The Morning Press: Testicular cancer, 192nd Avenue development, WWII vets, farm bill



This weekend’s top stories and news you may have missed:

Camas football star tackles testicular cancer

Drew Clarkson described his fear, how he lost sleep some nights just wondering about his future.

He talked about the intense pain, noting there were days when the medicine designed to save him also seemed to be destroying him.

And he reluctantly discussed an aspect of testicular cancer that can be embarrassing for any 17-year-old.

His five-month ordeal sounds like a nightmare.

Instead, Drew Clarkson calls it a blessing.

“I’m thankful for it,” Clarkson said as he prepares for his senior season of football with the Camas Papermakers. “It’s made me a better person, a happier one.”

Clarkson remains a giant of a teenager, a 6-foot, 3-inch, 275-pound lineman. He is not yet as strong as he was before his four rounds of chemotherapy, but he will get there soon. He promises.

Read the full story here.

Local veterans recall service aboard ships built at Kaiser in Vancouver

Seventy years ago, workers at Vancouver’s Kaiser Shipyard watched the USS Gambier Bay take form.

Hal Berven had a different view of the aircraft carrier while treading water in the Pacific on Oct. 25, 1944. He watched it disappear.

After being ordered to abandon ship, the wounded sailor swam away from the damaged aircraft carrier, and then he looked back at his sinking ship.

“I saw it turn over,” Berven said during an interview just west of his ship’s launch site. “Steam came up, and the ship was gone.

“I sensed a rumbling.” And then, the Vancouver veteran said, “I felt alone.”

But the Gambier Bay and its crew had done their jobs in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. They were part of a task force that turned back a much larger Japanese force opposing the Allied invasion of the Philippines.

Read Sunday’s story here and more stories from some of the people who built the carriers at Kaiser Shipyard in Vancouver here.

Age no barrier to being a Coug at WSU Vancouver

With no dorms, an average student age of 26 and 350 miles of roadway between it and the main campus in Pullman, the school experience at Washington State University Vancouver just isn’t the same as that of a traditional college.

But that doesn’t mean students returning to the Vancouver campus Monday are at a disadvantage.

Many students and professors say the diverse age range of students, from about 18 to 60, and the challenges of being a commuter school often broaden the educational experience and create more benefits than problems.

Chris Chaffin, 40, a history student entering his senior year, said he was a bit nervous when he first went back to college after working in retail and hotel management for 15 years.

“It was a little intimidating at first,” Chaffin said. “I’m in class with kids that are literally old enough to be my children. But I’m also surrounded by people (including the younger students) who are like-minded and interested in the same things.”

He said he’s learned there are a lot of benefits to interacting with the younger students.

Read the full story here.

Borderline growth about to ramp up

Call it a trendsetting “edge city” or good old-fashioned urban sprawl. Either way, something new has appeared on the Clark County landscape near Vancouver’s border with Camas.

A key Vancouver intersection at Southeast 192nd Avenue and 20th Street is taking on the appearance of a new city center, with nearly $170 million of development in the works. The area is poised to get new projects this year that include retail businesses, multifamily housing, offices and even a hotel as a big construction boom plays out near the once-rural crossing.

The intersection’s appeal is obvious. The surrounding area is growing with well-paying businesses, an affluent population and a new roadway connection that ramps up traffic and visibility.

Read the full story here.

Portland cracks down but homeless don’t come north

As Portland police continue cracking down on homeless encampments, one might wonder — is this affecting Vancouver?

The short answer is no. Transients who live on the Portland side of the Columbia River tend to stay there, said Diane McWithey, executive director of Share.

“There really isn’t a lot of crossover,” she said.

The local homeless outreach organization said it hasn’t seen an uptick in the number of people seeking services after the Portland Police Bureau recently began its sweep of transients living on city sidewalks.

The enforcement effort started after Portland Mayor Charlie Hales became more troubled by the homeless residing near City Hall.

Read the full story here.

Cantwell stumps for U.S. farm bill

Sen. Maria Cantwell said Friday that a failure by Congress to pass a long-overdue farm bill would amount to a huge lost opportunity for Washington’s agricultural industry and Clark County’s exporters to tap Asia’s rising demand for Northwest food products.

The Washington Democrat, speaking at the Vancouver office of the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association, said Congress has only until Sept. 30 to break a House-Senate impasse on a farm bill extension. Without an extension, she said, the nations would revert to farm policies set in 1949.

Cantwell, accompanied by agricultural and local business representatives, focused on the bill’s funding for agricultural research and export market development. She sidestepped discussion about the political wrangling that has stalled the extending of farm policies that historically have won bipartisan support.

Read the full story here.

Olympic champ Misty May-Treanor dazzles local volleyball players

PORTLAND — Belen Yager remembers sitting inside her kitchen on the day her mother asked the second most ridiculous question.

“‘This girl, Misty May-Treanor,'” Yager recalled her mom saying casually. ” ‘Do you know her?’ “

Yager, shocked at the inquiry, responded: “Of course!”

Next came the single most absurd question that Yager has ever heard — would she be interested in receiving hands-on training by the three-time Olympic beach volleyball champion at her upcoming Dream in Gold clinic?

Yager — the fresh-faced, volleyball-loving eighth grader from Hockinson — answered without hesitation.

On Friday, Yager joined nearly 300 girls and boys to soak in the instruction from May-Treanor during the opening of her three-day clinic in Portland. Yager and several friends attended the evening indoor session and realized a dream come true by meeting May-Treanor.

Read the full story here.