Recent local blog posts

The Stardust Christmas Commotion at Harlequin

South Sound Arts - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 12:28pm
Amy Shephard, Leah Scofield, Bruce Haasl, Maggie LofquistHarlequin Production’s Stardust series is well known to South Sound theatergoers. There have been 19 performances in the series over 21 seasons. Discounting two shows in the series that were revivals, that’s still enough for regulars to know what to expect: pure holiday schmaltz and great music. The writing is thin and serves primarily as setup for songs, with highly unlikely conflict resolutions designed to tug at the heartstrings in the manner of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Christian Doyle, Amy Shephard, Mark Alford, Bruce Haasl, Leah Scofield

Edsonya Charles, Maggie Lofquist
The first 17 episodes were set during World War II and featured great swing-era music. All but two of them were set in the Stardust Club in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Last year’s The Stardust Christmas Blizzard moved ahead to 1957 and the heyday of rock and roll. This year’s The Stardust Christmas Commotion is a sequel to that one, set a week before Christmas 1958 with many of the same characters played by many of the same actors.
Maggie Lofquist, Jackson Jones, Mark Alford. All photos taken from Harlequin Productions Facebook page.
Louis (Christian Doyle) has been engaged to club manager Joy (Maggie Lofquist) for years. He has an endless string of excuses for putting off the wedding, and she’s afraid he doesn’t want to ever get married. Ricky (Jackson Jones) is a budding juvenile delinquent who helps Baxter (Mark Alford) with deliveries. Enter Zoe Mitchell (Edsonya Charles), a social worker in search of Eric, a runaway foster child, who turns out to be Ricky living under a pseudonym. If she finds him she’s going to turn him over to the state, which will put him in a home that in Eric’s mind amounts to a juvenile prison. Nobody at the Stardust Club wants to see that happen so while Zoe is there they hide him in the way theater folk would naturally think to hide someone in plain sight — costumes and makeup!

Meanwhile the Stardust Club has been contracted to host a wedding party for a bride and groom who are apparently the children of Mafia bosses. There’s a lot of rehearsing to do for the upcoming wedding entertainment —  an easy setup for hit songs of 1958 from bubblegum music like “Lollipop” by Ronald & Ruby to hard rocking songs like “Rockin’ Robin” to some of the tender ballads of the day and, of course, loads of Christmas songs.

It’s the music: nostalgic, hummable and danceable, that makes this show enjoyable, and the cast includes some of the best musical performers in the area. It’s hard to beat Doyle and Bruce Haasl teaming up on early rock hits. They do a wonderful “Volare” and later tem up on the do-wop hit “Come and Go with Me” with Doyle brilliantly taking the lead while Haasl does the bass part with style.

Jones is the surprise hit of the show. Only 17 years old, he’s got the stage chops of a mature and experienced performer. He owns the stage; he sings wonderfully, and he moves with sure rhythm. He also teams up with Alford for a smooth rendition of Don and Phil Everly’s “All I Have to do is Dream.”

Rounding out the cast are Amy Shephard, who dances her heart out and is responsible for the choreography, and newcomer to the South Sound, Leah Scofield whose big voice rocks the house. Plus musical director and band leader Bruce Whitney in the role of Russian expatriate bandleader Nikolai Feyodorov, singing and playing piano, sax and banjo. It seems like every year Whitney adds singing and speaking parts to his usual musical performance, and every year it’s a delightful surprise.
There is some great music in this show, though it leans a little too heavily toward the bubble gum spectrum. I wish there had been more songs from early rock legends like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, just to name a few. This show could use more raw, high-energy rock. Maybe next year…

WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays, 8p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. through Dec. 31
WHERE: State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., Olympia
TICKETS: prices vary, call for details
INFORMATION: 360-786-0151;

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 026

K Records - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:53am Download Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 026 NOW. The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. The artifacts for this episode of the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard are varied and diverse: Sub Pop U.S.A. underground sounds are unearthed; Kendl Wnter and the Lowest Pair share a banjo duet; host Calvin Johnson visits with […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Insulating Window Insert Workparty

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:15am
Event:  Sat, 12/06/2014 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Insulating Window Insert Workparty

Saturday, December 6: 10 am - 4 pm
Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
2300 East End Street NW, westside of Olympia

Learn a simple method to build insulating window inserts that can help you save on energy bills. Perfect for single-pane or aluminum windows.

Are your windows putting a CHILL on your comfort and your budget? Save energy, cut costs and help the environment while you learn how to build simple, low-cost interior insulating window inserts. These double layered windows fit snugly inside the window opening, are easily removable and can be made in custom sizes. They are built on a wood frame with shrink wrap and weatherstripping. 

We provide the tools and materials, you bring measurements and friends - and together we’ll build a set of inserts for your house (and for others) to stay warm and save money this winter

Workshop fees are sliding scale pay-what-you-can or $1 per square foot of window area to cover the cost of materials. An inexpensive way to reduce cold air infiltration, condensation and heat loss!

To Register contact: Joe Joy at or (360) 786 - 8092

Once you contact us, we will send you a Registration Form and Window Measurement Form.

The Work Party Series is provided as a community service project by the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation Green Sanctuary Committee. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

McKenny Elementary Students Make the Governor’s Christmas a Little Brighter

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 9:41am



By Lynn West

putnam lieb logoThe Christmas tree at the Governor’s Mansion is truly a work of art.  Walking past the imposing Evergreen was even more impressive knowing that K-12 students from around the state had created many of the ornaments. I might never have heard about this project if I hadn’t been eating breakfast with my fourth grade granddaughter one recent morning. With a forkful of pancakes in mid-air, she intently looked at the woods behind our house.  Knowing her Grandpa was into birds, she asked, “Is that a Scrub Jay on that branch?” None of us were as quick as she, so we missed it, but we certainly haven’t missed seeing the beautiful Scrub Jay ornament Lucy made for the Governor’s Christmas tree.

mckenney ornaments

Ms. O’Halloran’s students proudly share their bird feather ornaments

Lucy’s fourth/fifth grade classroom at McKenny Elementary in the Olympia School District is one of the eight schools chosen to participate in the ornament project.  Her teacher, Janet O’Halloran, suggested I contact Ann Banks, the Program Supervisor of the Arts at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to learn more. Ann explained that Washington State’s first lady, Trudi Inslee, contacted her a year ago hoping students could help decorate the Mansion tree. She suggested a nature theme for 2013, and the response was good. However, according to Ann, “it was nothing like the overwhelming number of applications this year.”

Nisqually Middle School in the North Thurston Public Schools district was the other Thurston County school chosen to create the 2014 ornaments with the theme of Washington States’ native birds.

mckenney ornaments

Students place duplicate ornaments on their classroom tree.

Ms. O’Halloran invited me into her classroom to hear first hand from the student artists, and, of course, to see their ornaments.  In merging history, art and school pride, Ms. O’Halloran focused on Margaret McKenny’s (1885-1969) love of nature, and especially birds, in initiating the project with the students.

Sharing information about their school’s namesake became a flowing narrative. Fourth grade student, Allison Temple proudly told me she was not attending our city’s first McKenny Elementary School.  Many years ago, Margaret had started a school on the first floor of her home in downtown Olympia. Classmate Ryan McCabe agreed that was an important accomplishment, but reminded us that Margaret saved two of Thurston County’s most popular parks, Watershed and Nisqually.

Sam Hacker asked me, “Did you know that Margaret McKenny bought a car with mushrooms?”  My look must have been my answer, so he continued. “She was an avid mushroom hunter and wrote an important book on the subject.” More interesting to Sam was how she sold her bounty to local restaurants and purchased a car with her profits. Trying to top that one, Jackson Philbrook, a fifth grader, explained how Margaret McKenny’s passion for saving the wilderness and wildlife ran counter to her father, Brigadier General T.I. McKenny’s, constant desire for urban expansion. The pride all the fourth and fifth graders shared in their school’s namesake was evident.

After they learned more about McKenny’s efforts to save bird habitats, Lucy Brotherton, like the other fourth graders, was paired with a fifth grader, for their own native bird research.  After checking out books and websites, some teams, like Lucy and Bess Briggs chose one bird, the Scrub Jay in their case.

mckenney ornaments

Sam Hacker shares his Mom’s sample ornament.

Other students worked independently on two different birds.  Livia Ragan, like many students in the class, chose a specific bird because of personal experience. Livia said she sees many Black Capped Chickadees in her neighborhood, Sam said he never passes a pond without observing a Mallard, and Jackson’s mom had pointed out a Northern Flicker to him in their back garden.

However, drawing the entire bird was not possible because the specifications for the ornament were too small. The students researched the wings of their birds, starting with the website, The Feather Atlas.  After studying primary, secondary, and tail feathers, they began drawing a feather. To help them conceptualize the actual ornament, Sam’s mom Stephanie Hacker, who organized the art portion of the project, made a sample.  Once the feathers were drawn and pasted on to the ornament shape, the students began researching again.  The website 1001fonts helped them find the perfect script to replicate the bird’s name on the back of the ornament.  Some of the students chose to make an extra ornament to place on their little classroom tree.

When the Governor’s family room tree is taken down, the ornaments will be archived for future generations to enjoy.

If you haven’t seen the mansion tree yet, tours are available through December 17. To make a reservation, call the Department of Enterprise Services Capitol Tour Office at 360-902-8880.  It is almost a wildlife adventure, with all those amazing birds perched on beautiful green branches. An added bonus is they won’t fly before we can spot them.


It’s how you go about it

The Plum Palate - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 7:58am
This is the third of three posts required of food bloggers who attended the 2014 IFBC conference in exchange for a lowered conference fee. I determine the content and receive no compensation or gifts for mentions of products or organizations. I ate lunch at the counter at Lola after the International Food Blogger Conference, observing […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Lacey’s American Legion Post 100 Seeks Veteran Friendly Businesses to Honor with Award

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 7:11am



Submitted by American Legion Post 100

This year, American Legion Post 100 from Lacey is participating in an American Legion program that recognizes local businesses supporting  and hiring veterans. The group is actively seekingbusinesses who employ or in other ways support our local veterans and may be interested in applying for this award.

Businesses apply on three different levels based on the size of the business. A small business is a company that has 50 or less employees. The next level is a medium business, which is a company with 51 to 200 employees. The last one is a large business that has more than 200 employees. The businesses must meet the following criteria to be considered:

1. They must be a private business. State and local governments cannot compete. A business that is a franchise of a larger company can compete on its own.

2. The business must be operational for a minimum of 5 years.

3. At least 10 percent of the employees are veterans, but they cannot all be veterans.

All businesses competing in the contest will be recognized locally before the American Legion Post 100 group submits the finalist to the national headquarters.  While this is the first year that this contest is being run locally, it has been in existence nationally for many years.  Application requested by December 10, 2014.

If you have any questions or for more information on application, please contact Keith Looker at 915-929-6572.




Tips on How to Cut Your Own Tree In the National Forest

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 6:37am



By Douglas Scott

dkb restorationWith Christmas approaching, one of Washington’s cash crops is quickly being harvested and is getting sent around the globe. The Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association boasts that Christmas tree sales bring $35 million to the state’s economy, making The Evergreen State the fifth largest Christmas tree producer in the nation. Over 2.3 million trees in Washington are cut down each year for Christmas celebrations around the world, with 90% of production going out of state, the majority to California and Mexico. Many of the trees come from Thurston, Mason and Lewis Counties, which means that around the South Sound, we have some of the best Christmas trees in the world.

Washington’s forests are home to amazing trees of all kinds, and the National Forest Service is allowing you to get your own tree this Christmas. Here in the South Sound, we have an excellent opportunity to get a Christmas tree for just $5. Sure, the trees may not be the same shape as every other tree, but for $5, we are able to find out own unique and perfect tree.

christmas tree national forest

A child pulls along the “perfect” tree after cutting it in the National Forest. Photo credit: US Forest Service

In National Forests around the state, permits are being offered to the public looking for the ultimate experience in cutting down their own Christmas tree. At only $5, the permit isn’t nearly as popular as one would think.  In the Olympic National Forest, just 600 permits were gathered in 2013, and as of November 23, 2014, only 20 permits have been issued. Please note that each permit is good for one tree so if you are looking to get a few trees, you will need to secure multiple permits.

Christmas tree permits from Washington’s National Forests can be obtained from any of the National Forest Service offices around the state, as well as through the mail. The application, which is extremely simple, can be downloaded for nearby Olympic National Forest here. Be aware that you can only pick up a permit for the forest in which you are cutting down a tree; so if you are looking to get a tree from outside Olympic National Forest, you’ll need to find the forest service office in the region you are getting a tree. There are a few other rules officials would like you to know before finding your perfect Christmas tree.

Selecting a location

christmas tree national forest

Just $5 buys you the chance to hike into the National Forest and select your Christmas tree. Photo credit: US Forest Service

In National Forests, all evergreen species can be cut down. Trees can be cut along the roadway and the understory. However, if you are going to be hiking to find your tree, you must be 100 feet away from the trail. The same distance of 100 feet also applies to those looking to get their tree near a campground or the trailhead itself. Trees are also not to be removed from wilderness areas, which are typically a few miles from most trailheads in National Forests. A reminder: The permit you obtained is only valid for the forest at which it was purchased.

Selecting a Tree

Once you have decided on an area for where you will get your tree, you need to be aware of a few regulations about which tree you can take.  In National Forests, all evergreen species can be cut down, but there are some rules on what size of trees can be taken and where the tree needs to be cut. Trees standing alone, without a tree within 10 feet, are not to be cut. You are also strongly encouraged to take the smaller of the trees, keeping the taller, more healthy trees in the forest. Topping of trees is also not allowed, and all trees need to be cut from as close to the ground as you can. Be aware that if you decide to take a western hemlock as your Christmas tree, the needles will start to fall off in one week, even with the tree being watered.

Taking a Tree Home

national forest christmas tree

The National Forest Service has tips and videos to make tree cutting easy. Photo credit: US Forest Service

Once you have cut down your tree, National Forest Service officials require you to immediately attach the tag you receive with your permit to the tree.  If you are hauling more than five trees, the National Forest Service requires a hauling permit, which will need to be picked up and discussed in a National Forest Service office. Make sure you properly secure your tree on your vehicle, using tie-downs as much as possible to avoid losing the tree on a roadway.

Get more information.

The National Forest Service has numerous tips and videos for cutting down your own Christmas tree, and they are more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have, either in person or on the phone. While not from the direct region, the Mount Hood National Forest has put together a great video to ensure you are not only being law abiding while finding your tree but also selecting the best possible tree.


The 50-50 Rule: Program Helps Siblings Overcome Family Conflict While Caring for Aging Parents

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 6:36am


Submitted by Home Instead Senior Care® 

Olympia Home Instead Senior Care Advises Family Caregivers to Keep a Close Eye on Older Adults during Frigid Temperatures

Olympia Home Instead Senior Care offers solutions for aging adults wishing to stay in their homes.

A long-time employee of an accounting firm, Mary has been waiting for this promotion for years. “This job is just what I’ve dreamed about all my life,” she excitedly told her best friend. But then Mary’s mom fell and broke her hip. As the youngest in the family and her mom’s presumed favorite, Mary suddenly is thrust into the role of family caregiver and is struggling to keep up with the demands of her new job. “I hate the feeling that I have to choose between caring for my mom and a new job all because my siblings won’t help.”

Situations like this are among the family conflicts that caregivers encounter each day while caring for aging parents. Caregiver stress, life-and-death medical crises, financial problems and property disputes often become part of the ongoing saga of a family’s caregiving story. Relationships between adult brothers and sisters can suffer as a result.

That’s why the local Home Instead Senior Care® office has launched the 50-50 Rule®, a program that offers strategies for overcoming sibling differences to help families provide the best care for elderly parents.

“Any South Puget Sound family that has cared for a senior loved one knows that problems working with siblings can lead to family strife,” said Kelly Cavenah, Administrator of the local Home Instead Senior Care office serving Lewis, Mason, Thurston & Grays Harbor Counties. “Making decisions together, dividing the workload and teamwork are the keys to overcoming family conflict.”

The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age (50) when siblings are caring for their parents as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share in the plans for care 50-50. Research

Sharing the responsibility of caring for aging parents tends to begin around age 50.

Sharing the responsibility of caring for aging parents tends to begin around age 50.

conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network reveals that an inability to work together often leads to one sibling becoming responsible for the bulk of caregiving in 43 percent of families. And that can result in the deterioration of relationships with brothers and sisters.

“If you’re 50, have siblings and are assisting with the care of seniors, it’s time to develop a plan,” Cavenah said. “This program can help.”

At the core of the 50-50 Rule public education program is a family relationship and communication guide of real-life situations that features practical advice from sibling relationships expert Dr. Ingrid Connidis from the University of Western Ontario. She says that relationships among siblings should be protected.

“Like all relationships, siblings have a history,” Connidis noted. “Whatever happened in the past influences what happens in the present. Regardless of their circumstances, most siblings do feel a responsibility to care for parents that is built from love. And that’s a good place to start – optimistically and assuming the best.”

Even the best of circumstances, though, can cause a strain for a family dealing with the issues of an aging parent. That’s where the free 50-50 Rule guide of family situations will help brothers and sisters struggling with any number of topics from trying to divide care and work better as a team to dealing with end-of-life issues. In the guide, Connidis addresses situations, like the one described at the beginning of this release, with practical advice.

The guide and a website at will offer a variety of additional tips and resources for siblings. For more information, visit the site or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 360.570.0049. “Sometimes problems can be alleviated with a little extra home care for seniors and respite for family caregivers,” Cavenah said.

HISC - Senior citizenThe extra effort will be well worth it, Connidis explained. “Siblings are sometimes the only family relationships that endure. After parents, siblings are the ones we’ve known the longest. So there is a depth of empathy we can tap into that goes back to that relationship. When I look at my brother, I still see that little boy playing in the back yard.  And I can still remember caring for my little sister. Those memories are what motivate us to care for our parents and each other. It’s what keeps us connected, even when we’re different. That sibling relationship will continue after parents are gone; research suggests that siblings don’t want to harm their relationships with each other.”



Your local Home Instead Senior Care agency was founded in 2007 with mission to serve seniors and employ Certified Nurse Assistants & Home Care Aides across the South Puget Sound community.  At Home Instead Senior Care, it’s relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere. With a great staff and round the clock availability, they focus on quality over quantity.  Read more about Home Instead Senior Care by clicking here.


Just because Bud Blake won a county commission seat doesn't mean an independent can win in the 22nd LD

Olympia Time - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 5:52am
When you think about politics in Thurston County, the 22nd legislative district is the Democratic liberal juicy middle in what is a pretty typical rural or suburban western Washington county. This is where the urban communities are, this is where the liberals are.

This is a district that hasn't elected a Republican since 1980 when W.H Garson of Tenino went to the legislative building. This is also when the 22nd LD was big enough geographically to send someone from Tenino to the legislative building.

Just a side note: since Thurston County population shot through the roof in the 1970s, I'd assume that redistricting was particularly unkind to Republicans in the 22nd in the 1980s. What probably happened was the district shrank geographically given the boost of urban population, giving it its liberal contour today.


Bud Blake was the first conservative to win a county commissioner seat in Thurston County for a long time, most likely because he ran as an independent against a Democratic. And, he won in a convincing fashion.

I was wondering if a county-wide election for a Republican in independent clothing meant the same sort of strategy could equal the same result in the smaller, liberal 22nd LD. Well, it does not.

But, man, it would be close. If you isolate the 22nd LD precincts (the way I did in that link above), you see a pretty tight race. Democrat Karen Valenzuela would have won with just over 51 percent, or 2,000 votes out of over 40,000.

But, a win is still a win.

That said, I think a legislative race would have been even harder for an independent (especially a conservative one) to win over a Democrat. I suspect that strictly partisan issues (like abortion, environmental protection, taxes) could be isolated in a way that they couldn't be on a local general government election.

Olympia Film Society presents the 12th annual Duck the Malls Holiday Arts & Craft sale

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:38pm
Event:  Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:00am - 4:00pm


Shop downtown for the holidays at this awesome local craft fair taking place inside the historic Capitol Theater! The sale was created to support local and independent artisans and artists in the South Sound and visual art programming at the Olympia Film Society.

Now in its 12th year, Duck the Malls has become a holiday tradition and offers a unique opportunity to shop locally, creatively, and alternatively for the holidays and support true craftsmanship! Over 50 vendors and open until 4:00pm! logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Christmas Forest: A Dazzling Display for a Good Cause

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:22pm



By Margo Greenman

providence christmas forest

Providence St. Peter’s Foundation Christmas Forest is an annual tradition, now in its 27th year.

What’s your favorite part of Christmas? Is it sharing in the splendor of the season with friends and family? Baking gingerbread, sugar cookies and other holiday treats? Or perhaps it’s the tradition of gathering around a spruce or fir and spending an afternoon decorating its branches with twinkling lights and festive baubles? The latter has always been a personal favorite of mine. However, as I am just beginning to start preparations for my own Christmas tree, many local designers have already put the finishing touches on more than 40 thematic wreaths and trees for Providence St. Peter Foundation’s Christmas Forest, on display through Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Red Lion.

Now in its 27th year, the generosity of local sponsors, designers and the community has made Christmas Forest Providence St. Peter Foundation’s principal fundraiser, bringing in more than $8.6 million over the years in support of  local health care and Providence’s mission-driven programs.

This year, a special program was chosen as the event’s “fund-a-need:” the expansion of St. Peter’s palliative care program. By creating an outpatient clinic and extending this service to patients who are not hospitalized, Providence will be able to provide more people with access to relief from the pain, discomfort and stress commonly caused by serious and complex conditions.

providence christmas forest

Elaborately decorated trees are on display at the Red Lion in Olympia through Saturday, December 7.

“The goal of palliative care is to come to the patient and help them live the best life possible, for as long as possible,” said Providence Palliative Care Medical Director Dr. Gregg VandeKieft. “Our team is trained to help relieve pain and suffering caused by serious illnesses, so the patient may live the fullest life they can.”

When Olympia resident Thomas Terry’s mother became terminally ill, he wasn’t fully aware of the benefits palliative care had to offer. In fact, palliative care wasn’t even available at the hospital in Delaware where Thomas’ mother was being treated. But, once Thomas and his wife, Priscilla, learned more about palliative care from a friend, they both became immediate supporters, wishing palliative care had been an option for Thomas’ mother.

“Palliative care provides people going through a difficult situation with someone who can help you identify what your options are, knows what the trade-offs are, and who can help you work through that maze. It’s like an independent view that helps you manage the situation better,” explained Thomas. “We’re all going to go through end of life and there are going to be complications. With more and more of us aging older, palliative care is going to become a more critical need.”

Thomas’s wife Priscilla is a member of Providence St. Peter Hospital’s Community Board, and both husband and wife are excited that this year’s Christmas Forest is supporting a service they are equally passionate about. “I think it’s such a worthy cause,” said Thomas. “It’s going to be such a good addition to the community health services available in Thurston County.”

providence christmas forest

Jennifer Wright assists in decorating Olympia Sheet Metal’s tree for Christmas Forest.

With the support of donors, Providence’s goal is to have the clinic open and ready for patients by June of 2015, a goal which the Providence St. Peter Foundation believes will be made possible from monies raised at this year’s Christmas Forest.

By partnering with community sponsors and Thurston County’s best designers, Christmas Forest offers a dazzling display for the community to feast their eyes upon during five days in December. In addition to the display, which is open to the public with the cost of admission, Christmas Forest also plays host to a variety of other festive events throughout the week, all culminating with the highly anticipated Gala Dinner and Auction on Friday, where the trees are auctioned off to the highest bidders.

providence christmas forest

The finished tree is ready for viewing. It takes the Olympia Sheet Metal designing team a full day to prepare the tree.

Jayme McBride has been designing trees for Christmas Forest for 14 years, and she says every year is different. Each year Jayme, her sister and her grandmother choose a different theme for their tree. This year they chose “White Christmas.” McBride says preparation for the event usually begins the day after Christmas when they hit the after-Christmas sales and stock up on ornaments. In the summer, the trio gathers to talk logistics, including what Olympia Sheet Metal, the family business, will contribute to the tree. This year’s tree features large snowflakes and stars fabricated from metal.

But, it’s the days leading up to the event that are especially busy. “We decorate the entire tree in one day. We work from 8 a.m. until around five at night. Everything has to be wired down – each light, every twig, and all of the ornaments have to be wired in place.” Multiply Jayme’s tree by 40, and you have Christmas Forest – a twinkling, ornate display with purpose.

Christmas Forest, located at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, kicks-off today, with events taking place throughout the week like Ladies’ Night Out on Wednesday, Silver Bells Breakfast on Thursday, the Gala Dinner and Auction on Friday, and more. Admission to Christmas Forest is $6 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 and younger.

For more information about Christmas Forest, including a full calendar of this week’s events and a sneak peak at the trees, visit Christmas Forest’s website.


Make-Up Sound Verite – It’s a Session, Man.

K Records - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 2:29pm
You have been waiting for it, anticipating it and now your impatience is rewarded: the K Mail Order Dept. is serving up the Make-Up album Sound Verite [KLP064] on vinyl LP for the first time in one million years. Originally released in 1997, Sound Verite was the result of Make-Up interrupting their cross-country tour with a stop-off […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Annual “Reindeer Run” Benefits Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:56pm


Submitted by  Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers

Saint Martin's UniversityRunners and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited to take part in the annual “Reindeer Run” in support of the Olympia-Thurston County chapter of Crime Stoppers.  The event will feature a certified 5K run as well as a free one-mile Candy Cane Run.

The Reindeer Run is set for 9 am on Sunday, December 7 at the Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE Olympia.  Runners can register on-line at or   In store-registration can also be done at South Sound Running-3405 Capitol Boulevard in Olympia.

The day will feature a Christmas themed costume contest, a visit by Santa Claus and lots of other fun.   Sponsors include the Hands On Children’s Museum, South Sound Running, On the Run Events and Club Oly Running.

All proceeds from the run will benefit the non-profit programs of Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers.  Some background on this chapter-

Over the past 20 years-

  • More than 900 suspects have been arrested
  • 922 criminal offenses were cleared
  • 829 rewards were paid for a total of more than $160,000
  • The value of stolen property that was recovered was more than $1.8 million
  • Nearly $7-million in narcotics were taken off the streets

For more information on the “Reindeer Run” please call 360-561-0266

All Your Friend’s Friends Movie Premiere Friday!

K Records - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 10:57am
Do You hear that sound? It’s the Northwest hip hop compilation All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] blowing up on cels worldwide, causing irreversible damage to Headz and other weird-outs. The All Your Friend’s Friends compilation was produced by Smoke m2d6 and Thee XNTRX utilizing samples from K albums past and present, by such artists as Jeremy […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Sound of the Train at Night

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 9:42am

The sound of the train at night (from about a half mile away,) 7 minutesd: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Panorama’s Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center Knocks It Out of the Park with a Perfect 20-Star Rating

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 6:57am




Panorama’s C&R restorative nursing department finds ways to make exercise and movement fun.

Panorama is a unique non-profit residential community situated on a 140-acre campus in Lacey, Washington. It offers a suite of solutions for retirees ranging from independent houses and apartments to assisted living options and a Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R).

When you enter the high-ceiling, sunny foyer at the C&R, it is immediately obvious that this is not your typical nursing home. The hallways and sitting areas are spaciously appointed, the space looks, smells, and feels inviting and homey, and there appears to be a lot of socializing taking place both among the residents and with the staff.

When I meet with administrator Sharon Rinehart, she explains that the C&R was designed around a hospitality concept rather than a clinical one. Most of the 155 beds are occupied by permanent residents.  The goal is to foster an engaging, warm community atmosphere. Sharon’s aunt recently passed away but called Panorama home for 26 years.  This is a good indicator that the staff truly believes in the work they are doing to provide their residents with top-notch care if they count their own family members among their clients.

Sharon can often be found walking the halls with Coconut, a Miniature Goldendoodle therapy dog, who is much beloved by the C&R residents. They watched her grow from the time she was a 9-week-old puppy.  Accompanied by Sharon, Coconut spends 40 hours a week bringing joy and companionship wherever she trots.


A visit with Coconut, the therapy dog (shown dressed in her Pumpkin Parade garb), may inspire residents to successfully complete a PT routine.

The C&R at Panorama offers two levels of care. Skilled nursing patients may require 24-hour skilled care or post-acute care, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy. The goal for these patients is to eventually be discharged. Long-term care patients in the C&R are considered permanent residents of the facility. They require assistance with three or more activities of daily living, such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, or taking medications.

This quarter, the C&R is celebrating their perfect 20-star rating, one of only four such scores awarded to the 222 eligible facilities in Washington. Of note, the other three facilities that received a top score are much smaller, which makes it even more remarkable that the C&R can deliver exemplary service on a large scale.

If you’re like me, you may be wondering what this designation represents and why it is so difficult to earn all 20 stars?

Selecting a skilled nursing facility can be a daunting task. A patient may require short-term sub-acute care following a surgery, accident or medical incident, which may be unexpected, or long-term end-of-life care, which is commonly accompanied by a host of emotions. Oftentimes, family members who live remotely may wish to be involved in the decision, and all stakeholders crave data and guidelines to help them prioritize the specific needs and wishes of the patient. Patients and family members alike want to identify a pleasant living environment with a level of care they can count on.

In response to this need, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created a US-wide objective rating system that is used to evaluate nursing homes on a five star scale, similar to a hotel, across four categories.

The CMS understands that educated consumers make better choices in pursuit of high-quality care.  It’s also a tool to reinforce and sustain the best healthcare businesses. The quality indicator system serves as an easy way to survey and evaluate nursing homes online. Potential customers can search the available options by zip code, city, or state.


The nutrition services team created a healthful and creative display for the recent Pumpkin Parade.

The rating system includes four metrics that are each rated on a five star scale. They include overall quality, health inspection, quality measures, and staffing. The health inspection includes a survey of the residents which provides a regular outlet for them to voice their perspectives and to be heard, a survey of the clinical medical records, and observations of staff providing care. Staffing ratios also include the percentage of registered nurses that work in a facility, as well as the ratio of LPNs and certified nursing assistants.

Sharon attributes much of the success of C&R 5 star (20 star) rating to the skilled, dedicated and compassionate staff. Maintaining a positive work culture among the employees is so essential that they would rather work short, if necessary, than hire someone who is not the right fit for the job. The nurses, social workers, and activity personnel comprise a dynamic team, focused on the same mission of excellence.

One of the major benefits of living at the C&R is the connection to the larger Panorama community. Amazingly, there are 100 Panorama residents who volunteer at the C&R. They work as greeters, lead groups and classes, read to residents, stroll around the campus on a walk, give art lessons, and offer prayer services.

But they don’t stop there. Panorama residents brainstorm about ways to further enrich the lives of C&R residents and organize fundraisers to make those dreams become a reality. Two of the groups specifically supplement the operating budget for activities, activity supplies, entertainment and special purchases, such as blanket warmers.

With fantastic support like that, the team at C&R has created an exceptional nursing home environment where you truly do feel like family.


Donedei Wines: A Taste of France in Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 6:00am



By Margo Greenman

Thurston First BankFrance and Italy are both often revered as two of the most enchanting and romantic destinations on earth. Exquisite wines, sumptuous eats and breathtaking sights – all of which are offered in abundance – set a magical stage for charming visits through vineyards, candlelit tours across canals, and more.

donedei wine

Donedei Wines owner and winemaker, Carolyn Lakewold, became interested in winemaking after tasting wines and touring vineyards with her husband, Fred Goldberg, in Italy and France.

While many may only experience the regality of these destinations during the occasional holiday abroad or vicariously through friends or photographs, Carolyn Lakewold and her husband Fred Goldberg are reminded of the region daily right here in Thurston County at their Bordeaux-inspired Tenino winery, Donedei Wines.

While Carolyn was teaching at South Puget Sound Community College and working as an NCAA Champion Fastpitch coach, she and Fred traveled to France and Italy often. Both interested in food and wine, they would focus their trips around visiting wineries and experiencing great meals. Because of this, it comes as no surprise that Carolyn and Fred both became well educated about identifying different varietals, understanding what makes some wines better than others, and knowing why fish pairs better with a buttery Chardonnay than a hearty Syrah.

When Carolyn decided to take a break from her teaching career, Fred knew she would find herself wanting something to keep her busy, so he suggested she offer-up her knowledge to a local winery. Carolyn started volunteering at McCrea Cellars in Rainier, WA, shortly after. Here, Carolyn learned the ins and outs of winemaking, shadowing winemaker Doug McCrea. Assuming she could occasionally volunteer a few hours to keep busy, Carolyn anticipated that her time with McCrea Cellars would not exceed six months. However, six months soon turned into one year, and one year turned into two. Carolyn had no idea that the time she spent at McCrea Cellars would inspire a career switch and the start of her own business, but it did.

donedei wine

Donedei Wines produces Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons produced in the traditional Bordeaux style.

After her time at McCrea, Carolyn headed back to Europe and shadowed a few more wineries around Tuscany, Italy, before opening her own winery at the couple’s property in Tenino in 1997. Donedei (meaning “Gift from God”) celebrated its first crush the following year and introduced their first commercial release, a Merlot, in 1999, followed by their Cabernet Sauvignon in 2000. Since their debut, Donedei Wines has not added additional varietals to its repertoire, instead focusing on producing only quality, handcrafted Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons made in the traditional Bordeaux style.

Carolyn starts their wines by first sourcing the best grapes in the region. Most of Donedei’s grapes come from Ciel Du Cheval, a vineyard located at one of the state’s most renowned viticultural areas, Red Mountain. Once the grapes arrive at Donedei, they are then hand sorted and hand picked. The grapes are then ready to be turned into wine and are gently crushed to create the Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons Donedei is celebrated for.

“I love the creativity of it,” explains Carolyn. “It’s a challenge everyday. It makes you think. It makes you become a chemist. It makes you become a chef, and it makes it fun to come into work everyday.”

donedei wine

Visit Donedei Wines on Saturday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 14, during the winery’s Holiday Open House events in Tenino.

Carolyn clearly loves her job – and people love her wine. So much in fact that Carolyn is often asked if she plans to grow her business. To answer that question, Carolyn says she’s not interested in increasing production or growing to become bigger. “It’s about doing it right,” she says. “Doing it where I can be absolutely proud of every glass poured. We’re committed to that philosophy.”

Thirsty yet? Donedei’s wines can be found throughout the region at Thurston County-area stores like the Wine Loft, Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway and Haggen, to name a few. You can drink a glass at several Olympia restaurants like Gardner’s, Waterstreet Café and Bar, Dockside Bistro and many more.

Donedei opens its doors to the public two days per year.  During the month of December, Donedei will be celebrating its Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 14, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. During both days, Fred will be manning the barbecue building, dishing-up locally sourced sausages and other meats to pair alongside Donedei’s delightful wines. The event (and food) is free to the public and serves as a great opportunity for the community to stock up on wine for the holidays, as well as for Carolyn to say “thank you” to all of those who have supported her throughout the years.

To learn more about Donedei Wines, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or try the wine firsthand on December 6 or December 14 at the winery, located at 12035 Gibbons Lane, Tenino.


Signing Santa Provides a Special Holiday Opportunity

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 6:00am



By Katie Doolittle

capital medical centerOn December 5, Chambers Prairie Elementary School will host a Santa event much like any other. There will be entertainment (think Christmas carols) and holiday snacks (the usual selection of cookies, cider, and such). The central focus, of course, will be Kris Kringle himself: the line of children waiting to meet him, the lucky kiddo enjoying his or her turn, and the nearby parents with cameras at the ready.

There is, however, one crucial difference at this particular event: this Santa is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). And, like many of the children who come to see him, he is deaf.

signing santa

A larger chair enables kids to sit next to Santa instead of on his lap. This way, they can communicate more effectively.

That’s the reason you’ll see a bigger Santa chair at the event—it’s hard to sign while holding someone in your lap! Several talented helpers from Signing Santa made the chair so that Santa and the child sitting next to him can face one another and communicate effectively. It’s just one of the many special touches that this 100% volunteer-run nonprofit brings to their annual event.

Signing Santa’s purpose is to provide a positive Santa experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, as well as CODAs (children of deaf adults). Family, friends, and the community at large also join in to make this a special event for all who participate.

“Deaf children can’t go see Santa at the mall unless they have a parent along to translate. Here, they can talk directly to Santa. It makes for a more personal experience. It’s much more memorable,” explains Jim Hancock, a member of the Board of Trustees.

The Signing Santa event has a long history in our community. Begun in 1991, it ran for thirteen consecutive years before a committee’s disbandment led to its temporary hiatus. This prompted Hancock, plus three other interested members from the deaf community, to form the current volunteer nonprofit. Together, they resurrected the program in 2008. And ever since, Hancock’s been helping to run the event.

signing santa

Jeanette Sieler of Lacey Parks and Recreation says, “The best part is seeing kids get to talk to Santa in their own language. Actually, the hearing children at the event are the ones who need an interpreter!”

Other groups get in on the action, too. Pierce County Toys for Tots provides a toy for every child who visits Santa. Lacey Parks and Recreation has been instrumental in securing event venues and helping to get the word out.

As recreation supervisor for Lacey Parks and Recreations, Jeannette Sieler is in charge of all her department’s special events. The job keeps her busy year-round. However, she has a special place in her heart for the Signing Santa event.“I enjoy reaching a part of the community that Lacey Parks and Recreation doesn’t always get to serve,” she says.

It’s worth noting that the community being referenced here is quite widespread. Attendees come from as far as King County, and the organizers have come to expect between 200 and 300 people each year.

The event is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend. There are even volunteer interpreters on hand to help non-ASL speakers converse with Santa. Hancock says, “Over the past few years it has really grown into a community event. In addition to the families coming to see Santa, there are also the families coming to watch their high school student perform.”

signing santa

Another classic Christmas moment: parents coaxing their kids through an unsure reaction to Santa.

High school students performing? That’s right. Cathy Miller is the ASL teacher for North Thurston Public Schools, with programs at both River Ridge and North Thurston high schools.  Her students sign Christmas carols as part of the entertainment, then stick around to help out. Hancock appreciates the high schoolers’ willingness to pitch in, citing their enthusiastic participation in event set-up and tear-down. Sieler sees the benefit for the teenagers, as well. “The high school students get a chance to practically apply their learning. For some, this may be the first time they’re using sign language to communicate with a deaf or hard-of-hearing person.”

Sieler and Hancock agree that the best part of the event is seeing kids talk to Santa in their own language. Hancock is rightly pleased by the impact his efforts have on the deaf and hearing-impaired community. He perfectly sums up the spirit of giving that motivates so many volunteers to put on this event: “To see the smiles and excitement on the children’s faces as they meet with Signing Santa tells it all.”

The Signing Santa event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Chambers Prairie Elementary School. For more information, contact Lacey Parks and Recreation at 360-491-0857.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Signing Santa.


A Conversation with Harlequin Productions “Stardust” Author, Harlowe Reed

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 2:05pm


Submitted by Harlequin Productions

I was lucky enough to sit down with the mysterious Harlowe Reed for an exclusive interview with the author of the Stardust Musical.

Harlequin Stardust 2014 - 2Where do you find your inspiration for story lines?
Inspiration is everywhere, but largely it comes from having watched actors work in other projects and beginning to see Stardust characters emerge. These are situation comedies, so the next step is finding a situation. The ideas for the situations or problems are one percent pure luck that must be supported with the ninety-nine percent hard work.

Do you ever decide to abandon plot concepts mid-way through writing?
If a plot will be abandoned, it needs to happen right at the beginning. That’s the place you have to recognize that you’re headed to a dead end. Not half-way through. Once you are committed to a storyline, you tend to make it the story you want even if it requires a staple gun, a shoe horn, and bailing wire. If a sledgehammer is needed to get you to the finish line, you’ll know better next time.

Any particularly strange Stardusts we almost had?
They are all strange. We joke about various concepts like setting the show in the Star Wars Cantina or in a remote future where all the performers are robots or clones. These ideas are unlikely to be explored anytime soon; however, the Cantina version has its attractions. I always loved the jazz combo in that scene.

Do you have any favorite Stardusts past?
Naturally the shows I like the best are the shows that audiences like the best: Stardust for Christmas, Operation Stardust, The Stardust Serenade, and last year’s Stardust Christmas Blizzard rank highBut, as you know, the real favorite is always the one you are working on at the moment.

Do you find that your original vision usually comes to fruition in the final product, or does the vision tend to evolve during a process?Harlequin Stardust 2014 - 5
It has absolutely got to evolve in the process. It can’t be helped. The performers bring their own brilliance to the project and new and irresistible possibilities come to life. And that is what makes the “original vision” viable. You have to begin with raw eggs to end up with an omelet. The ideas are the raw eggs BTW …not the actors. With an original script, you can’t go in thinking it’s already cooked. That’s a formula for disaster. You might get a disaster anyway, but the chances are greatly reduced by letting it morph organically into its true potential. This does, however, require knowing what and what not to keep. You have got to know a speed bump for what it is.


How has your writing style changed over these 19 years?
Writing comedy is trial by fire. You learn the hard way what has a chance of working and what makes it work when it does. I’ve learned a lot about tempo and phrasing. I like broken and overlapping lines because it’s the way people actually banter with each other. Smart actors can do that, but the tempo has to be correctly balanced in the line. Also, consonants are vital. Finding the clear words that help actors communicate a feeling or situation to the audience can be the difference between keeping them with you or confusing them. I’ve done the confusion part and now attempt to do something else. I also used to be much more sentimental. We still want a happy ending, but keeping it terse actually seems to make that more rewarding.

What led to your decision to move from the 1940’s to the 1950’s?
We spent seventeen Christmases in the 1940s, mostly the war years. We covered well over 200 songs from the period. Most of them were ballads. It’s time to move it to the 1950s and the more upbeat popular music of that decade. It was an optimistic time, maybe the last non-cynically optimistic period in American history.

Harlequin Stardust 2014 - 8What do you love about this year’s feature?
The homeless youth element and the way it resonates with contemporary problems. His situation is a catalyst for a sequence of crazy events that (I hope) keep us engaged and rooting for everyone concerned.

What would you say is the thesis of this entire body of work?
Simple: The Stardust Series is really a collection of big noisy Christmas cards. These are alternative holiday shows that provide a bit of added cheer and entertainment. I have nothing as lofty as a “thesis,” but the intention to reach out to the community with a happy offering has endured.

Do you have any relation to Fletcher Reed, Jim Carry’s character from the 1997 smash Liar, Liar?
Sadly, no. That was one of Jim’s better roles. I am, however, tangentially connected to the journalist John “Jack” Reed (1887 – 1920). He was born in Portland, Oregon, lived for a time in Greenwich Village.  He had Communist leanings and wrote prodigiously about the Russian Revolution and was given a hero’s funeral when he died in Moscow. Obviously he got in lots of trouble. I’m nothing like that.

Do you spend much time with the Director, the fabulous Linda Whitney?
Collaboration is required to pull these things together. Time is an imaginary concept.


Clista Rakow Reflects on Her Reign as Miss Thurston County 2014

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 1:14pm



By Kate Scriven

Edward Jones Block AdMany of us tune in each year to the Miss America Pageant, oohing and ahhing at the dresses and holding our breath at each interview question.  The accomplished young women on stage started their journey with a county-based pageant.  Locally, the Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program (MTCSP) has been active since 1975 and in recent years has seen resurgence in sponsorship and participation.

Held in March, the Miss Thurston County Pageant gives young women ages 17 to 24 the opportunity to compete for scholarship dollars as well as the crown.  The pageant is focused on helping young women develop character, prepare for future opportunities, and promote their dreams.

miss thurston county

Clista Rakow was crowned Miss Thurston County 2014 last March on a platform of Suicide Awareness and Prevention.

The current Miss Thurston County 2014, Clista Rakow, knows first-hand how hard contestants work and the rewards, and responsibilities, which come with winning the crown.  Rakow was born and raised in Yelm, Washington, daughter of a local dentist and 2012 Yelm High School graduate.  She hadn’t competed in pageants when young and admits applying for the Miss Thurston County pageant was partially motivated by the prize money and scholarship award as she is attending Pierce Community College and supporting herself.

However, she quickly learned she’d gain more from her experience than money.  “As the workshops started prior to the pageant and we started learning different things, I noticed that I began developing into a different person,” she shares.  “I was becoming more confident and motivated.  I wanted to be like those girls you see on the Miss America stage – doctors, lawyers, Ivy League students – these are some of the most promising women you’ll ever meet.”

Rakow was excited to compete, feeling it would create opportunity for her.  “I competed in 2013 and lost,” she recalls with a laugh. “But I learned so much that year and when I returned in 2014 I was much more calm and able to learn even more.”  Each time she participated at the local level, then again during the 2014 Miss Washington Pageant, she gained something new.

The organization trains contestants in interview skills, financial planning, character and more.  These skills are used during the pageant, but also as the winner and into the real world.  “I’ve nailed every interview I’ve had since the pageant,” shares Rakow.  “The practice and coaching has taught me how to prepare and deliver during tough situations.”

One aspect of the competition is to select a platform. Introduced in 1989, the platform concept is a social issue that contestants care deeply about and is important to their greater community.

“My personal platform is something very close to my heart – Suicide Prevention and Awareness,” shares Rakow.  “I am a suicide attempt survivor and a daughter of a veteran.  These two really interlinked with wanting to help our military and rehabilitate our veterans who struggle with PTSD – really opening the conversation about mental illnesses and ending the stigma.”

miss thurston county

Clista’s parents have supported her throughout her reign as Miss Thurston County.

Rakow opens up to people about her own story and is able to start conversations in the greater community through personal experience.  Through these conversations, and her dedication, Rakow has helped pass House Bill 2315.  “The bill requires all front-line health care workers to take six hours of continuing education in suicide management assessment and prevention,” Rakow explains.  “Washington is the first state to require this training.”  There are now several other states following Washington, and Rakow’s, lead.

In addition, she is also a Field Advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention working on local, state and federal bills and policies related to suicide prevention. Through this work, Rakow contacted the governor of California in an effort to install a safety net under the Golden Gate Bridge.  The $76 million project passed in June 2014 and is a huge victory for suicide prevention advocates like Rakow.

Locally, she participated in this October’s Out of the Darkness Walk and was moved by the open dialogue among participants impacted by mental illness and suicide.  “I’m thankful that I’ve been given a second chance to help people and really find out my true passion,” Rakow reflect.

miss thurston county

As Miss Thurston County, Clista Rakow participates in community-wide activities such as face painting at Fall Arts Walk.

Holding the title of Miss Thurston County 2014 initially entailed ongoing preparation for the July Miss Washington Pageant. “You build a great sisterhood with the other contestants,” she shares. “It’s not like anything you see on TV with all the drama and cattiness,” explains Rakow of the supportive environment she experienced.

As Miss Thurston County, Rakow makes appearances and gives speeches throughout the area.  She can be found face painting at Arts Walk, picking up road-side trash, or speaking on suicide prevention to area high schools.  She will also serve as mentor to the 2015 contestants and help prepare them for what lies ahead.

“For me, the title and life are not two separate things.  I am myself 24/7 and hope people see me as approachable and real,” Rakow says.  “After nine months as Miss Thurston County, my white sash is all dirty and stained.  I think that characterizes my year wearing the crown.”

For more information about the Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program, visit their website here.  Applications for 2015 contestants are due Friday, December 5 and can be filled out online here. Completing an application is not an obligation to participate.  Stay up to date with Clista and Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program on Facebook.


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