Working now to make things better for the future

Yes, it's still summer, but someone out there is thinking about winter coats. There are also people thinking about plays that will be put on down the road -- some at theaters that aren't even built yet -- and plans for experiments in labs that haven't been constructed.

We're glad people are planning ahead to keep the Mid-Columbia ready for the future.

Princess Theatre

Prosser's Princess Theatre is a gathering place for the community wrapped inside a bit of history.

It's a fun place to go, and we're glad to see the Valley Theater Company making a move to purchase the building.

Not only are these dedicated thespians working to preserve a piece of the past, but they also share a vision for the future.

The building is old and quaint, in the most affectionate use of the words. When you walk in the lobby, it doesn't take much to imagine the 1920s, when it first opened.

At the same time it is new and exciting -- new because there has been a lot of remodeling and restoration. Exciting because of what it will hold for the future. Having a building makes it easier to form a group or two, put on a play or a musical and hold events and receptions.

Small communities especially are in danger of losing their arts communities to larger population centers. We're glad to see that Prosser is willing to fight to keep its artists.

Donated laboratory

The collaboration between EnergySolutions and Washington State University Tri-Cities is the kind of thing we like to see.

EnergySolutions is building a laboratory that WSU probably could never build on its own. The company plans to donate the facility to the school and lease it back.

It's a good way for the business community to partner with higher education.

The partnership allows programs at the school that otherwise wouldn't be available and puts more momentum into the research park on the north end of Richland.

In short, it's good for the community.

We look forward to seeing more of these creative partnerships in the future.

Outdoor stage

So if we're happy to see the Princess Theatre in the news and the collaboration between business and schools, can you guess that we're also excited about the new outdoor stage planned for WSU-TC.

This project is a collaboration between the school and the Columbia Center Rotary Club.

It once again pairs community partners, and it gives the arts community a shot in the arm.

Venues are important when it comes to the performance arts. We're glad to see the Tri-Cities getting one more.

Weapons at school

Kids are pretty safe when they're at school. We're grateful for that. But safety at school doesn't just happen on its own.

There's a concerted effort to keep weapons out of the classroom, and for the most part it's working in the Mid-Columbia.

It takes vigilance on the part of security officers, teachers and administrators to keep kids safe.

But clearly the biggest contributor to a safe school are the kids willing to take a stand. The students -- who really know what's going on in the classroom and the hallways -- are the ones on the front line.

We're grateful for safe schools, but we're savvy enough to know that can change quickly.

Just so you know, kids, it's not called "tattling" when someone has a weapon at school and you tell a teacher. It's called being responsible.

It's called being smart.

Keep being smart.

Winter coats

Not only do we want to keep kids safe at school, we also want to keep them warm to and from school.

It's hard to get excited about winter coats when the temperature is pushing 90, but cold weather is not too far away.

If you have a closet full of winter wear, the change in seasons is not a big deal. If your sweatshirt is your warmest piece of clothing, you're in trouble.

The generosity of people in the Tri-Cities who donate winter coats, warms the kids in our community, and it warms our hearts.

There will be coat drives later in the year. Lots more people will be involved in this effort.

But, to the anonymous donors of the 762 new coats, "Thanks." What more can we say?

Pat Roach

And, last of all, may we wish a very happy 90th birthday to Mrs. Pat Roach.

You rock, Pat!

Yours is a lifetime of service. You've raised a fine family and left a beautiful mark of love on this community.

Thank you so much.