Harley rider named as first citizen

He won't tell you so himself - too modest - but Hell's Rotarian, Harley rider and downtown activist Herb Bridge has just been named Seattle-King County First Citizen for 2001.

The award, established in 1939, celebrates community leadership, volunteerism and public service. The Seattle-King County Association of Realtors announces the award annually.

Bridge will join a company of 63 honorees including this year's First Citizen, the Bullitt family, originally linked to King Broadcasting and now associated with a panoply of environmental causes.

Other recent First Citizen honorees include philanthropists Paul Brainerd and Jack Benaroya.

Bridge, co-chairman of Ben Bridge Jeweler, will receive salutes and citations at a May 30 banquet for his devotion to community, business, military and humanitarian activities.

The event is nominally black tie, but he could show up in his black leathers.

She's on first: "First woman who" stories no longer are hot news. They're barely news at all.

But it's definitely worth mentioning when the Seattle Mariners designate - sign? - the team's first-ever woman vice president.

She's Marianne Short and her new title is vice president, human resources.

Short has been with the Mariners for two years as director of human resources. She held a similar post at the Bon Marche for 15 years.

Word warriors: All this talk about chads - those confetti-sized scraps punched from paper ballots - stirs bittersweet memories for Doug Honig, education director for the Washington American Civil Liberties Union.

Honig plays the kind of Scrabble that requires memorizing all "legal" two- and three-letter words and knowing the "q" words that don't require a "u."

He tells how he once fantasized about going to a strange town, showing up at the local Scrabble club and beating the socks off everyone there.

His opportunity came during the early '90s on a trip to Boston. He was playing a woman who didn't seem all that savvy. But within minutes she was playing bingos (seven-letter words that score extra points). Honig was far behind when she played "c-h-a-d."

"Aha!" said Honig, who figured he knew all the short words. He challenged and, alas, ended up losing by 250 points. What, no recount?

Only OK: A reader calls attention to the sign on Interstate 5 that makes a perhaps unintended editorial comment. It's the large overhead white-on-green Department of Transportation sign on southbound I-5 that marks two left lanes as exits to I-90.

Reading the sign from top down, motorists see these words: "Spokane, Bellevue, Only OK." Says the reader: "Sort of sums up what many Seattleites think of the Eastside, doesn't it?"

Truth in advertising: Let's hear it for creative business names. Spotted on I-405 last week were two business vehicles.

One was tagged: "Two Guys and a Dog Plumbing." The other: "Obsessive Compulsive Painters: This is as good as it gets."

Jean Godden appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Phone: 206-464-8300. E-mail:jgodden@seattletimes.com.