Thumbs up to learning about money early

Thumbs up to Gesa Credit Union and Tri-City high schools for giving students a real-world course in finance.

Handling money is a life-long skill that too many teens don't fully appreciate. How to manage a savings and checking account is best learned with a hands-on approach, which is what Gesa provides.

The credit union has set up branches in seven Tri-City high schools and hires students as cashiers and supervisors. Recently, Gesa officials decided to loosen the reigns on some of its student employees and give them more responsibility. That includes allowing them to help other students open accounts, supervise student tellers and secure cash on their own without the help of a Gesa employee.

The branches are open during lunch periods and provides on-campus banking opportunities. So students using the credit union are gaining the opportunity to manage their money at school in a convenient and safe environment, while the student employees hired by Gesa get valuable job training.

Too many people don't know how to manage their money wisely. While Gesa obviously is gaining customers from this endeavor, it is still providing great opportunity for teens.

School pass

To Tri-City area school districts offering a free pass to senior citizens who want to attend a football game, basketball game, high school play or other ASB-sponsored event.

Richland, Kennewick and Pasco all require citizens apply for the free pass and show proof of residency and their age. In Kennewick and Richland, the age is 65 and in Pasco it is 60. Some of most fun in town can be had at a school event, whether it is sports, drama or music.

Senior citizens pay taxes to support their local schools and should be able to enjoy school-sponsored activities as much as the students and parents. But paying to get in every time might be tough on a fixed income.

Offering them a free pass is a thoughtful way to include them in the school districts.

Uncertain treaty

To the uncertain discussion over the Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada.

The treaty hit a 50-year milestone and either Canada or the U.S. can now give a 10-year notice of their desire to cancel or modify the agreement.

So far, there is no certainty when those talks might begin, even though U.S. utility officials say the power payment made to Canada in return for its giant resevoirs upstream needs to be reduced.

The annual dollar equivalent of the power transfer is estimated at $250 million to $300 million.

The treaty governs how the U.S. and Canada work together to use their dams and reservoirs on the Columbia River. The Bonneville Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers are calling for the U.S. government to make a decision this year to proceed with renegotiations of the treaty so that talks can be concluded by 2015.

They need to get going.