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Cheers & Jeers

The Vidette is introducing a new regular feature on our opinion page, where we take a look at our communities and celebrate our successes and point out issues that may need attention. If you have a suggestion for the column, email us at

Cheers to Rolling Thunder and the city of Elma for putting together a well orchestrated event bringing the replica Vietnam Wall to the Grays Harbor County fairgrounds. Thousands attended and there were many special events and speakers and honors that went to families, who lost their loved ones to war.

Cheers to the Montesano Little League Champions. After a tough game, the 9- to 10-year-old team became the District 3 champs. They advance to the state tournament.

Cheers to the Montesano Chamber of Commerce, which has put hanging flower pots all over the city of Montesano. Because the Chamber has volunteered to do this activity, they’re saving the city thousands of dollars, according to Mayor Ken Estes. Estes says that the city used to have to pay workers extra money to be on call to water plants. Now, the Chamber can do it. Chamber President Dennis Brumbaugh says they’re proud to provide the service.

Cheers to the governing body of the Quinault Indian Nation, who decided to re-open Lake Quinault to swimming after abruptly closing the lake and yet they were still allowing swimming for non-tribal members. The Quinaults said the lake was too polluted — and yet it became a head scratcher that the lake’s pollution was still OK for Quinault members, just not anybody else.

Jeers to the governing body of the Quinault Indian Nation, who really need to focus on transparency and their communication. We respect the sovereign rights of the Quinaults, however, sending out a press release to say that Lake Quinault is closed and providing no interviews and no real information makes little sense. The Quinaults alleged that “raw sewage” was getting into Lake Quinault and there were other pollution issues. That’s what spurred the Quinaults to ban swimming, boating and fishing for non-tribal members. At least locals and tourists can swim there now — if they want to chance it. However, Grays Harbor Health Director Jeff Nelson said that he’s received no information about any septic problems at the lake. He’s still waiting. And that’s troubling. If there really is raw sewage going into the lake, the Quinaults should work with the local governments and the local residents in the area, not stay tight lipped about it. For that matter, the Quinaults closed their beaches to all non-tribal members in February of 2012. We’re still waiting to find out why and when they’ll be re-opened. Access for non-tribal members used to be allowed by permits and Point Grenville, in particular, is one of the best beaches around for tidepools. The Quinaults also recently fired their police chief and several deputies but won’t say why there either. However, they have reached out to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office and asked for extra help. And they want extra help from Nelson’s Environmental Health division to handle food permit inspections for their huge Paddle to Quinault festival expected to draw thousands of people in August. That’s lots of extra help being requested and not a lot of information being provided on critical issues we all want to know about.

Cheers to the Montesano School District for lobbying aggressively to get its insurance company to pay up and cover the fire at the grandstands at Rottle Field. The original 1940s grandstands burned to the ground in September of last year. Even with the blow to morale the fire caused, the Montesano football team still took the state 1A football title. Kudos also to Rognlin’s of Aberdeen for becoming the low bid for the project. The fans get new grandstands and there are more local people working. Everybody wins.