Yay: Rain in August
It’s hard to believe that we’d welcome a rainy summer weekend, but after the record heat and dry days, the freak August rainstorm was a welcome relief. And, we were lucky to have missed the worst of the wind that caused such major power outages farther north.
Boo: Campaign spending
The Wall Street Journal reports that spending on TV campaign ads by presidential candidates is up 900 percent over the 2012 race already, and that candidates and their minions have reserved $47 million worth of air time for the race ahead. TV watchers are going to be very, very tired of this campaign before it’s over. Maybe this will give HBO and other commercial-free entertainment providers a boost.
Yay: I-5 widening at JBLM
We know it’s going to get worse before it gets better, but the widening project for Interstate 5 by Joint Base Lewis-McChord is long overdue. It’s too bad that expansion lags so far behind necessity, but drivers of the 120,000 vehicles a day that face delays in that stretch can at least imagine some relief, when the project is completed — in 2023.
Boo: Damage to Bush butternut tree
South Sound didn’t escape unscathed, though. The 170-year-old butternut tree on the site of pioneer George Washington Bush’s Tumwater farm was one of the victims of last weekend’s windstorm.
Likening the recent damage to the structural loss a tin can would experience from receiving a large dent to its side, arborists will soon begin removing the load the massive downed limbs are placing on the main trunk.
Planted in 1845 by Bush, the more-than-50-ton tree has been battling decay for decades and has seen an ongoing army of volunteers work to preserve it.
Yay: Fishing opens on the Nisqually
And still another weather-related development: fishing restrictions on the Nisqually River have been lifted effective immediately.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife made the announcement on the Nisqually and other rivers Wednesday afternoon.
It was one of more than 60 rivers and streams where restrictions or closures were put in place due to drought-induced low river flows and warm water temperatures. Conditions in the Nisqually and other rivers have returned to normal for this time of year because of recent rains and cooler weather.
Yay: Bailey’s redevelopment
The city of Olympia and the owners of the troubled Bailey’s Motor Inn on Martin Way are getting closer to finalizing a plan for the site that has been inactive since 2013.
Proposed for the first phase of development at the Bailey’s site is multifamily residential. Phase two could be mixed-use. The plan requires a public hearing before the Olympia City Council, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 15.
Yay: Support for firefighters
South Sound efforts to collect supplies for thousands of firefighters still battling fires in Central and Eastern Washington were met with overwhelming response, with donations pouring into the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia. Other efforts included a “Fill the Truck” drive organized by Laurie Young, an agent with Abbey Realty of Lacey. And now some South Sound crews have returned home, having helped contain the massive fires.