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Coho Cutoff

Fishery managers are announcing a rule change on the Columbia River, announcing that all Coho salmon caught must be released. They say that this year’s Coho run is early; the current fishing rules didn’t anticipate seeing any Coho in July, so they didn’t make any provisions for them. Effective immediately and going through August 1st, anglers must release all Coho salmon, going from the mouth of the river to a point nearly 300 miles upstream. A different set of rules goes into effect on that date, rules that will allow for retention of some Coho salmon. Get full details on the Washington Fish and Wildlife web page, or get in touch with your local outfitter.

Port Tours

There’s still time to get signed up for tours of the Port of Longview that will be offered Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of next week. This is the second year of the tours, which the Port says was extremely successful. More than 150 people took part last year. Participants will get an up-close look at the Port’s Mobile Harbor Cranes, log stackers, cargo vessels and other operations around the Port. You’ll also get a chance to go through the 88 year-old Continental Grain facility, before it’s torn down next year. Tours are planned at 10 am and 2 pm this next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There is a limit of 60 people for each tour, so you’ll want to pre-register for your preferred time. Call 360-703-0231 to register, or you can sign up on-line through the Port’s web page.

Visitor Center Groundbreaking

A ceremony is planned this afternoon in Castle Rock, where ground will be broken on the new Visitors Center, just off of I-5 at Exit 49. The ceremony will be conducted at the site of the facility, which will go in at the Park and Ride on the west side of the freeway at Exit 49. The City of Castle Rock plans to use a portion of its “Big Idea” allocation to help pay for the facility, which is estimated to cost about 96 thousand dollars. Contact the City of Castle Rock if you have other questions.

Rascal Rodeo

This year’s Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo features a special event at 10 tomorrow morning, as they host this region’s first-time-ever “Rascal Rodeo.” More than 30 special needs people between the ages of 2 and 60 are expected to take part, where they will able to rope calves and steers, milk a cow, ride “bucking barrels,” take part in a stick-horse barrel race, and they’ll also have a chance to ride ponies and horses. Rascal Rodeo is a non-profit based out of Pasco, which was started in 2011, growing out of Ann-Erica Whitemarsh’s senior project for high school. This organization now puts on about 15 of these events each year. You can get more information and you can register as a participant or a volunteer by going to RascalRodeo.org. Volunteers are asked to be at the Rodeo Arena by 9 tomorrow morning, and then the Rascal Rodeo will go from 10 to 11:30 am. It’s free to take part.

Speaking of the Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo, tonight is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night,” intended to raise awareness about breast cancer and funding for research to battle the disease. Tonight’s go-round starts at 7 pm, and it does require an admission ticket to get in. Those are available at the Cowlitz County Fair, or you can get them on-line at thundermountainprorodeo.com, or at the Cowlitz County Fair web page.

Weekend Events–7/24-26/15

Friday:
The Cowlitz County Fair continues Friday and Saturday, headlined by the Thunder Mountain Pro Rodeo each night at 7 pm. Friday night is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night,” highlighting breast cancer awareness and research. Saturday will also feature the “Rascal Rodeo” at 10 am, providing those with mental or physical disabilities to take part in rodeo-type events, scaled down for those who have challenges. It’s free to participate, and all are welcome to attend. Get more information at rascalrodeo.org.

The 8th annual Hot Summer Nights Concert series is under way in Woodland, with concerts planned for each Friday evening through August 14. “Silver Rose” performs at 7 pm on the Hoffman Plaza in Woodland. Admission is free, and this is a non-alcohol family event. Go to revitalizewoodland.org for more information.

Saturday:
The annual Rod Run to the Rock Car Show will be held this Saturday in Castle Rock. Dozens of classic, custom and collector cars will be on display in downtown Castle Rock, going on all day long. Get more information by calling the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce.

Starting at 9 am on Saturday, free tours of the Just-a-Mere Tree Farm outside of Rainier will be offered. After a short presentation with coffee and pastries, visitors will be driven around the combination timber, Christmas Tree and contract logging farm. There’s a picnic lunch being offered, and the Oregon Department of Forestry will also have a presentation on fire season safety. You’re asked to RSVP to 503-397-3462 prior to heading out.

You can help out the local Salvation Army by attending Saturday’s “Christmas in July” fundraiser, which is being held at the Longview Eagles. There’s a dinner and a silent auction; dinner will be served at 6, followed by dessert, a live auction and dance music from 8 to 10 pm. Get more information by going to the Christmas in July Dinner Facebook page.

There’s a fundraising show planned for Saturday evening in the Wollenberg Auditorium at the Rose Center for the Arts, called “Laughter is the Best Medicine, Part 2.” This is the 3rd year for this event, working to raise awareness about cancer and survivorship. Musician John Henry will perform, along with comedy, dance, improv and a one-act play; local medical care professionals will also be making presentations. The show starts at 7:30 pm Saturday night; donations will be accepted at the door.

The second of this year’s “Music on the Mountain” concerts is planned for Saturday night at the Johnston Ridge Observatory Amphitheatre, featuring a “folk-punk group” out of Portland, called Casey Neill and the Norway Rats. This show runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm Saturday night, and admission is free. Food and drink will be available for purchase at the venue.

Farmers Markets:
The Cowlitz Community Farmers Market will be open on Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm, set up in the 7th Avenue parking lot across from the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds. They’ll have plants and plant starts for sale, along with fresh produce, hand-crafted gifts and garden items, honey, baked goods and more. Admission is free.

The Clatskanie Farmer’s Market is open from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturdays on the lawn at Cope’s Park. Vendors of fresh fruits and veggies, plant starts, hand-crafted gifts and other merchandise will be joined by special events, cooking and tasting demonstrations, carnival games and chances to win prizes. Find out more on their web page, or on their Facebook page.

The Puget Island Farmer’s Market is open each weekend through October 16th at Stockhouse’s Farm on Birnie Slough Road near Cathlamet. Along with the fresh produce, local beef, fruits, baked goods and other items, Lulu LaFever will be performing, and they’ll also have an open mic. Hours are 3 to 6 pm on Saturday.

The Kelso Bridge Market is open on Sunday in its new venue at the Three Rivers Mall. This year, the Bridge Market is operating in the space across from the new Three Rivers Cinema, open from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday near the Southwest door of the mall. They’ll have fresh Rainier Cherries, blueberries and Marionberries for sale this weekend, along with fresh produce and plant starts, hand-made craft items and other special trinkets.

Contract Rejected

Officials with Local 153 of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers report that their membership has once again rejected a contract offer from KapStone Paper and Packaging. Voting on this latest contract offer took place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; union officials say that this latest offer was rejected by 68 percent of the members who voted. Just over 81 percent of the local’s 800 members voted against this offer, with few details about the offer being discussed. It’s believed that health care contributions are still a major bone of contention between the company and the union. It’s not exactly clear what will happen next; union officials said previously that rejection of the contract would not automatically trigger a strike

Fire Update

They’re now reporting that the Colvin Creek Fire near Woodland is about 60 percent contained, while other wildfires being managed under the “Pacific Cascade Complex” are still being monitored closely. The cooler weather and higher humidity has helped fire crews gain ground on containment, while they keep an eye on fires that are under “patrol status” near Yacolt, west of Longview, and two other small fires east of Woodland. It’s noted that the Germany Creek fire is in extremely steep terrain, with smoldering stumps and logs that can’t be safely mopped up. Those stumps and logs are well within the fire lines, and are just being allowed to burn out inside those lines.

You also need to be aware that the Southwest Washington Regional Airport in Kelso is being used as the center of operations for the aerial resources being used in the Pacific Cascade Complex of fires. Airport officials say that at least five helicopters are being used, including a crane helicopter. They’re using the north tarmac for staging and fueling, along with temporary offices. They say that the airport in Kelso is in a “strategic location, in an ideal spot to be used for natural disaster agency coordination.

WSH DUI Crash

The Sheriff’s Office says that charges of DUI and vehicular assault could be filed against Michael Grothen, 41, of Longview, who’s suspected of being impaired while at the wheel of a car that crashed last night on West Side Highway. State Troopers say that Grothen was southbound at about 7:20 pm, in the area of Waters Road. Grothen’s SUV went off the road to the left, going through a guard rail before rolling over, eventually coming to rest some 30 feet off of the highway. Grothen was injured in the collision, along with Adam Nicholas, 40, of Longview and two 15 year-old males. Their names are not being released at this time; one of those teens was taken by LifeFlight to PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. The other three were taken to St. John Medical Center. The crash investigation is continuing.

Harmony Drive Burglary

The victim in a home burglary reported yesterday afternoon on Harmony Drive reportedly had a big role in helping to catch the two suspects in the case, picking those suspects up from the side of the road and delivering them into town. The Sheriff’s Office says that the case got started around 5:15 yesterday afternoon, when a break-in was reported at a home in the one thousand block of Harmony Drive. The resident reported seeing a male and a female suspect leaving the area, heading into the nearby woods. Deputies checked the area for some time, but it was the victim that helped to resolve the case. Around 9:20 pm, that person called in again, reporting that they had the suspects in the back of their pickup, heading toward Baker’s Corner. The victim says that he encountered the suspects along the side of the road; he also says that they were unaware that he knew who they were. Deputies met the victim and then arrested Baron Lohner, 29, of Longview and Julianne Marie Vanas, 44, of Kelso on a charge of first-degree burglary; Vanas is also being served with two outstanding warrants.

Longview Council Preview

The Longview City Council meets this evening, starting with a 6 pm workshop where they will discuss and may take action on the creation of an Economic Development Coordinator position. This position was approved in the 2015-2016 budget, with the intent of strengthening economic conditions and creating new opportunities by facilitating economic development in the city. It’s recommended that the City Council give the City Manager the authority to fill this position. The regular meeting starts at 7, and on that agenda will be action on the filling of the Council position that was opened up by the passing of Tom Hutchinson. Both the workshop and the regular meeting are open to the public.