The Wenatchee World

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OK, figure out how to pay for it

They said it would be free. Or, maybe it wouldn’t be free exactly, but surely just a painless reshoveling of the extra billions piled around Olympia at the time. It was called the Washington School Class Size Act, or Initiative 728, presented to the sympathetic voters of Washington on the 2000 ballot. The ballot title said, “Shall school districts reduce class sizes, extend learning programs, expand teacher training, and construct facilities, funded by lottery proceeds, existing property taxes, and budget reserves?”

Common Ground | “Walk to End Alzheimer’s set for Oct. 11

Bob Le Roy and Justine Stevens-McClure of the Alzheimer’s Association stopped by the office with Diane Tribble of Aging and Adult Care of Central Washington Tuesday to talk about the upcoming “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.”

Sense, efficiency are the real goals

We have made the point many times: This is one region. We are not divided by geography, custom or culture. We, for lack of a better name the Greater Wenatchee Area, have been splintered into a conglomeration of rival municipalities by history and political circumstance. We pay every day for the inefficiencies that brings about.

Names they choose

It was with great interest we read that the 12 Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation are considering dropping the labels imposed upon them, and returning to, well, their real names. It has always been a little puzzling, to them and to us, how groups of indigenous peoples can come to be called by a name they never knew, communicated in a Roman alphabet they never used, which couldn’t begin to represent the correct inflection of their native language. The Wenatchee tribe, for instance, never called itself the Wenatchee tribe ...

Picture wilderness

No photographs please, unless you pay $1,500 for a permit, and perhaps convince us your motives are acceptable. So has said the U.S. Forest Service to would-be commercial photographers who wished to capture images in a wilderness area. That may sound insane, but there it is in a proposed rule already temporarily in force and due to be finalized before year’s end. After predictable outrage Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell backpedaled Thursday, assuring all the rule was meant only for commercial photo shoots and movie crews, not newspaper or television ...

Speeders with nowhere to hide

There is a dismal inevitability to the automated enforcement of traffic laws. It’s happening, more is coming, and if the technology in its current infant state makes some of us uncomfortable, at least we are being conditioned to a future where traffic laws can be enforced always, every second of the day, no exceptions.

Our real Syria strategy: Containment-plus

Late, hesitant and reluctant as he is, President Obama has begun effecting a workable strategy against the Islamic State. True, he’s been driven there by public opinion. Does anyone imagine that without the broadcast beheadings we’d be doing anything more than pinprick strikes within Iraq? If Obama can remain steady through future fluctuations in public opinion, his strategy might succeed.

High stakes in Kansas

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Tacked to the wall of Greg Orman’s campaign office is a print of a John Steuart Curry painting, “Tragic Prelude,” that hangs in the capitol in Topeka. It depicts John Brown of Osawatomie, 39 miles south of here, as what he was, a deranged product of “bleeding Kansas,” the Civil War’s overture. Today, Orman, who is as calm as Brown was crazed, is emblematic of fascinating Kansas.

Store the wind, and use it later

This gets people excited. Four energy companies, including some big players, have proposed a novel and massive wind power project. It would generate, sometimes, large amounts of electricity on the Wyoming prairie, then transmit it to a site 130 miles south of Salt Lake City, where it would energize compressors pumping air into huge salt domes. The underground compressed air would be released on demand to turn electric generators, the resulting power shipped by existing transmission line to insatiable California.

Wilf Woods | ‘Band of Giants’

A new book on our war of independence, “Band of Giants,” by Jack Kelly is a succinct description of the amateur soldiers who won that war, despite the many personal conflicts among them.

Data for the pessimists, or not

This appears to be a glass-half-full-or-half-empty situation. We working people are not making as much money as we did at the dawn of this horrible recession, late in 2008. The U.S. Census American Community Survey numbers released this month tell the story. The recession supposedly is over and recovery under way, but it is hard to find solace in the statistics.

Cry, you’re on hidden camera

Without prior knowledge or intent, I recently was inducted into a club I had no interest in joining, especially in light of the $200 initiation fee.