Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Feb. 7, 2023

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Cheers & Jeers: Green energy; false reporting

The Columbian

Cheers: To renewable energy. Clark Public Utilities has reached an agreement to purchase power from the Box Canyon Dam, near the Canadian border in Pend Oreille County. The agreement, which begins in 2026 and runs through 2041, is expected to provide about 10 percent of the local utility’s annual electricity needs.

“This is a very significant part of the energy portfolio we are putting together to decarbonize our energy supply,” a spokesperson said. Reducing carbon emissions while maintaining reliable power and keeping rates low is the utility’s mission, and the new agreement appears to fit into that mandate. Anything that can reduce reliance on the gas-burning River Road Generating Plant will benefit local residents and businesses.

Jeers: To “swatting.” Clark County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Heritage High School on Tuesday following a phone call claiming that seven students had been shot. Similar calls drew responses to schools in Bellingham and Tacoma, and investigators say an earlier call drew police to Henrietta Lacks High School in September.

“Unfortunately, there has been a wave of these sort of incidents, also known as ‘swatting,’ around the country,” Heritage Principal Derek Garrison said. “We encourage you to speak to your students about them and make sure they know that these can cause stress and are not harmless pranks.” No, they are not harmless; they waste police resources and could result in a tragedy if somebody is mistaken for a shooter. Plus, false reports are a crime; we hope perpetrators are identified and held accountable.

Cheers: To veterans services. For the second year in a row, Vancouver has been honored as one of the nation’s best cities for military retirees. Smart Asset, which ranks cities based on military retirement friendliness, resources for veterans and a city’s economic environment, has deemed Vancouver the fifth-best city for veterans.

“There seems to be a constant awareness of military people, contributions and sacrifices,” one local veteran told The Columbian. “It means a great deal.” In truth, Vancouver is a pretty good place for all residents. But a wealth of veterans services makes it particularly welcoming for military retirees.

Jeers: To unseasonal fires. A spate of wildfires have appeared in Western Washington recently, well beyond the typical season for blazes. Fires have been reported in Clark, Lewis, Skamania and Cowlitz counties, as well as on the Olympic Peninsula. No injuries or damage to structures were reported, but some evacuations were required.

State officials said November wildfires are uncommon, which is a bit of an understatement. A dry November in parts of the state exacerbated conditions already ripe for wildfires. Climate change has contributed to an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires, and now it is expanding the calendar for fire season.

Cheers: To nostalgia. The Astoria, Ore., house made famous in the 1985 movie “Goonies” is for sale. All you need is $1.7 million to meet the asking price for a home the listing describes as “fully loaded with history, nostalgia and iconic level of fame.”

History is a relative term, but apparently the home is a popular tourist destination. And any well-kept 1896 house with sweeping views of the Columbia River would have some charm. The listing agent said: “It’s kind of a fun buy. Whoever buys the house is going to have a relatively steady stream of extremely happy people walking up outside to fulfill their childhood dreams.”