Recent local blog posts

Top Rung Brewing Releases Equinox Pale as part of Pale Series

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:33am


Submitted by Top Rung Brewing

On January 30th we will release the fifth beer in our Pale series.  “Equinox Pale” will be the fifth in our Pale Ale’s released since early 2015.  In each Pale release we will highlight and celebrate a different hop. Equinox has a pronounced aroma profile with citrus, tropical fruit, floral and herbal characteristics. Specific descriptors include lemon, lime, papaya, apple, and green pepper.  It was developed by the Hop Breeding Company in Yakima.

Top Rung Brewing is a 10-barrel production brewery with tasting room at the brewery. Top Rung Brewing is a destination for craft beer drinkers to enjoy their beverage and view a production brewery facility.  Our tasting room is family friendly and while we will only offer snacks, we partner with local food trucks as well as allow patrons to bring in their own food of their choice or have it delivered.

Equinox Pale Statistics:  ABV: 6.2%, IBU: 60, SRM: 10

Timberline’s David Hales Lit Up The Washington Center Stage with Pink Martini

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00am


After you turn 40, I no longer think you can qualify as a groupie but I would classify some friends as dedicated Pink Martini fans. When we learned that the band, which mixes jazz tunes with classical music and old-fashioned pop from around the world, would be performing at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, we quickly bought tickets.

capital heating and coolingIt’s not uncommon for Pink Martini to invite special guests on stage. We were all in awe when we heard the first few notes from the clarinet of David Hales, a Timberline High School senior. In fact, my friend leaned over and said “you have to write a story about him.”

Partners in Music Education

Pink Martini bandleader Thomas Lauderdale is passionately interested in music education, and in providing opportunities for young musicians. The band has a long history of collaborating with young artists.

pink martiniStorm Large, vocalist for Pink Martini, belts out a tune while David Hales plays his clarinet. Photo credit: Timothy Nishimoto.

Collaborations with Portland-based youth orchestra and choir programs have been so successful that the band decided to take the program on the road and engage with local high school musicians while on tour.  “It is as important as it is fun for the band to share the magic of a lit stage and an engaged audience with young artists who are putting in all those earnest hours behind the music stand,” says Pink Martini’s Claire Dennerlein.

“We are passionate about putting our community on stage and bringing educational opportunities for youth,” shares Jill Barnes, Executive Director of The Washington Center. “We also attract and bring world-class performers like Pink Martini to South Puget Sound.”

“So to put these two areas together was truly magical, and such a perfect example of our mission,” adds Barnes, reflecting on Hales’ performance on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, in front of a packed house.

david hales clarinetDavid Hales appreciates the connection to clarinet music that he shares with his mother. Photo courtesy: SOGO.

“One of the greatest things about being in this band is knowing when we’ve had a connection with budding musicians. Having the chance to perform with them on stage is even more special,” says Timothy Nishimoto, vocalist and percussionist for Pink Martini on performing with young musicians such as Hales.

Clarinet Performance

Hales first picked up a clarinet as a fifth grade student. His mother played the instrument into college, but Hales said he wasn’t permitted to touch her clarinet for quite some time.

“(Playing the clarinet) is a way that I can relate to my mom. It gives us something to talk about besides video games and schoolwork. As our interests have diverged, music has become more important,” says Hales.

pink martiniDavid Hales’ performance with Pink Martini was the first time that he was on a live mic. He is shown here with lead vocalist, Storm Large. Photo courtesy: Anne Hales.

“David has become a very mature musician with some really extraordinary musical ability.  He has great opinions about the music and often brings me a new perspective I had not seen in the music,” comments Timberline High School band instructor, Cal Anderson.

While Hales plans to continue playing the clarinet after graduating from Timberline, he hopes to focus his college education around math and science.

Playing with Pink Martini

Hales heard about the call by Pink Martini for audition tapes from his piano accompanist, Jennifer Bowman. “David is a natural musician,” comments Bowman who has worked with Hales for four years. “He simply feels the music in a certain way.”

Bowman adds that Hales was very diligent in preparing his audition tapes. “These types of experiences show kids that you never know what will come up, if you prepare and practice,” shares Bowman. “It’s great to be able to show kids what is possible and that there are many interesting, various paths to be part of really cool things in music.”

david hales clarinetWhile having played clarinet solos before, David Hales says that his experience playing with Pink Martini was a first for him. Photo credit: SOGO.

Hales played “Hang On Little Tomato” on his clarinet, with Storm Large, a lead vocalist for Pink Martini and the entire band. “It was not a technically difficult piece, but it was a different style than I’m used to playing,” reflects Hales. “I’m not familiar with the old-timey jazz sounds so most of my work was not on studying the notes but getting a feel for the embellishments of the tune.”

While easily the largest crowd that Hales has performed in front of, he says that he was not as nervous as he had expected. Hales and Pink Martini played an earlier concert to over 800 local students. “Pink Martini was very accepting and friendly. It helped to talk with the group before,” says Hales.

In March, Hales will have another solo opportunity with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO), where he has been a member for about four years. “David is a great player and is always prepared with technique. His musicianship shines,” explains SOGO’s Music Director and Conservatory Orchestra Conductor, John Welsh.

“David is always perfecting his craft and is a tireless member of the orchestra,” adds SOGO conductor, Greg Allison. “He is still working on passages from the music when other students are gone and we often have to force him to put his clarinet away.”

david hales clarinetDavid Hales performs with Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO) and will be featured in a solo during the March 6 concert. Photo courtesy: SOGO.

“I think that kids can accomplish a lot of awesome things when the adults around them support them and trust them. Opportunities like this show kids how professionals at the top of their game approach their performances,” adds Anderson.

“It was incredible to watch David perform, and I’m sure this will be a night he won’t ever forget,” summarizes Barnes.

“David just killed it onstage. He’s a natural – a rare combination of strict training, yet laid back stage presence. He was a joy to sing with,” said Storm Large after performing alongside Hales.

Watch David Hales perform with SOGO on March 6 at The Washington Center. Tickets to the winter concert can be purchased here. Visit The Washington Center’s calendar to pick up tickets to other outstanding music and arts programs traveling through Olympia.

Thrifty Thurston Finds Countless (Free) Ways to Beat the Winter Doldrums Indoors

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00am


Parents, did you see that sunshine? I mean the 45 minutes of inspiration to take your children outside to stretch legs, have some fresh air and family fun. The 45 minutes that dissolved into more rain while you grabbed their attention, transitioned from inactivity, debated where to go and what to do, got ready, brushed teeth, made snacks and did the endless other things that kept you captive from actually reaching the sunlight. It reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s short story, “All Summer in a Day,” in which people on Venus only witness the sun for an hour every seven years and one poor girl misses it.

thurston solid wasteMy hearty friends go out anyway, as I should more often. For solid reasons, our children need some time outdoors daily. If you need convincing, there are plenty of articles on the subject. However, although we have many local parks and trails, we can’t always take advantage of them due to time or other constraints. Even a 10 minute walk up the street and back can revive our spirits, invigorate our senses and create some family time.

fort building kidsFree and easy, everyone loves a fort.

Of course there are times when we just can’t go out. It’s too wet, cold, dark, late or we’re busy. We are house bound with our children in the doldrums. Google defines doldrums as “a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.” The second description also fits children in winter months: “a [region of the ocean] with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds.” During Pacific Northwest doldrums, we need plenty of options and the flexibility for kids to change activities as needed.

Betsy Faro is a retired educational professional with heaps of success stories, plus eight grandkids who benefit from her expertise. She teaches how children need “stations,” different activities to rotate through while stuck indoors. I’ve never known a child who didn’t love time at her house.

Grandma Betsy knows how to engage kids in creative play.Grandma Betsy knows how to engage kids in creative play.

At Grandma’s we see water play. This doesn’t have to mean running water, which drains the pocketbook and environment. It can be a calming bath with toys or a sink full with bubbles and interesting kitchen gadgets. The next station may be artsy-craftsy. Special requests often prompt ideas, such as, “Could you paint me a rock paperweight to keep the mail all in one place?” or, “I’d love some new art for the fridge!” Let them sort through recycling and choose pieces, then see what they create with some glue, tape and other bits of stuff.

Creative stations can lead to a string of needs much like the storyline in Laura Numeroff’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and its sequels. Numeroff’s books are a great way for you and your child to acknowledge the need for shifting activities on doldrum-ish days and discuss how to work together in those situations.

art kids crayonsSimple art projects can foster healthy, creative times.

Reading, of course, is another play station. We all know that taking at least 20 minutes a day for literacy’s sake is crucial to children’s academic development. Read with your child. Read to them, or listen to, anything that holds their interest. A forced read is not a fun read, and our kids thrive on positive attention and involvement, so make it something you are into as well. I can hardly bear listening to the book on Minecraft, but as long as he’s reading I will listen (or at least feign to).

The references to PlayStation and Minecraft will have many thinking about contemporary dependence on screens. All I can say is, “guilty.” I try to limit the time, and yes I often fail. I do dangle screen time sporadically as a reward after other activities, like chores.

kid indoor playSiblings work together to finish a good puzzle.

Believe it or not, chores can be fun. Add safe dishes to water play time. Make room tidying a scavenger hunt while speed sorting. Play mini-figure or Barbie hide and seek while putting laundry away. Competition can also add stimulation. Shoot hoops with recycling (no, not glass!). Offer points for awesome bed making. Race at folding towels. Create Household Olympics. Make another fun activity the reward. You can put on your bed sheet cape and hero up a bit.

Another expert is Merry Trejo, brilliant teacher and parent. I envy her ability to prompt kids into action. She proves the success of creative messes. Asking her advice, she offers old-school stuff like puzzles, dolls, board games, Legos, cardboard and duct tape creations, and forts. Her four busy children, aged 5 to 12, are evidence that it all works.

paint art project kidsThree dimensions objects are fun to paint.

The key seems to be attitude, which is free. Let fickle winds and occasional storms pass through the cozy calm of winter doldrums. Empower yourself by relaxing about messes, and your children with choices and creativity. Motivate with involvement, and then encourage independent play. We’ll manage. Spring will return.

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

Girls Wrestling Continues to Thrive in Yelm

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00am


When Amy Earley started the girls wrestling program at Yelm High School nine years ago, she had a mere eight girls on her roster.

A slim initial turnout, but what the squad lacked in depth, it made up for it in talent.

washington orthopaedic center“We took three of those girls to state our first year and all three got state medals out of it,” Earley said. “They all graduated though and I came back with my assistants the next year and I said, ‘If you want to coach, you have to recruit a team.’”

The coaching staff more than delivered.

“They came back with 25 girls and we haven’t slowed down since,” Earley said. “Our numbers usually range from 20 to 30 girls every year.”

This year has been no different with the Tornados featuring nearly two dozen female wrestlers.

yelm girls wrestlingThe Yelm High School girls wrestling program is in its ninth season, constantly seeing 20 to 30 wrestlers turnout.

It’s a consistent turnout most boys wrestling programs would be envious of as few girls programs in the state can lay claim to those lofty numbers year after year.

However, the construction of the program by Earley did not come easy. There was plenty of obstacles and resistance along the way which could have derailed the team prior to it taking off.

Despite the fact that the Tornados had been a powerhouse in boys wrestling for quite some time, highlighted by the team’s first state championship in 2010 and state runner-up performances in 2008, 2009 and 2012, it was an uphill battle for Earley and her staff to reach their current status, making what the program has accomplished even that more impressive.

“It wasn’t in the beginning. It certainly wasn’t as welcoming for the girls as it is now,” Earley said about the local support the program received during its infancy. “Everyone thinks it’s the boys that drive it, but we practice separate from the boys. We have a separate schedule than the boys.

yelm girls wrestlingJunior Bree Hyder, a transfer from Hoquiam, was a state placer last season.

“The boys have been great,” continued Earley.  “They support the girls now, but it hasn’t always been that way in Yelm. There was a time when they didn’t want this. We had to fight to get to where we are at. Now, the boys will now come in our mat room and help coach the girls. They’re wrestling partners with them. They want the girls to be successful.”

And with 30 plus state medals to their credit, that’s what the Tornados, who finished 10th overall as a team at last year’s state meet, have been for nearly a decade.

“I don’t need athletes. I need girls that will come out here and work hard and try,” Earley said. “Being athletic is great. It’s a bonus. I have a no wrestler left behind policy. I don’t care if you are not the best wrestler in the room. I am not going to leave you behind. We’re going to put just as much attention toward you as the state-level girls and that’s how you build a program.”

But that occurs only after the girls step into the mat room. How does Earley constantly get the high numbers to even turn out? Easy, she relies on the ever-true word-of-mouth method.

yelm girls wrestlingThe Tornados finished 10th at the state meet in 2015.

“My girls are my recruiters. Coaches always ask me, how do you get these numbers and I tell them I work for the state in Tumwater. I live Tumwater. My girls recruit,” Earley said. “Mainly (they recruit) on social media and in the hallways. They get their friends to turn out and those friends bring more friends. My whole approach to coaching is for them to have fun. We just really encourage the girls to recruit.”

That was the case for junior Jasmine Welch, a first-time wrestler this season.

“I didn’t even know we really had a wrestling team,” Welch said. “My friend talked me into it. I just wish I found it sooner. As soon as I started, it was amazing. I wanted to get more exercise and I was always sort of a roughhouser, so why not give wrestling a try? I was iffy at first, but as soon as I started I knew I loved it.”

The team is led this year by seniors Kaylin Wilson, Bailey Erickson, Madison Holmes, Mykaila Reach and Julia Sylstad with Chelsea Rochester headlining a strong sophomore class.

One new face is Hoquiam transfer Bree Hyder, who placed sixth in the 100-pound division at state last year as a sophomore and whose presence gives the Tornados a stronger chance at once again placing in the top 10 in state.

“We have a great feeder program in Yelm and we pull the middle school girls up with us so we can work with them during their seventh and eighth grade years.” Earley said. “It’s tough to compete for a state title until you get depth, until you have state champion-level wrestlers and you have to start that when they’re little. I think with this group we have coming up, with this freshmen group and the group of eighth graders we’ve been working with for two years, they’re going to be tough because they’ve been working with our seniors.”

FastSigns – A 15-Year Success Story

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00am


fastsigns laceyFastSigns tackles any signage needs, big or small.

“Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing.” House Speaker Paul Ryan may not be local but he could easily be describing the 15-year success story of Thurston County’s FastSigns and owner Grace Kendall.

Corporate longevity studies show that only 26% of small businesses are still around after 15 years. For those that survive and thrive, customers can trust their ability to adapt, succeed, and provide quality products. Say marketers, “You can’t accidentally be in business for 25 years. Obviously, your company has done many things right and has been through a number of transitions more or less successfully—at least they turned out all right in the end even if there were bumps in the road.”

Despite changing formats, needs, and product popularity, Grace Kendall has adapted with the industry. A 24-year Army veteran, she purchased the local FastSigns franchise, from the previous owners wishing to relocate, when it was less than two years old. She saw the business as “a good opportunity” with military retirement approaching.

fastisgns laceyThe Lacey-based FastSigns business is owned by a 24-year Army veteran.

Kendall chose FastSigns because “the franchise name is very well respected; it’s always in the top rated franchises.” While the industry has shifted into more digital formats and away from traditional cut vinyl signage, she and her team will gladly sit down to discuss any project, need, and the best return on your advertising investment.

These days the “single most effective form of advertisement per dollar” comes from vehicle wraps says Kendall. FastSigns reports that “by advertising on your vehicle, you can generate more than 600 visual impressions for every mile driven, according to the American Trucking Association.” Grace moved into a 2,800 square foot location in 2013 specifically to include an automotive bay. Since then, they’ve completed such projects as a camouflage wrap for a touring USO bus that took 24 man hours.

vehicle wrapGrace Kendall’s team has wrapped 28 cars for the Washington Army National Guard.

A veteran herself, Kendall is “very proud” to work on military jobs and has completed signage work on the nearby JBLM campus and wrapped 28 cars for the Washington Army National Guard. They’ve also tackled projects for Amazon, O’Blarney’s, and custom Braille and ADA-compliant room signs for Silver Leaf Residences on Olympia’s west side. Grace admits she “really enjoys doing architectural contract work and project management” around the region.

With a small but growing staff, the FastSigns team prides themselves on quick turnaround for any need. Kendall invites anyone to call or stop by so they can “ask lots of questions, determine what you’re trying to accomplish, and provide a range of low to high end solutions.”

While “getting to the bigger companies to explain all we can do has been a challenge,” she stresses that “we’re primarily consultants and strive to satisfy the customer’s needs and expectations.”

fastsigns laceyGrace Kendall and her FastSigns team promote businesses across our region.

Over the years, Grace has come to appreciate local partnerships for advertising and networking. She regularly sponsors ads on television and online news sites, facilitates customer feedback through surveys and direct mailings, and belongs to such organizations as the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce where she’s an active board member.

Most signage jobs can be completed within 48 hours and no request is too big, small, or odd. FastSigns can facilitate business branding, mobile and digital marketing, and event materials ranging from corporate to community. Kendall encourages anyone with questions to call and schedule a time to meet. This “makes it as convenient as possible” for the customer and clears her calendar to focus entirely on their needs and specifics.

You can schedule a consultation online, by calling 360-438-3800, or emailing View lists of promotional products, visibility strategies, and completed projects on their local website. Let Grace Kendall and FastSigns’ 15-year success story help your company, event, or career succeed as well.


Create a Memorable Valentine at The Gift Gallery

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00am


Submitted by The Gift Gallery LLC

With Christmas behind us, it seems like the perfect time to breathe a sigh of relief that gift shopping is over for another year. But the truth is that searching for something fun and unique to give a loved one is a year-round challenge, and one of the most daunting Gift Gallery Valentine ideas (1)holidays is still ahead of us – Valentine’s Day.

Whether you have been married for decades or your love is still young, there is no shortage of ways to creatively capture the spirit of your romance with a unique gift. Move over, chocolate and roses – don’t we all want to receive something truly personal and one-of-a-kind from our loved ones? Something that has real significance to our story?

Gift Gallery Valentine ideas (3)The Gift Gallery LLC in Tumwater strives to make this challenge just a little easier. From professionally appraised jewelry pieces to silly, sweet, or one-of-a-kind handcrafted items made by local artists, we carry special gifts to honor every loved one. We can even wrap a custom gift basket containing items hand-picked by you! Think outside the box this February, and let us help you choose a gift that will truly capture the heart of your Valentine.

The Gift Gallery LLC
(360) 972-0948

Local Students Take Home Choral Awards

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 3:24pm


Submitted by The Rochester School District 

Jayden White, a Grand Mound Elementary School 5th grader, will sing in the state Youth Honor Choir.Jayden White, a Grand Mound Elementary School 5th grader, will sing in the state Youth Honor Chorus.

Praises are being sung for two Rochester School District (RSD) choir students by the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA). The girls have received top honors by being selected to participate in WMEA All-State choirs.

Grand Mound Elementary School’s (GMES) Jayden White will participate in the Youth Honor Chorus. She is in 5th grade and sings Soprano.  Jayden will be joining 570 other outstanding young performers in bands, choirs and orchestra. Nearly 1,800 students auditioned for the opportunity. They will gather on February 13 in Yakima, WA. “Singing makes me feel powerful,” shared Jayden, who previously has been chosen for other solo honors in her community.

Mariah Nelson, a freshman at Rochester High School (RHS) who sings Alto 2, was selected for WMEA’s High School All-State Choir. On February 10-14 in Yakima, she will join 1,030 musicians in band, choir and orchestra who were chosen from 2,559 who auditioned. Mariah has been selected two other times to participate in honor choirs. In addition to voice, Mariah is teaching herself to play the guitar and looks forward to drum lessons in the future. She is considering pursuing music in college.

Mariah Nelson, a freshman at Rochester High School (RHS) who sings Alto 2, was selected for WMEA’s High School All-State Choir.Mariah Nelson, a freshman at Rochester High School (RHS) who sings Alto 2, was selected for WMEA’s High School All-State Choir.

Both young women were selected through auditions after the opportunity was shared with them by their school music teacher, Mrs. Julia Gaul. The audition process is quite difficult requiring different rhythm reading, scales, echo patterns and ear training as well as a solo performance,” said Gaul. “I am extremely proud of the hard work these girls have put forth to not only participate in this opportunity, but in making themselves better musicians and vocalists.”

Studies show students who participate in the arts perform better in school and life. Learning through the arts — including visual, dance, music and theatre — contributes to the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, imagination and creativity. Art can bring every academic subject to life and enhance student engagement, as well as improve student learning in all subjects.

Gaul, who is the Choral Director at RSH and Music Specialist at GMES, also shared that another 12 RSD students in 4th and 5th grade will participant in a regional honor choir in Longview. That event is sponsored by the Southwest Washington chapter of WMEA.

Rochester School District provides rigorous academic programs to more 2,200 students, preparing them for lifelong learning, rewarding careers and productive citizenship. The district’s students and staff have received numerous state awards, including being named a 2013 and 2014 Washington State “School of Distinction.”

Silas Blak “Diamonds on Mic Stands”

K Records - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 1:42pm
 Silas Blak presents “Diamonds On Mic Stands” produced and mixed by Kjell Nelson from the album Editorials: (Wartunes) [KLP261].   The Silas Blak album Editorials: (Wartunes) [KLP261] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.    
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Honoring Evergreen’s Steve Davis: Wednesday, February 10th, 11:30-1:00 pm in the 2nd floor Recital Hall in the COM Building

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 1:23pm

Steve DavisSteve Davis is a documentary portrait and landscape photographer based in the Pacific Northwest.  His work has appeared in American PhotoHarper’s, the New York Times Magazine, Russian Esquire, and is in many collections, including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Seattle Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the George Eastman House. He is a former 1st place recipient of the Santa Fe CENTER Project Competition, and two time winner of Washington Arts Commission/Artist Trust Fellowships.  Davis is the Coordinator of Photography, media curator and adjunct faculty member of The Evergreen State College. He is represented by the James Harris Gallery, Seattle.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Police Deadly Force Bill Has Number, Community Policing Bill Also Introduced

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 12:12pm

Two bills were introduced to the Washington State Legislature on Wednesday. One would amend Washington State law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement, and the other would establish a joint legislative task force on community policing standards.
Above: Artwork made of welded metal and found objects by John Vanek entitled Justice For All was gifted to the City of Olympia and is installed at the Lee Creighton Justice Center, the site of Olympia's former city hall. 
By Janine
Proposed legislation to amend Washington State law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement was introduced Wednesday morning to the Washington State Legislature as HB 2907.
The bill is prime sponsored by Representative Luis Moscoso (D-1), and co-sponsored by five others, including Olympia area Representatives Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdal (D-22).
The bill has been referred to the House Public Safety Committee for a hearing and can be read here:
Community Policing Standards Legislation Introduced
Another bill on Wednesday was introduced, HB 2908, that establishes a 13 member joint legislative task force on community policing standards. Representative Cindy Ryu (pronounced Ree-oo), (D- 32), is the prime sponsor.
The bill has been referred to the House Public Safety Committee and can be read here:
In part, HB 2908 reads, “The legislature acknowledges that officers are often placed in harm’s way and must make decisions quickly while under extreme stress. Although regrettable in every case, the use of deadly force may sometimes be necessary to protect the safety of others. The legislature also recognizes that both the people of this state and law enforcement officers themselves rely on and expect accountability, the failure of which damages the public trust in those who serve the public honorably and with compassion.
“The legislature finds that the law of deadly force in Washington provides absolute protection for law enforcement in virtually all instances, above and beyond that which is reasonable and justifiable....It is the intent of the legislature to improve our deadly force law….”
The bill proposes to create the joint legislative task force to review known data regarding the use of deadly force by officers, review proposals and modifications to RCW 9A.16.040, evaluate the availability of body cameras and similar tools, review current police training curriculum and practices, evaluate public confidence in community policing practices and use of force policies in Washington and produce a preliminary report on its findings to Governor Jay Inslee by December 1, 2016.
Karen Johnson, chair of the Black Alliance of Thurston County, was pleased today about the introduction of the two bills.

“The Black Alliance of Thurston County sees supporting both bills as an opportunity because, as we know, changing the use of deadly force law is the strong foundation upon which all of the other systemic changes (data collection when civilians die at the hand of police officers, body cameras, implict/explicit bias, de-escalation training and the like) is built,” said Johnson.
“Let us build a strong foundation. We believe the more strategic, intentional, and collaborative we can be, the better. Please endorse HB 2907 and HB 2908. As Dr. King said, “the time is always ripe to do right,” she said.
According to a press release by the Black Alliance, thirty two local, regional, and statewide organizations to date have endorsed HB 2907: 
A. Philip Randolph Institute, Seattle Chapter, Art Forces, Behavioral Health and Wellness, the Black Student Union of The Evergreen State College (Tacoma Campus), Center for Justice, Church Council of Greater Seattle, Faith Action Network, Families United Against Hate, Interfaith Works, John T. Williams Organizing Coalition, Justice Not Jails, Latino Civic Alliance, League of Women Voters - Thurston County, Mothers for Police Accountability, Olympia Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, Olympia Coalition to Reform Deadly Force, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Point Defiance Aids Projects/North American Syringe Exchange Network, Risen Faith Fellowship, Seattle Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Self Advocates in Leadership, Spokane NAACP, Standing Up to Racism, Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective, The Arc of Washington State, The Justice Coalition of the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation, The United Churches of Olympia, Washington State Commission on African American Affairs, Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Washington State Independent Living Council, Washington State National Organization for Women, and the YWCA Olympia.

Editor's Note, January 28: HB 2907 was going to the Judiciary Committee as originally stated in this article. It was then referred to the House Public Safety Committee. For up to date information and to track all bills, go to
For more information about the journey to this proposed legislation, the Black Alliance of Thurston County, the City of Olympia’s Ad Hoc Committee on Police and Community Relations, body cameras, and other police related issues in Olympia, go to Little Hollywood,, and type key words into the search engine.

For more information about the Black Alliance of Thurston County, contact Dr. Karen Johnson at

Phyllis Bennis - Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror - at Evergreen February 4th at Noon

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 9:39am
Event:  Thu, 02/04/2016 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Phyllis Bennis, American author, activist, and political commentator, will speak Thursday, February 4, at The Evergreen State College in Olympia about the origins of ISIS, U.S. military strategy, the refugee crisis, and what U.S. policy on ISIS and Syria should be. The free event is at noon in the Library Lobby, 2700 Evergreen Parkway.

A Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, Bennis is active with U.S. and global peace and Palestinian rights movements and speaks widely on U.S. wars, occupations, and foreign policy. The author of a dozen books, she has recently published Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror. Bennis is also a regular contributor to Democracy Now!, the PBS News Hour, NPR's Diane Rehm Show, BBC, al Jazeera, The Nation, and more.

The free event is sponsored by Evergreen programs ReInterpreting Liberation, A New Middle East?, and Culture & Violence, and by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.

Bennis speaks at venues throughout Western Washington February 2-4, including at Town Hall Seattle.  For information visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation website or call (360) 754-3998. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Gotti Sweets – Let’s Eat Cake

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00am


Gotti Sweets has been on the move. The Olympia-born sister and brother team of Rebecca and Arthur Gottlieb has taken their two-year old bakery business to downtown Olympia.

color graphicsAnd they’re thrilled. “We’re so excited about the new spot,” said Arthur, who has been deeply involved with the community for years. Supporters of such groups as Pizza Klatch, Capital City Pride and the Olympia Downtown Association, they now feel closer to the action. Previously tucked away in the Hawks Prairie shopping area, the location on Legion Way will bring new foot traffic and make it more convenient to grab a sweet treat.

gotti sweetsRebecca and Arthur Gottlieb are creating a new cake wall with fondant wonders.

The Gottliebs managed to squeeze all their equipment into the compact new space, which is about half the square footage of the Hawks Prairie location. They still have a couple of tables to enjoy your espresso and treat. The seating area will primarily be used for wedding cake tastings.

Their focus on specialty cakes continues. Did you ever see their fabulous wall of cakes? The new wall may be a bit smaller, but the cakes are wondrously creative and fun to admire. One is even upside down.

gotti sweetsThis art inspired party cake was the centerpiece for a party at the Painted Plate. Photo credit: Rebecca Gottlieb.

Though the square footage may have shrunk, the abundant bakery choices are still yours. The ever-popular macaroons are a bouquet of colors and flavors. These gluten-free taste treats may be made with green tea, lavender or rose water. You’ll have to try them all to find out your favorites.

Gotti Sweets is also known for pie-tots, a riff on the word tater-tots but in actuality created with piecrust and fillings. Pie-tots allow you individual sized indulgences: a cream cheese crust folded around traditional and not-so traditional fillings such as pecan or coconut. Every bite is the right amount of flakiness of the outside with moistness of the inside.

Arthur loves to bake and decorate cakes. If you have an idea, a concept, a favorite story, hobby or vision, Gotti Sweets will create a cake to fulfill your sweet desires. Their colorful, whimsical cakes brighten up birthday parties – any party for that matter. “We haven’t met a challenge we haven’t been able to create,” remarked Gottlieb.

gotti sweetsLooks like sushi but it’s not! It’s all cake. Photo credit: Rebecca Gottlieb.

Once they made a five-foot totem pole entirely out of cake for the Wahelut Indian School. It had a Rice Krispy salmon on tip. That fed a lot of people. Whether you have an intimate dinner planned or a reception with 600, Gotti Sweets can deliver it.

Special orders and cakes made with sugar alternatives are also available from Gotti Sweets. “It’s delicious,” promised Arthur.

Being in the food business for two years is a definite accomplishment. I asked the pair what thoughts they have about their success. Both said that it was essential to “hang in there and don’t get discouraged.” Patience helps. So do loyal customers who make the challenges worthwhile. Rebecca mentioned that their customers have “become family over the years.”

gotti sweetsSister and brother team Rebecca and Arthur are delighted to settle into their new location on Legion Way.

Celebrate Gotti Sweets by stopping in for the Grand Opening on January 30. Check out the wall of cakes and get a sample. Parking downtown is free after 5:00 p.m. and also on the weekends. Gotti Sweets also plans to be open seven days a week. For up to date information, visit Gotti Sweets’ Facebook page.

Eat Well – Be Well

Gotti Sweets
422 Legion Way SE in downtown Olympia

Leah Mason – A Hockey Girl Standing Tall Among the Boys

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00am


The saying goes, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.”

It’s no secret that hockey can be one of the most brutal sports to play. As a contact game played on slippery ice and centered on a fast-moving puck, injuries and accidents are bound to happen. Many people shy away from even ice skating due to the high risk of falling on the unforgiving ice, but not Leah Mason.

Hometown logoLeah, a 17-year-old junior at Northwest Christian High School, moved to Washington this past summer.  Leah was raised in her beloved sport of hockey. She grew up watching her older brother and dad play and couldn’t help but want to play with them. Because of a military lifestyle, she never stayed in one place for very long. Although her home has changed through the years, her love for the sport has remained constant.

Although hockey has been a passion for her since she was a little girl, Leah has only been playing for three years. She and her older brother Ben both began skating when they were two. But unlike Leah, 20-year-old Ben has been playing hockey since he was four. “Just growing up watching my brother practice and watching his games, I always knew I wanted to do it,” explains Leah when asked about her love of the sport.

Leah fights for the puck on defense while playing with the Tacoma RocketsLeah fights for the puck on defense while playing with the Tacoma Rockets

However, Leah’s delayed start in the game was not her choice. “With every new season that came, I would ask my dad if I could join a team and play, but every time he would tell me I had to wait until I was the best skater out there,” says Leah. And wait she did.

Leah had been told to wait for eight straight years when the time came to prove herself. It wasn’t until her dad was preparing for deployment again that an opportunity opened up. “He told me if I could get better by the time he returned, I could play.” For the next 15 months, Leah practically lived at the ice rink with her brother. She wasn’t about to let this chance to finally play the sport she loved get away. She practiced, practiced and practiced some more. Working on things that didn’t come naturally to her and perfecting the ones that did, Leah was determined to be the best skater out on the ice.

A young Leah (10) and her brother Ben (13) practicing at the rink, trying to improve her skating skills so she could try out for a team.A young Leah (10) and her brother Ben (13) practicing at the rink, trying to improve her skating skills so she could try out for a team.

Her father was true to his word and Leah is now one of only two girls on her co-ed hockey team, The Tacoma Rockets. She has been playing for three years and looking back, she not only sees a change in herself, but also a change in the sport for women. “Hockey is currently being pioneered by women. It has been a co-ed sport for some time but this year was the first season of a NWHL (National Women’s Hockey League) where women are actually being paid,” exclaims Leah. “There are only four teams right now but it is evolving.” In March 2015, the formation of the NWHL was announced. The league holds the distinction of being the first U.S women’s hockey league to pay its players. Before the League’s formation the only choice for top level women’s hockey in North America was the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, which is unpaid.

Along with waiting until she became a better skater, Leah also had to face another difficultly, one she didn’t have to opportunity to improve through practice – being the only girl.

Even though the sport is co-ed, Leah is used to being the only girl on a team. “It didn’t really matter when I was playing with my brother. I had practiced with him and he was there for me.”  But now that Ben is older and no longer in the sport, Leah had to join the Rockets on her own, feeling the pressure of being “the girl” on a male-dominated team.

Leah has always drawn strength from the love and support of her family.Leah has always drawn strength from the love and support of her family.

Does being the only female on the ice make her nervous? “It’s different being ‘the girl.’ If you mess up, you mess up. But now if I mess up, it will be ‘the girl’ who messed up. And that is way harder to take.” Even though she has had to overcome adversity and a little awkwardness by joining a predominantly male sport, she holds nothing against the guys for acting the way they do around her. “I understand. I’m breaking into their ‘domain’ and I’m going to have to prove myself.”

The fear of failure was never something Leah let hold her back.

“There comes a time when you can’t care what the person next to you is thinking. You’ll only make a fool out of yourself because you’re going to be stressing too much. I don’t care what others may think because I love this sport with all my heart, so I’m going to try my best to better myself.”

Leah ends with encouraging words for girls in any sport. “Just do it! If it’s something you’re in love with, then it’s worth it. God has blessed you with being a woman. It’s not a curse and it should not hold you back.”

I-735 Validated, Thurston County Contributed Nearly 16,000 Signatures

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 8:55pm

Above: The Washington Secretary of State's office validated I-735 and certified the initiative to the Legislature. Initiative 735 clarifies that corporations are not people, money is not speech, and all political donations should be made public.
By Janine
“Woohoo! So happy! I am so pleased with what we in Thurston County were able to accomplish,” said Jennifer Sprague, in response to the news that the Washington Secretary of State's office validated I-735 and certified the initiative to the Legislature.
Sprague, a local organizer for the Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution (WAmend) in Thurston County, received the news Tuesday afternoon.
Initiative 735 urges Washington State’s Congressional delegation and all members of Congress to propose a federal Constitutional amendment clarifying that Constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations. It also says that spending money is not free speech under the First Amendment.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, the invalidation rate, including duplicates and signatures from people not found on the voter rolls, was 18 percent, about average for Washington ballot measures in recent decades.
Next, the Legislature may enact the initiative into law, or may send it to the General Election ballot for a vote of the people. Since it is unlikely the initiative will be enacted into law, organizers are urging people to vote yes on I-735 this coming November.
Sprague and other I-735 supporters held a rally on Thursday afternoon, the sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United v. FEC decision, at the Washington State Capitol Building.
“Voting yes will make Washington State the 17th state to urge Congress to introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision,” said Sprague.
WAmend organizers collected 333,040 signatures for I-735 and turned them in to the Washington State Secretary of State’s office on December 30 and 31, 2015.
Thurston County volunteers were responsible for gathering 15,920 signatures for the initiative. Sprague said that gathering almost 16,000 signatures was their goal, which is about 10 percent of the registered voters in the county.
Above: Several checkers strive to validate troublesome signatures for I-735 last week at the Washington Secretary of State's office in downtown Olympia.
The Secretary of State’s office started reviewing the I-735 ballots Wednesday evening and finished a few days earlier than expected. Anyone can observe the process during normal business hours.
Kay Ramsey, Secretary of State program coordinator, was busy checking signatures last week, along with about 15 paid, temporary staff who received training for their job from the Washington State Patrol. Staff cross checked signatures with the statewide voter registration database.
Asked what causes the most difficulties with petition signatures, Ramsey said that a lot of people aren’t actually registered to vote, bad handwriting, and very common names.
Checkers also have difficulties with very large and very small signatures, attempted scratch outs, lightly written signatures, those that only sign or only print their name, and other issues.
Little Hollywood observed the signature checking process last week and witnessed several illegible and light signatures that were not able to be confirmed by the checker.
Ramsey said that every effort is made to do a second round check to see if the proper signature can be found.
For more information about I-735 and the initiative process, go to: Previous articles about the initiative are at Little Hollywood, Use the search button to type in key words.

For more information about Thurston County’s I-735 efforts, contact Jennifer Sprague at or Michael Savoca at

Yelm Star Wars Superfan Builds Working Holochess Table

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:50am


If the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has taught us anything, it’s that fans come in all shapes and sizes – and sometimes their love for the Star Wars franchise can get a bit extreme. But when fandom coincides with productivity, amazing things can happen.

little caesars logoTake Ian Martin, a perfectly normal, socially well adjusted, happily married web developer living on a quiet back nook of the Nisqually Pines subdivision in Yelm. Ian also happens to be one of Tech Insider’s World’s Biggest Star Wars Fans. “I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember,” he says. It’s a lifelong connection, not just to the films, but to the culture of the Star Wars fan community.

star wars fanIan Martin displays a monster sculpt in progress. Photo credit: Ian Martin.

Now, tinkering in his garage, he’s built a real, working version of the Holochess game (also known as Dejarik) that appears in a twenty-second scene in the original Star Wars movie. You read that right. You can actually sit at a replica of the table from the Millennium Falcon and play the game.

Building Star Wars replicas is nothing new for Ian. He has always enjoyed the fan events and Star Wars costumes, so several years ago he set out to make a C-3PO costume. He is meticulous by nature, and the costume was accurate down to the last detail. In fact, it made such a splash that he has been flown to fan events as far away as Europe to show it off. He even stood on stage while Mark Hamill accepted the Jules Verne “Legendaire” Award and met George Lucas himself.

The Dejarik project started simply as a way to balance his highly cerebral job developing web applications by doing something with his hands. Sculpting takes him out of the computer and places him squarely in reality. He bought some modeling clay and began to sculpt the Holochess monsters, taking great pains to produce detailed, accurate replications of the characters that appear on screen.

star wars fanIan Martin crafts Star Wars memorabilia in his Yelm garage. Photo credit: Ian Martin.

I asked him how many times he watched the Holochess scene. “A lot of times,” he said. His wife, Amy, nodded. “A lot.” (It helps that she’s supportive. She plays Leia to his C-3PO, between teaching college-level art history classes.)

The result of that attention to detail is striking. The sculpts have life to them. And maybe that explains, to some extent, why after finishing the eight monster sculpts Ian decided to build a table to put them on. It couldn’t be just any table. It had to be a replica of the table from the movie. And of course, accuracy can have no limits, so when he started to design the table he began to wonder whether he could make a table that would actually function.

He found some rulebooks that other fans had created, based on the way Chewbacca and R2-D2 play the game in the movie. His brother, Scott, refined those rules into a Dejarik Rule Book. Then he used Arduino, an open-source electronic prototyping platform, to build and program the circuitry inside the table. When he was done, he had a working board, complete with sound effects, that could be used to play the game using the monster sculpts as game pieces.

star wars fanA flat die can be used in place of the monsters on the Dejarik table. Photo credit: Ian Martin.

But it didn’t stop there. Other fans noticed what he was doing, and before long he connected with a talented developer from France named Adrien Trouillaud. Together, they began experimenting with Augmented Reality – applications that use an electronic interface to insert computer-generated imagery into a real scene. Now, looking through your phone at the real table, you can play the game. The monsters animate. They move from space to space. They fight. It’s pretty amazing to see.

Unfortunately for Ian – and perhaps even more for Star Wars fans around the world – Ian can’t sell copies of his Dejarik game. Since acquiring the franchise from LucasFilm, Disney owns the licensing rights to Star Wars merchandise. Still, it’s something we can all enjoy, at least from a distance. Ian has a YouTube channel, where he shares details of his creations, and it’s more than possible that you’ll run into him at a comic store or convention around the area. You can also follow Ian’s creations on his Facebook page.

He might even let you play a game or two.

SPSCC Men’s and Women’s Basketball on the Upswing

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:00am


When Nick Schmidt took over as athletic director at South Puget Sound Community College this past summer, he immediately spoke about how dedicated the Clippers’ athletic department, along with the school’s executive staff, is to changing the cultural on campus in regards to sports.

pints logoThe mission was to shift the two-year educational institution into a place where student athletes could excel both in the classroom and on the field. The latter had been lacking for a handful of years as sports became more of an afterthought around campus.

The goal was certainly obtainable.

spscc basketballRiver Ridge High school graduate Savannah McGill pulls down a rebound during the Clippers victory over Highline.

No one could predict, however, just how quickly the success has come for the Clippers.

We are midway through the regular season and both the men and women’s basketball programs have far exceeded expectations. And neither look to be slowing down any time soon.

The women’s team, in just 16 games, have already surpassed last year’s win total for the season. The men have been even more impressive, posting the best start in program history by winning 12 of their first 15 games, highlighted by a five-game winning streak.

“We’ve talked a lot about breaking down the walls and integrating the campus community,” Schmidt said. “I think our executive team has worked really hard at moving forward as one. One of the things I’ve been preaching to the coaches and the players is we’re a family, not only as a department, but also as leaders on campus. They have worked very hard this year to increase the collegiality among the two athletic programs, but also their involvement across campus.”

spscc basketballDez Stoudamire (#3) directors the Clippers offense against Highline.

Mike Moore is in his second year as head coach of the SPSCC women’s basketball team. Aaron Landon is in his third year as the men’s coach.

“I have been impressed with both programs,” Schmidt said. “Both coaches are excellent fits. They’re showing there is athletics here and they’re good. I think both programs are the heading in a great directions. It’s certainly energized our athletics.”

The women’s basketball team won just 10 games during Moore’s first year with the Clippers. A three-game winning streak to start this year certainly kicked things off on a high note. The team’s 11 victories is the most since the Clippers won 13 games during the 2009-10 season.

Following the 2009-10 season SPSCC tumbled in the standings greatly, failing to win a single game. The program won a combined 25 games over a five-year stretch, but appear on the upswing with Moore at the helm.

spscc basketballThe Clippers’ men’s basketball team posted its best start in school history this season.

One of the reasons for this year’s turnaround was Moore’s ability to draw in local talent.

The Clippers roster features two players from Black Hills High School (Taylor and Sydney Sauls), two from Shelton (Taylor Stroud and Jessica Johnson), two from Rochester (Kessa and Keeli Demers), Tenino graduate Ali-Jo Vens and Savannah McGill, a 6-foot-1 forward from River Ridge.

“My goal is to establish an extended Thurston County all-star team and there’s enough talent to do that,” said Moore, who certainly knows the area as a graduate of Olympia High School. “The main theme is to be consistent in recruiting the Thurston County kids. As we get to be consistent with that, as we make appearances in the NWAC tournaments, we then can branch out and they will start coming to us. We’ve been getting a lot of attention already. People see we are winning now. The program has changed. Things have shifted and people are picking up on that; and it’s really exciting.”

The Clippers are eyeing their first trip to the Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball championship tournament since 2009. SPSCC has not placed in the tournament since 2001 when the team finished fifth.

spscc basketballKrista Johnson (#24) throws a pass as Jessica Johnson (#11) posts up.

“We’ve worked really hard to change the culture around here and it starts with the girls,” Moore said. “Their approach and their work ethic every day in practice and their willingness to make sacrifices has been tremendous. I know how hard it is to be a student athlete with everything going on just with academics and being first-year college kids, but they have been coming in every day and working hard. Everyone is buying in. It’s showing now.”

With a 14-4 record through the first 18 games of the season, the SPSCC men’s basketball team has already doubled last year’s win total and have posted more wins this season than the three previous years combined.

“Coach Landon brought some players in that really compliment each other – players that have some chemistry together,” Schmidt said. “The basketball season is generating a lot of excitement around here.”

The Clippers, who feature Yelm graduate Topher Burian and Black Hills graduate Dustin Meade on their roster, haven’t made the post-season tournament since 2008, but are currently battling Lower Columbia for the top spot in the West Region standings.

“We’re excited. Both programs are supporting each other,” Moore said. “The boys are out at our games, we’re out at their games and it helps. I think it continues to breed that positive culture, that change. That’s what we are doing.”

Find details about upcoming SPSCC basketball games by visiting the Clipper Athletics website.

Boggs Inspection Services Provides a Home Buyers Guide to a Successful Home Inspection

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:00am


Whether this is your first time buying a home or your fifth, a home inspection is an essential part of the process. First time buyers may ask why an inspection – an expense of $300 to $400 dollars – is necessary. Veteran buyers and real estate professionals alike will quickly share how a home inspection pays for itself, often several times over. Nearly every time, the inspection findings will show several issues that can easily be used to negotiate a lower home price by much more than the inspection cost.

olympia home inspectorDwayne Boggs is the owner of Boggs Inspection Services, an Olympia-based home inspection company.

But, how does a veteran or novice buyer know how to get the most value during the inspection? And, how do you know what issues are deal-breakers and which ones are fixable? As one of the busiest inspection firms in the South Sound in 2015, Boggs Inspection Services knows a thing or two about home inspections and offers this professional guide for your next home inspection.

Home Inspection Do’s:

  1. Hire the inspector you want. Most real estate agents have a relationship with a handful of inspectors and will recommend one to you based on their past experience. Understand that this is only a recommendation. You are hiring the inspector and you are paying his or her bill. Choose the right inspector for you. Ask friends who have bought a home recently if they liked their inspector. Do a quick online search for inspectors in your area. Read reviews.
  2. Check your inspector’s credentials. Ensure that you have hired someone with top-notch qualifications who is a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
  3. Attend and participate in your inspection. This is your opportunity to learn more about the largest purchase you’ll likely ever make. Ask questions and pay attention. This is an opportunity to learn as much as you can about the home you may live in for the rest of your life.
  4. Remember that homes are made of organic material and are subject to age and the elements. Your prospective home will not be perfect. Expect issues. It is not uncommon for inspectors to find 20 or more issues with a house. Keep perspective during the process and know that you can fix nearly anything.
  5. Hold tight (but not too tightly) to the fact that you love this house. If you didn’t love the house, you wouldn’t be at the inspection phase. Balance your emotional connection to the home with practical issues turned up during the inspection.
boggs home inspectionDuring your home inspection, remember what you love about the potential new home.

Home Inspection Don’ts:

  1. Don’t forget you are not the home inspector. It’s not necessary, or productive, to question each observation and notation your inspector makes. Inspectors are professionals with extensive training and experience (see #2 above) and complete inspections on all kinds of properties each day. Trust the process.
  2. Don’t flip out over seemingly significant findings. Dwayne Boggs says time and again, “Everything can be fixed.” And, the inspector is doing his/her job when finding these types of problems, allowing you to ask the buyer to remedy the problem or reduce their price to cover the cost.
  3. Don’t let emotions run the show. One of the best things about a home inspector is they are an entirely neutral party. They have no emotional connection to the house and their findings reflect only what they observe. Capitalize on their unbiased opinion and try and keep emotion at bay. “People sometimes fall so in love with a house that they forget to see the details,” shares Boggs. “The inspection takes emotion out of the equation.”
  4. Don’t think a newer home will be problem free. Boggs shares that while an older home may present with more issues, in fact, the solid underlying construction is often significantly better than many homes built in the last 10 years. Don’t be fooled by appearances. Beautiful granite countertops and hand-scraped floors do not mean the home’s systems and structures are problem free.
  5. Don’t be nit-picky when responding to your inspection report. “Put yourself in the seller’s shoes,” suggests Boggs. Be fair and don’t nickel and dime the seller. Ask for repairs or price adjustments for major issues, not for chipped paint or a loose doorknob.
boggs home inspectionBoggs Inspection Services works through a thorough checklist of items during a home inspection.

Ultimately, remember that when buying a home, the inspection is just one piece of the puzzle. Yes, it’s a critically important one and should be taken seriously, but if you love a house, don’t let unexpected findings be a deal breaker. Broken trusses can be repaired. Roofs can be replaced. Mold and moisture damage can be remediated. Use your inspection report as a tool in the big picture of purchasing your home and leverage the right price for the right house, armed with solid information from a trusted and respected home inspector.

If you are looking to buy anywhere in the South Sound area including Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Lewis and Mason counties, Boggs Inspection Services can help. Call for your inspection today at 360-480-9602 or visit Boggs Inspection Services online.


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 2:44pm


Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Bella Trix is a smart 10 year old Mini Pinscher mix. She is so happy around people that she bounces like a bouncing ball and prances like a small phony. Bella has no teeth so she will need to always be on soft food but don’t tell her that when she tries to steel a large dog bone. She loves a warm lap, belly rubs and being carried like the princess she is. Super cute personality.

We have many great dogs and always need volunteers.  To see all our current dogs, visit , our Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington” or at the shelter on Jensen Road in Shelton.  Our contact information is or contact us at or (360) or 360-432-3091.

Thurston Realtors are a Voice for Property Owners at the Capitol

Thurston Talk - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 2:20pm


Submitted by  Barb Lally for Thurston County Realtors

Nearly 50 Thurston County Realtors met with state Sen. Karen Fraser and Rep. Chris Reykdal recently to discuss the group’s legislative priorities for the 2016 legislative session, something they have done annually for about 25 years. The visit was scheduled during the Washington Association of Realtors’ annual Legislative Day in Olympia, attended by more than 400 Realtors from around the state.

 Bobbi KellyThurston Realtor group during their visit to the Secretary of State’s office. Photo credit: Bobbi Kelly

The discussions with the area’s state legislators centered around the residential and commercial real estate markets and their role in boosting economic recovery and protecting property owners. Of chief concern for Thurston Realtors is the county’s low housing inventory and the availability of affordable housing choices to meet a growing demand in our area. The group also discussed land use and environmental regulations that directly affect housing supply and the effect that increased taxes on the sale of property would have on the markets and the local economy.

 Amore StudiosThurston Realtors president Jerry Wilkins asks legislators a question. Photo credit: Amore Studios

“Our legislators are grateful for the input Realtors give,” said Jim Bennett, owner of REMAX Parkside in Tumwater, who has been a Realtor for 37 years and attends the large event each year. “Realtors are the leading advocates for property owners and those who desire to be, and are committed to protecting the American Dream. Who else represent home owners in Olympia?”

Sen. Karen Fraser expressed why she schedules the meeting with the local group annually.

“I have met with Realtors almost every year I have served in Olympia,” Sen. Fraser said. “They have a great read on what is good for our communities. They care about our economy and our quality of life and help me understand what is going on in their important business sector. They are helping our families reach their dream of ownership every day and they understand their challenges. I appreciate the input I receive from these committed advocates.”

 Bobbi KellyWA Secretary of State Kim Wyman (center), with Thurston Realtors Jim Simmons (l) and Greg Moe (r) points to a Realtor pin during their visit. Photo cedit: Bobbi Kelly

The Thurston Realtors also attended a reception for U.S. Congress member from the 10th district, Denny Heck and visited with Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman at her office at the state Capitol as part of the day’s activities. Both state leaders are local residents and have worked closely with the group for years to help improve our communities.
The Thurston County REALTORS® Association’s nearly 600 REALTOR® members provide professional real estate services to buyers and sellers and have been committed to protecting property owners’ rights, contributing to our communities and preserving our quality of life in Thurston County for more than 90 years.

A Wild Success - The Capitol Lake Interpretive Center- Part 1

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Mon, 01/25/2016 - 12:04pm
Text by Nancy Partlow ©
All photos were taken at the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center by Nancy Partlow©, unless otherwise noted.
   My family’s interest in the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center began circa 2010. We were looking for someplace easily walkable, wheelchair accessible, and in a natural setting.  The Interpretive Center on Deschutes Parkway fit the bill perfectly, and it’s been a love affair ever since.  The Center’s history is interesting.  According to Washington State Department of Enterprise Services web site:  "Development of the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center was made possible with the 1979 dredging of Capitol Lake. In that project, an 18-acre, two-cell dewatering basin was created to process the spoils of future dredge operations. A much smaller dredging operation in 1986 utilized the basins for this purpose. A third dredging operation planned in the mid-1990’s was prevented, however, because portions of the dewatering basins had naturally evolved, were determined to be wetlands, and could not be disturbed.   The construction of Heritage Park in 1997 included the designation of these 18 acres as an Interpretive Center with a commitment by the state to establish and maintain a high quality wetlands in the former dewatering basins. These new wetlands mitigate the loss of open-water habitat and the expansion of the park grounds into formerly submerged lake areas.   The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake caused considerable damage to the area. However, reconstruction provided an opportunity for considerable improvements.   Today, the Interpretive Center holds great promise to provide visitors with an experience that contributes to their understanding of our natural systems. It is one of the most unique components of any state capitol in the nation."  In September  I walked the CLIC with Bob Barnes, the landscape architect who along with state horticulturist Susan Buis and Erica Guttman from the Native Plant Salvage Project, was responsible for the 2003 replanting of the trail.  He shared with me some photos from that time.   
Volunteers help plant native plants at the Capitol Lake
Interpretive Center. An enthusiastic proponent of native plant restoration, he conveyed his philosophy by quoting Chief Seattle:    "We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it"  The Interpretive Center is a wonderful example of the flourishing web of relationships created by installing a diverse mosaic of native plants.  The result is a magical place, vibrantly alive with wildlife; a natural area that on a small scale rivals the Nisqually Refuge.   A song sparrow throws back its head and sings at the CLICA Spring azure butterfly sips nectar from ocean spray flowers  A cedar waxwing in an alder tree
 A Bombus mixtus bumble bee nectars from mock orange blossoms
The Capitol Lake Interpretive Center beautifully illustrates the concept of, “Build it, and they will come”.  It is a wild success. The CLIC at the time of its 2003 remodel. 
Courtesy of Bob BarnesAerial photo of the CLIC today
From the Thurston County Geodata website 
Categories: Local Environment
Syndicate content