Cheers: Tonight marks the unveiling of a Husky Stadium that might finally be worthy of its location. After a renovation that required two years and $280 million, the University of Washington takes on Boise State in what by all accounts is a gleaming temple of college football.For years, the Huskies had toiled in a dilapidated Husky Stadium that inhabited a gorgeous setting on the shore of Lake Washington but was decades overdue for an update. Now, with about $50 million from private donations and the rest coming from expected revenue generated by the stadium, UW fans can hope that their new stadium eventually will help the team return to its former glory.
On the other hand, the arms race never ends in college football: The University of Oregon recently opened a football support facility (locker rooms, offices, etc.) that reportedly rivals the Taj Mahal for opulence.
Jeers: State officials last week revealed that construction delays and redesign costs could use up the $100 million in reserves earmarked for completion of the state Highway 520 bridge, which links Seattle and Bellevue. The floating bridge that spans Lake Washington has been so beset with problems that the completion date, originally set at late 2004, now stands at April 2016, according to The Associated Press.
State Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, succinctly surmised why the failures of the 520 bridge could hamper the desires of officials to complete other capital projects throughout the state: "If they want a gas tax, to build more projects, they've got to get things right. They've lost a lot of trust."
Cheers: A Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Kiggins Theatre was even more successful than hoped. A total of 794 backers pledged $92,830 -- enough for the theater in downtown Vancouver to complete a conversion that will allow operators to show films in a digital format. Owner Dan Wyatt had said that the movie industry is going all-digital, meaning the Kiggins needed to change or close its doors.
Kickstarter is an online fundraising engine that collects donations for good causes and creative projects. It is, in the best sense of the Internet, a platform for grass-roots campaigns and community involvement. Thanks to its supporters, the Kiggins proved to be an ideal outlet for such a campaign, and downtown Vancouver will keep its movie theater.
Jeers: Members of the Battle Ground School Board have acknowledged that they violated the public's trust with how they handled the departure of Superintendent Shonny Bria earlier this year. The board negotiated a buyout worth more than $400,000 with Bria, then kept the agreement secret until a public-records request by media outlets forced disclosure of the agreement.
It goes without saying that public officials bear a responsibility to be open with the public -- the people who pay the bills. And it goes without saying that the Battle Ground School Board egregiously violated that responsibility in handling the Bria case. Public acknowledgement of that violation is too little, too late.
Cheers: A little wine, a little food, some crafts, and a whole bunch of music added up to one of Vancouver's signature events last weekend. The Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival wrapped up a three-day run at Esther Short Park with a scintillating closing set by David Sanborn and Bob James, and even the raindrops cooperated until just after the final note.
The festival now is 16 years old, and Michael Kissinger, the founder and artistic director, promised that it will be back for a 17th year next summer. Throughout its tenure, the festival has enlivened downtown and contributed to the area's revival. Cultural events can be crucial to enhancing a city's business climate as well as the quality of life for residents, and the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival long has been one of Vancouver's treasures.