Craig Oare came to the close of his life at the age of 66, on October 9, 2014, surrounded by the primal beauty of his much-loved Olympic National Forest.
Craig was an accomplished Olympia poet and author of six chapbooks. He was a longtime member of Olympia Poetry Network and Warrior Poets Society. He loved to spend time downtown at Traditions, where he could often be found drinking coffee, discussing politics, life, or baseball with friends, and working on poems.
During the more than thirty years he resided in Olympia, Craig worked as a caregiver, school bus driver, and, his favorite, a bookseller at Orca Books. Prior to moving to Olympia, Craig also enjoyed working at Raintree Nursery in Morton.
The firstborn child of Dale and Irma Oare, Craig entered the world on November 8, 1947 in Iowa. He grew up in southern California, and earned his B.A. in history at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
To his family and many friends, Craig was a sparkling presence in our lives, a gently yet strongly determined force for good in the world, a deep thinker, and a master of puns. He is survived in loving memory by his dad and second mom, Dale and Sherry Oare of South Dakota, and his sister and brother-in-law, Bonnie and Marc Jones of Olympia.
There will be a memorial gathering on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary of Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 2300 East End Street NW, Olympia. Friends are invited to speak, read, play music, or simply sit and listen, in honor of Craig.
Memories and messages may be posted to Craig’s guest book on www.legacy.com. Craig left his wish that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Amnesty International. –Craig Oare’s family
On October 6, 2014, Seattle’s city council passed a resolution declaring the second Monday in October (formerly Columbus Day) to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On October 13, Bellingham changed Columbus Day to Coast Salish Day and Portland, Oregon’s schools officially dropped Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The next day, about forty local supporters attended Olympia’s city council meeting to urge the city to institute our own Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The celebration of Columbus Day has upset and angered indigenous Americans since its creation in 1934, but they’re not the only ones who disagree with the holiday. Although many historical figures don’t entirely measure up to modern mores, Christopher Columbus’ history is truly appalling. Columbus, who never actually set foot on the land that we now call the United States, was brutal in his quest for gold. According to his own diary, Columbus kidnapped six Taino people on his very first trip to shore, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”
He noted that, “With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” On return trips, he instituted barbaric punishments, including mutilation and death, for anyone who refused to carry out his orders; allowed his men to keep young girls as sex slaves (“those from nine to ten are now in demand,” he noted in his diary); and then kidnapped 500 people to bring back to Spain as slaves, beginning the international slave trade. 200 of the kidnapped Taino people died before reaching Spain.
Though the recent spate of cities enacting Indigenous Peoples’ Day (beginning with Minneapolis in April) has a breathtaking momentum, the push to create the holiday has been ongoing for more than thirty-seven years. In 1977, representatives from more than sixty indigenous nations across North and South America attended the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas (sponsored by the United Nations). It was there that the idea of Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first officially proposed, and a resolution passed.
Thirteen years later, representatives from 120 native nations met in Ecuador for the First Continental Conference on 500 years of Indian Resistance, and once again agreed that Columbus Day should be abolished in favor of a holiday “to strengthen our process of continental unity and struggle towards our liberation.”
More recently, and more locally, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians passed resolution #11-57 in 2011 to “Support to Change Columbus Day (2nd Monday of October) to Indigenous Peoples’ Day”. Our neighbors in the Nisqually, Chehalis, Duwamish, Puyallup, Squaxin and Suquamish nations are all members of the Affiliated Tribes.
Public comment on the topic of Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Olympia’s city council meeting began with Anna Sublan, of the Quileute nation. “We are asking you to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” she began, “because our old people suffered so that I could be here today.”
The issue of whether the creation of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day would technically replace Columbus Day in Olympia was a bit uncertain.
“We don’t celebrate Columbus Day. We don’t acknowledge it,” City Manager Steve Hall explained before the public comment period began. He noted, “There is one small exception – we don’t enforce downtown parking on that day. Not to celebrate Christopher Columbus, but because we don’t want to confuse our customers, because the banks are closed and the federal government’s closed.”
Heads nodded in the audience as Anna Sublan said, “The public doesn’t see federal law, the public doesn’t see state law. This is something that we just see in the general. As people.”
The theme of what we chose to celebrate, and what it means for our community, continued through other supporters’ testimony.
“I want my daughter and kids in our community to grow up with respect for each other and for cultures not their own,” Laura Kaszynski said. “We can do better than Columbus. We can do a lot better.”
Supporters spoke to the healing potential of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the relationships with local nations and native citizens that could be strengthened, and the sense that the new holiday would be a step toward acknowledging and mending historical wrongs.
“I want the place that I live in to continue the reconciliation with the tribes,” Brian Frisina stated. “There are bad things that happened on this land. We can make a difference.”
“Honor the first people by giving them that day back,” he continued.
Lucas Anderson, who organized supporters’ attendance via social media, spoke to the deep respect that Olympia’s community and city government has with our native neighbors, “These very halls,” he said, gesturing at the council’s chambers, “were blessed ceremoniously by local Salish elders.”
“This is noble and healing work,” he said.
At the end of the public comment period, council members Cooper and Roe moved for the issue to be sent to the General Government committee, and the council agreed. Although a specific date for when the draft resolution will be discussed in committee has not been set, organizers are beginning the work of bringing the draft resolution to local tribes for edits and endorsements. Additional outreach to the Olympia community, including businesses and faith organizations, is being planned.
“We have a very exciting opportunity,” Lucas Anderson said during his comment, “to not only end up on the right side of history, but to do our part, however small, in healing some part of that history itself. Let’s make yesterday the last Columbus day we honor in Olympia. Let’s do the right thing and change the day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day so that next year we can stand in these halls, hand in hand, with a celebration honoring the noble and healing work that this community stands for.”
To find out more about the Olympia movement to create Indigenous Peoples’ Day, including reading the draft resolution, please see our blog at www.olyindigenouspeoplesday.wordpress.com. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to Olympia’s city council and to The Olympian are encouraged. Council members can be emailed at email@example.com.
Jayne Rossman is part of the working group to institute Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Olympia.
DRAFT resolution declaring the second Monday in October to be Indigenous Peoples’ Day 10.17.14
A RESOLUTION relating to Indigenous Peoples’ Day; declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the City of Olympia; and encouraging other institutions to recognize the Day.
WHEREAS, the City of Olympia recognizes that Indigenous Nations have lived upon this land since time immemorial and values the progress our society has accomplished through American Indian technology, thought, and culture; and
WHEREAS, the City recognizes the fact that Olympia is built upon the homeland and meeting places of the Indigenous Peoples of this region, without whom the building of the City would not have been possible; and
WHEREAS, the Medicine Creek Treaty, which established the future formal relationship between the U.S. and Native Nations and provided the foundation for Washington’s Boldt decision, was signed at the Nisqually delta, and
WHEREAS, the offspring of the original Treaty Tree, under which the Medicine Creek Treaty was signed, now grows within City limits as a testimony to the ongoing responsibilities agreed to by the signatories; and
WHEREAS, the City promotes the closing of the equity gap for Indigenous Peoples through policies and practices that reflect the experiences of Indigenous Peoples, ensure greater access and opportunity, and honor our nation’s indigenous roots, history, and contributions; and
WHEREAS, Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations- sponsored International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas; and
WHEREAS, in 2011 the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, representing 59 Tribes from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, Western Montana and some Alaskan Tribes, passed resolution #11-57 to “Support to Change Columbus Day (2nd Monday of October) to Indigenous Peoples’ Day”; and
WHEREAS, the United States federal government and various local institutions recognize Columbus Day on the second Monday of October, in accordance with the federal holiday established in 1937.
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by The City Council of The City of Olympia: That the City of Olympia shall hereafter recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Indigenous Peoples’ Day shall be used to celebrate the thriving culture and values that the Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish, Duwamish, and other Indigenous nations add to our city, and to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of indigenous people on this land.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Olympia reaffirms our ongoing commitment to fostering communication with local nations on issues concerning indigenous people.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Olympia strongly encourages Olympia Public Schools to include the teaching of indigenous peoples’ history and the contribution of American Indian nations to the state of Washington, as stated in the Millennial Accord of 1999 and recommended by Chapter 205, Session Laws of 2005.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Olympia encourages other businesses, organizations and public entities to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Martin Luther aKing, Jr.
In the six months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I began to stand with Olympia’s chapter of Women in Black. Mostly attended by middle-aged and older women, it was a lovely and determined group.
Together we witnessed that even in Olympia, with the heavy influence of Evergreen, the draw of violence was far greater. In a country that claims a love of democracy and civil liberties, there was surprisingly little tolerance expressed to us.
As we demonstrated against the military violation of a nation the United States had already been bombing for over a decade, we watched as people—generally young males—leaned out of the windows of passing vehicles liberally dropping f-bombs. And when a bus load of young recruits passed by with their middle fingers prominently displayed, I wondered, “What sort of ‘defenders of liberty’ will they make?”
Howard Zinn once reasoned that “it’s exactly when you are about to go into a war, that you need your freedom of speech. You need the most sharp and honest discussion of what is going on because lives are at stake. War is a matter of life and death. That’s when you need to be sure you are doing the right thing in national policy.”
Not quite a decade later, I listened to a radio commentator who had originally supported the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but had eventually come to believe they were mistakes. His statement of reversal was not surprising, but his criticism of peace activists was. Instead of saying he erred in judgment and regretted the deaths and damage done, he complained that once Obama had been elected the demonstrators against the wars had disappeared. (He apparently doesn’t live in Olympia.)
Many soldiers who went to Iraq have come back broken. Whether death, injury, or emotional trauma, what has been brought back to the States has been a tragedy and a burden to soldiers’ families and communities. The hazards this country put them through were needless and barbaric. As we all know, it was an unnecessary war. Iraq was not involved in 9/11; there were no weapons of mass destruction. They lied.
Is it biological?
In the early 1980s, Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford biologist, was studying a baboon troupe in Kenya. Typically hierarchical, baboon troupes are dominated by aggressive males over females and less-dominate males, not too dissimilar to Western culture.
The data Sapolsky recorded revealed the dominate males were the healthiest and long-lived of the troupe. The rest suffered from various illnesses and early deaths. There is a twist to the story however. At one point the dominate males began to regularly feast on refuse from a local tourist lodge. Unfortunately, some of the garbage was laden with tuberculosis. They all contracted TB and died off. Gone.
This dramatic event had an immediate effect on the social dynamics of the troupe and was an important message for Homo sapiens. With the aggressive males dead, the ratio of females to males became two to one. The remaining males were much less aggressive. This changed everything. Baboons are matrilineal so when additional young males joined the troupe they were taught by the surviving baboons to be cooperative rather than aggressive with the interesting outcome that the health of all members improved significantly as well as life expectancy.
Violence, as this study shows, is not biological; it’s cultural. So, do we drink the Kool-Aid or not? We have a choice.
Violence vs. nonviolence
In Raphael S. Ezekiel’s book, The Racist Mind: Portraits of American Neo-Nazis and Klansmen, he spoke of people raised in a world where there are no competing concepts of how the world is constructed and who and what matters. People’s beliefs about the world are then held “in a dull and muddled and jumbled fashion,” oftentimes contradictory. This is frequently evident when this nation honors the memory and works of Martin Luther King, Jr.—an unflinching proponent of non-violence. It singularly focuses on King’s civil rights efforts and his desire for racial equality, but fails to acknowledge King’s equally important message that we “must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.”
The United State Army on its website, in additional to its commitment to diversity, states its intention to “lift up our fellow human beings both at home and around the world to honor Dr. King’s memory and reaffirm our common humanity.” While the military member who wrote those words is probably sincere in his intent, the late Margo Adair once wrote, “action is the lifeblood of belief.” The purpose of military organizations is antithetical to King’s core beliefs.
In his Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech in 2009, Obama also honored Martin Luther King and quoted him. “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” And then, incomprehensively, Obama prattles on for thirty minutes on how the “use of force can be not only necessary but morally justified” and that “the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”
When we as a nation edit out inconvenient ideas that challenge our beliefs and limit our ability to reflect on the outcomes of our actions, we commit immoral acts and demand unreasonable expectations. What would have been our memories of King if he, too, had met force with force; if he had said we have no other option but to meet oppression with aggression?
King was a moral man with unalterable convictions who was willing to live and die by them. Contrary to Obama’s view that King was naïve of the dangers in the world, King, as an African-American living in the Deep South during Jim Crow, most certainly was aware. And he was not moved.
Veterans as victims
Veterans’ Day is coming up and every year I do not celebrate it. I think about those who have been sent to WWII, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the deaths and injuries. I think about the emotional turmoils and the doubts some have shared with me and the memories they will and have carried until the end of their days. I do not think of them as heroes. I think of them as victims.
These wars have not been for any good purpose. WWII was because of the effects of the Treaty of Versailles following WWI and WWI was about nothing but foolishness. Vietnam was fought on a false belief. When the U.S. lost, the domino effect did not happen. The Taliban was not involved in 9/11 and Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. None of these wars were righteous and all of them were horrible.
And now there is ISIS. What are we to believe about that? If what they say is true, then we are responsible for its creation as the WW I Allies were responsible in setting the stage for the Nazis.
And don’t think that WWII was a good and noble war. After discovering that Hitler was primarily interested in seizing the Soviet Union, Churchill was willing to sacrifice Eastern Europe and change sides, but Roosevelt refused. (The Nazis: A warning from history)
Churchill was able though to delay the Western Front so Germany could inflict as much damage in the USSR as possible, which unfortunately also gave the Nazis plenty of time to design, build, and operate the death camps killing millions.
We, and the soldiers who may be our future victims, cannot hope to be as fortunate as the baboon troupe. We alone must make the alterations to our nation from the bottom up that will lead it to one based on cooperation and mutual respect for all. We must stop believing the untruths we are told including the falsehood that violence is the only solution. If you doubt my words, ask the people of Iraq if they are better off.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate; violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…
The chain reaction of evil—hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars—must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sylvia Smith is a long-time member of Works In Progress and a niece of Phillip J. Anderson, Sr. who fought hand-to-hand combat in the Aleutian Islands during WW II.
Submitted by L. Jeanette Strole Parks for Kluh Jewelers
The Reality TV world has made much of pawn shops lately, and while there are better and worse pawn shops, another proposition for local residents is to do a jewelry-collateral loan at Lacey’s Kluh Jewelers. Located in the Kohl’s and Target Plaza on Sleater-Kinney, Kluh Jewelers will happily assist you in getting maximum value for your valuable items, whether you opt to outright sell the jewelry, or just do a temporary loan.
So what is the difference between a pawn shop and a jewelry loan? “Kluh Jewelers specializes as a jewelry pawn shop and handles personal cash loans for jewelry, diamonds, Rolex watches, gold, silver flatware, or solid gold coins used as collateral. We are a licensed pawnbroker and members of the Washington Pawnbrokers Association.”
In other words, when you sign up for a loan contract with Kluh, you retain ownership until you pay off the loan, at which point you can claim your jewelry. Getting a loan at a reputable store means you will have a pleasant and trustworthy experience with trained jewelry professionals, versus with a pawn shop also filled with lawnmowers, stereos and rifles. You can rest assured that Kluh will give you a good price for your aunt’s cameo brooch.
“You are merely leaving it with us as collateral in case you fail to pay for the loan in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement.” Using state of the art technology they can evaluate the quality of metals, gems, and carat or gram weight of stones and metals and pay you a fair market value right on the spot. Your jewelry will be cleaned free of charge upon pick up.
As you can imagine, this is considerably safer than mailing off your jewelry to an unknown destination, hoping that they won’t keep your items, and stiff you on the fair value. In addition to that, the jewelry is not harmed in any way, whereas many other places will melt your gold and silver down to weigh it and check for purity, and then you no longer have an option to change your mind. As far as the interest rates go on a jewelry-collateral loan, a $100 loan has an interest rate of 3%. This is much cheaper then a what disruption in utility services may cost.
The advantage to doing a jewelry-collateral loan is that there is no credit-check involved and you can quickly get money and have the option to come back to fetch your valuable items. The cost is less than a “pay-day loan” and cheaper than service charges or late fees on bills that you might be struggling to pay.
Of course, you also have the option to sell the items outright, or get a second opinion about the value of your item if you have already received an offer from a competing jewelry store.
The following is a condensed list of what Kluh Jewelers will buy from walk-in customers:
If you have any questions, stop in and ask. Kluh Jeweler’s customer service is most agreeable, professional and helpful.
So, the next time you feel a little strapped for cash, consider what jewelry items might be laying around in your house that could float you through a lean month and take a trip to Kluh Jewelers in Lacey.
Photo Exhibit #1
Photo Exhibit #2
The first picture features Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard University, being arrested for break-in to what was his own home located within a short distance from the school. Meanwhile, the second one shows Dr. Gates and Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, having beer with President Obama at the White House. As you can see from the two photos in question, they reveal different messages. One uncovers a surprised and hostile reaction while the other displays a truce.
Professor Gates’ event took place in July 2009, a few months after Barack Obama took office as President of the United States. The so-called “Beer Summit” did not result in any specific apology by the police, but the photo represented for many Americans the beginning of a new era of race relations, or as the newly elected first black president of the nation put it “I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.” The mute language of photographs seemed to suggest at the time that the two black men from Harvard and Sgt. Crowley—who were joined later by Vice-President Biden for drinks and snacks—were up to something good and significant.
Photo Exhibit # 3
The third picture shows the police using force against people protesting the killing of Michael Brown, an 18- year old unarmed African American man, fatally shot by the police while walking on Canfield Drive, in Ferguson, Missouri.
The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson took place just a few of months ago. It seems fair to ask ourselves how often police shoot unarmed black men. Jaeah Lee from Mother Jones magazine answers to this question by stating that, “The killing of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri was not an anomaly: as we reported yesterday (8-15-2014), Brown is one of at least four unarmed black men who died at the hands of the police in the last month alone.” Although there is not an official agency in charge of tracking unarmed victims, as Jaeah Lee notes, studies by publications such as Color Lines and the Chicago Reporter conclude that there are a disproportionally high number of black Americans among police shooting victims particularly in cities such as New York, San Diego and Las Vegas.
Bud Light, tear gas, rubber bullets, and the new apartheid
Racism is hard to ignore in America; it has been an integral part of the national character of its dominant groups and allies since the beginning of the nation. But it is also important to scrutinize how nowadays prominent black men deal with racism, and how they are being treated by the powers of the State (in this case represented by Obama himself as the head of State) versus how common black people have been treated in the Ferguson case. There are clear differences between the conciliatory triangle of interracial libation formed by Obama, Gates, and Sgt. Crowley (we can only imagine what are they toasting to in the photo) versus the brutal police response to the legitimate protests in Ferguson. Amnesty International, an organization created fifty years ago to protect the dignity and human rights of those imprisoned or harassed for their beliefs, is generally associated with the investigation of government abuses at hands of third world dictators or “Cold War” era eastern regimes. Yesterday (October 24) Amnesty International released a lengthy report called “On the Streets of America: Human Rights Abuses in Ferguson”, which casts a gloomy light on the conditions of human rights in the nation. The report quotes Navi Pillay, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemning the excessive use of force by the police in Ferguson, and making a “call for the rights of protest to be respected. These scenes are familiar to me and privately I was thinking that there are many parts of the United States where Apartheid is flourishing.”
Apartheid was a shameful term used to describe the harsh conditions of discrimination and racial segregation enforced by the white government of the National party in South Africa, aimed to restrain the rights of association and movement of the majority black population in favor of its white minority.
The vast majority of the protests in Ferguson have been peaceful—as noticed by President Obama himself—and the United States Constitution recognizes—at least in theory—the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression as basic human rights. Nonetheless, according to Amnesty International, the police have responded with direct violent dispersal, tear gassing and other chemical irritants, heavy-duty riot gear, military grade weapons, and rubber bullets, plus the imposition of restrictions on the rights to protest, curfews, and submission to Long Range Acoustic Devises (LRAD). The report of Amnesty international reads not like the report of the social life in an advanced democracy, but like a report describing the conditions in a far away country that can’t be ours.
The same president who promptly sought—and rightly so—to amend the racist wrong doings against Henry Louis Gates, has remained relatively quiet about the abuses experienced by common black people in Ferguson. The Department of Justice has not been vigorous in conducting a transparent investigation into the death of Michael Brown, nor in collecting and publishing the statistics on police shootings in accordance with Violent Crime Control and Violent Act (1994). Nor has The United States Congress acted to pass the End Racial Profiling Act.
Compared to the “beer summit” photo, the report offers us a different kind of photograph of ourselves. It is not nice—it is ugly, shameful and complicated but it is showing a rare ‘selfie’ of who we still are and what needs to change.
Black people’s quest for humanity
In his short story, “Stranger in the Village”, the black writer James Baldwin noticed that the identity of both the white and the black man in America are intertwined. For him, the white American world was trapped without possibilities of escape in the contradiction between their declared moral and civic convictions i.e. The American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the exploitative conditions imposed by them via slavery to black people. For Baldwin this condition was inescapable due to the economic necessities of American Capitalism. From Europe (particularly from the British Empire), America also inherited the conviction of white supremacy, which made it impossible for white men “to accept the black man as one of themselves, for to do so was to jeopardize their status as white man”. For Baldwin, it is against the backdrop of capitalism’s necessity of slavery at the beginning of the nation, and the empty and selective discourse of American democracy that the white man seeks to construct his identity, which by its very nature would be fragmented and contradictory.
The Negro identity, on the other hand, is also formed in direct correlation to the economic needs of an expanding white nation (the US) to exploit black men and women through the institution of slavery. Being severed from their past (Africa) and uncertain about the possibilities of taking power from the new masters, Black people survive though their quest for humanity and rights as human beings–a long quest with uneven results as exhibits 1,2, and 3 show in the discrete but telling language of photography.
Enrique Quintero, a political activist in Latin America during the 70’s, taught ESL and Second Language Acquisition in the Anchorage School District, and Spanish at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He currently lives and writes in Olympia.
Spare some change?
Sorry, don’t have any on me.
I don’t have change on me
when I’m downtown
and walk with
class privilege tunnel-vision
down the street.
I only carry apologies,
no time to stop
for even a second.
When I was nine,
and didn’t understand money yet,
my family went to Africa
to visit close friends for Christmas.
Walking through Lalibela, a small village
in Ethiopia, we toured churches
connected with underground tunnels.
Dazzling colors of stained glass
and elaborate jeweled crosses
covered the walls of each one.
Spare some change?
I was raised Christian
and something that’s
stayed from childhood hope
to adult atheism
is the irony of beautiful churches
towering over poverty next door.
Walking to another
rows of outstretched hands,
and voices begging in Amharic
filled either side of the path.
Their cheeks and lips
dried by the sun,
thirst burning on their skin
like I had never seen before.
elbow to elbow,
on their knees
faces up to hot sun
with American money
in a hurry
Our tour guide said
look straight ahead,
never break stride,
don’t talk to a begger on either side.
If you give to anyone,
leave you alone.
But I stopped,
saw a child my own age
underneath his grandmother
to hold her frail arms
in a final plea
I imagined spending
video games traded for sun burns
basketball for tunnel vision rejections
quick bike rides to the park for
hours barely standing in hopes
of my next meal.
My grandma out of a retirement home,
collapsing on me in the street
and all I can do is stretch out
Spare some change?
My mother hid
all the cash
in a necklace wallet
to prevent pickpockets
so I saw every bill
doled out for a marketplace
trinket or snack.
She said we couldn’t afford
to give out money to everyone.
But I did some calculations
with nine year old math,
imagined a coin in every set
of outstretched hands.
I thought we could do
Spare some change?
I don’t know when
nine year old math became
When I learned to
look straight ahead
without breaking stride.
When I found
in my wallet.
When I forgot to imagine myself
in that child in Africa’s place
and only remember to
forget what my privilege is based on,
forget to see humans around me,
and just walk right along.
I know that handing out quarters
won’t change someone’s life.
But I also know
I have more to offer
or loose change.
Daniel Georgeson is a member of Old Growth Poetry Collective here in Olympia. He helps run a regular poetry open-mic, Olympia People’s Mic, every Thursday at Cafe Love, starting at 7:00 pm.
Last July 6, 2014, Olympia Port Commissioner George Barner spoke to Grays Harbor citizens and members of the Quinault Nation—at Zelasko Park in Aberdeen. On that same summer day, as Grays Harbor honored and recognized 47 victims of the Lac Megantic, Quebec, crude oil explosion, Mr. Barner spoke to the crowd, recognizing the dangers posed to all of us by the current “crude by rail” proposals through our communities, our state—our Washington Ports. On that same day Mr. Barner noted both Olympia’s, and Grays Harbor Citizens’ concerns for their “safety, health and well being” with three crude oil proposals at The Port of Grays Harbor (Westway, Imperium, U.S Development/Grays Harbor Terminal).
Furthermore, Mr. Barner, Port Commissioner from Olympia, promised to take our concerns, his as well, tothe WPPA (Washington Public Ports Association) for discussion and consideration of the many dangers posed to all of our communities by these proposals. Mr. Barner, from Olympia was taking us to the higher power of “Ports” in Washington? I remember thinking, “Finally, surely, something will be done–now someone is listening.” If our Port Commissioners here in Grays Harbor won’t listen—we take what we get.
None of the three Port Commissioners from Grays Harbor were at this event, either to explain the logic of this crude oil or to show their concern. To date, the Port of Grays Harbor has not explained to us, in the blast zone, exactly how railing 110 trains a month through our communities and exporting 2.7 billion gallons of explosive crude from our Harbor—causing a 383% increase in vessel traffic—in a tidal, tsunami and earthquake liquification zone is good for us. For the most part all Port Commissioners, including our Executive Director, Gary Nelson, have been glaringly absent from public information events & forums concerning the three crude oil proposals at Grays Harbor. Therefore, a reasonable person can assume they are not concerned with community concerns.
It wasn’t until last Tuesday (10/21) when the Daily World came out with their front page story,”Censured Port of Olympia duo bites back”, that we knew George Barner meant what he said! As he said, he did speak up, along with a fellow Port Commissioner of Olympia, criticizing the three oil proposals, the Port of Grays Harbor and the City of Hoquiam. It’s about time that one of the 75 ports in the WPPA speaks out against the offenses to another community’s well-being, but then to be censured! Shameful. It shows exactly where the power is in Ports in Washington—it ain’t a pretty picture and it ain’t the power of the people!
However, again, it is bitter sweet–our small moment of believing someone out there actually cares that we, the people, are forced to turn our port and our communities, our safety, our way of life, over to crude oil. Gary Nelson has explained to us that it is “legal.” He is acting legally, therefore he shouldn’t be criticized—or questioned. Still, In the words of the WPPA, ports are also assigned to “make whatever decisions that are in the best interests of their communities.”
That is the part not yet explained to citizens of Grays Harbor by WPPA, or by their own Port. We still don’t understand how thousands of gallons of oil tank storage and shippping at a terminal across the street from a wildlife refuge is good for the community? We know it’s legal, but how did that happen “in the best interest of the community?” Mr. Nelson, Grays Harbor Port Executive forgot that part.
Carol Seaman is a concerned Grays Harbor citizen living on the Chehalis River.
Northern is honored to be a stop on Mirah’s Changing Light tour, RVIVR’s Erica Freas will be opening with a sweet solo set. THIS WILL BE AN AMAZING SHOW!
Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste
Thurston County Solid Waste is seeking input on the bag ordinances that took effect July 1 in the cities of Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey, and the unincorporated areas of Thurston County.
“It’s been a bit over four months since the start date, and it’s important that we check in with customers and retailers to get a good picture of how it’s working so far,” said Terri Thomas, Education and Outreach Specialist for the county’s Solid Waste Division.
The new law prohibits most retailers from providing single-use plastic carryout bags. It also requires them to charge a minimum of five cents for large paper bags, which the stores keep. The fee helps offset the higher cost of paper bags and acts as an incentive for customers to bring reusable bags. Customers using EBT and other assistance programs are exempt from the charge.
Complying with the new ordinances required some adjustments for both retailers and their customers. Thurston County Solid Waste staff is eager to get feedback on their experiences now that the plastic bag bans have been in place for more than four months. The information from the surveys will be included in a status report on the ordinances that’s due in early 2015.
The two online surveys—one for retailers and one for customers—are available at www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org/plastics. Retailers can also download signs from the website to post in their stores to encourage customers to take the survey. Those signs and more information are available by clicking on the “Resources for retailers” link. You can also sign up for the Solid Waste Division’s newsletters to be notified when the status report on the plastic bag ordinances is released. Just click on the envelope icon on the right side of the web page to sign up.
For more information about the plastic bag ban ordinances or the customer and retailer surveys, contact Terri Thomas at ThomasTe@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 867-2279.
By Gail Wood
It’s just how they got there that surprises the Thunderbird coach. With just two returning starters, a freshman starting and leading the T-Birds in nearly every stat, and a blocker moved to setter, Tumwater goes into the 2A state tournament ranked number one in the state.
“I don’t know what’s the matter with me, but no matter what we have coming back, I always feel we have a shot,” said Otton, who is in her 11th season as Tumwater’s head coach. “We’ve had a rollercoaster ride and I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
At district, the T-birds were both cold (they lost the first game to both Woodland and Richfield) and red hot (they won three straight games against those two teams and cruised to the district title). At 21-5 overall (only losses are to bigger schools like Oly), 6-0 in the Evergreen Conference and undefeated at district, Tumwater has been a learn-and-grow team.
Leading the way has been MacKenzie Bowen, the league MVP. Whatever role Bowen is asked to play, either as a setter (the position she’s now playing) or middle hitter, she does so without complaint.
“What makes her the MVP of our team and the MVP of our league is that she is the most phenomenal leader,” Otton said. “She is selfless and she’s a hard worker. Her stats might not show that she’s an MVP, but you just watch her and you know.”
No matter if Bowen is on or off her game, she never loses sight of her leadership role.
“She always treats her team so positive and she’s always encouraging,” Otton said. “She never gets down on teammates. Sometimes it’s not physically that we’re leaning on her, but we’re definitely leaning on her as a leader.”
Bowen, unlike her coach, came into the season cautiously optimistic, hoping for the best. As a third-year starter, she knows what it takes to win. As a sophomore, Bowen played on a Tumwater team that placed second in state and last year that finished sixth.
“I came in hoping for a good season, but it turned out better than I could have ever thought,” Bowen said.
Bowen switched to setter this season and has adjusted to the new position. But, she had a head start on the change.
“It’s not the hardest thing since I’ve been doing it for club,” Bowen said about the change in her position. “It gets me excited when I give them a good set to put away. I always feel I can get better. You’re never going to be perfect.”
In addition to Bowen, Tumwater’s Sarah Warner was first-team all-league. Madisen Bourgois and Anela Carins made second-team all-league. Bourgois and Carins have been the Thunderbird’s big hitters at middle blocker.
“They’ve been really steady all season,” Otton said. “I’m expecting some big things from them this tournament.”
Tumwater’s fab frosh is Kennedy Croft, Otton’s daughter, who was also first-team all-league. Wearing two hats – being mom and coach – hasn’t been easy for Otton. Not at first.
“We battled early,” Otton said. “It was a real adjustment and about mid-season we figured it out. She has grown up and matured more than I ever expected.”
Statistically, Croft, despite being only a freshman, leads Tumwater in nearly every category. She’s the team’s go-to-player when they need a rally-ending spike or a rally-saving lob.
“We do have our battles, but I’m super proud of and how she’s handled things,” Otton said. “There are times were we lean on her as a freshman, which is kind of unique.”
Otton’s father, Sid Otton, Tumwater’s football coach since 1974, had to face the same challenges when he coached his two sons, Tim and Brad, in football.
“He did face the same thing,” Otton said, then adding with a chuckle, “But this teenage girl thing – I don’t know if he had to deal with that.”
Tumwater, which opens the state tournament against Steilacoom at 11:45 a.m. Friday at Pierce College, has won with a near perfect serve and volley attack. In a four-game win against Richfield at district, Tumwater served at 97 percent with 17 aces and just two service errors.
“I’ve never seen us so dialed in on serve and serve receive like I did this weekend,” Otton said. “Our hitting percentage wasn’t that great. But we were on with serving and serve receive. When you do that, you’re going to be on your game.”
The strength to Tumwater’s run to the state tournament has been unity.
“I’d say our strength is how close we are,” said Warner, an outside hitter. “There’s been no drama on our team, which can really affect how we play on the court. We’re really supportive of each other. That’s helped a lot.”
Tumwater’s closeness got tested at the district tournament. Just before the tournament started, two players were suspended from the team for breaking team codes. That meant a last-minute lineup adjustment, with players having to take on new roles. And Tumwater pulled together and pulled through.
“One of the strengths that I’m finding in the post season is the versatility of the players,” Otton said. “We have a lot of players that can do a lot of things and they’ve been able to be shifted around and try different positions.
Change is never easy.
“One of the things my girls are super proud of and I’m proud of is that they really came together as a team this weekend,” Otton said.
“Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.” In this, Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussionist and composer, summed up November perfectly.
One way to revel in both—as well as specialty foods, prizes, discounts, and crafts—is at the Fall Festival Holiday Open House at Olympia’s Ralph’s Thriftway. On November 15 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. come mingle, nosh, sip, create, shop, and discover seasonal inspiration at their 1908 East 4th location.
More than just cheese and crackers, the afternoon will offer holiday gift ideas, special event pricing on selected merchandise, 20% off your wine purchase, and 10% back on your ThrifteCard Wallet for houseware purchases during the celebration. These extra Wallet savings can benefit our community through their 1% Community Rebate Program, which helps many local non-profits around our region.
Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway have a long tradition of helping their friends and neighbors. Since opening more than 50 years ago, their goal is simple: “Because we are committed to this area, we believe that it is our privilege and responsibility to return profits to the local community in as many ways as possible.” Whether it’s providing food to the hungry or supporting neighborhood pride through the Love Our Local Fest, they’re a longtime pillar of support, education, and unique culinary offerings.
Marketing Manager Carly Brettmann is proud that this annual event is a huge hit with shoppers. The once-a-year discounts on housewares, wine, and more make for a “great opportunity to get gift ideas for holiday events.” Cooks and foodies alike stock up on coffee presses, decorative aprons, mugs, specialty kitchen prep tools, and all manner of gifts for themselves and others.
There will be a grand prize giveaway which takes the form of a ‘hotsheet’ map. Guests receive a punch card to fill with stamps given out in every department. Once complete, it becomes your prize entry ticket. Around the store, vendors will also have booths of samples, goodies, and holiday inspiration.
Brettmann says this year’s event showcases more vendors than ever before. They include Cyrus O’Leary Pies, Chuckanut Cheesecake, Boarshead Deli Meats and Cheeses, Kerrygold Stout Skellig, Waffle Bites, Le Roule – Garlic & Cranberry, Ila’s foods, Jaslico Chips, Mama Scott- BBQ Sauces, SasQrunch, OlyKraut, Filipino Phils, Ice Chips, Stonewall, DeMar’s Rooster Sauce, and Ryan’s Honeycrisp Cider.
While at Ralph’s, ask how to earn a free holiday ham, get your flu shot, or save money by simply being 55+. The holidays are definitely better in full health and a few extra dollars in your pocket.
The start of the holiday season can be stressful. Take this once a year opportunity to enjoy an event with no expectations. You can wander, sample, make your list for Santa, or become someone’s favorite Secret Santa…all under one roof. Just don’t forget to pick up milk and eggs on the way home, you’re almost out.
By Megan Conklin
My children live in a very, very different world. Rain is a perpetual, sometimes relentless part of their lives. And, interestingly, in can be a very fun part as well. Turns out they don’t melt in the rain. In fact, they rather enjoy playing in it. So, because staying indoors for nine months of the year is not an option, here are my family’s top five Thurston County spaces to play outdoors on one of our notorious, soggy days:
Walking in Watershed Park on a rainy day under the dense canopy of trees is not unlike walking there on a fair day. The naturally provided protection from the drizzle makes Watershed one of our favorite rainy day walks. A one 150-acre park in the southeast part of Olympia, this lush forest has three pedestrian entrances and one parking entrance (located on Henderson Boulevard). The trail system is vast and sometimes tricky for the kids in certain areas of the park, but other entrances offer very flat and manageable paths – this is a park that definitely demands multiple visits to explore its various personalities.
Riding the Dash/Capitol Campus
Riding the bus is something of a novelty for my children. We don’t do it on a regular basis, and they don’t take the bus to school, so a bus ride feels like a special treat. I admit to hitting on this particular idea out of sheer desperation one day, but the gist of it is this: catch the free DASH shuttle anywhere along its route in downtown Olympia on a rainy day. Ride in warmth and comfort for as long as possible or until the kids start getting squirrely (I have yet to be kicked off). Hop off at the Capital Campus and walk in the rain for a bit, admiring the fall trees, holiday decorations, or spring flowers – depending on the season. Then, catch the bus when it circles round again. The DASH runs every 15 minutes so you will never have long to wait. An alternative to this scenario is to hop off the DASH downtown and grab a coffee or hot chocolate to warm up. If your small people are not loving the rain, you might visit Archibald Sisters and pick up a kid friendly umbrella – they have every adorable style imaginable, from ladybugs to sock monkeys.
Olympia Farmers Market
This rainy day gem was born out of idea number two, riding the DASH. We all know how much fun the Olympia Farmers Market can be on warm, summer days. And it can be even better in the rain. As the final stop on the DASH’s downtown route, most of the farmers market is covered, and when they pull out those tall, patio heaters, it is even a little warm. Wandering around in the market on a rainy day, stopping to warm our hands at a heater, eating as many samples as we can get away with – these are good times. I like it even better when it is closed. Then, we can claim the entire, vacant, covered area as our own personal play space. My kids have been known to run around the empty stalls for long enough to ensure a proper afternoon nap.
The allure of Burfoot Park, located in the northeast corner of unincorporated Thurston County, on a rainy day lies in its many, large sheltered picnic areas. One is located very near the playground, and is great if adults want to stay dry while kiddos play. I once hosted a 4-year-old’s birthday party under this shelter, in late May, in the pouring down rain. We used the barbecue to make hot chocolate and warm-up food while the kids ran around screaming in the downpour, happy as could be. Burfoot also has other large sheltered areas located in the woods nearby, which offer respite from the rain while walking on forest paths or heading down to the beach.
Your local school’s play shed
We all know that neighborhood school playgrounds often double as neighborhood parks. Most elementary schools – and some middle and high schools in our area – have outdoor, covered play areas. While this is a space that is only available on weekends, after school, or on school holidays, it still bears mentioning. Our nearby school play sheds have asphalt or concrete areas so we get the additional benefit of puddles. We try to remember our rain boots and usually end up stomping to our heart’s content while singing some Western Washington classics such as “Singing in the Rain,” and “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.” Or, we bring along a basketball or a tennis ball for a quick game of “wall ball” and enjoy fresh air and exercise as a family, without getting drenched.
I still dream of four seasons from time to time. But, even as I lament my children’s lack of experience with snow (or sun for that matter), I also recognize that the beautiful, clean, green space that we call home would not be such without all the rain.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.
Submitted byThurston County Emergency Managment
Thurston County Public Works road crews stand ready to respond to freezing conditions, but remind drivers that even anti-icing solution and sanding won’t clear every spot. Once temperatures dip below the mid-20s, anti-icing solution won’t stop moisture in the air or on the ground from freezing on the surface, and snow and freezing rain can begin to accumulate, even on treated roadways.
“Your best bet for avoiding the ice is to stay off the road if you can. But if you must drive, take it slow, increase your following distance, and make sure our county trucks and equipment can get through in your neighborhood,” said Lucy Mills, Road Operations Manager for the county’s Public Works Department.
To stay safe when driving in winter weather, keep an emergency kit in your car that includes bottled water and high energy, non-perishable food, an extra blanket, warm clothes, a battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries. You should also tell a friend or relative when you’re leaving, your destination, and when you expect to arrive.
For more information about the county’s winter road maintenance and how to contact the Public Works Department to report road hazards, go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks and click on the “Emergency & Weather Info” link. Follow Thurston County Public Works on Twitter at @Thurston_PW.
Thurston County Emergency Management officials also remind residents to stay safe when winter cold sets in. Residents using space heaters should never leave them unattended while the heater is running, and never leave a space heater on while you or others in your home are sleeping. Residents are also reminded to never use barbeques, gas grills or camp stoves inside for extra heat. Burning charcoal, propane or natural gas lets off deadly carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, and if burned inside your house or apartment, the fumes can build up to deadly levels in just minutes.
For updated information about Thurston County’s emergency response and preparedness, go to www.co.thurston.wa.us/em.
Stay connected with TCEM with social media on our Facebook page and on Twitter ( @ThurstonEM ).