Recent local blog posts

Let Drip Espresso Bar Take Care of the Treats

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 4:00pm



Submitted by Drip Espresso Bar


Drip Espresso Bar can provide a variety of freshly baked pastries for your next meeting or function.

Drip Espresso Bar can provide a variety of freshly baked pastries for your next meeting or function.

Running late for a meeting? Is it your turn to plan a get together? Drip can be more than just a quick cup of joe to go. Our coffee carafes and pastry boxes are a convenient addition to any meeting or party.

Pastry offerings are baked fresh and include croissants, muffins, breads, cookies and more. We proudly offer a large selection of fresh baked, and exclusive pastries. Our baker, Callie Robello creates seasonal treats and is constantly evolving our pastry case.  Read more about Callie’s background and talent here.

Through the end of November we will be featuring our classic pumpkin bread and our delicious pecan crumble pumpkin muffin.

We also have a large assortment of our standard treats, available year round such as blueberry muffins, ham and swiss croissants, coffee cake and a patron favorite, the Nutella croissant.

Pastry boxes can be ordered in any size and with any assortment. Whole loaves, single slices, half a dozen – the possibilities are endless. We are able to customize your order for just about any gathering and any number of people.  We even have gluten free options.  Just ask!  Call ahead to ask about our seasonal pastries as well as our current offerings.

What would delicious pastries be without hot coffee?  Included in each coffee carafe is enough fresh Batdorf & Bronson coffee to serve 10-12 people. You can choose your roast: Dancing Goats or our seasonal roast, currently the Batdorf and Bronson Holiday Blend. Included with each coffee carafe order is a caddy filled with fresh cream, raw sugar, Splenda, stir sticks and of course plenty of cups.

Drip Espresso Bar's coffee carafe provides enough for 10-12 people, including all the extras.

Drip Espresso Bar’s coffee carafe provides enough for 10-12 people, including all the extras.

Ordering can be done in person, on the phone or through email. Take the stress out of your next gathering and impress your co-workers and friends with fresh offerings sure to please.

Drip Espresso Bar

1018 Capitol Way S. Olympia, WA 98501 (one block down from the Capitol Campus)



Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


Have you read the Freedom Trilogy?

South Sound Arts - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 9:39am

 It’s time for me to toot my own horn again and tell you about a trio of books you really should read if you haven’t already. They’re my books. I could probably come up with all kinds of non-ulterior, non-self-aggrandizing reasons for posting this, but the truth is I just want to sell a bunch of books.
The Freedom Trilogy is my proudest accomplishment as a writer to date. In it I created a fictional town near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, invented a history for the town going back to the Civil War, and populated the town with idiosyncratic characters that I hope you will love (and in some cases hate).
In the first book, The Backside of Nowhere, David Lawrence, a famous movie star, returns to his hometown in the swampy coastlands to reconnect with the family he left behind twenty years earlier—a sweet mother he loves and an autocratic father he can’t stand. A massive hurricane hits the coast, and David is trapped in his father’s house with his parents and with an old girlfriend he still loves and a bitter enemy from high school days.
"(Clayton's) storytelling at times faintly echoes the nostalgia-laced prose of fellow Mississippian Eudora Welty but mixes in snappy dialogue, revelatory flashbacks, and episodic plotting, from the novel's opening car crash sequence to the near-cataclysmic closing scenes." - D. Cloyce Smith, review
In a flashback to the 1980s, David has a run-in with two juvenile criminals, Sonny Staples and Malcolm Ashton. Two decades later Sonny and Malcolm reappear as major characters in the second book.
In the second book, Return to Freedom, Malcolm and Sonny and their families move into adjacent apartments in a new condo built by David Lawrence after the hurricane. Both Malcolm and Sonny are now ex-convicts trying to rebuild their lives. Malcolm is struggling with an alcoholic wife and three disturbed teenage children; Sonny has become an evangelical preacher with an attraction for young girls.
"The town of Freedom becomes very real on the page and one can tell that Clayton sees every location intimately. Clayton knows every detail from the street signs to what cigarettes that Bo, the night cook at the diner, is smoking. This gives the effect that we are truly emerged in his world."- Joshua Swainston, review
The third book, Visual Liberties, ties up most, but definitely not all, of the twisted family conflicts of the first two books. Malcolm Ashton’s daughter, Molly, is now a college freshman majoring in art. She is drawn to a charismatic art professor who has a reputation for seducing the most vulnerable of his female students (a more sophisticated version of Sonny Staples). She is also attracted to her classmate, Frances Gossing, an artistic genius whose social skills are non-existant. And the unscrupulous preacher, Sonny Staples tries to reform his evil ways with help from an unexpected source—a lesbian couple that runs a local hamburger joint.
“A sweeping family drama and contemporary parable of art, love and meaning from America's own bard of the Gulf Coast, Alec Clayton. Grounded in Clayton's familiar world of Freedom, Mississippi, Clayton's latest novel sparkles with finely observed insight, sharp wit and complicated relationships.” – Ned Hayes, review
The three books of The Freedom Trilogy can be ordered from your local bookstores or from
Learn more at Mud Flat Press , and please tell your friends.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Vaudeville Comes to Olympia Again

South Sound Arts - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 8:07am

9th Annual Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Vaudeville Show
Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Vaudeville Show is better than coffee in a cup of any color. It’s almost as good as the Sox winning the World Series and another Super Bowl victory for the Seahawks. Born out of old fashioned minstrel shows (minus the blackface) and the original vaudeville of the early 1900’s, Lord Franzannian’s is silly, funny, risqué and downright amazing. It song and dance, contortionists, mimes, jokes, and acrobatic feats of incredible inventiveness.Elizabeth Lord is the founder and director of this entertainment bonanza, and she plays the part of host Lord Franzannian, who is more circus ringmaster than emcee. She welcomes everyone, tells them when it’s time to take a break and time to go home; and otherwise turns it over to a troupe of talented entertainers, including a band comprised of banjoist Jemmy Joe and bassist and kazooist (is that a word?) Al (ison) Metheny.Hey, I didn’t make up those names; they did. And speaking of names, John and the Punishers, minus the Punishers, does a whole standup routine based on punning names like Nick, who is barely on time. It starts off clever and funny, but he beats it to death.And who knew there were contortionists in Olympia? Not just one, but two: Jakob Tiger and Josephine. They perform separately, and it is painful to watch what they do with their bodies.And there is burlesque—not one, not two, but three strip tease acts. I know that some modern burlesque performers don’t like to be called strippers, but it seems fitting here because at least two of them are lampoons on traditional strip tease. Zsa Zsa Bordeaux is rhythmical, languorous and sexy in a more traditional burlesque dance number. Momo La Vein’s “Sloppy Shimmy Burlesque” is a comedy routine with stripping that is laugh-out-loud funny despite poking fun at drunks. (Drunks are really not funny; they are sad at best.) The third burlesque number is a male stripper called Bananas Foster who comes out in an outlandish, futuristic costume and wielding a ray gun fashioned out of a dildo. He is funny and raunchy, and sexy despite having a not-at-all-Chippendale body.Three of the really outstanding highlights of the show are the trio of performances by the duo of Jessica and Daniel Pitherin, who do a kind of hand jive with hands and feet, drumming in intricate rhythm patterns on various parts of their bodies, table, floor and plastic cups. They are amazing.The Lenticulars, Jean and Fred, do an impossible-to-describe movement routine that combines mime, dance, contortion and rubber faces with clown makeup that is touching, sweet, and breathtaking in its originality.Former Olympian now living in exile in Seattle Josh Anderson does a sad but funny song with hints of Gilbert and Sullivan about his tragic attempts at dating, and he revives his popular role as Saul Tannenbaum for a little tap dance number.With 20 acts over a two-hour span, with a short intermission, I can’t include all of them here, so let me just mention two others: Cat Light Year’s spectacular “Electric Boogie” and Cody Hayman and Gabriella Miklulas’s “Cody Goes to the Doctor,” which will leave you crying with laughter if you don’t throw up first.Lord Franzannian’s Royal Olympian Vaudeville Show is a benefit for Big Show City, a local non-profit performing arts organization (learn more about BSC at
This weekend is your last chance:Nov. 13 at 8 p.m.Nov. 14 at 8 and 10 p.m.Special performance for all ages Nov. 15 at 4 p.m.Tickets Price: $15-$25 at the door (however, no one will be turned away at the door for lack of funds). Appropriate for audiences over the age of 16. Special Youth Audience Show Ticket Price. *4pm Matinee on November 15th: 15 years of age or under: $7.00.  Tickets available at door night of show, or to RESERVE A SEAT buy a ticket online at
Where: The Midnight Sun Performance Space 113 N. Columbia Street in downtown Olympia, WA.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

What’s Behind the Door? Unraveling Olympia History

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 6:00am



By Emmett O’Connell

heritage bankTucked inside a quarter block of electric wires and transformers on Legion Way in Olympia sits an oddly ornate brick building. Not many people would know to call the property a substation, but the facility owned by Puget Sound Energy has been in downtown Olympia for almost 90 years.

The architectural style of this otherwise utilitarian building is “French Eclectic,” making it (at least in terms of its design) kin to some notable homes in Olympia, including the Titus House (or more recently known as “the Castle”) just south of the Capitol.

olympia history

Have you wondered about the purpose and origins of this building on Legion?

In addition to its old-country European look surrounded by modern electric transmission facility is the interesting place the building holds in Olympia utility history.

Beginning in 1890, Olympia Light and Power (OL&P) was the official power utility for the city of Olympia. Promoted and partially owned by Hazard Stevens (the son of the first territorial governor), OL&P produced hydroelectric power at a plant at the foot of the Tumwater Falls.

Unlike the typical impoundment type of hydroelectric plant (like what you would see on the Columbia River), the Tumwater operation by OL&P was a known as a diversion plant. A pipe brought water to the powerhouse, dropping it the entire length of the falls at the very last minute.

Hydroelectricity was not a long-term solution for Olympia and Thurston County’s electricity needs. The Deschutes River would run low in the late summer and fall, making power hard to supply in those months.

olympia history

When the substation was originally built, the neighborhood was more industrial.

There is now a outlet from Lawrence Lake, which originally had been dug by the OL&P to supply extra water to the operation in dry months. A headworks (evidence of which can still be found at Lawrence Lake) would partially drain the lake, sending water down to the river, eventually into the turbines at the base of the falls.

Now the Plum Street Substation stands as evidence of the failure of hydroelectricity on the Deschutes River and of a small, plucky private utility that served Olympia.

Puget Sound Power and Light came together in 1915 as a consolidation of smaller city-based private utilities around Puget Sound.

Olympia Light and Power began working with the firm around the same time, extending power lines from Tacoma into Olympia to supply power to the city’s growing eastern neighborhoods.

Eventually OL&P succumbed and joined Puget Sound Power and Light as a subsidiary. Like many other local power companies (including the parts that made up Puget Power), OL&P operated a street car system throughout Olympia and Tumwater. But, as Puget Sound Power and Light began the transition over the Olympia system, they began phasing out both the old hydroelectric project and the street cars.

And, the final step was creating a way to transition the high voltage Puget Power electricity into Olympia. That was when the French Eclectic structure and the substation around it was built in 1927, when electricity was brought in from power plants across the region, replacing our own homegrown electricity.

For additional reading, visit DAHP: Plum Substation or UW: History of Puget Power.


Thrifty Thurston Chases 9 Waterfalls Near Hood Canal

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 6:00am



By Douglas Scott

waterfront at potlatch lucky dogThe natural beauty of Washington’s Hood Canal is known for a lot of reasons. From amazing lodges, stunning camping, fantastic hiking and jaw-dropping mountains, wilderness lovers from across the globe discover and fall in love with the wild side of the Olympic Peninsula. Despite becoming one of the fastest-growing destinations for tourists to the region, few who live near or visit Hood Canal know of the majestic waterfalls that dot the region. Tumbling down from the rocky peaks above, the waterfalls of the Hood Canal are stunning and need to be seen often.

Around the Hood Canal region, there are hundreds of waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. While many are tucked away in wilderness or along steep and remote trails, there are nine waterfalls that are accessible, gorgeous, and worth your time and effort. From roadside waterfalls, to those that require short or long hikes, the falls of Hood Canal are yet another reason why you need at least a weekend to explore the beauty of the region. This list doesn’t include every waterfall along Hood Canal but will get you to the most classic, iconic and gorgeous ones around.

Roadside Falls

hood canal waterfalls

Stand on top of Hamma Hamma Falls.

Hamma Hamma Falls

Height: 75 Feet

Best Season: Year Round

Located at the end of the road along the Hamma Hamma River, this hidden waterfall is best known by locals for the beauty and stunning location. Tumbling down 75 feet, this two-tiered waterfall is hard to see in all its glory. The bridge on the road crosses nearly directly over the falls, giving a staggeringly steep view for those brave enough to look straight down. To see the whole falls, there is a primitive, slippery trail a few hundred feet before the bridge. However, this trail is dangerous. Don’t let that keep you from visiting. Even if you only walk across the bridge, the falls are gorgeous, both up and downstream.

Vincent Creek Falls

Height: 125 Feet

hood canal waterfalls

Vince Creek Falls is visible from the High Steel Bridge.

Best Season: Fall through Spring

Vincent Creek Falls is really two awesome destinations in one. Located along the South Fork of the Skokomish River, Vincent Creek Falls is visible from the High Steel Bridge, some 420 feet above the river below. The falls are visible while looking upstream, on the left side of the bridge, giving a stunning, watery addition to an already incredible view. As if you needed another reason to come here, the High Steel bridge was originally built in 1929 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. With amazing views all around, do not miss the chance to see this waterfall and amazing bridge.

Rocky Brook Falls

Height: 229 Feet

Best Season: Year Round

Quite possibly one of the most scenic “roadside” falls on the Olympic Peninsula, Rocky Brook Falls tumbles magnificently down a rocky cliff just a few hundred feet from the Dosewallips Road. Branching out and cascading down against the rocks, Rocky Brook Falls is a great example of a horsetail falls, ending in a nice pool. In the summer, this waterfall is quite crowded, while the winter and spring months have the highest amount of water. Be aware that to get to the best view of the waterfall, you will have to climb over a few rocks.


Short Hikes to Waterfalls

Murhut Falls

Distance: 1.6 Miles Round Trip

hood canal waterfalls

The beauty of Murhut Falls cascades down 170 feet.

Height: 170 Feet

Best Season: Year Round

Murhut Falls is one of the classic short hikes on the Olympic Peninsula. Cascading down 170 feet over two tiers, this beautiful hydrological destination is at the end of a family and dog-friendly trail. The short trail leads to a nice viewpoint of the falls, complete with a bench and railing. Those more adventurous can climb down to the falls and explore both tiers, though please be aware that rocks and logs can be quite slick. Murhut Falls, for many, is the iconic waterfall on Hood Canal and if you see it, you’ll agree.

Falls View Falls

Distance: 1.5 Miles Round Trip

Height: 200 Feet

Best Season: Fall through Spring

This seasonal waterfall is often not visible during the summer months, making it the perfect, off-season waterfall destination at the top of Hood Canal. Located at the Falls View Campground, this seasonal falls requires a walk along a well-maintained trail to a great view. Tumbling down into the Quilcene Canyon, Falls View Falls is best seen after a rainy few days. For those up for more beauty, head down into the canyon along the same trail. This pretty waterfall is not just a great place to stop and stretch your legs after making the journey up Hood Canal but is also a fun, short hike.

Ludlow Falls

Distance: .5 Miles Round Trip

Height: 25 Feet

Best Season: Year Round

Ludlow Falls is unique to the small creeks that dot the Olympic Peninsula. While small creeks flow mostly flat toward the water, Ludlow Falls exists because of a large obtruding chunk of basalt, creating the falls. After a nice walk along a well-maintained interpretive trail, this two-tiered waterfall dumps almost directly into the waters of Hood Canal and gives stunning views upstream. Do not pass this waterfall up, as it is gorgeous and gives you a chance to both learn about the region and stretch your legs!

Staircase Rapids

Distance: 2.5 Miles Round Trip

Height: Variable

Best Season: Fall through Spring

While Staircase Rapids isn’t technically a waterfall, after heavy rains the North Fork of the Skokomish River transforms into a turbulent set of steep drops, tossing logs downstream like toothpicks and tumbling giant rocks under the churning water. With a great loop hike over a suspension bridge, walking along and over the Skokomish River during a storm is something everyone should experience. As an added bonus, pay attention to the side of the road driving here, as numerous small, seasonal falls line the roadway. A great one is just after the turn for the Mount Rose Trail.


Backcountry Falls

hood canal waterfalls

Donahue Creek Falls is located in the Olympic National Park and offers great photo opportunities.

Donahue Creek Falls

Distance: 14 Miles Round Trip

Height: 25 Feet

Best Season: Spring through Fall

To get to Donahue Creek Falls, hikers will need to follow the route out of the Staircase Region of Olympic National Park and head toward Flapjack Lakes. The multi-tiered falls is located half a mile or so before you get to Flapjacks Lakes and can be taken as a long day hike or a nice overnight trip. As the trail becomes more steep, it soon passes next to Donahue Creek, a fun little waterfall that gives great picture opportunities, especially in the spring, winter and fall. Do not hike here without going to Flapjack Lakes; you’ll regret it.

Dosewallips River Falls

Distance: 10 Miles Round Trip

Height: 100 Feet

Best Season: Spring through Fall

Known more as a cascading falls, Dosewallip River Falls has decreased in popularity, thanks to a washout along the old Dosewallips Road. To gain access to this section of the Dosewallips River, you now have to walk or ride a bike along the old road for eight miles round trip to see this gorgeous series of cascades. From the old road, the cascading falls is beautiful, cast perfectly against the boulders and trees lining the river. Your best bet to see this waterfall will be in the spring after a heavy rain, when the temperature warms and the mountain snow starts to melt.

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, visit our complete event calendar.

Justice Pursued: A Legal Perspective on Palestine and the Rachel Corrie Case

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:40pm
Event:  Wed, 11/18/2015 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm  Hussein abu Hussein, lead attorney for the family of Rachel Corrie in their civil lawsuit in Israel will speak in Olympia, Wednesday, November 18, about the current situation in Israel/Palestine, institutionalized discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and outcomes of the Corrie civil lawsuit in Israeli courts.  He will be joined by Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie.  The event takes place at the Olympia Center (222 Columbia logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

read more

Veterans Day 2015

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 9:08pm

Above: Medal of Honor recipient Command Chief Master Sergeant Francis Huffman, of Littlerock, Washington, acknowledges a standing ovation during Veterans Day ceremonies today in Olympia. After the ceremony, Huffman said he received the medal for providing Air Force support actions in Vietnam in 1971 while surrounded by the enemy, an action that saved many lives.  
By Janine
Veterans Day ceremonies were held throughout the South Sound on Wednesday and the Thurston County Veterans Council held its event in the Capitol Rotunda on the state Capitol Campus. 

The Washington State American Legion Band, VFW Auxiliary Post 318, Tahoma Gold Star Wives, and other veteran organizations participated.
Thurston County Commissioner Bud Blake, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, gave the keynote speech.

In his remarks, Blake said, “….Today in the global war on terror…we continue to welcome home veterans and thank them for their service. I personally experienced this gratitude when I, along with approximately 400 other service members, came home for R&R in February 2008. We departed the airplane at Dallas, Texas, and every single person waiting at the gate to board their airplane stood on their feet and applauded their veterans as we strolled by….until the last service member passed by.  When I saw this I knew, immediately, we had learned from the mistakes of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts.
“So I am here to tell you that it does not stop there….We need to show our soldiers returning from the recent wars…that our welcome does not end at the airport terminal, with a hand shake or in a parade. This generation’s challenge is to continue with the effort to help those veterans who need assistance. We must fight on the home front by preventing suicide and homelessness. We must assist veterans in receiving additional medical care, education, and employment opportunities for themselves and their families…..” said Blake.
Above: At the Washington State Vietnam War Memorial on the Capitol Campus today, Ashar Entrekin, 17, a senior at Capital High School, plays Taps at the conclusion of the reading of the names for those killed and missing in action during the war. The event was sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Entrekin said he’s been playing his trumpet for seven years.

For more information about Thurston County Veterans Services, go to


Sherwood Press - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 10:56am

And now on to our stretch goals!

restore_revive_rejoice_stretch Sailing_past

Thank you, Olympia, friends, family, and supporters of all kinds from all places! We are absolutely thrilled and immensely grateful to you for supporting our restoration campaign!

Our stretch goal is $19k. We are already over 75% of the way there, and contributions are still rolling in. So we are becoming more hopeful that this restoration can be more fully realized, with a drainage system, siding repairs and a glorious layer of protective PAINT!

We still have great perks available, and will come out with a few more during the rest of our campaign, has another 34 days to go.  We’re going to take a slower approach for the next month, but rest assured, we are still going to drive hard at our final goal, because the press building needs it, and our future depends on the press!

Stay tuned for more!

Visit our campaign on Indiegogo!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Feed Hungry Kids for Just $8 with Homeless Backpacks

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Kathryn Millhorn

dirty daves pizza parlor new logoAs we brace ourselves for a season of hectic overindulgence, let’s not forget our friends and neighbors in need, especially homeless children among us whose voice may not be heard. reports that 16 million kids in the U.S. struggle with hunger and “3 out of 4 public school teachers say that students regularly come to school hungry. 81% say it happens at least once a week.”

During the school year, free and reduced breakfast and lunch options provide meals for 37% of Thurston County’s nearly 40,000 public school students. But what happens over the weekend, holidays, or summer vacation? That’s where the volunteers of Lacey’s Homeless Backpacks step in. For only $8 a bag, they’ll provide homeless youth with food for the weekend, thanks to generous donations, partnerships with small businesses, and caring organizations like the Thurston County Food Bank.

homeless backpacks

When the Gateway Rotary volunteered for Homeless Backpacks, they bagged 614 bags of food.

Kelly Wilson is one of Homeless Backpacks’ founding board members and has been Program Chair since the beginning. She estimates that over the past nine years they’ve had almost a thousand volunteers from churches, sports teams, dance troupes, the state employees Combined Fund Drive, and civic groups like local Rotary, Lions Club, Boy and Girl Scouts.

From feeding 200 students a year in the beginning, they peaked at more than 500. But with Grays Harbor and Mason County recently setting up similar organizations of their own, they ended the 2014-2015 school year helping 400 students and are already at 321 for the new 2015-2016 school year.

The process is entirely anonymous for the Homeless Backpacks volunteers. They receive only numbers of bags needed from school counselors. These caring folks work closely with teachers to identify students in need. After almost a decade of feeding the hungry, Wilson’s says she’s “unsure if hunger is growing or counselors are simply doing a better job identifying homeless kids.”

homeless backpacks

Food and fun happened at the “Flapjacks 4 Backpacks” fundraiser at the Lacey Senior Center.

In Thurston County, elementary students needing this extra assistance are aided by the Thurston County Food Bank while Homeless Backpacks cares for teenagers in need. But for the rural areas of Rochester, Tenino, Yelm, and Rainier, Homeless Backpacks assists any students needing their help.

“We do the best we can with the circumstances we have,” explains Wilson. With that in mind, most backpacks contain foods that are easy to carry, store, heat, and eat. This may include chili, tuna fish, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, instant oatmeal, granola bars, juice, shelf-safe milk, applesauce, and mixed fruit cups.

Because of their pledge towards anonymity, it’s rare to receive a thank you. But, says Wilson, “once in a while we receive a card and it’s like Christmas for us!” They also invite former students to speak at their fundraising events and it becomes a high point of everyone’s evening.

homeless backpacks

State workers helped raise money for Homeless Backpacks by coordinating a 5K during this fall’s Combined Fund Drive.

Online donations are always welcome and groups are encouraged to select an item from their What We Need list and host a drive for that specific food. Offices have been known to hold workplace chili or tuna drives, which makes it easier for both donors and Homeless Backpacks volunteers.

Community members interested in helping or becoming a volunteer can learn more by attending their upcoming Bountiful Harvest event on Saturday, November 14 at 6:00 p.m. Promising “great opportunities to get those perfect gifts for your loved ones and enjoy an amazing dinner while you are at it” the evening includes a catered meal donated by the generous staff at the Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel as well as live and silent auctions, raffles, and a delicious dessert dash. Purchase tickets in advance online or by calling the Homeless BackPacks staff at 360-628-8631.

Follow Homeless Backpacks on Facebook to view Bountiful Harvest auction items, recent volunteer activity, and current lists of most-needed items. Their online events page or volunteer portal provide ways to help, directly or indirectly.

Educators report that “With breakfast, educators see a profound change for the better: 73% see kids paying better attention in class, 53% see improved attendance, 48% see fewer disciplinary problems.” Imagine what an entire weekend’s worth of food can do for a hungry teenager and their scholastic success.

Contact Kelly Wilson with any questions about Bountiful Harvest or Homeless Backpacks. She’s always willing to suggest needed ways to help or answer questions about this community treasure.

Construction Expands Learning Opportunities for North Thurston Public Schools Students

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Heidi Smith

north thurston public schools

A cross section of the community joined North Thurston Public Schools Superintendent Raj Manhas and Director of Construction and Design Mike Laverty for a tour of school construction.

The hallway at Evergreen Forest Elementary School in Lacey is covered with arrows leading students and staff from classroom to classroom. “We call it ‘Operation Arrow Overkill,’” Evergreen Forest Principal, Stephanie Hollinger, said. “This is a new hallway and teachers and students weren’t sure which way to go, so we put some arrows down for the start of the year to get the direction. The students do a nice job of following them.”

The hallway is part of a major overhaul and reconstruction project at the school, just one facet of the $175 million school bond that voters passed in 2014 for North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS). The bond will be used for everything from facility upgrades and renovations to new construction at existing sites, including an entirely new middle school slated to open in fall 2016. Safety and technology will also be part of the improvements.

On October 23, a group of local elected officials, school board representatives and community members joined NTPS Superintendent Raj Manhas, and Director of Construction and Design, Mike Laverty, for a tour of four sites in progress.

At Evergreen Forest Elementary, as part of a major reconstruction of the building and site, crews recently finished a complete reconstruction of the parking lot; adding more parking spaces and a lengthy pickup/drop off area for parents.  A separate bus loading zone was also completed.   A new front entrance, lobby and administration area are nearing completion.  A number of classrooms have been recently remodeled, with the rest of the classrooms being remodeled in phases throughout the winter.  The rest of the common areas, including the kitchen, gym and library, will be renovated next summer.  A new eight classroom building, constructed of modular components, has also been added to the campus.  This building will add classrooms while others are being renovated and will replace portable classrooms when the project is complete.

north thurston public schools

Superintendent Raj Manhas leads the way through renovations at Evergreen Forest Elementary.

“On every project I see modular components and techniques being integrated into the traditional stick-built construction world.  It just makes sense,” said Laverty. “Manufacturers can provide better quality control, and the components are almost never exposed to the elements.  The construction is equal to, or in some instances, better than stick-built construction.  It will last indefinitely with normal routine maintenance.  This building is our latest generation of this concept.” The classrooms are larger, with more built-in casework.  There are boys and girls restrooms, as well as separate restrooms for staff and visitors.  There is also a workroom, storage room, generous hallways, custodial,  mechanical and electrical spaces.

The new administration area at Evergreen Forest is at the front of the building for a reason, Laverty said. “Passive supervision is a big factor. The secretaries and the principal can see the parking lot and who’s coming and going,” he explained. “Good visibility is a priority. A lot of old schools had administration in the center of the building. Now we’re pulling them out to the front.”

While the construction is underway, classrooms have inevitably been disrupted, but Evergreen Forest Principal, Stephanie Hollinger, said the impact is being kept to a minimum. “The district has ensured that our construction project is actively managed so that there is minimal effect on the students and staff,” said Hollinger. “Safety for all is an overriding priority. Overall they’re really helpful.”

north thurston public schools

Students at Evergreen Forest Elementary School greeted visitors as they arrived.

Hollinger said the project will enhance the school’s ability to deliver quality education. “We have better spaces for our programs and bigger spaces for our classrooms so that the students have more room to work,” she said. “We’ll have a music room that actually has a stage. Overall we’re creating capacity to accommodate anticipated growth in enrollment.” The additions and renovations are scheduled to be completed by September 2016.

Across town another project is underway at the Sleater-Kinney Annex.  Formerly the site of an athletic club, the remodeled building will serve multiple purposes.  Initially it will serve as a temporary home to the North Thurston High School (NTHS) physical education and athletic programs, while the nearby buildings are being renovated.  This will shave an anticipated year off the construction schedule and save approximately $1 million.  The school board has also decided that the building will become the new home of its Aspire Middle School for the Performing Arts (currently located on 54th Ave. SE, off Ruddell Rd). After the NTHS project is complete, the gym will be used for Aspire programs, as well as for other district and community use.  With a portable stage, bleacher seating for 900, and 480 folding chairs on the floor, the gym will be able to hold a pretty big event as well.

Besides providing more suitable preforming arts facilities for Aspire, this move will free up the existing Aspire building and campus to become the district’s 14th elementary school.  In addition to the use by NTHS and Aspire, there will be additional space that can house other school district needs.  Meeting space, storage, other district programs, community use and professional development are all needs that are being studied.  Currently, Superintendent Manhas said, the district regularly rents space from the City of Lacey, Saint Martin’s University and private providers to accommodate those purposes.

north thurston public schools

Mike Laverty acted as guide through the different projects currently underway at North Thurston Public Schools.

Aspire Principal, Courtney Crawford, said the move will make a huge difference for her students and staff. “We’re a performing arts school,” she said. “Right now band, orchestra and choir are all in portables outside. We have 48 students in one choir class and our orchestra is also huge. For teachers to be able to access the students for one-on-one instruction, they can barely even get through physically to help the kids set up their bows.” Being able to have all of the music rooms inside the building will benefit everyone, she said. Phase two of the Sleater-Kinney project is scheduled to be completed by September 2017.

As one middle school changes location, another entirely new school is under construction in the Campus Glen area of Lacey. The 19-acre campus of Salish Middle School includes a two-story building, main and auxiliary gyms, soccer and softball fields, and an athletic track. It will house 750 students and includes spaces for outdoor learning opportunities and a future greenhouse and garden courtyard.

Michelle Kolpinski went on the tour with her daughter, who will be attending the new school when it opens in fall 2016. “What I find very exciting is the STEM [Science Technology Engineering and Math] program,” Kolpinski said. “The principal told us there is going to be a lot of new technology. All of my daughters are interested in science and math and robotics.”

Around the district, other projects will be beginning and ending through September 2019, like the remodel that’s already underway at North Thurston High School. Overall the process has been rapid, Manhas said. “The City of Lacey has been great to work with. They’ve been very supportive.”

To learn more about the designs and project details, visit


LP Brown Alums Celebrate with a 50 Year Reunion

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Lynn West

putnam lieb logoNestled in the woods of West Olympia, LP Brown Elementary School welcomed its first students in 1965. John Tillman was a first grader that year and fondly remembers his classmates and their teacher, Mrs. Carol Schmidtke. When he realized it was a milestone year, he wondered if it would be possible to have a reunion. Thanks to John’s resourcefulness and determination, on September 13, 2015 five former classmates and their teacher took a remarkable journey down memory lane.

lp brown reunion

The 1965 alums and their teacher greet each other after many years apart. Photo credit: John Tillman.

“I had goose bumps when I walked into the Mediterranean Breeze restaurant in Olympia that Sunday afternoon and immediately recognized my five grown-up first graders,” Carol said. She had talked to John in making arrangements, but she hadn’t seen him or Robbie Dunn, Jeff Lind, Paddy Maguire or Mary Kay Henley since she left LP Brown to become a teacher librarian at other schools in the Olympia School District.

“They insisted on calling me Mrs. Schmidtke rather than Carol, even though now they towered over me much as I had over them fifty years ago,” she laughed. “That reunion was the highlight of my summer. It trumped our cruise of the Greek Islands.” Her former students echoed her joy at getting together.

John Tillman’s fond memories of first grade all came back as the group moved from the restaurant to LP Brown, where they were greeted not by Dale Lien, who had been their principal, but by Joel Lang, the current principal at LP Brown.

lp brown reunion

Five former first grade students at LP Brown gathered recently for a 50 year reunion. They are joined by their teacher, Carol Schmidtke. The group includes (from left) John Tillman, Carol Schmidtke, Robbie Dunn, Mary Kay Henley, Paddy Maguire, and Jeff Lind.

Lang and his intern Keitlyn Watson spent time with the group. “I enjoyed touring the school and listening to their recollections echo through the quiet halls. I was amazed at how much they remembered,” Lang said.

Robbie’s photographic memory immediately helped him transform what were now storage spaces back to favorite classrooms or imagine the stump piles that had provided hours of entertainment now absent from the playground.

The cafeteria reminded Dunn of his little pal Clifton Lum who used to bring noodles in soy sauce and candied seaweed in his lunch, long before these became common foods. “Clifton’s dad was the principal of LP Brown when we were in second grade,” Robbie recalled. “He had exchanged with Mr. Lien for a year, when Lien went to his school in Hawaii.”

The others remembered taking field trips to Robbie’s house down on the water and searching for shells, rocks, and driftwood. Mary Kay said, “I still have the invitation to Robbie’s pirate birthday party. It was especially great because I was the only girl invited.” She also said that she modeled some of her own daughter’s parties after the treasure hunt at that party. It is not unusual that Mary Kay was the only girl at the party because she herself said, “I was one of the buddies.”

lp brown reunion

Carol Schmidtke looks out at her former first graders as they sit at tables rather than old fashioned desks. Photo credit: John Tillman.

John recalled, “Mary Kay could swing a mean left-handed bat, so we always wanted her on our team.” The little pig-tailed girl who was the fastest runner in first grade has grown into a professional woman using those skills working for Metro Parks Tacoma. “We were a group that bonded, and my years at LP Brown were some of the best times of my life. I am so grateful this reunion brought the memories flooding back,” she said.

Paddy had recently returned to the Olympia area from Washington D.C. when John contacted him. He said, “It is interesting to look back. I was probably the most out of the mainstream in first grade. I had long hair, and I came from a single parent family which in those days was very unusual, but I never felt left out.” In contrast, he said, “Jeff Lind was probably the most mainstream. He was always an exemplary student, and he went on to become an engineer at Boeing.”

lp brown reunion

Principal Joel Lang explains the multi-use room as he tours the school with the group.

John, owner of Tillman’s Christmas Tree Farm in Satsop, described their first grade era as a Leave it to Beaver or Happy Days time. “Mrs. S reminded me of Aunt Bee with her kindness and caring.” Robbie recalls her coming to his home and tutoring him when he was lagging a bit behind. Carol added, “What made this class so memorable was their parents’ involvement and the children’s concern for each other.”

Much has changed at LP Brown. The alums agreed that the school seemed a lot bigger fifty years ago with larger trees and more woods. The Lincoln Log structure out in the trees that served as a playhouse is now gone, but the swamp is still there. “We weren’t supposed to play in it then, and I bet they aren’t supposed to play in it now,” Paddy said.

And yet, much has stayed the same at LP Brown. The warm welcome they received from Principal Lang on a Sunday afternoon was testament to the fact that current first graders would someday also want to return to LP Brown.

These 1965 first grade alums are already planning to gather more former classmates and celebrate their 51st Reunion.


Did E.J. Zita repeat Sue Gunn? No, she did not

Olympia Time - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 6:03pm
Go right to the map.

A couple of years ago, I drew a map showing how former port commissioner Sue Gunn did an amazing job connecting anti-establishment voters in the rural and urban neighborhoods.

She had the ability to run as a non-partisan, showing then how you could connect the bottom ends of the so-called (by me) Cascadian Political Spectrum. Typically, partisan elections in Thurston County roll out with the more liberal (Democratic) candidate winning the north county, with the more conservative candidate (typically Republican) winning in the south.
The likely victor is decided by how many voters in the connecting suburban districts turn their heads toward them.
Sue Gunn flipped this equation by winning both the urban area and the rural south, with the connecting suburbs going to her opponent, Jeff Davis.
Unfortunately, Sue had to retire because of health concerns. She'll likely be replaced by E.J. Zita, an Evergreen State College professor and south county resident. At least on the surface, it seemed likely that Zita might be able to repeat Sue's run.
But, when you look at the map of the (very very close) results, Zita will have won by the more traditional liberal's route in Olympia, through urban Thurston County.
Zita did win a handful of precincts in the south county, and Jerry Farmer (her opponent) seemingly owned the suburban neighborhoods. But, Zita's high margins in Olympia seemingly put her over the top.
It is worth noting that liberals (Democrats) usually win in Thurston County, so it isn't that exciting to note that the liberal won again. The notable thing in 2013 was that Gunn (a former Democratic Progressive Independent candidate for congress) beat a fellow Democrat (Davis) by being more liberal. Or, she was at least more anti-establishment.

It's Not Rocket Science. It's Robotics Science!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 12:41pm
Event:  Mon, 11/16/2015 - 8:30pm - 9:30pm

Be inspired as a robotics scientist tells the story of 100 years of spinal cord research that is paying off - helping us better understand neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy. Prof. Francisco Valero-Cuevas has a BS in Engineering from Swarthmore College, an MsEng from Queens University, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is the keynote speaker at this year's 13th Annual Latino Youth Summit. This program will occur after regular library hours and no other services will be available.

All library programs are free and open to the public; feel free to call the library with any questions!  360-352-0595. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Rob Rice Designs, Donates Custom Chef’s Kitchen to Saint Martin’s University

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 11:56am



Submitted by Rob Rice Homes

rob rice homes

Rob Rice personally designed the kitchen for use on the stage for the Saint Martin’s University Gala.

Rob Rice, Thurston County’s largest local home builder, designed, built and donated a mobile chef’s kitchen to Saint Martin’s University for use by the cast of ABC’s The CHEW, the special guests at the local institution’s recent annual black-tie Gala. Rice worked on the design specifications for the kitchen with the Bon Apetit chefs who made the meals for the 700 Gala attendees. The event raised $1.6 million for Saint Martin’s students, the most in its ten year history.

With the help of employees and a finish carpenter, Rice built the kitchen in the garage of one of his new homes in the community of Chestnut Village and transported it himself to the event location at Saint Martin’s. In the weeks before the event, he worked with the Lacey Fire Department to ensure the kitchen was up to code and he travelled to Kent several times to lock in a precise template for its countertops.

rob rice homes

The cast of The CHEW wave to donors while on stage at the kitchen Rob Rice built.

The 12-foot long structure, used on the stage by The Chew chefs at the November 7, 2015 Gala, has quartz countertops, an all-gas GE Monogram 6-burner cook-top, with double-ovens—secured through McKinney Appliance Center in Lacey—and is mobile, designed to be dismantled in two parts for easy storage. The kitchen cost Rice $17,000 in supplies, equipment and hired labor with no out-of-pocket expenses for Saint Martin’s University that now owns the kitchen for use at future Galas.

“This was not only a large donation, it was an incredible effort to benefit our community,” says Valerie Fluetsch, event planner and owner of Event Planning Specialist, LLC who organized this year’s 10th Anniversary Gala. “He built it with the same attention to detail and quality products as he does for all his homes. The event provides a large portion of scholarship funds to Saint Martin’s students – this year nearly $1.6 million. And, the school now owns a beautifully-built piece for future Galas, a huge bonus to our annual efforts for the next ten years.”

rob rice homes

Rob Rice’s youngest son enjoyed seeing his Dad build the kitchen in the garage of one of the builder’s new homes.

Rob Rice was has been building homes and communities in the South Sound for more than 30 years. His company, Rob Rice Homes, was voted the Best of South Sound for the last two years by The Olympian readers. Rob and his wife Helena are regular contributors to the University and he explains his motivation for delivering a premium custom kitchen for the Saint Martin’s event.

“My wife and I feel it is our responsibility to give back to our community to make it a better place for our family and for those in the communities we build. A few years back, we identified two top priorities—rescuing animals and improving the lives of children. This certainly qualifies as something that contributes to the second, a superior education for our kids.”

To learn more about Rob Rice Homes, visit


Olympia Bears Volleyball Team Uses Adaptability To Build A Winner

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 7:50am



By Gail Wood

creative officeSometimes the difference between winning and losing isn’t just about how athletic a team is. It’s also about how adaptive they can be.

Olympia High School’s volleyball team was a textbook example of adapting this season. Half way through the season, Lydia Soto, a senior, switched from middle blocker to outside hitter, a position she hadn’t played since she was younger.

But she took the switch and the challenge without complaint.

olympia volleyball

The Olympia Bears celebrate another big win at districts. Photo credit: Curt Wilson.

“It was a big deal for her to be willing to make that switch,” Olympia coach Laurie Creighton said. “I’d describe Lydia as a baller. She just has lots of volleyball skills and smarts.”

It was that team-first mentality that sparked Olympia’s late-season surge. Add the dominate play of senior setter Julie Fleener and junior outside hitter Lauren Wilson – two first-team, all-Narrows League picks – and the Bears became an opponent’s worst nightmare. In two straight matches at district, Olympia played five-set matches. After beating South Kitsap 3-0 and losing to Tahoma 3-1, Olympia beat Kent Meridian 3-2 and then lost to Puyallup 3-2 after leading the fifth game 10-5.

Wilson and Fleener, who both started last year, were two key players all season long. After playing back row most of her sophomore year, Fleener became the Bears starting setter last season and shifted to a team leader.

“She’s very focused and an intense competitor,” Creighton said about Fleener. “She set the bar high for effort and stayed ocused at practice. She did a good job of bringing that intensity level.”

As a setter, Fleener didn’t only have to be athletic. She had to be a leader.

“The setter is very much like the quarterback or the point guard in basketball where every play goes through their hands,” Creighton said. “So, they not only have to be athletic but also be able to perform the skill consistently. It’s a pretty big deal to be able to put up a hittable ball for your attackers every time.”

But it also requires a certain mindset to be energized yet calm to be able to distribute it appropriately.

olympia volleyball

Lauren Wilson (No. 10) slams a spike to the floor for the Bears.

Wilson, after playing primarily middle blocker for her club team, dominated at outside hitter for the Bears.

“She’s really stepped up and owned that role this year and kind of carried a lot of our offense, especially early in the season until some other folks started to bring their contribution,” Creighton said. “She jumps well. She’s a state competitor in the high jump. She’s a smart player and sees the court well and she made a huge contribution this year.”

As team captains, Wilson and Fleener are both leaders on and off the court.

“Both are vocal,” Creighton said. “Lauren has grown to be more vocal on the court through the course of the season. But they’re both very intense competitors. Both demonstrate their leadership through action and words. And I think that’s important.”

They don’t just lead by example. They’re both encouragers, telling their teammates to work hard.

olympia volleyball

Arianna Hartsock, Lauren Wilson, Julia Fleener, Lydia Soto and McKenna Neal look for the return for the Bears.

“You can have a leader who isn’t very vocal,” Creighton said. “But I think it’s a pretty big deal to have leaders who are both leaders by example and leaders vocally.”

Despite her position change, Soto still earned honorable mention all-league. Soto, another key figure in the Bears success, had the skills to play several positions.

“She has good hands. She could have played setter,” Creighton said. “She could play any position on the floor. I was happy to see her be recognize as part of the all-league team.”

When Soto switched to the outside, McKenna Neal, a senior, also switched positions and filled in at middle blocker.

Maddie Reeves, a 6-foot senior, also earned honorable mention all-league for the Bears. For the second straight year, Reeves played opposite from the opposing setter.

olympia volleyball

Julia Fleener goes for up for the block at the net.

“I was pleased to see her gaining confidence this season,” Creighton said. “She really stepped up and contributed from the defensive perspective. She was a difference maker. She was instrumental in our success.”

The Bears relied on experience this season. Five seniors started at some point during the season. They were Kiley Schwartz, Neal, Soto, Fleener and Reeves.

Even with a senior laden team, Creighton is already excited about next year. She has two big reasons to be optimistic. Two freshmen – Camryn Wilson (Lauren’s sister) and Molly Armstrong – started at some point during this season. Armstrong came up from the junior varsity and ended up starting on the varsity at libero.

“You don’t see that very often as a freshman,” Creighton said. “Molly and Camryn will be key contributors next year.”

And the Bears will have something to build on next season.


New Dance Studio Opens at Capital Mall

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 7:27am



Submitted by Diana Yu, Zumba Gold instructor

zumba classes olympia

b.Fit b.Fab opened a group fitness studio at Capital Mall.

Did you know that there is a dance studio inside Capital Mall? b.Fit-b.Fab studios opened its doors in September 2015 and the place is hopping. The idea to open a studio in the mall involved creative thinking, opportunity and a desire to share a passion for fitness. Owner Lisa Bluhm, a local fitness instructor, is certified to teach 10 different programs including: MixxedFit®, Zumba®, Body Pump, Aqua Zumba®, Body Jam, Fierce Funk, Pilates and more.

Lisa has done many things aside from being a fitness instructor.  She is a wife of 27 years, mother of two, business owner of Simply Swank, a published author, winner of Mrs. Washington America 2011, and the counter manager of Bare Minerals at Olympia Macy’s. Adding a fitness studio owner to the list was not such a big stretch.

How does this all work? There are many different classes and styles of fitness programs that share the studio space. The atmosphere is swanky and “clubby.” With the lights turned down low, a strobe light rotates, reflecting off the chandelier.  The curtains are drawn and you could pretend to be inside a local dance club or at a party. You pay only for the classes you attend and online registration and check in make it very convenient. Cost is $5-7 per class and the first class is free.

Current dance offerings include Mixxed fit® many times during the week, a low impact

Zumba Gold® on Thursday morning, regular Zumba® fitness on Tuesday evening, and U Jam on Wednesday evening. Different classes offer a variety of options to fit your fitness level.   Pilates, yoga, body sculp cross training are other fitness programs offered. Even mommies and babies are getting in on the fun with Stroller Striders. If your favorite classes are not currently offered, ask and perhaps we can find an instructor willing to try teaching their classes at the studio.

zumba classes olympia

A swanky, club-like atmosphere greets patrons at b.Fit b.Fab at Capital Mall.

MixxedFit® is an explosive style of cardio dance with bootcamp style toning.

Zumba® is Latin inspired dance fitness program, an exercise class disguised as a party. Zumba Gold® is a modified version for folks who want a lower impact.

U Jam® is athletic cardio funky dance fitness with world beats and urban flavor.

This is a fitness studio focused only on group fitness classes at affordable prices with a boutique club type atmosphere. The studio is located at Capital Mall, in the concourse between Macy’s and the cinema, diagonally across from Old Navy. No need for monthly gym memberships.

Visit to learn more and sign up for your first class.

Maid Perfect Supplies Tips for Simpler Holiday Cleaning

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 7:13am



Submitted by Drew Freemantle for Maid Perfect

house cleaning tips

When dusting or scrubbing, start from top to bottom and move left to right.

The holidays are upon us. We love this time of the year, because, for us it’s a time for getting together with friends and family that we haven’t seen in a long time. The holiday season can also be stressful with a long list of things to do to prep your home for company. Personally, there were times when we just needed a break from house cleaning and last minute tasks.

In three easy steps, here is how we overcame our holiday season cleaning.  We also included a few quick tips to make the holidays go a tad smoother.

Tip: Plan your parties in advance so that you have time to prepare for them. Spur of the moment parties can be fun, but running around in a panic and pulling your hair our isn’t. Below is a three day plan to prepare your home for guests.

Day One – Deep clean the bathroom

I have learned that over the years, it is best to get the tough stuff done first. Start dusting from top to bottom, left to right from a doorway, and don’t forget the baseboards. Next, start with the shower and make sure to check the drain. After that, clean the toilet, counter tops, sinks and mirrors. Finally, sweep and mop the floor.

house cleaning tips

Sweeping and mopping the floors should be the last step in cleaning a room.

Day Two – Clean the kitchen

Start dusting top to bottom, left to right. When you are done dusting, start cleaning in the same fashion – top to bottom, left to right. One thing you might want to do is to clean out food in the fridge and make room for leftovers.

Day Three – Windows, General cleaning and Vacuuming

Yeah! All the deep cleaning is done. Now, just focus on general dusting, windows and vacuuming around the house.

Maid Perfect wishes everyone a very special holiday season! Visit us at If you need some extra help, don’t hesitate to call 360-402-7642. This season can get pretty busy so let us know if you need help in advance.

Caytlin Johnston – Local Teen Crusades Against Distracted Driving

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 6:00am



By Katie Doolittle

Ronelle Funk Allstate LogoStrong, brave, compassionate, exceptional: these words epitomize Caytlin Johnston’s character. As one of her teachers at North Thurston High School described her, this young sophomore is “a natural leader and influencer of her peers,” someone who connects with others during their hard times and confronts life’s challenges with “poise and grace.”

Caytlin is currently leveraging these skills in pursuit of her Gold Award, the highest honor offered by the Girl Scouts of America. As such, she’s working with an adult mentor and several local organizations to eradicate unsafe driving from our community.

caytlin johnston

“My brother was pretty great at most everything he did,” recalls Caytlin.

For Caytlin, the issue is personal. She chose this topic because her beloved older brother, William, died at age 18 after losing control of his car. Speed was a factor in the crash.

“My brother would be proud of me for trying to take my sadness and turn it into good,” Caytlin says. “The goal is to save lives and to prevent other people from feeling the pain that my family  and I felt when we lost my brother. My life is forever changed. I lost my best friend. I have no other siblings.”

Caytlin describes Will as “the brother that most of my friends wanted.” Despite their eight-year gap in age, Will always included his little sister, even when his friends were around. “I hope I never forget some of the fun things that we did together,” says Caytlin.

“I remember piling pillows on top of us and hiding in a closet and calling for our yellow lab Summer to come find us.  We also used to climb into boxes and pretend they were our car. I remember us making up songs and listening to music. And when I was sad, he would call me in his room and we would just hang out.”

To honor her brother, Caytlin helped organize a dedicated patrol on October 19, the five-year anniversary of Will’s death. Seven local law enforcement agencies participated, and both Caytlin and her mother went on separate ride-alongs that day. Says Caytlin, “My mom spoke to every person that they pulled over for speeding, telling them about the purpose of the dedicated patrol, and that she hoped that their family never got the news that she got.” Everyone involved with the patrol passed out Target Zero Task Force pamphlets featuring William Johnston’s story.

caytlin johnston

Officer Kory Pearce, Anne Larsen, and Gary Warnock support Caytlin’s Gold Award project wholeheartedly.

Target Zero Thurston Task Force manager Anne Larsen explains, “The goal of Target Zero statewide and in Thurston County is zero highway deaths or serious injury by 2030. Our Thurston County Target Zero Task Force conducts enforcements, education and engineering updates to work towards that goal.”

Larsen is Caytlin’s Gold Award mentor, working with her on project planning and implementation. In addition to the dedicated patrol, Caytlin will do safe driving presentations to fellow teenagers at various school and community functions.

Larsen will join her, as will Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock and Olympia Police Department Officer Kory Pearce. Larsen describes the whole team as “involved and very dedicated to Caytlin and her project.”

Larsen also shares that, during October’s dedicated patrol, Caytlin rode along with Officer Roland Weiss of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. “He sent me this quick note after the patrol ‘Caytlin helped us arrest a fleeing bad guy! It was great. She’s my hero.’ That pretty much sums up the law enforcement sentiment I’ve heard.”

caytlin johnston

Sign of a good brother: Will even let Caytlin style his hair with tons of her barrettes.

Larsen adds, “Caytlin is so brave to take a tragedy that happened to her family and speak about it to her peers. Everyone that meets Caytlin is blown away by her dedication to honoring her brother and impacting the lives of young drivers.”

Joe Pallito, a staff member at North Thurston High School, concurs. Having lost his youngest daughter in a car crash, he shares a special bond with Caytlin and checks in with her whenever possible. “I just want her to know we are here for her,” he says. “She is a very brave young lady and does not shy away from what happened. Of course she has her moments, but she is going to make it! We are very proud of her.”

Caytlin’s mother, Carrol Johnston, has also been her daughter’s troop leader since the kindergarten Daisy days. Over the years, she’s had myriad opportunities to witness and appreciate Caytlin in action.

caytlin johnston

Caytlin says, “I truly believe that by sharing my story, it will stay in people’s minds and hearts and save lives for years to come.”

Carrol notes, “One of the things that I respect most about Caytlin is her friendliness and ability to reach out to those around her, especially those who are hurting.  As a Girl Scout Lead, she is always embraced by the younger girls because of her enthusiasm, ability to have fun, and her kindness.  I really appreciate these characteristics of Caytlin.”

“She has such a soft heart and she is someone that you want to spend time with,” adds Carrol. “I’ve been blessed to have two children who are loving and have a servant’s heart.”

A blessing, indeed. Many thanks to Caytlin for her inspired leadership and continued efforts to positively impact our community.


Jim Brickman to Perform at the Capitol Theater on November 30

Thurston Talk - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 6:00am



By Laurie O’Brien

jim brickman

Pianist Jim Brickman will appear in Olympia on November 30.

Pop pianist and composer Jim Brickman will bring his 2015 Holiday Tour, Comfort & Joy, to Olympia’s Capitol Theater on November 30. Hailed by the Boston Herald as a “crowd-pleaser,” Jim celebrates this one-of-a-kind concert event with lush instrumentals and soaring vocals.

Brickman has been touring during the holidays for 19 years, but the show is ever evolving as he showcases new music along with holiday favorites and the hits that have made him the most charted (30) Billboard Adult Contemporary artist. With over 20 years in the music industry, Brickman has collaborated with some of the best known names in the business and has earned two Grammy nods and four gold albums.

It’s been a number of years since Brickman last performed in Olympia, and his many fans are excited to hear his newest compositions and experience the unique arrangements that the composer himself refers to as “background music for life.” Even if you don’t know Brickman’s name, chances are you’ve heard his music before, and many people at his shows are surprised to discover that a tune they’ve heard for years is one of his.

Concert goers can expect to hear his most beloved hits, including “Valentine,” “If You Believe,” “The Gift,” “Angel Eyes,” and “Sending You A Little Christmas.” The music and the conversation promise to evoke feelings of Comfort & Joy, and you’ll be reminded of what we cherish during the most wonderful time of the year. . . Togetherness.

jim brickman

The Capitol Theater will host Jim Brickman during the holiday season.

In a phone conversation with ThurstonTalk, Brickman said that his concerts tend to be intimate events, with a lot of interaction between him, his featured musical guests, the audience, and the music. “It’s very conversational and not a (piano) recital by any means. There is an emotional connection to the music that is universal,” he explained.

Eliciting those emotional responses is part of his goal. “The audience is getting to know (the performers) as people.”

Joining him during the Christmas tour this year will be vocalist Anne Cochran and electric violin player Tracy Silverman.

Brickman says that although he plays roughly 100 concert dates in North America each year, his Christmas tour is always his most popular. He and his guests “celebrate the season without a lot of pomp and circumstance,” taking audience members on a light hearted, inspirational, and romantic journey. He promises that the show will be “funny, relatable, and not high-brow.”

jim brickman

It has been a number of years since Jim Brickman has performed in Olympia.

For a taste of what to expect, there are a number of Jim Brickman videos available on YouTube.

Tickets are available through the Olympia Film Society.

What: Jim Brickman Comfort & Joy

Date: Monday, November 30

When: 6:30pm doors / 7:30pm show (All Ages)

Where: Capitol Theater (Olympia Film Society)

Tickets are $35 for OFS members, $40 for general admission, and $60 for VIP reserved seats. To purchase tickets, visit the Olympia Film Society website.


Port of Olympia Zita-Farmer Ballot Issues

Janine's Little Hollywood - Mon, 11/09/2015 - 10:15pm

Above: During a public hearing about the budget, Port of Olympia commissioner candidate E.J. Zita addresses the Port of Olympia on Monday night. She commented on her desire to see a clearer accounting of the cost of dredging. She said that it would add clarity if the costs could be separated. The cost of operational dredging is currently combined with other environmental clean-up costs. Galligan said that those numbers are available. “If there’s a clearer way to report on that, we’d be happy to do that,” said Galligan.
By Janine
According to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, the latest tally has E.J. Zita ahead of Jerry Farmer in their race for Port of Olympia Port Commissioner #3. 
Zita was slightly behind on election night, but subsequent tallies put her in the lead with 124 votes on Friday with an estimated 700 ballots left to count.
On Monday, the new tally kept Zita ahead: 26,294 (50.21%) to Farmer’s 26,079 (49.79%), for a difference of 215 votes.
There are still a few ballots to be counted that have discrepancies, such as missing signatures, or those that have questionable signatures.
Little Hollywood spoke late Monday afternoon with Tillie Naputi-Pullar, Thurston County elections manager at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office. She said that as of today, there are 116 ballots that do not have signatures, and 207 that have questionable signatures.
“Each day we generate a letter so voters are being notified on a daily basis if something is wrong with their ballot,” said Naputi-Pullar. She and her staff of three have a process in which they visually examine the signatures of all voters.
“If there is a problem, we send out a letter within 24 hours to the voter. We supply a pre-paid envelope with a signature verification form and the voter can mail it back, come in and drop it off, or email it by scanning it, or fax it back to us. We do our best to help the voter so it’s expedited so we can update their status,” she said.
Little Hollywood asked Naputi-Pullar about an Olympia woman who had an issue with her ballot and said she received a knock on her door on Sunday, November 8. The visitor appeared to be a supporter of candidate Jerry Farmer, as she was wearing a Farmer campaign button.
The westside resident, interviewed by Little Hollywood on Monday, did not want to be named, but shared her story:
“A woman wearing a Farmer campaign button and carrying a clipboard knocked on the door of my apartment. On her clipboard she carried many forms and a list of registered voters, I believe. She stated that she was a volunteer and was at my home because my ballot had an issue, and it was not currently valid as a countable ballot. 
The issue, she said, was that my ballot signature did not match the outside envelope signature. She asked me if I had received an official notice of this problem. I had not. She suggested that I had not received this letter because I had voted at the last minute.  She handed me a form from her clipboard and told me that I should fill it out in order to amend the discrepancy in my ballot signatures. She stated that she'd like me to fill it out on the spot and give it back to her.  
I told her I would rather fill it out later and/or wait for the official notice. She checked something off on her clipboard. She then asked me: “Did you even vote for the Port?”  I responded “Yes, I did.” She questioned me further, “Who did you vote for? Did you vote for Jerry Farmer?” I told her that I did not wish to answer her questions at this time.  She thanked me for my time and left. 
To follow up on this interaction, I checked the Thurston County Elections website to ascertain the status of my ballot.  There is indeed a problem with it, and I intend to call the number provided to resolve this issue so that my vote may be counted.”
Before she had a chance to call, she said she received her letter from the Thurston County elections office just this evening, informing her of the ballot signature discrepancy.
The woman says she doesn’t think anything suspicious was going on, but was unclear about the process.
“I didn’t know they gave out that kind of information to campaigns but I guess I’m not surprised now that I know the process,” she said.
It’s called “signature chasing,” and Naputi-Pullar said that the woman who came to the door was not with the Thurston County election office, however, that type of voter information is released to campaigns regarding voters whose ballots have not yet been counted. The form she was asked to fill out on the spot and return to the woman wearing the Farmer campaign button was most likely a signature verification form.
Jan Witt of Olympia is a friend of the woman who received the knock on her door and expressed concern about the incident.
“I believe that Thurston County Elections should not accept any of the forms collected by campaign people. Given that a campaign is asking people who they voted for and requesting the signature verification forms, how do they know whether or not a campaign is turning in all of the forms they receive? Maybe they are turning in only the forms of those who say they voted for their candidate,” said Witt.
Asked how the Thurston County elections office knows that all signature verification forms are turned in by campaign volunteers, Naputi-Pullar expressed assurance in their process, which is set in statute: 
“Three days before the certification date, November 24, my staff sits down and calls those voters if we have not received a form back. If people are concerned, they can contact us.”
Contacted by Little Hollywood this evening, Farmer said that he thought Zita’s volunteers were also out signature chasing.
Asked tonight after a Port of Olympia business meeting if her campaign is signature chasing, Zita said she has several dozen volunteers signed up to do so, but the elections office has informed her that it doesn’t appear to be necessary. Zita said that although a recount will be necessary, it appears to be out of range for a hand recount, and will most likely be a machine recount.
According to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, the following are the rules for recounts of local contests: 
A machine recount would require that the difference between two candidates be less than 2,000 votes and less than 1/2 of one percent of the total votes cast. A hand recount would require that the difference between two candidates is less than 150 votes and less than 1/4 of one percent of the total votes cast.
Although it may still be too soon to do so, port staff, audience members, and Joe Downing, Port of Olympia commissioner candidate for position #1 who won his seat against George Barner, and was also at tonight's meeting, congratulated Zita on her apparent win.
The election will be certified November 24.
For more information and number changes, go to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office at
Syndicate content