Think now to prevent oil spills later; don't shortchange Hanford cleanup
Cheers: To early consideration of the consequences of a possible environmental accident on the Columbia River. Recently two firms -- Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies -- proposed to build and operate an oil shipping terminal on the river at the Port of Vancouver. Crude oil would be shipped by train from North Dakota to Vancouver, then loaded onto barges or ships to be sent to refineries. The proposal will have to be carefully vetted. But already the first meeting has been held on how to handle an oil spill emergency. The emergency response equipment could include an on-site trailer stocked with equipment to help distressed wildlife. As the proposal works its way through the planning process, including important details like this will help build confidence in the terminal and its operators.Jeers: To shortchanging treatment of polluted groundwater on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The environmental group Columbia Riverkeeper is warning that the ongoing federal budget reductions have caused the Department of Energy to cut half of the money necessary to reach cleanup milestones. The dimension of the pollution is immense: more than 1 million gallons of nuclear waste have leaked from underground storage tanks, contaminating more than 80 square miles of groundwater that flows toward the Columbia River.
There are many reasons to support Clark College's fundraising campaign
Clark College Foundation officials announced this week that they have raised $17 million toward their $20 million "Ensuring a Bright Future" campaign. We commend the Foundation for its well-researched, aggressive fundraising drive and offer the following reasons why you should consider contributing:
Yes, statewide jobless rate has dropped, but economy still faces many challenges
Hooray! The Great Recession is over! Uh, not so fast. No matter what Wall Street says, the word from Main Street, Wash., is less enthusiastic. The state still hasn't regained 22 percent of the more than 200,000 jobs that were lost during the Great Recession.
Legislators should extend deadline for projects such as Library Square
Recommended reading for legislators as they move deeper into their special session would be Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1306. Admittedly not the most captivating title, but the document offers great benefits to several cities including Vancouver.
Legislators already are talking about a second bonus time
This week in Washington, legislators are pinching pennies and educators are licking chops. About the only budget idea upon which state senators and representatives agree is that public education must receive more funding.
Gray wolves' return from brink of extinction proves value of protective act
While it has long been a bit of a political football, the endangered species list serves a vital purpose and has authored many a success story.
Barron's performance as county CEO will be a tough act to follow
You can tell a lot about a boss by listening to authoritative sources who have witnessed the leader's performance under pressure. As Clark County administrator (essentially the CEO of government with constituents approaching a half-million) Bill Barron has certainly confronted an abundance of pressure over 14 years. Much of the stress has been budget-related. Over about five years starting in 2007, the county budget was cut by about $62 million, more than 100 workers were laid off, benefits were reduced, salaries were frozen and large expenditures were deferred.
An appointment that's thoroughly vetted and well-deserved; imagine that
Cheers: To Suzan L. Clark for her recent appointment as Superior Court judge. Unlike at least one other recent appointment in Clark County, this one was thoroughly vetted, and the appointee is eminently qualified. Clark has a more than a quarter of a century in Washington and Oregon in civil, criminal, prosecution, defense, appellate and family law. Also, she's the president of the Clark County Bar Association. "It's a humbling day," she said at Monday's appointment ceremony. "This process has been a long one and an interesting one."Here's yet another way in which this decision by Gov. Jay Inslee differs from at least one other recent local appointment: Citizens need only wait until November to express their opinions. That's when Clark will go before the voters.
Double dose of good news is helping the heart of the community
Great news for residents of downtown Vancouver: Grocery stores are doing well in the area.Great news for downtown Vancouver grocers: The residential base is growing.
Passing the alcohol-amnesty bill was a good choice by the Legislature
Washington recently became the 13th state to enact an alcohol-amnesty bill that allows minors to call 911 for medical emergencies without being charged or prosecuted for minor-in-possession.A few legislators expressed concern about this measure because, as state Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick was quoted in a Seattle Times story: "Minor consumption of alcohol is illegal. Now we're going to excuse it and give them a license to do this? I'm not understanding why we would do that."
Nonprofit organizations see little hope as legislators wrestle with budget woes
On one level, it was a slick bit of pandering. And yet it was pragmatic.Gov. Jay Inslee came to Vancouver this week for a meeting with leaders of local nonprofit organizations, and in the process he highlighted a pro-active approach tempered by the bad news that is the reality of modern budget scenarios.
Forward-thinking commissioners right to seek deal to buy crucial property
For one aspect of the local economy, this could be considered the missing link.While the Port of Vancouver has been aggressively pursuing development in recent years, a key part of its long-range plans has been inaccessible. A large parcel of land that is not owned by the port sits nestled between two port-owned properties — Terminal 5 and Columbia Gateway.
The Wellness Project earns prestigious national award
The best solutions, the ones that actually can make an impact on lives, can easily go unnoticed.
Corps intensifies planning for repairing Columbia River jetties
As humankind has learned over the course of several millennia, it is folly to attempt to control Mother Nature. But it is possible for people to work with nature for their benefit.Take, for example, an unfolding plan to shore up three jetties at the mouth of the Columbia River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers currently is taking the first steps in a $257 million project that will keep the mighty river manageable for decades to come.
Hockinson saves music program;planning a carport takes a team
Cheers: To Hockinson school administrators and board members for retaining music classes for primary school students. The children in kindergarten through second grade have been receiving instruction from a dedicated music teacher. But a pending retirement, coupled with a need to save money due to declining enrollment, led to the suggestion the classes be dropped.Parents didn't like the idea, and quickly formed a group called Save the Music in Hockinson. The parents are also concerned about a cutback in choir programs. Administrators say that they aren't finished with next year's budget, but it looks like they'll keep both the primary program and some vocal music offerings. It's a tougher environment for school district budgeting these days, particularly when a district faces declining enrollment, so it's good to see Hockinson doing what it can to keep the services aimed directly at broad groups of children.