Thumbs up: Rescuer
Quick acting Victor Moffert saved a child’s life recently. His heroic deed merits community recognition, perhaps in next year’s Real Heroes ceremony sponsored by the local chapter of the American Red Cross, where people who helped save lives are honored. Rebecca Bennett of Shelton was at Tumwater Falls Park keeping tabs on a couple of children when her attention was diverted for just a second. A stroller with an 8-month-old baby inside rolled into the fast-flowing Deschutes River. Without hesitation, Moffert, a Shelton resident, jumped into the water and pulled out the boy and the stroller. Moffett performed CPR on the child, who began breathing on his own before emergency medical personnel arrived. Witness Julie Sievers of Olympia said Moffett reacted with “lighting speed” and got wet up to his chest during the river rescue. The child was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma where he was reportedly treated and released. Moffert deserves praise for his quick actions to save the life of the infant.
Thumbs down: Vandalism
Two recent acts of vandalism — one in Olympia, the other near Lacey — have drawn community condemnation. It will cost the city of Olympia about $1,050 to replace the solar panels that were ripped from the top of three new “green” parking pay stations downtown. The city was scheduled to begin enforcement of the pay stations at the new meters on Tuesday, but has put that plan on hold for further study. The solar pay stations have been installed on downtown blocks that housed free, 90-minute parking spaces. Three of the parking meter stations in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue were damaged one night. Deborah Lobe, parking supervisor for Olympia Parking Services, said the city has ordered replacement panels. She said that the city is going to shore up the meters by installing stronger bolts and washers. It cost the city $9,000 for each of the 49 solar-powered meters. These are public resources purchased with public dollars. The same holds true for the public’s investment in Nisqually Middle School where three students have been arrested on suspicion of a costly break-in. Thurston County sheriff’s deputies arrested two 13-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl for investigation of second- degree burglary. Surveillance video showed three juveniles breaking about 30 windows at the school on Steilacoom Road Southeast. They also entered a portable classroom, where school property was ransacked and damaged. Initial vandalism estimates ranged between $5,000 and $10,000. Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy said detectives discovered that the teens had sent incriminating texts to one another about the vandalism. Once prosecutors have secured convictions in both cases of senseless vandalism, the criminal defendants must be forced to pay full restitution costs.
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Tumwater High School students got an emotional — and timely — reminder about the dangers of texting while driving. Students organized an assembly to educate their fellow classmates of the sometimes deadly consequences of texting. One of the speakers was Wendy Lerch, mother of former Tumwater student Heather Lerch, who died while exchanging text messages with friends as a 19-year-old college freshman. Other demonstrations during the assembly included a crash reenactment involving a sedan and an SUV, a LifeFlight helicopter and a display of the wreckage of Heather Lerch’s car. Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock, playing the Grim Reaper, called out students who were taken from their classrooms by paramedics on gurneys while their obituaries were read over the school’s public address system. Two students were “arrested” by a Washington state trooper for vehicular homicide. The realistic reenactments were a sobering reminder of the deadly consequences of texting while driving. A new law prohibiting texting while behind the wheel — for teens and adults — goes into effect on June 10.