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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Knowledge; ocean heat waves

The Columbian
Published: March 25, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To knowledge. Answer: He is the winner of the 2024 “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions. Question: Who is Yogesh Raut? The Vancouver resident’s triumph was televised last week as Raut captured his third game victory to clinch the tournament, earning a $250,000 grand prize.

For anybody who thinks they could compete on the Jeopardy! stage, Raut’s journey is instructive. “It’s been a constant presence in my life,” he said of the long-running game show. “When you’re a child, you think, ‘One day, I’ll be among those ranks.’ But it’s a very difficult process.” Raut spent years traveling to tryouts around the country but did not get selected until 2023. His performance then earned him a spot in the Tournament of Champions and time with kindred spirits.

“The best part of any tournament like this is getting to meet these people,” he said. “These are people who share your passion for knowledge.”

Jeers: To marine heat waves. As The Seattle Times explains: “During recent marine heat waves, millions of gelatinous, pickle-like filter feeders washed up on West Coast beaches.” That sounds disturbing, and a new study from Oregon State University provides additional insight.

According to researchers, marine heat waves have wide-ranging effects on the movement of nutrients and energy in the Pacific Ocean, with pyrosomes — the gelatinous, pickle-like creatures — absorbing much of the energy. That likely affects fish and animals higher up in the food chain. One researcher said: “What this showed us is that these heat waves impact every predator and prey in the ecosystem through direct and indirect pathways.”

Cheers: To philanthropy. Council for the Homeless has received a $2 million grant to bolster its efforts to reduce homelessness in Clark County. “The need for our services significantly expanded over the last five-plus years …,” Executive Director Sesany Fennie-Jones said. “As homelessness increases, CFTH must increase its capacity to meet the needs of this crisis.”

The grant is part of $640 million in donations announced last week by MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Scott had issued a national call for small nonprofits seeking funding, and her organization ended up contributing to 361 of them. The donations will make a difference in communities throughout the country — including Clark County.

Jeers: To bovine burglary. A resident of Sunnyside, near Yakima, has been accused of using a borrowed Honda Accord to steal cows from a nearby ranch.

Workers reported that 19 heifers and 24 Wagyu calves had recently been stolen, and Leonardo Jose Tapia became a suspect when he was found at the local rodeo grounds, feeding 16 calves in a cattle pen. Deputies reported that Tapia had cow manure on his boots and that the Honda’s interior also was covered in manure. We would mention that covering your friend’s car in cow manure is deserving of jeers, but that would be a moo point.

Cheers: To the Leonard-Loera family. As detailed in a recent Columbian article, Patricia Leonard and Paul Loera are starting to get their lives in order. The couple became homeless in 2022 and lost custody of their two young sons. Following time at one of Vancouver’s Safe Stay communities, they have transitioned to housing offered by Open House Ministries and hope to regain custody.

It is just one story from Clark County’s vast homeless community, but it represents the importance and the potential of the city-operated Safe Stay sites.

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