Cheers: To rapid college admissions decisions. Washington State University Vancouver’s Cougar Quickstart program last weekend offered high school students information about academic life, programs of study, resources available — and, for those who met requirements, an on-the-spot offer of admission.
This is the time of year that seniors begin to focus on college admissions, said Erin Jensen, campus director of admissions. Providing future Cougars with an on-the-spot decision eliminates the waiting period, avoids the cost of applying to other schools, and allows busy students to focus on applying for scholarships and financial aid programs, many of which have deadlines approaching in January.
Jeers: To parents who don’t bother getting their kids vaccinated against the seasonal flu. The Washington Department of Health reported this week that flu vaccine rates have dropped 25 percent this fall for children ages 6 months to 5 years old. “Flu can be serious for kids, and a flu vaccine is the best way to protect them,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, the department’s chief science officer.
Flu transmission was very low last year as people stayed home due to COVID-19, so perhaps parents don’t see the need for vaccinations. Ironically, since flu transmission was very low last year, fewer people have natural immunity this year. So it’s especially important to get the shot, widely available at medical clinics and pharmacies.
Cheers: To labor peace. A threatened strike by 3,200 Kaiser Permanente employees, including nurses, was averted last weekend after a tentative agreement was reached just two days before a scheduled walkout. As The Columbian’s Dylan Jefferies reported, the strike was expected to hamstring Kaiser facilities amid unprecedented staffing shortages at health care facilities nationwide and the enduring coronavirus pandemic. Both sides professed to be happy with the new labor contract, which will still have to be ratified by union members.
Jeers: To carjacking. As if we needed another reason to avoid going to Portland, The Oregonian reported this week that carjacking cases are up at an alarming rate in the last few months. The perpetrators tend to be teenagers who either lure the motorists out of their vehicles by claiming something is wrong with the car, or at gunpoint.
The thieves want the car to drive around in, or perhaps to sell for parts — the catalytic converter is particularly valuable. As with everything else in Portland these days, the arrest and prosecution rate is thin, as there aren’t enough officers on the street. Also, teens who are arrested are quickly released from custody.
Cheers: To holiday lights. Esther Short Park is already being festooned with lights, which will be illuminated nightly from Nov. 26 through Jan. 1. No community tree lighting event is planned this year due to the pandemic, so enjoy them at your leisure.
At 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, the Chabad Jewish Center of Clark County invites everyone to its “Fire on Ice” community Hanukkah celebration in the park, which will feature the lighting of the first candle on a giant menorah. The free celebration will also feature a giant ice menorah carving, a multimedia presentation, doughnuts and hot cocoa.
Jeers: To porch pirates. With holiday shopping comes the holiday theft of packages from porches. Ask a neighbor to watch for your package. Install a doorbell camera or other security. Use a drop box service, such as Amazon’s Hub Locker. Or, put down the phone and visit an actual store to do some of your holiday shopping.