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Opinion / On The Hot Seat


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  • Don't buy into free EV chargers

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jul 17, 2024

    Truck, truck, truck, Tesla. Truck, truck, truck. Here in rural Eastern Washington, the running joke is that the “T” on a Tesla electric vehicle stands for “tourist.” Indeed, the expensive cars, like their electric Toyota and Rivian counterparts, are an oddity easily picked out among rural residents’ pickups, four-wheel drives and older vehicles. But what some rural residents may not realize is that they are paying to charge many of those expensive EVs. Over the last couple ye...

  • Dam compact words matter

    Roger Harnack|Updated Feb 29, 2024

    Let’s take a few words that should be on the minds of all Eastern Washingtonians concerned over efforts to breach Snake River dams — agreement, restoration and sovereign, to name a few. Last Thursday in the White House, President Joe Biden signed onto the “Commitments in Support of the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative and in Partnership with the Six Sovereigns” agreement. The so-called “sovereigns” refers to the states of Washington and Oregon, and four tribes — th...

  • Forest bill offers welcome change

    Roger Harnack|Updated Feb 22, 2024

    Funny how it took a move into the country before a Democrat would support efforts to clean up our forests. Last week, Senate Bill 6121 passed the Senate unanimously. The bill sponsored by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege — a Democrat who now lives at Lake Sutherland — encourages the removal of downed timber and other “fuel” that could feed a wildfire. He should be commended for being the first Democrat to step out of the party box and recognize the importance of removing downed timber,...

  • Looking a lot like Christmas

    Roger Harnack|Updated Dec 21, 2023

    The Christmas tree is decorated. The gifts are wrapped. There may not be snow outside, yet, but it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And I, for one, am looking forward to our family traditions. Every family has its own traditions; our starts with cutting down a tree, something we did a week or two ago. With the tree up and the lights already on, we’ve moved onto music and movies. Oh, the Christmas movies … Break out the classics – “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Mir...

  • GAO: Bad water is the problem

    Roger Harnack|Updated Nov 22, 2023

    Aren’t you sick and tired of hearing Gov. Jay Inslee and his ilk routinely blame Columbia and Snake River dams for the decline in Puget Sound salmon and orca populations? Despite voluminous information to the contrary, Inslee, Sen. Patty Murray and other extremist environmental politicians continue to push a narrative on salmon decline that is patently false. There should be penalties for being so disingenuous. While there isn’t a penalty for false statements made to app...

  • Fireworks law needs update

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jul 27, 2023

    Like most Americans, I enjoy watching – and lighting – fireworks on Independence Day. America’s “birthday” should stand out among all national holidays. And the colorful, aerial explosions showcase the freedom and independence for which the U.S. stands. But why then do only tribes have the ability to sell and use the “good” fireworks – you know: firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, mortars and more. There’s nothing magical about the imaginary line on a map suggesting...

  • Fuel prices are unacceptable

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jun 29, 2023

    A short three years ago, motorists in Eastern Washington could buy regular unleaded gasoline for as little as $1.97 per gallon in several areas – George, Pasco, Quincy, to name a few. Diesel didn’t cost much more. Farmers could afford to fill their fuel tanks and shipping companies could keep their trucks moving at a reasonable price. And you and I could afford to drive personal vehicles – a necessity when you live and work in Eastern Washington. As a result, rural resid...

  • Spend time with dad Saturday

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jun 15, 2023

    From cars to bigfoot to high-speed sprint boats, you don’t have to look very far to find something to do this weekend. But dad won’t care if you take him somewhere or just spend time with him. For dad, Father’s Day isn’t about spending money, it’s about time – time to connect, reflect and enjoy each other’s company. Dads spend a lifetime taking care of the needs of their children. Through their children’s formative years into college, fathers bring structure, discipline, log...

  • House Bill helps level playing field

    Roger Harnack|Updated Jan 26, 2023

    Washington state has high tax rates — gas, property, you name it. Government agencies billions of tax dollars annually from residents and businesses here. So why then are government agencies taking Washington taxpayer dollars and buying goods and services out-of-state, goods and services that are readily abundant in Washington? Those agencies are penalizing state taxpayers (residents and businesses) for paying the high taxes the agencies collected under burdensome r...

  • Take time to learn history; don't cancel it

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Sep 1, 2022

    Last week, Fairchild Air Force announced it was erasing Col. George Wright because the history surrounding him is considered by some divisive. In place of his name being associated with a housing area and street, the military opted for “Lilac Village” and “Willow Loop,” respectively. The move comes two years after Spokane canceled the highly decorated Army leader, as well – Fort George Wright Drive was renamed Whistalks Way, in recognition of the wife of Spokane tribal wa...

  • Looking for a few correspondents

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Aug 11, 2022

    Over the last several decades, many journalists saw hometown community columns as quaint links to how newspapers once operated. But with few journalists left in the Pacific Northwest applying for jobs since the COVID-19 shutdowns two-and-a-half years ago, we’re hoping to revive the idea of publishing content from local community correspondents — no formal training needed. We’re looking for volunteer correspondents who like to tell the world what’s going on in their part of...

  • Enjoy a ride through the Palouse

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Jul 21, 2022

    The back roads of the Palouse are beautiful this time of year. But there’s a lot more to see if you traverse them on a motorcycle. Last week, after looking at the cost of gas and the weather forecast, I rode my Harley-Davidson to work for the first time this summer. I don’t have a fancy bike; it’s a simple Sportster – no flashy chrome, no windshield or fairing, no saddlebags. It’s kind of a modern day version of the iconic Triumphs James Dean and Marlon Brando rode decades a...

  • Supreme court takes on agency 'law-making'

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Jul 14, 2022

    “But the Constitution does not authorize agencies to use pen-and-phone regulations as substitutes for laws…” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote that and more in his 19-page concurring opinion in the West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (Case No. 20-1530). The Supreme Court recently ruled, 6-3, that the EPA cannot create over-reaching “laws” that bound entire industries; the ruling was released Thursday morning, June 30. The leftwing champions...

  • Squatchin' in Metaline Falls

    Roger Harnack, Free Press Publishing|Updated Jul 7, 2022

    Like the old Olympia beer commercials used to say, “I seen ‘em.” No, I’m not talking about “them there artesians” brewing beer in Washington state. I’m talking about “Squatch,” Sasquatch, Bigfoot. He was alive and well in Metaline Falls this past weekend at the annual Bigfoot Festival. The region’s most ardent Bigfoot believers headed to up the Pend Oreille River to investigate Sasquatch evidence, meet the “experts” and hobnob with likeminded individuals. I tagged a...

  • Plastic bag ban is only a scam on shoppers

    Roger Harnack, The Record-Times|Updated May 5, 2022

    I’ve never been a fan of the new ban on plastic bags and straws in our state. Subconsciously, I always knew it was a designed scheme to get more money out of people shopping in stores or having a beverage at a gas station or fast food stop. As you know, the politicos in Seattle and Olympia said that wasn’t the case. They said it was necessary to help eliminate the number of plastic straws and bags along our roadways, ending up in our streams and plaguing our landfills. The...

  • Palouse Falls trails should remain open

    Roger Harnack, Publisher|Updated Feb 10, 2022

    Palouse Falls has long been one of my favorite places to hike. Over the years, I’ve hiked the mile or so trek to the top of the main falls on numerous occasions. I’ve hiked it by myself, with friends and even my daughter when she was very young. I’ve meandered along the Palouse River to the upper falls and descended the basalt rim to the pool at the base of the falls about 189 feet below. For those of us who grew up in Eastern Washington, hiking Palouse Falls trails has long...