Thumbs up to the WSU-TC donors that put college with in reach

Thumbs up to all the donors in the Tri-City community who have helped hundreds of students attend Washington State University Tri-Cities. This year, about 150 students received a total of $403,000 in scholarships from foundations, organizations and individuals.

The generosity in this community is tremendous.

For many of these students, a scholarship is the difference between attending college or putting it off. With the rising cost of tuition, many deserving students simply can't afford a higher education unless they get some outside help.

Besides the financial assistance, scholarships also give students an emotional boost. Scholarships encourage students and show them that someone they don't even know believes in them and wants them to succeed.

The Tri-Cities is fortunate to have the WSU branch campus in the community, as it offers a great option for students who want a four-year degree but can't afford to leave home.

The donors who support the students also support the mission of WSU Tri-Cities and its continued success in filling a great need in the community.

Expanding garden plots

Thumbs up to Richland officials for planning yet another community garden. The city council recently approved a master plan for about 1.5 acres at the southwest corner of the Stevens-Jadwin Avenue intersection.

The garden is supposed to start with 30 garden boxes, with Home Depot donating materials and labor and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints providing the volunteers.

The city plans to provide fencing and some landscaping and possibly a parking area, and hopes are that it will be ready by next spring.

The city has two other community gardens that are quite popular, so it's clear there is enough demand for another one.

When there is an empty plot of land that needs some care, it's great people can come together to turn it into a place that's both useful and beautiful.

The community garden concept is a wonderful idea and with so many willing partners, it should be a success.

Fire danger high

Thumbs down to Congress for not providing enough resources to the U.S. Forest Service so it can adequately handle all the forest fires burning across the country.

There had been as many as 51 large uncontained fires raging across the country at the same time, and the Forest Service was quickly running out of money to fight them.

Part of the problem is the Obama administration, which, over the years, has continued to cut the amount of money earmarked to thin forests -- thus prevent fires in the first place.

That gamble has now resulted in this year's fires extending beyond the money budgeted to fight them. The Forest Service is trying to raid other parts of its budget, but that will affect other important areas of the agency.

Congress needs to think hard about its decision to keep cutting the budget needed to fight forest fires.

Trees take a long time to grow and it's a shame when a fire can't be contained and a forest dies. Natural resources should be seen as something valuable that needs protecting, not expendable.