March 16, 2023

State of the ECFR District: The Year of the Nakia Creek Fire

Every year since 2015, East County Fire & Rescue (ECFR)’s board chair has submitted this column as a special outreach to our citizens, as well as those in the areas we provide mutual aid (Camas, Washougal, Skamania County, Vancouver, etc.) This year is one to start out with the following warning: “Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

March 2, 2023

Backcountry adventurers know they’re taking chances

Six people have died in avalanches in the United States since the snow started to fly this fall. Every year, an average of 27 people —skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, snowshoers — die this way.

February 23, 2023
Utah's Great Salt Lake is shown in 2022. (Contributed photo courtesy of Stephen Trimble)

It’s do or die for the Great Salt Lake

Last November, the Great Salt Lake, iconic landmark of the Great Basin Desert, fell to its lowest surface elevation ever recorded. The lake had lost 73% of its water and 60% of its area. More than 800 square miles of lakebed sediments were laid bare to become dust sources laden with heavy metals.

February 16, 2023

America struggles to ‘finally fix sharp pain of racism’

When Tyre Nichols woke up the morning of the last day of his life, I feel certain that he wasn’t thinking about racism or the chance that it might be his end, though he’d likely had “the talk” from his parents at an early age. He’d pushed it back, seeking peace and joy in a life he shared with friends, family and his community. To do otherwise would create a constant state of fear, precluding any quality of life, the ability to just get through it all and grow up.

February 9, 2023
A view from a valley in northern Colorado. (Contributed photo courtesy of Richard Knight)

The West is an exploiter’s paradise

High on a mesa where everyone can see it, a trophy house is going up in the northern Colorado valley where I live. Some of my neighbors hear that the house will be as big as 15,000 square feet. Others say it will take three years to complete. Whether that is valley gossip or truth, the house is now the center of everybody’s attention.

January 26, 2023

Banning books is for bullies

Some people have become so alarmed by what children might read in school or in libraries that they want books they don’t like removed — immediately. The targeted books include scenes of sexual awakening, gender identity, racism or violence.

January 12, 2023

They never tire of abusing Dr. King

During the fight over the new House Speaker election, Congress member Chip Roy (R-Texas), who voted against the anti-lynching act last March, had the immoral temerity to quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He did so as he explained how he was positioning himself to the hardliner right of rightwing Kevin McCarthy (R-California).

January 5, 2023

The ‘energy gap’ nobody wants to tussle with

Many Western states have declared they will achieve all-renewable electrical goals in just two decades. Call me naïve, but haven’t energy experts predicted that wind, sun and other alternative energy sources aren’t up to the job?