The Morning Press: A review of the week's news



A look back at some of this week's top stories:

Cowlitz casino plan thrown out by federal judge

In a stunning reversal that dealt a serious blow to plans for a Cowlitz Indian Tribe casino, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., reversed herself Wednesday and threw out a 2010 Record of Decision that gave the tribe the right to establish a reservation west of La Center.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein denied a motion by Clark County and other plaintiffs to throw out a revised Record of Decision. The federal government issued the revised decision in 2012 in acknowledgment that its 2010 Record of Decision on the Cowlitz was flawed. Rothstein later said she’d reconsider her ruling.

On Wednesday, Rothstein issued a 12-page decision explaining her conclusion that the plaintiffs had been correct: “To allow the federal defendants to unilaterally change the 2010 ROD would run afoul of the (Administrative Procedures Act’s) limits on administrative review and undermine this court’s jurisdiction.”

But by saying the federal government shouldn’t have been allowed to issue a 2012 ROD, it left the government in a position to try and defend the 2010 ROD, which has been withdrawn.

Read the full story here.

State of the County: 'We're in the best shape we can be'

Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart said the state of Clark County is as strong as he could hope, given a stagnant economy and myriad challenges facing the current commissioners.

"We're in the best shape we can be, considering the state of our economy, our state and our nation," Stuart said in the State of the County address Thursday afternoon. Stuart spoke to a full crowd in the auditorium at Prairie High School. The message he delivered was that commissioners and the county's partners must work together as they address planning issues and job growth concerns into the future.

All three commissioners took a turn at the microphone Thursday. Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke both told the stories of their history and how they found their way to Clark County.

Read the full story here.

Starbucks stabbing suspect may have been motivated by religious extremism

A 55-year-old suspect in the stabbing of two people in a Starbucks coffee shop drive-thru at one of the busiest intersections in Clark County may have been motivated by religious extremism, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Scott C. Fandrich of Ridgefield appeared Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of first-degree assault.

Judge Barbara Johnson set bail at $500,000. Fandrich is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges March 22. Vancouver attorney Jack “John” Peterson was appointed to defend him.

Fandrich wore an orange jumpsuit and limped into the courtroom. In a low voice, he mumbled answers to questions from Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield.

Read the full story here.

Vancouver Fire Department takes the heat

photo Vancouver firefighters, from left, Capt. Gregg Roberts, Isaac Eldred and firefighter-paramedic Mark Bennett work with an AMR paramedic at the scene of a March 1 motor vehicle accident on Interstate 5.

(/The Columbian)

The Vancouver Fire Department, responsible for providing emergency medical services for more than half of Clark County's population, has been experiencing pains of its own: a growing deficit, a shrinking workforce and stations that would not withstand a major earthquake.

The condition seems serious but more money to ease the predicament is unlikely.

If this was about any other department, save for police, the easiest cure would be more cuts.

But the Vancouver City Council has named public safety as its No. 1 priority, which reflects public sentiment.

The fire department has been cut as part of overall city reductions, but police and fire have been relatively spared compared to other departments providing mandated services, such as parks. City officials know further reductions in fire services won't just lead to slower response times, they'll potentially impact residential and commercial fire insurance rates, and councilors have not expressed interest in reducing services.

Read the full story here.

Some things you may have missed:

HP excels at life in the fast lane

With Hewlett-Packard's newest inkjet printer, a product hatched partly in Vancouver, many numbers stagger.

Some examples: The newly released Officejet Pro X printer contains 42,240 nozzles, each placing ink drops one-third the size of a human hair on a piece of paper. The ink drops onto the page at a speed of up to 30 miles per hour. Hewlett-Packard boasts that the printer can produce documents at half the cost per page of comparable laser printers, while using just half as much energy.

But HP is banking on one number, and it's one that employees of HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group in Vancouver are especially proud of: this machine can produce up to 70 printed pages per minute. In fact, the new Officejet model is listed in Guinness World Records as the world's fastest inkjet or laser printer in its price range. That claim is based on a test of comparable printers undertaken April 6 in Vancouver. (The record is based on the printer's fastest setting; a higher-quality setting prints 42 pages per minute).

The new Officejet Pro X printers are getting rave reviews, even from inkjet skeptics. "Blazing fast," declared one technology geek blog. "The baddest business inkjet printer of all," claimed another. Among mainstream computer publications, Computer Shopper joined the praise chorus by calling the Officejet Pro X "a slam-dunk winner for small businesses and workgroups."

Read the full story here.

Storro hopes to shed light on mental illness issues

photoBethany Storro stands before a judge during a brief court appearance Sept. 29, 2010 in Clark County Superior Court.


Bethany Storro has been accused of being an attention seeker, a racist and a scam artist. She purposefully damaged her face with drain cleaner in 2010 and then concocted a story about being attacked by a nonexistent black woman. Then, she accepted thousands of dollars in donations from people in the community who believed her story.

But the Vancouver woman, now 30, said she's none of those things.

Storro sat down with The Columbian on Tuesday to try to clear up what she said are misconceptions about what happened and to bring attention to the dangers of undiagnosed and untreated mental illness, she said.

"I really want to help people," she said. "If I could save just one person from hurting themselves or committing suicide … I would be happy."

Read the full story here.

It's your yoga

How's that body feel?

Maybe it hurts. Maybe it's functional, graceful, even beautiful. Or maybe it's, um, OK, probably?

Maybe you have no idea how it feels. Yoga can help you figure it out — and, while you're at it, figure out who you really are.

Yoga "is about coming home to know how it feels to live in this shape," said teacher Sundari SitaRam of downtown Vancouver's Shanti Yoga Center.

"Body awareness" is a central point, agreed teacher Melonie Nielsen. But it doesn't stop there. Because it combines poses and movement with motionless meditation, serious exertion with deep relaxation, yoga is a discipline for both body and mind.

Read the full story here.