Lacey firm builds world’s tallest wheel in Vegas

The OlympianApril 28, 2014 


SCJ Alliance, a Lacey engineering and project consulting firm, has built the world’s tallest observation wheel – it’s too big to be called a Ferris wheel – at Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas. The 550-foot-tall wheel, called the High Roller, has 28 bubble cabins of 40 passengers each and takes a half-hour to make a single rotation.

The High Roller, has made the Guinness World Book of Records, a title it may only hold for another couple of years. New York is planning one for 630 feet and Dubai is building a 689-foot wheel. Both hope to open in 2016.

But for now, the High Roller has SCJ – a Shea Carr Jewell company – is hitting the jackpot.


The Tenino School District hasn’t passed a bond measure since 1987, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that last week’s $38 million ballot measure failed again. By a worse margin this time than in February. The organized anti-tax opponents didn’t win anything, but a generation of Tenino children lost something important.


Tenino stonecutter Keith Phillips got his tools back. They had been stolen in March, putting the master carver, who does the stonework on the state Capitol, historic courthouses and other buildings, temporarily out of work. Police recovered the tools in a vehicle owned by a former Hoquiam city councilman. It’s a happy, but also tragic end to the story.



The state of Washington has lost another elected official. Former state Auditor Bob Graham died recently at age 93. He had served for 28 years before handing his post over to Brian Sonntag.

Graham was a fierce watchdog on the state’s finances and introduced a new concept of performance auditing to make sure taxpayers were getting sufficient bang for their buck. Sonntag continued Graham’s work and achieved a funding stream for performance audits through Initiative 900 in 2005.


The state Department of Corrections will shut down a 23-year program that sent prisoners to clean up sites containing cancer-causing asbestos. It paid the prisoners $4 per hour for the deadly work. We’re not sure why anyone thought this was an acceptable or humane idea, but we’re glad it’s over.


The Olympia Area Chinese Fellowship has been dedicated to preserving an awareness of its members’ native culture and passing it on to younger generations for more than 30 years. The city of Olympia recently honored the organization for its work, and its founder and matriarch, Toy Kay, received a standing ovation in a packed council chamber. It’s important to recognize and honor work that celebrates Olympia’s diversity.

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