Cheers: Several local groups and businesses combined forces last weekend to honor and celebrate those who have risked their lives for our country. Three days of activities — from hunting to fishing to poker to concerts — were provided for a group of 35 veterans, with the weekend being led by the Home with Heroes organization.
For an idea of how the three days of festivities impacted the vets, Columbian reporter Dave Kern quoted Army veteran Monique Martin: "I bagged three pheasants. I caught a 10-pound salmon. I had never played poker before and I finished seventh in the tournament." As if a full weekend of fun and appreciation wasn't enough, Home with Heroes conspired to surreptitiously remodel the home of Marine Dmitri Stoyanoff while he was away for the festivities. Allowing vets to spend time with those who have gone through similar experiences, the honors were well deserved.
Jeers: Once again, we must take issue with Gov. Jay Inslee's proposal to seek a transportation bill from the Legislature that does not provide funding for a new Interstate 5 Bridge. Inslee reiterated this week that he would like to call lawmakers together for a special session in search of a bill to fund other major transportation projects across the state. That would mean an increase to the gas tax.
Unless the governor is willing to exempt Southwest Washington drivers from paying such a tax — and that's not going to happen — the proposal is an affront to people in this part of the state. For too long, money collected from Clark County drivers has been used to fund megaprojects in the Puget Sound area or near Spokane. The I-5 crossing might be the most important transportation concern in the entire state, and it should be treated as such. Ignoring it won't make it go away.
Cheers: Congratulations to all who participated in — or contributed to — Vancouver's annual Girlfriends Half Marathon. An estimated 1,800 women completed the 13.1-mile race that benefitted Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Childrens Center in Vancouver, and the Kearney Breast Center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
With entry fees plus assistance from sponsors and volunteers, the event raised more than $20,000 for the Komen foundation and about $5,000 for the Childrens Center. In addition, six men dubbed the Pink Brigade raised $11,000 for the Kearney center. While benefitting the fight against a serious disease, the Girlfriends Half Marathon long has been about fun. So, for one day, the Pink Brigade can be counted as honorary girlfriends.
Jeers: After 22 years, owner Brian Wassman has put Vancouver's last remaining record store up for sale. Everybody's Music has been a fixture in Uptown Village for more than two decades, but Wassman has decided it's time for him to move on.
Brick-and-mortar record stores have suffered in recent years with the rise of online music downloads. But being able to flip through stacks of vinyl LPs and CD cases retains a visceral appeal. Here's hoping Wassman can find a buyer who will keep the doors open.
Cheers: For now, we'll remain in the skeptics' camp, but a project to verify and sequence the DNA of Sasquatch sounds interesting. A group that got its start on the Olympic Peninsula is collecting samples — hair, saliva, etc. — believed to be from Bigfoot, and is trying to scientifically prove the existence of the legendary creature.
Organizers believe they are making headway; scientists who have reviewed their work aren't so sure. Either way, Sasquatch long has been associated with the wilderness of Washington. If such creatures are proven to exist, we gladly will claim them as ours. But we kind of hope that proof can't be found; part of the fun has always been the mystery and speculation.