Recent local blog posts

Thurston County Solid Waste Releases Six-Month Plastic Bag Ban Report

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:46pm



Submitted by Thurston Solid Waste

Fewer plastic bags are floating around Thurston County as litter or contaminating our recycling and compost programs. This is largely due to the plastic bag bans adopted by Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and the unincorporated areas of Thurston County in 2014.

The Solid Waste Division of the Public Works Department conducted a waste sort shortly after the ban took effect last year. A 53% decrease was seen even while some stores and residents were using up supplies they had. “The main reason for the ban was the negative environmental impacts of the approximately 90 million single-use plastic shopping bags used in Thurston County each year. So that large of a decrease, that quickly, shows it is working,” said Terri Thomas, Waste Reduction Specialist with Thurston County.

Six months into the ban, Thurston County Solid Waste conducted a survey soliciting feedback of residents and local businesses and has now posted those results online. “We were glad to see that over 7,300 residents took the survey but disappointed that we received only 65 business responses,” said Thomas. The countywide survey results, with comments, is 819 pages so best read online. The results are also broken down by jurisdiction. Only 3% of residents report carrying out their purchases in single-use plastic bags as opposed to 63% before the ban. Use of reusable bags has gone from 20% to 53%. Forty-six percent of the residents and 51% of verified businesses that took the survey feel the ban should be kept in place or expanded to other jurisdictions.

The Solid Waste Division will conduct another survey of residents and businesses on the plastic bag ban ordinance in July 2016. Those interested in reading the six-month report and survey results can visit

The website also lists the ordinances, tips to remember to bring your bags, guidelines for safe use of reusable bags, and downloadable signs for retailers. For more information, contact Terri Thomas at or (360) 867-2279.

The Pop Group “Colour Blind”

K Records - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:02pm
Excerpted from the We Are Time compilation of demonstration and live recordings. The Pop Group originally released We Are Time on their own Y label (distributed through Rough Trade) in 1980 with a plain black dye-cut sleeve. It was reissued in 2014. Excitement. The Pop Group have a new album, Citizen Zombie, their first since […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Expanding Your Horizons – One Middle-School Girl At a Time

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:10am



By Kathryn Millhorn

oly fed sponsorFDR once said “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” For many, educational struggles can be overwhelming and often begin at an early age. This is especially true regarding math and science for girls once they advance beyond elementary school.

For decades, there has been the unspoken mindset that these subjects are harder for girls to learn and result in careers they either couldn’t obtain or wouldn’t be interested in. But the global trend of STEM learning, wealth of engaging teaching tools, and creative job offerings prove these theories wrong one student at a time.

expanding your horizons

Middle school girls are encouraged to sign up now for the 2015 Expanding Your Horizons STEM conference.

The first ‘Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics’ conference was held in 1976. Since then, more than 600,000 girls have attended events across the country. Locally the Thurston County Expanding Your Horizons foundation is one of ten locations across the state which hosts a conference each year.

This year’s showcase will be held at South Puget Sound Community College on Saturday, March 7. The event will provide middle school aged girls with the opportunity to experience hands-on workshops with a focus on science, technology, engineering, math, and all they can encompass.

Girls will have the opportunity to choose three workshops from an array of more than 25 offerings and the event is open to students from around the region. These workshops are taught by some of the community’s leading women business leaders, scientists, authors, tradeswomen, and educators.

One such workshop will be presented by Joy Ramstack Hobbs, a scientist from the Science Museum of Minnesota. Her ‘Microscopic Clues About the Past’ seminar will be a hands-on look at sediment cores from local lakes, studying changes, environmental impacts, and history of a lake from the diatoms preserved in its sediment. Hobbs is also on the Thurston County EYH board this year and loves that each workshop is limited in size so she and the other teachers “can get a chance to do something hands on and talk to each of the girls.”

expanding your horizons

More than 25 workshops are led by women business leaders, scientists, authors and educators.

Another of this year’s offerings is ‘Welding is Hot!’ offered by SPSCC welding instructor Sarah Patterson and some of her students. Patterson has been a certified welder for 15 years and a certified welding instructor for ten, and was approached by EYH three years ago both to present a workshop and be their keynote speaker. This year she will present at two different EYH conferences.

Patterson is a firm believer in early STEM education. “I think that ALL students need to be exposed to STEM as early as possible. We should tap in to young children’s natural curiosity in these areas and then help foster greater understanding in these areas as the child matures in their education,” she notes.

“Kids don’t care that STEM fields are the areas with greatest job growth; they just know that science is amazing, technology is fun, and math is awesome,” continues Patterson. “If we can expand upon their natural inclination towards these areas and then help them to realize the endless possibilities that pursuing education in these areas will be present to them, it’s a win/win.”

expanding your horizons

At just $15, the Expanding Your Horizons STEM conference provides a wealth of experiences to area youth.

Registration for the March 7 event is now open and a very simple process. Families are encouraged to visit the online sign-up portal and choose their workshops from the many exciting choices. Printed forms have been shared with schools around the region but are also available to download and mail in.

The conference is reasonably priced at $15 which covers the workshops, materials, snacks, and a t-shirt.  Attendees also receive a free copy of the book ‘Something Stinks!’ written by Gail Hedrick.  The author is the keynote speaker and a leader of one of the workshops.  Girls should bring a sack lunch from home. Scholarships are available and early sign-up is encouraged. Classes are assigned on a first-come/first-served basis and there will be no on-site registration.

We all have a passion that began in childhood and lasts a lifetime. Whether it’s a collection, activity, or pursuit, what we learn as kids shapes us as adults. By opening new eyes to the wonders of science and technology, conferences like this really do Expand Your Horizons.

Contact the Thurston County EYH with questions or to volunteer at the March 7 or future events.

Boy Meets Girls – new world premiere play by Bryan Willis

South Sound Arts - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 10:05am

Jessa Dian (L)
Brynn Ogilvie (R)
photo courtesy Bryan  Willis
A new play by local and nationally acclaimed playwright Bryan Willis will premiere in a one-night-only performance at Oly Underground in Olympia with two shows on Monday March 2. Boy Meets Girls is billed as “a play about love, human trafficking and growing up at the speed of sex.” The play is based on 10 different stories—all true, according to the playwright. A dancer in a local strip club considers giving a bikini barista some survival tips before she signs a contract. Willis says, “Boy Meets Girls provides a realistic glimpse of a world that may be closer than you think.”
It is a one-act running 25minutes. There will be two performances, each with a different cast:  Cast #1performing at 7 p.m.:  Jessa Dian, Brian Hatcher, Brynn OgilvieCast #2 performing at 8 p.m:  Brian Wayne Jansen, Cheyenne Lorraine, Mariah MooreKnown locally for his many plays produced by Harlequin Productions and other performance groups such as Theater Artists Olympia, Willis is now playwright-in-residence at Northwest Playwrights Alliance at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. His plays have been included in the past two evenings of one-acts at the Midnight Sun.He quit his day job in ’92 and has been a working playwright ever since. His plays have been workshopped and produced off-Broadway, on the London fringe, throughout the U.K., Israel, and in theaters across the U.S. and Canada, including ACT, New York Theater Workshop, Seattle Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Unseam’d Shakespeare Co. and Riverside Studios in London. His work has also been featured on NPR and BBC Radio (commission for Sophie). Willis is the recipient of a theater fellowship from Artist Trust and has also received the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for his work with the American College Theater Festival. He has worked in the literary departments of many theaters, including Playwrights Horizons and Lincoln Center (NYU’s Playwright-in-Residence) and Tacoma Actors Guild.He lives in Olympia with his son Zach in their new home:  Willoughby, Significantly Close to the Sea. 
Boy Meets GirlsOly Underground, 109 SW Legion Way, Olympia, WA  (360/352-7343)Tickets:  $5 suggested donation at the door, or reserve seating by writing Age Restriction:  21+ only  (Oly Underground serves alcohol)Co-produced by Washington Engage
 & the Northwest Playwrights Alliance
Plus - A comedy by Bryan Willis, Seven Ways to Get There, opens Feb. 24  and runs through March 15 ACT's Allen Theatre in Seattle.

Can you tip? With the exception of reviews reprinted from my monthly theater column in The News Tribune and my weekly art criticism column in the Weekly Volcano, I do not get paid for reviews. There’s a tip jar in the sidebar to the right. Tips help cover my expenses and every little bit helps. Thank you.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Saint Martin’s University Debate Finishes Second at Prestigious Tournament

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 9:37am



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

saint martins debate

Saint Martin’s Debate members Jessica Varvil (left) and Alyssa Hancock (right) with the second place award they earned during last weekend’s tournament at Whitman College in Walla Walla.

Saint Martin’s Debate turned in an impressive performance this past weekend at a parliamentary debate tournament at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. The tournament included some of the most prestigious debate programs in the country, including Concordia University Irvine, Lewis & Clark College, the University of Oregon, the University of Puget Sound, the University of Utah, the University of Washington-Seattle, the University of Washington-Bothell, Western Washington University, Whitman College and Bellevue College. In all, the competition featured 11 schools and 46 two-person debate teams.

Representing Saint Martin’s were the teams of Matthew Tietjen and Evan Lake, Alyssa Hancock and Jessica Varvil, and Collin Silvernail and Garrett Jones. The students were accompanied by head coach Michael Artime, an adjunct professor for Saint Martin’s who teaches political science and a communications studies course.

The weekend included two tournaments. At the first tournament, the team of Hancock and Varvil compiled a record of 3 wins and 2 losses in the preliminary portion of the debate, earning a spot in the elimination rounds. In their quarterfinal round, they defeated a team from Western Washington University in a debate concerning whether the Supreme Court of the United States should overrule its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

In their semifinal matchup, they defeated another team from Western Washington University in a debate about whether or not the United States should withdraw all troops from Iraq and Syria. This meant that Hancock and Varvil earned a spot in the final round of the tournament against Western Washington. Varvil and Hancock finished in second place in the tournament. This was an incredible accomplishment considering that this was only the second competitive tournament for Varvil and Hancock.

In addition to the second place finish, it was announced that Saint Martin’s had 4 of the top 7 speakers, based on judge’s preference, at the tournament. Varvil was the third ranked speaker, Jones was the fourth best speaker at the tournament, Silvernail received the sixth place award, and Tietjen was seventh.

At the second half of the tournament, Hancock and Varvil continued their dominating performance, compiling a preliminary record of four wins and one loss. In their quarterfinal matchup, they defeated Western Washington University in a debate concerning whether or not the United States should approve the Keystone XL pipeline. In their seminal matchup, they lost to a team from Bellevue College on the question of whether or not the United States should end its trade embargo with Cuba. Hancock and Varvil followed up their second place finish in the first tournament with a third place finish in the second.

Additionally, the team of Tietjen and Lake also advanced to elimination rounds on a preliminary record of three wins and two losses. In their quarterfinal matchup against Western Washington, Tietjen and Lake were victorious and advanced to the semifinals. In the semifinal round, Tietjen and Lake lost in a very close 2-1 decision to the eventual tournament champions from Western Washington.

Additionally, Saint Martin’s debaters compiled an impressive array of individual awards. Varvil was announced as the fifth best speaker at the tournament, Hancock finished as the seventh ranked speaker, Jones was the eighth place speaker and Silvernail finished in ninth place.

“I could not be more proud of our students,” said Artime. “This was an incredible performance given that this was our second competition in this format and that our competition came from some of the most prestigious debate programs in the country. The result is a reflection of the student’s dedication and hard work. I was told by several judges and coaches at the tournament how impressive our students are and I could not agree more.”

Saint Martin’s Debate welcomes students from all majors and requires no prior debate or public speaking experience. For more information contact Michael Artime, head coach, at or Father David Pratt, director, at

Thrifty Thurston Digs Up Unique Birthday Gift Ideas

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:42am



By Kate Scriven

Alley Oop LogoAny parent understands the competing reactions that occur when a birthday party invitation comes home from school or arrives in the mail. The child is elated and can’t wait to attend. The parent feels less enthusiastic, knowing a party entails seeking yet another gift to wrap and deliver.

What to get? Do they need more LEGOS? Do they have this Fancy Nancy book? If you get the Frozen sticker book from Costco, will other parents do the same?

olympia birthday gift

Pick up a seed packet and include some gardening tools to make a long-lasting gift for a child. Maybe you will be invited over for harvest.

Step out of the aisles of Target or Toys R’ Us and think outside the big box. Choose meaningful and unique gifts to create happy kids and happy parents. Better yet? Give a gift that doesn’t need to be wrapped. Intrigued? Read on.

Support a Hobby

  • Gift a Garden – Purchase a plant or two (tomatoes and pumpkins or flower starts are good options) and pair them with child-sized gloves and tools to start a garden of their own. Check out Bark and Garden or The Barn Nursery for supplies.
  • Bike Bling – Make biking more fun with cool accessories including spoke lights, biking gloves, cool water bottle and cage, or basket for the front. Bigger kids may love a compact pump or Camelback for longer mountain bike rides.
  • Swim Like a Fish – Does the birthday kiddo love to swim? A cool beach towel, stylish cover-up, swim fins and a mask or fun floaties can create fun all summer in the pool or at the beach.  Throw in a pass to open swim at Discover Aquatics to top off the gift.

Get Creative

  • kids cooking class

    Kids cooking classes, offered at Bayview School of Cooking, engage students and provide real skills.

    Craft It Up – Create a craft kit in a lidded (please!) plastic tub and include items to spark creativity, many of which can be found at The Dollar Store. Ideas include pipe cleaners, googly eyes, puff balls, tape, scissors, glue, colored feathers, origami paper, paper plates, plastic cups, Styrofoam balls, beads, unfinished frames to decorate, and more. Get creative but please do not include glitter! Captain Little has some unique craft sets as well.

  • Costume Box – A trip to the thrift store can net a load of new dress up clothes for just a few bucks. Start with a container and fill it with accessories such as purses, hats, jewelry and shoes (women’s size 5 shoes work great). Hit the racks for anything sparkly, shiny, or funky. Don’t forget some belts to cinch up the new ensembles. Our secret? “Fancy” nightgowns. They convert instantly to princess dresses.  Try Seattle Children’s Bargain Boutique in West Olympia and turn your purchase into a donation to benefit other children’s health care.
  • Cooking Kit – Is the birthday child a budding chef? Create a cooking kit complete with a fun recipe and all the ingredients for a culinary creation from start to finish. Make a visit to either Bayview or Ralph’s Thriftway stores and include an apron or chef’s hat to complete the package.

Gifts of Experience

Non-Gift Party Ideas For the Hostess – Not interested in adding to your playroom’s collection of unused toys? Create a party where your child isn’t drowning in birthday gifts, but the spirit of giving is still alive and well.

  • olympia volunteer

    Ask party attendees to bring a favorite school supply. Then donate the supplies to the Little Red Schoolhouse which distributes the supplies prior to the start of the school year.

    Favorite Book Exchange – Each child brings a favorite book, new or gently used, to the party. Books should be wrapped and ready to be swapped. Each child picks a new book to take home. As a parent, I suggest having little ones unwrap at home to avoid comparisons and disappointments and for older kids to open together so the giver can share why it’s a favorite. Stop in to Orca Books if you need a suggestion.

  • Balloon Bouquet Party – Who doesn’t love a shiny, fancy balloon? Ask each party guest to bring a fancy balloon for the birthday child. What’s more special than one fancy balloon? Fifteen fancy balloons!
  • Pinata Party – Many parents have experienced the hidden cost of stuffing the piñata but do it anyway because the kids love it. Share the joy (and expense) by asking each child to bring a bag of candy, small toys, or other items to add to the piñata. Kids help stuff it all in before breaking it apart.
  • Non-Profit Party – Forgo gifts all together and ask children to bring along a donation for a charity of the birthday child’s choosing. Give families the option to donate online prior to the party by setting up a page on when asking for monetary donations or have kids arrive with food or clothing for a local group. A meaningful charity for kids is Heifer International. Party attendees pool their donations and choose an animal to purchase for a family in a developing nation. Send kids home with a finger puppet of some of the Heifer animals to help them connect to their good deeds.  For more local ideas, read some of the articles in our non-profit section.

When that next invitation comes home, think beyond plastic toys and mass produced trinkets. Give something unique – something they’ll remember long after the party is over.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

Live Music on Stage at Rhythm and Rye

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:05am



By Lindsey Surrell

color graphicsIt is Friday night and the room is buzzing with dozens of conversations, glasses clinking, and the rustle of about a hundred people. A night at Rhythm and Rye, one of Olympia’s newest music venues and bars, has many virtues: affordable drinks, comfortable seating, and friendly staff. On top of all that, each night I have spent at Rhythm and Rye has left me in awe of great music. And tonight is no exception. On stage, basked in orange and yellow lights, is Olympia musician Eleanor Murray, the second act of the night following the upbeat and dance worthy tempos from Benny Sidelinger. With Murray’s mixture of unique, soft serenades and gentle guitar strumming, the room falls fantastically silent from her first strum all the way until she looks up to applause.

olympia downtown bar

Andy Geertsen (right) owner of Rhythm and Rye, stands next to bartender and previous sound engineer, Brian North.

Celebrating their first year anniversary in March, Rhythm and Rye is the brainchild of Andy Geetrsen, who received a unique shout-out during the concert for being an “advocate of live music and a good dude.” He started Rhythm and Rye with the vision of having a comfortable place for people to come and listen to great music. A year later, his vision remains unchanged and says the community has responded really well to the new venue.

The interior, around 3,000 square feet, is designed around comfort- from the warm, rust colored walls, to the two levels of black plush couches and loveseats- coveted spots on a busy night. In the past month, the interior was revamped with an improved stage, more seating, and changes to the entryway. And although the space’s decor is far different from the previous tenant, The Royal Lounge, Andy has plans for more beneficial changes in the next year, including a goal to install a kitchen. In the summer, anticipate the garage doors, remnants from the building’s history as an industrial warehouse, to open for outdoor seating. Andy hopes that all these changes will encourage the community to come, sit, enjoy the music, and stay for a while.

Andy, a former trumpet player, has been in the business of booking music for ten years, previously at Eastside Tavern and then The Pig Bar, and as a result, knows a large network of musicians. You will not hear cover bands or hip hop at Rhythm and Rye, but bluegrass, folk, funk, rock, jazz, and anything with horns can be found here.

olympia downtown music

Local musician Eleanor Murray played at Rhythm and Rye recently.

While some bands are recommended to him, many of the musicians contact him directly with a link to their music. Andy mainly looks for originality. “If it gets me in the first 15 seconds, I listen to the next 30 seconds, then I go to the next track and then the last track. If I think it’s something really unique, I get on it right away,” he says. He also looks for patience – bad attitudes don’t make the cut. If it passes the test of Andy’s well-tuned ear, the musician is added to his old-school scheduling system, a single piece of yellow lined-paper he keeps in his pocket.

On some nights, you will be able to find Andy behind the bar with a warm smile, his long black ponytail tucked in a baseball cap, and willingness to talk about music or beer. He happily notes that the whiskey selection is one of the best and largest in town and there is a great variety of handpicked microbrews available. Andy is proud of both the curated selection of music and drinks offered, and equally as proud of his community. He says, “The crowd in Olympia is really great. Bands like playing here, mostly because of the fabulous Olympia vibe. When there is a good show, the audience will come and shake the band’s hand and thank them afterwards.”

During the week, each night is host to different events, including Salsa dancing, Open Mic, and Jazz. Also, Tuesday nights are game nights, with a rotation that includes trivia and board games. A room in the back of the venue holds a ping-pong table, pool table, and arcade games.

Olympia’s music community is packed with amazing artists and bands. Fortunate for us, there is also a great community of music venues. Join Rhythm and Rye for their one-year anniversary with musicians Hillstomp and Oly Mountain Boys on Saturday, March 21 at 9:00 p.m.

Like and follow Rhythm and Rye’s Facebook page to find out other upcoming events, and for the musicians out there, to send Andy a direct message. All events are 21 and older. Most events’ cover charge range from $5-10, which supports the musicians.

Rhythm and Rye is located at 311 Capitol Way North in downtown Olympia.


Panorama Builds Community Through Grassroots Leadership

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:00am



By Lynn West

panorama resident council

Kathy Houston (left) and Sue Ballard discuss Resident Council business. Sue is the new President of the council while Kathy served for the past few years as the President.

Why would folks leave the beautiful weather of Green Valley, Arizona or Sea Ranch, California to come to Lacey, Washington? Retirees from 45 states have found the answer at Panorama. After visiting with residents and members of the Resident Council, I began to piece together what makes the life at Panorama so attractive, and why the waiting list is getting longer.

I wound through the streets of Holladay Park, one of the 17 districts that populate the 140 acres of Panorama. Meeting Kathy Houston, Past President of the Resident Council and her successor, Sue Ballard was like visiting with old friends. Ensuring that over a thousand residents are well represented, President Sue Ballard is the official interface with Joseph DiSanto, current CEO of the non-profit corporation that operates Panorama.

Sue and Kathy are eminently qualified and seem to enjoy the roles they play in leading Panorama. Kathy, the former Executive Director of Girl Scouts Western Washington, said, “All of my strategic planning and broad financial expertise definitely was an asset when I was President.” Sue brings a different but equally valuable set of skills. “I was a teacher and administrator for many years in the Vancouver School District and at WSU Vancouver,” she said. The residents I spoke with agree that they were very wise when they chose these leaders.

Part of the appeal of Panorama is the self-governing organizational structure that appears to work extremely well. Trying to explain how the governance is based on the community’s physical layout, Sue and Kathy shared a recent map showing how the community has spread over the past fifty years. Each of the 17 neighborhoods select a representative who meets monthly with the Executive Board (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and then reports back to district neighbors. Kathy and Sue both began as district representatives.

“Each neighborhood has its own culture and way of doing things,” mentions Peggy Carmichael, a current district representative. The 69 people in her neighborhood have chosen to have their monthly get-togethers at the Garden Room in the Chambers House Restaurant in the central area of Panorama. Peggy said, “I share what I learn from the Resident Council, introduce and welcome new neighbors, and introduce guest speakers.”

Dick Voege, former Superintendent of Aberdeen School District, has lived at Panorama with his wife, Dorothy, for almost five years. “The leadership is doing a heck of a good job,” he continued. “I’m just glad my next door neighbor volunteered to be our district representative. It is a lot of work and not everyone wants to take that on.”

According to Sue Ballard, “About a third of the representatives change each year, so there is always continuity on the Council and an opportunity for interested residents to participate.”

panorama resident council

Sue Ballard (far right), current President of the Panorama Resident Council, listens as a Benevolent Fund President addresses residents at a district meeting.

In addition to meetings, residents of Panorama have many other ways to stay connected. Sue and Kathy shared the most recent newsletter, which contained a calendar of events slated for February. With over 50 planned Resident Activities, dates and times were outlined for everything from Tai Chi classes to bus trips to plays in Seattle.

Panorama also has its own television studio. Kathy Houston works at the studio and does a weekly interview on the “Inside Panorama” show, which highlights activities, events, and employee spotlights. Another show, “Outside Panorama,” focuses on the broader community, often interviewing government officials or other newsmakers.

The organizational structure at Panorama allows for fluidity. Kathy commented, “My concept of age has certainly changed since I moved here. We have so many active folks in their 80s and 90s and several over a hundred.” During the last five years, 25% of the new residents at Panorama were in the 60s.

Sue Ballard explained how her road led to Panorama. “When we decided to retire, we were going to buy a condo in Olympia, but then we took a look at Panorama. We asked ourselves if we wanted to move twice, and decided to come directly to Panorama.”

Laurie Padget who has lived with her husband Dave at Panorama for only 18 months said, “We, like many of the younger residents, wanted more room, so we selected a single family home that was remodeled from a duplex..” Laurie predicts such changes will be happening more.

Mr. DiSanto, the CEO of Panorama, shared an amazing statistic at the Resident Council meeting last week. He told the group, “Every day 10,000 people will turn 65 for the next 18 years.” The Baby Boomers are headed to Panorama. Look out Arizona and California, even with our liquid sunshine, future residents from sunnier regions continue to wait in line to find their home at Panorama.

To learn more about Panorama, visit or call 360-456-0111.


Debra Daniels Talks about How Your Insurance Policies Work While on Vacation

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 6:00am



olympia insuranceIt’s vacation time!  Whether you’re flying off to the farther reaches of Timbuktu or arranging a quiet staycation somewhere nearer to home, there are some little insurance tricks that can save you stress AND money.

While most auto policies provide basic coverage for rental cars, Debbie Daniels of the Debra Daniels Insurance Agency in Lacey suggests adding a 30 day endorsement called ‘Unowned Automobile Coverage’ (UNOC) if you’re trip requires temporary wheels.  This not only protects against accident damage but loss of use claims by the rental agency.  Clients without this extra buffer often receive a sizeable bill for the monies lost while the car was being repaired.

For those of us who just can’t unplug—or rough it!—while on vacation, make sure your valuables (computers, jewelry, high end digital cameras) have been added to your homeowners coverage via a “Personal Articles Policy.”  This protects you in case of theft from your car, campsite, or hotel room, anywhere in the world.

And while you’re chatting with your agent, Daniels suggests making sure your homeowners policy personal liability limits are where they should be.  Daniels tells of a family whose homeowners insurance stepped up when one member accidentally collided with another snowboarder on the mountain.  The second person was injured enough to require airlifting to the hospital and this bill would have fallen to the family without sufficient insurance coverage.

This type of unique, specialized knowledge only comes from experience and a deep understanding of their product.  Debbie Daniels and her team know what questions to ask, and how to provide you with the best product possible.

Visit their Lacey offices at 8765 Tallon Lane NE in Lacey, 2 blocks pass Costco on Martin Way;  or by calling 360-493-8284 any time.  Claims, quotes, and questions can also be submitted online for those already en route to Timbuktu.


If you want to win an election in Olympia, get either a Lacey city-councilmember or an out of towner to contribute to your campaign

Olympia Time - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 5:41am
So, if you took a list of contributors of the last two rounds of successful city council elections, what kind of list would you come up with?

Well, something like this. These are the 15 people (or unions) that contributed to more than half the successful council campaigns in the last two cycles:

Cynthia PrattCampaigns contributed to
7Christine Garst7Sandra Romero6Emily Ray6Joyce Kilmer6Kris Goddard6Mary Wilkinson5WA FED OF ST EMPLOYEES LOCAL 4435Karen Valenzuela5Sarah Segall5OLYMPIA FIREFIGHTERS IAFF LOCAL 4685Walt Jorgenson5Jewel Goddard5Mark Dahlen5Judy Bardin5
Here is the entire list, plus a few other spreadsheets to show you how I got there.

And, while Chris Garst lives outside of Olympia, it is pretty just outside Olympia. And, Chris is really good people. So, don't get me wrong with that headline. Chris Garst is good.

This isn't a list of who contributed the most money, but rather a list of who contributed to the most successful campaigns for city councils. I didn't take a close look at the contribution totals, so many on this top 15 list may have contributed little compared to someone who maxed out on one candidate.

But, by a certain measure, these people are more influential than a theoretical single candidate max contributor. In addition to their financial support, every single one of these folks or organizations gave their personal time and civic reputation to the candidate.

Some additional thoughts:

  • I'm surprised by the number of elected officials, public officials, former and current. This includes Pratt (Lacey city council), Romero, Valenzuela (Thurston County commission), Walt Jorgenson (former Tumwater city council) and Judy Bardin (Olympia planning commission). Joyce Kilmer, the wife of Olympia city council member (and mayor) Steve Buxbaum is in there too.
  • Only one of the locals that has contributed to the most campaigns is a union bargannign unit that deal directly with the city. While the IAFF Local 468 contributed to five campaigns,  the other seven are not on the list. The only other union in the top 15 is a state employee union.
  • Judy Bardin is on the list, and seems uniquely poised to make a run for council, which she recently announced.

Shivas “Manson Girls”

K Records - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 12:23am
Gosh darn it, I love rock’n'roll! K Song of the Day: Shivas “Manson Girls” from their album You Know What to Do [KLP252]. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available now from the K mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Tufthunter, Deep Hits!

K Records - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 3:09pm
After one solid year of anticipation, the Tufthunter album has arrived! Peter Momtchiloff, guitarist extraordinaire of such lovely combos as Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Would-Be-Goods and Marine Research, devised a diabolical plan to unleash the perfect pop BOMB! on an unsuspecting public. After mixing up an elixir comprised of sixteen medicinal melodies he recruited an impressive […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Overnight at White Sands

Judith Baumann - Play - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 2:28pm

Back in October, the Tamarind Adventure Club enjoyed a night of camping at White Sands National Monument. When we arrived in the early afternoon, the sun was high overhead and the heat, reflecting of the dunes, was almost unbearable. The sand however, made out of gypsum, remained cool to the touch, collecting what little moisture the desert has to offer. As the afternoon progressed, we parked at the trailhead for backcountry camping and headed into the dunes. The only means to find our way were a series of red poles placed at the top of the dunes, directing us dune to dune, until we had walked a mile into the sands to designated, numbered camp sites. Sunset and sunrise were magical light shows, and though the photos may seem repetitive, each dune had a unique relation to the sky and the surrounding mountains. It was hard to look away, and equally difficult to capture in images.















The muted color of sunrise caused the sky and the sand to blend together, obliterating the horizon.











Laughter on the 23rd Floor

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 2:12pm
Event:  Thu, 03/05/2015 - 8:00pm - 10:30pm

Harlequin Productions is delighted to present Neil Simon’s classic sidesplitting comedy, Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Inspired by the playwright’s early experience as a writer on Sid Caesar’s television hit Your Show of Shows, the play hilariously captures what it was like to work with Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner and the rest of the most famous writing staff in television history. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but all the stinging wit and comic drama you’d expect from this group of mad geniuses is preserved as they scramble to top each other and impress the show’s leading man, who happens to be the maddest of them all!

WHO: Harlequin Productions

WHAT:       Laughter on the 23rd Floor

WHEN:       March 5-28 2015; Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00pm, Sunday matinees at 2:00pm

WHERE:     The Historic State Theater – 202 4th Avenue East, Downtown Olympia 98501

PRICE:       General: $32, Senior/Military: $29, Student/Youth: $20, Rush tickets available at Box Office ½ hour before curtain logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Arresting Power!

K Records - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 1:47pm
“The premiere of Arresting Power couldn’t be more timely. The new documentary traces the long history of clashes between police and the Portland community, including racial motivations behind fatal conflicts dating back to the 1960s. The pattern of violence and use of deadly force the film presents is disturbing, particularly given recent events here at […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Irish Dance with Scoil Rince Slieveloughane

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:22am
Event:  Sat, 03/14/2015 - 10:30am - 11:15am

Join us at the Tumwater Timberlan Library for a return performance of the Scoil Rince Slieveloughane Irish dancers who will perform a lively mix of traditional and modern Irish dance routines. Slieveloughane is the largest and most renowned Irish dance troupe in the Pacific Northwest. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Heart Healthy Lifestyle

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:19am
Event:  Sat, 02/07/2015 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Saturday, Feb 7 at the Tumwater Timberland Library, Jennifer O'Brien, RN will speak about heart healthy options for diet and meal planning. The presentation will be followed by free blood pressure screenings. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Lion Dance: Celebrate the Year of the Goat

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:18am
Event:  Tue, 03/03/2015 - 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Please visit the Tumwater Timberland Library for a special Lion Dance performance by the Olympia Kung-Fu and Tai Chi Club, followed by a participatory demonstration of Kung-Fu and Tai Chi movements. The Lion Dance combines skilled acrobatics with the dramatic musical accompaniment of drum, cymbals and gong. This traditional dance has been performed to celebrate the Chinese New Year for over 2000 years. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Stuffed Animal Singalong Sleepover

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:07am
Event:  Mon, 03/02/2015 - 6:00pm - 6:45pm Hey kids! Bring your favorite stuffed animal for a sleepover at the Tumwater Timberland Library! After a singalong of songs and movement games, we'll tuck the animals in and say goodnight. Come back the next day between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to pick up your stuffed animal friend and find out what mischief the animals got into during their night at the library! This event is part of the Family Read & Sing Aloud, a Timberland Regional Library districtwide program. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Top Rung Brewing Set to Release First Pale Ale

Thurston Talk - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 8:14am



Submitted by Top Rung Brewing

On February 21 we will release the first beer in our Pale series. “Comet the Hop” Pale will be the first of four Pale Ale’s released throughout 2015. In each Pale release we will highlight and celebrate a different hop. Comet is a great hop with a pungent aroma with citrus flavors that was released by the USDA in 1974 to provide a higher alpha acid hop. The “Comet the Hop” Pale release will coincide with the Washington Beer Open House on February 21 that is being sponsored by the Washington Beer Commission. Top Rung will be participating in the event and will be providing tours throughout the events hours of 12-5.

Top Rung Brewing is a 10 barrel production brewery with tasting room at the brewery. Top Rung Brewing is a destination for craft beer drinkers to enjoy their beverage and view a production brewery facility. Our tasting room is family friendly and while we will only offer snacks, we partner with local food vendors and food trucks as well as allow patrons to bring in their own food of their choice or have it delivered. Top Rung Brewing: bringing quality craft beer to Lacey.

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