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Kidnapping case

The story: On Friday May 22, Evan Watkins, 24, of Corvallis, was arrested and charged with second-degree kidnapping and fourth-degree domestic assault. Watkins reportedly was confronted by a woman after she caught him with another woman at his apartment at 917 S.W. 15th Street. Watkins is accused of refusing to let the woman who confronted him leave the apartment, but she reportedly escaped through a window. 

The latest: Watkins has been arraigned on felony second-degree kidnapping and five counts of fourth-degree assault. Watkins has been granted release from Benton County Jail until his next status check hearing  on July 6 in Benton County Circuit Court.  

Nathan Bruttell

Marijuana dispensaries

The story: Nature’s Better Health Center, one of four medical marijuana dispensaries in Corvallis, closed shop April 6 after about 10 months of operation at 220 N.W. Second St. Owner Melissa Wallace said she hoped to reopen soon in a new location.

The latest: Since Nature’s Better shut down, a new sign advertising the California Cannabis Club has been hung at the Second Street location. Jonathan Modie, a spokesman for the Oregon Health Authority, said the new operator had applied for state approval to run a dispensary at that location but had not yet been approved. Meanwhile, a post on the Nature’s Better website says the dispensary has been approved to reopen in Tangent, but the OHA dispensary directory does not yet list an approved location in the Linn County community.

Bennett Hall

Alternative transportation push

The story: “Get There,” the annual campaign to encourage mid-valley residents to use alternative methods of transportation, ran from May 4-15. Residents in Benton, Linn and Lincoln counties could win prizes for logging in to the program website and recording trips taken other than via single-occupant vehicle. The program was sponsored by the Cascades West Rideshare (part of the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments) and the city of Corvallis.

The latest: Program organizers report that the tracking of carpool, vanpool, walking, bus and bicycle trips collectively reduced the number of SOV trips by 43,349 miles, enough to go around the Earth more than 1.5 times.  Organizers estimate that 58,003 pounds of carbon dioxide did not go into the atmosphere because of the “Get There” program.

James Day

Wastewater

The story: The city of Corvallis is under orders from the state Department of Environmental Quality to lower the temperature of wastewater it dumps into the Willamette River because of the impact the warm water has on endangered fish stocks. Efforts to brainstorm solutions have been on hold since a 2013 federal court ruling forced the DEQ to take another look at its guidelines.

The latest: The issue was scheduled to go before the Corvallis Urban Services Committee at its Tuesday meeting, but the agenda item has been pulled because the new requirements have not yet been delivered. Public Works Director Mary Steckel noted that the city’s current discharge permit expires in October 2016 and that any new requirements might force the city to move quickly to comply. Ideas discussed to address the problem have included piping the water to be cooled  into the Orleans Natural Area, Trysting Tree Golf Club or a bean field near Highway 20 and building cooling ponds on the Public Works grounds. Solutions could cost as much as $20 million, with the costs likely to be borne by city ratepayers.

James Day

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