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Articles written by Don C. Brunell

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 By Don C. Brunell    Opinion    May 21, 2020

Brighter Future for Papermakers

In recent years, papermakers in Pacific Northwest have been losing ground. However, today there is a ray of hope. Surprisingly, that optimism results from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first days of the pandemic, grocers couldn’t keep toilet paper...

 
 By Don C. Brunell    Opinion    May 7, 2020

Unemployment Payments Provide Necessary Cushion for Jobless Americans

America’s unemployment rate is suddenly approaching historic levels. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began almost two months ago, roughly 30.3 million people have filed for jobless benefits. “That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago...

 

Thank The Truckers

As we get deeper into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finding more Americans to thank. Until recently, truckers have been behind the scenes just doing their jobs, but as shoppers learn how groceries and necessities reappeared on shelves, they join the...

 

TP Shortage is Tip of Iceberg

If you think the run on toilet paper is just an American thing, think again. On March 10, Business Insider (BI) reported: “The spread of the coronavirus has brought with it panic-buying of food and household essentials, despite the attempts of...

 

Coronavirus Testing Telecommuting Effectiveness

Nobody knows how deep the impact of the coronavirus will be, but one thing that it is destined to test is how effectively people will work from home. Washington is at the point of the spear. Of the 22 U.S. deaths attributed to COVID-19, there are 19...

 

Colorado River Water Problems Worsening

Last week, we visited the Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona. It is part of our National Parks “bucket list.” The trip was a real eye-opener. The Canyon is spectacular. It is hard to believe over a billion years ago it was flat ground...

 

Cheers for American Legion

The 2020 race for the White House is heating. It’s shaping up to be a referendum on America’s market-based economic system. The central question is government or the private sector going to provide our basic products and services? Last May, a...

 

Worn Out Wind Blades Plugging up Landfills

While wind farms generate “greenhouse gas free” electricity, there is increasing concern over the rapidly growing number of worn out blades ending up in landfills. Those blades, housed on giant towers reaching over 200-feet in the sky, are...

 

Keeping Health Workers Healthy is Key to Fighting Deadly Diseases

Keeping hospitals and health workers healthy is key to fighting diseases. With new and more deadly viruses, the job is more challenging. Although the coronavirus has captured the world’s attention, it is important to note the Center for Disease...

 

Copper Making Comeback as Major Disease Fighter

Government leaders, doctors, and medical researchers worldwide are working feverishly to stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep it from becoming a global pandemic. Wuhan, one of China’s major transportation hubs whose population approaches 11...

 

Dams are the Northwest Flood Busters

A year ago, much of America’s heartland was inundated by Missouri River flood waters. At least 1 million acres of US farmland in nine major grain producing states were under water. More than 14 million people were impacted. Damage exceeded $1 billi...

 

Student Loan Assistance Attractive Employer Benefit

Employers are looking at additional benefits to help workers who are stressed out over paying rent, transportation and food, and student loans. Even though job numbers and wages have increased, too often there just isn’t enough money to make ends...

 

Sulfur Standard Aims to Curtail Maritime Fuel Oil

With the new decade comes an international air pollution regulation which hastens the switch from high sulfur fuel oil to either diesel or LNG in ocean-going ships. The mandate drops the sulfur content from 3.5 percent to .5. While that number sounds...

 

Boeing Needs Strong Tailwinds

As we launch into 2020 and the ensuing decade, Boeing faces very strong head winds which are major concerns for those of us living in the Pacific Northwest. Things are vastly different now. In my first column of 2019, I wrote that Boeing was poised...

 

Bridges Shouldn't Have to Sink to be Replaced

Bridges shouldn’t have to sink to be replaced. However, at times that’s what it takes. Too often new projects succumb to years of fighting among interest groups and endless political bickering. In 2013, opposition killed Columbia Crossings...

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cells Gaining Momentum

In the coming decade, investors are betting that hydrogen will become a prominent fuel which can eliminate CO2 discharges from the vehicles it energizes. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) the transportation sector has...

 

Retail-tainment May Save Malls

Preliminary sales trends from Small Business Saturday show a continuing increase in smartphone purchases even among shoppers patronizing local merchants. According to the Associated Press (AP), Adobe Analytics said smartphone income made up over 40...

 

Americans are Blessed in So Many Ways

In America, our Thanksgivings range from large family-gatherings to Good Samaritans volunteering in soup kitchens serving turkey dinners to the hungry. Now think about what it's like in other parts of the world where people are lucky to have a few...

 

Boeing's Resiliency Tested

The grounding of the 737 MAX is testing Boeing’s resiliency. It has turned the company upside down in just six months. Boeing executives and engineers have been under duress since the two fatal crashes killing 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia...

 

Greatest Generation Slipping into History

Just before Veterans Day, the last known survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor died at age 98. With the passing of George Hursey of Massachusetts, it closed that chapter of World War II---the world’s most deadly conflict in which over 60...

 

Impeachment Aside: There's Work to be Done

Now that President Trump’s impeachment process is formally underway, Democrats and Republicans need to avoid becoming completely absorbed by it. They must work together on other important issues such as immigration, health care, education, infrastr...

 

Power of Reliable Power

Our state’s economy and way of life hinges on low cost and reliable electricity. Since Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams were completed in the early 1940s, Washington has enjoyed both. We are accustomed to flipping a switch and our lights...

 

Cosmic Crisp is Needed Lift for Washington

Imagine tuning into the Sunday morning talk shows and wondering if the politicians and commentators could possibly find something positive to say about one another or the state of affairs in America. Unfortunately, there is a better chance of...

 

Wildfire Season That Wasn't

The Oregonian characterized the 2019 wildfire season as the “season that wasn’t!” That’s good news for west coast states; however, it doesn’t mean we are permanently “out of the woods!” Worldwide wildfires are down as well. According...

 

High Costs Drive People to Move

Too often, elected officials overlook the cumulative costs of regulations, taxes and fees on taxpayers; however, it comes back to bite them hard when people move, or take matters into their own hands by initiative. Consider what is happening in...

 

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