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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers

Chalk the Walks draws good vibes; good eye protection for eclipse is vital

The Columbian
Published: August 19, 2017, 6:03am

Cheers: To spreading a little warmth and joy. Tuesday was Chalk the Walks day, when teams of volunteers used colorful chalk to create positive messages on sidewalks throughout Vancouver and elsewhere. This marked the eighth annual event hosted by the nonprofit Joy Team, which was founded by Vancouver’s Michele Larsen, and the idea has spread to an ever-growing number of cities.

“Somebody might walk by and see something nice. It might make their day,” Larsen said. “Who knows how that might ripple out?” Chalk the Walks has lured government partners in cities ranging from California to Maryland. And why not? It is a simple way to help bring communities together and spread uplifting messages. At a time when Americans frequently are reminded of the things that divide us, a little warmth and joy is particularly welcome.

Jeers: To inadequate eye protection. With an eclipse coming Monday — you might have heard about it; it’s been in all the papers — some glasses distributed for the event might not be safe for use. Amazon has issued a recall for some of the glasses it sent out, and Legacy Health has warned that glasses it distributed might be included in that recall.

Without proper protection, viewing the eclipse can cause eye damage. To ensure that your glasses are adequate, visit the American Astronomical Society website. Legacy officials said their questionable glasses were not distributed in Washington but were handed out at some locations in the Portland area. In order to properly experience the eclipse, make sure your eyes are protected.

Cheers: To future doctors. Some 100 years after the Legislature barred Washington State University from operating a medical school, the university has welcomed its first class of medical students. In 1917, lawmakers settled a turf war between WSU and the University of Washington over academic programs by giving UW sole authority to operate a medical program in the state.

That restriction was overturned in 2015, and this week students began arriving at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane. Officials for the school say it will focus on training doctors for underserved regions of the state, which often means rural areas in Eastern Washington. The WSU medical school will provide needed opportunities for both students and residents in Washington.

Jeers: To leaving runners with nowhere to go. A mistake last year has led to the cancellation of this year’s Vancouver USA Marathon and related events, which were scheduled for Sept. 15-17. Last year’s marathon course was 1,126 feet short of the standard 26.2-mile distance, leading to results being discounted as qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.

The Vancouver USA Marathon annually draws some 3,000 runners but pre-registration for this year’s event was low, resulting in the cancellation. “Our 2016 course mistake really hurt us and our credibility,” race director Brian Davis said. Ideally, organizers can restore that credibility and bring the event back for 2018.

Cheers: To good police work. Gus and Apollo, two K-9 officers who were sworn in Aug. 1, helped the Clark County Sheriff’s Office recapture an escaped inmate.

Cory V. Cunningham climbed over a fence at the Clark County Jail Work Center and fled toward the Port of Vancouver. As The Columbian reported, Cunningham “buried himself under sand in some thick brush, obscuring him to human eyes and noses.” That wasn’t enough to thwart Apollo, who found the inmate about 100 yards from where he was last spotted. Cunningham, who was facing charges of violating domestic violence-related court orders, now is facing additional charges. As for Gus and Apollo, well, we’re guessing they got a nice doggy treat.