Recent local blog posts

Ballots Available and Drop Boxes Open for February Special Election

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 2:11pm



Submitted  by the Thurston County Auditor

Ballots are available at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, located at 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Building 1, Room 118 in Olympia, for the February 10, 2015 Special Election. The Tenino and Yelm school districts have measures on the ballot. Voters should receive their ballots by Friday, January 23 or Saturday, January 24. Any registered voter who has not received a ballot by Thursday, January 29, 2015 should contact the Thurston County Auditor’s Office at (360) 786-5408 or, or come to the Auditor’s Office for a replacement ballot.

The Auditor’s Office has opened eight secure ballot drop boxes, including one in Tenino and two in Yelm. A list of drop box locations is included in mailed ballot materials and online at These boxes are open 24 hours a day and will close promptly at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 10 (Election Day). For more information, visit or call (360) 786-5408.

County Program Offers Schools Powerful Hands-On Lessons in Waste Prevention

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 2:00pm



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste 

Food to Flowers sort line at Black Lake Elementary in Tumwater.

Food to Flowers sort line at Black Lake Elementary in Tumwater.

Schools throw away a lot of stuff, and a lot of that stuff is food.  In fact, more than 70% by weight of what a typical school throws away each day is food, food-soiled paper, and single-use serviceware and packaging.   Getting rid of all that stuff can cost a lot of money and wastes a lot of resources.  Thurston County’s Food to Flowers program partners with local schools to help them reduce this kind of waste, to save money, and to provide their students with hands-on environmental learning opportunities.

Below are two examples of some of the innovative ways Food to Flowers schools are making a difference for their students, for the environment, and for our community.

Rescuing school food to donate to the Food Bank

Some of the food that schools throw away is food that’s already been prepared, but wasn’t served to students.  This includes hot dogs, pizza slices, burritos, and tons of untouched fruit and vegetables.  Some Olympia and Tumwater schools are now rescuing this food and donating it to the Thurston County Food Bank. At the Food Bank they make creative use of these school leftovers.  For example, they take hot dogs from schools, cut them up and combine them with beans rescued from a local restaurant to create ready-to-eat meals for hungry families in our community.  Last school year, more than 4 tons of school food was donated to the Food Bank as part of this program.

Milk dispenser at Washington Middle School in Olympia.

Milk dispenser at Washington Middle School in Olympia.

Reducing milk carton and milk waste

K-12 schools in Thurston County generate about 5,000,000 half-pint milk cartons each school year, enough cartons to fill an Olympic size swimming pool and still have some cartons to spare.  Today, ten Food to Flowers schools serve most of their milk using milk dispensers and durable cups.  Making this change has reduced milk waste by more than 8,500 gallons and eliminated more than 385,000 milk cartons from the trash each year.  You can check out school milk dispensers in action here.

To learn more about the Flowers to Flowers program, contact Peter Guttchen, Thurston County Waste Reduction Specialist, at or 360-867-2283.

Food to Flowers by the Numbers

  • Participating schools: 32
  • Participating students: 14,530
  • Tons recycled & composted each year: 175 tons
  • Lunchroom recycling rate: 89%
  • Milk cartons eliminated each year: 385,000
  • Milk waste eliminated each year – 8,500 gallons
  • Average saving in garbage & recycling collection costs: 15-20%
  • Spork kits eliminated each year: 2,740,710 – A spork kit is a plastic spork, a plastic straw, and a napkin packaged together inside of a plastic bag.


The Vaselines “Crazy Lady”

K Records - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:28pm
A new Vaselines song! Fudge, yeah. Can’t get enough of that greasy Vaselines stuff. “Crazy Lady” is from their V for Vaselines album. The Vasleines are playing the Pacific Northwest this weekend: Jan 23     Vancouver, BC, Rickshaw Theater Jan 24     Seattle, WA, Neumos Jan 25     Portland, OR, Doug Fir Lounge    
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Found Photographs at Tacoma Community College

South Sound Arts - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 10:46am
Published in The Weekly Volcano, Jan. 22, 2015
"The Over Examined Life" by Sharon StyerWho doesn’t enjoy browsing through old photographs from days gone by? In addition to the enjoyment that is inevitable when looking at vintage photos, the “Found Photos” exhibition in the gallery at Tacoma Community College is filled with creative expression in a variety of media from photos to paintings and drawings inspired by found photos, to sculpture, assemblage and collage incorporating old photos. There are stories behind many of the images that are included on wall labels along with copies of the original found photos.
“And then what happened?” by Robert KochBehind the counter as you enter are three acrylic and pastels by Robert Koch taken from old photographs of unknown families. The drawing is loose and emphatic with faces and figures rendered in a cartoonish style. There is a dynamic interplay between sketchy lines and modulated color areas. The line quality and especially the agitated background in “And then what happened?” looks like a de Kooning painting. This painting depicts a group of people, presumably friends or family members, chatting with great animation. Both the title and the facial expressions indicate they’re gossiping.
Becky Frehse is showing three photos that are colorized or otherwise manipulated and mounted in unique boxes such as a photo of uniformed theater ushers in a hard-case coin purse with a mirror. The one I best enjoyed of hers was “Luncheon on the Grass,” a lampoon or homage to Manet’s famous painting of the same title (but alas, without the nudes). It is a group of friends picnicking on the grass circa 1940s in front of a vintage car with trunk and door opened. The photo was found in an antique store.
I also thought Jennifer Chushcoff’s “Seasons, Winter, Summer” parts one and two were terrific little pieces. Each features a photo of a woman standing in her back yard in winter (heavy coat, snow on ground) mounted on a translucent acrylic box. Each image has little window “cut-outs” through which you can see the same woman in summer. 
In Sara Waldo’s large painting with mounted photos we see three identical images of an aeronautical engineer holding a model of a rocket he designed. Bursting from each image is a “rocket-blast” splash of bright color, red, yellow and orange, poured onto raw canvas.
Sharon Styers’ group of five photo-collages are eerie or perhaps funny surrealism (depending on your point of view). In “The Morgan Bridge Explosion” we see a group of people in colorful contemporary dress lined up to watch a ballet in the air of men in business suits, actually many differently sized images of the same man walking in air above the bridge at night with floating bubbles above his head. We see the man walking in air as in time-lapse photography. In her “The Over Examined Life” we see a logger sawing a woman in half. These, along with Koch’s three paintings, are among my favorites in a show that features a lot of excellent art. OK, maybe they’re not all excellent art, but they all feature intriguing images. Most of the pieces can be appreciated in multiple ways, as visual structures with imaginatively interpreted stories,   and as nostalgia — so many of these images are bound to stir memories. Beyond appreciation of art, they provide the fun of speculating about what the people in the pictures might have been doing and what might have happened next.
 Be sure to take time to read the accompanying wall labels and study the art carefully. You’ll be glad you did.
"Found Photographs," noon to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, through March 20, Building 5A, entrance off South 12th Street between Pearl and Mildred, Tacoma, visitor parking in Lot G.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Greene Realty Group: The Local Choice

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 9:06am



greene realty

Jim Greene is the founder of Greene Realty Group.

Supporting local small business is important to many of us. We often choose food from the local farmer, buy gifts from artisans in our community, and entrust our money with a local community bank. Local options also exist for one of the biggest investments and financial decisions we make in our lives – buying and selling our homes.

Greene Realty Group is our area’s premier choice for a local independent real estate company. Agents and clients alike seek out Greene Realty Group because of its impeccable reputation in the community.

Inside the Northwest designed offices of Greene Realty Group is an organized flurry of activity complemented by a calm focus of real estate expertise. The hard work, dedication and diligence in which the company was established permeates throughout the firm. The success of Greene Realty Group can be attributed to each agent’s attentiveness to the client relationship, thoughtful consideration of what the company stands for in the community, and positioning the firm as the leading local option.

This successful trifecta of Greene Realty Group’s client relationships, reputation and being homegrown has propelled the company beyond expectations as one of the most burgeoning real estate firms throughout the broader Thurston County area and one that is distinctively different from the bigger franchises.

Jim Greene, the founder of Greene Realty Group commented, “Agents want to be around other agents who are doing well and doing good things. However, I never envisioned Greene Realty Group would evolve to our current thirty-six agents, four staff and still growing.” While Greene Realty Group reports a higher per agent number of sales and total volume than other firms in the area, they contribute their success to the agent and client relationship.

Greene started the namesake real estate company in 2005. It was a natural progression when his client base grew beyond his individual capacity to serve in a manner he desired. Greene, with the support of a few other agents, launched Greene Realty Group.

Missy Watts, current licensed broker for Greene Realty Group was one of the originals of the company. Watts was integral to Greene Realty Group’s inaugural graphic design and marketing department. Watts shares, “In those early days there were only a couple of brokers in this new start-up brokerage and it was exciting to be a part of it from the ground up. It is wonderful to see how far we have come together!” Togetherness is part of the success as Greene Realty Group values teamwork amongst agents.

Greene Realty Group is further unique in that it employs an in-house marketing department which allows the real estate experts to focus on their clients and community outreach while the creative experts design publications and leverage the latest in technology.

greene realty

The success of Greene Realty Group can be attributed to each agent’s attentiveness to the client relationship, thoughtful consideration of what the company stands for in the community, and positioning the firm as the leading local option.

Technology has been a great equalizer for independent agencies. The National Association of Realtors reports that over 90% of people start their home buying search online with research. However in our area, once the initial information is acquired online clients choose Greene Realty Group to guide them through the process of buying or selling their home. Clients prefer Greene Realty Group’s relationship based model rather than a transaction model often used by the larger franchises.

Watts comments, “I know that many of our clients choose Greene Realty Group because we are a locally owned brokerage. There is a huge movement for people to make local choices, and Greene Realty Group fits in with that trend.”

“Often when presenting market analyses to potential clients we are asked how we stack up against national franchise brokerages in terms of reach and advertising capabilities,” Watts continues. “That answer is easy – the Internet has completely leveled the playing field. Greene Realty Group’s listings are distributed via aggregate sites nationally and internationally and our presence is as good or better than any franchise brokerage.”

Greene Realty Group further distinguishes itself from other real estate firms in the area by offering three divisions within the company that specialize in residential, commercial and property management. Greene Realty Group provides services in residential sales from the first time home buyer to luxury estates with an emphasis on new construction.

According to agent, Jim Hickman, “Greene Realty Group was launched after years of success in the new construction communities and uniqueness of this niche market. Many of the area’s prominent builders, such as NW Family Homes and others, continue to partner with Greene Realty Group because of our consistent and proven guidance.” And in order to better meet client needs, Greene Realty Group expanded into commercial sales and leasing as well as property management thereby offering a full array of services.

Greene Realty Group continues to grow its relationships with clients as well as attract the best agents in the area. While they may not be the largest in the community, they are aiming to be the best.

To learn more about Greene Realty Group and its agents click here.

Griffin Drill Team Links Mom and Daughter

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 6:35am



By Gail Wood

duncan sponsorThree years ago, as Dayna Dayton fondly reflected on her fun experiences with her high school drill team at a reunion, an unexpected ambition surfaced.

“I wanted my daughter to experience it,” Dayna said.

griffin drill team

Bev Chase (left), Meysa Hayvaz (center) and Dayna Dayton (right) are at drill team practice at Griffin School two early mornings each week.

And that’s how on every Tuesday and Thursday mornings for 90 minutes Griffin School’s gym is magically changed into a dancing music hall for ten middle school girls. Among them is Dayton’s daughter, Meysa, now an eighth grader.

Also there, helping Dayna coach at every early morning practice from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., is Bev Chase, who was on the same Tumwater High School drill team with Dayna 30 years ago. High school friends have been reunited.

At the same moment, as the music from Dayna turns on a cheerful tune and her drill team practices their routines, she’s coach, mom and friend.

“I was on drill team in high school and it was the best part of my high school experience,” Dayna said. “I wanted my daughter to experience it.”

It must be fun. Why else would 10 middle school aged girls show up at practice at 7 a.m. twice a week?

griffin drill team

The Griffin School drill team performs at school assemblies and other sport events.

“It’s definitely fun,” Meysa said after a recent Tuesday morning’s practice. “I like dancing. It’s a passion of mine. I’m going to do it in high school. It’s just a great experience. It’s so much fun.”

In the spring of 2011, Dayna went to a reunion of her high school drill team. A friend there prompted Dayna to start a program at Griffin School. That’s all the prompting Dayna, a dental hygienist, needed to go talk with Griffin’s vice principal, Doug Anderson, about starting a drill team at the school.

“My daughter was going into sixth grade and I really felt she needed something,” Dayna said, reflecting on her decision three years ago. “Drill team was such an amazing experience for me. So, I went to Mr. Anderson and I said you need to get a drill team started here at Griffin. And he said, ‘Great, we’ll sign you up to coach.’”

From the first practice, Dayna, along with the fun and good times, has included discipline in the practices. Anyone who shows up late has to run a lap around the gym. Anyone who continues to talk during a drill practice, has to run a lap or do push-ups. She keeps everyone on the same page.

“Nice job, ladies,” Dayna said recently after they finished practicing a routine.

As the girls perform their dances, marching in place as they move synchronized pompoms, Dayna claps her hands when they’re supposed to move. Their routine is precise.

griffin drill team

In December, the Griffin School drill team visited local assisted living facilities, bringing cheer to the senior residents.

Meysa, who wants to turn out for drill team at Capital High School next year, shares her mom’s passion for drill team. And she enjoys having her mom coach her – most of the time.

“If I’m mad at my drill team coach, it’s kind of hard to make the transition that I’m not mad at my mom even though it’s the same person,” Meysa said with a smile. “But it’s nice because I get to have her as my coach and I get to pick on her.”

Like Dayna, Bev has fond memories of her experiences with drill team in high school. And like Dayna, she wants young girls today to share in those similar moments.

“I loved it,” Bev said. “It was great. It was fun. I had a lot of friends that I made that I still have. It was a great experience. You learn a lot. It was the best part of high school for me.”

Mixed in with the dancing, music and fun is hard work – lots of hard work. Meysa said after practices she changes clothes because “I’m all sweaty.” Fun includes hard work for these kids.

“There is a lot of hard work,” Bev said. “There’s a lot of dedication. It takes a lot of time. It’s a lot of work.”

Accompanying the hard work is the big reward – performing in front of an appreciative crowd.

“Once you hear that crowd, you’re hooked,” Dayna said with a smile. “Then you know they love you.”

And the anxiety of being in front of a crowd, the fear of someone watching you and rejecting you, goes away. Eventually.

“It takes a while, but once you get out there, it’s an amazing feeling once you get that adoration from a crowd,” Dayna said. “You do a good job and your hard work paid off.”

griffin drill team

During a practice at Griffin School, Dayna Dayton is equal parts drill coach, mom and friend.

That lesson, Dayna said, transfers to a life lesson. The girls on her drill team learn that if they work hard they will have success.

“And it builds confidence and self-esteem,” Dayna said. “When they have it and they know their steps they don’t even know that we’re there. They’re just performing for the crowd.”

Besides performing for Griffin, Dayna’s drill team does several performances throughout the school year. Later this month, they’ll perform at the halftime of a Capital High School boys basketball game. They’ll also perform at two competitions in February at Olympia High School. Just before Christmas they performed at four assisted living facilities.

“We took Christmas cards, visited with them and made a day of it,” Dayna said about their December trip to local assisted living facilities. “I was just so proud of my girls.”

Each year, those visits to local seniors has been a highlight for Dayna and her team.

“I get very emotional about it,” Dayna said. “At the end of the year, I ask them what was the best part of the year and overwhelmingly that’s the best part for them.”

griffin drill team

The Griffin School drill team follows the instructions of coaches Dayna Dayton (black top).

It’s another memory to tuck away for Dayna and her drill team.

Another reason Dayna has enjoyed coaching her daughter’s drill teams has been the impact it’s had on school work. Parents have told her that turning out for the drill team has been an incentive to keep their grades up. They can’t turn out if their grades aren’t good enough.

“Every year we’ll have parents who come to me and say their daughter is really struggling with her grades and the only thing that gets her to do her homework is that she knows if her grades aren’t high enough she can’t perform,” Dayna said. “What a blessing that is to hear – that maybe this child is studying more and getting better grades because they want to be a part of something bigger. That’s really neat for me.”

It’s been just another reason for Dayna to coach.

Thrifty Thurston Gets Entertained and Educated at Library Story Time

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 6:31am



By Megan Conklin

dkb restorationMy children and I visit various Timberland Regional Public Library branches at least twice a week. We check out an average of 50 books every two weeks. We go to activities at the library. We get our music from the library. We watch movies from the library. I cannot imagine my life without a public library in it. However, an informal poll (of my four children and my husband) shows that, by far, the most beloved aspect of the public library over the years has been and remains: Library Story Time.

Sara Lachman, Olympia librarian describes the library, during story times as “a magical place.” She goes on to explain that “it is a place where every child is welcome to laugh, dance, sing, and immerse themselves in the love of stories. It is free, and open to all, and joyous.  Every child has the opportunity to come to story time, because cost isn’t a barrier.”

olympia library story time

Olympia librarian, Sara Lachman uses explicit literacy skills to enhance the fun and exciting story times at the downtown Olympia library.

Lachman, along with other librarians across Washington State participated in a research project with the University of Washington and funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that studied the value of informal literacy experiences for preschool aged children, such as library story times. This three year study is one of the first of its kind and the results are in – library story times matter.

During the first two years of the research project, the University of Washington’s research team logged 24,000 miles, and observed and coded 240 story times. What they discovered was that the children in their experimental group story times who were receiving the explicit literacy strategies from librarians made significant gains in their early literacy skills.

Lachman suggests that “the library is a place where parents and caregivers have the opportunity to observe librarians who are trained in building early literacy skills with kids, and bring what they learn home to share with their own children.” In short, library story time is not just entertainment and fun – it is also helping children with the literacy skills they will most certainly need in school.

However, as far as kids are concerned, library story time is nothing but fun. Tumwater librarian Mari Nowitz, who also participated in the UW study, loves story time. “Sharing fantastic books, songs, and games is the highlight of my week,” she affirms. “I get to cheer families on as they learn how important it is for their children’s brains to talk, sing and read together.  All of the fun, silliness and play that we present at story time can be recreated anywhere, and will help build the skills all kids need to be ready to read.”

tumwater story time

Librarian Mari Nowitz actively engages young learners at a Tumwater library story time.

The silliness is a big motivator for my two year old, Grace, who attended preschool story time at the Olympia library with me last Thursday. I was a little concerned that she would not be able to sit still long enough for the stories, being more of a toddler than a true “preschooler,” but we could not make the toddler story time fit into our schedule. Happily, because of the interactive and physical nature of the activities and stories, she did great. We learned about the planets, we danced like stars, and we pretended to be rocket ships. We will definitely be returning next Thursday.

Afternoon story times at the Tumwater library have always been a go-to activity for my children attending half-day kindergarten. I love that it is a free and fun way to enrich their afternoons and help prepare them for the rigors of first grade. This year, my son, Charlie, is my half day kindergarten boy and we can’t wait until Tumwater’s 1:00pm story time to begin in February.

The librarians at all the Timberland library branches tailor their story times to the age group they are serving. Book babies is for infants and babies, toddler for the 2-3 year olds and preschool story time for the 3-6 year old set. The nice part, though, is that all the story times are flexible and I have been known to take a baby, toddler, and preschooler to a preschool story time, and they all find something to enjoy.

Parents here in Thurston County are especially lucky to have amazingly gifted librarians available to teach, play with, help and love our kiddos. Sara Lachman and Mari Nowitz are two examples of story time librarians who have studied, researched, and participated in professional development that make them both talented librarians and exceptional educators.

If you have a baby, toddler, preschooler or even half-day kindergartner in your life, check out your local library story time for a fun, free, and valuable literacy-rich experience. You won’t regret it.

Thurston County Timberland Regional Library Story Times At-a-Glance:

olympia library story time

Preschoolers get their wiggles out at a lively library story time.

Lacey Story Times (beginning February 10):

Book Babies – Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

Toddler – Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

Preschool – Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.


Olympia Story Times:

Book Babies – Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m.

Toddler – Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m.

Preschool – Thursdays at 10:15 a.m.


Tenino Story Time:

Family Story Time – Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.


olympia library

Each branch of the Timberland Regional Library offers fun programs for kids that will keep them learning and engaged on a winter’s day. Here, children and parents at the Olympia Timberland Library participate in Story Time. Photo credit: Olympia Timberland Library

Tumwater Story Times (beginning February 3):

Infant Lap-sit – Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Book Babies – Fridays at 10:30 a.m.

Toddler – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

Preschool – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.


Yelm Story Times (beginning March 11):

Toddler – Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m.

Preschool – Thursdays at 11:00 a.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.

Home Staging: Bathrooms and Kitchens Sell

Thurston Talk - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 6:00am



Home Staging: Bathrooms and Kitchens Sell!

design smart table and kitchenA kitchen can sell a house. When you are ready to sell your home, there are simple ways to give the most popular room in the house a new look.

Updated light fixtures are a relatively simple, inexpensive way to make a huge impact and freshen up the look of your kitchen.

Another easy change is switching knobs and pulls on your kitchen cabinets. You can buy a builder pack of oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel knobs and pulls at your major home improvement store for very little money.

To brighten and lighten the kitchen, consider painting dark cabinets a cream or light beige color. If you have a lot of wear and tear, re-staining or painting can help fix those problems. Adding the new, updated knobs and pulls will complete the fresh, new look.

…and Bathroom Updates

design smart bathroomBathrooms are considered a top selling point for home buyers, second only to the kitchen.

On a limited budget, the most important bathroom to tackle is the master bathroom. Buyers are apt to overlook hall baths if the master bath feels clean, fresh and updated.

Again, lighting fixtures are the first thing to change out if they are dated.

Do you have brassy gold fixtures or do they have round Hollywood style light bulbs? For less than $100 you can add a fixture with a contemporary style and metal finish. If you have brass throughout, switch to oil-rubbed bronze; if you have chrome, switch to brushed nickel. Changing the towel bars to match is also a minimal cost and well worth it.

If your bathroom cabinets are outdated, like the kitchen, you can also paint them a fresh color like cream or dark espresso brown. Adding new knobs and pulls has an even bigger impact.

Call the experts at Design Smart Home Staging and Redesign for a Home Staging consultation for your home at (360) 480-5810.


Why is Crosscut so bad at metonymy of Olympia, but the Spokane paper so good?

Olympia Time - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:05am
I'm not going to bother really trying to prove this observation with numbers. But, here's how my headline reading brain had divided up the legislative coverage and use of the term Olympia:

  • Crosscut is horrible. Replete with Olympia this, Olympia that.
  • Most of the rest are okay. Usually "in Olympia" sort of things. The Seattle Times is the biggest example I can bring up in my memory.
  • The Spokesman Review's Spin Control blog is the best. They officially use the WAleg hashtag (minus the #) in their blog headlines instead of the classic "Olympia:" starter.

But, why is Crosscut the worst at using the term Olympia in a way that makes me mad?

For as much talk as their is about "a new model of journalism" (and I think Crosscut is doing a pretty good job at what they do), Crosscut was founded by a lot of well meaning people from a previous generation of Seattle well-doers.

And, I think that's the point. Using Olympia as a shorthand for state government, the legislature or even the governor, seems to be a practice of people who have been around Puget Sound politics for awhile. Olympia is down there, its nearby, it is where politics on a certain level happen in this state.

Olympia is close enough to know it is there, but to also misunderstand.

The Spokesman Review, on the other hand, is literally geographically removed from this. Olympia is not nearby. It might as well (and historically likely could have been) practically been in another state. Olympia is not a placemark for people outside of the Puget Sound. So, when it comes to state government, or the legislature, they are literally the state government and the legislature.

So, if you've gotten to the end of this piece and you have no idea at all what I'm talking about, follow the "metonymy of Olympia" link directly under the headline and see how far you can read.

The Hive Dwellers “Moanin’”

K Records - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:24am
Moanin’ low and living in a cramped space. Gotta get out. K Song of the Day: The Hive Dwellers “Moanin’” from their  Moanin’ [KLP249] album. The Hive Dwellers album Moanin’ [KLP249] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

James Dean Kindle and Oregon East Symphony, Together Again!

K Records - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:22am
The pride of Pendleton, Oregon – James Dean Kindle and the Eastern Oregon Playboys – will be collaborating with Oregon East Symphony for what’s promised to be “an evening of lush, symphonic pop country.” The two musical entities first collaborated four years ago and it was a smashing success (see video evidence below). Says Peter […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Celebrate the Seahawks and Super Bowl in Southwest Style

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 9:21am



By Katie Hurley

super bowl food

Seahawks party balloons are available at Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway stores.

On February 1, hordes of football fans will descend on Glendale, Arizona for the Super Bowl. In addition to some great football and entertainment, those fans will also be enjoying the great Southwestern cuisine for which Arizona is so well known.

If you aren’t traveling to the Southwest to see the game live, you can always put a little Southwest flavor in your Super Bowl experience. At Ralph’s Thriftway and Bayview Thriftway you’ll find everything you need for a Southwestern Super Bowl feast. Celebrations has some great ideas for Super Bowl party food, beverages, décor, and some fun activities to do while you’re watching the game and during halftime.

Start with some Seahawks logo paper plates and napkins. For beverages, you’ll find Seahawks shot glasses, mason jar glasses, decanters and large sun tea dispenser jars. Seahawks candy jars with lids are perfect for nuts or candy, such as Skittles from the bulk foods section. Show your colors with balloons in the shape of a Seahawks jersey and a football.

Selected seasonal brews from Fish Tale Brewing Company are specially priced this week at both locally owned stores. For the kids, Jones Soda Green Apple and Blue Raspberry soda flavors are delicious, and are appropriately colored to match the Seahawks theme. Wine drinkers will appreciate 12th House Wine Cabernet Sauvignon.

super bowl food

Locally made Ila’s 12th Jam AftersHawk is spicy, sweet and delicious.

Get the party started with locally made Ila’s “12 Jam AftersHawk” pepper jelly. This sweet and spicy jelly adds the kick to Sweet and Sticky Hot Wings. It is also delicious on a cracker spread with cream cheese or goat cheese, or as a dip for coconut crusted shrimp.

Other great game time munchies include Primizie Flatbread. These thick crispy crackers come in Italian 7 Herb, Smoked Dutch Gouda and Garlic and Chile Lime flavors. The chile lime version is great with guacamole, salsa or dipped in rich and creamy queso dip.

For a twist on the Southwest’s most famous bar food, nachos, try the new trend known as Tater Nachos or Totchos. Frozen tater tots, cooked just a little crispier than the package instructs, are an excellent replacement for tortilla chips in any nachos recipe. Line the bottom of the plate with heated refried beans and spoon some of the hot, crispy tots on top. Sprinkle some cooked, seasoned taco meat, cheese and other desired toppings like sliced olives, diced onions and jalapeno. Add another layer of tots, meat, cheese and toppings, and then finish off the top with dollops of guacamole and sour cream and a splash of salsa

Boneless center cut pork chops are on sale at both Ralph’s and Bayview for $2.99/lb. Fire up the grill for Mango-Black Pepper Glazed Pork Chops. Or pick up some delicious Painted Hills New York steaks to throw on the grill at halftime.

If you’re looking for quick and simple, Curly’s Pulled Chicken and Curly’s Pulled Pork will be featured in the meat department the week before the game. They are already seasoned, cooked and smothered with sauce, so just pick up some buns and cole slaw and you’ve got all you need for a platter of pulled pork or chicken sandwiches.

Locally made Hempler’s Summer Sausage is on special for $4.99. It is delicious by itself, but also excellent on a toothpick with a thin slice of cheddar and a thin apple slice.

Previously frozen Copper River Coho Salmon filets are featured for $7.99/lb. The perfect combination of Northwest and Southwest cuisine is Chile-Honey-Glazed Salmon with Two Sauces. This is a delicious way to celebrate the best Seahawk territory has to offer. Add in King Crab Legs for $14.99/lb. for an over-the-top celebration.

super bowl food

Seahawks jars are perfect for candy, nuts and snacks.

Pick up your Super Bowl supplies from Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway stores to celebrate the Super Bowl in style.

Bayview Thriftway

516 W. 4th Ave., Olympia



Ralph’s Thriftway

1908 E. 4th Ave., Olympia



Obsidian: Olympia Locals Chris Beug and Nathan Weaver Bring us a Music Venue and Cafe

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 6:37am



By Kelli Samson

creative officeI’ll admit it.

When I drove by 414 4th Avenue East in Olympia this fall and saw the windows papered and a new sign being painted by Ira Coyne (designed by Glyn Smith), I was skeptical. In the last decade or so, it feels like many businesses have tried to thrive in this space, only to fold. Jezebels was the latest establishment to close in this very location.

When the window paper finally came down and I strolled by one day, I started to feel I might be wrong in having judged this spot as cursed. With Portland’s Stumptown Coffee the du jour (this is the only place in town that serves it), raw-edged planks of varnished maple as bar tops, chandeliers hanging from the tall ceilings, floor boards from old telephone poles, and cafe hours that actually last past 4:00 p.m. (something sort of shocking for coffee shops in Olympia, I have discovered), I decided that Obsidian stands out by blending in.

obsidian olympia

Co-owner Chris Beug, along with bar managers Danielle Ruse and Howie Clark, chill out near the Obsidian’s gorgeous bar during a rare quiet moment at the establishment.

If you’re looking for a spot to hang out in downtown Olympia that will not let you forget that you’re living in the Pacific Northwest, Obsidian’s your jam.

Both the food and the cocktail menus, along with the decor, reflect the seasons and the natural world around us, changing every few months to mirror the surroundings of this uniquely breathtaking place that we get to call home.

For the Yule season, the space is currently draped in mossy branches, bringing a little bit of the outdoors inside. As spring arrives, the menu will rely more upon floral ingredients. With summer, it will turn toward an herbal focus.

Owners and musicians Chris Beug and Nathan Weaver are born-and-raised local boys. “We started going to shows at the Capitol Theater’s Back Stage, The Midnight Sun, and at Evergreen in our teens. This evolved into starting a band and putting on shows. It quickly became clear that this was what we wanted to do with our lives. It’s been a long road,” shares Beug.

Located directly across the street from downtown’s Artesian well, Obsidian had its Grand Opening in mid-December. Beug and Weaver crafted a dependable team to make their dream a reality.

obsidian olympia

By day, Obsidian is the perfect place for coffee and studying, as exhibited by The Evergreen State College student Jamie Commins.

“There’s quite the collection of quality folk here at Obsidian. Our cafe is run by Heather Penny, who has been working in high-end coffee for nearly twenty years. She has brought that experience and talent to our espresso and tea blends with glorious results. Johnny Atlas, a long standing stalwart of culinary excellence, runs our kitchen with an iron fist. His recipes and dedication are nothing short of fantastic. We just brought on Howie Clark, one of the founders of Seattle favorite ‘The Highline,’ as our bar manager. He’s taking over for Danielle Ruse, who is moving to LA to focus on her writing. Many of our employees are also extremely talented performers and can be caught throwing down at many of our events,” explains Beug.

Friends of mine have been raving about the artisan waffles served here at brunch, along with the cozy dinners. For me, I can’t get enough of the Black Chai tea. In fact, tea lovers are currently going bananas for Obsidian’s own house tea blends. Radiance, Rishi, and Rose Root are also sources for their teas. Most ingredients are organic and sourced locally, and there are gluten-free options.

Owners Beug and Weaver take the term “locally-sourced” to a whole new level. The bread for their paninis comes from the Blue Heron Bakery, and the pastries are from Abby’s and the Bearded Lady. “Our smoked salmon is from the Nisqually Indian Tribe. Many of our other ingredients come the Olympia Food Co-Op. We get our meat from Stewart’s Meats out in Yelm. We’ve got Magic Kombucha and Oly Kraut. Nathan’s father made our tables, and we finished them ourselves,” says Beug.

obsidian olympia

The cafe is spacious and currently decorated to reflect the dark months of winter.

Some wisdom for the new establishment has also come from local businesses. Says Beug: “We get a lot of support from our neighbors at The Eastside Club, the Voyeur, McCoy’s, and Cryptatropa. We’ve gotten a lot of good advice on beer and hard cider from the folks at Gravity Beer Market and Skep and Skein.”

Obsidian is the perfect place to come in out of the Pacific Northwest drizzle, whether it’s for coffee, pastries, a candlelit dinner, fancy seasonal cocktails, or a local brew. And if you want to see a band or listen to a DJ spin, they’ve got you covered, there, too, for sure.

“Olympia has long been known as a hub of Pacific Northwest culture, particularly in the realm of music. We love this community. We’d like to see it remain a vibrant and inspiring place to live. We both feel extremely grateful for this opportunity. Our goal has been to create a space that will add to Olympia’s rich cultural history,” assures Beug.

Obsidian, we’ve been waiting for an establishment like you to come to a rainy, music-loving city like ours. Welcome to downtown Olympia. We already love you.

Check out Obsidian on Facebook for now, as their website is not quite finished.

obsidian olympia

The cafe and bar out front are just the pearly gateways to Obsidian’s real focus, the performance space in back.

414 4th Ave. E

Olympia, WA

(360) 890-4425



Sun-Wed: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Thurs-Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Beer and wine available after 12:00 p.m.

Bar opens at 5:00 p.m.

Cafe closes at 6:00 p.m.


Capital High School’s Principal Chris Woods Creates Cougar Community

Thurston Talk - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 6:29am



By Claire Smith, Capital High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

thurston solid wasteMany people know Capital High School’s principal, Mr. Chris Woods. He’s a great guy and always knows how to make you smile when you’re having a rough day. It’s a valuable skill and with it, he keeps the morale of CHS high.

A special thing about Mr. Woods is the bond and history he has at Capital.  Having a principal who is also an alumnus is unique and Mr. Woods enjoys serving as the principal of his former school. He admits he struggled in high school, but finds that this helps him relate to and support students who also may be struggling and need a hand. In his role as principal, he can also give back to the community where he grew up.

Mr. Woods promotes positivity happening at Capital High School on his Twitter page. You can find him at @chris_cwoods. He also uses #ontheroadtoawesome frequently.

Mr. Woods shares good things happening at Capital High School on his Twitter page @chris_cwoods. He also uses #ontheroadtoawesome frequently.

When Mr. Woods attended CHS, he was just as involved as he is now. He played varsity football for two years and varsity baseball for three. His favorite class was leadership and that unique class stuck with him, helping shape him into the incredible leader he is today. Once he graduated, Mr. Woods attended Skagit Valley College, where he played baseball. He then transferred to Central Washington University for three years before getting his masters at City University. He then taught first and third grade for the next five years.

Mr. Woods pursued administrative work and served as the assistant principal at Reeves Middle School for two years before taking on the role of principal at Pioneer Elementary School. He led Pioneer for six years prior to being offered the principal position at Capital High School. It took a lot of thinking and weighing his options, but Mr. Woods decided to take the job. This is his fifth year at Capital High School, and the students and staff couldn’t be more grateful for his decision to return to his alma mater.

When asked why he wanted to become a principal, he shares it was purely a gut feeling. He wanted to have a greater and deeper impact on students and staff, and knew work as a principal would be the best way to accomplish this goal.

To raise awareness and money to aid Marysville Pilchuck High School, Mr. Woods challenged the student body to pay $1 to tape him to a post. When the chair was removed at the end of lunch, enough tape had been wrapped that he stayed.

To raise awareness and money to aid Marysville Pilchuck High School, Mr. Woods challenged the student body to pay $1 to tape him to a post. When the chair was removed at the end of lunch, enough tape had been wrapped that he stayed.

“School should be fun,” Mr. Woods shares.  He strongly believes every student has the right to feel they belong and be supported by staff. He doesn’t want kids to dread coming to high school because of the atmosphere. “Every day, kids need to have the right to be heard and listened to,” he explains. With this attitude, Mr. Woods has helped positively shape the lives of countless students.

Mr. Woods also aims to ensure the teachers enjoy their job. He knows it’s tough to be a teacher and believes they get far less recognition than they deserve. One of his main goals, when becoming principal at Capital High School, was to create an atmosphere where teachers want to come to work. Teachers are encouraged to maintain a healthy balance of work and family and a family-first attitude is part of the fabric of CHS. Mr. Woods has worked to integrate this into the core philosophy of the school by modeling these values in his everyday life.

Without a doubt, one of the greatest highlights during a CHS spirit week is seeing what Mr. Woods will wear. And it’s not just spirit week that brings out his silly side.  From allowing students to tape him to a post to raise awareness for the Marysville school shooting, to riling up the student section during a pep rally, to making bets with other principals on football games, there’s nothing too extravagant for Mr. Woods. His motto is “go big or go home.”

Mr. Woods has another reason for going all out for school events. He knows that often students and staff are nervous to participate in something silly like spirit week. He believes by making an example of himself and participating as much as he can, other people will be less nervous. “Being willing to have fun and being goofy should really be in the job description,” he shares.  Mr. Woods says that not being afraid to have people laugh at you not only makes being a principal easier, but it tends to create a better, more relaxed environment around you. Because he isn’t afraid to be silly, it has made him a far more approachable figure.

Mr. Woods takes the first selfie of the 2014-2015 school year during freshman orientation.

Mr. Woods takes the first selfie of the 2014-2015 school year during freshman orientation.

While Mr. Woods enjoys the entire school year, he has his favorite parts.  He cites the beginning of the year, seeing everyone excited to be back and reconnect, as a favorite. He also loves homecoming week – the first big spirit week of the year. The week before winter break is the CHS canned food drive, a time Mr. Woods feels proud of his student body. This year, almost 19,000 cans were collected to help the hungry during the holidays.

Graduation is by far the most bittersweet time for Mr. Woods. He’s sad to see the seniors he formed strong bonds with moving on. However, he looks forward to seeing the relationship he has with seniors grow from a mentorship to a friendship.

More than anything, Mr. Woods loves watching people be successful and this drives who he is at CHS. Every day, Mr. Woods is at Capital High School with a positive attitude, doing his very best to inspire and help others achieve their goals in any way he can. He, without doubt, is the heart and soul of the Capital Cougars.

Shivas “Ride on”

K Records - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:08am
Do you have to scream so loud right in my ear? Dang, this is cleansing. K Song of the Day: Shivas “Ride on” from their album You Know What to Do [KLP252]. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available now from the K mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Torture, Empire, and the CIA

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 6:51pm
Event:  Wed, 02/25/2015 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Takes place at Traditions Fair Trade Cafe, 300 5th Ave SW, Olympia 98501.  Free. 

This presentation will focus on the recent Congressional report on the extensive use of torture and other violent actions carried out by the CIA after 9/11.  
∙    What did we learn from the report, and was it really anything new? 
∙    When will the prosecutions come? 

We’ll also discuss the history of the CIA — its origins as a clandestine spy agency,  its role in the emergence of American global power after World War II. 

We’ll talk about what happened in 9/11.  First, what didn’t change – the use even before 9/11 of torture and assassination;  and then what did change – the CIA after 9/11 as a clandestine paramilitary force with black sites, drones and combat capabilities.  

Finally we’ll pose the question:  Is there a role for the CIA in which it contributes something important to our welfare as a nation and yet is firmly under democratic control?   How can we get to that point? 


Dr. David Price, Professor of Anthropology at St. Martin’s University   Author of Weaponizing Anthropology:  Social Science in the Service of the Militarized State and frequent commentator on counterinsurgency and the relationship between the military, CIA and academics.

Dr. Steve Niva, Professor of International Politics at The Evergreen State College   Writes and speaks about the new forms of warfare and violence in the post-9/11 world, including the rise of joint special operations warfare carried out by JSOC and the CIA.

Sponsored by the Green Party of South Puget Sound, contact person Janet Jordan, 360-232-6165 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 030

K Records - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 4:23pm
The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is an on-going audio exploration of all things K recorded at the Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. Host Calvin Johnson discusses the twentieth anniversary of the Olympia combo Old Time Relijun (in above photog c. their 2012 [KLP171] album) […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Robert Egger, founder of the DC Central Kitchen, at Evergreen

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 3:01pm
Event:  Tue, 02/03/2015 - 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Evening and Weekend Studies and the President’s Diversity Fund welcome Robert Egger, founder of the innovative social justice/food justice nonprofit, DC Central Kitchen, on February 3 and 4.

We invite faculty and staff to join a seminar from 4-6 pm on Tuesday, February 3, in Library 1005. We’ll discuss a chapter from Robert’s book, Begging for Change, and an article he wrote for the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP and I will send you the articles.

Robert will be our featured speaker at the Evening and Weekend Liberal Arts Forum in the Longhouse, from 6-9 pm on Wednesday, February 4, on "The Power of Community." For the past 25 years, Egger has been challenging the way nonprofits think about their work, how Americans view the homeless and how food is used to help men and women escape poverty. Join us for a provocative, inspirational dialogue about the role you can play in changing your community.

Please join us. Guests are quite welcome. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Olympia Propaganda Squad: A brief reflection

Sherwood Press - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 2:03pm
DSC00379 The poster that we had printed at Hatch Show Prin! DSC00371 DSC00377 DSC00378 431

After seeing the movie Selma last night, I was reminded that way back in 2004, before the November election, I formed a group called the Olympia Propaganda Squad with some friends of mine: Jenn Kliese, Lena Davidson, Ramona Tougas, and Carrie Stellpflug, with help from others. Using the various design and production tools available at The Sherwood Press, we cranked out thousands of buttons, pocket pinnies, and flyers, tabling at various events so that we could hand them out and accept donations. We held “Hungry for Democracy” bake sales selling apple hand pies or cookies. We raised over $2000 in order to fulfill our ultimate mission: to have thousands of posters printed by Hatch Show Print in Nashville. Then, we called organizations all over Florida to offer them free shipments of these posters which featured a brief history of the African American right to vote. We called the poster initiative “Apples to Oranges.” I still have a map showing all the cities in Florida that hung our posters. We held an election night party in the K-Records studio at the Knitting Mills. Calvin DJ’d and we of course lost the election. Well, I’m not sure we would have “won” by electing John Kerry, to be honest. But it was an exhilarating time and we cared so much. Our group did not survive long after that, though there never stopped being good things to crank our presses for.

It’s heartbreaking to admit that our country’s journey toward equality for all is so damned slow and contains persistent setbacks. I hope that we are all eventually moving toward an embrace of our common humanity, but it’s so clear we have far to go on many fronts. I don’t know what it’s like to be a black person in Olympia, Seattle, Selma, New York City, Rock Springs, Wyoming or anywhere. As a young teen I had a black step father, but I did not see his point of view and was only vaguely aware of how un-approving many people were of our family. The notion that anyone would believe and defend the notion that black people should not be permitted to vote would have struck me as illogical.

Racism and xenophobia and religious intolerance and violence are still keeping humanity in a headlock. What could we become as a species and how could we address the many problems that we have brought upon ourselves if we could eliminate the illusions that fuel human conflict? I keep coming back to the same belief… that all these myriad conflicts are a mask for the real conflicts that are inherent in global capitalism and wealth inequality.

What does this have to do with this little letterpress print shop? I guess it is just this: we do not always see where we fit in to the world’s problems and don’t always see how we can make them better. We worked really hard here in Olympia in 2004 but Washington didn’t even vote for George Bush. Still… we got calls from other parts of the country asking us for our buttons and pinnies, and those posters were all over Florida. You do not always know where your thoughts and actions go when you’re finished offering them. Whatever we do, we create ripples and sometimes other people amplify your little ripple into something substantial.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

A Peek Inside Olympia’s Avanti High School

Thurston Talk - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 1:03pm



By Olivia Richards, Avanti High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Avanti High School is located on Legion way, near downtown Olympia. With an open campus lunch and two separate session of the day, the students who attend are highly  independent. In addition to their school day, students are expected to complete at least three hours of work from home. This is all made possible by the amazing staff at Avanti and the feeling of community that they spread to the students. People’s artwork line the wall, each teacher knows each student’s name and the amount of support provided has no equal. Everyone at Avanti is given the opportunity to be themselves, which is an amazing accomplishment for any high school.

Take a peek inside Olympia School District’s Avanti High School through the eyes of photographer, and Avanti student, Olivia Richards.

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