Cheers: Children's Center, a Vancouver nonprofit agency that provides mental-health care for uninsured and underinsured children, has broken ground on a new building in east Vancouver. Currently squeezed into downtown office space, the organization annually sees more than 1,600 children, and the need continues to grow. The new facility, which is expected to be completed in May 2015, will be more accessible for those requiring service.
Improved mental-health care often is mentioned as a key to dealing with this country's societal ills, ranging from homelessness to mass shootings. Rather than shun the mentally ill, we should recognize that such illnesses often can be treated and that those who suffer often can become productive members of society. Children's Center is working to be part of that solution. As executive director Pat Beckett said of the new facility, "This will be a feel-good location for much healing and much love."
Jeers: The Legislature's stubborn stance regarding education once again has been snubbed by the federal government. Last year, lawmakers declined to approve a change in state law that would have required — rather than simply recommending — the use of students' standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. That led the U.S. Department of Education to rescind Washington's waiver from some facets of the No Child Left Behind law, and this week the feds rejected another request from the state to restore the waiver.
The result? Washington schools not making adequate progress in educating students must send out letters to parents informing them that the school is performing inadequately, and that students may transfer and the school must offer outside tutoring. Under the strict language of the law, most schools will fall under that category. It all could have been avoided if the Legislature had been willing to alter one sentence in the state law.
Cheers: Hundreds of people have volunteered or donated to the construction of a new athletic field and grandstand at La Center High School. For years, the high school team has played on the district's middle school field, while efforts to build a facility at the high school kept coming up short. After the latest ballot measure narrowly failed two years ago, people took matters into their own hands.
"The community — old, young, athletes, non-athletes, parents, grandparents, friends outside of La Center — not only saved the project, but actually are building the project," Paul Valencia of The Columbian reported. It's an uplifting reminder of the meaning of the word "community."
Jeers: A couple of cloudbursts this week were enough to snarl traffic throughout the area. On Tuesday, a series of crashes in Portland had traffic backed up well into Clark County; on Wednesday, record rainfall contributed to a crash involving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 205 near the state Highway 14 interchange, backing up arterial roads for miles around.
So, while we take this opportunity to remind drivers to use caution in inclement conditions — particularly if there has been little recent rain — allow us also to raise two pertinent questions: Why are we having torrential downpours in late July? And doesn't Mother Nature realize it's summer?
Cheers: As historian Jacques Barzun purportedly said, "To understand America, one must first understand baseball." Therefore, it is worth noting that Fort Vancouver Historic Site will host a game of 1867-style "base ball" at 6 p.m. Saturday on the parade ground. The sport was much different then — played without gloves and before the invention of the hot dog — but many facets of the contest will be instantly familiar to a modern audience.