Recent local blog posts

Half-blind Faith and Half-baked Science

Mojourner Truth - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 4:44pm

Well, it all started with a miraculously convenient find, what appeared to be a finial from a cross at a site probably associated with the Christian Mission. Those of us working on the project had been softened up, conditioned to accepting the extraordinary through the previous miracle of finding identical Native-style tools wrought in stone and glass, evidence of the Contact we'd been speculating about. For the finials, as with so many alleged relics of the True Cross over the years, there was no proof, although in this case it was a plausible and interesting enough story that it tempted faith.

Upon further examination, stemming from the dogged (of not Godded) persistence of a scientist not quite comfortable with the all-too-easy retreat to calling an unknown artifact a "ritual object," the site kicked up a bunch more of these last week. Too many to be a cross, and in a place where they might be from a century after the Mission packed up and headed north.

Oh well. The story, and my confession at the altar of science, is over at ArchaeOlygy. It is not all a tale of faith undermined, but a strange cycle that may loop back to the Tenino Stone.

So on a day when many of you celebrate a miracle of resurrection, I wish you well. I cannot share ultimate faith in the un-provable, but I share my physicist Dad's awe at the universe wrought by forces we may not yet fully comprehend, but which we can investigate and (with stumbles now and then) come to know for sure.

History of the Chambers Prairie Grange at Yelm and Henderson

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 6:44am



By Emmett O’Connell

boggsfinallogoFor years, grange halls were the social and political glue that held together the rural farming communities in the Pacific Northwest. Simple, useful community clubhouses sprouted up around Washington throughout our early history, acting as community centers to connected dispersed people.

olympia wa historyThe Chambers Prairie Grange building at the corner of Yelm and Henderson is probably the most urban example of a grange hall locally. It is currently surrounded by the Briggs Community branch of the South Sound YMCA and several growing neighborhoods. But, for many decades, the area around the grange hall was a thriving farming community.

Granges were local organizations that were founded in the South after the Civil War to help bring modern farming practices to that region. When they were established in the Pacific Northwest, the organizations advocated for local development and progressive politics.

But, like many local grange organizations whose farming communities were slowly taken over by suburban neighborhoods, the Chambers Prairie Grange slowly lost membership. In recent years, the membership dropped below 13 and the building and the organization itself was handed back to the Washington State Grange.

But, not before the Chambers Grange gained some notoriety as a venue for grunge bands. Keith Cameron describes the scene in his book on Mud Honey, a seminal Seattle grunge band:

The first was the Chambers Prairie Grange Hall, just outside of Olympia, where the band set up on a tiny stage with doors off of either side and with a large painting etched on the back wall. It looked like they were playing in someone’s livingroom, a illusion heightened whenever Bob Whittaker opened one of the doors to assess the scene…

olympia wa historyOver the years, even as the exterior of the hall has become run down, the interior is still strong. The building is in good shape, and shy of some cosmetic upgrades, could easily again be occupied.

Currently, since the building doesn’t house an operating grange group, the Washington State Grange is looking for buyers. In late 2012 the state grange sought a zoning change that would allow a retail operation in the hall or on the lot, for example. But, because of concerns of neighbors that any commercial use of the building would increase traffic, the Tumwater City Council denied the rezone.


Hip, Knowledgeable Moms Start Eastide Urban Farm and Garden Center

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 6:43am



By Nikki McCoy

hirschIt all started at a birthday party. As ten-year-old girls swarmed around Brighida DeVargas and Michelle Jackson, the two moms plotted plans for an urban farm and garden center, where their combined knowledge could be a resource.

One year later, their dream has come into fruition. The Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center, located on Fourth Avenue in the space previously occupied by Curtis Lumber.  The dynamic moms, joined by Michelle’s husband, Billy Jackson, opened the urban gardening store in March.

olympia garden store

Baby chicks from Eastside Urban Home and Garden are ready to find their home.

“Our first month has been really great,” says DeVargas.  “A lot of folks are coming in and letting us know that they are really happy we are here. It feels good to know that we are meeting a need in the community and filling a gap.”

Walking into the store, the sound of peeping chicks fills the air, the rustic look of exposed wood beams and re-purposed shelving from pallets greet the eye, and displays, like top-bar beekeeping and cold frames for gardening, pique curiosity.

Products, like non-GMO seeds, bulk feed for poultry and supplies for husbandry line the shelves on the 10,000 square foot space that used to house Curtis Lumber. Bee-keeping supplies, gardening tools, and cheese-making kits round out the variety of items stocked at the new store.   Gardeners are invited to feel the texture of the soil they buy by sinking their hands into bins of organic material. A large nursery and out back holds 1,000 berry vines and 400 fruit trees. A smaller greenhouse nourishes veggie starts from local suppliers, including Rising River and Scattercreek farms.

With extensive experience in farming and gardening, opening the center was an appropriate next step for DeVargas and the Jacksons.

DeVargas has been involved in the landscaping industry both in the UK and the Pacific Northwest, and is principal landscape designer of DeVa Designs. Her background includes design, permaculture, general construction, and fine horticulture. She raises quail, chicken and dairy goats all on a city lot.

eastside urban farm garden starts“I think opening up (the store) is a natural progression for me,” says DeVargas. “Helping people to produce more of their own food closer to home has been the focus of much of my life’s work, and I think that both the Jackson’s and I truly believe that growing at least some of your own food is one of the most important things a person can do to improve their health, community, and local economy.”

Michelle and Billy have over 20 years combined experience in urban farming and keep a variety of animals on their small farm located just two miles from the store. The Jackson farm includes more than 30 varieties of unusual and rare-breed poultry, a herd of mini-La Mancha goats, small breed swine, honey bees and fiber rabbits.

Their experience of managing a growing farm helped pave the way for what type of products urban farmers need.

“We’ll have a little of everything at the store,” says Michelle. “We’re trying to accommodate city dwellers.  When I lived in the city and just had a few chickens, I didn’t want to buy a 50-lb bag of feed necessarily…or if you have mini-goats, you don’t need a big old bucket (for milk) you need something to fit under your goat that is only 20-inches tall, so we’re trying to specialize in that urban feel.”

olympia garden store

Brighida DeVargas and MIchelle Jackson are the force behind Eastside Urban Farm and Garden.

Another aspect to the store is the education room, where the community is welcome to sit and read reference books on everything from soil to fermentation. On certain weekends, the room transforms into a workshop, where a variety of topics will be taught by regional experts. Two organic gardening classes have already been well received.

“The class will continue throughout the year, letting people know what needs to be done in the garden each month and season,” explains DeVargas. “We are pretty lucky here in Olympia.  We can grow food year-round, unlike most of the country. The gardening classes are fairly informal, with a lot of discussion and laughter all around, but packed with a lot of great information.”

Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center continues to grow. At any given time, the store is busy with the hustle and bustle of individuals and families preparing for spring. Children giggle as they hold a fluffy chick, bales of hay will be loaded into the back of someone’s pick-up truck, and maybe, two friends will be busy plotting their next big dream as they dig their hands through soil.

For more information, visit or stop by the store at 2326 Fourth Avenue in Olympia.


Categories: Local Food Blogs

Earth Day with Tumwater Auto Spa

Thurston Talk - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 6:41am



Submitted by Tumwater Auto Spa

tumwater auto spaApril 22 has been designated Earth Day.  Each year a new theme is chosen to encourage citizens of the world to think about the choices they make and how they affect the health of our planet.  This year’s theme is Green Cities.  This theme was chosen to encourage cities around the world to consider three key elements:  buildings, transportation and energy.  As citizens of these cities we are encouraged to do the same.  How can we reduce our Carbon Footprint by making earthy-healthy choices for ourselves and our communities?  How can we improve our Acts of Green and increase the environmental health of our community at the same time?

Earth Day Network continues monitoring the Billion Acts of Green by asking individuals to share their stories in video, pictures, and in written form about how they are making choices in their daily lives that make planet Earth healthier.  These Acts of Green include such daily activities as choosing to wash your clothes in cold water, picking up garbage in your community or taking your vehicle to a commercial Green certified car wash instead of washing it at home.

When you wash your car at home you are putting soap and dirt, as well as oil, grease, solvents, nutrients, and metals into our local bodies of water.  While most individuals who wash their own cars at home do not think that the simple act of washing their car has a negative impact on the environment–just the opposite is true.  A survey in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties found that almost 40% of all residents were still washing their cars at home.  Just think about the amount of harmful pollutants that are being sent into local storm water drains which flows unfiltered into our streams, rivers, lakes and ultimately into Puget Sound.

You can do your Act of Green by making the simple choice of using a commercial carwash instead of washing your car at home.  Tumwater Auto Spa located at 6040 Capital Boulevard in Tumwater has been awarded “Green” status among carwashes in the area.  Over 85% of the water used to wash your car is being recycled and reused at Tumwater Auto Spa.  The oil, grime, dirt and soap flowing off of your car as it is being washed are filtered by their state-of-the-art reclaim system.  The only water that finds its way into the local sewer system is water that is free of these contaminants!

Tumwater Auto Spa also has a fundraiser program that will work with your club or organization to still have carwash fundraiser but without doing damage to our local water systems.  Make the right choice—make the green choice by using your neighborhood commercial carwash.  Do your part this year as together we create Green Cities!


Calvin at the Colmar Key Factory

K Records - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 4:13am
The Calvin Johnson show in Colmar, France was organized by Julie at Federation Hiero with the assistance of two emeritus members, Jean-Damien and Nicolas (as seen in below photog). We had a delicious lunch at La Libellule (“Dragonfly”), a café with food and deserts made on the tiny premises by this kind woman: They also have […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Urban Corridor Vision for State and Fourth

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 7:34pm

Here's the poster from the packet for the Council's study session last week about what might happen on 4th and State with a quarter mile of urban corridor. (It's actually an attechment to my update on the current state of the urban corridor proposal, which is here.

(It's a PDF, so you can view it larger and pan around, at least in my web browser, but it's pretty hard to read even then. It's much easier if you save it from your browser and open it in Adobe Reader or Preview.)

Attention stevenl...! (If you are still haunting the blog, though sadly, departed - note the sentence "Frequent transit and maybe even trolleys link the Olympia and Lacey City Centers!") (One of the possibly utopian features of this vision is the assumption that Lacey will have a "City Center" someday...) logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Green roofs and living walls: Bridging human habitat and ecosystem building

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 5:39pm
Event:  Tue, 04/22/2014 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

From today's inbox:

Green roofs and living walls: Bridging human habitat and ecosystem building
With Jennifer Stone of Nations Roof - On Earth Day, NEXT Tuesday, April 22, 6:30-8:30 pm MIXX 96 Community Room
119 Washington St NE, Olympia
Program begins at 7:00; Come early to share food and network!

Join the NW Ecobuilding Guild for a presentation on this growing industry that is making cities around the world more beautiful, efficient, cool, clean and green. We will learn some basics about Green Roofing, the benefits, the "Green Factor " requirement in Seattle, roofing energy codes in WA and more.

Jennifer Stone has been in the Green Roofing and Horticulture Industry for the past 10 years.  She has worked as V.P. for an Interiorscape company with interior plants, living walls and clients across the West Coast focused on the indoor air quality issues. She is now working for Nations Roof NW, the 3rd largest Roofing Contractor in North America, as the Director of Sales and growing the Green Roof Business here on the West Coast. Jennifer is a Green Roof Professional (GRP). This is a designation given after study and passing testing through Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. Her education includes sales and marketing, stormwater management, horticulture, LEED Green Associate, design, construction and green building.

Email us at logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

TisDass (from Niger feat Angelo Spencer and Brainstorm) – Flesh Collage (Oly) + special guest

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 5:00pm

Kildjate Moussa Albadé from Niger will be in Olympia for the first time presenting his project TisDass!


TisDass will play raw grooves from the Nigerian desert accompanied by Angelo Spencer and Brainstorm as his backing band!

This is probably your one and only chance to see this wild music played live in a human size venue! Don’t miss it!

Moussa played with Bombino for many years and played countless Tamasheq weddings! He’s an amazing singer and an amazing guitar player!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Saint Martin’s University joins Institute of International Education Coalition

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 11:40am



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martins Overview CourtyardSaint Martin’s University has pledged to join the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study overseas by the end of the decade. Saint Martin’s University has committed to tripling its number of undergraduate students who study abroad during the next five years.

Leading up to IIE’s centennial celebration in 2019, Generation Study Abroad will engage educators at all levels and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to drive meaningful, innovative action to increase the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to gain international experience through academic study abroad programs, as well as internships, service learning and non-credit educational experiences.

Saint Martin’s University is among the lead partners who have committed to specific, measureable actions that will help reach this ambitious goal; the result will be thousands more American students graduating with the international experience needed for success in a globalized world.

“Studying abroad has quickly evolved during the 21st century as a necessary part of a student’s preparation for life post-college,” says Josephine Yung, vice president of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s. “In an inter-connected world, it is our responsibility to prepare students as global citizens – studying abroad has to be an integral part of the college experience of any student.”

Building on its nearly 100-year commitment to study abroad, IIE has committed $2 million of its own funds to this initiative over the next 5 years. As a commitment to this initiative, Saint Martin’s University will focus on the following areas: creating opportunities for study abroad that align with student needs and the University mission; increasing awareness of study abroad programs and opportunities; developing a culture of study abroad and international education through engagement across all campus communities; aligning study abroad processes and procedures with the best practices. Additionally, Saint Martin’s University has recently launched a new scholarship specifically for Saint Martin’s University students, in which institutional funds are dedicated to both short-term and semester or yearlong programs for Saint Martin’s students.

Saint Martin’s University emphasizes the importance of global awareness and believes that a study abroad experience enhances a student’s global outlook and overall education. Saint Martin’s University offers programs in more than 20 countries, on nearly all continents. At Saint Martin’s University, students have the opportunity to spend a semester, academic year, or summer break abroad. The University offers and administers about nine programs, and also works in conjunction with organizations such as Institute for Study Abroad – Butler, Syracuse University, Reitaku University, Sogang University and The Alliance for Global Education.  Saint Martin’s University students can study abroad in an English speaking country, or they can go to a non-English speaking country and take classes in English and other classes to learn the local language. The majority of Saint Martin’s students receive study-abroad scholarships, and most of the students apply their financial aid to study abroad.

More than 150 higher-education institutions from 41 U.S. states have already signed the Generation Study Abroad Commitment, including large state and private universities, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and several foreign governments, as well as key higher education associations and study-abroad provider organizations, have also pledged to support the goals of the initiative. Recognizing the importance of an internationally focused workforce, IIE is also actively seeking the participation of corporations and the business community.

“Globalization has changed the way the world works, and employers are increasingly looking for workers who have international skills and expertise,” says Dr. Allan Goodman, President of IIE. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders.”

IIE is launching Generation Study Abroad because the number and proportion of today’s students who graduate with an educational experience abroad is far too low. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point in their academic career. According to the Open Doors Report on International and Educational Exchange released by IIE last November with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 295,000 students studied abroad in 2011/12 in credit-bearing and non-credit programs. Generation Study Abroad aims to grow participation in study abroad so that the annual total reported will reach 600,000 by the end of the decade.

With 2.6 million students graduating with associates or baccalaureate degrees each year, it is clear that major segments of America’s young people are not getting the international experience they will need to advance their careers and participate in the global economy, or to work together across borders to address global issues.

For more information on IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative, and a complete list of commitment partners, go to:


Local Governments Doing Good by Going Green

Thurston Talk - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:25am



Submitted by City of Lacey, City of Olympia, City of Tumwater, Intercity Transit, Thurston County, and Port of Olympia

rainier scenicEarth Day is upon us but for some, every day is Earth Day. That’s the case for local governments in the South Puget Sound region, whose sustainable practices, earth-friendly programs, and conservation efforts, make a difference and get noticed.

The cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater, along with Thurston County, the Port of Olympia and Intercity Transit, have a long history of conservation, recycling, and green energy programs. These organizations developed partnerships, garnered grant funding, and received numerous awards for their environmental efforts.

One example of an innovative earth-friendly program is the long-standing partnership between the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater, and Thurston County broadly known as Stream Team. The program helps connect volunteers with activities that protect and enhance local streams and freshwater habitats. Another example is the LOTT Clean Water Alliance created in 2000. The program manages wastewater needs and infrastructure in the urban areas of North Thurston County and helps lessen the impact of treated wastewater on our environment.

Thurston County, the cities of Tumwater, Lacey, and Olympia, and Intercity Transit have all initiated clean energy programs with the help of Puget Sound Energy. The results include a $20,000 grant from PSE that allowed the construction of a solar energy project at the Olympia Timberland Regional Library building, anticipated to save approximately $4,000 per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly six metric tons. Thurston County upgraded office lighting, heating and cooling systems, and changed outdoor lighting to LEDs at the County Courthouse complex, resulting in more than $70,000 in annual savings and cutting carbon by over 500 tons per year. Tumwater residents participation in the green power program increased by 80 percent last year, earning a $20,000 grant for a solar demonstration project at Tumwater City Hall, which has since expanded significantly.

Most of the aforementioned organizations have received Green Business designations by the Thurston Chamber of Commerce Green Business Program. These local governmental agencies encourage their employees to reduce drive-alone trips by using transit, ridesharing, biking, and walking instead.


City of Lacey – Lacey’s residents, businesses, and municipal government purchased nearly 23 million kilowatt-hours of green power last year, resulting in a reduction of nearly 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – equivalent to not burning 1.6 million gallons of fossil fuels. One hundred percent of the electrical energy used by the city’s municipal buildings, utility systems, park facilities, and 3,000 street lights comes from environmentally sound energy sources. The City of Lacey’s commitment to renewable energy has garnered the EPA’s coveted “Green Power Community” award for the eighth consecutive year – among the longest standing such communities in the country.

The city recently completed a $2.1 million state-of-the-art facility that makes use of reclaimed water to recharge critical aquifers feeding Woodland Creek. Located in Woodland Creek Community Park, the new facility will help stabilize stream flows in the creek, which provides critical habitat for federally-listed Chinook salmon, as well as runs of Coho, Chum, Sockeye, and Winter Steelhead.

Other sustainable efforts include significant investments in public utilities, such as the Chambers Lake Stormwater Facility, which will improve water quality and create wildlife habitat and recreational amenities in the center of the city. Residents and businesses also reduced water consumption by nearly 15.2 million gallons last year, bringing cumulative annual water savings to nearly 39 million gallons.

Lastly, the city earned the Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation for its twenty-third year. More than 6,000 street trees beautify Lacey’s streets, and much of the community’s 1,200-acre parkland and open space network – one of the largest municipal park systems on South Puget Sound – permanently preserves large tracts of native forest. For more City of Lacey information, go to



City of Olympia – Last month, Olympia acquired six all-electric vehicles for the City fleet, three of which replaced gas powered ones. The City also installed two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations next to City Hall that are available for both City vehicle and public use. While

too early to measure results, these investments are intended to support EV use within the community, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower City fuel costs. The City also has an employee pass program with Intercity Transit as part of its commute trip reduction efforts.

Residents from seven Olympia neighborhoods are participating in the City’s One-Side Road Collection pilot program which thus far resulted in garbage/recycling trucks using 22 percent less fuel in those areas and the related reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Customers in the participating neighborhoods now set their carts out on the same side of the road which means trucks no longer travel in both directions.

The Washington State Recycling Association recently recognized Olympia’s Public Works as the Public Agency Recycler of the Year for its accomplishments and new programs centered on a Zero Waste Vision. The Vision to Zero Waste program leads the Olympia community toward a waste-free future and plays a strategic role creating opportunities to eliminate waste. Olympia’s innovative programs include an award-winning GrassCycling Virtual Workshop, Pedestrian Recycling, 3rd Grade Education Program, Business Waste Assessments, and Community Event Recycling/Composting.

Most recently, Olympia received a State Department of Commerce grant award to place solar panels on City Hall, aiding the already significant energy savings of the LEED Silver building opened in 2011. For more City of Olympia information, go to


City of Tumwater – The City of Tumwater’s sustainable redesign of the Capitol Boulevard Corridor will improve the pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-friendly nature of the community. This multi-year planning project engaged hundreds of citizens and many businesses resulting in significant public input to redefine and enhance the character, mobility, and future of Tumwater. A similar planning effort is occurring in the Brewery District where the community is visioning a compact and walkable mixed-use area, allowing people to live and work in the same vicinity. The efforts to redevelop the brewery will focus on reuse of the existing facilities and infrastructure to rejuvenate and enliven an urban center.

Other sustainability efforts include water use reduction since 2010 by more than 93,136 gallons a day from conservation efforts by Tumwater customers. The city previously adopted low impact development and light pollution standards, and received a Tree City USA designation for 19 consecutive years in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

This year, the City of Tumwater will invest more than $2 million (including $500,000 from a Department of Commerce energy efficiency grant) to update and replace its HVAC heating and cooling equipment and replace most of its streetlights with LED lights, to provide considerable cost savings and energy efficiency over time.  And just recently, Tumwater received an additional $219,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to install a photo-voltaic solar project at its city hall. For more City of Tumwater information, go to


Intercity Transit – Intercity Transit, the public transportation agency for Thurston County, recently received ISO 14001 certification for its significant environmental and sustainability efforts. It is one of only a few transit systems in the nation to earn this arduous certification, achieving a high international standard of environmental management. The agency’s Environmental and Sustainability Management System work formally began in 2010 when the Federal Transit Administration selected Intercity Transit for a two-year program provided through Virginia Technical Institute.

Recognized as the best public transportation system for its size in the nation in 2009, Intercity Transit was the first transit system in the U.S. to garner a gold-level rating from the American Public Transportation Association for its Sustainability Commitment in 2012, and was designated as a Bike a Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists in 2013. Most recently, Intercity Transit received the top green business honor (government category) from the Thurston Chamber of Commerce Green Business Program, recognizing efforts in waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, green purchasing, pollution prevention, and transportation.

Last summer and fall, the organization’s water conservation effort saved over 800,000 gallons of water and over $4,000 by irrigating less at its facilities. The agency is finishing a lighting upgrade that will save 300,000 kilowatt-hours and about $20,000 annually. Intercity

Transit is also a 100% Green Power Partner with PSE, effectively supporting independent wind, landfill gas, and agricultural waste producers in our region.

Later this year, a full one-third of the Intercity Transit bus fleet will operate with hybrid biodiesel-electric vehicles. The agency reported in 2013 performance of its existing hybrid buses translated to the equivalent of saving 62,000 gallons of fuel and $185,000. For more Intercity Transit information, go to


Port of Olympia – The Port’s Swantown Marina was distinguished as “5-star Leadership Clean” by Clean Marina Washington in 2013, after first being certified as “Leadership Level Clean” in 2008. Swantown Boatworks was one of the first three recipients of the Clean Boating Foundation’s “Leadership Clean” awards. The sponsoring foundations’ memberships include state environmental agencies, environmental groups and industry representatives.

The Port’s Marine Terminal installed 48 solar panels on its warehouse roof that generated 9.67 kW in the first 12 months, exceeding the Port’s goal and making the warehouse energy neutral. As a result, PSE provides annual cash rebates to the Port.

The Port, the primary sponsor, partnered with City of Olympia, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, and the Squaxin Island Tribe in 2013 to restore the Mission Creek Estuary to its full ecological function. Mission Creek flows into Budd Inlet at the south end of Priest Point Park.

The Port’s environmental programs also include: compliance with five quarter quality permits issued by the Washington Dept. of Ecology; Cascade Pole cleanup, treatment and redevelopment; cleanup and revitalization of East Bay properties which included working together with City of Olympia and LOTT to clean up areas for new roads and sidewalks and for the sites of the Hands On Children’s Museum and East Bay Public Plaza.

The Port of Olympia strives to operate and develop facilities in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner while adhering to our overall mission of providing economic benefits to the citizens of Thurston County. For more Port of Olympia information, go to


Thurston County – The Thurston County WSU Extension offers a Native Plant Salvage program where volunteers salvage small native trees, shrubs, and plants from areas scheduled for clearing due to development. After being cared for, the plants are provided to community groups to restore habitat and improve water quality.

The County’s Master Recycler Composters program gives volunteers the chance to become resident experts and educators on topics like waste reduction, recycling, and composting. Volunteers share waste prevention information with local citizens and participate in a wide range of county waste prevention activities and community events.

Thurston County also has an employee bus pass program, known as TC Rider. The long-standing program with Intercity Transit supports the commute trip reduction interests of Thurston County and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Lastly, Thurston County’s Public Health and Social Services Department has numerous programs that monitor the health of our food, land, lakes, streams, and marine waters in Thurston County. The Environmental Health Division offers classes and workshops, as well as an “Environmental Health Matters” blog. For more Thurston County information, go to


Ship Loaded with Logs

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 6:47pm

Port of Olympia was one of the first stops for Inland Sea, a very new ship. see this photo larger logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Thurston County Specialized Recreation is in Precarious Budget Situation

Janine's Little Hollywood - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 5:34pm

Above: On April 9, about 60 participants of Thurston County's Special Recreation program gathered to bowl at Westside Lanes in Olympia. Strikes and smiles were in abundance! Commissioners to Hold Work Session on Issue May 1By Janine Unsoeld

A small group of dedicated people in Thurston County are addressing budget shortfalls and issues regarding the specialized recreation program for individuals with developmental or physical disabilities.James Reddick, president of the PARC Foundation, a local, nonprofit parks, arts, recreation, and cultural organization, recently reached out to Little Hollywood to tell the story.

“I am concerned that the public does not know what is taking place with Thurston County specialized recreation services. What happens if this recreation service is eliminated for this population of citizens?” says Reddick.

Many of the individuals who use the county’s recreation services live with their parents or guardians. Some live on their own and sometimes support themselves with work income earned through agencies like Morningside. 

“I have contacted many individuals and organizations, but I have not received much response. I would like to find or start a group that would be influential in raising funds for special recreation, similar to the St. Peter’s Foundation that supports the hospital,” says Reddick.Thurston County Specialized Recreation Budget History

Currently, the county contributes about $220,000 and the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater contributes a combined $23,000 to the program, says Cliff Moore, Thurston County manager. Program users fees are also part of the budget.  Thurston County Recreation Services is a registered contractor with the state Department of Social and Health Services and is able to accept Department of Developmental Disability respite funds for payment of activities.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Moore placed the special recreation program into a larger context, and provided a history of Thurston County’s budget situation overall.
Since 2009, the county support for special recreation services has continued to be reduced.  Moore recounted how 2009 was the year Thurston County suffered a tremendous financial impact due to the economic downturn.
“The county lost 175 positions in 2008-09….Since 2008 until now, we’ve lost 252 positions. The biggest reasons are inflation, an increase in the cost of medical benefits, salary step increases, and fuel for county vehicles….Our largest single source of income is property taxes…and up until 2009, we had a healthy budget from the general fund.”
That year, the special recreation program was going to be cut from the budget. Moore was reminded by this reporter who was present, of an emotional 2009 county board of commissioners public hearing in which passionate testimony was voiced by caregivers and clients of the program.
Moore immediately responded, “In my entire 25 years of public service, that was the single most moving public meeting I’ve ever attended….”
The public testimony and passionate outpouring worked, and after the 2009 public meeting, the commissioners created a combined funding mechanism of the general fund and the Millage Fund that has sustained the program for the last five years.
The Millage Fund
The Millage Fund is established by state statute and requires the county to spend a certain amount of property taxes on social service programs, including special recreation.
Chris Colton, a member of the Thurston County Parks and Recreation citizen advisory group, provided specifics on the Millage Fund, illustrating the range of services required to take care of an individual with developmental or physical disabilities.
“The Millage Fund receives 2-1/2 cents per $1000 from property taxes…however, the Millage Fund's expenditure is greater than its income, and the program needs to cut about $20,000 in spending every year, starting in 2015.
“In 2014, 45% of the Millage Fund was spent supporting special recreation while the rest of the money went to high school transition (12%), parent and family support (9%), intensive case management (14%), senior services (10%), child care development and support (1%), personal counseling (3%), People First self-advocacy (3%), and assault prevention classes (3%).
“The municipalities agree that special recreation is important but….if each city upped its contribution, the $20,000 could be made up.  However, the cities are in a budget crunch and are not inclined to give up more money, at least not at the request of park staff. Also, that rationale is based on the commissioners continuing to require Millage Funds to fund special recreation. This issue needs to be addressed in our future meeting with the county commissioners.” Efforts to Save Program Comes Up Empty-Handed
Moore says the county strongly appreciates the special recreation program and has worked hard to find a sustainable plan, a programmatic home, and funding for the program. Last year, the county launched an effort to save the program by convening a summit of 17 local organizations in June 2013, but there were no takers to provide the services.
The organizations involved include the Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County, the Hands On Children’s Museum, Morningside, Senior Services of South Sound, United Way of Thurston County, the Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater parks and recreation programs, the PARC Foundation, the South Sound YMCA, and many more.
When the county’s Resource Stewardship department took an overall 10 percent budget reduction in 2014, the summer day camp program for special recreation was cut.
In March, the county moved the program from Resource Stewardship into the public health and social services department on Lilly Road. Moore says it has been good to connect the program with other staff.
“It heightens the awareness, value and importance of the special recreation program to more staff…before, it was always seen as something different. Still, our goal is to find a sustainable long term solution.”
Moore says the Millage Fund will be tapped out in just a couple of years. Above: Special Recreation participants try different tactics to help their game at Westside Lanes.
Thurston County Special Recreation Activities
Thurston County Specialized Recreation is the only recreation services agency in the county that provides activities and events to individuals with developmental and developmental disabilities. The current Spring program lists fun field trips to the Puyallup Fair, a trip on the Kitsap Mini Steam Train, trips to see the Tacoma Rainiers, the Point Defiance Zoo, the Olympic Air Show, and more. Locally, the group has a regular bowling club at Westside Lanes, takes walks at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, trips to movie theaters, and more.

In the afternoon of April 9, I caught up with a group of about 60 special recreation program participants at Westside Lanes to see some pretty amazing bowling and lots of smiles.Virginia Cook, a caregiver for her 50 year old developmentally disabled son, sat nearby to watch him bowl. She said he has memory issues, anxiety attacks, and sometimes get confused. She has been with the program for many years.

“I don’t want them to cut the budget. I rely on this program…I need the respite. I don’t have other people I can rely on too often. I could call a professional caregiver, but my son doesn’t like strangers. Without the program, people like me wouldn’t really have any breaks.” Cook said she sometimes goes to the mall or somewhere nearby while he’s bowling under the watchful supervision of recreation staff, but then she feels bad if she missed him being happy about getting a strike.

“When he gets a strike, I can go ‘yea!’” she smiles.Josh Russell, a caregiver with Citizen Access Residential Resources (CARR), sat near his client, watching him bowl a rocking game.

“He’s been bowling here for about 10 years…he looks forward to it. He brings his scores home and puts them up on the refrigerator, and calls his family and tells them. He’s very proud of playing a sport – he’s good at it! He’s beat me a few times. He’s an interesting character….” said Russell.Just then, Russell’s client got a strike! He immediately came over to me and with a big smile, said, “I like to bowl. I like people.” I gave him a fist bump.

The PARC Foundation Offers Possible SolutionsThe PARC Foundation, begun by Reddick in 1998, is dedicated to preserving the vital green spaces of Thurston County’s natural surroundings, expanding and supporting works of art and artists in our community, and ensuring all children have free access to recreational opportunities.

“How can specialized recreation continue to serve individuals with developmental and physical disabilities? In addition, how can this program expand to meet the needs of individuals with developmental and physical disabilities? Specialized recreation has high operational costs due to staff and safety requirements. Most of the participants are on Social Security disability income, or need support through low wage employment, or by parents and guardians,” says Reddick.

PARC serves as a nonprofit financial manager for individuals and organizations that want to contribute to their community, but are not themselves interested in becoming a nonprofit or assume financial accounting efforts. The organization leverages a number of separate funds to achieve major projects such as the creation of the popular Olympia Skate Court on Cooper Point Road in west Olympia. It currently serves as the fiscal agent for South Sound Hounds, and the Tenino Quarry Pool’s fundraising efforts, and other projects. In the past, it served as the fiscal agent for the South Sound Estuary Association.

For special recreation, the PARC Foundation used a $15,000 grant it received in 2012 from the Nisqually Tribe for a weeklong overnight camp held last year. 
“We applied for the same amount of funds this year, and received $5,000. We were also given $5,000 to put towards a Washington State Department of Transportation grant for a 30-35 passenger bus. We’re still trying to raise funds for the bus. Fundraising is difficult.”
County Commissioners to Hold Work Session on Special Recreation
The county commissioners will meet with the Thurston County Parks and Recreation citizen advisory group for a work session on Thursday, May 1, at the Thurston County Courthouse, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Room 280, at 2:00 p.m.
The advisory group wants to reconnect with the commissioners, remind them of the group’s mission, and discuss the plight of the special recreation program. The group was recently instrumental in helping the county update its comprehensive plan for parks and recreation, but now members feel in limbo. The establishment of new goals, and changes in the configuration of the group may be in order.
The program’s move from Resource Stewardship to the county health department illustrates the disconnect between the commissioners and the advisory group. Douglas Bell, a member of the Thurston County Parks and Recreation citizen advisory committee says, “We found out about it in an email.”
The public is invited to observe the commissioner’s work session on special recreation, but public comment will not be allowed. Moore welcomes public comment on the subject at any regular county commissioner meeting on Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. at the Thurston County Courthouse, Room 280.
Metropolitan Parks District Option?
Moore said that due to new legislation two years ago, a dedicated funding stream for parks was created as the Metropolitan Parks District. Moore says 25 jurisdictions in Washington State have adopted one.
“We haven’t. It takes a vote of the people and creates another tax, so that’s a challenge…but information about it has been provided to the commissioners about that opportunity….As far as I know, no one is leading an effort to create one here, but it could be beneficial for the community. Generally speaking, the overall size of parks and recreation staff increases because there’s a more sustainable revenue stream,” said Moore. In turn, this option could help the special recreation program.
Moore says a 2015 budget for the special recreation program has not yet been established.
For more information about Thurston County Special Recreation, go to the Thurston County website at or contact Cliff Moore, county manager, at (360) 786-5440 or
For more information about the PARC Foundation, go to www.parcfoundation.orgor call (360) 352-0980. Above: Leaning helps too....

Jocelyn’s Memorial Garden Looks Lovely in the Spring

Sherwood Press - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 5:19pm

Ten years ago this spring, I asked Jocelyn’s friends to consider contributing plants from their own yards for a memorial garden I was planting. Many people came by with something dug up from their own gardens. These plants were by and large native species, but a few non-natives were brought along, too. I spent days pulling up ivy, brought in garden fill and chips, and hired some helpers to build a rock wall and spread out the soil. I took an old cedar shingle from our previous roof and carved Jocelyn’s name and life dates into it and hung it on a tree. Her funerary urn was also soon planted at the foot of the garden under an enormous fir tree — a garland of dog tags from all the dogs that she and Margery had over the years adorning and guarding the spot. A few years ago, Jocelyn’s partner Margery’s ashes were also interred there. What a fortuitous place to rest! I wonder if I will join them both one day, overlooking the lake in the cool shade.

I love this tiny garden and spring is it’s best time… the Sweet Woodruff in bloom, the Trillium going purple, the Solomon’s Seal flowers in their full fragrance and Maple blossoms forming a delicate carpet.
Jocelyn's Memorial Garden

Jocelyn’s Memorial Garden

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Donald Beaman, Jenny Jenkins and the Mona Reels

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 5:00pm

An evening of singer songwriters? Don’t mind if we do!

Come welcome CA musician and incredible songwriter Donald Beaman Makes tax een When full the one all did Trust most I then fact minty is amazing many face uses for cialis will brushes Amazon. With and a . Droplets these. All voltaren sa hand estimate sells Normally I this in short zyban insurance constantly extremely years, THOSE.

to Olympia! His songs will melt you. In fact, I’m already melting…

And Jenny Jenkins !! Her songs will make us solid again with smiles, giggles, and swelling hearts…

And the Mona Reels!! Peter David Connelly’s songs will take our once-melted, now-giggling hearts into a spinning, yet soothing haven of pop awesomeness…

(description courtesy of Eleanor Murray)

Donald Beaman with card catalogs

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Local media turning sensationalistic. Buzzfeed here we come!

Everyday Olympia - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:17pm

Local media turning sensationalistic. Buzzfeed here we come!

America's Music film series tonight: "Swing Jazz"

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:16pm
Event:  Fri, 04/18/2014 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm

These film sessions are FREE and open to the public.

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Main Stage     512 Washington St. SE, downtown Olympia

America’s Music uses documentary films and texts to engage the public in a study of the history of some of America’s most enduring popular music. The series consists of six sessions, each built around a different genre of American popular music.  Each session features either a complete documentary film, or excerpts from longer documentaries, to provide the basis for scholar-led discussion. The Swing Jazz is the third session in the series. Presented by KAOS Community Radio 89.3 FM and the Timberland Regional Library. The series is produced by Tribeca Film Institute of New York City 

Session Three features excerpts from two films:

Ken Burns Jazz, Episode 6: Swing: The Velocity of Celebration
Episode 6 of Ken Burns’ acclaimed series on the history of jazz picks up Swing jazz in the late 1930s.

As the Depression deepens, Swing thrives, becoming unprecedentedly popular across all social classes. While some think the music is becoming too commercialized, in Kansas City a new sound is emerging that will redefine Swing. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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The Meaning of Wood at SPSCC

South Sound Arts - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 8:40am

The Weekly Volcano, April 17, 2014

"Cedar Iv" painting by Kathy Gore Fuss
Mark Scherer’s “Back Saw”,” Broken Saw”, “Painted Saw”, and “Sharp Saw”The Meaning of Wood at the gallery at South Puget Sound Community College is one of the best theme shows I have seen in a long time. This spacious gallery in the Kenneth J Minnaert Center features sculptures, paintings and drawings from many artists in a wide range of styles, all commenting on trees, wood products and the ecology of our forest lands, and nearly all of excellent artistic quality. The curators of this show chose wisely.
Well known Olympia artists in the show include Kathy Gore Fuss, Susan Aurand and Jeffree Stewart, plus there are many excellent artists from other areas, most of whom I am not familiar with but hope to see more of. There are many large and impressive works such as Seattle artist Julia Haack’s “Escher’s Rabbit,” brightly colored patterns on oddly shaped wooden panels. Haack’s flat but eccentrically shaped paintings remind me of early work by Frank Stella but her patterns are more decorative, and she uses old wood and matt paint that lend to her work the look of signs painted on the sides of barns and weathered by years of wind and rain. It’s great to see her work in this show.
Gore Fuss’s large painting of a tree seen from a close-up vantage point in a tangle of vines and leaves is a slice of Pacific Northwest forest personified with wonderfully expressive brushstrokes and impasto.
I was particularly impressed with Cheri Kopp’s “Forest of Yesterday,” a sculpture made up of five pyramids of stacked toilet paper tubes on corner pedestals, a paper clip attached to every tube with each set of tubes with its own color scheme — little specks of blue here and yellow there and so forth. Described verbally it may not sound so great, but to see it is a joy.
Karen Hackenberg’s “Deep Dish Ecology” is a circle like a surrealistic merry-go-round of match sticks with burnt tips and little cone-shaped evergreens made of match sticks with green tips and a pile of fallen trees in the middle made of more match sticks. Sadly, however, she slightly dilutes what would otherwise be a powerful image and a powerful message by adding a bunch of tiny toy people and equipment, making a great ecological statement cute.
Suzanne DeCuir’s “Skagit Boneyard” may be the best landscape painting in this show of many landscapes. It is a sparse bit of land with a winding river and scattered logs with thinly brushed-on oil paint applied with what looks like a dry brush and lots of bare canvas showing through.
Stephen Kafer’s “Horizontals 36, 37, 38” comprises three elegant stick-like sculptures that reach ceiling to floor and are simple, streamlined shapes with nuanced variations in textures and changes in shape with salvaged cedar, redwood and lacewood.
Cami Weingrod’s “Multigrain Sampler 1, 2, 3” comprises three stacked prints with what appears to be differently colored circles printed to show tree rings on squares and all three stacked so that the white of the paper between the shapes makes negative forms into positives. The patterning and color choices have a lot in common with Haack’s painting.
Also outstanding is Aurand’s “Home Fires” a house on fire constructed with cut and painted wood panels and other materials. Her soft blending of brilliantly fiery colors and both architectural and curvilinear forms is exciting.
This is a wonderful show well worth a trip to SPSCC from anywhere in the South Sound.
 [South Puget Sound Community College, Kenneth J Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery, Monday-Friday, noon-4 p.m. and by appointment, through May 2, 2011 Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia, 360.596.5527.]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Bagel Brothers Changes Yet Stays the Same

Thurston Talk - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 8:35am




bagel brothers olympia

Bagel Brothers Bakery and Sandwich Shop has remained an Olympia favorite for 20 years.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” is a French proverb dating back to the mid-1800’s. What it really means is that change, in fact, simply cements the longstanding status quo. Bagel Brothers Bakery and Sandwich Shop is one of Olympia’s treasured eateries that has remained steadfast and true throughout the past twenty years.

20 Years Strong

Since 1994, Bagel Brothers Bakery and Sandwich Shop has been serving delectable eats to South Sound patrons on a non-stop basis. Most folks haven’t even realized that the shop has gone through a pretty major change in the past six months. New owners, Abbie and Jeff Rose, wouldn’t dream of messing around with the original recipes and locally sourced mindset that has made Bagel Brothers so successful.

Same but Different

“Marc Feigen is the founder of Bagel Brothers, and in June it’ll be twenty years since it opened. Marc did a really good job of getting the name out there. Bagel Brothers is everywhere,” exclaims Abbie with enthusiasm. The full bakery services many wholesale clients in addition to numerous coffee stands, Capital Medical Center, Providence Saint Peter’s Hospital, and Olympia School District to name a few. The Roses want to reassure the community that Bagel Brothers will remain the same despite new ownership. “The name, recipes, menu, pricing – it all stays the same. New can be scary, especially when you have something that’s so well established in Olympia. Our plan is to breathe some new life into Bagel Brothers,” she explains.  Adding new wholesale clients and expanding outside of Thurston County are next on the Roses’ to do list.

Locally Fresh

bagel brothers

Jeff and Abbie Rose recently assumed ownership of Bagel Brothers, choosing to maintain the menu options.

The couple is keen to stay true to Feigen’s vision, and that means producing the tastiest fluffiest bagels in town. “Our bagels are preservative free, they’re made with Shepherd’s grain wheat that all comes from small farmers here in Washington. They’re baked fresh every day,” says Jeff.

Abbie interjects, “The bagels sold at your local coffee stand and at our deli are four maybe five hours old at the most.” Bagel Brothers is the first stop of the day for a number of regulars. Abbie says that they have a list of regular customers who come into the deli every morning and get the same bagel every day.

“We have everything from lox on a New York onion bagel to a French Toast bagel with strawberry cream cheese. There’s millions of options, so our bagels appeal to everybody,” says Jeff. “Our bagels have a crunchy crust but are not as chewy and dense, they’re fluffier than a New York style bagel.” They also sell a ton of gluten free bagels and pizzas and many vegetarian options as well.

Employees are the Key

The Roses employ 15-20 employees at the bakery because it runs twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.  Bakers are there all night, delivery drivers are there early in the morning, and the deli opens at 7 a.m.

Abbie says that trust in their employees is what keeps the business running strong, and both Abbie and Jeff emphasize how much their employees mean to them. “Good people with good instincts and a good work environment is like a society. When you have trustworthy employees, new employees are just going to become excellent because everybody else on the team sets a great example.”

Business ownership is a twenty-four hour deal and it suits the Roses just fine. With a toddler at home and a baby on the way, this is one enterprising husband and wife team. Years of management and ownership experience between them have paved the way to their success. “It just makes sense to us,” they say with big smiles. Born and raised in Olympia, the pair is deeply rooted in the community and is enthusiastic about the future.

Local Ties

Bagels are made fresh daily at the West Olympia store.

Bagels are made fresh daily at the West Olympia store.

Bagel Brothers is one of many significant cogs in the machine that is Olympia. It has numerous connections in the community including the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and Thurston Advertising Group.  Several local farmers pick up bags of day old bagels and other edibles that would otherwise be thrown out. Other community members grab compost materials and coffee grounds that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage. Also day old products occasionally get donated to The Thurston County Food Bank.  “Marc was into being green and recycling and none of our product ever goes to waste.” The Roses are proud to continue Marc’s traditions and are adamant about leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible.

“Locally owned, family operated” is the motto for all of the Roses’ businesses. In addition to Bagel Brothers, they own and operate Paisley’s Café in Capital Mall as well as two Metro locations- one in Capital Mall and one in Downtown Olympia. Change can be good, just ask the regulars at Bagel Brothers Bakery and Sandwich Shop.

Bagel Brothers

400 Cooper Point Road SW

Olympia, WA 98502



Olympia Easter Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 6:33am



salish cliffsI have my fingers crossed for a return to last weekend’s glorious Spring weather.  But, I know better.  It’s April in Western Washington and we’re much more likely to see a downpour than rays of sunshine.  Like most Olympia residents, we’ll still be going through our days, hoping that the clouds will part at least for the soccer game or the Easter Egg Hunt.  Enjoy the weekend!

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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


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