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Annexation Adjustment

After getting an earful from citizens who say that they have no desire whatsoever to be inside the city limits, the Kelso City Council is trimming the size of the possible annexation of the “county islands” in South Kelso. Mayor David Futcher says that it makes no sense to try and force these people to be in the city. The original proposal from city staff was to annex four “areas” of unincorporated county land that lie inside the Kelso city limits, mostly in or near the South Kelso industrial area. Several citizens spoke at last night’s meeting, all firmly against being annexed into the city. A majority of the council agrees that it makes no sense to force people to be inside the city if that’s their choice; they did direct staff to prepare a resolution that shrinks the proposed annexation locations to those properties that face on Hazel Street, along with the properties south of there; they also are still including “Area 1,” which is south and west of Hazel Street. A draft of the annexation resolution will be presented at the meeting on August 1st, which will then be followed by a public hearing on August 15th.

Stormwater Vote

The Cowlitz County Commissioners are reluctantly accepting new stormwater management rules from the state. Over the past few weeks, the Commissioners have been trying to take a stand against the new Phase II stormwater rules, claiming that they put too much of a burden on local governments and on private landowners. The Commissioners had been planning to try and take a stance regarding the effects of the new rules on affordable housing; they contend that the lack of affordable housing is exacerbating the homelessness issue in the local area, and that these new rules would affect development of that affordable housing. Commissioner Dennis Weber was a champion of the homelessness impact, and he reportedly had a conversation with Ecology officials. He learned that there are a number of exemptions, especially applying to diked areas, landslide areas, and other areas with steep slopes. County officials say that something like 85 percent of the urbanized unincorporated county falls under these exemptions. Weber says that he’s comfortable that Ecology has heard their concerns, and he says that the agency wants to work with the county. Commissioners Arne Mortensen and Joe Gardner also say that they have issues with the new rules, but they’ll accept them “with an asterisk.” The new rules are retroactive to the first of this month.

JHB News

Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is going to bat for a critically ill baby in Great Britain, offering an amendment to the Homeland Security Bill, offering permanent U. S. residency to Charlie Gard and his family. The bill is under consideration in the House Appropriations Committee; Beutler says that U. S. residency would allow the family to leave Britain to try and get an experimental treatment in this country. The eleven month-old suffers from a rare genetic disorder; he’s currently on life support, and is not expected to survive. Gard’s parents have been requesting the experimental treatment, but they claim that the hospital in London only plans to remove the life support, saying that the treatment would only prolong the baby’s suffering. Beutler’s amendment now moves to the full House for a vote.

Beutler also says that an amendment that would require an explanation for finding that several small communities were “too affluent” for federal grant funding is through the Appropriations Committee. Beutler has been looking for answers on this issue for several years, after the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that Toledo, Pe Ell and Vader were “too affluent” to qualify for Community Development Block Grant funds. Beutler says that her research shows that HUD used flawed data to compute income levels, sometimes with a margin of error in excess of 90 percent. Beutler says that she wants this information to be public, and she wants HUD to be held accountable. This also moves to a House floor vote.

Kalama Downtown Meet

The Kalama City Council plans to discuss the possible vision for Downtown Kalama in a workshop that’s planned for this evening. Planners who have been working on the Downtown Economic Development Plan will be on hand, as the Council discusses the “vision” for downtown Kalama, along with measures to encourage and draw new businesses to the city core. The workshop starts at 6 pm in the Kalama City Council Chambers.

Produce Sale

The Lower Columbia School Gardens Produce Sale continues today, going from 10 am until 1 pm in the garden space at Northlake Elementary School on Olympia Way. Along with the fresh veggies, fruits and flowers that will be for sale, you can meet the garden rabbits; you can also tour the grounds and “see why kids are crazy about growing their own food.” Northlake Elementary is located at 2210 Olympia Way in Longview.

KLOG Wednesday Sports

Brad Peacock stifled the Seattle bats yesterday, giving up just one run on three hits, while Evan Gattis hit two HR and Jose Altuve went 3-4 with an RBI, as the Houston Astros beat the M’s 6-2 yesterday in a road game. The ‘Stro’s and M’s wrap up the series with a day game, coverage starting on KLOG at 10 am……Devlin Granberg with the Cowlitz Black Bears was named the MVP of last night’s West Coast League All-Star Game, played last night in Yakima. Granberg hit two solo HR in leading the South squad to a 5-2 victory. The Bears’ Kona Quiggle went 0-1 in the game, while pitcher Corbin Powers was a DNP. Cowlitz gets back into WCL Action tonight, as they open the second half in Port Angeles. The Black Bears have won 7 of their last 9, and lead the WCL South.

KLOG Tuesday Sports

The Mariners outlasted the Houston Astros 9-7 last night for a fifth win in a row. Kyle Seager and Danny Valencia hit back-to-back homers in the top of the 10th inning to provide the winning margin. Nelson Cruz and Mike Zunino also hit homers. The teams play again tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm…..The West Coast League Al Star Game is tonight in Yakima. Last night Bellingham Bells player Chase Illig won the WCL Home Run Derby…..In junior legion action, Nipp’s Burgers beat Capital 18-8 and 8-5 yesterday at Roy Morse Park. Nipp’s qualifies for the Junior Legion State tournament beginning Saturday in Bellingham…..The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 110-98 to take the NBA Las Vegas Summer League title last night. Caleb Swanigan had 25 for Portland.

Industrial Fire

Crews from Longview Fire and Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue are rolling out to KapStone Paper and Packaging, called out to another fire in the #10 paper machine. This call came in just after 7 am; there’s no other information about the fire or how serious it might be.

Wildfire Contained

The Oregon Department of Forestry now reports that a wildfire that started on Sunday is now 100 percent contained. They now peg the size of the fire at 29 acres, but they’re still investigating the cause of the fire. The fire was reported at about 11:30 Sunday morning, burning in logging slash on privately-owned land about four miles south of Clatskanie. The highway was shut down while ODF crews from Columbia City, Forest Grove and Astoria responded to the fire. They were also joined by crews from the fire departments in Clatskanie, Scappoose and Vernonia, along with other rural fire agencies. About 70 firefighters battled the fire, with help from a helicopter and two fixed-wing planes. Yesterday morning, about 50 personnel remained on-scene, mopping up, looking for hotspots and then watering down any still-burning debris. ODF reports responding to nearly 400 wildfires already this year; 82 percent of those fires have been human-caused.

PUD Scam

Kelso Police are out with an alert, saying that someone is once again trying to run the PUD Scam in the local area. KPD reports that a citizen called, saying that they had received a call from someone claiming to be from the Cowlitz PUD, demanding immediate payment of a bill. The caller said that immediate payment was needed, or the citizen’s power would be shut off. A Kelso Officer called the number that was on the caller ID, and then started asking questions of the person who answered. Police say that the person was “obviously not from this area,” and was hesitant when they were asked specific questions about the Cowlitz PUD. The person hung up immediately when the officer identified himself as police. When the officer tried to call back, no one would take his call. He called back on a different phone, then got hung up on again when he once again tried to ask specific questions about the PUD. Kelso Police say that you need to be aware of this scam, and to NEVER send money to people who call on the phone, if you can’t verify their identity; the phone number involved shows up on your called ID as 1-800-460-0995.