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 long term. It’s like eating Twinkies: sweet and fun and you know it’s bad for you. Meanwhile, I’ve got family on the East Coast who keep digging out and digging out again. My brother in rural western Massachusetts has been up on a ladder digging out his roof!

I never followed all those subsequent generations, but it feels like the overall message of the original “Star Trek” series was diversity — and that brainy, soulful alien with the knife-like ears was its greatest symbol. Not just out in the Milky Way, but right there on the stage set, where he apparently stood up for minority actors who weren’t getting a fair deal. Thanks always for your humanity and vision, Leonard Nimoy. (And also, once in a blue moon, that stellar Spock smile.)

Anybody who reads this paper regularly knows that there’s a real affordable housing crisis underway — here, there and pretty much everywhere. Rents are rising and low-income tenants — many of whom are elderly, disabled, veterans, young families — are simply out of luck. The local Council for the Homeless is urging people who are concerned about this to call or email your local legislators right away, because March 11 is the cutoff date for three bills that will help protect renters from sudden displacement and reduce overall barriers to housing stability, according to the Council. Those bills are:

  • The Fair Tenant Screening Act (HB1257), which would allow prospective tenants to buy just one standardized report to provide to landlords rather than having to pay for a new report for each landlord and each rental application.
  • The Truth in Evictions Reporting Act (SB 5376), which would significantly tighten rules and require greater accuracy when it comes to permanently tainting somebody’s rental history with an “eviction”.
  • The 90 Day Notice Bill (HB2051), which would require 90 days’ notice to tenants for a rent increase of more than 10 percent.

Learn more via the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance or the Council for the Homeless. (Other relevant bills — like one that bans landlords from rejecting prospective renters who’ll be paying with government subsidies — have already died this year.)

Here at The Columbian, there’s a small cabal of us whose first activity upon arriving at the office in the morning is to take a well-deserved break — and wander across the street to Sunrise Bagels for a cuppa and maybe more. We’re always welcomed by the beaming Karima as well as some other friends — cops and social workers, senior citizens and young parents who get their morning spark here. A whole cross section of the community.

So it’s distressing to note a nasty and pretty personal review of the place on a certain website — and everyone’s entitled to their opinion, of course — but this review seems to want to make hay of the fact that Karima hails from Syria. As if no good could ever come from that.

Fascinating, Spock might say. And thoroughly illogical.

My pet project, the reader-driven “Everybody Has A Story” column that appears most Wednesdays in the Neighbors section, is suffering a little neglect. While I’m starting to take pretty regular submissions from a stable of regular writers — which is fine, although I try to space them out — I really want to extend the invitation to you.

Tell us a tale from your life. Keep it brief and true. (Don’t warm up with a list of all your ancestors and their movements — just get to your story.) Send it to neighbors@columbian.com. Get ready for some clarifying questions and gentle edits — which is what reporters go through every day — and get ready to see your byline in the paper!

Department of Ya Gotta Be Kidding Me: I really enjoy yoga, and a couple years ago I dabbled in “hot” yoga. The extreme conditions aren’t for me, I decided — but I got the point, which is that heat helps loosen up your body.

Now The New York Times reports that the hot new yoga trend is cold: snowga. “Outdoor hybrid” yoga of various kinds is getting pretty popular, apparently — come to think of it I recently saw somebody doing yoga headstands on a paddleboard on the Willamette River — and the snowy version may feature snow shoes, ski poles and, well, so many layers of clothing that it winds up more or less hot yoga anyway.

Until, that is, you sink below the surface.

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