April Cheers & Jeers

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

We have several “cheers” to give out this month, so let’s jump right into it:

Cheers to Wes and Diane Hickey: This Washougal couple deserves a shout-out for their generosity toward the Washougal community. When plans to develop a mixed-use complex in Washougal’s downtown core and lease first-floor space to the future Washougal library fell through due to complications over parking and site constraints, Wes Hickey, of Lone Wolf Development, could easily have scratched the Washougal library supporters out of his vision and wished them well. Instead, the developer and his wife decided to donate an 18,000-square-foot parcel of land in the heart of Washougal for the future library.

Advocates of replacing the current, bursting-at-the-seams, 2,400-square-foot Washougal library with a building five times that size cheered the Hickeys’ decision and said the site, at the intersection of Main and Durgan streets is perfect for the future library.

“It is great news,” Fort Vancouver Regional Library Executive Director Amelia Shelley told the Post-Record this month. “It is by far the best location … and we were hoping to keep the library in that downtown, civic core.”‘

Cheers to flexible athletes: Two stories published in the Post-Record in April highlighted the achievements of young athletes who have either pushed themselves to try a completely new — and sometimes scary — sport or worked around injuries to keep competing while they heal.

The first story, published on April 18, focused on Washougal High School sophomore Katie Stevens, who competed for 10 years as a gymnast, earning first team honors in 2019 and qualifying for the 2A state gymnastics meet in vault, beam and floor before being approached by Washougal track and field coach Dave Hajek about joining his team as a pole-vaulter. This is Stevens’ first season on the track and field team, but she’s already hit the school’s third-best mark on the pole vault. Hajek expects the gymnast to break the school’s record by the end of this season. We have no doubt she’ll succeed.

The second story, published in today’s Post-Record on page A7, focuses on a Camas track and field runner expected to do great things this year in her events — the 100-meter hurdles and the high jump — who suffered a stress fracture in her foot in February. Instead of letting her injury hold her back from participating on the track and field team, Camas sophomore Lucy George decided to try her hand at javelin throwing. George is already impressing her coaches with her “quick arm” and ability to go out and earn a No. 1 spot in girls javelin throwing at an April 16 meet against Skyview High. Cheers to both of these young athletes. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

Cheers to a successful superintendent: Although she came into her new position as the Washougal School District’s superintendent on the cusp of a highly charged teachers strike in August 2018, WSD Superintendent Mary Templeton seems to be winning over her employees and the community with her straightforward, reasonable communication style and refusal to let divisiveness between administrators and teachers bring the small school district down.

The superintendent’s actions also have garnered respect from national education groups. In our April 11 issue, the Post-Record wrote about one of Templeton’s most recent accolades: the National Schools Public Relations Association selected the Washougal schools leader as one of its “2018-19 Superintendents to Watch.”

In today’s Post-Record, Eric Engebretson, president of the Washougal teachers’ union, complimented the new superintendent and said Templeton is “doing what she needs to do” when it comes to working under a budget deficit.

Cheers to the superintendent for navigating a rough start to her hopefully long tenure leading Washougal’s school district.

Cheers to keeping it positive: We don’t have any “jeers” this time, maybe because we’re trying very hard to look on the bright side right now.

Although we understand many folks in Camas-Washougal are sad to see the Post-Record leave its physical, downtown Camas space next month, we are choosing to see our impending move to offices at our parent company, the Columbian, in downtown Vancouver, as a strictly positive event.

The move means our editorial and advertising staffers will now have more resources and a better working relationship with the folks at the Columbian, an award-winning daily newspaper that deserves every one of its journalism prizes. Keeping our focus on journalism and covering every aspect — good and bad — of the Camas-Washougal community will help us deliver a better, stronger community newspaper to our readers each week. How can we not say “cheers” to that?