In our view: Cheers & Jeers

Welcoming special kids to the fair; clumsy marketing sends wrong message



Cheers: To “sensory-friendly” day at the Clark County Fair. Several groups have made the fair more accessible to everyone — there’s long been a rodeo for physically challenged kids, and a day at the fair for medically fragile children — but this event was new this year. Butler Amusements turned down the music and killed the flashing lights on several of its attractions for an hour on Tuesday. Chase Vick, 2, was one of the children who might have been overwhelmed by the usual cacophony but instead enjoyed his first merry-go-round ride. Butler and the fair partnered with the Autism Society of Washington and Arc of Clark County to stage the event.

Jeers: To clumsy marketing of the Fort Vancouver National Trust’s Suits and a Keg fundraiser. Truly a guys’ event, as the advertising eventually read, at first it was billed as for “guys only,” which prompted a complaint that it violated the state’s public accommodation rules. When the language was pointed out, the trust quickly corrected its marketing materials and clarified that while the event featured things men would enjoy, all adults were welcome. There’s nothing inherently wrong with tailoring fundraisers to specific groups, and the trust does a great job protecting and promoting the city’s unique historical resources. But next time, we hope managers take care to read and approve the marketing materials.

Cheers: To a proposed railroad academy for Yacolt. Modoc Railroad Academy founder David Rangel told county commissioners recently that he’s considering a vocational school to train engineers, brakemen and conductors, both new hires and as continuing education. The county’s seldom-used rail line between Battle Ground and Yacolt would be a good spot for the training, bringing jobs and other economic activity to the area. There’s no timetable on when the academy would start, but the railroad tracks are already waiting.

Jeers: To more time-wasting in Yacolt’s municipal government. There’s been quite a brouhaha in town since the mayor, Joe Warren, resigned abruptly for what he said were health reasons two days after a state audit was critical of the town’s purchasing practices. Later the council rejected a resolution thanking him for his service. Now the former town clerk has filed a complaint with the state auditor alleging that Warren’s mother-in-law submitted an attachment to the meeting minutes that, the former town clerk says, incorrectly suggests she made an obscene gesture at Warren. Gesture or no, the town’s government should quit bickering and look forward, not back.

Cheers: To the Korean Society of Vancouver, local veterans groups and the South Korean consulate in Seattle, who teamed together to present medals of appreciation to 120 U.S. veterans of the Korean War in a moving ceremony last Saturday. The hostilities ended in 1953, but South Koreans still remember the debt they owe to the U.S. service members who fought on their behalf. Another ceremony will be scheduled at a later date; veterans who wish to be contacted should call Jerry Keesee, 360-573-1035.

Jeers: To airlines’ making money with empty planes, thanks to taxpayers. The Associated Press this week reported on Great Lakes Airlines, which operates an Ely-Las Vegas, Nev., service with a $1.8 million subsidy. Sometimes not a single passenger makes the flight, which costs travelers $70 to $90, and the taxpayers $4,107. It’s all part of the Essential Air Service program, a $200 million annual program serving 153 rural communities, including SeaPort Airlines’ four daily round trips from Portland to Pendleton, Ore. The fight over subsidies was a major sticking point that recently shut down most of the Federal Aviation Administration. The program should be cut.