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The Colville Tribes’ settlement with the federal government over mismanagment of tribal assets held in trust is a good thing for the tribes and for this area. With a little over 9,000 members, the Colville membership and their leaders can do some very positive things with $193 million, including a substantial injection into the regional economy through buildup of their own resources and industry, payments to members or a combination.

The hiring of a “records manager” in Coulee Dam may be prudent, if costly. The best outcome would occur if the new hire were able to tackle the digitization of town records, even ordinances, and the posting of those online, a goal mentioned by the town clerk.

The issue of having to provide records to citizens gets thorny in any year when towns and counties are feeling particularly squeezed in their budgets, and they’d like to have that burden reduced by the state Legislature. We woud hate to see that happen. As burdensome as it can be occassionally, the provision for access to information lies at the heart of our system of government. Cities and counties might be better served by pooling their resources in an insurance pool, which they have, for covering costs when issues come up.

Coulee Dam’s proactive stance, if it includes the online access solution, is even a step better.

Giving the Ridge Riders money from taxes collected for tourism? Definitely prudent. Their rodeo and other events planned for the year will likely bring to town more tourism dollars than the $12,000 pledge by the three cities that collect the tax. That’s exactly what it’s for.

The surprise announcement that the golf course will not re-open is a blow to the community. It’s not just a minor setback for a few dedicated duffers, the 18-hole course lay at the center of future development plans currently laidd dormant by the downturned economy. Those may not re-emerge if that central cultural amenity is no longer available to offer as an attraction.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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