Washington state hunters
According to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife study, about 219,000 Washington citizens hunt each year. This represents about 3 percent of the state’s total population and means 97 percent the state doesn’t share our passion for hunting.
We find many people who’ve never hunted, nor even shot a gun, have a negative perception of hunters. And the perception is made even worse when news stories about poaching are published.
The recent news about bears, deer and elk being poached is just horrible, but it doesn’t represent who and what hunters are. The hunters we know are environmentally sensitive conservationists, who respect the land, the animals and the law.
So when you read news stories about poachers, please understand these folks are not hunters.
The poodle ‘whisperer’
In last Saturday’s newspaper, Jackson Hogan wrote a story about 15-year-old Silver Lake resident Alexis Shook.
The teen is the nation’s number one junior (ages 9 through 18) poodle dog show handler and is ranked the nation’s number eight non-sporting dog handler.
Alexis started showing dogs when she was 7 years old thanks to the encouragement of her mother, who was a dog handler as a child, Hogan wrote.
Showing dogs can be exhausting and time consuming. For Alexis, she spends two weekends a month traveling to show her dogs. It takes most of a day to prepare and groom the animals. To show the animal’s structure and movement during a show, she jogs with one of her dog’s in the ring. And she wears dress shoes!
Her schedule doesn’t leave time for traditional schooling or for traditional classmate friendships. She takes classes online via the Insight School of Washington. She makes friends at dog shows and meets people when she travels.
According to Hogan’s story, Alexis plans to continue part-time as a dog show handler as an adult while pursing another career.
Kudos to Alexis for her love of her dogs, her desire to be a great handler and her confidence in what she does. And, a big thumbs up to her family for encouraging her and supporting her in her efforts.
By most indicators state school funding seems to be mostly fixed. Of course, any new legislation will require tweaks and fixes, but here are some statistics to put school funding in perspective.
According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, for the years 2000 thru 2012, the state added 2,374 teachers to the payroll. From 2012 thru 2016, the state added 6,034 new educators to classrooms. This is a huge jump in the number of new teachers and, as of last year, reduced the teacher student ratio down to 17:9.
With all the new teachers added over the last several years you might not think the state would be planning to add more, but it is. The 2017-19 state budget includes money to add another 2,400 educators to the payroll. Schools have the option on how to spend the money, so not all districts will see another jump in the number of teachers, but the money is available to do so.
Hartford, Connecticut bankrupt?
Is it a debt problem or a spending problem?
The city of Hartford, Connecticut is warning creditors it will possibly file for bankruptcy in the next 60 days. Hartford may follow the cities of San Bernardino and Stockton, California, which filed for bankruptcy protection back in 2012.
What we find disconcerting is some of the quotes from city officials. In a Wall Street Journal story, Hartford officials indicated they have a debt problem, not a spending problem. Currently more than half of the city’s annual budget is eaten up by debt service, health care and pension costs.
In July, the financial rating firm Standard & Poor’s dropped Hartford’s bond rating to a “junk” rating. When investments are rated “junk,” they are otherwise called non-investment grade. Not good.
Bloomberg News called Connecticut one of the richest states in the U.S., home to an untold number of hedge funds. The state per capita income — not per household, but per capita — in 2016 totaled over $71,000, higher than every other state in the country.
Maybe Hartford needs to realize they don’t have a debt problem, they have a spending problem.