Submitted by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will not schedule razor clam digs on any of the state’s ocean beaches until tests show the clams are safe to eat.
Domoic acid levels on Washington beaches have dropped significantly since last spring, when the department was forced to curtail digging early, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW. However, concentrations of domoic acid are still above the threshold (20 parts per million) set by state public health officials.
“If levels continue to decline, we could potentially open some beaches in mid or possibly late November,” Ayres said.
WDFW will continue to work with the Washington Department of Health to monitor regularly marine toxin levels in razor clams, Ayres said. Test results are posted on WDFW’s webpage.
“We know diggers are anxious to get out onto the beaches, but public health is our primary concern,” Ayres said.
Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.
Since 1991, when the toxin was first detected on the Pacific coast, outbreaks of domoic acid have prompted the cancellation of three entire razor clam seasons in Washington – the last one in 2002-03.
Any new information about razor clam digging will be posted on WDFW’s razor clam webpage.
Submitted by Help Us Move In
Altrusa of Olympia donates $10,000 and Help Us Move In matches it; giving Family Support Center $20,000 to help local children escape homelessness.
Help Us Move In Inc. (HUMI) partnered with the Family Support Center of South Sound in May offering a $50,000 HOMELESS NO MORE Matching Grant. HUMI has assisted children experiencing homelessness for 15 years and witnessed the explosion of need as the number of children we helped has more than tripled in the last few years. Our matching grant’s purpose is to generate community partnerships to continue and maintain the fund. HUMI is privately funded; therefore 100% of the matched donations go directly to the Family Support Center to assist families with children into stable housing.
Altrusa International of Olympia, WA stepped up to the challenge, wanting to turn their willed donation of $10,000 into twice the gift for local children.
Marian Seeley, 1917-2008, entrusted $10,000 in her will to Altrusa International of Olympia, WA, where she was a member since 1983. She was a lifetime member of Altrusa International for 64 years in various locations and was nominated for the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award. Members of the club described Marian “as a generous spirit who received joy from giving to others.” Ronna Smith, Altrusa of Olympia president stated, “the club members who knew her best said she would have loved to contribute to this charity helping local children, especially with the donation being matched.” The checks will be presented at 1:15 pm this Friday, October 9 at the Pear Blossom Shelter located at 837 Seventh Ave. SE in downtown Olympia.
The Family Support Center has provided services in Olympia since 1992 with the mission of “Working Together to Strengthen All Families” and is the coordinated entry point for all homeless families with children in Thurston County. With the help of the HOMELESS NO MORE Matching Grant, families and their children working with Family Support Center are able to access the final costs necessary to move into housing or assistance to prevent eviction and homelessness.
All donations up to $50,000 pledged before November 1, 2015, will be matched 100%. Help us support children in our community by donating today at www.gofundme.com/helpusmovein or contact Schelli Slaughter at 360-754-9297 x211 or email@example.com.
By Douglas Scott
Nearly everyone I know around Olympia and the Puget Sound region loves fall. Some enjoy fall for the return of football, while others eagerly await the season for warm sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. While we all are amped up for the Seahawks, corn mazes and Halloween, what really sets this season apart is the dazzling displays of color that turn the forests, hillsides and entire region into a botanical wonderland. From small trails and dirt roads to majestic panoramic views and migrating animals, fall in the Pacific Northwest and Thurston County brings the region to life.
Nearly every corner of the community is beautiful during autumn. With streams stocked with spawning salmon, trails full of fall colors, and roads with huge maples shedding their deciduous leaves waiting for your weekend adventure, fall is stunning and shouldn’t be missed. The Pacific Northwest is full of millions of gorgeous locations, but there are a handful of spots perfect to experience fall with your family. Curious where fall colors are currently their best? Check out this fall color progression map.
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
From October 11 – 19, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the other 560 wildlife refuges across the nation, will be celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week. During this time, Nisqually will have a fee-free day on October 11, though the normal cost is just $3 per family. Fall at Nisqually is the start of amazing birding, as well as a chance to walk to the end of the boardwalk and look at fresh snow on the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. With geese filling the waters, and eagles and hawks circling above, spending a day at Nisqually is a perfect way to spend a cool, crisp fall day. Walking along the trails, experience fall colors and see animals of all shapes, sizes and species. For a fun day with birding experts, be at Nisqually on Wednesdays at 8:00 a.m. to participate in Nisqually’s Wednesday Morning Bird Walks.
Mount Rainer National Park
Fall in the high country is a time of transition. At Mount Rainier National Park, autumn signals a shift in colors, with plants turning orange, red and mustard yellow below the glaciated peak. With huckleberry bushes and larch already in good color, you will have through October to see these colorful wonders before snow (hopefully) falls in the higher elevations. The best route to see fall colors around Mount Rainier is to head to Paradise, Reflection Lake, then journey over to Sunrise and Chinook Pass. Stopping at the Grove of the Patriarchs is also a great idea; there is a fun, family-friendly trail complete with a small suspension bridge. Yes, heading to Mount Rainier does take some driving and planning, but with such a gorgeous year, why not head to Washington State’s second most popular National Park one more time before it snows? For those looking for more serious hikes, head to Spray Park near Mowich Lake. You will thank me later.
Olympic National Park
Just ninety minutes from downtown Olympia, access to the Staircase region of Olympic National Park awaits your fall adventures. While Olympic National Park is best known for the Hoh Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge and the jaw-dropping coast, residents of Thurston County have one of the most-underrated areas just a short drive away. Staircase is located on the Skokomish River, just past Lake Cushman, and turns into a fall wonderland once the cool air settles in the region. Your best bets for experiencing fall are the Staircase Loop Trail and the Shady Lane Trail. The Staircase Loop Trail is just a few miles in length, mostly flat and fun for the whole family. With views of the river, fall colors, mushrooms and even salamanders, the Staircase Loop Trail is sure to fill your family with awe and wonder. For those looking for a shorter trail with great fall colors, the Shady Lane Trail will leave you happy, as it weaves through deciduous trees to start. Watch for elk on this short, flat trail. The Staircase area is close, easy to get to and above all else, absolutely stunning in late October and November.
Thurston County Parks
If the drive to our nearby National Parks is too much, Thurston County has a few short hikes and destinations that get you right into the beauty of autumn. The first is Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area, just a few minutes northwest of downtown Olympia. Woodard Bay consists of 870 acres of fantastic trails, views and fall experiences, especially in October. Created in 1987, Woodard Bay is popular year round. With three hiking trails that get you out into the fall colors, you’ll be overwhelmed once you see seals, otters, eagles, bats and one of the largest blue heron rookeries in the Pacific Northwest across Henderson Harbor near the end of the Chehalis-Western Trail. For those looking for a different kind of wildlife experience, the month of November is when you need to head to McLane Creek Nature Trail. Located seven miles from downtown Olympia, McLane Creek has great fall colors in the months of October and early November, but the highlight is, by far, the salmon. In mid-November, when the rain is heavy enough to turn the creek into a raging torrent, hundreds of salmon swim their way upstream to spawn and die in the creek. While it may sound morbid, this is one of the best salmon watching experiences in the Puget Sound region and is always worth the trip. Besides salmon, migratory birds fill the ponds, and eagles and hawks soar overhead. Kids and kids at heart will fall in love with autumn experiences at both these destinations.
For those looking for a short drive to fall beauty, cruising around Capitol State Forest is something that residents have enjoyed for decades. From Olympia, head south to Littlerock and enjoy the drive back up north along Waddell Creek Road SW and Delphi Road SW. Lined with deciduous trees, this 35 mile loop is stunning from October through November and always a great way to unwind after a long day of work, or a great fast escape during a weekend. Driving this route also gets you a chance to stop off at Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve and passes by McLane Creek, giving you a few short hiking options for the family.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.
When serious illness strikes, it can be painful. Chronic, complicated and life-limiting conditions decrease quality of life and make it challenging to do simple, everyday things.
At Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, health care professionals work with patients to provide supportive medical care designed to help relieve patients of pain, stress and the symptoms of their illnesses. This type of care, known as palliative care, is a service that makes a positive difference in the lives of inpatients and outpatients, sometimes even helping a patient recover from his or her illness completely.
For people living with life-limiting or severe illness, palliative care is especially beneficial. Whether someone is battling cancer, cardiac disease, AIDS or another hard-hitting disease, palliative care can help these individuals find relief from symptoms like pain, fatigue, nausea, difficulty sleeping and more.
How does palliative care work?
It provides individuals an extra layer of support – a person who can help people going through a difficult situation identify what their options are and manage their situation as best as possible. The main goal of palliative care is to help people live the best life possible for as long as possible. This means making them comfortable and helping them through tough, confusing decisions.
Because Providence St. Peter Hospital offers outpatient palliative care, individuals suffering from a painful, life-limiting conditions can receive beneficial, life-changing care without ever having to check into the hospital. Palliative care is just one example of how Providence St. Peter Hospital continues to extend its medical lines to provide quality care right here in Thurston County.
Please join us for lunch and to welcome Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, psychiatrist M.D. and Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) at noon, Friday, October 16, at First Christian Church, 701 Franklin St SE, in downtown Olympia.Google Plus One Facebook Like
Submitted by Hands On Children’s Museum
The Hands On Children’s Museum announced today it earned a significant Museums for America federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support its innovative Young Makers program for the next two years.
The museum’s Young Makers program encourages tinkering, building and investigation as a way to build meaningful math and science experiences for the earliest learners, including tens of thousands of at-risk or underserved children in the community.
The program was introduced at Hands On Children’s Museum in 2014 thanks to a grant from Thrive Washington and was expanded with funding from the Aven Foundation in 2015.
By introducing these experiences early, families can take advantage of a small window during the preschool years when the brain is most receptive to learning math concepts, which research shows is the greatest predictor of future success in school.
“At Hands On we are enthusiastic about engaging young children, their families and educators in the burgeoning Maker Movement as an accessible way to enhance science, technology, engineering and math learning in the early years,” explains Patty Belmonte, the museum’s executive director. “This is the first time we have won a Museums for America grant. It is a very high honor and a wonderful acknowledgement of the museum’s important work in early learning.”
The institute said it received 481 applications and gave 160 awards for the Museums for America grant program. The program supports “the unique ability of museums to empower people of all ages through experiential learning and discovery. Successful projects provide high-quality, inclusive educational opportunities that address particular audience needs.”
The Museums for America grant, along with a second grant from Thrive Washington, will support the museum’s efforts to build on the success of its Young Makers program and extend these early learning experiences to rural and Title I schools, rural preschools and at-risk audiences.
Also, it will allow Hands On to create an interactive Mobile MakeSpace exhibit, which will be featured in the museum and throughout the region.
For more information about the museum’s Young Makers program, visit http://www.hocm.org/young-makers/.
By Emmett O’Connell
What we now call the Church of the Living Water saw its roots find soil in Olympia on 4th Avenue in the 1930s.
The Foursquare religion has a west coast birth, being first formed in Los Angeles in 1926.
The first ever Foursquare meeting in Olympia came six years later as the congregation gathered in the iconic Eagles Hall at 4th and Plum.
The group migrated around Olympia, meeting in homes and commercial spaces, until being granted a charter by the mother church in 1934. That same year, the congregation rented the old Lutheran Church at 4th and Adams.
Four years later, they bought the property (just up the street for their original Eagles’ home) on 4th Avenue, and began the community effort to build the structure. Working with donated materials, the distinctive structure was finished in 1939.
The total size of the week-to-week congregation in those early years was around 150, with over 600 attending Easter Services each year.
The building was the home of the budding Foursquare community in Olympia until 1972 when the congregation moved south to Chambers Street. In a few years, the church itself would change named to the Church of the Living Water.
And in 1987, they would expand from their original 3,200 square foot Chambers Street building to the current 14,000 square foot facility. By the mid-80s (but prior to the construction of their new and current home), Easter attendance had grown to 1,500.
After the Foursquare Church left 4th Avenue, the old church structure became folded into the cultural tapestry of downtown Olympia. For a time, it was a recording studio.
And, in the early 80s, the building was also home to the just starting Olympia Film Society. The group, numbering only in the dozens at the time, owned a 16mm camera, and showed special evening showings at the old church.
Keeping clean is tricky business. The changing seasons bring along a unique set of stains ranging from spilled gravy to mud-tracked carpets. Throw in the smell of wet dog or excessively smoky fireplace and it’s time to call Dan Baxter at DKB Restoration.
For three years, Baxter and his team have happily handled all your carpet, upholstery, dryer vent, and air duct cleaning needs. Their customer first attitude backs a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This success means that DKB has access to cutting edge equipment and practices like Applied Physics Extraction (APE).
Dan explains that “this equipment is unique and although pieces of the process can be purchased some of the chemicals and equipment cannot be purchased unless you are one of the 200 elect members of a special ‘carpet cleaning tribe.’ I joined this group and bought this equipment because it is unique and nothing cleans better. I continuously strive to set myself apart from the competition and am constantly learning and try to stay up on the latest and greatest equipment and chemicals to stay one step ahead of the competition. For example, as part of that 200 member group I have access to anti-allergens that no regular cleaner can acquire.”
APE cleaning is recommended for surfaces with light to moderate wear. Baxter suggests using their Rotovac deep cleaner initially and then following-up with the APE process. “The new equipment is custom built and modified. There are only 200 cleaners in the nation with this equipment. The process is a form of VLM (Very Low Moisture) cleaning. It works on a rotating platform so your carpet is cleaned from all angles instead of one or two directions. Not only does it rotate but it also oscillates, providing an extra level of agitation. During the process a special polymer is applied to the carpet which will bond with any remaining soil and crystallize into a thin protective film that prevents new dirt from sticking to the carpet. This increases the proficiency of vacuuming for 6 to 8 weeks post cleaning until the entire polymer is stripped away through routine vacuuming.”
There is no additional charge to the customer for APE services; it depends on the need at hand. With free estimates available and a willingness to answer any question or tackle any job, Baxter has pages of happy customer testimonials. Satisfied clients include “Pellegrino’s Italian restaurant, a local small business (delicious by the way!) , Bud Bay Law Firm, Heritage Family Medicine, US Cellular in Centralia, Happy Teriyaki in Centralia, Lilly Road medical building, VATA driving school, South Sound Pediatric Associates, and many more,” lists Baxter.
DKB Restoration promises to restore life and longevity to your carpet surfaces. “By the time your carpet or upholstery looks dirty there are multiple layers of stains, mineral deposits and bacteria that have built up into a mess that cannot be cleaned by anyone other than an experienced carpet cleaning professional like us,” says Baxter.
“No longer must you replace your carpet and upholstery when it gets to that awful state. Now with our system it is possible to restore your textiles and they will look like new,” he says. “We also do routine maintenance. So even if your carpets don’t look dirty we can remove the hidden dirt that acts as abrasive sand paper on your carpet, wearing it out prematurely. By the time your carpet looks dirty you have already taken 6 months off of the life of your carpet.”
There are videos of carpet cleaning comparisons online, as well as details regarding the steps involved, guarantees, and frequently asked questions. This all serves to insure your cleaning process is fast, easy, and thorough.
Before the holiday season presents its own unique set of challenges, treat yourself to a home that’s safe, clean, and fresh. Give Dan Baxter a call at 360-688-4392 or request an estimate at email@example.com. He can help extend the life of home and hearth, and that’s good for seasonal sanity too.
By Leslie Merchant
It’s hard not to smile when the younger siblings of athletes run out onto the field in an attempt to join the game. Most families are able to reel in their wee Olympic hopefuls with promises of playtime in their own age-appropriate leagues. For parents of children with intellectual disabilities, it’s a whole different game – and that’s because there really is no game. Special Olympics Area Director Mark Barker is going to change the local landscape and give parents and special children an opportunity to smile too.
“Special Olympics athletes can start at eight years old, anything before that there is nothing going on,” explains Barker. “I am bringing a program to Thurston County called ‘Young Athletes Program‘ and it’s intended for 2.5 – 7-year olds. I am trying to get (this age group) individuals with intellectual disabilities to be part of this, whether they’re ambulatory or not ambulatory. It’s going to be sensory, it’s going to be cardio, it’s going to be really cool!”
Parents approach Barker frequently and ask him what they can do with their young child. He says it’s time to recognize the younger athletes and get them involved early instead of waiting until they are eight-years-old. As a parent of a child with an intellectual disability, Barker is extremely understanding of the frustrations that families often encounter when looking for activities for their children.
“We would like to be a pioneer in Washington State for this (program). I have several families just begging me to get this thing started but I don’t have enough participants yet. There are so many families out there that should be part of the program for Special Olympics, I need to get the word out.”
Classes run from 30-60 minutes in order to accommodate for a younger child’s short attention span. Currently Barker is scouting out potential locations to host the program. Sites will ideally be wheelchair accessible and on a bus route. Since the program itself is free to participating families, he is hoping to save costs by locating a donated space. With a local population of about 250 special needs athletes, Barker is hoping that someone or some organization in the community will open their arms to the Young Athletes Program.
Getting athletes to the game is just one aspect of Barker’s game plan. The other initiative he is launching is called “STRIVE Program,” where during an eight week process, select athletes will be taught how to eat healthy, get their weight down, exercise and start taking care of themselves. Barker is confident that this approach will inspire a lifelong commitment not only to the game but to a healthy lifestyle.
The goal is to get all athletes not only involved in a sport but to start them on a lifelong goal of healthy living. Barker is bringing in local specialists during the sporting event to give families the opportunity to meet with health care professionals. The program called “Healthy Athletes” offers everything from eye, hearing, dental, and nutrition exams at sporting events and all are free. The experts can help direct families to organizations that will help them.
Barker explains, “A large percentage of these families are just getting by. They are good people but they are not going to go to the doctor at all. We are not trying to be just sports, but we want to be healthy athletes. We want our two and a half to seven year old athletes out there to get involved.” Exposure and convenience for the families will be an added bonus of participating in a Special Olympics Program.
With a team of about 20 volunteers year round, Barker hopes to offer as many opportunities to local area athletes as possible. About five of Barker’s older athletes are high functioning and are themselves volunteers for their peers. Barker hopes they will be assistant coaches and even learn some fundraising skills. It’s a way for some of the more able athletes to become part of the circle of giving. Other upcoming opportunities include a fundraiser at Red Robin on October 24 and a first ever Special Olympics Cheer Camp on November 14.
The Young Athletes Program was started by Special Olympics of New Jersey. It is an active fun program that introduces the younger set to the world of Special Olympics and sports. Barker has a goal to launch the first ever Washington State Young Athletes Program mid-October. With several families itching for it to get started, Barker is hoping to confirm a few more participants and secure a location as soon as possible.
Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes
Rob Rice Homes holds the highest standards in homebuilding with its superior construction and architecture, premium home features and outstanding customer service.
Those high standards are why Rob Rice chooses REALTORS®, many with decades of experience, to represent his homes.
Visit any Rob Rice Community and you will notice the ease of viewing the homes, an abundance of information at your fingertips, a clear and transparent process and the remarkable professionalism of the REALTORS® representing each community.
REALTORS® Hold High Standards
The term REALTOR® means much more than simply a broker with a real estate license. When working with the REALTORS® at Rob Rice Homes, home buyers and their agents have the benefit of working with a professional who voluntarily holds to a high ethical standard.
REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and adhere to its strict Code of Ethics. The code shows their high level of commitment, education and dedication to their profession and guides REALTORS® to protect and promote a client’s interests, while treating all parties honestly. That includes other professionals in the real estate community.
“One of the things that distinguishes REALTORS® who work for Rob Rice, is that we encourage buyers to have their own agents,” says Vonna Madeley, a dedicated REALTOR® for nearly 20 years who represents the local builder. “We kindly ask buyers who visit our open houses, ‘Do you have a broker?’ That way, we help honor the agreement they have with another professional.”
Vonna, who is with Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, says they make every effort to be cooperative, reaching out to a buyer’s agent with a package of information to help them answer any of their buyer’s questions. “We work in the best interest of not only the buyer, but also their broker.”
Reliability of Forms Protect Buyers
To ensure buyer protection, Rob Rice chooses to use Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) transaction forms.
“The NWMLS spends a lot of time and money to make sure the forms are well-written and are buyer-friendly,” explains Vonna. “We know those forms have been vetted and approved by attorneys. The REALTORS® who come to our communities are familiar with the forms. We are not attorneys, so it is difficult to be sure a purchase and sale agreement will have all the protections that a buyer needs if it is not a NWMLS form.”
Vonna also explains that some forms allow a special escrow rate for the builder that is not always passed on to the buyer. “When we sell a house, Rob gets a special rate, but that rate is shared with the buyer.”
Open and Accessible
Rob Rice Homes, voted the Best of South Sound Builder for two years in a row, does not withhold information, a strategy many new home builders use to get buyers and their brokers to a model home where there is a sales pitch.
At the entrance of each Rob Rice Community you are greeted by a kiosk of information—price lists, maps, and description of the plans and features of the homes. That information can also be found on the Rob Rice Homes website. All completed homes are on a lockbox, a convenience that allows brokers access without needing to go get a key or wait for someone to meet them there when buyers are ready to view.
“Rob Rice Homes makes everything transparent and accessible right up front,” says Vonna. “We provide as much communication and clarity as we can so that other brokers can come to our communities and have what they need to help their buyers.”
The local builder and his REALTORS® want each beautiful site to be completely self-service, because the homes sell themselves.
“We love representing Rob Rice Homes and buyers are so thrilled to learn that the beautiful features they see in our homes are standard, not upgrades,” says Jeanne Tranum, another Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic REALTOR® who represents Rob Rice Homes. “The quality finishes and attention to detail are a driving force as to why so many buyers choose a Rob Rice Home.”
Design Choices in a Pre-Sale
To do that, they schedule three appointments, one with our Design Center to pick out surface choices for flooring and countertops. They also meet with Helena Rice to design the exterior of their home by picking their stone and paint schemes. Finally, they meet with lighting experts to choose all of their stylish fixtures.
The details for their finished home are spelled out in a pre-sale addendum form so that there are no surprises.
“We offer a streamlined process for assisting buyers in making selections to customize the finishes in their new home,” says Jeanne. “From start to finish, the buyer can feel confident that they will receive a superior quality product from a local builder they can trust.”
Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013 and 2014. 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.
For more information about a Rob Rice Homes community please visit our website.
In the middle of March, a small faction of the Tamarind Adventure Club participated in a day-hike excursion to Bandelier National Monument. We walked the well-known Frijoles Canyon Trail, visiting cliff dwellings along the canyon walls as well as the Alcove House, which I documented in an earlier post from a solo visit in November. However, it was a gorgeous hike along the Tsankawi trail located approximately 12 miles outside of the canyon that truly took our collective breath away. Beautiful snow dotted mesas, gorgeous views of the Jemez mountains, primitive ruins, petroglyphs galore, and well-worn trails once hiked by the ancestral inhabitants of the area carved into the surface of the cliffs. A lovely day shared with lovely people.
Come hear candidates for Mayor and City Council (Position #1) discuss the issues. Ask questions of the candidates with a facilitated Q&A. This program will occur after regular library hours and no other library services will be available.
This program is free and open to the public. Feel free to contact the library with any questions. 360-352-0595.
Olympia Timberland Library
313 8th Ave SE
By Lynn West
For 35 years, our friends and neighbors have joined together to create amazing musical programs through Masterworks Choral Ensemble (MCE) for us to enjoy. Singing is in their blood, and whether they joined together in a basement choir as they did in the early 1980s or on stage at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, performing gives them joy.
Barb Theiss, a charter member of MCE, was instrumental is forming the Ensemble. “Each year our choir invited the community to join us in singing The Messiah, so after a few years we asked if anyone was interested in forming a permanent choral group,” she told me. “Surprised, but delighted, we had 55 positive responses, so Gary Witley, Jim Pharris, and I began organizing what is now the Masterworks Choral Ensemble.”
“I have never sung in such an organized choir,” said Ellen Matheny, one of the five new members of the ensemble this year. “Since I work full time, it is important that I know the path ahead in all my commitments, and Masterworks keeps the website updated, expectations are clear, and music is always available.” Ellen moved to town a year and a half ago, and when she saw the call for auditions, she tried out. “Even though it is challenging and time consuming to study and memorize the lyrics,” she explained, “it is only payback for the joyful moments when I am harmonizing with others. It is enchanting.”
Alejandro Rugarcia, another fairly new member of the Masterworks Choral Ensemble, echoed the heartfelt joy of singing with others. Meeting some Masterworks’ vocalists at a party, he decided it was time to return to his musical roots and audition. “I toured around the world with Juan Gabriel as a member of the National Association of Actors and Actresses in Mexico as a dancer and musician,” he explained, “but I then came to the United States to continue my graduate studies.” He calls it an “amazing gift to listen to the harmony as they are singing. Even if I have had a hard day, and I am struggling with the English lyrics, being in the rehearsal brings my energy up.”
No doubt the most energetic member of the Masterworks Choral Ensemble is Gary Witley, the director. For the past 36 years, he has been a full time educator, currently at Tenino Middle School, and the director and heart of this organization.
Barb Theiss praised Gary for “his dynamic ability over the years to not only direct, but to inspire the organization.” Gloria Strait, who joined MCE in 1987, agrees. “Gary has a BA in Choral Conducting and is able to maintain the joy of singing in unison even during long rehearsals.” She added, “Rehearsals are so much more professional these days as many members use smart phones or other devices to practice at home and parse the songs.”
Gloria, Sally Alhadeff, and Phyllis Villeneuve are good friends and members of Masterworks, but since Gloria is a second soprano and Sally and Phyllis are second altos, their paths rarely cross at rehearsals. Over lunch, they did get together and shared how MCE is so motivating. “Gloria actually roped me into joining,” according to Sally, “but I realized how much I loved being part of the group when I had to leave for a couple of years because of work commitments.”
Phyllis who sang with the group in 1986 as part of an Evergreen class did not officially join until ten years later. “I was told as a child to mouth the words,” Phyllis laughed. “I did for many years, but I knew I had music in my soul.” Eventually in college, she joined a choir and learned to harmonize and found her voice. “I just had to trust,” she said.“I still hear the harmony before the melody.”
The 65 members of the current MCE each have a unique story, yet according to Phyllis Villeneuve, “they share the joy of watching the same conductor and breathing together while recreating the story of the song.” These musicians and their excellent accompanist, Angi Swan, rehearse for weeks prior to each of their four yearly concerts, pay a fee for participating (scholarships available), fundraise, write grants, and acknowledge the entire experience “feeds their spirit.”
Masterworks Choral Ensemble’s (MCE) 35th Anniversary Season opening concert is definitely a “Save the Date” event. It’s slated for Saturday, October 10 at 7:30 pm. Join this talented ensemble of vocalists from our community for an evening of songs that poke fun at politicians, choir singers and couples, proving that truly “Nothing is Sacred!” Just in time for Halloween, a special version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” will feature an entertaining visit from Dr. Frankenstein and the “creature.”
Reserve your seats by purchasing tickets here.
When you hear the name Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, many people conjure up images of surgery and joint replacement. And while the talented physicians at Oly Ortho can handle all of those situations, there are a wide range of practitioners in the South Sound clinics who handle the everyday aches, pains and injuries that result from an active lifestyle.
Among these practitioners are the doctors who staff the Sports Medicine Clinic at the West Olympia clinic. Dr. Tracy Hamblin has been seeing patients for over a year, partnering until recently with Dr. Leyen Vu. After a lonely month on her own, Dr. Hamblin is excited to partner with newly hired Dr. Dominic Femiano who began seeing patients on October 1.
Dr. Femiano is a Washington native who was born and raised in West Seattle. Son of an elementary school teacher father and nurse practitioner mother, Dr. Femiano saw from a young age models for both educating and caring for others. Active all his life, Dr. Femiano’s interests began to lean towards sports medicine early on when dealing with sports related injuries of his own. “I spent a fair amount of time with orthopedists and sports medicine doctors,” he shares, citing shoulder and knee issues earned from many hours spent on the basketball court where he can still be found in his off-hours.
After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, Dr. Femiano headed east to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. “Jefferson was a great place to learn medicine and a good place to get my start in the field,” he shares. With both sides of Dr. Femiano’s extended family on the east coast, he not only had support from colleagues, but family as well.
Despite enjoying Philly, Dr. Femiano is a Washington native at heart and he returned to Seattle to complete his residency in family medicine at Group Health Cooperative where he served as Chief Resident. Afterwards, to further his training in Sports Medicine he completed a fellowship at the University of Washington in the field.
When asked what spurred his interest in medicine, Dr. Femiano laughs. “Well, I watched a lot of ER growing up. But seriously, I got this idea in high school that I wanted to be a doctor, to really help people, and it just never really left.” He volunteered at UW Medical Center and the Harborview Medical Center burn unit during his teen years and, he says, “it just sealed the deal.”
As part of his new position at Oly Ortho, Dr. Femiano will serve as the team doctor for Saint Martin’s University Athletics as well as for several local high schools. This is a part of the job he both knows well and looks forward to. “During my fellowship, I worked extensively with the Husky athletes, attending all the sports and covering just about every event there,” he shares.
His experience with athletes doesn’t end there. He served as a team doctor for the Seattle Storm (WNBA), the assistant Medical Director for the Seattle Marathon and the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon Medical Captain.
He brings this extensive experience to the teams and athletes here in Thurston County, but beyond that, Dr. Femiano brings this expertise to you. The Sports Medicine Clinic at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates is open to all patients, often without referral from a primary care physician. Have sports related injuries or issues? Give the clinic a call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Femiano or Dr. Hamblin for access to their specific training and quality care.
One area of particular interest and training for Dr. Femiano is the prevention and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes. You’ve likely seen the stories of young, fit athletes who suffer heart attacks during routine sports practices. Dr. Femiano has done extensive research, presenting his findings nationally, on this interesting and relevant topic.
In addition, he has expertise in the treatment and management of concussions, a particularly important topic to parents of student athletes worried about the toll sports can take on their child’s health. Not only will Dr. Femiano be available to provide treatment and advice in clinic, but his participation on the sidelines and interactions with coaches will help ensure student athletes remain healthy and safe all season long.
“I think sports medicine doctors are uniquely qualified to care for student athletes,” shares Dr. Femiano. “Not only do we know the musculoskeletal system but we have training as primary care physicians. This allows us to provide care for the other medical issues athletes present with from GI issues to depression to chronic illness.”
You can visit Dr. Femiano now at Oly Ortho where he can help you achieve a ‘Life in Motion.’ “My goal is to keep people active, which means different things to different people,” he shares. “Whether you are headed into your 50th marathon, are a gymnast trying to get healthy enough to compete, or are just trying to get to the gym, I meet people where they are and help get them to where they want to be.”
3901 Capital Mall Dr. SW, Olympia
By Katie Doolittle
Grace, poise, beauty, service: the Ms. Veteran America competition honors these qualities in military women from all ages and stages of life. On October 18, Tenino resident Kerri Turner will participate in the 2015 competition. It’s just one of the many ways in which Turner lives out her passion for and commitment to both community service and the U.S. military.
Residents of Tenino will likely recognize Turner’s name. In addition to working for Blush Day Spa, she’s the president of the Tenino School District’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Turner also coaches various kids’ sports and serves as a fitness coordinator for mothers.
Says Turner, “I get involved because I firmly believe in being the good, stepping up to encourage others to be their best self. I believe in making a difference, a real impact, and serving others. It is a balancing act to pour myself into so many programs, but if I am able, I will do what I can to leave this world better than I found it.”
Turner’s high visibility within the community is all the more impressive given that she’s a relative newcomer to the Pacific Northwest. Two years ago, Turner was living in Maryland while her boyfriend was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “We had our own Sleepless in Seattle plot developing,” she laughs. When they married on October 10, 2013 she moved out here to join him.
Turner has been grateful for the home Tenino has become for their family. “Honestly, after deployment, I felt alienated and unappreciated. It seemed like my time away meant nothing to anyone. But once I moved to Tenino, I instantly felt welcomed and I got a strong sense of community from everyone I met.”
Military service is a huge part of Turner’s identity. During her stint with the United States Army, she rose to the rank of captain and now serves as an instructor for the Washington Army National Guard. She’s been deployed as far as the Middle East for Operation Enduring Freedom and as close to home as Oso during the mudslide disaster. Turner elaborates, “I am so honored to serve our great nation and state. I have been a part of some really remarkable adventures and have cultivated lifelong bonds with fellow soldiers.”
Participating in Ms. Veteran America is a powerful way of honoring those lifelong bonds. As part of the competition, all contestants raise awareness and money for Final Salute Inc., an organization that seeks to provide homeless women veterans with safe and suitable housing as well as education and career assistance. According to Swords to Plowshares, women veterans are the fastest growing cohort of the homeless population. Though a number of factors contribute to this troubling statistic, Turner highlights one in particular that would tug the heartstrings of any parent. “Seventy percent of female veterans are also mothers with custody,” she says, going on to explain that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cannot legally reimburse for minor children in transient housing. “Women warriors are forced to choose between shelter or their children. It is unacceptable, appalling.”
With her can-do attitude and big heart for others, it’s no surprise that Turner is doing her part to reverse this troubling trend. She is thrilled to raise funds for Final Salute, an organization founded and fostered by “other women veterans stepping up to answer the need. We are a real program helping real women in a real way.” She adds, “My dream would be to have a home here. I would love to provide my local sisters-in-arms some hope right here in Washington.”
Advocacy is a key component of Ms. Veteran America. Contestants will also be evaluated based on their interviews, talents, and military service. On a lighter note, the competition also involves several additional award categories that highlight special aspects of military life. Contestants seeking the title of “Push-Up Princess,” for instance, compete live on stage to see who can do the most push-ups in two minutes. A special “Mr. Mom” category honors husbands who handle the home front in order to help their servicewomen spouses.
Turner has nominated her husband, a Fort Lewis Apache pilot, for Mr. Mom. “He is so full of life and adventure – our kids are better for him,” says Turner. “He is more than my best friend and husband. He is my battle buddy, too, which takes our relationship to a whole different, special level.”
Ms. Veteran America 2015 will be held on October 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hoping to support Turner and her cause while staying close to home? Your direct donation to Final Salute Inc. will help provide safe and suitable housing for homeless female veterans and their children.
You can also come to Turner’s “Hope For Women Warriors” event, 7:00 p.m. to midnight on October 9. It will be held at the Olympia Eagles Lodge, 805 4th Avenue E. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $15 with military ID. Lodge members may attend for free, but pay $5 to eat.
Spend an evening with "Timberland Writes Together" anthology authors. Meet authors as they share their perspectives on writing, discuss the story they submitted for the anthology and answer questions from the audience. This event is part of Timberland Reads Together - a one book, one community reading program.
Washington Center Black Box Theater
512 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Questions? Call the Olympia Timberland Library at 360-352-0595Google Plus One Facebook Like
Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton
Heidi is a 5 year old mix breed who is a favorite of the volunteers at the shelter. She is sweet, affectionate, loves attention, knows her basic obedience commands and is very smart.
Her turn in sheet indicates that she is OK with kids but can sometimes be possessive when other dogs are around. Therefore, we recommend that Heidi be the only dog in the family. Heidi has not been cat tested. She walks well on leash, has been non-reactive to other dogs but appeared to be frightened by automobiles. This is something that we will continue to work on with her. Heidi will make a wonderful companion for the family who can give her a home where she can continue to flourish. A secure fenced back yard would be perfect in addition to her daily walks.
We have many great dogs and always need volunteers to help them. Visit our website at www.adoptapet-wa.org or contact Adopt-A-Pet, on Jensen Road in Shelton, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 432-3091. Join us on Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington”.