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

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Madore says he won't request to move public comment

Crowd of about 100 denounce recent actions, but some supporters heard, too

After facing more heat Tuesday morning, Clark County commissioners relented on their notion to move public testimony to the end of their meetings.

But first the commissioners heard some three hours’ worth of that testimony, most of it critical, again at their regular weekly meeting.

At the end, Commissioner David Madore told the people they have been heard.

“First of all, I apologize for moving the public comment to the end of the meeting last week,” Madore said.

Madore and fellow Republican Commissioner Tom Mielke voted to move the comment period to the end of their May 7 meeting, which resulted in members of the public waiting nearly four hours to speak their piece.

Democratic Commissioner Steve Stuart opposed the move.

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Washougal Humane Society volunteers upset by firing

Board criticized for terminating executive director

photoTamara Scharfenkamp, the former executive director of the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, feeds rescued dog Pachino. The Humane Society fired Scharfenkamp last month, a decision that some volunteers oppose.

(/The Columbian)

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WASHOUGAL — The West Columbia Gorge Humane Society is at a crossroad.

Following the firing last month of the no-kill animal shelter's top-ranking employee, the Humane Society's board members are taking heat from a vocal group of volunteers who say the move doesn't make sense.

Critics of the board say it's unclear why former Executive Director Tamara Scharfenkamp was abruptly terminated. The humane society's leadership says it's a confidential personnel matter.

At the center of the dispute is a larger issue concerning the future of the nonprofit group, which relies on volunteers and donations to stay afloat.

"I'm concerned that what's happening now is hurting the shelter," said Mark Fruechtel, a member of the Humane Society's board.

A handful of the shelter's longtime volunteers have expressed dismay at the board's decision to sever ties with Scharfenkamp, whose firing comes at a time when the Humane Society remains embroiled in a bitter dispute with a neighboring business at the Port of Camas-Washougal.

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Waterfront 'Wendy Rose' statue beheaded

Police seek those responsible for vandalizing tribute to women who worked in shipyards

Someone has beheaded "Wendy Rose."

The large, metal statue, which normally stands about 10 feet tall on the Columbia Waterfront Trail, stands a little shorter now.

"The head, somehow, was stolen," city of Vancouver spokeswoman Barb Ayers said. "I can't fathom how this happened, frankly."

Although the statue doesn't technically have a head, it was originally built with a bandana — red and white polka dotted glass welded between metal — similar to the one worn by the iconic "Rosie the Riveter."

The bandana was taken sometime between May 7 and may 10 , when one of the sculpture's artists noticed the piece of the artwork missing.

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Pedestrian injured in tractor-trailer crash on Mill Plain

A pedestrian was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a tractor-trailer Monday afternoon in downtown Vancouver, police say. The accident occurred where Mill Plain Boulevard turns into East 15th Street and blocked westbound traffic on 15th for several hours.

The pedestrian was later identified as Kevin J. Hoskins, 25, with no listed address. He was listed in critical condition at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Thursday afternoon.

Emergency personnel were dispatched to 470 E. 15th St. at 2:25 p.m. Monday

A 25-year-old man crossed the street in front of a westbound tractor-trailer, which the driver was not able to stop in time, said Kim Kapp, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Police Department.

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Crestline kindergartners get a preview of Dozer Day

A caravan of Evergreen Public Schools buses lurched to a stop in the Cemex/Fisher Quarry in east Vancouver. When the doors opened, four classes of Crestline Elementary School kindergartners tumbled out, ready for the sneak preview of Dozer Day.

Each year, the Nutter Family Foundation offers a district elementary school an opportunity to experience Dozer Day free of charge the Friday before the event officially opens. Last year's selected school was Crestline Elementary. This year's school was Mill Plain Elementary, which has hosted the kindergartners of Crestline Elementary since the February 3 fire destroyed the school.

The event runs today and Sunday.

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New owners take a gamble on Oak Tree Restaurant

Main focus will be on food; cardroom will re-open later

photoLarry Bowman, general manager of the Oak Tree Restaurant, left, talks with cook Brian Hansen about kitchen layout. The Oak Tree is preparing for a "soft open" on May 20.

(/The Columbian)

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WOODLAND — The new owners of the Oak Tree Restaurant are anteing up in an attempt to revive the once-thriving Woodland institution.

Contractors are putting the finishing touches on the spacious building, installing new fixtures, applying fresh coats of paint and affixing carpets. All told, the Oak Tree's new owners are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate the restaurant, which fell on hard times last year following its transformation into Woodland's first cardroom. Shuttered since December, when mounting debts forced the casino and restaurant to close, the Oak Tree has sat empty, a reminder for some Woodland residents of unrealized promises.

"When it was a cardroom, it was never busy," said Gary Williams, a real estate agent who lives in Woodland. "It's like they sacrificed their dining clientele for their gambling clientele."

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