Our Voice: Thumbs up to another year of horse racing in the Mid-Columbia

Hats off to the races

To another successful season of horse racing in the Tri-Cities. In January, negotiations between the Tri-City Horse Racing Association and the Benton-Franklin County Fair board hit a snag, and it was questionable whether the Mid-Columbia would even have horse racing this year.

So many other tracks across the country have had to call it quits. Were we to be just one more place that used to have racing?

The community saw some compromise on the part of the racing association and the Benton-Franklin Fair Association that kept the horses going in the Tri-Cities at least one more year.

Horse racing is waning in many markets. It's getting harder to make it work and almost impossible to make racing profitable on the smaller tracks.

Regulations in many states -- and Washington is one of them -- make it even more difficult to stay afloat.

It's not clear yet what next year will bring, but we saw people working together this year, and that says a lot.

Sitdown with TRIDEC

To Gov. Jay Inslee for initiating a meeting between his staff and Tri-City community leaders.

Especially when it comes to Hanford, government officials often make recommendations or mandates without fully understanding all aspects of what is an admittedly complex situation.

Too often, these mandates come from west of the Cascades or as far east as Washington, D.C., with little regard for local insights and concerns.

We understand that people are concerned about Hanford cleanup and leaky tanks and underground water plumes and funding shortfalls.

We also get that there are as many approaches to the problems as there are stakeholders.

But, as is true in almost every situation, more knowledge makes for better decisions. Perhaps TRIDEC will have information for the governor that he hadn't considered.

Careful, it's hot

To those who accidentally handled radioactive materials, especially when they ought to know better.

Anyone who has taken a gun safety class knows that the first rule is to treat every weapon as if it were loaded. The same must be true for unmarked containers in nuclear environments.

In both cases, even when people know the rules, they sometimes become casual about following them.

A small and mysterious object appeared on the floor in a room at Hanford that was labeled as potentially containing radioactive materials. Workers thought it might be a watch battery.

It's not unthinkable that someone would pick up an object, turn it over and look at it to figure out what it is. It's a natural reaction to encountering an unknown object but nuclear workers should be trained to resist the impulse.

Unfortunately, curiosity did not pay off this time. The mystery object was a capsule of radioactive material.

In this case, CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. is sharing the blame for not better training its employees on what to do in a situation like that.

Even with the best of training we all can become complacent. That's not good enough when it comes to radioactive hazards.