Good news in tough times
December 1, 2009 · 2:31 PM
Yes, the county is strapped. Yes, the sheriff wants to cut other departments to spare his own. Yes, it’s a dreadful time to be a county commissioner. Anyone with half-a-brain can propose slash-and-burn solutions, and man, they are doing it.
I’ve been aching for some good news and, thankfully, I found some.
Generous people are giving their service to this community every day, building it up and not tearing it down. One county office is bringing in thousands of dollars in grants and private donations, keeping people employed. It is turning out hundreds of eager volunteers for community service. It is bringing business to local motels, shops and restaurants. It is helping our island farms find profitable niches and attract those rich customers from the city. It is keeping our lighthouse open to tourists who spend dollars here, and guiding our young people down a wholesome path, easing the burden for law-and-justice. It is watching over West Nile Virus, poisonous plants and insects, and crop diseases. It is our direct line of access to the full services of a top research university.
This office generates large chunks of income to pay much of its own way. Its “Washington Lighthouses” vehicle license plate is a brilliant, locally-conceived campaign that brings thousands of dollars to our county every year.
At the cost of a tiny taxpayer investment, the shoestring staff of this office leads volunteers in sophisticated research in our marine waters. They are a priceless partner to the Island County Marine Resources Committee, working to strengthen our fishing and shellfishing economy. Our county could never pay for what these highly skilled volunteers are giving freely, simply because they care.
Our county commissioners deserve enormous credit for holding important services together and standing up for the value of programs like WSU Extension.
Close it down? I don’t think so.