Community House Director Frank Morrison says that their facility in downtown Longview is strapped for cash, and is in urgent need for funds to help meet payroll. Morrison went out with an appeal yesterday, explaining that the shelter on 11th and Broadway is down to $11,000 in the bank, with payroll coming due in the next week. He says that they did recently receive a mental health service contract with Cowlitz County, but that money is separate from the funds needed to run the shelter, and cannot be used for operations. Morrison says that the support they get from Cowlitz County and other local governments, but the main source of funding comes from community donations. Morrison is also out with a reminder that the majority of the people that they help in their clean and sober facility are women and families. More than 70 percent of current Community House residents are women and children, with more than 50 kids currently housed at the facility. Morrison also says that these are people you might known, as nearly 90 percent of clients are from Cowlitz County. Morrison says that they are in desperate need of a cash infusion to help get them to their 5th annual “Community Cares” campaign, which is coming up in April.
Kelso Police are expressing their displeasure with the opening of the new Love Overwhelming low-barrier shelter at 304 Cowlitz Way, the old Emergency Support Shelter, saying that the number of police calls connected to the facility has skyrocketed. In today’s Daily News, Captain Darr Kirk says that a “conservative estimate” is three to five calls per day, including at least three calls within a few hours yesterday. Kirk tells the newspaper that they have serious concerns for the safety of the people staying at the shelter, which does not require that people be sober to stay, though drugs are not allowed on-site. Executive Director Chuck Hendrickson says that they’re aware of the problems, saying that they’re being hit with more clients than they expected. Hendrickson says that they’re working to increase staffing, and to take other measures to increase security. He says that they should be able to get through this “hump,” and to provide the services people need in a safe and secure manner.
The citizens committee that’s working on Longview’s Drinking Water Improvement Study held its third meeting last night, and its members are now going over a list of 53 possible options for supplying the Longview and Beacon Hill water supply systems. They’re also looking at a proposed list of criteria for evaluating those options; facilitator Adrienne DeDona says that they’re trying to work off of the results of last year’s phone survey. DeDona and the consultants that are helping the Citizens Advisory Committee worked through a “problem identification statement” at last night’s meeting, saying that they want to “Provide a recommendation for a sustainbable, safe and satisfactory water supply for Longview and Beacon Hill system customers.” The values and criteria are also based on the phone survey results, looking at a goal of high-quality, sustainable and affordable water. The next meeting is planned for Tuesday, March 17th, where they plan to finalize these evaluation criteria.
Authorities in Lewis County continue to investigate the discovery of skeletal human remains, found near some trees on a vacant lot on Kresky Avenue in Chehalis, near the Yard Birds Mall. The Centralia Chronicle says that surveyors who had been working in the area found the remains early Monday afternoon. Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod says that the remains are those of an adult female, and they do have some information on a possible identity. Chehalis Police say that there don’t seem to be any signs of foul play in the case, but there’s still no word on the cause or manner of death. There’s also no word on how long the remains have been in this location. The investigation is continuing.
After it was determined that eight “challenged” ballots had been mailed late and were disqualified from the counting, the results of the Toutle Lake School Modernization Bond were finalized, with the 7 million-dollar measure passing by one single vote. The eight ballots were examined yesterday by the Cowlitz County Elections Canvassing Board, which is comprised of County Commission Chair Mike Karnofski, County Auditor Kris Swanson, and County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen. TDN reports that the board closely scrutinized and then rejected all eight ballots as being mailed too late. That leaves the final vote count at 609 “yes” and 405 “no,” which translates to an approval percentage of 60.06, just one vote over the 60 percent needed for approval.
The Blazers host the Spurs tonight in a battle of struggling teams, KLOG 6:35 pm. LaMarcus Aldridge expects to play after missing Sunday’s loss to the Grizzlies. The Spurs have dropped three straight…..The LCC basketball teams are at Centralia tonight. The LCC women can clinch sole possession of the league title with a win, 6 pm. The LCC men are looking to win the last two to assure an NWAC berth, 8 pm…..In Pac-1 hoops, Washington is at UCLA, WSU at USC, Oregon at Cal and Oregon State at Stanford…..The Seattle Mariners had the first full squad workout of spring training earlier today in Peoria, Arizona. The position players all showed up yesterday including Robinson Cano who showed up 13 pounds lighter than last season.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium will actually be visiting school kids in Kelso today and tomorrow, part of an ongoing tour of the “Aquari-van.” This is part of an 18-week tour of Washington, Oregon and Northern California, bringing marine science-themed materials and fun to local primary schools. The Aquari-van has four different themed programs, which are rotated through the year. The Oregon Coast Aquarium Aquari-van will be visiting Wallace Elementary School today, followed by a visit to Catlin Elementary tomorrow. Get more information on the Oregon Coast Aquarium web page.
The contract for Longview’s new Superintendent of Schools is now in place, approved at last night’s Longview School Board meeting. The three year contract with Doctor Daniel Zorn is effective from July 1st of this year, and runs through June 30th of 2018. The base salary for the contract is $160,000 per year, and also includes a $4,000 auto expense allowance, but he will NOT be furnished with a car. Zorn will be reimbursed for up to $6,000 in moving expenses, and the district will contribute $5,000 to his retirement account each year. Zorn will also be paid $727 per day for a “transition period” of six days, prior to the contract going into effect. By way of comparison, Suzanne Cusick was paid 185 thousand dollars the final year of her contract as Longview Schools Superintendent.
The current Superintendent of Schools in St. Helens is now on the short list of finalists for the same position in Centralia. Dr. Mark Davalos has been running the St. Helens Schools since 2011, coming to Columbia County from the Portland School District. He’s going up against Deborah Holcomb with the Highline School District, Joseph Potts of Kent, and Richard Thompson with the San Juan Island School District. The Centralia School Board is setting up public meetings with each of the finalists, which will be held next week.
The Trail Blazers have announced that there will be a celebration of life for Jerome Kersey on Monday at the Memorial Coliseum. The event begins at 4 pm Monday. The Blazers will host the Spurs tomorrow night…..The Seattle Mariner position players are due to Peoria today as the first full squad workouts will get underway. Pitchers and catchers reported over the weekend…..The LCC baseball team opens the season at home this weekend with double headers both Saturday and Sunday at Story Field…..Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has surgery today to repair the torn labrum in his shoulder. Rehab is six to eight months…..Boise State announced that the football season opener against Washington will be on a Friday. Chris Petersen returns to Boise on Friday September 4th.