Recent local blog posts

Sisters Annie Johns & Amy Evans Treat You Like a Guest at Spruce and Bon Lemon

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 6:56am



By Kelli Samson

heritage bankI am a fiercely loyal customer. No one was more surprised than me when I broke up with my decade-plus aesthetician after just one visit to Spruce.

And why? Well, it’s a combination of things that all add up to feeling pampered. Why would anyone want to feel anything less?

Annie Johns, founder of Spruce, opened her doors in 2009. Massage therapist and friend Alison Herd of Kneaded Relief joined Johns at her location. “We’ve got a really good working relationship,” smiles Johns. It wasn’t long before John’s sister, Amy Evans, turned the duo into a trio of adjoining, female-owned businesses by opening up her well-curated shop, Bon Lemon, in an adjacent space.

spruce bon lemon

Spruce owner Annie Johns and Bon Lemon owner Amy Evans are two sisters lucky enough to share a work place.

The businesses have unique products at a great value that I do not see anywhere else in town. The hosts are charismatic and positive. “We are aware that we wouldn’t be here without our customers. We feel like they are family, and we want to give them a special experience,” says Amy Evans, proprietress of Bon Lemon.

Adds her sister Annie, “Our clients aren’t lucky to get in. We are lucky that they chose to be here. We never want to take that for granted.” This customer-based philosophy is amplified at the recently-opened new location of Spruce, Bon Lemon, and Kneaded Relief, located together at 4419 Harrison Ave NW in Olympia.

The strong customer base of each woman’s business has lent itself well toward what Evans calls “a very symbiotic” model where the three institutions easily share clientele.

The rest is a sparkly, well-polished history. “We’re lucky,” chime the sisters.

Annie Johns is a woman with a quick laugh and a twinkle in her eye. A self-described tomboy growing up, she is now a busy mama of two small children. She used to be an economist, but that didn’t make her heart sing. “I worked at Hoopla for three years, and I loved being there and helping women. I liked connecting with people. I decided I wanted to use my brain for creating a business that could go in many different directions, so I went to esthetician school.”

spruce bon lemon

For a full line of Votivo candles and other gifts to delight your friends, Spruce and Bon Lemon is your one-stop gift shop. You may as well get a facial while you’re in!

“Annie’s really good at the business side of things,” boasts her sister.

Spruce employs the cheeky mantra “We are not high maintenance, just well maintained.” These words guide the customer’s experience while receiving services. Makeup, waxing, and other skin care regimens are not presented as guilty-pleasures. Rather, they are smart, routine maintenance procedures for today’s modern woman (or man).

Spruce’s clinical skincare products are located on one side of the concierge’s desk, and Bon Lemon’s baubles can be found on the other. The space is very intentional. Spruce boasts a plethora of lotions and potions for everything from eyebrow care to sun blocks, serums to the perfect remedy for ingrown hairs. “I only stock natural, clinical skincare, which can be really hard to find,” explains Johns.

Evans, a former lawyer who has currently been filling in as the interim executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, embraces the motto “when life gives you lemons, put on something sparkly.“ Bon Lemon’s products include all kinds of jewelry at reasonable prices. She even has a jewelry bar where customers can choose from a selection of charms to make their own, customized necklace.

spruce bon lemon

The new location for Spruce, Bon Lemon, and Kneaded Relief was a labor of love.

In addition to jewelry, Evans showcases scarves, champagne glasses, and fun tank tops. She teams with Sarah Quartucci and Brenna Weaver in deciding which items to buy for the shop. She has a special set of shelves just for the things she is currently in love with, and they consist of eye candy (and real candy) at its finest.

“Altruistic capitalism” is very important to Evans. “I believe that meaningful employment is what changes communities.” She currently donates 25 percent of Bon Lemon’s profits to charity. “We try to support charities in all the places where we have customers,” explains Evans.

“I admire that my sister is so philanthropic,” says Johns.

What’s refreshing about Evans is that she shows that women can be socially conscious and still have fun. Every Friday she hosts a happy hour from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., complete with champagne and 20 percent off of selected items.

And did Johns and Evans, sixteen months apart and both graduates of Capital High School, ever envision themselves sharing a business space?

spruce bon lemon

Spruce carries quality candles, makeup, and skincare products.

Not at all.

Like many sisters, they irritated one another growing up. But family ties run deep, especially in their clan, and they found their way back to one another.

The sisters are very different, but they have a strong commitment toward both their relationship and business. “We want to be generous with one another,” says Evans. “We both want to be professional but fun. We really want success for one another,” adds Johns. “Amy’s a risk-taker, and I am more conservative. It works out.”

All three businesses recently made the move from a space on Limited Lane. The location was charming, but they were out-growing it. Spruce had recently expanded from three to four estheticians with the recent hiring of Natalie Hubbard in order to better meet the demand for their services.

The new location was funded and constructed by the Morris family, owners of JA Morris Construction and MPH Holdings. “They really partnered with us and shared our vision. Everything came out exactly as I expected,” explains Johns. The location features a modern ambiance – lots of windows, vaulted ceilings, and funky fixtures. The treatment rooms are all separated from the lobby area so that Johns, Hubbard, Chelsea Bouchee, and Ryane Bensley can be serving guests quietly.

The sisters’ dad has hand-constructed many of the fir-accents in the shop, including shelves and stump end tables, each contributing a unique and earthy feel to the space.

spruce bon lemon

Bon Lemon owner Amy Evans takes a cue from Oprah with her “Favorite Things” shelf. She explains, “The little luxuries are what life’s all about.”

“Our family has always been interested in design, and the design of this whole space has been a family activity,” states Johns.

Another bonus? The new location will give the trio of businesses much greater exposure to the public.

“Right now, this is super fun for us,” concludes Evans. “Who knows what the next chapter will hold?”

You can help the sisters celebrate their official grand opening by dropping in anytime from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. on August 12 to fill the new space with lots of sparkle. You can learn more about Spruce at and Bon Lemon at

Spruce, Bon Lemon and Kneaded Relief

4419 Harrison Ave NW in Olympia

Appointments: 360-701-1380



Grandma And Grandpa Get the Cheers At Washington’s Senior Games

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 6:00am



By Gail Wood

oly fed sponsorThe one-time cheerer has become the cheered. It’s role reversal.

Because of the Puget Sound Senior Games, the grandparent who once cheered for the grandchild to get a hit, score a basket or make a tackle, they are now the ones getting the cheers, the “that away” yells.

“All of us, at this age, have had kids and grandkids that we’ve supported at games,” said Jack Kiley, president of the Puget Sound Senior Games. “This reverses that. You see grandkids cheering on their grandmother as she’s swimming to the finish in the 100 meters.”

There’s going to be lots of cheering.  From July 24 – 27, the Washington State Senior Games will organize 25 events at sites throughout the South Sound, drawing over 2,300 contestants.

senior games

The senior games will be competing at 25 sites throughout Thurston County between July 24 – 27. Photo credit: Burton Johnson

From track, where 97-year-old George Rowswell will again be throwing the shot put, to swimming and softball, there will be competitors from across the Northwest entered. Since the inception of the Senior Games 18 years ago, turnout has grown from 183 in all sports in its first year to 2,207 two years ago. Kiley is expecting an even bigger turnout this year.

“We’ve grown a lot,” said Paul Kelly, commissioner for the field events in track. “These games are among the biggest attendance in the nation.”

Kelly, who has helped put on the event each year as a volunteer since its inception, credits the huge turnout to the quality of the organization. The turnout and the passion shown in athletes involved has kept Kelly coming back year after year. He plans on retiring this year.

“I have a lot of passion for it,” Kelly said. “I’m more of a field events guy. I was never a runner. I was  a thrower. There isn’t any other place in the world that I’m happier than at the track. I’m your classic track rat.”

The mission of the Washington State Senior Games hasn’t changed. It’s about fitness, about getting senior citizens off the couch and into some sport.

“Our fundamental theme has always been to get off the couch,” Kiley said. “You probably did something in high school or college. Why don’t you think about getting back to that?”

senior games

Pat Kenworthy (161) takes the lead in the 5k road race and doesn’t look back, winning the race and the 50-54 age division with a time of 19:08.3 last year. Photo by Burton Johnson.

The Senior Games, with its wide variety of sports, offers plenty of reasons to get off the couch. The events for this year’s Senior Games are archery, basketball, badminton, bowling, cowboy action shooting, cycling, dancing, golf, pickleball, power walking, race walking, racquetball, 5 & 10K runs, rock climbing, shuffleboard, soccer, softball, swimming, ping pong, tennis, track, trap shooting and volleyball.

Track, after drawing about 20 competitors in its first year, has drawn as many as 236, making it one of the more popular events. Softball, with about 600, has the biggest turnout.

Typically, at the end of the 800 meters or after a point in tennis, their will be a pumped fist, a celebration. Even if they’re gray haired or no haired, that inner drive to win hasn’t faded.

“Absolutely,” Kiley said. “They aren’t going to give in. They are going to do whatever it takes. They’re going to go kicking and screaming.”

There is a perception that if you’re older than 60 then you are too old to care or to old to try. Kelly said there will be plenty of examples this week contradicting that perception.

“I don’t think you ever get rid of those competitive juices,” Kelly said. “I think they’re always going to be there. To get the opportunity to get out there and do it against people your age really sharpens up the competitive drive.”

senior games

Joe Gilfillan blasts out of a sand trap on hole #9 during the senior games. Photo by Larry Stranz

Kelly said the heart of the Senior Games is “health and well being and fitness” for people over 50. The average age of entrants is the late 60s. But it’s not about winning. It’s about getting off the couch.

“Our games need not to be intimidating and welcoming to anyone who wants to come out and do it,” Kelly said.

Rowswell, who coached the throwing events at North Thurston High School from when the school opened in the 1950s up until three years ago, is the oldest entry. He continues to inspire.

“You won’t find any more committed seniors than that,” Kelly said.

Kiley has been a driving force to the Senior Games.

“He’s good at it,” Kelly said. “He does an incredible job. I don’t know where he gets all the horsepower to do what he does, but he does it.”

Kelly encourages people over 50 to join in on the fun, fellowship and friendly competition. He wants them to sign up with a friend and start training at the South Sound YMCA, health club, fitness center or in your own home. The Washington State Senior Games is a registered non-profit organization that relies on individual and corporate financial contributions to continue to provide these games.

For more information visit




Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 5:00pm

Thursday, July 17, 8pm

Dead To A Dying World —> on tour from Dallas, TX!

UZALA —> ripping stoner doom from Boise/Portland!

Shadows —> yr fave local psych doom band!

Burial Suit—> awesome local metallic hardcore!

Facebook invite!


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Experienced Planner, Kell McAboy, Joins SCJ Alliance

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:24pm



Submitted by SCJ Alliance

Kell McAboy, AICP, joins Olympia-based SCJ Alliance.

Kell McAboy, AICP, joins SCJ Alliance as a Senior Planner.

Kell McAboy, AICP has joined SCJ Alliance as a Senior Planner. SCJ is a consulting firm specializing in transportation planning and design, civil engineering, and land use/environmental planning.

“Kell thrives in working through complex regulatory environments, finding solutions that benefit both the community and individuals and that are legally defensible,” said SCJ Senior Vice President Jean Carr, LEED AP BD+C. “She has experience across Washington State and great expertise related to the State’s Shoreline Management Act and Growth Management Act. We look forward to our clients benefitting from Kell’s many skills.”

McAboy heralds most recently from the Port of Tacoma where she was the Senior Planner for five years. Prior to that she served Mason County as the lead planner for complex and controversial land use and shoreline permit applications. McAboy also has planning experience with the City of Spokane and City of Airway Heights, located just east of Spokane.

Consistent with SCJ’s culture, Kell has a collaborative approach to problem solving. She was the project manager for many successful endeavors including the Port of Tacoma’s Land and Transportation Plan, Comprehensive Scheme of Harbor Improvements (CSHI), Shoreline Public Access Plan, Tideflats Area Transportation Study.

Since its founding in 2006 as Shea Carr Jewell, SCJ has grown steadily from three employees in one location, to nearly 60 employees in six locations across three states — Lacey, Seattle, Vancouver and Wenatchee, WA; Boise, ID; and Westminster, CO.

Some of SCJ’s current high visibility efforts include planned transportation improvements around Joint Base Lewis-McChord spanning five miles and four interchanges; civil engineering for WinCo Foods across the United States; an environmental assessment of the historic Tumwater Brewery site; civil engineering design for a 120-acre industrial parcel for the Port of Tacoma; and the High Roller in Las Vegas, the world’s largest observation wheel.





SPSCC Student Kangiser Wins Gold at SkillsUSA Championships

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:20pm



Submitted by South Puget Sound Community College


Front row L to R: High School medalists—Silver-Abigail Ramsey, Allen High School (Texas); Gold-Aracelis Salce, Atlantic County Institute of Technology (N.J.); and, Bronze-Ian Sinclair, River Ridge High School (Wash.). Back row L to R: Postsecondary/College medalists—Silver-Michael Valdivia, Chaffey College (Calif.); Gold-Mike Kangiser, South Puget Sound Community College (Wash.); and, Bronze-Schwann Brown-Richardson, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (Ga.). Photo courtesy of SkillsUSA.

South Puget Sound Community College Automotive Technology student Mike Kangiser claimed a gold medal at the SkillsUSA Championships in Kansas City, Missouri. Kangiser claimed gold in Customer Service at the June 23-27 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

The championships included keynote speaker Mike Rose of “Dirty Jobs” fame, and included more than 17,000 in attendance. Kangiser said the event was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“To have my name called at the top, gold-medal contestant in my field in such grandeur was an unforgettable moment,” he said. “I felt fortunate to differentiate myself from a large field of candidates.”

“He represented our school very well,” SPSCC Worker Retraining Program Manager Christina Winstead, who accompanied Kangiser on the trip, said. “He was an outstanding delegate for our school. And he did amazing.”

SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of career and technical education students and to encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations. Working against the clock and each other, participants proved their expertise in job skills for occupations and through competitions in leadership skills. The customer service contest evaluates students’ proficiency in providing customer service. Contestants demonstrate their ability to perform customer service through telephone and computer skills, communications, problem solving, conflict resolution and business etiquette.

Kangiser also won the state competition in April at in Pasco. SPSCC student Steven Severson placed third in the state competition in extemporaneous speech. Thanks to his nationals win, Kangiser is now invited to the WorldSkills competition in 2015 in Brazil. He plans to fundraiser to try to make the trip.

Saint Martin’s University Adds Two New Degree Programs, One New Minor

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:15pm



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martins CourtyardSaint Martin’s University will begin the 2014-2015 academic year with two new programs leading to a bachelor of arts degree, the first in communication studies and the second in educational studies. The University also will offer a new minor in social justice this fall.

The programs, approved by the University’s Board of Trustees and the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, bring the number of majors offered by the University to 25.

Associate Professor of Communication Irina Gendelman, Ph.D., who is the director of the communication studies program, describes the major as an interdisciplinary program in which students will study the central role of communication in society by using critical and cultural studies to understand it. The major will provide an overview of various areas of communication. It also will examine self-reflective citizen engagement and creation of communication media, she says.

“Our program focuses on social justice and critical cultural theory, developing critical thinkers who are also engaged citizens,” Gendelman says. “It is a perfect fit for students with diverse talents and interests. With our area’s rich cultural environment, governmental backdrop and deep traditions of activism and originality, the program will be an excellent fit.”

She says the major will prepare students for careers in a variety of fields, from those focused on production – such as public relations and advertising – to more theoretically oriented fields. Students also can use the degree as a springboard to graduate studies in several fields.

Joyce Westgard, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education and Counseling Psychology, says the University’s new educational studies program is designed to teach individuals the best teaching practices to support learning and how to administer learning programs. While it does not lead to teacher certification, it provides students with the in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to become effective teachers in those non-school careers in which teaching is an important element.

Belinda Hill, Ph.D., who chairs the School’s department of educational foundations and will be directing the new program, says, “While students majoring in the new program are gaining solid skills in the broader field of education  they develop a specific focus area to meet their career goals from one of five areas offered. For instance, a student interested in a career with a cultural component might choose foundation studies in education and culture, a focus that would prepare him or her to work with international students, immigrant services, teaching English abroad or teaching English as a Second Language.”

Other focus areas offered are early childhood education, community education, health and fitness, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Saint Martin’s new social justice minor explores the complex nature of social justice and alternative venues that foster justice, says the program’s originator, Robert Hauhart, Ph.D., J.D., professor of criminal justice and legal studies.

The new interdisciplinary minor, which complements a major in fields such as political science, criminal justice or sociology, focuses on non-legal forms of justice in society and the corresponding societal settings for injustice. It will offer many innovative courses, including a course in Genocide Studies being taught for the first time this fall.

“I teach criminal justice and legal studies, which are the official systems for justice in the United States and for most other countries,” he says. “One learns the outcomes from those systems are not always just. There are students who are looking for alternate routes that foster justice, who are committed to justice but do not see themselves working within either the criminal justice or legal systems.”


Hands-on Cloud Identification

Maria Mudd Ruth - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:09pm
What kinds of clouds are these? Aren't sure? Stratus? Cumulo-something? Do you need a field guide or an app? No.

What kinds of clouds are these? Aren't sure? Stratus? Cumulo-something? Do you need a field guide or an app? No.

It's not altocumulus, mid-level clouds with individual cloudlettes the size of your thumbnail when you hold it at arm's length 30 degrees above the horizon. (Some say altocumulus are between one and three fingers wide.

It's not altocumulus, mid-level clouds with individual cloudlettes the size of your thumbnail when you hold it at arm's length 30 degrees above the horizon. (Some say altocumulus are between one and three fingers wide.

It's not cirrocumulus, higher clouds with cloudlettes the size of your pinky nail (or rice grains some say).

It's not cirrocumulus, higher clouds with cloudlettes the size of your pinky nail (or rice grains some say).

They are larger than my they could be cumulus or stratocumlus but....

They are larger than my they could be cumulus or stratocumlus but....

...these are even bigger than my very large outstretched hand. The clouds don't have well-defined edges, flat bases, or the look of cumulus clouds. This leaves stratocumulus--a large, lumpy cloud that forms at low altitudes and is often formed as layered stratus clouds (fog) rise as they move inland over low hills. These clouds come in a variety known as stratocumulus fractus, which are the smaller (factions) of the stratocumulus cloud as it breaks apart or evaporates. Sure enough, when I checked the National Weather Service's forecast discussion, the morning cloud cover was described as "low clouds" and "stratus" and were predicted to rise, evaporate, and give way to mostly sunny skies.

...these are even bigger than my very large outstretched hand. The clouds don't have well-defined edges, flat bases, or the look of cumulus clouds. This leaves stratocumulus--a large, lumpy cloud that forms at low altitudes and is often formed as layered stratus clouds (fog) rise as they move inland over low hills. These clouds come in a variety known as stratocumulus fractus, which are the smaller (factions) of the stratocumulus cloud as it breaks apart or evaporates.

Sure enough, when I checked the National Weather Service's forecast discussion, the morning cloud cover was described as "low clouds" and "stratus" and were predicted to rise, evaporate, and give way to mostly sunny skies.

Categories: Local Environment

Savor South Sound at the Thurston County Fair

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:08pm



Submitted by The Thurston County Fair

whitewood cider

 Photo credit: Whitewood Cider.

It’s time to savor the best flavors that Cascadia brewers, ciderists, and vintners have to offer at the second annual Savor South Sound at the Thurston County Fair.

The two day event will highlight over a dozen local producers with a focus on unique recipes, blends and techniques with a Pacific Northwest touch. Savor will also feature local shellfish prepared by the Nisqually Indian Tribe and farm-to-table tastings by Friends of the Market.  Organized by WSU Extension Thurston County, food tasting is new to Savor this year.

“The tasting event hearkens back to the traditions that make county fairs so special,” said Lucas Patzek, Director of WSU Extension Thurston County. “County fairs have historically been one of the only times each year when farmers, craftsmen, and businessmen could market and showcase their products. Our goal with Savor South Sound is to tap into that tradition and celebrate what’s growing and brewing right here in our own backyard.”

You’ll sample creations from South Puget Sound favorites like Fish Tale Ales, Whitewood Cider Co., Madsen Family Cellars, Stottle Winery, NW Mountain Winery, and Kastellan Brauerei. From the greater Cascade region we’re also featuring Dick’s Brewing (Centralia, WA), Stina’s Cellars (Lakewood, WA), Vino Aquino Winery (Tacoma, WA), NoLi Brewhouse (Spokane, WA), Hoodsport Winery (WA), Bateaux Cellars (Toledo, WA), 10 Barrel Brewing Co. (Bend, OR), and Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider (Portland, OR).

A ticket to the event is just $10 and includes a commemorative Belgian-style beer glass and five tasting tickets (ticket price is in addition to cost of Fair entry). The event is located at the Gazebo Green near the Food Court Stage on Friday, August 1 and Saturday, August 2 from 5:00 – 10:00pm. Bring your Market Sale bid number on Saturday for $3 off the ticket price.

This year’s Fair will also include the second annual Live and Local Concert Series featuring regional music sensations like The Brown Edition, The Blackberry Bushes, and DBST. You’ll also find time-honored activities like the tractor pull, judged contests and 4-H and FFA youth proudly preparing their livestock for Market Sale.

This event is presented by The Thurston County Fair Foundation, WSU Thurston County Extension, and Fish Tale Ales.  Visit for more information about Savor South Sound and other happenings at this year’s fair. Savor is a 21+ event.


K Records - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 2:49pm
Last week I took a much needed vacation. Polly and I biked out to Grayland State Park on the Washington Coast and laid around on the beach. Got sunburned. Whenever I travel I like to do field recordings.  Most field recordists are looking to isolate and capture specific sounds, but I’ve always been much more […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Center Stage: Spotlight on Evergreen Trees and Shrubs

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:52pm



Submitted by The Plant Place Nursery

Evergreen shrubs and conifers rarely get the spotlight, but they are a vital part of a well-rounded landscape plan.  Evergreens provide essential background and filler; a framework for other more noticeable plants.  What would a beautiful portrait be without a lovely frame?  Who would pack a fragile vase in a box with no padding?  Evergreen shrubs are that padding;  Mother Nature’s bubble wrap surrounding perennials and flowering shrubs.

If you already have beautiful, seasonal flowering plants, but it still seems like something is missing then maybe what your garden needs is some trusty, hard-working evergreen trees and shrubs.  They come in so many sizes, shapes, and colors ranging from dark green to lime yellow.  Give your landscaping that ‘little something extra’ that will set it above the rest.  Fill in the gaps, plump up your garden, and go from wonderful to WOW with evergreen trees and shrubs, the unsung heroes of home landscaping.

Now is the perfect time to shop at The Plant Place Nursery Retail Lot located at3333 South Bay Rd. NE Olympia, WA 98506.  Come see us from July 15th – August 9th for our big Summer Sale:  Everything is 15% off.

Evergreen8 Evergreen 12 Evergreens 1 Evergreen 8 Evergreen 13 Evergreen 5 Evergreen 14 Evergreen 6 Evergreen 10 Evergreen 4 Evergreens 2 Evergreen 11 Evergreen 3 Evergreen 9 Evergreen 7


Olympia Firefighters Rescue Window Washer

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:08pm



Submitted by Olympia Fire Department

olympia fireOlympia Firefighters responded to a report of a fallen window washer just before 10:00 on July 17, 2014.  Two window washers were working on the back side of the Capitol Terrace Apartments, a six floor complex at 1517 Capitol Way south in Olympia, just up from the capitol Campus.

The first arriving unit, Olympia Ladder Truck found two window washers, believed to be from Ace Window Cleaning, hanging from their safety lines on the back of the building.  One window washer was bleeding from the head.

Three Olympia Firefighter crews immediately went to work on the rescue.  One crew accessed the patient through a window on the fifth floor.  A second crew went to the roof to assure that the safety lines would continue to hold the window washers and their malfunctioning window washing platform.  A third crew carefully moved the articulated ladder truck into the narrow alleyway behind the building and extended the ladder up to the window washers.

olympia fireCrews assisted the first window washer out of their tangled equipment and down the ladder.  This person was treated for a head laceration and transported to the hospital.  The second window washer was then helped down the ladder.  He was uninjured.

Olympia Fire Department responded with one engine, one ladder truck, a medic unit, and a command unit.  The County Special Operations and Rescue Team (SORT) was dispatched but not needed.  There were no injuries to any of the firefighters during the rescue.

Olympia Fire Department remained on scene until a representative from the state of Washington Department of Labor and Industries arrived.


P.W. Elverum Posting for the Unknown!

K Records - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:42am
Here’s Phil Elverum of P.W. Elverum & Sun stepping out of his auto in Olympia while making the rounds of prime posting locations. Ms. Mariella Luz greets him with her usual aplomb: Mr. Elverum carefully places a poster for the Anacortes Unknown Music Series on the door of the Dub Narcotic Studio: The Anacortes Unknown […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Flowers by Susan Christian

South Sound Arts - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:17am

The Weekly Volcano, July 17, 2014

Artist and gallery owner Susan Christian worried that it might not be kosher to exhibit her own paintings at her own gallery, Salon Refu, but many friends coaxed her into it so she set up a show of her own paintings — not her most recent work but some odd little flower paintings she did about 20 years ago. As with many of Christian’s paintings, these take some getting used to.
In order to explain why her work takes some getting used to I have to look back to about 1989 or 1990. She was doing paintings that I thought were too sparse and inelegant. Minimalist painting is hard enough to like because there’s not much there; so what is there has to be outstanding, striking in form and color. But her paintings were not so striking. What stands out most in my memory was a series of mountains — nothing so grand or exciting as, say, Cezanne’s faceted views of Mount St. Victoire, but rather just a lump of  a mountain with ground and sky, all painted with very little variation in form and rather dull in color. But the more I looked at them the more I began to realize that there was something strong, unpretentious, yet audacious about those paintings.
These flower paintings have much the same quality about them. They grew out of a series of batiks she attempted after a trip to Thailand in about 1994. They are paintings in acrylic on plain brown wrapping paper. Most of the pictures are of no more than two little clumps of flowers with one or two blooms on sinewy tendrils that either snake out from the edges of paintings or float on a flat, monotone background. There is no way to describe them without them sounding clunky and unappealing; yet I like them very much, and the longer I look at them the more I like them.
They also have cool titles like “Chastity,” “Remember My Name,” “Warning the Tourist” and “White Music.”
There are a couple with small clumps of flowers floating on acid yellow backgrounds that are particularly pleasing, and a group of four small paintings on the south wall on black backgrounds that seem to defy logic. Flowers at night visible without light or displayed on black velvet like specimens? These are some of my favorites.
“Warning the Tourist,” an acrylic painting with collage is the largest work in the show and the one that is totally different from all the rest. There are mountains and sea and smack-dab in the center a collaged image of flowers that look like they came out of a catalog. Something about this one reminds me of paintings by Fay Jones, although it’s not nearly as strange. I’m not crazy about this one, and it does not fit with the rest of the show.
Another one that I like a lot is called “Snake.” I like it because of the intense pink on the edge of a white flower and because of the strangeness of the circular form on the bottom left edge of the painting. I guess it is an unopened flower bud.
It may seem ironic, but one of the reasons these paintings are good is that the flowers are not particularly lovely. This is an admittedly personal bias: I have an aversion to paintings of beautiful subject matter like flowers and sunsets and pretty but coyly posed nudes. The ART should be beautiful, not the subject matter. If you just want pictures of pretty subjects, photographs are just fine. Christian’s flowers are not beautifully arranged and are on the verge of being wilted, so what you see is not the beauty of the flowers but the aesthetic quality of the colors, shapes and placement on the paper, and the visual interaction between the subject and the background. The placement and stark simplicity of the flowers — the slap-dash quality of the painting — makes the nuanced backgrounds come alive. Furthermore, these paintings do not look contrived; they looked like they just happened. I strongly suspect that Christian did not give much thought to what she was doing but approached the pictures in the manner of an athlete or a dancer, without much conscious thought but trusting that years of practice and study are ingrained in their bodies, eyes and hands, which react almost independent of thought.
This is a good show to see and maybe go back and see again.
Salon Refu, Thursday-Sunday, 2-6 p.m. through July 27, 114 N. Capitol Way, Olympia.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thrifty Thurston Throws Snowballs during Christmas in July at Huntamer Park

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 8:08am



By Kathryn Millhorn

huntamer park

Huntamer Park is the site for many family friendly outdoor events throughout the summer. On July 26, it will be Christmas in July at the park.

As much as we revel in long days, cool evenings, and free vitamin D, sometimes the sunny weather can overdo it a little.  With this in mind, the wise souls behind Lacey In Tune’s Summer Concerts in the Park are hosting a freebie that’s sure to do the trick: Christmas in July.

On July 26 at 7:00 p.m. make your way to Lacey’s Huntamer Park in Woodland Square for snacks, entertainment, snow (yes, I said snow!), and even a visit from Santa himself.

The fun begins with a concert featuring David Correa and Cascadia, a Latin guitar and international fusion band known for their global influences.  With the mood set, the night is simultaneously warming up and cooling down.

“There are just so many fun things about Christmas that we thought we’d bring a little Christmas cheer to Lacey on a warm summer night,” says Jeannette Sieler, Recreation Supervisor for Lacey Parks and Recreation.  “After the concert by David Correa and Cascada featuring world music and summer sounds, we will shift gears and celebrate.  We will have snowball fights, snow to play in, a fun ‘gingerbread tent’ making activity (think s’mores meet gingerbread house with a camping theme) and it’s going to snow.”

olympia toy run

While Santa will likely not be arriving via motorcycle, he will be in attendance during the July 26 Christmas in July festivities at Huntamer Park.

Sieler enthusiastically adds that Santa will also be making an appearance. “Then we’ll settle in for a showing of ELF on the giant screen in the park,” she describes.

Lacey In Tune offers an array of summertime entertainment, from mid-day musical offerings to evenings of family-friendly comedy.  These amazing movie and music nights are BYOB (bring your own blanket or chair) and snacks are available either from on-site vendors, nearby restaurants, or your own picnic basket.  Concerts start at 7:00 p.m. with movies beginning at dusk on a large, easy to see screen.

After the music has died down, the last snowball has been thrown, and you’re ready to sit in the dusk digesting a belly full of gingerbread, it’ll be time for the enthusiastic arrival of Buddy the Elf.  Whether or not you can finish the quote of “Santa’s coming!” with “I know him!,” you’ll be sure to laugh the night away.

Lacey In Tune is one of our region’s best freebies for a reason.  Where else can you be swept away by such a motley cast of characters all for free?

Lacey In Tune 4Because Huntamer Park is accessible either through plentiful parking or via any of the busses which pass through the Lacey Transit Center, it’s an easy evening out.  Bear in mind that Intercity Transit busses only run until approximately 9:00 p.m. so arrange a ride home if that’s your preferred mode of transportation.

Come early, stay late, and have a wonderful night of community and laughter.  If you enjoy the evening and don’t want the fun to end, there will also be movie and concert pairings on August 2 and 9.  August 2 features Terry Holder, a performer of original heartfelt songs, followed by The Lego Movie, and the season wraps up with Global Heat’s hip hop soul with break dancing and world beats and a double feature of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2.

As Buddy the Elf would say, don’t be a ‘cotton-headed ninny muggins’ and miss this truly magical evening.

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.

Springer Plumbing: 25 Years of Dedicated Service to the Community

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 7:31am



springer plumbing

Diane and Ron were both raised in Thurston County and met in high school.

To Ron and Diane Springer plumbing is not just about responding to the drip, drip, drip of your faucet. It is about providing top professional and caring service to a community where they have grown up their entire lives.

“We have helped many grateful customers who have been told their plumbing fixes will be thousands of dollars, often resolving the problem for a fraction of the cost,” say Diane Springer. “Because of our decades of experience and our genuine care for customers we get to the root of the problem.”

It is the reason people have come to trust Springer Plumbing over the more than a quarter of a century it has been in business. The local company was voted the 2013 Best of South Sound for Plumbing Service. And, for the last two years they were recognized with the Super Service award on a national online business referral website, Angie’s list.

Their experience goes back for generations

Ron Springer is a third generation master plumber who has followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

Ron’s grandfather, Art McMurry was a plumber, a school bus driver and he helped start the Black Lake Fire Hall. His example left a legacy, not only with Ron who used to tag along when Art was on a job, but also with the community where Art lived.

“We actually have people who call for help and say, ‘I rode the bus with your grandpa and we want you for the job.’” Diane Springer relates. “The legacy speaks volumes about the heritage and experience that Springer Plumbing brings to a job.”

springer plumbing

Ron and Diane Springer holds customer service paramount in their plumbing business.

Ron Springer’s dad, who was also a plumber, owned Olympia Plumbing and Heating. Now Ron and Diane’s daughter, Kara, serves as the company’s administrative manager and is taking the business into its fourth generation. It is truly a family business.

Ron and Diane Springer were both born and raised here in Thurston County and met in high school at the age of 17. This is their home and they take their obligation to the community very seriously.

“We grew up here and our name is on our business,” Diane emphasizes. “We wanted to take the fear out of calling for plumbing service. It is not just a repair call to us. People can trust our family to care for theirs.”

From beginning to end, they understand a plumbing system

Ron and Diane opened the doors of Springer Plumbing in 1989 debt-free with one step van and were focused on new residential construction.

Both Ron’s grandfather and father had relationships with many contractors, which helped the third generation of plumbers launch their business.

“Our years of experience in new construction provide the background for understanding plumbing systems from the beginning to end,” says Ron. “Plumbers are the first subcontractors in after a home is framed and they begin with just a water source and lay out the entire system.’

Diane can remember bringing her three daughters Crystal, Kara and Courtney to their Dad’s job site where Ron was proud to show them the accuracy and detail of his work. He would even be somewhat disappointed when the walls went up and covered over the well-laid pipes.

After several years, Springer Plumbing diversified beyond new construction and included plumbing service and repairs, answering calls for help from individual homeowners, landlords and tenants, the bulk of their business today—the people they call friends and neighbors.

It is about community service

springer plumbing

Volunteering in Thurston County is important to the Springer Plumbing team.

Ron and Diane both work for Rebuilding Together, volunteering their time to provide critical home repairs for women with children, veterans, their widows, disabled people and the elderly. Diane has served on the board of the non-profit for two years.

“We want to give back to the community,” says Diane. “We also want to be great role models for our daughters. I volunteered every year at their schools as they were growing up. That was a huge blessing.”

The Springers have a strong presence at most Lacey and Thurston Chamber events and networking groups, always extending their smiles, handshakes and attention to others.

“We love to be out in the community meeting other business owners, Realtors, property managers, landlords and homeowners,” says Diane. “We help them and they help us. It is all about relationships and community.”

Springer Plumbing has the highest skills

Ron Springer is a master plumber, the highest level for the profession, which requires thousands of hours of experience, rigorous testing and continuing education requirements.

“Code books and manuals change constantly and you need someone who stays up to date on that information,” says Ron. “Plumbing helps protect the health of our nation and our community’s access to clean water and sanitation. It is something that often people take for granted, but we are very serious about our profession and the service we provide.”

springer plumbing

The Springer Plumbing crew has more than 50 years of combined experience. Ron Springer (center) is flanked by his team, Tim (left) and Darin (right).

The Springer Plumbing crew includes another master plumber, Darin, and an apprentice plumber, Tim.

“We are proud that we have more than 50 years of plumbing experience to address any problem a homeowner might have,” Ron says about his crew.

In addition, the local company strives for premium customer service that matches its superior plumbing skills and knowledge.

“We have worked with the folks at Springer Plumbing for several years now,” says one client with several rental properties. “Springer is who we always go to with our needs as they are professional, courteous, neat, reliable, experienced and competitively-priced. They always respond quickly, arrive on time and get the job done with minimal disruption to the home.”

Springer Plumbing


Office Hours: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm


Lacey In Tune – Summer Concerts and Movies

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 7:08am



Photos by Morgan Willie

xeroxSummer wouldn’t be the same without the popular Lacey In Tune summer events.  Huntamer Park, centrally located in Lacey, hosts a series of summer entertainment including outdoor concerts and evening movies.  The family-friendly affair is perfect for people of all ages.  Bring a picnic and enjoy a concert during your lunch break or an outdoor movie with the kids that night.

To find out more details, including the complete schedule, click here.


Lacey In Tune 12 Lacey In Tune 4 Lacey In Tune 1 Lacey In Tune 5 Lacey In Tune 8 Lacey In Tune 9 Lacey In Tune 11 Lacey In Tune 13 Lacey In Tune 7 Lacey in Tune 6 Lacey In Tune 2 Lacey In Tune 14 Lacey In Tune 15 Lacey In Tune 3 Lacey In Tune 10


South Sound Solar Powering our Homes and Businesses in Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 6:00am



South Sound Solar-PergolaSouth Sound Solar is the local leader in sales, engineering, design and installation of solar electric and solar hot water systems. They specialize in both commercial and residential turnkey systems.

As a small family owned business, Dever Kuni, Vice President proudly admits “Solar is all we do.”  And according to customer feedback they do it well.

One example of South Sound Solar’s plethora of satisfied customers provides proof that solar panels do not always have to be placed on the roof of a house. They installed solar panels on their backyard pergola. One family even rebuilt their chicken coop so solar panels could be the roof.

South Sound Solar advises on possible locations of a solar system as well as types of solar such as photovoltaic (PV, Solar Electric) which is the most cost effective form of solar in Washington as well as passive solar and solar hot water.

Eastside Big Tom’s and Old School Pizzeria are two local business examples of a South Sound Solar designed and installed Solar Hot Water System.

Additionally, South Sound Solar recently completed an installation of thirty-three solar panels on the Olympia branch of the Timberland Regional Library. The solar panels produce enough free energy from the sun to power the lighting in the library. The installation was the outcome of a collaborative energy and water conservation effort from the City of Olympia, LOTT, Puget Sound Energy, Washington Department of Enterprise Services, and Ameresco.

The Timberland Regional Library as well as all residences and businesses can track their solar system’s performance online.

One of the best ways to learn more about how South Sound Solar powers our community is at the annual Thurston Solar Tour.  South Sound Solar has been a lead sponsor and organizer of the event for 6 years. The tour opens local homes and businesses that have solar installed, giving the community a chance to speak with homeowners, not sales people. The Thurston Solar Tour takes place the last Saturday of September.

To learn more about how solar can work for your home or business visit the South Sound Solar website by clicking here, calling 360-352-7869, or attending an upcoming informational workshop.


Do we have to wait until Dan Evans dies before someone writes a biography?

Olympia Time - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 5:57am
Scoop Jackson, Warren Magnuson, and Tom McCall all have biographies.

The Secretary of State's Legacy Project has released biographies of Slade Gorton, Booth Gardner and John Spellman.

Cecil Andrus has a really good biography. "Fire at Eden's Gate" about McCall is better. But, the Andrus one is really good.

Scoop and Maggy cast a longer shadow in Washington, sure. McCall is probably the most inspiring Cascadian politicians. But, at least in terms of 20th century executives in Washington State, none is more powerful and interesting that Dan Evans.

And, there is no biography. Hell, even Nancy Evans had a full oral history.

Dan Evans is a totem in our politics. A "Dan Evans" Republican or a "Dan Evans" anything is the symbol of a rational, friendly to the environment, good for business politician. Evans served three terms and has been the only governor to serve three consecutively.

Biographies are oftentimes the best history. People moving through history, changing the context around them. It can be pretty good reading. And, arguably, no single governor has guided Washington through more interesting times that Evans.

So, why no Evans book? 

UPDATE 7/17/14 12:43 p.m.: Apparently Evans has been working for decades on an autobiography (thanks Deb Ross). From the Nancy Evans oral history:
...the week before Scoop died Dan had called the chair of the Evergreen trustees, Thelma  Jackson, because he wanted to write this autobiography he’s been working on for so long.  He had actually started doing some research, and started organizing the governor’s years, and going back into his own childhood – those sort of things.  So he had gott en that far, but not really doing research like he is now.  So he asked for an appointment with her.  And he was going to tell her that he would work unti l the following June, but then he wanted to leave Evergreen. He wanted to write his book and then do something else. He didn’t know what – just something else.
 I'll be honest though. What I want isn't what I want. What makes a book like Fire at Edens Gate so good isn't just that it tells you the facts of a politicians life, but that it carries that life through the broader context of our communities and does it honestly. More honestly than could be done for an authorized biography (Shelby Scates on Magnuson or even John Hughes on Gardner) and much more honest than the subject can do on themselves.

It is great Evans is working on his autobiography. I want someone else to take a crack at it too.

CANCELLED- Mark Nelsen (of Electric Shepherd) and guests

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:00pm

Wednesday, July 16th, 8pm

Cancelled, bummer! Maybe next time…


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 002

K Records - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 11:03am
On this edition of the Pink Elephant’s Gravecast Calvin Johnson explores the new Mirah album Changing Light [KLP253], the Barcelona record label Chin Chin, with a listen to their artists Los Urogallos and Las Chinchetas. There is a brief discussion of Gutterfest, a small press fair, which dovetails well into the Pine Hill Haints and their […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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