Recent local blog posts

Exclusive Indian Summer Home Now Ready to View

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 5:51pm


Submitted by Rob Rice Homes The new Olympia, Washington home at 6041 Troon Lane, located in the gated golf course community of Indian Summer, is now ready for the discerning homebuyer looking for a premier location and the superior construction of Best of South Sound builder, Rob Rice. One of the local builder’s Select Homes […]

Saint Martin’s Students Host Halloween Fun on October 29

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 11:47am


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University  Trick-or-treaters from the South Sound Area are invited to don their Halloween apparel and come to the University, 5000 Abbey Way, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 29 for Community Halloween, a celebration with Saint Martin’s students. Community Halloween, formerly called “Halloween in the Halls,” is planned by the […]

Runners Put Their Best Foot Forward at Mason PUD 3’s Annual Shuck & Share 5K

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 11:40am


Submitted by Mason County PUD 3   Nearly 190 runners & walkers took part in Mason PUD 3’s October 4 Shuck and Share 5K. The event raised $2,400 for Project Share, an electricity bill assistance program for those in need. Local runner Chris Carpenter was first place among the men for the second year in a […]

Trick or Trot Coming Back to Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 11:21am


Submitted by Community Youth Services Time to plan for the ultimate in Halloween fun! Community Youth Services is back this fall with its Brighter Futures Run Trick or Trot 5K, set for 9 a.m. on October 15. What sets this fun run/walk/race apart is that it’s all about the season. Festive run “zones” keep the […]

Kirtan Concert with Gina Sala at Unity of Olympia on December 11

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 11:10am
Event:  Sun, 12/11/2016 - 6:30pm

Please join us for a soulful and enlivening evening of sacred songs and chants with Gina Sala. In sacred names, deep chants and good grooves, the mind rests in the heart like the bee in the flower! A life-long chanter, global vocalist, composer, and teacher, Gina Sala, offers “the silky essence of Indian vocal traditions with a tenderness that draws the listener deep into the heart" -Yoga Journal.

Sunday December 11, 2016 at 6:30pm at Unity Church of Olympia, 1335 Fern St SW, 98502.

Advance Tickets are $15. Tickets are $20 on the day of the event. 

Click Here for more information and secure online purchase of advance tickets.

Or Contact Ronny Temple for more details. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Fifth Annual Great Washington ShakeOut Schedule for October 20

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:34am


Submitted by the Washington State Military Department Just months after public agencies came together to practice earthquake preparedness plans, Gov. Jay Inslee says it’s the public’s turn to do its part for personal preparedness and to practice drop, cover and hold on skills.  Inslee proclaimed October as Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month, which is highlighted […]

WDFW Approves Razor Clam Digs at 2 Beaches, Awaits Test on Third

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:16am


Submitted by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Washington’s fall razor clam season will get underway Friday, Oct. 14 at Copalis and Mocrocks as planned, but the status of Twin Harbors in that dig will depend on the results of one more marine toxin test.  Long Beach will remain closed to clam digging due to test […]

The Two Gentlemen of Verona at Harlequin Productions

South Sound Arts - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 3:27pm
Reviewed for Oly Arts, Oct. 5, 2016

There are inspired scenes of comic gold, as when Jason Haws first appears with his dog, a puppet manipulated alternately by Haws and Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe. You may recall Ferguson-Wagstaffe was the living presence inside the puppet flower in Harlequin’s recent production of Little Shop of Horrors. There’s also a scene in which everyone mounts make-believe horses and gallops around like knights inMonty Python and the Holy Grail, and a marvelously funny super-slow-motion fight scene near the end of the second act.

Read the complete review

Proteus (Adam St. John) and Valentine (Jeffrey Painter)
Silvia (Jessica Weaver) and Julia (Kira Batcheller)
Speed (Andrew Scott Bullard) and Launce (Jason Haws)
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

30 Americans at Tacoma Art Museum

South Sound Arts - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 3:19pm

African American Art Since the 1970sPublished in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 6, 2016Jean-Michel Basquiat, "Bird On Money," 1981, acrylic and oil on canvas, 66 x 90 inches, courtesy of the Rubell Family CollectionThe traveling exhibition 30 Americans from the famed Rubell Family Collection in Miami makes its first West Coast stop at Tacoma Art Museum. With 45 works from 30 of the best African American artists since the 1970s, this is one of the more important shows to ever grace the galleries at TAM. Imagine, if you will, that in the early days of pop art you had been able to see — many for the first time ever — works by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Oldenburg, Indiana, Rauschenberg, Johns, and Thiebaud. That is the only thing I can imagine that could have a similar impact to this show. Adding to that, the sheer scale of many of the works is stupendous. Sadly missing, perhaps because they emerged before the 1970s, are Sam Gilliam, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Martin Puryear, and Gordon Parks. Some of these artists have been around for quite some time, but in many cases have never received their just recognition.Many are up-and-coming young artists, and few are more up-and-coming than Kehinde Wiley.Wiley’s paintings are a 21st century updating of romantic and baroque art done in monumental scale with brilliant colors and a photo-realist style. Typically, he riffs on classical art by replacing heroic European figures with young black men and women. Wiley’s “Sleep” is the largest painting ever mounted on the walls at TAM. It is 25 feet long and 11 feet tall. It is a reimagining of a painting of the same name by the 18th century French artist Jean Bernard Restout. In this version, a beautiful, Christ-like black man sleeps on a bed of intricate floral patterns, naked but for a sheet draped across his midsection. This painting is mesmerizing because of the rich color, the balance and contrast of figure and background, and the monumental scale. It is one of two Wiley paintings in the show.“Duck, Duck, Noose,” a sculptural installation by Gary Simmons,depicts in stark simplicity the darkest era in United States history. Nine stools are arranged in a circle 132 inches in diameter. Each of the stools is topped with a Ku Klux Klan hood. Hanging from the ceiling in the middle of this is a noose. Seeing this was like listening to a dying heartbeat.I was greatly moved by Mickalene Thomas’s acrylic, rhinestone and enamel wall hanging that graces the entrance to one of the two galleries. It is called, “Baby, I Am Ready Now.” In two panels measuring a total 11 feet in width, it pictures a self-possessed and strong woman seated on a bed with bejeweled and densely clashing patterns.  Mickalene is similar to Wiley in her manner of immersing figures into elaborate settings, but her figures are much more in-your-face seductive. They ooze sensuality and pride.Nina Chanel Abney is an artist new to me. She is young, born in 1982, and just beginning to make a name for herself. Having not previously known her work, I visited her website at and saw scenes of Black life in America with mostly flat figures in solid colors, strong and decorative work exhibiting shades of Jacob Lawrence and Stuart Davis. Her large painting in this show, “Class of 2007,” pictures the students in her class at Parsons The New School of Design. Abney was the only black student in the class. In this painting she pictures all the other students as Black and herself as white. This painting is more expressive in its application of paint than any of her works that I saw online.There are two works by the late, great Jean-Michel Basquiat. Often symbolic of Black life and critical of commercialism, Basquiat’s paintings are sardonic and angry. The two in this show, “Bird on Money” and “One Million Yen,” are outstanding examples of his work. Had the wall text not told us, not everyone would know that the bird in “Bird on Money” represents the great jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker.This show is too big and too important to limit my review to one column. I will follow up with a part-two review in mid-October. But even with two reviews I will not be able to touch on more than a small sampling of the art to be seen.
Tacoma Art Museum, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Jan. 15, 2017, $15, third Thursday free 10 a.m.-8 p.m., 1701 Pacific Ave. Tacoma,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Beginning Genealogy Workshop

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 11:33am
Event:  Sat, 10/29/2016 - 9:00am - 3:00pm

Olympia Genealogical Society members will help workshop participants gain the skills they need to begin their family history research. Participants should check in at 9 a.m., before the library opens, at the 9th and Adams Exit Only doors to the library in the SE corner of the parking lot. Registration is required and walk-ins will not be accepted. Register online, in person, or by
phone at 360-352-0595 beginning Monday, October 17. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

A new video about the history of the port

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 11:31am


My wife and I have been creating short (about 10 min.) videos about Olympia history.  The videos are shown on Thurston Community Television, but are also on Youtube at

With the Port of Olympia so much in the press these days, the latest look at the history of the port might be interesting to some.  In the October episode we visited the Swantown Marina and learned about the first airplane to land in Olympia. We heard about Olympia's ill-fated ship building efforts during World War I from maritime historian, Chuck Fowler.

Another interesting episode about the port area is the one about the historic Budd Inlet and the drastically different shoreline in the port area. After watching the episode, people may wish to check out the Sanborn overlays to see historic maps displayed over current day aerials.

If you like what you see and want to be informed about the monthly episodes, there is a way to subscribe on the Youtube page.
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My Wandering Mind

South Sound Arts - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:50am

From Duchamp to the N-WordTo segue from Marcel Duchamp to the use of the n-word in life and in literature might seem quite a leap, but it came about quite naturally as I let my mind wander away from the art review I was thinking about writing.I’ve referred to Duchamp often when talking about how we got from the art of the 19th century to the art of the late 20thcentury and beyond. I’m convinced that without Duchamp — more specifically, without his “ready-mades” and even more specifically his “Fountain” — there would have been no Andy Warhol, no Allan Kaprow, no Marina Abramovic, no Joseph Beuys, no Christo, no Jeff Koons. Some might argue we’d be better off without any of those.
Thanks to Duchamp, art today is anything you can get away with, which is liberating but which also opens up the hellhole to terrible crap that passes as art. The good, the bad, and the what-monsters-have-we-spawned.
Everybody who has studied modern art history knows about his “Fountain,” from out of which all of post-modern art has flown. Duchamp purchased a urinal from a plumbing supply store, signed it R. Mutt, and entered it in an art exhibit. When it was rejected. An anonymous letter sometimes attributed to Duchamp and sometimes to Beatrice Wood explained: “Whether Mr.Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object.”
This opened the floodgates for found art, performance art, and conceptual art. Ironically, Duchamp often stated that he had no interest in aesthetics, but only in the idea; and yet many artists and critics have talked about the formal beauty of “Fountain.”
While thinking about this, I recalled my graduate thesis written in 1970. It was called A Ground for Today’s Art: An Alternative to the Frame-Pedestal Aesthetic. Pretty grandiose sounding, huh? In the book were some illustrations, including a collage I created. It pictured an African-American kid wearing a football uniform and a white youth in a baseball uniform. The caption reads: “Now son, you go down this way for two blocks and turn right. That’s the n….. ball park.”I didn’t use dots or dashes after the n.Today I would be embarrassed for anybody to see that collage because it contained the n-word. But at the time it was intended as a statement against racism and as an illustration of how insidiously that word had been insinuated into society and how casually it was used in my native South.
Thinking of that led me to a remembrance. It was 1977. I had recently returned home to Mississippi from New York with my new bride. There came a time in a conversation when my mother, a kind soul who would never intentionally hurt or belittle anyone, said something about “that sweet little n….. girl.” My wife was shocked at that. I was a little put off by it as well, but I knew she did not mean it in a vicious way. She was as casual about it as Mark Twain was when writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — one of the greatest books in American literature, which has been banned in many places because of Twain’s use of the n-word.
At the time I was having these thoughts, I had recently finished my latest novel, Tupelo, which is set in the Deep South during the time of lunch-counter sit-ins and protest marches and the forced integration of schools and other public places. I could not write an honest book about that time and place without using the n-word, and yes, I spelled it out; I felt like I had to. During the time I was working on it I re-read a lot of Eudora Welty’s stories and Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline, and I was surprised at how often they used the n-word. In my book, only racist characters use that word, but with Welty and Conroy it came out of the mouths of their narrators and characters who were not depicted as racist, but was used in the way my mother used it when she said “that sweet little n….. girl.” That was the way of the South. I wonder if Welty and Conroy and many other Southern writers of the mid- and late-20th century would use that word more sparingly or in different ways, if at all, if they were writing today.

In art and life and literature, from Duchamp to whomever comes along next, I guess we never stop changing.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thrifty Thurston Treks around the South Sound on Fall Hikes

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 6:00am


Experiencing the majesty of autumn around the South Sound is an annual tradition that we all know and love. As the taste of pumpkin spice fills our coffee cups and the daylight hours slowly dwindle, the magic and wonder of the fall season needs to be experienced fully. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are […]

Amy Murry Brings World-Class Massage to US Olympic Athletes

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 6:00am


Amy Murry, owner of Human Body Works has massaged world-class athletes and most recently gold medal winners at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She feels incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with athletes at the peak of their sports. However, some of her favorite athletes are those right here in Thurston County. […]

Ricardo’s Restaurant – The Meeting Place for Meat

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 6:00am


The word “scratch” does not come close to scratching the surface of Ricardo’s Restaurant in Lacey. From the repurposed family heirlooms to the dry aged meat, pinpointing the many areas of “homemade” become endless. Ricardo’s Restaurant, formerly located near Saint Martin’s University, was originally known for their homemade pasta when they first opened their doors […]

Sequoia’s Treehouse: Growing Minds, Active Bodies, and Creative Spirits

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 6:00am


Einstein once said “it is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” These early experiences shape not only our educational career but future outlook on life and lifelong learning. At Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare and Preschool, staff strives to maintain a philosophy focused on “the development of the whole […]

Shooting Review Board questions officer’s actions

Works in Progress - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 11:21pm

A close look at the internal investigation of OPD Officer Ryan Donald

WIP has conducted an extensive review into documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) relating to the Olympia Police Department’s Shooting Review Board internal investigation into Officer Ryan Donald’s shooting of brothers Bryson and André Chaplin-Thompson on May 21, 2015. WIP found that members of the Board shared many of the same questions about Donald’s use of force that the community has raised. However, due to OPD Use of Force guidelines, Donald was exonerated and returned to service with no written plan for reintroduction. Both Chaplin and Thompson were hospitalized after the shooting, and Chaplin is paralyzed from the waist down, a bullet lodged near his spine. It is not clear if he will walk again.

Eight days to decide

The Shooting Review Board [SRB, or Board] met on September 21, 2015, and was given a comprehensive 886-page binder with only eight days to examine it before reconvening on September 29, 2015. The Board consisted of three members of the OPD: Deputy Chief Steve Nelson, Lieutenant Aaron Jelcick and Officer Jason Winner, as well as Deputy City Attorney Darren Nienaber and Edward Prince, Executive Director of the Commission of African American Affairs. No other community stakeholders were allowed to participate.

The binder contained documents produced by the investigation into the shooting conducted by the Thurston County Critical Incident Team led by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office [TCSO], including investigators from the Lacey and Tumwater Police Departments. There were witness statements, investigative, forensic and medical reports, transcripts of audio recordings, scene schematics as well as photographs of the scene of the shooting, evidence collected and the men’s injuries. There were also excerpts from OPD’s use of force guidelines.

All members were given the confidential binder with instructions not to write in it or alter it in anyway. The board was instructed to use a provided notepad to make any notes and was informed that any written material produced would be retained and become part of the public record.

Two questions to consider

The Board was tasked with answering two questions. The first was, “Did the force used by Officer Donald adhere to the policies of the Olympia Police Department?” and the second, “Did the actions of Officer Donald precipitate the course of events that ultimately led to the use(s) of force? If so, were those actions reasonable and appropriate?”

SRB presses Donald for answers

On September 29, 2016, the Board reconvened to visit the site of the shooting. They then heard testimony from OPD Officers Paul Evers and Luke O’Brien, who were on the scene at the time of the shooting, before interviewing Officer Donald.

Notes made by the SRB show they had questions about Donald’s actions. During Donald’s testimony “members were afforded the opportunity to ask the officers any questions about the incident, about department policies, and about the involved officer’s training and experience” according to the Review Board Memorandum found on the city’s website.

Lt. Jelcick had prepared four typewritten pages of questions. It wasn’t clear if all were asked of Donald, but Jelcick made notes of Donald’s responses to about a third of the questions, most involving Donald’s second contact with the suspects. [See sidebar for an overview including a transcript of Jelcick’s handwritten notes on page 12]

Many members expressed concern if it was reasonable for Donald to attempt to detain the suspects without backup and wanted to know if he considered waiting, as the danger to the public was “weak” according to a note made by Chief Nelson. One member wrote there was “no light on the road, black, pitch black,” which is contrary to the best practice  of conducting such interactions in well- lit areas.

Chief Nelson noted that Donald had not turned on the light bar on his dark black vehicle, nor his emergency lights, which would have both established his authority and made the situation safer for himself, the suspects and any other vehicles coming upon the scene. Chief Nelson’s notes read that when Donald was asked if he identified himself he replied, “Not at this time.”  Another member questioned “How did they know you were police?” There is no answer recorded in their notes.

At this point, Donald was taking cover behind the driver’s side door of his patrol car as the men approached the front of the vehicle. Donald drew his .45-caliber service weapon. According to Chief Nelson’s notes, Donald testified, “I knew probable cause for assault… I was prepared for them if they were going to be assaultive for me. I got myself in position to defend myself.” Next to this quote Chief Nelson wrote one word, “WHY!”

André and Bryson Chaplin-Thompson then started walking faster, trying to get past the police car. Instead of letting them go, Donald left his protective cover and cut the men off near the rear of his vehicle.  Referring to Donald’s testimony in front of the SRB, Chief Nelson wrote of “significant warning factors to stay back. He [unintelligible], though his intention was not to physically engage suspect. He put himself too close tactically and was grabbed by suspect who lunged for his arm.” This action is also detailed in a highlighted section of a copy of Donald’s May 26th statement, next to which Nelson wrote, “BAD CHOICE.”

This is where the first set of shots was fired after Donald accused Bryson Chaplin of trying to hit him with his skateboard. The two men  then ran north on Cooper Point Road—one hiding behind a fence, the other escaping into the woods. It is believed Chaplin had been shot for the first time during the scuffle. Donald left his vehicle and gave pursuit. [See “Did Bryson Chaplin use his skateboard as a weapon?” sidebar.]

The SRB also wanted to determine why Donald left cover once he had already allegedly been assaulted and considered the skateboard a deadly weapon. Almost every member of the Board had notes questioning this decision. One SRB member wrote that Donald’s decision “increased safety risk.”

Notes show Donald alleges he was trying to set up a perimeter to contain the suspects when he engaged them and fired his weapon again, injuring both men. [Please see for an in depth look at the events of the night.]

Conflict of interest

Multiple members of the Board also wondered about Officer Evers’ actions to pass Donald and park around the corner on 14th Street. This left Donald alone “because his back-up unit failed/chose not to stop with him.”  Another note remarks that Evers “never thought suspect would re-engage after the [first] gunfight.” In his witness statement dated May 21, 2016, Evers credited his presence for possibly altering the suspect’s behavior, “Our turning onto the road [14th] deterred them from going in that direction. And…may have caused them to backtrack.”

This raises the question of whether Officer Evers followed proper procedure. A FOIA request to see any disciplinary records for Evers for the past five years produced no results.

There is also potential conflict of interest with Evers being both a witness and having a  position as Police Guild President.  Evers escorted Officer Donald to OPD headquarters for processing, which placed the two officers alone in Evers’ vehicle for the trip downtown. This may have allowed collusion between the officers and could have been easily prevented by Donald being transported by an officer from a different agency.

On a related note, on a page of notes entitled “Random Questions to Consider,” Chief Nelson is curious about Evers’ involvement when Donald gave his initial statement to the TCSO on May 26, 2015. He wrote, “Why is Evers asking RD questions during Thurston County Sheriff’s (TCSO) interview?” In the official transcript of the interview released by the Thurston County Prosecutor’s office, Evers is not even listed as being present. Most likely he was there due to his Guild position, but since he was also witness to the shooting there is again a conflict in having him present when Donald was being interviewed.

OPD use of force guidelines

In his notes, Edward Prince of the Shooting Review Board summarizes the OPD’s definitions and guidelines for use of force, giving the reader a sense of the rules that the SRB used when making their decision.

  • Protection of life is more important than apprehension of criminal offenders or the protection of property.
  • The responsibility to protect life includes our employee’s own life. Deadly force may be employed only when necessary to protect the officer or others from what he/she reasonably believes is an immediate threat of death or serious injury.
  • Life-threatening behavior is behavior by a subject that supports a reasonable perception that death or serious body harm to an individual or officer is imminent or highly probable.
  • Deadly force is designed to be employed with subjects who display life-threatening behavior.
  • Deadly force is the application of force, by any means, that is reasonably likely to cause death or serious physical injury.

Resolution of the inquiry

The SRB then took hours in a thorough review before making a final decision about disciplinary action against Donald. Ultimately, despite their misgivings over Donald’s decisions, the Board unanimously determined that his actions “adhere to the policies of the OPD,” and furthermore they “did not precipitate the course of events that ultimately led to the uses(s) of force.” [See sidebar below for complete transcript of the SRB decision.]

The decision was then given to OPD’s Chief Roberts, who concurred with the findings. This means that Donald faced no disciplinary consequences for shooting two men and endangering the community.

No plan for reintroduction

In a document entitled “Review Board Inquiry Summary” found on the City of Olympia’s website, the city states that “because of the trauma of the event and the length of his absence, the Department has a plan to reintegrate Officer Donald before assigning his routine duties.”

WIP tried to obtain documentation of this reintegration plan through FOIA requests and was told by Amy Iverson of the OPD that she had “contacted the Lieutenants and verified with them that there was no written plan. There is no responsive record for this request.”

Works in Progress opinion

The largest questions that WIP continues to have centers on whether Donald should have waited for backup in the first place, and furthermore should not have pursued the men, who were ostensibly not a threat to the community. Certainly less threat than a stray bullet through a bedroom window.

An FAQ on the city’s website gives less than satisfactory answers. To the question of “Why would an officer attempt to locate suspects in a low-level crime?” the city states, “When the police receive a report of a potential crime, regardless of its severity, we are expected by our community to respond. The community also expects we will attempt to locate suspects of a crime in order to prevent them from causing other crimes. Once suspects are detained by police, the rest of the criminal justice process is initiated.”

The Shooting Review Board stated that Donald was “familiar with tactical guidelines on high-risk field interviews” which include waiting in a well-lit area for backup Donald did neither.

To the question “Why would an officer contact suspects by him/herself?” the city’s website states, “…It is routine for officers to make initial contact with suspects by themselves. Usually, other officers will respond to the location for the safety of all parties. Sometimes, there are circumstances where the officer needs to take action before other officers arrive, such as to stop physical harm, prevent a suspect from fleeing, or to render aid to anyone who is injured.”

Under this explanation, Officer Donald took action to prevent the suspects from fleeing since the other two reasons do not apply. At the time of contact, Donald was aware backup was on the way, including a K-9 officer, according to his statement given on May 26, 2015.

Donald did not positively identify himself or take command of the situation. In his book, To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police, Norm Stamper, former Seattle Police Chief, says law enforcement needs to “bring to the scene problem-solving rather than problem-causing behaviors” and should avoid using “loose, lazy and ineffective language.”

In his May 26, 2015, statement Donald says “both subjects appeared to be taller, heavier and bigger in physical size to me.” Again, this begs the question as to why Donald initiated contact in the first place.

Between the men being intoxicated and Donald drawing his weapon early in the confrontation gives clues as to how first contact was made. It is unknown how or why the situation escalated.  A SRB member asked Donald why he used his gun. The handwritten note says Donald “thought he might rush me.” Yet the men continued walking on the other side of Donald’s car, indicating they were trying to get away. It was Donald who left his position of cover to initiate contact with the men at the rear of his patrol car. Donald accuses one of the men of lunging at him. This does not seem consistent with the men’s other evasive actions, both before this contact and after.

A scuffle allegedly took place, and Donald fired his weapon multiple times, sending a shot into a nearby house and most likely hitting Chaplin for the first time. A note in the SRB binder says that Donald “brought the first confrontation to the suspects.”

The men then tried to escape, running away and finding hiding places, which again seems to mean they were trying to avoid further contact from Donald. At this point, they were no longer a threat to Donald. The safest thing for Donald to have done would have been to stay with his vehicle and wait. In both his written and oral statements given on May 26th, Donald stresses his fear, yet his actions were aggressive.

Despite the SRB ruling, it is not hard to imagine a different scenario had Donald taken better control of the situation from the first moment of contact, or had even delayed contact until backup arrived.

Norm Stamper discusses the urge police have to pursue, saying, “The hardest thing in the world for most cops to do is back off. From the classroom to the locker room, the culture teaches them: you cannot back away, or back down, and you certainly cannot lose. Whether it’s a fistfight or a car chase, you must come out on top. Allowing certain suspects, under certain circumstances, to evade arrest just might be the smartest thing a police officer could do in a given situation, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Every fiber of a cop’s being is dedicated to catching those who flee, especially those who have hurt other people. It’s a noble aspiration, but one that demands strong policies, tactical smarts, close supervision, and steely self-discipline.”

Excessive use of force is often a consequence of fear in the officer, “Because fear tends to be a socially unacceptable, indeed an inexpressible emotion within the cop culture… A scared cop overcompensates, which means he or she is likely to come across as loud, abrasive and arrogant. And mean – a bully.  And that leads to an inescapable conclusion: scared cops are a danger – to themselves, and to the people they’ve been hired to protect and serve,” explains Stamper.

Given the evidence, it is hard to take the position that Donald did not directly contribute to the events that led to André and Bryson Chaplin-Thompson  being shot. Even Edward Prince of the SRB noted in his findings, “I believe Officer Donald made a tactical error by moving to the rear of the car which contributed to the assault in the first use of force. In my opinion, all other uses of force stem from the first incident.”  Deputy City Attorney Darren Nienaber expressed similar concern in his findings, saying “going to the back of the car may have increased the risk of attack on him more than needed.” Chief Nelson agreed that “Donald put himself too close to them tactically.”

Had Ryan Donald stood back, had he listened to his alleged fear, Bryson Chaplin and André Thompson would not now be living with life-changing injuries and a community would not have been traumatized.

Candace Mercer is an artist/writer/activist who has lived in Olympia for 20 years. She has worked with the Thurston-Mason Crisis Clinic, the Northwest Justice Project, Olympia Rafah Sister City Project and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. She has written for Dissident Voice, Electronic Intifada and


The post Shooting Review Board questions officer’s actions appeared first on Works in Progress.

Sacred Stones speak

Works in Progress - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 11:15pm

In support of Standing Rock and their efforts to protect the water

Hundreds of tribes from the United States and Canada are gathered along the Cannonball River next to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. They have come together to stand as one in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The camp is located on treaty land ceded by the Sioux Nation (Oceti Sakowin, or Seven Council Fires) in 1851 and 1868, at the junction of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers. The Cannonball empties into Lake Oahe, a portion of the Missouri River extending from near Bismarck, North Dakota, 230 miles south to Pierre, South Dakota. Lake Oahe is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s primary source of domestic and irrigation water as well as a source of recreation for the region. The Missouri is in turn the main tributary of the Mississippi River.

Energy Transfer Partners, owner of DAPL, expects to move approximately 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois. The pipeline contract is worth $3.8 billion. Present plans call for routing the pipeline under Lake Oahe. This portion of the route was originally planned to cross under the river near Bismarck, the capital of North Dakota, but the mapping was altered to avoid Bismarck. The pipeline reminds Native people of ancient Indigenous prophecies that told of a “black snake” that would cross the land and bring an end to the world.

The swirling water of a whirlpool at the mouth of the Cannonball River shaped river rocks such that the native people called it River that Makes the Sacred Stones, thus the name of the camp where the water protectors converged. Like the whirlpool, this area has been a vortex of human and natural history.  Three to four hundred Sioux were massacred by the U.S. Army in 1863 approximately 50 miles east of here in the Whitestone Massacre. In the late 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers began building the Oahe Dam which altered this portion of the Missouri River and displaced most of the tribal farming in the rich river bottomlands. During the construction, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the mouth of the Cannonball River, destroying the sacred stones.

Historic convergence at the Camp of the Sacred Stones

Over Labor Day weekend, we travelled to Sacred Stone Camp to offer support through donations of time, money, camping gear, and a readiness to spread the word. As soon as we heard about this situation, we both knew we had to offer assistance to the tribes.  Most participants we talked with had heard about it through Facebook and were drawn to come immediately as well. More than 200 tribes had already made the trek to Camp of the Sacred Stone by the time we arrived and more continued to come after we left. This gathering of the tribes is a significant historical event since it is the first time the council fire has burned in over 140 years.

After a formal procession into the sacred circle and a welcome by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, incoming tribes shared their flags, words of support, songs and dances. A number of Pacific Northwest tribes arrived by canoe after a two-day paddle down the Missouri River from Bismarck.  Many Northwest tribes were represented at the council fire including the Yakama Nation, Swinomish Tribal Community, Lummi Nation, Puyallup Tribe, Nisqually Tribe, The Suquamish Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the Hoh Tribe.

The Sioux Nation has three regional dialects of Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota.  All three names mean friend or ally, and they have 13 reservations in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Montana, and Minnesota. They have been traditional enemies with the Crow Nation for 243 years. The two nations recently reconciled to face a common foe in the oil industry, and while we were there a large number of Crow arrived at the camp to join the protest.  By the time we left camp, more than 200 out of 586 federally recognized reservations in the U.S. had posted their flags at the camp and offered support.

Several people from First Nations in Canada said the border crossing has been difficult for them as the U.S. border guards are disrespectful and are aggressively discouraging them from entering the U.S.

We met a civil engineer in camp who reported evidence that the pipeline company is buying defective pipes and valves to reduce costs. Even with premium materials, oil pipelines have been the source of spills and explosions on US waterways.  As of 2015, 55 oil and gas pipelines cross the Missouri River. In 2015 the Poplar Pipeline leaked approximately 30,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River at Glendive, Montana.  In 2011, ExxonMobil’s Silvertip pipeline also leaked 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River.

Now, in September of 2016, as bulldozers cleared earth, hundreds rushed into the construction area to protect the sacred site. This was just one day after attorneys, representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, filed evidence in federal court documenting the DAPL’s proposed route through a sacred burial site. However, the pipeline contractors began bulldozing that sacred ground and the people stepping in to halt the destruction were met by oil pipeline security guards armed with dogs and pepper spray. Several were bitten and sprayed, but they were able to stop the bulldozers and force the security personnel to leave the site. Despite being met with aggression, all who defended the sacred site did so through nonviolent action.

The opinion in the camp was strong that this was a deliberate act of destruction of sacred sites and that the pipeline contractors intended to destroy these sites before anyone could physically stop them. We arrived shortly after the incident and were invited to attend a sacred prayer circle at the desecrated site with hundreds of others from the camp. As everyone walked a mile or so to the site we were photographed by unknown people parked in cars along State Highway 1806. An oil company helicopter, a small fixed-wing plane, and a surveillance drone were on patrol all day and continued to fly daily over the camp. This event is more evidence of the historic, unabated persecution of indigenous peoples in North America.

Roots of the conflict

To understand the root of this conflict and the history of colonial and post-colonial government treatment of the Native Americans, we learned you have to start with the Vatican. At the camp we spoke with Phyllis Young, Chair of the National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institution. Phyllis was a coordinator of the 1977 UN Conference for the Rights of Indigenous People in Geneva.  She coordinates the Camp of the Sacred Stone, is an advocate for environmental protection, and works tirelessly to uphold the treaties between the tribal nations and the U.S. government.

According to Phyllis, over the centuries popes have published numerous decrees called Papal Bulls. Five Papal Bulls have had hugely negative effects on tribes, Africans, and non-Christians around the world.  Of the five, the Papal Bull of 1493, the Inter Caetera Bull, has likely caused the most harm for indigenous people. The Inter Caetera Bull called for indigenous people to be subjugated so the Christian Empire and its doctrines could propagate. This Bull led to the passage of the Doctrine of Discovery in the U.S.

In 1823, in the case Johnson v. McIntosh, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed colonial powers to claim lands belonging to foreign nations. According to the court, title to lands “discovered” lay with the (nominally Christian) government whose subjects travelled to and occupied a territory whose inhabitants were not subjects of a European Christian monarch. This “doctrine” allowed the colonial powers moving across North America to justify the genocide of the indigenous inhabitants of that continent for over 500 years.

According to Phyllis Young, “The crying is over.  We are moving aggressively forward.  As women we have the obligation to protect mother earth.  We give birth in water.  We are at a new threshold.  We have reached the peak of spirituality.” Phyllis is currently involved in efforts to have the devastating Papal Bulls rescinded.

Perspectives from participants at the Camp of Sacred Stones: how others can help

We interviewed numerous people to get their thoughts on how others can assist the tribes with protecting the Missouri River and getting the pipeline stopped.

Betty Osceola of the Miccosukee Tribe, Florida:

“Use the power of the voice and tell social media and the politicians. We are having the same issues in Florida with the Sabal Trail Pipeline for natural gas.”

Martha Tommie of the Seminole Tribe, Florida:

“Humbly, we have to stick to prayers.  We are here to support love, honor and respect for each other.  It is time for unity.”

Theron Iron Cloud, Lakota of the Standing Rock Tribe, North Dakota:

“Pray to stop the pipeline.  It’s not about physically being present at Standing Rock, it is about being here spiritually supporting the effort.”

Dallas Goldtooth of both Dakota and Diné (Navajo) heritage is from the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation, Minnesota:

“It is most helpful if calls can be made to:

  • Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers (Civil Works)                         703-697-8986
  • The White House to inquire why there has not been a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the entire pipeline and to make it happen.  202-456-1111
  • All levels of public officials to find out where they stand
  • Ask why we build such infrastructure for oil when we need renewable energy?

Make this a national issue.”

Colleen Johnson of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon:

“Let others know we need supplies, monetary support for legal fees, to get word to politicians and others.  How would they feel if we plowed Gettysburg?”

Phyllis Young, Lakota of the Standing Rock Tribe, North Dakota

“We have to take war out of this nation.”

Winona Casto, Cheyenne River Sioux Lakota, head cook at the camp:

“I’ll be here to the end. I welcome all who can help.  I’ll be drying squash, corn and meat for the long winter.”

Martina Smith, Ojibway Tribe 200 miles east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

“It is historical that people across the world are coming here.”

United voice emerges

People of all races, from throughout the US and Canada and as far away as Europe and New Zealand were coming in support of Standing Rock during our stay.  The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has agreed that the route for the pipeline was mapped without proper consultation with the tribal nations.

A united voice emerged at Sacred Stone Camp and said that they will stay the duration and possibly become permanent.  Items currently needed include large army tents, sleeping bags, warm clothes, boots and personal tents of all sizes, including tipis and yurts.

The camp hopes to set up solar panels and small wind generators for power, cabins, a schoolhouse for the children, and medical facilities.  They plan on building irrigated organic gardens, a greenhouse, clean kitchens for sharing food, and are working to maintain legal and security assistance throughout the resistance.  Funds contributed will help to assure continuance of the protest.  There is a GoFundMe page to help with these efforts at  For background and updates, see

Karin Kraft is a local farmer and an artist.

Aleta DeBee is a local writer and researcher.

A special thank you to Zoltan Grossman for reviewing this article for historical accuracy.


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Vote for Jill Stein

Works in Progress - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 11:11pm

Work 9 to 5, catch bull at four

What do I deserve?

I’m just the working poor

Do I deserve to vote for someone

I cannot respect?

Or is there an alternative, a third

box to check?

It’s not a Republican or Democrat

And I hate to slander Bernie

But I really think he should’ve

switched to the Green Party

Otherwise the party’s over

At least four years before another


And if it turn out to be eight

I’m moving to France!


Kenneth is an Evergreener, a poet (duh)/artist, and is currently spending his eleventh year as a resident of Olympia. He is voting his favorite color (green) and his conscience…while he still has one.

The post Vote for Jill Stein appeared first on Works in Progress.

Plight of inmates in the Thurston County Corrections Facility

Works in Progress - Wed, 10/05/2016 - 11:01pm

The plight of inmates in the rather newly built Thurston County Corrections facility, which only opened its doors in late 2015, is becoming drastic. The inmate overcrowding is a threatening problem that exceeds the purpose for which the jail was constructed–to accommodate the influx of inmates that the previous jail is alleged to have possessed an inadequacy for doing so.

Due to the Thurston County Corrections facility being underfunded and incompletely constructed, there is an insufficient amount of space to properly house inmates, leading to inmates being forced to shoulder the weight of unjust treatment that equates to inmates’ rights being trampled upon and hammered by a gavel of injustice.

Day after day, night after night, inmates are herded three to a cell that is designed and constructed to only house two. The third inmate is resigned to sleeping on a mat on the concrete floor next to the toilet, while being refused the required bed to elevate himself up off of the floor and is often forced to exist under these circumstances for time periods spanning upwards of a month.

Frequently an inmate is known to be violent, mentally ill, physically ill, or in the throes of withdrawal at the time that the inmate is placed in the cell with you. When forced to coexist three to a cell under twenty-two to twenty-three hour-day periods, it is no stretch of the imagination that physical illnesses will be contracted and violence will be given birth in these confined quarters.

On multiple occasions,  inmates report being assaulted by one or both of their cellmates. Recently a twenty-three-year-old mentally ill man diagnosed with schizophrenia was violently assaulted by one of his cellmates while housed in a cell with two other individuals. After suffering through those terrifying moments of assault when this inmate was unsure of whether he should fight, flight, or freeze, the mentally ill individual was then stripped of his cell and then moved into my cell where he occupied the floor for three weeks.

With three confined to a cell, contracting physical illnesses from one another is a likelihood that is beyond obvious. Once an inmate contracts a physical illness, whether infectious or not, he is left to recuperate in a cell with two other inmates regardless of these inmates’ objections and concerns for their personal health.

In one incident an inmates wa placed in a cell with two other individuals after informing medical staff and deputies that he had bronchitis, where immediately afterwards one of his cellmates, last Hill, contracted bronchitis. When inmate Hill informed deputies of his recently contracted illness he was told to “consider it a lesson.”

When any of these individuals inform jail staff of what they are forced to endure they are responded to with abrasiveness and told to file a grievance. However, when an inmate requests a grievance form he is informed that his issue is non-grievable by deputies that are not qualified to make that judgment or simply seek to protect their co-workers and employer, the Thurston County Jail/Sheriff’s Department.

It is exactly inhumane treatment by those who are sworn to uphold the ethical principles of justice—while remaining accountable to no one—that is the weight of injustice. When those who are sworn to uphold justice pound you with a fist of injustice, then who are you to turn to for justice? The Thurston County Corrections facility, which is responsible for securing and ensuring an inmate’s safety and individual rights, is the exact entity that jeopardizes that safety and holds an inmate’s individual rights at gun point.

Whether African-American (as I am) Hispanic, Native-American, or white, ensuring that an inmate’s safety, personal health, and individual rights are guaranteed rather than a privilege in the Thurston County Corrections facility, remains a work in progress…

Johnathan Stanley was held in the Thurston County Corrections facility until recently.


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