Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Sept. 21, 2021

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The Morning Press: B.G. School threat, Herrera Beutler and C-tran on CRC, Camas football

The Columbian
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With nearly record-breaking highs contrasting morning fog, the weather has been a strange mix this week. Check the weekend forecast here.

This week’s top stories and news you may have missed:

Student, 13, arrested in B.G. school threats

Police have arrested a 13-year-old boy who is a student at Chief Umtuch Middle School for allegedly making threats that prompted officials to close five public schools and one private school in Battle Ground on Wednesday.

Schools will reopen Thursday at the usual times, Gregg Herrington, Battle Ground Public Schools spokesman, announced late Wednesday.

The teen was arrested after a 3:30 p.m. interview Wednesday with detectives from the Battle Ground Police Department, said Battle Ground Police Lt. Roy Butler. He said detectives were led to the teen by information provided to his department, Vancouver Police Department and the FBI.

The teen, whose name was not released, is accused of threatening to use explosives against a teacher and Chief Umtuch Middle School on Sept. 11.

“Officers have determined that the suspect did not possess the means to carry out any of the threats that were made,” a news release issued by the police department said.

Read the full story here.

Herrera Beutler says revived CRC plan doesn’t qualify for federal money

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler reminded U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday that a last-ditch effort to resurrect the Columbia River Crossing project still must overcome some difficult hurdles before receiving federal money.

CRC critic Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, wrote a letter to Foxx in which she states the Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project has failed to meet funding requirements for its desired $850 million in federal New Starts grants. Most notable, she said, is that Clark County transit officials haven’t approved a plan to pay for light-rail maintenance and operation in Vancouver, and that the Oregon and Washington legislatures still haven’t both put up money for the controversial project.

The $3.4 billion project was declared dead after Washington lawmakers declined to commit the state’s $450 million share; Oregon legislators had said they would only commit their share if Washington did. Since then, a new version of the CRC has emerged as a pared-down $2.75 billion effort with Oregon solely at the helm. It would still replace the I-5 Bridge and bring Portland’s light rail to Vancouver, but it wouldn’t update any Washington freeway interchanges north of state Highway 14.

Read the full story here.

C-Tran to resume planning for CRC

The C-Tran Board of Directors on Tuesday authorized the transit agency to resume work on the Columbia River Crossing, putting one of the once-dead project’s local sponsors back at the table.

C-Tran staff will quickly evaluate and draft agreements to work with TriMet on an Interstate 5 Bridge replacement. C-Tran Executive Director Jeff Hamm said the agency also plans to draft a plan to pay for operating light rail in Vancouver — one of the key financial questions still surrounding the project.

C-Tran hasn’t worked on the CRC in earnest since July, when it received a stop-work order from project leaders. The notification came days after the Washington Legislature adjourned without committing any money to the project, and essentially severed ties on the project between the Washington State Department of Transportation and CRC partners including C-Tran.

The proposed I-5 Bridge replacement with light rail has re-emerged recently as a pared-down $2.75 billion effort with Oregon solely at the helm. Tuesday’s vote essentially resumes work on the project “under a new setting and a new leadership,” Hamm said.

Read the full story here.

Battle Ground soldier home on leave surprises kid sister at school

BATTLE GROUND — For a soldier with an “Old Ironsides” patch on his shoulder, Jared Euan was a pretty soft touch Wednesday morning when his little sister jumped into his arms and gave him a big hug.

Right in the middle of band class.

They hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving, when Euan left for a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division.

So, Jade Horton had a good supply of welcome-home hugs when her big brother walked into her classroom at Daybreak Middle School.

And for their mother, Tracy Horton, the fifth-grade girl had this stern judgment: “You tricked me, Mom!”

The smile on the Battle Ground woman’s face seemed to be an acknowledgement of guilty as charged.

Read the full story here.

Endurance trail runs are exploding in Northwest

MOUNT ST. HELENS — The scene at the starting line looked like any other race.

Runners fidgeted and stretched, unable to enjoy a few stationary minutes prior to hours of constant motion.

But what awaited more than 100 runners Saturday at Marble Mountain Sno Park wasn’t your typical 10K or marathon. These were ultramarathoners, a growing segment of the running community whose races typically span 50 kilometers, 50 miles or even 100 miles.

The Volcanic 50 brought them to the south slope of Mount St. Helens. They would spend the next six to 12 hours scampering over lava fields, scaling mountain ridges and navigating steep sandy gullies during a 32-mile circumnavigation of the volcano. Most of the course was on the Loowit Trail, which takes a typical hiker at least two days to complete.

Read the full story here.

Camas Football Quest Part 1: Expectations Off the Chart

Friday we launched the first of a three-part photo series following the Camas Papermakers through the 2013 high school football season.

Columbian photographer Steven Lane has been granted exclusive access to the players and coaches. He will provide a behind-the-scenes look at what might be the most highly touted local team in recent memory.

If this project is successful, we hope to follow another team next year, perhaps one that is trying to build a program.

The project begins today with a look at the team’s buildup to its season opener. The second part will come in the middle of the season, while the final part will be published soon after the season ends.

Read the first part here.