YAY: ALKI PROGRAM funding
Last spring, Olympia School District officials suspended the sixth-grade portion of the alternative middle school program because of low enrollment. But several parents and students organized an effort that resulted in the Olympia School Board reversing the administrators’ decision. Named for the Chinook Indian word meaning “bye and bye” or “hope for the future,” the Alki program focuses largely on cooperative learning. It features more field trips, a higher level of parental participation and different educational experiences than traditional middle school programs.
YAY: CITY/BIKE PARK ALLIANCE FOR YAUGER PARK
The bike pump track that opened in Yauger Park in west Olympia last week might seem small, but it’s the start of something big. The Bike Park Alliance originally approached the city of Olympia with the idea to create a large recreational bike skills park west of Watershed Park in February of 2014. But the city was looking to take the space in Yauger Park — a previously troublesome area with homeless camping, drug use and trash — and use it for something positive. The Bike Park Alliance’s idea seemed like a solution that was a “match made in heaven.”
YAY/BOO: FAREWELL, JON STEWART
We survived our first week without Jon Stewart’s political satire, but it wasn’t easy. After 16 years, the show’s absence — especially in the middle of an eminently satire-worthy presidential campaign underway — leaves a major gap in our civic life.
BOO: ANOTHER SHOOTING IN FERGUSON
The shooting of 18-year-old Tyrone Harris in Ferguson, Missouri, on the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, showed that racial tensions have not been extinguished. Police have released surveillance video that they say shows a teenager appear to pull a weapon from his waistband before he was later shot and critically wounded by plainclothes police. The disastrous patterns need to change.
YAY/BOO: BERNIE SANDERS SHOUTED DOWN
We’re all for free speech, so yay for that right. But Black Lives Matters activists who shouted down Bernie Sanders in his Seattle appearance denied him and his followers the right to hear what he came to say. Later that day, Sanders spoke to an estimated 15,000 supporters at Hec Edmunson Pavilion, a reception more typical of Seattle.
YAY: SEAHAWKS FOOTBALL
It feels great to be (mostly) through the contract drama and move to drama to the field where it belongs. And even diehard Mariners fans have to admit — despite Wednesday’s remarkable no-hitter — it’s been a bleak summer. The Hawks’ addition of Jimmy Graham and the return of Super Bowl veterans Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin, Bobby Wagner — the list goes on — gives fans plenty of reasons to hope for another great season.
YAY: PARENTAL LEAVE EXEMPLARS
Credit Microsoft and Netflix for setting a high bar for corporate benefits for employers. Microsoft added eight weeks of paid leave for new mothers and fathers for a maximum of 20 weeks of leave, and Netflix raised the ante to a full year. Of course, Microsoft is competing for talent in a lucrative industry, and so is Netflix. But like Walmart raising its minimum wage, we like to think this is a signal for other firms to move toward better practices.