Recent local blog posts

Healthy Yards, Healthy People

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 2:26pm


Submitted by Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Summer is just around the corner! To some, summer means spending long evenings in the backyard with family and friends. For others, summer brings backyard barbecues, gardening, tossing a ball for the dog, playing tag with the kids, or even sleeping out under the stars. Whatever you

Lacey’s Woodland District Development Guidelines Receive National Recognition

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 2:05pm


Submitted by The City of Lacey The Washington D.C. based Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) recently announced the City of Lacey, Washington, has won the distinguished Driehaus Award in recognition of the community’s new Woodland District Hybrid Form-Based Code.  FBCI is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and use of form-based codes.   The

Video about using the Intercity Bus

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 11:09am

My friend and mentor Paul Enns produced this cool video called Paul & Brian Ride the Bus (to get a beer.) It is part of the Drive Less, Go More effort at Panorama to encourage public transit. It is a fun and entertaining show about how we took the bus to Three Magnets Brewery for beer and sandwiches.  There are also good tips on the bus apps and planning trips. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Salmon Saturday

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 11:01am
Event:  Sat, 09/24/2016 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

It’s that time of year – local salmon are finishing up their long, tiring journey and returning to their home streams to spawn. Bring the family in to honor this amazing fish by creating salmon-inspired artwork to take home. You can create fish prints, make a salmon button, stuff a salmon, and more! logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

The Tardigrade: Microscopic, Indestructible "Water Bears"

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 11:00am
Event:  Sat, 09/17/2016 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Tardigrades (or water bears) are tiny creatures that live just about everywhere: moss, wastewater, hot springs, Antarctic ice, deep-sea trenches, and more. They’re one of the toughest animals on the planet and can survive extreme environments, including the severe cold and radiation of outer space! Hear more shocking facts, see cool photos, and search for tardigrades under the microscope at a 2pm presentation. Water bear crafts all day in the classroom. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Nature Journals and Native Plants

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:59am
Event:  Sat, 09/10/2016 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Nature journaling is a fun, family activity and an excellent way for kids to develop an awareness and appreciation of the world around them. Come and decorate your very own nature journal, and then take it outside to explore! Attend a 2pm presentation followed by a native plant walk on our wetland plaza. You’ll learn some easy identification tips for common native plants and how these plants were traditionally used by local native tribes. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Frustrationless Flyers

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:56am
Event:  Sat, 08/27/2016 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Summer is here, and it’s a great time for kite flying. Bring in the family to decorate and assemble your very own “frustrationless flyer” kite – the easiest kite you’ll ever fly! logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Get Out of My Hair: Toxins in Personal Care

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:55am
Event:  Sat, 08/13/2016 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Come find out about the chemicals in personal care products like lotion, deodorant, shampoo, and hair dye. Join Thurston County Environmental Health to learn more about the health and environmental concerns from these everyday products, how to read labels, helpful websites, and safer alternatives. You’ll get to make an all-natural lip balm to take home! Presentation starts at 2pm and is best for ages 11 and up. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Exploring Wetlands and Treatment Plant Tour

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:46am
Event:  Sat, 08/06/2016 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Learn about wetlands through fun art projects and an outdoor scavenger hunt. Then, find out how LOTT cleans up our urban wastewater at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant and the steps taken to protect Puget Sound. A slideshow followed by a treatment plant tour begins at 1pm. Tour participants must be ten years or older and wear closed-toe, closed-heel shoes. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Groundwater 101 & Edible Aquifers

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:43am
Event:  Sat, 07/30/2016 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Groundwater, aquifers, wells – oh my! This 2pm presentation will help you understand what groundwater is, how we rely on it, how it can become contaminated, and what you can do to protect it. Following the presentation, we’ll make edible aquifers out of ice cream, cookies, and soda water! logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Herb Gardens for Kids

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 10:38am
Event:  Sat, 07/23/2016 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Growing herbs is a great way for kids to learn about gardening. They’ll love having their own mini garden to tend and will enjoy seeing their herbs used in the kitchen. Come decorate an herb container and plant some seeds to take home and grow. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Meconi’s Italian Subs Introduces Three New Salads

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 8:21am


Submitted by Meconi’s Italian Subs Meconi’s subs are a staple lunch or dinner choice around Thurston County, but starting June 13, Meconi’s will have three brand new items on their menu to tempt diners throughout the heat of summer.  “We are launching three new salads just before summer, as we know our customers especially enjoy a cold salad on a

Olympia Father’s Day Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 6:00am


Schooooool’s out. For! Summer! If you are reading that line and singing the classic Alice Cooper song in your head, you are probably a parent.  And probably grew up in the 80s. For all you other moms and dads out there who have packed your last lunch for the year I say, “Congrats! We made it!” Now you may

Muhurt Falls: A Lesser Known Gem of Hood Canal

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 6:00am


Muhurt Falls is one of Washington’s most beautiful, and unknown trails. With the hike being only 1.6 miles roundtrip, it is an easy trip for a huge reward. The falls lies on the Duckabush River, just north of Shelton and Hoodsport on US 101. Hoodsport is one of the last areas with a grocery store

Visit Belleza Ropa’s Sister Store in Port Townsend

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/17/2016 - 6:00am


Jeannine Kempees didn’t start out that day intending to buy a store. She already had a thriving business selling her handmade clothing line at regional fairs and craft shows and had been living in Port Townsend for about five years. But here she was at the Oregon Country Fair, assisted by Janice Speck, the owner

A Betty Ragan Retrospective

South Sound Arts - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 4:16pm
“Between Michigan and State,” photo collage by Betty Sapp Ragan, courtesy Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation.Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 16, 2016
“Uptown Broadway Angel,” hand-colored photo collage by Betty Sapp Ragan, courtesy Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Betty Sapp Ragan passed away a year ago. She was an excellent artist, and she left behind an impressive body of work, a lot of which is now being shown in an exhibition of photo collages and prints at the Mary Bozeman Gallery in the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation.Curated by Patty McPhee, the show consists of some 32 works in the main auditorium and a few of her larger works in separate rooms. The art is arranged in generally chronological order beginning with a few prints and drawings from roughly 1985. Few of the works are dated, but McPhee says the bulk of them are from what Ragan called her “button down series,” works with feminist themes done in the 1990s. Two of the larger works are photo collages with intricate shading in colored pencils, and there are two of her latest works— paintings of landscapes with architectural structures. I reviewed an exhibition of this series in September of 2015, writing:  “Painted are the scenes where the buildings were, are, should be, or might have been located. The colors are bright and sunny with a predominance of blue. Everything is painted with precise detail but softly focused, like a cross between photo-realist paintings and pastel drawings. The buildings themselves are digital prints of architectural drawings, mostly black and white line drawings that are collaged into the paintings.”All of the smaller photo collages depict women’s dresses either on mannequins or hangers, positioned within architectural structures. The dresses stand in for the women who may have worn them. They are stiff and formal dresses from bygone eras. They tend to be far too large for the settings — windows or archways or pedestals on baroque buildings — as if the women are giants, and the button-down formality of the dresses combined with the positioning within the buildings creates a feeling of imprisonment; locked within their clothes and within what is expected of women. Further intensifying this feeling of imprisonment is the fact that the mannequins are always headless and armless.The earliest painting in this show is “In the Gazebo,” a photo collage of dresses inside a building: one giant dress inside an archway and a procession of smaller dresses marching forward. “Chambored Oval Window” is an outsized dress within an oval window. All that is visible is the midsection with six large buttons. Above the window is a sculpted face flanked by leaf designs that form arms for the woman made up of the sculpted face and the dress in the window as the body. It becomes almost surrealistic and ominous.Many of the other works, such as “Raitt Hall,” Cathedral Apartments in San Francisco,” and “Rialto Apartments” repeat this theme of an outsized bodice inside a window or other framing device. Semi-transparent blouses are also a repeated theme, as in “Between State and Michigan” with its transparent white blouse with polka dots that reverberate nicely with the intricate scrollwork framing the window.Ragan took all of the photos of dresses and of buildings, the bulk of which are in Chicago. She cut out the dresses and meticulously collaged them into the photos of buildings. It is almost impossible to tell they are actual collages and not digitally manipulated images. If you look very closely from just the right angle, you can sometimes see the edges of paper, which she colored to match the sections where they were pasted in.All of the art is for sale by silent auction and is priced ludicrously cheap, with bids starting as low as $10. All proceeds to go toward upgrading the lighting and hanging system for the gallery. McPhee said the low bid prices are based on the executor of Ragan’s estate’s desire that the works have homes.Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation, South 56th and L Street, Tacoma. Open most days but it is best to contact Patty McPhee at 206-919-4938 to make sure someone is there.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)

South Sound Arts - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 4:11pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 16, 2016 from left: Rebecca Rogers, Vanessa Postil, and Lauren O’Neill. Photos courtesy Theater Artists Olympia.If you are easily offended by irreverent humor, steer clear of The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) at the Midnight Sun. They don’t make them any more irreverent. Produced by Theater Artists Olympia and written by Adam Long, Reed Martin, and Austin Tichenor for The Reduced Shakespeare Company, the same folks who brought you The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), this Pythonesque retelling of the Bible follows the formula established by RSC’s evisceration of Shakespeare. They loosely reinterpret and retell the familiar (and not so familiar) stories of the Bible. There are groaner puns (the ax of the apostles), a skewering of The Almighty’s destructive vengeance and misogyny, Vaudeville-style jokes and song-and-dance routines, and a smattering of topical references mixed in with historical/Biblical tales (the apostles Paul and John, but not George and Ringo).This satire is directed by Mark Alford and stars Lauren O’Neill, Vanessa Postil, and Rebecca Rogers as themselves telling the tales of the Bible and acting out the parts of God, Jesus, Moses, Sampson, Joseph and Mary and the whole cast of characters from both the old and the new testaments. These are three of the funniest women in the South Sound. O’Neill, also known as Hattie Hotpants, emcee of Tush! Burlesque, and as Dr. Lauren (could that possible be a takeoff on Dr. Laura?), is a veteran of many plays with TAO. Postil performs with Lady Town Improv troupe and was a huge hit in TAO’s The Head That Wouldn’t Die. Rogers is a relative newcomer to South Sound stages, but comes to the area with more than 20 years’ experience performing and teaching improv all over the country and recently in Paris, France.Oddly enough, despite great actors throwing themselves with abandon into routines that are clever, biting, and ludicrous, I found myself not laughing out loud throughout much of this play. I enjoyed it, but not to the extent that I enjoyed more than one production of its predecessor, the Shakespeare treatment. Some of the jokes came across as juvenile, and much of the humor was of a type that I appreciate but don’t necessarily react to; and I don’t think that was what the writers or the director intended. There were some bits, on the other hand, that were funny enough to make tears of laughter roll down cheeks, a prime example being the audience-participation retelling of the story of Noah’s ark as a song, “Old MacNoah had an ark.” Brave audience members made weird animal noises onstage, and many were sprayed with water. You have now been warned.Some of the more clever bits included the mark of Cain (no spoiler here, you’ll have to see it for yourself) and a musical explanation of how to tell Elijah from Elisha or the Josephs from the old and new testaments.The costumes were purposefully bad, as were fake beards and big wigs, and the props were silly: a giant blow-up whale for Jonah and a tiny plastic ark that Rogers claimed she carved out of wood.No other South Sound theatrical group is as edgy, brave or outlandish as TAO, so it is fitting and not at all surprising that they’re the first to bring this satirical romp to Olympia. Lauren O'Neill
Rebecca Rogers
Vanessa Postil
The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), Thursday, March 31 at 8 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. through June 26, pay what you can June 16, The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St. Tickets: $12-$15, Available at door night of show or online at

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Where an independent dies in Thurston County (part 1 of more than 1 hopefully)

Olympia Time - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 4:02pm

One of my favorite all time posts here is the one I did wrote about a year and half ago about how Bud Blake won in Thurston County.

It's my favorite because it showed something new and interesting to me.

For one, it blew up my idea of political party labels and how voters use them. In fact, I could see, voters really did react to a relabelling of a conservative local politician. In recent years a lot of Republicans have taken well funded runs at sitting Democrats on the county council, but have come up short.

But, Blake won, mostly it seems because he decided to label himself as an Independent and not a Republican. The data seems to bear this out. In almost every precinct, from the most liberal to the most conservative, a portion of voters who would not vote for a Republican would vote for an Independent who happened to be conservative.

Since the start of the new campaign season, I've heard more than a few times from liberal folks up here that: "We won't be fooled again. This time we know Independent means Republican."

There are also two new Independents running for county commissioner who seem like they'd probably be Republicans in another setting. Obviously since one of them used to run regularly as a Republican.

So, my question is, how far out from the central, more liberal, part of Thurston County does this story need to travel before an Independent (really Republican) needs to lose.

Turns out, pretty far.

What I did here was sort precinct results by usually most liberal to most conservative (based on 2012 election results) and started replacing the vote totals from Bud Blake's 2014 campaign with an aggregate for a Republican in 2012.

That's a really rough experiment, but it was an interesting practice. I assumed that the map wouldn't extend much further than the main urban core of the county, but it really did pick up most of the peninsulas (if I can call those neighborhoods that) and some precincts in south county (mostly around and in towns though).

And, here is why I think I can do a lot better than this map. I think turnout is going to have a big part to play. Not only was Blake's party label a factor, but turnout dropped a lot in 2014. For the next post I'm going to play around with trying to find out how an increase in turnout this year will change the dymanic.

Lemon Family Dental Now Offering Fresh Local Smiles in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 3:26pm


Submitted by Lemon Family Dental Lemon Family Dental now has a dental office in Olympia at 2705 Limited Lane NW, right next to Brewery City Pizza on the Westside. The new practice, which is locally owned by Dr. Jeff Lemon, offers comprehensive dental services to individuals and families in the Olympia area. The addition of the Olympia office

Host Families Needed for Chinese Middle School Exchange Students

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/16/2016 - 11:42am


Submitted by Education First Non-profit organization EF (Education First) is bringing 30 middle school students to the Olympia area this summer to promote the learning of the English language and American culture.  Hosting an international student allows your family to open your home, share your world and create the opportunity to help your kids form lasting

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