Morning Press: UFO over Vancouver?; crowded schools; foods to avoid

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Was the ball of light spotted over Vancouver aliens or something much more mundane?

Don't eat these.

Billy Bicknell makes his first appearance in court on suspicion of first-degree assault on Monday.

Hundreds of students fill the halls at Battle Ground High School on their way back to class after lunch on May 6. The school is one of many throughout Clark County that has surpassed its enrollment limits.

In case you missed it, here are some of the week’s top stories:

Strange orb reported over Vancouver Lake

Fruit Valley man says he saw something streak across sky

Carey Hicks was standing in his driveway in Vancouver’s Fruit Valley neighborhood Wednesday night when he saw something odd and scary streak through the sky.

It was a helicopter chasing a small craft, possibly an orb, that was highly maneuverable, he said.

“It was a smaller craft with a large military helicopter following it,” Hicks said. “It flew over two or three times.”

He said he saw the craft, which he described as a ball of light, fly over his neighborhood toward Vancouver Lake at about 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said there were some military exercises on Wednesday night for the Oregon National Guard, but they involved F-15s and not helicopters, as far as he knows.

“We have no reports of any UFOs,” Kenitzer said. “But there has been some military activity.”

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Dietitians list foods to avoid

Local experts say don’t consume these products at home, on the road

Ditch gluten. Avoid carbohydrates. Choose low-fat.

Everybody has an opinion about which types of foods should and shouldn’t be eaten.

Dietitians typically encourage balanced diets with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables while keeping an eye on the amount of added sugar and sodium being eaten.

Local dietitians say they don’t categorize food as “good” or “bad.” They’re open to most foods, and they eat the less nutritious stuff sometimes, too.

“I just choose to eat them less frequently and in small quantities,” said Chris Collins, a clinical dietitian at the Center for Weight Management at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

But they do still have foods and drinks they avoid bringing into their homes for a variety of different reasons, including lack of nutritional value, food safety and sustainability.

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Alarm, compassion for Hazel Dell home

Mentally ill tenants aren’t committing crimes, sheriff’s office says

Crystel Baye and her family were looking to move up in the world as they stretched their dollars to leave a manufactured home in Orchards and buy a two-story house in West Hazel Dell.

Sure, living on the corner of Northwest 78th Street means tolerating lots of nearby traffic. But it was still an improvement for the Baye family, with children ages 3, 7 and 12. Baye said they mostly love the neighborhood and their proximity to parks, churches and public schools.

What they don’t love is the house directly across 78th from their cul de sac. Given the behaviors she’s seen over there — and, occasionally, right on her front porch and even coming through her doorway — Baye said she thought it must be a group home for people who are mentally ill or struggling with addiction.

She’s almost right.

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Battle Ground man in court in shooting at his home

He allegedly mistook granddaughter’s friends for an intruder

A Battle Ground man is accused of illegally firing a gun inside his residence when some friends of his 18-year-old granddaughter attempted to leave early Sunday.

Billy F. Bicknell, 67, apparently thought the teenagers were an intruder, according to court papers.

Bicknell appeared Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree assault. Judge David Gregerson held him in lieu of $25,000 bail and advised him to hire a defense attorney. He’s scheduled to be arraigned May 23 on the charge.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies responded around 1 a.m. Sunday to a report of shots fired at a residence at 17414 N.E. 280th St. in the Heisson area.

Bicknell said he heard noises on the roof of his home and thought it might be an intruder, according to the sheriff’s office.

“He went outside and observed a male that he didn’t recognize enter the upstairs bedroom of his grand-children,” wrote sheriff’s Detective Fred Neiman in a court affidavit.

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Crowded schools vex Clark County districts

Space, funding present obstacles to administrators facing growing student populations

When lunchtime starts at Battle Ground High School, chaos ensues.

Hundreds of students rush the halls on their way to the cafeteria, but few actually eat there. Most park themselves on benches along the school’s sprawling hallways, and many students eat outside or head to their cars to grab a meal off campus.

The students are allowed to leave or spread throughout the building for good reason, Assistant Superintendent MaryBeth Lynn said.

“There’s no way all those kids could fit in this nice, beautiful cafeteria that we have,” Lynn said. “If you look at Battle Ground High School now, they’re bursting at the seams.”

The school is one of many throughout Clark County’s small cities that has already run out of space as projections show continuous growth in student enrollment over the next several years. The trend has forced district officials to carefully weigh their options: build more schools or expand existing facilities where there’s still room to grow.

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