League of Women Voters takes lead in election information

The League of Women Voters of Thurston County has staged an increased number of public forums during this election season for the benefit of Sound Sound voters.

Partnering with TCTV and The Olympian for different events, the league has taken a leadership role this year in providing opportunities for voters to get to know the candidates and the issues.

A recent league forum at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts attracted more than 300 people to hear about the Thurston Public Power Initiative. And a similar event for the 10th Congressional District this week drew another large crowd.

Kudos to this civic-minded group.

Look no further than candidates for the Washington State Patrol to see that abuse of prescription medications is fast becoming our number one drug concern.

Four percent of the applicants for this year’s state trooper class of inductees were rejected because they have taken other people’s prescribed medications. “This is an issue we’re facing and we’re seeing it pop up more and more,” said the trooper in charge of South Sound recruiting.

Meanwhile, national data show that deaths from overdosing on prescription drugs now surpasses the number of people killed in highway traffic accidents.

Cementing his status as one of the least popular Republicans – within the Republican Party! – Rep. Todd Akin of “legitmate rape” fame has done it again.

In an interview published recently, Akin said his female opponent – Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill – seemed more “ladylike” when she ran in 2006 than she does today.

Which is to say she seems more ... what?

The GOP pressed Akin to withdraw from the race, so they could promote a candidate who doesn’t have his foot in his mouth, but he declined.

The genius who robbed Copper Moon Massage Therapy early one morning in downtown Olympia seems woefully out of touch with modern technology.

Note to thief: we have video surveillance cameras now.

Our local crook is not quite as big a bozo as Travis Moore, of St. Charles, Mo., who gave cops a fake name at a routine traffic stop. Good idea, maybe, but the name turned out to be a felon wanted for armed robbery.

Teacher Brian Morris’ Teach Arts classes at Washington Middle School is a prime example of how our public schools can become current and interesting to students.

Morris is a former physical education teacher with 28 years experience who has reinvented himself in what used to be called industrial arts, and made the topic relevant to a new generation of students.

Students use computer technology to design and build projects out of a variety of materials. One piece of equipment is the latest 3-D printer that produces actual products out of special plastic materials.

Figuring out how that kind of innovation can be applied to other subjects at other grade levels is an exciting, and necessary, challenge for today’s educators.

Got some extra cash laying around the house? Don’t know what to do with it?

How about sending it to Uncle Sam and help us pay down the national debt?

Don’t laugh. U.S. citizens sent the Bureau of Public Debt nearly $8 million last year in voluntary contributions, including one donation of $1.9 million.

The federal government started accepting voluntary donations during the Kennedy administration. A little check-off box was added to tax returns more than a year ago – called the Buffet Rule Act – to create more awareness of the program and an easier means for people to contribute money.

The check box doubled donations from the $3.3 million in 2010. There is no total yet for 2012, and all have fallen short of the record $20.7 million voluntarily contributed in 1994.