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YWCA of Olympia Announces 2014 Business of Achievement

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:36pm


Submitted by YMCA of Olympia 

Three Girls Media CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery.

Three Girls Media CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery.

According to the Shriver Report, two out of three households depend on the wages of working moms. However, childcare is expensive and can be hard to find for some women. Many workers have limited or no sick or maternity leave.  Some women use restroom stalls to breastfeed their infants.  The facts are sobering, but some businesses are stepping in and stepping up to remove these barriers and create family-friendly workplaces that support and empower women and families.

Three Girls Media works hard to create an environment that supports working parents, which is why it was selected as the 2014 YWCA of Olympia Business of Achievement.  Three Girls Media is an award-winning boutique Public Relations & Social Media Management Agency located in Olympia, WA. The firm works with clients worldwide to help them raise their brand awareness and name recognition through both traditional and digital public relations tactics.

 “This business is very empowering for women! Noteworthy benefits include extremely flexible schedules, family leave, telecommuting, and even Costco memberships.”

“The business doesn’t just talk about families being first…they live it! Whether that means office dogs barking occasionally or kids at staff meetings, each member of the team is encouraged to make whatever scheduling allowances are needed to ensure the health and welfare of their families and themselves.”

While providing excellent service and dedication to their customers, Three Girls Media emphasizes a healthy work/life balance, allowing employees to make their own schedules. This enables employees to avoid prohibitive day care costs, obtain advanced education, and be involved in nonprofit and school-based volunteer opportunities.

“We are proud to honor Three Girls Media as our inaugural Business of Achievement.” says YWCA executive director Hillary Soens. “They exemplify the YWCA’s goal to support the economic and social advancement of women each and every day in their business practices.”

“I’m so humbled and honored by this award! When I started Three Girls Media nine years ago it was incredibly important to me to have a business model that honored putting families and my team’s personal lives first. To be recognized for something that is a core belief and practice of mine and my business is truly fantastic!” stated Erika Taylor Montgomery, Three Girls Media Founder & CEO.

A Business of Achievement biography is available on the YWCA of Olympia website.

The 20th Annual Women of Achievement Gala, presented by Titus Will, will take place on Thursday, November 6th from 5:30pm – 8:45pm at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets ($80) will be available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at 352-0593 or online at under Events or Donate. Once again Titus-Will Cars will serve as the Women of Achievement Gala Presenting Sponsor, with WSECU and Lucky Eagle as the Gala Sustaining Sponsors.

For more information about the Women of Achievement Gala or for media inquiries, please contact Cherie Reeves Sperr, Special Events & Communications Director at 352-0593 or


Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County Board of Directors Receives Prestigious Award

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:28pm



Submitted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County

The Board of Directors of  Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County receives a prestigious  Silver Level of the National Boys & Girls Clubs of America League of EAGLES Award.

This new award is a key element of Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Leading Edge 2020 Board Transformation Strategy which advances new tools, training, and technical assistance to local Boys & Girls Club Boards of Directors. The award recognizes organizations for achieving 90% or more of the Key Performance Indicators for Strong Boards as reported in the organization’s 2013 Annual Report.

This special Board awards program measures key elements of a strong board which include 90% of their board members achieving:

Engagement.   Engage and Attend board meetings

Ask.                    Ask others face-to-face for funding

Give.                  Give by making a personal financial gift

Lead.                 Lead the organization to achieving strategic initiatives

Evaluate.         Evaluate their individual board performance based on a personal plan

Serve.                Serving, actively on committees or task forces of the organization

Reaching this milestone is a significant achievement of which Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County is very proud.  It is a testimony of the dedication and commitment of the organization’s board and executive leadership to serving the youth of Thurston County at the highest level.

The League of EAGLES Awards was presented on Thursday, October 9, at 8:30 a.m. during the Pacific Leadership Conference General Session in Portland, OR.

NTPS College and Career Fair Scheduled for October 27

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:00pm



Submitted by North Thurston Public Schools 

north thurston public schoolsPlan to attend the 6th annual NTPS College and Career Fair held at Timberline High School on October 27.  This exciting event is open to the public and we encourage students and their parents to attend.  The fair offers a wide range of educational and career options.  This year we have over 100 colleges/universities represented including 4 year, 2 year, out-of -state colleges, technical and apprenticeship trades; numerous career opportunities; military including ROTC; scholarship information, and volunteer opportunities for teens. New this year – area organizations that offer scholarships will be on hand to tell you about their scholarships and what kind of applicant they are looking for.

  • 5:00 to 5:30 Workshop: Navigating the College Fair
  • 5:30  Doors Open to the College/Career Fair
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Workshop: Financing Your Education

Workshops this year.

How to Get the Most out of the College and Career Fair – Planning your Evening” Begin your evening at 5:00 in the theater.  Be ready with a game plan when the doors open at 5:30.

Financing Your Education: 7:30 – 8:00 Attend this workshop at the end of the College Fair.  Discover the different kinds of financial aid available to students including scholarships, financial need and federal aid, merit aid and deadlines and processes.

Transition panel presentation for students with IEP’s and their parents.  This panel is comprised of professionals from DD services, DVR, Parent to Parent, Thurston County Transition Services and Basic Education. This is a great opportunity to learn about transition services available as students transition from high school.

Timberline Concession Stand will be open and overflow parking available at Lakes Elementary.

Westport Winery Success at World Wine Championships in Chicago, Illinois.

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:08am



Submitted by Westport Winery

westport winery 2013 Shorebird PosterSmoky Nor’wester a 2012 blend of 95% Sangiovese from Red Willow Vineyard and 5% Petite Sirah from Jones Vineyard, earned 93 points in this evaluation. The judges made the following comments, “Dark ruby color. Inviting aromas and flavors of creme brulee, raspberry pie a la mode, and cherry salt water taffy with a silky, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a medium-length finish with accents of Neapolitan gelato and blood orange with crunchy tannins. A tasty, refreshing red for all occasions.” A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Museum of the North Beach in Moclips. The label art was provided by the museum while the sculpture telling the story of the Raven Holding Back the Rain that commemorates this wine was designed by local Haida artist Nikki Demmert.

The 2013 Shorebird Chardonnay from Connor-Lee Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope earned a 92-point rating. The judges described it as having a “Pale silvery straw color. Bright attractive aromas and flavors of tropical fruit salad, sweet cream, yellow cherry, and white blossom with a vibrant, fruity medium body and a graceful, interesting, medium-length finish with suggestions of pineapple sauce, spice apple, and clementine with fruit tannins and no oak. A deliciously different, refreshing and tropical chardonnay.” This wine benefits Grays Harbor Audubon and features a marbled Godwit on the label from Susan Fishburn. Mike Peterson created the sculpture for this wine.

Mermaid’s Merlot earned 91 points with 2013 grapes from both Connor-Lee and Two Blondes Vineyards. The judges’ comments said, “Dark garnet color. Oaky aromas of roasted coffee and nuts, chocolate toffee, and berry pie with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an interesting, medium length, mineral, vanilla, and pickled beet finish with medium tannins and moderate oak. A lively and lush red blend that is sure to please. This label was created by winery co-owner Blain Roberts from a photograph he had taken when he owned Lahaina Divers on Maui. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Relay For Life of Grays Harbor.

Bella, the winery’s 2012 homage to the region’s Twilight phenomena earned 89 points with its “Attractive aromas and flavors of toasted angel food cake, berry chutney, and burnt sugar

westport winery

A popular wine, Jetty Cat Red, is one of 36 varietals made by Westport Winery.

with a silky, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, amusing finish with touches of lemon pepper, cedar, earth, and vanilla nuts with fine tannins and light oak. A well balanced, versatile, and flavorful red blend. The American Red Cross Blood Bank receives donations from the sale of this wine. The sculpture was created by Clallam Bay artist Lora Malakoff.

Westport’s most popular 2011 Jetty Cat received an 89 point rating. This Columbia Valley blend of 34% Petite Sirah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Tempranillo, 11% Sangiovese and 7%

Syrah is said to exhibit “Ruby color. Toasty aromas of roasted coconut, berry chutney, and toasty praline with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, medium-length floral honey, cherries, cedar, and spice finish with crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A vivacious red that will be a fine dinner companion. The Jetty Cat sculpture is a series of topiary figures sculpted by winery co-owner Kim Roberts. The label was painted by Dr. Brian McGregor of Aberdeen.

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with the unique outdoor sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery was named Best Northwest Wine Destination in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Westport’s award-winning wines are exclusively available at the winery. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website


Rob Rice Homes in Kensington: A Close Sense of Community

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 6:37am



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

Susan loves the location of her new home.

Susan loves the location of her new home.

When you own a home in the Rob Rice Community of Kensington, Stonegate or Lexington, everything is close, just a stone’s throw from anything you might need or want to do.

By the time Rob Rice finishes building the lovely homes in Kensington, the last of the three communities off of College Street in Lacey, Washington, he will have built 446 homes in all these great locations. There are reasons that so many homes in this close community have been bought up in recent years.

No other place could offer a homeowner more convenience.

Everything within reach

Need milk or groceries or a prescription filled? Two major grocery stores and a pharmacy are less than a mile away. The Intercity Transit bus stops right on the corner next to the community of Kensington.

Less than a half a mile down College Street, Lacey Crossroads Shopping Center provides restaurants, a Thrive Community Fitness center, a local watering hole called Hop Jacks that boasts the coldest beer in town, a place for a great haircut at Sport Cuts and many more businesses, all within walking distance.

“People walk here all the time to drop off mail,” says Melissa the manager of the PostNet at Crossroads. “They can escape the hassle of the Post Office by coming to a place right near their home.”

The owner of the unique Bark Avenue Pet Supplies & Food Store says homeowners walk their dogs to the store just to get a free treat from the owner of the shop. “My customers tell me that once they turn into Lacey Crossroads their dog starts pulling them toward our store.”

Shopping is a short distance from the Rob Rice community of Kensington.

Shopping is a short distance from the Rob Rice community of Kensington.

Homeowners there now will tell you that they moved to the area for that sense of community and closeness.

“When I was working, I lived in a big house by I-5, but I moved to this close knit community once I retired and it is ideal,” says Susan, a homeowner in Stonegate right next to Kensington, who does her banking down the street, enjoys being right by a Lowes and says she is looking forward to the new Walmart “neighborhood market” currently under construction around the corner on Yelm Highway. “I knew everything would be close and easy to get to.”

For just some quiet time driving golf balls, Capitol City Golf Club is down on the corner. Medical facilities and the top area hospital are also nearby and local elementary, middle and high schools are just minutes away for families with school-aged children. The entrance to I-5 is also a short distance down the road.

“I built here because I could see the vision for this corner of the community that was accessible to so many amenities that homeowners care about,” says Rob Rice, the 2013 Best of South Sound builder.  “Our homeowners love the convenience of a short walk to area shopping, parks, & more.

Parks and Trails Galore

Rob’s vision for this corner of Lacey was also encouraged as he watched the city build Rainier Vista Park, one of Lacey’s jewels with a beautiful view of Mt Rainier. Many homeowners from these Rob Rice Communities gather to watch their kids play soccer or baseball there or have a family picnic in one of the park shelters. It is a great spot to view Lacey’s fireworks display every Fourth of July when neighbors and kids in pajamas gather in the park parking lot.

The Western Chehalis Trail is nearby for avid walkers and bicyclists.

The Western Chehalis Trail is nearby for avid walkers and bicyclists.

The Western Chehalis Trail provides a beautiful border to all three of these Rob Rice neighborhoods. The paved Trail runs north and south through the heart of Thurston County and has excellent biking, jogging and walking opportunities for homeowners to enjoy tranquil and refreshing outdoor recreation all year long.

“We are within three blocks of the amazingly beautiful Trail,” says Susan. “My grandson and I ride our bikes over there and enjoy it immensely.”

It is hard to imagine a place that could offer more convenience than the Rob Rice Community of Kensington in Lacey. Add to the neighborhood amenities carefree front lawns, luxury ramblers and 2-story homes with premium features that can rarely be found without paying for upgrades, this lovely community is a real find for anyone look for their next home and neighborhood.


Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.


Thrifty Thurston Goes Mushroom Hunting with Kids

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 6:07am



By Jennifer Crain

Alley Oop LogoExamining samples of locally foraged mushrooms just before the South Sound Mushroom Club’s September meeting, I caught a whiff of maple syrup. Its source turned out to be a dried candy cap mushroom, one of the Lactarius species, popular for its sweet scent and flavor (it intensifies when dried). At the program’s intermission was proof that these common looking fungi are perfect for baking: two plates of candy cap sugar cookies were nestled among the savory appetizers.

mushroom hunting kids

Hunting mushrooms with an experienced forager can yield some top-notch ingredients. Photo credit: Jennifer Crain.

But identifying such a treasure out in the forest can be tricky. Would-be foragers should educate themselves and seek out a guide, says forager and educator Marie Lynn, who serves as the club’s vice president. She’s been interested in local mushrooms for three decades and started hunting and identifying them in earnest about four years ago. For the past two years, she’s served as a guide on mushroom forays through the club.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its edible mushrooms: chanterelles, morels, the occasional bolete. But these are only a few chips off a figurative iceburg of species that are not yet completely understood. Mushrooms are in their own biological kingdom, classified as neither plant nor animal, and fungi species are thought to number a million—or many more. So far, fewer than 100,000 of them have been described. Still, that’s plenty enough for a lifetime of study and a heck of a lot of good meals.

Carolina Sun-Widrow and her husband, R.J., will often go on a weekend foraging expedition with their girls, ages seven and twelve, to bring home the prized ingredients and educate their kids about native fungi. Mia, a second-grader, smiles whenever she finds another chanterelle out in the woods, its butter-hued flesh standing out against the dark earth or camouflaged in the leaf scatter.

Sun-Widrow says aside from loving to eat them, their family benefits from time in the woods together.

“Mushroom hunting equals hiking with a purpose,” she says, adding that their girls are getting an education when they forage for their own food.

mushroom hunting kids

Mia Widrow shows off one of her edible finds. Photo credit: R.J. Widrow.

When they saw how much chanterelles cost at the store, for instance, they were shocked—then proud knowing they had the skills to find their own for free. Foraging also helps their family make a connection to the biology of the forest.

“Being out in the woods…has made us more observant,” Sun-Widrow says. “In order to look for each type of mushroom, you have to know about its immediate surroundings or microhabitat. Does it grow on decayed wood or on the ground? Does it favor moss as a ground layer or pine duff or humus? (You have to know about) its broader surroundings. Does it associate with dead stumps, spruce, Douglas fir, pine? Does it prefer wetter forests? Old growth or new? There is an incredible amount of learning about forest ecology and symbiosis: a science classroom with gastronomic rewards!”

For all these reasons, Marie Lynn is enthusiastic about teaching kids to hunt mushrooms. But to start out, she suggests finding mushrooms in order to collect data. Poisonous mushrooms are only dangerous if ingested, she says, so touching any mushroom for study is safe. Learn to make spore prints, which are both educational and visually striking (try the tutorial here). Pick up a book, such as this one, to identify what you find.

If you do go out in search of omelet stuffers, don’t wing it. Lynn stresses that parents should educate themselves and seek out an expert before taking their kids along. Once you’re ready for the adventure of foraging, follow best practices for mushroom foraging:

  • mushroom hunting with kids

    With guidance, kids can learn to identify edible mushrooms, such as chanterelles. Photo credit: Jennifer Crain.

    Wear bright colors, such as a neon orange vest. If you get lost, you want to stick out like a sore thumb. Remember, mushroom hunters and deer hunters often share the same woods: make yourself visible and audible. Even if you’ve been before, never hunt mushrooms alone. Adults can stray from one another but make sure kids are in visual range of an adult at all times.

  • Take a whistle. Adults should stay within whistling range of one another and use these formal signals: one blast to check in (here I am), two blasts to congregate (time to leave), three blasts to call for help.
  • Dress right. Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that covers arms and legs. Waterproof boots are a plus. Mushroom hunting takes place off trail so you’ll need to protect yourself and your kids from scrapes, cuts, and poison ivy.
  • Take the proper gear. A walking stick is good for balance and for combing through leaf litter. Also pack a flashlight, water, a small sharp knife, a small brush for cleaning mushrooms, and a lightweight basket for carrying them.
  • Communicate. Before leaving, be sure you tell someone who isn’t going on the hunt where you’re going and when you plan to be back. If you need to leave the woods early, let your companions know you’re headed home.
  • Never eat a mushroom unless you’re absolutely sure it’s safe. Even if a guide tells you a mushroom is okay to eat, only ingest one new mushroom per day. Cook everything you eat: never eat a raw wild mushroom.

Most important, if you want to eat the mushrooms you find, learn from an experienced forager. Join the South Sound Mushroom Club. It’s free to check it out for the first meeting and joining fees are reasonable, considering that membership includes some equipment. (Joining fees are $20 per year for an individual, $30 for a family. Thereafter, yearly fees are $6 and $12, respectively.)

The South Sound Mushroom Club’s next meeting is on November 19 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Eastside Community Center. For more information, visit their website.

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, click here.



Faces of the Olympia Farmers Market – Michael Kinnick of The Fresh Approach has the Goods

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 5:50am



By Kelli Samson

NW prosthodonticsThe women around Olympia may not know the names of all of the vendors at the Olympia Farmers Market, but we sure know “the guy at the Fresh Approach stall.”

Come on, ladies. You know. The cute one. Don’t be coy. You can all tell yourselves you insist on buying your fruits and some vegetables from The Fresh Approach because the folks there are knowledgeable. They are.

You can tell yourselves they have gorgeous apples. They do.

fresh approach

The friendly Fresh Approach crew, from left: Rachel Ness, Jeremy Dawes, owner Michael Kinnick, and Steve West.

You can tell yourself that it’s the fact that their organics are all together under a clearly marked tent, making it really easy to shop quickly. It’s true.

Maybe you have convinced yourself that you insist on shopping that stall each week because they are super-friendly. Because they offer to take a little off of your price since you brought your own produce bags. Because they joke with your kindergartener.  Because they are always laughing with one another.

But, come on. You’re not fooling anyone. I’m calling you out. You ladies have told me time and time again that the real reason you keep going back to the Fresh Approach is that smile. And those twinkly eyes. You’ve begged me to pitch this story.

If you’re among his sea of admirers, to you I say, “You’re welcome.”

Meet contract vendor Michael Kinnick. He does have a name, see?

He is a real person. And he is genuinely nice. He had no idea we have all been whispering about him, so I broke it to him gently.

fresh approach

It’s apple time, and The Fresh Approach has a variety called “Pinova” that will have a party in your mouth.

Kinnick is a transplant from Massachusetts. He came out to Olympia in pursuit of a lady (you can all sigh) fourteen years ago and attended The Evergreen State College (TESC). It was at there that he began what would become The Fresh Approach.

He never planned to own a business. He never planned to sell produce. “I wanted to work for myself, but, honestly, I was thinking more about a career in law,” says Kinnick.

Instead, Kinnick has found himself with a contract at the Olympia Farmers Market that allows him to sell things that aren’t readily available here on the western side of the state. He makes a trip to the Yakima area each week to bring you the best goods from eastern Washington.

“My job is to bring stuff in from family farms outside of the usual boundaries of the market, things that don’t compete with what our local growers do well here,” explains Kinnick. “I deal with about forty family orchards in eastern Washington, and I actually really enjoy tracking down the interesting different varieties. It’s like a scavenger hunt for me every week.”

fresh approach

Just the smell of these Concord grapes alone could be bottled and sold.

The Fresh Approach has several accounts with area restaurants. Olympia stand-outs like the Water Street Cafe, Acqua Via, Ramblin’ Jacks, and Mercato are the main ones to which he supplies.

“It’s cool having a community-based business and selling something I feel good about,” says Kinnick.

The work of owning a business like this can be grueling. During the harvest months of July through October, Kinnick often finds himself and right-hand-man Jeremy Dawes working seventy-hour weeks. “And we don’t even grow the stuff,” he laughs.

There are the drives east (they each make a separate trip weekly), the storing of things in their warehouse, the building of crates and displays, the set ups and tear downs at the market, and often the repairs of the things that break. One week it’s a cold storage unit, and the next it’s one of his two trucks.

Now that fall is here, Kinnick’s produce is changing. “I just got the first of the cranberries from the coast, and now I’m on to apples, pears, and mushrooms. I’m on the home stretch.”

fresh approach

Kinnick is just beginning to receive seasonal cranberries, a sure sign that Autumn is here, whether our beautiful weather knows it or not.

Come November, the Olympia Farmers Market remains open just on the weekends.

By the time the market closes down all but Saturdays after the holidays, Kinnick often takes a vacation. A well-deserved one, I’d say.

All those ladies coming by to chat has got to take a toll on a guy.

Stay up-to-date with The Fresh Approach at or via Facebook.

I am a food blogger by night (or, more often so, by very, very early morning), so I spend a lot of time talking with other foodies about, well, food. And when I’m chatting with other women about the Olympia Farmers Market, inevitably someone is going to bring up “the guy at the Fresh Approach stall.”


Doug Briggs’ Cougars Win with Teamwork in the Black Hills Junior Football League

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:02pm



By Gail Wood

color graphicsIt’s another football practice, another workout for Doug Briggs’ team.

And as he’s moving players into position on defense, telling them their responsibilities, something amazing happened. They listened.

“That’s the strength to this team,” Briggs said.

They’re listeners and doers. And they’re not too bad at blocking and tackling. The Cougars, the team Briggs has coached for three years since taking over for his dad, will play in the championship game Saturday in the Black Hills Junior Football League.

black hills football

Cougars quarterback Tanovo Natuti looks to pass in a game earlier this season.

It’s been an impressive season for the undefeated Cougars. Off to a 7-0 start, they’ve not allowed a touchdown, outscoring opponents 143-0. On Saturday, the Cougars, a team made of second, third and fourth graders, will play the Tornadoes at 1:00 p.m. at South Sound Stadium.

The Black Hills Junior Football League, which has 24 teams and was started in 1994, will have games all day Saturday at South Sound Stadium.

“With these guys, there’s no talking back,” Briggs said about his team. “You tell these kids things and they’ll line up exactly as you want. They just do what you ask them to do.”

The go-power to the Cougars’ offense has been the one-two punch of running backs Tevion Blakely and Brooklyn Hicks. Blakely, who is now a fourth grader and started playing football as a second grader, has been his team’s end zone finder this season. He’s scored 13 touchdowns this season.

“I’ve learned to follow my blockers and not just run off by myself,” Tevion said. “My first year I didn’t make a touchdown. My second year I thought I could do better.”

And he did.

black hills football

Cougars running back Tevion Blakely runs upfield against the Huskies.

“He’s the Marshawn Lynch of the group,” Briggs said. “He’s a hard runner. He gets the yards.”

Briggs, following in the footsteps of his dad, Doug Briggs Sr., got involved in coaching six years ago when he was a junior at North Thurston High School. That year he turned out for the school’s football team, playing offensive and defensive tackle for the Rams’ coach, Rocky Patchin. In 2011, a year after graduating from high school, he took over for his dad and became head coach of the Cougars.

“Doug has totally restructured the team. From year one to year three,” said Don Blakely, Tevion’s dad. “The offense. The defense. He’s done a great job.”

Don, who grew up in South Carolina and has been in the Army for 20 years, didn’t get the chance his son got to play football growing up. Besides the fun of playing football and the excitement of being on an undefeated team, Don said he hopes his son is learning some life’s lessons from playing a game.

“I just hope he learns the concept of teamwork,” Don said. “And watching him from year one to year three, he’s really learned the concept of teamwork.”

Teamwork, playing together, has been something Briggs has emphasized all season. Everyone has to do their assignment for a play to work. They’re a group of kids who have learned to win and play together.

black hills football

The undefeated Cougars pose for a team picture.

“Everyone is pulling together,” Briggs said. “On the field and off the field. The kids have become friends.”

The players have had sleepovers at each other’s homes. They’ve gotten to know each other off the practice field, building that team unity. Winning has also helped link them.

“Winning gets them even more excited,” Briggs said.

Interestingly, of the 21 players on the Cougars team, most of them are third graders, not fourth graders. Briggs said he’s got seven fourth graders, 12 third graders and two second graders.

“We’re one of the youngest teams in the league,” Briggs said.

So, the Cougars aren’t loaded with older players, winning with experience and bigger players. They’ve won with a dominate defense. Key players on their defense are “Q” Merchant, the Cougars’ middle linebacker. Then Eli Ensminger and D.J. Moore are both defensive tackles who put pressure on the quarterback and on opponent’s offense.

black hills football

The Cougars run onto the field as they begin a game at South Sound Stadium.

“These two kids can burst through the line,” Briggs said. “They can get to the quarterback before a play can even start. We’re really a fast defense. That’s one of the reasons we don’t give up many yards.” The Cougars have allowed just five first downs all season.

Conditioning is also a big part of the Cougars’ success. “We do a lot of sprints at practice,” Briggs said. “A lot endurance. I do it with the kids. I show them that I’ll never have them do something that I can’t physically do.”

Defensively, the Cougars bring a lot of pressure, blitzing linebackers. They use four defensive linemen and five linebackers.

“But we have a lot of different packages out of it though,” Briggs said. “We bounce around a lot. We don’t like to keep the same packages out there.”

It’s been a winning formula for the Cougars.


C.A.D: Inside The Capital High School Football Team

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 6:55am



By Lauren Frasier, Capital High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

dairy queenThere’s one phrase on the minds of each member of Capital High School’s football team this year: C.A.D.

They know it like they know every single play and route. It’s a fundamental part of who the team is and what they stand for.

Introduced by Head Coach John Johnson, C.A.D. stands for Commitment, Accountability and Discipline. The motto is everywhere on the team – on their uniforms, bracelets, even painted on the wall of the weight room. But to them, it means much more than just an catchy slogan. These three letters are what the Capital High School Football program has tried to build their team around this season.

“It’s been a really big factor in uniting us as a team and holding us to a higher standard,” says Cody Jenkins, a junior at Capital and Varsity Quarterback.

Capital Footbal players wear their C.A.D. shirts during weight training to remind them of their committment.

Capital Footbal players wear their C.A.D. shirts during weight training to remind them of their committment.

“I’ve seen a lot more dedication in our work ethic since C.A.D. was introduced.”

This is exactly what Coach Johnson was looking for in his players. “We went through a dialogue of what it meant to be Committed, Accountable and Disciplined,” he says. “We didn’t just ask them to accept this motto and not know what it meant.” This way, the players understand how to show those traits to their teammates and peers. Each player can see that their teammates are working just as hard as they are.

Johnson wants the players to realize they’ve committed to something bigger than themselves. “It’s not about one person, it’s about the team,” he explains. “Everyone has a role and we want to respect that.”

In a sport like football it’s important to know that your teammate has your back and that you can always trust them. Returning player and sophomore Rhys Tranum shares, “You have to trust that they’re working just as hard as you are and that’s how we hold each other accountable.”

Quarterback Jenkins feels the same way.  “C.A.D. really helps to remind me of the commitment I have to the team.”

Being Committed means coming to practice every day ready to work hard. “You not only have to show up, you have to listen to Coach and be ready to improve,” adds Tranum.

Capital players strive to show C.A.D. (Commitment, Accountability, and Discipline) on and off the field.

Capital players strive to show C.A.D. (Commitment, Accountability, and Discipline) on and off the field.

C.A.D. isn’t just used for workouts and practice. During a game, it helps the players stay united and focused on a common goal. “It helps them see how they can help one another and the team,” shares Coach Johnson.

It reminds the players of the hard work they’ve put in during the season and that they can rely on one another. Freshman Danny Samson explains, “It helps us unite as a team when we’re down in games.”

But the goal isn’t just to make good football players, it’s to make leaders, both on and off the field. The idea of being Committed, Accountable and Disciplined applies to all aspects of life, not just training or games. It’s Johnson’s hope that C.A.D. makes the transition into schoolwork and into the community.

“It’s got to roll over into the classroom and into the community,” Johnson says. “Those things are really where I’m hoping it spreads.”

Juggling homework, practice and other obligations can be a challenge for players but the self-discipline learned with C.A.D. helps them handle it all. “It really helps us to stay focused in school,” says Samson.

Tranum agrees. “It really transfers into your everyday life. You use those skills everywhere.” Being part of something bigger than yourself – being committed, being accountable, being disciplined – is something so important in all parts of life, not just in practice or on the field.

Maybe that’s why C.A.D. has become incredibly popular throughout the entire school. Teachers have bracelets. So does the volleyball team. The booster club started selling a fan version at

The C.A.D. motto is displayed in the CHS weight room - a reminder for all players each day.

The C.A.D. motto is displayed in the CHS weight room – a reminder for all players each day.

games. “The idea is definitely catching on in other places than just the football team,” says Jenkins.

It’s a great motto showing with hard work comes great rewards.

By always striving to be committed, accountable and disciplined, the Capital High School football team will be a force to be reckoned with this season. But even more than that, players will take those new skills and make a difference in their schools and communities.

“It really comes down to two things, attitude and effort,” says Coach Johnson. “We can’t control what we’ve got on the other side of the line, but our attitude and effort can always be 100 percent.”


Leonard K. Lucenko, Jr.: Helping People, Giving Back

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 6:50am



olympia attorney

As a first generation Ukranian-American growing up in New Jersey, Leonard K. Lucenko, Jr. always knew he wanted to help people.

As a first generation Ukranian-American growing up in New Jersey, Leonard K. Lucenko, Jr. always knew he wanted to help people.

Lucenko’s parents immigrated to the United States when they were just children. “They came here with nothing,” says Lucenko. Taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them in their new country, Lucenko’s parents learned the language, went to college, and worked hard to become successful.

Because of this, education was a big part of Lucenko’s upbringing. In addition to his regular studies, Lucenko was also involved in Plast (the Ukrainian equivalent of Boy Scouts) and attended Saturday Ukrainian school where he learned the customs, language and history of his Ukrainian culture.

As Lucenko approached college age, he began to consider what type of career he wanted to have, always coming back to the same thing: helping people.

“I always wanted to help people,” says Lucenko. “I thought if I became an attorney it would really afford me that opportunity.”

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1990, Lucenko packed his bags and headed south to Florida to study law.

While working toward a Juris Doctorate degree at the Nova Southeastern University School of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Lucenko landed an internship at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office. Here, Lucenko received his first taste of criminal law.

After graduating in 1995, Lucenko went on to serve as an Assistant Public Defender at Broward County Public Defender’s Office for seven years, until his wife was offered an internship opportunity at the University of Washington which transplanted them both to the Pacific Northwest.

olympia attorney

Lucenko and his fellow attorneys at Connolly Tacon & Meserve donate their time, providing pro bono legal services.

Lucenko and his wife had never been to the Northwest before, but quickly fell in love with the region. After Lucenko’s wife’s internship concluded, the two reluctantly returned to Florida.

“After living in Washington, we didn’t want to live in Florida anymore,” says Lucenko. It was 2002, and Lucenko and his wife had been back in Florida for less than one year before deciding to pack their bags and make the move to the Northwest, this time planting roots in Olympia.

Lucenko’s wife, who had recently graduated with a Ph.D in Psychology, took a job working for the state and Lucenko signed on with a respected Olympia law firm, Connolly Tacon & Meserve (CTM).

Lucenko has been with CTM for more than 10 years, providing Olympia-area residents with experienced legal services  in matters relating to family and criminal law. “I am really fortunate to work for a firm that has a really good reputation and place in the community,” says Lucenko.

Connolly Tacon & Meserve has been serving the Thurston County community for more than 40 years, providing personalized, professional services in almost every aspect of law. Priding themselves in their personal, client-focused approach, every attorney at CTM understands that each case is different, which is why they take extra measures to ensure the services they provide are individualized to meet the unique needs of each client.

olympia attorney

Lenny and his wife, Barb, attend the Thurston County Bar Association Annual Meeting in May when he was installed as President.

In addition to representing his CTM clients, Lucenko also serves as the President of the Thurston County Bar Association (TCBA). Lucenko brings 20 years of experience to his leadership role, providing support, resources and networking opportunities to the association’s more than 300 members.

Following the theme of loving where he lives and helping people, as president of TCBA, Lucenko also leads several community outreach projects through the association. One of the community enrichment projects that Lucenko has spearheaded and is proud of is TCBA’s participation in the Salvation Army’s Adopt-A-Family program. The Thurston County Bar Association has also participated in United Way of Thurston County’s Day of Caring, among other community-focused events. In addition to volunteering and outreach projects through TCBA, Lucenko and his fellow CTM attorneys are frequently donating their time, providing pro bono services for individuals who can’t afford to hire an attorney.

Simply put, Lucenko says, “I practice law to help people.” But, more than just helping the people he represents in the courtroom, Lucenko’s giving personality extends throughout the community through the many volunteering and outreach projects he is involved with. “Olympia is a great place to live. It’s important to be an active member of the community.”

For more information about Lucenko and the other attorneys at Connolly Tacon & Meserve, visit their website here.


North Thurston Public Schools Kicks Off Compassion Initiative

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 2:18pm



By Katie Doolittle

north thurston public schools

South Bay Elementary School students plant a garden as part of the district’s compassion initiative.

When students at South Bay Elementary in Lacey recently went outside to plant a garden, there was a special mission involved: compassion.

“Help people, even if you don’t like them,” said Siana a third grader in describing her wish for the world. Siana and 555 of her South Bay classmates wrote these notes of compassion on biodegradable cupcake wrappers before planting them with flower bulbs in garden plots outside the school.  “I wrote ‘don’t judge people,’” said 5th grader Lauren.

The compassion garden is just one of many efforts this year that are part of a district-wide compassion initiative in North Thurston Public Schools to reinforce positive behavior and kindness.

“We want to be at a place where we treat each other with kindness and respect diversity; where everybody belongs and feels safe,” said Superintendent Raj Manhas, who spoke of the district’s efforts this summer at a Compassionate Schools conference in Seattle. The district is following the principles of the International Charter for Compassion. At its most basic, the charter encourages us to build a society based on positive relationships.

north thurston public schools

Superintendent Raj Manhas is passionately committed to fostering students’ academic, emotional, and social well-being. Photo courtesy of North Thurston Public Schools.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Maddy deGive further explains the staff attitude towards compassion: “Compassion has to do with a certain discomfort we feel when our students aren’t getting everything they need to be successful.” She goes on to explain, “What do we do about it is the key. True compassion is a verb.”

A verb, indeed. All staff members have certainly taken action with the district-wide implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, commonly referred to as PBIS. Each school has its own PBIS framework, a set of values-driven and explicitly taught expectations for conduct, from how you walk down the hallway to how your treat each other in school. Students earn recognition and incentives for proper conduct and receive targeted intervention if they require correction. According to deGive, differentiating social instruction in a meaningful fashion acknowledges that each student “is a whole child with emotional and academic needs.”

In some guise, all of the PBIS frameworks address ideals of respect, responsibility, and kindness. Compassion is a common thread K-12, and students are eager to share their personal, age-specific definitions of the concept. One South Bay Elementary kindergartner describes it as “helping people up and being nice to them.” A River Ridge High School student said, “Compassion is making somebody feel better when you know that they are not having the best day.  It’s going out of your way to make someone happier, even if you are not.”

South Bay Elementary’s work is a perfect example of helping others and the collaboration between school and community. Volunteers from Calvary Chapel North Thurston cleaned out the school’s garden beds so that students could plant the Compassion Garden, which promises to be a gorgeous living metaphor come spring. Later this year, adolescents taking welding and woodshop at North Thurston High School will build benches to serve as reflection spaces within the garden.

north thurston public schools

At Woodland Elementary School, students track their academic and social accomplishments by earning charms for their lanyards. Photo credit: Renae Gideon.

To prep for the planting, South Bay held a school-wide assembly on the concept of compassion, where they talked about being kind to ourselves, our pets, each other and the earth. “We asked that each student think of something they could do that would be an act of compassion,” said South Bay principal Kate Cook. It was those thoughts that the students wrote on the biodegradable cupcake wrappers for the garden.  The school – and others in the district – also passed out compassion coins as a way to “pay compassion forward” and encourage others to be compassionate.

“Each school is using the coins a little differently for positive behavior recognition, but the general idea is you give a coin when you witness an act of compassion then encourage that coin recipient to pay it forward to someone they see who is being compassionate,” said Courtney Schrieve, Community Relations director at NTPS. “It’s catching on and we hope it will spread beyond the classroom into stores, families and city.”

At Woodland Elementary, for instance, students already build character and rehearse important life skills through the Second Steps program. As a means of making their academic and behavioral success tangible, students each have a lanyard charm necklace. “I got a book charm because I read every day,” said Ben, a 2nd grader. He cites his school’s PBIS framework, adding, “I am good at being respectful, responsible, and safe.”

Woodland principal David Warning has been busy converting the district’s new compassion coins into charms for each Woodland attendee’s lanyard. “We want to send the message that compassion is just part of who you are, not a milestone that has to be earned,” Warning said.

north thurston public schools

Teaching compassion has a positive impact on school culture.

Teaching compassion like this has a positive impact on school culture and learning as well. Superintendent Manhas reports that PBIS and the related compassion focus have led to a significant drop in discipline issues district-wide. In turn, this creates more academically-focused classrooms.

“We have done so well working with kids within the school system when they are only here a few hours of the day with us,” he said. “We have seen some really positive movement towards better behavior, relationships, and respect for each other.”

Such positive data caused Manhas and others to ask an exciting question: “So what would happen if we took this compassion work out into the community?” Manhas and some staff plan to present the initiative and possible involvement opportunities to the Lacey City Council and Lacey Chamber.  He also hopes to plan some kind of compassion conference in Lacey next spring.

Clearly, the currency of kindness has already yielded great benefits for our community. As NTPS students are learning, the more compassion we spend on each other, the more we seem to have. So next time you are in NTPS or Lacey — be compassionate!


Engineer Who’s Making “MATHCOUNT” Joins SCJ

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 2:02pm



Submitted by SCJ Alliance


Jason Bruhn, PE

Jason Bruhn, PE

SCJ Alliance is pleased to announce the addition of engineer Jason Bruhn to our Lacey office. SCJ is a consulting firm specializing in civil engineering, transportation planning and design, land use/environmental planning, and landscape architecture and design.

Jason’s been working in the transportation and civil engineering field for twenty-one years. His experience includes hydraulic and stormwater engineering, site sewer and water systems, transportation engineering, roadway and sidewalk access design, and site grading plans. Jason is a graduate of the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering at Saint Martin’s University (SMU).

For ten years, Jason has been the Thurston County coordinator for the MATHCOUNTS competition. “The students are so smart,” shares Jason with enthusiasm about the 6th-8th graders who participate. “It’s amazing how fast they answer the questions.” Individuals and teams who excel at the local level compete at the state level, and state standouts move on to nationals. Jason got involved with MATHCOUNTS through the National Society for Professional Engineers. “People can get more information about the program at,” Jason said.

Since its founding in 2006 as Shea Carr Jewell, SCJ has grown steadily from three employees in one location, to nearly 60 employees in six locations across three states ─ Lacey, Seattle, Vancouver and Wenatchee, WA; Boise, ID; and Westminster, CO. For the fourth time in five years, SCJ Alliance was recently named one of the fastest growing engineering and planning firms in the nation, earning a place on the ZweigWhite Letter Hot Firm List for 2014.

North Thurston Marching Band Achieves Success

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 1:33pm




Submitted by Dennis Longnecker

north thurston marching bandThe North Thurston High School Marching Band took first place in the AA Division at the Tumwater Marching Band Festival on Saturday, October 11.  The festival, held at the Tumwater High School Stadium, drew fifteen bands from across the state.

The Band and the Solstice Color Guard presented their show, “The Parting Glass”, which is drawn from an early 17th century Celtic song.  Since days of old, guests at a party or an Irish wake would honor their host and departing friends with a toast and a song, and the music honors that custom. The show includes numerous references to traditional Irish and Scottish themes.

Band Director Darren Johnson said, “We started working on this show the first week in August.  The kids really took to the music and it became part of them, making the entire program flow well.  The performance is presented in four different movements, with each one having its own unique flavor.”

north thurston marching band“Putting on an award-winning show requires lots of hidden help,” said Susan Veis, one of the many parent volunteers. “The Band Parent Association is a dedicated group of parents that supports the band during these events.  Parents load and move equipment before and after the performance, and feed the hungry students lunch and dinner.  But it’s all worth it the moment you see them step onto the field and perform this amazing show that they’ve put so much time, energy and passion into. We are so proud of these incredible students.”

At the Tumwater show, the band also won awards for Best General Effect, Best Music, Best Marching, Best Percussion, and Best Drum Major.  This follows the band’s first place finish at the Peninsula Classic in Silverdale in September.

The band will be ending their marching season at the Auburn Veterans Day Marching Band Competition on November 8.  The Auburn competition features 30 of the finest high school marching bands from Washington and Oregon.

More information on the band can be found at the Band Parent Association’s website.


Band Director: Darren Johnson

Drill Designer: Darren Johnson, David Wilson, Rod Andrada

Drill Instructors: Thomas Mettler, Jeff Storvick, Jackie Vandeman, Andrew Brown

north thurston marching bandVisual Designer: Rod Andrada, David Wilson

Visual Instructors: Rob Andrada, David Wilson

Percussion  Instructors: Darlene Jones, Annika Veis


Drum Majors: Emily Arend, Snow Christensen

Guard Captains: Nicole Kurtz, Sophia Veis

Drumline Captain: Eli Moffattt

Nancy J. LaPointe Attends National Educational Conference for Financial Advisors

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 1:29pm


Submitted by  Navigate Financial

Nancy J LaPointe

Nancy J LaPointe

Nancy J. LaPointe, Owner and Financial Planner of Navigate Financial in Lacey, WA, recently attended a national educational conference for independent financial advisors.  Hosted by Commonwealth Financial Network®, the nation’s largest privately held independent broker/dealer–RIA, the sold-out event drew more than 900 financial professionals from across the nation. Participants gathered in Orlando, Florida, October 6–9, 2014, where they connected and collaborated with peers, colleagues, and industry partners to strengthen their leadership and enhance the high-end service that they provide to clients.

The conference theme, Changing Viewpoints/Fresh Insights—Creating New Pathways to Success, encouraged attendees to dig deeper, approach opportunities from different vantage points, and lead their clients to financial success. Advisors were challenged to take a fresh approach to their practice, with unique perspectives offered from insightful and reflective minds.

The general sessions featured two compelling keynote speakers: Malcolm Gladwell, author, and Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both speakers left attendees empowered with their profound convictions relating to how technologies are changing society, how ideas spread, how decisions are made, and what lies at the root of success, providing advisors key takeaways for helping their clients succeed.

Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s chief investment officer, presented an economic and market update in the closing general session.

The conference provided strategic and implementable methods for advisors to enhance their businesses, including educational sessions on a range of topics from improving practice efficiency and financial planning for the next generation to investment strategies.

“It was our privilege to host Nancy LaPointe at our 2014 National Conference,” said Wayne Bloom, CEO of Commonwealth. “LaPointe, along with our community of highly regarded independent advisors, took part in four days of advanced sessions, programs, and networking opportunities—demonstrating a commitment to continued growth, directly benefiting her practice and clients. “We value our ongoing partnership with Navigate Financial, and will continue to provide the resources needed to propel their practice forward.”

About Navigate Financial

Nancy J. LaPointe has been providing individuals and organizations with financial guidance since 2000. Located at 4520 Intelco Loop SE, Ste. 1D, Lacey, WA  98503, the firm prides itself on crafting unique strategies for each client. For more information, please visit

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.

About Commonwealth Financial Network

Founded in 1979, Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, is the nation’s largest privately held independent broker/dealer–RIA, with headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, and San Diego, California. J.D. Power ranks Commonwealth “Highest in Independent Advisor Satisfaction Among Financial Investment Firms, Four Times in a Row.” The firm supports more than 1,487 independent advisors nationwide in serving their clients as registered representatives, investment adviser representatives, and registered investment advisers, as well as through hybrid service models. For more information, please visit


Razor Clam Tides Confirmed for October 22 – 28

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:30am



Submitted by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The second October 2014 recreational razor clam opener will proceed as planned. The marine toxin tests have been completed and the Washington Department of Health has found razor clams are safe for human consumption. The following are the dates and locations of this razor clam harvest opportunity. Note that digging is only allowed on PM tides:

  • Oct. 22, Wednesday; 6:31 p.m., 0.3 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harborsrazor clam digging
  • Oct. 23, Thursday; 7:07 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Oct. 24, Friday; 7:44 p.m., -0.4 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 25, Saturday; 8:22 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Oct. 26, Sunday; 9:03 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 27, Monday; 9:47 p.m., -0.4 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Oct. 28, Tuesday; 10:36 p.m., -0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

Please be aware thatevery beach is not open every day. Having the flexibility to offer variable beach openers allows us to provide more harvest opportunity.

Note that during this period, the Kalaloch beach will not be open and the Copalis management beach will only be open one day. The Copalis management beach includes: Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and the Copalis areas.  If you want to know more about how we set openers, please check out our 2014 Razor Clam Management Update.

A description of each beach and a map can be found here.

If have friends or family members who are new to razor clamming, you may want to check out some information recently placed on our web site by our Public Affairs group.

For more information on razor clams, including how seasons are set, population sampling techniques and how to dig, clean and cook razor clams click here.

Sophie Kabel Proves Herself in the Goal

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:56am



By Sara Holler, Olympia High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

les schwabLast fall, the entire Olympia High School girl’s soccer team held their breath as four separate games ended in shoot-outs to decide their fate in the Class 4A state tournament. The players worked hard to put penalty kicks into the other team’s goal but they also had a secret weapon – goalkeeper Sophie Kabel.

Kabel blocked enough goals in all four of these winner-advance shootouts to lead the Olympia Bears to third place in state, their best record since 1995. Now a junior, Kabel has a lot to live up to as the OHS Bears face another season with new, heightened expectations but she is ready for the pressure as she consistently proves herself both on and off the pitch.

olympia soccer

Kabel was MVP of the OHS soccer team and First Team All-Narrows League goalkeeper last year. Photo Credit Carl Lindgren

Kabel’s career as a goalkeeper started by accident. In elementary school, she was a field player on current OHS soccer coach Tessa Effland’s team. Although she jokes that she scored a few goals as a striker, Kabel wasn’t a fan of all the running as field player. That problem was solved when she was inadvertently stuck in the goal.

“When I was seven or eight, I wanted to quit soccer. Then the goalkeeper for our team broke her collarbone. I had to fill in for her and I haven’t stopped since. That was the deciding factor to stick it out,” Kabel explains.

Ever since those early days, Kabel’s cheering section has been very important to her. Her biggest fans will forever be her parents but Kabel says all of her friends, both on and off her team, are extremely supportive as well. Kabel also recognizes her coaches’ role in her success as they push her to be play her best.

She attributes a lot of her accomplishments to Kelley Bendixen. Bendixen is the highly acclaimed goalkeeper coach for Kabel’s club team Washington Premier, where she’s trained since fifth grade.

Even with a lot of support and great training, goalkeeping is an immense burden. According to Kabel, the key is to stay confident and not get overwhelmed.

Kabel enjoys being challenged and supported by her teammates.

Kabel enjoys being challenged and supported by her teammates. Photo Credit Carl Lindgren

“As a goalkeeper, you’re the last line of defense and that’s already pressuring enough. Having a one on one with a striker and knowing when to go out and get it, that’s really scary. Those decisions decide if they score or you can save it.  But your adrenaline just takes over and you just go for it. It usually turns out well if you don’t hesitate,” Kabel shares.

It’s that skillful decision-making that earned Kabel MVP of the OHS soccer team and First Team All-Narrows League goalkeeper. Kabel is humbled to be recognized for her efforts but it’s a lot of pressure in the 2014 season. No one on the OHS team anticipated making it so far in the state tournament last yea,r but they all enjoyed how their hard work paid off.

“It’s much different when you’re an underdog and you go that far and now everyone expects so much from you. It’s almost more pressure now because we have a lot to lose, unlike last year when we had nothing to lose really,” comments Kabel.

For now, Kabel just focuses on winning individual games and having fun with her OHS teammates. She says they work extremely hard in games and at practice but they love each other unconditionally. The girls also challenge Kabel to be her best possible self and a leader on the team. To her, saving a goal is like scoring as a goalkeeper and she loves contributing to the Bear’s success.

Kabel knows all too well that sacrifices also come with victories. Until sophomore year, she was heavily involved with both soccer and softball. It was tough for her to quit softball and leave the team but she ultimately saw her future in soccer. Still, Kabel recommends playing at least two sports for as long as possible to become a well-rounded athlete. And of course balancing school and sports is always tough, but Kabel manages to stay positive.

“You’re just going to have those nights where you don’t think you can do anything anymore but tomorrow’s another day,” she says.

Sophie Kabel and the OHS Bears are looking to repeat the success they had at the state tournament last year. Photo Credit Carl Lindgren

Sophie Kabel and the OHS Bears are looking to repeat the success they had at the state tournament last year.
Photo Credit Carl Lindgren

Even with these setbacks, Kabel has an immense love of the game. She’s unsure about her college plans right now although she is currently going through the college recruiting processing and hoping to play at the collegiate level. Kabel enjoys anthropology and history and wants to travel. She can see herself both working in a museum and digging in the dirt. In the end, she knows that the skills she’s learned from soccer will help her as she navigates jobs and life.

“Soccer has taught me communication. The closer everyone gets to my goal, the more I have to direct my teammates. Once they get into my space I have to control what goes on and it’s usually my fault if I can’t. Now I know what to say and that helps a lot.”

However this season works out for the OHS Bears and wherever soccer ends up taking her, Sophie Kabel will treasure her time in the goal box and with her team.

“The way you come back from maybe a loss or a goal really defines how you are as a person and a goalkeeper, but on a team, even if you lose, it’s not just on you,” explains Kabel. “Everyone has each other’s backs and everyone picks each other up. It’s the best feeling in the world when your team, working together, gets third in state. It’s like giving a gift.”


Thurston First Bank: Revitalizing the Downtown Olympia Core

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:50am



thurston first bank

Thurston First Bank installs its marquee sign at their renovated building in downtown Olympia.

After ten years of operating from a snug spot on the primarily residential locale of Pear Street Northeast, Thurston First Bank is making a statement by moving to Downtown Olympia. While the bank outgrowing its current space necessitated the move, the decision to relocate to the downtown core was deliberate. Jim Haley, President and CEO of Thurston First Bank explains, “As a community bank, we are making the commitment toward the economic revitalization of Downtown Olympia by our major investment in the downtown. We hope that we have provided a stepping stone to more redevelopment and to our community’s economic engine.”

The bank will soon occupy a portion of the newly renovated building on Franklin Street in the center of Downtown Olympia, now named the Thurston First Bank Building. The building is the former Washington State Department of Personnel office.

Local developer Walker John, through his partnership, Urban Olympia, LLC, had the vision to restore the vacated building originally constructed in 1951. Urban Olympia endeavors to build a portfolio of mixed-use buildings in the core of Downtown Olympia. John recently renovated the Cunningham Building, located on Fourth Avenue and Adams Street, into a mixed-use property. He was also involved in the development of the charming beach town of Seabrook.

thurston first bank

Olympia-based interior designer, David Goularte, is a key element of of the Thurston First Bank project.

The current project, the Thurston First Bank Building, is nearly completed in its conversion into a mixed-used development introducing loft style apartments, a brewpub named Three Magnets Brewing Company by Darby’s Cafe owners, Nate and Sara Reilly, and Thurston First Bank.

“This is a particularly attractive combination to have a new brewpub adding fresh life to downtown and residences above with market rate housing,” comments Haley. City Hall Manager Steve Hall has commented, “It is just what the doctor ordered for revitalization of the downtown core.’”

“We helped to repurpose an older vacant building into a mixed-used building which saved on resources and materials,” shares Sokha Meas Colbo, Executive Assistant to Haley. “The City of Olympia was so supportive of the project that it only hours to approve the permit. All of the participants are local, from developer Walker John to architect Ron Thomas, to contractor Greg Bailey and our interior designer, David Goularte.” In addition, Thurston First Bank financed the project.

Haley adds, “Our project is a physical example of what confidence and investments can achieve toward the redevelopment of Downtown Olympia. This project is an example of how the community can invest in commercial real estate downtown with the City of Olympia as a partner in the process.”

Thurston First Bank is an independent commercial bank specializing in financial solutions for small to medium sized businesses. The bank also offers personal banking services to their full relationship clients including deposit, lending, card services and a full suite of remote and online banking services. Additionally, Thurston First Bank offers complimentary Mobile Branch service to clients for deposit pickups, bank deliveries and other services.

thurston first bank

Thurston First Bank President and CEO, Jim Haley, says that the bank is making a commitment to the revitalization of downtown Olympia.

Visit Thurston First Bank on their Facebook page, website or at the new location on 600 Franklin Street SE, Suite 102 starting November 3rd.

Thurston First Bank

204 Pear Street NE

Olympia, WA 98506



An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Oxygen at H3 Therapy Services

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:00am



oxygen therapy olympia

The large, comfortable Hyperbaric Chambers at H3 Therapy Services allow patients to relax during their sessions.

As we age, inevitable physical changes occur.  Some are unavoidable but others can be moderated—or even eliminated—through diet, exercise, and preventive care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are major risk factors for stroke.  About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.  Several other medical conditions and unhealthy lifestyle choices can increase your risk for stroke.  Although you can’t control all of your risk factors for stroke, you can take steps to prevent stroke and its complications.”

The CDC goes on to state that “stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 19 deaths.  On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.”  From their research, “about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when blood flow to the brain is blocked.”

But a 2013 study recently showed that “through the use of hyperbaric, oxygen-rich chambers, medical researchers have found a way to restore a significant amount of neurological function in brain tissue thought to be chronically damaged by stroke, traumatic injury, and metabolic disorder—even years after the original injury.”

The study’s co-author “said high levels of oxygen allow neurons that have been damaged but are not destroyed to become active again, reconnecting with other neurons and firing the signals needed to maintain healthy brain function.”  For victims and their families, this is a breath of fresh air for long-term recovery prognoses.

Olympia’s H3 Therapy Services offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy both via their West Olympia offices and in-home through chamber sales and rental.  Clinic Director Michael Pfeifer, RRT explains that sessions improve sleep, mobility, cognitive issues, and pain management.

oxygen therapy olympia

When patients experience a “dive” in the hyperbaric chamber they have a large window for looking out while they relax.

As they explain, hyperbaric oxygen therapy “uses filtered pressurized ambient air in order to dissolve oxygen into the body system, flooding tissues and essential organs with oxygen…The enhanced pressure enables the body plasma as well as other essential fluids in the body to absorb additional oxygen as a result enormously raising oxygen uptake by the cells, tissues, glands, organs, brain, and fluids of the body.  The resulting uptake of oxygen allows for increased circulation to areas with swelling or inflammation resulting in a decrease of the swelling and inflammation.”

Sessions are typically one hour long and can take place in either a single-bed chamber or a dual unit, perfect for children of aging parents or loved ones seeking to minimize separation anxiety.  The office strives to maximize a peaceful, therapeutic atmosphere – so much so that Pfeifer estimates 60-70% of clients nap through their session.

The chambers allow clients to wear comfortable street clothes and bring a book or music player to encourage complete relaxation.  The goal is to allow your body to heal itself in any way possible, reducing the need for invasive procedures and additional prescription medication.

A stroke can strike without warning but rapid response and managed care can often mitigate long-term disability.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one way to help give your body a fighting chance on the long road to recovery.  If you or a loved one is facing this uphill journey, ask your medical team about treatment at H3 Therapy Servicess.  Their staff offer flexible scheduling, and Pfeifer promises that there are “lots of ways we’ll work to be a patient advocate.”

Call Michael Pfeifer, RRT at 360-515-0681 or drop by their office at 405-D Black Hills Lane SW on Olympia’s west side.


Dick’s Brewing Company Raises a Pint to Celebrate 20 Years of Craft Brewing

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:00am



By Kate Scriven

dicks brewing

Dick Young lived life with the philosophy, “work hard, play harder” including time on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, now located at the Dick’s Brewery.

Twenty years is a long time.  Twenty years ago I was a college sophomore balancing my ever important social life with my studies at the University of Washington.  Now, I balance a family, home, job, community, and maybe a little social life as well.  A lot can change in 20 years.

For Dick’s Brewing Company, 20 years is a long time, too.  Growing from their roots in homebrewing, Dick’s has become a thriving craft brewery with over 20 different recipes, their own bottling line, and distribution in six states.  A lot has changed for Dick’s as well.

It all began in 1984 when Dick Young, owner of Northwest Sausage and Deli and avid homebrewer began to brew his recipes in earnest.  Young built a three barrel brew house behind the deli and delighted in serving pints to friends and family.  In fact, his buddies were nicknamed “The Beer Test Dummies” for their role in testing the newest batches.  Young’s original system is still in use today as the pilot system for testing new recipes.

Young quickly found that demand for his tasty brews exceeded the annual production limits for homebrewing.  In 1992 he began the process to turn his hobby into a business and in 1994 Dick’s Brewing Company was born.

“People would ask my dad all the time why he started brewing beer,” recalls Julie Pendelton, Dick’s daughter and owner of Dick’s Brewing.  “My dad always answered, ‘I started brewing beer for one reason – I was thirsty.’”  Dick’s beer fans are so glad he was.

dick brewing

Dick’s Brewing Company started on a three barrel system located behind Northwest Sausage and Deli 20 years ago.

Production quickly expanded to a 2,100 square foot facility built adjacent to the deli and the flagship three beers were brewed weekly – Dick Danger Ale, Dick’s Pale Ale, and Dick’s Lava Rock Porter.

Production grew from 200 barrels in 1995 to 3,000 barrels in 2008.  They needed space.   A new 18,000 square foot facility on Galvin Road in Centralia was built to house operations, bottling, offices and a taproom.

On October 25, 2009 brewer, adventurer, father, sausage maker, and general mischief maker Dick Young passed away.  His death saddened an entire community.  However, his philosophy of “work hard, play harder” lives on through those who knew him and the crew at Dick’s loves nothing more than a good party.

This year, October 25, 2014, marks the five year anniversary of Young’s death.  Dick’s Brewing Company will celebrate 20 years of craft brewing with a party at their Centralia brewery and taproom.  The event runs from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. and will feature the Backfire Band along with delicious plates ($15 each) of pulled pork, coleslaw, beans and more from Northwest Sausage and Deli.

The celebration is one Dick himself would be proud to attend.  Not only is it a celebration of the rare longevity of 20 years in the craft industry, but it’s a celebration of Dick Young’s life well lived.  It’s a bittersweet celebration for those who knew him well.

dick brewing

Dick Young’s love of homebrewing grew into a successful business he loved.

One of those is Dr. Isaac Pope, longtime friend of Young’s, fan of NW Sausage and Deli and supporter of Dick’s Brewing.  “They just clicked,” recalls Pendelton of her Dad and Pope.  “They would have lunch together at the deli and they just became friends.”

After Young’s death, Dr. Pope approached Pendelton about hosting a memorial event at the brewery.  The memorial was organized as a fundraiser for Pope’s Kids Place, a Lewis County based charity providing respite care and medical support for families of medically fragile children.  As a pediatrician, Dr. Pope continued to see a need in his community and formed the charity to help fill the gap for so many families.

Young was a big supporter of his friend’s work and pairing the memorial with a fundraiser was a natural.  All funds raised from this year’s event, including food and raffles will go directly to Pope’s Kids Place.   Dick’s Brewing also sponsors the bowling tournament held on the same day.

Another highlight of the event will be the new Dick’s Midnight Ride Black IPA.  This new recipe has been received with rave reviews from beer aficionados and is a celebration of good things to come in the next 20 years for the craft brewery.

“I just can’t believe it’s been 20 years.  I look back at how old I was 20 years ago and think of the memories I have of my dad then – welding the tanks out in the driveway, brewing in the back of the deli, which I thought smelled just awful,” recalls Pendelton.  “I’ve come so far since then – enjoying beer, the smell of it, learning so much about it in the years I’ve been a part of it.  Dick’s is still here after 20 years and that’s a big deal in this industry.  It’s something to be proud of and something to celebrate.”

Celebrate with the Dick’s crew on October 25, 2014 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the brewery and raise a pint to Dick Young’s legacy.  Here’s to twenty more, Dick.


Evergreen Officially Launches President Search

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 9:41pm



Submitted by The Evergreen State College 

The Evergreen State College President, Les Purce, will retire in 2015.

The Evergreen State College President, Les Purce, will retire in 2015.

The Evergreen State College in Olympia has announced that its Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee have begun actively recruiting candidates to replace Thomas L. “Les” Purce, who will retire next summer after 15 years of service as the college’s president.

Evergreen is a nationally recognized public college of liberal arts and sciences known for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning.

The college has engaged Academic Search, a Washington, DC, recruitment firm that has helped place hundreds of leaders at colleges and universities across the country, to aid in the search.

The search timeline calls for review of applications starting December 1, campus visits and interviews for top candidates in January and February of 2015, a hiring decision by March, and having the new president in place by July.

For more information about the position, visit  Nominations and inquiries can be sent by email to