Cheers: To good economic news. The latest revenue forecast for the state of Washington shows improved projections over the next two years. The expected intake through mid-2019 has increased $288 million to about $44 billion, reflecting the state’s booming economy. Meanwhile, job growth in Clark County remains strong, outpacing state and national averages.
With state government facing increased expenditures for education, labor, and mental health in the budget that was passed this year, the state revenue projection is particularly welcome. But it also calls for a cautionary reminder: Extra money should not be seen as a call for increased spending. As the economic downturn of the past decade taught us, the key to state budgeting is not to grow solely because times are good, but to prepare for when times are bad.
Jeers: To opportunistic criminals. While stealing is always wrong, some thefts are simply more egregious than others. Such is the case with thieves accused of prowling cars at a high school during the chaos created by a school shooting. One parent who arrived at Freeman High School in Northeast Washington last week to look for her child had a purse stolen from her car; she later noticed $36,000 worth of fraudulent charges on her accounts.
Two women and one man are facing charges including theft, forgery and possession of stolen property. A second suspect is being sought. Bad people will do bad things, but it takes an extreme level of callousness to view a school shooting as an opportunity to rifle through cars.
Cheers: To futsal in Vancouver. Vancouver officials are hoping to turn tennis courts near the former main branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library into a spot for futsal — a small-court, soccer-like game. The Portland Timbers are busy creating futsal facilities throughout the metro area, and representatives of the team recently toured the Vancouver site.
Adjacent to Memory Park and near Clark College, Hudson’s Bay High School and downtown, the site is ideally suited for recreational opportunities. The Timbers are planning to invest $100,000 in a new facility, and — to use some soccer vernacular — Vancouver officials are wise to make a pitch.
Sad: The death of a civic leader. Scott Campbell, who long had been engaged in numerous community activities and was running for Vancouver City Council, died this week at the age of 59 following a battle with cancer. Campbell shared a name with the publisher of The Columbian, but was not related to the Campbell family that owns the newspaper and Columbian.com. He had served on numerous boards, including the Fort Vancouver National Trust and the Parks Foundation of Clark County, and was involved in many volunteer activities.
Campbell is survived by his wife, Alicia, three children and three grandchildren. His loss will be felt throughout a community he had selflessly served for many years.
Cheers: To Cody Hershaw. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night can keep Hershaw from being on the job and performing it in a safe manner. Because of that, the 76-year-old Vancouver man has been honored by the National Safety Council as the safest U.S. Postal Service driver in the 15-state Western Area.
In 48 years as a postal carrier, Hershaw has never had an accident. He also never has been late for work and has missed only five days — four of them last year for a knee replacement. Hershaw, who now is one of seven finalists for a national safe-driving award, plans to spend a couple of more years performing the swift completion of his appointed rounds. “I want to make it to 50,” he said.