Recent local blog posts

Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes and Elle’s Floral Design Partner to Open New Lacey Shop

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 3:34pm



Submitted by Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes 

mystical cupcakes

Rachel Young, owner of Mystical Cupcakes, opens her storefront on January 2, 2014.

Olympia’s Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes and Elle’s Floral Design have partnered to open Thurston County’s first cupcake/floral shop. The store is located at Market Square (Fred Meyer Complex), 730 Sleater Kinney Rd SE Suite E, Lacey.

The new shop, directly across from the Lacey Fred Meyer gas station, offers not only a full menu of delectable cupcakes and custom order cakes and pies, but also fresh floral arrangements and cut flowers, plants, plush animals, balloons, plus provides local delivery in Thurston county.

With plenty of in-house seating in a warm and inviting atmosphere, Mystical Cupcakes and Elle’s Floral Design will also focus on bridal events and wedding planning to create an easy and convenient place for the bride and groom to finalize all the details for their big day.

Lacey native Michelle LaPraim, owner of Elle’s Floral Design, is excited that her dream of owning her own floral shop has come to fruition.

“My original goal was to make enough money to help pay the bills every month. By word of mouth and the Thurston County Chamber, I began gaining business,” LaPraim said. “It got to the point where I was so busy I was having trouble keeping up with my full-time job, my side job and my children. I knew I needed to make a decision to either take the safe route or follow my dream of owning my own floral shop. I followed my dream and am loving every minute of it.”

Elle’s Floral Design specializes in weddings, memorials, special events and everyday design and offers national delivery service through FTD and Teleflora.

Rachel Young, owner of Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes, is no stranger to opening new cupcake shops. This is her third location for her gourmet artisan cupcakes.

“With a location in downtown Olympia by the Farmer’s Market and a second shop in Capital Mall, a Lacey location was the next step,” Young said. “Plus, pairing cupcakes and custom order cakes with a flower shop is perfect for all of our wedding clientele.”

Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes was established three years ago by Young in her kitchen as she experimented with and developed her own unique recipes. Joined by her mother, Victoria Cunningham, the two appeared on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in October 2013, which re-aired in April 2014. The episode, “L.A. Bridal Bash,” can be viewed from the link on the shop’s Web site: or on Netflix.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting will be held at the Lacey location September 3 at 4:00 p.m. More details will be announced via their Web sites: or and also on their Facebook pages: or

For more information, contact Young at, LaPraim at, both in person at the shop, 730 Sleater Kinney Rd SE Suite E, Lacey, or by phone at 360.489.0407.

Kari Olsen Named FirstLight Caregiver of the Month

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 3:25pm



Submitted by FirstLight Home Care – South Sound

FirstLight Caregiver of the Month Kari Olsen.

FirstLight Caregiver of the Month Kari Olsen.

When you meet Kari Olsen, you can’t help but be energized by her huge smile, according to Sarah Lane, owner of FirstLight HomeCare – South Sound.

“Kari has this wonderful smile that reflects so well her joyful, positive spirit and her big heart for others,” said Lane, who announced today that Olsen has been selected as the “FirstLight Caregiver of the Month.”  Each month, FirstLight recognizes an outstanding caregiver as part of their employee recognition program.

“Kari truly loves being a caregiver and that is reflected in how well she serves her clients,” said Lane of Olsen, who has worked as a caregiver for more than six years. “She has great compassion for others and connects so quickly with clients because she listens and cares so deeply about them.  Kari reflects exactly the values we have at FirstLight and is very deserving of this honor.”

Olsen, who grew up in Utah and recently relocated to the South Sound, said caring for others is her greatest passion.

“I can’t believe I get paid for doing what I love – caring for people,” she explained through a big smile.  “I have the honor of caring for amazing clients. I enjoy being there for them, helping them through tough times and being a part of their lives.  I love to be able to make them smile during a bad day.”

During her free time, Olsen also enjoys hiking and camping, as well as traveling and helping to plan weddings.  She also makes plenty of time for her dog, Chopper.

“I don’t yet have children,” she said, “but I have a dog who thinks he’s a child and feels like my child.  After a productive day, either at work or at home, I enjoy ending it with a quiet walk with Chopper.”

FirstLight HomeCare – South Sound is owned by Sarah and Greg Lane, long-time Olympia residents. To learn more about companion and personal care, dementia care, respite care or other non-medical home care services offered by FirstLight, give Sarah a call at 360-489-1621 or visit


Regional Providence Geriatric Center of Excellence Fall Prevention Program Launched

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 9:37am



Submitted by Providence Health & Services, Southwest Washington


 Desi Whalen LPN, Christine Hanson CMA, Scott Archer, ARNP

he staff of the Providence Clinic at Panorama: Rita Miller, Supervisor, Jennifer Hooper, LPN, Tessa Collins CMA, Dr. Kimberly Elliott, Dr. Ana Mihalcea, Dr. Gordon Rennie, Alison Meyer, ARNP, Amber Hughes CMA, Laura Collier, RN, Crystal Campbell, LPN. Missing: Desi Whalen LPN, Christine Hanson CMA, Scott Archer, ARNP

A recent Providence St. Peter Foundation grant of $40,000 awarded to the Geriatric Center of Excellence at Providence Clinic at Panorama is resulting in a collaborate effort between the Providence Medical Group, Providence St. Peter Hospital Rehab Services, the Department of Health and community organizations to help reduce falls in senior citizens.

In Thurston County, 41 percent of older adults have fallen at least once in 2012 per WA DOH statistics. Nationally, 1 in 3 older adults fall once a year. Falls cause injuries, fractures, hospitalizations and loss of independence.

The grant is to fund training, education, marketing, and administration of the Falls Prevention Program across a continuum of care. Providers, Rehabilitation staff and community fitness instructors work together to create a safer geriatric community together and reduce the risk of falls.

The Integrative Geriatric Center for Excellence (GCOE) Fall Prevention program, under Leadership of Medical Director Ana Mihalcea, M.D., has been implemented by the Panorama Clinic provider team – Dr. Rennie, Dr. Elliott and Alison Meyer ARNP. Providers are using the CDC’s STEADI guidelines and offer multifactorial fall risk factor modification visits. The program will be expanded to Providence St. Peter Family Medicine Residency in the near future.

The Providence St. Peter Rehabilitation Services Department, under leadership of Director Columbus Candies and PT Jill Smith, work to facilitate therapy services for patients referred to the therapist for skilled therapy as well as the development of community Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® classes.

“Studies have shown that Tai Ji Quan Movement for Better Balance classes reduce fall rates for seniors by 55 percent,” said Candies.

 Moving for Better Balance®.

Jan Voit, PT teaches a group of community fitness instructors in Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®.

The program includes training for fitness instructors who recently came to St. Peter Hospital and were trained in Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance. Classes have already begun at the Lacey Sr. Center, Panorama City Retirement community. Further classes will be hosted at the Olympia Sr. Center and other venues. The Foundation grant is also covering the cost of the class for eligible seniors for up to six months.

Community outreach and education events were attended by Smith and other therapists, such as Lakefair Senior Day on July 17. Dr. Mihalcea will be presenting with therapists at the Panorama City Fall Prevention event Sept. 23.

For more information on the program, contact the Geriatric Center of Excellence at Providence Clinic at Panorama at 491-4460 or Physical Therapy, Columbus Candies at ext. 37644.

Sand in the City 2015

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 9:09am



Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Sand in the City was in full swing on Saturday, August 22 as families enjoyed the free, fun arts and STEM activities and of course the giant sandbox.  Sand sculpting teams were hard at work crafting their masterpieces by the 7:00 p.m. deadline giving spectators all of Sunday to cast votes for their favorites.  One highlight is the giant castle where kids can paint layer upon layer, changing the structure’s color by the hour.  Visits to the newly opened Children’s Garden include chickens, bunnies and a mud pie making station.  Sand in the City is open Sunday, August 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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It’s a Rock and Roll High School for Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 8:36am



By Donna Wilson

olympia supplyWhether playing on the same sports team or participating in the same club, school can help young students come together with others who share a common interest. But students aren’t the only people who benefit from this environment. A combination of Olympia School District faculty, parents and board members make up the rock and roll group best known as Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band, and it was school that brought these like-minded musicians together.

It was 1987 when Mick Hart and Gordon Chamberlain formed the band The High Tops in Missoula, Montana. The duo disbanded briefly in the early 2000s when in 2001, Gordon moved to Olympia for a job at a local school. However, it would be only one year later that Mick would end up coming to nearby Tacoma for a position as a principal. Reunited, the two educators continued to play music together as often as they could.

 Photos by John O’Leary.

Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band is (from left to right): Gordon Chamberlain, John Godfrey, Mick Hart, Jane Van Camp, Ken Van Camp and Frank Wilson. Photo credit: Photos by John O’Leary.

Not much later in 2006, Mick took a teaching position at Reeves Middle School where Gordon was the assistant principal. Now, at the same school, the musical duo could talk guitar riffs and solos in-between classes.

During planning for an upcoming dance at the school, Mick and Gordon offered to play music during the event, but they were going to need some reinforcements. Mick and Gordon recruited some people they knew to play with them in the band. On drums was Capital High School Principal, Larry Walsh, on lead guitar and vocals was then-parent volunteer (now school board member) Frank Wilson, and on bass was parent Ken Van Camp. Mick traded in his guitar for a keyboard and Gordon took the lead on vocals.

The group enjoyed playing together and quickly began booking shows. They mostly played for the school district at first, and then the band started performing at private parties and small clubs. Since forming nearly a decade ago, Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band has performed at a wide variety of venues including concerts in the park, hot rod shows, wedding receptions, medical fundraisers, parties and more.

The band always welcomes guest performers. Pictured here (second from left) is guest Paul Rae on saxophone at the Olympia High School Sock Hop.

The band always welcomes guest performers. Pictured here (second from left) is guest Paul Rae on saxophone at the Olympia High School Sock Hop.

“It’s been a great joy, and I think it surprises people when they see that we’re playing music,” says Gordon. “Students are kind of shocked when they recognize that their grumpy old assistant principal is playing in a rock and roll band,” Gordon adds with a laugh. “It’s been a lot of fun, and I think there’s something pretty special about being able to do this, especially at my age.”

In 2011 Larry Walsh left the band and John Godfrey, a parent in the district, took his place on drums and vocals after his old band, The Sister Project, split up. Ken’s sister, Jane Van Camp, also from The Sister Project, joined the band in 2013 on vocals and percussion. Though the line-up has changed, the spirit of the band remains the same. The current line-up is Frank Wilson on guitar, Ken VanCamp on bass, Gordon Chamberlain on keys, John Godfrey on drums, Jane VanCamp on percussion and Mick on guitar — everyone sings.

The band mostly does classic rock and roll, but they also add a touch of other genres from time to time like country or contemporary, depending on the crowd. Mick, currently the assistant principal at Olympia High School, says, “Whatever music we play, we want it to be, for the most part, recognizable and music that people can dance to. That’s primarily why we chose the rock and roll era.” After recently playing at a sock hop at Olympia High School, the band found that even the younger generations knew the words to the songs, and the dance floor was packed the whole night.

Here, Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band performs at a Hot Rod show in Tumwater at the Olympics West Retirement Inn.

Here, Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl Band performs at a Hot Rod show in Tumwater at the Olympics West Retirement Inn.

Jane says, “Playing all the great, local places here — the South Bay Pub, the Pig Bar — is often like attending a family reunion. There are so many connections: family, schoolmates, past co-workers, and friends of friends. A gig feels like a really fun party where everyone knows each other somehow or soon will.”

Finding time to rehearse between work, family and other obligations can be difficult, but Mick says, “No matter how busy you are, when you put yourself on a stage and that first note is hit and you start a show — you can be somewhere else for a few hours.” Finding time is difficult, but the reward of playing live music with a group of like-minded people is well worth the challenge. “We all get along great, and it’s just fun to be around each other,” says Mick. “I’m thankful that I have the band mates that I do because that’s everything. If you have a good group of people to be able to work with, you can just do so much.”

To learn more about Mick Hart and the Classic Vinyl or to find out about upcoming shows, visit the band’s Facebook page. To book them for a show, contact Mick Hart by phone at 253-380-8878 or email the band at


Sand in the City Gala 2015

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/22/2015 - 1:28pm



Photos by Shanna Paxton Photography

Supporters of the Hands On Children’s Museum gathered Friday night to help raise funds for the museum’s Free and Reduced Admissions Programs serving over 80,000 children and families each year.  Party-goers feasted on tasty eats prepared by local restaurants and danced the night away to the sounds of the Beatniks.  “Flashy Rings” served as raffle tickets and auction items were bid on to help raise funds for these valuable programs at the award-winning museum.  Flip through the pictures below to get a flavor of the evening.  Then, join the fun at Sand in the City on Saturday August 22 and Sunday, August 23 at the Hands On Children’s Museum.

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Treefrog In Transition

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Sat, 08/22/2015 - 10:05am
Text and photos by ©Nancy Partlow
Several nights ago, I heard the call of a male Pacific Treefrog  (AKA Pacific Chorus Frog) through the bathroom window - Cree-EEEEK.  I could tell that it was probably somewhere in the covered walkway between the carport and the back patio, but thought I didn't have a prayer of finding it.  A few days later when I was rummaging around in a wheel barrow full of gardening paraphernalia I sometimes keep parked in this area, a little tan and brown spotted frog suddenly appeared on the rim of the barrow.  I figured it might have been hanging out in an open bucket of fresh planting soil, seeking a cool refuge from the recent heat and drought.  Greeting the little creature, I ran a bit of water into the bottom of a plastic watering can, which I then set beneath the wheel barrow. I did this because I’ve occasionally found tree frogs hiding inside watering cans on my back patio. 
Two mornings later, I searched for the frog but didn’t immediately find it. On a hunch, I checked the area around the hose connection a few feet away. In my experience, chorus frogs periodically loiter there, perhaps for the moisture.  Sure enough, I spied it on the hose rack next to the faucet, tightly snuggled between the coils of a black rubber hose.
By this time, the frog was not brown but a combination of green and brown. 

BB & B readers may recall a previous blog about chorus frogs where we wrote about this species’ ability to change color through the use of pigment cells in its skin.  In researching the literature about this neat trick, I discovered some disagreement among scientists as to why these frogs change color.  In my admittedly-unscientific opinion, they do it for camouflage.  Every time I’ve seen a chorus frog, it’s been the same color as its background. Although this one wasn’t the same hue as the hose it was perched on, (some have the ability to turn light gray), it did match the color of the plant foliage on the ground just below it.  Perhaps it had spent the previous day hiding out in that greenery, or was about to.  
Whatever the reason, the frog was beautiful. I’ve seen chorus frogs with all- green skin on their upper body, or mottled green and brown coloration, but nothing like this. Its back was mostly lime green, with tan still clearly visible along the edges.  The liver-colored spots and stripes from the previous few days were almost completely gone, although the black eye stripe was still there.
  Patches of green were visible on its legs, while the cute ovals on its face reminded me of clown make-up.  I thought, "The frog is coloring a paint-by-number picture, using its body as the canvas.  How cool is that?"

I took a few photos of the little fellow, then left him to his own devices. I try not to intrude too much on the animals I see.  Their lives are hard enough as it is.

I didn’t see or hear the frog again after that day. More than likely, it was migrating from a nearby wetland to the forested area behind my house, where it would spend the terrestrial phase of its annual life cycle hiding in the shrubs and forbs, or buried in the leaf litter beneath the trees. 
  I’ve been hoping to observe a frog change its color for a long time, and am thrilled to have finally caught one “in the act” in my own back yard. 
 What a finished "paint job" looks like.
Courtesy USGS Amphibian Research & Monitoring Initiative ----------- About Pacific Treefrogs:

Photos of Pacific Treefrogs of many different colors, including all-gray:

A rare blue morph Pacific Treefrog: 
Categories: Local Environment

90TEN Basketball Training Academy: A Coach’s Perspective

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/22/2015 - 6:00am



90ten basketball

Coach Heidi Paschal provides instruction to the 90TEN seventh grade boys basketball team.

The 90TEN Basketball Training Academy is an elite level AAU basketball program for boys and girls grades fourth through high school. Teams are comprised of eight to ten players each with highly experienced and successful youth basketball coaches.

In the 2014-2015 season, Mike Reid coached the girls sixth grade team. Reid played 4 years of varsity basketball at Whitman College and now has coached for 30 years at North Thurston High School in addition to coaching the University of Puget Sound Summer League Team.

Mike shares, “I like coaching in the 90TEN program because of the passion for all things basketball that Robin Johnson has established. I enjoy coaching for the whole person/player. We spend time working on skills other than just what is physically performed on the court such as how to be a great teammate and even nutrition. It serves as a great reminder to the players to take care of their bodies.”

Heidi Paschal, 90TEN Boys Basketball Program Coordinator and Coach, follows up Reid’s comments stating, “I feel what we are trying to accomplish at 90TEN is a little bit different than other programs. It is more than just about basketball for us. We want our players to do well in school, be good family members, take care of their teammates on and off the court as well as be the best basketball player than can be. Personally, I wanted to be a part of this. Robin and I played against each other as kids and then coached against each other as adults. I think it is so awesome that she had the courage to pursue her lifelong dream of starting a gym and a competitive youth basketball program. I wanted to help her out and be a part of this dream.”

To learn more about the 90TEN Basketball Training Academy visit the website or Facebook page.


Synergy HomeCare: Choosing Care that Matches Your Budget

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/22/2015 - 6:00am



olympia home care seniors

Brad Rossman is the General Manager for the Olympia branch of Synergy HomeCare.

It may be getting more difficult to take care of yourself. You’ve had a hip replacement and you can’t get around like you used to. Your energy level is low and it’s hard to prepare meals for yourself. You have adult children who live nearby who could give you hand, but they work full-time and have kids of their own. You think you may need to hire some help or maybe even move into a nursing home, but you’re worried about the cost.

Does this sound familiar? One of the biggest factors that impacts this decision is budget. Whether the senior is paying for their own care or a family member is taking care of the cost, the type of budget available for care determines the frequency, duration and type of care a senior receives.

Long-term care can be costly, but there are a few options available that can help keep costs down. One of these options is in-home care. In an annual report produced by Genworth, the average cost of in-home care was noted as less than adult day care, assisted living and skilled nursing.

The average cost per month at an assisted living facility is $3,450, with nursing homes sometimes costing $1,000 per day. With agency managed in-home care costing between $25 and $36 an hour (depending where you live and the required level of care), the cost of home care can save hundreds of dollars or more. Often a senior can safety remain at home with just a few hours of assistance a week.

What’s more, an in-home caregiver can help prevent a senior from incurring higher care costs, resulting from accidents and injuries. Assisting seniors with their daily activities, and ensuring the home is clear of fall-causing debris, helps prevent accidents from happening. As important, reminding medications are taken, along with nutrition planning and preparation, are services an in-home caregiver provides to help prevent accidents and loss of independence. This saves their clients from pain, stress and the increasing cost of higher levels of care, often not available in the client’s home.

“Everyone’s goal and budget is different,” says Synergy HomeCare General Manager, Brad Rossman. “A budget for in-home care can be easily planned and managed. There are many adjustable variables in a care plan, to help stay on budget. Perhaps we simply give family caregivers a needed break with just a few hours per week. Maybe we discover a client only needs a few hours of care, two or three times per week.” On the other hand, perhaps the least costly plan is to help a couple move to an Independent Living Community and still supplement with in-home care. This helps the couple downsize to a nice Independent Living Community, maximizing independence, yet positions them in a community that provides an increasing continuum of care, as their needs change with aging.

Want to find out more? Contact Synergy HomeCare online or give Synergy HomeCare a call at 360-338-0837 to learn more about the cost of in-home care and if it’s right for you or your loved one.


Joint Animal Services Commission Hires New Executive Director

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 2:24pm



Submitted by The City of Lacey

The Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater-Thurston County Joint Animal Services Commission has hired Ricord (Ric) Torgerson as the commission’s new Executive Director. Torgerson replaces Susanne Beauregard, who retired in June after 25 years with the agency.

Torgerson holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California, Davis. He also earned a bachelor’s in Biological and Biomedical Sciences and a master’s in Wildlife Herd Health, Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology from U.C. Davis.  Torgerson formerly was the Vice President for the American Humane Association in Denver.  Prior to that, he served as the Chief Operating Officer for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Washington D.C.; as the Department Head for the El Paso Zoo; and as the CEO of ZooMontana in Billings.  Additionally, Torgerson’s career includes positions as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, and a Senior Veterinarian for the state of North Carolina.

Torgerson has an extensive military career, most recently serving as a Senior Regional Development Officer and Deputy Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan from 2011 – 2014.  He also served in Iraq as a Civil Affairs Detachment Commander/Deputy Team Leader Chief of Staff and a Provincial Reconstruction Team Lead.  He recently completed his deployment and has returned to the reserves, and will be retiring next year with the rank of Colonel.

Animal Services is an intergovernmental agency that is funded and supported by Thurston County and the cities of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater.  Services include animal care and welfare, licensing, adoptions, and enforcement.

“We are excited to have someone with such an extensive background step into the leadership position,” noted Jeff Gadman, Joint Animal Services Commission Board Chair and Lacey City Council member.  “Ric’s broad experience in animal welfare, organizational management, and budgeting and fundraising will bring Animal Services to the next level in terms of service to the community.”

Torgerson’s first day will be August 26.


Volunteers Wanted to Help Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 2:18pm



Submitted by Thurston County 

The Master Recycler class educates attendees on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle to benefit their community and the earth.

The Master Recycler class educates attendees on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle to benefit their community and the earth.

Are you looking to do good by being more green? Ever wondered how you could do more to help the planet by helping out in your own little corner of the community? If you have passion for reducing, re-using, recycling or composting, then we want you to join the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter volunteer program!

The WSU Thurston County Extension and the county’s Solid Waste Division are recruiting for this year’s Master Recycler Composter (MRC) class. MRC volunteers learn how to reduce waste and increase public awareness of opportunities to prevent waste, recycle, and compost in Thurston County. Volunteers will also be trained to promote the “Waste Less Food” campaign, which will help them share valuable tips to not only save time and money, but keep precious resources from going to waste. Participants will receive background and hands-on training from local educators and experts. Class topics include waste prevention, recycling processes and markets, home composting, worm composting, how to be a green consumer, and much more.

The Fall 2015 MRC training classes will be held each Thursday evening in October from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. starting October 1 and running through October 29. The classes will be held in various training rooms around Lacey-Olympia-Tumwater area. The training also includes Saturday morning field trips on October 10 and October 17.

MRC course graduates agree to give a minimum of 25 hours of yearly service as they put their new skills to use. They will work with local organizations, community members, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, or at special events encouraging waste prevention, recycling and composting. MRCs can design their own projects or work on existing ones. On-going continuing education opportunities will be provided.

Online applications are available online now. Applications are due by September 15 at 5:00 p.m., but hurry, space is limited and preference will be given to applicants who live or work within Thurston County. A $25 course fee will be collected at the first class to help cover the costs of training materials and field trips.

For more information about the Master Recycler Composter program, contact Cori Carlton at or call (360) 867-2162.


My Spectacularly Unsuccessful Teaching Career

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 10:23am

No wonder they fired me in Clarkton when I looked like this (Nashville, TN, all dressed up for a job interview).

Departing from my usual arts writing, I’d like to share this with some of my friends.Yes, I was a teacher for a brief moment a long time ago.In 1970 I was hired to teach art in the tiny town of Clarkton, Missouri. For a $200 bonus they also got me to direct a school play. I had never before directed a play. The last (and only) play I had been in was in the first grade when I was one of the dwarfs in Snow White. In Clarkton, population approximately 2,500 at the time, I taught high school art classes three days a week and junior high and elementary art the other two days (high school and junior high shared a building and the elementary school next door was connected to the high school by a covered walkway). I at least got to spend enough time with my 10th, 11thand 12th grade students to learn their names, not so with the earlier grades where I felt I accomplished absolutely nothing; at best I was a fun babysitter.I did a pretty good job with the high school students, but I have to admit that my classes got pretty wild. I was not good at disciplining the students. My theory was that if you made the classes interesting enough, discipline would not be necessary. That theory proved to be partially true, but definitely not completely true.My end-of-year evaluation gave me high marks on innovation and knowledge of subject but ended with this statement from the principal: “The noise from Mr. Clayton’s class, especially the laughter, is disrupting to other classes. Not recommended for rehire.”Thus ended my public school teaching career with the exception of a few years substitute teaching in Nashville, Tennessee and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where my inability to keep the kids in line was even more of a problem.After that I was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi for about three years and a half-time studio art instructor and gallery director. And then I was laid off. That’s code for fired. The reason given was that I had only an MA degree and the job required an MFA, which is a terminal degree in studio art. Of course my MA was good enough when they needed me. The real reason I was fired, which I heard through the grape vine, was that the college hired some hotshot in another department who agreed to come only if they also hired his wife, an art teacher. So she got my job and I got the hell out of Mississippi—the end of my teaching career and the beginning of a career as an artist and writer in Olympia, Washington.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Soba: A Square Meal at the Olympia Farmer’s Market

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 6:00am



By Lynn West

greene realtyIf you are in the mood for delicious square noodles, as our family often is, brave the long line at Soba.  Eating lunch at the Olympia Farmer’s Market provides options for every culinary taste, but Soba proves to be one of the most popular restaurant choices for many market-goers.

Soba is the second oldest food vendor at the Olympia Farmers' Market and oldest permanent restaurant.

Soba is the second oldest food vendor at the Olympia Farmers’ Market and oldest permanent restaurant.

As the matriarch and owner at Soba, Minh Smith says, “We are the second oldest food venue at the market.  Only San Francisco Street Bakery boasts a longer tenure.

Before the current site opened in 1990, we sold our noodles out of a tiny trailer when the market was down the road off Capitol Way.”

Minh came to Olympia in 1968 from Vietnam and began her restaurant career with her husband in 1973 as owner of Ben Moore’s.  Her daughter, Bonnie Smith, who worked with her Mom for many years at Soba, now spends most of her time at Ben Moore’s.

Over the years, Soba’s menu has expanded from noodles and chicken skewers to include teriyaki, chicken salad, egg rolls and fresh spring rolls.  The Soba noodles, square rather than round like spaghetti or flat like udon are still the signature dish.  Minh explained, “Each restaurant at the market has a specialty and no other restaurant can duplicate it.  Even though Asian curry is distinct from Indian curry, since that is Curry In a Hurry’s trademark dish, you will never find curry at Soba.”

A look at the behind the scenes preparations early on a market day exemplifies both Soba’s family atmosphere and the fresh, healthy quality of the food they serve.   Bibiana Cruz has worked at Soba for fifteen years and is master of the egg roll.  She had already made two large trays before I arrived around ten o’clock and the symmetry of the rolls was amazing.  Take a moment when you next order one to appreciate their precision before you crunch your first bite.

Kim Nguyn (right) and Bibiana Smith work behind the scenes at Soba to prepare for the daily lunch rush.

Kim Nguyn (right) and Bibiana Cruz work behind the scenes at Soba to prepare for the daily lunch rush.

Kim Nguyen, who has worked at Soba since 2010 is in charge of the ever-popular spring roll. She didn’t blink an eye as she gathered fresh ingredients from the prep cook, stuffed and rolled.  She must be flexible, willing to adjust to the market’s demands.  On a slow day, she may make only 50 rolls but on a busy day, as many as 120 rolls pass through her talented hands.

To accommodate folks on their lunch hour, Soba prides itself on quick service.  However, everything is fresh and made from scratch each day. To keep customers happy, and moving, starting early in the day is essential to being ready for the rush.  Minh plans carefully so leftovers are at a minimum.  Still, if noodles are left at 3 o’clock, the staff has a nice evening meal for their families.  One secret I learned? Don’t believe the sign that says spring rolls are only available on certain days.  If Soba is open, Kim is making them.

Around noon on a recent Thursday, I asked the fifteenth person in line, “Is the wait worth it?” Yes is the resounding answer. Carolyn Rice told me she comes to the market every week, and Soba is usually her first stop.  “The service is great, the food is fresh, and they always accommodate my needs,” she explains.

The little ones in my family enjoy slurping the noodles any way they can, often not in the most elegant manner.  Emily Stephen’s girls, Hazel, seven and a half, and Cici who is four, were nicely eating their noodles.  They are definitely beyond the slurping stage.  Hazel says, “I like both the eggs rolls and the soba, but I also like the snow cones!”

Emily Stephens and her daughters Cici (left) and Hazel enjoy a favorite lunch at Soba.

Emily Stephens and her daughters Cici (left) and Hazel enjoy a favorite lunch at Soba.

That’s what is nice about the market – all tastes can be accommodated.  A family at the same table chose Thai Tea from Soba rather than snow cones from the adjacent cart to finish off their meal.

It’s amazing to learn of the friendships forged through the windows of Soba’s tiny 16 by 19 foot restaurant.  Bonnie Smith says, “Over the more than 30 years I worked with my mom at Soba, I have made many life-long friends. I have also watched young children grow up before my eyes, and now they are parents bringing their children to Soba.”

Minh commented on the affordability of the menu items, but says, “ We try to keep the prices as low as we can, but still maintain the quality.  However each year rent and wages go up, so it is a delicate balance.  We always have the loyalty of our customers in mind.”

A quick survey of those in line revealed locals had brought out of town guests from Portland and California to their favorite spot at the Olympia Farmers’ Market. Bonnie Smith explains, “We have never had to advertise as Soba has been self-promoting.  We so value our relationship with all who come to Soba.”

Bibiana adds, “It is amazing to see the same folks coming over and over.”

Soba has become a summer tradition for many hungry market shoppers.  If you haven’t yet become a square noodle lover, make Soba your next lunch stop at the Olympia Farmers’ Market.


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 6:00am



August is flying by and in our household, the countdown until school starts has begun.  Luckily, we are still counting in the double digits and there is plenty of summer left to play and explore.  And, this weekend offers plenty of options to do just that.  Whether you are looking for family-friendly fun (try Sand in the City) or something just for the grown-ups (head to the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest), there are options galore this weekend. For a full listing of the area’s events check in with the ThurstonTalk events calendar for a daily dose of Thurston County happenings.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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



Long Journey: The Survival of Priest Point Park’s Civil War Cannons

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 6:00am



By Jennifer Crooks

volkswagenPriest Point Park, created in 1905, is one of Olympia’s finest parks. In the early 20th century, the city obtained a pair of Civil War cannons from the United States government for the park. Weathering years of change, these cannons have survived their long journey—from the Civil War to decades of residence at Priest Point Park and more recently their home at the Fort Steilacoom Museum. This Museum preserves and interprets the historic Fort Steilacoom site (1849-1868).

The 1863 cannon on display at Fort Steilacoom. Volunteers have restored the cannons for public display. Photo courtesy Jennifer Crooks

The 1863 cannon on display at Fort Steilacoom. Volunteers have restored the cannons for public display. Photo courtesy Jennifer Crooks

In spring 1911, a bill was proposed in Congress to dispose of obsolete government cannons. The editors of “The Olympia Daily Recorder” newspaper praised the efforts of Senator Wesley Livsey Jones (1863-1932) of Washington to obtain cannons for his state. Olympia leaders, supported by local citizens, originally hoped for an iron cannon, but were informed by Senator Jones that only bronze cannons were left and they would need to pay around $300 to purchase a single cannon.

Nevertheless, Olympia leaders believed the cost would be well worth it and make a wonderful addition to Priest Point Park. “The Olympia Daily Recorder” editors on May 4, 1911, stated that a cannon would “make a brave show mounted on the hillside in front of the park pavilion, where ‘Old Glory’ now flies from a towering natural flagpole [a painted snag], and would be in full view from the bay….The cannon would be a distinct addition to the park features, and would be of additional utility in firing Fourth of July salutes, and in saluting United States or foreign naval vessels visiting Olympia harbor from time to time…”

Things moved slowly after the decision was made. H.R. 24458 was approved by Congress on August 24, 1912, with substantial changes from the original plan. It was “An Act Authorizing the Secretary of War, in his discretion, to deliver to certain cities and towns condemned bronze or brass cannon, with their carriages and outfit of cannon balls, and so forth,” with the provision that the federal government would incur no costs in delivering the cannons but the Department of War would retain legal ownership of the cannons.

A circa 1910 postcard showing the cannons in front of the Swiss Chalet. Photo courtesy private collection.

A circa 1910 postcard showing the cannons in front of the Swiss Chalet. Photo courtesy private collection.

The cannons were not being sold, but lent for free to cities around America. The act also specified the locations in twenty-two states that the 105 cannons would be given.  For Washington, that was North Yakima, Ellensburg, Walla Walla, Vancouver, Wenatchee, Bellingham, Everett and Olympia.

Olympia was to receive two Napoleon cannons and a stock of forty eight-inch cannonballs. The City Council accepted the U.S. government’s proposal on November 20, 1912. The cannons were then sent by ship from the Benicia Arsenal in California. The city’s cost was $26.20 – only the freight charge. The historic weapons arrived in Olympia during the first week of February 1913.

By May, the cannons had been placed in front of the Swiss Chalet, the park’s dance and community pavilion. This building stood on the bluff above Budd Inlet on the west side of the park. A grassy area marks the spot today. Following directions sent by the Department of War, workmen set up the cannons on stone and concrete bases with one short pyramid of cannonballs beside each cannon. The cannons were later moved northward to a stone balcony overlooking Budd Inlet. As for the Swiss Chalet, the building became a storage shed and was torn down in the 1960s.

As researched by Fort Steilacoom historians, the two cannons were used by the Union Army during the Civil War. The first was cast by the Revere Copper Company in Boston Massachusetts in 1863. Its 4.62 inch bore, the same as when it was originally made, indicates that it was likely used very little. The second cannon was cast by Henry N. Hopper & Company in Boston, Massachusetts in 1862. The cannon’s five inch bore indicates heavy usage. Both cannon barrels weigh 1220 pounds and are capable of firing a twelve pound cannonball nearly a mile. According to historian Lyle Hegsted, only a third of the 1,150 Napoleon cannons built for the Union survive.

The two cannons, after being in front of the Swiss Chalet, were for a time put on this platform at Priest Point Park, overlooking Budd Inlet. Photo courtesy Jennifer Crooks.

The two cannons, after being in front of the Swiss Chalet, were for a time put on this platform at Priest Point Park, overlooking Budd Inlet. Photo courtesy Jennifer Crooks.

The local cannons’ survival is even more striking when compared to the fate of other cannons assigned to Washington State in H.R. 24458. There is no trace of cannons going to Everett, Ellensburg, Walla Walla and Vancouver. The cannons in Bellingham and (North) Yakima arrived and were displayed in local parks for a time but were melted down as scrap during World War II. The Olympia cannons are the only survivors of this group with exception of a single cannon on display in front of the Chelan County Courthouse in Wenatchee.

After years of harsh weather, occasional vandalism, and even several theft attempts the cannons at Priest Point Park were in need of a new home. The City of Olympia and the Fort Steilacoom Historical Association reached an agreement that sent the two cannons on indefinite loan to the Fort, although the historic weapons remain the legal possession of the Defense Department.  Volunteers at Fort Steilacoom carefully recreated replica cannon carriages and built a shed to house the cannons for display.

Despite all odds, the cannons have survived and remain accessible to the public. It is a fitting end to the cannons’ long journey from the Civil War to the present and today visitors to Fort Steilacoom can view the cannons and learn their role in history.

Mud Bay Announces Employee Ownership Plan

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 2:14pm



Submitted by Mud Bay 

With a dash of a pen — and years of pre-planning and hard work — the 324 employees of Mud Bay became owners of the Pacific Northwest’s largest pet retail company today.

Mud Bay co-CEOs Lars and Marisa Wulff announced the new Employee Stock Ownership Plan or “ESOP” Thursday at the company’s annual employee “Mudstock” training event, held on the campus of Green River Community College. Its stores and offices were closed Aug. 20 so that all employees could participate in the day’s events — a mix of education and team-building activities built around a Woodstock theme.

Currently, Mud Bay is owned by 35 shareholders, including founder, Elsa Wulff, co-CEOs Lars and Marisa Wulff and a handful of family, friends and company staff. Investments made by that core group were instrumental in expanding the store from one to nine stores, and set in motion the continued growth and success of Mud Bay today.

“We could not be where we are now without the hard work and dedication of our staff – our ‘Muddies’ — and the quality of our leadership team,” said Lars Wulff, Mud Bay co-CEO.

“This is something we’ve dreamed of for years, but the company wasn’t ready. Now, we can make the transition to a whole company of owners. By continuing to focus on our three-part mission, staying true to our values and creating the Mud Bay Experience for every dog and cat owner, we believe this ESOP, and the company, will be very successful.”

Wulff said this year the company will have almost doubled its sales in the four years from 2011-2015.

“By continuing to grow, we should all benefit by watching our ESOP accounts grow nicely in the years to come,” he added. “And that’s really the benefit of an ESOP – it’s the ability to share that success with the people who created it: our Muddies.”

Mud Bay currently operates 33 stores in Washington and Oregon. Additional stores are set to open this year, including two locations in Oregon (Hillsboro, Tualatin) and two in Washington state (Sammamish, Bellingham).

Today, ESOPs are the most common form of employee ownership plans in the U.S., with more than 7,000 companies offering plans to more than 13.5 million employees.

To be eligible for the Mud Bay plan, employees must (1) be age 18 or older; (2) log 1,000 work hours (roughly 20 hours per week for 50 weeks); and (3) stay with the company through the last day of the ESOP plan year (Dec. 31).

Under the plan, Mud Bay will dedicate part of its profits toward the ESOP. Every year, or every other year depending on the company’s annual performance, the ESOP will use the money it receives from the company to buy shares of Mud Bay stock from Mud Bay’s current owners. These shares are directed into an employee stock ownership trust fund, which allocates the Mud Bay shares to individual ESOP accounts—one account for each eligible Mud Bay staffer. The size of each staffer’s allocation is based on how much the staffer earned in wages during the previous calendar year.

When staff retire or otherwise leave, Mud Bay buys the shares back at whatever the current share value is. Retirees can then spend or invest the money as they see fit. Mud Bay will also take the shares it has purchased from retired staff and place them back into the ESOP so that it can allocate them to the next generation of employees.

“Today’s announcement reflects the mission and spirit of Mud Bay,” said Marisa Wulff, co-CEO and vice president of store development. “Our employees invest a lot of themselves in their work. They train to become deeply knowledgeable about natural products for dogs and cats. They work with suppliers to provide the best possible products on our shelves,” she said.

“As a result, they build relationships with customers, which creates a positive relationship and successful stores. So for them to reap the benefits of that success is very fitting.”

Mud Bay’s growth and focus on continuous improvement have had a positive impact on the company.  In July, Mud Bay was named Pet Retailer of the Year for 2015 by Pet Business Magazine. The publication singled out the company for warm, modern stores that play host to service-centered staff who focus on solutions over sales.

“It’s hard to not have a good experience at a Mud Bay store,” added Lars Wulff, “and that’s what makes us so proud of today’s announcement. Our people have really made the difference for us and our customers, transforming the practice of pet retail while contributing to the long-term health of dogs and cats. We’re proud of that, and we’re excited to share that success with our employees.”

About Mud Bay
Founded in 1988 just outside of Olympia, Washington, Mud Bay is the Pacific Northwest’s largest retailer focused on healthy, natural nutrition for dogs and cats. With 33 locations in Washington and Oregon, Mud Bay is focused on providing wonderful shopping experiences for pets and their owners. For more information about Mud Bay, visit or follow them on Twitter: @MudBay

Tumwater School District and TOGETHER! Host Back-to-School Community Event

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 1:43pm



Submitted by TOGETHER!

Free Back to Basics Community Event served over 250 Tumwater students with back-to-school health services, community connections, and more.

Free Back to Basics Community Event served over 250 Tumwater students with back-to-school health services, community connections, and more.

Tumwater School District students got free back-to-school help on August 18. The “Back-to- Basics Community Event,” hosted by TOGETHER! and Tumwater School District, offered no-cost immunizations and sports physicals, access to community health services and more. The goal was to eliminate barriers, increase school engagement, and provide additional access for families’ health care needs prior to the start of the year.This truly was a community effort to meet the health needs of our community.

The event, which took place at Tumwater Middle School, was a success due in part to the over 70 community, medical and school district volunteers. Over 200 families attended the event. Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps administered 50 no-cost immunizations to 30 pre-school through 12th grade students. 219 middle and high school students were able to access no-cost sports physicals through a variety of volunteer medical providers. Families could access the DSHS Mobile Community Service Office to update food benefits and learn about potential services. SeaMar Community Health Center’s community navigator answered questions about insurance access.

Volunteers pitched in to serve over 250 students from the Tumwater School District.

Volunteers pitched in to serve over 250 students from the Tumwater School District.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County provided healthy snacks, and Tumwater School District staff were on hand to answer backto-school questions. Thank you to our additional partners: Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, Surgical Associates, Thurston Country Public Health and Social Services, Providence Tumwater Valley Physical Therapy, Providence Family Practice, and DZines.

With these services completed, Tumwater students are ready to engage in learning on the first day of school.
Tumwater School District works with TOGETHER! to implement a community schools approach in their district, which increases student engagement and community/school partnerships.

The program is funded by the school district and the Community Investment Partnership. TOGETHER! is a local nonprofit organization that engages and mobilizes families, schools and the community to advance the health, safety and success of our youth. Learn more at

Thurston County Healthy Homes Program Announces Free Volunteer Training

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:53pm



Submitted by Thurston County Healthy Homes Program

What: Thurston County’s Healthy Homes Program trains volunteers to provide free home visits to Thurston County residents to encourage behavior and actions to promote healthy living spaces – such as dealing with and preventing mold, creating healthy indoor air, reducing asthma triggers, reducing exposure to toxins, and more. We have a free volunteer training coming up this fall! You can learn all about housing-related health risks and how to prevent and reduce them. This training includes expert guest speakers, field trips, and opportunities to put what you learn into practice. It’s fun and the knowledge gained is useful in our daily lives.

Who: This training is for people interested (or who work) in environmental health, housing, improving health, and giving back to the community. No prior experience is necessary; the training teaches all you need to know to conduct Healthy Homes Visits in pairs. These visits are free, voluntary, and completely confidential. We don’t do any sort of enforcement or mediation. We are invited to do the visit by the resident, where we perform a checklist and walk-through, and based on what we find we provide information, guidance, and resource lists to the residents to help them take the next steps. We are flexible with volunteer hours for people who will use the knowledge and skills from the training in their regular work.

Why: Housing conditions can cause health problems or make existing health problems much worse. This is especially the case for children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. There are many simple, low or no cost ways for people to reduce the risks of housing-related health issues and our goal is to educate and empower residents to create habits that promote the healthiest possible living space. Program staff are available to work with and help volunteers to feel comfortable and confident in providing Healthy Homes Visits.

When: The training starts September 15 and runs every Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. through November 17, 2015. This is a total of 30 hours of fun, hands-on training and afterwards we ask volunteers to provide 30 hours of volunteer service (which is about 10 home visits) as their schedules allow. Volunteers can also put in time by participating in booths at community events, performing outreach, or working on special projects. We are flexible with volunteer hours for people who will use the knowledge and skills from the training in their regular work.

Where: The training is held at the Thurston County Public Health at 412 Lilly Rd. NE, Olympia, 98506; across from St. Peter’s Hospital. Intercity Transit bus routes # 60, 62A, and 62B serve the area. To sign up or find out more, contact coordinator, Elisa Kaufmann at  or 360-867-2674 (TDD 360-867-2603.) If transportation is an issue for anyone who is interested, please don’t let that stop you from applying. We are close to bus routes and there is a good chance that volunteers attending the training can carpool.

Healthy Homes Program website

Volunteer Job Description

Volunteer Application


West Olympia Pavement Preservation Work Concludes, Traffic Delays Expected

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:48pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

On Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22 (weather permitting), the City’s Contractor will be grinding off old pavement markings and applying new plastic pavement markings (including bicycle symbols, turn arrows, and crosswalk striping) to the newly chip sealed surfaces on West Bay Drive, Road 65, Division Street and Black Lake Boulevard. This will complete the pavement preservation work on these roads.

Work will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and follow the schedule below. Motorist should expect some lane restrictions and delays during the pavement marking operations. Flaggers will direct motorists through the construction area.

Friday, August 21

  • West Bay Drive NW (from Garfield Avenue to Schneider Hill Road);
  • Road 65 NW (from 14th Avenue to 20th Avenue); and
  • Division Street NW (from Harrison Avenue to 4th Avenue)

Saturday, August 22

  • Division Street NW (from Harrison Avenue to 4th Avenue);
  • Black Lake Boulevard SW (from 4th Avenue to Capital Mall Drive to 4th Avenue); and
  • Black Lake Boulevard SW (from Hwy 101 to south city limits near Hope Community Church)


Olympia Family Theater Announces 2015-16 Mainstage Season

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:42pm



Submitted by Olympia Family Theater

Olympia Family Theater is located in downtown Olympia and stages plays appropriate for all ages.

Olympia Family Theater is located in downtown Olympia and stages plays appropriate for all ages.

Olympia Family Theater is proud to announce our 2015-16 Mainstage Season.  The season will feature five productions in our intimate 106-seat theater, including Mercy Watson to the Rescue, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlotte’s Web, Peter Rabbit and Me, and the musical A Year with Frog and Toad. We are thrilled to bring these fantastic shows to the stage as Olympia Family Theater celebrates its 10th season. Each show has been selected for both its connection to literature and all-ages appeal. Based in downtown Olympia, OFT is a nonprofit community theater that engages audiences of all ages in performances and programs that entertain and educate.


Mercy Watson to the Rescue

By Kate Di Camillo. Adapted for the stage by Victoria Stewart

Oct. 9- Nov. 1 (Fri- Sun only)

Pay-What-You-Can Performance: Friday October 16th 7:00pm

Recommended for all ages

This wild comic adventure play is best enjoyed with buttered toast!

The Watsons move into a new neighborhood with their adorable pig named Mercy (whom they call their porcine wonder). Mercy loves driving cars, going trick-or-treating, and a good chase, but above all else, Mercy loves buttered toast! Just how far will this mischievous pig go on her quest for more toast?  This play is filled with all kinds of colorful characters, inadvertent heroism and hilarious trouble in this stage adaptation of the wildly popular chapter book series.


A Charlie Brown Christmas

by Charles M. Schulz. Stage Adaptation by Eric Schaeffer.

Nov. 27- Dec. 20 (Fri- Sun only)

Pay-What-You-Can Performance: Friday December 4, 2015 7:00pm

Recommended for all ages

The sweetest, simplest, Charlie Browniest Christmas of them all!

“Christmastime is here…Happiness and cheer….” Bring your family to the theater this season to see this cherished holiday classic – live on stage. Lights are twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the blues because of the over-commercialization of Christmas. Lucy suggests he direct the annual Christmas play, which ends up helping not just Charlie Brown, but the entire Peanuts gang discovers the true meaning of Christmas.


Charlotte’s Web

By E.B. White. Adapted by Joseph Robinette.

January 29- Feb. 14, (Thurs- Sun)

Pay-What-You-Can Performance: Thursday, February 4, 2016 7:00pm

Recommended for all ages

Terrific, radiant, humble…and you should see the pig!

Charlotte’s Web is “the best American children’s book of the past two hundred years” according to The Children’s Literature Association. It is the story of how a little girl named Fern, with the help of Charlotte, a friendly spider, saves her pig Wilbur from the usual fate of nice fat little pigs. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passage of time, we are reminded to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things.


Peter Rabbit and Me

Based on Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Written by Aurand Harris.

March 18- April 3, (Fri- Sun only)

Pay-What-You-Can Performance: Friday March 25, 2016 7:00pm

Recommended for all ages

Four little rabbits, one spectacular adventure!

A delightfully joyous story of Peter Rabbit, the little blue-coated rabbit who has been enchanting the world since he first hopped out of the pages of a story book and into children’s hearts. It is also a story about Beatrix Potter, the little girl who imagined the story about her favorite pet, a mischievous rabbit. In this play we get a glimpse of her home life with her father, brother, and governess, and see her imagination in action when suddenly all the people in Beatrix’s life are transformed into characters we know well, and she steps straight into the story of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”.


A Year with Frog and Toad

Based on the books by Arnold Lobel. Music by Robert Reale. Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale.

May 13- June 5 (Fri- Sun only)

Pay-What-You-Can Performance: Friday May 20, 2016 7:00pm

Recommended for all ages

Celebrate friendship through all four seasons with the adventures of our favorite heroes, Frog and Toad!

Arnold Lobel’s treasured characters hop from page to stage in a story of friendship and adventure. Celebrate friendship as our heroes, Frog and Toad, weather all four seasons with their animal friends. Eternally optimistic Frog and the somewhat grumpy Toad plant flowers, swim, rake leaves, enjoy the holidays and celebrate the simple things in life. Ordinary events like baking cookies and receiving a letter in the mail become delightfully humorous escapades in this whimsical musical tale.

Advance ticket purchase is recommended due to limited seating and can be made online or by phone with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Tickets are available 24 hours from our website: Box office hours: 2 hours before each performance. Walk-up tickets can be purchased at our Box Office with cash, check or credit card.


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