Thumbs up to Ki-Be School Board, down to Yakima City Council

The Kiona-Benton City School Board listened to players and parents and reinstated the high school girls basketball coach last week.

Joe Wirtzberger was told two weeks ago that his contract wouldn't be renewed for another season. District officials would not specify what led to his dismissal, but the coach and his players said they were under the impression it resulted from his yelling at players during games.

A crowd of more than 75 students, parents and community members came out to ask for Wirtzberger's reinstatement during last week's school board meeting.

Players said Wirtzberger's yelling was never abusive and served as motivation.


To Premiere Columbia Properties for allowing Friends of Badger to build a new trail through its orchard on the south side of Badger Mountain.

Work already has started on a new 2.5-mile trail that will start and end from the existing Skyline Trail, traversing the lower part of Badger's southern slope.

The trail has been planned for years and is moving forward only because the company has agreed to allow the trail to pass through its land at no cost.

The trail should be open to use this month and finished by the end of April. To help with the construction, send an email to trailmaster@friendsofbadger.org or call 943-3992.


Thumbs up to Paul Carlisle and Adam Brault for their plans to turn a Richland eyesore into Spectrum Park -- "an urban, multistory, mixed-use and state-of-the art technology, business and retail space."

The two acres of city-owned property off George Washington Way near Lee Boulevard sits at the gateway to the city's central business district but is little more than a hole in the ground.

Both men grew up in the Tri-Cities and have established some entrepreneurial credentials. Carlisle is the founder of Elevate, an IT and web support company. Brault is founder of the software development firm &yet.

Their plans are ambitious -- a building that's a minimum of 30,000 square feet, with room for their growing companies and perhaps others, plus retail including a coffee shop and restaurants.

Best of luck.

Just say no

Thumbs down to the Yakima City Council for wanting to have its cake and eat it too.

Make that a brownie.

Despite banning the sale, growing and processing of legal marijuana, the council is seeking tax money from the state's upcoming pot industry.

More than 80 percent of revenues from the excise tax on the legal pot industry were supposed to be earmarked for health, prevention and public safety programs under Initiative 502.

That makes sense but only where there is a legal pot industry. Cities insisting on the status quo -- a black market for pot fueled by prohibition -- ought to be content to live with existing revenues.