Morning Press: School test scores, Battle Ground bar, dog rescue

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What does the holiday weekend have in store? Local weather coverage is online here.

Here are the week's top stories and some news you may have missed

Scores: Schools miss No Child goals

photoA student gets off the bus at Hockinson Heights Elementary School in 2010. Hockinson Heights was the only traditional school in the county that met the Adequate Yearly Progress, the federal standard for accountability.

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Scores on standardized tests in public schools didn't fluctuate much when compared to the previous three years, state Superintendent Randy Dorn said Wednesday as his office released 2014 spring state testing results.

Those trends are reflected in Clark County schools.

The results released Wednesday show scores for the 2014 administration of the Measurements of Student Progress for grades three through eight, and High School Proficiency Exams and End-of-Course exams for students in high-school-level courses.

And for the first time since 2011, the scores revealed that most Washington schools didn't measure up to standards created by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Statewide, the number of eighth-graders who met the state reading standard increased from 66.3 percent to 71.5 percent. But the number of seventh-graders who met the math standard decreased from 63.8 percent to 57.8 percent. Students in sixth and eighth grade improved across the board compared to those grade-level numbers last year, Dorn said.

Read the full story here.

Battle Ground bar owner feeling the squeeze

photoAndrew Tuttle, owner of Main Street Bar in Battle Ground, on Monday shows the tight clearance between the side of his business and a city fence. If there was a fire at his bar, Tuttle said the fence would make it difficult for patrons to flee and for crews to fight the flames.

(/The Columbian)

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The owner of Battle Ground's Main Street Bar plans to sue the city, alleging that a road project next door puts his customers and employees in danger.

Last year, the city purchased the former site of Galeotti's Restaurant at 801 E. Main St., planning to eventually realign Grace Avenue to run through the space. In April, the city allowed Clark County Fire & Rescue to burn down the building in a training exercise.

Since then, the empty lot has been blocked off with a chain-link fence built about 2 feet from the side of Main Street Bar. City spokeswoman Bonnie Gilberti said it may stay that way for several years until the city has raised enough money to complete the project — estimated to cost $6.3 million.

Andrew Tuttle, who owns Main Street Bar, argues the fence right next door puts him in an awkward position if a fire happens to block the front entrance. People could exit out the back, but Tuttle said they would be boxed in by the city's fence and a house owned by Deputy Mayor Philip Johnson directly behind the bar.

Once past Tuttle's back patio, it's a quick walk to safety through the open yard, but of course, that would be trespassing. Johnson, who leases the house, said he offered to allow Tuttle's employees and patrons free access to exit through a gate into part of the yard. Tuttle, however, tells a different story, claiming Johnson tried to charge him for that access.

Read the full story here.

Alexa Efraimson announces she will run as a pro for Nike

photoCamas High distance runner Alexa Efraimson attends a press conference after she was surprised in class being named the Gatorade high school national cross country runner of the year on Thursday February 27, 2014. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)

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Camas High School senior Alexa Efraimson has decided to turn professional and forgo any collegiate eligibility, the running website Dyestat.com reported Monday.

According to the Dyestat report, Efraimson will compete professionally for Nike and remain under the tutelage of her current coach, Michael Hickey.

Efraimson told The Columbian last month that she would not compete for Camas High School in her senior season, but hadn’t made a further decision on going pro at that time.

Neither Efraimson or Hickey could be reached for comment Monday.

But Efraimson did talk to Dyestat.com.

“My family and I, along with my coach, did a lot of pros and cons lists as to whether we should go to college or whether we should go professionally,” Efraimson told Dystat. “And for my personal improvement both as an athlete and as an overall person, mentally and physically, I think that being able to stay with what we know and be able to go professional is just the best route for me.”

Efraimson said she still plans to attend college, but will not compete for that college.

Read the full story here.

Rescued dog, owner in need of rescue

photoLyle Nelson said that when his St. Bernard Greta was finally safe, he told the dog that she was grounded for life.

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WASHOUGAL — Having taken in a golden retriever with a cleft nose and jaw, a Shih Tzu that is deaf and blind and two unwanted St. Bernards, Lyle Nelson has a reputation for rescuing dogs.

But on Sunday, when he tried to help one of his dogs out of a steep and muddy ravine, he had to call on professionals to help him with a different kind of rescue.

Nelson, 57, lives in Washougal and maintains a 50-acre ranch about 5 miles east of town near the Clark-Skamania county line.

When he went out to the property Saturday to check on his dozen cattle, he brought along all four of his four-legged friends.

"I take them two to three times a week to let them run off some energy," he said. "I try to keep a pretty close eye on them but every once in a while they make a break for it."

Before he knew it, his two St. Bernards, Lucy and Greta, had taken off. He drove the large property five times, then went up and down the streets in the area, but couldn't find either of them.

He took his other two dogs home to feed them but then returned later that evening with his significant other, Diane Leasure, to search again. This time, they found Lucy.

Read the full story here.

Are you ready for back to school?

Check out our Family Room Blog to help you get ready. Here is a sample :

Care deeply and play it cool

Keep calm. Keep an eye out. Keep communicating. (And keep some frozen dinners ready.)

Those are the back-to-school recommendations of Caitlin O’Dell and Jon Joebgen, mental health professionals with Children’s Center, a Vancouver clinic for uninsured and underinsured kids and their families. (The frozen dinner idea — a fallback when you’re totally stressed — is thanks to the National Association of School Psychologists and its excellent “Back to School Transitions” handout.)

As our Family Room blog recently noted, the summer oasis of carefreedom for kids is a time of concentrated responsibility for working parents who’ve still got to think about activities and supervision. And then it flips: all of a sudden the kids have a daily business commitment. Thank goodness, many parents sigh with relief, the pressure’s off.

Which it is and it isn’t, of course, because back-to-school season can be back-to-stress season for kids. Wise parents will be proactive in helping their children get organized in advance and stay on track in the thick of things — all while playing it a little bit cool, O’Dell said.

Read the full blog post at blogs.columbian.com/family-room/.