to ice-covered limbs coming down onto overhead lines.