Our Voice: Thumbs up to fair board for this year's grand marshal pick

August 26, 2013 

The Benton Franklin Fair Board named Kennewick business owner Alice Bennett as the grand marshal for this year's fair parade. It's always good to see someone recognized for the many years of support they've given the community, and Bennett was a terrific choice.

She's 86 years old and still runs Bennett Rentals in downtown Kennewick. For as long as anyone can remember, her shop has donated rental supplies for the fair and has been one of its longtime sponsors.

Alice and her husband, Boyd, opened shop in Kennewick in 1955 after moving from Portland. They started out on the corner of Fruitland Street and Columbia Drive and then moved to their present location near Canal Drive 23 years ago. After her husband passed away in 1991, she and the youngest of her four children, David, continued to run the business.

It's time she was honored for her reliable, quiet support for the community, and being named grand marshal for the fair parade was a fitting tribute. We're glad the fair board thought of her.

Better liars

Thumbs up to the federal government for cracking down on instructors who teach how to beat a polygraph test.

Apparently, the techniques include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic. The thought of criminals and spies mastering these methods is scary, and going after the instructors seems logical, as there probably aren't as many of them as there are potential students.

This is a controversial move, however, as federal officials are taking the stance that these instructors are committing a crime and are not protected under the First Amendment in some circumstances.

The concern appears justified.

Business records confiscated by two instructors targeted so far in the investigation show as many as 5,000 people sought advice on how to beat a lie-detector test, and 20 of them applied for government and federal contracting jobs. At least half of that group ended up getting hired, including by the National Security Agency.

Normally, we are on the side of free speech, but in this case, lives could be harmed if the wrong people pass a polygraph test and end up in positions of power. Federal agents are right to go after the instructors.

Mmm mmm salty

Thumbs down to the revelation that the American Heart Association's "Heart-Check" label can be bought.

A lawsuit against Campbell Soup Co. claims the AHA label on certain soups misleads consumers into believing the products are healthier because they are endorsed by the heart association. The reality is Campbell pays the AHA for the certification, which makes the whole process suspect.

A can of Campbell's "Healthy Request" condensed Chicken Noodle Soup, for example, carries the "Heart-Check" label, and is listed as having 410 milligrams of sodium per half-cup serving. There are two or more servings per can, meaning a total of at least 820 milligrams of sodium, according to the lawsuit.

To earn the "Heart-Check" certification, the heart association's website states products must have no more than 480 milligrams of sodium per serving, but elsewhere on the website it notes that "low sodium" products should have 140 milligrams or less per serving.

It appears the label is not as credible as most consumers would assume.

In response, the American Heart Association said it doesn't make recommendations on what qualifies as an appropriate level of sodium for an individual serving, but that people should eat 1,500 milligrams of sodium or less per day.

There's a lot of fudging when it comes to food labels, but finding out that a certification by the American Heart Association can be bought is especially troubling.

The AHA needs to find a better way to monitor where its labels appear.

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