Recent local blog posts

Washington State University Thurston County Extension Master Gardener Program Accepting Applications

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:59pm



Submitted by Washington State University Thurston County Extension

yashiro japanese gardenWashington State University Thurston County Extension is currently accepting applications for its 2015 Master Gardener volunteer training.

Next to digging in the dirt, there’s almost nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. One of the easiest ways to increase your gardening knowledge is to enroll in WSU Extension’s Master Gardener course next spring. For forty years, Washington State University Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.  Volunteers who attend the comprehensive course will learn the latest information on how to successfully grow their favorite ornamentals, veggies, fruit, and a whole lot more.

There is a perception that to become a WSU Master Gardener you must know everything about gardening.  This is unrealistic and untrue.  To be a WSU Thurston County Master Gardener you must have some gardening experience but more importantly you must commit to sharing accurate gardening information with our community.

Thurston County WSU Master Gardeners are volunteers trained in all aspects of home gardening which they, in turn, share with members of the community who have gardening or insect questions. Some of the training topics include:

  • water-wise gardening
  • how to grow your own food
  • low-impact landscaping
  • diagnosing plant diseases
  •  identifying insects/pests
  • and much more……

We provide a number of different venues, including demonstration gardens, community booths and question/answer clinics through which volunteers deliver these messages.

The WSU Master Gardener training will also teach you how to access the latest researched-based information from Washington State University faculty, staff, and nationwide partners on subjects you may not know too much about.  You will become part of over 200 Thurston County WSU Master Gardeners who have very diverse backgrounds of gardening expertise and interests. As a result of this diversity you will have fun learning from one another while making lifelong friendships.

Classes will be held at a training room in Lacey.

To be considered for one of the limited training spots you must complete an application and attend a pre-orientation session. Pre-orientation sessions are held at the Thurston County Extension Office in West Olympia, directions are included in the application packet. At these sessions you will learn what it takes to be a WSU Master Gardener. This includes program expectations as well as all the benefits you will receive being a WSU Master Gardener. The following sessions will allow you to see if the WSU Master Gardener Program is a right fit for you. No pre-registration needed.

  • December 5th at 10:30am
  • December 11th at 4:30pm
  • December 17th at 4:30pm

Upon acceptance into the program a $275 class fee will be collected.  Since we are a self-sustaining program the training fee covers all class materials and field trips. Scholarships are available for those in need. Payment plans are available for those who are interested.

To learn more or to download an application packet visit our website .

The training class does have a cap and will be filled on a first come, first served basis with those who meet the criteria. If there is still room the very last date to apply is December 31st, 2014.


What the Heck is a Fresh Water Mussel?

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:58pm


Photo Courtesy of Marbet, Erika

Photo Courtesy of Marbet, Erica

The average individual could walk through a creek without even noticing these small gems. In fact most people are completely unaware of their existence. Freshwater bivalves are a kind of freshwater molluscs. They are bivalves which live in freshwater, as opposed to saltwater. The majority of species of bivalve molluscs live in the sea, but a number of different families live in freshwater. Fresh water mussels can thrive in many different habitats small ditches, lakes, canals, rivers and creeks. While walking Mill creek with our summer youth program employees we found hundreds of fresh water mussels. The species we found is the Western Pearlshell (shown in all pictures). The Xerces Society is dedicated to developing a variety of publications that educate people on how to identify and conserve fresh water mussels, as well as manage their habitat. “The Society uses advocacy, education, and applied research to defend invertebrates”. For more information about fresh water mussels of the pacific northwest visit,

photo courtesy of O'Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O’Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O'Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O’Connell, Emmett

photo courtesy of O'Connell, Emmett

Pictured is Rana Brown Shellfish Biologist photo courtesy of O’Connell, Emmett

Categories: Local Environment

Sounds of the Season draw Nigh at Saint Martin’s University and South Puget Sound Community College

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:56pm


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University 

holidaySaint Martin’s University, the South Puget Sound Community College and the American Legion Band are once again combining their talents to perform two Christmas concerts in December that feature three choirs singing musical pieces spanning the early 16th century to contemporary works.

A carol sing-along will round out both “Sounds of the Season” concerts. The first event will be held Wednesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. on the Main Stage of the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts, located at South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Rd., Olympia. The second concert will take place Friday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m., at Marcus Pavilion, located on the Lacey campus of Saint Martin’s University, 5000 Abbey Way SE.

The concerts will feature the Saint Martin’s University Chorale, both SPSCC Choirs and the American Legion Band. Associate Professor of Music Darrell Born directs the Saint Martin’s chorale. Molly McNamara conducts the SPSCC choirs. Kevin Robertson conducts the American Legion Band, along with Diana Appler, associate conductor.

“It will be so much fun,” says Born, who is also director of the Saint Martin’s Music Program. “The students and members of our community love singing the “White Christmas” tunes and all those famous, early, golden years of Broadway musicals.”

Each concert is composed of three parts. The first part will combine the three choirs, which will sing the early 16th century “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” two early American carols, the “Huron Carol” and “A Virgin Unspotted,” and a beautiful, contemporary piece, “O Magnum Mysterium.”

During the second part, the American Legion Band will perform several traditional, Christmas band pieces, including “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride.” The choirs and the band will conclude both evenings with combined holiday pieces, such as the “White Christmas” medley and “A Christmas on Broadway,” before leading the audience through the sing-along.

The concerts are free and open to the public, and free-will donations are gratefully accepted.

Gather ‘Round – Bagel Brothers offers a Variety of Catering Options

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:45pm



Submitted by Bagel Brothers

Catering options at Bagel Brothers include an array of their freshly made sandwiches.

Catering options at Bagel Brothers include an array of their freshly made sandwiches.

What’s round, comes in a variety of flavors, and is everyone’s favorite? Bagel Brothers’ bagels, of course. Whether you choose a sandwich or a spread, whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, these bagels hit the spot.

And did you know Bagel Brothers offers catering? For all your social functions, from holiday parties, to business luncheons and retirement parties, Bagel Brother’s can provide just the right spread for your gathering.

Starting at just $2.95 per person, receive an assortment of bagels, (cheesy, everything, onion and more) and an equally appetizing array of cream cheeses (plain, berry, chive and more).This option is a classic and easy way to feed your guests.

Kick it up a notch and order a lox and cream cheese platter, and your gathering will have a built-in conversation piece as guests gush about the Wild Alaskan Sockeye Lox, sliced tomatoes, onions, and capers. This is available at just $6.95 per person.

For the same price, consider a luncheon platter that includes sandwich favorites like Turkey & Jack, Ham & Swiss, Roast Beef &

A platter including an assortment of bagels and cream cheese is a great way to feed a crowd.

A platter including an assortment of bagels and cream cheese is a great way to feed a crowd.

Cheddar, and Vegetarian. Fruit platters, breakfast burritos, chips, cookies, and coffee, juice and teas services are also available.

“We love to help our customers host stress-free occasions by providing everything they need for a satisfying meal,” says Jeff Rose, owner.

Bagel Brothers catering will deliver with advance notice, but for those last minute arrangements, or for smaller orders, Bagel Brothers will have your tray ready for pick up at their

convenient Westside location.

Check out Bagels Brothers full catering menu here.

Bagel Brothers, 400 Cooper Point Rd. SW #22Olympia, (360) 352.3676.

M-F 7am-5:30pm
Sat 8am-5pm
Sun 8am-5pm

Catch Up With Austin Radio Saturday November 22

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:23pm



Submitted by Austin Radio

Austin Radio Photo by Monica Medalen

Austin Radio’s Mark Medalen and Angie Ward play a popular blend of warm harmony vocals, driving acoustic guitar, harmonica, and humor. Photo by Monica Medalen

This Saturday night, November 22, local music duo Austin Radio are bringing their popular blend of warm harmony vocals, driving acoustic guitar, harmonica, and humor back to Forrey’s Forza in Lacey. Showtime is 7pm-10pm. You will hear uptempo acoustic versions of popular country and rock songs old and new.

Austin Radio are Angie Ward and Mark Medalen, longtime performers throughout the Northwest, and partners in their lives both on and off the stage. They performed in various bands and as solo artists for many years before forming Austin Radio nearly ten years ago. Ward fronted the funk/rock/R&B Seattle big band known as Get Off The Stage (GOTS) and sang with Olympia’s Fishtrap for several years. In addition to Austin Radio, Medalen also performs with the country band Broken Trail.

These Forrey’s Forza shows are truly hometown shows for the duo. Ward and Medalen grew up in Lacey, are both graduates of Timberline High School, and have many ties to the area. Ward grew up singing with her siblings and picking strawberries on their Ward Farms on Yelm Highway. Two of her relatives now own and operate successful businesses on the same property, with cousin Jeff at Country Green Turf Farms and cousin Erica at Van’s Burgers. Medalen grew up in Lacey with parents who were career educators in the Yelm School District. He followed his passion for music and, after graduating from Central Washington University, brought his guitar back home and settled in Olympia. In addition to writing and playing music, Ward and Medalen are employed with the State of Washington.

Austin Radio’s name is a tribute to the diverse styles of music that can be found in Austin, Texas. Just like their namesake city, their song list covers a variety of artists and spans several decades and musical genres. At their shows, you will hear the music and influence of Trisha Yearwood, Indigo Girls, Tom Petty, Brandi Carlile, John Mellencamp, The Dixie Chicks, Dwight Yoakam, The Civil Wars, Kim Richey, Steve Earle, Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, John Mellencamp, and more.

All shows at Forrey’s Forza are open to all ages and there is no cover charge. For additional information about Austin Radio, including upcoming shows, videos, music, photos and more, visit Austin Radio online and find them at “Austin Radio Music” on Facebook. A list of upcoming events at Forrey’s Forza can be found at  here and on their Facebook page.

Forrey’s Forza
130 Marvin Road SE
Lacey, WA 98503


Haub Family Collection of Western American Art

South Sound Arts - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:59pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Nov. 21, 2014

Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887 ‑ 1986) “Piñons with Cedar,” 1956, oil on canvas, 30 × 26 inches, Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.91, © 2014 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Everybody knows not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Tacoma Art Museum certainly does. In this case, the gift horse is a bucking bronco, or lots of them — the 295 works of Western Art from the Haub Family Collection donated to TAM, plus more than $15 to build a new wing to house them. The new wing designed by Olson Kundig Architects and built by Sellen Construction is fabulous, the art collection not so much so. It is valuable and pertinent to the history of the region (probably more so to the Southwest and the Western plains than to the Pacific Northwest, but let’s not look that bucking bronco in the mouth), and there are some famous works of art by famous artists. But it is mostly stereotypical and offers a romanticized look at cowboys and Indians glorifying America’s imperialistic western expansion.Typical of the sculpture that greets visitors as they enter the new Haub Family Wing is Charles M. Russell’s “A Bronc Twister,” a bronze statue of a cowboy riding a bucking bronc — the most iconic of all Western images.Albert Bierstadt’s “Departure of an Indian War Party” is a somber, dark and dignified look at a small group of Indians on horseback depicting “noble savages” in a romanticized and atmospheric landscape.George M. Russell (American, 1864-1926) “A Bronc Twister,” modeled 1911, cast circa 1929-1933, bronze, 18 x 14½ x 9½ inches, Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, gift of Drivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.109.Many of the artists never even traveled to the West. Rosa Bonheur’s Western scenes were based on a Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show seen in Paris and Henry Merwin Shrady’s bronze buffalo comes from studies made at the Bronx Zoo.But let it be known that there are also works by Native American artists and by great modern artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe. One of the nicest paintings in the show is O’Keeffe’s “Piñons With Cedar,” a lovely landscape of a ghost-like dead tree with a young green tree behind it framed by a mountain in the distance.There are also pop art paintings by Bill Schenck, who worked with Andy Warhol and later turned to Western art. His “Snakes in the Grass” lampoons stereotypical Western art. Done in a paint-by-numbers style, it depicts two cowboys on bucking broncos on either side of large cacti.The new wing and the outdoors sculptures by Julie Speidel by the entrance from the parking lot and Marie Watt on the Pacific Avenue side of the building provide for a much more welcoming entrance to the lobby area. But the new construction emphasizes the new wing and relegates the original galleries to a far-away area down a long hallway that felt pretty empty on the day I went there for the opening press tour. I trust that more art will be placed in that hallway or that something — anything — will be done to draw people to the older north galleries, because it is the art in those galleries that always has been and I hope will continue to be what makes Tacoma Art Museum a regional treasure.Art of the American West: The Haub Family Collection, Wednesdays–Sundays 10 am–5 pm, Third Thursdays 10 am–8 pm, adults $10, student/military/senior (65+) $8, family $25 (2 adults and up to 4 children under 18). children 5 and under free, Third Thursdays free from 5-8 pm. Members always free, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4258.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Traditions and Additions – Local Shopping Tips for Thanksgiving

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:43am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

thanksgiving recipes

Red hot cranberries – cooked or raw – there are recipes galore on the internet.

Turkey? Dressing? Cranberry Sauce? Yes, yes, and yes. Traditional favorites become favorites for a reason. They tickle long held memories as your soul is satisfied. Plus, the tastes are delicious. Whether you are shopping for a banquet of family ‘musts,’ or hoping to expand your repertoire, both Ralph’s Thriftway and Bayview Thriftway are ready to supply your wishes. You’ll find aisles stocked with the foundations for your Thanksgiving feast and opportunities to add to your bounty in new ways.

Turkey and Ham

Meat Manager, Adam Beasley, would love to take your order now for holiday needs. They’ll find the size you want and hold it for you. Choose from a fresh Diestel free-range turkey, a fresh, natural turkey from Acme or a frozen Norbest. There are Hempler’s hams, too.


My cubed bread stuffing is dotted with celery, apple and onions and seasoned with sage. Maybe you prefer yours made with cornbread and oysters. Locally owned Thriftway carries scads of local breads, if you want to make your own. Essential Baking Company has its own bag of cubes for you. Do you cook your dressing in the bird or not? In my book, what other use could this cavity have if not for stuffing? Yes. We can agree to disagree.


A few years ago when I decided to pass on high fructose corn syrup, I found out that making my own cranberry sauce was as easy as opening a bag. All it takes is berries, a little water and some sugar. Boil five minutes until the berries pop. Cook longer if you want to make the skins softer. Then pour into a glass bowl and let cool. Presto. Variations might be adding orange pieces or orange juice. There also the nearly famous cranberry relish recipe from NPR’s Susan Stamberg to try.  I just heard one from Seattle’s ‘Food For Thought’ commentator Nancy Leson. Her recipe includes rum, which sounds interesting and you can make a batch ahead of time.


thanksgiving recipes

Get ready to mash red, white or Yukon potatoes.

For fluffy white mashed potatoes, you’ll need to peel your potatoes. Steam uniformly cut potatoes until soft. Hand mash or use a ricer. Heat up heavy cream and butter before mixing with the potatoes. You don’t have to use cream or butter, but my, oh my – they’ll melt in your mouth. I don’t mind potatoes with character. That means it’s OK to leave on the skins.

If potatoes are off your list, you can get on the mashed cauliflower bandwagon. A bit of garlic, buttermilk and butter mixed with your steamed cauliflower produces surprisingly good results. Don’t turn your nose up until you’ve tasted it.

Wine & Beer

Both Thriftway stores have bottles of holiday bargains. Stroll the displays. You can buy one with a label that appeals to your – or ask for help. The early settlers were on to something with hard cider.

Rhonda Nickle, Ralphs’ Bakery Deli Manager, says, “I love the holidays.” She’s noticeably excited about the Devonshire cream. She suggests mixing it with cream cheese for a smooth spread for apples, sandwiches or crackers. The deli is stocked with a vast array of cheeses and meats such as Boar’s Head sweet sliced ham. If you need a few suggestions for your holiday appetizer tray, please ask Nickle. Helping customers with food ideas is a favorite part of her job.

thanksgiving recipes

Joy Graham, one of Ralph’s cake decorators, will be mixing up a family favorite fruit salad.

Cake decorator, Joy Graham, will be preparing a fruit salad that her mom used to make. Now her children like it. Maybe your family calls this salad Ambrosia (food of the gods). Variations feature the addition of whipped cream, pecans and/or shredded coconut. Joy uses imitation sour cream for family members who do not eat dairy foods. This recipe can easily be doubled.

Here is Joy Graham’s Favry Family Favorite Holiday Salad

Holiday Salad

1 pint sour cream

1 bag miniature marshmallows

2 – 16 ounce cans fruit cocktail, drained

1 can pineapple tidbits, drained

1-2 cans mandarin oranges, drained

Mix together and store in refrigerator overnight. Add a sliced banana before serving.

What else do you need to remember?

  • How about carrots and celery for the soup you will make with the turkey carcass?
  • Mayo and lettuce make the list for turkey sandwiches.
  • For your non-dairy family and friends, SO Delicious has three holiday beverages made with coconut milk: Pumpkin Spice, Mint Chocolate and Nog.
  • Essential Baking Company has a rack of gluten-free breads and rolls.
  • Need a hostess gift? Choose from seasonal bouquets, scented candles, tempting chocolates – to name a few.

If you need it, you’ll likely find it at Ralph’s or Bayview. Both locations have barista service, if you need a pick-me-up as you shop. Have fun and happy shopping.

Eat Well – Be Well

Living a Happy Retirement at Panorama

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 8:03am



panorama lacey

Panorama resident, Janet Sears, works in her home quilting studio.

Relocating is a big decision at any age. Whether a job transfer to a new city, uprooting after raising a family, or pulling up stakes upon retirement, finding a new place to call home is about defining your future lifestyle. For a handful of retirees, the naturally picturesque Sea Ranch community in Sonoma County, California seemed to be the ideal location to spend their golden years. Yet recently, over twenty Sea Ranch homeowners have “re-relocated” to Panorama in Lacey, Washington. Panorama is a retirement community designed around several distinct neighborhoods with lifestyle amenities, inclusion of home maintenance and a continuum of health care. Residents of Panorama are known as the doers and dreamers of Pacific Northwest senior living.

Sandy Bush moved to Panorama with her husband, George, in May 2013. Bush shares, “Sea Ranch was somewhere we went from the working world to decompress. We considered it our retirement home but it has become more of a rental community and a destination place. As we age, we realized there are not a lot of available services there for dental, medical, vision and such.”

Janet Sears and Beverly Sloane, also former Sea Ranch homeowners and current Panorama residents concur with Bush’s comments. “We moved to Sea Ranch because of the beauty, privacy, and to live lightly on the land,” adds Sears.  “We have discovered that it is also a beautiful place here with such an engaging community of people.”


Sandy Bush, Janet Sears and Beverly Sloane share a laugh together at Panorama. The trio moved to Lacey after living at the Sea Ranch community in Sonoma County, California.

Rachel Dobry, Retirement Advisor at Panorama surmises, “My sense is what collectively drew them to Sea Ranch originally was that it was a community away from everything. But that is the very thing that has them leaving. Reality takes place and as we age it is important to access needed health care in a timely manner. Not only are the health care facilities and providers easily accessible from Panorama but we offer a continuum of health care on site. Doctors are within a few mile radius as well as a variety of cultural options and activities like the library, walking trails, shopping, museums and art. People come to Panorama for the community and lifestyle.”

Lifestyle and activities are as diverse as the people of Panorama. A weekly dinner date regularly brings the former Sea Ranch homeowners together.  While the commonality is their previous place of residence, they represent a fascinating array of interests spanning from theater, woodworking, blogging and fiber arts. “We are not just consumers of our activities,” Sears remarks.  “We also get out to contribute to the community. We volunteer at food banks, schools and are politically active. That is why our community is so rich.”

“Come to Panorama at least by your early 70s or whenever you are in good enough health to get acquainted with community,” Sears encourages. “We arrived when we were still living completely independently.  It is as if you have your own gardeners and handymen to take care of things. Now I don’t have to worry about my home and yard maintenance, which enables me to enjoy the things that I really want to do. Olympia has been so fun to explore. It is the funkiest small town, big capital. Right next door to a tatoo parlor will be a plush restaurant.”


Sandy Bush prepares to head out on a hike from her Lacey retirement home.

In addition to art and culture, the outdoor lifestyle is a huge attraction.  Bush comments, “The hiking outings are amazing. There are places that I would likely not find on my own or make an effort to explore – from excursions to Mount Rainier to the many local parks.”  Sloane adds, “Many of us like to take advantage of the proximity of the Chehalis-Western Trail. It is important to have flat and level walking areas for those with mobility issues and needing the use of a walker.”

What shapes the community of Panomora is the diversity of interests among the residents, spectrum of aging needs, and the easy lifestyle. Dobry explains, “You have to be at least 62 to live here. Generally speaking, people have been coming in their early 70s but this is changing because of the boomers. The boomers love the lifestyle we offer. They have worked hard and in many ways enjoy being taken care of. They understand that quality of life does not necessarily mean owning a home or having lots of stuff. They like to travel and get out to do things. That is all right here for our residents. It is an easy transition to come live here.”

“We were told it is just a change of address to come here.  And really it has been,” Bush concludes. “It is so easy and comfortable living here.”

To learn more about residing at Panorama, click here.


1751 Circle Lane SE

Lacey, Washington 98503

360-456-0111 or 1-800-999-9807


Living and Studying in the United States – Perspectives from Four Brazilian Students at Saint Martin’s University

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 7:57am



By Lisa Herrick

saint martins

Breezie O’Neill (right), Assistant Director at the Office of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University, with student, Kari Inch, greet attendees at the inaugural Washington State and Rio de Janeiro Conference on the United States and Brazilian Exchange held on campus.

If you thought you heard an abundance of Portuguese being spoken throughout Thurston County recently, it is likely you did. Certainly, that was the case lately on the Saint Martin’s University campus in Lacey, Washington. The University recently concluded the inaugural Washington State and Rio de Janeiro Conference on the United States and Brazilian Exchange held during International Education Week.

The purpose of the conference was to promote student exchange between Washington and Rio de Janeiro by bringing together representatives of higher education institutions from the two states.  The conference was held in response to the ‘100,000 Strong in the Americas’ initiative that aims to increase educational exchanges in the Western Hemisphere.

The initiative’s goal is to prepare youth with the cross-cultural skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century economy and create a new generation of leaders. Reportedly, the number of Washington students studying abroad in Brazil is low. The number of Brazilian students studying in Washington State is also low. The hope from this conference is to change those numbers.

Truly, at the heart of the Saint Martin’s University conference were the Brazilian students themselves. Four delightful, lively and intelligent Brazilian undergraduates participated in a panel discussion, facilitated by Marco Tulluck, Director of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University.  The focus of the panel discussion was on living and studying in the United States. Felipe De Souza, Karyny Belo, Louise Da Silva, and Victor Leal all answered a variety of questions with tremendous poise and engaging humor.

saint martins

Four Brazilian students studying at Saint Martin’s University participate in a panel discussion on living and studying in the United States. From left to right are Felipe De Souza, Karyny Belo, Louise Da Silva and Victor Leal.

Felipe explained some of his initial culture shock after arriving on campus in March. “Here, everything works on a scheduled time, which is good to learn – to understand what being on time means, here.”  Louise followed up by describing one of her first encounters on campus. “In Brazil, we greet each other with a hug and kiss. The first time I did that they took several steps back from me. I said, ‘Oh, I am so sorry.’”  Both scenarios received a knowing burst of laughter from the attendees, with many gesturing toward the cultural differences pertaining to what is considered to be punctual within the two cultures as well as how greetings are conducted.

Each of the Brazilian students are pursuing a different major. Felipe is a mechanical engineering major while Karyny majors in nursing, Louise in pharmacy and Victor in civil engineering. Yet they all have a common goal – to improve their English skills within their respective majors and gain a better understanding between the two countries.

Louise shares, “One of the biggest challenges is trying to do like the American students do in class while trying to improve our English. Sometimes we just need a little more time to learn the content of the class because we are also learning the expressions used. There are a lot of new terms we are learning in English.”

Victor agrees and explains how helpful and supportive the students, professors and the Saint Martin’s University community have been. “I like to be able to talk directly to the professors during their office hours. They are always willing to help.”

saint martins

Marco Tulluck, Director, International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University moderates the Brazilian student panel discussion.

As the students shared their appreciation for the opportunity to study at Saint Martin’s University as well as the challenges of being a student in a new culture, Meg Dwyer, Media Relations Manager for the University, was tweeting their advice to future Brazilian students: “Be on time to class and bring a jacket!”

In addition to Felipe, Karyny, Louise and Victor, Saint Martin’s University has been hosting 28 Brazilian students since last summer, marking the first the Universtiy has hosted students from Brazil.  Their journey to Saint Martin’s is the result of the Brazilian government’s initiative to send its students to higher education institutions in the United States to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions. The University has partnered with the Institute of International Education and the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which provides scholarships to students to study in the STEM fields at colleges and universities in the United States.

An equally important initiative throughout the five-day conference was to provide the local business community with a convenient opportunity to learn why they should consider doing business in Brazil, given its emergence as a vibrant economic engine.

Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world and has existing business relationships with Washington-based companies.  There are approximately 5,000 Brazilians living in western Washington many of whom actively encourage entrepreneurship and social engagement in Washington.

Brazil has been in the limelight as the recent host of the 2014 Soccer World Cup and as host of the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics.


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 7:46am



I stopped into the store on my way home a few nights ago and paused for a moment to notice the abundance of pumpkin pies, fresh turkeys, cranberry sauce displays and bags of stuffing bread.  Thanksgiving is less than a week away and seeing these signs of our community in preparation made me smile.  I love Thanksgiving – it’s my favorite holiday of the year.  Taking time to both prepare and eat the meal, sit down with friends and family, and pause in the bustle of our lives to say “Thank You” has always resonated with me.

This weekend, as you do a bit of Thanksgiving preparation or engage in some of the great activities listed below, give thanks for the community we live in.  Our neighbors support each other in their endeavors continually, whether in small business, athletics, or creative pursuits.  And we at ThurstonTalk feel privileged to share these stories with you.  Thank you for supporting us as we continue to share the positive stories of where we all live, work and play.

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.


Xperience “60/40″

K Records - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 12:55am
The official video for “60/40″ by Xperience. His performance of this song was one of the highlights of the All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] album release party; 60/40 pumping hard. Xperience appears often on the  All Your Friend’s Friends NW hip hop  compilation: “Evolve Away”, “My Shady Gangster Uncle Kaiser”, “Ashen Embers” and “Jumkick the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Eprhyme “Punklezmerap”

K Records - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 6:42pm
The melding of minds and cultures, “Punklezmerap” is an explosive concoction of classic Klezmer clarinet, an energetic and up tempo club beat, and a hypnotic, wordless chorus sung by artist, activist and author Nomy Lamm. “Punklezmerap” is a musical Mazel tov cocktail. Rapid-fire lyrics carry listeners through Eprhyme‘s early life experience, evolving sense of identity […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Something Wicked Goes for the Gold: An Improv Comedy Show

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 2:10pm
Event:  Wed, 12/10/2014 - 8:00pm - 9:30pm

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Dairy Shortages: NCGA Article

Olympia Food Coop - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 2:09pm
Sharing an article from the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) on the reason for many of the Dairy shortages we've been experiencing:

California Drought Threatens Milk Production 
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Today’s Featured Artist

South Sound Arts - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:42pm

Ricker Winsor
This is a new feature that I intend to post on a periodic basis as time allows . . . no schedule. I will start with my old friend Ricker Winsor.
Star Spangled Buildings, oil on canvasRicker has been called a force of nature, which is an apt description. A Renaissance man is another apt description, because there is little that Ricker hasn’t done and he continues to do it all well. He’s been a vagabond, a beatnik, a world traveler. He’s been a hunter and a fly fisherman extraordinaire.  He’s a writer with two published books, Pakuwon City and The Painting of My Life, and he’s a blues musician who plays in coffee shops and other venues. But most of all, he’s a painter.
When I first met Ricker he was head of the art department at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, and he was living a kind of back-to-nature existence on Vashon Island. Today he teaches school in Bali. There’s no telling what he might do next.
Ricker’s art has grown out of the abstract expressionist tradition. In his youth he lived in New York and was friends with many of the first generation abstract expressionist painters. The artwork he was doing when I first met him consisted of highly energetic and colorful landscapes and similarly expressive pen and ink drawings of the island landscape, self-portraits and interior scenes of his studio. His mark-making was volatile, his colors — especially the yellows and greens of flora and sunshine — were intense. Both his drawings and paintings reminded me a lot of Vincent van Gogh.
More recently he turned to abstract painting with paintings reminiscent of Hans Hoffman. And more recently still he has continued in the Hoffman-like vein with highly abstracted urban scenes — rectangular forms in heavy impasto that vacillate between pure abstraction and clusters of buildings. These are dense, rich paintings with lushly applied paint. I suspect that as he continues to develop his art he will continue to go back and forth between abstract paintings and impressionist/expressionist landscapes, figures and interior scenes.
This guy is a pure painter. Ricker's bookss -
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Art Trip Seattle

South Sound Arts - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 8:43am

Seattle Art Museum has always been worth the trip.“Marilyn,” 1967, Andy Warhol, silkscreen on paper, 36 x 36, Seattle Art Museum bequest of Kathryn L. Skinner, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Paul Macapia.We drove up to see “Pop Departures” at SAM. What a wonderful show!I must admit, however, that my enjoyment of this exhibition was based to some small measure on nostalgia. I was in my sophomore or junior year as an art student when pop burst on the scene back in the early sixties, and it was an eye-popping, mind-bending, psychedelic trip. The very idea that serious artists could paint pictures of soup cans and comic book images and make giant soft sculptures of drum sets or a giant cherry perched in a giant spoon was the most radical thing ever. It bothered me a little that the pop artists were said to be in revolt against abstract expressionism, which I loved, but pop still floated my boat.Hard on pop’s heel came what was called hard edge painting: Ellsworth Kelly and Al Held and — oh my god — Frank Stella. That era in American art history had to have been the most exciting time ever. And yesterday I saw it all, all over again. “Vocho (Yellow),” 2004, Margarita Cabrera, vinyl, batting, thread ad car parts, 60 x 72 x 156, Anne and William J. Hokin Collection. ©Magarita Cabrera, photo courtesy the artist.“Pop Departures” is a look back at work by the leading pop artists of the 1960s and a jump forward to more contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Margarita Cabrera and Mickalene Thomas who continue to follow in the footsteps of those ’60s bad boys. There are whole galleries devoted to Lichtenstein and Warhol, unquestionably the brightest lights of the movement. Other artists represented in the show include Oldenberg, Mel Ramos, Edward Ruscha, Robert Indiana and James Rosenquist (inadequately represented by a single modest-sized painting).“Untitled (Self in Progress),” 2001, Alwar Balasubramaniam, Indian, b. 1971, gesso, wood, fiberglass, 72 x 47 x 35 in., Collection of Sanjay Parthasarathy and Malini Balakrishnan. © Alwar Balasubramaniam, Photo courtesy Talwar Gallery, New York/New Delhi.Lichtenstein dominates the first gallery with some of his most iconic images such as “Kiss V,” one of his many paintings of romance comic images; “Varoom,” a comic-style explosion in and garish red, yellow and orange with lettering; and “Red Painting (Brush Stroke),” one of his famous paintings of an abstract-expressionist brush stroke. (See, they weren’t rebelling against AE, they revered it.) Lichtenstein’s brushstroke paintings were done to honor the abstract expressionists whom he venerated while at the same time giving them little digs — see, we can paint big, sloppy brushstrokes too, never mind that they were done with mechanical precision. Lichtenstein’s early paintings have lost none of their power over the years and have gained stature as pure design. In another gallery are two of his paintings of famous modernist paintings, the best of these being “Reflections on Painter and Model,” his copy in stripes and Ben-Day dots of a Picasso painting. This is a marvelously composed picture that is, like his brushstrokes, a lampoon of and homage to a hero.The many Warhols in this show evidence just how expressive Warhol could be, despite his use of mechanical means and his claim to want to be a machine. How well I remember folks in the sixties saying Warhol was putting us on, that he wasn’t a serious artist, that his fame would quickly fade. Fifty years later it is kind of hard to support such claims. I suspect that many of the people who denigrated Warhol’s art had never seen it other than in reproduction. When you look at them closely it becomes obvious that his off-register silk screens were just as expressive as many of the action paintings of the previous generation. And what he did with color was simply astounding. Look at the milky green blending to blue and the lemon yellow lips on the face of Richard Nixon in his painting “McGovern.” These are indescribable colors that only Warhol could come up with (and yes, it is a portrait of Nixon with the name McGovern written across the bottom).Installation shot of Juan Alonso Studio, courtesy the artist.The one painting by Wayne Thiebaud was a terrific example of his lush paint application. I wish there were more of his paintings. He was always seen as on the periphery of pop, more of a classical painter, but his subject matter fit right in, and man could he ever paint. And since this show “departs” from the first wave of pop to feature later developments, it would have been nice if one of his much later San Francisco cityscapes had been included.My least favorite among the first generation pop artists in this show is Ramos. Clever titles like “Val Veeta” (a naked pin-up girl on top of a box of Velveeta cheese, note the spelling) do not erase the fact that his pin-up girls are just as sexist as the commercialization of sex he supposedly lampooned. There are a number of his paintings in this show, and they are not impressive.Among the best of the most contemporary works is Cabrera’s “Vocho (Yellow),” an actual-size, beat-up yellow Volkswagen Beetle made of vinyl, batting, thread and car parts including real bumper and tail lights. The loosely hanging threads in the car lend a house-of-horrors aspect to the car. It reminds me of some of Edward Kienholz’s installations. Obviously influenced by Oldenberg, this is a more powerful piece than any of the Oldenberg’s in the show (his sculptures look best in situ and these look weak in a gallery setting). Another of the more outstanding recent works is Barbara Kruger’s portrait of Andy Warhol, “untitled (Not cruel enough).” This wall size portrait, 109” x 109”, would be indistinguishable from a self-portrait by Andy if it were not for the insulting descriptors printed all around and across the face — unflattering things others have called Warhol.“Pop Departures” is but one of many shows at SAM. I wandered into the galleries featuring modern and contemporary works from the permanent collection and enjoyed once again seeing paintings by Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock and a couple of great Hans Hoffmans. I was blown away by two large Frank Stella paintings and opposite them a wall-size painting by Al Held. One gallery had a wall full of small paintings by Held, each about a foot square. We always think of his paintings as being slick, flat and precise, but the paint application on these looked like plaster spread with a trowel.“American Art Masterworks” includes a selection of works by early American masters including John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer and many more — dark and somber works to counteract the glitz of the pop art.“City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India” offered interesting views on mostly sculpture and photography by contemporary Indian artists. "Include Me Out," an amazingly dense photo-montage by Vivek Vilasinia and "India Shining V (Gandhi with iPod) by Debnjan Roy, a striking bright red fiberglass sculpture of Gandhi walking with an iPod in hand stand out, as does "Untiled (Self in Progress)" by Alwar Balasubramaniam, a haunting image in white of a seated figure with face and legs buried into a wall and projecting out the other side.After leaving SAM drove to Pioneer Square to visit the Juan Alonso Studio on Washington Street. Juan Alonso-Rodriguez was represented by the Francine Seders Gallery until it closed. He has now joined the ranks of DIY artists who are marketing their own work and opening their studios to the public. His latest work is a series of abstract paintings with horizontal bands or stripes, many in brilliant colors and often with abstract expressionist drips and slashes confined within forms that are essentially minimalist and hard-edge, thus striking an exciting balance between the two strongest movements in abstraction during the second half of the 20th century. These are some of the more vibrant paintings I have seen in a long time.I thoroughly enjoyed my day at SAM and Alonso-Rodriquez’s studio and highly recommend you visit both when you can.Juan Alonso Studio, 306 S. Washington St. #104, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays. Pop Departures , Thursday-Sunday, 2-6 p.m. through Jan. 11, 2015, Seattle Art Museum1300 First Ave., Seattle,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Look at how Smith Troy is smiling

Olympia Time - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 6:46am
He literally snuck back into town to take the oath of office.

He looks like he just ate the bird.

Or, he's just really super happy to be home after years at war. So, there should be some of that. But, I think there's a healthy dose of having gotten one over on room full of befuddled old men who would have like to replace him while he was gone.

From the AG's official history:
From 1943 to 1945, General Troy served in the Army in Europe as Lieutenant Colonel Troy and earned five battle stars. During this time, Troy's deputy served as acting Attorney General.This apparently was quit the coup for Troy. If normal process had been followed, Troy would have resigned and the governor would have appointed a replacement. But, Troy was able to write an opinion that his deputy serve for him and run for office in 1944 while serving.

The other people in the room look kind of surprised to be at a swearing in ceremony:

 Seems like Troy was actually in town for a month or so before he was sworn in at the end of August. He didn't end up taking charge of the office again until the middle of September.

But, in the end, he was able to pull of nearly two years, AG in the war theatre, and settle back in to his seat of power, befuddled old guys on his shoulders.

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 025

K Records - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:06am
The All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] compilation continues to captivate the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard inhabitants with its sprightly mix of NW hip hop, good cheer and judicious use of the ‘f’ word (eep!). Host Calvin Johnson speaks with Eprhyme, founder of thee XNTRX and executive producer of All Your Friend’s Friends about the album release […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

K CD Grab Bag!

K Records - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 12:20pm
The K CD Grab Bag contains 25 different compact discs released by K between 1988 and 2012. It’s a mystery wrapped in a cardboard enigma! You don’t know what you’re getting. Neither do we. But we guarantee an album by these artists are included in every box: Calvin Johnson, All Girl Summer Fun Band, Jeremy Jay, […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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