Cheers: To the tens of thousands of Clark County residents who followed the rules and didn’t set off fireworks this year. Although there is no way to prove it, their responsible actions undoubtedly saved local firefighters from extinguishing dozens of fires. The Clark County fire marshal said the holiday weekend was relatively quiet, although two house fires are being blamed on fireworks. In Portland, which also had a ban, fireworks fires fell by 80 percent compared with the same time last year.
As if we need reminding, the area has suffered from unprecedented hot, dry weather, so the one-year fireworks ban in several jurisdictions, most notably unincorporated Clark County, was a prudent idea. Cheers to people who were wise enough to follow the law and obey the rules.
Jeers: To falling behind on vaccines. We’re not talking about the COVID-19 vaccine here, but rather about the regular immunizations children get to ward off diseases such as measles and chicken pox. A report shows the number of vaccinations given to children in Washington dropped by hundreds of thousands of doses during the pandemic. It’s understandable; people of all ages postponed preventive care during the pandemic, in part because they feared they would be exposed to COVID-19 at medical offices. And, doctors and nurses were busy!
Now it will be up to parents and health care providers to close the gap as quickly as possible. Public schools plan to offer in-person learning this fall, and summer gatherings are already taking place. It’s important to protect our children from as many diseases as possible.
Cheers: To three new Career Launch programs at Clark College. The new programs have been developed in cooperation with local businesses and offer an Associate in Applied Technology degree to students pursuing careers in cuisine management or welding, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in cybersecurity. The partners are Beaches Restaurant & Bar, Madden Fabrication and PeaceHealth.
The trio of new career programs join a half-dozen others that connect people looking for good-paying jobs and employers looking for skilled workers, fulfilling one of the community college’s most important missions.
Jeers: To summer travel woes. When the pandemic hit, it devastated the travel industry. Now the pandemic has eased and Americans are eager to scratch their travel itch. But airlines in particular can’t ramp up services as fast as demand has increased. That’s led to a summer full of canceled flights, delays and customer service issues. A shortage of trained workers, including certified pilots, is largely to blame, and airlines say it may take months to reach full staffing. So if you’re traveling this summer, be sure to pack patience along with your face mask.
Cheers: To a newly expanded and remodeled Ridgefield Community Library. The branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library celebrated a ribbon-cutting on Friday, capping a yearslong process to identify funding and a location. The 2,300-square-foot library ended up expanding into existing space at 210 N. Main Ave., where it now offers nearly 8,000 square feet of library materials, computers, areas for children, teens and adults, and a meeting room. It’s a great addition to Washington’s fastest-growing city.
Jeers: To state Rep. Jim Walsh, who recently wore a yellow Star of David while making a speech critical of vaccines. Walsh issued an apology after media reports and a photo surfaced, but he should be deeply ashamed. Comparing life-saving efforts with the extermination of millions of people is abhorrent and such comments have no place in a civil society.