January 2021 Business Connection

Page 1

Business Connection Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

Business After Hours and its fun prize raffles are one of the many events planned to return in 2021.

Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce Bill Marcum CEO

k January 2021

Volume 13 • Issue 1 Business Connection is published monthly by the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Road • Kelso, WA 98626


Bill Marcum, CEO Amy Hallock, Project Manager Pam Fierst, Office Manager Joelle Wilson, Social Media Service

Gearing up for a big year, even if the start may be slow


anuary 2021, can you believe it? Let’s hope we can get out of the shadow of 2020.

Below is a list of some of our events for 2021, of course all of them are subject to the restrictions of the governor, but we are hopeful that by March we can get rolling again. So, mark them on your calendar, plan to attend and get ready to have a good time networking with other business leaders working to do the same thing as most of you...improve your business in 2021. With all the restrictions, Business After Hours in 2020 ended up being a no go. But we are optimistic for Business After Hours 2021. It will look a bit different in the beginning as we do not have an After Hours scheduled for January and we are crossing our fingers (restrictions lifted) for February/March. If we get to have an After Hours in February our host will be JoJo + CoCo Boutique and Wander. If February finds us still locked down, it will be moved to March. So, yes, we are hopeful and prepared for changes. Here is the 2021 host list:


January 12 – None February 9 – JoJo + CoCo Boutique and Wander March 9 – JoJo + CoCo Boutique and Wander (in case February is not available).

360-423-8400 kelsolongviewchamber.org

April 13 – Teri’s Restaurant

To advertise, call Bill Marcum 360-423-8400 or bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org Ad Deadline 20th of Each Month

June 8 – Port of Longview

May 11 – Cowlitz County Title July 13 – American Workforce Group August 10 – Rotary Clubs of Longview and Kelso For more Calendar, see page 2

Calendar from page 1

September 14 – ServPro – 10 Year Anniversary

decorated Civic Center.

October 12 – Farm Dog Bakery/Life Works

Speaking of always beautifully decorated, the Holiday Mixer will take place Dec. 14. The location has yet to be set for this cheerful event that brings over 225 people together to celebrate the holidays with proceeds providing a scholarship for Lower Columbia College students.

November 19 – Capital National Title December 8 – Holiday Mixer One of our major events for the year will be sQuatch Fest, only this year it will be April 2-3 instead of the traditional last weekend of January. Nearly 4,000 people attended the 2020 event and with more speakers, more venders and more brewers over the expanded two-day format it promises to be an unbelievable weekend. Whether you are a true believer or just want to have fun make sure you attend sQuatch Fest 2021. And, since we learned so much from COVID-19 2020, should we need it, we have a backup date to the backup date of July 30-31. May 12 will be our annual Pillars of Strength and Crystal Apple Awards night. Last year we were not able to hold this event; however, the Chamber and the Lower Columbia Professionals (a Chamber committee) were still able to award over $20,000 in scholarships to local high school students. We look forward to continuing this fun event and the opportunity to showcase our local businesses and awesome educational leaders. June 21 will be the annual Chamber Golf Classic, again this year being played at Three Rivers Golf Course. Same great format, and fantastic food provided by the Elks Lodge, paired with a display of marginal golfing skills. Aug. 20 will be our Island Bingo Night. Again, we were not able to hold this event last year but at our past events over 300 people filled the Elks Lodge to win great prizes from our local sponsors. Our final major events of the year take place in December. The annual Jingle all the Way 5K Run/Walk is set for Dec. 10. It’s a madcap way to race into the holiday season with nearly 500 individuals and families dressed up in their favorite holiday attire walking or running eight laps around Longview’s beautifully

sQuatch Fest 2020 drew one of our biggest crowds.

2 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

We will also have four Quarterly Meetings scheduled for March 26, June 25, Sept. 17 and Nov. 19. Locations and topics for these meeting have not been set at this time. Boot Camp will start up again March 5, probably via Zoom, followed by six classes on Leadership II, based on our Leadership I classes from 2019, starting May 14 and the final six classes beginning Sept. 10. Class topics and speakers for the September sessions are yet to be determined. Starting Jan. 25 at 7 a.m. via Zoom (at least to start the session) is our Legislative Briefings. This is your opportunity to speak directly to our legislators representing your business in Olympia. Find out what they see as important pieces of legislation that will affect your business. How they stand on those issues and more. There is no cost to attend. Hot topics will be the overtime rule, predictive scheduling, climate, funding of education and of course the budget submitted by Gov. Jay Inslee that includes an income tax and capital gains tax. Make your voice heard before the decisions are made. We will meet each Monday morning until the session closes. Attend, be involved and express your concerns. Zoom instructions will be forthcoming as details are worked out. Wow, I have not even covered the Lower Columbia Professionals events for 2021 or the meetings for Ambassadors, Education Foundation and board committees. Maybe next month. As I have mentioned your Chamber has more than 500 members, there should be something for each of you to find that can help your business be more successful in 2021. I’m looking forward to helping you accomplish that goal.

Connect with Legislators Legislative Briefing Breakfast Begins Monday, January 25, 7am, via Zoom

And continue each Monday throughout the Legislative Session John Braun

Senator 20th Legislative District

Each week, contact is made with our local legislators, either in person or by conference call, for an update on the bills and issues currently under consideration. Gary Chandler from the AWB is our main source of information as to what is going on in Olympia from a business perspective.

Jeff Wilson

Senator 19th Legislative District

As a business leader, you often feel the impact from some of the decisions made by our State Legislators on your ability to do business in Washington State. These breakfast briefings give you an opportunity to discuss personally with your elected officials issues that impact your business and seek options that provide for better business operations in Washington. Ed Orcutt

Representative, 20th Legislative District

Gary Chandler, VP with the Association of Washington Business leads a very lively discussion about proposed bills that can affect your businesses bottom line.

January, 25- (105 day session) Legislative Update Breakfast Monday’s During the Session Virtual Zoom Meeting 7:00 a.m.

Contact the Chamber for Zoom instructions.

Pete Abbarno

Representative 20th Legislative District

Jim Walsh

Representative, 19th Legislative District

May - December Legislative Committee Meetings First Monday of each month Location for 2021 — TBD

Joel McEntire

Representative 19th Legislative District

360-423-8400 or email Bill Marcum, bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org


Roewe ready to push Chamber past 2020 and into 2021

hris Roewe was drawn to the Kelso-Longview Chamber by the value it places on business and its involvement in the community. The same tenets he plans to use as a guide as he takes over the reins of Chamber president. “I enjoy that the people and businesses in our community support each other. I think we have something special here,” said Roewe, who begins his one-year term this month. Roewe, a partner and broker at Chris Roewe helps out with Lower Woodford Commercial Real Estate Columbia Professional fundraisers in Kelso, sees a bright future for the Kelso-Longview business community, which he and his partners help to grow by finding places for local momand-pop businesses and national chains and retailers looking to relocate to the area. He joined the Chamber nearly a decade ago. During that period, he has served as an Ambassador, a Lower Columbia Professional and on the Executive Board. Most recently, he maintained the position of Vice President and President Elect. He replaces Foster Farms Human Resource Manager Frank Panarra, who, due to an unexpected vacancy and COVID-19, extended his role as board president above and beyond the oneyear term. Panarra will now assume the role of Past President. “Can you imagine 2-1/2 years as a volunteer president for any nonprofit organization? Me either,” Chamber CEO Bill Marcum said. “Especially during the 2020 COVID year. With all that was going on around the world and at Foster Farms, Frank was at every Chamber and Executive Board meeting. I appreciate his willingness to always be there for me and the Chamber.” “He left a legacy,” said Roewe, who plans to continue to keep the organization running as smooth and steady as Panarra has left it. Marcum anticipates Roewe’s dedication will allow the Chamber to continue its mission without missing a beat.

Roewe, Carey Mackey and Pam Whittle lend a hand at a Business After Hours event.

“I have gotten to know Chris over the past three years he has served on the Executive Board and as Ambassador before that, he will be a great President for the Chamber. He is a perfect fit to lead this organization out of the rough 2020 year and into 2021.”

leadership roles. Lisa Straughan, Express Professional Services,

“Bill, Pam and Amy, they go, go and go,” Roewe said. “I plan to support what they do so well, and have done so well, for many years.”

Bank, and Michael Claxton, Walstead Mertsching, will resume

4 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

Roewe is not the only Chamber member to take on new will step into the President Elect position. Marlene Johanson, Heritage Bank, becomes Vice President. Neil Zick, Twin City their roles as Treasurer and Legal Counsel respectively.

Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Serving through 2021

Chris Roewe

Lisa Straughan

Marlene Johanson

Frank Panarra

Woodford Commercial Real Estate

Express Professional Services

Heritage Bank

Foster Farms

Neil Zick

Michael Claxton

Duane Dalgleish

Rich Gushman

Twin City Bank

Walstead Mertsching

Andy Hamilton

Wendy Kosloski

Nick Lemiere

Cherelle Montayne

John Paul

Bruce Pollock

Tom Rozwood

Christine Schott

Marc Silva

Ted Sprague

Michael Vorse

Dennis Weber



City of Kelso

KUKN-KLOG 101.5 The Wave

Columbia Bank

President Elect

Legal Counsel

Teague’s Interiors

Bicoastal Media

Cowlitz Economic Development Council

Vice President

Cowlitz PUD

Edward Jones


Minuteman Press

Past President

Gibbs & Olson Engineering


City of Longview

County Commissioner

Our Vision The catalyst for business and community prosperity Our Mission To provide resources and leadership for business success

Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 5

Cowlitz Economic Development Council Ted Sprague President

Building a green future at Port of Kalama


ou may have seen recently that the Final Secondary Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement by the Department of Ecology concerning the Northwest

Innovation Works (NWIW) project was recently released. Kudos have to be given to NWIW for their commitment to build a facility at the Port of Kalama that represents the largest economic development project in Cowlitz County history with a value over $2 billion. We also recognize the commitment of our Department of Ecology for the depth of their work. The steps NWIW and Ecology have taken over the last six years is nearly unprecedented – • Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Notice in October 2014

(GHG) analysis in September 2017 • Final Supplemental EIS with supplemental GHG analysis published by Port of Kalama/Cowlitz County in August 2019 • Department of Ecology asked for more information about GHG analysis/mitigation plan and commenced Secondary SEIS • Department of Ecology completed Draft SSEIS in September 2020 • Department of Ecology issued Final SSEIS in December 2020 From day one, staff of NWIW, based in Washington state have spoken to their belief in climate change and that their project is one way to combat its effects. The company agreed to zero liquid discharge, mitigation for all carbon produced in Washington

• Environmental Impact Study (EIS) completed September 2016 • Cowlitz Superior Court requires additional Green House Gas

Service is the difference!


Most in-depth title plant in the county.

state, and the deployment of Ultra Low Emissions Technology for methanol manufacturing. After years of analysis, including over two years of supplemental work focused on global carbon impacts, an independent study from the state’s leading environmental regulator concludes that building NWIW’s Kalama methanol facility will reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 5.92 million metric tons per year. For perspective, 5.92 million metric tons of GHGs is more than the annual emissions of Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue combined. The Department of Ecology’s analysis provides not just one best estimate, but an entire series of ranges for what the GHG impacts could be. Under every plausible scenario analyzed, the NWIW

Pam McCormick Kristy Norman Bookkeeper Office Manager

Escrow Officer

Megan Wheatley

Steve Quaife

Marketing Director

Escrow Officer

Kalama methanol facility results in lower global GHGs compared to what emissions are expected to be if the facility is not built. Ecology’s analysis also concludes that methanol from Kalama will be the cleanest path to producing olefins. Further delay of this project impacts not just Washington state’s ability to play a constructive role in the global effort to confront climate change but also its ability to create jobs in Cowlitz County. The first three years of construction will provide about 1,400 jobs and generate roughly

Jason Hanson Title Officer

Darren Plank Title Officer

Cooper Hart Title Officer

Leah Stanley Title Officer

Accurate Reliable Timely Locally Owned 1159 14th Avenue , Longview, WA 98632 360.423.5330 www.cowlitztitle.com 6 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

$725 million of economic activity. Once operational, ongoing yearly tax revenues will range from $30-$40 million. Once operational, NWIW will create approximately 200 direct jobs and 500 induced jobs. The total compensation for a direct job at the facility will exceed $100,000/year. Let’s build this!

Inspiring Vision and Dedication... The Columbia Theatre staff thanks Gian Paul Morelli for his service to the community and the performing arts. His vision and dedication have inspired us all. From a $12 million dollar renovation to a marquee makeover, Gian has done it all. It’s time for Gian to take the show on the road and dazzle audiences elsewhere. We will continue to honor him and his legacy. Gian you are forever a part of the history, the story that is the Columbia Theatre. Curtains up on this new adventure, fearless leader! We will miss you terribly!

Gian with Ed Asner and his wife Marykay Morelli.

www.columbiatheatre.com • 360.575.8499

Business Toolbox Jerry D. Petrick

Certified Business Adviser

2021: A year for entrepreneurial thinking?


have the unique opportunity to work with fascinating people, from a variety of backgrounds, with different skills and resources who tend to share one key attribute: they have tapped into, or are in the process of tapping into, something we ALL have access to – the entrepreneurial mindset. In this article I will share some perspectives about entrepreneurship that may challenge conventional wisdom and even your own beliefs about entrepreneurs (perhaps even yourself) and how “they” think. As we leave 2020 behind, I think it may be helpful and healthy for us to revisit or connect with our entrepreneurial mindset for the first time. I often hear people speak of entrepreneurship as a birthright; that you either have “it” or you don᾿t – in other words, that entrepreneurs are born not made. One way to think of it is in terms of a horse and jockey – the business idea is the horse; and the person is the jockey. We think all we need is a good horse (business idea) – we do not need to learn to ride – the reality is the reverse; a great jockey can win with virtually any “horse”. So, a great entrepreneur can be successful with just about any idea. I would like you to consider a different way to think – what if...we adopted the belief that entrepreneurship can᾿t be taught but it CAN be learned? In my experience, the “entrepreneurial mindset” is available to all of us – it requires us to learn and use different skills; to approach the world differently. This explains how it is that people from very different circumstances AND those who have essentially the same resources, skills, and opportunities can and do accomplish widely different levels of success. So, what is “entrepreneurship”? From my perspective (and for the purposes of this article): Entrepreneurship = the active practice of the Opportunity Discovery and Validation Process

The Power to Choose Life is not a lottery. The ability to choose the way we respond to our circumstances is fundamental to the entrepreneurial mindset. It is our choices rather than our circumstances that will ultimately shape our lives and businesses. Ask yourself, is what I’m thinking: a belief, an assumption, or a fact? Am I reacting or responding? Entrepreneurs respond to their circumstances rather than react to it. Where is the control? Is the focus of control internal (yours to exert and use) or external (outside of you or your firm)? Recognizing where the control lies will help you know and understand your opportunities. Recognizing Opportunities Problems are often opportunities in disguise. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers and the secret to their success lies in their ability to identify problems and find solutions. Look for simple solutions – Sam Walton (Walmart) and Bill Gates (Microsoft) applied simple, low-cost solutions to customer problems – no need to get fancy or expensive. Engage in “opportunistic adaptation”. Uncover unforeseen opportunities through interaction and observation with customers, experimentation, and adaptation of your ideas to respond to the circumstances. Ideas into Action Think big. Start small. Act fast. Approach your ideas as unproven assumptions rather than established facts. Entrepreneurs are action oriented and they tend to focus their time and energy on things they can change rather than things they cannot. Try this process adopted from the Kaufman Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI): 1. Describe the problem being solved or need being fulfilled

Since it is a process, there is a set of activities and skills which can be learned and practiced by anyone in virtually any situation – in short, it is a WAY OF THINKING – A WAY OF APPROACHING THE WORLD – in or outside the world of business.

2. Describe your idea for a product or service

When I talk with business owners they often comment, with frustration, that they wish their employees were more entrepreneurial, creative, dedicated, and displayed more “ownership” for the business. My sense is they are saying they want their employees to adopt or demonstrate a different mindset – the mindset of an entrepreneur. So, if this process can be learned and these skills acquired, how does a business owner facilitate and mentor their team members to use this new mindset? Here are some of the key ingredients of an entrepreneurial mindset:

5. How many people have this problem?

8 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

3. Describe solutions currently available 4. How is your product or service different? 6. How will you reach potential customers? (marketing and sales) 7. Will your customers buy your product or service (What is your brand? What will they pay for your offering)? 8. How will your customers buy your product or service (online, through partnerships with existing business, standalone store)? For more Petrick, see page 9

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Petrick from page 8

9. How can you test these assumptions in the real world? (quickly and cheaply!) Final thought: In the true entrepreneurial spirit, I encourage you to: “Do what you can, with what you have, who you know, from where you are!” To learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset read: “Who Owns the Ice House?” by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger. This article was prepared by Jerry Petrick, MBA and certified business adviser with the Washington State University (WSU) Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Jerry provides no-cost, confidential business advisory services by appointment. He can be reached via email jerry.petrick@wsbdc.org

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Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 9

Cowlitz County Commissioners Dennis Weber

County Commissioner, District 2

24 hours on the County Commission


eing a county commissioner is a fantastic job, with tremendous variety and challenges. As a county of 110,000 residents, we employ a staff of 620 to solve a lot of problems:

from big picture “20,000 foot-level issues” to more ordinary routine tasks such as combatting noxious weeds, registering voters, chipsealing county roads, running a jail and a landfill, and collecting taxes.

We are partners with the State of Washington in law and justice matters, as well as public health and human services programs. We also operate a number of water and sewer projects for small unincorporated communities, several of whose private developers could no longer maintain those systems. We also provide important cultural services, including the county historical museum, county extension office, the county fair and rodeo, veterans’ assistance, and

Our adopted budget for 2021 amounts to nearly $245 million, about one-quarter raised by local taxes (primarily property and sales taxes), one-quarter from grants from the state and federal government; and one-quarter from fees and utility rates for services

a year-round venue for activities at the event center. During one 24-hour period in mid-December, here is what we commissioners dealt with: a public discussion on the Superior Court’s contract with a federal immigration agency to house violent

provided, plus required reserves. In addition to the three county

youth at our detention center; awarding a new agreement providing

commissioners, voters elect five superior court judges, three district

for medical and pharmacy services for inmates at our county jail

court judges, the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, treasurer, auditor,

and at the juvenile detention center; and reviewing additional

assessor, clerk for Superior Court, and coroner.

public health grants for emergency planning, maternal and child health care programs; and immunizations for low-income families. To address the COVID-19 pandemic we also extended a rent relief

Our focus is on your business.

program administered by Lower Columbia CAP; extending health and sanitation services grants for Emergency Support Shelter, Community House on Broadway, and the Family Health Center, and approved administrative funding to the Cowlitz Economic Development Council’s work administering our $4 million small business assistance grant program. For Auditor Carolyn Fundingsland we approved hiring a consultant to advise us on recent changes to accounting standards,

We’re committed to serving your banking needs, providing capital and guiding you in taking advantage of every tool we have at our disposal to help your business. Contact one of our business banking experts or visit HeritageBankNW.com to learn more.

on paying $5.285 million in vouchers for salaries, benefits, and purchases the previous week. For Sheriff Brad Thurman, we approved a $60,000 grant for his Emergency Management office, purchased a new “Reverse 911” emergency contact program to address a problem that occurred during last summer’s wildfires; and contracted for architectural and

Kelso | 1000 South 13th Ave. 360.423.7800

engineering services for a new evidence storage facility (mostly drug cars) to replace leased space.

Longview | 927 Commerce Ave. 360.423.9800 Equal Housing Lender | Member FDIC

as well as a new interim elections manager, and received her report

To cap the day, we joined the Longview City Council for a threeHeritageBankNW.com |

10 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

hour evening meeting to discuss strategies for addressing the homeless encampment at Alabama Street.



1920-2020 portofkalama.com

Did you know something fishy happened here in Kalama? Something fishy happened where the Port of Kalama sits today. The Doty Fish Company was hatched in 1895. Built right on the Columbia River, fishermen could unload their catch directly to the processing plant taking advantage of the deep-water port—a feature the Port of Kalama capitalizes on to this day. Through the intersection of the river and rail, the world got a taste of Pacific salmon. Yum! We hope you’ll enjoy this entertaining video celebrating our 100th birthday! Happy Centennial, Port of Kalama!


Cowlitz-Wahkiakim Council of Governments Bill Fashing CEO

Resource list aids businesses with growth


ousing Input Requested

resources available to the entire region. You can click here for the

The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments (CWCOG) is conducting a survey to assess the housing

latest version, the document includes several items that might be

needs and issues of affordability in Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. Results from this survey will be incorporated into the finalized Housing Needs Assessment document that will serve as an in-depth study of demographics, affordability, and housing challenges in the region. The survey can be accessed through this link or on the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments website www.cwcog.org.

familiar, but also identified a few that are probably new to the reader. The document is broken up into six sections: Grants Loans Financial Relief and Capital; Reopening Your Business; Other Guidance; Adaptation; Growing Your Business; and General Assistance. Here are a few of the items that are included in the resource document. •

COVID-19 Second-Wave Planner | Washington State Department of Commerce | Link

Business Resources

Department of Commerce | Link

The CWCOG recently completed a business retention project for the City of Kelso. The final product includes a list of business

Small Business Crisis Planner | Washington State

COVID-19 Resources | Association of Washington Business | Link

Small Business Holiday Marketing Tips | U.S. Small Business Administration | Link

Consistent Courteous Complete Title and Escrow Services

Small Business Roadmap for Recovery and Beyond (Directed at AU, but Useful) (Opens Document) | Deloitte | Link

Coronavirus Small Business Survival Guide | CO / U.S. Chamber of Commerce | Link

About the CWCOG The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments is a governmental planning and services agency composed of local governments in southwest Washington state. Its board consists of representatives from Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties but it serves throughout the region including Grays Harbor, Lewis and Pacific counties as well as Rainier, Ore. It provides a forum for members to work together on issues with crossing jurisdictional lines and creating cooperative solutions. In addition, the agency provides planning, technical

1425 Maple Street • Longview, WA 98632

assistance, and grant resources in the areas of transportation and


development planning, and coordinates insurance pooling to select


12 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

economic development, contracts to provide long-range community members. The CWCOG serves as a Census Affiliate.


Fri., April 2, 4 pm - 9 pm and Sat., April 3, 10 am - 8 pm

Cowlitz County Convention Center


Mount St Helens Event Sponsor



Logo on all marketing material as sQuatch Fest Sponsored by “Your Business Name” Named on all radio, print and social media advertising 10' x 10' booth space at the event Logo on website, Facebook, newsletter and print advertising 100 collectible tickets to event with lanyards

Hoffstadt Bluff Sponsor $2,500

• Logo on marketing material & social media • 25 tickets to attend both days • Display banner and booth space at event Hoffstadt Bluff Sponsor Options • Cornhole Tournament - Battle of the Borders • Kids’ Cave - logo on Kids’ Cave • Tickets - logo on back of tickets • Brew Mtn Beer Fest - banner in beer fest • Mug Sponsor - logo on mug • Decorations - banner in MSH room • Speaker Sponsor - banner on stage

Ape Cave Sponsor $500 • Logo on print ads • Exposure on social media • 5 tickets to sQuatch Fest Ape Cave Sponsor Options • Drink token - logo on token • Wristband - logo on wristband • ICE Sponsor

Columbia River Sponsor $1,000

• • • •

Logo on print ads, mention on social media Banner displayed at event 10 tickets to sQuatch Fest Vendor table

Columbia River Sponsor Options • Volunteer T-shirts - logo on back • Wine Glasses - logo on glass • Stage - banner on stage • Friday Night Speaker Dinner

Elk Meadow Sponsor $250 • Supporter of sQuatch Fest • Logo on print ads • 2 tickets to sQuatch Fest

Don’t delay! Register now for these sponsor opportunities!

Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce 105 N. Minor Rd Kelso, WA 98626 (360) 423-8400 www.kelsolongviewchamber.org

Workforce Southwest Washington

Expanded job training and employment services available for Cowlitz County youth


owlitz County young adults ages 16 to 24 who are not in school and are looking for career and employment services or wanting to complete their high school equivalency and obtain a GED now have additional options and resources. Goodwill in Longview is providing expanded workforce services under the name “Next” through a partnership with the nonprofit Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), which oversees the public workforce system in Cowlitz County and is funding the initiative. Next will enhance Goodwill’s existing services to provide the county’s youth with additional robust options for placement into work, education or the trades. “Next ensures young adults are prepared for academic and career success and have skills to fill local workforce needs in the region’s high-growth and in-demand sectors of healthcare, manufacturing, construction and technology,” said Kevin Perkey, Workforce Southwest Washington CEO. “Goodwill has been a partner for many years. They have a record of meeting community needs and we’re excited to have them providing these services to our next generation.” Next is a response to community youth and business needs. A Measure of America study shows the youth disconnection rate for young adults in Cowlitz County is 16 percent. Higher than the state’s 10.8 percent and the 11.2 percent national rate. Disconnected youth are young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school and not working. The COVID-19 pandemic will cause the disconnected youth rate to spike even higher than it did during the Great Recession and exacerbate existing inequalities. Young people of color with low income will be hit the hardest. The average disconnection rate in rural areas is much higher than in urban and suburban areas. Goodwill and Next’s new Cowlitz County services aim to be the connection between youth and local employers offering sustainable jobs. “Ten thousand baby boomers retire every day, and many local companies will be losing 50 to 60 percent of their workforce over the next six or seven years,” said Bill Marcum, CEO of the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce. “These services at Goodwill are helping our young adults not fall through the cracks and get additional education and skills that can help them gain employment while at the same time giving local businesses a resource to fill jobs. It’s a great program that fills the social needs of individuals and the economic needs of local businesses.” Although limited in-person appointments are available at Goodwill, staff and services are available online, through email and virtual meetings, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Some of the virtual services available include: •

high school equivalency preparation and testing

14 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

soft skills development (such as time management and communications)

industry-recognized credentials

case management

job search support

leads to open jobs with local companies

work experiences and internships

resume writing

mock interviews

job preparation workshops and classes

funding for job training for in-demand jobs

online training

fiscal responsibility

connections to housing, childcare, transportation, food assistance and other support services

information related to filing an initial Unemployment Insurance claim

(Goodwill cannot file a claim for you, determine your eligibility or assist with already-filed claims. The Employment Security Department (ESD) administers all Unemployment Insurance programs. Get information at https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/ covid-19.) Young adults can contact Keely Christ at cw@nextsuccess. org or 360-890-7769 for assistance and visit the website www. nextsucces.org to learn more. When in-person activities resume, Next will operate out of the Goodwill Work Opportunity Center at 1030 15th Ave., in Longview. Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), a nonprofit organization, 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. Learn more at www. workforcesw.org.

Business Connection Advertising Rates Effective January 1, 2020 Kelso-Longview Business Connection monthly newsletter is published the first of each month, posted electronically on our website and over 6,400 emailed to local business professionals, city and county officials. To be included in this monthly email, call the Chamber office at 360-423-8400. Size 1/16 Page 1/8 Page 1/4 Page 1/2 Page Full Page

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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 additional information please contact: Amy Hallock at 360-423-8400 or ahallock@kelsolongviewchamber.org or CEO Bill Marcum at 360-423-8400 or bmarcum@kelsolongviewchamber.org

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City of Kelso

City of Longview

Nancy Malone

MaryAlice Wallis


2020 provided city with big challenge


hat a challenging year! A brief synopsis of the year, and boy, oh boy, what a challenge it has been for one and all.

January – The regular council meeting called to order with the newly elected council. Council members were sworn in. We voted for the new mayor for 2020 and 2021. With a new city manager and new council members on board, the council is anxious to begin the new year with anticipation of making a difference in the city. February – We completed January without a hitch. There was conversation regarding our Sister City in Kelso, Scotland. After much discussion, it was decided the city manager and the mayor would travel to our sister city. All expenses including airfare would be the sole responsibility of those traveling to Scotland. March – We encountered COVID-19, a major pandemic that basically shut the world down. Businesses were closed for months. Masks and social distancing were mandated by the governors of most states. Schools were closed. Travel was stopped. Sporting events came to a stop. We as the city council went from normal meetings to something referred to as Zoom meetings. We have had virtual meetings from the end of March through December. I anticipate we will continue the Zoom meetings well into the new year. An Incident Management Team was created to serve as the liaison between city, county, state and federal governments. This worked very well for communicating with all entities involved. Keeping us updated and informed of new COVID-19 cases and distribution of necessary protective equipment. We began phased openings based on the number of cases (per population). June – We began Phase 2. Certain criteria had to be met in order to allow certain businesses to reopen or partially reopen. We continued to conduct our virtual meetings with little to no problems. Many grants from the state, county, city and federal government started rolling in for many businesses that qualified. July – Our COVID-19 numbers began to increase and once again many businesses were closed. August – Almost one month later, those businesses that were closed in July were somewhat allowed to reopen with many conditional mandates. A month and a half later many businesses were once again closed. Mandated requirements for some businesses were either so restrictive or costly that some could not reopen. Again, grant applications were provided to those businesses that qualified, while those that didn’t qualify would have to play the wait-and-see game. Another grant application was offered, followed by another. December – Into the last few days of the year, many businesses are still closed. Some businesses are taking chances waiting for For more City of Kelso, see page 19 16 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021


Lessons learned from the pandemic


e’ve made it halfway through the equivalent of an Associates of Arts Degree in International Studies COVID-19, 2020. Together we are mastering this new way of learning – whether we like to or not. Did you find all the supplies you needed for your classes – personal protection equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, toilet paper? How well did you do in the Mask On/Mask Off 101 class? That was a toughie! What about the advanced courses in Zoom? Hopefully we won’t have to retake Beginning Handwashing in 2021. I wonder how next year’s “classes” will be – a boring repeat or altogether different? Can the classes we’ve already mastered be skipped over for graduation? What have we learned that will carry us through? My guess is that once we finally do graduate, we will be amazed at what we have accomplished in this extremely rigorous course of study. In the midst of the rigor of these “studies”, we have been separated from our loved ones or have had to even endure the pain of losing loved ones and had spring and summer vacations and holidays canceled or limited. We have had guestless weddings and funerals, births, graduations and retirements, all without being able to celebrate close-up and in-person with those we love. Church services, restaurant dining, sporting and entertainment events have had severe limitations. We have been thrust into working from our home computers while simultaneously teaching our own children – at home. We didn’t ask for this “degree”, but this course of study has fundamentally changed all of us. You’ll have to admit, the courses have been far more challenging for some than for others. Businesses have closed. Projects postponed. Events rescheduled or canceled. Jobs lost. Supplies limited. Illnesses endured and even lives lost. This course of study has taken every ounce of our determination, effort and focus. It has virtually wiped us out. Are there courses we took that have paved a new path? How will we choose to move forward? One thing for certain, we have become more determined “students”. We have become more creative in getting to our desired outcomes. We have learned to multitask like a boss! We have learned to endure pain, suffering, and even feel joy, in solitude. All of this – with not enough hugs! We are much stronger than we know, and more capable and resilient than we ever thought possible. Well classmates, so long until next year. The upcoming graduation is bound to be epic! We are part of the first graduating class of superstars to achieve the highest honors for accomplishing the insurmountable courses of studies in International COVID-19, 2020. Congratulations! Get your For more City of Longview, see page 19

2021 January 12: OPEN February 9: JoJo CoCo & Wander March 9: OPEN April 13: Teri’s May 11: Cowlitz Title June 8: Port of Longview July 13: American Workforce August 10: Rotary Clubs September 14: ServPro 10 year Anniversary October 12: Farm Dog Bakery Life Works November 9: Capital National Title December 14: (Holiday Mixer)

Interested in hosting a Business After Hours in 2021? Contact the Chamber at 360-423-8400 or email ahallock@kelsolongviewchamber.org

Kelso Public Schools

Longview Public Schools

Mary Beth Tack

Dan Zorn



Celebrating community partners

Going back to school in the new year

he popular sentiment “it takes a village…” applies to public schools as much or more than anywhere else. The value of strong community partnerships is indescribable. We simply could not do all the things we do to support our students and their families without the generosity of many community organizations.

ust before Christmas break, Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference and dramatically changed guidance for schools, relaxing the guidelines for serving students in our hybrid, in-person learning model.


In December, we had the honor of recognizing three such organizations with a Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) Community Leadership Award. This award is presented to community members or groups in recognition of their outstanding contributions toward education. Specific criteria includes; benefit to students, leadership, motivation, success, cooperation/coordination with local district, recognition by others, and history of service. Many heart-felt thanks to these 2020 WASA Community Leadership Award winners: Lower Columbia School Gardens Lower Columbia School Gardens (LCSG) has been empowering our Kelso community since 2009 by connecting kids and families with real food and hands-on learning. Through dynamic garden and cooking programs, they cultivate health, equity, life-long learning, and stewardship of the world around us. With a presence in all our elementary and middle schools, their staff and volunteers garden and cook with hundreds of kids every week. LCSG develops curriculum, coordinates community partners and support, and have been an integral partner during the planning and construction of our two new elementary schools. During the COVID-19 school closures, Executive Director Ian Thompson and his team brought food-bearing container gardens to many meal distributions so families could continue gardening and grow some of their own food. Bethany Lutheran Church Bethany Lutheran Church has done amazingly generous things for Kelso kids for many years. They partner with Catlin Elementary to provide a large Thanksgiving dinner for families (approximately 275 people) each year (pre-COVID). The church works closely with our homeless liaison to feed up to 300 children with weekend Go Bags year-round, as well as assistance with doctor wellness visits. They also adopt families in need at Christmas and volunteer at all Kelso book fairs. Youth and Family Link Youth and Family Link (Link) is an incredible 22-year partner (since 1998) with Kelso School District. This past year, Link pursued and received a grant and donations that allowed for the development of a Wallace Head Start and South Kelso For more Kelso Schools, see page 19 18 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021


According to the governor, state guidance changed because new Department of Health research shows when safety protocols are followed the risk of contracting COVID-19 in school is about the same as during remote learning. We are excited about and welcome the new guidelines and are planning to bring pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students back for hybrid in-person learning soon after the break. This could possibly be as early as Jan. 11. Middle and high school students will likely start hybrid in-person learning sometime later in January or early February. The final return to school dates have not yet been determined, but we will share the information with you as soon as it’s available. These start dates are dependent upon the county infection rates meeting the metrics outlined in the new guidance from the governor’s office and the state department of health. If you wish to see the new school guidance information it is posted on the district website at longviewschools.com. During our return to school planning, the safety of students and employees remains a district priority. The district will continue working closely with local health professionals to help guide us in our return to school decision making. Many schools throughout Washington and the nation are successfully serving students in person by following health department safety protocols. We are confident the safety protocols put in place at each of our schools will continue to keep students and employees safe. When students were attending school in person during October and November they did a great job wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance from others and washing their hands. This is very encouraging and gives us confidence that we can begin expanding the number of students we serve with inperson learning. Recently, I have received many questions regarding vaccine availability for our staff members. To the best of my present understanding, it appears that the vaccine will not be available to staff until late February at the earliest. We are advocating for getting our staff members as close to the “front of the Round 2 line” as feasible and look forward to the positive impact the vaccine will have on our ability to continue expanding our inperson instructional services. We are thankful that 2020 is over and look forward to the new year. District employees are excited to start serving kids in For more Longview Schools, see page 19

City of Kelso

Kelso Schools

from page 16

from page 18

the cities, counties, state and/or federal government to come up with a vaccine or some way to help them recover.

Community Resource Center. This will support Kelso’s most impoverished families with the ability to access key necessities.

The city council was presented with the budget for 2021, which included a 1 percent increase to the property taxes as well as an increase to garbage service. We as a majority voted not to approve the tax increase or raise the garbage rate. The council is extremely aware of the need to have the finances to continue to operate the city as we have done in the past – but we are also aware of the number of citizens within the city who are continually struggling to survive. It’s a double-edged sword.

Additionally, Link runs free afterschool programs at three elementary and two middle schools. The programs provide a safe space for youth to go where they have positive interactions with peers and adults while continuing learning activities. This fall, Link called all Kelso families who had been signed up for weekend food backpacks to see if they needed internet service and provided codes for free high speed internet to those in need.

In conclusion we must look at the big picture. We are living in a time no one has experienced. We are tasked with the job of making decisions for our city and the citizens of Kelso and we the council will do the very best that we can. I would be negligent if I didn’t offer my appreciation to Councilmember Futcher for his number of years on the council and as mayor. I wish him the best in all future endeavors. My hope is that the year of 2021 will bring health, happiness, kindness and prosperity to all.

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We are so fortunate to live and work among many generous people and organizations who support and care for those in need. In Kelso, our village is strong, and there is nowhere we would rather be. Wishing you many blessings in this new year.

Longview Schools from page 18

person once again, as we know this will help our student’s social/ emotional health and better help them to reach their academic goals. If you have questions about our return to school plans, or anything else at the district, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for supporting the school district, having local businesses and organizations involved in education helps make all of our schools better.

City of Longview from page 16

pencils sharpened for International COVID-19, Course 2021 – we can do it! While this column has been a parody of sorts, it is not to diminish in any way the individual experiences each of us have had. I have loved being Longview’s mayor this past year and look forward to what the new year will bring. We will continue to take the coming challenges head on, together.

computer. tablet. phone. sign up today at 360.423.2210 or https://www.cowlitzpud.org/ebill

Many blessings to all of you for a safe, healthy and happy new year!

Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 19

Lower Columbia College Chris Bailey President

A new vocational building for Lower Columbia College?


his December, Gov. Jay Inslee released his proposed capital budget that includes appropriations for the design of a new 55,000-square-foot vocational building for Lower Columbia College (LCC). If the Washington state legislature subsequently agrees to fund this project this legislative session, design money would be appropriated for this biennium. It is then possible that construction money could be appropriated as early as the following biennium. The proposed vocational building will replace three aged buildings: the current “Vocational Building,” the former “Science Building” and the small “Physical Science Building.” The existing vocational building, which houses welding, machining and transitional studies, is now 60 years old. The building was designed for the lower enrollments of those times, and the space does not meet the needs of our current programs. The proposed building will house our welding, machining, IT,

and transitional studies (students preparing for college level work) programs. LCC also intends to fundraise, through grants and private donations, to ensure that the building is stocked with modern, stateof-the-art equipment. A new vocational building is an integral part of LCC’s strategic emphasis to create high-wage career opportunities in the skilled trades for our local folks. This building is even more imperative for the community since the attempts to create a high school skills center for the area have seemingly stalled. The construction will also add jobs and stimulus to the local community. LCC continues to develop and grow into a premiere community college, and the college will continue to expand relevant offerings and programs in the near future. Thank you to the entire community for its amazing support of Lower Columbia College. We wish you a happy and healthy 2021! LCC Proud

“PeaceHealth saved my life.” Chris Wills, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center is recognized as a regional leader in heart care by the Foundation for Health Care Quality. Learn more: peacehealth.org/longview-heart

20 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021


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Calendar January 2021 Sunday







1 New Years Day


Chamber Offices Closed










12 Chamber






18 MLK Day

19 Chamber






25 Legislative






Executive Board, Noon, ZOOM

Chamber Offices Closed

Briefing, 7am, ZOOM

Board, Noon, ZOOM


February 2021 Sunday







1 Legislative







8 Legislative

9 Chamber






15 Chamber







22 Legislative

23 Chamber





Briefing, 7am, ZOOM

Briefing, 7am, ZOOM

Office Closed, Presidents Day

Briefing, 7am, ZOOM

Executive Board, Noon, ZOOM

Board Meeting, Noon, ZOOM


22 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

Longview Downtowners Lindsey Cope President

Businesses' persistance WILL pay off


onestly, 2020 has been a colossal challenge. There is no getting around it. We have suffered some devastating closures, but we have witnessed some fantastic openings. We have watched and/or assisted with the diversification of businesses models to include new products, services, online ordering and curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping. We have partnered with private and public entities to distribute nearly $5 million in funding. We have rallied our community to shop small, shop local, shop Cowlitz County. We have missed our normal. We have grieved our annual events and gathering in general, but we have kept at it. We have persisted. Our businesses have persisted. Our community has persisted. We met these challenges unprepared and with trepidation, but we

have persisted. Not to say that we are not in for more dark days, but there is also the fact that we have made it this far and there is hope for brighter days. With the passing of an updated stimulus package, we hope to find more relief for our businesses of all shapes and sizes, extended unemployment benefits, and additional help for nonprofit organizations. This coupled with advances in medical treatment and prevention techniques, leads us to hope that brighter days are ahead sooner rather than later. The Cowlitz Economic Development Council will be there for businesses and organizations of ALL sizes as we continue to navigate COVID-19 and beyond with resources, access, and partnerships. We are looking forward to a new year and getting through to the other side of these challenging times! As always, take care and stay safe!

Your Locally Owned and Operated Community Bank • Checking, Savings and CDs • Business Loans • Construction Loans • SBA Loans 729 Vandercook Way, Longview

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There’s a Difference. Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 23

Mind Your Own Business (At The Library) Chris Skaugset Director – Longview Public Library

We hunkered down with the best in 2020


s we approach the end of 2020 (please let it end and lead to a better 2021), it seems like a good time to reflect upon the last year and some of the great books published. The COVID-19 pandemic led to numerous changes, problems and difficulties. However, it didn’t stop a number of great books to be published and read during the year. It was also a year where we lost some literary giants, including John Le Carre, Clive Cussler and Mary Higgins Clark. We also lost two outstanding children’s authors in Joanna Cole (“The Magic School Bus”) and the wonderful picture books from Tommi dePaola. Below are 10 of the best books published in 2020. You can find all of these titles, and so much more, at your Longview library. Join me in making a resolution to read more in 2021! If nothing else, then to forget the year that would never end.

depression, and there are stories, so many stories about the egalitarian Asian dining ethos he wanted to import to the West. Foodies and chefs alike will dig into Chang’s searing memoir.

“Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier” by Victoria James. This is both a beautifully fascinating coming of age story, as James works to support her siblings, as she becomes the youngest sommelier at age 21. It’s also a look into the wine and restaurant industry, both the good and the bad. A wonderful blending of these two stories.

“A Promised Land” by Barack Obama. In this stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, former President Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. This beautifully written and powerful book, both intimate and introspective, captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

“Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family” by Robert Kolker. Best-selling, award-winning journalist Kolker takes a bracing look at the history of the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia by exploring the staggering tragedies of the Galvin family. In this stunning, riveting chronicle crackling with intelligence and empathy, he recounts how, during the 1970s, six of the dozen Galvin children were diagnosed as schizophrenic. Into this gripping personal tale, he weaves the larger history of schizophrenia research and how the family eventually came to the attention of scientists striving to find a cure. Kolker tackles this extraordinarily complex, and unforgettable, story so brilliantly and effectively that readers will be swept away. “Eat a Peach: A Memoir” by David Chang. Chang, Momofuku restaurateur and star of Netflix’s “Ugly Delicious”, writes this self-effacing, heart-on-sleeve memoir about being a harddriving Korean-American kid with an anger problem who channeled his frustrations into an eagerness to test limits and himself. He opened his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, at least partially to stave off suicide, and in the course of becoming an international restaurateur, Chang tried to upend people’s expectations of ethnic culinary categories while pushing himself to the financial and emotional brink. Chang writes about the sweaty tension of his manic episodes and his dark 24 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

“Vesper Flights: New and Collected Essays” by Helen Macdonald. Author of the elegant memoir, “H is for Hawk”, Mcdonald returns with a new set of beautiful essays on nature. There are some particularly wonderful moments in this altogether memorable collection, as when Macdonald recounts retreating from a shy girlhood, teased and even bullied by her schoolmates, with the aid of binoculars and field guides that allowed her to escape into a different, better world. Making those connections between species but also understanding the differences is something she devoutly believes in. Exemplary writing about the intersection of the animal and human worlds.

“The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich. Erdrich’s fiction has always been informed by her Anishinaabe roots, but this novel is truly personal. Drawing on her grandfather’s letters, written while he was tribal chair, Erdrich re-creates a shameful chapter in America’s history when Congress introduced a bill to terminate the treaty rights of Native tribes, which would force assimilation and pave the way for a land grab. Members of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa, led by the fictional Thomas Wazhushk, a night watchman at the local jewel-bearing plant, travel to Washington to protest. With him is his sharply observant niece Patrice Paranteau, who supports her family on wages from the plant yet yearns for an education and a future unfettered by men and babies. National Book Award winner For more Library, see page 25

Library from page 24

Erdrich once again calls upon her considerable storytelling skills to elucidate the struggles of generations of Native people to retain their cultural identity and their connection to the land.

a former mentor who is now the host of a popular podcast about futurism. Fielding questions from both apocalypse truthers and preppers for the coming climate-induced “scarcity,” Lizzies becomes convinced that doomsday is approaching. Set against

“A Children’s Bible” by Lydia Millet. “Lord of the Flies” meets global climate change in the latest from award-winner Millet. A disturbing tale of a summer vacation gone wrong with selfindulgent parents who after locking up cell phones show complete indifference to the children gathered as they disintegrate into drugs, alcohol, and sex. At first, the loosely organized group of teens and preteens revel in their newfound freedom, but that soon turns to fear and panic after a cataclysmic thunderstorm causes severe flooding and a power outage. Evie, the eldest, protects the younger ones, including her brother Jack, an innocent nature lover hauling around his collection of animals and plants. Obsessed with stories in his illustrated children’s Bible, Jack, like Noah, must rescue his animals from this flood. Joined by Burl, the estate gardener, the children gather their slim resources, including salvaged cell phones, and take off in fishing boats for higher ground. Burl directs them to a farm that proves only a temporary salvation. The children prove resourceful but pay a huge price. Millet delivers a tense, prophetic tale about inattention to warning signs with allusions to biblical tales and embedded themes of environmental and climactic disasters. A gripping page-turner with an end-times quality.

the backdrop of Lizzie’s trips to meditation classes, debates with a taxi driver, the 2016 presidential election, and constant attempts to avoid a haughty parent at Eli’s school, Lizzie’s apocalyptic worries are bittersweet, but also always wry and wise. Offill offers an acerbic observer with a wide-ranging mind in this marvelous novel.

“The Glass Hotel” by Emily St. Mandel. A financier’s Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters. Mandel uses Vincent’s disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis’ fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred. In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure. A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

“Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu. This hybrid conflates “Weather” by Jennifer Offill. A librarian becomes increasingly obsessed with doomsday preparations in Offill’s excellently sardonic third novel. Lizzie already feels overwhelmed with raising her son, Eli, without the extra strain of dealing with her addict brother’s constant crises. Lizzie introduces anxiety into her marriage when she takes a second job answering emails for

history, sociology, and ethnography with the timeless evils of racism, sexism, and elitism in a multigenerational epic that’s both rollicking entertainment and scathing commentary. Willis Wu is an (Asian) actor, which means he’s easily disposable, utterly indistinguishable. Never mind that he's American-by-birth, he’s still expected to be fluent in accented English and do the face of Great Shame on command. He’s currently on set at Black and White (which stars a black dude cop and white woman cop), relegated to playing variations of the generic Asian man. Meanwhile, his parents’ careers as mostly old Asian woman and old Asian man remain stuck in a loop of stifling casting. The struggles continue as Willis falls in love, marries, and becomes a father, all the while holding on to that someday dream of finally

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becoming the Kung Fu person. Resembling a script, complete with a classic typewriter font, Yu’s tale ingeniously draws on real-life Hollywood dead ends for Asian American actors. As preposterous as many scenes may seem, their sobering reality will resonate with perceptive readers. Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 25

News & Events

News and events come from our website, press releases, and public information shared with us. To see more visit kelsolongviewchamber.org

Overtime rules for businesses change for 2021. Are you ready? The Kelso Longview Chamber has compiled a folder on our website to help you better understand the state᾿s new overtime rules and the changes to the exempt workers minimum salary.

The changes update minimum salary level and job duties under the approved changes, the minimum pay a salaried worker must receive to be considered exempt would increase incrementally to 2.5 times the state minimum wage by 2028. CLICK HERE for updated documents from Labor and Industries on the new rules effective Jan. 1, 2021.

RiverCities Transit kicks off new year with service reductions

RiverCities Transit (RCT) will implement service reductions due to a staffing shortage. On Dec. 28 RCT began running the Saturday schedule with additional service on Route 45 Monday-Friday until further notice. RiverCities LIFT paratransit service will continue to be available Monday-Saturday. Those unable to access essential services and jobs due to these reductions are encouraged to contact RCT at 360-442-5663 or customerservice@rctransit.org. Staff is working with the website designer to update the website and trip planner with the reduced service schedule. For more information, please call customer service at 360-442-5663 or visit www.rctransit. org. RiverCities Transit is committed to providing service to our community members that need to access essential functions and lifeline services.

Retailers seek vaccination priority for frontline and warehouse workers Retailers have sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking to classify employees as top priority in phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

A letter from the National Retail Federation asks that frontline and warehouse workers be ranked after healthcare and nursing homes in the priorities to receive vaccines. It suggests that retailers will cooperate in making facilities available for vaccinations thereby lowering demand on hospitals and doctors’ offices. “Retail is a fundamental part of the daily lives of American consumers, providing a variety of goods for sale through a multitude of channels,” the letter states. “We believe workers on the front lines of safely serving their communities, who have faced multiple stoppages and lost paychecks, should be able to access safe COVID-19 vaccines 26 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021

during the early stages of its distribution.” Washington Retail has joined in the advocacy effort to move essential employees up in the queue to the second phase of vaccine distribution. Besides their employers spending billions to install safety features to respond to the virus, many retail workers were furloughed and unable to work during the early months of the pandemic due to governmentmandated shutdowns. Those who continued working adapted quickly to health and safety protocols developed by retailers and the CDC. The pandemic has exposed millions of retail employees to the public in an effort to supply shoppers with the items they need to survive until the pandemic has subsided. Similar requests are coming forth from industries within Washington State to move essential employees higher in the queue for vaccinations. Release from the Washington Retail Associaton. For more information on this and other topics visit www.washingtonretail.org.

Washington Retail asks governor to delay plastic bag ban

In 2020 the Legislature passed a statewide single use plastic bag ban that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, Washington Retail is asking the governor to delay the new law until the pandemic subsides. The trouble is that supply chains have been significantly disrupted with the demand for paper products. This is making it difficult for retailers to reliably source paper bags. The governor has not committed to delaying the effective date, although he has indicated he may make a decision by the end of the year. The bag ban will be enforced by the Department of Ecology. Businesses will be allowed to exhaust their existing supplies of plastic bags for up to a year – unless prohibited by local ordinance. Businesses will be required to either provide recycled content paper bags or thicker, reusable plastic bags both with an 8-cent charge per bag or provide compostable bags free of charge. Customers also will be allowed to use their own shopping bags. For more details, go to the DOE website at: https://ecology.wa.gov/ Waste-Toxics/Reducing-recycling-waste/Plastic-bag-ban A downloadable and customizable toolkit of outreach materials is available for business owners and the public to understand the most critical elements of the statewide bag ban. This toolkit is available on the Ecology Bag Ban Webpage and will be translated into 23 different languages in the next few months. Release from the Washington Retail Associaton. For more information on this and other topics visit www.washingtonretail.org.

New Members Add your business to our growing membership. Call 360-423-8400 Today!

Business Association with opportunities to promote trade through Chamber socials, special events and committee participation.

Look Who Joined the Chamber Washington Social Consulting Andrew Huffman 142 Prairie Lane Kelso, WA 98626 360-232-3816 washingtonsocialconsulting.com

• Annual Meeting and Banquet • Networking Events • Committee Participation • Business Contacts • Quarterly Membership Meetings • Civic Representation

Cavalry Home Inspection

John Newport 230 St. James Place Longview, WA 98632 360-644-7614 cavalryinspection@gmail.com

• Monthly Business After Hours

Business Services include marketing for your business, referrals and access to Chamber publications and research data. • Mailing Labels

Peterson Brothers Automation LLC David Peterson 155 Rayburn Rd Winlock, WA 98596 360-304-9660 david@petersonbrosautomation.com

• 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.

Northwest Enforcement Karen Withrow 209 Hudson Street Longview, WA 98632 karen@nwenforcement.com

EPiC Coalition (Empowering People and Impacting Community) Huyen Truong 1217 – 14th Avenue Longview, WA 98632 huyen.truong@esd112.org

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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

Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 27

Tune in to…

Your Chamber Connection Recorded on Wednesdays 11:00 am to 12:00 noon Listen at 6:00 pm KEDO 1400 AM or 99.1 FM Featuring your hosts: Carey Mackey - Red Canoe Credit Union Karen Sisson Shawn Green - Longview Kelso Servpro Marc Silva - Columbia Bank

The Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce would like to THANK the following loyal members for renewing their partnership with us this January. American Medical Response B & M Heating A/C Inc Beacon Hill Sewer District Canterbury Gardens Canterbury Park




City of Kelso City of Longview Cowlitz County Dorothy Bain Hanson Emerald Kalama Chemical Express Employment Professionals (1956) Koelsch Senior Communities LG Isaacson Company Longview Memorial Park, Funeral Home & Crematory Lower Columbia College

Your Chamber Connection EVERY Wednesday on KEDO 1400AM

Join our hosts Carey Mackey, Red Canoe Credit Union; Karen Sisson; Shawn Green, ServPro Longview/Kelso and Marc Silva, Columbia Bank for local guests and current events. Would you like an opportunity to be on Your Chamber Connection? Contact Bill or Amy at the Chamber 360-423-8400.

a Kevin Taylor with the Cowlitz Black Bears b John Newport with Cavalry Home Inspection

Stream Your Chamber Connection live at www.kedoam.com

Miller Paint Pacific Tech Construction, Inc Port of Longview Rodman Realty, Inc Steel Painters/Railco Tent City Rentals/M&M Productions The Golden Palace Three Rivers Eye Care U.S. Senator Patty Murray Walstead Mertsching PS Watkins Tractor & Supply Company WestRock Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021 | 29


Ribbon Cutting Welcome Additions

Our Ambassadors are masked up and out greeting new Chamber members and serving our community whenever the opportunity arises.

a Elisha Jolma with Sho'me Real Estate

30 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | January 2021



Oh, What a Year! We rolled with every punch The Chamber roared into 2020 with a calendar of activities like ribbon cuttings, Business After Hours and Boot Camp and events like sQuatch Fest and Pillars of Strength and Crystal Apple awards – and then it all went sideways with COVID.

a Celebrating St. Paddy's Day at our last in-person BAH at the Elks b We saw record turnout for sQuatch Fest in January c Lower Columbia Professionals handed out scholarships – from a distance d We took Island Bingo to the streets of Longview e Thank goodness, we were able to get outside for the Golf Classic in July




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