Recent local blog posts

Beau coup Bluegrass goodness this Saturday

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:42am

It starts at 6pm September 20 at the State Capital Museum's Coach House where the Oly Mountain Boys will play their new album White Horse with readings of the literary contributions and a short presentation on the Washington history backdrop of the album. It's a special event for a unique album - don't miss it! ($7 or with purchase of White Horse)

Then you can head on down to Rhythm & Rye where at 9pm the twang continues with Patchy Sanders, The Pine Hearts and The Blackberry Bushes. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Body and Mind: How Massage Connects Both

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 6:00am



olympia massage

Relax and escape to paradise during a massage at In Touch Therapy.

Does it ever feel like your mind and body are in a state of disconnect? Founder and Clinic Director of Olympia’s In Touch Therapy, Kenton Stuth, says this is a common problem that many people experience. “The body speaks to the mind using two languages: pain and pleasure,” says Stuth.

If you’ve just been in a bad accident, your mind and body may not be as trusting of one another as they were previously. Enter In Touch Therapy. Stuth and his experienced team of massage therapists work hard to bring the mind and body back together so that the body can start trusting the mind, and you can start feeling like yourself again.

So how exactly does massage therapy repair this state of disconnect? “During massage we work on a muscle group or a specific muscle and put it in a slightly painful, yet controlled, position,” says Stuth. “Because the position is controlled, the body knows it’s safe. This then forces the brain to pause what it’s doing so that it can correspond with that muscle,” he explains.

“The brain is busy with other stuff. It’s not thinking about a specific muscle or organ,” says Stuth. But, by applying controlled pain to a muscle or muscle group, the brain is forced to acknowledge the activated muscle. Stuth says that this is where the mind and body start to come back together again. “We force the brain to connect to a muscle. Once the mind acknowledges that muscle, it starts thinking of ways to make it better,” he explains.

Stuth calls this the mind taking the body on a date. “The disconnect between the mind and body is like a bad relationship. The body wants to have a good relationship with the mind, so the mind has to start taking the body out on dates. After a while, the body starts to trust the mind again,” Stuth says.

In Touch Therapy can help connect the mind and body through facilitating recovery, providing clients with simple exercises to try at home, and working with the client’s health care provider. “Once we get the body back into a nice balanced structure, the body will intuitively start to heal and repair itself,” says Stuth. Sometimes the mind and body just need a little nudge in the right direction.

For more information about the restorative powers of massage therapy, visit In Touch Therapy’s website here, or contact In Touch Therapy’s Office Coordinator, Shannon Monahan, at 360-866-8940, to schedule an appointment.


All a place (Olympia in my case) needs to be is No. 1 in your own heart

Olympia Time - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 5:22am
Olympia is Americ'a's #3 Friendliest Small City!

Olympia is America's #55 Most Liveable City, and #3 in allllll of Washington!


Olympia is the town I love best, but seeing these lists being spread around always leaves me empty.

The problem with these rankings, is that they're subjective in the mix. Sure, they're usually pretty clear about what criteria they use to make up their rankings. But, the conclusions to me seem a stretch.

At least a stretch in that they should matter to any particular person. That friendly list up there especially. What makes a person friendly in Olympia is totally different that Grapevine, TX. We have a different history, different social structure and different culture. So, how can you really determine if we're any more of less friendly?

You really can't. People come up here from the deep South and find us off putting and cold. We go down there and find people overbearing and rude. But, both are considered friendly in their own context.

Or exciting. Someone considered Olympia exciting.

Its interesting to look back at this cottage industry of place rankings. David Savageau and Richard Boyer wrote the first "Places Rated Almanac" in 1983. The Almanac marked nearly the 20 year anniversary of the beginning of the Big Sort, a large demographic change.

According to the great book, Big Sort, Americans began unhinging themselves from diverse and deep rooted communities in the 1960s. They would find new homes in politically and socially homogenous communities.

It makes sense that book suggesting The Best Places, creating an idea that divergent communities could be objectivity ranked (and ranked and ranked) is a centerpiece of the idea of demographic sort. People who began shifting back and forth across the country began looking for rational reasons to pick one place over another. But, this rational sorting of communities lacks a coherence of place.

Toronto found itself on this lists regularly, and a local committee there decided to take a close look at what it takes to put these lists together. The committee (which focused on economic development) wrote a report that poked holes in how these reports are written.

Are they comparing apples to apples?

Is the data old? Has it been massaged?

Is the ranking consistent? Meaning, is #1 really one spot away from #2. Or is #2 really #432?

The lists really try to make what is a series of complicated and human topics clean and easy. We should never do that. It is too subjective.

So, as long as we're talking subjective, we might as well go all the way. What determines what is the best place should be inside of you. You might as well rank cities in America by "Top Cities Where My Friends Live" or "Top Cities Where My Kids Are Growing Up."

Doc "Moonlight" Graham in Field of Dreams put it best:
"This is my favorite place in the whole world," Doc says quietly. "I don't think I have to tell you what that means. You look like the kind of fellow who has a favorite place. Once the land touches you, the wind never blows so cold again. You feel the land like it was your child. When that happens to you, you can't be bought."A place may be a good place based on a series of what look like objective criteria, but these can all end up being baloney if a place doesn't mean anything to you.

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 014

K Records - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 8:46pm
Last Month the Maxines made one of their rare public appearances at the K-sponsored Helsing Junction Sleep Over, providing the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard with a golden opportunity to corral members Matt Murillo and Kelly Norman for an informal chat with host Calvin Johnson (see above photog). The Maxines discuss their erratic existence, records, Brenda Lee […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Bumblebee Poster

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:41pm
We have created a poster of Bumblebees of Thurston County, Washington.  Four of the best BBee photos of each species, two each male and female, that Nancy has taken over the past few years make up the poster.  This poster is very regionally biased and may not match bees seen in other areas. Folk in other regions are encouraged to do something similar.  It has been a mostly enjoyable effort putting the photos into a poster, and small compared to the time spent by Nancy in the field.

The poster is now a feature of our Bumblebees page, along with some other information.

Omitted are common names.  There are common names out there, but they can be confusing in a different way and we generally either adopt our own or abbreviate the scientific name, like "Vos" for Bombus vosnesenskii.  
Bumblebee i.d. is not always easy nor certain.  The only certainly is that the more one watches the more one sees.  Here are some hints on telling gender.   Males are different in appearance and habit in several ways.   1) Pollen basket.  If the bumblebee has a blob of pollen on the hind leg, the bee is female.  Even if not laden with pollen, the female hind femur is wider.  The males may have pollen on his body, but it is haphazard.   2) Flower habits.  Males spend much more time drinking nectar and less time gathering pollen -- only enough to feed themselves.  Some flowers may draw mostly male bees, because they only produce nectar, or mostly female because they mostly produce pollen.  Some flowers draw everyone.   3) Timing.  Males show up at the end of a nest cycle, never in early spring.  First a few queens show up preparing the new nest, then the female workers, then the males and the new queens.   4) Appearance.  Males have longer antenna and a longer body, an extra segment each.  They typically have more yellow, although it may be a little or a lot more depending on the species.   5) Sting.  Only females can sting, (and they can sting more than once, the stinger is unbarbed).  If you are very confident, you can test gender by hand-collecting a male.  If you get stung it was not a male.
Nancy Partlow photo credit B. californicus (fervidus) femaleNancy Partlow photo credit Bombus californicus (fervidus) male
Nancy Partlow photo credit B. vosnesensikii maleJanet Partlow, photo credit B. vosnesenskii female
Now as we head into fall, field study slows hugely with most bumblebees closing camp and dying or (if new queens) headed to ground until spring.  Mid-September and we have seen a few fat new queen vos, laden with fluids and calories, and a few workers of a couple of tenacious fall species are still out there.  In the meantime, over the next few months we will sort through photos and observations and work on both this and other pages about our native pollinators.


Additional resources

Bumble Bees of North America,  Paul Williams et al, 2014

Bumblebees of the Western United States,  Jonathon Koch et al, 2012 (PDF available)

Xerces Society bumblebee i.d.
Xerces Society,

Categories: Local Environment

Native Plant Salvage's Annual Water-Wise Plant Sale

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:26pm
Event:  Sun, 09/28/2014 - 11:00am - 4:00pm

Water-wise Plant Sale: Sunday, September 28th, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Interested in enriching your home landscape with affordable, beautiful, and native or drought-tolerant plants?

Join the Native Plant Salvage Foundation for the Fall Water-wise Plant Sale on Sunday, September 28th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hundreds of hard-to-find native and drought-tolerant shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, and groundcovers will be featured. The event takes place rain or shine at the WSU Extension office at 5033 Harrison Ave NW, (former McLane Fire Station). Call 360-867-2167 or for more details and directions. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Orca Books reading by four authors from Bold Strokes Books, an independent publisher of LGBTQ fiction and genre fiction

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:49am
Event:  Sun, 09/21/2014 - 3:00pm

Orca Books will host a joint reading by four authors from Bold Strokes Books, an independent publisher of LGBTQ fiction and genre fiction. Dena Hankins, Jeffrey Ricker, David Holly, and Eric Andrews-Katz are in the Northwest participating in the Gay Romance Northwest Meetup in Seattle, and have been kind enough to plan a detour to Olympia.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Orca Books is at 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia.

 Dena Hankins  David Holly logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Bake Bread with Pat Hains at Her Olympia Farmstead

Thurston Talk - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 7:37am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

van dorm sponsorFor Pat Hains, life revolves around bread. Step into the kitchen of her farmstead in south Olympia, and you’ll be embraced by the warm aromas of classic baguettes browning in the oven. Inhale once and you’re ready to eat. Inhale twice and you’ll never want to leave.

Bread is one of the simple miracles of life. It’s mostly flour and water, but baking bread is an art. Hains, a bread artist, owns and operates Hains House, a bed and breakfast, where those miracles happen. Learn how to cook pizza in the outside wood fired oven or why soaking towels in a bowl in the bottom of your oven are essential to creating the golden-domed crusts.

bread cooking class

Pat Hains bakes bread at her south Olympia farmstead.

Settle into one of four bedrooms, such as the Llama Room, which overlooks the backfields. If you imagine stepping into a page of Country Living, you’re getting close.

The cooking class that Hains took in Italy not only inspired her baking, but also opened her eyes to the value of restoring her home with its country charm intact. Instead of gutting the house to make way for an ultra modern design, she kept much of the original wood flooring and lathe and plaster, updated elements and reinforced the rustic comfort. Now it’s a homey abode.

Hains, who finds traveling the world to her liking, took an extended trip to Weinheim (near Heidelberg), Germany. She attended the Akademie des deutschen Bäckerhandwerk. It was “the most amazing experience of my life time,” exclaims Hains. Fourteen people from eleven countries made 300 bread recipes in two months.

Now you can reap the benefits of her education during a weekend of bread baking where you will get up to your elbows in at least nine different kinds. Possibilities include 100% whole wheat, sourdough, bagels, pretzel, brioche, rustic with walnuts and cranberries or savory with rosemary and garlic, sweet dough and traditional baguettes. You will make friends with the wood fired oven in the back yard. However, don’t expect to linger over coffee in the dining room – you’ll be too busy baking for too much relaxing. That will have to happen on another weekend.

Hains House makes a peaceful retreat or a marvelous place for a party, reception or other event. Daughter Sally Henry is the Event Planner and can tell you all about the barn and surrounding property. How about hosting a family pizza making party? Now that would be a memorable birthday.

hains houseLooking for a casual wedding in a barn? Overnight guests will enjoy a full breakfast with eggs, seasonal fruit, potatoes, roasted vegetables, sausage and the favored lemon scones. And, you’ll have time with Pat Hains.

For a woman that works full time for the State of Washington, runs a bed and breakfast, works part time as a baker at Mom’s Bakery, raises chickens, has fields to mow and property to manage, I’d think she’d be crazy.

But spending time with Pat Hains over a cup of iced tea and a plate of bread was soothing. She told me, “I’m having fun.” I believe her. She also told me that all the people that come to visit are “really nice and really fun.” You, too, can partake of these simple miracles.

Visit the website by clicking here or call 360-791-8928 for more information. Hains House is also listed at airbnb.

olympia cooking class

Stop in for a bread making class or spend the night at the B&B.

Hains House

2525 Beaver Creek Drive SW

Olympia, WA 98512



Important Olympia Film Society membership meeting this Sunday (Sept 21) - your vote counts!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:15pm
Are you an Olympia Film Society member, or concerned OFS patron and community member?
It is a pivotal time at OFS and we can use your help! The Board of Directors is proposing bylaws changes, and input from our members is important to us. Two major changes being proposed are:
- taking away the current membership privilege to vote on changes to bylaws.
- and removing the article voted in by our members in 2012 that states: "The Staff operates as a collective using consensus decision-making."
If it is important to you that one of Olympia's most visible and active non-profit arts organizations remains membership-driven and collectively-operated, and feel that these changes are counter to the ideas and culture OFS has been nurturing for the last 30-plus years, here are some major ways you can logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Rignall Hall, Local History Site Open House Saturday, September 20

Griffin Neighborhood - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 3:42pm
Have you ever driven by and wondered, what is Rignall Hall and why does it sit where it is? Well, there is a story behind that. In May of 1920, the town of Rignall, Washington was established.

There was no power, no phones and no road to the island. What road they did have was a dirt road. It was a very important town for the upper part of the Steamboat Island area. There was a store/service station, a second store, a school, boat docks, a Post Office, and Rignall Civic Improvement Club. The club had monthly meetings in the store owned by l.M. Noble. The members paid a yearly due and the meetings were for the betterment of the community.

The docks at the town of Rignall, just down the road from the hall, is where all the supplies for the local farmers were shipped. Boats were the only way they had of getting their supplies. Farmers would drive their horse-drawn wagons to the docks, pick up their supplies and take them back to the farms.

In 1923, Rignall Hall was built with the labor of the members on a piece of land donated by Mr. Noble. The Hall became the center of all community activity. There were dances, box socials, dinners, and holiday parties. Fundraisers and meetings of the ladies of the club and even St. Christopher's Mission had its beginning there on Sundays.

The problems of the community were discussed, if a solution was one they could handle amongst themselves a committee was appointed and volunteers were asked for help and the problem was solved.

There were letters written to the county asking for a road to the island and that the road be oiled and have trash service brought to the area. There were talks at the meetings from the power company about bringing power to the area in 1931 and there was a lot of discussion at this same time about bringing in a phone line.

As a historical part of this area, it is important to keep Rignall Hall here. There is a small group of us trying to maintain the building and keep it in operating order so that it can be rented by anyone in the neighborhood. The building has seen many weddings, parties, dances, anniversary parties, and celebrations of life. In 1990 the band Nirvana played a concert there.

If you are interested in renting this building you can call Chris Null at (360) 866-1430. If you would like to make a donation to help maintain the building, you can send it to Rignall Hall's treasurer, F. Olson at 5325 Fadling Road SW, Olympia, Washington 98512.

Come and see a piece of Steamboat Island history!
Rignall Hall Open House
Saturday, September 20
11 AM to 4 PM
Rignall Hall is located at the corner of Urquart and Steamboat Island Rd. NW, across the street from Griffin Fire Station #2

Here is a small list of the last names of some of the members dating back to the 1920's, many who are still in the neighborhood. Their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are still here. Some of them may be your neighbors. If you recognize a name, ask them about the Town of Rignall.

Ash     Barnum     Benson     Bigelow     Bray
Brown     Camus     Carpenter     Carr     Cassell
Collier     Dana     Degler     Dekker     Dunkelberger
Hacker     Hanson     Hunter     Jackson     Jones
Juhl     Longmire     Lull     Mason     McGaughy
Noble     Patterson     Popple     Post     Prehm
Ronne     Rose     Sawtell     Schirm     Schmidt
Sinclair     Skellenger     Taylor     Thornton     Thurlow
Van Gilder     Watson     Whitt     Wilson     Woodhouse
-- text from a brochure produced by Rignall Hall

Summer’s End at Lacey Car Show Returns

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:50pm


Submitted by The City of Lacey lacey car showAs the end of summer approaches, so too does the 13th Annual Summer’s End at Lacey Car Show. Set for Saturday, September 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Huntamer Park (618 Woodland Square Loop SE), the show is open to all years, makes, and models. The car show will host an array of vehicles from every era. Past entries have included vehicles ranging from a 1906 Holsman Horseless Carriage to a 2013 Tesla, and have also included motorcycles. In addition to the many cars on display, enjoy vendor booths, have lunch in the park, and have fun with games and activities for the family. Lacey Sunrise Lions will provide the car-themed games including the piston toss, lug nut challenge, and fan belt toss. Live music will be provided by the local band Backlash from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free to the public. The first 200 entries will receive a “goody bag” with a commemorative dash plaque and all entries will receive a photo of their car taken at the entrance. In addition, entries contend for 50 different awards! The cost to enter a vehicle is $20 at the gate.    Summer’s End at Lacey Car Show is sponsored by Lacey Parks & Recreation and various community partners. A portion of the event proceeds will be used to purchase defibrillators for local emergency response agencies. Visit for more information.

Harlequin Productions Taking Applications for Non-Profit Community Partners

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:46pm


Submitted by Harlequin Productions harlequin teen dramaHarlequin Productions is taking applications now through October 31, 2014 for their Community Partnership Program 2015. Non-profit partners receive 150 tickets to Harlequin Productions’ final dress rehearsals, which they may sell as a fundraiser or give as thank you gifts to donors or volunteers. The intention is to provide a win-win for our non-profit partner and Harlequin Productions. Our non-profit partner gets an opportunity to raise money or to thank their generous donors or dedicated volunteers. In return, Harlequin’s cast and crew will benefit greatly by having a full audience for its final dress rehearsal. The non-profit pays a minimal fee in the amount of $200 and commits to filling their allotted seats. Five final dress slots are available in our 2015 season, commencing with The 39 Steps which opens January 22, 2015. For more information or to sign up, visit

Thurston County Receives Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:38pm



Submitted by Thurston County Assessor

President Kim Lauffer, RES, Steven Drew (Assessor), Mike Brooks (Chief Deputy Assessor)

President Kim Lauffer, RES, Steven Drew (Assessor), Mike Brooks (Chief Deputy Assessor)

The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) is pleased to announce that the Thurston County, Washington Assessor’s Office has received the Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration.

IAAO’s Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration recognizes governmental units and individuals involved with assessment that integrate best practices in the workplace.  This challenging and rigorous program is a self-conducted evaluation of adherence to specific, accepted assessment administration and appraisal standards as defined in the IAAO publication Assessment Practices: Self-Evaluation Guide.

This certificate was presented during a ceremony at the IAAO 80th Annual International Conference on Assessment Administration at Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California, on August 27, 2014.  IAAO’s Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration is an important recognition of industry professionals who strive to meet the highest standards in their line of work.  It was a great honor for IAAO to present Thurston County with this certificate during the annual conference.

IAAO is the leading nonprofit, educational and research association for individuals in the assessment profession and others with an interest in property valuation and taxation.  IAAO’s mission is to promote innovation and excellence in property appraisal, assessment administration and property tax policy through professional development, education, research, and technical assistance.  IAAO currently serves over 7,000 members worldwide, and celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2014.

For information on IAAO, the conference, or the certificate, visit or call (816) 701-8100.

Fruit plate for one (+ one) : sponsored post

The Plum Palate - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 2:33pm
Thank you to Lesley Stowe Fine Foods for sponsoring this post. My mom put that first meal in front of me, not an hour after we first brought our daughter home. She knew what to do in that blissed-out moment, when I was so distracted by my girl’s crumpled baby skin and endless, shifting micro-expressions […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Volunteer at the Family Support Center!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:28am

If you are concerned about homelessness and working together to strengthening families, this volunteer opportunity could be great for you!

The Family Support Center envisions a community where all families are valued and nurtured and have the resources to be strong, healthy, and self-sufficent.  

We are the largest emergency shelter in Thurston County, and moved to a brand new, renovated building on July 1. Pear Blossom Place offers 30+ beds for homeless families with children, and is now open 24hrs a day, 365 days of the year. It is staffed by 100% volunteers from 5pm-7am every night of the year.

We have opportunities for greeters (5:30-7:30pm), **REALLY NEED overnight hosts! (7pm-7am), daytime weekend shifts (9am-1pm, or 1pm-5pm)...we're also looking for volunteers who wish to facilitate an activity once per week! Do you like to do arts/crafts with kids? Help lead gardening activities? Organize a family game night? Want to just come help kiddos with their homework afterschool? We want to hear from you!

*We welcome college and high school students in need of internship credits, community service hours, or experience in the human service field! Also, children can volunteer alongside their parents; this is a family friendly place!

All volunteers are given; a 3-hr training prior to volunteering and at least one training shift, access to supportive and knowledgeable staff, 24-hr on call support while on shift.

Interested? Have questions? We would love to hear from you!

Contact Katherine, AmeriCorps VISTA at or call 360-628-7343 ext 1

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Time remaining: 50%07/10/2014 (1 week) logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

YWCA of Olympia Announces 2014 Women of Achievement

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:22am


Submitted by YWCA of Olympia

20th Annual Gala Honors South Sound Women Making Positive Impact in the Community

The words are powerful, the impact broad, the commitment unquestionable.

“She is an incredible representation of female empowerment, strength and sense of self.”

“Her professional achievements and her personal experiences have influenced so many people in our community to face the reality of racism and sexism.”

“She has held a strong belief in giving women and girls educational opportunities to step themselves out of dangerous or poverty driven situations”

“She believes in the power of education to open doors for people from all walks of life, particularly those who have lacked access to systems of power”

The YWCA of Olympia is pleased to announce their 2014 Women of Achievement:

Dr. Rhonda Coats, Racial Justice Award 

Dr. Rhonda Coats, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Dr. Rhonda Coats

Vice President for Student Services at South Puget Sound Community College, Dr. Coats is a long-time advocate for access, retention, and success for students of color and other underrepresented student groups and she led efforts to establish and maintain the SPSCC Diversity & Equity Center.

Rev. Marti Ensign

Rev. Marti Ensign, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Rev. Marti Ensign

Minister and Humanitarian, Rev. Ensign has helped women locally and internationally for the last 60 years. Marti received her BA in pre-med in 1958 followed by graduate degree, was the first woman to be fully ordained as a Free Methodist Minister, and served on the task force to begin the medical program at Hope Africa University in Burundi.  As a member of Soroptimist of Olympia International she implemented the Hope Africa Scholarship to help women obtain medical education.

Lynn Grotsky, LICSW

Lynn Grotsky, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Lynn Grotsky

Co-founder, Board President, past volunteer Executive Director, Facilitator Consultant and Event Coordinator of Pizza Klatch. Lynn, a clinical social worker, also was one of the founders of Thurston County’s Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center where she established and directed a therapy program for abused children and their families. In 1989, she and her wife, Lisa Brodoff, won a landmark lesbian second parent adoption case in Washington State, paving the way for same-sex parents to legally adopt here and throughout the nation.

Dr. Leticia Nieto, Racial Justice Award

Dr. Leticia Nieto, 2014 YWCA Women of Achievement Winner

Dr. Leticia Nieto

Dr. Nieto is a Psychotherapist, Certified Psychodramatist, Accredited Playback Theatre Trainer, and Anti-Oppression Educator and Author specializing in cross-cultural communication, motivation and creativity. Dr. Nieto is a Professor in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program at Saint Martin’s University.

Christy Peters

Christy Peters, 2014 Women of Achievement Winner

Christy Peters

Currently, the Administration Chief at the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Christy has also served as former President of Junior League of Olympia, past President of the South Sound Reading Foundation, and currently serves on the Boards of NOVA School, the Olympia Youth Chorus, and the Olympia Downtown Rotary Club.

Nominees were selected for their professional achievement(s), peer recognition, personal growth, demonstration and inspirational involvement in the community, and/or how she models her life in accordance with the YWCA of Olympia’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism through education, advocacy, service and leadership opportunities.

The 20th Annual Women of Achievement Gala, Presented by Titus Will, will take place on Thursday, November 6th from 5:30pm – 9:00pm at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets ($80) will be available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at 352-0593 or online at under Events. Once again Titus-Will has stepped up as the Women of Achievement Gala Presenting Sponsor with WSECU and Lucky Eagle for serving as our Sustaining Sponsors.

The agency will release the name of their Young Woman of Achievement and Business of Achievement later this week.

All photos courtesy of the YWCA of Olympia.



Capital Heating and Cooling: Three Generations of Keeping the Community Comfortable

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 8:49am



capital heating and cooling

Pictured from left are Bill, Chuck and Dean Schmidtke, the third generation owners of Capital Heating and Cooling.

Successful family businesses require dedication, expertise in a craft and relentless hard work. Transferring the business through the generations is challenging.  Most family businesses dissolve rather than get passed on through the family. Statistics indicate that only 12% of family owned businesses survive until the third generation. The fact that Capital Heating and Cooling has been in business for 77 years and currently owned and operated by the third generation Schmidtke brothers is testimony to their dedication to customer service, expertise in their craft, and commitment to quality work.

Capital Heating and Cooling started in 1937 by Bill Schmidtke and his business partner Helmut Klein.  They purchased the existing Tobin Sheet Metal and founded their company as Capital Sheet Metal in downtown Olympia. Over the years, sheet metal fabrication led into the building of ductwork and eventually a comprehensive heating and air conditioning company. Currently the three Schmidtke brothers – Bill, Chuck and Dean – own and operate Capital Heating and Cooling.

capital heating and cooling

Capital Heating and Cooling believes in “being there for our customers for generations.”

Dean Schmidtke shares, “We grew up always doing something with the company whether sweeping the floor in the shop or washing the trucks.”

“We run the business with modern day technology and techniques but remain committed to the ‘old fashioned’ values in which the company started,” Dean continues. “We are honest, straight forward and concerned with helping our customers.”

“We literally will be there for our customers for generations. We will keep the tradition of Capital Heating and Cooling’s integrity and quality going. We will continue the good work that my father and grandfather have done in homes, schools and office buildings,” Dean adds.

The Schmidtke brothers have been successful in growing Capital Heating and Cooling partly due to their insightfulness in allowing each other to follow their respective areas of strength within the company. Each pursued education, training or jobs outside the family business prior to taking over ownership in 2007.

Helping in the family business while growing up and then gaining experience outside the family company likely has served as part of the company’s continued success and growth. Bill received an engineering degree at Saint Martin’s University and now leads the large commercial projects at Capital Heating and Cooling.  Chuck originally attended the Washington State Explorer’s Academy from 1995 – 1998 before starting with the company full-time to run the service department. Dean, also a graduate of Saint Martin’s University worked in the industry throughout the country before returning home to Olympia.

capital heating and cooling

Larry Schmidtke, pictured in the late 1980s, was the second generation to own Capital Heating and Cooling.

Dean comments, “Bill has always had the mechanical engineering mind so it makes sense that he leads our big projects while Chuck is an expert at juggling company resources. And I tend to have more of the broad ideas. We use our natural strengths and talent in working in different departments but then come together as a team to lead the company.”

And of course the elder Schmidtke is still involved. “Dad still swoops in to give his two cents,” Dean says with a chuckle.  “He stirs things up and then he is gone. He is always giving advice or telling fun stories about things that happened in the past. He enjoys reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ like when the company used to do hot tar roofing and the crew accidentally set one on fire.”

Hot tar roofing is a bygone era but part of the company’s origins – custom sheet metal continues as an integral part of the business. The sheet metal division fabricates the custom ductwork, as well as builds stainless steel and copper countertops, kitchen hoods and much more.  Capital Heating and Cooling now specializes in residential and commercial Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, air duct cleaning, and repair and maintenance of systems.

capital heating and coolingThe installation of any heating and cooling system is paramount to its success. Capital Heating and Cooling supports extensive and ongoing training for its technicians.

Capital Heating and Cooling is well known in the area for its highly experienced installation teams for both large commercial projects and residential homes both for new construction and remodels. And their reputation for service and maintenance systems is impeccable.

Many of us have worked with Capital Heating and Cooling for systems within our own homes or offices but if not it is likely we have experienced the comfort of a home or business in which they have installed a system such as Meconi’s Restaurants, the Governor’s Mansion, Olympia Federal Savings in Hawks Prairie and the O’Grady Library and Worthington Center at Saint Martin’s University.

To learn more about Capital Heating and Cooling click here or visit them at 1218 Carpenter Road SE in Lacey.


Volunteer Meeting!

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:00pm

Hey high school and college kids! Why not give yourself a break from studying for your many classes by volunteering at Northern? All work and no play, etc.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Port Blakely Tree Farms’ Forests Closed Until Further Notice Due to Extreme Fire Danger

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:44pm



Submitted by Port Blakely Tree Farms 

Prolonged hot and dry weather conditions have raised the risk of forest fires in the region. Until further notice, PORT BLAKELY TREE FARMS’ forestland in Washington and Oregon is closed to ALL public access. This closure applies to foot, horse, motorized and any other form of access.

While we regret any inconvenience this may cause to recreational users, our decision to prohibit access reflects our priorities: safety and the protection of our forests. Port Blakely employees and security officials are monitoring the weather conditions and unauthorized access.

This closure to all traffic is temporary. Regular allowable access will be permitted once the risk of forest fires decreases and forest conditions are considered safe.

For updated land closure status, go to

To report fires call 911.

Talking Food with New Market Culinary Arts

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 3:11pm
Event:  Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:30pm - 1:30pm At the Tumwater Timberland Library: Join New Market Skills Center culinary arts students for a discussion of the Timberland Reads Together titles "Closer to the Ground" by Dylan Tomine and "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson. The students will share recipes related to the books and discuss seasonal foods. This program is part of Timberland Reads Together, Timberland Regional Library's one book-one community reading initiative for 2014. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like
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