The Longview School District is receiving a prestigious honor, as one of fewer than 500 districts from across the country that are being recognized for participation in Advanced Placement courses, along with improved exam scores. The Longview School District has earned a spot on the 8th Annual AP CollegeBoard Honor Roll, on of 447 districts across the country that are being honored. To make the Honor Roll, Longview Schools had to increase participation in AP classes, had to increase participation by minority students, and to increase performance levels by the students that are taking part. Superintendent Dan Zorn says that it’s very exciting to see how the hard work of district staff is paying off, not only with increased participation, but also with improved performance. Arlington, Everett, Lake Washington, Shoreline and Walla Walla also made the Honor Roll; it’s noted that there are around 13,500 school districts across the United States.
The MLK Tribute basketball event is going on at LCC’s Myklebust Gym today. Six high school games are being played including the Kelso boys against Nathan Hale at 2:30, the Kelso girls against Mark Morris at 5:30 pm and the MM boys against W.F. West at 7 pm. Kelso games are on 1490 AM KLOG and MM games are on FM 101.5 The Wave…..Minnesota beat Portland 120-103 in NBA action last night. The Blazers host the Suns tomorrow night…..The LCC hoop teams swept Centralia Saturday night. The Red Devil women won 74-47 and the men won 79-66. Both teams take on Pierce in the league home opener Wednesday night…..Kelso had eight champions and five runners-up to dominate at the Dave Holter Memorial Wrestling Invitational on Saturday.
There was a lot of police activity in the area of St. Helens Elementary School yesterday, activity that caused the school to go into lockdown two separate times. The first incident came after a knifepoint robbery that occurred at 8:30 am at the 20th Avenue Grocery. Longview Police say that a 15 year-old male suspect came into the store and tried to buy cigarettes. When the clerk denied the purchase, the teen suspect allegedly pulled a knife on the clerk, then ran out. The elementary school was put into lockdown as Longview Police and other agencies responded and set up a perimeter. The teen was located and arrested at about 9:20 am, picked up in the 300 block of 19th. That suspect is now being held on a first-degree robbery charge, booked into the Cowlitz County Juvenile Services Center. It’s noted that the teen did not get any cigarettes.
The second lockdown happened at about 12:30 pm, after a burglary call in the 200 block of 27th Avenue, very near to the school. The person who called 911 reported seeing two people going into the back door of a house. As police responded, one person was seen running away. The suspect disappeared after a short foot chase, so they once again set up a perimeter for a suspect search. Police combed the area from 26th to 32nd Avenue, working their way from Beech Street. The suspect was not located, and the lockdown was lifted around 2:15 pm. It appears that jewelry, cash and personal items were stolen; the investigation is continuing.
Longview Police are posting a warning to keep your purses and wallets under close custody, after a recent string of purse-snatching incidents. They also say that the suspects are using friendly contacts to distract the victims while the purses and wallets are stolen. LPD refers to a couple of recent incidents at Fred Meyer; the victims say that a man engaged them and made small talk, while a female suspect would then walk up and steal the purse or wallet. The male suspect is being described as being “neat,” a white male about 5’6”, with a medium build. The female suspect is described as white, about 5’2” to 5’4”, also with a medium build. The woman’s hair was also pulled up into a bun or a knot. Those suspects have not been identified, and remain at large. LPD says that you need to keep purses and wallets close by, as it takes just a second to grab those items and take off. They say that you need to be especially cautious as you’re loading items into your vehicle, as criminals will take advantage of your distraction.
Kelso Police have a photo of a suspect in a recent burglary at the Fiesta Bonita restaurant at the Three Rivers Mall, looking for the public’s help in identifying this man. Yesterday morning, KPD posted a photo on Facebook, asking “Can You ID Me?” They say that this man broke into the restaurant during the early morning hours of December 4th, and they say that they would “like to speak with this man to explain the hours of operation, along with the benefits of using the door.” The suspect appears to be a black male, wearing a dark coat and a blue hoodie. If you can help with the identification of this suspect, call Kelso Police at 360-423-1270, and reference case number #17-3571.
You could see a crowd of demonstrators outside of the Hall of Justice in Kelso today, as a man who was sentenced to life in prison as a teen is re-sentenced. Timothy Edward Haag was 17 in 1994, when he was accused of strangling and drowning 7 year-old Rachel Dillard. Haag was tried as an adult, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In 2012, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders was “cruel and unusual punishment”; a subsequent ruling made that decision retroactive, directing offenders sentenced before 2012 to be re-sentenced. Haag’s case falls under that ruling, and his re-sentencing will be held today. Rachel Dillard’s half-brother has started a campaign on Facebook, demanding that Haag be kept in prison. Today’s hearing will be held in Cowlitz County Superior Court; security will be tight, and testimony will be focused on the sentencing process.
Spring and summer-time shows at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts should soon be much more comfortable, as the Longview City Council approves an amendment to the interlocal agreement with the Public Facilities District. The amendment extends the lease of the theatre to the PFD by 15 years, allowing the PFD to use a million dollars in sales tax proceeds from Olympia to pay for completion of the air conditions system at the Columbia Theatre. Project Manager Nelson Graham says that this is big money, and will have a big impact. Proceeds for the Public Facilities District come from a one-tenth of one-percent sales tax rebate to Cowlitz County, and is NOT an increase in local sales taxes. Graham says that they expect to receive about $400,000 each year from Olympia. It’s emphasized that these are current sales tax proceeds that are being returned to Cowlitz County, and that would be spent in Olympia otherwise. It’s hoped that installation of the remaining air conditioning equipment can be done by this spring.
In other business at last night’s meeting, new City Council member Mary Alice Wallis was sworn in, along with returning incumbents Steve Moon and Chet Makinster. Don Jensen was elected to be Longview’s Mayor for another two-year term, and Mike Wallin was selected as Mayor Pro Tem. “Rockin’ Rhonda” Goldsmith was honored as this quarter’s Community Advocate by Longview Parks and Recreation; she’s been teaching dance classes for Parks and Recreation for more than 13 years, teaching classes to more than 4,500 people. The zoning code changes regarding residential development were passed, with a goal of trying to stimulate the development more multi-family housing in the city. Action was also taken to declare an emergency regarding the slide on 38th Avenue near Memorial Park Drive, authorizing city expenses connected to that incident.
State Route 503 in Ariel re-opens to two-way traffic later today. The highway was completely closed in March of last year, when a huge slide of mud, rocks and debris slid across the road. The Washington Department of Transportation also says that a 20-million-pound slab of rock remained poised above the road, threatening to break off and fall down. One-lane traffic has been moving through the area for several months, but both lanes of the highway are expected to be open by this evening. There’s still some wrap-up work to be done on the project, which cost about $3.5 million to complete. If you’re planning to head through there, be ready for some rough road conditions. Re-paving is being planned for this summer.
The Blazers take on the Pelicans in New Orleans tonight, KLOG 4:05 pm…..The Huskies beat Cal 66-56 last night. Stanford downed WSU 79-70…..The LCC teams will be at Centralia on Saturday beginning at 5 pm, both on KLOG…..In boys hoops last night, Mark Morris downed Hockinson 63-60 and Ridgefield topped R.A. Long 46-36. Tonight, Kelso is at Fort Vancouver at 7 pm…..In girls basketball tonight, Kelso is at home against Fort, KLOG after Blazers…..In wrestling, Woodland defeated MM 49-24 and Castle Rock beat La Center 60-21. The Dave Holter Memorial Invitational wrestling tourney is all day Saturday at Kelso…..The Kelso Boys Swimming Invite is all day Saturday…..There will be six prep basketball games played Monday at LCC as the MLK Tribute begins at 11:30 am.
Lower Columbia College is announcing a major boost for its “Guided Pathways” program, a national student success initiative. LCC announced yesterday that the college has been selected to receive $500,000 from “College Spark Washington,” an amount that’s being matched by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, bringing the total grant amount to $1 million. College officials say that Guided Pathways is a program to bring better structure to student connections, entry, progress and completion of certificates and degrees that have market value, or that allow the student to transfer to four-year institutions with an academic standing as a junior. LCC is among five community colleges in Washington that will receive this funding.