The Morning Press: Murray on the CRC, bee invasion, area’s star athletes, jail fashion



Victor Frye, who was convicted earlier this year of his wife's murder, made his first appearance Nov. 14, 2012, in Clark County Superior Court wearing a green suicide smock. At $100 apiece, the smocks are the most expensive garment in jail inmates' wardrobe and are designed to prevent inmates from fashioning a noose.

It was a busy weekend celebrating dads. Here is a review of some of the weekend’s top stories and some news you may have missed, including Sen. Murray talking about the CRC, bees invade Washougal basement, all-area athletes and a closer look at police numbers around the county.

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

Murray targets opponents of CRC

Pointing out the recent collapse of the Interstate 5 Skagit River bridge, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said Friday that opponents of the Columbia River Crossing project need to stop and think about what could happen if officials fail to replace the I-5 Bridge over the Columbia River.

Murray said she’s met with Skagit County businesses entrenched in the traffic nightmare that followed the bridge collapse, as cars and big rigs were forced to detour around the now defunct portion of I-5.

“Seeing the businesses that have been impacted, the tears in their eyes … I can’t imagine that happening here if (the Columbia River) bridge were to be shut down because it was declared too unsafe,” Murray said during a stop in Vancouver. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

During an interview with The Columbian, Murray also turned up the heat on CRC opponents, suggesting that they have no backup plan to replace the Columbia River I-5 Bridge in a prompt manner.

Read more and watch a video here.

Cops stretched thin in county

On a “quiet” Tuesday afternoon in east Vancouver, Sgt. Dave Henderson scanned the incoming calls for police service on the laptop in his black-and-white cop cruiser. With a few touches on the screen, he rejected several calls.

It was a tough decision to make based off the call notes sent to him by 911 dispatchers.

“That’s a huge responsibility to say I’m not going to help you,” he said.

What patrol officers read on the screen may differ from what they find at the site of the emergency, which makes deleting calls a gamble. There are just too many calls to go around, Henderson said, so supervisors such as himself have to cherry-pick what they respond to.

Compared with jurisdictions of similar size throughout the state, the Vancouver Police Department has the fewest number of sworn officers to serve its population — 1.12 officers for every 1,000 residents. Clark County has the second-lowest rate of deputies among counties in Washington with similar populations.

Read more here.

Washougal woman finds bee bonanza in basement stove

She opened the door to a stinging sight: a flurry of uninvited guests buzzing around her downstairs living room.

It’s difficult enough ushering an errant bee from your home. Now imagine tens of thousands.

That’s exactly what 70-year-old Anne Hargreaves faced last Friday when she glanced into her basement and discovered a huge swarm of honey bees. A few queens had apparently led their colonies into the chimney and invaded Hargreaves’ Washougal home through her Franklin stove.

“There were so many on the windows, it was even blocking the light,” she said. “I was stunned.”

A deep humming sound reverberated from the metal fireplace.

“It was the densest sound,” she said. “Very loud.”

The bee barrage might not have been on the level of a biblical plague, but it certainly put a bane on her weekend. It took four days for a volunteer from the Clark County Beekeepers Association to safely suck up the last of the buggers with his homemade vacuum contraption.

Read more here.

Prep athletes of the year: More sports the merrier

Heritage senior Tim Hergert grew up playing catch with a football, hitting a ball with a bat, and shooting around with a basketball.

“Every sport was super fun to play,” Hergert said. “That pushed me to do all of them in high school.”

Skyview junior Aubrey Ward-El is known for her basketball abilities, a talent good enough to be chosen as the league’s player of the year this past winter

Oh, and she just happens to be one of the best throwers in track and field. One of the best in the state.

She never envisioned that happening a couple years ago.

“Dip your feet in and test it out,” Ward-El said. “You’re never going to know unless you try it.”

Hergert and Ward-El showed excellence in all that they did this school year, and they are The Columbian’s multi-sport athletes of the year.

Read more here.

Inmate clothes at Clark County Jail more than fashion

Each weekday morning, custody officers escort jail inmates, handcuffed together in a colorful human chain, into the Clark County Courthouse.

They wear jail clothes in hues of orange, blue and green.

While confined in jail, these uniforms are their pajamas, their gym clothes and their “street” clothes. The clothes also convey meaning to custody officers. Certain colors signify accusations of violence or unruly behavior and even a range of emotions, from rebellion to despair.

One of the comforts of freedom is choosing one’s own clothes. Inmates are stripped of that privilege, as well as almost any embellishment, including makeup, jewelry and accessories.

Instead, they enter a color-coded world aimed at maintaining security, order and frugality.

Read more here.

Strictly Business: Tax policy behind widening wealth gap

Globalization. Technology. Globalization. Technology.

It’s a mantra you hear in certain media, business and economic policy circles to explain why income inequality has ballooned in the United States.

The assertion behind it is that new technologies and the worldwide abundance of highly-skilled workers are the drivers of the widening gap between the richest 1 percent and everyone else.

It’s a tidy notion with a sense of inevitability, too. You almost want to resign to it, maybe even blame yourself for failing to get with the techno-globalization program.

Only, it doesn’t explain what’s actually happening.

Shredding the mantra is a new research paper, “The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective,” released in May and authored by four economists: Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.

Read the rest of Aaron Corvin’s column here.