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Opinion / On The Hot Seat


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  • Dam compact words matter

    Roger Harnack|Updated Feb 27, 2024

    Let’s take a few words that should be on the minds of all Eastern Washingtonians concerned over efforts to breach Snake River dams — agreement, restoration and sovereign, to name a few. Last Thursday in the White House, President Joe Biden signed onto the “Commitments in Support of the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative and in Partnership with the Six Sovereigns” agreement. The so-called “sovereigns” refers to the states of Washington and Oregon, and four tribes — th...

  • Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

    Roger Harnack|Updated Dec 19, 2023

    The Christmas tree is decorated. The gifts are wrapped. There may not be snow outside, yet, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And I, for one, am looking forward to our family traditions. Every family has its own traditions; our starts with cutting down a tree, something we did a week or two ago. With the tree up and the lights already on, we’ve moved onto music and movies. Oh, the Christmas movies … Break out the classics – “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Mir...

  • GAO: Salmon declination caused by bad water

    Roger Harnack|Updated Nov 20, 2023

    Aren’t you sick and tired of hearing Gov. Jay Inslee and his ilk routinely blame Columbia and Snake River dams for the decline in Puget Sound salmon and orca populations? Despite voluminous information to the contrary, Inslee, Sen. Patty Murray and other extremist environmental politicians continue to push a narrative on salmon decline that is patently false. There should be penalties for being so disingenuous. While there isn’t a penalty for false statements made to app...

  • Gray Fire puts bad planning on display

    Roger Harnack|Updated Aug 22, 2023

    A quip on a social media post said it all: “Harrington has never been so busy.” That tongue-in-cheek post was in reference to a decision to divert Interstate 90 traffic between Spokane and Sprague through Airway Heights, Reardan, Davenport and Harrington as the Gray Fire encroached on the highway over the weekend. The fire broke out Friday afternoon near Eastern State Hospital and Medical Lake. As it grew toward Four Lakes and Cheney, authorities decided to detour traffic at...

  • It's summer, not 'climate change'

    Roger Harnack|Updated Aug 15, 2023

    The National Weather Service predicts we will see the hottest temperatures of the summer this week. It’s even gone so far as to declare an “excessive heat warning” until 11 p.m. Thursday. Granted, 100 degrees is hot. But in our neck of the high-plains desert, that’s not excessive. Even if we hit 105 degrees, it’s not excessive for Eastern Washington. Eastern Washington has a track record of hot daytime highs in June, July and August in modern years. The hottest day on record...

  • Our state's fireworks law needs updating

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jul 3, 2023

    Like most Americans, I enjoy watching – and lighting – fireworks on Independence Day. America’s “birthday” should stand out among all national holidays. And the colorful, aerial explosions showcase the freedom and independence for which the U.S. stands. But why then do only tribes have the ability to sell and use the “good” fireworks – you know: firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, mortars and more. There’s nothing magical about the imaginary line on a map suggesting...

  • Fuel price unacceptable

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jun 27, 2023

    A short three years ago, motorists in Eastern Washington could buy regular unleaded gasoline for as little as $1.97 per gallon in several areas – George, Pasco, Quincy, to name a few. Diesel didn’t cost much more. Farmers could afford to fill their fuel tanks and shipping companies could keep their trucks moving at a reasonable price. And you and I could afford to drive personal vehicles – a necessity when you live and work in Eastern Washington. As a result, rural resid...

  • Spend time with your dad Sunday

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jun 13, 2023

    From cars to bigfoot to high-speed sprint boats, you don’t have to look very far to find something to do this weekend. But dad won’t care if you take him somewhere or just spend time with him. For dad, Father’s Day isn’t about spending money, it’s about time – time to connect, reflect and enjoy each other’s company. Dads spend a lifetime taking care of the needs of their children. Through their children’s formative years into college, fathers bring structure, discipline, log...

  • Failure to act legalizes drugs

    Roger Harnack|Updated May 16, 2023

    The state Legislature is headed back to Olympia this week for a special session specifically to deal with the prospect of all drugs becoming legal July 1. Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, says he hopes lawmakers will pass a new drug-possession law to fix last year’s so-called “Blake fix.” At issue is a temporary law that expires at the end of next month relating to possession of drugs in Washington. The temporary law was implemented during the 2022 legislative session after...

  • House bill helps level playing field

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jan 24, 2023

    Washington state has high tax rates — gas, property, you name it. Government agencies collect billions of tax dollars annually from residents and businesses here. So why then are government agencies taking Washington taxpayer dollars and buying goods and services out-of-state, goods and services that are readily abundant in Washington? Those agencies are penalizing state taxpayers (residents and businesses) for paying the high taxes the agencies collected under burdensome r...

  • Learn history; don't cancel it

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Aug 30, 2022

    Last week, Fairchild Air Force announced it was erasing Col. George Wright because the history surrounding him is considered by some as divisive. In place of his name being associated with a housing area and street, the military opted for “Lilac Village” and “Willow Loop,” respectively. The move comes two years after Spokane canceled the highly decorated Army leader, as well – Fort George Wright Drive was renamed to Whistalks Way, in recognition of the wife of Spokane tribal w...

  • Looking for a few correspondents

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Aug 9, 2022

    Over the last several decades, many journalists saw hometown community columns as quaint links to how newspapers once operated. But with few journalists left in the Pacific Northwest applying for jobs since the COVID-19 shutdowns two-and-a-half years ago, we’re hoping to revive the idea of publishing content from local community correspondents — no formal training needed. We’re looking for volunteer correspondents who like to tell the world what’s going on in their part of...

  • Palouse Falls trails should remain open

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Feb 8, 2022

    Palouse Falls has long been one of my favorite places to hike. Over the years, I’ve hiked the mile or so trek to the top of the main falls on numerous occasions. I’ve hiked it by myself, with friends and even my daughter when she was very young. I’ve meandered along the Palouse River to the upper falls and descended the basalt rim to the pool at the base of the falls about 189 feet below. For those of us who grew up in Eastern Washington, hiking Palouse Falls trails has long...