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News / Clark County News

Top Stories: Funeral for slain mother, daughter; I-5 Bridge tolling; swastikas in La Center

By Amy Libby, Columbian Web Editor
Published: April 22, 2023, 6:02am

Could that be sunnier days coming? Check out out local weather forecast before you head outside.

Here are the top stories on columbian.com this week:

1. Friends, family mourn slain Vancouver mother and daughter

During a Vancouver memorial service Wednesday, family and friends recounted the way Meshay Melendez was a friend to anyone she met and her 7-year-old daughter, Layla Stewart, was constantly asking questions.

The private service at Evergreen Memorial Gardens began at 3 p.m. More than 100 people filled the room and spoke for about an hour when the chaplain opened the podium up to anyone who wanted to share memories of the pair. The crowd then participated in a procession to their gravesite.

2. I-5 Bridge tolling bill approved by Washington House

A bill authorizing tolling on the Interstate 5 Bridge is nearly to the governor.

The Washington House of Representatives passed the Senate’s toll bill Tuesday night, 57-40, after the Senate passed the bill at the beginning of April.

3. Swastikas, Nazi flag on home upset neighbors in La Center

LA CENTER — As La Center nears ever closer to the same kind of population growth seen in the neighboring communities of Ridgefield and Battle Ground, residents of the tiny town say there is one specific house sending the wrong message to incoming residents and businesses.

“Right now, with the expansion of La Center, we must make a choice about whether or not we will allow the city to be a safe haven for Nazis and Nazi sympathizers,” resident Emily Hancock told the city council during its March 22 meeting.

4. La Center gender policy focus of probe by state

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has opened an investigation into the La Center School District and Superintendent Peter Rosenkranz regarding complaints from district staff that a new policy violates state guidelines around students’ freedom of expression.

The investigation, which was confirmed open as of April 7 following a complaint filed Feb. 16, concerns La Center’s Gender-Inclusive Schools Policy 3211-P, which prohibits staff from asking students to share their preferred pronouns and instructs staff to alert principals and family members when a student shares pronouns or a name that are different from what’s on school record.

  • State superintendent’s office to determine if district discriminates

5. City of Vancouver moving forward on Renaissance Boardwalk project

The city is moving forward on a project intended to revitalize Vancouver’s waterfront with a new mixed-use development and boardwalk on the east side of the Interstate 5 Bridge.

Kirkland Development has worked with the city and the National Park Service on its plan to develop 217 housing units, 115,500 square feet of commercial space, 370 underground parking spaces and a public boardwalk at 101 and 111 S.E. Columbia Way, currently home to Who Song & Larry’s Cantina.