Who’s to blame for Daylight Savings Time

March 12th, 2022 by Ken

“That’s dangerous,” she said.  “Somebody might get killed.”

“What’s dangerous,” he asked.

“Daylight Savings Time,” she said.  “I get up at 6 am, except this time it was 5 am.  I’m so tired.  My body just hasn’t adjusted to the time difference.  I almost hit someone coming in this morning and then I tripped on the escalator. They ought to do something about it.”

“What do you want them to do,” he asked.

“Stop messing with the time,” she said.  “It’s just not natural to keep changing it all of the time.   Who’s to blame for this mess?”

“Blame the Monks.” he said.

“What have the monks got to do with it?” she asked.

“They’re the ones that starting marking off time.  They needed to know what time it was so they could get up for morning prayer, so they invented time and a way to measure it.” he said.  “Before that, no one cared about time.  They got up when it got light and went to bed when it got dark.”

“That’s it?” she asked.

“Not quite.  The industrial revolution meant that everybody had to be at work at the same time so they could work with the machines.  So, everybody had a clock.  In some places, the company just had a whistle.  When it blew, everyone knew the time.”

“And, that’s it?” she asked.

“Not quite.  When the railroads stretched their iron rails across the country, they needed common time across the whole United States.

“Getting a little poetic, aren’t you,” she said.  “So I can blame the railroads?”

“Not quite,” he said.  “During World War One the government started Daylight Savings Time, so the factories producing war gear could operate longer in the day without burning so much energy.   They did it again in World War Two.  And, they just kept continuing it.”

“So, I can blame the government?” she asked.

“Can if you want to,” he said.  “I’ve got the number for our Congresswoman on my phone.”

“Well, if I hit someone in my car tomorrow, I’m going to blame the government,” she said.

“It’s alright with me,” he said.

 

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Don’t change the name of Priest Point Park

March 7th, 2022 by Ken

Action by the City of Olympia to change the name of Priest Point Park to Squaxin Park is a wrong-headed move on the part of some people to continue to erase the history of our community, in the interest of  re-writing history to salve a political wrong.

Arrival of the Benediction Priests was a major move in the future of our community and set forth many actions which has led to the creation of Saint Martin’s College and St. Peter Hospital – – just to name the most obvious.

The effort to remove the name (and with it, all western impact on the native community) smacks of “Cancel Culture.”  We can’t remove the impact that western thought had on the various tribes along Puget Sound, but trying to erase the name of a beloved city park seems a knee-jerk reaction.

While we’re at it.  Why not change the name of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainer while we’re at it?  I suggest Salish Sea and Mt. Tahoma.

Have the public meeting (by Zoom) on March 17.  Listen to the reasons, then reject the idea and get on to something more significant and substantial.

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Consensus is no way to solve a problem

February 24th, 2022 by Ken

Consensus is a word that entered the American lexicon in the 1970’s.  In simple terms that I understand, it means agreeing on a course of action.  It’s most usually used when a group of friends try to decide where to go to dinner.

Recently the City of Lacey convened a group of citizens and charged them with coming up with some solutions and recommendations to help solve the homeless problem in the city.   After more than a year of meeting and after losing more than half of its members, the group made a series of recommendations that seemed to be the perfect example of consensus.

Those recommendations were general in nature and full of words used in most conversations when you didn’t want to hurt anyone and want everyone to be happy.   Useless.

They say if you want to make an omelet you have to break some eggs.  That’s true.  But, like trying to agree on a place to eat, someone is going away hungry and someone else is going away with a full belly.

The homeless issue calls for leadership.  Next time, set a direction and a goal and convene a group to get there.  At the end, some are going to go away unhappy and some are going to be ecstatic.  But, at least you’ll have something to eat, if you want to.

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I’m not afraid of no sign

February 22nd, 2022 by Ken

The other day I was taking my daily walk when I saw a piece of property with new signs in front of it.   The signs read, “No Trespassing.  Trespassers will be Prosecuted.”

Up to that time I had not thought about trespassing and the sign got me to thinking.  If I did trespass, who would stop me.  I’m certain the police wouldn’t have responded to a trespass.  And, if, by some chance, I was stopped, I don’t think the prosecutors office would file charges against me.

I would never trespass, but it brought home to me how often we make decisions based on our ability to get away with it.  We know that government is backing off from arresting those who commit petty crimes like littering, public intoxication, drug use, theft, shoplifting and trespassing.  Loosing up laws that govern human behavior harmful to the public good, does nothing more than push the envelop.  If we don’t punish those crimes, than can other more serious crimes follow without fear of repercussions.

I understand why the property owners placed the signs they did.  The house in unoccupied and its possible that some homeless populations may move it.  But, the no trespassing signs wouldn’t have stopped anyone bent on finding shelter, nor would the fear of prosecution.

Not enforcing the law leads to more lawlessness.  It’s the broken window syndrome.  Allow one window to be broken and soon others will follow.

Every time I walk by the property now, I’m tempted to set a foot on the yard to see what happens.  I’m not afraid of no sign – now.

(NOTE – It’s been brought to my attention that the owners posted those signs so to have a legal way of removing squatters.)

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What makes a good leader?

February 21st, 2022 by Ken

At the beginning of the 20th Century the word “leadership” couldn’t be found in any dictionary.  It was always assumed that those in positions of authority were leaders, and had the skills necessary to lead.

Consequently teachers, ministers, elected officials and those who were successful in business, were given the benefit of assuming a leadership position within society.

But, that delegation of leadership to those in a position of authority began to fall apart as we exited the 20th Century.

The effects of Watergate, and the impeachment of two presidents made us understand that those we elect to public office aren’t always honest with us and the realization that positions of authority doesn’t confirm leadership.

The Fall from Grace of religious luminaries and the exposure of wide-spread sexual abuse by the clergy dimed our respect for the leadership skills of those who have been given the mantle of leadership in the moral arena.

The recent Pandemic and the breakdown of our educational system shows that even those who we put in charge of our children sometimes fail.  Our institutions of higher education have become self-centered and self-important and grasped the idea that they, and they alone, have the answers to society’s problems.

Big business, with monopoly control over the flow of information, has set itself up as the country’s savior to censor ideas which they have deemed unhealthy to the masses.

All of these failures of our institutions and people of influence show a lack of leadership on the part of all those we thought were leaders.

What makes a good leader?

We’ve all had leaders who we would follow anywhere.  We’ve had leaders whom we didn’t think knew a thing about what they were doing.

What is it that separates good leaders from the others?

We’ve all had teachers who may know their subject matter, but were unable to teach it.  Teachers who made the subject so boring  that you couldn’t understand it no matter how hard you tried.

We’ve also had teachers who gave us zip and zest – who made the subject interesting no matter how complex.  They created in us a desire to learn and made us want to do better.

We’ve all had bosses who find time to do other things rather than give us their time.

So, what is that makes the difference?

The answer is passion.  Sheer unadulterated passion.

People who are passionate about their product, job, skill or talent, make others passionate about those same subjects.   And, people who are passionate about something, get it done.

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The State should be ashamed of itself

February 15th, 2022 by Ken

The Washington State Department of Transportation should be ashamed of itself.  It’s taken a hands-off approach on becoming the largest illegal camping ground in the state by saying it wasn’t a police agency,  Now, its taken the same tact by saying it isn’t  a garbage collection agency.

Ok, it hasn’t said that – yet.  But if past action is any key to future action, WSDOT will allow garbage to continue to collect in these illegal campgrounds and spill over onto the freeway.

Anyone who has driven the freeway from Lacey through Tumwater, comes away ashamed about the litter and garbage caused by people in these illegal camps throwing it over the fence.  The freeway is a disgrace.  it reflects badly on the state image, particularly when the state capitol dome looms in the background.

In the past, the Department of Ecology has policed this section of freeway. They are also, now  conspicuously absent.  I suspect cleaning up this mess won’t be easy.  There are needles and other drug paraphemalia.  There is probably caustic chemicals as well as feces and urine.   This cleanup job is not for amateurs.  It will take professionals.

But it’s time.  If DOT or Ecology won’t do the job, then hire a professional team and get the mess cleaned up.  And, while you’re at it.  Move the “homeless” encampments out.

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Who’s behind a Balanced Calendar?

February 8th, 2022 by Ken

Who’s leading the effort to get school districts to go to what is called a “Balanced Calendar?  It’s not the parents and its not the teachers union.  The ones leading the effort are a number of sociologists, some of them working for the Superintendent of Public Instructions (SPI) and some in the nation’s capitol.

According to social scientists, the current school calendar, with an 11 week summer vacation, contributes to learning problems for minorities and other disadvantaged youths, who regress in learning when out of school for nearly three months.

That is the whole purpose of the balanced calendar.  To help youth get through the summer without forgetting all they learned the previous school year.

North Thurston is one of several school districts in the state looking at adopting the new school calendar.  The effort is being funded with grants from SPI.

Other than sociologists and a few other children advocates, it seems that no one is currently waving the banner in favor of this new school year concept.  Teacher union members, who have a great deal of say in all school matters, are still trying to ascertain the impact on teachers.  Particular concerns center around using the 11 weeks of summer to get additional education.  Some teachers say they need more time in the summer to unwind and step away from thinking about teaching.  They need to recharge their batteries.

Parents aren’t  jumping for joy either.  Questions of child care and the impact on student athletes are some of the most asked.

Even if the North Thurston School Board falls in love with the idea of a “Balanced Calendar” it won’t happen this year.  Teachers have already received some of their assignments for the upcoming school year.

As far as I know, there is no time frame to adopt the new school calendar, although I expect SPI would want to  gather all the information from the various school districts before taking any action.

Who’s the final decision-maker on all of this?  I don’t know.  It’s probably the state.  But, it should be the parents.  They need to listen carefully to what the “Balanced Calendar” is, and how it works.  Then, with good information, they should see that the school board take the appropriate action.

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City changes Woodland Square’s name

February 7th, 2022 by Ken

What’s in a name?  A very famous question that Shakespeare answered by saying that it didn’t make any difference and that a rose by any name would smell as sweet.

Don’t tell that to the City of Lacey.  They have just changed one of the famous names of Lacey to a name of no consequence.

Woodland Square – the heart of Lacey’s downtown, had been renamed Midtown, in all official city utterances. and documents.  According to my conversation with Mayor Andy Ryder, some time ago, when they were talking about changing the name – the mayor said the name Woodland Square didn’t have the pulling power it needed to become the city center.  And, it didn’t represent the larger area which encompasses St. Martin’s and other adjacent properties.

In case you aren’t aware, the city is trying to tie the geographical areas of the city together.  Not only have they come up with the name Midtown to denote the primary area of Lacey, but they’ve also created an Historical District which encompasses Lacey Boulevard and Pacific Avenue as it runs along the section of city containing the Train Depot replica and the site of the new Lacey Historical Museum.

Woodland has a major significance to Lacey.  It was the original name of the city before it became Lacey.  And, the land which encompasses Woodland Square has carried that name for more than 50 years.

The mayor said the area needed a new name to represent the greater community surrounding it.  Don’t tell that to the hundreds of major cities in the United States which have an area called “Square”.  Like Harvard Square, Hearld’s Square, Ghirardelli Square and Union Square (both in San Francisco), McPhersons Square in Washington DC and Freedom Square in Boston.  Many of these squares also have an historical component just like Woodland Square.

The City of Lacey is now 50 years old and has 60,000 residents.  Changing an historical name for the purpose of promoting city identification seems wrong.  I don’t sense a lot of citizen outrage, but then again, many people aren’t aware of the city’s history nor the city’s effort to negate some of its history.

Lets bring a stop to the city’s efforts to erase part of the city’s history in an effort to create a sense of community before too many more city documents contain that name and its too late.

 

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Immigrants built this country

February 2nd, 2022 by Ken

It’s true.  I think every historian agrees that immigrants built what we call the United States of America.

Bear in mind that what I have to say next is built on generalities.  Stereotypes exist but they do contain some elements of truth.

Whether they came in crowded ships into the harbors of New York or Boston, or came in chains into the harbors of Charleston and New Orleans, it was the labor of immigrants which built this country.

Irish, Italian, Eastern Europeans, or religious pilgrims from around the globe, it was their labor which was used to construct the infrastructure of America.  It was Irish and Chinese labor which built the railroads.  It was the miners from Scotland, the lumbermen from Scandinavia, the fisherman from England, the farmers from Northern Europe and the Hispanics from south of the border who built this country that we live in.

In two or three generations, these  immigrants were able to assimilate into, and help create, the American culture.

But it wasn’t so easy for those whose skin was a different color.  It’s estimated than more than 10 million Africans came to the shores of the Americas which include the Caribbean Islands and Central and South American.  Their “cheap’ labor built the economic engine such as cotton, sugar  tobacco and rice.  Those were the dominate crops which brought in large amounts of capital which financed the construction projects.

But, those whose skin color was different had a difficult time assimilating.  Those who had been brought here in bondage, or those that had risked their lives crossing the river, or those whose labor was purchased in China and died here with only their bones shipped back to their country, were never granted the opportunity to persue  the American Dream.

Discrimination whether blatant or undercover, held many of them back.   It’s only been in the last 50 years that we’ve come to recognize the damage such discrimination caused.  And it’s only in the last decade that we’ve come to understand how harmful it has been.

I don’t have the answer to what we do next.  I don’t believe tearing down American history, or blaming law enforcement, or erasing what we learned in school from our text books, is the answer.

I know that legal discrimination is illegal.  I know that discrimination in any form is a cancer on the people who experience it and on people who live in this country.

What I hope, is that in the next generation or two, everyone can assimilate into the changing American culture.

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You never forget your first girl friend

January 25th, 2022 by Ken

 You never forget your first girl or boy friend.

It was 1964.  I was in the Army stationed at Ft. Lewis.  I didn’t have a car, but my friend Gary did.

When the weekend came, we decided to go cruising and look for girls, but Gary wanted his car to look good and wanted me to help.  So we spent the day, washing, waxing, vacuuming and cleaning out his car until it was ready for any young lady to appreciate.

We drove up and down State and Fourth, “dragging the gut”  several times before heading into Kings Drive In.  We pulled into a parking spot and noticed, one stall away a car with two young women in it.  Gary said, “Bet you, you won’t go over and talk to them.”

“How much,” I replied.  “I’ll buy you a burger,” he said.  “You’re on.”

As I walked towards the car I noticed the driver was an attractive brunette while in the passenger side was a cute blonde with curls that hung down over her collar.

I tapped on the driver’s window.  She rolled it down and looked at me.  I reached in through the window, took her drink, downed as much of it as I could in one gulp and handed it back to her.  “Thanks,” I said and walked back to Gary’s car.

It didn’t take more than a minute before she was at our window.  I rolled down the window and heard her ask, “Why did you do that?’

“First of all,” I said, “I was thirsty.  And second of all, I wanted to meet you.”

Eventually we all got out of our cars and stood around talking.  The driver’s name was Margie.  She and her friend were from Shelton and came into the big city this weekend “just to see what was happening.”

We talked for a while and I got her phone number.  Gary got the other girl’s name.

I called her a few days later and made a date to pick her up in Shelton.   Gary was driving up because the blonde was coming as well.

In those days, there was no freeway to Shelton.  You had to take the long winding road along the bay and it took 45 minutes to an hour to get there.   We did the normal things on a double-date.  A meal, some talk and then a little “making out”.  Me and Margie in the backseat and Gary and the blonde in the front seat.

Gary and the blonde broke up.  He wasn’t going to drive to Shelton any more.  I  borrowed my brother’s car and went Shelton one time, met Margie’s folks, but that was the end.

The Army called me away to go for winter warfare training in Alaska at Fort Richardson.  When I came back, I was interested in someone else.  I thought of Margie occasionally but only saw her one other time.  I ran into her on the Capitol Campus.  We said “Hi, how are you?”  she responded similarly and we went on our way.

But, obviously, 60 years later, I thought of her.   Guess you never forget your first real girlfriend.

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We’re all connected by our routines

January 17th, 2022 by Ken

Every day for years I would see him walk by.  A large fellow, stooped with age, bronze skin and blond hair.  It was obvious from his appearance that he had been an athlete, whose time had passed.  But, every day he would walk by wearing shorts and a T Shirt.  No matter what the weather, he would do his morning walk.  When it was cold, he might wear a light jacket.

I never stopped him, never talked to him, but he became part of my life.  One day he disappeared.  For two weeks we didn’t see him.  Then – he was back.   I wondered if maybe he had been sick.  Maybe he had taken a vacation.  I didn’t know, but it was comforting to know that he was back. His walk was part of my life.

There’s a woman with a German accent who walked her dog every day.  She’s friendly, likes to stop and talk with people working in their yards.  I’ve talked with her about the dog and quietly admired how she used it as a tool to talk with people.  One day she had a different dog.  Her other one had died.  I expressed my sadness about the loss of her dog and we carried on a conversation.  Did I say she liked to talk?

It got to the point that when I saw her coming down the street, I would go into the house to avoid the conversation.  I felt bad, but I had things to do – – important things.

Every morning I take my walk, within a minute or two of 7 am.  I walk the same route I’ve been walking for more than 40 years.

I know every house, every car, every tree and every person who’s doing the same thing I’m doing.

I know which cars belong to which house.  I know when a strange car is in a driveway.  I know which yard has been recently mowed and which house has received a coat of paint.  I see the same elderly Asian lady who is also taking a walk.  We make a small hand gesture and often say “Good day for a walk”, even if it isn’t.

Every day, the same two small dogs run to the living room window and bark as I walk by.  I wonder if they hear me coming or have some second sense.  I think its because I go by at the same time every day and I’m part of their morning routine.

Now I suspect there’s a couple in one of the houses having their morning coffee and one says to the other “There’s that same old man going by.  Wonder where he lives?”  I’ve  probably become part of their routine.

 

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Menser recall effort underway

January 12th, 2022 by Ken

A recall effort to oust Thurston County Commissioner Ty Menser  has been filed with the Thurston County auditor – – the first step in a long process to recall the elected county commissioner from the county’s 3rd District seat.

The motion to file petition for recall is being led by Jon Pettit, a long time community activist and an expert on Thurston County government.  Pettit led the effort two years ago to get the County Commission to withdrew its effort to get taxpayer approval to construct a new courthouse in downtown Olympia.

In his petition, Pettit claims that Menser, as chair of the Thurston County Commission last year, failed to file timely reports on county action and that many public actions had no minutes at all.  Pettit also alleges that actions were taken without public scrutiny.  In his 53 page petition, Pettit claims that Menser and the county were negligent in many other areas.    The petition is on file with the Thurston County Auditor’s office.

Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall said the petition has been sent on the Thurston County courts.

A judge will be selected to determine if Pettit’s petition has legal grounds on which to approve a recall effort.  Bear in mind that just because the court determines there is grounds for a recall, does mean the official is guilty.

The court has 15 days from the date it received the petition to make a determination.  If sufficient grounds are found, the court will write a ballot synopsis and send it back to the petitioner to gather signatures for recall.

Pettit will have to gather 28,851 valid signatures of registered voters in order to get the measure put on the ballot for a public vote.   That figure is 25 percent of those who voted in the last election in which Menser was on the ballot.   That was 2018.  Supporters have six months to gather the necessary signatures.

Hall said that its possible – if the signatures are gathered – that the recall could be on the November ballot.

Questions have arisen as to why the recall effort, when Menser is up for re-election this year.  For the answer to that question, go to the interview with Pettit that will shortly be posted in my Coffee With Ken section.

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The new pornographers

January 11th, 2022 by Ken

I recently learned a new word – – Worry Porn.  It concerns the rapidly increasing interest of our news media in negative events, which results in creating worries and fears in those who watch.

Here’s how it works.   Every day, negative news pours from our news outlets.  Bulletin after bulletin – story after story – all related towards some catastrophe which will significantly and severely impact our life and perhaps the life of the planet – or – if not the planet – at least our society.

But, what makes it porn, is the increasing number of viewers and listeners who hang on every story, who yearn for additional information, who need to understand how unimportant they are in relationship to the major events that could mean the end of civilization.  They can’t get enough.

Every day the media broadcasts the number of people infected with Covid, the number of people testing positive, the number of people who have died.  It’s almost like a scoreboard of a college football game.  We have to know more.  We have to see if we can reach a million dead.

Every storm, every event of Mother Nature, is another signal that the world is coming to an end.  Four inches of rain – the second flood is coming.  Snow piled six feet deep in the California mountains, brush fires in Colorado,  freezing weather in New York – – the stories are frightening – but we have to have more.

Riots tear up our cities and we fault our police.  Riots in our nations capital become insurrections and democracy as we know it is at death’s door.

The Worry porn continues day after day and we can’t get enough of it.   That’s what makes news stories porn.  We participate in the worry.  We hang on to every shred of evidence that fits our worries and the future we face. The more we watch negative news, the more they feed us.

Watching network news and news talk shows is our addiction   It’s our porn.  And the pornographers continue to give it to us.   Until we break this addition, we’ll never be happy.

The answer is simple.  Stop watching network news shows.

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New Deputy Mayor an enigma

January 6th, 2022 by Ken

Entering his fourth four-year term on the Lacey City Council, Andy Ryder has been selected to again represent the City of Lacey as its mayor.  Ryder is the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, out-distancing Mark Brown who has now been relegated to second.

Unlike in the cities of Olympia and Tumwater, the Lacey mayor is not voted on by the public, but is selected by the city council to represent them in the community.

Ryder’s election was no surprise and was unanimous.

It was the race for deputy mayor which drew the most attention.  Previous deputy mayor Cynthia Pratt did not seek re-election to the council.  She had served as deputy mayor for most of the term that Ryder served as mayor.

No one seemed to know what was going to happen and who would be selected to the second spot on the Lacey council.  I suspect however that conversations did  take place.

Lenny Greenstein was nominated by Ed Kunkel.  He received only Kunkel’s vote and his own.  Carolyn Cox, then nominated Malcolm Miller who was approved by the council for deputy mayor.

The jockeying for the deputy mayor slot has been a question hanging over the election.  Conservative members of the council wanted Greenstein but that wasn’t to be.  Mentioned for deputy mayor was Cox and new member Robin Vazquez.   Cox was rejected because she was too liberal for Lacey. Vazquez was rejected because she was just elected and was brand new.  The compromise council member was Miller.

Little is known about Miller.  He doesn’t take many meetings with other councilmembers and for the most part stays quiet during council meetings.  If the City of Lacey has ever elected an enigma, that person is now Lacey’s deputy mayor.

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Who’s being hurt by the homeless issue

January 5th, 2022 by Ken

While we understand that many homeless individuals are being impacted by their condition, there are many others who are also being impacted.  The homeless and those who hang out around the various camp sites, are creating problems for others as well.

Recently, the wife on a friend of mine suffered a heart attack and was taken to St. Peter Hospital.  Because of the overcrowding caused by the latest version of Covid, she was laid on a gurney and taken into the hallway, where she laid for hours along with several others.  During that time, an apparently homeless man, wandered up and down the hallway, riffling through the belongings of those laying in the hallway.  When he started to take her purse she started yelling an screaming for help.  It was several long minutes before anyone came to assist.  By then the culprit was gone.

Last week, my wife notice her car, sitting in our driveway, had been entered and her glove compartment and center console rummaged through.  The next door neighbor lady said her car had also fallen victim to car prowl, as had several others on our block.

Whether or not these incidents are caused by individuals living in the various camps and motels in the area, or are the result of drug addicts and alcoholics, or just plain thieves using the current police situation to their advantage is not know.

But when criminals know the police won’t respond, and if they did they wouldn’t be arrested and if they were arrested they wouldn’t be put in jail for misdemeanors and if they were they would be out shortly with no bail and no incentive to appear for trial.  Therefore the police won’t respond to such criminal activities.

Our elected officials have tied the hands of our local police.  Recently some of those same officials have been the victim of crimes.  Maybe a whack alongside the head is all they need to see the negatives of their actions.

It won’t help my friend whose wife had to scream for help, or all those on my block who no longer feel safe leaving their cars in their own driveway.  But, maybe they will see that their actions have consequences far beyond helping the poor and downtrodden.

 

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My Journal’s journey

December 30th, 2021 by Ken

As we enter a new year, most of us want to forget the last two years,  Many of us will try to do so – – a few of us will have to remember. We’re journalists.  By that I mean that  we keep  a daily journal of events.  I have kept a journal every day for the last 50 years and periodically before that.

Those of us who keep a journal or a diary feel obligated to remember what happens each day and then piece it together to create an overview of history.  To us, a journal or a diary is a living appendage like a brain, which documents activities that help us remember.  Our journal is as important to us as our heart.

Recently, on a trip back from Arizona, I lost my current journal.  I was writing in it on the plane and when I got off it wasn’t in my carry-on.  I became frantic, tried to get back on the plane to look for it, was assured that airplane staff would look for it and given  other assurances that it would turn up.  The last two years of my life were documented in that book and I had lost it.  I had lost my life.   I filed a lost item report with the airline and headed home.

I couldn’t sleep.  I was worried that those two years were lost.  I got up at 4 am and headed to my computer to file a report on my Facebook Page.   I even considered offering a reward.

When I got on, the first thing I saw on my Facebook page was “Did you leave something on the plane?”  The name of the person who posted it was Nancy Bonafede.  I was ecstatic.  It looked like my journal had been found.

I looked up Nancy Bonafede on Google and came up with the person living in Sedro Woolley.  No contact information but there was a Bonafede Construction Company – – and it had a phone number.

At one minute after 8 am I called.   When they answered I said , “I lost my journal on the plane.”  A female voice responded “I have your journal.”  She had found it under the seat in front of her, had Googled my name and looked me up.

She and her husband were vacationing at the Grand Canyon.  Nancy mailed the journal back to me from there and I received it four days later.  I kept track by its tracking number as it went to Los Angeles and Portland before getting here.

My journal had taken its own trip.  My journal had experienced being left, being found, and traveling to the Grand Canyon and then home.  My journal should have a kept a journal of its own.  But, even though I think of it as a living thing – it’s not.  It doesn’t have the capacity to remember – – only humans do.

And, even when we don’t want to remember the time of the Great Pandemic, we have to.  It’s our responsibility to help people remember.  Keeping a journal and sharing the observations it contains is one way to understand and place events in context.

 

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Lacey, St. Martins talk baseball stadium

December 23rd, 2021 by Ken

How does a new baseball stadium in Lacey sound?   For a number of people, the idea of a stadium is a step forward to making Lacey a sporting destination.

To accomplish that goal, the City of Lacey and St. Martin’s University are currently exploring the option of a joint effort to build a stadium on the college property.  Advocates for such a move feel a new baseball stadium would be for the benefit of the city and the college.

Lacey City Manager Scott Spence noted that Lacey is already a sports destination for many and a stadium would add to the attractiveness of Lacey.  He points out that the Regional Athletic Complex draws sports teams from around the state.  The ball fields are first rate and players like using the facilities.  What’s missing are appropriate seating for fans.  Talk centers around a 3000-5000 stadium which would be attractive to major tournaments.

St. Martin’s would benefit from a stadium and the college would have first use of the new facility.

At this point in time, the idea is only being talked about.

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Olympia moves homeless problem to Lacey

December 18th, 2021 by Ken

With less than a days notice, the City of Olympia moved the residents of the DesChutes Parkway camp to the City of Lacey.  Despite being a partner with Olympia on the homeless task force, Olympia rented 30 rooms for 30 days at the LaQuinta Inn in the city of Lacey.  It also rented a handful of rooms at other adjacent motels.

Complicating matters is the fact that the LaQuinta is located less than a hundred yards from the Northwest Christian school which was never notified.  Bear in mind that the DesChutes camp was closed because of violence and shootings.

Administrators and parents are concerned about their new neighbors and some parents have taken it upon themselves to walk guard duty around the school.

The move caught Lacey city officials unaware.  Now Lacey police are patrolling the area and city staff are providing other services.

Lacey officials are questioning the city’s involvement in the homeless task force, when Olympia will take action without involving Lacey in the decision-making process.

(Olympia has been pushing its problems into Lacey for the last decade.  Many social service agencies and subsidized housing units have been built on Martin Way – while technically in the city of Olympia – is actually in Lacey’s area of concern.)

 

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The true spirit of Christmas

December 7th, 2021 by Ken

I’ve had many Christmases in my eight decades of life.  Most of them pass with little memories.  A few stand out for various reasons.  And, one or two return to my mind every Christmas…  My most memorable  one came when I was 12 years old.  It led me on a path of which I had never conceived.

I was the oldest of four children.  My mother was a single mom living in Tumwater.  Mom worked a little, but having four kids made it tough.  There was no welfare as we know it now.  We did get some surplus food from the government – usually peanut butter, cheese and Spam – but money was always in short supply.

Mom told us all, that this was going to be a tough Christmas.  “We’re going to have an old-fashioned Christmas,” she said.  “We’re going to have to make things.  It’ll be fun.”

I wasn’t sure it would be fun.  This was going to be the worse Christmas of my young life.  But, I didn’t have any choice..

We lived above the Tumwater watershed property in a log cabin.  A nice log cabin, but a real log cabin.  We had trees galore in our backyard and my brother and I had no trouble finding the perfectly shaped tree to cut down and take back to the house.  We cut it to fit, placed it in an old bucket filled with dirt, and managed to get it into the house.

We had a few old ornaments laying around, but not really enough to decorate a Christmas tree.  Mom said “we’ll make our own.”  She remembered her childhood on an Iowa farm and the things they did to make Christmas come alive.  She showed us how to take colored paper and make it into reasonable ornaments.  We popped popcorn on the stove and using thread and a needle managed to make a white garland.  She brought  home a bucket of cranberries and we took them and  made a red garland.  We had a small puny string of lights, but once they were on the tree it became one of the best Christmas trees I’ve ever seen.

Early one evening just before Christmas, came a knock on the front door.  We opened it and found three people dressed in holiday attire and carrying several boxes, some of them wrapped as presents.  They were members of the Olympia Kiwanis Club and we had been selected as their Christmas family.  Each year the club adopted a needy family at Christmas and this year it was us,

I don’t know who was more excited – them or us.  They had presents mainly clothes but some toys as well.  Most of them were for my younger brothers and sister, but I did get a Monopoly game and a ring puzzle.  They also brought a box of food including a ham and all the fixings.

I was happy at the unexpected gift which came through our door.  My brothers and sisters were excited as they looked through all of the presents.

But, I was watching the faces of those Kiwanians as we opened our presents, tried on the jackets, looked through the food basket.  Their happiness in helping others brought joy to their heart that you could see by the smiles on their faces.

It was a better Christmas than I had expected, because for the first time in my young life I understood the true spirit of Christmas. Watching those Kiwanians I saw there is joy in giving as much as in receiving.

Now, every Christmas when we begin decorating the tree I remember that Christmas and I remember those who made one of my childhood Christmases a Christmas memory I cherish forever.

(A year later, the Olympia Lions Club went on to get me my first pair of glasses.  Later, I joined Rotary and am now a 47 year member of the Lacey Rotary Club.  Service clubs like Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary are the heartbeat of a community and I urge everyone to take a look at joining these great organizations.   (Why did I join Rotary if Kiwanis and Lions did so much for me in my childhood.  Because they asked me first.)

 

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An unspoken Word

December 1st, 2021 by Ken

“He went too soon,” she said, as she choked back a tear.

She turned her gaze from me and looked at the house that stood where it had stood for 50 years – – all of the time they had been together.

“The kids are taking it real hard, but the dog is staying around.  He’s still waiting for George to return,” she said.

“Of course we’ve had many people stop by and ask if they could help – – but – – it was a real surprise.   He didn’t even have time to say Goodbye – – not even a simple, single Goodbye.”

She looked at me, but her tears made it hard for her to see.  “Isn’t it funny,” she said, “just how important a single word can be?”

Based on a poem by Joe Illing (joeilling.com.)

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