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Opening government takes effort

This past weekend, I was honored, and humbled, to be one of the speakers at the state Open Government Conference in Tacoma. And while we do our part here at The Chronicle to ensure government meetings and records are open to the general public, I was thoroughly impressed by the efforts of others around our state.

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Minimum wage bill will hurt area

If this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee, it’ll drive inflation and shatter many rural residents’ ability to grow economically and socially.

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We don't need Homeland Security

We need to rethink the Department of Homeland Security's creation, divest much of the power it has usurped and give autonomy back to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency and others. While we’re at it, disband the TSA.

Plan would affect more than just grizzlies

Discussion on proposal to actively introduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades will have ramifications on forest access, recreation and use.

Let counties handle fire response

Given the stories that came out of the Carlton Complex wildfire, having local authority for initial wildfire response isn’t such a bad idea.

Electronic voting bill would improve elections

Virtual nobody in the state is happy with the state’s all-mail-in election system. An e-voting bill would remedy that.

Land transfer a winning formula

Last week, three bills — two in the House and a companion in the Senate — were filed calling for the study and possible transfer of publicly owned lands managed by the federal government. In short, a handful of senators and a number of Republicans and Democrats in the House want the state to manage the more than 12.17 million acres of land currently under the control of federal bureaucrats.

Committee looking into land buys

In the wake of the Carlton Complex wildfires this summer, the Legislature is taking a hard look at state agency land ownership and management practices.

Build it, and they will come back

Elks members are taking steps toward rebuilding the downtown lodge, which has been a hub of community activity

Rule change would affect rite of passage

This coming weekend, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission is set to change the sportfishing rules. In short, the new rules will close all of the Columbia River, its tributaries and beaver ponds to fishing “unless otherwise open.” That’s a reversal of tradition.

Rock'n'roll may have a place here

With all the cowboy and country persona emphasized here, it sometimes feels like I’m the only one in the area who listens to hard-rock music. But there are several local hard-rock musicians making a name for themselves elsewhere

Dear Santa, will you please leave...

It’s usually easy for me to ask for a few well-deserved gifts. But given the destruction caused by this year’s Carlton Complex wildfire, there are so many things that area residents deserve — and need — that I can’t possibly ask for enough. But I’ll start with a few common-sense requests.

Reopen 36-mile stretch of river

Residents of our state did not cede the right to access and enjoyment of public waterways to utilities operating dams on the Columbia or other rivers. But Grant County Public Utility District officials would have you believe they are the sole arbiters of who gets to fish, boat and access a 36-mile stretch of the Columbia River from Wanapum Dam to Rock Island Dam. They are not.

Road block to established access

Forest Service Road No. 30 is an example of access issues facing those of us who enjoy recreating on publicly owned lands managed by a government agency. It makes you wonder how many public roads with prescriptive rights are now off limits, locked behind a government gate.

Sustainable means maintainable

Having a sustainable plan means striking a proper balance, rather than tipping the scales further toward environmentalism.

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