YAY: NEW CITY PARK
Not many people have the opportunity or resources to do something dramatic and positive for their community. Olympia resident Alicia Elliott discovered she had both, and did not hesitate to put her inheritance to a selfless cause.
The single mother of two paid $450,000 for a property at Harrison and Division that she hopes the community will help develop as a public park. Neighbors of the property objected when out-of-town developers proposed a convenience store for the location.
Elliot’s attorney said “It’s nice to see some plain old goodness sometimes.” Yes, it really is.
BOO: ANXIETY STUDY
Are you feeling stressed out? Overly anxious about the lack of sunshine? According to a new Gallup Poll, you aren’t alone. It seems Washington residents are the 11th most anxious people in America. And it turns out that our Northwest neighbors in Idaho and Oregon are right there with us.
Hogwash, we say. Any state that embraces wearing socks with sandals, even during the rainy season, has nothing to worry about.
YAY: RIDING BICYCLES
The League of American Bicyclists has named Washington the most bicycle friendly state in the nation for the sixth year in a row. This isn’t a feel-good recognition. The league studies infrastructure and funding of bicycle facilities, a state’s bicycle-friendly laws and education programs that make riding safer.
YAY: BICYCLING FOR KIDS
If you like to ride bicycles, the local nonprofit Together is launching a 5-mile family friendly ride on May 18. The ride will culminate with a lunch, fun area for kids and community booths. It benefits their work advancing healthful lifestyles among young people and their families.
YAY: MAYOR RESIGNS
Tenino Mayor Eric Strawn announced late last week that he would resign. That’s good news for the city, which has bounced from one drama to another during Strawn’s 16 months in office. However, saying that he’s “going to put my citizens before myself” was a bit much. Strawn recently made fun of Tenino citizens for expressing concern about things like potholes in the mayor’s failed attempt at comedy. Now the city can move on to serious leadership.
BOO: ANTI-GAY COMMENT
When a reporter called Sen. Mike Hewitt’s office in Walla Walla for his comment on co-sponsoring a bill that would legalize discrimination against gay men and lesbians, a member of his staff made a disgusting comment that has now gone viral. Asked what gays should do if they live in a rural area and the only grocery store in town refuses to sell them food, Hewitt’s staffer said, “Gay people can just grow their own food.”
Nice. That’s a very humanitarian view. We hope Walla Walla’s sizable gay and lesbian population makes Hewitt pay at the ballot box for proposing this legislation.
YAY: PARENTAL LEAVE
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer might want her techies to work in the office, not from home, but she’s offering employees attractive parental leave benefits. A new mother can take up to 16 weeks of fully-paid leave after giving birth, and fathers can take up to eight weeks. We hope our state lawmakers are listening.
The Legislature had the chance to implement and expand the state’s 2007 Family and Medical Leave Insurance law, but took a pass. It would have allowed new mothers to take five weeks of unpaid leave without fear of losing their jobs, and paid up to $250 per week to low-income earners to help care for their newborns.
BOO: MARAUDING PIGS
It’s no joke. An estimated 6 million ill-tempered feral pigs, weighing 200 pounds or more, are roaming through 47 states killing livestock, colliding with cars and spreading disease. Wildlife managers are referring to them as a mean-spirited invasive species mounted on four legs.
Why not enlist Congress to handle the national explosion of wild pigs? They’re used to dealing with pork every day.
YAY: RENAMING PORK CHOPS
Perhaps because angry feral pigs are giving pork chops a bad name, the National Pork Board (not the U.S. Senate) is renaming them porterhouse chops. Pork butt cuts will be known as Boston roasts. The new names sound more upscale — don’t you think? — and less likely to eat you, rather than the other way around.