Recent local blog posts

Ruby Fray “Barbara”

K Records - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 7:27am
A tale from the cryptic Emily Beanblossom and her Delphian combo Ruby Fray. “Barbara” is from their splendid Grackle [KLP251] album, recorded at Dub Narcotoc Studio.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

John Rambo, John Tornow and Appalachians in Cascadia

Olympia Time - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 5:53am

The very first Rambo movie (First Blood) is set in Washington State, in a fake town called Hope. Filmed in the actual Hope, British Columbia, the setting is descended from a fictional town in Kentucky in the original First Blood book, which in turn is based on a Pennsylvania town.

Both the fictional Kentucky town and actual Pennsylvania town are deep in Appalachia. Which, given the deep Appalachian roots in rural western Washington, Hope fits.

It also fits in the parallel I draw between the Rambo character and John Tornow. There is so much written about Tornow (some very recently), I've always wondered what the fascination was. Tornow, at least on the surface, doesn't reveal any greater truth. Unbalanced man either murders or is accused of murder. People chase him down, a few deaths later, he gets killed.

But, if you look at Tornow through the lens of Rambo, you see something deeper. It lets you look back on the society that is turning its violence onto these men. For Rambo, he's a recently returned Vietnam veteran targeted as a vagrant by an evil small town cop.

I've heard enough from small town cops to know that giving a vagrant a ride to the county line or a bus ticket out of town is at least within the realm of reality. And, Tornow shows us that a massive manhunt against Rambo was also in the realm of reality.

For the Appalachians in Grays Harbor in the early 1900s, for the Appalachians at every step in First Blood, the wild men are too far gone from society to live. They murdered, they are outside the bounds of even the libertarian Appalachian societal rules. Every man has liberty, but there is only so much liberty.

Both Tornow and Rambo are also both experts. Rambo is a highly trained commando, the cops that come after him are hopeless against his killing skills. He seeks to come back into society, but he falls back onto his training and the war.

Tornow was an actual outdoorsman, more at home (according to biographers) than in a town or among society. He was able to live off the land while being hunted for over a year and a half, feeding himself with what he had around him in the deep woods.

And, that is what I think is the larger truth about Tornow. If the Scots-Irish, the genetic base of the Appalachian DNA had finally run out of new territory to conquer in Cascadia (also explored in Sometimes a Great Notion), then they were almost ready to run down the last Wilderness. Tornow was a representative of that wilderness.

Sure, Appalachians are much more libertarian, every-man-for-himself than other sorts of North American society. Rules don't necessarily work for them, but they are also the shock troops of a larger society against the wilderness, or agains the native inhabitants.

So, in dramatic stories about Appalachian outcasts, John Tornow and John Rambo must be hunted down.

LAKE “Do You Recall?”

K Records - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 5:03am
The super cool and groovy video for “Do You Recall?” off the LAKE album The World Is Real [KLP246]. What does it all mean? Bustin’ my melon wide open! Scrap iron heaps in my dreams. These LAKE folks freak me out big time. The World Is Real [KLP246] is available now from the K Mail […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Shivas “Manimal”

K Records - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 12:03am
Live at Thumbwheel in Portland, OR, July, 2013,  it’s the Shivas, documented by Portland Media Works. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is out now on K.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Kendl Winter “The Sky Is Green” Tin Roof Session

K Records - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 12:57am
The Tin Roof Sessions are recorded on Sunday afternoons in New Paltz, NY. “The Sky Is Green” is excerpted from Kendl Winter‘s autumn, 2013 session. The song also appears on the Kendl Winter album It Can Be Done! [KLP248], available now from the K Mail Order Dept. Tin Roof Sessions are loosely associated with the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Awesome Clouds at Nisqually Refuge

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 10:08pm

In between storms, before the gale force winds of Thursday night, I visited Nisqually Nat'l Wildlife Refuge. I caught some great clouds, color, light. Happy Holidays!

Nisqually Wilderness Refuge
Thursday 11 December 2014

Nisqually Wilderness Refuge
Nisqually Wilderness Refuge
Thursday 11 December 2014

Nisqually Wilderness Refuge
Nisqually Wilderness Refuge
Thursday 11 December 2014
Nisqually Wilderness Refuge
Thursday 11 December 2014 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Fountainsun, Arrington de Dionyso and Hammer of Hathor

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 4:00pm

Fountainsun (Daniel Higgs and Fumie Ishii)

Arrington de Dionyso (returning from his endless tour!)

Hammer of Hathor


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Rob Rice Homes’ Season of Giving is Year-Round

Thurston Talk - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 8:10am



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

The Rice family believes in giving back to the community they love.

The Rice family believes in giving back to the community they love.

Throughout the entire year Rob Rice and his family generously provide time and support for organizations where they can make a real difference.

“We feel it is our responsibility to give back to the community where we have been building homes for more than 30 years,” says Rob. “This is where we live, work and raise our children, and we want to help make it a better place for our family and those in the communities we build.”

Their efforts extend far beyond issuing a check to the causes they believe in, they back their support with real action. In 2011 Rob and his wife Helena had determined that they needed to specify a goal for annual giving so they made the decision to prioritize children’s needs and homeless pets as causes to help. Now they extend their hands and hearts to two organizations that improve the lives of children and that aid rescue animals.

“There are so many well-deserving charities in our community but we needed to pinpoint two so we could really make a difference,” says Helena.

Caring for Animals

“When I married Rob, I had three rescue dogs and he was living in a pet-free home; it was quite a change for him,” laughs Helena, who grew up in a family that has always helped animals in need. “It didn’t take long though and within a few months he was traveling around with one of my dogs and even taking her to the office to work for the day.”

Now she says Rob has a soft heart for rescue animals, even picking them up in communities where he builds to make sure they get to their

 "Lewis"  was lucky to be rescued by Rob Rice on I-5.

“Lewis” was lucky to be rescued by Rob Rice on I-5.

homes or a shelter where they can be helped.

“Just recently Rob stopped on I-5 on the North Fork Lewis River Bridge in Clark County when he saw a confused dog running in the freeway,” Helena says. “Rob had to crawl underneath

a truck to eventually get the poor thing out. Rob brought the dog home, took him for veterinary care and we took care of him until we found the perfect owner. One of our staff is now the dog’s proud owner so Rob still gets to see ‘Lewis’ who is named after the bridge where he was rescued.”

Every year, the Rice’s, along with other business owners, sponsor a fundraising auction for Concern for Animals, an organization that for 34 years has assisted low income families with the food and medical needs of their pets and rescue animals. But they wanted to do more.

“Rob and Helena met with us and asked how they could help us,” says Janey Hanson president of Concern for Animals. “We had bought an older 1920s home for our offices after operating out of people’s homes for years. We showed them our lengthy wish list so they could pick a project. What happened next was amazing.”

The new Concern for Animals building was completely remodeled by Rob Rice and his sub-contractors at no charge.

The new Concern for Animals building was completely remodeled by Rob Rice and his sub-contractors at no charge.

Janey says that the local builder sought the help of many of his sub-contractors who donated their time and materials to completely remodel the home. Rob even assigned one of his superintendents to coordinate the work. The long list of sub-contractors who contributed is on the group’s website.

“They cleaned out our project wish list,” says Janey. “They even sent in a designer so we could pick our color pallet. They remodeled the kitchen with new flooring, cabinets, counters and backsplash; they fixed a major drainage problem under the house and repaired the basement so we had plenty of room for our food bank. They painted, fixed our ceiling, worked on our heating system and did electrical work and even leveled our parking lot. The list is long.”

The group says it would have taken years to complete but Rob and his sub-contractors did it all in just a few months resulting in an office and food bank that will help hundreds of pet owners and their animals.

Contributing to Kids 

“Our son Alex attended the Hands On Children’s Museum of Olympia school for 3 years,” says Helena. “When Rob and I went to his first parent-teacher conference, we realized what a unique learning atmosphere it is and how beneficial the museum is to children in our community, so we decided we wanted to donate our time and resources to this great institution.”

Helena began co-chairing the museum’s fundraising breakfast that provides admission for Free Friday Night and then when the new museum was in design stages both she and Rob agreed to provide an entire exhibit that offers kids an experience in construction, a field they know a bit about. The Build It! exhibit allows children to don hard hats and safety goggles while they use builder boards to build a home or they create a Keva structure.

Around the Community

Rob Rice Home sponsored the "Build It!" Exhibit at The Hands On Children's Museum.

The Build It! exhibit, contributed by the Rice’s, gets rave reviews at the Hands on Children’s Museum.

There are many other organizations where Helena and Rob donate their time and resources.

Rob is a lifetime director for the Olympia Master Builders Association and an active board member of Thurston Economic Development Council. He is also well known for presiding over the Home Owners Associations in the communities he builds to help maintain their quality and value.

Rob is a founder of Thurston First Bank, initially helping to start the bank and currently chairing several committees for its board. Helena is a shareholder in the bank as well.

Helena has served on boards for the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and currently volunteers for the PTO program at East Olympia Elementary, Alex’s school.

The Rice’s support Saint Martin’s University, Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County and the South Sound YMCA and Rob coaches most of his children’s sports teams, whether it is basketball, football or baseball.

Helena admits it all keeps them very busy yet they don’t usually turn away requests for help.

“We feel overjoyed to help out this amazing community,” she says. “It is a proven fact that people who give are happier and healthier. That is sure true in our family’s case.”

Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He has built more than 3000 homes over the last 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.


Kaitie Mays – Hair Bows Making a Difference

Thurston Talk - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 7:05am



By Alyssa Ramsfield

capital medical centerAt first glance, Kaitie Mays looks like any other 11-year-old: a bright smile, her dance studio jacket, and a bow placed in her hair. The bow is what sets this Chinook Middle School sixth grader apart. Mays is an entrepreneur.  Through Kaitie’s Hand-Made Hair Bows, she is creating custom hair bows to fundraise for her dance group.

“I started making bows for fun,” states Mays. “One day we were talking about raising money for a dance competition and I was looking at my bows thinking hey, I can make money at this. People ask about my bows all the time.”

olympia dance team

Kaitie Mays creates beautiful bows to fund her dancing dreams.

So that’s exactly what Mays began doing out of her home.

“The dining room is my workshop,” Mays explains. “My mom and I buy ribbon from the Hobby Lobby when it is on discount. Every other week it is 58% off so we go and buy a bunch. Then, my mom precuts ribbon while I’m dancing. I dance for a few hours every day. If I don’t have to cut the ribbon it usually takes 5-10 minutes to put together a bow.”

Mays has been a dancer for most of her life. “I started dancing when I was three. My grandpa loved to dance and when I dance it reminds me of him.”

“I joined a competitive team around age four,” she explains. “The teams are grouped based on age and ability. We compete regionally and nationally. All of these competitions have entry fees, travel costs, and special costumes. I make the bows to cover these costs for myself and my team at Studio One.”

Sales goals are high for this budding business woman. “I started with a goal of selling 2,000 bows my first year, but I didn’t quite make it. This year, my goal is to sell 1,000 bows so I can raise the $5,000 I need to go to Nationals in Las Vegas. I usually sell bows for around $5 each with $2 of that going towards my dance account.”

During the holiday season, Mays has dedicated a portion of her profits to helping beyond the dance studio. This year, $.75 from each bow sold is going toward buying gifts for children in need.

olympia dance team

Mays’ Studio One dance team competes across the state and around the country.

With a life that revolves around dance, Mays has found connections to her daily life and her favorite activity. “Math is my favorite subject in school. Last year, at South Bay Elementary, I was Math Star of the Year. Dance and math have a lot in common. The counts, staying on task, and being focused remind me of math.”

Mays has dreams beyond the bow selling business and regional dance competitions. “Someday, I want to be on Broadway and dance. Being able to go to these competitions lets me see other dancers. It makes me think, ‘Wow I want to be like them!’ I can’t wait to be as good as they are someday.”

Kaitie’s Hand-Made Hair Bows can be purchased through her Facebook page. A wide variety of local sports teams and popular characters are currently available. Custom orders are also obtainable upon request.

Sandstone Distillery Blends Tenino History with Unique Regional Industry

Thurston Talk - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 6:49am



By Holly Smith Peterson

south sound trucksIt’s at the end of a winding drive through the bucolic cattle pastures and alpaca farms of Tenino that you’ll find the large red, purpose-built warehouse encompassing Sandstone Distillery.

What you might not know after stumbling upon it is that it’s Thurston County’s sole craft liquor production site, and the first to open there since Prohibition.

“Twenty-five years ago we tore down a 100×100 foot barn, pulled 20,000 nails from the roof and created a lumber yard,” says owner John Bourdon, who runs the business with his wife, Jenny. “Those materials were used to build this place 2.5 years ago. The old wood brings out the history and character.”

sandstone distillery

John and Jenny Bourdoun are the husband and wife team behind Sandstone Distillery.

As he shows off frays in the giant timbers where Jenny’s mare once gnawed in the old barn, it’s clear that the entire facility is a museum of local stories. Just inside the door, near the tasting credenza, is a tinted late-19th century photo of one of Tenino’s famous stone carvers. Atop the ochre dividing walls of the foyer are an antique chisel and carving tool once used in the city’s famous stone quarries, which a century ago fueled its economy. In the restroom is an old photo of that stone operation.  Along the gravel drive, the building itself is fronted by a massive boulder hewn with the distillery’s name.

“Our neighbors, who are in their 70s, are descendants of the town’s original stone carver, whose statue you can see outside of City Hall,” Bourdon says. “That’s how we decided to name the business. Everything here represents that stone-carving heritage.”

The Bourdons are eager to highlight this history as they begin the walk through the facility, a well-practiced tour they’re getting more and more used to giving impromptu these days. Word of mouth about the distillery’s unique business spin is spreading fast throughout Puget Sound, as well as reverberating praises for its high-quality, reasonably-priced liquors. In recent weeks, the family has hosted stop-in and tastings for passersby from Port Orchard, a band of North Thurston firefighters, and a scattering of curious Puget Sound restauranteurs and bartenders who have heard the word that Sandstone is something special.

sandstone distillery

John Bourdon describes the distilling process during a recent tour.

“We’re privileged to be able to share our local heritage, not just about this area but about our family,” Jenny explains. “We have four generations working here on the weekends, from ages 84 years to 18 months. It’s wonderful to be able to share that.”

Indeed, inside the timber-hewn foyer with its tasting stand and wall of Sandstone Distillery shirts and souvenirs, a set of iron gates open into a production facility that’s not only functionally sparse in design but also captures history in every piece of equipment. A set of gleaming metal cooker tanks and boiler pipes, designed by John, steam from one side of the clear cement floor.  These are flanked by oversize sacks of grain from Eastern Washington farms.

On the right are a duo of oversize kettles whose former lives were as soup tanks on a 1970s Navy ship — today they’re dubbed “Hark” and “Herald,” for angel figures John one year proposed to his family as toppers for a double-spiked Christmas tree. Drinking glass-sized “plates” perch above each: a stack of four creates lower proof, more flavorful whiskeys; an eight-stack distills cleaner, higher proof vodkas.

sandstone distillery

“Hark” and “Herald” are the oversized kettles that are part of the craft liquor production site at Sandstone Distillery.

In which forms those spirits appear is often the genius of Jenny, who by day runs an Olympia surgical facility, and who by night and weekend concocts liquors infused with sweet and savory natural flavors. From the Bourdon’s own acreage come extracts of blackberries, apples, rosemary and mint, while botanicals like sweet orange, cardamom, cassis, cinnamon bark and licorice root are sourced from as close to home as she can get. For her most frequent seasonings, the upper walls of the warehouse are lined with narrow shelves of small planters, which feed off the steam from the cookers.

“We’re big on the ‘Farm to Table’ concept, and sourcing local,” Jenny says. “We think that’s a sustainable way to go.”

Currently two gin varietals feature lemon or licorice, the latter of which she says is surprisingly favored by men. A jalapeño vodka has found its way into the local Mexican restaurant’s menu. The dining venue at Offut Lake Resort has signed on to use the Sandstone white whiskey in its holiday “White Christmas” hot chocolate drink. And regional foodies and spirits connoisseurs throughout Puget Sound, including Governor Jay Inslee’s executive chef, are tasting and buying up the limited batches of bottles — which are themselves slim and elegant glassworks, with a local artist-designed label featuring the hands of a Tenino stone carver at work.

sandstone distillery

Jenny Bourdon concocts the liquor flavors, mostly based on what’s growing on their Tenino acreage.

“Growth has been on all sides, but we just want people to understand the process and to see what we have here,” says John. “We want them to be able to connect with the product, and with us. Sales are just a byproduct.”

As for any small business, though, the Bourdons’ road hasn’t been simple. After owning a successful trucking company, and subsequently embarking with the family on a cross-oceans sailing excursion, while Jenny was at work John began dabbling in distilling from home. That turned into an investment in education on the distilling process, focused on learning how to run such a business.

Breaking into the state’s undefined liquor industry, though, with all of its recent tax additions and rules, also led to involvement on state liquor discussions at the legislative level, where parameters for everything from distillery fire codes to tasting room guidelines to labeling formats were on the table.

“We’re where microbreweries were 25 years ago,” John observes. “We’re at the forefront, with just a few others ahead of us. That means we have a lot of the basic knowledge, and also the opportunity to help define the industry’s future.”

sandstone distillery

John and Jenny Bourdon would love to share their craft liquor distillery with you.

As the tour winds down, John describes the path for Sandstone Distillery’s next few months.  “We just want to hold steady, to keep selling out of our own backyard.” By 2016, the couple is aiming to build a self-sustaining portfolio throughout the Pacific Northwest; by 2020, they’re looking to be recognized across the U.S. and in Asia.

The caveat, says Jenny, who keeps the books, is that the business must always be self-supporting. Expansion is eventual, and inevitable: set hours for visits, tour group capabilities, educational outreach, and in-house “Distiller for a Day” experiences. These are all ideas that the couple is closely embracing.

“You’re only given so much time on this earth, and this is our passion,” she summarizes. “It’s all about maximizing the daylight that you have.”

You can learn more about Sandstone Distillery on their website or by following the business on Facebook.  Driving directions can be found here.

Why We Need the LBA Woods: Reason # 482

Maria Mudd Ruth - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:12pm

In just under six minutes, you can watch this short, amusing video about the Health Benefits of Going Outside.

And then you can go outside.

Or, you can go to  and find out what the 5,200 Olympia-area residents (including me!) have been working on for our city.

bent branch.jpg
Categories: Local Environment

Smoke M2D6 at the Northwest Takeover Show (Pt. 2)

K Records - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 2:09pm
Above photog (a still from the All Your Friend’s Friends documentary) is of Thee XNTRX, producers of the NW kip hop compilation All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255]. Left to right it’s Smoke M2D6 and Eprhyme. If you follow the world of K at all you are aware of Eprhyme‘s prowess as an MC but may […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Kellë McLaughlin at Fulcrum

South Sound Arts - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 9:16am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Dec. 11, 2014
"Stag and Moon," wood lock print by Kellë McLaughlinIf you haven’t seen Kellë McLaughlin’s art, which I had not until this week, you really should. Her “Bestial Mirrors” at Fulcrum Gallery is a skillfully presented mythology or bestiary of imaginative and fierce imagery. In bold wood block prints and even bolder ceramic sculptures, McLaughlin creates hybrid creatures with animal heads and human bodies.
Her ceramic busts include a wolf, a tropical fish, and a snow monkey in dark, brownish-bronze or black ceramics with gold highlights, each with a naked woman’s torso. The wolf with its wide open mouth and sharp, gold-tipped teeth is frightening. The monkey is almost comical and somewhat sad with red hair framing a face that looks like one of the apes from “Planet of the Apes.”
In the back gallery there is a wall of crows, which is a most beautiful installation. The birds sold individually and completely sold out at the opening. I’m happy for the artist, but it is a shame that the installation had to be broken up as it works so marvelously as a single work of art. They are like taxidermy crows not mounted on boards but breaking through the stark white wall. They really should be seen as a group while that is still possible.
Along with the ceramics in the front gallery is a suite of nine wood block prints of similar mythological animal-woman creatures in heraldic designs. These remind me of both coats of arms and illustrations for Grimm-like fairy tales. All but two of these feature circular formats framed by various objects, creatures and other decorative elements. One of the few without the circular motif, “Rooster & Magnolia (Closure),” has instead radiating black and white rays like the rays of sun on Japanese flags.
Tigress & Snail” is the only one not in black and white. It is in a purple so deep that you have to look closely to see that it is not black. Displaying a touch of humor, it is a tiger with a woman’s body bathing in a stream while smoking a cigarette. Also displaying a touch of humor is “Crow & Beetle (Murder of Crows),” which includes an Escher-like flock of crows.
The artists writes: “There is a relationship between animal and humankind that is overt and undeniable. We share innate qualities and characteristics that reveal both the civil and savage nature within beast and man. My work accentuates this relationship not only in its base form but also on an intimate and personal perspective. Each piece reflects an individuals’ introspective persona that is then displayed in the public eye. Every person creates a bond with a particular beast, whether consciously or not, that is perceived to represent our own persona. We glorify ourselves through the eyes of that animal within, using it to justify our deeds and desires, both condemning and exalting it when we feel the necessity. What I strive to do is bring forth an awareness of the light that we shed on the beast within ourselves, our daemon, and why.”
These prints and sculptures are skillfully executed and will give you a lot to think about and relate to — perhaps even in ways you would rather not.
Bestial Mirrors, noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and by appointment, Fulcrum Gallery, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.250.0520]
Photo: “Stag & Moon, (Moonlight)” limited 1st edition cherry woodcut print, by Kellë McLaughlin
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Dan Martinez: A Renovating Force for Keller Williams Realty South Sound

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:34am



real estate agent olympia

Dan Martinez, former President of the local youth soccer club Puget Sound Slammers was instrumental in bringing super star Mia Hamm to Olympia for a youth training camp in 2010.

Dan Martinez approaches life with determination and a vision whether it be his career, youth sports, family or community involvement. Well known within the youth soccer community, Martinez is currently gaining similar fame within the local real estate community. As a broker for Keller Williams Realty South Sound, Martinez is the go to guy for home rehabilitation. He is committed to transforming and revitalizing neighborhoods.

Martinez moved to Olympia in 1997 after he and his wife conducted an exhaustive search for the ideal community to raise and educate their three daughters. A strong school system was the most important factor in their choice. Martinez, his wife, Peggy, and their three young daughters plunged themselves immediately into the local schools and youth soccer. The girls attended L.P. Brown Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School and Capital High School.

While Peggy stayed involved in the schools, Martinez became active on the soccer field. “I mostly coached competitive teams since I appreciated the commitment of the players. It allowed me to bring out the talents of each player at a higher level of play. As President of South Sound Futbol Club, now Puget Sound Slammers Soccer Club, I coined the tagline ‘Developing Skills for a Lifetime’ because I viewed soccer as a means to develop skills beyond the soccer field,” explains Martinez.

real estate agent olympia

Dan and Peggy Martinez are dedicated community members through family, youth soccer, and neighborhood revitalization.

“One of my greatest memories was coaching a team called Velocity,” he continues. “The team made it to two state championships and six of those players went on to play collegiate soccer. I am also proud to have played a role in bringing Mia Hamm to one of our Puget Sound Slammers training camps in 2010.”

When Intel announced in October 2013 that his job of 19 years would be relocated to Oregon, Martinez had a decision to make. Martinez served as program manager of a manufacturing team that built servers worldwide with the latest processors in. “Having established strong relationships, and with grandkids just down the street, including my third one born on December 8, we were not ready to leave our wonderful community,” he recalls.

Coincidentally, Martinez and his wife had begun investing in real estate to better prepare for their retirement. When Martinez chose to stay in Olympia he decided to obtain his own broker’s license. “Acquiring my real estate broker’s license was a natural progression into the world of real estate. The career transition played into my strengths.”

In a brief span of time, Martinez has acquired two rental homes and renovated four properties including three in East Olympia and one in Lacey. Martinez has created a niche through a solid understanding of home rehabilitation. He is savvy about repair costs and the resale value of homes. He specializes in distressed properties, rehabilitation loans and guiding first-time home buyers.

real estate agent olympia

Keller Williams Realty is committed to community service through the company’s RED (Renew, Energize, Donate) Day. Local realtors, including Dan Martinez, helped with property improvements at the Community Youth Services site.

“I am really good at finding the most worth for buyers who are looking to obtain value properties. I can determine what type of repairs are doable. I can advise people toward creating value in their property. Some people would look at a house and property and only see what is wrong. Others see the home with a vision and opportunity. These are the people I assist in securing a 203k loan, which allows the buyer to get additional money to fix the house prior to move in.”

203k loans are designated for houses that are in need of rehabilitation. The loan covers the cost of the property and necessary home repairs. The renovation loan can cover a vast range of repairs including room additions, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, roofing, flooring, plumbing, energy conservation, new appliances and other structural repairs.

Martinez shares, “I enjoy helping people in difficult situations. Recently we assisted a mother and daughter in Lacey who had inherited their family home that was in disrepair. They tried to fix up the home but it was taking more time, work and money than they had. We were able to buy the house which provided them the financial resources to move on to their next destination. We fixed up the house and sold it to a family who is now enjoying the newly refurbished home.”

real estate agent olympia

Dan Martinez of Keller Williams Realty of South Sound is an expert in home rehabilitation. Shown here is the recent kitchen renovation of a 1913 home in East Olympia funded by a 203K loan.

One of Martinez’s favorite projects was a home on the Eastside of Olympia. “I love homes that have character like the 100-year-old homes in the historic Bigelow neighborhood. With old homes, we can bring them up to the latest standards so that they are safe and easy to maintain. The new owners can move in after we have modernized the home so that they do not have to do any more updates.”

As an expert in home rehabilitation, Martinez’s goal is attract good homeowners and enhance neighborhoods. And it seems the slogan of ‘developing skills for a lifetime’ has carried Martinez from the youth soccer field to renovating his own career. Martinez’s choice to remain in Olympia, develop soccer players, and revitalize neighborhoods has significantly contributed to building a stronger community.

Contact Dan Martinez, Broker/Realtor, Keller Williams Realty South Sound at 360-789-4408 or


Plan Adventures with Your Out-of-Town Guests in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:24am



By Kate Scriven

V-Web-R-WAOLYMOlympia is my home. However, it’s not where I was born or raised. As a result, my family all live far away and when they come to visit, I’m can’t wait to show them around. This holiday, I’m hosting not only my parents from Spokane, but my sister’s family of five from Colorado. With 11 people in my house for eight days, I’m going need to get creative in my activity planning to keep the crew entertained while experiencing all that Olympia has to offer.

olympia visitor

Digging for dinner is an experience for all ages and one your visitors won’t soon forget.

As I suspect many of you also will find yourself with a house-full sometime this year, I thought I’d share our plans in hopes that you, too, will find inspiration.

Adventures at the Beach

Since my out-of-towners are all from landlocked locals, I intend to give them a good dose of Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean fun.

With razor clam tides scheduled through the spring, heading to the ocean for the time honored tradition of digging for dinner is a must. We rustle up a few clam guns, throw on the slickers and boots and get set for an experience that is very “Pacific Northwest.” Check tide schedules and pick a beach (we are choosing Moclips). You’ll be wet, so bring a change of clothes for a hot chocolate or chowder pit stop on the way home.

Closer to home, we’ll venture to a local beach. My family are awed by hiking the mossy, ferny pathways, so unlike their arid climates, leading to beaches teeming with life year-round. My nephews aren’t deterred by a little muddy sand (have guests bring their rubber boots if they can) and a winter low tide can reveal amazing creatures to discover.

We will also hike the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. This peaceful estuary is like nothing they have at home. Tips for a successful winter trip can be found here.

If you have access to a boat, take your guests on the water (just watch the weather forecast). We will venture out in Boston Harbor, drop the crab pots and throw in a fishing line. My nephews (and brother-in-law and father) are beside themselves with excitement to catch crab and try out salt-water fishing.

Adventures in Town

The unique forests of the Pacific Northwest are lush and green, even in the winter, amazing guests from areas with "real winter."

The unique forests of the Pacific Northwest are lush and green, even in the winter, amazing guests from areas with “real winter.”

The Capitol Building’s dome and gothic columns are, for visitors who live far from a state capitol, a memorable highlight. Watch an awed hush descend on your guests as they gaze into the impressive Rotunda and Legislative chambers. My dad, the history buff, will get sidetracked by historical plaques and the many monuments on the grounds and I have no doubt the kids will race up the stairs and around the fountain. Click here for 10 free things to do with the kids on campus.

My guests aren’t big shoppers (are we related?), so we likely won’t spend a lot of time browsing Olympia’s local, independent shops. However, I can’t resist a short stroll through our downtown shopping core. I’ll use picking up a latte (very Northwest, you know) at Batdorf and Bronson as an excuse to circle the downtown core at least once, sharing my favorite local shops and eateries. We’ll bribe the kids with a cupcake or two and drop the men at Three Magnets Brewing for a pint.

As outdoor sportsmen, they are begging for a trip to the Lacey Cabela’s. It’s an outing for ogling the latest gear, dreaming up fantastic outdoor adventures, and checking out the animals for the kids. The Colorado crew lives far from a Cabela’s store and a chance to browse in person, not in the catalog, is an afternoon of ready-made fun.

Adventures in Eating

olympia visitor

Nothing says “local” like a pile of oyster shells. Find them at local shellfish farms.

One word – seafood. We tend to take it for granted that fresh, local seafood is available whenever we want. But waft a freshly shucked Olympia Oyster or Dungeness Crab under the nose of an “in-lander” and you are likely to get a pretty strong reaction (hopefully positive!). We always make sure to plan a “seafood feast” night for our guests where we spread newspapers on the table and crack crab and dunk it in butter until we can’t eat any more. Or we fire up the BBQ and cook some fresh oysters – winter is the best season for these local delicacies.

If your visitors are fascinated by bivalves, take a field trip to Taylor Shellfish Farms or further north to Hamma Hamma Oyster Farm to explore the bounty of the sound at the source. Even in the winter, an adventure on the Hood Canal is well worth the drive.

If cracking and shucking aren’t your gig (and if we end up with empty crab pots), choose one of our area’s stellar seafood restaurants and let the professional chefs do the work. Or, visit Olympia Seafood Company for a compromise. Their ready-to-cook options (think fresh crab cakes) and expertly prepared fish take just minutes to finish off at home for a true taste of Puget Sound.

Adventures in Planning

olympia visitor

A day trip to Hood Canal can bring gorgeous views and lasting memories for guests (and for you).

ThurstonTalk’s talented writers spend their time scouring the county for inexpensive, family fun (in our Thrifty Thurston series) and detailing the best places to hike, play, spend a rainy day, swim, and dine. Check out the articles in our archives to plan some of the best activities and outings Olympia has to offer.

By utilizing the filters on the ThurstonTalk events calendar you can sort current events to find just what you are looking for whether it’s live music or holiday bazaars. Use the tabs on the homepage to select a section, like outdoor activities, and scroll through suggestions galore.

I’m looking forward to sharing Thurston County, where I live, work and play, with my out-of-town family. I hope they find as much to love here as I do. And, maybe they will even decide to stay.


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:07am



all state agentAre you checking your list?  Whether it’s meal ideas for a holiday party, a festive recipe for a warm cocktail, or shopping ideas that support small business, let ThurstonTalk make sure you have everything covered.  Our writers have pulled together outstanding articles to keep your spirits high, bellies full, and agendas packed.

Read on for our highlights from our extensive event calendar.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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

Even With All-League Center Out, River Ridge Girls Basketball Coach Still Optimistic

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:06am



By Gail Wood

hawks prairie golf logoWith her right hand in a cast, Savannah McGill found herself in a new role as she sat on the bench.

Instead of leading scorer and top rebounder, McGill, one of two returning starters on River Ridge High School’s girls basketball team, was now a cheerleader, an encourager yelling support. In just the second game of the season, McGill broke the knuckle in her ring finger on her right hand swatting at the ball against Timberline last Friday.

river ridge basketball

Senior center Savannah McGill, with her hand in a purple cast, watches her team play against Fife.

“I’ve jammed my finger before and this hurt worse,” McGill said. “I knew it was broken.”

For at least four weeks, River Ridge will be without the 6-foot senior. And while River Ridge coach Jackie Robinson isn’t saying this is the best thing that could have happened to his team, he does see a silver lining.

“It gives a chance for other kids to step up,” Robinson said. “We’ll figure it out. The important thing is for us to get better each game.”

Rather than one player filling the void – McGill averaged about 15 points and 10 rebounds – Robinson said it will be a team effort. With McGill out, 5-foot-8 freshman forward Madeline Retzlaff showed promise in her first varsity game on Tuesday in a 50-43 win against Fife.

“Madeline reminds me so much of Savanah when she was a freshman,” Robinson said. “She’s such a coachable kid – fun loving, listens, does what you tell her to do. She’ll come in and get some minutes there. She’s going to be good.”

river ridge basketball

Senior Kyla Coleman puts up an inside shot against Fife.

Junior guard Makenna Schultz, the Hawks’ other returning starter, is confident the younger players asked to pick up their game will respond.

“It’s a loss not having Savannah, but I think we’ll be okay because we’ve got other players filling in,” said Schultz, a starter on the varsity since her freshman year. “I think we’ll be good.”

Schultz has scored a season-high 22 points and is averaging 16 points. But as a point guard she remains a shooter, passer.

“I don’t feel I have to score more points,” said Schultz, who played on the Seattle Rotary AAU club team this summer. “I think other girls will step in and do their part and help me and help the rest of the team. I think we can do that if we keep pushing the ball and keep working as a team. We’ll get there.”

Robinson is impressed with how Schultz is playing. She’s averaging nearly half the Hawks’ 37 points per game average.

“She’s doing a great job at the point,” Robinson said. “She’s our engine right now. She’s a coachable kid.”

river ridge basketball

River Ridge’s Kyla Coleman drives to the basket on a fastbreak for the Hawks.

As River Ridge adjusts to McGill’s absence, Robinson knows his team might take some lumps early. But it’s not how River Ridge starts the season that’s got Robinson concerned. It’s how they finish.

“Five teams get into the playoffs from our league,” Robinson said. “Honestly, if we get one of those spots, I don’t care which spot we get. I just want in. Once you’re in, you can make some noise. But if you’re not in you can’t make any noise.”

McGill admits it’s hard sitting on the bench during games and only being able to watch her team play. But she said it’s important for her to stay positive and not moan and complain about not being able to play.

“It’s really disappointing,” McGill said. “But I try not to bring the team down because they need my support. I just need to stay in the gym and work on my left hand. Then support the team as much as possible.”

Filling in at center, Robinson will go with Peggy Johnston, a 5’9″ senior, Kyla Coleman, a 6’1″ senior, and Retzlaff, a 5’8″ freshman.

river ridge basketball

River Ridge coach Jackie Robinson instructs guards Makenna Schultz and Ashli Ayers (5).

Robinson is impressed with his team’s work ethic, with their willingness to do whatever it takes to get better. Recently, he asked his team if they’d be willing to show up to a shoot around before school started. They eagerly said they would go.

“This group is just fun to coach,” Robinson said. “Even though we’re not winning all our games you can’t tell when you go into the locker room. They’re still hungry. They’re still listening. You never hear them say anything bad. They’re not getting down on each other. They’re a great group to coach.”

Robinson is confident his team’s willingness to work hard will have a payoff come playoff time.

“It’s not how you start,” said Robinson, who is in his fourth season as River Ridge’s head coach. “But it’s how you finish. We’ll be fine. I think we’ll get there.”

Sovereign Cellars Offers Holiday Discount for a Limited Time

Griffin Neighborhood - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:42pm
For a limited time, local winemaker Dennis Gross, of Sovereign Cellars, is offering a 30% discount on all is Double Gold winning (2014 Seattle Wine Show) reds.

Many of us have tasted these wines, either at Sovereign Cellars or at local restaurants who serve them. These really are some terrific, locally produced wines.

Contact Denny at (360) 866-7991 or for more information and to purchase before December 31st.

Read more about Sovereign Cellars in our article from this last June.

Timberland Librarians Gather to Pick Most Gorgeous Children’s Picture Book Winners

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 8:14pm



Submitted by Timberland Regional Library

Thirty youth services staff members from most of the 27 Timberland libraries gathered in Tumwater today, Thursday, December 11, 2014, to choose the five most distinguished children’s picture books published in 2014.

This annual event pits local library expertise against that of the nationally prestigious Caldecott Medal Committee, part of the American Library Association, that will announce its winners this coming January.

The day-long effort began with work tables stacked with enticing contenders – 58 in all – and supplies for evaluation and voting. Encircling the tables, eager librarians itched to dig into the riches. Youth Services Coordinator Ellen Duffy called it, “my favorite day of the year.”

“The day is a joyous collaborative learning process,” Duffy said.

“We learn from these exquisite books,” she continued. “We learn from each other, and we bring all that learning to our library patrons.”

At the end of the day, the winners were tallied and announced:
1. “The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat
2. “Gravity” by Jason Chin
3. “The  Numberlys” by William Joyce and Christina Ellis
4. “Quest” by Aaron Becker
5. “Flashlight” by Lizi Boyd

One of the day’s written evaluations speaks to the heart of the effort: “We get too used to treating books as objects to check in, shelve, etc. We need to be reminded that each of these books is its own universe.”

The official Caldecott winners will be announced, with great pomp and lots of media, next month. Tune in and see if one of the local favorites makes it to the top.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott and is awarded each year to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. Past winners include “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsberg (1986 winner), “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendek (1964 winner) and “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick (2008 winner).

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 027

K Records - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 4:42pm
The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes.   The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is an on-going audio exploration of all things K. On this episode we celebrates the new documentary film All Your Friend’s Friends, by Olympia film maker Red Williams of Newspin Films. It’s the story of making the NW hip […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
Syndicate content