Sunday, October 2, 2022
Oct. 2, 2022

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Cheers & Jeers: Skeeters bite; Costco coming

The Columbian

Cheers: To mosquito control. Unbeknownst to many residents, Clark County has a mosquito control district. It is one of many government services that is easily ignored — until you need it. According to people who keep track of such things, we need it this year, with the mosquito population reaching record numbers. “We’ve had a pretty large increase compared to last year,” said Jesse Maritz, assistant biologist for the district. “Granted, last year was pretty minimal, but it is a big spike.”

District officials have answered more than 300 service requests in the past three weeks, responding to a mosquito population estimated to be 10 times the size of last year’s. Apparently, recent flooding of the Columbia River created ideal conditions for the bugs. Officials recommend contacting the district when mosquitoes become problematic, rather than spraying large amounts of insecticide. While we jeer the presence of mosquitoes, the local control district is worthy of cheers.

Jeers: To vandalism. What typically is regarded as a big-city issue is causing problems in Washougal, where officials say incidents of graffiti have tripled in recent years. “Graffiti is costly, destructive, lowers property values and impacts the appearance of the community,” one city administrator said. “It keeps us from moving forward as a community because we continue to use our limited resources to try and keep the city clean.”

Leaders are seeking solutions to the problem, including citizen watchdogs. Meanwhile, jeers go to those who thoughtlessly, selfishly and criminally deface public property in Washougal and elsewhere.

Cheers … and jeers: To Costco. The Issaquah-based warehouse store has announced plans for a third outlet in Clark County. The new store will be in Ridgefield, along Interstate 5, and will include a Costco gas station.

Costco is extremely popular, offering a variety of food and household products at attractive prices as a result of the company’s large-volume purchasing power. Plus, it is a publicly owned Washington-based corporation that helps boost the state’s economy. On the other hand, the arrival of a big-box store in Ridgefield is bad news for locally owned stores. What is good for consumers is not always good for small-business owners.

Jeers: To overcrowded hospitals. Across Washington, many health care facilities are at 120 percent of capacity, according to the Washington State Hospital Association. The overflow is not necessarily due to COVID-19, but is a result of staffing shortages and a lack of discharge options for patients. Among the results are long waits in emergency departments and declining patient care.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on many of the shortcomings in U.S. health care. The bottom line: Americans spend far more on health care than any other nation, but our outcomes rank well below many other developed nations. Vast changes to the system are needed.

Cheers: To exciting baseball. The Seattle Mariners entered this week’s All-Star break with a 14-game winning streak, the second-longest in the franchise’s 46-year history. Then rookie Julio Rodriguez put on a thrilling display in the Home Run Derby, announcing his arrival for a national audience.

The Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001, the longest active drought in North American sports, and they rarely have been in contention during the past two decades. They have spent years reinforcing the adage that Seattle is not a bad baseball town, it’s a town of bad baseball. But fans in the Northwest might be in for an exciting second half of the season.

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