Recent local blog posts

Olympia Family Theater’s ‘Our Only May Amelia’

South Sound Arts - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 5:05pm

Cast of Our Only May Amelia. Photo by David Nowitz
Our Only May Amelia at Olympia Family Theater is adapted from the Newberry Award winning novel by Jennifer L. Holm. It is a pioneer story in the vein of Little House on the Prairieand the works of Willa Cather, set in Southwestern Washington and told in a series of episodic scenes. Thirteen-year-old May Amelia Jackson (Kate Hayes) is the only girl in the Jackson family. They’re living a hardscrabble life on a small farm in the Naselle River Valley. Her mother, Alma (Samantha Chandler) is pregnant when the show opens. Her father, Jalmer (Keith Eisner) is overwhelmed by the demands of running the farm and is overly hard on his family, especially his daughter. Her brother Matti (Jeremy Holien) wants to escape to Astoria and marry his love, Mary O’Casey (Stephanie Kroschel), but fears he’ll have to run away to do so because Pappa hates everyone Irish. The other brother, Wilbert (Adam Peters), is a dreamer with a poetic soul.Kate Hayes as May Amelia. Photo by Dinea DephotoMay Amelia’s brothers tease her unmercifully, her father treats her far too harshly, her grandmother Patience (Diana Purvine) shows up and it soon becomes clear that she hates her venomously and for no apparent reason. It seems her only allies are her mother, who is sick and pregnant and has a hard time caring for her, and her Aunt Alice (Debbie Sampson) who lives in Astoria. This is not a happy life they live.Harsh and unrelenting tragedy follows harsh and unrelenting tragedy in this gritty story, but familial love triumphs in the end— and I say “love triumphs” with reservations, because life was tough on the frontier and there is no grand exaltation in this story. It is a sad and touching story beautifully acted by the entire cast. It may be the toughest role I’ve ever seen Eisner play, and it is definitely the best acting I’ve seen from Purvine, who, much to her credit, makes the audience despise grandmother Patience. Both Peters and Holien are likeable and convincing as the brothers who alternately tease and support their sister. The other women in the cast, Sampson, Chandler and Kroschel have smaller roles but play them well.Hayes is simply amazing as May Amelia. What a treat it is to see a promising child actor begin to mature into an accomplished adult actor—she and the equally amazing Clarke Hallum as May Amelia’s cousin Kaarlo fit their respective roles as if they were written with them in mind. Both already made their marks in impressive performances as younger children and prove here that they can play more grownup roles (young teens in this show, but teens who forced to grow up in a hurry). In 2010 when he was 11 years old, Hallum was outstanding in the leading role as Ralphie in A Christmas Story at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. He was last seen in Olympia, if my memory is correct, in The Full Monty at Capital Playhouse. Hayes was a knockout in The Secret Garden in 2011, also with Hallum, and was great in her cross-gender performance as the Artful Dodger in Oliver in 2014. In this show both Hayes and Hellum tug on heartstrings. Both are utterly believable as teenagers trying to survive an almost primitive life in the Pacific Northwest wilderness at the beginning of the 20th century.Also deserving special recognition are set designer Jill Carter, prop artists Jan Rocks and Wendy Eisler, and costumer Becky Scott. Some of the material is heavy and may not be suitable for young children.Our Only May Amelia runs Thurs.-Fri., 7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. through April 5.Olympia Family Theater, 612 4th Ave E, Olympia, 360-570-1638
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Ju-Pong Lin: Wednesday, April 1st 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 3:42pm

Ju-PongStitch by stitch, seed by seed, criss-crossing the seams between neighborhoods, bioregional edges, academic disciplines, nations and states, and cultural borders, Ju-Pong Lin joins the many artist-scholars who are mutating dualistic worldviews, trading them out for world-making movements towards resilient, adaptive communities. Her work evokes critical questions about why we live the way we do, why we choose to live where we live and how we can live together in mutual flourishing. The everyday rituals of hanging laundry, steaming bread, and sharing stories seed the soil of my creative inquiry. By any means necessary—whether with community performance or storytelling, video and/or installation art, crochet hook or knitting needles—she likes to work at the peripheries, the radical edges of disturbance. Where jocular jostling turns to cultural clash, disturbance also sparks new relations at and to the margins. Our collective future depends on our willingness to get down on hands and knees and dig.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Welcome to the The Evergreen State

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 3:30pm
Welcome to the The Evergreen State College Art Lecture Series, spring quarter, 2015 The series takes place in Lecture Hall 1 at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, on 4-6 Wednesdays per quarter, from 11:30-1:00 pm. Free to the public, Evergreen’s visual and literary arts programs offer an opportunity to hear local, national and international interdisciplinary artists, writers and art workers speak about their work. Spring Quarter, 2015 Week 1: 4/1 Ju-Pong Lin, community performance, eco-poetics, pedagogy Week 2: 4/8 Amjad Faur RESCHEDULED for 5/27  in honor of Day of Absence Week 3: 4/15: Sister Spit (note longer time, 11-1:00), queer-feminist  collective, writing and performance Week 4: 4/22 Linda Weintraub, curator, writing on art and environmental consciousness, pedagogy Week 5: 4/29 Alejandro de Acosta, writing, translation Week 6: 5/6 Kim Miller, performance/video Week 8: 5/20  Steven Hendricks, writing, Evergreen faculty member Week 9: 5/27 Amjad Faur, visual art/photography, Evergreen faculty member
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

North Thurston Public Schools Hosts Groundbreaking for New Middle School

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 12:23pm



Submitted by North Thurston Public Schools

north thurston public schools

The new middle school is located in Meridian Campus in Lacey.

The community is invited to a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Middle School #5 at noon on Monday, March 30. The event is being held at new school’s location in Meridian Campus, 8605 Campus Glenn Dr. NE., Lacey.

The new school will be approximately 109,000 square feet, constructed on a 19.1 acre parcel that the district acquired in 2001 from the Vicwood Meridian Partnership through its Voluntary Mitigation process.

Site preparation work at Middle School #5, including clearing, grading and installation of underground utilities, was completed in December 2015.  Babbit Neuman Construction Company of Steilacoom has been awarded the bid for construction of the middle school.  Construction of the building and site improvements has recently begun, with completion scheduled for the summer of 2016.

The overall project budget is $48 million. The new middle school is part of a $175 million bond package approved by North Thurston Public Schools voters in February 2014. The bond includes school improvements at all 21 schools, including major modernizations of North Thurston High School, Evergreen Forest Elementary and Pleasant Glade Elementary. It also includes technology and safety upgrades districtwide.

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in Fall of 2016. That opening will complete the district’s transition to a 6-8 middle school model. To view designs and project details, visit

Melissa Dewle Earns Play Therapy Credential

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 10:14am



Submitted by the Association for Play Therapy

Melissa Dewlen, LMHC of Tumwater, WA, earned the prestigious Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential conferred by the Association for Play Therapy (APT), according to its CEO Kathryn Lebby.

Dewlen is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with Olympia Therapy.

To become a Registered Play Therapist, applicants must have earned a traditional masters or doctoral mental health degree from an institution of higher education, 150 clock hours of play therapy training, two years and 2,000 hours of clinical experience, 500 hours of supervised play therapy experience, and be licensed or certified by their state boards of practice.

Play therapy continues to gain popularity as an effective modality by which licensed mental health professionals use developmentally appropriate play therapy theories and techniques to better communicate with and help clients, especially children.

APT is a national professional society formed in 1982 to advance the field of play therapy.  It sponsors research, training, and credentialing programs to assist the professional development of its nearly 6,000 member psychologists, social workers, counselors, and marriage and family therapists in more than 25 nations.  Additional information is available at

  • Play Therapy is a mental health modality used when developmentally appropriate by licensed mental health professionals to better communicate with and help clients achieve optimal mental health. It is particularly effective with children because, just as adults use words to communicate ideas and feelings, children use play. Visit the About Play Therapy section of the APT website.
  • The Association for Play Therapy (APT) is a national professional society formed in 1982 to advance the play therapy modality and serve the research, training, and credentialing needs of its member counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and social workers. Licensed mental health professionals may earn and maintain its Registered Play Therapist (RPT) and Supervisor (RPT-S) credentials. Visit the APT website.

A Historic Look at the Various Locations of the Thurston County Courthouse

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 6:19am



By Emmett O’Connell

creative officeUp until the last forty years, the Thurston County Courthouse has always been located in what people would know as “downtown Olympia.”

While our definition of the space considered “downtown” has expanded over time, the courthouse has moved slowly away from the downtown core since the 1930s.

The first site for what was supposed to be the county courthouse eventually became Sylvester Park. Edmund Sylvester, one of Olympia’s founders, deeded the lot to the city for a park. (Read more about Sylvester’s legacy in Olympia here.)  The town in turn deeded it to the county for a courthouse. The lot went unused.

thurston county courthouse

Thurston County Courthouse circa 1902

Before the 1890s, the Thurston County Courthouse bounced around between various temporary, swapped and bought locations. There was no permanent, purposefully built courthouse until almost exactly 40 years after the county itself was formed.

At one point, county government swapped buildings with the City of Olympia, accepting a smaller building in exchange for a school taking over the inconvenient county building. Much like today’s debate about wanting to move closer to the center of activity, the county leaders wanted to be closer to the port and commercial activity.

What we call “the old state capitol” really began its life in 1892 as the first purpose built Thurston County Courthouse. That original building was different than the structure we know today in two major regards. The annex built onto the the east end of the original building was built after the state bought it in 1902. Also, the original clock tower burned down in a fire in 1928.

thurston county courthouse

Thurston County Courthouse circa 1930

County government moved a couple of blocks north along Washington Street, landing at the corner of 4th and Washington for almost 30 years. This location is at the current site of the State Theater which houses Harlequin Productions.

That simple squat building lasted until 1930 when the county built a traditional looking courthouse on Capitol Way across the street from the capitol campus. Like many other government buildings that would soon crop up on that side of Capitol Way, it replaced a single family residence (in this case a mansion owned by a territorial general). It was also one of many buildings in Olympia designed by noted and prolific architect  Joseph Wohleb.

It is at this point in the history of the county courthouse that things take an interesting twist.

Thurston County government outgrew the Wohleb-designed courthouse and (at the cost of $2.6 million) the Capital Center Building (the so-called “Mistake on the Lake”) in the late 60s. The county never did move in. After attempting to buy property from the city near the old city hall on Plum, threatening to leave Olympia for Lacey, county government settled in to the current site on Lakeridge Drive.


thurston county courthouse

Thurston County Courthouse circa 1982

References and further reading

Olympia History: Mowell House Site

Olympia History: Thurston Courthouse on Franklin

Olympia History: Old State Capitol

Olympia History: Courthouse at State and 4th

Olympia History: Capitol Way Courthouse

Olyblog: Capitol Center Building, It Blowed Up Real Good

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 6:04am



What glorious sunshine and warm temperatures we enjoyed on Thursday this week.  While the forecast isn’t quite as pleasant heading into the weekend, Thurston County residents are getting a sneak peak at beautiful weather to come.  Here are some ideas for enjoying all that the greater Olympia area has to offer this weekend.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

Infernos Pizza Is Devilishly Delicious

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 5:05am



infernos pizza

Infernos Pizza has two restaurants – Lacey and Tumwater.

“I love pizza. I want to marry it, but it would just be to eat her family at the wedding.” In this, as most things, comedian Mike Birbiglia is 100-percent right. There’s nothing better than being shoulder to shoulder with family and friends over a magical, cheesy pizza.

Locally—and literally—the pizza hot spot is Infernos Brick Oven Pizza. A family affair created and owned by brothers Brad LaRue and Clint Owen, they specialize in hand-crafted pizzas with brick fired, lightly crunchy crusts.

Owen explains that “being a family owned restaurant we are able to develop our own unique recipes.”

“All of our dishes at Infernos are made from scratch, fired to perfection, with fresh, not frozen ingredients. We don’t even own a freezer,” Owen continues. “We have delicious, fresh food, with many healthy and gluten-free options. Our mission is to create a pizza that compares to no other and provide an excellent, fun-filled experience for our valued guest. This is not a franchise or corporately owned businesses—this is a family business built in the community we love.”

infernos pizza

The business is locally owned by brothers Brad LaRue and Clint Owen.

Owners of several other local businesses, including Line-X of Olympia on Capitol Boulevard, the family began developing the Infernos idea back in 2005. In 2007 their Tumwater location opened followed by a Lacey restaurant in 2011.

Long-time locals, the brothers strive to be more than just a dining destination. “Infernos Brick Oven Pizza is very involved in communities in many ways. Not only do we hire, train, and employ many of the community’s young adults, we also give back,” describes Owen. “Infernos sponsors many events, activities, and sports in a variety of disciplines and areas, from Tumwater and Black Hills to Lacey. We have sponsored school and organized sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, rifle club, American Made Drill Team, fast pitch, and cheer. We have also donated to church auctions and Race for the Cure to name a few.”

“We believe that investing in our communities, young adults, and kids is a great way to give back to those who have helped support our businesses,” adds Owen.

infernos pizza

Favorite recipes are often named after their creator or biggest fan.

Favorite recipes are often named after their creator or biggest fan. Owen describes “Brad’s wife’s famous artichoke dip – now there is one to try — it’s so good! Or the Chicken Club, Clint’s favorite, or the LaRue pizza” featuring bleu cheese, steak, onions, and mushrooms. With both dine-in and take-out menus available online, you can streamline your visit by studying the many options beforehand.

Both locations also feature a variety of daily specials including daily drink and food offerings, Margarita Monday, Thirsty Thursday, military day, kids eat free night, and date night. At the Lacey location they have an exciting new lunch menu, as well as a private gathering room for parties, sports events, and gatherings.

For updated photos and specials, visit the Facebook page for the location nearest you. Both Lacey and Tumwater listings will make your mouth water.

Actor Kevin James declared that “there’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap.” I disagree on one small point: the only thing better is having that fresh, warm pie delivered to your table at a welcoming restaurant where someone else is stuck with the dishes.

Infernos is located at 8825 Tallon Lane Northest in Lacey or 111 Tumwater Boulevard Southeast in Tumwater. Why cook tonight when you could buy fresh, local, and delicious?


Three Factors Make North Thurston’s Track Team a Tough Opponent

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 4:55am



By Gail Wood

tagsBre Ellis

Last spring, as Bre Ellis raced around the track, sprinting toward the finish line to break her school’s record in the 400 meters, she was pushed by a challenge.

north thurston track

Aerial Edwards (left), Bre Ellis (center) and Alexis Ross (right) ran on last year’s 1,600-meter relay that broke a North Thurston High School record.

She was pushed by the “you can’t” comments she heard as a child overcoming a birth defect. Born a month early, Ellis, now a senior at North Thurston High School, weighed under 2 pounds. Her legs didn’t fully develop and were shorter than normal.

Ellis didn’t walk until she was 2-years-old and she wore braces for sixth months, helping her as she learned to walk.

“I shouldn’t be walking,” Ellis said, pausing briefly as she began to cry. “God motivated me to run.”

Ellis, encouraged by her Christian faith and by her caring father, began running track when she was in seventh grade.

“I turned out for track because I just wanted to prove people wrong,” Ellis said at a recent track practice. “When I was a baby, nothing was developing. I was on a breathing machine.”

As Ellis told her story, wiping tears as she talked, two of her teammates Alexis Ross and Aerial Edwards, began to cry as they listened. They had never heard Ellis’s story of overcoming her challenges.

“I just love running with a passion,” Ellis said, her eyes brimming with tears. “And proving to people that I can do things.”

north thurston track

Tyler Reece (left) and Peter Allegre are both A-students with their eyes on qualifying for state in the distance events.

She did that a year ago. Stoked by the “you can’ts” in her life, she ran 400 meters in 48.5 seconds, breaking her school record. That same spring, running with Ross and Edwards, Ellis ran the leadoff leg on a 400-meter relay that broke a school record with a time of 4:06.1 and reached the 2A state meet.

“I love relays,” Ross said. “There’s less pressure, but then you don’t want to let your teammates down.”

Peter Allegre and Tyler Reece

North Thurston’s Peter Allegre and Tyler Reece aren’t only speedsters in the distance events – Allegre ran a PR 4:29 in the 1,600 and 9:39 in the 3,200 to qualify for state. They’re also brainiacs in the classroom, both pulling 3.99 GPAs. Allegre’s only “blemish” on his report card was an A-minus in algebra as a freshman. Reece got an A-minus in geometer as a freshman.

“School has also come pretty easy,” Allegre said. “My favorite subject is history. Any history is interesting to me.”

Allegre did his “homework” over the winter, running 45-plus miles a week to prepare for his junior year. Reece, a senior, also comes into the season fit and is ready for his final hurrah in high school. But his next chapter will include running. In June, Reece will head to West Point and follow the footsteps of his father, who also attended the military academy.

north thurston track

Dave Sieberlich (center) drives from Minnesota to coach the pole vault for North Thurston’s track team.

“I wanted to go there because my dad went there,” Reece said. “I really wanted to be in the Army. I wanted to go out and do something to help people and give back to my country. I really feel that’s a duty of every American.”

Coaching Staff

Brent Warner, who is beginning his 18th season as North Thurston’s head coach, has nearly 100 kids turning out for track this spring, the most he’s had in several years. He has a strong freshmen and sophomore class that shows promise.

“I think that when you look at what we have you’d say that we’re a younger team right now,” Warner said. “We have a lot of young talent.”

Helping to shape and develop some of that talent in the pole vault is Dave Sieberlich, a former head coach and teacher at North Thurston. When Sieberlich retired in 2006, Warner asked him if he’d be interested in still coaching. There was one glitch. Sieberlich was moving to Minnesota.

“I told him he could live at my house for three months,” Warner said.

And, maybe even to Warner’s surprise, Sieberlich said yes.

north thurston track

Brent Warner talks here with an athlete about the technique of long jumping.

“I love working with the kids,” Sieberlich said. “I enjoy working with the coaching staff. And Brent and I work really well together.”

And Sieberlich loves driving 1,200 miles out west. Last year, with his car nearing 400,000 miles and breaking down, Sieberlich got a new car when he arrived in Lacey. A couple of years ago, Warner, who has ridden the Seattle to Portland bike ride for about 10 straight years, rode his bike from Sieberlich’s home in Minnesota to Lacey.

It’s worth the trip. Sieberlich has a wealth of experience in the pole vault both as an athlete and a coach. In the 1960s, Sieberlich pole vaulted at the University of Wisconsin, clearing 16 feet in practice and 15-8 at a meet on a newly developed fiberglass pole. He competed against Brian Sternberg, a former world record hold while attending the University of Washington and an Olympic hopeful.

Sieberlich has another reason to make the long trip to Lacey each year. He still gets his doctor and dentist appointments here.

“He comes and gets his checkups here,” Warner said with a chuckle.

And he also checks up on the pole vault talent at North Thurston.

Old Time Relijun, Kicking Giant in Olympia!

K Records - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 1:10am
Two Olympia favorites will return to a downtown stage May 2 when Old Time Relijun and Kicking Giant play together Saturday, May 2. It has been a while. Old Time Relijun have taken an 8+ year break from touring and recording; Kicking Giant (comprised of Tae Won Yu and Rachel Carns) have not been active […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Sheila and Ben – A Lifetime of Satisfied Kluh Jewelers Shoppers

Thurston Talk - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:25pm



Submitted by L. Jeanette Strole Parks for Kluh Jewelers

kluh jewelers

Sheila has been shopping at Kluh’s Jewelers with her husband, Ben, for decades.

Aside from efficient and clever ad campaigns, nothing convinces a new potential customer to try a new product or store as the trusted word-of-mouth references from another shopper. So it is that we bring you an installment of affirming words from some very content customers, Sheila and Ben. (Editor’s note: They have chosen to withhold their last names for this article.)

Ben, a retired sheet metal worker has lived in Thurston County most of his life, and graduated from North Thurston High School in 1966. At that time, the graduating class was presented with a 10% lifetime discount from the Kluh Jewelers family, and indeed, he has kept this card for life. In 1981, he married Sheila, (who has lived in this area since 1973), and they remembered this 10% discount card when it was time to buy a birthday gift for Ben’s mother. They made a trip out Kluh Jewelers, and he bought her some topaz earrings. “We were so impressed with the quality and service, that we have been going back for gifts for family (and myself) ever since.”

Sheila, who retired from Alaska Airlines recently, shares that she and Ben and her sister-in-law from California have been attending several of the Kluh’s lay-away and vault sales. The annual vault sale event, in November, is Sheila’s personal favorite when she does all her Christmas shopping each year. “As I was a flight attendant, and out of town a lot, I had to miss some, but Ben went for me. We love the door prize events which take place prior to the sale, and have even won some, such as a $25 gift certificate towards the purchase of an item, and also pearl earrings.” As she reiterates, the vault and lay-away sales are an excellent opportunity to come in and see what they have in stock, and what their environment is all about. “And the donuts are great,” she adds with wit.

Their support and loyalty to Kluh’s business has given them many opportunities to add special items to their collection. A recent such memory marked Sheila’s retirement with a little extra dazzle. “Ben and I were shopping and I gleamed onto a beautiful gold and diamond watch which I could not purchase at the time, but mentioned to my husband how much I loved this watch and what a beautiful retirement gift it would be.  Well, on my last flight, he went with me.  On my layover, I woke up in Chicago the next morning, and there was a beautiful gift wrapped box on top of my suitcase which contained the watch I had my eye on. “

kluh jewelers

When Sheila retired from Alaska Airlines, Ben surprised her with a special watch that she had her eye on at Kluh Jewelers.

She adds that Kluh’s does an excellent job with gift wrapping, which adds that much more to the experience of giving and receiving gifts from their store cases.

In all their years of shopping at Kluh’s she has never had any complaints with their inventory or service. If anything, the opposite has been true. “I have had several pieces of jewerly in the past that needed to be sized or repaired and their on-site jeweler has always done an excellent and timely job. “

The unique jewelry, friendly staff and customer service keeps them coming back. “You cannot find [this] at a big box store.” One of her upcoming notions is to have a gold bracelet (which she purchased at a lay-away sale) made into a charm bracelet with her airline-service wings.

Ben and Sheila would probably not have foreseen that the 10% discount card that he received in 1966 would lead to their lifelong habit of shopping at this multi-generational establishment. But they are most certainly pleased with each experience they have had inside the doors of Kluh Jewelers. “What stands out most is their customer service.  When we walk into the store we are greeted with friendliness and they always remember our names. I would sincerely recommend anyone looking for a gift for someone or something for themselves for a special occasion to go to Kluh’s.  ”

Kluh Jewelers

701 Sleater Kinney Road SE in Lacey



Her Story at SPSCC

South Sound Arts - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 2:40pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, March 26, 2015
Behold Fire by Doyle Fanning
The latest art exhibit at South Puget Sound Community College is a group show called “Her Story.” As described in the show announcement, this exhibition “contributes a verse to the volume that is the creative feminine. The works of six invited artists … consider the multiple facets of the creative feminine experience — personal, contemporary, art historical, and visionary.”
The artists are Yukiyo Kawano, Jeana Eve Klein, George Le Masurier, Doyle Fanning, Erika Navarette and Joyce Polance. All but one are women.
Most dramatic and most outstanding to my way of thinking are Kawano’s two hanging sculptures and two paintings, and Fanning’s “Behold … A True Story.”
Kawano’s “Little Boy,” 2011 and “Little Boy,” 2015 are actual size depictions of “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Kawano’s bombs are made of kimono, bamboo, hair and dye. The pieces, like sections of a kite, are sewn together with hair. They hang from the ceiling in the middle of the gallery. The delicacy of the materials in contrast with knowledge of the destruction of property and human life wrought by the explosion of the bomb creates a mind-boggling spectacle with the added shudder brought on by learning that the pieces are sewn with strands of the artist’s own hair. She is a third generation hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivor) who grew up decades after the bombing of Hiroshima.
In addition to these, Kawano is showing two paintings in oil on canvas. One is a picture of a woman, probably a geisha, being dressed by a servant. The other is a single female figure with three crustaceans pictured above her. In both paintings the figures are partially obliterated by paint applied in such thin washes (most likely with turpentine) that the running drips eat away paint in multiple tiny rivulets. In the one with the crustaceans, the canvas is burnt or ripped away in places. As in the two “Little Boys,” the image is of destruction combined with feminine delicacy.
Fanning’s “Behold … A True Story” is a suite of 10 small images, each with a little white girl in a natural environment. When I say white I do not mean Caucasian. I mean the figures appears to have been cut out, leaving the white silhouette of a figure in each. Each image also has printed on it a sentence or two from a story, so that reading left to right, by the time you get to the last image you’ve read the entire story. It is an intriguing and well-presented series.
By the way, you can see more work by Fanning in the current exhibition at Childhood’s End Gallery in downtown Olympia.
Le Masurier is a retired newspaper editor and photographer who is showing a set of six black and white digital images of contemporary people in everyday settings and activities, each indicative of their own personal story.
Navarette is showing six pop-art paintings of women engaged in activities such as cooking and planting potted plants. Her lush and luminous colors glow like the cheeks of a girl by Renoir. Polance is showing a 12-by-nine-inch and a 12-by-16-inch oil painting of nudes with similar lush pink tones in heavy impasto paint. These are like Navarette’s paintings but with better use of negative space and even more luscious colors.
Finally, Klein is showing a series of small works in fabric with hand-stitched French knots on cotton. The formats look like doilies but the clusters of knots look like abstract paintings — difficult to describe but amazing to look at. Be sure to study them closely.
Her Story, Monday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. and by appointment, through May 1, Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery, South Puget Sound Community College,Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia, 360.596.5527.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thrifty Thurston – As West Bay Drive Construction Ends, Poems Emerge

Thurston Talk - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 2:09pm



By Kelli Samson

oly ortho logoAs a high school English teacher, my eyeballs are trained to notice words. That’s why I may have gasped a little when I noticed them appear as part of the sidewalk construction project while I creeped along in West Bay Drive traffic.

The City of Olympia has incorporated a literary art project into its sidewalk construction, and poetry fans have taken notice. It wasn’t long before members of my book club, students in my classes, and even my own young daughters began to ask me what the story was on those words.

I put on my best Lois Lane-esque glasses and started digging.

west bay art poems

Sidewalks now link West Olympia to downtown Olympia. Art adorns the retaining walls and paths.

Olympia has had plans in the works for some time now to link its west side to downtown via continuous, uninterrupted sidewalks, much like the sidewalk linking San Francisco Street to East Bay Drive and, thus, downtown. Like its easterly counterpart, this public works project has always included a plan for incorporating art. The project was overseen by Jim Rioux.

This is where Stephanie Johnson, the City’s Arts and Events manager for the last decade, comes in. Johnson, who, among many other things, is responsible for coordinating Arts Walk twice each year, oversaw the artistic phase of the sidewalk project.

“The sidewalks are part of the Parks and Pathways project,” states Johnson. Local artist Carolyn Law was commissioned for both the East and West Bay projects.

“She was very inspired by the people of Olympia and the stories that they tell of the places that they live,” explains Johnson.

“San Francisco Street’s project is called ‘Neighborly Notes.’ It takes in the fact that it’s very near a school and deals with the concept that there’s a neighborhood just within walking distance of a gorgeous, million dollar view. As people move down that sidewalk toward the corner, there are water-inspired elements to keep people going toward the bay. There are sitting rocks. The colors are more primary for the school, and there are visual elements that include books and things like that because Roosevelt Elementary is very clearly an integral part of that neighborhood.”

west bay drive poems

The poems are written by local poet Lucia Perillo.

The title of the West Bay sidewalk is ‘Walking on Land by Water.’

“It references the historic lumber mills that were all up and down West Bay Drive,” continues Johnson. “The form liners for the retaining walls echo the wood from these mills. They look like siding or machined wood. The poetry was installed on plywood panels so that there is some plywood texture in some of the areas.”

More history about the lumber mills can be found at both West Bay Park and Rotary Point.

A second component of the artistic portion of the sidewalk is sparkle crete, a type of cement that contains glitter and is meant to mimic the shimmer on the water.

Finally, celebrated local poet Lucia Perillo was asked to contribute some poetic phrases with which to adorn these concrete creations. Her words offer delight for those walking or driving by. Not only are these poems stamped into the retaining walls, they are also surprisingly located in the very sidewalk beneath one’s feet.

west bay drive poems

Haiku are Japanese poems that follow a strict syllabic pattern and are traditionally about nature.

Perillo’s words are inspired by Japanese haiku, specifically those by Issa, and the fact that she dwells just above the project. “She is very aware of the flora, fauna, insects, and birds of the area,” says Johnson. “We’re really fortunate to have her in our community.”

Traditional haiku are three-line poems that revolve around the theme of nature. The first and last lines are five syllables long, with the middle line being seven syllables.

Perillo’s words invoke images of our Puget Sound location. She refers to our wildlife with, “Herons build nests without thinking about Eagles,” and acknowledges our weather with the lines, “A stone has no choice but accept the rain,” and “Ducks just trust the fog they fly into.”

What’s next for Walking on Land by Water?

The City of Olympia is working on a stain for the retaining walls to further enhance their wood texture. This phase of the project will have to wait for a good space of sunny weather.

west bay drive poems

A path has recently been added, connecting Woodard Drive off of Rogers Street in West Olympia to West Bay Drive.

Meanwhile, take a little time to stroll along West Bay Drive and appreciate what a thoughtful art installment these sidewalks truly are. They marry practicality and aesthetic in a way by which this English teacher approves.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

Saint Martin’s University Science Exploration Workshop Brings Fun, Learning to Boys & Girls Clubs Kids

Thurston Talk - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:48am



By Gail Wood

saint martins

Saint Martin’s University welcomed 38 students from the five branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County.

A rocket launches, a robot is made entirely out of Legos, an eye peers into a microscope – learning is happening, a peek into how math, science and engineering work at Saint Martin’s University.

About 38 students from five different branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County took part in an afternoon of fun and learning at the Science Exploration Workshops at Saint Martin’s University on a sunny March afternoon.

“This is why they call me the miracle worker,” Aiden said gleefully as he pushed the remote controls of the Lego robot he put together.

Aiden, an 11-year-old from Tumwater, was maneuvering his robot across the floor, trying to outsmart a friend’s robot.

“It’s fun,” Aiden said about the engineering workshop. “It’s exciting. I’m more of a football player, but I’m pretty good at math and science.”

saint martins

Saint Martin’s students led a workshop on angle of trajectory in rocket launches.

Throughout the spring semester, Saint Martin’s will host five STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workshops. University professors and students organize the activities, giving the kids a hands-on-experience with learning. Part of the day’s objective is to stir a student’s interest in science, math and engineering.

Joe Ingoglia, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County praised the partnership with Saint Martin’s University. “Not only do these workshops promote learning that will stick with the kids, but it also gets them interested in careers or degrees they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. And the best part is that it’s taking place on a college campus that is right in their own backyard.”

“Many of our kids come from lower income households and will be the first in their families to attend a university—a feat that may seem impossible to some,” continued Ingoglia. “This partnership will break down many of those barriers and help them realize that a college degree is accessible and attainable. We are extremely grateful that Saint Martin’s is willing to change kids’ lives in this way with us.”

saint martins

Interactive workshops meant that kids were hands-on with Saint Martin’s students and professors.

“At the same time, the workshops encourage our college students to refine their presentation skills, nurture their passion in these subjects and actively participate in community service,” added Genevieve Canceko Chan, Saint Martin’s vice president of marketing and communications. “For many, learning to love science starts with a hands-on experience.  By taking them out of their familiar environs and having workshop leaders who are almost peers, closer to their age than their teachers, we can change the young student’s thinking from ‘I have to learn this’ to ‘I want to learn this.’  And for our Saint Martin’s students, what better way to reinforce their decision to study and pursue a career in these subjects than to be a mentor and possibly inspire another generation to love what they love.”

Aaron Coby’s biology group walked to an on-campus pond for an up close look at an ecosystem. The Saint Martin’s associate professor of biology had collected samples earlier. “We try to stay away from presentation stuff. It’s all interactive,” said Coby. “They’re all doing something.”

After exploring the pond, Coby and his group went to the lab and the students examined the water samples under a microscope.

“They try to identify organisms living there and try to think about who and what role those things play in the ecosystem,” Coby said.

saint martins

Another purpose of the workshops was to broaden awareness and spark an interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Besides having fun, the event is an attempt to broaden awareness and to spark interest in a science field. In Associate Professor of Engineering Paul Slaboch’s workshop, the objective included helping students define what an engineer is and what they do.

“A lot of students come in with a preconceived notion of what an engineer does, or they might not even know,” Slaboch said. “We’re trying to get them involved with different types of engineering and to get students to expand their idea of what an engineer is.”

To help them define “mechanical engineer,” Slaboch had his group build Lego robots or remote controlled cars with motors and sensors.

There were directions to follow to build the Lego robots. But Aiden and his friends, with the help of Saint Martin’s students, came up with their own designs.

“That’s what engineers do,” Slaboch said. “We have to find solutions within restraints. We’re trying to teach them how to do that and use all the tools available to them to accomplish that.”

Shane Moore, an engineering major at Saint Martin’s, was as enthusiastic as the kids were about the challenge of putting together the Lego robots. He would answer any questions and gave plenty of encouragement.

saint martins

Boys & Girls Clubs kids also took a tour of the Saint Martin’s University campus.

“I hope they got a good idea of problem solving,” Moore said. “I also hope they got a better idea about the different programs that STEM offers.”

Moore was impressed with how the kids worked together to figure out how to design their Lego robots. Of the nine kids in that class, eight had never built Lego robots before.

“It was awesome,” Moore said. “They had fun playing with something they built.”

Slaboch said attracting tomorrow’s engineers is crucial. There’s an increasing demand and a growing shortage of engineers coming out of college.

“I believe Washington is one of the largest importers of engineers,” Slaboch said. “We have a huge need here in Washington and only a handful of schools are pumping them out. Washington, in particular, imports a lot of engineers from out of state and overseas simply because of the need with all of the high-tech in Seattle.”

Outside on the lawn, by Cebula Hall, young students excitedly launched rockets. Under professor Steve Parker’s and University students’ supervision, Boys & Girls Clubs kids pumped the launching tube and then released a trigger, sending the small rocket sailing 50 or 60 yards across the field.

saint martins

Saint Martin’s University hopes that these workshops will get kids excited about continuing their education in science fields.

“The objective is for the kids to have fun and to show them how fun science, math and engineering stuff can be,” Parker said as he watched kids measure the distance their rockets traveled. “Hopefully, this will help shape their future thought and get them thinking about taking science classes.”

The objective was to see who could shoot their rocket the farthest. That required experimenting with angles of the launch to determine which angle worked best.

“And they’re competing for a fabulous prize in the end,” Parker said with a smirk. “It’s for a sugary treat.”

Natasha, who visits the Lacey branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs after school, enjoyed shooting rockets across the lawn.

“It’s lots of fun shooting rockets,” Natasha said.

The mathematics experience involved launching rockets and hitting targets on a computer screen, measuring the angles and resulting distances. The chemistry workshop included the study of light.

saint martins stem

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County CEO, Joe Ingoglia, hopes that this experience will break down some barriers for kids and show them that a college education is accessible and attainable.

“I got to learn about light and the different types of light,” said Ian, who is 13 and attends the Rochester club. “The gases and the atoms in that light makes them different.”

In addition to the hour-long, hands-on experience, the kids were also given a 15-minute campus tour. Each group was given a look at a certain area of the college.

“This is an opportunity to bring kids onto the campus, kids who probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to go onto a university campus,” Coby said. “It’s a way to let them see what university life is like. That’s one layer of the experience.”

Shellfish Growers Gearing Up to Clean the Sound in 18th Biannual Beach Clean-Up

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 3:50pm



Submitted by Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association

beach clean upOn Friday, March 27, crews from local shellfish farms, the Nisqually and Squaxin Tribes, the Department of Natural Resources, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, the Pacific Shellfish Institute, and the Nisqually Reach Nature Center will gather to collect debris that washed up onto beaches this winter. The effort is hosted and organized by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA).

Environmental stewardship is a core value of PCSGA because shellfish farms rely on healthy marine ecosystems for their livelihoods. Without good water quality, shellfish cannot properly grow or be harvested. The beach cleanup reflects that value of environmental stewardship.

beach clean upBeach cleanups are a long-standing tradition for the South Puget Sound’s shellfish community. Friday’s event marks the 18th biannual cleanup. It is an opportunity to clean up debris that gets pulled to high places on beaches or away from shellfish farms, where farm crews do not work or walk. Aquaculture gear from the shellfish industry typically comprises a small amount of the debris collected, much of which is sent back to farms to be recycled or reused.

Over 100 miles of beach and several inlets will be covered, including Eld, Totten, Hammersley, Case and Carr. Crews will also be on Squaxin, Harstine, McNeil, Anderson, and Ketron Islands and in Oakland Bay.

Contact PCSGA at 360-754-2744 if you know of an area that needs attention or if you don’t want people accessing your beach. Throughout the year, you can also contact PCSGA’s marine debris hotline at 360-489-0141.

Support for this event and the marine debris hotline comes from funds raised through SLURP – PCSGA’s annual shellfish, beer and wine festival which is held every spring in Olympia. Proceeds raised at SLURP are also used to help fund other beach cleanups throughout the state. SLURP 2015 will be on May 3.  Event tickets can be purchased here.

“The Girls” by Marita Dingus

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 2:36pm

The Girls Marita Dingus at Traver Gallery 2015

Marita Dingus‘ latest art exhibit, The Girls, is at Traver Gallery until March 28.  Marita continues her fearless exploration of recycled materials in this fierce display of female figures of the African Diaspora that range in size from 6 1/2 inches to 6 1/2 feet tall.

Marita Dingus at Traver Gallery 2015 NIGERIAN GIRLS, edition of 100 (detail)

Marita Dingus at Traver Gallery 2015
NIGERIAN GIRLS, edition of 100 (detail)

It is always intriguing to discover what discards she has incorporated into her pieces, especially when she points out “look what I did with those green plastic things you gave me,” because I, along with most of her friends and fans, contribute to her collection of interesting junk supplies.  In this case, the Olympia Library had given me a big box of empty spools from receipt paper; after ten years, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to use them in my work and passed them on to Marita, who always seems to find something to do with the stuff everyone else wants to throw away.

Marita Dingus with "Big Sister" at Traver Gallery 2015

Marita Dingus with “Big Sister” at Traver Gallery 2015

More pics of The Girls — Marita Dingus art exhibit at Traver Gallery HERE and HERE and HERE


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Popular Rain Garden Workshop Helps Protect Water, Home

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 2:24pm
Event:  Thu, 04/23/2015 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Learn how to help protect local waterways and Puget Sound while also preventing storm drainage from harming your home. A free workshop will provide all the details needed to build a "rain garden" in your yard to create an attractive feature to manage polluted storm runoff and make habitat for birds and butterflies.

This how-to workshop will be offered on Thursday, April 23, from 6 to 8:15 p.m., with an optional hands on plant-design activity from 8:15 to 9 p.m. at the Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St NE, Olympia.  Each participant will receive detailed information about designing and building a rain garden, as well as a free full-color handbook and beautiful poster.

The workshop is free but registration is required by visiting or calling the WSU Native Plant Salvage Project at 360-867-2167. This workshop is co-sponsored by Thurston County Water Resources, Stream Team, and WSU Extension’s Native Plant Salvage Project. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Washington State Conservation Commission Tours Projects in Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:48pm



Submitted by Washington State Conservation Commission

colvin ranch

Fred Colvin, principal operator of Colvin Ranch in south Thurston County, tells tour participants how his cattle have become a tool for conserving native prairie vegetation.

Local, state, federal, and tribal partners from across Washington convened in Olympia last week to tour conservation projects in the area. The tour, hosted by Thurston Conservation District, was part of the bi-monthly meeting of the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC)—the coordinating state agency for all conservation districts in Washington.

“There is nothing more valuable than taking partners out on the ground of project work by conservation districts,” said Kathleen Whalen, Administrator of Thurston Conservation District. “Such an opportunity provides them with a first-hand look at how we work to find creative solutions to natural resources issues; and, hear the perspectives of the landowners and partners we have worked with. This gives them a better understanding of agriculture in our local community.”

This was the first time since 2010 that Thurston Conservation District hosted the SCC meeting and tour. The agency’s 10-member governing board—representing state agencies, governor appointees, and conservation districts—meets six times a year in locations that rotate among the 45 conservation districts in the state.

The tour visited three sites showcasing a cross-section of projects involving Thurston Conservation District, including a rotational prairie grazing system, stormwater management on a small farm, and a large estuary restoration project aimed at enhancing and restoring important salmon habitat. Each project involved a mix of partners, including private landowners and farmers, local non-profits, local government, and state and federal agencies.

Fred Colvin, primary operator of Colvin Ranch, has enrolled in programs offered by Thurston Conservation District and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service that help him maintain a profitable ranch and valuable prairie ecosystem. The key, said Colvin, is to design conservation programs that meet both landowner and conservation needs.

“If you want private property owners involved with conservation goals, they need to be involved from the beginning,” said Colvin.

Colvin uses a rotational grazing plan on his ranch that benefits both the prairie and his bottom line. His cattle systematically graze and suppress non-native grasses, allowing native plants to flourish. And, he’s able to market Colvin Ranch grass-fed beef as a sustainably raised product throughout the South Sound region.

Colvin also enrolled in the South Sound Farm Link program launched by Thurston Conservation District in 2014. The program supports sustainable, local agriculture by providing a farmland database that connects farmers looking for land to landowners with property for lease or purchase. Colvin—one of over 30 people to enroll in the program so far—used the database to find additional grazing pasture for his cattle.

Clinton O’Keefe, current chair of the SCC and wheat farmer from eastern Washington, said Thurston Conservation District is not only helping landowners understand and afford conservation, they also are ensuring that landowners’ voices are heard, leading to more effective, feasible approaches to resource conservation.

“People who live and work on the land are uniquely qualified to develop solutions for conservation,” said O’Keefe. “By tailoring their programs and services to meet both state and landowner needs, Thurston Conservation District is enhancing the value of conservation for everyone.”

Conservation districts are non-regulatory, local providers of natural resources knowledge and on-the-ground expertise. They originated during the 1930s dust bowl era, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on landowners to form locally led conservation districts that would carry out cooperative solutions to soil and erosion issues. Today, every one of Washington’s 39 counties is represented by at least one conservation district, and they help landowners address a broad spectrum of natural resource issues.

The SCC is a state agency that works with conservation districts and other partners to engage landowners in voluntary stewardship. To learn more about the Washington State Conservation Commission, visit; or, to learn more about Thurston Conservation District, visit

Zoe Juice Bar Now Open in Tumwater

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:37pm



Submitted by Zoe Juice Bar

We are excited to announce that our newest location is now open in Tumwater. Our new juice bar will offer raw juice, smoothies, acai bowls, juice cleanses and gluten free goodies!

Zoe Juice Bar is committed to providing fresh, nutrient packed juices and smoothies. We offer convenient, healthy, plant based goodness to help our community achieve their wellness goals.

Zoe Juice Bar is a fun and friendly place to come and enjoy drinks filled with fresh, raw, fruits and veggies!


zoe juice barZoe Juice Bar

111 Tumwater Blvd, Suite B101 in Tumwater


Monday-Friday – 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday -10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday – Closed

Campbell & Campbell Event Center Hosts Tea Party

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:31pm



Submitted by Campbell & Campbell Event Center

olympia party venue

Helen Finely enjoyed her surprise birthday party and Campbell and Campbell along with many of her great-grandchildren, including Larry and Kristine, featured here.

On her 90th birthday, Helen Finely had no idea where she was going. As her daughter Vicki and son-in-law Bill drove her toward Tenino on February 28, she imagined they might be going to visit relatives in Bucoda.

Instead, they arrived at Campbell & Campbell Event Center, where droves of friends and relatives were waiting, including her 88-year-old sister and many of her great-grandchildren. “When we opened the doors, she couldn’t believe it,” says Vicki.  “Mary had made everything so nice.”

Mary Adams owns Campbell & Campbell, and she and Vicki are old army buddies. The birthday theme they agreed upon was a Tea Party. “We’re always having tea parties with the grandkids so when Mary suggested this, I thought it was a great idea,” says Vicki.  While the kids took advantage of stations where they could decorate their own headbands and create other art, the adults enjoyed the theme and each other’s company.

Vicki says that her mother’s life has come full circle. “She was raised on a farm in Nebraska, and now she’s come back to a rural community.” Along the way she got married to Vicki’s father, a military man, traveled around the country and spent nearly forty years as a bookkeeper.

For Helen, the surprise gathering was a memorable way to celebrate a life that began in 1925. “She’s still talking about it,” says Vicki. “She called her sister in Georgia to tell her all about it, and anyone who wasn’t at the party has heard of it by now. It was a really special day. Mary did a great job.”

Campbell and Campbell Events now offers tea parties. For more information, contact Mary Adams at 360-259-1495.

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