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Business After Hours

The Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce plans to take advantage of the weather for this month’s Business After Hours event, holding a “Parking Lot Party” in between the Civic Center Professional Building and Key Bank. Tonight’s event is billed as a “barbecue and business celebration,” with fresh-grilled food, fun, music and cold summer beverages available. The Business After Hours runs from 5:30 to 7:30 pm this evening. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for registration information.

Sr. Eleanor Passes

The woman who ran St. John Medical Center in the 1960’s and 1970’s has passed away at the age of 82. Today’s Daily News reports that Sister Eleanor Gilmore died suddenly on Saturday, having suffered a massive stroke at her home in Bellevue. Sister Eleanor was the administrator at St. John two separate stages, from 1967 to 1970, and from 1976 to 1982. After her time in Longview, she worked as the West Coast administrator for the Sisters of St. Joseph, and was committed to relieving poverty and other suffering in the Central American country of El Salvador. During a trip to El Salvador in 1989, she was arrested twice, and despite serious threats, she continued to return to the country several times to continue her ministry. Gilmore retired in 2009; memorial services are planned.

KLOG Tuesday Sports

Felix Hernandez gets the start for the American League in the MLB All-Star Game tonight, KLOG 4:00 pm. Robinson Cano of the Mariners will start and bat third for the AL……The Kitsap Blue Jackets edged the Cowlitz Black Bears 4-3 last night in Bremerton. The teams meet again tonight at the Kitsap Fairgrounds…..Granite Construction of Vancouver edged JH Kelly 12-11 in the championship game of the State Senior Babe Ruth tournament. Luke Brown had four hits to lead JH Kelly. Both teams qualify for Regionals next week in Vancouver…..The Longview 13-15 Babe Ruth All-Stars beat Hood River Junior Legion 15-4 yesterday…..Longtime Toledo boys basketball coach Scott Merzoian has resigned after 18 seasons. Merzoian will take a break from coaching and teach at Monticello MS.

Ship Death

An autopsy is planned after a crew member of a ship at Berth 9 at the Port of Longview collapsed and died. Aid crews were called to the berth next to the EGT grain terminal shortly after 10 pm last night, where it was reported that a 40 year-old male crew member was down, with no pulse. CPR was started while paramedics from the Longview Fire Department responded and made their way into the ship. Those who were on the phone with dispatchers speculate that the man may have had a heart attack. The man was declared dead at the scene, so the County Coroner was called in to take possession of the body, and to conduct the post-mortem examination. The man’s name and nationality hasn’t been disclosed as of yet.

STP DUI

David J. Easton, 53, of Lake Oswego is being charged with DUI after he nearly hit several riders in the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic, as they were riding along Highway 30 near Scappoose. The incident happened Saturday night, just before 8 pm near Watson Road. An Oregon State Patrol Trooper responded to a report of a disturbance, after several witnesses reported seeing a Ford Pickup nearly hit several cyclists before pulling over on the side of the road. The Trooper contacted Easton, booking him on charges of driving while under the influence of intoxicants and reckless endangerment. Easton is free after posting bail.

Body ID’d

The body found in the Columbia River next to the El Tapatio restaurant in Rainier is being identified as Duane Richards, 65. Rainier Police say that Richards was a transient, who had been staying in a camp that he had made not far from where his body was found. It’s reported that the death is being ruled as an accidental drowning, an event that took place not long before his body was found. Samples were taken to be sent for toxicology testing; it’s going to take several weeks before those test results are available. A man who was getting ready to have his dinner at the restaurant last Wednesday night spotted the body as he walked near the river bank.

Burn Ban Expanded

As the woods continue to dry out, the Department of Natural Resources is moving ahead with its annual burn ban on state-owned lands in Western Washington. The burn ban went into effect last Friday, and will remain in place on DNR-protected lands through September 30th. The ban covers all lands in Washington state that are under DNR protection, and does NOT cover federal lands. All outdoor burning is now banned on DNR-protected lands, except for recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated campgrounds; DNR-approved prescribed fires for ecological purposes may be allowed, but permission is needed from the Commissioner of Public Lands. Gas or propane stoves and barbecue grills are allowed, but charcoal briquettes are prohibited. Fireworks are also banned, as are exploding targets, sky lanterns and the use of tracer ammunition. Contact DNR or go to their website for more information.

Piper Sanction

After getting a heads-up from one of the candidates who is challenging Ned Piper for his position on the Cowlitz PUD Commission, Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley says that Piper was improperly paid for his time while attending certain community events. Former Longview City Council member Chuck Wallace brought the incidents to the Auditor’s attention; in a letter dated July 1st, the Auditor’s Office says that they noted three instances where Piper was compensated, but there wasn’t sufficient documentation to show that these events were related to official business. They also say that these concerns have been relayed to the PUD itself. In statements to the Daily News, Piper defends the payments, which totaled $342, saying that salaried PUD employees would have attended the events, but weren’t available. He also claims that they would have been compensated if they had gone. Officials with the Auditor’s office say that no further action is anticipated, but they did advise PUD financial managers to tighten up their spending controls.

OBH Work

If you like to use Ocean Beach Highway as your route to the coast, be aware of a culvert replacement project in Wahkiakum County that might slow you down. The project is part of ongoing habitat improvements being made in the area of milepost 34, near Cathlamet. The Columbia Land Trust has purchase 290 acres, and is in the process of converting those lands into rearing habitat for juvenile salmon. Starting this month and going into next month, one lane of the highway will be closed as tidegates underneath the highway are removed and replaced with box culverts. Washington Fish and Wildlife says that these new culverts will be lower in the ground, and will improve drainage and tidal flow. The project is going to start later this month, and should run into next month.

Sewer Work

A week-long sewer improvement project starts today at 32nd and Hudson, a project that will have 32nd Avenue closed through next Monday. The City of Longview says that 32nd Avenue will be closed at Hudson Street, starting today and going through the 21st. Detours will be posted, and access to homes in the construction zone will be maintained. Use alternate routes to avoid delays.