Cheers: To Clark County councilors. County Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien on Tuesday announced a ban on fireworks in unincorporated areas because of extreme fire danger. Battle Ground, Ridgefield, La Center, Camas and Washougal also announced bans, while Vancouver already has a permanent prohibition on the sale and use of fireworks.
“I am very pro-fireworks and liberty and freedom and all of those things,” said Quiring O’Brien, who opposed permanent fireworks restrictions discussed by the council late last year and early this year. “It’s a tinderbox. This is a very commonsense move.” Councilor Gary Medvigy added: “This has been building through the whole spring. This wasn’t just a week of hot weather.” Indeed, record high temperatures have exacerbated what already were dry conditions. The decision will alter Fourth of July plans for many residents, but it is a sensible one to protect homes and forested areas.
Jeers: To extreme heat. The past week was historic for our area, with temperatures reaching 108 degrees June 26, 112 Sunday and 115 Monday. Vancouver’s previous record high was 108 degrees in 2009. The heat wave was the result of a phenomenon called a “heat dome,” which had the Northwest and British Columbia baking in record temperatures.
Even with the discomforting conditions, people found ways to help their neighbors. Cooling centers at several local churches helped some residents weather the heat; for future reference, a list of centers can be found at clark.wa.gov/public-health. While the record temperatures have come and gone, we likely are in for additional extreme heat this summer.
Cheers: To help for Point Roberts. The coronavirus pandemic has brought attention to the unique plight of Point Roberts. The community of about 1,300 residents is at the tip of a peninsula south of Vancouver, British Columbia, isolated from the U.S. mainland but part of Washington because it rests south of the 49th parallel.
Now, state officials say they will provide $100,000 to assist the only grocery store in Point Roberts, which has been isolated because the U.S.-Canada border is closed. The closure has eliminated the store’s many Canadian customers while preventing residents from making their usual trips into Canada. Helping to keep the store operating until the border opens is a reasonable use of state money.
Jeers: To waiting. In December, Congress approved $16 billion for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, but several local venues are still waiting. In one example, Kiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver received an approval letter this week, two months after the proprietors applied for assistance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration began doling out grants in May, but progress has been slow. Small, locally owned businesses must be a priority as the nation works to recover from the pandemic.
Cheers: To Olympians. Clark County will have at least three U.S. Olympians when the Games begin this month in Tokyo. Jordan Chiles earned a spot on the women’s gymnastics team, which promises to provide her with plenty of prime-time TV coverage as one of the most high-profile athletes at the Games. Javelin thrower Kara Winger qualified for her fourth Olympic team, and racewalker Daniel Nehnevaj will compete in the 20-kilometer race.
For most athletes, the Olympics are the pinnacle for years of toil and training, often in sports that receive little public recognition. Clark County can take pride in being well represented at the 2021 Games.