Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Dec. 11, 2019

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Farmers markets, B.G. schools

The Columbian
Published: November 2, 2019, 6:03am

Cheers: To farmers markets. The Vancouver Farmers Market reports record attendance as it wraps up for the season. Officials estimate that about 420,000 visitors perused the produce and jams and crafts at the popular downtown market this year. “Last year was a record for us,” Executive Director Jordan Boldt said. “This year blew it out of the water.”

That is good news for one of the region’s signature amenities, which runs on weekends from March through October. Meanwhile, Camas, Ridgefield and Salmon Creek also host farmers markets for part of the year, offering fresh local products and enhancing the region’s sense of community. Vancouver officials are talking about moving the Esther Short market in about five years, but for now we look forward to the return of local markets next spring.

Jeers: To Battle Ground Public Schools. Rather than arm students with information, officials in the 13,000-student district have eliminated sex education unless required by the state. Washington law requires only that school districts teach about HIV and AIDS prevention.

Despite numerous studies showing that comprehensive sex education reduces teen pregnancies and improves student health, several critics at a contentious school board meeting presented specious arguments. Shauna Walters, who is running for Battle Ground City Council, said the curriculum was an attempt to import “foreign interests of the sex industry” and “they only wish to disrupt our values and corrupt our children.” State Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, said it was part of an agenda to “groom and sexualize children.” Such hyperbole does a disservice to Battle Ground students — as does the board’s decision. Information is preferable to ignorance.

Cheers: To life savers. Three teenagers came to the rescue last month when a Brush Prairie woman’s heart stopped. Emilee Tikka, Eva Sarkinen and Kate Nylund were driving past Ashley Eggleston’s home when children ran out and said their mother needed help. “They were yelling that their mom fell, so we ran inside with them,” Emilee said. With help from a 911 dispatcher, Eva performed CPR until first responders arrived.

During a hospital stay, Eggleston was diagnosed with a heart rhythm condition, and she had a defibrillator implanted — all of it made possible by teens willing to jump into action. “We were meant to be there,” Eva said.

Jeers: To Congress. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill this year to make it daylight saving time year-round in Washington, but we still need to change our clocks tonight. While Oregon and California also passed similar legislation, it remains up to Congress to formalize the change by allowing states to set their own clocks. Thus far, the idea has not received a congressional hearing.

That means we will receive an extra hour of sleep tonight and then will spend a couple days adjusting to the change. So, don’t forget to change your clocks — and then contact your congressional representative and urge them to give the issue the time of day.

Cheers: To Election Day. Ballots are due Tuesday for choosing a variety of city councilors, school board members and other local officials. There also are a handful of statewide ballot measures to be decided. Ballots may be dropped in the mail (no postage necessary) or delivered to official drop-off sites.

While the ballot does not include the high-profile races of even-year elections, the election is a celebration of American democracy. The Columbian has offered recommendations for several of the races.

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