Recent local blog posts

Neighborhood Notes – Walk through Black Lake’s Historic Past

Thurston Talk - Sun, 06/12/2016 - 6:00am

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I have spent hundreds of hours wandering the Black Hills, paddling Black Lake, and driving and cycling Black Lake Boulevard, and to be honest, I hadn’t thought much about the history of the area. I knew that thousands of years of human history sprawled behind me as a walked around my block, hiked to Capitol

NOVA School Forms Permanent Endowment

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 9:46am

ThurstonTalk

Submitted by NOVA School NOVA School is proud to announce the formation of its new permanent Endowment and funding of the school’s first Named Endowed Fund. NOVA School joins a very small percentage of like-sized schools nationally with a permanent endowment program. Commonly associated with colleges and well-established preparatory schools, and viewed as an indicator

Pope John Paul II High School Expansion Project Underway

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 6:40am

ThurstonTalk

Submitted by Pope John Paul II High School Construction on the $1.75 million expansion of Thurston County’s only Catholic high school, Pope John Paul II, (JPII) is underway.    A reception and “hard hat tour” for patrons of the school was held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 8, 2016.  In just six short years, the four-year college

Thurston County Bike Trail System Connects Our Community Beyond a Physical Level

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 6:00am

ThurstonTalk

Thurston County is home to a large, active community and thus offers many options to pedestrians and bikers for travel and exercise. There is a vast system of bike trails, as well as sidewalks and bike lanes featured on many major roadways. Along these trails you will meet bikers, runners, walkers, and even some horses.

Olympia Tumwater Foundation – A Legacy of Supporting Education

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 6:00am

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When Peter G. Schmidt, Sr. established the Olympia Tumwater Foundation in 1950 and donated the Tivoli Fountain on the Capitol Campus to the citizens of our community and Washington State, he probably couldn’t imagine just how many people the Foundation would impact. Schmidt was a long-time President of the Olympia Brewing Company and the oldest

Deciding When to File a Personal Injury Claim – Advice from Putnam Lieb Potvin

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/11/2016 - 6:00am

ThurstonTalk

You are walking (or driving) along, minding your own business and then suddenly your life is turned upside down, due to no fault of your own. You are seriously injured, flooded with medical bills, unable to work, and not sure your life will return to normal. Now what? Personal injury legal claims can spring from

Get Fit at Bodymechanics Fit Body Boot Camp

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:01pm

ThurstonTalk

Submitted by Bodymechanics Fit Body Boot Camp Bodymechanics Fit Body Boot Camp in Tumwater offers fun and challenging boot camp style workouts 6 days a week.  People of all fitness levels, sizes and ages are welcome to try out our classes as each exercise we do is modifiable to all abilities.  Our classes are motivating, effective

Life is Complicated

South Sound Arts - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 3:43pm
Seated are Erin Quinn Valcho, Christopher Valcho, Sharry O'Hare, and David Cuffeld. Randall Graham and Jenni Flemming are standing. Photo by Steve Saxton.
Local playwright Kendra Malm brings her first play to the stage at Olympia Little Theatre, and it’s a hit. The play is Life is Complicated, a contemporary comic drama that delves unflinchingly into one of the more contentious social and political issues of the day.In program notes Malm says the script was inspired by thinking about the perfect part for herself. She said, “I got a book about playwriting to give me advice about getting it down on paper . . . and worked on it off and on for six years.”It’s the story of Chelsea Walsh (Jenni Fleming), a single professional woman in her forties. Egged on by her free-spirited best friend, Zoe (Erin Quinn Valcho), Chelsea starts a relationship with a younger man. And then Chelsea’s mother shows up and reveals something about Chelsea's past in front of Zoe that she would rather have kept hidden. This leads to a surprising confession that shocks her new boyfriend, fascinates her best friend, causes conflict in her family, and has Chelsea re-evaluating her life.I took this description from a press release, which made it clear that the playwright doesn’t want the “shocking revelation” to be given away. That means there is little else I can say about the story.Readings of plays can be anything from actors sitting around a table with scripts in hand to a fully staged reading with lights, set and costumes—scripts in hand being the only difference from a full production. That second option is what this production of Life is Complicated is. It is skillfully directed by Martin P. Larson and performed by a professional quality troupe including David Cuffeld as Jordan, the boyfriend; Randall Graham as Chelsea’s wisecracking little brother, Dave; Sharry O’Hare as Chelsea’s mother, Midge; Christopher Valcho as her father, Chuck; and Fleming and Erin Quinn Valcho as Chelsea and Zoe. The cast and crew had three weeks to prepare, and judging from the opening night performance, I suspect they could soon easily drop the scripts.Christopher Valcho, who plays the dad, is also credited with building the set, which is as lovely as any I’ve seen at OLT, thanks to a classy back wall and beautiful props (modernistic furniture with gorgeous coloring—subtle tones of gray with colorful accents softly lighted in tones of blue). No one is credited with costuming. I gather the actors chose their own, resulting in contemporary clothing that, in each instant, fits the character’s personality. Fleming plays Chelsea as a sophisticated and worldly woman who is nevertheless sensitive to others, can let her hair down when appropriate, and feel deeply. She plays the part with subtlety and strength. Erin Quinn Valcho and Graham are delightful as the playful Zoe and Dave. Cuffeld plays a likeable and also playful but sensitive Jordan. O’Hare as the spiteful mother makes you want to scratch her eyes out, and Christopher Valcho is a strong father figure. Excellent acting and directing all around.Malm’s script could use a few minor tweaks. I thought there could have been more foreshadowing to build up to the big reveal at the end of the first act, and the discussions in the second act became a bit too didactic in spots. But when criticizing the script, I have to keep this in mind: hit plays on Broadway are usually re-written many times after they are first performed on the road. A playwright needs to see her play performed by actors before finalizing it. This play has never before been performed. I would love to see it fully developed and produced again at OLT or some other theater. Life is Complicated is being performed this weekend only, tonight and Saturday at 7:55 p.m. and Sunday at 1:55 p.m. Tickets are $7 and are available online at www.olympialittletheatre.org, or at Yenney Music, 2703 Capital Mall Dr. SW, Suite 201. Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Avenue NE in Olympia, (360)786-9484, www.olympialittletheatre.org.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Selector Dub Narcotic “Hotter than Hott”

K Records - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 2:57pm
“Hotter than Hott” is the first video from the Selector Dub Narcotic album This Party Is just Getting Started [KLP199] (produced by Smoke M2D6 at the Bass Mint and Dub Narcotic Studio). The video, shot in Downtown Olympia, Washington was directed by Red Williamson of Newspin Films.   The Selector Dub Narcotic album This Party […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

A Wild Success - Pollinators

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 12:19pm
 Text, photos and videos by Nancy Partlow ©  All photos and videos taken at the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center, unless otherwise noted.  Renowned biologist E. O. Wilson calls invertebrates "the little things that run the world".   My interest in insects, particularly pollinators, has always been in observing and learning about  their world, especially in a natural context.   Pollinator bee on a starburst spray of Red-osier Dogwood blossoms One of my favorite places to do this is at the Capitol Lake Interpretive Center when the native shrubs are in bloom.  Each spring, nootka rose, thimbleberry, twinberry, ninebark, mock orange, serviceberry, vine maple, snowberry and red-osier dogwood offer pollinators what they really need - pollen and nectar.  In return, these plants receive fertilization, which result in the fruits and seeds that wildlife  eat.      Bombus mixtus worker buzz-pollinating Nootka Rose It's really fun to watch bumble bees buzz-pollinate Nootka rose and thimbleberry blossoms.  These worker bees (all female) sound like teensy kazoos as they scramble over flower stamens while vibrating their wing muscles at a frequency that dislodges the closely-held pollen.  Bombus melanopygus pollen-gathering  
from Thimbleberry   Bombus sitkensis on Nootka Rose Their male counterparts, unburdened by the requirement to gather pollen to feed larvae back at the nest, go straight for the sugar nectaries on flowers like ninebark and twinberry.   This sweet syrup fuels their sole purpose in life - to find a queen to mate with.    Bombus melanopygus male on Pacific Ninebark   Male Bombus flavifrons nectaring on Twinberry  I'd always wanted to see a pair of bumble bees mating,  so I felt lucky when I  happened upon two bumble bees coupling at the CLIC.   I spied what looked like a very large Bombus queen stumbling oddly about on a thimbleberry leaf.  As I watched in puzzlement,  she dropped heavily to the ground and continued to stagger around in the leaf litter.  It wasn't until I had  observed her for about a minute (an eon in insect time) that I realized that it was actually two bumble bees together - a Bombus mixtus queen with a much smaller male clinging to her back. The queen did not seem particularly receptive to his advances.  In fact, she appeared to be vigorously trying to give him the brush off.  It's unclear from  this video  whether the male eventually successfully mated with her or not.   Bombus mixtus male attempting to mate with B. mixtus queen Most people don't know that beetles can also be pollinators, but according to the Xerces Guide to Attracting Native Pollinators Beetles (order Coleoptera) represent the greatest diversity of pollinators.  There are more than 340,000 identified species of beetles worldwide, including nearly 30,000 species in North America alone.  Fossil records suggest that beetles, along with flies, were probably the first insect pollinators of prehistoric flowering plants in the late Jurassic era, around 150 million years ago.   Its not uncommon to see beetles hanging about on rose stamens at the CLIC, attracted by the edible pollen. Long-horned beetle on Nootka Rose Another species of Long-horned beetle Flies provide incidental pollinator services at the CLIC.  In their larval form, some bee-mimic flies are are voracious aphid predators.  As gem-like adults, however,  they are content to sop up nectar with their spongy tongues, receiving a light dusting of pollen in the process.   Bee mimic fly on blackberry blossom Syrphid fly on Mock Orange Bumble bees are our most familiar native pollinators, yet a  host of other indigenous bees imbibe nectar and collect pollen to feed their young.  An unidentified mining bee gathers pollen from Nootka Rose Adrena bee on Snowberry  A Halictid (?) bee gleans larval food from
 Ninebark flowers A newly released book, The Bee-friendly Garden, says this about native plants and pollinators: While many plants provide resources for bees, native plants are especially beneficial.  These are the plants that have evolved with the local pollinators and evolved in the local habitats.  They are likely to support specialist species and be easier to grow without the aid of pesticides and herbicides. I would like to add that native plants are drought-tolerant.  The Interpretive Center's  trees and shrubs endured extreme stress during last year's record heat and aridity, but nearly all survived until autumn rains arrived to slake them.   The CLIC's diverse ecosystem is like a symphony composed daily by the plants and animals that live there.  Working in concert, they create a beautiful and exuberant Song of Life.  Pollinators supply the buzz,  and their irreplaceable services help ensure that the Song never ends.  A pollen-flecked ground-nesting bee on Red-osier Dogwood flowers---------Online Resources: Video of a long-horned beetle eating rose pollen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_YJIqkXmYY
Categories: Local Environment

Avenue Q Comes to Lakewood Playhouse

South Sound Arts - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 7:34am

Published in The News Tribune, June 10, 2016Ensemble cast of Avenue Q. “Avenue Q” is an edgy adult comedy billed by Lakewood Playhouse as “‘Sesame Street’ Grows Up And Moves to ‘South Park.’” Originally conceived as a television show, it is presented in the style of a children’s show with puppets and catchy songs, but unlike the former and more like the latter, the themes are definitely adult-only. So is much of the language. There is even a scene with simulated sex by puppets stage right while actors and other puppets stage left sing a loud and rousing "You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want When You're Makin' Love." Other clever songs include: "It Sucks to Be Me," "If You Were Gay, " "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" and "The Internet is for Porn."KYLE SINCLAIR (Princeton) and DEREK HALL and KAYLA CRAWFORD as "Nicky" from the Lakewood Playhouse Production of "AVENUE Q"
Two of the main characters, who may or may not be gay, are roommates Rod (Kyle Sinclair) and Nicky (Derek Hall), who are unmistakable takeoffs on Bert and Ernie from “Sesame Street.” Trekkie Monster (also Hall) whose voice is a whole lot like his namesake, Cookie Monster. The landlord of the apartment on Avenue Q is none other than former child star Gary Coleman (not a puppet but live actor Tony L. Williams,). And a very slutty Lucy (Taylor Davis) is a cross between Miss Piggy and Mae West.All puppets are operated on stage by actors in full view of the audience. Director Victoria Webb credits puppet master Lance Woolen with “making the puppets come to life.” I also credit the actors for disappearing into their puppets in the sense that they both act their parts and make the puppets act their parts. The combination of acting and puppeteering is amazing to watch.Some of the puppets take two actors to operate, and there appear to be some fast swapping of who is operating which puppets. For example, there was one point when actor Taylor Davis clearly exited the stage, and yet within seconds I saw her on stage operating a puppet that I believe Kayla Crawford had been operating moments before. I never saw the swap, and it happened so fast that now I’m not sure I saw what I thought I saw. There was a lot of that kind of thing going on so pay attention.Also acting (not with a puppet) is Conner Brown as Brian the building superintendent whose dream is to be a stand-up comic and JasminRae (((CQ))) Onggao Lazaroo (also no puppet) as Brian’s partner, Christmas Eve. Rounding out the cast are Kate Monster (Davis), Mrs. T. and Bad Idea Bear (Crawford), and Princeton (Sinclair). The story is that of young adults fresh out of college trying to find their way in the world while wrestling with issues of love, sex, finding their purpose in life, and how to make a living and pay the rent. The ensemble cast is made up of newcomers to Lakewood Playhouse, all of whom are either making their debut there or for whom this is their second show at the Playhouse, and they do an excellent job of both acting and puppeteering in roles that must be technically challenging. I can easily imagine how hilarious and how shocking “Avenue Q” must have been when it debuted on Broadway in 2004 (winner of the Tony Award “triple crown”: Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book). It must have been as astounding as “Hair” or “Saturday Night Live” when they first appeared. Not so shocking for today’s audiences, “Avenue Q” is still funny. The tunes are catchy, it is surprisingly sweet, and the social commentary is still relevant.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday,  2 p.m. Sunday, 2 p.m., through July 3WHERE: Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., LakewoodTICKETS: $24-$29, pay-what-you-will actors’ benefit June 16INFORMATION: 253-588-0042, www.lakewoodplayhouse.org

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

New Gifts and Purchases at Tacoma Art Museum

South Sound Arts - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 7:25am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 9, 2016“A Canyon River with Pines and Figures (Yellowstone),” circa 1886. Oil on canvas, Grafton Tyler Brown, courtesy Tacoma Art Museum, museum purchase with funds from the Art Acquisition Fund and the Black Collective.As an art critic and lifelong student of art, I must confess that my education is sorely lacking in certain areas — 19thand 20th century Western art being a prime example. I don’t mean Western as opposed to Asian or Egyptian or African; I mean American cowboy art and grandiose landscapes depicting the majesty of the Western scene. This means that I don’t know Grafton Tyler Brown from Grandma Moses, but apparently he’s a big deal among aficionados of Western art, and Tacoma Art Museum has recently purchased a “significant, rare landscape painting” by Brown. It is a large (five-foot wide) landscape of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone titled “A Canyon River with Pines and Figures (Yellowstone),” painted in 1886 while living in Portland. It is now on display in TAM’s Liliane and Christian Haub Gallery.According to TAM, his works are highly sought by museums. They can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Oakland Museum of California, and Tacoma’s own Washington State History Museum, which has a Brown painting of Mt. Tahoma, a.k.a., Rainier. The first retrospective exhibition of his work, Grafton Tyler Brown: Visualizing California and the Pacific Northwest, was presented by the California African American Museum, Los Angeles in 2003. It traveled to Baltimore, San Francisco, and the Washington State History Museum. Brown was the first African-American artist to paint landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and California. The scenes he paints are calm and reverential.“A Canyon River with Pines and Figures (Yellowstone),” pictures the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with pine forests in the foreground, rugged sunlit rock walls leading the eye into the distance, and the Yellowstone River winding through the canyon. “We are delighted to acquire Brown’s stunning landscape painting. This is our first significant purchase to complement the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art since the opening of the Haub Family Galleries in November, 2014. We are grateful for the community support that made it possible to acquire this exceptional museum-quality work,” said TAM Executive Director Stephanie Stebich. “This painting beautifully links TAM’s focus on the art of the Northwest with the art of the broader Western region. It helps us to tell a more complete story of Northwestern art and artists.” “Grafton Tyler Brown has long been on TAM’s curatorial wish list, but his works have been rather scarce on the market until recently,” said Margaret Bullock, curator of collections and special exhibitions. “This is a lucky confluence of both the chance to acquire an evocative major work by this artist and having the funds to make it possible.” The Tacoma Pierce County Black Collective and the museum’s Art Acquisition Fund supported the purchase.Brown’s painting is not the only new addition to the museum’s collection. Twenty additional gifts of Northwest art have also been added, including four mural studies by Kenneth Callahan; a pastel, charcoal and dry pigment work by Norman Lundin, professor emeritus at University of Washington; Robert Helms 1990 oil on panel “Bone Yard”; a selection of 13 works on paper including watercolors and prints by Alexander Phimister Proctor; and William Morris’s 1992 “Lace Urn,” a blown glass vessel in a metal stand. A selection of these works will be rotated into the exhibition What’s New at TAM? Recent Gifts to the Collection and will be on view through September 18.  
Tacoma Art Museum, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $12-$14, 1701 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org/

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Timberline’s Angela Schuster Tops among 4A State Tennis Players

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 6:00am

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The once large crowd at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club in Richland had long since dispersed. There really was no reason to stick around. The activities had ended. The fans and officials had departed, but yet Angela Schuster remained. Standing there still soaking everything in with her parents and oldest brother, she had no desire

No One Dies Alone at Providence St. Peter Hospital

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 6:00am

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  Being with people who are dying in conscious and caring ways is about respect and compassion. Everyone does not have a friend or family member who can be at their side during those last moments. Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia takes care to ensure No One Dies Alone. No One Dies Alone (NODA) is

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:00am

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From 90 degrees to 60 degrees in a matter of days. You know it’s June in the Pacific Northwest when you wear a tank top layered under a hoodie and keep a fleece in the car, too. And with our first full week of June under our belt, summer-like events are ramping up around town. Browse

Quinault Beach Resort and Casino – Cookin’ the Blues for 16 Smokin’ Hot Years

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 9:35am

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The gemstone suggested for a 16th anniversary is a gorgeous green peridot. The American Gem Society reports that “Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.” Guarantee yourself all of those things—bejeweled or not—June 17-19 at Quinault Beach

Comcast Honors Thurston County’s Young Leaders

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 6:17am

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Mehar Nallamalli thought he was making a difference. As an intern at the United Nations, he gave speeches on how to eradicate homelessness in the U.S. and focused on the relationship between mental illness and living on the street. But when he got home, he discovered something: nothing had changed. “At the time, I thought

OlyBella Lip Butters – Natural, Decadent Relief for Your Lips

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 6:00am

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Olivia Salazar de Breaux has lived in Thurston County since she was 5-years-old. Born into a military family, Olivia feels fortunate to have stayed in the area most of her life. She graduated from Timberline High School and earned a bachelor’s degree with an Education and English emphasis from The Evergreen State College. The first

New Season, New Manager: Yelm Farmers Market Opens with a 24-Carrot Salute

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 6:00am

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The Yelm Farmers Market kicked off its season on May 22 not with a bell or a whistle, but with a 24-carrot salute. Representatives from the city council, chamber of commerce and Yelm Cooperative board of directors joined local farmers and customers to enthusiastically hold their carrots aloft while new manager Suzanne Santos proclaimed the

Thrifty Thurston Tours Craig Kinnaman’s Free Museum

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/09/2016 - 6:00am

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If you have horses or other farm animals, then you probably know Kipert’s Korner Feed Store just south of the Olympia Airport on Highway 99. What started with just two loads of hay and a ton of grain 26 years ago has grown into a staple of the community, providing everything from animal feed to

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