Our Voice: We’re thankful see things from a new perspective

This week we’re grateful for several community projects that have opened our eyes a little more in the Mid-Columbia.

To protect and serve

The police have a view of the community that goes unnoticed to the rest of us. Every day they deal with people in unfortunate situations — not all from their own doing.

A new program in the Kennewick department will provide money that officers can use at their discretion to help people in immediate need. The resources come from businesses and the community through donations of money and services.

Of course, there are other ways for people in the Mid-Columbia to get help. United Way’s 211 is one place people can call for help navigating the complex and ever-growing maze of human services and programs.

But sometimes the need is more pressing.

Police Chief Ken Hohenberg says that in the past officers have sometimes reached into their own pockets to help people in need. That’s a side of police work we don’t often think about.

Daughters of Hanford

A multimedia project examining some of the women who have influenced Hanford or have been influenced by Hanford will be on exhibit at the Reach later this summer.

Northwest Public Radio Reporter Anna King hatched the idea and recruited photographer Kai-Huei Yau and Doug Gast, an artist and associate professor of fine arts at Washington State University Tri-Cities, to create 12 radio pieces, portraits, an interactive website, geo-mapping application and museum exhibit.

Some of the women are from Hanford’s earlier days and some are contemporaries. We expect that on the list of 12 women, there will be 12 interesting stories that will help all of us to better understand our community.

Paying their own way

We’re impressed that the students at Washington State University Tri-Cities want a student union building enough to send themselves a bill. It seems we have a culture of people wanting something for nothing, but here’s a group of students who want something and are willing to pay for it.

A student election showed 62 percent are willing to pay $150 in fees each semester toward the project.

Construction likely is still a year out, and the new fee won’t go into effect until the building is underway — but the fee increase is going to replace the $1.3 million the university was expected to put toward the project. And it will get their project moving.

Way to go, Cougs.

Fire chief retires

We have had a couple of occasions to chat with Grant Baynes during his time as head of the Richland firefighters, and have walked away impressed every time.

He has been a champion for regional cooperation in the departments of the Mid-Columbia and has saved the community money while his crew has been saving lives and property.

Thank you, Chief Baynes, and best wishes at the Senior Life Resources Northwest.