Cheers … and jeers: To fireworks. Adding to a seemingly endless debate in Clark County, fireworks go on sale beginning Monday in unincorporated areas. The county council last year passed a fireworks ban (which would have started in 2022), and this year rescinded that ban. Within the Vancouver city limits, fireworks are prohibited. Meanwhile, local officials are discouraging fireworks this year because of elevated fire danger.
While we can appreciate the celebratory nature of fireworks in conjunction with the Fourth of July, we also can understand the concerns of people who find them to be a stress-inducing scourge. In unincorporated Clark County, the use of fireworks is allowed from 9 a.m. to midnight only on the Fourth of July, and violators can face a $500 fine for first-time offenses. If rules were actually enforced, it would go a long way toward mitigating the ongoing issue.
Jeers: To extreme heat. If the forecasts are accurate, the current heat wave in Clark County and much of Washington will be historic. The Columbian has published warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and the National Weather Service cautions: “Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles.”
Actually, nobody should sit for long in a vehicle, where temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels. And we echo the need to check on relatives and neighbors, particularly those with existing health issues and those without access to air conditioning. In addition, if you seek the cooling effects of a river, lake or pool, don’t spend much time in the sun and be careful in the water. In other words, stay safe as temperatures reach dangerous levels.
Cheers: To Providence Academy. We can understand the dismay some feel about development at the historic site, but the project is beneficial to the future of the academy. Construction has started on two mixed-use structures that will include 140 apartments.
Providence Academy was built during the 1870s and is a link to Vancouver’s rich history. Ideally, that history could remain untouched, but development on a portion of the site will help provide funding that allows for the preservation and renovation of the academy building. The project will ensure that the academy can be enjoyed by future generations of Vancouverites.
Jeers: To fewer vaccinations. With demand declining, Clark County Public Health is winding down efforts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. Officials deserve cheers for their diligent work to keep the public informed and to provide vaccines for residents, but jeers go to those who have eschewed the opportunity to protect themselves and their community.
In Clark County, about 60 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with a statewide rate of 66 percent. Infection rates are consistently dropping, but vaccine hesitancy is allowing the pandemic to continue. Health officials say nearly all people recently infected have been unvaccinated.
Cheers: Because it’s there. Jason Hardrath, a physical education teacher in Southern Oregon, has an unusual sense of what summer vacation means. He is attempting to climb Washington’s 100 highest peaks — known as the Bulger List — in the span of 50 days. That includes everything from 14,411-foot Mount Rainier to a pair of peaks tied at 8,320 feet.
Alas, the quest will not bring Hardrath to Clark County. We top out at 3,480 feet with Larch Mountain. But you can follow his progress online.