I counted it out with my daughter earlier this week. We’re almost to the half-way point in the summer (at least if you are keeping track on school calendars). Make the most of the second half of summer in Olympia. Use the ThurstonTalk activities section or our full event calendar to plan your fun.
Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend.
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 email@example.com. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our events calendar.
By Grant Clark
Growing up it was not uncommon for her to scale the large trees that surrounded her Lacey house. It was here, high up among the branches, where she felt comfortable.
“It’s been that way for as long as I can remember,” Clarke said. “I just always wanted to be up there.”
The joy of climbing still remains for the 18-year-old. The heights have certainly increased over the years and the venues now far exceed her backyard.
No longer is she simply climbing the neighborhood trees. She’s gone worldwide.
By finishing third overall at the recent USA Climbing Sport and Speed Youth National Championships, Clarke advances to the International Federation of Sports Climbing World Youth Championships later this summer in Arco, Italy.
“Totally unexpected,” said Clarke about the achievement. “It’s been the goal the past six years. I have to keep pinching myself to know that it’s really happening.”
The event, which begins August 28 and runs through September 6, draws participants from around the globe and will be held at what is largely regarded as the birthplace of competition climbing. Located in the Trentino area of Northern Italy, Arco has been a top destination for climbers since the 1930s due to the surrounding long limestone walls
“It’s the place everyone in our sport wants to visit,” Clarke said. “Getting to go there is so incredible plus I get to represent the United States which just makes it even more special.”
Clarke, who spent the first eight years of her life living in California before moving to Lacey, tried a variety of sports during her youth and while enjoyable, none offered the same satisfaction rock climbing would eventually provide.
No, it wasn’t until she was 10 when she accepted a friend’s invitation to the Warehouse Rock Gym.
Clarke knew nothing about top roping or bouldering when she walked into the climbing facility during that initial visit, but it didn’t take her very long to realize this was where she wanted to be.
“She was the quietest, shyest person I’ve ever been around when she first got started, but she was determined,” said Jimmy Chulich, one of Clarke’s former coaches at the Warehouse Rock Gym. “She was completely committed to this sport from the beginning.”
It didn’t take long for her dedication to be tested as a nasty fall just two months after she started the sport resulted in a fractured wrist, sideling her for several months.
“Gravity is my worst enemy,” Clarke said.
To the average individual the injury would have been sufficient cause to ground them permanently. Learning a new sport is difficult enough without the constant looming threat of plummeting to the floor with every move.
The pain in her wrist, however, was trumped by the agony of being unable to climb.
“That was the toughest part – just waiting to get back in there,” said Clarke, who was a member of Warehouse Rock Gym’s youth team for nearly seven years before moving on to a Seattle-based team a year ago. “It never really entered my mind to quit.”
Once healed, she was right back at the gym, and saw her skill level ascend to the point where trips to the national competition became an annual occurrence as she has participated every year in nationals in either Bouldering or Sport climbing since 2010.
Five years ago, she placed 10th in the nation. This year’s nationals resulted in a 3rd place finish, sending Clarke, a member of Seattle’s Vertical World, to the podium, as well as the World Championships, for the first time ever.
“It was crazy. The best competition I’ve ever done,” Clarke said about the 2015 nationals, which were held July 6-9 in Atlanta. “It was three or four straight days were I climbed my best.”
The World Championships features three types of disciplines – Lead, Speed and Boulder, the last of which being the youngest category in the group and the one Clarke excels at the most.
No ropes or harnesses are used in Bouldering. In indoor climbing at the youth level, the height is set at 15 feet and safety mats are placed at the bottom to prevent injuries.
Clarke plans to do several fundraisers to accommodate her trip to the World Championships. She has set up a funding account through USA Climbing and plans to place a fundraiser box at the Warehouse Rock Gym, in addition to other activities.
A Running Start student, Clarke graduated in June, receiving both her high school diploma and her Associate of Science (track 2 – Engineering). She will enroll at the University of Washington and pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering, while competing for one final year in youth climbing with USAClimbing.org.
Of course, that will all come after Italy and the World Championships.
“It’s been amazing,” Clarke said about her time in climbing. “It’s not like any other sport. I’ve been really fortunate to have so many great experiences because of it.”
By Kate Scriven
Craft breweries – and craft beer drinkers – are everywhere. The love of high-quality, small-batch beers is embraced around the country, but particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State ranks second nationally with 256 craft breweries and 405,131 barrels produced in 2014. Thurston County is home to at least six craft breweries. And while they boast unique styles, most have one thing in common. The founders started as homebrewers, crafting batches in their basement or filling bottles in their garage.
My family isn’t immune and our garage holds a designated shelf (or two) filled with stainless steel pots, yards of tubing, mysterious coils of copper, and giant spoons. While these items are foreign to me, they represent a beloved hobby for my husband. While he doesn’t brew as much as he’d like, a Saturday spent in the garage cooking a batch with his buddies – watching temperatures and timers, proofing yeasts, scooping grain, and of course sampling – bring peace through a project producing delicious results.
For the past 15 years, the numerous supplies to nurture this hobby have come from Rocky Top Homebrew. Located in West Olympia, the dedicated homebrewing shop was opened 15 years ago by Dave Pendleton. If the name rings a bell it’s because Pendleton, like so many others, has made the leap from brewing at home to brewing as a business. He is the head brewer at Dick’s Brewing Company, a 20+ year anchor in the craft brewing scene located in Centralia.
Pendleton, a Montana native, opened Rocky Top in 2000 after graduating college and relocating to the Puget Sound. His timing was perfect. Homebrewing as a hobby was on the rise. “I learned to brew with my dad when I was in high school,” Pendleton shares. His interest continued and spurred the opening of Rocky Top. The shop grew in size and reputation and customers visited for both consistently high-quality ingredients and supplies and for sound brewing advice from Pendleton.
“We’ve built a relationship with the homebrewing community by taking the time to educate them and to answer their questions,” he shares. “Offering the best customer service we can keeps us number one on people’s lists for supplies.”
For ten years he built these relationships until one day a position opened up for a brewer at Dick’s Brewing. “I thought the interview would just be good practice,” recalls Pendleton. But after 5 minutes of talking with Dick’s Brewing founder, and former homebrewer Dick Young, he had the job. “Dick just said, ‘So, can you be here at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning?’ and of course I said no problem,” he laughs.
While the transition to brewing large scale batches was challenging, he had an excellent mentor in Young and worked hard to learn the systems in the established brewery. The biggest surprise? “I lost about 30 pounds,” shares Pendleton. “It’s hard, physical work brewing batches that big.”
Despite achieving the homebrewers dream of working full-time for a successful craft brewery, Pendleton’s established business at Rocky Top Homebrew was still a priority. He knew he needed continuity of knowledge, customer service, and supply for the Thurston County homebrewing community. Luckily, Pendleton’s original source of brewing inspiration had moved to town – his dad.
Larry Pendleton had retired and made the move from Montana to Olympia to be closer to his kids. Larry, along with Pendleton’s sister Carol O’Sullivan, a fixture at Rocky Top for years, took the reins and have continued to foster the homebrewing culture in our area.
Larry’s experience with brewing began later in life than his son’s. “About 19 years ago, my wife gave me a homebrew setup for Christmas,” he recalls. And while he started slow at first, brewing with Dave at home in Bozeman, Montana, he now cooks up a batch every three weeks or so.
“I’ve never brewed the same beer twice,” he admits. “I like to experiment – it’s part of the fun.” And while his tastes run to more traditional beers, he easily guides Rocky Top customers to a wide variety of ingredients to create beers with exotic flavor profiles.
Rocky Top’s customers range from the novice just starting out to experienced homebrewers. Whatever their stage, brewers find the highest quality grains, ground in-house, a variety of hops, malts, yeasts and even ready-to-brew kits on the well-stocked shelves. The shop even carries supplies for wine, mead and soda.
Larry echoes what most homebrewers enjoy about the hobby. “I love the fun and joy of making a product from start to finish that’s tasty and I can share with friends.”
This passion has fueled several local brewers to launch from Rocky Top Homebrew customers to craft brewery owners including the brewers behind Top Rung Brewing, 3 Magnets Brewing, and Triceretops Brewing Company.
One venue that helps this transition is the annual Dick’s Brewing Company Beer for a Cure Homebrewing Contest benefitting Lewis County Race for a Cure. In its fifth year, the contest allows homebrewers to submit their favorite brews for judging by a panel of experts (Larry and Dave included). The winning recipe will be produced by Dick’s for a limited release at the Centralia tasting room.
Top Rung Brewing’s Hose Chaser Blonde was a past winner and is now a foundation beer for the Lacey brewery. Rules for entry can be found on the Dick’s Brewing website and entries can be dropped off between September 1 – 12 at both the brewery and Rocky Top Homebrew. Winners will be announced on September 19 at the Beer for a Cure event at Dick’s Brewing tasting room from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
If the aroma of yeast, malts and hops fills your home on certain Saturdays and puts a smile on your face, then swing by Rocky Top Homebrew for fresh supplies. Dick’s Brewing is calling all homebrewers to give it their best shot. Who knows? You could win, realizing the homebrewers dream: your beer on tap for all to enjoy.
Rocky Top Homebrew
1617 Harrison Ave NW in Olympia
Open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
By Esti Izuagbe
How do you feed four growing boys? Lots of pizza, according to MOD Pizza founders Scott and Ally Svenson. The business was an experiment of the husband/wife team that quickly took off.
Now, MOD Pizza has recently launched a restaurant in Lacey that has quickly become popular among local residents. The MOD Squad (the people who work there) make it feel like a family friendly environment and it is especially popular with Timberline High School students.
My friend had two free pizza coupons and wanted to try it out so I tagged along. As soon as I opened the doors I was greeted by the employees. They were smiling ear to ear and were ready to get to work. There was soft, upbeat music playing in the background. All the employees appeared to be in a good mood and I watched them prepare my pizza. I knew I wanted a pizza with a lot of vegetables on it and that’s exactly what I got because I could build my own pizza.
The location was spacious and had a comfortable setting. The large windows allowed me to take a look outside, so I did not feel caged in. They had tables with standing umbrellas outside which was convenient for sunny days. After my first bite, I was hooked.
Local teenager, Isabelle Morrison, first discovered MOD Pizza when she was in Puyallup. She was very excited to find out that one had opened in Lacey. “I think it’s a really cool idea because it’s kind of like a Subway for pizza; you can decide what you want on your own pizza,” she says. “It’s better than ordering pizza with a ton of people because each person gets their own. It’s filling, so everyone’s happy.”
Morrison claimed that her first experience with Summerwalk’s MOD Pizza was comforting. Another thing she really liked about this place was the design. “I think this is a really social design. They designed everything in a really open way. There’s a garage-type window that opens so you can sit outside when it’s nice out, which is really cool for the summer.”
For people who have never been to MOD Pizza, she really recommends it. “I think kids would think this is really cool because you get to make your own pizza,” describes Morrison.
Mason Kuenstler, a Timberline junior, heard about MOD Pizza through close friends. His favorite pizza to get is the Dillon James, which includes ingredients like asiago cheese and fresh chopped basil.
Kuenstler says he keeps coming back because “I love the atmosphere, the food is good, and everyone is friendly.” He is fond of his first experience here because he was with family and it was smooth sailing from beginning to end. “If you’re looking for a good place to (relax) in, good people, good food then this is the place to go to.”
5128 Yelm Hwy SE in Lacey
Open Sunday – Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
By Grant Clark
And it’s having the reverse effect on Kelsi Stockert.
“I’m a couple meters away and I’m watching the intensity in their eyes. They’re singing their hearts out,” said Stockert about her recent match as a member of the United States national team against New Zealand. “It’s inspiring. All I can think about is how this is where I’ve always wanted to be.”
It’s been a whirlwind summer so far for Stockert. And one of the biggest realizations is how badly she needs a passport.
Stockert, a 2011 graduate of Tumwater High School, opened June by traveling to Virginia to participate in the inaugural National All-Star Competition – a week-long event put on by USA Rugby with a goal of selecting players for the national team.
More than 200 of the nation’s top rugby players were invited.
Stockert was one of the few who flew home with a luggage full of USA Rugby gear.
Two weeks later, she finds herself in Calgary, Alberta playing for the US National Team – known as the Eagles – in the Women’s Super Series against the likes of England, who are the reigning world champions, Canada and the aforementioned New Zealand squad.
“In a matter of a month it seemed as if all my dreams came true,” Stockert said. “It’s been unbelievable.”
Stockert’s rugby story begins about a decade ago when a friend convinced her to “just try it once.”
She already had the pedigree for the physical side of the sport – credit older brothers and a childhood filled with “roughhousing” for that.
She did all the sports leading up to that moment – volleyball, gymnastics, track. Heck, she even wrestled her sophomore year of high school. But one seemingly innocent trip to a Budd Bay Rugby practice changed everything.
“I was planning on doing track that spring, but the moment I tried rugby, I dropped all the other sports,” Stockert said. “It was such a different sports environment than what I was used to. All you have out there is your mouth guard and your teammates to protect you. It truly is a family.”
Stockert, who was also a cheerleader at Tumwater High School, rose through the ranks of Budd Bay, starting out with the Steelheads, the organization’s U19 team, during her high school years before advancing to the Bandits, Budd Bay’s women team.
“She always gave 115 percent at practice and more during games,” said Dan Smith, President of Budd Bay RFC, when describing Stockert. “She rallies her teammates to work harder and support each other – always giving a nod of encouragement when it’s needed most.”
Eventually, Stockert moved on to her current team, the Seattle Saracens squad. This decision significantly altered her travel schedule as she now frequently travels up and down I-5, logging 700 miles a week in the process.
Days usually begin at 4:30 a.m. when she makes the trek north to train with the Seattle Saracens. Then back south for her day job in Olympia at Budd Bay Promotions and Apparel, followed by some more training at night and matches on the weekends.
“It’s been worth it. To finally see everything pay off, it’s completely been worth it – a dream come true,” said Stockert, who juggles the rugby schedule while also being a mother to 3-year-old daughter Lily. “I’m incredibly lucky to have such a great support system behind me – my family and my adopted rugby family. I couldn’t do any of this without them.”
Stockert was one of six Seattle Saracens players invited to the USA Rugby National All Star Camp at James Madison University in June. It marked the biggest gathering in USA Rugby history for the Women’s National Team with the lone goal of determining the nation’s elite players.
“When I went there I just was excited to have the chance to train with the top athletes in the nation,” Stockert said. “The last night the coaches pulled me aside and told me I was selected for the national team.”
Elated, Stockert accepted. And then it dawned on her.
“I don’t have a passport,” Stockert said. “All I had was an enhanced license. I had to drive up to Vancouver and cross the boarder there and fly to Calgary. I need to get a passport.”
She certainly does especially considering her plans over the next few years which involve making the US National Team for both the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2017 World Cup in Ireland.
“Kelsi will make an impact on any team – on and off the pitch,” Smith said. “She’s a strong and intelligent athlete, a dedicated teammate and a tremendous mom. When Kelsi’s around, she raises the bar and we have to keep up.”
By Isabelle Morrison
Christina and Catherina Ed are two incoming college freshmen who are bound for success, and seeing as a new school year is right around the corner, they’re here to share their high school (primarily senior year) experience and advice.
The Ed sisters graduated from Timberline High School with valedictorian status in June 2015, and will be attending Gonzaga University (Christina) and the University of Washington (Catherina) this fall.
The girls have also collected a plethora of scholarships; both sisters received the Fort Lewis Family Member scholarship, scholarships from the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, and scholarships from the North Thurston Education Foundation. In addition, Christina received the Gonzaga University Merit Grant, and GU Regents scholarship.
Catherina acknowledges that these accomplishments weren’t just handed to them. “I think being in sports all four years and being involved in orchestra and clubs like the National Honors Society is what helped.”
Obviously their consistently flawless GPA’s played a role as well. Having the motivation to maintain a 4.0 throughout all of high school is very difficult. “I knew the end goal was valedictorian status. During my first year, I just did my work and got all A’s. But, when i reached the 3-year mark, I realized that if I lost my 4.0 now it would be so disappointing. I thought I might as well keep pushing,” shares Christina.
Although school involvement and grade point averages are two big factors when applying for colleges and scholarships, Catherina agrees that the quality and timing of your application submissions are of equal importance. “I got every single one of my college essays edited by my teachers,” says Catherina. “I think I stressed myself out too much,” she adds. “As long as you do everything early and not wait until the last minute, you’ll be fine”.
When it came to actually choosing a college, distance away from home and smaller class sizes are what influenced Christina’s decision to attend Gonzaga. She also wanted to go to a different school than her sister. “We decided that this was a good time to split up,” she explains. “It was a better time to do it now than after another four years.”
Catherina had some crucial advice about college visits and choosing which schools to apply for. “I think high schoolers should visit the campuses before applying. I applied to all of these schools and when I visited them I ended up not even wanting to go there. It was a waste of time and stress – and a big waste of money.”
Leaving your home and family behind for college is already a challenge, but imagine having to separate from someone who you share everything with and has always been by your side? “I think at first I’m going to have a lot more anxiety,” describes Christina about leaving her twin sister. “When I meet new people I can be shy, but I usually have Catherina to help me add on to conversations. It’s going to be difficult not having someone I’m so comfortable and familiar with, but it’s good because I need to get out of my comfort zone.”
Though they’re going to miss each other, the Ed sisters are both excited to gain independence, meet new people, and try new things in the fall. Catherina is especially looking forward to UW lecture halls, and Christina, the flexibility of a college class schedule.
Both sisters are planning to study in the pre-medicine track.
Submitted by Jorstad Creek
Jorstad Creek announces the grand opening of their new dye studio, open to the public to individuals, groups, and scheduled tours on Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m, beginning July 24. Located behind the Fish Tale Pub at 414 1/2 Legion Way SE, Jorstad Creek has converted this former espresso stand and dance club into a beautiful new location for their yarn manufacturing and retail outlet.
Jorstad Creek formed as a business four years ago, and made its debut with hand-dyed and locally grown wool yarns at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival in Tacoma, Washington. Since then the company has focused on building a market of enthusiastic knitters for locally grown yarn from nearby farms as well as luxury imported artisan dyed yarns. “Stepping in to having our own public location is huge for us. Until now we’ve been traveling the state to fiber shows and meeting people in their communities. Now we will be able to show our own community we are happy to live and work here. I am also hoping the many friends made at these shows will come to Olympia to see the studio, try the yarns, see new seasonal colors, and knit awhile in the knitting lounge,” stated Kerry Graber, owner.
Jorstad Creek yarns can be found in three yarn stores in the northwest: Yorkshire Yarns in Tacoma, Maker’s Mercantile in Renton, and Bazaar Girls in Port Townsend. The company expanded into wholesale with the help of these three local yarns stores, and looks to expand into more stores with the much larger studio space for production. “The knitting community is very networked and supportive of local businesses. More than that, knitter’s encourage each other and provide a creative energy that fuels enthusiasm for this craft. I hope the new studio space inspires visitors as well as the local designers I work with to create knitting patterns through the BK Collective. We work together to publish inspired projects for knitters,” added Graber.
Individuals or groups interested in visiting the studio can drop in during regular hours, or schedule a tour by contacting Jorstad Creek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-451-4146 during business hours.
By Douglas Scott
On July 25 and 26, the pioneer spirit comes to Tenino for the historic city’s Oregon Trail Days. Held the fourth weekend of July annually, the Puget Sound Free Trappers and the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce host an annual historic celebration. With a parade, fantastic events for kids of all ages, and exposure to the rich history of Tenino, Oregon Trail Days is a fantastic weekend destination.
“Oregon Trail Days represents our region by inviting local talent from traders, musicians, farmers, and crafters to display those talents in one area,” said Maria Chambers, a chair member for this year’s event. “It is a cost-effective way for families to get out and enjoy spending time together that gives all ages a little something fun to do.”
Maria, who has been with Oregon Trail Days for seven years, is excited for this year’s event. Sponsored by Key Bank, Pink Winner, and Wayne Fournier for Mayor, this year is shaping up to be the event’s most popular year. Thanks to the sponsors, an expanded kid area will make this an awesome experience for the entire family.
“I’m most looking forward to seeing an increase in attendance and the reactions to the expanded kid zone,” said Maria, explaining that one of the exciting features is running inside a giant inflatable ball. “Seeing the Tenino Depot Museum get some much needed attention is always a very inspiring time.”
If the inflatable kids area isn’t where you want to hang out, Tenino’s Oregon Trail Days have some great historical pastimes to practice, such as making ice cream, cutting shakes, stonecutting, and much more. To cap that off, the Puget Sound Free Trappers will be supervising kids of all ages as they shoot black powder rifles at targets.
Visit on Saturday, July 25 to fish in the pond or partake in the popular Oregon Trail Days Parade. The parade steps off at 11:00 a.m.
“Oregon Trail Days kicks off with a parade down our main street where people come from as far as Morton and Aberdeen to participate,” Maria said. “There will be lots of candy and toys for kids, as well as floats and our own hometown T90 Motorcycle Drill Team.” Participating in the parade is something that is a badge of honor to the city.
The community now known as Tenino say its first settler in 1849 placed his homestead directly on the old Oregon Trail. The man, Steven Hodgden, also became the city’s first postmaster in 1860. Since then, Tenino’s history reads like a novel, with amazing stories making the town famous. During the Great Depression, the bank in town handed out wooden money when they ran out of legal tender.
While you probably won’t be getting slices of cedar back as change, there will be plenty of entertaining and historical events going on throughout the weekend. Tenino’s Oregon Trail Days are a great way to celebrate the last weekend of July, while embracing Thurston County’s history.
When you arrive stop at the kiosk in the park to get a passport which will help you map out the perfect day in Tenino. The event is a great place to take the family out for the weekend. With a playground and a pool in the park, the park is a cool place for everyone. Trees casting shade will help everyone cool off, as will the bites of homemade ice cream you and your kids made a few minutes earlier.
This weekend, head down to Tenino and make some great memories while remembering the past. Celebrating Tenino’s Oregon Trail history with the Puget Sound Free Trappers and Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce promises to be a great time for all, and with a great line-up of events, might just become your annual tradition.
Tenino’s Oregon Trail Days
Saturday, July 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 26 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Find a more detailed schedule of events on the Oregon Trail Days Facebook page.
“There are certain things people just don’t want to clean,” chuckles Drew Freemantle. He and his wife Tonya, own Maid Perfect, a residential and commercial cleaning company that serves the Olympia-area.
“Extra scrubbing in the shower, rings in the toilets, microwaves, burner rings, baseboards, tops of fan blades – these are all places that tend to get ignored,” says Drew, adding that Maid Perfect’s mission is to provide a thorough cleaning from a company you can trust.
“With the cleaning business, it’s trust. That’s huge,” says Drew. “We have an anti-snoop policy. We don’t make judgments and we don’t snoop.”
Drew also stated that confidentiality and a no-solicitation policy are other practices of trust and professional standards the company abides by.
The couple, who have been married 24 years, have two grown kids and four dogs, went into business for themselves eight years ago, when Drew decided to go back to college at the age of 40. Their entrepreneurial spirit served them well as they raised their family and continued to grow their business.
Now, their business is nearly all referral-based, with upwards of 40 regular clients. Maid Perfect employs one other person besides Drew and Tonya and they work in pairs or as a group. After eight years of owning their own business, plus a decade of combined janitorial experience, the Freemantles are cleaning and customer service experts.
The process starts with a free, walk-through consultation that takes about 30 minutes. If a client decides to move forward, the first cleaning is always a deep clean, and then follow-ups are scheduled for maintenance. Bi-weekly cleanings are the most popular service and usually take about two hours, and Drew says the cost is not as much as people think. Weekly cleanings and one-time cleanings like move-outs are also available.
“Open communication is a big thing with our clients,” says Drew. “We’re here to clean for them and make it what they want.”
When the Freemantles’ aren’t making homes and businesses sparkly and clean, they are outdoors, (they just got a travel trailer) exploring places like Cannon Beach or Lake Cushman. And Hawaii has been a favorite vacation 14 times.
They are constantly inspired by their four dogs – a basset hound, dachshund, boxer and Chihuahua – so much that the couple has also recently opened their own line of dog treats, 4 Hungry Dogs, specializing in natural, gluten-free goodies with flavors including pumpkin and spinach.
A love of animals has even helped relationships with cleaning clients evolve into pet-sitting arrangements. It’s this type of customer trust, and communication that are at the heart of Maid Perfect. The Freemantles wouldn’t have it any other way.
While Maid Perfect is growing, Drew says they will always keep their cleaning teams small, noting that trust includes having less people in your home. (Some companies will put five or six people on a team).
“We want to maintain that small, personal edge,” says Drew. “We have really great relationships with our clients. We’re always checking up and making sure things are the way they wanted.”
For more information on Maid Perfect, check out their website or call 360-402-6248.
Follow Maid Perfect on Facebook for tips (did you know peanut butter can remove tape residue?) and deals, like bathroom plus kitchen specials.
FREE event at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E. in downtown Olympia.
Orca Books is delighted to welcome geologist Dave Tucker, who will be talking about his new book "Geology Underfoot in Western Washington," a popular field guide to 22 geologic sites, including the Mima Mounds, Rainbow Falls State Park, and others near Olympia.
In "Geology Underfoot in Western Washington", the most recent addition to the Geology Underfoot series, author and geoscientist Dave Tucker narrates western Washington's geologic tales, covering sites from its low-lying shorelines to its rugged mountaintops. The book's 22 chapters, or vignettes, lead you to easily accessible stops along Washington's highways and some trails, too. A healthy dose of full-color illustrations and photos compliments the author's illuminating prose, further demystifying Washington's geologic wonders. With Geology Underfoot in Western Washington in hand, you'll soon feel like an Evergreen State geology expert.
Dave Tucker has a Master's Degree in geology and is a research associate in the geology department at Western Washington University. He is a director of the Mount Baker Volcano Research Center, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that raises funds to support research at the active volcano and educate the public about volcanic hazards of Mount Baker. Tucker has been mapping Baker's geology since the mid-1990's, in particular the distribution of volcanic ash deposits. He leads public field trips and gives presentations about the geology of northwest Washington, and is author of the blog, Northwest Geology Field Trips.Google Plus One Facebook Like
The successful ThurstonTalk model is expanding into Lewis County. We’re seeking writers now to join our team.
LewisTalk publishes positive stories about people, businesses and organizations doing good things in communities around Centralia, Chehalis and Lewis County. Our stories are published online and distributed via social media.
Our ThurstonTalk platform reaches more than 300,000 viewers each month – people that want to know about great things happening around us.
Due date to apply is Friday, July 31.
In our hurried, changeable age, celebrating 40 years of small business success is a rare treat. For the last four decades, downtown Olympia’s Radiance Herbs and Massage has been serving shoppers from near and far in body, mind, and spirit.
Now it’s time to celebrate.
Whether you’re in the market for quality global gifts, skincare products, books, or herbs and supplements from their array of more than 250 bulk herbs, follow your nose and step into a jewel-toned world of health, healing, and treasures from around the globe. (To read more about Radiance’s delights, click here .)
A large part of the store’s continued success is due to Radiance’s welcoming and educated staff. Radiance is home to one of the most experienced massage clinics in Olympia that average more than 16 years of experience in the trade. For example, employee Kerri Ward Merill is celebrating 25 years with Radiance and herbal educator and team leader Carol Trasatto has been at the shop for more than 20 years.
Unsure where to start? Store owner Karin Olsen and her team of 25 provide classes taught by employees and local experts on everything from foods (teas, kombucha, and herbs), to hands-on soap making and basic aromatherapy. These courses are typically offered in the spring and fall as “affordable education about natural living and herbal medicine,” explains Olsen.
“We have very stringent values around having products that are really good for the planet and the person,” says Olsen proudly. “We’re a place where people come for self-healing and to find things to help them on their path.” This success is what has kept their business thriving for generations.
On Saturday, July 25, Radiance will host their 40th anniversary festivities in Olympia’s Sylvester Park. From 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., the music of Mukana Marimba turns the park into a free, open to everyone, celebration with staff members, devoted customers, and anyone curious about all the shop has to offer.
“This is our opportunity to celebrate with Olympia,” says Olsen excitedly. “We’ve been supported by our community. Now we can show our gratitude for those many years.” Strongly committed to our region, the store has charitably supported more than 130 local organizations throughout the years.
Whether you’re a first-timer or a life-timer, drop by for cupcakes, music, dancing, fun, and gorgeously drawn henna tattoos.
At Radiance Herbs and Massage, you’ll find both the space to grow and all the tools and training to help you on your way.
Questions about gift items, bulk orders, or upcoming classes can be directed to 360-357-5250. Massage services from one of their experienced practitioners can be scheduled seven days a week by calling 360-357-9470.
You are invited to come help us celebrate how far we have come in our efforts to restore the Deschutes estuary and watershed! We’ll be at the Tumwater Historic Park at Shelter #2.
Games, food, and updates on estuary restoration will fill the time. A perfect time to network with other restoration enthusiasts!
Bring a dish or snacks to share. There will be some cooking facilities if needed.
DERT will provide some main course food, juice, coffee, tea, plates and eating utensils.
We would love to see you there and to fill you in on the latest DERT happenings!
If you have questions please email email@example.com
Friends, family, & acquaintances welcome. There is also a play area for the kids!
By Kathryn Millhorn
The sights, sounds, and smells of the Thurston County Fair embody summertime. Whether it’s happy shrieks from the carnival rides, sweet cream-topped scones, or the warm hay smell of freshly brushed show animals, it’s a perfect mid-point to the season.
But the Thurston County Fair offers more than easy amusement on a balmy afternoon. It can also be a tremendous learning tool both for participants and attendees.
Theresa Reid is the Fair Event Coordinator and has been with the organization for more than 10 years. She loves that “fairs have been around forever to share ideas and thoughts.” She has been part of this continuity herself, having participated in 4H showings as an elementary school student.
Whether it’s opening young minds to animals they’ve never seen before or providing examples of sustainable gardening through GRuB’s raised garden beds or the Olympia Beekeeper’s Association’s pollinator’s garden, the Fair can teach us so much.
Students across the country have long participated in regional fairs as part of the 4-H Program. Locally, Dianna Ullery, the WSU 4-H Youth Development Program Coordinator, agrees that “county fairs have always been an opportunity for members to show what they’ve learned during the year. They keep very busy during fair days, showing animals, doing public presentations and demonstrations, feeding and caring for animals, keeping the barns neat and clean, supporting their friends and siblings, finding their favorite fair foods, and having a great time. For many members the Thurston County Fair is the culminating experience of their 4-H year.”
This partnership also benefits local homeschooling families. Ullery continues, “Families can start family learning clubs, learning cooperatives, or join community clubs to support their children’s interests and learning. 4-H is a natural fit for homeschooling families because of our long history of experiential, hands-on learning.”
Thurston County 4-H Teen Club member Kelly Byrne has found that “4-H has opened many doors for me to grow as a leader and a person. Few other activities teach you about how to teach others what you know, how to lead a group and teamwork.”
“I owe pretty much everything I know to 4-H the adults and older teen leaders around me and for sure it’s changed me a lot, for the better,” continues Byrne. “Naturally I’m a shy, quiet person. But in 4-H I’ve learned speaking skills that help me get through talking in public and has actually made that one of my favorite things to do.”
By having members on-site to answer questions, assist in hands-on activities, and show their wares, clubs educate both the public and their members through face-to-face interaction.
Outside of the 4-H experience, the Thurston County Fair strives to meet what Reid calls their “overall goal as an educational place.” Their Passport Program for youth under 18 rewards visitors who stop at locations around the grounds. There is also a museum on site with memorabilia from more than 130 years of Fair history. The Thurston County Fair Foundation will also host Americana activities like watermelon seed spitting and pie-eating contests and old-fashioned games for fair-goers.
Reid and the other Fair volunteers love that “people come back year after year” for the vendors, food, and “to educate themselves about local businesses.” There are concerts, a Diaper Derby, and even a ‘Picture Yourself at the Thurston County Fair’ selfie contest.
Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1 is the third annual Savor South Sound event featuring local beer, wine, cider, and salmon for the 21+ crowd looking to educate themselves about our region’s hops, grapes, and fish.
This year’s Thurston County Fair takes place from Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, August 2. There are discount days for admission, rides, and activities because, as Reid stresses, “we want to make sure everybody can participate.”
Call the Fair office with any questions at 360-786-5453 or visit their website for directions.
Jeanette Laffoon was tired of practicing law. It was the mid-1990s, and all she wanted to do was stay home, look after her newborn daughter, and sew quilts.
“The law I was practicing—corporate, litigation, and franchise law—was all about business and less about helping individuals,” said Laffoon. “Just when I decided to quit, a friend who worked for Legal Services called and asked if I would be willing to start a Hospital Project in Denver. The job involved interviewing hospital patients who were unable to pay their bills. Many of them, we discovered, were legally disabled and qualified for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI),” she said.
Laffoon came to love the law again because of the joy she received helping people who had a physical or mental impairment qualify for disability.
In 1999, Elie Halpern & Associates PLLC offered Laffoon a job practicing SSD and SSI law in Olympia. She accepted the offer, and she and her family left Denver. “After living in a large city for so long, we were relieved to get to a small town with clean air, clean water and huge trees,” she said.
In 2005, Stephen Maddox approached Laffoon and asked her to join his practice so that he could begin easing into retirement. She said yes, and Stephen A. Maddox, Attorney at Law became Maddox & Laffoon, P.S. Ten years later, Maddox is still practicing, though no longer taking new clients, and ten years later, Laffoon is very happy practicing law though she makes sure to find time to sew quilts. “I love my work. We have an awesome staff and we get to help people every day,” she said.
Helping Claimants Qualify for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Disability
Laffoon loves her work because she is impacting individual lives on a daily basis by helping people who are unable to work pursue SSD and SSI disability benefits.
For 33 percent of claimants, the process is pretty straightforward and they will not necessarily need legal representation. Claimants begin the process on their own by going to the local Social Security office and applying in person, or applying online. However, if they want help from the beginning, the team at Maddox & Laffoon are ready to help.
Most of Maddox & Laffoon’s clients are not working because of mental or physical impairment. But the majority of their cases are mental impairment cases—organic brain disorder, anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD—because the functional limitations are harder to quantify. She explains, “If someone goes into Social Security and says, ‘I can’t work because I have stage four cancer,’ that is easy to quantify. However, if someone goes into Social Security and says, ‘I can’t work because I’m severely depressed,’ that is more difficult to quantify and usually those cases need legal representation.”
The Application Process: Initial Approval, Request for Reconsideration, Court Hearing
Here’s the bottom line: At the initial application stage, only one in three claimants receive approval, a denial rate of 66 percent. At this point the claimant has the option to apply for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial date.
“We get a lot of people in our office after a denial, often in tears because they don’t know what to do next and the process appears so complicated and overwhelming,” said Laffoon.
If the claimant receives a denial after reconsideration the next step is to go to an administrative hearing in Tacoma. “At this point, if the claimant doesn’t have a representative, they really need to get one,” said Laffoon.
Laffoon notes that there is no payment upfront for legal representation. You only pay a fee—a percentage of a back-award—if they win your case. The team at Maddox & Laffoon have over 35 years of success, experience which can make all the difference in the quality of life for a person who can no longer work.
Court Hearing: Local Representation Recommended
Laffoon is proud of the law community in Olympia. She said, “We have very good attorneys locally.” And while she hopes Thurston County residents seeking SSD or SSI disability will choose Maddox & Laffoon to represent them, if they don’t she stresses the need to find local representation.
She explains why, “At the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Tacoma, only 10 different administrative law judges conduct SSD and SSI hearings. We know, for instance, that one administrative law judge approves 17% of his cases, while another approves 72%. It is imperative that the claimant utilize a local law firm to represent them, a firm that knows these judges and knows what to expect.”
“There are national firms that are headquartered in Florida or New York,” she continued. “They advertise on television and buy up a lot of ad space online. They have intake call centers that walk you through the application process, which is fine, but here is the problem that I hear from clients who tried that route: You need to have the ability to meet with your attorney before the hearing, and you need local representatives who have good working relationships with local physicians and therapists from whom we obtain medical records before the hearing.”
“At the end of the day, local representation can make all the difference,” Laffoon stressed.
Laffoon and her team will not take a case they don’t think they can win, but she encourages people to at least stop by and take the first step towards disability if they simply cannot work. She admits that it can be a difficult step for many people to take, especially if work was their life. She said, “I’ve seen 50-year-old men who’ve worked their entire career in logging, but now have a bad back. They do not want to be here. Work was their life. I know it can be hard to get help, but at the end of the day it may be worth it.”
Jeanette Laffoon and the Maddox & Laffoon team can be reached at 360-786-8276 for a consultation on your Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Learn more on the Maddox & Laffoon website.
By Madeleine Elliott
Three days a week, girls from Capital High School’s cross country team meet to go running around Olympia. Official team training does not begin until August, but it is a tradition for team members to get together during the summer to prepare for the season. Both returning runners and new members of the team are welcome. In fact, new members are encouraged to come to the runs early (and often) in the summer so they can get to know the team. So far, this tradition has paid off.
From the outside running seems like a solitary activity, but the team is an important aspect of cross country. “Our team is really like a family,” says Amy Stock, a senior at Capital who will be one of three team captains in the fall. “It’s really one of the nicest teams I’ve ever been on.”
Sarah Paquet, a junior at Capital who started running with Capital’s girls four years ago as a part of their middle school program, also emphasizes the importance of the team. “It’s a team and you have people you’re accountable for. You learn a bunch of different skills, a lot of new things, other than just running by yourself.”
Running in the summer is much more casual than it is in the fall. Rather than moving through structured workouts, team members like introducing new runners to their favorite routes or going for hikes together, like one they took to Lena Lake in July. And there is no pressure to show up for every run. “It’s something to do in the summer,” says Sarah. Amy jokes, “Otherwise I’d be incredibly lazy during the summer.”
Summer running also helps build a foundation for the runners. Exercising two to three days per week during the summer helps ease them back into running so they will be ready for practice six days a week the minute the season begins in August. And they take that literally. Each year, official training begins with the Midnight Run, where the team meets at midnight to run a lap around the track at Capital for the first practice under the instruction of coach Kevin Wright. This is the kind of dedication that has sent Capital’s girls cross country team to the state meet for 15 years in a row.
Three girls from the team—Amy, Sarah, and Jamie Schueler, also a senior at Capital who will be another of the team captains—shared their favorite summer runs.
The run that Sarah picked is the longest of the three. They call it Ken Lake because of its destination. She describes the route by saying, “[starting from Capital] we run up Kaiser and we go down this trail to Ken Lake.” It is an especially good run in the summer, when the lake can provide some much needed refreshment. After running all the way back to Capital, the distance covered can be between 4 – 5 miles, depending on whether the run was just to the lake or all the way around it.
Jamie’s run, one called Grasslake, also has a variable length. “We run from [Capital] and down to the Grasslake neighborhood,” she says. “And there’s a loop back there, in the trails. We can do however many loops… and then we run back.” The Grasslake run can be 3.5 – 4.5 miles depending on the number of trail loops, making it a good medium between Sarah’s run and Amy’s route.
“I guess my favorite run is a run that we call Hospital,” Amy says. It gets its name because the roads they take lead around the Capital Medical Center in West Olympia. Starting and ending in Capital’s parking lot, “we kind of make a block around the local hospital,” Amy says. The run is about 3 miles, which puts it on the shorter end of a typical practice run for the cross country girls. Its length is similar to the 3.1 mile (five kilometer) length of a cross country race. “I like it because it was the first run I ever did, and we do it a lot,” Amy adds.
For the Capital High School girls cross country team, summer is a time for getting into shape and getting to know each other. Running and hiking together has helped the team build a strong foundation. The team has a long-standing reputation for being friendly and inclusive, and it starts with the encouragement and support passed down among the runners. Capital’s girls make sure every runner knows they matter. And when every runner matters, every runner can do great things.
Submitted by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
For over five decades, the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce has been honored to partner with the Olympia Yacht Club to host local military personnel, at Foofaraw, an event unmatched anywhere else in the world. Always the first Friday after Labor Day, we will be shoving off from the Olympia Yacht Club main station for the 53rd year on Friday, September 11.
One dictionary defines Foofaraw as “much ado about nothing” and, at one point in history the official “purpose” of the day, claimed that a “Foofarite [military attendee] has earned the right to say ‘Foof’ to all duties and responsibilities for one day each year.”
Foofaraw has grown to be well known throughout the United States armed forces including the 62nd & 446th Air Force divisions, the Western Air Defense Sector, Bangor Naval Station, Madigan Army Medical Center, the Washington National Guard and among many others from Joint Base Lewis McChord. Guests are transported by yacht club members to Island Home, where they are treated to a full day of games, served a terrific salmon BBQ lunch, and honored by local dignitaries. We average two service members to every one civilian.
For the last several years, the Port of Olympia has shown their gratitude of service to our military by arranging an unofficial sendoff including representatives from local police, medic, and fire departments and always hanging a large American flag from one of their cranes.
Sponsor tickets for this year’s event are limited and available to Chamber Members only, and we are collecting donations for the free military raffle that takes place throughout the day.
For more information about Foofaraw or to make a donation, please call the Chamber at 360.357.3362.
Submitted by South Puget Sound Community College
On June 30, the Washington state Legislature approved a first-ever tuition reduction at state colleges and universities in the 2015-17 state budget. Tuition costs at SPSCC and the 33 other state community and technical colleges will drop by 5-percent beginning this fall.
Currently, the average tuition at Washington state community and technical colleges is $3,217 per quarter (tuition reflects only the tuition rate, not including additional fees). That would become a $3,056 average in the 2015-17 biennium. For SPSCC specifically, the new tuition rates will be $102.75 per credit for Washington residents, and $115.98 per credit for non-resident tuition.
That all adds up to significant savings for current and prospective students.
“This tuition reduction is greatly needed to support students’ access to education,” SPSCC Vice President for Student Services Dave Pelkey said. “It presents a great opportunity for all students but has the potential to significantly help our most vulnerable students achieve their educational goals.”
SPSCC High School Relations and Outreach Program Manager Christina Winstead agreed.
“Five percent may not sound like a lot of money to some, but every little bit helps,” she said. “To put it in perspective, students will be saving about $75 each quarter if they are a full-time student. Over the course of the school year that is $225 that can pay for some textbooks, a babysitter during finals, or even help with bills. It makes me happy to know that students will pay less next year to work towards their educational goals.”