Recent local blog posts

Meet Alex Pribble – New Head Coach of Saint Martin’s Men’s Basketball

Thurston Talk - Sat, 06/13/2015 - 6:00am



By Nikki McCoy

saint martins basketball

Alex Pribble, new head coach of Saint Martin’s men’s basketball, is the former assistant coach of the Big Sky Champion, and NCAA tournament participant, Eastern Washington men’s basketball team.

Alex Pribble said he always knew he wanted to coach basketball. Named as new head men’s basketball coach for the Saint Martin’s University Saints in April, he is now fulfilling that goal.

Pribble’s leadership abilities emerged at a young age, and he spent summers in his community tutoring and coaching kids, including Special Olympics athletes.

“At an early age, I was very comfortable interacting with my peers, from kind of a coach-on-the-floor standpoint,” Pribble said. “That quickly morphed into captain roles as a player. I tried to always be a student of the game – it was passion really.”

Throughout college at the University of California-Berkeley, where he played all four years, and during his upbringing in Marin County, Calif., Pribble kept his dream alive. Even while exploring jobs such as teaching, in the back of his mind, he knew coaching was where he wanted to be.

As an assistant coach at Eastern Washington University, Pribble helped the school capture its second NCAA Tournament berth in school history. During his time at Eastern, Pribble realized he was ready for another facet of the game, and one he feels crucial to coaching — community engagement.

“What I’ve been looking for in this career and what can be difficult to find in this profession is to build a community of support. That’s what you want,” explained Pribble. “I’ve been putting myself in the position of finding a home.”

saint martins basketball

“I want our program, and myself as a coach, to be as accessible as possible,” says Pribble. “If there is a way people want to be involved – I’d love them to send me an email. I’m all in, this is my community now.”

And with Saint Martin’s University and the Thurston County community, Pribble says he’s found his home. Pribble said his impression of the Lacey/Olympia area is that it’s very similar to his hometown and that it feels right to be here.

“I can really plant some roots, eventually have a family and just really give everything I am and everything I have to Saint Martin’s basketball,” he said.

Pribble already feels like a part of the community. He admires the connection with the people involved in Saint Martin’s basketball and the “passion they have for doing it the right way.”

And what does doing it the right way mean to Pribble?

“It means developing a whole student-athlete. At certain levels of college basketball, the focus gets put in the wrong spot. Here, it’s student-athlete first; it’s about the experience of the student; it’s about academics; it’s about earning a degree,” he said. “My hope is we can bring in student-athletes who are serious about an education from a great academic university like Saint Martin’s, then develop their on-the-court experience kind of in the same mold. We’re going to hold a really high standard [and] we’re going to have very high expectations for them, both in the classroom and on the court.”

While Pribble has only been with the Saints a few weeks, the core team is quickly warming up to him.

“We’re all really excited and looking forward to it,” said Isaac Binchini, who plays guard. “He’s young, so we get along really well. I think that’s important because a good player-coach relationship is needed … He’s a lot of fun to be around on and off the court, and he’s got the intensity to get things done … You can tell the program is in a good place right now with him. We’re just really excited.”

Excitement is what Pribble is all about. He plans to bring more of a European-style basketball to the University’s Marcus Pavilion, meaning a faster tempo, putting a lot of shooters out and spreading the floor. He’s also looking forward to building his team, which includes two new recruits, German transfer student Frederik Jörg, a 7-foot-1-inch center from Eastern, and Michael Painter, named the Marysville-Pilchuck High School boys basketball Most Valuable Player his sophomore, junior and senior year.

saint martins basketball

Coach Pribble and team will bring excitement and energy to Saint Martin’s University.

With a solid team and his strong vision of building community ties, Pribble also plans to have themed nights such as Military Appreciation and Breast Cancer Awareness, as well as autograph signings on the court after games.

“I hope to get the community invested, and that means putting a good product on the floor,” said Pribble. “I believe in a fun style of basketball…its entertaining even for the casual basketball fan to come and watch.”

In addition to his regular role at Saint Martin’s, Pribble will be engaging the community’s younger athletes this summer while coaching youth and teen summer camps, for ages 8-17.

“It’s a win-win,” said Pribble. “[It’s] a positive experience for the kids being on the college campus and for us generating more interest in our program. Everyone should have that dream of going to college; the more that kids can be on campus, the better.”

For schedules, mailing lists, summer camp information, tickets and more, visit Saint Martin’s University online.

To contact Pribble directly, email him at

Section of Chehalis Western Trail to Close Temporarily on June 20

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 1:59pm



Submitted by Thurston County Parks

Chehalis Western Trail ClosureThe popular Chehalis Western Trail will be closed from the point where it intersects with the Burlington Northern Railroad (where the Trail turns to gravel just south of the Indian Summer Golf Course), to the access ramp located on Rainier Rd.  This closure will begin June 20 and will last approximately 8 to 10 weeks.

During this time, NO PUBLIC ACCESS will be allowed on this section of Trail.

This closure is necessary because Burlington Northern Railroad will be replacing the railroad trestle over Rainier Rd.  The Chehalis Western Trail currently passes below this trestle on the shoulder of Rainier Rd.

County Parks Manager says the county has no control over the timing of the project.  “Unfortunately, Thurston County Parks is not in a position to negotiate the timing of this closure, as the Railroad has the ability to maintain and repair its structures as needed.”

“The county realizes that this closure may impact many Trail users, so we ask for your patience and cooperation during this time.”

For further information contact Thurston County Parks at (360) 867-2181 or find information online at

Olympia Fire Department Earns Class 2 Rating

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 1:48pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

The Olympia Fire Department was just notified by the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau (WSRB) that it’s insurance rating has been upgraded from a Class 3 to a Class 2. WSRB evaluates all Washington communities for their fire protection/suppression capability using a schedule approved by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. WSRB assigns each community a Protection Class of 1 through 10, where 1 indicates exemplary fire protection capabilities, and 10 indicates the capabilities, if any, are insufficient for insurance credit.

Our business community will have an opportunity to reduce their fire insurance costs by an estimated 15% or more. The Class 2 rating makes Olympia more attractive to businesses that may wish to relocate because of lower costs of doing business.

During the grading process, the WSRB evaluated four major areas: Fire Department, water supply, emergency communications, and fire safety control (fire prevention, public education, and building code enforcement). The Fire Department was reviewed for distribution of fire stations, engine companies, ladder companies, pumping capacity, apparatus maintenance, department personnel and training. The water supply was reviewed for fire flow capabilities, hydrant locations, and system maintenance. The community’s 911 system is evaluated on its ability to receive and handle calls for emergency services. Lastly, the Fire Prevention Division and Building Inspection Services were evaluated for their abilities to inspect new construction and existing businesses in the City, as well as application of local codes and ordinances.



Olympia is one of only four fire departments statewide that have a Class 2 rating. Seattle, Bellevue, and Federal Way are the only other Class 2 rated communities. No one in the State of Washington has achieved a Class 1 rating.

SPSCC’s Ron Nielsen named 2014 Star Performer

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 1:43pm



Submitted by South Puget Sound Community College

Washington Small Business Development Centers named Ron Nielson, the Director of Small Business Development at South Puget Sound Community College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the organization’s 2014 Star Performer. The announcement came at the group’s recent spring meetings.

“Being part of the SBDC is a way of giving back,” Nielsen said in a release from the Washington SBDC. “I enjoy working one-on-one with clients – listening to their needs, identifying areas where they can improve and helping them find the tools and resources they need to make changes.”

In addition to earning the Star Performer nod, Nielsen was also named to the organization’s Million Dollar Club and the 100 Jobs list. In a release, the organization said Nielsen is “an exemplary member of our network, earning high praise from his clients and from his fellow SBDC business advisors who value his business expertise, his willingness to collaborate and his contributions to our network professional development.”

In 2014, according to Washington SBDC, Nielsen advised 129 clients, who in turn credited him with helping them access more than $3.6 million in capital infusion and helped create or save 297 jobs. He is one of 29 SBDC advisors in 25 centers across Washington state. He has led SPSCC’s SBDC since 2011. Nielsen will be honored at the America’s Small Business Development Centers annual conference this September in San Francisco.

Currently located at Woodland Square in Lacey, the SPSCC Small Business Development Center will move into the college’s new Lacey campus, located on 6th Avenue, opening this fall. The SBDC provides local small businesses with business planning, market planning and research, technological integration, merchandising and advertising, and more. The SPSCC SBDC can be reached at (360) 407-0014.

Intriguing installations in the Woolworth Windows

South Sound Arts - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 1:29pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 11, 2015
Sarah Casto’s installation “We Part to Meet Again,” detail. Photo courtesy Spaceworks Tacoma
I search my mind and my memory banks for clues as to the meanings of Nathan Orosco’s installation, “Take It to the Bridge” and Sarah Casto’s “We Part to Meet Again,” but I can’t imagine what must have been going through the artists’ minds — what message, if any, they are attempting to convey.
I like that they present mysteries with implied meanings. I like that I can’t figure it out. Casto’s is a two-part installation in windows separated by a doorway. In the smaller of the two windows sits a headless manikin on a stool wearing jeans and a black jacket. On the floor are white porcelain hands with stems wrapped in red material protruding from the wrists. The hands are crawling in military formation like an army of ants toward the second and larger part of Casto’s installation. In this one two more manikins, headless, female and unclothed, stand leaning against each other. Neither could stand without the other. Behind them on the wall is an array of scissors of various types, and hanging in the air between the figures and the wall are parts of animal skeletons. In the back corners stand two blue neon tubes. You can’t see the light from the tubes in daylight, but I have seen a nighttime photograph and the blue light on the white figures is beautiful. The title hints at a possible story of people, perhaps lovers, separated and then coming back together again. The overall feel is ominous.
Orosco’s “Take It to the Bridge” appears to be more abstract in nature and possibly is intended to be viewed in purely visual terms, but I suspect some greater meaning may be implied. It could be symbolic of the bridge in the recently released movie Selma. There are exquisite black and white paintings in delicate ink washes with drips and black coated sticks that could be seen as easels or as the sticks holding up picket signs. There are also strips of purple cloth and sheets of aluminum foil, both of which reinforce the interpretation of the piece as an abstract representation of the marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge into Selma.
Another interpretation might be that the tableau represents the remains of a building that has burned to the ground. No matter the meaning, it is a gritty and quite attractive installation.
Also in the windows is a sampling of photographs from a project by the Gender Alliance of South Sound called “T-Town Transgender Neighbors.” Each photo is a portrait of a transgender man or women who lives in a Tacoma with their printed stories below the photographs.
In the Commerce Street windows is a piece called “Say My Name” by Marisa Vitiello and Beate Liepart, which illustrates a myth about a woman and a dolphin, both of which are huge cut-out shapes that hang from the ceiling. The dolphin, which is yellow, looks rather silly and childish like part of a stage set for children’s theater. The woman’s figure is more lyrical and features a nice combination of materials.
Woolworth Windows, Broadway and Commerce at 11th Street through Aug. 20, on view 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Long-time City Administrator Shelly Badger Joining SCJ Alliance

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 1:11pm



Submitted by SCJ Alliance

SCJ Alliance is pleased to announce the addition of Shelly Badger to our team. Shelly has been Yelm’s City Administrator since 1993. She will serve as Corporate Services Manager for SCJ, a consulting firm specializing in transportation planning and design, civil engineering and land use/environmental planning.

Shelly, who will work out of SCJ’s Lacey corporate office, will oversee the human resources, information technology and administration operations for SCJ’s five offices. “We’re delighted to have Shelly not only assist in SCJ operations, but also share her public service experience over the past 30 years in improving the quality of life for communities,” shares SCJ President Perry Shea.

“She will be a tremendous asset and addition to our leadership team and a great resource in helping shape our future plans,” says Perry. “Shelly has great energy and has used her forward-thinking leadership style for decades to successfully implement many programs, policies and projects.”

Shelly will join SCJ Alliance in September after working with the Yelm mayor and management team on a transition plan. As Administrator, she coordinates the activities of the City and provides support to elected officials and staff. Among other things, Shelly leads the City’s economic development and water resource planning efforts, represents the City on the South Thurston Economic Development Initiative (STEDI) committee and participates in the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership Steering Committee.

SCJ Alliance is a nationally-recognized, award-winning company founded in 2006 as Shea Carr Jewell. Over the last nine years, SCJ has grown steadily from three employees in one location, to a dynamic team of nearly 60 employees in five locations.


Community Investment Partnership Announces $614,000 in Community Funding Awards

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 7:22am



Submitted by United Way of Thurston County (UWTC)

downtown olympia scenic - Local TalkUnited Way of Thurston County (UWTC), the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, and Thurston County; partners in the Community Investment Partnership (CIP), are pleased to announce their second year of coordinated funding awards for 2015-16. 23 health and human service non-profit organizations were awarded funding in support of 35 impact programs that promote healthier choices and behaviors; promote financial and residential stability; and prepare children and youth to be resilient, learn and succeed.

These impact programs will be funded for a one-year cycle from 2015-2016 beginning July 1, 2015. During this year’s very competitive funding round, the CIP received 60 applications from 38 agencies requesting $1,464,878 in funding for a wide variety of programs that address essential needs serving all areas of our community. Available funding addressed 40 percent of the requested needs.

“As we enter our second year of CIP funding, we are learning more that our shared goals and coordinated approach is beneficial because it allows nonprofits to maximize their award potential and better get the outcomes that serve our community,” said CIP Co-Chair and United Way Board member, Dennis Mahar. “We had many strong proposals and funded the top ranked ones. I regret our financial limitations prevented us from funding more.

“The CIP is unique in Washington state with our collaborative approach between United Way and local government. We are helping make our community stronger by working together,” adds CIP Co-Chair and County Commissioner Sandra Romero. “These funds will support a powerful array of activities to help our most vulnerable community members.”

We are very thankful for the individuals and businesses that supported United Way during our recent fundraising season, as well as the dedicated volunteers who participated on the grants panel. Citizen panels performed a thorough process – reading applications, interviewing proposing agencies and making ranked funding recommendations to the CIP Steering Committee for final decisions.

  • The CIP is an innovative partnership between United Way and local government that formed in 2014 to:
  • Amplify community impact and focus around common goals
  • Create incentives for service coordination
  • Increase efficiencies for both non-profit service providers and funding organizations
  • Support common performance reporting and continuous improvement

This year, awards range from $2,500 to $55,467. The $614,096 CIP funding comes from United Way of Thurston County ($430,000), Thurston County ($58,000), the City of Olympia ($77,568), the City of Lacey ($40,648) and the City of Tumwater ($25,000).

For more information about these grant awards, contact Paul Knox, United Way Executive Director at (360) 943-2773 ext. 10 or email or Gary Aden, Thurston County Housing and Community Renewal Manager, (360) 867-2532 or


Funded programs that promote healthier choices and behaviors

Thurston Food Bank Food Bank Collaborative | $55,467
Senior Services of South Sound Senior Nutrition Program | $19,467
Catholic Community Services Community Kitchen | $18,000
Family Support Center of South Sound Family Justice Center Program | $7,467
CHOICE Regional Health Network Access to Baby and Child Dentistry | $5,592
Crisis Clinic of Thurston & Mason Counties Crisis Intervention and Information Referral and Training | $9,750
Senior Services of South Sound STARS Adult Day Care | $7,500
Olympia Free Clinic | $10,000
Pizza Klatch Support Groups for LGBTQ+ Youth | $15,000 Suicide Prevention Training Certification | $7,500

Funded programs that promote financial and residential stability
SafePlace Residential Services Program | $29,967
Family Support Center of South Sound Homeless Family Support Pear Blossom Place | $37,467
Catholic Community Services Community Kitchen | $18,000
Community Youth Services Rosie’s Place | $22,467 Transitional Housing Program | $12,500
PANZA Quixote Village | $18,717
Rebuilding Together Thurston County Emergency Services | $28,013
SideWalk (Interfaith Works) Coordinated Entry | $25,000 Housing First Rent Assistance | $25,000
Mercy Housing Northwest Service Enriched Affordable Housing | $13,287
Family Education and Support Services Kinship Care | $18,717
ROOF Community Services Emergency and Family Services | $5,000
Rebuild Together TC Emergency Services Program | $14,000

Funded programs that prepare children and youth to be resilient, to learn and to succeed
Kids Palce After-School/Summer Program ROOF Community Services | $20,967
TOGETHER! Evergreen Villages | $18,717 Tumwater Community Schools | $37,467
Family Support Center of South Sound Family Resource Services Program | $18,717
GRuB Youth Grow Tumwater | $21,717
Crisis Clinic of Thurston and Mason Counties Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention | $2,967
Childcare Action Council Margies Crisis Nursery | $4,092
Girls Without Limits YWCA of Olympia | $23,967
The Evergreen State College Gateways for Incarcerated Youth | $11,151
CIELO Connect the Dots – Spanish Speaking Parents with Kids in School | $33,250
Community Youth Services Haven House | $15,000
SafePlace Child and Youth Programs | $10,000
Community Youth Services Independent Living Skills | $8,711
TOGETHER! Community Schools in Tumwater School District | $2,500
Community Action Council Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy | $20,000
Hands On Children’s Museum SafePlace Support at the Museum | $9,000

Anchor Bank Makes a 12-Year Dream a Reality for the Steamboat Island Tennis and Athletic Center

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 7:05am



By Lynn West


anchor bank

Anchor Bank’s Gary Koch has helped Drake Nicholson make his 12-year dream a reality.

Anchor Bank and the new Steamboat Island Tennis and Athletic Center (STAC), both local businesses, have a close relationship. It is not often that such mutual respect between a client and banker is as evident as it is between Drake Nicholson, owner of STAC and Gary Koch, Executive Vice President Chief Lending Officer at Anchor Bank.

Drake Nicholson explained that his dream of having his fourth and eighth grade daughters walk across the street from Griffin School to play tennis and swim has been delayed over the years by many roadblocks in the building process. However, soon his grown daughters will come home to visit and enjoy the facility.

One area of smooth sailing for Drake has been working with Gary Koch and Anchor Bank. With thirty-eight years in the banking industry, Gary took on STAC as his first client a year and a half ago when he came to Anchor Bank.

Founded in 1907 in Aberdeen, Anchor Bank is about as local as it gets, and Drake Nicholson, a long time Thurston County businessman, has been a “mover and shaker in the community!” Put the two together and you have a winning team. Gary Koch said, “It was easy for us to see that Drake exemplified the five C’s of credit: character, capital, credit worthiness, capacity, and collateral, which create the underpinning of a successful business loan.”

Both Drake and Gary cited the upturn in the economy as one reason it was the right time to move forward with the project. “For any start-up business,” Koch explained, “it is necessary to weigh the pros and cons.”  Even though a tennis and athletic center is not a necessity for an individual and doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget, the strong business plan that Drake Nicholson had developed and the low break even point made it a very feasible project for Anchor Bank.

steamboat tennis

The Steamboat Tennis and Athletic Center is set to open in early July.

When asked why he chose to seek a loan from Anchor Bank, Drake said, “I love working with a local bank, and they came highly recommended by another small business. My friend John Campbell found them very comfortable to work with when he opened Capitol City Tennis Club in Tumwater a few years ago.”

Ironically, the building that has housed Capitol City Tennis Club has been sold to a glass company, and the tennis club has vacated the premises. “It is definitely a win for us,” Drake said. “ John Campbell will become the tennis pro at STAC, and his office staff will also be working with us.” He added, “I have known John for a long time. I couldn’t be happier that we will be working together at STAC.”

“While some banks shy away and are not willing to ‘swing a bat at a new business,’” according to Drake, “Anchor Bank helped make the budget work since we had so much into it already.” He said they are just finishing “Phase One and a Fourth!”

This phase includes the STAC building which houses weight rooms, racquetball courts and tennis courts. Planning ahead for future phases, they have created a septic system, water and water retention systems and parking spaces, which will be adequate for all future development.

“We are almost finished with the landscaping, which is so exciting because from the outside, it really looks like it is a business that is ready to open,” Drake reports. The equipment will be arriving this month. Once it is installed and operating, STAC will open. Look for news of the Grand Opening around early July.

steamboat tennis

Staff members of the recently sold Capitol City Tennis Club plan to join the Steamboat Tennis and Athletic Center.

With a scarcity of tennis courts in Thurston County and the closing of Capitol City, Drake is anticipating attracting members from Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater as well as perhaps Mason and Lewis Counties. He hopes to offer student and family memberships and work with tennis players at the local schools.

Gary Koch explained that Anchor Bank is a full service community lender and often funds construction loans for multi-family businesses, medical and dental offices, apartment or other rental properties. Credit decisions are made right here in Thurston County.

Twelve years ago when Drake Nicholson first envisioned a Steamboat Island Tennis and Athletic Center, he did not really fathom the depths of swimming upstream against changing county regulations, systems and codes. With most of those now navigated, at least in this current phase, he said, “I almost had tears in my eyes when I took pictures of the almost completed STAC.”

I’m not sure if Gary is a tennis player, but if he is, he and Drake will be inaugurating those courts with a friendly match just as they have so nicely negotiated their local business relationship.


The Marston Center Celebrates Lucky 13

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 6:53am



Submitted by Leslie Demich for The Marston Center

The Marston Center

The Marston Center

Basking in the shade of aspen, Douglas fir and cedar, the beautiful Marston Center in Lacey is marking its 13th anniversary this month.  With almost 40 independent health and wellness practitioners, The Marston Center has become a regional healing Mecca over the years.

“We have attracted a quality and diversity of expertise among our practitioners that is unavailable elsewhere in the area,” according to Randy Marston, co-owner of the building and personal coach.

Clients from as far away as Mount Vernon, Seattle and Bremerton make their way to The Marston Center for expert care ranging from mental health counseling to massage, and from acupuncture to nutrition counseling.  There’s even a hair salon and a personal trainer on site.

“We started The Marston Center with a vision of warmth and welcome for practitioners and their clients,” building owner and personal coach Randy Marston said.  “The décor, the building layout and design, even the parking lot are all arranged to create a sense of calm and ease.”

Practitioners located in the center especially appreciate owners Randy and Michael Marston.  Some have been a part of The Marston Center from the start.  They attribute much of their satisfaction with the location to the mindset of the owners.

“They don’t require a lease, yet they guarantee the rent for three years,” according to massage therapist Todd McLendon.  “There’s free internet and free utilities – even free use of the building equipment, including the copy machine, fax and laundry facilities.”

“They brought in a professional painter to prepare my office to my specifications at no cost to me,” reports Cathy Rivers, an expert leadership coach specializing in Human Design™.  “I work with clients all over the country by phone and internet, but having an inviting office where I can meet face-to-face with local clients means the world to me.”

“The work I do is very unusual, so I rely entirely on word-of-mouth marketing,” says Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner and Instructor Leslie Demich.  “The cross referral opportunities here at The Marston Center have contributed significantly to the growth of my client base.”

The offices in The Marston Center are in such demand there is often a waiting list, but tenants say it’s worth it.  “I wouldn’t want my office to be anywhere else,” says mental health therapist Juanita Evans.  “It’s quiet, but really friendly.  Just right for my clients.”

The Marston Center is located at 677 Woodland Square Loop SE, Lacey, WA, near St. Martin’s University and the the new east campus of South Puget Sound Community College.  Businesses interested in relocating to The Marston Center can reach Randy Marston at 360-352-9443.

Morris Sworn In as Port Commissioner

Janine's Little Hollywood - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 3:33pm

By Janine
Above: Michelle Morris is congratulated this morning by Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall after swearing her into office as a Port of Olympia Commissioner.
Morris is a principal in Sound Resource Management Group, Inc., Olympia. Previously she served as executive director of Sustainable South Sound, founder/director of Thurston County Critical Areas Ordinance Coalition, founder/director of Concerned Citizens of Thurston County and information analyst/global code of conduct for Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and a Masters in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College in Olympia.
Morris said this morning that she will attend the port’s work session meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 18.
Port of Olympia staff member Jeri Sevier said Morris’ official email address is expected to be set up by the end of the day, and will be
For more information about the Port of Olympia, go to or see other articles about the port at Little Hollywood,

Summer Improv at Harlequin Productions

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 3:18pm
Event:  Wed, 07/01/2015 - 8:00pm - 9:30pm

Summer Improv Comedy at Harlequin Productions

Harlequin Productions’ celebrated improv troupe, Something Wicked, presents their newest improv comedy show, The United States of Improv, on Wednesday July 1. The show takes place from 8:00-9:30 PM at the State Theater in downtown Olympia and features high-energy improvised scenes guided by audience suggestions.

     WHO:               Harlequin Productions presents Something Wicked

     WHAT:             The United States of Improv

     WHEN:             Wednesday July 1, 2015 from 8:00-9:30 PM

     WHERE:          The Historic State Theater – 202 4th Avenue East, Downtown Olympia 98501 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Hawks Prairie Dental Center’s Dr. Karl Hoffman Puts Family First at Home, On The Job and in the Community

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 6:26am



hawks prairie dental

Dr. Karl Hoffman has been practicing dentistry for 25 years, 20 of which have been spent at his Lacey dental practice, Hawks Prairie Dental Center.

Family first is a phrase we hear often, but what does it really mean? For some, family first means looking out for a little sister or doing something thoughtful for a parent. For others, it means making sacrifices and putting someone else’s needs before your own. At the heart of it all, family first is about taking care of one another and always having your loved one’s best interest at heart.

Dr. Karl Hoffman understands this notion well, as he has many families throughout the community. From his own family at home to his family of patients at Hawks Prairie Dental Center in Lacey, his church family, his colleagues in study club or fellow dads that support the high school track team, Dr. Hoffman is always putting family first, no matter which family it is.

After graduating from the University of Washington School of Dentistry 25 years ago, Dr. Hoffman has spent the past 20 years serving the community at his private practice in Lacey. Over the years, Dr. Hoffman has cultivated a staff and clientele that — to him — is like a second family, and he treats them as such. Providing top-notch personalized and conservative care to each and every patient that walks through his door, Dr. Hoffman’s patients trust in him and the care of his talented team of dental technicians.

For Dr. Hoffman, this is his greatest accomplishment. It is, after all, a testament to his expertise and caring approach to dentistry. From reversing dental issues on adults to ensuring healthy dental development in his younger patients, Dr. Hoffman says nothing makes him more proud than providing positive experiences and quality care to his patients.

hawks prairie dental

Dr. Karl Hoffman gives back to his community one day each month, providing free dental services to low-income members of the community.

And he always goes the extra mile to make sure his patients are comfortable. For some patients, comfort comes in the form of getting dental work in Dr. Hoffman’s colorful “Husky room,” a purple and gold painted office decked out with the memorabilia of his alma mater. For others, comfort comes in the form of clear communication. Dr. Hoffman is fluent in Spanish, a skill he picked up while living in Costa Rica as a child.

Dr. Hoffman says he has a lot of patients who were once in “dental trouble,” but now, many years after comprehensive care, these patients now enjoy healthy, comfortable smiles. But Dr. Hoffman doesn’t only provide quality care to the patients he serves at his dental practice in Lacey, he extends these services at no charge to his third family: the community. For more than a decade, Dr. Hoffman has been volunteering at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission where he provides free dental care to community members who can’t afford to pay for dental services out of pocket.

“Volunteering at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission has been very satisfying for me because I not only believe in their mission, but I think their system is extremely effective at helping people,” explains Dr. Hoffman.

hawks prairie dental

Dr. Karl Hoffman says he has a relationship-based practice. For Dr. Hoffman, the relationships he has with his patients are a top priority.

Giving back to the community is important to Dr. Hoffman, and it’s also an extension of the work he started straight out of dental school serving in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. “I was already public health minded due to my background and felt a strong urge to help [the Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s] program,” he says. Dr. Hoffman has been volunteering (and recruiting other volunteers) with the Olympia Union Gospel Mission for 11 years.

Of course, when he’s not working at his dental clinic or volunteering his services to the community, Dr. Hoffman is putting family first with his first family: his wife and two kids. He has sponsored numerous youth projects and sports team locally. With a son at Saint Martin’s University and a daughter at Northwest Christian High School, Dr. Hoffman stays busy. Between taking pictures as the “unofficial” photographer for his daughter’s track team and volunteering with friends and family at several of his church’s charities, Dr. Hoffman is always finding ways positive ways to impact the community he lives in and loves.

hawks prairie dental

Dr. Karl Hoffman enjoys a Husky game — the team of his alma mater — with his wife, son and daughter.

You can learn more about Dr. Hoffman and his Lacey dental practice, Hawks Prairie Dental Center, by visiting Hawks Prairie Dental Center online, or by calling Hawks Prairie Dental Center at 360-456-7070.

Hawks Prairie Dental Center

130 Marvin Rd SE #201

Lacey, WA 98503


North Thurston Public Schools’ V.O.I.C.E. Program Looks for Community Job Partners

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Laurie O’Brien

ntps voice

Don Schmitz (right) is a job site liaison for North Thurston Public Schools V.O.I.C.E. program. He is picture with NTPS student, Joey Eberling.

For students with developmental disabilities, creating a life after high school can be difficult. Thankfully public school programs offer transitional programs to help those students into the world of work and to gain a sense of independence they may not have experienced as full time students.

In North Thurston Public Schools, the Vocational Opportunities for Independent Community Employment program (V.O.I.C.E.) is designed for 18-21 year old students who, due to developmental disabilities, require instruction in vocational and life skills. Although they may “walk” in a cap and gown with their peers as a senior, V.O.I.C.E. students do not officially graduate until they receive their diploma at age 21.

All high school graduates, regardless of disability status, face the same challenges: looking for a job, building a resume, figuring out where to live or go to school, negotiating new friendships, and trying to stay connected to friends you’ve known since you were five. V.O.I.C.E. students work with their teachers and a team of para-educators and community employment partners to meet those challenges.

By working with adult agencies like the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) the Development Disabilities Administration (DDA) and Morningside, teachers Courtney Glover and Joelle Grun make sure students and their parents or caregivers are aware of the resources available to them as adults. Those particular agencies can help with things like housing and government assistance once students graduate, but the primary goal of the V.O.I.C.E. program is to place students in situations where they can develop job skills in the workplace and where they can continue to interact socially with their peers.

Historically, special education students have been placed in custodial positions or worked as baggers or greeters, but, Glover says, like most young people, her students want to work in fields where their interests lie. “There are a wide variety of skills they have and jobs they’re interested in,” she says. “We just need our name out there so that we can have those community partners and job sites.”

Every year the teachers give interest inventory tests and “try to match (students) with what they like, what their interests are, and what kind of jobs they would like.” Right now the program includes students who have interests ranging from music and horticulture to cars and animals as well as an assortment of other areas.

Graduates of the program and current students are particularly successful at jobs that have well defined objectives and tasks.

For example, at the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center, job trainees sort, weigh, and clean donated eyeglasses. Those who have the ability may move on to using a special tool to determine the prescription.

ntps voice

Ashley Barnett is commended for her work at the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center by Don Schmitz.

Nature Nurtures Farm and Joint Animal Services involve their job trainees in feeding and watering the animals, cleaning pens and walking dogs.

At local hotels, like the Doubletree, laundry tasks, setting up conference or banquet rooms, and general maintenance like changing lightbulbs or swapping garbage containers is done by student interns.

Any positions offered through community job partners are considered unpaid internships, and students are accompanied by a job coach unless they are able to handle the work independently. “These students really rise to high expectations,” says Libby Thompson, Assistant Director of Special Education for the district. “We have students who are non-academic and maybe even non-verbal, but we get them into a job situation and they just thrive.”

The ultimate goal is for students to develop skills they can add to a resume so they can seek a paying position. Often, they are able to turn an internship into a real job.

Angie Macon’s son, Xavier, graduated from the program last week.

“Last year Xavier (did internships) at Ultimate Fitness, Doubletree Hotel, the Food Co-op, and the bus barn doing the bus wash. This year he’s worked at the Doubletree again and at Roolan Healthcare Center doing laundry.”

This Monday, Xavier reported to his new job. “He did a six week internship at Chiropractic Care Center and they decided to hire him,” says Macon with pride. Xavier now works as a custodian, cleaning the office and doing jobs like paper shredding when the office is on their lunch break. Because he qualifies for supported employment as an adult through the DDA, he continues to have a job coach check in on him periodically.

Xavier travels to his job independently. Learning how to use Intercity Transit is another goal of the V.O.I.C.E. program. “They come here and are immersed in it,” explains Thompson. Part of the role of the job coach is to help students negotiate from their homes and school to job sites and elsewhere in the community.

“The program works so well with little steps,” says Macon. “(Xavier) had a job coach with him when he first started riding the bus, and then they would meet him at each end or at the transit center. He rides the bus independently now. He got on the wrong bus one time but figured it out pretty quickly and called us.”

That sense of independence is crucial. “Riding the bus to the mall to see a movie or meet at a restaurant is key to feeling connected to the community,” says Glover. And it makes it easier for her students to maintain their friendships after high school, too. Every once in a while Glover will have a student who can drive, but for the most part, public transportation is the key to getting and keeping a job as well as a social life.

“Not only does V.O.I.C.E. do the work part, but they do the social piece as well,” says Macon. “This program gave Xavier the feeling that he really could work, that he could have a job, that he can be an adult.”

North Thurston Public Schools’ V.O.I.C.E. program is always looking for additional community work partners. If you’d like to learn more, you can contact either Courtney Glover or Joelle Grun at River Ridge High School during the school year, or you can call the District’s Special Education Office.

2014-15 community-based job sites included:

Fred Meyer

ntps voice

Students in North Thurston Public Schools’ V.O.I.C.E. program have a variety of interests.

Lions Eyeglass Recycle Center

Thurston County Food Bank

Olympia Food Co-Op

Roolan Healthcare Center

North Thurston Public Schools

Horizons Elementary

Hands On Children’s Museum

Lacey Loves to Read

Services to At-Risk Seniors

Nisqually Middle School

Thurston County Animal Shelter

Nature Nurture Farm

Ultimate Fitness

Ramada Inn

Doubletree Hotel

KOKUA (Residential Support Agency)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County

Tanglewilde Apartments

Saint Martin’s University

Thrifty Thurston Watches $1 Movies with the Kids in Olympia this Summer

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Kate Scriven

awesome rvIt’s baaaackkkk!!! Summer. Yep. It’s here for the next three months and so are your kids. All day, everyday. Once the final week of school with its performances, celebrations, picnics, field days and teacher gifts is behind you, enter leisurely mornings and lazy afternoons.

movie olympia

Boredom busters don’t have to be spendy. Take the kids to a $1 movie this summer.

However, no matter how much I look forward to summer, I do not look forward to the perennial return of the phrase, “Mom, I’m bored.” I typically reply, “Hi Bored, I’m Mom! Nice to meet you!” Yes, eye rolling instantly follows. This summer, I have a reply that I can use at least once a week eliciting a smile and an “awesome!” instead. Ready….?

“Let’s all go to the movies!”

Fellow parents might ask with perfectly reasonable skepticism, “Every week? Seriously?”

“You bet,” I reply and all for only $5 to $10 per child for the entire summer. I know. It’s awesome.

This summer $1 movies return to both major theaters in our area, Cinemark Century Olympia Mall and Regal Martin Village Stadium 16.

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse

The Capital Mall Theater offers a terrific value (it’s nearly free, people) for families wanting to see movies with their kids all summer long. Each Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. the theater will show a PG or G rated movie for just $1.

Or, for the truly thrifty, pay $5 for a 10 movie punch card. I’ll do the math for you. That’s a $.50 movie. Cards must be purchased individually for each child and you cannot punch multiple “visits” on one card. (I already tried this loophole and trust me, it won’t work). Click here to purchase your $5 punch card online and head straight in for the popcorn. (Yes, it’s delicious at 10:00 a.m. No judging.).

cheap summer movies

A 10 movie Punch Card is available for only $5 at Century Theater at Capital Mall.

Movies include options sure to please all your kiddos and include Dolphin Tale 2, Penguins of Madagascar, Night at the Museum 3, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid “Dog Days.” The same movies are shown on Tuesday and Wednesday, so pick your day each week and see them all.

Movies begin June 16 and run weekly for 10 weeks finishing out on August 19. Click here to see a full schedule and print the Summer Movie Clubhouse flyer (which includes a great coupon for popcorn and a drink for only $2.65).

Interested in a new release? Thrifty Thurston recommends a Tuesday showing. On Discount Day, all tickets are $5.50 all day for all shows.

Regal Summer Movie Express

Across town at the Regal Martin Village theater there is a similar deal going on. The Regal Summer Movie Express also offers $1 movies each Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the summer. No punch card here, but there are two different movies offered each week, one on Tuesday and a different one on Wednesday for a total of 18 terrific PG and G rated movies all summer long.

The bonus when visiting Regal is a portion of the ticket sales goes to the Will Rogers Institute, an organization supporting medical research and education for cardio-pulmonary disease.

summer movie olympia

When warm sunshine drives your crew inside, try a $1 movie on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Olympia and Lacey.

Movies include Annie, Paddington, Boxtrolls and The SpongeBob Movie. Click here for the full schedule. Me? I like to print this page out and slap it up in place of that now defunct lunch menu, reveling in the new found freedom from schedules. Movies start June 23 and finish August 19.

Will I see you at the movies this summer? I’ll be the one with the obscenely large box of Junior Mints and six or seven kids in tow. No, I don’t have that many children, but I figure if I’m going, I might as well take a crew with me and liberate my fellow parents for a few hours of alone time. They’ve got my back next week, I’m sure.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County.  The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community.  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.



A Tour of Thurston County U-Pick Berry Farms

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Lynn West

VCB logoAnnual berry picking “practice” begins in our garden. Little fingers itch to pick ripe (and not so ripe) strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Once their dripping fingers are in sync, our grandkids often join us at some of the great U-Pick farms in Thurston County.

We keep a stash of containers in the car to carry home the berries since few of the farms provide them (if they do, it is noted below).  Here is a list of some of our favorite farms, listed in order of the start dates for picking.  I also suggest calling ahead if you are considering picking at the beginning or end of a season.

Strawberry and Raspberry U-Pick Farms

u-pick olympia

Spooner Berry Farm is offering strawberry, raspberry and blueberry U-pick this summer.

Helsing Junction Farm (12013 Independence Rd SW, Rochester, WA 98579) is open Friday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Flats and the pint cups are provided. $20 for a flat of U-Pick and $30 for picked flats at the farm stand.  Cash and checks are accepted.

Spooner Berry Farms (3327 Yelm Highway, Olympia) will be open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the middle of June for strawberry picking. Raspberries should be available mid-July.

It is always a fun adventure to ride the Berry Express tractor from the U-pick pay station to the U-pick plants. According to Sue Spooner, “We will have an abundance of beautiful ripe berries, and picking usually lasts about twelve days. We do not pick on rainy days.”

Sue said they plan to keep the U-Pick price at $1.65 per pound. The farm provides wire baskets lined with take-home cardboard cartons inside. Pay by cash, check, or card. Phone: 360-456-4554.

Pigman’s Organic Produce (10633 Steilacoom Road SE, Olympia) offers U-pick for both organic strawberries (available from mid-July until fall) and raspberries (available early July).

“In the 26 years we have been growing strawberries, we have only been open for U-pick in June three times,” Jan Pigman told me. “Since we don’t spray fungicides, we only plant Everbearing Strawberries, which tend to be sweeter and do better in our climate,” she continued.

olympia u-pick farm

Hand picking berries is a great family activity.

U-pick strawberry prices for 2014 were $2.75 per pint, $14 for 6 pints (a half-flat), and $27 for 12 pints (a flat). Phone: 360-491-3276. Email:



After years of making our children climb around the hills of Eastern Washington to pick elusive Huckleberries, they tell their offspring how much easier it is to pick blueberries. However, the family tradition of eating as many as you pick tends to be followed by the littlest ones, especially in our garden.

The mid-July sunshine usually ripens those green berries, but may be a bit earlier in July this year for some of the farms.

The Black Lake Blueberry Farm (3105 – 54th Ave SW, Olympia) has pesticide free berries. Restrooms are available for pickers. No picking on rainy days. Pay by cash or check. Phone: 360-480-2452 (no calls after 8:00 p.m., please).

Carr’s Blueberry Farm (3844 – 1/2 Gull Harbor Road NE, Olympia) is certified organic for all their crops. U-pick blueberry price was $2.25 a pound in 2014. Pre-picked berries are also available. Pay by cash or check.  Tom Carr told me, “There might be a slight raise in the price this year, and I expect the berries to be ripe in early August.”

u-pick olympia

Four kids check out how many more blueberries they still have to pick at the Gile Blueberry Farm.

He suggests calling the message phone 360-352-3622 for updates.

Friendly Grove Blueberries, (3102 Friendly Grove Road NE, Olympia) grows organic blueberries. Karen Crown said, “Because our bushes are so loaded with green berries in early June, I think we may be open by the beginning of July this year.” She provides picking buckets and sunhats for your use at the farm. The 2015 U-pick price is $2 a pound. Phone: 360-357-3837.

Gile Blueberry Farm  (3641 Gull Harbor Road NE, Olympia) is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and is definitely a fun, family run business. It is not certified organic, but they do not spray.

When we visit Gile’s, we usually pick for a while and then when the troops give up, we take advantage of their pre-picked boxes. Sometimes, it’s just worth the extra few quarters. They have containers for picking and, if necessary, boxes for you to take home your berries. The 2014 per pound prices were $1.50 for U-pick and $2.25 for pre-picked. Phone: 360-352-4847.

Spooner Berry Farm – Until this year, Spooner’s had only had enough blueberries to furnish their stands, but this year the fields are loaded. Sue Spooner said, “It takes seven or eight years to get really good yields, and this year U-pick for blueberries will be great.”

Blueberry picking fields are located at 10447 Yelm Highway, three miles east of the Amtrak Station. She expects picking to begin toward the end of July. Prices will be the same as for strawberries.

Teddies Berries (6344 – 123rd Ave SW, Olympia) minimizes use of pesticides. Pay by cash or check. Phone: 360-357-8370. Email:

Before you go, it is wise to check the website or Facebook page of the farm for any changes in availability, days and times, cost, and containers needed. Then grab sunhats, and you are ready for a wonderful adventure. Reward the family with strawberry shortcake, a luscious blueberry cobbler or raspberry jam!


Olyblog 10 year anniversary is coming up fast. And the graphical decline of the blog

Olympia Time - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 5:36am
This graph shows the posts by month created at Olyblog between August 2005 and June 2015.

Right now we're just about two months shy of the 10th anniversary of Rick McKinnon flipping the switch on Olyblog. This particular website for about four years was the hub of everything Olympia for me. It was also pretty important to a handful of very nice people that I don't think I would have met without Olyblog ever existing.

I want to spend some time blogging about that sweet old home of the Olyblogosphere. I sometimes stop by the old farmstead to see what's going on. But, I haven't posted there myself in quite some time. It feels like an old empty house. Or, and old school.

What I'd really like to do is get together with some of the folks from the high water mark of Olyblog and start to deconstruct the awesome experience that Olyblog represented. Anyone out there interested in that?

Olyblog was pretty interesting case study of a local online community. Rick really had a great idea when he launched Olyblog. Olympia wasn't that much different, but the internet sure was. And, if we'd done things differently maybe Olyblog would be healthier now, despite the changes. But, that's a post for a later week.

In the meantime, here are some links to wet your beak:

Here is the first post on Olyblog, of course it is about downtown.

Here are my posts about Olyblog here at Olympia Time. I spent a good chunk of my time writing at Olyblog, but I still found time to blog about Olyblog at Olympia Time.

Here is the old Olyblog docents email list. This list and the docent drama in early 2008 will play into what I'm going to write about later. But, I'll give you a chance to poke your head in first.

Port of Olympia Commissioners Appoint Michelle Morris

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 8:22pm
Above: Michelle Morris was appointed this evening to Port of Olympia Commissioner Position #3. She will serve for about five months. Morris is not running for election to the position and said in her application that her goal is to provide a smooth transition from the vacancy left by former commissioner Sue Gunn. She says she will continue Gunn's conversations about agriculture, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.
By Janine
Port of Olympia commissioners George Barner and Bill McGregor tonight appointed Michelle Morris to fill commissioner position #3, formerly held by Sue Gunn.
“Thank you very much…I’m honored,” said Morris, who was present at tonight's port meeting. The publicly noticed meeting was held tonight rather than a usual Monday evening due to scheduling difficulties.
Morris said she will be sworn in at the Thurston County’s Auditor’s Office tomorrow afternoon. She will hold the position from June 11 to November 24, when the general election is formally certified. Morris is not one of the applicants running for election to the position.
Outside the meeting room, as well wishers congratulated her, Morris said, “I’m thrilled that they expedited this process instead of letting it drag on. I’m really excited to get business moving forward…I have a lot of homework to do!”
Her first meeting is expected to be Monday, June 22, unless she can attend a port work session meeting on Thursday, June 18.
An executive session of the commissioners started at 4:00 p.m. tonight at which Commissioners Barner and McGregor discussed the applicant’s resumes, responses to questions, and qualifications.
Barner said he was very impressed with E.J. Zita’s application, responses to questions and interview, but said it would be inappropriate to choose someone who is committed to running for election to the position.
McGregor agreed, and after saying that he was impressed with the quality of each candidate, recommended Fred Finn to fill the position.
Barner disagreed. Calling former commissioner Sue Gunn an intelligent and bright woman, Barner said he felt sensitive to the issues that have been raised by the public, and said that the position ought to be filled by a woman.
“I’m seriously interested in affirming the actions of the voters of District #3 in electing Commissioner Gunn….The issue of diversity is real, and new to this board of commissioners, but one that was said loud and clear by the electorate when they elected her to this position….” said Barner, who then promptly made a motion to appoint Michelle Morris.
McGregor quickly agreed, and seconded Barner’s motion, saying he did not want to see the decision go to the Thurston County commissioners. 
Both welcomed Morris to the position, with Barner adding that he has served the last three years with Morris on Thurston County’s solid waste advisory committee and appreciates her thoughtfulness in that capacity. McGregor earlier noted her financial and small business experience as assets for filling the position.
George Sharp, Dick Pust, and Fred Finn were in attendance at tonight’s meeting, and quickly congratulated her on her appointment. 
Port of Olympia Commission meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Work sessions are held 2:30 p.m. Thursday before the fourth Monday of each month. All meetings are held at Tumwater Town Center, 7241 Cleanwater Drive SW, Tumwater. 
For more information, go to
In other port news, a public meeting on the master planning process for development of its real estate in Tumwater will be held Thursday, June 11th, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., at the Comfort Inn, 1620 74thAvenue SW, Tumwater.
The master plan will guide future growth within the New Market Industrial Campus and Tumwater Town Center. Questions that will be discussed at the meeting: How the properties' physical and environmental characteristics will influence development and what unique economic opportunities the New Market Industrial Campus and Tumwater Town Center Port districts offer the Thurston region.
The two districts total over 500 acres which may be developed for commercial, industrial or other uses.

For past articles about the Port of Olympia, including the process to fill Position #3, go to Little Hollywood, and use the search button to type in key words.

Tumwater Farmers Market Brings Produce to Happy Consumers

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 1:28pm



Photos by Diane Waiste

The Tumwater Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the intersection of Capitol Blvd and Israel Road.  The market attracts visitors picking up produce for dinner, grabbing a lunch to eat outside and many vendors selling their locally grown produce.  To learn more about Thurston County area farmers markets, click here.


tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market tumwater farmers market

Yelm High School Students Win Debit Design Contest

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 8:04am



Submitted by O Bee Credit Union

Yelm High School Students with their winning designs (l to r) Alicia Damron and Shannon Grant of O Bee Credit Union, Cheyenne Lombardi, Tyler McIntosh, Lee Wojnar of O Bee Credit Union, Ernest Ziegenfelder, Cam’ron Stovall, Quinton Lincoln and Shauna Hergert of O Bee.

Yelm High School Students with their winning designs (l to r) Alicia Damron and Shannon Grant of O Bee Credit Union, Cheyenne Lombardi, Tyler McIntosh, Lee Wojnar of O Bee Credit Union, Ernest Ziegenfelder, Cam’ron Stovall, Quinton Lincoln and Shauna Hergert of O Bee.

Three Yelm High School students were chosen as the top winners in a design contest sponsored by O Bee Credit Union. The first place winner received a $500 cash prize and earned an additional $500 for the high school as well.

The design contest challenged students to create the best image for O Bee’s new “Famous Yelm” debit card. “The students have been very excited about this contest. They’ve been super busy with testing and studying, but many of them found time to develop designs to submit, and we are so proud of them. We have a lot of talented students here,” said Carrie Winiecki, ASB Advisor at Yelm High School.

O Bee received over 25 designs for the contest. “It was hard to choose a winner, said Shannon Grant, Manager of O Bee’s Yelm Branch. “There’s a lot of community pride in Yelm. We all live and work in Yelm and it has a distinct history and unique character all its own. We think the winning design has really captured that,” she added.

Ernest Ziegenfelder, a sophomore, was the first place winner. His design depicts Mt. Rainier with the Yelm prairie in the foreground. “We have a really good view of Mt. Rainier, so I definitely wanted to put that in,” said Ziegenfelder. “I’m kind of surprised I won. People were saying ‘I hope you win,’ but I thought with the whole school involved the odds of winning were going to be tough. Halfway through the process I almost quit, but I stuck with it and I guess it worked!” he added.

O Bee Presents $500 to Yelm High School Administrators (l to r) Carrie Winiecki ASB Advisor, Yelm HS, Shauna Hergert, Alicia Damron and Shannon Grant of O Bee and Corrina Durocher, Assistant Principal, Yelm HS.

O Bee Presents $500 to Yelm High School Administrators (l to r) Carrie Winiecki ASB Advisor, Yelm HS, Shauna Hergert, Alicia Damron and Shannon Grant of O Bee and Corrina Durocher, Assistant Principal, Yelm HS.

Tyler McIntosh and Cam’ron Stovall won second and third place respectively with $250 and $100 awards. Honorable mention went to Cheyenne Lombardi and Quinton Lincoln who won $25 each.

The winning design will be unveiled at the Yelm Prairie Days parade. The students who won will be invited to ride on the O Bee float featuring the new Famous Yelm card. All winning designs will be on display at O Bee’s Yelm Branch through the month of July.  

About O Bee Credit Union: O Bee Credit Union (The Olympia Brewing Co. Employees and Families Credit Union) is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. It was started February 16, 1955, by Ted McGill, who worked in the bottle house of the brewery. This full service, non-profit credit union, owned by its members, has five branches located in Lacey, Tumwater, Tenino, West Olympia and Yelm. Membership is open to all Washington residents. Visit for more information about O Bee Credit Union.

Cheap(er) Ways to View the US Open around Olympia

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/10/2015 - 6:54am



By Alyssa Ramsfield

pints logoChambers Bay Golf Course plays host to this year’s US Open Championship for golf. The event is set to impact the South Sound with thousands of extra visitors. Most of the championship rounds are already sold out, but there are still multiple ways to be a part of this momentous occasion for a fraction of the cost.

Practice Rounds

To get a glimpse of the pros for a deep discount, check out the weekday practice rounds June 15 - 17. Tickets are first come, first serve while supplies last. Adult tickets during these events are only $50 versus the championship round tickets that can sell for thousands.

chambers bay

The picturesque Chambers Bay Golf Course will host the 2015 U.S. Open.

Junior tickets are also available on-site at the admission gates. Children 12 and younger are free of charge with a paid adult ticket. A maximum of two junior tickets are free for each paid adult ticket. Tickets for children 13 to 17 are a discounted $20 per day during practice rounds and $40 a day during championship rounds.

With an updated I.D., active and retired military personnel may receive complimentary practice round tickets. Active military can also purchase up to four practice round tickets each day to share with family and friends for only $25 each.

Community Activities

The Open For All Community Activities surrounding the US Open Championship is just that – open to everyone in the public free of charge. On June 17 - 21 fans can make the trek north to South Lake Union Park in Seattle and have a full US Open experience. This includes exhibits showing the science behind golf, an Epic Putt Challenge, viewing of historic moments in USGA history, and booths featuring official US Open merchandise. The official fan experience is open from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily.

us open

Pints and Quarts is one local venue that will be showing the golf tournament.

The US Open Kickoff Celebration focuses on the heart of the community surrounding Chambers Bay. These free, public events will include a color guard flag raising ceremony and the opportunity to take photos with the US Open Championship Trophy. This opportunity takes place Sunday, June 14 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Visit a Local Viewing Party

Local eateries will be on par with daily viewing parties during the US Open Championship. If you want to stay in Thurston County, you have a variety of excellent choices. Check out O’Blarney’s for your chance to watch the championship rounds on their multiple HD television screens. While you’re there, be sure to try some of their classic Irish recipes.

Another great place to view the Open is Pints and Quarts. With three convenient Thurston County locations (Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey) any golf fan can find a seat to enjoy the show. Their Happy Hour starts at 2:00 p.m. on weekends which aligns with the first championship rounds.

Swing into the celebrations across Puget Sound and enjoy this once in a lifetime event.


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