Letter to the Editor: Ukraine War Will Only End When Putin Is Thrown Out
Ramifications from Vladimir Putin’s misbegotten invasion of Ukraine continue to burgeon and multiply, especially in the Far East.
Russia’s armed incursion rapidly intensified concerns that China would emulate this outrage and ratchet up pressure on Taiwan. This island bastion of democracy, constitutionally a part of China, has been fiercely protective of its virtual independence since the proclamation of the communist People’s Republic on the mainland in 1949.
But increased Chinese assertiveness in the Straits of Taiwan, the South China Sea and even the Solomon Islands has caused other regional powers to bolster their defense postures.
Australia recently concluded a pact allowing it to receive nuclear submarine technology from the United States and Britain. Soon, Britain will base an undisclosed number of its own subs in Perth.
Japan, a firm U.S. ally since 1945, will double its defense budget and has signed a military cooperation treaty with the British. This revives an alliance that was originally negotiated in 1902.
It was a Japanese armada of British-built warships that decimated the Russian navy at the Battle of Tsushima Strait in 1905. Japanese losses of three small torpedo boats with a combined displacement of 255 tons were vastly offset by Russian losses of seven battleships and 14 other vessels with a displacement of 143,000 tons.
This strategic calamity led directly to the Russian revolution of 1905, which nearly toppled the Tsarist regime. Corrupt, incompetent and autocratic, the Romanov dynasty was on its last legs and would soon be overthrown and eradicated.
Putin was born in 1952, five months before the death of Joseph Stalin by intentional neglect in 1953. Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, was deposed in a Kremlin coup in 1964, largely for hatching such “hare-brained schemes” as the disastrous military deployment that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Khrushchev spent the rest of his life humiliated under house arrest. He was never heard from or seen in public again.
In the 1980s, successive Soviet despots Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko died in office as tired and depleted old men, desperately gripping power as the nation foundered in Afghanistan. Mikhail Gorbachev, the best of a bad bunch, was flung from office by the utter collapse of the Soviet state in 1991.
Putin persists in his catastrophic debacle because the Russian system of governance allows him no viable exit. To admit defeat would be to tie a rope around his own neck.
The sheer tragedy of this war is irrefutable. But it will end only when Vladimir Putin is thrown out.
Commentary: Success in Our Public Schools Will Require a Commitment by Our Whole Community
Recently, I tried to evaluate my year as president of the Centralia School Board and what I may have learned during my 81 years that would help me assist Superintendent Dr. Lisa Grant and the board in developing an excellent and modern educational program for the students in our district.
As I reviewed the year, several students submitted letters to The Chronicle expressing their concerns. I deeply appreciate their honesty and willingness to share their views in public. Then I received a long email from a very concerned patron. Again, I appreciate forthright comments and willingness to find solutions. Both events stimulated the following thoughts.
Our current national climate seems all too familiar to me. In the 1960-1970 era, our nation was terribly divided over Vietnam and emotionally and intellectually conflicted with the issues of the Civil Rights Movement. The effects of Vietnam are, in many ways, still with us. The Civil Rights Movement identified many issues, but too many problems still face the nation today. Unfortunately, 2023 seems to be another time of great crisis for our nation. Real and perceived problems seem to have captured our entire lives, resulting in a nation that is divided and polarized. Too many of our students don’t see a positive future or their place in it. When the effects of COVID-19 and social media are added to our culture, we are a nation without common goals and unity. The effects on our students are frightening. Educational achievement has suffered as students struggle to meet acceptable levels. Classroom behavior and bullying have become very serious issues. I fear our society will be faced with the effects of lost learning and interpersonal socialization for many years.
The current public education system is an extremely complicated system, controlled by federal law and regulations, state law and regulations, local legal requirements, labor contracts and local patron wishes and expectations. To understand and comply is extremely difficult and extraordinarily time consuming. Dr. Grant’s (any superintendent’s) job in this environment is almost unbelievable. There are over 1,000 policies and procedures that your local school board members must master. The Centralia School Board has committed to reviewing each and every policy and procedure; revising when necessary and then approving each one. The board has begun that task and plans to complete it this year. The board’s goal is to provide a superior education, in a safe equitable environment, for every student. The members of your school board have accepted a tremendous responsibility, donating their time, for the sole personal satisfaction of making our community better. It is an honor to serve with fellow board members Deb Parnham, Mandi McDougall, Maritza Bravo and Vickie Jackson. As I observe other school districts throughout the state, Centralia is blessed with board members who do not have personal agendas and are committed to a single focus: assisting in creating “great students.”
Many of our students come to school from challenging homes, societal divisions, poverty, language barriers and an obsession with their phones. Far too often, our teachers are expected to teach societal and interpersonal skills, while developing attitudes of self-esteem and self-worth in their students. While our teachers do an outstanding job, these tasks cannot be accomplished solely by classroom teachers and school counselors.
We, you and I, are raising our children in a politically divided world filled with animosity and violence. They are frustrated and fearful of their future. Our children, our most valuable treasures, are bombarded with the powerful and the negative effects of social media and interactions with their own peers. Then, like a nuclear explosion, COVID-19 entered their world. It was an unknown dark attack that seemingly upended everything they knew and rearranged their world. The short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19 will be with us for generations. School districts, and especially yours, tried to devise every vehicle possible to continue the education of students and create a positive environment for them. Your teachers were phenomenal. They jumped in, acquired new skills, created new programs, designed new lesson plans and learned to teach our kids over the internet.
Some programs were more successful than others. Teacher education programs did not anticipate or teach the skills needed in the new COVID world. While there are certainly instances where one might disagree with district strategies and plans, and where we could have done better, the teachers in your district were incredible. Please thank every single one when you have a chance. Please do not forget that the teachers also suffered personally from COVID-19 impacts.
This is not a crisis that public education can solve alone. No amount of money, no federal or state laws or directives will be sufficient. Unless our students acquire personal self-confidence and appropriate educational skills, they will be destined for unhappy and unsatisfactory lives. We, in each of our communities, must find ways to create a positive pathway forward for our kids.
So, here is the bottom line. Your school board, your superintendent and your teachers will reach out with as much energy and ingenuity as they can muster. They will work, learn and honor every student. But, if we expect public education to be responsible for changing the nation’s culture divide, developing self-esteem in each student, creating a safe environment, stopping bad behavior, and controlling bullying, then the end result will be an absolute and complete failure.
If we, as a community, fail to address and redress the issues facing our children, we will be leaving them in an impossible place. We will be failures as parents and adults.
Success will require a commitment by our whole community, individual families and parents, and various community organizations and services. Students, themselves, must commit to becoming not only critics but also a part of the solution. We are each other’s and our children’s role models. We must learn to respect our differences and work together on our commonalities. To blame education is an obstacle to finding solutions. Our personal criticisms must be turned into questions on how we can fix problems. Working together we can create the Great Society that was President Lyndon Johnson’s dream.
I am still inspired by the words that Sen. Robert Kennedy quoted from George Bernard Shaw: “I dream of things that never were and ask why not?” Young and old, students and young adults, parents and grandparents, please join me and your school board. We must all demand an answer to “why not” question. Your school board believes there is only one acceptable answer: “why not?”
Please join us and help us make our students Centralia’s greatest legacy.
Tim Browning, a former mayor of Centralia, is a 1960 graduate of Centralia High School and has served as president of the Centralia School Board.
Southwest Washington Mycological Society to Hold Meeting on Feb. 7
The Southwest Washington Mycological Society will hold a meeting on Feb. 7 at the WSU Extension Office in Chehalis at 6 p.m.
The office is located at 17 SW Cascade Ave. in Chehalis.
There will be a presentation by Rainy Karnes from Raven’s Wind Farm who will discuss home cultivation of mushrooms. There will also be voting on changes to the society’s bylaws and the election of directors. Attendees will need to have paid their dues to vote. Door prizes will also be handed out.
Attendees are encouraged to bring mushrooms growing around their area for identification.
Greater Toledo Community Library to Hold Valentine's Day Book and Bake Sale on Feb. 11 and 14
The Greater Toledo Community Library’s Valentine’s Day Book and Bake Sale will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, and Tuesday, Feb. 14. Valentine’s Day cards will also be available for $1 to $2 each, many of them with Mary Engelbreit designs. Books are supplied by Friends of the Toledo Library and sweets are baked by volunteers.
There will also be Valentine’s Day gifts for men and women available at low prices, including necklaces for $20 and a 1953 Studebaker Starliner die-cast model for $30.
Learn more about the library at https://www.toledowacommunitylibrary.org/.
The library is located at 241 Cowlitz St., Toledo.
Orcutt, Other Lawmakers Back Legislation Creating Special Mount St. Helens License Plate
The Mount St. Helens Institute last week announced its campaign for a special license plate featuring the image of Mount St. Helens is back on track.
After previously gathering almost 4,000 signatures, legislation creating the license plate died during the 2020 legislative session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the institute. Now, state Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, is sponsoring House Bill 1489 to create the plate. The bill is co-sponsored by state Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline, and has a companion bill in the state Senate sponsored by state Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, and co-sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia.
"Mount St. Helens is a natural wonder but also teaches us very important lessons about the power of nature and the resiliency and recovery of our natural environment after a natural event — even a catastrophic one,” Orcutt said in a news release. “Proceeds of the plate will help further educational opportunities created by the eruption and recovery of Mount St. Helens."
The license plate, designed by Don Clark of Invisible Creature, will raise money for the Mount St. Helens Institute, a nonprofit working to improve understanding and stewardship of the landscape through science, education and exploration at Mount St. Helens.
“We are thrilled that this campaign is back on track and we have the support of our legislators,” said Ray Yurkewycz, executive director of the Mount St. Helens Institute. “This license plate will not only give residents of Washington State a chance to show their pride in one of our state's most iconic landmarks, but it will also support outdoor school for youth throughout Washington and help us to grow visibility for the important work we’re doing.”
Special design license plates in Washington state typically cost an additional $30, with $2 going to the state and $28 going to a specific cause, which in this case would be the Mount St. Helens Institute. Special license plates can be purchased through the Washington state Department of Licensing.
To show support for the Mount St. Helens license plate, sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/MSHSLP. To learn more about the campaign, visit https://www.mshinstitute.org/about_us/msh-license-plate.html or email Jared Steward, the strategic communications manager, at Jared@mshinstitute.org.
New Chehalis Optometry Clinic Scheduled to Open in June
Rainier Eye, set to open in June, may help those with trouble seeing — but, its owners’ vision for a community-owned and operated optometry clinic is clear.
The clinic, located in Chehalis, will be co-owned by Drs. Mary Ferris and Angela Loeb, who previously worked as optometrists in Olympia.
Ferris practiced optometry in Olympia for 13 years, during which time she specialized in treating the blind and those with low vision, a field where fewer than 1% of optometrists practice. Loeb has been an optometrist in Olympia for 11 years with a focus on bringing an alternative to big box stores and corporate optometry, she said.
The new clinic will feature four exam rooms and an area to try on glasses.
Ferris said they’re trying to create a “Northwest homey design” with a comfortable feel for their clinic.
“We want to make it a beautiful and relaxing space,” she said. “We’re both drawn to the area for the natural beauty and we want to incorporate that into our decor.”
Ferris added their appreciation for the area’s natural beauty was behind their selection of the name “Rainier Eye.”
According to Ferris, the two worked at a locally-owned optometry clinic that was purchased by a larger chain. By opening their new office in Chehalis, the duo hope to recreate the local connection they once had.
“We’re trying to start with the local community first,” Ferris told The Chronicle. “We know this community enjoys locally-owned and community-based (businesses) and that’s really appealing to us.”
Emphasizing the importance of wanting to be connected to the community, Ferris said they’re looking for a receptionist from the area.
“It would be wonderful to find someone who speaks Spanish,” said Ferris, who speaks Spanish herself.
Ferris and Loeb are also planning on hosting focus groups to better understand the area’s unmet needs.
As a way to show their dedication to their new community, Ferris and Loeb are donating cabinets and other materials from their ongoing renovations at their new office space to Habitat for Humanity.
The clinic will be located at 145 S. Market Blvd. in Chehalis.
Lewis County Fire District 5 Personnel Honored at Recent Awards Dinner
Jester’s Auto Museum and Event Center was the location of the Lewis County Fire District 5 annual awards dinner on Jan. 21.
The event was cosponsored by the Fire District 5 Firefighters Association and the district.
Attendees were able to spend time viewing the impressive collection of automobiles prior to dinner and the awards ceremony.
Chief Dan Mahoney and Lt. Robert Blair shared master of ceremonies duties.
Tyler Correia received Firefighter of the Year, Chief’s Firemanship Award and the Commissioners’ Award.
Melissa Baker received Rookie of the Year and was pinned with her firefighter/paramedic badge.
Malachi Simper also received the EMS Responder of the Year Award and the Commissioners’ Award.
Mathew McCracken was pinned with his firefighter/paramedic badge.
David Schoonover was presented with his helmet and badge in recognition of his 29 years of volunteer firefighter service.
Tyler Lyons was promoted to volunteer assistant chief and welcomed to his new position.
A recap video of 2022 events was then presented as everyone enjoyed a variety of desserts provided by the employees and their families. Many took the opportunity to take one more closeup look at the beautiful automobiles on display before the evening’s events ended. The Jester Auto Museum and Event Center, together with dinner provided by the Flying Pig from Tumwater, combined for a great event.
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Second Project Kicked off as Chehalis Basin Bank Erosion Prevention Shows Success
A pilot project to stave off erosion on the banks of rivers in the Chehalis Basin is showing initial signs of success.
The work was part of a $1.6 million investment by the Office of the Chehalis Basin to manage erosion by purchasing property, developing a streamflow gauge plan and testing how ground and surface waters mix with a demonstration project along the banks of the Satsop River just outside of Brady, according to a newsletter from the Office of the Chehalis Basin.
Beyond just its impacts on fish and flooding, erosion on the Satsop and Chehalis in the Montesano area has reduced farmlands and destroyed houses. Erosion has been a longstanding problem in the basin, progressing for decades sometimes more than 100 feet per year. Since 1991, one landowner in the pilot project area has lost approximately 30 acres of banksideland.
After property was purchased, the Chehalis Basin Strategy spent $14,600 on the pilot project to create an “instant” river bank erosion buffer by planting 350 six to 10 foot tall native cottonwood and willow live poles in February 2022.
Crews from Grays Harbor Conservation District and the Washington Conservation Corps installed the poles on the banks of the Satsop River. Erected like fence posts, the pole bases were buried anywhere between 3 to 8 feet deep.
“We used these techniques so that we could get them as deep as possible, to hopefully get roots establishing throughout the potential erosion zone,” said Anthony Waldrop, Grays Harbor Conservation District director. “Depth also makes the live poles more resilient to summer drought conditions, as their roots can access deeper groundwater.”
As of September 2022, about 80% of the trees had survived.
“All of the poles did well initially during the wet spring, but as the soil dried out, those that were only driven three feet into the ground had trouble surviving during the summer drought. Poles that were deeper, however, were able to thrive with access to water all summer long,” Waldrop said.
Some of the trees had even grown upwards of 10 feet and were not having trouble competing with non-native weeds such as reed canary grass, according to the newsletter. Maintenance and monitoring of this pilot project will continue this spring.
The project pairs with the Chehalis Basin Strategy’s Aquatic Species Restoration Plan by planting river bank vegetation in addition to the installation of log jams to increase habitat complexity, connect floodplains and slow erosion.
That Aquatic Species Restoration Plan work has been done by landowners and the Grays Harbor Conservation District since 2020. Due to the project’s scale and complexity, further construction can be expected in the summers of 2023 and 2024.
The Aquatic Species Restoration Plan project is aimed to benefit four species of salmon but will reportedly also have benefits for waterfowl, amphibians and other native fish, according to the office.
Additionally, another erosion reduction pilot project has been started along state Route 508 with properties near the South Fork of the Newaukum River, headed by the Office of the Chehalis Basin and Lewis County Conservation District. This project is also known as the MacBryer project.
Of seven properties in the area, three are in imminent danger according to Lewis County Conservation District Director Bob Amrine.
“One site had encroachment on the septic system, one site was where the river was right next to state Highway 508, and the other site was the MacBryer site, where the house was determined to be in imminent danger,” said Amrine.
Amrine added the South Fork moved 15 to 20 feet in the last year alone and has moved over 100 feet in recent years.
“The bank started disappearing, we’ve lost over 40 feet in six years,” Homeowner David MacBryer said.
The site was assessed in March 2022, then construction began in September and involved the creation of log “cribwall jams,” regrading upper parts of the river bank, installing erosion-control fabric, live willow and preparing the site for more vegetation.
Members of the Lewis County Stream Team, a branch of the district which includes volunteers, worked to plant 25 potted willow trees, 25 red osier dogwood trees, 10 western red cedar trees, 10 Douglas fir trees and 100 willow stakes in November.
Now completed, the project is in the monitoring stage. In total, it cost $168,000.
“We are watching it close during high-water events, and the log cribwall seems to be functioning as designed,” Amrine said. “We have a 10-year agreement with Mr. MacBryer, and if he sees anything that looks like the project is in danger, he will call us, and we will attempt to assist at that time. Hopefully, this does not happen.”
According to MacBryer, most of the trees are doing well, but the cedars are struggling.
For more information, visit https://ecology.wa.gov/Blog/Posts/January-2023/Pilot-projects-designed-to-curb-bank-erosion-showi.
Survey seeks founder input on creating a Portland regional innovation hub
Dozens of entrepreneurial support organizations are working together to create a plan for a Portland metro Innovation Hub as part of Business Oregon's 10-year Innovation Plan.
In the West, pressure to count water lost to evaporation
WASHINGTON (AP) — Exposed to the beating sun and hot dry air, more than 10% of the water carried by the Colorado River evaporates, leaks or spills as the 1,450-mile (2,334-kilometer) powerhouse of the West flows through the region’s dams, reservoirs and open-air canals.