In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Welcome additions for sheriff's office; Sausage Fest will be missed

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Cheers: Good news for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office is good news for citizens — in this case the future hiring of eight new deputies and one jail commander. County commissioners approved the move this week, which will be funded over the next two years with about $1.5 million in expected money from the Washington Department of Corrections.

Not that this presents a long-term fix. The funding is temporary, and the county eventually will need to come up with a more permanent solution for keeping the deputies. In addition, officials should begin long-range planning for the future of the county jail, which will be in need of expansion as the area’s population continues to grow. But for now, increasing the number of deputies for a perpetually understaffed sheriff’s department will enhance public safety.

Cheers: Last weekend’s demise of the Vancouver Sausage Fest after a 43-year run represents a loss for the entire community, not just host St. Joseph Catholic Church, but it also presents an opportunity for a new, grand community event. The festival — which for years has included a carnival, beer garden, entertainment, and food selections that make it about much more than sausage — has been a fixture as one of the biggest events on the local calendar.

But it’s time to move on. Organizers announced earlier this year that this would be the last Sausage Fest, as the event didn’t generate enough revenue to justify the costs or the thousands of volunteer hours that go into putting it on. They also have said that some sort of fundraiser that engages the community will take its place. For multiple generations of families in the area, the Sausage Fest will be missed, but an updated festival will be welcome.


Cheers:
A months-long investigation revealed that no patients at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center contracted hepatitis C through the actions of a former employee. The investigation was launched after the employee was suspected of diverting drugs at the hospital for personal use.

While the testing and monitoring of more than 900 former patients was a burden for the facility and for the patients, hospital officials and Clark County Public Health acted properly in quickly addressing the situation once it came to their attention.


Jeers:
Michael Medill of Gaston, Ore., is the latest victim of bureaucracy run amok. Following the drowning deaths of four members of a Hillsboro, Ore., family at Oregon’s Henry Hagg Lake, Medill took it upon himself to place warning signs at the lake.

For that, he was rewarded with a criminal citation that had the total of $5,000 listed under “presumptive fine.” Officials later clarified — after much public outrage — that Medill was not facing a fine of that amount, and that the total was incorrectly written on the citation. But the fact that a citizen could be hit with a citation for providing a public service is another example of no good deed going unpunished.


Cheers:
It was the kind of coming-out party that is celebrated by scientists and whale watchers. A baby orca, believed to be about 1 week old, made its first public appearance last weekend as the newest member of the population of killer whales that frequents Puget Sound. Officials at the Center for Whale Research, which maintains a census of the orcas, say it is the first calf born to the group since 2012.

The baby is a member of the L pod, one of three families that are closely tracked and photographed by the researchers — the whale paparazzi, if you will — and it has not been determined whether it is male or female. The newborn brings the Puget Sound orca population to 79, but its biggest impact could be on nearby communities, as whale watching is a major economic engine in the region.