Cheers: To Share, which announced this week that it will benefit from a $1 million fund established by local businesses and philanthropists as it continues to remodel the old Timber Lanes bowling alley into its headquarters. The largest single donor, $150,000, is the KMR Group Foundation, run by entrepreneurs Kate Jones and Marty Rifkin. Share’s many programs are aimed at serving the hungry and homeless people of Clark County, including operating shelters and the Operation Backpack program to feed children.
Jeers: To 143 of 147 state legislators, who resisted their own suggestion to cut their pay by 3 percent. That’s the same amount by which most state workers’ pay was reduced this year, and lawmakers even crafted some legal language that encourages, but doesn’t require, lawmakers and statewide elected officials to scale back their own pay. The Associated Press reported that as of last week, only four legislators had done so. Cheers to Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, the only Clark County one in the bunch. She said she decided to reduce her $42,106 salary by 3 percent because she thought it was wrong to reduce state employees’ salaries and not her own.
Cheers: To the Clark County All Church Picnic. More than 3,000 Christians came together last Sunday for the third annual celebration, held on a near-perfect summer afternoon in a grassy area near Pearson Field. More than 75 local churches were represented at the event; Christian bands played, charities staffed information booths and there were plenty of activities for youngsters. Organizers are already thinking ahead to the 2012 event.
Jeers: To insufficient penalties for harming police dogs. Even the judge who sentenced H. Keegan Graves this week to four years for killing sheriff’s K-9 officer Kane remarked that the maximum penalty seems too light. Graves told Judge Rich Melnick he was addicted to methamphetamine and violent when he stole a car, tried to elude police, and then, when cornered by Kane, pulled out a 3-inch pocket knife and stabbed the 8-year-old Dutch shepherd to death. For this, and to resolve some other felonies, he received a sentence of 49 months in prison. The maximum sentence for killing the dog was only 12 months. It’s time for the Legislature to review these maximum sentences.
Cheers: To Evergreen Public Schools’ transportation department employees. A recent Washington State Patrol inspection found the district’s entire fleet of 250 vehicles used to transport students — buses, vans and driver education vehicles — earned a perfect safety score. The inspections are tough to ace; this is Evergreen’s third perfect score in the past 34 years, said longtime lead mechanic Bill Mixer, who gave credit to his staff.
Jeers: To Oregon anti-tax activist and failed gubernatorial candidate Bill Sizemore, who this week pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion. Sizemore will serve 30 days in jail and must file state income tax returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008, as well as future years. He had previously been banned from administering a nonprofit organization after evidence of improper use of funds emerged in a civil racketeering suit filed against him. It’s OK to hate paying taxes, but everyone must follow the rules.
Cheers: To Wheel Deals, Open House Ministries’ retail bicycle sales and repair operation. The new shop at 915 W. 13th St. specializes in taking old bikes and fixing them for reuse. The operation quietly fulfills several goals: raising money for the ministries’ homeless shelter; providing a source of training and employment for clients; and providing affordable, healthy transportation for the public.