Kids benefit from generous fishing day

Fourteen years ago, Lacey Parks and Recreation joined with other sponsors – including the state Department of Fish and Wildlife – to create a special day of fishing for children. The Family Fish-In at Long’s Pond, adjacent to the Lacey Community Center, is wildly popular with youngsters. For many of them, it’s the first exposure to the sport of fishing. In advance of last weekend’s event, 2,500 rainbow trout were planted in Long’s Pond. About 600 children 14 and younger registered for the event, paying $5 for a T-shirt, fishing rod and reel, which they got to keep, according to Jim Sheeler, parks director. Each youngster also got to keep two fish. Some youngsters showed their skill baiting their own hooks and casting their line and bobbers into the pond to wait for that first nibble. Others relied on parents or volunteers from Trout Unlimited to show them how it’s done. Paul Sparks with Trout Unlimited, said, “You just do what you do to help them have a good time.” That’s what the Fish-In is all about – a special family time and an opportunity to learn how to fish. Kudos to former council member Jim Weber for developing the project and the City of Lacey for spearheading the popular event.

An Olympia woman suffered severe burns over most of her body after a propane tank exploded inside her home at 1813 Madison Ave. on Olympia’s west side a week ago. Olympia assistant fire chief Greg Wright said the likely cause of the fire was a propane tank hooked up to a barbecue inside the home. The terrible accident serves as a reminder of the dangers of bringing barbecues or propane tanks indoors. Wright said people should never use propane tanks inside the home because of the fire danger. A neighbor said he was awakened by a 3 a.m. explosion followed by “blood-curdling loud screams.” The neighbor said the fire was so intense, he feared that his home would be consumed by flames as well. The explosion was so horrendous it rendered the home unsafe for habitation.

Trying to get through to young people on issues of drugs, violence, substance abuse and other challenges can be a difficult assignment. Finding creative ways to communicate those serious messages can be key. That’s where Gear Up with Music comes in. Mafi Su’a, a rapper and beat-maker in the youth outreach program said, “I use music to inspire kids not to take the wrong route, like I did. I want them to expand their minds and know there are better things out there they can do.” The program, created nine years ago by Todd Denny, consists of eight members who sing and rap about their own experiences with challenges facing youngsters today. They tour and present their materials to students at schools throughout Washington. After every performance, the group sets up a booth and invites students to come to their workshop to see how they construct their songs. The goal is that young people going through the same struggles as the members will find hope and desire to rebuild their lives. The Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling recently gave Gear Up a $9,875 grant to create a music video and a song that would raise awareness about problem gambling. This will coincide with the council’s attempt to incorporate a curriculum about problem gambling and other nonchemical addictions they hope schools throughout Thurston County and Washington state will use. The curriculum is meant to be incorporated into health classes. Said Denny, “Throwing in the group’s personal experiences using creative hooks is something most schools have never done before. I’ve found that this is a more effective way to reach kids.”