Recent local blog posts

Treepeople “Pity”

K Records - 19 hours 19 min ago
Sometimes love is hard. Sometimes just being around other people is hard.   K Song of the Day: Treepeople “Pity”, from  Guilt, Regret and Embarrassment [KLP069]. The Treepeople album Guilt, Regret and Embarrassment [KLP069] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Calvin Johnson, Woolen Warrior, Fera, Zoe Sundra in Olympia

K Records - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:57pm
A musical rip snorter of an acoustic romp is set to happen in Olympia, and everyone is going to be there! Featured will be two Olympia mainstays, Calvin Johnson and Woolen Warrior, and two out-of-town troubadors, Fera (Chico, CA.) and Zoe Sundra (Brooklyn, N.Y.). It’s all happening at the Rose Home for Folk, 1613 Brawne […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Agreement Clears the Way for Thurston County Jail to Open

Thurston Talk - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:32pm



Submitted by Thurston County

thurston county jailThurston County Commissioners and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza have reached agreement on several issues regarding the county’s new jail facility. The Sheriff and Commissioners finalized the agreement by signing a “Letter of Intent” at a news conference today. The agreement allows the new Accountability and Restitution Center (ARC) to open, possibly by this summer.

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe says the entire county will benefit from the agreement. “There was a lot of give and take in the discussions, but in the end, I think we all come out winners. This allows us to open a brand new corrections facility and remove corrections officers and inmates from a worn-out courthouse jail that was built more than three-and-a-half decades ago.”

Sheriff Snaza says the signing of the ‘Letter of Intent’ gives some assurances on both sides that that adequate steps will be taken to afford the ARC opening. “This is a big step forward and a fulfillment of a commitment to county taxpayers, corrections officers and all of county government. The intent is that we will all work together on this. And if we have concerns, we will get together and work things out.”

County Commissioner Bud Blake says he is pleased with the outcome of the recent negotiations. “I’m very proud of everyone involved. They rolled up their sleeves, stayed focused and resolved the true issues.”

The ARC is a new state of the art corrections facility that was competed in 2010, but the need for staffing changes and budget shortfalls have kept the new facility empty until now. Commissioner Sandra Romero says the Corrections Union stepped up by agreeing to the shift changes. “This agreement between the Sheriff and Commissioners was made possible after corrections officers approved a new contract in late 2014 including a move to 12-hour shifts in order to adequately staff the new facility. We really appreciate their flexibility.”

Thurston County facilities staff and corrections officials will now work through a “punch list” of issues that must be taken care of before full occupancy of the ARC can be accomplished. No exact date for move-in will be given due to security issues for inmates and staff.


The Vaselines “High Tide Low Tide”

K Records - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 12:00pm
Rocker outfits and mod scooters, a perfect combination. The Vaselines from their killer V for Vaselines album.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Schedule a Date with the Lucky Eagle’s New Players Club

Thurston Talk - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 11:21am



lucky eagle casino“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” And we must admit Warren Buffett knows a thing or two about money. In this era of tentative financial recovery, everyone wants the best value for their dollar, whether shopping for the daily necessities or earning loyalty points towards future services.

Rochester’s Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel has long rewarded loyalty through their exciting Player’s Club program. Free to visitors over the age of 18 with a valid photo ID, the club is a great way to earn points by simply playing your favorite casino games. These points add up quickly and can be used as cash in the variety of on-site restaurants, hotel, gift shops, and Free Play gaming.

In February, the Lucky Eagle will be revamping their Players Club with a newly designed card and new tiers of membership rewards. Mary Fairbanks, the Casino’s Director of Guest Services, describes the updates as taking “rewards to new heights.”

Current Players Club members shouldn’t worry; their award level and accumulated points aren’t going anywhere. Beginning in February, they simply stop by the Players Club window at the Casino and pick up a new membership card. The tiers of membership will remain the same, though the card designs have changed and additional and expanded benefits have been added to every level.

lucky eagleCreated using an in-house graphic design team, the revamped cards are only the first of many improvements. Whereas under the old Players Club, players received discounted gift shop and restaurant purchases for themselves, now the discount applies to their entire party as long as the card-holder redeems the required number of points. These discounts begin at 10% and can increase up to 50% as you graduate to higher levels.

The easiest way to maximize your points is by playing on Monthly Multiplier Days, where you can earn points at 6 to 12 times the normal rate. Look also for Drawing Entry Multipliers. This way every dollar goes further and you can enjoy amazing rewards much more quickly.

Your Players Club card also entitles you to a free lunch buffet during your birthday month and discounts on tickets to the Lucky Eagle’s many fun concerts, shows, and events. Celebrate the Lunar New Year, rock out to live music, or lose your shirt with the Australian Thunder From Down Under.

Fairbanks and her team are “really excited by the fresh new look” of the Players Club cards and “great benefits” they provide for guests. Interested visitors can stop by the Players Club window at the Lucky Eagle for specifics or to join.

Questions about changes or benefits of joining can be directed to 800-720-1788.

The Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel is located at 12888 188 Avenue SW in Rochester.

Fireplace Maintenance Checklist – Stay Warm and Safe this Winter

Thurston Talk - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:57am



fireplace safety

Keep your family safe with these tips on how to properly care for and maintain your wood stove and fireplace.

It’s chilly outside during the damp, winter months and sometimes the furnace just doesn’t cut it. Many people use their fireplaces for supplementary heat or just the cozy feeling that comes from snuggling by the fire.

However, an improperly maintained fireplace can spell disaster when you light a fire on a cold winter’s night. Make sure you’ve properly inspected and maintained your fireplace before lighting your next fire.   Avoid potential safety risks to you and your home by using our checklist before you burn.

  • Inspect the Exterior – If you have a masonry chimney, take a look at the structure from the outside. Look for loose or missing bricks. Are there any cracks, holes or chips in the joints? Is it leaning? All of these are signs of a compromised chimney structure in need of repair. If your chimney is visible in the attic, don’t forget to check there as well. With metal stovepipes, check for corrosion and loose joints along the stack.
  • Check the Chimney Cap – Most chimneys have a cap on top to reduce damage from weather and wildlife. Inspect your cap for damage, mobility if it’s a rotating cap, and ensure there is a screen in place to keep nesting animals out and larger sparks in. Use care when inspecting on your roof or call a professional to do the job.
  • Look for Interior Damage – A strong indication of leaks around your chimney are water stains or dampness on surrounding interior walls. If you see signs of water, your roof flashing or flue liner could be compromised. Call a professional immediately if you see this type of damage.
  • Take a Peek Inside – Looking inside your fireplace will tell you quickly if it’s been cleaned recently. During the burning process, creosote and soot can build up on the inside of the firebox and chimney. Creosote is a hard, dark brown or black substance that builds up inside the fireplace, especially when wet or soft wood is burned. Soot is softer and builds up naturally during the burning process. Both substances are flammable and should be cleaned annually to avoid the risk of a chimney fire.
  • Clean your Chimney – The National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney swept each fall at the start of burning season. Even if you haven’t used your fireplace heavily, flammable debris along with soot can line your stack raising the risk of fire. To find a certified sweep locally, check with the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
  • Use your Spark Screen – Many fireplaces have glass doors, ensuring the sparks stay in and not out on your carpet or on you. However, glass doors get dirty, obscuring the beauty of a wood burning fire and block the radiant heat. Avoid the temptation to burn with your doors open unless you have a spark screen. Available either in a “curtain style” which you draw across the opening or as a moveable decorative style, spark screens are essential.
  • Examine the Flue and Damper – Both of these parts of your wood burning fireplace are essential for proper venting and function. Ensure the damper moves smoothly and the flue is clear. Not sure what these things are? Time to call a professional.

Dwayne Boggs of Boggs Inspection Services has seen his fair share of fireplaces in need of maintenance and repair. “The most common issue I see is simply the need for a good chimney sweeping,” he shares. However, missing spark screens, loose brick and damaged dampers are also common issues.

For every home he inspects for purchase that contains a fireplace, Boggs recommends, “With the exception of new homes, any and all wood burning fireplaces, stoves, or other appliances should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned as needed by a certified, professional chimney sweep and/or stove installer prior to being used for the first time.”

Whether you own a home with a gas fireplace, wood burning fireplace or wood stove, Boggs urges homeowners to make sure they have carbon monoxide detectors installed. Not only are these now required by state law in homes, they can alert homeowners to the presence of this potentially harmful gas.

Chimney maintenance and safety should be a priority for every homeowner. By running through this checklist annual, your wood burning fireplace will give you years of worry free service. But remember – a professional eye can catch things you may miss. Include professional service in your maintenance schedule. With a clean, safe fireplace you can throw a log on the fire, cozy up with a good book and enjoy.

To learn more about Boggs Inspection Services, click here or call 360-480-9602.


Olympia Super Bowl Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:40am



dicks beer brewingIt’s all things blue and green this weekend.  12 Man flags are waving to support the Seattle Seahawks in their return to the Super Bowl.  Grab your favorite Seahawks gear and snap a picture.  You can send it to us at and we’ll add it to our photo gallery showing all of our local 12 Man spirit.  Go Hawks!

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.

The Hive Dwellers “Baby Be Mine”

K Records - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 12:14am
Rock’n'roll, Olympia style. A sacred trust. K Song of the Day: The Hive Dwellers “Baby Be Mine” from their  Moanin’ [KLP249] album. The Hive Dwellers album Moanin’ [KLP249] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Local author Laura Swan presents her new book "The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's Movement"

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 3:23pm
Event:  Sat, 01/31/2015 - 3:00pm

Laura Swan will read from her new book, "The Wisdom of the Beguines: The Forgotten Story of a Medieval Women's Movement." This is a free event at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia. 

From the publisher:

The Beguines began to form in various parts of Europe over eight hundred years ago, around the year 1200. Beguines were laywomen, not nuns, and thus did not take solemn vows and did not live in monasteries. The beguines were a phenomenal movement that swept across Europe yet they were never a religious order or a formalized movement. But there were common elements that rendered these women distinctive and familiar, including their common way of life, their unusual business acumen, and their commitment to the poor and marginalized. These women were essentially self-defined, in opposition to the many attempts to control and define them. They lived by themselves or together in so-called beguinages, which could be single houses for as few as a handful of beguines or, as in Brugge and Amsterdam, walled-in rows of houses (enclosing a central court with a chapel) where over a thousand beguines might live--a village of women within a medieval town or city. And each region of Europe has its own beguine stories to tell.
Among the beguines were celebrated spiritual writers and mystics, including Mechthild of Magdeburg, Beatrijs of Nazareth, Hadewijch of Brabant, and Marguerite Porete, who was condemned as a heretic and burned at the stake in Paris in 1310. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 031

K Records - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 3:15pm
The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is an on-going audio exploration of all things K, recorded at the Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. Host Calvin Johnson discusses the K song of the Day by Jeremy Jay, “I Was Waiting” (from the Abandoned Apartments [KLP247] album) […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Harvie Social Justice Lecture features the Power of Girls Education in Developing Nations

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 2:25pm



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

Amy Benson

Amy Benson

Amy Benson, an independent documentary filmmaker in Seattle, will discuss her film, “Drawing the Tiger,” an intimate portrait of a Nepali family whose chance to break its cycle of poverty disappears with the untimely death of their scholarly daughter, at the next Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, February 6, at 4 p.m., in Harned Hall #110, located on the Saint Martin’s University campus, 5000 Abbey Way SE, in Lacey.

Filmed over seven years, the film follows the family of Shanta, a gifted student, and how the Darnal family struggles to survive when this determined scholarship recipient ends her own life. The promising student provided her family with a chance to break their cycle of poverty when she is awarded her scholarship to attend school in the city. The Darnals expected her to return to their village as a doctor and ease their impoverishment. After Shanta’s death, her relatives must cope with the lost opportunity they had hoped would change their fates.

The film was the result of a video project about the power of girls’ education in the developing world that was made for an NGO, which is a common term for a non-governmental organization that performs a variety of service and humanitarian functions.

After Shanta’s death, the NGO removed her from its promotional materials. But Benson and her Nepali co-director, Ramyata Limbu, persisted with telling Shanta’s story about the ‘why’ of her suicide through  documenting the lives of her family. As the film unfolds over the seven-year period, global development watchwords come to life: less than a dollar a day, illiteracy, child marriage, migration. Factors not commonly measured – self-esteem, faith, mental health and marital love – tell this family’s story.

Benson is co-owner of Nonfiction Media, a production company in Seattle. She has shot and directed more than 25 short films, telling the stories of nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest, Africa and Asia. Her personal documentary short – “Three: Impressions from the Struggle for Girls’ Education” – was the centerpiece of the UNIFEM Singapore film festival.

Another short, “Called to Shine,” about Clarksdale, Mississippi’s only female preacher, premiered at the Langston Hughes film festival. Benson’s very first short about the life in a local homeless encampment won awards from SIFF and the Seattle Times. “Drawing the Tiger” is her first feature film.

The Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series, now in its ninth year, was created by Saint Martin’s University Professor of Criminal Justice Robert Hauhart, Ph.D., J.D., chair of the University’s Department of Society and Social Justice, to raise awareness of social justice issues within the community. The series honors the work of Robert A. Harvie, J.D., former professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Saint Martin’s.

For more information, contact Robert Hauhart at 360-438-4525 or


Recreational Razor Clam Dates Confirmed

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 2:13pm



Submitted by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The end of January and first of February 2015 recreational razor clam opener will proceed as planned. The marine toxin tests have been completed and the Washington Department of Health has found razor clams are safe for human consumption. The following are the dates and locations of this razor clam harvest opportunity. Note that digging is only allowed on PM tides:

  • 30, Friday; 3:43 p.m., 0.5 feet Long Beach, Twin Harbors, MocrocksRazor Clamming Moclips (5)
  • 31, Saturday; 4:32 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • 1, Sunday; 5:15 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • 2, Monday; 5:53 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • 3, Tuesday; 6:27 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • 4, Wednesday; 6:59 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • 5, Thursday; 7:30 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • 6, Friday; 8:00 p.m., 0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

Please be aware that every beach is not open every day. Having the flexibility to offer variable beach openers allows us to provide more harvest opportunity.

Note that during this period, the Kalaloch beach will not be open and the Copalis management beach will only be open one day. The Copalis management beach includes: Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and the Copalis areas.  If you want to know more about how we set openers, please check out our 2014 Razor Clam Management Update at:

Following this opener we will be announcing additional razor clam harvest dates for the month of March.

A description of each beach and a map can be found at:

For more details, see our news release at the following web link:

If have ever wondered how to dig razor clams with your kids, check out the video at this link:


Postcard show at SPSCC

South Sound Arts - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 1:47pm
untitled by Emily Zabronski, courtesy South Puget Sound Community Collegeuntitled by Indigo Althea Mahira, courtesy South Puget Sound Community CollegePublished in the Weekly Volcano Jan. 29, 2015

South Puget Sound’s most popular annual art exhibition returns for 2015 and it’s bigger and better than ever. It’s the postcard show. Artists are invited to enter postcard-size works of art. Size is the only limitation, and artists are encouraged to respond to a theme. This year’s theme is “Out of Sight.” No entry is turned down, and artists are encouraged to interpret the theme in whatever way they want, no matter how far out.
More than 100 artists are included in this year’s show, most with multiple submissions. The art stretches around three walls of the gallery in three tiers.

It goes without saying that when no entries are rejected there will be some duds. There are. But I won’t dwell on the duds; I will simply describe some of the works that particularly tickled my fancy and mention that a lot of Olympia’s better artists are in this show and that few of the pieces look anything like postcards, but they do look like good, solid paintings. (There are also some sculptures and even stained glass.)

Emily Zabronski’s “#3) features cutout figures of soldiers and courtiers in Mediaeval or Renaissance dress that are like old-style colored etchings raised above the surface in a most striking way.

Shirley Stirling is showing a painting of a man sticking his head in the sand ostrich-like with his rear end raised to mimic the shape of the mountain peak behind him. It looks like acrylic or oil on canvas board and is a nicely humorous interpretation of the theme. (Note: none of the works listed media, so when I mention media it is guesswork based on appearance.)

Britt Nederhood is showing six pieces that appear to be stained glass with, in each, shapes that look like eye glasses, all in exciting colors with marbleized color modulation.
Indigo Althea Mahira’s bas relief sculpture is a little technical marvel enhanced by its small scale. It is the sculpted figure of a baldheaded man wearing glasses and reading the New York Times. It is constructed with ceramic, paper and cloth. The detail work is outstanding.

Becky Knold, always a favorite who is in this show every year, has entered a couple of landscape-inspired abstract paintings with collage or assemblage elements that look like boulders made from rusted metal. There is a heavy, heavy, heavy look to these well-designed paintings, and textures that demand to be carefully examined.

Hart James, who currently has a one-woman show of landscape paintings at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, is showing semi-abstract landscape paintings with expressive impasto paint application.

Diana Fairbank’s “Capital Lake Cupcake” and “Sylvester Park Cowgirl Boots” are paintings of proposed public monuments in the spirit of Claes Oldenburg’s giant ice cream cones, typewriter erasers, hamburgers and countless other pop items. If that description combined with Fairbank’s rather literal titles don’t tell you anything, then you need to see them for yourself.

I truly love Susan Christian’s three entries. They are nuanced abstract paintings in dull green and black on weathered strips of board. The textures, colors and mark-making are wonderful. In one of them we see a mountain peak, which is a theme Christian has explored for years. The other two are non-objective.

Finally, Marilyn Bedford has two mouse traps painted and mounted on boards, one Pepto-Bismol pink and the other baby blue on a yellow and purple background. This is funky pop art.

"Found Photographs," noon to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment, through Feb. 20, The Gallery at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia, 360.596.5527,

Photo: untitled by Indigo Althea Mahira, courtesy South Puget Sound Community College
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

7 Things to Love about Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 1:25pm



By Kate Scriven

VCB logoI’m in love. Yes, with my husband and children, but I have a secret (ok – maybe not so secret) love. It’s an ongoing affair I’m having with where I live. I have lived here for 13 years and never see myself living anywhere else. This year, I’m sending a Valentine to my town, my community, my county. And I don’t think I’m alone in my adoration of Thurston County.

There are several categories of people who live, work and play in Thurston County. First are “The Lifers.” These people were born and raised here and even after living elsewhere for college or a job, they are back and they are staying. Love for Thurston County oozes from their pores.

kayak summer

Grab a paddle and explore the Puget Sound shorelines from Olympia.

The second group is “The Transplants.” These people, me included, have moved to Thurston County in early or mid-adulthood to settle. We may be even bigger fans of the area than the Lifers. We are converts who have found a haven to call home.

Lastly, are the “Retiree Re-locators.” These seniors have worked, and lived, elsewhere for most of their lives and in retirement have chosen to make a home in Olympia. The reasons are many, from lower cost of living and lots of space to following their “transplant” children and easy access to all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

No matter your category, or maybe you’re thinking of relocating, we all love it here. So, here is my Valentine to you, Thurston County. I love you and these are my Top 7 reasons why. If you need to foster your relationship with your town a bit, read my list. Engage in some of the activities. Visit some of the places. You’ll be buying Thurston County a dozen roses before you know it.

1 – It’s the Water – Hundreds of miles of Puget Sound shoreline are accessible to the public throughout Thurston County. Parks with beaches and public boat launches along with access to kayak and paddleboard rental allow everyone, resident and visitor alike, to enjoy my number one favorite thing – the water.

2 – Perfect Access – After years of living in the hustle and bustle of Seattle, and slogging through traffic no matter which compass point I was turned towards, I relish the easy access to the mountains, the forest, the ocean, and, well, Target. Let’s be honest. I just like getting where I need to go without adding a 30-minute contingency for traffic.

3 – Community Spirit – Never have I lived someplace with so many free and open community festivals. Not only does it engage me with my neighbors and local businesses, but it pushes me beyond my comfort zone When I involve my family in these festivities – Pet Parade, Procession of the Species, Yelm’s Prairie Days, Capital City Pride – it broadens their horizons and fosters acceptance for all our differences.

upick farms

Plenty of Thurston County farmers offer u-pick options throughout the berry picking season.

4 – Lots o’ Farms – Need organic veggies? How about perennial seedlings? Maybe raw honey or artisan jam? Want to U-Pick your own berries? Need to stock the freezer with grass-fed beef or pastured pork? No problem. Thurston County is teeming with farmers dedicated to the land and sharing it’s bounty with us. Whether you access it through a farmers market, a farm-to-table restaurant or direct from the producer, our region provides.

5 – Live Theater – Our area has an ample number of live theater venues. How do we have so many quality opportunities to experience this ancient art? I don’t know the answer, but I love it. From family time at Olympia Family Theater to consistently excellent shows at Harlequin Productions to Broadway shows at The Washington Center, there is something for everyone. Add in the programs for budding actors and actresses and you have a sustainable theater community we all can enjoy.

6 – Olympia Farmers’ Market – A community gathering spot. A venue for local artisans and farmers. An anchor for our waterfront activities. An incubator for small business owners just starting out. The second largest market in the state (Seattle’s Pike Place is first) has been an Olympia gem for over 38 years and a place we are all passionate about. Mark opening day April 2, 2015 on your calendar or visit on a Saturday throughout winter.

 Chris Hamilton

Orcas occasionally visit Budd Inlet during the winter months. Photo credit: Chris Hamilton

7 – State Capital Diversity – Thurston County houses not only our state government but one of most progressive state colleges in the country in The Evergreen State College. The diversity brought together in our commons spaces, where legislators mingle with free spirit students and moms with lattes, is something I cherish and actively embrace with my kids. Those of us who live here love our place, and its people, because of our differences, not in spite of them.

I’m a transplant, but I’m here to stay. And, this list serves as only a start of the things I love about living in Thurston County. So as Valentine’s Day approaches, give kisses and hugs not only to your loved ones, but to the place that wraps it’s arms around you each day. The place you call home.


Faculty Members Rock Out at Olympia High School

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 6:54am



By Sara Hollar, Olympia High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

sunset airOver the years Olympia High School has seen some electrifying entertainment but a consistent student favorite is the faculty band. Made up of OHS teachers and staff, the faculty band gives students a glimpse at the musical talents of the adults in their school. After taking a year hiatus, the band is now back with new and veteran musicians hoping for a future of exciting performances.  They have the unique opportunity to show teenagers what it’s like to pursue a passion like music for a lifetime.

In 2006 now-retired OHS teacher Jeff Waddington first had the idea to perform at a school assembly. Waddington knew that art teacher Donna Andrews sang with a jazz band and asked her do vocals while he played the stand-up bass. The duet was very well-received but it was a one-time performance. Several years later the idea of a faculty band was resurrected by teacher Paul Rae. Again, the band was loved by students and staff alike but performances were sporadic.

 Conor Schober)

The Olympia High School faculty band of teachers and staff performs at a pep assembly. (Photo Credit: Conor Schober)

However, in the 2014-2015 school year the band found its next leader in Vice-Principal Mick Hart. Hart was newly hired when OHS principal Matt Grant asked him to get the faculty band on its feet again. With the help of Rae, Hart gathered previous members as well as some new talent. The final product was Hart and Brian Wentz on guitar, Rae on saxophone, Andrews, Chris Sonnenstuhl and Dan Schwartz on vocals, Joe Dyvig on bass, Hallie Houge on keyboards and Luke Salme on drums. Ranging from school counselor to geometry teacher, the faculty band musicians take an interesting slice out of Olympia High School employees, all with a shared love of music.

Olympia High School is blessed with an unusual wealth of musical talent. Mick Hart has played with various bands for the past 43 years. He currently heads The Mick Hart Band, playing both original songs and covers. Paul Rae is a member of a professional band as well, playing saxophone in Nana’s Pant Suit for ten years. In addition, Donna Andrews remains the vocalist and percussionist for jazz trio The Committee. Teacher Hallie Houge, a renowned pianist, majored in music in college and graduated with a piano performance degree. Olympia High School’s orchestra teacher Joe Dyvig and choir teacher Dan Schwartz add to the faculty band’s ranks.

Having so much experience came in handy when faced with limited practice time before their first performance. The group picked the songs to cover with only a few weeks until their assembly performance. Their first choice, “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge was inspired by the OHS motto of “famOly” – the idea that OHS students are part of a family supporting one another.

“In the song we actually used the word ‘family.’ We picked that song thinking it would be a good one to just bring everybody together,” explains Mick Hart.

: OHS students create a crowd while the faculty band plays at the assembly. (Photo Credit: Brady Barner)

OHS students create a crowd while the faculty band plays at the assembly. (Photo Credit: Brady Barner)

In addition to the 1979 favorite, the band picked “Counting Stars” by One Republic. They wanted a more popular, contemporary song that students would easily recognize. Most of the members had not played either song but learned both fairly easily after playing along to the originals a few times. Although these teachers wouldn’t recommend playing a show after only two rehearsals, they were ready at assembly time. Hart attributes much of that to the group’s musical strength.

The faculty band’s big show was a pep assembly last October. The theme of the assembly was tolerance, acceptance and community and the band intended to teach the students through music. Although the students began watching the performance from the gym bleachers, by the end of the first song the majority of the school, including many staff members, was crowded on the floor in front of the band. OHS junior Chris Minnich was one of the crowd on the floor and had a great time “moshing really hard.” The students weren’t the only one was having fun though.  The faculty band members were also living it up on stage.

“The assembly was awesome, the crowd was really hopping. I’ve never played for a mosh pit before because I’m a classical pianist so it was fun seeing everyone get excited,” laughs Hallie Houge.

Paul Rae agreed, saying that the assembly was the highlight of playing with the faculty band. “It’s great to be able to show the kids that there’s something else we all enjoy doing and they come out and dance on the floor and do crazy stuff. You could tell Mr. Hart was in his element too, he didn’t want to stop playing – he was having too much fun.”

 Conor Schober)

The band unites the “famOly” through music. (Photo Credit: Conor Schober)

Hopefully Hart won’t have to wait too long for the band’s next performance as the entire school is eager for another appearance. Although there aren’t any solid plans yet, Principal Grant has encouraged the band to keep practicing for assemblies later in the year. OHS students are always excited to see the staff return to the stage.

“It’s a real change of pace from your average assembly. The unity of the teachers was very inspiring,” comments student Julia Fleener.

The band is also hoping to pair up with the Olympia High School Alumni Association for a night of entertainment and fundraising. They are brainstorming new ideas of how to include students, other community performers and audience participation.

Mostly, the band wants to keep playing and performing whenever they can. They know they will always have an enthusiastic audience waiting for them at school.

“The band provides a musical vehicle for faculty and students to connect. It allows our large and diverse student body to look beyond and even embrace their individual differences, put down their “cool” shields, share their common joy of music, and just have fun,” says Donna Andrews.


Thrifty Thurston Lists the 2015 Festivals and Major Events around Olympia

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 6:53am



By Kate Scriven

Thurston First BankThurston County is a vibrant community who loves to come together and celebrate. From parades and festivals to car shows and boating events, there is something for everyone nearly year round. Our events also attract people from outside the area to enjoy all Thurston County has to offer.

And, since many of these events are free, what better way to celebrate Thurston County than to combine this list with our weekly Thrifty Thurston stories. (Thrifty Thurston focuses on inexpensive family fun around Olympia.  You can find all of our articles here.)

ThurstonTalk loves to share with our readers about where we all live, work and play. Below, you’ll find a list of major events, festivals and fairs for 2015. And as always, check as events draw near for articles and information about each one.  The links below connect to past articles, published on about the events, giving you an inside look at what to expect from these fun happenings this year.

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


February 12 – 15 Oly Old-Time Festival March 7 Lacey Ethnic Celebration March 28 Capital Food and Wine Festival April 18-19 OMB Home and Garden Show April 24-25 Spring Arts Walk April 25 Procession of the Species April 25 Dragon Boat Festival May 9-10 Wooden Boat Fair May 16-17 Lacey Spring Fun Fair May 18 Capital City Marathon June 6 Lacey Rotary Duck Dash June 6-7 Roy Pioneer Rodeo June 20 Olympia Boatswap & Chowder Challenge June 18-21 US Open Golf Championship June 20-21 Capital City Pride Festival June 27-28 Olympic Air Show June 26-28 Yelm Prairie Days June 25-28 America’s Dixieland Jazz Festival July 11 South Sound BBQ Festival July 15-19 Capital Lakefair July 24-26 Tenino Oregon Trail Days July 25-26 Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival July 29-August 2 Thurston County Fair August 1 Olympia Brewfest August 15 Pet Parade August 21-23 Sand in the City August 28-30 Chehalis Garlic Fest and Craft Show September 4-6 Olympia Harbor Days September 12 Brats, Brews, and Bands September 19 Summer’s End Car Show September 26 Nisqually Watershed Festival October 2-3 Fall Arts Walk October 3-4 Oysterfest November 6-15 Olympia Film Festival


Does anyone have a nice drone they'd like to take out and recreate Olympia's famous bird's eye view?

Olympia Time - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 6:03am
Wouldn't you want an updated version of this view?

You don't need me out there with you. But, let me show you what I came up with about seven years ago:

The only real hard thing was coming up with where today you'd need to be to find this view. The change in the city's shoreline since the 1870s makes it almost impossible to spit ball it. But, if you take a look at this KMZ file in Google Earth, you can find a nearly where the perspective of the original birds eye view takes you.
Now seven years ago I poked around, trying to find a nice perch to take the same perspective from. I came up with a few good options, but ran out of time and interest to follow any of them up.
So, this is where you come in dear anonymous drone owner.
Since 2007, drones have arrived. Nice, inexpensive (somewhat) drones that people own and use. So, taking an hour or so, flying around the perspective line, I bet someone could come up with a nice recreation of the birds eye view photo.
And, when you do, would you mind emailing it to me? That would be awesome!

Sweet Treats for a Sweet Game at Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway Bakeries

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 5:36am



By Kathryn Millhorn

super bowl treats

Both Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway bakery locations have easy to spot displays of goodies for gameday.

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” Such is the philosophy of one Pete Carroll, patron saint of all things green and blue, and it’s proving to be a very successful practice.

If your weekend will be spent yelling at the TV, whether with friends, family, or fellow fans, you’ll occasionally need to pause and refuel. Thankfully all necessary supplies for Super Bowl XLIX can be found locally at Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway.

Both locations have set up festive displays of clothing, paper plates and party supplies, football-shaped balloons and bouquets, and even Seahawks-themed wines and beers. But regardless of age, it’s the bakery offerings that are a universal favorite. Don’t worry; you’ll need the extra energy to cheer properly, so enjoy that second cupcake.

Joy Graham, bakery staff at Ralph’s Thriftway, says their decorators have what you need for the perfect Seahawks celebration. Special orders for the game should be called in by Friday, January 30, but otherwise they will keep the specialty themed display table fully stocked through Super Bowl Sunday.

Among the tasty offerings you’ll find sheet cakes creatively shaped into footballs, resting on a bed of frosting grass, Northwest-based Schwartz Brothers Bakery ‘Tailgate Cookies,’ and an array of creatively decorated cupcakes.

One article explains the popularity of cupcakes as “Cupcakes offer tangible proof that good things come in small packages…The beautiful, bite-sized confections are savored by the stomach and the soul, tapping into the emotional core of the public with every nibble.” For me, they’re the best because small sizes mean you can sample multiple flavors for the same guilt as a single slice of cake. Ralph’s Bakery team have designed their cupcakes to look like footballs, emblazoned with blue and green “12”s, and wearing tiny plastic Superbowl rings.

superbowl treats

In-house baked goods are paired with treats from bakers around the region.

As an added bonus, all purchases through the big game (and beyond!) will count towards a Valentine’s Day free Steak and Lobster for Two. ThrifteCard members get one point for every dollar spent through February 12 towards a delicious dinner for two.

Pete Carroll also said “It isn’t about the words you say. It’s about the energetic message you send.” And nothing says Super Bowl Super Fan like throwing the best party ever. Celebrate what I’m sure will be a #RePete win with Carroll and our boys in blue and green with a little help from some of the best bakers in town.

If we lose, you can always find solace in cupcakes.

Ralph’s Thriftway is located at 1908 East 4th and Bayview Thriftway is 516 West 4th.

Jeremy Jay “I Was Waiting”

K Records - Thu, 01/29/2015 - 12:32am
That tambourine hit combines with irresistible guitar  shang-a-lang. Delightful. No drums, please. K Song of the Day: Jeremy Jay “I Was Waiting”, from  Abandoned Apartments [KLP247]. The Jeremy Jay album Abandoned Apartments [KLP247] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Legislative Day for Washington Realtors

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/28/2015 - 3:35pm



Submitted by Dan Martinez, Broker/Realtor, Keller Williams Realty South Sound

Thurston County REALTORS® and Affiliates preparing to see local representatives at the Capitol.

Thurston County REALTORS® and Affiliates preparing to see local representatives at the Capitol.

On January 22, I had the privilege of representing  Washington Realtors® at Hill Day.  Hill Day is an opportunity to learn Washington Legislature priorities, meet with our representatives, and provide feedback regarding our recommendations and concerns in support of a healthy economy and access to home ownership.

Washington REALTORS® are the only organized group who represent homeowners’ issues in the state legislature.  16,500 members across 28 associations strive continuously to keep home ownership affordable and accessible.  In 2013, Washington REALTORS® fought to prevent increased taxation on the B&O tax allowing small businesses to keep millions of dollars for investment and services.  Washington REALTORS® strive to be non-partisan focusing on the issues affecting small business, homeownership, and community lifestyle.  Here are a few other causes REALTORS® support.

  • Supported 50% approval for education levies.
  • Elected property rights friendly officials.
  • Supported the national Income Tax Forgiveness Act, preventing taxation  on debt relief for homeowners.
  • Established high ethical standards for REALTORS® ensuring your interest is always our priority.

Ride for the Brand

“Ride for the Brand” was the opening theme for the Washington Association of Realtors for 2015.  Referring to the 7th Code of the West in Cowboy Ethics, Washington REALTORS® were encouraged to continue making a positive difference for the REALTOR® brand.  400 Washington Realtors and affiliates from around Washington State gathered January 22 to learn about the current state of local government and meet with their representatives to educate them on the potential impacts of their decisions regarding home ownership and the economy.

Jim McIntire

Jim McIntire

Tax Base Outdated

Washington State Treasurer, Jim McIntire, was the first guest speaker to address the Washington REALTORS®.  McIntire outlined the basic functions of the State Treasury which includes  the management of $400 Billion in transactions and issuance of $20billion in debt-to-finance challenging projects.  The treasury also invests $4-$5B at any given time.  Active management of the state funds has saved $1B in interest payments and keeps the cost per transaction well below the industry standard.

Washington enjoys an overall growing economy, however the tax base has not been growing at the same rate shrinking from 7% to 4.5%.  McIntire proceeded to explain that the current

tax base was established with a focus on “retail sales” while our economy has shifted to “service” based.  Low income residents and business have become “overtaxed”.

The challenge is creating a tax base which more proportionately grows with the economy.

First, Do no Harm

Washington REALTORS® support tax structure changes which are broad based and not targeted at specific groups.   Tax solutions must Do No Harm to Real Estate Transactions and Small Business.  Washington’s real estate industry is stable, but still fragile – especially outside of King County.  Rates of homeownership are at historically low levels and many homeowners have yet to recover home equity lost in the recession.

Education, Transportation and Infrastructure Funding Changes Needed

Kim Wyman, Secretary of State

Kim Wyman, Secretary of State

Washington REALTORS® recognizes that changes are required in the state taxing structure and supports revenue neutral reforms in the structure of state and local property tax levies to comply with the McCleary decision and achieve a more balanced and predictable method of funding basic education for all school districts.

Additionally, REALTORS® support a statewide transportation funding package that includes gas tax revenues dedicated to priority transportation projects as well as reforms to improve the use of transportation funds.  Projects must promote economic growth and public health.

Don’t Expect a Kiss on the First Date

Kim Wyman, Secretary of State, encouraged REALTORS® and affiliates to make civic engagement a priority.  To be most effective, REALTORS® should meet with legislators outside of the legislative sessions and tell personal stories about how proposed bills will impact our business, our customers and our communities.  There are 800 registered lobbyists in Washington State and getting their attention is challenging during short in-session meetings.

Wyman also informed REALTORS® of the value and financing struggles for the state library, and the Microsoft Virtual IT Academy which offers over 400 free on-line classes.

Thanks for Listening

Steve Francks, CEO of Washington REALTORS®

Steve Francks, CEO of Washington REALTORS®

The Thurston County REALTORS® appreciate the time to speak with 22nd District Representative Sam Hunt and 22nd District Senator Karen Fraser.  The precious minutes of face time are critical for REALTORS® expressed their concerns for taxation of services and capital gains tax on property while continuing to support changes to Education, Transportation, and Infrastructure.

Washington Realtors Accept Superbowl Challenge

Besides taking on local issues, the Washington REALTORS® also took on a challenge from the Massachusetts REALTORS® for Super Bowl bragging rights, but with one small caveat……they use our ball pump!  Steve Francks, CEO of Washington REALTORS® led the  charge as hundreds of REALTORS® cheered “SEEEEEEEEEA”……..”HAAAAAAAAAWKS!”

Thank a Realtor

Besides their commitment to assisting you purchase and sell homes, your REALTOR® is fighting for your ability to own a home comfortably and securely.  Remember to thank a REALTOR® for all they do for you.

Thanks to all of the affiliates who took time out of their busy schedules to support REALTORS® during Hill Day.  AXIA Home Loans, Prime Lending Group, Cameo Home InspectionsCarr Insurance Agency, Hydro-Physics, Done Right Home Repair, Thurston County Title

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