Our Voice: We're thankful for Friends of Badger Mountain and others who see the visions

We hope that everyone who starts up Badger Mountain is able to get down on his or her own accord, but that's not always the case.

Of the 187,000 who start the trip up the mountain each year, we don't know how many don't finish, but the answer has to be some.

Paramedics have responded to sprains and heart attacks and a variety of maladies inbetween.

So it's a good idea to have a better way to transport the injured. New wheeled stretchers are a great idea.

We're hoping we never get the chance to ride in one.

Thanks to Benton County and the city of Richland for responding to this community need.

We're also grateful that the trail is getting lots of use.

On sunny days and cold days and early mornings and late evenings, someone is on Badger Mountain.

A few years ago, the trail system was a dream, now it is a well used, established and growing recreation destination.

Thanks to the Friends of Badger Mountain for seeing something special for the Mid-Columbia and making it happen.

Team effort

A soldier and some Seahawks got together and admired each other's abilities.

The soldier is retired Sgt. Andrew McMann, who was injured in Iraq. He was surprised by a home visit from Seahawks Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner and Doug Baldwin.

Football players get together, work hard and protect each other. Soldiers do the same. But the stakes are much higher in the battlefield, and the public recognition is much lower.

We're Seahawks fans and enjoy a good game. But our respect for servicemen and women borders on reverence.

When you protect the quarterback on the football field, you likely will be able to jump back up and go on to the next play.

When you protect someone in your squad, you don't have the same expectation.

It's inspiring to see the guys in the spotlight making a visit to those wearing the boots on the ground.

When it comes down to it, our country would survive without sporting events but not without the people who are willing to sacrifice all to protect us.

Thanks to the Seahawks for putting that in perspective for us. Thanks to the soldiers -- all of them -- for their service.

Tuition freeze

Education is priceless, and tuition is expensive. It's a tough line to walk.

We're glad to see the one-year tuition freeze at our state institutions of higher education. It's not a huge relief, but it is a little help.

It's a certainty that we already have priced some would-be students out of college.

Not everyone should go to college. There are other routes to some trades and jobs. Some people don't do well sitting in a classroom for four years.

But there are those who desperately want an education and are willing to work for it.

Higher ed should be within reach for those who want it.

The state is in a financial quandary. The cost of education outpaces almost all other segments of our society. We need more educated workers, and we ought to be able to supply our own work force.

And graduating with a pile of student loans is a tough way to start a career.

A one-year freeze probably isn't going to make or break anyone's plans, but the cost of education needs a serious look, and this embargo from the Legislature at least acknowledges the problem.

That is the first step toward a solution. For that, we can be grateful.

Bigger schools

The state also found $6 million in the budget to help three Richland elementary schools.

Lewis & Clark, Marcus Whitman and Sacajawea are all set to be renovated thanks to a $98 million voter-approved bond in earlier this year. Those schools now will be a little larger than planned.

The extra money comes from a change in the state funding formula. As a portion of total costs, the extra funding isn't huge, but it is significant and enough to be helpful.

While funding for education isn't where any of us want it to be, we are grateful for the money we do receive.