Morning Press: Washougal Council, Herrera Beutler’s baby, IGA closing



Longtime Vancouver grocer Scott Kooistra has announced Dec. 28 will be the final day of business for St. Johns IGA.

Bri Andrews, left, a single mom, and friend Travis Schmidt pick up emergency food bags at the East County Family Services Center on Tuesday in Washougal. The center has 300 families on record that it has helped since July. From July to the end of October, it has handed out 1,521 emergency food bags to local families in need.

"When you're 56 years old and you're crawling around on the floor and you haven't done that in 20 years," it's both a joy and a challenge, Todd Williams said.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and her husband, Daniel Beutler, welcomed their first child, Abigail Rose Beutler, on July 15.

The turkeys for Thanksgiving are cooked on Monday at the Clark County Jail Work Center. The skin and drippings are boiled to make the base for the gravy. "We don't waste a thing," said Jason MacDonald, food services coordinator.

There is snow is the forecast Monday Check out what the rest of the week’s weather forecast for Clark County looks like here.

This week’s top stories and news you may have missed:

Longtime Vancouver grocer to close St. Johns IGA

Five years ago, business was looking up for independent Vancouver grocer Scott Kooistra.

But the outlook has changed dramatically for his St. Johns IGA store, which has been facing slumping sales tied to an unsteady economy, a yearlong highway closure and a rush of new discount grocers moving in on his central Vancouver territory. Kooistra is ready to hang up his apron for good, and on Friday he officially announced plans to close his 14,000-square-foot food store at the corner of St. Johns Road and Fort Vancouver Way.

“Our last day of business is going to be Dec. 28,” said Kooistra, who owns the store with his wife, Christina.

The couple, who spent many sleepless nights worrying about their livelihood, have listed the nearly 3-acre property and building for sale, asking $750,000.

In the meantime, they are hoping a new idea for the site will pay off until a sale comes through. Kooistra’s family has owned and operated the store for 30 years.

Read the full story here.

Social services agency’s funding could be cut in Washougal

Two Washougal city councilors want to rescind a $7,500 subsidy to a social service organization because it provides pregnant women a list of low-income medical clinics, some of which offer patients information about where to seek abortions.

Council members Dave Shoemaker and Connie Jo Freeman say they want to discuss stripping the local office of the Children’s Home Society of Washington of its city funding, arguing that the organization tacitly endorses the procedure. A discussion of whether to strike funding for the Children’s Home Society of Washington could take place at Washougal’s Dec. 2 city council meeting.

“I don’t want to subsidize what they do,” Shoemaker said. “I don’t think using taxpayer money is appropriate.”

Children’s Home Society of Washington, a local arm of a statewide nonprofit, provides low-income families with food, school supplies and clothing. But it also disseminates information about low-cost medical clinics in Clark County.

Read the full story here.

Camas couple overcome hurdles to adopt granddaughter

CAMAS — Todd Williams was at the podium, making a top-level pitch to a firm considering his help with a complicated telecommunications system, when he sniffed something stinky.

His infant granddaughter was there beside him in her carrier. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were at stake. So was a miserable child.

According to Williams, he never stopped talking state-of-the-art telephony while scooping up the child, laying her on his lectern and making the necessary equipment upgrade. He scored the business deal, too.

Talk about gumption. But that’s just the sort of skill and fortitude you’ve developed as an older parent, he said — one who long ago passed all the initial tests that first-timers find so nerve-wracking.

Such seasoning is also what enabled Todd and his wife, Tammi, to survive the pain of a truly broken family and to make a dramatic, life-changing decision that helped things from cracking up even more. When it seemed the only way to prevent their granddaughter from disappearing into the foster system, Todd and Tammi Williams decided — with little warning or hesitation — to adopt her and bring her home.

Read the full story here.

Congresswoman’s daughter may be home by Christmas

The infant daughter of U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was moved from the hospital to an outpatient facility in California last week, and the Camas Republican hopes she can bring her daughter home to Southwest Washington by Christmas, her spokesman said Monday.

While in the womb, Herrera Beutler’s first child, Abigail Rose Beutler, was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome. It’s a condition that stifles kidney development, reduces amniotic fluid production in the uterus, and typically prevents the baby’s lungs from developing.

Surprising the medical field, Abigail was born prematurely in July with fully developed lungs. Her kidneys weren’t functioning, though, and she was whisked off to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., for dialysis treatments. She will eventually need a kidney transplant.

“Dan (Beutler) and Jaime were able to check Abigail out of the hospital three days ago, and she is currently in outpatient care in California under close supervision,” Drew Griffin, a spokesman for Herrera Beutler, said by email Monday. The couple is “thrilled for Abigail to reach this next milestone in her journey and are enjoying their first time spent with their daughter outside of the hospital setting.”

Read the full story here.

Thanksgiving in the Clark County Jail — dinner for 800

Diamond Boedeker is used to preparing food for her family in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

This year, she prepared the holiday meal for a much larger and unexpected family: the inmates at the Clark County Jail Work Center.

“You’ve got to make the best out of it,” she said.

Boedeker, 24, said that since she was booked in jail in August for her fourth driving under the influence charge, she has become close with the other inmates.

“You can share a special day with people you’ve made relationships with,” she said. Although she can’t be with her family, Boedeker said, “I still have this family as a support system that I can rely on and cook for.”

A team of about 30 inmates at the Jail Work Center spent the four days leading up to Thanksgiving preparing for the special meal: defrosting and cooking the turkeys and turning the skin and drippings from the pan into a base for the gravy. Inmates assembled the homemade stuffing from leftover bread crusts and mixed the ingredients for the pumpkin pudding.

Read the full story here.