Daily Archives: April 10, 2008

Memorial gets Senate approval

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A bill giving the Japanese-American memorial on Eagle Harbor National Park status passed the Senate today, clearing the way for its return to the House.

“Now that the Senate logjam has been broken, I’m optimistic we’ll be able to get this bill through the House again and signed into law,” said Rep. Jay Inslee, a Bainbridge Democrat who spearheaded the bill.

The memorial marks the site where the first 227 Japanese-Americans were forcibly shipped off and imprisoned during World War II. Construction of the memorial began in 2006 with the financial help of private donors and the state of Washington.

“The dedication of this memorial will serve as an important reminder of the injustice suffered by Japanese-American citizens and will provide an opportunity for future generations to learn from the past,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a strong supporter of the bill.

If passed, the memorial would become a satellite of the Minidoka Internment National Historic Monument in Jerome County, Idaho. It was there that many islanders of Japanese descent spent much of the war behind barbed wire. Supporters hope to have the bill signed before April 2009.

“Recognition is the thing the community and especially those that survived internment want,” said Clarence Moriwaki, an island resident who has worked for years on the monument. “Soon we’ll have a park service sign there. For many survivors that’s a thrill because 66 years ago they were ignored by the government. Now they’re being honored.”

Bathroom saga comes to a close

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Ok, so it won’t come with the iCarta iPod toilet paper holder, but it will have toilets – and isn’t that all that really matters? After seven years of debate and designs that included sculpted roofs, rock climbing walls, waterfalls and (my favorite proposal) a gathering space fit for weddings, the City Council last night made their final decision on the Waterfront Park bathroom.

“Clearly, for myself and every citizen, it feels good to finally have this behind us,” assistant city engineer Ross Hathaway said this morning.

Still, Hathaway isn’t as ready as the council to break out the champagne. While the bathroom’s bare bones, basic design is now in the hands of a contractor that’s built similar buildings before, Hathaway said the bathroom’s long history proves that anything can happen.

“You don’t count your chickens until the eggs are hatched,” he said.

Or, to put it another way, you don’t count your toilets until you hear them flush.

Read my story below.

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