State's math and language arts classes are setting up for national standards
Local control is essential in the pursuit of high-quality public education. Locally elected school board members and locally hired administrators and teachers know best the needs of school districts, some diverse, some more uniform.By the same token, public education is enshrined in our state constitution as the state's "paramount duty," so there is an accountability that must be met at the state level. And with our economic realities becoming more global by the day, all states should pursue education standards in concert.
Puget Sound shows a couple of wildlife triumphs, but concerns persist
For a couple of centuries, uninformed or neglectful humans showed many signs of loving Puget Sound to death. For the past couple of decades, we appear to be nurturing it back to better health.This is good news for all Washingtonians, including Clark County residents who explore recreational, tourism or second-home opportunities around the sprawling, spectacularly scenic waterway that's just a couple hours' drive to the north.
Legislature's lack of productivity extends into second special session
Following the Washington Legislature's multiple sessions is a lot like following the Portland Timbers' eight soccer ties: Lots of yelling and kicking, but not much to show for it.
Washougal gets a dog in this fight;heroin deaths on the rise in Washington
Cheers:To the Washougal City Council for clarifying its ordinance on barking dogs. The city is home to both the West Columbia River Gorge Humane Society and a business called Northwest Underwater Construction. The two enterprises are locked in one of the most bitter neighbor disputes in Clark County over the barking noise emanating from the Humane Society's animal shelter.The city council this week voted to amend its ordinance, specifying that barking dogs are allowed at shelters and animal-related businesses. Even if the clarification doesn't result in a resolution of the dispute, it at least lets both parties know the city's position.
One of the early leaders in the campaign was inspired by immigrant parents
Bernard J. Cigrand probably is not a name that rolls familiarly off the tongue of most Clark County residents. But the National Flag Day Foundation describes him as "a devout patriot with a great love of the flag of our nation" and "first and foremost an American patriot."
New initiative would require background checks on private gun sales
One of the most unsurprising initiatives in Washington state history was filed on Tuesday as activists submitted a ballot measure that would mandate background checks for all gun sales, similar to those required for licensed firearms dealers.
They'll meet the challenge, as demonstrated in full-day kindergarten
Many parents — and especially grandparents — of today's kindergartners would be surprised at how this introduction to school has changed from what previous generations experienced. First, for many modern students it's an all-day experience. Evergreen Public Schools, for example, provides universal all-day kindergarten.
Inslee, Ferguson trying to convince feds to meet responsibilities on cleanup
Friday's news about the deadbeat U.S. Department of Energy's obligations to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was deeply discouraging, and two of Washington's top officials are leading the outrage parade.\
Despite dire warnings, legalized same-sex marriage is gaining popularity
Americans' attitudes about same-sex marriage are changing rapidly, and once again we see Washington leading the way for other states to do the right thing. Two recent stories prove both of these points.The state Department of Health reported last week that 2,400 same-sex marriages occurred in Washington from the day they were legalized (Dec. 6) through the end of March, the last month when complete statistics are available. We hasten to point out that there has been no noticeable impact on the high quality of life in our state because of these 2,400 marriages. And the absence of any meaningful effect is despite numerous warnings to the contrary prior to the passage of Referendum 74 last year by almost 54 percent of voters (the measure was opposed in Clark County by 52 percent of voters).
Liquor sales and distribution have changed, but don't jump to conclusions
June 1 marked the one-year anniversary of Washington's privatized liquor distribution and sales, and this has impacted our state in many ways. Whether the changes are good or bad depends on the observer, but one thing is for certain: Voters got what they wanted; 58 percent (statewide and in Clark County) passed Initiative 1183 in 2011. The measure was favored in 35 of 39 counties.The change has been good for consumers who now benefit from huge increases in the number of liquor stores and variety of products. This competition and greater selection is proof of how the free market should be allowed to flex its strength in the liquor business, instead of a state-run monopoly dictating distribution policies and retail prices.
Hotel refinancing allows investment; Clark County's brain drain accelerating
Cheers: To refinancing the bonds for downtown Vancouver's landmark hotel. The Hilton Vancouver Washington will benefit from an estimated $15 million saved over the life of the bonds following action by the hotel building's owner, the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.In 2003, the DRA, an arm of city government, issued $65 million in bonds to pay for construction of the hotel and convention center at an interest rate averaging 5.56 percent. Rates are considerably lower now. The savings from the refinancing will be applied to hotel renovations, which are a constant in the industry and required to keep the Hilton a first-class facility. The Hilton hosted approximately 7,000 events between 2007 and 2012, and has become a focal point in downtown redevelopment efforts.
U.S. Supreme Court made correct ruling in case involving Maryland law
Four years ago, The Columbian editorialized that DNA testing of suspects should be allowed after arrests in serious criminal cases. We answered the invasion-of-privacy complaint by pointing out that DNA tests are no more intrusive than fingerprints or mug shots of suspects, which have been legal and useful for years.
Public apathy in home rule charter has been replaced by robust interest
Public interest in changing Clark County's form of government has changed; so has the attitude of county commissioners. Asking the public to become more engaged in local government is a good thing. And, although The Columbian has opposed reconsidering a home rule charter (citing three rejections by voters and what until recently appeared to be broad public apathy), it's hard to fault county commissioners for reconsidering home rule again.
Sunday Streets Alive event looks like an experiment worth trying
We don't necessarily agree with everything they do in Portlandia. We are, after all, not particularly fond of keeping our city weird, and we hope that notion stays on the other side of the Columbia River.
Graduates encouraged to pursue ways to help others, as well as their dreams
'Tis the season, that time of year when people of letters are selected to address graduating classes all over the country.It's a time of wise words and grand visions and deep thoughts about finding a passion and expanding your reach. Of serving and helping and, above all, striving to make the world a better place.