June Cheers & Jeers

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

Did June seem to sneak up on anyone else — and then pass by in a flash? That’s the way summer goes, we guess.

Cheers to 2019 grads: In honor of the season, we’re going to dedicate our first Cheers of this June Cheers & Jeers column to the recent high school graduates in Camas and Washougal.

If you had the privilege of attending any of the commencement ceremonies at Camas, Hayes Freedom or Washougal high schools this month, you were sure to witness all of the love and dedication that’s gone into these young people’s education over the past 13 or so years. The students who spoke at their graduation ceremonies showed a maturity and self-awareness seldom found in people so young.

We noticed quite a few graduation caps promoting students’ plans for the future: One cap at the Camas High graduation ceremony read “Future NICU Nurse.” Another said its wearer was soon to be a U.S. Marine. And many displayed the initials of familiar higher-ed institutions like Washington State University and Oregon State University. No matter what their plans, we wish all of the 2019 graduates a future filled with happiness, nurturing relationships and adventure.

Jeers to folks who don’t click on the article link before leaving a negative comment: In this age of social media, we realize people often just read a Facebook or Twitter post and think they have the whole story. We’re here to tell you that you don’t.

We often preview upcoming stories or photos on our social media sites or “tease” a story that is coming out in that week’s paper. We never really put the whole story on our social media sites. Want to read all the details or see all the photos? Click on the link.

And if you’re tempted to leave a negative comment asking “where are the photos?” or “what about XYZ?” before you read the story or look for the photos? Jeers to that.

Cheers to local businesses who fundraise for local youth: This Cheers goes out to the many downtown Camas businesses that have come together this month for two impressive fundraisers that benefit local — the first was the “epic” fundraiser for the Camas-Washougal skatepark hosted by Nest & Love Photography of Camas and held at Grains of Wrath Brewing in downtown Camas on June 14.

The second was a fundraiser for a local family whose son has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, held Monday, June 24, at Natalia’s Cafe in downtown Camas, which featured donations from pretty much every business in Camas’ downtown core.

Small businesses in Camas and Washougal can always be counted on to pull together when community members are in need. Cheers to that. And Cheers to all the folks who constantly choose to “shop local” and support these same businesses with their hard-earned dollars.

Jeers to careless, dangerous drivers: We are writing this column just hours after a Washougal man allegedly drove his Jeep through a chainlink fence, onto the beach at a popular riverside park in Washougal and ran over two sunbathers — killing them both — before gunning it through the park and hitting a sign on his way out.

Police found the suspected vehicle in this fatality, along with the suspected driver, just a few hours after the Tuesday evening hit and run. (Cheers to quick police work on this case.) The suspected driver, David Croswell, 71, of Washougal, is charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.

The severity of the charges — vehicular homicide is a Class A felony punishable by life in prison and/or a $50,000 fine under Washington law — shows that law enforcement officials don’t believe this was a tragic accident but rather a tragedy caused by one man’s dangerous decisions.

We don’t yet know what exactly happened to cause the deaths of two German tourists who were simply trying to enjoy a popular recreation spot on a nice summer day. What we do know is that aggressive drivers are dangerous to themselves and everyone else in the community. A recent survey by Pemco Insurance Northwest shows an increase in “aggressive driving” in Washington, with 31 percent of drivers age 35 and older (and 32 percent of drivers younger than 35) saying they personally had engaged in aggressive driving a couple times a month — and 13 percent of younger drivers admitting they’d driven aggressively 10 more times in one month. The number of fatal traffic incidents in Washington also increased in recent years, with 401 deaths in 2013 and 536 deaths in 2017.

There’s no simple solution, but we could all stand to reevaluate how well we’re driving when we get behind the wheel. Distracted? Pull over. Aggravated? Breathe deep and try to calm down before you head out on the road. Under the influence? Call a ride share. Irritated by the slow driver in front of you? Maybe that person is a new driver or recovering from a bad traffic accident. Cut them some slack and remember — we’re all in this together, so let’s take care of each other on the road.