Cheers: To helping out. PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center reports that it is accepting homemade face masks for medical workers to combat a shortage of protective gear. “The community wants to help, and that’s great,” spokeswoman Debra Carnes said. “We appreciate the outpouring of support.” Hospital officials have posted mask-making specifications online and still are figuring out how best to use the masks. To coordinate a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether the masks meet specifications and help mitigate the shortage might be a secondary part of the story. For many local residents, the most difficult thing about the coronavirus outbreak is a feeling of helplessness as social norms are upended. Making and donating masks is one way citizens can feel involved in a community effort. Meanwhile, the need for the public to make masks further highlights how woefully unprepared the United States was for the pandemic.
Jeers: To burglaries. It is too early to say whether this is a trend, but Vancouver police say there has been an increase in commercial burglaries. From March 15-28, 20 commercial burglaries were reported — a sharp increase over the same time period in 2018 and 2019.
Six of the burglaries were related to shoplifting, and five targeted construction sites. Most people are watching out for each other and acting neighborly during the crisis, but thieves are taking advantage of unoccupied buildings. As the owner of one burgled business said, “It feels low. It’s just one insult on top of another.”
Cheers: To generosity. While COVID-19 has dominated news reports for weeks, it doesn’t mean the rest of the world’s problems have gone away. So it is worth noting that an anonymous donor has provided $40,000 to Battle Ground Public Schools to wipe out outstanding lunch debt for the district’s 1,900 students. Another $800 was provided by the Battle Ground Education Foundation.
“I was thrilled, because it’s one less thing for our families to have to worry about right now,” said Colleen O’Neal, president of the Battle Ground Education Foundation. “The more we can take off their plates, the better.”
Jeers: To a truck accident. An Amazon delivery truck tried to cross train tracks at the wrong time in east Vancouver and was hit by a BNSF Railway train. A BNSF official said the train was carrying 107 loads of grain and traveling about 40 mph as it approached the intersection. The truck was struck and spun 180 degrees; a photo showed heavy damage to the front end, and police said nobody was injured.
That is fortunate. And it provides a reminder of the need for caution near railroad tracks. The intersection has stop signs and warning signs, but something clearly went wrong and resulted in a crash that could have been much worse.
Cheers: To an apple a day. Amid all the negative economic news related to the pandemic is some good news from Washington’s apple industry. From March 16-20, according to the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, the state shipped a record 3.9 million boxes of apples. With more people staying inside and eating at home, food producers and grocery stores are among the few industries going strong in spite of COVID-19.
“There was strong demand as supermarkets were trying to keep shelves stocked,” said Jon DeVaney, president of the association. “A lot of people were stocking up and had plans to stay in, so they purchased a lot of apples in a short time.”