The Morning Press: B.G. superintendent, theft in county, honeybees, HPV vaccines

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Another great weekend coming up. Check on the upcoming forecast here.

Weekend's top stories and news you may have missed:

Battle Ground school district may have violated state law

photoShonny Bria, right, former superintendent of Battle Ground Public Schools, reacts to the news that the district passed its four-year maintenance and operations levy on April 23. District residents have sharply criticized the school board for its secrecy surrounding the buyout of the contract for Bria, who retired June 30. The deal cost the district more than $400,000.

(/The Columbian)

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Battle Ground Public Schools appears to have violated the state's Public Records Act by withholding a severance agreement with its embattled former superintendent.

The school board members signed an agreement with Superintendent Shonny Bria on April 29, withheld the document for almost two months, and when The Columbian and The Reflector made specific public records requests about Bria's compensation, the district denied that such a record existed.

"When it's signed by both parties, it then becomes a public document," said Matt Miller, deputy state auditor of the Washington State Auditor's Office.

Miller said he will be looking at the Battle Ground case.

Read the full story here.

Vancouver waterfront project expenses on the money

photoWith Vancouver City Hall as a backdrop, construction continued Monday as part of the city's $45 million waterfront access project. At right is the Grant Street access to the waterfront under the railroad.

(/The Columbian)

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Expenses for the city's $45 million Columbia River waterfront access project are on target, the Vancouver City Council heard Monday.

"It's a good place to be," said Matt Ransom, the city's project development and policy manager. The project includes two new railroad bridges at Esther and Grant streets, three new streets, the closure of railroad crossings at Jefferson and Eighth streets and related utility work.

The work fulfills the city's pledge to create public access to the former Boise Cascade site, which, private investors believe, has the potential to be a defining cityscape.

In 2012, crews punched through the BNSF Railway berm south of City Hall on Esther Street, offering a view to the river that had been hidden for more than a century.

Ransom said the streets should be open in August and the Jefferson Street railroad crossing should be closed by November. At that point, a street will connect Jefferson to Eighth Street.

The Eighth Street crossing has closed, Ransom told the city council, adding that the city didn't have to get approval from the Federal Railroad Administration to establish a quiet zone because closing the crossing ended the need for trains to sound their horns.

Read the full story here.

Thefts prove costly in Clark County

If you took all of the property lost through crime last year in unincorporated Clark County, how much would it be worth? According to recent year-end data from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the answer is $10,673,292. Of that value, $12,090, or one-tenth of a percent, was recovered in 2012.

The report says the city of Vancouver fared even worse, with $11,269,130 in lost property and $3,036 recovered — that's less than three one-hundreths of a percent. In most cases, the property was stolen.

There's much more to lost belongings than their dollar value, said Dianna Kretzschmar, liaison at the Fort Vancouver Convalescence Center and president of the Friends of the Elder Justice Center.

While working in Seattle at a post-acute rehabilitation facility in the late 1990s, she met a 92-year-old woman who was admitted to the facility about six months after her husband had died. Three months into her stay, her wedding ring — the one she had worn for more than 60 years — was stolen by one of the care providers.

Read the full story here.

New Seasons Market roof now home to bee colonies

Honey, they're home.

Two honeybee colonies -- made up of nearly 50,000 pollinators -- now live on the roof of the Fisher's Landing New Seasons Market, part of the regional chain's new "Bee Part of the Solution" campaign. The company did the same in April at its store in Happy Valley, Ore.

The goal is not only to provide the bees with a safe place to raise their brood and make honey, but spark further dialogue on the precarious plight of the important insects. By next spring, the rooftop bees' ranks could grow to more than 120,000.

The Portland beekeeper who was hired to help kick-start the campaign said it might just raise awareness about dwindling bee populations and ongoing threats to their survival, such as pesticides, parasites and disease.

Read the full story here.

Vancouver teen, doctor urge parents to ensure kids get HPV vaccine to protect from warts, cancer

photoBrenda Gillas, and her daughter, Addie, 14, pose for a portrait at their Vancouver home. Brenda and Addie made the decision to have Addie immunized against human papillomavirus. Certain strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer.

(/The Columbian)

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The decision was an easy one for 14-year-old Addie Gillas.

Get a vaccine that protects against the strains of human papillomavirus that most commonly cause cervical cancer — or take a chance with the most common sexually transmitted infection.

Even though Addie isn’t sexually active, she wanted to protect herself down the road from cervical cancer — which kills an estimated 4,000 women a year, according to the American Cancer Society.

“I think everyone should take it because you could take a little shot versus chemo,” Addie said. “I think it’s better to take a little shot.”

Physicians routinely recommend HPV vaccines for tween girls and boys. And while most parents agree to the vaccine for their children, it’s not always without hesitation, said Dr. James Heid, a physician with Salmon Creek Family Medicine.

Read the full story here.

Canyon of the Apes?

photoPaul Karr of Bend stops for a break overlooking the headwall of Ape Canyon on the southeast side of Mount St. Helens.

(/The Columbian)

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Paul Karr of Bend lives in the epicenter of Northwest mountain bike riding.

Yet, during a one-day break in the constant low clouds and showers of late June, Karr hustled up to Mount St. Helens to ride Ape Canyon trail No. 234.

“It’s just a cool environment to get to ride on such a big mountain,’’ said Karr. “It’s so deceiving, the terrain.

It’s hard to judge the distance it’s so big.’’

The trail climbs steadily for 1,300 vertical feet and 4.8 miles from the trailhead at the end of Gifford Pinchot National Forest road No. 83 to the junction with Loowit trail No. 216.

“It’s a grunt,’’ Karr said. “It’s a hard climb and a super sketchy downhill. You grab too much brake and you’re going right off the edge.’’

Read the full story here.