Recent local blog posts

Spring & KAOS in the Air

Mojourner Truth - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 9:27pm
KAOS is in the air, and probably the water.
At last, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Exhaling the last of that nagging feeling (I'm not religious enough to feel Guilty) and inhaling relief, relief that I am right with KAOS once again.

I've been a card-carrying KAOS member for years, and for the past couple or so, I've joined up the kids as well--they breathe that same KAOS-infused air, and I want them to learn about supporting community. The community of hosts, doers-of-things, and engineers (all volunteers) that makes up KAOS serves up news and music un-constrainted by corporate orthodoxy or the increasingly dullardly NPR strictures (I want the kids to grow up in a place where the airwaves are free, and the chaos is locally grown), and for myself I want KAOS in the air, even if I'm not tuned in.

So when the credit union was hacked any my credit card changed, shutting off one of the trickle-ups of money that keeps KAOS independent, I meant to give them a call and hook up the new card.

But I procrastinated.

And felt off-kilter. A couple or three months went by, and still I hadn't re-coupled my financial hook-up to dear sweet KAOS. I didn't miss KAOS caressing my ears--because I didn't stop listening to this FREE station, but felt dangerously close to Guilt, and about half-past Hypocritical, having extolled and exhorted on behalf of radio--particularly community radio--so often on this blog.

But now I've made the call, and gotten right with KAOS once again. I just stepped outside, and the air was sweet with what most people would recognize as some Spring flower, but in which I could catch a whiff of KAOS Community Radio.

Olympia Firefighters Respond to Structure Fire in Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 1:14pm



Submitted by City of Olympia

olympia fire

Olympia Firefighters responded to the flaming building at 2:30 a.m. this morning.

Olympia Firefighters responded to 911 4th Avenue East for a reported structure fire at 2:25 a.m. this morning. Firefighters could see the fire as they left their station a little over a block away. Calls to 9-1-1 reported a fire in an abandoned church building. The first fire unit arrived at 2:28 and reported a working fire with a person trapped on the roof.

Firefighters used the ladder truck to rescue the person off the roof approximately 3 stories above the ground. She had cuts and scrapes but refused aid and fled the scene. She reported that her friend was missing. Olympia Police reported a male jumped from the back of the building, complained of a broken ankle but ran away before receiving any aid. A man and women matching the description on the ones leaving the scene did seek aid at a local hospital but the extent of any injuries are unknown. Unauthorized persons have been seen in this building in the past. The fire was too intense to enter the building; firefighters worked from the outside.

At about 3:30 am the roof collapsed, weakening the rest of the structure. Several sidewall sections collapsed from the fire but the main front wall and steeple areas built in the early 1900’s did not fall. The building became even more unstable threatening to fall into the roadway. Firefighters pulled back further and monitored the situation.

Fire Commanders worked with the City of Olympia Building Official and Public Works to bring in an excavator from a private company to push down the remaining walls at about 8:00 am.

Adjacent businesses, the Fourth Avenue Market and A-1 Rentals, did not receive any fire damage and only cosmetic wall damage when the fire building collapsed. An office across the alley behind the fire building received significant water damage in the basement from the runoff.

olympia fire

The structure at 911 4th Avenue East used to be a church.

Fourth Avenue, the main eastbound street through downtown Olympia, was closed between Plum and Eastside with traffic detoured to Legion. Fourth Avenue is expected to remain closed until 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Olympia Fire Department responded with 4 engines, 1 ladder truck, 2 medic units, and a command unit. Additional units form City of Tumwater, Fire Districts 6 and 8 also responded. There were approximately 40 firefighters working on the second alarm fire. The only injury reported was a minor leg muscle strain sustained by one firefighter.

After the unstable walls were pushed down, fire crews worked with the heavy equipment operators to tear apart the pile and extinguish any hot spots. This activity is expected to continue throughout the day.

Damage is estimated at $100,000 for the property. It is unlikely that there will be any ability to investigate the fire as the building collapsed and was pushed into a pile. Fire Investigators will observe the scene but the cause will likely remain undetermined.

Orca Books author event: Michael Koep, author of "Invasion of Heaven" and "Leaves of Fire"

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:05am
Event:  Sun, 04/26/2015 - 3:00pm

Free author reading and signing at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia:

Novelist Michael B. Koep will talk about his new book, "Leaves of Fire," the second book in his fantasy series, The Newirth Mythology. (The series opened with "Invasion of Heaven".) Michael has been called a "Renaissance Man": he's an avid world traveler, educator, accomplished visual artist, swordsman, award winning poet and professional musician. He lives in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.

Imagine paintings that hold the secrets to the meaning of life and death—or scribbled words that can alter the past and reshape the present. We know art imitates life but in Michael B. Koep’s thriller fiction trilogy, the author brings the arts to life in an action-packed tale spanning seven centuries:

* In the spring of 1338, young William of Leaves knows only of remedies, herbs and his mother’s kindness. When he is forced to watch as she is dragged to a witch’s pyre by a mob led by the Bishop of London, the mysterious immortal apothecary, Albion Ravistelle, promises the boy a chance at vengeance.

* In the summer of 1972, Helen Storm is a stoned groupie on the sunset strip with a very special condition: she is immortal. When her life intersects with a famous guitar player, she is introduced to her future as a deadly and remorseless assassin.

* In present day, psychologist Loche Newith and Julia Iris must come to terms with Loche’s prophetic writings that have changed the course of history and shaped the lives of William, Helen, and countless others. As a war breaks out between the immortals on earth and Albion Ravistelle, Loche must accept the realities he has authored and cross over into death—he must enter again into Basil Fenn’s paintings to find a way to end the conflict. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

ION Ecobuilding – Turning a House into a Home

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 8:26am



By Todd Gruel

fastsignsJoseph Becker, the owner of ION Ecobuilding, is not your average idealist. He may be bearded and beanie-clad, but his goodwill extends further than the armchair in his bedroom. The work that Joseph has done through ION Ecobuilding helps confirm that the most effective dreamers are those committed to changing the world with both their hands and their words.

Growing up in Miami, Florida, Joseph watched urban sprawl consume his neighborhood. Feeling compelled to find a different way of interacting with the environment, he went on to study sociology at the University of Chicago where he focused on sustainable development and ecological communities. Although his studies were rewarding, he soon tired of the divide between academic knowledge and applied experience.

ion ecobuilding

ION Ecobuilding finishes a work session on a private residence using traditional lime stucco. Photo credit: Dan Kelly

Joseph eventually moved to Olympia where he started ION Ecobuilding: a business specializing in building ecological structures. His goal was, and still is, to educate the community about alternative methods and materials available for enhancing our local environment. Much like the natural foods movement, the ecological building movement seeks healthier alternatives for managing our resources. The materials that ION Ecobuilding uses are more tangible, less toxic, and easier to use than what is standard in the building industry. Furthermore, their earth-based methods (like cob, adobe, and natural plaster and paint recipes) are time-tested and built to last hundreds of years. A healthy home, ultimately, uses materials and methods that are the least harmful to both the homeowner and the environment.

ION Ecobuilding’s materials truly resonate with the history of our planet. And that’s where it all starts: where ground meets sky, with the mud. This timeless recipe of earth and water can assume different forms and names, such as plaster, stucco, and concrete. The process of making it, and of working with it, is about as basic as building gets (and perhaps as simple as it should be).

Before the building process became commodified we all built our homes together using materials at-hand. The materials that ION Ecobuilding uses are either sourced onsite or somewhere nearby in the local community. The idea of natural building is to find the best way to use available resources while minimizing the impact that the process has on the environment.

ion ecobuilding

ION Ecobuilding helped install “Insulated Earth” (using light straw and clay) at the Port Townsend Ecovillage. Photo credit: Shannon Pritchard

Whereas the normal general contractor relationship inadvertantly creates a distance between client and company through a bid-based business model, Joseph prefers to advocate for his clients from the beginning of every project. His goal is to support his clients by helping them make the most informed decisions possible. The collaborative nature of the company inspires a sense of stewardship in its participants.

Good stewards, in the scope of sustainable development, recognize the integrative nature of life and assume responsibility for their place in the scheme of things. ION Ecobuilding, unlike the average building company, encourages its clients to take an active part in the planning and management of their own projects. It’s not unusual for clients to work alongside friends, family, or even community guests. Many of ION Ecobuilding’s projects are opened to the entire community: from kids to seniors; from those interested in chatting theory to those just interested in smearing mud.

On May 16 and May 23, ION Ecobuilding will be collaborating with members of the Sacred Fire Community, a local group which provides places where people can gather around fires to share stories. The Sacred Fire Community believes that fire has the effect of re-connecting us to our deeper selves, drawing us together as we gather around a flickering flame. They’ll work to finish building a firehouse which will serve as a site for community events and fire ceremonies. The oiling of the polls occurs on May 16, and then the raising of the polls follows on May 23.

ion ecobuilding

This project is the inspiration for the Fire House gazebo that ION Ecobuilding is working on for a couple from The Sacred Fire Community. Photo credit: Sharon Brown

For those who are still a little cynical like myself, it can be far too easy to dismiss the intentions of an entire movement as a faddish idealism more readily associated with our youth culture. It can be far too easy to generalize based upon catch-phrases and clothing. Yet there’s much more to these dreamers than just tie-dye T-shirts, scruffy faces, and well-worn Birkenstocks.

At the end of the day, I’m still not sure if I entirely understand the full scope of sustainability, or the metaphysical-sounding term “embodied energy.” Fortunately intellectualization isn’t required though, because ION Ecobuilding is all about creating stories that sustain us: stories that we create by building our own homes with the help of basic materials and the support of the community.

As ION Ecobuilding reminds us, home-building can still be a community affair. At the end of the day, Joseph Becker’s ION Ecobuilding offers more than just a way of saving material resources. His projects help radiate love by grounding people to the earth and to their community. Joseph is committed to promoting a life-affirming way to interact not only with the environment, but with each other, and even ourselves. We don’t have to go far to find what we need. As ION Ecobuilding reminds us, you don’t have to be barefoot, bearded, and bongo-bewitched to be a dreamer. So join Joseph, your neighbors, and the mud, on May 16 and May 23. Bring a friend, a drum, or just yourself. It all begins with a story.

To learn more visit the ION Ecobuilding website.

Accessorize Your Rig at South Sound Trucks

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 8:25am



By Margo Greenman

south sound trucks

Not sure what part or accessory is right for your rig? Ask Alex, South Sound Trucks’ resident parts and accessories expert.

My husband drives a “vintage” truck. It is a 1987 Ford Ranger. He inherited — or rather, rescued — it from my parent’s driveway. Needless to say, it is not in the best shape. Through months of home repairs, hours spent researching parts on the Internet, and a whole lot of trial and error, my husband has somewhat successfully rehabilitated the truck’s overall performance and appearance. The unfortunate part is that, while the truck is finally up and running again, there are still a lot of not-so-little things that need to be updated. Little things that all inadvertently turn into lots of time, money and stress spent between trips back and forth between the auto parts store and long, greasy nights spent under the hood.

I commend my husband for his ambition, but I can’t help but think that there has to be an easier way. And there is, right here locally at South Sound Trucks’ Olympia location.

Since its opening earlier last year, South Sound Trucks has grown to be more than just Olympia’s headquarters for used trucks, Jeeps and SUVs — it is now a one-stop-shop for all your vehicle accessorizing needs. Last month South Sound Trucks opened its new accessory shop where customers can find a wide selection of truck accessories ranging from popular LED lighting systems and diamond plate to CB radios and more.

south sound trucks

South Sound Trucks features a selection of more than 300 used trucks, jeeps and SUVs.

Whether you want to deck out your new truck with the latest, greatest gear or simply update your rusty ride for the 21st century, South Sound Trucks’ new accessory shop has everything you need to replace and upgrade outdated and broken parts. What’s more, South Sound Trucks’ friendly, experienced staff is available to help answer even your toughest questions, which means you can spend less time scratching your head and more time where you and your truck belong — on the road.

South Sound Trucks’ Parts Manager, Clayton Webb, says he is excited to introduce Olympia-area residents to their new one-stop-shop option for all their truck accessory needs. In the store, customers can expect to find a variety of the latest LED lighting options, mud flaps, CB radios and other small, everyday items, while bigger accessories like tow hitches and toolboxes can be ordered through South Sound Trucks’ 1,100-page accessories catalog. Webb says anything that is not available on the shelves can be ordered in-store and usually arrives within one to two days.

Because South Sound Trucks offers an extensive selection of accessories and parts, Webb says South Sound Trucks is not limited to any particular model of truck, Jeep or SUV. This means if there is a part or accessory you have been dreaming of, South Sound Trucks can help your dream become a reality. If there is a part or accessory you want to outfit your rig with, South Sound Trucks can find it.

south sound trucks

If there’s a part or accessory you need that’s not available in-store, South Sound Trucks can order it.

With so much available already, it is hard to believe that South Sound Trucks is just getting started. Having only just opened a little over one month ago, Webb says South Sound Trucks plans to grow their in-store inventory over the next few months and expects to feature an expanded in-store selection later this fall.

Of course, if your truck is anything like my husband’s, it may be best cut your losses and start new. South Sound Trucks features a selection of more than 300 used trucks, Jeeps and SUVs on their sales lot, so you are sure to find a vehicle that matches your taste and budget. In addition to accessory options available on-site, South Sound Trucks also provides unique custom work to interested truck buyers.

You can explore South Sound Trucks’ wide selection of used vehicles Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The accessory shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Want to learn more about South Sound Trucks? Visit South Sound Trucks’ website and follow them on Facebook for the latest news and updates.

ThurstonTalk Posts Job for Summer College Interns

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 6:39am



Over the summer, college students that are living in Olympia and Thurston County can gain valuable work experience as a member of the ThurstonTalk writing team.  Join our 25 paid, professional writers and craft stories over the summer.  Enjoy flexibility to build your portfolio of published work this summer while being paid for each published article.

Read more about what our high school interns had to say about this experience.  Click here.

ThurstonTalk publishes positive stories about people, businesses and organizations doing good things around Olympia and Thurston County. Our stories are published online and distributed via social media to over 39,000 Facebook followers. Our platform reaches more than 300,000 viewers each month – people that want to know about great things happening around us.

Job Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent plus planned enrollment in the fall at an accredited technical school, community college, or university
  • Proven experience creating error-free articles on deadline
  • Ability to interview and interface with local people
  • Skills to snap quick photographs during interviews to submit with stories
  • Initiative to pitch story ideas on a monthly basis
  • Sincere passion for sharing the positive stories happening in our community

To apply:

Think Outside the Lunchbox with Bayview Catering

Thurston Talk - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 6:00am



bayview cateringFew words bring a shudder more than “business meeting.” But no matter the industry, they’re vital to keeping everyone informed, up-to-date and excited for the future. One source estimates that “15% of an organization’s collective time is spent in meetings, a percentage that has increased every year since 2008.” With this in mind, specialists from the University of Nevada report that in such settings “food energizes and motivates people more effectively than any other meeting tactic.”

For more than 30 years, the staff at Bayview Catering has embodied the idea of food as both an energizing and motivating force. Whether it’s catering weddings, holiday parties, or office functions, Bayview Catering’s team can meet any need and work within any budget.

Bayview Catering team member Kelly Young says, “In the summer we cater mostly weddings and company picnics and family reunions. In the fall and winter months it is mostly business meetings and legislative events.” For meetings, Bayveiw Catering’s offerings can range from cheese and crackers or fruit and veggie trays to complete buffet meals.

bayview cateringTurnaround for orders is three days, but smaller box lunches, appetizers, or snacks can be picked up on 24 hours notice. The minimum order for a full buffet is 20 people and dietary restrictions can often be accommodated. Bayview Catering’s menu readily offers gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

Interested offices can find full menu options online and Bayview Catering’s Website has a short form for inquiries or to schedule an event.

Young is proud that happy past clients include Intercity Transit, Capital Business Machines and many local state agencies. After a recent company picnic for 400 employees, one thankful staffer wrote, “We want to thank you and your staff for the wonderful service and delicious food we received for our picnic. Everything was perfect. We received nothing but compliments from our employees. There were very impressed with your organization and promptness, and several asked that we continue to use your service instead of the others we had used in the past. They love your food.”

bayview cateringWhether your meeting needs box lunches or an array of easily grazed hors d’oeuvres, Bayview Catering is your one-stop-shop. By partnering with Stormans’ sibling Celebrations, even plates, napkins, and decorations are in the bag.

The Bayview Catering team is ready to help make your next business meeting an efficient success. No matter the size, location, or requirements, let Bayview Catering help keep your staff full and focused.

Bayview Catering is located inside Bayview Thriftway at 516 West 4th Avenue. You can use their online information request here, call their office at 360-357-8016, or e-mail Bayview Catering directly at Remember to provide as many event details and advanced notice as possible — you and your full belly won’t regret it.

Smith Troy and his long leave of absence that is so unlike Troy Kelley's, but it still interesting

Olympia Time - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 5:25am
This is so unlike Troy Kelley's leave of absence, that I almost can't mention it.

But, Auditor Kelley's leave put me on the trail, so we'll start in 1941, when apparently war looked so likely that the legislature passed a law allowing elected officials to take long military leaves. The crux was that the governor was also the given permission to appoint a temporary stand-in.

I wrote a bit about Smith Troy's leave earlier here. And, I'm not proud to report, I'm apparently wrong about a few details.

For Democrat Smith Troy, as he left Olympia for Fort Lewis, and then North Carolina, this meant Republican Arthur Langlie would be able to appoint his stand-in. But, that never happened. Troy stayed away, serving as a military lawyer in the 30th Infantry Division, advancing from captain to lieutenant colonel.

For most of that time, Fred E. Lewis, a deputy appointed by Smith in 1940, led the office. And, during those war years, "the office" of attorney general meant a great deal more than it had in the past.

Soon after being appointed (and then quickly elected) attorney general in 1940, Smith went to work consolidating his power. During the 1941 session, he pressed for a law bringing in all of the state's legal work under his office. This move more than doubled the budget of his office, and obviously expanded the power of the state attorney general.

Lewis fought off attempts in 1943 to pull back that law, leaving the office in tact until Smith came back.

Langlie didn't last through the 1944 election, and that's when things changed for Lewis. Walgreen either caught on that Smith in absentia didn't actually support him for the Democratic nomination. Or he just thought that governors, not absent attorneys general should appoint temporary office fillers.

Either way, by early spring 1945, Lewis resigned and Walgreen's man Gerald Hile took control of the office. Hile had been as assistant US Attorney when he was called down to Olympia to serve as Walgreen's in-office lawyer. It didn't take long for the governor to place Hile as at least a temporary attorney general.

This is the scene that Troy returned to in the summer of 1945, literally sneaking back into town to take the oath of office. He'd been returned to the office months earlier, winning re-election while overseas in 1945. By September, he was officially released from the army, and Hile was released from his service too.

Healthy Kids Day + Spring Fun Run – Making Fitness Fun for All Ages at Two Y Community Events

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 4:00pm



healthy kids day

Healthy Kids Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at the Briggs Community Branch of the South Sound YMCA.

The rewards of physical fitness have especially long term benefits for our children.. The national Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion encourages that “youth who are regularly active also have a better chance of a healthy adulthood.” By modeling good fitness now, both children and their parents ensure many healthy, happy years together.

On Saturday, April 25 the South Sound YMCA’s Briggs Community Branch will host the first of two family fitness events. Their Healthy Kids Day is a free event celebrated simultaneously at more than 1,300 Ys nationwide. The fun takes place from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and features crafts, face painting activities, educational games, fitness challenge, and hands-on demonstrations. There will also be a Bike Rodeo (parade) beginning at 10:30 a.m. Kids are encouraged to bring their zanily decorated bike and participants are encouraged to pre-register by calling 360-753-6576.

Briggs branch Executive Director Joyce Neas explains that “at Healthy Kids Day, we encourage kids to stay physically and intellectually active all summer long, and we give families tips they can easily replicate at home. The event is free and open to the community. The Y is so much more than sports, swimming, gymnastics, and a place for kids to hang out. We support families in their efforts to instill healthy habits at home.”

ymca spring run

On Saturday, May 2, the South Sound YMCA will host their 28th annual Spring Run.

Once Healthy Kids Day gets your energetic juices flowing, sign up for the 28th annual YMCA Spring Run and Public Agency Challenge, which takes place on Saturday, May 2. This event is open to everyone and includes a 10K certified run/walk, a 2 mile run/walk, and 1/2 mile kids’ run.

Governor Jay Inslee explains that “in the past, thousands of public employees and their families have taken part in the 2 mile and 10K courses. The Public Agency Challenge provides outstanding opportunities for fun and fellowship. It’s also a wonderful way for public agencies to celebrate Public Service Recognition Week. Special acknowledgement will be given to public agencies with the highest participation. Individual participants with the best finishing times will also be recognized.”

The races will begin and end at the Capitol Campus and are open to runners and walkers of all ages. If your state agency, group, or club enrolls more than 20 runners, the group also receives one free pair of shoes courtesy of South Sound Running. Competitive runners should note that the 10K is professionally certified and the event is chip-timed.

ymca spring run

Both Healthy Kids Day and the Spring Run are intended to get families moving together.

Jake Grater, Executive Director of the YMCA’s Downtown Branch is proud that “last year we had 1,102 runners, making it the second largest race in the area behind the Capital City Marathon!”

Preregistration for the race is required and can be completed either in person at both South Sound YMCA branches or online via this link. Register before April 22 to avoid late fees and to be eligible to enter as a team. The Kids Run begins at 8:30 a.m. on May 2, the 10K starts at 8:45 a.m., and the 2 mile run at 8:50 a.m. A course map and instructions can be found here.

Call 360-357-6609 with any Spring Fun Run questions and 360-753-6576 with questions about Healthy Kids Day.

1920s American boxer Gene Tunney was known to say that “exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.” Community fitness events like these hosted at, and by, the South Sound YMCA prove that it’s also a tribute from the heart.

The People of the Procession of the Species

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 6:00am



By Nikki McCoy

SCJ Alliance logoIt takes all kinds to produce Procession of the Species, an Earth Day celebration that is 20 years strong, attracts 35,000 spectators to downtown Olympia and has more than 4,000 participants.

Here, we meet seven of those behind-the-scenes participants, whose hard work and sense of community make the Procession of the Species a masterpiece.

procession species olympia

The Procession of the Species is a magical occurrence, one that lends its reverence to its creators – the people. Here, Executive Director Eli Sterling stands next to a few of hundreds of Procession animals.

Eli Sterling – Executive Director. An activist at heart, Eli grew up in Seattle and moved to Olympia in 1988 to begin his masters in environmental studies at Evergreen. Shortly after, a TV and radio program emerged, and Earthbound Productions was born. In 1995, Earthbound put out a call to action to help protect endangered species – something different than a protest or demonstration – and so became the Procession of the Species we know and love today.

“Procession is really to be alive and be aware of our sensitivities,” says Eli. “The act of trying to do this for 20 years…it’s a great testament…the Procession is a heartwarming place, even if the world isn’t.”

Nicole Mercier – President of Earthbound Productions. Involved for 16 years, Nicole’s advice for anyone interested in joining Procession is valuable. “The most important thing for a newcomer to remember is that we were all newcomers once,” she says. “Plunge in and get involved. The sooner you do, the sooner you will become a part of the magic that is Procession. Hopefully we will be able to raise enough funds in the next year to be able to have a Community Art Studio once again, because THAT is where the real magic is!”

Dave Sederberg – Veteran of stage and sound. Creating audio and visual events for non-profits has been Dave’s passion for over 25 years. He has worked with Procession since the beginning.

procession species

Dave Sederberg, along with wife Reiko and daughter Whitney, honor the fox.

“The Procession of the Species has changed lives, communities and a generation with liberated acts of thematic creativity and instruction,” muses Dave. “As we create, we learn. As we learn, we love. As we love, we protect. Many people in our community that have joined Procession could have continued on with their lives and never become the drummer, dancer or the artist that was inside them all along.”

Nichole Rose – Luminary Workshop Instructor. Nichole learned how to create illuminated sculptures, locally known as “luminaries,” in the Olympia Community Art Studio back in 2006. She has been an instructor for luminary workshops since 2010. Originally from San Francisco, she brought her passion for community art, botany, and awe of the natural world to Olympia in 1992. Her luminary projects have been inspired by the natural architecture of seed pods, birds, crystals, insects, planets, and stars. One of her favorite creations, a 10-foot tall (without stilts) praying mantis with articulating arms and head, is designed to playfully interact with observers at community events.

procession species

Nichole Rose concentrates on a luminescent crescent moon, constructed with matchstick bamboo, paper and glue.

Holly Graham – Founding member. Active in Olympia’s art scene since 1990, Holly, like many, has a deep appreciation for Procession. For many years, she taught Procession workshops in mask making, making giant parade art, and crafting critter shakers using plastic bottles and papier-mâché.

“Procession has colored and deepened my life as an artist and person,” she says. “Creating with community and seeing the fruits of art, as families danced together during each Procession, has been an amazing and wonderful experience, always made new, always surprising, always moving.”

Jerry Berebitsky – Large-scale puppeteer. After moving to Olympia in 2006, Jerry and his family watched their first Procession. They have participated every year since. Since that time, Jerry has made a larger than life size elephant, spider (named Rainbow) and giraffe.

“My favorite moments of Procession have been working with and beside many wonderful members of our community,” says Jerry. “It has been a joy to seeing young and old come together in the spirit of creation and discovery.  I also had the joy to share in our children’s creations.  My daughter has taken to combining many species.  One year, I believe, she was a flower, butterfly and fish mixture.  Our son is working toward large scale creations.  He began making a snake and most recently built a 15′ Komodo dragon that he pulled on his own.”

Steve Shanewise – Chalk Man. An environmental consultant, Steve’s first involvement with Procession was in 2008. He now hands out 7,000 pieces of chalk, dressed in turkey feathers.

procession species olympia

Steve Shanwise smiles with his eyes as he prepares to give out 7,000 pieces of chalk to passersby.

“My favorite moment by far was the very first time I handed out the chalk to the kids,” reminisces Steve. “The police were supposed to do it, but bailed at the last moment, and when I realized that no one was going to do anything about it, I just grabbed some people and loaded the chalk into the back of my pickup and we took off along the route.  And what made it so memorable was just seeing all those kids literally squealing with glee as they saw we had chalk and how big the smiles on their faces were.  It can’t get better than that.”

While these people are all instrumental in making Procession successful – it couldn’t happen without the rest of Olympia. Whether a participant, a spectator or a funder, it takes a village – and these folks reminds us all to be inspired.

Registration for the Procession, slated for Saturday, April 25 at 4:30 p.m., is located at the corner of Jefferson and Legion. Folks are welcome to use one of hundreds of beautiful props.

The same invitation is open for the Luminary Procession, Friday, April 24 at 9:30 p.m. Pieces can be checked out from the Procession studio, from 8:30 – 9 p.m. and you, too, can be part of the magic.

Tennis, Anyone? Get a New Swing with Local Lessons

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 6:00am



By Lynn West

rivers edgeDriving by any of the fifteen public tennis courts in Thurston County these days, puddles are more evident than players. During our spring showers, take advantage of indoor courts at Capitol City Tennis & Athletic Center, the Valley Athletic Club and soon at Steamboat Island Athletic and Tennis Club. Whether you are a seasoned player looking for new challenges or a beginner of any age, get started now.

capitol city tennis

Transitional Juniors Class getting ready to practice at Capitol City Tennis. Jordan Coons, Capitol’s Head Tennis Pro is on the left, Cody Leimback (far right) is the assistant pro and Michael Schuster (third from right) is the junior coordinator.

When Bally’s tennis program was eliminated two years ago, John Campbell realized he had an opportunity to create an amazing indoor tennis club for youth and adults. In September of 2012, John and his wife, Cheri, opened Capitol City Tennis & Athletic Center in Tumwater.

On any given day, the six full-size US Open Blue indoor tennis courts are filled. Observing lessons and practice in full swing from the mezzanine at Capitol City keeps your eyes constantly moving and your ears attuned to the rhythm of the ball echoing on the courts.

Since Capitol City has the only permanent 60-foot junior court in the Pacific Northwest, their Quick Start, U10, U13 or Transition Juniors lessons fill the courts most weekday afternoons.

Jordan Coons, the head tennis pro at Capitol City, oversees all the tennis programs. “We are especially proud of Quick Start, a national program that prepares students to participate in tournaments sponsored by the United States Tennis Association,” he told me.

“However,” Jordon stressed, “above all we just want kids to have fun learning to play tennis.”

In addition to a smaller court size in Quick Start, participating youth also play with a decompressed tennis ball, which allows the game to move at a slower pace. However, the pace of the game may not feel slow because of how the lessons are structured at Capitol City.

tennis lessons

Marianne Habersetzer and her son Michael Johnson pose with the trophy they won in a tournament earlier this year.

“Many programs have students stand in line, wait to hit the ball, hit it, and go back in line,” Jordon said. “In our program, students are always moving out on the court and continually hitting the ball.

I asked Jordon if he started playing tennis in a program like Quick Start. “No,” he said, “I never picked up a racket until I was 20, and I have barely set it down since.” He became a tennis professional and taught locally for 14 years before coming to Capitol City.

Many adult players who take lessons at Capitol City are either new to the game or their skills are rusty, and often prefer group rather private lessons. A new program, Lunchtime Tennis, which started this month, allows workers whose employers offer Wellness Programs to satisfy some of the requirements.

The Valley Athletic Club also offers an extensive tennis program, and both clubs have member and non-member options. Blakely Bean recently left her position at the Austin Country Club in Atlanta, Ga., to join the other pros at the Valley.

“Tennis is so popular in Atlanta,” she said. “Every neighborhood has tennis courts and offers lessons. When I was six, my mom put me in a class just for the fun of it.” Blakely’s teachers soon discovered she had a natural talent. She has played, taught and coached ever since.

Blakely is eager to help other young players realize their potential. The Valley boasts eight indoor hard surface courts. Their Quick Start Program begins with Teeny Tennis for 4 – 6-year-olds and offers Youth Levels 1 – 5 and culminates with Tennis Tournament Training. Adults have private and group lesson options, Skills and Drills, and many specialized clinics.

tennis olympia

Blakely Bean teaches a private youth lesson at The Valley Athletic Club.

Of the Valley’s Boot Camp Program, Blakely says it’s a one-and-a-half hour intensive of continuous play that takes place every Thursday night. After just finishing a boot camp session, Valley member Marianne Habersetzer chimed in saying, “[The] camp is very intense, but it pays off in much improved performance.”

At the USDA sanctioned Winter Warm Up Tournament this past January, Marianne and her 21-year-old son, Michael Johnson, won the mixed doubles category. Marianne decided to take lessons again a couple of years ago to sharpen her skills. “I have also made wonderful new friends,” she says.

Steamboat Island Athletic and Tennis Club should be open this summer, according to owners Drake and Roseanne Nicholson. “It’s been a long time coming,” Drake told me recently. “When we started planning 12 years ago, our daughters were in 4th and 8th grade at Griffin School, and my dream was to watch them walk across the street and play at our club.”

On the corner of Highway 101 and Steamboat Island Road, the club will have four indoor courts in phase one with plans for two outdoor courts and a swimming pool in the future.

During the summer months, rain puddles are sure to be replaced by enthusiastic players on local outdoor courts. After you have honed your skills indoors, check out the Lacey Parks and Recreation offerings, which will be posted on May 10. Get those rackets ready for some sun exposure!


Local Landmark Olympia Supply Company Has You Covered for Your Next Project

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 6:00am



olympia supply

Store manager Jeremy, office manager Kathy and cashier Sandi work together to keep Olympia Supply Company running smoothly, as it has for the last 109 years.

The last time we made an emergency run to the hardware store it was for wood stain. We’d run out mid-project. And, while there we picked up a few other things – odd sized halogen lightbulbs for the kitchen, a pipe fitting for a leaky hose-bib, and some chapstick. Yes – home improvement projects are tough on the lips, too.

Luckily, we could step inside 109-year-old Olympia Supply Company on Columbia Street in downtown Olympia and get all we needed and more. The vibrant blue storefront showcased a rainbow of wheelbarrows out front and Radio Flyers in the windows and begged for further investigation.

Parking is easy and ample, something many people don’t immediately associate with its downtown location. “There is parking all around the building, tucked on the edge in our lot as well as street parking,” shares longtime office manager Kathy Waltermeyer. Access from I-5 is a snap from the Capitol Way exit and its park-side location, across from Capitol Lake, allows shoppers to extend their visit with a stroll lakeside.

“People sometimes think of us as a last resort,” Waltermeyer shares. “Someplace to go when they can’t find something, but we really want to be the place you start.” The deceptively vast store, with warehouse space in the rear and aisle after aisle of goods, is a treasure trove of items needed to complete small “honey-do” projects all the way up to major renovations.

olympia supply

Retail goods were added to the store 13 years ago including a great selection of Radio Flyer products.

Not only are the shelves well stocked, but the store can special order nearly anything you need and includes a wide variety of on-site services that harken to their “old-fashioned” roots. “People don’t know that we offer so many services such as rescreening windows and sharpening scissors and tools,” says Waltermeyer. In today’s market of cheap goods and a disposable mentality, Olympia Supply retains the philosophy of yester-year, advocating fixing things that are broken and caring for, and selling, things of quality and value.

The store’s shelves provide inspiration and solutions to your project needs and the staff are equal to the task of helping you find anything. “We have a small crew here,” shares Waltermeyer. “We all wear many hats. We are in tune with who walks through the door and are ready to help.”

One familiar face to Olympia Supply team is Sandi. Most days you’ll find her behind the register. If you need something, she’ll know where it is. She’s been with the family-owned company since 1999 and, according to Waltermeyer, “remembers the part numbers better than anyone in the store.” You might also catch a glimpse of “Uncle Ben,” the second generation Bean owner of the store. Now in his 90s, Ben stops by nearly every day just to “check on things.”

Olympia Supply Company’s roots are in the construction materials business. Founded in 1906 by Earl Bean, and currently owned by his grandson Jeff Bean, the store began by supplying builders with construction materials during our area’s growth at the turn of the century.

olympia supply

The store not only offers a wide selection, but customer service by employees who can offer advice on your project, steering you to just what you need.

As the business grew and changed, the need to expand to a retail hardware store, serving the needs of the community, became clear. Store manager Jeremy Lauritzen was an instrumental part of that change and continues to bring innovative ideas and strong leadership to the team. Now, part of the True Value family of businesses, Olympia Supply provides just about anything you could need – including chapstick.

While you’d expect to find paint and lightbulbs, tools and hardware, the store carries a surprising array of goods and rotates stock seasonally. With spring nearly sprung in Thurston County, the store is setting up its annual seed display including Ed Hume Seeds alongside Irish Eyes Organic Seeds. And while the store doesn’t carry live plants, it can supply just about all your garden needs from pots and soil to gloves and hats. Come fall, the garden area will be transformed with seasonal décor and a dizzying number of holiday lights.

“Our gift cards are very popular for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” shares Waltermeyer. “People are surprised we offer a wedding registry service.” Newlyweds may be excited to set a fancy table with new china, but chances are they will be mowing, pruning or fixing a leaky faucet long before the china is unboxed.

My best find in the store? The Georgia Boot Romeos my husband loves at a price I can’t beat, even online. The popular work shoes are in front, next to the Bogs boots and Radio Flyer wagons and just down the aisle from the well-stocked canning section. You never know what you’ll find, but you can be sure it will be a good value backed by their customer satisfaction promise.

A trip to Olympia Supply Company accomplishes more, though, than helping you check items off your list. The historic photos, impeccable customer service, and old-fashioned hardware store feel transport you to a time when neighbors gathered and lent a helping hand. You may, like me, recall trips to a similar store (or this very one) holding tight to the hand of your grandfather, mother or father. The reasons past generations shopped at a locally owned mercantile are the exact same reason people shop at Olympia Supply today – for the warm smile, the expert knowledge, the community roots and the unexpected items you never knew you needed (like my new chapstick).

olympia supplyOlympia Supply Company

625 Columbia Street SW in downtown Olympia


Open Monday – Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


2015 Lacey Historian of the Year Nominations Now Open

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 11:28am



Submitted by The City of Lacey

The Lacey Historical Commission is now accepting nominations for the Lacey Historian of the Year. To be considered for the award, nominees will have “made a significant contribution to the preservation or promotion of Lacey’s history.”

First awarded in 2002, the 2015 winner will join a distinguished group of historians that have been recognized for their outstanding contributions through the years, including Richard Jones in 2014 and Susan Goff in 2013.

Nomination forms are available on the City of Lacey’s website, and will be accepted through Sunday, May 10. Nominations will be considered by the Lacey Historical Commission at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 20, 6:00 p.m. at Lacey City Hall.

For more information on the Historian of the Year program or the Lacey Historical Commission, please call the Lacey Parks and Recreation department at (360) 491-0857.

April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 11:03am



Submitted by Thurston County 

pinwheelsThurston County Commissioners issued a proclamation today designating April 2015 as “Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Thurston County.”

Thurston County’s proclamation is part of a larger national campaign in April to raise awareness about child abuse. Since 1983, communities across the country have taken time in April to promote local efforts and programs that help prevent child abuse and neglect, support families, and strengthen communities.

“My colleagues and I have presented this proclamation each April for several years now. But it’s just as important to bring attention to the issue of child abuse in our community today as it has ever been. Our work is not done,” said Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero. Romero is also Chair of the Thurston County Board of Health, and chair of the Thurston Council for Children and Youth (TCCY), a group working to bring attention to domestic violence in our community and to identify preventative measures to reduce harm to children.

Romero continued, “We’ve made great strides here in Thurston County to bring resources and partners together to support children and families in crisis, and it’s important that we celebrate our success and thank those public and private partners. But even one case of child abuse is too many. We have to keep working and keep improving our community support network to help families in Thurston County overcome the factors and stressors that can push parents and caregivers to the breaking point. If we want to have healthy, successful children in Thurston County, it’s up to us as leaders to create a healthy community that surrounds and supports our children.”

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe said, “Studies have shown time and again that protecting our children from abuse, neglect, and domestic violence today means they are less likely to have problems with addiction, unemployment, mental illness, or run-ins with the law later on in life. Protecting a child today ensures a better community tomorrow—that’s how we all benefit from speaking out against child abuse.”

“I think this is a great opportunity to remind people that child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence aren’t just city issues. Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or out in the country, we are all impacted by these issues, and we all have a responsibility to protect our children and support our families all throughout Thurston County,” said Commissioner Bud Blake.

courthouse dog olympiaThe proclamation was accepted by Tambra Donohue, Director of Monarch Children’s Justice Advocacy Center, and Monarch’s facility dog named Astro. Similar to a guide dog or service dog, Astro’s job at Monarch Children’s Justice Advocacy Center is to assist and comfort children and their families as they cope with the stress and trauma that often occurs during the investigation, treatment and prosecution of crimes like child abuse. Monarch’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of child abuse in our community.

“I’m still amazed at how much light and love and healing just one special dog like Astro can bring to a whole community,” said Donohue. “He’s been a great addition to the Monarch team, and I know he’s made a difference in the lives of hundreds of children and adult survivors who have come to us for help and sometimes quite literally lean on him for support.”

Donohue continued, “I’d also like to thank Monarch’s community partners that are either co-located with us or provide services at the center—Astro’s ‘pack,’ if you will. Providence Sexual Assault and Child Maltreatment Clinic, the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Team, SafePlace, Cielo, Child Protection Services, Community Action Council and local law enforcement agencies all make a difference every day in the lives of children in our community. Thank you so much for this recognition and for helping us raise awareness about preventing child abuse.”
Do you know a child who is being abused? Call the DSHS 24-Hour Hotline:
1-866-END-HARM (1-866-363-4276)

For Parents:

  • Olympia Crisis Clinic 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-627-2211
  • SafePlace 24-Hour Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Hotline: (360) 754-6300 or for TTY call (360) 943-6703

For more information about Monarch Children’s Justice Advocacy Center and their no-cost therapy services, advocacy services and forensic interviewing program for child abuse victims and families, visit their website.

To learn more about DSHS Child Protective Services and other DSHS programs and resources dedicated to protecting children, click here.

For a list of emergency service contacts and other resources for Thurston County families in need, go to the Thurston County website and click on the link under the heading “April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

4-H Spring Clover Campaign Starts April 22

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 10:57am



Submitted by Thurston County

 Commissioner Blake; national volunteer award winner and 4-H student Fiona Cowell; Fiona’s dog Daisy; Commissioner Romero; Commissioner Wolfe

From left to right: Commissioner Blake, Fiona Cowell, Daisy, and Commissioners Romero and Wolfe

The National 4-H Council will launch its fifth annual Spring Paper Clover Campaign on Wednesday, April 22. The 4-H Paper Clover campaigns raise thousands of dollars for local 4-H programs in Thurston County and across the country.

Each year in the fall and spring, the National 4-H Council teams up with Tractor Supply Company and Del’s Feed and Farm Supply stores to raise money for local 4-H programs with the sale of paper clovers for a donation of $1 or more at checkout. In Thurston County, the Del’s Feed and Farm Supply stores in Olympia and Yelm will sell the paper clovers from April 22 through May 3, with 65 percent of the funds raised at the two stores going directly to fund 4-H programs in Thurston County. As in years past, 5 percent of Paper Clover proceeds raised in Thurston County will go to the statewide 4-H office in Pullman, and 30 percent will go to the National 4-H Council.

“We are so grateful for the support our friends at the Olympia Del’s store and the Yelm Del’s store,” said Thurston County 4-H Program Coordinator Dianna Ullery. “We’ve partnered with them each year for our clover campaigns, and they are just so supportive of the kids and the 4-H programs. They have been instrumental in helping Thurston County 4-H offer great programs for our local youth year after year.”

In 2014, The Yelm Del’s Feed and Farm Supply store raised a total of $2,365 in the fall and spring fundraisers, making it sixth in the state. The Olympia Del’s Feed and Farm Supply store raised a total of $1,961, coming in at tenth in the state. Together, the two stores raised more than $2,800 that went directly to the Thurston County 4-H program.

This year, Thurston County Commissioners helped kick off the Spring Paper Clover Campaign by inviting local 4-Her Fiona Cowell and her dog Daisy to the April 14 Board of County Commissioners meeting. Fiona was recently named one of Washington’s top two youth volunteers of 2015 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. One of Fiona’s regular volunteer activities is to take her dog Daisy to visit local nursing homes where residents can get some “pet therapy.” Fiona and other members of her 4-H club have also raised money and donations for a local pet shelter, cleared vegetation that was clogging a salmon stream, cleaned animal enclosures at a wildlife rehabilitation center, stuffed stockings for children in need at Christmas, and collected food for a food bank, among other volunteer activities.

“Fiona should be an inspiration to us all—she’s still four years away from having a driver’s license, and look at all of the things she’s accomplished! She is truly a local hero, and her national volunteerism award is proof of that,” said Thurston County Commissioner Bud Blake. “I know the whole community is really proud of her.”

“I am just so grateful to Fiona and her 4-H club for all of the wonderful things they have done for our community,” said Commissioner Sandra Romero. “We know the 4-H program is good for our young people, but Fiona’s accomplishments are proof that the 4-H program benefits our entire community.”

Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe said, “Fiona and our other 4-H youth are tomorrow’s civic and business leaders, and from what I can see, they are well on their way to making this a better community for all of us.”

The Thurston County 4-H program is a partnership between the private, non-profit National 4-H Council, the Washington State University Extension program, and Thurston County government. What started as a handful of agricultural clubs for youth in the late 1800s and early 1900s has grown into a community of 442 members supporting 89 clubs in Thurston County, and 6 million young people across America learning about agricultural techniques, technology and research through practical “hands-on” learning.  The national 4-H organization is a unique partnership of the National 4-H Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 100 land-grant universities across the country, and more than 3,000 county offices that form the land-grant university Cooperative Extension System.

To learn more about the Thurston County 4-H Fall Paper Clover Campaign, or to find out more about the WSU Thurston County Extension 4-H programs and membership, visit or call (360) 867-2151. WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination.


Evita at Tacoma Musical Playhouse

South Sound Arts - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 8:57am

Published in The News Tribune, April 17, 2015
Juan Perόn (Jonathan Bill) and Eva (Alena Menefee). Photo by Kat DollarhideTacoma Musical Playhouse’s production of “Evita” is outstanding in every way. The set by Bruce Haasl and lighting by John Chenault are stunning, and the lead actors are outstanding. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, “Evita” captured seven Tony Awards when it played on Broadway.
“Evita” is the story of Eva Perόn (Alena Menefee), an aspiring actress and singer who sleeps her way to fame and fortune, marries Argentine President Juan Perόn (Jonathan Bill), is seen by the people as a hero and a saint, and dies tragically and young.
The mood is set majestically with an amazing opening number, “Requiem,” performed by the ensemble in front of and behind scrims with projected video of the real Eva and her compatriots. The blend of action, music, video imagery and lighting in this and the followings scenes, “Oh What a Circus” and “On the Night of a Thousand Stars,” are musical theater at its finest. “Requiem” tells of the tragic death of Eva. In “Oh What a Circus” we meet Che (Rafe Wadleigh), the “Everyman” narrator who is cynical, angry, and seemingly the only person who can see through the political posturing. The third of these opening scenes takes place when Che says, quite snidely, that Eva met a tango singer, and we open on a club where Augustin Magaldi (Jeff Barehand) is singing. The opening of this scene is a visual marvel that looks like a baroque painting, and Barehand sings terrifically.
Eva Perόn (Alena Menefee) and Che (Rafe Wadleigh). Photo by Kat DollarhideFrom this auspicious beginning, the cast takes us through the stormy life of Eva Perόn. It is anything but light musical comedy. It is highly dramatic with dark scenes sparked by moments of subtle but sparkling humor and music with Latin and jazz influences. The oh-so-subtle comic relief comes primarily from sly expressions from Che, and from small but precious bits in the background by ensemble actor Samantha Camp and Francesca Guecia, whose one moments to step out of the background and into the spotlight comes when she solos superbly on the song “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” as Juan Peron’s mistress.
Menefee has a strong and lovely voice and is expressive as Eva. Bill presents a strong if somewhat stiff Juan Perόn and has a deep and resonant voice. Wadleigh absolutely steals the show. He has a commanding presence, a range of moves and expressions that nail the characters, and he sings with clarity and power.
The most famous song in the show is “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” which Menefee sings beautifully from a balcony. One of the most delightful songs is “Waltz for Eva and Che,” which is a kind of musical standoff or duel or tango between Menefee and Wadleigh. Other outstanding songs are “You Must Love Me” and “Lament,” both solos by Menefee.This may well be THE hit musical of the season in South Puget Sound. I definitely recommend it.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 21, Saturday matinees April 25 and May 3 at 2 p.m. WHERE: Tacoma Musical Playhouse at The Narrows Theatre, 7116 Sixth Ave., TacomaTICKETS: $20-$29INFORMATION: 253-565-6867,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Tenino High School Business Class Wins Cash Prize

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 6:46am



Submitted by O Bee Credit Union

tenino high school

Tenino HS Assistant Principal, John Neal (far left), Business Teacher, Sherri Jeske (center) and O Bee Credit Union VP of Marketing, Lee Wojnar (far right) congratulate students on their winning entry.

Two business students from Tenino High School won cash prizes for creating eye-catching designs that will be used for a marketing campaign in the Tenino community. O Bee Credit Union worked with Sherri Jeske, Business and Marketing teacher at Tenino High School, to develop the assignment that resulted in the award-winning designs.

“This was a real-world assignment for the students. They received a design brief outlining the specifications of the design as well as the goal and messaging,” said Ms. Jeske. “It was exciting to see them go through the process of developing something that will be used in an actual marketing campaign,” she added.

The first place winner was Ylenne Rodriguez, and second place went to Bailey McDonough, both freshman at Tenino High School. In addition to individual prizes, O Bee presented a check to the business and marketing department at a school assembly. The prize money will go to Tenino High School’s Future Business Leaders of Amercia (FBLA) fund. Both winning designs will be featured on a door hanger advertising truck loans that will be seen throughout the Tenino community in the next several weeks.

Olympia Hits all the Right Marks for Local Transplant Missy Watts

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 6:00am



By Leslie Merchant

olympia realtor

Missy Watts moved to Olympia in 1997 when her husband, Carl, took his last duty station before retirement.

When Missy Watts and her husband Carl were researching potential retirement locations over a decade and a half ago, Olympia hit the mark on all of their must haves – small town feel, near a major city, close to saltwater, proximity to a military post.

“This was the last duty station my husband took before he retired,” Missy says. “We have lived and travelled all over the world and when we got ready to dial in where we wanted to retire, we had a list of criteria and Olympia checked off all the boxes.” Eighteen years later Watts and her family are happy to call Olympia their “forever home.”

Watts and her young family moved to Olympia in 1997. Hailing originally from the Deep South (she grew up on an island off the coast of Georgia), she has called many places home both here and abroad. The military took Missy and Carl all over the United States from Louisiana to California. When asked about her birthplace Missy says, “There are things that I miss like the manners, the clothes and the food!” However, the Watts were ready to commit to a life without giant bugs and stifling weather. Just ask her about the “palmetto bugs” that plague folks down South, and Missy chuckles remembering how she grew up believing giant cockroaches were really just fanciful creatures. “We had sugar-coated them (the cringe-worthy flying cockroaches) and always called them palmetto bugs!”

Thankfully Olympia turned out to be palmetto bug free, and the location and weather are perfect for the outdoor activities she and her husband enjoy so much. They have a perfect surf and turf relationship because Missy loves the water and Carl loves the land. “My husband is super athletic and he likes to hike and bike.” It’s another check mark for the Puget Sound region.

olympia realtor

A city with a small town feel and close to saltwater was important to Missy when choosing where to settle down.

A background in real estate and a two year stint in marketing with Tumwater Valley Athletic Club gave Watts the impetus to spread her wings. She joined Jim Greene’s real estate venture and helped him brand the name. “Jim (Greene) was developing Greene Realty and that was exciting to be involved in something from the ground up.” Watts got her real estate license shortly after that and the rest is history. Being part of the Greene Realty family has enabled Missy to find her own niche in the real estate market, to the effect that she actually has her own brand within the company. She and her partner, Renee Brenner, have carved out their own business model where they provide highly specialized services to their clients.

Today Greene Realty is well-recognized throughout the region as one of Olympia’s premiere agencies with over 35 full time in-house brokers. It is locally owned but has the power of a national firm because of innovations in technology.

Missy and Renee recently returned from a National Real Estate conference in Las Vegas with other national and international brokers who have earned advanced designations due to high production levels. It is credentials like this that speak to Missy’s passion and dedication for her craft, as well as to the quality of services offered at Greene Realty.

With a son in college and a daughter getting ready to graduate from high school, Missy is looking ahead to her own future. She laughs as she says “I keep getting more dogs (in anticipation of being an empty nester), and my husband keeps saying that’s enough!” An avid power boater, she loves getting out in the Sound and cruising with friends and family. “I love to cruise to different places and spend the weekends with good friends.” As they say in the South, Iaissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll). Her favorite leisure pursuit has helped her become extremely knowledgeable about waterfront properties and their unique developments and challenges.

olympia realtor

As real estate agents at Greene Realty, Missy Watts and her partner, Renee Brenner, have carved out their own business model where they provide highly specialized services to their clients.

Missy’s love of the water and community manifests itself in many ways. She is an active member of many local organizations, including the Griffin Neighborhood Association (GNA) where her own children grew up and attended school. The distinctive Steamboat Island bumper sticker that adorns many vehicles around town was initiated and facilitated by Watts.

Missy says that Greene Realty encourages its brokers to be active visible community members and as such each broker is inspired to reach out in a way that is meaningful. After all, a community is only as good as the people who live in it and work hard to make it thrive. Missy Watts is one of those special people who makes Olympia an exceptional place to live.

Contact Missy Watts at Greene Realty via her website or at 360-280-0509.

Opening Our Eyes to All Things Splendid

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 6:00am



By Kathryn Millhorn

greene realty“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance,” said author and politician Bruce Fairchild Barton. This philosophy is embodied in the skilled artistry and craftsmanship of Alabama transplant Wendy Bayer, proprietor and artist behind All Things Splendid.

furniture restoration olympia

Wendy Bayer brings new life to neglected furniture through her business, All Things Splendid.

Bayer and her family moved to our region in August 2013 as part of her husband’s business transfer. Despite the miles, “This was a part of the country that neither of us had visited before, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to experience a different environment and culture. We said ‘yes,’ packed up our family and our animals and headed across the country. It’s been the best decision we ever made.”

All Things Splendid is Wendy’s way of bringing new life to “poor neglected pieces that most people say ‘no way’ to. I love the character of ‘beat to heck and back’ furniture.” She began customizing pieces more than 25 years ago but fully-developed the business once her daughters reached school age. Restoration and painting are in her blood, though, as “my grandmother and my two great-aunts were all house painters until their 80s.”

Bayer discovers her stock of neglected furniture at estate sales, through Craigslist, or local rummage sale events. She recently paired up with the downtown Olympia boutique The Red Door to sell completed pieces from their gorgeous Washington Street location. “My style and the style of the shop work perfectly together. I fell in the love with The Red Door the first time I walked in—it was such a mix of trendy and classic items for the home—that I was just smitten.”

“I feel very honored to have my work displayed in one of my favorite shops in the downtown area that I love and am excited to be their featured artist during the Spring Arts Walk this year,” adds Bayer.

Spring Arts Walk takes place annually on the fourth Friday and Saturday in April and first Friday and Saturday in October. The Bayer family attended for the first time last year and “never in my wildest dreams did I imagine in just one year I would actually be a participant! I’m humbled and excited to display my art among the outrageously talented artists of Olympia. I’m thankful The Red Door is sponsoring me, and I can’t wait to meet lots of new people that share our love of rustic, funky, uniquely created one-of-a kind furnishings!”

olympia furniture restoration

Wendy Bayer’s restored furniture will be featured at The Red Door in downtown Olympia during Spring Arts Walk.

“As a small business owner, I appreciate the fact that Olympia consumers seem to be very mindful and purposeful in their shopping,” adds Bayer.  “The people I’ve met seem to prefer shopping locally and supporting artists and businesses in their own community. I think the downtown business owners do a wonderful job of supporting each other and creating fun events that bring people into the beautiful downtown core to explore. As a consumer myself, I love all the unique items that are available downtown—it’s definitely my preferred place to shop.”

For those unable to attend Spring Arts Walk or looking for restoration instead of a new purchase, All Things Splendid is able to completely freshen up or repurpose an heirloom or favorite piece. Interested clients can contact Bayer for custom orders and most are completed in one week. Her goal on restoration is simple; she wants to help refashion items “so they can be used instead of molding away in a basement. It’s a huge compliment to be trusted with pieces that mean so much to people and make them beautiful and exciting again.”

olympia furniture restoration

Custom orders can typically be done in about a week says All Things Splendid owner, Wendy Bayer.

The furniture we choose is often a reflection of our personality. We want to surround ourselves with comfort, beauty, and style and Wendy Bayer can help you make that dream a reality. Her goal, passion, and skill-set is to transform neglected pieces into beloved focal points. She can see beyond the wear from a lifetime of use because “just like in people, I find the most beautiful pieces furniture are the ones that have really lived and have an interesting story to tell.”

Visit Bayer’s Facebook page for amazing photos of past and present jobs. Can’t wait for Spring Arts Walk to browse in person? Drop by The Red Door for a full showroom experience. Questions about restoration projects, upcoming exhibitions, or All Things Splendid projects can be directed to or 205-617-2785.

The Skokomish Expansion Along Hwy 101 Means Everyone Wins

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 5:39am



lucky dog casino“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” This wisdom is from a true font of innovation: Benjamin Franklin. Our economy shows growth and progress which now allows local businesses to expand their offerings and local families the freedom to have a little fun.

But even with such steady economic growth, families are wary of spending too much. In 2014, Google reported that searches for ‘staycation’ were “up 10% year over year as more and more people seek vacation opportunities in their own backyards.

Where are people across the U.S. looking to stay this summer? Hint: It’s closer to home than you think. The most popular hotel destinations are often the ones just down your street.”

In our area, the Lucky Dog Casino in Skokomish is that perfect close-to-home destination. Located approximately 30 minutes from Olympia, the casino offer an array of delicious dining options, casino games, concerts, cultural education, and holiday festivities.

hood canal hotel

The Skokomish Indian Tribal Enterprises recent acquisition of the Glen Ayr Waterfront Resort provides decadent relaxation only 30 minutes from Olympia. Photo credit: Glen Ayr

Skokomish Indian Tribal Enterprises recently announced plans to expand through purchasing the nearby Glen Ayr Hood Canal Waterfront Resort. Says Skokomish Indian Tribal Enterprises CEO David Owens, “the property has been on our radar for quite some time. It fits perfectly into our lodging portfolio by being within the Highway 101 corridor and at a quality standard that meets our expectations.”

This addition will add more than just additional resort rooms. Glen Ayr also offers 750 feet of private beech with a deep water dock, luxurious rooms and suites, a large indoor hot tub with views of Hood Canal, and complete pet-friendly RV park.

Owens continues, “Each Skokomish lodging property has unique aspects that differentiate them from each other, while the quality and service that our customers have come to expect remains consistent property to property.”

The Skokomish Tribe is active throughout the Hood Canal region. “Skokomish” reportedly means “big river people” and even today “many tribal members continue to work within the region’s fishing and logging industries.” In recent years, “a number of ceremonies that had been dormant for 70 years or more were re-established during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Traditional basketry, carving and dance projects represent other facets of the reemerging interest in traditional arts of the Skokomish Reservation.”

Visit the Lucky Dog Casino at 19330 N. US Highway 101 or online at Call 360-877-5656 with any questions. Glen Ayr Waterfront Resort is located at 25381 N. US Highway 101. Make a reservation by calling 360-877-9522.

With just a 30-minute drive, you can find yourself a world away from home. Stay, play, and relax…you won’t regret it.

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