Cheers: To Vancouver Farmers Market. Organizers of the Vancouver Farmers Market say that 331,323 shoppers have visited the markets this year, seeking fresh produce and innovative crafts — or maybe just some outdoor activity and people-watching. That marks an increase of 68 percent over the previous year, reflecting a strong recovery for the market following a COVID-induced downturn.
As one vendor said: “The market has a very dedicated customer base. People were very excited to be able to be back, see their favorite vendors in person and find new items. It was a really fantastic atmosphere.” Officials say three markets that operate under the Vancouver Farmers Market umbrella have attracted 243 vendors, providing a strong outlet for local growers and small businesses. Equally important, the farmers market is a significant piece of Vancouver’s culture, generating a sense of community among all who visit.
Jeers: To public health challenges. With three respiratory illnesses creating concern, Clark County Public Health officials are recommending the wearing of masks in public places. High rates of COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza have burdened health care facilities heading into winter.
The mask recommendation is not a mandate, nor is there any discussion about an economic shutdown like in the early days of COVID. But caution and common sense are warranted as we are reminded of how public health impacts the community. We hope everybody stays healthy during the holiday season.
Cheers: To Al Aldridge. A group of about 300 people gathered recently to celebrate Aldridge’s years as a music teacher at Battle Ground and Prairie high schools. Better known as a girls basketball coach who led Prairie to six state championships, Aldridge probably influenced more students as an award-winning band director. A basketball team, after all, has only 12 players.
The event, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Aldridge’s start as a music teacher at Battle Ground, was organized by a former student and was a surprise for the honoree. “It was such a great surprise,” Aldridge said. “The band tonight was fantastic. I was fighting back tears just sitting here listening to them. I’m just so touched that so many people would come from so far away for this event. It’s a special night.”
Sad: The death of Chuck Chronis. The restaurateur, who operated Chronis’ Restaurant and Lounge in Vancouver for 47 years and helped organize free Thanksgiving meals for the public for 30 years, has died at the age of 83. Rich Melnick, a retired judge who joined Chronis in providing the Thanksgiving meals, said he will remember his friend’s sense of humor and big heart.
For decades, Chronis and his wife, Sandy, created the kind of down-home community gathering place that is all too infrequent these days. Sandy died Nov. 1, and Chuck died Dec. 4. They are survived by five children and a grateful community.
Cheers: To building bikes. More than 150 volunteers helped assemble some 560 bicycles last weekend for the Scott Campbell Christmas Promise — an event organized by Waste Connections and supported by multiple community groups. The bikes will be provided to families at no cost.
Named after a former Waste Connections employee who was actively involved in the community and died of cancer in 2017 at the age of 59, the event is powered by a simple idea: Every child who wants a bike should have one. As one worker said: “If Scott was still with us today, he would be proud of what we’re doing.”