Opinion

Jewish community culturally enriches South Sound

YAY: TEMPLE BIRTHDAY

The Olympia area’s Jewish community hosted a street fair Sunday for the public to enjoy just outside their Temple Beth Hatfiloh, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

The live music, food, craft vendors and free children’s activities made for a festive occasion on Eighth Avenue Southeast between Washington and Franklin streets.

It’s another example of the small but generous and growing Jewish community sharing food and traditions with their friends and neighbors in South Sound. The temple is already well-known for its annual fundraiser called Blintzapalooza, and for a synagogue filled with members who have given back much to the community, including Eva Goldberg, who died last month at the age of 99 after a life of moral and financial support for good causes here in South Sound.

YAY: LEADERSHIP CLASS

The Thurston County Chamber Foundation is poised to graduate 33 aspiring community leaders who enrolled in this year’s Leadership Thurston County class, which is a 10-month program aimed at nurturing future civic leaders.

Since 1994, some 480 individuals representing more than 200 organizations have participated in the program, which brings class members face-to-face with local decision makers and the challenges and opportunities facing community leaders from all walks of life — business, the arts, the environment, public safety, social services and more.

For more information about the program, visit LeadThurstonCounty.com.

BOO: CHILDREN AND POT

Legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado and growing use of medical marijuana across the nation means pot is appearing legally in more households than ever before. With the increased presence comes a darker reality: The number of young children ingesting marijuana appears to be on the rise, posing significant health risks from potential overdoses. It’s incumbent upon parents who have a legal right to use marijuana to store it securely so children don’t have access to it. The increased societal tolerance of marijuana requires safeguards, especially for young children.

YAY: FEWER FATALITIES

Traffic fatalities in Pierce and Thurston counties between January and May are down 50 percent from last year, according to the State Patrol. While six highway deaths are six too many, the downward trend is encouraging, especially if it continues. The State Patrol suggests the decline in traffic deaths is due to a more aggressive enforcement of traffic laws, public education and outreach programs, including the use of social media. Whatever the reasons, driving the highway death count down is a good thing.

BOO: PENSION ABUSE

DuPont Fire Chief Greg Hull was pulling in $300,000 a year, which included a $184,000 pension marking 40 years of service with the Lakewood Fire District, plus his salary as an independent contractor with the City of DuPont.

Not any more. Hull resigned last week after officials at the state Department of Retirement Systems told him May 20 he is no longer allowed to tap into his pension while he works under contract with the city.

Don’t feel too sorry for Hull. He can restart his pension benefits by severing his ties with the city.

YAY: THERAPY DOGS

A few airports around the country are putting dogs to use in ways other than looking for drugs and bombs. The new breed are therapy dogs, on hand at the airports to help relieve the fear and stress of flying.

Who can resist a friendly dog just looking to be petted?

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