In our view: Cheers & Jeers

WHO volunteers know whom to help; your warm, running car could vanish

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Cheers: To 10 years of selfless sacrifice by the dedicated volunteers of Winter Hospitality Overflow.This organization offers shelter from the cold for homeless people, with more than 1,500 volunteers helping provide places to sleep, warm showers, hot food and advice on how to access a wide variety of services such as job-finding assistance, C-Tran bus passes and meeting other needs. Most of the volunteers come from about 50 local churches.

WHO helps people downtown — where St. Paul Lutheran Church has room for 24 single men — and in the Orchards area — where St. Andrew Lutheran Church has 50 beds for families, couples and single women. To volunteer, or for more information, visit http://www.whoprogram.org.

Jeers: Sympathy is appropriate for anyone whose car is stolen, but the level of compassionate understanding is dialed back a notch when motorists almost seem to invite the crime. Each winter, the arrival of cold weather brings a wave of folks who leave their cars running outside stores or residences. Their hope is: Rush inside, then hurry back to a car that has been kept warm. Such was the plan last week of a 26-year-old Vancouver woman who left her 2008 Toyota Highlander running outside her home. She came back out to an empty driveway. As Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp points out, "It only takes a second for someone to steal an unlocked car that is running."

Leaving a car running unattended is illegal, although citations are rare. This highly preventable form of car theft warrants every driver's attention.

Cheers: You say you like to cook? Well, never mind learning how to spell hors d'oeuvres, how about just crankin' out 7,500 of them? And just to increase the pressure, be advised that your tasty little morsels will be consumed by the governor and a lot of other VIPs at the political equivalent of a senior prom.

Congratulations to about 30 students from the Clark County Skills Center who carefully crafted 7,500 hors d'oeuvres for Tuesday's Governor's Ball and Reception in Olympia. And these weren't just Lit'l Smokies on Ritz crackers, either. The students from the restaurant management/culinary arts program worked with julienne-style spinach, raspberry cream cheese, smoked salmon, cedar-green garnish and other ingredients, then transported the 7,500 appetizers — steady now — to the capital city and served them at the big shindig. Sounds like these students are more than qualified now for Super Bowl Sunday!

Jeers: To anyone who is celebrating the recent decline in Washington state's unemployment rate. Yes, the official statistic was 7.6 percent for last month. And yes, that's the second straight month below 8 percent. And yes, the state has regained more than half of the jobs lost during the recession. But a couple of factors should moderate any celebration.

First, officials believe part of the drop is tied in part to jobless people who have given up and stopped looking for work. (The official rate only involves those actively looking for work.)

Second, the official size of the workforce is declining, at least as far as the statistical review is concerned. But the state's potential working population has increased, which should further soften any call for celebration.

Cheers: Cheap books alert! Actually, our noble friends at the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District would never involve themselves in anything cheap. But the library foundation will have a lot of inexpensive books on sale today (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at the flagship library at 901 C St. It's their biggest-ever book sale, with about 10,000 items. And get this: One buck for hardbacks, 50 cents for paperbacks. Stock up, and help a worthy cause. Proceeds go to the Library District's summer reading program.