Sunday, August 7, 2022
Aug. 7, 2022

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Tackling auto theft; big bangs

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To enforcing the law. A weekslong emphasis on enforcement has led to the recovery of 19 stolen vehicles and the arrest of 32 people on 46 new charges, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Officials said the sheriff’s office, Clark County Jail and Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office led the initiative in response to increased numbers of vehicle thefts.

“The focus of the emphasis was to locate and arrest individuals who were in possession of stolen vehicles, recover the vehicles, book the individuals into jail and ensure that they were charged for these crimes,” a statement said. Throughout Washington, reports of vehicle theft increased about 20 percent in 2021 over the previous year, and multiple states have reported increases in 2022. Cheers go to all involved in fighting a crime that can be expensive and taxing for victims.

Jeers: To fireworks scofflaws. Consider this a preemptive jeer, one that anticipates the future. Monday is the Fourth of July, essentially guaranteeing that Clark County residents will be subjected to bangs and buzzes this weekend despite regulations against fireworks. The city of Vancouver, for example, bans all fireworks, with fines starting at $500 for violations.

Regulations in other cities and throughout the county vary, and residents should be aware of their local ordinance before lighting a fuse. We know, however, that not everybody will be a considerate neighbor. Jeers go to those who violate fireworks laws, either unwittingly or willfully.

Cheers: To James McElvain. After serving as Vancouver’s police chief since 2013, McElvain has retired. “I would liken (my retirement) to being a small child anticipating Christmas,” he told The Columbian. “As Christmas gets closer, that anticipation grows, and then once it arrives, it’s like, ‘Well, it’s here. Now what?’ ” For McElvain, what’s next is teaching at the college level.

McElvain is the longest-tenured Vancouver chief since 1962, and he leaves behind a strong legacy that has been forged through difficult times. Police policies have come under intense scrutiny throughout the nation, and McElvain has been a calming voice while working to improve officers’ connection with the community. He has provided stability that has improved policing in Vancouver.

Sad: The death of William E. “Hap” Carty. Even longtime local residents might not be aware of Southwest Washington’s role in creating a ubiquitous national brand. U-Haul was founded locally, and Carty, a Ridgefield native, played a key role in the company’s development. He died last week at the age of 95.

Assisting his sister and brother-in-law with their brainstorm for one-way moving haulers, Carty helped build the first U-Haul on his family ranch. The idea took off from there, and today the company has more than 21,000 locations across the United States. Carty spent decades growing the company until his retirement in 1988, forging a story of American entrepreneurship.

Cheers: To feeding the hungry. Share House in downtown Vancouver is providing in-person meals to those in need for the first time since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We partner with grocery stores that donate, and then Clark County Food Bank is our biggest partner,” one organizer said. “We’re able to order through them every week for our pantry staples, and then we purchase whatever fill-in food we need.”

Ideally, people in our community wouldn’t need assistance to avoid hunger. But we are grateful for the many local organizations that see a need and do something about it.

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