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Internet Theft

A Kelso woman is telling the Sheriff’s Office that she is the victim of internet theft, reporting that someone got into her credit union account, and wired $40,000 from her savings to a bank in Maine. The woman contacted the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office yesterday afternoon, saying that the theft took place some time on the 10th of this month. She says that the suspect correctly answered several security questions to gain access to her account, and that neither she nor anyone in her family was involved in the transaction. Deputies plan to follow up with the woman and with the credit union as the investigation continues.

Unemployment Drops

Cowlitz County’s unemployment rate continues to improve, dropping to an even 7 percent in September. The Washington Employment Security Department says that’s slightly less than August, and nearly two full points lower than the 8.8 percent that was recorded at the same time last year. Regional Economist Scott Bailey says that the county’s labor force has increased slightly over the past year, and the number of employed residents is “up substantially.” Bailey also says that there’s been an offsetting drop in the number of unemployed residents, which are all positive signs for the local employment picture. The number of continuing unemployment claims is continuing to drop, and the number of initial claims is at “very low levels.” The number of Cowlitz County non-farm jobs grew by 900 in September; construction grew by 400 jobs, along with another 300 jobs in public education. Over the past 12 months, local payrolls have grown by an extremely healthy 2.4 percent.

Council Actions

Longview’s water gets a below-average grade from its citizens, the results of a survey conducted by the consulting team that the city has contracted to study the city’s water supply. The Daily News reports that results of the survey were presented in a workshop held last night; Riley Research Associates interviewed around 300 Longview residents and almost 130 customers of the Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District, and they graded Longview’s water at 4.5 out of 10. They report that “very few” people rated the water over 5. One of the biggest complaints is the spotting from silica; taste is also a significant issue, along with odor and color. The consultants report that 82 percent of the people surveyed have some sort of complaint about the city’s water. When asked about possible rate increases to pay for an alternative water source, more than 50 percent “strongly oppose” an increase of $20 per month, while an increase of $5 per month was “strongly supported” by 38 percent of the respondents. Additional information on the survey and its results will be presented at the November 6th meeting of the Longview City Council.

The 2015 utility rates for Kelso are set, after action last night at the City Council meeting. Water and sewer rates will rise two percent each, while stormwater rates will rise by 18 percent. Monthly water rates will rise from $30.66 to $31.27, sewer rates will go from $54.48 to $55.57, and stormwater rates go from $7.55 to $8.91. The rates go into effect at the beginning of next year.

Wednesday Workshop

The Wednesday Workshops at the Cowlitz County Historical Museum in Kelso continue today, giving local school kids a chance to connect with the facility on Allen Street. The topic for today’s workshop is “National Book Month and More,” and will run from 3:30 to 5 pm. The kids taking part will be involved in a number of hands-on activities. The Wednesday Workshops are free, and are open to all elementary school-are kids in the area. Pre-registration is required, and you can take care of that by going to the front reception desk, or by calling the Museum at 577-3119.

Clam Dig

You’ll need the rain gear and you’ll need to make sure you keep an eye on the surf, but the next Washington razor clam dig opens today and runs through next Tuesday. Long Beach and Twin Harbors are open for digging on the evening tides all seven nights; tonight’s low tide is at 6:31 pm, and tomorrow night’s is at 7:07 pm. Mocrocks will be open for digging Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and Copalis will be open on Saturday. Be sure to have a current shellfish license, dress for the weather, and be sure to observe the bag limit regulations. Go to the Fish and Wildlife website or contact your local outfitter for more information.

Benefit Dessert

They’re serving up some sweet treats tonight at Kelso High School, as the Husky Helpers at Huntington Middle School work to raise money to help the family of a recent Kelso High School graduate who is battling cancer. Hailey Spears recently graduated from Kelso, and is now undergoing cancer treatment at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Kelso School District Custodial Supervisor Gary Spears is traveling back and forth to be with his daughter, after he completes his duties at the school district. The expenses connected to this effort are mounting, so the Husky Helpers are putting on a Dessert Benefit that will be held this evening in the Kelso High School Commons. The doors will open at 5:30 pm, and tickets are $5 apiece. If you’re unable to attend, cash donations are also being accepted by the Husky Helpers at Huntington Middle School in North Kelso. Call 501-1700 if you need more information.

KLOG Wednesday Sports

It’s going to be wet for the District cross country and boys golf events today. The Kelso teams will take part in the 3A District cross country meet at Lewisville Park. Mint Valley hosts the two-day 2A boys golf District starting today including R.A. Long and Mark Morris…..The LCC volleyball team hosts Green River tonight at 7 pm at MM…..RAL defeated Hudson’s Bay 3-0 in prep volleyball. Ridgefield defeated MM 3-1…..The LCC women’s soccer team dropped a 3-2 game at the Linfield JV’s yesterday…..In prep soccer, Kelso and Black Hills tied 3-3, RAL shutout Bay 2-0 and Ridgefield blanked MM 2-0…..The Giants got a great pitching performance from Madison Bumgarner in a 7-1 win over the Royals in game one of the World Series. Game two is tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm.

Train Fatality

Kelso Police are investigating yet another fatal train-versus-pedestrian collision that took place shortly after 4 am in the 100 block of North 1st Avenue in downtown Kelso. Few details about the incident have been released, other than to say that an unidentified person was killed after being struck by a moving train. This is the second incident of this type in Kelso in the past two weeks, and the tenth fatality of this type this year in Washington state.

25th and Nichols Fire

Longview Fire crews responded to a fire in an apartment above a detached garage, reported shortly before 8 am in the area of 25th and Nichols. So far, there hasn’t been any information released in regard to the cause of the fire, the amount of damage done, or if there were any injuries.

DEQ Appeal

Several environmental groups are filing an appeal with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, asking that agency to reconsider its decision to allow a massive expansion of the Global Partners oil transfer facility at Port Westward near Clatskanie. The Clatskanie Chief reports on this development, saying that the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Neighbors for Clean Air, the Center for Biological Diversity, Columbia Riverkeeper and Sierra Club filed a “Petition for Reconsideration.” These groups claim that the DEQ ignored basic clean air provisions that are contained in state and federal law. Under the revised permit, Global Partners would be able to expand their facility to move more than 1.8 billion gallons of crude oil each year. The groups filing the appeal say that this proposal has “significant implications” from spills, rail traffic and air quality. A timeline for handling the appeal hasn’t been disclosed.