Harrison Ave. will be easier to navigate

State officials recently agreed with West Olympia residents that Harrison Avenue between Yauger Way and Kaiser Road should be expanded from two lanes to five. Driving, biking and walking down that part of Harrison Avenue will be a lot easier now that state officials have granted Olympia nearly

$4.4 million for the $9.8 million project. The rest of the money will come from impact fees developers pay to the city and from other state funds, according to Assistant City Manager Subir Mukerjee. Councilman Joe Hyer applauded the project, saying: "It will basically give you bike lanes and sidewalks for the whole corridor. As those neighborhoods get built out ... I think it was very important for us to get that bicycle and pedestrian connection to the mall and restaurants."

A big thumbs down to those who prey upon the vulnerability of others - especially those who bilk people out of their hard-earned money. An elderly Lacey woman has fallen for a simple scam where she was promised a $4 million payoff for an investment of $12,000. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That certainly was the case when Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Montreal, Quebec, alerted Lacey police that a 35th Avenue woman was being bilked out of her money. According to Lacey police reports, the victim said "she was contacted by a man that addressed himself as Samson Addison and offered her a cash money deal." The woman "stated that Samson had told her that if she sent $12,000 in cash to him, he would pay her back $4 million when he got to Singapore, and he needed the $12,000 to get to his country from Canada." The sad truth is the Lacey woman isn't the first victim to fall prey to this type of scam, and she won't be the last. Anyone with concerns about a get-rich-quick scheme should call the local law enforcement agency. It sure would be terrific to catch some of these fly-by-night con artists before they move on to their next victim.

Credit Lisa Schelter, 16, an Olympia High School sophomore, and her friends with some creative thinking. Most teens welcome the new year with low-key parties - a few movies, board games and a place in front of the television set to watch the crystal ball drop in Times Square. That's the norm. Schelter and her friends wanted a different kind of celebration - something more formal - so they organized a dress-up New Year's Eve party at the Olympia Ballroom. What a great idea, celebrating the new year in the ways of yesteryear. It brings back visions of the big band era and a rousing chorus of "Auld Lang Syne," though the Olympia youngsters opted for a disc jockey, snacks and a countdown. A big plastic poster of Times Square became a place for signatures and messages commemorating ringing in the New Year. Who knows, maybe this will grow into a grand Olympia tradition for teens.

Looking for an example of why it's important to put power cables underground? Look no further than tree-lined Legion Way with its magnificent canopy of stately oaks and sweet gum trees. Planted in 1928 to mark the 10th anniversary of the end of World War I, the trees are at risk because of poor tree-topping practices years ago to keep their limbs away from power lines. The practice at the time was to top those on the north side of the street to protect the power lines, then match the trimming on the trees on the south side of the residential street to keep the trees uniform. Six of the beautiful trees fell victim to the December windstorm. "We're struggling to keep them healthy," urban forester Joe Roush said of the remaining trees. Every time one of the giants goes down, it's replaced, but the city has lost a link with the past. Roush said topping the trees damages the structural integrity and forces branches to grow upward, draining resources the trees would otherwise use to form roots. That spells disaster when a windstorm arrives. Most of the power lines were removed in 1988, but the residents along Legion Way are still paying for the damage to the trees decades ago.