Fewer people jobless; more people spending

In the category of clinging to any scrap of positive economic news, no matter how small, comes two encouraging South Sound reports.

First, the Thurston County unemployment rate dropped to 7.4 percent in September from 8 percent in August. Second, September taxable retail sales rose over most of South Sound, indicating an upward trend in consumer spending.

The unemployment number should continue trending down as seasonal education jobs are added into the October numbers and holiday retail jobs start showing up in November.

It’s not much, but good news is still better than the alternative.

The Bigelow House Museum board of directors has completed all of its restoration projects at the historic family home on Fourth Avenue in time for the annual Historic House Christmas Tour on Dec. 2.

The Bigelow museum reopened in 2005, after the last family members died, and the museum board sought grants to finish the many renovations that were needed.

Generations of Bigelows lived in the house continuously since the 1860s. It is one of the oldest frame buildings remaining in the state.

The Bigelows played significant roles in Washington state history, including the women’s suffrage movement. Susan B. Anthony came to Olympia in 1871 and visited the Bigelows in the house.

Learn more at www.bigelowhouse.org.

Want to win an easy $50,000 to start 2013 off right?

All you have to do is think of a way to thwart the purveyors of those annoying prerecorded phone sales calls, known as robocalls.

The Federal Trade Commission is offering the prize for the best technical idea to eliminate those illegal calls to homes or cellphones. The FTC also oversees the national do-not-call list, created in 2003.

The period for submitting ideas ends Jan. 17, and the winner will be announced in April.

Here’s the bad news: Robocalls from political organizations are exempt from the ban. Anybody want to chip in on a prize to block those, too?

One of the nation’s top community radio stations is located on The Evergreen State College campus.

Performer Magazine and The Princeton Review named KAOS 89.3 FM among the 10 best non-commerical stations. Diverse programming at KAOS was cited as the basis for the honor.

The radio station is an example of innovative initiatives occurring at TESC that often seem more appreciated outside of its home community.

Little ghosts and goblins seeking sugar highs are the least-scary things present on Halloween. Parents have a long list of safety concerns, for which the Olympia Police Department has posted some precautionary tips.

The OPD suggests participating only in organized events in neighborhoods, churches or busy shopping areas. That provides optimum safety.

Otherwise, the cops say, start early, walk in groups and only go to houses where the residents are known or, at least, the porch light is on.

Wearing reflective strips and carrying a flashlight are also good ideas.

The OPD reminded parents to report any suspicious activity to 911.