YAY: NEW CITIZENS
There’s always joy around citizenship ceremonies, and last week’s event at South Puget Sound Community College had its share as nearly 20 immigrants from our region were sworn in as new U.S. citizens.
In this time of tortured, often-silly national debate about immigration, it’s important to remember stories like those of Juan Ramon Pantoja of Olympia. The vocational counselor emigrated from Mexico in 1978, served in the armed forces, and has two sons — one a firefighter and the other a sheriff’s deputy —and he entered by the nation’s front door.
He’s also just in time to vote in this fall’s election.
BOO: THURSTON JOB LOSSES
We didn’t think it was possible to rue that the Legislature left town in July after a series of sessions that ran a single-year record 176 days. But new jobs data for South Sound shows the local unemployment rate went up slightly in July to 6 percent, up from 5.9 percent in June.
So while adjacent Pierce County added 500 jobs lost month, Thurston lost 800, with some of the latter blamed on the lawmakers’ departure.
YAY: RETAIL SALES UP
On the brighter side, the local economy has been growing this year. Recent data released by the state Department of Revenue said Thurston County’s taxable retail sales were up 10 percent in the first three months of the year, compared with the same time frame in 2014.
Statewide and locally increased sales of new and used vehicles and a boost in construction activity gave heft to the figures. Lacey led local cities with a growth of 12.3 percent.
BOO: NEW HANFORD DEFECTS
A U.S. Energy Department glassification plant being built to convert millions of gallons of radioactive nuclear waste into more a stable glass form has defects, according to a nuclear waste experts. Word of the 362 “significant design vulnerabilities” at the facility came through a leaked report written in 2014.
This is disappointing — both because of the flaws and the fact the shortcomings were not disclosed earlier. The waste facility has offered promise at a time our nation still doesn’t have a permanent nuclear waste depository and may need to rely more on nuclear power as our world warms due to fossil fuels.
YAY: FRENCH TRAIN HEROES
The term hero gets tossed around a bit easily, but how else to describe the three Americans, a Frenchman and a Briton who subdued an armed hijacker aboard a train from Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21.
Two U.S. men were injured — Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who suffered a cut thumb, and music teacher Mark Moogalian, who pulled away an assault rifle but was shot by the suspect’s handgun. But all were hailed by the French president, who credited them with preventing a monstrous carnage.
BOO: NOT-SO-SUPER LICE
That itch just might be a super-louse that became resistant to pesticides. The Seattle Times reported that a new study lists Washington as one of at least 25 states where head lice are genetically resistant to the chemicals used most commonly to treat them.
As a result, they are less susceptible to pyrethroids, which are used in some anti-lice shampoos and rinses. Fortunately, there are new remedies that a pediatrician can prescribe.