For the second time in a week, someone has scrawled swastikas on a building in Longview. Officers were called to St. Rose Catholic Church Sunday morning, when two swastikas were found on the church doors. They say that it looks like the symbols were drawn with some sort of sharpie pen. The swastikas were cleaned off immediately by church staff, before services on Sunday morning. Last week, someone used spray paint to scrawl swastikas on buildings at R. A. Long High School, just a few blocks away. Longview Police say that they’re looking into the incident at vandalism, not a hate crime, though Father Cal Christensen of St. Rose says that they do see the swastikas as an act of hate. He says that the vandals need to understand the depth and gravity of what they’re doing, and the impact that these symbols have on people in the community.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that 47 seatbelt infraction tickets were written during the latest “Click It or Ticket” emphasis patrols, which went from May 20th to June 2nd. In addition, 18 cell phone-texting tickets were also written. This compares to 17 seat belt tickets and only three cell phone infractions during the same period last year. Along with those tickets, the emphasis patrols also snagged 53 speeders, three child safety seat violations, 12 uninsured drivers and three suspended or revoked drivers. Statewide, more than 2,300 seat belt violations were reported, along with more than 1,400 cell phone tickets. In 2012, more than 3,100 seatbelt violations were reported, along with just over 1,000 cell phone violations.
A 47 year-old man is undergoing mental evaluation and treatment at Saint John Medical Center, after he was talked out of jumping off of the Lewis and Clark Bridge yesterday morning. The bridge was shut down at about 7:45 yesterday morning, when it was reported that a man had climbed over the railing near the construction area at the top of the bridge, and was preparing to jump. The Coast Guard was alerted and the Cowlitz Dive Rescue Team was called out, as traffic on the bridge and on the river was shut down. Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig says that a Rainier Police Officer was on the scene first, and started talking with the man. Cowlitz County Deputy Dan Sheridan was there next, and took over the negotiation. With help from several Deputies, they were able to talk the man back over the railing, and he was taken into protective custody just after 8 am. The bridge re-opened to traffic at about 8:15. The man was unhurt, while he didn’t give a specific reason for wanting to jump, he reportedly said that he was “upset about everything.”
Mothers all over the area and the local medical community are trying to come to grips with the news that Dr. Phillip Henderson the third took his own life Friday night. Longview Police report that Henderson was found deceased at his home, apparently by his own hand. The Hendersons have a long history of providing medical services to the community, stretching back to very near the origins of Longview. The Daily News reports that Henderson’s great-grandfather opened a medical clinic in 1924, which was then run by Henderson’s grandfather and father, before he started practicing there in 1980. After that run of nearly 90 years, Henderson was scheduled to shut down the Longview Women’s Clinic later this week. The clinic was being forced to close because of contract disputes the major health care providers in the local area, leading to a drastic drop in the numbers of patients. It’s also reported that he was having difficulty in recruiting OB/GYN doctors to practice at the clinic. It’s estimated that Henderson had delivered around six thousand children over the years, and his patients are expressing their shock and deep dismay over losing such a dedicated physician. Memorial services are pending.
A 56 year-old Longview man is recovering from smoke inhalation that he got during a Saturday night fire at his home in the 300 block of Woodside Drive. Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue was called to the home at about 11:20 Saturday night, when a kitchen fire was reported. They say that the resident was able to get the fire put out before firefighters got there, but he did suffer the smoke inhalation. The unidentified man was taken to St. John Medical Center for treatment; no one else in the home was injured. Damage from the smoky fire is put at about $10,000.
Dennis Loney, 62, of Longview is listed in satisfactory condition at PeaceHealth Southwest Washington Medical Center, after his motorcycle hit a deer yesterday afternoon as he was riding on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway east of Toutle. State Troopers say that Loney was eastbound on the highway at about 2 pm, riding a brand-new Harley Davidson when he hit the deer as it crossed the road. Loney was taken to Vancouver by LifeFlight, as his motorcycle was towed away. Troopers say that no citations are anticipated.
“Carmageddon” didn’t pan out the way that had been projected; the Department of Transportation says that no major traffic problems were reported during the complete closure of I-5. The girder placement went so smoothly, so they re-opened the freeway some 29 hours earlier than anticipated. There could be delays on I-205 for the next few weeks, as work starts on pavement rehabilitation between I-5 and SR 14.
If you’re a user of Pennsylvania Street in Longview, be aware of some water service repair work that might slow you down today. Starting at 7:30 am, work is set to begin on a water line in the 35 hundred block of Pennsylvania, so the street will be closed to through traffic between 34th and 36th Avenues. Local access will be maintained, and the project is expected to be complete by 5 pm. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.
The Longview School Board is resuming its work on the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee report, meeting this evening at 6 pm in a special study session. The topic for this session has been changed, since the consultant that will present the Final Facility Study and Survey will not be available. Instead, they plan to review the Draft Administrative Impact Report, hearing from building administrators about the possible impacts of consolidating schools. The meeting is open to the public, but there’s no plan for public input at this time.
The Longview School District is announcing a couple of significant awards. The Washington Association of School Administrators recently honored Superintendent Suzanne Cusick with a regional Student Achievement Leadership Award, recognizing Cusick for her work in implementing innovations that have resulted in measurable improvement in student achievement. Cusick says that she’s honored by the award, but she remains focused on her goal of helping to prepare Longview’s kids to be ready for a world that will be far different than the one we live in today.
Amy Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Northlake Elementary School, was recently named at Washington’s History Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes American history teachers from across the state; it’s noted that Johnson is a district leader in Social Studies instruction, and uses both the Internet and project-based learning to help bring history to life for her students. The award now puts Johnson in the running for the National History Teacher of the Year award; for her state award, Johnson wins $1,000, an invitation to the Governor’s Reception for Exceptional Educators, and an archive of primary historical materials, named in her honor.