The Morning Press: Benton records suit filed, withdrawn; Herrera Beutler’s baby home in Camas



A Vancouver man has filed a lawsuit against Clark County, saying it's stonewalling his public records request for documents related to the hiring of state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, as the county's director of environmental services.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and her husband, Dan Beutler, pause for a photo with their daughter, Abigail Rose Beutler, before they head home to Camas. Abigail, born July 15, was able to go home this week after spending months on dialysis in a California hospital.

A cougar was found May 10 in Vancouver's Fircrest neighborhood. Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife officers tranquilized and captured the cat before releasing it 60 to 70 miles away later that day.

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This week in the news:

Records for Benton’s hire prompt lawsuit

Vancouver man says he’s received no response to May 31 request for documents

A Vancouver man is suing Clark County for allegedly stonewalling a public records request he says would shed light on why county commissioners hired Don Benton to head the Environmental Services Department.

Ed Ruttledge says he submitted his public records request to numerous county officials on May 31, and he’s yet to hear so much as a peep in return. According to state public disclosure laws, agencies have five days to respond to a public records request by either handing over the requested documents, denying the request based on legal exemptions, or by giving the person an estimated wait time for fulfilling the request.

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But the next day:

Public records lawsuit against county withdrawn

Vancouver man who filed suit may re-file later

A Vancouver man withdrew on Wednesday a lawsuit he filed just one day prior that alleged Clark County officials ignored his public records request.

Ed Ruttledge’s lawsuit alleged that the county did not respond whatsoever to his May 31 request for documents related to why county commissioners hired state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, to head the Environmental Services Department.

Ruttledge’s lawyer, Greg Ferguson, said Wednesday morning that Ruttledge has since discovered an email response he received from the county on June 10.

“The original email message was resident on a hard drive that failed and was later replaced,” according to a press release from Ferguson’s office.

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Herrera Beutler brings daughter home to Camas

She’ll also travel to Washington D.C. this week to vote on a budget deal

After spending months under the supervision of doctors in California, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s infant daughter got to come home to Camas this week.

Herrera Beutler shared the good news in a statement Wednesday. She also announced she would travel to Washington, D.C., this week to vote on a federal budget deal, and that she would resume her full congressional duties in January.

“We are so grateful to the medical team at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (in Palo Alto, Calif.) for their care of Abigail during her first months of life,” Herrera Beutler said. She also asked for “continued patience and prayers in the coming weeks as our family adjusts to life back home.”

While in the womb, Herrera Beutler’s first child, Abigail Rose Beutler, was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome. It’s a condition that stifles kidney development, reduces amniotic fluid production in the uterus and typically prevents the baby’s lungs from developing.

The diagnosis Abigail received was previously considered fatal. After receiving the diagnosis, however, Herrera Beutler underwent an experimental treatment — saline injections in her uterus — that allowed the baby’s lungs to develop while still in the womb.

After the treatment, Abigail was born prematurely in July with fully developed lungs. Her kidneys weren’t functioning, though, and she was whisked off to the California hospital for dialysis treatments. She will eventually need a kidney transplant.

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Signs of cougars’ presence have been found near Clark County homes

Cougar and Salmon creeks meander through the lush parkland shared by the Felida and North Salmon Creek neighborhoods, and so do the cougars, some residents say.

Talk about recent cougar sightings has stimulated adrenaline among some pedestrians on the tranquil Salmon Creek Greenway, a 3-mile trail stretching from Salmon Creek Regional Park to Felida Bridge at Northwest 36th Avenue.

“There are kids who ride their bikes through here,” said Rob Aldridge, an outdoorsman who frequents the greenway. “It kind of makes me nervous.”

In mid-October, a woman found decomposed pieces of a black Labrador dog in brush near a perimeter road west of the Salmon Creek Association Complex, said Bill Bjerke, operations superintendent of Clark County Public Works.

Later, as she was walking on the greenway trail, she reportedly saw a cougar standing in a meadow in the park about 1,000 feet away from the trail, Aldridge said.

In the same wooded area where the dog remains were, there are possible signs of cougars’ using trees as giant scratching posts. Some of the tree trunks have splintered surfaces, which may come from deer antlers, but other marks are longer and more defined, suggesting the work of large cat claws, Aldridge said.

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Award-winning ‘All Politics is Local’ blog turns 3

It seems like just a few months ago The Columbian’s “All Politics is Local” writers were matching elected officials to Muppets, but the blog is celebrating its 3rd birthday — and the Muppet post includes Pat Campbell! Re-read some of the favorite posts from the past three years, or, if you’re new to the blog, enjoy them for the first time.

Read the anniversary blog post

Visit All Politics is Local