Recent local blog posts

The Life and Death of King John

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 11:53am
Event:  Thu, 08/06/2015 - 6:30pm - Sun, 08/23/2015 - 8:45pm



Thursdays through Sundays, Aug 6th through 23rd – all shows at 6:30pm

 Admission is FREE

Donations are gratefully accepted …and sharp looking t-shirts will be available!


Directions: Our field is on the West (water) side of the park. From Southbound East Bay Drive you will need to cross the bridge after the park’s entrance and follow the signs, banners and sense of gathering tension.  Bring a picnic, a blanket or chair. Bring the family*. Heck, bring the dog too!

Animal Fire can hardly wait to bring this drama of a kingdom in crisis, colliding ambitions and collapsing dynasties to Olympia! Loyalties - and lives - will be tested … broken … and lost   

King John is from the portion of the Shakespearean canon known as the Histories. The Bard blended fact, fantasy, comedy and action centuries before novel writers and premium cable channels began delighting audiences with tales of medieval murder and betrayal. He created a series of plays full of historical myth-making so potent that to this day his authorial liberties are to this day taken as truth. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Furniture Works Shares Simple Decorating Tips to Update your Office

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 9:24am



Submitted by Furniture Works

Bookshelf furniture worksSitting in an office all day long can get monotonous. Break through the daily rut by dressing up your office with some cool office furniture. Unless you operate your own office, you may not have total control over your office furniture. Most employers, however, won’t mind if you bring in a piece or two of your own furniture to make the space more comfortable and personal.

Furniture Works carries a variety of new and used affordable furniture. From bookshelves to sofas we can send you home with a fantastic piece that will renew the comfort of your office.

Maybe your office could benefit with a piece of furniture as simple as a new bookcase. If it’s a simple bookcase, dress it up with some fun accessories like a vase or decorative knick knacks. Or bring in a small dresser that can help hold files, personal belongings or simply serve as a top to display your favorite photos from home.

Also, keep your eye out for pieces that you can re-paint.  You may have found a bookcase but it is all scratched and looks out of shape. Just a quick sanding and a coat of your favorite color and you have a piece that looks like you bought it from a designer store. The added color will bring in a cheery and well put together look while you save that extra penny

Another fun piece of furniture you could add to your office is an ottoman. Wouldn’t it be nice to prop your feet up every now and then at work? Even if you don’t utilize its function, an ottoman could dress up a room. Pick an ottoman in your favorite color or fabric design. For an extra special touch, pick an ottoman with lots of fringe. Your office will feel a little more “home-y” with this one simple furniture accessory.

Add an armchair to your office in a contrasting color to make the space more personal.

Add an armchair to your office in a contrasting color to make the space more personal.

If you have room in your office, an arm chair would be a nice furniture addition. Or how about a recliner?  It would also help create a personal atmosphere in what might otherwise be a “stuffy” or cold environment. These pieces create a comfortable and inviting environment. If your desk and all of your other office furniture is dark, then pick a chair with a pop of color to brighten the area.

No matter how long you have been in the same office, you can make the space feel new and exciting by adding just a simple piece of furniture. Keep the necessities that the company provides and mandates, but add a little something that you like to express your individuality. You will warm up to your work environment and your office will be a warmer place because of the personal touch your furniture piece has added.

Find unique new and gently used furniture pieces at Furniture Works at 402 Washington Street NE in downtown Olympia.  You can reach the store by calling 360-570-0165 or visit them online.


Kim Showalter: Rob Rice Homes’ Legacy of Excellence

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 9:12am



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes 

Kim Showalter told her father she would work for him for 6 months. That was 28 years ago.

Kim Showalter told her father she would work for him for 6 months. That was 27 years ago.

When Kim Showalter talks about the history of Rob Rice Homes, you get an up close and personal account of the company’s foundation, its standards of excellence and the customer care that goes into building every home.

Her father, Dennis Andrews, started Gemini Homes more than 30 years ago, a company that is now Rob Rice Homes, the largest local builder in the South Sound.

Kim has many key roles in that company today. “If it has to do with money, paperwork, contracts or finance, it’s me,” says Kim. “If it is not the actual physical building of a house, the rest of it falls to some degree under me.”

In addition to managing the finances for Rob Rice Homes, Kim co-owns Epic Realty, Inc. with Helena Rice. Epic Realty has for more than 20 years of specializing in marketing new home construction and represents Rob Rice Homes in five of the nine communities where Rob is currently building.

Kim has a calm demeanor, something you wouldn’t expect from someone who works for the area’s premier builder. Perhaps it is because she grew up in the trades. Most likely, it is that she takes after her father who she says was “good natured and laid back.”

Kim’s background

Kim has lived here in Thurston County since she was 8 years old. Though her parents’ priority was always her education, she began chipping in to help her father’s company at a young age.

“I used to water lawns and new plants at his new homes when I was 12 years old,” Kim says. “I can roll a hose better than anyone, because that was my Dad’s pet peeve.”

When Kim graduated from Olympia High School, home building was not part of her plans.

“I went to a small private liberal arts school in Salt Lake City called Westminster College, the only one with a program in ‘Applied Politics’ to learn about campaign financing,” says Kim. “It was run by the campaign managers of the largest national campaigns in the country.”

When an internship in a political campaign fell through, Kim enrolled in accounting classes as a back-up and eventually earned her degree in accounting.

She pursued her Masters degree in business administration at Pacific Lutheran University with a thesis on construction management—what she describes as “how to build a house as quickly and efficiently as possible.” While finishing her studies, she worked at her uncle’s construction company setting up his accounting system.

“During that time, my father asked me to come work for him,” smiles Kim. “He needed help updating up his own accounting system and office processes. I said fine, I will come to work for you for six months. That was 27 years ago.”

Kim's Dad, Dennis Andrews started Gemini (Jim & I) Homes through a partnership with Jim Harkey.

Kim’s Dad, Dennis Andrews started Gemini (Jim & I) Homes through a partnership with Jim Harkey.

Generation to Generation

Kim can tell you about the accumulation of experience through generous mentoring and loyal partnerships that has contributed to what Rob Rice Homes is today— voted the Best of South Sound builder for two years in a row.

In 1985, when he graduated from Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture, Rob Rice was hired as a project superintendent by Dennis Andrews. A partnership developed between the two men and when Dennis Andrews passed away, Rob continued to build and expand the well-respected company.

Dennis Andrews had started in construction similar to the way Rob started.

“My Dad’s mentor was Jim Harkey out of King County,” reflects Kim. “Their partnership eventually led to Gemini Homes. That name was a play on ‘Jim and I’.”

Kim’s fond recollections include many partners who still work for Rob Rice Homes today.

“The people who trained me when I was watering lawns for my Dad, still work with us today,” says Kim. “Ernie Unroe started with Gary Mills, the owner of Pacific West Landscaping, when we were both teenagers. He eventually became a full partner with Gary until he passed away. Today, he is an owner of the company that still does all the expansive landscaping for Rob Rice Homes.”

And, the story of mentoring and generation-rich knowledge doesn’t stop there.

“Our highly-acclaimed community storm water ponds and neighborhood layouts are designed by Hatton Godat Pantier, another key component in how we do things,” explains Kim. “I have known Jeff Pantier, our surveryor,  since I was 8 years old when our families would vacation together. Jeff was mentored by his father.”

“Getting the neighborhood layouts and ponds to look so beautiful, function correctly and protect the environment is a challenge,” continues Kim. “But they truly make our neighborhoods unique and are the result of the planning with Jeff and his partners.”

Rob Rice Homes is the largest local builder with an office on State Street across from Ralph's Thriftway.

Rob Rice Homes is the largest local builder with an office on State Street across from Ralph’s Thriftway.

A changing market

“Construction techniques have changed over the years and homeowners’ expectations of products they want in a house have changed,” Kim reflects. She explains that in the beginning, they sold to different markets.

“We built about 400 affordable homes out in the Meadows area that started at $79,900. We had a waiting line and wrote 30 contracts the first day of one subdivision. It was in high demand in the early nineties when the military was ramping up. We’ve also built high-end homes in Nottingham and The Farm.”

Today, a Rob Rice Home is often the dream home for a move-up buyer with standard luxury features they have always wanted in a home.

“Though our homes still do attract first-time homebuyers, many of our buyers see our homes with all their upscale features as their final home, their last dream home or, what Helena Rice refers to as their ‘forever home,”’ Kim notes.

Caring for homeowners

Kim is also the Homeowner Association (HOA) manager for Rob Rice Communities, helping to maintain the quality and value of the neighborhoods they build. Since 1989, Kim has made every effort to provide the superior customer service so indicative of the company she represents.

“When I have just the name of a homeowner in front of me, I remind myself that their home is often the most important thing for them.”

As she sits in the company’s building on State Street in Olympia, Kim sums up how they serve homeowners today.

“At Rob Rice Homes, we all have a true desire to do what is right and it shows in the homes we build. We are the local builder, we are not going anywhere. When there is a problem, you can walk through the door and talk to us.”


Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013 and 2014. He has built more than 3000 homes over the last 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.













Westport Winery Wins in Los Angeles

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 8:31am



Submitted by Westport Winery

2015 Fleur Front Westport WineryWestport Winery earned two medals at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition held in May. There were over 3000 wines entered from around the world.

Fleur de Lis, the winery’s Pinot Gris made with grapes from Airfield Estates, earned a silver medal. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits Hoquiam’s 7th Street Theater. The label features an original watercolor by Darryl Easter. An outdoor sculpture commemorating this wine was created by Clallam Bay artist Lora Malakoff. It is on display in the winery’s sculpture garden.

Smoky Nor’wester, a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Petite Sirah, earned a bronze medal. This wine benefits the Museum of the North Beach in Moclips. The sculpture honoring this wine was created by Westport carver Nicole Demmert.

When you visit Westport Winery Garden Resort be sure to explore the unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, all located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. You will see why four times this has been voted Best of the Northwest Wine Destination.

These award-winning wines are exclusively available at the resort. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery, bakery and gardens, are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery Garden Resort at 360-648-2224 or visit the website at

Olympic National Park Paradise Fire Update

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 8:28am



Submitted by the U.S. Forest Service

The Paradise Fire continued to grow slightly on Friday, as the hot and dry weather conditions caused active burning well into the evening hours. The estimated size is now 1240 acres. Firefighters have been successful in holding the fire north of the Queets River, and the majority of the fire activity continues to be on the northern perimeter on the slopes of Pelton Peak. Firefighters are keeping a close eye on this weekend’s weather forecast, with higher temperatures and lower humidity expected to be of great concern, especially on Sunday.

Although the Paradise Fire is estimated at 21% contained, 100% containment is not an objective on this unique fire. The tools for measuring success such as “percent contained” are not designed for fires like Paradise, which is a “confinement” fire. The team’s objective is to stop the fire’s spread south and west and confine it within Park boundaries. Limited action will be taken on the remaining North and East perimeters at this time, due to safety concerns & inaccessibility of terrain. Firefighter safety remains our top priority. The fire will be allowed to run its course to the North and East as a natural part of the Park’s ecosystem, until it reaches the next, pre-identified, accessible natural barrier when tactical action will be considered.

Olympic National Park officials would like to remind the public that there is a ban on open fires in the park’s wilderness backcountry, including all locations along the coast. Campfires are permitted only in established fire grates at established front country campgrounds. Because of the extreme conditions on the peninsula, Olympic National Forest and local communities have also implemented fire restrictions. Fireworks are illegal on federal and state lands. Olympic peninsula communities welcome visitors, and ask people to celebrate and recreate responsibly, keeping fire danger in mind, especially during the Fourth of July weekend.

Information on this fire is available on Inciweb at For real time information, visit our Facebook page at:  For current information about visiting Olympic National Park, as well as information about the history and role of fire in the Olympic ecosystem, please visit the park’s website at


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 8:25am



Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Ripley and Memphis are available for adoption at Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton.

Ripley and Memphis are available for adoption at Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton.

Memphis and Ripley are 2 year-old, Black Lab/Chow Chow mix brothers.  These boys have had a hard time but, since coming to the kennel, are becoming less scared and more relaxed. They are very close and love having each other for company but can be adopted separately.

Memphis is a slim 75 pounds.  His matted coat had to be shaved due to neglect and is just starting to grow back. Ripley takes time getting to know people but once comfortable, wants to be with you all the time.  They are both very sweet and love going for walks.

We have lots of great dogs and always need volunteers to help us care for them. Find us on Facebook, or contact the Adopt-A-Pet dog shelter,  on Jensen Road in Shelton, at or contact us at or (360) 432-3091.

Community Rallies Around Jim Brown During His Fight Against Cancer

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 7:27am



By Gail Wood

indian summer logoFor Paul Bakala, it is always a pick-me-up moment whenever he sees Jim Brown.

“Every time I see Jim, he always puts a smile on my face,” Bakala said. “He always has a good word to say.”

Jim, with his friendly approach to people, has connected well with the community over the years. Whether as a member of the Olympia Fire Department, mountain bike rider, or organizer of a youth bicycling club that’s turned into one of the premier programs in the country, Jim connects.

jim brown olympia

When Jim Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer, the community stepped in to support a man that has offered his support so often.

“He’s just that guy who always has got a smile on his face,” Bakala said.

Jim hasn’t lost that smile. But recent news has added a grimace.

In May, Jim got some sobering news from his doctor. His shortness of breath whenever he’d work out wasn’t because of age – he’s 47. And it wasn’t because he’s out of shape – he goes on 100-mile bike rides.

It was because he has lung cancer, adenocarcinoma. He was diagnosed in May and is currently undergoing treatment.

“My dream has been interrupted by an unwelcome guest,” Jim said. Jim’s reaction is revealing. Rather than withdraw into despair, he went on a 92-mile bike ride. “Idiot,” Jim said about his long bike ride.

Actually, “fighter” is a more accurate description. Jim’s approach is “I can beat this.” The father of three daughters is determined to conquer this new foe.

“Our family has a rough road ahead,” Jim said. “It goes down as the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but we will get through this.”

Jim said he’s been through the remorse stage, the crying with family. “I am now putting on my game face,” he said.

Jim and his family aren’t going through this alone. They’ve been surrounded by friends. His request list is short.

“I am not too proud to ask for prayer,” he said.

jim brown olympia

Jim Brown is the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit, community based, junior cycling development team, Rad Racing Northwest.

And now that Jim is facing cancer, friends are wanting to stand with him. To help cover his medical costs, friends have put together a fundraiser on July 11 to raffle off a $2,800 Kona mountain bike that was donated. Tickets for the raffle are $5. The benefit starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Westside Tavern.

Jason Casebolt, a long-time friend of Brown’s and who once worked alongside him as a paramedic, is overwhelmed by the support and concern people have shown for Jim.

“There’s been a huge outpouring of support for Jim,” Casebolt said. “I get to see it from many different perspectives.”

There’s concern, questions about how Jim is doing, from people in the fire department and from the cycling community. Casebolt has even seen “Hold Fast” bumper stickers on cars. Jim has written that old Coast Guard saying on the back of fingers. It’s a reminder of his commitment to persevere.

“It’s interesting to see the outpouring of support from people I work with and cyclists in other states,” Casebolt said.

Jim, who was in the Coast Guard, has touched so many people. Beyond his focus on his own training for rides like annual Seattle-to-Portland, Jim started Rad Racing Northwest, a non-profit, junior cycling development team that’s launched national champions, some who went on to race professionally. But Jim made sure Rad Racing wasn’t just about cycling.

“It’s about teaching life’s lessons,” said Casebolt, who is on Rad’s staff with Jim. “Homework comes first. And you don’t have to win the race.”

The message is to always give 100 percent. That’s something Jim’s known for doing himself.

“When people think of Rad Racing Northwest, they think of Jim Brown,” said Derik Archibald, owner of Joy Ride Bicycles in Lacey.

And when people think of Jim Brown they also think of a good friend.

jim brown olympia

When not dedicating his time to developing young cyclists, Jim Brown is a member of the Olympia Fire Department.

“Jim is a very giving person,” Archibald said. “It’s always for the kids. It’s always for the community.”

Troy Churchwell has known Jim for 15 years, both professionally and as a partner on mountain bike rides.  Troy and Jim used to work together as paramedics. Now, Jim is his boss. News of Jim’s cancer was a shocker.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Churchwell said. “Here’s a guy who does everything right. He exercises. He eats well. I just couldn’t believe it.”

One thing Churchwell isn’t surprised by is Jim’s response. “He’s always been a fighter,” Churchwell said.

Jim has experienced the fight with cancer before when cancer took his father.

“During that whole time, Jim was very supportive of him,” Churchwell said. “He shaved his head. He put ‘Hold Fast’ on his fist back then, too. He’s going to fight this.”

Now, the community is rallying around a good friend.

“He’s made a difference to so many of us,” Bakala said. “He’s been a positive influence in our lives. He’s said some things to me that’s helped. Now, we’re going to step up and do what we can to help him.”


July 6, 1889: the last Independence Day as a territory and Olympia is on show

Olympia Time - Mon, 07/06/2015 - 6:19am
As the last July with Washington at just a territory (statehood would come in November), the people of Olympia greeted the soon to be state's constitution writers.
Reprinted in the Oregonian on July 6, 1889 (from the Olympian):
Let it be shown that the people of Olympia are on a par in social amenities with he acknowledged beauty of their city. …The tide has come to Olympia and if now taken at its flood will surely lead on to fortune if not to tame. In their daily contact with the members of this constitutional convention, the people of this city will be living epistles, “known and read of all men.” The conclusion, then, of the whole matter appears to be that Olympia has a rare opportunity of establishing and confirming its own fair name in the hearts and minds of the territory’s representative citizens.This is an early and interesting notation as Olympia's supplication to the rest of the state with its role as state capital.  I feel like we still feel this way from time to time, trying to justify our existence to the rest of the state, as if Yakima or Tacoma could rank the capital from us at any point. This is probably how we get wrapped around the axle on the Deschutes Estuary.

I'd hope by now that we just accept that Olympia is good, from a dozen or so angles. Yes, we benefit from state jobs. But, we're also a good town because of Evergreen (which probably wouldn't be here without the state government).

Eh, forget it. I'm an epistle too I suppose.

Adult Beginning Fiddle/Violin Class

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 1:55pm
Event:  Mon, 07/13/2015 - 6:30pm

Have you always wanted to learn to play the violin/fiddle?

Introductory class starts July 13 at the Olympia Center. For course description/registration: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Olympia Pop Rocks- New Local Podcast Features Olympia Artists , Musicians, and Community Activists

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 1:49pm

I've been really enjoying "Olympia Pop Rocks" a locally produced, bi-monthly podcast that features interviews with Olympians involved in art, music and community activism. Recent interviewees include story-teller and performer Elizabeth Lord, commedian Sam Miller, and Meg Martin of Interfaith Works Emergency Shelter. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Return of Daylighting Moxlie Creek

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 1:09pm

From today's inbox:

A need for folks who will come to City Hall on July 7 at 7 PM (That is next Tuesday evening) and testify for Moxlie Creek.

We are seeking to draw attention to this creek-in-a-pipe. Moxlie Creek has not been studied by the City of Olympia since 1993. We want to see City of Olympia act as lead agent and draw in the Port, Dept of Ecology, LOTT and citizens to study the needs of this forgotten creek.

After Deschutes, Moxlie Creek is the largest stream flowing into Budd Inlet. Moxlie and Indian Creeks flow through Watershed Park. Prior to being encased in a pipe from Plum and Union, Moxlie was a salmon bearing creek. It provided drinking water in early days of Olympia.

The creek needs more than an occasional man-hole inspection. Moxlie Creek has salt water flowing up in the dark pipe twice a day!

Help us and come to City Hall. Just say, "We want a committee to look at the feasibility of bringing Moxlie Creek into the daylight."

Zena Hartung, Harry Branch, Daniel Einstein, and 100+ others from a recent on-line petition

The study of the Moxlie/Indian Creek basin that the County did in 1993 included a brief discussion of daylighting the creek: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Running is a Way of Life for Coach and Teacher Linda Huyck

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 7:05am



By Isabelle Morrison

Hometown logoRunning is more than the act itself; it is empowering, and it can keep you both physically and emotionally healthy.

Linda Huyck, a cross country and former track coach at Timberline High School, knows the truth in this statement.

Certain people are simply born to do something, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Huyck was born to run. The sport is a massive part of who she is, and through it she’s been able to uplift not only herself, but others as well.

linda hyuck

Dog lover Linda Huyck celebrates her victory at the 2011 Turkey Trot 5k with “Sally Dog.”

Huyck began running in the 4th grade when she was having trouble finding a niche at her new school. “The kids were kind of mean so I would go off and read by myself,” she says. One of her teachers noticed this, and asked if she wanted to join a student track team that he was forming, so she did. “I enjoyed it so much that I started running a couple days a week with some of the teachers and counselors from the school,” Huyck shares.

After winning her first race, Huyck knew that running was something that she wanted to continue. “It was field day, and I was doing the 400 meter. I ran so hard that I cried and threw up!” she laughs. Despite being sick, Huyck believes that the success she felt after winning triggered something in her – perhaps it was confidence?

In the near future, Huyck’s natural talent and passion for the sport would land her a spot in the Olympic trials for the 2000 Olympic games. Prior to the trials, she had undergone many months of intense training led by Larry Weber, the cross country coach at Northwest Christian High School. “It was a lot of months of long miles. We were regularly hitting high 60’s and low 70’s for our mileage. There was a point where we were in the 80’s for three weeks in a row,” says Huyck.

linda hyuck

Huyck ran “back-to-back rim-to-rims” at the Grand Canyon in 2013.

When she was actually at the trials, Huyck was well aware that she would not be advancing to the games. “I wasn’t a top runner so there was no pressure. I was just like ‘ooh I’m in the Olympic trials!’ and I couldn’t help but smile.” Huyck also had the honor of meeting her idol and running icon Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first women’s Olympic marathon champion, at the trials.

Although the Olympic Games were not Huyck’s destiny, she would eventually channel her running skills into coaching.

After graduating from Timberline High School, she was offered a coaching position at Saint Michael Parish by her former principal, Dave Lehnis. From there, coaching opportunities seemed to just spring up for Huyck.

“I love seeing my kids travel new distances and do things they never thought about doing. It’s so exciting to see someone doing something that brings them confidence and pride,” she shares. “Coaching is actually what made me want to be a teacher.” Huyck is currently an English teacher at River Ridge High School.

She has made an impact on so many young runners, and still keeps in touch with several of her former pupils. “I just got an email from someone who was in the first group of kids I ever coached. When you find out that your kids are lifelong runners, it’s pretty exciting.”

Today, Huyck is still doing what she loves; training and competing in races – but this time on a bit smaller scale than the Olympic trials. Her most recent race was the Capital City Marathon on May 17, 2015.

Huyck was reunited with her old coach for the trials, Larry Weber, in preparation for this event. “He had me running a two hour run and intervals every week for the last four weeks, which is not common – usually you get some sort of reduced run in there.”

linda hyuck

Running and racing is a way of life for Linda Huyck.

She spent a total of eight months training for the marathon, and even faced an injury. In late February, Huyck was in crutches and unable to train. “I stepped in a pothole while training and tore all kinds of stuff in my ankle. I didn’t run for a full month.”  Fortunately, Huyck was able to recover quickly enough to compete.

After coming in second place for women’s by a mere ten minutes back in 1991, Huyck had returned better, faster, stronger, and over twenty years older. She was the first woman to cross the finish line at this year’s Capital City Marathon.

Huyck was ecstatic after her victory, but like always, is still looking for improvement.

“I think I realized early on that running is a good way to bond, whether it’s an athlete and a coach or a person with a friend or peer. It’s just a great way to spend time with my friends – we work through a lot, whether it be work issues, family issues, or retelling the good times that make us super happy. Running is just a really good way to stay emotionally healthy.”

Huyck also added that new runners should try to bring a friend along, “Not only is it fun, but if you have someone you’re accountable to, you’re more likely to do it. Think about all the hideous things you can do if your friends will go with you and you’re like, ‘I will if you will.’ Then eventually, you’ll find out that you like it.”



Stillwater Dental Wellness Center – Creating Beautiful Smiles and Changing Lives

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 6:00am



olympia dentist

Dr. James Telloian opened his first practice in Tumwater in 1990. He moved to the current Black Lake location in 2005.

Dr. Jim Telloian is a family dentist, and he is the only dentist on staff at Stillwater Dental Wellness Center, which is intentional because he believes it improves patient care.

“We see kids from the time their first tooth erupts, and every age thereafter. My oldest patient is turning one hundred this summer,” he said. “I consider myself a ‘grand dentist,’ because I have patients that I saw as children that are now grown up and are bringing their kids here.”

Dr. Telloian explains why this matters, “We like to know our patients, who their spouse is, what their hobbies are. This creates a caring practice, but it also creates continuity of care. When I’ve seen someone for 20 years I know their mouth. I know what’s been done and what needs to be done.”

Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Telloian spent a lot of time in Olympia with his grandparents who lived along Black Lake. “I learned how to water ski here and spent most of the summers of my teen years here and loved it,” he said.

When he was in dental school and had to make a decision about where to set up his practice, it was easy. He thought about quality of life, knowing he wanted to avoid the rat race of California. He opened his first practice in Tumwater in 1990, and then moved to the current Black Lake location in 2005. A few years later the name of his practice changed from James E. Telloian to Stillwater Dental Wellness Center.

“It is a privilege to practice here, because [Thurston County] still has a little bit of that small town feel. I can go to the mall or Red Robin and I get to see my patients,” said Dr. Telloian. “They invite me to weddings and graduations and it feels like one big extended family.”

Focus on Wellness

olympia dentist

Prevention is the focus at Stillwater Dental Wellness Center.

At the core of Stillwater Dental Wellness Center’s philosophy is a focus on prevention. For example, research links a type of bacteria in a patient’s mouth to cardiovascular disease. Treating the bacteria can also improve the health of the entire body. “We offer Laser Assisted Bacterial Reduction (LABR) or Laser Periodontal Therapy. This procedure uses laser at a very low level to clean deep pockets that are difficult to clean properly with scraping,” he said. “Laser keeps the bacteria away for two months, allowing the gums to heal and the ligaments to reattach, compared to a deep cleaning that only keeps the bacteria at bay for 24 hours.”

Dr. Telloian and his team also offer orthodontics without braces, using a system called Myobrace. Using an appliance worn only at night, like a sports guard, the tongue habit and lip postures are corrected so the teeth are able to come in straight. “For most kids this is a good starting point. The system has been available in Europe for over 20 years, and is now catching on in the United States,” he said. The cost is comparable to traditional braces, but the benefits are substantial. “Braces can cause shortening of the roots, are hard to clean, and can break down the enamel. We see none of that with this system, plus by correcting swallowing and breathing problems it may prevent future sleep apnea,” he said.

Another unique aspect of Dr. Telloian’s practice is the use of a Neuromuscular based approach to TMJ or jaw dysfunction. Dr. Telloian explains, “This is an area of dentistry which looks at the relationship between the muscles in your face, your teeth, and your bite related to TMJ. Our theory is these issues are muscle related, so if we can get your muscles to relax, then your symptoms will go away. We have a computer system that helps find a position for your jaw where your muscles are relaxed and we create an appliance to put your mouth in that position.” Dr. Telloian has treated dozens of patients over the years using neuromuscular dentistry and they usually notice a difference after the first night, such as a lack of headaches the next day.

olympia dentist

Another unique aspect of Dr. Telloian’s practice is the use of a Neuromuscular based approach to TMJ or jaw dysfunction.

“Our philosophy is that we want to treat people in the most conservative way possible without surgery and drugs. Surgery can be a great option, and I’m glad we have it available, but it should be a last resort. I’ve had people come see me who were supposed to have surgery for TMJ and all they needed was to have their bite corrected. I make a splint for them and their pain goes away,” he said.

For Dr. Telloian, a large part of practicing preventative dentistry and promoting wellness is staying up-to-date on new research and techniques. In fact, Dr. Telloian was one of the first dentists in town to stop using silver fillings. “We realized that if we did a silver filling, and had any leftover material we had to dispose of it as hazardous waste. I wouldn’t want that in my mouth, so I’m not going to put it in my patient’s mouth. That was over 20 years ago,” he said.

And while Dr. Telloian and his team focus on wellness, they know the power of a great smile. “Cosmetic dentistry is a big part of what we like to do, and I’ve had a lot of training in this specialty. The biggest compliment I get when I do a smile makeover is people telling the patient they have pretty teeth or a beautiful smile,” he said. “The fun thing about smile makeovers is that they are instant. People look at their smile in the mirror and often begin to cry. It is very emotional. I love this work, because it changes people’s lives.”

Stillwater Dental Wellness Center

1930 Black Lake Blvd SW

Olympia, WA 98512



South Sound BBQ Festival Promises Fun Music, Good Company, and Great Food

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/05/2015 - 6:00am



By Morgan Willie

south sound bbq festival

A barbecue enthusiast takes a bite during the South Sound BBQ Festival. Photo credit: Dan Nicholson.

Summer brings on a particular assortment of smells we’re all pretty familiar with. ‘Tis the season for wafts of sunscreen, salty air, fruity drinks, and fresh cut grass.

But, for Dan and Shelley Nicholson, co-chairs of the South Sound BBQ Festival committee, the smell of summer really lies in the piquant and memorable scent of a good old-fashioned backyard cookout.

The South Sound BBQ Festival is a celebration of Thurston County’s camaraderie and excellence among local businesses and associations. It’s a jamboree for all ages, featuring live music, children’s activities, a beer garden, raffle prizes, contests and – of course – grilled favorites by the plenty.

Barbecued beef brisket, chicken thighs, baby back ribs, and seafood will collide in a massive, mouthwatering spectacle at Huntamer Park on July 11. It’s an event you won’t want to miss.

Dan and Shelly both agree that sunshine and the smell of barbecue are enough to make for the perfect summer day, but the committee’s provided alternative and extra highlights so that everyone has something to enjoy.

A variety of vendors and booths will be attending the festival. You’ll find non-profits such as Homeless Backpacks and Habitat for Humanity, and for-profits like Westfield Capital Mall and Fred Meyer all lined up together. Plus, the Seattle Sea Gals are scheduled to make an appearance and our local radio stations too – Mixx 96.1, 96.9 KAYO, and 94.5 Roxy.

Sierra Burton, Event Coordinator for the Lacey Chamber of Commerce, has given her heart and soul these past months in preparation for the barbecue festival, working in tandem with Dan and Shelly. Sierra has a special affection for the event, and she can’t wait to see how this year’s occasion pans out.

south sound bbq festival

Lacey Chamber of Commerce event planners Karissa Benjamin and Sierra Burton pose with Dan and Shelly Nicholson of the South Sound BBQ Festival committee.

“Put it on your schedule now,” she urged. “I’m not just saying that because I’m in charge of it. Don’t question whether or not you should come because the festival is something where, if I’d known about it sooner, I would have been bringing my family each year.”

Sierra reminisced about the festival saying, “Last year was my first year, but my favorite part was probably the music. I was in ‘go-mode’ all day long, but I loved hearing the music as I was working. It was good to see how happy everybody was, and how much fun they were having.”

Dan also mentioned the jovial ambiance of the event.

“The overall atmosphere of the entire festival is awesome,” he said. “Everybody is happy and the community comes together. It’s fun for the whole family, I mean, it really is.”

Shelly noted that her favorite bit of the South Sound BBQ Festival is watching the kids division of the chicken wing eating contest.

“They get their faces covered,” she said. “They’re so intense.”

Shelly recommended getting to the festival as early as possible to sign up for the wing eating contests. She also noted that the first 750 people to arrive would receive a complimentary recipe booklet to recreate some of the festival’s menu items at home.

south sound bbq festival

A Backyard Joe and Jane cook up their signature dishes at the South Sound BBQ Festival, showing off what Thurston County brings to the table. Photo credit: Dan Nicholson.

The barbeque festival is your chance to experience the smells, sounds, and tastes of summer at full strength while contributing to local businesses and making new acquaintances. As Sierra said, “Put it on your schedule now.” It’s sure to be a grillin’ good time.


South Sound BBQ Festival

July 11 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Huntamer Park

618 Woodland Square Loop SE

Lacey, WA 98503


Calling All Vendors for 2015 Thurston County Fair

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:57am



Submitted by Thurston County Fair 

DDM Thurston County Fair-29Whether you sell clothing or crafts, tools and gadgets for home and garden, or toys and trinkets that are just plain fun, the 2015 Thurston County Fair has the perfect place for vendors of all kinds to get noticed and get customers. Vendors throughout the South Sound are invited to reserve a booth at this year’s fair, which opens Wednesday, July 29 and runs through Sunday, August 2.

Spaces throughout the fairgrounds are available, including inside spaces, covered outdoor spaces, and uncovered outdoor spaces, as well as spaces reserved for food concessions. Electrical and water hook-ups are also available. Contact the Thurston County Fair Office to find the best booth to fit your needs.

A booth at the Thurston County Fair is a great investment for any vendor, with an average of 33,000 fairgoers enjoying the sun and fun of Thurston County’s signature summer event each year. Local South Sound growers, artisans and business owners can get the best bang for their marketing buck with a booth at the fair where vendors can talk directly with customers and make sales on the spot.

For more information on the 2015 Thurston County Fair and to apply for a vendor booth or food concession space, contact the Thurston County Fair Office at (360) 786-5453 or visit

“Picture Yourself at the Thurston County Fair!”

July 29 – Aug. 2

Summer Fun is Heating Up with Thurston County 4-H Programs

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:51am



Submitted by Thurston County 4-H Program

thurston county fair

Talk with local kids about their animals during the Thurston County Fair.

School is out and the weather is warming up, which means the Thurston County “4-H Summer 4-Kids” program is just around the corner.

Registration is open for the Thurston County 4-H signature summer event. The 2015 program runs from Monday, July 13 through Thursday, July 16 for youth ages 8 to 12. The program includes action-packed days filled with activities and projects that are hands-on, educational and fun. Many of the projects can also be entered to compete at the Thurston County Fair July 29 through August 2.

The 4-H Summer 4-Kids program is open to 4-H members and non-members. Participants can choose to do a half-day program of just morning or afternoon sessions Monday through Thursday for $60, or they can choose to do the full-day program of morning and afternoon sessions Monday through Thursday for $120. But hurry, classes are limited to 10 students each, and registration is due by Wednesday, July 8. All sessions will be held at the Thurston County Fairgrounds at 3054 Carpenter Road SE in Lacey.

To learn more about the 4-H Summer 4-Kids program or to register your child, contact the Thurston County 4-H Office at or (360) 867-2153. The Thurston County 4-H Office also has lots of information about other 4-H programs available throughout the year for youth of all ages.

Be sure to join Thurston County 4-Hers as they show their projects and celebrate their accomplishments this year at the Thurston County Fair July 29 through August 2. Everything from animals to artwork will be on display, and 4-H club members will compete for the chance to show their projects at the Washington State Fair in September. Details about contests and events are on the Thurston County Fair web site at

thurston county fairThe Thurston County 4-H program is a partnership between the private, non-profit National 4-H Council, the Washington State University Extension program, and Thurston County government. What started as a handful of agricultural clubs for youth in the late 1800s and early 1900s has grown into a community of 400 members supporting 55 clubs in Thurston County, and 6 million young people across America learning about agricultural techniques, technology and research through practical “hands-on” learning.  The national 4-H organization is a unique partnership of the National 4-H Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 100 land-grant universities across the country, and more than 3,000 county offices that form the land-grant university Cooperative Extension System.

To learn more about all of the Thurston County 4-H programs and membership, visit or call (360) 867-2153. WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination.

Healthy Homes Grow Healthier Kids

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:25am



Submitted by Thurston County Public Health & Social Services

olympia baby store

The home environment can play a big role in a child’s health.

Actions that protect and support healthy babies and young children can benefit those children their whole lives. Sadly, the flip side is also true: unhealthy conditions for babies and young children can adversely affect them throughout their lives as well.

The home environment can play a big role in a child’s health. For example, exposure to mold can lead to asthma and other respiratory problems. Household products (like some cleaning products or pesticides) can contain chemicals that cause immediate harm to an exposed child and/or disrupt development. Exposure to even a small amount of lead, which may be present in older homes due to lead-based paint, as a baby or young child can have life-long impacts on learning, reduce IQ, and cause behavior or hearing problems, slowed growth, and anemia.

How do we assure healthy living conditions for our children? Policies and regulations are one way. For example, beginning in 1978 lead was no longer added to paint; it was phased-out of use in gasoline beginning in the mid-1970s and was banned altogether from gas after 1995. Policies such as these have reduced our exposure to lead and have helped create healthier communities. But, we can’t rely on policies alone to protect our health; we can all take voluntary, preventive measures to promote healthier families and communities.

As a strategy to ensure healthier living conditions for all members of our community, Thurston Thrives partners are working to increase the number of well-maintained and weatherized rental homes, which will help reduce residents’ mold exposure, prevent other indoor environment problems, and cut energy costs.

County residents and businesses can bring hazardous waste to Hawks Prairie facility.

County residents and businesses can bring hazardous waste to Hawks Prairie HazoHouse facility.

A component of this is a rental housing rating system that measures health and energy efficiency criteria, which will provide people looking for rental housing with information about the quality of the units available to them, and create an incentive for landlords to improve their properties Fixing up the current housing stock in our community will make more housing available to meet the needs of a growing population, including those with limited incomes. Other strategies to achieve affordable, adequate and safe housing are highlighted in the Thurston Thrives housing strategy map:

What can you do in your home to protect yourself and loved ones from home environment hazards, including asthma triggers and toxic products? Start by cleaning your home regularly and keeping it well-maintained. Add regular damp dusting to your cleaning routine (lead is frequently found in dust, especially in homes built before 1978), prioritizing areas where painted surfaces are likely to rub and produce dust (around doors, windows or drawers), and keep painted surfaces in good repair. Take your shoes off at the doorway to avoid tracking lead and other hazardous materials found on roadways and soil into the home. Store products with warning labels that say DANGER, POISON, WARNING or CAUTION safely out of reach of children.

Dispose of these products at HazoHouse. Wash hands, pacifiers, and toys often, particularly if your child is at the stage where everything goes into her mouth. See our website for more information on creating Healthy Homes and other practical things you can do to protect kids from household hazards.

Stable and healthful housing is important to the health of each person in our community. This includes taking individual steps to improve our own living space. We also need to look at policies and systems that affect the whole of housing in the community for its affordability and quality, so that residents, and their children, live in healthy conditions whether they rent or own their homes.


Evergreen Named “Best Buy” College by Fiske Guide

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/04/2015 - 11:19am



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

The Evergreen State College was named a "Best Buy" college by Fistke Guide, the only college in Washington; one of three on the west coast.

The Evergreen State College was named a “Best Buy” college by Fistke Guide, the only college in Washington; one of three on the west coast.

The Evergreen State College has been named a 2016 Best Buy School by the prestigious “Fiske Guide to Colleges.”

For the past 30 years Fiske has compiled an annual list of select educational institutions noted for quality academic offerings and affordable cost. The guide includes more than 300 of the nation’s best colleges and universities. The 2016 Fiske Guide Best Buy list is comprised of 20 public and 24 private colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.

Evergreen is the only college in Washington state to be listed as a Best Buy institution and one of three on the West Coast, along with the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.

All Best Buy schools fall into the inexpensive or moderate price category and most picks have four or five-star academics ratings. “Fiske Guide to Colleges” was created by former “New York Times” education editor, Edward B. Fiske, once the top independent voice in college admissions.

The Evergreen State College serves more than 4000 students and is nationally recognized for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach, narrative evaluations and emphasis on learning by doing. The college also offers an upper division program in Tacoma and three graduate programs: Master in Teaching, Master of Public Administration (including a tribal governance concentration) and Master of Environmental Studies. Thanks to recent legislative action, Evergreen’s resident undergraduate tuition is expected to be reduced by five percent for the 2015-16 academic year and another 15 percent for the 2016-17 academic year. Evergreen also offers more than 100 scholarship opportunities based on merit, need or course of study.


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