How simple can it be: Don’t text and drive

December 17, 2012 

BOO! Auto texting

The state is seeking a grant from Congress to launch a high-profile ad campaign to enforce the law against texting while driving. But Congress is holding back, because under Washington law the fines don’t increase for repeat offenders. Can you say “zero tolerance?” It’s absurd that the state should have to spend money to convince people not to do something stupid.

By the way, the world’s first text message was sent 20 years ago this month. It read, “Merry Christmas.”

YAY! Sign of the times

The City of Tumwater proposes to add a new part-time position to coordinate city volunteers. As the recession takes its toll on city governments, Tumwater is reaching out to community volunteers to keep providing services, and getting a strong response. Mayor Pete Kmet says, “We are reaching a point where we need someone to staff that and organize those volunteers.” It’s a sign of the times.

YAH! Helping hands

Support from several area businesses helped more than 50 volunteers repaint the interior common areas and hallways of the Fleetwood Apartments. The residence is part of the Low Income Housing Institute out of Seattle that provides housing for formerly homeless individuals, including many veterans. A Home Depot grant, and donations from the Capitol Plaza Hotel, Starbucks and Merconis made the improvements possible.

BOO! Twinkie Grinch

Thank you, Gregory Rayburn, CEO of Hostess Brands, for reminding us Grinchs and Scrooges really do exist. While he’s busy shutting down the company and tossing 15,000 people out of work during the holiday season, Rayburn is also cutting everyone’s pay by 8 percent … except his own, of course. He’s keeping his $125,000 per month salary going, just as any self-respecting, heartless Scrooge would do.

YAY! It’s a mystery

The South Sound is blessed with an award-winning bookstore devoted to aficionados of the mystery and crime genre. The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Mystery Writers of America recently named Whodunit? Books in downtown Olympia as the 2012 Mystery Bookstore of the Year Award. Owner Linda Dewberry credits her store’s volunteers for keeping her going over the past 12 years.

YAY! Best in state

Congratulations to Ann Robbins. The Washington Association of School Social Workers named her the School Social Worker of the Year. The Fort Stevens Elementary School intervention specialist makes sure young children leave her office happier than when they arrived. Isn’t that a good lesson for everyone?

HUH? Signs of life

NASA scientists reported this week that the Rover Curiosity has so far not found any definitive signs of life. Didn’t know it was searching the halls of the U.S. Congress. We thought it was on Mars.

HUH? High strung

When a convenience-store clerk confronted a young couple trying to shoplift a case of beer in West Seattle, the would-be thieves attacked the clerk with a ukulele. They bashed the clerk over the head with the four-stringer, shattering the instrument and cutting the clerk.

Little known fact: the ukulele is the Hawaiian version of the machete … not the big knife, but the small guitar spin-off taken to the Pacific islands by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century.

Yah! Christmas Forest

Christmas Forest celebrated its 25th anniversary in a big way this holiday season, raising more than $550,000 to provide health care needs for the vulnerable members of the community, including sexual assault victims and abused children.

Once again, hat’s off to the Providence St. Peter Foundation and its hundreds of volunteers for a job well-done presenting this five-day event, which drew some 4,500 visitors during the public viewing of the exquisitely decorated trees and wreaths.

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