Recent local blog posts

Run Like a Dog 5K Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/16/2015 - 6:00pm



By Grant Clark

oly ortho logoThe number really didn’t have any meaning. It was just something the group threw out there – almost in jest.

It was a couple years ago that Candy Oliver and her fellow Run Like a Dog event volunteers were discussing what the cutoff number of participants should be for the fund-raising fun run.

“We came up with 450 runners,” Oliver said. “I’m not sure how we even decided on that exact number, but that is where we placed the maximum at. We didn’t think it was even possible to come close to reaching that at the time.”

That ceiling, originally viewed as being out of reach, is likely to be reached during this year’s edition of the canine 5K.

The Run Like A Dog 5K race, sponsored by South Bay Veternary Hospital, is in it's 10th year of canines and owners running together.

The Run Like A Dog 5K race, sponsored by South Bay Veterinary Hospital, is in it’s 10th year of canines and owners running together.

The 10th annual Run Like a Dog Fun Run will take place Saturday, August 22, beginning at South Bay Veterinary Hospital – the event’s title sponsor. The event includes a 5K race and 5K fun run/walk with your dog.

A total of 430 participants of the two-legged variety – a record for the event – were registered last year.

According to Oliver, this year’s figures are slightly ahead of the 2014 numbers, meaning for the first time in the race’s history the number Oliver and company randomly selected as the limit may be reached.

“It is incredible how much this event has grown over the years,” said Oliver, who serves as the event’s organizer this year after volunteering the previous four races. “We set a goal a while ago thinking it wasn’t obtainable, but we should be close to it this year. It’s just a really fun, family event that serves a great cause.”

The race, set to begin at 9:00 a.m. at South Bay Veterinary Hospital, benefits the Thurston County Humane Society. Last year’s race raised nearly $8,000 – also an event record.

The donations help assist the Thurston County Humane Society with spay and neuter costs at a licensed Thurston County veterinarian in an effort to help reduce pet over-population in the area. Donations also help provide educational materials, promote awareness programs and contribute to animal welfare and animal service programs.

“Even if you’re not an avid runner,” Oliver said, “you can always make a donation or volunteer to help. We have a lot of different groups involved – 4H clubs, Boy Scouts, rotary clubs. We have a lot of people just asking, ‘How can I help?’”

People and pooches of all sizes turn out for the annual run.  This year they expect to reach 450 runners.

People and pooches of all sizes turn out for the annual run. This year they expect to reach 450 runners.

With high temperatures the norm this summer and late August noted for its typical heat, the event boasts the inclusion of kiddie pools. Not something you see at every fun run. Prior to the start of the race, which includes sections on the Chehalis Western Trail, event volunteers place pools along the course and fill them with water.  These provide a makeshift cool-down method for the fun-running pets.

“We weren’t sure how popular they would be at first,” Oliver said about the pools, “but the dogs seem to love it. They sprint right into them. Their (final running) time is little slower, but the dogs are happy.”

Registration, including group registration of 10 or more runners, can be made online at Contact information about volunteering for the event can also be found on the event’s site.

“We see a lot of people come back the following year after running in it for the first time,” Oliver said.
“It doesn’t really matter how fast you are. We have an owner run it in every year with her two basset hounds. If you know anything about that type of dog breed, you know they are not really interested in running, but they always finish. Usually the owner is carrying one of them across the finish line, but they finish. We have runners of all shapes and sizes. We have dogs of all shapes and sizes. Everyone is just out there supporting each other.”

Registration packets can be picked up on Aug. 21 between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at South Bay Veterinary Hospital located at 3600 South Bay Rd NE in Olympia. The 9:00 a.m. race will be followed by an awards ceremony at 10:00 a.m.

In addition to South Bay Veterinary Hospital, the event is also sponsored by South Sound Running, Take Aim, Grateful Dog Grooming, Biobag, Elanco Animal Health, Comstock Physical Therapy, Johnson-Carr Insurance Agency, Marchetti Wines, Wanda Buckner of Healing Energy Services, Phillips Pet Food and Supplies, NW Remedies, Minuteman Press and the Oly Rollers.


Aaron Ritter’s Love of Nature Nurtured by His Second Nature – Hardwood Flooring

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/16/2015 - 6:00am



Ritter Flooring Family

Aaron Ritter and his wife Maechell spend as much time as they can in the outdoors with their daughters. Photo credit: Ben Leavitt.

With five daughters under the age of 10 (three biological, two foster), Aaron Ritter and his wife Maechell are busy. But the couple always finds time to get into nature with their girls.

“Trails, rock climbing, hiking, floating rivers – we’re a very outdoorsy family,” says Aaron, noting some of their favorite places to visit are Olympic National Forest, and local places like Millersylvania State Park and Priest Point Park in Olympia.

Aaron is able to share his love of nature with his family by turning his second nature – custom hardwood flooring – into his home business, Ritter Flooring, LLC.

Initially learning the trade from an Italian craftsman, Aaron has more than 15 years of combined industry experience.

“It takes a long time to learn,” remarks Aaron. “My method is original and old-school. I nail by hand rather than by pneumatic tools.”

Aaron has a strong connection to the outdoors, with a childhood filled with camping and hiking around Washington. And Maechell, a child therapist, grew up on five acres in Lake Stevens. After joining the US Army and being stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord, the Ritters moved to the Olympia-area, where Aaron has been growing his business.

From million-dollar homes in Ruston Way, to tiny houses in Tumwater, Aaron does it all – and he does it with pride. He enjoys the custom work he does on transitions and around corners, wrapping pillars or edging fireplaces.

ritter flooring

Some of Aaron Ritter’s work: A 1,600-square-foot home using pre-finished maple flooring 3/4″ thick, 5″ wide, with solid nail down hardwood flooring.

“I once did an acacia floor… a ¾” 1,300 square-foot nail down,” he reminisces. “That is the best, most beautiful floor I’ve ever done.”

Consulting is a big part of the service Aaron provides, and he admits that sometimes he has to coach people into thinking outside the box.

“Most people try and get flooring that matches cabinetry and trim, and that’s absolutely what you do not want to do,” he says. “Typically, I will go to a client’s home, see what they are looking for, take measurements, talk about what works best, like thresholds for transition, soft woods versus hardwood or vinyl plank for water-proofing or kids. Then I send them to a store to pick up what they want.”

“I will do everything in my power to find the best product for them at a good value,” he concludes.

It’s this type of attention that sets Ritter Flooring apart and keeps Aaron looking forward to a positive future. Doing business with a customer means they are treated like family, he says.

Aaron hand nails all the hardwood floors he installs, a skill nearly non-existent in today's world of power tools.

“My method is original and old-school. I nail by hand rather than by pneumatic tools,” says Aaron Ritter of his work with hardwoods.

“My values are family first always,” he explains. “With my business, it is customer first. So in a sense, my customers are kind of like family.”

Family and work balance is a must for the big family, and Ritter finds a way to reconnect by getting into nature.

So what outdoor adventure is the Ritter family up to next?

A family favorite – a camping trip to Salmon La Sac near Ellensburg, where the sounds of kids playing in the woods is inspiration to Aaron to keep striving for the best, both with his family, and his business.

Contact Aaron Ritter at (360) 338-2740 or visit


Of Toads and Mountains

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 3:54pm
Mount Baker from Boulder Creek     Last week Glen and I went camping at Baker Lake, just southeast of Mt. Baker in northern Washington state.  Over the years we’ve been on a mission to camp near each of the major peaks in the Cascade Range.  This year, Mt. Baker was our goal.
     We camped at Panorama Point campground, which is along southeastern border of the impounded Baker river.  This river/lake is eight miles long and sits right at the feet of Mt Baker, so there is a lot of snow and rain draining into this lake.  Our campsite was sitting near/on a wetland that adjoins the lake, so  it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find (and hear) amphibians.  
Western Toad Bufo Boreas  (photo L. Halleck)
     One night after a thunderstorm and soaking rain, we were walking over to the Sani-can facility to do our evening ablutions, prior to turning in for the night.  I had my flashlight trained on the ground, watching for trip hazards.  Suddenly, along a path that I had come to know well, we saw a weird lump sitting right smack in front of us.  I trained my flashlight on it and found:  my first ever Western Toad Anaxyrus (Bufo) boreas.
     It was dry skinned and warty, light gray, with dark blotches near the warts.  The most distinctive field mark was a thin creamy-white line running down its spine from neck to vent.  It was about 3 inches in length, which is an average size;  apparently they can get up to five inches in length, with females being bigger.  
    It sat in our path;  it blended very well with the gravel that surrounded the Sani-can.  It remained very still, doing its best to blend in like a rock.  Finally it blinked and revealed itself to be a living animal.
     Over the evening and next morning we saw it several times, always near dusk or dark, always near the Sani-can.  We speculated that it might be territorial:  the smell of the Sani-can definitely attracted insects and so for the insect-eating toad, this is prime habitat.  Also the nearby wetlands and Baker Lake itself are excellent feeding and breeding habitat sites.  
    I was charmed.  As a birdwatcher, we always are on the look out for “life birds”.  This was a life amphibian for me, and as such, a real treat.       Janet 
Resources:•  Washington Herp Atlas•  Toad photo by L. Halleck from The Herp Atlas•  Mount Baker photo by Glen
Categories: Local Environment

86th Annual Pet Parade

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 3:40pm

Above: Yelm Prairie Elementary students won the Best Group award today at the Pet Parade in downtown Olympia.

By Janine
The weather cooperated for the 86th annual Pet Parade, which got underway this morning with music performed by the American Legion Band in downtown Olympia. 
Costumed chickens, dogs, cats, turtles, and horses walked, were carried, or rode on decorated floats related to this year’s theme of “Under the Sea.” 
It’s all about having fun, appreciating our pets, and receiving a little bit of local recognition that can last a long time in a person’s memory. A woman sitting near me on the corner of 5th Avenue and Washington Street with her grandson recalled that she won the Pet Parade’s award for having the Smartest Cat in 1961.
After the parade, everyone went to Sylvester Park for free ice cream, pet-related goodie bags and awards in special categories. The Best Group entry was won by Yelm Prairie Elementary schoolchildren. They received a $250 gift certificate from Mud Bay Granary.
Angie Patton said she and her family, including her daughter, Ashleyn Colten, have been participating in the Pet Parade for over 20 years.
Today, they won the Judges Choice award in the Wheels Category with their float called Finding Nemo. Their toy poodles, Lexi, 3, and Sophie, 5, were Dori and Nemo, respectively, while Lola, their three year old mastiff, was Bruce the Shark. Colten said they worked about two weeks on their float and were up until 3 a.m. this morning finishing it.
As for Lexi and Sophie, the special dye used to color their fur will last for about two or three months, so if you see them out and about in the community, be sure to congratulate them on their award!
The annual event is sponsored by The Olympian newspaper, the Olympia Downtown Association, and many local businesses.

Above: Ashleyn Colten, left, with Lola, a mastiff, and Colten's mother, Angie Patton, with toy poodles Lexi and Sophie in Sylvester Park after the Pet Parade today.

Olympic National Forest Fire Activity Prompts Trail, Road Closures

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 1:04pm



Submitted by The Olympic National Forest

Two of the three fires that were reported at Olympic National Forest are still actively burning.  A minimal amount of rain was reported yesterday.  A Type 3 Incident Management Team and additional firefighting personnel and equipment have been ordered to assist.

The Gold Fire, located approximately six miles northwest of Quilcene and ten miles south of Blyn, grew more active yesterday.  It is estimated to be 10 acres in size.  To ensure public and firefighter safety while suppression actions are underway, a temporary closure has been implemented in the Gold Fire area:

  • The Little Quilcene Trail (# 835) is closed to public use between the Little Quilcene Trailhead and Tubal Cain Trailhead.
  • The Mount Townsend Trail (#839) is closed to public use from the top of Mount Townsend north to the junction with the Little Quilcene Trail.
  • The entire portion of Forest Service Road 2820 and Forest Service Road 2820-100 is closed to public use.  This closure is in effect until further notice.

The Cabin Creek Fire, three miles northeast of Lena Lake and the Hamma Hamma campgrounds, is now eight acres in size.  It is burning in very rugged and inaccessible terrain.  Smokejumpers continue to staff the fire.

The Zion Fire that was reported on Mount Zion is now out.

Firefighter and public safety remain our highest priority as suppression strategies continue.

Olympic National Forest Announces Salal Permit Sale Dates

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 9:54am



Submitted by the Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest’s Special Forest Products Program Manager announced today that permit sales for salal will begin in September.  Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is an understory shrub commonly used in the floral industry.  It grows in dense thickets throughout western Washington and Oregon.

At least one piece of high-visibility clothing is highly recommended while harvesting salal.  Permit holders will be limited to no more than 200 hands per day in possession.  Harvest unit boundaries are defined by roads or recognizable land features and a map of the harvest areas will be distributed with the sale of each permit.

Permits will be issued from the Forks, Quinault, and Quilcene offices during business hours on the following dates:

  • September 9, 2015
  • November 4, 2015
  • January 6, 2016
  • March 9, 2016

A total of one-hundred permits will be issued with a maximum of fifteen permits for each harvest unit.  Fifty permits will be offered from Quilcene for harvest areas located within Mason County and the east side of Clallam and Jefferson Counties.  Twenty-five permits will be offered from Forks for the west-side of Clallam County.  Twenty-five permits will be offered from Lake Quinault for harvest areas within Grays Harbor County and the west side of Jefferson County.

A lottery system will be used if the demand for permits exceeds the supply.  Each permit will cost $150 and can be used for up to two months.  A valid United States picture identification will be required at the time of purchase and those buying the permits must be at least 18 years of age.  Cash or checks will be accepted, but no credit cards or debit cards will be accepted.

For additional information about salal permit sales, please contact David Perez at 360-956-2316.  For general information about Olympic National Forest, visit


Westport Winery Earns Double Gold in Denver

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 9:08am



Submitted by Westport Winery

2015 Shorebird FrontWestport Winery’s Shorebird Chardonnay earned a Double Gold Medal at the 2015 Denver International Wine Competition held on June 6 and 7 in Broomfield, Colorado. Grapes for this wine were harvested from Connor-Lee Vineyard near Othello, Washington. A portion of the proceeds from this wine are donated to the Grays Harbor Audubon Society.

Swimmer’s Petite Sirah earned a Gold Medal at this event. The grapes used to craft this wine were grown at Jones Vineyard in Washington’s Wahluke Slope AVA. Some proceeds from this wine are contributed to Grays Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center.

Both Captain Grays Gewurztraminer and Night Watch, a chocolate Merlot blend, earned Silver Medals. These wines benefit the Grays Harbor Symphony and Harbors Home Health and Hospice, respectively.

When you visit Westport Winery Garden Resort be sure to explore the unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, all located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. You will see why four times this has been voted Best of the Northwest Wine Destination.

These award-winning wines are exclusively available at the resort. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery, bakery and gardens, are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery Garden Resort at 360-648-2224 or visit the website at


Olympia Jazz Central presents Dmitri Matheny Group at Rhythm & Rye

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 8:32am
Event:  Mon, 08/31/2015 - 8:00pm - 10:00pm

Renowned jazz artist Dmitri Matheny will celebrate the international release of Sagebrush Rebellion, his tenth album as a leader, on Monday, August 31 at 8:00 pm at Rhythm & Rye in Olympia Washington.

The Olympia Jazz Central-sponsored appearance, part of a 100-city tour of the United States, will showcase selections from the new album, balancing fresh, original works with familiar jazz classics, hard bop, west coast cool and beloved standards from the Great American Songbook.

The Dmitri Matheny Group, directed by flugelhornist and composer Matheny, features Brian Kinsella on keyboard, Jeff Johnson on bass and Greg Williamson on drums.

“The Dmitri Matheny Group is a cohesive and seamless unit,” writes All About Jazz, “serving up equal parts soulful expression, caressing phrases, imaginative asides, and dedicated lyricism.” logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Four Romantic Lodging Locations Around Hood Canal

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 8:10am



By Douglas Scott

lucky dog casinoIn the shadow of the Olympic Mountains along the picturesque waters of Hood Canal exist five incredible romantic getaways, perfect for that saccharine escape you and your special someone have been pining for.

Situated perfectly between wilderness and society, these enchanting locations offer everything from solitude to pampering to everything in between. With limited light pollution from the cities along Interstate 5, spending a night or two along the Hood Canal will create the perfect spark to either rekindle your relationship or start lifelong memories with a new special someone.

Stunning views are just one of the attractions that make Alderbrook so getaway-worthy. Photo credit Douglas Scott.

Stunning views are just one of the attractions that make Alderbrook so getaway-worthy. Photo credit Douglas Scott.

Just a short drive from Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle, Hood Canal offers access to pristine wilderness and some of the best resorts and lodges in the Pacific Northwest. Whether you are traveling on a budget or looking to splurge on a serious romantic getaway, Hood Canal rekindles romance with incredible places to stay and explore.

Alderbrook Resort and Spa

Alderbrook is consistently named as one of the best resorts in the Pacific Northwest. Over the past five years, the resort has been revered as one of the best wedding destinations by Seattle Bride’s “Best Of” awards, and it’s consistently is recognized as the best resort in the Pacific Northwest by Condé Nast Traveler readers. With a full spa, golf course, kayak rentals, swimming, dining, yoga and three miles of on-site hiking opportunities, staying at Alderbrook allows you to be as secluded or as social as you want.

Located directly on Hood Canal, both sunrises and sunsets here are spectacular, as are the rooms, dining areas and grounds. Alderbrook is a high-class destination, offering the finest of everything. If you are looking for the premiere place to wine, dine and gaze at the beauty of the Olympics, staying here is a must.

Fall in love with the incredible views at Potlatch. Photo Credit Waterfront at Potlatch.

Fall in love with the incredible views at Potlatch. Photo Credit Waterfront at Potlatch.

Houseboats for Two

If you have ever daydreamed about having a romantic getaway on a houseboat, the aptly named “Houseboats for Two” at Pleasant Harbor make for an ideal romantic vacation destination. Located near the center of Hood Canal, this section of the Olympic Peninsula feels as remote as you can get, while still being close to all the amenities you will need. However, few who stay here leave their personal, private watercraft.

Set in a secluded, wooded cove, stay on the water while enjoying the night sky. Or, if the weather is cloudy, retreat indoors and enjoy a private 28-jet heated spa while listening to music, watching a movie or just enjoying in conversation with your loved one. Houseboats for Two is a unique experience made even better thanks to the tranquil setting the Hood Canal provides. With Mount Walker only four miles away and a myriad of waterfalls a short drive from the boat, you can experience mountains, forests and the salty waters of the Pacific Northwest all while rekindling your love.

Waterfront at Potlatch

Located just a mile and a half from the fantastic small town of Hoodsport, the Waterfront at Potlatch offers a handful of opportunities to escape for a romantic vacation. With cabins, a motel and an RV park, staying on Hood Canal has never been easier. While the resort does offer two bedroom deluxe vacation homes, the best bet for your romantic getaway is the one bedroom cabin. Fully furnished and boasting incredible views of the waters of Hood Canal, the one bedroom cabins are an ideal retreat for lovestruck couples in need of a getaway. The site is perfect for sunrises and even has a private deck where you and your companion can sit and enjoy the day. Wake up to seagulls, eagles and blue herons, smell the salt air and watch for seals, porpoises and even a rare orca, all from your cabin. If the cabin isn’t what you want, stay in the motel rooms or bring your RV for a night, week or even a full month! The Waterfront at Potlatch is a great place to stay and is the perfect setting for creating memories you’ll remember for a lifetime — no matter how long you stay.

 Willcox House Country Inn.

Enjoy the most stunning and romantic sunsets over the Olympic Mountains. Photo Credit: Willcox House Country Inn.

The Willcox House Country Inn

The most common thing guests say when they enter the Wilcox House Country Inn is, “Oh, Wow!” Located on the eastern side of Hood Canal on the Kitsap Peninsula, the Willcox House Country Inn is one of those destinations that seems too good to be true. Considered to be one of the top 12 Inns in North America, the Willcox House gives stunning views of the splendor of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains.

Guests enjoy the inn’s traditional 1930’s mansion atmosphere paired alongside modern amenities like WiFi. The grounds of the Willcox House are like wandering through your own private garden. The entrance to the inn is breathtaking, as is every corner of this stunning property. While it might not be located on Highway 101, staying here is the classic romantic getaway that is sure to get you some quality time together far from the noises and distractions of the city. Talking to the owner, the views here have had quite the impact on guests, making it an ideal romantic getaway. During a weekend in August, there was a man who planned and carried out a proposal to his girlfriend down on the dock. Proposals are very common at the Willcox House, and that is just one of many reasons to come here.


Inner Fire: Yoga With a Difference

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/15/2015 - 6:00am



By Heidi Smith

Providence logo (2015)Jessica Whitney had never done a sun salutation in her life when she first became passionate about yoga.  As a student at Wellesley College, she studied the ancient Vedic texts and yoga sutras as part of a philosophy class.  “I came to the physical practice through the philosophy,” she says.  “The concepts of mindfulness and one-pointed focus as well as the spiritual aspects really drew me in.”

In the Core Class, Jessica includes postures derived from the traditional 84 postures of the Bishnu Ghosh lineage.

In the Core Class, Jessica includes postures derived from the traditional 84 postures of the Bishnu Ghosh lineage.  Photo Credit: Paulina Amador

Her curiosity launched a journey that has included multiple trainings and even a yoga competition on the way to finding her own voice as a teacher.  Today, she offers unique, customized, and popular classes through her Inner Fire:Yoga by Jessica Whitney studio in Yelm, combining elements of Bikram (a.k.a. ‘hot’) yoga, restorative postures, and a gentle hands-on approach she learned from California Yoga Company’s Brian Monnier, plus an emphasis on mindful awareness.

Several key components set her classes apart, including:

Not So Hot Yoga

While temperatures in Bikram classes can hit 110 or even 117, Jessica keeps her studio between 80 and 90 degrees.  “I’ve learned that it doesn’t need to be that hot to get the same benefits,” she says.  That makes classes more appealing for some. “The ‘not too hot’ class temperatures are perfect for me. I’d always enjoyed the poses of hot yoga, but didn’t feel right with the intense degrees of heat,” says Lily, a student at Inner Fire.

84 Postures to Choose From

In the spring of 2007, Jessica completed her Bikram teacher training, even winning the prestigious Yogini award out of 300 fellow students. Today she doesn’t stick to the 26 postures included in that style, instead incorporating poses from all 84 classic asanas that are part of this lineage.  “Doing the same sequence of poses each time allows you to trance the mind,” she says.   “You can know what’s coming up next and track your progress.  I see the wisdom of that rigidity, but I have freedom within that.  It’s like the best of both worlds.”

Jessica Whitney has trained in multiple styles of yoga in addition to studying the philosophy behind the practice.

Jessica Whitney has trained in multiple styles of yoga in addition to studying the philosophy behind the practice. Photo Credit: Paulina Amador

Hands-On Teaching

Jessica was already teaching Bikram yoga when she met Brian Monnier.  At the time, she was experiencing chronic injuries due to yoga that she believes was taught incorrectly and practiced without mindfulness.  The California Yoga Company founder invited her to check out his studio across town.

“I went to his class and I was blown away,” she says.  “He didn’t just stand in the front and bark at everybody.  He walked around the whole time, doing hands-on corrections, mindfully and gently.  He really cared that you were doing it right.”  Monnier began to mentor her, and after 200 hours she became certified in the Monnier Method.  She includes his hands-on approach in all of her classes.  “Jessica gives the right amount of attention to everyone in each class while never neglecting the class as a whole,” says student Meshell.

Infrared Heating

While many yoga studios use electric or gas heat, Jessica looked into the benefits of infrared heaters.  She was impressed by what learned.  “The panels I use create radiant heat on the infrared spectrum,” she says.  “There’s no forced air and there’s no fan so they add to the stillness of the room.”

That type of heat actually penetrates the body more deeply than electric heat just by the nature of the delivery system, she explains. “It’s like being in an infrared sauna.”

Throughout her classes, Jessica moves among the students making minor adjustments and corrections.

Throughout her classes, Jessica moves among the students making minor adjustments and corrections. Photo Credit: Paulina Amador


Jessica believes that adapting postures for those with physical limitations is critical.  “I offer modifications for any injury or restricted range of motion,” she says.  “To the best of my ability, I support that in any individual.  That really has opened me up as a business to connecting with more people.”

Education and Mindfulness

With her background of studying ancient texts and her different strands of training, Jessica brings a mindful aspect to her classes.  “It’s not just a physical process,” she says.  “Yes, it’s cardiovascular and it’s fat burning, but it’s also developing patience, determination, concentration, compassion for yourself, and more body awareness.”

She also teaches what different poses accomplish.  “Once I started attending class, I began to understand the internal and mental aspects of yoga,” says Lois, a student.  “Jessica is so knowledgeable about each yoga position.”  Another student, Maria, agrees.  “The information she provides helps me understand the purpose of each pose, the breath, and the body parts that are helped both internally and externally.”

Jessica designed the Restorative Class herself. All postures are done on the floor, sometimes with the aid of a bolster.

Jessica designed the Restorative Class herself. All postures are done on the floor, sometimes with the aid of a bolster. Photo Credit: Paulina Amador

Restorative Class

In addition to her core classes, Jessica offers a restorative class that she designed herself. The entire class takes place on the floor, with no standing postures. “We use a bolster. It’s a lot gentler – on the floor, very focused on breathing and deep surrender,” she says.  After studying postures that could be done with the pillow, she added pieces of what she was already teaching.  “This class really is my own creation. I’m very proud of it,” she says.

Her students appreciate it as well.  “I had never heard of restorative yoga before Jessica started offering classes,” says Lisa.  “I love it, and I’m finding that it’s a better way of healing and supporting my body than massage therapy or chiropractic adjustments.  I feel stronger, and in general have less pain in my lower back and hips.”

Inner Fire Yoga is part of the Wellspring Plaza, a complex that also includes Garden to Gourmet restaurant and other health-conscious businesses.  “I believe in the broad, long-term vision of helping to create an integrated wellness center with other businesses and practitioners offering their work in the healing arts,” says Jessica.  “My place here is to offer yoga as part of other paths to wellness.”

Visit Inner Fire Yoga on Facebook or at


Celebrating Six Years at The Gift Gallery

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 3:45pm



By Kaylene Fischer for The Gift Gallery

Gift Gallery Gift Basket

Enter to win this special 6th Anniversary basket at The Gift Gallery through August 28.

The Gift Gallery is celebrating our 6th Anniversary in Tumwater. We’ve been bringing unique and handcrafted gift items to the lower Puget Sound area for 6 years. There have been several talented artists and beautiful handcrafted work during our time here. We take pride in bringing the community a variety of amazing art and gifts that people can treasure for a lifetime.

Our customers appreciate not only the handmade items, but the quality of the work our vendors put into their trade. People know The Gift Gallery is the place to find those one-of-a-kind items they won’t find anywhere else. Our vendors not only appreciate having a place to sell year-round, but being able to fulfill special orders that fit the customer’s liking.

Here in our store we make sure to carry our traditional local favorites, but are also constantly bringing in new, modern and exciting items for all ages. Some of our customer’s favorites include our chocolate nut toffee that they know as “poop”, local raw honey, Chehalis mints, shadow critters, mini day packs, spiral candles and much more.

Almost every month of the year we host an event or sale. We have our free jewelry appraisals by Randy Caverly, free food tastings from our specialty food section during the fall and winter, “Meet the authors” from our line of local books and of course our fabulous giveaway gift baskets.

In honor of our anniversary, we have put together our largest and most exciting gift basket to date! We chose a variety of items throughout our store including some of our most popular and some of our new items. So be sure to come visit us and enter in store, no need to be present to win. Drawing will be held Friday, August 28.

Also plan to visit for our end of summer clearance sale held Tuesday, August 18 through Saturday, August 22. All red dot items are 50% off.  You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, ThurstonTalk and our Website












Lacey-Area Military and Families Recognized for Commitment, Sacrifice

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 3:29pm



Submitted by The Landing at Hawk’s Prairie 

11 year old Sarah Bamesberger was the grand prize winner at The Landing at Hawks Prairie's Military Appreciation Day.

11 year old Sarah Bamesberger was the grand prize winner at The Landing at Hawks Prairie’s Military Appreciation Day.

For the second consecutive year, The Landing at Hawks Prairie shopping center in Lacey played host recently to a special celebration at which Lacey-area military families from Joint Base Lewis-McChord were treated to an afternoon of free hot dogs and refreshments, face painting, giveaways from center tenants and children’s games and activities.

The highlight of the July 25 event was 11-year-old Sarah Bamesberger winning the grand prize in a raffle conducted by the Hawks Prairie owner, Cimmarusti Holdings LLC/Lucia Properties.

Sarah, the youngest of five children, moved from Kentucky to Fort Lewis just one month prior to the event. Her father has served in the Army for 18 years and the family has lived in Texas, Missouri, Alaska, Georgia and South Korea prior to Kentucky and now Washington.

“We saw the sign in front of Navy Federal and I told my Mom we had to come,” said Sarah, who won a $50 Domino’s gift certificate, a $100 gift card to Pho Hoa’, a free haircut from Jack and Jill’s, a free massage and facial from Hand and Stone Spa, and a stuffed animal and free yogurt from Menchie’s. All of these stores are tenants at The Landing at Hawks Prairie.

Despite being the big winner, Sarah said that wasn’t the highlight of her day, but rather, “our favorite was the snow cones.”

Attendance this year was twice what it was at the inaugural event in 2014, and in addition to the participation of nearly all of the center tenants, the event was supported by radio station KAYO, Rutledge Farm train cars, Costco, the Lacey Fire Department, and Kidz n’ Motion.

The River Ridge High School Taiko Band entertained guests.

The River Ridge High School Taiko Band entertained guests.

“We also had the River Ridge Taiko Band there to entertain our guests, and we served more than 1,000 hot dogs, in addition to all of the other treats,” said center owner Larry Cimmarusti. “Everyone loved the 40 foot obstacle course and the face painting – it was a great military family turnout and we can’t wait to do it again next year!”

“We consider this to be a small gesture of our immense appreciation for these selfless, modern-day heroes,” said owner Ralph Cimmarusti. “In our minds, we can never do enough to thank the brave members of our military for the sacrifices they make to protect and preserve our freedoms,”

Brothers Ralph and Larry Cimmarusti, who currently own and operate the Original Roadhouse Grill restaurants in Oregon and California, have a two decade-plus history of staging fundraisers on behalf of the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

“It is our responsibility as members of the local communities we are part of to honor the memories of officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting those communities, and here in Lacey we wanted to create an event to pay tribute to the brave service men and women, and their families, who are stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord,” said Ralph Cimmarusti.

Lacey Firefighters came out to honor local military soldiers and their families.

Lacey Firefighters came out to honor local military soldiers and their families.

“This event is just our way of recognizing these service men and women, and their families, to whom we owe so much,” said Larry Cimmarusti. “It’s just one way for us to say ‘thank you.’”

In addition to Domino’s, Hand and Stone, Jack and Jill’s, Menchie’s and Pho Hoa’, other Hawks Prairie tenants participating in the event included Red Robin, Comfort Dental, Navy Federal Credit Union, Kiddie Academy, Mattress Depot, LA Fitness, Total Nutrition, Sprint, Game Stop, Tan Republic, America’s Best and the Military Recruitment office.

Located in the heart of the Puget Sound region, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is the Defense Department’s premiere military installation on the West Coast. JBLM provides world-class installation support to more than 40,000 active, Guard and Reserve Service members and about 15,000 civilian workers. The base supports 60,000 family members who live on and outside the base, and nearly 30,000 military retirees living within 50 miles.


The City of Olympia Seeks Development Partner for the Water Street Redevelopment Area

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 2:34pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

The City of Olympia has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in search of a development partner for the Water Street Redevelopment Area, an approximately one-acre area between 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue east and west of Water Street in downtown Olympia. The chosen development partner will create a redevelopment proposal for a mixed-use project that includes residential, commercial, office, retail and parking uses.

The Water Street Redevelopment Area plays a crucial role in linking community activity centers to the north and south with Percival Landing and Heritage Park, as well as to the east and west with the core of downtown and the Fountain Park.

Enhancing the livability and vibrancy of the downtown is one the City of Olympia’s highest priorities. The City’s recently updated Comprehensive Plan sets forth the City’s overall vision for downtown Olympia, which includes creating a complete neighborhood with a mix of office, retail and residential uses, including 25 percent of the City’s future residential growth (about 5,000 people).

The Water Street Redevelopment Area is the first of several Community Renewal Areas (CRA) targeted for redevelopment by the City. The City established the CRA as a way to incentivize investment in underdeveloped and blighted properties. The CRA covers all of downtown including the Water Street Redevelopment Area.

Potential responders to the RFP can take part in pre-submission conferences and site tours are scheduled for Aug. 20, 2015. Responses to the RFP are due Oct. 9, 2015. Open House presentations and City Council interviews are set for Oct. 29. The selected development partner will enter into an Exclusive Negotiated Agreement on Nov. 24, during which the city will work with the developer to create a specific, feasible development proposal.

The selected development partner will be invited to give a presentation on all aspects of the proposal, from design concepts, development costs, terms of site acquisition and implementation schedule to the City Council and the community.


Artesian Brewfest Showcases Tumwater’s Brewing History

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 2:25pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Over 30 Pacific Northwest breweries plus Tumwater’s original Olympia beer will be featured at the 3rd annual Tumwater Artesian Brewfest on August 22.

Festival-goers can TASTE the beers, sip wine from Thurston County wineries, win big in the Beer Stein Holding and Hole in One contests, play super sized beer pong, cornhole, wolleyball and other games, listen to local bands and more!

As the partner in the Designated Driver program of the 21+ event, the Port of Olympia will have free water and soda available at the Port booth for designated drivers.

The Brewfest runs from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Tumwater Valley Driving Range. Those who join the free 3-mile fun run at noon receive a complimentary beer mug and early admission.

Save on pre-sale tickets until August 22nd at noon. Ticket includes admission to the event, tasting mug and five tasting tokens. For more information and to purchase tickets:

Sand in the City – A Free Family Festival

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 2:10pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Sand in the City 2015 (2)Watch experts and local groups create masterpieces out of sand at Hands on Children’s Museum’s Sand in the City® at Olympia’s East Bay on August 22-23.

You can also go inside a life-sized, pin-hole camera, enjoy live music and performers, scale the rock climbing wall, have your face painted, play in huge sandboxes, blow giant bubbles, silkscreen a T-shirt, enjoy discounted museum admission of $5.50 per person, and so much more.

Activities are featured at East Bay Plaza, the street around the museum and the LOTT Wet Center. Park your car for free on the Port Peninsula and take free shuttles from the NorthPoint Parking Lot.

Stop by the Port booth on East Bay Plaza and play with the giant foam building blocks. The Port is proud to be an ongoing partner with Sand in the City, now the largest sand sculpting event in Washington State and the second largest community event in the South Sound. More than 35,000 visitors are expected.

Donations at Sand in the City benefit the Museum’s Free and Reduced Admission’s Program, enabling thousands of families to benefit from the exhibits and educational programs regardless of their ability to pay.

For more event information visit the Hands On Children’s Museum online.

An Improbable Peck of Plays

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 7:46am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Aug. 13, 2015 Debbie Sampson, Alayna Chamberland, Christian Carvajal, and Ethan Bujeaud (under the table) in Amenities. Photo by Austin Lang
Aaron Bredlau in Glory, Glory vanish. Photo by Austin Lang
Sara Fiksdal in
Cherry-Flavored Chemistry. Photo by Austin Lang
Eight plays by local playwrights, seven directors, and a dozen actors. What could possibly go wrong? Very little. This cadre of local talent pulled together by Theater Artists Olympia in collaborationwith the Northwest Playwrights Alliance is offering a marvelous evening of entertaining one-act plays at the Midnight Sun.Improbable Peck of Plays Vol. IVis the latest installment in this series, and I’ll go on record right now as saying I hope there will be a volume V, VI, VII, and on and on ad infinitum.Village of the Sirenswritten by Sherry Narens and directed by Jackie Nordquist is a poem musically recited by five women — sirens in the Homeric sense who tempt not just with sex appeal but by reciting words signifying desirable qualities/events such as stillness, quiet, comfort, home, sex and so forth. There is a rhythm and a lyrical quality to this that is enticing, and that they memorized the oft-repeated phrases is an amazing feat.The Restorewritten by Merridawn Duckler and directed by Lanita Grice was a brilliant idea, but it doesn’t quite work on stage despite some delightful comedic acting by Ethan Bujeaud who plays a living work of art being worked on by the art restorer played by Ellis Tyler-Crowl.Something More Cheerfulby Morgan Picton, directed by Amanda Stevens is a comedy horror show that satirizes politics and show business with Swiftian absurdity. An aspiring actor (Maxwell Schilling) is cast as the President in a something that at first seems to be a movie but then turns out to be real life. Or to put it another way, real life, including the presidency, is a movie cast, written and directed by the Illuminati. Schilling plays the actor well as naïve and overly enthusiastic. Also outstanding as members of the auditioning panel are John Lyons Beck, who reminds me of John Goodman, Aaron Bredlau, who is hilariously over-the-top in this play and in Glory, Glory Vanish (more on that below), Sara Fiksdal and Sara Geiger.Amenities by Gregory Hirschak, directed by Deane Shellman, with Christian Carvajal, Alayna Chamberland, Debbie Sampson and Ethan Bujeaud, is roll-on-the-floor funny. A couple, Carvajal and his drunken wife (Sampson), are showing off their new condo to a dinner guest (Chamberland). Everything is immense for this wealthy couple, and they are proud of their new home in “The Bohemian” where each unit comes equipped with its own artist. Their artist (Bujeaud) lives under the dining room table. Sean Raybell is unbelievably powerful and funny as an New England seafarer and Maxwell Shilling plays a wide-eyed hapless college student who encounters him on the docks in The Wisdoming by Gregory Hirschak, directed by Gabriel McClelland.In Glory, Glory Vanish, written by Eva Suter and directed by Xander Layden, Carvajal plays a Viking who has had “many, many lovers,” and Bredlau is once again outstanding as his buddy, while Bujeaud plays the sincere young Viking who finally has to ask an obviously sensible question that at least temporality pops the fantasy. Carvajal and Bredlau hilariously play the not-so-smart loudmouth braggarts, and Bujeaud is believably down-to-earth.Schilling stars again at his nerdiest best in Cherry-Flavored Chemistry by Jackie Nordquist, directed by Christopher Rocco. This is a sweet little love story about a pair of loveable chemistry nerds. Fiksdal is oh so loveable as the geeky girlfriend. The evening ends with the ridiculously funny One for the Chipper by Adam Seidel, directed by Gabriel McClelland in which Carvajal — brilliant again — is a Little League baseball coach giving a pep talk to the worst team in the history of Little League. More than half the team has quite, and it is down to four incompetents: Chamberland, Beck, Raybell and Kadi Burt.I highly recommend this night of short plays.
Improbable Peck of Plays IV, Thursday through Saturday at 9 p.m. through Aug. 22, 2:30 p.m. Aug. 23, The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St. Tickets: $15.00 ($16.52 with service fee at brownpapertickets. Available at door night of show or online at, pay what you can tonight (Aug. 13).
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

9 Circles Canceled

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 7:10am
I was just notified that the one-night-only staged reading of 9 Circles by Bill Cain, scheduled for Aug. 16 at Tacoma Little Theatre, has been canceled. It will be replaced by Dying City by Christopher Shinn.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Three New Fires Reported in Olympic National Forest

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/13/2015 - 4:11pm



Submitted by Olympic National Forest 

Three new lightning-caused fires were reported yesterday on the Hood Canal Ranger District of Olympic National Forest.  Seven smokejumpers and other resources were immediately dispatched to take suppression actions.  A helicopter from the nearby Paradise Fire in Olympic National Park also assisted with initial attack.  Additional firefighting resources have been ordered.  The fires are described below.

Zion Fire – This small fire, located on Mt Zion, is burning in rugged, inaccessible terrain.  It was contained last night by several smokejumpers.  Mop-up continues.

Cabin Creek Fire – This fire is located about three miles northeast of Lena Lake and the Hamma Hamma campgrounds.  It is estimated to be seven acres in size, and is burning in very rugged and inaccessible terrain.  Smokejumpers continue efforts assisted by helicopters.

Gold Fire – This fire is located approximately six miles northwest of Quilcene and ten miles south of Blyn.  Three local fire engines and water tenders from Jefferson County worked through the night to establish a hose lay around the fire.

The low pressure system that was responsible for yesterday’s lightning is expected to move to the East.  Continued lightning and rain showers are possible in Western Washington.  The long-term weather forecast calls for dry conditions and low moisture levels to continue.

Firefighter and public safety are our highest priority as suppression strategies continue.

Olympia City Council Considers Option to Purchase “Kaiser Heights”

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/13/2015 - 1:46pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

At its regular business meeting on August 18, the Olympia City Council will consider approval of an option to purchase real estate owned by Wonderland Holdings LLC, consisting of approximately 75-acres southwest of Ken Lake. This parcel, located between Kaiser Road SW and Lakemoor Drive, was previously referred to as the proposed Kaiser Heights Development.

Acquiring open space and natural areas to meet current and future park needs was a top priority identified by the community during a public process the City recently conducted as part of its update of the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan. The option to purchase would preserve the City’s ability to acquire the 75-acre property if voters approve the proposed Olympia Metropolitan Park District (MPD). The City Council has taken action to place an MPD ballot measure before the voters on November 3, 2015.

Consideration of this option will occur following recent City Council action to secure an option for 74 acres of land in Southeast Olympia in an area known as the “LBA Woods.” If both the Kaiser Heights and LBA Woods properties are purchased, the Olympia park system will grow by 149 acres. This would be a significant step in fulfilling the previously established goal of the 2004 voted utility tax ballot measure to acquire an additional 500 acres of new parks.


Oly Curl Welcomes Curly Guru Lorraine Massey

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/13/2015 - 1:00pm



Submitted by Oly Curl

olympia hair salon

OlyCurl proprietress Yukiko Taylor operates her salon on Capital Way in downtown Olympia.

Calling all curlies! If you feel like you’ve tried every trick and product known to man to keep your hair under control, you are not alone. The gals at Oly Curl have been working hard for over a year now to give you just the cut and prescription to highlight your beautiful, coveted locks. They so badly want you to fall in love with your mane that they are calling in the number one authority on curls: Lorraine Massey.

Massey is the author of the curly girl’s bible, Curly Girl: The Handbook. Credibility is written all over her stunning head of curls, so she knows just how frustrating this crowning glory can be. She started Deva Curl, a company focused on cutting curls dry and one at a time in order to create a masterpiece. Yukiko Taylor, curl specialist and owner of Oly•Curl, has been trained in this method. This way of cutting curls spawned a line of products that many curlies swear they cannot live without.

Since selling her company, Massey has been touring the nation, cutting curly hair for a donation to her charity of choice, Keep a Child Alive, which benefits children and families affected by HIV. Oly•Curl will be welcoming Massey to Olympia the weekend of September 13. She will be donating 100% of the proceeds from eight lucky curly haircuts to the charity, with a goal of donating $6000 from the weekend’s events. Haircuts will be performed at Fosbre Academy of Hair Design, located at 111 Capitol Way N, on Sunday, September 13 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

The appointment slots are currently being auctioned off one at a time to the highest bidder, with a starting bid of $150 each. The auction can be found on their website here. In addition to haircuts with Massey, the auction also features items donated by the Olympia community, open for bids September first through the tenth. The most exciting item will be a Brunch on the Bay, hosted and donated by local restauranteur, Amanda Adrian, and local baker and foodie blogger, Kelli Samson. The winner of this item and a guest will dine over brunch with Lorraine Massey and the Curly Artist Crew.

olympia hair salon

OlyCurl is located at 917 Capitol Way S in Olympia.

Along with the eight haircuts, six more curl artists from around the US will be working with Taylor that weekend. Those haircuts will be offered at a donation price of $75 each. For an appointment, please contact Oly•Curl at 360-459-1193.  Oly•Curl’s weekend with Massey will also include a book signing on Saturday, September 12 at Browsers Book Shop  at 1:00 p.m. Curlies can bring their own copy of her book or purchase one at the shop. Following the book signing there will be a Meet and Greet at Marchetti Wines from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the Meet and Greet are $25.

And have we mentioned the swag bag? Each of the eight winners of the Massey haircuts will be receiving one, along with the first 17 people who purchase a ticket to the Meet and Greet. Curlies know that a small fortune can be invested into products, so swag is a good thing. Meanwhile, anyone can purchase an Oly•Curl Starter Kit at the shop, and 10% of the proceeds will go toward Keep a Child Alive.

Oly•Curl gives a special thanks to all of the local friends and businesses – curly or otherwise – who have so generously supported this event with their time, space, and donations.

To keep up with the latest information on this event, follow the Facebook event page.

Oly Curl

917 Capitol Way S

Olympia, WA 98501

(360) 489-1193



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