Sunday, January 29, 2023
Jan. 29, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Swift swearing-in; nasty viruses

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To a new county councilor. Everybody, including the incoming councilor and the outgoing councilor, were caught off-guard, but Sue Marshall was sworn in Wednesday as a member of the Clark County Council. Marshall was elected last month to represent District 5, and councilors typically take office around the first of the year. But not this time.

Richard Rylander Jr. had been appointed in April to fill an opening on the council. Apparently, the letter of appointment from Gov. Jay Inslee designated Rylander’s term until the November election was certified. When that happened Tuesday, some sharp-eyed citizen alerted county officials that it was time for Marshall to be sworn in. “It seems like it’s caught people by surprise,” Marshall said after the hasty ceremony. Cheers go to Marshall and to two other incoming councilors who were elected in November and will take office at a later date. And cheers go to Rylander for serving the county for the past eight months.

Jeers: To a “triple whammy” of illnesses. Like much of the country, Clark County is being hit simultaneously by relatively high rates of influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

“The local urgent care clinics and our hospital emergency departments are now seeing record numbers of patients,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, the county’s public health officer. “If you don’t have an emergency health issue, visit your doctor, visit your primary care provider, your primary care physician or go to an urgent care clinic, so we can relieve the pressure on the emergency departments.” Melnick also urged people to receive COVID-19 booster vaccines, noting the likelihood of mutations in the virus. As we have learned over the past 2½ years, public health impacts all of us.

Cheers: To the Clark County Food Bank. The organization has broken ground on a new facility that will expand capacity, make it easier to process donations and provide better access to culturally specific food and items for people with dietary restrictions. The 13,000-square-foot Clark County Food Bank Vision Center will be able to distribute 27,000 pounds of food monthly.

In 2021, according to officials, the food bank served more than 119,000 individual clients. While cheers are warranted for the tireless and generous work of Clark County Food Bank employees — and for people who donate to the cause — we hope for a day when food insecurity is not a concern in our community.

Jeers: To skimmer scammers. Employees at two 7-Eleven stores — in Hazel Dell and Orchards — have reported finding skimmers on their store’s credit card readers. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office determined the devices were applied by the same suspect.

A skimmer is a device installed on card readers to collect credit card information, allowing the perpetrator to make fraudulent purchases. They sometimes are placed on ATM machines, and banks have redesigned machines so skimmers cannot be attached. The incident is a reminder that diligence is necessary to protect financial information, particularly during the Christmas shopping season when shoppers are busy and might be distracted.

Cheers: To a public Christmas tree lighting. After a two-year COVID hiatus, the Rotary Community Tree Lighting was a public event again this year. Hundreds of revelers turned out to see the lighting in Propstra Square at Esther Short Park and to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus.

About 15,000 lights adorn the tree, providing a beacon for the communal spirit that permeates the holiday season.

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