Our Voice: Today we're grateful for stories of the past, future

July 9, 2014 

We're feeling a little nostalgic today. We have a new museum open in our community, and we're thinking about some pieces of history that have been donated to an older museum.

We're all for new things and looking to the future.

But today we're drawn to the past at the same time that we consider where we are heading as a community.

Picture this

O'Henry's Go Go was iconic. It was the downtown Kennewick hangout -- a place of memories and memorabilia.

We're glad to know that decades of class photos that hung on the walls of the restaurant are in a safe place. They really are museum pieces, so the East Benton County Historical Society Museum is the logical caretaker.

If you've been wanting to see them again, hold off a minute or two before you rush over to the museum to walk down memory lane. The museum has them; they are not yet on display.

But they can be displayed down the road. And they will be, according to museum administrator Corene Hulse.

The Halls of Fame at the local high schools are fun for people to connect with. It's fun for the honorees themselves to come home and reminisce, and it's fun for the rest of us to look at them and see where people's lives have led them.

O'Henry's photos are the same, only they represent everyone, not just those who have been recognized by their alma mater.

Each of us has a story. Some of those stories are widely shared; others are private.

We're thankful to the late Henry Belair for collecting and hanging on to the photos. Maybe it started as a fluke, but at some point he became something of a self-appointed historian for Kennewick High.

Reach for the better

The Reach museum is open. The history and culture of the Mid-Columbia is on display. Of the many events building up to the opening, we are pleased to see the cooperation between the tribes and the museum.

The Hanford history is so recent, compared with the Native Americans' story, that the ink on the pages of history still is wet, figuratively speaking.

And although Hanford plays a big role in how we got to where we are, there are lots of other contributing forces at play, including agriculture and tribes -- both of which you can get an overview of at the Reach.

We're glad to see the community telling at least a small part of the tribes' story and to see some tribal members giving their blessing to the building and some of the artifacts.

In general and among all peoples, there is much we can learn from studying other cultures. As we become more sensitive to each other, we become more aware of ourselves.

Testing the waters

It's always nice when someone does what you want them to, whether it's your spouse, your kids or your elected officials.

In this case, we suggested the Benton County Commissioners consider a way to fund some conservation projects in the area. They came up with the idea of putting it to the citizens for an advisory vote.

It's a good idea.

And, no, we aren't taking credit for it -- it's just nice that we suggested they do something and they are doing something, not that one event caused the other.

We elect people to make decisions. Our form of government doesn't really allow for all the people to weigh in on every decision. That's why we have representatives.

But when it comes to tax increases, voters wear their pocketbook pretty close to their heart.

So it's worth getting their opinion on spending more money before doing it.

There might be other ways to fund the conservation projects. And maybe as a community we will be forced to explore those or give up on the plan.

But we won't really know until we ask.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to put the advisory on the ballot. Shon Small said the timing on the measure isn't right.

And he's got a point. Voters already will be deciding on a public safety tax in August. Too much too soon can sour one's appetite.

But whether outdoor-loving Tri-Citians are willing to pay for more recreational lands is a question worth asking.

We're grateful the voters get a chance to speak on this vote.

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