By Megan Conklin
One local event that is quickly becoming a beloved winter tradition for dance aficionados in the area is the Olympia Dance Festival – a showcase of a dance styles and varieties from belly dancing to hip hop to ballet.
Ken and Josie, Artistic Directors for Ballet Northwest, launched the Olympia Dance Festival six years ago. Ken said that he and his wife were inspired by similar dance festivals in Lewis and Pierce counties, but wanted to create something even more local. “We have so many talented dancers in our area. We wanted to bring them all to one location and showcase that talent,” Ken explained. “We partnered with The Washington Center for the Performing Arts to create the festival.”
The combination of the perfect venue and fabulous talent makes for an evening of exciting variety and entertainment.
The dance festival is an especially thrilling opportunity for young people who study dance in Thurston County. Ten-year-old Harper Gould has participated in the Olympia Dance Festival for the past two years and will perform again this year. “I love the dance festival because I get to perform in front of such a big audience,” explains Gould, who will perform with the Comerford School of Irish Dance. “And it is even more fun than the Nutcracker because I dance with a smaller group of girls.” This year the Comerford Irish dancers, one of eleven groups performing, will perform both hard and soft shoe numbers as well as a unique and delightful “four hand” dance traditional to the Irish dance custom.
According to Ken, one reason the kids enjoy this particular festival so much is the opportunity to connect with other dancers. “Dancers who know each other from school and from out in the community, but practice different styles of dance, get to perform together at the festival,” Ken asserts. “That is really special.”
Because of the wide variety of local dance studios represented at the festival, it is a perfect event for parents with young children interested in dance to attend. The small sampling of different dance opportunities lets parents and children decide which style might be fun to try.
But the Olympia Dance Festival is not just for children. Many adult dance troupes will perform and there will be a special performance by Aaron Turner, a captivating tap dancer from Las Vegas who was seen on Season 10 of the hit show So You Think You Can Dance. Additionally, master classes taught by experts will be offered for festival participants as well as a Q&A session with Turner.
This year, the festival will include performances from Ballet Northwest, Ballet Theatre of Washington, Comerford School of Irish Dance, Debbi’s Dance Etc., High Impact Dance, Johansen Olympia Dance Center, Mas Uda Middle Eastern Dancers, RADCo (Random Acts of Dance Collective), Scoil Rince Slieveloughane Irish Dancers, Southwest Washington Dance Ensemble, and Studio West Dance Academy.
The Olympia Dance Festival is fast becoming a Thurston County memory making tradition for all who love dance in its many incarnations. Whether you are a dancer yourself, or merely a lover of the art, be sure to get your tickets for this can’t miss festival soon.
This year’s Olympia Dance Festival takes place on February 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here.
By Amy Rowley
To Betsy Perkins, inspiration for her music often comes from the people around her – lots of young people that attend Meadows Elementary School in Lacey. As the Library and Music teacher, Betsy finds that lyrics are just as likely to pop into her mind while working in the garden as a tune is to find its way to her while reading a children’s book.
Betsy’s songwriting career began when she was in elementary school. “I wrote a song about my cat, Sammy,” she recalls when speaking to a roomful of Meadows Elementary School students. Now, decades later, Betsy’s songs are taking a more cultured turn but still focus on the influence of animals and nature in her life.
Inside Meadows Elementary School, Betsy was originally a classroom teacher before transitioning to a full-time music teacher. Now, Betsy splits her time between teaching music and serving as the librarian.
“There is a whole new crew of students that excel in technology and music that may not be visible in the traditional classroom setting,” explains Betsy. “Music and dance is a really good outlet that allows different students to shine.”
Selfishly, Betsy feels that her teaching role has made her a better musician outside of the school.
Betsy hasn’t always been a singer, songwriter, and music maker. A native of New Hampshire, Betsy made her way to Lacey via The Evergreen State College. Betsy’s mother encouraged her interest in the arts by signing her up for a variety of dance, music and art lessons.
“I was fortunate to be involved in dance and to play clarinet and piano as a kid. I kind of went away from these things for awhile as a teenager but then returned to it when I moved to Olympia,” recalls Betsy.
Betsy, a member of a variety of local bands, credits local musicians as being her main teachers. “I learned music with people who were better than me and would show me things. I’m amazed that I’m teaching music from the gifts of the Olympia community,” she says.
In Bevy, an all women 7-piece jazz band, Betsy sings and plays percussion. The band started in 2001 as a way for women to practice together. The group performs around town, including a few stints at the Olympia Farmers Market.
Artesian Rumble Arkestra is a mobile band where Betsy shares her percussion skills. The band can often be seen in parades since all of the instruments can be carried.
“When I first rejoined a band, I started as a drummer,” recalls Betsy. “I used to sing a lot as a kid but I had stopped singing. I got comfortable as a band member and then I started singing again.”
Then, she progressed into songwriting. “Sometimes the lyrics come first. I think of something poetic and then craft the melodies. And, sometimes it’s the other way around,” she explains and adds that a song could take her a few hours to write or up to two years. She recently performed a concert of original music at The Washington Center that was a few years in the making.
“I think about music better when I play the piano,” says Betsy in response to the question about her favorite instrument. The owner of countless musical instruments, Betsy also has a fond spot for an upright bass that she purchased as a 40th birthday gift.
In all, Betsy says that she has probably written about 25 songs. Her current favorite is a complicated tune about a Grackle, a colorful, noisy bird. Betsy describes the loud calls made by the Grackle and explains that the complex piece of music has been a challenge for her band.
Betsy has composed some original tunes for Meadows Elementary School students. Beyond hoping to record an album one day, Betsy also would also “love to write a big children’s musical.”
By far, the most impactful experience of Betsy Perkins’ music career is when she “locks in” with other musicians. Whether it’s an energetic fifth grader or an accomplished adult musician, Betsy says that her “joy is playing with other people and feeling that excitement in the audience. We can all talk at once with music and then feel connected to each other.”
*Author’s Note – a special thank you to the fantastic students at Meadows Elementary School for helping craft interview questions and enabling us to all learn more about Betsy Perkin’s talents. This article was part of the P.I.E. relationship between ThurstonTalk.com and North Thurston Public Schools.
By Gail Wood
This was his moment to celebrate, to savor his third state championship. In his final match as a Yelm Tornado, Harris, a senior and four-time state qualifier, put an exclamation point to his spectacular high school with a pin, of course, to win his third state title.
Harris, the state’s all-time leader in pins with 112, pinned three of the four opponents he faced at the 4A state wrestling tournament in the Tacoma Dome. In the finals at 129 pounds against Lake Stevens’ Alex Rodorigo, Harris led 8-2 after scoring on a near fall. Then Harris, as he’s done so many times before, flipped his opponent to his back and won by a pin.
“This is the best possible feeling I could get,” Harris said moments after winning his third state title. “I wanted to be a three-timer and that was it. I just set my mind to it and practiced way harder to achieve my goal.”
Yelm High School coach Gaylord Strand didn’t know whether to cheer or cry.
“It’s been quite a ride,” Strand said. “He’s given the community so much joy and pride. Now, it’s all come to an end. I’m happy and sad at the same time.”
While focused on his end goal – to win three state titles – Harris wasn’t focused only on himself. He was like a coach, always helping teammates with technique, giving them advice at practice.
“We’re really going to miss him in the practice room because anybody he touches he’s helped,” Strand said.
After winning his first state title as a freshman – “That was my goal since I was in seventh grade,” Harris said – he had a setback. He lost in the finals his sophomore year in a match that he led 8-1. Determined not to lose again, Harris went undefeated his next two seasons, stringing together 64 straight wins. He went 29-0 this year and finished 129-7 as a Tornado. He’s the first to win a state title at Yelm.
“He’s got a lot of drive,” Strand said. “He sets his goals and nothing gets in the way. He’s so focused. As you can see nothing gets in his way.”
“I’m really going to miss it,” Harris said about wrestling at Yelm. “Strand and all the coaches are great coaches. I’ll still be coming by just to say hi to all my friends. It’s been an honor to be part of the team.”
After winning the regional title, Yelm had 14 wrestlers qualify for state and the Tornadoes finished with four placers. Besides Harris, Tanner Page (138), Bo Campbell (170), Holden Miller (220) all placed.
Page won his first match 15-5 and then lost 5-2 in the quarterfinals and ended up placing sixth. Campbell lost his first match and then won his next two matches and placed seventh as he pinned his final opponent. Miller won his opening match 3-1 before losing 6-3 in the quarterfinals and finished seventh at 220 pounds, pinning his final opponent in 4:44.
In the 2A meet, Tumwater High School’s Eric Schmidt, a senior who was an alternate to state last year, won his first three matches to reach the finals at 132 pounds against Orthello’s Many Martinez, last year’s state champ. Schmidt got into trouble early and lost by a first-round pin.
Schmidt overcame adversity during the season and impressed his coach, Tony Prentice. Before every match, Prentice always placed the emphasis on composure, not on winning.
“He’s made huge strides,” Prentice said. “This is such a bonus. He’s had some other things going on personally that makes this story so much more dramatic. He’s overcome so much.”
Four of Tumwater’s nine state qualifiers placed. Zach Slater placed third at 170, Sam Richards was fifth at 182, and freshman Cy Hicks was fifth at heavyweight.
Slater pinned his first opponent and then lost by a pin in the quarterfinals. Slater then won his next four matches, winning 4-2 in the consolations finals. Richards pinned his first opponent in 2:15 and then lost 8-2. He won his last match 8-7. Hicks won his first two matches 3-2 and 3-1 then lost 5-2 in the semifinals. He pinned his final opponent in 1:47.
Prentice was second guessing his decision not to go out for lunch after Saturday’s morning round. But with about a 90-minute window, he decided to stay in the Tacoma Dome, making a decision most coaches would have made.
“We went 6-3 in the first round,” the Tumwater coach said. “Then we went 3-7. Maybe if we had gotten our brain out of here for a bit, we probably would have done better.”
By Emmett O’Connell
Isaac Wood was an early pioneer of the area east of Olympia that eventually became Lacey, taking a land claim in 1852. Seven years later he opened Olympia’s first brewery on the northeast corner of 4th and Columbia.
Wood’s family is so ingrained in the Lacey landscape that if not for the other Woodland on the Columbia River getting to the name first in the 1890s, the city we call Lacey now might have been named after him.
In the late 1850s and the early 1860s, Wood brewed a variety of beer called a cream ale. The corner of 4th and Columbia now sits several blocks away from what we’d consider the waterfront, since the acres of downtown fill had not occurred in Wood’s time. So his “Union Brewery” was very near the shore of Budd Inlet.
Wood’s cream ale likely referred to a beer closely resembling what we would today call a typical American lager (think Budweiser as a fairly commercial example), with some influences from ale hop beers. Brewers influenced by German brewing traditions used lager recipes as an alternative to English styles such as ales. (Today’s Northwest IPAs are descendants.)
From More Beer:
Welsh and Yankee brewers in the Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania had established Philadelphia as a center for ale brewing, but around the beginning of this century, the adjunct lagers being sold by the area’s new German brewers began to make inroads into ale sales. The public was beginning to prefer American lager’s light, clear, and effervescent appearance. Ale brewers responded to this demand by creating a top-fermented product similar to an American lager. Using ale yeast (or possibly even a combination of lager and ale yeasts, though no concrete evidence exists for the use of lager yeast in the early cream ales), they could produce beer more quickly than the lager brewers could, thereby potentially increasing sales and market share.* It may also have meant that they could use the same worts for both lagers and ales and benefit from economies of scale. These new beers were termed “brilliant,” “sparkling,” or “present use” ales, with the nickname “cream ale” sticking as the common name. Cream ales of the early twentieth century were described as having the appearance of a lager beer, but a fairly pronounced ale taste and character.
The naming of his brewery as the “Union Brewery” most likely had to do with the political reaction to the brewing Civil War on the East Coast. Up until the Lincoln administration, the Washington Territory had been a government led by Democrats. As such, local Democrats in Olympia tended to be in leadership positions. But, as Democrats were forced to show their loyalty to the union cause, we see some interesting displays. Maybe one of them was Woods’ Union Brewery.
Isaac Wood was also the first person to bring over English hops to the Pacific Northwest, kicking off the most iconic portion of Northwest brewing.
From the Oregon Historical Quarterly:
During the fall of 1865, Olympia Washington Brewer Isaac Wood became frustrated with his inability to acquire hops, grown predominantly in distant East Coast and European fields. He asked his neighboring farming family, the Meekers to plant a few hills of the crop and they agreed to experiment. It was a historic decision… Following the family’s windfall, Ezra Meeker energetically promoted the news to farmers across the region. He asserted that the future of Pacific Northwest farming rested in hops.
Meeker would eventually become known as the “Hop King of the World.” Today, hardly anyone can imagine Northwest brewing without the inclusion of Pacific Northwest hops. Without Wood’s cagey suggestion, hop growing may have eventually come to the Northwest. But, we can certainly trace the hop crazy beer tradition in the Northwest to Olympia’s own brewer.
The specific location of Wood’s Union Brewery may turn out to be the most interesting historic nugget of Wood’s brewing life. Because 4th and Columbia was so near the saltwater, and Wood took his water for brewing from a reportedly shallow well, his specific variety of cream ale took on a very particular taste.
We know what cream ales are and how they developed into the iconic American lagers. But there is something specific about Wood’s brew that lasted for decades in the memories of locals.
Writing about the eventual 1909 destruction of Wood’s brewery building, Gordon Newell in “Rogues, Buffoons and Statesmen wrote: “(Washington Standard editor John Miller Murphy) observed nostalgically that the remaining pioneers ‘would give five dollars for a glass of that cream ale.’”
Wood likely tapped into an unrelated tradition of German brewing called Gose Beer. Named after the town of Goslar, Germany, this variety of beer includes either briney water or actually adding salt to the beer recipe. By accidently mixing cream ale with the briny water from the Deschutes River estuary, Wood probably created a very unique and very particular variety of beer.
References and further reading:
By Heidi Smith
Joyce was one of those kids that was always picking up animals. “From day one, I would bring home everything,” she says. Unfortunately at the time, many of them turned out to belong to her New Jersey neighbors, so she had to give them back. Today, she doesn’t have that problem. Her 40 acre farm animal rescue, Dun Dreaming Ranch in Roy, is home to 28 rescue animals including horses, goats, cows and her first rescue, a potbellied pig named – what else? – Pig Pig. “They know that they’re safe here and that they’re loved,” she says.
The animals come from a variety of situations. Chance the cow belongs to a young couple who bought him at a fundraiser. “He was a really sickly little bottle calf and they insisted on buying him, and got him straight to the vet,” says Joyce. “He was dehydrated and in really bad shape.” The pair raised him for almost two years but their living situation changed and they had to move into downtown Yelm. “They didn’t want anything bad to happen to him, so they brought him here,” says Joyce, who asked that only her first name be used for privacy reasons.
Then there’s Penelope the pygmy goat. “She was a hoarding case,” Joyce explains. Concerned neighbors told her that two of the goat’s babies had frozen to death due to neglect and the traumatized mother was running loose in the neighborhood. “The owner let me ‘have’ her for $25.” She shakes her head. “She was scared to death of people.”
Pig Pig was a sadly typical case of “someone thinking pot-bellied pigs are cute, but once they start to grow up, they don’t know what to do with them,” according to Joyce. “I brought her here.” Now she hangs out with Frick and Frack, two other rescue goats, as well as Penelope.
Thirty yards from the goats, several horses graze contentedly. “They were all in pretty bad shape when they came here,” says Joyce. “One of them was 100 pounds underweight.” Another has a bone deformity and can never be ridden, while a third is 32 years old. In a nearby pasture, a former race horse is enjoying a new sense of freedom. “It’s the first time he’s been able to just be outside in the pasture running and rolling and playing,” she says, adding that he is working through issues related to his years on the track.
Although humans are often the culprits in neglectful scenarios, Joyce even protects animals from other animals. Seven, a cow that has some mental and physical disabilities, was being beaten up by other cows. “This is a no bullying farm,” she declares, “so when he first came here and they were in the cow barn, he had his own stall. He gets his own food and water. This is his own little special area. Now everybody gets along just fine. There’s no pushing. There’s no bullying.”
While Joyce grew up around horses and was married to a cattle rancher, farm animals are a new chapter for her so she’s had to learn a lot as she went along. At the same time, she’s been a vet tech and learned about Emergency Animal Relief through an American Humane Association course. In Texas, she even started her own non-profit animal rescue. “The first year, with five volunteers, we rescued and adopted out over 700 animals – all spayed, neutered, heart wormed, microchipped, and started on crate training,” she says. “I had mainly foster homes so when we had adopted animals out there, they were socialized.”
Although she already has a board of directors in place and has started the paperwork to turn Dun Dreaming into a non-profit, she has reservations. “I want to keep it at a level I can manage because it’s only me here,” she says. “I want to have enough grass for all of the animals. The 40 acres is not all grazeable. Over half of my land is heavy woods and hillside. Taking care of the animals I already have is a 24/7 job.” She’s open to having more animals on the property, and the land can certainly support more, but at the same time, “I don’t want twenty animals in a pen,” she says.
What she could use is support with clearing the land and donations of hay. “I need hands on for clearing brush, cutting limbs, that kind of stuff,” she says. “It’s another 25 acres up there where trees are down. Believe it or not, one of the biggest things is picking up rocks. These pastures were death traps with all the rocks. I also need help with plumbing stuff that I don’t know how to do. There are valves all over the farm that need to be capped off. So those tasks and hay donations are really the biggest needs.” At $12 a bale, hay is one of the biggest expenses she currently incurs.
Although the work can seem unending, to Joyce it’s all worth it. Knowing that every single animal here knows they’re loved, they’re taken care of, they will always have full bellies – that’s how I sleep at night,” she says. “So when I get up at 1:00 a.m. and it’s freezing cold, that’s why I do it. If I can only control this forty acres in my lifetime, that’s what I will do.”
For more information, contact Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buying and selling a home ranks near the top of life’s most stressful situations. It’s during these times that we wrestle with the “what-ifs” that are out of our control. What if the offer is rejected? What if our house doesn’t sell and we find one we want to buy? What if the appraisal is low? And a big one for all buyers and sellers – what will the home inspection find?
Real estate agents assist greatly in alleviating fears and providing knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex steps to buying and selling. But when it comes to the home inspection, agents know to turn to a trusted partner, ensuring their client receives accurate information about the condition of their future dream home.
Olympia-based Van Dorm Realty agent Cheri Wilkins has been helping clients find new homes in the South Sound for over 20 years. She’s seen her share of home inspections in that time, some turning up hidden issues making a huge difference in a sale. Ten years ago, Wilkin’s sister gave her the name of a new inspector and urged her to give him a try.
Dwayne Boggs had just opened the doors of Boggs Inspection Services and was looking to partner with local agents, offering his signature brand of clear, concise and accurate inspection reports. Once Wilkins experienced Boggs’ easy-to-follow report style and simple, yet accurate, explanations to clients, she was hooked.
“Dwayne is always clear and concise. His team never tries to scare people with their findings. His inspectors explain clearly what’s needed in the house and is careful to not alarm them with building terms they don’t understand,” Wilkens explains. It’s not just that his reports are clear, either. Boggs personally walks homebuyers through each issue he has found, pointing out the trouble spots and giving realistic guidelines as to whether it’s a major issue or just something to be aware of.
Boggs Inspection Services is one of Wilkin’s top choices for her clients for more than just their excellent reports. “Dwayne and his team is always available, usually the day we call or by the next morning. That keeps our transaction moving and allows buyers to move towards closing more quickly,” she shares.
For sellers, Boggs Inspection Services offers valuable home pre-inspections. Knowing problem areas before listing your home, and having a chance to address them, makes your home more attractive to buyers and avoids the hassle of costly repairs during negotiation and sale process.
“One unique thing Dwayne’s team offers is inspections for seniors,” shares Wilkins. As a long-time member of the Senior Action Network, Boggs Inspection Services works with local seniors, ensuring their homes are safe for their golden years. “Often seniors have been in their home for a while and are no longer able to maintain it in the same way that they used to. Boggs inspectors can look under the house or check the electrical and give seniors peace of mind that their home is safe,” Wilkens explains.
Lacey based agent Phil Sharp also lists Boggs Inspection Services at the top of his list for his client’s home inspections. Sharp specializes in helping military families relocate in the JBLM area, often buying homes sight-unseen as they plan relocation from overseas.
“Dwayne and his team offer a consistent inspection experience every time. I know my clients will get a clear, concise, and easy to read report within a day of inspection,” shares Sharp. “When working with home buyers located in Germany or Korea, for example, the written report with its excellent photos is invaluable.” In these situations, Phil attends the inspections instead of the buyers and knows the Boggs team will be available to answer any questions his clients have.
The communication and organization of the Boggs team is what truly sets them apart for Sharp. During a sale, the relationship between buyer and seller is key. Having a fast turnaround on the inspection, keeping the sale from sitting in the “pending” category, can really influence negotiations and speed closing.
“Time is of the essence in real estate, particularly when I have clients staying in a hotel or scheduled to fly into the country soon,” says Sharp. “With Dwayne’s team, we get a fast and comprehensive inspection that is valuable to buyers and sellers.”
Throughout the ups and downs of buying and selling a house a real-estate agent helps navigate through often confusing terminology and paperwork. But agents are only as good as their support team which is why both Cheri Wilkins and Phil Sharp look to Boggs Inspection Services to assist in this crucial part of the process.
“What Dwayne and his team bring to the table is great,” says Sharp. “It’s what I, and my clients, need.”
To schedule an inspection, call Boggs Inspection Services at 360-480-9602.
Submitted by Port Blakely
Schools that participate in Port Blakely Tree Farms’ environmental education program are encouraged to apply for one of four grants. The maximum amount of each grant is $500, to be awarded in June 2015.
Port Blakely Tree Farms started the grant program in 2011 to help elementary schools provide environmental education opportunities for students. Any school that participates in Port Blakely Tree Farms’ environmental education program in Washington and Oregon is eligible to apply for grant funds.
“As a company with over 150 years of history, we recognize that our longevity and success is in part due to the commitment of primary educators to environmental education,” said Court Stanley, President of Port Blakely Tree Farms. “This is our way of further supporting their efforts to connect students with natural resources.”
The application and information on Port Blakely Tree Farms’ environmental education grant can be found here.
Port Blakely Tree Farms, LP, owns and manages healthy forestlands throughout western Washington and Oregon. The company provides sustainable forest products, protects wildlife habitat and water resources, and supports the local communities in which it operates. Port Blakely Tree Farms is a division of Port Blakely Companies, a 150-year-old, family-owned company with diversified assets in forestry, and forest product exports. For information, visit www.portblakely.com/port-blakely-tree-farms/about.
By Gail Wood
But nine games into River Ridge High School’s season in boys basketball, coach John Barbee, with his team struggling through a 5-4 start, juggled his lineup. Thayer Murphy, a backup guard, became a starter. Mack Armstrong, a junior forward, became the sub off the bench.
And rather than fume, rather than check out, Armstrong cranked up in his intensity. Murphy, rather than wilt under a starter’s role, has flourished, scoring a career-high 34 in the Hawks’ recent 61-54 district playoff win against Lindberg. The backup who became a starter is averaging a team-high 12 points.
And Armstrong’s goal never changed. It’s still all about winning.
“We’re all brothers out here,” Armstrong said prior to a recent practice. “We’re supportive of each other. As long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters.”
For Armstrong, it doesn’t matter if his points come as a starter or as a backup. That help-where-he-can attitude is why he’s averaging 11.1 points off the bench, second on the team. He’s been the designated points-to-the-rescue backup.
“I just come in off the bench wanting to be a boost and a spark,” Armstrong said. “I want to do all I can to help the team win.”
Armstrong’s approach is a big reason why River Ridge turned its season around. After going 3-3 and then 5-4 to start the season, River Ridge, with a new lineup and a new gear as Barbee asked more from his team’s defense, has won 11 of its last 12 games. As winners of the South Puget Sound League, River Ridge is now 18-5 after the Hawks beat White River 61-54 on Thursday in the district semifinals. They play Washington in the championship game on Saturday.
The biggest indicator of the Hawks’ turnaround season is what they did against Franklin Pierce. In their first meeting with Franklin Pierce, the still-in-a-funk Hawks lost 72-71. The next time a revamped and rolling River Ridge blasted Franklin Pierce 73-35.
Barbee’s magic worked. He said those losses were lessons learned, helping his team get better.
“We went through some growing pains early,” Barbee said. “That was crucial. I think that put us in a good spot now.”
Coming into the season, Barbee had reasons to be optimistic. Four of his five starters returned off a team that lost in the regionals. The only starter not returning was Austin Curry, the sharp-shooting guard who transferred to Timberline. Still, Barbee thought the parts were in place for a good season.
After all Kobe Key was back at point guard, giving the Hawks experience at a key position. He’s not just a passer, but he’s also a scorer. The junior guard is third on the team in scoring with 9.4 average.
“He’s a good leader,” Barbee said. “To go far, you have to have a good point guard and he’s a good one. The key for us and the key for him is keeping him out of foul trouble.”
Key, who plays a lot of minutes and is aggressive, has fouled out of a couple of games. In the playoff win against Lindbergh, Key fouled out in the closing.
“It was a good opportunity for other kids to step up,” Barbee said, putting a positive light on a negative moment.
Key, as the starting quarterback on the football team, is used to being a leader. As a team captain, he sees his role as being a rah-rah, get-it-going guy.
“My role is to just keep guys up,” Key said. “Keep guys focused – and just play hard.”
Murphy grew up quickly as he stepped into his new role as a starter.
“He got an opportunity and he made the most of it,” Barbee said.
But it wasn’t just the points Murphy scored that convinced Barbee to keep him in the starting lineup. It was his intensity on defense, the floor burns on his knees.
“The other thing about him is he plays hard on both ends,” Barbee said. “He doesn’t just come in and shoot. He’s going to go to the floor for the loose ball. He’s going to take the charge. He’s going to do all the little things to keep him in the game.”
Murphy isn’t enamored with his starter’s job. He’s driven by something other than his own stats and status.
“The only thing that matters is winning the game,” Murphy said. “I’m a starter now. But if I didn’t start and I got zero minutes and we won I’d be just as happy if I started and got 32 points.”
Key is one of eight players on the basketball team who also played football. At a time when coaches are often upping the ante and asking their players to commit to one sport and play it year around, Barbee encourages his players to play other sports. It’s all about having a good high school experience.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Barbee said. “Some of my closest friends are from relationships I formed in sports.”
Submitted by Nisqually Reach Nature Center
The Nisqually Reach Nature Center (NRNC), located in Olympia, Washington, received two awards that were announced Wednesday at the annual meeting in Richmond, BC, of the Washington-British Columbia chapter of the American Fisheries Society. NRNC was recognized as both Conservation Organization of the Year and Volunteer Organization of the Year by the Society chapter.
Conservation Organization of the Year is awarded annually to “an organization that has significantly contributed to a program or activity for conservation of fishery resources or habitats.” NRNC’s mission is to promote the understanding and preservation of the Nisqually estuarine ecosystem through education and research.
The Society cited NRNC’s initiative in promoting the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve as part of the Aquatic Reserve program of the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Established by DNR in 2011, the Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve encompasses nearly 15,000 acres of DNR-owned aquatic lands stretching from Tolmie State Park to the eastern edge of McNeil Island, east to Steilacoom and south to the Nisqually delta. Working with DNR, NRNC Executive Director Daniel Hull brought together stakeholders including representatives of commercial interests, Pierce and Thurston County communities, and Tribes to develop a management plan for the new Reserve.
NRNC oversees two Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committees—one at NRNC’s facility at Luhr Beach and the other on Anderson Island–that have undertaken citizen science research projects, kept track of proposed regulations that might impact the Reserve, and monitored activities within the Reserve. Two projects relevant to the American Fisheries Society are the Forage Fish Spawning Survey and the Pigeon Guillemot Breeding Survey. These surveys will provide data to help in assessing the status of forage fish in south Puget Sound. Small fish such as sculpin comprise a major portion of the diet of seabirds such as Pigeon Guillemots.
As Volunteer Organization of the Year, NRNC was recognized as a nonprofit that inspires many dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers who promote the importance of protecting the pristine habitat of the Nisqually delta. Volunteers staff the Center, serve as counselors at summer science camps, carry out citizen science research projects, and educate visitors at many community outreach events in Pierce and Thurston Counties.
Saltwater aquariums at the visitor center display marine creatures including sea cucumbers, Dungeness and other crabs, gunnels, forage fish, ghost shrimp, and sea stars. Since NRNC was established more than 30 years ago, volunteers have been instrumental in providing information and opportunities for community members to experience the beauty of the Nisqually estuary.
“We are pleased and honored to receive these awards,” said Jim Cubbage, President of NRNC’s Board of Directors. “The awards will inspire us to work even harder to bring our message of environmental stewardship to South Sound communities.”
Submitted by Port of Olympia
Just in time for boating season, the Port of Olympia BoatSwap & Chowder Challenge returns on Saturday, June 20, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Swantown Marina. The Port invites sign-ups from restaurants and marine-related businesses interested in participating, as well as event sponsors. To be featured on the event poster, participants must sign up by April 1st.
At the 2014 event, 11 South Sound restaurants competed in the chowder cook-off and 1,800 people tasted their unique recipes. Event goers can sample all the chowders and vote for their favorites.
The BoatSwap offers the community an opportunity to buy and sell new and used boats, marine gear and accessories. Both commercial and private vendors are invited to exhibit and sell their wares.
Businesses are also invited to participate with the Port in sponsoring this popular community event.
To sign up and learn details about event sponsorships, restaurant participation, vendor exhibit rates and other inquiries, call the Port at 360.528.8005 or email email@example.com.
Participants shop or browse the boats and marine displays, watch and taste at the chowder pots, and enjoy music and family entertainment along the waterfront.
Swantown Marina is located on the East Bay of Budd Inlet at 1022 Marine Drive NE, Olympia, 98501.
Note: This Port festival for the community was on hiatus for several years due to construction in the vicinity which limited parking. Previously, the festival was known as the Swantown BoatSwap & Chowder Challenge and attracted 4,000 to 5,000 participants. The Port re-introduced the event in May 2013 as the Port of Olympia BoatSwap & Chowder Challenge.
I spent a few years in my early 20s in New England. I only lasted a couple of winters before I was begging my husband to move at least west of the Mississippi River. As we relish in the sun and mild temperatures earlier this week, I can’t help but feel compassion for my friends trudging through snow on the East Coast (week after week). I wish I could wave a magic wand and have Mother Nature even out some of this wacky winter weather. But for now, I think that I’ll be happy that I’m wearing a light rain jacket rather than a parka.
Here’s what’s going on around Olympia this weekend.
Submit an event for our calendar here.
ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.
By Lisa Herrick
Community banks are akin to small business. Essentially Anchor Bank, a local community bank, is a small business itself. Anchor Bank innately understands the challenges of launching, growing and diversifying a small business and has the money to lend professional businesses to help them succeed. Anchor Bank has been vital in building a more sustainable local economy by putting the deposits back into our community through loans to residents and small businesses.
“As local community business bankers, we have the advantage of personally getting to know our clients and their local business needs,” Gary Koch, Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer at Anchor Bank explains. “We meet with them face to face to build a relationship and identify their banking needs. We can offer valuable insight and advice to our clients’ small business requirements because we expertly understand the local community, business industry and community banking. We make community lending decisions in and for the community.”
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Gary grew up in Salem, Oregon and graduated from his hometown college at Willamette University. He was immediately recruited by Wells Fargo in Alaska where he gained the foundation of his banking expertise. He dedicated 26 years of his banking career in Alaska ultimately becoming in charge of 19 branches of a retail enterprise before moving back to the contiguous states.
Gary shares, “Having worked for the big box banks, I have the advantage of knowing the difference between that type of lending and Anchor Bank’s approach as a community based savings bank. We make local credit decisions by local people. We are involved in the community as residents, families, volunteers and banking professionals. We have a better understanding of what is going on in the local marketplace. We take a consultative approach with our clients. We sit down together and determine what they are trying to accomplish in their business. We identify their needs and how we can help them solve those needs.”
Anchor Bank has a talented and highly experienced business banking team focused on providing financial options to new clients as well as assisting existing clients with their business expansion needs. In reflection of recent ways in which Anchor Bank has helped clients, Gary describes, “We were able to help one of our clients, a local dentist, expand his practice to add two rental properties on Martin Way. Anchor Bank provided term financing for the practice as well as the construction financing for the two adjacent rental properties. Also recently, we provided refinancing for a strip mall on Martin Way as well. Anchor Bank has financed numerous multi-family residential construction projects throughout Thurston County recently. These are just some of the types of projects we can help out with.”
Anchor Bank has been serving local communities in Grays Harbor, Thurston, Mason, Pierce and Lewis counties for more than a century. Started in 1907 as a traditional savings and loan bank, Anchor Bank originally focused on savings accounts and mortgages for its borrowers back when savings and loan institutions were prohibited from offering checking accounts. As banking regulations have changed and Anchor Bank restructured as a publicly owned entity with its customers as shareholders, it currently operates eleven branches in five counties offering a variety of financial institution products and services.
As a community bank, Anchor Bank strongly believes in making the community in which they serve a better place to live. As an organization as well as individually, Anchor Bank staff are involved in a variety of charitable organizations including Thurston County Chamber of Commerce and Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce, Math for Life and South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity.
To learn more about Anchor Bank’s business banking services or to reach Gary Koch, click here.
Anchor Bank-Lacey Branch
601 Woodland Square Loop SE
Lacey, WA 98503