Daily News editorial

Closing the generation gap

(Thumbs up)

“The sky is falling,” Georgia Kulju recently exclaimed at a rehearsal for the play “Chicken Little” as preschool students followed her, waving animal pictures glued to popsicle sticks.

She, other residents at the Delaware Plaza Retirement Home and several 3- to 5-year-old preschoolers are part of the new Golden Apple program, a partnership between the assisted living residence and the Longview Parks and Recreation Department, according to a TDN story written by reporter Rose Lundy.

The city of Longview has been exploring “intergenerational” programs and saw the idea for the Golden Apple program on the news a couple of years ago, according to Lundy’s story.

Longview Parks and Recreation coordinator Karry Williquette told Lundy that after reaching out to Delaware Plaza, “they ran with the idea” of combining preschool lessons with activities for the plaza’s residents to “build a stronger community” and “close the gap between the young and the old.”

And, the program is working.

Seven preschoolers meet with their teacher Tuesdays and Thursdays in a room at the retirement home. Since the program began in September, Debbie Baher, director of community relations at Delaware Plaza told Lundy the residents have a “perk in their step” when the children are around.

And, the children display a higher level of maturity when interacting with their retirement home friends. Baher told Lundy a child observed a resident was missing his oxygen tank and the duo went looking for it.

One resident, who is 92, told Lundy she enjoys playing outside with her younger friends during nice weather, noting it brings back memories of having fun with her children. Another, who is 80, told Lundy she likes the program’s activities, thinks the residents enjoy seeing the children and it helps teach the children how to behave.

Any time you can bring different generations together to learn and have fun, it is a good thing.

College Success Fund

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The state-funded part of Lower Columbia College’s operating budget has shrunk 23 percent since 2008 according to a TDN story by reporter Zack Hale.

To fill in the gaps where state funding falls short, the college launched the College Success Fund being run through the non-profit Lower Columbia College Foundation. Since the initiative was introduced at LCC’s annual gala in September, $85,000 has been raised.

The money will be used to buy new equipment for classrooms and new buildings, Kendra Sprague, vice president of the foundation, told Hale.

It also will be used for scholarships. Perhaps even for veterans’ support services, student-led projects and industrial trades recruitment.

Sprague noted the foundation has been helping with these types of projects for years, but now the foundation “can help even more.”

Ultimately, the CSF will benefit students by giving them access to state-of-the-art classrooms, new programs and additional scholarship money, Sprague told Hale.

Kudos to the college for working to create new ways to raise money for education as state funding shrinks.

Lousy job

Earlier this week The Columbian broke a news story indicating Vancouver’s Westside Wastewater Treatment facility dumped 100,000 gallons of raw sewage into the Columbia River on Wednesday.

This is unbelievable.

Just four weeks ago this same facility dumped 400,000 gallons of raw sewage into the Columbia River due to an equipment malfunction.

This latest dump is being attributed to a contractor error and makes the estimated total amount of raw sewage dumped into the Columbia River this month at 500,000 gallons. By comparison, an Olympic size swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons.

If you remember earlier this year the Westpoint Wastewater Treatment facility up in King County suffered an electrical failure, which triggered significant equipment failure. The catastrophic equipment failure resulted in an estimated 30 million gallons of raw sewage being dumped into the Puget Sound.

It seems to us at least two wastewater plants are doing a crappy job.

Commissioner Weber

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When news issues arise, we often ask for a personal tour. In this case, we called Cowlitz County Commissioner Dennis Weber and asked him to arrange for a tour of the Headquarters Landfill. Weber took time out of his day to schedule, arrange and accompany three TDN staffers on a tour of the landfill – and we really appreciate it.

Thank you Commissioner Weber.

We spent about two hours driving around the landfill, asking questions and taking pictures.

When you experience something first hand, it almost always provides a deeper understanding.

With the landfill being in the news a lot lately we wanted to make sure we understand how the landfill operates.

In the coming weeks, you’ll also see some of the photos taken of various parts of the operation.

Needless to say, TDN’s coverage of the landfill will be the highest quality possible – due to Commissioner Weber and the Headquarter Landfill team taking time to show us around.

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