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Tips to Waste Less Food this Holiday Season

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:21pm



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

olympia food composting

The average American family throws out 25% of the food they buy.  About $130 each month.

Thurston County Solid Waste wants to help you waste less food this holiday season. The average American family of four throws out about 25 percent of the food they buy, to the tune of around $130 each month, and that number goes up during the holidays.

Those festive parties and family gatherings drive us to make and serve too much food. This is often fueled by the questionable belief that it’s a bad host who runs out of a certain dish or doesn’t make each person’s favorites. When everyone goes home, there you are with a mountain of prepared foods and limited refrigerator space. Now what? Food gets wasted.

Americans throw out about 204 million pounds of turkey meat after Thanksgiving. According to the National Resources Defense Council, just a single pound of turkey meat gobbles up resources equivalent to driving 11 miles to take a 130 minute shower! And the eating and wasting continues from Turkey Day through to New Year’s Eve, with too much of your food  and your money being thrown out in between.

Besides the environmental and financial impacts, it seems even worse to waste good food over the holidays, knowing that one in six Americans do not have enough to eat. We can do better. Here are just a few easy ways to help you waste less food this holiday season.

  • Be realistic about how much you really need to cook. Estimate the headcount and use an online portions planner. If you’re hosting a party, it’s okay to run out of a dish or two. There are other tasty options, and your guests are there for the company.
  • Carefully plan the entire meal and make a shopping list that includes quantities for each ingredient. Check your cupboards, fridge and freezer before you shop so you’ll know what you already have at home.
  • Consider using smaller plates and smaller serving utensils. This slows down the folks whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs. Guests can take smaller servings of each dish and go back for seconds or thirds.
  • Plan out what to do with the leftovers. If you want to donate to a church or food bank, call ahead for their hours of operation, and get information about critical safe food handling requirements. Send party-goers home with their favorites with a promise to eat them. Make sure you have the needed “to go” supplies.
  • Store your leftover food in clear or well labeled containers. If it’s not going to be eaten right away, use your freezer. Plan what you can make with leftovers. Websites like let you enter multiple ingredients you want to use and then up pop recipes!
  • Have a potluck where family and friends all bring leftovers—it’s an excuse for another party.

Thurston County Solid Waste is helping residents reduce wasted food throughout the entire year. Visit our website and download the Waste Less Food Challenge information packet at It will help you see exactly what you’re wasting and provides tips on how to waste less. While you’re there, check out our radio contest and take our quick food waste survey. You can also invite us to give a fun and free presentation for your school, office, church, or community group—we can make it a potluck!

For more information about the Waste Less Food Challenge and other tips and information on wasting less and saving more, contact Gabby Byrne at or (360) 867-2284 or visit



Prepare Your Home’s Plumbing for Winter Weather

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 4:45pm



Submitted by Springer Plumbing 

Springer Plumbing - burst pipe

A split like this can result from a frozen pipe during cold weather.

As you prepare your wardrobe, car and home for the colder months ahead, don’t forget about your water system. When water freezes, it expands. If your pipes reach icy temperatures and the water in them freezes it can rupture the pipe, much like a can of soda left in the freezer for too long. The expense and inconvenience of frozen and damaged pipes is one we hope to help you avoid. Take the following precautions and your plumbing system should work well this winter.

Before the cold hits:

  • Make sure your entire household knows where the main waterline shut-off valve is to the home. In the unfortunate event that you do have a burst pipe, the damage can be kept to a minimum by turning off the water supply to the home quickly.
  • Insulate plumbing in unheated areas such as crawl spaces, garages, well houses and outdoors.
  • Disconnect garden hoses before freezing temperatures arrive. We also recommend placing insulated faucet covers on your hose bibs. If you have dedicated shut-off valves for your outdoor faucets turn them off and drain the remaining water out of the line.
  • Turn off and drain sprinkler systems.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees F.

During freezing weather:

  • Make sure all rooms with plumbing fixtures, especially those with plumbing on outside walls, are heated.

    Springer plumbing faucet

    Be especially cautious with exterior faucets and pipes on exterior walls during cold spells.

  • A bathroom or laundry room located next to a garage can be particularly susceptible to freezing, so keep the garage door closed to hold in heat.
  • If your bathroom or kitchen pipes run along an exterior wall, keep the cabinet doors open to raise the temperature around your pipes as much as possible. Consider using a fan to help circulate the air near your pipes or turn on a small space heater.
  • During extremely cold stints, keep a small trickle of water running at faucets. This eliminates pressure that can build between the faucet and any ice blockage as well as decrease the chance of water freezing in the first place.
  • Do not try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame; as this will damage the pipe and could start a fire. You may be able to thaw a pipe with a hair dryer, start slowly at the faucet end of the pipe with the faucet open.

Have a warm winter and remember we are only a phone call or e-mail away if you need help with anything!


Washington State University Thurston County Extension Master Gardener Program Accepting Applications

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:59pm



Submitted by Washington State University Thurston County Extension

yashiro japanese gardenWashington State University Thurston County Extension is currently accepting applications for its 2015 Master Gardener volunteer training.

Next to digging in the dirt, there’s almost nothing gardeners enjoy more than learning about their favorite plants. One of the easiest ways to increase your gardening knowledge is to enroll in WSU Extension’s Master Gardener course next spring. For forty years, Washington State University Extension has been training Master Gardener volunteers in the science and art of gardening.  Volunteers who attend the comprehensive course will learn the latest information on how to successfully grow their favorite ornamentals, veggies, fruit, and a whole lot more.

There is a perception that to become a WSU Master Gardener you must know everything about gardening.  This is unrealistic and untrue.  To be a WSU Thurston County Master Gardener you must have some gardening experience but more importantly you must commit to sharing accurate gardening information with our community.

Thurston County WSU Master Gardeners are volunteers trained in all aspects of home gardening which they, in turn, share with members of the community who have gardening or insect questions. Some of the training topics include:

  • water-wise gardening
  • how to grow your own food
  • low-impact landscaping
  • diagnosing plant diseases
  •  identifying insects/pests
  • and much more……

We provide a number of different venues, including demonstration gardens, community booths and question/answer clinics through which volunteers deliver these messages.

The WSU Master Gardener training will also teach you how to access the latest researched-based information from Washington State University faculty, staff, and nationwide partners on subjects you may not know too much about.  You will become part of over 200 Thurston County WSU Master Gardeners who have very diverse backgrounds of gardening expertise and interests. As a result of this diversity you will have fun learning from one another while making lifelong friendships.

Classes will be held at a training room in Lacey.

To be considered for one of the limited training spots you must complete an application and attend a pre-orientation session. Pre-orientation sessions are held at the Thurston County Extension Office in West Olympia, directions are included in the application packet. At these sessions you will learn what it takes to be a WSU Master Gardener. This includes program expectations as well as all the benefits you will receive being a WSU Master Gardener. The following sessions will allow you to see if the WSU Master Gardener Program is a right fit for you. No pre-registration needed.

  • December 5th at 10:30am
  • December 11th at 4:30pm
  • December 17th at 4:30pm

Upon acceptance into the program a $275 class fee will be collected.  Since we are a self-sustaining program the training fee covers all class materials and field trips. Scholarships are available for those in need. Payment plans are available for those who are interested.

To learn more or to download an application packet visit our website .

The training class does have a cap and will be filled on a first come, first served basis with those who meet the criteria. If there is still room the very last date to apply is December 31st, 2014.


Sounds of the Season draw Nigh at Saint Martin’s University and South Puget Sound Community College

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:56pm


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University 

holidaySaint Martin’s University, the South Puget Sound Community College and the American Legion Band are once again combining their talents to perform two Christmas concerts in December that feature three choirs singing musical pieces spanning the early 16th century to contemporary works.

A carol sing-along will round out both “Sounds of the Season” concerts. The first event will be held Wednesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. on the Main Stage of the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts, located at South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Rd., Olympia. The second concert will take place Friday, December 5, at 7:30 p.m., at Marcus Pavilion, located on the Lacey campus of Saint Martin’s University, 5000 Abbey Way SE.

The concerts will feature the Saint Martin’s University Chorale, both SPSCC Choirs and the American Legion Band. Associate Professor of Music Darrell Born directs the Saint Martin’s chorale. Molly McNamara conducts the SPSCC choirs. Kevin Robertson conducts the American Legion Band, along with Diana Appler, associate conductor.

“It will be so much fun,” says Born, who is also director of the Saint Martin’s Music Program. “The students and members of our community love singing the “White Christmas” tunes and all those famous, early, golden years of Broadway musicals.”

Each concert is composed of three parts. The first part will combine the three choirs, which will sing the early 16th century “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” two early American carols, the “Huron Carol” and “A Virgin Unspotted,” and a beautiful, contemporary piece, “O Magnum Mysterium.”

During the second part, the American Legion Band will perform several traditional, Christmas band pieces, including “T’was the Night Before Christmas” and “Sleigh Ride.” The choirs and the band will conclude both evenings with combined holiday pieces, such as the “White Christmas” medley and “A Christmas on Broadway,” before leading the audience through the sing-along.

The concerts are free and open to the public, and free-will donations are gratefully accepted.

Gather ‘Round – Bagel Brothers offers a Variety of Catering Options

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:45pm



Submitted by Bagel Brothers

Catering options at Bagel Brothers include an array of their freshly made sandwiches.

Catering options at Bagel Brothers include an array of their freshly made sandwiches.

What’s round, comes in a variety of flavors, and is everyone’s favorite? Bagel Brothers’ bagels, of course. Whether you choose a sandwich or a spread, whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, these bagels hit the spot.

And did you know Bagel Brothers offers catering? For all your social functions, from holiday parties, to business luncheons and retirement parties, Bagel Brother’s can provide just the right spread for your gathering.

Starting at just $2.95 per person, receive an assortment of bagels, (cheesy, everything, onion and more) and an equally appetizing array of cream cheeses (plain, berry, chive and more).This option is a classic and easy way to feed your guests.

Kick it up a notch and order a lox and cream cheese platter, and your gathering will have a built-in conversation piece as guests gush about the Wild Alaskan Sockeye Lox, sliced tomatoes, onions, and capers. This is available at just $6.95 per person.

For the same price, consider a luncheon platter that includes sandwich favorites like Turkey & Jack, Ham & Swiss, Roast Beef &

A platter including an assortment of bagels and cream cheese is a great way to feed a crowd.

A platter including an assortment of bagels and cream cheese is a great way to feed a crowd.

Cheddar, and Vegetarian. Fruit platters, breakfast burritos, chips, cookies, and coffee, juice and teas services are also available.

“We love to help our customers host stress-free occasions by providing everything they need for a satisfying meal,” says Jeff Rose, owner.

Bagel Brothers catering will deliver with advance notice, but for those last minute arrangements, or for smaller orders, Bagel Brothers will have your tray ready for pick up at their

convenient Westside location.

Check out Bagels Brothers full catering menu here.

Bagel Brothers, 400 Cooper Point Rd. SW #22Olympia, (360) 352.3676.

M-F 7am-5:30pm
Sat 8am-5pm
Sun 8am-5pm

Catch Up With Austin Radio Saturday November 22

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 3:23pm



Submitted by Austin Radio

Austin Radio Photo by Monica Medalen

Austin Radio’s Mark Medalen and Angie Ward play a popular blend of warm harmony vocals, driving acoustic guitar, harmonica, and humor. Photo by Monica Medalen

This Saturday night, November 22, local music duo Austin Radio are bringing their popular blend of warm harmony vocals, driving acoustic guitar, harmonica, and humor back to Forrey’s Forza in Lacey. Showtime is 7pm-10pm. You will hear uptempo acoustic versions of popular country and rock songs old and new.

Austin Radio are Angie Ward and Mark Medalen, longtime performers throughout the Northwest, and partners in their lives both on and off the stage. They performed in various bands and as solo artists for many years before forming Austin Radio nearly ten years ago. Ward fronted the funk/rock/R&B Seattle big band known as Get Off The Stage (GOTS) and sang with Olympia’s Fishtrap for several years. In addition to Austin Radio, Medalen also performs with the country band Broken Trail.

These Forrey’s Forza shows are truly hometown shows for the duo. Ward and Medalen grew up in Lacey, are both graduates of Timberline High School, and have many ties to the area. Ward grew up singing with her siblings and picking strawberries on their Ward Farms on Yelm Highway. Two of her relatives now own and operate successful businesses on the same property, with cousin Jeff at Country Green Turf Farms and cousin Erica at Van’s Burgers. Medalen grew up in Lacey with parents who were career educators in the Yelm School District. He followed his passion for music and, after graduating from Central Washington University, brought his guitar back home and settled in Olympia. In addition to writing and playing music, Ward and Medalen are employed with the State of Washington.

Austin Radio’s name is a tribute to the diverse styles of music that can be found in Austin, Texas. Just like their namesake city, their song list covers a variety of artists and spans several decades and musical genres. At their shows, you will hear the music and influence of Trisha Yearwood, Indigo Girls, Tom Petty, Brandi Carlile, John Mellencamp, The Dixie Chicks, Dwight Yoakam, The Civil Wars, Kim Richey, Steve Earle, Tim McGraw, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, John Mellencamp, and more.

All shows at Forrey’s Forza are open to all ages and there is no cover charge. For additional information about Austin Radio, including upcoming shows, videos, music, photos and more, visit Austin Radio online and find them at “Austin Radio Music” on Facebook. A list of upcoming events at Forrey’s Forza can be found at  here and on their Facebook page.

Forrey’s Forza
130 Marvin Road SE
Lacey, WA 98503


Traditions and Additions – Local Shopping Tips for Thanksgiving

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:43am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

thanksgiving recipes

Red hot cranberries – cooked or raw – there are recipes galore on the internet.

Turkey? Dressing? Cranberry Sauce? Yes, yes, and yes. Traditional favorites become favorites for a reason. They tickle long held memories as your soul is satisfied. Plus, the tastes are delicious. Whether you are shopping for a banquet of family ‘musts,’ or hoping to expand your repertoire, both Ralph’s Thriftway and Bayview Thriftway are ready to supply your wishes. You’ll find aisles stocked with the foundations for your Thanksgiving feast and opportunities to add to your bounty in new ways.

Turkey and Ham

Meat Manager, Adam Beasley, would love to take your order now for holiday needs. They’ll find the size you want and hold it for you. Choose from a fresh Diestel free-range turkey, a fresh, natural turkey from Acme or a frozen Norbest. There are Hempler’s hams, too.


My cubed bread stuffing is dotted with celery, apple and onions and seasoned with sage. Maybe you prefer yours made with cornbread and oysters. Locally owned Thriftway carries scads of local breads, if you want to make your own. Essential Baking Company has its own bag of cubes for you. Do you cook your dressing in the bird or not? In my book, what other use could this cavity have if not for stuffing? Yes. We can agree to disagree.


A few years ago when I decided to pass on high fructose corn syrup, I found out that making my own cranberry sauce was as easy as opening a bag. All it takes is berries, a little water and some sugar. Boil five minutes until the berries pop. Cook longer if you want to make the skins softer. Then pour into a glass bowl and let cool. Presto. Variations might be adding orange pieces or orange juice. There also the nearly famous cranberry relish recipe from NPR’s Susan Stamberg to try.  I just heard one from Seattle’s ‘Food For Thought’ commentator Nancy Leson. Her recipe includes rum, which sounds interesting and you can make a batch ahead of time.


thanksgiving recipes

Get ready to mash red, white or Yukon potatoes.

For fluffy white mashed potatoes, you’ll need to peel your potatoes. Steam uniformly cut potatoes until soft. Hand mash or use a ricer. Heat up heavy cream and butter before mixing with the potatoes. You don’t have to use cream or butter, but my, oh my – they’ll melt in your mouth. I don’t mind potatoes with character. That means it’s OK to leave on the skins.

If potatoes are off your list, you can get on the mashed cauliflower bandwagon. A bit of garlic, buttermilk and butter mixed with your steamed cauliflower produces surprisingly good results. Don’t turn your nose up until you’ve tasted it.

Wine & Beer

Both Thriftway stores have bottles of holiday bargains. Stroll the displays. You can buy one with a label that appeals to your – or ask for help. The early settlers were on to something with hard cider.

Rhonda Nickle, Ralphs’ Bakery Deli Manager, says, “I love the holidays.” She’s noticeably excited about the Devonshire cream. She suggests mixing it with cream cheese for a smooth spread for apples, sandwiches or crackers. The deli is stocked with a vast array of cheeses and meats such as Boar’s Head sweet sliced ham. If you need a few suggestions for your holiday appetizer tray, please ask Nickle. Helping customers with food ideas is a favorite part of her job.

thanksgiving recipes

Joy Graham, one of Ralph’s cake decorators, will be mixing up a family favorite fruit salad.

Cake decorator, Joy Graham, will be preparing a fruit salad that her mom used to make. Now her children like it. Maybe your family calls this salad Ambrosia (food of the gods). Variations feature the addition of whipped cream, pecans and/or shredded coconut. Joy uses imitation sour cream for family members who do not eat dairy foods. This recipe can easily be doubled.

Here is Joy Graham’s Favry Family Favorite Holiday Salad

Holiday Salad

1 pint sour cream

1 bag miniature marshmallows

2 – 16 ounce cans fruit cocktail, drained

1 can pineapple tidbits, drained

1-2 cans mandarin oranges, drained

Mix together and store in refrigerator overnight. Add a sliced banana before serving.

What else do you need to remember?

  • How about carrots and celery for the soup you will make with the turkey carcass?
  • Mayo and lettuce make the list for turkey sandwiches.
  • For your non-dairy family and friends, SO Delicious has three holiday beverages made with coconut milk: Pumpkin Spice, Mint Chocolate and Nog.
  • Essential Baking Company has a rack of gluten-free breads and rolls.
  • Need a hostess gift? Choose from seasonal bouquets, scented candles, tempting chocolates – to name a few.

If you need it, you’ll likely find it at Ralph’s or Bayview. Both locations have barista service, if you need a pick-me-up as you shop. Have fun and happy shopping.

Eat Well – Be Well

Living a Happy Retirement at Panorama

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 8:03am



panorama lacey

Panorama resident, Janet Sears, works in her home quilting studio.

Relocating is a big decision at any age. Whether a job transfer to a new city, uprooting after raising a family, or pulling up stakes upon retirement, finding a new place to call home is about defining your future lifestyle. For a handful of retirees, the naturally picturesque Sea Ranch community in Sonoma County, California seemed to be the ideal location to spend their golden years. Yet recently, over twenty Sea Ranch homeowners have “re-relocated” to Panorama in Lacey, Washington. Panorama is a retirement community designed around several distinct neighborhoods with lifestyle amenities, inclusion of home maintenance and a continuum of health care. Residents of Panorama are known as the doers and dreamers of Pacific Northwest senior living.

Sandy Bush moved to Panorama with her husband, George, in May 2013. Bush shares, “Sea Ranch was somewhere we went from the working world to decompress. We considered it our retirement home but it has become more of a rental community and a destination place. As we age, we realized there are not a lot of available services there for dental, medical, vision and such.”

Janet Sears and Beverly Sloane, also former Sea Ranch homeowners and current Panorama residents concur with Bush’s comments. “We moved to Sea Ranch because of the beauty, privacy, and to live lightly on the land,” adds Sears.  “We have discovered that it is also a beautiful place here with such an engaging community of people.”


Sandy Bush, Janet Sears and Beverly Sloane share a laugh together at Panorama. The trio moved to Lacey after living at the Sea Ranch community in Sonoma County, California.

Rachel Dobry, Retirement Advisor at Panorama surmises, “My sense is what collectively drew them to Sea Ranch originally was that it was a community away from everything. But that is the very thing that has them leaving. Reality takes place and as we age it is important to access needed health care in a timely manner. Not only are the health care facilities and providers easily accessible from Panorama but we offer a continuum of health care on site. Doctors are within a few mile radius as well as a variety of cultural options and activities like the library, walking trails, shopping, museums and art. People come to Panorama for the community and lifestyle.”

Lifestyle and activities are as diverse as the people of Panorama. A weekly dinner date regularly brings the former Sea Ranch homeowners together.  While the commonality is their previous place of residence, they represent a fascinating array of interests spanning from theater, woodworking, blogging and fiber arts. “We are not just consumers of our activities,” Sears remarks.  “We also get out to contribute to the community. We volunteer at food banks, schools and are politically active. That is why our community is so rich.”

“Come to Panorama at least by your early 70s or whenever you are in good enough health to get acquainted with community,” Sears encourages. “We arrived when we were still living completely independently.  It is as if you have your own gardeners and handymen to take care of things. Now I don’t have to worry about my home and yard maintenance, which enables me to enjoy the things that I really want to do. Olympia has been so fun to explore. It is the funkiest small town, big capital. Right next door to a tatoo parlor will be a plush restaurant.”


Sandy Bush prepares to head out on a hike from her Lacey retirement home.

In addition to art and culture, the outdoor lifestyle is a huge attraction.  Bush comments, “The hiking outings are amazing. There are places that I would likely not find on my own or make an effort to explore – from excursions to Mount Rainier to the many local parks.”  Sloane adds, “Many of us like to take advantage of the proximity of the Chehalis-Western Trail. It is important to have flat and level walking areas for those with mobility issues and needing the use of a walker.”

What shapes the community of Panomora is the diversity of interests among the residents, spectrum of aging needs, and the easy lifestyle. Dobry explains, “You have to be at least 62 to live here. Generally speaking, people have been coming in their early 70s but this is changing because of the boomers. The boomers love the lifestyle we offer. They have worked hard and in many ways enjoy being taken care of. They understand that quality of life does not necessarily mean owning a home or having lots of stuff. They like to travel and get out to do things. That is all right here for our residents. It is an easy transition to come live here.”

“We were told it is just a change of address to come here.  And really it has been,” Bush concludes. “It is so easy and comfortable living here.”

To learn more about residing at Panorama, click here.


1751 Circle Lane SE

Lacey, Washington 98503

360-456-0111 or 1-800-999-9807


Living and Studying in the United States – Perspectives from Four Brazilian Students at Saint Martin’s University

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 7:57am



By Lisa Herrick

saint martins

Breezie O’Neill (right), Assistant Director at the Office of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University, with student, Kari Inch, greet attendees at the inaugural Washington State and Rio de Janeiro Conference on the United States and Brazilian Exchange held on campus.

If you thought you heard an abundance of Portuguese being spoken throughout Thurston County recently, it is likely you did. Certainly, that was the case lately on the Saint Martin’s University campus in Lacey, Washington. The University recently concluded the inaugural Washington State and Rio de Janeiro Conference on the United States and Brazilian Exchange held during International Education Week.

The purpose of the conference was to promote student exchange between Washington and Rio de Janeiro by bringing together representatives of higher education institutions from the two states.  The conference was held in response to the ‘100,000 Strong in the Americas’ initiative that aims to increase educational exchanges in the Western Hemisphere.

The initiative’s goal is to prepare youth with the cross-cultural skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century economy and create a new generation of leaders. Reportedly, the number of Washington students studying abroad in Brazil is low. The number of Brazilian students studying in Washington State is also low. The hope from this conference is to change those numbers.

Truly, at the heart of the Saint Martin’s University conference were the Brazilian students themselves. Four delightful, lively and intelligent Brazilian undergraduates participated in a panel discussion, facilitated by Marco Tulluck, Director of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University.  The focus of the panel discussion was on living and studying in the United States. Felipe De Souza, Karyny Belo, Louise Da Silva, and Victor Leal all answered a variety of questions with tremendous poise and engaging humor.

saint martins

Four Brazilian students studying at Saint Martin’s University participate in a panel discussion on living and studying in the United States. From left to right are Felipe De Souza, Karyny Belo, Louise Da Silva and Victor Leal.

Felipe explained some of his initial culture shock after arriving on campus in March. “Here, everything works on a scheduled time, which is good to learn – to understand what being on time means, here.”  Louise followed up by describing one of her first encounters on campus. “In Brazil, we greet each other with a hug and kiss. The first time I did that they took several steps back from me. I said, ‘Oh, I am so sorry.’”  Both scenarios received a knowing burst of laughter from the attendees, with many gesturing toward the cultural differences pertaining to what is considered to be punctual within the two cultures as well as how greetings are conducted.

Each of the Brazilian students are pursuing a different major. Felipe is a mechanical engineering major while Karyny majors in nursing, Louise in pharmacy and Victor in civil engineering. Yet they all have a common goal – to improve their English skills within their respective majors and gain a better understanding between the two countries.

Louise shares, “One of the biggest challenges is trying to do like the American students do in class while trying to improve our English. Sometimes we just need a little more time to learn the content of the class because we are also learning the expressions used. There are a lot of new terms we are learning in English.”

Victor agrees and explains how helpful and supportive the students, professors and the Saint Martin’s University community have been. “I like to be able to talk directly to the professors during their office hours. They are always willing to help.”

saint martins

Marco Tulluck, Director, International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University moderates the Brazilian student panel discussion.

As the students shared their appreciation for the opportunity to study at Saint Martin’s University as well as the challenges of being a student in a new culture, Meg Dwyer, Media Relations Manager for the University, was tweeting their advice to future Brazilian students: “Be on time to class and bring a jacket!”

In addition to Felipe, Karyny, Louise and Victor, Saint Martin’s University has been hosting 28 Brazilian students since last summer, marking the first the Universtiy has hosted students from Brazil.  Their journey to Saint Martin’s is the result of the Brazilian government’s initiative to send its students to higher education institutions in the United States to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions. The University has partnered with the Institute of International Education and the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, which provides scholarships to students to study in the STEM fields at colleges and universities in the United States.

An equally important initiative throughout the five-day conference was to provide the local business community with a convenient opportunity to learn why they should consider doing business in Brazil, given its emergence as a vibrant economic engine.

Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world and has existing business relationships with Washington-based companies.  There are approximately 5,000 Brazilians living in western Washington many of whom actively encourage entrepreneurship and social engagement in Washington.

Brazil has been in the limelight as the recent host of the 2014 Soccer World Cup and as host of the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics.


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 7:46am



I stopped into the store on my way home a few nights ago and paused for a moment to notice the abundance of pumpkin pies, fresh turkeys, cranberry sauce displays and bags of stuffing bread.  Thanksgiving is less than a week away and seeing these signs of our community in preparation made me smile.  I love Thanksgiving – it’s my favorite holiday of the year.  Taking time to both prepare and eat the meal, sit down with friends and family, and pause in the bustle of our lives to say “Thank You” has always resonated with me.

This weekend, as you do a bit of Thanksgiving preparation or engage in some of the great activities listed below, give thanks for the community we live in.  Our neighbors support each other in their endeavors continually, whether in small business, athletics, or creative pursuits.  And we at ThurstonTalk feel privileged to share these stories with you.  Thank you for supporting us as we continue to share the positive stories of where we all live, work and play.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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


Public Boat Launch Remains Open During Swantown Dock Maintenance

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:31am



Submitted by Port of Olympia

swantown marinaWhen construction of Swantown Marina began in 1983, A, B and C docks were the first docks built. Over the last 30 years, the docks have experienced normal wear and tear and require rehabilitation. This maintenance project will extend the docks’ safe service life and preserve their value as a recreation asset.

There will be no changes to the dock configuration.

Work begins in mid-November with completion anticipated in spring 2015. The Port planned the project for the winter months when dock usage is at its lowest point.

The public boat launch will remain open during the project.

The Commission awarded the construction contract to Massana Construction, Inc. in the amount of $809,434 plus sales tax. Total project costs are estimated at $1,041,265.

Kim Dinsmore – A Life of Service

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 11:15am



sunset air“Help others and give something back.  I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger.  That sentiment embodies the life—and work—of Kim Dinsmore, Executive Vice President of Lacey’s Sunset Air.

Born into a military family, Kim Dinsmore settled in Olympia when his Army father retired here.  He joined the Sunset Air team in 1977 as employee #7.  Over the past 38 years, he “learned the business from the ground up. I swept floors, ordered material, took old furnace systems to the dump, followed [company founder] Peter Fluetsch like a puppy dog to job sites, took classes on heating and cooling, learned how to bid and design heating and cooling systems and learned how to sell.”

sunset air

Kim Dinsmore is a natural treasure in our region.

“I did this until about 1985 when Peter ask me to step up and oversee the commercial side of our business,” explained Dinsmore. “Brian was doing more of the service side and the residential side by that time, so we really started to grow our commercial business.

Since 1985, Dinsmore has continued on the commercial side of Sunset Air, serving as the Executive Vice President. “Like any good company you always do whatever it takes to succeed,” says Dinsmore. “I still work some in residential and in service as well as helping to grow our engineering and full mechanical capabilities.”

His passion for the company and its mission is strong, even after almost 40 years.  As he explains, “One of the cultures I am most proud of at Sunset Air is the importance we place on people’s families.  I was always able to attend my kid’s sporting events, music concerts etc.  We make a point of making sure employee’s families are a top priority.  Sunset Air has grown to become one of the premier energy services companies in South Western Washington and that’s something I am very proud to have been a part of.”

The Sunset Air mindset has carried over into Dinsmore’s recreational life as well.  “Our founder, Peter Fluetsch, instilled in many of his employees the need to give back to the community you live in.  It is a foundation of everything he is about and he wanted all of us to get involved,” remembers Dinsmore.

“One of his favorite things to say was ‘you take care of your community and your community will take care of you.’  Rotary’s motto is ‘service above self.’  My dad was also a member of the downtown Olympia Club.  This is the original Rotary Club in Thurston County, founded in 1921. One thing lead to another and I was ask to be on the Board of the Club, and a few years later elected to be President for the 2002-2003 year.  My father was the President in 77-78 and my grandfather was President in 40-41. I am the only third generation Rotary President in the Olympia Club.”

sunset air

Dinsmore taught skiing with the Olympia Ski School for more than 20 years.

On November 22, the nine Rotary Clubs of Thurston County will host the 13th annual Cool Jazz Clean Water event.  This fundraiser benefits Rotary clean water initiatives around the world, youth leadership training, and the purchase and repair of over 500 musical instruments for local school music programs.  This year’s festival will begin by hosting 12 Local High School and Middle School bands at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  The musical portion of the day is a free family event.  That evening, the Center will transform into a wine tasting event where for $50 guests will receive a complimentary wine glass, 10 samples from over 70 wine selections and Three Magnets Brewery, and the chance to bid on silent auction wines donated by Rotarians. Music in the evening is provided by local jazz great Syd Potter and his Tentette.

Monies raised by the event will be divided three ways.  Explains Dinsmore, “40% of the proceeds go to a Rotary Clean Water project.  Over the past 12 years, Rotarians have finished three major water projects – two in Malawi Africa and one in Kenya – that are now providing clean water to over 30,000 residents of those countries.  This year’s project will be in Honduras.”

“Rotary’s water mission is to fund projects that are sustainable, educational, and provide a sanitation element,” continues Dinsmore. “The other 40% of the proceeds is used to buy new and refurbished musical instruments for local school districts.  North Thurston, Tumwater, Rochester, and Olympia Schools have received over 400 instruments the last 12 years that get checked out to students who otherwise may not be able to afford an instrument.”

sunset air

Kim and his wife Cindy, a retired Capital High School music teacher, are extremely active in our community.

Dinsmore explains that the final 20% goes to fund a ‘Youth Summit.’  “This one day event is a day of seminars designed to help non-profits that work with youth.  Participants are able to learn things like nutrition, how to work with at risk youth, how to learn to identify kids that may be facing abuse, listening techniques and so on.”

Dinsmore has also served the past 10 years on the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County “It’s a great organization that I really believe in,” he states.

Gandhi once said that “service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”

Kim Dinsmore is a man of tremendous service but also tremendous joy.  His passionate love of our region, its people, and hands-on service projects have far-reaching results which have made the world a better place.


Waste Reduction Feedback Requested by Thurston County Solid Waste

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 10:59am



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

waste reduction habits

The waste reduction team at Thurston County Solid Waste is gathering your input on waste habits and perception.

Thurston County Solid Waste wants to hear from the community on two very important topics.

The first topic is the issue of wasted food.  As a nation, we waste 40% of all food produced.  This has significant financial, environmental and social impacts – there is no good side.  The County is working on reducing this waste through three projects, with more planned.   Solid Waste has been assisting local schools with reducing lunchroom waste for several years, even providing free milk machines and durable cups.

A very successful grant project with Thurston County Food Bank provided needed infrastructure to enable the organization to increase donations of prepared food from caterers, stores, schools, and restaurants.  Earlier this year, Solid Waste launched a residential awareness campaign aimed at helping residents.  “The average American throws out 25% of the food they buy,” according to Terri Thomas, with Thurston Solid Waste. “However, most people don’t realize it because it happens here and there, bit by bit.”  In order to fine tune and expand their efforts, the waste reduction team wants information on waste habits and perception.  They have developed a quick online survey that can be found at

While you are at the website, you can learn about an exciting radio contest, and of course, how to reduce the food you waste.   Since a family of four throws out about $1600 a year in wasted food, it’s worth the time to take a look.

plastic bag ban

Thurston County Solid Waste wants your input on the plastic bag ban.

The second topic focuses on the bag ordinances that took effect July 1 in the cities of Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey, and the unincorporated areas of Thurston County. “Now that the community has adjusted a bit, it’s important that we check in with customers and retailers to get a good picture of how it’s working after four months,” said Thomas.  The new law prohibits most retailers from providing single-use plastic carryout bags. It also requires them to charge a minimum of five cents for large paper bags, which the stores keep. The fee helps offset the higher cost of paper bags and acts as an incentive for customers to bring reusable bags. Customers using EBT and other assistance programs are exempt from the charge.

The two online plastic bag surveys—one for retailers and one for customers—are available at Retailers can also download signs at the “Resources for Retailers” link on the site, and post in their stores to encourage customers to take the survey. To be notified when the status report on the plastic bag ordinances is released, the community can sign up for the online newsletter while at the site.

For more information about waste reduction programs, or these surveys, contact Terri Thomas at  or (360) 867-2279.


Turkey Bowling Strikes Again at Bayview Thriftway

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 5:52am



By Kathryn Millhorn

turkey bowling

Contestants of all ages are welcome to try their luck at Bayview’s 6th annual Turkey Bowling day.

As kids, we all heard it.  As parents, we’ve all said it.  ‘Don’t play with your food!’  Well on November 22, the folks at Olympia’s Bayview Thriftway bend that rule for their annual bout of turkey bowling.

This will be the event’s sixth year and the prizes are as tasty as ever.  Stormans Marketing Manager Carly Brettmann encourages competitive souls young and old to “bring in a non-perishable food item for the Thurston County Food Bank for a chance to win a free turkey if you bowl a strike down our frozen foods aisle.  For all those lucky enough to bowl a spare, you get a free bag of groceries.”

“All ages love this festive event,” adds Brettmann.

Highlights from last year’s event are available as an online video so you can practice warming up those poultry-hurling muscles.  Because the activity is open to contestants of all ages, the size of the bowling bird varies to give everyone a fighting chance at a free meal.

The Thurston County Food Bank operates mobile food banks, distributes weekend food supplies to school children, supports school garden projects, and provides food and technical support to small, rural food banks around our area.  A list of locations is available on their website as well as information on how volunteer your time, money, or surplus food.

Events like this spotlight the need for continued community support.  The Food Bank reported that in 2013 they saw more than 41,000 individual clients representing almost 14,000 households in our area.  But thanks to their amazing team of volunteers who donated almost 48,000 hours of time, and supply drives like Bayview’s Turkey Bowling, these families could put food on their tables.

turkey bowling

Bowlers who score a strike will win a free turkey, a spare sends you home with a free bag of groceries.

The Turkey Bowling event fills up quickly so make sure to arrive early.  While there, enjoy lunch with their spectacular upstairs views (and amazing clam chowder) or shop for both necessities and splurges alike.  They will be offering Black Friday Deals on November 28 so make your list and check it twice…and don’t forget plenty of reusable shopping bags.

Brettmann recalls that last year’s event was attended by nearly 100 people who brought enough canned food to fill two shopping carts to the brim.  Let’s make this year even better and possibly earn a free Thanksgiving turkey on the way.

Turkey Bowling takes place at Bayview Thriftway, located at 516 West 4th Street.  Call the store at 360-352-4897 with any questions or for additional details.

May the best bird bowler win!


World Toilet Day: A Little Potty Humor

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 5:51am



Submitted by WET Science Center

world toilet day“Last holiday, I was given Sudoku toilet paper – it’s useless. You can only fill it in with number ones and number twos!” Cue laughter and groans.

This is comedian Bec Hill’s gag from the first ever World Toilet Day: It’s No Joke! Comedy Festival. The festival features British comedians delivering their best one-liner toilet humor – and it’s a gas. But why all the potty talk? The festival is raising awareness about World Toilet Day, an international holiday founded in 2001 by a Singaporean man named Jack Sim, who is better known by his nickname: Mr. Toilet. The moniker was given to Sim for his work on global sanitation through his non-profit, the World Toilet Organization, and he has adopted it with pride. World Toilet Day, formally recognized by the UN in 2013, is considered an international day of awareness for global sanitation issues, and it all started with Mr. Toilet.

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Do we really need to honor toilets in the same way we honor moms, dads, Martin Luther King Jr., and our founding presidents?” Well, it turns out we do. Many jokes are made at the expense of World Toilet Day, a theme that it has capitalized on with slogans like “#WeCan’tWait” and “Talk S— for a Week.” Still, jokes aside, there are some major issues that the holiday hopes to promote.

Sim’s primary concern, and the reason he started World Toilet Day, is the deadly reality of poor sanitation and untreated sewage. When Mr. Toilet explains the importance of toilets, he uses a metaphor and some colorful language. “S— is like fire. When you manage it properly, the fire can cook your meal,” he says, making reference to using waste as fertilizer. “But if you don’t manage it, then it will burn down your house.”

world toilet dayAccording to UN Water, 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to improved sanitation, leading to waterborne illnesses and polluted drinking water. Furthermore, 1 billion people still defecate in the open, causing similar health problems, but also increasing the risk of assault and sexual violence against women. The connection between open defecation and violence against women may not be immediately apparent, but consider that when traveling to and from public toilets, or venturing from their homes to openly defecate (typically under the cover of darkness), women are vulnerable to attack. For example, you may remember the two young girls from Uttar Pradesh, India, who were raped and murdered this year. They were looking for a toilet. Due to the relationship between toilets and gender violence, this year’s 14th Annual World Toilet Day is specifically focused on equality, dignity, and women’s health and wellbeing.

So, how will you celebrate World Toilet Day? For this holiday you don’t have to cook breakfast in bed for anyone, or wait in soul-crushing lines at department stores. Your task is much simpler: become informed and raise awareness. Sites like,, and (founded by Matt Damon) are all great places to start. In fact, speaking of Matt Damon, if informing yourself doesn’t seem radical enough, you can join his toilet strike. In a mock press conference last year, Matt Damon declared, “Until this issue [of clean water access] is resolved, I will not go to the bathroom.”

Of course, he was kidding. But, if jokes can be used effectively to raise awareness about sanitation issues and World Toilet Day, then why not spread a little toilet humor?


Stalnik Scores a Hat Trick But Wild Comeback Dooms Oly Town Artesians

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:42pm



Submitted by Oly Town Artesians

oly town fcMatt Stalnik recorded a hat trick for the Oly Town Artesians in a hard fought preseason friendly at Olympia Indoor Soccer on Sunday afternoon but Seattle Sporting FC completed a five goal fourth quarter when Jordan Correa scored a power play goal with just eight seconds left on the clock to knock off the Artesians 6-5.

The Artesians opened up the scoring right away when Stalnik scored the first of his three goals just 45 seconds into the game. Justin La Torre gave Oly a two goal lead with 2:30 left in the second quarter and the first 15 minutes ended with the Artesians up 2-0.

Stalnik again drove one home early in the second quarter to give the Artesians a 3-0 lead. But four minute later Seattle Sporting got on the board thanks to Esteban Reyes and the first half came to an end with Oly on top 3-1.

The Artesians continued to keep Seattle Sporting off of the board in the third quarter and the only player to break through for either team was Stalnik, who finished off his hat trick with a goal at the 10:38 mark. Oly took a 4-1 lead into the fourth quarter and looked to be in great shape to pick up their first franchise win.

oly town fcBut penalties would come back to haunt the Artesians in the final 15 minutes. Jordan Correa started off the fourth quarter scoring with a power play goal to cut the Artesians lead to 4-2. Goals from James Postma and Corey Hendrickson followed and tied the game at 4-4 before Postma added another on a free kick to give Sporting Seattle the 5-4 lead with three minutes left.

Brady Espinoza poked a ball past Seattle keeper Jeff Renslow with 2:29 to play to get the Artesians level. But with less than two minutes left on the clock, Oly was shown a blue card to put Seattle one man up and on the power play. The Artesians looked like they would kill it off and get out with a hard fought draw but Correa sliced one past Oly keeper Mauricio Sanchez with just eight seconds left and Seattle escaped with a 6-5 friendly win.

The Oly Town Artesians open up Western Indoor Soccer League play when they host the Tacoma Stars on Saturday, November 22nd at 6:00 p.m. at Olympia Indoor Soccer. The Stars were 4-3 victors over Bellingham United in their WISL debut on Saturday night. Tickets for the game are $7 in advance and are available at or by calling (360) 561-7252 for local delivery. Tickets will be available at the door and are $8 for adults and children 13 and over, $5 for children ages 5-12. Kids under five years old are free.

WDFW Approves Pre-holiday Razor Clam Dig Starting November 20

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 2:25pm



Submitted by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

razor clam digDiggers will have plenty of opportunity to put razor clams on the Thanksgiving table during a week-long dig that begins November 20.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening, which runs through November 26, after marine toxin test results showed the clams are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed before noon.

“Diggers can fill their buckets right up until the holiday,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Ayres noted that diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig under state law. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

WDFW has razor clam recipes as well as advice on digging and cleaning clams on its webpage.

Digging days and evening tides during the upcoming opening are:

  • Nov. 20, Thursday; 5:06 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 21, Friday; 5:45 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 22, Saturday; 6:24 p.m., -0.8 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Nov. 23, Sunday; 7:05 p.m., -1.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 24, Monday; 7:47 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 25, Tuesday; 8:32 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Nov. 26, Wednesday; 9:19 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

The best results typically occur one to two hours before low tide, Ayres said.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website and from license vendors around the state.

WDFW also has proposed another dig in early December, tentatively set to begin Dec. 3 if marine toxin tests are favorable. That dig is tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

  • Dec. 3, Wednesday; 4:14 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 4, Thursday; 5:02 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 5, Friday; 5:45 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 6, Saturday; 6:26 p.m., -1.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Dec. 7, Sunday; 7:05 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 8, Monday; 7:44 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 9, Tuesday; 8:21 pm, -0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

A WDFW video, which demonstrates how to teach your kids to harvest razor clams, is available online.  


Dylan Kuehl: Healing the World and Living the Dream through Music

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:57am



By Leslie Merchant

creative officeWhat’s your dream? Are you living it today? If you are like me, you probably have it stored up on a shelf in your “someday” closet. I recently met a young man named Dylan Kuehl who lives his dreams every day. Dylan is 31-years-old, and a quick look at his resume makes me feel like I have some serious catching up to do.  Published artist, motivational speaker, visual and performing arts company owner – these are some of the hats Dylan wears every day. He also wears an advocate’s hat because Dylan happens to have Down syndrome.

“My mother taught me early in life not to be afraid to reach for my dreams and celebrate my abilities,” says Dylan in a YouTube video he created with members of his YES team. YES teams are Dylan’s secret to success. He explains, “I began building YES teams of support, surrounding myself with special people who believe in me.”

dylan kuehl

Dylan Kuehl is the lead drummer in Living the Dream Band.

One of these YES teams helped Dylan realize his dream of being a drummer in a band. Dylan received his first drum set at age three and began taking private lessons at age 11. His teacher told him that he was good enough to be in a band. “Dylan never let go of that concept,” says Terri Rose, Dylan’s mother. She says, “Those people that say ‘yes’ at the right time, that’s what this is all about.” Rose and Dylan found Mark O’Brien, owner and instructor of Rhythm Fire School of Music and Performance, and he began to mentor Dylan. “I knew immediately that he had skills as a drummer,” says O’Brien.

The death of iconic pop star Michael Jackson in 2011 prompted Dylan to action. O’Brien says that Dylan was relentless in his pursuit of a band to carry on Michael Jackson’s legacy and heal the world with music. O’Brien was so impressed with Dylan’s ambition and vision that he joined Dylan’s YES team. And the Jackson Memory Band was born.

The band began as a vehicle to spread Jackson’s music and message, but Dylan and his YES team quickly saw the greater opportunity it provided. Rose explains that their dreams of engaging the community to support a common interest (music and inclusion) had arrived in the form of the band. “When the group came together they didn’t realize the connections they had with people with special needs. Their lives are touched with people with disability, so it’s not hard to see it everywhere.”

dylan kuehl

Dylan Kuehl enjoys spreading Michael Jackson’s music.

She explains that several band members had autism and Down syndrome in their own families. Dylan is the only person with a disability in the band. Rose calls the four principal members the “Core Four.” They include two local high school singers, Kailey Schlenz and Karli Brown, Mark O’Brien on keyboard and guitar, and Dylan on drums. Current band members also include percussionist Manfred O’Brien and bass player Don Parr. The band looks for other community members to join them for performances. This has been the catalyst in spreading the band’s mission to bring positive awareness for people with disabilities and to advocate for the inclusion of all people in all facets of life.

The band and its message have been such a success that they have changed their name to reflect their progress. Now known as Living the Dream Band, they hold fundraisers and concerts to support their tour and mission. At each stop they always give a percentage of collected donations to local disability groups to encourage others to follow their dreams. Rose says, “We would like to go to other communities and countries and take our example outside of our own backyard.” To that effect, they have already successfully toured throughout the state, opened for the Special Olympics, and toured in Maui.

Gini Koshelnik-Turner is living her dream. She is a 24- year-old singer also living with Down syndrome. Gina is going to be the lead singer for the band’s upcoming Music Extravaganza and Dinner Auction later this month. She is an example of the band’s mission to prove that Down syndrome and other disabilities are not the obstacles they are often perceived to be.

On Friday, November 21, the Living the Dream Band along with Billy Farmer and the Cavaliers will hold a benefit dinner and auction at Indian Summer Golf & Country Club at 6:00 p.m. Proceeds will go to operational expenses and to local non-profit Kokua Services, which provides supportive services to citizens with special needs. Tickets are $35 per person.

For tickets or more information on Living the Dream Band, please contact Terri Rose at healtheworldtour or call 360-701-9880.


Trista Nesbit-Evans’ Red Velvet Bakery Hits Your Sweet Spot

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:57am



By Kelli Samson

putnam lieb logoA couple of years ago, the state legalized the operation of cottage bakeries, setting forth a long-awaited host of guidelines, rules, and regulations. There were hundreds of us who couldn’t wait to get certified to sell goodies out of our own kitchens, but very few bakers saw the entire intimidating process through.

Thankfully, Tumwater High School alumnus Trista Nesbit-Evans, proprietess of Olympia’s Red Velvet Bakery, became one of approximately twenty or so in the state who has jumped through all of the hoops. She made her dream a reality with the certification of her home bakery.

red velvet bakery

Trista Nesbit-Evans is a Tumwater native.

She’s been satisfying many dessert lovers’ cravings across Thurston County ever since.

Trista herself has always had a sweet tooth.

She grew up baking with her grandmother and her mother in Tumwater. “Everything I know I pretty much learned from my mom. My house was the place to be after school because we had all the goodies,” recalls Trista. “We’d bake pies and use the apples from the trees out in the yard. We’d pick berries together and make berry pies and jams. I grew up picking recipes out of the Betty Crocker cookbook and trying them out.”

When she became a mother (her kids are 11-year-old son Gage, eight-year-old daughter Andin, and six-month-old son Nash), she wanted her kids to have those same fond memories that can only be made in the kitchen.

“I always have cooked with my kids because I think it’s a valuable thing for them to learn. It’s a little bit of a lost art. I want them to have those skills as they get older so they can be self-sufficient and not live out of the freezer section at the grocery store,” explains Trista.

She also found that the kitchen was a place for her to unleash her creativity. “When I get stressed, I bake. There’s something comforting about it,” she adds.

She began her baking career when her two older children were both in elementary school. “When I finally had some extra time on my hands, it seemed like the right time to pursue my dream,” says Trista.

red velvet bakery

Trista is the baker you need for your next Seahawks game-day treats.

She started with simply giving her abundance of treats away to friends and family. “I unloaded all of my goods on everybody because they loved them,” she laughs. “My friends and family have always been so supportive. Sharing baked goods brings happiness to everyone and sharing my gift brings me happiness.”

When the opportunity arose to become a licensed cottage bakery, she jumped in with both feet. Beginning her career at home this way gives her the flexibility to still be active at her older children’s school and to care for baby Nash.

Becoming licensed to sell baked goods from your home is no small accomplishment. In addition to the home kitchen meeting incredibly high standards set by the state’s Department of Agriculture, all recipes must have a certain degree of shelf stability. For example, nothing can be sold that needs refrigeration. The requirements are actually more stringent than they are for storefronts selling baked goods.

In order to meet these guidelines, Trista spent hundreds of hours pouring over the recipes she had already perfected for her family and friends. She had to figure out ways to tweak the ratios of the ingredients found in her over two-hundred time-honored classics in order to satisfy the regulations.

She desired to set her bakery apart from others with a name that evokes images of rich, classy confections. That is how she landed upon the apropos moniker Red Velvet Bakery when she opened a little over a year ago. “I also have a whole line of red velvet items that are very popular,” adds Trista.

red velvet bakery

The most popular item on the Red Velvet Bakery’s menu? It’s the cake version of a peanut butter cup.

The best part? “My goodies are fresh, homemade, and preservative-free,” she explains. She uses local and organic ingredients when she can.

The Red Velvet Bakery’s website will make anyone’s sweet tooth swoon. Her menu boasts everything from pies to breads, cupcakes to scones, and just about everything you can dream of in between. If you see something you like, you should place your order at least a week in advance of your event.

Her chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting is her number-one seller. “It’s actually gone for $500 at an auction before,” she shares.

And if you’re gluten-free? No problem. She’s got a section on her menu for those folks, too.

With the holidays coming up, Trista is starting her plans for her highly-coveted cookie platters. These boast a mouth-watering assortment of treats and are always a big hit. They’re perfect for teachers, co-workers, and hungry family members.

Meanwhile, Trista has visions of a storefront dancing in her head. With the support of her community, it’s surely just a matter of time.

You can visit the Red Velvet Bakery online at or via Facebook.  To place an order, contact Trista at (360) 556-1468 or email her at


North Thurston High School Students In Motion for an Avalanche of Canned Food

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:57am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

hanson motors sponsorBrady Olson’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics students at North Thurston High School already have schedules filled with classes, sports, jobs and after school activities, but they’ve taken on an extra challenge.

The three classes of NTHS seniors have set an epic goal to collect over 12,000 cans of food for the Thurston County Food Bank before school closes in December for winter break. That’s more than enough to fill a garage. It’s more than enough to fill a few empty pantries.

north thurston high school

Tyler Reece leads the AP Government classes at North Thurston High School in organizing their ambitious food drive.

Over thirty students met after school for their first organizational session. Tyler Reece stepped up as facilitator. Reece has already been accepted at the United States Military Academy West Point where he will likely be studying chemistry. He is following in the footsteps of his parents.  His father also attended West Point and his mother also served in the Army.

“I want to see how a group of students can come together to make a difference,” he said grinning. It’s an opportunity to practice his leadership skills, suggested Mr. Olson, who was also present for the after school meeting. In short order, jobs were enumerated and assignments taken as the enthusiasm continued to build.

Over the course of the next month, please keep your eyes and hearts open to this thoughtful group of students. They’ll be standing in the damp breezy weather in front of grocery stores and canvassing Lacey neighborhoods for your extra cans of food. All the food collected heads directly to our local food bank.

The entire North Thurston High School will be participating in the canned food collection, but Mr. Olson’s students plan to raise the stakes, in fact, surpassing all previous achievements. Four years ago, his AP seniors exceeded their goal of 10,000 cans by over a thousand. That’s a lot of cans.

During the food drive, other local high schools will also be collecting for the food drive. According to Carol Vannerson, who has volunteered at the downtown food back for more than five years, this school food drive is second in volume only to the postal carriers’ drive. She stressed that the food bank truly depends on these donations.

Here is a list from the Food Bank of more nutritious and desirable possibilities. Do keep the ramen to yourself.

  • High protein food such as canned chili, peanut butter, beans, or canned meat
  • Pasta and macaroni and cheese
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Soup
  • Baby Food and formula
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables that store well in a refrigerator. Home-grown produce is most welcome. Please see the produce page for more details.
north thurston canned food drive

Seniors work together on their own time to map out strategies and plans for the food drive.

If you are interested in learning more about everything that happens at the food bank or want to become a volunteer, click here.

Focus your attention on these young people who going out of their way to help their community. Many of the students know other students who are regular beneficiaries of the food bank. Did you know that approximately half of the food distributed is handed to individuals who are 16 years old or younger? These food donations address hunger right here. Thank you for filling up your sacks and passing them along.