The Morning Press: Pike's remarks, budget deal, B.G. Superintendent, Crestline

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Lawmakers get some work done and stir controversy this week. Here is wrap-up of some top news and news you may have missed including, Rep. Pike angers teachers, Battle Ground superintendent to get $400,000 payout, man rescues 4-year-old who fell from window and the Columbian's pets contest.

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

Teachers take issue with Rep. Pike's Facebook comments

State Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, is taking heat for a Facebook post in which she tells teachers to pick a different profession if they have a problem with their pay.

“Congratulations on enjoying your last day of the school year,” Pike wrote in her open letter to public schoolteachers. “If I had the opportunity to choose my career all over, I would have opted to get the necessary degree and teaching certificate so that I too could enjoy summertime off with my children, spring break vacations, Christmas break vacations, paid holidays, a generous pension and health insurance benefits.

“Instead,” continued Pike, an elected official and advertising consultant, “I chose to work a career in private sector business so that I could be one of those taxpayers who funds your salaries and benefits as a state employee in a local school district.”

Read the full story here.

Battle Ground school superintendent to get $401,715 payout

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.

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After the Battle Ground school board president insisted for more than a month that departing Superintendent Shonny Bria would receive no special favors, it has been revealed that she will get a payout of $401,715.

The payout includes $300,000 in cash, equivalent to nearly two years of her $154,699 annual salary, $45,360 in insurance benefits for her and her husband, $41,149 in vacation cash-out, and a payment of $15,206 for unused sick leave into a health savings account.

The agreement was signed April 29, the same day Bria announced her “retirement” and six days after voters approved a four-year maintenance and operations levy. It wasn’t revealed until Wednesday afternoon, Bria’s last day in the office.

But Monty Anderson, board vice president, said Thursday, “Put two and two together. She was asked to leave.”

The district initially announced only that Bria would receive $300,000 plus benefits. When pressed later Thursday, the district disclosed the value of those “benefits,” which raised Bria’s actual payout to $401,715.

Read the full story here.

'Handshake agreement' reached on state operating budget

photoHouse Speaker Frank Chopp, left, D-Seattle, talks with Rep. Kris Lytton, right, D-Anacortes, on the floor of the House chamber during a break in a special session of the Washington Legislature on Tuesday in Olympia.

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Washington lawmakers reached a long-sought accord on a new state budget Thursday and hurried to schedule votes that would avert a widespread state government shutdown.

Legislative leaders hoped to give final approval of the measure before state employees leave work Friday, so that they would be certain their jobs would be available again on Monday morning. The $33.6 billion, two-year spending proposal was still unavailable for public review Thursday afternoon.

“The deal reached today makes it clear that state government will continue to operate,” Gov. Jay Inslee said at a news conference earlier in the day, flanked by lawmakers from both parties.

Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter, the top negotiator in the House, said he and Republican Sen. Andy Hill finalized the new spending plan Thursday morning and shook hands on an agreement. Budget negotiators said they were confident the measure would swiftly make it through the Legislature, although Hunter indicated lawmakers were simultaneously discussing a variety of peripheral issues.

Read the full story here.

Neighbor hops fence, saves girl from two-story plummet

With a shrug and a smile, Nate Forest says he was just in the right place at the right time. Though he concedes that some may wonder if it's something greater, something divine, that put him underneath his neighbor's window ledge, seconds before 4-year-old Brynley Verbeck fell two stories into his arms.

On the morning of Friday, June 7, Forest and his wife, Ginille, were holding a garage sale in the driveway of their home in Battle Ground's Parkview Trails neighborhood, when a scream pierced the cloudless blue sky.

Ginille ran to the backyard, thinking her 5-year-old son who was playing outside with the neighbor boy got hurt. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Brynley dangling from a second-

story window of the house next door, holding on by one hand.

Ginille's screams prompted Nathan to run over. He scaled the six-foot fence separating the yards, splintering one of its pickets, and stood underneath the window.

"Honestly, that part was so fast, I don't remember it," he said.

Read the full story here.

State government shutdown would close some fisheries

photoDelbert McMahon of Vancouver looks up at an Osprey as it flies overhead with a trout at Vancouver Lake on Tuesday McMahon was fishing for trout and wasn't having the same amount of luck the Osprey was having. Salmon and steelhead fishing will stay open in the Columbia River and its tributaries, but angling for trout, kokanee and bass in lakes and reservoirs will close if there is a government shutdown, state wildlife director Phil Anderson said Wednesday.

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Salmon and steelhead fishing will stay open in the Columbia River and its tributaries, but angling for trout, kokanee and bass in lakes and reservoirs will close if there is a government shutdown, state wildlife director Phil Anderson said Wednesday.

“I think the likelihood of a closure is remote, but it is a potential,’’ he said.

If the government closure materializes on Monday, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will close the gates at its many wildlife habitat and public hunting areas.

No decision has been if the gates would close at state boat ramps and water access areas, he said.

With only a few exceptions, the state cannot spend money unless it is authorized by the Legislature.

But one of those exceptions is the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, an $8.75 fee anglers pay to support management in the Columbia and tributaries.

Anderson said endorsement fees can be used to pay enforcement officers, catch monitoring and hatchery workers to keep Columbia River recreational fisheries open.

Read the full story here.

Crestline makes a comeback

photoCrews work to transform the former Hewlett-Packard site into the temporary home of Crestline Elementary School for the 2013-14 school year. A new school will be built at the original Crestline site to replace the school that burned in February.

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The former electronics factory and office space that had been shuttered for years was a beehive of activity. In what had been a cavernous space with a sea of 3,500 cubicles, classrooms had been carved out. Now, electricians, painters and other construction workers were helping Crestline Elementary make a comeback.

A temporary school is already taking shape in Hewlett-Packard’s former factory and office space.

A Feb. 3 fire destroyed Crestline Elementary School, displacing about 500 students and 50 staff members, who were divided by grade level and bused to five elementary schools in Evergreen Public Schools for the remainder of the school year.

In the fall, the Crestline community will be reunited under one roof in 68,845 square feet of the former HP facility. For the 2013-2014 year, Crestline will occupy a corner of the 166,000-square-foot building, which is now owned by SEH America.

“I’m superexcited to close this chapter and get my kids into one building next year,” said Bobbi Hite, Crestline’s principal.

Read the full story here.

Buy Vancouver starting to pay off

Despite Vancouver's proximity to sales-tax-free Oregon, its "buy local" movement has spread since its launch early last year by a handful of businesses.

Buy Vancouver should continue to distribute the message to bring more businesses on board, said Jeff Milchen, co-founder and co-director of the American Independent Business Alliance, based in Bozeman, Mont.

"If many, many businesses in Clark County are doing this, people will see it and it will start to catch on," said Milchen, who delivered the keynote address at a brainstorming workshop held by the group Buy Vancouver on Monday at The Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver. Milchen called for consistent marketing as one of the keys to getting businesses on board -- including retailers, restaurants, service businesses -- and their patrons.

Milchen's presentation also featured examples from some of the 80 buy local groups across the country that are members of the nonprofit American Independent Business Alliance. Successful campaigns start with clear messaging that educates consumers on the potential economic benefits of spending their dollars within the local community.

Read the full story here.

Columbian Pets Contest

Pets. You have them, and we want to see them. Enter our Cutest Pet Photo Contest now at

http://bit.ly/11SyAe8 and you could win some amazing prizes from our sponsors, All-Natural Pet Supply, Tails Are Waggin' Doggy Day Care and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. We'll pick a first and second place photo on July 15 and publish the photos in the July 19 Life section.