Cheers: To the more than 600 local health care providers who volunteer their services for urgent care at the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington. Many of the volunteers come from large local provider groups such as Kaiser Permanente and The Vancouver Clinic.The Free Clinic, 4100 Plomondon St., serves low-income patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Urgent care is provided on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Additional kudos to Kaiser Permanente for adding dental and vision services to the urgent care.
Jeers: To Oregon for far-too-lenient policies regarding childhood vaccinations. Currently, in our neighbor state to the south, children entering kindergarten must show proof of immunization against several diseases, but a couple of exceptions water down the effectiveness of the program. As explained in an Oregonian editorial, parents can obtain an immunization exemption by bringing a letter from a doctor explaining the child's medical condition or, taking the easy route, simply check a box citing a religious exemption.
The Oregonian editorial also reports that Oregon's 5.8 percent vaccines exemption rate (for nonmedical reasons) for kindergartners is highest in the nation. Fortunately, the Oregon Legislature is considering a bill that would toughen the rules. The Oregonian also praised Washington's recently revised system that requires parents to get a doctor's signature showing that the parents have been made aware (by the doctor) of the risks and benefits of vaccines. That rule cut our state's opt-out rate by 25 percent.
Cheers: To city officials in Camas and Washougal for continuing their efforts to merge the cities' fire departments. A trial program began in 2011 with Camas and Washougal sharing firefighters, paramedics, captains and battalion chiefs. Now, the two city councils are fine-tuning the details of an interlocal agreement that would make the merger permanent. It's always good when municipal leaders can reach out toward each other and share public resources in ways that provide more bang for the taxpayer buck.
Jeers: To initiatives activist Tim Eyman for refusing to apologize for calling Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee a "lying whore" in an email to supporters and the media. Eyman would not apologize even after the state Republican Party, usually counted among his allies, called for him to do so. According to The Seattle Times, GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said, "There is no question that's beyond the pale and is uncalled for … and I would condemn such a thing."
To which Eyman responded, "Thanks for the advice, but (Inslee) doesn't deserve an apology. He deserves to keep his word and as promised to not raise taxes, to veto any taxes, and if there are going to be any taxes they should go on the ballot."
Eyman also defended his choice of the vulgarity by lecturing Wilbur on the various definitions of the insulting word, as if such a debate lessens the incivility of its use. Of course, Eyman is free to choose his own vocabulary, but other Washingtonians — even those politically aligned with him — are free to call for him to apologize.
Cheers: To progress at the corner of Fourth Plain and Grand boulevards to convert a long-vacant Fred Meyer store site into a 42,000-square-foot grocery store. Demolition work on the old store began recently. Although the new grocery store has no company name listed on the proposal, there's evidence that the new building will be part of the Walmart Neighborhood Market system.
Residents in this area lost a valuable shopping resource when Fred Meyer moved to a new store on Grand and Columbia House Boulevard, near state Highway 14. It will be good to restore access to a major retailer, especially one with grocery offerings.