Do Something About Dirty Water

This is mostly a comment I just posted at Rob's blog, but I think it deserves repeating. Last week the Thurston County planning commission had a public hearing that was pretty depressing if you come from a "let's preserve natural resources" point of view.

If you're interested in preventing detritous covered water from taking over Budd Inlet, now would be a good time to comment on the county's Critical Areas Ordinance.

In Washington, local governments (cities, towns and counties) are the governments empowered to do the most in terms of protecting water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. But, it makes little difference if people don't comment.

Thurston County Critical Area Ordinance webpage -- go here to comment

More vacancies downtown

The Olympian reports that Capitol City Press is moving out of downtown:
Connie Lorenz, executive director of the Olympia Downtown Association, said she met with the company earlier in the year as part of the association's efforts to create a business improvement district for the city, but she said by then it was too late to convince the company to stay downtown.

"We hate to see any long-term business leave," Lorenz said.

As many as a couple dozen vacant downtown storefronts have become an issue in recent months for neighboring businesses and tourists.

I know of at least two recent examples of significant rent increases (30%) for downtown businesses. This seems like it might have something to do with the problem. Does anyone have any more data on rents for storefronts?

Lady Washington

There's a nice picture of the Lady Washington on Rob's blog.

Values

Can anyone explain why this story should get more coverage than this one?

B&B not anticipating shortage of beans

The Monterey Herald has the scoop on the potential affect of Katrina on the distribution of coffee in the U.S.:
Coffee roasters, who buy green coffee beans on the global market and roast them for grinding and consumption, said the Asian tsunami last year caused a spike in prices, but it dropped quickly.

"It dissipated rather quickly, and there is so much coffee in the world and so many places to ship it," said Lois Maffeo, a spokeswoman for Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters in Olympia, Wash. "My spine isn't tingling yet.

Immunization clinics

The Centralia Chronicle reports that there will be immunization clinics at local sites next Saturday in Olympia:
The Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department will offer two immunization clinics Sept. 7 from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Yelm Community Center and Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Health Department on Lilly Road in Olympia.

The service costs $10, but:
...no one will be refused service because of inability to pay. Medical coupons will be accepted, and Spanish and Vietnamese translation services will be on hand.

Time to empty out the change jar...

city hall ...and make a donation to the relief effort in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Read before you sign

The Olympian recalls what happened the last time big promises were made about a new tenant at the port of Olympia:
Remembering Sunmar

Taxpayers will remember the excitement port commissioners generated when they announced that Sunmar Container Lines was going to do business out of the Budd Inlet marine terminal. That was back in 1997.

As with the Weyerhaeuser deal, commissioners promised the creation of dozens of jobs with ships of containerized cargo leaving the port every three weeks.

Port commissioners borrowed $6.5 million to make dockside improvements to accommodate the new shipping company. They purchased two cranes from Los Angeles and had them shipped to Olympia via barge.

The berth improvements were made, the cranes were erected and Sunmar started shipping general cargo across the port docks.

After just one year, Sunmar pulled out of Olympia, sticking taxpayers with a decade of debt that, at the time, amounted to $768,700 a year.

The port's lease with Sunmar -- negotiated and signed in secret -- allowed the Seattle-based shipping company to get out of the lease without penalty if there were a downturn in the Russian economy.

It was a faulty lease that port officials never should have agreed to. The community was rightfully outraged over the investment of tax dollars and Sunmar's hasty departure.

The two cranes seldom are used today. That's not likely to change with the Weyerhaeuser deal. Cranes could be used to load lumber, but Weyerhaeuser plans to ship logs -- not lumber.

Local organic farming reaches Tacoma

There is a cool write-up of a local farmer in the Tacoma News Tribune.

Lady Washington comes to Olympia

city hallFrom the Olympian:
The Lady Washington's arrival Monday was a booming reminder that the annual Harbor Days Festival will offer plenty of entertainment in Olympia this Labor Day weekend.

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