Morning Press: Ilani job fair; Green Meadows neighborhood; flu season




Will you need your raincoat this weekend?  Check our local weather coverage.

In case you missed them, here are some of the top stories of the week:

Job fair packed with potential casino employees

PORTLAND — In the meeting space at the Sheraton Hotel near the Portland International Airport, a line of people snaked from the table of Ilani Casino Resort, down the nearby hallway and out into the lobby. It wasn’t even noon yet.

“This is the hour people should be working,” said Kevin McNamara, a Vancouver resident dropping off an application with the casino, as he looked over the throng of people. “And they’re here looking for a job.”

Learn more about jobs at the new casino.

Green Meadows residents worry about annexation

Art Stubbs is resigned to becoming a resident of Vancouver. But the idea still worries him.

Like other residents of Green Meadows, he bought his house in the neighborhood in unincorporated Clark County decades before the area began to swell with growth. He said he gets along well with his neighbors who, at times, have filled his backyard eating hot dogs and ice cream.

“The area itself is like an island,” said Stubbs, 82, of the quiet and secluded area.

Read more about the neighbors’ concerns.

Man to sue judge who denied him firearms

Vancouver’s Justin Forsman, who ran and lost in a race for state Senate this year and the city council last year, intends to sue a Clark County judge in federal court to restore his firearm rights.

Forsman, in documents filed Monday and Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, says he filed a petition in Clark County Superior Court in February requesting the return of his rights to possess a firearm.

Court records show Superior Court Judge Daniel Stahnke denied Forsman’s petition. The judge ruled that Forsman, who had previously been convicted of a felony, had not met the requirement that he go at least five years without any other convictions or criminal charges after his last conviction and sentence.

Read more about the former candidate’s lawsuit.

Records: Blanchette viewed with ‘fear, distrust’ by staff

Mary Blanchette, the former executive director of the Children’s Justice Center, was viewed with “fear and distrust” by staff and oversaw “a significantly strained working environment” that led to her ouster earlier this year, records obtained by The Columbian through a public records request reveal.

In September, the county council quietly approved an agreement with Blanchette that ended her employment overseeing the center, which provides support and advocacy for abused children. Under the agreement, Blanchette agreed not to sue and was given a one-time payment of $146,587. Both sides agreed not to discuss her separation, according to the agreement.

Learn more about Blanchette’s split with the Children’s Justice Center.

Flu arrives early in Clark County

The flu has arrived in Clark County — and it came a little early.

Flu activity increased countywide at the end of October, and this week, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center is reporting a big jump in positive flu tests.

“In the past two weeks we’ve seen a spike in positive results for influenza,” said Catherine Kroll, infection prevention specialist at PeaceHealth Southwest, in a news release. “We’ve gone from a baseline of zero confirmed cases to our current level of about 50 percent positive for those admitted to the hospital.”

Read more about what health officials are saying about this year’s season.

City cleans up streets around Share House

Alexander Graham woke up Thursday morning to sounds of heavy machinery rumbling down a nearby street. The 44-year-old realized he had overslept on the day that Vancouver Public Works employees and police would be cleaning up the streets around Share House.

“They started around the other end of the block, which was a blessing,” Graham said while sifting through what he would keep and what he would throw away. “For the most part I can’t complain. It’s tedious.”

Learn more about the cleanup and check back in starting Sunday for a series of stories about homelessness in Clark County.