Recent local blog posts

The Rain is Back, and So am I

Mojourner Truth - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 9:07pm

All of a sudden, I see it's been months since I posted here (if that makes any sense). Today, we've finally returned to prototypical Northwest weather: rain, the horizon blurred by a liquid sky, drizzle-drop-drench. I was just talking to my kids, and they agree, it's a relief.

So we must be fully acclimatized to this place. Last week, even though it was a full 20 degrees cooler than "sweltering" in the land of my birth, I was sweating, unable to keep count of how many sunny days we'd had in a row. The girls agree: too many days of bright blue skies in a row becomes oppressive. We welcome the wet blanket now.

Summer rarely reaches the white-sky, humid hellishness of a mid-Atlantic summer here, and it's true that we all soak it up, enjoy it, and retreat from the indoors. It's no accident that Northwesterners spend so much time hiking and camping and such. (OK, not me, but other people, whose jobs keep them inside most days.) This summer more than most, I took a hiatus from blogging and other trivialindoor pursuits. Instead: gardening, fieldwork, and gazing into the yard that became my own, and moving.

So, a new season, a new (old) house. Through great willpower, I've managed to put off doing yardwork at the new place, but that's about to change. For one thing, the communal/community garden is starting to wind down. For another, who the hell wants to dig up the yard when it is hot(ish) and the ground is hard? For yet another, there were side gigs and wildfire-chasing to do while the sun was out.

Now, as the drizzle softens the glacial outwash that is my yard, it's time to dig in. Now, as the Equinoctal threshhold has been crossed, there will be time to write. (As opposed to just clicking in photos at Anthrowback, my minor-effort summertime diversion.) Now, as Winter wrings the glare of Summer sun into a pool of mild Autumnal reflection, it's time to seek shelter under roofs and with kin.

Need donated clothing racks for donation room at Family Support Center!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 3:26pm
Event:  Tue, 09/23/2014 - 12:00am - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 3:30pm

Family Support Center is looking for clothing racks so we can organize our donation room! If you have one you can spare, please email or bring them to our downtown location: 201 Capitol Way N (corner of State and Capitol Way). logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Get Your Arts Walk Map in Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 1:50pm


  Submitted by The City of Olympia Night Spirits by Kristen Etmund graces the cover of the Arts Walk map this fall.  Photo Courtesy of City of Olympia

Night Spirits by Kristen Etmund graces the cover of the Arts Walk map this fall. Photo Courtesy of City of Olympia

On Friday, October 3, from 5-10 p.m., and Saturday, October 4 from 12-5 p.m., 96 downtown businesses will open their doors to showcase the wonderfully rich and diverse resource of visual and performing arts of the South Sound Region. Arts Walk maps are NOW available at these participating locations, The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW and Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Ave E. A digital map can be found at here.

Enjoy two days of drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fibers and other visual art. Take in diverse performing arts, from family theater to a variety of musical styles and dance from Ballet to Butoh, Blues to Barbershop! Check out the gastronomic arts in the Cajun Culinary Throwdown! Whatever art form moves you, chances are you’ll find it downtown during Arts Walk.

For youth and families, the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department sponsors a hands-on activity area with the Hands on Children’s Museum. Stop by Friday, October 3, at Washington Street and 5th Avenue between 5-9 p.m. for kid’s face painting and art making.

The Arts Walk map cover this fall features the artwork Night Spirits, by Kristin Etmund. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Kristen studied art and art history at The Evergreen State College, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 2003. While at Evergreen, she had the opportunity to work with great professors and experiment with several different printmaking methods, eventually falling in love with the woodblock medium. Kristen has been creating and showing her work, often inspired by the beautiful flora and fauna of the Puget Sound, in Olympia for almost ten years.

Arts Walk is sponsored by the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department and the Olympia Arts Commission, with support provided by Art House Designs, Capitol City Press, Mixx 96 FM, and the Washington State Employees Credit Union along with participating artists and businesses.

For more information, please contact Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation, at 360.753.8380

Calvin and Linton!

K Records - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 1:22pm
Seen above is Calvin Johnson (The Hive Dwellers) and Linton (of the the newly-reformed Aisler Set) in Los Angeles, CA. Linton wandered over to a performance by The Hive Dwellers, Bouquet and Dream Boys in Los Angeles at Ooga Booga 2. Linton is the down-the-street neighbor of Wayne from Dream Boys. We’re not talking Los […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill

0121mtrainiercloudsThis ghostly view of THE mountain was taken from the Highway 512 Park and Ride, as we waited for our bus to take us to Seattle and Queen Anne Hill. Thirteen enthusiastic Rebels by Bus exited the bus in Seattle at 4th and Pike, directly across the street from the Westlake Mall.  We went directly to the top (3rd) floor on the Mall in order to catch the 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair remnant:  the monorail.  This short ride shows a great deal of new construction in the area.  We pass through a tunnel created by Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project, and glide into the Seattle Center.  Straight ahead is the Center House (aka The Food Circus from World’s Fair days).  We scattered to find something for lunch.  Many of us settled on The Skillet Diner, with their award-winning bacon jam on burger.  Yum.

Next stop was across 5th Avenue to the Gates Foundation Visitor Center.  The Gates family passion for community and global philanthropy is very evident in this excellent (free) exhibit.  Everyone seemed very impressed and inspired by this brief visit.

After visiting the center we caught Metro Bus 3 one-half block from the Gates Center.  We exited by bus at Boston and Queen Anne Avenue, in the heart of the Queen AnneTowne-sign-and-puppy-1024x682 shopping district.  After a brief orientation to the neighborhood, we scattered to explore the area.  This cute pup and ball (by Georgia Gerber, the same artist that made the bronze pig at the Pike Place Market) sits guard at the new Towne Center, located on Queen Anne Avenue.  The anchor store here is the new location for Trader Joes.

0141churchmosaicThe mosaic to the left depicts the Bethel Presbyterian Church of Queen Anne Hill, a long-standing integral part of the neighborhood.  There are seven beautiful mosaics in this courtyard, each depicting a well-loved Queen Anne landmark.

One of my favorite spots on the Avenue is the Queen Anne Book store, a small but well stocked independent book seller.  They sell the fun hand-drawn map depicting the 253 staircases of Queen Anne Hill.   La Reve’ French bakery is always busy, for good reason!

My next stop on Queen Anne is to check out Kerry Park, which is located on Highland Drive,  located a few blocks downhill from Queen Anne and Galer.  Take a right off Queen Anne on Highland Drive, walk just a couple blocks… and there is Kerry Park.  The park is really just a widening of the sidewalk with several benches to admire the amazing vast view of Seattle, Mt. Rainier (which, unfortunately did not show today), and Elliott Bay.  Keep on walking down Highland Drive past huge, old mansions and lovely gardens to Marshall Park and the Betty Bowen gardens.  From here, Elliott Bay, Alki Point, and the Olympics are the key views.  The Olympics were barely visible; you had to know what you were looking for to identify the shadows as mountains.  Across Highland Drive from this viewpoint is a shaded garden which invites a meandering stroll.  A few perennials were still blooming in this well maintained oasis.

The group met back at Galer and Queen Anne to catch our bus, transferring at 4th and Lenora for our journey home.

Another fun filled day comes to a close…

Categories: Local Environment

Mud Bay Coffee Company: Serving Up Care and Hand-Crafted Goodness in Every Cup

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 11:49am



mud bay coffee

Kids and adults will both find plenty to like at the family-friendly Mud Bay Coffee Company. The spacious atmosphere, custom-made drinks and pastry delights will leave the whole family happy.

The last days of summer are upon us here in Olympia. On a hot day, nothing is better than stopping for an iced drink in a cool, air-conditioned oasis. The locally-owned Mud Bay Coffee Company has plenty of treats in store for you, and a unique, welcoming atmosphere to boot.

I stopped by their bustling West Olympia store to find out what makes them so special. They’ve been serving up cups of their hand-crafted beverages to local residents for over a decade.

Tucked away on Olympia’s West Side (1600 Cooper Point Road), stepping into Mud Bay Coffee Company feels like a “time out,” where you can sit and savor coffee over a book or conversation with friends. You’ll find a charming atmosphere, friendly baristas, and most importantly, top-notch coffee and fresh-baked treats. Many of their products are locally sourced, and they make an effort to be as eco-friendly as possible.

But these aren’t the only things that make them special. In addition to their coffee shop, they also have a drive-thru.  They are the only independently-owned full-service coffee shop with a drive-thru in the area. So, if you’re in a hurry, you can get your freshly-made coffee to go.

They also offer plenty of cold drink options for hot days. In addition to their full espresso beverage line-up, they offer iced drinks, smoothies, and milkshakes. Did you know you can get a signature mango chai smoothie, a mocha milkshake or a toddy (cold-pressed coffee)? Kids (and kids at heart) will enjoy sipping one of their Italian sodas, made with high-quality Monin brand syrup. Mud Bay Coffee Company doesn’t use any products made with high-fructose corn syrup. You can also choose from a full range of loose-leaf teas, hot or iced.

mud bay coffee

You’ll find an awesome array of pastries, made at local bakeries, in Mud Bay Coffee Company’s well-stocked pastry case. Photo courtesy of Mud Bay Coffee Company

Mud Bay Coffee Company offers plenty of food options, too. You can get breakfast, lunch and pastries to pair with your coffee drink. You’ll enjoy the atmosphere so much that you’ll want to stay for a meal. You can find breakfast burritos, quiche, personal thin-crust pizzas and more on the menu. And one of their locally-made pastry items is perfect at any time of day. Treat yourself to a cookie or French pastry.

As I talked with Ken Campbell, coffee roaster and co-owner, he told me the company prides itself on using as many local products as possible. They use milk from Smith Brothers Farms and pastries from local bakeries including Left Bank Bakery and gluten-free Smiling Mo’s Bakery. Their chocolate sauce is custom-made by Trop’s Chocolates in Gig Harbor, as are their white chocolate and caramel sauces.

Mud Bay Coffee Company takes a lot of pride in their coffee selection and roasting process. All of their coffee is purchased through Fair Trade and direct relationships with coffee growers around the world. Campbell also shares that Mud Bay roasts their coffee with an infrared process, which is supposed to be both healthier for people and the environment, producing much less carbon emission. As the sole roaster for Mud Bay Coffee Company, Campbell clearly takes pride in selecting the best coffees and roasting them to perfection for customers.

In fact, Mud Bay Coffee Company puts a whole lot of thought and conscientiousness into each cup. In addition to supporting local and fair-trade vendors, they also strive to be “green” in all aspects of their business. They compost and recycle, and recently installed energy-efficient LED lighting.

But perhaps the best thing about Mud Bay Coffee Company is the atmosphere. The coffee shop appeals to a wide range of customers. From students to business people, locals love coming to Mud Bay to hang out. It might be the fireplace in the corner with the comfy reading chairs, the local art on the walls or the welcoming baristas. It might be the outdoor tables, perfect for a lunchtime chat on a sunny day.

mud bay coffee

Nestled on Olympia’s West Side, Mud Bay Coffee Company offers an oasis of hot and iced drinks, along with pastries and meal options, to brighten up your day.

Mud Bay Coffee Company just possesses a certain charm that is hard to define but is so important in making a coffee shop unique. And it was designed to be inviting: co-owner Mary Campbell and her son, Brian Gregory, opened the coffee shop in 2003 and designed the entire interior themselves. They wanted the space to be inviting, warm, and comfortable, with great views out the large picture windows. Ken took over co-ownership of the shop with Mary about a year and a half ago, and now runs daily operations as well as being the roaster. He looks forward to preserving the strong foundation of the business which Brian spent years developing with its attention to quality products and service.

Inside the café, you’ll find a unique display of retail goods. If you’re looking for a gift item, or just a special treat for yourself, you can find bags of their freshly-roasted coffee (espresso roast is reported to be a customer favorite), teas and infusers, specialty coffee brewing items, mugs and more. They stock Ice Chips candies, made in Yelm. They also offer gift cards, which make a gift just about anybody would be happy to receive.

Another great thing about Mud Bay Coffee Company is that you can bring your four-legged companion along. Leashed dogs are welcome at the outdoor patio tables, and Campbell is even known to bring out fresh water for dogs on hot days. And if you bring your pooch through the drive-thru, they will receive a dog biscuit.

Mud Bay Coffee Company offers a 10% discount to military and their families, as well as, firefighters, EMS and law enforcement. Clearly, Mud Bay Coffee Company believes in supporting their community.

mud bay coffee

On the go? Stop by Mud Bay Coffee Company’s drive through on your way to work, or for a weekend treat or mid-day pick-me-up.

They also offer a great conference room for meetings and get-togethers. This room can seat 12-18 people and is a great way to have your meeting in a fun environment. The cost of the room can be applied toward food and drinks, and who wouldn’t want to enjoy these during a meeting.

If you haven’t already stopped by Mud Bay Coffee Company, I highly recommend you stop in and see first-hand what sets them apart. You’ll also want to stay tuned for their seasonal fall drinks, including apple cider from Lattin’s County Cider Mill and pumpkin spice lattes with their custom-made real pumpkin sauce from Trop’s Chocolates. “People were still coming for the pumpkin lattes after we were sold out for the season last fall,” Campbell notes.

To learn more about them, visit their website or check out their Facebook page. Whether you want to hit the drive-thru on your morning trek to work or are looking to spend an afternoon sipping coffee and reading or chatting, Mud Bay Coffee Company is just the place for you.

Mud Bay Coffee Company

1600 Cooper Point Road SW #630

Olympia, WA 98502

Business hours:

Monday-Friday – 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Saturday – 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Sunday – 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Fighting Chronic Fatigue with Oxygen at H3 Therapy Services

Thurston Talk - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 10:23am



oxygen therapy olympia

Educating patients is a primary focus for Michael Pfeifer, RRT, Clinical Director at H3 Therapy Services in Olympia.

Let’s face it, women in their 40s and 50s have a lot on their plates: schedules, families, work, and—occasionally—a social life.  But all the knowledge and experience you’ve earned are moot when faced with the diagnosis that isn’t a diagnosis: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

The National Library of Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe CFS as “a disorder that causes extreme fatigue. This fatigue is not the kind of tired feeling that goes away after you rest.  Instead, it lasts a long time and limits your ability to do ordinary daily activities.  CFS is hard to diagnose. There are no tests for it, and other illnesses can cause similar symptoms.  Your doctor has to rule out other diseases before making a diagnosis of CFS.  No one knows what causes CFS.  It is most common in women in their 40s and 50s, but anyone can have it.  It can last for years.  There is no cure for CFS, so the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms.  Medicine may treat pain, sleep disorders, and other problems.  Lifestyle changes, coping techniques, and a special, gradual exercise program can also help.”

One treatment option involves sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.  In this, pure oxygen is inhaled from within a pressurized chamber, allowing your body to absorb a greater concentration and promote healing and new cell growth.

A recent medical study published in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome showed that “certainly, the immediate effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is to relieve the cellular hypoxia that is a feature of chronic fatigue syndrome.”  A different 2013 study determined that hyperbaric oxygen therapy “decreases the severity of symptoms and increases the life quality of CFS patients.”

olympia hyperbaric

Education materials are easily accessible at H3 Therapy Services.

Olympia’s H3 Therapy Servicess offers both hyperbaric sessions and the sale and rental of new or used chambers for long-term home use.  Clinic Director Michael Pfeifer, RRT, explains that consistent use improves sleep, mobility, cognitive issues, and helps with pain management.

Our bodies consist of many white blood cells which help prevent infection.  Time spent in a hyperbaric chamber “makes white blood cells supercharged” says Pfeifer.  This is especially true, he says, when combined with other treatments; “hyperbarics enhance massage, acupuncture, and chiropractics.”

As part of this team approach, Pfeifer works in conjunction with Nearing Total Health, a Lacey clinic which offers specialties in massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, naturopathic medicine, meditation, yoga and more.

Sessions at H3 Therapy Services are typically an hour long and the client is free to wear normal street clothes and bring a book, music, or electronic device.  For chronic fatigue sufferers, the peace of a stress-free hour is a true blessing.  Pfeifer’s office is painted soothing, healing colors and restful music plays throughout.  He even admits that 60-70% of patients nap peacefully throughout their ‘dive.’

Appointments are flexible and arranged whenever is most convenient for the patient.  Says Pfeifer, “we just need 48 hours notice, but we’ll be here.”

To date there is no cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  But with proven coping strategies, sufferers can live a near normal life once again.  Whether it’s scheduled visits to H3 Therapy Services offices or utilizing their skill in selecting, financing, and purchasing a hyperbaric unit of your own, help is available.

Call Michael Pfeifer, RRT with questions at 360-515-0681 or drop by their Olympia office any time.  They can be found on the west side at 405-D Black Hills Lane SW, at the intersection of Harrison and Yauger.  Find testimonials at their website or email questions any time.


Pints Pavement Pounders Founder, Megan Card, Launches New Project with Washington Vets Will Clinic

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:49pm



By Natasha Ashenhurst

Olympia Auto Mall sponsorMegan Card was an undergrad at Eastern Washington University, working part-time as a copy/errand girl for a local law firm, when she realized that she wanted to be an attorney.  “My job was to pick up the dry cleaning, and make a lot of copies,” she remembers with a laugh. “When I wasn’t running errands or making copies I discovered that I really enjoyed reading legal cases. That was when I made the decision to attend law school.”

veteran legal clinic

Olympia attorney, Megan Card, is bringing a free will clinic for veterans to the area on October 18.

Card, born and raised in Olympia, interned for Rodgers, Kee, P.S. after her first year at law school. After graduating from Gonzaga, Card moved back to Olympia in 2010 and joined what is now Rodgers Kee & Card, P.S.

“The firm is lovely. It is so family-oriented. When my dog was a puppy he came to work with me every day,” explains Card.  ”We are a general practice firm, so we do a little of everything, but my focus is criminal defense and family law and estate planning,” she said.

Card enjoys the contrasts in her work. “Criminal defense work is very interesting. The facts are intriguing. Family law can often be more divisive as there are usually a lot of emotions involved,” she says.

However, no matter how much she loves her work, it is stressful. “After a day of intense mental work, I need that break, something to clear my head,” she says.

As a law student in Spokane she would run off the stress with a running group called The Flying Irish. They would meet every Thursday at a local bar, run three miles, and then drink a beer.

“When I moved back home I really missed my running group, so I decided to bring that idea to Olympia. I approached Pints Barn because it is located in a great area with a lot of running trails nearby. We had our first meeting on July 5, 2012. My goal was to have 25 people show up. We had 65 attend that first run.”

“It is all word of mouth. There has not been one single week when we haven’t had a new runner join,” she continues.

Pints Pavement Pounders (P3) is the name of the running group. They meet every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Pints Barn in Tumwater. The group attracts runners at all levels. They run a three-mile run, then regroup at Pints Barn and socialize over a pint or two.

pints pavement pounders

Megan Card started Pints Pavement Pounders, modeling it after a running club she participated in while living in Spokane.

Card loves the relationships she sees developing as a result of the group. She said, “There was a gal who showed up two months ago who was recently divorced. Now, she has friendships from people she met through the group.”

To date, P3 has had 1,618 people run with them at least one time. Card’s dad is one of the group’s ambassadors. “Last year we completed the Capital City Half-Marathon together. It was something he really wanted to do,” says Card.  ”This is all due to the running club. I hear these stories all the time. People are reaching their goals. Something so simple and fun is making a real difference I peoples’ lives.”

P3 traces its roots to Spokane, as does Card’s most recent project – The Vets Will Clinic. “Recently, I was contacted by the Young Lawyer Division in Spokane to bring their free estate planning clinic for veterans west of the mountains. At first I said ‘no’, because I had too much on my plate, but then I met with one of the founders and she told me stories of how the program has helped so many veterans. My dad is a veteran,” she said.

On October 18 you’ll find Card in Lakewood, running the Washington Vets Will Clinic, which offers free estate planning for veterans.

pints pavement pounders

Pints Pavement Pounders founder, Megan Card, celebrates a birthday with runner, Tyler.

It is easy to take part in the event. Veterans interested in attending must pre-register by October 15 online at or in person at 324 West Bay Dr. NW, Olympia.

Before the October 18, attorneys will prepare the documents from the veteran’s registration information, and then will meet with the veterans in person to review the wills. Then, the veterans will go into a signing room with volunteer notaries.  Finally, they’ll walk out with wills, power of attorney and healthcare directives.

Card says, “We have volunteer opportunities available for attorneys, notaries and community members desiring to help. This is the first year of the event, so we are hoping for a great turnout, though, right now we have more volunteer attorneys than we do veterans. This is a great opportunity for new lawyers who need experience in estate planning. It is also an incredible opportunity to veterans to put their estate in order, for free, from talented attorneys who are looking for a way to give back to their community.”

To learn more, visit


There Is No Sunshine When She’s Gone

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:12pm



Submitted by Christine Towey for Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin's University Women's Soccer goalie Sunny De Boer.

Saint Martin’s University Women’s Soccer goalie Sunny De Boer.  Photo by Megan Miller

Imagine having twenty-four people counting on you. Imagine having them literally count on you not to let them down every time they face a challenge. How’s that for a lot of pressure?

Welcome to Sunny De Boer’s (Meridian, Idaho) life. This 5’9” sophomore is the one and only goalie for the women’s soccer team at Saint Martin’s University. She’s there rain or shine protecting the goal box and cheering her teammates on as they challenge their opponents to dare try score on her.

This is Sunny’s year to show what she’s made of, and she’s taking every opportunity she has since last year the chance never arose. Just as her freshmen season was starting her wrist was injured.

“I broke it a week and a half into season. I fell on it weird and rolled over it at goalie training. I was in a cast for four weeks, then another two (weeks) in a brace.” After it seemed like the wait was over and she could play again, another blow ended that hope. De Boer’s wrist broke again. The second break was when she took a point blank shot and her wrist bent oddly.

This seemingly never-ending injury wasn’t done wreaking havoc after the second fracture healed either.

“The bone wouldn’t heal, it died so they had to go in and take it out. I was so heartbroken.” After all that waiting De Boer was sidelined the rest of the season for her surgery, then for rehabilitation.

Sunny is no stranger to surgery, having to go through one in high school to fix her torn ACL and meniscus resulting from a soccer injury as well. Regardless of the injury, having to watch the team play without you can be frustrating.

“It was really hard to watch, at practice I tried to do what I could. I trained on the field a little bit, but I couldn’t do any contact because they didn’t want me to fall and rehurt it.”

Through all this waiting and hoping though she never gave up or considered quitting.

“I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without soccer. It was really frustrating not being able to travel, but I never thought about quitting.” This spirit and determination is what is driving her as Saint Martin’s only goalie.

When asked if she felt pressured by being the only women in the goal box she shrugged her shoulders and answered with a nonchalant, “No. Always on my club teams growing up I was the only goalkeeper. Obviously, this is a higher level than that but I’m ready for the challenge.”

Sunny’s wrist is now strong and ready for the pressure of the game. The next home game for the women’s soccer team is against Simon Fraser University (B.C.) on September 25 at 3:30 p.m.  A full schedule of games for the season can be found here.


Ballet Northwest Brings Professional Dancers of the Eugene Ballet to Olympia in “Cinderella”

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:18pm



Submitted by Ballet Northwest

Ballet Northwest brings The Eugene Ballet to Olympia for a performance of "Cinderella".

Ballet Northwest brings The Eugene Ballet to Olympia for a performance of “Cinderella”.

Twenty-five years ago the Eugene Ballet Company came to Olympia to perform Cinderella. This professional dance company tours the world, yet they often recruit local dance students as extras in their performances. Ken Johnson, now one of two artistic directors at Ballet Northwest, was an extra in that production. “I was nine-years old and was a ballet student at the Johansen Olympia Dance Center. I was a gnome. It was a lot of fun and it was a great opportunity to be able to dance with professionals,” he said.

This year, on October 19, 24 local children, ages 10 to 12, will have the opportunity to perform on stage with the Eugene Ballet when they, once again, journey to Olympia to perform Cinderella, set to Prokofiev’s beautiful score. Auditions for a role as a gnomes or sprite will occur simultaneously as the Ballet Northwest Nutcracker auditions.

“The Eugene Ballet is one of the few ballet companies in the region that will go on tour. Ballet Northwest is excited to bring Cinderella to Olympia because it appeals to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. If someone has seen a lot of dance or is totally new to dance they’ll enjoy the experience,” said Johnson.  “This is a great performance for introducing ballet to children.”

Eugene Ballet tours the country extensively and most recently visited Olympia in 2011 with its production of Romeo & Juliet. Toni Pimble is the Artistic Director and Choreographer. The New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Atlanta Ballet have all performed her work.

Tickets are available at and proceeds benefit Ballet Northwest.

Since 1970, Ballet Northwest has been a community-based group dedicated to promoting, teaching, and preserving the art of dance in Southwest Washington.

Fall Plumbing Tips from Springer Plumbing

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:07pm



Submitted by Springer Plumbing

Fall is on its way to the Northwest and chilly temperatures serve as a polite reminder that when winter arrives it can be sudden, often leaving homeowners unprepared for the troubles associated with extreme cold. A few simple preparations now will help prevent headaches and costly repairs throughout the winter months.

Springer Plumbing suggests hose bib covers installed each fall.

Springer Plumbing suggests hose bib covers installed each fall.

Outdoor faucets:

The number one problem we run into when the mercury drops is damaged outdoor faucets. Something as simple as disconnecting your water hoses from the faucet can save you from a broken spigot. If left connected, water in the hoses may freeze and expand causing faucets and connecting pipes inside your home to freeze and break.

It is also imperative to make sure your outdoor spouts aren’t dripping or leaking. Make the necessary repairs or call us to give you a hand before the freezing temperatures arrive. When the pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks. Even a tiny crack can unleash enough water to cause serious damage or flooding.

We also highly recommend closing interior shut-off valves leading to outside faucets and draining the lines if your home is equipped with them.

Lastly, cover outside faucets using a Styrofoam faucet insulation kit available at home centers or we can supply you with one.

Inside home:

Pipes that are exposed to the elements have a greater risk of freezing. Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as garages or crawl spaces to cut down your chances of developing a leak.

Your water heater works harder during winter months. Flush it out and remove sediment buildup, which causes corrosion, shortens life span and reduces heating efficiency. Drain it yourself, we have step-by-step directions available on our website.  Or to make your life easier—call us!

Check the temperature setting on your water heater’s thermostat. Set it at 120°F for optimum performance.

The experts at Springer Plumbing can handle all your plumbing needs.

The experts at Springer Plumbing can handle all your plumbing needs.

Clear leaves and debris from outside gutters and downspouts to ensure easy drainage when water freezes and thaws throughout the winter season.

If your home has a sump pump make sure to inspect and clean the pump and pit. Pumps exposed to extreme cold can freeze, preventing the pump from operating.

These tips are intended for homes that will be inhabited throughout the winter months. Many additional steps should be taken to winterize vacation properties that will be left unattended for weeks or months at a time. We can give you a hand winterizing such properties.

When in doubt, call us out! Our friendly technicians would be happy to inspect or repair any plumbing problems you may have. Have a warm and festive fall!


United Way of Thurston County Connects Workplaces with Non-Profits for Day of Caring

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:00pm



Submitted by the United Way of Thurston County

evergreen state college

Evergreen students Kathleen Smith and Sam West sort food at the Thurston County Day of Caring, 2012. Photo by Shauna Bittle

United Way of Thurston County will celebrate its 22nd Annual Day of Caring with over 700 volunteers and 34 local agencies on September 26 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Day of Caring is an unforgettable, hands-on experience providing volunteers an opportunity to actively improve our community while enhancing on team-building outside the workplace,” said United Way Executive Director, Paul Knox.

Day of Caring was established as the single largest day of volunteerism in Thurston County to increase awareness of human service organizations and demonstrate how people working together for the common good helps accomplish great things.

“United Way is connecting community partners and supporters with nonprofits throughout Thurston County to accomplish projects that can’t normally be done,” said Executive Director of Family Support Center, Schelli Slaughter.

Seasoned Day of Caring volunteer teams like Olympia Federal Savings, Anchor Bank, and Puget Sound Energy will participate in projects for the Olympia Downtown Association, Kiwanis Club of Olympia, Thurston County Food Bank and more. United Way also welcomes new participation from Umpqua Bank, Cabela’s and Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s B-Troop, 8-1 CAV 2-2 ID.

Volunteers will participate in over 40 different projects ranging from painting and landscaping low-income, disabled individual’s homes, harvesting food banks, and invasive plant pulling at locations throughout Thurston County (A full list of projects attached).

United Way continues its longstanding partnership with Evergreen State College, which engages nearly 150 incoming freshman students in volunteer projects throughout Thurston

Volunteers assembled by City of Olympia employees gather to paint and install new lighting in the parking area at First Christian Church in downtown Olympia. Photo by Jennifer Crain.

Volunteers assembled by City of Olympia employees gather to paint and install new lighting in the parking area at First Christian Church in downtown Olympia. Photo by Jennifer Crain.


“New students from Evergreen will be joining Day of Caring to connect with our community, get to know important organizations working for justice and hopefully plant the seed to be involved in more sustained learning through action in the future,” said Ellen Shortt Sanchez, director of the Center for Community-Based Learning and Action, The Evergreen State College.

This year, United Way also joined forces with the Olympia Downtown Association (ODA) to recruit volunteers for their Downtown Clean Up project and collaborate on the Day of Caring After Party.

Following the completion of team projects, volunteers and agencies will gather for a Day of Caring After-Party at the Olympia Press Building from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to celebrate a rewarding day with food, drinks and raffle prizes.

For More information Contact:

Michelle Rodriguez Director of Communications & Events (360) 943-2773 ext. 13

Paul Knox Executive Director (360) 943-2773 ext.

Volunteering at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 1:29pm


Submitted by The Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique Volunteers are the backbone of the Seattle Children's Hospital Bargain Boutique, raising money for uncompensated care.

Volunteers are the backbone of the Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique, raising money for uncompensated care.

Our Mission: Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutiques exist to provide support for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s, and to ensure that no child will be turned away because of inability to pay medical costs. To foster this support, our goal is to provide quality new and used merchandise at fair prices in a pleasant environment. Our History: Seattle Children’s was founded in 1907 to establish care for the community’s poor and disabled children. Retail had its origins after WWI, when guilds sold war surplus to raise funds. Seattle Chil¬dren’s Retail is now made up of six stores. Our Volunteers:  Volunteers are the heart of our stores. We are constantly in need of help to acquire merchandise, sort, price, create displays, cashier and sell merchandise. We are always looking for experts to help us in different areas of the store. Here’s what our volunteers have to say about the time spent helping at the Bargain Boutique: Jean:  She is part of the Mona Westover Guild and loves volunteering because of the great service, worthy cause and the wonderful people. Bobbie: She has an amazing love for Seattle Children’s Hospital and enjoys the “Monday Crew.” Jane:  “I love it and it lives in my heart!” Tani: This experience is a “labor of love.”  She loves the volunteers, staff and most of all the cause. Stevie: She is simply amazing, warm and extremely devoted to helping the kids. She looks forward to seeing all the volunteers, staff and helping at the boutique. This month we honor Arline and Linda:

Longtime volunteers, and best friends, Linda and Arline can be found in the Olympia store every Wednesday.

Longtime volunteers, and best friends, Linda and Arline can be found in the Olympia store every Wednesday.

Once upon a time in a small town called Olympia, two sweet ladies met and became friends.  This is their story….. Arline and Linda have been good friends for 22 years. That is incredible in itself. They met through their husbands who were both involved in the real estate market. Linda was a dental hygienist and Arline was an L & I claims representative. Linda has three sons and one daughter, and four grandsons and one granddaughter. Arline has two sons and one grandson.  Linda loves photography and spends her free time looking for the perfect picture. Arline loves gardening and flowers, reading and taking walks. Linda was taking pictures downtown when she noticed the Bargain Boutique and saw a sign in the window that volunteers were needed. She applied, and called Arline and told her “she had to volunteer too.” They both said that the love they feel for the children at Seattle Children’s Hospital is what keeps them inspired and motivated to continue helping as long as they can. The extra bonus they get each Wednesday is volunteering alongside so many other people with the same love and dedication.  Stop by some Wednesday and meet these two fantastic ladies – they will put a smile on your face and love in your heart. Seattle Children’s Hospital Olympia Bargain Boutique 2020 Harrison Ave NW Olympia, WA 98502-5097 360-236-8245 Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.

So You Want Fitness Results?

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:47pm



Submitted by Fitness Ablaze

Fitness ablaze sign and womenEveryone wants “results” (at least a high percentage people) when they think about implementing a training (workout) program and/or improving their nutrition. There are a number of common goals that people want to achieve including losing weight, gaining lean muscle, improving athletic performance, improving mobility, or they just want to be healthy and feel better about themselves. The list can go on and on but to really get the results desired one must begin their journey into the health and fitness lifestyle. This process isn’t going to be a walk in the park, but it will always be worth it and necessary to truly transform mind and body.

When most people step foot into Fitness Ablaze for the first time I imagine it could be a vastly different environment than what they are accustomed to. It isn’t surrounded by mirrors, tvs, treadmills, stairmasters, recumbent bikes, and other  “fitness equipment” that is typically provided in the “big box gym” (nothing against this setup). It may be slightly intimidating and “different” for the majority of the people in the beginning, but the most important components of Fitness Ablaze are the amazing members, great coaches, and motivating atmosphere. The experience is something different but rewarding.

Our coaching methods are also most likely different than the common 45-60 minute cardio days and chest/arm/leg/back days. Our coaching model here at Fitness Ablaze is programmed to be both efficient and effective. It includes a progressive program that trains the body based on “movements” as opposed to”muscles”. We use compound, multi-directional, pain free, actions that incorporate the proper movement patterns: push, pull, rotation, hip/knee dominant, locomotion, core activation/stabilization and perform explosive activities that are geared to help people burn calories, improve metabolism, gain lean muscle, and improve movement quality.

Ok, now that I have explained a little about the health and fitness lifestyle and the philosophy of the training at Fitness Ablaze I want to go into detail about what is needed to maximize Fitness ablaze groupresults when it comes to health and fitness.

Mindset- this is probably the most important and often overlooked aspect of your health and fitness journey (or any journey). If you want to achieve amazing results you will have to get your mind right. You must be mentally prepared to commit and be consistent with the health and fitness lifestyle.  Understand there are going to be struggles, challenges and obstacles that you will have to overcome in order to be successful. You have to have goals and figure out really WHY you want to achieve those goals. This is why if you are feeling “stuck” it may be a great investment to find a coach (trainer) to guide you from where you are at now to where you want to be.

Nutrition – The phrase “You can’t out train a bad diet” is not a false statement. If you truly want to transform physically then you will have to take a look at what is fueling your body. Your nutrition will directly affect your training performance, energy during daily activities, and how you look. Optimal nutrition isn’t as complicated as most people think. The difficult part is being honest with yourself and staying consistent (mindset). Below are a few tips for nutrition:

1.  Learn more about the basic macro-nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

2. Learn how to read food labels to understand serving sizes, calories, etc.

3. In general try and stick with whole clean foods such as lean proteins, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive/coconut oil, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.

4. To begin with, simply evaluate what you are currently consuming on a daily basis and slowly cut out bad habits each week/month and you will notice an improvement. Don’t overdue it and go on some crazy fad diet.

5. Hydrate yourself with water or tea. The sodas, fruit juices and such all have crazy amounts of pointless calories and sugars.

6.  Be consistent but allow yourself some cheat/treat meals. You should aim be 85-90% compliant with your food choices while allowing yourself some room to have cheat/treat meals.

7. Figure out a nutrition lifestyle that works best for you and that you can live with on a day-to-day basis. This is another reason why I strongly disagree with fad diets, cleanses, etc because they are not geared for long term (lifestyle) changes but rather quick fixes that are not likely to be continued after the “diet” or “cleanse” is over.

Fitness Ablaze womenTraining- I am sure everyone knows by now that if we are sedentary we will likely gain weight, gain fat, decrease movement quality, decrease metabolism, and negatively affect our overall health. This is where exercise and a proper training program come into play.

Here at Fitness Ablaze we provide our members with a results based program for all fitness levels. Whether it is semi-private personal training, small group personal training, team training (TFW Hurricanes,bootcamp, or any other group metabolic conditioning ), we program it based on our member’s health and fitness goals. We pride ourselves on over delivering to our Fitness Ablaze Family.

The training is by no means easy. It is challenging but in a progressive manner. We use equipment such as your own body, suspension trainers (TRX), dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbells, sandbags, valslides, Olympic weights, bands, ropes, and more. We program in a way to keep it challenging with different variations while at the same time keeping it fun and interesting. The world class coaching coupled with sound nutrition principles will only lead to a leaner, stronger, more energized version of you.

The process to achieve amazing results in regards to fitness and health may sound simple but it isn’t always easy. It will take work. I personally believe every individual has the ability to take action and exceed their expectations. It just takes a little support and for them to ultimately believe in themselves.

Andrew “Bo” Tinaza co-authored a new book, released September 11, 2014, titled “Rapid Body Makeover”. The book has already reached  ”best selling” status and #1 in several categories. Click here to learn more.

Ablaze Fitness Training Center

2727 Westmoor Ct SW Suite 100, Olympia 98502







LAKE’s World Is Real!

K Records - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:40pm
Eli Moore and Ashley Eriksson of LAKE return to the scene of the crime: Azumino, Japan. The trees in the background graced the cover of the LAKE album The World Is Real [KLP246]. After LAKE toured through Japan earlier this month Eli and Ashley remained to travel about and see more of the countryside.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Fresh and Fantastic Fall Food

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:48am



By Katie Hurley

kale salad recipe

Crunchy, lemony Tuscan Kale Salad is a delicious Fall side dish.

Fall sort of snuck up on me this year. We took a late summer vacation, and after we returned I walked into Bayview Thriftway to replenish my grocery supplies. I was met with pots of mums outside the door and found the produce department loaded with gigantic Washington apples, peaches, and pears and gorgeous bunches of locally grown leafy organic greens. I was giddy when I realized my favorite food season is here!

I love Fall and all of the delicious opportunities to incorporate the seasonal produce into my family’s menus.

The produce departments at Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway are bursting with signs of early fall… giant juicy peaches and Fuji apples from Martin Family Orchards, Washington grown Bartlett pears, leeks and gorgeous bunches different varieties of kale. While the early weeks in September were sunny and gorgeous, those warm days are soon to be few and far between. But while it is still warm, my favorite Tuscan Kale Salad is on the menu at our house. I always make extra, because it tastes even better the second day.

When the weather calls for comfort food, my favorite Bean, Kale and Chevre Soup is frequently in our dinner lineup. Start it a day ahead so the dried beans can soften. The soaking liquid from the beans forms the rich broth for this soup. Paired with a green salad, it makes a great Sunday dinner and leftovers for lunch. Both Bayview and Ralph’s have a good selection of dried beans in their bulk foods section.

fall produce recipes

Spencer is excited to show off all of the varieties of organic kale available this fall at Bayview Thriftway.

Leeks are another fall favorite of ours, and there are many ways to use them in addition to the standard Potato Leek Soup. Grain-free, dairy-free Cauliflower, Leek and Bacon Soup is thick, creamy and satisfying. Leeks are a great way to flavor quiches, soups, stews, roasted meat or vegetables, and can be sautéed and used as a pizza topping or a garnish for grilled steak or fish. Leeks are a key ingredient in my husband’s very favorite recipe, Smoked Sausage Cassoulet. Here are some other great uses for leeks.

Those big, juicy Martin Family Orchards peaches and apples I mentioned earlier are too good to pass up. The Fuji apples, thinly sliced, pair perfectly with Beecher’s Flagship cheese, or any other sharp white cheddar.

Try adding thin apple slices to a grilled sharp cheddar sandwich for a sweet crunch that contrasts nicely with the sharp, melted cheese. The peaches are almost a meal by themselves, and are so sweet they will satisfy almost any sweet tooth. Grilled Pork Chops with Peaches and Pole Beans is a great dish for those nice fall days when you still want to be outside grilling.

For all of the great Fall produce mentioned here and more of what this season has to offer, stop by locally owned Ralph’s or Bayview Thriftway.

fall produce recipe

Delicious crispy Fuji apples from Martin Family Orchards are a Fall favorite.

Bayview Thriftway

516 W. 4th Ave., Olympia



Ralph’s Thriftway

1908 E. 4th Ave., Olympia


Harrison Quadruplets Just Trying To Live Up Their Name at Yelm

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:12am



By Gail Wood

dairy queenThey’ve become a familiar scene at Yelm.

There’s grandma, Donna Harrison, sitting on her folding chair, cheering at a Yelm High School tennis match, soccer game or cross-country meet. There’s also mom, Deanna Harrison, cheering.

And, of course, there are the four Harrisons, the quadruplets with game. Cierra plays soccer. Mason runs cross country. Hunter and Cole play tennis.

The four sophomores keep their grandma and parents entertained.

“We’re so lucky,” Donna said as she watched two of her grandsons playing tennis in a recent match. “We’re a busy family. I just love it.”

yelm tennis

Yelm High School sophomores, Cole (left) and Hunter Harrison are turning out for tennis for the first time this year.

Usually, after a game, Donna rounds up her grandkids and takes them to Dairy Queen for a treat.

“The manager at Dairy Queen knows us by name,” Cole said with a smile. “The guy at the window knows my grandma’s voice.”

This isn’t exactly Donna’s first Yelm sporting event she’s attended. Her husband, Roy, was a 1950 Yelm grad and a three-sport star.

“Their grandfather, my husband, was an athlete,” Donna said. “So, I’m used to sitting.”

It’s no wonder Donna and Deana enjoy going to watch the next generation of Harrisons play sports. That next generation was close to not making it. They’re the miracle babies. Premature, they weighed one to two pounds at birth. They were born at 27 weeks, not enough time to fully develop. Deanna’s doctor asked her not to announce her children’s birth because they were so small and he wasn’t sure they’d survive.

But, now, 15 years later, they’re all healthy, living up to the name of being a Harrison.

“Grandma has told stories about Grandpa,” Cole said. “My family has turned out for athletics at Yelm all these years. I’m just trying to follow in their footsteps.”

It was Cole’s idea to turn out for tennis this fall. He asked his brother, Hunter, to join him. But Hunter wasn’t so sure at first.

“I turned out because my dad played tennis in high school,” Cole said. “Then I persuaded my brother to turn out. Two practices later he started up.”

After Cole won his first two matches playing singles, Yelm tennis coach Mike McClellan decided to pair up the Harrison brothers and let them play doubles together.

“We’re loving it,” Cole said. “It’s awesome.”

McClellan figured he’d try the Harrison brothers at No. 2 doubles because they’re “pretty steady hitters.” He was a little worried about how Hunter would respond, but both brothers played aggressively.

yelm tennis

Two of the four Harrison quadruplets are playing tennis for Yelm High School this year.

“I was waiting to see if Hunter would rely too much on his brother,” McClellan said. “So far, it looks pretty good.”

It’s a little too early to be predicting how they’ll finish the season.

“We’re looking at kids who have been playing tennis for three weeks,” McClellan said. “I’m excited they’ve come out. I can’t predict where they’re going to be but if they continue to work this hard we’ll do fine.”

McClellan made one prediction.

“They’re going to have fun,” he said “You can already see that.”

One thing McClellan has learned about coaching tennis is not to over coach.

“You don’t want to go too far and mess with them,” the Yelm coach said. “That’s the way you’re going to serve? That’s going to work. I’ll say we’re going to keep working on this. I’m not going to say we’re going to change your game.”

Cole is 5’8″ and four inches taller than Hunter. But Hunter isn’t worried about it.

“He’s always been taller,” Hunter said with a grin. “I’m used to it.”

While sports have always been an important cog in the Harrison family, it’s not been the focus. It’s grades then sports.

“School first,” Deanna said. “Then sports.”

It works. They all have a 3.8 GPA or better. All of the quadruplets are taking advanced classes including AP world history, honors English, honors biology and advanced calculous together.

yelm tennis

Yelm tennis coach, Mike McClellan, has paired up Cole and Hunter Harrison as his No. 2 doubles team.

“We’re kind of a package deal,” Hunter said with a chuckle.

The fourth generation Tornadoes tag isn’t lost in the Harrison family. They’re proud of it

“It is something I like to brag about,” said Deanna, who grew up in Yakima. “Fourth generation. That’s not something that happens a lot now days.”

At the end of their match against Aberdeen, which Cole and Hunter won, grandma and mom got some sweaty hugs. Then the brothers got some high fives from their siblings. Mason, who ran 10 miles at his cross country workout, made it to watch the last part of his brothers’ match. Cierra also showed up after her soccer practice.

“I try to make it to all their events,” Donna said. “I love it.”

Deanna said, “I’m a proud mom.”


Bonaventure Owner Jeanne Carras Retires, Leaves Legacy in Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 6:32am


By Natasha Ashenhurst

Edward Jones Block AdWhen you ask Jeanne Carras why she is retiring, she has a ready answer. She says, “I love my store. I still love what I’m doing. I love my customers, but I love my husband just a wee bit more.

“I’m not retiring because I don’t love this,” she continues.  ”I am retiring on a high note. 2014 was one of Bonaventure’s best years ever. It is simply time for me to move on in my life with my husband.”

She gives this answer all day long to friends and customers as the news leaks out that she is retiring. And, it is a story she told me as we sat and talked over coffee on one of the big comfy couches at Bonaventure.

jeanne carras bonaventure

Jeanne Carras, retiring after 21 years of small business ownership, will be missed by friend and Olympia Downtown Association Executive Director, Connie Lorenz.

It was a decision made after a recent road trip with her husband. “I realized that I didn’t want to wake up at 80 to discover that I didn’t spend enough time with him. A few friends have recently passed and that influenced the decision too. After the trip, we started succession planning. In June, our buyers backed out, but we have a new negotiation under way. My goal is to know my customers will be taken care of and not to leave a hole downtown,” she said.

Longtime friend and Executive Director of the Olympia Downtown Association (ODA), Connie Lorenz, has no doubt that Jeanne will succeed with this goal. She said, “If Jeanne sets her mind to something, she’ll do it.”

Twenty-one years ago, Carras opened the high-end, specialty shoe store she named Bonaventure. “I can remember the first day I opened. I was walking up the hill toward Legion. I felt that I was home, that this is where I belong,” said Carras.

Carras was determined to make Bonaventure a success. She knew the importance of networking, but also was committed to the revitalization of downtown Olympia. She quickly became involved in local business organizations, including the ODA, the Thurston County Chamber and the Economic Development Council (EDC). She has served on the boards of the EDC, was Chair of the Chamber board, and has served on the ODA’s board for 19 years.

Revitalization of Downtown Olympia

jeanne carras bonaventure

Jeanne Carras flips through a scrapbook of memories during her time as a downtown Olympia business owner.

Lorenz says that Carras’s legacy downtown is vast. “In 2001, the ODA lost funding from the City. We needed to replace those dollars quickly. Jeanne came up with the idea of the Fall Ball, our annual auction and dinner dance, which has been going strong ever since. Later, she heard about the concept of a Girl’s Night Out, brought it to the board then did all of the work to set it up. It has been very successful and good for downtown.”

Thurston County Chamber President/CEO, David Schaffert, said, “Jeanne continually led by doing. She saw a need and stepped forward. She brought businesses together through the Fall Ball and Girl’s Night Out. That was how she was with everything in the downtown area. It is Jeanne’s style.”

Mentor to Other Downtown Business Owners

Not only was Carras involved in the revitalization downtown by taking a leadership role, she also served as a mentor to new business owners in the area. Cheryl Selby, the owner of Vivala, was one of those mentored by Carras.

She said, “Jeanne is an inspiration to not just downtown, but retailers everywhere. She mentored me when I opened my store and was always there for encouragement on tough days when you didn’t know if you made the right decision. She is one of the most generous people I know, with knowledge and with her time. It is going to take two people to fill the void she’ll leave behind.”

Advice for Small Business Owners


Jeanne Carras believes in building business based on friendship.

As we sat and talked about Bonaventure, we also talked about what it takes to make it as a small downtown business owner. Carras is generous with her advice.

First, she tells me a story. “I was a very shy girl and attended a private Catholic school. There, they made you stand up to answer questions. I would cry the entire time. When we moved to Olympia, I started at a new school and worked very hard to overcome my shyness, to reinvent myself. Later, as a business owner, when I took on roles that required public speaking, I had a very tough time. However, I worked through it until I felt comfortable. I think in my heart of hearts I am still a shy person, but I am able to push myself out of that shy place.”

Carras is known throughout Olympia as a skilled networker, and it how she built her business, both in gaining loyal customers, but also in building relationships with vendors and physicians who recommend her shoes. She said, “One of my mottos is ‘build a friendship and you’ll build a business.’ When I joined the Chamber, I started building those friendships. In networking, my goal is to never have to tell them what your business is. Your friendships will network your business for you.”

She taught those lessons to those she mentored as well. Selby says, “Jeanne taught me that to succeed as a small business owner, you have to have a passion for people. You have to love your customers.”

Carras agrees, “I love my customers. This store is my friendship machine,” she said.

She also passes on advice she learned from her dad. “My dad taught us many things, but the three most important lessons have been to set goals, avoid debt and give back. My dad taught us to give back to the community. My husband and I may be leaving, but as snowbirds, so we’ll be back. We’ll still shop downtown. I’ll still buy my clothes from Vivala. I’ll shop for nieces and nephews at Captain Little Toy Store.”

“When we return, I want to find some non-profits that I’ll have time to be involved in hands-on – to have the time to give of myself, and to enjoy it.”

Her many friends in Olympia would agree when I say, Jeanne has had an incredible first act. What act two will look like, it is hard to tell, but I do know that she’ll do it with tenacity, style and grace.


Two big things from the Scottish independence vote for Cascadia to think about

Olympia Time - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:48am
I am pretty reluctant to get anywhere near the Cascadian Independence movement. I know they're serious people, thinking hard about a really true independent country. I'm not one of them, but I appreciate Cascadia (obviously) and I appreciate they're work, but only as a venue to sharpen our concept of Cascadia. Whatever political system we're using, there is plenty of work in the near term to get done.

And, I think, in the jet wash of the recent Scottish Independence vote, there are some lessons for Cascadians (seeking independence or not).

1. Rural vs. Urban divide doesn't need to divide us. 

Whether you're like me and drawn the line at the Cascades, or draw in a much larger swath of the interior west, there's a sharp divide between rural and urban up here.

There was a similar urban/rural split in the Scottish vote. Essentially, poorer urban areas went for the breakup, while richer rural areas voted for union. This is ironic because the political party that sparked independence originally had support in rural areas.

In Cascadia the rural urban divide is based on a non-Cascadian Republican/Democratic political divide. But, as we've seen in some local election results, rural and urban voters can get together to elect particularly Cascadian politicians. 

2. Changing politics will change politics.

In the short term, the people who want an independent Cascadia should focus on just making Cascadia better. More people voting, more people engaged, a better politics. If, once we get more people involved at all areas of politics and government, we still want out? Then cross that bridge them.

The Scots began to see themselves differently, as representing a different sort of politics:
In the meantime, pro-independence activists have managed to capture the hearts and imaginations on many voters in Scotland in a way that the unionist camp has not. Drawing inspiration from what are considered to be the fairer and more prosperous Nordic countries with high levels of democratic participation, many in Scotland became involved in the campaign at the grassroots level.
Scotland Independence vote was built on the back of a new sort of politics:
The idea of the public as passive, inert spectators and with it the notion of politics as a minority report pastime, no longer holds. Instead, across the country a new energetic, dynamic political culture emerged which reshaped public debate and conversations.

It could be seen in the massive turnouts which saw poorer and disadvantaged communities turn out in record numbers. What I called ‘the missing Scotland’ – the voters who haven’t voted in a generation or more – re-emerged as a potent political force which has the potential to reshape long term politics. It was also seen in the re-imagination of public spaces, the emergence of flash mobs and protest, and a culture of celebration and carnival on the Yes side. The other dimension found expression in ‘the third Scotland’ – the self-organised, independent minded supporters of independence – who have had a very different and distinct politics from the SNP. These groups: Radical Independence Campaign, National Collective, Common Weal, Women for Independence and several others, saw independence not as an end in itself, but as a means to an end.

They brought DIY culture, network politics, flat organisations and part of a new generation of young people into public life. They did things which were messy, fuzzy, creative and fun. They staged happenings, art installations, and national tours across Scotland, and in the case of Radical Independence they door stepped and challenged Nigel Farage when he came to Edinburgh last year. All of this contributed to a different kind and feel of politics which circumvented the ‘official’ version which was a high bound to command and control as any part of Westminster.
Syndicate content