Thurston residents step up when needed most

The OlympianOctober 7, 2013 

Rachel Thomson with Homes First, sweeps away the grass clippings from a renter of the home behind her during the 21st Annual Day of Caring project in Olympia on Friday, September 27, 2013. Homes First is a non-profit group that helps tenant that needs help to maintain their living situation. The group helps about 175 tenants a year.


YAY: A caring community

The United Way of Thurston County is celebrating an 80 percent increase in participation over two years after its recent 21st annual Day of Caring. More than 750 people braved high winds and torrential rains to donate their time to 36 community service projects this year, which ranged from painting to landscaping low-income homes for disabled individuals to organizing donated books for children. Thurston’s Day of Caring drew a higher percentage of residents than larger counties, such as Pierce and Snohomish. Knowing our community, we wouldn’t have expected less.

YAY: Matthew Mounts

Great teachers make a difference in children’s lives. Yelm parents and students are fortunate to have Matthew Mounts teaching in their high school. The Washington Association for Career and Technical Education recently named Mounts the Community Service Teacher of the Year. From safe-driving campaigns to community gardens, Mounts is encouraging positive values in his students. It’s a well-deserved award.

BOO: Change of seasons

The Tenino Farmers Market closed a week ago. At the end of this month, the Olympia Farmers Market will reduce to weekends-only for November and December. We link local markets to spring and summer, to new growth and bountiful harvests. We dislike succumbing to the rainy season. But we’re Northwesterners. We can survive another wet winter.

YAY: A Louisiana connection

It’s not well-known, but New Orleans jazz musician Jon Batiste, who kicked off the 2013-2014 season at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts last Thursday, is a relative of Chief John Batiste, of the Washington State Patrol. Batiste, the musician, comes from the State Patrol boss’s father’s side of the family. A large group of WSP officers attended the opening night concert.

BOO: Mass murders

It’s worth remembering that on the same day terrorists murdered nearly 70 people at a Kenya shopping mall, more than 100 were killed by suicide bombers in Baghdad. It’s sad to consider, but mass killings are becoming routine around the world, even right here in America. Will these slaughters become so common that we no longer pay attention, or accept them as normal? We hope not.

BOO: Horrible parents

It’s hard to imagine becoming so depressed and angry that a father would attempt to kill his son by a heroin overdose. Police allege a Redmond man injected his 4-year-old boy as revenge against his ex-wife, and in a state of despair. Any violent crime is difficult to understand, but this one is particularly hard to fathom.

YAY: Spotlight on food

Need a moment to think about all the consumable food we throw away every day? How about World Food Day, which takes place Wednesday, Oct. 16? The Los Angeles Times recently reported that Americans throw out $450 of edible food every year because we don’t understand the “best by” or “expire by” labels. Those reminders indicate when the food’s flavor and quality are at their best, but do not indicate safety. Most items can be safely consumed past that date.

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