Thumbs up - RotaryThe Rotary Club of South Puget Sound netted nearly $50,000 at its annual auction. “This is the best we’ve ever done at an auction,” said club President David Palmer. “At a time when our economy is suffering, we are truly overwhelmed by and grateful for the generosity of our auction guests.” Those guests were invited to bid on 190 auction items. The real beneficiaries of the community’s generosity will be high school students in South Sound who will receive scholarships to further their education. In addition, South Puget Sound Rotary supports Rotaplast, which sends surgical and dental teams to third-world countries to perform free cleft palate and cleft lip repairs for children who would otherwise never have the opportunity for surgery. Guests purchased nearly $16,000 in shares for Rotaplast and the result will be a mission in 2010. Well done!
Thumbs down - Burglaries
It’s incumbent upon west side residents to be extra vigilant as Olympia police report a string of 22 burglaries since the first of the year. Daytime residential burglaries are on the rise on Olympia’s west side, with police reporting a minimum of three burglaries each month from February to May. Olympia Police Sgt. Dan Smith said police don’t have any good leads. The burglar or burglars have predominantly targeted unlocked residences or removed window screens, according to police. Laptops, desktop computers and jewelry are the most common items stolen. The burglars tend to hit at least every couple of weeks, mostly between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Olympia Police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad encouraged residents to practice “Crime Prevention 101.” He said residents should call police if they see anything suspicious in their neighborhood; it could be something as simple as seeing a strange person walking around and knocking on doors. “There’s no better burglary deterrent than a nosy neighbor,” Bjornstad said. Residents should secure doors and windows, check serial numbers on computers, and photograph jewelry. That way, police might be able to identify recovered items as stolen, Bjornstad said. Anyone with information about residential burglary suspects can call the Olympia Police Department’s detective bureau at 360-753-8400. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222.
Thumbs up - Kiplinger's
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A big thumbs up to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine for recognizing The Olympia metropolitan area as one of the top 10 best cities in the country. The magazine recognized something South Sound residents already know – this is a wonderful community by most any measure. The Olympia area was ranked No. 6. “Olympia is a cultural diamond in the rough of the Pacific Northwest,” the magazine notes in its July issue, adding that state government is a “keystone” for the economy and that schools such as The Evergreen State College and Saint Martin’s University are drivers of the area’s growth and character. The list of other attributes, from our parades and festivals to the welcoming attitude of residents, were highlighted by community leaders who gathered recently to acknowledge South Sound’s ranking. The Olympia area is no stranger to top 10 lists. In past years, the area has been recognized by Forbes Magazine, Bert Sperling’s Best Places, the credit-rating agency Moody’s and Farmers Insurance. Olympia Mayor Doug Mah told a lunchtime audience at the farmers market that he took a copy of Kiplinger’s to the nation’s capital on a recent visit where he was generating support to rebuild Percival Landing – the boardwalk that stretches along the southern shore of Budd Inlet. “We were able to hold up this magazine and say we’re No. 6 and with your assistance we’re going to be No. 1,” Mah said. The rankings are important because they reaffirm just how lucky we are to live in a caring, giving community with a top-notch quality of life.
Thumbs down - Vandals
State officials spent about $1,800 to clean up the mess at Heritage Park earlier this week. Dumpsters were tossed into Capitol Lake along with construction cones. Sprinkler heads were torn out. Picnic tables were spray-painted. The concrete steps leading to the lakefront were chipped. What’s wrong with people? Why would anyone do this? It’s senseless and costly at a time when government accounts are depleted. People should take pride in their community. How sad.