Our Voice: We're thankful for all who learn and climb and vote

Never stop learning

A recent letter writer noticed that Japanese and Spanish classes were being taught through the Kennewick Community Education program. He questioned why someone would want to learn a foreign language.

This week, the eyes of America are on Russia, at least for the daily medal count. And those who are following the Olympics are learning more about Russian people and culture.

For a handful of Tri-Citians, Russian culture and language have been a part of their studies for more than a decade -- through the community education program. A story in the Feb. 9 Herald reported on the details.

In answer to the letter writer's concern, yes, it appears that some people just want to keep their minds busy learning new things.

So, here's a shoutout to the idea of continual learning. It looks like most of us won't be going to Sochi this year or ever. But we can all learn Russian -- or Japanese or Spanish -- if that's what engages our minds.

We're grateful for the community education programs. Pasco, Kennewick and Richland all have them, and they are open to the whole community.

Climbing for love

Lots of Mid-Columbians have climbed Badger Mountain. A few have ventured up Mount Adams. But not many have made the Kilimanjaro climb. After making your way to Africa, it takes almost a week of actual climbing to get up the world's tallest free-standing mountain.

In 1924, British climber George Mallory quipped that he climbs mountains "because they're there." Spencer Hayter is climbing Kilimanjaro to raise funds for cancer in memory of his mother and sister.

The 26-year-old former Benton City man lives in Hawaii. His mother died when he was 13 and his older sister, who was like a mother to him, died last year. Both from cancer.

Hayter is climbing with the RadiatingHope foundation on March 16 and hoping to raise $8,000. We wish him good climbing.

When you say 'spuds'

A Super Bowl bet between the potato growers of Washington and Colorado is going to provide 150,000 servings of spuds to food banks in Seattle and Denver.

The original bet called for the loser of the game to supply potatoes to the winner's city, but a post-game agreement determined there were enough potatoes for everyone to share. So now both "teams" are donating 25,000 pounds of potatoes to the other city.

A bonus is that the head of Colorado commission is coming to Seattle to promote Washington potatoes. That's way better than standing on the side of the road in a dress, which some male bet-losers have been forced to do.

You can suggest activities for our Colorado guest to do while he's here by logging on to the Washington State Potato Commission's webpage.

May we recommend a visit to the Mid-Columbia -- where many of those potatoes are grown and processed?

School levies passed

Thank you to the voters who recognize the value in supporting our kids. We expect a lot out of our schools.

We expect our kids to read and write and compute and perform in the auditorium and on the field.

Thank you to the voters who are willing to chip in financially to allow all those things to happen.