Published December 24, 2012
What the NRA offered is far short of a solution
BOO! NRA PROPOSAL Any doubts about just how deep the gun control divide is in this country were washed away Friday when the National Rifle Association offered its “solution” to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Put an armed volunteer in every school in the nation, NRA lobbyist Wayne LaPierre offered, sticking to the old saw that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is for a good guy to shoot him. It was naive to think the nation’s largest gun-rights lobby would say anything sensible about gun control. Instead, the group is the front-runner in the civilian arms race that makes our nation such a violent one. YAY! RECYCLING RATE It’s been a long time coming, but the state has finally topped a recycling rate of 50 percent set by the state Department of Ecology in 1989. The 2011 rate was 50.7 percent, which equals about 3.64 pounds per day per person. All that recycling means a savings in energy and natural resources akin to keeping about 1.9 million cars off the road. Here’s hoping the diversion of solid waste from landfills statewide climbs even higher in the years ahead. YAY! GATES GRANT The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound has received a $500,000, multi-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The money will be used to tackle poverty in the South Sound area by providing educational support for impoverished children and helping families become more self-sufficient. Based on its track record, there’s no doubt the Community Foundation will put the money to good use. YAY! CONCERN FOR ANIMALS After a 30-year nomadic existence in South Sound, the Concern for Animals has a permanent home in Olympia. Purchase of a former house on State Street gives the animal rescue nonprofit a place to call its own. Concern for Animals provides help caring for pets of low-income and down-on-their-luck families. The group distributes pet food, helps with veterinarian bills and helps shelter cats. Interested in learning more? Contact janey@concernforanimals. org. BOO! BRIDGE WORKERS Last summer’s Taylor Bridge fire near Cle Elum erupted when a construction crew on the bridge used welding and power tools in violation of a state safety rule, according to a state Department of Natural Resources investigative report released last week. The fire spread to 23,000 acres, devoured 61 homes and cost firefighters more than $11.1 million to battle. The report also notes that a chance to quickly extinguish the blaze was lost when the construction official who knew how to operate the water truck on site was away on an errand as the fire spread. Property owners have already filed a lawsuit against the two construction companies working on the bridge. Sounds like DNR may not be far behind. YAY! TURN AT THE WHEEL A legally blind teen in Snohomish got her chance behind the wheel last week on her 18th birthday when classmates at Glacier Peak High School and volunteers from Home Depot used Christmas lights and reflectors to build her a lighted course in the high school parking lot. She took the driver’s seat in a driver education car, joined by an instructor, and drove three laps around her special course. Her favorite part: Putting the foot to the pedal. BOO! SYRUP PRICES Sky-high syrup prices have consumers thinking twice before dousing their breakfast pancakes with syrup. Since 1980, the price of maple syrup has soared 182 percent, which is more than gold or crude oil. Syrup production is not keeping up with demand because a spate of warm winters has reduced how much sap the trees produce. Sounds like another reason to be worried about climate change.