Cheers: To the Vancouver Farmers Market. The popular weekend bazaar has returned for its 32nd year, with local food and craft vendors peddling their wares near Esther Short Park. COVID-19 protocols instituted last year remain in place, and several new vendors have joined the lineup. Other farmers markets in Clark County do not open until summer; the Ridgefield and Salmon Creek markets have targeted June dates for the start of the 2021 season.
As detailed by Columbian reporter Scott Hewitt, patrons are not required to visit the Vancouver Farmers Market to take advantage of some fresh produce. Online shopping is available, with customers picking up preassembled packages. After last year’s season was delayed because of the pandemic, the return of the market is a welcome sign that spring has arrived.
Jeers: To pandemic litter. One year after coronavirus made masks the latest thing in fashion, we are reminded of a downside. Various media reports have detailed the increase in litter from masks and personal protection equipment. Advocacy group OceansAsia estimated that 1.6 billion masks would find their way into oceans last year, based on global production numbers.
Between masks, other COVID protections and disinfecting wipes, the kind of garbage we generate has changed over the past year. But it still requires proper disposal; environmentalists say a typical mask could take 450 years to break down in the ocean, and discarded masks can pose a hazard to wildlife on land or sea.
Cheers: To a new mascot. The roster of potential nicknames for athletic teams at Columbia River High School is back to four with the addition of Captains and Purple Tide. Rapids and River – a no-mascot option – were already in the running, but Sasquatch and Royals had been rejected by the board of Vancouver Public Schools. Eventually, students will vote for a new nickname from approved options.
The board earlier voted to retire the previous nickname of Chieftains because of its insensitivity to Native Americans. That was a worthy decision. Now, the process of choosing a new nickname is creating some intrigue.
Jeers: To a tree poisoning. A controversial giant sequoia in Northeast Portland apparently has been poisoned. Owners of a house that sits under the tree wrote: “We discovered five holes that are one inch wide, drilled one foot deep on the south side of her trunk. She is showing a severe burn on the south side of her canopy that is changing day by day.”
The homeowners have been working for years to save the redwood, which is so large that the root system has damaged an unoccupied house next door. City of Portland officials have ordered that tree be removed, but the property owners are appealing. Now, it’s not clear whether the tree will survive, and police have no leads in the poisoning. Controversy aside, poisoning a giant sequoia seems a particularly barbaric act.
Cheers: To a fireworks petition. In December, the Clark County Council voted to ban the use of fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county. In February, following a personnel change on the council, it voted to remove that ban. Now, a group of citizens is launching a petition drive to allow voters to decide.
Which reminds us of a 2015 editorial in The Columbian: “The contentiousness of the fireworks debate calls for a public vote. For while elected representatives are tasked with using their judgment, sometimes it is appropriate to enlist the thinking of the public in forming their opinions.”