New system adds a layer of security to Capitol Campus

The Department of Enterprise Services has installed a new security threat notification system that improves the safety of government workers at the Capitol Campus.

Washington joins just a handful of states using the new technology to alert state workers when an emergency situation develops.

The system got its first test when an unidentified cloth bag was found in a secured area of the Capitol Rotunda. Within seconds, an email was sent to 42 security people and then on to hundreds of more workers. Follow-up emails updated employees until a final all-clear message was sent.

By October, when the system is fully functional, the Washington State Patrol and DES will be able to notify the several thousand state employees working in 36 building around the Capitol Campus. It will replace the old-fashioned, and sometimes unreliable, combination of phone calls and emails.

State Patrol spokesman, Bob Calkins, said, “The more people we can notify about an event going on, the better chance we have of having them take protective action.”

The South Sound recently lost a great leader and a nonstop fund-raiser. David Brown spent 19 years as the executive director of United Way of Thurston County, beginning in 1973.

When Brown retired in the early 1990s, he had increased local charity contributions from less than $300,000 to more than $1 million per year.

Brown became the executive director after serving as the admissions director for The Evergreen State College. When he retired in 1992, at the age of 73, Brown said the career change was “the best move I ever made.”

Brown and his wife, Merlyne, moved here in 1970 from Washington, D.C. A story in The Olympian on his retirement quoted numerous people marveling at his exceptional fund-raising skills, despite having only a two-person staff at the time and doing most of the presentations himself.

The South Sound will mourn the death of a man who laid a solid foundation for the United Way future success.

Look no further than Seattle’s Pike Place Market district to see the potential for the alleys in downtown Olympia. Restaurants, retail shops and other amenities have turned some of the Pike Place alleyways into attractive destinations.

The City of Olympia is taking on a momentous challenge by trying to reclaim downtown alleys into public spaces that most will find inviting, and good for them. It’s a project worth the struggle and adds another dimension to transform the heart of the city.

Naming the alleys after steamships in the historic Mosquito Fleet that once ferried people around Puget Sound seems corny at first. And seems naively ignorant of homeless people urinating on the walls, drug addicts getting a fix and vandals running wild.

But sometimes, naming a place gives it an identity that ultimately inspires a person or group to adopt a protective attitude. Perhaps downtown entrepreneurs or the owners of buildings will begin to see value in the alleys, and vigorously protect them from undesirable activity.

Doing nothing about alleys will slow any downtown revitalization attempt, and naming them is as good a place to start as anywhere.

The city will have to back up the project with tough high-octane liquor controls and adequate law enforcement. But then it will be up to the downtown community to keep the ball rolling by grabbing hold of our alleys and making them into something special.

It is always a sad day in this world when someone among us commits an insanely head-shaking act of violence.

The attack on Thurston County District Court Judge Brett Buckley this week makes no sense. The young man who threw a container of liquid into the judge’s face at his home would have no reason for assaulting one of the nicest people on the county bench.

If you have information about the attack, call detective Chris Johnstone at 360-709-2793.