Columns

Let’s encourage small businesses in 2014

Consumer confidence, the stock market, world events, the housing market and local political events are the significant factors impacting the entrepreneurial spirit. As I look ahead, the future seems bright for small business and anything our policy makers can do to encourage this trend will be a key to job strength and stronger sales tax revenues moving forward. Small business owners do expect better sales in 2014 and overall have a strong degree of confidence in their sales and hiring plans for 2014. The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International just completed a survey showing an uptick in 2013 small business sales results with an expectation that 2014 will be even better.

CHS Hall of Fame: Gary Ostenson

During its heyday in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Far West Classic, which was held between Christmas and New Year’s Day, was considered the premier holiday college basketball tournament in the country. The FWC started in 1956 as a four-team event in Corvallis, expanded to eight teams in 1959, and moved to Portland’s Memorial Coliseum in 1960. Over the years the guest list included national powerhouses — North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Princeton — and more obscure programs, such as the Dartmouth Big Green and the Billikens of St. Louis.

Holiday questions begin

This time of year, I start getting media calls about the holiday sales that retailers offer. The holiday shopping season is one week shorter than normal, which matters when it comes to the pace of shopping and how much spare time people have to shop. Why do retailers open on Thanksgiving Day? There are many different types of shoppers and appealing to them all is the challenge. Not everyone has an all-day family event to attend on Thanksgiving, or wants to sit around the house all day talking to relatives. And, if a parent notices a special price on the perfect gift, making a quick stop at the store might save that family enough money to buy another gift. What about the workers who have to work that day? These folks are making a good wage at time-and-a-half or double time. That’s money they can use for their shopping later. It’s good for everyone — the store, the shopper, the employee.

CHS Hall of Fame: The 1937 football team

Watching football has become a part of America’s Thanksgiving tradition as much as turkey dinner. This year, the NFL is scheduled to televise three games on Thanksgiving Day. In 1937, there were no televised games — Philo Farnsworth, who pioneered the technology for television, was just successfully concluding patent litigation against RCA for his image dissector, which evolved into the modern TV set.

Freedoms allow us to ignore cherished rights

Last week on Veterans Day I was reading an assortment of newspaper articles, e-mails, and web site and social media posts about how important this day is for our country. Veterans Day is important, of course, not only to thank the hundreds of thousands of veterans who made sacrifices to defend our country, but for all Americans to think about the freedom and liberties we enjoy, because of their sacrifices. The freedom and liberties that people in many countries will never know. But on this particular Veterans Day, with flags flying in the brisk wind and sunshine, it occurred to me that our freedoms can at times be a double edged sword. As Americans we can pretty much say and write what we want, read any book, see any movie or play or listen to any music we wish.

Small business owners need to understand Affordable Care Act

The U.S. Small Business Administration is committed to educating small business owners about the facts surrounding the Affordable Care Act, so that you can make an informed decision about what makes sense for your business – including whether you choose to apply for a tax credit. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, small businesses are benefitting from improved accountability and affordability in the health insurance market.

Lonesome Larry has lots of friends

In 1992, a single male sockeye salmon managed to swim 900 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River to Redfish Lake in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, the end of his migratory journey. Biologists dubbed the sole survivor, “Lonesome Larry.” By 2010, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council happily reported record-setting runs for sockeye — nearly 387,000 had climbed the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam. The numbers, which fluctuate annually, stand at 186,000 this year. The resurgence of the sockeye is not unique.

Parental involvement is key to children’s success

It’s that time of year again when busy parents are sending their kids out the door to meet the school bus or dropping them off at school. Expectations are high that students will be paired with great teachers who spend the necessary time helping them learn, supervising their safety and keeping parents abreast of their children’s progress. I recently formed an Education Kitchen Cabinet, made up of local educators, because I want to know how we can ensure kids have the best education. I’ve learned we have very dedicated teachers who care about kids and their education. But they tell me they can only do so much. The other component in the success of a child’s education is parental involvement.

State law allows direct election of the mayor under Prop 1

The column written by Battle Ground City Councilors Michael Ciraulo and Adrian Cortes was interesting commentary but plainly wrong when they state: “[i]n July 2013 a majority coalition arbitrarily changed our form of government…” The Battle Ground City Council cannot change their form of government. That takes a vote of the people. My understanding of what Ciraulo and Cortes are upset about is the procedures the Battle Ground Council adopted to elect their mayor. They don’t make any complaints about their city management, in fact they seem to compliment it.

BG officials offer perspectives on government changes

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” wrote Charles Dickens in his “Tale of Two Cities;” a magnificent author and book which still provides relevance to contemporary generations. What does this have to do with our community here in Battle Ground? As city leaders within Battle Ground, we would like to offer some personal perspectives on the significant seismic governance changes occurring within the communities of Battle Ground and Washougal.