For kids at Raleigh's Summit House, which provides an alternative to jail for women felons with young children, the comforts of home offer a welcome respite from the distress of foster care. Now, thanks to the efforts of 15 volunteers from the Legacy Center, a leadership training program in Morrisville, those kids have even more to be happy about. In just two days last week, volunteers transformed a field overgrown with weeds and wild strawberries and teeming with snakes into a playground. "It looks like a park," says Denna Weston, assistant director at Summit House. "It's amazing. There's a track for the kids to ride their bikes. There's one of those domes for them to climb on. There's mulch everywhere." Volunteers conceived of the project about a month ago and gathered financial and material support since late June. "Community outreach is a part of what we do as leaders," says Fran Ventre, one of the volunteers. Summit House will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 23. For more information, call 329-9214.
We'd be remiss not to make President George Bush don the dunce cap once again for commuting the sentence of I. "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to veep Dick Cheney, who was convicted of lying to the feds and a grand jury about his role in outing a former C.I.A. agent. Thanks to Bush, who called Libby's two and a half year sentence "excessive," Libby escaped prison time but still had to pay a $250,000 fine. He could be on probation for two years, although it's unclear if Libby could even sidestep that penalty on a technicality: Probation applies only to those who have served time. Libby was the only Bush administration official to be held accountable for the lies that led us to the war in Iraq. With the sentence commutation, that's no longer the case.