Recent local blog posts

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 10:35am



Submitted by Joint Animal Services of Olympia

dogIt is important to plan ahead with 4th of July safety tips to help keep your pets safe and comfortable

Many dogs and cats are afraid of the noise of fireworks causing some to even get loose and run away.   Make sure your pets are inside and turn on the air-conditioning, radio and/or TV  to something soothing to help mask the noise of the fireworks.

Give your dogs several walks during the day or exercise them indoors to help them be relaxed and tired during the fireworks.   Chewing on a bone can help relieve your dog’s stress.

Do not set off any fireworks near wildlife areas.  The noises and bright lights may cause animals to flee their natural habitat, leaving their young behind. Stray sparks can also create fires.

For more information about how to keep your pets safe during the holiday, please contact Animal Services at 360-352-2510 or visit

4th of July Fireworks Shows around Olympia Celebrate Independence Day

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:24am



By Kathryn Millhorn

Rock FitnessJuly 4, 2015 is that rarest of beasts: warm, dry, and falling tidily on a Saturday. When such a rare conjunction occurs, it’s practically our patriotic duty to go out and celebrate.

Because the weather forecast is for 95+ degrees that day and Thurston County is under an indefinite burn ban, below is a list of fireworks shows around the region. Fireworks for home use are regulated by the Thurston County Fire Marshal’s Office so check your local regulations before lighting those sparklers.

Traveling for the holiday weekend? The Washington State Patrol lists all public firework shows throughout the state, sorted by county and city.

boston harbor fireworks

Boston Harbor Marina hosts a lovely, professional fireworks show on July 3, 2015.

Lacey Freedom Concert & Fireworks Spectacular – July 3

Friday, July 3, the City of Lacey will hold their annual event from 6:30 – 10:15 p.m. at William Bush Park at Yelm Highway and College Street. The evening starts with free music, face painting, kids crafts, and goes on to include an 8:00 p.m. presentation of colors before more music and a free fireworks show.

There will be road closures and street modifications for the event so check their website for specifics. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and the desire to rock the night away!

Boston Harbor Marina – July 3

At dusk on Friday, July 3, Boston Harbor Marina will host a fireworks display visible from land, sea, or dockside. Stop by early to pick up snacks, fuel your boat for a floating view, or wander the beach beforehand.

Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks Show – July 4

The South Sound Speedway in Rochester opens its doors to race fans at 6:30 p.m. and follows up the races with a full fireworks show at dark. Tickets are available at the door and are $20 for adults, $18 for teens, seniors, and active military, $7 for kids aged 6-12, and free for 5 and under.

fireworks olympia

Visit a fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day 2015.

Artesian Family Festival & Thunder Valley Fireworks Show – July 4

The biggest fireworks festival in the county is in Tumwater. Gates at Tumwater Valley Golf Course open at 6:00 p.m. and the fireworks begin at 10:15 p.m. There will be music, food, games, and more for hours of family-friendly fun. The festival is free but parking in their designated lot is $10. Bring folding chairs, blankets, and a picnic supper to make an evening of it.

Freedom Fest – July 4

A bit further away than most, the JBLM Freedom Fest is an amazing way to celebrate with the soldiers who keep us free. Running from noon until the fireworks at 10:00 p.m. there are carnival rides, food, crafts, games, and music with free admission and free parking. This year’s feature concert performer is Frankie Ballard with opening number Spike and the Impalers (who will grace the stage at the Lacey In Tune concerts on July 11).

lakefair fireworks

The Grand Finale of Capital Lakefair is the fireworks show near the Capitol.

Capital Lakefair – July 19

Put this event on the calendar for later! The Capital Lakefair fireworks show takes place on the shores of Capital Lake at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 19. The show is free and you can spend your evening wandering the booths, rides, and vendors at Lakefair beforehand or cool off with a quick pre-show dip in Heritage Fountain across the street.

For even more weekend events to celebrate Independence Day around Olympia, click here.


Dana Colwell Regains Strength, Confidence as a New Mom at Edge Fitness

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:00am



personal trainer olympia

Dana Colwell often brings her daughter, Rylan, along to Boot Camp with her where Rylan is learning about a healthy lifestyle right alongside her mother.

As many women know, the transition to motherhood can be tough. Not only have you endured nine months of pregnancy and all that it does to your body, but you now are responsible for a tiny new human – one that needs you, a lot.

This type of life transition often leaves new moms exhausted and feeling limited in their ability to engage in the day-to-day activities from their pre-child life. And for many, this includes a regular exercise routine. Add to the mix the inevitable baby weight that seems to hang around for a while and new moms often sort of “give up” on a return to their previous physical (and mental) selves.

This was a familiar situation to Dana Colwell. After her first daughter was born, the busy, working mom, and event manager for Washington State University, just didn’t feel like herself. A former accomplished wake-boarder, Colwell knew what it felt like to be strong and have a body that could do what was asked of it. Yet, she wasn’t sure she’d ever feel that same way again.

Like many of us, she went to the gym, telling herself she was exercising regularly and working toward her fitness goals. But, truly, 45 minutes on the treadmill watching HGTV isn’t really working out. And when faced with the machines and apparatus at the gym, she was intimidated and didn’t know where to start.

After getting back in shape at Edge Fitness, Colwell is able to again enjoy the sport she loves - wakeboarding.

After getting back in shape at Edge Fitness, Colwell is able to again enjoy the sport she loves – wakeboarding.

In 2013 a friend posted a photo on Facebook from a Boot Camp Class at Edge Fitness near South Puget Sound Community College in Tumwater. Seeing the tires, ropes, kettlebells, and, well, sweat, Colwell thought it was beyond her skill level – something she just couldn’t do. Yet, something nagged at her to try it, to see if she could.

She decided to stretch outside her comfort zone and give Boot Camp a try. “I fell in love with it,” Colwell shares. “It was such a challenge, but it was different every day and I never got bored. And, I could really see the results.” She committed to three times a week and having the schedule, knowing personal trainer and owner Amanda Price-Salazar was expecting her, made her stick to her schedule.

Was it easy? Heck no. “It’s really hard and I admit I was intimidated at first because I was so used to the easy way out at the gym,” says Colwell. “I really wasn’t sure it was going to be right for me after the first few sessions because it challenged me and I wasn’t used to that. Amanda was great, though, and told me that my body just didn’t understand yet how to do everything. It was my job to teach my body and to help it to learn to be strong.”

Colwell travel for work and has learned to stay fit on the road.

Colwell travel for work and has learned to stay fit on the road.

And learn it did. Colwell started only able to do a few knee push-ups and a few burpees. “I can now do full pushups and probably 20 burpees in a minute if I really push,” she shares. The best part? “Participating in Boot Camp has entirely changed my body and what I’m able to do.” Colwell cites increased stamina, energy, and muscle tone as direct results of her training at Edge Fitness. Not to mention a body she loves and feels strong and capable in – an important thing when chasing a toddler around.

Her daughter, Rylan, is now four years old and is just as well known at Edge Fitness as Colwell. “Amanda has no problem with Rylan coming along with me and I really like that Rylan sees fitness as a normal part of life. She tries the exercises and learns the routines right along with me,” explains Colwell.

Classes are offered most days at 6:00 p.m. with Saturday morning classes as well. Personal training sessions can be set on an individual basis. Amanda Price-Salazar is herself a new mom and knows how tricky schedules can get with little ones. She works with clients to find a time that works.

Regaining her strength and fitness after having a baby allow Colwell to enjoy an active lifestyle with her daughter.

Regaining her strength and fitness after having a baby allow Colwell to enjoy an active lifestyle with her daughter.

As Colwell’s journey back to fitness continued, she experienced, as many people do, a bit of a plateau. She talked with Price-Salazar who recommended three weeks of nutrition counseling to help Colwell get to the next level of her training. “She helped me know what to eat prior to my workouts to get optimum energy and what to eat afterward to best fuel my body,” she says. And, reminders about what Colwell “should” eat versus what she “wanted” to eat helped her refocus towards her goal. “I’m not on a diet,” she’s quick to say. “I still have a glass of wine or piece of cake and don’t worry about it. Boot Camp is part of a healthy lifestyle, not a diet that will someday end.”

Colwell knows Edge Fitness helped her find her “old self” again. “What I love about Boot Camp is that I see people of all different shapes and sizes in each class. Amanda learns what each of us can do and knows our limitation and where to push us,” explains Colwell. “She really pays attention to every person in class, knows them well, and cares about their success.”

To learn more, visit Edge Fitness online or call 360-790-6767.


Eddy and Lisa Ellis Mix Marriage with Mixed Martial Arts

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

rivers edgeDuring her elementary school years, Lisa Ellis remembers watching her older brother wrestle. She details with obvious passion just how keyed up she would get as a spectator, wanting to go out on the mat right then and there and challenge any opponent.

She is two decades removed from those days, but when she discusses what sparked her initial interest in the sport, you can still hear the enthusiasm in her voice. There’s a hint of giddiness present when she simply talks about wanting to compete.

eddy lisa ellis

Eddy and Lisa Ellis enjoy spending time with their 2-year-old daughter Elenor.

Back then, whenever she would talk to her father about her desire to wrestle his response was always the same.

“He’d tell me girls don’t wrestle,” Lisa said. “I tried being the plucky cheerleader on the sideline. That just wasn’t me.”

Ever persistent, Lisa’s first unofficial victory in the sport may have been convincing her dad to let her attend some wrestling classes. After that, interest didn’t fade, but grew; and she would go on to wrestle throughout middle and high school before earning a scholarship to Missouri Valley College.

Around the time Lisa was wrestling for Woodinville High School, her future husband “Fast” Eddy Ellis, a 2001 Yelm graduate, got a glimpse of his destiny due to a random encounter with a former classmate.

Eddy was 16 and wrapping up a high school wrestling practice when a former Tornado who had graduated two years prior returned to his old stomping grounds. He brought with him a video, showcasing a mixed martial arts event he recently participated in, and proudly fired it up for everyone to watch.

Eddy was among the viewing party.

“That was it,” Eddy said. “I’m watching this tape and here’s someone who used to wrestle in the same gym, who was my size and not one of these 300-pound guys you’d see on TV back then, competing in MMA. After that, I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

Fast forward through 15 years of training, competing and coaching, and Eddy and Lisa Ellis have built their lives around the sport of MMA.

The couple – together for 12 years and married the last five – own the United Training Center, a modern MMA facility in Olympia, which specializes in a wide variety of training sessions.

eddy lisa ellis

Both Eddy and Lisa Ellis have held national MMA titles.

“First and foremost, the biggest misconception facing us is that we are only training fighters here,” Eddy said. “The majority of people we train will never step into a cage.”

Self-defense, grappling, kickboxing, wrestling, modern MMA techniques, sport jiu jitsu, core and cardio training, and body toning are all offered at the gym, in addition to personal sessions and seminars, women’s self-defense and kids’ MMA.

A lengthy list of offerings to be sure, but the couple certainly sport the resume to back it all up.

Eddy, one of the more recognizable names among MMA fighters in the Northwest, has more than 50 professional fights under his belt working for high-profile promotions such as Strikeforce, King of the Cage and Xtreme Fighting Championships where he held the XFC welterweight championship.

Lisa is an All-American National champion, a two-time world grappling champion in both no-gi and gi grappling and has held MMA titles in the National Fighting Championships and Fatal Femmes Fighting organizations.

Their talents in the cage led to both being selected to appear on the Ultimate Fighting Championship-produced reality television series The Ultimate Fighter with Eddy appearing in the 16th installment and Lisa appearing on the 20th.

Combat sports has taken the couple around the globe, on more than one occasion. Last month, Lisa, who has fought in Tokyo five times over her career, competed on the UFC Fight Night 65 card in Adelaide, Australia – one of the few places on the planet “we hadn’t been to,” according to Eddy.

But traveling is nothing new for Eddy. The destinations are just more international now than when he first started out.

Back in his teens, Eddy, who fought for the first time professionally before he even graduated high school, would drive all over the Pacific Northwest looking for anything to quench his MMA thirst in an attempt to add even the smallest sliver of knowledge to his repertoire.

A quick drive to Wenatchee, a road trip to Colville, an overnighter to Portland were frequent occurrences during his early days in the sport.

“I just wanted to be involved in it,” said Eddy about his youthful eagerness. “I would drive just about anywhere. It didn’t matter. If there was a training session going on where I could learn something, I’d go there. Work a corner, take on any fight. Looking back, it may have hurt my career record-wise, but at the time I just wanted to be involved in the sport.”

A decade’s worth of stockpiling experience, along with plenty of victories and championships along the way, has paid off as the United Training Center is the end result of countless hours of the couple’s dedication to the sport of MMA.

“(MMA) has given us so many incredible life experiences,” Lisa said. “It’s allowed me to travel to so many places, and I’ve been able to experience it all with husband. Who wouldn’t want that?”

The United Training Center, located at 619 Martin Way E, Olympia, will host “United Fight Night: Parking Lot Poolza” on July 25. The event will be highlighted by an MMA card featuring eight to 10 bouts, a Ninja Challenge obstacle course and Oly CLAW women’s arm wrestling. The obstacle course, which will be available for the public to attempt for a $10 entry fee, opens at 10:00 a.m. MMA bouts begin at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. General admission is $20 (presale) and $25 at the door. For more information call (360) 888-9366 or email

Pine Hill Haints “Villian vs the Kid”

K Records - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 1:27am
Match of the century! The Kid’s got spunk, no doubt about it. With Pine Hill Haints on his side, he’s a real contender. K Song of the Day: Pine Hill Haints “Villian vs the Kid” from their The Magik Sounds of Pine Hill Haints [KLP254] album. The Pine Hill Haints album The Magik Sounds of […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Cooling Centers Open throughout Thurston County to Help Beat Record Heat

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 12:37pm



Submitted by Thurston County

The heat is on in the Puget Sound region, and the Thurston County Emergency Management Division has gathered a list of cooling centers that will be available this weekend as record-setting temperatures soar into the 90s. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for June 26, 27 and 28.

The following list of cooling centers is available on the Thurston County Emergency Management Division’s website:

First Christian Church – Olympia
701 Franklin Street SE, Olympia 98501
Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m.—2 p.m.

Lacey Timberland Library
500 6th Ave SE, Lacey 98503
Monday 10 a.m. —6 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. —6 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m.—7 p.m.
Thursday 10 a.m.—7 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Sunday Closed

Lacey Senior Center
6757 Pacific Avenue SE, Lacey 98503
Regular hours Monday—Friday, 8 a.m.—4 p.m.
Call (360) 407-3967 for more information

McLane-Black Lake Fire Station 91
*open as cooling center at 95 degrees or above
125 Delphi Road NW, Olympia 98502
1—9 p.m.

Olympia Senior Center Lobby
222 Columbia Street NW, Olympia 98501
Regular hours Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Call (360) 586-6181 for more information

Olympia Timberland Library
313 8th Avenue SE, Olympia 98501
Monday/Tuesday 11 a.m.—8 p.m.
Wednesday/Thursday 11 a.m.—7 p.m.
Friday/Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.

Tenino Quarry Swimming Pool
*Opens July 5 at noon
300 W Park Avenue, Tenino 98589
Shaded porch area and some shade at pool
Admission: $3.50/person general admission; $1.50/person for individuals living within Tenino School District
Wednesday-Sunday, noon—7 p.m.

Tenino Fire District 12
187 S Hodgden Street SE, Tenino 98589
Daily 8 a.m.—5 p.m.

Tenino Timberland Library
172 W Central Avenue, Tenino 98589
Tuesday/Wednesday 10 a.m.—6 p.m.
Thursday/Friday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.—4 p.m.
Closed Sunday/Monday

Tumwater Timberland Library
7023 New Market Street SW, Tumwater 98501
Monday/Tuesday 10 a.m.—7 p.m.
Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m.—6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Tumwater Old Town Center
215 North 2nd Avenue SW, Tumwater 98512
Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.—6:30 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m.—2:30 p.m.

Yelm Timberland Library
210 Prairie Park Street, Yelm 98597
Tuesday—Thursday, 10 a.m.—8 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.—6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m.
Sunday Closed

Yelm Public Safety Building
206 McKenzie Avenue SE, Yelm 98597
Monday—Friday, 7:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.

When a cooling center is not available, there are still a few tips that can help you beat the heat at home and stay safe.

Keep a cool head and remember the basics: drink plenty of fluids; avoid the sun and stay in the shade; use sunscreen even if you’re outside for only a few minutes.

Find cooler air in public places. Shopping centers, movie theaters, libraries and community centers are typically air conditioned, so go out, have fun and find some cooler air.

Take it easy and avoid heatstroke. Don’t over-exert yourself with heavy duty yard work or strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

NEVER leave children or pets in a hot car.

Keep pets cool, too. Check on your outdoor pets frequently and make sure they have shelter from the sun and plenty of water.

The heat can be hard on the young and the elderly. Check on relatives and neighbors who may be more sensitive to hot weather—young children, infants, seniors and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk during extreme hot weather.

For additional safety tips on how to beat the heat, download the Thurston County Medic One pamphlet at
The high temperatures and dry conditions also increase the risk of wildfires, and Thurston County residents are reminded that a countywide outdoor burn ban is currently in place. For more details about the burn ban restrictions, go to the county’s homepage and click on the “Countywide Burn Ban” link.

County officials also remind residents that there are restriction on the sale and discharge of fireworks in the county. But with the current heat and dry conditions, residents are urged to keep this holiday season safe and sane and enjoy the region’s professional fireworks shows this year instead. To learn more, go to the county’s homepage and click on the “Fireworks restrictions and safety tips” link.

As temperatures climb this weekend, keeps tabs on weather conditions and hot weather tips and information with the Thurston County Emergency Management Division social media—find us on Facebook at ThurstonEM, or on Twitter at @ThurstonEM.

Case of the Missing Pig: “Polly” the Pig Statue Stolen from Ranch House BBQ and Steakhouse

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 7:31am



By Rachel Thomson

color graphicsSome little piggies go to market. Other little piggies stay home. But one particular little piggy was stolen and her owners want her back.

“Polly,” the brown resin pig statue that for years greeted hungry diners at the entrance of the Ranch House BBQ and Steak House, was pig-napped nearly a year ago, and employees at the restaurant have not stopped searching for her.

They’ve put up posters around the restaurant and posted her picture on their Facebook page. They even filed a police report, to no avail.

ranch house bbq pig

Ranch House BBQ and Steakhouse owner, Amy Anderson, sits on top of Penny the Pig. Penny is the identical twin pig statue of Polly. Polly the pig statue was stolen from the Ranch House BBQ and Steakhouse in April 2014.

“Polly is a symbol of the beginning of our restaurant and where we want to be,” said Ranch House owner, chef and World Champion Pitmaster, Amy Anderson. “We’d love to have her back with her family.”

Polly’s Arrival

Polly was originally purchased in late 2006. Anderson says she was driving down for what would have been the restaurant’s “Express” location in downtown Olympia. However, massive rainstorms in 2007 triggered a mudslide that destroyed the original Ranch House, located on Kennedy Creek Road near Summit Lake. The restaurant was run out of Olympia’s Governor Hotel during the rebuild. When the restaurant re-opened on Kennedy Creek Road the following year, Polly was placed at the entrance to serve as the restaurant’s “greeter.”

Polly was also the restaurant’s mascot. Staff brought her to barbecue competitions and booths at local farmer’s markets. She even came along to weddings and events at which the restaurant catered.

“She was a memory-maker,” recalls General Manager and Pitmaster Joe Gutierrerz. “People took pictures with her. I’ve had customers tell me they remember when their son was 3 and climbed up and was riding on her.”

Night of The ‘Napping

Polly disappeared last year sometime during the night of April 24, 2014. Staffers arrived in the morning and began their pre-opening routine: checking to see if the parking lot is clean start to prep food for the day. It didn’t take long to notice something was amiss.

Gutierrez stepped outside to go to the parking lot and discovered an empty spot beside the bench where Polly used to sit. He and staffers walked all around the restaurant. The only thing that remained of Polly was a broken hoof.

ranch house bbq

Hope, the metal pig statue can be seen by drivers as they pass the Ranch House BBQ and Steak House on Highway 8 near Summit Lake. Hope was placed outside the restaurant after Polly the pig statue was stolen. Restaurant owner Amy Anderson said staff “didn’t make a big deal about it” because they were too upset about Polly’s disappearance.

“At first I thought it was a practical joke,” Anderson said. “They left the hoof and we were expecting a ransom note.”

The staff have had a few theories as to whodunit. Polly weighs well over 100 pounds, so they think there were at least two co-conspirators.

“It was right around graduation time, so we thought that maybe some of the high schoolers were pulling a prank,” Gutierrez said.

He said employees have investigated tips they have received from customers. Once they thought they might have found Polly in front of another restaurant. But after driving there to inspect it, discovered it was a different pig.

He also said he heard a story of a Thurston County resident who once had a lawn gnome stolen. A year later the gnome reappeared at its owner’s home–with a scrapbook. Apparently, the thief had taken a road trip and, brought the gnome as a travelling companion and took pictures of the gnome at every stop.

But more than a year passed, with neither a scrapbook, nor any further clues as to Polly’s whereabouts.

ranch house bbq

Before Polly was stolen, she often traveled with Ranch House staff to community events and cooking competitions. Photo courtesy: Ranch House

Gutierrez says it may have been funny at first, but “it’s been a year and it’s not really funny anymore.”

Other Pigs

The Ranch House has many other pigs in and around the restaurant. Several concrete pigs adorn the garden and walls around the outdoor patio. Wooden pig-shaped cutting boards are hung next to the many trophies and ribbons the restaurant has won in cooking competitions over the years. “Cash,” a giant pig wearing a chef’s hat stands in the lobby. If customers want to know what Polly looked like, they can simply gaze upon “Penny.” Penny is Polly’s identical twin, big, brown and with red handkerchief around her neck.

Since Polly’s disappearance, Anderson purchased “Hope,” a tall, metal pig that now greets diners in the Ranch House’s parking lot. It can easily be seen from the freeway and is probably harder to steal because of its massive size. However, Anderson says Hope won’t fill the void left behind by Polly.

“We got Hope two weeks after (Polly was taken),” Anderson said. “But we didn’t make a big deal about it because we’ve been so bummed about Polly being stolen.”

If you know where Polly is or have any tips that might lead to Polly’s whereabouts, call the Ranch House BBQ and Steakhouse at 360-866-8704.


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 6:39am



It seems the only topic of conversation these days in the weather – usually we are bemoaning June rain showers but this year Mother Nature is treating us to unseasonably (ok, HOT!) warm sunshine.  I hope that you are reading this post in the wee hours of the morning and planning your day outside.  There are plenty of family-friendly events and activities happening around town or choose to cool off at one of these local pools.  We’ll see you there!

Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend:

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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

Marco Rossi for Mayor of Olympia!

K Records - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 3:52pm
There’s going to be a new Mayor in Olympia next year. His name is Marco Rossi and he is running on a slate of progressive candidates with the theme “Olympia for all”. They advocate a living wage, open and accessible government and police accountability. You can learn more at his WEBSITE. Mr. Rossi has lived […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Solving the Mystery of Edwin Drood at Lakewood Playhouse

South Sound Arts - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 1:44pm

  Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 25, 2015
Steve Tarry (Chairman), Gary Chambers (Jasper) and the ensemble cast. Photo by Kate Paterno-LickThe Mystery of Edwin Drood at Lakewood Playhouse is a deliciously funny romp through merrie olde England. Based on an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, Drood is a musical comedy that asks the audience to vote on whodunit. What a fun and ingenious concept by Rupert Holmes, who wrote the book, music and lyrics. Holmes is a Gilbert and Sullivan fan and a lover of Victorian mysteries and English music hall, all of which play prominently in this production. 
It is ably directed by Chris Serface, who played the part of Nick Criker in this same show at Capital Playhouse in 2004. 
In the English music hall tradition, actors mingle with the audience as they are taking their seats, cajoling them to vote for them and to boo and hiss the villain, John Jasper (Gary Chambers). These antics prior to curtain seemed to be uproariously fun for most of the audience, but from where I was seated in a the middle of the middle section is was a babble — so I urge you to get seats close to the aisles if you want to join in the fun.
The story is a play within a play, with each actor playing an actor in London’s Music Hall Royale, so Chambers plays Mr. Clive Paget as John Jasper and Christopher S. Cantrell plays Mr. Nick Criker as Durdles, and Brynn Garrett plays, plays Miss Alice Nutting, London’s most famous male impersonator, as Edwin Drood. As in pantos and other English stage nuttiness, there are cross dressers and an emcee (Steve Tarry as Mr. William Cartwright) who constantly stops the action to deride the audience with quips both improvised and scripted. There is even a set of identical twins who are of different races and different genders (DuWayne Andrews, Jr. as Mr. Victor Grinstead as Neville Landless, and Heather Malroy as Miss Janet Conover as Helena Landless).
Lex Gernon’s set replicates a seedy 19th century music hall with its box seats in the wings and tacky red curtains and his brilliant use of a moveable thrust. The costumes by Alex Lewington are both authentic looking and funny.
Steve Tarry is an absolute natural as the emcee who pokes fun at actors and audience alike and appears to be having a wonderful time doing it. 
Chambers seems to equally enjoy playing the villain, plus he is articulate and sings wonderfully.Another actor who falls into his role so naturally as to become the character is Cantrell. His every move and facial expression is entertaining, down to the slightest movemen
Shelleigh-Mairi Ferguson turns in a stellar performance as Miss Angela Prysock as the happiest of hookers, Princess Puffer. 
Also outstanding are Jed Slaughter as Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe as Rev. Chrisparkle and Derek Hall as Mr. Phillip Bax as Bazzard. Like Malroy as Helena Landless and Noah Goucher as Master Nick Criker as Durdles, Hall overplays to the hilt and does it like a pro. Plus his voice is astounding on the solo performance of “Never the Luck.”
There is some great music in the play provided by an eight-piece orchestra directed by Deborah Lynn Armstrong and some acrobatic dancing that is a treat to watch. The big numbers performed by the entire cast are particularly enjoyable. On some of the smaller numbers the music almost drowns out the singers.
At almost three hours, Drood is a little longer than I would have liked. By the time we got to the voting at the end I just wanted it to end. I wish Holmes had edited his script down closer to two hours. Other than these minor objections, I think it is a marvelously entertaining and delightfully bawdy musical romp. This weekend (((June 26-28) is the last chance to see it.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through June 28,
Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, $29.00, $26.00 military, $27.00 seniors and $24.00 students/educators, pay what you can June 1, 253.588.0042,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Used Books Galore in Downtown Olympia

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 11:35am

Big box bookstores–the one on the West Side, for instance–are filled with shiny things, big-time marketing at work, that distract the eye and direct the browser to the stores' moneymakers, which or may not be books. Marketing is disguise: a come in for this, buy that. Used bookstores wear their essential quality on their sleeves.They'll sell you a few other things, but mostly they'll sell you books.Which is what I almost always want in a bookstore.

In Olympia there are three bookstores that are obviously about selling books: Orca Books, the biggest and most comprehensive; Browsers’ Bookshop, the oldest bookstore in Olympia, now rebuilding, and Last Word Books, a political, scrappy place; 

Orca Books is the offspring of another bookstore, Counterpoint Books, as its owner for seventeen years is the daughter of the man who owned Counterpoint. Her name is Linda Berentsen, and she’s been running the store since the beginning in the early 90s. If there were a “best of” for used bookstores in Olympia, Orca would probably be the winner, and this is largely due to her persistence over those years and her successful efforts to.turn Orca into a community store.

Like many medium-sized used bookstores, Orca has a somewhat cluttered look, with an assortment of bookshelves and fixtures that are there to hold books, not to be uniform and decorative. It has tables for new books in the front: an interesting selection of literary and quirky writers, not of the usual New York Times bestseller list found in big box stores.

To the left are rows of fiction and literature mixed, poetry, mysteries, science fiction, horror, young adult books, and children’s books to the rear. (Children’s books are a staple at most used bookstores because they recycle nicely and meet a steady demand, like Oshkosh overalls.) Many more books spread across the rest of the store in a somewhat disorderly set of categories, from science to Northwest history.

Most important, there are lots of books, with new ones arriving constantly, new and used. In fact, Linda told me that she believes Orca has more titles than the Barnes & Noble on the Westside. This means not more physical books, but more titles—which unless you’re enamored of stacks of the latest celebrity autobiography or Patricia Cornwell book, is very much the point. Orca Books is a good bookstore primarily because it has a large and varied stock.

It’s also a long-lived community presence. The front windows of the store and a large bulletin board at the rear are filled with community happenings: from local poetry groups to children’s theater and musical performances. If you want to get a quick overview of what’s coming up in Olympia, it’s a good place to look.

The store hosts its own book groups as well as author readings, mostly by local writers, which are generally well-attended and well-received. It also works cooperatively with the Timberland Regional Library, providing books for writer readings at the library; in fact, the library and Orca will suggest author appearances to one another when the other venue seems more appropriate. The store has also provided books for local school parent fairs and supported a number of local groups, such as Safeplace and the Black Hills Audubon Society, with contributions.

The store is currently changing owners. Daniel Schreiber, the new owner, is a long-time Orca worker. He says once it became apparent that Linda needed to step out of her role as owner, he and the current staff agreed that they did want the store to be sold to someone who quite possibly would step in and change things and make Orca could a very different place.

So he stepped in. He has been working with Linda for months during the transition and will take over as quickly as the mechanisms of title transfer finally take place. He (and other workers) sees Orca as inherently a good place to work, as bookstore, local merchant, and community member. He plans to spruce up the place, to do some work on the interior that has simply not gotten done in the past few years, and in sum to revitalize the store without transforming what it is.

There’s another new bookstore owner downtown who does want to transform the store she bought last October, Browsers Bookshop. Andrea Griffith, who was a medical librarian, decided on a career change. She would do what she had wanted to do, run a used bookstore. She had been a customer of Browsers for a long time and quite liked it. She also likes the idea of investing in the long-term growth and general well-being of downtown Olympia.

Browsers is in fact the oldest bookstore in Olympia, having been downtown since 1935, when it opened as Anna Blom’s Book Shop. The most recent owner before Andrea Griffith, was Jenifer Stewart, who bought the store in 1988—the story is a bit complicated; if you want to read about it, go to for a more detailed history.

Andrea took over the store last October, and she and her family are busily working to revive the store’s interior: they’ve replaced old carpet with wooden floor, have done considerable repainting, and have replaced a significant number of the bookshelves. The store has an evolving new look, visibly different from the previous incarnation of Browsers, and Andrea has ambitious plans for its future.

The biggest plans involve the second floor, which was for years a somewhat randomly partitioned storage space. She has begun to open up the space and wants to use it for a number of things, all of which add up to a community space, somewhere with long desks and wi-fi where writers can work, also a place where groups can meet, and readings can take place. Doing all this will take fair amounts of work and time, but she seems up for it. In fact, she’s energetic, enthusiastic, and her experience over the past nine months appears to have validated her commitment to Browsers and downtown.

Last Word Books is in many  ways the wild hare of the group. Owned by Sky Cosby, it is a radical and progressive store with appropriate stock and clientele. Due to a forced relocation in last year from 4th and Washington to its current site, on Cherry St., just off 4th–right around the corner from Orca–it has a somewhat jumbled look, as if someone had hurled a bookstore’s contents into a room. A lovely Chandler & Price platen press stands to one side—it supports the Last Word Press, the store’s co-enterprise. Sky is also putting titles online as fast as he can get them into a database; this is a long, slow, painstaking process–he really needs a crew of helper elves or tame Orcs or something.

What I find most fascinating about the whole conglomeration–bookstore, online sales, printing press–is that it reflects Sky’s ambitions, energy, and will to take risks to produce the kind of bookselling and producing enterprise he wants. He’s in his thirties, has twin eleven year-old girls, and is in love with selling books to the near exclusion of any other motives—making money, for instance. He has run Last Word from its inception and has kept it functioning despite disruptions such as the move and chronic underfunding, 

Sky is also the most knowledgeable about the two worlds of bookselling: before the deluge, when books were in stores; and after the deluge, when books can be sent to and viewed most anywhere, say a gas pump. Because he grew up in his father's used bookstore in Wallla Walla, he knows the mechanics of old-fashioned bookselling (which is at heart a labor intensive, shleppy process, involving moving books in stacks large and small from here to there and back again); and the intricacies of post-Internet bookselling (which is at heart a process of encoding, transmitting, and viewing or perhaps listening to it). This gives him a valuable set of experience and knowledge. I, for one, hope can make it pay off in both a dusty and telematic way, that the wild hare/loose cannon/ or what have you that is Last Word Books can thrive.

Olympia needs the variety that these stores give. Orca Books is a solid, friendly, interesting used bookstore and, if modestly, a community presence. Browsers Books is a historical entity still alive among us and getting a facelift, cleanse, and a new hairstyle and wardrobe. It has the potential to become something new and interesting built on the foundation of the oldest bookstore, Anna Blom’s Book Shop (I confess, I really like the original name for evocative, almost literary quality; it could be the title of a book.) And Olympia needs Last Word Books because is an avatar of a strong, long tendency in the city's art, music, and politics, on the spectrum from progressive to anarchic. I'm also pulling for all these owners, navigating through various transitions in confusing times, especially for a bookseller.

The community needs to help them in return. As a former bookseller and author and editor, I urge you strongly to take your used books in and help these folks put interesting titles on the store shelves. Browse! Buy a book or two. Come out for events. Support your local bookstore, which is also a local business.

Olympia Seafood’s Chowder Wins People’s Choice Award at Port’s Chowder Challenge

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 10:20am



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Olympia Seafood won the People's Choice award at the 2015 Chowder Challenge at Swantown Marina.

Olympia Seafood won the People’s Choice award at the 2015 Chowder Challenge at Swantown Marina.

When the votes were tallied at the 2015 Boatswap & Chowder Challenge, the People’s Choice Award for the South Sound’s Finest Chowder went to Olympia Seafood, with Emma’s Grill House and Fish Tale Brewpub taking second and third places, respectively.

Fish Tale Brewpub won the Chefs’ Choice Award. The Best Decorated Booth Award went to Olympia Seafood.

Other competing restaurants were Emma’s Grill House, Darby’s Café, Fish Tale Brewpub, Little Creek Casino, O’Blarney’s Irish Pub, Olympia Seafood, South Bay Pub and Eatery, The Sidewalk Café and Vern’s Catering.

Each of the restaurants served up 25-30 gallons of their best chowder to over 1,300 tasters at the Port of Olympia event at Swantown Marina. Since the chowder is not restricted to clam, the restaurants prepared a delicious variety, including salmon and crab.

Appetites were also satisfied at Forza Coffee Company, All Fed Up and South Bay BBQ.

Festival-goers browsed and bought at the Boatswap which featured over 30 commercial and private vendors offering new and used boats, gear and wares.

Kids played in the bounce house, had their face painted, made crafts with the Hands on Children’s Museum, fished the trout pond and everyone enjoyed classic rock music by the Raucous Band.

The Olympia Firefighters Civic Foundation and Tumwater Rotary hosted a popular beer garden which was a new addition to the event this year.

Port Commissioners Bill McGregor and George L. Barner, Jr. thanked the community, restaurants, participating organizations and businesses, event sponsors and Port staff.

Many local sponsors offered generous support to bring this event to the community: Little Creek Resort and Casino, Duncan and Associates Insurance Brokers, Tom’s Outboard, 94.5 Roxy, Budd Bay Promotions and Apparel, KGY/KAYO Radio, Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau, Panowicz Jewelers, Inlet Marine Services, Twin Star Credit Union and South Sound Bank.

The Port hosts the Boatswap & Chowder Challenge for the enjoyment of the community. It is not a fundraiser for any group.


Jean Mandeberg’s ‘Now or Never’

South Sound Arts - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 7:56am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 25, 2015"Gameboard" mixed media assemblage by Jean Mandeberg
"Keepers" mixed media assemblage by Jean Mandeberg. Photos courtesy Salon Refu
 If you don’t study them carefully, Jean Mandeberg’s metal and mixed media assemblages at Salon Refu appear to be sweet wall decorations and little more, but if you make the effort to look carefully you’ll see there’s much more to them that meets the eye in a cursory glance. There is a wry pop sensibility to Mandeberg’s assemblages. They are inventive and full of surprises, and well composed. She employs classical balance and a creative use of repetition and, most enjoyable to me, a visual trope I always highly admire: the subtle and often surprising use of variety within unity. Repeat, repeat, repeat, and suddenly there’s something different and unexpected.By way of analogy, it’s what Warhol did with his countless celebrity portraits with color changes and patterns within patterns of endlessly repeated images that were exactly alike yet different. Mandeberg does the same thing, but hers are much more nuanced.Featured in this show are numerous assemblages made of what I would call cages, square boxes made up of a dozen or so inner boxes in a grid pattern that extend three or four inches from the wall with found or made objects inside each inner box. The boxes are made of woven wire, and the objects within repeat in alternating patterns. Also featured are similarly made objects that hang like totems on the wall with repetition and variety within a vertical pattern, and boxes covered with decorative tin sheeting taken from commercial containers such as coffee tins or lunch boxes.She fills these assemblages with objects that in her hands become talismans, such as balls, dice, and enameled fortune strips of the kind found in cookies. The object in each seems to be a prayer for good luck.  There is a group of four that go together and represent popular games: bingo, bingo, bingo, and tic-tac-toe.“Measuring Up” is a box made from four corner pieces made of wood and covered with decorative tin; they fit together to form a bowl. The printed images are of a boy in blue that looks like Gainsborough’s famous “Blue Boy” and a similarly romanticized girl in a red dress. On each corner of the box is a length of tape measure, which hints at the double meaning of the title.Another classically balanced piece using patterns within patterns is called “Dirty Roll.” It’s a square cage of woven wire with a die in each section in alternating red and blue. Many of them (again in alternating patterns) are stamped with the words “Olympia Washington” in gold letters. Along the outer edges are buttons with the word “Luck” on them. But in keeping with her penchant for subtle surprises, two of the buttons have finger prints instead of words.Only one piece breaks the pattern of repetition within a grid. It is titled “Keepers,” and it is a seeming random collection of various amulets such as a star cookie cutter, a bullet, dice, and a gloved hand. They are like the trophy heads of animals killed in the hunt.These are interesting works of art with multiple meanings open to many interpretations. Salon Refu, Jean Mandeberg Now or Never, Thursday-Friday-Sundays 2-6 p.m., Saturdays 2-8 p.m. through July 4,114 N. Capitol Way, Olympia
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thrifty Thurston Splashes at Local Swimming Pools and Beaches

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:00am



By Katie Doolittle

providence medical group sponsorIt’s the classic conundrum: how can we keep our families entertained throughout these hot summer months without over-heating or over-spending?

olympia swimming

Kids of all ages enjoy the East Bay Public Plaza stream outside Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum. Photo credit: Samantha Snyder.

Happily for the sweat- and splurge-averse, there are plenty of free or inexpensive local options. Keep cool and kid-friendly on a shady hike, or enjoy air-conditioned activities at a Timberland Regional Library location. Depending on the time of day, plenty of local parks offer shade.

But by far, our family’s favorite way to keep cool is to go swimming or wading. Our summer adventure bag contains plenty of sun screen and swim diapers! June through August you can find us at any of the following locations, buckling life vests over our bathing suits and running for the water.

Here is where my family chooses to cool off:

Columbus Park (5700 Black Lake Boulevard SW, Olympia)

Pay $6 per vehicle for access to this private campground and recreation area. Their swimming access to Black Lake includes a floating trampoline, dock, and fabulous grassy area.


Discover Aquatics (110 Delphi Road NW, Olympia)

This saline pool is kept at a comfortable 89 degrees year round.  While most of the pool’s open hours are reserved for swim lessons (think small class sizes and no chilly kids), open swim is offered on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.  Want some adult only time?  Try lap swim on Saturday and Sunday. Get the complete schedule and pricing information here.


East Bay Public Plaza Stream (414 Jefferson Street NE, Olympia)

Located just outside the Hands On Children’s Museum, this reclaimed water feature is a true delight. While their kids play in the shallow stream, parents and other caretakers can sit under shade umbrellas provided by LOTT Clean Water Alliance. If you’re planning to visit the museum, be sure to bring shoes and shirts! (And maybe a few dollars for an ice cream.)


Evergreen State College (2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia)

Often overlooked because it’s on a college campus, The Evergreen State College pool is a great choice for families looking for an open swim.  During the summer, the indoor pool is open from 12:00 – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Remember to bring a few bucks for parking on campus.


olympia swimming

One child described the spray nozzles at the Heritage Park Fountain: “It’s like giant clams squirting water!”

Gail and Carolyn Shaw Aquatics Center (401 SW Parkland Drive, Chehalis)

Slides! Water toys! A beach-entry style pool! This recently renovated facility caps out at 201 patrons, so be sure to arrive early. Monday through Thursday hours are 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and then 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $3 for youth (0-17) and $4 for adults (18 and over). On Fridays and weekends, everyone pays $5. The Friday and weekend hours are 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Cash or check only.


Heritage Park Fountain (330 5th Avenue SW, Olympia)

People of all ages enjoy the circular array of water jets in this small but popular park. Open Thursday through Tuesday, June through September. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to noon, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Curious about the closures? The city does it to maintain safe bromine water levels. Bonus: the scheduled shut-offs can be an excellent way to get recalcitrant toddlers out of the sun and home to nap.


olympia swimming

Take a joyful plunge off the pier at Black Lake. Photo credit: Graciela Albarran Polley.

Kenneydell County Park (6745 SW Fairview Road, Olympia)

This 40-acre park features trails, picnic areas, barbecue grills, athletic fields, and two large playground structures. There’s 1,000 feet of freshwater beach and a developed swimming area on Black Lake.


Long Lake Park (2790 Carpenter Road, Lacey)

Lifeguards are on duty from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., June 20 through September 7. As with all outdoor swim sites, this one is weather-dependent, but aside from the 285-foot beach frontage, there are also pedestrian trails through the 10 heavily wooded acres (translation: shade). Other amenities include sand volleyball courts, restrooms, barbeque grills, and picnic tables.


Millersylvania State Park (12245 Tilley Road S, Olympia)

Deep Lake attracts boaters, swimmers, and fishermen. Paddle boats and canoes are available to rent, which can be a lovely treat for older children. There are plenty of hiking and picnicking options, too! Day use is free with a Discover Pass. Check their website for more information about camping overnight.


swimming olympia

The outdoor Tanglewilde Pool is open to all, not just neighborhood residents. Photo credit: Jennifer Klemz Penrose.

Pioneer Park (5801 Henderson Boulevard SE, Tumwater)

This gorgeous park has all kinds of family-friendly amenities, from the play toys and picnic areas to clean and accessible restrooms. Additionally, the park includes access to the Deschutes River. Families can float on inflatable devices from here all the way to Tumwater Falls Park. Word to the wise: don’t forget to arrange a ride back to your vehicle. Remember, life vests for the little ones are a definite must.


South Sound YMCA (510 Franklin Street, Olympia and 1530 Yelm Highway SE, Olympia)

With two convenient locations, there is no excuse to not jump directly into either the Briggs Community or Olympia Downtown pool.  Open swim gives families time to play together in the pool and the Y’s swim lessons are well-respected.  While membership fees do exist, the Y makes it easy to enroll with financial assistance, military discounts, and other scholarships.  Get pool schedule information here.


Tanglewilde Recreation Center (414 Wildcat Street SE, Lacey)

This public outdoor pool runs on summer hours through Labor Day. Recreational swim occurs from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., with family swim following immediately and lasting until 8:00 p.m. Day passes cost $6 for adults, $5 for youth and seniors. Children ages 4 and under swim free with a paying adult. Season family passes can also be purchased ($155 for residents, $235 for non-residents). Check their flyer for full details.


tenino quarry pool

The Tenino Quarry Pool includes a deep area with diving boards as well as a toddler-friendly shallow spot. Photo courtesy of City of Tenino.

Tenino Sandstone Quarry Pool (399 Park Avenue W, Tenino)

Starting on July 5, the pool will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. It will remain open for the season through September 6. The cost is $2 per person for anyone living within the boundaries of Tenino School District. If you’re coming from further afield, the cost is $4 per person.


Timberline High School Pool (6120 Mullen Road SE, Lacey)

Lacey Parks and Recreation operates the school’s pool Monday through Saturday almost all summer, with just a few closures (July 4, July 17). Open swim hours are 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Weekday open swim ends on August 14, but Saturday swims extend through August 29. It’s free for children ages 3 and under; older participants pay $4 each.


Tolmie State Park (7730 – 61st Ave NE, Olympia)

The 105-acre marine park boasts 1,800 feet of saltwater shoreline.  The day-use facilities welcome families.  Spend the day beach combing, climbing on driftwood or swimming.  Read more in this article.

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

Feeling Crabby? Head to Nearby Hood Canal to Catch Dungeness Crab

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:00am



By Margo Greenman

waterfront at potlatch lucky dogCrab cakes, crab melts, deviled crab and crab dip are just a few different ways you can prepare and devour the ten-legged crustaceans. But before you get your hands messy in the kitchen, load up your gear and get your hands wet by catching your own Dungeness crab in the Hood Canal.

Hood Canal crabbing, which opened on June 15, is a great way to enjoy a sunny, summer day on the water before creating a summertime spread in your backyard.

hood canal crab

Dungeness crabbing on Hood Canal is open Thursday through Monday now through September 7.

Crabbing, which the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife explains is “one of the Puget Sound’s most popular recreational fisheries,” is a favorite pastime for many and an exciting new adventure for others. If you’re just getting ready to set your pots for the first time — or if it’s been a while and you need a quick refresher — there are a few things you should remember before dropping your crab pots.

Getting Ready

Before you hit the water, there are a few items you will need for a fun, successful day of crabbing around the Hood Canal. First and foremost, you must have a fishing license. Fishing licenses vary in price depending on whether you purchase a one-day or annual pass. For fishing license types and prices, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife online.

In addition to a fishing license, you’ll also need a gauge for measuring your crab. It is illegal to collect Dungeness crabs that are smaller than six-and-one-quarter-inches across. Using a gauge like this one will ensure that your crabs meet the required measurement. You’ll also want to educate yourself on the difference between what male and female crabs look like, as collecting female crabs is prohibited. This illustration on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website will help you identify the difference.

Finally, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife requires that crabbers record their haul on a Catch Record Card before reporting their catch (even if it’s zero) online.

hood canal crab

To ensure a successful retrieval, set your crab pots in areas free of strong currents and heavy boat traffic. Photo credit: Kate Scriven.

Gear Up

In addition to items required by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, you’ll also want to make sure you have the proper equipment for catching Dungeness crab. While there are several ways to catch crab, crab pots are the most common. You can find crab pots and the equipment that goes with them – red and white crab buoys (so you can find your pots after you drop them), line (so you can pull your pots back up) and biodegradable escapement devices (e.g. a pot lid hook) – at most sporting goods stores.

Make sure to bring along some good bait and a cooler with ice to store your haul in. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says fish carcasses, clams and squid work best for baiting crabs, but chicken and turkey work, too.

While packing these things, don’t forget other essentials that you’ll need while out in the boat. Food, water and sunscreen are all a must if you want to make the most of your day.

Where to Go

hood canal crab

A day crabbing on the Hood Canal is a fun-filled activity for the whole family.

You’re all packed up and ready to go, but where do you go? The Hood Canal — or Marine Area 12 — can be accessed from several different launch sites around the area. These launch sites, which include the Skokomish Park at Potlatch, Quilcene Marina and Twanoh State Park among others, are all listed on the overview page for Marine Area 12 on the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

Once you’re in the water, the Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends following a few easy steps that will make dropping (and retrieving) your crab pots easy and fun.

First, be sure to set your crab pots in areas free of strong currents and heavy boat traffic. Pots that are set in these areas are more likely to get lost. To ensure retrieval of your pots, the Department and Fish and Wildlife recommends: knowing your water depth, using the correct length of line, using extra buoys where strong currents are present, and using a GPS system to mark your buoys.

Once you pull up your pots, remember that you can only collect male crabs that are at least six-and-one-quarter-inches across. Each licensed crabber on board your watercraft can keep up to five male crabs.

hood canal crab

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife allows licensed crabbers to catch up to five male crabs that are no smaller than six-and-a-quarter-inches across.

Head Home (or Stay a While)

After you’ve (hopefully) collected your limit for the day, don’t forget to report your Catch Record Card online.

You can clean the crab before you cook it, but cooking it first is easier. If it’s your first time, there are lots of great tutorials on YouTube that demonstrate how to cook and clean crab, step-by-step.

Once you’ve cooked and cleaned the crab, the options for preparation are endless. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll opt for eating it fresh with a side of garlic butter (don’t forget the napkins).

If you decide to stay a while, be sure to keep your crabs in the cooler until you can properly cook and clean them. There are lots of nearby campsites where you and your family can enjoy feasting on fresh-caught crab cooked over an open fire. Nearby Potlatch State Park and Dosewallips State Park are just a hop, skip and a jump away, and each provides the perfect setting for a moonlit crab feast.

For further lodging options, visit

The Hood Canal Dungeness crab season is open Thursday through Monday now through September 7. For more information about rules and regulations, boat launches and more, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife online.


Sisters Madison and Maia Nichols Headed to National Beach Volleyball Tournament

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

edge fitness logoHolly Nichols used to joke about needing a timeshare in California. Trips to the Golden State, however, have become more frequent, turning the once punchline into a likely possibility.

“We would always kid around about it,” Holly said, “but lately it doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea.”

Credit beach volleyball, and her two daughters’ success in the sport, for the change of heart.

The Pacific Northwest offers plenty of outdoor activities. Beach volleyball is not one that immediately springs to mind.

beach volleyball nichols

Madison and Maia Nichols qualified for the BVCA championships in Hermosa Beach, California on July 7-9 by winning their division at a regional tournament June 21 at Alki Beach.

That didn’t prevent Holly’s daughters Maia, 13, and Madison, 12, from taking up the sport, and despite the minimal availability of local sand, after only a few years the Olympia duo have transformed into one of the region’s top tandems, forcing mom to rethink that whole timeshare thing.

If you want to compete on the national level, you have to go where the sand is; and that’s exactly where the Nichols are headed.

“It’s going to be a volleyball summer,” said Holly, who also owns Discover Aquatics, a private swimming pool in West Olympia.

The Nichols sisters will compete against the nation’s best at the Beach Volleyball Clubs of America National Championship in Hermosa, California July 7-9 before making a second trip south a month later to participate at the AVPFirst Manhattan Beach Junior Invitational Aug. 10-14.

“It’s exciting to go down there and play,” Madison said. “You see a lot of teams from California. Not too many from Washington.”

Madison and Maia had been playing indoor volleyball for several years before making the transition to sand; and while to the outsider it looks like a subtle change, the differences in indoor volleyball and beach volleyball are substantial.

nichols beach volleyball

Madison and Maia Nichols say that competing on the sand is much more challenging than indoor volleyball. The sisters are pictured here during tournament play at Alki Beach on June 21.

The court sizes are different, there’s fewer players per side, no attack line, different volleyballs, and above all you go from the stability of a gym floor to the awkwardness of moving on sand, which is usually hot, while trying to navigate through whatever weather conditions are thrown your way.

“It’s definitely harder to jump on sand,” Maia said. “You have to do much more maneuvering. So, your footwork is important. It’s way easier to move indoors.”

Beach volleyball’s popularity has spiked over the last decade, especially among female competitors, with players like Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh leading the recent surge by winning gold medals in the sport at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics.

But Madison and Maia face one major obstacle not present in more traditional beach volleyball markets.

“There’s not a lot of beach around here. I’ve told my husband the next time we move we need to find a house that has some sand,” Holly said. “They mostly practice indoors. In fact, the only time they really play on sand is when they go to tournaments.”

That’s basically the equivalent to playing hockey without ever stepping onto the ice except during games.

The lack of sand time, however, has done little to slow down Madison and Maia’s progress.

The sisters won the future select division of the U14 Puget Sound Region Beach High Performance Qualifier on May 31 in Snohomish, before securing their berth into the AVPFirst Junior Invitational at Manhattan Beach.

On June 21, they took first place in their division at a tournament in Alki Beach in Seattle to qualify for July’s BVCA championships in Hermosa.

nichols beach volleyball

Maia Nichols with the bump as sister Madison looks on.

Beach volleyball is among a long list of sports Madison and Maia have experienced over the years. Swimming, basketball, soccer, tennis, and even taekwondo have also been attempted, but none had the effect on them beach volleyball did.

“Usually it’s our dad getting us to try new things,” Madison said. “My mom asked if we wanted to give (beach volleyball) a try, just try it and have fun with it. I’ve loved it since the first time we started playing.”

Their interest in the sport originally came from Holly, who played Division I volleyball in college at San Jose State University; and while she always encourages her daughters to participate in multiple sports, it always seems to come back to volleyball.

Holly would eventually coach her daughters indoor, but once the game steps outside, she is merely a spectator cheering them on.

“I just let them play when its beach volleyball,” Holly said. “They’re calling the timeouts.  They’re out there to encourage each other. I just sit back and watch.”

Despite the occasional sibling rivalry, celebrations have been a much more common site on the beach for the two.

“Obviously, one of the big concerns for me is having them get burned out at such a young age. Every time we get into the car, I turn around and say, ‘We don’t have to do this. We can do something else this weekend,’” Holly said. “Every time I ask, they say this is where they want to be.”


Downtown is a donut hole filled with subsidized housing (according to the maps). How'd we get to this point?

Olympia Time - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:38am
Here's my donut hole of Olympia population post from a little while back. I observed:Density is good. People living downtown is good. More people living in a dense neighborhood means fewer cars, more people walking and more services and good things downtown.There might not be a lot of people living downtown compared to other parts of the city, but take a look at this map that Brian Hovis put together this week:

Hovis writes:The highest concentration were in downtown Olympia and west Olympia. There are two different reasons. In downtown Olympia there are lots of sites in close proximity. In west Olympia the sites are fewer, but there are more units.

The density in west Olympia may increase soon. A new subsidized housing site is being planned near Yauger Park. The Copper Trails Apartments will add 260 more units to west Olympia, according to data from The Department of Commerce. Also recently reported in The Olympian there are proposals for new subsidized housing for the Drexel House and conversion of the Holly Motel.

Also in flux is whether or not the Boardwalk apartments will continue to be subsidized housing for seniors. The Boardwalk apartments are a big part of the density of subsidized housing downtown. The outcome of that question may change the density of subsidized housing in Olympia.Brian is pointing out something here that we have pretty much accepted around here as true, but seeing it in maps is really pretty cool.

I'm wondering about the history of this phenomena. If there's anything to understand about the apparent emptying out of downtown as a residential neighborhood. And, if the replacement of what we call market rate housing now with subsidized housing has any particular historical narrative.

Downtown Olympia obviously went through a transition in the late 70s and early 80s. I'm wondering if the mix of housing also shifted during those years and what forces were at hand.

Thee XNTRX “Good Bad Girl”

K Records - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 1:41am
Heddie Leonne, also known as Everybody Weekend,  raps hard and slow to a beat comprised of a sample from the Calvin Johnson album Before the Dream Faded… [KLP170]. She easily makes it her own. View the video for “Good Bad Girl” HERE.   K Song of the Day: “Good Bad Girl” from the NW hip […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Miz featuring QP and Zikki “Talkin’ My Shit”

K Records - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 3:48pm
The latest from Miz (of Real Life Click), backed up by QP and Zikki is “Talkin’ My Shit”, produced by Nemisis, included on their album History: MIZ and Nemisis Greatest Hits. Both Miz and Zikki appear on the NW hip hop compilation All My Friend’s Friends [KLP255] as members of Thee XNTRX. Miz appears on […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Zine Reading Thing

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 06/24/2015 - 1:42pm
Event:  Sat, 07/11/2015 (All day)

As part of the 7th Annual 24-Hour Zine Thing, there will be a Zine Reading Thing in the atrium after the library closes from 6:30. Come hear special guest zinesters read their work, or share from your own 24-Hour Zine Thing creation! The featured readers for the night are Dreamboat Annie, Sage Adderley, Carrie Born, and Alice Wynne.

Founder of Fat Fancy radical plus size clothing boutique & body positive life coach, Dreamboat Annie is a bad ass sweetheart, & a fat, queer, femme, Cuban-American, artist, punk rock dream come true.

Sage Adderley is passionate about kindness, coffee, mental health, fat activism, and the DIY lifestyle. She is the owner of Sweet Candy Distro & Press, writes the personal zine, Marked For Life & the body positive zine, FAT-TASTIC!

Alice Wynne, of Dog Faced USA, is actively trying to incorporate discussions of "the face" and the skull's connection to body and identity into everyday conversations.

Carrie Born is a retired heavy equipment operator//long-haul trucker gal turned blue-collar poet & typewriter collector.

This event occurs after library open hours and no other library services will be available.

The Olympia Timberland Library is located at 313 8th Avenue SE. For more information, contact the library at (360) 352-0595 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like
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