Bouquets and Brickbats: Advice for Fourth of July revelers

We have an advance shipment of red, white and blue bouquets festooned with star-spangled ribbons for all of you patriotic partiers who manage to keep it safe and sane over the long holiday weekend — and Benedict Arnold brickbats for those who don’t.

Some guidelines:

No illegal use of fireworks. If you do live in a community that allows personal fireworks, be extremely careful; we don’t want any eyebrows singed off. And remember to keep your pets indoors on the Fourth.

If you drive to a fireworks show or any other big event, be patient. There will be lots of traffic, so be sure to work that into your schedule. And, as always, no drinking and driving.

At the risk of sounding like your mother, don’t forget the sunscreen. And don’t let the potato salad sit too long in the sun.

Toxic trailers just won’t go away

In case you missed the excellent New York Times piece on the Hurricane Katrina trailers that ran on the front page of Thursday’s Tribune, here’s an abridged version:

Originally constructed to house people who had been displaced by the hurricane, the units were found to have such dangerously high levels of formaldehyde that they were banned for use as living quarters.

So what to do with 120,000 or so toxic trailers?

The federal government was paying nearly $130 million per year to store them, until someone had the bright idea of selling the trailers. Buyers were supposed to be warned that the trailers aren’t intended for use as housing, but even if you’ve never heard of Murphy’s law, it’s not hard to predict what comes next.

Yep — they are indeed being used as living quarters. But here’s a twist you may not have seen coming: Workers cleaning up the Gulf oil spill are among the occupants.

What a debacle.

The government would have been far better off destroying the trailers from the get-go, saving the $130 million per year in storage costs and putting that toward decent emergency housing.

It’s unconscionable that any company would palm off these trailers to unsuspecting oil spill workers — or to anyone else, for that matter.

We’ve got trailers filled with toxic brickbats for the General Services Administration, which decided to sell the trailers, and for the companies trying to resell them as homes.

Hats off to a class-act coach

We’re delivering a slam-dunk bouquet — along with a trophy-shaped vase to hold it — to Cuesta College women’s basketball coach Ed Musolff, who is retiring after a remarkable 30-year career. Musolff ranked as the longest-tenured, active community college women’s basketball coach in California, but it’s not just his longevity that impresses us. It’s also the respect and admiration he’s earned from colleagues and players.

Consider what Cary Nerelli, Morro Bay girls basketball coach, had to say: “He’s never been tempted to stoop to doing anything illegal to make his program win. That’s something coaching in general will miss. He’s one of the most honorable men I know.”

In an era when sports at just about every level —including college — is rocked by scandals and assorted bad behavior, Coach Musolff has been a class act, on and off the bench. Our (baseball) cap is off to you.