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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Helping hands; VA software

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To helping hands. With a seemingly endless list of minor repairs, homeownership can be a burden. But as explained in an article by Columbian reporter Carlos Fuentes, Operation Home Rescue is here to help local veterans. The program, through property management company TMG Maintenance Services NW, offers home repairs at no charge.

“We have staff that are veterans, and it seemed like a natural place to look to offer services,” a company manager said. “There just weren’t any services available. So we decided that since we have a great home maintenance team, why don’t we utilize that skill set to set up a program?” The project works through the Clark County Veterans Assistance Center to process applications, and veterans who own homes and earn 80 percent or less of the area’s median family income are eligible. The program is an uplifting example of a community in action.

Jeers: To catastrophic service. Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs have confirmed that a flawed electronic health records system led to six incidents of “catastrophic harm,” including four deaths. The system was first deployed in October 2020 at a VA facility in Spokane.

Problems with the system have been evident since its launch, but this week’s revelations quantify the impact. “At the end of the day, what I care about is getting this right for our veterans, and I do not believe that more money is what is going to solve this problem,” U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.

Cheers: To political accessibility. Since taking office in January, congresswoman Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania, has held multiple in-person town halls in the district, including this week in Longview. And Republicans from the 18th Legislative District — Sen. Ann Rivers and Reps. Stephanie McClintock and Greg Cheney — recently held an in-person meeting with voters. Meanwhile, Democratic legislators from the 49th District have scheduled a telephone town hall for March 29.

With political enmity often leading to chaos at public meetings, elected officials throughout the country have been reluctant to hold in-person town halls in recent years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic led to further isolation. That is understandable, but there is no replacement for meeting face-to-face with constituents to answer their questions and hear their concerns.

Jeers: To man bites dog. A Richland man has been accused of biting the neck of a police dog following an attempted break-in. The man was found hiding in a broken-down vehicle after police responded to a call from a homeowner, and refused orders to come out. So police sent in the police dog, and the man grappled with the K-9 before biting it.

Media reports do not mention what charges the man might face after breaking a window at the home and eluding police – but assaulting a police animal is a Class C felony in Washington.

Cheers: To the great outdoors. According to a study by Lawn Love, a lawn-care company, Washington is the second-best state in the country for camping. Weighing 25 metrics split into five categories – access, quality, supplies, safety and affordability – our state ranks behind only California as a place to get back to nature. Notably, Washington ranks first in variety of campsite activities. In other words, you can find a campsite as rustic or as developed as you would like.

And if you already knew all that, you’re likely sleeping in a tent right now.

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