Hopeful news about I-5 traffic congestion at JBLM

YAY: JBLM traffic woes

Joint Base Lewis-McChord plans to build a road connecting the former McChord AFB with the former Fort Lewis. Consolidation of the two bases has required many soldiers, airmen and civilian workers to travel back and forth on a daily basis. That means entering and exiting I-5 and contributing to traffic congestion. The new connecting road will eliminate that.

That’s good news for commuters. We hope the Department of Defense will also build overpasses to move JBLM soldiers, airmen and civilians across the freeway to the growing residential and operations facilities on the north side of the Interstate.

YAY: Not married yet?

Are you in a domestic partnership, under 62 years of age and just haven’t gotten around to getting married? If so, you should know that on June 30 your domestic partnership will be converted to marriage by the Office of the Secretary of State.

The 2012 voter-approved Referendum 74 that legalized same-sex marriages also included a mechanism for converting all domestic partnerships to marriages on June 30, 2014, unless the partners had separated or were in the process of separating and had notified the OSS.

For nearly 4,000 domestic partners, there are just a few days left to tie the knot in a manner of your own choosing. As of July 1, the Secretary of State will have unceremoniously done it for you.

BOO: Big sports salaries

We love college sports as much as anyone. But we can’t help wondering what it says about our social values when coaches – and even assistant coaches – top the list of highest-paid public employees. Football head coaches at UW and WSU made in excess of $2 million and at least one assistant made about $800,000. The UW basketball coach made $1.9 million.

Meanwhile, we struggle to lower class sizes in the important K-3 grades at public schools or adequately fund other important needs, such as mental health programs.

YAY: SPSCC takes flight

South Puget Sound Community College is increasing the size of a computerized manufacturing program focused on aerospace, and received a share of $8 million in state funding to do so. SPSCC is one of 21 community and technical colleges making good on the Legislature’s promise to Boeing last year to expand aerospace education in the state.

Of the 21 schools, SPSCC is the only one providing the computerized manufacturing program, which makes it unique.

YAY: Making a difference

Behavior Health Resource’s Community Mental Health Foundation bestows Phoenix Awards each year on “those who have risen from the ashes of mental illness and addiction, along with those who helped them do so.” This year’s award winners included La-Ray Bryant, Mark Magures, and Joseph West, who have all waged courageous struggles to cope, recover, and contribute to the well-being of their families and communities. We salute them all.