Recent local blog posts

Home Ownership Plan for Millennials – Part II

Thurston Talk - Sun, 05/15/2016 - 6:00am


Submitted by Chris Johns for On Q Financial If you’ve been contemplating home ownership this year, there are new changes to credit assessment that could affect your ability to get through the loan underwriting process. Confused? Let’s step back to the basics of what it takes to get into a home, previously referenced in Part

Olympia Comics Festival Preview Night

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 2:13pm
Event:  Fri, 06/03/2016 - 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Come and celebrate the 16th annual Olympia Comics Festival, an event centered on
alternative, arts-for-arts-sake comic books. Two of this year's guests of honor,
Tatiana Gill and Brandon Graham, will present their work, take audience
questions and sign copies of their books. This event will occur after regular
library hours and no other library services will be available. 

All library programs are free and open to the public.  Call 360-352-0595 with any questions. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Prairie Appreciation Day

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 8:31am
     Here in Thurston county, at the southern end of Budd inlet in Washington state, we are fortunate to have some beautiful, very unique prairies.  Historically, this land was covered with trees, especially Douglas fir trees.  However the southern reach of the county marks the final boundary of the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. Gray Hairstreak butterfly on cotoneaster flowers
     As the ice field bulldozed south, it removed all living plants and left huge piles of gravel behind in what is today called a gravel outwash prairie.
     Once the ice retreated, these gravel areas became home to a unique set of plants and animals.  Rather than trees, these prairies are dominated by grasses such as Idaho fescue, and flowers such as camas.  The indigenous tribes of the area:  the Nisqually, the  Puyallup and others used these prairies as agricultural fields, burning them regularly to keep the trees back and keep their food and medicine plants thriving.
     These prairies are still alive.  Once a year, we celebrate them.  Glen and I will be staffing an informational table on butterflies (it turns out that there are butterflies very specialized to these prairies).  
Here is a link on Prairie Appreciation Day:
Here is a link to information about these unique prairies:
If you are interested in learning more about butterflies in the Pacific Northwest, here is a link to our resource page:  Butterflies -- Resources 2016
Janet Resources:  photo by Nancy Partlow
Categories: Local Environment

Ace the Test – Study Spots around Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 6:00am


With final exams, AP tests, and other big stakes tests on the line, turn to this article for ideas on where to study around Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and throughout Thurston County.  You may even find a new space that amps up your retention. Lacey Across the street from Saint Martin’s University and Pope John Paul II

Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic Offers Help to Those in Need

Thurston Talk - Sat, 05/14/2016 - 6:00am


The Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic’s new location makes emergency dental care more accessible to the elderly and handicapped. Prior to the month long move, those in wheelchairs and walkers had a hard time navigating through the thick gravel surrounding the previous location on Franklin Street in downtown Olympia. Now, located across the street from

Orca Books Event: Norman Stockwell, editor of "Rebel Reporting: John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists"

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 7:32pm
Event:  Sun, 05/15/2016 - 3:00pm

 Norman Stockwell @ Orca Books | Olympia | Washington | United States

FREE talk at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia.

Norman Stockwell will discuss a book he edited: “Rebel Reporting,” the collected lectures of the legendary rebel reporter John Ross.

The book outlines the basic responsibilities of a journalist, and provides instructions on how to document injustices and poetically pitch stories to audiences to create change in society.

Stockwell has reported for Madison, Wisconsn’s independent radio station WORT since 1983, and has worked as a journalist all over the world. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Review: “The Language Archive”

South Sound Arts - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 10:06am

Published in The News Tribune, May 13, 2016
from left: Pat Sibley as Alta, Aaron Lamb as George, and Russ Holm as Resten
Alyssa Ky as Emma and Aaron Lamb as George
Russ Holm as Resten and Pat Sibley as Altaall photos courtesy Harlequin Productions
“The Language Archive.” It’s a title that conjures up dusty old libraries and esoteric and pedantic discussions between intellectuals. It is also a little-known but wonderfully quirky play now running at Harlequin Productions in Olympia. Be it ever so odd and intelligent, it is not just a play for intellectuals. It is a play that is easily understood and that can touch the hearts of all. It begins as a comedy that – especially when Russ Holm as Resten and Pat Sibley as Alta first appear – is insanely funny. But it does not remain solely comedic. It becomes a sweet and touching love story that looks at all sides of love and language and the barriers that prevent human beings from speaking from their hearts.George (Aaron Lamb) is a linguist who knows many languages but has no words to speak to his wife, Mary (Caitlin McCown) when she says she is leaving him. The implication from Mary is that he has never been good at speaking to her. She’s not very good at communicating with him either. The best she can do is to leave strange notes to him in strange places. He calls her notes bad poetry.George can say “I love you” in Esperanto, but he doesn’t know how to say it in English, at least not to anyone he actually cares about. Mary does not know how to speak from her heart either, nor does George’s assistant, Emma (Alyssa Kay). As it turns out, the only people who are able to communicate are Resten and Alta, the last two people in the world who can speak a dying (fictional) language. They can also speak in English, but only in anger, as they do in a great absurdist comical scene, because to them English is the language of anger.Balancing somewhere between lyrical romance, fantasy and farce, “The Language Archive” does not attempt to portray reality. Actors step out of scenes to speak directly to the audience (the first time George does this, Mary says, “You know I can hear you, don’t you?”) and characters and scenes roll in on a revolving stage in a way that lends to the entire production the feel of a silent movie. Except, of course, it’s not silent; it is filled with words.The five-person cast is splendid. Lamb plays George as a bumbling man with many uncomfortable tics who can wax eloquently when speaking of his love of languages but who is tongue-tied when trying to speak to Mary and Emma. A veteran of many challenging roles at Harlequin and elsewhere, including leading roles in To Kill a Mockinbird, Jekyll and Hyde and The Mating Dance of the Werewolf, Lamb displays skill at bringing a wide range of characters to life, as he skillfully does once again in this production.Holm and Sibley play outsized characters with comical voices and gestures worthy of a Marx Brother or a member of Monty Python, not just as the very loveable Resten and Alta, but also as a baker and Zamenhof, a famous linguist who is actually dead (both played by Holm) and as a language instructor and a train conductor (Sibley). The set by Jeannie Beirne is ingenious. The stage is absolutely bare except for a screen at the back wall. Furniture, appliances, and other set pieces come in and out on a revolving stage and lovely little watercolors of libraries, kitchens, train stations and other settings are projected against the back wall to simulate various settings. Looking something like New Yorker illustrations, these distinctive scenes were painted by Beirne.There are also unlisted stagehands and probably dressers who are not listed in the program but who do a monumentally heroic job backstage swapping out large set pieces and helping bring about quick costume changes, and doing it all in utter silence. These are the people who are seldom acknowledged but who are responsible for the magic and wonder of live theater. In this show they work with stage manager Michelle Himlie and assistant stage manager Laurie Hubbs. WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday,  2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m., through May 28WHERE: State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., Olympia TICKETS: $20-$34 INFORMATION: 360-786-0151;

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

ThurstonTalk, Adopt-A-Pet Celebrate One-Year Partnership

Thurston Talk - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 6:00am


It was 54 weeks ago that Terri Thomas first contacted ThurstonTalk, asking if we would share a story about a dog available for adoption. A volunteer at Shelton’s Adopt-A-Pet, Terri wanted to access ThurstonTalk’s distribution network of more than 50,000 local readers on social media. Her goal was to share stories about dogs that were

Northwest Christian’s Elizabeth Stottlemyre Seeks State Javelin Crown

Thurston Talk - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 6:00am


It’s one of the hottest days of the spring sports season. The Northwest Christian High School track and field team is just wrapping up practice. Many of the athletes have already left for the day, but Elizabeth Stottlemyre is still there. She can be found resting on the ground, gasping for air. It’s just for

L&E Bottling – Delivering Pepsi and Local Jobs Since the 1930s

Thurston Talk - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 6:00am


Pick up a can of Pepsi at a Thurston County grocery store and you will be consuming a product that has been made without leaving the community. The soda, can and packaging never traveled outside Thurston County. In fact, the locally sourced can was produced in a plant in Thurston County, filled with soda by

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 05/13/2016 - 6:00am


Folks, it looks like the summer weather (is it really May?) is heading back out to the sea and the regular spring time rain and clouds are returning.  Grab the last few drops of Vitamin D by checking out our Activities section and heading outdoors.  Then, shake off the raindrops and scroll through this list of things

Seven Was to Get There

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 4:42pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, May 12, 2016Clockwise from left: Robert McConckey, Brian Jansen, Gabriel McClelland, Scott Douglas, Brian Hatcher and Heather Christopher. 
Playwright Bryan Willis’s riveting play Seven Ways to Get There premiered a year ago this month at ACT Theatre in Seattle and is now being performed by Theater Artists Olympia. It was good in Seattle, and it’s even better, perhaps — more intense and more engaging in the intimate performance space at the Midnight Sun. Co-written by Dwayne J. Clark, the play is based on Clark’s experience some 17 years earlier when he took part in men’s therapy group. Michelle, played by Heather R. Christopher, is a therapist facilitating, for the first time in her career, an all-male group therapy session. Not surprisingly, some of the men question her ability to run an all-male group and complain that they can’t open up with a woman present. The men are a mass of neuroses. Throughout the play the group teeters on the edge of total chaos.Anthony (Christian Carvajal) has severe anger issues. He attends the sessions under court order and constantly lashes out at and belittles the other men in the group, especially Richard (Robert McConkey, who is addicted to pornography and has urinary issues and is an infuriating sticker for following the rules most of the others ignore. Mel (Brian Hatcher) can never make up his mind about anything. His “decider is broken.” Seated next to Mel in most sessions, Peter (Scott Douglas) is severely shut down, but when he finally does speak it is a flood of self-loathing.Mark (Gabriel McClelland) is an artist who is just beginning to gain success. His self-esteem is in the toilet thanks to a wife who scorns him and whom he is suspects is having an affair with her “ugly” rock-climbing instructor.Vince (Brian Wayne Jansen) is a likeable enough fellow who claims to have had sex with more than 2,000 women but never really cares about any of them, usually feels empty after sex and can’t even remember the women’s names.And finally, a late-comer to the group, Nick (Michael Christopher) is rich, arrogant, and believes he can buy off anyone, but underneath all his bluster is fear.The writing is superb, probably Willis’s best play yet, and pacing, blocking and interaction of the seven men and one woman is like the smooth running of a complex machine — thanks in large part to excellent direction by Pug Bujeaud.This play is a showcase of ensemble acting at its best. No one actor stands out, and each is in top form. Beginning actors would do well to watch this play multiple times and observe how intensely each and every actor stays in character and totally engaged even when the others are speaking, their personal and often highly personal reactions when other actors are “on camera,” be it hiding within themselves, slouching is disdainful inattention, or listening with hyper attention (and often reacting violently).There is violence, a gunshot, a lot of foul language, and a surprising amount of outlandish humor.
Seven Was to Get There, Thursday-Sunday at 8 p.m., through May 21, The Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia St. Tickets: $12-$15, Available at door night of show or online at
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Hatch: Poems/Installation by Jenny Montgomery

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 4:26pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, May 12, 2016Carriage with rocks and rope
Coat with strange medal and medical reports printed on strips of paper.

Salon Refu owner Susan Christian describes the gallery’s current show, Hatch, as an experiment in literary installation. “It began as a chapbook of poems exploring a devastating birth experience and the eventual joys of parenting an uncommonly determined (and exceptionally funny) child. Images from the poems are ‘built out’ into the gallery space, made from materials which  reach back to touch prehistoric ritual traditions surrounding death and the afterlife, as well as incorporating toys from our own culture.”The artist’s seven-year-old son, Heath, was born with severe cerebral palsy. Words from Montgomery’s poems about her son are mixed with words out of Heath’s mouth and things others have said about and to him, along with many artifacts from and about his young life. In some cases the words make up titles for the artifacts presented as sculptures and wall reliefs. The pieces are not put together in a coherent or easily understood manner, but rather in a kind of hodge-podge that forces the viewer to puzzle out the meanings.  It is not an easy installation to suss out, but it is an installation that can be emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating.Symbols of birth and death abound, often in the form of eggs or of swaddling or bandaging. There is a giant inflatable egg swaddled in gauze, and there is a little toy horse and rider bandaged head-to-toe like a mummy, with medical reports typed out in tiny letters and adhered to the bandages.Examples of random words and items:●     The child's grandfather's childhood coat combined with shredded lab reports and "a strange medal.”●     Printed large on the wall: "Hug Goofy," "Know your carnivores," and "Is that the wrong word?"  .  ●     A small bunny doll sits in a bed of pills in a Tibetan singing bowl. A label explains that the pills are anti-cholinergic medicines.  The title card includes a   warning (in all-caps): “For God's sake do not eat, very dangerous and has no enjoyable side effects."●     A baby carriage filled with large stones and a rope extending to and visually through the ceiling represents life, death, and the umbilical cord.  ●     Another label explains that viewers are invited to play with an installation of toys and medical supplies titled "What is so atrocious it gives rise to laughter?"
Montgomery is a poet and a mother, not a visual artist, but this installation displays outstanding aesthetic sensibilities.

Salon Refu, Thursday-Sunday 2-6 p.m., and by appointment. Through May 29, 114 N. Capitol Way, Olympia,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Join North Thurston Public Schools to “Stuff the Bus” on May 14

Thurston Talk - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 1:56pm


Submitted by North Thurston Public Schools On May 14, the North Thurston Public Schools Food and Nutrition and Transportation departments join forces again for the 9th annual “Stuff the Bus” event. This compassionate, philanthropic volunteer effort rallies the community to gather food, household supplies and books, school supplies and cash for local area non-profits who support

Off the Wall

South Sound Arts - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 12:25pm
Hatch: An installation by Jenny Montgomery at Salon Refu(not a review)In an email announcing the latest show at Salon Refu, Susan Christian wrote: “This is going to be quite a complicated show. As has been my continuing trajectory, it's not an ordinary images-in-frames-hung-on-the-wall show. (The last one of those I did was back in November I think, and it was sticks not easel paintings). This one is yet another installation, with a good deal of poetry applied directly to the walls, and many large and small setups which refer to steps and pieces of the artist's little son Heath's journey through a childhood deeply affected by cerebral palsy brought on by oxygen deprivation during the birth process.”The previous show at Salon Refu was Anne de Marcken’s installation The Redaction Project (reviewed here). The “sticks,” of course, referred to a show of Christian’s own paintings on sticks, which was wonderful (reviewed here). Is Susan Christian, the most innovative gallerist south of Seattle, abandoning traditional easel-and-pedestal art in favor of art that defies categories? Good for her—although I must admit I have a particular fondness for painting and hope she does not abandon it altogether.Way, way back in 1970 I championed this kind of non-traditional art in my graduate thesis at East Tennessee State University. The title of my thesis was “A Ground for Today’s Art: An Alternative to the Frame Pedestal Aesthetic.” My thesis advisor came up with that title. I thought it was rather wordy and academic sounding, but I agreed to it because it described the gist of my thesis. Starting with Jackson Pollock taking his canvases off the wall and laying them on the floor and walking around and on them—getting into his paintings in the most literal sense—and graduating from there to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein rejecting the idea of “the hand of the artist,” Robert Rauschenberg taking part in Merce Cunningham’s dance performances and making “paintings” out of a stuffed angora goat, and happenings by Allan Kaprow and others, I traced the movement of modern art away from aesthetic items decoratively hung on walls to events, performances, mail art, and happenings that embrace all of art and all of life. You might think that if an art student out of Mississippi could see that trend and celebrate it almost 50 years ago that you’d see more of this non-traditional art in local and regional galleries. And it is around. A little bit. Performance art has become fairly well established. Graffiti, poetry slams, theatrical events and all kinds of things that do not fit in the old categories now find their way into the more progressive and forward-looking museums and galleries, but such events, shows, or whatever you want to call them demand open eyes and open minds on the part of the art public and a willingness to take big risks on the part of gallery owners. Especially if they depend on sales to keep their doors open. After all, who could possibly buy a happening or a mixed-media installation that takes up an entire gallery? The latest show at Salon Refu is just such a show. It is an installation by Jenny Montgomery, a poet—and in this instance, most importantly, a mother. There are individual pieces in her installation that can be seen as sculptures or paintings. I don’t know if any or the pieces are for sale or not. But it is the totality of the words and images that makes it art.
Watch for my review of her installation in the Weekly Volcano tomorrow, It should hit the streets later today, May 12. I will also post it here.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Chef Austin Navarre – Tantalizing Dining Where East Meets West at the Dockside Bistro

Thurston Talk - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 6:00am


Things may not look different when you walk inside the restaurant, but Dockside Bistro’s new chef Austin Navarre is incorporating new flavor sensations into the daily menu. You’ll still find familiar choices made popular by owner Laurie Nguyen, yet you will also have the option to explore Navarre’s interpretation of Asian cooking – a fusion

Thrifty Thurston Covers 6 Snow-Free Hikes around South Puget Sound

Thurston Talk - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 6:00am


Now that the snow is melting at record levels and the seemingly-endless winter is behind us, we are blessed to be able to get out and explore some amazing natural destinations around the South Puget Sound. Whether we are looking for a short drive for an afternoon of natural beauty, or longing for a full

Portrait of a Survivor – Jim Brown is Beating the Odds

Thurston Talk - Thu, 05/12/2016 - 6:00am


To say that Jim Brown is involved in our community would be an understatement. ThurstonTalk has introduced our readers to Brown on numerous occasions. The first time, back in 2011, we talked about his role as the executive director of Rad Racing, a junior development cycling team. In 2012, Brown talked to us as the

Summer Rebels by Bus adventures…

giant wheel from ferryWe’ve already had a taste of summer… and it’s only May!  The summer Rebels by Bus adventures focus on fun in the sun and WATER!

The trip (sponsored by South Puget Sound Community College) destinations will be:

madison parkMadison Park (on Lake Washington) and the Arboretum in Seattle.


Vashon Island vashon art deco





Alki beach in West Seattle (taking the passenger-only water taxi to get there) water taxi



Ballard and the locks (connecting the Puget Sound to the ship canal and Lake Union) ballard locks



Details on each of these trips are already on the SPSCC continuing education website.  Registration will be open soon!

Categories: Local Environment

North Thurston High School Captures Girls Tennis Title

Thurston Talk - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 6:00am


It’s a tactic North Thurston girls tennis coach Cheri Campbell likes to apply early in the season. Instead of racquets, running takes center stage. “We really try to condition a lot the first two weeks of practice,” Campbell said. “Part of it is to weed out the kids who don’t want to work.” Usually it

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