by Inlander Staff

Talking Trash - Those orange-T-shirted youths picking up trash alongside the roads aren't convicts, so stop harassing them.

They are, ahem, "exceptional kids who are getting valuable job experience," according to a Washington Department of Ecology press release. Ecology is running its annual Ecology Youth Corps "crusade" to pick up trash -- you people's trash, dammit! -- since last summer. Last year, the youths picked up 259,000 pounds of trash along the roads like Interstate 90 and Highway 395, up from 250,000 the year before. This year, 47of the 15- and 16-year-olds are on the job.

"We still have drivers who mistake our kids for prisoners and sometimes shout rude things at them," says one Ecology official. These kids work in broiling heat, handling trash for $7 an hour, only to get mocked by passing motorists, many of whom then toss more trash out the window.

Prisoner work-crews, however, do exist. They earn considerably less than seven bucks an hour.

Tough Medicine - Finally, a clergyman who gets it. Father Andrew Greeley tells the Chicago Sun-Times that Catholics who bash the media over the clergy abuse scandal are wrong.

"No one in the media reassigned a habitual child abuser," says Greeley. "In fact, if the Boston Globe had not told the story of the church's horrific failures in Boston, the abuse would have gone right on."

Your Varmints are Numbered - Ooooh, they're so cute, those marmots that scamper about the park between downtown and the Spokane River. Cut the cute, we say. We want to know how many of these bucky rodents are living tax-free and (apparently) contented lives in our fair city? The word we've gotten from wildlife biologists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is that nobody knows. (They are not a "priority species.") So, we're throwing down the dare: Any somewhat qualified party willing to come up with a viable population estimate for us?

Skate for a Cause: Habitat for Humanity @ Numerica Skate Ribbon

Wed., Nov. 30, 4-8 p.m.
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