- The Washington Times - Friday, June 8, 2007

Noble: 400 sixth-graders from McCulloch Intermediate School in Dallas who raised money to provide clean drinking water for rural villages in sub-Saharan Africa.

To teach her social studies classes about the many people who walk several miles a day to get a few gallons of clean water, Lynn Simoneaux gave the 11- and 12-year-old kids a lesson they really struggled with: She had them walk once around the school track with a full bucket of water. The lesson really hit home and the students organized a “fun run” to raise money to purchase a PlayPump system to be sent to a village in need. A PlayPump combines a carousel and a water pump; as children play, the spinning action pumps clean water into a 600-gallon tank. Each system will produce enough drinking water for 2,500 people for 10 years.

The original goal of the fund-raiser was $6,000, which would cover the cost of one PlayPump. An additional $8,000 is needed for installation and drilling. A story in Thursday’s Dallas Morning News announced to the summer vacationing students that they actually raised $28,000 — enough to purchase and install two PlayPump systems. Mrs. Simoneaux told the Dallas paper that the “project was kid-initiated and kid-driven.”

For their impressive fund-raising for those in need, the McCulloch Intermediate School students are the Nobles of the week.

Knave: Tonya Bell, the D.C. woman who drove her car through a neighborhood festival.

The annual Unifest street festival, which is sponsored by the Union Temple Baptist Chuch in Southeast Washington, was just wrapping up on Saturday evening when Miss Bell’s station wagon careened through a police barricade — with her young 7-year-old daughter in the car. Witnesses say Miss Bell, a 30-year-old Oxon Hill resident, laughed as she sped through the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and W Street in Anacostia, leaving more than 40 injured bodies in her wake.

Miss Bell was arrested and charged with aggravated assault while armed. She told police she had been “smoking crack all day” and about 20 minutes before she plowed through the festival, she rear-ended a police car. News reports are now saying that Miss Bell has struggled with drug addiction since her teens and has been in and out of prison, rehab and mental-health facilities for the last decade. She grew up in the Southeast neighborhood where the violence took place and many witnesses remember her as a troubled young girl.

We are sympathetic to the struggle that many Americans have with drug addiction, but it doesn’t take away the trauma and pain that Miss Bell’s victims are enduring. Luckily, none of the injuries sustained appear to be life-threatening.

For injuring so many people in her crack-induced rampage, Tonya Bell is the Knave of the week.

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