Farmers Market could use beer-wine sampling law

April 1, 2013 

YAY: MARKET OPENS

It’s spring, and that means the Olympia Farmers Market opens on Thursday.

That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the region’s largest farmers market may not benefit from a much-anticipated law that would permit the sampling of local beers and wines. The proposed legislation, which has not yet been passed, sets standards for sales of farmers’ local agricultural products that the Olympia market might not meet.

Rep. Sam Hunt is working on an amendment to the bill that would help the Olympia market qualify. We hope he’s successful.

BOO: WINNING SMALL

It was exciting to learn that by enrolling at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment we are practically assured to win lotteries. A recent ad in this newspaper said students have won big money, but the winnings so far only total $120,000. Message to Ramtha: check out Mega Millions, Powerball.

YAY: MAKING MUSIC

A Washington Middle School teacher believes he is transforming lives by offering an after-school classic music program called Play on Greater Olympia (POGO). Greg Allison is targeting children who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience the joy of making music. Kids are learning to play cellos and violins, but they are also acquiring social values, such as solidarity, harmony and mutual compassion.

YAY: OLYMPIA COUNCIL

The Olympia City Council deserves a shout-out for its financial support of a much-needed overhaul of the exterior of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

The $4.6 million renovation project will provide a fresh face for the nearly 30-year-old center, which is the performing arts cornerstone in the community, and a key player in the economic vitality of downtown Olympia.

The city owns the building and has stepped up to its responsibility to maintain and enhance its appearance. Now its up to the state Legislature to approve a Building for the Arts grant of $816,000 to help pay for the project.

YAY: ASSESSOR DREW

Thurston County Assessor Stephen Drew may be the only assessor in Washington state working with local advocacy groups to pass legislation that would extend favorable tax treatments to small farms. The statewide assessors association is opposing the bill on technical grounds, but Drew has worked with Sen. Karen Fraser in the state Senate to get the measure passed.

The best chance for the measure, which would support the growing local food movement, rests on the House version, which limits the changes to a Thurston County pilot project.

YAY: ALUMNAE HONOR

Centralia College is honoring 1979 graduate Laura Dowling with its 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Dowling went on to earn a Master of Public Administration and work for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and as a senior manager for The Nature Conservancy.

But she acquired a passion for floral artistry, which she studied in Paris. In 2009, first lady Michelle Obama appointed Dowling as the first-ever White House chief floral designer.

Proving once again the value of community colleges as a gateway to fantastic careers.

BOO: NIX ON KIDS

Reason No. 467 to start over on another planet: A Florida neighborhood association will no longer allow children to play outside. That means no skateboard, bicycles, roller skates or baseballs. The association said they wanted to keep kids safe, and it’s too dangerous outside.

Right. It’s much safer to stay inside playing video games, contracting diabetes from eating high-fat foods and living a virtual social life on the Internet. Good thinking, Florida homeowners.

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