Cheers: To no-barrier testing for the coronavirus. Although a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is locally available in limited quantities, it will be months before it can be administered to anyone who wants it. So the need remains for easily available testing for anyone who believes they might have contracted the virus.
The new no-barrier testing site will open next month at the former Tower Mall shopping center at the intersection of Mill Plain and MacArthur boulevards. It will be open multiple days per week and able to test at least 500 people per day, and probably a lot more. Results should be available in 48 hours or less. Anyone can get a free test, although people with medical insurance will be asked to give that information so their insurance plan can be billed. Clark County Public Health will release more details, including the opening date and operating hours once they are confirmed. It is expected to operate for several months, by which time perhaps the pandemic will have eased.
Jeers: To plans to place a large methanol plant in Kalama. Proponents argue the $2 billion facility will create local jobs and decrease overall global greenhouse gas emissions. But a final analysis released this week by the state Department of Ecology finds that emissions would still be “significant,” even after mitigation efforts. The plant would convert natural gas tapped in Canada into methanol for use in Chinese plastics factories, but, according to Ecology, leaks could be expected during the extracting, transportation and processing phases. In all, the plant would emit an estimated 1 million metric tons of pollution every year, making it one of the state’s top-10 greenhouse gas emitters, according to DOE. Just as Vancouver didn’t need a crude oil terminal, Kalama doesn’t need this operation.
Cheers: To an eloquent solution. Performing “The Nutcracker” is a holiday tradition for dance troupes; in Vancouver, the Columbia Dance company has delighted crowds for years. But not this year, when the pandemic forced a temporary halt to live theatrical performances. But, as they say, the show must go on. So two dancing family units performed scenes from the classic Christmas ballet in the buildings at Fort Vancouver while a videographer filmed. You can enjoy the reimagined “Nutcracker” online at Columbia’s website, www.columbiadance.org/vancouver-nutcracker.
Jeers: To people dying on the streets of Clark County. Every year, advocates for the homeless hold a ceremony of remembrance for those who have died. This year, 23 people were remembered in a ceremony that was virtual, although a wall containing the names of the deceased was displayed at St. Paul Lutheran Church in downtown Vancouver. It’s fitting that these often-overlooked people are remembered, and a good reminder that our community needs to continue to make homelessness a priority issue.
Cheers: To all of us. Maybe you donated a toy to a toy drive. Maybe you gave canned goods to the food bank. Maybe you just stayed home for Christmas, instead of traveling, and didn’t see the friends, relatives and neighbors you enjoy getting together with during the holidays. Whatever you did, thank you. If we work together, we can make children happy. We can feed the hungry. We can bend the COVID-19 curve.
Whatever your background, whatever your beliefs, whatever your politics, let’s carry these positive moments into the new year. After a bad 2020, we can look forward to 2021, a year we can all make better.