Recent local blog posts

Mars Hill, Cascadian religion and the Seahawks

Olympia Time - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 5:06am
This quote told me a lot about how the Seahawks phenomena (and sports fandom in Cascadia in general) is informed by how we approach faith. Or, how I know that being a Seahawks fan is nothing like being a person of church:
“Pray that the watching non-Christian world would not be given the opportunity to discredit not only our church but the very gospel of Jesus."
Cascadia is the largest of the few places in the United States that this is true. That the majority and mainstream is unchurched. Or, more importantly, don't consider faith, specifically often Jesus, to be an important cultural touchstone.

So, up here, if you are religious, if you attend church every week and consider it to be an important part of your social and cultural life, you are separating yourself from the pack.

Most importantly isn't just that Cascadia is unchurched, but that those that are churched, are separated from each other because our corresponding high level of religious diversity. Even if you lumped together all of the particular evangelical protestant sects, you would only come up with 25 percent of the 42 percent that consider themselves anything at all.

So, the Mars Hill leaders really are right, the big wide world out there in Cascadia is non-Christian and also non-church.

But, even thought it is pretty unique to here that we don't use religion as a cultural touchstone, we are not without important and almost universal cultural references. Generally speaking, these have often come up when a sports team is good.

In the mid-90s, we were all Mariners fans. Before that, it was the Huskies. These phenomena reach across Cascadia, seemingly uniting a disparate population. But, uniting behind what? That a team is good, the team is from here, we should root for them.

Matthew Kaemingk writing at Christ and Cascadia I think answers it best:The Pacific Northwest has not “grown out” of religion, Cascadians have simply transferred their religiosity to what the sociologist Meerten Ter Borg calls “disembedded religion” or  “secular spirituality.” Broken free from religious institutions, structures, rules, and creeds this “disembedded religion” is an anti-institutional form of spirituality that seeks powerful aesthetic experiences.Matt's right, Cascadia didn't grow out of religion, it was in fact never religious ever in its non-native history. And, he hits the nail on the head when he lists "structures, rules and creeds." This is exactly why the Seahawks (when they're good and attractive) are an overwhelming universal force, because literally anyone can like them.

There is nothing special you need to do. You don't need to change your political beliefs, the books you read or take an oath. You don't need to get new friends, dress differently (in large part) or change your life at all. You just need to care whether a team wins. Deeper social, political or cultural values never come up.

A pro-choice, atheist, progressive, Seattle resident can sit next to a pro-life, Christian, conservative Duval resident at a Seahawks game and nothing much in the descriptions of each other would matter.

But, that is not how church is in Cascadia. It has a much more deeper meaning. And, because religion is so fractured here, very specific things like creed, political belief and possibly what you wear really does come to mattering. And, if you are religious, it absolutely should matter.

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 012

K Records - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 11:03am
The Pink Elephant’s Graveyard cannot be denied. Located in the far reaches of that nebulous body known as the interweb, K has been stashing valuable artifacts there for your retrieval. What is K? A fair question to which we can only point upward, to the upper  echelons of the etherworld where relevant K artifacts are […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Ultimate Frisbee: Grrrls Welcome

Thurston Talk - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 6:00am



By Megan Conklin

tagsThe first time I played Ultimate Frisbee on an Olympia Parks and Rec League was about ten years ago. My most distinct memory of the experience is that my entire team, which was comprised of men and women ranging in age from late high school to 50-something year olds, encouraged me to take “nursing breaks” during the games whenever my new baby, who was hanging out on the sidelines with my husband, needed them.

ultimate frisbee olympia

Ultimate Frisbee is truly a game that transcends traditional age and gender rules.

Really? Even in Olympia, what kind of sports team does that? I quickly learned that Ultimate Frisbee was unlike other team sports in more ways than one.

According to the World Flying Disc Association’s official website, Ultimate Frisbee is a seven-a-side team sport played with a flying disc.  The object of each team is to score a goal by having a player catch a pass in the end zone that they are attacking.  Ultimate is self-refereed and non-contact.  The Spirit of the Game guides how players referee the game and conduct themselves on the field.

It was the Spirit of the Game that won me over to the sport of Ultimate Frisbee so many years ago. In a nutshell, the Spirit of the Game refers to the respectful, honest, and mutually arbitrating quality of the sport.  All players on the field are responsible for officiating the game – and over aggressive or dangerous play is prohibited.

And there are cheers – the kind you make up on the spot at the end of the game. The cheers are often set to the tune of a well- known song or nursery rhyme and, in my experience, are usually amusing and sung very off-key.  As a poetry lover and English teacher, I loved the organic creation of a cheer at the end of each game even more that the game itself.

ultimate frisbee olympia

South Sound Ultimate player, Alicia Zagel, and her five week old baby, Linus Zagel, take a short photo break during Potlatch, Washington State’s largest Ultimate Frisbee tournament.

The co-ed nature of the game of Ultimate is also fascinating. At its most advanced and elite levels, co-ed teams compete against one another, in addition to single gender teams.  Here in the South Sound, women excel at Ultimate Frisbee. In fact, one all-female team, Mint, qualified this year to play in the Women’s Masters Division of the National Tournament in Sarasota, Florida. They placed fifth out of ten teams.

Despite the involvement and success of women playing Ultimate Frisbee in our community, it seems to be more challenging to get girls involved. Mike Santana, a long time Olympia Ultimate player and advocate, is working to change that.

Santana maintains that “lots of women in their twenties, thirties, and forties play Ultimate in the South Sound, but it is harder to get young girls and teenage girls to participate.”  He has a variety of theories about why that is, however Santana is more focused on creating opportunities to engage young women in this unique and exciting sport.

To this end, he is teaching The Ultimate Grrrl! Clinic, a series of Ultimate Frisbee classes co-sponsored by Olympia Parks & Recreation and the South Sound Ultimate Players (SSUP).  The focus of the clinic will be on the basics of the game, its culture of fun and fairness, and how to impartially self-officiate the game.

olympia ultimate frisbee

Olympia’s all female team, Mint, dominates at Nationals in Sarasota, Florida (women are ages 44 to 29, L to R).

While Ultimate Frisbee is fast paced and active (think soccer with Frisbees), it is also a great fit for young people who appreciate creative play along with traditional sports. For example, one way in which teams may wrap-up a game of Ultimate is to play “Your Greatest Fan,” a game in which players combine a “rock/paper/scissors” competition with an epic cheer-off until the entire group is cheering for the winner. The “Spirit of the Game” is always evidenced in Ultimate’s quirky, collaborative spin on a normally competitive situation.

Beth Drake, South Sound Ultimate player and member of Mint, will also be helping out with the clinic this fall. She has been playing Ultimate for eleven years and truly believes that both “the spirit of the game and the self-refereeing make the sport incredibly unique and give young players the chance to come to agreement in a competitive environment.”

Sherrie Thissell, South Sound Ultimate player and mother of two, concurs. Thissell played basketball competitively as a young woman, and mourned the lack of opportunities to continue playing past high school. “Ultimate on the other hand is played through college, and after college in both club and recreation leagues,” Thissell notes.  ”Often there are co-ed leagues, especially at the community level, which result in more opportunities for young women to continue to play a sport of their youth into adulthood.”

ultimate frisbee

Men and women, girls and boys play together in both pick-up and Parks and Rec Ultimate Frisbee leagues.

That little baby I stopped to nurse throughout my initiation into Ultimate Frisbee years ago, is now ten. Annie is a super active, athletic girl who loves to dance and swim and ride bikes, yet she has never been a big fan of team sports.  When I explained the game of Ultimate Frisbee to her, she agreed to give the Ultimate Grrrl Clinic a try. Personally, I think she will become a life-long Ultimate player, but if all else fails, I know she is going to love those cheers.

Know a 10-14 year old girl interested in Ultimate Frisbee?

The Ultimate Grrrl Clinic will take place at the Olympia Center on Friday evenings at 6:30 p.m. on October 3, 10, 17, and 24. The clinic will cost $15 (total for all four sessions).  Registration information can be found here.  If you have questions, please contact Michael Santana, SSUP board member, at 360-480-4722 or email him at


Hunting for “Barry’d Treasure” at Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Thurston Talk - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 3:59pm



barry'd treasure

Television personality, Barry Weiss, will be at the Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel on September 27.

How does a pirate ask you on a date?  “Arrrrrrrrr you free on Saturday?”  This fall, say ‘yes’ and you could win big courtesy of the Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel.

If you don’t want to be a pirate but still like finding treasure, head on over to Rochester’s Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel all month long and especially on Saturdays with September’s $50,000 Barry’d Treasure Hunt.

Featuring prizes up to $50,000 and a visit from treasure hunter extraordinaire Barry Weiss of A&E TV’s Storage Wars and Barry’d Treasure, the event promises winners galore.  Players Club members 18 and older can earn entries all month long into the weekly Saturday drawings simply by playing their favorite games with their club card.  Guests are eligible to win one time each drawing day by choosing their luckiest spot on a large game punch board.  If they get the “Progressive” spot, they can win at least $5,000 and up to $50,000 cash! The drawings for winners will take place Saturdays in September every half hour between 5:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. And as an added treat, Barry will be at the casino on the final Saturday of September to meet all of his friends and fans. The meet and greet is free to all Players Club members.

barryd treasure

Barry Weiss is making an exclusive stop at the Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel.

Joining the Players Club is easy and rewarding, offering discounts throughout the resort including restaurants, games, and overnight bonuses.  During the Barry’d Treasure excitement, members can visit the Players Club window at the casino on September 27 for passes to a meet and greet featuring television personality and treasure seeker Barry Weiss from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. All participants will receive a free autographed picture from Barry and be able to take their picture with him!

Though a newcomer to the Lucky Eagle, Weiss is making it his exclusive Northwest stop.  Excited to visit, rediscover the region, and meet new and interesting people, he’ll also keep his eyes open for unusual items and rare finds.

“Barry is known for his sharp wit, great fashion sense and for owning some pretty epic vehicles, so I’m sure fans of the show will be excited for the opportunity to meet him in person,” said Michael J. Broderick, Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel’s vice-president of marketing.  ”Plus with a chance to win up to $50,000 every Saturday all month long and with Barry visiting on September 27, we are going to be the place this September,” exclaimed Broderick.

With school just around the corner and the dog days of summer setting in, sometimes it’s nice to escape.  Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is a perfect date night activity; close to home and rich with food, activities, and air conditioning!  Don’t miss out on their many events, food specials, and hotel packages for those wanting a mini-staycation.

You can contact Lucky Eagle at 800-720-1788 and visit at 12888 188th Ave SW, Rochester, WA.


Dick Nichols – The Voice of the South Sound for 50 Years

Thurston Talk - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 7:18am



By Gail Wood

les schwabDick Nichols is discussing his life-long passion – doing sports play-by-play for radio and explaining the “why” to his pursuit.

“I don’t draw pictures or do carpentry,” Nichols said with a grin. “But one thing I can do is talk.”

Every fall for over 50 years, Nichols was the Friday night guest in homes throughout the South Sound. People turned on their radios to listen to Nichols talk as he gave his account of that night’s hometown football game.

dick nichols

Dick Nichols called high school sporting events for 50 years.

“I hate to say gift because that sounds like bragging,” Nichols said. “But ever since I was a little kid, I was able to talk. And talk a lot.”

His gift for gab became a South Sound treasure. From 1954 as a student majoring in communications at the University of Washington to 2012 as the play-by-play sports announcer for KGY, Nichols talked, giving listeners an account of a local high school football or basketball game. Now, at age 78, the voice is off the radio.

“I miss it,” he said. “But you adjust. You move on.”

Now, Nichols does his talking around a table in his Tumwater home, playing bridge with friends. Or at the Valley Athletic Club, when he’s walking. The talker still talks. Just not on the radio.

The Vin Scully of the South Sound had an infatuation with play-by-play announcing early in his life. Listening to Leo Lassen, the radio sports announcer of the Seattle Rainiers from 1931 to 1960, helped teach Nichols the trade. When Nichols was doing his paper route as a kid living in Shelton, he’d announce an imaginary game as he walked down the streets, tossing newspapers onto a porch.

By the time he was a UW freshman, Nichols was ready for the real deal. With John Cherberg as the Huskies head football coach, the kid from Shelton began broadcasting Husky games on the school’s FM station, UOW. Eventually, Darrell Royal and then Jim Owens became head coach and a kid named Bobby Dunn took over at quarterback. Dunn became the long-time football coach at Olympia High School and a friend of Nichols.

After graduating, Nichols’ first full-time radio job was in Moses Lake with KSEM in 1958. A year later, Nichols, missing the South Sound, hooked up with Centralia’s KELA, doing news and sports there for three years. In 1962, he became the assistant sports editor at The Olympian newspaper and two years later hooked up with KGY for the first time to announce games.

In 1966, Nichols made another career change when he was hired to perform public relations duties for Alcoa and moved to Vancouver. Missing Olympia, Nichols moved back to the area two years later to work for The Evergreen State College. Jobs with Tumwater School District and Puget Power followed and he was elected for two terms as county commissioner in the 1990s.

“I must have had a low boredom threshold or something,” Nichols said with a chuckle about his career.

The jobs changed. But Nichols’ love for radio broadcasting never faded. In 1969, KGY and Nichols hooked up again and that lasted until 2012, when the Voice of the South Sound made his final signoff.

dick nichols

Dick called his first game for KGY in 1964.

Through all those years, Nichols had a pay-the-bills job. Radio was a hobby, a passion. Chasing a buck wasn’t what drove him to go to small gyms or tiny press boxes to broadcast a game.

“The money wasn’t what it was all about,” Nichols said. “It was about doing something I really enjoyed.”

Nichols, who had a similar delivery to long-time WSU announcer Bob Robertson, mastered the art of creating drama. He’d punctuate an Olympia Bears first down or a North Thurston Rams touchdown with excitement. It was a narrative with enthusiasm, not with a droning monotone.

“Today, everybody tries to be really cool. I was excitable,” Nichols said. “Dave Niehaus got to be that way for the Seattle Mariners. The more excited he got, the better.”

In 1980, Nichols teamed up with Larry McMillan. It became the perfect team. Nichols, with his paint-a-picture style, was the ideal play-by-play announcer. McMillan, as a former jock who played football, gave the colorful insight to a play. And both of them always followed Nichols’ rule.

“If you can’t say something good about a kid don’t say anything,” Nichols said. “I didn’t criticize a kid ever. And I wasn’t hired to criticize coaches.”

McMillan and Nichols were the perfect team, never stepping on each other’s sentences. They had a rhythm and McMillan knew when it was his turn.

“Dick had a professionalism, an attention to detail,” McMillan said. “He always made sure the broadcast was done in a timely way. He was never late. He had a commitment to the coaches and kids.”

Even today when Nichols gets a chance to talk at an award presentation bearing his name to 14 local high school seniors at an Olympia Rotary luncheon, he makes his pitch about lessons learned from sports. While Nichols never played high school sports, he appreciated the lessons of athletics that went beyond the scoreboard.

“What’s really corny is to talk about teamwork, loyalty, goal setting, and handling defeat,” Nichols said. “Cooperation, accountability, responsibility. All those things are there for athletes to be taught and learned.”

Once after a playoff loss, former Capital High School boys basketball coach Bob Dickson found Nichols after the game and gave him a pat on the back and a compliment that he hasn’t forgotten.

dick nichols

Dick credits his “gift of gab” for his success on the radio during sporting events.

“He said to me, ‘Do you know that KGY sports is the big time for these kids,’” Nichols said.

And it was. For over 40 years with KGY, Nichols experienced the big time in a small town. At times in his career, he pondered chasing the big time in radio, but he was happy and content to keep it local.

“My big dream was to have broadcast the University of Washington Huskies,” Nichols said. “I might have been able to pursue that at some point.”

But South Sound sports fans are glad Nichols stayed here, bringing excitement to local games with his announcing for half of a century.

“It was fun,” Nichols said. “It didn’t have to be NBC or something like that for me to really do something that I loved doing. I’ve been very fortunate.”


Anchor Bank Helps Build a House for Habitat for Humanity

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 9:54pm



By Eric Wilson-Edge

anchor bank

Anchor Bank’s Jerry Shaw (left) and John Devine get started on a post hole.

It’s lunchtime for the crew from Anchor Bank. A dozen or so people file in and plop down wherever they find a bit of room. They’re clearly tired, a little hot and overall, very happy. Today, these bankers are trading in their forms and figures for posthole diggers and paint rollers.

Anchor Bank is sponsoring one of the 33 unit, single family homes going in at Wood’s Glenn in Lacey.  The project is being spearheaded by the South Puget Sound Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “When completed, the development will have eight four bedroom homes, 18 three bedroom homes and seven two bedroom homes with a total maximum occupancy of 135 residents,” says Habitat Executive Director Curt Andino.

Jerry Shaw started with Anchor Bank back in 1976. At the time the bank operated under the name Aberdeen Savings and Loan. Thirty-eight years later Shaw is the President and CEO. At the moment he’s sitting on a makeshift chair eating a sandwich and trying to stay cool. Shaw and his cohort, Business Banking Officer John Devine, have been out in the August sun digging holes for a new fence.

The work is long and strenuous. Both men will likely need a good stretch and a hot bath when they get home.  Shaw says the work is fulfilling and necessary. “We’re living out our responsibility as members of the community.”

anchor bank

Matthew Partridge and Mary Reese hope to be in their new home by the end of the year.

The break ends and everyone lumbers to their feet. I wander outside and find Matthew Partridge and Mary Reese. The couple is helping paint the exterior of a house. They hope to be able to move in later this year. 27-year-old Partridge suffers from a rare connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Think of connective tissue as glue that keeps parts of the body together and when that glue doesn’t hold thing move around. In this case, Partridge’s hips pop out of place on occasion and his knees are always loose.

Partridge and Reese’s four-year-old son also suffers from Ehlers-Danlos. At the moment he’s running around the job site inspecting the various workers and their tasks. Says Partridge, “I never had a stable set of friends and I’m really looking forward to giving my son a stable community.”

Growing up Partridge moved around and Reese lived in apartments. Matthew is currently on disability.  Mary is the General Manager of a Domino’s in DuPont. This house is more than just wood and cement, it’s an opportunity. “I’m so thankful for everyone who’s helping or who will help,” says Partridge. “This will set us ahead 30 or 40 years. We have an asset, something that’s ours.”

anchor bank

More than a dozen Anchor Bank employees turned out to help on the Habitat for Humanity project.

Terri Degner has stains on her shirt and pants. The 25-year employee of Anchor Bank doesn’t seem to mind or even notice. Degner is the CFO for Anchor but today she’s painting fence boards. This idea of rolling up your sleeves and getting to work is part of her philosophy and is a big reason she’s stayed with the company for so long. “We try to help out in all the communities where we have branches,” says Degner.

The site hums with the rhythm of rollers and the steady chomping of posthole diggers as they strike dirt.  The homes at Wood’s Glenn are coming along. Three are near completion and others are getting started. The task would be almost impossible if not for help from the community.  “Volunteers make the mission happen,” says Andino. Whether it’s giving away 200 hand-built birdhouses at Sand in the City, working in our store or building a home for a needy family, our volunteers represent the best of our community’s goodwill and desire to make a difference.”


McLane Creek Nature Trail

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 9:43pm



The McLane Creek Nature Trail is beautiful to visit anytime of year.  During the fall months, visit the nature trail and watch the salmon migrate.  Learn more about the salmon migration here.  Find a complete article about family friendly nature trails and short hikes here.

McLane Creek Nature Trail (10) McLane Creek Nature Trail (7) McLane Creek Nature Trail (9) McLane Creek Nature Trail (2) McLane Creek Nature Trail (3) McLane Creek Nature Trail (5) McLane Creek Nature Trail (6) McLane Creek Nature Trail (1) McLane Creek Nature Trail (4) McLane Creek Nature Trail (8)


Casey Neill and the Norway Rats + Trees and Timber + June Madrona

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 5:00pm

Friday, September 5th, doors at 8pm


JUNE MADRONA: Olympia dark folk (Bicycle Records)

TREES AND TIMBER: Tacoma garage pop (Swoon Records)

Facebook invite

Casey Neill and the Norway Rats

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Group show at Art House Designs

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:33am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 4,2014
“Mouth of the Skokomish River” mixed media by
Susie EngelstadIt’s been a long time since I’ve visited Art House Designs in Olympia. Since I was last there they have remodeled with larger display spaces, and the place is jam-packed with art. Susie Engelstad, Mia Shulte, Simon Kogan, Tom Anderson and Rose Nichols are just a handful of the many artists represented.
Much of the art is of a type I tend to dismiss as too common or trite or decorative or sweet, but if I take off my snob hat for a moment I have to admit that most of it is well done — more than merely competent.
There are tons of pictures by Engelstad, nearly all brightly colored landscapes. Two in particular caught my eye: “Mouth of the Skokomish River” and “Lake Cushman.” 
“I did those on my I-Pad,” Engelstad said. Or maybe she said I-Pod. I was looking at the art and not playing close attention to what she said. Both landscapes are small, approximately 8-by-10 inches and look like colorized digital prints taken from photographs of the lake and river, into which she has sewn fine lines in silver thread and tiny glass beads. Her colors are rich and velvety, and I particularly like the aerial view of the Skokomish River. Aerial views of landscapes tend by their very nature to verge on the abstract and often have the look of quilts. The addition of the sewing plus meandering red, blue and green lines enhances this look in a nice way and add a feeling of shallow depth.
Shulte is showing a group of three ink and pastel abstract paintings that are lyrical and restful despite the energetic sweep of her forms. There is one mostly blue painting that looks like a burst of light in a dark room. I didn’t see this at first, but after studying a photo of it on the gallery’s Facebook page I noticed that the explosion of light looks like a walking man.
Kogan is showing three small oil-on-board landscapes, among other paintings, that are nicely composed with a mysterious look — one gets the impression these are scenes far, far away from any urban center. His colors, predominantly dark blues and greens, are rich and dark, and where there is light it shines. There is something timeless about them. They could easily be seen as farmland in Western Washington of the countryside in Russia in the 19th century.
Nichols is showing three small oil on board landscapes with trees and hills reflected in water, and one reclining nude. They all look so soft that I thought they were pastels or perhaps watercolors. Reflecting back on my opening statement, these are images of a type I usually find to be trite and clichéd, but as done by Nichols’ they are quite attractive. The nude in particular is interesting because of the color changes and the way it works into the background. The woman’s legs are bright orange fading into light skin tones in the body and into a dark, purple-gray face that blends into the background. In the breast area and nowhere else there is some impasto paint that lends solidity to an otherwise amorphous figure.Anderson’s abstract paintings are solid and iconic like carvings on the façade of buildings.
Art House Design, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tue.-Fri, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat., no closing date set, 420 Franklin St SE, Olympia, Washington
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

A Round-Up of Fresh Seafood Sold in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 10:14am



By Kelli Samson

hirschHere you have it: a concise list of some of the very best places in Olympia to buy your seafood, put together by an Olympia resident. I figure this must bring me some kind of street cred when it comes to all things seafood.

However, I need to be up-front. I loathe the bounciness of clams and the strange texture of oysters, but I’m oddly intrigued by the way eating them fills your mouth with the very essence of the sea. Throw down a plate of fat, buttery scallops, or, better yet, a pile of crab cakes, and I am filled with delight.

seafood olympia

Bayview Thriftway runs frequent sales on their seafood, and it’s hard to beat their prices.

We are so fortunate to live in a town edged by Puget Sound for many reasons. One of them just happens to be that we’ve got lots of options for purchasing seafood, and most of them are excellent.

Bayview Thriftway

Located where Capital Lake kisses Budd Bay, Bayview has spectacular views of the Sound from upstairs and tasty sea critters for sale downstairs. Their seafood counter boasts products from all over the world, though most of their fresh fish and shellfish come from Northern Fish Company, sourcing from places like Oakland Bay in Mason County.

The folks in the meat and seafood department make and sell their own crab cakes using Dungeness Crab, a little green onion, and some Panko bread crumbs.

If you are a budget-conscious seafood shopper, Bayview is a wise choice. They have something on special each week, and many loyal customers swear by their low prices. Additionally, Coho Salmon can be cut into steaks or fillets for free.

Check the calendar for the Bayview School of Cooking.  Seafood classes are on the menu this fall.

The Olympia Seafood Company

olympia seafood

Kira DeRito expertly fillets a fresh halibut while her husband, Tony, helps a customer at The Olympia Seafood Company.

The Olympia Seafood Company is an icon of Olympia. The seafood shop is right on Percival Landing.  The light-blue paint job and gorgeous murals make it stand out. It’s also always bustling with customers, which is a shopper’s first clue that they are surely in for some prime seafood.

The Olympia Seafood Company has a fiercely loyal following. They have weekly specials, and the seafood is of high quality and very locally sourced. Most of their inventory comes from the waters of Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, with the exception of only their tropicals (from Hawaii) and their prawns (from Mexico). Nearly everything they sell is wild or harvested using sustainable methods, which we Olympians heartily support.

The shop’s customer service is also top-notch and worth mentioning. Their employee Ilya shared with me that his favorite thing to take home from work is the black cod (also known as butterfish), which he describes as having “a high fat content. It’s velvety and delicious.” He likes to broil it so that it caramelizes.

Seafood at the Olympia Farmers Market

Fresh seafood is also available for purchase while you are perusing the Olympia Farmers Market each weekend. Sea Blossom Seafood and Skookum Point Oysters each have a stall at the market year-round.

fresh seafood olympia

Barb Chambers of Sea Blossom Seafood weighs some salmon for an eager customer on what has got to be the coolest scale at the Olympia Farmers Market.

Sea Blossom Seafood has been a staple of the Olympia Farmers Market since it opened. Their fish is fresh and rarely frozen.  The shellfish is, of course, farmed. Some of their fish comes from the test fishery of Bruce Crookshanks. “There’s a thin line between hatchery and farmed fished. We don’t sell farmed fish, but purists don’t like hatchery fish,” explains long-time market vendor Barb Chambers when I ask the difference. They specialize in the smoked salmon of co-owner Ross Paddock, and the scallops are supplied by Chambers’ brother, John Lemar.

Chambers favorite way to enjoy salmon is pan-fried with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.

Sea Blossom Seafood offers a punch card to customers, which rewards patrons with nine dollars off of a purchase after spending $100 over time.

Rounding-out our round-up is Skookum Point Oysters. Skookum Point is family-owned and operated just down the road at the confluence of Little Skookum and Totten Inlets. The Adams family has enjoyed oysters and clams from the same location for three generations.

While founders Evan and Fran Adams generally run the market stall, I happened by on a day when their son John and his family were taking a shift. Their kids were pitching in, and it is clear that their business is a family affair.

While Skookum Point doesn’t generally run specials, they do have “awesome deals,” promises John. His family’s favorite way to enjoy raw oysters? With a French champagne sauce known as “mignonette.”

seafood olympia

John, Amy, Ian, and Ellie Adams of Skookum Point Oysters farm the mouth of Little Skookum Inlet themselves.

If all this talk of seafood is making you hungry, why not pick some up and try out a new recipe? Here’s one of mine, and it goes great over fish tacos, especially. I imagine it could be used in lots of new and inventive ways on just about any type of seafood found here in Olympia.

Cilantro-Lime Sauce

Zest and juice of two limes

1/2 tsp. mustard

1/2 c. cilantro

1 c. mayonnaise

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor.

Keep refrigerated.


Rock the vote at the Olympia Film Society

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 9:56am

Hello OFS members, concerned OFS patrons and community members,

It is a pivotal time at OFS and we can use your help!

The Board of Directors is proposing bylaws changes that would:

-take away the current member privilege to vote on Bylaws.

-remove the article just voted in by our members, that states:

"The Staff operates as a collective using consensus decision-making"

As a current member of OFS and Staff Collective member for over 6 years, I think it is very important to maintain both of these articles in the bylaws! I personally feel that these changes are counter to the membership-driven, collectively operated ideas and culture we have been nurturing at OFS for the last 30-plus years.

Some major ways you can help:

-Become a member!
(if you aren't already) So you can attend and vote on these and other things at the meetings coming up this Tues September 9th (Bylaws Discussion at Mixx 96 at 6pm) and Sunday September 21 (Annual Membership Meeting at the Capitol Theater at 12:30pm)

-Become a Board Member! We can always use more skilled Directors that support concensus/collective structures and decision making! Also, fund-raising is a skill set we are always looking for in Directors! If you would like to know more about serving on the board, please contact Tim at logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Sirens, Horns Signal Start of Foofaraw Military Appreciation Day

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 7:22am



Submitted by the Port of Olympia

Port of Olympia FoofarawPort of Olympia is proud to participate once again in the annual Foofaraw Military Appreciation Day on Sept. 5. We want to inform downtown area neighborhoods that sirens and horns will salute our troops at 8 a.m.

Members of Washington State Patrol, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Olympia Fire Department, Weyerhaeuser Company and the Port will fly the flag and sound emergency equipment as military guests cruise past the Port.

Military guests will enjoy a fun-filled day of outdoor activities with a salmon dinner prepared by Chehalis Tribe members.

Sponsoring Foofaraw 2014 are Olympia Yacht Club, Thurston County Chamber and Harborstone Credit Union.

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 6:54am



I sincerely enjoy scrolling through social media, looking at all the back to school photos.  I’m not a nostalgic person, so the pics don’t rekindle any emotions from my school days.  In reality, I think that it’s more about seeing kids grow up – catching snapshots of folks that I don’t get to see all that often because they live across the country or even just a few neighborhoods over.  I like to see the personalities reflected in these images, like my fifth grader who clearly is “over” the obligatory back to school photo or my third grader who hangs on to her personal style of “more colors and patterns are better.”  Even if you didn’t send a little one back to school this week, you likely were treated to many of these images.  And, then you will see them again in a few years as #tbt.

Here’s what is going on this weekend around Olympia – lots of sunshine so get outside and play.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.


The Hinges Super Mini Tour with Liv Carrow and Woolen Warrior (Sam Gray)

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 5:00pm

Thursday September 4th, doors at 8pm

Liv Carrow
an amazing writer and singer from New York who can spin a story into colors and put the moonlight in your eyes

the Hinges

Woolen Warrior (Sam Gray)

Facebook invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Get Flood Insurance Now Before Storm Season Hits

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 3:00pm



Submitted by Thurston County

rainbow scenicAs we turn to the fall season, Thurston County emergency managers remind homeowners and renters that national flood insurance is the only dependable form of financial protection against flood damage.

“Standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover damage from flooding, and just a few inches of floodwater inside a home can cause thousands of dollars to repair,” said Kathy Estes, Emergency Manager for Thurston County.

Estes continued, saying that homeowners shouldn’t count on federal disaster aid for every flood. “Federal disaster assistance is available only for federally declared disasters. Most disaster assistance is inadequate to cover the cost of the damage and comes in the form of a loan, repayable with interest,” said Estes.  “Not all floods—even those causing thousands of dollars of damage—are declared disasters by the federal government.”

National Flood Insurance Program policies, available through most insurance companies, pay claims whether or not a disaster is declared. Estes urges citizens to purchase flood insurance now because there is a 30-day waiting period after the first payment is made before the policy is effective. And all residents, even those who don’t live in a flood-prone area, can suffer devastating losses from flooding. Estes encourages residents throughout Thurston County to get the protection and peace of mind that only flood insurance can offer.

Because the county has completed several flood mitigation and preparedness actions, residents of unincorporated Thurston County can get as much as a 30 percent discount for flood insurance.

Flood insurance is also available to renters and can cover nonresidential buildings such as farm and commercial buildings. The National Flood Insurance Program will also cover structures that have been previously flooded.

Information on the National Flood Insurance Program is available at 1-800-638-6620 or at

Flood Preparedness Tips and Resources:

  • Sign up for Thurston County Emergency Management’s Telephone Alert System for river flooding. You can also follow Thurston County Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter.

o   Telephone Alert System sign-up

o   TCEM on Facebook: ThurstonEM

o   TCEM on Twitter: @ThurstonEM

  • Download a copy of the annual Thurston County Flood Bulletin that includes kit checklists, evacuation tips, contact numbers for government agencies and utilities and more. The Fall 2013 Flood Bulletin is currently available at and the Fall 2014 edition is due to be posted online by September 23.
  • Track river levels for rivers throughout Thurston County here.

For more information on the Thurston County Emergency Management Division, click here.


Oly Town Artesians Semi-Professional Indoor Soccer Debuts this Fall

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 2:53pm



Submitted by the Oly Town Artesians

Oly Town Artesians Crest 600pxSemi-professional indoor soccer will return to the Olympia area for the 2014-2015 season when the Oly Town Artesians take the field at Olympia Indoor Soccer as a founding member of the Western Indoor Soccer League. The inaugural season for the Artesians and the WISL will kick off in November.

Tim Smith, owner and operator of Olympia Indoor Soccer in Tumwater, and and Oly Town FC founder Brandon Sparks have teamed up and purchased a team in the locally operated WISL. Sparks has been named General Manager and will lead the operations side of the Artesians.

“Thanks to Tim Smith and Olympia Indoor Soccer, I’m excited to bring fast-paced, up-tempo soccer action and fun, affordable family entertainment back to town,” said Sparks, who volunteered as the communications and marketing manager for the Tumwater Pioneers indoor soccer team during their lone season in 2012-2013.

“I saw the great fans and great crowds for the Pios and when unforeseen circumstances meant that they couldn’t return, I made it a goal to bring indoor soccer back,” continued Sparks. “We will build on that and put on a great show and play a really exciting brand of soccer. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Oly Town FC is proud to debut the Artesians nickname and primary crest. The nickname comes from the naturally occurring springs that made Olympia world famous and still flow freely today. Artesians has long been chosen as the most popular nickname for a local sports team in numerous polls in the past.

The crest, designed in-house by Brandon Sparks, plays off of the Artesians name and is made up of multiple elements that all pay tribute to an important part of the local community. The shield is similar to a guitar pick and pays tribute to the musical culture of the area. The pattern in the shield is the same pattern that can be found on the rotunda ceiling in the Legislative Building at the Washington State Capitol. And the horseshoe is an iconic symbol of Olympia and Tumwater locally, nationally and internationally.

“I’m very proud of our crest,” said Sparks. “I think fans and supporters will rally around it and will be proud to represent the Artesians around town and on the road.”

The search for the team’s first head coach is underway. Prospective coaches should contact Brandon Sparks at Once a coach is named, player tryout information will be posted. The team will be comprised of local soccer players that have finished their college careers and are still looking to play at a high level or will come from the many college soccer teams in the area.

The Western Indoor Soccer League is a locally run indoor soccer league currently comprised of five confirmed teams. Including the Artesians, the founding members of the WISL (pronounced “whistle) are the Arlington Aviators, Tacoma Stars, Wenatchee Fire and WSA (Bellingham) Rapids.

“The WISL is excited to have a club in the Olympia area. We know that indoor soccer is popular in the capital and that there are players ready to compete,” said league co-founder John Crouch. “Oly Town has been a cool idea in the making for a while now and we feel privileged to be the league where they make their first kick.”

The Artesians also launched their website and Facebook page and you can connect with the team on Twitter @OlyTownFC.

Season ticket information, sponsorship opportunities, merchandise, the inaugural season schedule and much more will be available soon.


Olympia/Thurston County Crime Stoppers Attends National Conference in Austin, Texas

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 2:05pm



Submitted by Olympia/Thurston County Crime Stoppers

The Crime Stoppers team who made the trip to Austin, Texas.  From the right, Robbi Wright (Chair), Dave Campbell (Sgt. Lacey Police Dept.), Shannon Bell (Business Director), Julie Major (Tip Soft Administrator).

The Crime Stoppers team who made the trip to Austin, Texas. From the right, Robbi Wright (Chair), Dave Campbell (Sgt. Lacey Police Dept.), Shannon Bell (Business Director), Julie Major (Tip Soft Administrator).

Olympia/Thurston County Crime Stoppers just made a trip to the music capitol of the south.  Four board members took a trip down to Austin Texas for the annual Crime Stoppers USA Training Conference.  While there members were able to take three days of classes and network with other members of Crime Stoppers organizations from all over the United States and Canada.

The conference’s main focus is to provide new and innovative ways to improve our Crime Stoppers program here in Thurston County.  “Olympia/Thurston County has an awesome group of individuals who I am proud to be associated with,” shares Chair Robbi Wright.  “Attending the CS USA Conference allows us to network with other CS organizations and law enforcement throughout the United States.”  Classes taken ranged from successful tip taking and social media to representatives from Washington D.C. providing information on protecting communities from all types of fraud.

Members had fun enjoying all that Austin offered including walking Lady Bird Lake, listening to live music at night time activities, and watching over a million bats come out of the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk.

A food challenge was taken at Threadgill’s to see who could eat the biggest chicken fried steak – only one finished to tell the tale.  Myrle Carner from Washington’s Most Wanted was honored with the Crime Stoppers USA Coordinator of the Year. It was privilege to meet him and everyone learned so much from him.

The whole team came back from the conference excited to implement all the new knowledge they learned into the Crime Stopper’s Program.  Hopefully this year will be the most successful year yet for Olympia/Thurston Crime Stopper’s.  Make sure you all check our web calendar to see the new and exciting events going on.

Campus Peak: Affordable-Luxury View Homes

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 1:53pm



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

Rob Rice Homes campus peak-001The new Rob Rice Homes Community in Campus Peak is one of the most picturesque spots in the entire South Sound area, overlooking the rolling hills of The Woodlands Course at the Golf Club at Hawks Prairie, a unique 36-hole golf facility in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, the neighborhood is framed by tall, stately pines and borders a future five-acre Lacey City Park.

“I am proud to have sold many great homes built by Rob Rice in several beautiful neighborhoods,” says Vonna Madeley one of the Realtors who represents the homes built by the area’s top builder. “But this is one of the prettiest neighborhoods he has ever built.”

Campus Peak has just opened its doors for your choice of lots and scenic views. The community’s gently rolling hills and meandering streets mean each lot has a unique elevation and view of the gorgeous surroundings. With a variety of sites available, you can pick your lot in a pre-sale and decide from the many premium features that are standard in a Rob Rice Home so you can build your home beyond even what you have imagined. There are also a number of homes currently under construction that will be ready for occupancy by the end of the year. You can trust that the design team selected all the materials to coordinate beautifully, so you don’t NEED to go through the pre-sale process to have a stunning home!

Ideally located

Campus Peak is located in the master-planned community of Meridian Campus. It is a highly-desired location in the South Sound area because of its rich tree-lined streets, many forested trails, several city parks and two golf courses all within minutes of I-5 and conveniently located near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The community is also close to convenient shopping with home improvement stores, Costco, and an abundance of other retailers and restaurants all minutes away in the business area of Hawks Prairie.

Luxurious features are standard in these quality homes

Once they pick their special lot in this gorgeous neighborhood, Campus Peak pre-sale homebuyers will have a choice of nine different color schemes for stunning cabinet finishes,  slab granite or quartz countertops, hardwood floor finishes, designer backsplash tile and more, all artfully coordinated by a designer.

“From the ground up people get to personalize their home so it is uniquely theirs,” says Helena Rice who works with the designer to provide the many choices to buyers. “No where else in the area do you get this kind of luxurious choice without paying for upgrades. It often shocks people that they are all included in the price of the home.”

Buyer’s selections for each home also include exterior stone, exterior and interior paints, door styles, carpeting, lighting fixtures and garage doors, all to make the home completely their own.

Six two-story floor plans with thoughtful architectural details are offered at Campus Peak ranging from 1950 sq. ft. to 2692 sq. ft. One plan, known as the Hazel, has a sought-after main floor bedroom suite. Standard features include white trim and millwork and many other quality design details and finishes. Low maintenance yards are fully fenced and exquisitely landscaped, a signature attraction of Rob Rice Communities.

“This isn’t just another neighborhood,” says Vonna. “In Campus Highlands, where Rob has been building homes for the past three years, our typical buyer is purchasing their 2nd, 3rd or maybe even their retirement home. But, in Campus Peak, with prices in the low $300’s, Buyers don’t need to wait. They can have a beautiful home with a stunning golf course view at a price similar to those offered in other neighborhoods without views! So, why wait for retirement for your dream home?”


Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson.  Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.

For sales information contact the Coldwell Banker Team of Jeanne Tranum, Vonna Madeley & Leslie Shipe:  For information on Rob Rice Homes go to:




Thrifty Thurston Celebrates the Salmon Migration

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 6:58am



By Katie Doolittle

VCB logo“See the salmon here!” The bright letters appear at the 5th Avenue Bridge in downtown Olympia some time in late August or early September, depending on the fish run. Late or early, one thing never changes: the salmon run is an excellent opportunity on multiple fronts. It provides a chance to get outside, exercise, and rub elbows with your neighbors. It’s a dynamic educational opportunity for learners of any age. And during this brief season, we all have the chance to view and appreciate a phenomenon embedded within our regional culture.

salmon migration

Salmon Stewards, volunteers with Stream Team, are available to answer questions about salmon migration.

Happily, there’s no price ticket for public enjoyment of the salmon run. That’s right, my fellow thrifty souls: viewing the salmon migration is FREE.

Around Thurston County, we actually have the opportunity to witness multiple migrations. The earliest run involves hatchery Chinook salmon. They come from the Pacific Ocean to Budd Inlet, congregating around the fish ladder at the 5th Avenue bridge. This is the best location through about mid-September. Tumwater Falls Park then becomes the optimal salmon-spotting locale. This is where the fish show up after journeying through Capitol Lake, and they usually hang about through mid-October.

Tumwater Falls Park is an excellent location for families with children who are hoping to view the salmon. Combined, the three fish ladders form an 80-feet hurdle in elevation, making for some spectacular salmon activity. There are also holding ponds for imprinting juvenile salmon. Additionally, the beautiful walking trails are liberally studded with comfy benches and fascinating historical plaques. Finally, picnic tables and playground equipment offer the perfect place to unwind.

Hoping to combine some social studies with your salmon science lesson? Stream Team representative Patricia Pyle suggests attending Cider Sunday at Tumwater Falls Park, hosted by the Tumwater Historical Association. This year, Cider Sunday lasts from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on October 5. You can buy bake sale goodies or pioneer-era treats before hitting the trail to view some salmon.

salmon migration

Watch salmon processing at Tumwater Falls Park on Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings.

Tumwater Falls Park is also where the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife process the fish three times a week. Over 4.5 million eggs are harvested annually during this fish spawning operation. If you want to see eggs collected for later fertilization and incubation, come to the park between mid-September and early October. Processing occurs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.

Signage at the bridge and park provide background on the salmon life cycle any time of day. An even better option: Salmon Stewards are at both locations in order to share information, viewing tips, educational visual aids, and even polarized glasses! These dedicated individuals complete six hours of classroom training, plus two additional field hours at each location where they plan to volunteer.

If you’re hoping to view a run of wild salmon, you have two opportunities. From early November through early or mid-December, there’s a chum run at McLane Creek Nature Trail. The easily walkable trail consists of a 1.1-mile outer loop with a .3-mile connector trail. Because the trail is run by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), visitors must have a Discover Pass. Salmon Stewards will also be volunteering on this trail.

salmon migration

A docent at Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail speaks to students on a field trip.

Alternatively, the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail is located just outside Thurston County, on Highway 101. This free half-mile trail is a collaborative effort hosted by the  South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG). SPSSEG Education and Outreach intern Allie Feidt previews the season: “The 2014 dates are November 1 – 30. The trail is reserved for school groups during the week, and is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekends, Veteran’s Day, and the day after Thanksgiving. When the trail is open, it is staffed with volunteer docents to answer questions, offer up their salmon expertise, and direct people to the best salmon viewing spots of the day!”

Most of the Kennedy Creek trail is ADA accessible with great viewing platforms. Feidt notes, “Kennedy Creek is a special place to view salmon  as it is accessible to families with children of all ages, and provides an outdoor learning opportunity during an indoor season.” With that in mind: make sure to dress appropriately for rainy November weather.

One last thing: if you’re hoping to view salmon at McLane Creek or Kennedy Creek, you’ll want to leave your canine companions at home. Dogs can disturb the spawning process, and they are also susceptible to poisoning via a parasite on salmon skin.

salmon migrationIn summary:

All photos are courtesy of the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group.

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


Categories: Local Environment

Maya Forrester Inspires Seattle Reign Players, Fans With Her Singing

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/04/2014 - 6:38am



By Gail Wood

oly ortho logoAt age 12, Maya Forrester did what famous singers like James Taylor, Christina Aguilera and Taylor Smith couldn’t do.

She sang, without flaw, the National Anthem, bringing soccer fans and players at the Seattle Reign’s playoff game last weekend to their feet, cheering.

“She’s just amazing,” said Dave Forrester, Maya’s father and biggest fan. “She was born to it. You have it. Or you don’t.”

maya forrester

Maya Forrester, 12, sings the National Anthem for the Seattle Reign’s playoff game.

Clearly, the sweet-smiling Maya has that “it” factor. Over the summer, Maya, now a seventh grader at Washington Middle School, sang the Nation Anthem at seven professional soccer matches, six of them in Seattle with the Reign or the Seattle Sounders.

Maya admits she was a little nervous singing that first one in June. With the song’s wide range, it’s a difficult song to sing alone. Add 5,000 people and the difficulty factor goes through the roof.

“I honestly do get nervous,” Maya said. “But when I start singing my nerves go down and I have fun with it. It’s not as nerve wracking when I start singing.”

But Maya isn’t just a singer. She’s also got game. She’s a starting midfielder on the Blackhills FC U12 club team.  She started playing soccer when she was three and played on the South Sound YMCA soccer team when she was five.

“She works pretty hard at it,” said Scott Kee, president of the Blackhills FC. “She’s one of the best soccer players for her age in the county. And she’s one of the best singers for any age.”

maya forrester

Maya Forrester poses with Seattle Reign’s Hope Solo.

Maya didn’t show up to the Reign’s playoff game against Kansas City in a 2-1 loss and sing. Her dad said she has a three-hour warmup, stretching, singing and doing improv to loosen her up. Over her seven performances this summer, she didn’t forget a word. Once, last weekend, she paused, as her voice instructor told her to do, to let the crowd roar with their approval.

“I was in awe,” Dave said. “Not just because I’m her dad.”

Dave, a counselor at Olympia High School, was impressed by his daughter’s improvement over the summer in singing the National Anthem.

“The amazing thing was watching her grow as a singer,” Dave said.

For Dave, the summer’s highlight came when his daughter brought the crowd and players to their feet in last weekend’s playoff game. She paused, as her voice teacher, Jessica Blinn instructed, told her to do.

“Maya just nailed it,” Dave said. “She connected with the crowd. It was a special, magical moment.”

Maya had gone from just singing the song, trying to get through it, to raising the emotional roof.

maya forrester

Maya Forrester plays midfield for the Blackhills FC U12 team.

“She took it to another level by the end of the summer,” Dave said. “She was connecting with the crowd, which is what a more advanced singer would do.”

Maya plays the piano and writes music. She started singing when she was five, but she said she didn’t find her range until she began voice lessons.

“I never started sounding good until I was about 10,” Maya said with a giggle. “I started taking singing lessons about then. I loved it so much that we decided to take it to the next level.”

Dave emailed the Sounders and the Reign last winter, asking them if they’d be interested in having his daughter sing the National Anthem before their games. They were. That opportunity first came when the U-23 Sounders played Portland at Tumwater Stadium. She did so well that led to more invites.

While she loves playing soccer, she admits she’d rather sing than score a goal.

“I love them both so much,” Maya said. “Soccer is one of my fun sports. I love it very, very much. But singing I adore. So, singing the National Anthem is going to have to be the winner.”

James Charrette, the director of coaches for the Blackhills FC, is impressed with how Maya can balance school, soccer and music – and all at such a high level.

maya forrester

Maya was joined at the Seattle Reign playoff game by 34 of her Blackhills FC teammates.

“It’s impressive,” Charrette said. “I’m trying to figure out when she sleeps.”

Maya wasn’t the only “fortunate fan” from Black Hills FC attending the Reign’s playoff game against Kansas City. There were 34 others. There were 22 Blackhills players who escorted the Reign onto the field prior to the game. And there were 12 who were ball kids. Kee, the president of the Blackhills FC for the past three years, said his club got an invite for the playoffs because they had done it earlier this season. And because it was a playoff game this time around, everyone who went – parents and kids – had to buy a ticket.

But Kee wasn’t complaining. His kids experienced a memorable moment.

“These players are going to be the ones who play in the World Cup in Canada next summer,” Kee said. “It was a special moment.”

Kee was impressed with Maya’s singing.

“Her singing ability is kind of off the charts,” Kee said. “She has such a great voice. They’re a great family and Maya is a well-rounded kid – very polite, very with it.”

And, the Reign players – from Hope Solo to Sydney Leroux – will tell you, very spot on with singing the National Anthem.


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