Recent local blog posts

Feeling Crabby? Head to Nearby Hood Canal to Catch Dungeness Crab

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:00am



By Margo Greenman

waterfront at potlatch lucky dogCrab cakes, crab melts, deviled crab and crab dip are just a few different ways you can prepare and devour the ten-legged crustaceans. But before you get your hands messy in the kitchen, load up your gear and get your hands wet by catching your own Dungeness crab in the Hood Canal.

Hood Canal crabbing, which opened on June 15, is a great way to enjoy a sunny, summer day on the water before creating a summertime spread in your backyard.

hood canal crab

Dungeness crabbing on Hood Canal is open Thursday through Monday now through September 7.

Crabbing, which the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife explains is “one of the Puget Sound’s most popular recreational fisheries,” is a favorite pastime for many and an exciting new adventure for others. If you’re just getting ready to set your pots for the first time — or if it’s been a while and you need a quick refresher — there are a few things you should remember before dropping your crab pots.

Getting Ready

Before you hit the water, there are a few items you will need for a fun, successful day of crabbing around the Hood Canal. First and foremost, you must have a fishing license. Fishing licenses vary in price depending on whether you purchase a one-day or annual pass. For fishing license types and prices, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife online.

In addition to a fishing license, you’ll also need a gauge for measuring your crab. It is illegal to collect Dungeness crabs that are smaller than six-and-one-quarter-inches across. Using a gauge like this one will ensure that your crabs meet the required measurement. You’ll also want to educate yourself on the difference between what male and female crabs look like, as collecting female crabs is prohibited. This illustration on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website will help you identify the difference.

Finally, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife requires that crabbers record their haul on a Catch Record Card before reporting their catch (even if it’s zero) online.

hood canal crab

To ensure a successful retrieval, set your crab pots in areas free of strong currents and heavy boat traffic. Photo credit: Kate Scriven.

Gear Up

In addition to items required by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper equipment for catching Dungeness crab. While there are several ways to catch crab, crab pots are the most common. You can find crab pots and the equipment that goes with them – red and white crab buoys (so you can find your pots after you drop them), line (so you can pull your pots back up) and biodegradable escapement devices (e.g. a pot lid hook) – at most sporting goods stores.

Make sure to bring along some good bait and a cooler with ice to store your haul in. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says fish carcasses, clams and squid work best for baiting crabs, but chicken and turkey work, too.

While packing these things, don’t forget other essentials that you’ll need while out in the boat. Food, water and sunscreen are all a must if you want to make the most of your day.

Where to Go

hood canal crab

A day crabbing on the Hood Canal is a fun-filled activity for the whole family.

You’re all packed up and ready to go, but where do you go? The Hood Canal — or Marine Area 12 — can be accessed from several different launch sites around the area. These launch sites, which include the Skokomish Park at Potlatch, Quilcene Marina and Twanoh State Park among others, are all listed on the overview page for Marine Area 12 on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

Once you’re in the water, the Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends following a few easy steps that will make dropping (and retrieving) your crab pots easy and fun.

First, be sure to set your crab pots in areas free of strong currents and heavy boat traffic. Pots that are set in these areas are more likely to get lost. To ensure retrieval of your pots, the Department and Fish and Wildlife recommends: knowing your water depth, using the correct length of line, using extra buoys where strong currents are present, and using a GPS system to mark your buoys.

Once you pull up your pots, remember that you can only collect male crabs that are at least six-and-one-quarter-inches across. Each licensed crabber on board your watercraft can keep up to five male crabs.

hood canal crab

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife allows licensed crabbers to catch up to five male crabs that are no smaller than six-and-a-quarter-inches across.

Head Home (or Stay a While)

After you’ve (hopefully) collected your limit for the day, don’t forget to report your Catch Record Card online.

You can clean the crab before you cook it, but cooking it first is easier. If it’s your first time, there are lots of great tutorials on YouTube that demonstrate how to cook and clean crab, step-by-step.

Once you’ve cooked and cleaned the crab, the options for preparation are endless. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll opt for eating it fresh with a side of garlic butter (don’t forget the napkins).

If you decide to stay a while, be sure to keep your crabs in the cooler until you can properly cook and clean them. There are lots of nearby campsites where you and your family can enjoy feasting on fresh-caught crab cooked over an open fire. Nearby Potlatch State Park and Dosewallips State Park are just a hop, skip and a jump away, and each provides the perfect setting for a moonlit crab feast.

For further lodging options, visit

The Hood Canal Dungeness crab season is open Thursday through Monday now through September 7. For more information about rules and regulations, boat launches and more, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife online.


Sisters Madison and Maia Nichols Headed to National Beach Volleyball Tournament

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

edge fitness logoHolly Nichols used to joke about needing a timeshare in California. Trips to the Golden State, however, have become more frequent, turning the once punchline into a likely possibility.

“We would always kid around about it,” Holly said, “but lately it doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea.”

Credit beach volleyball, and her two daughters’ success in the sport, for the change of heart.

The Pacific Northwest offers plenty of outdoor activities. Beach volleyball is not one that immediately springs to mind.

beach volleyball nichols

Madison and Maia Nichols qualified for the BVCA championships in Hermosa Beach, California on July 7-9 by winning their division at a regional tournament June 21 at Alki Beach.

That didn’t prevent Holly’s daughters Maia, 13, and Madison, 12, from taking up the sport, and despite the minimal availability of local sand, after only a few years the Olympia duo have transformed into one of the region’s top tandems, forcing mom to rethink that whole timeshare thing.

If you want to compete on the national level, you have to go where the sand is; and that’s exactly where the Nichols are headed.

“It’s going to be a volleyball summer,” said Holly, who also owns Discover Aquatics, a private swimming pool in West Olympia.

The Nichols sisters will compete against the nation’s best at the Beach Volleyball Clubs of America National Championship in Hermosa, California July 7-9 before making a second trip south a month later to participate at the AVPFirst Manhattan Beach Junior Invitational Aug. 10-14.

“It’s exciting to go down there and play,” Madison said. “You see a lot of teams from California. Not too many from Washington.”

Madison and Maia had been playing indoor volleyball for several years before making the transition to sand; and while to the outsider it looks like a subtle change, the differences in indoor volleyball and beach volleyball are substantial.

nichols beach volleyball

Madison and Maia Nichols say that competing on the sand is much more challenging than indoor volleyball. The sisters are pictured here during tournament play at Alki Beach on June 21.

The court sizes are different, there’s fewer players per side, no attack line, different volleyballs, and above all you go from the stability of a gym floor to the awkwardness of moving on sand, which is usually hot, while trying to navigate through whatever weather conditions are thrown your way.

“It’s definitely harder to jump on sand,” Maia said. “You have to do much more maneuvering. So, your footwork is important. It’s way easier to move indoors.”

Beach volleyball’s popularity has spiked over the last decade, especially among female competitors, with players like Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh leading the recent surge by winning gold medals in the sport at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics.

But Madison and Maia face one major obstacle not present in more traditional beach volleyball markets.

“There’s not a lot of beach around here. I’ve told my husband the next time we move we need to find a house that has some sand,” Holly said. “They mostly practice indoors. In fact, the only time they really play on sand is when they go to tournaments.”

That’s basically the equivalent to playing hockey without ever stepping onto the ice except during games.

The lack of sand time, however, has done little to slow down Madison and Maia’s progress.

The sisters won the future select division of the U14 Puget Sound Region Beach High Performance Qualifier on May 31 in Snohomish, before securing their berth into the AVPFirst Junior Invitational at Manhattan Beach.

On June 21, they took first place in their division at a tournament in Alki Beach in Seattle to qualify for July’s BVCA championships in Hermosa.

nichols beach volleyball

Maia Nichols with the bump as sister Madison looks on.

Beach volleyball is among a long list of sports Madison and Maia have experienced over the years. Swimming, basketball, soccer, tennis, and even taekwondo have also been attempted, but none had the effect on them beach volleyball did.

“Usually it’s our dad getting us to try new things,” Madison said. “My mom asked if we wanted to give (beach volleyball) a try, just try it and have fun with it. I’ve loved it since the first time we started playing.”

Their interest in the sport originally came from Holly, who played Division I volleyball in college at San Jose State University; and while she always encourages her daughters to participate in multiple sports, it always seems to come back to volleyball.

Holly would eventually coach her daughters indoor, but once the game steps outside, she is merely a spectator cheering them on.

“I just let them play when its beach volleyball,” Holly said. “They’re calling the timeouts.  They’re out there to encourage each other. I just sit back and watch.”

Despite the occasional sibling rivalry, celebrations have been a much more common site on the beach for the two.

“Obviously, one of the big concerns for me is having them get burned out at such a young age. Every time we get into the car, I turn around and say, ‘We don’t have to do this. We can do something else this weekend,’” Holly said. “Every time I ask, they say this is where they want to be.”


Downtown is a donut hole filled with subsidized housing (according to the maps). How'd we get to this point?

Olympia Time - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:38am
Here's my donut hole of Olympia population post from a little while back. I observed:Density is good. People living downtown is good. More people living in a dense neighborhood means fewer cars, more people walking and more services and good things downtown.There might not be a lot of people living downtown compared to other parts of the city, but take a look at this map that Brian Hovis put together this week:

Hovis writes:The highest concentration were in downtown Olympia and west Olympia. There are two different reasons. In downtown Olympia there are lots of sites in close proximity. In west Olympia the sites are fewer, but there are more units.

The density in west Olympia may increase soon. A new subsidized housing site is being planned near Yauger Park. The Copper Trails Apartments will add 260 more units to west Olympia, according to data from The Department of Commerce. Also recently reported in The Olympian there are proposals for new subsidized housing for the Drexel House and conversion of the Holly Motel.

Also in flux is whether or not the Boardwalk apartments will continue to be subsidized housing for seniors. The Boardwalk apartments are a big part of the density of subsidized housing downtown. The outcome of that question may change the density of subsidized housing in Olympia.Brian is pointing out something here that we have pretty much accepted around here as true, but seeing it in maps is really pretty cool.

I'm wondering about the history of this phenomena. If there's anything to understand about the apparent emptying out of downtown as a residential neighborhood. And, if the replacement of what we call market rate housing now with subsidized housing has any particular historical narrative.

Downtown Olympia obviously went through a transition in the late 70s and early 80s. I'm wondering if the mix of housing also shifted during those years and what forces were at hand.

Thee XNTRX “Good Bad Girl”

K Records - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 1:41am
Heddie Leonne, also known as Everybody Weekend,  raps hard and slow to a beat comprised of a sample from the Calvin Johnson album Before the Dream Faded… [KLP170]. She easily makes it her own. View the video for “Good Bad Girl” HERE.   K Song of the Day: “Good Bad Girl” from the NW hip […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Miz featuring QP and Zikki “Talkin’ My Shit”

K Records - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 3:48pm
The latest from Miz (of Real Life Click), backed up by QP and Zikki is “Talkin’ My Shit”, produced by Nemisis, included on their album History: MIZ and Nemisis Greatest Hits. Both Miz and Zikki appear on the NW hip hop compilation All My Friend’s Friends [KLP255] as members of Thee XNTRX. Miz appears on […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Zine Reading Thing

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:42pm
Event:  Sat, 07/11/2015 (All day)

As part of the 7th Annual 24-Hour Zine Thing, there will be a Zine Reading Thing in the atrium after the library closes from 6:30. Come hear special guest zinesters read their work, or share from your own 24-Hour Zine Thing creation! The featured readers for the night are Dreamboat Annie, Sage Adderley, Carrie Born, and Alice Wynne.

Founder of Fat Fancy radical plus size clothing boutique & body positive life coach, Dreamboat Annie is a bad ass sweetheart, & a fat, queer, femme, Cuban-American, artist, punk rock dream come true.

Sage Adderley is passionate about kindness, coffee, mental health, fat activism, and the DIY lifestyle. She is the owner of Sweet Candy Distro & Press, writes the personal zine, Marked For Life & the body positive zine, FAT-TASTIC!

Alice Wynne, of Dog Faced USA, is actively trying to incorporate discussions of "the face" and the skull's connection to body and identity into everyday conversations.

Carrie Born is a retired heavy equipment operator//long-haul trucker gal turned blue-collar poet & typewriter collector.

This event occurs after library open hours and no other library services will be available.

The Olympia Timberland Library is located at 313 8th Avenue SE. For more information, contact the library at (360) 352-0595 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Temporary Road Closure for Tree Maintenance along Legion Way

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:33pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

legion way trees

The Legion Way trees (looking west from Central Street) form a unique memorial corridor in Olympia. Photo courtesy Jennifer Crooks.

Beginning Monday, June 30, and continuing through Monday, July 13, nine high risk trees will be removed from Legion Way. Sections of Legion Way where crews are working will be completely blocked to through traffic, but the entrance to the Madison Elementary parking lot will remain accessible via alternate routes. Work will take place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day.

The trees scheduled for removal on Legion Way are all showing signs of having extensive decay. They include three sweetgums and six red and pin oaks. Each tree is marked with a white paint dot on the trunk facing the street. They are located at:

  1. 523 Central St SE, along Legion Way
  2. 521 Quince St SE, along Legion Way
  3. 907 Legion Way
  4. 1011 Legion Way
  5. Southwest corner of Legion Way and Boundary St SE
  6. 1128 Legion Way
  7. 525 Pear St SE, along Legion Way
  8. 1113 Legion Way (Olympia School Admin. Building)
  9. 1015 Legion Way

Following each tree’s removal, the remaining stumps will be ground down as deep as possible and the soil replaced so a new tree may be planted.  The new trees will be red oaks. Red oaks are known for their strong wood and large canopies, and were among the original tree species planted on Legion Way to honor military veterans in 1926.

Removing and replacing those trees that are a risk today ensures that Legion Way will continue to be a historic community landmark and a living legacy.


U.S. Forest Service Issues Paradise Fire Update

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:27pm



Submitted by the U.S. Forest Service

Yesterday, fire behavior and fire movement were slow on the Paradise Fire; this was attributed to cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels.  This activity is characteristic of how the Paradise Fire has been burning since it was detected – it slows in cooler temperatures and becomes more active as the weather becomes warmer and drier.  The local Type 3 team that has been managing the fire provided an in-briefing and orientation to the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Organization (NIMO).  The NIMO also flew a reconnaissance flight of the fire. A community meeting was held in Quinault last night and 23 members of the public attended.

Today, fire growth in the Queets drainage is expected to continue.  Crews are monitoring its movement and taking suppression actions when it is safe to do so.  They continue to hold the fire east of Bob Creek and north of the Queets River.  The NIMO team will tie in with crews in the field today to discuss the new organization.  Current resources include 2 crews, 3 helicopters, and support personnel.  A total of 102 people are assigned to the incident.

Temperatures are expected to increase as the week progresses and lightning is in the forecast for this weekend.  Increased fire activity is expected on the Paradise Fire, and new fires are anticipated from potential lightning strikes.  Because of the high fire potential, Olympic National Park has instituted a ban on all open fires in the park’s wilderness backcountry, including all locations along the wilderness coast.  As of 7:00 a.m. this morning, campfires will be permitted only in established fire grates at established front country campgrounds.  The burn restriction will remain in place until further notice.  Camp stoves may still be used in the park’s wilderness backcountry, but should be operated well away from flammable vegetation and forest litter.

For additional information, please call Paradise Fire Information at 360-565-2986.


Heat Takes a Toll on Washington Seniors

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:21pm



Submitted by Home Instead Senior Care

Experts Encourage Families to Keep a Close Eye on Older Loved Ones During Heat Wave

Experts Encourage Families to Keep a Close Eye on Older Loved Ones During Heat Wave

Nobody likes extreme and prolonged heat, but such conditions can be very dangerous and potentially deadly for seniors.

According to the National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.

“The elderly are often the most vulnerable to severe heat,” said Jeff Huber, president and CEO of Home Instead Senior Care® Inc. “Their bodies do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature, they are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat and they are often on a prescription medicine that impairs the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibits perspiration,” he continued.

Following are tips from the local Home Instead Senior Care office, to help seniors combat the heat:

  • Keep a glass of water in every room to quickly and easily access fluids. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Go through the closet and remove all heavy materials, long sleeves and dark colors. Instead look for short sleeves, lightweight rayons or cottons, and light-colored clothing that reflect the heat.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest times of the day. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.
  • Save household chores, particularly washing and drying clothes and operating the dishwasher, for evenings when the weather is cooler.
  • Relax indoors during high heat times – between 3 and 5 p.m. in the afternoon.
  • Keep shades down and blinds pulled during the heat of the day.
  • Keep the house tightly closed, so it is more energy efficient.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Foods with a lot of protein increase metabolic heat production which can, in turn, increase water loss.
  • If increased use of a central air conditioning system causes higher utility bills that are a problem for your budget, consider purchasing a fan or small window unit that can cool down a home at a lower cost. However, do not rely on a fan as the primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Seek medical care immediately if your senior shows symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

For more information about the heat, visit the National Weather Service Web site and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site. Or, to learn more about Home Instead Senior Care, click here.


7th Annual 24-Hour Zine Thing

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:17pm
Event:  Sat, 07/11/2015 - 2:00pm - 8:00pm

The challenge: Make a 24-page zine from idea to completion in 24 hours. Make your own zine about whatever suits you, or contribute to a collaborative zine on a theme that wins the popular vote. Drop in to the meeting room to use provided supplies, including typewriters, long-armed staplers, recycled magazines, Print Gocco, and copy machines. Feel free to bring interesting materials to use or share. All ages and levels welcome. Sponsored by the Friends of the Olympia Timberland Library.

No library services will be available after 5:00 p.m.

The Olympia Timberland Library is located at 313 8th Avenue SE. For more information, contact the library at (360) 352-0595. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Shakespeare's Classic Romance Reimagined

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:13pm
Event:  Tue, 07/07/2015 (All day) Award-winning Northwest author Lois Leveen has a new take on Shakespeare’s great romance, “Romeo and Juliet.” She will talk about her book, “Juliet’s Nurse,” at the Olympia Timberland Library, July 7 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Verona, Italy, 14th century: Angelica, a mother mourning her dead infant, enters the household of the powerful Cappelletti family to be wet-nurse to their newborn daughter, Juliet.  By turns, comic, sensual and tragic, “Juliet’s Nurse” gives voice to one of literature’s most memorable characters, a woman who was both insider and outsider among Verona’s wealthy ruling class. The city of Verona, itself, comes to life - the poverty, the grandeur, the logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Lacey Freedom Concert and Fireworks Scheduled for July 3

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 11:31am



Submitted by City of Lacey

lacey fireworksLacey continues its tradition of kicking off the area’s Independence Day celebrations with the Freedom Concert and Fireworks Spectacular on Friday, July 3. The Freedom Concert will be held from 6:30 to 10:15 p.m. in the Lacey Crossroads parking lot at Yelm Highway and College Street, followed by a 15 minute professional fireworks display launched from William Bush Park, 4400 Chardonnay Drive NE. The park will be closed to preserve a safe zone for the fireworks launch, but the display will be visible to most residences located within 3/4 miles and from the concert stage area at Lacey Crossroads.

This year’s all-ages Freedom Concert features high-energy music and fun with DJ Tony G and “Battle Rhythm,” the 56th Army rock band. Family-friendly activity booths and free face painting will be provided by the Lacey Sunrise Lions and event sponsors TwinStar, Xerox, and the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce. Pizza, ice cream, and a variety of food will also be available for purchase at Lacey Crossroads restaurants. Concert-goers are advised to bring seating to enjoy the outdoor stage and music performances.

Due to the popularity of this event, road access into the area will be limited during the fireworks display and while traffic exits the show. From 10:00 p.m. until approximately 11:45 p.m., detours will be established using 66th Avenue SE, Ruddell Road SE, Mullen Road SE, 37th Avenue SE, and Wiggins Road SE.

More information and a complete map of planned road closures can be found on the city’s official website at

Orca Books Talk: Author David Neiwert presents "Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us."

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 10:42am
Event:  Sat, 06/27/2015 - 3:00pm

Journalist David Neiwert will talk about his new book, "Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us."

In "Of Orcas and Men," a marvelously compelling mix of cultural history, environmental reporting, and scientific research, Neiwert explores an extraordinary species and its occasionally fraught relationship with human beings. Beginning with their role in myth and contemporary popular culture, Neiwert shows how killer whales came to capture our imaginations, and brings to life the often catastrophic environmental consequences of that appeal.

David Neiwert is an investigative journalist based in Seattle and a contributing writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center. He is the author of 'And Hell Followed With Her: Crossing the Dark Side of the American Border' (NationBooks, March 2013) -- winner of the General Nonfiction first-place prize in the International Latino Book Awards -- as well as five other previous books.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Orca Books is at 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Jazz Up Your Summer at the 25th Annual America’s Classic Jazz Festival in Lacey

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 6:00am



By Kathryn Millhorn

lacey chamber“It’s not exclusive, but inclusive, which is the whole spirit of jazz.” And if anybody can speak for an entire genre, it’s the great Herbie Hancock.

For this year’s all-inclusive silver anniversary of the America’s Classic Jazz Festival at Saint Martin’s Marcus Pavilion, organizers have really gotten into the swing of things…pun intended! From June 25-28 there will be 96 performances from 13 bands on four stages at one location with crowds hailing from 22 states. Whew!

jazz festival olympia

The America’s Class Jazz Festival in Lacey offers 96 performances on multiple stages over the course of 4 days.

The Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Society takes pride in supporting young musicians and vocalists through camps, sponsorships, and performance opportunities. Their annual Jazz Festival helps fund training for such rising stars as clarinetist Claire McKenna who “recently appeared in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.”

Jazz Society Co-Director Walt Bowen explains that “the purpose of the Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Society is to preserve and promote the performance of live jazz. We do this by sponsoring youth scholarships to annual jazz camp. This year we have 13 students. These students are the performers of tomorrow. In addition to jazz camp, we have high school students volunteering from Saint Martin’s, North Thurston High School, Timberline High School, and Aspire Middle School.”

Thursday evening, June 25, is a 7:00 p.m. Kick Off Party in the Saint Martin’s University Marcus Pavilion. Friday includes concerts from 11:00 a.m. until 10:45 p.m. with a free mid-day stop-off at the Olympia Farmer’s Market from 11:00 a.m. until 1:45 p.m.

jazz festival olympia

If the music moves you, dance floors are available throughout the festival.

Saturday the music flows from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on four stages. Bowen is proud to offer “plenty of dance lessons, great bands, and four large dance floors are sure to provide a wonderful time for all. Other festival features include on-site RV parking, shuttle service, parasol parades, a swing set, and After Glow Party.”

He continues, “The main way that we draw attention to jazz music is to sponsor our jazz festivals that bring some great musicians to our area. At this festival we have seated areas for listing but we also have four large dance floors. On those floors we have dancers from three to 93. We encourage families to attend.”

“Music students can shadow and be in contact with some very experienced musicians and see them close-up,” adds Bowen. “Some of our fans are attracted to the music and others to the dancing. Many enjoy both. Other people like to hear the music and look at the dancers and their costumes. Some dancers belong to swing dance clubs and come the festival to dance before a live band.”

jazz festival olympia

Get into the swing of things at the 25th anniversary of the America’s Classic Jazz Festival.

Sunday morning cools things off with a free gospel program at Saint Martin’s at 9:30 a.m. featuring Portland favorites Marilyn Keller and the Black Swan Classic Jazz Band. Downtown the Grand Dominion Jazz Band takes over the United Churches of Olympia at 10:00 a.m. After a last, rousing day of music, the Festival winds down at Tugboat Annie’s with the Olympia After Glow Party starting at 5:00 p.m.

Out of towners are invited to contact local hotels and ask for ‘Jazz Rates’ or inquire about limited RV parking on-site at Saint Martin’s. Contact info for these options can be found online here.

Tickets can be purchased for the entire event or specific days or evenings. Students are encouraged to attend and an all-event pass for ages 14-22 with student ID is only $15. Tickets can be purchased at the door and anyone willing to volunteer for a total of 8 hours can earn a free 3-day pass.

Henry Rollins puts it all into perspective: “Live music is the cure for what ails ya.” No matter what’s going on in the world around us, music can be a bridge, balm, and source of unrivalled joy.

For festival information, please contact Charlotte Dickison at 360-943-9123 and for info on RV parking call Pat Herndon at 360-956-7132.

Olympia’s Michelle Cohen Realized Her Dream With The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 6:00am



black sheep yarn boutique

Michelle Cohen believes all things lead to another and with the opening of her own shop, finally feels like she is realizing a long searched for dream.

A quick Google Search for “knitting popularity” returns scores of articles confirming the anecdotal evidence this 40-year-old writer collected locally (mainly that I’m knitting, my friends are knitting, so everyone must be knitting). People of all ages, mainly women but also many men, are taking up the traditional hand-crafts of their grandmothers with increasing frequency.

Why? For most, it’s connection to something real and tangible in a world dominated by social media and virtual conversation. Knitting and crocheting provide an opportunity to create something with your own hands that can last for generations.

Additionally, there is a sense of community fostered among those who share a hobby. In particular, fiber arts are tailored to group gatherings where needles click and stories unfurl as quickly as the yarn. Advice on life, as well as dropped stiches is traded and cherished. And, it all fits neatly in a tote bag. Bonus.

Those of us ready to knit up our next awesome cowl, maybe inspired by the wildly popular knitware on the Starz series Outlander, now have a new option for finding the perfect yarn. Michelle Cohen’s new shop, The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique, opens in West Olympia. Becoming a small business owner, running her own shop and selling something she loves is a dream come true for Cohen. A dream that for many years, she couldn’t even put a name to – a dream she came close to never discovering at all.

black sheep yarn

The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique is located on Olympia’s west side near Panera Bread and Sweet Life and hosts its grand opening June 27 and 28.

“I’m from Seattle, but grew up all over the place,” Cohen shares as we settle into the cozy armchairs and couch in Black Sheep’s sitting area. It was in her early 20’s that she reconnected with family in the Pacific Northwest and felt a sense of belonging she hadn’t known before. Returning to Seattle, she met and married her late husband Mitch, a family physician in Elma who passed away suddenly five years ago.

She and Mitch made a home in Olympia where she “loved the rural feel and small town atmosphere” after living for years in bigger cities. The couple had three children and Cohen was “doing the mom thing” full-time when Mitch died. Cohen was daunted by the prospect of heading back into the workforce full-time. But, as is typical for Cohen, as anyone who knows her would attest, she forged ahead, securing a job to support her family. Just three months into her new job, Cohen was diagnosed with breast cancer and faced a long, intense treatment. With her determination, positive outlook, and the support of friends and family, Cohen is now cancer free.

“I’m the kind of person who thinks about life as a series of events with one thing leading to the next,” she explains. While she admits it took time to find her way out of grief after her husband’s death, she also shares, “I really try and look at the blessings in life – to focus on the positives.”

black sheep yarn boutique

The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique owner Michelle Cohen carries a wide variety of yarns from affordable to luxurious.

While Cohen had achieved success in non-profit management among other business pursuits, she never felt she was doing “what I was supposed to do.” And, as with many women after leaving professional careers to care for and raise their children, Cohen found herself one day at a crossroads. “I just hit that point in life where you say to yourself, ‘What am I going to do? Isn’t there something more I’m supposed to do?’”

For Cohen, the answer came nine months ago while helping a close friend look at vacant spaces for a new business. Her friend asked, “If you could have a shop, Michelle, what would it be?” She didn’t have an answer ready, but it rattled around in her head for weeks until she happened to visit Gig Harbor’s Rainy Day Yarns.

“I had this revelation that if I owned a yarn shop, this would be it. It was fun, pretty, cozy and it started me thinking,” Cohen shares. As an accomplished knitter, Cohen has spent time in her fair share of yarn shops, yet this time it was different.

“I literally heard myself getting excited. I had a real self-awareness that for the first time, this could be my dream. This could be the right thing for me,” she recalls. “I channeled my inner Russell Wilson,” laughs the Seahawks super-fan, “and said, ‘Why not me?’”

black sheep yarn boutique

The name for Cohen’s shop comes not from the idea of being an outlier, or “black sheep,” but from being confident in yourself to go your own way.

She dug in, did the work with the help of local life coach Logan Reed and her network of supportive friends and family, and this week will open the doors to The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique.

The space is inviting and cozy with walls fittingly painted “Knitting Needles Gray” and includes a project space, perfect for the classes Cohen will offer. A true beginners class will be first, followed by kids classes, a sock class, and holiday decoration classes. “My goal for the shop is for people to feel like they can come here and find what they want – something unique – without breaking the bank,” Cohen explains. Her selections include skeins starting at just $3 and she looks forward to customer suggestions on yarns and products to carry.

I have my eye on a delicious merino wool, perfect for fingerless gloves come fall.

The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique offers area knitters and crocheters more than a source for beautiful yarn. It offers a place for community, a place for learning, and a place for creating something that lasts. Keeping your hands busy with needles and hooks, not your smart phone, is definitely trending in Olympia.

Keep track of Michelle Cohen and The Black Sheep Yarn Boutique via Facebook.


black sheep yarn boutiqueThe Black Sheep Yarn Boutique

2615 Capital Mall Dr SW #3B (in the Outback Plaza, near Black Bear Diner)

(360) 350-0470

Grand Opening – June 27 and 28 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Regular business hours:

Tuesday and Wednesday – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Thursday – 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Closed Sunday and Monday

Kendl Winter & Lowest Pair on Olympia Pop Rocks!

K Records - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:49am
Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee – aka The Lowest Pair – appear on the Olympia, WA podcast Olympia Pop Rocks. They discuss their latest album The Sacred Heart Sessions (Team Love Records), and their wandering troubadour ways (their interview begins at 14:40). Listen to The Lowest Pair on Olympia Pop Rocks HERE.   The […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Jeremy Jay “Abandoned Apartments”

K Records - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:25am
Jeremy Jay sings of mysteriously abandoned apartments. Not even a mouse. Was it only a dream?   K Song of the Day: Jeremy Jay “Abandoned Apartments”, from  Abandoned Apartments [KLP247]. The Jeremy Jay album Abandoned Apartments [KLP247] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Oak Tree Preserve Case: Commissioners Hear Appeal; Romero Recuses Herself

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:54pm

Above: The Thurston County Commissioners held a hearing today at 4:30 p.m. at the Courthouse about the proposed Oak Tree Preserve housing development. The case before the commissioners is an appeal of a decision by a hearing examiner who approved the development's preliminary plat.
By Janine
The Thurston County Commissioners heard brief oral arguments from both sides of the proposed Oak Tree Preserve land use case in a hearing this evening that lasted just slightly over an hour. A standing room crowd flowed out into the hallway.
The case before the commissioners is an appeal of the May 5 decision by Thurston County hearing examiner Sharon Rice, who approved the preliminary plat for a massive housing development in Lacey’s urban growth area.
The proposed development on Marvin Road is partially bordered by the Burlington Northern Railroad and would subdivide 258.5 acres into 1,037 single family homes and remove 36 out of 76 acres of Oregon white oak habitat. Oregon white oak is a state-protected priority habitat.
The appellants claim the project, as currently planned, is in violation of the county’s critical areas ordinance. They want the case sent back to the hearing examiner so that additional evidence may be added to evaluate the functions and value of white oak habitat and, if any of the acreage can be saved, what mitigations should be used.
In a land use case that is constantly charting new territory, Commissioner Sandra Romero recused herself from the case after the developer’s attorney took issue with her disclosures that she has had ex parte communications with citizens within her district. 
The Oak Tree Preserve property is located in Romero’s district. In her opening comments, Romero stated that she had met with citizens over five years ago, in February 2010, regarding traffic concerns and the development proposal for that location at that time. A second interaction was in October 2014, again, with citizens concerned about traffic issues, and the third was when a citizen recently emailed her wanting to discuss the current case. That individual was told she could not discuss the case.
Romero also said that she attends, almost every year, the Black Hills Audubon Society annual dinner, which is a fundraiser. She said she does not believe she’s been to a Blacks Hills Audubon Society meeting. The Black Hills Audubon Society is one of the appellants of the current case before the commissioners.
Romero said that she did not believe that any of these interactions would interfere with her ability to make an impartial decision in the case. 
Commissioners Bud Blake and Cathy Wolfe each stated that they have not had any ex parte communications, and each stated that they plan to make site visits to the Oak Tree Preserve property.
The applicant’s attorney asked Romero to recuse herself from the case.
Elizabeth Petrich, prosecuting attorney for the county, said that in her opinion, there was no technical violation of the appearance of fairness doctrine since all Romero’s communications with citizens occurred before the appeal was submitted. 
Petrich said that if Romero did choose to recuse herself, she should stay in the room and hear the case due to a rule called the “doctrine of necessity” - if in the case of a lack of a quorum on the commission or there’s a split vote in the decision, then Romero can cast a vote.
Romero said that she did not want to delay the hearing and recused herself from the case.
“I kind of anticipated that this might happen and even though I don’t like it, I’m going to recuse myself and I just think it’s a sad state of affairs when a commissioner can’t meet with constituency even though you don’t even have any inkling that there’s going to be an appeal, so, but…to move forward, it’s in the best interest to recuse myself,” said Romero.
Giving something to each side in quick form, Commissioner Blake made three motions on the procedural issues before the commissioners, all seconded by Wolfe, that:  1) denied the appellants request to add county planning manager Mike Kain’s August 26, 2013 email to the record; 2) denied the project applicant’s request to strike from the record the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) comment letter of June 2, 2015; and 3) allows both parties to submit new evidence establishing or disputing wildlife observation information submitted by Curtis Wambach, a biologist for the developer.
The commissioners gave the developer a deadline of June 24, 5:00 p.m. to submit a declaration by Wambach. The commissioners gave the appellants a deadline of June 25, 5:00 p.m. to respond to the developer’s information, if they file any.
County Email to Oak Tree Preserve Developers
The recently discovered August 23, 2013 email from Mike Kain, county planning manager, to Kevin O’Brien of Oak Tree Preserve, clearly informs O’Brien and others of Fish and Wildlife’s position, as well as the county’s, early on in the process:

“The preliminary recommendation of WDFW is that all oaks in all areas except in area 4 be saved….” The email describes exceptions and mitigation for the loss of oaks in that area and for roads.
Indicating that something went awry in the relationship between the county and WDFW between 2013 and the present, the email continues:
“…The WDFW recommendation will be the County’s recommendation to the Hearing Examiner. After review, WDFW could not recommend saving just the best 50% or 67% of the oaks. WDFW believes the entire linear oak grove formed by areas 1A, 1B, 2 and 3 is valuable habitat and should be preserved. The County Code also lists avoidance as the first priority in the protection of critical habitat. In this case, it is clear that avoidance of critical habitat is possible. This is a preliminary recommendation by WDFW, and therefore also of the County….”
Appellant Argument
Liz Lyman spoke for the appellants, who were not represented by an attorney.
“The appellants are not asking you to deny the project or to change the examiner's findings and conclusions. Why are we asking a remand? Because the record on which the hearing examiner based her decision is incomplete and inaccurate; your 2009 Critical Areas Ordinance on important habitats requires the developer to submit a wildlife study and to determine the impacts of the development on the wildlife habitat - the developer has not done this. It only looked at two species, the Western gray squirrel and Mazama pocket gopher….the developer submitted a habitat management plan that is incomplete and misuses science to evaluate its mitigation measures. The developer then concludes erroneously that there will be no net loss of the oak habitat's ecological function.”  
She detailed the appellants concerns for each of her points.
Regarding the methodology of how the oaks were graded based on their condition, Lyman said, “The developer claims that its habitat management plan preserves the best oak stands. This simply isn't true. Is cutting down the second best quality oak stand and leaving behind a two acre residential park that's fated to die - is this what you believe your critical areas ordinance means by protecting and preserving critical wildlife habitat,  or by avoiding and minimizing impacts?”
In conclusion, Lyman said, in part, “….Remanding gives the citizens of this county some assurance that the county's decision on what is preserved and what is removed of this largest remaining oak habitat in Thurston County will be based on fact, and not fiction….”
Applicant’s Argument
In his remarks, the developer’s attorney, Patrick Mullaney, discussed issues of balance, rationality, and fairness.  He said that this case has been unpredictable for his client and that the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has “waffled all over the place as to what it wanted in oak habitat preservation.”
He said that by agreeing to a 55% set aside of oak habitat, which he said is far more than any other plat that has been approved under the 2009 version of the Critical Area Ordinance, the developer “foregoes the development of 131 lots with a cost of $3.2 million, so it has made a substantial commitment to environmental mitigation.”  He said 100% oak habitat preservation, at a loss of 323 lots, would cost the developer $8 million, rendering the project unfeasible.
He cited several federal land use court cases to support his arguments about the “rational relationship between mitigation and a specific impact to the proposed development.”
Lastly, he said, “If there’s any bad actor in this case, it’s the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, because they had years to look at this habitat management plan....”

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is not an appellant in this case.
In her rebuttal, Lyman responded, in part, that Mr. Mullaney always conflates the appellant’s position with the WDFW’s position, and the appellants aren’t asking for 100% preservation of the oak habitat.
When Commissioner Blake asked a follow up question about the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s position, and whether they are using 100% as a part of the appellant’s position, she clarified WDFW’s position, saying they would like 100% preservation, except for unavoidable impacts.
“….Basically, the position in our critical areas ordinance is the same….Yes, there is mitigation sequencing…but avoidance has a special place in the ordinance ….so obviously when you’re building roads and houses, you’re going to have impacts.”
When Commissioner Blake again asked the same question, Lyman responded, “I’m not sure that’s really relevant to us. Basically, our position is that nobody has the answer because there’s no information about that (due to the lack of a wildlife habitat study) , so, quite frankly, WDFW doesn’t have that answer either….”
The commissioners said that they will issue a written decision on the case by July 8.
For several past articles about the Oak Tree Preserve land use case, go to Little Hollywood, and use the search button to type in key words.
Above: After today's hearing, interested folks crowd around a projected image of the proposed Oak Tree Preserve development in Lacey's urban growth area.

Thurston County Issues Burn Ban Starting June 23

Thurston Talk - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 3:48pm



Submitted by Thurston County

Thurston County Burn BanThurston County officials are issuing a countywide burn ban that will take effect at 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, June 23, until further notice. The burn ban covers all of unincorporated Thurston County. Thurston County cities and designated urban growth areas already have a permanent outdoor burn ban in place.

The burn ban decision comes as weather forecasters predict record high temperatures coming later this week along with the possibility of lightning strikes, but little or no precipitation.

“This weather pattern of high temperatures combined with lightening but no rain is expected to last through the Fourth of July weekend. That means the burn ban is a critical part of protecting lives and property. Our local firefighters will have their hands full as it is,” said Resource Stewardship department director Scott Clark, who also serves as the county’s fire marshal.

The countywide ban on outdoor burning applies to all land clearing and yard debris burning. However, residents in the unincorporated county outside of the urban growth areas will still be able to enjoy small recreational fires in fire pits, as well as cooking with outdoor barbeques and stoves. The use of self-contained camp stoves is strongly encouraged as an alternative to recreational fires. All small recreational fires must meet the following criteria:

  • Fires must be contained in a metal or concrete fire pit like those that are typically used at campgrounds. These fires cannot be used for debris disposal.
  • Fires must be only three feet in diameter or smaller.
  • Fires must be located in a spot that is completely clear of vegetation. The fire must be at least 10 feet away from any vegetation, 25 feet away from any structure or building, and overhanging branches must be at least 20 feet above the fire.
  • Fires must be attended at all times by an alert individual. All individuals attending fires must be able to extinguish the fire with a readily available shovel and a 5-gallon bucket of water, or with a readily available water hose that is connected and charged.
  • Fires must be completely extinguished by pouring water or moist soil on the fire and stirring with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.
  • There is no burning at all when winds exceed 5 mph.

If you see illegal burning or evidence of a wildfire, call 9-1-1 immediately. The penalty for illegal burning during a countywide burn ban is a fine up to $1,000 or up to 90 days in jail. “Conditions are really dangerous right now, so anyone planning on barbequing or having a campfire needs to follow the rules and keep it under control. If you don’t, you should expect the county to enforce the restrictions. It’s a matter of public safety,” said Clark.

The countywide burn ban does not apply to fireworks, but fire officials are strongly encouraging residents to reduce the risk of fires and enjoy only the professional fireworks displays this year. Some cities within Thurston County have fireworks bans already in place or have specific restrictions on the use of fireworks, so residents who live in or near city limits or urban growth areas should check for any city regulations prior to purchasing or discharging fireworks.

“We’re already in the midst of a statewide drought, and the record high temperatures coming our way can make even the tiniest fireworks spark turn into a raging fire within minutes,” said Chief Steve Brooks, Chief of Lacey Fire Protection District 3 and president of the Thurston County Fire Chiefs’ Association. “It’s best to leave the fireworks to the pros this year.”

Residents who do light their own fireworks this year are reminded that the sale of fireworks in unincorporated Thurston County is legal only at inspected and approved stands from noon on June 28 through 9 p.m. on July 4. Daily sales before July 4 are from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Discharging fireworks is legal only between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. on July 3 and 4. The sale and discharge of fireworks is not allowed in the cities of Olympia or Lacey.

To learn more about fireworks safety and injury prevention, go to the Washington State Patrol’s web page on fireworks safety at The Washington State Patrol website also has a list of public fireworks displays in Thurston County and throughout the state.


Rotary Club of South Puget Sound-Olympia Awards Eight College Scholarships

Thurston Talk - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 3:39pm



Submitted by Rotary Club of South Puget Sound-Olympia

Rotary Scholarship Winner

New Market Skills Center – Thomas Tinney, $2,000

Eight graduating seniors from South Puget Sound high schools recently were awarded college scholarships from the Rotary Club of South Puget Sound-Olympia.

The awards were part of  $13,000 in scholarships Rotary members gave to students from Oakville, Rainier, Tenino, Rochester and the New Market Skills Center. Scholarship funds will help pay for tuition and books leading to a license, certification, associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

“The Rotary Club of South Puget Sound-Olympia has a strong educational focus. In addition to these eight scholarships, our club gave $5,000 to the South Puget Sound Community College Foundation to help Thurston County GRAVITY Program students pay fees for GED testing,” stated Kim Metz, SPS Rotary Scholarship Committee Chair.

The scholarships don’t require a perfect GPA. Several factors were considered, including the desire to be successful. “A lot of these kids maybe didn’t get off to the best start in high school, but the last couple of years they’ve really stepped up,” said Metz.

For some, the award means they can focus on education, rather than paying the bills. For others, it’s the confidence they need to conquer college. “Every one of them has a plan, and I think that’s something worth rewarding and something worth encouraging, and that’s what we try and do,” said Metz.

2015 Scholarship winners are: Oakville – Brenda Borro, $2,000, Kayley Sharp, $1,000;
Rainier – Cheyenne Bell, $2,000, Trevor Shaw, $1,000; Tenino – Natalie Hall, $2,000;
Rochester – Kaylin Fosnacht, $2,000, Emily Masseth, $1,000;
New Market Skills Center – Thomas Tinney, $2,000.

The Rotary Club of South Puget Sound-Olympia’s 50+ members are dedicated to doing good in the world. There are more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries. We gather at weekly meetings and other functions to fulfill our commitment to the Rotarian ideals of friendship, fellowship, and service to others.


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