Recent local blog posts

Annual College Rankings Recognize The Evergreen State College

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 2:28pm


Submitted by The Evergreen State College 

Evergreen state college

The Evergreen State College is located in Olympia, Washington.

 Washington Monthly magazine has ranked The Evergreen State College #14 among nearly 700 master’s universities in the country.

Posing a question unique among publications that produce college rankings, Washington Monthly asks, “What are colleges doing for the country?”  The answer for Evergreen is quite a lot.

In its explanation of its latest rankings, Washington Monthly noted, “We all benefit when colleges produce groundbreaking research that drives economic growth, when they put students from lower-income families on the path to a better life, and when they shape the character of future leaders.”  With that in mind,Washington Monthly ranks schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

Evergreen received several prestigious accolades this year: the college ranked #4 among public regional universities in the West in US News & World Report. The magazine’s definition of the West reaches to Texas. US News ranked Evergreen #1 in the same category for best undergraduate teaching as well as #11 best for veterans. Evergreen was also listed in the publication as top 15 nationally for best first-year student experiences and top 12 best for “learning communities – engaging students in learning, including outside the classroom.”

The Fiske Guide to Colleges praised Evergreen, notably, as the only public institution on the West Coast to be a “Best Buy” college. Evergreen has made that list every year since 2010.

The Princeton Review ranked Evergreen as one of the Best 379 Colleges in America and lauds Evergreen as a friendly college for veterans and active duty military personnel.

“Because no single ranking can paint the entire picture of an institution,” explained Evergreen spokesperson Todd Sprague, “it’s helpful to have a variety of measures to assess the value delivered to students and society.  Washington Monthly’s focus on social mobility, research and service provides a lens that’s different from most other rankings and a perspective that’s especially valuable for a public institution like Evergreen.”

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences college known for its distinctive interdisciplinary curriculum, high level of student-faculty engagement and strong emphasis on putting learning into action.

OysterFest – 2014 Photos

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 2:17pm



OysterFest is likely best known for the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship.  The annual event, held in Shelton, included oysters, wine, microbrews, and live music.  The weekend-long event occurs in early October.  More information can be found here.

Oysters in boat oysterfest oysterfest oysterfest oysterfest child oysterfest oysterfest oysterfest oysterfest

Saint Martin’s University Presents 12th Annual Sacred Music Concert

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 2:16pm


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

sacred music saint martinsThe Saint Martin’s University Chorale will perform two free public programs of sacred music Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19. The annual performances, which celebrate All Saints Day and the Feast of Saint Martin of Tours, the University’s patron saint, will take place at Saint Martin’s Abbey Church, 5000 Abbey Way SE. The Saturday performance begins at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday performance starts at 2:30 p.m. Doors open 15 minutes earlier. No reservations are necessary.

A portion of the concert will explore the sacred music of opera composers, notably, some of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini. Rossini and Bellini are composers of the “Bel Canto” era, says Darrell Born, chair of the Department of Fine Arts and the Saint Martin’s University chorale director.

“Bel Canto literally means “beautiful singing,”  Born says. “All three of these composers were melodists who composed some of the most famous and most beautiful operatic arias still famed today.  I am interested in not only introducing our choral students to this great era of music,  I am interested in encouraging beautiful singing by singing repertoire whose primary focus and tradition is beauty of sound.”

“I wanted to explore how these great composers, known  for their secular music, approached the sacred,” adds Born. Highlights of the concert include Mozart’s “Tantum Ergo in B Flat,” Bellini’s “Salve, Regina” and Rossini’s “O Salutaris Hostia”.

The 75-member chorale will also perform Shape Note singing, which Born explains, is “a method of singing  which comes from the American Singing School intended to promote congregational singing and musical literacy in the church and the community.”

“There is a distinct, open, harmonic and melodic sound that comes from this tradition,” he says. “We have several pieces that follow the tradition of the Sacred Harp and these pieces have haunting melodies which promote beautiful singing.”

In a change of pace, the chorale’s performance will include a variety of what Born describes as “fun, rockin’, pop gospel songs.”

Other performances include the Guitar Ensemble, which will present a variety of pieces under the direction of Phil Lawson, a classical and jazz guitarist and an adjunct professor at Saint Martin’s. The concert accompanist is Renata Fell.

Saint Martin of Tours, the University’s patron saint, lived during the early fourth century. A Roman soldier, he converted to Christianity and left military service. He became a monk and, eventually, bishop of Tours, France. Saint Martin is known for his service to the poor and for establishing Christian monasticism in western Europe.

The Order of Saint Benedict, which established Saint Martin’s, was founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia, Italy, in the early 500s. The Order is governed by “The Rule of Saint Benedict,” a document that commends maintaining a balance of prayer, work and study. The Rule also stresses the Christian and monastic virtues of community, hospitality and stability.

The Sacred Music Concert is sponsored by the Department of Fine Arts in collaboration with the University’s Benedictine Institute.


Distinguished Leader Awards Honor Eileen McKenzie Sullivan, Dr. Roy Heynderickx, and Sunset Air/Brian Fluetsch

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 11:47am


Submitted by Leadership Thurston County 

olympia senior services

Eileen McKenzie Sullivan has been with Senior Services of South Sound for 31 of the organization’s 40 years.

Leadership Thurston County (LTC) and the Thurston County Chamber Foundation are proud to announce the 2015 Distinguished Leader Award honorees. Eileen McKenzie Sullivan, Executive Director, Senior Services for South Sound; Dr. Roy Heynderickx, President, Saint Martin’s University; and Brian Fluetsch, Owner, Sunset Air, will be recognized at the awards event to be held Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

Presented by Twin Star Credit Union, the 14th annual leadership celebration will be held at the Red Lion Hotel, Olympia. The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m.

The event honors outstanding leaders who demonstrate initiative, inspire others and make a significant impact in our community and beyond. Honorees will be recognized through live and multi-media presentations.

This year’s honorees lead by example and are committed to developing a thriving community.

Eileen McKenzie Sullivan has been Executive Director of Senior Services for South Sound, a multi-program agency serving older adults in Mason and Thurston Counties, for 17 years, and has directed the STARS Adult Day Program since 1982. Ms. McKenzie Sullivan has enjoyed a long and successful career in geriatrics, having worked in Alaska, Iowa, Seattle, and finally Olympia. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Tenino Young-at-Heart Theater, the Senior Action Network, and the Washington State Senior Games.

Brian Fluetsch - Owner of Sunset Air

Brian Fluetsch – Owner of Sunset Air

Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., became the tenth president of Saint Martin’s University in 2009. He has worked in Catholic higher education for more than 28 years, 15 of which have been at the senior management level. Dr. Heynderickx serves on the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and has been an evaluator for that Commission focusing on smaller institutions, which has provided a unique understanding of St. Martin’s. He is deeply involved in higher education at local, state, and national levels and continues to make significant contributions to the local business and education community.

Sunset Air, a family-owned and operated business established in 1976, and Owner/CEO Brian Fluetsch are recognized for their continued innovation and success of the business operation, as well as their understanding that the employees of the organization are what built the success that has allowed Sunset Air to contribute to the community’s success through an array of impactful engagements.

Leadership Thurston County is a program of the Thurston County Chamber Foundation and has been developing informed, skilled and committed community leaders since 1994. For information, please click here.


Streetlight Conversion to LEDs Scheduled to Begin in October

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 11:29am



Submitted by The City of Olympia

olympia streetlightsThe City of Olympia has contracted with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to replace streetlights throughout the City with new LED lights. These lights are owned by PSE and are typically located on wooden utility poles. This work will complete the project the City started in 2013 when we converted 3,200 City-owned streetlights to LED.

The LED Streetlight Conversion Project will begin on Monday, October 6. PSE’s Contractor, Potelco, will work Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Crews will begin working in the northeast part of the City, move downtown, and then move onto other areas of town. The City will post updates on our web page as crews move from one area to the next. The entire project is expected to be completed early next year.

This joint venture between the City of Olympia and PSE will save the City approximately $60,000 per year in combined energy and maintenance savings and reduce greenhouse gasses.

To learn more, visit our Streetlight Conversion web page or contact Rick Knostman at 360.753.8438.

Flowing, Distilled, Condensed

Maria Mudd Ruth - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 9:51am

Saturday was a fine day in Mason County, Washington. While the Shellfish Festival was the big draw, my husband and I set off for a hike along Big Creek in Olympic National Forest. The 4.5 mile loop trail follows and crosses gushing and trickling Big Creek, Branch Creek, Skinwood Creek, and No Name Creek and offers many log benches and spots for enjoying the first few falling leaves and the still-warm sun.

En route to El Puerto de Angeles IV, a waterfront Mexican restaurant in Hoodsport, we saw a sign for The Hardware Distillery Co. and decided to venture in. I'm not a big fan of distilled spirits, but I cannot resist and old fashioned hardware store. Well, this artisanal distillery is in a former hardware store building (so just a few relic tools on display) and offers free tastings. And now I have a new vice. The "forty five and rainy" season is coming and I figured a few sips of locally distilled gin and aquavit wouldn't hurt. The Hardware Distillery makes several unique and flavorful spirits, including something they call "Bees Knees" because it doesn't fit the vodka or gin category. Many are flavored with Washington State honey and local fruits.

I also cannot resist a good sunset. This one required several roadside pull-offs to get the right view and eventually found us at Sanderson Field, the airport in Shelton, where we had a big sky view of a pretty normal sunset...but a great cloud set.

For details on the Big Creek hike, click here. NOTE: The campground and parking is closed for renovation/expansion, but you can park along the road. The entire loop is now hikable, thanks to the work of the Rose Trail Crew for repairing the bridges!

For details on The Hardware Distillery, click here.


Hover and click to advance photos in this gallery from Mason County, WA.

Categories: Local Environment

Smith Troy once arrested the man that was running against him for county prosecutor

Olympia Time - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 6:44am
Smith Troy, the 1930s era Thurston County prosecutor, is one of the most fascinating historic figures, must have had brass balls. Seriously, he could not have lacked for guts.

I'd  certainly not argue that he was always on the angel side of things. But, when he acted, he seemed to act with no consideration of alternatives. Full forward.

Like the time in fall of 1938 he arrested the person who was running against him for prosecutor for campaign against him:

Sure, Gruhlke might have stretched the truth. But, it is hardly a lie to say the prosecutor should have arrested more prostitutes. And, no matter how he phrased it, that is pretty much all that Gruhlke said.

And, even if Gruhlke said "I know for a fact that Troy decided not to arrest women of the night!" it is a strange image of a prosecutor running for office arresting his opponent.

Gruhlke quickly and phased Troy down:

But, then months later, after Smith won another term, the parties kissed and made up. Smith was only just over a year away from being appointed state Attorney General. He had just prosecuted a high profile attempted murder case and he had empanelled a grand jury looking into misuse of state funds. And, he arrested someone for campaigning against him.

And, in the end, he got an apology from the man he arrested.

Deidi von Schaewen: Wednesday, October 8, 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 9:50pm

von-Schaewen-tree-2 For the past 28 years, Deidi von Schaewen has traveled in India, immersing herself in its people and culture, and exploring themes through her photography and video.  For her series on the Sacred Trees, she traveled the length and breadth of India.  The exhibition in Evergreen Gallery is an opportunity to view these lush, complex images in large-scale, to be surrounded by their energy and power.Born in Berlin, von Schaewen studied painting at the Berlin Academy of Arts before deciding to concentrate on photography and film.  Currently she is based in Paris.  She has exhibited extensively throughout Europe, India, North Africa, and the US.  Twenty books of her photographs have been published, with one about Sacred Trees of India due out next year.  A continuing obsession of hers is to capture on film the ephemeral, aspects of our urban and rural civilizations that are temporary, fleeting, or vanishing with time.  For the Sacred Trees of India, it is more a revelation of devotion and accumulation over time, the ability of trees to survive, rejuvenate, transform – in India, trees are not only sacred to the gods, they can actually BE gods.

Evergreen Gallery is extremely pleased to announce the fall exhibition, Sacred Trees of India: Photographs by Deidi von Schaewen.  The exhibition in Evergreen Gallery is an opportunity to view these lush, complex images in large-scale, to be surrounded by their energy and power.

Von Schaewen was director of photography for a feature film by Robert Cordier in 1972 – a time when it was unusual for a woman to be in that position.  She continued as director of photography on other films, and in 1978 she began writing and directing her own films.  One of her films, Sravanabelgola, will be showing in Evergreen Gallery as part of the exhibition.

Opening Wed. Oct. 8, 5-7pm
Exhibition continues through Dec. 3

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Kyle Dillehay, Quinn Honan and Jeremiah Maddock at Moss + Mineral

South Sound Arts - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 4:43pm

Published in the Weekly VolcanoOct. 2, 2014
untitled drawing by Jeremiah Maddock courtesy Moss + MineralNew works by some old favorites in pen and pencil, metal and dirt can be seen at Moss + Mineral through most of the next two months (exact dates not yet determined). I saw the announcement and was so intrigued with a drawing by Jeremiah Maddock that I had to see the show. I wasn’t disappointed.
The image on the announcement was what appeared to be a drawing or print of two strange, mostly human creatures wrestling. No title, size or media were mentioned on the announcement, nor are they listed on the gallery wall. With a cursory glance I counted 19 pieces hung close together. Most are small in scale. Gallery owner Lisa Kinoshita said they were drawings in pen and pencil and other media on various papers including old book covers. Some of the papers look to be ancient, and I noticed at least one that appears to have been ripped and possibly burned on one corner.
In style and subject matter there is tremendous variety among Maddock’s drawings. Many of them employ an intricate patterned drawing style, which I only recently learned is called zentangle. (I learned that from artist Pam Corwin who works in a similar style.) Some of these patterns look like quilts, some are totally abstract, and many look like buildings from Aztec or Middle Eastern cultures. He also includes figures from many cultures. Some appear to be African and some look Asian. It’s a mélange of cultures and styles, a melting pot that maintains the distinctive flavors of all the individual ingredients. 
You’ll recognize the wrestling figures I mentioned earlier. They’re wearing socks and skin-tight body suits, one is sitting on the other’s back pulling on his leg, and they’re both wearing monster masks. I love this drawing for its originality, its strangeness, and the smoothly flowing lines. I also love a little one of a woman with a pink body. It looks like the pink (diluted red ink or watercolor) was spilled on the paper and Maddock turned it into a comical figure with a few masterful strokes of the pen and a few white dots. 
Originally from Tacoma, Maddock moved to Brooklyn in 2009 and has had solo shows in New York, San Francisco and London. Kinoshita says he lives in the woods somewhere in Oregon now and comes back home from time to time. I hope we get more chances to see his work.
Quinn Honan is known for his architectural metal work gracing buildings and homes throughout the South Sound. In this show he has a large wall piece called “Putting the Pieces Together” that’s a spiral-shaped sculpture made of rusted metal sheets cut in the shape of jigsaw puzzle pieces and bent out from the wall. It’s a powerful sculpture. And he has built a table with metal legs and a slatted top made from a 1963 flatbed Chevrolet truck with a metal gutter around the edge within which grow live mosses and other ground covers.
Also showing is a group of pod-like cast-metal forms by Kyle Dillehay that, like Honan’s table, are filled with living mosses, salal and other native plants. They can be purchases separately or as a group to be arranged in various configurations and can be hung on the wall. Also by Dillehay is a group of black and white photographs of such things as animals and old boots arranged in heavy frames stuffed with straw. They look like rats’ nests, and some of the photos are of rats or mice, one with his head caught in a trap. These are dark, ominous and fascinating works of art.
There is a lot of nice art to be seen, plus ceramics, wood carvings and other utilitarian pieces, many with living plants.“Kyle Dillehay, Quinn Honan and Jerehiah Maddock at Moss + Mineral” Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m., Saturday only for the Oct. 11-12 Studio Tour, and by appointment, through October, some works through November, Moss + Mineral, 305 S. 9thSt., Tacoma, 253.961.5220,]

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Mural Gets A Makeover

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 3:25pm

Above: Joslyn Rose Trivett paints over graffiti on the mural she created in 2012. The mural is located between the two roundabouts on Olympic Way near downtown Olympia. The mural was tagged in mid-September.  By Janine

In a story first reported by Little Hollywood in 2012, Joslyn Rose Trivett transformed an ugly wall into a beautiful mural.  Today, Trivett continued her dedication to remove stubborn graffiti that appeared several weeks ago. Despite the anti-graffiti coating, the graffiti could not be removed with a chemical recommended by the manufacturer.
“It was really, really nasty stuff,” said Trivett, as she painted. “It melted our gloves. I think I’ll just skip the anti-graffiti coating. If it happens again, I'll just wash the wall and repaint it.” Above: This graffiti is not art. It is vandalism.
As Trivett worked, drivers honked their horns in approval, and bicyclists and moped riders shouted their thanks. Using some paint leftover from the project two years ago, she spent about $50 in paint today and about six hours of time in labor.

For Trivett, helping make Olympia a beautiful place is everyone’s business.Trivett and her family, who live in Olympia’s northwest neighborhood, has continued to maintain the mural, prune the nearby vegetation, and sweep the sidewalk. The project was originally spearheaded by Trivett and the Southwest Neighborhood Association.

Trivett says she has put out the offer for a couple of years to paint a mural on the lower section of the wall, which abuts another residence. Located in an area seen by thousands of drivers per day, it is another high-maintenance area with unsightly grime and is a frequent target for graffiti. In particular, she says she would need help maintaining the vegetation.For now, passersby are grateful for the time and effort she’s putting into the mural to make a difference.

“Hey, it looks good!” shouted a bicyclist riding up Olympic Avenue.  For more information about the mural, go to and use the search button to type in key words. Little Hollywood posted a story, Mural Transforms Ugly Wall into a Piece of Art,” on August 12, 2012.

Arts Walk and Arab Festival Offer Culture

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 1:55am

By Janine Unsoeld

The weather cooperated all weekend, and Arts Walk continued on Saturday in downtown Olympia, with some exhibits scheduled to be on display throughout the month. The pace on Saturday was quieter, and allowed more time to see art and speak with artists about their work.  Above: Pianist Luke Davis, 16, played outside Browser’s Bookstore on Capitol Way for Arts Walk. Davis said he’s been playing for eight years and has participated at Arts Walk for six years. He attends Black Hills High School. He says donations are going toward his college fund, and parts for his car. “My window isn’t staying up,” he said.
Above: Members of Shahrazad dance Ensemble of Seattle perform at the Olympia Arab Festival yesterday at The Olympia Center.
The Olympia Arab Festival

Coinciding with Arts Walk was the Olympia Arab Festival, sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice.

The theme of its second annual event was “Shuruq II,” which means sunrise. In a celebration of Arab culture, the event featured food, performances, speakers, and children’s activities.

Rachel Corrie, Olympia, was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003 as she tried to prevent the demolition of the home of two Palestinian families. The Rachel Corrie Foundation was established by Rachel’s family to continue the work that she hoped to accomplish. The Foundation conducts and supports programs that foster connections between people that build understanding, respect and appreciation for differences. Above: Laith Amireh, 20, of Amman, Jordan, attends Bellevue College and is taking courses in computer science and programming. He says he enjoys being part of the Arabic Culture Student Association, which has 138 members. For more information about the club, go to This is the club’s first visit to Olympia.
Above: The Olympia-Rafah Sister City Mural Project on Capitol Way and State Street in downtown Olympia. For taped recorded information about the wall and the artists, call (360) 252-9779.

Above: Omar demonstrates the fine art of Arabic coffee making at the Olympia-Rafah Mural today. The smell was irresistible. The result of just one cup made for a very productive afternoon and evening! The site at the mural featured a hookah lounge at last night’s Arts Walk. For more information about the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace & Justice, go to

Arts Walk is sponsored by the City of Olympia Arts Commission and the Department of Parks, Arts & Recreation with plenty of support by local businesses and artists. For more information about Arts Walk, go to

City, Tribal Partnership Creates a New Water Source for Olympia

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 11:54pm

Above: Tribal elder Bob Sison holds a commemorative glass given to participants of today’s dedication of the McAllister Wellfield, the site of Olympia's new water supply. By Janine

“This is the beginning of a new journey. Father, Grandfather, hear me, Spirit of our People, hear me. We thank you, thank you for joining hands with another world. We thank you for the mountain, for it brings us the water, the water that we will share. May the mountain never run dry, or if it does, so will our lands, so will our people. Watch over and guide and protect everyone who is here. Give them your physical, mental and spiritual strength…show them the way….You’ve brought our people a long ways, you’ve left us the gift of water. Let the rivers never run dry…the pumps…keep them strong. Keep the water flowing, for this is an honor to join hands with Olympia, their people. We pray that the water will give them strength, especially to the children. Help them to remember, teach them, teach them the way, the way it was. The pure of the water, the pure of the land. We ask this, we thank you Grandfather, Creator of Heaven and Earth….Masi…masi…” Tribal Elder, chaplain Bob Sison, offering the blessing at today’s dedication of the McAllister Wellfield.
And so began an emotional ceremony today as local city and state officials and tribal representatives spoke at the dedication ceremony of Olympia's new water source at the McAllister Wellfield today. Words such as ‘commitment,’ ‘visionary,’ and ‘challenging,’ were also used to describe the efforts that led to today’s event, which marked a unique partnership between the City of Olympia and the Nisqually Tribe.

The city’s new wellfield replaces McAllister Springs, which is located on Nisqually tribal land, as the city’s primary water source. Located about a mile away from the Springs on 20 acres of city-owned property on St. Claire Cut Off Road SE, the new site includes over 160 surrounding acres that are protected from future development. The McAllister Wellfield water supply will provide high quality, protected drinking water to the regional community over the next 50 years and beyond.

Putting that figure into perspective, the Nisqually Tribe has been using McAllister Springs, which they call Medicine Springs, for 10,000 years. Living in peace and prosperity in their original homeland of over two million acres, Nisqually land encompassed the present towns of Olympia, Tenino, Dupont, Yelm, Roy, and Eatonville, and extended to the top of Mount Rainier.In her remarks, Nisqually Tribal Chairperson Cynthia Iyall said, “….Looking around, you see fir trees, you see cedar, you see cottonwoods, you see oak trees…all these different trees are living together, harmoniously, and they share the same water. I was told when I was younger that cedar loves to be near the water, near the river because they loved to dig their roots in, to get their toes wet. And that was so important to the Nisqually tribe because it was such a mainstay in our lives. It’s used for clothing, for protection, for housing, all kinds of things, so we’re glad to be a part of your forest, and you’re a part of our forest and we are so glad that all these seedlings…coming up for the next generation will have safe water….”

Iyall thanked her mentor, tribal elder and former Nisqually tribal councilmember, Larry Sanchez, for creating much of the early framework and shared vision for the project. She later said that the Nisqually Tribe will develop a water supply at the wellfield in a future phase. Above: Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder and Lacey Mayor Pro-Tem Cynthia Pratt cautiously peer into the drain after the Wellhouse 1 pump is turned on for show and tell. The pump uses a 700 horsepower motor, the same as a NASCAR race engine, and pumps 6,000 gallons of water per minute. The well is at a depth of 425 feet.

Rich Hoey, public works director for the City of Olympia, explained the project as a steady stream of elected officials, city staff, and those associated with the project walked through Wellhouse 1.

Seeing the infrastructure first-hand helped to visualize the process of how water from the ground manages to travel the eight and a half miles to the city of Olympia.

There are three wells, each ranging from 370 to 425 feet deep, with an initial pumping capacity of 15 million gallons of water per day. The wellfield project cost $13.7 million to design and construct, paid largely with low-interest loans from the Washington Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.Partnerships  Aside from physical pipes and plumbing, today’s ceremony was also about partnerships. In a process that began nearly 22 years ago, the Olympia-Yelm-Lacey water supply project has involved a collaborative effort assisted by the state Department of Ecology, the state Department of Health, the cities, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe.

“It’s a spectacular piece of property,” said Hoey before the ceremony. “It’s an amazing accomplishment, knowing it’s high quality water – we’re in good shape. It’s a remarkable thing to have this level of confidence in our water….”Ecology Water Resources Program Manager Tom Loranger was the most specific in detailing the lengthy legal process it took to get this point.

“It took persistence and partnerships and risk taking. There were discussions about mitigation and offsets. What does the law say? How do we develop projects? There were tough times and discussions….There was no template for doing it. New court decisions changed what we had to do….” Loranger credited the Smith Farm acquisition several years ago as a critical piece of the project. According to City of Olympia records, the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Yelm jointly purchased about 200 acres of the farm because it was a critical cold water spring source. Ceasing intensive agricultural activities on the land combined with habitat restoration directly improved the summer flows to large portions of the Deschutes River.

“….It was huge…a mile of riparian habitat restored gave it the final legs that could get it done. We have not seen anything like this. I talk about it all the time around the state. There were so many partners, and a number of pieces in play. It’s the gold standard of mitigation to improve the environment….(The state department of) Fish and Wildlife has testified to that…the amount of persistence…you made the choice to take some risks and get this done.”After the ceremony, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder said, “The fact that all these communities came together is historic and something to be proud of…it should be used as a model for more accomplishments, like clean air. This project was a new trail, it took time. It was true regionalism.”

Andy Haub, public works planning and engineering manager for the City of Olympia, said that the city will start tapping the McAllister Wellfield in about a month.
 Above: Reese Gaer,3, and his father Ken Gaer, look over the McAllister Wellfield area after today’s ceremony. Reese's mother, Shari Gaer, is employed with the wellfield 's design consultant, Gray & Osborne, Inc.Editor’s Note: Several Native words were used in the remarks by tribal elder Bob Sison and Nisqually Chair Cynthia Iyall. Little Hollywood apologizes for not knowing how to write those words. Asked later what “….Masi…masi….” meant, Sison said, “It means thank you. It’s a very thankful word….”A Brief HistoryMcAllister Springs has supplied most of Olympia’s drinking water since 1949. Studies indicated that the springs are susceptible to land use impacts, which could diminish water quality during periods of heavy demand and drought. To address these concerns, the City of Olympia decided to replace its supply source with high-capacity wells.

In the 1990s, the city identified and purchased 20 acres for a wellfield. Studies of the site showed that the wellfield site taps a large sustainable aquifer with high quality water. In May 2008, the City of Olympia and the Nisqually Indian Tribe entered into a historic agreement - the first such agreement between a tribe and a municipality in the country - to jointly develop the new regional water source at McAllister Wellfield.

In 2012, after working together for many years to gather data, refine computer models and predict potential impacts, the state Department of Ecology presented the Olympia City Council with the final approval for transferring water rights to the new wellfield.Subsequent construction projects included a nearly one mile of 36-inch diameter pipeline to connect the new wellfield to the city’s existing water transmission main at McAllister Springs.

Above: Participants of today’s celebration and dedication of the McAllister Wellfield include, left, public works director for the City of Olympia, Rich Hoey, local elected officials including Olympia and Lacey city council members, Nisqually Tribal members and staff, and members of the public. Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum, in brown suit with blue shirt, is standing next to Nisqually Tribal Council Chairperson Cynthia Iyall. 

Northwest Harley Davidson’s Military Connections Run Deep

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 7:38am



By Kate Scriven

Northwest Harley-Davidson works closely with military personnel, offering discount programs for purchasing the Harley of their dreams.

Northwest Harley-Davidson works closely with military personnel, offering discount programs for purchasing the Harley of their dreams.

Northwest Harley-Davidson is an anchor in our community.  Their flagship store in Lacey is celebrating nearly 12 years, marking the beginning of tremendous growth in the Hawks Prairie area.  And a large part of that community commitment is their close ties and continued support of the South Sound’s military community.

“The community knows we are involved with the military,” shares Tina Torfin, Marketing Manager at Northwest Harley-Davidson, “but I don’t think they understand at what levels we are involved, above and beyond selling motorcycles to Joint Base Lews-McChord.”

In fact, their involvement runs deep.  Northwest Harley-Davidson is a longtime member of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). Torfin serves as the president of the local AUSA Lacey sub-chapter.  In addition, they are members of Pierce Military Business Alliance (PMBA) with Torfin serving as Secretary on the board as well as members of the Air Force Association (AFA) where she also sits on the board.

Torfin is on base often conducting motorcycle safety courses and other classes for soldiers and their families.  “We love our military customers and want to ensure that when they ride their Harley, they are doing it in the safest way possible,” she shares.

Another means of showing their support is through NW Harley-Davidson’s Military Purchase Program.  With exceptional financing rates and often no money down on qualifying bikes to active US Military, Reservists and Guardsmen, the barrier to owning the motorcycle of their dreams can be removed.

Staying connected not only with military customers, but the organizations supporting the troops allows NW Harley to keep close ties to the community and step in with support when times get tough.

NW Harley is heavily involved in Operation Turkey Drop and Ham Grenade. Although it’s hard to say without a bit of a chuckle, both of these

Northwest Harley-Davidson participates each year in the "Operation Turkey Drop and Ham Grenade" program bringing turkeys and hams to the troops on JBLM during the holidays.

Northwest Harley-Davidson participates each year in the “Operation Turkey Drop and Ham Grenade” program bringing turkeys and hams to the troops on JBLM during the holidays.

events are important to soldiers and their families as well as to the NW Harley-Davidson family.  What are Operation Turkey Drop and Ham Grenade?  Through AUSA, NW Harley-Davidson purchases turkeys and hams for families of enlisted soldiers on JBLM, both Army and Airforce.

“It’s a really great cause,” explains Torfin. “Every November we host a Freedom Ride and every penny of the proceeds go directly to Operation Turkey Drop and Ham Grenade.”  They also host smaller events and fundraising activities throughout the year that donate to the purchase of the Thanksgiving turkeys and holiday hams.

“I have the unique opportunity to go on base and deliver the turkeys in November and hams in December,” Torfin says. “Last year, two of the receiving soldiers were actually at headquarters, which doesn’t always happen.  One of the young soldiers, in his 20’s, said, ‘You have no idea what this means to our family.’  The other soldier shared, ‘My wife and I have a four-year-old and we just had a new baby and this is going to help us tremendously this holiday season.’

The connections created between NW Harley and the soldiers and airmen on the base are solid and long-standing, something that is important to the stores owners and employees alike.

Last May, NW Harley along with the Lancer Soldier and Family Fund hosted a huge event for the Second Stryker Brigade (Lancers).  “The Second Stryker Brigade is the only brigade on JBLM that doesn’t have a memorial built in their honor.  There is a park on JBLM with memorials for each brigade to honor their fallen soldiers.  The Second Stryker doesn’t have one,” explains Torfin.

Tina Torfin works closely with the units on JBLM offering support to troops and motorcycle safety classes.

Tina Torfin works closely with the units on JBLM offering support to troops and motorcycle safety classes.

The Lancer Soldier and Family Fund were looking to raise $40,000 to build a memorial for the brigade and approached NW Harley-Davidson for help. “We jumped at the chance to be involved,” recalls Torfin.  “We had between 3,500 and 4,000 soldiers here on May 16, 2014.  The Lacey Police pitched in to help with traffic and we raised over $39,000 dollars for their fund that day.”

The Second Stryker Brigade Commander, Colonel Louis A. Zeisman, attended the event and the entire community rallied around this honorable cause.

The event was the largest ever undertaken by the Lacey store in its 12 year history.  “It was amazingly successful and we are hoping to make it an annual event to support the troops,” says Torfin.  The Second Stryker Brigade is planning to break ground on their memorial this November.  Gold Star Families (families who have lost someone during deployment) will be flown in for the dedication and NW Harley-Davidson hopes to host another event to help with the costs of transportation.

Connection to community is part of the backbone of Northwest Harley-Davidson.  Supporting the special men and women who bravely put their lives on the line for our freedom is an integral part of that connection that will never fade.

Northwest Harley-Davidson

8000 Freedom Lane NE in Lacey



Smart Energy Today Encourages a Transition to Solar Power

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 7:21am



olympia solar panel

Smart Energy Today is encouraging home owners to install solar panels.

Most people, if asked to name the country that leads the world in the generation of solar power would, quite reasonably, think about countries that get the most days of sunshine per year – Spain, Argentina or Australia.

The answer, though, is none of the above.

According to Energy Informative, a website devoted to sharing information about alternative energy, Germany, with its mild, cloudy winters and warm maritime summers has the highest installed capacity of solar PV Power. An article on the site goes on to explain, “Germany is not a country with incredible amounts of solar energy – what they do have is an excellent subsidizing framework, which ensures that solar power can compete on the market.”

Mild, cloudy winters and a maritime climate sounds a lot like Washington. In fact, Washington and Germany have very similar climates. And, like Germany, the incentives, or subsidizing framework, available for solar power at the county, state and federal level are better than ever. And not only that, but solar technology has improved rapidly.

“Now is the perfect time for homeowners to invest in solar power,” said Julie Murray, Media Relations manager at Smart Energy Today, Inc., an Olympia-based company that is growing so fast that it recently made the Inc. 500 list. Smart Energy Today is only the sixth company in Olympia to make the list.  It is the fourth-fastest growing private company in Washington and the 14th fastest growing energy services company in the nation.

“Between federal, state and local rebates, it is the ideal time for homeowners to make the investment in solar energy,” Murray said.

olympia solar panel

Smart Energy Today was ranked as one of America’s Fastest-Growing private companies by Inc. 500.

Financial Incentives for Going Solar in Washington

Right now, there are five financial incentives that Thurston County residents can take advantage of.

  1. The Washington State Solar Production Incentive – Most Washington State Public Utility Districts offer an unusually powerful solar incentive for homeowners and businesses. This incentive, called a production incentive, encourages local utilities to pay their customers up to $5,000 per year for generating solar power. Puget Sound Energy (PSE) uses a system called Net Metering. Customers that generate their own electricity, and are connected to the utility’s distribution grid, offset electricity that would otherwise be purchased from the utility. There may be times when the customer’s system generates more electricity than the home needs. In these cases, a credit is issued to the customer’s account for the extra power that can be used during the following month(s) until the annual true-up. In other words, the customer will only pay for the energy that PSE provides.
  2. The Federal Solar Tax Credit – Here is an example to explain how this program works. If you buy a $5,000 solar system, you can write off $1,500 from your taxes owed. If you don’t pay enough taxes to get the full amount back you can take up to five years to claim the full amount.
  3. Sales Tax Exemption – Washington State will not charge sales tax on any charges for solar equipment or installation purchased before 2018 for energy systems under 10 kilowatt.
  4. Increase in Home’s Resale Value – A recent study in California, which studied the sale of 72,000 homes, demonstrated a significant increase in home resale value when the home featured a solar installation.  This effect was consistent throughout the state.
  5. Energy Savings – Every kilowatt hour of energy your solar array produces is a kilowatt hour for which you are not paying the utility. By producing free energy from the sun, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars per year, at today’s electric rates.

Innovations in Technology Make Solar Viable Green Energy Option

smart energy today

The Smart Energy Today team provides monthly dinners to educate home owners about their home’s energy efficiency.

“The efficiency at which solar panels can actually collect energy today is incredible,” noted Murray.

“You can get started with as little as a 1 to 2 kilowatt system. Most companies cannot offer those smaller packages. Therefore, for about $5,000 – $6,000 people can get started on solar,” said Murray.

According to Murray, Smart Energy Today specializes in assisting home owners and business owners become more energy efficient with the ultimate goals of helping them to save money on their utility bills, decrease consumption, and increasing the comfort of their home.

The company is committed to offering high-quality, durable products that provide long-lasting and maintenance free performance, and they believe so strongly in their products that they stand behind them with warranties and product guarantees.

Smart Energy Today, Inc. uses Washington-made solar panels. Their photovoltaic PV Solar System is unique in that it uses 85% fewer parts than traditional panels, produces 5-25% more energy, and can be added on to over time.

“Our product is incredible because it is easy to add on to the panels, allowing homeowners to start out with a lower cost then add on to later,” said Murray. This is an exciting time for solar power. Cut your energy bill in half, and lower your environmental footprint and an investment in solar today will increase the value of your home.”

For more information, contact Smart Enegery Today at 888-405-8689 or visit their website at


Getting Dirty at the 2014 Rampage at the RAC Obstacle Course

Thurston Talk - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 7:05am



By Kathryn Millhorn

Rock FitnessObstacles are something to be overcome and rarely is doing so much fun.  That all changes at the upcoming 2014 Rampage at the RAC.  On Saturday, October 11, Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex will be transformed into a mammoth 5k course to be tackled directly—and muddily—by one and all.

Lacey Parks and Recreation Supervisor Jeannette Sieler says that “it is so much fun to watch the folks go careening down the giant slip and slide squealing like little kids or crawling through the ‘toxic trench’ which is full of green jello-like goo, or getting covered with mud in the giant mud pit, all the while laughing with their friends and having so much fun.  I think the beauty of this event is that it allows people to be crazy, silly, and get really dirty just for the fun of it!”

rampage at the rac

Getting muddy never felt so good at the Rampage at the RAC.

Sieler’s team will transform the park “to provide fun and exciting obstacles without doing any damage to the beautiful facility, the ballfields and soccer fields or causing undo risk.”  This is the fourth year for the Rampage and “it is modeled after the popular events going on around the country that involve adding obstacles and mud into a 5k run/walk.”

“Because the Rampage takes place in a developed park, and being offered by the city, ours is more tame, with the obstacles being more fun than difficult,” adds Sieler.
“Our theme ‘For people who know how to have fun!’ kind of sums up the event.”

Some of this year’s obstacles include the giant mud pit, sand hills, fallen trees, monkey bars, cargo nets for climbing, and balance beams.  Says Sieler, “some folks have used this as a wellness goal, to train for the event prior and then to finish successfully.  You can run or walk the course so it can be done by all types of people.  The event is not timed, but there are clocks at the finish line so you can see how fast you finished, but there are no prizes for fastest time, it’s all about having fun and finishing.  Each person receives a medal as they cross the finish line.”

rampage at the rac

Costumes are encouraged during the 2014 Rampage at the RAC obstacle course.

Local businesses and organizations sponsor the event, as well as provide supplies, obstacles, and in-person, on-site assistance.  From the beginning these have included the City of Lacey, the Lacey Fire Department, Ostrom’s, Tire Dogs, HD Fowler, Nisqually Auto Wrecking and Towing, and South Sound Physical and Hand Therapy.

This is the first year registration will continue until the day of the event.  There will be approximately 500 athletes competing in waves running every 30 minutes between 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.  Teams are made up of local businesses, families and friends of all ages, and club groups; arriving in costume is definitely encouraged.

One local team hails from Lacey’s Rock Fitness.  Master Trainer David London says his group will consist of their seven employees plus many dedicated gym members.  London and his staff make a point to be active in our region by participating in at least one fitness-related community event each month.  He is proud to be a local business leader “who can step up and contribute, encourage the youth, and be physically involved.”  Also a Lacey Parks and Recreation Little League baseball coach, he’s sure to run into former team members at the Rampage.

The event is $35 a person and you can find answers to frequently asked questions or videos of previous Rampages online.  Inquiries should be directed to Lacey Parks and Recreation at 360-491-0857.

When was the last time getting dirty was such fun?  Go enjoy our beautiful autumn weather with family, friends, and total strangers.  For once you’ll even enjoy a rainy, muddy Saturday outdoors.



K Records - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 1:09am
Hey hey hey hey, listen up y’all. Last January Dub Narcotic Studio sponsored a Youtube video contest: folks submitted videos of their music for a chance to win a free day of recording in the studio. We just had so much dang fun we are going to do it again. So here it is: THE FREAKIN’ […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Port of Olympia Marine Terminal Warehouse Solar Panels Continue to Perform

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 3:14pm


Submitted by the Port of Olympia
When the Port of Olympia installed 48 solar panels on the Marine Terminal warehouse roof in 2011, the goal was to generate enough energy to maximize the $5,000 rebate offered by Puget Sound Energy for solar energy harvesting. For the third full year in a row, the panels have met that goal.

The solar panels generate all the energy required by the warehouse, with a little more to help offset the energy consumption of the Port’s office buildings. As energy prices rise in the future, the system will only become more cost effective.

The warehouse utilizes solar panels made in Washington State and installed by Solar Epiphany of Seattle.

Port Solar Panel Graph

The Shivas in Guitar World!

K Records - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 3:13pm
The world keeps getting better and better. “Ride on” from  the Shivas new album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is being previewed right now on the Guitar World website. Get a peek at the today sound of young Vancouver, Washington (as filtered through the Dub Narcotic Studio), exemplified by the Shivas and their new […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
Syndicate content