Recent local blog posts

Beat Happening Northwest 33 1/3 Book Events!

K Records - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 12:51pm
The 33 1/3 Book series, which examine contemporary musical history one album at a time, has seen fit to devote a volume to the debut Beat Happening album Beat Happening [KLP001]. Written by Pop Press International editor Bryan Parker, Beat Happening 33 1/3 looks at the album, the band and the ’80s Olympia scene from which […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

They're BAAAACCK! Part 2

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 9:47am
American Widgeons, loafing along the lakeA few days ago Nancy, my dad and I took a walk around Capitol Lake.  In the dog days of
late summer, the lake is thick and turgid with clots of algae:  there are very few waterbirds.  But as the weather shifts into more cold & rain, and the days move into September, the waterbirds who winter over on this lake start to filter in.  And so it was a few days ago.
     We saw a few hundred American Widgeons.  These are small dabbling ducks, who feed in shallow water.  Their favorite feeding strategy is to upend themselves, dabbling with their bills along mucky bottoms and paddling with their feet to maintain their position.  From the surface what we humans see is the butt end; in widgeons the feathers under the tail are a bright white, so there is this marvelous big flash of white butt when they go ass over teakettle to feed.
    They are often the first wintering ducks to show up on the lake.  Part of this may be that Capitol lake is currently full of mats of bright green aquatic vegetation and  this is the preferred winter food of widgeons.  
American Widgeons & friends     They may stay here throughout the winter;  if Capitol Lake runs out of vegetation, they will leave the lake and look for other sources of winter food.  Sometimes they will leave the water and seek marshy green fields, finding their food there.  By next spring they will form pair bonds and return to their breeding habitat in wet tundra in Canada and up the Arctic circle in Alaska.         As we walk along the trail at Capitol Lake, we can’t usually see them:  the shrubs lining the path tend to block most of our views.  But we hear them:  they are pretty chatty to each other, making a distinctive “rubber ducky” kind of squeaky contact call.  They tend to stay together in groups, so the squeaking noises can be pronounced.     There are reasons they hang out together:  as Nancy, Dad and I watched, a Bald Eagle swooped in over them.  Masses of screaming widgeons left the lake surface in a hurry, beating wings to avoid this predator.  The eagle made a leisurely circle around the panicking widgeons and went to a nearby perch, where it will keep an eye on the dinner table.  It didn’t catch any ducks on this pass, but my sense of  its behavior was that it was doing an exploratory flushing of the prey, watching for a weak or unwary duck.  Sooner or later, it will succeed.  And if the duck dinner doesn’t happen, there’s always salmon.
     When I see the American Widgeons begin to group on the lake, I am reminded that this is theseason of migration.  These ducks are showing me migration in action.  Let the fall season begin…
JanetResources:•  All photos by Nancy Partlow
Categories: Local Environment

TOGETHER! Unites Tumwater Community to Support Kids

Thurston Talk - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 6:00am



By Heidi Smith

together thurston county

TOGETHER! and Tumwater School District collaborated with local medical professionals to put on a health fair in August that served 220 families.

How can a simple thing like a sports physical exam change lives? For one Tumwater foster mother, it made all the difference in the world. “She had five kids,” says TOGETHER! Deputy Director Meagan Darrow. “Three boys had just arrived at her house and she knew that sports would be a factor in them engaging with school and making friends.”

TOGETHER! collaborated with the Tumwater School District (TSD) and medical professionals to put on a back-to-basics health fair in August, providing free sports physicals and immunizations so kids could access after school activities. “This particular mother showed up, all five kids got immunizations for free, and then those three kids were able to get their sports physicals and sign up for sports that day,” says Darrow. “She said that through the state system, it would have been a three-month wait.”

The health fair opened the door for a flood of low-income students to get more involved in school. Although TOGETHER! Community School Coordinator Jennifer Gould was aware there was a need, she was amazed when 220 families showed up. “We did immunizations for five hours and sports physicals for three hours,” says Gould. “We had a line out the door before we even started.”

One of the major risk factors for dropping out of school is poor attendance – and youth engagement in activities like sports, music, or volunteering plays a major role in preventing substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors. The health fair was a great example of community partnerships Gould has been working all year to create. Tumwater School District works with TOGETHER! to implement a community schools approach in their district, which increases student engagement and community/school partnerships. Her role is supported by a grant and the Tumwater School District whose purpose is to reduce the dropout rate among seventh through tenth-graders in the district.

“Low income students make up the vast majority of that small percentage that are dropping out,” says Darrow. “A lot of what the coordinators are doing is going to the community and saying, ‘Let’s rally around these kids,’ helping them with the social support and not just the academic support.”

together thurston county

Doctors and physical therapists from Providence Tumwater Valley Physical Therapy, Providence Family Practice, Surgical Associates, Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, and Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps donated their time.

For the health fair, volunteer medical professionals from Providence Tumwater Valley Physical Therapy, Providence St. Peter Family Practice, Surgical Associates, Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, and Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps donated their time. ”They were amazing,” says Gould They came in after a full day of clinic and they were here until 8:15 p.m. on a Tuesday night.”

Dr. Tracy Hamblin, who specializes in Sports Medicine with Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, was one of the volunteers. She believes such events serve a critical function. “This is a chance for kids who don’t have a provider to touch base with a medical professional,” she says. “It opens up the idea that they might want to get in touch with someone. For parents, this is a really quick and easy way to provide a service they need.”

But families aren’t the only ones who benefit, Hamblin says. “I love meeting all the athletes. During the season I’m usually on the sidelines of their games. This is a really good opportunity for me to get out of the clinic and into the community in a different environment.”

Throughout the year, Gould has worked with other community groups to fill the needs of her students. “We’ve done a lot of great work with YWCA of Olympia,” she says. “They typically do a program for girls when they have to go through the juvenile justice system. We said, ‘Let’s open this up before that happens. We’ll help you find the right students.’ We found a group of girls for them to work with and it was highly successful. Hopefully we’re going to continue to build on that relationship.”

together thurston county

Volunteers of all ages came together to provide water, direct traffic, and make sure everyone who attended the Health Fair was well cared for.

Another partner has been YouthBuild, a program that teaches low-income students construction skills to create affordable housing and other community buildings. When Gould and her team invited YouthBuild leaders to the district, they were surprised to discover that many of them were students.

“We asked them how we could find the right students to refer to them,” says Gould. “What I loved about it was they brought their youth, so my counselors and administrators who hadn’t fully understood walked out of the meeting saying, ‘I know what this service is.’ Immediately we had two or three referrals.”

Gould says a lot of what she deals with are basic needs. “Kids know that they can stop by and get stuff,” she says. “I don’t ask a lot of questions. They know that during the year if there’s something that comes up, they can get things at school to help support their academics and even their home life. I’ve got shampoo and conditioner and we just send it home.”

She remembers one student who came to see the school nurse. “He said, ‘Can I get some duct tape?’ The nurse said, ‘Why do you need duct tape?’ He turned his shoe over and it was full of holes. The kid didn’t ask for shoes; he asked for duct tape. She said, ‘You know, we can get you shoes.’ We got him new shoes. To me, that lets him know that school is a place that is going to support him – shoes, duct tape, whatever you need.”

together thurston county

At the Health Fair, students could obtain free sports physical examinations and immunizations.

Getting that message to families is crucial, she says. “I want school to be a welcoming place for them. I don’t want school to be scary for parents. Who knows what kind of history they have with school in general? I just love seeing parents recognize that school can be a place where their kid can thrive and find things that they’re interested in and we can take care of basic needs.”

Because the program is just starting its second year, it’s too early to tell what impact it’s having on graduation rates, but attendance is up across the board. “Within both the middle school and the high school, it’s increased,” says Gould. “That tells me that students are more engaged with their education.”

Ultimately, she says, “Kids are changing their perspective on school. I want them to be able to go out into the world and be connected and know that they can be supported in their goals and what they want to do.”

TOGETHER! is celebrating 26 years of community programs with the Hats Off to TOGETHER! Gala from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25 and the Governor’s Mansion. Tickets cost $75 and are available by clicking here.

For more information about TOGETHER! visit or call 360.493.2230.


Arts Walk Halloween Dance Oly Dance House Party with The Sexbots / Heddie "Nightfox" Leonne / Project DieSlow

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 7:43am
Event:  Sat, 10/03/2015 - 10:00pm - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 2:00am

Flier for Dance Oly Dance House Party




Dance Oly Dance, Olympia’s local dance TV show, invites you to yet another televised dance party on Saturday, October 3rd, 10pm 'till late. Dance in front of video cameras at a West-side house party. The one-hour episode will air in January on TCTV.


Party opens at 10pm with an hour long EDM beatset by Project DieSlow.


Then get down to an hour-long EDM beatset by DJ PhilosoBoy.


TV recording goes from 11pm to midnight.


Party continues with live performances by Ilima & The Sexbots and then local rapper Heddie “Nightfox” Leonne. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Ilima & The Sexbots early evening Arts Walk show @ Gallery Next

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 7:29am
Event:  Sat, 10/03/2015 - 6:15pm - 7:15pm


Get all hot & bothered on Arts Walk Saturday evening with Ilima & The Sexbots as they perform at the Urban Medicinal/Gallery Next, 121 Legion Way SW, Olympia WA, shortly after 6pm.


Then, get all hot & bothered again with Ilima & The Sexbots at the Dance Oly Dance House Party later that night. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

North Thurston Public Schools Collaborates with Other Districts, Law Enforcement to Prevent School Violence

Thurston Talk - Sun, 09/20/2015 - 6:00am



By Heidi Smith

brady olson north thurston

Brady Olson, an Advanced Placement social studies teacher, tackled a shooter at North Thurston High School on April 27, 2015. Photo courtesy: North Thurston Public Schools.

Unlike most school shootings, the one that occurred on April 27, 2015 at North Thurston High School did not end in tragedy. Advanced Placement social studies teacher Brady Olson was able to tackle the shooter, a sophomore who had recently transferred to the school, before he could inflict any damage.

At a recent Rotary Club of Olympia luncheon Olson, North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) Superintendent Raj Manhas, and Communications Director Courtney Schrieve shared factors that contributed to the successful outcome that day and what they have been doing since to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.

As Manhas made clear, it’s never possible to really be prepared for such events, but even before it happened, North Thurston Public Schools had been actively collaborating with surrounding districts to address school safety.

“Back in February 2013, Olympia, Tumwater and North Thurston got together and talked about having a safety summit,” he says. “The purpose was to really raise the level of awareness in all of us that this was a serious problem. This was right after the Sandy Hook tragedy.”

The conference they eventually organized included the sheriff’s office, local police chiefs, fire officials and some of their staff, in addition to personnel who work with the school systems. “It was very well attended,” he says.

Meanwhile, Olson was quietly thinking about what he would do if such an occasion ever arose. “I’m weird,” he says. “When I go in a movie theater, I think, where’s the exit? When I’m on a plane, I count the rows to the exit door because I know it probably won’t be well lit if something goes down and I need to get my family out.”

raj manhas ntps

North Thurston Schools Superintendent Raj Manhas spoke recently at the Olympia Rotary Club about specific measures the district is taking to prevent school violence.

So when the day of the shooting arrived, two things happened. First, Olson performed a heroic act in tackling the would-be shooter. “People kept asking me what I was thinking in that moment,” he says. “To be honest, there was nothing going on in my head because I had already thought about it a whole bunch: ‘What happens if?’”

Next, local law enforcement and emergency services converged on North Thurston High School and effectively took over. “I was amazed and impressed,” says Manhas. “Everyone was working as if they knew exactly what to do. The Lacey police and cities of Olympia and Tumwater were there. Everyone came. The summit that we had done really made everybody aware that we are together in this. I was so happy that that kind of support from our community was there.”

In the aftermath, Manhas has continued to work with Olympia School District Superintendent Dick Cvitanich and Tumwater School District Superintendent John Bash to coordinate efforts and share knowledge. They’ve identified several key aspects of prevention that they are working toward in the new school year. The most important is continuing to build relationships.

“When incidents like this happen, you invariably find out that someone, somewhere, knew in advance,” says Bash. “If you followed the Marysville Pilchuck shooting, you heard that multiple people, young and old, knew that this was going to unfold and didn’t say anything. A focus in Tumwater School District this year is making every single classroom, every school, and our entire district a place where people feel safe enough that when they see something or hear something, they say something.”

At North Thurston Public Schools, two programs are working toward that end. The first is called Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), a proactive approach to developing social and emotional learning in students through direct instruction. “It’s not only about academics, it’s about whether anything is going on at home or if they are struggling in any area,” says Manhas. “On a regular basis we do student assessments and connect with our social services where parents and families can get some help. That has done amazing things for us.” One significant result: Discipline issues are down 50% in the whole school system.

Another program NTPS has initiated is called Compassionate Community and it teaches students how to treat each other with kindness and respect by following the International Charter for Compassion. “Kids go home and they tell us that they’re telling their parents, ‘This is how we should behave with each other,’” reports Manhas. “We’re educating them on how to take it out into the community.” The partnership will expand to include City of Lacey this year and the district and City are planning a compassionate community event in January 2016.

ntps staff

Staff at North Thurston Public Schools have implemented several programs to strengthen their relationships with students and families.

The districts have taken more concrete steps as well, several of which were in place before the incident. “We have new surveillance cameras, safety alarms and video cameras for all of our buses,” notes Schrieve. “We’ve added supplies in case of lockdown and visibility improvements. However, you can have all of these in place and something can still happen.”

The next step is bringing in Jesus Villahermosa from Crisis Reality Training for an evening with parents and the community at Olympia High School in October. Villahermosa is a crisis management expert who was a guest speaker at a recent event in Chehalis. “He has a very interesting perspective,” says Cvitanich. “A lot of the work that we do has been through school leaders eyes and not through the eyes of the people who perpetuate these situations or the people who plan for them professionally – like law enforcement.”

For Cvitanich and the other superintendents, understanding how to think differently about the problem has become a top priority. “We’ve got a high performing school district in terms of instruction and student performance and we’re really proud of that,” says Cvitanich. “But at this year’s administrative retreat, literally I had to say, ‘That’s number two. Number one is the safety and security of our students.’ The instruction will take care of itself we but can’t be relaxed about this.”


Subversion: W.S. Burroughs & Noise Experiments with Marian Wallace and V. Vale

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 09/19/2015 - 9:02pm
Event:  Thu, 10/22/2015 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm

Thursday, October 22 at the Capitol Theater, 206 5th Ave. SE

6:00pm doors / 6:30pm film
$7 general admission / $5 OFS members

Tickets available online & at the Capitol Theater box office

Mezzanine Lounge open (21+ w/ ID)

Cut-ups, analog tape loops, celluloid and fire. W.S. Burroughs and Kurt Kren. Performance Art and painting on film. These are all part of the experimental films of Marian Wallace. In the ’70s, before today’s global Noise-Music bands and festivals, a few avant-garde artists and groups began using the cut-up, sampling, subliminals, noise, musique concrète, films and video to provide immersive Black Humor concert experiences, as documented in RE/Search’s Industrial Culture Handbook. Marian Wallace’s “Artists of the Industrial Scene” features interviews with Mark Pauline (SRL), Johanna Went (Performance Artist), Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV), Jerry Casale (DEVO) and other ground-breaking musicians and artists. This short-feature will be screening with other short experimental films from then and now.

Post-film Q&A with Marian Wallace and V. Vale (RE/Search Publications). Presented by Olympia Zine Fest. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

15+ Options for Curbing Your Breakfast Hunger Pains

Thurston Talk - Sat, 09/19/2015 - 5:00am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

awesome rvCall the first meal of the day breakfast, but call it delicious any time. Imagine your ideal morning feast. Is it crab cake benedict? A foamy cappuccino? Belgium waffles drenched with maple syrup and berries or eggs your way?

Many delicious options for a tasty breakfast are available in and around Thurston County. Early risers may have the most choices. Some restaurants don’t serve it all day, but many do. Weekends will give you the chance to sleep in and get a meal that will keep you smiling the rest of the day.

Sip a coffee while you decide on your perfect breakfast.

Sip a coffee while you decide on your perfect breakfast.

Traditions: Explore the treasures from around the globe before or after eating at Traditions Café and World Folk Art. Their full menu is available all day beginning at 9:00 a.m. on weekdays, 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Breakfast connoisseurs might choose the quiche or the house-made granola. Most items are organic. There are tables for dining both inside and outdoors.

Quality Burrito: If you don’t have to have breakfast before 11:00 a.m., you can fill up on a burrito with bacon, house-made chorizo or tofu. Plop into a booth at Quality Burrito and soak up an Olympia experience. The QB even delivers from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

New Moon Café: You can imbibe in a mimosa since the downtown Olympia establishment acquired their beer and wine license. Soon you can order a sake Bloody Mary. Kat Darger, one of the worker-owners, reminds you that, “We make everything in house, including our dressings, marinades, biscuits, and legendary blackberry jam.”

Forza's Tom Forrey bakes a variety of quiches for customers at their Hawk's Prairie location.

Forza’s Tom Forrey bakes a variety of quiches for customers at their Hawk’s Prairie location.

Martin Way Diner: This location (lasting through multiple ownership changes) has been serving classic American breakfasts for many years. The coffee is on every day at 6:00 a.m. If you order one of Martin Way Diner’s breakfast plates, you will leave totally sated.

South Bay Pub & Eatery: Saturday and Sunday brunch starts at 8:00 a.m. and runs until 11:00 a.m. The South Bay Pub has been an excellent addition to the northeast neighborhood, but everyone is welcome!

Pat’s Café: What looks like an old house delivers breakfast six days a week beginning at 7:00 a.m. This long-time location near the corner of Pacific Avenue and Carpenter Road is home to many regulars. Open 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. except Wednesdays.

Forza: Owner Tom Forrey and his mother-in-law Maureen McLemore are making their famous quiches with ingredients from ham to feta to vegetables. Almost everything in their glass case is made on site. Enjoy muffins, scones, banana bread or a breakfast burrito or sandwich. Lighter appetites might want a yogurt parfait. Yes, Forza has plenty of coffee, too.

Zoe Juice Bar: Maybe too much food too early is not your style. Zoe Juice Bar whips up smoothies and blends raw juice that might be easier on your stomach. Check out their acai bowls. Weekdays they are blending at 7:30 a.m. and weekends at 9:00 a.m.

Dingey's Dan Ricklick serves Northwest favorites for breakfast including maple syrup cured Sockeye.

Dingey’s Dan Ricklick serves Northwest favorites for breakfast including maple syrup cured Sockeye.

Consider the Olympia Farmers Market when breakfast comes to mind. The variety is impressive and most of the vendors open around 8:30 a.m., which is way ahead of the market bell that rings at 10:00 a.m. Although there are no inside tables, you can eat under cover.

Dingey’s: Dan Ricklick is curing sockeye salmon with real maple syrup for your breakfast pleasure. The crab cake benedict is popular. Dingey’s Puget Sound Cuisine includes a Swantown fry featuring fresh oysters grilled with bacon, onion, spinach and cheese.

Bavarian Wurst: Gordon Allen is a Waste Center volunteer at the Market who gently guides people to recycle properly. He’s enthusiastic about the Bavarian Wurst Breakfast scramble. He said, “It’s the best breakfast I’ve found in Olympia!” With fresh tomatoes, green peppers, ham, bacon and more, it’s quite a combination. Pancakes, cinnamon french toast and country fried steak are a few more of your choices.

Heyday Café: Of course, they’ll brew your favorite coffee drink, but if you are ready to eat, Heyday serves Belgium waffles, breakfast sandwiches, and yogurt with berries and granola.

Pithos Gyros: Mix your roasted potatoes with eggs, vegetables, tzatziki, and feta for a fine start to your day.

Los Tulenos: Chorizo is spicy sausage and you can use it to stuff your burrito. A burrito is an any-time meal. Find out more here.

Want even more options?  Try Mercato with donuts from the dessert menu. The Reef serves breakfast all day. Paco’s Tacos opens at 9:00 a.m. Peppers offers delivery.

Breakfast is fun and ready when you are, Olympia.

Eat Well – Be Well



Michael Crook Makes The Most of His Senior Football Season at North Thurston

Thurston Talk - Sat, 09/19/2015 - 5:00am



By Grant Clark

hawks prairie golf logoSandy Crook was overwhelmed.

Her son Michael was about to play in his first high school varsity football game. A senior at North Thurston High School, Michael is a starting defensive tackle for the Rams. He had previously played the sport during his freshman year, but eventually lost interest and sat out the next two seasons.

A lot has changed following his two-year hiatus.

north thurston football

Michael Crook has found a supportive brotherhood within the North Thurston High School football team.

This was a completely different scene than what he had experienced before. The speed, the size, the strength, every aspect of the game had increased since the last time he put on a pair of shoulder pads.

This was a significantly higher level.

But there he was, three years later, stepping onto the turf at South Sound Stadium on September 4 for North Thurston’s season opener against cross-town rival Timberline High School.

Michael knew it was a big game. The Rams had lost the last three years to the Blazers, and no program wants to open the year with a loss.

He admits to being nervous. This was a big jump in talent level.

If nervousness was all Sandy had to deal with, she would have been fine. But it was just one of the many feelings she was wrestling with internally as she sat in the stands.

“I was nervous and scared and excited,” Sandy remembers about the first game of the 2015 season. “I was dealing with a lot of emotions. It was almost too much.”

Undersized for an interior lineman, Michael is listed in the program at 6-foot, 200 pounds. The height is correct. The weight? Well, he certainly wouldn’t be the first athlete to appear larger in print.

“For the position he plays,” Sandy said, “he’s really not that big.”

Save for his heart.

“His motor never quits,” said assistant coach Erich Weight. “No matter what’s going on during a play he just doesn’t stop. He’s that way at practice too. He just never gives up.”

Sandy figures Michael was around 18 months old when he knew “something was off” with her son.

“He showed all the signs,” Sandy said, “but we lived in California at the time and they don’t test children until they reach school age.”

north thurston football

Michael Crook’s mom, Sandy, was more than a little nervous when her son suited up again after taking a two year break from football.

By the time he was finally tested at age 5, Sandy pretty much already knew what the outcome would be. Of course, that didn’t make hearing the diagnosis any less difficult. Michael was autistic.

Growing up in a military family, Michael has moved seven times over the last 13 years, including a four-year stop in Belgium, significantly limiting the consistency and comfort of a daily routine.

“When we were in California he started to learn sign language,” Sandy said. “A lot of his frustrations come from his inability to communicate, and sign language was really starting to help with that. Michael is a very visual and auditory learner. He needs both, and he was picking up a lot through sign language. Then, we moved to Virginia and the doctors there told us there was no value in him learning sign language.”

So, it was dropped. The best practices on how to work with autistic children would change with every move. One place would recommend this, another believed otherwise.

Stability, however, finally came with a move to Lacey when Michael was in seventh grade.

Football was introduced soon after. However, the sport wasn’t a fit at the beginning.

“When he first started playing football he had a hard time understanding that it was ok to tackle people,” Sandy said. “We kept telling him that this is the only place you can do that, but he still was hesitate about it.”

Failing to grasp the complex details of some of the plays also led to confusion. He needed someone to take the time to teach him, to slow things down so he could gain a full understanding of what to do. That wasn’t present. So, Michael became detached from the sport.

He doesn’t know why he wanted to play again, but when it was time to sign up for football this year he was all in.

“I was worried about him playing,” Sandy said. “Of course every parent worries about the physical side of football, but I was more worried he was going to be surrounded by mean football players.”

It proved to be the exact opposite.

north thurston football

Despite being autistic, Michael Crook is a starting defensive tackle for the North Thurston High School football team.

The brotherhood of football runs deep. There’s something about working as part of a team to scrap and fight for every inch, to practice in the almost unbearable mid-August heat, and compete during the chill and dampness of October that forms bonds.

Players are also looking for someone to inspire them. Michael’s unwavering dedication at practice provided exactly that.

“Everyone on this team loves him,” said Weight, a special education teacher at North Thurston High School who had Michael as a student two years ago. “No one works harder than he does.”

The work paid off in the season opener against Timberline. Michael simply wasn’t just a name on the roster, he was a starter – and a gifted one at that.

Before a packed crowd, Michael registered three sacks and had a momentum-swinging safety that stirred the North Thurston student section into a frenzy and helped the Rams to a 38-32 victory.

“I didn’t really notice (the crowd) too much,” Michael said. “I was focused on playing. I just wanted to get that guy in front of me out of my way and tackle whoever had the ball.”

While Michael was causing havoc on the field, Mom was still nervous in the stands, but one emotion quickly superseded everything else – pride

“I am extremely proud of him and what he’s done,” Sandy said. “It’s really hard to describe everything I was feeling that night, but I felt so good for him.”

Michael followed the first game by adding another sack the next week against River Ridge.

One brief conversation with him and everything gets trumped by his likeability. Soft spoken and quick to smile, he shrugs when you point out his accomplishments.

“I think I can do better,” Michael said. “I really wanted to play last year as a junior. I’m not sure why I didn’t, but I’m glad I’m playing this year.”


Michael Dickter at Salon Refu - Arts Walk on...

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 11:51am
Event:  Fri, 10/02/2015 - 5:00pm - 10:00pm logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Review: A Few Good Men at Lakewood Playhouse

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 8:15am

Published in The News Tribune, Sept. 17, 2015
(L to R):  JACOB TICE (Kaffee), JIM ROGERS (Sam) and CASSIE JO FASTABEND (Jo)  from the Lakewood Playhouse Production of "A FEW GOOD MEN"All photos by Kate Paterno-Link Celebrating 50 years in the same building at Lakewood Mall, Lakewood Playhouse opens its 77th season with the compelling courtroom drama “A Few Good Men” by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Beau M.K. Prichard and featuring a world-class performance by Jacob Tice and an outstanding ensemble cast, notably Aaron Mohs-Hale, K.E. Jenkins, Christian Carvajal, and Jenifer Rifenbery.Sorkin, of “The West Wing” fame, never backs away from controversial subjects. In “A Few Good Men” he highlights the worst aspects of military culture, most dramatically, blind loyalty and unquestioning obedience to the code of “Unit, Corps, God and Country.”In program notes, Prichard wrote, “The script also cleverly side-steps nakedly criticizing the armed forces by having other service members, not civilians, ask the hard questions.” But whether the questions are asked by the military or by civilians, the macho, misogynistic attitudes and unquestioning obedience to authority are put on stark display in this play.(L to R): THE ENSEMBLE of the Lakewood Playhouse Production of "A FEW GOOD MEN"The set by Prichard and James Venturini and lighting by Daniel Cole establish a dark and foreboding world unlike any world known by people who have never been in the military. Upstage left is a guard tower dimly lighted with a red-orange glow and manned throughout the play by soldiers who never say anything other than the oncoming sentry saying he is relieving the other sentry from duty. This, coupled with offstage voices and sound effects and the sharp movements of nearly all actors (with the notable exception of Jacob Tice as a Naval lawyer, lieutenant junior grade Kaffee who disdains military formality) creates a tense atmosphere that intensifies the already intense conflict Kaffee and his team of defense lawyers and everyone else – namely the prosecutor, Lt. Ross (Tom Phiel) and the soldiers based at Guantanamo Bay from the lowest ranked enlisted men to base commander Lt. Col. Jessep (James A. Gilletti). The rest of the set is an almost bare stage with a few tables and chairs, and off to one corner upstage right are the iron bars and hard bunks of a cell in the brig.Tice is funny, loveable and, when need be, strong and magisterial as Lt. Kaffee. In the beginning he is a fun-loving jokester who seems to care nothing for his job or for the military, but this is all façade masking a deep commitment to justice. He is forced to take onto his team a female lawyer from Internal Affairs, Lt. Cmdr. Galloway (Cassie Jo Fastabend), who is aggressive and determined and who, at first, can’t stand Kaffee. And he brings in as a back-up and yes-man his best buddy, Lt. Sam Weinberg (Jim Rogers), who turns out to be a much better lawyer than he at first seems. The repartee between these three elevates the humanity factor.Two young marines, Lance Cpl. Dawson (Aaron Mohs-Hale) and Pfc. Downey (K.E. Jenkins) have been arrested on murder charges and have confessed to the crime, but first Galloway and later Kaffee are convinced that the death of their fellow marine, William Santiago (offstage voiceover by Jacob Henthorn) was an accident caused by a hazing incident ordered by the base commander, Lt. Col. Jessep (James A. Gilletti). Jessep is a hard-nosed, no-nonsense commander who thinks the rules are for everyone except him. He is stiff and formal and harbors a lot of anger that comes out explosively in the trial scene when Kaffee questions his motives and methods.“A Few Good Men” is a harsh drama acted with intensity by a large ensemble cast and sprinkled liberally with adult language that may be offensive to some audience members. The acting, the directing, and most of all Sorkin’s superb script are of the highest quality. I can’t recommend it enough.
WHAT: A Few Good MenWHEN: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Oct. 11WHERE: Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., LakewoodTICKETS: $25.00, $22.00 military, $21.00 seniors and $19.00 students/educators, pay what you can INFORMATION: 253-588-0042,
Also see Travis Earl Warner’s review in the Weekly Volcano and Michael Dresdner’s review
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia High School Students Travel to New Orleans to Help Families Get Back into Their Homes

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 6:00am



By Donna Wilson

olympia furnitureOn the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a group of Olympia High School students volunteered to spend their spring break building houses and helping families in New Orleans. The experience was so powerful that they already knew how they would be spending their next spring break.

Two years ago, Olympia High School (OHS) Principal, Matt Grant, learned about Shirts Across America, a student organized Seattle-based organization that helps move families into new homes in New Orleans and Mississippi. Principal Grant told his OHS students about the organization and its mission. To his surprise, 24 students were interested in offering up their spring break to lend a helping hand. Most of these students were in the OHS club Students Together Advocating for Non-Violence and Diversity (STAND).

olympia high school

Olympia High School students sit inside a house they have been working on. One of the hardest parts of the trip to New Orleans was building in the 90 degree heat.

The group of 24 students and four adult chaperones prepared for the trip earlier this spring by learning more about the injustices happening in New Orleans such as poverty and racism. Grant says one aspect of the trip was to learn more about the situation. “We need to understand the social systems that made this happen,” he explains.

As students, educators and parents prepared, a few of the students were trained as core team leaders to help chaperones facilitate the trip. These students went on a leadership retreat and spent time learning about New Orleans. “I am much more tuned to the needs of people and communities outside of what I see before me,” says core team leader Sitara Nath. “To be in touch with the world and aware of your role and impact is a real gift, and I was lucky to find that during this very meaningful week. The trip impacted my goals in that I plan to prioritize this kind of service throughout my life so that I always remain in touch with that strong dedication and desire to change the world, one step at a time.”

When the students landed in New Orleans, they got straight to work, spending 6 to 8 hours a day building, painting, cleaning, putting floors down, and building fences with AmeriCorps students. The rest of the time was spent exploring the town through a series of scavenger hunts.

olympia high school

Here the group stands outside one of the houses. 10,000 people still have not been able to come back to their homes in the greater New Orleans area.

In addition to making a difference in the lives of others, students agree that a highlight of the trip was enjoying the food, arts and entertainment that New Orleans is known for. “One night we went out to the French District and ate together as a group — all 200 of us — at an amazing historic restaurant called Antoine’s,” says future core team leader Claire McGahern. “[It was] super fun and had fantastic food. That’s another thing I learned about New Orleans, you can’t go wrong with the food.”

When the group returned, they shared their experience with their peers during an “Oly Love” assembly. Sharing stories and memories, the students didn’t even think twice about it — they knew they would have to go back again next year.

Sixty students have already signed up to go back to New Orleans this coming spring break. “I love talking about meeting the homeowners of the houses I worked on,” explains Claire. “People brought us food, gave us hugs. They were so thankful. It was really touching.”

Julisa Brock will be a core team leader this coming year. “I came home and shared the amazing experience I had down there and how it has impacted my life and that problems don’t just go away,” she says. “I do know that I will want to continue to go to New Orleans, and continue to make change for people who do not necessarily have a voice.”

A common theme for everyone that went on this trip was that they felt very blessed and thankful for the lives they have. Student Eric Carpenter says, “The trip to New Orleans has made me want to give back to my community and country. It really made me realize how well off I am compared to many others. In my future I would love to be able to go back and help more people get back into their homes. For me the hardest part was seeing all the people who still couldn’t return to their homes because they couldn’t afford to repair them after the hurricane.”

olympia high school

The group had so much fun experiencing the vibrant New Orleans culture, including this historic church.

Feelings of gratitude and a desire to give have propelled this group of students to return to New Orleans next year, but the insight and perspective these students have gained is much more far reaching. “I’ve definitely gained a greater understanding of my role in a larger community outside just OHS or Olympia,” Sitara explains. “There’s so much that still needs to be done in New Orleans but what I did in that week suddenly showed me that as individuals, we have a responsibility to live up to our roles in communities in and outside our own.”


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 6:00am



Chilly mornings and chilly evenings (and chilly soccer practices) signal the impending arrival of fall.  The events calendar reflects this change, too, with fewer outdoor festivals and community parades among our listings.  However, the shift to fall encourages engagement with our community in other ways.  Try a new restaurant.  Take in a local theater productions.  Investigate fall leaves in your favorite parks.  Fall happens to be my favorite season and I look forward to all things pumpkin spice, the return of scarves and boots and channeling my competitive nature into sideline soccer cheers. Thurston County may be sliding into fall, but it’s not sliding into inactivity and our weekend event calendar reflects the many happenings you can choose from whether its chilly and foggy or sun-shiny. While we highlight many happenings around town in our list below, don’t forget to visit our full events calendar at for many more.

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.


Terry Shaw Hitting All the Right Notes at Rainier and Timberline

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

creative officeMcKoy Bichler does a little bit of everything for the Rainier High School football program. On offense, you can start him at either quarterback or running back. It doesn’t really matter – he’s going to pick up yardage one way or another.

Need a kick returner on special teams? He’s your guy. Have a void on the defensive side? He can play a variety of positions.

Yes, last year’s 2B Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year can find success on the football field no matter where you plug him in.

terry shaw

Rainier High School head football coach, Terry Shaw, pumps up his team during practice.

Heck, the versatile senior could probably sing the National Anthem prior to kickoff if called upon.

Bichler would be the first to admit, however, he’s hardly a singer. But if they were really in a pinch, he would step up. And the best thing is he wouldn’t have to look very far to find the perfect singing instructor. All he would have to do is turn to his football coach.

Terry Shaw is a contradiction. Not only is he the Mountaineers head football coach, he also teaches choir at Timberline High School – a seemingly odd combination. He’s detailing how to defend against the Wing-T offense during one part of his day, while serving up breathing exercises during another.

And he’s exceling at both of them.

“The first time I heard (he coached football and taught choir) I am not sure I believed it,” Bichler said. “It seems like two completely different things.”

On the surface, it definitely appears that way, but when you talk to Shaw, it all makes sense.

“They are actually very similar,” said Shaw, who also teaches weight training at Timberline High School. “It’s a team working towards something together. It’s a game in football, a concert for choir. There’s always going to be sub-groups within that team, but the goal for everyone is to be our best selves.”

Shaw had two passions growing up – music and football.

He took up the piano and began playing at his church at a young age. By the time he started high school, football entered the scene.

terry shaw

When not coaching Rainier football, Terry Shaw leads choirs at Timberline High School.

A 1995 graduate of Bellarmine Prep, Shaw was recruited to play football at Central Washington University, but elected to go with the music route, eventually earning a music education degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

“Music won out,” said Shaw, who also earned a Masters of Music degree from Boston University in 2007, “but I knew with teaching if I wanted to coach, that would always be something I could do.”

It was during his junior year at PLU that Shaw formed the Olympia Choral Society in 1998. The goal was to create a community choir with a focus on giving back to local charities. It started with just 17 singers. It now features nearly 100.

“We offer free concerts. We do a lot of fundraisers,” Shaw said. “We figure it doesn’t cost us anything to open our mouths and sing.”

Since making its first donation in 1999, the OCS has donated more than $150,000 to local charities, many of which benefit children in the South Puget Sound Area and, beginning in 2003, includes an annual scholarship program for South Sound high school seniors who intend to study vocal/choral music in college.

He found similar success when he started at Timberline in 2001. Back then the school had two choirs with 37 students. Under his tutelage, the program has since grown to six choirs with more than 180 students and has performed all over the county, including performing twice at Carnegie Hall.

It seems Shaw makes an impact on a program wherever he goes. It’s been no different with Rainier football.

The year prior to Shaw coming aboard, the Mountaineers won one game. They were shutout four times and had games where they gave up 52, 62, 63 and 70 points.

Bichler, a freshman back then, can remember teammates quitting midseason out of frustration.

terry shaw timberline

Terry Shaw believes that there are many similarities to leading a choir and coaching a football team.  Photo courtesy: North Thurston Public Schools.

“No one wanted to be a part of it before,” Bichler said, “but since Coach Shaw took over, people are excited about Rainier football again.”

Shaw injected some much needed enthusiasm into the Mountaineers. As expected, things started slow. The team won three games in 2013 before going 6-4 last year – the team’s first winning season since 2008.

Things have continued to ascend this year as Rainier is 2-0 on the season, having defeated South Bend (58-20) and Kittitas (34-6).

“A lot of our starters were freshmen and sophomores when we began. They’ve now been under this system for two years,” Shaw said. “When we started, we told them if they were willing to buy in and willing to work hard, we wanted them around. And they’ve done that.”

The Mountaineers haven’t made the state playoffs since 1992 when they lost in the 2B state championship game to DeSales. Despite a 23-year hiatus from the state playoffs, Shaw has the squad hitting all the right notes early on in the season, causing the players to believe history could repeat itself.

“Alec Miller, one of the seniors on the team, his dad was a running back on that Rainier team that got second in state,” Bichler said. “It has us thinking déjà vu.”

As gifted a teacher Shaw is, one wonders what it would be like if he started to mix and match his students.

Could he teach some altos cover-2? Or perhaps turn his front seven into a jazz vocal choir?

“He’s tried before to teach us how to hit those high notes,” Bichler said.

And how did that go?

“I’ll stick with football,” Bichler said with a laugh.


DKB Restoration Follows DfE Environmental Guidelines

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/18/2015 - 6:00am



carpet cleaning olympia

Using Design for the Environment green cleaning technology, DKB Restoration keeps your carpets yuck-free.

The Pacific Northwest is a haven of green, both in our physical environment and our lifestyle decisions. We prefer to shop locally, organically, and stay mindful of the effects of purchases on our health and nature.

As a nation, the federal Environmental Protection Agency began a program called Design for the Environment in 1992. Historically, the “Design for the Environment (DfE) Program began in the early 1990s as an innovative, non-regulatory initiative to help companies consider human health, environmental and economic effects of chemicals and technologies, as well as product performance, when designing and manufacturing commercial products and processes.” Initially emphasizing safer chemicals for household and professional use, it has grown to include safer labeling guidelines as well.

Green Cleaning Magazine reports that “more than three-quarters of business decision-makers purchase green products and most believe the role of the environment will increase in the future, indicating that the green movement is here to stay.”

Locally, Olympia’s DKB Restoration offers carpet protection using DfE certified cleaning products. Owner Daniel Baxter explains that “oily soils produced from cooking vapors, pets, and even oils from our skin cannot be removed by regular vacuuming. These oily contaminants can cause your carpet to look dingy or dirty. The longer these things are allowed to build up the more difficult it is to remove them.”

carpet cleaning olympia

Stains from spills, pet hair, dirt, and allergens disappear almost immediately.

Once DKB Restoration has thoroughly cleaned your carpets, they offer the option to add a separate DfE coating which costs $75 for a 1,200 square foot home. This coating “helps keep spills and dirt from becoming stains,” explains Baxter. “I even use it in my own home.”

Because the DfE process keeps spills from sticking to the carpet fibers, your routine vacuuming becomes more efficient. Studies also show that application after every carpet cleaning helps carpets last longer overall.

Baxter belongs to an industry group which meets regularly to share product information, new technology, and trending statistics. It is his commitment to research and providing the best service and materials possible that has earned him so many favorable reviews on such consumer sites as Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.

Steve Jobs encouraged people to “be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” After a successful stint in the Army, Baxter’s life changed at the hands of a drunk driver. While recuperating from injuries, he began working in the carpet cleaning industry with the same precision and focus instilled by his military career. His pride, knowledge, and community focus are embodied through his work ethic and satisfied customer testimonials.

olympia carpet cleaning

Dan Baxter and his DKB Restoration team have even found lost jewelry and gemstones when cleaning dirty carpets.

DfE products are less common because their continued Federal certification means they cost more than the standard solutions. But reducing long-term effects of harmful chemicals on our children, pets, and homes make them well worth the price.

DKB Restoration offers free phone estimates for cleaning carpets, upholstery, ductwork, and dryer vents. Their work is 100% satisfaction guaranteed and before and after photos can be found on their website.

You can reach Dan and his team by calling 360-688-4392. Watch videos of their cleaning methods here.

Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson once warned that “The most important environmental issue is one that is rarely mentioned, and that is the lack of a conservation ethic in our culture.” But in the 45 years since the holiday began, local businesses like DKB Restoration prove that the green ethic is not only alive and well but affordable and available to everyone.

Man with a Gun: A Night in the Life of an Olympia Police Officer

Janine's Little Hollywood - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 11:08pm

Above: Olympia Police Department Officer Jeff Davis on walking patrol in downtown Olympia last Saturday night.
By Janine
The whistle blows, and the time between 5:00 p.m. into the wee hours in downtown Olympia becomes a time of transition.
If it’s a weekday, people are typically getting off work and going out to eat. On any day of the week, the same crowd or new folks may arrive to go to live shows or the theater.
Later, a different crowd arrives for nightclubbing, music events, and bar hopping. The clientele and the mood shifts, and certain activities escalate. Risk factors go up after 11:00 p.m., often due to excessive alcohol use, and people may do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do.
Six officers work the night patrol in Olympia, one each in the neighborhoods: downtown, northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest, and a roving car.
Because of recent events, such as the officer involved shooting of two men on May 21 and subsequent demonstrations, the department brings in five extra officers on Friday and Saturday nights.
Neighboring agencies such as the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, Tumwater, Lacey, and the Washington State Patrol are available to assist as needed.
Lt. Aaron Jelcick of the Olympia Police Department says that this mutual aid agreement has been needed four to five times in the last four to five weeks.
To learn more about Olympia Police Department activities, Little Hollywood shadowed Olympia police officers Jeff Davis and Kory Pearce on Saturday night, September 12. 
I learned that an evening on patrol can change quickly, from routine smiles and handshakes, to a “hot” call from dispatch: a man with a gun.
A Busy Saturday Evening
Meeting Officer Jeff Davis at the Olympia Police Department, we start our walk around downtown shortly after 7:00 p.m.
Standing 6’3'', and weighing 260 pounds, Officer Davis, 36, lives in Lewis County and has worked for the department for nine years. Previously, he worked for the U.S. Coast Guard for four years conducting law enforcement on the water and has traveled around the world.
With two new officers sworn in last week, Officer Jeff Herbig was promoted to sergeant and Officer Davis replaced him on downtown walking patrol.
Asked how he prepares for work - five days on, four days off – Davis says he appreciates his 45 minute commute to mentally prepare to do the job.
“You never know what’s going to happen….”
Davis has no particular route, but knows where the hot spots are and checks them out. We head for the artesian well on Fourth Avenue.
Greeting many individuals by name all night long, Davis uses a friendly-sounding, random combination of phrases: ‘Hello, how are you, what’s going on? Anything I need to know about?’ In return, they greet him by name, all smiles, and sometimes give him a verbal tip or two about what’s going on.
Folks around the well immediately ask Davis for stickers, but he tells them he worked Olympia High School’s Spaghetti Bowl the night before and gave out all his stickers and glow sticks. They are bummed.
Eleven minutes into our patrol, as we walk past The Pet Works, Davis is approached by a young man who tells him that a man is having a seizure or something on the sidewalk, and points to the area near the corner of Fourth and Adams.
Davis calls it into dispatch, calmly waits for the crossing signals, and then approaches the scene. Onlookers surround a man in his thirties seated on a stool. A woman is standing near him, holding up his head. Davis puts on blue gloves, and speaks softly, asking a series of questions typical for a first responder. 
Two more officers, Officers Hirotaka and Reisher, arrive out of nowhere and stand by.
After a few minutes, the man snaps out of his state. He says he is a veteran with post traumatic stress disorder issues and the woman is his girlfriend. He refuses further assistance and we move on down Fourth Avenue.
Two women are trying to take a selfie with the “I love Olympia” mural as a backdrop and Davis offers to take the picture for them. He does so, and they love it.
We walk down Washington Street, stepping over several inebriated men lying on the sidewalk outside Caffé Vitta. Public inebriation is not a crime, Davis explains, but some businesses are more tolerant than others about people lying in front of their businesses.
Davis speaks with a couple of men sleeping in front of Furniture Works. We stop in the Alano Club on Olympia Avenue and chat with patrons, ask how things are going, and then walk towards Percival Landing.
Walking firmly ahead of me, Davis sees something and approaches two young men in the alley behind Zeigler’s Welding, announces his presence, and asks what they are doing.
“Just passing through!” one man says, and quickly darts off. He never looks back.
“Good answer!” Davis yells after him. Davis speaks to the other man, who gathers up his things and moves along, as do we.
Often, people approach Davis to shake his hand and thank him for being out and about or ask him questions.
The questions vary. Many folks say they are new in town and wonder where the nearest bathroom is located. One young man asked if it was against the law to climb a utility pole. He had witnessed someone doing that earlier.
We encounter an employee of the Olympia Parks and Recreation department near the playground who informs Officer Davis that he just locked the restrooms for the night, and they discuss the fact that the restroom on Sylvester Street near the Oyster House has now been closed for the season due to ongoing drug use and needle issues.
At 8:00 p.m., Davis’ Fitbit vibrates, and he announces that he has just logged 10,000 steps for the day so far, equaling five miles. He says he typically walks 10 – 12 miles a shift. 
We walk over to the blighted, vacant, nine story Capitol Center Building and Officer Davis is now using his flashlight to check the bushes. He finds that there are beds empty and ready.
Vehicle prowls are a problem in downtown Olympia and the police sometimes patrol the darker parking lots, looking for suspicious activity.
Heading back to the station, we walk through a lot of alleys. Davis says he likes foot patrol. 
“You miss a lot in a car, even on a bike….”
Above: In a downtown alley, Olympia Police Department Officer Kory Pearce stands by while Officer Jeff Davis speaks with three men.
After Dark: Walking Patrol in Pairs
Back at the station, we’re ready to go out with Officer Kory Pearce. Pearce, 50, says he is ten days shy of 24 years with the Olympia Police Department. Seated at his desk, he’s doing paperwork. His shift ends at 3:00 a.m.
A traffic officer who works by motorcycle, he’s on duty Saturday night as backup, as is Davis. He’s had a busy week with school back in session and on Monday, he starts a two week basic collision investigation class through the Criminal Justice Training Commission.
A proud father and grandfather, Pearce points out pictures of his family. He lives in Graham, Pierce County, 23 miles away “doorstep to doorstep.” He lived there when he got out of the military and didn’t want to uproot his children from their friends and schools when he started with the department. 
Asked when he will retire, Pearce said, “I’m eligible to retire in three years but I’ll probably do five, unless I have two bad days in a row!” he joked.  “Not everyone can do this job….I’m a dad and a husband - this is what I do for fun,” he laughs. 
At least one tattoo on his arm is visible and reads, “It’s All About Winning” in fancy script.
Pearce says he’s seen a lot of changes in his years as an officer.
“We had a lot of problems (in the past) but not of this magnitude. There weren’t as many services, but there weren’t as many less fortunate, homeless people...we didn’t have as many services for them as we do now, shelter, meals, outreach programs. Community Youth Services was just getting underway….”
When ask I him what he’d like people to know about the police, he said, “Don’t believe what you read or hear….nothing against you, but the media is in the business of sharing stories, and the story people get is this much,” Pearce says, holding his thumb and finger close.
“....Good police service - that’s our goal every day. If I show up disheveled or acting like I don’t care, who are you going to tell? A friend. Then that person tells someone…and that gets spread around.”
Both Davis and Pearce complimented Amy Stull, the police department’s community liaison, and her team of volunteers.
“We could not accomplish what we accomplish without her and her entry, speed traps in school zones, house checks, Lakefair, parades, the Toy Run…you name it….” they said.
It's time to head out bar hopping of a different sort. It’s karaoke night at our first stop, McCoy’s, and as the woman finishes a profanity-laced version of Nicki Minaj’s, “Starships” song, she apologizes for her performance, saying that the cops made her nervous.
“You’re the one who took her picture,” Pearce quips to me as we leave out the back door.
Pearce is an edgy type, and a quick-witted joker. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when he’s joking.
A young man loaded down with a backpack and gear near McMenamin’s approaches Pearce. He says he’s new in town and wonders if there’s a bad part of town that he should stay away from.
With a straight face, Pearce says, “From the Fourth Ave Bridge to Plum.”
“That’s the whole town,” responds the guy.
It took a while for the guy to get the joke. Pearce said to just keep an eye out and he’ll be fine.
Davis and Pearce take turns checking in with bartenders or staff to see if everything is good. At the Eastside, the Fourth Ave Tav, and the Brotherhood, it’s the same: heads turn, some conversation and pool playing stops, and people silently wonder why the police are in the bar. Davis says he sometimes feels like he has a third eye.
“Most people figure something’s going on, that we were called here…they wanna know what the story is....” says Davis.
Across the street from the Brotherhood on Capitol Way, we find a car that has parked directly in the path of an alley, and the officers call it in.
Eugenio, the owner of Trinacria, comes out to greet the officers and they all chat for a few moments.
As we walk from Capitol Way up Fourth Avenue, people sit outside the busy Grandpa’s Ice Cream shop and shout out thanks to the officers for being out and about.
At the corner near Childhood’s End Gallery, a man asks where the nearest convenience store is, and he is directed to Bayview. He walks along with us since we are headed that way also.
Turns out, the man is a member of the U.S.S. Olympia crew, in town for the Foofaraw celebration sponsored by the Thurston Chamber of Commerce. He went on a helicopter ride earlier in the day. Stationed in Hawaii, he says he’s never been to Washington State before but has fallen in love with it in the last few days.
From Bayview Thriftway, we cross Fourth Avenue, cross Fifth Avenue and walk down under the bridge and along the railroad. 
A virtual tent city is underneath the bridge. When I ask about unreported crime and assaults, including sexual assaults, the officers say there's a lot among the homeless, who have their own cliques. The crimes may be unreported due to their warrant status or they may be worried about retaliation.
Above: Under the Fourth Avenue Bridge.
The officers use their flashlights, verbally announce themselves, and rouse residents, informing them that they are trespassing and could get ticketed. No tickets are issued. We walk along the railroad tracks and the officers point out debris, and various hazards, such as open, used needles.
Along Deschutes Parkway, we notice six orange luminarias floating in the sky over Heritage Park.
As we get closer, Pearce jokes that it’s a good thing this isn’t their problem because the park is under the responsibility of the Washington State Patrol. Amazingly dangerous, people are lighting pieces of coal to float flimsy paper lanterns. The officers walk by the participants who seem to be part of a wedding party drifting out from the Waterstreet Café.
Above: Floating a paper luminaria in Heritage Park.
In this suspicious climate against officers, I asked Davis what he would like people to know about the police.
Thinking a moment, he says, “…Everybody thinks we’re not trained, but we are…and I can say there are people in this profession who probably shouldn’t be, just like any other profession, but don’t generalize me into that group. Most of us are out here to make a difference and to help somebody, and that’s ultimately why I got into this profession - to do that. If you happen to catch a bad guy sometimes, that makes it great - the chance to hold somebody accountable for their actions.”
Asked about the possible use of body cameras, both Officers Davis and Pearce were supportive of their use.
Pearce said they’re a double-edged sword with the biggest issue being public disclosure requests.  
That’s about as far as we got when a couple of young men jaywalked across Legion Way right in front of us. They thought they were busted, and when they found out they weren’t, they peppered the officers with several questions about policing.
Davis’ response to my question about body cameras was enthusiastic.
“I would love to see body or dashboard cams…I’m all for them…they’re great! They tell a story – you can literally pop it in and hit play and it sets the tone.” He explained that some kinds of dashboard cams can go back two minutes when an officer “hits” their lights, which is useful in suspected driving while intoxicated stops.
He acknowledged that cameras will catch police officers doing “good stuff and stupid stuff.”
 “….We don’t get to interact too much with normal people – the people who call in are facing an immediate threat or problem, whether they are a victim or a suspect….I know when I do police work, I do a good job at it…and I follow all policies and procedures. I’m not worried….”
At 10:00 p.m., we walk out of Hannah’s, where people are singing karaoke and having a good time. I make the mistake of saying how quiet it is for a Saturday night.
Officer Davis kindly admonishes me and says there are two unwritten rules in law enforcement: one, never say it’s slow, and two, never say it’s quiet, because things can change quickly.
About a half hour later, we respond to a call from dispatch: a man with a gun is at the Emperor’s Palace restaurant on Cooper Point Road. 
Above: The Olympia Police Department's computer screen alerts officers to police activities in progress. 
Hot Call: Man with a Gun
At the Olympia Police Department, we had just parted company with Officer Pearce when the call came in. A man with a gun was at the Emperor's Palace restaurant on Cooper Point Road. A shot had been fired.
Immediately, officers poured out the doors and hopped into police vehicles of all types. Officer Davis and I jumped into a squad car and quickly traveled west through town on Fifth Avenue. I remember seeing the gawking faces of pedestrians as we zoomed by Hannah’s.
I sat in the front seat while Davis drove tight turns through the roundabouts, up Harrison hill, and through the intersection of Harrison and Division, with sirens wailing and lights flashing. We were going 70 miles per hour.
At some point back in the roundabouts, I wondered aloud if all this was really necessary. Officer Davis asked if what was necessary. My question was answered when a car in our lane slowed us down by not getting out of the way.
Davis drove around to the back of Macy’s Furniture Gallery where several police officers were already gathered. Officer Davis jumped out, ran up to the situation and, crouching low, pulled out his gun and aimed it at the suspect while two officers were in the process of handcuffing him. Within seconds, Davis put his gun back in its holster.
After a few moments, Officer Davis came back to the car and explained the situation: A man had become unruly in Emperor’s Palace, pulled out a gun, and shot a round into the air. He fled in the direction of Goodwill and went through the trees toward the back of the Target Plaza store.
Davis drove around to the area near Goodwill and told me not to leave the car. I had no intention of getting out.
Davis picked up a witness to the situation and we drove her back to the scene. Shining the car’s spotlight on the man, she identified him as the man she saw leave the plaza with a gun in his back pocket. Several other witnesses also identified the man and were interviewed.
Later, Officer Pearce, who was also suddenly on the scene, showed me on the car’s computer screen that the call came into dispatch at 22:34, and police were on site at 22:36. All told, ten officers were on the scene, and two supervisors.
For Officer Davis, the night was still young when I left him just after midnight. He didn’t mind me continuing on with him, as he would be on duty until 7:00 a.m., but I had seen enough for one night.
Thinking of all the people and situations we had encountered, I wondered what else would happen that night for Officer Davis. I had a hard time sleeping.
Above: Officer Kory Pearce's flashlight shines upon used hypodermic needles and related drug paraphernalia under the Fourth Avenue Bridge.

Orca Books Reading: Novelist Anita Feng presents "Sid"

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 6:48pm
Event:  Sat, 09/19/2015 - 7:00pm

 Anita Feng will be reading from her new book "Sid" at Orca Books. This is a free event, all are welcome. Orca Books is located at 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia.

About the book:

What would the life of Buddha look like if it were lived today? Anita Feng has crafted in" Sid" a delightful jewel that captures both the classic story of the Buddha, as well a deeply personal and familiar reflection of the story in a contemporary retelling. "Sid" weaves the traditional tale of Siddhartha, the Buddha-to-be with the story of Sid, an everyman who finds himself waking up amid the reality of work and family life in the modern world. Returning to the standard tale with careful consideration of the relationships in Buddha's life--to his wife, parents, and child--Feng's narrative embodies the Mahayana perspective of living one's enlightenment in the world.
Beautifully told in poetic prose, "Sid" teaches that the key to the story of the Buddha's life is that the story could be about any of us. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Orca Books Reading: Essayist Mark Rozema, "Road Trip"

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 6:45pm
Event:  Fri, 09/18/2015 - 7:00pm

Orca is delighted to welcome author Mark Rozema to the store. Mark will be reading from Road Trip, his new collection of essays. This is a FREE event at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia.

Road Trip is a collection of autobiographical essays that honor the places, people and other living creatures that have given shape and meaning to one man’s life. Framed by essays about the life and death of loved ones, the book explores the importance of family, friendship and what it means to care for another human being. Above all, Road Trip is about transformations that happen in ways we may not always understand or welcome—it’s about traveling down unknown and unexpected roads with good humor, generosity and a spirit of adventure. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Betty Sapp Ragan Retrospective at UPS

South Sound Arts - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 3:48pm

Photo: “Boxed,” hand-colored photo collage by Betty Sapp Ragan, collection of Mac Ragan, photo by Ross Mulhausen.
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 17, 2015

“Boxed,” hand-colored photo collage by Betty Sapp Ragan, collection of Mac Ragan, photo by Ross Mulhausen.
I regret that I did not get to see more work by Betty Sapp Ragan or get to know her personally before she died in May 2014. I reviewed a couple of group shows she was in, and I had the pleasure of visiting her studio during last year’s Tacoma Studio Art Tour, where I talked to her about the latest series of paintings she was working on. Now, having seen her retrospective exhibition at Kittredge Gallery, University of Puget Sound, I am convinced that she was an underrated artist — a talent worthy of celebration and honor.The retrospective surveys  45 years of her paintings, prints, mixed-media objects, and photographs. It was curated by Becky Frehse, instructor, and Janet Marcavage, associate professor in the Art Department at UPS, in collaboration with the artist’s son, Mac Ragan.Untitled (from Geometry Rising series), by Betty Sapp Ragan, photo by Ross MulhausenThat final series I saw in the studio tour included paintings with collaged digital prints of buildings in their environments, an inspired series that involved extensive research and meticulous craftsmanship. These large works in acrylic on board, now fill the back room of Kittrege Gallery at UPS.Painted are the scenes where the buildings were, are, should be, or might have been located. The colors are bright and sunny with a predominance of blue. Everything is painted with precise detail but softly focused, like a cross between photo-realist paintings and pastel drawings. The buildings themselves are digital prints of architectural drawings, mostly black and white line drawings that are collaged into the paintings. The actual buildings are not in the paintings. Rather, what we see is the settings before the buildings were built. These settings range from open fields to a coastal village to a dense urban scene. In one titled “Bonehouse Here?” we go back to prehistoric times to see a pair of mastodons standing on a glacier, and the drawing of the “house” is an igloo-shaped hut made of animal bones. The two mastodons are the only animals left from the herd, and the bones of their brothers and sisters have been used to make a house. Works such as these may not be exactly surrealistic, but they call reality into question.  In the front room are photographs, photo collages, prints and paintings. One group of five photo collages depicts buildings that could be from ancient Greece or Rome with women’s dresses in doorways and windows, some hanging and some on dress dummies. They seem natural in the settings and appear to be posed photographs rather than collages, but they jar the senses because the styles are out of keeping with the architecture and the scale is all wrong. Most of the dresses are relatively gigantic, but due to the artist’s careful cropping and arranging it is only on a second or third look that they appear outsized. Similarly, another wall features five hand-painted photo collages of contemporary women in Renaissance or Middle Age architectural settings. They look hype-realistic but anachronistic. All of Ragan’s figures and portraits are women or are represented by women’s clothing. Her son said she was a staunch feminist all her life. “As a member of the Guerrilla Girls group in New York in the mid-1980s she worked with other women artists to promote gender and racial equality in the fine arts,” he said.There are two large abstracts with bands of dripping monochromatic color, one all blue and one all red. The blue one has a few women’s faces collaged into it, one of which is almost totally hidden behind cut-out strips of paper. Among a group of intaglio prints are a couple that remind me of Matisse’s large dance paintings and his paper cuts from the “Jazz” series. One of these with intertwined bodies being crushed by flat, multicolored coffee cups is particularly exciting.Ragan’s work is inventive, thoughtful and skillfully executed. We have only this weekend to see her exhibition before it closes. There will be a closing reception Friday, Sept. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.
[Kittredge Gallery,  A Life in Art: Betty Sapp Ragan Retrospective, through Sept. 19, Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday noon to 5 p.m., 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma, 253.879.3701]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Home Instead Senior Care’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business Program Addresses Isolation Among Family Caregivers

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 2:41pm


Submitted by Home Instead Senior Care

HISC - Support seniorsThe Home Instead Senior Care® office serving South Puget Sound is launching a new campaign designed to make the community more Alzheimer’s friendly. Through the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program, the Home Instead Senior Care office will provide free training to local businesses to help equip employees with information and resources needed to welcome families who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

In a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation. 1

“For many caregivers, the unpredictable nature of the disease can make going out in public with their loved one intimidating,” said Kelly Cavenah, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving South Puget Sound.  “Our research shows that family caregivers might be reluctant to frequent public places because of the behaviors that could be associated with the disease.”

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the number of people with dementia worldwide is expected to grow to a staggering 75.6 million by 2030 and 135.5 million in 2050.

“Given the statistics, most businesses that deal with the public will be serving people with Alzheimer’s and their families,” said Cavenah. “It’s critical that local businesses start working now to build Alzheimer’s friendly communities to better serve their customers with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”

Local businesses can work directly with the local Home Instead Senior Care office to coordinate an in-person training. An interactive, online version of the training also is available at Once the training is successfully completed, businesses will receive a window cling with the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business designation. The designation will be valid for two years.

For more information about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program and to access additional resources, please visit or call 360-570-0049.

1 Home Instead, Inc. surveyed 692 Alzheimer’s family caregivers, including 102 from Canada and 590 from the U.S., who completed an online survey between April 13-23, 2015.


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