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Sunday, December 10, 2023
Dec. 10, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Determined deputy; fire threat

The Columbian

Cheers: To Deputy Drew Kennison. The Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy has returned to work, months after a freak accident resulted in the amputation of his left leg just above the knee. In February, Kennison was driving along Washougal River Road when his SUV was crushed by a portion of a snow-heavy tree.

“From the beginning, Deputy Kennison was determined to return to work,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “He would accept nothing less than a full return to duty. After months of rehab and hard work, his tenacity and grit are paying off.” Law-enforcement officers face enough dangers on the job without facing a threat from falling trees. Kennison’s return to active duty serves as an inspiration for his fellow deputies and the community they serve.

Jeers: To wildfire threat. Thanks to abnormally dry weather and high temperatures, officials are expecting a busy wildfire season. The U.S. Forest Service has said that it expects fire restrictions to increase in the coming weeks.

The conditions already are having an impact. Pacific Power officials have announced they will lower water levels at Yale Reservoir this week in order to meet flow requirements at Merwin Dam and support fish populations in the lower Lewis River. The action will close most boat ramps surrounding the reservoir. Before heading to the wilderness, adventurers should be aware of fire restrictions and current conditions.

Cheers: To election transparency. For elections big and small, the Clark County Elections Office conducts a hand count of 600 ballots for a particular race and compares those results to the machine count. For Tuesday’s primary, the count will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Amid rampant misinformation about election integrity, the local office has diligently worked for transparency while educating the public about the voting process. By the way, the hand counts have unfailingly matched the machine count through the years.

Jeers: To scammers. The Internal Revenue Service and Better Business Bureau are reminding consumers that summer is a ripe time for a variety of scams, ranging from tax refunds to employment prospects to travel plans.

As a Seattle-based FBI official tells The Columbian: “A simple phone call to verify who they are speaking with or even just looking something up on the internet can prevent a lot of this. … To protect yourself, if you have never met a person in person, you probably should not send them money.” Cellphones and social media have improved our ability to connect with one another, but it also has made it easier for scammers to reach out. That brings to mind an old axiom: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Cheers: To Argos Scientific. The Camas company monitors air quality around the world, but it has received local attention in the wake of a large fire July 19 in Northeast Portland. When an abandoned Kmart store caught fire, the team led by Don Gamiles leapt into action. “We want to find pollution,” Gamiles said. “We run toward it.” Argos Scientific set up monitoring equipment in the neighborhoods surrounding the fire, identifying particulates unleashed by the blaze.

The company already was working with the local school district to study the environmental impact of a planned warehouse for the Kmart site. “If you can raise awareness within the community and educate them, that’s when this stuff will really take off,” Gamiles said. “Kids just soak this stuff up. It’s amazing what they’re capable of doing.”

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