Showing posts with label Lacey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lacey. Show all posts

Apr 21, 2011

Everyman at Saint Martin's, or A Morbid Campus Tour

Everyman is about to die, and Death wants a reckoning. Not wanting to go it alone, Everyman asks friends, relations, and others to assist in accounting for his life as he takes an allegorical journey to the grave. Who'll come along?

You should.

Saint Martin's University is currently showing a unique version of the classic medieval morality play, making the campus the stage, incorporating walkways, buildings, roads, and more. Everyman starts in a courtyard near the O'Grady Library, and ends, fittingly, in the cemetery at sunset.

The acting is solid, with the title character (played by sophomore Olivia Baumgartner), Death (Zoe Ford), Good Deeds (senior Ninalynn Benitez), and God (Olympia veteran Josh Anderson, no relation) standing out. The marching band accompanying the trek does fine work, adding levity and solemnity and irony to the proceedings. The finale is poignant and unnerving, as Everyman departs with Death amid very real graves.

It runs April 20-23 and April 27-30, it's only $5, and you need to brush up on your 15th-century theater. Go see it.

It'll be the strangest, most morbid campus tour you'll ever take.

Added: Christian Carvajal of The Weekly Volcano also gives the play a thumbs-up.

Aug 26, 2009

Lacey TRL brings back the new nonfiction

Two months ago, I lovingly griped about the loss of the New Nonfiction section at the Lacey Timberland Library. Today, I'm happy to report that the shelf of shelves is coming back. Word comes from employee and blogger Kelsie Raddas:
Happy days are here again! There is once again a New Non-Fiction section in the Lacey Library! It is just about done and it will also feature new biographies.
It is also in a new location, aisle 5, just after the adult reference desk.

A lot of folks did a lot of work to get it to where it is. It looks really great!

Come on in and check it out!
Believe me, I will: the news is worth every exclamation point.

Jul 29, 2009

the heat wins

"Beat the heat," everyone keeps saying, offering tips to stay cool as the mercury climbs. I've tried to avoid heat-blogging, mostly, because sustained temperatures in the 90s, for a large part of the country, are par for July's sweltering course. No big deal for someone who spent four college years in East Texas.

But then I see this:

That's right, as of 6:55 a.m., Weather Underground predicts today's high of 106 in "Beautiful Downtown Lacey."

106. That's hot for just about anywhere.

Jun 29, 2009

an open letter to the Lacey Timberland Library

Dear Lacey Timberland Library,

This morning I was sad to see that you've taken away the biggest nerd-magnet in the library, the New Non-Fiction Shelf, and replaced it with... nothing. As a reference librarian somewhat wistfully explained to me, new nonfiction is now shelved among the old, and marked with a tiny orange sticker, so if you're wondering what's fresh in the Dewey decimals, you have to take a largely random stroll through countless stacks. That's inefficient, inelegant, and inconvenient.

But I'm not going to complain without offering a solution. If the old way is forever gone, at least offer an easy access point, in the library and on the website, to new materials. One easily found link--"What's New in Your Library!"--connected to data particularized for a preferred location, and, most important, on the front page, not buried three nonintuitive clicks in. (The RSS-enabled "new nonfiction" list is a step in the right direction, but isn't sortable by library.)

And how about a low-tech supplement: print a list of new books every month, and place it near the nonfiction shelves.

I'll stop there. Free advice is best given in small doses, right?

Your long-time, otherwise satisfied patron,


Oct 4, 2008

Lacey's red light cameras head to court

Yesterday, as my wife and I drove through Lacey, we watched as several citizens were photographed running solid reds at Sleater-Kinney and Pacific. The darkness of overcast skies accentuated the flash. They're working, I thought. As in, the cameras are on. But are they really working?

The Olympian reports this morning that the first batch of citations have entered the court system. So far, not so good, at least from an enforcement perspective:
The nine people who appeared Friday before Thurston County District Judge Susan Dubuisson were the first to go to court to challenge the $124 tickets issued under Lacey's red-light photo enforcement program.... Dubuisson ended up upholding the full fine for just one person, Evaline Fuik of Olympia....

She dismissed three tickets. John Kenney, an elderly man who's hard of hearing, testified that his caregiver, not he, was driving the car at the time of the infraction; under the law, the cameras can only take pictures of the license plates and not the occupants. Lacey city prosecutor Joe Svoboda moved to dismiss and said the caregiver could receive a ticket.
We have no idea, right now, how many citations have been issued, and whether the cameras are anywhere near cost-effective, never mind effective, never mind fair from a due process standpoint.

Any system that drags the geriatric owner of a vehicle into court when the caretaking driver is at fault has a few flaws. My wife, furthermore, is certain that a few red light runners were missed by the system. If the error rate potentially tops 33%--that's simply unacceptable.*

Here's another bothersome point:
American Traffic Solutions is charging the city $9,200 a month to operate the two cameras. The city will receive money only if fines collected cover the fees and unpaid balances. The city needs to collect fines from 75 violations each month to pay costs.
What we don't need: extra pressure on our judges to meet a subtle quota.

Longer yellows are just too cheap and efficacious, I guess.

Oh, and the tacky tie is Thursday's. I wore it for "Do Work Day." I dressed, appropriately, as a judge.

*Of course, not knowing how many citations aren't being challenged, this number is a total back-of-the-envelope calculation; it could be a wild overestimate, or, depending on how many violators the system misses, it could be an underestimate. That we don't know the number is problematic enough on its own.

Sep 21, 2008

North Thurston shoves science aside

After tossing and turning all night in a Kennewick hotel--drunken neighbors, a concealed beeping cellphone, and snoring, all in conspiracy--I woke up at 7:17 this morning to browse the news. First up: The Olympian reports that, as a budget-saving measure, the North Thurston School District's high schools now start at 7:20, 35 minutes earlier than last year.

The initial comments are mostly uninformed and grumpy:
Wow, do you guys want some cheese with your whine? Get over it, kiddies (and parents). Go to bed 1/2 hour earlier instead of texting your friends. The world doesn't operate on a 9-5 schedule and the soon they learn that, the better.


Buck up!

(You too, OLYMPIAN. Got NEWS???)


Don't worry, little children. Once you get to college you'll only go to class for three to four hours a day and an early class is at 8:00 a.m.
More in that vein, but you get the point. Is it that simple? Kids shouldn't be coddled, adults have it tough, grow up and be a man, I walked uphill both ways in the snow naked and shoeless while memorizing Shakespeare just to improve my memory not because it was assigned?

No. If anything, this article understates the importance of sleep, for at least three reasons.

1. Continual sleep deprivation results not just in poor academic performance, but has been implicated in a range of mood disorders.

2. Sleep patterns aren't just based on when you go to bed and when you wake up. Circadian rhythms dictate ideal sleep times. Adolescents aren't just "night owls" because it's fun; their circadian rhythms are different from those of adults.

3. Adolescent brain development is a critical period, a massive reorganization of neural circuitry comparable in scale to the changes in infancy. Proper sleep is thus especially important for teens.

So, go ahead and call it whining, but realize that the facts aren't on your side. Or maybe you aren't getting enough sleep, crankypants?

Jun 27, 2008

cat people in trouble again

Judith Ann Lawson of Olympia...
...was jailed for investigation of 20 counts of felony animal cruelty after animal control officers found 20 Persian cats locked up in cages inside the garage of her home.

The animals were found living in filth. Feces covered their bodies. In some cases, the weight of the hardened waste pieces had caused their heavily-matted fur to tear right off of their bodies.

One of the cats was found covered with open and infected sores. The cat also had a broken tail and severe respiratory problems that affected its breathing.
Test her for Toxoplasma gondii. Test these brothers, too. There are too many cases like this; it seems quite evident to me that living with too many cats is an invitation to dementia, and my hunch is that Toxoplasma is the cause. But I'm no researcher, and can't prove my case.

Added: The Olympian has much more detail, placing Lawson in Lacey. Seattle media often miss the distinction.

Jun 7, 2008

red light cameras: no deterrent this time

The Olympian is still optimistic, now that the cash is about to flow from Lacey's red light cameras.
Cameras have become a necessity given the epidemic of red-light violations in the South Sound region.

Greg Cuoio, Lacey city manager, defends the move to cameras, saying, “We’re not entering into this to generate revenue. It’s truly a safety issue.”

And that’s why red-light cameras are a good thing. If they prevent just one high-speed T-bone accident with injuries or death, they will be a success. And if they convince motorists to obey the law and stop for every red light, well, that’s an added bonus.
Tell that to the guy in the Terminix truck early this afternoon. I drove into the intersection at Pacific and College just as the light turned yellow. Fearing a short yellow, the kind cities institute to instigate offenses, I accelerated slightly, not going to be the chump with the ticket. Good thing, too. Terminix Truck Guy was running the light, camera be damned. He nearly rear-ended me. In the rearview, I saw him chatting on his cell phone, oblivious.

Yep. Those red-light cameras are the answer.

Sep 2, 2007

Lacey a step ahead of global warming

Scientists warn about water troubles lying ahead if climate trends continue...
Kurt Ungur, a hydrogeologist with the state Department of Ecology, said a warmer climate likely will produce about the same amounts of precipitation — possibly a bit more — but its timing will change from historic patterns.

In winter, more precipitation will fall as rain, rather than snow, which serves as the mountain "bank" for much of the state's water supplies. In spring, warmer temperatures will bring earlier runoff, leading to potential conflicts over scarce water in late summer, he said.
...meanwhile in Lacey, which is growing like Scotch Broom:
The city is running out of water that it's authorized to pump from the ground to serve new development.

As a result, the city is charging heavy water users more money and restricting when its utility customers can water their lawns during the summer to hold down peak demand. Residents can only water their lawns three days a week, and no one can water on Fridays.

Meanwhile, the city is working with the Washington State Department of Ecology to secure additional water rights to serve new residents and businesses.
The impending crisis only magnifies Lacey's existing problems.

Aug 24, 2007

Carl's Jr. coming to Lacey

Parked right across from Taco Bell, it appears:
Nick Trani, president of Northwest Foods LP, said his company plans to open a Carl’s Jr. restaurant off Pacific Avenue at South Sound Center in Lacey.

Work on the 2,600-square-foot branch at 3816 Pacific Ave. S.E. is expected to begin next month for a December or January opening, Trani said.

Each restaurant employs 60 to 70 people, he said.
Forget Carl's Jr. What this town really needs is Burgerville.

How 'bout it, Burgerville CEOs?

but Jesus paid my toll, officer

When examining The Olympian's ill-informed support for Lacey's red light camera experiment, I never even mentioned the possibility of wrongful ticketing. The paper's "trust the government" stance doesn't go off quite as well in today's story about the new Tacoma Narrows toll bridge:
Bickle, who drives tractor-trailer rigs across the bridge on a regular basis, said he has a transponder in his rig, but got a ticket for the trailer. Sensors in the roadway are supposed to count tractor-trailer axles and automatically debit individual toll accounts for the correct amount.

"I really don't want to waste a day off to go fight a ticket I shouldn't have gotten in the first place," he said.

More than 12,000 tickets have been issued for failing to pay the $3 cash or $1.75 electronic toll on the bridge since the Washington State Patrol began enforcing toll violations July 22, a week after the bridge opened.

Most of those citations probably are legitimate, said Chuck Ramey, administrator for Pierce County District Court, which is processing the tickets.

But some aren't. And no one knows yet how many drivers have gotten tickets they don't deserve.
In its defense, at least the Lacey camera scheme provides an easy way to check and challenge a citation.

Aug 23, 2007

The Olympian loves Big Brother

The paper comes out in favor of Lacey's red light camera experiment, giving no thought to the solution that would almost entirely eliminate the problem--longer yellows and longer four-way reds--and adopting wholesale the tenets of the surveillance society.
Under the state law authorizing red light cameras, the equipment can only capture video of a vehicle and its license plate, not the occupants. That should silence some of the opponents who see the cameras as an invasion of privacy.

But let's face it. Cameras are everywhere in society today.

Pull into a gasoline station and you are on video. Grocery and convenience store cameras capture our every move. Many merchants use video cameras to nab shoplifters. Intercity Transit recently installed cameras in an effort to hold rowdy passengers accountable. And we all know that cameras are a crucial part of the security systems at casinos and banks. Even homeowners have cameras in place as part of their security systems.

Monitoring intersections is a natural extension of cameras.
That's how rights are lost: as a "natural extension" of other losses.

Even if you're unafraid of further surveillance, though, you have to wonder why the city is so bent on a costly solution. It costs nothing to make intersections safer.

Jul 28, 2007

either you bring the water to Lacey or you bring Lacey to the water

A week and a half ago, regarding a new development scheme in Lacey, I wrote,
Lacey is definitely growing--but perhaps to the point where it will slowly devour itself. As some of the comments over at the article attest, the city hasn't exactly solved its water problems.
A story in today's Olympian underlines the understatement.
This much is known: The city produced 3 billion gallons of water and sold 2.5 billion gallons last year, Water Resources Manager Peter Brooks said. That leaves 500 million gallons, or 16.7 percent, unaccounted for.

"If there’s water that we could be serving to our customers that’s been stolen or leaking through our pipes, we should spend some time and effort to find it," Brooks said.

The project to find the missing water is budgeted to cost $125,000.

Brooks acknowledges the city likely will never recapture 100 million gallons of water, or 3 percent, because no system is perfect. The city provides water to about 20,000 homes and businesses both within and outside the city limits.

"There’s no such thing as a totally tight pipe," he said.
In the comments, city councilmember and moped soldier Graeme Sackrison explains that although 16.7% loss is "unacceptable," it was well within regulation--up until this year, as 10% is now considered too much. To comply, the city has to find at least 200 million gallons.

[Obscure title reference explained here.]

Jul 18, 2007

big changes in the works for Lacey

So long, former "Tree City USA." Lacey's Hawks Prairie region will have a skyline dominated by towers, if an area developer gets his way.
Developer Tri Vo envisions a Lacey town center with up to 2 million square feet of office space, nearly as much as the 2.4 million square feet on the Capitol Campus.

Vo plans to build the project on 200 acres he owns at Marvin Road and Interstate 5. His project manager, Michael Davolio, will discuss the plans at an invitation-only business luncheon today at the Worthington Center at Saint Martin’s University.

So far, the only announced tenant for the site is a Cabela’s outdoors store. The 185,000-square-foot store is expected to open in November.

“I suspect by the end of the year, we’ll be making a number of other announcements,” Davolio said Tuesday.

“I can’t tell you who we have contacted, but I can tell you that my phone is ringing off the hook,” he said. “This project is selling itself.”
Lacey is definitely growing--but perhaps to the point where it will slowly devour itself. As some of the comments over at the article attest, the city hasn't exactly solved its water problems.

Jun 28, 2007

no fireworks in Lacey, period

Per city ordinance, no domestic ordnance shall be exploded in the Lacey metropolitan region at any time or occasion--day, night, weekend, federal holiday, or religious observance.

The rule, passed last year, has quite a few Laceyans all...


Riled up.

Pun resisted.

Mar 10, 2007

where to dine in Lacey: Speedway Brewing Co.

Don't like meat? Leave. Like meat? Leave happy.

That's the word we got from our amiable server, referring to The Olympian's recent review complaining about the lack of vegetarian options. Despite the overall thumbs-up and the passage of time, our man was still steamed. "You wouldn't go to a vegan restaurant and ask for a steak," he declared, and I pretty much have to agree.

Since we were early, we ordered pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, opting for baked beans and potato salad. The Coke came cold in a plastic bottle, the meals on paper plates, no messin' around. The meat was done just right, and the sides were a perfect complement of sweet and savory. At under ten dollars a plate, a full belly won't empty your wallet. (The lunch specials are right reasonable, too.)

Try the hot barbecue sauce, in the bottle with the red stripe. It's not overly spicy, but adds a nice twang. Word is the beer is pretty good, too. Maybe next time, when we're not in a hurry.

So, if you like Texas-style barbecue, where the beef is tender and the sauce is bold, head over to Speedway. Just don't ask for ribs before 5:00--and don't dare ask for a tofu appetizer.

Feb 27, 2007

red light cameras vs. longer yellows

Why I'm even more skeptical of Lacey's plan to add red light cameras: in Lubbock, the city is gaming the system, shortening yellow light times below safety thresholds.
More interesting, that same city engineer promised the Lubbock city council last year that he wouldn't increase yellow light times at intersections with cameras. In a telling moment of candor, Jere Hart told the city council that though the public prefers longer yellow cycles, and though studies show longer yellows dramatically reduce red-light running and collisions, lengthening them would cut into the expected revenue the cameras are expected to generate.
Why don't we go with what's cheap, and actually works?

(Don't answer. Rhetorical question.)

Feb 17, 2007

red light cameras ticket wrong cars

When I first read that Lacey is adding red light cameras to reduce red-light-running (after installing useless and expensive "blue lights" that stop no one), I was skeptical. What's the rate of effectiveness? Are there false positives?

In today's paper, a Mike Carrington of Lacey bashes the decision.
Concerning the cameras at street corners, unfortunately, published articles have been devoid of facts citing the numbers of the dreaded T-bone accidents that the cameras are hoping to prevent. Exactly how many accidents of this nature have really occurred at these intersections and what was the total cost versus cost of new cameras and their maintenance and monitoring?

The powers that be seem willing to be led by the hands of the camera sellers and justify their positions with, “Everyone else is doing it.” That’s anemic rationale. The problem is with traffic control. Lights that stay red when no autos are coming are prevalent and should be remedied.
Commenting on the story, reader Do It writes,
Don't run the red light and you won't get your pic taken nor get a ticket. Run the red light and you get what you deserve. How simple is that!
But consider the problem Cleveland drivers have with the lights.
Bill and Sue Faber of Massillon said they haven't been in Cleveland for six months, but the city sent them a ticket.

"No way we could be in Cleveland," Faber said.

"Do you have witnesses for that?" Pohlman asked.

"Yes, we do," Faber said.

Yet Cleveland sent the ticket showing a car speeding, but the plate belongs to the Faber's truck.

Pohlman said you can't read the license in the picture at all. He said it appears Cleveland guessed and sent the ticket anyway.

"I always thought we were always innocent until proven guilty and now I find it's guilty until I can prove I'm innocent," Faber said.

After NewsChannel5 got involved, the city backed off, writing a letter informing the Fabers that the city made a mistake.
Think it's just the guilty who have to watch out? Think again.

Feb 5, 2007

red light? green light!

Lacey is another metropolis succumbing to the lure of red-light cameras.
A Lacey City Council committee has authorized Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint to start the enforcement program. Pierpoint said he'd like the program up and running by July with cameras monitoring two intersections - likely ­Sleater-Kinney Road and Pacific Avenue, and Martin Way and Marvin Road.
Remember those blue lights that were installed at the intersection of Martin and Pacific? They were supposed to do the same thing. From The Olympian, April 22, 2003:
The police department has a new tool to deter motorists who run red lights. Called red-light indicators, these blue lights attached to traffic signals make catching violators easier. The light is attached to the back of the traffic signal and turns on the same moment as the red light.
They worked so well.

Anyhow, here's the funniest line of the story: "...the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - which describes itself as an independent, nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers..."

Oct 11, 2005

an honest living

This time, the Olympian editorial staff and I are in near-perfect agreement. I love the Lacey Farmers' Market, small as it is. The crowds aren't as jostling. The vendors aren't as hustling. And the one weird lady who sells fruits and refers to them as her "precious jewels"--she's worth the price of admission.

It's not a zero-sum game. Patronize both markets, and support your local eccentrics.