Recent local blog posts

Lakefair parade fun for a couple lucky Rebels!

IT bus engineMichelle and her darling daughter were enthusiastic participants in this past week’s “The Wheels on the bus…” adventure.  During the tour, we saw the Intercity Transit mini-bus, which is used at community events, such as the Lakefair parade.  mini it bus

“The Wheels on the bus” participants were invited to join the Lakefair parade by riding in the full-size Intercity Transit bus.

Michelle jumped at the opportunity.  Look how they dressed up for this special (and remember-it-always) occasion… Tiara, boa, magic wand, party dress… AND they practiced their parade waves!   YEAH!  it mini bus

Categories: Local Environment

Tacoma Musical Playhouse Does West Side Story

South Sound Arts - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 10:48am

Published in The News Tribune, July 17, 2015 Anita (Melanie Gladstone) and the Shark girls. Photo by Kat Dollarhide
Tony (Ryan Anderson) and Maria
(Melissa Maricich). Photo by Kat Dollarhide
I tend to think everyone in the world has seen West Side Story, yet I wonder if people younger than 40 know the story. After all, it’s been 58 years since is premiered on Broadway and 55 since the popular film starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn rocked America’s movie houses. With music by the great Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and choreography by Jerome Robbins, it was a sure-fire hit. Yet it seldom plays regional theaters. In the nine years I’ve been reviewing plays in the South Sound I’ve not seen it once until this week at Tacoma Musical Playhouse.I suspect it’s too big for local theaters to handle. Robbins’ choreography, and the athletic dance moves as adapted locally by Jon Douglas Rake and co-choreographer Jimmy Shields, is probably as tough a challenge as that of any musical. At TMP the dancing may not be as sharp or as smooth as it was in the movie, but these are amateurs and they don’t have multiple takes as in the movies. The set is also a challenge, but designer Bruce Haasl does a superb job of creating a 1950s Manhattan Upper West Side street scene that smoothly converts to the interiors of Doc’s Drugstore and Anita’s apartment.What everyone should know by now is that it is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in a slum area of Manhattan with Puerto-Rican and Italian street gangs instead of Montagues and Capulets. Maria (Melissa Maricich) is the modern day Juliet and Tony (Ryan Anderson) is the modern day Romeo.An interesting point that says a lot about the time and place is that the Italians were not called Italian, but simply American; whereas the Puerto-Ricans were called Puerto-Ricans. By the 1950s Italian immigrants had assimilated into the American culture, while the Puerto-Ricans had not, and there was hot debate among them as to whether or not they wanted to assimilate, as humorously illustrated by the catchy tune “America,” a duet between Anita (Melanie Gladstone) who wants to be American and Rosalia (Brynne Geiszler) who longs to go home to Puerto Rico.The street gangs, the Jets (“American”) and the Sharks (Puerto-Rican) are at war. Tony is a former leader of the jets who has outgrown the gang activity. He meets Maria at a dance and they immediately fall in love and try tragically to consummate their love amidst the ongoing rival warfare. Tony tries to be a peacemaker, as does Doc (Joseph Woodland) and the cops, Lt. Schrank (Martin Goldsmith) and Officer Krupke (Chris Serface), who are stupid, incompetent and racist.The story is romantic and tragic, but there are wonderfully comic moments such as the aforementioned song, “America” and the most comical bit in the whole play, “Gee, Officer Krumpke,” wonderfully sung by Action (Jake Atwood) and danced with great style by the Jets.The songs “Maria” by Tony, “Tonight” by Tony and Maria with the entire cast, and “Somewhere” with solos by Tony and Maria plus Clarice (Maggie Barry) and Francisca (Francesca Guecia) are among the most beautiful love songs ever written.There is a lot of fighting and a rape scene, all of which are executed with highly stylized yet tasteful dance moves. Bernstein’s music, which blends the operatic with popular music, and Sondheim’s inventive lyrics go a long way toward making this among the best of musicals. While TMP’s production might not place this among the top two or three musicals of the year (I’d give that honor to TMP’s Evita, Cabaret at Tacoma Little Theatre, and Center Stage’s For All That), it is certainly more than worth the price of admission.West Side Story, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Aug. 2, Tacoma Musical Playhouse at The Narrows Theatre, 7116 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, $20-$29, 253-565-6867,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Shirley Klinghoffer

South Sound Arts - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 10:38am

Cancer Survivor Art at Museum of Glass 
Published in the Weekly Volcano, July 16, 2015Shirley Klinghoffer, “CRT Revisited, 2015,” slumped glass installation. Photo by Duncan Price.Artist Shirley Klinghoffer is a cancer survivor; she has used her own and others’ experience with this deadly disease to create haunting and touching works of art now on display at the Museum of Glass.Her large-scale installation pieces are inspired by hospital armatures used as support for women’s bodies during radiation therapy. Alongside one wall and extending outward like a thrust stage in a theater are platforms upon which lie transparent glass shapes barely recognizable as casts from the torsos of women who have undergone radiation therapy. They are disturbing yet beautiful, delicate yet powerful.Klinghoffer writes, “Discovering beauty in ugly truths is a challenge.”That is the challenge of her art. On the wall above these clear glass body forms, written statements from and about cancer patients are projected. Similarly, against one wall is a bulletin board with statements written by cancer survivors and/or their doctors, family members, caregivers and museum visitors. Next to this bulletin board sits a desk with writing supplies. There are no instructions, but apparently anyone who wants to write something to be added to the bulletin board may do so.On yet another wall is a line of the armatures. They look like woman-shaped life preservers that have been beaten and torn and repaired with masking and duct tape and hunks of foam. They are rough, gray in color, and horrible in their associations. They look like implements of torture. Even though the women whose bodies these armatures supported may now be cancer free, one gets the impression when looking at these that they must not have survived."Going through cancer treatment has so many challenges, but somehow along the way we connect with special people and certain objects that become truly meaningful in sustaining us through our journey and become healing objects," Klinghoffer wrote. The exhibition includes a mixed-media wall sculpture of her personal healing object. It is called “Witty in Pink.” It is a sculpture that looks like a flower. It is pink. The center is a large ball with many little nipples on it. The petals are made of vintage tulle. Like the other works, it is simultaneously strong and delicate. Interestingly, she chose the color pink as a symbolic color before pink came to be associated with cancer.On display along a back wall in the museum’s lobby area is “Vanity,” a mixed-media installation by Joseph Rossano that deals creatively and memorably with the extinction of certain animal species. I would rather not describe these works but would prefer encouraging visitors to the museum to view the work for themselves and be surprised as I was. Rossano’s piece is beautiful and thought-provoking. Be prepared to take some time with it; it is worth the effort.Shirley Klinghoffer, Museum of Glass, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., through Oct. 11, admission $5-$15, free to members, free Third Thursday, Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St. Tacoma, (866) 468-7386]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thurston Teens Graduate from Washington Youth Academy

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 7:50am



Submitted by The Washington Youth Academy

Cadet Andrew Franklin (center of picture) laughs during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

Cadet Andrew Franklin (center of picture) laughs during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

The Washington Youth Academy celebrated the graduation of five students from the Thurston County area during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

The students who have completed the program include Lacey teens Dallis Atkins and Esmeralda Cavazos as well as Olympia teens Nathnael Bochsler, Andrew Franklin and Isabel Knox. These students were among 140 graduates, the second largest graduation class since the Academy was established in 2009.

The students will all return to high school to get their diploma, some enrolling in summer school, or seek an alternative path to finish their high school education, such as a GED or by joining Running Start. Atkins is from River Ridge High School. Cavazos is from North Thurston High School. Bochsler and Franklin had attended Olympia High School. Knox was from Timberline High School.

Cadet Knox of Olympia smiles and shakes the hand of Washington Youth Academy Director Larry Pierce during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

Cadet Knox of Olympia smiles and shakes the hand of Washington Youth Academy Director Larry Pierce during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

The mission of the Washington Youth Academy is to provide a highly disciplined, safe and professional learning environment that empowers at-risk youth to improve their educational levels and employment potential and become responsible and productive citizens of the State of Washington. The Washington Youth Academy is a division of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. Established under authority of both federal and state law, the WYA is a state-run residential and post-residential intervention program for youth who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out. The free program places cadets in a 22-week intensive residential phase. For the following year, the youth receives intense mentoring and placement follow-up. The school is in Bremerton, but anyone from around the state can apply.

Cadet Cavazos of Lacey smiles and shakes the hand of Washington Youth Academy Director Larry Pierce during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

Cadet Cavazos of Lacey smiles and shakes the hand of Washington Youth Academy Director Larry Pierce during commencement ceremonies on June 20.

Students can earn up to 8 credits. The average number of credits eared by cadets who completed the program this cycle was 7.9 – achieving a 98.5 percent credit retrieval rate. Comparatively, a full year at a high school is 6 credits. That means students earned more than a year’s worth of credits in just 22 weeks.

Graduating cadets had an average GPA for Academy courses of 3.6, which is a high B+. As a comparison, 52 of the graduating cadets had a grade point average less than a D before coming to the Academy.

Only 14 of the cadets who entered the program had enough credits to be classified as seniors. After commencement, 92 graduates of the program have the credits needed to be classified as seniors.

Students volunteered 7,809 hours of community service to the local community, valued at $67,000, according to Washington Youth Academy Director Larry Pierce. Service projects consisted of everything from restoring a September 11 Memorial to landscaping and event support.

 Glass Girl

Cadet Isabelle Knox’s poem is a great anecdote for the life of just about any cadet:
Glass Girl

Each cadet was also trained to be part of a Community Emergency Response Team, the first time all of the cadets in a class received the disaster management training.

“We had 140 cadets of diverse backgrounds and situations come together to become one cohesive unit,” Pierce said. “They overcame obstacles and shared both dreams and setbacks, as well. They shared laughter and tears, but they changed together and they prevailed together.”

More than 1,500 students have gone through the program since its inception.

For more information, visit

Glass Girl – by Cadet Isabelle Knox

She is made of glass and like glass
She is fragile and clear
So young and already she’s got chips and cracks
So sad because she was already born with
Flaws and imperfection
But, you see, when the light is shone on her
Those flaws and imperfections, chips and cracks
Become faucets and reflections
Turning golden rays into brilliant colors
Then, it seems she’s not so flawed anymore


Olympia’s Henry Romer Falls In Love with Hiking Olympic and Cascade Mountain Peaks

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 7:20am



By Gail Wood

olympia food co-opWhen Henry Romer moved to the Northwest 45 years ago, he was captured by the beauty of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Range.

“Like everyone else, we came to the Northwest and said, ‘Wow, mountains,’” Romer said with a chuckle.

But admiring, watching from an office window, wasn’t enough. He soon bought some hiking boots and began trekking along the wooded trails. It wasn’t long before he joined the Olympia Branch of the Mountaineers.

Growing up in Canton, New York, Romer had experienced sailing and kayaking before.

“But I hadn’t experienced mountains before,” Romer said. “They just took over.”

olympia hiking

Henry Romer enjoys a sunny day on Mount Baldy with Mount Rainier in the background.

After getting his doctorate in physics at the University of Washington in the early 1970s, Romer moved for nearly two years to do research at Stanford University. Naturally, with Romer already smitten by the hiking bug, he visited Yosemite National Park, hiking the backside of Half Dome and through the wooded park.

“I got seriously hooked on the outdoors,” Romer said.

Eventually, work as a mechanical engineer in the private sector led Romer to move to Olympia. And his pursuit of hiking continued. Over 15 years, Romer climbed the state’s six tallest peaks. Mount St. Helen’s, several years before the volcano blew its top in 1980, was the first on his list.

His appetite for peaks continued and eventually he summited Rainier, Adams, Glacier, Baker and Olympus. Those are the six highest peaks in Washington. And last year Romer received the six peaks award for climbing the state’s six tallest peaks in the state. When St. Helen’s shrunk over 2,000 feet to about 8,000, the big six aren’t as big.

Now, Romer, who will be 73 in July, has a new bucket list. He wants to climb all 100 of the peaks in Washington that are talked about in a friend’s guide book. Right now, he’s climbed 59 of those peaks, which isn’t bad considering he had topped only seven of those peaks three years ago. As he stood on the top of Mount Ruth last weekend, Romer began naming off the other surrounding peaks he could see, many of which he had climbed.

olympia hiking

Henry Romer enjoys hiking the meadows at Palisades in Mount Rainier park.

“The neat thing about the 100 peak list is while there’s the well known peaks on it and there’s all these others,” Romer said. “So you get to fill in all the parts of the park you didn’t know.”

In 1976, Romer took a climbing class from the Mountaineer’s and learned how to self-arrest with an ice ax and how to prussic out of a crevasse. That’s led to his long association with the climbing club and today’s he’s a board member with the Olympia Mountaineers.

Over 100 years ago, the Mountaineers were formed in Seattle and now have seven branches across the state and has over 10,000 members. The Olympia branch has about 700 members.

“For years they’ve run people through their climbing course and put them out into the wide world of climbing,” Romer said.

That’s expanded. The group continues to host climbing classes and provide outdoor education and they have expanded to include sea kayaking, cross country skiing and sailing.

Because it’s the tallest peak, Romer said Rainier was the hardest of the mountains he’s climbed to the summit. While there’s not technical rock climbing, he said there is a technical challenge because of the snow. Climbers have to be able to handle the steep snow slopes.

olympia hiking

Henry Romer repells off Dewey Peak.

“There’s both a psychological and objective exposure,” Romer said. “You have to be comfortable with doing that. And because it’s 14,000 feet, you have to be prepared to operate for long hours under those conditions.”

With 40-plus years of experience in hiking, Romer has picked up some insight into the challenge. In his attempt to help share that experience, Romer blogs (at about the new light-weight equipment available today. He shares tips on how to cut that 50-pound pack to the 20-pound range.

“Getting down to the 20 pound range is more of the rarified atmosphere,” Romer said. “It’s that 10 pound journey from what you can buy at REI to what you can do by being clever.”

Romer hasn’t tired of the quest of reaching the summit. His theme all along has been about seeking the doable challenge. He’s never dreamed of climbing Mount McKinley or Mount Everest or doing the tallest peaks on the seven continents. He feels that’s why he’s still able to go out and enjoy the outdoors.

olympia hiking

Henry Romer (left) sits with Steve McClure and Gene Yore on Dewey Peak in Mountain Rainier park.

“One of the reasons I’m still doing it is because I have tried to stay away from the extreme stuff,” Romer said.

He hikes with people who have artificial knees or hips.

“I’m still going on the original parts,” Romer said with a laugh. “Partly that may be genetics. But I’ve been careful in what I’ve done.”

And he’s just kept on climbing peaks and enjoying the outdoors.

“I just love it,” Romer said in summary.


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 7:12am



Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Callie - Adopt-A-Pet's Dog of the Week

Callie – Adopt-A-Pet’s Dog of the Week

Meet Callie, a female Boxer/Shepherd mix. She is about 5 years old and weighs about 56 pounds. Callie is an athletic girl who loves swimming and will be ready to accompany you on your daily jog or walk. Callie knows her basic obedience commands and is very sweet and attentive when the volunteers are working with her. She is treat motivated and will gently take treats from your hand.

Callie’s previous owner says she is super friendly and needs to be around people to be happy. She loves all people including kids and babies as well. She also likes to be inside primarily unless you are outside doing yard work or playing, then she will lounge in the sun.

We have lots of great dogs and always need volunteers to help them.  Visit our website at or contact Adopt-A-Pet, on Jensen Road in Shelton at or (360) 432-3091.  Join us on Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington”.

Military Appreciation Event to Honor Lacey-Area Service Members and Families

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 7:00am



Submitted by The Landing at Hawks Prairie

Puget sound landscpaing red robinThe Landing at Hawks Prairie shopping center in Lacey, WA will play host to a special celebration open to all Lacey-area military families on Saturday, July 25 to honor the commitment of and sacrifices made by the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

From noon to 3:00 p.m. on the July 25, The Landing at Hawks Prairie will welcome service members and their families from Joint Base Lewis-McChord for an afternoon of free hot dogs and refreshments, face painting, giveaways that will include coupons from center tenants, and children’s games and activities.

Hawks Prairie owner Cimmarusti Holdings LLC/Lucia Properties is once again sponsoring this event for the second consecutive year as a tribute to not only the service men and women stationed at Lewis-McChord and throughout the world, but to honor their families as well.

“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,”

Ralph Cimmarusti and his brother Larry, who currently own and operate the Original Roadhouse Grill restaurants in Oregon and California (and previously owned Tony Roma’s and Burger King restaurants in several states), have a two decade-plus history of staging fundraisers on behalf of the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  They strongly believe it is their responsibility as members of the local community to honor the memories of officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our communities.

“This event is just our way of recognizing these service men and women, and their families,” said owner Larry Cimmarusti.  “We owe them so much, so this is just one way to say thank you.”

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.

This special event will be held in the LA Fitness/Red Robin Plaza area of The Landing at Hawks Prairie, which is located at 1200 Galaxy Drive NE in Lacey.


Sandstone Distillery Welcomes Ethan Tucker to ‘Whiskey Nights – Music At The Stills’

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 6:41am



Submitted by Sandstone Distillery

Sandstone Distillery announces the next in their series of Summer Concert Events, “Whiskey Nights – Music at the Stills” featuring Ethan Tucker on Friday, July 31 at 6:00 p.m.

Following an amazing kick-off with local powerhouse Littlerock, Sandstone Distillery is excited to welcome another local creative powerhouse, Ethan Tucker to the stills.  In keeping with their ethos of live local – think global, Sandstone is excited to welcome this amazing locally-grown, nationally-known artist.

Ethan Tucker’s trademark sound of acoustic roots and layered electric guitars combined with an unmistakable soulful and bluesy vocal, is a delicious recipe which has garnered attention from some of his most popular contemporaries, as well as bonafide legends. Born in Olympia, Washington, Ethan has traveled the country with Jimmy Cliff, Buddy Guy, and The Wailers as well as national support slots with musical peers Slightly Stoopid, G-Love, and Michael Franti.

Tickets are available here and include admission, proprietary tastings, and a gift bag filled with coupons, invitations, and specialty Sandstone-infused delectables, courtesy of Aunt Kates’s Chocolates.

Click to view slideshow.


DKB Restoration Advises on Removing Pet Urine

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 6:00am



cleaning carpet pet urine

Home is where the heart is, especially after DKB Restoration’s skilled team clean away pet stains and odors.

Ambrose Bierce once admitted “the most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.” Our furry best friends often come with a few—usually smelly—bad habits. But when they’re family we learn to live with their foibles and Olympia’s DKB Restoration can help eliminate the mess they leave behind.

New York Magazine’s ‘Science of Us’ reports that “Everyone’s place has a smell. Some homes smell like fancy perfume or Anthropologie candles; others smell like cats…Scientists aren’t exactly sure why our noses adapt to smells, but it seems to be because it helps us to very quickly detect even the subtlest change in the scent of our environment.” Studies show that our brains quickly adapt to minimize smells deemed nonthreatening, which is why we stop noticing the new air freshener or stinky cat box.

Without proper treatment, though, some odors become more than a nuisance. The website National Incontinence explains “whether you’re cleaning up after a cat or dog, a young child or incontinent adult, you know how difficult it can be to remove urine stains and odors. The reason that this type of stain is so difficult to remove is because of the uric acid crystals found in urine. Any type of urine from mammals, whether it is human or pet urine, contains uric acid crystals, which can only be removed by using an enzyme based cleaning product.”

Daniel Baxter of DKB Restoration offers several different services to treat both the stains and smells of urine. He explains that it’s a “whole lot easier and more cost effective to treat it as it happens” because pets repeatedly use the same spots and warm liquids break the surface tension of your carpet allowing dirt and stains to sink deeper and become harder to treat.

pet urine carpet removal

All this pet hair and dirt was removed from one bedroom in an apartment that was cleaned regularly. Let the DKB Restoration professionals save your carpets for generations of paws to come.

Baxter and his team can assess the need and solution options through a free over-the-phone estimate. Their specialized disinfectant formula contains hydrogen peroxide that is 10 times as strong as store-bought options.

Depending on the scope of the problem, clean-up can be a long, expensive process. If the moisture has soaked into the carpet pad, a process called subsurface extraction is used to break down the uric acid crystals. But Baxter prefers to start with the cheaper methods and work up as the job requires. Often pet stain and odor remediation are added by the customer to routine cleaning along with deodorization packages as needed.

All of Baxter’s treatments leave carpets clean, soft, and safe for animals and children, though some require a ‘no touching’ policy until completely dry. The end result is so much more than a stink-free home; “dirty carpets can affect the health of your family…pet hair, dust mites, and other allergens can thrive deep in the carpet. However clean carpets act as a filter to help clean the air in your home. Oily soils produced from cooking vapors, pets, and even oils from our skin cannot be removed by regular vacuuming.”

Call Baxter and his team at 360-688-4392 or email with questions or for a free estimate. A member of the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Yelp, DKB Restoration offers carpet, upholstery, air duct, and dryer vent cleaning. Their services help keep your home cleaner, safer, and ensure your carpets, furniture, and appliances last for generations of children, puppies, and kittens to come.


Kathleen Hanna and The Julie Ruin Headline Music Event to Support Grand Opening of SafePlace’s Expansion

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/20/2015 - 6:00am



By Nikki McCoy

chehalis sheet metalRecently, SafePlace, Olympia’s long-standing sexual and domestic violence support center, was able to expand into a space more than triple the size of its former home. On Friday, July 24, they’re throwing a party to celebrate.

The public is invited to tour the new Community Service Center, located at 521 Legion Way SE in downtown Olympia, and enjoy the music of five awesome bands – DBST, The Righteous Mothers, Samba Olywa, Bevy, and headliner The Julie Ruin, the latest project of original riot grrrl, Kathleen Hanna.

safeplace olympia

The public is invited to tour the new Community Service Center, located at 521 Legion Way SE in downtown Olympia. The new space is more than triple the size of their previous location.

Best known for her groundbreaking performances as a member of the 90’s punk band, Bikini Kill, and her multimedia group, Le Tigre, Hanna is also a former Olympia resident and SafePlace volunteer.

“I jumped around a lot while volunteering there, trying to find the place for myself, from crisis phones, to intakes, to overnights at the shelter, court advocacy, starting a teenage sexual assault support group and finally to public speaking,” reminisces Hanna. “I actually only spoke to one high school class in Tumwater, but really enjoyed it and realized through the experience that mixing ‘public performance’ with spreading the ideas I’d learned at SafePlace was what I most wanted to do.”

Hanna credits what she learned at SafePlace, and her involvement in the riot grrl movement in the Olympia music scene, as starting her on a path that lead to a 25-year career in music.

“My role as a musician began as an extension to volunteering at SafePlace,” she explains. “By going on the road and singing about issues like rape and domestic violence, I was able to share what I’d learned from SafePlace with folks all around the world. I ended up having a lot of people come up after shows and share their stories with me.  Since I’d been trained by SafePlace to do crisis work, I was able to help people in the moment as much as I could, and point them in the direction of further support.”

Local musician Danielle Westbrook also feels a strong connection to SafePlace and will be performing with her two bands, Bevy, an all woman Latin jazz group, and DBST, a blues funk band. Westbrook served on SafePlace’s board for two years, as well being a keynote speaker at a fundraising event.

“Back in 1997, I left my abuser,” shares Westbrook. “I had been a victim of domestic violence for three years, and, after the birth of my daughter, I decided it was time to break the cycle of violence. I left him, moved back home, and immediately sought the services of SafePlace. My advocate literally held my hand through several court appearances. SafePlace’s services are priceless. Bevy and DBST recognize the importance of SafePlace in our community and our proud to lend our support to this amazing cause.

bevy band

Danielle Westbrook, far left, served on the SafePlace board for two years. Her two bands, Bevy (pictured here) an all woman Latin jazz group, and DBST, a blues funk band will be performing at the Grand Opening. The Righteous Mothers, Samba Olywa, and The Julie Ruin are also set to play.

“SafePlace is especially close to my heart,” continues Westbrook. “I’m so happy to have my all girl band and all boy band playing for this wonderful event.”

The bands’ efforts to help celebrate the strength of SafePlace through the universal language of music, doesn’t go unnoticed.

“Sexual and domestic violence are hard issues to talk about and music is a powerful bridge,” says Kellie Patton, director of development for SafePlace. “The support from these musicians has been tremendous. At every step, they have been willing to do what they can to support this event and help us get the word out that we as a community need to be paying attention.”

“The support of these musicians lends credibility and allows us access to different groups of people,” says Mary Pontarolo, SafePlace’s executive director. “Talking about these issues through art makes it easier to hear.”

SafePlace has been discussing these issues since 1976, when the organization was founded. Since 1991, their services have been met at their former cramped location, just a few blocks from their new home.

Expanding will allow the 34 employees and more than 40 volunteers to grow their services, including a 24-hour crisis hotline, which averages about 4,500 crisis calls every year, and a 28-bed domestic shelter at a confidential location.

But the expansion also means more community engagement, and the grand opening gala is a great representation of how SafePlace hopes to interact with Olympia, especially in terms of prevention and education.

Last year, SafePlace created a youth leadership SPEAK group (SafePlace Peer Education, Action and Knowledge) which serves as a way to engage youth around these issues and talk to their peers in ways that are relevant to them.

safeplace olympia

“I wouldn’t be who I am today without SafePlace, as they took the fire in my belly and turned it into something I could understand and communicate to others,” says Kathleen Hannah, former SafePlace volunteer whose band, The Julie Ruin, will headline the Grand Opening of SafePlace’s Community Service Center on Friday, July 24.

“When our advocates go into high schools and hear from youth comments like, ‘Thank you for this information. I learned about setting boundaries and realizing when you feel uncomfortable and actually using your voice’ or ‘I thought this only happened to girls,’ the need for increasing community education and prevention becomes really clear,” says Patton. “SafePlace has always taken a holistic approach to addressing issues around sexual and domestic violence, but the program expansion that is happening now, takes that philosophy to an even deeper level.”

“The youth have taken strong ownership of the program and this type of passion around ‘how can I make a difference’ gets at the heart of what this expansion means,” she continues. “Guests at our grand opening event will have the chance to see for themselves how youth in our community are stepping up as examples of what it means to explore these issues from the roots up. During the ribbon cutting, several of the SPEAK group participants will be reading a poem they wrote and will be on-site during building tours to talk about their activities in our community.”

The Grand Opening is just the beginning of extended community engagement. Pontarolo says there will be more music, art, movie nights and other events.

“SafePlace is a social justice organization and that is a much bigger job than limiting the scope of work to serving individual families. Our job is to serve the entire community,” she says. “We hope this event will have a calming ripple effect in the community towards non-violence. There is nothing like music and community to spread non-violence.”

Celebrate SafePlace’s Community Service Center Grand Opening with DBST, The Righteous Mothers, Samba Olywa, Bevy, and The Julie Ruin on Friday, July 24 from 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. at 521 Legion Way SE in downtown Olympia. Suggested donation – $20.


Olympia Food Coop features RBB!

Carol Sipe, an enthusiastic public transit advocate and fan of Rebels by Bus, has written a delightful article about her experiences with Rebels by Bus.  The article is featured in the 2015 summer edition of the Olympia Food Coop newsletter.  The article (and pictures) can be found on page 8.  Following is the text of the article.  Thanks, Carol! 

Years ago, when I lived on the East Coast, I traveled everywhere by public transportation, mainly by train or subway. It was easy. Most of the time it was safe, and a lot cheaper than owning a car in Manhattan. Later, when I moved to Maine, I had to give up public transit since there wasn’t public transportation outside of Portland. A car was a necessity. Whenever I traveled outside the state, I left the car at home and hopped a bus or train to destinations south. I loved every minute of the travel.

 When I moved to Olympia in 1991, I assumed I could get around as I had on the East Coast. Imagine my dismay when I discovered there wasn’t a great public transportation system out here. Once you were in Seattle you could move around, but it wasn’t easy. Getting from Olympia to Seattle was very difficult. My only option to go north of Olympia was to travel I-5 by car and I hated every minute of that drive.

 Then, a couple of years ago, while glancing through the Continuing Education brochure from South Sound Community College, I noticed classes called Rebels by Bus. There were several of them. The first class was an overview of the public transportation systems and how to navigate them. The listings that followed had destinations attached. At that time, most of those destinations were in Seattle such as the International District and Pike Place Market. These class offerings made me think that the public transportation system might have improved since 1991.

 When I retired, I could attend the weekday classes. Beginning with the introductory class, I was thrilled with what I learned. Not only has the public transit system vastly improved, you can get almost anywhere from Olympia to points North, anywhere in Seattle, around the Olympic Peninsula, across the Sound and inlets, and you can do it with ease. And, it is inexpensive! The multiple transit systems honor senior passes, and seniors travel at half price or less. Mason Transit, for instance, is free for everyone in Mason County. It takes time to figure out the connections, but with some planning and patience, it is easy to do.

 The Rebels by Bus classes are the creation of Mary Williams and her friend, Gail Johnson. Gail has moved on to Portland, so Mary now does the trips on her own. When Mary was working as a public administrator for various agencies in Olympia, she often had to attend meetings in Seattle. She also tired of driving on I-5 and the struggle with parking. When she realized she could get there by bus, almost to the front door of where she had to go, she changed her mode of travel. Over time, she realized that more people might like to know about this and she has become a public transportation activist. She calls her trips: “Slow travel with Low Carbon Footprint.”

 I’ve taken many trips with Mary since I first saw the class listings. All of them have been great fun and all start in Olympia. We’ve eaten at some incredible restaurants. We’ve traveled all over the Greater Puget Sound area (and beyond,) from Seattle to Bremerton, to the Quinault Lodge, Gig Harbor and Snohomish. We’ve traveled on the Monorail, Link light rail, the Metro system, Sound Transit and various other transit systems, the ferries and the Sounder Train. In Seattle, we’ve been to the Theo Chocolate factory in Fremont, Ballard locks, University District, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Center, just to name a few. I never thought I’d like Tacoma, but I do now; we often pass through there, or visit sites I’ve never noticed before. We’ve walked for miles as we explored all the various possibilities at our destinations. My list is endless now and I don’t have enough room here to include them all.

 The one constant in all these travels, are the nice people I meet on the trips and on the bus. You hear stories about unruly bus riders, but I’ve only seen one incident, and the driver took care of it immediately. All of the transit systems are clean and neat. There are rules, of course, like not eating on the bus. You must give up your seat to an elderly person, a blind person, or someone in a wheelchair. And everyone does. No one asks them to, they just do it. I think that’s pretty amazing, and very kind. White hair is definitely a plus on the bus.

 This summer, Mary is expanding her Rebels by Bus trips to include family outings, and, possibly, Mystery Trips. I don’t have those listings at the time of this writing, but I am certain they will be fun. She also offers trips through the Senior Center, and you don’t have to be a senior to take them. An Olympic Loop trip is tentatively scheduled for early October. All trips fill up very fast, so it’s important to sign up as soon as you see them offered.

 You can find out more about Rebels by Bus by visiting Mary’s website at Her Facebook page is You can reach her directly by email at Check out the Senior Center Trips as well at SPSCC trips are listed under Corporate & Continuing Education/Travel and Excursions at If you don’t want to sign up for the trips, you can still learn how to travel by bus by studying the information Mary has listed on her sites.


Categories: Local Environment

Neighorhood Notes – A Summer Visit to Long Lake in Lacey

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/19/2015 - 7:02am



By Esti Izuagbe

van dorm sponsorIf you want a place to relax and soak in the sun with your friends or family this summer, but don’t want to drive out to an ocean beach, then pick Long Lake in Lacey. During the summer, the lake is always filled with friendly faces from the greater Lacey area. Long Lake (otherwise known as “The Lake” by most) has been around since 1983. It is 10 acres of land that is adjacent to the Thurston County Fairgrounds.

long lake lacey

I love coming to Long Lake because it’s very calm.

Even though I have lived in this area my whole life, I visited Long Lake for the first time this summer. It was not what I had expected to see because I thought I would arrive to see a open field descending into the lake.  Instead, I drove past the entrance with a sign reading “Long Lake” and traveled down the gravel path into a parking lot. This field was covered with grass that featured a side by side sand volleyball courts, and a gorgeous view of the lake, and swimming dock.

Christina Ortega, a Thurston County local, has been actively going to the lake for the last two summers. She says the first time she went to the lake, she was having a picnic with some friends and it turned out to be a lot of fun. “I honestly thought it was really crowded,” Ortega mentioned as she spoke about her first impression of the lake. Since then she been going back to the lake because she loves the energy and all her friends keep inviting her back. “I honestly think that Long Lake is an awesome place even though it’s crowded because you go there and know who’s going to be there,” she adds. “You’re just never alone there.  I definitely suggest going to the lake.”

Lexi Madison is also a Thurston County local who has been coming to the lake since she was in the second grade. She remembers riding on a boat and falling off since she did not turn the correct way. She compared it to riding a motorcycle saying that you have to lean opposite of the way you’re turning so that you don’t fall over. Apparently, she did the exact opposite and fell straight into the water. She thought there were sharks in the waters and actually feared for her life. She was very nonchalant and let a shrug roll off her shoulders before replying with, “Yeah, it was. I mean I didn’t die, so it’s fine.”

long lake lacey

There is always someone to visit with at Long Lake.

Madison is very fascinated with Long Lake because she gets to do things like tubing and jet skiing. “We have a boat now, so we go boating.” She even mentioned that one of the greatest things about going to the lake, is that you do not even have to go in to the water. You can just relax, take in the sun, and be near the water.

The first time I went to Long Lake, I went with my best friend and laid out on a blanket with some snacks. Long Lake is very calm. You get the chance to interact with other visitors and make new friends, but if you feel like flying solo no one will bother with you.

My overall favorite part of Long Lake is being in the water. While lifeguards have many swimmers to watch, they will keep an eye on you.  Life vests are also available if you need one. I do not see things letting up any time soon at Long Lake. I can see this place being busy for the rest of the summer and many more summers to come.

Long Lake

2790 Carpenter Road in Lacey

Park hours – 7:00 a.m. – dusk


Lakefair Parade Photos 2015

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/19/2015 - 6:18am



Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Who doesn’t love a parade?  One highlight of the annual Capital Lakefair is the traditional Lakefair parade.  If you weren’t standing on the route on Saturday, July 18, flip through the pictures below to enjoy the parade.


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Refill Your Ink and Toner Cartridges at Family Owned Cartridge World in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/19/2015 - 6:00am



cartridge world

West Olympia’s Cartridge World is locally owned by Pat and Jenny Anderson. Photo credit: Pat Anderson.

From streaky ink to mechanical malfunctions, printing can be frustrating and expensive — but it doesn’t have to be.

Cartridge World in Olympia is a family-owned franchise of the national ink and toner cartridge manufacturer, committed to providing its customers with low-cost, high-quality products in a family-friendly setting.

Recognized as a world leader in printer and toner cartridge refilling, Cartridge World offers an affordable, environmentally-friendly alternative to expensive name-brand ink and toner cartridges. And with a locally owned and operated franchise right here in Olympia, replacing the ink and toner in your printer is as easy as calling Pat or Jenny Anderson, the husband and wife team behind Olympia’s source for all things print.

Pat and Jenny met in high school, but the two didn’t start dating until their sophomore year at Washington State University. Pat was studying sociology and working at a Cartridge World franchise in Pullman, and Jenny was studying microbiology. After the two graduated, Pat continued working at Cartridge World and Jenny worked on campus in the Department of Plant Pathology. The young couple wanted to save as much money as they could so that they could buy their first house.

cartridge world

The Cartridge World franchise was opened in West Olympia in 2009. Photo credit: Pat Anderson.

“Instead of buying a house, we bought a business,” says Jenny. Wanting to work for themselves, Pat and Jenny did a 180-degree turn and moved to Olympia where, in 2009, they opened the doors to their very own Cartridge World franchise.

At Cartridge World, Pat and Jenny operate a business they know and understand, all while providing a service the community needs. “Together, we’ve been doing this for six years, and Pat’s been doing it for 10,” says Jenny.

With more than a decade of combined experience, the couple is able to offer more than just ink and toner to its Thurston County customers, they are able to recommend printers, help customers troubleshoot, and even service broken printers. “We do about 50 percent retail customers and 50 percent business,” says Jenny.

An affordable, local option for ink and toner cartridges and more, Jenny says Cartridge World’s products are priced around 30 percent less than its big box competitors. And while Jenny admits that there are cheaper options available on the web, she says you get what you pay for.

“We’re not trying to get you the cheapest products possible,” Jenny explains. “We’re trying to get you something that works as good as the original, for less.”

cartridge world

Pat and Jenny Anderson offer more than just ink and toner to its Thurston County customers. The couple also recommends printers, helps customers troubleshoot, and even services broken printers. Photo credit: Pat Anderson.

In addition to preserving quality while saving customers money, Cartridge World is also proud to be a more environmentally-friendly option than some of its competitors. Because Cartridge World recycles all of the ink and toner cartridges its customers return, Cartridge World isn’t creating waste for the landfill. “We have, at a minimum, recycled 5,692 laser cartridges and 21,673 ink cartridges since we opened,” says Jenny.

What’s more, Cartridge World business customers who bring in their empty cartridges for refills receive a $1 discount on ink refills and a $3 discount on toner refills, making Cartridge World an even thriftier option for businesses that are already spending a lot. With incentives like this and free delivery on business orders, Cartridge World is a convenient, affordable, local choice offering top-notch service to the community it serves.

And all of Cartridge World’s customers are in fact people and businesses located right here in Thurston County. Jenny says Cartridge World customers include businesses like Blue Heron Bakery, Bagel Brothers and South Sound Surgical Associates, just to name a few.

In addition to providing quality, affordable ink and toner products to the community, Cartridge World is also passionate about giving back. Since it opened in 2009, Cartridge World has had a cartridge collection bin at the Olympia Timberland Library. Here, community members are able to drop off their unwanted ink and toner cartridges for free. Cartridge World then collects the used, empty cartridges and recycles them, donating $1 for ink and $3 for toner and laser cores back to the library. Since the program started, Jenny says, “We have donated $1,059 to the Friends of the Olympia Timberland Library.”

cartridge world

Cartridge World recycles all of the ink and toner cartridges its customers return. Photo credit: Pat Anderson.

With community, affordability, eco-conscious products and family-friendly service at the forefront of their business, Pat and Jenny are excited to continue providing Thurston County residents and businesses with reliable, low-cost products for years to come.

You can learn more about Cartridge World by visiting its website, calling Cartridge World at 360-753-0380, or by visiting Pat, Jenny, Evelyn (their toddler) and Victor (Cartridge World’s four-legged door greeter) Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Cartridge World — Olympia

345 Cooper Point Rd NW #102

Olympia, WA 98502

Lakefair Run 2015 Photos

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 11:10am



Photos by Diane Waiste

It was a beautiful sunny day in Olympia for the 2015 Lakefair Half-Marathon, 8k and 3k Run/Walk.

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Lakefair 2015 Photos

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/18/2015 - 6:22am



heritage bankPhotos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Lakefair, a popular carnival atmosphere located on the edge of Capitol Lake, continues through Sunday, July 19.  Step inside the event with these images of people enjoying the sunshine, live music, tasty food, and carnival games and rides.

For more information on the event, and tips for how to save a few bucks, read this Lakefair article.


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Jim Whittaker, Everest Climber and Bill Iffrig, Boston Bombing Survivor Featured at Washington State Senior Games Athletes’ Awards Dinner

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 11:36am



Submitted by the Washington State Senior Games


Jim Whittaker will be the keynote speaker at the Washington State Senior Games Athletes' Awards Dinner.

Jim Whittaker will be the keynote speaker at the Washington State Senior Games Athletes’ Awards Dinner.

Jim Whittaker, the first North American to conquer Mount Everest in 1963, will be the keynote speaker at the 2015 Washington State Senior Games Annual Athletes’ Awards Dinner at the Olympia Center on Saturday, July 25.

Whittaker, 86, has been one of America’s premier mountaineers since his early 20s. He was the very first employee, then manager, then CEO of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) and led Bobby Kennedy on the first-ever ascent of Canada’s Mt. Kennedy, named for the senator’s slain brother, President John F. Kennedy. Four months after their successful climb, Whittaker was a pallbearer at Bobby’s funeral.

Whittaker is famous for the saying “If you aren’t living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” He will be sharing stories of his life in the mountains as well as signing copies of his book, “A Life on the Edge.”

Prior to the keynote speech, a short, personal interview will also be presented featuring special Guest of Honor Bill Iffrig, the 80-year-old Lake Stevens, WA marathon and long distance runner who was featured on the Sports Illustrated cover after being knocked to the ground during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Iffrig, who has finished more than 50 marathons and earned over 36 national titles in U.S. Track and Field, is expected to take first place in the 10 K. The race begins at 8:45 a.m. at Tumwater High School Stadium in Tumwater, home for all major Track and Field events for the Washington State Senior Games.

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Bill Iffrig will participate in the 2015 Washington Senior Games and speak at the awards dinner.

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Bill Iffrig will participate in the 2015 Washington Senior Games and speak at the awards dinner.

Iffrig has also been asked to carry the torch for the Opening Ceremonies, which begin at 8 a.m.

The evening begins with a fellowship social for athletes, friends and family of Washington State Senior Games attendees, followed by a full BBQ buffet catered by Ramblin’ Jacks.

Every year nearly 2,000 senior athletes compete at the Senior Games, coming from across the state, Canada, Oregon and Idaho.

Tickets for the awards dinner are $15 each.  Reservations for the event, held at the Olympia Center (222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia) can be secured by phone at 360-413-0148.


Olympia City Council Considers Option to Purchase LBA Woods Parcel

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:54am



Submitted by The City of Olympia

LBA Park Olympia Washington (68)

Olympia City Council will consider an option to purchase the 74 acre portion of the property commonly referred to as the “LBA Woods”.

The Olympia City Council will consider approval of an option to purchase real estate owned by DR Horton, consisting of approximately 74 acres adjacent to LBA Park, at its regular business meeting on July 21. This parcel, located at 3355 Morse-Merryman Road, is the site of the proposed Ashton Woods Development, formerly known as Trillium. As a condition of the option agreement, DR Horton is preserving their ability to move forward with Preliminary Plat Process to protect their ability to develop the property, in the event the City does not fully exercise the option to purchase.

Acquisition of “LBA Woods” was the 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 74-acre property if voters approve the proposed Olympia Metropolitan Park District (MPD).  The City Council has taken initial action to place an MPD ballot measure before the voters in the coming months.

If purchased, this parcel would be the largest property acquired by the City since Grass Lake Nature Park in 1990.  LBA Park would also become Olympia’s fourth largest park behind Priest Point Park, Grass Lake Nature Park, and Watershed Park.


Food & Garden Series: Straw Bale Gardening @ Olympia Library

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 10:23am
Event:  Thu, 07/30/2015 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Local gardener, Chip Beatty, will teach the innovative method of straw bale gardening which requires no soil or weeding. This program takes place after the library closes. No other library services will be available. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/17/2015 - 6:27am



That bright sun didn’t leave us for long this week.  Looking into the weekend forecast, it’s another beautiful Saturday and Sunday around Olympia.  Soak up all that Olympia has to offer by being outside this weekend, enjoying Lakefair, and celebrating the Puget Sound.

Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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

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