YAY: WARRIOR WIDOWS
Stephanie Groepper lost her husband, Chad, in a combat ambush in Iraq in 2008. Groepper, who has a 7-year-old daughter, Clarissa, joined with other women at Joint Base Lewis McChord who also lost spouses in combat – founding a Washington Warrior Widows group. The volunteers offer support and guidance to others as navigating through grief and military bureaucracy.
BOO: PREMERA BREACH
As many as 6 million Washingtonians and 11 million people nationwide may be affected by a cyberattack that hit Mountlake Terrace-based Premera Blue Cross. Besides personal information such as Social Security numbers, clinical information could have been mined by hackers in the attack last May. Premera says it discovered the breach in January, and state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler has questioned why the company, which is working with the FBI, has taken six weeks to notify customers.
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YAY: REALLY BIG SHOE
The ninth yearly Big Shoe benefit for homeless and needy South Sound kids raised a record $25,500, says Scott Schoengarth of Entertainment Explosion, who produced and directed the event at The Washington Center on March 8. Proceeds will go to homeless-fund coordinators at Olympia, Tumwater, North Thurston, Shelton, Yelm, Tenino, Rainier and Rochester school districts and Community Youth Services.
BOO: CAR THIEVES
Car thefts were up by 35 percent during the first two months of 2015 in Olympia, the city police department reports. The most targeted vehicles are late-1990s Hondas but also Acuras and Toyotas. Some Honda owners are in luck: police are using a car-theft prevention grant to give away steering wheel locks to owners of older Hondas. Inquire at the police department.
YAY: HOLLY HOUSING PROJECT
Another low-income housing project is in the works for the greater-Olympia area. It would assist those homeless persons whose medical conditions put them at elevated risk of dying. Homes First, which manages 28 low-income properties in Thurston County, is raising funds for its estimated $1.75 million project; it seeks to buy and renovate the Holly Motel along Martin Way. The Olympia City Council has agreed to provide $50,000 for development and design.
BOO: OBAMA’S OPACITY
The Obama administration set a record in 2014 for censoring government records and denying access to records, even while spending $434 million trying to comply with requests, according to an Associated Press analysis of Freedom of Information Act data. Other findings: The government acknowledged – but only when challenged – that its initial decisions to censor or withhold records were improper in nearly one in three cases. Also inexcusable: Records personnel were cut by 375, or 9 percent, while the backlog of unanswered requests grew by 55 percent to over 200,000.
YAY: OLD CAPITOL REPAIRS
The Old Capitol Building that now houses the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is getting long-awaited attention. Crews began work last week on about $860,000 in repairs that target gutters, roof flashing, fixing collapsed drainage lines and repairing plaster damage. Water has damaged mortar around the sandstone exterior of the 123-year-old downtown landmark that once served as the capitol building.