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Kerry Madden — When drugs conquer all

We just said goodbye to a 26-year-old neighbor, a kid I watched grow up from sandbox to carpool to high school rock band to opera singer to drugs. His name was Noah. He could sing a seamless “Stardust,” and he loved the Italian opera singer Tito Gobbi, because Gobbi was a true character actor too.

To protect our privacy, make the FISA court act like a real court

The expiration of key surveillance authorities this spring will force Congress to grapple with the sprawling spying activities exposed by Edward Snowden. Defenders of the status quo sound a familiar refrain: The National Security Agency’s programs are lawful and already subject to robust oversight. After all, they have been blessed not just by Congress but by the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court.

Annie Cubberly — Money spent on kids now saves us a bundle later

The Grays Harbor Early Learning Coalition applauds the Washington State Legislature for its strong bipartisan effort to pass the Early Start Act. Now, as we launch into the state budget process, we encourage the Legislature to fully fund the bill and affirm our state’s commitment to high-quality early learning programs that create long-term, positive outcomes for our children.

Anne Steckel — Without immediate renewable fuels standard, biodiesel industry faces uncertain future

The large-scale production of domestic biodiesel should be something President Barack Obama strongly supports, due to his commitment to slowing the pace of climate change and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. After all, the Environmental Protection Agency has certified that biodiesel can cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost 90 percent when compared to diesel made from petroleum.