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Proud of the Cloud — Or not: Richland Bombers logo controversy radiates anew

We never run out of issues to disagree on — from gay rights, to war, to the economic crisis — but back in the 1980s, then-Publisher Kelso Gillenwater learned a lot about generating controversy.

The Cold War was still being waged, and Hanford workers were cranking out weapons-grade plutonium to fuel the arms race when Gillenwater wrote a column calling for the Richland High School Bombers to find a new mascot.

He argued the mushroom cloud logo was hurting economic development by perpetuating glow-in-the dark stereotypes about the Tri-Cities and its inhabitants.

Gillenwater wanted adults to push the idea, since in his estimation no one is more enamored with tradition than the average high school student.

Perhaps, but more likely Gillenwarter had forgotten the old adage, “We never really leave high school.” If anything, former bombers are more ferciously loyal to the cloud than their younger counterparts.

The issue crops up from time to time and probably always will, but I’m pretty sure Gillenwater’s column was the last time the Herald weighed in on the topic.

If you’ve been following the letters to the editor, online or in our print edition, then you know people don’t need us to have this debate.

Doug Mowry’s March 16 letter got the ball rolling. The online version has 47 responses so far. Letters posted on typically generate a lot of conversation, but Mowry clearly hit a nerve.

More letters to the editor are still coming in, each sparking another set of online comments.

Join the conversation, or if that seems too much, take our poll.