Columbian Newspaper

From the Newsroom: Virtual approach to the news
Author: Craig Brown

As if this world wasn’t weird enough, we ended up giving a tour of the newsroom this week, and no one was there.

Before I tell you more about it, let me first observe that this pandemic has overstayed its welcome. After pausing many activities in March, we are now forced to find new ways to accomplish our goals. An important example in the news this week was the resumption of jury trials in Clark County.

Much less important was our “Meet the Media” session with the Public Relations Society of America’s local chapter. We’d done one of these several years ago, and it was successful. They brought sandwiches, we sat around and talked for an hour about how to pitch stories, and then I gave them a tour of the newsroom (somewhat interesting) and our pressroom (very interesting).

We had another one set for April 16, but of course that had to be postponed. Surely, we thought, by September the world would be safe again for sandwiches and conversation. No dice.

So we ended up with a video chat and bringing our own sandwiches, although I didn’t see the participants actually eat anything. Assistant Metro Editor Will Campbell, who is very good at video, provided a prerecorded tour of the eerily deserted newsroom. (If you want to see it, click on this article online and we will post a link.)

Congressional debate

Our next foray into online events will be a debate between congressional candidates Jaime Herrera Beutler and Carolyn Long. We tried hard to make this happen two years ago, but the candidates never ended up making a joint public appearance in Clark County.

The League of Women Voters gets most of the credit for making it happen this year. The nonpartisan group started more than three months ago when it became apparent a rematch was likely in this race. There was a lot of back-and-forth needed to make it happen.

I have been lucky enough to sit through two Columbian Editorial Board meetings featuring these candidates, and really enjoyed hearing from both of them. You would be hard-pressed to find better candidates.

The debate will be televised live at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, by CVTV. If you don’t have Comcast cable TV, it will be streamed on If that time doesn’t work for you, I am sure it will be rerun several times before the election, and available to be streamed on demand.

The debate will be co-sponsored by The Columbian, The Longview Daily News, the Skamania County Pioneer and the Goldendale Sentinel. It’s hosted by three regional branches of the League of Women Voters, from Clark, Cowlitz and Klickitat-Skamania counties.

Our politics reporter, Calley Hair, will be one of the panelists who questions the candidates. We are still soliciting questions from the general public, too. If you want to submit a question, go to the Clark Asks portal on our webpage,

So far we have received several dozen questions. Several people are asking about election security or health care. There are questions about new subjects like the pandemic and wildfire smoke, and old subjects like abortion rights. It will be an interesting debate.

Governor’s race

We are still working on bringing you more on the governor’s race. Two-term incumbent Jay Inslee is pretty well known in this part of the state, but his challenger, small-town cop Loren Culp, not so much. Our jack-of-all-trades sports editor, Micah Rice, sat through Culp’s stump speech Sunday, and we are trying to arrange a joint editorial board interview. I will be sure to let you know if that happens.


Springwood Landing resident turns 100
Author: The Columbian

EAST VANCOUVER — Springwood Landing retirement community resident Jack Grauer turned 100 on Aug. 26. A celebration was held with his family and friends at 2 p.m. that day in the community’s back yard. Grauer was born on a farm in Sheridan, Ore., and lived there, as well as other towns in Oregon: McMinnville, Silverton, Salem and Grants Pass. He graduated from Beaverton High School in Beaverton, Ore., in 1938, spent three years in the Army Air Corps, and went to Oregon State University to study journalism and public speaking. Grauer has climbed Mount Hood “at least 40 times,” according to a news release, and published a book: Mount Hood: A Complete History.”

Woodland Public Schools adapts to distance learning
Author: The Columbian

WOODLAND — Woodland Public Schools started the new school year on Sept. 8 with Distance Learning 2.0, with the hopes children will have a learning experience that more closely resembles in-person learning. Attendance is now mandatory unless family arranges for recorded video lessons. Students receive assignments and earn grades just like in school. “It was amazing to watch my teachers and paraeducators jump right in to teach students live the first day,” said James Johnston, principal of Woodland Middle School. “The staff adapted quickly and maintained flexibility with obstacles as we all knew the first few days could be rocky.” Shari Conditt, a government teacher at Woodland High School, worked hard to test new approaches over the summer. Conditt modeled her distance learning on Stanford University’s remote high school project, where students do the reading to learn the concepts in advance of the live sessions. Some families opted to enroll their students in Woodland’s alternative learning programs, which will remain distance learning even when the district returns to in-person school. “As a staff, we have shown that we must practice what we preach — just like we teach our students, you need to be able to adapt to new situations and change efficiently, effectively, and quickly to ensure student learning takes place in any environment,” Conditt said.

Letter: Democracy, not authoritarianism
Author: Jane Christensen, Camas

I would like to remind the readers of the recent historical context of things. Trump sent the federal troops to Portland just after he used federal troops to unlawfully shoot tear gas at peaceful protesters in D.C., for what appeared to be a photo op. Even General Milley apologized for being a part of that.

It makes people wonder if Trump sent the troops to Portland to give people something else to talk about, besides his lawlessness. Now we’re talking about the Portland rioters instead of Trump, the president, breaking the law. It has also gone by the wayside that these federal troops were not individually identifiable, which means they are armed to the hilt and unaccountable (a frightening, chilling development). They abducted people off the streets. This increased the protests and rioting. It was the wrong approach.

It is also constitutional to peacefully protest, but not to commit violent crimes. I’m guessing the crimes have been misdemeanors and therefore the people are posting bail. Glad to hear Mayor Wheeler and Gov. Kate Brown have gotten the FBI involved, as with prolonged time and repeated violence it has gone beyond First Amendment rights. I support democracy not authoritarianism.


Letter: Vote for Tanisha Harris
Author: Robert Cuti, Battle Ground

Vicki Kraft puts polluters and their profits ahead of health and safety of her constituents. She has repeatedly voted against common-sense health care legislation and residential tenant protections. Ignoring the best available science, she actively pushed for premature reopening of the economy in Washington state. And don’t forget her involvement with a known white supremacy-supporting state senator, Matt Shea, in demonstrations against local government.

Simply put, Vicki Kraft is too extreme, and is the wrong choice to provide responsible legislative representation for our district.

Tanisha Harris is exactly who we need now.


NYT Politics

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Revives Talk of Court Packing
Author: Maggie Astor
The idea recalls a move by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who hoped to push older justices to retire.
How The Supreme Court Vacancy Injects New Uncertainty Into Trump vs Biden
Author: Alexander Burns and Adam Nagourney
After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it was not clear that President Trump’s right-wing coalition would be more motivated by a confirmation fight than the alliance of liberals and moderates supportive of Mr. Biden would be.
Polls Have Shown Voters Prefer Biden to Pick Next Justice
In surveys before Justice Ginsburg’s death, he led by a slightly wider margin on choosing the next justice than he did over all against President Trump.
Voters Prefer Biden to Pick Ginsburg Replacement, Polls Show
In surveys before Justice Ginsburg’s death, he led by a slightly wider margin on choosing the next justice than he did over all against President Trump.

E. J. Dionne

Biden just exposed who Trump really is
Author: E.J. Dionne
It’s clear the Park Avenue Plutocrat is the actual selfish elitist in this race.