The Morning Press: A review of the week's news

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A look back at some of this week's top stories:

Can mental health treatment help halt gun violence?

photoA bullet sits on a table during a discussion on gun control.

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Build a better, tighter, more diligent mental health system and it likely will catch troubled people who otherwise might have gone ballistic -- literally.

But it won't put an end to gun violence. That's what mental health professionals working the front lines of crisis intervention and prevention in Clark County say.

Local experts are trying to piece together a better mental health system against a constantly shifting background of agency mergers, tightened budgets and evolving laws and public attitudes. Early intervention is key, all agree, so local K-12 school districts have developed procedures for identifying and assessing troubled students and the danger they may present to themselves or others; mental health agencies are patching holes in their networks and trying for "radical engagement" with deeply disturbed, hard-to-treat individuals; and, as the last line of defense, local police are regularly trained in crisis intervention techniques.

All of which likely won't take more than a nibble out of the shootings and mayhem that grab headlines with shocking regularity these days, experts say.

"It's not a predictive science we're working with," said Barb Laurenzo, the threat assessment coordinator for Educational Service District 112. "It's a very complicated picture."

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Violators avoiding tickets as need for disabled parking increases

photoConnie Brittain, 56, of Vancouver, does business at places she knows have adequate disabled parking, such as the Safeway on Northeast 112th Avenue. With a lift van and a wheelchair, she depends on the specially designated spots.

(/The Columbian)

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Before she suffered a spinal cord injury 32 years ago, Connie Brittain pulled into a disabled parking spot. She figured she was entitled, given that she had two young children in tow.

Now that she drives a van equipped with a lift for her wheelchair, she knows better.

"Some people say, 'I only parked there for five minutes.' Ninety seconds is too long. There's going to be a person with a disability who needs it more than you," said Brittain, a 56-year-old Vancouver resident.

Although anyone who parks in a disabled spot without a blue placard risks a ticket, not many actually receive them these days. Enforcement and education efforts have gone by the wayside.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

VIDEO: Senator Murray slams anti-CRC move

photoU.S. Sen. Patty Murray talks to WSUV President Mel Netzhammer, right, before speaking at a CREDC quarterly event Thursday February 21, 2013 in Vancouver, Washington. Murray made remarks about the importance of funding economic development and of supporting the CRC.

(/The Columbian)

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U.S. Sen. Patty Murray on Thursday sharply criticized the decision by two Clark County commissioners to pull funding from the county’s largest economic development group, saying “those who wield their influence by turning their backs on organizations that grow jobs in this community are turning their backs on the region itself.”

Murray, D-Wash., did not call out Republican Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke by name. But she was unmistakably referring to their decision last month to halt county government’s funding of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, unless it drops its support for the Columbia River Crossing project, a replacement Interstate 5 bridge that includes light rail.

Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, made her remarks during the CREDC’s quarterly luncheon event, held at the Hilton Vancouver Washington and attended by an estimated 175 people. The event featured a keynote speech by Washington State University Vancouver Chancellor Mel Netzhammer.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Park Service to go it alone at Pearson

photoThe National Park Service has terminated an agreement with the city of Vancouver, putting Pearson Air Museum under management of the park service's Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

(/The Columbian)

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The National Park Service plans to reopen Pearson Air Museum "within a week" despite ongoing disputes between the service, the city of Vancouver and the Fort Vancouver National Trust.

On Tuesday, the service announced that "any individuals who own items formerly on display" can "loan them directly to the National Park Service so they can be returned to the hangar building for the reopening of Pearson as a free public museum."

That drew a laugh from Juan Brito, who had a historic 1945 L4 observation aircraft at the museum when it was operated by the trust.

"No way in hell," Brito said. "I guess that's the best way to put it. I wouldn't put something that's extremely valuable to me in the hands of somebody who has no respect for agreements."

The museum shut down on Feb. 6 as conflicts came to a head between the NPS, which owns the land and building, and the trust, which has operated the museum for the city of Vancouver for several years.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Storro: 'In the mirror, I saw a … monster'

photoBethany Storro, 30, of Vancouver removed a clear compression mask during an appearance March 4 on "Good Morning America." She discussed why she burned her face with drain cleaner and then claimed she was attacked.

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A troubled young Vancouver woman, who attracted national attention after she purposefully damaged her face with drain cleaner, then concocted a story about being attacked, appeared Monday on ABC News' "Good Morning America" in her first broadcast interview since the 2010 incident.

Bethany Storro, 30, discussed the then-undiagnosed mental illness, body dysmorphic disorder, that drove her to disfigure herself on Aug. 30, 2010.

"In the mirror, I saw a distorted monster," she told ABC News' Abbie Boudreau. "It was, like, my eyes were gouging out, my face was just, it was just terrible."

The disorder causes obsessive thoughts about perceived, and not necessarily real, physical flaws.

Storro also is expected to appear on ABC's "20/20" program on a thus far unannounced date.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Some things you may have missed:

A basketball player walks into a bar ...

photoJared Jeffries performing comedy at Portland’s Boiler Room.

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PORTLAND — On a cold and rainy night in downtown Portland, the Boiler Room lives up to its name.

It's a Monday night and brave souls, glowing underneath the suspended pale white lights, face a room of drinking customers and in only three minutes time try to make them laugh. Some work their best blue humor, but even dirty jokes receive awkward giggles, or worst — the sound when punch lines fall flat on the floor and uncomfortable silence fills the space. The mustached emcee carries a trumpet and toots out "Taps" for the ones who stumble over their time limit. One after another, an open-mic comedian returns to his or her seat humbled.

It's a tough room, but Trail Blazers reserve center Jared Jeffries stands at the edge of the bar waiting his turn.

To read the rest of the story, click here.

Blood brothers share giving spirit

photoChildhood friends Teddy Peetz, left, and Bill McGinnis donate blood platelets at the American Red Cross Portland Donor Center on Thursday. McGinnis, of Corbett, Ore., and Peetz, of Vancouver, have met twice a month to donate platelets for more than a decade.

(/The Columbian)

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As children in Troutdale, Ore., Teddy Peetz and Bill McGinnis were always side by side.

They attended the same church, sat in the same classrooms and rode to school together in the McGinnis family station wagon.

As 68-year-old retired men, Peetz and McGinnis are still side by side — at least for a few hours every other Thursday.

The childhood friends meet twice a month at the American Red Cross Portland Donor Center, sit in neighboring beds and spend 2½ hours donating blood platelets.

It’s a decades-old tradition the duo have no intention of ending.

“People go to coffee every week,” McGinnis said. “We come here.”

“It’s our social club,” Peetz added.

To read the rest of the story, click here.