Recent local blog posts

Ian Svenonius – The Drone Interview

K Records - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 1:45am
An insightful interview with Ian Svenonius of Chain & the Gang and Make-Up. Reader’s Digest, ya dig?
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Skyline Drive-In Celebrates 50 Years

Thurston Talk - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 7:26am



By Eric Wilson-Edge

duncan sponsorSummer is rapidly coming to a close. The days are getting shorter. It won’t be long before the leaves turn and the air crisps. We’ll replace short sleeves and shorts with rain coats and sweaters. Hot chocolate weather is on its way.

For now, on this particular evening, summer is still very much alive. Hundreds of people have turned out for Skyline Drive-In’s annual family night. Kids wearing pajamas and painted faces pile into the back of their parent’s cars. A father and son toss a football in an open area. I watch as the ball arcs through the orange twilight.

skyline drive in

A packed house is a common sight at Skyline Drive-In during the summer.

Dorothea Mayes looks on with approval. Mayes is the owner of the Skyline. She took over about 10 years ago from founder Fred Thibodeau.  Mayes is a film buyer for independently run movie theaters and Thibodeau was one of her clients.  “This was his baby,” says Mayes.  “He got too sick to run it and asked if I could.”

This year mark’s Skyline’s 50th Anniversary. The drive-in sits on six acres just off Highway 101 near Shelton. Janette Sigo is the manager at Skyline. She’s worked at the theater for 12 years, her daughter has been an employee for 14 years. “I was a customer and got sucked in,” says Sigo. “I was here with my kids one night enjoying a movie when my daughter told me they didn’t have enough people and asked if I could help.”

Drive-Ins hold a special place in American lore. There used to be dozens of theaters like the Skyline scattered across the state. Now only a few remain. “It’s very difficult to run a business six months out of the year and make it pay for itself 12 months out of the year,” explains Mayes.

Operating an outdoor theater poses unique challenges. Skyline can hold roughly 300 vehicles which means land which equals maintenance. Mayes told me she recently had to battle an ant infestation at one end of the parking lot. Work has begun on replacing a section of the wooden fence along the entryway. At the start of the season Mayes hired someone to clean and paint the massive screen.

skyline drive in

This year mark’s the iconic theater’s 50th anniversary.

Cars trickle in through the entrance. Tonight’s double bill is “Planes: Fire & Rescue” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”  The smell of buttered popcorn and hamburgers hangs in the air. Serena Hernandez makes a beeline for the staff entrance. She’s wet and shivering. Hernandez volunteered for the dunk tank. “The first dunk was super cold but after that you want to be in the water.”

This is Hernandez’s first season at Skyline. She loves her job and didn’t mind the soaking. She brought along a towel and an extra set of clothes. Hernandez disappears up the stairs to change. I mention to Mayes how remarkable it is that her employees volunteered to get dunked. “The people who work here end up bonding, it becomes a family,” says Mayes.

A line has formed at the bouncy house. The more impatient abandon the cause in favor of the firefighters stationed nearby. Sigo knows a lot of these kids, most have been coming to the drive-in since they were infants.

You never know who will come to the Skyline. The drive-in attracts both regulars and the curious newcomers. “There’s a Portuguese couple who were staying at the casino for a conference,” says Sigo.  “They came to see what it was and now they’re here to watch the movie.”

skyline drive in

A young boy tries to dunk a Skyline employee.

Gary Walker grew up in Great Britain. He’s lived in the United States for over 10 years. He and his wife take their kids to the Skyline a few times each summer. “It’s something as a kind growing up in Britain you’d see in the movies or on TV,” says Walker. “Much like Cadillac’s with big fins and Route 66 it’s something I came to associate with America.”

Walker likes the experience of watching a movie outside but he’s also drawn to the affordability. A family of five, like Walker’s, can see two movies for $35 without concessions. Plus, if the kids get bored they can talk or play games without the fear of being shushed.

The season for Skyline Drive-In will soon start winding down. The drive-in will move from being open every day to being open on the weekends until closing in late September/early October. Before that happens, the Skyline will host a Rocky Horror Picture Show event complete with live acting and drag queen races. On Labor Day there will be a triple billing and 50 cent hot dogs to commemorate the anniversary.

A few kids giggle past. Some pull at their parent’s arms in the hopes of one more bounce before the first movie starts. The sun is setting but no one seems to mind.

Skyline Drive-In

182 SE Brewer Road in Shelton

Movie information can be found here.


Chain & the Gang “Devitialize”

K Records - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 1:21am
The official video imagery to accompany the Chain & the Gang song “Devitalize” from their epic Minimum Rock’n'Roll (Radical Elite) album. Fudge gone bad.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Jackson Pollock’s legacy at B2

South Sound Arts - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 2:05pm

The Weekly Volcano, Aug. 14, 2014
"Bright Refractions" by CJ Swanson, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"There’s a show at B2 Fine Art Gallery called “Evolution of Line & Form: Exploring Jackson Pollock inspirations.” Six painters and one photographer are featured, including former Tacomans David Noah Giles and Catherine Swanson whose abstract paintings lift the show to a higher plateau. I’m tempted to say everything else is mundane or mediocre, but those words are far too harsh. Most of the other artists in this show are good, maybe better than good, but they don’t particularly float my boat.
Judy Hintz-Cox, for instance, is an outstanding painter. I’ve seen some paintings of hers that truly rocked, but her pieces in this show are dull. They’re all minimalist abstract-expressionist paintings, some with one or two blue squares or bars on a white ground and some that look like Rothko paintings minus his unique and nuanced colors.
"Path" acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24", James Guy Jr.Nancy McClaughlin’s paintings are expressive abstract landscapes with slashes of blue, purple and green. They’re nicely done. One of her smaller paintings toward the back hall is particularly nice (I didn’t note the title in the Volcano review but got it later. It’s called “Night Visitor”).
" Night Visitor"
Nancy McLaughlin, Acrylic on canvas, 18"x20"Jerry Martin is listed as a participating artist but I did not even see any of his work. Where was it? How did I miss it?
I liked James Guy Jr.’s paintings, mostly hard-edge, black and white geometric shapes with a well-designed interplay of positive and negative shapes. Some had highly controlled splatters of paint laid on top of the precise black and white forms. One in particular had two concentric circles that looked like they were dribbled on with wet paint and then blown with a fan to create splatters that radiated outward. Nice.
The most Pollock-like images in the show were William Mitchell’s photographs of densely tangled tree branches — photographs imitating Pollock who famously William Mitchell, "Tangle With Bracken Fern,"photography, 16"x20"said, when asked if he was inspired by nature, “I amnature.”
Swanson and Giles, husband and wife, both paint “all over” in the Pollock manner, and their paintings are vibrant, sparkling and well designed. Giles’ work is expressive with multiple layers of paint, expressive mark-making and an exciting profusion of overlapping squares and circles and squiggles. These are by far the most “painterly” works in the show. Swanson’s paintings are more deliberate and controlled (keeping in mind that Giles’ are more controlled than they appear). She lays squares and circles and bottle shapes and other forms on solid-color backgrounds, creating movement in space. In some of her paintings the forms seem to be floating in space; in others they reverberate in shallow space.
David Noah Giles, "Return," 48" x 48" acrylic on canvas 

In Swanson’s “Freed Up” multicolored squares float in a ribbon that coils snakelike across a black canvas. In “Layered Links” pink, yellow, brown, blue and green chain links overlap and interlock on a soft gray background. Her “Geometric Plane” offers prismatic forms like faceted stained glass that undulates in shallow space. Her paintings appear playful and decorative, but there is much more to them than meets the eye in a cursory glance.
Full disclosure: I had a show in the gallery Swanson and Giles once owned in Tacoma, Art On Center, and was in a group show with them at the Convention Center in Seattle a few years back. So perhaps I was predisposed to like their work, but it was refreshing and exciting to see it after a long absence.
B2 Fine Art Gallery, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, till 9 p.m. Third Thursdays, through Aug. 21, 711 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, 253.238.5065]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Orca Books event: Sarah Thomas Gulden on Yoga

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:04am
Event:  Sat, 08/16/2014 - 3:00pm

Sarah Thomas Gulden will be at Orca Books to present Balancing the Wheels: A Practical Guide to Chakras in Yoga and Life.  She will also demonstrate a few positions and related movements. 

Sarah's experience with yoga started in childhood and has been a life-long passion, including studies in spiritual philosophy, tarot, astrology, Reiki, alternative medicine, and traditional symbology. She is a long-time member of Shanti Yoga Ashram and the Essene Church in Bethesda, MD, is a RYT-500 hour yoga instructor from ISHTA Yoga, and teaches private, corporate, and studio yoga classes as well as personal Chakra Coaching sessions throughout the Greater Washington, DC area. She has led numerous local and international yoga retreats.

Orca Books is at 509 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia. This event is FREE and open to the public. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:38am



My hands are wrapped tightly around a hot mug of coffee this morning.  Our cloudy, cool week (and buckets of rain on Tuesday) reminds me that fall is just around the corner.  While I like my sweaters and boots as much as the next girl, I’m not quite ready to give up my flip-flops.  Thankfully the sun, and warm temperatures, will be back in force by tomorrow.  Embrace the weekend.  Get out and enjoy summer with our packed list of great things to do.   To see everything that’s going on, check out the events calendar or navigate to our outdoor activities section to soak up the sun.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.


Amanda Singleton – Graduating Top Ten from Olympia High School While Beating Cancer

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:41am



By Tali Haller

dairy queenSometimes life takes drastic turns. At the end of her 2011 cross country season, recent Olympia High School graduate Amanda Singleton went from running with a few leg cramps to her doctor delivering life-changing news: she had cervical cancer, specifically Rhabdomyosarcoma.

“I don’t remember my initial impression. It was just a blur of emotions, doctor’s appointments, and scans,” said Amanda.

amanda singleton

After battling cancer, Amanda graduated with one of the top ten highest GPA’s in the 2014 Olympia High School graduating class.

Luckily, she had a solid support system. “I want to thank my mom, dad, grandmother, and my doctors at Madigan Army Medical Center for supporting me beyond what I ever expected,” she said appreciatively. The extent of the support she received went beyond words. “My mom even shaved her head for me,” said Amanda.

Amanda was born in Oslo, Norway but moved around quite a bit because her dad is in the Army. In 2011, she moved to Olympia from Stuttgart, Germany. “I love Olympia,” Amanda said. “It was a breath of fresh air compared to the strong military community I moved from in Germany. The people in Olympia are so relaxed and accepting.”

Because she was fairly new to Olympia when she was diagnosed with cancer, she didn’t have any good friends at the time. Instead, her friend from Germany who had moved to Nebraska immediately came and visited her when she found out. “I will never know the true impact of her visit, but I know it was huge,” Amanda said.

Rather quickly, Amanda’s daily schedule changed. She couldn’t play sports or workout. “The hardest part was being isolated from other people my age. I felt like I was sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else grow up and experience typical ‘teenage’ things,” she confessed.

amanda singleton

Amanda and her supportive friend Suzie enjoy Olympia’s beauty, pausing for a picture with the Capital as a backdrop.

Instead, her days were filled with lots of sleep, Netflix, and school. She began receiving chemotherapy every Thursday. Oftentimes she would only come to school Monday through Wednesday, then go through treatment on Thursday, and rest over the weekend. “Getting used to being tired and sick was one of the worst parts,” she mentioned.

Even though she had cancer, Amanda still managed to hold one of the top ten highest GPA’s out of this years’ Olympia High School graduating class. “The school was great. They worked with me to fit my chemo schedule and my teachers were very understanding,” Amanda said, smiling at their compassion.

A few teachers even went out of the way to help her. Her English teacher, Sarah Violette, let her take the final at the end of June, after school was already out for the summer. Although teachers were understanding, school was still difficult. “Taking AP Calculus was not the easiest, especially while receiving chemotherapy,” admitted Amanda.

amanda singleton

Living on the wild side, Amanda took part in the Olympia tradition of spray painting her name on the side of a building.

Then in April 2012 (after about 6 months of treatment), Amanda had an operation to remove the mass. A visible tumor never came back. In November 2012, she had completed chemo. “I was ecstatic,” Amanda emphasized.

“I never really returned to my ‘old self’ though. After my experience, I came out as the new and improved version of myself.” Apparently, cancer gave her a new outlook on life. “I became less obsessed about the small details and began focusing on the big picture.”

What’s more, Amanda recognizes that cancer is a scary topic for people and has some advice. “A lot of loss and grief is associated with the word. But if people can stop focusing on the possible end result (death), and instead focus on the person behind the word, that person would feel more supported, not just a charity case,” Amanda said. “If nothing else, cancer showed me who was in my life for both the better and the worse,” she said.

Now healthy, Amanda spends her time traveling, eating good food, and working out. She plans to attend the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

“In the back of my mind, I will always fear that my cancer might come back,” she acknowledges. However, that isn’t stopping her from living her life.


Spotlight on the Wildwood Building – A Community Hub

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:24am



By Jennifer Crain

spuds produce market

Spud’s Produce Market initiated the Wildwood Building revival when they opened their neighborhood grocery in 2012. Photo credit: Jennifer Crain.

I often walk past the Cloverfields farmhouse, the historical anchor of the Carlyon-North neighborhood in southeast Olympia. The house, which presided over a model dairy farm in the early twentieth century, has a bucolic look, with a gambrel roof and painted wooden siding. I never would have guessed that the Wildwood Building, located just a few blocks away, is its sibling.

Both were designed, a couple of decades apart, by Joseph Wohleb, the renowned Olympia architect known for designing the Lord Mansion (now the State Capital Museum) and many other prominent Olympia buildings. The Wildwood Building, notes the Olympia Historical Society, was designed during Wohleb’s transition “from his signature Mission style into Art Moderne, which echoed the sleek streamlining of the automobile industry.”

It is, indeed, charming, with an asymmetrical shape and a rotunda-like space surrounded by display windows on the north end of the building. Though for many years the building housed some beloved local businesses, neighborhood shoppers didn’t tend to gravitate there on a daily basis. That has changed. Two years ago this month, Dave and Karissa Jekel opened Spud’s Produce Market and three others soon followed: Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, Vic’s Pizzeria, and The Lucky Lunchbox. Now it’s a biking and walking destination for four surrounding neighborhoods and a destination for people from all over the city. At peak hours, it can be difficult to find a parking space.

Good design never goes out of style so perhaps it was only a matter of time. The 1938 shopping center was the first strip mall built in Olympia and was conceived as an integral part of the new the Wildwood Park subdivision, with the forward-thinking notion that residents of the then-suburban area would want to shop nearby, rather than traveling downtown.

olympia coffee roasting

Olympia Coffee Roasting Company eyed the Wildwood location for years. Photo credit: Jennifer Crain.

The G. C. Valley Shopping Center, as it was named, housed a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a flower shop. Even though it went through a less vibrant period in the recent past, the integrity of the structure and its seamless place in a residential area primed it for the rise of the buy-local movement.

Both Oliver Stormshak of Olympia Coffee Roasting Company and Rachel Lee of Vic’s Pizzeria say they’ve had an eye on the shopping center as a possible location for a long time.

“For years, we’ve seen it as having the potential to be a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented destination,” Stormshak says, adding that they’ve been “determined to grow the business with neighborhoods in mind. These ideas came together when Olympia Coffee was ready to expand and space in the Wildwood Building became available.”

Dave Jekel is excited that the building and its businesses are so popular.

“A great old building has been transformed back into being relevant again. It’s had life breathed back into it. It’s exciting.”

He notes that his customers seem to be energized by the idea of making a smaller footprint when they shop and dine out, rather than shopping at big box stores.

“I think people are hungry for that up here: more of a walk-to greengrocer (where you can) get what you need or grab lunch or dinner. They consider it their own little spot. The neighborhood has taken ownership and has pride in this,” explains Jekel.

vics pizza

Vic’s Pizzeria staff serve up slices to neighbors. Photo credit: Jennifer Crain.

The owners of all the Wildwood businesses are proud to be part of the transformation. Each has a story about how their business unfolded. Dave Jekel made a U-turn when he saw a for-rent sign in the building. Both Olympia Coffee Roasting Company and Vic’s Pizzeria had already built a fan base in Olympia and were ripe for new locations. The staff at Swing Wine Bar had just started contemplating a sandwich shop following an after-hours sandwich-making blitz.

They all say there’s a positive synergy between the businesses. Jekel says each one of them is careful not to have any layover in product and they patronize one another’s businesses, each making sure the location has something for everybody.

“We’re not trying to do everything. We’re trying to do one thing really well,” he says. “That way, you can build more of a relationship. It’s more of a community. We all feel like neighbors.”

Rachel Lee sums it up for all the Wildwood business owners, “We are very happy to be a part of the coolest strip mall in Olympia!”

The Wildwood Building is located on Capitol Boulevard SE between Eskridge Way and O’Farrell Avenue in Olympia.


Twisties: Good Frozen Yogurt, Great Philosophy

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:00am



By Eric Wilson-Edge

frozen yogurt olympia lacey tumwaterScroll down the Facebook page for Twisties Frozen Yogurt and you’ll notice a theme. Lots of people “like” Twisties and not just for its fro-yo. Multiple people express their thanks to owner Chad Thomas and his family for their support. You see, Twisties is big on giving back to the community.

“I love the kids,” says Thomas. “Some kid is raising money to go to state and I’ll typically give them a few bucks.” Twisties opened nearly three years ago. Since then Thomas estimates he’s donated more than $40,000 to various causes. That number includes gift cards and fundraisers held at the store.

Thomas grew up in the area. He spent his early years in Lacey before moving to Tenino. “All of this was logging roads,” says Thomas. He points out the window to the Lowe’s off College and Yelm where the frozen yogurt shop is located. “We used to stable our horses nearby. Back then you could also ride right into town.”

lacey frozen yogurt

Twisties has a variety of toppings to suit any taste.

Much has changed since Thomas was a kid, but his philosophy hasn’t. Chad and his wife Debbie have two children. Their daughter just auditioned for her first movie role and their son is a budding soccer star. “I didn’t have a whole lot of money growing up,” says Chad. “I think now that I’m in a better position I want to help as much as I can.”

Chad Thomas loves soccer. He played for 12 years and has been coaching for at least 14. The first thing you notice when you enter Twisties is the frozen yogurt. The second are the pictures. Thomas has a wall dedicated to the various teams and people he’s worked with through the years.

“I work so much, Monday through Sunday,” says Thomas. “When I coach work is gone, it’s all about soccer.” Thomas talks about his players like they were his own children which isn’t surprising when you consider the history. “I’ve been coaching some of these kids since second grade. I raised them in soccer.”

frozen yogurt olympia lacey tumwaterThomas exudes calmness. We chat like we’ve been friends for years.  There are no awkward pauses or prolonged silences. People in customer service should be friendly but that’s not always the case. It’s a skill, one Thomas possesses. “I had a lady come in here the other day. She saw the soccer photos and we started talking about soccer then horses then shooting. It went on like that for quite a while.”

Twisties is a cozy place. I sit in a large overstuffed chair. The sun is out, natural light warms my arms and back. Chad got the idea to start Twisties during a vacation in Texas which is funny when you consider he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. “We went out to a yogurt store and my family loved it,” says Thomas.  “I just watched my family have fun and watched other families have fun.”

It’s no surprise that Chad and his wife tried to recreate that experience with Twisties. “We like to treat others like family,” says Thomas. A few customers trickle in during our interview.  It’s early and business won’t pick up until later. Thomas strikes up a conversation with each person. A few are regulars, some are new but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking.


frozen yogurt olympia lacey tumwaterTwisties Frozen Yogurt

5500 Corporate Center Loop SE

Lacey, WA 98503




Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Sand in the City Hosts First-Ever Masters’ Exhibition Featuring Local and World-Renowned Sculptors

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 3:53pm



Submitted by The Hands On Children’s Museum

Sand in the CIty Masters SculptureThe South Sound’s largest family festival, Sand in the City®,  is bringing expert sand sculptors from the West Coast to captivate festival-goers at its first Masters’ Exhibition.

The masters will soak, stomp and shake sand into works of art Saturday, August 23, and Sunday, August 24, at the Hands On Children’s Museum on Olympia’s East Bay.

Public viewing of the Masters’ Exhibition will take place from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors can view the masterpieces and vote for their favorites. The winners will be announced at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Bert Adams, master sculptor and Sand in the City founder, has gathered a talented group of sculptors to wow visitors. Members of this group have participated in or won world sand sculpting competitions. One is even classically trained in sculpture design and has also carved ice and snow. All of the masters are Sand in the City graduates, Adams said.

Solo sculptors are Lisa Donze, Eric Hawley, Sandis Kondrats and Michael Velling. Those sculpting in pairs are Bert Adams and Shiloh Kauzlarich, Tom Rieger and Kate LeGault, Dave Miller and Rocco DeBrodt, Pam Leno and Lorie Gordo, and Jim Butler and Amos Callendar.

Adams said it takes a special person to be a sand sculptor and he is confident this group will put on a great show for families, especially the younger children who already love playing in the sand.

“Watching sand sculpting can be very inspiring for kids,” he said.

sand in the city

Master Sand Carvers will create the beloved, giant sand sculptures at Sand in the City this year. Photo credit: Aaron Barna

Also during the event weekend is a free Beach Party where the public can enjoy giant sandboxes loaded with sand toys and sculpting tools, along with 40 interactive art and science activities in the museum, spread around the East Bay Plaza and streets adjacent to the museum.

Activities include a rock climbing wall, giant bubbles, a Tot Spot Early Learning Center and museum-led art activities. Make-and-take crafts include Hawaiian leis, wax paper flowers and sand bands. Inside the museum, families can learn about the music of the Pacific Islands and make musical instruments and crafts.

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

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

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

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

For more information about Sand in the City®, visit


Learn to Love Scrawny Petunias

Maria Mudd Ruth - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 1:22pm

I thought I was doing the right thing for my garden this summer with a little boost of all-purpose fertilizer. My garden is mostly drought-tolerant (save water!) flowering plants (feed the bees and butterflies!) mixed in with some garden vegetables (secure our local food supply!). This fertilizer is distributed by Down to Earth (eco-friendly!) in Eugene, Oregon (go Pacific Northwest!) and I bought this quart  at my local co-op grocery (buy local!) in a recyclable container (save the Earth!). However...I didn't read the fine print.

The main source of all this goodness for my plants comes from fish meal. This meal is not made from "unwanted" fish parts leftover after fish sticks are formed, but from whole small fish known as "schooling fish" or "forage fish." These include herring, anchovies, sardines, sand lance, smelts, saury, menhaden, and others that you don't see on dinner tables (but get picked off of pizza or taken canned on camping trips). These forage fish live in oceans around the globe and are suffering huge population declines from over-harvesting.

How much "fish emulsion" is the world using on their petunias? Garden fertilizer is just one application--but one we can easily do without. It's harder to get forage-fish-based food out of  our diets and our pet's diets. Forage fish are ground into meal for industrial-scale aquaculture (farm-raised salmon are fed red-dyed pellets made from fish meal, for instance), pig feed, cow food, pet foods, fish-oil supplements for humans.

What's the big deal about these little fish? They are critical in all marine ecosystems. They are a major, energy-rich source of food for larger fish, marine mammals, and marine birds (including the marbled murrelet). Depletion of forage fish triggers population declines in the rest of the food web; seabirds starve, cannot successfully breed, and cannot feed their chicks.

The conservation community--particularly national, state, and local Audubon Society chapters--are bringing the issue of forage fish to the forefront, with a focus on ensuring adequate supplies of forage fish for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway.  

HOW TO HELP: The Pacific Marine Fishery Council is accepting public comments for its September 2014 meeting. The final deadline is Sept. 3 to submit your comments (it's fine to cut and paste these, below!). Please send an email thanking the Council for its work to protect currently unmanaged forage fish and asking it to move forward by:

  • Incorporating unmanaged forage fish as ecosystem component species into each of its existing fishery management plans.
  • Setting a limit on the amount of unmanaged forage fish that may be taken in existing fisheries for groundfish and other species.

Submit your letter to

For more information and resources from Audubon Washington on this important issue, please click here.

If you live on the Atlantic Coast, read about what's in your fertilizer (menhaden!) here.

Categories: Local Environment

Helsing Junction Sleep Over 2014, HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

K Records - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 11:22am
The Helsing Junction Sleepover begins today and runs through Sunday afternoon, August 15-17 2014.  This annual event takes place at the 30 acre Helsing Junction organic farm, a beautiful natural venue, just outside of Rochester, Washington. Opportunities for camping, picnicking, swimming, underground films and of course rock ‘n’ roll combine for the best summer weekend you can imagine! This year’s […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The War on Food Waste – We can all Win

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:35am



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

The topic of wasted food is on everyone’s minds. How could it not be when Americans are throwing out 25% of their edible food? The percentage gets closer to 40% when you include retailers and restaurants, but the take-away  is that, in the developed world, consumers and retail/restaurants share roughly equal responsibility. And wasted food impacts lots of different things that are important to Thurston County residents.

For starters, the American family of four is wasting roughly $1600 a year, on average, for food they don’t eat. That’s $130/month! With the economy making a very slow crawl out of the depths, no one can afford to throw that money away with their rotten tomatoes. Remembering that one in six people are unsure of where they’ll get their next meal makes that affordability even more important.

Food is costing more too, in part because of the increasing use of natural resources needed to produce that food – things like farmland and irrigation water. Every year, America is wasting an amount roughly equal to the annual flow of the Mississippi river to irrigate just the food we waste. So…we’re paying more for the food we eat, and for the food we throw out, because it costs more to grow and water it.

Add to this natural resource cost, the fact that when we waste food it decomposes and creates major greenhouse gases. If “Wasted Food” were a country, it’d be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China. Yes, really. Shocking, right?

What’s even more crazy-making is how easy making impactful changes can be. Sure, it takes a little effort, but this is not sacrifice-your-lifestyle stuff.  Instead, positive change is as easy as: making a quick menu plan at the start of the week, sticking to your grocery list, preparing and serving less (allow seconds), eating leftovers, and using your freezer more.

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

If you knew that doing a handful of things might save your family hundreds of dollars, help your community and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, wouldn’t you do it?

Some Thurston residents already have! Here’s what some say about the experience:

  • When I bought and prepared less, I could SEE what was in the fridge and was more likely to eat it.
  • It was great. We learned a lot!
  • This program has helped me to be more mindful of the quantity of food I am buying. I now go the grocery store with shopping list in hand and do a pretty good job of sticking to the list. Even though my trips to the grocery store have increased (average about 2 trips per week), total dollars spent on groceries has decreased. I’m glad I took the time to take this challenge. Thank you!

Taking the challenge is easy. Give it a try and see for yourself.  The packet download is free at If you want your church, workplace, school, or club to know about the financial, social and economic impacts of wasting food, and how they can waste less, contact us at and we’ll come give a free presentation on this topic. For more tips, ideas, recipes and news about innovations and research, join our Waste Less Food Facebook page where you can also sign up for The Clean Plate quarterly newsletter.


Woman Wins Biggest Bingo Jackpot in Lucky Eagle History

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:19am



Submitted by Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel CEO John Setterstrom presents Dorothy Black of Olympia, Wash. with a check for $133,639. She won the jackpot playing Bingo at the casino on July 29.  – Photo courtesy of Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel.

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel CEO John Setterstrom presents Dorothy Black of Olympia WA with a check for $133,639. She won the jackpot playing Bingo at the casino on July 29. – Photo courtesy of Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

When Dorothy Black of Olympia, Wash., went to Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel in Rochester, Wash. on July 29 to play Bingo, she was hoping to win big, but she never expected to make history by winning $133,639, the largest bingo jackpot the casino has ever awarded.

Black won the Teeter Totter Bingo game as part of the regular evening Bingo program and what she thought was a nice $300 prize. It wasn’t until after a Lucky Eagle Bingo team member looked at her card, that she was informed that she had also won the MPBingo® Blue Jackpot, a multi-progressive Bingo jackpot linked to more than 20 casinos nationwide.

“I thought I had won $300,” Black said. “When they told me I had won $133,639, I just freaked.”

Word spread quickly and soon everyone in the Bingo Hall was standing and cheering, a feeling Black described as “unreal.”

“It’s awesome to have one of our own win such a huge regional jackpot,” Lucky Eagle CEO John Setterstrom said. “Thanks Dorothy for choosing Lucky Eagle.”

Black plays Bingo a couple times a month at Lucky Eagle, traveling from Olympia because she loves the Bingo staff, the games and her fellow Bingo players.

“I love Bingo at Lucky Eagle,” she said.

With her winnings, Black is planning a trip to bring her whole family to visit her ill brother whom she hasn’t seen in more than 25 years, she said.

“I have other plans (for the money), too, but that’s the most important one.”

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel has live Bingo five days a week, and features among the richest programs in the region. Guests can buy-in for $4 into the MPBingo® jackpots that are featured within several bingo games.

“Everyone who plays Planet Bingo (MPBingo® Jackpot) here hopes of winning,” Bingo Manager David Dupuis said. “Winning the Blue jackpot would be like winning the lottery!”

MPBingo® Blue Jackpot is a supplement to regular Bingo program in which players can win large jackpots by getting a special Bingo within regular games. The last MPBingo® Blue Jackpot awarded was in April 2014 for $182,002 to a man playing at Ft. McDowell Casino near Phoenix, Ariz.


Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is proudly owned and operated by the Chehalis Tribe. The casino features more than 1,000 slot machines, plus live poker, blackjack, keno and bingo. The newly expanded 171-room Eagles Landing Hotel is connected to the casino. More information on upcoming events and promotions at Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is available at


SPSCC Partners with Thurston County Jail to provide GED classes

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:28am



By Cameron Maltby for South Puget Sound Community College

The Thurston County Jail program at South Puget Sound Community College provides inmates at the Thurston County Correctional Facility a free opportunity to earn their General Education Development (GED) certificate through SPSCC while incarcerated. The program began in 1996, and for the last ten years has had 2,138 registered students with 292 graduates earning their GED.

The program is taught by Adult Basic Education instructor Bonnie Rose. She has taught the program for seven years.

Students study GED materials during the week and take tests on Fridays. The SPSCC Testing Center goes to the jail and administers the GED tests.

“It’s a big collaboration. Different parts of the college work together, the Testing Center, the Adult Basic Education Department, Thurston County Corrections, and also the Thurston County Commissioners,” said Rose. The commissioners pay for half of the program’s expenses, including the student tuition and testing fees. A memorandum of understanding says that SPSCC will pay all other fees.

The program has its origins in Mason County at Olympic College. Rose began her teaching career at Olympic College. She started working as a classroom assistant and was later hired by the college to start a GED program at the Mason County Correctional Facility. Rose worked there for five years before transferring to SPSCC.

Rose teaches two classes at the jail: “One of the classes the college pays me to teach, and one of the classes the jail pays me to teach,” she said.  All funding goes through SPSCC. Officially, Rose works for SPSCC, but the correctional facility pays for half of her salary.

Since its start in 1996, the GED  program has served about 3,037 students and awarded 546 GEDs. Many students continue their education after going through the program.

To learn more about the program, contact Bonnie Rose at


Little Red Schoolhouse, Mixx 96.1 Back-to-School Supplies and Fund Drive

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:24am



Submitted by Little Red Schoolhouse

olympia free school suppliesAs part of the Little Red Schoolhouse Project, Mixx 96.1 (96.1 FM radio) is holding a Back-to-School Supplies and Fund Drive Friday, August 15 from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Drop by their broadcast site at the corner of State and Washington in downtown Olympia with school supplies (such as lined paper, 3-ring binders, rulers, markers, child-size scissors, pencils, and backpacks), coats or new socks and underwear, or cash to buy calculators, backpacks, and school supplies in bulk. Used clothing, aside from coats and jackets, will not be accepted this year.

Checks can be made out to Little Red Schoolhouse and mailed to: P.O. Box 6302, Olympia, WA 98507.

Supplies, backpacks, socks and underwear will be distributed FREE to all Thurston County families in need at a new location, Komachin Middle School, 3650 College St. SE, Lacey (IT route #64) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, August 21.

The Little Red Schoolhouse Project is under the umbrella of TOGETHER!. Partners include Junior League of Olympia, Sound to Harbor Head Start/ECEAP, Community Action Council, The United Churches, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Michael’s Parish, Independent Order of Oddfellows, Olympia-Lacey Church of God, Garden Courte Memory Community, and Mixx 96.1 KXXO.

For more information or to volunteer your services, please call Community Action Council, 360-438-1100 extension 1143 or see

Olympia’s Own Bon Odori Festival Celebrates Diversity

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:12am



Submitted by Dr. Diana Yu

Bon OdoriOne of the things I love most about living in Olympia is the way we celebrate diversity.  Instead of pointing out our differences, we embrace everyone else into our culture and traditions.

A multi-ethnic group of dancers, led by Reiko Callner, have been practicing for the past month so that they in turn can help other community dancers at the upcoming Bon Odori Festival held August 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. on Water Street in Downtown Olympia.

The annual Bon Odori is a street dancing festival honoring ancestors.  In Olympia, it is organized by the Japanese American Citizens’ League and welcomes participation from the entire community.  In addition to the traditional Japanese folk dances, there are Taiko drumming exhibitions, food vendors, street lanterns and a whole lot of folks dressed in traditional attire.  The entire Water Street area by Capitol Lake is turned into a little bit of Japan for one evening.

Come join in the celebration, enjoy some Japanese delicacies, step into the circle and try some traditional dance, take pictures and when dusk settles, help carry lanterns on a walk around the lake and honor your ancestors.  It is a wonderful tradition and one you and your family can enjoy as part of our Olympia community.  For just one evening, experience a bit of Japanese culture and tradition.Bon Odori - Taiko 4

Festivities start at 5 p.m. with food booths, followed by demonstrations from River Ridge High School Taiko drummers and Aikido in Olympia martial artists.  Traditional music and dancing begins at 7 p.m.  There will be a group dressed in Japanese yukata (summer kimonos) helping to lead the dances.

Folks interested in learning the dances before Saturday can attend a free workshop from 7 – 9 p.m. on Friday August 15 at the Olympia Center.

For more information contact Reiko Callner 360 791-3295 or Bob Nakamura 360 556-7562.

More Train Videos

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 7:08am

I became interested in trains because of what is going on at the Port with importing the ceramic proppant frac sand, and coal and oil trains. After having seen a number of trains going through the area, I can say they are awesome in their own right. I have been posting more video of trains passing through the county on the BNSF Railway. Here are a few to sample, in case you're interested in trains. If you think they are awesome, then you might want to watch full screen HD and turn the volume up!

Robert F. W. Whitlock YouTube Channel

Here's my most recent Oil Train video, this one was going quite fast by N Rich Rd: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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