This essay is photo heavy, so pardon the bandwidth. Most photos link to hi-res versions.
The photos have been pulled from various online sources and the “now” pictures are from Google Maps Street View and Google Earth.
I have tried by best to find the current locations, but I may be wrong in a few instances.
1. Olympia in 1894.
I had this photo labelled 1848 but I am pretty sure that is wrong based on the inscription.
It is not easy to tell, but you can see how much the shoreline has grown.
2. Olympia in 1948
I believe this photo was taken with the next few that follow it. You can see Little Hollywood and I am pretty sure that is the Oyster House
3. Olympia in 1948 (I believe)Google Plus One Facebook Like
By Gail Wood
Finally, the anticipated moment had arrived – the football was kicked, sailing end over end down the field at Olympia’s Ingersoll Stadium to begin the game. The 41st football season for the Thurston County Youth Football League (TCYFL) had begun. Finally.
But before the Olympia Bears could play the Rainier Mountaineers in their season-opening game for 9-to-10 year olds and before Owen Shaw scored the game’s first touchdown on a 30-yard run, there was some business to take care of. Uniforms, shoulder pads and helmets had to be bought. Coaches needed to be found. Referees hired. And schedules planned for the eight-game season.
There were 41 games played on Saturday, kicking off the TCYFL season.
“It’s an amazing league,” said Dirk Rasmussen, whose son plays for the Bears. “They do a tremendous job.”
TCYFL, which began in 1973, is bigger and better than ever. It had an all-time high 2,100 players signed up with 12 different franchises, one for each of the local high schools in the county. The teams are from Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, Yelm, Rainier and Tenino. The teams are divided into five age groups based on age ranging from 7 – 14. Because Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater have dropped their middle school football programs, the last two age groups fill a void in those school districts.
Some claim that this year’s turnout boost is perhaps tied to the excitement of the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl championship.
TCYFL is possible because of volunteers. A 12-member board, led by league president Scott Erickson, oversees the league, coordinating schedules, officials, coaches and purchasing equipment. It’s a busy time for the board.
“You’re making sure everyone gets their jerseys, coaches receive badges and coordinate fundraising,” explained Erik Martin, TCYFL board secretary.
The board meets every two weeks during the season. In the off season, they meet every three weeks, making it a year around commitment. Martin’s commitment comes from his belief in the league and what it accomplishes in kids’ lives.
“The people on the board are great,” Martin noted. “They’re passionate. They believe in it. It shows. Everyone works really hard to make it successful.”
In addition to being on the board, Martin also coaches the Olympia Bears seventh grade team, which his son plays for. A 1992 Timberline High School graduate, who turned out for football, basketball and baseball in high school, Martin said football teaches a lot of life lessons.
“It teaches teamwork,” Martin said. “The kids really learn that every player on the field has a specific job. And they have to do their job and work together as a team for the play to work right. That sense of teamwork and camaraderie is big.”
Teams practice three times a week, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Games are played on Saturday. The younger players practice twice a week when the season begins.
There about 90 coaches in the league and most of them have or have had a son on the team. As volunteers, their payment is simply satisfaction. Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is their reward.
Line coach, Brian Cockrell, gets to coach his son, Caden. It’s his second year of coaching his son. “It’s great,” Cockrell said while describing the fourth and fifth grade team. “I played the same position, so it’s fun to coach him at that position.”
Cockrell, a 1988 Wilson High School graduate from Tacoma, played football at the University of Idaho under head coach, Keith Gilbertson. Cockrell is careful to teach technique in blocking and tackling.
“They have good rules in the league about weight limits,” Cockrell said. “For example, anyone above 110 can’t be a ball carrier. It’s a safety rule.”
This year all the coaches took an USA Football class on tackling techniques, stressing the importance of keeping the head up.
“Every one of the coaches you see out here, whether they’re an assistant or a head coach, has all gone through the tackling certification through USA Football,” Cockrell said. “It was a big expense for our league, but it was something we felt we needed to do for safety.”
Darren Sprouffske, coach of the Rainier Mountaineers’ fifth and sixth grade team, is coaching his son’s team for the fourth season. He’s also coached his son’s basketball team for the past five years. Like his son will probably do one day, Sprouffske played high school football for Rochester.
“It’s fun,” Sprouffske said about coaching his son. “I enjoy coaching and being able to share that time with my son.”
TCYFL teaches more than just tackling and blocking techniques. LJ Tuitele, who coaches an Olympia Bears fourth and fifth grade team which includes his son, Max, said he learned a lot from his days of playing football growing up in Hawaii.
“Football teaches you how to strive to be your best,” Tuitele noted. “It teaches a lot about discipline, a lot about teamwork. It teaches how to play together, win together and lose together.”
Tuitele first started coaching when his son’s Olympia Bears team needed a little extra help.
“They needed help,” Tuitele recalled. “After that I fell in love with coaching and just being around the kids. It’s an awesome experience. I advise any parent to take a chance and go out there and coach.”
Rasmussen was clear on his duty for the day as his son’s team, the Olympia Bears 9-to-10 year olds, warmed up for their game against the Rainier Mountaineers.
“I’m here to watch my son play football,” Rasmussen said. “I’m a proud parent. That’s all I am.”
Camping season typically ends when the inevitable autumn rains make marshmallow toasting impossible. But with the South Sound YMCA, you can enjoy one more night of Camping the Night Away on Friday, September 26. This is when the non-profit organization’s annual dinner and auction take place at the Lacey Community Center to benefit the Y’s full range of youth development programs.
A more than 15 year partnership with Olympia Federal Savings, the event promises a summer’s bounty of food, drinks, and auction items. Last year drew over 200 attendees and this year’s cornucopia of giveaways should easily exceed that. With prizes ranging from a Superbowl football signed by Seahawks MVP Malcolm Smith or tickets to a November Seahawks game through getaways to Portland, Palm Desert, and Woodinville there’s something for everyone.
Food and drink options are a vast improvement from traditional camping staples like powdered eggs and instant coffee. Ricardo’s will again offer delicious food to accompany Fish Brewing’s beer and hard cider. There will be a photo booth on site for fun, retro pictures with friends, and balloon pop games with gift card prizes for local restaurants, spas, and even house cleaning services.
South Sound YMCA Director of Development and Marketing Susan Callender is excited about all the programs this evening will sponsor. She explains, “At the Y, we nurture the potential of youth and teens. We believe that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. That’s why, through the Y, millions of youth today are cultivating the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and educational achievement.”
With offerings like child care, education and leadership training, swimming and sports teams, and summer camps for all ages, the Y has childhood covered for any season of the year. Says Callender, this fun event is especially important to highlight “the importance of youth development programs.”
Tickets and additional details are available online here. The fun begins at 5:00 p.m. and a live auction sneak peek is available to interested bidders. With more than 150 silent auction items and 29 live auction items, there’s sure to be something that catches your eye.
Louisiana Senator David Vitter once said that “I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!” To be able to provide those tools simply through a night of fun, food, and community, is the greatest of opportunities…don’t let it pass you by.
Submitted by Thurston County Health Department
Summer break has ended and another school year is underway. The long lists of school supplies have been purchased and new clothing has replaced what kids outgrew over the summer. Despite buying several bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer for the classroom and teaching your child to wash their hands regularly and cover their cough, there seems little we can do to stop the inevitable rise of illness that comes with the start of a new school year!
Even with precautionary measures, there’s a good chance that your child will catch a virus and bring it home to you and the rest of your family in the next couple of months. This is partly because certain viruses are more active in the fall, and partly because kids haven’t developed immunity to many viruses yet, so they trade them back and forth and bring them home to share. So, what can you do to keep your children and family healthy?
Your first line of defense against a number of illnesses is immunization. News about pertussis (whooping cough) and measles outbreaks in our state remind us that vaccine-preventable diseases are still around, which underscores the importance of keeping your child’s immunizations up-to-date. Schools in Washington State require written proof of immunization or a physician-signed waiver. Immunizations required for the 2014-15 school year include:
Yearly seasonal influenza (flu) vaccines are also recommended for children starting at age six months (don’t forget to get yours too).
According to the Washington State Department of Health, two of the nine school districts in Thurston County, reported immunization exemption rates between 10 to 20 percent during the 2012-2013 school year. This means that these districts have less “community immunity” to vaccine-preventable diseases and are more likely to be impacted in the event of an outbreak. Community immunity helps keep diseases from spreading.
Several options exist today for getting your child vaccinated, making it pretty convenient.
If your child does get sick, keep them home from school and daycare until they are no longer contagious. If we all work together, we can make this the happiest and healthiest school year ever!
For more information, follow Thurston County Health Department on Twitter (@ThurstonHealth) or Facebook.
When something in life creates stress, we often find comfort in food instead of dealing with the issue directly. Using food as a comfort tool doesn’t fix the problem at hand and can lead to weight gain, feelings of guilt, depression, and more. A total downward spiral of ‘self-sabotage’ can begin.
Sound familiar? Many people can relate, but it doesn’t have to stop you from reaching your goals. According to Amanda Price-Salazar, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and owner of Edge Fitness in Tumwater, you can take steps to stop the ‘self-sabotage’ cycle.
“I consider emotional eating to be numb and unconscious eating. It causes a non-stop spiral of feeling out of control. The most common thing I see is instead of taking the time to investigate self-sabotaging behavior, then working through it in an effort to fix the problem long-term, people jump into a crazy fad or super-star diet,” says Price-Salazar.
“Often these diets are not customized to their body type or lifestyle, are very restrictive, and not realistic,” she continues explaining. “Within a week or two they are starving, restricting themselves, and assigning foods ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels. They don’t stay on the diet and when they stop, within days or weeks they gain back their losses and then some. This can be an emotional roller coaster and the repetition of this cycle can do long-term physical and emotional damage.”
“Extreme diets can cause a negative mental state. Food isn’t bad, but when you start to be overly restrictive, building a negative state of mind using constant negative self-talk, it can lead to a cycle of self-sabotage,” she says.
“Unfortunately, pairing the overly restrictive and unrealistic dieting along with a negative mindset and state of well-being is exactly how many eating disorders and body image issues begin,” she concludes.
Price-Salazar explains that the key is balance. She encourages healthy choices most of the time and allows for “fun foods” in everyone’s diet. “It’s all about moderation and awareness of portions to achieve balanced eating habits.”
Being active is a great way to decrease stress and certainly a better choice than emotional eating. Exercise helps your body relieve or exit “stress” improving energy, mood, and sleep.
Not only that, but exercise improves your mental state and helps burn excess calories. Daily exercise also tends to decrease your body’s cravings for ‘fun foods’ and ultimately motivates healthy choices. The more you work out, the more your body craves healthy food and the more you want to eat them. It’s a cycle as well, but a positive one that Salazar promotes for each and every client.
By Kate Scriven
The colors you might see most often this fall are blue and green, not the gold and red of leaves throughout Thurston County. The Seattle Seahawks are back in action for the 2014 season.
The 12th Man (and woman) comes out in force on Blue Friday and game day to share their team spirit and show support of the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. Some of the biggest fans around can be found in the back offices and behind the counters of Thurston County’s four Meconi’s Italian Subs restaurants.
Robin Vaughn, Operations Manager, may literally bleed blue and green. She’s a long-time, die-hard Seahawks fan and anyone who has experienced game day with her knows her passion. And she’s not alone. The entire staff, from owners to cashiers, look forward to each Seahawks game and enjoy seeing customers come in for game-day subs or for lunch on Blue Friday decked out in their 12th Man gear.
Last season, though, the Meconi’s crew felt a bit left out, sporting only their uniforms.
This fall, Meconi’s will be celebrating right along with the fans each Blue Friday and game-day wearing their newly designed Meconi’s 12th Man jerseys and offering in-store food specials including a weekly “Beast Mode” sub.
“This season, we are really excited to get into the spirit of supporting the Hawks and sharing fun specials with local fans at the restaurants,” explains Vaughn. “We are all big Seahawks fans and we want to join with the rest of our community and celebrate each week, having fun in the store and creating a festive atmosphere for other fans.”
Employees in all four Meconi’s locations will be wearing their custom Meconi’s jerseys each game-day and Blue Friday. The jerseys were designed in partnership with locally-owned Sound Apparel and a limited number are available for purchase at each store for $19.99. Even Meconi’s food distributor, Lacey-based Harbor Wholesale, wanted to join the fun when they heard Meconi’s plans and partnered with them to provide the new jerseys to all employees.
In addition to the cool gear, Meconi’s customers can look forward to several in-store specials throughout the season. The first is the “Beast Mode” sub. Each Blue Friday or game-day, a specialty sub will be featured as the “Beast Mode” special of the day. Fans can look forward to the same quality ingredients and fresh baked bread on this sub, but taken up a notch in honor of fan favorite, Marshawn Lynch. And, just so you feel a little more like the power-house running back, a bag of Skittles is included with each “Beast Mode” sub.
For those not looking to indulge in the “Beast Mode”, the stores will be offering the 12th Man Special. Each Blue Friday or game-day, enjoy 12% off select menu items when you wear your Seahawks gear or team colors of blue and green. “Really, we just want to encourage people to join the excitement, get in the spirit, and participate in a fun atmosphere at Meconi’s on game-day and Blue Friday,” shares Vaughn. “We feel we are a part of the Seahawk’s success as 12’s and we want to share that energy with our community.”
If you happen to be dining at Meconi’s newest location in Hawk’s Prairie or at their Lacey Blvd. location, you can wash down your “Beast Mode” sub or Twelfth Man Special with a 12 Man Pale Ale from Dick’s Brewing Company.
Hawks Prairie employee Stefani Johnson is excited about the new uniforms and the fun planned throughout the season. “It’s exciting that we get to be a part of it, to show our spirit,” Johnson shares. “Last year, on Blue Friday, everyone would come in wearing jerseys and we were just in our uniforms. Now, we get to join the spirit, support our team, and share something in common with our customers.”
Drawings will be held throughout the season to win a Meconi’s 12th Man jersey. Simply purchase one of the Seahawk’s specials and you’ll be eligible to enter the drawing.
And while these specials will only last for the football season, the team at Meconi’s is confident they will be offered right up to February 1, 2015. Go Seahawks!
Submitted by Saint Martin’s University
The Saint Martin’s University Study Abroad program is partnering with a new affiliate provider to add three more host countries to the university’s pre-approved list, as well as provide a broader range of programs designed to ease the application and acceptance process for students.
Brazil, Czech Republic and South Africa are the new destinations for Saint Martin’s students as the result of an agreement forged with the CEA Academic Affiliate Program. The CEA was founded in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois as Cultural Experiences Abroad, which is now headquartered in Tempe, Arizona. CEA is an independent service provider that works with foreign universities to provide access to education abroad for U.S. and Canadian undergraduate students interested in exploring global issues in exciting global cities.
The organization’s signature Study Abroad Centers in six countries have earned CEA a reputation as an innovator in education abroad.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with such a great provider who has carefully selected locations endowed with cultural, political and/or financial significance, as well as academic resources appropriate to North American needs,” says Brenda Burns, study abroad coordinator at Saint Martin’s. “I think these programs hold a wealth of opportunities for our community and I am excited to see students taking advantage of them.”
The partnership with CEA also enables Saint Martin’s to offer new programs in several other countries, such as Costa Rica, Spain and Argentina, that have lesser language requirements, thereby easing the way for students who want to study in those locations.
“Additionally, since we are an official affiliate program, Saint Martin’s students will automatically receive study abroad scholarships from CEA and will be eligible for several others through the organization,” Burns says.
The CEA partnership follows another major step Saint Martin’s took last spring to expand its Study Abroad program by joining the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study overseas by the end of the decade. The University has committed to tripling its number of undergraduate students who study abroad during the next five years.
For more information about the CEA Academic Affiliate Program, please visit http://www.ceastudyabroad.com/educators/educator-about.html.
Students can also learn more about other education abroad opportunities by visiting the Saint Martin’s University Study Abroad website and by contacting Brenda Burns at email@example.com or at 360-438-4521.
Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes nearly 1,200 undergraduate students and 323 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at www.stmartin.edu.
Submitted by Smart Energy Today
Smart Energy Today, a company specializing in helping home owners and businesses make their homes and businesses more comfortable and become more energy efficient, has been recognized as one of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the nation by Inc. Magazine.
Overall, Smart Energy Today was ranked No. 336, with a three-year cumulative growth of 1381.4%, in the nation on the Inc. 500|5000 list, which represents the most comprehensive look at America’s independent entrepreneurs.
“It is an incredible honor to be named to the Inc. 500 list,” said Julie Murray, Director of Media Relations at Smart Energy Today. “This honor truly reflects the incredible growth that Smart Energy Today has achieved over the last three years and is a testament to the fact that Smart Energy Today is solving a major problem by helping consumers live more comfortably and better maintain their homes through energy efficient products.”
The 2014 Inc. 500|5000 list ranks companies according to the percentage growth of their annual revenue over a three-year period. To qualify, companies must be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit and independent, and must have been founded and generating revenue by March 2010. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000 and can be found here.
“Not all the companies in the Inc. 500 | 5000 are in glamorous industries, but in their fields they are as famous as household name companies simply by virtue of being great at what they do. They are the hidden champions of job growth and innovation, the real muscle of the American economy,” says Inc. Magazine Editor Eric Schoenberg.
Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.
About Smart Energy Today
Founded in 2008, Smart Energy Today specializes in helping home owners and business owners achieve year-round indoor comfort through energy efficient products with the ultimate goals of using less energy and helping them better maintain their homes and businesses.
By Douglas Scott
The Enchanted Valley sits in Olympic National Park, another jewel in a region incredible rich with beauty. Located above one of the most impressive rain forests in America, Enchanted Valley is a sought after destination for hikers and backpackers from all over the world. With bears, mountains, glaciers and great trails and camping, the region is teaming with adventurers on sumer day. Normally, the region is full of backpackers enjoying the last sunny weekend of summer, but in early September 2014, Enchanted Valley had been turned into the scene of an $124,000 relocation of one of the oldest buildings in Olympic National Park.
The Enchanted Valley Chalet had sat in the same spot in the Quinault Region of the Olympic Peninsula since it was completed in 1931, seven years before Olympic National Park was created. Originally a privately owned backcountry lodge, the building stopped being used around WWII and was eventually sold to the National Park Service in the 1950s. For the next 60 years, the Enchanted Valley Chalet stood as a destination for backpackers worldwide, a remote building existing in an otherwise pristine wilderness. Serving as an emergency shelter, as well as seasonal backcountry ranger station, the Chalet was a welcome sight to many a weary hiker.
Olympic National Park Spokesperson Rainey McKenna, who was on her first visit to the Enchanted Valley, led tours for members of the media. She expressed the same love for the region that many have.
“Enchanted Valley is a gorgeous, very popular hike. People have been Hiking up here for generations. For a lot of people this is a part of their memory and a part of the National Park Experience. They associate the chalet with their experience on the trail,” says McKenna.
Located in wilderness, vehicles are not allowed in the park, making the logistics of getting supplies to the area quite difficult. While helicopters could be used, the NPS is required to use the smallest possible helicopter to do the job. For three days, a small helicopter carried between 700 and 900 pounds at a time to the Chalet. Flying back and forth with heavy loads dangling 30 feet below the spinning blades, the chopper provided a continuos buzz in one of the quietest regions of the country.
As the helicopter would fly out, it would carry an assortment of pipes, building material and decades worth of trash, some of which had been sitting in the valley for over 70 years. With just 25 flights, the Park service made sure to get their money’s worth, as the helicopter alone cost roughly $1,600 each trip, or $40,000 in total.
Everything else was hauled in by either mules or hikers. The 13.5 mile long trail from Graves Creek to Enchanted Valley weaves along the Quinault River, through lush rain forests, and some of the most beautiful wilderness in the world. Transporting goods along this route isn’t the worst commute in the world, and the destination makes it even better.
If you haven’t hiked to the Enchanted Valley, it is a must-see for nature enthusiasts. Leaving the dark greens of the rain forest, the Enchanted Valley opens up into a visual wonderland. The valley is often called the Valley of 10,000 waterfalls, as the north side of the valley is made up of steep cliffs. Numerous waterfalls pour down its flanks in the wetter months and year round, a few small waterfalls fall from the melting snow. To the northeast, Mount Anderson (7,330 ft) sits exposing its huge glacier and endless rugged peaks heading to Anderson Pass. The valley is breathtaking and is consistently named one of the best backpacking trips in the National Park System. Sitting right along the trail in this majestic valley is the Chalet, a three story wooded cabin, perfectly rustic, right down the the hand carved wooden bench that sits on its porch.
Starting in 2014, the Enchanted Valley Chalet had been sitting precariously on the ever-shifting banks of the Quinault River, teetering close to being destroyed by the slightest shift of the river. What had been a 10-foot buffer in October 2013 quickly shrunk to being undercut by the spring rains and snow melt in May 2014.
Monroe House Moving, Inc. of Sequim, Washington was awarded the contract to move the building. Using standard house-moving techniques, the contractor installed two main lifting beams beneath the chalet, which lifted it 20 inches off the ground. The chalet was slowly moved with four hydraulic jacks, pushing the 90 ton building in 17 inch increments over 5 minutes. Lubricating the beams with Dove brand soap, the crew would slide the historic chalet a few millimeters at a second, nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. Luckily, Olympic National Park officials have provided a link to their time-lapse cameras to watch the entire move.
The Enchanted Valley Chalet has been moved roughly 75 feet from the river banks, but its story isn’t over. For now, the chalet sits safe, away the the wild waters of the Quinault, serving as a wonderful sight for the last of the backpackers before winter sets in. Over the next year, we get to decide what to do with it, as the public, with approval from the National Park Service, has the last word on the historic chalet.
By September of 2015, Olympic National Park officials hope to have not just a solution, but already implement the plan.
Musical artists of the Bushwick Book Club Seattle will visit the Tumwater Timberland Library and sing original songs inspired by the book, “Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, in the Woods, and at the Table,” by Dylan Tomine. Bushwick is a group of musicians dedicated to sharing their passion for both music and reading. Before their performance, the author will discuss his book.Google Plus One Facebook Like
At the Tumwater Timberland Library, Dylan Tomine of Bainbridge Island discusses his book, “Closer to the Ground,” a memoir that follows Dylan and his family through four seasons as they hunt chanterelles, fish for salmon, dig clams and gather at the kitchen table to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Dylan’s visit will be followed by a musical performance by the Bushwick Book Club.Google Plus One Facebook Like
By Mary Ellen Psaltis
Xinh Dwelley has spent her life in and around food. It began as a child in the family rice fields of Vietnam. For years she shucked oysters for Taylor Shellfish Farms. Now she’s the CEOE (Chief Executive of Everything) at her Shelton restaurant aptly named Xinh’s. Fusing fresh seafood of the Pacific Northwest with Asian influences and adding a large measure of Xinh, diners can sate their palates with her numerous creations.
Xinh recently returned to the helm after taking a few weeks away to undergo surgery to remove a tumor from her colon and take a little time for recovery. The restaurant is currently open Thursdays through Saturdays in the evenings. You’ll be relieved to know that she’s charging ahead with vim and vigor.
Taylor Shellfish Farms, who owns Xinh’s Clam and Oyster House, supplies the restaurant with an array of seafood. Xinh rattled off a quick recipe for their sweet, tender Manila Clams. Sauté garlic and onions then mix with the Thai flavors of lemon grass, coconut milk and lime juice. Add clams. Get every drop of the juice with hunks of crusty bread.
She also suggested Mediterranean Mussels (the ones with purple/black shells) cooked with garlic, a dab of butter, sun-dried tomatoes and jalapeño peppers topped with crisp bacon. Xinh likes the spicy peppers.
Her cooking includes ample amounts of basil, cilantro and chili flakes, depending on the dish. With any of these seafood recipes, you can make a full meal with the addition of rice, rice noodles or pasta, a loaf of artisan bread and a salad.
Before or after your meal at Xinh’s, be sure to walk the interior perimeter of the dining room to see photos of Xinh with famous personalities and noted chefs. There’s Julia Child, Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain, Jeff Corwin and Dirty Job’s Mike Rowe. There are plaques, many awards and printed stories. I’ll admit that it’s fun to rub elbows with ‘famous’ types, but I am inclined to think that it’s Xinh who is really the celebrity.
She left her home country, journeyed across the world as a young adult, learned how to shuck oysters faster than everyone else, married, raised her son, became the chef of a (now) long-time popular restaurant all the while overflowing with energy to tell a story or laugh about something. She is accomplished and grateful. You, too, could get your photo taken with Xinh.
You can also find Xinh teaching classes at Bayview School of Cooking located in downtown Olympia inside Bayview Thriftway. She’s been there almost from the beginning of school’s opening nearly eleven years ago. “Xinh is so knowledgeable about seafood and knows the answer to just about any seafood related questions anyone can throw at her,” says Leanne Willard, Director.
Learn Xinh’s cooking secrets. Classes always fill up fast. You can see all of Bayview’s offerings by clicking here.
I recall a rhyme from my childhood that explains what makes up girls and boys:
Sugar and spice and all things nice
Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
Xinh is all that – sweet and funny with a zest for life. (She has a dog at home that is always glad to see her.) She told me that she “loves what I do.” I believe her. You can see for yourself. Her smile will be lighting up the room.
Eat Well – Be Well
Xinh’s Clam and Oyster House
221 West Railroad Street in Shelton
Open Thursday – Sunday from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
By Tali Haller
Levi Bisonn is the epitome of someone who’s never grown up – meant, of course, in the best way possible. At the age of 18 and currently a senior at Olympia High School, Levi stills exudes a kid-like curiosity and desire to learn that can be easily lost by high school. He’s a student who excels academically, while taking Honors and AP courses (the list includes AP Calculus AB and BC, AP Physics, AP English, and a host of others), participates in athletics, and fills up his schedule with a myriad of extracurricular activities. However, his ridiculously full schedule was not created to impress others or build up the college resume (well, maybe a little bit), but it evolved from his infinite curiosity and genuine desire to learn and solve problems.
His compulsion for doing things started early on. “I’ve always loved making stuff and doing big projects,” said Levi. For example, in elementary school, he was “super into Legos” and wanted to build his own unique Lego creations. After some research, he ordered silicon molds and did just that. In middle school, he also remembers making a crossbow that could shoot over 200 yards (we’re talking two football fields here) – pretty impressive for a pre-teen.
However, just because he’s always been busy doesn’t mean school has always been a priority. “I went to Lincoln Elementary School and they didn’t have a grading system so I never really tried. Then I got to middle school and ended up getting D’s and F’s my first semester. That was super motivating to me. I knew I never wanted to disappoint myself like that again so I started paying attention and studying,” he explained. After that first semester slip, it was all A’s for Levi until the harder high school courses roughened the road. Still, he stays mostly on track.
“Once I got into high school, I realized how much more I could do with ‘me,’” Levi said. Freshman and sophomore year, he participated in the school’s Cross Country Team. Then, during sophomore year, Levi found what would become one of his main passions: robotics, the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of programmable machines that can perform tasks (i.e. robots).
“The idea of being able to build whatever I wanted when I wanted grabbed my attention,” emphasized Levi. Started by Jill Shah in 2012 (Levi’s sophomore year), the ‘Oly Cow Robotics Team has already had huge successes.
“During my first year, which was also the club’s first year, we ended up coming in second at state,” Levi told me. “This past year, our second year, we did a lot better, placing 8th at Worlds out of over 3300 teams, most of which had really high budgets and were sponsored by Intel and Boeing. Considering we only spent $60 the first year and $500 this last year, we did amazingly well,” said Levi, who’s currently co-President of the robotics team alongside Ian Culhane.
Levi has two main roles on the team. First, he acts as one of the primary engineers. “I tend to be the conceptual person,” he said. His other role is being the “main talker.” He does a lot of actual communication along with creating many of their marketing materials, using graphic design, a skill he learned through a summer course at New Market Skills Center.
Levi is now applying his engineering and leadership skills to make a profit. For years now, two or three Olympia High School students have taken it upon themselves to host non-school-related dances, charging everyone who enters $5 to $7 depending on the dance venue. Each year, the current hosts pass down the responsibility to upcoming juniors or seniors. This year, Levi, along with two other seniors, is part of the dance crew.
Ambitious as ever, Levi hopes to make his mark by hosting some of the best dances yet. When asked, “What are you planning on doing to up the excitement,” Levi was brimming with ideas, all of which are already in motion. “First off, we have an awesome DJ. Some of the music last year just wasn’t that great for dancing and we want to make sure that every song this year brings people out onto the dance floor,” he said. “We’ve also just bought an insane speaker system.”
But even more impressive is the light stand that Levi constructed (talk about engineering in action). “I looked at the way speaker stands are made – a big metal pipe with three pipes on the side and a ring that slides down the center for adjustable height. The problem is that they’re so expensive (typically around $100). I took the idea and made my own for $40 each. They’re not heavy-duty enough to hold speakers but they’ll easily hold up lights and a fog machine (also new this year),” Levi explained.
While the dances have a cover charge, most of the revenue goes into paying for the venue and buying equipment. Additional compensation comes in the form of fun and the marketable skills they’re gaining: leadership, event planning, and, in Levi’s case, engineering experience.
On top of it all, Levi is in the middle of making some big decisions: what to do next year after graduation? Already, this year’s high school seniors are pinpointing possible colleges and completing applications. “Right now, I’m looking at University of California – Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, University of Washington, and University of British Columbia. I’m looking at bigger schools because I want a large social aspect. But I also want a small, top-notch engineering program,” he explained.
Levi plans to major in mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics, additionally obtaining a minor in electrical engineering or computer science and a minor in engineering management. “Having a degree like that will put me a position where I can have authority at an engineering firm. I don’t want to just be the person making things. I want to be the person behind the steering wheel,” said Levi.
Already on the road to success with his hunger for knowledge, growth, and creation, Levi’s dreams may one day become reality. “I want to change the world, to be the one causing the change, not just helping it,” he summarized with resolution.