Sunday, March 26, 2023
March 26, 2023

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Cheers & Jeers: Giving season; data breaches

The Columbian

Cheers: To holiday spirit. For anybody weary of the world’s stresses, the holidays provide a respite. Recent articles in The Columbian have highlighted the return of house-to-house pickup of food items for the annual Walk & Knock program, which benefits the Clark County Food Bank; an event at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds that honored caregivers and provided them with holiday care packages; and a coat giveaway that benefited 500 children in the area, sponsored by firefighters and local businesses.

The holidays annually remind us of this community’s generosity and the many people who work to take care of their neighbors. Countless events throughout the area provide for those in need or simply spread a little holiday cheer. Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all those in Clark County.

Jeers: To exposed information. Data breaches remain at high levels in Washington, leaving residents at risk for identity theft or having personal information exposed. Attorney General Bob Ferguson reports that 4.5 million data breach notices were sent to Washingtonians this year, and his office received notification of 150 breaches affecting more than 500 state residents.

Since 2016, Ferguson’s office has tracked data breaches in the state; while this year’s numbers declined from 2021, Ferguson says they remain at “record-breaking severity.” He plans to request legislation next year to address the issue, focusing on protecting data regarding reproductive health and gender-affirming care.

Cheers: To a lack of buzz. The state Department of Agriculture reports that no northern giant hornets have been spotted in Washington this year. None have been reported in British Columbia, either.

The hornets, which are native to Asia and grow up to 2 inches long, caused a stir in 2019 when they were discovered in the Northwest. Concern was understandable, because the hornets make a habit of destroying beehives. Entomologists and citizens set up more than 1,000 traps this year with hopes of locating nests, but the traps remained empty. The giant hornets will not be considered eradicated until there are no sightings for three years, but this year’s results are encouraging.

Jeers: To unclaimed winnings. Washington’s Lottery reports that more than $2.4 million in lottery winnings have gone unclaimed and will soon expire. That includes a $10,000 jackpot on a ticket that was sold in Redmond and will expire Monday.

Players have 180 days from the drawing date to claim their prize. If they won with a scratch ticket, they have 180 days from the last day of ticket sales to cash in. By law, unclaimed prizes are placed into a reserve that then is transferred to the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account. Although assisting educational programs is a worthy alternative, you might want to dig through the kitchen drawers to find that unclaimed winning ticket.

Cheers: To Skinner Montessori. The school, which currently serves about 80 students from preschool through sixth grade, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. While Vancouver and education have changed over the years, Nikki Skinner—who founded the school with her sister— has been a constant.

“I don’t think there was ever a point where we thought we’d be in it for the long haul,” Skinner said. “Now in my 70s, I think I’m blessed.” The school moved to its current location off Northeast 66th Avenue in 2001. “I think you get so involved in the day-to-day that you don’t realize how much time has gone by,” Skinner said.