The Morning Press: Gay marriage trends, lawn chair balloonist, oil terminal



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Another weekend over. Here is a review of some of the weekend’s top stories and some news you may have missed, including a closer look at gay marriage trends, the successful flight of a lawn chair balloonist, the amphitheater kicks off its summer season, and school scores Emmy gold.

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

Gender plays role in walk down the aisle

Same-sex marriage trends suggest that men — whether straight or gay — have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar.

In the first six months of same-marriage in Washington, just one male couple married in Clark County for every two lesbian couples that tied the knot. That mirrors what’s happened in other states and countries where marriage equality laws exist.

“Bottom line: gender matters,” said Amy Wharton, sociology professor at Washington State University Vancouver.

Gender, rather than sexual orientation, is a better predictor of marriage and family choices, she said. Women are more likely to crave marriage and children; men are more likely to have and act on sexual urges.

In Clark County, 230 female couples and 116 male couples applied for marriage licenses between Dec. 9 and June 13, according to a count by The Columbian. Those figures mimic findings of a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA that found 62 percent of same-sex couples that married in the eight states where it was legal were female.

Read the full story here.

Port of Vancouver jockeys for oil transfer terminal

A distant U.S. oil boom is creating an opportunity for the Port of Vancouver to fill its expanding rail tracks, pump up revenues and create jobs.

But the opportunity, in the form of a crude oil transfer terminal, comes with risks to the environment. And, for the first time, the final go-ahead would have to come from Washington’s governor instead of the port’s Board of Commissioners.

The plan offered by Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies is designed to initially handle 120,000 barrels of oil per day with the potential to expand to 280,000 barrels. Under a regulatory framework stretching to 1970, the companies must secure final approval from Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.

The governor recently signed a bill into law that will produce recommendations for reducing carbon emissions — triggered by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal — to fight global warming. Nevertheless, port managers hope the project wins Inslee’s favor. They are laying the groundwork to move it ahead, including crafting terms of a lease agreement they hope to recommend to the port’s three elected commissioners by July 23.

Read the full story here.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company strike a chord at Amphitheater opening

Rock fans flocked to the Sleep Country Amphitheater on the first day of summer, as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bad Company helped welcome the new season Friday night.

Bad Company took the stage first, bringing back their staples of classic rock. The English group was founded in 1973 and took a straightforward approach to rock and roll.

Originally formed in the 1960s, Lynyrd Skynyrd gained popularity for their live performances of Southern rock classics such as, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” The band’s peak fame was put to an abrupt end after three members were killed in a plane crash in 1977. However, in 1987, the surviving band members reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd, which has been touring ever since.

See the full story here.

Lawn chair balloonist touches down east of Sunset Falls

BATTLE GROUND — Just after the sun started to rise above the trees Saturday morning, Joe Barbera rode his lawn chair toward the clouds.

Barbera achieved a dream of 30 years when a cluster of helium-filled weather balloons lifted him and a lawn chair mounted on a lightweight wooden deck from his home north of Battle Ground.

After about two hours, an online tracking system indicated that Barbera was at about 15,000 feet, traveling southeast on a heading that would take him north of Beacon Rock.

But winds shifted, and Barbera’s flight ended two miles from Sunset Falls Campground, on the east edge of Clark County. He was unable to make contact with his team and spent a few hours in a tree, according to updates on the project’s website, before searchers zeroed in on him.

Read the full adventure here.

Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Vancouver schools’ TV show scores Emmy gold

Leonardo da Vinci propelled Vancouver Public Schools to local Emmy gold.

The Renaissance man was the subject of “Famous Scientist,” a regional Emmy Award-winning segment from the Vancouver Public Schools’ education series, “Science.”

Mixing visual puns, humor and historic facts, Television Production Supervisor Nick Voll and Video Production Specialist Ian Southworth created the nearly three-minute clip, which highlights da Vinci’s scientific ideas. The piece was narrated by Vancouver’s David Schmitke.

“I hadn’t realized how scientific (da Vinci) was, how his ideas were so far ahead of the technology of the time,” Voll said.

Read the full story here.