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Masterworks Choral Ensemble: Entertaining the Community for 35 Years

Tue, 10/06/2015 - 12:45pm



By Lynn West

Budd Bay cafe logoFor 35 years, our friends and neighbors have joined together to create amazing musical programs through Masterworks Choral Ensemble (MCE) for us to enjoy. Singing is in their blood, and whether they joined together in a basement choir as they did in the early 1980s or on stage at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, performing gives them joy.

Barb Theiss, a charter member of MCE, was instrumental is forming the Ensemble. “Each year our choir invited the community to join us in singing The Messiah, so after a few years we asked if anyone was interested in forming a permanent choral group,” she told me. “Surprised, but delighted, we had 55 positive responses, so Gary Witley, Jim Pharris, and I began organizing what is now the Masterworks Choral Ensemble.”

masterworks choral ensemble

Gary Witley directs the Masterworks Choral Ensemble’s weekly rehearsal.

“I have never sung in such an organized choir,” said Ellen Matheny, one of the five new members of the ensemble this year. “Since I work full time, it is important that I know the path ahead in all my commitments, and Masterworks keeps the website updated, expectations are clear, and music is always available.” Ellen moved to town a year and a half ago, and when she saw the call for auditions, she tried out. “Even though it is challenging and time consuming to study and memorize the lyrics,” she explained, “it is only payback for the joyful moments when I am harmonizing with others. It is enchanting.”

Alejandro Rugarcia, another fairly new member of the Masterworks Choral Ensemble, echoed the heartfelt joy of singing with others.  Meeting some Masterworks’ vocalists at a party, he decided it was time to return to his musical roots and audition. “I toured around the world with Juan Gabriel as a member of the National Association of Actors and Actresses in Mexico as a dancer and musician,” he explained, “but I then came to the United States to continue my graduate studies.” He calls it an “amazing gift to listen to the harmony as they are singing. Even if I have had a hard day, and I am struggling with the English lyrics, being in the rehearsal brings my energy up.”

No doubt the most energetic member of the Masterworks Choral Ensemble is Gary Witley, the director. For the past 36 years, he has been a full time educator, currently at Tenino Middle School, and the director and heart of this organization.

masterworks choral ensemble

Phyllis Villeneuve, Sally Alhadeff, and Gloria Strait share their experiences of singing with Masterworks Choral Ensemble.

Barb Theiss praised Gary for “his dynamic ability over the years to not only direct, but to inspire the organization.” Gloria Strait, who joined MCE in 1987, agrees. “Gary has a BA in Choral Conducting and is able to maintain the joy of singing in unison even during long rehearsals.” She added, “Rehearsals are so much more professional these days as many members use smart phones or other devices to practice at home and parse the songs.”

Gloria, Sally Alhadeff, and Phyllis Villeneuve are good friends and members of Masterworks, but since Gloria is a second soprano and Sally and Phyllis are second altos, their paths rarely cross at rehearsals. Over lunch, they did get together and shared how MCE is so motivating. “Gloria actually roped me into joining,” according to Sally, “but I realized how much I loved being part of the group when I had to leave for a couple of years because of work commitments.”

Phyllis who sang with the group in 1986 as part of an Evergreen class did not officially join until ten years later. “I was told as a child to mouth the words,” Phyllis laughed. “I did for many years, but I knew I had music in my soul.” Eventually in college, she joined a choir and learned to harmonize and found her voice. “I just had to trust,” she said.“I still hear the harmony before the melody.”

masterworks choral ensemble

Marla Skelly, MCE Board President and Alejandro Rugarcia enjoy a break during a MCE rehearsal.

The 65 members of the current MCE each have a unique story, yet according to Phyllis Villeneuve, “they share the joy of watching the same conductor and breathing together while recreating the story of the song.” These musicians and their excellent accompanist, Angi Swan, rehearse for weeks prior to each of their four yearly concerts, pay a fee for participating (scholarships available), fundraise, write grants, and acknowledge the entire experience “feeds their spirit.”

Masterworks Choral Ensemble’s (MCE) 35th Anniversary Season opening concert is definitely a “Save the Date” event.  It’s slated for Saturday, October 10 at 7:30 pm. Join this talented ensemble of vocalists from our community for an evening of songs that poke fun at politicians, choir singers and couples, proving that truly “Nothing is Sacred!” Just in time for Halloween, a special version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” will feature an entertaining visit from Dr. Frankenstein and the “creature.”

Reserve your seats by purchasing tickets here.

Your Healthcare Connection: Oly Ortho Welcomes Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Dominic Femiano

Tue, 10/06/2015 - 6:00am



oly ortho

Dr. Dominic Femiano began seeing patients at the Oly Ortho Sports Medicine clinic on October 1.

When you hear the name Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, many people conjure up images of surgery and joint replacement. And while the talented physicians at Oly Ortho can handle all of those situations, there are a wide range of practitioners in the South Sound clinics who handle the everyday aches, pains and injuries that result from an active lifestyle.

Among these practitioners are the doctors who staff the Sports Medicine Clinic at the West Olympia clinic. Dr. Tracy Hamblin has been seeing patients for over a year, partnering until recently with Dr. Leyen Vu. After a lonely month on her own, Dr. Hamblin is excited to partner with newly hired Dr. Dominic Femiano who began seeing patients on October 1.

Dr. Femiano is a Washington native who was born and raised in West Seattle. Son of an elementary school teacher father and nurse practitioner mother, Dr. Femiano saw from a young age models for both educating and caring for others. Active all his life, Dr. Femiano’s interests began to lean towards sports medicine early on when dealing with sports related injuries of his own. “I spent a fair amount of time with orthopedists and sports medicine doctors,” he shares, citing shoulder and knee issues earned from many hours spent on the basketball court where he can still be found in his off-hours.

After earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, Dr. Femiano headed east to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. “Jefferson was a great place to learn medicine and a good place to get my start in the field,” he shares. With both sides of Dr. Femiano’s extended family on the east coast, he not only had support from colleagues, but family as well.

Despite enjoying Philly, Dr. Femiano is a Washington native at heart and he returned to Seattle to complete his residency in family medicine at Group Health Cooperative where he served as Chief Resident. Afterwards, to further his training in Sports Medicine he completed a fellowship at the University of Washington in the field.

When asked what spurred his interest in medicine, Dr. Femiano laughs. “Well, I watched a lot of ER growing up. But seriously, I got this idea in high school that I wanted to be a doctor, to really help people, and it just never really left.” He volunteered at UW Medical Center and the Harborview Medical Center burn unit during his teen years and, he says, “it just sealed the deal.”

oly ortho dr. femiano

Dr. Femiano (left) has extensive experience as a sports team physician and will serve as team doctor for Saint Martin’s University Athletics and a number of Thurston County high schools.

As part of his new position at Oly Ortho, Dr. Femiano will serve as the team doctor for Saint Martin’s University Athletics as well as for several local high schools. This is a part of the job he both knows well and looks forward to. “During my fellowship, I worked extensively with the Husky athletes, attending all the sports and covering just about every event there,” he shares.

His experience with athletes doesn’t end there. He served as a team doctor for the Seattle Storm (WNBA), the assistant Medical Director for the Seattle Marathon and the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon Medical Captain.

He brings this extensive experience to the teams and athletes here in Thurston County, but beyond that, Dr. Femiano brings this expertise to you. The Sports Medicine Clinic at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates is open to all patients, often without referral from a primary care physician. Have sports related injuries or issues? Give the clinic a call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Femiano or Dr. Hamblin for access to their specific training and quality care.

One area of particular interest and training for Dr. Femiano is the prevention and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes. You’ve likely seen the stories of young, fit athletes who suffer heart attacks during routine sports practices. Dr. Femiano has done extensive research, presenting his findings nationally, on this interesting and relevant topic.

oly ortho sports medicine

Drs. Femiano and Hamblin make a great team in the Olympia Orthopaedic Associates West Olympia clinic.

In addition, he has expertise in the treatment and management of concussions, a particularly important topic to parents of student athletes worried about the toll sports can take on their child’s health. Not only will Dr. Femiano be available to provide treatment and advice in clinic, but his participation on the sidelines and interactions with coaches will help ensure student athletes remain healthy and safe all season long.

“I think sports medicine doctors are uniquely qualified to care for student athletes,” shares Dr. Femiano. “Not only do we know the musculoskeletal system but we have training as primary care physicians. This allows us to provide care for the other medical issues athletes present with from GI issues to depression to chronic illness.”

You can visit Dr. Femiano now at Oly Ortho where he can help you achieve a ‘Life in Motion.’ “My goal is to keep people active, which means different things to different people,” he shares. “Whether you are headed into your 50th marathon, are a gymnast trying to get healthy enough to compete, or are just trying to get to the gym, I meet people where they are and help get them to where they want to be.”

Olympia Orthopaedic Associates

3901 Capital Mall Dr. SW, Olympia



Tenino’s Kerri Turner Competes in Ms. Veteran America

Tue, 10/06/2015 - 6:00am



By Katie Doolittle

south sound radiologyGrace, poise, beauty, service: the Ms. Veteran America competition honors these qualities in military women from all ages and stages of life. On October 18, Tenino resident Kerri Turner will participate in the 2015 competition. It’s just one of the many ways in which Turner lives out her passion for and commitment to both community service and the U.S. military.

Residents of Tenino will likely recognize Turner’s name. In addition to working for Blush Day Spa, she’s the president of the Tenino School District’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Turner also coaches various kids’ sports and serves as a fitness coordinator for mothers.

kerri turner

On October 18, Kerri Turner will compete for Ms. Veteran America. Photo credit: John Canales.

Says Turner, “I get involved because I firmly believe in being the good, stepping up to encourage others to be their best self. I believe in making a difference, a real impact, and serving others. It is a balancing act to pour myself into so many programs, but if I am able, I will do what I can to leave this world better than I found it.”

Turner’s high visibility within the community is all the more impressive given that she’s a relative newcomer to the Pacific Northwest. Two years ago, Turner was living in Maryland while her boyfriend was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “We had our own Sleepless in Seattle plot developing,” she laughs. When they married on October 10, 2013 she moved out here to join him.

Turner has been grateful for the home Tenino has become for their family. “Honestly, after deployment, I felt alienated and unappreciated. It seemed like my time away meant nothing to anyone. But once I moved to Tenino, I instantly felt welcomed and I got a strong sense of community from everyone I met.”

Military service is a huge part of Turner’s identity. During her stint with the United States Army, she rose to the rank of captain and now serves as an instructor for the Washington Army National Guard. She’s been deployed as far as the Middle East for Operation Enduring Freedom and as close to home as Oso during the mudslide disaster. Turner elaborates, “I am so honored to serve our great nation and state. I have been a part of some really remarkable adventures and have cultivated lifelong bonds with fellow soldiers.”

kerri turner

Says Turner, “I am so willing to continue to sacrifice for the betterment of America, by living the Army values and protecting our nation.” Photo credit: Whitney Canales.

Participating in Ms. Veteran America is a powerful way of honoring those lifelong bonds. As part of the competition, all contestants raise awareness and money for Final Salute Inc., an organization that seeks to provide homeless women veterans with safe and suitable housing as well as education and career assistance. According to Swords to Plowshares, women veterans are the fastest growing cohort of the homeless population. Though a number of factors contribute to this troubling statistic, Turner highlights one in particular that would tug the heartstrings of any parent. “Seventy percent of female veterans are also mothers with custody,” she says, going on to explain that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cannot legally reimburse for minor children in transient housing. “Women warriors are forced to choose between shelter or their children. It is unacceptable, appalling.”

With her can-do attitude and big heart for others, it’s no surprise that Turner is doing her part to reverse this troubling trend. She is thrilled to raise funds for Final Salute, an organization founded and fostered by “other women veterans stepping up to answer the need. We are a real program helping real women in a real way.” She adds, “My dream would be to have a home here. I would love to provide my local sisters-in-arms some hope right here in Washington.”

Advocacy is a key component of Ms. Veteran America. Contestants will also be evaluated based on their interviews, talents, and military service. On a lighter note, the competition also involves several additional award categories that highlight special aspects of military life. Contestants seeking the title of “Push-Up Princess,” for instance, compete live on stage to see who can do the most push-ups in two minutes. A special “Mr. Mom” category honors husbands who handle the home front in order to help their servicewomen spouses.

kerri turner

Turner is pleased to be raising her family in Tenino. “I feel like I am at home, among friends and patriots I adore.”

Turner has nominated her husband, a Fort Lewis Apache pilot, for Mr. Mom. “He is so full of life and adventure – our kids are better for him,” says Turner. “He is more than my best friend and husband. He is my battle buddy, too, which takes our relationship to a whole different, special level.”

Ms. Veteran America 2015 will be held on October 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hoping to support Turner and her cause while staying close to home? Your direct donation to Final Salute Inc. will help provide safe and suitable housing for homeless female veterans and their children.

You can also come to Turner’s “Hope For Women Warriors” event, 7:00 p.m. to midnight on October 9. It will be held at the Olympia Eagles Lodge, 805 4th Avenue E. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $15 with military ID. Lodge members may attend for free, but pay $5 to eat.


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 7:24am



Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Heidi - Dog of the Week

Heidi – Dog of the Week

Heidi is a 5 year old mix breed who is a favorite of the volunteers at the shelter. She is sweet, affectionate, loves attention, knows her basic obedience commands and is very smart.

Her turn in sheet indicates that she is OK with kids but can sometimes be possessive when other dogs are around. Therefore, we recommend that Heidi be the only dog in the family. Heidi has not been cat tested.  She walks well on leash, has been non-reactive to other dogs but appeared to be frightened by automobiles. This is something that we will continue to work on with her. Heidi will make a wonderful companion for the family who can give her a home where she can continue to flourish. A secure fenced back yard would be perfect in addition to her daily walks.

We have many great dogs and always need volunteers to help them.  Visit our website at or contact Adopt-A-Pet, on Jensen Road in Shelton, at or (360) 432-3091. Join us on Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington”.

Shanna Paxton Photography – Remember Your Wedding Day with Meaningful Photos

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 6:00am



By Margo Greenman

shanna paxton photography

Shanna Paxton, a photographer in Olympia, recommends consulting with multiple photographers before selecting one to shoot your special day. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography.

Your wedding day is easily the biggest day of your life. But amidst the emotions, music and celebration, sometimes remembering all the precious moments from your big day is hard. Having vibrant photos that capture the essence of the day make reliving your wedding special and fun, which is why it’s so important to have your wedding documented by a photographer you respect and trust.

Choosing the right photographer

Shanna Paxton of Shanna Paxton Photography says choosing the photographer that’s right for you and your future spouse is paramount to ensuring your wedding day is documented just the way you want it to be. “Don’t be afraid to consult with eight different photographers,” says Shanna. “Look at their portfolios and match their style to your personality.” Shanna admits she met with four different photographers before making her selection, and she based her decision on the photographer’s style, how well they worked together, and — of course — price.

Make your photos memorable

shanna paxton photography

Shanna Paxton likes to look for ways to make wedding photographs truly memorable. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography.

After you’ve selected a photographer to work with on your wedding day, Shanna says it’s time to get creative. Whether you decide to keep things simple or go all out and trash the dress, your wedding photographer is here to bring out the special moments of your day and highlight the love you and your spouse your share.

Shanna says if your wedding has a theme, this can be an extra special way to bring your photos to life. Accents like a formal backdrop for a Hollywood theme or colorful capes for a super hero themed wedding can add personality and charm to any wedding shoot. Of course, if you would rather keep things simple, Shanna recommends incorporating balloons, bubbles and other items that will add simple, subtle charm to your pictures.

“The best thing I can recommend is just being willing to share yourself,” says Shanna. This can mean photographing a couple at the place where they got engaged or incorporating a meaningful memento into the backdrop. The options are limitless, and any good photographer will help you generate ideas.

Help your photographer help you

Providing your photographer with a schedule for your wedding will help your photographer with everything from capturing candid shots to staging group photos. Shanna recommends having taking family and bridal photos directly after or before the ceremony and scheduling bride and groom photos at the end of the night.

shanna paxton photography

A well coordinated schedule of events makes sure that no special moment is missed during your wedding. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography.

Are there specific poses you want to pull off with your bridesmaids? What about specific guests you would like the photographer to focus on? This is all information you should share with your photographer in advance of your big day to ensure no memorable moments are missed.

Remembering your big day

Most photographers will provide clients with digital files via a file sharing website or thumb drive. Shanna recommends creating a physical version of those photos as soon as you get the digital files so that you don’t forget and put it off. Whether you order an album or get creative with your prints, there are lots of ways to relive your wedding. (And don’t forget to backup the digital files somewhere safe. Shanna recommends keeping a copy of all the photos on a thumb drive in a safety deposit box — you never know what could happen).

Interested in learning more or hiring Shanna Paxton Photography for your big day? Join Shanna and Jeff Paxton at the Olympia Bridal Bash on Thursday, October 15 at Indian Summer Golf and Country Club. Call ahead to schedule a 20-minute consultation with Shanna Paxton Photography.

For more information about Shanna Paxton Photography, including special promotions for Olympia Bridal Bash-goers, visit Shanna Paxton Photography online.

For more details about the Olympia Bridal Bash, follow the event’s Facebook page.



Stillwater Dental Wellness Center: “My teeth don’t hurt, so why should I see a dentist? In fact, I haven’t seen one for years!”

Mon, 10/05/2015 - 6:00am



olympia dentist

Relax in the waiting room at Stillwater Dental Wellness Center.

We all know someone who boasts that they haven’t seen a dentist in years, saying, “Well, my teeth don’t hurt, so why should I bother?”

Speaking with Dr. Jim Telloian of Stillwater Dental Wellness Center, it’s clear that the response is that visiting the dentist is also about creating good habits that promote a healthy mouth. He stresses that you should choose a dentist and avoiding waiting until pain sets in to see the dentist.

First, he explained that an individual may not experience pain, or show any signs of oral health issues, but this does not mean that he or she has healthy teeth and gums. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), 23% of adults 20 to 64 have untreated decay. This often goes undetected by an individual until the decay has progressed and serious issues have developed. “If you wait until you are in pain you may need a more serious procedure to correct the problem,” said Dr. Telloian.

Regular cleanings—every six months is ideal—give your dentist the chance to examine your teeth and gums in order to detect, early on, any signs of problems.

When choosing a dentist, Dr. Telloian suggests asking a few questions before scheduling that first appointment:

  1. Where did you receive your education?
  2. What is your post-graduate education? Did you receive advance training for cosmetic dentistry? Where?
  3. How long have you been in practice? Dr. Telloian advocates for continuity of care—seeing the same dentist year after year is a great way to receive preventative care, which will cost a lot less than avoiding the dentist in the long run.

Dr. Telloian believes in prevention, stating that it is important not to wait until you are in pain before seeing your dentist. Maintaining a healthy mouth involves regular cleanings, brushing, flossing and rinsing.

For more information about Stillwater Dental Wellness Center and preventative dental care, call 360-352-0847.


Capitol Chiropractic Looks At The Big Picture For Lasting Results

Sun, 10/04/2015 - 9:58am



By Giovanna Marcus

capitol chiropractic

Don Lathrop’s gentle approach makes a big difference in the patient’s experience. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

Patients often come to Capitol Chiropractic for the first time in pain and full of questions. They wonder if they will ever heal and be able to return to the activities that they love, or even, in some cases, their job. For many, their health issues have begun to interfere with their normal lifestyle, energy levels, and freedom they once had.

“Patients want to know if we have seen anyone with problems like theirs, and we’re able to tell them. Yes, we are able to help people with conditions like theirs,” says founder, Dr. Don Lathrop.

The eight practitioners are experts in their given field of chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture care. They all share the understanding that the state of optimal well being is a balance between their physical, mental and spiritual health.

Capitol Chiropractic’s group of practitioners also share the goal of creating the correct alignment between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. When a person’s spine is in proper alignment, the nervous system has the capacity to function at its optimum level and increases overall wellbeing.

Capitol Chiropractic, founded in 1990, is a place where the inter-disciplinary approach is highly valued. “There is more than one way to treat a condition and having multiple therapies is sometimes necessary to resolve certain conditions,” says Dr. Lathrop.

capitol chiropractic

For many, their health issues have begun to interfere with their normal lifestyle, energy levels, and freedom they once had. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

His vision was to create a network of providers who get to the root cause of their patient’s pain or problem. “We ask what they want to be able to do that they can’t do right now and we make that our goal,” he says.

What makes Capitol Chiropractic stand out is a true collaborative spirit. At their office a chiropractor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist often work together to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan for a shared patient. A pain in the shoulder can start in the neck, low back, or even the feet. One or all therapies may help in resolving the pain.

Patients today have good questions and are very informed. They are also looking for solutions without drugs. Dr.Lathrop and his team attend seminars regularly to stay apprised of new ideas and to improve upon their experience in their specific field. Their continuing trainings include injury prevention, extremity care, manual therapies, stretching and exercise protocols, nutrition, Bio-Cranial, Kinesio Taping, Sports Medicine, Traction, and Decompression.

Additionally, Dr. Lathrop and his team are passionate about nutrition and overall self-care. Inflammation is a common cause of patient issues, and this often starts with what the patients put in their bodies.

Many patients’ problems can be traced back to diet or chemicals in the home. The team sees firsthand how the negative effects of chemical and environmental toxins create a cascade of ill health.

capitol chiropractic

When a person’s spine is in proper alignment, the nervous system has the capacity to function at its optimum level and increases overall well being. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

“Corn and oats inflame cows’ stomachs, causing their milk and the beef to contain inflamed properties, so when we turn around and eat it, we can become inflamed ourselves. Cows naturally feed on grass, so it’s critical that the products we purchase from cows should be non GMO and grass fed,” says Dr. Lathrop.

As for the employees who make Capitol Chiropractic so special, theirs is an assemblage of committed practitioners who have dedicated their lives to help others enjoy life again. Each practitioner at Capitol Chiropractic has a unique gift that they bring to their patients.

Julia Lea, massage practitioner, practices Zen Bodywork, a form based off the teachings of Ida Rolf. Julia integrates her energy work into her treatment sessions which enhances the outcome of her care. Julia’s grounded demeanor comes from her commitment to spirituality and meditation, a practice that she integrates into her massages.

During a visit with Patricia Winters, LMP, she comments that my muscles feel dehydrated, and explains how that causes other problems that we don’t normally identify with. Patricia’s massages help the body move away from pain.

Laura Johnson-Sweeney, LMP, has been doing massages for twelve plus years. Laura’s goal is treating people who have been injured in an accident, to reach pre-injury health and educate them on the long term benefits of preventive care.

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A patient receives “traction”, state of the art technology to decompress the spine. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

Lyndsie Holmes, LMP, is passionate about assisting athletes in balancing overdeveloped and underdeveloped muscles. Her goal is to keep the athlete in their game, having good recovery so they can train and compete with minimal down time.

Suzie Sund, LMP, is trained in Zen Bodywork, a whole body treatment. She also has a specific niche working in collaboration with her clients’ dentists and orthodontists treating those who have TMJ and symptoms such as facial pain, headache, jaw pain, dizziness, ringing in the ear, and neck pain. Utilizing her experience with trigger point therapy, Suzie sees dramatic long term benefits using Zen Bodywork.

Danette Bakewell, LMP, enjoys helping resolve issues with her deep tissue massage. Danette is skilled in injury cases, understanding that after an accident injuries are often slow to appear and can take weeks to make themselves known. With massage, the body relaxes so the issues can be resolved.

Judy Bernard, EAMP, L.Ac, has a healing technique that extends beyond acupuncture, incorporating sound healing with gongs and Acutonics® tuning forks to raise her patient’s natural vibrational frequencies. The tuning forks are applied to acupuncture points, creating flow within the body and removing stagnation. Her treatments balance the person, reduce pain, and reconnect people with themselves.

capitol chiropractic

At Capitol Chiropractic, they see patients get better everyday. Photo credit: Lisa Owen.

Judy first came to acupuncture for her own symptoms of severe sinus headaches that were not alleviated by her medical doctor. She also recommends Acupuncture/ Acutonics® treatments for a variety of issues including the flu, digestive issues, menopause symptoms and body pain.

The team of providers have the philosophy that the body was designed to heal, especially if we listen to the clues it sends us. They believe and know that most people will get better because they see that happen every day.

To make an appointment with Capitol Chiropractic’s team, call (360) 352-2488. The office is conveniently located at 1728 State Ave NE in Olympia. You can also visit them on the web at


Even Without a Win Mark Rubadue’s Softball Team is Still Smiling

Sun, 10/04/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

hawks prairie casinoIt’s the season opener for the Pints and Quarts Co-Ed Softball League and Mark Rubadue is running late.

The league, which is organized by the Lacey Parks and Recreation Department, runs from late August through the end of September with games being played at the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC).

Rubadue isn’t significantly tardy, but he knows getting there by the end of the first inning is out of the question.

He quickly turns to technology in an attempt to track down a score update. A short text goes out to Sean Finney, the Park and Rec’s Sports/Fitness Recreation Supervisor, asking how his team is faring.

Finney, who is at the RAC watching the game, immediately fires back a reply. It is not the message Rubadue was anticipating.

“All Sean’s text said was, ‘Your team is horrible,’” Rubadue stated.

lacey parks rec

Can’t Catch a Cold includes teammates (from left) Gordon Bragazzi, Shanna Labranch, Carmen Luce, Noel Rubadue, Mark Rubadue, Travis Sugarman, Lance Yount, Tony Doughty, Kim Doughty and Sherry Larson.

Looking for a little less vagueness, Rubadue presses for details. Finney’s second text proceeded to give his initial response plenty of weight.

“His second text says we are down 12-0 in the first inning,” Rubadue said with a chuckle. “His first text was pretty accurate, I guess.”

This year marked the first time Rubadue and his team, which includes wife Noel and a group of long-time friends, turned out for co-ed softball.

The team’s core had played soccer together in co-ed rec leagues since the early 1990s when they were all in their early 20s. And they were good.

“They were always one of the top soccer teams,” Finney remembers. “They finished either first or second, it seems, every year they played together.”

Softball, however, is apparently a different type of beast. The team spent the last two decades mastering a sport that does not allow a participant the use of their hands and now find themselves in the middle of something that centers around the simple aspects of throwing a ball and swinging a bat.

“We just thought we would give softball a try this year,” said Rubadue, a health and fitness teacher at Timberline High School. “I think there were only four of us on the team who had played baseball or fastpitch before.”

Rubadue was one of the few who did have a past on the baseball diamond, and it was a successful one.

During his senior year of high school, Rubadue helped North Thurston’s baseball team finish fourth in state in 1990. He went on to play at Centralia College before moving on to the coaching side of the sport, first severing as an assistant with the Rams and later becoming Timberline’s head coach.

Rubadue coached the Blazers from 2004 to 2010 and began his second stint as the team’s coach this past season. The program has enjoyed some of its biggest success under Rubadue’s watch, including a fourth-place finish in state in 2009.

So, directing a group of close friends to a couple of softball triumphs shouldn’t be too tasking. After all, how different can softball be from soccer?

“I think when we showed up with our soccer cheats and bright clothes, people were wondering, ‘Who are these guys?’” Rubadue said. “We’re playing against some teams that take this really serious. They are all decked out in uniforms and have roller bags for their bats. We had to ask around to get a couple extra gloves. We had to borrow some bats.”

The team, saddled with the name Can’t Catch a Cold, lived up to its self-applied handle by finishing the regular season with a record of 0-11-1.

lacey parks rec

For friends (from left) Noel Rubadue, Shanna Labranch and Kim Doughty playing together on Friday nights make them smile, regardless of the final score.

“We were able to get that one tie in,” Rubadue said. “We are celebrating if we made it to the seventh inning because we usually don’t make it out of the fifth. We get 10-runned.”

In addition to Rubadue and his wife, the team consists of Gordon Bragazzi, Shanna Labranch, Carmen Luce, Travis Sugarman, Lance and Shannon Yount, Tony and Kim Doughty, Tory and Sherry Larson and Cory and Jen Redman.

“The funny thing is we are all really pretty athletic,” Rubadue said. “We just can’t play softball together. We are all competitive, but playing is more about being together on a Friday night as a group of friends. I don’t think anyone pays too much attention to the record. I think we would if we weren’t such close friends.”

Lacey Parks and Rec offers a variety of softball leagues throughout the year, featuring a large range of talent levels.

“Active is active,” Rubadue said. “I don’t care what you are doing, as long as you’re being active because if you’re not there will come a time were you wish you had been. This allows a great group of friends the opportunity to be active together. Plus, those of us who have kids, they are out playing at the RAC when we have games. I know with my kids that, if they could, they would sit in front of the computer all day. I think it’s a positive for them to see their parents be active.”

Rubadue doesn’t anticipate the group’s activity level to decrease any. It just may surface next fall in a different pursuit.

“Right after that first game ended, we were all in the dugout and Kim said, “Let’s think about doing bowling next year instead of this,’” Rubadue said. “So, I think we are going to give that a try instead of softball.”

Hey, active is active.


Hoptoberfest Combines Fundraising and Fun

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 4:00pm




Drink a beer at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino during a Hoptoberfest fundraiser.

The sports culture is strong in Grays Harbor. We love Seahawks, Friday night football, spring baseball, and community soccer teams. Eleven-year-old twins Isaac and Isaiah Pierce fall into that pattern and are incredibly talented baseball players. Upon tryouts in Tacoma, these boys were selected by the Northwest Elite Baseball Organization as two of thirteen players chosen from Washington State to participate in their national program for elite players. The honor was great and the boys were thrilled to represent their community.

Unfortunately, as deadlines drew near, the boys were short the funding needed despite efforts to raise money for the trip. Seeing the importance of the opportunity, the East Grays Harbor County Rotary Club stepped in to make up the difference, paving the way to an amazing summer experience in Wisconsin. Isaac and Isaiah won some and lost some, but ultimately the experience and the lessons in teamwork were what made the trip so worth it.

Impacts like these are what the Rotary Club thrives on and it is only with continued support that they are able to make them. But the members want fundraising to be fun for everyone, which is why they are hosting their 7th annual Hoptoberfest at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino on October 10.  The original intent behind the event was to create a fundraiser people would enjoy and that would also benefit students in East Grays Harbor. This fundraiser idea sprouted wings and a scholarship fund was started which is now completely funded by Hoptoberfest.

To date, the event has helped to academically sponsor 20 kids – about three a year. These kids are not evaluated solely by their academic achievement, but rather on their willingness to give back to their community. Donna Rosi, Hoptoberfest’s event coordinator, explains, “We are willing to fund higher education, even if it’s only to a trade school. We want to fund kids interested in returning to the community and investing in it.”


Plenty of fun is planned for the October 10 Hoptoberfest fundraising event at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino.

Not only does the fundraiser promote education, the dollars earned also go toward community programs like Shop-With-A-Cop that help provide Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids in East Grays Harbor County. The Children’s Advocacy Center, United Way, the Backpack Program, and kids like Isaac and Isaiah all benefit from this annual event.

This year, the Hoptoberfest is boasting over 30 different microbrews from well-known breweries like Dick’s Brewing Co, Iron Horse Brewery, Astoria Brewing Co, Red Hook Brewing, and New Belgium Brewing, just to name a few. Upon arriving, every guest will receive a ballot. By doing various tastings, they can then vote for their favorite beer. The People’s Choice last year was a stout brewed by Iron Horse. They will be defending that vote again this year, but with increased competition. A few of these breweries, like Dick’s Brewing Co, have been helping out with the Hoptoberfest from the beginning. “Dick’s Brewery has been a part of the event from the beginning,” says Donna. “They are great people and have been such a huge help.”

The guest host for the 2015 Hoptoberfest is pretty retro. His name is Erik Estrada, but you probably know him better by his role as Frank “Ponch” Poncharello on the popular 70s television show, Chips. Also on the stage will be local stars like Ericka Corban, Driftin’ Harbor Rats, Electric Eye with Phil Luce, and others. The silent auction will also have some great items to show off including sports equipment, beer paraphernalia, and Seahawks tickets.

It’s not often the desire to have a rip-roarin’ time and the desire to serve the community collide in a common event, but the Rotary Club has managed it. Grab a beer, take a selfie with Erik Estrada, and listen to some great local music from afternoon to evening. The venue for the Hoptoberfest event is the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. So if you get bored (not likely), need a place to stay, or just a moment to escape the noise, you will have plenty of space to explore, relax, and have a great time.

Tickets may be purchased at the Quinault Beach Resort, at Aberdeen Office Equipment, Umpqua Bank in Montesano, and at Foothills Massage in Elma.

Admission is $10 and includes a souvenir mug, and a starter drink scrip. Hoptoberfest will be held at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino on October 10, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Fall Arts Walk Delights Visitors

Sat, 10/03/2015 - 6:45am



Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Downtown Olympia merchants opened their doors to artists during the 2015 Fall Arts Walk.  Performers took to the streets to entertain visitors on a crisp fall weekend.  For a complete story about what to expect when visiting downtown Olympia for Fall Arts Walk, click here.

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Jeff Galloway to Help Capital City Marathon Association Celebrate 35th Year

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 4:32pm



Submitted by the Capital City Marathon

Olympian Jeff Galloway will visit the South Sound in May to help the Capital City Marathon celebrate its 35th year.

“We are proud to be the area’s oldest marathon and can’t think of a better way to celebrate 35 years than by inviting Jeff Galloway to meet our amazing community of runners,” said CCM Race Director Nona Snell. “He is not only a phenomenal athlete, he has also made distance running a reality for so many people who didn’t think they were capable of completing marathons.” Galloway is the inventor of the popular, and effective, Galloway Run Walk Run Method and motivational speaker.

Details of Galloway’s visit to the Capital City Marathon events will be announced as they become available, but a free running clinic with Galloway will be included in race registration this year.

Registration for the May 15, 2016, marathon, half-marathon and 5-mile opens October 1. Between October 1 and 5, the Capital City Marathon Association will offer early registrants a discount.

  • Marathon: Oct. 1-5: $80; beginning Oct. 6: $85
  • Half-Marathon: Oct. 1-5: $60; beginning Oct. 6: $70
  • 5-mile Race: Oct. 1-5: $30; beginning Oct. 6: $35

The 1.2-mile kids’ run is set for the afternoon of Saturday, May 14. It will be free again this year and is open to kids in the 8th grade or younger.

Beginning on Oct. 1, runners can register for any of the events online at

For more information contact Nona Snell at 360.561.7874.


Recent Tragic Events: An Interview with Harlequin Director Scot Whitney

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 4:10pm



Submitted by Harlequin Productions

Recent Tragic Events runs October 1 - 24 at Harlequin Productions.

Recent Tragic Events runs October 1 – 24 at Harlequin Productions.

The latest show to hit the stage at Harlequin Productions is Recent Tragic Events, a comedy by Craig Wright, the Emmy-winning writer of such TV shows as Six Feet Under and Lost. I sat down with Scot Whitney, the show’s director and Harlequin’s Managing Artistic Director, to discuss what goes into directing a play that features a sock puppet and is set on a blind date…on the day after 9/11.

Recent Tragic Events 2 - Harlequin Productions

Yes, a sock puppet is a character in this play and it works.

So, this is a comedy taking place the day after 9/11?
Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but Recent Tragic Events does manage to examine the event and how it affected everyone in the world, but especially in this country, from within the trappings of a comedy. The event itself is treated with profound respect, but people didn’t stop behaving in ridiculous ways as a result. They have never stopped being ridiculous, and I don’t expect that they ever will. It’s in our nature, don’t you think?

What about this story makes it worth telling 14 years later?
I first found this play in 2005. I loved it the first time I read it but thought it was probably too late to produce it. It had premiered in 2002 and ran in New York in 2003. I was afraid it might have lost its relevance by 2005. But I’ve re-read the play every year since while trying to put together the new season, and last January it dawned on me that we, as Americans, are still suffering the traumatic effects of those events 14 years later. This play provides an empowering perspective that serves as a kind of healing balm. I think that audiences are going to love it. In fact, we held a free, open-to-the-public first read through of the play several weeks ago. We had strong attendance, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone was a bit blown away by what they experienced. How could a comedy about a blind date the day after 9/11 ever get us to the place we land? Answer: A brilliant idea, fantastic writing and a great cast.

With just 5 actors in this show, what’s it like to have such a small cast?
Smaller casts generally have many advantages. It’s easier to find four or five great actors who are all available at the same time than to find 18 or 25. Scripts with small casts also tend to be less complex, so you’re able to focus more on details, which I enjoy. It becomes a more intimate process.
This particular show turned out to be a wonderfully breezy experience but not just because of the small cast. Stick one bad attitude into even a two-person show, and the whole thing becomes miserable for everyone. This cast turned out to be as close as I can imagine to perfect. Everyone understands the play, their character, and their position in the story. They all love the play and have brought a huge amount of excitement and commitment to the project. And they’re all sweethearts! Rehearsing was like playing games in a friend’s living room.

Recent Tragic Events is set on a blind date the day after 9/11.

Recent Tragic Events is set on a blind date the day after 9/11.

There is a saying that 90% of the director’s job is casting, and believe me it’s true. In this case, however, it was more like 99%.

What’s it like to direct a sock puppet?
Not much different from directing an actor, if it’s cast right. We chose blue, which I think was a good choice. The hair was a bit difficult to control at first, but so are big egos, so they kind of cancel each other out.

What is most exciting for you about this directing project?

  1. I love the play and get to direct it.
  2. I have an impossibly perfect cast, so rehearsals have been a breezy pleasure.
  3. I love watching the play over and over again.

Recent Tragic Events runs October 1-24 at Harlequin Productions. Tickets and more info available at 360-786-0151 or at


The Gift Gallery in Tumwater Celebrates Fall

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 3:58pm



Submitted by The Gift Gallery LLC

Gift Gallery Fall-001Fall – one of the most beautiful seasons here in Washington. Although most of us can agree, every season is beautiful in the Pacific Northwest. With fall brings the leaves changing color, cool crisp mornings with the fog rolling in, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Halloween and of course, holiday shopping.

What is one of our favorite things about the holidays? Food! The Gift Gallery in Tumwater starts the season off with food tastings.

Once a month from September through April, we feature a sampling of food from our specialty food section. We have soups from Thorpe, mustards from Pasco, Washington raw honey, dips from Colorado, pepper jellies from Oregon and Chehalis mints. We also have Ravensbrew coffee, a variety of tea and more!

To keep informed on when our food tastings are, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, bookmark our website or, send us your email to receive our monthly newsletter. Our next tasting will be in October. Our local appraiser and gemologist Randy Caverly will also be here on the same day as our food tastings to give free jewelry appraisals.

October Special: $5.00 coupons all month long!

Gift Gallery Fall 1-001The entire month of October you can earn $5 coupons for every $50 you spend before tax. You can redeem the coupons from November 1 thru January 16. A great way to start your holiday shopping!

The Gift Gallery would like to welcome 6 new vendors to our store: Pete Whiting & Alan Gruse with Pappycraft rustic wood décor; Gail Yenne with her rustic art; Corrine LaVasseur with Knotty Girl Crochet and paintings; Day Jackson with his handcrafted wooden boxes, chess & cribbage boards and more; Kristen Burton with her re-purposed yard art, jewelry and antiques; and Tammy Repine with her home décor including wreaths and wooden signs.

We have about 40 talented local vendors with a wonderful variety of items. Everyone loves a handmade gift, so remember The Gift Gallery for all your holiday shopping. It may not be handmade by you, but you can tell them it was handmade right here in Tumwater, Washington!


The Evergreen State College Welcomes new President George Bridges

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:57pm



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

The new president of The Evergreen State College, George Bridges, is welcomed by students and the school mascot, the Geoduck.  Photo by Shauna Bittle, The Evergreen State College

The new president of The Evergreen State College, George Bridges, is welcomed by students and the school mascot, the Geoduck. Photo by Shauna Bittle, The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College thanks:

  • Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association
  • Calm Cove Oyster Co.
  • Chelsea Farms
  • Kamilche Sea Farm
  • Little Skookum Shellfish Growers
  • National Fish and Oyster
  • The Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • Taylor Shellfish Farms

Students at The Evergreen State College were treated to an all-campus clam bake welcoming George Bridges, on his first day as Evergreen’s new president.

Bridges, accompanied here by Evergreen Shellfish Club member Emily Dunn-Wilder, meets a geoduck, which is Evergreen’s mascot.


Cultivating Readers, Planting Seeds of Reading and Heathy Eating during Food Literacy Month

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 1:42pm



Submitted by The Thurston County Food Bank

First lady Trudy Inslee visits Meadows Elementary School in Lacey.

First lady Trudy Inslee visits Meadows Elementary School in Lacey.

Monday morning First Lady Trudi Inslee engaged one hundred plus Meadow Elementary 1st and 2nd  graders in a food literacy story time.  Washington’s First Lady read two books about the joys of growing, eating and sharing healthy food.  She also talked to the students about the importance of reading. After story time the students received a healthy and delicious snack of fresh tomatoes, zucchini, spinach and grapes.

“We know that reading is essential  for school success, but so is healthy eating,” says Reading Foundation Director Jennifer Forster.  “Healthy foods build strong brains and bodies and make it possible to read and learn.”

“If kids come to school with healthy food in their tummies, they can and do learn. We want that for all of our children,” says Michaela Winkley, School Gardens Program Manager for the Thurston County Food Bank.

September is Food Literacy Month in Washington. To continue building awareness about food literacy, the Thurston County Food Bank, Readers to Eaters and the South Sound Reading Foundation are partnering to provide a collection of children’s food literacy books to area elementary schools and public libraries. Once funds have been secured, all elementary schools and public libraries in the North Thurston, Olympia and Tumwater will receive a beautiful collection of food literacy books for children.

The following donors have generously given to support this effort:

First Lady Trudi Inslee engaged one hundred plus Meadow Elementary 1st and 2nd  graders in a food literacy story time.

First Lady Trudi Inslee engaged one hundred plus Meadow Elementary 1st and 2nd graders in a food literacy story time.

The partnering agencies would like to encourage health care providers and other community members to contribute to this effort so that every library and elementary school in our area can receive a book collection.

The Food Bank is passionate about providing those in need with healthier food choices and educating families about ways to bring more nutritious food into their homes. They have several nutrition-focused programs, such as SNAP-Ed and our school gardens program, that target youth to address the adverse affects of hunger and poor nutrition.

The South Sound Reading Foundation is a natural partner for this mission. Focused on promoting literacy and reading, the Reading Foundation has made a tremendous impact on youth and education in Thurston County.  The Foundation leads reading and literacy based activities and volunteer programs.

For more information visit:, and


A “Try Before you Buy” Experience with Boggs Inspection Services

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 11:20am



boggs home inspection

Tom Hitchman (left) and Dwayne Boggs offer comprehensive home inspections for home buyers.

I like to try before I buy as much as I can. Yes, I love shopping online and for a lot of things (lunch boxes, curtain rods, copy paper) purchasing sight unseen works just fine. For others, I like to see the product in person first – to feel the sheets, try on the shoes, fire up the lawn mower, test drive the car.

When purchasing services, though, you can’t really “try before you buy.” It’s in these situations we rely on trusted sources for recommendations and advice.

A home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Yet you can’t book an overnight stay in the home before you buy it, no matter how cool that sounds. But, you can get pretty close. Your home inspection allows you several hours to poke through all the nooks and crannies, open the drawers, and try the faucets in your soon-to-be new home. It also gives you a comprehensive picture of the home’s condition and any potential problems. This critical process should be led by an honest, straight-forward professional. But how do you know who to hire?

Well, I actually did get to “try before I buy” with Boggs Inspection Services. I shadowed an inspector, buyer Julia Lovelace-Johnson and agent Kimberly Rucker during the entire process. My conclusion? Boggs’ inspector Tom Hitchman is not only a great guy to spend a few hours with, but he knows what he’s doing and makes sure you know, too.

boggs home inspection

A full exterior inspection is the first task during a Boggs home inspection.

The inspection started with a meet and greet in the sunny front yard. Tom reviewed the inspection process and asked Julia if she had any initial questions or concerns. More than anything, I noted Tom’s calm, competent demeanor and clear explanations of the inspection process. This set the tone for the entire day and Julia was put visibly at ease.

I opted to follow Tom around the outside of the home, his first action item, while Julia and Kimberly headed inside to take another tour of the home. As we walked, Tom explained, “The main thrust of the inspection is to educate the buyer on the home and any issues, or potential issues, it has.” The scope of the inspection includes the outside, inside and all systems in the home. “The nature of a home inspection is visual, not invasive,” Tom notes. This means he will, to the best of his ability, check all areas and components, but will not open walls, pull out appliances, or move furniture.

As we walked around, Tom checked for the presence of dry rot, inspected windows, examined siding, caulking, gutters and drainage. He surveyed concrete areas and tested external doors and electrical. He took notes as he went, ensuring nothing was missed. “The main things we look for on the exterior are issues with siding,” Tom noted. “In the Northwest, we have lots of issues with decay due to moisture.”

boggs home inspection

Inspectors with Boggs Inspection Services take the time to explain each step of the process to buyers ensuring they understand the inspection report.

Tom noted only minor maintenance issues for the buyer, but no major concerns. An inspection of the roof is included in each Boggs Inspection Services report. However, this home’s roof pitch was so steep, a careful visual inspection with binoculars was substituted.

After donning clean booties over his shoes, Tom made his way inside and reviewed the exterior inspection with Julia. After answering questions, Tom explained the comprehensive inspection packet included with each Boggs inspection. “We review the warranties and extras that come standard with our inspections,” he explained. And the extras are many, making a Boggs inspection a high value for your dollar.

While Julia and Tom discussed the packet, I chatted with Kimberly Rucker, a 24-year veteran realtor with Berkshire-Hathaway Home Services on Martin Way. “I work with Boggs Inspection Services a lot and I’ve known Tom for a long time,” she shared. “The guys are good with people, have a great rapport with my clients, and really explain things well, especially to first time buyers who are new to the process.”

Before transitioning to the interior inspection, Tom pulled out his laptop and logged the items he and Julia had discussed from the exterior. By recording findings directly, Boggs inspectors make sure nothing gets missed. “We like to document as we go to ensure accuracy and get the best level of detail in our reports,” explained Tom.

boggs inspection services

Boggs Inspection Services inspectors document their findings as they go on a laptop or tablet, ensuring accurate information in the final report.

Next up was the garage. Tom inspected the electrical panel, removing the entire face and checking each breaker, noting details as small as the variety of brand names on several breakers. His careful explanations to Julia ensured she was part of the process yet not overwhelmed by information. After thorough exams of the HVAC system and hot water heater, all while noting his findings electronically on a tablet, Tom lead Julia into the home for a room by room walk-though.

In each room, windows and doors were checked. Faucets and drains were reviewed. Drywall cracks were noted and outlets were checked for proper amperage. Through it all, Tom chatted with Julia and Kimberly, keeping the entire inspection personal and comfortable. We all cheered when storage was found under window seat cushions and we all attempted to latch a faulty bathroom door (without success).

It was a team effort, but Tom was definitely our captain.

If we stick with the “try before you buy” metaphor, I feel confident saying the Boggs Inspection Services “shoe” fit for me. It was comfortable, fun (yes…I promise it was!), professional, and achieved exactly what it promised: a comprehensive home overview from top to bottom ensuring you know exactly what you are buying. And if the shoe fits…well, you know the rest.

To schedule an inspection, call 360-480-9602 or visit the Boggs Inspection Services website.

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 6:20am



batdorflogoHello, Olympia!  It’s October.  It’s fall.  It’s the season for outdoor sports and fingers crossed that you don’t get rained on.  (We’ve had a perfect record for sunny soccer game days, so far.)  And now that the calendar has flipped over to October, we can also say it’s time for pumpkins.  Check out our great list of local pumpkin patches and watch for more fall activities stories.

Here’s what is going on around town this weekend.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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

Thriving at Home: FirstLight HomeCare Shares the Benefits of In-Home Care

Fri, 10/02/2015 - 6:00am



By Sarah Lane for FirstLight HomeCare

FirstLight HomeCare brings a helping hand to you, enabling loved ones to stay in their homes longer.

FirstLight HomeCare brings a helping hand to you, enabling loved ones to stay in their homes longer.

When agencies providing in-home care services, such as FirstLight HomeCare, were introduced into the nation’s health care system, it was to ensure senior citizens had access to basic care within the comfort and privacy of their homes.

If you have a parent or aging family member who needs extra assistance to remain living independently, you may be wondering how home care compares with the option of moving your loved one into a senior facility.  In other words, what are the primary benefits of home care?

  • Staying at home.
    A recent study by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) found that over 90 percent of older adults prefer the idea of living in the familiarity of their homes over moving to a retirement home or assisted living facility as they age. With the introduction of home care agencies, staying at home is now a sensible and practical option for your aging loved one.
  • Maintaining independence as long as possible.
    Seniors are happier and healthier when living in their homes.  Home care provides invaluable assistance and support to older adults who are unable to perform many of the basic daily chores and living activities. Home care allows your loved one to “age in place,” living safely, independently and comfortably at home, regardless of age or ability level.
  • Personalized services to fit every circumstance.
    The beauty of home care is that services can be tailored to the specific needs of every patient and situation – as much or as little care as necessary; short-term or long-term care; from a few hours a day up to 24/7 coverage; even as on-call or back-up to family caregivers. FirstLight HomeCare also provides unique services to assist people who have specific health conditions, such as dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, ALS or MS.
  • One-on-one care.
    Too often, caregivers in nursing homes are unable to provide attentive care because they have so many patients to attend to. Senior facilities often don’t offer the personalized services that many seniors need. Utilizing a home care agency also provides aging adults with added safety and security in their homes. Having caregivers with them means your loved one is more protected from possible accidents that might occur, like falling when using stairs, taking a shower or going for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • More affordable than a nursing home, retirement home or assisted-living facility.
    Home care is often a more affordable way of providing care than moving into a facility. For example, according to the 2015 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial, a Fortune 500 insurance company, the median cost of a one-bedroom residence in an assisted-living community is $4,525 per month here in Thurston County. In contrast, the cost of having a caregiver from FirstLight HomeCare spend 30 hours/week caring personally for your family member is nearly 30% less.
  • The best caregivers.
    The caregivers at FirstLight HomeCare are highly trained and certified professionals who are passionate about providing compassionate, reliable care to aging and disabled adults. Utilizing our extensive screening and superior hiring standards, FirstLight HomeCare is proud of our reputation of having the best caregivers in the home care industry.

    Sarah Lane

    Sarah Lane

Call FirstLight HomeCare for a free comprehensive in-home assessment to see if home care services are the right choice for your loved one.


“Thriving at Home” is a monthly column by Sarah Lane, a certified Home Care Aide and owner of FirstLight HomeCare — South Sound.  To learn more about home care,respite caredementia care, or any of the non-medical home care services offered by FirstLight HomeCare, give Sarah a call at 360-489-1621 or go to



Drip Espresso Bar Celebrates Fall Flavor with Free Pastries

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 1:06pm



Submitted by Drip Espresso Bar

Drip Espresso Bar introduces a salted caramel mocha and their pumpkin spice latte for fall.

Drip Espresso Bar introduces a salted caramel mocha and their pumpkin spice latte for fall, made from scratch with real pumpkin and spices.

Fall is in the air, as well as in the pastry case and in your cup, at Drip Espresso Bar on Capitol Way in Olympia. As the downtown coffee shop launches into their fourth month serving Olympia’s coffee loving residents, they are serving up the flavors of fall with new signature drinks and fresh scratch-baked pastries.

Drip manager Tiffany Peters shares the two newest additions to the Drip Espresso Bar menu.  “We are serving a Pumpkin Spice Latte that is made with pumpkin sauce we make ourselves,” she shares.  And the best thing about this version of the popular PSL?  The pumpkin sauce is made with real pumpkin and real spices by Peters herself with nothing artificial included.  The feedback they have gotten so far is that the drink truly tastes like a pumpkin pie in your cup with no bitter or acidic aftertaste.

The second new addition to the drink menu is the Salted Caramel Mocha.  Need we say more?  This tasty treat combines the Drip signature mocha with salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, a salted caramel drizzle all topped with course sea salt.  Yes, it is as good as it sounds.


The Apple Cinnamon muffin is just one of four new pastries featured at Drip for fall.

The Apple Cinnamon muffin is just one of four new pastries featured at Drip for fall.

Along with fall drink additions, Drip is introducing four new pastries to celebrate the harvest flavors of fall.

Pumpkin bread, a coffee shop staple, makes it’s appearance in the Drip pastry case this month.  This version is baked fresh in the dedicated bakery shared by Drip Espresso Bar and Meconi’s Italian Subs by pastry chef Callie Robello.  Moist and full of pumpkin flavor, this bread is the exactly what you are looking for in this classic treat.

Want your pumpkin bread with a twist?  Try the Pumpkin Pecan crumb muffin featuring a fresh pumpkin flavor with a coffee cake style topping.  Perfect with a cup of Batdorf and Bronson drip coffee or an americano brewed fresh by Drip baristas.

Apple Cinnamon muffins conjure up the flavor of freshly baked apple pie with large chunks of fresh apple and a lattice icing topping.  These muffins are fall-apart moist every time.

Try an Orange Cranberry White-Chocolate Chip scone on Friday, October 2.  First 100 customers get a free fall pastry with their drink purchase.

Try an Orange Cranberry White-Chocolate Chip scone on Friday, October 2. First 100 customers get a free fall pastry with their drink purchase.

The fourth fall pastry offering is the Orange Cranberry White-Chocolate Chip scone.  Those who like their pastries not too sweet will enjoy this scone made from scratch and delivered fresh to Drip with it’s subtle orange flavor and plump cranberries.

Want to sample these tasty treats?  Swing into Drip Espresso Bar Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to grab an espresso drink and pastry.

Want your pastry for free?  Swing by on Friday October 2.  The first 100 customers will receive a free fall pastry of their choice with the purchase of a drink.  What’s better than free pastry to kick off your Blue Friday?


Drip Espresso Bar

1018 Capitol Way S in Olympia



Ally Norman Continues Family Tradition with Olympia High School Swimming

Thu, 10/01/2015 - 10:56am



By Gail Wood

Capitol City Honda sponsorWhat’s in a name? Well, if you’re a Norman, it’s certain to include a little chlorine and water.

The Normans, from Chelsea to Sarah to Ally, have been big-time point getters for the Olympia High School Bears swim team for nearly a decade.

Ally Norman is a two-time state qualifier on the Olympia High School swim team.

Ally Norman is a two-time state qualifier on the Olympia High School swim team.

The Norman family has become part of coach Mel Smith’s yearly check list at that first practice.

First, there’s the counting of the turnout for the Olympia Bears swim team – 40 showed up at that first practice this year, including 19 freshman. Then there’s the projection for the potential state qualifiers – the Bears are again loaded with talent. And then there’s the Norman count – for the past seven years there’s been a Norman on the team.

First there was Chelsea, the oldest of the Normans and a state qualifier who graduated four years ago and is now a senior at the University of Arizona. Last year, there was Sarah and Ally Norman, who were double trouble for opponents. And now, the Bears are down to one – Ally, who is a junior and a two-time state qualifier.

She’s living up to the Norman tradition.

“Ally is following in those footsteps,” Smith said. “She’s probably got district times already in four events.”

olympia swimming

Olympia swimmers go through another practice at The Evergreen State College.

Last year, as a sophomore, Ally qualified for state in two individual events and two relays – the 200-yard medley relay, the 100 butterfly (58.7), the 100 backstroke (1:02.0) and the 200 freestyle relay.

“She’s a very talented young woman,” Smith said. “It’s exciting to have her doing so well as a junior because we know she’ll be back one more year for us.”

And it’s not just in the pool when Ally excels. With her 3.5 GPA, she’s a true definition of student-athlete. Swimming has taught her some life lessons, like learning how to best use her time.

“People ask me what do I do with my time,” Ally said before a recent practice. “I say I swim. You really have to enjoy swimming. You have to put in a lot of time and work into it.”

Besides swimming on her high school team, Ally’s also on the Thurston Olympians Swim Club and swims year around. She’ll occasionally squeeze in two workouts in a day during the school season, jumping into the pool at 5:30 a.m. for a one hour workout.

olympia swimming

Mel Smith is back as the Olympia Bears swim coach.

At first, Ally didn’t get into swimming just because it was something her sisters were doing. It was therapy. An accident while riding her bicycle got her into the pool when she was six.

“I had broken my leg,” Ally said. “I couldn’t walk on it too well. So, swimming was kind of a therapy thing.”

By the time Ally was 12, she made an important discovery about swimming. Hard work equals faster times.

“When I was 12, all my friends moved up in swimming,” Ally said. “And then I realized that I had to start really applying myself to get better. And then I started getting better.”

With Sarah just two years older, there developed a healthy sibling rivalry.

“Whenever we’d race I’d always try to beat her,” Ally said. “She always wanted to beat me.”

olympia swimming

Ally Norman continues the “Norman” tradition with the Bears.

Besides her sister, Sarah had an unexpected challenge last year during her senior season. She had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst just before districts, yet she still reached state. It was just another example of that Norman drive.

“Ally has a fantastic work ethic,” Smith said. “She has 100 percent attendance. She works hard.”

There’s some swimming genetics in the Norman family. Their dad, Charles, swam at the University of Arizona.

“Swimming is fun,” Ally said. “It’s so peaceful when you’re under water. And there’s people around you and you get to know them really well. It’s a lot of fun.”

When Ally graduates next year, the Norman tradition won’t end. Ally has a younger sister who is 12. And, naturally, she swims.

olympia swimming

Olympia is again loaded with talented swimmers.

Besides Ally, the Bears have several other state qualifiers back from last year. Melissa Ward qualified in the 100 freestyle with a 57.2. Other strong swimmers for the Bears include Honour Middleton, Lacey Wright, Naya HansenTilkens, Anya Dickinson, and Michelle Yen.

Gig Harbor, Stadium and Timberline will again be the strong challenges in league.

“We have a lot of kids out and we’ve got some good depth,” said Smith, who is in his ninth season as the Bears coach and 39th overall as a coach. “It’s just a matter of working hard and getting faster.”