Daily News editorial

Kalama Harbor Lodge: We learned earlier this week from the McMenamins website that the new $10 million Kalama McMenamins hotel, now called the Kalama Harbor Lodge, is opening April 20, and that people can start booking stays.

The tropical-themed hotel that reflects Kalama’s historical Hawaiian connections will have 40 rooms with lanais, according to mcmenamins.com. Most of the rooms will have a view of the Columbia River and some of the rooms will be pet-friendly.

The lodge also will contain a seven-barrel brewery where hand-crafted ales will be prepared. You can even look through a window and watch the brew masters at work. It sounds like there will be plenty of seating on a wraparound outdoor patio with river views and four fire pits. A restaurant and lounge with wood stoves, and a gift shop, along with a space for up to 125 people — for meetings, banquets and celebrations — round out the first floor. The Rooftop Bar offers a view of the Columbia River waterfront; and the log-cabin style Ahles Point Shack at the end of a walking path along the river features indoor and outdoor fireplaces, a patio and, of course, a view of the Columbia River.

We were curious about the rooms, so we logged on to mcmenamins.com to check them out. We chose a king room for two people in May for a one-night stay. The rates range from $145 to $225 per night, with the lower rate being the rack rate. Rates may vary based on the number of nights chosen.

For $175 per night, you get what is called the Beer 101 Package. It includes lodging for two and two taster trays of handcrafted ales. After sampling the ales, you will receive a growler filled with your favorite ale — and you get to take the growler home.

For $225 per night, you get what is called the Hammerhead Package. It includes lodging for two, dinner and breakfast the next morning. The website notes guests are credited $50 to be spent at their discretion for dinner and drinks, plus a $30 credit for breakfast.

Some of us can’t wait for the Kalama Harbor Lodge to open and already are planning our first getaway.

Smartphone addiction: We were happy to read in TDN earlier this week that two major Apple investors — New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System — have urged Apple to “help curb smartphone addiction among children.”

The investors, who collectively control $2 billion worth of Apple shares, wrote a letter to the company stating they are concerned about the effects of gadgets and social media on youngsters.

In the letter, the investors mentioned studies on the negative effects smartphones and social media have on children’s mental and physical health, such as being distracted in the classroom leading to a decreasing ability for the students to focus on their school work; an increased suicide risk; and higher chances for developing depression.

The investors propose that Apple establish a committee of experts (including child development specialists), offer Apple’s information resources to researchers and enhance the software in mobile devices so parents have more choices to protect their children’s health.

According to the story, some groups, such as the American Psychiatric Association, don’t believe heavy internet use is a real mental addiction and suggest more research is required.

The story also noted that in 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics claimed internet use and social media have potential risks for teens and urged families to “create their own media use plans that include consistent time and content limits.”

The letter is a “big deal,” James Steyer, the chief executive officer of Common Sense Media, is quoted in the story. CSM is a nonprofit organization that studies the technology use of children.

He also said it is the beginning of a bigger discussion about the issues, that “it’s great that shareholders care about it” and that Apple is in a position to “do good” by financing independent research on the effects of using smartphones, by paying for public education campaigns to teach parents and their children about using technology responsibly and by designing “addiction-prevention features,” such as automatic timers to shut the devices off after a certain amount of time.

Don’t get us wrong. Cellphones are fantastic tools. They have saved people’s lives in emergencies, are a great way to stay connected to family and friends, provide us easy access to tons of helpful information. We can read books on our phones, watch films and more.

We, however, would like to see children — and families — spend less time with their heads bent over a cellphone and more time talking face to face; and spend more time participating in — and enjoying — outdoor activities, whether it’s playing a game, riding a bike, hiking or having a picnic.

Wouldn’t that be good for children’s mental and physical health? We think so.

And, we hope Apple listens to its investors.


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