Opinion

A much-deserved honor for GLBT protector

YAY: GABI CLAYTON

When her 17-year-old openly bisexual son committed suicide in 1995 after violent assaults at Olympia High School, Gabi Clayton changed her life. She dedicated herself to protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth from bullying and violence.

Clayton’s extraordinary achievements in creating safe schools during the past 18 years have earned her a national honor, the USA Network Characters Unite Award. Such recognition is long overdue, and much deserved.

YAY: THURSTON COUNTY FAIR

After several years of falling attendance and challenging financial issues, the Thurston County Fair came roaring back last weekend. Fair officials say this year’s event surpassed attendance figures of recent years, returning to the historical range of 30,000-35,000 people. If those numbers translate into financial success for the fair, it’s good news for the 4-H clubs, FFA members and South Sound families who enjoy the annual event.

BOO: MILITARY MANSIONS

While civilian employees at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are working four-day weeks and taking a pay cut — thanks to sequestration — the military’s top brass are living lavishly in multimillion-dollar homes at the taxpayers’ expense.

A Pentagon report to Congress revealed generals living in mansions of 12,000-15,000 square feet with pools and ballrooms on the swankiest streets in places such as Florida, Italy and Belgium. These homes cost taxpayers anywhere from $160,000-$172,000 per year to lease, and renovations for the generals have cost Americans as much as $3 million per house.

Laughably, the report concluded the Pentagon is “making progress toward reducing” senior-officer housing expenses.

YAY: SEEDING OYSTERS

The eighth annual Olympia Harbor-Budd Inlet Oyster Seed Project needs your help again this year.

A $35 contribution purchases a bag of 300 oyster shells containing five seeds per shell, which volunteers plant around the inlet and harbor.

Each oyster filters up to 50 gallons of water per day, improving local water quality and helping to keep Budd Inlet bountiful and beautiful. Contributors and volunteers can contact Dan Mazur at danmazur@lycos.com or 360-250-3407.

YAY: GENEROUS BUSINESSES

Without the generosity of South Sound businesses large and small, many organizations providing experiences in the arts, social services and protecting the environment would wither. Citizens can recognize this good work by nominating a business for the state’s highest civics award: the Corporations for Communities Award.

Nomination forms are available on Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s website. The deadline is Aug. 31.

BOO: KENNEWICK MAN DISPUTE

Seventeen years after discovery of the 9,500-year-old Kennewick Man in shallow waters of the Columbia River, the skeleton remains in control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Corps scientists believe they can learn more about Kennewick Man’s ancestry through further and innovative DNA testing. American Indian tribes believe he is of Native American origin and want to give him a proper burial.

There’s no perfect resolution to this dispute, especially if new testing could unlock some of the mysteries of life.

YAY: KEEP GOOD NEWS ROLLING

The positive economic news just keeps on coming. Thurston County taxable retail sales rose 5.35 percent in the first quarter of this year, the highest level in six years. That’s a good sign of consumer confidence and a recovering economy. Meanwhile, county homes sales in July jumped 20 percent year-over-year, creating a slight increase in the median selling price.

We might not be back to pre-recession levels, but there’s no doubt the South Sound economy is headed in the right direction.

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