In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Prairie High School gymnast among best in world; Atlantic salmon escape into Sound



Cheers: To Jordan Chiles. The Prairie High School junior finished second this week at the U.S. women’s gymnastics championships, improvising a new move along the way. As she attempted to spin while in a crouch during her balance beam routine, Chiles lost her balance but kept spinning while rising to her feet on the 4-inch-wide beam. “After awhile, I didn’t realize I was still turning, so I told myself, ‘Why am I still turning?’ ” she said.

Chiles’ performance at the national meet makes her one of the favorites to make the U.S. team for the World Championships in October. Considering that American women typically dominate international gymnastics, that places her among the best in the world in her sport. Chiles, 16, formerly trained at Naydenov Gymnastics in northeast Vancouver; now she is making a name for herself on the world stage.

Jeers: To escaped fish. The collapse of an Atlantic salmon farm on Cypress Island allowed some 300,000 fish to escape into the Salish Sea between the Washington mainland and San Juan County. This presents an ecological disaster as well as an economic one throughout the Puget Sound region. As a spokesman for the Washington Department of Ecology said of Atlantic salmon: “They are supposed to be released to the store, not the Sound.”

Officials for Cooke Aquaculture Pacific initially blamed the failure on strong tides caused by the solar eclipse, but scientists quickly debunked that assertion. Meanwhile, the situation led to a fishing frenzy in the waters off Bellingham. That would be beneficial except that anglers are unable to even give away their haul of Atlantic salmon. As the Associated Press reported, boats have been deployed to “mop up the fish like an oil spill.”

Cheers: To the eclipse of 2017. This week’s solar eclipse drew worldwide attention and provided a once-in-a-lifetime experience for local residents. From the vantage point of Clark County, the moon briefly blotted out 99 percent of the sun, drawing people to rooftops and parks and public gatherings. Many local residents headed south to Oregon to catch a glimpse of a total eclipse.

Preceded by months of media attention, the eclipse was highly anticipated. Although its peak lasted only two minutes or so, the sense of community it engendered combined with the rarity of the event to create long-lasting memories.

Jeers: To Clark County officials. Traffic around what is now the Sunlight Supply Amphitheater has been troublesome since the large concert venue opened in 2003 at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. When local residents noticed that neighborhood traffic has grown worse in the past two years, a little investigating revealed the county had nobody to deal with the issue.

Apparently, when a previous employee left for another job, nobody else was assigned to deal with amphitheater-related issues, allowing problems to fester. That oversight has been corrected, but much work must be done. We hope that county officials will be attentive to the needs of residents near the amphitheater as well as concertgoers, reducing the problems caused by concert evenings.

Cheers: To images of Vancouver’s history. The Fort Vancouver Tapestry, a collection of 70 embroidered panels, is on display from noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the Artillery Barracks, 600 E. Hathaway Road. The 108-foot-long piece of textile art has been in storage since 2015 until making an appearance this week.

The tapestry, which was started in 1999, is the work of 57 Northwest stitchers, along with 12 who came from Japan. The artistry depicts images from the history of Clark County and Washington. “Every time I put it up,” said Sherry Mowatt, the project’s artistic director, “I’m impressed how much I still like it.”