BALTIMORE — Twinkling stars are pretty but, for astronomers, problematic. Twinkles are caused by the interference of Earth’s atmosphere with light radiating throughout the breathtakingly beautiful and unimaginably violent universe. In 1990, however, the Hubble telescope went into orbit 370 miles above Earth, beyond the atmospheric filter, peering perhaps 12 billion years into the past, almost to the Big Bang of 13.7 billion years ago.
Such a joyous event should not be ignored. Last week the city of Wenatchee received, as payment on debt, a $75,000 check from none other than the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District, aka Town Toyota Center.
The reasons are somewhat murky, but the effort to annex the Olds Station area into the city of Wenatchee has failed. To succeed the petitioners had to represent 60 percent of the assessed property value of the area to be annexed. Chelan County Assessor Deanna Walter, after nine months of investigation, said the valid signatures represent only 56.4 percent of the assessed value.
The Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada is not some small parochial concern easily shuffled to the bottom of some Foggy Bottom in-box. It is a great agreement between great nations governing shared responsibilities for one of the great rivers of the world. It is a model of international cooperation over resources of enormous value. But it is old, it is out of balance, it is unnecessarily costly, and it needs to be changed.
We residents of Washington, including many who settled here because we liked the look of the place, have always offered our broad support for conservation. We willingly set aside land for the enjoyment of future generations. In my experience this support transcends the usual political boundaries, left and right. Our parks and trails, our forests and rivers, our lakes and beaches are precious.
At our last Chelan County PUD board meeting an updated analysis was released that reduces our projected PUD revenues by around $50 million over the next five years, compared with the forecast used for last year’s budget. A reasonable question is whether this new forecast calls into question the conclusions of the strategic plan adopted just this last spring. The simple answer is no.
The Navy’s operations, on which the sun never sets, are the nation’s nerve endings, connecting it with the turbulent world. Although the next president may be elected without addressing the Navy’s proper size and configuration, for four years he or she will be acutely aware of where the carriers are. Today they are at the center of a debate about their continuing centrality, even viability, in the Navy’s projection of force.
These are heady times if you dislike companies that extract or sell oil, coal or gas. Portland joined the celebration last week when the city council voted unanimously to place 200 fossil fuel companies on its do-not-buy investment list, said the Oregonian. It joins cities like Seattle and institutions like Stanford, the University of Washington and hundreds of others in deciding, in some way, to cleanse their investment portfolio of fossil fuel stock.
We had hoped that by now clean energy jobs would be popping up like phlox on the hillside. The clean energy economy, stoked by subsidy upon subsidy, would rescue our stalling economy and suffering middle class and bring us many family wage jobs. We believe. Or, we believed.
America’s loopy left is enamored of someone who becomes cranky about bobblehead figurines. Sober Democrats are queasy about nominating Hillary Clinton, who has much to apologize for but no aptitude for apologies. Those Republicans who hope she is denied the nomination are perhaps imprudent. And even Republicans who recoil from Donald Trump’s repulsiveness might want to defer the delicious pleasure of witnessing his apoplexy when he joins, as surely he will, the ranks of those he most despises — “losers.”
The Washington wine industry is a heavy hitter putting up some big numbers. An analysis for Washington State Wine, relayed by the Washington Research Council, concludes that the total economic impact of the Washington wine industry reached $4.8 billion in 2013. It has risen from $3.5 billion in 2009.