Recent local blog posts

24th Annual Rachel Carson Forum

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 10:55pm
Event:  Thu, 04/24/2014 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

The 24th Annual Rachel Carson Forum: Responding to Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Presented by the Master of Environmental Studies Student Association

The Rachel Carson Forum is an annual spring event dedicated to Rachel Carson’s legacy of exploration and understanding of complex environmental issues and questions.

Location: Evergreen State College, Library Room 4300

Program: Doors open at 6:00pm with a performance by The Oly Mountain Boys and a tabling expo.  Speakers start at 7:00pm followed by discussion and Q&A.

Distinguished Speakers:  Dr. Richard Feely, Senior Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  //  Andy Haub, Planning and Engineering Manager, City of Olympia Public Works Department  //  Thera Black, Senior Planner, Thurston Regional Planning Council  //  Facilitated by Rhys Roth, Evergreen Sustainability Center

Admission: Free and open to the public. Parking $2.



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Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 5:27pm



lucky eagleThis weekend marks the close of Spring Break for local families with school aged kids.  I, for one, have enjoyed the time with my girls – sleeping in, visiting family, NOT packing lunches each day.  There is an interesting paradox when your children are home on a school break.  You’ve lost the freedom to run errands and make appointments on your own.  Yet, you’ve gained the freedom to indulge all-day adventures, giant late-morning breakfasts, and spur-of-the-moment plans.

As this week of beautiful weather and carefree kids comes to an end, we will enjoy the freedoms that come with our break from routine as well as look forward to the change back to our “normal” next week.    Our weekend events calendar is packed full this weekend with tons of choices for those who want to grab one last all-day adventure or family bonding moment.  Enjoy!

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.


Greeners on the Cutting Edge Lecture Series Explores Technology’s Advancements

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 5:08pm



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

Every day, technology continues to profoundly impact our lives—especially the careers of today’s college students. Further exploring the state of technology today, The Evergreen State College is hosting a lecture series on computing issues called Greeners on the Cutting Edge, focusing on Evergreen students’ roles in the future of technology.

The lecture series kicked off March 31st and continues with a lecture each week until June 2nd and is a part of the ongoing PLATO Lecture Series. This series is offered every year at Evergreen by faculty who bring outside speakers to Evergreen to address computing issues that are of broad interest to the campus community.

“This particular series is a celebration of Evergreen graduates who are ‘on the cutting edge’,” said Judy Cushing, computer science faculty at Evergreen and organizer of the series. “We really wanted to show current Evergreen students some possible lives after Evergreen, and demonstrate to those in the community the success of our graduates. Some, but not all, of the speakers studied computer science here at Evergreen.  All are highly successful.”

Topics include software quality, the intersections between technology and social justice, and education for job skills (presented by founder and Evergreen graduate Lynda Wyman). Designer and artist Dylan Sisson will present the next lecture in the series on advances in CGI technology on April 14th.

The lectures will take place every Monday of Evergreen’s spring quarter at 1:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall 1 on Evergreen’s Olympia campus. More information, including the lineup and lecture topics, can be found at

The series is funded by software development royalties paid to the College by Control Data Corp, for John Aikin’s development (with students) of Computer Aided Instruction and is named after the influential PLATO programming language, which led to great advances in computer technology.

Three Project Engineers Hired by SCJ Alliance

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 5:03pm



Submitted by SCJ Alliance

SCJ Alliance is pleased to announce the addition of three new Project Engineers to their team: Tyrell Bradley, PE; Patrick Holm, PE; and Josh Brannin, PE.  SCJ is a consulting firm specializing in transportation planning and design, civil engineering, and land use/environmental planning.

Bradley has been working in the transportation and civil engineering field for six-and-a-half years and hails most recently from Skillings Connolly. Tyrell’s experience includes hydraulic and stormwater engineering, site sewer and water systems, roadway and sidewalk access design, transportation engineering and site grading plans. Possessing a calm yet efficient demeanor, Tyrell is a graduate of the renowned Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering at Saint Martin’s University (SMU) in Lacey.

Holm has over six years of experience providing project management, civil engineering and construction administration services for clients throughout the Pacific Northwest. Joining SCJ from PACLAND, Patrick’s a highly effective communicator and consensus builder. He’s known for listening closely, responding quickly and keeping projects on track. He graduated from University of California, Irvine.

Brannin has eight years of civil engineering experience with an emphasis on stormwater, transportation and design/build projects. Previously from PACLAND, Josh is an efficient and resourceful engineer, consistently completing projects on time and within budget. Also a graduate of SMU’s engineering school, he is well respected among his peers for his reliability and integrity.

A nationally-recognized, award-winning company, SCJ Alliance was founded in 2006 as Shea Carr Jewell. It has grown steadily from three employees in one location, to nearly 50 employees in five locations across three states…Washington, Idaho and Colorado.

In addition to adding employees, another impact of the company’s growth is a planned move this month to a larger building in the Hawks Prairie area of Thurston County, WA.

SCJ Alliance has provided the expertise behind many endeavors in the region.  Some of the firm’s current high visibility projects include planned improvements around JBLM spanning five miles and four interchanges, as well as the High Roller in Las Vegas, the world’s largest observation wheel.

KAOS Benefit: Anna Gordon, Third Eye, The Askew Trio

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 5:00pm

Help support KAOS radio with this great eclectic lineup!

Anna Gordon

Third Eye

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Askew Trio

Anna Gordon

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

MIRAH – Changing Light [KLP253/AMR01]

K Records - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 4:12pm
Mirah‘s fifth solo album, Changing Light [KLP253/AMR01] is a co-release from K and Mirah’s brand new label, Absolute Magnitude Recordings. Changing Light will be available on May 13th, 2014 and can be pre-ordered from AMR here. Listen to the track “Goat Shepherd” by Mirah from Changing Light [KLP253/AMR01]. On her fifth solo album, Mirah breaks […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Used Healthcare Supplies and Equipment Drive for Thurston County Medical Equipment Bank

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 3:00pm



Submitted by Navigating Grief

olympia grief counselor

Throughout Fridays in the month of April, local residents can drop off small, good condition, clean medical equipment and unopened healthcare supplies during a collection drive to benefit the Thurston County Medical Equipment Bank, a program of the Thurston County Council on Aging during open house hours at the Navigating Grief Discover-Create-Share Center in Olympia.

Grief stands in the shadow of caregiving, prolonged illness and the death of a loved one as a normal, even if painful, part of life. In the aftermath of illness – whether it be from cancer treatment, memory disease, chronic conditions or hospice service – families end up with all sorts of accumulated stuff bought to support the care. Canes, walkers, gauze and boxes of gloves; hospital beds, CPAP machines and bathing stools… the list can be long. The items can really pile up in a corner of the home!

After an illness, the medical stuff lingers and become a reminder of the often difficult days before.  No longer needed, throwing away what could be useful to another can feel like throwing away a connection to the loved one.  Keeping the healthcare equipment and supplies can also be equally uncomfortable. A desire to rid the home or room of the reminders can we met with “now what?”

Navigating Grief is proud to host a month long collection drive for The Thurston County Medical Equipment Bank, a local resource for re-purposing clean used medical equipment. The MEB serves more than 4,680 people a year of all ages, loaning out much needed items free of charge. “We’ve seen a big rise in use of services since the downturn of the economy over recent years” notes Rick Crawford, director of TCOAA. “Honestly, keeping our shelves from becoming bare is the biggest challenge.”

As a step along one’s grief journey, taking action to remove equipment and supplies can be healing in two ways: the caregiver or family is able to give a sense of new use to the things their loved one used, and physically clearing is one way to acknowledge the changed landscape after loss (or even new health). To begin the process with equipment associated with illness is usually one of the first and easier steps.

Navigating Grief is offering a Spring Cleaning after Loss with professional organizer Elain Carroll on Saturday, April 12, and will accept MEB donations that day as well.  For more information,  or



Olympia Crimestoppers Sponsors Area FastpitchTeams in Oso Mudslide Fundraising Game

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 1:40pm



Submitted by Olympia Thurston County Crime Stoppers

SoftballOlympia Thurston County Crime Stoppers is helping to support a great effort by local softball teams to raise funds for the victims of the Oso Mudslide.

The Pacific Northwest was recently taken aback by the devastation of the Oso mudslide. This disaster took many loved ones and shook the foundations of the Oso community. Thankfully, there are people working around the clock to help the victims of this tragedy. Right here in Olympia, Washington, local fast pitch coach Erik Riske has decided to make a difference. This Saturday, April 12 from 3- 6 PM a charity fast pitch game will raise funds to help the Oso victims. Coordinated by the 16U Panthers White fast pitch team, a scrimmage will take place against the 18U Gold Illusion as we work together to help the survivors through this trying time.

2014 Lakefair Queen Madison Murphy told Crime Stoppers, “Our hope is to use the game we love to share a bit of love. Our primary goal is to help the Oso survivors as they rebuild their community as well as to raise awareness in our area. We intend to prove that sometimes the greatest tragedies can also bring about the greatest compassion. So if you’re available this Saturday from 3-6 PM stop by Dream Team Park or visit our Facebook event “Oso Victims Charity Fastpitch Game” to help our community make a difference.”

When Madison was asked what she thought about the scrimmage she replied, “I am so excited to have an opportunity to play the game I love while helping others. It has been amazing to see the community come together as sponsors, like the Olympia Thurston County Crime Stoppers, as well as generous community members have donated resources and time to make this fundraiser a possibility. Our event is unique because 100% of proceeds will be going to the Oso Victims. Each player is bringing a donation, the local ASA Umpires are volunteering their time, and Dream Team Park is donating a turf field to play on. Our community is truly amazing and it’s inspiring to see how many people are willing to help if you only ask.”

Please come out and help the Olympia Thurston County Crime Stoppers and local ASA Umpires support these wonderful young ladies raise money for the Oso Mudslide victims and watch some

Spring has Arrived at The Plant Place Nursery

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 10:10am



Submitted by The Plant Place Nursery

Spring is here and The Plant Place Nursery Retail Lot is gearing up for spring business.  Plants are waking up out of dormancy with new buds and blooms.  Fresh perennials, vibrant shrubs, healthy young trees, and lush ground covers arrive daily.  With sunny skies and warmer temperatures we eagerly await the arrival of this new growing season and the return of our wonderful customers too!

The first splash of color will be beautiful hanging flower baskets ready to give for Mother’s Day.  They are a perfect way to brighten your porch or patio.

We are looking forward to offering free classes with local designers and landscapers this spring as well.  First up will be Dandelion Gardens on May 3, 2014:  Plant Selections for Small Spaces.  Stay tuned to our website or Facebook page for more details.  Come see us and get inspired with beautiful plants and design ideas.

Opening day is April 15, 2014.

Hours of operation are Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm.

3333 South Bay Rd NE Olympia, WA 98506.

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Westport Winery Announces Vinyards By-The-Sea Cider

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:31am



Sumitted by Westport Winery

Westport Winery CiderVineyards By-the-Sea Cider has arrived at Westport Winery! Come in to grab a glass of Courage, experience amazing Grace, and show yourself some Mercy. A portion of the proceeds from these ciders benefits Mercy Ships. All the labels feature original art of marine life drawn by winery co-owner Kim Roberts. Each of the ciders were crafted by Westport Winery’s general manager, Carrie Roberts, under the tutelage of her brother, Dana, the Director of Winemaking.

Mercy, with a delightful Puffin on the label, is a pure hard apple cider. Grace, with an iconic whale’s tail, is a caramel apple cider. And Courage, featuring a Dungeness crab, is an apple cherry cider. All of these ciders are available for tasting daily at the family winery. Wine club members receive a 20% discount on cider too!

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with its unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, dog park, arboretum, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. The award-winning wines and hard cider are exclusively available at this location.

The tasting room, gift shop, produce market and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website at


Call for Teams and Sponors for Sound Learning’s 21st Annual Spell-E-Bration

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:24am



Submitted by Sound Learning

Catch the Buzz!  Sound Learning, formerly Mason County Literacy, is hosting the 21st Spring Spell-E-Bration fundraiser at 6pm, May 9at the Shelton Civic Center.  This family-friendly fundraiser promises to be a good time for all, and will raise funds for Sound Learning’s educational programs in both Mason and Thurston Counties.

Organizers are currently lining up financial sponsors with 3-member spelling teams that will compete for the first place trophy captured last year by the State Farm Good Neighbors sponsored by Bakala State Farm. Second place last year was won by Bron’s Autocorrects, Sponsored by Bron’s Automotive and the West Olympia Rotary Club Literacy Committee. Last year’s third place was a tie between The Ki-Wanna-Bees, sponsored by Kristmastown, Pioneer, and Shelton Kiwanis Clubs, and the KMAS Newsies, sponsored by KMAS.

We invite you to organize a team, recruit a sponsor and be ready to buzz on over to the event on May 9.  If you are a team without a sponsor, contact us and we will help you find one.  If you are a sponsor without a team, we can match you up.  And if you’re a speller without a team, let us know and we’ll try to find a slot for you as well. Team participants must be adults or of high school age.  Of course all teams are invited to bring their own cheering sections!

There are many regular teams and sponsors we haven’t heard from yet, so if you plan to return, please contact us as soon as you can.  On our twenty-first anniversary event we want to have plenty of familiar faces, but we are definitely making room for new participants!

Businesses, organizations, and individuals are able to participate in a range of sponsorships from Major sponsor ($1500 +), to Literacy Leader ($100-$250), and Bee Booster ($25-$99).  Team sponsorship ($500) can be shared. The Journal and KMAS are in for full team sponsorships and will be providing spelling teams again this year.

The event also includes a Silent Auction, Door Prizes, an Appetizer and Dessert Buffet, and there’s always at least one surprise.  If you would like to donate items for the auction or door prizes, or food for the buffet, or help at the event, please contact Sound Learning.

We are expecting about 300 attendees this year. The audience will have plenty of chances to watch the Bee and root for their favorite team, visit the buffet, get tickets for door prizes, and bid on auction items that include experiences, trips, and other fabulous items including some perfect Mother’s Day gifts (remember Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11 this year).  A few of our favorite volunteers will be on hand with donation jars to collect five dollar bills at the door.

Spell-E-Bration is the signature fundraising event for Sound Learning.  Proceeds help fund programs in both Mason and Thurston Counties which provide education for adults in GED preparation, math, reading, and writing improvement; and English for Speakers of Other Languages.  In 2012-2013, with the support of professional staff,

200 Sound Learning volunteers provided 300 students with 10,000 hours of instruction.  Anyone interested in Sound Learning’s programs or getting more information about Spell-E-Bration can call the office at 360-426-9733.

About Sound Learning:  Our mission is to educate adults to be equipped to succeed and contribute in our society.  Educate.  Succeed.  Contribute


Tracy Moore, Outreach Coordinator and 2014’s Queen Bee



Squaxin Island Tribe, land trust, turning golf course into habitat

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 7:56am
Bayshore on Oakland Bay. Photo by the state Department of Ecology.

Bayshore on Oakland Bay. Photo by the state Department of Ecology.

The Capital Land Trust and the Squaxin Island Tribe are working to bring back salmon habitat and protect an important shellfish growing area by restoring a former golf course on Oakland Bay. The land trust recently purchased the 74-acre Bayshore Golf Course, which includes the mouth of Johns Creek and over a thousand feet of Oakland Bay shoreline.

The tribe and the land trust will remove a 1,400 foot dike, restoring the Johns Creek estuary and important marine shoreline. “Taking the dike out will provide salmon with additional acres of saltwater marsh to use as they migrate out to the ocean,” said Jeff Dickison, assistant natural resources director for the tribe..

Eventually, the golf course fairways will also be replanted with native vegetation, restoring a streamside forest that helps provide habitat to salmon.

Preventing development around the bay also protects the most productive shellfish growing area in the state.

The former golf course sits on a peninsula jutting into Oakland Bay that is made up of mostly gravelly glacial outwash. “If the golf course had been sold to developers, the porous nature of the gravel underneath the golf course couldn’t have protected shellfish beds from being polluted by septic tanks,” Dickison said.

The mouth of Johns Creek was the site of one of the largest longhouses and Squaxin villages. “We have always thought of this place as special,” said Andy Whitener, natural resources director for the tribe. “Our people lived there for thousands of years, subsisting on the fish, shellfish and wildlife that was always available.”

The state Department of Ecology also helped the land trust buy the surface water rights associated with the golf course. “Johns Creek doesn’t have enough water to support a weak run of summer chum,” said Scott Stelzner, salmon biologist for the tribe. “By securing this water right, we can balance against increased water appropriations throughout the Johns Creek watershed.

The restoration of the old golf course is part of a larger effort to protect and restore Oakland Bay. The tribe, the land trust and other local partners have protected hundreds of acres of habitat and improved water quality throughout the bay.

“It is important to make sure we protect places like Oakland Bay, before they turn the corner and can’t be saved,” Dickison said. Currently, Oakland Bay is relatively undeveloped, but that could easily change in the next few years.

“The decline of salmon and shellfish directly impacts our culture, economy and our treaty reserved rights,” Whitener said. “Making sure Oakland Bay is healthy is one of the most important things we can do to protect our way of life.”

Categories: Local Environment

The tragedy towards the end of the local ownership of Olympia Beer

Olympia Time - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 5:46am
Seattle Times, 1983
We all mourn the closure of the Olympia brewery. We all hope it comes back, at least the territory of the brewery, to become a new heart for our oldest non-native community.

Decades before our latest mourning, we mourned the sale of the company and brand to non-local owners. I wrote a bit about this history over at Thurston Talk recently. The story centered on a phenomena originating in the prohibition of tobacco advertizing in the late 1960s:

The true factor leading to the Schmidt family’s sale, in the early 80s, where market forces dating back to the ban on tobacco advertising on television in 1971. Phillip Morris, one of the largest tobacco purveyors, decided to diversify a few years before the ban and bought Miller in 1969.The Miller sale sounded off like a shot to the once traditional and staid brewing industry. “Budweiser met the challenge,” Knight said. “The two companies started buying up every market in the U.S., rolling over smaller breweries.”
While it might seem like the tobacco giants were buying beer companies, what they were really buying was geography.  The quickest way to break into new beer markets was to buy existing beer companies, gaining loyal beer buyers and their preferences, along with beer distribution arrangements.
A few years later, the Schmidt family reacted by buying Hamms (1974) and then later Lone Star (1977). “Olympia was a little late getting into the game,” Knight said.
“They had to get bigger or get a lot smaller,” Knight said. “Each time Olympia bought a new brand, it would give them a boost.” Olympia’s attempt to appeal to the drinkers in the newly acquired territories included the Artesians campaign.
But, in trying to keep up in a race of quickly nationalizing brands, the Schmidts eventually ran out of family talent and stock. In 1983 Paul Kalmanovitz (who owned Pabst and had also bought other Washington brands like Lucky Lager) bought Olympia Brewing Company.This is a totally plausible and realistic story that is backed up by other histories of the era, which additionally cite legal troubles brought on by the mergers. But, this business-centered history runs counter to the local knowledge of why Olympia was sold. Because the then president of the company was caught having sex with another man in the Capitol Lake bathrooms.

This did happen. In early 1980, in the twilight of locally-owned Olympia Beer, Rick Schmidt and two other men (a state legislator and a state agency director) were arrested for lewd conduct. The three non-out-of-the-closet men quickly faded from their public lives. All three quit their jobs and disappeared for awhile. Eric Rohrbach (the former state legislator) is back involved in local politics.

Both Schmidt and Joseph "Dean" Gregorius (as far as I can tell) never reentered public life.

The question is, whether Schmidt resigning had much to do with the eventual sale of the family firm. I'd say very little. The Schmidt family was doomed by nation-wide forces, not by the fall of the scion.

Research has pointed out that family-led companies have a particularly bad time reacting to industry-wide change:
The cultural view of family firms implies that these firms might be less willing to make changes to their overall strategy even when market pressures ask for such changes. Out of a sense of duty and respect for their elders, younger generations might find it difficult to change decisions such as where to locate, what to produce, or which customers to serve.Just being a family-owned company is bad in the long run:
This paper provides strong evidence that promoting family CEOs in publicly traded corporations significantly hurts performance even after controlling for firm and industry characteristics, and aggregate trends.

I find that, consistent with wasteful nepotism,declines in performance are prominent in firms that appoint family CEOs who did not attend a selective undergraduate institution. In contrast, comparable firms that promote non-family CEOs do not experience negative changes in performance, even when incoming unrelated CEOs did not attend selective colleges. So, what is the tragedy here? Sure, its bad that Rick Scmidt left the company. And, its bad that Olympia Beer had to be sold, instead of surviving as one of the few family owned breweries.

But, the real tragedy is that Schmidt, Rohrbach and Gregorius were arrested and publicly outed in the first place.

Let's go back to Olympia in 1980. According to this history, the "Capitol Lake Bathroom Bust" followed "a period of harassment and police targeting of Gay men." This also isn't a time when men with public profiles could live out of the closet.

The reason the arrests of these three men was news was because they had public profiles, but also because the arrests were of gay men.

And, let's put into perspective the operation that brought them in. The Olympia Police Department spent two weeks looking into the bathrooms before coming up with anything.

These type of operations, where police would stakeout homosexuals, hoping to come up with an arrest, has been called harassment by activists. The time spent by OPD in 1980 to come up with a few lewd conduct arrests certainly makes it seem that way.

Arrests like this also had deep social wounds. From a San Antonio library blog (of all places):

“I am primarily concerned with this grieving family in my parish, with the fact that we have lost such a wonderful man, and the news media played such an important part in driving him to suicide. There is no question but that his learning that his name had been published was the direct cause of his jumping off a bridge. . . .I also would say very strongly that a society that pays its policemen to spend hours on their haunches or lying prostrate on the top of a building peering through a hole to spy on men is a very sick society.”

This excerpt from an anonymous letter that appeared in a 1966 issue of Christianity and Crisis  captured the devastation exacted on men who were caught having sex in public restrooms and had their names published in the newspaper after being arrested. Sting operations by law enforcement officials against homosexuals in public places were nothing new. In San Antonio, police had been ferreting out gay cruisers in Travis Park–located in the heart of the city–since the 1940s. But were undercover operations and demonization of those caught in the web of such actions indicative only of the era that predated Stonewall in which homosexual harassment was part and parcel of urban life? We are a different town now. Our police are much more honorable. We are much more fair. But, we have to get our stories right.

The Olympia Brewing Company was caught in an economic storm that was swamping family breweries. That Olympia went down is nothing special. Rick Schmidt wouldn't have saved them.

Blaming the loss of the brewery on him is unfair. It also takes blame off of us, the way our community was not at all accepting of homosexuals. The sting operation, the public castigation, the disappearance from public life of these men. That's the sad story we should tell, the cautionary tale.

Your Healthcare Connection: Olympia Orthopaedic’s Cycling Team Partners with Doctors to Overcome Injury

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 4:28am



By Kate Scriven

oly ortho cycling team

Cindy Medlin (second from right) poses with other members of the Oly Ortho cycling team.

The Olympia Orthopaedic Associates Cycling Team is a diverse group of dedicated individuals who train, race, and ride together throughout the year.  Sponsored by Olympia Orthopaedics, the team features road, mountain, track and cyclo-cross racing.  This community of individuals is not simply dedicated to winning, but to the mentoring and promotion of bicycle racing throughout Thurston County.

Many doctors, nurses and team members at Oly Ortho are also avid athletes, giving them a different perspective when treating a competitive rider.  They understand the rigor put upon the body during intense competition and training and they know how eager an injured athlete is to get riding again.  Two such athletes are Cindy Medlin and Katie Kolan.  Both are fairly new to competitive cycling but have different areas of focus: road for Medlin and cyclo-cross for Kolan.  However they are both battling back from injury, working closely with their OOA team to get, and stay, healthy.

Cindy Medlin has always been a runner, competing at the highest level, including the Boston Marathon in 2003.  “I loved the stress release running gave me and would never have dreamed of giving that up,” she shared.

oly ortho cycling

Katie Kolan takes off on her cyclo-cross bike.

However in 2005, while deployed in Iraq, Medlin injured her right knee in an accident.  She continued to run, but in 2007 the pain became too much.  Her doctor recommended cleaning up her right meniscus and after a short break she was running again.  Yet, the pain returned, this time in her left knee.

Finally in 2010 her doctor said, “Cindy – enough,” Medlin shares.  He referred her to Olympia Orthopaedics for assessment where she met Dr. Thomas Helpenstell.

Dr. Helpenstell was a familiar face to Medlin.  He is an athlete as well, competing in triathlons regularly, and Medlin recognized him from workouts at their gym.  “After we chatted a bit, he just looked at me,” recalls Medlin, “and said, ‘Cindy, I think you need to think about doing something other than running.’”  He performed her first arthroscopic surgery and discovered her knees had fairly severe arthritis and he recommended leaving running behind completely and hopping on the bike.

She began indoor spin classes, but eventually missed the outdoor experience of her runs.  Dr. Helpenstall understood.  He loves it too.  When Medlin shared this with Dr. Helpenstell and her Physical Therapist, Diana Roberts, also a marathon runner and Ironman triathlete, they both suggested the OOA Cycling Team.

Medlin hadn’t considered competitive cycling before, but her innate competitive spirit took hold and she dove in.  “The women on the team were so inspirational.  They have so much knowledge and are so skilled.  They have taught me so much in a short time,” says Medlin.  For now, she is an official “fan” as she trains with the team and increases her endurance.  She aims to be a member next season.

oly ortho cycling

An x-ray of Katie Kolan’s wrist shows the damage caused as a result of her fall. Photo courtesy: Katie Kolan

But how could she give up a lifelong love of running?  “Dr. Helpenstell knew I needed the science behind what was happening to my knee, and that I needed to understand it, or I was never going to stop running,” she explains.  “He made sure that I understood – he focused on educating me – so that together we could make the best choices for my health.”  Medlin now sites biking as her favorite type of exercise, something she may never have discovered without the OOA Biking team.

Katie Kolan has always biked.  “In college I biked everywhere,” she shares, smiling, “but that was just because it was efficient and I was poor.”  Since living in Olympia, she has continued cycling but never competitively.    Then, about two years ago, she discovered the Olympia Orthopaedics Associates Cycling Team.  “I really wanted to become a better cyclist and I thought there’s no better way to do it than to surround myself with people who are better than me,” Kolan shares.

Kolan’s focus is Cyclo-Cross.  This form of racing, with origins over 100 years ago, consists of multiple laps of a short course consisting of pavement, wooded trails, steep hills, grass and obstacles requiring the rider to dismount and carry their bike. She jumped in with both feet, ready to train with the existing Olympia Orthopaedics Cyclo-cross team members.

However, her training came to a screeching halt almost before it started.  During a training ride in early fall 2013, she joined a partner to ride the trails of Millersylvania State Park. After a few laps they decided to switch it up and ride through the sand.  As she hit the soft ground, her tire skidded and she fell flew off the bike, into a picnic table.  “I realized immediately that something was not right,” she recalls.

That “something” was her arm, broken badly just above her wrist. “At first I was just irritated that my workout had been cut short, but when I got back to the car it dawned on me – there goes my season,” Kolan remembers.

olympia cycling team

Oly Ortho racers participate in road, mountain, track and cyclo-cross races.

“As inconvenient and messy as this whole ordeal was, everything at OOA was great from start to finish,” explains Kolan.  She worked with Dr. Kurt Anderson, one of Oly Ortho’s hand and upper extremity specialists.  Dr. Anderson assessed her injury the next day and recommended surgery immediately.  She now sports a few screws in her arm, a great scar, and a terrific story.

“Despite the mess I was in, walking down that hallway [at OOA’s Westside Clinic], was really cool.  Seeing the bike on the wall, knowing that Dr. Anderson is a mountain biker too,” explains Kolan, “I just knew I was in good hands.”  Dr. Anderson understood Kolan’s need to return to her sport.  Her plan of care was tailored to her specific lifestyle by a physician who really “got it”.

The outpatient surgery went smoothly in the Westside Surgery Center and after recovery, Kolan began work with Kate Cisco, the OOA Hand Therapist.  “Kate was super funny, generous, and got what I was going through.  Dr. Anderson was fantastic and it got even better as we went forward.”  From initial consult through PT exercises, the full team took Kolan’s values and lifestyle into consideration, creating a custom approach that helped her healing progress quickly and effectively.

“It was great to be a part of a system that really works.  I was motivated to heal and my motivation combined with their care and expertise has landed me here today, ready to ride again next season.”

For more information on the Olympia Orthopaedics Cycling Team visit the team webpage.


Thrifty Thurston Explores the Olympia Farmers Market Through a Child’s Eyes

Thurston Talk - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 4:00am



By Kate Scriven

olympia pediatrics“What do you like best about the Olympia Farmers Market?” I asked local children last week during the opening days of the Market.  I was curious to know what it was about the Market that makes them beg to go, smile from ear to ear while there, and never tire of visiting this local gem.

olympia farmers market“I like the food,” most of them said in answer to my opening question. Well, this one wasn’t a surprise.  Most parents know the power of a perfect snack.  Just as my mouth watered for a visit to my favorite food stand (Los Tulenos spicy pork tacos are my favorite), all the local children I spoke with had a favorite eat or treat.

San Francisco Street Bakery’s cookies, specifically the gingerbread people and dinosaurs ranked high on the list for most of the kids I talked to.  The wholesome, locally baked treats are under two dollars and bring a smile worth quite a bit more.  No sweet tooth?  One of my children opts for a peperoni stick from Johnson’s Smokehouse instead.

An Olympia Farmer’s Market secret (that apparently isn’t so secret) is each child receives a free apple from the fruit vendor’s bins.  All the children sited choosing their own special apple as a highlight, sampling different types each time they came.  “I always get an apple,” shared four-year-old Henry. “I like the really shiny ones.”  This healthier choice is a great first stop when you visit, keeping your little one busy as you browse and sating their appetite, quieting the begging for their promised cookie.

Lunch at the Market is a family affair.  Four-year-old, Hannah, was thrilled with the re-opening of the market, enjoying her favorite vegetarian curry from Curry in a Hurry with her mom, grandmother, and baby sister.  In fact, she was far too busy eating up her delicious lunch while it was hot to really say too much, but the smile she gave when I asked if she liked it was worth a thousand words.

olympia farmers market

Alea Collett enjoys a cup of clam chowder from Dingey’s.

Alea Collett, a six-year-old first grader at Olympia’s ORLA Academy’s favorite lunch is clam chowder from Dingey’s.  “I love that they have good food,” she shared.  “My favorite is the chowder!” Her bowl was nestled close to her half-finished apple and a Carmen cookie from San Francisco Street Bakery, awaiting the end of lunch for its turn.

Diner’s enjoy lunch while listening to live music presented on the market stage.  Children marvel at the unique instruments being played or the clear, beautiful voice of a woman singing (“Mom, she sounds just like Elsa!” exclaimed my daughter.)  Toes tap and little ones often can be seen dancing between the tables.

While the littles all seem to have their favorite lunch or treat, they unanimously exclaimed, “I love the balloon man!”  Yes, the balloon man.  A wizard of inflated sculpture, this man can seemingly create anything your child’s heart desires.

From simple flowers and swords to elaborate, wearable art and favorite cartoon characters, he seems to be able to do it all. While I sometimes balk (being the thrifty mom that I am) at paying for something that I know will pop or deflate within days, the requested donation of $1 per balloon used seems small compared to the joy brought by this simply art form.  I think of the joy a $3 latte sometimes brings me and give in easily.

Don’t miss the Gallacci Gardens, a Thurston County Demonstration Garden at the east end of the Market, originally planted with items donated by market vendors.  The paths, benches and arbors provide a secret world where fairies and gnomes might inhabit the nooks and crannies.  With Thurston County Master Gardener volunteers often on-site, the garden can also be a place of learning and inquiry for nature minded youngsters wanting to know “Why?” about all the interesting things in the natural world.

olympia farmers market

The balloon man is a sure-fire reward for kids of all ages.

Mallory Gilbert’s inaugural 2014 visit to the market was a special trip with her grandparents.  The Rochester first grader loved sitting in the garden (with her cookie and balloon of course) and shared, “The Market is just fun.  You get to look at so much stuff – there’s so much to see.”

And Mallory is right.  The Olympia Farmers Market presents a world of wonder just waiting to be explored by you and your child.  It’s so much more than a shopping trip or lunch pit stop.  The wide variety of vendors selling produce, seafood, metal goods, crafts, soap, honey, and much more are an opportunity to help your child understand where things come from and the work needed to create the things we use and consume each day.

Listen to the questions your child asks, encourage them to engage with the artisans and farmers, take the time to explain why the same booth selling honey is selling candles.  These are opportunities to shape your child’s understanding of the world and it’s available for free, Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

olympia farmers marketOf course they want a cookie.  Of course they want a balloon.  But be sure to explore beyond the delicious treats and silly gifts of the Market to find what is truly nourishing to your child.  Creating connections, deepening understanding, and developing an appreciation for our community and those who work hard each day to shape it.

Olympia Farmers Market

700 Capitol Way North

Olympia, WA 98501


Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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.

Arrington de Dionysio at Austin Psych Fest and art opening at Las Cruxes!

K Records - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 5:03pm
Las Cruxes Presents Arrington de Dionyso, ‘Dream You/Dreamed Me’ Exhibition April 7 – May 2, 2014 ‘Dream You/Dreamed Me’ is inspired in part by a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, “The Circular Ruins” dealing with idealism and the manifestation of dreams into reality, and the immortal nature of the creative process. The human/beast hybrid […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

KAOS Live Drive-A-Thon

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 4:33pm
Event:  Thu, 04/10/2014 - 8:00pm - 11:00pm

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Fighting Over Beverley

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 11:44am
Event:  Sun, 05/04/2014 - 2:00pm - 4:30pm

A love triangle between three septuagenarians begins when Beverley's ex-fiance Archie arrives unannounced at her Gloucester home. He intends to marry her and take her to England with him. The catch? She's still married to Zelly, the Yank she left him for at the end of World War II. "He's had you for 53 years," Archie claims, "Enough is enough."

WHEN:            May 1 – May 24 2014, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 2:00 PM

WHERE:          The Historic State Theater, 202 4th Ave E, downtown Olympia

PRICE:            General: $31, Senior/Military: $28, Student/Youth: $20

Rush tickets available at Box Office ½ hour before curtain

SPECIALS:     Pay What You Can: May 7, Ladies’ Night Out: May 9, Pride Night: May 16

TICKETS:       Call for tickets and info: 360-786-0151 or visit



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Fighting Over Beverley

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 11:41am
Event:  Thu, 05/01/2014 - 8:00pm - 10:30pm

A love triangle between three septuagenarians begins when Beverley's ex-fiance Archie arrives unannounced at her Gloucester home. He intends to marry her and take her to England with him. The catch? She's still married to Zelly, the Yank she left him for at the end of World War II. "He's had you for 53 years," Archie claims, "Enough is enough."

WHEN:            May 1 – May 24 2014, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 PM, Sundays at 2:00 PM

WHERE:          The Historic State Theater, 202 4th Ave E, downtown Olympia

PRICE:            General: $31, Senior/Military: $28, Student/Youth: $20

Rush tickets available at Box Office ½ hour before curtain

SPECIALS:     Pay What You Can: May 7, Ladies’ Night Out: May 9, Pride Night: May 16

TICKETS:       Call for tickets and info: 360-786-0151 or visit




BeverlySquare.jpg logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like


OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 11:41am
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