The Morning Press: Homeless students, memorial for local pilot

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Photos by Steven Lane/The Columbian Jessica Richey, center, and her children, Isaac, 12, left, and 7-year-old twins Saakkaaya and Ezekiel ride a C-Tran bus to school. The family has been homeless since the beginning of the school year, and the daily commute to school often takes more than an hour.

Air Force Capt. Christopher Stover graduated from Vancouver's Evergreen High School. A helicopter pilot, he died in a training accident in England on Jan. 7.

Experts say new office developments in Clark County are being built solely for end-users, such as the state employees from the Department of Social and Health Services who will be housed in this 82,000-square-foot building at 13600 N.E. Ninth St.

Plans for the POW/MIA Memorial. The Community Military Appreciation Committee will build the stone monument at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 15005 N.E. 65th St., in east Vancouver.

Rep. John Lewis attends the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at Clark College on Saturday. Lewis, D-Ga., was a friend of colleague of King and a leader in the civil rights movement.

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

When there’s homework but no home

It’s 7 o’clock on a drizzly mid-November night, and Jessica Richey is trying to console her ill daughter.

Seven-year-old Saakkaaya Richey is running a fever, and her lolling head moves from mom’s lap to a nearby blanket. The little girl, with reddish eyes and a cough, will probably miss a day of school.

She rarely skips a day, and, given her circumstances, that’s amazing. For Jessica and her kids — Saakkaaya; her twin brother, Ezekiel, who goes by Zeke; and 12-year-old Isaac — it’s an added wrinkle to an already chaotic routine.

The Richey family is homeless.

They’re part of a growing — or, some might say, better documented — group statewide. There are more than 1,100 homeless students in Clark County, and, school officials across the county say, that number is on the rise. Statewide, the uptick tracks a similar trajectory. There are more than 27,000 homeless students in Washington, a 9,000-student increase in the past five years.

Read the full story here.

Meaning in sacrifice for Vancouver airman

More than 2,000 people gathered at a British air base Friday to honor four airmen, including Capt. Christopher Stover of Vancouver, who died Jan. 7 in a helicopter crash.

Stover, Capt. Sean Ruane, Tech. Sgt. Dale Mathews and Staff Sgt. Afton Ponce were with the U.S. Air Force’s 56th Rescue Squadron, based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, England.

Stover, 28, was a 2004 graduate of Evergreen High School. His parents are Maribel and Richard Stover of Vancouver.

In his address, Col. Kyle Robinson, 48th Fighter Wing commander, referred to the rescue unit’s motto: “That Others May Live.”

“We seek to find meaning in their sacrifice,” Robinson said, according to a news release from 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs.

Red the full story here.

Construction poised to make gains in 2014

Commercial contractors have shaken off the doldrums and are cutting loose on a big list of Clark County projects this year.

Construction activity in 2014 won’t break any records, but the project list keeps growing as the economy gains strength. A new round of retail stores and developments, some started in 2013, is leading the way. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has two stores under construction and set to open this year including a big-box Supercenter store in Battle Ground and a grocery-only Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at East Fourth Plain and Grand boulevards. Also, three national hotel chains are in various stages of development to add more than 300 new guest rooms to the Vancouver lodging scene. National retailers Ross Dress for Less and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft are each developing new stores in the area this year.

Contractors took out construction permits worth a combined value of nearly $250 million within Vancouver’s city limits and in unincorporated parts of Clark County, according to building reports issued by the two jurisdictions. The total represents a 72 percent increase over 2012, when $144.2 million worth of commercial construction permits were handed out to contractors.

read the full story here.

Vancouver getting MIA memorial

More than 83,000 American military personnel remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.

Now a local nonprofit group has announced plans for a memorial honoring MIA service members as well as prisoners of war. The Community Military Appreciation Committee will build the stone monument at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 15005 N.E. 65th St., in east Vancouver.

The project will break ground in March, and the memorial is scheduled to be dedicated Sept. 27, National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

Read the full story here.

Civil rights leader John Lewis is surprise guest at Vancouver MLK breakfast

When he was a child growing up outside Montgomery, Ala., John Lewis asked his elders about the WHITE ONLY and COLORED ONLY signs that seemed to govern so much of their lives.

“I would ask why,” he said. The nonanswer was: “That’s the way it is. Don’t get in the way. Don’t make trouble.”

It was totally unsatisfactory and certainly didn’t square with Lewis’ questing, questioning spirit. So he did just the opposite, he said.

“I got in good trouble. I got in necessary trouble,” Lewis, now a longtime Democratic Congressman from Georgia, told a roomful of admirers at Clark College on Saturday morning.

Lewis, a personal friend and colleague of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights era, was the unannounced, special guest star at the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast held at college. The sold-out event, which drew 230 people, was masterminded by community activist Deena Pierott.

Read the full story here.