Recent local blog posts

Hallowzine: a Fundraiser for the Olympia Zine Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 4:00pm

Come help us raise money to reserve a space for the Olympia Zine Fest in 2015! This bash will feature:
* Spooky mixes by DJ Wildman James
* Tarot readings by Sage Adderley
* Dancing (if you’re into it)
* A costume contest with awesome prizes
* A raffle of great items including a collectible one of a kind zine created in realtime and a free table at the zinefest!
* Kombucha mocktails and bake sale delicacies to slake your thirst and curb your hunger

$5 entry includes one raffle ticket, you can buy more for just a buck each.



Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Oly Freakdown Fest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 12:00pm

Friday and Saturday, October 24th & 25th

Evergreen Noise, FLY, Bones Cvlt, OPP and OCS presents..

Olympia’s own loud rock costume party!

Lo’ There Do I See My Brother
Redeem The Exile
Harvest States
MC Swamptiger
Sorrow’s Edge
A Friend

Buy tickets at:
PRESALE ONLY: $12 Two Day Pass
DAY OF EVENT: $8 Per Day

October 24th and 25th, 2014
Shows start each day at 3PM!

Facebook Invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Oly Freakdown Fest

Friday and Saturday, October 24th & 25th

Evergreen Noise, FLY, Bones Cvlt, OPP and OCS presents..

Olympia’s own loud rock costume party!
*Costume Contest on this day*

Like Vultures
For The Likes Of You
Countless The Dead
The Lion In Winter
From The Future
Ocean Breathes Salty
Twisted Heroes

Buy tickets at:
PRESALE ONLY: $12 Two Day Pass
DAY OF EVENT: $8 Per Day

October 24th and 25th, 2014
Shows start each day at 3PM!

Facebook Invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

YWCA of Olympia Announces 2014 Business of Achievement

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:36pm


Submitted by YMCA of Olympia 

Three Girls Media CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery.

Three Girls Media CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery.

According to the Shriver Report, two out of three households depend on the wages of working moms. However, childcare is expensive and can be hard to find for some women. Many workers have limited or no sick or maternity leave.  Some women use restroom stalls to breastfeed their infants.  The facts are sobering, but some businesses are stepping in and stepping up to remove these barriers and create family-friendly workplaces that support and empower women and families.

Three Girls Media works hard to create an environment that supports working parents, which is why it was selected as the 2014 YWCA of Olympia Business of Achievement.  Three Girls Media is an award-winning boutique Public Relations & Social Media Management Agency located in Olympia, WA. The firm works with clients worldwide to help them raise their brand awareness and name recognition through both traditional and digital public relations tactics.

 “This business is very empowering for women! Noteworthy benefits include extremely flexible schedules, family leave, telecommuting, and even Costco memberships.”

“The business doesn’t just talk about families being first…they live it! Whether that means office dogs barking occasionally or kids at staff meetings, each member of the team is encouraged to make whatever scheduling allowances are needed to ensure the health and welfare of their families and themselves.”

While providing excellent service and dedication to their customers, Three Girls Media emphasizes a healthy work/life balance, allowing employees to make their own schedules. This enables employees to avoid prohibitive day care costs, obtain advanced education, and be involved in nonprofit and school-based volunteer opportunities.

“We are proud to honor Three Girls Media as our inaugural Business of Achievement.” says YWCA executive director Hillary Soens. “They exemplify the YWCA’s goal to support the economic and social advancement of women each and every day in their business practices.”

“I’m so humbled and honored by this award! When I started Three Girls Media nine years ago it was incredibly important to me to have a business model that honored putting families and my team’s personal lives first. To be recognized for something that is a core belief and practice of mine and my business is truly fantastic!” stated Erika Taylor Montgomery, Three Girls Media Founder & CEO.

A Business of Achievement biography is available on the YWCA of Olympia website.

The 20th Annual Women of Achievement Gala, presented by Titus Will, will take place on Thursday, November 6th from 5:30pm – 8:45pm at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets ($80) will be available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at 352-0593 or online at under Events or Donate. Once again Titus-Will Cars will serve as the Women of Achievement Gala Presenting Sponsor, with WSECU and Lucky Eagle as the Gala Sustaining Sponsors.

For more information about the Women of Achievement Gala or for media inquiries, please contact Cherie Reeves Sperr, Special Events & Communications Director at 352-0593 or


Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County Board of Directors Receives Prestigious Award

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:28pm



Submitted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County

The Board of Directors of  Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County receives a prestigious  Silver Level of the National Boys & Girls Clubs of America League of EAGLES Award.

This new award is a key element of Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Leading Edge 2020 Board Transformation Strategy which advances new tools, training, and technical assistance to local Boys & Girls Club Boards of Directors. The award recognizes organizations for achieving 90% or more of the Key Performance Indicators for Strong Boards as reported in the organization’s 2013 Annual Report.

This special Board awards program measures key elements of a strong board which include 90% of their board members achieving:

Engagement.   Engage and Attend board meetings

Ask.                    Ask others face-to-face for funding

Give.                  Give by making a personal financial gift

Lead.                 Lead the organization to achieving strategic initiatives

Evaluate.         Evaluate their individual board performance based on a personal plan

Serve.                Serving, actively on committees or task forces of the organization

Reaching this milestone is a significant achievement of which Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County is very proud.  It is a testimony of the dedication and commitment of the organization’s board and executive leadership to serving the youth of Thurston County at the highest level.

The League of EAGLES Awards was presented on Thursday, October 9, at 8:30 a.m. during the Pacific Leadership Conference General Session in Portland, OR.

Volunteer Meeting

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:00pm

Come one, come all, come volunteer for your local all ages venue. NOTE: this is a Thursday, not our usual Monday!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

NTPS College and Career Fair Scheduled for October 27

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:00pm



Submitted by North Thurston Public Schools 

north thurston public schoolsPlan to attend the 6th annual NTPS College and Career Fair held at Timberline High School on October 27.  This exciting event is open to the public and we encourage students and their parents to attend.  The fair offers a wide range of educational and career options.  This year we have over 100 colleges/universities represented including 4 year, 2 year, out-of -state colleges, technical and apprenticeship trades; numerous career opportunities; military including ROTC; scholarship information, and volunteer opportunities for teens. New this year – area organizations that offer scholarships will be on hand to tell you about their scholarships and what kind of applicant they are looking for.

  • 5:00 to 5:30 Workshop: Navigating the College Fair
  • 5:30  Doors Open to the College/Career Fair
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Workshop: Financing Your Education

Workshops this year.

How to Get the Most out of the College and Career Fair – Planning your Evening” Begin your evening at 5:00 in the theater.  Be ready with a game plan when the doors open at 5:30.

Financing Your Education: 7:30 – 8:00 Attend this workshop at the end of the College Fair.  Discover the different kinds of financial aid available to students including scholarships, financial need and federal aid, merit aid and deadlines and processes.

Transition panel presentation for students with IEP’s and their parents.  This panel is comprised of professionals from DD services, DVR, Parent to Parent, Thurston County Transition Services and Basic Education. This is a great opportunity to learn about transition services available as students transition from high school.

Timberline Concession Stand will be open and overflow parking available at Lakes Elementary.

Telling South Sound Stories

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 4:02pm

The final presentation of the day is from Katie Campbell and Ashely Ahearn with Earthfix.  They work to get media coverage for all the wonderful work scientists are doing all over the Puget Sound area.   Stressing to remember that when giving an interview that it’s not live, no one is trying to make you sound stupid and everything can be edited.  If you can aim your content toward 6th graders and relate your science to real people it’ll be easier to draw their interest.  Some times the story requires a picture or a video in order for the issue to hit home for the average person who is not in the scientific community.  Remember that scientists have their thumbs on the pulse of what is happening in our ecosystems and weather the information is good or bad it is our duty to share it with the rest of the world.


Categories: Local Environment

Science-based strategies and unique partnerships to restore endangered species to South Sound Prairies

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:27pm

This talk is being given by Sarah Hamman of the Center for Natural Lands Management.
I’m jumping in a little late to blog this talk, but here we go.
Prescribed fire is a very important tool to remove scotch broom and non-native grasses from South Sound prairies. They have over fifty trained fire fighters (fire setters) who work on prescribed burns. Over the past decade, they have learned how to use fire to its greatest benfits. From 50 acres in 2005 to over 2500 acres burned in the past year. A hot headfire removes scotch broom. A low intensity low severity burn increases bare ground and stimulates germination. Once they complete a fire, they put seed on the ground. They have been adapting farming and agricultural practices to try to get as many native species on the ground as possible. Each species takes a different strategy.

They have been able to greatly increase the poundage of native seed production over the past decade. Field germination rates of native species are typically less than 25%, many less than 10%. Very low germination rates, which one of the reasons why these species are struggling in the first place.

The checker spot butterfly is very picky about where it germinates. It needs golden paintbrush, Indian paintbrush, and plantain. That went by fast. I need to check the exact name of those three species.

Women from the Sustainable Prisons Project helped grow plants and tend to butterflies in studies of butterfly preference.

Understanding the most efficient effective strategies for each step of restoration will help restore prairies successfully in the Pacific Northwest.

Some important, unique partnerships have been key to forwarding prairie restoration here. Joint Base Lewis McCord, Department of Corrections, Universities… The list was so long, that I could not write it out.

Categories: Local Environment

Prairies in the Pacific Northwest- Natural history and current challenges in this conservation landscape

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:22pm

untitledHannah Anderson Center for natural lands management;

A look at a lesser known precious and rare habitat, the prairies of the Puget sound. Human development has hit our prairies pretty hard. Habitat degradation is also a serious problem when it comes to prairie habitat restoration.  Large trees , oak grass, and scotch broom are species encroaching on prairie habitat.

“A rare habitat equals rare species” some of the species of concern include, Streak horned Lark, Pocket goffer, and checker spot butterfly (Pictured above).

One of the partners of CNLM is JBLM, the local military base. This base is one of the last highest quality habitats for the streak horned lark and the checker spot butterfly. The artillery range o base serves both the DOD and species of concern as well as endangered species like the checker spot butter fly.

The Sustainability in Prisons Project is another partner of CNLM they have partnered with Department of corrections to restore endangered species of prairie taxa. Having previously worked with this organization I have nothing but praise for all the work they have done in the realm of prairie management, plant production, and endangered/native species reestablishment.

In conclusion an overall restoration success!


Categories: Local Environment

Monitoring and adaptive management of the Nisqually Delta after tidal marsh restoration

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 2:47pm

Blogging by Sayre Hodgson, Chris’s collaborator at the Nisqually Indian Tribe’s natural resources department.

Chris Ellings following up on a previous talk in 2009 at this symposium, now that there is more to report on the restoration.

Historic condition- was very diverse habitat, but like most P.S. deltas it was diked for agriculture 1904-1910.  Luckily industrial development in the delta was avoided.  USFWS created the Nisqually Nat. Wildlife Refuge and Nisqually Indian Tribe purchased a farm on the other side of the river.  Now 900 acres of tidal area have been restored. This is the largest restoration project of its kind north of San Francisco Bay, hopefully more will happen.

Largescale process based monitoring – process- hydrodynamics, sediment supply, structure- habitat development, and biological response.

Looked at hydrology in restored and undisturbed areas, and freshwater marsh behind the dike prior to Sept 2009.  After restoration there was an incomplete tidal prism as channels developed and full tidal prism develops over time.

Channel development- short term responses were looked at by comparing cross sections before and after.  There was up to 1 m of erosion in the channels, organic matter was carried out by the tides.  Restoration impacted channel shapes outside of the diked area as well. Deposition on the seaward side of the dike was redistributing.  There were big channel changes outside the diked area to accommodate the new tidal prism.

Vegetation development- seeds were available, colonization happened quickly.  2002 phase 1 restoration has really nice vegetation coverage occurring.  Newly restored Madrone slough (NNWR) coverage of plants decreased- this is freshwater marsh dying, being replaced by mud, without a lot of vegetation colonization occurring yet, is predominantly mud.  What’s needed is sediment to come down the river and be distributed in the restoration area to build the marsh back up.  With climate change and sea level rise we need to keep pace to maintain salt marsh habitat as well.

With USGS we developed a sediment budget for the Nisqually River.  Over 50% of the sediment is not going into salt marshes, it’s pushed into mudflats and offshore, due to lack of distributaries and reduced sediment budget (approx. 92% of sediment is trapped by the dams upstream).

Fish use the channels since right after restoration.  High fish densities seen in restored channels.

Invertebrates- the restored site is producing similar species composition to reference sites.

UW student Aaron David did a bioenergetics study, found fish feeding in restored areas grew faster than those from reference areas, but with more variability due to temperature spikes, etc.

Otoliths (bone like structures in ear) show increase in time rearing in the delta for Chinook.  Perhaps density dependence was alleviated.

Many partners were involved in this research (USGS, USFWS- NNWR, Ducks Unlimited, Nisqually River Council, etc.)


Categories: Local Environment

Bottomfish community composition throughout Puget Sound through the “eyes” of a robot: where does South Sound fit in?- Dayv Lowry- WDFW- #s42014

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 1:59pm

Stock assessment of bottomfish through the means of robots?  Yes robots! Trawling doesn’t work due to the mortality of species.  Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is deploying  the WDFW ROV, “robot” to survey bottomfish in Puget Sound.     So what do they see?  Well to quote Mr. Lowry, “what we see is awesome!”   They see flat fish and ratfish or they see mud. Many other species of bottomfish through out the Puget Sound.

Goals:  Abundance estimates and habitat evaluation Does it work Sound wide?

In their study they were able to identify three species of Puget Sound rockfish were listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):


Bocaccio as Endangered


Yellow Eye

Yellow Eye





WDFW determined that the use of the WDFW ROV is a non-destructive method to survey for groundfish abundance estimates and habitat evaluation Sound wide.

For more information on WDFW bottomfish studies go to:

Categories: Local Environment

The China Shellfish ban – arenic levels in geoduck

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 1:38pm

Dave McBride

In December of 2013 China banned all shellfish exports from the US west coast.  In Poverty Bay, Washington inorganic arsenic and in Ketchikan, Alaska Paralytic  Shellfish Poisoning toxin were found in geoduck.

Inorganic arsenic found naturally in rock, in the air, or areas where arsenic was used in agriculture.  The US doesn’t have an action level for inorganic arsenic however China is concerned about levels of arsenic found in food.

The Asarco smelter facility in Tacoma was thought to be a possible source of arsenic because of its proximity to the Poverty Bay site.

Testing of geoducks showed arsenic is concentrated mostly in the skin.  Wild geoduck tracts  and farm sites were tested for arsenic showed 8 wild sites in WA and 6 sites in AK showed elevated levels of arsenic.

Each harvest area must be tested and pass to be issued an export certificate to China.

Categories: Local Environment

Geoduck aquaculture and the environment: Recent findings and future directions

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 1:20pm

P. Sean McDonald:

Are transient and resident communities affected by geoduck culture?

The study looked at the disturbance caused by planting geoduck and the disturbance caused by the harvest of the geoducks.

Some transient species, (sea stars, crabs, cockles) showed an increase in abundance when culture gear was present while moon snails, flat fish and hermit crabs were more abundant in areas without gear.  Once gear was removed the transient communities returned to pre-gear placement assemblages.

When gear is present the resident polychete species show an increase while other species show no change  Post harvest resident communities showed no consistent patter with most species showing no change or an increase.

Transient data indicate post gear removal decreases transient species/taxa but they do seem to recover relatively quickly.

Categories: Local Environment

Stormwater toxicity and green stormwater treatment- Jenifer McIntyre-WSU-#s42014

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 11:49am

Urban stormwater run off is showing an effect on survival of both juvenile coho and pre-spawning  adults.

McIntyre shows a significant increase of mortality to coho due to stormwater runoff. Studies show if stormwater runoff is treated survival of coho improves.


Categories: Local Environment

Stormwater Toxicity and Green Stormwater Treatment

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 11:42am

This talk is being given by Jenifer McIntyre from Washington State University.  NOAA Fisheries and USFW have collaborated on this project.

Stormwater runoff carries chemical contaminants. What their impact on aquatic life?

Examples: Metals, oil and grease, plasticizers…

Coho salmon are like a stormwater sentinal- they spend the first part of their lives in freshwater.  Also, there are very high rates of pre-spawner mortality in urban areas.  For example you can find dead adult females full of eggs.  They died before they spawned.

In a past  study they raised fish from eggs in untreated stormwater, versus treated (filtered) stormwater.  Eggs in the unfiltered water: High rates of death, low growth rates, cranial haemorrhaging.

In this study: Some invertebrates and zebrafish.

Six storm events.  Exposure to stormwater runoff from a highway.  Affects on zebrafish: death, small size, delay in hatching, swim bladder not inflating, small heart, deformed heart and jaw.  Or a developing fish will not escape from the chorion.  This was wh- en they brought water into the lab.

In 2012- Adult coho study- Expose adult coho to stormwater runoff.  They exposed coho to clean well water.  Another group exposed to stormwater runoff (including first seasonal flush events).  Adult fish exposed to stormwater lost ability to stay upright and showed other sublethal symptoms after 3.5 hours exposure.

Now they are looking at treated stormwater.  Exposing juvenile coho, mayfly nymphs, and mayflies.  Treating the stormwater prevented and also completely eliminated symptoms that would have normally been seen with straight stormwater.

In conclusion, soil bioretention, in other words treating stormwater runoff, can greatly reduce the damage caused to aquatic life from stormwater.

In areas where urbanization is occurring, we need to make sure development occurs in a way that stormwater can be treated.

Audience Question: What do you do with the bioretention material (sand and compost) after it has been used to filter stormwater?  McIntyre says: It will take many years to use up the capacity of these bioretention features.  They are studying the design life of these features.

Road runoff can affect saltwater species in the same way.  They have done studies in California on this.

This talk was very triking and disturbing, thought the potential to treat the stormwater looks promising.

Categories: Local Environment

Mussel Watch

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 11:25am

Jennifer Lanksbury DFW:

Mussels are natural environmental samplers or indicators. Mussels are ideal to sample Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs from they unlike other shellfish mussels have no liver function and can contain chemicals for up to two months. PAHs are molecules found in oil and coal or fossil fuels. Department of fish and wildlife worked with the National Mussel Watch to compare data gathered from the Puget sound and other water sheds.

DFW did a pilot study ranging the Straight of Georgia to the South Puget Sound. Using mussels to evaluate near shore contamination.  Transplanted mussels were used instead of natural mussels to increase repeatability and decrease variability. PAH is one contaminate that is of concern.

PAH are shown to increase with impervious surfaces. The over all findings of the study show outliers in the PAH data indicating that impervious surface may not be the only near shore factor to consider.

PAH fingerprinting can be used to evaluate near shore contamination.

Categories: Local Environment

Westport Winery Success at World Wine Championships in Chicago, Illinois.

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:08am



Submitted by Westport Winery

westport winery 2013 Shorebird PosterSmoky Nor’wester a 2012 blend of 95% Sangiovese from Red Willow Vineyard and 5% Petite Sirah from Jones Vineyard, earned 93 points in this evaluation. The judges made the following comments, “Dark ruby color. Inviting aromas and flavors of creme brulee, raspberry pie a la mode, and cherry salt water taffy with a silky, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a medium-length finish with accents of Neapolitan gelato and blood orange with crunchy tannins. A tasty, refreshing red for all occasions.” A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Museum of the North Beach in Moclips. The label art was provided by the museum while the sculpture telling the story of the Raven Holding Back the Rain that commemorates this wine was designed by local Haida artist Nikki Demmert.

The 2013 Shorebird Chardonnay from Connor-Lee Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope earned a 92-point rating. The judges described it as having a “Pale silvery straw color. Bright attractive aromas and flavors of tropical fruit salad, sweet cream, yellow cherry, and white blossom with a vibrant, fruity medium body and a graceful, interesting, medium-length finish with suggestions of pineapple sauce, spice apple, and clementine with fruit tannins and no oak. A deliciously different, refreshing and tropical chardonnay.” This wine benefits Grays Harbor Audubon and features a marbled Godwit on the label from Susan Fishburn. Mike Peterson created the sculpture for this wine.

Mermaid’s Merlot earned 91 points with 2013 grapes from both Connor-Lee and Two Blondes Vineyards. The judges’ comments said, “Dark garnet color. Oaky aromas of roasted coffee and nuts, chocolate toffee, and berry pie with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an interesting, medium length, mineral, vanilla, and pickled beet finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A lively and lush red blend that is sure to please. This label was created by winery co-owner Blain Roberts from a photograph he had taken when he owned Lahaina Divers on Maui. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Relay For Life of Grays Harbor.

Bella, the winery’s 2012 homage to the region’s Twilight phenomena earned 89 points with its “Attractive aromas and flavors of toasted angel food cake, berry chutney, and burnt sugar

westport winery

A popular wine, Jetty Cat Red, is one of 36 varietals made by Westport Winery.

with a silky, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, amusing finish with touches of lemon pepper, cedar, earth, and vanilla nuts with fine tannins and light oak. A well balanced, versatile, and flavorful red blend. The American Red Cross Blood Bank receives donations from the sale of this wine. The sculpture was created by Clallam Bay artist Lora Malakoff.

Westport’s most popular 2011 Jetty Cat received an 89 point rating. This Columbia Valley blend of 34% Petite Sirah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Tempranillo, 11% Sangiovese and 7%

Syrah is said to exhibit “Ruby color. Toasty aromas of roasted coconut, berry chutney, and toasty praline with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, medium-length floral honey, cherries, cedar, and spice finish with crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A vivacious red that will be a fine dinner companion. The Jetty Cat sculpture is a series of topiary figures sculpted by winery co-owner Kim Roberts. The label was painted by Dr. Brian McGregor of Aberdeen.

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with the unique outdoor sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery was named Best Northwest Wine Destination in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Westport’s award-winning wines are exclusively available at the winery. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website


Rob Rice Homes in Kensington: A Close Sense of Community

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 6:37am



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

Susan loves the location of her new home.

Susan loves the location of her new home.

When you own a home in the Rob Rice Community of Kensington, Stonegate or Lexington, everything is close, just a stone’s throw from anything you might need or want to do.

By the time Rob Rice finishes building the lovely homes in Kensington, the last of the three communities off of College Street in Lacey, Washington, he will have built 446 homes in all these great locations. There are reasons that so many homes in this close community have been bought up in recent years.

No other place could offer a homeowner more convenience.

Everything within reach

Need milk or groceries or a prescription filled? Two major grocery stores and a pharmacy are less than a mile away. The Intercity Transit bus stops right on the corner next to the community of Kensington.

Less than a half a mile down College Street, Lacey Crossroads Shopping Center provides restaurants, a Thrive Community Fitness center, a local watering hole called Hop Jacks that boasts the coldest beer in town, a place for a great haircut at Sport Cuts and many more businesses, all within walking distance.

“People walk here all the time to drop off mail,” says Melissa the manager of the PostNet at Crossroads. “They can escape the hassle of the Post Office by coming to a place right near their home.”

The owner of the unique Bark Avenue Pet Supplies & Food Store says homeowners walk their dogs to the store just to get a free treat from the owner of the shop. “My customers tell me that once they turn into Lacey Crossroads their dog starts pulling them toward our store.”

Shopping is a short distance from the Rob Rice community of Kensington.

Shopping is a short distance from the Rob Rice community of Kensington.

Homeowners there now will tell you that they moved to the area for that sense of community and closeness.

“When I was working, I lived in a big house by I-5, but I moved to this close knit community once I retired and it is ideal,” says Susan, a homeowner in Stonegate right next to Kensington, who does her banking down the street, enjoys being right by a Lowes and says she is looking forward to the new Walmart “neighborhood market” currently under construction around the corner on Yelm Highway. “I knew everything would be close and easy to get to.”

For just some quiet time driving golf balls, Capitol City Golf Club is down on the corner. Medical facilities and the top area hospital are also nearby and local elementary, middle and high schools are just minutes away for families with school-aged children. The entrance to I-5 is also a short distance down the road.

“I built here because I could see the vision for this corner of the community that was accessible to so many amenities that homeowners care about,” says Rob Rice, the 2013 Best of South Sound builder.  “Our homeowners love the convenience of a short walk to area shopping, parks, & more.

Parks and Trails Galore

Rob’s vision for this corner of Lacey was also encouraged as he watched the city build Rainier Vista Park, one of Lacey’s jewels with a beautiful view of Mt Rainier. Many homeowners from these Rob Rice Communities gather to watch their kids play soccer or baseball there or have a family picnic in one of the park shelters. It is a great spot to view Lacey’s fireworks display every Fourth of July when neighbors and kids in pajamas gather in the park parking lot.

The Western Chehalis Trail is nearby for avid walkers and bicyclists.

The Western Chehalis Trail is nearby for avid walkers and bicyclists.

The Western Chehalis Trail provides a beautiful border to all three of these Rob Rice neighborhoods. The paved Trail runs north and south through the heart of Thurston County and has excellent biking, jogging and walking opportunities for homeowners to enjoy tranquil and refreshing outdoor recreation all year long.

“We are within three blocks of the amazingly beautiful Trail,” says Susan. “My grandson and I ride our bikes over there and enjoy it immensely.”

It is hard to imagine a place that could offer more convenience than the Rob Rice Community of Kensington in Lacey. Add to the neighborhood amenities carefree front lawns, luxury ramblers and 2-story homes with premium features that can rarely be found without paying for upgrades, this lovely community is a real find for anyone look for their next home and neighborhood.


Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.


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