Recent local blog posts

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

read more

There's no paywall to public records in Whatcom County

Olympia Time - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 6:36am
So, there shouldn't be one anywhere else.

If you're looking for public documents from the Thurston County Clerk (or from practically any other county clerk in Washington State) you need to pay exorbitant fees. Like almost $30 for downloading a 16 page document from a public database.

But, not in Whatcom County. The Whatcom County superior court maintains a public database that offers direct access to court filings with no charge. As it should be.

Here is a link to the Whatcom County Superior Court database. Before searching for court documents, you need a case number, which you can search by individual name or business name here.

Once you plug in a case number you're interested in, you are given direct access to the entire court record.

What in most counties is an unnecessarily arduous and expensive process, is simple and free in Whatcom County. 
I emailed the Whatcom clerk, Dave Reynolds, about his county's choice not to charge, and he responded:This system was in place before my time, but I fully support it. We feel it saves on both staff time and foot traffic into the court house to obtain documents. We wouldn't charge for someone to come into the office to look at a file. If they chose to make copies, there would be a cost and staff time. I believe it actually saves money by freeing up staff time to do more important tasks. We have had significant reductions in force over the past several years. Further, it provides equal access regardless of financial resources.Providing for free what should already be free not only makes it easier on the clerk but provides equal access. That sounds great.
This county shows that we don't really need to charge $4 transaction fees plus $.25 per page for public documents. Even though state law allows clerks to collect expensive fees for public documents (much more than what you'd pay for a document from any other part of government), Whatcom County doesn't.
An interesting wrinkle is that what also makes Whatcom County different is that it doesn't have an elected clerk watching over court records. Whatcom County rewrote its county charter in the late 1970s and rolled the function of the clerks office into the superior court. I might be reading into that fact a bit too much, but having to support an entire other office aside from just the courts probably justifies keeping open as many revenue streams as possible.
I emailed both candidates for Thurston County Clerk about what they thought of the public records paywall, neither of whom have written back yet.
What Whatcom County shows is that there is really no reason (other than just bringing more money into a specific county office) to charge so much for public records.
These aren't private documents, there is no reason the clerks' offices should be charging so much for them. From RECAP the Law:We are a nation of laws. Our law is created not only via legislation, but also through the adjudicative process of the courts. Whereas we generally have open and free access to the statutes that bind us, case law has had a more mixed history. Earlier experiments in secret proceedings did not go well. Western law subsequently developed strong precedents for access to judicial proceedings — citing the importance of transparency in promoting court legitimacy, accountability, fairness, and democratic due process. When the law is accessible, “ignorance of the law is no excuse."The public interest is not served when only those who can afford it can have access to what goes on in our courts.

Cock & Swan “Looking Out (Brian Binning Remix)”

K Records - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 1:57am
“Looking Out” is a selection from the new Cock & Swan (Hush Hush Records) album Secret Angles, as remixed by Brian Binning. Cock and Swan are Ola Hungerford and Johnny Goss from Bothel, Washington. Secret Angles was recorded at their Dandelion Gold Studio. The first Cock & Swan album Unrecognize is available now from the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Milne’s thesis falls apart under review

Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 2:53pm

Over the past few weeks, Dr. David Milne has been rolling out an interesting thesis that Capitol Lake is actually a benefit to the local environment. I don’t want to spend too much time going back over what he’s presented, but I wanted to point out what happens when people who don’t already support Capitol Lake or are ex-colleagues of Milne take a look at his thesis.

At the request of the Squaxin Island Tribe, Jonathan Frodge (CV), board member and past president of the Washington Lakes Protection Association, provided a review of Milne’s paper.

In response to Milne’s points that “I find that the Lake does not have negative effects on Budd Inlet and that the Lake improves the water quality of the Inlet”, and that “Capitol Lake is the Deschutes River Watershed’s biggest and best asset for preventing and reducing water quality degradation in Budd Inlet” Frodge wrote “While this report raises some valid points, I do not agree with either of the above statements.”

Dr. Frodge goes into detail concerning the shortcomings in Dr. Milne’s paper. You can read Frodge’s entire review here.

The Department of Ecology also directly responded to Milne, provided much needed context to his thesis. Their response boils down to that Milne ignores the impact of organic carbon:

Plant growth in Capitol Lake discharges more organic carbon to Budd Inlet than would occur if the Deschutes River and Percival Creek flowed into Budd Inlet directly. As the organic carbon decays, oxygen is used up in the process. This causes lower oxygen levels than would occur without the dam in place.

Lastly, it’s interesting to take a look at what kind of independent review Milne did get before releasing his thesis. This is from a letter from the Squaxin Island Tribe:

A document claiming to be a “Peer Review” was included with Dr. Milne’s paper. It was less than two pages long and simply consisted of copies of emails from four individuals stating that the paper had been reviewed. Most responses consisted of one or two sentences and none found any issues with the paper. Tribal staff asked for the actual review papers, not the emails, and were told that the two page document was the “peer review”. The review of Dr. Milne’s paper was conducted by what appears to be four current and past faculty members of Evergreen State College. Curriculum vitae or statements of experience were not included as would be expected in an open review.

Based upon information available through Evergreen the credentials of the reviewers appear to be:

  • Dr. Gerardo Chin-Leo, Ph.D. – oceanography and marine biology
  • Dr. Erik Thuesen, Ph.D. – marine biology
  • Oscar H. Soule, Ph.D. – ecology
  • Kaye V Ladd, Ph.D. – inorganic chemistry

Other than Dr. Chin-Leo with his background in oceanography, the review group appears to have different backgrounds than would be expected for a review of a TMDL and its related modeling. This would not necessarily disqualify these outside reviewers; however, Tribal staff found it odd that reviewers whose expertise is for the most part outside of the subject area and who found no issues at all with a paper that essentially seeks to overturn the work of highly qualified personnel provided no meaningful review comments.

On the other hand, the original research by the state Department of Ecology that Milne was criticizing has gone through several rounds of technical review over the last four years. You can read hundreds of pages of this review process (including emails between state staff and reviewers) below:

Categories: Local Environment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 009

K Records - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 2:20pm
The Pink Elephant’s Graveyard is where we store all the cultural artifacts that are uniquely K. Host Calvin Johnson (The Hive Dwellers) interviews Underpass from Vancouver B.C. who stop by the Dub Narcotic Studio for a few laughs. We listen to songs from their new album Assimilation, due out soon on Desire Records. We also […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Gearlust: KAPA Continental

K Records - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 11:00am
One of the more iconic guitars available for studio users would be the KAPA Continental, or “Falcon” guitar, permanently emblazoned in the minds of Dub Narcotic Sound System fans everywhere.  A guitar so quintessentially Dub Narcotic Studio – Olympia, Wash 98501, perhaps more than any other piece of equipment in the studio.  This fixture has […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

August 13 Music in the Park Concert Moved Due to Weather

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:13am



Submitted by Olympia Downtown Association

Due to inclement weather overnight and the moisture levels in Sylvester Park, the performance by the Tacoma Concert Band has been moved to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts located just half a block away from Sylvester Park (512 Washington St. SE). The Tacoma Concert Band will still perform from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. and concert admission remains FREE to the public.

Remember, parking is free after 5 p.m. in downtown Olympia (excluding Diamond lots).

Support this wonderful community event by purchasing a commemorative button for $3. Buttons are available at all concerts.

Remember to enter our FREE raffle each week. Must be present to win.

This event is sponsored by Olympia Downtown YMCA.

For more information regarding Music in the Park, click here.


Four Evergreen Swim Club Members Compete at Western Zone Championships

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:52am



By Gail Wood

color graphicsLast September, when Randy Trowbridge returned to Olympia to become the head coach of the Evergreen Swim Club, his mission was to raise the level of performance.

Consider it mission accomplished.

With Trowbridge’s team committing to two-a-day workouts, four Evergreen swimmers – Hannah Barker, Annika Eisele, Everett Werner and Alex Wright – qualified and placed at the Western Zone Championship meet at Federal Way in early August.

evergreen swim club

Four Evergreen Swim Club members competed at the Western Zone Championships. (From left): Annika Eisele, Hannah Barker, Alex Wright and Everett Werner

At the Pacific Northwest championships, a qualifier for the Western Zone meet, Wright won seven of the eight events he qualified in, helping Evergreen take a best-ever 11th place finish. Evergreen had 14 swimmers qualify for that meet.

“They’ve made some great strides this year,” Trowbridge said about his team. “They’ve worked hard for it. So, they’ve earned it. They’re swimming at a totally different level now.”

At the Pacific Northwest championships, Wright, competing in the 14-year-old division, was a one-man team as he won the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 400 freestyle, 800 freestyle and 1,500 freestyle. He placed third in the 200 IM. His winning 400 IM time broke a 12-year-old meet record.

A week later at the Western Zone and against some of the top swimmers in the country, Wright won three events, placing first in the 800 freestyle, 400 freestyle, and the 200 freestyle. He placed third in the 100 back stroke, second in the 200 butterfly and fifth in the 200 backstroke. Wright also swam legs on four relays, competing on the 400 medley (10th), 200 freestyle (10th), 400 medley (12th), and the 200 medley relay (second).

evergreen swim club

Alex Wright stands behind the starting blocks before his 200 butterfly race.

Werner competed in six individual events at the Western Zone, placing seventh in the 800 free, seventh in the 200 back, 15th in the 400 IM, 10th in the 400 freestyle, sixth in the 1,500 freestyle and seventh in the 200 butterfly. In the relays, Werner swam a leg on the 400 free (10th), 200 free (10th) 400 medley (second) and 200 medley (second).

Trowbridge, who helped start the Evergreen Swim Club 31 years ago, is impressed with his team’s progress.

“I’m very proud of them,” Trowbridge said. “And I’m impressed with their poise in managing two championship meets essentially back to back and doing so well.”

At Western Regional, which included teams from 12 west coast states and was held in Federal Way, Barker and Eisele also placed. Barker was 10th in the 200 backstroke, third in the 800 free, 15th in the 100 back, 16th in the 400 free, and 10th in the 1,500 free. She also swam on relays in the 400 free (ninth), 400 medley (11th) and 200 medley (12th).

Eisele swam in two individual events and three relays. She placed ninth in the 50 butterfly and 12th in the 100 butterfly.

Tiffany Wright, an Evergreen Club assistant coach and Alex’s mother, was impressed with Evergreen’s improvement in the past year.

evergreen swim club

Everett Werner takes a breath during the 400 IM.

“They worked very hard,” Wright said. “Swimming can be so difficult because it’s a singular sport. It’s not really a team sport. You’re in the water by yourself. Swim up and down the pool. You have teammates. But you’re under water so much of the time.”

As a result, Wright said it’s the individual swimmer who has to push themselves.

Trowbridge is pleasantly surprised by his team’s progress in the past 11 months.

“It was a surprise to me what they did,” he said. “You do that with training and raising everyone to a new level of fitness.”

Trowbridge began coaching while attending Olympia High School, working with the YMCA. After swimming at Western Washington University, Trowbridge returned to Olympia and was part of the founding of the Evergreen Swim Club in 1983. In 1986, he moved to Wisconsin and coached the Verona Aquatics Club until returning to Olympia last year.

evergreen swim club

Annika Eisele swims backstroke.

“I am back where it all started and my dream is to guide as many athletes as I possibly can in fulfilling their dreams in competitive swimming,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge sees and appreciates the lessons swimming teaches. He said it helps young swimmers develop discipline, determination, leadership, poise and perseverance. In swimming, as in other sports, Trowbridge said the biggest challenge is learning how to cope with setbacks, with defeat.

“You’ve been knocked down and then you have to get back up,” Trowbridge said. “It doesn’t matter if you fall down. You just don’t want to lie down. You have to stand back up. Every race is a new beginning.”

That’s one of the many lessons Trowbridge teaches his swimmers at Evergreen Swim Club.

evergreen swim club

Hannah Barker swims the 400 freestyle.

Now, Trowbridge is looking forward to taking them to the next step, to the next level of competition where his swimmers start qualifying for national meets. Alex Wright has already qualified for a national meet in Orlando, Florida.

“That will take us to a totally different level,” Trowbridge said. “We have a few others knocking on that door. That’s the next thing. I’m excited for the kids. But having been there before I know that means a lot of travel.”

To learn more about the Evergreen Swim Club, click here.

The Volunteer Pillars of the Little Red Schoolhouse Project

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:27am



By Lisa Herrick

hometown logo‘Tis the season for school supply shopping.

Schools have posted supply lists on their websites, sent out welcome back letters including the lists, as well as distributed the list of requested items to local stores. Having spent the last few weeks strategically reviewing sales flyers against my children’s school supply lists, shopping is time consuming and financially demanding. The long list for crayons, markers, pencils and notebooks is overwhelming.  Even the cheery “Happy Shopping” statement at the end of the school supply list, while certainly well-intentioned is a daunting statement.

olympia school supplies

Liz Kapust, pictured in red Little Red Schoolhouse (LRSH) apron, poses with volunteers who helped with the set up for Distribution Day in 2013. Kapust has volunteered for LRSH for sixteen years.

Sometimes school supply shopping is not a happy experience. Often families are faced not with which color of notebook to choose but rather if they can even afford the notebook. Returning to school and shopping for school supplies can be stressful or even a financial impossibility.  Fortunately, in our community the Little Red Schoolhouse Project (LRSH) has made school supply shopping fun, pleasurable and financially possible.

The goal of the LRSH is to see every child start school with basic school supplies, a backpack, new socks and underwear, and an adequate clean coat. It is best known for its annual free Distribution Day, which will occur on Thursday, August 21 in its new location of Komachin Middle School. While thousands of volunteers and families convene for the one day extravaganza each August, two women have worked relentlessly year-round to make Distribution Day possible for the families in Thurston County.

Denise Hardcastle and Liz Kapust, both board members of LRSH have been instrumental to the success of the non-profit organization. Hardcastle, a board member since 2007, is a retired teacher from Komachin Middle School. “As a former teacher, it is my absolute joy to see children of all ages come to LRSH Distribution Day to pick out a backpack and get the school supplies they need to begin their school year successfully.  It is the goal of LRSH to send every child back to school with pride regardless of their circumstances and on Distribution Day we are able to do that for thousands of children,” shares Hardcastle.

olympia school supplies

Denise Hardcastle (right), Little Red Schoolhouse Board Member, enjoying a break and friendship with fellow volunteer Lori Allsup during last year’s distribution.

“In 2013, supplies and clothing were given to 3,384 students,” continues Hardcastle.  ”Providing school supplies, backpacks and coats to that number of students in our community would not be possible without the support of local donors such as Junior League of Olympia, Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation, and Capital Lakefair.

Hardcastle adds that MIXX 96 hosts Radio Day where people can drive or stop by with donations. Volunteers will be standing on the corner of State Avenue and Washington Street on Friday, August 15.

Kapust, lead of the school supplies section of LRSH has been collecting, organizing and distributing school supplies for LRSH since 1998. “I am amazed at how the program has grown in the sixteen years that I have been involved. The school supply budget in 1998, my first year volunteering, was only $2,000. Now that budget is $26,000. We could not serve as many people as we do without the generous support of Thurston County residents,” shares Kapust.

Kapust originally became involved with LRSH before having her two children, Ryan, 13 and Ella, 11. Kapust comments, “Ryan and Ella have grown up with LRSH and look forward to helping out each year. In fact, Ryan recently mentioned he wants me to be sure to stay involved until he is out of high school.”

olympia school supplies

Jessica Hill and family are both recipients of Little Red Schoolhouse as well as volunteer during set up for Distribution Day scheduled for August 21.

Both Hardcastle and Kapust share that participating with LRSH has numerous rewards, including enabling many children in our community to return to school with pride, witnessing the incredible support and generosity of our community, and the energizing experience of working alongside so many caring volunteers.

And, some volunteers were previous recipients of generosity.  Hardcastle explains, “Jessica Hill and her children have not only been on the receiving end of LRSH but believe in giving back by volunteering their time for a number of years. The Hill family arrives at the beginning of setup for distribution week and just dives right into whatever needs to be done. We know we can count on them every year as volunteers and we love their commitment to do their part for their community.”

LRSH is dependent on volunteers. Throughout the year volunteers from local churches wash donated coats collected from schools. Each year there are over 150 volunteers on Distribution Day. The past few years Meconi’s Italian Subs has donated sandwiches so volunteers have a healthy lunch to keep them fueled up for the busy day.

To learn more about the Little Red Schoolhouse Project visit their website or Facebook page. Distribution Day will be on Thursday, August 21 at Komachin Middle School from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  The middle school is located at 3650 College Street SE in Lacey.


Mutual Trust – Thanking Olympia Police, Citizens after a Car Accident

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:05am



Submitted by Stephanie Keahey

stephanie keaheyYou’re driving on State Avenue in downtown Olympia, just up from the old Olympia Glass Co. when you notice the traffic in front of you putting on their brakes.  You start to slow down.  Your CD player is looping through “The Lion King II” for the second or third time that day.  Screeching brakes sound behind you.  You look up to see a red car in your rearview mirror.  Time slows down as you see the car get closer to you and your foot presses down harder on the brake, but you were already at an almost complete stop.  The music fades, and all you hear is those brakes.  You think about getting out of the way, but there isn’t anywhere to go.  You sit there while you wait for the red car to hit you.  You hear the bang.  You feel the jolt.  You feel your body hit the seatbelt.  You see the white truck in front of you get closer.  You feel a smaller jolt as your car is pushed into the truck.  Your left leg starts to quiver.  Your hands can’t stay on the wheel.  You instantly lose that mutual trust that you share with all other drivers on the road.

An older gentleman gets out of the white truck.  He looks at his truck.  He looks at you.  He notes that his truck is fine, so you see him get back in his truck and drive away.  You still aren’t sure what to do.  Cars drive around you as you look for somewhere to pull off to the side of the road.  The red car pulls in front of you and stops off to the side.  The driver gets out.  You note his long black shirt and baseball cap.  Your Driver’s Ed teacher did always warn you to watch out for boys wearing baseball hats in red sports cars.  You see a mechanic, who saw the whole thing, ask if you are okay.  You tell him yes, but you don’t know what to do.  He tells you to back up into the spot by the parking meters off to your right.  You’re in the process of doing so – legs still shaking – when you see the driver of the red car get back in and zoom off down State Ave.  You stare in disbelief as he weaves through traffic.  You hear the mechanic yell, “That’s a felony right there!”

stephanie keaheyYou are about to get out off the car when a police vehicle comes driving down the road.  You hear the mechanic flag him down and say something along the lines of, “Hey, there was a red car that just hit this girl. You should go get him!”  You open your car door as the officer drives off to find the guy.  You cross the street when you hear a voice from above you say, “I called 911 for you.”  You look up to see a painter up on a ladder.  He tells you that he saw the whole thing.

You stand by the mechanic shop and start talking to a guy who was having his car worked on during the time of the accident.  You introduce yourself and learn that his name is Tim.  He tells you that he saw the whole thing because he came out when he heard screeching brakes.  He compliments your driving.  He tells you that it was the other guy’s fault.  You were slowing down just fine.  You had the perfect amount of distance between you and the truck.  You were paying attention.  You say thanks and tell him that you’ll have to tell your dad, because he is the one that taught you how to drive.  You both stand there in mutual silence as the mechanic walks down the street to see if the officer caught the guy.  You look at your car across the street and notice that that is the best parallel parking job you’ve ever done.  You then think it’s odd that that’s what you’re thinking about.  You tell Tim that your lower back hurts.  You see the mechanic come back and say they didn’t get the guy.  You’re all standing there when the guy on the ladder says he saw another police car pull around the corner and that he’s pretty sure they got him.

You watch as the police officer talks to the mechanic and then moves to talk to you.  He asks if you will come with him to identify the suspect.  You follow the officer around the corner, expecting the red car to be there.  Instead, you see the police car and the officer opens the passenger door for you.  You feel excited that you get to ride in a police car.  The officer makes small talk as he drives you around town to where they caught the guy.  You hear him radio in that he is bringing the victim to ID the perp.  You are nearing the scene when the officer pulls up near some bushes so that the other driver cannot identify you.  He asks you if you recognize the car.  You do.  He then asks you to identify the man that another officer leads around to stand at the back of the red car.  You note that the guy is handcuffed.  You recognize him, especially his shirt and hat.  You tell the officer that that was the guy and that he was the driver of the car.  The officer radios in what you said.  He pulls up behind a bush and asks, “Do you feel safe here?”  You say yes.  The officer leaves to talk to the guy.  You sit in the police car and think about taking pictures.  You decide against it.

stephanie keaheyThe officer comes back and tells you that the driver was uninsured and that he made it worse for himself by running.  He shows you the other driver’s ID.  You note that it’s vertical.  The officer drives you back to your car and asks you to fill out a statement.  He asks if you want to write it in his car or yours.  You tell him that you’ll stay in his car.  He leaves to talk to the three witnesses while you write out the statement.  You feel cool sitting in the police car.  The officer comes back and says he took pictures of your car because there is a hole in the front bumper.  He hands you a plastic Toyota hood ornament.  It came off the car that hit you.  He says you should keep it because of all you’ve been through.  He then tells you what to do next.  Call your doctor because of your back.  Call your insurance to tell them what happened.  He then tells you that if this happens again to call 911 right away and they’ll take care of it.  He gives you his card.  You tell him thank you and say that you are going to go thank the three guys that helped you.  He says that’s probably a good idea but to be careful when crossing the street because the cars will be watching his lights, not you.  You walk to the crosswalk.  You yell up a thank you to the painter guy, who tells you, “No problem!”  You look for Tim, but you don’t see him anywhere.  You think that his car must have been finished.  You find the mechanic who says his name is Mark, or was it Mike?  Markie-Mike.  He looks very excited that they caught the guy.  You go back to your car.  You call your family.  You call your boss.  You call the doctor.

You drive back to work.  You realize that you should not be driving because you are paying more attention to the cars behind you than the ones in front of you.  You make it to work, and your boss tells you to go home for the rest of the day.  You have your mother-in-law pick you up.  You run around town with her, and she drives you to the doctor.  You find out that your back in strained, and you shouldn’t lift things that are over ten pounds for two weeks.  You learn that your back could hurt for up to six weeks.  You also realize that everyone, even the receptionist, wants to hear the whole story when they hear that the police caught the guy.  Your mother-in-law takes you back to your car.  You take the long way to her house on purpose so that you get used to driving after the whole incident.  You make it there fine, and you tell the story at least three more times.  Your oldest sister-in-law had the best reaction.  You love telling her stories.  You give her permission to tell other people.  You think about writing the story down for people to read…

YWCA of Olympia Seeks Business of Achievement Nominations

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:06am



Submitted by the YWCA of Olympia

The YWCA of Olympia is pleased to announce a NEW nomination category for their Twentieth Annual Women of Achievement Celebration. The agency welcomes nominations from the community in support of businesses who exemplify the YWCA of Olympia mission:  To empower women and eliminate racism through education, advocacy, service and leadership opportunities.  Nominations can be for both public and private businesses located in Thurston County and encourage nominations of businesses both large and small.  Businesses will be considered based on one or more, but not limited to, the following factors:

  • Employing family friendly policies (flexible scheduling, breastfeeding, paid leave, etc.)
  • Their dedication to the social, economic and professional advancement of women
  • Their commitment to providing opportunities that help women achieve their potential
  • Their commitment to addressing workplace racial and/or gender discrimination

How to nominate a Business of Achievement:

  • Complete the form online at, under News or Events
  • Complete the form in Word by sending a request to and returning  electronically to The form is also available in PDF.
  • Complete the form in Word and mail to Business of Achievement Selection Committee, 220 Union Ave SE, Olympia, WA  98501

Deadline:  Thursday, September 4 at 5:00 pm.

Selection: An independent and confidential committee will select the winners.  Honorees will be notified on or around Tuesday, September 9.

The Business of Achievement will be formally announced to the community in September.  The Twentieth Annual Women of Achievement Gala will take place on Thursday, November 6 from 5:30pm – 9:00pm at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets will be available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at 352-0593 or online at Once again Titus-Will has stepped up as the WOA Presenting Sponsor with WSECU and Lucky Eagle  as our Sustaining Sponsors.

For more information about the Women of Achievement Celebration Gala, contact Cherie Reeves Sperr, Special Events & Communications Director at 352-0593 or


Sunset Air’s Handiwork On View at the 2014 Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:55am



sunset air generator

Sunset Air will be one of the vendors at this year’s Tour of Homes.

Pliny the Elder is attributed with one of our time’s most accurate—and ubiquitous—sayings: “Home is where the heart is.”  Though beautiful, it’s a bit tired after 2000 years of overuse.  Personally, I prefer the words of Jane Austen: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

In these days of endless reality shows featuring home improvement, sales, restoration, and development, we can definitely see where America’s heart is.  If the intricacies and craftsmanship of real estate make your mouth water, don’t miss this year’s Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes.

Taking place the weekends of August 16-17 and August 23-24, tours run from 11:00am-5:00pm each day.  Lacey’s Sunset Air will be a proud co-main event sponsor for this year’s Tour.  A community institution for almost 40 years, they put their quality on display throughout our region.  Look around at such gems as the Hands On Children’s Museum, the new Centralia LED streetlightsRoosevelt Elementary, and many state office buildings and you’ll see green technology, tremendously skilled employees, and work that will stand the test of time.

olympia window replacement

Solar energy is one of the areas that Sunset Air will be talking about during this year’s Tour of Homes.

Sunset Air’s New Construction Project Manager Matt Jones explains that the Tour’s goal is “to highlight some of the quality work some of the outstanding builders and trade contractors that are providing valuable services in our community.”  Consisting of residential new construction, remodels, and additions, the houses showcased often use the latest in green building practices and cutting-edge technology to prove how obtainable it can be for any- and everyone.

Each tour site layout is determined by its builder but Sunset Air will provide representatives at some locations where their staff or equipment were involved.  Says Jones, “We typically are the HVAC design and install for some of the homes that local builders display on the tour.  While we are driven by our HVAC expertise we also do provide other services for builders such as renewable energy technologies (Solar, Geothermal Heating), Windows installations, Fireplace Installations.”

“I think two items that excite me are the increase in builders recognizing the benefits of tankless hot water heaters and high efficient furnaces and implementing them into their houses,” Jones continues. “The second item that I think is important is the overall performance of newly constructed homes. These new homes are required to adhere to the 2012 Washington State Energy Code and what this means to the home owner is the potential for lower energy bills, better indoor air quality, and improved comfort.”

For additional details about the event, including how to have your home on next year’s showcase, contact the Olympia Master Builders at 360-754-0912 or email Brianna Bedell at

For questions about almost anything to do with home heating, cooling, windows, doors, fireplaces, generators, solar, electrical, and more on either a commercial or residential property, Sunset Air can be reached at 360-930-6298.  Trust me; if they don’t know the answer, they know someone who does and the job will be top quality from start to finish.


Run with the Troops during the Thunder Rumble on Saturday

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:47am



By Jean Janes

Olympia Auto Mall sponsorImagine a gorgeous summer day in Turnwater, Washington. Crowds gather and mingle near booths for water and running paraphernalia. Joggers and runners warm up while the anticipation of a race about to begin electrifies the already buzzing atmosphere. American flags fly proudly at the starting line, and at 8:30 a.m., a cannon boom starts a tremendous mass of runners on their way.

thunder rumble

The Thunder Rumble is a family friendly 5k or 10k run. Photo credit: Melanie Barrow, Bodhikai Imagery

This will be the second annual Thunder Rumble, a 5k and 10k race taking place on Saturday, August 16 near the corner of 78th Avenue SW and Center Street SW in Tumwater. While all races have an element of excitement and fun about them, this event is special. The military and the local civilians are teaming up to run, raise money, and celebrate their community spirit.

At last year’s Thunder Rumble, Captain Jeanette Rivera attended as a volunteer. This year, she’ll be participating as a runner, specifically in the 10k. Already familiar with weekend running, Rivera explains, “I enjoy getting out on the weekends and running a 5k every now and then. So, for me, it’s kind of fun.”

The Thunder Rumble, though, is about more than just the fun. Funds raised at this run will be used to aid families and soldiers of the 17 Field Artillery Brigade, the brigade in which Rivera is a soldier. “I wanted to kind of basically support them as well as the AUSA (Association of the United States Army).”

thunder rumble

Civilians and soldiers participate together in the Thunder Rumble, a community run. Photo credit: Melanie Barrow, Bodhikai Imagery

As a volunteer during the 2013 Thunder Rumble, Rivera helped pass out water, prepare running packets, and set up tents and booths for local business sponsors. Soldiers and civilians working together to create and then run in this race was memorable and meaningful. Rivera articulates this sentiment, saying, “It’s interesting to see the dynamics of the community involvement with the military. It kind of showed that whole aspect of us coming together as a community—the military and the civilians. I always hear that a lot, of us partnering with the community, and seeing the Thunder Rumble was actually seeing that initiative in action.”

At its core, the Thunder Rumble is a family oriented event. Last year, soldiers brought their families to the race to cheer and to participate. Rivera recalls, “The chaplain brought his wife, and our XO brought his little kids. I think he did a stroller race.” Soldiers and their leaders “decided to come out and support and they also incorporated their families into it which was kind of cool.” She laughs, “I think there were a couple of people who brought their dogs out to run, too.”

Rivera goes on to describe the unique quality of this event. “I think it’s kind of neat, last year, to see how the civilians who were running the race respond to the soldiers out there.”

thunder rumble

Soldiers will run again in formation as they did last year. Photo credit: Melanie Barrow, Bodhikai Imagery

Soldiers ran in formation, singing cadences behind their organizational flags, or “guidons,” held aloft and proud. “I’ve never really seen something like that, where, you know, you see soldiers with guidons and they’re singing cadences, and then you see like these really avid runners who are out there as well.” Loud and proud, civilians and soldiers ran with a common purpose, to support the military families in their shared community.

Rivera maintains that the experience is worth repeating. She says, “It was a really cool atmosphere and that’s why I wanted to run it this year.”

This year will not disappoint. A battalion of 300 soldiers will participate in the 5k, running in formation and singing military cadence, a display of Army pride not to be missed. Additionally, the deployed components of the 17 Field Artillery will be participating from overseas via satellite feed. This shadow run will occur in tandem with the 5k race here.

Also, from Kuwait, Colonel Tim Kehoe will address spectators and runners. American flags will once again mark the starting line thanks to wear blue: run to remember. This is an event of epic patriotic proportions, with proceeds donated to military families in need.

There are many ways to participate. Besides running, volunteers are welcome. Contact information is available on the Thunder Rumble Facebook page. Cheering and enthusiasm is always a welcome contribution, reminding runners that they have the support of both the AUSA and the local community.

Rivera sums it up, saying, “If you like to run and you’re interested in doing something next weekend, it’s a pretty fun, low-key event. Just come out and support it, and kind of see what it’s about.”


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