Recent local blog posts

County's Preliminary Development Code Docket Now Available for Review

Griffin Neighborhood - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 11:05am
According to the County's web site, "The Official Docket of Development Code Amendments is a list of proposals for making changes to Thurston County’s development regulations." Proposed changes are assigned a priority, on a scale of A (high) through D (low).

A summary of the entire docket is here. Both priority A and priority B are considered "high priority". Of particular interest to residents in the Griffin area may be these high priority items:

Docket item A-2 would "Amend the Forest Lands Conversion Ordinance for Rural Areas". This is contained within the County's code section 17.25. According to the docket, "This could clarify and strengthen tree protection in rural areas of the County to mirror the on-going urban forestry effort."

Docket item A-8 would "Clarify Expiration Deadlines" and would be applicable to many codes. "The code is unclear regarding expiration thresholds on approved projects, both built and unbuilt, most particularly on projects with multiple phases or buildings. Adding specific language to clarify that certain actions, not just moving dirt, are necessary to avoid expiration would improve consistency and predictability. Importantly, it would also avoid indefinite extensions after codes have changed. "

Docket item A-13 would make revisions to the Critical Areas Ordinance in Title 24. "The new critical areas ordinance was adopted in July 2012. Amendments were made to correct errors, references and address issues brought forward through the implementation of the new critical areas ordinance. As staff continues to work with the new regulations, more issues have or may develop that need to be addressed in a timely fashion. Examples may include fixes to the prairie definition, geologically hazard area definitions, and issues regarding older nonconforming uses."

Docket item A-15 would remove the County Board of Commissioners from the existing quasi-judicial review process surrounding appeal of hearing decisions. "Due to the complexity of appeals made to the Hearing Examiner, there is a need for a judicial review. Hearing Examiner appeals would be appealed pursuant to state law and would not go to the Board of County Commissioners."

Docket item B-6 refers to would improve the Notification of Adjacent Property Owners. "This change would give the most affected property owners notice of a proposed development prior to the actual construction. This may result in more appeals, but may also lead to more careful design."

Docket item B-7 would change Rural Special Use Permit Standards (Title 20.54). "The addition of clarifying language to the code would be designed to more narrowly construe the range of potential special uses and to set specific expiration deadlines in an effort to maintain the County’s rural character."

These are descriptions of only a few of the many items on this year's docket.

Click the image for a bigger view.Written comments for the entire docket are due by email on December 12. This marks the comment period which is the second step in the seven-step process described in the illustration here.

The County's web page describes the docket and the docket process in more detail. It also includes information regarding where you can file your comments, if you wish to do so before December 12.

A page describing frequently asked questions about the docketing process is here.

There are other opportunities for public input into the items on the docket and all briefings to the County's Board of Commissioners related to the docket are open to the public.

Wanted: Your Best Thrifty Thurston Ideas

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:46am


Since May 2012, ThurstonTalk has been sharing stories about inexpensive family fun around Thurston County. Now, it’s your chance to share your Thrifty Thurston ideas with us.

We want to know where you and your family go to enjoy inexpensive fun around Thurston County. Submit your best Thrifty Thurston idea by noon on Monday, December 15, for a chance to have your Thrifty Thurston idea published on ThurstonTalk and you will be entered to win a family pack of four ticket to the Hands On Children’s Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve party.


Thrifty Thurston Ideas What is your best idea for inexpensive family fun around Thurston County?
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All Your Friend’s Friends Documentary!

K Records - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:23am
All Your Friend’s Friends is a short film piece (20 mins.) documenting the creation of  K‘s NW hip hop compilation album by the same name, brought to you by Red Williamson and Newspin Films. All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] is the brainchild of producer Smoke M2D6 and MC Eprhyme (as seen in below photog), who […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Port Blakely Companies Support Environmental Education with Hands-On Science for High Schoolers

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:21am



Submitted by Port Blakely Companies 

port blakely

Rene Ancinas, President and CEO of Port Blakely Companies, Court Stanley, President of Forestry, Mike Warjone, Forestry Manager Photo Credit Alan Weiner Photography

Port Blakely Companies, a family-owned forestry and forest products company, today announced its support of an environmental education program to serve over 100 of Seattle’s underserved and under-represented youth in honor of its 150th  Anniversary and legacy of stewardship.

NatureBridge, a non-profit organization that provides hands-on environmental science programs for students, is a national leader in environmental education.  NatureBridge will lead approximately 130 underserved Seattle students through its programs in spring 2015 at Olympic National Park.  Students will visit and study the Elwha River Restoration, one of the largest watershed restoration projects in US history.  They will also learn about watershed science on the Olympic Peninsula as they study the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems and the role of water in terrestrial systems.

“As a company committed to creating a healthier world, we believe all students should have the opportunity to learn about nature through science, and through NatureBridge students will gain a better understanding of the importance of natural resources and the environment,” said René Ancinas, CEO of Port Blakely Companies.

“The environmental challenges in our future will be increasingly complex. With this, we’re thrilled that Port Blakely Companies is helping to build a generation of environmentally literate citizens armed with the tools and know-how to make a difference,” noted Stephen Streufert, Pacific Northwest Director of NatureBridge.

The program will continue for the next five years. Each year NatureBridge will select local schools to participate.  Port Blakely is known for environmental education, as it has taught nearly 60,000 students from throughout the region about managed forests and responsible land stewardship since 1991.



Healthy Homes Program – Helping Local Residents Create Healthier Living Spaces

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 9:55am


Submitted by the Healthy Homes Program

Healthy Homes Thurston CountyThe Healthy Homes Program offers free, voluntary, and confidential home visits to help reduce housing-related health risks like mold, asthma triggers, exposure to toxins, and more. This program relies on trained volunteers to conduct these visits. Healthy Homes is holding a free training for new volunteers starting January 14. As a Healthy Homes Volunteer, you will gain practical life skills and help members of your community create healthier living spaces!

Who can become a Healthy Homes Volunteer? YOU! No prior experience is necessary. The 30 hours of hands-on training will equip volunteers with the knowledge to create healthier living spaces for themselves and Thurston County residents. The training is fun, engaging, and useful. Once the training is completed, volunteers are asked to give back 30 volunteer hours to the program. Volunteers can perform Healthy Home Visits in pairs, staff booths at community events, assist with community outreach, and more.

Training Schedule: Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. January 14 – March 25, 2015

Training Location: Thurston County Public Health & Social Services, 412 Lilly Rd. NE Olympia. Across from Providence St. Peter Hospital, served by bus route #60.

Volunteer Application

Contact: (360) 867-2674 or

Shop Downtown Olympia and Receive Free Parking

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 9:42am



Submitted by City of Olympia

Shopping downtown this holiday season is easy and convenient with the annual Twelve Days of Free Holiday Parking!

Parking is free in the downtown core from December 12 through December 24 – valid at purple 2-hour and green 3-hour metered spaces only. Time limits will be enforced to give many people the chance to park, shop, dine and enjoy downtown. 9-hour meters (gray domed ones) are not part of the free program.

Happy Holidays from Olympia Parking Services!

The Head! That Wouldn’t Die!

South Sound Arts - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 9:15am

From left: Maxwell Schelling, John Serembe, Heather Christopher and Jesse Moore-HendricksonTheater Artists Olympia’s original musical The Head! That Wouldn’t Die!is the love child of Mel Brooks and Ed Wood with midwifery by Pug Bujeaud. In other words, it is exactly what expect by the homegrown theater company that brought you The Brain from Planet X, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Cannibal!! The Musical (twice). But this show elevates B-movie musical camp to a level far above those earlier TAO shows. Maybe those were mere warmups through which they learned how to do it.The Head! That Wouldn’t Die! is based on the horror film of the same name (also known as The Brain That Wouldn’t Die) which garnered a lowly 28 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Bujeaud adapted it for the stage with input from the TAO Collective and added music—quite nicely so, I might say, especially considering that she has never written music or lyrics. She is also the director.John Serembe, Vanessa Postil and Xander LaydenReflecting back on my reference to Mel Brooks, the similarities to Brooks’ Young Frankenstein are obvious, and this show is every bit as good as YF, minus the expensive sets and special effects, which TAO handles in a much cheaper but highly effective way. Dr. Bill Cortner (Xander Layden) is a mad scientist who has been secretly working for some time now on experiments in transplanting body parts. His father, the elder Dr. Cortner (John Serembe), a notorious womanizer, warns him against going too far in his reckless experimentation. Bill, by-the-way, is not a very good driver. His driving may be even more reckless than his doctoring; it’s already killed one girlfriend and now he’s taking Deadman’s Curve far too fast with his new girlfriend, Jan (Vanessa Postil) in the car. But that’s all I’m going to say about the plot. No spoilers here.Vanessa Postil and Xander LaydenSuffice it to say this show is uproariously funny, and there is a lot of damn good music from the big-musical opening, “Head” to the premonition of danger in “Deadman’s Curve” to a wild country song called “Abilene” sung by Serembe in his other role as Kevin, of whom I shall say nothing, nothing, nothing. Believe me: you don’t want to know about Kevin. There are also a couple of serious and lovely songs providing release from all the seriousness—beautiful songs like “Kurt’s Lament” sung by Jesse Moore-Hendrickson and Cassandra’s beautiful “Hope” sung by Heather Christopher.The entire cast is outstanding. Layden seems to have been born to play Bill Cortner. His outsized expressions and movements are comic gems, and Postil’s portrayal of Jan in the Pan is the best acting I’ve yet to see from her. Moore-Hendrickson is a recent graduate from Cornish College making his TAO debut in this show. He’s a terrific singer and portrays the doctor’s assistant, Kurt with style. The multi-dimensional Kurt (a kind of matinee-idol version of Igor) idolizes yet fears the mad doctor and falls in love with the Head. And there is Serembe, a veteran actor who has appeared in major productions all over the country and in favorite TV shows such as “Cheers” and “Scrubs,” in what must be his first performance in Olympia. I have certainly never seen him, and he flat-out blew me away. Seeing him in the little fringe show in the tiny Midnight Sun was something like if Tim Conway or Marty Feldman made a surprise appearance and took over the show — he’s a pro and he never upstages the other actors.Finally, I must give props to whatever otherworldly creature is responsible for costumes and makeup. The program lists Ornatrix Couture as costumer; I suspect that’s a pseudonym. Fellow critic Christian Carvajal credited burlesque star Nani Poonani, and a program note from Bujeaud indicated that Morgan Picton was responsible for creating the look of “the monster.” The entire cast and crew outdid themselves. Seating is limited, so I recommend you get tickets quickly.Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. through Dec. 20 and at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 21, The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St. Tickets: $15.00 ($16.52 with service fee at brownpapertickets. Available at door night of show or online at
Photos by Matt Ackerman
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Yvonne Stanton – Making Dreams Come True at Northwest Harley Davidson one Harley at a Time…..

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:00am



northwest harley

Yvonne Stanton serves as the Business Manager at Northwest Harley-Davidson in Lacey where she helps facilitate the sale of every bike sold in the store.

Owning a Harley-Davidson Motorcycle is, for many people, a lifelong dream. It’s not unusual for people to visit Northwest Harley-Davidson multiple times simply to admire the bikes. And, when admiration turns to questions of, “Could I really do this?” NW Harley-Davidson’s Business Manager, Yvonne Stanton, is there to provide an answer. With her creative financing abilities and attitude to provide exceptional customer satisfaction, the answer is often yes.

Originally from California, Yvonne has lived literally all over the world. She comes from a multi-generational military family and is no stranger to moving. “I’m a military wife, mom, sister, friend, aunt, and supporter,” she says. In fact, at one point all the active duty soldiers in her family were deployed at the same time. It was during one of these deployments that her sister-in-law, who lives in Lacey, suggested that Yvonne might want to head north, settling closer to family in the Pacific Northwest.

At the time, Yvonne was a successful real estate agent in California and knew the market was hot in our area. She arrived on a glorious, blue-skied October day, warm enough for people to wear tank tops. She was sold.

norhtwest harley

Yvonne comes from a large military family including her son (left) and husband who have both served multiple deployments.

Yvonne flew home, put the house on the market, packed up her four children and headed north. She found a home quickly and the family settled into the community. When her husband’s deployment ended, he de-mobilized at Fort Lewis. She surprised him there, greeting him with a kiss and a ride home. He was surprised to say the least, but thrilled with the move near his brother and JBLM.

Yvonne’s business savvy, used daily to help customers with their Harley-Davidson purchase, began with her business degree. She honed her skills as a wine broker in California for 10 years before getting her real estate license. “I was an Army wife by then and knew I needed a profession that was mobile. Real estate allowed me to take my skills with me,” she says.

“Being married to the military is a different life than a civilian,” Yvonne explains. “I know this life, I’ve lived it, so when a military customer comes in, I can have a different kind of relationship with them. I understand the life they live.”

Yvonne’s career at Northwest Harley-Davidson started on the sales floor. Yvonne is nothing if not committed and threw herself 110 percent into learning to be the best she could be. “It’s a bit of a man’s world, selling Harleys,” she says with a smile. “I always want to be the best I can be, so I asked questions, read all I could, but more importantly, I listened.” Yvonne’s hard work paid off and she was soon one of the top sales people in the store.

northwest harley

Yvonne started on the sales floor at NW Harley and still enjoys helping customers select the perfect bike for them.

When the business manager position became open, Yvonne was a natural fit – although she still helps out on the sales floor. “I call myself a buyer’s assistant,” she explains of her role in both jobs. “Because, if you are here, you already know you want a Harley when you come in. I look at it as a puzzle to try and figure out how you can get one.”

Despite her accomplishments –Yvonne is humble and doesn’t look for recognition. “I really see myself as helping people achieve their dreams,” she says. “You can sell anything, but unless you’re passionate about it, it doesn’t work.” Her determination and know-how creates Harley-Davidson owners out of Harley-Davidson admirers.

Yvonne has countless stories of customers she’s helped – people who thought ownership was out of reach. “People make mistakes. It happens and it can be so hard to recover from early financial mistakes – they follow you even though you’ve changed your habits,” she explains. “I advocate on a customer’s behalf with banks or credit unions and Harley-Davidson financial services. I believe a ‘no’ is really just a ‘not yet.’”

And, Yvonne is very successful at helping customers ride out the door simply because she cares. She takes the time to listen and get to know her customers, as well as understand their situation. “I don’t do it just because it’s my job. I do it because it’s the right thing to do,” says Yvonne. And she knows that her colleagues throughout the store feel the same way. Yvonne may not be a Washington native nor has she worked at Northwest Harley-Davidson for her whole career, but no one could imagine the dealership without her positive attitude, knowledge, and compassion.

northwest harley

Yvonne has been with Northwest Harley-Davidson for 5 years and has been instrumental in bringing the dealership to #1 in sales in the nation.

“What truly sets us apart at Northwest Harley-Davidson is that we genuinely and passionately care about our customers,” Yvonne summarizes.

Northwest Harley-Davidson

8000 Freedom Lane NE in Lacey, WA

Exit 111, The Friendlist Shop on the West Coast


Taste the Holiday Spirit at Bayview Thriftway on Saturday

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:00am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

taste holiday spirit

Demos at Bayview’s Taste the Holiday Spirit are a great way to try something new.

Need any help with your your holiday happiness quotient? Add a measure of joy, do yourself a favor and take time from your (likely) over-scheduled days to stop at Bayview Thriftway this Saturday, December 13. The essence of the season will be in full swing with Taste the Holiday Spirit. Imagine over fifty vendors tucked into every inch of open floor space and passing out samples of their favorite wares. The festivities are food-filled, family-friendly and it’s free.

Carol Lundblad, Bayview’s Store Director, has been gearing up with all her department heads to pull together a memorable event that celebrates the best of the season. This year there is a focus on Painted Hill’s prime rib and Bayview’s world famous homemade crab cakes. Lundblad, who has made it her personal mission to do extensive research on as many cakes as she could, is convinced that theirs are “definitely the best.” On Saturday you will be able to find out for yourself.

When you arrive, stop outside to have a cup of hot cider and find out what roasted chestnuts are all about. As you step inside, you will be greeted by an elf passing out special maps. You might be tempted by the cooking chanterelles, but remember your assignment is to explore the store and have your map stamped at the designated locations. Well, I guess you can taste along the way. When your passport is fully stamped, turn it in to be entered in the prize drawing. One lucky winner will take home a snowboard. There will be prize baskets of housewares and deli items, too.

taste holiday spirit

Visit each section of the store to try different samples and get your passport stamped.

Do you like samples as much as I do? I get excited to taste something new. If I like it, I can buy it and if I don’t, well, now I know why. You’ll be enticed by more vendors than I will name now, but here are a few.  Tillen Farms’ Bada Bing Cherries – Lundblad almost swooned when she talked about them. It’s the perfect gift for someone in my life. How about Cyrus O’Leary Pies? Or our nearby Domina Dairy? You’ll find savories and sweets, toppings, seasonings and much more.

Every forty-five minutes, the Bayview School of Cooking will present mini-cooking demos. These are free, too, and gift certificates for future classes will be available for purchase.

The annual Taste the Holiday Spirit remains popular with the employees. They will enjoy the added interaction with their customers. Activities will be non-stop from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lundblad said that many vendors ask her to be part of the event. I think they are all having fun, too.

Lundblad, who has thoroughly appreciated her employment with the Stormans family for nearly 25 years, promises that, “A good time will be had by all.” Of course, you have to show up to experience the tastes and smells of the holiday season. Your ears will be treated, too, by carolers from a local high school. Did I mention that various wines would be on sale during the event?

When you visit Taste the Holiday Spirit, surely, you will run into friends. Now isn’t that the heart of the holidays? Spending time with people you like, nibbling on great food and celebrating life right here in Thurston County. Enjoy!

taste holiday spirit

A sample of fudge can be a delicious way to finish off the Taste of Holiday Spirit event at Bayview Thriftway.

Taste the Holiday Spirit

Saturday, December 13 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Bayview Thriftway

516 – 4th Ave West in downtown Olympia


Jeremy Jay “Covered in Ivy”

K Records - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 5:07pm
The lush and insular “Covered in Ivy” from Jeremy Jay‘s Abandoned Apartments [KLP247] album, available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment


Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 4:00pm

You`re invited to a night of art, music, mischief, and magic to celebrate Alex Coxen’s first solo art exhibit and his return to Olympia. Special musical guest tba. The fun begins at 8pm. Dancing is encouraged.

Facebook invite

Alexcoxen copy



Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Barefoot in the Park at Olympia Little Theatre

South Sound Arts - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 12:45pm

Jennie Jenks as Mrs. Banks and Phil Folan as Victor Velasco in Barefoot in the Park. Photo by Austin Lang.

Critics and the more jaded of theater goers tend to be dismissive of Neil Simon. Maybe I’m not all that jaded yet. I enjoy Simon’s comedies. They’re as funny and as socially relevant as some of TV’s best sitcoms (“The Dick Van Dyke Show” comes to mind).
Simon’s Barefoot in the Park at Olympia Little Theatre is as fresh as homemade bread steaming hot out of the oven thanks to a cast of exuberant young actors and one seasoned pro. (Note: “young” can be a relative term. They’re young to me and according to the printed program most of their previous acting experience has either been in school productions or in theaters I’ve never heard of, so I view them as novices.)
Joanna Gibson as Corie and Alex Harris as Paul. Photo by Austin Lang.The young actors are Joanna Gibson as Corie Bratter (well named because she’s something of a brat, but loveable); Anthony Neff as the unnamed telephone repairman, Phil Folan as Victor Velasco; and Alex Harris as Corie’s put-upon husband, Paul. The more experienced actor who is solid in her role as Corie’s mother is Jennie Jenks, familiar to South Sound audiences for her performances in Orphan Train at Olympia Family Theatre, The Dixie Swim Club at OLT, and Hyde #4 in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at Tacoma Little Theatre to name just a few. There’s an old saying Don’t let ’em see you acting. Never for a moment do these actors—except for Folan—appear to be acting. Each of them dives into their roles with energy and enthusiasm. As for Folan . . . well, Mr. Velasco, who lives upstairs and gets home by slipping through the Bratters’ bedroom window and crawling across the roof, is flamboyant and pretentious and constantly “on stage,” so the audience is supposed to see him acting.There’s not much of a story, but there is funny dialogue and outlandish physical comedy. Corie and Paul are newlyweds. Corie (not so much Paul) is still enraptured by the bliss of new love. She can’t keep her hands off her husband—practically knocks him back down five flights of stairs plus a stoop when she leaps on him as soon as he comes home from work on their first day in their new 48th Street apartment. They’re visited first by the phone man, then by Corie’s mother, who makes a valiant effort of pretending to like the apartment, and then by Velasco. Corie cooks up a harebrained scheme to set up a blind date with Velasco and her mother. Naturally things go comedically awry.Everyone in the cast plays their part with gusto while remaining just barely believable and natural. There is a bit of excessive drama on the part of almost every actor, seen mostly in their initial entrances when they are wiped out by climbing the steps to the Bratters’ apartment. It is not totally believable that anyone would be so thoroughly out of breath unless they suffer from emphysema and have just run forty blocks. But it’s for comedic effect, and if you allow for a little unreality it is hilarious.I can’t remember when I’ve seen an actor dive into a role with such verve as does Gibson. From her first entrance she is an explosion of high energy and higher hopes. Constantly running around the apartment, she is a perky Pollyanna who never puts on the brakes. I can’t imagine anyone not loving her. I’d like to mention one moment that illustrates Gibson’s acting skill. It’s when she’s tasting an exotic dish Velasco has prepared. She drops it on the floor, picks it up with a tiny sparkle of a shrug that is so perfect to the moment that I defy anyone who has not read the script to know whether it was an adlib covering the drop or if it was scripted, and pops it in her mouth.In contrast to Corie’s unbridled exuberance, Paul, as portrayed by Harris, is more down to earth, so much so that Corie understandably accuses him of being a stuffed shirt. But as the play progresses he loosens up. Or rather he falls apart. Of all the actors, he is the one who seems most natural, and when he does lose his composure he does it wholeheartedly. He’s the reason I thought of Dick Van Dyke in my opening remarks.Moving forward with the sitcom analogy, Jenks reminds me of Vicki Lawrence on the old Carol Burnett show. Her malleable face expresses simultaneous revulsion and attraction to Velasco, and her love for her daughter and son-in-law. Director Kendra Malm states in the program that this is her seventh show to direct for OLT. I’ve seen most of them, and this is by far her best directing outing. She changed the setting from February to December in order to make a Christmas play out of it. So far this season it is the least Christmasy show I’ve seen and the funniest.
WHEN: 7:55 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1:55 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 21WHERE: Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave., NE, OlympiaTICKETS: $10-$14 ($2 student discount), available at Yenney Music Company, 2703 Capital Mall Dr., (360) 943-7500 or INFORMATION: (360) 786-9484,
Coming soon: my review of The Head That Wouldn't Die.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Death of a Local Biz, frozen, lizards and a stone (Olyblogosphere for December 8, 2014)

Olympia Time - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 6:34am
1. Things freeze here.

2. OMG. You can enjoy Olysketcher in print. All year long.

3. Birds, Bees & Butterflies: Looking for a Salamander on Thanksgiving.

4. I like this photo, but I think it should've been titled "Stone in the Midst of All."

"Not All That Shimmers," by Diablo_119 in the Olympia Pool on flickr.

5. And, finally. Over at r/olympia: Dino's Dinner, death of a local business.

Admint Calendar

Mojourner Truth - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 9:28pm
So crazy it just might work.
Being both a mint junkie and a anti-garbage saver of containers, I have on hand a bag full of little plastic disks that once contained mints. I've used some now and then for seeds, but consumption has out-paced re-use for a while now. This fall, however, inspiration struck my younger daughter and I, and we vowed to invent the Admint Calendar.

Decorating the tree. Painting and layout by the child genius.After some discussion, we settled on cutting out a Christmas tree shape from a scrap of 1/4-inch plywood, painting it green, and attaching the mint containers. She determined the shape by laying out the containers to fit on the board we had; beginning a single one at the apex, her formula for subsequent rows was "add two, then substract one, then repeat." Making the tree took a few minutes, followed by an hour under a fan to dry it enough to do the next step.

Attaching the containers: over-engineering by the dad. (Not pictured: fat ring o' glue)We have a genetic predisposition to build things to last, perhaps at odds with the surficial preoccupation of some crafters, and so we attached the containers with a glob-ring of gorilla glue and staples slammed deep into the board. Conveniently, the tops of the containers can be pulled off to allow the staple gun to do its thing.

Stashing the candy. Goodbye 'til Christmas day, Eggnog Chocolate.
All that remained was to snap on the lids and install the treats. Maybe the best thing about making your own Adventskalendar is that you get to put good candy in it. Not stuff that was made years ago. No opening up the door to disappointment. It turns out that Seattle Chocolates fit perfectly, and we happen to love them.

No product endorsement intended, but thanks for the glittery labels, whichever corporation markets this stuff.
So, there you have it. The Admint Calendar. The only one of its kind.

Cavalier Attitudes Redux

Mojourner Truth - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 8:50pm
A few days ago, I posted about the cavalier attitude towards rape at UVA frats and their breathern elsewhere. I was among the thousands of bloggers and hundreds of news media outlets that picked up on the story.

Now, it turns out that the Rolling Stone article that triggered the uproar itself took a cavalier attitude with the truth and verification.

Some digging by reporters at the Washington Post, among others, found that "Jackie," the victim spotlighted in the original article, had said some things that are not verifiable, and others that appear to be outright false. Predictably, thousands of bloggers and hiundreds of news media outlets have picked up on this story.

Part of the response is to point at Rolling Stone and accuse the magazine and its reporter of sloppy journalism. True enough, it appears, although I myself have done zero actual reporting on this and don't believe that most of the critics have, either. I see the bandwagon, but won't jump on.

But another common element in reactions is to jump on Jackie. Another girl with regrets or some other problem claiming rape. I see this bandwagon, and would like to stop it, or at least give it a flat.

The Post story--which does show evidence of thorough reporting and includes interviews with Jackie, her friends, and others at UVA--does not say she was not raped, though there are inconsistencies and doubts about the details. The frat accused in the original article turns out not to have had an official even on the date in question, the "main" rapist is not a brother in that frat, and they deny having a policy of including rape as part of pledging (no kidding). Instead of being vaginally gang-raped and beaten, her friends say she was orally gang-raped by maybe 5 guys, not 7.

Merely forced to perform oral sex while being held in a frat bedroom. You comfortable with blaming her now?

Not me.

The frat, with the benefit of money, lawyers, and status, has launched a counter-attack on Jackie, as you would expect whether they had a role to play or not. Money and power have a way of walking away free, particularly in an institution so steeped in tradition and white male privilege. Even is it were no different than other universities, UVA has the added defense of the enclave; campuses have their own law more often than not. This was a main point of the article (for which Jackie was the misfortunate poster child), that UVA and many other institutions of higher learning steer rape victims toward options other than prosecution of their attackers. Out in the real world, rapists have no such options.

The Post's follow-up and fact-checking does not lead them to the conclusion that the entire story is fabricated. They don't refute at all the bigger points of Rolling Stone's article, that UVA has a culture that glorifies frat boys and winks at rape, and presents victims with a range of options that systematically result in non-prosecution of rapists. Not just winks, but shuts its eyes, as evidenced by the lack of student dismissals for sexual assault while staunchly guarding its reputation by dismissing violators of the academic honor code.

Nonetheless, fratboys and their supporters in news and social media attack Jackie. I feel incredibly sorry for her, having to endure this second wave of assault.

‘Tis the Season of Giving – Where to Volunteer During the Holidays in Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 6:00am



By Lisa Herrick

sunset airWe just celebrated #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back and honoring generosity. On this one day, non-profit organizations worldwide encouraged virtual volunteerism activities and online donations. Yet we all know the needs extend beyond just one day. Locally, opportunities abound to give of your time, money, and items. Consider how you might be able to give this season to make the holidays better in our community.


Giving of Time

where to volunteer olympia

The Salvation Army Red Kettle program is one of the oldest philanthropic campaigns in the world and collects coins to dollars for food and toys at Christmas as well as charitable programs throughout the year.

The Community Kitchen

The Community Kitchen provides nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner at designated times throughout the week at the Salvation Army, Community Youth Services and Drexel House. Volunteer opportunities for all ages, including families, are available by simply putting on an apron and washing hands. The onsite crew chief will provide direction as to helping prepare the meal, serving food, cleaning up or packaging leftovers. Contact Gabriel Ash, Social Services Manager at 360-753-3340 or Kelly Hanson, Site Coordinator to inquire if help is needed on a particular day or meal.

Family Support Center of South Sound

Whether a teen, retiree or any age in between the Family Support Center of South Sound abides by a quote from Forest Witcraft, “One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house you lived in, what kind of car you drove, what your bank balance was but what will matter is that you were important in the life of a child.”  In November 2009, the Family Support Center opened the largest shelter for homeless families in Thurston County and is in constant need of healthy meals as well as trained hosts and greeters. Contact the Family Support Center of South Sound for of the moment volunteer needs.

Giving of Money

Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas

We have all seen the red kettle and heard the bell ringing as we rush into the grocery store. Sometimes we even drop a few coins in the bucket. This Salvation Army program is one of the world’s oldest philanthropic campaigns. All the money raised in Thurston County kettles remains within our community to help the local Salvation Army with food and toys at Christmas as well as the many other programs they provide throughout the year. Drop some money in the bucket as you pass by or even considering signing up for a shift to ring the bell.

Giving of Things

where to volunteer olympia

Volunteers distribute special holiday packages and cleaning supplies during the 2014 Holiday Celebration at the Other Bank.

Holiday Celebration at the Other Bank

The Other Bank will be distributing special holiday gifts and cleaning supplies on Wednesday, December 17 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for families in need. Cherie Reeves Sperr, Communications and Special Events Director shares, “This is a very special day for families. Thanks to Lucky Eagle Casino we will be able to serve cookies and hot cocoa and a team from Kohl’s will join our amazing Other Bank volunteers for what should be the biggest day of our year.”  Donations are still needed. Cleaning supplies will be part of the package with items needed such as laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, sponges and cleaning products.  They also need stocking stuffers for children such as baby toys, books, games, art supplies, kid bath supplies, stationary, costume jewelry, small stuffed animals, bubble bath, sports equipment, and picture frames. Donations can be dropped off Monday-Thursday between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the YWCA (220 Union Ave SE in the big red house). Donors and clients with questions can contact Tanikka Watford at 352-0593 or

Interfaith Works Emergency Shelter

This emergency overnight shelter only has thirty beds and a long wait list since the cold weather arrived this winter. They have been consistently running out of supplies. A warm coat, bed and socks are often taken for granted yet not for those homeless and less fortunate in our community. Consider the simple act of donating bedding, winter clothing, toiletries or even money.  View the donation wish list or donate online.

where to volunteer olympia

Remember that a gift of volunteering doesn’t have to be limited to the holidays.

Homeless Backpacks

Combine donations, volunteering and festivities with the Stockings Filled with Love Teen Challenge benefitting the Homeless Backpacks Program on Sunday, December 14, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Macy’s Court in Capital Mall. Homeless Backpacks is committed to ending homelessness by giving teens the help they need so they can focus on school, graduate and become contributing citizens. Following the teen stocking stuffing competition, a live concert will start at 4:00 p.m. featuring 4MORE. The event is sponsored by Bruce Titus Automotive Group and TwinStar Credit Union. Canned food, mittens and socks are being accepted in donation barrels throughout the mall until the event date.

Giving Throughout the Year 

While many of us are inspired to give during this time of year, keep in mind that the truest gift of giving could be volunteering throughout the year. Most non-profit needs are not confined to the holiday season. Consider gifting yourself the opportunity to give back throughout 2015. Schedule a time in the new year to submit a volunteer application or go through an organization’s training. Learn more about local non-profits in these articles.  The gift of time, given consistently, is likely more valuable than one afternoon.


Washington State Employees Credit Union Gives Back to Local Food Banks in Recognition of #GivingTuesday

Thurston Talk - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 3:33pm



By Margo Greenman

wsecu giving tuesday

Giving back to the community is part of WSECU’s philosophy.  The credit union made donations to 11 food banks, including Thurston County, on #GivingTuesday.

Did you hear or see the term #GivingTuesday being tossed around earlier last week? If you answered, “yes,” that’s because this two-year-old concept is catching like fire across the nation, encouraging people to put holiday gift shopping on hold and pick-up their checkbooks for a good cause.

#GivingTuesday, which takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, started in 2012 as a reaction to designated consumerism days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the concept is still new, it has been quickly propelled thanks to the likes of hashtag activism and big-time supporters like Olympia’s own Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU).

Not-for-profit financial cooperative WSECU made their first #GivingTuesday donation last year, matching $2,500 in contributions made to the non-profit group Homes First, a local advocate for affordable housing in Thurston County. Wanting to give again this year, WSECU decided to make donations to 11 food banks across the state. Playing off of this year’s Dec. 2 event date, the donations were made in the amount $1,202.

wsecu giving tuedsay

A WSECU branch manager presents Medical Lake Food Bank with a check in the amount of $1,202 during #GivingTuesday.

“We really pride ourselves in a deep commitment of giving back,” said WSECU’s Vice President of Public Relations, Ann Flannigan. “The food banks were extremely grateful, and our branch managers who went out and delivered the checks were exposed to just how beneficial food banks are to the communities they serve,” she explained. “When we better understand the resources available in the community, that makes us better credit union employees.”

As WSECU branch managers busily delivered checks, WSECU helped spread the word about #GivingTuesday and their own contribution via Twitter: “It’s #GivingTuesday & we’re donating $1,202 (get it – 12/2?) to each of the 11 food banks across the state! #WSECUAllIn #creditunions.”

Like the “giving back” message conveyed through the #GivingTuesday hashtag, WSECU’s branded “#WSECUAllIn” tag is another example of their commitment to the communities they serve. “It applies in many ways, some subtle, some less subtle,” said Flannigan. “What [#WSECUAllIn] really represents is 100 percent commitment to our members and the greater community. On a secondary level, in 2013 we opened up our membership to any resident in the state – there’s a bit of a nod there as well – everyone’s in.”

For WSECU, giving back isn’t a one-time holiday bandwagon, it’s a philosophy the company lives by year-round. Flannigan said WSECU implements a variety of programs throughout their branches that benefit the communities they serve. And, for WSECU, giving back doesn’t just come in the form of a check.

“When we enter a new relationship with a non-profit, yes, we can sponsor an auction or other event, but we also like to come in and educate the staff through financial wellness classes,” explained Flannigan. The classes, which are offered free of charge, are a great opportunity for individuals in the non-profit sector to expand their financial knowledge.

wsecu giving tuesday

Monetary donations are just one of the ways WSECU gives back to communities across Washington State. #WSECUAllIn

Another way WSECU gives back is by offering WSECU employees 8-hours of paid-time-off to volunteer in the community. This is a new benefit that was introduced in January of 2014. Flannigan said in the program’s first year WSECU hoped to see 25 percent of their 525 employees take advantage of the incentive. As of the end of November, 52 percent of WSECU’s employees have put in volunteer hours through the incentive. “To see this type of reaction and response from our employees is great,” remarked Flannigan.

While #GivingTuesday has come and gone, WSECU will surely find creative ways to positively impact local charities and non-profits throughout the year, just as they have in year’s past. To learn more about WSECU and their community commitment, visit WSECU’s website here.

All photos courtesy WSECU.


Northern Craft and Rummage Sale!

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 12:00pm

Once again, Northern is providing you, the consumer, with a premiere hyperlocal shopping opportunity that will empower you to find all of your perfect holiday gifts in one convenient location. Vendor’s table fees support Northern/the Olympia All Ages Project as we prepare for our next new adventure hosting shows at The Midnight Sun?. There will be beverages, snacks, and good cheer abounding for this evening shopping experience.


Antiquated Future
Antiquated Future is a store for independently-created artifacts of the heart. Zine distro, tape label, and pop-up shop out of Portland, Or. and Olympia, Wa.

Blissful Wunders
Hand rolled chocolate truffles, dairy, vegan, diabetic friendly, gluten free/wheat free.

Catacomb Collectibles
Vintage and oddities for the masses.

Chelsea the Baker
Chelsea the Baker sells comics for all ages and one-of-a-kind illustrations drawn right before your very eyes. She takes requests, too!

Community Print
Letterpress and other fine printing from the Community Print collective, an Olympia arts institution for over 20 years. Help us to raise money for our upcoming move! Ask us about our proficiency classes!

Cuddle Manor (aka Mike and Sunday)
Olympia’s most unremarkable couple bring you the Bad Neighbors card game (incredibly easy to learn and playable in 15 minutes or less!) and Sunday’s first novel in print, the acclaimed* E Galactic Mu (*almost a dozen reviews!). One look and your friends and family will know you “bought local” this year!

Duck Duck Bags and Accessories
Handmade goods by Kailey Dawn, thoughtfully designed and crafted for the Northwest with cotton duck canvas, recycled sail cloth and waterproof vinyl.

Little General Food Shop
Food gift baskets in a variety of sizes for your grandma, your sweetheart, or your colleague.

May Day Press- Catherine Alice Michaelis
May Day Press is a print shop creating artist books & prints using a variety of techniques since 1992.

Mercy Me Designs
Handmade clothing and accessories using organic and natural fibers.

Oddfellows is a mother daughter run business. We specialize in handmade canvas bags and cold pressed soaps. We make the soaps and the bags in our homes. We also curate small gift bags that include lip balm, spoon butter (for oiling wood), hand towels, kitchen towels and aprons. We make all our products from hand using fine and exquisite materials. Our bags are made from quality, durable canvas and our soap making process is palm oil free.

Polly’s notecards and calendars are handprinted using linoleum blocks, on 100% recycled paper with high-quality inks using handcarved linoleum blocks. The designs are inspired by nature and what Polly finds around her West Olympia home throughout the year.

Pope Press
Pope Press Olympia is a Letterpress and Book Arts teaching studio in Olympia, Washington. Pope Press offers classes and workshops with local artists, press rentals and open studio hours. Come and learn how to print with us!

Roni Moran
Roni makes paintings, coffee tables & a lamp or two. Once in awhile she has an Etsy listing- but usually her mom buys it.

Roseroot Herbes: Community Supported Apothecary
Offering a variety of botanical products made exclusively with plants grown on our farm in NE Olympia or ethically wildcrafted from local forests. These include tinctures, tea blends, salves and balms, infused vinegars and honeys, bulk herbs, spice blends, elixers and syrups, and flower essences.

Space Diamond Jewelry
Space Diamond jewelry designs are made with a vision of simplicity; combining antique and new pieces alike to compliment one another; joining both time and space to jewelry pieces. The result is in each piece, simple yet bold designs which are each unique. Most all pieces used are antique and not one piece is exactly the same.

Tea Time, Inc.
Tea Time, Inc makes clothing inspired by anything Victorian, Edwardian, Steampunk, Lolita, Sci-fi, Gothic, or related to maps at all.

Tea Toast Threads
Caps for sale! Wool caps and other apparel to keep you and your friends toastea.

The Twisted Twigster
A variety of beautiful handcrafted wooden housewares. Natural or live edged, made from locally sourced wood. Ramon makes most of his own finishes, all natural with no petroleum products.

Vinny and Vernelle
All available pieces from The Black Market Collection of one of a kind reworked vintage jewelry will be up for grabs as well as my new fine silver work

Warm Shape
Solid color knitwear from Lindsay Schief.

Whack-A-Do: Hair by Louise
Are you ready for the holiday season? If not, Let me assist you. Come on down to the Northern and get your haircut (sliding scale)! Many years of experience. I have hydraulics! Merry Jolly Happy December! =]

northern craft 2014


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Muralist Jean Nagai Shows at Salon Refu

Thurston Talk - Sat, 12/06/2014 - 10:04am



Submitted by Salon Refu

Jean Nagai (2)You’ve seen Jean Nagai’s work around town.  He makes murals.  There’s one on the front of the Northern, another on the side of the Salon Refu, across the street from Trinacria, Fosbre, and Browsers Books.  The two murals don’t look alike.  The Northern’s features multiple splashes of loose paint; at Salon Refu, a taller building, the mural consists of huge geometric shapes resembling tipis and diamonds.

Unlike grafitti, mural works on buildings made with the permission of building owners are legal and more or less permanent.  For example, the Hiroshige “Great Wave” on the west wall of Childhood’s End Gallery was painted in 1978, before Jean Nagai was born.

Besides very large outdoor works, Nagai makes super-finicky smaller works on paper, superimposing white dots applied with correction-fluid pen onto flat colored backgrounds.  His pen allows him to exercise exacting control over the dots’ distribution.  The dots add up in various ways: sometimes illustrative – flowers, animals – and sometimes pure pattern, either geometric or evocative of natural forms.

Nagai will be showing a series of these works at Salon Refu, 114 N Capitol, from December 5 through January 4, 2015.  There will be tote bags for sale a bit later in the month, as well as original works and color prints of them in smaller sizes.  In addition, Nagai and gallery owner Susan Christian will demonstrate batiking technique onsite, using molten wax on silk and cotton to produce dot-patterned equivalents of Nagai’s designs.  If you’re good, we may allow you to help.

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