Cheers: To holiday spirit. Although traditional public gatherings have been canceled during the holiday season because of the coronavirus pandemic, a small sense of normalcy is visible in Esther Short Park. A large tree there, near the bell tower, has been decorated with the festive lights we are accustomed to seeing this time of year.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the Rotary Club of Vancouver canceled the large public gathering that typically accompanies the lighting of the tree, and a holiday market in the nearby Hilton Vancouver Washington also has been canceled. While those cancellations are a reminder of the pandemic that has altered daily life, the tree will light up the night for the next several weeks and provide a bit of much-needed Christmas cheer.
Jeers: To leftover signs. While many of us will enjoy the Thanksgiving leftovers of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing for the next several days — or weeks — we lament another leftover of the season. Campaign signs still dot the roadside in many parts of Clark County, weeks after the election has come and gone.
For signs on public property, candidates should quickly form a team to remove them. For signs on private property, homeowners should properly dispose of the signs; most signs are plastic and therefore cannot be recycled. Or homeowners might want to hang onto the signs — you never know if your favorite candidate might decide to run again.
Cheers: To holiday meals. Despite the pandemic and social distancing requirements, Clark County’s generosity continued to shine during Thanksgiving. Several local establishments prepared free holiday meals for those in need, extending long-standing traditions throughout the community.
“We’re trying to balance the public’s need for food with the public’s need to be safe,” state Court of Appeals Judge Rich Melnick said while preparing a Thanksgiving feast. “We’re really, really encouraging people if they have somewhere safe and warm to take the meal to go.” Melnick has provided holiday meals for nearly 40 years, recently partnering with Mark Matthias, owner of Beaches and WareHouse ’23 restaurants. Meanwhile, Daddy D’s BBQ worked with two local churches to provide about 3,000 meals for those who otherwise might go hungry.
Bummer: A canceled Apple Cup. The traditional football game between the University of Washington and Washington State will not be played this year. The game, which was scheduled for Friday, was canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the WSU team. “This is one of the best rivalries in college sports and every year we circle this game at the start of the season,” UW Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen said.
Washington scheduled a matchup for today against Utah to fill the void on its schedule. But for fans throughout the state, it just won’t be the same. The large number of college football games that are canceled or postponed each week provide a reminder of the lingering scourge of the virus.
Cheers: To environmental reviews. A federal judge this week vacated federal permits for a proposed methanol refinery in Kalama, along the Columbia River. The decision does not mark the end of the project, but it requires a new environmental review.
“These dirty fossil fuel monstrosities only accelerate climate change,” said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. The refinery would bring harmful fossil-fuel infrastructure to the region at a time when communities should be rejecting such proposals.