Our Voice: Finding some common ground

Thumbs up to those who are trying to create better access to Juniper Dunes.

Franklin County has applied for a $1.05 million grant, but they are one of 37 sites in Washington vying for some funds from the feds.

County officials made a smart move by bringing a transportation planner from the Federal Highway Administration's Federal Lands Access Program to see the dunes in person.

Greg Humphreys was able to look at the site and give specific suggestions of how the county can improve its application.

It's always easier to communicate with someone who has some background on what you're saying. And specific advice from one of the decision makers is much more useful than going after a thing blindly.

Now the county needs to show how a legitimate road to the dunes would increase its use. We think there will be plenty of people willing to vouch for that.

Mind over matter

Thumbs up to the annual Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Day competitors at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Those who saw Ironman 3 over the weekend will recognize that you don't need a fancy lab to make robots. Apparently, if you're Tony Stark, you can just buy stuff at any home improvement store and throw it together. In Stark's case, it's brains over bronze. The genius is in the "mechanic."

Okay, that's a fictional movie, but there is a nugget of truth there. The creator behind all marvelous inventions is someone who knows how to think.

At the WSU-TC competition they used regular stuff to make prosthetic arms and use them in practical ways.

It makes you want to look around the house and see what you can think up.

To bee or not to bee

Thumbs down to the declining bee population.

We're going to guess that just about everyone has at one time or another swatted at a bee. Maybe even killed one.

Like spiders, bees serve an important purpose in our environment, even if you don't want them inside your house.

If you think cutting asparagus is hard work -- and it is -- just wait until we have to go out and pollinate our plants by hand.

If it comes to that, there will be a lot less food.

Parasites, disease and pesticides are all thought to contribute to the bees' deaths. We need to find the problem and stop it.

It's tempting to say, "I can do without honey." But we really can't do without bees.

Honey is a sweet byproduct; the essential contribution of the honeybee is its pollination work.