Tri-City Herald: Thumbs up to the ‘First Night’ of a great new year

First Night

To those who work year-round to bring the Mid-Columbia one big First Night of entertainment.

First Night Tri-Cities became part of a nationwide event in 1996 and is one of the three cities in Washington still participating.

It’s a fun, safe, warm, entertaining way to spend a New Year’s Eve, complete with a ball drop and fireworks — but family-oriented and without alcohol.

During the past 18 years the local event has changed, but it’s still going. Many cities around the country have discontinued theirs.

We respect the dedication and flexibility these events require and appreciate the work that goes into it.

The name of the event, First Night, looks forward to good things to come in our community.

That’s something we can cheer in 2015.

Safe shooting

To the opportunity for learning to be smart about firearms.

We know that some Mid-Columbians got guns for Christmas. We expect many also will be taking a gun safety class.

That’s a good idea.

Shooting is a popular sport in the Mid-Columbia and there are lots of opportunities for people to learn — or refresh their knowledge — of how to do it safely.

Our experience tells us most firearm enthusiasts understand the power they hold in their hands and advocate for education. News stories tell us, sadly, that accidents still happen.

There are lots of businesses in the Mid-Columbia where sportsmen and sportswomen can get some additional training.

Practical Edge even offers a couples only class on Valentine’s Day in Yakima— if you’re already shopping for the next gift-giving occasion on the calendar.

Take a break

To the constant barrage of technology.

You’ve probably noticed that people are quite attached to their cell phones. It is strange — but not uncommon — to see a group of people at a restaurant, presumably to enjoy each other’s company, and each person is on a phone.

We have a hard time making technology our servant, rather we too often allow it to be our master.

While most places of business, including fast food and retailers, make the effort to close on Christmas Day, our society has come to a point that many of us never really take a day off.

It’s a sad thing.

Tell the truth. Did you check your work email on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day — or in some way do a quick “check in” at the office?

We appreciate medical staff and first responders who have to work on the holidays, for the rest of us, let’s spend more time face to face and less time on Facebook.