Cheers

Giving away a million buck must make you feel like, well, a million bucks. And when it’s for a really good cause, it’s probably even better.

An anonymous family has pledged $1 million to build a new gymnasium in Hansen, a community not usually the beneficiary of such large sums. The money is pledged for the school district, but the new gym is intended to be used by the entire community.

The district is seeking proposals for a design-build team. Hansen’s school board is expected to work out the details at its Feb. 15 meeting.The gym is slated for Walnut Avenue and Rock Creek Road. District officials are hopeful the gym can be finished by Christmas, and all paid for by the donation; school officials don’t want to dip into district funds.

The gym will get a lot of use. Hansen already has two gym spaces, but they’re packed.

“Even with having two facilities here, we’re finding we’re frequently short,” said Kristin Beck, superintendent of the Hansen School District. “There’s not enough space for all activities going on.”

So cheers to the benevolence of the philanthropists. Our communities are better places because of them.

Jeers

For anyone still doubting the effectiveness of vaccines, take a look at the reports this week of whooping cough outbreaks at at least three Magic Valley school districts.

Vaccines are required for kids to attend public schools in Idaho, sort of. Opting out of the requirement is as simple as filling out a form.

When parents opt out, it allows their children to become vehicles for disease, endangering them and any other children they come in contact with.

There are legitimate religious reasons for opting out of the vaccine requirement, but doubts about the science behind vaccines shouldn’t be one of them. The science here is crystal clear: Vaccines pose very low risks — autism is not one of them — and very high benefits.

Vaccinate your kids to keep them and their classmates healthy.

Cheers

Good luck to Rep. Mike Simpson, who is competing to become the next chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful and influential committees in Congress because it sets budgets for scores of federal agencies.

We believe Simpson would be an ideal chairman for the very reason some in his party might seek to block his nomination: Simpson is practical, rational, moderate, a critic of the president’s stupider comments and policies, and willing to compromise with Democrats.

He’s a real Republican and a statesman, not one of the ethno-nationalist hardliners who’ve seemed more focused on knocking others down to enrich themselves under the current administration than doing what congressmen are supposed to: govern.

It’s that compromise part that’ll be a sticking point. But that’s exactly what’s needed in Washington these days — lawmakers who put country before party to get things done, even if it means letting the other side get a win here and there.

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