It’s sad to crush SPSCC’s Viper, but don’t attempt a rescue

The OlympianMarch 10, 2014 

Automotive professors Tom Witt (left) and Norm Chapman supervise as advanced student Mike Murphy prepares to fire up the one-of-a-kind, $250,000 Dodge Viper SRT in the automotive shop at South Puget Sound Community College in Tumwater on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Chrysler ordered the entire collection of educational Vipers - believed to be about 93 cars worth tens of millions of dollars - to be crushed.

TONY OVERMAN; STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

BOO: CRUSHING $250,000

This is a double-boo.

First, to Chrysler for ordering South Puget Sound Community College to destroy the $250,000 Dodge Viper GTS it donated to the school for automotive vocational training. The company forced the crushing of 92 similar cars at other schools due to a pair of lawsuits when the non-street-legal hot rods “got loose.” Surely Chrysler’s legal department could have written new contracts absolving the corporation from liability if the cars were illegally driven on streets.

Second, to those spreading rumors — or seriously contemplating the act — that someone might attempt to steal SPSCC’s Viper as an act of protest against corporate America, or maybe to rescue an endangered species of the car-with-snake-name genre. It’s a bad idea, for any reason.

 

YAY: ERIC ERLER

Eric Erler has expertly steered the successful Capitol Land Trust for 13 of the land conservation organization’s 25 years. Now Erler is taking a new role with the nonprofit, which is seeking his replacement as executive director. Fortunately, Erler and the Capitol Land Trust will remain synonymous, and we wish him well in this fresh opportunity.

 

BOO: DOWNTOWN CASUALTY

Another popular independent business in Olympia’s downtown has shut its doors. Wind Up Here closed up after 20 years selling children’s toys to hundreds of loyal customers. We are saddened and worried about the growing number of empty storefronts in the region’s only real downtown core.

 

BOO: FALLING WATER

The spectacle of water rushing over cliffs and falling great heights into swirling pools strikes awe in most people. So it’s no surprise someone would want their favorite recognized as the state’s official waterfall.

But, how to choose which waterfall best represents Washington? We have so many to choose from. No matter, the Legislature decided on Palouse Falls, the 200-foot drop near Pasco, possibly because elementary school students nominated it. Eat your heart out, Snoqualmie Falls.

 

YAY: SEA LEVEL PLANNING

The Olympia City Council is wise to begin planning for rising sea levels now. Climate scientists predict that the melting of polar and glacial ice will continue, and that puts the downtown area in harm’s way. Many decades may pass before sea levels seriously threaten Olympia’s vulnerable areas, but future generations will thank and admire the farsighted actions of this city administration.

 

BOO: ASTEROID PLANNING

You might not have noticed, but a huge asteroid whizzed right past your noggin last week, cosmologically speaking. The asteroid, estimated to be up to 130 feet in diameter, shot through space between Earth and the moon, coming about 200,000 miles from landing in your front yard. That’s more than twice as big as the rock that exploded over Russia last year, injuring more than 1,500 people. NASA’s advice when space rocks threaten Earth: Pray.

 

BOO: GUNNING BABY NAMES

Let’s blame the NRA for this. According to The Daily Beast, a record number of new parents named their babies after gun manufacturers in 2012. These include Colt (most popular at 955), Remington (666) and Ruger (118) — that last one was probably a hit with east Europeans. There’s no record of how many underwent background checks.

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