Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Oct. 19, 2021

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Knight lauded; algae unwelcome

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To Bob Knight. After 15 years at Clark College and 13 as its president, Knight is retiring this summer. He has overseen a period of strong growth for the college, including new facilities and the creation of three bachelor’s degree programs. Now the college is preparing to launch a Boschma Farms satellite campus in Ridgefield.

Community colleges play an important role in preparing the workforce of the future, whether for students who are seeking an associate’s degree or those who then move on to a four-year school. Most important, two-year schools are well-suited for adjusting to the educational needs of the community and for providing job retraining during difficult economic times. As the college’s student body president said during a fete in Knight’s honor: “I’ve been able to see firsthand how this community and this college impacts the people that have attended.” For 15 years, Bob Knight been a guiding force of that impact.

Jeers: To algae. A blue-green algae advisory has been issued for Vancouver Lake. Health officials warn to avoid direct contact with water where floating scum has formed, and to clean fish well and discard organs. Officials are awaiting tests to determine whether the algae includes toxins that can be harmful to humans and fatal to pets.

At the same time, the lake is suffering from an infestation of milfoil, an invasive weed. Friends of Vancouver, an advocacy group, this week received permission from state regulators to treat the milfoil with a herbicide. That is worthy of cheers, but ongoing issues at the popular 2,300-acre recreation spot bring jeers.

Cheers: To Christensen Shipyards. Vancouver’s builder of luxury yachts rolled out its final creation this week — a 165-foot-long, 30-foot-wide ship with a fuel capacity of 15,000 gallons. Since 1985, Christensen has been building the world’s most luxurious vessels, but the company is moving operations to a larger shipyard in Tennessee.

Cheers are warranted for the work that has taken Vancouver-built products all over the world — and for the fact that the site will not be vacant for long. Portland-based Vigor will repurpose the shipyard near the Columbia River to manufacture a new type of landing vehicle for the U.S. Army. We’re sad to see Christensen leave, but pleased that Vancouver will still be a part of the shipbuilding industry.

Jeers: To feeding the bears. Officials in Oregon killed a young black bear near Forest Grove because too many people had been feeding it. “This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears,” one biologist said. “While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions bears should never, ever be fed.”

For one thing, human food can be harmful for the animals. But the real issue is that the bear had become so accustomed to interaction with people that it posed a danger.

Cheers: To a new play area. The Port of Camas-Washougal has unveiled a “natural” play area at Washougal Waterfront Park. Although, we are not quite sure there is anything “natural” about a 9-foot-tall Sasquatch statue that is the centerpiece of the area.

As with any good play area, the Sasquatch, named Eegah, is tailor-made for climbing. There also are logs and musical instruments, but the guess is that Eegah will be the crowd favorite. The project cost about $300,000, with $103,000 of that coming from the Legislature. Play might not be cheap, but for parents looking to get the kids out of the house, a new outlet is priceless.

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