YAY: COMMUNITY SUPPORT
The 2013 Capital Lakefair benefitted from a strong show of support from the community and festival sponsors. Some 200,000 people attended the five-day festival, taking advantage of weather that was sunny, but not scorching hot.
The nonprofit food vendors who count on Lakefair sales to support their causes raised more than $200,000, and Lakefair scholarships this year totalled $23,000.
Lakefair officials hardly have time to rest on their laurels. Planning for next year’s event already is under way, and therein lies a major challenge. In the early 1990s, there were as many as 135 Capitalarians to keep the festival moving forward from one year to the next. The number has dwindled to 35, and many of them are in their golden years, ready to pass the Lakefair torch to a younger generation.
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“We’re struggling to get the 30-to-50-year-olds in the community involved,” Lakefair executive director Bob Barnes conceded. Lakefair officials also need other volunteers to help sustain the annual capital city festival. Without an infusion of younger blood, it’s hard to imagine Lakefair in its current form 10 or 20 years down the road.
YAY: FILM SOCIETY FUNDRAISER
The Olympia Film Society has kicked off a major fundraising drive to raise money for a digital cinema projector to allow the film society and Capitol Theater to continue showing new movies. The campaign shifts to Traditions Fair Trade this week with afternoon musical events through Aug. 4 to raise money for the new theater equipment. The performances are billed as free music, but all who enjoy the music are asked to contribute to the campaign at whatever level they can afford. Stop by and show your support for the Olympia Film Society. For a schedule of musical events, go online to olympiafilmsociety.org.
BOO: LAWMAKERS’ FREE MEALS
A recent investigation by Associated Press and several public radio stations revealed that 50 of the most active state lobbyists provided free meals to state legislators valued at $65,000 in the first four months of 2013. The Legislative Ethics Board needs to clarify a state ethics law that allows public officials to receive free meals on “infrequent occasions,” but doesn’t go far enough in defining what that means. The simplest way to deal with the ambiguity is for lawmakers to quit accepting free meals.
In a Senate floor speech last week, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., put a human face on the impacts of sequestration in this state, where some 10,000 civilian defense employees were forced into weekly, one-day furloughs, beginning in July, leaving some employees with holes in their family budgets that they can’t fix. She made a compelling point that Republican leaders in the House are playing games with people’s lives by not negotiating on a budget in good faith.
YAY: BETTER CREDIT RATING
The Legislature’s 11th-hour passage of a 2013-15 state budget last month is not lost on the credit rating agencies. The state’s negative credit rating by Moody’s and the Fitch Group has been upgraded to stable. The agencies also noted the state’s improved housing market, signs of diversity in the economy and increases in state reserves. However, the state isn’t out of the economic woods just yet. For instance, the state still has much work to do to meet its funding requirement for K-12 education.