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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Capitol Campus gets creche

OLYMPIA -- A creche, aka a Nativity Scene, will be erected on the Capitol Campus this evening, and stay up through next week.

State officials said they approved a display permit this week from a Bothell, Wash., resident, for an outside Nativity Scene that will have about 10 pieces.

Hunter Abell, an Eastern Washington native who is now an attorney over here on the West Side, said he read a recent Spin Control item about the Catholic League's problems with getting their creche up, checked with the league and some other folks who might be putting up a display, and found out no one else was interested. So he decided to make the request on his own.

He picked up a set several days ago with figures ranging from one and a half to about three feet -- the tallest being the standing figures like the magi -- deciding that if the state said no, he could always put it up on his front lawn. But they approved his display permit.

"The Capitol is the people's house, and the campus is kind of the people's front lawn," Abell said.

He plans to load Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus, assorted shepherds and magi into his car and drive them to Olympia this afternoon. A sheep might have to be strapped to the roof, and unfortunately the figures don't qualify him for the carpool lane, so the planned 6:30 p.m. set up time on the South Tivoli lawn will depend a bit on traffic.

The Catholic League never got around to filling out their permit, and their creche, a one-piece ceramic display that was really meant for inside, might not have been very visible or held up well in the wet South Sound weather. Abell said his plastic figures will do just fine.

So it would seem that the big three -- a menorrah, a Nativity scene and a display by atheists -- have all been accounted for this season without a shot in the war on Xmas being fired.

To borrow a line from Tiny Tim, "God Bless us, every one."

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.