JUNIOR’S DONE IT AGAIN: We couldn’t help feel a bit lighter and happier last week when Ken Griffey Jr. was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He didn’t just get in but knocked it out of the park, winning on all but three of 440 ballots cast by U.S. baseball writers.
There was always something about The Kid, or Junior. He had a dramatic flair. He hit big home runs and a lot (630) of them. He made spectacular catches in the field. Griffey’s infectious joy in playing a kid’s game helped save a struggling franchise in the 1990s, helped inspire public support for funding Safeco Field and served as the magic carpet that carried the M’s into the playoffs for the first time.
A bonus is that he’ll wear the Seattle Mariners uniform into the hall — honoring a team that has been as terrible in recent years as the Seahawks football team has been good.
Our M’s are the team Griffey started his career with. As the late Mariners’ sportscaster Dave Niehaus might have said: “My oh my. Junior’s done it again.”
GILMAN MAINTAINS BEARD TRADITION: We noticed that Clark Gilman, the new Olympia City Council member appointed last week, has a beard. So did former Mayor Stephen Buxbaum and Councilman Steve Langer, who both left their posts recently. Gilman will have company — with bearded council member Nathaniel Jones.
We wondered whether this was a job requirement for male council members until we remembered that Councilman Jim Cooper hasn’t grown one — yet.
THE FUTURE OF PAY PHONES?: Next summer, New York City will replace 500 of its remaining pay phones with kiosks offering Wi-Fi hotspots, complete with an Android tablet people can use to make phone calls or go online.
The effort is a partnership between the city and three tech companies and will be financed by ad revenue on the kiosks. The goal is to provide 7,500 of these over the next few years. The city is guaranteed a minimum of $500 million in annual revenue from its tech company partners.
MIDDLE CLASS RETAILER TROUBLE: Macy’s is expected to announce the closure of 40 stores in early 2016, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, its hometown newspaper. Fortunately, Olympia’s store is not on the closure list.
But the chain may close a quarter of its 800 stores nationwide if current shopping trends continue. Those trends include more online shopping, and the shrinkage of Macy’s middle class, mall shopper consumer base.
While stores like Macy’s and J.C. Penney struggle, higher-end mall-based stores like Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton are thriving, as are bargain stores like Ross Dress for Less and T.J. Maxx.
HEARTENING RESPONSE TO HATEFUL GRAFFITI: Vandals painted a swastika on a sculpture outside the Jewish temple in Olympia just before Christmas.
The defacement at Temple Beth Hatfiloh was offensive, but the response by temple members and other groups, including Unity in the Community and Interfaith Works, was truly heartening.
More than 100 people gathered on the Fourth Avenue Bridge on New Year’s Day with signs that urged South Sounders to support a more inclusive community.