In our view: Cheers & Jeers

Student organizes a local lunch; commissioners ignore their attorney

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Cheers: To healthy, local school lunches. Justine Hanrahan, a Vancouver School of Arts and Academics sophomore, has been working with a program called Urban Abundance to encourage people living in cities and suburban areas to grow and share food. For a school project, this week she devised a lunch menu where nearly every ingredient was produced or grown within 100 miles of Vancouver. The lunch, which included chicken and vegetable soup, spinach salad and bread with butter, was prepared by a caterer and cost $2.65 per serving, only a nickel more than a district-provided lunch. The students got not only a tasty meal, but some food for thought, too.

Jeers: To myopic, growly county commissioners who chose to ignore their own lawyer’s advice in regards to negotiating with the Yakima Bears. Bronson Potter, who as chief deputy civil prosecutor keeps the county’s best interests at the top of his mind, drafted an agreement that would require the minor league baseball team’s owners to pay a $250,000 penalty if they choose to negotiate with anybody else. The agreement assures the commissioners, who may decide to enact a 5 percent admissions tax to help fund a stadium, that the Bears won’t try to use them as leverage to get Yakima or another city to better the offer. Though the contract does not obligate the county in any way, the commissioners balked when Potter presented it. They’re supposed to reconsider this week.

Cheers: To National Trails Day. Today is the 19th annual celebration. The U.S. Forest Service today is waiving all fees at its day-use sites. Coupled with the nicest weather of the year so far, we’d recommend putting down the paper (after you finish the last section, of course) and getting out there. Can’t go today? Other free days this year are June 11, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11. And if you go another day, take heart: the $5 per vehicle you pay contributed to the more than $9 million in recreational fees generated on Pacific Northwest forests last year, providing money for trail maintenance and other projects.

Jeers: To parents who don’t seek vaccinations for their children. A study from the Centers for Disease Control released this week says Washington kindergartners collectively do not meet state or national goals for any required immunizations. For some reason, Washington is a laggard in vaccination rates, with parents of 6.2 percent of public school students opting out of at least one required vaccine. The News Tribune in Tacoma reports that lack of vaccination is the main contributor to a rise in reported cases of measles, a preventable disease that can lead to deadly complications including pneumonia and encephalitis. Already this year, more than 100 measles cases have been reported compared with only 37 in all of 2005. It’s important to note that not all people should receive an immunization, but for the rest of us, the vaccination is a must.

Cheers: To Soroptimist International of Vancouver. Organized on the night before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the group held its final meeting May 17. The members have aged, and times have changed, so the club reluctantly disbanded. But it’s worthwhile to note their local accomplishments on behalf of women, children, the environment and other good causes over the years. The group’s last act was to distribute some $175,000 in gifts to seven local agencies that will use that money to continue to better our community. Other Soroptimist chapters in the area remain active.

Cheers: To efforts by local groups to encourage people to act to prevent depression, bullying, loneliness and other problems facing teenagers. The most recent example was a Thursday night forum in response to several teen suicides in the county this year.