A toast to an expansion of beer, wine sampling

March 25, 2013 

YAY: TASTY SAMPLES

If you like the idea of sampling wine and beer at Olympia Farmers Market, contact your favorite state legislator today.

Lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 5674, which would allow three wineries or microbreweries per day to offer beer- and wine-tasting at farmers markets.

The bill is based on a successful two-year pilot project at 10 markets around the state. No alcohol-related problems occurred because there were appropriate restrictions on sampling, and vendors enjoyed increased sales.

Senators approved the concept by a 41-8 vote, and it’s now awaiting approval in the House. It’s a good idea consistent with the farmers market mission.

BOO: LANE CAMPERS

Drivers, do left-lane campers make you want to scream? Do drivers who cruise the left lane and hold up traffic elevate your blood pressure to heights unsurpassed by even your morning quadruple-shot 24-ounce latte?

Help is on the way. The Washington State Patrol will start ticketing left-lane campers in a new emphasis patrol.

Troopers are using a You Tube video (youtube.com/watch?v =tIA2pueFMh4) to educate drivers unaware that camping out in the left lane is against the law (check out RCW 46.61.100). Here’s the short version: The left lane is for passing only.

Note of caution: Speed limits still apply in the left lane.

YAY: HEALTH RANKING

Thurston County moved up from 14th to 9th among all 39 counties in the state’s health rankings. That’s a good thing, but we want to be No. 1.

How do we get there? Well, for starters, how about shortening the annual legislative session down to a week. That would lower the stress level and improve the lives of our many state workers.

YAY: FEWER GUNS

The number of households containing firearms has dropped from 50 percent in the 1970s to 34 percent in 2012, according to data from the General Social Survey. People younger than 30 are the least likely to own guns. Firearm ownership in that group dropped from 47 percent to 23 percent during the same period.

YAY: CUB SCOUTS

The national debate over the scouts’ social conscience hasn’t deterred local troops from continuing to do good work in their communities.

Cub Scout Pack 634 recently partnered with American Legion Post 164, which sponsored the troop, to stage a benefit dinner for a Roy couple whose home was recently destroyed by fire.

That’s the kind of community service and display of values that makes scouting a valuable program for young people. All young boys should have this opportunity.

YAY: WILDLIFE AREA

The Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area has reopened after a $700,000 restoration project over the winter. The state Department of Natural Resources has returned the former log dump to its natural state. Paired with the nearby Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, this region of south Puget Sound will become a major draw for wildlife and wildlife watchers.

YAWN: TATTOO DIPLOMACY

Having achieved such great success in North Korea, former NBA star Dennis “the Worm” Rodman hopped a place to Rome and tried to meet the new pope. He was quoted as saying, “I want to be anywhere in the world that I’m needed.”

YAY: PET PARADE

It’s never too early to start planning your family’s float or your child’s costume for the 84th annual Pet Parade, which will be Aug. 17. This year’s theme is “Fairy Tails.”

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