Visiting lonely seniors and lovely parks

What’s on the plate is not important. Who’s around the table is what counts. Home Instead Senior Care is encouraging people who live near — or even not so near — their senior loved ones to make time for regular meals together. Time is the major stumbling block, according to Home Instead, which conducted a […]

Journey to enlightenment

Adopting my dog was a snap decision. It was Friday afternoon, just before Mother’s Day, when I checked online at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. Several dogs were available, including a peculiar, little, red Dachshund with one blue and one brown eye. I had to meet him. I pushed and pushed, reassuring my fiancé, […]

Summer’s here. Time to volunteer

When you’ve just been sprung from school, summer seems gigantic, endless, brimming with freedom and possibility — or, perhaps, just brimming with endlessness. Many local nonprofit agencies and jurisdictions offer summer outings for young people who want to put some free time to good use. Plenty of opportunities are regular enough to keep you feeling […]

Sharing special expertise

Parents and families of adults with serious mental health disorders carry a huge and ongoing burden. Figuring out how to lighten the load is the theme of a free conference on the afternoon of June 24 that’s open to families, caregivers, professionals and anyone else who’s interested. The event is sponsored by the National Alliance […]

Everything’s coming up bicycles

Far as I’m concerned, the second-greatest invention in the history of humankind is the one that took the greatest invention and made it good clean fun. So it’s totally awesome — yup, that’s the appropriately mature term — to point out that May is both National Bike Month and National Bike Safety Month. It contains […]

Today’s breakups are plugged in

Taxes and romantic bust-ups. It’s April, the “cruelest month.” Based on unimpeachable data like miserable status announcements and no-comment relationship switches on Facebook — or in the hallway between classes — smart statisticians and even smarter high school students have confirmed that partnerships tend to explode between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then early in the […]

Real men get mental health help

Most news organizations, including this one, have a policy that we generally don’t print news and names of suicides. While it’s not universally true — exceptions are when public resources or public people are heavily involved — it’s a well-intentioned policy that seeks to steer around deeply personal, private tragedy. It especially holds for children. […]

Ruminating on my friends’ home renovation

On Sunday, my boyfriend and I helped out our friends who are fixing up their home. They’ve owned it about as long as Alex and I have been dating – almost three years – and are getting around to projects they wanted to do when they moved in. The ranch-style house in Orchards, about 1,200 […]

Just another warm winter Sunday in Vantucky

What’s a family? You know what they say: Love makes a family. (Taking out the trash helps, too.) Here’s a grab bag of lovingly compiled, loosely family-related matters for your sunny Sunday. Boy, am I enjoying this freakishly warm weather. I’m also trying not to think too hard about what it means, big picture and […]

Office Moms bring love to kids in twilight zone

A couple years ago, foster mom Sarah Desjarlais was at a meeting at the downtown Vancouver office of the Department of Social and Health Services where she asked the obvious questions. “Who are all these little kids running around the office? Why are there two- and four-year-olds just wandering around in cubicle land?” Turned out, […]

Dumber, but nicer? Why we use Facebook comments

Every so often someone contacts us to complain that they do not like having to use Facebook to comment on articles. Exhibit A – A recent email message from a reader: Your own online poll asks readers which social media portal they use/favor; with more than 1100 respondents, 56 % say “none”. Yet, if I want […]

Grammar hard-liners

On slow mail days, journalists can often depend on grammar hard-liners to contribute a lecture or two to the newsroom inbox. Grammar isn’t always black and white, but some readers have strong opinions, or pet peeves, about how grammar should be handled. Many of the letters come from English teachers who are on a mission […]

Some readers impart wisdom

For sure, most journalists in the newspaper business get, ah, love notes. They usually fall into two categories: Bad and really bad. Such is life. Nowadays, they come by email, although on occasion they will come from the post office. Then there’s the phone message. Hey, here’s an example. Just another fan. Lou BrancaccioEditor of […]

We’ve got mail

Lots of mail. Yes, as a media organization we receive mountains of mail, or at least you could envision mountains if we hit the Print button every time something popped into our email inboxes or our phone voicemail boxes. Thankfully, we do not do this. We simply hit Reply or possibly, yes, Delete. Some of […]

Smelt season to be proposed

Washington and Oregon officials are expected to proposed limited sport and commercial fishing for smelt when the Columbia River Compact meets Wednesday. The session begins at 10 a.m. at the Clark Regional Wastewater District, 8000 N.E. 52nd Court. Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said on Friday […]

Outdoor events calendar

Feb. 5 — Vancouver Wildlife League, 7 p.m., Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2108 Grand Blvd., Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator, discuss spring chinook fishing seasons. Feb. 5-9 — Annual Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show, Portland Expo Center, 2060 N. Marine Drive, Portland, $12 for adults, $5 for youth, $2 discount coupons at, […]

Cross-country skiing update

There’s very little snow in the woods so far this winter except at the higher elevations. On Sunday, I had to go to Teacup Lake, which is about 4,500 feet on the side of Mount Hood, to find enough snow to go skiing. The Oregon Nordic Club grooms at Teacup Lake, so conditions were good, […]

So many shad

With so many shad in the Columbia River each year, Brad Smith of Bellingham, vice chairman of the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, asked at Saturday’s meeting if the Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to promote the fishery. Guy Norman, regional director for Southwest Washington, told Smith that shad are usable commercially for […]

So many shad

With so many shad in the Columbia River each year, Brad Smith of Bellingham, vice chairman of the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, asked at Saturday’s meeting if the Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to promote the fishery. Guy Norman, regional director for Southwest Washington, told Smith that shad are usable commercially for […]

The elusive walleye

For decades, I’d been trying to catch a walleye in the Columbia River. I’d netted them for my neighbor on the Oregon side of Government Island and on Ough Reef at Washougal. I was in the boat with author and tournament angler Ron Boggs when he caught them near Arlington, Ore.. I’ve watched Jim Liddell […]

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