The Cowlitz County K-9 “Fritz” is getting credit for an arrest in Columbia County, going across the river to track down a car theft suspect this past weekend. This pursuit happened on Saturday, after Travis James Stafford, 24, a transient from the Astoria area, had allegedly stolen and crashed two separate vehicles. Handler Brent Harris says that “Fritz” tracked Stafford for more than a mile in the Alston-Mayger/Delena-Mayger area, but when they caught up with the suspect, he still refused to give up. “Fritz” reportedly bit Stafford on the buttocks, and he gave up at that point. After treatment for his wounds, Stafford was booked into the Columbia County Jail on a variety of felony counts, and is being held on bail of $13,000.
Burlington Northern-Santa Fe says that someone was apparently trying to flag down trains last night just north of Kelso. BNSF Police relayed a report from train crews, who said that a man with a stop sign and a lantern was next to the tracks off of North Pacific Avenue and Pacific Avenue Spur, waving those items at passing trains. They say that one train did stop as a result of this man’s activity. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area, but didn’t find anyone. No other information about this person is available at this time.
A student body vote on a new quarterly fee for use of the new LCC Fitness Center is being postponed, as college officials determine exactly who will be eligible to participate in the vote. College officials now say that a vote of the ASLCC Executive Council is planned for April 7th, where they will decide if the bylaws will be changed to define eligible voters. The proposed change would have only students who pay student services and activity fees as participating in the Fitness Center vote. That will be conducted with the ASLCC Officer elections, which will be conducted May 12th to the 14th.
There’s a meeting planned for this evening at the Sauvie Island Grange, where the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will look for some public input on a 100-acre parcel called “Flight’s End,” located on the northern end of the island. The property had been used for duck hunting, but was acquired by ODFW in 2013, and has since been added to the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area. Long-term plans for the parcel include habitat preservation for sensitive species like the North Red-Legged Frog and the Willow Flycatcher, while still allowing recreational use. Tonight’s meeting starts at 7 pm. Written comments can be submitted until the 26th of this month.
Elise Baron of Kelso High School is one of the big winners in the 42nd annual Southwest Washington Regional High School Art Show, winning a two thousand-dollar scholarship from Central Washington University. Baron won for her piece called “Fur Elise”; she also received a Regional Award for another piece that was submitted. Hannah Barnwell also received a Regional Award, while Kristen Mury of Kelso and Cooper Lucas of Woodland High School received ESD 112 Awards. Honorable Mentions went to Malynne Castro, Payden Carterby and Storm Reid, all from Kelso. Bradlee Thielen of R. A. Long won the ESD 112 Staff Choice Award. All of the award-winning pieces from throughout the region are on display through the end of this month at the ESD 112 offices in Vancouver. A reception honoring the artists is planned for this evening at ESD 112.
3rd District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is also announcing that the Congressional Art Competition is now open to high school students throughout the district, open through April 17th. Full details on the competition and submission rules are available on Beutler’s Congressional web page.
The Blazers take on the Heat in Miami today, KLOG 3:35 pm…..The Mariners take on the Oakland A’s today, tape delay broadcast at 6:55 pm. Yesterday the M’s and White Sox ended up in a 5-5 tie. Hisashi Iwakuma pitched four shutout innings…..Tumwater defeated R.A. Long 11-4 in prep baseball. Mark Morris will be at Tumwater today at 4 pm…..In softball, RAL had a 3-0 lead over Castle Rock when rains hit in the 5th. The action fell short of an official game…..R.A. Long hosts Kelso in boys soccer tonight at Longview Memorial Stadium. The first kick is 6 pm…..Kelso defeated Mark Morris 205-230 in girls golf at Three Rivers yesterday.
Firefighters in Longview and Kelso are mourning the loss of a brother, as it’s announced that former Longview Fire Captain Mike New is dead at the age of 50. New was with Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue and the Longview Fire Department for 17 years, working his way up through the ranks. A back injury and surgery forced him into retirement in 2006, which was also followed by some other health issues. New was recently able to share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of firefighters, working as the Fire Science Coordinator at Lower Columbia College. This past weekend, New was admitted to as hospital in Vancouver with a severe medical condition, and was taken off of life support late Saturday night. New continued to give to the community, though, signing up as an organ donor. His kidneys and liver were transplanted on Sunday, and he could still help up to 50 people. In New’s honor, Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue Chief Dave LaFave lowered the flag at their main station to half-staff just before midnight on Sunday, where it remained until Monday morning. Dahl-McVicker is handling the memorial arrangements. You can also help support New’s family by going to youcaring.com, where an effort is under way to raise $25,000 to help out New’s widow, Annie, and his sons, Ethan and Alex.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is reporting that 200,000 Coho Salmon fry were lost last week at the Kalama Falls Fish Hatchery, killed when a generator and a pump failed at the facility. WDFW Regional Fish Manager Cindy LeFleur with says that the Coho fry died on Monday, the 9th; a generator failed, which then destroyed one pump and damaged two others. That reduced the flow of water into the hatchery’s incubation room, eventually killing the fish. LeFleur says that these fry were from the late Coho run from last year, were about an inch long, and represented about two-thirds of that late 2014 batch. Some did survive, but they’re in a “delicate condition” right now. As a precaution, 1.1 million fall Chinook and 500,000 spring Chinook fry have been moved to hatcheries on the Lewis River. LeFleur says that they hope to have the Kalama Falls facility operating normally by the end of this week.
Longview Police are checking into a graffiti spree reported yesterday morning in the Highlands, with at least ten victims reported. A woman called LPD shortly after 9 yesterday morning, reporting that someone had spray-painted gang-type graffiti on the exterior of the building. Further checking of the area turned up the same type of graffiti on at least ten homes, hit with black and blue paint. A majority of the victims were concentrated in the 300 blocks of 17th and 18th Avenue. Officers took pictures of the graffiti, to see if the person who spray-painted the markings can be identified.
Longview Police continue to check over security videos taken over the weekend at the 7th Avenue softball fields, working to identify several boys who were vandalizing nets that had been newly-installed by the Longview Girls Softball Association, along with other items on the field. The nets, valued at about $6,000, had been installed this past Friday, and on Saturday, kids were already vandalizing those nets, stretching them all the way to the ground. Fortunately, video cameras were also recently installed, and the kids doing the damage can be clearly seen. Those videos have been posted on Facebook, but no arrests have been reported.
St. Helens Police are also trying to identify suspects in a possible arson involving the softball batting cages at St. Helens High School in the middle of last month. Police Chief Terry Moss says that someone broke into the facility on the 16th of last month, and then set fire to the facility. The nets on the batting cage were destroyed, along with a bucket of softballs and several wooden bats. The fire did about $4,000 damage; a cash reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-452-7888 if you can help out.