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Sunday, March 3, 2024
March 3, 2024

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Free sports, new climate map

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To a chance to play. Thanks to volunteers and donations, hundreds of elementary school students in Evergreen Public Schools are competing in after-school sports. Basketball, volleyball and soccer programs have been offered, and the programs continue to expand. Students from nine schools played volleyball this fall, which is offered free to participants.

Youth sports have become increasingly costly and increasingly exclusive. Schools in Evergreen and elsewhere typically cannot afford to provide programs, and high-level club sports can cost thousands of dollars a year. “Everything costs money, and you usually have to seek it out,” one of the organizers in Evergreen said. “If it’s not offered at the school, a lot of them just don’t have access to these sports programs. For me, I just wanted to find a way.” Cheers go to everybody involved with helping kids get a chance to play.

Jeers: To climate changes. The Plant Hardiness Zone Map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows the effects of climate change. The map indicates which plants can thrive in a particular climate, and the new map shows about one-third of Washington is in a different zone from the previous iteration in 2012.

The changes impact landscaping, but the bigger effect will be on agriculture. Climate change is altering which kinds of crops can grow in a given region and will greatly alter the global food supply.

Cheers: To a special Santa. For the eighth year, Special Celebrations’ Sensitive Santa event is giving people of all abilities an opportunity to partake in a holiday tradition. The event is designed for those with intellectual disabilities to meet with a Santa who is sensitive to their needs.

Special Celebrations was formed by parents who needed events where their children were understood and welcomed. Sensitive Santa has become an annual highlight, with this year’s event scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 9 at Stephen’s Place, 501 S.E. Ellsworth Road. As one parent said, “Nobody looks at you strangely when your child is either freaking out about Santa or just loves Santa so much.”

Jeers: To an unexpected arrival. A semitruck drove into the arrivals lane Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Or at least it attempted to. As The Seattle Times reported: “Turns out, a truck that size can’t fit under the airport’s skybridges.”

The lanes were closed for approximately three hours and, according to the Times, “Traffic was backed up all the way from the arrivals drive, through Highway 518, to Interstate 5, according to Seattle Department of Transportation traffic cameras.” As airport officials wrote on X: “Tip — don’t drive a semi on the airport drive.”

Cheers: To Walk & Knock. Whether or not it is the nation’s largest local food drive, as organizers claim, Walk & Knock is a significant tradition in Clark County. For the 39th year, volunteers will go porch-to-porch today, collecting nonperishable foods and toiletries that have been donated by residents. To ease the process, the organization has mailed 152,800 red-and-brown grocery bags to households throughout the county. All you need to do is fill it up and leave it on the porch; collections will begin at 9 a.m.

“There’s still a great need with inflation and homelessness sending so many in search of food,” Walk & Knock President Tom Knappenberger said. “Every pound of food and dollar donated goes to the Clark County Food Bank for distribution to food pantries throughout the county.”

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