Our thumbs are mostly up about happenings in South Sound right now

With the departure of longtime Olympian writer Brad Shannon, the newspaper has had to pare down its editorial offerings. That, of course, does not mean the number of local issues we’d like to discuss has gotten smaller.

So we’ve decided to resurrect our traditional thumbs-up, thumbs-down column, so we can weigh in on a number of happenings all at once. The good news is, we’ve got more thumbs up than down this time around.

Thumbs down: Harassing security guards

The Olympia Solidarity masked thugs who harassed private security guards downtown are the enemy of downtown businesses, the enemy of people who are homeless, and the enemy of security guards who need jobs. They sow division and fear where unity and courage are needed.

Downtown merchants are struggling with peoples’ fears about people with untreated mental illnesses and addictions and extreme poverty. The majority of downtown business owners are humane, generous, and supportive of the city’s efforts to mitigate the crisis of homelessness that is exploding downtown. The homeless advocates’ slogan “legalize survival” should certainly apply to downtown businesses.

Our message to Olympia Solidarity: Grow up and find a new, more civilized way to advocate for your position. Our message to the Olympia Police Department: If they do this again, arrest them.

And our message to everyone else: The city has stepped up police patrols and Downtown Ambassadors to keep everyone safe. Downtown is fun, bustling, and filled with local businesses who have earned our support. So shop downtown, dine downtown – and ask Lacey and Tumwater what they are doing to welcome and help homeless people.

Thumbs up: Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas, a local award-winning architect, is a hero of Olympia’s downtown. He is responsible for turning a pig’s ear into a silk purse at the corner of Legion and Franklin – the old Sears building that now houses a bank, a brew pub and restaurant, and 19 loft apartments. He’s also the designer of Annie’s Artists Flats at Fifth and Adams. That building fits right into downtown’s historic district, and is worth a trip downtown to see. He’s also the designer for the Laurana, an attractive mixed-use building going up at the old Les Schwab site on the corner of State and Water streets, and an 87-unit development coming soon at the foot of East Bay. His sensitive, community-oriented architecture is a dream come true for everyone who wants a thriving, creative and diverse city center with more housing options.

Thumbs up: Selena Kilmoyer

Selena Kilmoyer just couldn’t stand the fact the Interfaith Works Emergency Shelter at First Christian Church was required to close during the day, sending its vulnerable residents, many of whom are disabled, out into the street. So she persuaded the church to open a “Day Spa” for them where they can stay warm, dry, and loved. If you happen to be looking for a destination for your holiday giving, this would be a great choice. And don’t you love that she’s calling it a Day Spa?

You can take donations to the big blue and white church at the corner of Franklin and Seventh, or find them online at https://www.firstchristiandayspa.org .

Thumbs up: Oly Lighstravaganza

Oly Lightstravaganza is the spectacular Christmas light project of Luke and Whitney Bowerman, who have the ultimate lighted house, yard, and treehouse at 1515 10th Ave. SE. All through the holiday season, they serve hot cider and cookies in the evening, and collect donations for people in need. Tonight, from 6-7 p.m., the Olympia Fire Department will have a big shiny truck there to collect donations for the food bank. This Olympia tradition is a treasure.

Thumbs up: Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program

The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program has a troop in Lacey for girls who’ve been affected by the incarceration of a parent or other loved one, past or present. This program has a specialized curriculum to help participants build confidence, and includes free uniforms, badges, fees for camps and events, membership and more. And yes, they will sell cookies, too. For more information, contact Casey Hughes at 907-953-9505.