Recent local blog posts

Smart Energy Today Inc Listed as #4 Among Fastest-Growing Private Companies in Washington

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 2:05pm



Submitted by Smart Energy Today, Inc.™


smart energy today

The Smart Energy Today Team

Smart Energy Today, Inc.™, (SET) a energy company, announced today that Inc. magazine has named it one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.

Smart Energy Today Inc.™, Named to Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Private Companies for the first time ranked SET at number 336.  The ranking is based on growth over the last three years.  SET reported 1381% growth over that period.

The 2014 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies is ranked according to percentage revenue growth.  To qualify, companies had to be U.S.-based privately held, for profit, and independent — not subsidiaries of other companies — as of December 31st, 2013.  The minimum revenue required for 2013 was $2 million.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the country’s fastest growing companies and couldn’t have done it without all our wonderful customers and our team of employees who are on the front lines everyday,” said company spokesman Julie Murray.  “Our company mission remains focused on providing high quality and competitively priced products for home improvements that will decrease energy consumption, lower the cost of energy bills and most importantly increase the comfort level in our customers’ homes.  SET is also committed to maintaining excellence, integrity and longevity in all aspects of our operations and our professional business conduct.”

In the last three years the SET team has grown from 2 employees to over 65.  The company adds hundreds of new customers to it’s roster every month and continues to grow exponentially.  The company currently serves all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California and Pennsylvania with plans to enter British Columbia, New York, Maryland and South Carolina in the next year.


About Smart Energy Today, Inc.™

Smart Energy Today, Inc. ™ provides homeowners with a comprehensive range of home improvement products and services that include photovoltaic solar systems, design, installation and maintenance, solar ventilation, skylight tubes, mass insulation, reflective insulation.  The company also does roofing which includes repair, replacement and cleaning as well as gutter cleaning and repair.  Formed in 2008, the company is privately held, holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and is located in Olympia, WA.  For more information, visit or call 1-888.405.8689.

Shaggy Sample NW Tour!

K Records - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:06pm
This week Shaggy Sample are touring through the Northwest, including a show in Olympia on Sunday, August 24. Their new album My other Car Is can be obtained from their snazzy site on the world-wide web. Shaggy Sample is the Oakland, CA combo that claimed Evan Hashi (on the far left in above photog) after […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

“Reach Out at the Well” Aims to Build Downtown Community from the Ground Up

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 8:48am



Sumitted by Reach Out at the Well

artesian wellOver a dozen local organizations and community projects are banding together for “Reach Out at the Well,” a street outreach and volunteer recruitment fair.

The free event will take place Friday, August 22, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Artesian Commons Park in downtown Olympia, 415 4th Ave E. All are welcome, and organizers promise free info, snacks, shade and smiles.

“There’s a lot of talk these days about how to help downtown,” said Renata Rollins, event coordinator. “There’s also a lot of action, but it’s an unsung story. Reach Out is a chance to chat with folks doing the work, learn about available resources for coping with homelessness, illness, violence or job loss, and find out how you can make a difference in the community through street outreach work.”

Participating organizations include Community Youth Services, POWER (Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights), SideWalk, Thurston County Food Bank, Partners in Prevention Education, Stonewall Youth, the Olympia Free Clinic and others. The Olympia Downtown Ambassadors will also be present.

The public can expect to find resources and volunteer opportunities for housing and shelter, youth services, back to school information, free food options, free health services, low-income pet care and more. Some tables will give away snacks and sandwiches; others will offer free on-site counseling and advocacy. Organizers will also serve lemonade made with Artesian Well water.

“It’s a real community showing, from grassroots downtown projects to established nonprofits like the Family Support Center, which is seeking volunteers for their brand new family shelter,” said Rollins, a former Downtown Ambassador. “What unites us is a desire to empower the community from the ground up. If nothing else, it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a glass of lemonade with your family and get to know what’s out there.”

But, why did the Indian Shirt Story change?

Olympia Time - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:21am
Heather Lockman does a great job sketching out the Indian Shirt Story in Olympia (the actual story) and how it changed over the years.

If you don't end up watching the video (but you should), the gist of it is that the details in the story get more sinister and anti-Indian as the years go on. So, why over time, did people telling the story of an Indian who wants a shirt change details to make them more scary?

It probably has to do with how we related to Indians when the story actually took place (1850s) and when the final details of the Indian Shirt story were finally added (in the early 1900s).

In those initial years, the relationship with Indians and non-Indians was certainly and violently one sided. Most of the murder victims between 1854 and 1857 were Indians being killed by white people. Yes, we now have stories of farmers abandoning their homesteads for towns and blockhouses, but when you look at the details of the Puget Sound War, you find the Mashel Massacre, Quiemuth and Leschi. You also have the internment of hundreds of other non-combatant Indians during the war.

There were certainly victims of the war on the non-Indian side, but in those years, you could hardly imagine the majority of whites (especially pre-Puget Sound War) being afraid of an Indian asking for a shirt.

The rest of this post will be a long log roll for my own book "Oyster Light," (here or here) so I apologize. I do suggest you buy Heather's book. Its a good one.

Even after the war, roving bands of whites walked into Indian reservations and murdered people, seemingly without punishment. From Oyster Light's "All the Bunting Trails":
George McCallister (the late James’ 21 year old son) headed the group to bring in Too-a-pi-ti. The young McAllister, between the murder of Quiemuth and going out to track down Too-a-pi-ti, had also reportedly killed another Nisqually Indian on the tribe’s reservation, who had bore some guilt for his father’s death. The era of the original telling of the Indian Shirt Story was a violent time, mostly for Indians. But, as the years go along, the relationship changes. Mostly to an attitude of glorifying the past and bringing to light actual fears whites had of being murdered themselves, and ignoring their own violence.

In her talk, Heather points out the phenomena locally in the early 1900s of beginning to worry about the imminent deaths of that original pioneer generation. Many of our first historical monuments date from the first two decades of the last century.

Looking at those years deeper, it also shows how the Indian/non-Indian relationship had changed. Mostly, the concern was "why didn't these Indians just go away?"

From Oyster Light's "E.N. Steele":
The local anti-Indian sentiment surrounding the cases is encapsulated in an editorial in the Olympia Recorder that ran the same day as the Kennedy v. Becker news.

Coverage of Peters’ and James’ case was typically sprinkled with terms like "squaw," "pow wow," and "Papooses." While Steele himself wasn't immune to language like this, the Recorder editorial shows that defending Indians for fishing and hunting was not a popular task:

The Indian thinks his ancient treaty rights give him the authority to shoot a deer or spear a salmon at any time he contends that the game laws do not affect him. He declares that the white man is trying to go back on his bargain... Of course the supreme court, in holding that the game laws abrogate the treaty, is ruling that the laws were passed to govern all the people, white, red, black and yellow, and that the treaty is superseded just as all former laws that conflict with new ones are repealed.If it is non-Indian history, it is a vital cultural heritage to be preserved. If its a treaty with Indians, it is "ancient" or in contrast to modern living.

Non-tribal society at this point had moved on. It remembered the blockhouses and their own telling of the Puget Sound War, so naturally, the Indians in the shirt story would be violent and scary, approaching at night, threatening a young mother. The implied context in the early 1900s is that the non-Indians in the 1850s heroically defeated the violent Indians. They forget about George McCallister and others like Josepth Bunting and Jim Riley.

Hoo boy. You should read about Jim Riley. He's a piece of work.

Organic, Local, and Yummy – Oly Pops Offers Cold, Healthy Treats

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:18am



By Tali Haller

south sound trucksIn a cleverly crafted acronym, Oly Pops offers what many Olympians are craving on hot summer days: cold Organic, Local, and Yummy treats!

Nestled in the heart of downtown Olympia, Oly Pops was created by two recent Evergreen graduates, Leland Chazen and Linus Binns.

It all started last summer. Sitting in an upper-level apartment in downtown Olympia, they were just “so, so hot.”

olympia ice cream

Leland Chazen and Linus Binns created a local Popsicle business that offers delicious, organic, allergen-free, frozen treats.

“The sun was beating right into the apartment and all we wanted was ice cream,” remembered Leland. However, due to Leland’s many food allergies, there was nowhere downtown where they could find a healthy ice cream alternative. Instead, they began creating their own homemade concoctions right in their kitchen. They went down to the local Olympia Farmers Market, bought fresh produce – plenty of organic fruits and veggies – and began blending and experimenting with different combinations.  “It didn’t take too long before we became popsicle-obsessed,” Leland said with a smile.

As with many great finds, Leland and Linus’s tasty treats were hard to keep to themselves. When they found ones they particularly liked, they would share them with friends and family, all of whom were delighted by the healthy popsicles. ”It began to dawn on us that we should start a little Popsicle business in the summertime,” explained Leland, recognizing that there wasn’t a lot of competition. “Other small ice cream stores and dessert places, like Grandpa’s downtown, are great but they don’t satisfy people like me who have a lot of food-allergies. Oly Pops is gluten-free, dairy-free, and mostly nut-free,” explained Leland.

But with so many traditional ingredients off the table, what does go into the popsicles? Mostly, it’s fresh produce. “We try to keep at least two of our flavor offerings free of added sugar,” Leland said. “In those, it’s just the produce and a base, usually a little bit of lime juice, some fresh avocado along with coconut milk, depending on how creamy we want the texture to be in our creamy pops.”

olympia ice cream

Ready to expand, Leland and Linus just bought an old trailer that they plan to turn into a mobile sweet shop for the colder months!

During my visit I tried two no-sugar-added popsicles – Mango Pineapple and Honeydew Cucumber. When they do add sugar, it’s unrefined sugar, meaning that the sugar retains most of its nutrients (phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, etc.) that it would otherwise lose in processing (refined sugar). Learn more about good sugars vs. bad sugars here.

What’s more, the popsicles are both environmentally-friendly and kid-friendly. Packaged in BPA-free plastic tubes, they make for a delicious push pop that drastically cuts down on packaging material and doesn’t use they typical popsicle stick. Unlike traditional popsicles these pops can melt a little, get thrown into the freezer, and turn out as good as new, rather than ending up morphed and barely hanging on the stick. Plus, if you accidentally drop your pop, as kids are prone to do, the pops are safe from dirt and still-coated in their plastic wrap. “We are very environmentally conscious and try to leave as little of a carbon footprint as possible,” Leland stated.

On the business side, things seem to be going well. They broke even a while ago after investing an estimated $500 in their current Popsicle cart (an old cart they bought on Craiglist and fixed up), an umbrella, a sign, packaging, and their popsicle ingredients.

olympia ice cream

The Oly Pops regular venue is in downtown Olympia, where they’re open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday.

However, they’ve decided to expand in the fall. “We just bought a 1969 Kit-Companion Trailer that we’re going to make into a mobile sweet shop for the colder months. We’ll be doing vegan, gluten-free donuts, coffee, and an assortment of other healthy treats,” explained Linus, who is the main baker. “This is definitely a long-term investment but it’s going to be awesome!”

A majority of their profits come from events. With this in mind, they plan to scout out events and travel to them, maybe even venturing into Seattle and greater Olympia areas at times. “We’re not stuck in a storefront, that’s the beauty of it,” said Linus.

The joy-inducing, mouth-watering cart is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday, selling popsicles at $3 or 2 for $5. Popular flavors include Banana Fudge, Keylime Pie, Strawberry Lemon, Blueberry Peach, Mango Pineapple, and Honeydew Melon.  You can find the cart at 728 4th Ave East.

At the moment, the business is completely run by these two self-acclaimed “cat-loving popsicle-obsessed” people. However, they’re already envisioning a future in which others come on board to help share the workload.

For now, stay updated on their whereabouts via their Oly Pops Facebook page.


Thrifty Thurston Sings Along with Frozen in Tumwater

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:09am



By Kathryn Millhorn

rivers edgeIf you live within 500 feet of someone under the age of 10, you probably hear the strains of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Olaf on every passing breeze.  These days the phrase, “Do you wanna build a snowman?” is less entreaty than opening number.

Sing the summer away with the City of Tumwater’s Screen on the Green movie series and their Frozen sing-a-long.

frozen singalong

Get your loudest singing voices ready. The Frozen sing-a-long comes to Tumwater on August 22.

On Friday, August 22, the Tumwater Valley Golf Course transforms into an outdoor cinema for the last time this summer.  The gates will open at 7:30 p.m. and the movie starts at dusk.  The show is free and don’t forget to bring blankets and low-backed chairs to sit on and picnics are welcome (but leave alcohol, grills, and pets at home).  For those wanting a true royal feast, visit the River’s Edge restaurant for a delicious array of dining choices.

Marisa Worden, Recreation Marketing Specialist for Tumwater Parks and Recreation, is proud that “this is the 9th annual Screen on the Green and ‘Frozen’ is the first sing-a-long version of a movie that we have shown.”

Worden adds that they “showed ‘Grease’ in our first year and there was definitely some spontaneous singing along!”

The event has grown over the years and while attendance varies based on the weather, the event usually brings hundreds of people out.  ”Over the years, we have had a steadily increasing audience – especially since moving from the driving range where it was a little colder/wetter over to the restaurant side of the river,” says Worden.  ”Last year’s showing of ‘The Croods’ had 325 in attendance. Our highest attended movie up to now has been ‘Rio’, which drew close to 400 people.  At the Frozen showing, we expect at least 400!”

frozen singalong

Sip on a root beer float while you sing-a-long to Frozen on August 22.

As a finale to their successful community series, the event will feature free root beer floats provided by the Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce, Puget Sound Energy, and South Sound Foursquare Church.  Says Worden, “We are excited to be collaborating with these groups to offer a fun addition to the event.  Also, root beer floats seem to go well with the ‘Frozen’ movie.”

Olaf the Snowman, like many pale Northwestern souls, lives for the summer sun.  As he croons, “When life gets rough I like to hold on to my dream/Of relaxing in the summer sun just lettin’ off steam.”  What better opportunity to sing the season away than with friends, family, and ice cream!

There are many great chances to experience our area after dark, and this is yet another that shouldn’t be missed.  Families and frosty-minded folks of all ages will enjoy the community spirit that always permeates such events.  But even if you’re a “the cold never bothered me anyway” personality, bundle up…it gets chilly once the sun goes down.


Treat Yourself at In Touch Therapy

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:00am



olympia massage therapist

In Touch Therapy’s friendly, knowledgeable staff is always at the ready to help match you with the massage that’s right for you.

When is the last time you did something just for you? Whether splurging on a birthday gift to yourself or pampering your body just because, In Touch Therapy provides Olympia-area residents with an array of services designed to relax, rejuvenate and spoil the senses.

Offering everything from deep tissue relaxation, hot stone massages, myofascial release and more, finding the perfect massage from an experienced therapist is easy at Olympia’s In Touch Therapy.

Founder and Clinic Director, Kenton Stuth, LMP,  says few things are as relaxing and rejuvenating as an hour massage at In Touch Therapy. “An effective hour of massage is equivalent to eight hours of sleep,” says Stuth. In addition to helping your body refuel through the restorative powers of massage, In Touch Therapy’s experienced, soothing staff works hard to relax all of your senses by making your experience at In Touch Therapy as calming as possible. “We talk to people in uplifting, reassuring ways. Our entire approach is client oriented,” says Stuth.

And, because massage relaxes and renews the body, mind and spirit, you’ll walk out of In Touch Therapy feeling completely refreshed – from the inside out. One 60-minute maintenance massage at In Touch Therapy is $75. If you decide you want to treat your mind, body and spirit on the regular, In Touch Therapy also provides new and existing clients with Maintenance Massage package subscriptions. Each subscription includes one or two hours of massage per month at a discounted rate for three months. But, don’t be selfish. Share the restorative powers of massage with an In Touch Therapy gift certificate.

So, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you gave your body the break it’s been craving? Stuth encourages people to come in and experience the restorative, healing powers of massage and see how this age-old practice can effectively and naturally revitalize your mind, body and spirit – in just one short hour.

For more information about In Touch Therapy visit their website here, or schedule a massage by calling In Touch Therapy’s Office Coordinator, Shannon Monahan, at 360-866-8940.


Algae Advisory Lifted for Black Lake

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 8:32pm


  Submitted by Thurston County Environmental Health Health officials remind anglers, swimmers and pet owners to avoid lake algae Kennydell Park on Black Lake (41)An algae bloom in Black Lake that’s been lurking for several weeks has now dissipated, and county health officials have lifted the toxic algae advisory at the popular lake. While the warning signs that were posted at beaches and boat launches around Black Lake are now gone, county health officials remind people and pet owners to avoid any waters with visible algae. “Our lakes are obviously very popular this time of year, but conditions can change quickly, so we want to remind people to look for visible algae blooms and avoid swimming, fishing and recreating in areas where blooms are present,” said Art Starry, Director of the county’s Environmental Health Division. “The same advice goes for pets. Pet owners should also keep their pets out of waters with visible algae.” While not all algae blooms are toxic, some algae can produce toxins that can harm the nervous system, the liver, the skin, and the stomach and intestines. Experts from the county’s Environmental Health Division recommend a few simple tips to help prevent illness from algae:
  • Avoid swimming, wading, wind surfing and water-skiing in waters where algae blooms are present.
  • Don’t drink untreated surface water.
  • Keep pets and livestock out of waters with algae blooms.
  • When fishing, catch-and-release is the safest practice. If you do eat your catch, clean any fish you catch thoroughly if you see algae blooms—before eating, remove the internal organs, which may contain harmful algae toxins.
  • Avoid areas of scum when boating and clean your boat thoroughly.
For more tips and information on how to swim safe, fish safe, and avoid common swimming illnesses and hazards, visit the Thurston County Environmental Health web pages at

Sarah Blumenthal Films

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 5:00pm

The making of this film is a way of having a conversation, for women we know to interact with, and process the “small violences” experienced within their lives. As a platform to showcase female expression within contemporary life, this film works between documentary and poetic forms. A non-narrative film, which invites the viewer to a dystopian parallel present where duration, dance, and gesture depict a cultural undercurrent.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Greene Realty Welcomes Phyllis Mandel

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 2:54pm



Submitted by Greene Realty

greene realtyRecently, Phyllis Mandel completed her own change of scenery.

Phyllis has moved her real estate business to Greene Realty in Olympia, WA. Prior to the move, Phyllis was in the top 6% of all Coldwell Banker Realtors in the country, bringing in multi-million dollar sales annually.

Phyllis has award winning sales volume for Washington State, as well as a part of the International Diamond Society for Outstanding Achievement. She is a graduate of the Realtors Institute (GRI) and is an Accredited Relocation Counselor (ARC).  Phyllis is also a member of the Thurston County Realtors Association and the National Association of Realtors.

Phyllis’ move to Greene Realty is expected to be seamless since the two share many of the same values. She takes great pride in representing her customer’s best interest through her commitment to excellence, knowledge and integrity.

Phyllis has had the benefit of living and working in this great community for nearly 35 years, and is familiar with the market and people.

Greene Realty is excited to have her on board!


Pine Hill Haints Magik Sounds Preview!

K Records - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 1:52pm
Here is a preview, a mood piece, a secret look at the upcoming Pine Hill Haints album The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints [KLP254], due out September 30, 2014. A noble freak scene.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

How to Get Green and Opt Out of Phone Books and Junk Mail

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/20/2014 - 12:26pm



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

Signing up for opt out lists is a quick and easy way to reduce waste

phone booksSummer is in full swing with all the familiar sights and sounds, including this year’s crop of phone books in yellow plastic bags that sprout up next to area mailboxes. But each year more and more phone books go unused and unwanted—that’s a lot of wasted water, paper and energy that all too often ends up as roadside litter.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could clear out the clutter in and around your mailbox? With just a few clicks of the computer mouse, you too can get green and reduce waste by opting out of receiving phone books and other junk mail.

  • Opt out of phone books: Eliminating several phone books at once is as simple as going to Once you create an account, you can click on the local directories that you no longer wish to receive. Be sure to share this tip with your neighbors as well.
  • Opt out of catalogs: Catalog Choice offers a quick and easy way to opt out of catalog mailings. Just go to to set up an account. Once you receive your password via e-mail, you can browse by catalog names from the huge list and start deleting. The program is offered by the Ecology Center, a California-based organization that promotes sustainable living.
  • Opt out of “junk mail” and marketing mail lists: A good way to remove your name from several national mailing lists at once is to sign up for the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at This website provides instructions on how to register online or via U.S. mail. This service is only for national mailing lists (not local) and only for residential addresses (not business addresses). The service is good for five years.

If you receive a phone book or see unused and unwanted phone books in your neighborhood, don’t let them become litter—the phone books are recyclable in your curbside bin, but be sure to remove the plastic bag first.

For more waste prevention ideas, visit

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.


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