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OBH Robbery

Longview Police are looking into a possible robbery incident that was reported last night in the 3100 block of Ocean Beach Highway. A woman called LPD at about 8:45 pm, saying that she saw a group of four persons, two of them armed with what appeared to be a handgun with a silencer. She says that the two armed men approached two other men; after the encounter, the armed men ran off, and the two other men yelled that they had been robbed. The reporting party says that the suspects were wearing black hoodies with the hoods pulled up, and were last seen running north on 30th Avenue. Longview Police checked the area and talked with several people, but they did not find the suspects.

Hit-and-Run Arrest

Christopher Louis Withers, 32, of Toutle is under arrest after a hit-and-run crash yesterday afternoon, which was then followed by an extensive ground search. Around 5:25 yesterday afternoon, it was reported that a red Buick had crashed into a Dodge Charger that was parked in the 600 block of Hibbard Loop. Witnesses say that the driver of the Buick did stop and get out, and appeared to be under the influence. That person got back into his car, and then ran a stop sign as he left the area. Castle Rock Police reported finding the car a short time later, but they didn’t find the driver. Sheriff’s Deputies and the State Patrol responded to give support to the search effort; Withers was eventually found and arrested in the back yard of a home in the area of 5th and D Streets. Withers is currently being held on a Department of Corrections warrant, while the crash investigation continues.

SHHS Evacuation

St. Helens Police are still investigating a bomb threat that caused the evacuation of St. Helens High School yesterday morning. The threat was found written in a bathroom at the high school, saying that the bomb would go off at noon. The school was evacuated as a precaution, with the students taken to Columbia City Elementary School. District officials say that a thorough search was conducted, and nothing was found. The building was cleared for re-entry at 1:45 pm, and they say that classes are expected to resume this morning. St. Helens Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

Workshop Preview

The Longview City Council has an extensive workshop planned for this evening, starting at 6 pm. City Manager Dave Campbell and city staff will start with an update on the current status of School Zone Safety Improvements around the city. They will discuss the work done to date, they will present a list of priority projects from the Longview School District, along with a list of pedestrian safety projects that are requested by citizens. The Council also plans to discuss memorials that are placed next to public rights of way after serious car crashes, looking at some proposed policies for dealing with those memorials. Other topics include a possible Local Improvement District in the area of Indian Creek Drive, and a review of sewer pump station electrical enclosures. Tonight’s meeting at the Longview City Hall is open to the public.

LCC Events

There’s a Health Fair that will run from 9 am until 2 pm today at Lower Columbia College. This is being arranged by the Student Nurse Organization and is being supported by the ASLCC, and will run from 9 am until 2 pm in the Student Center. A number of booths will be set up, with information on men’s and women’s health, diabetes prevention and screening, substance abuse, STD screening, mental health services and other topics. They’ll also have drawings for prizes from businesses like Zojo’s, Kristi’s Custom Cakes, Hole-e-Rollers Bagels and others. It’s free and open to all.

The second installment of the Spring Term Community Conversation lectures will be presented today, continuing on the theme of “What Culture Means to Me.” LCC Business Technology Instructor Mark Gaither will present “Culture Shift: Growing Up Poor in a Middle Class World” at noon today in the Laufman Lecture Hall, located on the first floor of the Health and Science building at LCC. Admission is free.

Today’s Events

The Northwest Voices Literary Series continues today, bringing in New York Times best-selling author Maggie Stiefvater for a couple of events. Stiefvater is the author of the highly-popular “Raven Cycle,” along with the “Wolves of Marcy Falls” series of books for youth. From 3:30 to 5:30 this afternoon, Stiefvater will lead a Creativity Workshop for Teens, being held in the Longview Library Auditorium. Space is limited, so preregistration is required; you can call 442-5300 to do that. At 7 pm, an “author talk” will be held in the Main Reading Room at the Library, open to all ages. Stiefvater will have books available to purchase, and she will sign up to four books per person. Admission is free, but you will have to buy the books. Get more information on the Longview Library web page.

“Caps, Corks and Cupcakes” is a Lower Columbia Professionals fundraiser that’s going on at Roland Wines in downtown Longview. “Frosting the Town” will provide the cupcakes, which will then be paired with Roland Wines and beers from Five Dons Brewing. All proceeds from the event will go to the LCP Scholarship Fund. Caps, Corks and Cupcakes goes from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Roland Wines, located in Longview’s Barrel District, at the corner of 11th and Florida. Pre-register on the Chamber website at kelsolongviewchamber.org.

This year’s Koelsch Classic Film Series at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts wraps up tonight with the singing, dancing and technicolor costumes of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” presented this afternoon at 2 pm and this evening at 7 pm. Admission is $5 per person; call 575-TIXX for ticket information, or you can get more information on-line, at columbiatheatre.com, or on the CTPA Facebook page.

KLOG Thursday Sports

Golden State beat Portland 110-81 last night to take a 2-0 lead in the first round NBA Playoff series. The Blazers host game three Saturday night…..Mitch Haniger had three hits and four RBI’s to lead the Mariners to a 10-5 win over Miami. The M’s are in Oakland tonight, KLOG 6:00 pm…..In softball yesterday, Battle Ground beat R.A. Long 8-6. Kelso hopes to play Evergreen at home today…..The Kelso baseball team is also slated to host Hudson’s Bay in baseball today…..The LCC baseball team is moving up Sunday’s home DH with Pierce to tomorrow at 1 pm…..Mt. View edged Kelso 1-0 in boys soccer last night. Tonight at 6 pm it’s RAL and MM at Longview Memorial…..Civil War girls tennis today, weather permitting, as MM hosts RAL at 3:30 pm.

CHOB Fire

Community House on Broadway clients are getting some extra attention this morning, after the building was evacuated for a dryer fire that was reported this morning. Fire alarms went off and sprinklers were activated when the fire was reported on the second floor of the building at around 8 am. Longview Fire responded while the residents were evacuated, and it took only a few minutes to get the fire put out. A routine search of the building, while efforts were made to minimize the damage done by the sprinklers. Firefighters report fire damage on the second floor, along with water damage to the first floor and the basement of the building. No injuries are reported.

Boat House Collapses

Two dogs are safe and sound after a boat house collapsed yesterday out at Willow Grove, rescued by Cowlitz County Dive Rescue when the dogs were trapped inside the sinking structure. The first call about this came in yesterday afternoon at about 4:30 pm, when it was reported that a “large building” was sinking in the water in the 6400 block of Willow Grove Road. The boat house had sunk about ten feet when Cowlitz County Deputies arrived with their boat, along with members of the Dive Rescue team. The owner was identified, but he wasn’t on the scene. Longview Police checked places that he was known to be, while divers went into the water, eventually rescuing both dogs. No people were inside. The cause of the sinking is now being investigated. There are no reports of fluid leakage or environmental exposure after the incident, while the investigation continues.

Permit Delay

The Washington Department of Ecology is asking for additional information before making a decision on the shoreline development permit that’s being requested for the Northwest Innovation Works methanol production and export facility at the Port of Kalama. Cowlitz County reports receiving a letter from DOE, saying that updated information about the project is needed; the agency also says that the carbon emission estimates need to be adjusted. In the permit that was approved and submitted to DOE by the Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner, they estimate 970,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. DOE puts that number at a little over a million tons per year. NWIW and the Port of Kalama now have until May 19th to provide the updated information to Ecology.