Sunday, August 14, 2022
Aug. 14, 2022

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Cheers & Jeers: Lend a hand; fight monkeypox

The Columbian

Cheers: To Open House Ministries. The faith-based organization has long operated a shelter and assisted families facing homelessness and seeking to build stable lives. But the next step to independent living is hard for families with few resources to navigate. So this week Open House broke ground on the Dollie and Ed Lynch West building, which will offer 30 apartments as transitional housing.

The building is to be at West 12th and Jefferson streets, across from the existing shelter. When it opens next year, it will offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to families ready to leave the shelter, but not quite ready to stand alone. Rents will be based on income (to be eligible, adults must have jobs). Families can stay until they are ready to succeed on their own.

Jeers: To the monkeypox. Clark County Public Health has confirmed the first local case of this disease, which has been spreading around the world for months. Unlike COVID-19, it is not transmissible by merely being in the presence of a sick person. Health authorities say it usually spreads skin-to-skin with intimate contact, such as among sexual partners. It can also spread through saliva during prolonged face-to-face contact, or through infected bedding or clothing.

Cheers: To the locally strong job market. Clark County added an estimated 1,300 new jobs in June, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Employment Security Department. Almost all sectors showed growth, including well-paying jobs in construction, professional and business services and education and health services. Unemployment remains low at 4.5 percent.

Unlike Washington, Oregon and the U.S., Clark County has more jobs than before the pandemic. In fact, employment here has grown 4.8 percent, or a net 8,100 jobs, since February 2020.

Jeers: To continued lack of affordable housing. At least local leaders are acknowledging the problem. This week the Vancouver City Council heard that in order to close the housing disparity, the city needs a minimum of 2,500 new housing units per year, at least 750 of which are affordable for households earning 80 percent or less of the median income. But in recent years, only 1,600 houses and apartments have been built on average.

It’s a tough problem to solve. Most neighborhoods are zoned for single-family housing. Neighbors generally like it that way. But single-family homes are expensive. Only about 30 percent of the city’s residential zones permit medium-density housing, and only 5 percent of the land is suitable for high-density housing. Developer incentives and fewer regulations may be answers to explore.

Cheers: To pet rats. Ridgefield resident Richelle Kelly extolled the virtues of the rodents as pets in a Sunday Life story. They’re smart, and loyal, she said, and can show affection for humans. On the downside, they only live a few years, making the journey to the Rainbow Bridge much shorter. Not convinced? Kelly has 11,000 followers on Instagram and 229,000 on TikTok. That’s not small cheese.

Jeers: To the demise of the Choco Taco. The ice cream novelty – basically, a chocolate-topped vanilla cone that looks like a taco – will no longer be manufactured by Klondike. The decision caused a meltdown among Choco Taco fans, who apparently will now have to be satisfied with the cones. The company explains that it needs the production space in its factories to make more of its most popular treats such as Klondike Bars and ice cream sandwiches.

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