Are you blind?!
Youth sports have been struggling nationally with a shortage of officials, and the situation is no better here. Part of the problem is that officiating is not convenient. Uniforms, equipment, classes, and certification cost money. Training takes time. In the spring, frequent baseball and softball rainouts rearrange everyone’s schedule.
But the bigger problem is drawing young people into an activity that inevitably includes some heat from coaches and parents. Worse still is the fear of publicly making a mistake and having to admit, even if only to yourself, that the heat is sometimes deserved.
In our concern over cyberbullying and all forms of social-media rudeness, sometimes we forget that a little conflict is not always a bad thing. Parents sometimes step over the line with an official, but most don’t. The verbal give-and-take around a baseball diamond or basketball court is part of how sports helps prepare kids to become adults. The players and young referees of today probably won’t have to run a lap or catch a ball when they begin their careers, but having learned to weather unkind comments will stand them in good stead.
So thumbs up to our experienced officials, but especially to the new ones learning toughness under pressure. Really, your eyesight is probably not all that bad.
Keep your own secrets
Facebook is addicted to our data. When it gets caught breaching our privacy, it apologizes and promises to do better. Maybe it shows us a new “privacy control panel” or “privacy summary” as proof this time will be different. The current scandal over Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 presidential campaign is more visible because it’s connected to Donald Trump, but it’s not our first time on this ride. Cambridge Analytica just got caught using the same underhanded techniques others have used.
But as much as Facebook needs to be held accountable — and it does! — so do we. Facebook, and other social-media companies, only have our personal information because we handed it over. We can be unhappy when that information is passed on to the wrong parties ... but we shouldn’t be surprisedBeing concerned for our privacy does not mean we should be angry at Facebook. It means we should take responsibility and not tell Facebook in the first place. No app or service is going to be better at keeping our secrets than we are.
Humane Society finds new director
In a story that ran Wednesday, we learned the Humane Society of Cowlitz County has named a new executive director, Charmaine Rastatter. This is good news that will hopefully reassure the community and humane society staff that the organization is being guided in a positive direction, especially given the issues plaguing the shelter these last months.
Rastatter, who grew up in Rainier, has a Bachelor of Science degree and worked as a veterinary assistant in Tacoma for five years. She was also the assistant hospital manager for St. Francis Animal Hospital in Vancouver and was a zoo interpreter in Tacoma.
We were especially glad to see the search for a new director wrapped up so quickly, rather than dragging on for months and months, which can happen when hiring someone of this caliber.
We have no doubt that Rick Johnson has done a great job serving as interim director. We’re also confident that having a permanent executive director at the helm will go a long way toward reassuring shelter staff, local officials and area residents that the humane society has the leadership and guidance it needs.
Welcome to the area!
New life for old buildings
After sitting empty for nearly a year, four abandoned buildings once owned by Wayron are seeing some new activity. The four buildings have all been purchased by new owners in the last six months.
Although none of the four new owners — Mayeda Properties, Peterson Machinery Company, Slide Tackle LLC and Mike and Stephanie Tugaw — have disclosed their plans for the sites, we’re hopeful this signals some growth in the area.
Steel Painters, which is owned by Chris Mayeda of Mayeda Properties, also purchased and moved into an old Wayron building last October.
The area along California Way and Baltimore Street, currently zoned for commercial and industrial use, was once a thriving section of Longview. We look forward to seeing it brought back to life.
Woodland parks improvements
This week, the Woodland City Council approved spending $40,000 of park impact fees to improve Goerig and Horseshoe Lake parks and to create a small dog park.
Goerig Park has been closed for over three years so this is especially good news. Goering is slated for an overhaul, additional picnic tables, benches, lights and fencing. Horseshoe Lake will see its bleachers replaced with two sets of “amphitheater bench-type” seating.
A new off-leash dog park will be opened on a sliver of land between Lewis River Road and the northbound Interstate 5 exit 21 off-ramp.
We hear a lot about creating a “quality of place” in Cowlitz County. Creating new and better recreational opportunities is a big part of that quality. These may not be huge projects, but every bit helps.