We’re finally getting some clarification on the truck crash that took place this morning at the base of the Lewis and Clark Bridge. The Oregon Department of Transportation first reported that the bridge was completely closed after a crash at 6:37 am, followed by a report that the entry from the bridge into Rainier was closed by a log truck and load that had tipped over. It actually turns out that the truck and load of logs was coming from Rainier, heading onto the bridge into Washington. The bridge on-ramp going into Washington is currently closed as a self-loading truck removes the spilled logs, while a heavy-duty wrecker removes the tractor. Traffic heading into Washington is being diverted to the top of the Rainier hill, where they can turn around and then use the other on-ramp to come into Longview. Traffic heading into Oregon is unaffected.
Adam Christopher Nall, 31, of Kelso is in the Cowlitz County Jail, picked up yesterday afternoon at the request of the Longview Police Department on sexual abuse charges. Kelso Police assisted in the arrest, which took place around 2:30 yesterday afternoon at a home in the 12 hundred block of North 2nd Avenue. Nall is now being held without bail on separate counts of first-degree rape and first-degree child molestation, awaiting his first court appearance. Other details on the accusations haven’t yet been disclosed.
Heather Amy Foultner, 33, is under arrest, picked up by Sheriff’s Deputies yesterday, at the request of Longview Police. Deputies went to a home in the 100 block of Holcomb Spur Road just after 8 yesterday morning, taking Foultner into custody on charges of identity theft, forgery and third-degree theft. She’s now being held without bail in the Cowlitz County Jail, awaiting her first court appearance.
They gathered the funds needed for a new blue surface on Joe Stewart Track at Schroeder Field in short order, but Kelso High School alums are continuing to collect money for the project. It’s reported that the “Blue Track Committee” has raised the $21,000 needed in less than a week, but additional dollars are needed for things like striping, new pole vault landing areas and other expenses. Concerns were initially raised when the Kelso School Board initially opted for a cinder-colored track, which was the lower-cost alternative of the materials being offered in the initial bid. At that time, the contractor said that a blue option was available, but because of the chemical composition, it would be more expensive. After an initial influx of about eleven thousand dollars to try and fill that funding gap, the School Board took a leap of faith at its last meeting, voting to use the blue material while asking the community to find the additional funds. In less than a week, volunteers had secured the additional dollars, with more to spare. The “Blue Track” Fund Drive organizers say that donations will continue to be accepted through Monday, with excess funds directed to other expenses that might be connected to the track replacement project.
Four people from Cowlitz County are recovering from injuries that they received in a multi-vehicle collision that took place Monday near Chehalis. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says that the four people were riding motorcycles on State Route 603 at about 3:30 pm, when they were cut off by another car, coming off of a side road. The bikers were unable to stop in time, and hit the side of the car. A man and woman from Castle Rock and a man and woman from Kelso suffered injuries in the crash, all of which were fairly minor. The 24 year-old male driver of the car and his female passenger were uninjured. The driver of the car was cited for failure to yield at a stop sign. No names have been released.
A pair of public meetings are planned for today, where you will have a chance to meet and question the people involved in the proposed Haven Energy propane and butane export facility at the Port of Longview’s Berth 4. Last week, Haven Energy President Greg Bowles met with a number of community and business leaders, outlining a $275 million project to construct what he claims would be the safest facility of its kind in the United States. The facility would be capable of storing up 900 thousand barrels of propane and butane, brought in by train from the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota, and then transferred to ships for transport to markets in Hawaii, Mexico and Asia. Bowles claims that construction would involve about two thousand jobs, along with about 50 full-time positions once the facility is completed. Today’s meetings are planned for 3 and 6 pm at the Cowlitz County Regional Conference Center; they’re open to anyone interested.
The 2014 Washington Scholar awards are being announced, honoring 196 students from across the state for their academic achievement and community involvement. Three students from each legislative district are honored, including students from the local area. Two Kelso High School students and one from Mark Morris are among this year’s honorees, coming from the 19th Legislative District. Clarissa Aaron of Kelso plans to pursue studies in communications, Ellie James of Kelso plans to go into bio-chemistry, and Isabella Larson of Mark Morris also plans to go into bio-chemistry. The Washington Scholar award is the highest academic honor conferred by the State of Washington, and while it carries no direct monetary benefit, colleges and universities around the region offer financial or other incentives to attract these scholars to their campuses.
A Clatskanie Tiger will be hobnobbing with the glitterati on the French Rivera in May, as one of his films will be featured at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival. The Clatskanie Chief reports that a full-length feature drama called “Golden Kingdom” is on this year’s slate of films at Cannes; the movie is the directorial debut of Brian Perkins, a 1998 graduate of Clatskanie High School. “Golden Kingdom” is the story of four young Buddhist monks, who live in a remote monastery in the country of Myanmar, which used to be called Burma. Perkins, who used to work at the Chief as a reporter, says that his travels through remote parts of Asia and India helped to inspire the film. 1997 Clatskanie graduate Miles Lauridsen also worked as the visual effects supervisor on the film; Lauridsen has a number of Hollywood credits on his resume, having worked on visual and digital effects for “Tron: Legacy,” “Iron Man 2” and “The Twilight Saga.” Perkins has formed a Portland-based production company called Bank and Shoal, and he hopes that the exposure of his new film at Cannes will help to find a distributor for the movie.
Taking his community involvement and contributions into account, U. S. District Judge Benjamin Settle went below the recommendations from Federal prosecutors, and sentenced 60 year-old Ray Caldwell of Longview to 27 months in prison for his conviction on Clean Water Act violations. In addition to the prison time, Settle is also ordering three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Along with the jail time and fine, a hearing is planned on May 22nd, where Settle will determine the restitution that Caldwell will be required to pay to the Three Rivers Wastewater Treatment Plant, the City of Longview and Cowlitz County. Settle also says that Caldwell’s company, All-Out Sewer and Drain Service, shares in the fine, and will be on probation for three years. At yesterday’s hearing, Settle admonished Caldwell, saying that the business owner saw an opportunity to deprive public entities of money that they were entitled to receive; Settle said “It’s very important to communicate to the community that if you engage in fraud on local government, you will realize consequences.” In yesterday’s hearing, Caldwell is quoted as saying that he felt bad for what he did, and that he didn’t think that he was hurting the environment. He did apologize to the community. Caldwell was arrested in August of 2012, after nearly two years of monitoring and surveillance by local and federal officials. In December of last year, Caldwell was found guilty on 33 separate counts, including 25 violations of the Clear Water Act. Prosecutors had been recommending 42 months in prison and a fine of $650,000, but Judge Settle acknowledged the community support that Caldwell had received since his conviction.
The Mariners opened a four game series at Texas with a 7-1 win over the Rangers. Roenis Elias came up with his first MLB victory. The teams play again today, KLOG 4:00 pm…..Hayden Gillen had five hits and seven RBI’s to lead Kelso to an 18-9 win over Hudson’s Bay. The Scots host the Eagles today at 4 pm. Also today, Ridgefield is at R.A. Long and Mark Morris at Washougal…..In softball, RAL beat Washougal 11-1 and Ridgefield over MM 11-1. The Kelso Lassies host Union today at 4 pm…..In 3:30 pm track action today, Columbia River is at Kelso, Hockinson at MM and Ridgefield at RAL…..In boys soccer, Kelso is at River at 4 pm and MM visits Hockinson tonight at 7 pm…..In girls tennis, MM blanked Heritage 6-0. Today Kelso at Fort at 3:30 pm.