Volunteers keep people in their homes

About 100 South Sound volunteers spent National Rebuilding Day making improvements to six area homes to improve the quality of life of homeowners.

Stephen and Sharon Meyers had a wheelchair ramp added to their home to make it easier for her to get in and out of the residence. Sharon Meyers was diagnosed with lung cancer late last year. "Getting out and getting to treatments is a lifesaver," said Stephen Meyers. "This'll get her going, and she likes to get out and do gardening." The annual rebuilding event got started through the Washington, D.C.-based Rebuilding Together nonprofit organization, which has chapters across the nation, including one in Thurston County. A panel selected by the local chapter's board of directors chooses the homes that are repaired. Homeowners typically are low-income and often elderly or disabled as well - people who probably couldn't accomplish or pay for repairs on their own. "We keep people in their homes," said Larry Hill, Rebuilding Together's communications director, who helped at the Meyers' home. A big thumbs up to National Rebuilding Day and the 100 volunteers for making a significant difference in their community.

When patients go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, they assume that they are getting the right drug in the right dosage. It's not always a safe assumption, as demonstrated recently when three Northwest residents died after receiving a drug that was erroneously made 10 times more potent than intended. ApotheCure Inc., a drug compounding pharmacy company in Texas, said an employee made a weighing error in the creation of the drug colchicine, which led to the deaths. Colchicine is commonly used to treat gout, but in these cases it was being given intravenously to treat back pain. The defective doses went to the Center for Integrative Medicine in Portland. All three patients who died - two from Portland and one from Yakima - received their injections at the clinic, which has since closed its doors. Gary Osborn, a pharmacist and certified clinical nutritionist for ApotheCure, said the situation could have been contained earlier, but the clinic did not contact ApotheCure until nearly two weeks after the first death. There's plenty of blame to share in these tragic, and avoidable, deaths.

As part of their graduation requirement for 2008, Capital High School students are expected to tackle a significant project. Eight Capital juniors have picked a project that will leave a lasting mark on their campus and boost the environment at the same time. They are building two rain gardens that will collect stormwater, preventing potentially polluted runoff from entering storm drains that eventually dump into Budd Inlet. "It's good to know that anyone can do something like this and, in doing so, it helps the environment and the community," said student John Quinn, 17. The students began working on the gardens in late January, visiting other such gardens in the area, determining the new gardens' designs and researching the materials and mostly native plants that they'd need. Then, they presented their proposals to Olympia School District for approval. Friends, parents and many community organizations and businesses made the effort possible. "I was impressed by how it all came together," said Rachel Clark, 16. "I think it's really cool that we can make a lasting contribution."

An 18-year-old Vashon Island girl was critically injured after she fell from the roof of a moving car on which she was dancing, according to police. The teenager was with two 17-year-old friends at Paradise Ridge Park on Vashon Island when the accident occurred. The girl had been dancing on the roof of the car when the 17-year-old male driver took off. As the driver approached the exit gate, the girl tumbled off the car and struck the pavement, police said. She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and was listed in critical condition. Deputies said they believe alcohol was involved in the accident. The teenage driver could face a charge of vehicular assault. Others can, and must, learn from this unfortunate accident.