Thursday, July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021

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Morning Press: New Seasons; VPS superintendent; Vaccine allocation; Evergreen schools; La Center musher; EV program

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What does the weather have in store this weekend? For details, check our local weather coverage.

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

Downtown Vancouver residents ready to welcome New Seasons Market

Downtown Vancouver residents are mostly jubilant about Tuesday’s announcement that a new grocery store is coming to the neighborhood, fulfilling a civic wish of many years.

The New Seasons Market will anchor a new development on a long-empty block at Main and West 15th streets, across from the Clark County Historical Museum. It will be the only full-service grocery store in downtown Vancouver when it opens in 2023. As soon as New Seasons’ announcement reached Vancouver residents on social media, it evoked a strong positive response, although some commenters criticized the full-service store’s prices.

Vancouver School Board names Camas superintendent Jeff Snell as next top administrator

The Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors unanimously voted Wednesday night to appoint Camas schools Superintendent Jeff Snell as Vancouver Public Schools’ next top administrator.

Pending contract negotiations, Snell begins superintendent duties of Clark County’s second-largest school district and ninth-largest statewide July 1.

Snell was chosen after a nationwide search that began in late 2020 and drew 34 applicants to replace outgoing Superintendent Steve Webb. Snell spent the past 10 years in top-level district administration in the Camas School District, including serving as superintendent since 2016.

Steve Webb stepped down as superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools late Thursday after school board members approved an agreement that he begin his planned retirement from Vancouver Public Schools immediately.

The agreement, crafted by attorneys representing the board and Webb, came after an executive session lasting more than two hours Thursday. When the board reconvened, the vote was unanimous.

Clark County receives substantial COVID-19 vaccine increase

After weeks of being shorted on COVID-19 vaccine allocations from the state, Clark County is receiving a significant vaccine allocation boost — more than triple as many first doses as it usually does in a week.

On Monday afternoon, Clark County Public Health announced the county will receive 14,140 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. Through 11 weeks, Clark County has averaged only 4,175 first doses from the state.

The county will also receive 8,880 second doses of Pfizer vaccine, according to the state Department of Health.

• Ever since the COVID-19 vaccine was unveiled in Washington in mid-December, Clark County’s vaccine administration has lagged behind the rest of the state, despite the fact that Clark County is the fifth-largest county in the state and the hub of Southwest Washington.

• A group of legislators from Southwest Washington have secured a meeting with the state Department of Health on Saturday to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine allocation disparity that exists for Clark County.

• Clark County will open its second large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site on Friday at the Tower Mall shopping center in Vancouver Heights.

In Evergreen high schools, students are back to class at last

Dave McIntosh spent much of Thursday morning before first bell greeting students at the main entrance and hallways of Heritage High School, asking a familiar question to students who needed it: “Do you know where you’re going?”

“I kind of like it,” said McIntosh, a math and special education teacher, “because I get to connect with kids face-to-face.”

Even if full faces are hidden by masks.

For the first time since Gov. Jay Inslee closed school buildings in March 2020, all high schools in Evergreen Public Schools, Clark County’s largest district, welcomed students across all grades for in-person, twice-per-week instruction. More area districts are welcoming high school students back in the coming weeks.

• Once Joel Martinez scanned the Evergreen High School cafeteria Tuesday morning, he came to a quick conclusion.

“I know half the people here, so I’m good,” the 15-year-old freshman said.

La Center High grad Josh McNeal ready to race in his first Iditarod

In high school, Josh McNeal could have been selected “most likely to ..” and it wouldn’t matter what followed.

“I could have seen Josh do anything,” La Center High football coach John Lambert said. “If he became president, it would not surprise me. If he decided to climb Mt. Everest, I’d be like ‘I could see Josh doing that.’ He was just one of the kids who could do anything he set his mind to.”

So it came as no surprise to Lambert when he heard that one of his former players would be entering his first Iditarod sled dog race, which starts on Sunday.

Clark Public Utilities charges up EV incentive program

Clark Public Utilities is preparing to launch a series of incentive programs intended to supercharge local electric vehicle adoption rates.

The utility’s board of commissioners voted Tuesday to approve the Transportation Electrification Plan, an umbrella program for the various initiatives.

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