Thursday, October 28, 2021
Oct. 28, 2021

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Cheers & Jeers: Pregnant orcas, fire danger

The Columbian

Cheers: To pregnant orcas. Researchers believe that three southern resident orcas in Puget Sound’s J-pod are pregnant, providing some hope for the future of the endangered population. Officials are asking recreational boaters to give the orcas extra space; quiet waters, they say, are important during the final months of gestation as the animals increase their food consumption.

“We’ve got many people looking at the science to understand where we can continue to improve the odds for this population,” said Kelly Susewind, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director. The pod’s population has been dwindling for years, with a number of environmental factors being blamed. Successful pregnancies would be a hopeful sign for the survival of one of the Northwest’s iconic species.

Jeers: To dry conditions. A brush fire along Northwest Lakeshore Avenue — near Vancouver Lake — threatened two houses and served as a reminder of fire danger in the area. Crews donned wildland firefighting gear to access the hillside fire and contained the blaze before any structures were damaged.

This weekend’s rain will provide some temporary relief from fire danger, but we likely are in for more dry conditions before fall fully sets in. Grass fires can be started by something as mundane as a discarded cigarette or sparks from machinery. There is a reason Clark County currently has a ban on the burning of yard debris, and that threat calls for caution.

Cheers: To shoe art. Justin Tigner has sneaker decoration down to a fine art. Tigner, an art teacher at King’s Way Christian Schools in Hazel Dell, paints custom designs on Nikes for a clientele that includes professional athletes.

Tigner has done work for the University of Oregon athletic department over the years, and this football season he is taking his talents on the road. Last week, he was contracted to travel to Columbus, Ohio, and demonstrate his talents during pregame festivities for Ducks supporters. Oregon went on to upset Ohio State, making us think, “It’s gotta be the shoes.”

Jeers: To undermining Hanford workers. The Biden administration is continuing a legal challenge — started under former President Donald Trump — to a Washington law that benefits workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A 2018 law makes it easier for ill Hanford workers to qualify for compensation. Federal officials have challenged that and are seeking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson urged the Biden administration to drop the challenge. “It’s time to bring this fight to an end,” he said. “This lawsuit angered me when the Trump administration filed it — and it continues to anger me now that the Biden administration is continuing it.”

Cheers: To the American Dream. What started as a pushcart business in Southern Oregon now has 11 locations in Clark County and a spot on the New York Stock Exchange. Dutch Bros Coffee launched its initial public offering this week and was a hit with investors; the stock’s price grew from $23 to $36 on the first day of trading.

“It’s a mindblow, man,” Executive Chairman Travis Boersma said. “Who would have thought that you could take a coffee cart in a small little town like Grants Pass — really do what you hear about as you grow up as a kid, you know, the American Dream — and actually go out and pull it off.” The company is seemingly ubiquitous throughout the Northwest and has outlets as far away as Texas.