Opinion

Thumbs up for Washington wines months

Washington Wine Month

To the folks who produce and promote our viniculture.

All year long is a good time to enjoy Washington wines, but March is designated as Taste Washington Wine Month.

Many of us may not have known that our area was on display last month, but journalists, restauranteurs and wine stewards from around the country have been in our midst.

And there’s plenty to celebrate.

“Taste Washington Wine Month is a time to commemorate the hard work of Washington’s more than 850 wineries,” said Steve Warner, president of the Washington State Wine Commission, which represents licensed winery and grape growers in the state. “Our state’s wine is enjoyed across the country, but it’s the enthusiasm of retailers, restaurants and hotels to promote Washington state wine that always makes this month shine.”

Hats off for the hard work. It’s paying off.

Land transaction bill

To Dan Newhouse for his first piece of legislation in the House of Representatives.

Dan Newhouse has introduced a bill that would speed up the sale of surplus federal land-for-land deals. It is a reauthorization of a program that already has been successful, but expired in 2011.

The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2015 expands the pool of eligible lands and requires the Department of Interior to establish and make available to the public a database of all land marked for disposal.

“Reauthorization of this legislation allows a common-sense approach to land management by granting flexibility in transactions involving surplus federal land,” said Newhouse.

We can see how this bill makes sense, and could be of benefit locally. Perhaps it could be used to provide access to some of the federal government’s landlocked properties. Juniper Dunes comes to mind.

Govtrack.us gives the proposition a 15 percent chance of passing. We’ll have to wait and see what kind of approval rating Congress gives it.

Germanwings crash

To any lapse in mental health care.

The apparently intentional crash of a German commercial flight March 24 raises questions around the globe. One in particular is how can we keep this from happening again?

Since the crash, questions have been asked about the mental health evaluations pilots are required to pass. Some longtime pilots say the system is faulty because it’s not thorough and because it depends on self-reporting.

Anytime someone takes their life, it creates pain. When they take others’ lives in the process, that pain is compounded.

We must find ways for people suffering from depression to seek treatment without being stigmatized. Unfortunately, it’s an area that when we fail, the costs are high.

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