Recent local blog posts

Surfer’s Syrah Earns “Excellent” Review

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 7:40am



Submitted by Westport Winery

westport wineryGreat Northwest Wine issued an “Excellent” review this week on Westport Winery’s Surfer Syrah. Within that posting they tell the story of the grapes’ extraordinary lineage via Discovery Vineyards in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills.

“Famed manager Paul Champoux consulted on this 30-acre site up to his recent retirement, as the list of clients that owners Kay and Milo May sell to is a rather heady list. The Roberts family in Westport now enjoy pulling fruit from this decade-old vineyard, and their Syrah is intense with purple fruit and framed by toasty oak. Aromas of brown sugar, Marionberry, dark plum, black olive and dark chocolate are matched on the silky palate, which picks up hints of cherry pipe tobacco, black licorice, teriyaki and pomegranate acidity. Suggested pairings at the winery’s on-premise restaurant include surf and turf, and proceeds from the sales of this wine are sent to the South Beach Emergency Medical Service.”

The winery’s owners Blain and Kim Roberts value vineyards that have multi-generational interests so Carrie, their daughter, general manager and cidermaker, and Dana, their son and director of winemaking, will have legacy partners in the future. The Mays who also share a Grays Harbor connection with the Roberts (Kay Hudson May is an Aberdeen High School alumni) have two adult children who have worked with them in developing their vineyards over-looking the Columbia River about 30 miles west of the Tri-cities.

This 2012 vintage of Surfer earned a double gold medal and Chairman’s Award at the Riverside International Wine Competition earlier this year in California. The winery’s tasting notes suggest this is “the Edgar Allen Poe of wine, dark, brooding and intense.” The label features a photograph of winery co-owner Blain Roberts surfing an overhead wave at Maui’s Honolua Bay in the 1970s prior to founding Lahaina Divers.

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with the unique outdoor sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery was named Best Northwest Wine Destination in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

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


2014 Boss of the Year Honorees Selected

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 7:22am



Submitted by The Thurston County Chamber 

The fifth annual Boss of the Year recognition, sponsored by the Thurston County Chamber and Express Employment Professionals, will be presented at the Chamber’s December 10 Forum.

This year, three individuals will be recognized – Steve Hall, City Manager of the City of Olympia, Dr. Yong Liu, Microbiology Laboratory Director at Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Rae-Lynn Bidon, Chief Operating Officer at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates.

Selection criteria was based on exceptional leadership in the workplace through innovation, communication, vision, execution, ethics, service and/or knowledge.  Supporting staff members played a role in their boss’s nomination. From there, Saint Martin’s University business students played a key role in the selection process, interviewing finalists and gathering data for the selection committee.

Join us as we recognize and celebrate these individuals for their leadership in the workplace.

Forum is held at Saint Martin’s Norman Worthington Center on Wednesday, December 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m..  The cost is $35 general admission, $25 for online prepaid Chamber members and $30 for members at the door. Reservations are requested at

Forum is sponsored by:
Versoria, Pacific Northwest Auction Services and Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 6:48am



PanoramaI dumped the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers into the chicken coop this morning.  We have candy on the counter wrapped in red foil.  We plan to cut down the tree this weekend and of course our all-knowing Elf on the Shelf is making her rounds each night.  The holiday season is in full swing and our event calendar is packed with festive activities for you and you family.  Here is just a sample.  Use our full event calendar to find an activity that suits your fancy.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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


Jump Onboard with Santa this Holiday Season

Thurston Talk - Fri, 12/05/2014 - 6:00am



By Douglas Scott

Capitol City Honda sponsorThe holidays are upon us and children around the region, the young and young at heart, eagerly await the day they can visit Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas. In the past, Santa has been known to frequent malls and town centers; but the past few years, he has been seen taking in the sights of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. From the mountains to the waterways and the forests in-between, this winter tell Santa what you would like for Christmas in some of the most beautiful locations in the state.

santa events olympia

Santa and Mrs. Claus greet visitors aboard the Lady Alderbrook. Photo courtesy Alderbrook Resort.

Santa is a busy guy this time of year, so I was sadly not granted an interview. However, I did receive a nice email requesting that I highlight a few of his favorite stops around the region. While he insisted that he enjoys every location he visits, the following two spots are sure to leave you in a festive mood, both through the jolly of Santa and through the region’s natural beauty.

If heading to the malls to stand in line to see Santa Claus isn’t your ‘cup of cocoa,’ Alderbrook Resort and Spa is offering something truly unique. The beautiful resort on Hood Canal is once again organizing cruises with Santa, complete with a hot cup of cocoa.

Each Saturday in December from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., the resort’s private yacht, “Lady Alderbrook,” takes an hour-and-a half cruise on Hood Canal. The Cocoa Cruise with Santa doesn’t just show off the sights of the majestic Olympic Mountains, it also has entertainment. From Santa reading stories and sharing cookies with those aboard to enjoying sipping on delicious cocoa while looking at snowcapped mountains reflecting off the water, this event is like no other Santa event in the Pacific Northwest.

santa events olympia

The Lady Alderbrook travels around Hood Canal with the scenic Olympic Mountains for a backdrop. Photo courtesy Alderbrook Resort.

The cost is just $10 for children, $15 for seniors, and $20 for adults. Reservations are strongly recommended, as space is limited. Call Alderbrook at 360.898.2145 to save your seat. Show up early and snap a complimentary photo with Santa.  He is at Alderbrook Resort from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. each Saturday in December.

Not everyone enjoys boats, which is why Santa wanted to make sure I mentioned that there is also an opportunity to ride a train near Mount Rainier with him. This holiday season, the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in Elbe, Washington, is giving your family the chance to ride an old steam train with Santa Claus himself at the foot of Mount Rainier.

The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad Santa Express travels to Mineral, Washington, about 40 minutes away from Elbe. While Mineral has a nice, new museum, the highlight of the trip is riding in one of the rocking cars, listening to the train whistle through the woods. Complete with holiday lights, traveling the local forest at the base of our iconic mountain with Santa is something I would have loved as a kid. Not only do you get to ride on on old steam train, but you get to ride it with Santa Claus. Making his way through the train cars, seat to seat, Santa makes sure he spends time and visits with every guest on the Santa Express.

santa events olympia

Santa stands near his train in Elbe, Washington aboard the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad. Photo courtesy Douglas Scott

The Santa Express in Elbe runs through December 22. Costing $31 for adults (ages 13-61); $24/youth (ages 5-12); $15/kids (ages 3 & 4); and free for kids 2 & under, this train is sure to become a holiday tradition in the Cascade Mountains.

Trains leave up to three times a day on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of December, but be aware that many of the trains are already sold out or are nearing capacity. Tickets to the Santa Express are available online from the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad website and should be purchased as soon as possible.

This holiday season, you have the unique opportunity to deliver your wish list to Santa in person at two very unique Pacific Northwest destinations. Sailing with Santa on waters of the Hood Canal or traveling through the forest and foothills of Mt. Rainier, the holidays come alive in Washington State. This winter, visit with Santa, sip hot cocoa, enjoy festive holiday snacks and experience the beauty of nature with Santa this holiday season.


All Your Friend’s Friends Film Debuts on KEXP!

K Records - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:12pm
The All Your Friends Friends documentary debuts Today on! All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255], a NW hip hop compilation album, is the brainchild of producer Smoke M2D6 and MC Eprhyme (as seen in above photog), who first came up with the idea to comb through K‘s catalog for samples that would act as the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Loosies, Not the Sky of Diamonds

Mojourner Truth - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 8:59pm

Plenty of people are posting about racism in law enforcement, as they should. Black and brown men have reasons to worry that don't really affect a white guy like me.

"Like me," including Middle Classness, and it's class and money that I want to speak about, to add to the conversation. Plenty of poor white people also have reason to worry about law being selectively enforced, and force selectively applied, but this post is not about saying white people suffer too.

No, I just want to ask why Mike Brown (alleged cigar thief) and Eric Garner (alleged seller of single cigarettes, or "loosies") met with deadly force in the course of their alleged crimes. Even assuming that the one guy was stealing smokes and the other selling them, it's hard to imagine that these were the most serious crimes of the moment, much less offences so heinous that the perpetrators needed to be shot multiple times or choked to death.

At the same instant when Eric Garner was executed extrajudicially in a part of New York where selling single cigarettes is a survival strategy, in another part of town men who stole billions of dollars, crashed the economy to an extent where selling loosies is a thing, and then extorted the US government for bailouts walk free. Not just free, but assured that they not only will not be stopped and frisked (or, in the 1%-er analogy, forensically audited), but that were a cop to ever lay a hostile hand on them, massive lawsuit-induced windfalls would follow.

Racism is real, even if race is not. White cops using superior numbers or firepower to overwhelm brown suspects is a shame and a problem; ultimately, it's a threat to democracy.

But so is the fact that police attention is strangely affixed on petty crimes. Call in four cops to take down one alleged cigarette seller, but leave the corporate executives alone. Hell, offer the oligarchs any out conceivable: from paying fines with shareholder money, to bankorruptcy protections, to failing to convene a grand jury identify individuals for indictment. They have diamonds on the soles of their shoes, so the criminal justice system shall not touch them; the sky's the limit for them.

Meanwhile, in the mud beneath the lowest societal rungs, poor people die at the hands of the police.

The Stardust Christmas Commotion at Harlequin

South Sound Arts - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 12:28pm
Amy Shephard, Leah Scofield, Bruce Haasl, Maggie LofquistHarlequin Production’s Stardust series is well known to South Sound theatergoers. There have been 19 performances in the series over 21 seasons. Discounting two shows in the series that were revivals, that’s still enough for regulars to know what to expect: pure holiday schmaltz and great music. The writing is thin and serves primarily as setup for songs, with highly unlikely conflict resolutions designed to tug at the heartstrings in the manner of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Christian Doyle, Amy Shephard, Mark Alford, Bruce Haasl, Leah Scofield

Edsonya Charles, Maggie Lofquist
The first 17 episodes were set during World War II and featured great swing-era music. All but two of them were set in the Stardust Club in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Last year’s The Stardust Christmas Blizzard moved ahead to 1957 and the heyday of rock and roll. This year’s The Stardust Christmas Commotion is a sequel to that one, set a week before Christmas 1958 with many of the same characters played by many of the same actors.
Maggie Lofquist, Jackson Jones, Mark Alford. All photos taken from Harlequin Productions Facebook page.
Louis (Christian Doyle) has been engaged to club manager Joy (Maggie Lofquist) for years. He has an endless string of excuses for putting off the wedding, and she’s afraid he doesn’t want to ever get married. Ricky (Jackson Jones) is a budding juvenile delinquent who helps Baxter (Mark Alford) with deliveries. Enter Zoe Mitchell (Edsonya Charles), a social worker in search of Eric, a runaway foster child, who turns out to be Ricky living under a pseudonym. If she finds him she’s going to turn him over to the state, which will put him in a home that in Eric’s mind amounts to a juvenile prison. Nobody at the Stardust Club wants to see that happen so while Zoe is there they hide him in the way theater folk would naturally think to hide someone in plain sight — costumes and makeup!

Meanwhile the Stardust Club has been contracted to host a wedding party for a bride and groom who are apparently the children of Mafia bosses. There’s a lot of rehearsing to do for the upcoming wedding entertainment —  an easy setup for hit songs of 1958 from bubblegum music like “Lollipop” by Ronald & Ruby to hard rocking songs like “Rockin’ Robin” to some of the tender ballads of the day and, of course, loads of Christmas songs.

It’s the music: nostalgic, hummable and danceable, that makes this show enjoyable, and the cast includes some of the best musical performers in the area. It’s hard to beat Doyle and Bruce Haasl teaming up on early rock hits. They do a wonderful “Volare” and later tem up on the do-wop hit “Come and Go with Me” with Doyle brilliantly taking the lead while Haasl does the bass part with style.

Jones is the surprise hit of the show. Only 17 years old, he’s got the stage chops of a mature and experienced performer. He owns the stage; he sings wonderfully, and he moves with sure rhythm. He also teams up with Alford for a smooth rendition of Don and Phil Everly’s “All I Have to do is Dream.”

Rounding out the cast are Amy Shephard, who dances her heart out and is responsible for the choreography, and newcomer to the South Sound, Leah Scofield whose big voice rocks the house. Plus musical director and band leader Bruce Whitney in the role of Russian expatriate bandleader Nikolai Feyodorov, singing and playing piano, sax and banjo. It seems like every year Whitney adds singing and speaking parts to his usual musical performance, and every year it’s a delightful surprise.
There is some great music in this show, though it leans a little too heavily toward the bubble gum spectrum. I wish there had been more songs from early rock legends like Elvis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, just to name a few. This show could use more raw, high-energy rock. Maybe next year…

WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays, 8p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. through Dec. 31
WHERE: State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., Olympia
TICKETS: prices vary, call for details
INFORMATION: 360-786-0151;

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 026

K Records - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:53am Download Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 026 NOW. The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. The artifacts for this episode of the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard are varied and diverse: Sub Pop U.S.A. underground sounds are unearthed; Kendl Wnter and the Lowest Pair share a banjo duet; host Calvin Johnson visits with […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Insulating Window Insert Workparty

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 11:15am
Event:  Sat, 12/06/2014 - 10:00am - 4:00pm

Insulating Window Insert Workparty

Saturday, December 6: 10 am - 4 pm
Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation
2300 East End Street NW, westside of Olympia

Learn a simple method to build insulating window inserts that can help you save on energy bills. Perfect for single-pane or aluminum windows.

Are your windows putting a CHILL on your comfort and your budget? Save energy, cut costs and help the environment while you learn how to build simple, low-cost interior insulating window inserts. These double layered windows fit snugly inside the window opening, are easily removable and can be made in custom sizes. They are built on a wood frame with shrink wrap and weatherstripping. 

We provide the tools and materials, you bring measurements and friends - and together we’ll build a set of inserts for your house (and for others) to stay warm and save money this winter

Workshop fees are sliding scale pay-what-you-can or $1 per square foot of window area to cover the cost of materials. An inexpensive way to reduce cold air infiltration, condensation and heat loss!

To Register contact: Joe Joy at or (360) 786 - 8092

Once you contact us, we will send you a Registration Form and Window Measurement Form.

The Work Party Series is provided as a community service project by the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation Green Sanctuary Committee. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

McKenny Elementary Students Make the Governor’s Christmas a Little Brighter

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 9:41am



By Lynn West

putnam lieb logoThe Christmas tree at the Governor’s Mansion is truly a work of art.  Walking past the imposing Evergreen was even more impressive knowing that K-12 students from around the state had created many of the ornaments. I might never have heard about this project if I hadn’t been eating breakfast with my fourth grade granddaughter one recent morning. With a forkful of pancakes in mid-air, she intently looked at the woods behind our house.  Knowing her Grandpa was into birds, she asked, “Is that a Scrub Jay on that branch?” None of us were as quick as she, so we missed it, but we certainly haven’t missed seeing the beautiful Scrub Jay ornament Lucy made for the Governor’s Christmas tree.

mckenney ornaments

Ms. O’Halloran’s students proudly share their bird feather ornaments

Lucy’s fourth/fifth grade classroom at McKenny Elementary in the Olympia School District is one of the eight schools chosen to participate in the ornament project.  Her teacher, Janet O’Halloran, suggested I contact Ann Banks, the Program Supervisor of the Arts at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, to learn more. Ann explained that Washington State’s first lady, Trudi Inslee, contacted her a year ago hoping students could help decorate the Mansion tree. She suggested a nature theme for 2013, and the response was good. However, according to Ann, “it was nothing like the overwhelming number of applications this year.”

Nisqually Middle School in the North Thurston Public Schools district was the other Thurston County school chosen to create the 2014 ornaments with the theme of Washington States’ native birds.

mckenney ornaments

Students place duplicate ornaments on their classroom tree.

Ms. O’Halloran invited me into her classroom to hear first hand from the student artists, and, of course, to see their ornaments.  In merging history, art and school pride, Ms. O’Halloran focused on Margaret McKenny’s (1885-1969) love of nature, and especially birds, in initiating the project with the students.

Sharing information about their school’s namesake became a flowing narrative. Fourth grade student, Allison Temple proudly told me she was not attending our city’s first McKenny Elementary School.  Many years ago, Margaret had started a school on the first floor of her home in downtown Olympia. Classmate Ryan McCabe agreed that was an important accomplishment, but reminded us that Margaret saved two of Thurston County’s most popular parks, Watershed and Nisqually.

Sam Hacker asked me, “Did you know that Margaret McKenny bought a car with mushrooms?”  My look must have been my answer, so he continued. “She was an avid mushroom hunter and wrote an important book on the subject.” More interesting to Sam was how she sold her bounty to local restaurants and purchased a car with her profits. Trying to top that one, Jackson Philbrook, a fifth grader, explained how Margaret McKenny’s passion for saving the wilderness and wildlife ran counter to her father, Brigadier General T.I. McKenny’s, constant desire for urban expansion. The pride all the fourth and fifth graders shared in their school’s namesake was evident.

After they learned more about McKenny’s efforts to save bird habitats, Lucy Brotherton, like the other fourth graders, was paired with a fifth grader, for their own native bird research.  After checking out books and websites, some teams, like Lucy and Bess Briggs chose one bird, the Scrub Jay in their case.

mckenney ornaments

Sam Hacker shares his Mom’s sample ornament.

Other students worked independently on two different birds.  Livia Ragan, like many students in the class, chose a specific bird because of personal experience. Livia said she sees many Black Capped Chickadees in her neighborhood, Sam said he never passes a pond without observing a Mallard, and Jackson’s mom had pointed out a Northern Flicker to him in their back garden.

However, drawing the entire bird was not possible because the specifications for the ornament were too small. The students researched the wings of their birds, starting with the website, The Feather Atlas.  After studying primary, secondary, and tail feathers, they began drawing a feather. To help them conceptualize the actual ornament, Sam’s mom Stephanie Hacker, who organized the art portion of the project, made a sample.  Once the feathers were drawn and pasted on to the ornament shape, the students began researching again.  The website 1001fonts helped them find the perfect script to replicate the bird’s name on the back of the ornament.  Some of the students chose to make an extra ornament to place on their little classroom tree.

When the Governor’s family room tree is taken down, the ornaments will be archived for future generations to enjoy.

If you haven’t seen the mansion tree yet, tours are available through December 17. To make a reservation, call the Department of Enterprise Services Capitol Tour Office at 360-902-8880.  It is almost a wildlife adventure, with all those amazing birds perched on beautiful green branches. An added bonus is they won’t fly before we can spot them.


It’s how you go about it

The Plum Palate - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 7:58am
This is the third of three posts required of food bloggers who attended the 2014 IFBC conference in exchange for a lowered conference fee. I determine the content and receive no compensation or gifts for mentions of products or organizations. I ate lunch at the counter at Lola after the International Food Blogger Conference, observing […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Lacey’s American Legion Post 100 Seeks Veteran Friendly Businesses to Honor with Award

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 7:11am



Submitted by American Legion Post 100

This year, American Legion Post 100 from Lacey is participating in an American Legion program that recognizes local businesses supporting  and hiring veterans. The group is actively seekingbusinesses who employ or in other ways support our local veterans and may be interested in applying for this award.

Businesses apply on three different levels based on the size of the business. A small business is a company that has 50 or less employees. The next level is a medium business, which is a company with 51 to 200 employees. The last one is a large business that has more than 200 employees. The businesses must meet the following criteria to be considered:

1. They must be a private business. State and local governments cannot compete. A business that is a franchise of a larger company can compete on its own.

2. The business must be operational for a minimum of 5 years.

3. At least 10 percent of the employees are veterans, but they cannot all be veterans.

All businesses competing in the contest will be recognized locally before the American Legion Post 100 group submits the finalist to the national headquarters.  While this is the first year that this contest is being run locally, it has been in existence nationally for many years.  Application requested by December 10, 2014.

If you have any questions or for more information on application, please contact Keith Looker at 915-929-6572.




Tips on How to Cut Your Own Tree In the National Forest

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 6:37am



By Douglas Scott

dkb restorationWith Christmas approaching, one of Washington’s cash crops is quickly being harvested and is getting sent around the globe. The Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association boasts that Christmas tree sales bring $35 million to the state’s economy, making The Evergreen State the fifth largest Christmas tree producer in the nation. Over 2.3 million trees in Washington are cut down each year for Christmas celebrations around the world, with 90% of production going out of state, the majority to California and Mexico. Many of the trees come from Thurston, Mason and Lewis Counties, which means that around the South Sound, we have some of the best Christmas trees in the world.

Washington’s forests are home to amazing trees of all kinds, and the National Forest Service is allowing you to get your own tree this Christmas. Here in the South Sound, we have an excellent opportunity to get a Christmas tree for just $5. Sure, the trees may not be the same shape as every other tree, but for $5, we are able to find out own unique and perfect tree.

christmas tree national forest

A child pulls along the “perfect” tree after cutting it in the National Forest. Photo credit: US Forest Service

In National Forests around the state, permits are being offered to the public looking for the ultimate experience in cutting down their own Christmas tree. At only $5, the permit isn’t nearly as popular as one would think.  In the Olympic National Forest, just 600 permits were gathered in 2013, and as of November 23, 2014, only 20 permits have been issued. Please note that each permit is good for one tree so if you are looking to get a few trees, you will need to secure multiple permits.

Christmas tree permits from Washington’s National Forests can be obtained from any of the National Forest Service offices around the state, as well as through the mail. The application, which is extremely simple, can be downloaded for nearby Olympic National Forest here. Be aware that you can only pick up a permit for the forest in which you are cutting down a tree; so if you are looking to get a tree from outside Olympic National Forest, you’ll need to find the forest service office in the region you are getting a tree. There are a few other rules officials would like you to know before finding your perfect Christmas tree.

Selecting a location

christmas tree national forest

Just $5 buys you the chance to hike into the National Forest and select your Christmas tree. Photo credit: US Forest Service

In National Forests, all evergreen species can be cut down. Trees can be cut along the roadway and the understory. However, if you are going to be hiking to find your tree, you must be 100 feet away from the trail. The same distance of 100 feet also applies to those looking to get their tree near a campground or the trailhead itself. Trees are also not to be removed from wilderness areas, which are typically a few miles from most trailheads in National Forests. A reminder: The permit you obtained is only valid for the forest at which it was purchased.

Selecting a Tree

Once you have decided on an area for where you will get your tree, you need to be aware of a few regulations about which tree you can take.  In National Forests, all evergreen species can be cut down, but there are some rules on what size of trees can be taken and where the tree needs to be cut. Trees standing alone, without a tree within 10 feet, are not to be cut. You are also strongly encouraged to take the smaller of the trees, keeping the taller, more healthy trees in the forest. Topping of trees is also not allowed, and all trees need to be cut from as close to the ground as you can. Be aware that if you decide to take a western hemlock as your Christmas tree, the needles will start to fall off in one week, even with the tree being watered.

Taking a Tree Home

national forest christmas tree

The National Forest Service has tips and videos to make tree cutting easy. Photo credit: US Forest Service

Once you have cut down your tree, National Forest Service officials require you to immediately attach the tag you receive with your permit to the tree.  If you are hauling more than five trees, the National Forest Service requires a hauling permit, which will need to be picked up and discussed in a National Forest Service office. Make sure you properly secure your tree on your vehicle, using tie-downs as much as possible to avoid losing the tree on a roadway.

Get more information.

The National Forest Service has numerous tips and videos for cutting down your own Christmas tree, and they are more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have, either in person or on the phone. While not from the direct region, the Mount Hood National Forest has put together a great video to ensure you are not only being law abiding while finding your tree but also selecting the best possible tree.


The 50-50 Rule: Program Helps Siblings Overcome Family Conflict While Caring for Aging Parents

Thurston Talk - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 6:36am


Submitted by Home Instead Senior Care® 

Olympia Home Instead Senior Care Advises Family Caregivers to Keep a Close Eye on Older Adults during Frigid Temperatures

Olympia Home Instead Senior Care offers solutions for aging adults wishing to stay in their homes.

A long-time employee of an accounting firm, Mary has been waiting for this promotion for years. “This job is just what I’ve dreamed about all my life,” she excitedly told her best friend. But then Mary’s mom fell and broke her hip. As the youngest in the family and her mom’s presumed favorite, Mary suddenly is thrust into the role of family caregiver and is struggling to keep up with the demands of her new job. “I hate the feeling that I have to choose between caring for my mom and a new job all because my siblings won’t help.”

Situations like this are among the family conflicts that caregivers encounter each day while caring for aging parents. Caregiver stress, life-and-death medical crises, financial problems and property disputes often become part of the ongoing saga of a family’s caregiving story. Relationships between adult brothers and sisters can suffer as a result.

That’s why the local Home Instead Senior Care® office has launched the 50-50 Rule®, a program that offers strategies for overcoming sibling differences to help families provide the best care for elderly parents.

“Any South Puget Sound family that has cared for a senior loved one knows that problems working with siblings can lead to family strife,” said Kelly Cavenah, Administrator of the local Home Instead Senior Care office serving Lewis, Mason, Thurston & Grays Harbor Counties. “Making decisions together, dividing the workload and teamwork are the keys to overcoming family conflict.”

The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age (50) when siblings are caring for their parents as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share in the plans for care 50-50. Research

Sharing the responsibility of caring for aging parents tends to begin around age 50.

Sharing the responsibility of caring for aging parents tends to begin around age 50.

conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network reveals that an inability to work together often leads to one sibling becoming responsible for the bulk of caregiving in 43 percent of families. And that can result in the deterioration of relationships with brothers and sisters.

“If you’re 50, have siblings and are assisting with the care of seniors, it’s time to develop a plan,” Cavenah said. “This program can help.”

At the core of the 50-50 Rule public education program is a family relationship and communication guide of real-life situations that features practical advice from sibling relationships expert Dr. Ingrid Connidis from the University of Western Ontario. She says that relationships among siblings should be protected.

“Like all relationships, siblings have a history,” Connidis noted. “Whatever happened in the past influences what happens in the present. Regardless of their circumstances, most siblings do feel a responsibility to care for parents that is built from love. And that’s a good place to start – optimistically and assuming the best.”

Even the best of circumstances, though, can cause a strain for a family dealing with the issues of an aging parent. That’s where the free 50-50 Rule guide of family situations will help brothers and sisters struggling with any number of topics from trying to divide care and work better as a team to dealing with end-of-life issues. In the guide, Connidis addresses situations, like the one described at the beginning of this release, with practical advice.

The guide and a website at will offer a variety of additional tips and resources for siblings. For more information, visit the site or contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 360.570.0049. “Sometimes problems can be alleviated with a little extra home care for seniors and respite for family caregivers,” Cavenah said.

HISC - Senior citizenThe extra effort will be well worth it, Connidis explained. “Siblings are sometimes the only family relationships that endure. After parents, siblings are the ones we’ve known the longest. So there is a depth of empathy we can tap into that goes back to that relationship. When I look at my brother, I still see that little boy playing in the back yard.  And I can still remember caring for my little sister. Those memories are what motivate us to care for our parents and each other. It’s what keeps us connected, even when we’re different. That sibling relationship will continue after parents are gone; research suggests that siblings don’t want to harm their relationships with each other.”



Your local Home Instead Senior Care agency was founded in 2007 with mission to serve seniors and employ Certified Nurse Assistants & Home Care Aides across the South Puget Sound community.  At Home Instead Senior Care, it’s relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere. With a great staff and round the clock availability, they focus on quality over quantity.  Read more about Home Instead Senior Care by clicking here.


Just because Bud Blake won a county commission seat doesn't mean an independent can win in the 22nd LD

Olympia Time - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 5:52am
When you think about politics in Thurston County, the 22nd legislative district is the Democratic liberal juicy middle in what is a pretty typical rural or suburban western Washington county. This is where the urban communities are, this is where the liberals are.

This is a district that hasn't elected a Republican since 1980 when W.H Garson of Tenino went to the legislative building. This is also when the 22nd LD was big enough geographically to send someone from Tenino to the legislative building.

Just a side note: since Thurston County population shot through the roof in the 1970s, I'd assume that redistricting was particularly unkind to Republicans in the 22nd in the 1980s. What probably happened was the district shrank geographically given the boost of urban population, giving it its liberal contour today.


Bud Blake was the first conservative to win a county commissioner seat in Thurston County for a long time, most likely because he ran as an independent against a Democratic. And, he won in a convincing fashion.

I was wondering if a county-wide election for a Republican in independent clothing meant the same sort of strategy could equal the same result in the smaller, liberal 22nd LD. Well, it does not.

But, man, it would be close. If you isolate the 22nd LD precincts (the way I did in that link above), you see a pretty tight race. Democrat Karen Valenzuela would have won with just over 51 percent, or 2,000 votes out of over 40,000.

But, a win is still a win.

That said, I think a legislative race would have been even harder for an independent (especially a conservative one) to win over a Democrat. I suspect that strictly partisan issues (like abortion, environmental protection, taxes) could be isolated in a way that they couldn't be on a local general government election.

Olympia Film Society presents the 12th annual Duck the Malls Holiday Arts & Craft sale

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:38pm
Event:  Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:00am - 4:00pm


Shop downtown for the holidays at this awesome local craft fair taking place inside the historic Capitol Theater! The sale was created to support local and independent artisans and artists in the South Sound and visual art programming at the Olympia Film Society.

Now in its 12th year, Duck the Malls has become a holiday tradition and offers a unique opportunity to shop locally, creatively, and alternatively for the holidays and support true craftsmanship! Over 50 vendors and open until 4:00pm! logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Christmas Forest: A Dazzling Display for a Good Cause

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 3:22pm



By Margo Greenman

providence christmas forest

Providence St. Peter’s Foundation Christmas Forest is an annual tradition, now in its 27th year.

What’s your favorite part of Christmas? Is it sharing in the splendor of the season with friends and family? Baking gingerbread, sugar cookies and other holiday treats? Or perhaps it’s the tradition of gathering around a spruce or fir and spending an afternoon decorating its branches with twinkling lights and festive baubles? The latter has always been a personal favorite of mine. However, as I am just beginning to start preparations for my own Christmas tree, many local designers have already put the finishing touches on more than 40 thematic wreaths and trees for Providence St. Peter Foundation’s Christmas Forest, on display through Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Red Lion.

Now in its 27th year, the generosity of local sponsors, designers and the community has made Christmas Forest Providence St. Peter Foundation’s principal fundraiser, bringing in more than $8.6 million over the years in support of  local health care and Providence’s mission-driven programs.

This year, a special program was chosen as the event’s “fund-a-need:” the expansion of St. Peter’s palliative care program. By creating an outpatient clinic and extending this service to patients who are not hospitalized, Providence will be able to provide more people with access to relief from the pain, discomfort and stress commonly caused by serious and complex conditions.

providence christmas forest

Elaborately decorated trees are on display at the Red Lion in Olympia through Saturday, December 7.

“The goal of palliative care is to come to the patient and help them live the best life possible, for as long as possible,” said Providence Palliative Care Medical Director Dr. Gregg VandeKieft. “Our team is trained to help relieve pain and suffering caused by serious illnesses, so the patient may live the fullest life they can.”

When Olympia resident Thomas Terry’s mother became terminally ill, he wasn’t fully aware of the benefits palliative care had to offer. In fact, palliative care wasn’t even available at the hospital in Delaware where Thomas’ mother was being treated. But, once Thomas and his wife, Priscilla, learned more about palliative care from a friend, they both became immediate supporters, wishing palliative care had been an option for Thomas’ mother.

“Palliative care provides people going through a difficult situation with someone who can help you identify what your options are, knows what the trade-offs are, and who can help you work through that maze. It’s like an independent view that helps you manage the situation better,” explained Thomas. “We’re all going to go through end of life and there are going to be complications. With more and more of us aging older, palliative care is going to become a more critical need.”

Thomas’s wife Priscilla is a member of Providence St. Peter Hospital’s Community Board, and both husband and wife are excited that this year’s Christmas Forest is supporting a service they are equally passionate about. “I think it’s such a worthy cause,” said Thomas. “It’s going to be such a good addition to the community health services available in Thurston County.”

providence christmas forest

Jennifer Wright assists in decorating Olympia Sheet Metal’s tree for Christmas Forest.

With the support of donors, Providence’s goal is to have the clinic open and ready for patients by June of 2015, a goal which the Providence St. Peter Foundation believes will be made possible from monies raised at this year’s Christmas Forest.

By partnering with community sponsors and Thurston County’s best designers, Christmas Forest offers a dazzling display for the community to feast their eyes upon during five days in December. In addition to the display, which is open to the public with the cost of admission, Christmas Forest also plays host to a variety of other festive events throughout the week, all culminating with the highly anticipated Gala Dinner and Auction on Friday, where the trees are auctioned off to the highest bidders.

providence christmas forest

The finished tree is ready for viewing. It takes the Olympia Sheet Metal designing team a full day to prepare the tree.

Jayme McBride has been designing trees for Christmas Forest for 14 years, and she says every year is different. Each year Jayme, her sister and her grandmother choose a different theme for their tree. This year they chose “White Christmas.” McBride says preparation for the event usually begins the day after Christmas when they hit the after-Christmas sales and stock up on ornaments. In the summer, the trio gathers to talk logistics, including what Olympia Sheet Metal, the family business, will contribute to the tree. This year’s tree features large snowflakes and stars fabricated from metal.

But, it’s the days leading up to the event that are especially busy. “We decorate the entire tree in one day. We work from 8 a.m. until around five at night. Everything has to be wired down – each light, every twig, and all of the ornaments have to be wired in place.” Multiply Jayme’s tree by 40, and you have Christmas Forest – a twinkling, ornate display with purpose.

Christmas Forest, located at the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, kicks-off today, with events taking place throughout the week like Ladies’ Night Out on Wednesday, Silver Bells Breakfast on Thursday, the Gala Dinner and Auction on Friday, and more. Admission to Christmas Forest is $6 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 and younger.

For more information about Christmas Forest, including a full calendar of this week’s events and a sneak peak at the trees, visit Christmas Forest’s website.


Make-Up Sound Verite – It’s a Session, Man.

K Records - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 2:29pm
You have been waiting for it, anticipating it and now your impatience is rewarded: the K Mail Order Dept. is serving up the Make-Up album Sound Verite [KLP064] on vinyl LP for the first time in one million years. Originally released in 1997, Sound Verite was the result of Make-Up interrupting their cross-country tour with a stop-off […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Annual “Reindeer Run” Benefits Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:56pm


Submitted by  Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers

Saint Martin's UniversityRunners and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited to take part in the annual “Reindeer Run” in support of the Olympia-Thurston County chapter of Crime Stoppers.  The event will feature a certified 5K run as well as a free one-mile Candy Cane Run.

The Reindeer Run is set for 9 am on Sunday, December 7 at the Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE Olympia.  Runners can register on-line at or   In store-registration can also be done at South Sound Running-3405 Capitol Boulevard in Olympia.

The day will feature a Christmas themed costume contest, a visit by Santa Claus and lots of other fun.   Sponsors include the Hands On Children’s Museum, South Sound Running, On the Run Events and Club Oly Running.

All proceeds from the run will benefit the non-profit programs of Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers.  Some background on this chapter-

Over the past 20 years-

  • More than 900 suspects have been arrested
  • 922 criminal offenses were cleared
  • 829 rewards were paid for a total of more than $160,000
  • The value of stolen property that was recovered was more than $1.8 million
  • Nearly $7-million in narcotics were taken off the streets

For more information on the “Reindeer Run” please call 360-561-0266

All Your Friend’s Friends Movie Premiere Friday!

K Records - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 10:57am
Do You hear that sound? It’s the Northwest hip hop compilation All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] blowing up on cels worldwide, causing irreversible damage to Headz and other weird-outs. The All Your Friend’s Friends compilation was produced by Smoke m2d6 and Thee XNTRX utilizing samples from K albums past and present, by such artists as Jeremy […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
Syndicate content