The Morning Press: Herrera Beutler on CRC, Benton-River feud, bear killed, yogurt



U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, issued a statement Tuesday reiterating that the Columbia River Crossing project must meet all of its funding and permitting requirements before it is eligible for federal dollars.

Richard Fazio, who owns the Tena Bar on The Columbia River with his two brothers, gives a tour of his property on Friday. The brothers have recently closed public access to the property which is popular with fishermen due to insurance liability.

Another busy week. Here is a review of some of the week’s top stories and some news you may have missed, including Rep. Herrera Beutler talking about the CRC, lawmakers Benton and Rivers feud, a bear is killed on I-205 and anglers banned from popular spot.

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

Herrera Beutler voices ‘grave’ CRC concerns to Coast Guard

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler on Wednesday reiterated several worries and questions about the Columbia River Crossing as the U.S. Coast Guard mulls a crucial bridge permit for the $3.4 billion project.

In a letter sent to the Coast Guard, the Camas Republican highlighted what she termed “grave concerns” with the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement and its planned height. Reducing clearance under the bridge to 116 feet not only limits current businesses upriver, “but could also provide a chilling impact to future business development due to the permanent, impassable nature of the design for larger vessels and cargoes,” Herrera Beutler wrote.

The twin spans of the existing I-5 Bridge offer 178 feet of clearance when the drawbridge is lifted.

The CRC can’t move forward without a bridge permit from the Coast Guard, effectively giving the agency veto power over the project. The Coast Guard began accepting public comment in May, and hosted two meetings in Portland and Vancouver last week.

Read the full story and see some documents here.

Sen. Benton files complaint against colleague Rivers

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said Thursday afternoon he has filed a complaint against Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, over two incidents this year where Rivers directed expletives at him.

Benton says Rivers shouted at him on April 19 on the floor of the Senate in what he calls “an uncontrollable tirade” and again during a June caucus meeting.

Rivers said she hasn’t seen the complaint, but when contacted by The Columbian offered this response:

“I will stand my ground against anyone who attempts to bully, intimidate or threaten me.”

Rivers confirmed she clashed with Benton on the two occasions. She said she intends to release today her documentation of the incidents, which she had filed with the Secretary of the Senate’s office. The secretary wasn’t in the office Thursday afternoon, so the documents weren’t available.

Benton made several documents regarding the matter available Thursday afternoon, including a written complaint from April 22 in which he describes the first incident as “unacceptable in any venue, especially on the floor of the Senate.”

Read the full story here and River’s side here.

Black bear dies after being hit by car on I-205

A black bear died of head injuries after being hit by a Honda Civic on Interstate 205 on Wednesday afternoon.

Around 12:30 p.m., the male bear was shambling west across the northbound lanes of the interstate, when he was struck by the sedan at the exit to Northeast 134th Street in Salmon Creek.

“This bear took the brunt of the car right in the head,” Capt. Murray Schlenker with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Police. In his 15 years with the agency, Schlenker said this is the first time he’s seen a bear hit on an interstate.

The bear died of his injuries by the time Schlenker arrived to the accident scene. The Civic had minor damage to the lower front bumper.

Read the full story here and the driver’s tale here.

Women fight city hall, score win for green thumbs

Upon receiving notice that a greenhouse her husband assembled in their Vancouver yard was in violation of city code, Omni Grover was reluctant to question it.

Was she upset a neighbor complained? Yes. Was she in disbelief the city would dictate where to put a structure that measures 6 by 8 feet? Yes.

Did she think she could fight City Hall?

As the saying goes, no.

But encouraged by her best friend of 11 years, Kati Elliott — who promised to do the talking when they pleaded the case to the city council — Grover challenged the violation this month and won.

Her win may help other city residents who want a hobby greenhouse on their urban lots but don’t have space, or adequate sun, in their backyards.

Chad Eiken, the city’s director of community and economic development, said he’ll suggest to the city’s planning commission this fall that the code regarding greenhouses be clarified and perhaps not include all of the conditions put on other “accessory structures” such as sheds, pool houses, workshops and detached garages.

Read the full story here.

Access dwindles for anglers

Richard Fazio said he understands there’s good fishing off the bank at Tena Bar, the sandy Columbia River beach downstream of Vancouver that has been in his family’s ownership since the 1950s.

That is why in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Fazio and his brothers allowed public access to their mile of shoreline for just 25 cents a day, collecting enough money to do a bit of road maintenance.

That is why the Fazios have allowed a private club of senior-age anglers called the Sand Tampers to use the beach for $50 a year, provided each member signs an agreement waiving the right to sue in the case of an accident.

But the Fazios also operate a 14-acre sand-mining operation at Tena Bar and understand the huge insurance liability they face if someone on their land gets hurt or killed.

So Richard Fazio, 64, the youngest of three surviving brothers, has the unenviable task of telling trespassers at Tena Bar that they have to leave.

Read the full story here.

Go Greek with your yogurt?

Greek yogurt is everywhere.

New brands and flavors are continuing to pop up. The TV commercials are flooding the airwaves. The 6-ounce containers are taking over the dairy aisle.

In 2012, Greek yogurt represented 28 percent of the yogurt market. That was up from 16 percent a year earlier and 3 percent three years prior, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

But how different is the Greek version from regular yogurt? That depends.

“It can be just the same as some other yogurt,” said Stasha Hornbeck, a registered dietitian with Kaiser Permanente.

Typically, the biggest differences between Greek and regular yogurt lie in the consistency and protein count.

Greek yogurt typically has a thicker texture than regular yogurt. That difference is achieved through an added step in the production process.

Read the full story here.