Cheers: To a helping hand. Vancouver-based KMR Group Foundation has granted $40,000 for solar panel kits to help return power to Puerto Rico. More than seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, which is inhabited by more than 3 million American citizens, much of the country is still without electricity.
Officials from Solar for Puerto Rico say the donation will pay for enough solar kits to aid 500 households. That is small portion what is needed, but it helps. It also brings attention to the failures of the federal government in facilitating Puerto Rico’s recovery. American citizens have gone more than a half-year without electricity, an appalling situation that deserves attention.
Jeers: To “training errors.” No, the Washington State Department of Transportation doesn’t really think you suck, even if the message “U Suck” appeared on a state-operated electronic sign board along Interstate 5 this week, south of Seattle. Predictably, the incident garnered much attention on the internet.
“This was an inappropriate message and we apologize if anyone was offended,” a statement from the agency said. “This was due to a training error and clearly a mistake. We are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” The event proved to be harmless, and we’re sure that more than a few people got a chuckle out of it. But sign operators might be wise to adopt one of the rules of the newspaper industry: Never type something that you would not want to appear in public.
Sad: To bittersweet memories. As detailed in a touching article by Columbian reporter Marissa Harshman, the Harlem Wizards this week “drafted” 6-year-old Vancouver twins Adrian and Declan Reagan to be honorary members of the traveling basketball team. Adrian is a first-grader at Harmony Elementary; Declan, who has battled leukemia for two years, recently began hospice care.
Many supporters have followed Declan’s journey through a Facebook page, Declan the Dinosaur. On Wednesday, mom Lauren Reagan said, “It’s unimaginable. It’s difficult. Nobody wants to lose a child.” The generosity of the Harlem Wizards provided a bit of comfort for Adrian, Declan and their family.
Jeers: To Atlantic salmon. Not to be overly provincial, but we wish that Atlantic salmon had been left on their side of the continent; it is not good news when one of the species is found in the Skagit River long after a net pen collapse in Puget Sound. Tribal anglers caught the fish 40 miles up the river, eight months after more than 300,000 of them were sent into the home waters of Pacific salmon.
Officials are not particularly concerned about a single Atlantic salmon surviving this long after the incident, but the discovery of more could be problematic. “Most of these fish from the escape are probably dead, and for any to naturalize, there have to be a whole string of improbable events,” one biologist said. The Legislature this year passed a bill to phase out Atlantic salmon farms in Puget Sound. We hope the legislation didn’t arrive too late.
Cheers: To neighborly generosity. Samaritans acted quickly to restock a blessing booth set up by Vancouver’s Tori and Jesse LaDeane after somebody cleaned it out. The LaDeanes set up the booth as a free book exchange in January, and later added some toiletries, snacks, water and clothes for anybody in need.
When Tori checked the booth Monday, it had been emptied. “I was quite upset,” she said. “This has been our heart the last four months.” Rather than allow a few bad apples to spoil something that helped bring the community together, neighbors replenished the supplies. The lesson: There are more good people out there than bad ones.