"Students welcome as FD 3 volunteersFire District 3 Chief Don Smith and other staff and volunteers have created a fine addition to the department by recruiting volunteers from South Whidbey High School.At present, five students participate in fire district drills and are available to respond to emergencies. Their addition is particular helpful during daytime hours when many regular volunteers may be at work on the mainland.The students bring energy and enthusiasm to their duties, having won the district-wide hose competition last month and impressed older firefighters last summer with their hard work during a stubborn grass fire near Double Bluff.For their efforts, the students learn skills in firefighting, rescues, and EMT training that will be useful all their lives and could lead to a job for many of them. No doubt they also receive a feeling of satisfaction in contributing so vitally to the well-being of their community.Chief Smith hopes the program will grow in future years, and cooperation from the high school has been outstanding. At some point, the students will be able to stop by the new Freeland fire station, hang out, do volunteer chores and otherwise enjoy being part of South Whidbey's emergency response team.The program gives students an outstanding option to after-school sports or part-time jobs. Everyone seems to benefit, especially the community at large.Young offenders held accountableIsland County Superior Court judges Vickie Churchill and Alan Hancock have realized a long-held dream of creating a Community Accountability Board to deal with young people who commit minor crimes.One of the problems of holding youngsters accountable for their actions is the high cost in terms of time and money of sending them through the Juvenile Court system, or even the slightly less complex diversion program that has existed for years.With the all-volunteer Community Accountability Board, juveniles who admit to their infractions could receive any number of swift, humane punishments, ranging from picking up garbage and cleaning windows to doing homework assignments. With no lawyers involved, the board should be able to mete out appropriate punishment in a timely fashion.This should be well received by the families of offenders, as well. Looking at six stern faces should get the kids' attention, while the punishments will be fair and reasonable, without resulting in a criminal record for the child.As it is established, the Accountability Board should be a simple, effective and inexpensive way to deal with minor juvenile offenses. If it stays that way, it should be welcome in Island County for years to come. "

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