Art exhibit offers hope for LGBT youth


Inspired by the story of a young gay person who was troubled by his place in this world and committed suicide, Sally Penly was moved to action. The retired Weyerhaeuser Co. executive and accomplished calligrapher organized other artists in the community to mount an exhibit called Out of The Silence.

The 58-piece show runs through the end of the month at the old Hotel Olympian building in downtown Olympia. The art exhibit is designed to send a clear message of hope to LGBT youth and also raise funds for Pizza Klatch, a support program in South Sound high schools for gays, lesbians and others who are bullied at their schools.

Penly hopes to take the show to other venues around the nation when it closes locally. She is a wonderful example of how one person who chooses to act can make a difference.

Check it out at outofthesilence.us


YAY: State employees

It was a tough year for workers everywhere in 2012, and Washington’s state employees weren’t exempt. Despite those sacrifices, our state workers raised about $5.3 million in last year’s Combined Fund Drive. The money is given to charities doing good work locally, nationally and globally.

During a special three-week fundraising drive in December, workers from across the state donated more than $28,000 for victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Congrats to the now-retired Sam Reed, who as Thurston County Auditor created the fund drive along with former Gov. Spellman, which has so far contributed $45 million to worthy causes.

Boo: Fake Crisis

Educators and public safety experts need to teach our children how to react in an emergency situation, including the possibility of an armed killer attacking their school.

But officials at Cannon Beach (Ore.) Elementary School went way too far.

Three actors armed with automatic weapons stormed the school, fired blank rounds, and “killed” many screaming students, who lay on the floor drenched in “blood.” Police helicopters thundered overhead and law enforcement officers “shot” and “killed” the fake shooters.

It was all a staged drama, not unlike the DUI scenarios often created at our schools. Some of the kids involved in this terrifying drama were in the first grade. Shame on the parents who volunteered their children to take part, which, ironically took place on Martin Luther King Day.

Yay: Cat lovers

We live in Washington. We love cats. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, our state ranks fifth in the nation for cat ownership. About 39 percent of us own cats.

We’re not so hot on dogs. Washington didn’t rate in either the top 10 or bottom 10 states for dog ownership, which pretty much sums up our ambivalent attitude toward animals whose poop we have to scoop.

Who knows how the fake massacre affected these young minds? School officials can surely teach kids how to react without risking inflicting real trauma.