Lacey kicks off 50th birthday celebration.

July 1st, 2016 by Ken

This Sunday, July 3, the City of Lacey will begin a year-long celebration of its 50th year of being an incorporated city.  The first event will be an enhanced Third of July Fireworks show in partnership with the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce.

The event will be held at Rainier Vista Park on Ruddell Road and will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the fireworks starting at 10 p.m.   Vendors, entertainers and activities for the children will be available.   Parking is extremely limited and attendees are encouraged to park elsewhere and take a short walk to the park.

While this is a kickoff for the city’s birthday, it is also the 50th anniversary of the first Third of July fireworks originally held at South Sound Center.  For the last few years the event has been co-sponsored by the City of Lacey and the Lacey South Sound Chamber.

This is just the first of a year long celebration which will include an enhanced Christmas Tree Lighting, Open House and Lighted Parade on December 5 – – the actual birthday of the city.  A mayor’s gala and the 2017 fireworks will fill out the birthday bash.

Many other community events are partnering with the city birthday celebration including the BBQ Festival later this month and the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival.

If you’re interested in tying your event to the city’s birthday contact Mary Coppin at the City of Lacey.     If you’re interested in more information on the fireworks or other city activities, go the the city’s web page.

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Keeping the spirit alive

June 29th, 2016 by Ken

As we near the Fourth of July holiday period it feels good to know that at least one community in our area is keeping the Fourth of July spirit alive.   Thanks goodness that Tumwater still allows private use of fireworks, as our founders intended.   Of course, Tumwater is America’s First Community in Washington state.

The Tumwater Fourth of July parade and fireworks has become a community icon and thousands of Tumwater residents, as well as those from other cities, gather to celebrate American Independence.

Thanks go as well to those on the Thurston County Commission who also allowed county residents to continue to celebrate the holiday in their own way.   Restrictions during a major drought makes for a good compromise, although I would have preferred their be no restrictions other than that set by the federal government.

When it comes to the Fourth of July celebration, the cities of Lacey and Olympia have opted to control all private use of  fireworks under the guise of protecting the public welfare.   Those who have lost the spirit can always find an excuse to deprive the rest of us of our patriotism.

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Democrats won’t be fooled again

June 28th, 2016 by Ken

Local liberal Democratic blogger Emmett O’Connell has been reviewing the results of the 2014 Thurston County Commission election and has found that Bud Blake won votes in liberal precincts because he called himself an Independent.

O’Connell contends that enough Democrats were fooled by that label, that they voted for Blake because he represented change.   O’Connell says they didn’t know that Independent was a stalking label for Republicans.

While he didn’t say so in his findings, it can be assumed that because John Snaza ran as an Independent for Thurston County Sheriff, that his label translated into votes for Blake.

O’Connell says now that Blake has been exposed as a Republican – – and that two other candidates running for county commission as Independent – – are merely Republicans using the Independent label as a cover.

He says that Democrats won’t be fooled again.

(O’Connell’s blog Olympia Time can be accessed on line.)

 

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Lacey History – this week 1977

June 27th, 2016 by Ken

St. Martin’s College has agreed to sell five acres of land to the City of Lacey for the purpose of constructing a new city hall and police station complex.   Earlier in the year, the college had agreed to lease the property to the city, but has reversed itself and is now willing to sell the land which sits at Sixth Avenue and College Street.   No purchase price has been announced.

The city has awarded a contract for the widening of Sleater Kinney  to five lanes.   The estimated cost is $237,000.   The city is uncertain when construction will start since it depends on federal funding.

The North Thurston School Board has agreed to place a $7.2 million bond issue before voters in the fall.   The money would be used to modernize North Thurston High School and Timberline High School, and set aside money for the construction of a vocational skills center.   Money would also be spent to build a sports complex on land located on North Thurston/Chinook property.

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Make America Great – When – Again?

June 27th, 2016 by Ken

Donald Trump has been proclaiming that if we elect him as president, he’ll “Make America Great Again.”

There’s do doubt that since the beginning of the 21st Century, the prestige of America has declined.   Millions of jobs have gone to other countries, corporations are moving their headquarters overseas to avoid American taxes and our standing in the world as a world leader has deteriorated – significantly since President Obama took over.

There’s much to be done and someone needs to provide leadership.

But, when Trump calls for making America great again – – we have to ask – – When?   To what period of time do we want to go back to.

Maybe we should go back to the 1950’s- when this country was the dominate player in the world.   Most of the other countries were still trying to recover from the devastation of World War Two and America had come out of that war – as the only major power in the world.

American factories, which had been turning out war material in vast numbers, were turned to producing consumer goods and new refrigerators, television sets and automobiles poured out the doors of the factories.   New houses were going up by the thousands every day and the roads and freeways to move to them were being constructed across the country.  Millions of jobs were created by the consumer demand and any white man that wanted a job could get one.

Is that the time Donald Trump wants to return to?

Don’t forget that women were relegated to the home.   Minorities were unseen and persecuted.  And you could go to prison for being gay.

Our natural resources were being plundered to provide the necessary materials for the factories, and childhood diseases ran rampant through our schools and homes.

It was a great time for America – – if you were a white male.

Is that the time Donald Trump wants to return to?  I think he should spell out what he means by “great” and “again”.   It’s a nice slogan that fits well on a hat and a campaign sign – – but what does it mean?

 

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What is a living wage?

June 24th, 2016 by Ken

That’s what the researchers at MIT wanted to know.   How much is a – –   ” living wage”?

They recently completed their study for every county in the United States.  They obtained data from every single county comprised of the cost of housing, food costs, health care costs, transportation and other expenses.   They determined what an individual would need to make in order to pay those related costs.   They determined it for an individual, a couple and a couple with a child.

For an individual to meet those living expenses it would take $15.50 an hour in King County based on a 40-hour work week..   The cost in Thurston County was $10.25. The highest cost of living in Washington was in the Puget Sound area.   The lowest cost of living was in the rural counties of Eastern Washington.

Government officials, wrestling with a “living wage”  would do well to recognize that a “living wage” varies from county to county and even from city to city.

The complete study can be accessed on the MIT web page.

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Now it can be told – women make more money than men

June 21st, 2016 by Ken

There may have been a time in our history when men were the bread winners and women stayed home and took care of the house and the kids.   There may have been a time in our history when women made less money than men doing the same job.  There may have been a time in our past when pay scales favored men over women.

But no more.   Now it can be told.  Women make more money than men.   I said it – and the US Census Bureau confirms it.

Of course – it only holds true for a portion of women.  Young single women aged 20 to 35 – make more money than men of the same age and marital status.   Young women make eight percent more in salaries then do men.

And, up and down the age scale, 25 percent of all married women make more money than their husbands.

It’s true.  The National Organization of Women and other women groups can scream and holler about pay inequities – but it’s not true.  Women, doing the same job as men make the same money that men do, and in 25 percent of the cases, they make more.

Why has this become fact?  Why are women making more money than men?  And, what does the future hold?

Men’s jobs have disappeared.  Manufacturing jobs, those good paying labor intensive jobs that used to be held by men have disappeared.   Many of them have gone overseas.   Jobs that men traditionally held, that required hard labor,  have just – – disappeared.

Construction jobs that were primarily held by men are cyclical.   Sometimes they have work and sometimes they don’t.  When they do have jobs, affirmative action requires that women be hired alongside men for those jobs.

But, the factor that comes into play and is the primary reason women make more money than men has to do with education.   Women are getting college degrees in greater numbers than men.

In high school, 80 percent of all drop outs are boys.  Girls tend to stay in school.   On average, girls get better grades in school than do boys and girls go on to higher education in far greater numbers than their male counterpart.

Across the country, women make up 60 percent of all college students and in some occupations – – law and medicine – – they are attending in ever greater numbers.   With education comes better jobs and with better jobs come better pay.

The trend is likely to continue.  We’re currently in a social shift where women make more money than the man.  In the past, it was the woman who married up the economic scale.   Now, women are being forced to marry down.

It’s going to create major problems for men as we are currently seeing in the the millennial generation.  Where women are not only holding their own against the men in pay, but are often making more money.

The older generation of women can continue to cry about wage disparity – but the young women see no problem.

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When is summer?

June 20th, 2016 by Ken

When does summer begin?   According to scientists Summer arrived at 3:43 p.m. PDT today.   But the arrival of summer comes at different times for different people.

For the gardener,  summer arrived when the nightime temperature was 50 degree, warm enough to plant the warm weather crops. without the seeds rotting.  For kids, summer started on Tuesday of this past week when school got out.   For the cooks and fruit lovers, summer started when the strawberries became ripe.  This year they went on sale on May 27.

For some, summer started with Memorial Day weekend.  The few hot days we had following that holiday was proof that summer started.   For those long time residents we know when summer really starts.   It starts right after the Fourth of July holiday when we enter our two month drought, which turns our laws brown and our skin red.

But, whenever summer starts for you – enjoy the season.   And, if you plan to stay home,  come to Lacey and join in the two weeks long Lacey Days, or stay the whole year and participate in the various celebrations of the city’s 50th birthday.

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Lacey history – this week 2004

June 17th, 2016 by Ken

A new state law passed recently may be the vehicle the City of Lacey and Lacey Fire District 3 needs to began to merge into one entity.   The bill allows the creation of a Regional Fire Authority.   While that may or may not be the catalyst for merger, the city and fire district are looking at beginning merger talks.

Growth in the Hawks Prairie area continues at a rapid pace and the city and the fire district are pushing to station a second Medic One vehicle in that Northeast Lacey area.  Cost would be about $600,000 a year.   Medic One administrator Steve Romines  doesn’t think the call response in that area requires one – yet.

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Views changing on gun control

June 16th, 2016 by Ken

I’ve always been an advocate for the right of the people to keep and bear arms.   And, while I’ve never been a member of the National Rifle Association, I have often subscribed to their views.   Regulations of any kind on the public’s right to have a firearm is a slippery slope which will eventually lead to the confiscation of all guns.

In my younger years I felt the public needed guns to protect itself from the over reach of government.   The only way for the common person to keep government in control, was government’s fear that armed rebellion would result if it overstepped its mandate.

I no longer believe that and haven’t for many years.   The slow creep of government growth has been around for nearly 80 years and shows no signs of ending.   The people have come to accept government control of their lives as a normal process of evolution leading to European Socialism.  I see no evidence that the public in general finds this aspect of government troubling and no evidence whatsoever that they are concerned enough to resort to armed rebellion.   Therefore, my former belief is no longer valid.

The NRA’s concern about the slippery slope of confiscation has some merit.  We currently restrict gun ownership.  Convicted felons, those with domestic violence charges and others, are not allowed to buy, own or carry guns.   It’s just a matter of time before others are added to that list.

American citizens are not allowed to own automatic weapons and haven’t been since the 1930’s when the Tommy Gun was declared illegal in this country.   Currently a ban on assault weapons is in the works and will eventually become the law.

All of this is to say that I no longer believe that the average citizen needs guns to protect himself from government.   A vast majority of people in this country think that guns should only be used for hunting and for self-protection.   Any weapons outside of that realm are not needed and should be banned.

Views change as life changes.   The recent mass shootings have galvanized the American public to demand more gun control.  While that won’t do anything to stop mass shootings,  the public sees it as a solution.   I see no harm in banning the ownership of assault weapons or at least the registration of assault weapons.   It won’t negatively affect the vast majority of gun-owning Americans and will do little harm.

Except the slippery slope has gotten steeper and more slippery.

 

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County continues efforts to tax septic systems

June 15th, 2016 by Ken

Thurston County Commissioners, operating as the Board of Health, have held a series of meetings around the county to educate homeowners on a proposal to tax septic systems.   The most recent was held last night.

Commissioners want to levy a fee on all 53,000 septic tank owners in the county of up to $66 per month for the purpose of protecting the groundwater, used by most people in the county as drinking water.   A significant number of that 53,000 are in the City of Lacey or in the Lacey Urban Growth Area.

The county claims that failing septic systems pose a major threat to the quality of the drinking water.    The solution they claim is to put as many people as possible on sewer systems.   Some of the money collected by the new tax will be used to assist septic tank owners in the urban areas to hook up to sewers.

While most health experts believe that failing septic systems are the major cause of groundwater contamination in the county, others are not as certain.

No one is really sure what is in our drinking water.  LOTT, which operates the only sewer system in the county is currently engaged in a major – and expensive – study of our drinking water to ascertain what chemicals are leaching into our water supply

Preliminary results of that study should be released shortly.

In the meantime, those of us on sewers, pay up to $60 a month for the privilege of protecting our source of drinking water – and getting rid of our human waste.    The debate is whether or not those on septic systems should be forced to do the same thing.  It’s such a political hot button issue that by the end of this year, all three county commissioners who first proposed the concept will be gone from their commission seats.

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Our history – bit by official bit

June 10th, 2016 by Ken

There’s a lot to be said for living in Washington State.   We are really a unique product of the American system – – the creation of states.   We are the only state named for an American president.   We were originally planned to be called – Columbia – but Congress liked honoring the first president – – and we were it.  Our state seal is a picture of old George himself.

But – we have a number of state symbols, mottoes and seals that reflect our values and our uniqueness.

Our state motto is – Alki – an Indian word meaning – Bye and Bye.   It seems to be an appropriate word for the laid back style many of us have.   We don’t want to move too quickly.  We want to think about it for a while.   But, eventually, we’ll get back to it.   Alki – Bye and Bye.

Our state nickname – The Evergreen State was adopted by the state legislature just a few short years after statehood.

Our state tree, in keeping with the evergreen theme, is the Western Hemlock.   Why isn’t it the Douglas Fir – you might ask.   After all, we have more Doug fir than any other state.

Well – it seems that Oregon beat us to the draw – and adopted the tree as their state tree, decades before we became a state.   Several Oregon newspapers chided us for not having a state tree and in 1946 the Portland Oregonian selected the Western Hemlock as our state tree.  Bear in mind, that at that time the Hemlock was a scrub tree that nobody wanted and had no commercial value.  But, the name stuck.

Having a Portland newspaper pick out our state tree isn’t any sillier than having school children pick our our state bird.   In 1929 the legislature asked the kids to name the state bird – – and they chose the Meadowlark.   But seven states already had the Meadowlark as the state bird.   The Washington Federation of Garden Clubs suggest the Gold Finch and that name stuck.

A few years before statehood, the women of Washington Territory had the opportunity to vote for the soon to be state flower.   Voting booths were set up all around the territory and only women could vote.   It came down to a close vote for Clover and the Rhododendron.  Of course – the Rhody won.

We have a number of official state items.   The state fruit is the apple.  The state song is “Washington My Home.”   The state folk song is “Roll On Columbia” and the unofficial state rock and roll song is “Louie Louie.”

Not having been blessed with a long history, Washington has come into its own recently.  The legislature has adopted Petrified Wood as the state rock – the square dance as the state dance – the Steelhead as the state fish – the Green Darter Dragonfly   as the state insect – and the Columbian Mamouth as the state fossil.   All of this goes a long way towards developing a sense of state community.

But, all’s not roses and iced tea.   There have been some political problems.   Not to long ago some school children wanted to make the Walla Walla Sweet Onion as the official state vegetable.   That didn’t sit so well with the State Potato Commission and the idea was scrapped.

Guess we still have some surprises left. We don’t as yet have a state drink.   How about beer.  Of course the wine commission would probably object to that.

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Talking political reality

June 9th, 2016 by Ken

I’ve had the opportunity these last couple of weeks of attending nearly half a dozen political kick-0ffs or political fund-raisers.  I’ve attend both Democratic and Republican events – -as well as those not affiliated with either major party.  Here are some observations:

The race for Thurston County Commissioner in District Two is between Gary Edwards and Kelsey Hulse (pronounced Hulls).  Since there are only two candidates for this position, both will automatically advance to the General election.   But – their campaigns are a microcosm of the national campaign.

Edwards is the former Thurston County Sheriff who has been out of the public’s eye for more than a decade.  His kickoff was full of “older” people who remembered Gary from his years behind the badge – and from those neighbors of his from the South County area.   Young people were very absent from his first public event   While he has raised a great deal of money and has garnered support from several sources, he has one disadvantage.   Nobody under 30 knows who he is.   And, those thousands of new residents who have moved here in the last decade also have no relationship to the former sheriff.

Hulse’s kickoff was the typical Democratic celebration.   The unions were in force, barbequing vast qualities of food, while the old Democrats gathered in the corner talking about the “good old days”.   But arriving in force were dozens and dozens of young people, their children in hand – many of them new to the party and many of them supporting Bernie.   This was a case where the old bumped up against the new.   Hulse has a long way to go to get name recognition – – and a longer way to go to get the support of those who are not Democrats – something she will need in a countywide race.

I’ve also realized that the Democratic party is keeping a tight rein on the candidates and are not endorsing everyone who wants to run as a Democrat.   This is particularly true in the legislative races, where several candidates seeking a legislative seat in the 22nd District – – have been shunted aside and denied party support.  This in some way echoes the Clinton-Bernie split in the party – – with the old guard wanting to keep control and the younger members wanting to shake off the chains.  Just because you file as a Democrat doesn’t mean the party recognizes you.

Kim Wyman’s efforts to be returned as Washington Secretary of State started off well.   She pulled nearly 300 supporters to her kickoff event at St. Martin’s.  Wyman is the only statewide Republican in Washington and the only statewide Republican elected official on the West Coast.

In her first race, Wyman carried almost every county in the state except King County and she only won election by about 20,000 votes.   Her margin of victory came in Thurston County which gave her a 22,000 vote edge.   For a Republican to win a race in Thurston County says something about the candidate.   Wyman is well-liked and well-respected in Thurston County and knows she will have to continue to stress her non-partisan approach to running elections if she hopes to get re-elected.

I have several other observations about our local elections, but they will have to wait for another time.

 

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Lacey history – this week 1974

June 8th, 2016 by Ken

An ad hoc committee of Lacey councilmembers and Lacey Planning Commission members – led by Mayor Bill Bush, has urged Thurston Regional Planning to allow a higher density around Lacey lakes, than called for in the Shorelines Master Plan.   The committee feels the rural designation of two houses per acre would make it difficult to extend city sewers to the new houses.

The name Wonderwood Park was officially adopted as the name for a 40-acre site off of 32nd Avenue and Brentwood.

The North Thurston School Board – by a split 2-1 vote, has closed the North Thurston High School’s designated smoking area and called upon local law enforcement to help in the ban.   It also directed the administration to hire a matron for the girl’s restrooms.

 

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New view on homelessness

June 6th, 2016 by Ken

Proposals to tax all property owners in Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater to fund construction of housing for homeless individuals will hopefully fall by the wayside like dozens of other suggestions on how to eliminate homelessness – – because it’s not the answer.

Before we should spend another penny to build subsidized housing – – perhaps we should look at the causes of homelessness and the reason for the lack of affordable housing.

A number of the homeless have alcohol and drug problems.   Another percentage have mental health issues.  Domestic abuse accounts for some homelessness and teenager homelessness is often related to problems between the child and the parents often for some of the same reasons just mentioned.   Those are the root causes of much of our homelessness.

Some want to work but are without job opportunities.  Lack of jobs is brought about partly by national and international businesses which operate beyond our control – – but some of the lack of jobs can be brought right back to the state and local level.   More and more requirements on business – – such as a higher minimum wage – set hours – overtime pay – -mandatory medical fees and other current regulations, decrease the number of jobs available as technology is preferred over the cost of people.

Those are some of the causes of homelessness.   Now, lets look at the reason for the lack of affordable housing.

Those who build houses estimate that it costs between $15,000 to $25,000 per house, just to get a permit to build.   Lower in the county, higher in Olympia.   That adds to the cost of a new home.   Then, impact fees for parks, for schools, for transportation and for various other programs adds $25,000 to $50,000 additional cost.   And, that’s all before the house is built.

Zoning rules and regulations put severe restrictions on where housing can be built and forces builders inside urban boundaries  – where cost of land is much higher –  thus also adding to the cost of new homes.

The inability to afford a new house, puts pressure on existing housing stocks, and the cost of all housing rises.

Add to that the fact that the number of manufactured homes in the urban areas has fallen by 50 percent, and that this affordable housing stock is prohibited in many areas – – also adds to the unaffordability of housing.

Before we tax existing home owners for the purpose of building “affordable” housing, we should take a look at the social issues which create the unhoused.   And we should look at those rules and regulations we have imposed – that makes the cost of housing out of reach for a substantial portion of our population.

Those problems should be addressed first.   And, if progress is made – then the homeless problem will diminish.

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Balsley’s laws of consulting

June 3rd, 2016 by Ken

Several friends of mine are retiring in the near future and are looking at supplementing their income by doing consulting work.  For someone who has been working as a consultant for more than 30 years, I’ve drafted some advice for all of those contemplating this business form.

Advice is worth what they pay for it.   Free advice is worth nothing.  The more they pay for it, the more they appreciate it.

You can’t spend too much time with a client.   It’s the way to find out what they really want – – and you can always charge them for the time.   Find out what they want – and give it to them.

It’s always better to get your money up front.   A reasonable retainer guarantees a long term relationship.   Drafting an employment contract is the hardest work your will do.

Remember – out-of-town consultants are always worth more.

With that advice under your belt, go out and land those contracts – – just stay away from mine.

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Berry picking was the great equalizer

June 2nd, 2016 by Ken

The coming of local strawberries always reminds me of growing up in the South Sound – – and the lessons of equality taught to us by picking strawberries.

Every kid in the 1950’s picked berries.  As soon as school let out in June we’d be at the fields picking strawberries.  (School got out in early June, back then.)   The poor kids picked berries because they needed the money.   The rich kids did it because their parents felt it would teach them the honor of hard work.

Poor kids rode the berry bus.  We’d get up at 5 am, walk a mile or more to the bus stop, and get on the berry bus.   It would make its way around Thurston County picking up kids along the route.   After an hour or more of riding the bus we’d make it to the fields.    The rich kids got up at 7 am and were dropped off at the fields by their parents.   But, we all made it.

We’d hide our brown bag lunch in the grass, under something, so no one would steal it.   Then we’d report to the row boss who would assign us a row to pick.  The row boss was always a woman – – not the motherly type but not a monster – – just someone whose word was law and affected how much money you could make.

The fields were always damp in the early morning and it was chilly, so we’d start with our jackets on but very shortly, as the summer sun warmed us up and dried out the fields, the jackets would come off and be thrown haphazardly behind us.

We’d always try to pick the biggest berries on each plant because they filled up the boxes quicker.   But the row boss always made us go back and redo a row because we had left too many small berries.

We’d push our flat out in front of us, making small talk with the pickers around us  – – harassing our friends and making eyes at the pretty girls.  Soon we would start throwing berries at each other.  This would go on until the row boss made us stop.

After what seemed like hours, it would be time for lunch.  We’d find our brown bags, eat the sandwiches and drink the warm liquid, usually pop of some kind.   The parents of the rich kids brought them their lunch.  Potato salad, hot fried chicken and cold pop or lemonade – – that’s what we figured they had.  But, eventually, it was time to get back to work.

Each filled flat was taken to the row boss, who would either accept it, or send us back to fill it up some more.  When it was acceptable, she’d punch our card, give us an empty flat and send us back to start all over again.  This went on until every row had been picked.

Some of us worked all season – – some just for the day.  If you worked all season you got a couple of dollars bonus.

After what seemed like hours it was time to go.   The berry bus arrived and those of us using it would face a long ride home.   The rich kids were picked up in the family car.

As the season progressed, some of us would continue on and pick raspberries and later green beans.   But all of us picked strawberries.  It was the great equalizer.

 

 

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Lacey history this week 2002

June 1st, 2016 by Ken

Water, or the lack of it, is the major concern of the City of Lacey.   Growth in the community is stymied by the lack of water rights to serve new developments.

The City of Lacey has five water right applications in to the Washington State Department of Ecology, which has refused to act on the applications citing lack of staff.

The city is looking at alternatives.   It is currently negotiating for water rights with some major permit holders in the Hawks Prairie area.   It is also looking at getting additional water from city wells.   Some have high levels of manganese and, while they don’t pose a health hazard they do have a taste.   These wells are often only used during the summer but the city is looking at adding scrubbers which would make they more usable year round.

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Time and Age – A primer

May 31st, 2016 by Ken

Andy Rooney, the star of CBS’s 60 minutes (long dead now) used to say that “life is like a roll of toilet paper.   The closer to the end you get, the faster it goes.”   There’s much validity in what Rooney said.   All of us who have aged, talk about time and how fast it appears to be going.

Whether or not time goes faster the older you get is irrelevant.  The perception that time goes faster the older you get – is true.   Ask anyone older than 50 and they’ll tell you – it’s a fact.

Why does time appear to move faster to people the older they get?   I’ve been doing some thinking about it, and here’s what I’ve determined.

Time appears to move faster to older people because they don’t recognize the passage of time.

Have you ever started reading a book and become so engrossed in it that before you realize it, several hours have passed?   Have you ever gotten on the internet and realized that you have been on the net for more than an hour when it seemed like minutes?

Have you ever driven a car and become so caught up thinking about a problem at work or a situation at home that before you know it, you’re at your destination?

Have you ever driven to work and back every day to the point that it becomes a habit and you don’t think much about the drive, until suddenly, something new popped up alongside the road and you noticed it for the first time?

Those are all signs of how we deal with time.

As children, everything is new.   Every time we see a bird, watch a leaf fall from a tree, hear a new word out of the mouth of our parents, ride a bicycle or wait anxiously for the first day of summer vacation – -our brain treats time differently.

As children, and teenagers, our mind is busy processing new information on a regular basis.   As the processing is going on we are aware of time.   Our mind reacts to the stimulate and thus to the time.

But, as adults, we have already processed most of the new information we’ll ever learn.  Our brain is no longer processing vast amounts of new information and instead has been placed on “auto pilot.”   We go through life not noticing the same old things because our brain has already processed that information and doesn’t call it to our attention – – and we don’t realize the passage of time.

It’s not until something jars us back and forces us to think a new thought, that we again realize the concept of time.

So, it’s not the fact that time is moving slower or faster – – it’s just that our perception of time has changed.   As long as the brain doesn’t experience new information it moves us through time without our realization.   It’s only when new information arrives that stopping points are created.   These stopping points bring us back to a realization and with it a concept of time.

Can you slow down time?   I think you can – -but not to the point of our childhood.

As adults, we can try new things, read new books, learn a new language, do some traveling, experience new ideas and new thoughts.   Those things will force our brain to temporarily re-open the processing factory and consequently slow down the passage of time.

But, because those new concepts are such a small portion of the knowledge already retained in our brain, we’ll never slow time down to the point we remember as a child.

We will always be forced to watch, as the roll of toilet paper continues to move faster and faster – the nearer to the end we get.

(Want to wake up the brain?   Try brushing your teeth with the other hand.)

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Coffee With Ken celebrates a birthday

May 31st, 2016 by Ken

Since leaving KGY, I’ve been doing Coffee With Ken interviews as a Podcast on this site.   This week celebrates the first year of a celebrated run of interviews with community leaders.

Not only have we interviewed Bill Bryant, the Republican candidate for governor – – or Secretary of State Kim Wyman, but we’ve also interviewed dozens of current elected officials running for re-election and in most cases, their opponents seeking those same seats.

We’ve also interviewed school board members, city council members and city and school officials.   In addition, we’ve talked with many leaders of our social services, who fill in the gaps left by government.

We started our first year as a Podcast by interviewing Olympia Port Commissioner Bill McGregor and we will celebrate our first year by having Bill back on the show.   When I did Coffee With Ken on KGY my first guest was Bill and every year on my anniversary date I had Bill back.

Not only is he articulate and a supporter of port activities, but he seems to be my good luck charm.

To access this trove of interviews, simply click on the Coffee With Ken button at the top of this page and scroll down the list.

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