Grant will give more students a high-tech education

June 17, 2013 

YAY: SPSCC GRANT

In a simpler time, machinists and machine operators could learn on the job, if they were mechanically inclined. That was before computers. Students at South Puget Sound Community College today who want to work in manufacturing take courses such as the Computer Numerical Control Technician certificate program or work toward an Associate in Applied Science degree.

The National Science Foundation recently awarded SPSCC a $200,000 grant to expand the school’s Computerized Manufacturing Technology program. SPSCC President Timothy Stokes said students can now “learn on state-of-the-industry” equipment. Times have certainly changed.

YAY: HECK’S STORY

During last week’s announcement of legislation to provide medical marijuana businesses with access to banking services, Rep. Denny Heck told a touching family story to thedailycaller.com.

Heck said, “What an irony that the same federal government that asked my brother to go to Vietnam and serve as a Marine, where he was exposed to Agent Orange that caused his Hodgkin’s disease, would label him a felon for seeking relief from the medical use of marijuana. This (the proposed bill) touches more lives than you can imagine.”

YAY: OLYMPIA WOMEN

Several South Sound women well-versed in the workings of American democracy are in Rwanda today helping that nation’s women put its government back together after years of corruption, genocide and intense poverty.

Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela and lobbyist Melissa Gombosky are joining 18 others in a delegation organized by the Center for Women and Democracy. Alison Peters, who was raised in Olympia and now operates a Northwest public opinion research firm, is also part of the group.

HEY! WATER IN LACEY

We applaud the Lacey City Council for acquiring sufficient water rights to lift its eight-year development moratorium. The city has worked hard to develop a comprehensive water plan that opens up new economic opportunities.

It’s just ironic the city announced its summer water restrictions at the same time.

BOO: GOODBYE BERT

The multiphonic sounds of Bert Wilson’s saxophone have gone silent. The well-known Olympia jazz musician died recently of a heart attack at age 73. He was known for his unique ability to coax four notes simultaneously from his instrument. Earning a living in the jazz world is tough, but Wilson, who had polio as a child, did it from a wheelchair for most of his life. Wilson left this world a lifetime of beautiful music.

YAY: EATING BETTER IN PARKS

The days of standing in awe of America’s natural wonders while munching on a three-day-old cellophane-wrapped sandwich are coming to an end. The National Park Service issued new healthy food standards for its 250 vendors that serve more than 23 million park visitors annually. The new rules require vendors to provide healthy food options, using local and sustainable products when possible. Tourists will still have hot dog and pizza options, but it makes sense to upgrade the nutritional choices for those admiring nature.

YAY: GETTING SOMETHING DONE

It’s too soon to tell if the Legislature will pass a budget before state agencies can no longer pay their bills, but lawmakers did pass some measures this year worthy of praise. One of those good pieces of legislation makes Washington the 13th state to enact alcohol amnesty for minors in possession needing emergency medical service.

The bill allows minors to call 911 for emergency medical help without fear of being charged for possession of alcohol. No one wants to encourage underage teens to drink, but the fear of a possession charge should not cause a moment’s hesitation when someone’s life is in danger.

YAY: PET PARADE COMING

It’s almost time for that other iconic South Sound parade, the one featuring kids, families and their most beloved pets. Pet Parade will hit the downtown Olympia parade route at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, but kids and pets will start lining up around 8 a.m. so judges can award several coveted prizes. See you there!

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