Our Voice: Thumbs up and thumbs down

A place to hang out

Thumbs up to Columbia Industries new community center. Everybody needs somewhere to be and something to do.

For disabled adults, options are limited.

Columbia Industries helps people find a job, which is a great boost to one's self-image. And it gives you a little pocket money.

Most people want to work -- even if they complain about their jobs. It brings a sense of fulfillment.

People also need a sense of belonging -- a safe place to socialize with friends.

Last year, a drop in state funding decreased work hours for Columiba Industry clients, leaving them with extra time on their hands.

The new center helps fill that time by providing activities and social experiences.

And the center is not limited to Columbia Industry clients. We're thinking this will be a good opportunity for community members and clients to rub shoulders.

There is much we can learn from one another.

Master of agriculture

To Washington State University for recognizing a need for online, hands-on education.

If you're already working, it often is difficult to uproot yourself to go to school. But continuing your education will help keep you competitive in your field.

WSU is creating options for students. The online master's degree in the agricultural program highlights plant sciences and business classes. And instead of writing a thesis, students will do a research project.

It's good to have options.

Disgraceful care

Thumbs down to flaws in a system designed to care for our country's veterans.

Allegations in Phoenix about delays in treatment -- some apparently resulting in needless deaths -- must be uncovered and stopped. Period.

CNN has reported that at least 40 vets have died while waiting for health care appointments. An investigation is under way.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki told a Senate committee this week that he was angry about the allegations. His exact words? "Mad as hell." His anger is directed at people who have already made their minds up -- before the Inspector General's investigation is complete.

Earlier in the week the American Legion called for Shinseki to resign.

In our minds, the problem to be solved isn't so much who is sitting in the top office as much as are veterans getting the proper care.

If the allegations are true, we hope the abuse and neglect of those who have served our country is not a widespread fault in the system.

It must to be stopped.