Cheers: To better water quality at Woodland’s Horseshoe Lake. The lake, clearly visible from Interstate 5, is a magnet for swimming and other water recreation on a hot day. But warm weather also brings algae to the nutrient-laden lake, making the water slimy, smelly and gross. This month the Washington State Department of Transportation installed a pump that will force 5,000 gallons per minute of fresh water into the lake. The dilution should improve the lake, which was created by a highway construction project and has no natural fresh source of water. In a few months WSDOT will evaluate the project’s success and, if necessary, plan more improvements.Jeers: To the state Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises. This small state agency has an important role; it provides the certification that small businesses need to get government contracts that are set aside for firms owned by historically disadvantaged groups. But the agency has been so slow in doing its job that many firms have not received the certification they need in order to win these contracts. In February 2011, after a five-year history of problems, the agency signed a corrective action contract with WSDOT. However, the agency has not improved enough, leading Gov. Chris Gregoire to issue a rare public rebuke last week. She said that unless the office improves, it should be dissolved and its functions dispersed. Given the agency’s record, it’s already past time to do this.
Cheers: To Clark College’s annual Career Days event. Even if the event was limited to current Clark students, the four-day program would be worthwhile. But Clark opens it to the public, makes it free of charge, and combines the lessons on effective job-hunting with one of the metro area’s largest career fairs. This year’s events drew a wide variety of people ranging in age from teens to older workers. With high unemployment remaining a drag on the economy, Clark’s event has the potential to boost not only individuals, but the entire community.
Jeers: To Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. The Democrat lost his seat in Congress due to redistricting, as had long been expected, and was defeated by a fellow Democrat, Marcy Kaptur, this month in a primary election for her seat. But rather than accept that the voters don’t want him, Kucinich is talking about packing his carpetbags for a move to Washington, where he presumably would run for one of three open seats. State Democratic Chairman Dwight Peltz has made it clear that he wouldn’t welcome Kucinich.
Cheers: To Vancouver residents who took the time to complete the city’s biennial community survey. The survey, available through May 14 at http://cityofvancouver.us/survey, allows residents to share their positions on budget cuts, priorities and which direction the city is heading. It includes 22 questions, and will be combined with the results of a professionally conducted telephone survey to give the city council some idea of what the electorate is thinking. Council members and top city officials spend a lot of time hearing from the same small group of people; this gives a chance for those who aren’t perpetually angry to have their ideas considered.
Jeers: To illegal household goods movers operating in the metro area. Found on numerous free-ad websites and community bulletin boards, these companies may offer a what seems like a good deal. But a sting conducted this week by Beaverton, Ore. police and the Oregon Department of Transportation showed what a cut rate buys. Several companies lacked legal operating authority or proper insurance; if a problem was to occur there would be little recourse. And there were problems, including unlicensed companies, uninsured trucks, a driver with a suspended license and one mover who was in possession of methamphetamine.