Morning Press: Ride-along wish granted; Benton’s new gig; Lou retires




Will the weather continue to be kind? Check out what is in store for the weekend with our local weather coverage.

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

Vancouver police grant boy’s ride-along wish

Standing outside of her home and seeing how her 4-year-old son, Nick, was starting to get antsy, Katie Zadak gave in.

“Do you want to know who your surprise visitor is?” she asked.

“Yeah!” Nick said. All he’d been told was that someone special was visiting on Wednesday and the family had gone outside to wait in the driveway to see who it was.

“You’re going to see a police car and ride around in it,” his mother said.

The boy’s mouth fell wide open. “And catch a bad guy?”

Benton chosen by Trump administration to supervise EPA transition

Retired Republican state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver has been chosen by the Donald Trump administration to lead a small group that will help reshape the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   

Benton and Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, will lead an EPA “beachhead team,” 120-day appointments given largely to groups of Trump campaign loyalists and aides, “who served on the so-called landing teams at various agencies between Election Day and Inauguration Day,” reported E&E News. 

When The Columbian called for comment, Benton hung up. Ericksen didn’t respond for comment before press time.

Charge upgraded to first-degree murder in Vancouver shooting

New information has emerged in the fatal shooting of a Vancouver man at a house in the Hearthwood neighborhood last weekend that indicates the slaying was premeditated, a Clark County prosecutor said Friday.

The man accused of pulling the trigger, TJ Patrick Ferres, 55, was arraigned in Superior Court on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the death of his friend, 37-year-old Ian Patrick McKay.

Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Robinson previously stated that alcohol consumption likely played a role in the shooting.

Council OKs pet license fee hike

On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Clark County council approved an increase to pet licensing fees, the first time since 2004 that the county has asked pet owners to pay more money to cover the cost of animal control services.

The increased fees are expected to generate about $237,000 over the next two years and will better fund the county’s beleaguered animal control services, allowing it, among other things, to hire an additional officer.

Lou Brancaccio to step down from management of The Columbian

Editor Lou Brancaccio announced Tuesday that he will step away from daily management of The Columbian’s newsroom effective Feb. 17 and assume a new role as editor emeritus.

In his new role, Brancaccio will write his popular Press Talk column on a monthly basis, and continue as a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, which sets the newspaper’s editorial stance on issues and candidates.

“It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to work for this community and The Columbian as editor. After growing up in Chicago and working in the four corners of the United States, after 20 years in Clark County, I call this home,” Brancaccio said.