The Air Quality Alert that covers much of the region is being extended through noon on Friday at a minimum, as smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and eastern Washington continue to be blown into this area. The Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency is now issuing an Air Pollution Advisory for Cowlitz County, along with other surrounding counties. Officials with the Clean Air Agency say that the Advisory is simply a reminder to local residents to try and protect their health and improve local air quality by reducing pollution from cars, mowers and other internal combustion engines; try to use public transportation or carpool, and people who are sensitive to smoke or other pollutants should try to limit outdoor activities. Get more information at swcleanair.org.
It appears that the near-record-low turnout in this year’s Primary Election is taking down the Castle Rock Library Levy. The latest tally from Cowlitz County Elections shows that the Operations Levy for the library is getting great support, with more than 68 percent of voters saying “yes.” However, Elections Director Carolyn Fundingsland says that this levy needs to be validated, which means that a minimum numbers of voters must participate for the measure to be valid. Fundingsland says that this levy needs a minimum of 387 votes to be valid, and only 334 ballots have come in to this point. Fundingsland says that there are a few ballots that might possibly be valid for counting, but she says that there aren’t enough to validate this election. She also says that the election could have been validated if there had been 233 “yes” votes, but that number is currently at 229, four short of passage. In anticipation of an issue like this, the levy backers had already filed the paperwork to place the measure on the November General Election ballot. Overall, total voter turnout came in at just over 20 percent, which Fundingsland says is as low as she’s ever seen.
An 11 year-old boy from Portland is in the intensive care unit at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland after he was seriously injured Monday afternoon in a go-kart crash near Rainier. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reports that the crash happened around 9 am on Monday, as the boy was being towed behind a pickup being driven by his uncle. The uncle, Brandon McKay, 22, of Rainier, called 911 from the intersection of Nicolai Cutoff Road and Wilbur Road, where the boy and his brothers had ridden the cart. McKay drove down to tell the boys it was time to come home, and they asked if he would tow them back. A long rope was tied to the cart, and McKay says that he was driving between 15 and 20 miles an hour. Shortly after starting, McKay says that he saw the cart go off the side of the road, heading toward a tree. McKay braked, but the cart hit the tree and then rolled down an embankment. It’s noted that the 11 year-old was wearing a helmet and a harness, but he was still seriously injured. The boy was taken by LifeFlight, while McKay volunteered for drug and alcohol tests; initial results show no sign of impairment. The investigation continues.
The Coast Guard says that the helicopter delivery of dewatering pumps helped to save a fishing boat and a crew some 66 miles off of the northern Oregon coast. Around 3:35 yesterday morning, a mayday call came in from the 48-foot “Pura Vida,” which was fishing off of Tillamook Head. The captain reported that they were taking on water, and the crew had put on their life jackets. A helicopter was launched from Astoria, along with a motor lifeboat from Cape Disappointment. The chopper delivered one pump, another fishing boat brought a second pump, and then the lifeboat brought the third pump. Those pumps were able to evacuate the water and keep the boat afloat. The “Pura Vida” is now being towed back to port.
Law enforcement agencies around the area are looking for help in solving a couple of cold cases with local ties. Just over ten years ago, the body of Misty LaVon Devaney, 27, of Caldwell, Idaho was found on a logging road just off of Highway 30 near Scappoose. He had come to Portland by bus just a few days earlier, and may have visited several locations in the city just prior to her death. Crime Stoppers of Oregon says that a cash reward of up to $2,500 is available if you have information that leads to an arrest in the case.
The Washington State Patrol is releasing an updated forensic sketch of a woman who was killed in a fiery car crash on I-5 near Kalama back in May of 1991. An unidentified female was killed in the crash, and was eventually buried out at Longview Memorial Park. In January of 2014, the body was exhumed, and the woman’s skull was used for a facial reconstruction and sketch. WSP officials say that someone will recognized the woman in this sketch, and will call them right away. The photo is being circulated widely; call 425-401-7745 if you recognize this person.
A local real estate agent is reporting that the UBet Casino on Commerce Avenue in Longview is up for sale. The old Cadillac Island is reportedly available to buy for $395,000, a deal that includes five parcels of land, covering 30,000 square feet. There’s 18,000 square feet of building, most recently operated as a card room, a bar and a restaurant. There are four restrooms and two bar areas, with multiple entry and exit points. It’s noted that the property recently went through receivership, and is now available for purchase with an acceptable offer and court approval. It’s noted that the previous owner has an interest in leasing space, as long as the buyer is willing. The cardroom on Commerce Avenue has had some financial troubles in recent years, going to the Longview City Council several times to try and get their gambling taxes reduced in the effort to stay afloat.
U. S. Senator Patty Murray was in town yesterday, touring a suboxone clinic that’s being run out of the Saint John Medical Center Broadway campus. Murray also met with clinicians and other providers to discuss the opioid crisis, and local resources that are brought to bear. Murray says that the tour was eye-opening, and she says that the base of support for the program needs to be protected. The suboxone clinic that’s administered by PeaceHealth Behavioral Health has been in place since March 28th of last year, and currently has 78 active patients. Doctor Luke Rosen says that 28 of those 78 are currently stable and are meeting program compliance, ranging in age from 20 to 65. 65 of the 78 are on some type of Medicaid, and rely on that support to have access to the program. Murray says that she’ll be working on legislation to protect that funding.
The Port of Longview Commissioners will meet with the Willow Grove Park Advisory Commission this morning at 10 am, and then the Advisory Committee will have its own meeting later in the day. The Willow Grove Parks Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet at 5:30 pm, where a proposal for a runway from the Cowlitz Valley Radio Control Flyers will be reviewed and discussed. The meeting is open to the public.
Resume preparation help is available today at the Longview Public Library. Free, one-on-one assistance is available between 6 and 8 pm this evening in the Project READ area at the Library; they can also help you write a cover letter if you have a job application or interview coming up. Call 360-442-5300 for more information, or go to longviewlibrary.org.
The M’s come from four runs down to beat Oakland last night, getting a 10th-inning HR from Leonys Martin as the winning run in the 7-6 win. The bad news from yesterday is that Felix Hernandez has bursitis in his throwing shoulder, and he could be out 3-4 weeks. Seattle wraps the two-game set in Oakland with a day game, KLOG coverage at 11:30 am…..The Connecticut Sun opened up the fourth quarter with an 18-2 run, and that’s when they left the Seattle Storm in the dust, cruising to an 84-71 win…..The 2017 Junior City Golf Championship is under way, and it runs through tomorrow at the Mint Valley Golf Course, while they re also preparing for the 70th annual Ladies Lower Columbia Golf Tourney, which happens tomorrow and Friday at the Longview Country Club.
The City of Longview is continuing with its declaration of a Severe Weather Event, warning of continued hot weather in the local area. City Manager Dave Campbell says that the determination is based on forecasts from the Weather Channel, which is predicting high temperatures at or above 90 degrees through Wednesday. Based on those forecasts, the ordinance regarding the operation of Severe Weather Shelters is triggered, with the city allowing those shelters to begin operating. At this time, there are NO permitted Severe Weather Shelters, but the city plans to publicize the location of any shelters, if and when they do open. Longview Community Development is ready to issue temporary use permits for Severe Weather Shelters, after an inspection is done by the city and by the Fire Marshal. For more information on Severe Weather Shelters, call Longview Community Development at 360-442-5087.