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Opinion / In The Hot Seat


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  • State parks failing at Palouse Falls, Lyons

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jan 30, 2024

    Two years ago, Washington State Parks bureaucrats in Tumwater hatched a plan to address so-called “overcrowding” at Palouse Falls. The plan was to close and relocate the campground to Lyons Ferry, require permits to visit Upper Palouse Falls and to end hiking and exploring in and around the main Palouse Falls basin. The effort also eliminated kayaking access on the upper Palouse River. And to make the effort sound legitimate, those city-dwelling bureaucrats called Palouse Fal...

  • You have plenty to be thankful for this holiday

    Roger Harnack|Updated Nov 21, 2022

    It seems like every time you open a webpage, turn on the TV or listen to the radio, you're bombarded with negativity. We're on the verge of nuclear war. The recession is upon us. Inflation is high. Every storm is "historic." Race-based politics are invading every inch of our educational system and lives. And if that's not enough, the 2024 election season has already begun. It's enough to get you down, and keep you there. But cheer up. You have plenty to be thankful for this...

  • No shortage of press problems

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Jan 4, 2022

    Well, more accurately, 2021 ended in smoke, at least here at the newspaper. That smoke came from the meltdown of our labeling system. And as a result, your newspaper was likely late. And for that we apologize. I want to assure you we are already in the process of resolving the issue. Hopefully, this edition of the newspaper reaches you on time, a sign that the labeling system problem has been resolved. Who would have thought that just getting your name and address on the...

  • Water rights should remain private, local

    Roger Harnack, The Journal|Updated Dec 8, 2021

    Under the guise of water conservation, the state Department of Ecology is once again moving to take water rights from farmers, ranchers and other private holders. Last month, the agency announced plans to fund creation of local “water banks,” in addition to the state “water bank” already in existence. The agency says the program helps municipalities buy water rights from private owners. It has set $14 million aside for the program. The goal, agency spokesman Jimmy Norris...

  • Time to recall, reconnect, give thanks

    Roger Harnack, The Journal|Updated Nov 24, 2021

    The last 20 months have been exceedingly difficult for most Americans. Across the country there have been coronavirus mandates, riots, increasing taxes, job losses and more. The crime rate in many areas is skyrocketing. Many stores have empty shelves. And mental health problems are out of control. The stress we feel is exacerbated by television news and social media. But rather than dwell on the negatives we are bombarded with daily, take this week to focus on the positives....

  • Time for businesses to object

    Roger Harnack, The Journal|Updated Oct 12, 2021

    The last week has not been good for small businesses in our part of the state. The U.S. Postal Service began slowing “snail mail” services. Stores were ordered to stop using plastic bags and required to make their paying customers pay for a paper bag. And the state announced the minimum wage would jump to $14.49 per hour Jan. 1. If you don’t own or manage a business, this may seem overly dramatic. Who cares if it takes an extra day for your mail to arrive, right? It’s only 8...

  • Shot order for 4-H volunteers goes too far

    Updated Sep 28, 2021

    Talk about a bureaucrat with delusions of grandeur. On Sept. 3, Washington State University Extension Office Director Vicki A. McCracken took it upon herself to dictate that all 4-H volunteers now have to be “fully vaccinated” to continue in their position or face being “inactive.” She cited Gov. Jay Inslee’s edict that everyone connected to education – from preschool through the university system – must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. Apparently, neither McCracken nor Inslee have attended the fantastic fairs and other 4-H...

  • Parents push back against covid mandates

    Roger Harnack, The Journal|Updated Aug 12, 2021

    Parents of public school students in the 9th Legislative district have had enough of coronavirus-related mandates from Olympia. Shutter schools, curtail sports, wear masks, limit field trips and restrict access to graduation. Those actions have not been embraced here. And neither has Gov. Jay Inslee’s renewed call for all public school students to remain masked for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Area parents are pushing back. This week, led by a group from Fairfield, many p...

  • The Ritzville Journal is here to stay

    Roger Harnack, The Journal|Updated Aug 5, 2021

    Let me start by saying The Ritzville Adams County Journal is here to stay. I say that after several people asked me last week if we were closing. Some of those questions were prompted by our editor’s decision to take another job in town. Some of those questions were prompted by the “for sale” sign in our window. It’s easy to jump to conclusions if you noticed both simultaneously. But in reality, we’ve had The Journal building listed for sale for several months. Only the build...

  • Power shortage or money grab?

    Roger Harnack, The Journal|Updated Jul 8, 2021

    Power shortages, rolling brownouts and blackouts? In the Pacific Northwest? One regional utility alone – Avista – had brownouts that affected 15,307 ratepayers last Monday, 6,793 last Tuesday and another 602 last Wednesday. Other utilities, too, had brownouts. I know we’ve had a day or two of record-setting high temperatures. But that’s not an excuse to shut down power to residents and businesses here in Eastern Washington. Columbia River basin dams generate roughly 44% of...

  • Honoring and thanking fathers this weekend

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Jun 15, 2021

    There’s a lot of talk about endangered species. But the most important endangered species in America, may not be a plant or a wild animal. The most endangered species may actually be in your home, a friend’s home or next door. The endangered species I’m talking about is the American Dad. This coming Sunday is Father’s Day, the one day set aside each year to honor the American Dad. Honoring and thanking the fathers in your life should be your highest priority this weekend...

  • State government is in the way of getting people back to work

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated May 27, 2021

    Masks are coming off. Most residents wanting a coronavirus vaccination have gotten one. Sports are on and students are back in the classroom. It’s not a coronavirus emergency that’s keeping Washingtonians from going back to work. Over the past several weeks, I’ve had numerous conversations with owners and managers trying to get their small businesses back on solid financial ground. Given residents’ frustration of being pent up for more than 14 months, you’d think that woul...

  • HB 1356 panders to PC power brokers

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Mar 9, 2021

    It’s a solution in search of a problem. Lawmakers in Olympia appear to be fast-tracking House Bill 1356, which would ban the use of “racially derogatory or discriminatory” American Indian mascots, logos and team names in public schools in the state. Simply put, the bill is political theater, nonsense that kowtows to the politically correct crowd that’s bent on cancelling our culture, heritage and history. The bill is quickly moving through the Legislature even though I think...

  • Gov. Inslee, 'tear down this wall'

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Jan 26, 2021

    Protests are nothing new in Olympia. Each year, thousands of protesters converge on legislative sessions to rally for special causes, object to government activities and generally just remind lawmakers who they work for. I cannot recall a time that the Capitol Building, other legislative office buildings and the state library weren’t available for public access. Indeed, each year I wander the Capitol campus during session to personally deliver a newspaper to those who r...

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