Morning Press: County council major issues; Retirement marketplace; Farm-to-table; Hero award

By Carly Dubois, Columbian staff writer



What’s on tap for this week’s weather? Check our local weather coverage.

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

5 major issues the county council is facing in 2017

John Blom and Eileen Quiring are scaling back their work in real estate. They’ve resigned their seats on the Clark County Planning Commission. Now they’re preparing to be sworn in as the newest members of the Clark County council.

For many, the election of the two Republicans to the county’s legislative body signals an end to an era of near constant squabbles between councilors Tom Mielke and David Madore and the rest of the council.

“I think with the two new board members, I view the county as hitting the reset button in terms of a lot of large policies,” said Jamie Howsley, government affairs director for both the Building Industry Association of Clark County and the Clark County Association of Realtors.

But the new council will face a wide range of issues in the fast-growing county, including congestion, lack of housing, an embattled growth plan and other issues. The Columbian interviewed a range of individuals to determine what issues the county will face in the coming year.

Read the full story: 5 major issues the county council is facing in 2017

State to roll out Small Business Retirement Marketplace in January

Dan Wyatt and his Kiggins Theatre are like 90,000 other small businesses statewide that don’t offer retirement benefits to their workers. Those businesses are the reason why Washington is set to roll out an online portal, the Small Business Retirement Marketplace, to match small companies with affordable retirement plans.

The marketplace launches in January. Washington will be the first state in the nation with a program, and it will be overseen by the state Department of Commerce. The goal will be to help millions of Washingtonians get closer to retirement.

Read the full story: State to roll out Small Business Retirement Marketplace in January

Slow Foods Southwest Washington connects diners with farm-to-table

Warren Neth wants to change the way you think about your food.

As the director of Slow Foods Southwest Washington, Neth and a team of chefs and farmers are working to shift the region’s food culture away from fast food and industry and back to farmers and local producers.

It’s a relatively new effort in Southwest Washington, Neth said. For years, the region has been in the shadow of Portland’s thriving farm-to-table movement. But the way Neth sees it, it’s about time that changed.

“I don’t think it’s really been a culture that got much traction,” Neth said.

Neth says that Southwest Washington, from the coast, north to Lewis County and east to Klickitat County, as having a rich culture of microclimates. That’s made a relatively small area ripe for growing a wide range of ingredients.

“We have amazing growing conditions, one of the best,” he said.

Read the full story: Slow Foods Southwest Washington connects diners with farm-to-table

Ridgefield student wins Hero Award

RIDGEFIELD — Kobee Nelson was sitting in the last row of the bus home from Ridgefield High School on Nov. 10, when the junior noticed a younger student sitting across the aisle fidgeting with the window.

Soon enough, the window was open and the student was sticking his entire arm outside the bus and coming dangerously close to trees and cars. One of Nelson’s friends who was sitting in front of the other student told him to stop, but he didn’t. Nelson, 16, left his seat and sat down next to the other student and forcibly tried to get him to stop.

“He mounted his legs up on the side of the bus and tried to back me out into the aisle,” Nelson said.

Still, Nelson kept trying, and at the bus’s next stop, he walked up to the bus driver and told her what was going on. He suggested the other student should sit in a more supervised seat on the bus.

The other student followed him up front, and when he heard what was going on, he yelled a slur at Nelson.

“I told him, ‘I’d much rather you hurt me than yourself,’” Nelson said. “He could’ve broken an arm or lost fingers.”

Nelson doesn’t know the other student too well. He’s a passing acquaintance, if that. Nelson just didn’t want to see him get hurt. The other student spent the rest of the bus ride up front near the driver and hasn’t been on the bus much since. After the incident, they did run into each other in the hall, and the student thanked Nelson for looking out for him.

Read the full story: Ridgefield student wins Hero Award