Hearty holiday cheer courtesy of Lacey police

The OlympianDecember 30, 2013 

Lacey Police Officer Rich Broeker helps Trai Ovitt try on a riding helmet during their Friday tour of the Northwest Harley-Davidson as a group comprised of ten boys and girls from the Lacey Boys and Girls Club enjoyed a free shopping spree at the Hawks Prairie Best Buy and Wal-Mart store along with the tour and gift-giving at the motorcycle dealership.The annual Shop with a Cop event is a coordinated program between the Lacey Police Dept. and Boys and Girls Club which is fueled by a yearly fundraising project by LPD with each child buddied up with officers as they shop each store.

THE OLYMPIAN

YAY: LACEY POLICE

Lacey police turned into Santa Clauses just before Christmas when they escorted 10 elementary school kids on a shopping spree. The children, many of whom come from struggling families, each received $50 to spend at Walmart on Galaxy Drive, $200 to spend at Hawks Prairie Best Buy, and a trip to Northwest Harley-Davidson on Freedom Lane.

This marked the seventh year that the Lacey police have participated in the Shop With a Cop event, which also receives support from the retail stores the kids visit. The annual event is a great way for young kids to gain appreciation and respect for police officers, and a wonderful example of police officers giving back to disadvantaged youths in their community.

BOO: MUDSNAILS

Roughly half of the New Zealand mudsnails infesting Capitol Lake died during a lake drawdown that took advantage of subfreezing temperatures Dec. 4-9. But that’s hardly a cause for celebration. The infestation is still a serious problem with no end in sight. The lake has been off limits to public use for more than four years because of a rice-sized invasive species that could easily spread to other water bodies.

YAY: OYSTER HOUSE

Owners of the Oyster House, the historic Olympia waterfront restaurant destroyed by fire last summer, announced last week that they expect reconstruction of the restaurant, bar and patio to begin in January. That’s welcome news, especially when the contractor, Bailey General Contractors, expects to complete the job by next summer.

YAY: BRASS BASH

A festive crowd gathered at the Fish Tale Brew Pub on Dec. 23 for the 14th annual Brass Bash, a musical night with Olympia trumpeter Andy Omdahl and his horn-playing friends. All that was required to attend the lively, jazz-infused holiday show was a donation of cash or a nonperishable food item to the Thurston Food Bank. The event raised $1,230 and brought in 135 food items, a record haul.

BOO: TEXTING DRIVERS

A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that drivers between the ages of 19 and 39 are still texting and talking on their cellphones at alarming rates — 40 percent admit to texting and 50 percent acknowledge cellphone use while driving. It’s estimated that at any daytime moment on the nation’s highways, 660,000 Americans are engaged in this risky behavior.

At least seniors 75 and older behave behind the wheel — only 1 percent surveyed said they text while drive. Of course, they’re not texting much at home either.

YAY: THEATER GROUP

Olympia Family Theater received the 2013 Unique Achievement Award from the Thurston Diversity Council for its production of “The Abolitionist’s Wife,” a play by Barbara Gibson and Sky Myers about the life of Mary Brown, who was married to the controversial historical figure John Brown.

The play is set in the pre-Civil War years and portrays a woman caught in the fight to abolish slavery while, at the same time, struggling to hold her family together.

BOO: CONGRESS

The 113th Congress could go down in history as one of the least productive this nation has ever witnessed. Best known for its partisan bickering, Congress sent only 70 bills to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing in the first year of this Congress. By comparison, the 112th Congress turned 231 bills into law and the 80th Congress, which Harry Truman campaigned against for its do-nothing performance in the late 1940s, passed 395 bills.

Part of the dismal showing of late is the divided nature of Congress. But that doesn’t explain away all of the ineffectiveness.

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