YAY: HERO OF HOMELESS
Selena Kilmoyer, a live-in volunteer at Bread & Roses, was named the 2012 Hero of the Homeless by the Thurston county Housing Task Force.
Kilmoyer, 68, has been on the front line, serving as an advocate for the homeless population in South Sound since moving to the Olympia area from Oregon a dozen years ago. She has played a key role in coordinating services for those who lack housing, and has left her mark on a wide range of programs, including the Bread & Roses Advocacy Center, the Devoe Road Shelter, the Out of the Woods family shelter and Camp Quixote.
Tireless in her efforts, look for Kilmoyer to offer her counsel and support as Thurston County draws closer to completion of a strategic plan to help homelessness in the community in the years ahead.
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BOO: OIL RIG GROUNDING
The grounding of an oil drilling rig on a remote island near Kodiak Island, Alaska, once again raises questions about the ability of oil companies to drill for oil in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Ocean.
The immediate task at hand is to keep the drilling rig Kulluk, owned by Royal Dutch Shell, from breaking apart and spilling more than 150,000 gallons of diesel fuel and lubricants. The rig was being towed to Seattle, and broke away from its towing lines in stormy winter seas.
The oil rig is grounded in an area that is critical habitat for the endangered Stellar sea lion, and close to two salmon streams, razor clam beds and a crab fishery set to open this month.
The mishap is just the latest in a series of operational problems that suggest Shell is not “Arctic ready” when it comes to oil drilling. Environmental groups are pressing the Obama administration to revoke Shell’s drilling permits. This controversy won’t be going away any time soon.
YAY: NEW IN CONGRESS
The American public has high hopes for the freshman class just sworn in to the 113th Congress. Voters want a problem-solving, bipartisan approach to the federal budget mess, and look to the new class for new leaders.
It’s probably asking too much to think the freshly anointed members of Congress will make a big difference. One of the new House members from the state delegation, Rep. Denny Heck, D-10th District, likens the experience to “running into a burning house.”
Keep the faith new members of Congress. Stay true to those who hired you to do this demanding job.
BOO: RAFFLE SALES
The sale of state lottery tickets to provide funding for veteran’s programs isn’t working out so well. Now in its second year, the Veterans Raffle slid backwards, selling only about 64 percent of the 200,000 allotted tickets, well below the 98 percent sold last year.
Once the prizes are paid out, there won’t be much, if any, proceeds left to help the veterans, which number some 60,000 in this state.
It’s back to the drawing board to find new ways to finance veterans programs. The raffle isn’t the answer.
YAY: READINESS CENTER
Outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire included $13.4 million in her departing budget to cover the state’s share of the cost of replacing the two aging National Guard armories in Olympia and Puyallup with a new so-called “readiness center.”
The new governor and 2013 state Legislature should support this capital project, which is designed to meet the training needs of the National Guard.
There is likely a suitable site in the Hawks Prairie area for just such a project.