The Morning Press: Marijuana sales, lung transplant, flu death, Albertsons

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Will the fog continue? Check it out the weekend forecast here.

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

Vancouver likely to follow state law on pot businesses

photoOfficials have processed more than 6,600 marijuana business license applications in Washington state, including 291 in Clark County, and they still have more to go.

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With uncertainty over how far local jurisdictions can go in regulating state-licensed marijuana businesses, the city of Vancouver seems likely to simply follow state law.

Proposed zoning regulations were reviewed Tuesday by the Vancouver Planning Commission and given a green light for a public hearing.

The commission, which serves as an advisory group to the city council, will vote on the ordinance following a public hearing, 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at City Hall, 415 W. Sixth St.

In September, the city council adopted a six-month moratorium on marijuana retail facilities to allow more time to enact zoning rules.

Principal planner Bryan Snodgrass said Tuesday he anticipates the city council will vote on the ordinance before the moratorium expires in March.

Tuesday's meeting was a departure from a Jan. 8 work session with the Board of Clark County Commissioners, as Vancouver officials plan to follow state guidelines established under the voter-approved law.

Read the full story here.

More marijuana news:

Marijuana grow could sprout in a Battle Ground building

A Battle Ground developer has filed an application to build what could become one of the county’s first legal marijuana grow operations.

Dennis Pavlina, principal of the Gold Medal Group and developer of Battle Ground Village, filed paperwork on behalf of an outside brokerage group to develop an 18,000-square-foot building at 1618 S.E. Commerce Ave. The 1.02-acre property, which Pavlina owns, is zoned light industrial and appears to meet the state's requirements for growing marijuana, approved by voters in 2012.

No deal is in place, Pavlina said, as the currently unnamed ownership group is awaiting approval from the Washington Liquor Control Board. Pavlina said he plans to sell the land if the state signs off on the group's application.

"Right now, I'm just getting land approved for this use," Pavlina said.

The newfound interest in the property came as a surprise to Pavlina, who said he didn't know it was possible to build a marijuana facility there until he received interest from the group. It would become the first parcel of land

Pavlina has sold in roughly a decade, he said.

Read the full story here.

Vancouver boy waits for transplant

photoAlex Campbell, 9, with his mom, Mandy Campbell, was transported recently from Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland to Texas Children's Hospital.

(/The Columbian)

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PORTLAND — Alex Campbell's room is quiet. The natural light from the Portland sky illuminates the room. Handmade get-well cards sit on a shelf across from his bed. Those, he points out, were made by his friends at Salmon Creek Elementary School, where Alex is in fourth grade.

Alex, 9, leans back in his bed, his head cushioned by a pillow covered with images of cowboys and horses. A fleece snowman blanket is draped over his legs. His mother, Mandy Campbell, sits in a chair by his side, where she plans to stay until her youngest child is better.

Just a few months ago, Alex was his normal, energetic self.

"Alex is so active and athletic, and loves sports," Mandy said. "He's just always going."

"How quickly it happened," she added as her voice trails off.

These days, Alex spends most of his time in his hospital bed. A thin, clear tube runs beneath Alex's nose, supplying additional oxygen.

"I kinda get all dizzy if I get up to the bathroom," Alex said.

Read the full story here.

Albertsons to close 2 more Clark County stores

photoAlbertsons announced Monday it will be closing two under-performing stores in Vancouver, including the East Fourth Plain store pictured and a store in the Padden Parkway Marketplace.

(/The Columbian)

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Albertsons announced Monday it will close two more Clark County grocery stores, leaving just two remaining locations to face the increased competition from deep-discount supermarkets.

Shutting down for good on Feb. 20 are the Albertsons store at East Fourth Plain Boulevard and Stapleton Road and the Padden Parkway location, according to a spokesman for the Boise-based company. The economy's downturn over the last few years and the local expansion of discount grocery stores, such as Wal-Mart and others, made it hard for the two closing stores to remain competitive.

"The stores identified have not been profitable for quite some time, and despite the best efforts of the company and our associates, we have not been able to reposition them to better compete in the marketplace," said Dennis McCoy, communications and public affairs manager for Albertsons' Pacific Northwest territory.

Read the full story here.

Backyard a target for speeding vehicles

photoPhoto courtesy of Ryan Euverman Ryan Euverman's two fences were destroyed in November, when a vehicle missed the sharp turn on Southeast 168th Avenue and plowed through his backyard. The vehicle slammed into neighbor Marilyn Crosson's home, damaging her bathroom.

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The first time someone drove through Ryan Euverman's fence, it might have been a fluke.

The second time, the vehicle that flew through his backyard fence stopped when it hit a play structure his daughters use. The third time, a driver hit the fence in broad daylight. But the fourth time? That was probably the worst.

That's when a vehicle speeding down Southeast 168th Avenue in Vancouver's Bennington neighborhood failed to make the 90-degree turn near Euverman's backyard. It was about 11 p.m. on a Sunday last November. The vehicle took out the fence on the south side of his property, barreled through the length of his yard, took out the north-side fence and crashed into his neighbor's house, damaging a bathroom.

"It's gotten to the point where you have trouble sleeping," Euverman said. At night, "you hear (a car) and you hold your breath, thinking, 'Are they coming through?'"

Euverman and his wife, Jennifer Euverman, asked the city of Vancouver multiple times for help with the problem. Since then, city workers have striped the street's center line with raised yellow reflectors and installed arrow signs to alert drivers of the sharp turn. Euverman also attached several red reflectors to his fence.

Read the full story here.

Clark County sees first flu death of year

photoClick to enlarge.

For the second time in as many years, the flu has proven deadly in Clark County.

On Monday, a Vancouver man in his 80s died from influenza. The man, who also had underlying medical conditions, died after contracting the H1N1 strain, said Don Strick, spokesman for Clark County Public Health.

From the beginning of December through Jan. 8, the state has recorded 11 laboratory-confirmed flu deaths.

"The total isn't atypical and falls in line with previous flu seasons, as we're just now starting to reach the peak of flu season," said Marqise Allen, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Health.

Last flu season, 54 people died from the virus, including three in Clark County.

During the 2009-10 season, during the H1N1 or "swine flu" pandemic, 98 Washington residents died from the flu, according to state health department data.

The year before, nobody in Clark County died from the virus, and only 18 statewide.

This year, eight of the 11 people who have died from the flu (which doesn't include the recent Clark County death) were over the age of 50. Two men who died were in their 40s and one Snohomish woman was in her 30s.

Health officials know the current total, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Read the full story here.

Woman with Down syndrome retires after fulfilling career

photoShelli Fanning, left, shares a hug with supervisor Vera Babiy on Fanning's last day of work at the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay. Fanning has Down syndrome but family and professional support helped her succeed at her housekeeping job for 23 years. Babiy said that whenever Fanning arrived at work, it was like the sun coming out.

(/The Columbian)

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Within days of Shelli Fanning's birth she was labeled "nothing but a vegetable," recalls her mom, who was advised to put her in an institution. The diagnosis was Down syndrome. Later Shelli was also determined to be legally blind.

Kate Fanning, already the gutsy mother of four, couldn't have cared less. "I said you're crazy," she remembered. "I told them what they could do with that piece of paper."

Forty-six years later, Shelli Fanning has just hung up her apron and rubber gloves after a 23-year housekeeping career at the Red Lion Hotel Vancouver at the Quay. Jan. 3 was her last day, and she made her usual rounds — emptying the trash, sorting the laundry, cleaning the carpets, dusting the furniture — in her usual, wonderful way.

That means big grins and laughs, and hugs for all her colleagues.

"Shelli for me is like my daughter," said Vera Babiy, a Ukrainian native who supervised Shelli on the job for 17 years. "She is very smart. She always ask me, tell me, she hug me every day. When she work, everybody happy. She make everybody happy." Shelli's arrival at work was always like the sun coming out, Babiy said.

Colleagues walked a fine line between nurturing Shelli and treating her as an equal member of the team who was expected to do her job and to do it well. To facilitate that, she was visited as needed by a job coach dispatched by the agency that first placed her. Shelli outlasted several of those coaches over the years; the current coach, Carolyn Newton, has approximately 15 clients in similar situations, and spends her workweek checking on all of them.

Read the full story here.