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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Cheers & Jeers: Personal triumphs; plane pain

The Columbian

Cheers: To personal triumphs. Whether’s it’s achieving a weight loss goal, like Vancouver resident George Fich, or even just finishing a long-needed project, it’s good to finish the year on a high note.

This week, The Columbian brought us two stories of exceptional personal triumph. Vancouver firefighter/EMT Matt Kennedy is back on the job, despite battling stage 4 prostate cancer. After doctors told him he had between five and 10 years to live, the 48-year-old formulated Operation RIPS: Return In Proper Shape. Thanks to his determination, and a clinical trial to help prostate cancer patients live longer, he recently returned to work at Fire Station 7. He tells his kids “If you get dealt a bad hand or you’re flat on the mat, get back up and fight.”

That’s just what Alicia Nix thought too, after she was hit by a bullet while running along the Padden Parkway Trail while she was training to run a half-marathon. The bullet put Nix, a 27-year-old Vancouver woman, in a wheelchair after she was shot on Oct. 21, 2021. With exercise, physical therapy, and, later inline skating, she has regained her athleticism. Though the bullet remains embedded in her body, and the shooter was never identified, “All the things that matter bounced back,” she said.

Jeers: To Southwest Airlines. The severe nationwide weather that began Christmas week was not the fault of the airline, but its response to the emergency was so pathetic that it’s triggered calls for Congress to investigate. Days after other carriers had more or less recovered, Southwest was still canceling most of its flights. It attempted to get most of its planes back in the air on Friday. Apparently the airline’s unusual point-to-point business model and some antiquated software are to blame.

The snafu caused lingering pain to thousands of would-be travelers at Portland International Airport, where Southwest is the third-largest carrier by passenger volume. Included were several Clark County sports teams, which were unable to travel to tournaments.

Cheers: To a new Columbia River waterfront at the Port of Camas-Washougal. The port has long operated a waterfront marina. But much of the waterfront has been underdeveloped. That’s changing. This month, port leaders were briefed on the Hyas Point project by RKm Development. According to our sister paper, the Camas-Washougal Post-Record, RKm envisions “a lively, walkable place with community gathering and character spaces, commercial, retail mixed-use and residential uses,” and a design that will recognize the site’s natural beauty and the community’s history.

Construction could begin on four apartment buildings, totaling 276 units, by the second half of 2023. Ground-floor retail space will cater to small shops and small restaurants, and amenities such as a splash pad could be included.

Jeers: To pot shop robberies. The Seattle Times reported that at least 100 marijuana stores were robbed by armed criminals in Washington in 2022. Not only have there been more robberies, more of them have been violent. At least one retail clerk was killed.

Due to government regulations, marijuana stores are sort of a robber’s paradise. Federal banking laws require the stores to deal in cash only. And, robberies have steadily grown since the state changed the tax structure on cannabis goods in 2017, requiring a 37 percent tax to be collected at the time of retail sale. It’s beyond time for government to revisit this problem.