YAY: DOWNTOWN TOY STORE
When the popular Wind Up Here toy store closed in March, there was a sense of loss felt by Olympia’s downtown merchants and customers alike. After all, the store had been a fixture downtown for 20 years. Frowns quickly turned to smiles when another downtown retailer, Paul Shepherd, co-owner of Compass Rose, announced plans to bring a toy store back to the space.
Shepherd and co-owner Alana Carr opened the new business, Captain Little, last week at the corner for Washington Street and Fifth Avenue. It’s good to see the retail space filling up with merchandise. Now it’s up to shoppers to support the store, too.
BOO: LOST LUNCHES
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Budget cuts have forced the Olympia Senior Center in downtown Olympia to drop its Monday lunch service. Budget woes also mean Senior Services for South Sound has stopped taking most new applicants for its popular Meals on Wheels program. A grant from the Community Investment Partnership was pared back from the requested $37,000 to $12,000, leaving a $25,000 hole in vital food programs for seniors.
Senior Services of South Sound is turning to the community for financial support to restore the programs. Please do you part to help our senior citizens in need.
YAY: APPLE CROP
Apple growers in this state expect a banner crop this year, a likely record harvest of some 140 million boxes. The 2014 harvest should top last year’s record haul of 129 million boxes. While weather could still play tricks on the Eastern Washington apple crop, it appears that warm weather this spring and intense orchard management practices are paying big dividends.
The trick now is to recruit enough apple pickers to get the bountiful fruit off the trees.
YAY: FISHER RECOVERY
A cat-size , stocky member of the weasel family believed to be extinct on the Olympic Peninsula for at least 80 years because of trapping and habitat loss is showing signs of recovery. About 90 fishers from central British Columbia were moved into the Sol Duc and Elwha valleys in 2008. Preliminary data from remote cameras and hair snags show the fisher has populated vast areas of the peninsula, from Neah Bay to Ocean Shores, from Port Townsend to the Olympia area.
It’s not clear yet if births are keeping pace with or outstripping mortality rates for the fishers. But all the sightings are an encouraging sign of a successful repopulation effort.
BOO: SEA STAR DISEASE
A mysterious disease that’s laying waste to millions of sea stars along the West Coast has reared its ugly head at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma and the Seattle Aquarium. The Tacoma aquarium has lost about half of its 369 sea stars, commonly called starfish, in the past six months and the Seattle Aquarium has seen a high mortality rate since July.
The sea star disease is insidious. The colorful sea creatures develop white lesions and their limbs tear off as the sea star wastes away. Marine scientists, aquarium officials and citizen volunteers are searching for the cause of the wasting disease and monitoring beaches for signs of more outbreaks. The sea star wasting syndrome has occurred in the past, but it’s never been this widespread.