BOO: SCHOOL SHOOTING
Mass shootings on school campuses are becoming epidemic in this country. The ghastly event Thursday left 10 people dead and another seven injured at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
It was the first campus shooting nationwide in the new school year, but advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said it was the 45th shooting of the calendar year.
The suspect, a 26-year-old, killed himself after police arrived. Some survivors said the gunman asked students in a classroom to stand and state their religion before he opened fire, but authorities were still sorting out his motives. It is vital that police also learn how he obtained the firearms — and whether there were missed signs of his disturbance.
YAY: FLUORESCENT RECYCLING
A program run by LightRecycle Washington reports that 422,000 fluorescent lights containing toxic mercury were recycled during the first six months of the year. The state Department of Ecology calls that a good start to improving consumers’ recycling of the energy-efficient bulbs and tubes.
Washingtonians have long been good at recycling waste, but commercial users of fluorescent lights do a much better job of recycling lights than residential users do, Ecology says.
A 2010 law dealing with mercury hazards called for the LightRecycle program, which is a nonprofit operated on behalf of industry. It has more than 220 collection sites around the state, including at hardware stores and landfills.
Though only a little mercury is used in the lights, broken lights release toxic mercury vapor into the air, according to Ecology. Eventually, increased use of mercury-free LED lights should reduce the amount of mercury that needs to be recycled.
YAY/BOO: TVW REPAIRS
Get ready for reduced TVW coverage of events on the Capitol Campus the rest of 2015. The public affairs network is replacing cameras in legislative hearing rooms. Its ability to go live on TV or webcast campus events will be diminished while a major equipment overhaul kicks into high gear during the coming weeks.
State lawmakers provided $1.67 million over two years for technology upgrades. We’re sure the pain will be worth the gain.
YAY: YOGI BERRA
He was a New York Yankee, and we forgave that long ago. Catcher Yogi Berra was a man of his times and an endearing, sometimes inspiring, American figure. He served in the Navy as a machine gunner and saw action on D-Day, according to the society for American Baseball Research, and later played on 14 World Series teams, winning 10 times. The 90-year-old died last month and was remembered in a New York City church service last week for his humanity, his baseball skills and linguistic achievements (“When you get to the fork in the road, take it”). We miss him.
BOO: FOSTER CARE SYSTEM
The Washington foster care system has been a mess for many years, but improving. However, a new report says too many young people still are running away from home despite efforts by the state to comply with a court settlement reached in 2004.
The state is at risk of not reaching improvement goals set in court orders. The numbers don’t look great: 377 kids, or 3 percent of the foster care population, ran away in the 12-month period that ended in June. That’s not a good outcome.
Casey Trupin, an attorney in the landmark Braam case, said one solution is to find placements that better fit the specific needs of an adolescent in the foster system. Other help could come from state lawmakers, who recently funded just three of 18 positions that the state Children’s Administration requested for locating runaways.