Recent local blog posts

Police Deadly Force Bill Has Number, Community Policing Bill Also Introduced

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:12pm

Two bills were introduced to the Washington State Legislature on Wednesday. One would amend Washington State law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement, and the other would establish a joint legislative task force on community policing standards.
Above: Artwork made of welded metal and found objects by John Vanek entitled Justice For All was gifted to the City of Olympia and is installed at the Lee Creighton Justice Center, the site of Olympia's former city hall. 
By Janine
Proposed legislation to amend Washington State law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement was introduced Wednesday morning to the Washington State Legislature as HB 2907.
The bill is prime sponsored by Representative Luis Moscoso (D-1), and co-sponsored by five others, including Olympia area Representatives Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdal (D-22).
The bill has been referred to the House Public Safety Committee for a hearing and can be read here:
Community Policing Standards Legislation Introduced
Another bill on Wednesday was introduced, HB 2908, that establishes a 13 member joint legislative task force on community policing standards. Representative Cindy Ryu (pronounced Ree-oo), (D- 32), is the prime sponsor.
The bill has been referred to the House Public Safety Committee and can be read here:
In part, HB 2908 reads, “The legislature acknowledges that officers are often placed in harm’s way and must make decisions quickly while under extreme stress. Although regrettable in every case, the use of deadly force may sometimes be necessary to protect the safety of others. The legislature also recognizes that both the people of this state and law enforcement officers themselves rely on and expect accountability, the failure of which damages the public trust in those who serve the public honorably and with compassion.
“The legislature finds that the law of deadly force in Washington provides absolute protection for law enforcement in virtually all instances, above and beyond that which is reasonable and justifiable....It is the intent of the legislature to improve our deadly force law….”
The bill proposes to create the joint legislative task force to review known data regarding the use of deadly force by officers, review proposals and modifications to RCW 9A.16.040, evaluate the availability of body cameras and similar tools, review current police training curriculum and practices, evaluate public confidence in community policing practices and use of force policies in Washington and produce a preliminary report on its findings to Governor Jay Inslee by December 1, 2016.
Karen Johnson, chair of the Black Alliance of Thurston County, was pleased today about the introduction of the two bills.

“The Black Alliance of Thurston County sees supporting both bills as an opportunity because, as we know, changing the use of deadly force law is the strong foundation upon which all of the other systemic changes (data collection when civilians die at the hand of police officers, body cameras, implict/explicit bias, de-escalation training and the like) is built,” said Johnson.
“Let us build a strong foundation. We believe the more strategic, intentional, and collaborative we can be, the better. Please endorse HB 2907 and HB 2908. As Dr. King said, “the time is always ripe to do right,” she said.
According to a press release by the Black Alliance, thirty two local, regional, and statewide organizations to date have endorsed HB 2907: 
A. Philip Randolph Institute, Seattle Chapter, Art Forces, Behavioral Health and Wellness, the Black Student Union of The Evergreen State College (Tacoma Campus), Center for Justice, Church Council of Greater Seattle, Faith Action Network, Families United Against Hate, Interfaith Works, John T. Williams Organizing Coalition, Justice Not Jails, Latino Civic Alliance, League of Women Voters - Thurston County, Mothers for Police Accountability, Olympia Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, Olympia Coalition to Reform Deadly Force, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Point Defiance Aids Projects/North American Syringe Exchange Network, Risen Faith Fellowship, Seattle Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Self Advocates in Leadership, Spokane NAACP, Standing Up to Racism, Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective, The Arc of Washington State, The Justice Coalition of the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, The United Churches of Olympia, Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Washington State Independent Living Council, Washington State National Organization for Women, and the YWCA Olympia.

Editor's Note, January 28: HB 2907 was going to the Judiciary Committee as originally stated in this article. It was then referred to the House Public Safety Committee. For up to date information and to track all bills, go to
For more information about the journey to this proposed legislation, the Black Alliance of Thurston County, the City of Olympia’s Ad Hoc Committee on Police and Community Relations, body cameras, and other police related issues in Olympia, go to Little Hollywood,, and type key words into the search engine.

For more information about the Black Alliance of Thurston County, contact Dr. Karen Johnson at

Phyllis Bennis - Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror - at Evergreen February 4th at Noon

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 9:39am
Event:  Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Phyllis Bennis, American author, activist, and political commentator, will speak Thursday, February 4, at The Evergreen State College in Olympia about the origins of ISIS, U.S. military strategy, the refugee crisis, and what U.S. policy on ISIS and Syria should be. The free event is at noon in the Library Lobby, 2700 Evergreen Parkway.

A Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, Bennis is active with U.S. and global peace and Palestinian rights movements and speaks widely on U.S. wars, occupations, and foreign policy. The author of a dozen books, she has recently published Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror. Bennis is also a regular contributor to Democracy Now!, the PBS News Hour, NPR's Diane Rehm Show, BBC, al Jazeera, The Nation, and more.

The free event is sponsored by Evergreen programs ReInterpreting Liberation, A New Middle East?, and Culture & Violence, and by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Bennis speaks at venues throughout Western Washington February 2-4, including at Town Hall Seattle.  For information visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation website or call (360) 754-3998. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Gotti Sweets – Let’s Eat Cake

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00am


Gotti Sweets has been on the move. The Olympia-born sister and brother team of Rebecca and Arthur Gottlieb has taken their two-year old bakery business to downtown Olympia.

color graphicsAnd they’re thrilled. “We’re so excited about the new spot,” said Arthur, who has been deeply involved with the community for years. Supporters of such groups as Pizza Klatch, Capital City Pride and the Olympia Downtown Association, they now feel closer to the action. Previously tucked away in the Hawks Prairie shopping area, the location on Legion Way will bring new foot traffic and make it more convenient to grab a sweet treat.

gotti sweetsRebecca and Arthur Gottlieb are creating a new cake wall with fondant wonders.

The Gottliebs managed to squeeze all their equipment into the compact new space, which is about half the square footage of the Hawks Prairie location. They still have a couple of tables to enjoy your espresso and treat. The seating area will primarily be used for wedding cake tastings.

Their focus on specialty cakes continues. Did you ever see their fabulous wall of cakes? The new wall may be a bit smaller, but the cakes are wondrously creative and fun to admire. One is even upside down.

gotti sweetsThis art inspired party cake was the centerpiece for a party at the Painted Plate. Photo credit: Rebecca Gottlieb.

Though the square footage may have shrunk, the abundant bakery choices are still yours. The ever-popular macaroons are a bouquet of colors and flavors. These gluten-free taste treats may be made with green tea, lavender or rose water. You’ll have to try them all to find out your favorites.

Gotti Sweets is also known for pie-tots, a riff on the word tater-tots but in actuality created with piecrust and fillings. Pie-tots allow you individual sized indulgences: a cream cheese crust folded around traditional and not-so traditional fillings such as pecan or coconut. Every bite is the right amount of flakiness of the outside with moistness of the inside.

Arthur loves to bake and decorate cakes. If you have an idea, a concept, a favorite story, hobby or vision, Gotti Sweets will create a cake to fulfill your sweet desires. Their colorful, whimsical cakes brighten up birthday parties – any party for that matter. “We haven’t met a challenge we haven’t been able to create,” remarked Gottlieb.

gotti sweetsLooks like sushi but it’s not! It’s all cake. Photo credit: Rebecca Gottlieb.

Once they made a five-foot totem pole entirely out of cake for the Wahelut Indian School. It had a Rice Krispy salmon on tip. That fed a lot of people. Whether you have an intimate dinner planned or a reception with 600, Gotti Sweets can deliver it.

Special orders and cakes made with sugar alternatives are also available from Gotti Sweets. “It’s delicious,” promised Arthur.

Being in the food business for two years is a definite accomplishment. I asked the pair what thoughts they have about their success. Both said that it was essential to “hang in there and don’t get discouraged.” Patience helps. So do loyal customers who make the challenges worthwhile. Rebecca mentioned that their customers have “become family over the years.”

gotti sweetsSister and brother team Rebecca and Arthur are delighted to settle into their new location on Legion Way.

Celebrate Gotti Sweets by stopping in for the Grand Opening on January 30. Check out the wall of cakes and get a sample. Parking downtown is free after 5:00 p.m. and also on the weekends. Gotti Sweets also plans to be open seven days a week. For up to date information, visit Gotti Sweets’ Facebook page.

Eat Well – Be Well

Gotti Sweets
422 Legion Way SE in downtown Olympia

Leah Mason – A Hockey Girl Standing Tall Among the Boys

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00am


The saying goes, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.”

It’s no secret that hockey can be one of the most brutal sports to play. As a contact game played on slippery ice and centered on a fast-moving puck, injuries and accidents are bound to happen. Many people shy away from even ice skating due to the high risk of falling on the unforgiving ice, but not Leah Mason.

Hometown logoLeah, a 17-year-old junior at Northwest Christian High School, moved to Washington this past summer.  Leah was raised in her beloved sport of hockey. She grew up watching her older brother and dad play and couldn’t help but want to play with them. Because of a military lifestyle, she never stayed in one place for very long. Although her home has changed through the years, her love for the sport has remained constant.

Although hockey has been a passion for her since she was a little girl, Leah has only been playing for three years. She and her older brother Ben both began skating when they were two. But unlike Leah, 20-year-old Ben has been playing hockey since he was four. “Just growing up watching my brother practice and watching his games, I always knew I wanted to do it,” explains Leah when asked about her love of the sport.

Leah fights for the puck on defense while playing with the Tacoma RocketsLeah fights for the puck on defense while playing with the Tacoma Rockets

However, Leah’s delayed start in the game was not her choice. “With every new season that came, I would ask my dad if I could join a team and play, but every time he would tell me I had to wait until I was the best skater out there,” says Leah. And wait she did.

Leah had been told to wait for eight straight years when the time came to prove herself. It wasn’t until her dad was preparing for deployment again that an opportunity opened up. “He told me if I could get better by the time he returned, I could play.” For the next 15 months, Leah practically lived at the ice rink with her brother. She wasn’t about to let this chance to finally play the sport she loved get away. She practiced, practiced and practiced some more. Working on things that didn’t come naturally to her and perfecting the ones that did, Leah was determined to be the best skater out on the ice.

A young Leah (10) and her brother Ben (13) practicing at the rink, trying to improve her skating skills so she could try out for a team.A young Leah (10) and her brother Ben (13) practicing at the rink, trying to improve her skating skills so she could try out for a team.

Her father was true to his word and Leah is now one of only two girls on her co-ed hockey team, The Tacoma Rockets. She has been playing for three years and looking back, she not only sees a change in herself, but also a change in the sport for women. “Hockey is currently being pioneered by women. It has been a co-ed sport for some time but this year was the first season of a NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) where women are actually being paid,” exclaims Leah. “There are only four teams right now but it is evolving.” In March 2015, the formation of the NWHL was announced. The league holds the distinction of being the first U.S women’s hockey league to pay its players. Before the League’s formation the only choice for top level women’s hockey in North America was the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which is unpaid.

Along with waiting until she became a better skater, Leah also had to face another difficultly, one she didn’t have to opportunity to improve through practice – being the only girl.

Even though the sport is co-ed, Leah is used to being the only girl on a team. “It didn’t really matter when I was playing with my brother. I had practiced with him and he was there for me.”  But now that Ben is older and no longer in the sport, Leah had to join the Rockets on her own, feeling the pressure of being “the girl” on a male-dominated team.

Leah has always drawn strength from the love and support of her family.Leah has always drawn strength from the love and support of her family.

Does being the only female on the ice make her nervous? “It’s different being ‘the girl.’ If you mess up, you mess up. But now if I mess up, it will be ‘the girl’ who messed up. And that is way harder to take.” Even though she has had to overcome adversity and a little awkwardness by joining a predominantly male sport, she holds nothing against the guys for acting the way they do around her. “I understand. I’m breaking into their ‘domain’ and I’m going to have to prove myself.”

The fear of failure was never something Leah let hold her back.

“There comes a time when you can’t care what the person next to you is thinking. You’ll only make a fool out of yourself because you’re going to be stressing too much. I don’t care what others may think because I love this sport with all my heart, so I’m going to try my best to better myself.”

Leah ends with encouraging words for girls in any sport. “Just do it! If it’s something you’re in love with, then it’s worth it. God has blessed you with being a woman. It’s not a curse and it should not hold you back.”

I-735 Validated, Thurston County Contributed Nearly 16,000 Signatures

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 8:55pm

Above: The Washington Secretary of State's office validated I-735 and certified the initiative to the Legislature. Initiative 735 clarifies that corporations are not people, money is not speech, and all political donations should be made public.
By Janine
“Woohoo! So happy! I am so pleased with what we in Thurston County were able to accomplish,” said Jennifer Sprague, in response to the news that the Washington Secretary of State's office validated I-735 and certified the initiative to the Legislature.
Sprague, a local organizer for the Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution (WAmend) in Thurston County, received the news Tuesday afternoon.
Initiative 735 urges Washington State’s Congressional delegation and all members of Congress to propose a federal Constitutional amendment clarifying that Constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations. It also says that spending money is not free speech under the First Amendment.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, the invalidation rate, including duplicates and signatures from people not found on the voter rolls, was 18 percent, about average for Washington ballot measures in recent decades.
Next, the Legislature may enact the initiative into law, or may send it to the General Election ballot for a vote of the people. Since it is unlikely the initiative will be enacted into law, organizers are urging people to vote yes on I-735 this coming November.
Sprague and other I-735 supporters held a rally on Thursday afternoon, the sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United v. FEC decision, at the Washington State Capitol Building.
“Voting yes will make Washington State the 17th state to urge Congress to introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision,” said Sprague.
WAmend organizers collected 333,040 signatures for I-735 and turned them in to the Washington State Secretary of State’s office on December 30 and 31, 2015.
Thurston County volunteers were responsible for gathering 15,920 signatures for the initiative. Sprague said that gathering almost 16,000 signatures was their goal, which is about 10 percent of the registered voters in the county.
Above: Several checkers strive to validate troublesome signatures for I-735 last week at the Washington Secretary of State's office in downtown Olympia.
The Secretary of State’s office started reviewing the I-735 ballots Wednesday evening and finished a few days earlier than expected. Anyone can observe the process during normal business hours.
Kay Ramsey, Secretary of State program coordinator, was busy checking signatures last week, along with about 15 paid, temporary staff who received training for their job from the Washington State Patrol. Staff cross checked signatures with the statewide voter registration database.
Asked what causes the most difficulties with petition signatures, Ramsey said that a lot of people aren’t actually registered to vote, bad handwriting, and very common names.
Checkers also have difficulties with very large and very small signatures, attempted scratch outs, lightly written signatures, those that only sign or only print their name, and other issues.
Little Hollywood observed the signature checking process last week and witnessed several illegible and light signatures that were not able to be confirmed by the checker.
Ramsey said that every effort is made to do a second round check to see if the proper signature can be found.
For more information about I-735 and the initiative process, go to: Previous articles about the initiative are at Little Hollywood, Use the search button to type in key words.

For more information about Thurston County’s I-735 efforts, contact Jennifer Sprague at or Michael Savoca at

Yelm Star Wars Superfan Builds Working Holochess Table

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:50am


If the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taught us anything, it’s that fans come in all shapes and sizes – and sometimes their love for the Star Wars franchise can get a bit extreme. But when fandom coincides with productivity, amazing things can happen.

little caesars logoTake Ian Martin, a perfectly normal, socially well adjusted, happily married web developer living on a quiet back nook of the Nisqually Pines subdivision in Yelm. Ian also happens to be one of Tech Insider’s World’s Biggest Star Wars Fans. “I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember,” he says. It’s a lifelong connection, not just to the films, but to the culture of the Star Wars fan community.

star wars fanIan Martin displays a monster sculpt in progress. Photo credit: Ian Martin.

Now, tinkering in his garage, he’s built a real, working version of the Holochess game (also known as Dejarik) that appears in a twenty-second scene in the original Star Wars movie. You read that right. You can actually sit at a replica of the table from the Millennium Falcon and play the game.

Building Star Wars replicas is nothing new for Ian. He has always enjoyed the fan events and Star Wars costumes, so several years ago he set out to make a C-3PO costume. He is meticulous by nature, and the costume was accurate down to the last detail. In fact, it made such a splash that he has been flown to fan events as far away as Europe to show it off. He even stood on stage while Mark Hamill accepted the Jules Verne “Legendaire” Award and met George Lucas himself.

The Dejarik project started simply as a way to balance his highly cerebral job developing web applications by doing something with his hands. Sculpting takes him out of the computer and places him squarely in reality. He bought some modeling clay and began to sculpt the Holochess monsters, taking great pains to produce detailed, accurate replications of the characters that appear on screen.

star wars fanIan Martin crafts Star Wars memorabilia in his Yelm garage. Photo credit: Ian Martin.

I asked him how many times he watched the Holochess scene. “A lot of times,” he said. His wife, Amy, nodded. “A lot.” (It helps that she’s supportive. She plays Leia to his C-3PO, between teaching college-level art history classes.)

The result of that attention to detail is striking. The sculpts have life to them. And maybe that explains, to some extent, why after finishing the eight monster sculpts Ian decided to build a table to put them on. It couldn’t be just any table. It had to be a replica of the table from the movie. And of course, accuracy can have no limits, so when he started to design the table he began to wonder whether he could make a table that would actually function.

He found some rulebooks that other fans had created, based on the way Chewbacca and R2-D2 play the game in the movie. His brother, Scott, refined those rules into a Dejarik Rule Book. Then he used Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform, to build and program the circuitry inside the table. When he was done, he had a working board, complete with sound effects, that could be used to play the game using the monster sculpts as game pieces.

star wars fanA flat die can be used in place of the monsters on the Dejarik table. Photo credit: Ian Martin.

But it didn’t stop there. Other fans noticed what he was doing, and before long he connected with a talented developer from France named Adrien Trouillaud. Together, they began experimenting with Augmented Reality – applications that use an electronic interface to insert computer-generated imagery into a real scene. Now, looking through your phone at the real table, you can play the game. The monsters animate. They move from space to space. They fight. It’s pretty amazing to see.

Unfortunately for Ian – and perhaps even more for Star Wars fans around the world – Ian can’t sell copies of his Dejarik game. Since acquiring the franchise from LucasFilm, Disney owns the licensing rights to Star Wars merchandise. Still, it’s something we can all enjoy, at least from a distance. Ian has a YouTube channel, where he shares details of his creations, and it’s more than possible that you’ll run into him at a comic store or convention around the area. You can also follow Ian’s creations on his Facebook page.

He might even let you play a game or two.

SPSCC Men’s and Women’s Basketball on the Upswing

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:00am


When Nick Schmidt took over as athletic director at South Puget Sound Community College this past summer, he immediately spoke about how dedicated the Clippers’ athletic department, along with the school’s executive staff, is to changing the cultural on campus in regards to sports.

pints logoThe mission was to shift the two-year educational institution into a place where student athletes could excel both in the classroom and on the field. The latter had been lacking for a handful of years as sports became more of an afterthought around campus.

The goal was certainly obtainable.

spscc basketballRiver Ridge High school graduate Savannah McGill pulls down a rebound during the Clippers victory over Highline.

No one could predict, however, just how quickly the success has come for the Clippers.

We are midway through the regular season and both the men and women’s basketball programs have far exceeded expectations. And neither look to be slowing down any time soon.

The women’s team, in just 16 games, have already surpassed last year’s win total for the season. The men have been even more impressive, posting the best start in program history by winning 12 of their first 15 games, highlighted by a five-game winning streak.

“We’ve talked a lot about breaking down the walls and integrating the campus community,” Schmidt said. “I think our executive team has worked really hard at moving forward as one. One of the things I’ve been preaching to the coaches and the players is we’re a family, not only as a department, but also as leaders on campus. They have worked very hard this year to increase the collegiality among the two athletic programs, but also their involvement across campus.”

spscc basketballDez Stoudamire (#3) directors the Clippers offense against Highline.

Mike Moore is in his second year as head coach of the SPSCC women’s basketball team. Aaron Landon is in his third year as the men’s coach.

“I have been impressed with both programs,” Schmidt said. “Both coaches are excellent fits. They’re showing there is athletics here and they’re good. I think both programs are the heading in a great directions. It’s certainly energized our athletics.”

The women’s basketball team won just 10 games during Moore’s first year with the Clippers. A three-game winning streak to start this year certainly kicked things off on a high note. The team’s 11 victories is the most since the Clippers won 13 games during the 2009-10 season.

Following the 2009-10 season SPSCC tumbled in the standings greatly, failing to win a single game. The program won a combined 25 games over a five-year stretch, but appear on the upswing with Moore at the helm.

spscc basketballThe Clippers’ men’s basketball team posted its best start in school history this season.

One of the reasons for this year’s turnaround was Moore’s ability to draw in local talent.

The Clippers roster features two players from Black Hills High School (Taylor and Sydney Sauls), two from Shelton (Taylor Stroud and Jessica Johnson), two from Rochester (Kessa and Keeli Demers), Tenino graduate Ali-Jo Vens and Savannah McGill, a 6-foot-1 forward from River Ridge.

“My goal is to establish an extended Thurston County all-star team and there’s enough talent to do that,” said Moore, who certainly knows the area as a graduate of Olympia High School. “The main theme is to be consistent in recruiting the Thurston County kids. As we get to be consistent with that, as we make appearances in the NWAC tournaments, we then can branch out and they will start coming to us. We’ve been getting a lot of attention already. People see we are winning now. The program has changed. Things have shifted and people are picking up on that; and it’s really exciting.”

The Clippers are eyeing their first trip to the Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball championship tournament since 2009. SPSCC has not placed in the tournament since 2001 when the team finished fifth.

spscc basketballKrista Johnson (#24) throws a pass as Jessica Johnson (#11) posts up.

“We’ve worked really hard to change the culture around here and it starts with the girls,” Moore said. “Their approach and their work ethic every day in practice and their willingness to make sacrifices has been tremendous. I know how hard it is to be a student athlete with everything going on just with academics and being first-year college kids, but they have been coming in every day and working hard. Everyone is buying in. It’s showing now.”

With a 14-4 record through the first 18 games of the season, the SPSCC men’s basketball team has already doubled last year’s win total and have posted more wins this season than the three previous years combined.

“Coach Landon brought some players in that really compliment each other – players that have some chemistry together,” Schmidt said. “The basketball season is generating a lot of excitement around here.”

The Clippers, who feature Yelm graduate Topher Burian and Black Hills graduate Dustin Meade on their roster, haven’t made the post-season tournament since 2008, but are currently battling Lower Columbia for the top spot in the West Region standings.

“We’re excited. Both programs are supporting each other,” Moore said. “The boys are out at our games, we’re out at their games and it helps. I think it continues to breed that positive culture, that change. That’s what we are doing.”

Find details about upcoming SPSCC basketball games by visiting the Clipper Athletics website.

Boggs Inspection Services Provides a Home Buyers Guide to a Successful Home Inspection

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:00am


Whether this is your first time buying a home or your fifth, a home inspection is an essential part of the process. First time buyers may ask why an inspection – an expense of $300 to $400 dollars – is necessary. Veteran buyers and real estate professionals alike will quickly share how a home inspection pays for itself, often several times over. Nearly every time, the inspection findings will show several issues that can easily be used to negotiate a lower home price by much more than the inspection cost.

olympia home inspectorDwayne Boggs is the owner of Boggs Inspection Services, an Olympia-based home inspection company.

But, how does a veteran or novice buyer know how to get the most value during the inspection? And, how do you know what issues are deal-breakers and which ones are fixable? As one of the busiest inspection firms in the South Sound in 2015, Boggs Inspection Services knows a thing or two about home inspections and offers this professional guide for your next home inspection.

Home Inspection Do’s:

  1. Hire the inspector you want. Most real estate agents have a relationship with a handful of inspectors and will recommend one to you based on their past experience. Understand that this is only a recommendation. You are hiring the inspector and you are paying his or her bill. Choose the right inspector for you. Ask friends who have bought a home recently if they liked their inspector. Do a quick online search for inspectors in your area. Read reviews.
  2. Check your inspector’s credentials. Ensure that you have hired someone with top-notch qualifications who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
  3. Attend and participate in your inspection. This is your opportunity to learn more about the largest purchase you’ll likely ever make. Ask questions and pay attention. This is an opportunity to learn as much as you can about the home you may live in for the rest of your life.
  4. Remember that homes are made of organic material and are subject to age and the elements. Your prospective home will not be perfect. Expect issues. It is not uncommon for inspectors to find 20 or more issues with a house. Keep perspective during the process and know that you can fix nearly anything.
  5. Hold tight (but not too tightly) to the fact that you love this house. If you didn’t love the house, you wouldn’t be at the inspection phase. Balance your emotional connection to the home with practical issues turned up during the inspection.
boggs home inspectionDuring your home inspection, remember what you love about the potential new home.

Home Inspection Don’ts:

  1. Don’t forget you are not the home inspector. It’s not necessary, or productive, to question each observation and notation your inspector makes. Inspectors are professionals with extensive training and experience (see #2 above) and complete inspections on all kinds of properties each day. Trust the process.
  2. Don’t flip out over seemingly significant findings. Dwayne Boggs says time and again, “Everything can be fixed.” And, the inspector is doing his/her job when finding these types of problems, allowing you to ask the buyer to remedy the problem or reduce their price to cover the cost.
  3. Don’t let emotions run the show. One of the best things about a home inspector is they are an entirely neutral party. They have no emotional connection to the house and their findings reflect only what they observe. Capitalize on their unbiased opinion and try and keep emotion at bay. “People sometimes fall so in love with a house that they forget to see the details,” shares Boggs. “The inspection takes emotion out of the equation.”
  4. Don’t think a newer home will be problem free. Boggs shares that while an older home may present with more issues, in fact, the solid underlying construction is often significantly better than many homes built in the last 10 years. Don’t be fooled by appearances. Beautiful granite countertops and hand-scraped floors do not mean the home’s systems and structures are problem free.
  5. Don’t be nit-picky when responding to your inspection report. “Put yourself in the seller’s shoes,” suggests Boggs. Be fair and don’t nickel and dime the seller. Ask for repairs or price adjustments for major issues, not for chipped paint or a loose doorknob.
boggs home inspectionBoggs Inspection Services works through a thorough checklist of items during a home inspection.

Ultimately, remember that when buying a home, the inspection is just one piece of the puzzle. Yes, it’s a critically important one and should be taken seriously, but if you love a house, don’t let unexpected findings be a deal breaker. Broken trusses can be repaired. Roofs can be replaced. Mold and moisture damage can be remediated. Use your inspection report as a tool in the big picture of purchasing your home and leverage the right price for the right house, armed with solid information from a trusted and respected home inspector.

If you are looking to buy anywhere in the South Sound area including Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Lewis and Mason counties, Boggs Inspection Services can help. Call for your inspection today at 360-480-9602 or visit Boggs Inspection Services online.


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 2:44pm


Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Bella Trix is a smart 10 year old Mini Pinscher mix. She is so happy around people that she bounces like a bouncing ball and prances like a small phony. Bella has no teeth so she will need to always be on soft food but don’t tell her that when she tries to steel a large dog bone. She loves a warm lap, belly rubs and being carried like the princess she is. Super cute personality.

We have many great dogs and always need volunteers.  To see all our current dogs, visit , our Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington” or at the shelter on Jensen Road in Shelton.  Our contact information is or contact us at or (360) or 360-432-3091.

Thurston Realtors are a Voice for Property Owners at the Capitol

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 2:20pm


Submitted by  Barb Lally for Thurston County Realtors

Nearly 50 Thurston County Realtors met with state Sen. Karen Fraser and Rep. Chris Reykdal recently to discuss the group’s legislative priorities for the 2016 legislative session, something they have done annually for about 25 years. The visit was scheduled during the Washington Association of Realtors’ annual Legislative Day in Olympia, attended by more than 400 Realtors from around the state.

 Bobbi KellyThurston Realtor group during their visit to the Secretary of State’s office. Photo credit: Bobbi Kelly

The discussions with the area’s state legislators centered around the residential and commercial real estate markets and their role in boosting economic recovery and protecting property owners. Of chief concern for Thurston Realtors is the county’s low housing inventory and the availability of affordable housing choices to meet a growing demand in our area. The group also discussed land use and environmental regulations that directly affect housing supply and the effect that increased taxes on the sale of property would have on the markets and the local economy.

 Amore StudiosThurston Realtors president Jerry Wilkins asks legislators a question. Photo credit: Amore Studios

“Our legislators are grateful for the input Realtors give,” said Jim Bennett, owner of REMAX Parkside in Tumwater, who has been a Realtor for 37 years and attends the large event each year. “Realtors are the leading advocates for property owners and those who desire to be, and are committed to protecting the American Dream. Who else represent home owners in Olympia?”

Sen. Karen Fraser expressed why she schedules the meeting with the local group annually.

“I have met with Realtors almost every year I have served in Olympia,” Sen. Fraser said. “They have a great read on what is good for our communities. They care about our economy and our quality of life and help me understand what is going on in their important business sector. They are helping our families reach their dream of ownership every day and they understand their challenges. I appreciate the input I receive from these committed advocates.”

 Bobbi KellyWA Secretary of State Kim Wyman (center), with Thurston Realtors Jim Simmons (l) and Greg Moe (r) points to a Realtor pin during their visit. Photo cedit: Bobbi Kelly

The Thurston Realtors also attended a reception for U.S. Congress member from the 10th district, Denny Heck and visited with Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman at her office at the state Capitol as part of the day’s activities. Both state leaders are local residents and have worked closely with the group for years to help improve our communities.
The Thurston County REALTORS® Association’s nearly 600 REALTOR® members provide professional real estate services to buyers and sellers and have been committed to protecting property owners’ rights, contributing to our communities and preserving our quality of life in Thurston County for more than 90 years.

A Wild Success - The Capitol Lake Interpretive Center- Part 1

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 12:04pm
Text by Nancy Partlow ©
All photos were taken at the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center by Nancy Partlow©, unless otherwise noted.
   My family’s interest in the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center began circa 2010. We were looking for someplace easily walkable, wheelchair accessible, and in a natural setting.  The Interpretive Center on Deschutes Parkway fit the bill perfectly, and it’s been a love affair ever since.  The Center’s history is interesting.  According to Washington State Department of Enterprise Services web site:  "Development of the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center was made possible with the 1979 dredging of Capitol Lake. In that project, an 18-acre, two-cell dewatering basin was created to process the spoils of future dredge operations. A much smaller dredging operation in 1986 utilized the basins for this purpose. A third dredging operation planned in the mid-1990’s was prevented, however, because portions of the dewatering basins had naturally evolved, were determined to be wetlands, and could not be disturbed.   The construction of Heritage Park in 1997 included the designation of these 18 acres as an Interpretive Center with a commitment by the state to establish and maintain a high quality wetlands in the former dewatering basins. These new wetlands mitigate the loss of open-water habitat and the expansion of the park grounds into formerly submerged lake areas.   The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake caused considerable damage to the area. However, reconstruction provided an opportunity for considerable improvements.   Today, the Interpretive Center holds great promise to provide visitors with an experience that contributes to their understanding of our natural systems. It is one of the most unique components of any state capitol in the nation."  In September  I walked the CLIC with Bob Barnes, the landscape architect who along with state horticulturist Susan Buis and Erica Guttman from the Native Plant Salvage Project, was responsible for the 2003 replanting of the trail.  He shared with me some photos from that time.   
Volunteers help plant native plants at the Capitol Lake
Interpretive Center. An enthusiastic proponent of native plant restoration, he conveyed his philosophy by quoting Chief Seattle:    "We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it"  The Interpretive Center is a wonderful example of the flourishing web of relationships created by installing a diverse mosaic of native plants.  The result is a magical place, vibrantly alive with wildlife; a natural area that on a small scale rivals the Nisqually Refuge.   A song sparrow throws back its head and sings at the CLICA Spring azure butterfly sips nectar from ocean spray flowers  A cedar waxwing in an alder tree
 A Bombus mixtus bumble bee nectars from mock orange blossoms
The Capitol Lake Interpretive Center beautifully illustrates the concept of, “Build it, and they will come”.  It is a wild success. The CLIC at the time of its 2003 remodel. 
Courtesy of Bob BarnesAerial photo of the CLIC today
From the Thurston County Geodata website 
Categories: Local Environment

Where is Police Excessive Force Bill?

Janine's Little Hollywood - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 9:11am

Above: The Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia on Friday. As daffodils begin to burst forth in the warm late January sunshine, organizers with the Black Alliance of Thurston County are wondering why their proposed legislation to clarify deadly force by law enforcement officers has not yet been introduced.
By Janine
What’s taking so long? Draft legislation that proposes to change the law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement in Washington State has not yet been introduced.
Little Hollywood first wrote about this story on Monday, January 18,
Washington State Representative Cindy Ryu (pronounced Ree-oo), (D-32) was expected to be the prime sponsor and introduce the bill last week. 

On Friday, Little Hollywood was informed by Ryu's assistant that Representative Ryu decided earlier in the week not to prime sponsor the bill, and that Representative Luis Moscoso (D-1) was going to sponsor it. Attempts by Little Hollywood to meet or speak with Representative Moscoso on Friday were unsuccessful.
Black Alliance of Thurston County organizers are calling upon Speaker of the House Frank Chopp to allow the legislation to be sponsored and referred to a committee. 
The organization spearheaded the effort to clean up language in the current law under RCW 9A.16.040 and provide clarity when the use of deadly force is justifiable. They say that the main goal is to make sure the use of deadly force is used in the context where the risk to the officer or public is imminent and the use of deadly force is necessary.  The new language says, “The use of deadly force by a public officer, peace officer, or person aiding is justifiable when the officer reasonably believes that there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to a third party and that the deadly force is necessary to prevent it….”
Several phrases are stricken from the law that may cause an officer to be unclear in such a situation. 
The phrase that an officer “shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable” is also deleted. That phrase is used in Washington State as a defense against prosecution of an officer when the police officer uses deadly force. The phrase is replaced by "reasonably believes" which is a phrase found in the statutes of other states.
“Such clear guidance will benefit both law enforcement officers and the communities they protect, and will result in a law that upholds the role of law enforcement to maintain public safety and foster accountability and public trust,” says the proposed legislation.
February 5 is the cutoff deadline for bills to be heard in their house of origin.

Cy Hicks, Brin Hanson Learn all about Work Ethic as Wrestlers at Tumwater

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 6:02am


Around Tumwater sports, Cy Hicks already came equipped with an enshrined last name.

His dad, Jamie Hicks, and uncle, Anthony Hicks, both went on to play college football after playing at Tumwater High School.

capital medical centerBesides his family’s sports legacy, Cy also has another genetic connection passed along. He also has the size – 6’2″ and 250 pounds.

But coaches are quick to tell you that Cy’s sports heritage and genetics haven’t been the key to his success. It’s his drive and desire to get better that makes him one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the state.

tumwater wrestlingCy Hicks qualified for state as a freshman last year and is looking for a repeat appearance.

“I don’t think being a Hicks made me the way I am,” Hicks said during a recent wrestling practice. “I don’t think my name has anything to do it. It’s my work ethic.”

That was obvious as Hicks sweated his way through another recent wrestling workout. Hard work has already had its payday for Hicks. Last year as a freshman, Hicks placed fifth at state at heavyweight and placed second at the recent Gut Check Challenge. Last fall, he started at nose guard on the football team as a sophomore, helping Tumwater reach the state championship game.

“Growing up, I’ve always pushed myself,” Hicks said. “That’s how you get better.”

It’s not by throwing around a legacy name or slacking in practice – having talent isn’t enough.

tumwater wrestlingCoach Tony Prentice, a Tumwater High School graduate, became the head wrestling coach in 2002.

“The one thing about wrestling is you have to do it with hard work,” Hicks said. “You can’t achieve what you want to do without it. If you want to go to state, you have to put in that much work. To win state you have to put in a lot of work.”

Tony Prentice, Tumwater’s wrestling coach since 2002, would give Hicks high fives for his comments about hard work. Every practice, that’s one of the life lessons Prentice passes along to his teams.

“The work ethic kids have to put in for wrestling is not a common thing,” Prentice said. “Everyone isn’t a winner, but you work to be the best you can be. If you don’t work, you don’t have a job. It teaches self-discipline.”

tumwater wrestlingTumwater, with 33 student athletes turning out this season, goes through another demanding workout.

Prentice has now seen the life lessons of sports from both sides of the coin. First, he saw it as a three-sport athlete at Tumwater, turning out for football, wrestling and baseball. After playing football and baseball at Portland State University during the mid-1990s, he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and played in their minor leagues for a number of years. Now, as a coach, Prentice is helping his wrestlers learn one important life lesson.

“To never give up,” Prentice said. “I used to say to Coach Sid Otton that I was so lucky to be at Tumwater. How do you not follow his program that is one of the most successful in state history? The model is right in front of me.”

Brin Hanson, a senior and a two-time state qualifier on Tumwater’s wrestling team, knows all about the importance of not giving up.

“I think wrestling has changed my life,” Hanson said. “Coach has changed my life. He’s given me a work ethic. Without wrestling, I don’t think I’d be the same person.”

As a freshman, Hanson remembers coming to his first wrestling practice. He was out of shape and he didn’t know how to work hard.

tumwater wrestlingBrin Hanson is a senior and a two-time state qualifier.

“That work ethic has all been transferred from up here in this wrestling room,” said Hanson, who was dripping in sweat from his workout as he talked.

Because of his newfound work ethic, that new gumption to do, Hanson has started his own lawn care business. It’s called Lawn Boys and he takes care of eight houses and two complexes. His dad, Ron Hanson, has helped him learn the business side.

“My dad is a businessman,” Hanson said. “He taught me all the business aspects. He also taught me how to talk with people and just being a nice guy. If they can trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

tumwater wrestlingTumwater coach Tony Prentice gives some instructions on a takedown during a recent practice.

So, now as a coach, Prentice is shaping lives.

“I love Coach Prentice,” Hicks said. “He is a great guy. He really knows what he’s talking about.”

And, for Coach Prentice’s wrestlers that’s talking about how to make a takedown or how to get ahead in life.

The Many Faces of Olympia Artist P. Calavara

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 6:00am


Shakespeare once said “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” Local creator of fantastical mayhem, Rick Perry fills paintings, drawings, books, and more with endlessly charming personalities, faces, creatures, robots, and coffee-swilling raccoons.

batdorf bronson logoOperating under the impish mantle of P. Calavara, invented twins Polly and Perry, his work reflects their unique spark. “Polly and Perry are very distinct from each other with different modalities, personalities, and modes of working. From a strictly-Rick point of view, I utilize the multiple personalities, so to speak, to harness different parts of myself, based on what’s needed. I actually work differently based on which of the twins I’m feeling like.”

In a nutshell, “I imagine collectives as multiple people trying to function as one artist, whereas I’m one artist trying to function as a collection of different people.”

gallery boomRick Perry is the man behind the P. Calavara mask. His many works of pen, ink, paint, and mixed media can be found throughout Olympia and at his co-owned Gallery Boom in Tumwater. Photo credit: Living in Olympia.

A transplant from the Bay Area, Rick and his wife moved to Olympia so she could obtain her master’s in education from The Evergreen State College. An artist and author from the start, Rick is now the stay-at-home dad of three young sons who paints, draws, publishes, co-owns Tumwater’s Gallery Boom, and occasionally lectures on the Origins of Comics at Evergreen and the Capitol Theater.

Through January, Rick’s art is on display at Batdorf and Bronson in downtown Olympia, where you’ll find more than 35 paintings of animals and their coffee. As their motley colored faces sip, grin, ponder, and muse over Olympia’s vital elixir, a daily A, B, C coloring book page is added to the gallery wall.

The project, entitled ‘Winter’s Cruel Reign Flickers Beneath The Stern Gaze of Hot Drink,’ started simply. “I first did the five paintings of the raccoons drinking coffee and sent a quick picture of them to a friend of mine who works at Batdorf. They were interested, so I painted a bunch more, with different animals. I’ve done enough raccoons, though they remain my favorite. It’s actually part of my campaign to get raccoons designated as the official animal of the city of Olympia.”

p calavaraThrough the month of January, visit the 30+ coffee-laden animals at the Batdorf and Bronson coffee shop in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Rick Perry.

Yet another Perry-crafted universe can be found on Harmony Boom Island. Partnering with Christine Malek, a local stuffed animal and textile artist, it is “a mystic island that moved about the world, enticing heroes and explorers to its shores in search of treasure, adventure, or both.” Through its enticing online portal you’ll find comic strips, picture books, novels, and a “whole world, with complex stories, a rich history, and a large cast of characters.”

Locally, Perry has been active with Arts Walk and the Capitol Theater. One recent Arts Walk he filled The Washington Center for the Performing Arts with artwork as well as writing and illustrating a book on a table set up in The Washington Center’s mezzanine. “The book’s contents were created via a survey that we had opened up to the public for the month leading up to the event. That was sort of the start of these books-as-I-go projects, and probably the most ambitious to date,” admits Perry.

As well as displaying pieces in the Capitol Theater, he’s offered “a fair amount of volunteer art for the theater…I think that they still have my plywood monsters setup in the boxes near the stage.” In January, he also offered robot-themed work at the Carco Theater in Renton.

olympia artistEvery day a new A, B, C coloring-book page is added to this dynamic show. Photo credit: Rick Perry.

Americans for the Arts sums it up well: “The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts help us express our values, build bridges between cultures, and bring us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age.” Even something as simple as a pen and ink monster or a rooster pondering his steaming mug is good for the winter-laden soul.

View P. Calavara’s work online through a constantly updated flickr gallery or blogs posted to and Need a valid reason to avoid your day? Drop by his Random Excuse Generator to justify hours of, well, whatever you want.

Interested in purchasing a unique, commissioned piece or one of the many already livening up our region? Gallery Boom is open Thursday through Sunday for browsing and located at 5304 Little Rock Road SW across the parking lot from the Tumwater Fred Meyer. They offer classes, art markets, and merchandise from a variety of Washington artists and crafters.

Just watch out for the wily Polly and Perry.

Laura’s Alteration and Tailor Express: Custom Clothing Made Just for You

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 6:00am


Let’s face it: We all love to customize. Even our fast food can be tailor-made thanks to chains like Subway, Papa Murphy’s and Lime Berry. But most people think of custom clothing as either knitted Christmas sweaters from Grandma or a luxury of the ultra-rich.

Thanks to the skilled, knowledgeable team at Laura’s Alteration and Tailor Express, custom clothing is just a conversation away. Whether you’ve torn pages from a magazine or simply had an idea for that perfect item, visit Laura’s Capital Mall location to bring your vision to life.

Laura's Alteration and Tailor ExpressThis suit jacket is marked for where the customer wants it to be slimmed down in the shoulders and sides. Photo courtesy: Laura’s Alteration and Tailor Express.

With a Master’s Degree in fashion design and more than 20 years of industry experience, Laura begins the process with a series of questions. What do you want? What is the occasion? How many years do you want to keep the item? With these determined, Laura provides solutions customized to her client’s budget, explaining why certain things cost more than others.

Laura then provides reference images to confirm the design and takes a series of detailed measurements. This ensures that no pattern is required to begin the job and the customer “gets what they want, even better than they thought.”

This “If in doubt, ask” attitude can be seen in Laura’s team’s willingness to create, repair or modify everything from wedding gowns to dog collars and sneakers to purse linings. Looking for that unique dress for prom? How about the ultimate Christmas party suit? Laura’s can handle the task, often in only a matter of days.

Open seven days a week, Laura and her staff are always happy to answer questions or brainstorm the ideal creation for any event. Businessman Lapo Elkann once said, “Real luxury is customization.” Why not give yourself the chance to prove him right?

Stop by the shop inside Capital Mall or call 360-232-6348.


Day 1 Munich 2008

Das Oly-Brewer Blog - Sun, 01/24/2016 - 2:38pm
Munich, Day 1Guttentag;
     So, I was too exited to sleep on the flight and showed up in Munich on ~25min. sleep. I decided it was time to man up and skip a nap, as to better get acclimated to the time difference. We got checked into the hotel around noon. Then headed out to the town. 1st stop was the Paulaner brauhouse for a 0.5L of Dunkel. After that we found our way into a 200 year old church cemetery. About this time, right in the middle of said cemetery. I found my self with a 0.5 Liter full (dunkel) bladder. Star would not let me sneak behind one of those big Stones and take care of business. I had to hold it for like 5 blocks to the U Bahn (subway) station. Once I was feeling a bit less pressured we headed down to Marienplatz to be tourists. After much bickering we found our way down to the Augustinerbrau grossgaststatte. Where Star had 0.5L of Dunkel and I had 0.5L Helles, 0.5L Edelstoff, and 0.5L Hefe Weissbier. I made some friends giving away fish brewing pins and speaking 0.5-assed German. I was very surprised at the high sulfur content of the local lager. I thought it was a little much. I have thought my own home brew as second rate for some of the flavors I was picking up in Munich's best) All in all it has been a very educational day. Tomorrow we tour the Paulaner brewery.

I am looking to go back to Europe to research beer. I need help funding it. Please donate here:
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Cure Cabin Fever with 4 Winter Hikes

Thurston Talk - Sun, 01/24/2016 - 7:11am


Hometown logoDuring Thurston County winters, as yet another rainy day passes by, a particular type of cabin fever often takes hold. Despite the rain, we find ourselves desperate to get out, even if it is just for the afternoon. Pull out the water proof jacket, lace up your hiking shoes and pack the snacks. Here are four hikes to scratch that itch.

Priest Point Park Urban adventures await at centrally located Priest Point Park where walkers can choose from beach or forest destinations.Urban adventures await at centrally located Priest Point Park where walkers can choose from beach or forest destinations.

A local gem, Priest Point Park is a 314-acre regional nature park offering numerous forest trails as well as the lovely Ellis Cove trail leading to the beach. The Ellis Cove trail offers a peaceful walk through the woods and access to a long strip of gravely beach. Priest Point Park trails often lead to scenic outlooks, so don’t forget your camera.

The land surrounding Priest Point Park first served as a site for missionary work done by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. This mission was established in 1848 and provided schooling to many Native American children. The mission closed in 1860, and the land was donated to the city to form a park in 1905.  As well as trails, Priest Point Park also contains a recently renovated playground as well as several shelters and many picnic tables.

Millersylvania State Park Millersylvania State Park is a different world when the summertime crowds have left and the trails beckon hikers and walkers seeking to connect with nature.Millersylvania State Park is a different world when the summertime crowds have left and the trails beckon hikers and walkers seeking to connect with nature.

Just south of Tumwater sits Millersylvania State Park, consisting of 813 acres.  Deep Lake is the focal point of the park, providing endless entertainment during warmer months. But during the rainy months, the vastly overlooked and underappreciated trail system is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Ryan Knight, an avid runner states that “almost every day last summer I ran here, and almost every day I found something new.”

The land Millersylvania sits on was donated to the state in 1921 by the Miller family. In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed most of the buildings in the park and established several trails. Scattered throughout the park are many old growth timbers as well as 3300 feet of beach access. There are also two smaller lakes within the park that can be fun to try to locate, an adventure sure to cure your rainy day cabin fever.   A Discover Pass is required.

McLane Nature Trail McLane Creek Nature Trail is popular with families during salmon spawning in the fall, but it's equally as wonderful to experience in the winter.McLane Creek Nature Trail is popular with families during salmon spawning in the fall, but it’s equally as wonderful to experience in the winter.

Just off of Delphi Road is McLane Creek Nature Trail. Once an old logging area, McLane was long ago renovated into an excellent trail traversing through wetlands and hemlock forests. McLane has two walking loops. One is 1.5 miles and the other slightly only longer at around 2 miles. Much of the trail is an elevated walkway, especially over the marshy areas, giving you a clear view into the surrounding wetland.

The lack of mileage is made up for in scenery, including a gorgeous array of flora and fauna, particularly wildfowl. Catherine Wertjes, a passionate nature walker shared, “My favorite thing about McLane Creek Nature Trail is seeing some of the regeneration going on. The older trees dying yet in their decay supporting the growth of new trees, for example.” Little ones delight in the hemlock tunnel and wildlife sightings at the beaver pond are almost a sure bet. A Discover Pass is required.

Skokomish Lower South Fork Trail Although tucked away just outside Thurston County, the Skokomish Lower South Fork Trail is a beautiful hike sure to cure your cabin fever. Although tucked away just outside Thurston County, the Skokomish Lower South Fork Trail is a beautiful hike sure to cure your cabin fever.

The only trail, in this list, outside of Thurston County, the Skokomish Lower South Fork Trail is a moderate to easy hike, perfect for someone looking for a transition from winter hibernation to summer summits. The trail is located in the southern stretches of the Olympic Mountains and begins with a few switchbacks as you ascend to a wide, well-maintained trail. The trail is a 8.5 mile roundtrip and features old growth, lush scenery, and you guessed it, the Lower South Fork of the Skokomish River.

This trail is a bit off the radar, yet still in good condition. The chance of crowds, especially in the rainy months, is small, making this a sanctuary of solitude for those looking to get back to nature. The gentle nature of this trail makes it accessible for those looking to introduce children to the great outdoors beyond local park trails. As with all trails, be sure to check recent trail reviews to make sure that the trail, and its access road, is accessible for your vehicle during wet, winter months. A Recreation Pass is required.

Lacey Chamber – Over 50 Years of Supporting “Where Free Enterprise Thrives”

Thurston Talk - Sun, 01/24/2016 - 7:00am


By Ken Balsley for Lacey Museum

lacey chamberThe original logo of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce is depicted on this sign. Photo courtesy: Lacey Museum.

1961 was a good year to own a business in Olympia. Some 80 percent of all retail sales in the entire county emanated from a four block area of downtown Olympia where everything you would ever need could be found – including all three major automobile dealers.

The Olympia government was controlled by a three-member city filled by downtown Olympia business owners. The Olympia Chamber was also dominated by downtown Olympia business interests.

A few miles outside of the city limits, to the east, in a unincorporated area called Lacey, a handful of young men were about to shake up the entire South Sound area.

Most of them were veterans of World War II and some also served in Korea. They settled in Lacey after discharge because it offered them opportunities to meet the needs of veterans for housing and for the children they were having as part of the nation’s “baby boom.”

Al Thompson had built Tanglewilde and Thompson Place. Mo Loveless had purchased the old Mountain View Golf Course and was building the largest retirement community in the Northwest, Panorama City. Bob Blume was operating a sporting goods and selling real estate. Not only had he been building the housing developments of Belair and Brentwood, but was purchasing land to build a regional shopping center. Other young men, including Lee Bensley, Gordy Schultz, Tommy Martin, Ken Wilcox, Mike Ostrander, Al Homann, John Rupp, and Arden Deering, were also making their marks on the Lacey community.

lacey chamberWashington State Governor Dan Evans speaks at the Lacey Chamber dedication in 1980. Photo courtesy: Lacey Museum.

Many of them would gather every morning for coffee and conversation at the Burger Bar, a drive-in restaurant on Pacific Avenue. Most were members of the Olympia Chamber and in 1961 talk began of starting a chamber of commerce in Lacey that would serve their interests.

By September, the group had drafted by-laws and in October the Lacey Area Chamber of Commerce was formed with the motto, “Where Free Enterprise Thrives.” Retired businessman Ray Kidwiler was elected as the first president and served two terms. He died of a heart attack at a Lacey Chamber meeting after giving a talk about the need for economic development in the community. The Kidwiler scholarship fund was established by his widow and continues through the Chamber to provide funding for students in the Lacey area who are majoring in business.

lacey chamber historyAgnes Kenmir, former Director of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce, spent more than two decades leading the organization. Photo courtesy: Lacey Museum.

Agnes Kenmir was selected as the first secretary. She preferred the title “Secretary” to that of Chamber Director. Agnes went on to spend more than two decades leading the Lacey Chamber’s management.

Instead of cutting ties with the Olympia Chamber, the Lacey Chamber made their president an ex-officio member of the board of directors. They also organized joint chamber committees and called for a joint meeting of the two chambers once a month. These were a staple of the relationship between the two chambers for nearly a decade.

With Christmas coming on, the Lacey Chamber created a sub-committee to procure a community Christmas tree and Bob Blume volunteered to head that committee. In his exuberance, Bob cut a very large tree and spectators recall seeing his car drive down the road with its front wheels almost off the road.

Almost immediately, the Chamber took on two project – the need for streetlights and a flooding problem in Market Square. The Chamber worked with Puget Power (now Puget Sound Energy) to get streetlights installed along Sleater-Kinney and Pacific Avenue. The longtime flooding problem in Market Square was due to a lack of sewer systems. The Chamber contracted to build a flood control ditch that ran from the shopping center to a drainage ditch that ran along the railroad, thus alleviating some of the problems. Long-term relief would come later with cityhood and a municipal storm water system.

lacey chamberRay Kidwiler, first Lacey Chamber President, speaks at the Lacey Chamber dedication in 1980. Photo courtesy: Lacey Museum.

For several years, the Chamber operated out of rented or donated space. After South Sound Center opened in 1966, it even operated out of a storefront donated by KGY Radio. Through fundraising campaigns, in 1980 the Chamber was able to purchase its own building on Pacific Avenue next to the Lacey Fire District headquarters, now the site of Pope John Paul II High School. Washington Governor Dan Evans cut the ribbon for the dedication ceremony.

Over the decades, the Lacey Chamber has changed its name, changed its location and changed executive directors. But it has always had the best interests of the Lacey business community as its first interest.

It forced the U. S. Postal Service to improve service at its Lacey branch. It fought with the City of Lacey over its restrictive sign ordinance, and eventually secured some relief. It supported Lacey schools by its backing of levy and bond issues and it continues to offer programs and information of value to anyone who owns or does business in Lacey.

To learn more about the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce, visit their website.

Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes Through Year-Long Providence Program

Thurston Talk - Sun, 01/24/2016 - 6:00am


As testimonials go, this one is impressive: After completing the ‘Leap Into Diabetes Prevention’ program through the Providence Medical Group – Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Center last year, one participant told the instructors there were two great things that she had done in her life. One was to marry her husband.

The other? “Being in our program,” says Diabetes Educator Linda Gooding, RD, CDE, MS, CD, one of the two instructors that run the year-long course, which was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

providence diabetes educationLinda Gooding says the ongoing support of the group is a key factor in creating success.

A new class will begin in February, and is limited to 15 participants. Anyone interested in learning more can contact Gooding at 360-493-7885 or her fellow instructor Sarah Skidmore, RN, CDE at 360-493-5975. The cost of the class is covered by some insurance companies.

Providence Medical Group and the Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Centers

Diabetes and nutrition services are part of Providence’s medical home model. In a medical home, your care is coordinated. Providers don’t just treat you when you’re sick, but focus on prevention, health education and your overall well-being. That’s why Boldt Diabetes and Nutrition Centers are fully integrated in Providence Medical Group clinics as part of the medical home.

“As members of the medical home team, the diabetes educators can collaborate directly with pharmacists, providers … the entire team,” said Rik Emaus, M.D., chief executive for Providence Medical Group in Southwest Washington. “This helps create wonderful outcomes for the patients.”

The move to the medical home models has helped all 10 Providence primary care clinics in Southwest Washington become level-3 accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the highest level of accreditation possible.

“Part of our journey toward the medical home model was recognizing services like Boldt – which previously lived in isolation – can better serve patients when they are integrated,” said Dr. Emaus. “We’ve gotten great feedback from patients and caregivers alike about these changes.”

providence diabetesSarah Skidmore is one of the instructors for the year-long course.

For more information on Providence Medical Group or to schedule an appointment, call 1-855-776-4362.

Leap Into Diabetes Prevention

Over the course of the year, participants meet regularly to report progress, share strategies and gain knowledge. “The goal is for everyone to lose at least seven percent of their weight and exercise at least 150 minutes per week,” says Gooding. “We meet for a whole year because it takes a while to make a change. We talk these people slowly into making changes because we want to help them keep that weight off. When you move too quickly, often people will lose the weight and gain it back.”

Before anyone can enroll, they have a conversation with Gooding and Skidmore. “We want to make sure they’re motivated and at that point in their life where they’re ready to make a change,” says Gooding. “It’s a big commitment.”

Participants join for a variety of reasons, says Gooding. Some have been advised by their physician to make some changes or have read about the course. Others may have relatives with diabetes or simply want to make a change in their lifestyle.

Once the program starts, the first step is for everyone to become aware of how much they’re eating. “It’s the single most important thing,” says Gooding. “Everyone keeps a record with fat grams and calories. Often times we eat without knowing it. Having to write everything down makes us think about it and become more aware.”

providence diabetesFor the first six months, the group holds weekly meetings, which become monthly during the second half of the year.

Understanding which foods are calorically dense helps people to cut back on their calories. “In every session, there’s a different topic,” Gooding explains. “We cover nutrition, physical activity and handling stress. Stress causes most of us to eat more.”

The course also covers how to eat in restaurants. The average person consumes 33 percent of their calories away from home, and many of those include high levels of fat, says Gooding. Food such as pizza, hamburgers, and tacos are all high on the caloric intake list. “We help them choose healthier foods when they’re eating out,” she says.

The results are impressive. In the class that ended in December 2015, the average weight loss was 12 percent of participants’ body weight, well beyond the seven percent goal. “People will tell us that it’s amazing how much more energy they have,” says Gooding. “Now they’re able to sit in a booth at a restaurant instead of a chair, or tie their shoes without getting out of breath. Their blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure readings improve as well.”

In one case, a participant came in eating no vegetables at all. At the very end of the program, the person began eating some. “It took a whole year, but it was really neat to see,” Gooding says.

The group aspect is critical, she says, because of the support it offers. “People get to know each other. Usually people know what to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. Here, they get support. People talk about what’s worked well for them and what hasn’t. We’re just there to facilitate the group discussion. We’ll provide guidelines but we’re not there to tell people what to do.”

The transition from meeting weekly to meeting monthly can be challenging. “When they have to check in once a week, they’re on top of it,” says Gooding. “They’ve got the group support and accountability, and we review their food logs and give them positive comments. When they go to once a month, it’s tougher.”

The group that finished in December found meetings so valuable that they decided to continue them on their own, gathering once a month in downtown Olympia. “Getting support from others, people feel a lot better about themselves,” says Gooding.

To learn more about the class beginning in February, contact Gooding at 360-493-7885 or her fellow instructor Sarah Skidmore, RN, CDE at 360-493-5785.


3 Tips for Catching a “Good Bug” This Winter

Thurston Talk - Sat, 01/23/2016 - 6:02am


Our bodies are made up of tiny, individual cells – about 60 trillion of them, to be specific. But that number is nothing compared to the number of “bugs” living in our bodies right now. The average person has 1,200 trillion tiny organisms living inside of them at all times. Creepy, right?

However, these bugs aren’t the kind causing you to scream when you see them in your shower. These are the bacteria “bugs” that inhabit your intestinal tract and live happily inside you and, in fact, are a critical part of your health and well-being.

Dr. Murray Smith of Eastside Chiropractic knows a thing or two about these good bugs. Even though his expertise is in musculoskeletal adjustments and physiology, his 25 plus years helping patients achieve optimal health has led to a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of the body and how to keep it working properly.

eastside chiroDr. Murray Smith practices alongside Dr. Amanda Kugel at Eastside Chiropractic.

So, what are these good bugs doing in your body? “These bacteria living in your intestinal tract are essential to life,” Dr. Smith begins. “They not only keep your digestive tract working properly, but they stimulate your immune system leading to overall better health. Without these good bugs, you cannot properly digest food and therefore can’t properly absorb nutrients fully.”

When the gut flora (the good bacteria) isn’t balanced, it can lead to a whole host of syndromes and health conditions, some of which seem to have nothing to do with digestion. But when the bad bacteria outnumber the good, chaos ensues and the result is painful problems like inflammation and infection which can often lead to more serious health issues such as headaches, constipation, depression, candida, allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and more.

In fact, one of the most important functions of the digestive system is to support immune function as over 60% of the immune system is housed in the gut. Without the good bugs doing their job, you become more prone to illness and less able to fight once you become sick.

Grocery and drug store shelves are lined with a wide variety of probiotics with targeted combinations of "good bugs" for a variety of symptoms.Grocery and drug store shelves are lined with a wide variety of probiotics with targeted combinations of “good bugs” for a variety of symptoms.

This winter, wage war on the “bad bugs” lurking on doorknobs, in office cubicles, and all over your children when they arrive home from school. Combat them by building up the good bugs in your digestive system through these simple tips.

1.  Use probiotics.

Up until recently, probiotics were considered an “alternative health” therapy and were not widely known or accepted as part of a healthy living routine. Now probiotics can be found in all mainstream stores and more than that, are being touted as the cure all for the multitude of gastrointestinal ailments that seem to plague our modern culture. While you can find them in your yogurt and crackers now, be cautious. Not all probiotics are created equal. Find a quality probiotic supplement and change the type you take from time to time. Different brands have different strains of beneficial bacteria in them and it’s good to provide variety for your intestinal tract.

2.  Limit antibiotics.

No one can argue that having antibiotics in our medical arsenal has saved countless lives since their discovery by Alexander Flemming (in the form of penicillin) in 1928. However, the overuse of antibiotics can directly impact the number of beneficial bacteria in your system. While antibiotics will kill the bad bacteria causing an infection, they will also kill all the good bacteria leading to a host of problems including the quite common antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). And, with most colds, flu bugs, and ear “infections” being viral in nature, not bacterial, antibiotics do little to help you feel better and in fact, can make you feel much worse.

Taking probiotics on a daily basis can promote good bacteria in the gut and is especially important during, and after, the use of antibiotics.Taking probiotics on a daily basis can promote good bacteria in the gut and is especially important during, and after, the use of antibiotics.

When you do need them, mitigate the effects of antibiotics by taking a strong dose of probiotics (5 billion CFU or greater) concurrent with your prescription. And, more importantly, continue taking this dose for 30 days after you complete your course of treatment. While there are multiple strains on the market, a yeast (not bacteria) strain called Saccharomyces boulardii lyo is particularly effective during antibiotic use. This powerful probiotic can survive the assault from the antibiotics (while many other bacterial based probiotics cannot) and has been shown to be the best combatant against AAD.

3. Add raw, probiotic foods to your diet.

Kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kim chi, lacto-fermented pickles are all fermented foods gaining popularity for their probiotic benefits, supporting healthy gut flora – the good bugs. In Thurston County we are surrounded by people whose profession is to create, and deliver, these traditional, healthful foods to us. Companies such as OlyKraut, Rainbow Cloud Kombucha, Tofu Hut and Oly Cultures provide raw, fermented foods (or teach you how to make your own) and area all based locally.

Kombucha can be found in the refrigerated drink section in nearly all grocery stores.Kombucha can be found in the refrigerated drink section in nearly all grocery stores.

Be cautious of foods that claim probiotic benefits yet have been pasteurized at high heat. This process kills the bad and good bugs rendering the foods safe, but not full of the good bugs that can positively impact our digestive health.

Looking to combat the nasty bugs circling around? Fight back against the bad bugs by catching some good bugs this winter. Combine these bug building tips with plenty of sleep (7-9 hours minimum), lots of water, regular exercise, and a balanced diet and you are on your way to being a bug building superhero.

Eastside Chiropractic
1526 Bishop Rd SW, Tumwater 98512


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