Thursday, August 18, 2022
Aug. 18, 2022

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Kudos to Clark; fears for farm

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To a Clark College campus. Officials have broken ground on Clark College’s Boschma Farms facility in Ridgefield, providing a glimpse of the future for the two-year college. A 61,000-square-foot facility is expected to open by spring of 2024, focusing on education in emerging industries such as manufacturing in renewable energy and environmental science.

“Although we may be standing in a humble farm field,” Clark College President Karin Edwards said, “once again we acknowledged the many pathways to success this campus and its technology will offer Southwest Washington, and particularly the north county.” The college long has offered an array of studies for people from throughout the community. Expanding its geographic reach will benefit both students and employers in Clark County.

Jeers: To a hazy future. Prospects for 78th Street Heritage Farm remain uncertain as the Clark County Council debates various options. “At least one councilor had talked about, ‘Let’s just sell it. Let’s build there and make it commercial and residential and let’s just get a different use of the property,’ ” Councilor Gary Medvigy said at a recent meeting. “We’re not talking about that.”

We hope not; the farm has a long and productive history in Clark County. But ideas for making the 79-acre facility financially viable and more accessible to the public are not easily found. Kudos go to county councilors for giving much thought to the issue. Ideally, a decision that benefits local residents can be found in a timely fashion.

Cheers: To accountability. The Washington Election Integrity Coalition United and its attorney have been ordered to pay a total of more than $28,000 for baseless claims that the 2020 election was “stolen.” The state Supreme Court this year dismissed one lawsuit and took the unusual step of granting the state’s motion to impose sanctions over the frivolous nature of the suit.

Activists and voters may believe whatever they like about the integrity of the 2020 election. But spurious accusations of malfeasance on the part of elections officials — accusations that have no foundation in fact — undermine public confidence and are costly to defend. If somebody wishes to go to court with allegations of election fraud, they first should have some evidence.

Jeers: To danger on the roads. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that traffic fatalities in Washington reached a 20-year high in 2021, with 633 deaths. That includes 300 drivers, 141 pedestrians, 108 passengers and 93 motorcyclists. Data from early this year indicate that fatality rates remain high.

“The increase in deaths on our roads is tragic, but we all have the power to reverse the trend,” said one official. That requires caution, including paying attention to the road and other vehicles while avoiding the use of cellphones and other electronic devices. Increased police patrols also can play a role in ensuring that drivers are being responsible and not endangering themselves or others.

Cheers: To “smart” pacifiers. Researchers at Washington State University Vancouver have helped develop a wireless pacifier that can monitor a newborn’s electrolytes, sodium, potassium ion and hydration levels. The goal is to reduce blood draws that are typical in newborn intensive care units.

“Normally, in a hospital environment, they draw blood from the baby twice a day, so they just get two data points,” one WSUV researcher said. “This device is a noninvasive way to provide real-time monitoring of the electrolyte concentration of babies.”

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