The Morning Press: Suit filed against county; Warrant sweep nets arrests; Vancouver in Top 100

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

Unfair hiring complaint names Madore, Mielke

Environmental services employee seeks more than $300,000

photoCounty Commissioners David Madore, left, Tom Mielke

A Clark County employee intends to file a lawsuit against the county, and Clark County Commissioners Tom Mielke and David Madore, over the two Republicans’ decision to bypass county protocol when hiring state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, as environmental services director.

Anita Largent, who served as the interim director of environmental services before Benton’s appointment, alleges in a tort claim filed with the county Thursday that the hiring of Benton “violated nearly every written county policy promising equal employment opportunity, non-discrimination and fairness in hiring.”

She is seeking damages of at least $300,000.

Largent, who is still a manager within the environmental services department, also states in the claim that the appointment of Benton not only violated county policy, but also state law against discrimination and portions of the U.S. Civil Rights Acts of 1964.

Specifically, the claim alleges gender discrimination in the hiring because no qualified female candidates were considered.

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Warrant sweep targets domestic violence offenders

Law enforcement looking for violators of protection orders

photoDeputies take Martin Flack, 55, into custody Wednesday for allegedly failing to make contact with his Department of Corrections probation officer, among other compliance issues. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office took part in a national effort to hold domestic violence suspects and offenders accountable.

(/The Columbian)

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After getting no answer to their knocks on the door, law enforcement officials went to the backyard of the blue house in the Sifton neighborhood.

There, they found 55-year-old Martin Flack, who had not contacted his probation officers in months.

“I was getting ready to call you guys,” Flack said to the officers as he stood in handcuffs in the driveway.

“They always say that,” said Jennifer Brough, a Department of Corrections officer.

Flack’s arrest was part of a countywide sweep by nearly 30 law enforcement officers Wednesday to round up domestic violence suspects and offenders who were not fulfilling their obligations to the courts. Offenses included failing to appear for a court hearing, failing to check in with a probation officer and failing to pay a fine.

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Retail giant Walmart planting its footprint in Battle Ground

It's a bright October afternoon, and Battle Ground's main drag is bumper to bumper as residents make their rounds to stores and restaurants along the commercial corridor.

The steady traffic on the Clark County city's Main Street, which doubles as state Highway 502 leading west to Interstate 5, provides a stream of business for the retailers along its shores. Complexes anchored by Fred Meyer, Albertsons and Safeway line the route on the east and west sides of Battle Ground's busiest intersection at Main and Southwest 10th Avenue, which is also state Highway 503. Smaller "mom-and-pops," such as florists, cafes and hardware stores, fill in the spaces around the anchors. On this particular day, the parking lots bustle with shoppers carrying parcels and loading grocery bags into their trunks.

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Vancouver ranks among most livable U.S. cities

No. 96 on Livability.com list of best places

photoGabrielle Gache, 5 and Olivia Kerr, 3, clap with the beat of the music from the Vancouver Symphony in Esther Short Park.

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Vancouver is one of the top 100 places to live in the United States, according to a ranking released by Livability.com today.

We may fall at No. 96, but hey, we made the list.

The web site named Palo Alto, Calif., the best city among those with a population of 20,000 to 350,000.

Livability.com, a division of a Tennessee-based communications company, worked with the Martin Prosperity Institute, part of the University of Toronto, to develop the ranking. They scored 1,700 small and mid-sized cities based on economics, housing, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care.

“It’s not surprising to me that Vancouver is again being recognized by outside experts as being such a quality place to live,” Mayor Tim Leavitt said. “It points to community leadership that recognizes that a quality community has many different values.”

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Camas school board votes to keep basketball coach

Gillispie's contract approved by 3-2 vote

photoSkyler Gillispie, Camas High boys basketball head coach

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CAMAS — The Camas school board on Monday approved the contract of boys basketball coach Skyler Gillispie for the 2013-14 season by a vote of 3-2.

Some parents of players in the program had previously complained about Gillispie’s behavior, sending school officials a lengthy complaint in February at the conclusion of last basketball season.

In June, The Columbian reported that Mike Nerland, the district superintendent, wrote a letter to parents, explaining that the district’s investigation concluded that Gillispie’s actions at times were inappropriate. After taking steps to improve the behavior, Nerland and other Camas High School officials recommended that Gillispie remain as the head coach. The school board would then have to approve the coach’s contract in the fall.

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Science takes on question of Sasquatch

Geneticist says she's proved legend is true

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You can doubt the science, but there's no doubt that people who claim to have seen a Sasquatch feel stigmatized.

Olympic Peninsula resident Rich Germeau, who was an officer with the La Push Police Department for 14 years, said he doesn't blame folks for finding the stories bizarre. His goal is to prove that the creatures are real, he said.

"I was in my patrol car on my way to the office in July 2000, and one stepped in front of me," Germeau said. "I had to put on my brakes. It was kind of a big eye-opener for me. I watched the stories on TV and I thought there was no possible way that could exist."

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