Patience with Percival Landing pile drivers will be rewarded

Thumbs up: Percival Landing

The project to rebuild Olympia’s popular waterfront feature — Percival Landing — is in the midst of its noisiest, most disruptive phase. Construction crews with pile drivers are hard at work, ramming 28 30-ton concrete pilings in place for the new and improved waterfront path. The noise is just a minor inconvenience associated with a $10.5 million project that has broad community support. The old boardwalk, built over the water on creosote-soaked pilings in the 1970s, was in a deteriorated condition and needed replacing.

The pile-driving will be over in a couple of weeks. Soon the walkway and work to restore the shoreline with native vegetation will take center stage. As is the case with many construction projects in the old industrial waterfront section of town, crews have run into petroleum-based contamination that must be removed to protect human health and the environment. It comes as no surprise that the Percival Landing footprint has pollution problems — it runs right past an old bulk fuel storage site. This first phase of the Percival Landing project between State and Thurston avenues should be done in time to accommodate the crowds that attend the Harbor Days waterfront festival in August. By then the pounding pile drivers will be a distant memory.

Thumbs down: Late Payments

Marital arts fighter Jeffrey Monson is falling behind on nearly $22,000 in court-ordered restitution payments he was required to start making 14 months ago for defacing the state Capitol Building and a Lacey military recruitment center in 2008. As of late January, Monson was nearly $1,000 behind on his $100 per month payments. At the current rate of payment, he’s not even keeping up with the interest that’s accruing on his debt to society. It’s time for Monson to take his court restitution seriously.

Thumbs up: Oshogatsu

Downtown Olympia was alive with Japanese culture last Saturday as several hundred people came together to celebrate Oshogatsu, a Japanese New Year’s celebration organized by the Olympia-Kato Sister City Association. The event was a great opportunity to see, hear and taste celebrating the new year the Japanese way. On display were of examples of Japanese calligraphy (shodo), flower arrangement (ikebana), live music, dance performances and Japanese food, including sushi and yakisoba.

For one day, the Olympia Center was transformed into an event both entertaining and educational.

Thumbs down: Pet Poisonings

Human medications top the list of the 10 most common sources of pet poisonings in the United States, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

It’s a third year in a row that human medicines, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, were at the top of the list. About 25 percent of the 168,000 calls received at the ASPCA hot line in Urbana, Ill., were about pets that had swallowed human drugs. It’s a reminder that human medications need to be stored and disposed of safely. Even a common pain reliever tablet dropped on the floor and left there can prove to be sickening to a pet.

Thumbs up: County Fairs

Throughout much of rural Washington state, county fairs are one of the main entertainment draws of the year.

Raising farm animals to show at the fair is a time-honored tradition for youth across the state. Art, floral and produce displays and competitions draw contestants and fair goers of all ages. Many small county fairs rely on state money to pay part of their overhead. And that state money could be drastically cut or eliminated in the next state budget. As many as 30 county fairs could go dark, if state funding is eliminated. It’s just another painful example of how many stand to lose as the state shrinks back to providing just core, state government services.