In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Patterson makes valiant Olympic effort; gas prices go up for inexplicable reasons



Cheers: To Skyview High School graduate and U.S. Olympic Team member Kara Patterson. Consistently one of the nation's best female javelin throwers, Patterson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee last month at the Olympics trials. She still finished second and qualified to represent the U.S. in London. She didn't talk publicly about the extent of her injury. But as many athletes have discovered, torn ACLs take more than a month to heal. On Monday, she did her best anyway, finishing 31st at the London Games, with her knee wrapped in tape and supported by a brace. She later admitted to the ACL injury, and said she would have relinquished her place if another American woman had met the Olympic qualifying standard. She deserves credit for competing through the pain and ensuring that the United States team had full representation on the field.

Jeers: To rising gas prices in Clark County and the Pacific Northwest. This time, according to The Associated Press, the culprit is a fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., that knocked production offline. As a result, gas is expected to spike to more than $4 per gallon due to the laws of supply and demand. But wait a minute: Where was this law last spring when a fire at a refinery in Anacortes caused local gas prices to soar at a time when they were falling nationally? The experts said our prices soared because the Northwest's petroleum supplies aren't well integrated with the national market. So, if there's no integration, why do problems elsewhere cause a local price spike now? Maybe there is some other economic law at play here.

Cheers: To Dr. T. Scott Woll, who at age 58 is one of the Army Reserve's newest recruits. Like other orthopedic surgeons, Woll serves his country every day by treating the various ailments and disabilities he sees in his Vancouver practice. But a visit with his son's friend -- who had returned from a second tour as a soldier in Iraq — gave him the notion to join up.

He lost weight, got fit and learned to fire weapons. In June, he was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and will head to officer training in October. After that, he expects to be sent to overseas deployment, where he will treat service personnel and their family members.

Jeers: To lax state oversight of rules that should prevent sex offenders from living or working in places where child care is provided. A new state performance audit found 28 instances statewide. The audit didn't say where violations occurred, but found that several state agencies must better follow laws that protect children from contact with sex offenders in child care, foster care and schools. The agencies have promised to do better, but diligent follow-up is needed.

Jeers: To parents whose negligence allows children to fall out of open windows. It's hot. Many homes don't have air conditioning. But these excuses pale when children can push out screens and fall from heights. This year, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center has already treated six children injured in these preventable accidents. For information on window locks, visit any hardware store or the children's safety store at Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland.