Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Nov. 30, 2021

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Cheers & Jeers: Welcome home; don’t meddle

The Columbian

Cheers: To Afghan refugees. About 100 refugees from Afghanistan are expected to be resettled in the Vancouver area over the next six months, part of nearly 100,000 people coming to the United States following the withdrawal of U.S. troops after a 20-year war. As the president of one resettlement agency said, “It’s a humanitarian, economic and national security imperative that this resettlement is successful.”

Many of the Afghans coming to this country assisted American troops and intelligence services during the war. Regardless of what brings the refugees to the U.S., we trust they will find Vancouver to be a welcoming place after leaving their previous lives behind.

Jeers: To the Clark County Council. Now is not the time for county councilors to meddle with the makeup of the Battle Ground City Council — even if it is their right to do so. After a Battle Ground councilor resigned in June, the city council failed to appoint a replacement within the required 90 days. That sent the issue to the county council, which had 180 days to fill the spot. Last week, county councilors selected a replacement after interviewing six candidates.

Under normal circumstances, we would have no concerns about this. But county Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien and Councilors Gary Medvigy and Karen Bowerman acted four weeks before the election, and they chose a candidate who is on the ballot for city council. Although the county leaders deny it, the move appears to be an attempt to influence the November election. As Mayor Adrian Cortes said: “They picked somebody that was running for that seat, and somebody that didn’t even get nominated through our own process.”

Cheers: To vaccinations. While those who refuse to receive COVID-19 vaccinations garner an outsized percentage of media attention, the Washington State Hospital Association reports that 88 percent of hospital staff in the state are fully vaccinated. That is the finding of a survey of 94 percent of the state’s medical facilities.

Workers needed to receive their shots by Oct. 4 in order to be considered fully vaccinated by the Oct. 18 deadline, which was set by Gov. Jay Inslee. It is not clear how many hospital workers were refusing vaccinations or how many had received exemptions for medical or religious reasons. While refuseniks are the squeaky wheels in this issue, a vast majority of hospital workers have taken steps to protect themselves, patients and co-workers.

Jeers: To a rude awakening. A British Columbia woman was startled awake recently when a meteor crashed through her roof and landed on her pillow. The 2.8-pound space rock apparently was part of a meteor shower that was visible in the area.

Despite the frightening but ultimately harmless event, residents throughout the Northwest can rest easy. “The chances of a meteorite big enough to penetrate a roof and hit a bed are about one in 100 billion per year,” a professor told NPR.

Cheers: To rain. A couple weeks of frequent rainfall have helped ease drought conditions in Clark County. But while the fall weather has provided some relief, the entire county is still regarded as “abnormally dry” and experiencing “moderate drought,” according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.

Drought is plaguing Washington, and one of the impacts is this year’s historically low yield of wheat — typically the state’s largest agricultural export. A couple weeks of wet skies won’t reverse that trend, but the rain is welcome.