November 2022 Business Connection

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Business Connection

Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

Reviews are in – Career Expo incredible

Wehad an incredible event October 20 at the Cowlitz Regional Conference Center – the second Career Exploration Expo with 76 businesses and more than 2,300 students representing Kelso, Longview, Wahkiakum, Kalama, Toutle Lake, Rainier and Castle Rock high schools, plus Three Rivers Christian School and one private school from Ridgefield.

As I have mentioned in my column last month, the goal is to familiarize students with the jobs and career that are available in our community’s businesses and organizations. It was a lot of fun! Real life, hands-on was on display courtesy local law enforcement agencies. There was a SWAT vehicle from Kelso police, a fire truck from Cowlitz 2, and a Sheriff’s vehicle from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s department. Thank you for bringing those vehicles for students to see and experience.

On the next page, you will see a few of the comments I pulled from the many I received from businesses and organizations in attendance.

We also received a few comments from students on how to make the event better for next year. Among their suggestions was bringing in someone from a salon or spa like an esthetician or maybe Style Masters and representatives from the theater and the arts. Several were disappointed The Daily News was not there, but they loved the sports radio booth.

One leader said when it was “super crowded” when they arrived. They would have preferred to arrive later when the larger schools left. They suggested smaller groups would make it more accessible for everyone attending and not overburden the businesses participating. “GREAT JOB! Thanks again,” she concluded.

k November 2022 Volume 14 • Issue 11 Business Connection is published monthly by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Road • Kelso, WA 98626 STAFF Bill Marcum, CEO Julie Rinard, Project Manager Pam Fierst, Bookkeeper k CONTACT US 360-423-8400 To advertise, call Bill Marcum 360-423-8400 or Ad Deadline 20th of Each Month
This year's
Career Expo
more students and more professionals. For more Career Expo, see page 2
Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce Bill Marcum CEO
"I think it was a great event and so beneficial for the students, and it was fun for us to get out and interact with them as well."

Yes, there were many, many more who sent in their comments and suggestions for next year.

At the event, we also provided an opportunity for students to register to participate in a job shadow program. We had 103 students take advantage. We offered a QR code with each business and organization listed. Students could sign up for a job shadow within the business or area that interested them. We are following this up with a Job Shadow Week November 7-10. If you would like to participate in this experience, please send me an email or give me a call.

Here's What People Are Saying...

This was an amazing event. I loved how you worked with the community to prepare the students for this experience. I could tell! The shadowing idea is wonderful and really adds that extra element of interest. I have been to so many fairs where the students just see it as a big party to go around and collect toys, but the caveat of another exciting day doing something interesting outside of the classroom seemed to really excite and motivate some of the students. Keep up the good work. Thanks, for letting us be part of it.

Keri – Elite Dental Academy

It was a fantastic event and CAP was happy to attend. I noticed some schools had their students ask specific questions and that was really helpful to guide the conversation. I brought this up briefly yesterday but two questions I think may be helpful for kids to ask is what is a common misperception about your field and what is your career path that led you to your position.

Amanda – Lower Columbia CAP

I personally had the best time; the kids were super engaged and most of them seemed excited with what I had to say. The chamber itself did amazing providing the setup, raffles, and always being around whenever we needed anything.

Dawn – American Workforce Group

This was an absolute blast and we can’t wait to do it again next year!!

Tosha – All Ways Caring Home Care

Excellent job. I shared my thoughts with you yesterday at the event. I hope it continues on an annual basis. Very well organized. In particular, my colleague, Mike Thomas, and I were very impressed with the caliber of students who attended. They were engaged and asked great questions. Some used the suggested questions provided, but even they were sincere in seeking info.

James – Pacific Fibre Products

Thank you so much for the awesome career fair event. Our students were so excited and learned a lot! I really appreciate you and your team pulling this together for them.

• Bill Marcum, CEO

Due to COVID, this was only the second time we’ve been able to offer this event since 2019. We learned a few lessons. This time around, we did a better job of organizing it and the kids were better prepared for the opportunity to meet and ask questions of our businesses. With the suggestions we received this year, and again a few lessons learned along the way, we are eager to start planning the 2023 Career Exploration Expo on October 26. Please put that date on your calendar. We’ve already called dibs on the entire conference center – both the St. Helens and Loowit rooms – and are ready to pack the place with more businesses and more kids. Again, a special thank you to all the participating business and organization, the schools that agreed to bring juniors and seniors to the event, the Chamber Education Foundation for helping to prepare and guide this process and to the volunteers who created an incredible event for all.

Jane – Kalama High School

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Kelso Longview
Business Connection | November 2022 | 3


goal is to have over 100 businesses who agree to host one or more students at their business during the four days.

register your business and let us know how many students you will be able to host and the day(s) that work best for you just call the chamber or email Keep in mind that most businesses have HR, Accounting, Sales, and IT along with their core business function. Our youth need to know there is more than doctors and nurses at a hospital or more than truck drivers at a transportation company, help them see all you have to offer.

NOVEMBER 7-10, 2022 105 Minor Rd, Kelso, WA 98626
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR MEETING SPACE? CONFERENCE & EVENT CENTER We can accommodate your group from $35.00/hour including tables, chairs and whiteboard. Call American Workforce Group at 360-200-4900 Conveniently located at 1145 14th Avenue in Longview

Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors









Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

Julie Rinard Project Manager

What is this event we call sQuatch Fest?

Back in 2016, we were talking about how local businesses, hotels and the Chamber need a boost during the slow month of January. People of all ages wanted something fun to do during the cold, dark days of winter.

sQuatch Fest made its debut as a one-day event at the Cowlitz County Event Center in January 2017. We were hoping for a few hundred people and 1,400 came from six states and Canada!

We leapt on the opportunity to make it an annual winter festival and expanded it to two days. Now entering our seventh year, we anticipate 2,500 to 3,000 people January 27 and January 28.

People come from across the United States and around the world. They inquire about what there is to see and do in southwest Washington with Kelso and Longview as their base for several nights or more. We have already talked with a man in Norway who attended last time, and he is looking forward to coming back in 2023. Our 2022 Visitor Guide and Chamber Directory is a great resource for these visitors who decide to stay another night or two. Our Fun Guide showcases Kelso and Longview activities and events throughout the year.

What attracts people to sQuatch Fest? Many follow the speakers and explorers on their TV shows, podcasts, radio shows and social media. They come to Longview to be in person with them and hear their intriguing stories and reports on the latest research. The speakers will again captivate the audience at the forum on Friday evening and individual presentations throughout the day on Saturday. Visitors line up at the speaker’s booths to see castings of sasquatch footprints, purchase souvenirs, have their books autographed, ask questions, share stories and take selfies with their favorite sasquatch researchers. Last time, a replica of a sasquatch nest made its debut at sQuatch Fest and we watched a presentation by the explorer who found the nest right here in Washington.

Another great attraction is our themed merchandise vendors. We expect the number and diversity of vendors to expand beyond 2022 when we were impacted by COVID mandates that kept some vendors from traveling. Look for books, art, apparel, pottery, cups, glasses, decals, blankets, candy, barbecue sauce, toys and new vendors with more interesting merchandise. Vendors come from across the U.S. They get to know our local vendors and food cart operators when they spend a couple of days here. As always, the Chamber will offer official sQuatch Fest logo merchandise in our headquarters booth. We enjoy seeing attendees show up in vintage sQuatch Fest logo wear! Does anyone still have an original from 2017?

Speaking of food carts…our food vendors are eager to join the event. Some are new and some are returning. We are showcasing several from right here in Cowlitz County. There will be plenty of tasty food to enjoy outside under the tent on the plaza or carry it right into the event center as you walk around.

Brew Mountain, with its breweries and wineries, is always popular. Did you know that revenue from Brew Mountain supports local scholarships? Members of Lower Columbia Professionals plan fundraisers for scholarships throughout the year. They jump right in and volunteer both days at Brew Mountain, making sure it’s a great experience for everyone.

We extend a warm welcome to young families, too. When families take a break from shopping and speaker presentations, they won’t need to leave the event center. Kids’ Cave is a separate space full of fun activities for kids on Saturday only. Parents can join their kids for games, prizes, gifts and help them build projects to take home.

sQuatch Fest introduces visitors to our community and brings our community together. How will you be involved? Contact me at 360-423-8400 about sponsorships, vendor space and volunteer opportunities.

6 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
Straughan, President Express Employment Professionals
Johanson, President Elect Heritage Bank
Silva, Vice President Columbia Bank
Zick, Treasurer Twin City Bank
Roewe, Past President Woodford Commercial Real Estate
Claxton, Legal Counsel Walstead Mertsching
Cuddihy The Daily News
Dalgleish Cowlitz PUD
Gentemann Foster Farms
Gushman Gibbs & Olson
Harvey City Council, Kelso Nick Lemiere Edward Jones Cherelle Montanye St. John/PeaceHealth John Paul KUKN-KLOG-101.5 The Blitz Bruce Pollock Bicoastal Media Ted Sprague Cowlitz Economic Development Council Michael Vorse Minuteman Press John Jabusch Cowlitz County Commissioner
Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 | 7
2023 Friday, January 27 and Saturday, January 28 Cowlitz County Event Center Longview, WA World renowned speakers • Brew Mountain beer garden • Themed merchandise vendors • Food carts • Kids’ Cave 360-423-8400 Follow along with us at and
Merchandise SALE! H elp us make room for 2023 items! Insulated Travel Mug was $40 NOW $30 Purchase at: Kelso-Longview Chamber Visitor Center 105 N. Minor Rd, Kelso, WA Carabiner Mug was $15 NOW $10 DEAL! Wild 2022

Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments

More about the public input process

Asa long-term planning agency, the CowlitzWahkiakum Council of Government (CWCOG) is consistently seeking public input and is currently seeking public input on two regional planning efforts that are underway. The two efforts are the Moving Forward: 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and the 2023-28 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). Both efforts will provide insights and direction for future projects and priorities within the region.

The process to complete the long-range transportation plan will run through September 2023. The plan will replace the 2045 RTP and will serve as an integrated metropolitan and regional transportation plan for both the Longview-Kelso-Rainier Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SWRTPO). This new plan will provide an overarching vision and 20-plus year direction for the regional transportation system of southwest Washington and Rainier, Ore. This is your opportunity to provide insights into anticipated need sand issues the business community may face in the years to come. Additional opportunities for public input will follow in mid2023.

The CWCOG, serving in the role of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must prepare a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), in accordance with federal regulations (49 USC 5303(i)), to accomplish the objectives outlined by the MPO, the state, and the public transportation providers with respect to the development of the metropolitan area’s transportation network. This plan must identify how the metropolitan area will manage and operate a multi-modal transportation system (including transit, highway, bicycle, pedestrian, and accessible transportation) to meet the region’s economic, transportation, development, and sustainability needs.

Please take time to complete the survey and provide your input for consideration as the CWCOG works to development the updated long-range transportation plan for the region. Feel free to share this survey information with your employees, friends, and family members. We want to hear thoughts from the entire community.

You can access the survey through the QR code included on this page or by this link – You can also submit comments through email to A copy of the existing RTP can be found on the CWCOG website –

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy will take into consideration the plans and interests of the Associate Development Organizations serving the region that include the Cowlitz Economic Development Council (CEDC) and the

Wahkiakum Chamber. The interests of ports, cities, counties, chambers, and other stakeholders will also be included. Input from the public and other interested parties will be solicited for the regional economic development needs and priorities of the region. Discussions on the region’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) are critical to plan development. The new CEDS will also build upon resilience planning done by the CWCOG in 2020 and 2021.

The CWCOG is mandated to develop the CEDS as the federally designated Economic Development District (EDD) for the region. The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) supports the work on the CWCOG as the Economic Development District (EDD) and provides planning funds as well as access to a variety of grant opportunities to support economic development in the region. Nationally, the EDD’s are the conduit through which EDA identifies local and regional priorities and applies funding. Established EDDs made up of private, public, and nonprofit sector members create the forum for establishing a strategic blueprint of a regionally driven, economic development planning process; one that supports the attraction of new businesses, helps existing businesses thrive, promotes entrepreneurship, and provides support for infrastructure improvements.

The CEDS provides a capacity building foundation by which the region can create an environment for economic prosperity. The CEDS is comprised of five sections, these include a summery background, a SWOT analysis of the region, a Strategic Direction/Action Plan, an evaluation framework, and an economic resiliency element.

For more CWCOG, see page 11

10 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022

You can access the economic vitality survey through the QR code included on this page or by this link – https://www.surveymonkey. com/r/EVS-22. You can also submit comments through email to cwcog@ A copy of the existing CEDS document can be found on the CWCOG website –

The CWCOG serves a variety of planning functions for its member agencies. We serve as the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the Longview/Kelso/Rainier bi-state metropolitan area, the Regional Transportation Planning Organization for a five-county region and we also serve as the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration designated Economic Development District for Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. The CWCOG has also recently been recognized as the Administrative Coordination Entity for the Spirit Lake – Toutle/Cowlitz River Collaborative working to address catastrophic flooding, sediment management, fish passage and other issues pertaining to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 | 11 CWCOG from page 10
Your Locally Owned and Operated Community Bank There’s a Difference. • Checking, Savings and CDs • Business Loans • Construction Loans • SBA Loans 729 Vandercook Way, Longview (360) 414-4101

Increasing diversity and skills in the workplace

InOctober, the United States celebrated the 77th National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Organized by the Department of Labor it celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities. This year, the theme was Disability: Part of the Equity Equation, recognizing the role that people with disabilities play in building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Companies wanting to build a more inclusive and equitable workplace can find strategies in the Quality Jobs Framework released in July by Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) and its partners. The Framework is a key piece of the Quality Jobs Initiative which is a commitment to defining, supporting and promoting quality jobs across the region.

One strategy in the Framework focuses on accessible hiring and onboarding practices. A first step for companies is to provide training to existing employees and leadership on disability awareness to learn best practices and prepare to provide equitable workplace accommodations and treatment to coworkers.

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services provides Awareness and Etiquette training that can help your company get started. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides a multitude of online video trainings including how to provide accommodations, how to ask for accommodations and more. JAN also has a primer course entitled Just-in-Time Training Module: Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence & Competence

Across the U.S., the labor force participation rate in 2021 for people with disabilities, aged 16-64, was 35.2 percent as compared to the 76.5 percent labor force participation rate for people without disabilities.

According to the American Community Survey 2016-20, the labor force participation rate in Cowlitz County for people with disabilities aged 16-64 was 41.5 percent. In Wahkiakum County, the participation rate was 24.7 percent and 46.7 percent in Clark County. In Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark counties, people with disabilities ages 18-64 represent 18.4 percent, 18.3 percent and 10 percent of the population, respectively.

Companies wanting to create and sustain equitable and accessible practices during the hiring process can start by using Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant job description text and ensuring accessibility of all job application materials. While online job postings offer more reach and accessibility than ever, ensure your recruitment platform and job postings are compliant with ADA standards.

Ideally, contact information should be included in the job description or recruitment platform for candidates requiring assistance. Job descriptions should be simple skill-based, include core competencies, essential job functions necessary to perform the job and salary range.

Expand recruitment efforts to reach a larger pool of qualified, diverse applicants by looking beyond traditional channels. Delivering Jobs, Employment Network Finder and the Talent Acquisition Portal are services that recruit job seekers with disabilities. Resume review technology is available that removes bias. Affinda offers resume redaction software, while Applied is an all-in-one debiased hiring platform. Both offer free or low-cost product trials or demos.

Once you’ve hired a candidate, one way to provide a welcoming and accessible environment is to have seasoned employees function as mentors to help them navigate the workplace and answer questions. Regular check-ins can help surface any concerns and make the onboarding process smoother for future hires.

Provide comprehensive, effective and consistent onboarding for all new hires, ensuring all employees have equal access to information and processes. Incorporate reasonable accommodation practices into onboarding, making sure employees are aware of the internal process for requesting an accommodation should they need one.

Share resources with your team, both during the onboarding process and as they become available. Encourage employees to share resources with each other. The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation offers a multitude of resources for individuals with disabilities.

For a list of steps to follow when providing reasonable accommodations to employees, review the Accommodation and Compliance guide provided by JAN

Reasonable accommodations will look different depending on the situation. Examples of reasonable accommodations include job site modifications, such as use of a sit/stand desk, reserved parking and/or reducing visual and auditory distractions. Another example of reasonable accommodations is assistive technology and resources, such as screen readers, interpreters, visual aids and headphones. Consider your employee’s needs and preferences when providing accommodations.

WSW has grant funds available to reimburse companies for training their existing employees. Get more details by reading this blog.

To learn more about how Workforce Southwest Washington can support your business workforce needs, contact Darcy Hoffman, director of business services, at or 360-608-4949.

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) is the Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) designated by federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) legislation to oversee the public workforce system in Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark counties. WSW is a nonprofit organization and funds services that help individuals gain skills to obtain good-paying jobs or advance in their careers and help companies recruit, train and retain workers. Since 2003, WSW has invested more than $120 million in southwest Washington. Learn more at

12 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
Workforce Southwest Washington

Cowlitz County Commissioners

Increased behavioral and public health funding for Cowlitz County

New, Expanded Board of Health – For generations Cowlitz County has had a Board of Health consisting of the three elected County Commissioners whose primary duty was to hire and oversee the County’s medical officer, currently Dr. Stephen Krager, deputy to Dr. Alan Melnick. Under state law, this professional is given extraordinary powers to deal with public health emergencies, as we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. The officer can close schools and businesses, quarantine families, and take other draconian measures in the name of protecting public health.

However, during the pandemic one board of health in a densely populated, eastern Washington county fired its health officer. That action so angered state political leaders that the state legislature transformed all 39 boards of health into hybrids consisting of elected and non-elected members. Elected officers can include more than county commissioners, but they cannot outnumber the non-electeds, who by law must be chosen from community stakeholders, healthcare providers, and those with lived experience using public health services. Tribes can also send a representative.

This fall the new, expanded Cowlitz County Board of Health was established with the three current county commissioners (myself, Arne Mortensen, and John Jabusch) and healthcare foundation director Mary Jane Melink (community stakeholder), retired school nurse Lindy Campbell (healthcare provider), and Kelly Lane (lived experience – veterans). Lane was elected chair of the Board and is guiding the group to prioritize health issues facing county residents.

Last year the state began expanding funding for Medicaid recipients and others needing public health assistance. Now called Foundational Public Health, this funding addresses infectious diseases; communicable diseases; sexually- and vectortransmitted diseases; safe water supplies; food permits, solid waste disposal; off- and on-site sewage disposal; school and senior living community nutrition and safety.

Mental Health Treatment for Medicaid Recipients – Many years ago Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties formed a mental health treatment consortium called the Regional Support Network (RSN). As mental health treatment needs began outstripping the resources available for low-income families, the two counties split: Wahkiakum joined smaller counties to form the Timberland RSN and Cowlitz joined Clark and Skamania counties to form Southwest Washington RSN.

Because Clark County had far more citizens than the other two counties and it received two votes on the governing board of their RSN. Medicaid funding from the state poured into the region

to expand treatment opportunities. When then-Cowlitz County Commissioner Jim Misener discovered that funding for our county was being short-changed, he began efforts to split away. Negotiations were completed in 2015 after I replaced Misener on the board.

Great Rivers Behavioral Health Organization – To provide increased Medicaid services Cowlitz County first joined with Grays Harbor County and then in 2016 the two joined Timberlands RSN to create a new five-county regional board named Great Rivers Behavioral Health Board (Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Wahkiakum, and Grays Harbor counties). Its Board of Directors is made up of one commissioner from each of the five counties. I have served since its inception.

As the name suggests, more than mental illness treatment was to be provided by Great Rivers (GRBHO) – namely, substance use disorders, particularly opioids. This was a critical merger of services inasmuch as research clearly shows a close alignment between those suffering from mental illness and drug addictions. Substance use disorders typically are barriers to successful mental health treatment, so both must be addressed.

GRBHO utilizes a regional Citizens’ Advisory Committee. Cowlitz County residents serving on the committee include Director of Corrections Marin Fox, representing the regional law enforcement community, and Human Services Manager Gena James, representing our county government; as well as Beth Fellows and Ray Van Tongeren, representing the “lived experience” community. Please thank them for their service representing you.

Managed Care Organizations and BHOs – By 2018 the state began steady increases in funding for behavioral health services. However, the state ended the counties’ role in providing Medicaid treatment in favor of private insurance companies called Managed Care Organizations. They, in turn, contract with various clinics and services for most behavioral health services. In Cowlitz County the major providers are Columbia Wellness, the region’s largest provider, and CORE Health, affiliated with Community House on Broadway.

The GRBHO Board faced a dilemma in ensuring that adequate funding remained available for our more rural residents. They formed a new rural health care clinic, called Community Integrated Health Services (CIHS), headed by Marc Bollinger, GRBHO’s executive director. And in 2021 they formed a separate limited liability corporation to provide housing tied to treatment plans. The remainder of the old BHO became an Administrative

For more

see page

District 2 14 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022

Services Organization, headed by Trinidad Medina, focusing on funding emergency responses to mental illness crises, involuntary treatment court proceedings, and the newly established Recovery Navigator Program. I continue to serve on this board overseeing these three BHO branches.

Criminal Justice Treatment – Other state-funded programs addressing behavioral health needs include the Criminal Justice Treatment Act (CJTA). This money pays for substance use disorders for defendants charged with crimes involving illegal drugs. A primary source of funding for Superior Court-run drug courts, CJTA covers expenses for both uninsured/underinsured

participants, as well as urinalysis tests. Recently, the state municipal courts were added to the funding list.

The Washington State Association of Superior Court Judges and the Washington State Association of Counties are designed with appointing representatives to serve on the CJTA panel that meets quarterly. Judge Gary Bashor and I are their representatives, respectively. Cowlitz County receives its allotted share which is spent on programs approved by a local CJTA panel, chaired by Judge Bashor.


Commissioners from page 14 Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 | 15
care for
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Look Who Joined in October

Clear Bookkeeping Solutions, LLC

Christina Hubbard 537 20th Avenue

Longview, WA 98632 360-703-9080

Fran Gehrman

116 City View Boulevard

Longview, WA 98632 360-827-1236

The Salvation Army

Major Phil Smith 1639 10th Avenue Longview, WA 98632 360-423-3990

Divert, Inc.

Chris Thomas 23 Bradford Street Concord, MA 01742 202-421-1107

Kolor Kraze LLC

Christopher Gersch 210 N Pacific Avenue Kelso, WA 98626 360-931-9971

Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 | 17 New Members Add your business to our growing membership. Call 360-423-8400 Today! Membership packages to fit your needs Business Association with opportunities to promote trade through Chamber socials, special events and committee participation. • Annual Meeting and Banquet • Networking Events • Committee Participation • Business Contacts • Quarterly Membership Meetings • Civic Representation • Monthly Business After Hours Business Services include marketing for your business, referrals and access to Chamber publications and research data. • Mailing Labels • Membership Window Decals • Member Referrals • Ribbon Cutting • Website Links • Member to Member Discounts • Membership Directory • Tax Deduction • Newsletter • Business Card Display • Use of Chamber Logo Representation through action committees, candidate forums and up-to-date action alerts. • Legislative Representation • Issues Tracking and Information • Task Forces • Candidate Forums • Legislative Update Breakfast • Demographics Publication Membership Packages Basic • $275 or $26 per month Bronze • $500 or $46.66 per month Silver • $1,000 or $86.33 per month Gold • $2,500 or $211.33 per month Platinum • $5,000 or $416.66 per month Diamond Club • $10,000 or $834 per month Nonprofit • $180 or $18 per month

What are your customers telling you?

Whiletraveling recently (I know a novel concept), I noticed that I seemed to get surveys and questionnaires constantly – during my trip and subsequently via text and email. I usually don’t bother to respond to surveys from large companies – those impersonal, automated, non-caring invasions of my email, text, or voicemail. I do tend to respond on those rare occasions that a small, local business cares to ask me what I think of my experience at their business. Perhaps I’m rare, (maybe it’s an occupational hazard), I tend to notice what businesses do; I pay more attention to what they don’t do!

How many articles, pop-up ads, seminars, or workshops about customer service or increasing sales have you come across where the message encourages you to spend time and money to develop elaborate surveys to “hear the voice of the customer”? Have you done it? What difference has it made in your business? Increased sales? Do you know? What does it cost you?

There is a very powerful body of research done by the consulting firm Bain & Company, over 10 years ago that attempted to find a “simple, practical and actionable indicator of what customers were thinking and feeling about the companies they did business with.” They wanted to develop, “a number that reliably linked these attitudes both to what customers actually did and to the growth of the company. We wanted, in short, to provide a basis for linking improvements in customer loyalty to business outcomes,” according to Bain.

Bain, along with their data partner Satmetrix Systems tested questions with thousands of customers across multiple industries and found that the way customers responded to one question consistently predicted behavior.

The one question, the “ultimate question” is: “How likely is it that you would recommend Company X [or Product X] to a friend or colleague?”

Researchers found that the answers to this question consistently predicted:

• customer retention

• repeat purchases

• referrals and other indicators of customer loyalty

• profit and passion.

Just as importantly, this question is quick, respectful, and easy for both customers AND employees. The preferred way to set

up your process is to use the common 0-10 rating scale with the scale where 10 = Extremely Likely and 0 = Not at All Likely to recommend you to a friend. The responses tend to cluster into three groups:

• Promoters (9 or 10) – These are your loyal, enthusiastic fans.

• Passives (7 or 8) – They are reasonably satisfied but are not nearly as likely to remain loyal or refer their friends.

• Detractors (0-6) – Detractors are unhappy customers and account for upward of 80 percent of negative word-ofmouth.

A very simple way to use this input is to calculate (and pay attention to) what Bain calls a “net promoter score” which is easy to calculate.

Calculate the percentage of responders that were promoters and subtract the percentage of responders that were detractors: Net Promoter score = % Promoters - % Detractors

This single metric can serve as an easy, powerful customer scorecard for your business. The only follow-up question you need to learn to ask is: “Why?” Then LISTEN!

So, the new and improved way to understand what your customers think goes something like this:

“Thank you for doing business with us, how likely is it that you would recommend ABC Company to your friends?”

Then ask the key open-ended question: “Why?”

This is easy, inexpensive, respectful and a true gift to and from your customers. I encourage you to step back from your business for a moment and ask yourself how loyal, happy, satisfied etc. are your customers? How do you know? What are you doing to improve your customer loyalty and likelihood to promote your business?

If you want to learn more about the net promoter system, I suggest you read the book: “The Ultimate Question 2.0” by Fred Reichheld.

This article was prepared by Jerry Petrick, MBA and certified business adviser with the Washington State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Petrick provides no-cost, confidential business advisory services by appointment. He can be reached via email at

Business Toolbox
18 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
LONGVIEW 1413 Commerce 360 575 9804 CENTRALIA 1530 S. Gold St. 360 807 1211 Shop Local
20 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 Wednesdays at 6 pm KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM Contact Julie Rinard at 360-423-8400 or to schedule your interview
Reed Hadley, Longview Centennial Committee Julie Rinard, Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce and DeDe Brill, PeaceHealth
Your Chamber Connection Radio Show
Wendy Kosloski and Retha Porter, Art Renaissance Team Mike Backman, Backman’s LLC Paul Bricknell, Cowlitz Chaplaincy Katie Keaton, Lower Columbia Professionals Sarah Copes, Fosterful Carey Mackey, Red Canoe Credit Union Tony Poole, Tony’s New Life Construction Ian Thompson, Lower Columbia School Gardens

10:00 am - 5:30 pm at the


4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Register online at th year8 laps to register * by November 23 w/o shirt10 * $ Friday, December 9, 2022 6:00 pm at The Civic Circle in Longview Costume Contest: Friday, 5:30 pm at the Monticello Hotel Packet Pickup: Thursday, December 8,
Monticello Hotel Late Registration: Day
10 10th Annual

Community Home Health and Hospice

Facing industry challenges with new ideas and new leadership

Iamgrateful for the opportunity to be the CEO and CFO of Community Home Health & Hospice. I have served as the agency’s controller or director of finance during the past seven-plus years, and during that time I’ve had the opportunity to see the dedication that Community staff have to patientcentered healthcare firsthand. It is truly an honor to represent our wonderful employees and follow in the footsteps of Lorraine Berndt and Greg Pang who have helped foster this culture since Community was founded 45 years ago.

The healthcare industry has several challenges and opportunities ahead of it. Our industry is facing a shortage of clinical personnel and the cost of providing care is outpacing reimbursement for services. It is the task of Community’s Senior Leadership Team and I to create an environment where the best people

want to work, and to be flexible and innovative in providing care. Additionally, we are in the midst of a capital campaign to remodel our Longview Hospice Care Center, which was the first facility of its kind in the state of Washington. We have raised approximately half of the needed funds to date and intend to kick our fundraising campaign into high gear in 2023. I am extremely excited about the prospect of providing patients, their families, and our staff with an upgraded inpatient facility.

I would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the donors who have supported the agency throughout the years with gifts to our capital campaigns, charity care, equipment purchases, and the list goes on. It is this relationship between Community and the communities we serve that allow us to thrive.

22 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022

Kelso-Longview Business Connection monthly newsletter is published the first of each month, posted electronically on our website and emailed to over 7,000 local business professionals, city and county officials. To be included in this monthly email, call the Chamber office at 360-423-8400.

Size 1 - 3

Issues Dimensions

1/16 Page $110 $90 $70* $50* 2" x 2.5"

1/8 Page $175 $140 $105* $75* 4" x 2.5"

1/4 Page $205 $170 $140* $100* 4" x 5.25"

1/2 Page $325 $290 $245* $190* 4" x 10.5" (vert) or 8" x 5.25" (hor)

Full Page $625 $570 $480* $400* 8" x 10.5" *Includes ad on website)

All ads include full color and any design work. Deadline is the 21st of the month prior to publication. Digital files: PDF is preferred. JPEG accepted at high resolution (at least 300 dpi).

Non-Members of the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce, please add 30% to above rates.

To advertise or request

please call at 360-423-8400 or contact: CEO Bill Marcum Project Manager Julie Rinard

Issues 4-7 Issues 8-10 Issues 12
additional information,
Business Connection Advertising Rates Advertising Agreement Date:______________ Business Name: Phone: ____________________________ Contact Name: Cell: Address: Zip Email: Fax: Number of Issues Invoice Credit Card Check Plus Web Ad: 300W X 100H. Ads can be changed monthly. Signature__________________________________ Ad Rep Signature___________________________ 360-423-8400 Effective January, 2022

Lower Columbia College

The early years at LCC: 1934-1939

Oneof the really cool places on the Lower Columbia College campus is the Archives Room housed in the Thompson Library. Therein lies a collection of yearbooks, photographs, school publications, news clippings, and other artifacts that help define the history of LCC. Recently, while spending some time there researching a couple of things, I learned a bit about the early years of Lower Columbia Junior College (as it was called then).

During the heart of the Great Depression, area citizens wanted more educational opportunities here in Cowlitz County. A group from the University of Washington assisted local citizens in the creation of a new college. The local Kiwanis group and many local citizens were actively involved in the formation and fundraising efforts.

The first formal community meeting about interest in creating the college was held on May 3, 1934, at the Monticello Hotel. Approximately 150 members of the local community showed up. The first Board of Regents was elected on June 11, 1934, at a second community meeting held for that purpose. The Board of Regents gave the institution its initial name, Lower Columbia Junior College.

In summer, 1934, to create interest in a new college, LCJC’s formal promotional efforts included formation of a ukulele band and putting on a parade and a pep rally. The latter events involved a bonfire. Citizens went door-to-door to collect change and a few thousand dollars was raised to start the first year. Registration of the initial students occurred at local businesses, including ones in Longview, Kelso, Kalama, and Castle Rock.

With approximately 53 students its first year (accounts vary), no physical campus of its own, and a total annual budget of about $10,000, Lower Columbia Junior College opened its doors in rented classrooms at R.A. Long High School and held its first assembly on October 2, 1934. The teaching staff consisted of four faculty: Esther Shepard, Dr. H. A. Bauer, Fred Wagner, and Turfield Schindler. Dr. Bauer served as LCJC’s first dean.

The first school newspaper, The Lower Columbia, published its first edition on January 18, 1935. The debate team was also

formed in early 1935 by Professor Wagner. Men’s basketball appeared to be the first sport offered at LCJC in 1935-36 led by Coach Palmer Johnson.

There were just seven graduates in the first graduation ceremony held in 1936. The college was accredited by the University of Washington at the end of its second year.

In January, 1937, Lower Columbia Junior College outgrew its rented space at R.A. Long and moved to the first floor of the Longview Public Library. Dr. David Livingston Soltau, a professor of mathematics and physics, took the helm as president of the institution. Dr. Soltau obtained his doctorate at the University of Washington. His wife, Grace Zimmerman Soltau, soon joined the LCJC staff as its professor of music. She had both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in music from the University of Washington.

Men’s baseball was initiated at LCC in 1937. The 1937 yearbook also notes the existence of two “minor sports” started that year: handball (at the YMCA) and tennis. The YMCA, constructed in 1923, served as the home of LCJC’s physical education offerings. In 1939, badminton was the first women’s sports program added at LCJC.

At the close of 1939, the Soltaus moved away to California where David Soltau took a teaching position. (Turfield Schindler, an original instructor for the college, would then be selected to lead the college and subsequently serve from 1940-1951.) By 1939, student enrollment was reported at 165 students.

There were numerous social activities referenced in the publications from these first years of the college. There were many references to “balls,” “tolos,” and “soirees.” A particularly humorous reference was made to Jim Myklebust “fainting” in Dr. Wagner’s class in 1939. There were more than a few pranksters represented.

From its humble beginnings, Lower Columbia College has become a powerful force for improving the quality of life in our community. Clearly, the strong spirit and community support for your local community college have been there from the beginning.

24 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022

Divert is an impact technology company with a mission to protect the


Divert is developing a state-of-the-art Integrated Food Recovery

at Longview, Washington’s Mint Farm Industrial Development Park. When it becomes operational in late 2023, the facility will have 35-40 employees.

Divert’s technology helps retail food customers profile what goes unsold at each retail outlet and

sources and causes of unsold food and eliminate it. Divert helps food companies improve their waste diversion efforts by maximizing what they can sell and donate. Divert processes unsold food products that can’t be sold


or donated into carbon negative renewable
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Kelso Public Schools

Visual and performing arts options in KSD

InKelso School District, we have a wide variety of visual and performing arts options for students. Our robust program gives students a pathway for personal expression while providing them with lifelong skills and the opportunity to share their talents with their communities through performance and competition.

Research shows arts in education engages students in learning, increases attendance, reduces misbehavior, improves test scores (particularly among at-risk youth), strengthens community, and improves long-term academic, occupational, and social outcomes.

We are continually grateful our team of 21 talented arts educators and the 34 visual and performing arts options they provide for the students of Kelso.

You can learn more about what makes our arts programs special by watching this video.

Longview Public Schools

Strategic planning in the Longview schools


Public Schools is continually striving to improve academic achievement and climate and culture in our schools.

Since 1991, our schools have undergone a Strategic Plan Review process each fall to analyze student achievement trends and to review school improvement plans and processes. This process has been revised over the last few decades, but the main focus has remained the same – to improve student academic achievement.

To this end, every fall our school principals develop School Improvement Plans that align with the district’s Design for Excellence. The Design for Excellence and school plans can be found on the district website at These plans are data driven and establish academic achievement goals in core subject areas. Goals are also established for improving the climate and culture within the schools. The plans undergo a review by our Strategic Plan Review Committee, which is comprised of school personnel, a group of local citizens, and school board members. The committee members spend a day hearing presentations and touring classrooms to get a firsthand look at the strategies being used to improve learning. The committee members then provide feedback to the district.

Throughout the school year, students engage in assessment opportunities that help measure their growth towards meeting established proficiency levels in core subjects. The data from the student assessment is used to develop goals and inform instructional strategies that will be used in our classrooms during the school year.

In addition to the assessments, students, parents and staff also take a survey in the spring that asks questions about their perceptions of our schools. The survey questions cover themes like student sense of belonging, quality of school experiences, communication and other matters that help measure climate and culture in each school. This information is critical to learning how students, parents and staff perceive our schools, and allows our school administrators to work on making our schools an even better place for learning. Research has shown that students who are engaged in school and have a sense of belonging perform better academically, which is one of the reasons we focus on school climate and culture and collect this type of data.

This ongoing cycle of assessing and surveying those we serve helps keep us focused on improving academic achievement and providing a positive climate and culture in our schools. The data collected each year is critical to making improvements in our educational system to provide our students the best possible outcomes.

Our Strategic Plan Review Committee will be touring our schools on November 1 this year. We greatly appreciate their service to this important process and look forward to their impressions and feedback as we strive to make Longview Public Schools the district of choice in southwest Washington.

26 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
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City of Longview

100 Years: We still have unfinished business

City of Kelso Mike Karnofski Mayor

Kelso budget: How to raise $1 million

come a long way! Almost 100 years ago our little community of Longview was born. How cool to be around to celebrate this significant milestone. The “planned city” of 1923 had a civic circle focal point as a hub for commerce, avenues for transportation, civic and social institutions, and all the beginnings of a “city beautiful”. Homes, banks, stores, a post office, city hall, schools, churches, a hotel, a public library, the YMCA, and tree-lined streets quickly followed. Robert A. Long had the makings of not only a city beautiful, but also a lovely community in which citizens could work, grow, thrive, and begin families.


I have spoken before of my own grandparents who, in the early 1950s, packed up their meager belongings from their Minnesota home and moved to Longview with their four children to make a home and life for my dad and his siblings.

Fast forward to 2022. Who knew the population of Longview would grow to be over 38,000 and Longview would become a Tree City USA and would include well maintained parks, multiple high schools, theaters, a man-made lake (our beautiful Lake Sacajawea), squirrel bridges, a hospital, an historic downtown with an outdoor gallery, a four-year college, golf courses, regional transit, a regional airport, and major industry and businesses throughout the city.

It was our founder R.A. Long who challenged us: “Until Longview gives every man, woman and child within its limits an opportunity to live happily, to improve mind, soul, and body, to have healthful surroundings, honest work to do, and a home in which to reside, Longview has an unfinished task.” Will we possibly ever accomplish such a plea from our founder?

In the past few years and in recent months, the Longview City Council has voted for city staff to help with an “unfinished task”. The city is now in the throes of creating a space for those who are homeless, that desire to make a change, to be on a path to wellness. The plan is a hosted pilot project “pallet home” community, “Hope Village” (see for more information about “pallet homes”). Pallet homes are emergency sheltering for homeless individuals. While sheltering, individuals will be required to connect and keep appointments with social services. The pallet home community will have a full-time host (Salvation Army) and will include a set of village rules promoting a safe, sanitary, orderly, clean and sober environment, a Good Neighbor Agreement, and security for the community and the surrounding areas. The hope for Hope Village is to help homeless individuals that desire change to get on a path to wellness and become productive members of the community.

Of course, such a plan requires much effort, much contemplation, thought and action. We expect to learn, adapt, and change as

Asstated in previous columns the City Council would like to increase the street maintenance and repair (M&R) allocation from $500,000 per year to $1.5 million per year. At the last Council workshop, Brian Butterfield, city finance director, reviewed options to raise the additional million dollars. Whichever option that could be potentially chosen, the Council has made it clear street design, elimination of curbs, narrowing streets, and returning streets to gravel need to be considered to reduce costs.

There are three sources to fund M&R: property taxes, transportation benefit districts, and local improvement districts. Property taxes can be raised by a general obligation bond levy or a levy lid lift. A general obligation bond levy requires a super majority (60 percent or more) voter approval. Levy lifts allow the city to exceed the 1 percent annual lid. The lift can be for a single year or multi-years up to six years. The lift requires a simple majority voter approval.

A Transportation Benefit District (TBD) has two options, a vehicle license fee and/or sales tax. The City presently has a TBD vehicle license fee of $20 and the Council can increase it $30 for a total $50. The license fee can be increased to $100 by a vote of the citizens. The council can impose at 0.1 percent sales tax or the voters can approve a 0.3 percent sales tax. A sales tax TBD must be renewed after 10 years and the 0.3 percent level must be voter approved by a simple majority.

Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) are a means of assisting benefiting properties in financing needed improvement through the formation of special assessment districts. Special assessment districts permit improvements to be financed and paid for over a period of time through assessments on the benefiting properties. The LIDs can be matched by City funding.

None of the above options will alone raise the million dollars needed for M&R. The Council will also be looking for citizens’ comments. Please come to our next workshop on November 15, attend a Council meeting or contact a Councilor or City official.

At the last workshop, the Council also discussed how to use the $3.4 million in federal funds it had been holding for use for Ranney water system improvements. The recent maintenance and engineering review concluded that the system has at least a three- to five-year life. The Council was also informed that there is money in the water fund that can be used for future system improvements. This leaves the Council the opportunity to determine how it wants to use the federal funds. Potential use of the funds is relatively unrestricted for City use but must be committed by 2024 and spent by 2026.

28 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 For more Longview see page 29

It’s all person



step of the way.

needed to improve the circumstances for everyone. In addition, our hope is that all our citizens and businesses will get behind us and help to support the outcome goals of Hope Village.

In these last months before we celebrate our big “100” in 2023, I hope that our community continues striving to find ways to work together to fulfill our founder’s vision, and that all citizens enjoying the blessings of that vision do their individual parts to merit such a community.

May you all find happiness, peace and wellness in your day!

Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 | 29 Our Commercial Loans aren’t automated or handled online.
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1270 AM

Lower Columbia



All the Way, 6pm,


Chamber Executive Board, Noon,


1270 AM


Board, Noon, Mill City

1270 AM


sQuad, 4pm,


Calendar NOVEMBER 2 Education Foundation, 8:30am, Zoom Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 3 Chamber Ambassadors, 7:30am, Canterbury Park 4 Quarterly Luncheon, 11:45am, Kelso Longview Elks Lodge No. 1482 7-10 Job Shadow Week 8 Business After Hours, 5:30pm, Stewart Title 9 Ribbon Cutting, 2pm, Family Health Center Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 10 Lower Columbia Professionals, 4pm, location TBD 11 Veterans Day – Chamber office CLOSED 15 Chamber Executive Board, Noon, Mill City Grill 16 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM sQuatch sQuad, 4pm, Mill City Grill 17 Ribbon Cutting, 11am, Fosterful Lower Columbia Professionals Bunco, 5:30pm, Longview Eagles 23 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 24 Thanksgiving – Chamber office CLOSED 25 Thanksgiving – Chamber office CLOSED 30 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM DECEMBER 1 Chamber Ambassadors, 7:30am, Canterbury Park 7
Zoom Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO
FM 8
TBD 9 Jingle
Longview Civic Circle 13
Mill City Grill Holiday Mixer,
Kelso Longview Elks Lodge No. 1482 14 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO
FM 20 Chamber
Grill 21 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO
FM sQuatch
Grill 23-26 Christmas – Chamber office CLOSED 28 Your Chamber Connection radio show, 6pm, KEDO 1270 AM or 99.9 FM 30 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
LOWER COLUMBIA PROFESSIONALS PRESENTS Thursday, November 17 Longview Eagles 1526 12th Ave., Longview Thursday, November 17 Longview Eagles 1526 12th Ave., Longview Food and Networking 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm gathering First Dice Roll at 6:30 pm $20 includes food! Fantastic Raffle Prizes! Register online at A 360-423-8400 A big Thank You to our food sponsors! 100% of proceeds benefit the LCP Scholarship Fund! Penny Parvi Agency

Seasonal fun rolls into November

OnOctober 22 we hosted our inaugural Harvest Festival in historic downtown Longview, and it was fantastic! We hosted thousands of people and welcomed many of those individuals to downtown for their very first time.

This event featured the Cowlitz Farmers Market, 50-plus independent vendors and activities, multiple free kids’ attractions, a truck show hosted by Outlaw Industries, a Trunk or Treat, a haunted theatre experience at Stageworks Northwest, pumpkin carving contest, a free concert, pie eating contest, chili cook-off, the small-ish beer garden and a free concert by KUKN!

This event wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing

volunteers, sponsors, Outlaw Industries, the City of Longview, downtown businesses, and our guests. Thank you for making this first-time event one for the books.

Now that we are through Harvest Fest 2022, we are in the home stretch to the holidays.

We kick off the shopping season with Small Business Saturday on November 26. We hope you will join us downtown for a day of deals from our brick-and-mortar stores and vendors. Here is a list of other happenings in downtown Longview:

• December 2 is the annual Junior Service League of Lower Columbia’s Festival of Trees Cocktail Party. Tickets will be available soon.

• December 3 is the annual Christmas parade hosted by Cowlitz PUD that benefits downtown Longview.

• December 10 is Shop Local Saturday.

• December 17 is Shop Local Saturday.

We are grateful that you joined us for the Harvest Festival, and

forward to seeing you again this holiday season.

we look
Longview Downtowners
32 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 You’re retired. Your money isn’t. To learn about the different options for your retirement accounts, call my office today. IRT-4395G-A © 2022 EDWARD D. JONES & CO., L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. > | Member SIPC Nick Lemiere, CFP® Financial Advisor 1332 Vandercook Way Longview, WA 98632 360-425-0037 1135 3rd Ave. Suite S-101, Longview (360) 952-3100
T u e s d a y , N o v e m b e r 8 5 : 3 0 t o 7 : 3 0 p m a t 1 0 1 1 W a s h i n g t o n W a y , L o n g v i e w G a t h e r w i t h u s a r o u n d f i r e p i t s f o r n e t w o r k i n g u n d e r o u r t e n t • W a r m c o m f o r t f o o d • F a l l b e v e r a g e s • R a f f l e s T i c k e t s a r e c o m p l i m e n t a r y R e g i s t e r a t : w w w . k e l s o l o n g v i e w c h a m b e r . o r 3 6 0 - 4 2 3 - 8 4 0 0 AT BUSINESS AFTER HOURS JOIN US FOR A FUN FALL GATHERING P l e a s e c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e n o n p e r i s h a b l e f o o d d r i v e f o r L o w e r C o l u m b i a C A P

Business After Hours

Hosted by Frontier Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center

Frontier Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center hosted October’s Business After Hours and it was the best networking event disguised as a Halloween party!

34 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
Frontier characters enjoyed the evening with guests James Hoyt, Heritage Bank, and Ambassador Bailey Roberts, Fibre Federal Credit Union Guests enjoyed the buffet provided by Frontier’s Chef Serene Ambassador Diane Craft, Koelsch Communities, and Mike Claxton, Walstead Mertsching Denise Bates and Jayme Thomas with Frontier Kris Friberg, Highlander Place, and Ambassador DeDe Brill, PeaceHealth
Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022 | 35
Jim Harvey, Kelso Longview Kiwanis, and Ambassador Eric McCrandall, Family Health Center Frontier characters enjoyed the evening with guests Richelle Hornung with Frontier and “questionable” representatives from Progressive and State Farm Frontier characters enjoyed the evening with guests

Ribbon Cuttings

Thank you to these Ambassadors who participated in ribbon cutting celebrations during October!

Diane Craft Koelsch Communities

Katie Dillinger Life Mortgage

Fran Gehrman Academy Mortgage

Kerri Guitteau and Corby Cowlitz Black Bears

Nick Lemiere Edward Jones

Eric McCrandall Family Health Center

Bailey Roberts Fibre Federal Credit Union

36 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | November 2022
Welcome New Member HIVE Powered by BroadPath Welcome New Member Windermere Northwest Living – Longview
Only Two Months Available in 2023 If you been thinking about hosting a Business After Hours don’t wait too long! We only have two months available in 2023. Contact the Chamber at 360 423 8400 or email January 10: Total Employment and Management (TEAM) February 21: Three Rivers Law Center March 14: Windermere Northwest Living – Longview April 11: Cowlitz Wahkiakum Legal Aid May 9: Foster Farms 25th Celebration June 13: available July 11: Mary Cranston, LLC August 8: Cowlitz Indian Tribe September 12: Northwest Enforcement October 10: Edward Jones – Roy Gawlick November 14: available December 12: Holiday Mixer 2023

with us.

State announces Paid Family Medical Leave premium increase

Recently, Employment Security Department (ESD) announced that premium rates will increase to 0.8 percent for 2023. This rate was confirmed several hours after Inside Washington Retail had reported on the status of the independent actuarial studies and reviews of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program (PFML).

Starting January 1, 2023:

• The total premium rate will be 8 percent.

• Employers will pay 24 percent of the total premium, and employees will pay 72.76 percent.

• Employers will continue to report each employee’s total gross wages, not including tips, and collect premiums up to the Social Security cap ($160,200 in 2023). Once an employee meets the Social Security cap, employers must stop collecting premiums but continue to report their wages.

Businesses classified by the Employment Security Department as having fewer than 50 employees are not required to pay the employer portion of the premium. However, they must continue to collect the

employee premium or pay the employees’ premiums on their behalf

Premium rates were 0.4 percent in 2021 and increased to 0.6 percent in 2022. With this premium hike, the rate will have doubled in just two years.

The 2022 Legislature formed a legislative task force to review the independent actuarial studies and to develop recommendations for reforming the PFML program to avoid the fiscal challenges that emerged over the past two years. The task force’s recommendations will be considered in the 2023 legislative session.

Call for Artists: Longview Public Library commissioning centennial mural

To celebrate the history of Longview, the Longview Public Library is commissioning local artists to create a mural in the Youth Services section of the library beneath the main staircase.

The mural will commemorate the City of Longview’s centennial and will encapsulate a youthful look and feel including hide and seek squirrels and more. Ideally the mural will trace the history of the area, from indigenous peoples through current day in a playful style appropriate for a library youth area.

The mural will be painted on already constructed custom canvas panels, as well as the surface of a wooden door. Upon completion, the murals will be photographed and published in various marketing efforts. This commission is open to all professional artists. An artist honorarium of $1,500, plus the cost of materials will be provided. These funds are generously provided by the Longview Library Foundation. The mural must be substantially complete by March 31, 2023.

Submission Guidelines: Please include a statement of interest, samples of past work, and a preliminary concept drawing.

Submit proposals by December 15 at 11:59 p.m. to:

Longview Public Library, 1600 Louisiana St., Longview WA, 98632 or email

A decision will be made by January 6, 2023.

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