Thumbs up to exchange students for enriching Mid-Columbia schools

Thumbs up to:

Civil exchange

To getting along with each other.

Exchange student programs by design bring a different culture to the Tri-Cities and shed a different light on Americans. It's the core purpose of an exchange program. And there are dozens of such students in the Mid-Columbia.

Muhammad Janjua's story is not isolated, but it does remind us of how we ought to be getting along in our global community.

Janjua, who goes by Umer, is a Muslim exchange student living with a Mormon family and attending a Catholic school.

As far as we can tell, it's a good experience for all involved.

The program that brought Umer to the U.S. is run by the U.S. State Department specifically to improve relations between cultures.

Depending on your background experiences, you have a certain reaction when you hear the word Muslim or Mormon or Catholic. Wouldn't it be great to get past all of that?

Roll on

To 60 years of putting Mid-Columbians on skates.

The Quonset-hut-turned-skating-arena is as much a part of Richland's history as the mushroom cloud or B Reactor.

Sixty years is an impressive run for a business, especially one that caters to kids and families.

For those readers who didn't grow up around here, is your hometown skating rink still open? Not likely.

And what a better way to celebrate than donating to My Friends Place, our local teen homeless shelter.

Here's to another 60 years!

Hot tip

To the people who help solve crimes.

Most people love a good mystery, whether it's a Sherlock Holmes novel or 20/20 report. Our thanks to the public tipsters and Tri-Cities CrimeStoppers who helped clear hundreds of cases this year and lead to 87 arrests in the Tri-Cities.

It's good to be involved in the community, but sometimes reporting on a crime is a little outside of our comfort zone.

Part of belonging to a community is defined solely by where you live, but it can also mean a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

That's the community we're proud to be part of.

Thumbs down to:

Deadly year

For the dozen homicides in our community.

Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb said, "This type of violence all in one year is unprecedented."

One murder in a year is more than we would like to see ... but 12? All of them senseless, and several were bizarre, gruesome, even horrific.

It's not a year we want to repeat or even dwell on.