The Morning Press: Drug babies, public hanging, cycling, Jimmie Rodgers



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

La Center family gives four children born with addiction a fresh start

Nestled in the quiet woods of La Center, past Annie’s Berry Farm, you’ll find the Johnson family home. It’s a handsome house trimmed in white with A-frame windows that let in sunlight. Open the front door, and the noise and excitement tumble out — in the form of four blond children.

Friday morning, they squirm and squeal as mom, Julianne Johnson, ties their shoes and buckles them in their car seats in the family’s minivan. It appears to be typical childhood chaos.

What you can’t tell by watching these kids is that each of them was born addicted to drugs. Tito, 3, Bree, 4, Baily, 5, and Brooklyn, 7, are not the Johnsons’ biological children. In the womb, they were exposed to a cocktail of alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. They were taken from their birth mother and put into Oregon’s foster care system.

Read the full story here.

Clark County history: The ‘hanging holiday’ of 1890

During Vancouver’s hanging holiday of 1890, witnesses said Edward Gallagher “fought like a demon” to avoid his doom.

The convicted murderer was calm when Clark County Sheriff M.J. Fleming led him from his cell that summer afternoon to the makeshift gallows erected just for him at the courthouse square.

Two hundred ticket-holders were invited by the sheriff, but on Friday, July 11, as many as 500 people — nearly 9 percent of Vancouver’s population — cheerfully filled the dirt roads near 11th and Harney in morbid curiosity. A 45-by-80-foot stockade was built to shield the gallows, but that didn’t stop the throngs from pouring in to witness the 27-year-old’s miserable end.

It was a celebration of death.

Read the full story here.

Richie Frahm transitions from hoops to cycling

OLYMPIA — By any standard, Richie Frahm is a success story.

He starred as the most unstoppable scorer in the Greater St. Helens League as a senior at Battle Ground High. He lived the fairy tale as Cinderella when his Gonzaga advanced to the Elite Eight in the 1999 NCAA tournament. And his NBA highlight, the one he could tell over and over now that he’s in retirement, came on a cold and weary night in Denver when the millionaires on the Seattle SuperSonics roster felt like they needed a day off, but Frahm picked up their slack by scoring 31 points.

Still, Frahm’s fire won’t go out.

So he filled his garage with five expensive bicycles and brought a 1993 Dodge camper van to drag his wife, their little dog and the ever present competitive companion that never leads his side five hours from their home in Spokane to this race headquartered at an elementary school in Olympia.

Read the full story here.

Realtor Patrick Ginn finds his niche in high-end home sales

Enter Patrick Ginn’s latest $1.9 million real estate listing, and the Vancouver home’s asking price needs no explanation.

Unobstructed living-room views explain everything, as scenes of the Columbia River beckon through a remodeled kitchen and main-floor master bedroom. A daylight basement continues to highlight the view, preserved by sellers who had the foresight to acquire a lot between the river and their tidy, 1970s-style home. Ginn, who specializes in high-end sales, knows he has a winner.

“There’s a feeling you get when you walk into a home. It just feels right,” said Ginn, a Vancouver broker who, at age 32, is breaking sales records.

Ginn’s focus on some of Clark County’s most coveted homes has helped him become the county’s top-selling broker in home sales for the second year in a row. In the past 12 months, he’s sold 185 houses for a total $76 million, including $55.5 million in sales so far this year. Ginn also gained national recognition this year as one of the country’s top 100 Realtors by Denver-based RealTrends magazine.

Read the full story here.

Street signs point to Jimmie Rodgers Avenue

CAMAS — The street on the hill was Jimmie Rodgers’ not-so-private play zone, remembered as a place of excessive childhood derring-do.

It was there, at Northwest 10th Avenue, where the singer-songwriter behind such hits as “Honeycomb” and “Kisses Sweeter than Wine” would take his soapbox racer to the top of the hill and zoom down it like hell on four wheels. Even as a youngster, Rodgers knew there’d be one of two outcomes on that street.

“I’d either get killed on this street,” Rodgers said with a chuckle, “or I’d have my name on it.”

On Friday, the latter came true in front of dozens of fans and family, when Camas Mayor Scott Higgins unveiled the street’s new honorary name: Jimmie Rodgers Avenue.

People who knew Rodgers during his days growing up in Camas, where his mother Mary was a much-beloved piano teacher, reminisced among themselves about the old days, when the well-coifed crooner was little more than a neighborhood sharpshooter, slinging rocks into streetlights.

Read the full story here.

Herrera Beutler seeks CRC info

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, told the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday that she has concerns with an Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing plan.

In a letter to U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp Jr., Herrera Beutler asked at least a dozen technical questions about the Coast Guard’s permitting process for the CRC, and whether anything changes now that CRC supporters are taking a new approach to attempting to move forward with the once-dead project.

Herrera Beutler also asked that the Coast Guard give her all written communication the agency has sent about the CRC in the past six months .

“I believe we need to update and upgrade the (Interstate) 5 traffic corridor, but I also live in the real world and I take my role as steward of taxpayer dollars seriously,” Herrera Beutler wrote.

Among her questions, Herrera Beutler asked Papp whether the CRC’s permit application is still valid now that Washington legislators have declined to commit critical dollars to the project. She also asked if the Oregon Department of Transportation has the authority to advance a construction project that extends into Washington.

Read the full story here.