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Fall Fun at Lattin’s Cider Mill

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 10:49am

Add Your Name to the Percival Landing Rail

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:15am



Submitted by City of Olympia

percival landing

Add a name to the Percival Landing railing. Names received by December 1, 2014 will be added before the holidays.

Have you considered adding your name or that of a loved one to Percival Landing’s structure and history? A donation to Percival Landing makes the perfect Holiday gift! Contributions are still being accepted for the Percival Landing Railing Project. Names of contributors are sandblasted into the stainless steel railing plate – donation levels are $50, $100, $500 and $1000.

Names received by December 1, 2014 will be installed by the Holidays later in the month.

Forms are available at

Call Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation at 360.753.8380 for more information.

Nick Kerry: Olympia Native Keeps KGY Family Tradition Alive for New Generation

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 6:54am



By Gale Hemmann

kgy radio

Nick Kerry, business manager at KGY, is enthusiastic about bringing his family’s historical station to a new generation. Photo courtesy of Nick Kerry

You know the saying: “Everything old is new again.” Old films and cars become classics; young hipsters embrace vintage styles from their parents’ era.

Then there are some things that are both old and new. Oldies KGY 95.3 FM in Olympia, for example, is a historic radio station. It was one of the first stations in Washington to sign onto the air in 1922. Yet they continue to adapt to changing listener needs and a new digital landscape. Serving the community with factual news and entertaining hosts never goes out of style, and as KGY’s 90-plus years attest, it is a timeless fixture of Olympia life.

At the helm of KGY (also home to the regional station South Sound Country 96.9 KAYO) is a talented staff who genuinely love connecting with the people of Thurston County and beyond. One of these people is Nick Kerry, Business Manager. KGY has been family-owned by the Kerry’s since 1939, and Nick is the great-grandson of Tom Olsen, who first brought the station into the family. (Read about the history of KGY in this ThurstonTalk article.)

I met with Kerry at the historic waterfront KGY building (fun fact: KGY is the only radio station in the country known to be built on the water) to learn more about what it’s like to be part of the KGY family legacy, and what his great-grandfather might think of radio today.

At 25, Kerry is a well-spoken professional and proud to represent “the younger face” of KGY as well as his family’s near-century of hard work.

Kerry graduated from Capital High School, and began working at the radio station at age 17. He attended Western Washington University, where he majored in political science. Throughout college, he spent summers working at KGY and maintained an interest in radio. He participated in a semester-long program at Western’s KUGS 89.3 station.

After graduating, Kerry came to work at KGY full-time. It wasn’t a sense of obligation but genuine interest that led Kerry to the family business. He says his experience in radio had helped him “come out of his shell” and grow as a person. “Radio gave me a way to talk to anyone,” Kerry says.

kgy radio

Kerry’s great-grandfather, Tom Olsen, bought KGY in 1939. The family has owned the station ever since. Photo courtesy of the Kerry family

KGY was also a very special place to Kerry – it was where his grandmother, Barbara Olsen Kerry, who ran the station for many years, had spent countless hours. He associates the business with her memory. “The energy and vibe here were just appealing to me right away,” says Kerry. He also describes the first time he operated the radio equipment as memorable and exciting. Clearly, he shares the family bug for radio.

Of course, he also grew up immersed in conversation about the station. KGY was a big topic around the dinner table and at family holiday gatherings. He also had a natural affinity for classic rock, alongside more contemporary artists.

Though Kerry didn’t know his great-grandfather (he passed away before Kerry was born), he knows the family stories about him well. An Olympia native, Tom Olsen was active and well-known in the local community, and was known to be very progressive-thinking about technology. He was always tinkering with the latest “gadgets” of his day. “He was absolutely ahead of his time,” Kerry says.

Kerry thinks his great-grandfather would love the technology available today, from computers to smartphones to iPods. He believes Olsen would no doubt be fascinated by KGY’s Android and Apple apps, digital streaming and the internet. He also notes that his grandfather would be happy to know that the family spirit and community service mindset at KGY continue to thrive.

Kerry says he started in an entry-level position at KGY, and was asked to do a range of menial tasks around the building before working his way up. “They put me through the paces,” he says with a laugh.

As an employee at KGY, Kerry was frequently at various community events, including Capital Lakefair and the Mason County Fair. He was surprised by the number of people who stopped by the booths to share what KGY meant to them. He says the experience was “eye-opening” about how deeply people cared about the station, and it cemented his decision to “invest time and make a difference” in his career there.

kgy radio

From its scenic location at the Port of Olympia, KGY keeps listeners up-to-date on the latest news in Thurston County. Photo courtesy of KGY Radio.

A lifelong resident, Kerry feels a deep attachment to Olympia. Aside from working at KGY, he enjoys getting out and about downtown. He has an interest in architecture and is fascinated by all the wonderful mid-century homes in Olympia. He also is an avid photographer, and was on the yearbook staff while at Capital High School.

Jennifer Kerry, Nick’s aunt, is the President of KGY. She currently serves in an advisory role. Many of the Kerry family still live in Olympia. For Nick, Olympia, KGY, and family all go hand-in-hand, and that’s as it should be.

KGY: What’s in it for younger listeners?

I asked Kerry about the appeal of KGY for younger listeners. What would Nick’s peers, people in their 20’s and 30’s, find appealing about the station? First of all, the timeless appeal of classic rock is undeniable. Myself and many people I know are just as likely to rock out to the Beatles or Stones as something more contemporary.

A younger audience also listens to the “young country” offered on South Sound Country 96.9 KAYO. KAYO plays everything from Keith Urban to Lady Antebellum, representing the best of new country with local DJ’s and country music news mixed in. (You can follow KAYO on Facebook.)

kgy radio

Kerry has always enjoyed interacting with KGY fans at local festivals and fairs across Thurston County. Here, KGY participates in an Oyster Challenge at the Port of Olympia. Photo courtesy of KGY Radio.

In addition, KGY has always been and remains the place to get your up-to-the-minute local news you can’t get anywhere else. KGY provides the hyper-localized information, such as up-to-the-minute traffic alerts, you need to start your day.

They also feature local high school sports highlights on the weekly “Red Zone Talk” program. Local sports personality Meg Wochnick hosts athlete interviews, and covers game highlights and scores each Friday morning (find her on Twitter at @MegWochnick). And Seahawks fans will enjoy “Hawk Talk” with Stephanie Hemphill and Kevin the Brit on Thursday mornings.

Another great way to connect with KGY is through their social media channels. Social media is becoming a popular way for listeners to interact with the station and its personalities. You can follow KGY on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can also stream KGY from anywhere through their website and apps. No matter what your listening device, KGY makes it convenient to tap into local news.

Listeners can win event tickets and other prizes through the station’s contests, and they also host special events around town.

So what’s next for the area’s oldest radio station? Kerry is optimistic about the future. “No matter what technological changes come, we want to continue to bring our listeners value – to make a difference in their lives.”

I ask Kerry if he thinks his great-grandfather, Tom Olsen, would be proud of what KGY has become today. “Yeah,” says Kerry thoughtfully, “I think he would.”


Terry Norberg Catches the Moment at Capital High School Football Games

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 6:35am



By Gail Wood

little caesars logoSince 1975, Ed Stevens, Jack Swarthout, Wayne Sortun and now John Johnson have coached the Capital High School football team.  During that same time, one thing has been consistent.  For nearly 40 years, Terry Norberg has rarely missed a Cougar game. He’s almost like the national anthem – a part of the game.

Since the late 1970s, Norberg’s been there at the games, video taping nearly every play, every touchdown and every tackle.

“It’s been fun, Norberg said. “I like it.”

capital football

Terry Norberg has been capturing Capital High School football games since the late 1970s.

As a teacher and editor of the school’s Capital News Service, Norberg first began capturing the games on video in the late 70s. The footage Norberg shot would then be shown on the school’s closed circuit station. Sometimes, the coaches studied Norberg’s video of the game. Eventually, Norberg videotaped the games just for the coaches.

“I started shooting the games in the late 70s because we had a news program,” Norberg said. “Most years, I’ve done every game.”

In 2008, Norberg retired from teaching after 38 years, spending all but five of those years at Capital. But Norberg, a 1962 graduate from Wahkiakum High School in Cathlamet, didn’t want to retire from being the Cougars videographer. He’s having too much fun.

“I like the games. They’re exciting,” Norberg said. “And I like the people.”

Norberg can recall and recap some of the biggest moments in Capital football. He has videoed every play in the Cougars run to state titles in 1996 and 1998. He remembers the scores, the players’ names and the plays of that run.

“My favorite game was the first year we won the state title in 1996,” Norberg said, setting up his detailed account of the team’s playoff run that year.

capital football

Terry Norberg often looks for the premiere spot to get the best images of the Capital football games.

First, there was a pigtail game on a Tuesday at R.A. Long in Longview. Then on a Saturday night in Memorial Stadium in Seattle, Capital beat No. 1 ranked O’Dea.

“They had only given up one touchdown all year,” Norberg said. “We beat O’Dea 37-7.”

Darren Tinnerstat, who is now an assistant coach at Capital, was the Cougars big-play quarterback that game. And Kyle Camus, who is now also an assistant coach with the Cougars, started at tackle.

“Here’s a sideline story for you,” Norberg said as he began to set up a scene about the game. “There was a guy from Kennedy standing up behind me shooting the game.”

That fella was hardly an O’Dea fan.

“We blocked a field goal and one of Frank O’Conner’s kids ran it back for a touchdown,” Norberg said. “I turned around and looked at the guy from Kennedy and he said, ‘Well, I enjoyed every moment of that.’”

Lots of plays stand out in Norberg’s memory. One was about Jordan Carey, the sure-handed speedster who went on to play wide receiver at the University of Oregon.

“We were up at Bothell,” Norberg began. “They were ahead of us.”

Then John Oatman, the Cougars’ quarterback that day, tossed a deep pass 50 yards to a sprinting Carey.

capital football

Norberg enjoys recapping some of his favorite Capital High School games.

“Jordan, who was named the Seattle Times player of the year, caught it in full stride and ran for a touchdown,” Norberg said. “But we were still behind. We get the ball back and we’re driving.”

Carey, Norberg said as he recounted the play, lined up on the right side. Tony Davis, who was a sophomore and would go on to play at Eastern Washington University, lined up on the left side.

“Knowing that they’d be watching Jordan, they ran the play to Tony Davis,” Norberg said. “And nobody even put a finger on him. He scored a touchdown.”

To get the best vantage point to video the games, Norberg always headed for a spot above the field. Often, that was the press box. But sometimes those vantage points were less than ideal and hard to reach.

“We had a playoff game maybe two years ago down at Richfield and I was shocked,” Norberg said with a chuckle. “You had to climb up this medal ladder with round rungs. And it was quite a ways up the ladder. I thought oh my goodness – are you guys nuts?”

Adding to the challenge was a steady rain.

“I don’t know what they’re thinking with the liability issues,” Norberg said. “You fall down that sucker you’re dead.”

capital football

Capital High School football coaches review Terry Norberg’s videos of games.

At Ingersoll, where Capital has played all its home games for 39 years, Norberg used to climb up on the roof of the stadium to shoot the game. Eventually, for safety reasons, that was stopped and now he crowds into a press box that’s often packed.

“You count over 20 people and you count the average weight and you start to wonder if this is really a good idea,” Norberg said with a laugh.

Through all these years, Norberg has had an understanding and supportive wife.

“My wife loves football, but she also likes doing things,” Norberg said.

Recently, to help satisfy that desire, Norberg, along with his wife and daughter, headed for Yosemite. But Norberg had a timeline on their trip.

“I definitely wanted to get back by the time we played Wilson, because the game was at Stadium,” Norberg said. “In my 30 some years, that’s my favorite place to shoot a game.”

And even after all these years Norberg hasn’t lost his love and passion for being at the game, capturing it on video.


Centralia’s Julie Pendleton Carries on Father’s Legacy with Northwest Sausage and Deli

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 6:34am



By Kelli Samson

northwest sausage

Brandon Bock (left) and Dave Pendleton enjoy some Smoker Bacon-Wrapped Meatballs at Dick’s Brewing Company’s annual Brewer’s Barbecue and Pairing.

Hunting season is upon us, and hopefully there will be those lucky enough to bring home some wild game. Unless you’ve got lots of time and know-how, you’re going to need some help processing that meat.

This is where Northwest Sausage in Centralia comes in. Simply bring in at least 25 pounds of your clean and boneless cuts of elk, deer, bear, or beef; choose from three different types of sausages and six types of pepperoni; decide among the various seasonings, and owner Julie Pendleton will be sure the rest gets taken care of.

Pendleton is the daughter of Dick Young, the larger-than-life founder of Dick’s Brewing Company (1994) and Northwest Sausage and Deli (1983). With these businesses, her father created legacies of both quality brewing and Old World-style smoked sausages. Julie has been carrying on those family traditions since her father passed away in 2009.

After studying business at Western Washington University (WWU), Julie was employed outside of her father’s businesses for five years. One day, he called her and asked if she was ready to come back to the family business, Northwest Sausage & Deli.  Julie knew instantly, the answer was yes. She was able to work alongside her dad for about five years, learning the operation of the family businesses.

With the passing of her dad, she had the choice to sell Northwest Sausage and Deli or to keep it going. She knew in her heart that she couldn’t let it go.  “The deli, to me, is my dad. It is all of my childhood memories.”

northwest sausage

Northwest Sausage and Dick’s Brewing Company founder, Dick Young, circa 1985. Interestingly, Dick was never a hunter. “He was always busy processing the meat,” explains his daughter, Julie Pendleton.

Area hunters are grateful. They have been making the trek to Northwest Sausage for over thirty years now, and for many it’s an annual tradition.

“We’ll see the same hunters from year to year, coming in, dropping off their meat, and having lunch and a beer in the deli with their buddies or their dad. A week later we’ll call to tell them that their meat is ready, and they’ll come back and do it all over again.”

Northwest Sausage uses electric air smokehouses and the very same original recipes that Dick Young himself perfected. Dick began his career in the meat business working for Midway Meats in Chehalis as a teenager, eventually opening up Dick’s Meats in Rochester. He and his family began Northwest Sausage in late 1983, and it’s been a destination for locals, travelers, and hunters alike ever since.

The turn-around time for processing the meat is one to two weeks. They make summer sausage, pepperoni, and kielbasa or Polish sausages, and they have samples (with beef) for tasting so that hunters know what flavors they’re getting.

Not a hunter? No problem. The meat case in the deli’s got you covered.

“We process the same types of sausages from beef, all available in our meat cases to purchase at the Deli. We do lunch meats, barbecue pork and jerky, and other varieties of sausage. We also produce frozen products from pork, like bratwurst, Andouille, breakfast sausage and chorizo. Our lunch and dinner menu is based off all the products we make here, too,” explains Julie who notes that the lunch menu is served daily and dinner menu Thursday and Friday nights.

“The deli is a well-oiled machine,” she chuckles.

It’s like the legacy left by her dad: steady, dependable, tried-and-true, something you can depend upon. It speaks to the values of the Young family and what they started together over thirty-years ago when she was just a little girl.

northwest sausage

Julie Pendleton preps some menu items inside Northwest Sausage and Deli.

Lucky for us, the Young family also believes in sharing. In addition to their meats and sandwiches, the deli also prepares soups.

Cabbage & Andouille Soup

1 lb. Andouille (or Polish Sausage) sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 onion (6 oz.), peeled and chopped

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

5 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

1 bottle (12 oz.) Dick’s Golden Ale or Dick’s Silk Lady

1 pound thin-skinned potatoes (1 1/2 in. wide), scrubbed and quartered

1 1/2 quarts finely shredded green cabbage (about 1 head)

1 cup sliced carrots (1/4 in. thick)

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

Salt & Pepper to taste



1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir sausage often until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Spoon out and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.

2. Add onion and garlic to pan; stir often until limp, 3 minutes.

3. Increase heat to high. Add broth, beer, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, coriander, allspice, and peppercorns (wrap and tie spices in cheesecloth if desired). Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender to bite, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard spices if wrapped.

Find Northwest Sausage and Deli on Facebook or via their website at


dicks sausageNorthwest Sausage & Deli

5945 Prather Rd. in Centralia

(800) 586-7760


New Hours Starting in November:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Hungry for prime rib or steak?  Visit Northwest Sausage and Deli on Thursday or Friday evenings.


Bag Local Hunger at Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 6:00am




Beginning on October 29, both Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway will be collecting monetary donations for Northwest Harvest and food items for the Thurston County Food Bank.

Most of us do not worry about where we will get our next meal. However, many in our community are not as fortunate and deal with hunger on a daily basis. Reportedly, one in four children in Washington live in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Additionally, Washington is currently ranked as the fourteenth hungriest state in the nation and has been noted to be in the top six states for the fastest-growing rate of hunger. While food is plentiful for most in our community, it is not the case for everyone, which is why Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway have dedicated their efforts to help provide nutritious food to the hungry by promoting a Bag Local Hunger program.

Between October 29 and November 18, 2014, Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway stores will participate in their Bag Local Hunger program to raise money and collect food to help families in need. Money donations can be made right at the check stand and are an easy way to help out those less fortunate.  Customers can simply add a designated dollar amount to their grocery bill. Funds raised through check stand donations will be directed to Northwest Harvest, which is Washington’s statewide hunger relief agency working toward providing nutritious food to hungry people statewide.

Throughout the 21 day food drive, Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway will have a designated collection container located at the front of the store so that customers can drop off their food donations as they leave the store. All of the food donated via Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway will go directly to the Thurston County Food Bank. The food bank arrives daily to collect the donations and distribute to the local community.

Donations can be made right at the check stand at locally owned Bayview and Ralph's Thriftway stores.

Donations can be made right at the check stand at locally owned Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway stores.

Kevin Stormans, President of Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway shares, “We heavily support the Thurston County Food Bank in various ways throughout the year. The fall program of Bag Local Hunger has been highly successful in the past because our customers are especially giving this time of year as we approach the holidays.”

As part of the Bag Local Hunger program, Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway will put a more charitable twist on their usual Buy One Get One (BOGO) promotion. During the Bag Local Hunger food drive the local grocer will revise their BOGO promotion to Buy One Give One. Select Western Family products will be eligible for the BOGO promotion whereby customers can purchase two Western Family products for the price of one with the opportunity to donate the food.

While customers can take advantage of the Western Family BOGO, any brand of food can be purchased and donated. It is important to keep in mind that foods high in fat, oils, and sugar provide calories but few nutrients. These foods make up a high percentage of many diets because they are inexpensive and easy to obtain. It is beneficial to provide healthful foods for those with limited financial resources to supplement their restricted choices with healthy alternatives. Foods helpful for people struggling with constant hunger include canned or dry fruits and vegetables, non-perishable whole grains, canned lean meats and fish, dried beans, boxed, dried or canned milk especially low-fat and fortified with Vitamin D. Healthful donations are especially helpful.

Last year, customers from Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway donated approximately $40,000 in cash in addition to the daily pick up of food product donations that the Thurston County Food Bank collected. Stormans comments, “Bag Local Hunger is a great program that increases awareness of people needing food in our community. As a local grocer, we feel especially compelled to help out with this need in our community.”

To participate in the Bag Local Hunger program simply visit either Bayview or Ralph’s Thriftway. At the check stand, make a cash donation directed toward Northwest Harvest or donate food items which will be distributed by the Thurston County Food Bank.


olympia grocery store

The Thurston County Food Bank encourages donations of foods that have plenty of nutrients.

Ralph’s Thriftway

1908 East 4th in Olympia



Bayview Thriftway

516 West 4th Street in Olympia


Halloween Happenings Around Olympia

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 7:59am




Ghosts and goblins come out to play on Friday, October 31.  Over the past few weeks, ThurstonTalk has been sharing stories of Halloween activities, events and celebrations.  Find all of our fall harvest and Halloween related stories here.

Find additional ideas and events on ThurstonTalk’s event calendar.

Fall in Downtown Olympia

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 7:36am



By Laurie Wetherford, Pope John Paul II High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Downtown Olympia during fall is one of the sights to see.  Park your car and take jaunt down the streets that are covered in leaves and people strolling in cozy fall attire. Visit the shops and restaurants throughout the area. Make an effort to especially pay a visit to some of the amazing local businesses. Grab a warm drink from one of Olympia’s local coffee shops  and don’t forget to bundle up!

Olympia Capital Building Fall Bayview Thriftway Pumpkins Olympia Supply Fall downtown Olympia Waterstreet Cafe Fall downtown Olympia (10) The Kiss Statue downtown Olympia Oyster House Fall downtown Olympia Heritage Room Fall downtown Olympia Capitol Theater Fall downtown Olympia (3)

From Biological Warfare Containment to Fighting Smog, Panorama Resident Retired Female Meteorologists have seen their Share of Adventure

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 7:35am



By Cara Bertozzi

panorama residents

Betty worked with women and children as a Policeperson volunteer when she was just 17. She was not allowed to work on cases involving men.

Betty Jankus and Charlotte Hopper, by the simple pursuit of their dreams, are no strangers to attracting attention for challenging mainstream expectations. These two remarkable ladies have a storied friendship dating back more than 50 years, culminating in their retirement in 1990 at Lacey’s groundbreaking retirement community, Panorama.

Charlotte was a member of the WA State Department of Ecology team in the early 1960s that performed the environmental impact study on the forward-thinking proposed development of an “age-in-place” campus that caters to active retirees and lifelong learners. When it came time to retire, the well-traveled duo settled on a two-bedroom house they shared with two cats and two dogs, who needed outside access, and established themselves as active community members in beautiful, temperate Washington State.

In fact, weather played a starring role in the careers of both women. Charlotte was one of the first women to earn a Meteorology degree from the University of Washington, and Betty was the second female to do so at UCLA. Betty later earned a Master’s degree in Education from UW as well. So, how did these two scientists who came of age in the 1930s – both women will celebrate their 90th birthday in the next year – carve out successful careers in a male-dominated field and find themselves on the cutting edge of multiple scientific revolutions?

panorama residents

Charlotte (center) attended her OCS graduation with her mother and brother (left) before leaving on assignment for Japan.

When Betty was eight years old, growing up in Connecticut, her father’s friend gifted her with an old microscope and an oak box full of slides. It was an unusual gift for a little girl at the time, but Betty made a paradigm-shifting realization under the lens of that tool: just because you looked at something didn’t mean that you saw it. Betty would later review the seminal book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson that further revealed the complex network of relationships that govern life, such that understanding only one piece of the puzzle as a specialist gives a remarkably limited view of reality.

Betty originally pursued a career as an accountant, but after a decade of working in the field and being passed over for promotion, she determined it was time to move on. The Air Force was recruiting women for limited roles in 1952, and Betty joined as a weather observer, having been fascinated by cloud formation as a young child. She loved the challenge of dealing with forecasting’s 140-something variables, and after her time in service, she used the GI Bill to complete her degree and earn full status as a meteorologist.

While attending UCLA, Betty used to watch the pollution form and accumulate from the School of Meteorology roof after a storm. There were no emission standards at the time, and the city founders had established industry zones along the shore. The basin-like area naturally trapped inefficient fuel burning byproducts, necessitating alerts during which time speed limits would be decreased and schools would cancel recess. The black smoke looked like money to executives, but the scientists were collecting data that would change the way we think about pollution. Charlotte was also involved in research with the Los Angeles County Pollution Control District that defined smog (smoke plus fog), ultimately resulting in the Clean Air Act.

panorama residents

Betty (left) and Charlotte (right) are enjoying life at Panorama and can be found volunteering around town or hanging out at Fish Tale Brew Pub.

In contrast to Betty, Charlotte grew up in the small town of Livingston, Montana and started pharmacy school in 1942 after completing high school. Shortly afterward, the US was pulled into World War II, which seemed much more exciting and relevant.  Charlotte withdrew from school and enlisted in the Navy WAVES. She was sent to aerographer school, which began her introduction to meteorology. Notably, her familiarity with weather codes made her a prime candidate to assist in the decoding of Japanese secret messages.

When WWII ended, Charlotte left the service and pursued her degree. However, she was recalled for the Korean War, and she took the opportunity presented by the dearth of officers left behind during the war. Charlotte completed officer candidacy school in 1951 and was then assigned as the only female Air Force weather officer in occupied Japan.

Under MacArthur, a special forecast section was established in Japan, and it was used to predict the weather and determine the safety of flight plans each day over Korea. The tall, red-headed female officer who was in charge of these important calculations caused quite a stir. Having a female at the base was so unusual that Charlotte had to drive two miles to her living quarters until an outhouse, a small improvement, was constructed on the compound. Betty laughs when she tells me I should write a book on how the lack of bathroom facilities was a big factor in determining which jobs were available to women at the time.

The paths of the two women crossed in 1962, when Betty was working at Dugway Proving Ground monitoring classified chemical and biological warfare tests. Weather conditions had to be watched carefully to ensure containment of dangerous materials. Betty wanted to increase data point collection 600-fold and take advantage of the move into the digital age. As the contract manager, she sourced MRI, a meteorology research company, to design new instruments and divine the calculus necessary for the precision measurements. Charlotte was on the team assigned to the project, and the two ladies immediately developed an affinity and professional respect for each other.

They would keep in touch and travel together over the next 50 plus years and even shared homes on and off when they were working in the same area. After initially retiring in separate locations, Betty and Charlotte agreed that it would be more fun to share their retirement together and made Lacey their final home.

They still giggle when they think about how little we know about the world we live in and how the weather will impact us. This complexity that is inherent in all science continues to evoke joy and wonder for this dynamic duo, who can often be found admiring the weather from their well-positioned matching chairs.


A Story About Fellowship – A Bed and Breakfast on the Water

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 5:48am



Submitted by Annie Lucille

fellowship boat olympiaHave you ever wondered what the story behind the beautiful wooden yacht moored at Swantown Marina guest dock is? Fellowship is her name, and her tale is one full of history and adventure.

Since 1955, Fellowship has been cruising the waters of the Pacific Northwest region, traveling around both Canada and Washington. Originally named Vixen (in her first life), the mighty ship originally served as a training vessel for Royal Canadian Naval officers, cadets and reservist members before being retired for private use.

In the mid 1990s, Olympia resident Nels E. Jensen purchased the vessel from Canada.  Jensen gave the vessel a new name –Fellowship – and a makeover. Jensen completely remodeled below deck, transforming the vessel from a utilitarian military ship into a comfortable private-use yacht.

Meanwhile, Captain Steve Clift of the U.S. Coast Guard had been researching boats to purchase. Steve and his fiancé, Barbara, discovered the vessel and were instantly drawn in by her name. They had always envisioned having a special place for friends and family to share time together, and in 2004, their dreams to purchase the ship came true.

Soon after taking ownership of Fellowship, Steve made Barbara his wife by exchanging wedding vows on the bow of the ship in January 2006. This marked the first of many more special moments to take place aboard the vessel.

fellowship boat olympiaIn the years that followed, Steve and Barbara combined their skills and experience to entirely re-purpose Fellowship. With Steve’s background in custom home construction and Barbara’s experience owning an Italian restaurant, the two worked together to transform Fellowship into a cruising bed and breakfast.

Steve began by completely tearing out the upper and lower decks, down to the hull. The restoration included a redesign and construction of a new open concept upper deck, featuring a large chef inspired galley (kitchen) at the stern, spacious dining area at mid-cabin, and a comfortable main saloon (living room) with large wood trimmed windows which display captivating views of the surrounding waters.

Below deck, guests are welcomed with four cozy cabin rooms that sleep 8-10 people (bedding includes cozy, goose down pillows and blankets), and one full bathroom. A beautiful master suite is positioned in the lower bow, serving as the captain’s living quarters.

When groups come aboard, Steve is happy to share his wisdom in boating. He enjoys teaching guests how to navigate and use nautical instruments. He even gives guests a chance to steer. Steve appreciates the participation of the guest-crew and typically appoints a “first mate” to assist in departures and returns to the dock.

Barbara’s attention to detail throughout the interior creates a sound environment for her culinary talents and hospitality to come to life. Carefully chosen ingredients are used in all her meals (which are pleasing to any pallet). She has been able to incorporate her passion of cooking and serving guests on Fellowship.

fellowship boat olympiaFellowship is now a venue to share customized adventures on the water, including:

  • San Juan Island getaways
  • Dockside dinners
  • Sunset dinner cruises
  • Corporate retreats/meeting space
  • Special ceremonies and events

Fellowship herself is a beautiful vessel, but more meaningful are the life changing moments that have been shared with the people who come aboard. One of the most memorable recent events included Barbara’s mother.  In September 2013, Lucille Osborne (age 92) and Owen Torseth (age 88) tied the knot during a private wedding ceremony on the ship. This day was an inspiring reflection of true “fellowship” and a reminder that new beginnings can be created in life, no matter your age.

The ambitious 6-8 month remodel Captain Steve and Barbara Clift originally envisioned ended up taking a total of five years to complete. However, despite the extra time invested, they now feel blessed to live aboard and call the ship “home.” In Barbara’s words, “we are living our dream, and absolutely love to share Fellowship with others and make memories that last a lifetime”.

You can learn more about Fellowship by visiting Fellowship Cruises Facebook page here, or contacting Steve and Barbara by email, or phone 253-241-9880.


Providence St. Peter Hospital Seeks Magnet Recognition Program® Re-Designation for Excellence in Nursing Services

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 3:48pm



Submitted by Providence Saint Peter Hospital

Providence St. Peter Hospital was designated as a Magnet organization in 2010 by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®.  This prestigious designation recognizes excellence in nursing services.  In December 2014, Providence St. Peter Hospital is applying for re-designation.

Patients, family members, staff, and interested parties who would like to provide comments are encouraged to do so.  Anyone may send comments via e-mail, fax, and direct mail.  All phone comments to the Magnet Program Office must be followed up in writing.

All comments are confidential and never shared with the facility.  If you choose, your comments may be anonymous but must be in writing.  All comments must be received by November 28, 2014.  Send comments to the addresses and numbers below.


Address: American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Magnet Recognition Program Office

8515 Georgia Ave., Suite 400

Silver Spring, MD  20910-3492

Fax:                301-628-5217


Phone:          866-588-3301 (toll free)

Fixing America’s Health Crisis Starts with Your own Mindset

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 3:29pm


Submitted by Dr. Jaron Banks for Russell Chiropractic 

Dr. Jaron Banks

Dr. Jaron Banks

How can America have the most expensive yet least effective health care system of all wealthy, developed nations1? It’s not that Americans have bad genes, live in poor environments, or lack access to medicine. We have greater resources for “healthcare” than any other nation, yet the problem still exists—and it’s based on two factors: our paradigm of health care and our lifestyle habits.

Sick Healthcare

Americans typically follow a treatment-paradigm of health care. We generally don’t think about our health until we feel ill or have pain. When ailments limit our quality of life, we typically seek out the quickest fix in a pill or a surgery rather than making necessary changes to our lifestyle or habits that are causing or exacerbating the problem. We—and the specialists we seek—also tend to look at single parts of the body that are acting up rather than looking at the bigger picture of health as a whole organism.

A movement is afoot, however, to change the public and provider perspective from a reactive treatment paradigm to a proactive wellness approach.

Chiropractors, in particular, have long taught that regular wellness care can increase the balance, function, and health in your body as a whole. The idea is to catch little problems and dysfunction before they become so far advanced that classic symptoms show.

Western medicine as a whole is also starting to talk about this proactive approach. As early as the 1950’s, a few influential doctors were pioneering this “new” mindset when they helped the World Health Organization redefine health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 2

One of these pioneers, John Travis, M.D., opened one of the first medical Wellness Centers back in 1975. There he empowered his patients to be self-directed and learn high-level wellness habits as an alternative to traditional symptom and illness-oriented care. Travis published a model (below) showing the limitations of treatment paradigms compared to a wellness paradigm on a spectrum of health.

The spectrum illustrates a dramatic point: most of us sit comfortably at the neutral point or somewhere a little to the left waiting for signs or symptoms to tell us something is wrong. The danger of hovering on the left side is that life can be unpredictably short. For example, the first symptom of heart disease can be chest pain from a heart attack. By then, it’s too late to think about heart health. We may have disease brewing internally long before we notice any signs or symptoms. So, to fix America’s healthcare problem in your house, ask, yourself “Where am I on this Illness-Wellness Continuum?”Wellness chart

Your Lifestyle and America

Every single choice you make—every day of your life—shifts you towards the left or to the right of this scale: illness or wellness; function or dysfunction. To prevent premature death or the need to react to a preventable chronic illness, notice where you currently sit and make a plan for improvement, wherever you are. Choosing to move towards the wellness side is the first step in the right direction!

Start by becoming aware of the daily habits that keep you from wellness and add practices that move you towards your wellness goal. Every bit of movement and any exercise in your day can add to your health while prolonged periods of inactivity slowly move you left.

Every time you eat processed foods with added sugars, chemicals, and preservatives, you also move your body to the left. Everything that’s fresh, nutritious, and natural springs you towards wellness.

As you become aware of the unconscious habits in your life and ascend to a healthier lifestyle, you will be amazed by the positive changes your body will experience. You will add years to your life and life to your years.

Wellness Doctors

Finally, to help America out of this crisis, seek wellness doctors who will teach you about your body and health rather than visiting “sickness” doctors after problems are limiting your quality of life.  Find wellness specialists who can help you tune your body to its highest levels of performance instead of those who simply treat symptoms.

Chiropractors, for example, are generally wellness and prevention-oriented rather than symptom-based in their patient care. They are trained to identify problems early, before they cause significant disruption in your body–especially in your central nervous system which is in charge of regulating every function in your body.

The so-called “alternative” medicine practitioners are, in many ways, the answer to the old problem-treatment model that played (and is still playing) a major role in creating America’s current health crisis.

Thankfully, the solution for you and your family is within your power. Decide now to be proactive rather than reactive with your health and prove with your daily habits your commitment to becoming your best self.


Jaron Banks, D.C. is a Doctor of Chiropractic at Russell Chiropractic Center in Tumwater, WA where he and Matt Russell, D.C. empower their patients and clients to attain new levels of health and wellness by helping restore balance to their bodies and educating them on wellness habits specific to their needs. With effective conservative care they also help people with a wide variety of ailments and injuries.

Follow Dr. Banks on Facebook here.

Russell Chiropractic Center

3948 B Cleveland Ave., Tumwater





Property Tax Payments Due October 31

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:30pm


Submitted by Thurston County

MoneyThe deadline is October 31st for Thurston County residents to pay their 2014 second half property taxes.  Payments can be made in a variety of ways.

Property taxes can be paid through the Thurston County Treasurer’s web site at .

There is no additional charge for the electronic check payment option on-line, but there is a 2.5% fee for a major credit card payment and a flat $3.95 fee for a VISA debit card payment.

Payments can also be made in person at the Treasurer’s Office or the courthouse parking lot drop box – located at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Building One, Olympia 98502. The same fees apply for payments made in person. Our office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Payments made by mail must be postmarked by the due date.

Penalties and interest will be charged for those who do not have their payments in on time.

Thurston County Wins Grant from Center for Holistic Defense

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:54am



 Submitted by Thurston County

The county’s Director of the Office of Assigned Counsel and a handful of staff members traveled to New York City last week thanks to a technical assistance grant from the Center for Holistic Defense.

Thurston County’s Office of Assigned Counsel is one of only four teams in the nation to win a 2014-2015 technical assistance grant that will link county staff with experts from the center to help build the “holistic defense” model into the existing public defender services provided by the county. The grant paid for county staff to travel to the Center for Holistic Defense in New York City to meet with staff and managers, and will also pay for center staff to conduct site visits to Olympia later this year and training in 2015.

“This technical assistance grant will really complement our efforts to stop churning people through the criminal justice system, and instead give us tools and strategies to help us stabilize our clients’ lives to help them stay out of the justice system and succeed.” said Daryl Rodrigues, Director of the county’s Office of Assigned Counsel.

“I’m very excited about this grant, and my hope is that it will really propel our efforts forward when it comes to improving the county’s criminal justice system,” said Thurston County Commissioner Cathy Wolfe. “The holistic defense model has seen great success in New York when it comes to getting better outcomes for clients and reducing criminal justice and incarceration costs. I’m eager to see what we can do in Thurston County to reach those same goals.”

The “holistic defense” model was first developed in the late 1990s by a group of New York public defense attorneys and staff calling themselves The Bronx Defenders. Going beyond just legal defense for low-income clients for their criminal charges, The Bronx Defenders also has developed strategies to offer social work support, social services, plus legal advocacy for civil, family, housing, employment and immigration issues their clients face. The goal is to address the underlying issues that contribute to court involvement, and support clients so that they can break the cycle of criminal justice involvement and gain self-sufficiency while still requiring accountability. The Center for Holistic Defense is part of The Bronx Defenders organization, and the center’s technical assistance grants are supported in part by the Center for Court Innovation and the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The Thurston County Office of Assigned Counsel provides legal defense counsel and services for poor citizens of Thurston County who are accused of crimes or who are at risk of having their children removed by the state. The team of 18 attorneys and eight staff members also provide legal defense services for defendants in Tumwater municipal court through a contract with the city.

“One of the first things we’ll do to incorporate the holistic defense strategy in our office is to hire a social worker,” said Rodrigues. “We’re also looking at organizing our referrals for clients to some of the services that are utilized the most. Clearly the referrals for drug treatment and alcohol treatment are high on the list, but I think you would be surprised to learn how many of our clients just need some financial counseling or employment assistance or housing assistance to help get their lives back on track.”

Rodrigues continued, “I’m confident that the assistance and training we’ll get from this grant will start paying off for our clients and for the county in no time.”

To learn more about The Bronx Defenders and the Center for Holistic Defense, visit

To learn more about the county’s Office of Assigned Counsel, visit


Fall is Here, and so are the Leaves

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:49am



Submitted by Thurston County

fall autumn leavesFree Leaves Available on “First Come” Basis.

It’s that time of year again. Olympia Public Works crews are sweeping leaves from streets which are available free-of-charge for composting. For information or to be put on the delivery schedule, contact Olympia Public Works, 360.753.8333. Please leave a message, including your name, address, phone number and the amount of leaves you would like (5‐yard minimum). Names will be placed on the list on a first come/first served basis. Staff will contact you prior to delivery.

Reminder to Help Keep Storm Grates Clear.

The mix of rain and falling leaves can result in blocked storm grates, which may cause local flooding. City crews work to keep the storm system clear, but with over 6,500 drains in Olympia, we could use your help. Rake a drain – help prevent flooding. Use a garden rake or shovel to remove the debris from on top of the drain. Be sure to clear debris from the street, or it will just re-cover the drain with the next rain. As always, if you do not feel safe clearing blocked grates, call Olympia Public Works to report the situation, 360.753.8333.


Saint Martin’s University to Host High School Students at Latino Youth Summit

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:35am


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University 

The Latino Youth Summit will be held at Saint Martin's University on November 8.

The Latino Youth Summit will be held at Saint Martin’s University on November 8.

Saint Martin’s University will host 300 high school students as they gather on the Lacey campus Saturday, Nov. 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the Latino Youth Summit: Explore Your Dreams/Explora tus sueños.

Students from Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties will participate in a variety of workshops during the day-long summit, which is designed to deliver a message of hope, education, future life choices and careers. The summit also underscores the message that there is no one path to success.

“The Hispanic Roundtable and the LYS volunteers believe in the power of community and exploring your dreams of the future for all of our Latino students,” says Selina Gomez-Beloz, president of the Hispanic Roundtable of the South Sound.

“For the first time in the history of the Latino Youth Summit, parents will be an active part of our day, which will include important workshops on education and resources,” Gomez-Beloz adds.

The workshops will cover a multitude of topics, including applying for college and financial aid, immigration, financial literacy, insights into specific careers such as trades, teaching, public safety and health care, and fostering healthy relationships.

In addition, teachers and guidance counselors will have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits by attending workshops during the summit, according to Gomez-Beloz.

For more information about the event, please contact Giovanna Graciani at


Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic­tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes nearly 1,200 under­graduate students and 323 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at


The Olympia Furniture Company: The Community Furniture Store

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 9:20am



olympia furniture store

Allen Starkey and Eddie Nelson, owners of The Olympia Furniture Company recently opened the business after a combined forty years of experience in the furniture industry.

Start by converting a large empty space into a welcoming furniture store.  Then, stock it with not just mattresses and sofas, but instead an array of furniture options that radiate warmth, charm, and a sense of family. It is almost a magical feat.

Allen Starkey and Eddie Nelson, owners of The Olympia Furniture Company have created just that type of setting out of the 14,000 square foot space.  Located in West Olympia, Starkey and Nelson have transformed the warehouse location into a self-described “community furniture store.”

Starkey and Nelson have intentionally involved their family in the business, welcomed friends to come visit them in the store, and deliberately conveyed their commitment to local businesses and giving back to the community.  Nelson explains, “When I was a kid my grandmother would take us to this general store in Elma. It was a catch all store with furniture, clothing, housewares and an assortment of items. We would go on the weekends and we would watch the cartoons they played for the kids while she shopped. We want to be that kind of local community store – where families feel comfortable coming to visit us to shop and share what is going on in their lives and the community.”

“We show the Seahawks when they are playing,” Nelson continues.  “We want a family oriented setting. It is a family thing for us. Our kids work here and our wives help out. We want that community feel.”

Starkey and Nelson opened the store in mid-2013, offering more than 40 collective years in the furniture industry. Nelson explains that he started selling furniture directly out of school and has worked in all aspects of the industry from stocking the warehouse, to selling on the showroom floor. His experience also includes back office administrative duties and store management.

When the opportunity presented itself to open their own store, Starkey and Nelson felt confident, based on their industry expertise gained through working in different positions and at a variety of furniture stores in the area.

Nelson explains, “It is about guiding the customer toward what will work best for them. It is not about just selling a piece of furniture. If we do not have something in the showroom, we are knowledgeable about what is available and can help the customer get what they need. We are even willing to go out to their home,” Nelsons explains. “Really, this work is so rewarding because I get to meet new people all the time and provide them with something they will enjoy for many years.”

olympia furniture store

The Olympia Furniture Company considers itself a community store where friends, family and customers gather to shop and share experiences.

Nelson continues, “Our concept is to be as local as we can be. We use a couple of local custom builders such as Grandwood Furniture from Lakewood and Anderson Woodworks in Olympia to build custom bedroom sets, bookshelves, and coffee tables if you have a specific spot in your home or want a particular wood. Our mattresses are made locally such as Sealy out of Lacey and Lady American from Sumner.  We have 30 mattresses to choose from offering three different brands within driving distance from us. And we use American made vendors. We do carry the major brands whose upholstery lines are made in the United States either in California or back east. We start as close to home as we can and then work our way out if necessary.”

Starkey chimes in, “As long-time Olympia residents and now local small business owners, we have become more aware of our personal shopping habits and re-committed ourselves to supporting local businesses. For example, rather than go to a national chain restaurant we will just go for a short walk to Vic’s Pizzeria or Wally’s for lunch. Or if we need something from the hardware store we will cross the street to shop locally rather than go to one of the big box stores. We want to keep our support and dollars right here in town.”

Nelson admits, “We have grown a lot faster than we thought we would. We estimated it would take three to four years to reach where we have in just over one year. A lot of things have happened so quickly.”

The Olympia Furniture Company was recently selected as the best furniture store for the Thurston County Chamber Best of South Sound awards as well as recognized by Evening Magazine’s The Best of Western Washington Nominee for Best Furniture Award.

olympia furniture store

The Olympia Furniture Company is located on the westside of Olympia with a 11,000 square foot showroom.

To learn more about The Olympia Furniture Company, click here to visit their website.

The Olympia Furniture Company

2302 Harrison Avenue NW, Suite 101 in Olympia



Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Talking About Tragedies With Our Children

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 8:18am



Submitted by Emily McMason of Evolving Parents

olympia parenting class

Emily McMason is a parenting coach in Olympia. Photo credit: Amy Christiensen Nielsen

Columbine. Sandy Hook Elementary. Now Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Whenever we learn of tragic events in the news, it is challenging to know how to talk about them with our children. When these events occur close to home, it intensifies our worry. We worry about what to say. We worry because we don’t want to say anything at all. So how do we help children navigate what is going on in moments when our own humanity feels vulnerable?

No matter your role in the life of a child—as parent, educator, neighbor, caregiver—know that how you speak, how you listen, how you help, will make the difference in helping them through this. Here’s how:

Tread lightly. It is tempting as the story unfolds to follow every moment on the news and social media. Don’t. Turn it off. Older kids are getting fatigued into numbness and youngsters often think the replay images are fresh attacks.

Talk even though it’s tough. We hope that if we don’t bring it up, our children won’t know what happened. Yet once they are school aged, if we don’t speak up, they will hear the news from a hundred other sources. Don’t fret about the words you use, simply start the conversation. State your truth, “This is hard for me to tell you…”

Speak in sound bites. Give children brief facts and information. Then listen. Listen to their confusion, questions and comments. Follow their lead. Give them space to weep and wonder. Listen for the emotions that are under their words, assure them that all of their feelings matter. Let them to know that you are here. That together you are bigger and stronger than any disaster. That you will be present for them, no matter how overwhelming life feels.

Stay the course. We all thrive on routine, and this is especially true in times of trauma. Keep children on their regular schedules.

See the love. Show children how many responders there are. Doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, teachers, faith leaders, community members—every child involved is supported by a dozens of adults. As Mister Rogers reminded us:  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

Look at each step. Yes, news reports will focus on injury and death. But we can talk about their life, and all the days each person had before the tragedy. We can see all the people who loved them, and whom they loved. Talk about how, even after someone has died, they are not gone. They are within us.

Find the sacred sweat. Look for those who need support. It may mean donating resources, time or expertise. Help your kids find ways to contribute. From drawing a picture to holding a vigil to starting a fund for families, when we give of ourselves, we learn we are capable. When we realize we can overcome, our resiliency for future events is stronger.

Emily McMason is a personal and parent coach in Olympia. For more information about this, or other parenting issues, you can reach Emily at (360) 207-4708 or visit her website, Evolving Parents.


Neighborhood Notes – An Update on the Transformation of the Park at Harrison and Division Streets

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 6:48am



By Lindsey Surrell

van dorm sponsorIts history you might already know: an abandoned building torn down and a community rising up to fight against a convenience shop, followed by the transformation of the space into a community park. But the future of this land, which sits at the intersection of Harrison and Division Streets, is unknown and hopeful.  And what this land will look like in 50 to 100 years is what Alicia Elliott, who bought the land in 2012 and deeded it the West Central Park Project this year, really stops to think about. Will this land be able to maintain itself?

west central park

Alicia Elliott, founder of West Central Park Project, shares the vision for the expansion and upgrades to the park.

Many initiatives have been put into place to help shape and maintain a positive future for West Central Olympia Park.  At the head of those changes, the West Central Park Project, formed in June 2013, oversees the park.  Elliott, president and founder, works along side the nine-member board that can grow to 12 members under its bylaws.  The West Central Park Project is credited for several events, such as Monday Movie Nights and the Harvest Fest, and with the help of the volunteers, has transformed a vacant corner lot into a welcoming space.

The Project’s mission, as stated on its website, is “dedicated to creating a public, open, green space that can serve the recreational, educational, artistic, and musical needs of the community in which it sits.  The space created by the neighborhood, for the neighborhood, to be a model for other neighborhoods to create similar spaces and thereby improve their economy and their quality of life.”

Although there has been a progression of site designs, Elliott walked me through the current vision, which includes ideas for within the .64 acres of green space, such as a picnic shelter, two bathrooms, a bee and butterfly hotel, and rain gardens. And for the surrounding neighborhood, a café, restaurant, small stores and a bed and breakfast.

Located on Harrison Avenue, going east from Division Street, the recently closed DeGarmos’s Compounding Pharmacy is marked to become Parkside Café in the fall of 2015. The café will also be ran by West Central Park Project and additionally serve as the commissary for future food trucks to be located at West Central Olympia Park.

Within the open event area, the food trucks and picnic shelter will make a great compliment to the West Olympia Farmers’ Market, which has plans to move its location to the park for 2015. Neighbors are encouraged to walk, bike, or bus to the park, but there will be a small amount of parking space available.

west central park

Daniel Cherniske stands in front of a fig tree, one of many plants that visitors and neighbors are encouraged to enjoy.

When asking Elliott about the timeline for these projects, she noted that many projects are subject to funds; donations are accepted to meet Park Project’s goal of $152,500.

And Elliott has her own projects, too. Elliot plans to convert two of the houses on the border of the park and Cushing Street, which is parallel to Division Street, into a two bedroom and two bathroom bed and breakfast and the other into a restaurant with beer garden in the back.

Another vision is to have a few of the houses on Division Street transformed into small businesses, such as a “kitchen shop or cake shop or yoga studio,” says Elliot.  Encouraged to boost the local economy, many of the Elliott’s visions center around creating opportunities for local businesses to thrive. The houses, in addition to the restaurant and bed and breakfast, Elliott plans on maintaining herself.

One of the main long-term goals for the West Central Park Project is for the park to be an educational garden. Daniel Cherniske, one of the board members, is a Permaculture major at The Evergreen State College.  Cherniske contributes to creating sustainable garden plans, including an edible food garden and using the Hugelkultur method of gardening. The Hugelkultur method creates raised garden beds that are similar to “sheet mulching or lasagna gardening.” The Park Project plans on creating plaques to identify foods in the garden. The community is encouraged to sample and share the food the garden grows. Elliot says “we expect people to harvest the food when it’s ready.”

Involvement and awareness from the community is not only crucial to the success of the park, but also to the safety of the neighborhood. Initially some members of the community were concerned about the restrooms and homeless population of an open park, but Elliot happily reports there have been no incidents.

west central park

Dave Humphreys and Tucker Petertil work on one of four rain gardens planned for West Central Park. A rain garden a can help reduce water pollution and flooding.

The park is host to other community projects, including being the hub for Soil Cycles, a local effort that picks up compostable waste via cargo bikes and turns it into rich compost. Elliott has also visited elementary schools to do presentations about the park, gardening, and community effort.

If you are new to the Olympia area, or just need a refresher, take a look on Google maps to see a before picture of a vacant lot that Elliott once described as “urban blight.” Now, rich with vegetation, picnic tables and plans for an even greater transformation, I know I am not the only one who is excited to see the after picture.

For more information, visit the West Central Park Project via Facebook. Volunteers are welcome to join every Sunday throughout the year from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., rain, sun, or snow.



Start with Conservative Care At Eastside Chiropractic

Sun, 10/26/2014 - 4:13pm



eastside chiro

Eastside Chiropractic’s Tumwater offices include massage therapy, nutrition services, and comprehensive chiropractic care by Dr. Murray Smith and Dr. Amanda Kugel.

Conservative Care.  It’s a “buzz word” in medicine these days, we admit.  But, when fully understood, the concept of using conservative care first offers patients safe, cost-efficient, and effective means of managing their health.

What is conservative care?  It is a term to describe the use of non-surgical, non-invasive techniques developed to promote healing in the body.  Chiropractic care is one of these conservative methods, used particularly when a patient suffers from chronic or acute back pain.

Throughout the medical community, practitioners and patients are keeping their eye on outcomes.  Patients want to heal safely and without breaking the bank.  Practitioners want to promote healing in patients, also safely and quickly, with the least invasive treatments possible.  These two groups share an interest, then, in using conservative care methods first.

In a May 2013 study of Washington State workers it was found that only 1.5% of patients who visited a chiropractor first for work related back pain ended up in surgery.  That statistic is in stark contrast to the 42.7% of patients who ended up in surgery after first seeing a surgeon.

Do some people need surgery to correct their injury or chronic condition?  Of course, and thankfully Olympia has several talented spine surgeons who work closely with local chiropractors.  But, even surgeons are recommending conservative care approaches, utilizing chiropractic along with other less invasive interventions before resorting to the knife.

eastside chiro

Eastside Chiropractic includes nutritional counseling with their massage and chiropractic services.

Another common non-invasive care measure familiar to most is the use of pain medications to ease symptoms of back and neck pain.  However, these medications do just that – ease symptoms.  They do nothing to address the root cause of pain or injury.  By working closely with the doctors at Eastside Chiropractic, patients not only avoid the potentially addicting side-effects of pain medications, but they also work together to plan a healthy lifestyle to help avoid future pain and injury.

Through the use of nutrition, stretching and exercise, massage, and chiropractic adjustment, the doctors at Eastside Chiropractic tailor conservative care to each and every patient with the hopes that their pain will be alleviated without invasive, and expensive, surgery.  “People should really come and see us first when they have back and neck pain,” says 25-year veteran Doctor of Chiropractic, Murray Smith.  “It’s a safer, and often more effective, option for most people trying to solve acute or chronic neck and back pain.”

One question many people have when considering the conservative care choice of chiropractic is, “Am I going to have to come here forever?”  Dr. Smith has an answer for them:

“Do I believe that patients should come to see me forever?  Yes, I do.  Do I think that what we offer people can benefit their health forever?  Yes, I do.  Do I believe you should continue to see your dentist forever?  Yes, I do.  But, our goal is not to see you all the time.  In fact, we like it when you don’t feel like you need to come in to see us.  We strive to find a way to give you the tools so that you aren’t here all the time.  You can use the knowledge we’ve given you to stay healthy, to live a healthy lifestyle and to come and see us at the first sign of pain so that it doesn’t develop into a bigger problem.”

Doctors of Chiropractic are even suggested by the Journal of the American Medical Association as a first consideration when looking for treatment of back pain.  And with extensive training, chiropractors know what they are doing.  DCs are educated in nationally accredited four-year doctoral graduate programs, equivalent to four-year medical school programs for MDs.  The rigorous curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, clinical, and laboratory work equivalent to allopathic medical degrees.

Eastside Chiro Treatment roomAnd like MDs, chiropractors continue their study of the body, specializing in particular areas and achieving certifications in specialized treatments.  Dr. Amanda Kugel’s specialization in infant and child chiropractic is one such example.

Bottom line?  Patients should always become their own advocates, educating themselves on their health as well as their options so they can ask the right questions, and understand the answers, when they visit their health care provider.  When patients are armed with information and empowered to take charge of their health, conservative care measures typically follow.  Who would march into an office and ask for expensive, painful surgery first?

It simply makes sense to pursue all avenues of conservative care first.  And when faced with back and neck pain, a logical conservative care measure to take is to see a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.

Eastside Chiropractic

1526 Bishop Rd SW in Tumwater