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Join Us for the Final Two Days at the Thurston County Fair

Sat, 08/01/2015 - 8:28am



Submitted by The Thurston County Fair 

There are only two more days to picture yourself at the Thurston County Fair before it closes out another year, but there is still a ton of friends, food and fun to be had on Saturday, August 2 and Sunday, August 3 at the fair.

Saturday, Aug. 1

Saturday’s festivities kick off with the Thurston County Commissioners’ Annual Pancake Breakfast. The Saturday breakfast event is free with admission to the fair, and commissioners serve up the syrup and all of the delicious breakfast treats from 8:30 to 10 a.m. The fun and festivities continue with the Savor South Sound beverage tastings starting at 5 p.m. and the annual Market Animal Sale starting at 6 p.m.

If you’re craving pie over pancakes, be sure to enter Saturday’s Dessert of the Day contest. The annual “Berry Best Pie” contest is sponsored by Spooner Farms, and every fairgoer who brings their “berry best” pie creation gets free admission to the fair on Saturday. Pies using cream, custard, cream cheese, Jello-O, or other ingredients requiring refrigeration will not be accepted. All entries must include the recipe with contestant’s name, address, and phone number. Final judging for the cash prize sponsored by Spooner Farms begins at 4 p.m. in the Thurston Expo Center. Check the 2015 Exhibitor’s Guide for all of the Dessert of the Day contest rules at

Sunday, Aug. 2

Another great year for the Thurston County Fair will come to a close Sunday, August 2, with Holly Starr featured in the annual KACS 90.5 FM Sunday Concert at 4 p.m. on the Main Stage. Sunday also features the 4-H Equine Western Games at 8 a.m., and the Rescue Pet Round Up event where furry friends tall to small will be on parade and available to adopt starting at 10 a.m. at the Hicks Lake Barn.

Sunday also features the final Dessert of the Day contest with cupcakes on the menu. Don’t let their small size fool you—it will be a cupcake cage match where only the scrumptious survive. Bring your cupcake contest entries between noon and 2 p.m. to the Thurston Expo Center and get free admission to the fair on Sunday. All entries must include the recipe with contestant’s name, address, and phone number. Final judging begins at 4 p.m. Check the 2015 Exhibitor’s Guide for all of the Dessert of the Day contest rules at

The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 2. To get the full list of events for Saturday and Sunday, go to  and click on “Daily Events Calendar.”


5 Things You Never Knew about Olympia’s Minor League Baseball History

Sat, 08/01/2015 - 6:08am



By Emmett O’Connell

little caesars logoIt is one of those summer-time inquiries that isn’t too uncommon around here. Why doesn’t Olympia (like a handful of other similar sized cities in the Northwest) have a minor league baseball team?

Both Boise and Salem (our sibling Northwest state capitals) have teams in a lower level minor league. And Aberdeen, Bellingham and Yakima have each had their own recent histories with minor league baseball.

So, it would seem that Olympia is a perfect fit for some sort of summer baseball. And, in fact, if you go back far enough, we did have a minor league baseball team here. Between 1903 and 1906 an Olympia baseball team competed in the Southwest Washington League.

So, here are five things you didn’t know about our history with minor league baseball:

olympia history baseball

According to the Spalding Baseball Guide, published in 1903, Olympia finished last.

1.  It was actually a sometimes newspaper reporter, but oftentimes sports promoter that brought baseball to Olympia originally.

John P. Fink rode the wave of interest in minor league baseball in the region, following the success of the Pacific Coast League. While the PCL at the time was a “renegade league,” operating outside the lines of organized baseball, the SW Washington League played inside the rules.

In the four years of its existence, the SW Washington League included entrants from Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Centralia, Chehalis and Montesano, in addition to Olympia.

Probably the most interesting about the league were the names, which included the Aberdeen Pippins, the Olympia Maroons, the Hoquiam Perfect Gentlemen (named ironically) and the Montesano Farmers.

2. Athletic Stadium was Olympia’s first real sporting venue, the site of which is now a residential neighborhood.

olympia history baseball

The dark smudge, in the center of this image, is the grandstand of what was Athletic Park.

What is now known as the Carlyon neighborhood (just east and north of the Tumwater Safeway) was not yet a neighborhood in 1903. At the time Fred Carlyon was attempting to make the area a sort of entertainment mecca of the region. He had tried to promote a velodrome (bicycle racing facility) at the area. But, in 1903 baseball promoters adapted his grandstand for their sport’s use.

Known as Electric Field in 1903 (because of its proximity and association with the Olympia Power & Light Company’s streetcar), it was known simply as Athletic Park until 1920. In the 1920s, the field and grandstand had deteriorated to the point that local civic leaders lobbied for a new facility, which turned out to be Stevens Field, just south of Lincoln Options Elementary School.

3.  By the end of the 1906 season, the SW Washington League was no more.

Olympia in particular found that being able to compete was too expensive. In later years when there was a movement afoot to create a new league out of the ashes of the old, Olympia supporters requested that teams only play on weekends. This was an effort to limit the costs of travel and paying players. If players could work during the week, they could earn less money through baseball.

The other cities eventually organized the Washington State League without Olympia, but that league only lasted three summers itself.

4. But, baseball in Olympia did not go away.

olympia history baseball

This 1920 Olympia High School yearbook page gives you a good idea of what Athletic Park looked like.

While actual minor league baseball was no more, Olympia did find a venue that combined baseball that a typical fan would want to go watch and weekend only games. The Timber League was a local semi-pro circuit that the Olympia Senators (and other Olympia teams) competed in through at least the early 1960s.

The Timber League itself is an interesting construction. Described most accurately as a “town ball league,” it was amatuer at its roots and included a combination of community-based and company teams. But, the baseball played was a high enough level to warrant coverage by urban daily newspapers and attract regular fans.

5.  While we may pine for a return of minor league baseball, it will likely never happen.

And, that is because of the rules of baseball. The same system of “organized baseball” that Fink joined in 1903 is also the system that prevents Olympia from ever having a minor league team. The system was established in the early 1900s to normalize the signing of players, preventing rebel leagues from stealing players. But, now these rules  of organized baseball set out how the entire baseball system operates, from the majors down to the minors.

One of the regulations governs where teams can locate. Generally, the rules go like this: Each minor league team has a home territory. In our case, the closest team is the Tacoma Rainiers, whose home territory is Pierce County. On top of that home territory, each team is given a 15 mile buffer zone.

It is that buffer zone that complicates things, because within 15 miles of Pierce County is most of urban Thurston County, where one would logically locate a minor league baseball team.


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 7:02am



August is almost here and I’m left thinking how this summer truly embodies the phrase “Time flies when you are having fun!” Between seemingly endless sunny days and a full calendar of activities and trips, our family has been taking summer at high speed.

However, August looks a bit slower and we are looking forward to more days at local beaches, taking in a few shows, seeking out the best ice cream cone we can find and simply enjoying our home in Thurston County.  If you are looking to enjoy the place where you live, or are visiting the area this summer, you can count on the Friday morning Weekend Event Calendar to be your guide to what’s happening throughout the county.  Visit our full events calendar to see everything that’s going on.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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


Mareko Maumasi – Local Bladesmith Hosts Demo and Viewing Party for his Episode on History Channel’s “Forged in Fire”

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 6:29am



By Nikki McCoy

pints logoThere’s an old auto repair shop in Tumwater, just behind Pints Barn. The former garage is filled with out-of-order arcade games, beer signs, and a full forge shop, where Mareko Maumasi, owner of Maumasi Fire Arts, builds masterpieces.

When I arrive for our interview, Mareko is watching a hunk of steel glow in a 2,200 degree kiln. He then manipulates the metal with the blows of a 5-pound hammer. Then back in the kiln it goes.

This is just a small piece of the intensive process of knifemaking. Designing, hammering, hydraulic pressing, grinding and forging are just a few more. It’s hard work, but Mareko has the eye, and the passion.

maumasi fine arts

Mareko Maumasi is an Olympia native. He looks forward to growing his business, Maumasi Fire Arts, and starting a family with his wife, Sarah. “Learning this trade has changed my life and has helped me to discover so much about myself,” he says. “I want to create that opportunity for others. It’s a chance to draw more attention and interest to this city as well as enrich the culture of creativity and art here. It’s my opportunity to try and give back.”

“It’s hard to nail down exactly what my favorite part is,” says Mareko. “I love experiencing the whole process from conceptualizing to having a finished real world product in your hand that’s ready to be used.”

Mareko specializes in culinary knifes, using an ergonomic blend of form and function. Inspired by water, his Damascus techniques (alternating layers of steel and iron, folding and twisting the metal during the forging process) are intricate and detailed, complimented by shape and style of wooden handles.

The 30-year-old Olympia High School graduate has worked intensively with professionals on both coasts, and in 2014 (his first year of competition) Mareko brought home four awards, including People’s Choice and Best Chef’s at the Seattle International Knife Show.

It’s this experience and skill that caught the attention of History Channel producers, and Mareko was invited to compete in the network’s new show, “Forged in Fire.”

The premise of the show is four world-class bladesmiths, with a variety of skill and specialty, compete in time-based challenges to create iconic edged weapons from history. On a recent episode, the two finalists had five days at their home forge to recreate a Rapier, one of the most revered pieces of weaponry during the Elizabethan era.

Smaller competitions are also held, such as designing and forging a blade of choice in three hours, using only the materials and equipment on set.

Whether a competitor is ready or not, the blades are then tested and assessed by a panel of expert judges, including a weapons historian, a Mastersmith with more than 20 years under him, and a hand-to-hand combat specialist. Testing techniques include slicing racks of meat to test for sharpness, or stabbing into steel car doors or ballistics dummies for strength and depth. Based on blade performance, competitors are eliminated. The last man to make the “cut” will win $10,000.

Mareko was flown to Brooklyn, New York for filming. And while he says the subway system was mildly intimidating, Mareko was grateful for the chance to travel, learn and meet new people, specifically the other craftsmen.

“We all got along really well and kind of banded together,” he says. “We all keep in contact with each other.”

Mareko is pleased the show is gaining popularity and appreciates the growing awareness around knifemaking.

maumasi fine arts

Here, an example of Mareko’s craftsmanship, a 225mm Topography Damascus Gyuto with integral bolster and Maumasi western handle sculpted from spalted maple burl. Mareko picked up Best Chef’s and People’s Choice awards at the 2014 Seattle International Knife Show, and his blades continue to garner attention.

In the U.S., he says, most cutleries come from factories in Asia and Europe.

“The amount of people that are doing this in the country is just a tiny speck of the population,” states Mareko. “There are only a total of about 300 certified Journeyman Smiths and Master Smiths in the world.”

It took a move to Colorado, where Mareko was pursuing culinary arts, to see that he wanted to get back into bladesmithing, and become part of that unique population.

“I had gone away from it and thought I was going to get into food,” he explains, “but while I was there, I found myself continually thinking about knives – how to improve on the ones I was using, design ideas, as well as Damascus patterns – thinking of patterns I didn’t see anywhere and wanting to create them. I have notebooks full of drawings – I call them my recipe books.”

It wasn’t long before Mareko moved back to Olympia. With his knowledge of culinary knifes, and his passion for bladesmithing growing, it was a natural progression for Mareko to open his own shop.

maumasi fine arts

Mareko Maumasi feels the heat on History Channel’s “Forged in Fire,” a reality competition that puts bladesmiths to the test. Watch Mareko in action in his shop Monday night, followed by a viewing party of his episode at Pints Barn. Those watching from home will want to tune in at 10:00 p.m.

Now, the 5-year plan is to expand into a space where he can start teaching and demonstrating, as well as allowing other fire-workers access to their arts, like welding, metal sculpture, ceramics, glass and blacksmithing.

“Olympia is all about nostalgia for me. It has such an incredibly rich history that you can walk around and still see today,” says Mareko. “This is where I grew up, where I first fell in love, where I first learned how to sail, where I discovered my passion for food and later my passion for knifemaking. This is my home and where my community of friends and family live. I don’t know if it’s the water, or what, but it certainly has my heart.”

“Learning this trade has changed my life and has helped me to discover so much about myself,” he elaborates. “I want to create that opportunity for others. It’s a chance to draw more attention and interest to this city as well as enrich the culture of creativity and art here. It’s my opportunity to try and give back.”

While Mareko can’t disclose the outcome or process of his episode, his does invite the public to watch a demonstration of his bladesmithing, see cutlery prototypes, and ask questions at a pre-viewing party in his shop Monday, August 3 at 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Following the demonstration will be the premiere of his episode at Pints Barn at 10:00 p.m.

The work is so visually driven, says Mareko, that he invites you to follow him on Instagram, @maumasifirearts, where you can see the wonders of this worldly craft. Or check out Maumasi Fire Arts on Facebook and Twitter.


Dog Bowl Tests Thurston County 4-H Kids’ Knowledge

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 6:00am



By Madeleine Elliott

Hometown logoHow many teeth does a dog have? (42)

What AKC breed group is the poodle in? (Non-sporting)

What should you feed a new puppy when you first get it? (Whatever the previous owners fed it)

These are just 3 of the several thousand questions studied by Thurston County 4-H kids who show their dogs. The 4-H students study for an event called Dog Bowl, a knowledge bowl competition all about dogs.

thurston county fair

Members of the Kibbles and Bits club and the Diamonds in the Ruff club face off during a round of Dog Bowl at the Thurston County Fair. Photo courtesy: J. Sags Photography.

When people think of 4-H, they usually think of cows and pigs. But 4-H also engages kids in the study and care of dogs, cats, horses, and a variety of other animals. The overall goal is for participants to learn as much as possible about their chosen subject animal. Kids work year round preparing to show their animal at 4-H sponsored events that usually culminate with five days at the Thurston County Fair.

“Dog Bowl is the 4-H version of knowledge bowl,” says Erin Everson, who has been a member of the Steamboat Island Kibbles and Bits 4-H club for nine years. There are dog bowl competitions for 4-H club members at the county and state levels, including the Thurston County Fair. The Fair, which runs through August 2, has the Dog Bowl event scheduled for Saturday, August 1.

Dog bowl has three levels of difficulty, matching the age categories in 4-H. Juniors are fifth graders and below, intermediates are middle school students, and seniors are high school students. The difficulty of questions increases as kids get older. Juniors are typically asked questions about breed groups, grooming, and basic dog care, while seniors face tougher questions about dog anatomy and health. “They throw everything at [seniors],” Erin says.

thurston county fair

Members of Diamonds in the Ruff 4-H club discussing an answer during a Dog Bowl competition at the Thurston County Fair. Photo courtesy: J. Sags Photography.

It sounds serious, but for many 4-H club members it is a relief, a break from the intensity of the meticulous grooming, the stress of dog showing competitions, and the all-consuming busyness of the fair. “I like that it’s a fun way to learn about your animal—to learn about dogs, specifically,” says Emily Hadley, who has been involved in 4-H for nine years, five of them with Steamboat Island Kibbles and Bits. Erin emphasized the same idea. “It’s just fun,” she says. “Compared to [dog showing], which is more serious and time consuming, Dog Bowl is a casual competition.”

It is also a great way to socialize with other 4-H members, within each club and between clubs. The Kibbles and Bits club hosts dinner and Dog Bowl meetings once a month. “We’re split into two teams. Our leader [Jennifer Sagerser] reads off questions—for example ‘What is a dual champion’—and we answer,” Emily says. Most 4-H clubs have similar types of meetings. The meetings are for practice, but they also serve as an excuse to get everyone together and have fun.

And there are county wide Dog Bowl practices too, which serve as a reminder that the Thurston County Dog Project (the 4-H label for all of the dog clubs collectively) is really a team, despite the different clubs that exist within it. “Most of 4-H is very individual.  In Dog Bowl there’s more of a sense of team,” Emily explains.

thurston county fair

Members of Steamboat Island Kibbles and Bits 4-H club get ready for a round of the dog bowl competition at the Thurston County Fair. Photo courtesy: J. Sags Photography.

County level teams can have members all from one club or a mix of different clubs. “You can be on a team with anybody you want to,” Erin says, although each team must compete at the level of the oldest member. Dog Bowl is one of the best ways to get to know members of other clubs, since there is not much talking in the ring while showing dogs. And since everyone has to learn the same questions they often choose to study together before the competition. “Last year we had, like, seven seniors all in the tent [behind the ring] quizzing each other,” Erin recalls.

Participants learn a lot when they compete in Dog Bowl. Club members often find use for the knowledge outside of 4-H, especially what they learn about dog care and health. “It’s a lot of information that’s good to know,” Emily says. And for some participants it sparks a greater interest in veterinary science.

Most of the questions are general knowledge about dogs or 4-H, but sometimes they can be a little silly. For example, how many sheets of plywood does it take to build a dog house? According to the Dog Bowl question packet, two and a half. “They actually asked that at fair,” Erin says. “Our team members just slammed down the buzzers.”

Questions like the plywood question underscore the idea that Dog Bowl is really about having fun. The world of dog showing can be busy and stressful. Especially at the fair, which for 4-H club members is comprised of five long days of showing, waiting, and taking care of nervous dogs. But it is worth it for the experience. “For me, mainly what I like about 4-H is being able to hang out and bond with kids my age,” Erin says. “4-H really became like a second family to me.” Dog Bowl is an important part of the greater 4-H experience – it is part of something that brings people together.

And where else could a kid find out what a nictitating membrane is?

Ronelle Funk Featured on Popular “Treehouse Masters” TV Show

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 6:00am



By Barb Lally

treehouse masters

Local Allstate Insurance agent, Ronelle Funk poses with Animal Planet’s Treehouse Master Pete Nelson on the day of filming.

Ronelle Funk, president of Ronelle Funk Insurance, is somewhat of a national celebrity.

Distant relatives in Minnesota recently called her to tell her they had seen her on television. Her Facebook friends have left comments that they saw her also and people on the street or in a local store often stop Ronelle because they recognize her.

If you are a fan of Treehouse Masters, a program on the Animal Planet and Discovery Channels, you might also have seen Ronelle.

After being voted #1 in customer service in a five-state region by Allstate Insurance,

Ronelle was selected to contribute her expertise in one-minute spots during several episodes of the popular show.

She worked directly with renowned designer, builder and star of Treehouse Masters, Pete Nelson who designs treehouses ranging from multi-bedroom homes with elaborate kitchens and bathrooms, to simpler, one-room hideaways. His team has also built unique and almost fantasy-like sanctuaries in the trees that include a spa retreat, a brewery, a honeymoon suite and an Irish-themed cottage.

A local celebrity

Ronelle’s appearances on the show can still be seen in television re-runs or streaming on-demand.

“I have people stop me and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I have seen you on Treehouse Masters!’” Ronelle relates with excitement. “It is a really popular show and it has been a great experience.”

treehouse masters

Television monitors show the action while Ronelle Funk is on location at Treehouse Point. This is the space where they filmed the one-minute spots on a cold day in February.

That experience included filming the short spots at TreeHouse Point, a bed and breakfast in Fall City, owned by Nelson and his wife Judy.

“We filmed at Treehouse Point for an entire day and had a great time,” says Ronelle. “It was in February on Valentine’s Day and it was extremely cold. We couldn’t bundle up while on camera, so between takes, they would bring us coffee or hot chocolate.”

But it wasn’t only hot drinks that made the day warm and enjoyable.

“Pete was hilarious,” Ronelle continues. “He is such a character and helped us relax. He is clearly a down-to-earth guy. When I asked him if he was excited about getting picked up for the next season, his response was ‘Not really, I just want to build treehouses. I am just doing this so I can keep building treehouses.’ While we were there, he and his wife made a Valentine’s Day dinner for the whole crew at their lodge.”

Clips of tips to protect your home

treehouse masters

Ronelle Funk was chosen by Allstate Insurance to be featured on Treehouse Masters because of her agency’s superior record of customer service.

Ronelle’s role as an experienced Allstate Insurance agent in each short scene they filmed was to provide tips for homeowners on how to protect their homes from damage, especially here in the Northwest.

“The first clip we filmed was about the importance of trimming trees around the property, removing branches that might be hanging over structures, houses, cars or garages,” relates Ronelle. “When we had that big ice storm in 2012 branches came off trees like daggers and were slicing into people’s homes and garages like knives. It was very scary. We also discussed cleaning up debris to prevent fire hazards and making sure that there are no exposed roots on walkways where people could trip.”

In the second clip, Pete and Ronelle are up on ladders discussing how to protect the roof of the main lodge at Treehouse Point.

“Pete’s roof was so dirty covered with tree limbs and moss that the producers had to climb on the roof and clean it before we filmed the shot,” Ronelle says. “He made several jokes about his roof and then we got serious and talked about keeping moss off the roof and that people should not pressure wash their roof because it destroys the shingles. They can use zinc strips or detergent to kill the moss or just scrape it off. It is also important to keep the gutters clean. We have big problems with them here with all the leaves and the rain.”

treehouse masters

Ronelle Funk and Pete Nelson discuss tips to protect the roof of his lodge.

In the final clip, Ronelle answered Pete’s question about protecting windows. She encouraged him to remove debris that could fly up in a wind storm and harm the windows. She also recommended impact-rated windows that prevent shattering from baseballs or burglars.

Was it worth it? Definitely, says Ronelle. Despite the cold and only wearing a windbreaker while filming, Ronelle says she had fun throughout the day.

“I still have people stopping me in the grocery store to say they saw me on Treehouse Masters and customers come into the office saying they saw me. It has solidified for them that I am someone they can trust. They are so proud that I am their agent. It also made my dad, Bill Funk, who had been an Allstate agent for 26 years, very proud.”

Ronelle’s agency was voted number one in customer service in a five-state region by Allstate customers. Locally, she was voted the Best Insurance Agency in the Nisqually Valley in 2010 and the 2014 Business of the Year by the Yelm Chamber of Commerce.

Read more about Ronelle Funk Insurance or call (360) 491-3376 for the Lacey office and (360) 458-6061 for her office in Yelm.


The Greene Realty Group Welcomes Lauren Maguire

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 3:40pm



Submitted by Greene Realty Group

The Greene Realty Group welcomes Laren Maguire to their Olympia based team.

The Greene Realty Group welcomes Laren Maguire to their Olympia based team.

Lauren Maguire was born in Jacksonville, Florida but raised in Olympia, Washington. After Graduating from Olympia High School she went right into running a small business. With her 10 plus years of client services she decided to pursue her dream in real estate.

Lauren comes from a family of well known, and local construction companies, Maguire Construction and Seibold Construction. She loves the town and people  of Olympia and all of its outdoor activities that is has to offer. She looks forward to meeting her future clients and help them, or their families dreams come true.

Specialties: New Construction, Relocation, Residential

Health Matters: Sun Safety for Summertime

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 3:00pm



Submitted by Thurston County Public Health


Photo credit: jennlvs2smile

With the amount of cloudy and rainy days we see in Western Washington, it is no surprise that most of us like to make the most of sunny weather. Sunny days are glorious. There are many ways to enjoy the sun, whether gardening or relaxing at home, taking a walk on Percival Landing, swimming at Millersylvania State Park, or riding your bike on the Chehalis-Western Trail.

Getting outdoors has many health benefits like fresh air, physical activity, and reducing stress. But, as you get outside, remember to take steps to protect your health.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society. Development of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, on the back, chest, and legs is linked to frequent sunburns. Skin cancers begin when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays damage the DNA that controls skin cell growth. The best way to lower your risk for melanoma and other skin cancers is to limit exposure to UV rays.

Here are some tips for sun safety.

  • Wear a hat and cover skin when possible. Clothing offers different levels of UV ray protection. Darker and more tightly woven fabrics offer more protection than lighter colors and loosely woven fabrics.
  • Choose the shade. You can still enjoy the sun when you are in the shade. When spending time outside, find a shady spot to settle down in and then your group can go back and forth between the sun and shade.
  • Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink water when spending time outside in the heat. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Kids should always have water or a sports drink available and take a break to drink every 20 minutes while active in the heat.” Be aware of signs of heat exhaustion like heavy sweating, weakness, nausea, fainting, and cold, pale, clammy skin. If you experience heat exhaustion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen clothes, sip water, and apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible. If you experience vomiting, seek medical attention.
  • Choose effective sunscreens. The most effective sunscreens are SPF 30 or higher lotions. Spray sunscreens often blow summer camp olympia

    Don’t forget the sunscreen when you play outside.

    away in the wind and miss the skin. Aerosol sprays can be harmful to the lungs, especially for people with asthma and other lung conditions, small children, and the elderly.

  • Understand SPFs. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. A higher SPF means more UVB ray protection. SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 sunscreens filter about 98%. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against UVA and UVB rays) and with SPF 30 or higher are recommended by the American Cancer Society.
  • Re-apply sunscreen often. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, and after swimming and sweating.
  • Check sunscreen expiration dates. Most sunscreens last for two to three years. If it is past the expiration date, it is time for new sunscreen. Sunscreens that have been exposed to heat for long periods of time (such as being left in a car) may be less effective that the label indicates.

Getting outside and being active is part of a healthy lifestyle that many of us enjoy. The Thurston Thrives Community Design Action Team continues to work to create opportunities for our community to be more active in our daily lives.

I am looking forward to hiking and getting out on the water this summer; it’s a great time to experience all that the outdoors offers. However you choose to enjoy the sun and the warmth that summer brings, please remember to practice sun safety.


 Olympia Diaper Service Announces Partnership with Sterile Surgical Systems

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 2:22pm



Submitted by Olympia Diaper Service

olympia diaper service

Toby vanRoojen began Olympia Diaper Service in July 2014 after seeing a need in the community.

Olympia Diaper Service has partnered with Sterile Surgical Systems (SSS) to deliver the highest quality diaper service available.  This partnership allows Olympia Diaper Service customers to receive diapers cleaned to the highest hospital standards while also preserving & protecting precious natural resources.  Their process has been inspected and accredited by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council to ensure that they are following the most rigorous healthcare laundry standards for safety and infection prevention.

SSS has made investments in rainwater collection, water recycling, and plastic recycling that has yielded (annually) 7,200,000 gallons of water saved, 25,000 pounds of plastic recycled, a reduction in CO2 emissions of 400,000 pounds and stopped 660 gallons of sodium hydroxide from entering our wastewater treatment plant.

Olympia Diaper Service is a locally owned and operated diaper rental and delivery service for Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Tenino.  Their diaper service is as convenient as disposable diapers at roughly the same cost.   This allows new parents to achieve the health and environmental benefits of cloth diapering without the compromises.  More information can be found here.

Sterile Surgical Systems (SSS) is a family owned and operated healthcare laundry/surgical textile sterilizer, specializing in medical linens and hospital operating room reusable sterile textiles.  SSS provides laundry and FDA registered sterilized surgical textile service to hospitals and surgical centers across the Puget Sound region. Their relentless attention to process and detail allows them to bring their customers the highest quality linen service in the Pacific Northwest. Their efficient workforce and uncompromising focus on plant efficiency enables them to offer the most competitive prices in the region.


Thurston County Solid Waste offers Free Recycle, Trash, and Compost Bins for your Event

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 2:13pm



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

Event RecyclingSummer is event season. From BBQ’s, to picnics, to local festivals, you are sure to attend at least one fun, food-filled event this summer. In fact, you may even be hosting one yourself. If you happen to be someone who is planning or hosting an event, then you have a lot of things to consider. How much food should I make?  Who should I invite? Do we need a bounce house? One thing you may not be thinking about, though, is how much waste your event is going to create and what you can do to reduce it.

Luckily, Thurston County Solid Waste and our Event Recycling Program are here to help you make your next event as waste-free as possible.  Zero-waste events are gaining popularity throughout the country, and for good reason. There are numerous economic and environmental benefits associated with reducing the amount of waste we create and send to the landfill. Whether you are planning a large community event or your child’s birthday party, you can save valuable energy and resources when you reduce the amount of waste your event creates, as well as save yourself money in the form of reduced hauling fees. One easy waste reduction technique is to serve condiments and beverages in bulk dispensers rather than as individually packaged items.

After you have identified all of the opportunities for reduction, implementing recycling and composting are your next steps. Ideally, all of the items used at a zero-waste event are either reusable, recyclable or compostable. Visit our Organics page here for information about using durable or compostable items at your event. Diverting organic material from the landfill (food scraps), can significantly reduce the amount of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas associated with climate change, present in our atmosphere. As more and more people are realizing the consequences of excess food waste in our country and the cost of sending trash to the landfill is becoming more expensive, zero-waste events provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditionally organized gatherings.

Thurston County Solid Waste is here to assist you in a number of ways. We loan out free event collection bins for trash, recycling and compost. They are available for pick up at Celebrations the Party Store in Lacey, or at city halls throughout the County. When you borrow our collection bins you will also receive free trash, recycle and compost bags, signage for the bins, as well as general information for you to consider as the event planner or host.

In addition to the materials we loan out for free, Thurston County Solid Waste also provides a host of online information to help make your zero-waste event go as smoothly as possible. Our online Event Planning “Toolkit” includes information to give to your vendors, a comprehensive event planning checklist for events big and small, and lots valuable tips to help you with each step of the way. Visit the web site or call Katherine Straus at 360-867-2282 to start planning your zero-waste event today!


Oly Town Artesians Voted Top Soccer Logo in Washington State

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 1:37pm



Submitted by The Oly Town Artesians

Oly Town Artesians logoThe Oly Town Artesians knocked off the Kitsap Pumas in the final round of’s LogoWARS to capture the crown of top soccer logo in the State of Washington for 2015. The voting was extremely close with the two teams tied with less than 2 1/2 hours left before Artesians supporters rallied across social media to push them to a resounding 59%-41% win.

Designed by team founder and general manager Brandon Sparks, the Artesians logo took out the Spokane Shadow, Seattle Sounders FC, Everett United FC and the Pumas en route to the victory. Oly Town joins Bellingham United (2014) and Yakima United (2015) as LogoWARS winners.

Founded in 2015 before the inaugural Western Indoor Soccer League season, the Artesians have amassed 649 Facebook and Twitter followers in less than a year and rallied every last one of them to defeat four teams that have a combined 828,482 followers.

The 2015-2016 WISL season approaches quickly and the Artesians are still working on a home field to play this season after the building that housed Oly Indoor Soccer was sold in June. An announcement about where the next season will be played is likely coming within the next month. Stay tuned to, @OlyTownFC and for more information.

For merchandise featuring the 2015 LogoWARS champion logo, visit the Artesians online, on-demand store at


Lauren Wilson Swims at Western Zone Championships in Maui

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 6:35am



By Grant Clark

greene realtyJill Wilson can remember a time, not too long ago, when she would sit in the bleachers alongside her daughter, Lauren, and watch her son, Brett, participate in swimming practice.

Every so often, Lauren would lean over and express to her mother her distaste towards the sport.

“When she was 6, she would always tell me how she never wanted to swim,” Jill remembered.

lauren wilson swimming

Lauren Wilson, a member of the Evergreen Swim Club, is the solo swimmer from her club to make the Western Zone Championships in early August.

Things have certainly changed.

Lauren, now 12, is not only an avid swimmer, but is also one of the state’s best as evident by her selection to represent Pacific Northwest Swimming in the United States Swimming Western Zone Championships in early August in Maui, Hawaii.

Lauren, the only member of the Olympia-based Evergreen Swim Club to qualify for the meet, will compete in the 11-12 girls age group against swimmers from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

“She’s had a pretty amazing season,” said Kelly Serrao, who coaches Lauren, a seventh grader at Evergreen Christian School. “The fact she had so much to overcome makes it even more impressive.”

Posting the times needed to be selected to such a high-caliber event is difficult enough, but Lauren’s journey to the Zone Championships didn’t just feature aquatic obstacles.

Back in February, one night Jill knew that something was off with Lauren, but every time she asked how she was doing the answer was always the same.  Lauren would continually her mother that she was fine and simply a stomachache. It would subside momentarily.

Only it didn’t. It would significantly worsen.

lauren wilson swimming

At the Western Zone Championships, Lauren Wilson will be competing against swimmers from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

“She has such a high threshold of pain, I never know if she’s really okay or just saying she’s fine because she doesn’t want to bother anyone,” Jill said, a physical therapist and owner of Fusion Physical Therapy & Pilates in downtown Olympia. “I was afraid it was appendicitis, but the area she said was in pain wasn’t consistent with where you would have appendicitis.”

It wasn’t until Lauren was doubled over in agony that the full extent of her pain was realized.

A quick dash to the emergency room confirmed Jill’s fears. Lauren was suffering from a ruptured appendix.

Surgery immediately followed at 1:00 a.m. Lauren would have little memory of the experience while her mother will never forget.

“It was just an incredibly scary situation,” Jill said. “No one wants to see their child go through something like that.”

Lauren remained in the hospital for a week following surgery and was excluded from physical activity for an additional two more weeks after she was discharged – which meant no swimming.

The location for the U.S. Western Zone Championships had been posted for nearly a year. When Maui was announced as the venue, Lauren, who had never been to Hawaii before, immediately set her sights on being one of the swimmers invited to represent the Pacific Northwest region.

USA Swimming divides the country into four Zones – Western, Eastern, Central and Southern – with each zone holding an annual championship where the top swimmers from each state or region compete against each other. Swimmers are selected based on time standards. The more events you’ve posted qualifying times in, the greater your chances of being selected become.

Prior to her hospital visit, Lauren had met the time requirements in four events. A great accomplishment, but no guarantee a selection would occur. She would need to post qualifying times in additional events if she wanted to advance – a task made even more difficult to achieve while resting in a hospital bed.

lauren wilson evergreen swimming

Lauren Wilson, a student at Evergreen Christian School, will be competing against other 11 – 12-year-old girls in Maui.

“We really didn’t talk about Maui too much when she was in the hospital,” Jill said. “We knew she was disappointed. We just figured we would cross our fingers and hope her four events would be enough to get her selected.”

Lauren did have one final chance – a meet in late March prior to the selection cutoff. However, by the time she was cleared to begin swimming again she would only have three weeks to get ready – not much time under normal circumstances.

“I had been aiming for Maui since we first heard about it,” Lauren said. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. I just decided to go out and do my best.”

Motivated, Lauren would go on and add two more qualifying times to her resume – giving her a total of six events, the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 50 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 200 IM and 50 freestyle.

“She is the toughest competitor I’ve ever coached,” Serrao said. “Out of the pool she is the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet, but when she’s in the water she’s focused.”

Everything was now out of Lauren’s hands and all that remained was waiting to hear whether or not she had done enough to earn a selection.

“It was nerve-wrecking,” Lauren said about the six week wait. “I wasn’t really sure if I had done enough to get in.”

She received the news in early May, leaving the family just enough time to book the trip to Hawaii.

“I am more excited than nervous (about the Zone Championships),” an elated Lauren said. “It really is going to be a great experience.”

Yes, things have certainly changed.


Thrifty Thurston Shares 15 (Free) Ways to Cool Off with Kids in Olympia

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 6:30am



xeroxI admit to having a difficult time when the weather heats up.  My 9-year-old daughter seems to melt even faster.  While walking our dogs tonight, she simply said, “Why is it so hot?  We live in Washington.”  And that was at 7:30 p.m. – in the shade, nonetheless.

Does 90+ degree weather send you (or your kids) on overload?


When 90+ degree weather hits Olympia, it’s time to get creative on how to keep everyone chipper (and cool). Photo credit: Shanna Paxton

Use this list of 15 free activities (well, one actually costs $1 but that’s virtually free nowadays) to keep everyone calm and cool.

  1. Splash in the water at the East Bay Public Plaza.  Bring a hat because there is minimal shade.  And, be prepared for a request for ice cream inside the Hands On Children’s Museum’s cafe.
  2. Get out of the sun at LOTT’s WET Science Center, just next door to the East Bay Public Plaza.  Explore how your toilet works and other educational water-related exhibits.
  3. Weave through the crowds and find a spot at the Heritage Park Fountain.  Check out the hours before you go.  It’s closed periodically to adjust the chemicals and you don’t want to end up with unhappy campers.
  4. Tour downtown Olympia on Intercity Transit’s free DASH bus.  You will get air conditioning while enjoyed a relaxed loop around the downtown core and Capitol Campus.  The DASH bus runs every 15 minutes during the week and every 10 minutes on Saturday.  Skip this activity on Sunday.
  5. Step inside a movie theater.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are $1 movies in Olympia and Lacey.  Read more in this article.
  6. Look for books at your local branch of the Timberland Regional Library.  Focus on stories about icebergs, penguins, and Alaska.  Other highlights includes the Library’s summer Minecraft contest and Wednesday LEGO Studio in Olympia.
  7. Dive in the water at Frye Cove Park or Tolmie State Park.  Both of these parks have great beach access for even the littlest swimmers.  Burfoot Park is a great picnic location and offers superb beach access via a tree covered trail.  Find even more beach recommendations in this article.
  8. lake cushman

    Take a dip at Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman.

    Walk through the shady McLane Creek Nature Trail.  Bring a pair of binoculars and a bird identification book (see #6) and keep track of how many species you can identify.

  9. Drive out to Lake Cushman and jump in the water.  Everyone can enjoy the car’s air conditioning during the drive. This article includes 6 ideas for things to do while at Lake Cushman.
  10. Stop in to visit your local fire station.  Kids can check out the fire truck, say hello to the firefighters on duty and (sometimes) take a tour of the station.
  11. Find an ice cream truck.  I recognize it’s only a temporary solution (and certainly not free) but at least it cools off the kids for a few minutes.
  12. Stay inside and go to an outdoor movie in the evening.  Tumwater’s Screen on the Green is on Friday nights.  Lacey In Tune at Huntamer Park offers up family-friendly entertainment on Saturday evenings.  A more sophisticated movie-going crowd will want to visit the State Capital Museum on Friday nights beginning August 7.
  13. Load up the shovels, boots and a kite and head to the beach.  It’s guaranteed to be at least 10 degrees cooler at the Pacific Ocean.  Here is a list of 6 beaches ideal for kite flying.
  14. olympia beaches

    Nothing occupies a group of kids more than a good beach and digging a big hole.

    Visit an animal shelter.  (I have to repeatedly remind my kids that no animals are coming home with us, but it feels great to share a little love.)

  15. Explore a local museum.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.

ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER Offers Comprehensive Eye Care for Total Health and Wellness

Thu, 07/30/2015 - 6:00am



Dr Craig Rouse

Dr. Craig Rouse discovered his passion for optometry after requiring corrective lenses.

In 2012, Bausch + Lomb, one of the world’s largest suppliers of eye healthcare products, asked 11,000 people from 11 different countries the question: Would you rather lose a limb or your eyesight? The results of the survey reported that 68 percent of people would rather lose an arm or leg than their ability to see.

Our eyes, like the rest of our bodies, need to be nurtured and cared for. And having clear, focused vision is only one of the reasons it’s important to see your eye doctor regularly. Because the eyes are a window into the rest of the body, our vision can tell us more than just what meets the eye.

At ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER in Lacey, Dr. Craig Rouse understands the importance of your eye health. But that’s because he knows firsthand what it’s like to have impaired vision.

Dr. Rouse was a sophomore in college when he noticed his vision starting to change. At first, he caught himself squinting in class, then he noticed faraway text and objects became one big blur. Luckily, Dr. Rouse’s dorm mate’s dad was an optometrist. He scheduled an appointment immediately.

Dr. Rouse vividly remembers the moment he donned his first pair of compensating lenses. “I remember going, ‘Wow!’ I was in awe of how well I could see,” he recalls.

Already interested in subjects like anatomy and biology, Dr. Rouse says after this experience, the decision to study optometry became clear, and he applied to Pacific University’s College of Optometry in Oregon. Dr. Rouse studied there for four years before moving with his wife, Deliah, to Illinois where he landed his first job as an optometrist.

Rouse EyeCare Center staff

The staff at Rouse EyeCare Center is experienced, caring and ready to provide you with a top-notch eye care experience.

Dr. Rouse’s first job out of optometry school was at a commercial eyecare business. It was, unfortunately, not what he had anticipated. “There was a great deal of constraint in providing the best care possible,” he says. “There was no room to grow and provide full scope eye care.”

Frustrated by his situation, Dr. Rouse submitted his resignation and headed to a private practice in Illinois before packing his bags and returning to the Pacific Northwest where he worked on base at JBLM for seven years. Here, Dr. Rouse was happier, but still unfulfilled. He wasn’t able to provide his patients with the level of care that he wanted to. Coming to terms with this realization, Dr. Rouse decided it was time to start his own practice.

ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER opened in Lacey in 2008 as a local source for quality eye care. For nearly a decade, Dr. Rouse has built his clientele on a commitment to expert care, top of the line equipment, well-crafted products and friendly service. “It’s about providing the best care to each patient,” he says. With this level of customer commitment, ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER patients know they’re in good hands.

And ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER patients always get more than a run of the mill eye exam. Each visit to ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER is a comprehensive evaluation of your total eye health. During eye care appointments, Dr. Rouse looks for conditions like glaucoma, vascular disease, tumors, visual disorders affecting learning, and other disorders that could be indicative of bigger problems. Dr. Rouse says detecting these kind of conditions is paramount to ensuring good vision and overall health later on in life.

In addition to exceptional care, ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER is also a source for fashion eyewear and top of the line lenses made from the latest technology. ROUSE EyeCARE CENTERs features everything from customizable Tom Davies frames to damage-eliminating BlueTech lenses and more. Of course, if you feel like something a bit more modest, Rouse Eye Center also carries a selection of moderately priced frames for its budget-minded customers, too. With ample options for stylish, functional frames and lenses, you won’t just feel good after leaving ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER, you’ll look good, too.

Dr. Craig Rouse and daughters

When Dr. Craig Rouse isn’t caring for the eyes of his ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER patients and members of the community at the Sunrise Lions Club of Lacey, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Deliah, and their two daughters.

ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER is accepting new patients. With flexible hours, a convenient location next to the Ram Restaurant and top-notch care, Dr. Rouse, Deliah and the entire ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER team invite you to make an appointment, and encourage you to bring your little one in for his or her first comprehensive eye exam.

ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER is open Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday by appointment.

For more information about ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER or to schedule an appointment, visit ROUSE EyeCARE CENTER online or call the office at 360-455-4425.


8160 Freedom Lane NE, Suite D

Lacey, WA 98516


Cathy Wolfe Will Not Seek Re-election to County Commission in 2016

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 5:00pm



Submitted by Thurston County

Cols. Hodges and Davit recognized for fostering partnerships with neighbor jurisdictions.

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe (far right) will not seek re-election after her fourth term in office.

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe announced today that she will not seek re-election in 2016 and that she plans to retire at the end of her fourth term as a Thurston County Commissioner.

In a message to Thurston County’s elected officials and employees, Wolfe stated, “I have enjoyed working with all of you for the past several years, but I want you to know that I have made a decision not to seek re-election in 2016. While I plan to be fully engaged in my position for the next year and a half, I did want you to hear this from me first.”

Wolfe continued, “Working with the citizens of Thurston County has been a pleasure and a very rewarding experience for me, and I am very proud of our accomplishments over the past 22 years. But this is simply a time in my life when I want to travel, relax, and enjoy my grandchildren and my wonderful family.”

“I look forward to working with all of your from now until the end of 2016. Thank you for all that you do for the county.” Wolfe said.

Cathy Wolfe was first elected to the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners in 2000 after serving eight years as a state legislator. During her 14 years on the board, Wolfe led the charge on reforming and improving a number of programs related to criminal justice, mental health, housing, and environmental protection.

Wolfe served as Chair of the Thurston County HOME Consortium for five years and was instrumental in working with community leaders to create Quixote Village. She led the efforts to create Thurston County’s Veterans Court, Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and the county’s other “treatment court” programs. Wolfe also voted to approve the creation of the county’s Treatment Sales Tax in 2009 to help deal with mental health and addiction issues. She also helped create the county’s Conservation Futures program, which has been used to purchase and permanently protect and preserve hundreds of acres of land since 2009.

While Wolfe plans to retire at the end of her term in December 2016, she was quick to point out that she plans to achieve even more in the next year and a half.

“I may be planning to retire, but I certainly don’t plan on slacking off between now and the end of my term,” said Wolfe. “We’ve made a lot of progress this year on criminal justice reform and researching new and innovative programs to help keep people out of jail and reduce our criminal justice costs. And we have a number of ideas and programs and techniques that I want to see brought online in the next 12 to 18 months. I think we’ll see some real movement in this area when we begin working on the county’s 2016 budget.”

“I am looking forward to the next 18 months,” said Wolfe, “I plan to finish stronger than ever.”


Thurston County 4-H Gives Kids Opportunities for Responsibility and Community with Horses

Wed, 07/29/2015 - 11:46am



By Courtney Murphy

south sound trucksSince 1902, 4-H clubs have been changing the lives of kids across Thurston County. For most people, the Thurston County Fair is a fun escape filled with rides, food, and entertaining shows and animals, but for the many kids (and their supportive parents) involved in 4-H, the fair is so much more than that.

For Thurston County 4-H club members, the fair is the pinnacle of their entire year. This is the time when they are able to show off what they have made or learned, compete with animals they have spent countless hours working with, and have fun with like-minded friends.

4-H teaches kids how to be responsible, hardworking, and motivated. I experienced the benefits of being involved in horse 4-H as a member of the Blazing Saddles Club from third grade until I graduated from Tumwater High School. I joined 4-H with encouragement from my parents, and because I wanted to improve at the sport I was so passionate about.

thurston county fair

Emily Quentin barrel races with her horse, Cadence, last year at the Thurston County Fair. In this timed event, riders run their horses around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern.

“We wanted to join the revolution of responsibility,” Cynthia Worth, a 4-H parent, said about her family’s experience with the organization. “I do not believe that there is a better program out there for kids and families to not only learn a project, but to be a better member of [the] community. That’s what 4-H teaches and promotes.”

Cynthia and another experienced 4-H parent, Gail Kaufman, will be co-superintendents of the horse department next year. Their goal is to keep kids involved through high school, when their lives get busier with more studies and the high school equestrian team. “4-H relies on older kids staying involved to become mentors to younger members,” Kaufman explained.

­­­­Emily Quentin, a recent Tumwater High School graduate who has been involved in 4-H for 11 years, remembers her time as a junior and how the seniors helped her learn how to take better care of her horse and get ready for shows. When she first started, she knew very little about showing, but she looked up to the seniors and followed what they did, and became a successful competitor. Partially because of this guidance early on, last year she made it to state on the performance team. “This has always been a goal of mine since I joined 4-H,” Quentin said.

thurston county fair

Malorie Mahoney stands with her Haflinger, Pumpkin Tuesday night at haul-in. Pumpkin’s neck is covered in stretchy fabric and she is wearing a show sheet to prevent her from getting dirty overnight.

In the horse department, being successful at the Thurston County Fair takes a lot of preparation and practice. Malorie Mahoney, an intermediate in the Blazing Saddles Club heading into 7th grade, remarked that to be prepared, she tried to have her tack and show clothes ready even before pre-fair.

Jordan Holcomb, another Blazing Saddles intermediate member going into 6th grade, practiced often with her trainer and her horse, Bella, to get ready for her first time at fair this year. Jordan described her first year experience so far as “exciting,” because she “got to meet new friends and get close to horses.”

Although they are not supposed to help directly with the horses, parents of 4-H members often volunteer to clean and set up the fairgrounds, and run fundraisers and events that make the fair possible.

“There’s hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours that the public doesn’t see,” Cynthia said. This year she has been working on sprucing up the barns and attending to “long-deferred” maintenance projects. “Instead of just one club or one person running this…everyone is taking on more responsibility, which when spread makes it a more successful program in general,” Cynthia said.

Outside of showing, the horse 4-H program is largely focused on the education of both its members and the public. Most kids in the program complete record books, make educational posters, and give public presentations. These activities teach the kids to organize their thoughts and to be comfortable in front a crowd. “Giving oral presentations and having to talk to the public during the fair has boosted my confidence immensely,” Malorie said.

thurston county fair

Some members of the public interact with my horse, Powder, last year during evening practice. The Thurston County Fair allows kids to be exposed to horses who may not otherwise have the chance.

“To me, this is one of the most important aspects of the program,” Gail explained. “It is our job to help let the 4-H members know how important it is for them to hone in on those skills.” Next year as superintendents, both Gail and Cynthia plan to encourage more kids to participate in this educational portion of 4-H.

Although 4-H is very focused on competition and education, one of its most important aspects is having fun. After the competition, there are often games at night put on by the superintendents as well as drill team exhibitions from the local high schools.

This emphasis on creating a fun environment also creates a strong community between members and clubs alike.

“Thurston County is not really separated clubs. I truly feel like this is one big club,” Gail said.

To show your support for this program, visit the Thurston County Fair through August 2 and stop in at the horse department. Talk to a 4-H member, club leader or superintendent.


Thurston County Fair Opens Wednesday

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 5:12pm



Submitted by the Thurston County Fair 

thurston county fair

One Buck Wednesday keeps the price tag down on the Thurston County Fair.

Opening day at the Thurston County Fair is guaranteed to be chock full of good old fashioned fair fun for the whole family! The fair opens Wednesday, July 29 at 10 a.m. with the return of One Buck Wednesday discounts and deals.

Admission to the fair is only $1 per person on One Buck Wednesday when you bring a non-perishable food donation for each person. Food donations will benefit the Thurston County Food Bank. Fair organizers are hoping to meet or even beat 2012’s record donation total of eight pallets of food and over $1,400 in cash donations from generous fairgoers.

Other One Buck Wednesday specials can be found inside the fair gates, including all carnival rides for just a buck per ride all day, one buck food specials, and other One Buck Wednesday deals at participating vendors. The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29.

Wednesday, July 29 is packed full of activities and entertainment the whole family will enjoy. More than 50 events, contests and performances are scheduled, including tons of animal contests and exhibits, the return of Professor Bamboozle, plus a Welcoming Ceremony with Thurston County Commissioners. To get the full list of each day’s events and entertainment, go to and click on “Daily Events Calendar” link. (Complete July 29 events schedule below.)

July 29 Thurston County Fair Events

10 a.m. 

Home Arts Demonstrations begin – Heritage Hall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4-H, FFA Rabbit Type Judging – Petersen Barn

10:30 a.m.

4-H Dog Judging Contest – Chitty Barn

11 a.m. 

Cavy Knowledge Bowl – Petersen Barn thurston county fair

Professor Bamboozle – Food Court Stage


Matt Baker Comedy & Stunt Show – Main Stage

Paramount Martial Arts – Main Stage

1 p.m. 

4-H Cat Games – Petersen Barn

4-H Goat Judging Contest – West Arena

4-H Dog Obedience – Chitty Barn

Slievoughlane Irish Dancers – Main Stage

1:30 p.m.

Professor Bamboozle – Food Court Stage

2 p.m. 

SANCA Juggling and Stilt Walking – Front of Heritage Hall

Open Class Sheep & Fleece Goats – Hicks Lake Barn

2:30 p.m.thurston county fair

Matt Baker Comedy & Stunt Show – Main Stage

3 p.m. 

Poultry Costume Contest – Petersen Barn

4-H Fleece Goat Fit/Show/Type – West Arena


3:30 p.m. 

Slieveloughane Irish Dancers – Main Stage

Dylan Cragle – Food Court Stage


4 p.m.

4-H Rabbit Knowledge Bowl – Petersen Barn

Primary Member Pygmy/Miniature Goat Show – West Arena


4:30 p.m. 

Professor Bamboozle – Food Court Stagethurston county fair

4-H Pygmy Goat Fitting/Showing/Type – West Arena-2

4-H Pet Goat Type – West Arena-2

Matt Baker Comedy & Stunt Show – Main Stage


5 p.m.

SANCA Juggling and Stilt Walking – Front of Heritage Hall


6 p.m.

Dancerzone 360 – Food Court Stage

Welcoming Ceremony – Main Stage

4-H Fashion Revue Style Show – Main Stage

4-H Pet Goat Class – West Arena-2

6:30 p.m. 

FFA Pygmy Fit/Show/Type following 4-H Pygmy – West Arena

4-H Cat Knowledge Bowl – Petersen Barn


7 p.m. 

4-H Silver Bucket Event-Dairy Goat Milk Contest – Willuweit Pavilion Thurston County Fair

Dylan Jakobsen Band – Food Court Stage

Lads & Lassies Lead Contest – Hicks Lake Barn

4-H Dog Activities – Chitty Barn

4-H Dairy Goat Milk Contest – Hicks Lake Barn

7:30 p.m.

Tristan and Rachelle – Main Stage


*Food Court Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

*Carnival Rides Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Red Door Interiors Announces Change in Ownership

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 9:23am



Submitted by Red Door Interiors 

Lara Anderson (left) and Kathy Lothrop have sold their popular downtown Olympia home decor shop to the owners of Dillinger's Cocktails and Kitchen to pursue interior design and their RD Shady.

Lara Anderson (left) and Kathy Lothrop have sold their popular downtown Olympia home decor shop to the owners of Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen to pursue interior design and their patented RD Shady.

The buzz around a change in ownership for Red Door Interiors has been on-going for over a month.  The wait is over. Red Door (the shop/inventory) has been sold to two amazing ladies that strongly believe in downtown Olympia and Red Door’s legacy.

The new owners are Sandy Hall and Lela Cross who currently own the very popular Dillinger’s Cocktails & Kitchen. The shop name will change to LC’s Blackbird Mercantile & Trading Co., affectionately known as Blackbird.

On August 1, the store will change hands and co-owners Lara Anderson and her mother Kathy Lathrop  will begin a new adventure with interior design and RD Shady.  The patented custom lamp-shade covers invented by the mother-daughter duo have increased in popularity locally an are receiving national attention.  Transitioning into the next phase with RD Shady is one of the reasons behind their departure from their downtown retail shop.

“The product has really taken off here locally,” shares Anderson.  “We now offer customers the ability to send us their own fabric to customize their RD Shady for no additional charge.”  RD Shady will be featured in HGTV Magazine’s October issue and the RD Shady website is undergoing a full face-lift in preparation for increased traffic to the site.

In addition, Anderson and Lathrop have licensed their design, plus two additional versions of the RD Shady, to a major lamp manufacture in Jacksonville, Florida called Kenroy Home.  The Kenroy Home version of the RD Shady will be sold to major retailers around the United States.  “We are really excited about the potential in this partnership,” shares Anderson.

Blackbird will continue the tradition of offering new and used furnishings, the RD Shady line, as well as bar and kitchen ware, wine and beer and a variety of fun options for gift giving.

The store will remain open during the transition from Red Door to Blackbird and a grand opening is planned for the first day of fall, September 23.

Please stop by during the final week of July and say goodbye to Anderson and Lathrop as they prepare to leave a business they’ve poured their hearts into for the past nine years. “We have had so many wonderful years running our shop. The friendships that we have formed will remain close to our hearts forever,” says Anderson.

Red Door Interior will continue to communicate via their RedDoorOlympia Facebook page as they continue to offer interior design services, custom sewing services and of course, RD Shady product.  Keep your eye on their page as they embark on the next phase with their unique and popular invention, RD Shady.

Visit the new LC’s Blackbird Mercantile & Trading Co. starting August 1 in the former Red Door Interiors location at 430 Washington St. SE (the corner of 5th and Washington) in downtown Olympia.


Capitol Land Trust Moves Forward on Black River, Goldsborough Creek & Nelson Family Ranch projects

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 7:47am



By Natasha Ashenhurst

oly fed sponsorThe Black River southwest of Olympia is slow and meandering. A major tributary to the Chehalis, it is pristine, in part because so much of the land surrounding it is undeveloped. The river is part of a complex system of wetlands, streams, prairies, bogs, forests, farms and timberlands that are home to hundreds of animal species, making it one of the most unique lowland river systems in the Pacific Northwest. Future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy this incredible resource, thanks to a strong commitment to fund conservation by the Washington State Legislature and the folks at Capitol Land Trust.

Nearly $3 million was included in the recently passed budget to fund projects led by Capitol Land Trust, including protecting and restoring lands along the Black River.

capitol land trust

The Black River and other conservation projects, led by Capitol Land Trust, were recently award $3 million in the recently passed state budget. Photo courtesy: Capitol Land Trust.

“The Black River is a very unique resource across the state of Washington. We have a great opportunity to protect this impact watershed. We want to fix the culvert so the salmon can come up higher, and protect habitat for the Oregon Spotted Frog,” said Amanda Reed, executive director of Capitol Land Trust. The Black River project will include replanting native species along the river.

Other new projects funded by the recently passed budget include conservation of the Nelson Family Ranch—a project that will conserve a large cattle ranch along the Deschutes River—expanding Mason County’s Coulter Creek Park near Allyn, and an acquisition near the Lake Lucinda community. These last two projects will expand public access to hiking and non-motorized boating.

Capitol Land Trust is a charitable 501(c)(3) and is funded, in part, by grant programs made available through the legislature. Each project they work on is different and has different funding requirements, but regardless of the project, their mission remains the same, and that is protecting and conserving land in southwest Washington.

capitol land trust

More than 14 miles of shoreline and 5,000 acres in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, and Grays Harbor Counties have been protected by the Capitol Land Trust since 1987. Photo courtesy: Capitol Land Trust.

The nonprofit organization accomplishes their mission through a variety of methods. In some cases, they collaborate with landowners to secure conservation easements, which are permanent agreements that conserve land while keeping it in private ownership. For other projects, they accept donations of, and in some cases also purchase, land and conservation easements. Their approach is working. Since 1987 the group has put in permanent conservation more than 14 miles of Puget Sound shoreline and over 5,000 acres in Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor and Lewis Counties – including wildlife habitat, working farms and forests, and land managed as public parks.

And while their core mission is to protect land, another key goal that emerged from their recent five year strategic plan is a commitment to connect people with nature. Reed explains, “We want to provide people with opportunities to get outside and engage with the land that we’ve preserved. Nature can provide recreation. Restoration is a fun way to learn. We want to help make those connections for people.”

A project that is near completion called Rose II Phase of Goldsborough Creek, will help meet this commitment to connect people with conservation land. For the last decade, Capitol Land Trust has prioritized conservation in Goldsborough Creek, which flows into Shelton’s Oakland Bay. Goldsborough is an important creek for water quality going into the bay, and for fish. Hikers enjoy the trail along the creek, and especially enjoy watching the salmon running in the fall.

capitol land trust

Goldsborough is an important creek for water quality going into the bay, and for fish. Photo courtesy: Capitol Land Trust.

“We’ve been trying to protect land along this creek and watershed as it becomes available, and with partners we’ve managed to protect 1,000 acres in that watershed. Rose Phase II adds 20 acres and is adjacent to our North Fork Goldsborough preserve,” Reed said.

On Saturday, August 1, Capitol Land Trust will hold its Annual Summer Gala and Auction at Ralph and Nancy Munro’s Triple Creek Farm on Eld Inlet in Olympia. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to new outreach and education programming. “Helping people make connections with nature is one of the things we’ll be raising money for at the gala,” said Reed.

The gala includes a large silent and live auction, locally sourced and prepared salmon by the Chehalis Tribe, beef from Nelson Family Ranch, and shellfish from Taylor Shellfish Farms, local beer and wine, and remarks by New York Times bestselling author and Seattle native, Garth Stein.

“We rely on donors to develop these projects until we can apply for public funding. We rely on sponsors to hold events like the Summer Gala,” explained Reed.  “This gala is a celebration of our work, but it is also a critical piece to fund our mission—protecting and preserving the land. We have amazing places right in our backyard to protect, like the Black River, and it is important to do everything we can to move this work forward.”

To learn more about supporting the work of the Capitol Land Trust, visit their website.


The “Really Big One” Is Coming—Be Prepared, Not Scared

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 7:21am



Submitted by Thurston County  Emergency Management 

“Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast,” said Kenneth Murphy, who directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region X office, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

Murphy’s stark and startling comment was made in a recent New Yorker magazine article outlining the devastation that could come from a mega-quake of magnitude 9.0 that is overdue in the Pacific Northwest. And when it comes, it could be the worst natural disaster in the history of North America.

“If that New Yorker article has you scared, we want you to take a deep breath and channel that energy into getting your home and your family prepared for emergencies. Don’t be scared of earthquakes and tsunamis—be informed and prepared,” said Sandy Johnson, Manager of the Thurston County Emergency Management Division. “Preparedness will be the key to surviving the next big earthquake in our area.”

The Thurston County Emergency Management website has a ton of tips, tools and information on how to prepare your home and family for emergencies and help you survive “The Really Big One.” Learn how to make your own 72-hour disaster kit, join a citizen volunteer response group, download a tip sheet on earthquake preparedness, or contact emergency management staff to schedule a “3 Days, 3 Ways” training session—all this and more is available on the Thurston County Emergency Management website.

The county’s team of emergency management experts is also doing their part to prepare the region and its residents for emergencies and disasters like earthquakes. The county has its Hazard Mitigation Plan, which outlines initiatives to reduce or eliminate hazards. The county is required to have its Hazard Mitigation Plan in order to qualify for certain competitive grant funding opportunities.

The county is also updating its Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, which guides the coordination of Thurston County government and other partner agencies for disaster response and recovery. The county will hold a public hearing on the updated Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan on Tuesday, August 4 at 3 p.m. at the county courthouse. Go to for information about the August 4 public hearing.

The county’s emergency management staff members also participate in statewide and regional emergency drills and exercises, such as the Cascadia Rising regional exercise planned for June 2016. Cascadia Rising will test plans for response to a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami. Local jurisdictions and state agencies from across Washington, Oregon and Idaho will be participating in the Cascadia Rising exercise alongside staff and experts from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal government agencies.

This fall, Thurston County Emergency Management will host the annual Emergency Preparedness Expo. As you prep the kids to go back to school, you can prep your home and family to be ready for earthquakes, storm season, or any emergency. Join us at the 2015 Emergency Preparedness Expo on Saturday, September 26 at Yelm High School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you are interested in learning more about personal preparedness, or you would like to schedule a presentation, please contact Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management at or at (360) 867-2825.