Cheers: To Hockinson school administrators and board members for retaining music classes for primary school students. The children in kindergarten through second grade have been receiving instruction from a dedicated music teacher. But a pending retirement, coupled with a need to save money due to declining enrollment, led to the suggestion the classes be dropped.Parents didn't like the idea, and quickly formed a group called Save the Music in Hockinson. The parents are also concerned about a cutback in choir programs. Administrators say that they aren't finished with next year's budget, but it looks like they'll keep both the primary program and some vocal music offerings. It's a tougher environment for school district budgeting these days, particularly when a district faces declining enrollment, so it's good to see Hockinson doing what it can to keep the services aimed directly at broad groups of children.
Jeers: To county red tape. For the latest example look no further than the food bank operated by F.I.S.H. of Orchards. It's a small operation, so small in fact that only five clients are allowed inside at a time. The rest, often elderly folks or young mothers with kids, have to wait outdoors, even in the rain. A $1,777 metal carport would solve the problem. F.I.S.H. had the money, it bought the carport, but it took four months and almost $2,000 to get all of the permits. A property line between the food bank and the parking lot had to be vacated. Then a handicapped parking space had to be relocated. Then new signs had to be posted for that parking space. Then the food bank was told its carport wouldn't withstand a 105 mph wind and a snow load of 25 pounds of snow per square foot. A new carport was procured, and finally erected after patrons spent another winter standing in the rain.
"It makes you think, how does anything get done in the county?" said the group's president, Don Espey. He'd like to add a new bench under the carport, assuming, of course, there is any money left after the permits are procured.
Cheers:To Chabad Jewish Center's new "Jewish oasis," as one of its members called it at Sunday's dedication and open house. The group has been active in Clark County for a decade and has recently opened an expanded and remodeled center at 9604 N.E. 126th Ave. The center encompasses 9,000 square feet and will house a synagogue, preschool and banquet hall, where a variety of programs are held. The center's success, along with the new temple dedicated in September by Congregation Kol Ami, demonstrates the increasing diversity that makes Clark County a better place.
Jeers: To the NBA's relocation committee, which has unanimously recommended that the Sacramento Kings not be allowed to relocated to Seattle. The team's owners have expressed a desire to sell, and the best offer is from a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen. Seattle even would build a new arena for its reborn Sonics. But the NBA bureaucrats are reluctant to bless the deal, even as they spurned Seattle's efforts to keep the Sonics from relocating to Oklahoma City back in 2006. A bonus jeer to NBA Commissioner David Stern, who has tried to boost Sacramento's efforts to keep the team at the expense of Seattle. In Clark County many of us are bigger fans of the Portland Trail Blazers, but we still miss the Seattle-Portland rivalry.
Cheers: To shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. Stasha Hornbeck, a registered dietician with Kaiser Permanente, recently offered a tour of an area WinCo to The Columbian's Marissa Harshman. For the healthiest diet, visit the produce and bulk foods sections, and avoid the freezer cases, she advises. Learn to look for healthy words such as "whole wheat" in the fine print, and not just the healthy-sounding words on the front of the package.