Cheers: To local government. A new year has brought a slew of swearing-in ceremonies for local officials. City councilors in Vancouver and Camas have officially taken office after being elected in November, and Battle Ground has a new mayor chosen by city council members. Meanwhile, Eileen Quiring O’Brien has retained her seat as Clark County chair, being elected by council members following a voter-approved change to the county charter.
Local elections typically are overshadowed by presidential and congressional positions when we think of voting, but they are essential to our democracy. City councilors or school board members are the closest link voters have to true representative democracy. Cheers go to officials who are working to improve our community.
Jeers: To brazen criminals. Vancouver police are looking for information about a string of armed robberies Thursday morning. In one incident, somebody in a red sports utility vehicle pulled up to a customer in the parking lot of the Grand Central Fred Meyer, pulled a gun and demanded her purse. A photo of the vehicle is available at Columbian.com. Investigators believe the robbery is connected to others reported that day in Clark County.
Meanwhile, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office is looking for somebody who drove a stolen truck through the front window of the Lewisville Market and Deli and stole items from the store on Sunday. Video cameras captured images of the masked man. Jeers go to criminals who endanger our community.
Cheers: To repatriation. Daryle Artley of Woodland has been laid to rest at Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver, 80 years after his death. Artley was a U.S. Navy quartermaster second class on the battleship USS Oklahoma when he was killed during the Pearl Harbor attack of Dec. 7, 1941. He was placed in an unmarked grave until modern forensic science identified his body in 2019.
A group of descendants and local veterans attended his reinterment this week, and a Navy honor guard paid tribute. The work to identify Artley and bring him home is a manifestation of his nation’s promise to never forget those who died at Pearl Harbor.
Jeers, and maybe some cheers: To the weather. Heavy snowfall and heavy rain throughout the Northwest have caused havoc. Portions of Interstates 5 and 84 and Highway 14 have been temporarily closed this week because of whiteout conditions or landslides; mountain passes in Washington have been closed; and authorities warn of swollen creeks and rivers possibly spilling over their banks.
Those conditions serve as a reminder to be cautious when traveling; be prepared for extreme weather and check road and weather conditions before starting a potentially hazardous journey. As a Virginia snowstorm that stranded motorists for up to 24 hours demonstrated, you might be on your own if stuck in inclement weather. Meanwhile, Washington’s mountain snowpack is 122 percent of normal; that bodes well for a state that has suffered from drought in recent years.
Cheers: To new beginnings. Easton Grey Rickey was born at 12:08 a.m. on New Year’s Day, the first baby this year at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. Liam Antonio Gutierrez was the first baby of the new year at PeaceHealthSouthwest Medical Center, arriving at 9:42 a.m. on Jan. 1 — nine days earlier than expected.
New arrivals are a reminder of the optimism that accompanies a new year — and a reminder of the challenges ahead. Best wishes to the newest residents of Clark County and to their families.