The Morning Press: Killed teen, Herrera Beutler, marijuana stores, BRT




EMILY GILLESPIE/The Columbian Shane Clark, 45, and Ken Jennings, 44, both of Vancouver hold up photos of their mug shots, each taken more than 10 years ago while they were doing methamphetamine. Clark is eight years clean and Jennings celebrated 10 years clean this year.

After a rainy week, will things clear up for the weekend? Check the forecast here.

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

Friends, community mourn Ridgefield teen

A Ridgefield High School senior died Wednesday night in a crash near the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, where friends say he’d had his senior pictures taken just 90 minutes earlier.

Tanner Trosko, 17, was the passenger in a 1960 Ford pickup that was traveling west on Northwest 291st Street and overturned as it took a left turn onto Northwest Main Avenue, said Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy, spokesman for Clark County Fire & Rescue. The pickup came to rest on the east side of the street, just north of the entrance to the wildlife refuge’s headquarters. The crash was reported at 7:38 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, Trosko died of mechanical asphyxia, meaning something, such as compression or a piece of the truck, prevented him from breathing after the crash. The driver, Lucas Wells, is also a senior at the school and a friend of Trosko’s. He was transported to an area hospital Wednesday night, but was reportedly uninjured.

Read the full story here. Check back later Saturday for coverage of a vigil in honor of Trosko.

Clark County approved for 15 marijuana stores

Clark County could be home to up to 15 marijuana retailers by the time the state starts doling out licenses to legal pot sellers next spring.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday approved a series of supplemental rules to guide the adoption of a system to grow, process and sell marijuana, which included capping the maximum number of pot shops statewide at 334.

In Clark County, up to six shops would be allowed in Vancouver, with up to the same number allowed in unincorporated parts of the county, according to the liquor control board. Meanwhile, the board approved one store apiece for Battle Ground, Washougal and Camas.

Under the state’s guidelines, the most populous cities within each county are allocated a proportionate number of stores, in addition to at-large stores available to serve other areas of the county.

Read the full story here.

Madore fails to ‘pause’ the BRT

A proposed bus rapid transit system in Vancouver remains in the queue for a possible federal grant next year, after the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council turned back an effort to put the project on hold Tuesday.

Clark County Commissioner David Madore had expressed his desire to “pause” the project until at least November, when bus rapid transit is among several nonbinding advisories that will appear on the ballot. The measure, if approved, would direct Clark County commissioners to oppose any such system unless it’s first supported by a majority of voters.

Madore has said acting now to keep the project on track would step in front of voters. Local leaders should welcome the chance for people to weigh in directly, he said. County Commissioner Tom Mielke agreed, making a motion to remove bus rapid transit from a project ranking list previously prepared by RTC staff and others. The rankings are used to help determine which projects receive grant money awarded through RTC.

Read the full story here.

Herrera Beutler will travel to Capitol Hill for critical votes

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has spent the past several weeks by her newborn daughter’s hospital bedside, will return to Capitol Hill next week to vote on whether the U.S. should use military force in Syria, she announced Thursday.

It’s unknown how the Camas Republican plans to vote when it comes to Syria. Earlier this week, she said through her spokesman that she’s skeptical about launching a U.S. military strike on Syria. She also said she’s willing to listen to the arguments being made in favor of military action.

President Barack Obama is asking Congress to authorize a strike in light of Syria allegedly using chemical weapons against its own citizens.

Much of Herrera Beutler’s congressional duties were put on hold in July, when she gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Abigail. The baby was born about three months early and without functioning kidneys.

Once Congress comes back on Monday from its summer recess, Herrera Beutler said she will remain in the California hospital with her daughter and only travel to Washington, D.C., for critical votes. Once her daughter is healthy enough to go home, Herrera Beutler will resume her full congressional duties, she said.

Read the full story here.

Crestline begins again, as school starts for thousands

Seven months and a day after their school burned, Crestline Elementary students and staff were reunited under one roof for the first day of school Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, hundreds of enthusiastic children burst from yellow school buses in front of the temporary Crestline at the former Hewlett-Packard campus on Southeast 34th Street. As another bus pulled up to the sidewalk, Jane Olschewsky, a Crestline playground monitor, dropped her clipboard to prepare to greet the kids.

“Hello! Welcome back, honey!” Olschewsky greeted a child with open arms. “I give all the nana hugs. That’s my official job,” she said.

Like all the Crestline staff, Olschewsky wore a red school T-shirt that read “Crestline Lions” on the back and on the front, “We can do hard things.”

She and other staff members were greeting bus riders and writing bus numbers on the back of students’ hands to help them board the right bus home at the end of the school day.

Read the full story here.

Thousands gather to celebrate lives free from drugs

I’m alive. I have my family. I made it another day.

These are some of the things that Torrie Licht writes in her gratitude list when she can’t sleep at 3 a.m. — an hour that as little as seven months ago would have been spent partying.

But the list helps. She wakes up in the morning, reads her gratitude list and adds another day to her clean record.

Five months sober, Licht was one of thousands of drug addicts who joined hands on the Interstate 5 Bridge on Monday to cheer on their recovery from a life of addiction. In its 12th year, the Hands Across the Bridge event celebrates the change those in recovery have made while also marking the beginning of National Recovery Month.

Licht, 19, began using when she was 13. She started with pot and then discovered alcohol. From there, she dabbled with psychedelics such as mushrooms and acid before a two-year binge on methamphetamine.

“At first it was fun. I justified my addiction in high school by being ‘the party girl,’ ” she said. “Then I ran out of excuses for why I was using.”

Read the full story here.