Cheers and jeers: Love and hate edition | Editorial

• Cheers to all high school and college grads from Federal Way in 2011. Congratulations to those who went the distance. Some graduates are the first in their family to earn a diploma. Of course, what really matters is what you do with it.

• Jeers to Westboro Baptist Church members for bringing their message of hate to Federal Way. The Kansas-based organization added Mars Hill’s Federal Way campus to its list of protests last weekend that included the Seattle SlutWalk and gay pride parade. Westboro is known for its stance against homosexuality as well as picketing military funerals and desecrating the U.S. flag. Westboro protesters carry signs that read “God hates fags,” “Thank God for 9/11” and “Pray for more dead soldiers.” Westboro’s protests often include children waving these signs. Mars Hill church responded with kindness to Westboro, welcoming them with coffee and doughnuts.

• Cheers to Federal Way couple Jason and Debby Coleman for having the courage to share their story of marital infidelity. The couple appeared June 20 on “Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal,” which aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. After 21-plus years of hard work to build a healthy marriage, the Colemans hope their story helps others build stronger marriages.

• Jeers to the traffic delays associated with the 320th Street asphalt overlay project. Everyone loves a smooth road, but nobody wants to sit in traffic the way some drivers did last week, many waiting up to 20 minutes to pass through the intersection at 1st Avenue South. Here’s hoping for a louder “heads up” next time around.

• Jeers to the recent media coverage over a pair of broken rides at Wild Waves Theme Park. Two rides malfunctioned earlier this month at the Federal Way amusement park. No one was hurt. In one case, passengers on one ride did not notice the malfunction until after the ride slowed to a stop. Wild Waves is a sizable cog in the region’s entertainment and economy, and deserves scrutiny when necessary. However, the ensuing media coverage was an overreaction that unfairly painted the park in a rusty light. The coverage gave the impression that it’s risky to visit the park, and suggested incompetence by the park’s management in reporting the broken rides to the state. Neither is accurate. Indeed, the media is obligated to inform the public about potential threats to safety. This duty comes with the responsibility to gauge the threshold for what constitutes a public safety threat, especially if the coverage casts a shadow on a top tourist attraction. Wild Waves pumps lots of jobs and money into the local economy. The park’s management wants guests to stay safe and have a good time. It’s in the best interests for the region to ensure that guests attend Wild Waves in the first place.

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