In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

There is some good news in the world; county might have insurance trouble



Cheers: The media often is criticized for sharing only bad news, but we beg to differ with that premise. Take the story of 36-year-old Chris Cash of Vancouver. Cash, who has cerebral palsy, recently had his power wheelchair stolen from his garage. He originally paid $18,500 for the chair, but it had been out of commission for a couple months while he saved up to purchase a new battery. OK, that's all bad news; we're getting to the good part.After media reports put a spotlight on Cash's dilemma, he was flooded with offers from people looking to donate a motorized wheelchair. He accepted an offer from a Woodland woman, who had a chair that was the right size and fit his needs. "I am so blessed," Cash told The Columbian. "Now I can do my job without getting really tired." The world, believe it or not, is full of good people who are willing to help others. And it's always enjoyable to hear their stories.

Jeers: Clark County is at risk of being booted from its group coverage in the Washington Counties Risk Pool, the result of a settlement in a decades-old wrongful-imprisonment case. In September, the county agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit brought by two men who had spent 17 years in prison for a rape they didn't commit. The settlement also authorized them to sue the risk pool for as much as an additional $12 million apiece.

That might or might not have violated the county's agreement with the risk pool, which is a coalition of counties that purchase insurance policies as a group. The issue is far from settled, but being booted out of the pool could cause a sharp rise in the county's insurance premiums.

Cheers: The Vancouver Food Cooperative is remaining open -- for now. The nonprofit, member-driven corporation, which has a store at 1002 Main St. in downtown Vancouver, had earlier this year endorsed a plan to close up shop. But that resulted in a flood of new energy and sales for the co-op, and members voted 48-0 with two abstentions this week to remain open.

The store offers local and organic foods including fresh produce, focusing on healthy options for consumers. Ultimately, the economics of supply and demand will determine whether or not the store can remain in business for the long term, but sometimes new business models just need a little extra time to get established.

Jeers: A spokeswoman for Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has confirmed that there will be no legislative hearings this year on the Columbia River Crossing. This essentially ensures that construction on the project won't begin until 2015 at the earliest, if it ever begins at all.

Washington's Legislature earlier this year failed to provide funding for the project, leaving supporters to hope that Oregon will unilaterally initiate the undertaking. That apparently won't happen before the end of the year, leaving the CRC where it essentially has always been — in limbo.

Cheers:An exhibit at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site visitors center is bringing a little bit of Gettysburg to Vancouver. The showing, "A New Birth of Freedom: Vancouver Barracks During the Civil War," includes 10 items on loan from Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, along with items related to Vancouver's Civil War history.

Vancouver has a long and proud link to the military, and Fort Vancouver (it became Vancouver Barracks in 1879) was the U.S. Army's primary post in the Pacific Northwest during the Civil War. Units of volunteers took over at the fort when the Army's regular troops were ordered to Civil War postings. The exhibit at the center (1501 E. Evergreen Blvd.) runs through March 30.