Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was up late last night, dealing with another house fire in the south part of Kelso. At 11:23 last night, fire crews were called to 813 Coweeman Lane, where it was reported that a house was engulfed in flames. Firefighters say that flames and smoke were visible when they rolled up, and about half of the exterior wall was also involved in fire. It’s also noted that this house was vacant when the fire started; the house is now considered to be a total loss, but there’s still no dollar estimate on the damage. The cause of the fire also remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.
Arrangements are being made to ship a veteran’s metal grave marker to family members, after the marker was found lying in an alley in Longview. The discovery was reported to Longview Police about 20 minutes after midnight on Sunday; a man says that he found the marker for Bernard Kent Bybee just lying in the alley; the marker said that Bybee was born in 1925, and died on March 26th of this year. The marker says that Bybee was an Army veteran, who served in World War II, and that he was a “beloved husband and father.” The marker was taken to the Longview Police Department, and photos were posted on Facebook; a woman called LPD later in the day, identifying the marker as her father’s. Another family member picked the marker up from LPD, and is now making arrangements to get the marker to the daughter.
The investigation into a logging fatality that took place late last week in Pacific County is continuing. The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office reports that William J. Leonard, 50, of Centralia was killed last Thursday afternoon, when the “shovel loader” that he was operating slid and rolled several hundred feet down a steep hillside, coming to rest on a logging road. Leonard had been working on a Rayonier Forestry site near Fossil Creek, about 16 miles off of the paved road. Witnesses say that Leonard was “shovel logging” a hillside when the machine tipped over and rolled. Leonard was found dead inside the cab. Labor and Industries is also investigating the incident.
Kelso Police are following up on the reported passing of a counterfeit $100 bill, reported at a fast food restaurant near the Three Rivers Mall. The incident was reported at about 3:30 pm Friday afternoon at the Dairy Queen on 13th Avenue, just off of Grade Street. The bill had been passed about five minutes before the call, reportedly handed over by a person in a white Ford Expedition with Washington plates. Officers checked the area, but didn’t find the rig or the suspect.
One of the area’s noteworthy ball players is dead after he apparently suffered some sort of fatal medical issue, while leaving the parking lot of a store on 15th Avenue. Witnesses say that Tim Norton was leaving the 15th Avenue Safeway parking lot at about 7:40 Saturday morning, when he suffered his fatal attack. Norton’s car went across 15th Avenue, and then crashed into the Midnight Sun tanning salon, right across the street. It’s reported that Norton was dead at the scene; the County Coroner now has custody of Norton’s body, and autopsy results are pending.
There’s a memorial service planned at noon today at the Longview First Baptist Church, where they will be honoring the life of one of the first teachers and coaches at Monticello Middle School. Wallace “Wally” Whitted died on the 20th of this month at the age of 90. It’s reported that Witted suffered a serious head injury, and never recovered. Whitted just turned 90, born on September 22nd, 1926. Whitted went to R. A. Long High School, where he played under the legendary “Buck” Hammer; after a stint in the army and college in Salem, Whitted helped to open the brand-new Monticello Junior High in 1952; he took over as the school football coach in 1955, and coached there until 1968. His overall record was 72-9-3; between 1959 and 1968, the Mustangs lost only one game, and there was one season where no one scored on them. Today’s service begins at noon, and is open to the community.
They’re getting ready to hike water and sewer rates in Cathlamet, after the City Council learned that the utilities system is going to end 2016 in the red. The Wahkiakum County Eagle reports on the situation in Cathlamet, after Public Works Director Duncan Cruickshank reported that the town’s sewer utility will be some $85,000 in the hole by the end of this year. At last week’s City Council meeting, Cruickshank reported that rate hikes of up to 40 percent are needed to keep the systems solvent. Cruickshank also says that they should be looking for additional revenues by auditing customers and usage, to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share. He also says that they could get more money be expanding the service area. 2009 was the last time that utility rates were raised in Cathlamet. The City Council now plans to have a rate study done, with plans to develop a new utility rate structure out of that study.
Voters in the Toledo School District will be voting on a $14.2 million bond early next year, as the district looks toward upgrading the High School. Toledo School Board President Heidi Buswell tells the Centralia Chronicle that Toledo High School was built in 1975, “when a calculator was a novelty and personal computers were science fiction.” She says that upgrades are needed to help get students ready for the 21st century. In November of 2014, voters in Toledo rejected a $23.5 million bond, geared toward the same goals. If the bond is passed in February of next year, then the state will also kick in another $8.2 million in matching money. Full details on the bond measure are available on the Toledo School District web page.
This week, Longview Water Department workers will be flushing Area #4 of the city, which is the area bordered by 15th Avenue, Ocean Beach Highway and Lake Sacajawea. Work is planned from 7 to 11 pm, tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday night. Advisory signs will be posted. Be sure to flushing the pipes in your own home after the flushing work is done. Call the City of Longview at 442-5700 if you need more help.
The Mariners begin a three game set at Minnesota tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm…..It’s week four of the high school football season with Centralia at Kelso (FM 101.5 The Wave), Mark Morris at Washougal (FM 105.5 KUKN) and Columbia River at R.A. Long…..The LCC volleyball team hosts Grays Harbor tonight at 7 pm…..In prep volleyball last night, River beat MM 3-0 and Washougal downed RAL 3-1. MM hosts the Monarch Challenge all day Saturday at MM and LCC…..In prep soccer, Abby Anderson’s OT goal gave RAL a 1-0 win at Washougal, Kaylee Murray with three goals as Kelso blanked Bay 6-0 and River beat MM 3-0…..The LCC soccer team hosts Bellevue Saturday at 12 pm…..The Huskies are at Arizona tomorrow night at 7:30 pm, FM 101.5 The Wave.