If You Live Here

Then you already know this is the biggest thing happening in Longview:

Striking members of AWPPW Local 153 and their families man the picket line outside the KapStone pulp and paper mill in Longview after the union went on strike at 3 a.m. Aug. 27. Photo by Brooks Johnson.
Striking members of AWPPW Local 153 and their families man the picket line outside the KapStone pulp and paper mill in Longview after the union went on strike at 3 a.m. Aug. 27. Photo by Brooks Johnson

The 800-member strike had been a long time coming, and it came on a day I was filling in as city editor. I’ll just say that so far we’ve done a fair and thorough job.

And as the news gods would have it, on Day 1 of the strike the City Council voted to move forward on a new water system, taking the first $300,000 step of what could be a $30 million to $55 million bid to replace a fully functional water system with a little too much silica.

Summer — the season of slow news days — is over.

But it did give me time to do some big-picture stories.

One of my favorite things to report on is ideas. To start a conversation, surprise readers and affect policy. That’s the dream, right?

For example, one idea to reduce the ballooning costs of public defense is to decriminalize driving with a suspended license.

And I took a look at one idea that’s been coming up again and again — body cameras for police officers. Here’s why a quarter of the country’s police forces use them and just five percent of Washington state’s do.

On the justice beat, this murderer’s sentencing was heart-wrenching, and the courtroom was tense over the sentencing of a drunk driver who almost killed two young women and himself in a head-on crash.

Oh, and the sheriff of quaint Wahkiakum County took in a box of plastic explosives from a woman who found them in a storage unit.

On the feature front, I chronicled the drag-racing Gorans family, who took one last trip down the blacktop this month.

I’ll leave you with this photo of a small brush fire north of town while sending thoughts to the firefighters and families affected by the record-breaking fires in this parched state.

A tree erupts in flames during a brush fire on private land north of Kelso. Photo by Brooks Johnson.
A tree erupts in flames during a brush fire on private land north of Kelso. Photo by Brooks Johnson
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