Monday, October 18, 2021
Oct. 18, 2021

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Waterfront, balloons

The Columbian

Cheers: To Vancouver’s waterfront. One of local residents’ favorite attractions received some high-profile attention recently from Fodor’s Travel. Freelance writer Molly O’Brien included The Waterfront Vancouver among the best riverwalks in the country, ranking it 13th alongside the likes of Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park and San Antonio’s River Walk. Mentioning the Renaissance Trail and many amenities found along the 2-mile path, O’Brien wrote about “fantastic views and a wealth of cultural and recreational experiences for visitors and locals to explore.”

Not long ago, the area now inhabited by the waterfront development was an industrial site and inaccessible to the public. Now it is an amenity receiving prominent attention. With plans underway to replace a nearby pier and complete the Renaissance Trail, options for pedestrians from near and far will only improve in the coming years.

Jeers: To wayward balloons. Clark Public Utility officials are facing an unusual threat – balloons. As a recent Columbian article detailed, “2021 has been among the worst balloon incident years on record at Clark Public Utilities.”

Mylar balloons, the shiny kind, include a layer of aluminum and are particularly dangerous and can knock out power lines. “Even if they just get near a high-voltage line — they don’t necessarily have to touch it — they can cause an arc,” a Clark Public Utilities spokesman said. In extreme cases, the resulting explosion can melt power lines, but usually it trips a breaker. Either way, it’s best to keep balloons in hand and close to the ground.

Cheers: To the Tiffany Hill Act. Local law enforcement has enacted a program designed to protect victims of domestic violence. Signed into law in 2020 and named for a Vancouver woman who was murdered by her estranged husband, the law allows for abusers to be required to wear monitors that can alert victims when distancing orders are violated. Thus far, judges have ordered six Clark County residents to wear monitors.

“I am extremely proud of the work that went into launching this program in Clark County to use technology to help protect victims,” Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain said. We hope the program will help prevent additional tragedies.

Jeers: To coronavirus. As if we needed a reminder, state hospital officials warn that COVID patients are filling hospitals at an “alarming” rate. “It’s an enormous stress on a health care system to have this many patients with a single diagnosis,” said Cassie Sauer of the state hospital association. “This doesn’t happen. … It’s very, very alarming.”

On Thursday, Clark County officials said local COVID activity has reached record levels. Over the previous 14 days, 523 cases per 100,000 residents had been confirmed. As recently as late July, the rate was 50.1 cases per 100,000 residents.

Cheers: To diamonds in the rough. After an Edmonds woman accidentally threw two diamond bracelets in the garbage and after the trash was hauled off, Snohomish County workers plowed through an estimated five tons of refuse and found the treasure.

“They dumped everything out on this big concrete floor,” the woman’s husband told The (Everett) Herald. “They got their gloves on and just started wading through it, looking through bag after bag. It was a 30-foot-long line of trash, about 4 or 5 feet deep. I thought, ‘This is impossible they’ll never find it.’ I’ll be darned if they didn’t come up with it. It was a needle-in-a-haystack thing.”