The Morning Press: Benton, CRC, bullriding and bibles



State Sen. Don Benton, front, and State Rep. Paul Harris at The Academy in Vancouver on July 11, 2013.

A top assistant to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a letter this week that an Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing is legally permissible as long as no Washington money goes to the project.

Sindhu Koirala, right, of Nepal recites the Oath of Allegiance during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony Friday at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. She was among 29 people to become new U.S. citizens, including, left, Dina Goncharuk, and center, Galina Nesterchuk.

Using a horse trough, Larry Cutler baptizes Daniel Sage at the conclusion of the camp at the Vancouver Saddle Club on Aug. 15. About two dozen campers received the altar call.

Showers expected through Wednesday. Check the forecast here.

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

Benton: Too much flows to water fund

Clark County Director of Environmental Services Don Benton told Clark County commissioners last week that he’s concerned with the state of the county’s clean water fund.

The fund is a dedicated account at the county that pays for operations, maintenance and capital facilities improvements to stormwater infrastructure.

In theory, the fund is paid for with development fees charged per parcel on new construction. But in practice the fund is also being subsidized by the county’s road fund.

And Benton says that practice of diverting monies is troubling, as it appears too much cash is headed to the clean water fund.

“This transfer could face problems in a state audit,” Benton said during commissioner’s weekly board time meeting. “It’s hard to make the nexus; we make a nexus, but the math was questionable.”

Read the full story here.

Washington AG: Oregon-led CRC passes legal muster

A top assistant to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said this week that an Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing would pass legal muster — as long as funds from Washington aren’t used in the project.

In letters to Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral F.J. Kenney, Senior Assistant Attorney General Bryce Brown wrote that Washington can legally authorize Oregon to build and operate the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement on Washington soil.

The Washington Legislature adjourned earlier this year without giving any money to the CRC. After being declared dead by leaders in both states, the project has re-emerged as a pared-down effort with Oregon at the helm. The revised plan would still build a new bridge over the Columbia with light rail and tolls, but would not immediately include any freeway work north of state Highway 14. The revised project would cost an estimated $2.7 billion.

Read the full story here.

29 become U.S. citizens at Fort Vancouver ceremony

Twenty-nine people from 10 nations became U.S. citizens at a local naturalization ceremony Friday morning. This was the fourth year for the ceremony at Fort Vancouver, and it’s timed to coincide with Constitution Week.

Evelyn Sahli, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Portland, led the candidates in reciting the Oath of Allegiance. During the pledge, candidates promised to renounce their home nations and support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The new citizens came from China, Guatemala, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine.

Read the full story here.

Veterans put personal mark on dedication of VFW plaza

Like many veterans, Gary Barker was glad for a chance to add his name to a list of local service personnel who fought overseas.

“This is the wall I want my name on. I have friends on the other wall,” Barker said, referring to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The black granite wall in Washington, D.C., lists more than 58,000 military personnel who died in the Vietnam War.

“I’m thankful my name isn’t there,” the former Marine said just before a Friday morning ceremony in downtown Vancouver.

The ceremony marked the dedication of the VFW Memorial Plaza, a tribute to all military personnel who have served in foreign wars.

Those who turned out represented 75 years of American history, from World War II veterans who enlisted before Pearl Harbor to more recent service personnel who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The plaza project, which includes a granite monument and a flagpole, resulted from a partnership among local veterans and the city of Vancouver. The plaza is on the corner of Columbia Street and Phil Arnold Way, just southeast of City Hall.

Read the full story here.

Bibles and bull riding at Clark County Rodeo Bible Camp

The sun hasn’t crested the horizon yet, but boots are already kicking up dust around the horse stalls.

Clark County Rodeo Bible Camp participants hoist hay-filled wheelbarrows and haul hoses to replenish water before most folks have even hit the alarm clock snooze button.

“We get up, we feed them twice a day, in the morning and at night. We have to clean their stalls, we put them out to pasture,” camper Hana Wyles, 14, of Battle Ground says of horse duty. “It’s definitely a big part of your life and … that’s just the way you live.”

The camp, which was started four years ago by retired rodeo veteran Cutler of Scio, Ore., and his friend Joe Thompson of Camas, has grown from about 10 teens to 103. It’s basically a Bible camp; rodeo is the draw, camp founder Larry Cutler says.

Read the full story here.