Our Voice: Thumbs up to voters who passed the Benton County safety tax

To Benton County voters for supporting the public safety tax in Tuesday's election.

The 0.3 percent sales tax measure will add three cents to a $10 purchase and bring in an estimated $9 million annually, which will be used to beef up law enforcement in Benton County, Kennewick, Richland, West Richland and Prosser.

It also will provide much needed funding for gang-prevention, the mental health court, a judge and two prosecuting attorneys, drug court and the Metro Drug Task Force.

Voters turned down requests for a public safety sales tax twice before in 2007 and 2008.

We're glad this third try was successful. Fighting and preventing crime is a big deal.

You guys 'walk'

Thumbs up to the employees at Energy Northwest who raised more than $30,000 for this year's March of Dimes campaign. They went all out and ended up earning more than any other company team in Southeastern Washington.

About 60 employees and their families walked the walk and organized other employee fund-raisers that helped get them to that mark. It's a good example of what a combination of generosity and hard work can accomplish.

Young scientists

Thumbs up to the Pasco School District as it prepares to open the doors to Rosalind Franklin STEM Elementary School on Aug. 26. It was built with money from the latest bond measure and the excitement is mounting among teachers and parents. With a STEM-focused curricula, math and science will be emphasized and students will have enough tablet computers and Apple iPads to create a one-to-one ratio of students to computers. The approach is new and bold and could pave the way for a different teaching method at other elementary schools in the area.


Thumbs down to the culprit who painted graffiti on a sacred tribal site northwest of Seattle.

Tamanowas Rock stands around 150 feet tall and is made up of a pair of basalt masses that shoot through thick trees. It is an impressive and beloved site that has been around for 43 million years.

But now it has the words "I (heart) Miranda" painted in 3-foot high pink and white letters, which ruins it for everybody.

Members of the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe are especially troubled, as the rock is a special place that means "spirit power" in their native language. They use the site for hunting, refuge and spiritual renewal rituals.

Now the tribe is trying to figure out how to remove the paint without damaging the rock.

Whoever Miranda is, she's likely embarrassed and whoever loves her ought to figure out a better way to get the point across.