Down on the farm, right here in Olympia

January 14, 2013 

YAY: OLYMPIA URBAN FARMS

The growing local food movement got a boost from the City of Olympia last week when City Council passed the Urban Agriculture ordinance. Residents can now raise ducks and female chickens (no crowing roosters!), rabbits and miniature goats.

The ordinance – promoted for more than two years by Sustainable South Sound – brings Olympia’s rules on growing and raising food into line with Lacey and Tumwater. More than 200 people attended a local meeting supporting the idea.

On a sour note: Chickens will no longer be considered pets in Olympia, which probably isn’t good news for them.

BOO: BAD RELATIONSHIPS

The inevitable effect of elected officials who treat each other badly is playing out in Rainier and Tenino over public safety.

Rainier canceled its contract with Tenino for policing services, which apparently makes the Tenino Police Department unaffordable. Both cities are now considering contracts for law enforcement with the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, which may add up to more than Tenino was paying for its own department.

Rainier officials didn’t like how Tenino officials were treating them.

Makes you appreciate the good relationships between Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater.

YAY: NO HALL OF FAMERS

With Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens on the 2013 ballot, voters for the baseball Hall of Fame chose to elect no one.

Good for them. Both players are poster children of the so-called steroid era, though neither was ever convicted of using performance-enhancing drugs.

But such a high moral stand does nothing to define what constitutes exceptional athletic achievement during an era when it is difficult to determine who is using performance enhancers and who isn’t.

Bonds and Clemens certainly excelled among their pumped-up peers, such as the Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Likewise, Lance Armstrong out-rode his drug-fueled opponents in seven Tour de France races in a sport notoriously infected with all manner of performance-enhancing chemistry.

It’s an unfortunate reality that until sports like baseball and cycling figure out how to level the playing field between drug users and non-users, individual achievements are relatively meaningless.

BOO: DRUNKEN DRIVING STATS

First, the good news. Thurston County and Pierce County drivers crashed their vehicles about 13 percent less often in 2012 than the prior year, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Now, the bad news. The WSP arrested 3,830 drivers for driving under the influence in the two counties. Doing the math, that’s about 73 arrests per week, or nearly 11 per day.

That’s a ridiculously high number, especially when the State Patrol announces ahead of time when and where it will conduct DUI checks.

YAY: BANNED WORDS

Can we please stop “kicking the can down the road,” making “bucket lists” and issuing “spoiler alerts”?

Those three over-used phrases made this year’s List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. It’s a humorous endeavor by Lake Superior State University, but it resonates with us.

While we’re at it, can we also throw “fiscal cliff” over the edge?

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