Thumbs up to the Water Follies Association

Water Follies officials brought the Mid-Columbia yet another successful event this summer. It takes about 1,200 volunteers to make the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup run smoothly, and every year people step up to help.

This is the Tri-Cities' signature event and it seems to be getting better and better. This year, police officials called it the "most well-behaved crowd on record" with no arrests made on the Pasco side of the river and only a scattering on the Kennewick side.

Water Follies officials and the police decided to reduce the amount of alcohol served during the event and shut down the beer garden about a half-hour earlier than in years past. Also, the Washington State Patrol broadened its DUI effort beyond Columbia Park, which led to more arrests, keeping more drunken drivers off the road.

The Tri-Cities has a great reputation on the hydroplane circuit and it's because of the cooperative effort of everyone who helps put on the races. They do a great job promoting the community and making the event a highlight of the summer.

Rescue operation

Thumbs up to the FBI for its intensive effort to rescue teens forced into child prostitution and arrest the adults who exploit them. In a recent, three-day sweep across the country, the FBI was able to save 105 victims, almost all of them girls ages 13 to 17, and bring in 150 alleged abusers from 76 cities. With social media, it has become even easier for young people to become ensnared into this horrible life, and FBI officials say it is common for predators to use the Internet to lure young people. Child prostitution is a sick, vicious crime and the FBI is right to make combating it a priority for the agency.

Power move

Thumbs up to the transition that will allow the city of Richland to take over electrical service at Hanford's 300 Area. The process should be complete within a year and is expected to save the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and taxpayers $5 million to $10 million over the next 10 to 15 years. That's the kind of efficiency in government people are looking for. Many 300 Area buildings are being demolished as part of the cleanup effort at the site. However, four buildings used by PNNL will stay for at least another 13 years, and after 2015 the lab will be the primary tenant there. Currently, PNNL now pays about $1.2 million a year for electrical services provided by the Department of Energy contractors. This transition won't cost Richland ratepayers anything extra, as the new infrastructure for the transfer will be paid for by PNNL. This is a positive move for everyone involved, and is another example of what a great asset PNNL is to the community.

Unpleasant surprises

Thumbs down to the airlines' practice of stacking fees, which confuses consumers and leaves them feeling cheated. Airline officials say the fee system keeps their overall ticket prices affordable, while at the same time allows customers to pay extra for services they want.

The problem is that the fee system is difficult to understand and there is no uniformity among the airlines. They can have different rates for everything from baggage to sodas to certain seats, so it's not easy for customers to make true comparisons on ticket prices. If airlines really want to serve their customers, they will simplify the industry's fee system and make it less confusing. That way there will be fewer unpleasant surprises and unhappy passengers.