State Troopers are still trying to figure out why a 41 year-old man from Portland was in the middle of I-5 northbound early yesterday morning, where he was killed after being hit by a semi tractor. The collision took place at about 2:10 yesterday morning, when Phillip Reich, 47, of Covington, a driver for KKW out of Everett, spotted a disabled car on the shoulder of the freeway at milepost 27 northbound. Reich moved into the center lane of the freeway, but felt an impact as he did so. Reich pulled over about a quarter-mile down the freeway, where he called 911. The body of Zeus Perez, 41, was found in the roadway, and it was eventually learned that he was the driver of the disabled car. Traffic was detoured for nearly five hours after the crash. At this time, no charges are anticipated.
A landslide closed White Pass between milepost 135 and milepost 151 for about five hours this morning, The State Patrol in Vancouver says that they were contacted by the Department of Transportation office in Yakima at about 2:45 this morning, reporting that a rock slide had come down onto the highway. WashDOT brought in heavy equipment to remove the rocks and other debris, and got both lanes of the highway open around 7:30 am. Traffic is moving in each direction, but traction devices are recommended, and oversized loads are prohibited.
Forecasters say that the rest of this week could be wet and windy. The Weather Service says that a series of systems are poised to roll through the area tonight through Thursday, with one to three inches of rain possible in the valleys. 48-hour rain totals could approach four inches in the Coast Range and the Cascade Foothills. Along with the heavy rains, the low pressure systems that are coming in will also have some gusty winds, possibly as soon as tonight, but more likely by tomorrow night and into Thursday. Some localized flooding is possible out of this latest bout of rain, and the winds could be strong enough to knock some trees down.
The Kelso City Council meets at 6 pm tonight, and first on the agenda will be the annual report from the Kelso Police Department, presented by Chief Andy Hamilton. The council is also planning to take action on the ordinance covering zoning for marijuana-related businesses, similar to the action taken last week by the Longview City Council. The Council also plans to discuss a possible amendment to the interlocal agreement with Cowlitz County over the “Big Idea” tourism funding. Tonight’s meeting is open to the public.
As additional requests for marijuana production and processing facilities come in, the Wahkiakum County Commissioners are applying the brakes, adopting a moratorium on marijuana-related facilities. This comes after the Commissioners approved the county’s second producer license for some property out on Puget Island. At last week’s meeting, citizens for and against marijuana-related businesses spoke to the Commissioners before the moratorium was adopted. County Prosecutor Dan Bigelow reminded the Commissioners that the two applications already approved by the County would have “grandfathered use” privileges if they are ultimately approved by the Liquor Control Board. A public hearing on the moratorium is planned for later this month.
Youth and Family Link is hosting a Town Hall meeting this evening, titled “How to Talk to Your Kids About Substance Abuse.” Michele Waltz with the Longview Anti-Drug Coalition will moderate the interactive event, which will include a “Mock Bedroom” created by local youth. Longview Police, Cowlitz Health and Human Services and additional members of the Anti-Drug Coalition will also be available to answer questions regarding youth and substance abuse. Parents are encouraged to attend tonight’s event; there will also be games and craft activities available for younger children. Tonight’s Substance Abuse Town Hall will run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm; Youth and Family Link is located at 907 Douglas Street in Longview. Call 423-6741 for additional information.
In connection with American Red Cross Month, the folks at the Pacific Surgical Institute are holding a blood drive tomorrow. This will go from 9 am to 1:30 pm, and is open to anyone who is eligible to donate blood. You must be at least 17 years of age, be in good general health, and weigh at least 110 pounds. This is the fifth blood drive that they’ve conducted at PSI, and they’re looking for public involvement in the event. Call 501-3444 to get additional information.
Lower Columbia College is hosting an open house for child care providers and educators, as past of the Washington Early Achievers program. This will run from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in room 129 of the Home and Family Life at LCC. This is the second year that LCC has participated in this program, which covers the cost of tuition, books, and other support services for child care providers that are looking for additional training and college credits in the Early Childhood Education field. Participants can earn initial certification, state credentials, a short-term certificate or an associate degree. This free program is open to anyone interested.
Kelso school kids cleaned up at last weekend’s Destination Imagination competition that was held up at Annie Wright School in Tacoma. All seven elementary schools in Kelso were represented, with 73 3rd, 4th and 5th-graders making up 16 teams that competed. The “Smart Striders” from Beacon Hill Elementary took first in the Structures Division. “Oatnit” from Beacon Hill took second, and “Team Extreme” from Butler Acres placed third in Structures. “We Smart 5th Graders” from Barnes placed second in the Science division, and the “Drastic Dragons” from Carrolls placed 3rd in the Fine Arts Division. “Air Force” from Wallace Elementary was also presented with the “Spirit of Destination Imagination” Award. First-place teams now have the opportunity to compete in the state competition, which will be held next month in Wenatchee.
Arinesha Smith sparked a rally with just over three minutes left in the game, leading the LCC Lady Devils from seven points down to beat Spokane 67-66 at the NWAACC Basketball Tourney. The win moves LCC into the 5th-6th place game, where they will take on the Clark Penguins, coverage on The Wave starts at 11:50 am…..Wesley Johnson dunked an alley-oop inbounds pass with 6.9 seconds left, lifting the L. A. Lakers to a 107-106 win over the Blazers, snapping Portland’s five-game winning streak. The Blazers have tonight off, then Atlanta comes in tomorrow night…..The M’s won a pair of split-squad games yesterday, 8-1 over Colorado and 6-5 over Cincinnati. Seattle travels to Glendale today to play the Dodgers, where Felix Hernandez will have his first start of the season.