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Badger Mountain, Mexican tariffs and more for Jan. 13-18

The Tri-Cities Animal Control Authority is approaching Pasco, Richland and Kennewick with $4 million plan to build a new 11,800-square-foot animal shelter. Meanwhile Benton County and the Humane Society are moving ahead with separate facilities. Is it too late to replace this piecemeal approach with a comprehensive plan?

Gov. Chris Gregoire is proposing a major overhaul of the state’s education system. Any idea for streamlining government deserves a fair and thorough hearing, but we worry that weakening the role of state’s nonpartisan, elected school chief might further politicize education policy.

We’re looking for some hopeful signs amid recent developments in the Mexican trucking dispute. Restrictions on Mexican trucks entering the U.S. have led retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. It’s hurt Mid-Columbia farmers, and a resolution would be welcome news in this state. Unfortunately, it appears that despite some progress, the divide between the two countries hasn’t narrowed much.

The Friends of Badger Mountain picked up another 48 acres, preserving that much more of this Tri-City landmark. We’re particularly impressed by the initiative of private citizens to preserve public spaces. Badger Mountain’s success speaks for itself — more than 100,000 hikers traversed the trail system last year.

One of our favorite events is the annual Agriculture Hall of Fame awards. The ag industry’s influence on life in the Mid-Columbia can’t be measured but at least some of the major contributors can be recognized. We’ll add our congratulations. We were happy to see Othello’s efforts to save the Sandhill Crane Festival succeed. Keep an eye on the website for a schedule of events. Once it’s posted, slots will fill fast.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday is observed Monday. We’ll encourage readers to participate in events around the Tri-Cities commemorating the civil rights leader’s life.

The rampage in Tucson was tragic enough. If it further distances elected officials from the people they represent the tragedy will be compounded. We’re ready for a moratorium on politicians of every stripe trying to use the shootings to make a political point.

The commission that will redraw the state’s political districts lacks an Eastern Washington representative. That situation ought to be rectified.