Speaking of Olympics gold medalists, a couple Marysville Kiwanis members will be working to break their record set last year in the Men's Doubles Tiki Hut Construction Marathon.

This evening is the local service club's "Hogs & Hulas" fundraiser at Sycamore Ranch. It's a barbecue with sort of a Hawaiian theme. A few years ago, I participated with a small group trying to assemble the tiki hut-styled façade that goes on the table where the fancy Polynesian drinks are served. We had pictures of how the thing was going to look, and dozens of pieces of pipe of differing lengths and elbows with various angles.

It's an odd-shaped thing to put together and it's tricky to keep it staying together … and we tried several times, invariably ending up with a leftover piece or two, or the front being slightly longer than the back, or having it sort of … fall apart.

It would have been extremely annoying if it hadn't been so hilarious.

The year after that, a few experienced people got it put together in record time — just a couple hours.

Last year, two men with great fortitude and vision and mental and physical toughness beyond measure (in case they wish not to have their identities revealed we'll refer to them as P_t and Denn_s) shunned help from all others and put the thing together in almost one try and in record time: 1 hour-21 minutes-38 seconds. I videoed their feat, but, unfortunately, ran out of room in my smartphone and had to delete it so I could record a concert I went to.

Can they improve their record?

We'll see. We'll see.

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Thumbs Down: Our sympathies go out to residents of Lake County victimized by the Clayton Fire.

It was bad enough when we all thought that the fires just started and spread naturally. But the news was that a man was arrested who was believed to have set the blaze that started the conflagration that wiped out several blocks of Lower Lake last weekend.

Sadly, investigators had been working on a case against the man for the past year but felt they hadn't enough evidence to make an arrest until last weekend's blaze.

It seems worse that the conflagration was started intentionally; worse again that the man was suspected for so long. The Lower Lake fire destroyed 175 homes, Main Street businesses and other structures.

Still, kudos are due firefighters everywhere, including those who work hard to protect lives and property in Yuba-Sutter; they also head out when needed to help other departments all over the state — including Lake County.

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Thumbs Up: We all know things have changed over the past couple years and lots of problems were cleared up … but there was still a contingent among us leery of any sort of delay in the opening of Rideout's newly expanded facilities.

A few years ago, an emergency room remodel was completed and then sat unused for two years because the hospital had such a backlog of problems to clear up before the state would think about inspecting it and licensing it.

A little earlier this year, the major expansion, which included changes to the emergency department, was finished and we were all assured that things were good to go; the state inspectors with the Department of Public Health had been involved in the last stages of construction and readying the six-story $245 million tower for actual use and licensing was expected to happen fairly quickly.

Well, so far, so good. The emergency department, on the first floor of the new hospital tower, was open for business Thursday morning. An inspector from the state visited Wednesday morning, checked things out, and gave them the green flag.

The new emergency department adds more than a dozen additional beds and an expanded triage area. (Note, folks, that the emergency department entrance now faces Third Street, between F and H streets).

The rest of the expansion is still closed to the public until a separate licensing survey is done. Rideout is having work done to finish construction of a corridor connecting the tower to the old facility. That is expected to be done in about four weeks and then CDPH will schedule a survey.

If the emergency department inspection is any indication, when it is scheduled, it should go pretty quickly.

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Definition:

Im-pasta: a fake noodle.

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