Our Voice: We're thankful for life-saving preparations and warnings

A few stories in the news have renewed our focus on the importance of being prepared for the unknown. Whether you are caught in a snowstorm that closes our mountain passes or the power is out in your neighborhood, it's a good thing to have a workable plan in place.

A little warning

Stories in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan remind us to be ready for emergencies. The tornadoes that hit the Midwest on Sunday carry the same reminder.

With one exception.


People in the Philippines knew that it was typhoon season. Possibly even knew that a big storm was heading their way, but they didn't know exactly where the storm would hit, and even if they did know, many of them didn't have the resources to protect themselves.

We're grateful for technology that predicts and forewarns us of natural disasters. These systems are not perfect, but they're getting more sophisticated all the time.

In the case of the recent tornadoes, this technology was extremely accurate and was credited with saving lives partly because the information was available, and partly because people took the warnings seriously.

Safe grid

A similar, but different warning, came from a test at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This mock disaster studied how secure our national power grid is from terrorist attacks.

We don't live in a typhoon area and tornadoes are rare -- although we did get a little earthquake Sunday morning. But we all depend on electricity.

As we move toward a "smart grid," it's vital to make sure we also have a "safe grid."

Again, we're grateful for advances in technology, and we are intrigued by the work they do at the lab.

We feel safer knowing that people are working on potential problems we don't usually think about.

In a theater near you

Congratulations, again, to Santino Fontana for his success in the theater world.

Fontana graduated from Richland High with the Class of 2000. Lots of folks remember seeing him in local theater productions. You will have to go a little farther than the Mid-Columbia if you want to catch one of his performances these days.

He is Prince Charming in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella on Broadway.

But he is coming home for Thanksgiving, sort of. He also is the voice of Hans, the Prince of Disney's newest animated film, Frozen, set to open on Thanksgiving Day.

Bereavement volunteers

Cork's Place provides a place for kids who are grieving to work through their feelings. The volunteers listen and let that process happen.

We're grateful for those who are willing to take the training and invest themselves in the emotional healing of these broken hearts.