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.