Cheers: To holiday shopping. For those who believe that bad news is the only news, we offer an uplifting headline from Sunday’s Columbian: “Clark County retailers are stocked, ready to welcome holiday shoppers”. Despite concerns about supply chains and worker shortages, local sellers are ready to help customers fill in the space under the tree this holiday season.
With that in mind, allow us to mention that today is Small Business Saturday. Oh, it’s not an official holiday, but it is an opportunity to support local retailers and remind people that those retailers are the backbone of our community. According to state officials, there are more than 600,000 small businesses in Washington, and they employ more than one-third of the workforce. Supporting those businesses helps keep money in the community and helps pay local taxes that benefit all residents. Small businesses have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, providing another reason to support them this holiday season.
Jeers: To COVID-19. As if we needed a reminder that coronavirus is still with us, Clark County Jail officials report that at least two dozen inmates have tested positive for the disease. Inmates are screened for COVID-19 prior to being booked, and precautions are observed by jail officials. But outbreaks among a confined population are inevitable.
In addition to the health of inmates, the concern is that they will spread COVID to family members or the public when they are released. Officials and the public must remain vigilant in fighting the coronavirus.
Cheers: To reducing carbon emissions. NW Natural, a natural gas company that serves about 2.5 million people in Southwest Washington and Oregon, has a plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. The company has published an analysis of how it will make that happen, and the CEO says, “The renewable supply exists, the technology exists, and our modern storage and energy delivery network is ready.”
Reducing carbon emissions to help slow climate change is a moral imperative for individuals, companies and governments. Large corporations are increasingly recognizing the economic benefits that can come with reducing emissions and are committing to doing their part.
Jeers: To flooding. Officials estimate that damage from recent flooding in Whatcom County will amount to more than $50 million. Heavy rains caused the Nooksack River to surge over its banks and led to the closure of bridges. Landslides blocked Interstate 5 south of Bellingham, and dairies report that they are dangerously low on feed because supply chains have been disrupted.
Severe weather events are not limited to hurricanes on the East Coast or wildfires throughout the Western United States. They are arriving in various forms throughout the country, leading to economic disruptions and costly repairs. Gov. Jay Inslee declared disasters for 13 counties in hopes of receiving federal assistance. Meanwhile, more heavy rain is predicted for the area.
Cheers: To high school sports. Congratulations to the Columbia River volleyball and Camas girls soccer teams, who earned state championships last weekend. Columbia River defeated rival Ridgefield in the Class 2A title match, and Camas won a penalty-kick shootout against Issaquah for the Class 4A championship.
Cheers go to the champions, but also to all the athletes and coaches who provided some normalcy this fall. Last year, seasons were delayed because of COVID, and state championships were not determined. This fall was a welcome respite for all competitors.