The Morning Press: Herrera Beutler, Ridgefield remembers teen, Mielke

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

Herrera Beutler tells her daughter's story on 'Today'

photoThe "Today" show's Savannah Guthrie interviews U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, and her husband, Daniel Beutler, on Friday about their newborn daughter, Abigail.

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U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler relived the moment her unborn daughter was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome during an interview Friday morning on NBC’s “Today” show. She also said her daughter, now about 7 weeks old, is starting to act more and more like a typical baby.

“She is doing amazing,” Herrera Beutler said during the interview from a studio near the California hospital where her child is receiving treatment. In the last couple of days, she added, “we’ve gotten to the point where we’re holding her. She’s playing. She will scream when her diaper’s dirty. She is like any other baby. She has a few challenges; but man, she’s determined.”

Herrera Beutler’s first child, Abigail Rose Beutler, was born prematurely in July without functioning kidneys. The type of Potter’s Syndrome she was diagnosed with was previously considered fatal because the baby is typically born without fully developed lungs. Herrera Beutler, however, underwent an experimental treatment — saline injections in her uterus — that allowed the baby’s lungs to develop.

Herrera Beutler was joined by her husband, Daniel Beutler, during the three-minute exclusive.

Read the full story here.

'The light of Tanner will forever fill our lives'

photoRidgefield High School students Karlie Williams, 14, from left, Tiahna Duprat, 14, and Sierra Lavalley, 15, hold candles in honor of Tanner Trosko, 17, during a Saturday evening vigil in Ridgefield. Tanner, a senior at Ridgefield High School, died in a car wreck Wednesday evening.

(/The Columbian)

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Tanner Trosko was funny, sincere and honest. He was a hard worker, compassionate. He was someone people could confide in. He would have been a great leader someday.

Tanner Trosko was killed in a car wreck Wednesday evening in Ridgefield. He was 17 years old.

As the sun set in the horizon Saturday evening, hundreds of people gathered together near the entrance of Ridgefield High School, where Tanner had just begun his senior year. As the sky grew darker, friends, family members, classmates and community members held each other close.

Some stood before a table covered with framed photos of Tanner, illuminated by the soft glow of candles.

"The light of Tanner will forever fill our lives," Tom LaVoie, Tanner's great-uncle, told the crowd. "Tonight, we light the light of Tanner."

Read the full story here.

Plot of land fuels conspiracy talk; Mielke rebuts claim

photo Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke

At last week's Clark County commissioner meeting, more than 20 people showed up to ask commissioners not to sell a 10-acre plot of land in Felida designated to become a future county park. Some took the issue so far as to claim Commissioner Tom Mielke was involved in a possible real estate development deal on the land.

Several county sources say those claims aren't true.

Mielke was put in the position of defending himself for nearly an hour of public testimony over an accusation he looked visibly surprised by.

"Everyone's been coming up with things I don't know about," said Mielke, who was de facto chair of the meeting as Commissioner Steve Stuart was absent. In his role as chair, he allowed the commenters to go past the five minute time limit to speak their piece against him.

Finally, Mielke told one commenter who connected him to an unknown developer that he was incorrect in his claim.

Read the full story here.

City looks gift unicorn (the Trojan kind) in mouth

Vancouver resident Robyn McCracken loves collecting unicorn figurines — and boy, did her friend come up with a doozy.

Seeing a 20-foot-tall Trojan unicorn, parked perfectly parallel to the sidewalk outside her home in the Hudson's Bay neighborhood, brought a smile to McCracken's face when she discovered it Aug. 29.

It also resulted in a call to code enforcement.

"Godzillacorn," as McCracken calls it, will be moved this weekend to behind her home.

photoRobyn McCracken looks toward her granddaughter, Casey Lane McCracken, 3, on Friday while sitting near the 20-foot Trojan unicorn that her friend Frank James Mabry III gave to her. The horse was originally used during a performance at a Portland museum.

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When asked why the city was anti-unicorn, Chad Eiken, director of community and economic development, said the unicorn itself isn't the problem.

"We like rainbows. We like unicorns," Eiken said. "We're nice people."

But objects can't be stored in the public right-of-way without a transportation permit, he explained, adding that the only things that are supposed to be parked on streets are operable vehicles.

Read the full story here.

Battle Buddies preparing service dogs for veterans with PTSD

BATTLE GROUND — Shawn Brooks hasn't been the same since he left the Navy in 1998.

After his return to civilian life, the Operation Desert Storm veteran was prone to violent nightmares. In crowds, he succumbed to crippling anxiety attacks. He self-medicated with methamphetamine, spending stints behind bars because of drug-related offenses, he said.

He'd been in combat — seen friends die in helicopter crashes. Those events took a toll on his psyche. Inside the man with a military-themed, wrap-around neck tattoo, there was a deep-seated distrust of others.

"I haven't been able to trust anybody," Brooks said. "I don't go out into crowds. I hadn't been in a mall for 10 or 12 years."

Then he found a big slobbering savior, wrapped in a brown- and-white package of fur. Her name is Bella, a 19-month-old St. Bernard, and she is the ballast in Brooks' topsy-turvy life.

photoDesert Storm veteran Shawn Brooks, of Molalla, Ore., hugs his dog Bella before they test for a service-dog certification at Man's Best Friend kennel in Battle Ground. Brooks suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

(/The Columbian)

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Brooks was one of six veterans Friday who certified their four-legged friends as service animals for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The certification means the men, who served in combat as far back as the Vietnam War, can take their animals wherever they want.

For men who have struggled at times to even leave the house, that means one thing — freedom.

Read the full story here.