Recent local blog posts

George Gottlieb: Excellence in Homebuilding and Customer Care

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 11:26am



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

George Gottleib has been

Rob Rice Homes Superintendent George Gottleib has been building homes for nearly 30 years. 

As a superintendent for many homes built by Rob Rice Homes, George Gottleib puts nearly three decades of homebuilding experience along with his respect for the standards of South Sound’s finest builder into every home he builds. And that’s quite a few homes— an estimated 1500 homes over his career in the industry.

“I like creating beautiful homes,” George explains. “There are not a lot of people that can say they were responsible for building, from start to finish, 100 homes in one neighborhood. I am proud of that when I drive through our neighborhoods.”

No matter how many homes George has built, each individual homeowner is his concern. Each home gets the personal care and quality demanded in a Rob Rice Home.

“As a superintendent I am directly involved in building a house from the permitting process all the way to the customer service for the homeowner,” George describes his job.

Relentless for high standards

Rob Rice has high standards,” George says about the local builder who he has worked with for nearly 28 years. “He is meticulous about the details in his homes and the way they are built. We are determined to deliver a superior product that the homebuyer will love for years to come.”

George also knows from his many years of experience that there isn’t a builder in the area that puts more money and thought into the landscaping, open space and common areas that are all signature qualities of Rob Rice communities.

“Just drive into one of our communities and then go elsewhere,” says George. “There is no comparison. Rob also works with the homeowners associations to protect the beauty, quality and value of the homes and neighborhoods we build.”

Experience pays off for homeowners

Since he graduated from South Puget Sound Community College with a degree in construction in 1981, George has accumulated vast experience in the industry.

His graduation was at a time when the housing market had bottomed out so he took any job he could in construction; the first one was working on commercial foundations.

During the next 6 years he was involved in many remodeling and building projects, at one point even helping with the conversion of Jimi Hendrix’s childhood home in Seattle into a multifamily unit with six

Evergreen Heights

Gottleib was the Superintendent on the Evergreen Heights Neighborhood. 


George started working for Gemini Corporation where he learned the ropes from a building superintendent named Ival Spears, who George describes as “an ornery old guy who taught me a lot and was good to work for.”

Rob Rice, who had partnered with Gemini, eventually hired on George as a superintendent for Rob Rice Homes. The rest is history, and a lot of well-built homes and happy homeowners.

Today, George’s own nephew Eric works for the company too, having started out as a “water boy” for the lawns. Eric is now the superintendent at the popular Villages at South Hill in Puyallup and the Kensington in Lacey.

Customer service is the prime motivator

Today, George is determined to provide unmatched customer service to every homeowner.

His biggest challenge is coordinating the entire project in a timely manner. “Our homeowners have a lock on a loan, they need to get out of their old home and move in. It is critical that we meet our deadlines.”

George has never missed a promised deadline for the completion of a home once it was firmly set. That’s even though he may have 25 to 30 homes under construction at a time.

“If it’s a locked in date, I hit it. And, it is done in a way that fullfills the homeowner’s wishes. Rob Rice Homes stands behind our product. And if there is something a homeowner isn’t happy with, I will go back to a home as many times as a homeowner needs me to.”

Excellence draws buyers

Buyers today want quality for their money, they want all the extras. It is why there is such a demand for Rob Rice Homes.

“When they find out that many of those extras are standard in our homes they are amazed,” George says. “Everything we put into a home is high quality, every

George with another happy Rob Rice Homeowner, Margie Plaquet

George with another happy Rob Rice Homeowner, Margie Plaquet

detail is watched over.”

George personally walks the new homeowners through their home when it is finished. And that’s when he gets a lot of compliments.

Satisfied homeowners

Ed and Margie Plaquet moved into their Rob Rice home in Campus Highlands  a year ago and are delighted.

“Everything is excellent quality and there is amazing attention to detail,” says Margie, whose husband is an engineer with the City of Lacey. “My brother, who is refurbishing his own home in Seattle, was in awe of the quality craftsmanship in every part of our home. We love our home.”

That’s the goal for Rob Rice Homes and this experienced building superintendent.

“The happiness of the homeowner is the goal,” George emphasizes. “We don’t stop until we reach that goal.”


George Gottlieb is currently the building superintendent for the Rob Rice Communities of Evergreen Heights, Campus Highlands, Campus Highlands North and the newly opened Campus Peak. He is the father of two adult children, a son and a daughter, who have opened a family business Gotti Sweets in Hawks Prairie close to the many homes George has helped build.





Olympia Food Co-op Harvest Party

Olympia Food Coop - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:51am
Announcing the Olympia Food Co-op's 10th Annual Harvest Party and Local Eats event!  

Celebrate the bounty of the harvest and our local producers, bring a potluck item to share, take part in our First Annual Zuch Fest!  Do you have a zucchini in your garden that got a little out of control?  Bring it to our giant zucchini contest!  Roll it in the zucchini derby, or bake your favorite zuch-creation for the zucchini bake-off!  
This year, we'll be hosting the Harvest Party at our newly remodeled, warm and welcoming Westside location --  come see our fresh new look!  Check out the new expanded Wellness department!  With our beautiful new floor, widened aisles, and more natural light, your friendly neighborhood store now has a more open, spacious feel.  We we can't wait to see you there!

10th Annual Harvest Party and Local Eats: Sunday Sept 14th, 1p-6p.  921 Rogers St NW.

Categories: Local Food Blogs

Dream Interpretation for Beginners

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:31am
Event:  Sat, 09/20/2014 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm Why do we dream? What do dreams mean? Bring your experiences and your questions to this introductory class on dream interpretation presented by local expert Paula Otano. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Ruby Fray Attic Improvisation

K Records - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 1:47am
Astrological Combustions! Emily Beanblossom and Ruby Fray playing music that could be the soundtrack to your life. This is in an attic, somewhere in time, someplace in July, 2012, just before their first U.S. tour. The new Ruby Fray album Grackle [KLP251] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Shop Local in Olympia for Reusable Lunch Sacks

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 7:33pm



By Sara Johnson

lunch sacks olympia

Colorful options will spice up any pack-at-home lunch. Shop local at Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway stores.

When my mom packed my lunch for me back in the 1980s, she usually tucked it all into a brown paper bag for me to carry off to school. My carrot sticks, apple slices, and peanut butter and jelly sandwich were each sealed up tight in plastic zippered bags, along with a pouch of Capri Sun or a carton of milk.

Now, in 2014, we’re realizing that using throwaway containers for food items is neither environment-friendly (it takes 500-1000 years for a plastic bag to break down) nor cost-effective ($.05 per sandwich bag really adds up over time). Packing fresh food from home is also healthier than pre-packaged, highly-processed options.

Thurston County’s recent implementation of the Plastic Bag Ordinance shows that reusable bags are not simply a trend, but are here to stay. I’ve been carrying my own cloth grocery bags to the store for years. Among the environmental benefits, I’ve found that reusable grocery bags are much stronger than their plastic cousins, and certainly better looking.

Reusable bags and containers are now spreading into the lunch realm. As a kid, I was so excited to receive my first reusable metal lunch box (Strawberry Shortcake-themed of course). The rest of my lunch was still packed in those ubiquitous plastic zip bags but today, as a mom myself, I am excited that when I pack my own daughters’ lunches, I’ll have so many other reusable—and cute—options to store their carrot sticks.

In Olympia, my favorite place to seek out novel kitchen and reusable items is Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway stores. As part of our back-to-school preparations, my two elementary school-age daughters and I visited both stores to check out the available options for packing their school lunches. We found a huge variety of products so well-made, good-looking, and durable that I couldn’t imagine stuffing their ham sandwiches in a plastic sack. Most products would be suitable for packing a daily lunch to take to the office as well.

lunch sacks olympiaRalph’s carries zak! lunch sacks which are lightly insulated and decked out with fun themes for kids (5-year-old Holly particularly fell for the Frozen-themed sack). I thought Deco’s Two Tier Tiffin Stackable Lunch Box in stainless steel would be perfect for my husband’s lunch, with two sealed sections just right for tucking in the previous night’s leftovers.

Both stores carry the French Bull PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag line which is pure genius. Not only do the bags come in a variety of bright and trendy patterns, but you don’t need a separate cold pack to stick in the bag to keep your child’s yogurt cold: the entire bag is a cold pack! Stick the sack in the freezer the night before school, fill it up in the morning and lunch will stay crisp and fresh the whole day, up to 10 hours.

lunch sacks olympiaAmber, a member of Bayview’s team, recommends these lunch sacks highly. “My son has one for school and his PackIt lunch bag is still frozen when he brings it home in the afternoon. It really works great,” she says.

The French Bull PackIt line is more than just lunch bags. Thriftway carries the smaller snack and sandwich sizes, along with the large grocery bag size, perfect for hauling ice cream and milk home on hot summer days….or a picnic for the entire family.

So, you’ve picked out your cute, new reusable lunch sack (as Leah and Holly did) but what about packing the food inside it? We’re all familiar with Tupperware and Rubbermaid reusable containers, but the marketplace is coming up with clever ideas that depart from our familiar plastic options.

lunch sacks olympia

Leah and Holly choose their favorite back-to-school lunch sacks at Bayview Thriftway.

Both stores stock the Fuel line of reusable lunch products. My favorite aspect of these was how space-saving each of the Fuel items was, not to mention sporting my favorite green and white color scheme. I found an adult-friendly lunch sack, bento box, snack pockets, sandwich wraps, drink, salad, and soup containers. My girls, on the other hand, were drawn to the bright fruit-patterned Lunchskin sandwich and snack bags, perfect for packing those carrot sticks.

Thriftway also carries the BPA-free Sistema line which is designed and made in New Zealand. These containers are an affordable high-quality option with securely locking tops. They come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes including the clever Breakfast To Go pack, ideal for a morning yogurt and granola.

For families looking for plastic-free options, Thriftway is stocking a number of stainless steel and glass container choices. I found Kuhn Rikon glass storage jars at Ralph’s, ideal for safely reheating contents in a microwave. Bayview stocks the U-Konserve and Kids Konserve line, stainless steel food containers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. These well-made, non-leaching, non-toxic containers will surely last for years.

It’s nice to know that finding reusable lunch-packing options for both work and school is not difficult. It’s as easy as a trip to one of our local, family-owned grocery stores. The hard part may only be overcoming the desire to collect them all.


SafePlace Growth Branches Out Into the Community

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:13pm



By Alyssa Ramsfield

providence medical group sponsorAn advocate and shelter for survivors of domestic violence, SafePlace has been a staple in our community since 1981. It is the only agency of its kind in Thurston County and is one of the oldest programs for sexual assault in the nation. As the need for assistance grows, so does the need to expand this vital community resource.

olympia domestic violence help

The new SafePlace Community Center will have a room dedicated to children for some much needed play time.

“SafePlace is Thurston County’s accredited agency for sexual violence,” describes Development Director, Thomasina Cooper. “We have a 24-hour phone line for assistance and we run a 28 bed shelter. We are constantly trying to get survivors all of the help possible and we keep our shelter full with survivors and their families. Our community services include working with survivors one-on-one, case management, healing processing, setting up DSHS appointments, making legal appointments and assisting them in the next steps necessary.”

“It’s really important to us for the community to know that we are available to anyone who needs it,” explains Cooper. “We will provide help in any way possible. A lot of the time, people are looking for legal help. While we can’t give legal advice, we have an advocate who will assist survivors in getting the information they need. We also have free legal services available the first and third Thursday of every month. Community members can talk to a lawyer about their legal proceedings in regards to sexual violence. Our community outreach program also helps survivors with daily struggles such as finding a place to live or affordable daycare.”

olympia safeplace

Local fundraisers have helped to make the Capital Campaign a reality for SafePlace.

SafePlace is taking on an expansion of their current Community Service Center to make their services readily available to Thurston County citizens. “We are really trying to create a safety net for people who need to leave their situation,” says Cooper. “It’s complex to leave a life of domestic violence. Currently, our facilities limit our client services. We can only hold small meetings and serve members of community a few at a time. The new facility is going to give us sufficient space to make a difference in survivor’s lives.”

Some of the smallest victims of domestic violence will be taken into account in the new building. “The renovated center will have a kids program and playroom,” continues Cooper.  ”Play is so important to children. It’s a simple thing, but a powerful one. Parents will be able to meet with advocates and get the help they need while separating their children from conversations about issue. Instead, kids can come in and enjoy some play time. We will even have a teen room for older children to enjoy.”

safeplace olympia

The new SafePlace service facility will have room for meetings, volunteer trainings, and offices for administration.

The new center will also add more capacity to SafePlace’s standing services. “We can hold large meetings in the new building as it is triple our current size,” explains Cooper. “We can also complete more trainings for volunteers. Our volunteers help to facilitate support groups. They are a very important aspect of SafePlace. We also do outreach to schools through out teen group. It allows for teens to come together to find out about dating, consent, and prevention. Our new facility will allow that group to be trained as facilitators and allow help for their peers.

“SafePlace is branching out and we want to make sure that the community not only knows we exist, but that our resources are available to them 24/7,” describes Cooper. “We are all working together in the community and we want to increase the conversation around sexual violence so we can really start engaging people and find ways for prevention. Perpetrators thrive in silence. Our job is to make connections with people and get them talking.”

“Come in and engage with us,” exclaims Cooper. “We are trying to be a proactive part of downtown Olympia. The building that will be our new community center is a renovation project. We plan to turn this ugly duckling into a beautiful swan of a building. We want to bring a much needed spark to the area. We hope to be at the forefront of our community.”

Learn more about SafePlace’s Capital Campaign by clicking here. Celebrate SafePlace’s groundbreaking of their new facility on September 5 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.


Pine Hill Haints “Rattle Them Bones (excerpt)”

K Records - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:57pm
An excerpt of the Pine Hill Haints playing “Rattle Them Bones”, August 7, 2014, during a taping of the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard gravecast at Dub Narcotic Studio, Olympia, Washington. you can hear the entire gravecast HERE. “Rattle Them Bones” appears on the Pine Hill Haints album The Magik Sounds of The Pine Hill Haints [KLP254], […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 010

K Records - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:48pm
The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. The Pine Hill Haints toured through Olympia in early August playing Northern with tour-mates Zealous Doxy. The next day they all stopped by Dub Narcotic Studio to chat with hosts Ian Vanek and Calvin Johnson (The Hive Dwellers) on the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard (where […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Zealous Doxy “Katie Cruel”

K Records - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 1:57pm
An excerpt of “Katie Cruel” by Zealous Doxy, who traveled from their home in England to tour the United States with Pine Hill Haints. The tour stopped in Olympia, Washington to play Northern and then visited Dub Narcotic Studio to tape an episode of the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard gravecast. You can hear the entire gravecast […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Theater Artists Olympia presents- An Improbable Peck of Plays 3D! Our Annual One-Act Play Festival!

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 9:42am

We here at Theater Artists Olympia understand your need for fast-paced, eclectic, three dimensional theater. That’s why we’re rolling out our third annual one-act play festival, An Improbable Peck of Plays 3D! Armed with an arsenal of fantastic locally written plays from our friends at Northwest Playwrights Alliance, our group of directors stand ready to launch a series of tremendous, albeit short, one-acts in your general direction. Featuring the directing prowess of Mark Alford, pug Bujead, Christian Carvajal, Elizabeth Lord, Morgan Picton, and Vanessa Postil-combined with a stellar cast and crew-this year’s festival promises to be the best available in this dimension!

WHO: Theater Artists Olympia
WHAT: An Improbable Peck of Plays 3D
WHEN: August 21-September 7; all shows at 8pm except for one 2:30pm matinee on September 7
WHERE: The Midnight Sun performance space N. 113 Columbia ST. downtown Olympia
PRICE: $12 (no one turned away)
TICKETS: Available at the door the night of the performance and also in advance at Call 360.259.2743 for more info. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Panorama Residents’ New Careers as Volunteers

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:30am



By Eric Wilson-Edge

Some people never truly retire. These people occupy themselves with projects, hobbies or volunteer work. Panorama residents Jay Felzien and Ann Berry are part of this last category. The retirees spend a significant amount of their free time giving back. Their reasons are different but the results are the same.

panorama lacey

Jay Felzien, a resident at Panorama, has volunteered with hospices for seven years.

Jay Felzien Returns Help

Jay Felzien’s decision to volunteer is very personal. In 1983 Felzien’s partner was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live. “I couldn’t take time off,” says Felzien. “There was an organization called Visiting Nurses and they’d go once a day to make sure he had something to eat and see that he was okay.”

Felzien’s partner died four months later. The experience taught him some valuable lessons that he still carries with him today. “I was really grateful for all the help I’d gotten,” says Felzien. “I remember how lost I was when my partner was dying and I didn’t like the idea of anyone having to go through that.”

Not too long ago Felzien got a call from one of his neighbors at Panorama. The woman knew about Felzien’s volunteer work at the hospice. She wondered if he could come over and talk with her husband.  “She told me that he was afraid of dying,” says Felzien.  Jay talked with the man, offered reassurance that everything would be okay. “The next day he was completely different.”

Comfort is a large part of what Felzien provides. Sometimes he reads books to clients, plays chess or goes on a walk. In the process he builds relationships with his clients and their families. “I meet a lot of very interesting people that I wouldn’t meet otherwise,” says Felzien. “Their defenses are down, they’re just a real person.”

Ann Berry’s Work at the Crisis Clinic

panorama lacey

Ann Berry’s last diplomatic posting was in South Africa. Now, she is an active volunteer at the Crisis Clinic.

Ann Berry listened to the recruiter’s talk. Afterwards she told her professor she was going to be a diplomat. “He looked at me and said ‘I didn’t pass and you won’t either.’” Needless to say Berry took the Foreign Service Exam, passed and spent most of her life as a diplomat.

Berry moved to Olympia in 1999. In preparation for her retirement Berry did some reading. She came across an article in the Olympian about a training program being offered by the Crisis Clinic of Thurston and Mason Counties. “I became addicted to the Crisis Clinic and have been there ever since.”

In 15 years Berry has done everything from answer phones to provide training to new volunteers. She and a small group of others helped keep the clinic afloat in the late 2000s following a split with Behavioral Health Resources. “There are a lot of organizations that make Olympia a jewel and we think the Crisis Clinic is one of those,” says Berry.

The work is challenging and rewarding. “It is intense,” says Berry. “We’ve had a number of calls with suicidal thoughts and that’s pretty tough stuff.” Berry’s training and her relationship with fellow volunteers make it possible for her to help others. “Your partner is there to talk with after a difficult call to hear what your feelings are.”

Berry says she continues to volunteer, partially because of what the work does for her. “I am amazed by what I have learned about myself. I never do a shift where I don’t come away saying ‘wow, that’s really amazing.’”

The spirit of volunteerism is big at Panorama. Some seniors help with programs within the retirement community while others, like Felzien and Berry, offer assistance elsewhere.  Either way the results are a better, more connected community.


JBLM Spouses Band Together to Form Business Networking Group

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:27am



By Cara Bertozzi

Olympia Auto Mall sponsorEvery Wednesday morning, a group of women can be found intently circled around foamy lattes and sweet treats, quietly engaging in demonstrably organized discussion at the DuPont Forza coffee shop. At first glance, it seems an eclectic group: some are young moms with kids seated nearby, some appear to have come straight from the gym, and others are well-heeled and perfectly coifed without an eyelash out of place.

jblm military spouse

Along with managing the stress of being a military spouse, these female entrepreneurs and small business owners gather at the DuPont Forza weekly to discuss their businesses.

These diverse women are bound by two common ties  - a military spouse sisterhood and small business ownership or novice entrepreneurs. Each week, they gather to work through a business-oriented strategy exercise, such as practicing a short elevator pitch, reviewing marketing strategies, setting short- and long-term goals, or testing minimum viable product ideas on each other.  This weekly meeting has appropriately been branded Power Hour, and the idea has already begun to spread to other bases, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

The group also ends each session with a simple recitation of Yes, Oops, and Help. In this way, the women intentionally share a positive moment from the last week, engage in reflection on missteps and learning points, and bring a challenge to the table for discussion. For these women, many of whom spend much of their time working alone or serving their customers without the benefit of a team with whom to brainstorm, this weekly meeting provides the structured training, discipline and collaboration that are key to the success of any business endeavor.

Alana Le is the mastermind behind this successful entrepreneurial support group. She started her own management consulting business after moving back to the Seattle-area following a multiple-year stint doing project management for international startups. Three weeks after marrying into the military last fall, her new husband deployed to Afghanistan. As a coping mechanism, she dove into volunteering and socializing with the other wives in the unit and was surprised at the preponderance of fellow military spouses who either owned or were contemplating starting their own business as a means to create a flexible, mobile career for themselves.

jblm military spouses

Pam Alvarado is building a sales team of distributors for Juice Plus. Photo credit: Pam Alvarado.

Military spouses have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, despite the fact that many are highly skilled. The sometimes unpredictable, frequent moves are disruptive, and many bases are located at a prohibitive distance from urban centers. Further, it’s challenging to hold a traditional job while managing regular family transitions between single parenting.  Add in the stress of coping with having your spouse in a war zone and it’s clear to see why military spouses have a difficult time finding meaningful employment.

Alana identified the opportunity to use her business experience to not only encourage and equip other women to take calculated risks but also to establish her expertise and develop educational materials that she uses to empower other business owners to take charge of their content marketing in the digital age. She is results-oriented, and seeing her clients and friends successfully recruit customers is what drives her to run both the free Power Hour and her paid content marketing classes.

As impressive as Alana’s story is, she is quick to admit she keeps company with exceptional women. Pam Alvarado and Nicole Lee comprise the other original core Power Hour members. Pam started an online boutique for handmade dog collars after receiving an overwhelming response to a picture of her decked-out puppy that she shared on social media.

jblm military spouses

Nicole Lee recently launched her personal training business, Strong Moms Fitness. Photo credit: Nicole Lee.

Pam learned as she went, and when a franchise opportunity that more closely matched her strengths-based interests arose, she jumped on it. Pam is now building a Juice Plus sales team of distributors and loves the chance to mentor her team and promote healthy, whole-food lifestyles through her social media prowess.

Nicole is an ACE-certified personal trainer/gym owner who is just finishing her degree in Exercise Science and recently started a personal training business, Strong Moms Fitness, out of her garage. She loves helping people set and reach their fitness goals and finds satisfaction in helping military wives cope with stress through physical exertion.

Pam and Nicole both believe that diet and exercise are important foundations of healthy living and have teamed up to offer various free events to the military spouse community.

I left Power Hour with the desire to participate in Meghan Milliron’s Restoration Wellness class teaching couples Thai massage techniques, Richelle Futch’s Time Management class, and Mabani Hernandez’s Makeup Application class. Each of these women believe that with a committed approach, it is possible to pursue your professional dreams despite the challenges that military life presents. And who better to do that with than your girlfriends?

To learn more about Power Hour at JBLM, click here.


South Sound Solar Sheds Light on Solar’s Financial Incentives

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:00am



South Sound Solar-Interior ViewA decision to “go solar” lessens dependence on non-renewable energy sources while producing clean electricity gathered from the sun. Yet capturing this free, renewable source of energy requires set up costs. Solar will provide a financial return on investment and save you money on utility bills.  Right now is a wise time to invest in a solar energy system as tax credits and production incentives are offered. Several local lending institutions work directly with South Sound Solar to offer loans specifically for solar projects.

Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit

This tax incentive allows up to 30% of the installation cost of a solar energy system to be credited to your federal income tax. This is a tax credit not a tax deduction. If you buy a $10,000 system you would shave $3,000 off of your taxes.

Washington State Cost Recovery Incentive Program 

Washington State, in partnership with local utilities such as Puget Sound Energy, offers an solar production incentive. For electricity produced by your solar panels, you can earn a minimum of $0.15/kWh for every kilowatt of electricity you produce. This steps up to $0.54/kWh if the solar products are manufactured in Washington for a maximum of $5,000 per year. You can apply for this credit every year until the current expiration date of 2020.

Net Metering

South Sound Solar-RoofYour home or business will use the electricity generated by your solar panels before it uses electricity generated by your power company. If you are producing more electricity through your solar system than you need, the electricity will go back to the utility and you will receive a credit at the retail rate.


Olympia Credit Union’s and Generation’s Credit Union loan programs require zero down, no home equity, and will finance 100% of the purchase and installation of the system. Olympia Federal Savings has a low interest home equity “green home” loan. As solar immediately raises the value of your home, OlyFed factors that future value into their equity calculations.

When South Sound Solar performs a Solar Site Survey your bid includes a custom calculated payback analysis. Keep in mind the sooner you buy solar the more incentives you earn before the incentives expire.

To learn more about solar incentives, credits and financing visit the South Sound Solar website by clicking here, calling 360-352-7869, or attending an upcoming informational workshop.


Easy Care for Your Synthetic Wig

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:00am



synthetic wig care

Learn how to properly care for your synthetic wig.

A synthetic wig, hairpiece or hair extension is an excellent investment in your appearance. Synthetic hair is easy to preserve when you follow a few easy care and cleaning steps.

First, when you remove your synthetic hair at night, turn it over and comb it. This simple step is an easy way to make sure your hair lasts a long time. Wigs, hair extensions and hairpieces pick up odors from the environment, just as clothes absorb odors, so airing and cleaning is essential.

How often you clean synthetic hair depends on a number of factors, such as how often the wig is worn, if the hair was exposed to smoke or cooking odors, how easy it is to style and if it feels smooth or coarse.

If it starts to feel coarse, or has a noticeable odor, it may be time to clean the hair.

Step One: Detangle the hair with a wide-tooth comb.

Step Two: Add the suggested amount of synthetic hair shampoo to a basin of cool water. Place your wig into the water and let it soak for about twenty minutes.

Step Three: Rinse the hair with cool water, swish it around, until all the soap bubbles are gone.

Step Four: Gently shake out excess water, and then carefully pat it dry with a soft towel.

Step Five:  Place the wig on a wire wig stand, so the air can circulate, and allow it to dry. Do not brush it while it is wet. Allow up to 24 hours for synthetic hair to dry. Avoid using a blow dryer as it will damage the hair.

You will discover that synthetic hair holds its style beautifully. Occasional cleaning simply preserves the look and feel of the hair.

For questions regarding the care of synthetic or human hair wigs, hairpieces and hair extensions, contact:

Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa

3925 – 8th Avenue SE, Suite F

Lacey, WA 98503



Lisa Sweet at Salon Refu

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 11:37pm
Event:  Fri, 09/19/2014 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

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The Plant Place Nursery Has You Covered

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 5:48pm



Submitted by The Plant Place Nursery

Groundcovers are user-friendly and hardworking.  They make the perfect edging for sidewalks or walkways and some, like thyme, add fragrance as an added bonus.  Sweet Woodruff stays in well-mannered clumps.  Sedums are low maintenance and low growing.  Sea Thrift likes full sun and is low and grassy with clusters of hardy flowers.  Groundcovers earn their keep because they grow so well on both flat surfaces and slopes.  They are easy, carefree, and tolerate the shade from plants around them.  Many are also deer and rabbit resistant. They even provide erosion control that is eye-pleasing at the same time.  Maybe best of all, groundcovers will not break your budget.  They are inexpensive and perennial; a great investment for not a lot of money.  The Plant Place Nursery on 3333 South Bay Rd. NE in Olympia has you covered from the ground up!

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Olympic National Forest Announces Salal Permit Sale Dates

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 5:24pm


Submitted by Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest has announced four dates on which permits for commercial salal collection will be sold. A total of 100 permits will be available on each of the sale days, divided among different harvest areas.

Permits will be issued from the Forks, Quinault, and Quilcene district offices during business hours on the following dates:

  • September 10, 2014
  • November 5, 2014
  • January 7, 2015
  • March 18, 2015

On each sale day, 50 permits will be offered from the Quilcene office for harvest areas located within Mason County and the east side of Clallam and Jefferson counties; 25 permits will be offered from the Forks office for the west side of Clallam County; and 25 permits will be offered from the Lake Quinault office for harvest areas within Grays Harbor County and the west side of Jefferson County.

Harvest unit boundaries are defined by roads or recognizable land features. A map of the harvest areas will be distributed with the sale of each permit.  Permit holders will be limited to no more than 200 hands per day (1 hand = approx. 20 – 25 stems).  The Forest Service recommends that salal harvesters wear at least one piece of high-visibility clothing while in the woods.

A lottery system will be used if the demand for permits exceeds the supply.  Each permit will cost $150 and can be used for up to two months.  A valid United States picture identification will be required at the time of purchase and those buying the permits must be at least 18 years of age.  Cash or checks only will be accepted; credit and debit cards will not be accepted. Only one permit may be purchased per person per sale day.

Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is an understory shrub commonly used in the floral industry.  It grows in dense thickets throughout western Washington and Oregon. For additional information about salal permit sales, please contact Chris Dowling, Special Forest Products Program Manager, at 360-956-2272.  For general information about Olympic National Forest, visit

Sand in the City Inspires Art and Science Learning with 40+ Free Activities for Kids

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 5:21pm



Submitted by The Hands On Children’s Museum

 Aaron Barna

Photo Credit: Aaron Barna

The South Sound’s largest family festival, Sand in the City®,  is stimulating children’s love and appreciation of art and science through more than 40 free, educator-organized activities in this two-day event.

Families are invited to bring their children of all ages to Sand in the City on Aug. 23, and Sunday, Aug. 24, at the Hands On Children’s Museum on Olympia’s East Bay.

The heart of the festival is a Masters’ Sand Sculpting Exhibition, which will take place from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors can view the masterpieces and vote for their favorite sculptures. The winners will be announced at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Masters’ Exhibition is part of the free Beach Party where children can play in giant sandboxes loaded with sand toys and sculpting tools, and participate in 40 interactive art and science activities in the museum spread around the East Bay Plaza and streets adjacent to the museum.

Activities include a rock climbing wall, giant bubbles, a Tot Spot Early Learning Center and museum-led art activities. Make-and-take Polynesian crafts include eruptible

 Aaron Barna

Photo Credit: Aaron Barna

mini volcanoes, Hawaiian leis, wax paper flowers and sand bands. Inside the museum, families can learn about the music of the Pacific Islands and make musical instruments and crafts. New this year is a life-sized, pin-hole camera you can walk inside.

All-day entertainment on the stage includes martial arts, country music, African drummers, young fiddlers, Zumba and Irish dancers. Favorite local food vendors and food trucks will be on site.

Sunday, Aug. 24, is Grandparents’ Day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Families can enjoy all of the fun activities of Saturday’s Beach Party and participate in additional activities designed for children and grandparents to do together.

During Sand in the City, all event activities and entertainment on the streets surrounding the museum and the East Bay Public Plaza are free. Donations are appreciated and support the museum’s Free Access Program at the Hands On Children’s Museum.

  Aaron Barna

Photo Credit: Aaron Barna

Festival-goers can also explore museum exhibits Aug. 22-24 with a discounted admission rate to the museum of just $5 per person. Families can play and learn in nine themed galleries and 150 hands-on exhibits, including MakeSpace in the Arts & Parts Studio, where kids can tinker, design and build using real tools and materials.

For the price of admission, festival visitors can also explore the museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center, including new exhibits opening on Sand in the City weekend such as the giant trike loop, stage and Children’s Garden in the Outdoor Discovery Center.

For more information about Sand in the City®, visit


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