Recent local blog posts

Calendar Girls at Olympia Little Theatre

South Sound Arts - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 8:24am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 1, 2015 Erin Quinn Valcho as Celia and Jon Lee as John. Photo by Austin Lang.
Calendar Girls, adapted by Tim Firth from the movie of the same name, is a sweet and frothy comedy with a heartfelt underlying theme of self-acceptance and caring for others.Chris (Kathy Harris) and her best friend, Annie (Jane Brody) are fed up with the leadership style of the president of the Women’s Institute in North Yorkshire, England, Marie (Kendra Malm), and of the club’s bland slide lectures and uninspired fundraisers. After Annie’s husband, John (Jon Lee) dies of leukemia, the women decide to raise funds for the hospital in his memory. Calendar Girls doing "aerobics?" Photo by Austin Lang. Chris seems to be the only one of the women with an original thought in her head or a bit of daring in her soul — except perhaps Celia (Erin Quinn Valcho), the only one who dares to be slightly risqué. Inspired by something John said: "The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire" and "The last phase of the women of Yorkshire is always the most glorious," Chris proposes that instead of the proposed calendar celebrating local bridges they should make a calendar of themselves — middle age women — posing in the nude with strategically placed props such as flowers and cupcakes or pots and pans in a kitchen setting. Naturally, the other women are horrified yet somewhat titillated by the idea. Eventually they come around.It’s a silly idea but delightful, designed to be as titillating to audiences as the calendar they produce. Jon Lee as John and Jane Brody as Annie. Photo by Austin Lang.
According to the actor biographies in the program, one of the actors has no prior experience on stage and a few of the others have very little. The biggest drawback to their lack of acting experience is that some of them fail to project their voices or clearly articulate. This was so much in evidence opening night that I failed to hear possibly as much as a third of the words. The only actors who came across as fully experienced were Malm, who also directed; Lee, whose character died less than halfway through the first act; and Diana Purvine as Jessie, probably the oldest of the women; and Austin C. Lang in the double role of Lawrence the photographer and Liam (I could not tell exactly what his job was, but I think a producer or stage manager for a TV show the girls were to be on).  Lang was absolutely believable as the nervous photographer who was more embarrassed by the nudity than were any of the women, with the possible exception of Ruth (Jean Kivi Thomas) who had to get drunk before posing for her shot. Thomas acted the part nicely but was one of the most difficult to hear. Harris and Valcho were among the most expressive of the actors. Harris portrayed Chris with joyful flirtatiousness, and Valcho played Celia with natural restraint. There are a lot of costume changes, including some ridiculous animal costumes and holiday costumes, as per example Ruth’s bunny rabbit costume that the other women took to be a mouse or a hamster, and Celia and Chris competing for the sexiest Santa Claus costume. Plus the everyday wardrobes of the women that ranged from Marie’s bland business attire to some ludicrous sportswear (costumes by Allison Gerst).The funniest scene in the play was the photo shoot in which the women comically and skillfully managed to strip naked (or “nude” as Chris insisted on calling it) without exposing so much flesh as to make audience members uncomfortable. The program and advertising warns of “burlesque-style nudity.” Not to worry, there’s much more to be seen on network television every night of the week.Calendar Girls, Thursday-Saturday and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, through Oct. 4,Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave., NE, Olympia, tickets $10-$14, available at Yenney Music, 2703 Capital Mall Dr., Olympia, 360).786.9484,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 6:20am



batdorflogoHello, Olympia!  It’s October.  It’s fall.  It’s the season for outdoor sports and fingers crossed that you don’t get rained on.  (We’ve had a perfect record for sunny soccer game days, so far.)  And now that the calendar has flipped over to October, we can also say it’s time for pumpkins.  Check out our great list of local pumpkin patches and watch for more fall activities stories.

Here’s what is going on around town 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 For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our events calendar.

Thriving at Home: FirstLight HomeCare Shares the Benefits of In-Home Care

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/02/2015 - 6:00am



By Sarah Lane for FirstLight HomeCare

FirstLight HomeCare brings a helping hand to you, enabling loved ones to stay in their homes longer.

FirstLight HomeCare brings a helping hand to you, enabling loved ones to stay in their homes longer.

When agencies providing in-home care services, such as FirstLight HomeCare, were introduced into the nation’s health care system, it was to ensure senior citizens had access to basic care within the comfort and privacy of their homes.

If you have a parent or aging family member who needs extra assistance to remain living independently, you may be wondering how home care compares with the option of moving your loved one into a senior facility.  In other words, what are the primary benefits of home care?

  • Staying at home.
    A recent study by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) found that over 90 percent of older adults prefer the idea of living in the familiarity of their homes over moving to a retirement home or assisted living facility as they age. With the introduction of home care agencies, staying at home is now a sensible and practical option for your aging loved one.
  • Maintaining independence as long as possible.
    Seniors are happier and healthier when living in their homes.  Home care provides invaluable assistance and support to older adults who are unable to perform many of the basic daily chores and living activities. Home care allows your loved one to “age in place,” living safely, independently and comfortably at home, regardless of age or ability level.
  • Personalized services to fit every circumstance.
    The beauty of home care is that services can be tailored to the specific needs of every patient and situation – as much or as little care as necessary; short-term or long-term care; from a few hours a day up to 24/7 coverage; even as on-call or back-up to family caregivers. FirstLight HomeCare also provides unique services to assist people who have specific health conditions, such as dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, ALS or MS.
  • One-on-one care.
    Too often, caregivers in nursing homes are unable to provide attentive care because they have so many patients to attend to. Senior facilities often don’t offer the personalized services that many seniors need. Utilizing a home care agency also provides aging adults with added safety and security in their homes. Having caregivers with them means your loved one is more protected from possible accidents that might occur, like falling when using stairs, taking a shower or going for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • More affordable than a nursing home, retirement home or assisted-living facility.
    Home care is often a more affordable way of providing care than moving into a facility. For example, according to the 2015 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial, a Fortune 500 insurance company, the median cost of a one-bedroom residence in an assisted-living community is $4,525 per month here in Thurston County. In contrast, the cost of having a caregiver from FirstLight HomeCare spend 30 hours/week caring personally for your family member is nearly 30% less.
  • The best caregivers.
    The caregivers at FirstLight HomeCare are highly trained and certified professionals who are passionate about providing compassionate, reliable care to aging and disabled adults. Utilizing our extensive screening and superior hiring standards, FirstLight HomeCare is proud of our reputation of having the best caregivers in the home care industry.

    Sarah Lane

    Sarah Lane

Call FirstLight HomeCare for a free comprehensive in-home assessment to see if home care services are the right choice for your loved one.


“Thriving at Home” is a monthly column by Sarah Lane, a certified Home Care Aide and owner of FirstLight HomeCare — South Sound.  To learn more about home care,respite caredementia care, or any of the non-medical home care services offered by FirstLight HomeCare, give Sarah a call at 360-489-1621 or go to



Drip Espresso Bar Celebrates Fall Flavor with Free Pastries

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 1:06pm



Submitted by Drip Espresso Bar

Drip Espresso Bar introduces a salted caramel mocha and their pumpkin spice latte for fall.

Drip Espresso Bar introduces a salted caramel mocha and their pumpkin spice latte for fall, made from scratch with real pumpkin and spices.

Fall is in the air, as well as in the pastry case and in your cup, at Drip Espresso Bar on Capitol Way in Olympia. As the downtown coffee shop launches into their fourth month serving Olympia’s coffee loving residents, they are serving up the flavors of fall with new signature drinks and fresh scratch-baked pastries.

Drip manager Tiffany Peters shares the two newest additions to the Drip Espresso Bar menu.  “We are serving a Pumpkin Spice Latte that is made with pumpkin sauce we make ourselves,” she shares.  And the best thing about this version of the popular PSL?  The pumpkin sauce is made with real pumpkin and real spices by Peters herself with nothing artificial included.  The feedback they have gotten so far is that the drink truly tastes like a pumpkin pie in your cup with no bitter or acidic aftertaste.

The second new addition to the drink menu is the Salted Caramel Mocha.  Need we say more?  This tasty treat combines the Drip signature mocha with salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, a salted caramel drizzle all topped with course sea salt.  Yes, it is as good as it sounds.


The Apple Cinnamon muffin is just one of four new pastries featured at Drip for fall.

The Apple Cinnamon muffin is just one of four new pastries featured at Drip for fall.

Along with fall drink additions, Drip is introducing four new pastries to celebrate the harvest flavors of fall.

Pumpkin bread, a coffee shop staple, makes it’s appearance in the Drip pastry case this month.  This version is baked fresh in the dedicated bakery shared by Drip Espresso Bar and Meconi’s Italian Subs by pastry chef Callie Robello.  Moist and full of pumpkin flavor, this bread is the exactly what you are looking for in this classic treat.

Want your pumpkin bread with a twist?  Try the Pumpkin Pecan crumb muffin featuring a fresh pumpkin flavor with a coffee cake style topping.  Perfect with a cup of Batdorf and Bronson drip coffee or an americano brewed fresh by Drip baristas.

Apple Cinnamon muffins conjure up the flavor of freshly baked apple pie with large chunks of fresh apple and a lattice icing topping.  These muffins are fall-apart moist every time.

Try an Orange Cranberry White-Chocolate Chip scone on Friday, October 2.  First 100 customers get a free fall pastry with their drink purchase.

Try an Orange Cranberry White-Chocolate Chip scone on Friday, October 2. First 100 customers get a free fall pastry with their drink purchase.

The fourth fall pastry offering is the Orange Cranberry White-Chocolate Chip scone.  Those who like their pastries not too sweet will enjoy this scone made from scratch and delivered fresh to Drip with it’s subtle orange flavor and plump cranberries.

Want to sample these tasty treats?  Swing into Drip Espresso Bar Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to grab an espresso drink and pastry.

Want your pastry for free?  Swing by on Friday October 2.  The first 100 customers will receive a free fall pastry of their choice with the purchase of a drink.  What’s better than free pastry to kick off your Blue Friday?


Drip Espresso Bar

1018 Capitol Way S in Olympia



Ally Norman Continues Family Tradition with Olympia High School Swimming

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/01/2015 - 10:56am



By Gail Wood

Capitol City Honda sponsorWhat’s in a name? Well, if you’re a Norman, it’s certain to include a little chlorine and water.

The Normans, from Chelsea to Sarah to Ally, have been big-time point getters for the Olympia High School Bears swim team for nearly a decade.

Ally Norman is a two-time state qualifier on the Olympia High School swim team.

Ally Norman is a two-time state qualifier on the Olympia High School swim team.

The Norman family has become part of coach Mel Smith’s yearly check list at that first practice.

First, there’s the counting of the turnout for the Olympia Bears swim team – 40 showed up at that first practice this year, including 19 freshman. Then there’s the projection for the potential state qualifiers – the Bears are again loaded with talent. And then there’s the Norman count – for the past seven years there’s been a Norman on the team.

First there was Chelsea, the oldest of the Normans and a state qualifier who graduated four years ago and is now a senior at the University of Arizona. Last year, there was Sarah and Ally Norman, who were double trouble for opponents. And now, the Bears are down to one – Ally, who is a junior and a two-time state qualifier.

She’s living up to the Norman tradition.

“Ally is following in those footsteps,” Smith said. “She’s probably got district times already in four events.”

olympia swimming

Olympia swimmers go through another practice at The Evergreen State College.

Last year, as a sophomore, Ally qualified for state in two individual events and two relays – the 200-yard medley relay, the 100 butterfly (58.7), the 100 backstroke (1:02.0) and the 200 freestyle relay.

“She’s a very talented young woman,” Smith said. “It’s exciting to have her doing so well as a junior because we know she’ll be back one more year for us.”

And it’s not just in the pool when Ally excels. With her 3.5 GPA, she’s a true definition of student-athlete. Swimming has taught her some life lessons, like learning how to best use her time.

“People ask me what do I do with my time,” Ally said before a recent practice. “I say I swim. You really have to enjoy swimming. You have to put in a lot of time and work into it.”

Besides swimming on her high school team, Ally’s also on the Thurston Olympians Swim Club and swims year around. She’ll occasionally squeeze in two workouts in a day during the school season, jumping into the pool at 5:30 a.m. for a one hour workout.

olympia swimming

Mel Smith is back as the Olympia Bears swim coach.

At first, Ally didn’t get into swimming just because it was something her sisters were doing. It was therapy. An accident while riding her bicycle got her into the pool when she was six.

“I had broken my leg,” Ally said. “I couldn’t walk on it too well. So, swimming was kind of a therapy thing.”

By the time Ally was 12, she made an important discovery about swimming. Hard work equals faster times.

“When I was 12, all my friends moved up in swimming,” Ally said. “And then I realized that I had to start really applying myself to get better. And then I started getting better.”

With Sarah just two years older, there developed a healthy sibling rivalry.

“Whenever we’d race I’d always try to beat her,” Ally said. “She always wanted to beat me.”

olympia swimming

Ally Norman continues the “Norman” tradition with the Bears.

Besides her sister, Sarah had an unexpected challenge last year during her senior season. She had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst just before districts, yet she still reached state. It was just another example of that Norman drive.

“Ally has a fantastic work ethic,” Smith said. “She has 100 percent attendance. She works hard.”

There’s some swimming genetics in the Norman family. Their dad, Charles, swam at the University of Arizona.

“Swimming is fun,” Ally said. “It’s so peaceful when you’re under water. And there’s people around you and you get to know them really well. It’s a lot of fun.”

When Ally graduates next year, the Norman tradition won’t end. Ally has a younger sister who is 12. And, naturally, she swims.

olympia swimming

Olympia is again loaded with talented swimmers.

Besides Ally, the Bears have several other state qualifiers back from last year. Melissa Ward qualified in the 100 freestyle with a 57.2. Other strong swimmers for the Bears include Honour Middleton, Lacey Wright, Naya HansenTilkens, Anya Dickinson, and Michelle Yen.

Gig Harbor, Stadium and Timberline will again be the strong challenges in league.

“We have a lot of kids out and we’ve got some good depth,” said Smith, who is in his ninth season as the Bears coach and 39th overall as a coach. “It’s just a matter of working hard and getting faster.”


Olympia Police Clear Officer Donald in Shooting Case

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 4:08pm

By Janine
Many individuals and community groups are working harder than ever on issues and conversations about race, racism and police issues ever since the Olympia police officer involved shooting of two young African American men on May 21.
Those conversations are expected to intensify.
An Olympia Police Department (OPD) shooting review board issued its conclusion on Wednesday afternoon that no policies had been violated by Officer Ryan Donald during the incident. Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts reviewed the Board’s decision and concurred.
The board determined that Officer Donald’s actions were within policy and that they did not precipitate the use of force. The decision was unanimous. According to the release, Officer Donald will return to duty in the next few weeks.
“Because of the trauma of the event and the length of his absence, the Department has a plan to reintegrate Officer Donald before assigning his routine duties,” it states.
The review board was comprised of OPD Deputy Chief Steve Nelson, OPD Lieutenant Aaron Jelcick, Deputy City Attorney Darren Nienaber, OPD Officer Jason Winner and Executive Director for the Commission of African American Affairs Edward Prince.
In a brief memorandum from Lt. Aaron Jelcick to Chief Roberts, Jelcick says that between September 21 and 29, the group reviewed more than 600 pages of investigative reports. 
On September 29, the group visited the site of the shooting near Cooper Point Road on Olympia’s westside and interviewed Officer Donald.
Chief Roberts stated, “Although the review process is complete, our conversations about this incident - our conversations about our police department and our community - are very important to us and will be on-going for some time to come.  As an agency, we pride ourselves on being open, honest and transparent in what we do and how we do it.  We hope that we’ve proved that to you again during this difficult time.
“Amongst many different venues, you can find us talking with you in your neighborhoods, schools, faith groups, business groups, civic organizations and government assemblies.  Please join us in these important conversations so that we can be the type of agency that you would like to see serving our community.”
For a copy of the official memorandum from the shooting review board follow this link and more detailed information about the Shooting Review Board, go to:
Ad Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations
The next meeting of the city’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations is Monday, October 5, 5:30 p.m. at Olympia City Hall, in the council chambers.
The committee will host a public community forum on Saturday, October 10, 1:00-5:00 p.m., at Risen Faith Fellowship, 2129 E 4th St, Olympia.
For more information about the Olympia Police Department, the officer involved shooting on May 21, the Ad-Hoc Committee on Policing and Community Relations and other police related news, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comor the City of Olympia website at

Indie Publishing: Get Your Writing Out There

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:36pm
Event:  Wed, 10/14/2015 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Independent publishing now rivals the combined output of all the publishers in New York. Authors Anthea Sharp and Ryan Williams will talk about how to get your writing directly into the hands of readers. This event is part of Timberland Reads Together - a one book, one community reading program.



LOCATION: Tenino Timberland Library

172 Central Avenue West, Tenino, WA 98589

(360) 264-2369.


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Printing & Ebooks for Self-Published Authors

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:35pm
Event:  Tue, 10/13/2015 - 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Join us for a talk on book printing and self-publishing with book printer Alison Bailey. Learn the process of book printing, ins and outs of self-publishing, ebook options and see examples of books printed in the Gorham Printing shop in Centralia.  Bring your questions for Q & A afterward! This event is part of Timberland Reads Together - a one book, one community reading program.


Location: Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St SW, Tumwater WA 98501. 
Phone: 360-943-7790. 
Intercity Transit route 12/13. 
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Making the Most of Your Writing Time

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:34pm
Event:  Sat, 10/10/2015 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

“I only write when I'm inspired, and I make sure I'm inspired every morning at 9 a.m.” Learn how to turn off your inner critic and make the most of the time you set aside to practice your craft. Participants will learn how to create a writing-friendly environment, manage and prepare for their writing time and how to measure success rather than focus on artificial deadlines. Presented by local author and writing instructor, Lindsay Schopfer.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library. This event is part of Timberland Reads Together - a one book, one community reading program.


Location: Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St SW, Tumwater WA 98501. 
Phone: 360-943-7790. 
Intercity Transit route 12/13. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Choose Your Words Carefully

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 3:33pm
Event:  Sat, 10/03/2015 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm

Mark Twain said that the difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug. Storytellers of all skills and disciplines will benefit from this fun and insightful look at the language they choose for their creative writing. Participants will learn how to develop their own unique writing voice, how to use a thesaurus wisely, how to write powerful metaphors and similes, and how to avoid clichés. Presented by local author and writing instructor, Lindsay Schopfer.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library. This event is part of Timberland Reads Together - a one book, one community reading program.

Location: Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St SW, Tumwater WA 98501. 
Phone: 360-943-7790. 
Intercity Transit route 12/13. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Candidates Forum -- don't forget

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 2:47pm

The City Council candidates (4 out of the 5; the last one had a conflict) will be presenting their views on land-use questions tomorrow night, 7:00 at Traditions. 

Many of City Council's decisions have to do with land-use questions.  Councilmembers can decide land-use questions in ways that are helpful to all of us, or just a few; in ways that are helpful for future generations or just for the short term. 

Come and evaluate the candidates' answers to a set of questions.  (Your own questions come at the end.)  Light refreshments. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Orca Books Children's Book Event: local authors Terri Cohlene and Doug Keith present "Something Special"

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 2:35pm
Event:  Sun, 10/04/2015 - 1:00pm

Orca Books is delighted to welcome Terri Cohlene and Doug Keith to the store. Terri and Doug co-authored the wonderful picture book "Something Special," about a curious little frog who finds a mysterious gift outside his home near the castle moat. Terri will also be signing copies of her new book "Witch's Brew" and Doug will have copies of his newest title, "The Storybook Prince".

This is a free event at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E, Olympia.

Terri grew up in Skyway, a suburb of Renton, Washington where she competed with her two brothers in polliwog-catching, berry-tossing and slug-handling.  Her work is influenced by car trips to Eastern Washington and visits to her grandparents’ apple orchard in Cashmere.  She is has authored nine books for children, serves on the board of Olympia Poetry Network, and is a freelance editor in Olympia, Washington.

Doug began his professional career as a commercial artist in New York City shortly after leaving art school in 1974. He has thirty years of experience in illustration, commercial art, graphic design, sculpting and fine art. His versatility earns him a wide range of projects including more than forty illustrated books, a series of popular alphabet posters, sculptures for garden statuary and numerous fine art commissions. Seattle’s EMP Museum tapped his sculpting skills to create museum quality mannequins for many of their exhibits. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Neo Boys Inducted Into Oregon Music Hall of Fame!

K Records - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 1:09pm
Wowza, what an honor! The Neo Boys are one of small handful of musicians and bands being inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame for the year of 2015! They are one in a brief list of fellow 2015 inductees that includes Heatmiser, the band that marked the first big success for Elliott Smith before he went solo. This is certainly a […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Nationally Touring Beatles Biography Show Comes to Olympia

Thurston Talk - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:31am



beatles tribute olympia

In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles is the award-winning musical biography of the Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, featuring the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. Photo credit: Michelle Fairless.

In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles is the nationally touring musical biography of the Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, featuring the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. In My Life performs at The Washington Center in Olympia on Wednesday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. The show is appropriate for all ages. The Olympia High School String Quartet will accompany the cast on stage for five songs.

More than just a Beatles tribute concert, In My Life gives the audience a chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of the Beatles: Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, The Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, Abbey Road Studios and the final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp offices. With manager Brian Epstein serving as narrator, In My Life allows the audience to get a glimpse inside the world of the Beatles from their point of view, as well as hear some of the greatest songs ever written. Historical settings such as the Cavern Club are established on stage with videos and images which play behind the actors and musicians on a video screen.

beatles tribute band

Members of the In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles include (from left) Nate Bott (“John”), Axel Clarke (“Ringo”), Jesse Wilder (“George”) and Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”). Photo credit: Michelle Fairless.

With their tight harmonies, flawless renditions, custom–tailored costumes, vintage instruments, Liverpudlian dialect and precise attention to detail, they recreate the magic of the Beatles, including the Fab Four’s cheeky personalities and familiar onstage banter. In My Life takes the audience back to February 1964 when America watched the Beatles for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show, playing “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Progressing through their various musical stages, the audience re-experiences the psychedelic era of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the creation of the haunting “Blackbird” and the raucous rock and roll of “Revolution.”

“The show delivers!” said the L.A. Times. “If you see one tribute show, see this one – smart and loads of fun,” said the O.C. Register. “This is the ticket for you,” said the Idaho Statesman. “The most original of all the shows on the Beatles,” San Diego Theatre Review. Abbey Road recently concluded a three month residency at the Harrah’s Reno showroom and is now performing a two month residency this summer at the Harrah’s Laughlin showroom.

beatles tribute band

The Olympia High School string quartet will join the Beatles tribute band on stage during a few productions. The quartet includes (from left) Jeremy Ong, Anna Elewski, Arkira Chantaratananond and Jiali Zhang..

Olympia High School students Jiali Zhang, Anna Elewski, Arkira Chantaratananond and Theodore Jeremy Ong will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.” In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

The show in Olympia is part of a 125 city tour through the U.S., Canada and Australia.

To purchase tickets, visit

Freedom Farmers Grow Food for Olympia School District Students

Thurston Talk - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

oly fed sponsorRemember outdoor classroom – that rare time when your teacher would migrate the entire class outside to take advantage of an unusually warm spring day.

Whenever the announcement was made to head outdoors, whether it was in first grade or senior year, every student seemed to get excited. Grab the textbooks, leave the desks behind, plop down on a patch of grass and learn.

Olympia High School teacher Blue Peetz has taken that concept to a completely higher level.

freedom farmers

Freedom farmers include (from left) paraeducator Tamasina Eagleson, Cassity Gullekson, Erica Engleke, Elizabeth Baez, Jony Sierra, Olympia High School teacher Blue Peetz, Monroe Reinhart and Amaya Escamilla.

Peetz oversees the Olympia High School Freedom Farmers, a program which came out of a partnership between the non-profit GRuB and the Olympia School District career and technical education department.

The vision was to take the GRuB model of inspiring community change by bringing people together through food and agriculture and accredited it at Olympia High School in an attempt to create something students could get credits for while doing farm-related work.

Using that initial plan as a foundation, Olympia High School now offers a year-round program for students to receive job training on a farm owned by the OSD.

“Not every student thrives with 35 other students sitting at a desk in a traditional learning environment,” Peetz said. “That learning style doesn’t work for everyone. We’ve had a lot of success with students who don’t succeed in the traditional setting, and out here they are doing fantastic.”

Muirhead Farm is an 18-acre property located just off Yelm Highway on Siskiyou Street and it is owned by the Olympia School District. Here students are growing a wide variety of vegetables, everything from carrots and broccoli to potatoes and cauliflower.

“The students are basically responsible for the management of the farm. What is special about this particular farm is we grow food primarily for the OSD cafeterias,” Peetz said. “You have a lot of schools around the country that are now sourcing food locally, but you don’t see a lot of school districts that basically have their own farm where students are growing food for all the schools and at the same time getting credits for it.”

The program, now in its third year, is a four-period block class where students earn credits in biology, American history and horticultural. And the end results of been impressive.

freedom farmers

Olympia High School students enrolled in the Freedom Farmers program spend four hours a day at Muirhead Farm.

During the summer program, which students earn a $1,000 educational stipend for doing work on the organic farm, approximately 11,000 pounds of produce was grown and circulated back into the Olympia School District’s 18 schools, saving the district $8,000 in food costs while providing food for its cafeterias and the district’s free summer lunch programs, as well as SafePlace.

“We may not be able to solve everything,” Peetz said, “but at least we’re contributing something.”

That contribution is expected to continue to grow as Peetz estimates the 26-member class will bring in between 13,000 and 15,000 pounds this time around with the latter being the ultimate goal.

“There are so many people out there that don’t know where their next healthy meal is going to come from,” said Olympia High School sophomore Monroe Reinhart. “It’s proven that there’s enough food for everyone, but not everyone knows where to get it. We’re helping solve that by providing food to the community and to the elementary schools.”

Equally important, however, is what the students who are giving so much get back out of it.

“It gives me a sense of belonging that I don’t get if I just go to school,” said sophomore Amaya Escamilla, who along with 15 other students has worked both the summer and fall programs. “This place really caught me in a time when I needed that sense of belonging in my life.”

She was not along in here feelings towards the Freedom Farmers program.

Sophomore Elizabeth Baez called the group “a family.” Classmate Cassity Gullekson added, “When I first came here I was pretty anti-society. I wasn’t a butterfly, I was a caterpillar. Now, I am super open and more comfortable to step out of my boundaries and try new things.”

freedom farmers

The majority of food grown by Freedom Farmers is returned to Olympia School District cafeterias.

Future plans are being considered to utilize more of the farm’s property with the goal of using four additional acres to establish an orchard so fruit can be brought into the school district.

“It feels like what you are doing here isn’t for nothing,” Escamilla said. “At times, in school, it feels like you are preparing for something that is so far away. Here you’re working towards something that is happening now. We are growing food for people who need it now.”

The Olympia School District has already pledge $25,000 for next year’s summer program, while Olympia Federal Savings made a donation to help with funding this summer’s efforts.

“The program has become a magnet. People really are attracted to what we do here and want to be a part of it. We’ve seen such community investment from the school district to the individual donors to Oly Fed,” Peetz said. “People like what we do here and I think they like how simple it is. Its students growing food for their schools.”

With just a portion of the 18 acres currently being used, Peetz and his students see the potential of the farm’s growth as more students and outside donors become involved with the program.

“We came here at the very beginning of the program. We were at the start of it and get to see it evolve and grow,” Reinhart said. “Hopefully we can come back in 25 years and see this huge farm.”

And it’s that type of dedicated mindset that helps solve long-term problems.

“What I love about working with young people is they bring such joy to it,” Peetz said. “Sometimes when it’s just adults working on issues like this, they get too serious, and that prevents them from being creative. Young people, a lot of times, aren’t given opportunities like this. It’s just a great marriage of opportunity, producing great food for the district and students working toward graduating.”

To keep in touch with Freedom Farmers, follow the group on Facebook.


Father Edwin Leahy on The Rule at Saint Martin’s University Benedictine Institute Lecture Series

Thurston Talk - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 6:00am



father edwin leahy

Father Edwin Leahy will deliver the Benedictine Institute’s fourth annual address at 7:00 p.m. on October 7 at the Norman Worthington Conference Center, located on the Saint Martin’s campus in Lacey.

How can a 1,500-year-old book act as a useful guide for how to live together and behave in the 21st century? Further, if it were written by a Catholic monk for other monks, how can the principles it outlines be applied to non-Catholics and those with no specific faith?

Those are the questions Father Edwin Leahy, O.S.B., faced in Newark, New Jersey in 1972, and they are also the guiding force behind the Saint Martin’s University Benedictine Lecture Series. Leahy will deliver the Institute’s fourth annual address at 7:00 p.m. on October 7 at the Norman Worthington Conference Center, located on the Saint Martin’s campus in Lacey.

For Leahy, known as ‘Father Ed,’ the answer was clear: use the methods outlined by St. Benedict in The Rule to revitalize a boys’ prep school in a poverty-stricken neighborhood devastated by civil unrest in 1967.

“Prior to 1967, Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School was a school that had attracted middle class boys from the suburbs,” says Father Kilian Malvey, O.S.B., executive director of the Benedictine Institute at Saint Martin’s.  “It was a good choice to go to St. Benedict’s if you wanted to get into a good college. After the 1967 riots, the enrollment began to drop.”

Approximately half of the community of monks left Newark and went to another abbey, leaving the rest of the community behind. “One of the vows that Benedictine monks and sisters take is a vow of stability, the idea that God has led me to this place and I will live my life here,” says Malvey. “These young men took that very seriously and they said, ‘No. We are here to serve the boys in Newark.’”

The school shut down for the 1972-1973 school year as the monks considered how to best deliver a quality education to their new constituents. When it re-opened in 1973, most of the students came from the surrounding neighborhood and were of African-American and Hispanic heritage. Leahy became headmaster when the school re-opened. Today, the school has a nearly 100-percent college acceptance rate. In 2014, a documentary about St. Benedict’s, called The Rule, was released to critical acclaim.

saint martins lecture

Lecture attendees greet Eboo Patel, the president and founder of Interfaith Youth Core, and the first speaker in the annual series.

“This documentary makes the point, very clearly, that this school is built on the wisdom and insight of The Rule of St. Benedict,” says Jonathan Dwyer, who taught at the school for three years and today is director of Campus Ministry at Saint Martin’s.  “I know, from Father Ed, that part of the way he governs as a headmaster is by rooting everything in his understanding of the rule of St. Benedict.”

“We thought that this is a wonderful opportunity for us,” continues Dwyer. “We’re not a boys’ prep school in Newark; we’re a co-ed university in Washington with our own culture and our own life and challenges but how do we have conversations with students and faculty? For those of us who are Catholic and not Catholic and coming from various perspectives, how does this rule inform who we are as a university?”

Malvey and Dwyer believe Leahy is an excellent fit in the ongoing lecture series. “Our focus has always been monastic Benedictine spirituality that would touch all people, that would have an appeal to our human nature and our spirituality,” explains Malvey. “I have not yet met Father Ed, but any human being might easily give up when faced with the challenges of a school like St. Benedict’s. Watching him and his spirit of dedication and commitment, so full of energy and aliveness, I could see how he’d be an inspiration for the students and the people who work with him.”

saint martins lecture series

Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk, was last year’s speaker during Saint Martin’s University’s Benedictine Institute Lecture Series.

Dwyer has worked closely with Malvey in shaping the focus of the Benedictine Institute Lecture Series. “It’s kind of evolving,” he says. “The Institute is new. The mission is to be a vehicle for inculcating our Catholic and Benedictine heritage, identity and spirituality to the university community, but also to the wider Catholic and non-Catholic world beyond the Saint Martin’s campus.”

The first speaker in the series was Eboo Patel, the president and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core. “(Patel) is a Rhodes Scholar Muslim-American whose mission is to build interfaith communities on college university campuses, to help people see the differences between faith and no-faith as a bridge of understanding rather than as a barrier,” says Dwyer. Patel was followed by Dr. Ken Butigan, a Catholic peace activist, and Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk.

Dwyer says that including non-Catholics in the series was in accord with Benedictine teachings. “Within the Benedictine tradition, there is a real sense of community and of our connectedness with each other,” he says. “The movement from there into non-Christians and people of a no-faith community is a logical step.”

saint martins lecture

The hope is that attending the Saint Martin’s University Benedictine Institute Lecture Series is an informative event and provides a moment of inspiration.

Malvey also emphasizes the expansive nature of the tradition. “When the Saint Martin’s Abbey Church was designed, there was that thought of inclusiveness. When you walk in, it’s not like your traditional Roman Catholic church. The architecture and the theology embrace the Quaker faith, the Hindu faith, and the Orthodox faith, as well as the Catholic faith. I always hope that when visitors come to the abbey church, they will have that feeling of being included.”

For those who attend the lecture, Malvey has one wish: “Very simply, I hope it will be an informative experience for them and also a moment of inspiration,” he says. “I hope they will be inspired by the goodness and the richness of The Rule and of Father Edwin.”

For more information about the Benedictine Institute Lecture Series, call (360) 412-6152 or visit the Saint Martin’s University website.


Local Dentists Get a Little Goofy at the 14th Annual Dental Benefit Show

Thurston Talk - Wed, 09/30/2015 - 6:00am



Submitted by Dr. Jared Persinger

 Krina Allison

The Union Gospel Mission’s 14th Annual Dental Benefit show will be held October 17 at 7:00 p.m. Photo Credit: Krina Allison

You have probably heard about dentists going abroad on a dental mission trip, usually extracting teeth in a poor country. But did you know that your local dentists and the Olympia Union Gospel Mission run a no-fee dental clinic right here, serving thousands of Thurston County residents annually?

And did you know that even with some items donated and all of the dentist and hygienist time volunteered, it still costs $130,000 each year to run a dental clinic that serves so many people?

Well now you do. And since your heart aches when others suffer and you wish there was some way to help directly, locally, and effectively, your wish has come true.

Be our guest and support the 14th Annual Dental Benefit Show being held at 7:00 p.m. on October 17 at the classy Washington Center for the Performing Arts. An entertaining way to go out downtown or get out with the family, our show is always fun for all ages.

This year’s theme is A Salute to Disney, featuring songs that speak to the inner child in all of us, from the nostalgia of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to that song from Frozen (you know the one I’m talking about).

Local dentists and hygienists take the stage to raise funds for the Olympia Union Gospel Mission's Free Dental Clinc.

Local dentists and hygienists take the stage to raise funds for the Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s Free Dental Clinc.

The 16-piece Olympia Jazz Senators tie together this spectacular of singing and dancing, starring local dentists, ringer singers with refined talent (including a Miss Washington), and the exhilarating Debbie’s Dance, whose big number last year was so spectacular that my face hurt from smiling.

If you have ever wanted to see your dentist in an uncomfortable position instead of yourself, now is your chance. Tickets cost $10 to $25 and can be purchased by visiting or calling the box office at 360-753-8586. Please help make this a sell-out event so the Mission can offer the best year of services yet.

Donations* are very thankfully accepted the night of the show, but can also be made online anytime at And best of all, your giving power is doubled either way thanks to an anonymous local donor matching you dollar for dollar. (Please designate the Benefit Show at checkout if online.)

Join the fun and raise money for this valuable, local resource.

Join the fun and raise money for this valuable, local resource.

So next time you’re leaning back in the dental chair with any of this year’s singing dentists: Greg Psaltis, Venn Peterson, Steve Russell, Jim Hutchinson, Suneet Bath, Steve Kern, Kyle Winters, David Goerig and myself, Jared Persinger — or any one of the 75 local dentists who actively support the Mission in some way — please make sure to let us know that you support the Mission too. We will be extra gentle for you! (Just kidding, we are, of course, maximally gentle with everybody!)

*All funds raised by the show go to the dental clinic and 80% of OUGM’s healthcare/dental/vision services benefit the working poor. We are lucky in Thurston County to have this asset, please choose to support it.


14th Annual Dental Benefit Show

October 17, 7:00 p.m. at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets at or by phone at 360-753-8586


Cadillac Ranch, January 2015

Judith Baumann - Play - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 10:23pm

This past January, on our way to Amarillo, Texas via ABQ, the Tamarind crew stopped at Cadillac Ranch located directly on Route 66– The Mother Road. It was a rare, snowy mid-morning– perfect for picture-taking and tagging. Spray paint cans littered the ground, as visitors are actively encouraged to add their own art to the rusted out caddy hulks. It was a fun stop to stretch our legs and climb on old cars.



Pictured above, from left to right: Justin, Maria, Nora, Alice, Jackie, Mark, Danielle, Amanda and Candice.





Pictured above, left to right: Maria, Danielle, Candice, Justin, Jackie, and Nora!


Amanda peaking around the corner of the enhanced Tamarind chop, now with GOLD.


Paliza Canyon Goblin Colony, January 18, New Mexico

Judith Baumann - Play - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 5:42pm

Back in January, the Tamarind Adventure Club headed into the Jemez Wilderness in search of the Paliza Canyon Goblin Colony. After fighting our way through some rugged, icy single lane dirt roads, we finally arrived at a nearby campground– the closest we could get to the trailhead in winter. We approached the canyon from above and behind, hiking up an old service road for a couple miles before finally sighting the Goblin Colony. Had we approached from the designated trail head, there’s no way we would have discovered the extent of the hoodoo colony in the tree line above the canyon floor.

As always, we were lucky amateurs, relying on collective hunches.




Do you see the melting goblin faces? Also, it was eerily quiet. These forms really blocked sound from traveling; it was easy to get separated from folks.





Alligator Juniper! The first time I’d ever seen it… Now these trees feel like old friends.



Some of my favorite people, having lunch on a canyon wall, overlooking goblins.









On our way out… the canyon floor of course had significantly more sow accumulation. This was the perfect winter day hike!



Marine Life of Puget Sound

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 09/29/2015 - 1:13pm
Event:  Sat, 11/14/2015 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Learn about some of the fascinating marine creatures living right here in Puget Sound. At 2pm, beautiful photos and videos take you on a virtual field trip filled with surprises. Make a Save the Sound beaded necklace or marine life art project anytime throughout the day.

WET Science Center, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia, WA 98501 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like
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