Recent local blog posts

Foofaraw 2015

Thurston Talk - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 7:05am



Photos by STS1 Aaron B. Skellenger

 STS1 Aaron B. Skellenger  STS1 Aaron B. Skellenger  STS1 Aaron B. Skellenger  STS1 Aaron B. Skellenger  STS1 Aaron B. Skellenger

Picking the Perfect Pet in Olympia (and the Supplies to Go With It)

Thurston Talk - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 6:51am



By Alyssa Ramsfield

sunset airLike many parents, I have a child who is obsessed with animals. My daughter is constantly interacting with our dog and two cats and she recently showed an interest in getting a fish. There is a lot of responsibility that goes along with being a pet owner and I’m not sure my toddler is ready just yet. However, if your family is ready for a new furry (or scaly) addition, I’ve compiled some local resources in your pet seeking quest.

When it comes to finding the perfect pet for any Thurston County family, the first place to look should be the local rescues and shelters. Joint Animal Services serves the entire county and hosts a variety of different pets. Dogs, cats, bunnies, hamsters and more can be found here throughout the year.

Joint Animal Services has been bringing families together through pet adoption throughout Thurston County.

Joint Animal Services has been bringing families together through pet adoption throughout Thurston County.

The major advantage of adopting through Joint Animal Services is that for a small fee, your pet will be spayed or neutered, microchipped, licensed, and receive their first set of immunizations before going home.

Cats cost $62 to $64 and dogs are $77 to $81 no matter the age, breed or gender. Other pet costs vary, but for all animals adopted from Joint Animal Services you are getting a bargain.  Just the cost of the spay or neuter for a “free” pet will exceed the adoption fee.  Plus, you are helping provide a home for an animal who doesn’t have one.

Another helpful rescue in our area is Feline Friends. With a focus on cats, volunteers from Thurston and Mason counties help to keep stray cats off the street. Adult cats adopt for $65 and kittens are available for $75. The adoption fees collected help to pay for your cat to be spayed or neutered, receive vaccinations, and get treatment for common parasites.

Concern for Animals is another adoption program located in Olympia and offering services throughout Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties. The non-profit has been helping pets and pet owners in our area for over 34 years. Animals are rescued, cared for until healthy, and then taken to adoption events to find their perfect home. Concern for Animals has adoption events throughout the year across the South Puget Sound.

The new Concern for Animals building, offering pet adoption as well as low-cost medical and pet food needs for local families,  was completely remodeled by Rob Rice and his sub-contractors at no charge.

The new Concern for Animals building, offering pet adoption as well as low-cost medical and pet food needs for local families, was completely remodeled by Rob Rice and his sub-contractors at no charge.

In addition to their adoption services, Concern for animals focuses on helping low-income families with low cost spay and neuter services, a pet food bank, and veterinary assistance for those who qualify.  The group relocated in 2013 to a new, permanent facility, remodeled for free by local builder Rob Rice of Rob Rice Homes.

Rob and his wife Helena are big animal lovers and consistently support the group including sponsorship of their annual fundraising “Toast for Tails” event held this year on November 14. “Concern for Animals is doing great work in our community with the services they offer, such as spaying/neutering for pets, pet food banks and veterinary bill help for families,” shares Rice.

Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton consistently has a wide selection of dogs looking for loving homes.  From older dogs to puppies, pomeranians to labradors, Adopt-A-Pet has it all.  The caring shelter volunteers really get to know the dogs ensuring you get a good match.  Watch ThurstonTalk each Monday for their Dog of the Week.

If you can’t find the perfect match at a local shelter, downtown Olympia’s The Pet Works offers small animals and a plethora of supplies. This store keeps their shelves stocked with locally sourced treats, pet food, and toys. Healthy and happy reptiles, rodents, fish and birds can be found regularly.  With three locations (Astoria, Longview, and Olympia), and over forty years of experience, their knowledgeable staff can help anyone take care of that special, four-legged, finned or feathered family member.

After you have found your perfect pet, you might be looking for a supply store.  Two that specifically focus on cats and dogs are Fluffy & Floyd’s, in Tumwater and Bark Avenue in Lacey. These stores specialize in local treats, accessories, and toys. Fluffy & Floyd’s offers self-service washing stations, professional grooming and training sessions. Bark Avenue supplies an array of health conscious food to keep your pet in tip-top shape.

For supplies from the barn to the aquarium, Yelm Farm and Pet have locals covered.

For supplies from the barn to the aquarium, Yelm Farm and Pet have locals covered.

Finally, for those of you with pets too large to keep in the house, check out Yelm Farm and Pet. With a slogan “The Poop Starts Here”, this is a store with a focus on livestock. From horse shampoo to goat chow, this place covers all of their barnyard basics. It’s a great place to find anything your family may need for a pet on the farm.

In Olympia, Eastside Farm and Garden offers an in-town option for livestock supplies, food, and even the occasional barnyard animals, too. Read more about this locally owned business here.

It’s easy to find some incredible, local options to find the perfect pet and and all the supplies that needed to make them feel right at home. Now for the hard part, deciding on which pet is just the right one for your family.


Dick Wadley – Business Mentor with a Big Heart

Thurston Talk - Sun, 09/13/2015 - 6:00am



By Kathy Perciful

fastsignsWhat does an Operations Vice President for State Farm do after retirement? Play golf? Travel extensively? Take life at a leisurely pace?

Not Dick Wadley, a Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) mentor and former South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) trustee.

In 2000, after retiring from State Farm, Dick decided to pay back to the Thurston County community. He particularly wanted to be involved in business-related education. SCORE is a natural fit for Dick. It has allowed him to get to know business people, their abilities and capabilities, and help them move forward and take the risk to grow their businesses.

olympia score volunteer

Dick Wadley is a business mentor, volunteering with SCORE.

As a part of the Small Business Administration family, SCORE has over 13,000 volunteers nationwide. It is a free, confidential service to people in any stage of the business cycle. From pre-startup planning where business ideas are being introduced, through the growth of a business and financing options, the SCORE volunteer mentors have in-depth knowledge and expertise. Another key component to mentoring is providing an experienced set of eyes to suggest resources and guide business owners to find their own solutions for other issues that present themselves. Mentoring can be done in person or online.

The Lacey chapter of SCORE has been co-located with the Thurston County Economic Development Council for the last 14 years. SCORE and its nine volunteers will be following the EDC when they move to the Center of Business and Innovation at SPSCC’s new Lacey campus (4220 6th Avenue, Lacey) in September. Locally, the Lacey Chapter provides workshops on Business Startup and in-person mentoring.

Over his 14 years as a volunteer, Dick has assisted over 1,000 businesses. One of Dick’s local clients is Cabinets by Trivonna, located at 4444 Lacey Blvd SE. Dick introduced himself and the capabilities of SCORE soon after Trivonna Irwin opened the business in 2008. Two years later, Trivonna’s husband, Ross Irwin sought Dick’s help.

score volunteer olympia

Dick Wadley and Trivonna Irwin, a SCORE client are reviewing a cabinet design at Cabinets By Trivonna.

“Dick helped us in so many ways. We began to understand about Quickbooks, forecasts and sales goals. He directed us to Ron Nielson at the Small Business Development Center for their Profit Mastery Course, which was a huge help. He encouraged us to utilize Sandler Training for sales training,” says the local business owner.

“We always call Dick when we need business advice,” adds Ross.  “He is a catalyst to get our creative juices flowing. His suggestion for adding pictures of Trivonna’s designs in the showroom got us to thinking. There are now over 100 pictures throughout the showroom to show customers what their finished project will look like. Dick is our guide, our on-call mentor.”

Dick’s SCORE clients are joined by the trustees of SPSCC in their accolades of this fellow with a big heart. Trustee Judy Blinn described Dick’s contributions to the college in the areas of business, corporate organizational skills, and finance experience were valuable to the continuing growth of the college. Judy also shared that Dick made his decisions on what were right for both the students and the college.

Dick was awarded “Trustee of the Year Award” for Washington State for 2012 by the Trustees Association of Community and Technical Colleges. This organization is comprised of all 150 of the Community and Technical Trustees in Washington. He continues to support the college through scholarships, not only providing funds but also meeting with the individual recipients, learning about their plans and offering encouragement.

score volunteer olympia

Dick Wadley, SCORE business mentor and Celia Nightingale, Director of Center for Business and Innovation appear at the entrance to the new SPSCC Lacey Campus.

Michael Cade, Executive Director of Thurston County Economic Development Council (EDC) recounted his involvement with Dick and SCORE’s importance to the growth of the EDC over the past 11 years. “When I arrived in 2004, the EDC had two employees – Celia Nightingale and myself. The local SCORE chapter was already reaching out into the business community with four volunteers. I learned from Dick how the EDC could leverage the activity that SCORE was accomplishing. The EDC would not be where we are today if it hadn’t been for SCORE’s involvement. They became the valuable resource that allowed us to grow.”

“Dick sought me out during my first month on the job,” continues Cade. “Since then, he has become my mentor and has guided me into areas of success by showing me where opportunities exist to grow. He encouraged me to include in my decision making how our choices would impact and support the private business sector.”

Cade says that Dick has also been a strong advocate for collaborative partnerships. “Because of this, we currently have seven programs within the EDC and have partnerships and relationships on 45 boards within Thurston County. Additionally, due in part to Dick’s involvement with both SCORE and SPSCC, the new Center for Business and Innovation has become a reality,” he adds.

Whether Dick is mentoring a small business owner through SCORE or quietly working behind the scenes to effect business-related education in the South Sound, his involvement is a key to the vitality of the small business community. It’s our very good fortune that Dick doesn’t golf!


Luke Schilter Pushes Northwest Christian Cross Country Team to New Heights

Thurston Talk - Sat, 09/12/2015 - 6:57am



By Grant Clark

mullinax fordWhen the Schilter Family Farm hosts its annual Fall Harvest Festival in October you can usually find son Luke Schilter manning the kettle corn booth each weekend.

It’s actually one of the few times you’ll find the Northwest Christian junior standing still.

You see, Schilter is one of the state’s top cross country runners but you would never guess that while talking to him.

“Easily, the most humble young man I’ve ever met,” Northwest Christian cross country coach Larry Weber said. “He just has a great work ethic whether it’s school, at the farm or here. He’s always willing to volunteer and help out wherever he can.”

A year after helping the Navigators to the Class 1B/2B boys state cross country championship, Schilter is eyeing both a team and individual crown this season. The latter would be a repeat, while the former will be something new as he just missed capturing a state title the last two years, finishing as the state’s runner-up in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns.

Luke Schilter, a junior at Northwest Christian, has his eyes set on individual and team titles at state this year.

Luke Schilter, a junior at Northwest Christian, has his eyes set on individual and team titles at state this year.

“You’re always building up towards the state meet,” Schilter said. “The guy I lost to the last two years isn’t coming back. So, that’s a bummer.”

Asotin’s Chandler Teigen won the state title in 2013 with a time of 15 minutes, 52.99 seconds for the 5K race. Schilter was second as a freshman, stopping the clock in 16:18.31.

The following year, Schilter trimmed a remarkable 30 seconds off his running time, crossing the wire in 15:48.89. The time was 28 seconds faster than former Northwest Christian runner Lucas Graham’s 2011 state winning time of 16:17. It also bettered the 16:05.9 Justin Holden put up for the Navigators in claiming the 2010 state title.

Basically, any other year Schilter’s time would have been good enough to top the field.

“Every year,” the good-natured Schilter said, followed by a grin, “except last year, unfortunately.”

Teigen has since graduate, but if Schilter’s recent two-mile time is any indication of how his junior season will unfold, it may not matter who he’s running against. They’re finishing second this year.

Schilter covered the distance in a speedy 9:10 at the Northwest Christian two-mile time trial on August 28, bettering the school record.

Luke Bredeson, teammates with Schilter, knows the support the team offers each other makes all the difference.

Luke Bredeson, teammates with Schilter, knows the support the team offers each other makes all the difference.

“He’s running the best of his life right now,” Weber said. “The two mile time trial was a surprise actually. The other guys were pushing him which was nice. They all ran together that first mile then he took off. He has quite the cadre of fellow runners now on the team to push him, so that’s quite helpful.”

Schilter was hardly the only Navigator posting stellar times at the event. Fellow junior Corban Phillips finished in 9:30, while seniors Luke Bredeson and Colton Buster went 9:32 and 9:35, respectively.

With times like that it’s no wonder Northwest Christian is gaining national exposure.

The Navigators clocked in as the No. 5-ranked team in the first in-season national rankings for D-II cross country teams as selected by the High School Track and Cross Country National Coaches Association.

High schools with less than 699 students enrolled in grades 9-12 are considered D-II. An impressive honor made even more eye-popping considering Northwest Christian has an enrollment of approximately 125 students, making it one of the smaller of the small schools.

“The team mentality really pushes us here,” said Bredeson, who finished 10th at last year’s state meet. “The level of encouragement is insane. Whenever you’re down there’s always people here to lift you up.”

It is this support that has the boys’ team thinking championship repeat, something the Northwest Christian girls cross country team has experienced for nine consecutive seasons.

The Northwest Christian’s boys’ cross country team warms up prior to a run around Capitol Lake.

The Northwest Christian’s boys’ cross country team warms up prior to a run around Capitol Lake.

“We know our potential and just push each other,” said Schilter, who along with Bredeson and Buster were named team captains. “One of our main goals is to get the younger runners excited about the program. It’s because of the team approach that we did well at state this last year. You need everyone out there working together. It’s not just one person.”

Schilter’s performances have certainly had an impact on motivating both himself and his teammates as evidenced by an early August 1.55-mile run around Capitol Lake when Bredeson bested Schilter for the first time ever in a race.

“I was out in front early and I felt pretty good so I just took off,” Bredeson said of the race with his teammates. “I got to about a half mile left and was thinking, ‘This is where (Schilter) usually kicks in. So, I have to go harder than he does.’ I went as hard as I could and somehow managed to beat him. It’s really affirming and encouraging. It makes you believe you really have a shot to compete with anyone when you’re running with Luke.”

Up next for the Navigators will be the Capital Invite on September 12. Schilter has won his division in each of the past two years. No runner in the event’s history has ever won the race four times.


Veteran Farmers Cultivate Victory

Thurston Talk - Sat, 09/12/2015 - 6:00am



Submitted by GRuB 

The Victory Farm Crew

The Victory Farm Crew

Many veterans today are leaving service missing three important components of healthy living:  a clear purpose, a solid sense of identity and strong roots in community. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 22 veterans commit suicide daily while only 1/3 of veterans access VA services. This means we as veterans and community need to step up to fill the gap in support.

Current presidential candidates are being asked, “If elected, what are you going to do for our veterans?”  We ask, “What is our community going to do for veterans?” The duty to welcome veterans home cannot fall on the shoulders of one individual, or one family. It takes a community walking shoulder to shoulder in support of healthy transition to truly welcome our veterans “Home”.

e Victory Farmers empower veterans, active duty service members and their families to establish strong roots in community.

Victory Farmers empower veterans, active duty service members and their families to establish strong roots in community.

Our service members, for better or worse, have derived great strength and defended our country, by falling in line.  Upon their transition from service, the isolation of standing out, or having no line to fall in, shakes many to the core.  This time of transition challenges their sense of identity; of the person they were trained to be.  Transitioning service members have earned a standing invitation from the community to join our ranks, to re-humanize and establish a new identity, one that can fit them today, given everywhere they’ve been and all they’ve accomplished.

That’s where Victory Farmers come in. With your support, we can become the welcome wagon of our community.

Since our early beginnings with “Boots 2 Roots” in August of 2014, the Victory Farmers have experienced rapid growth. Over the past 12 months we have:

  • Engaged 118 veterans, active duty and family members
  • Inspired 71 volunteers.
  • Accumulated 2679.25 hours of volunteer service for an average of 37.73 hours per volunteer (National Standard rate for volunteer service is $23.07 per hour. Total: $61,810.29 in volunteer service).
  • Facilitated 500 community connections through events, outdoor experiences and vegetable garden builds.
  • Built over 150 backyard vegetable gardens with low-income families and various organizations.
  • Transformed a half acre urban space into a small scale farm, produced and donated over 1,200 pounds of food to food insecure members of our community

We have accomplished all of this without a paid full time staff member on a budget of $7,000.00.

Why here? 

The Victory Farm at GRuB

The Victory Farm at GRuB

  • Washington State has the 6th highest veteran population concentration in the United States
  • Thurston County has the 2nd highest projected veteran population growth rate through 2020. 2nd only to our neighbors to the north, Pierce County.

Why now?

Combined, the Pew Research Center in their 2011 report, “The Military-Civilian Gap”, and a 2015 Annals of Epidemiology study find that:

  • Post-9/11 veterans have a suicide rate 50% higher than the rate among civilians with similar demographic characteristics;
  • 44% of post-9/11 veterans reported that readjustment to civilian life was difficult;
  • Nearly half of all post-9/11 veterans said they experienced strained relationships with family since leaving the military;
  • Post-9/11 veterans experienced high unemployment rates (11.5% unemployed in 2010);
  • Nearly 4 in 10 post-9/11 veterans said they experienced post-traumatic stress, whether diagnosed or not; and
  • 1 in 3 (32%) of post-9/11 veterans said they sometimes felt they didn’t care about anything.

Imagine what we can do with your support.  We are asking you to join us on the “Road to Victory”. Over the next two years, we plan to:

  • Improve Victory Farm infrastructure

    Building community through conversation and purpose is one goal for veterans at GRuB.

    Building community through conversation and purpose is one goal for veterans at GRuB’s Victory Farm.

  • Expand fruit and vegetable production both on Victory Farm and a new 1-acre parcel we call “Not-Alot-of-Acres Farm”
  • Train veteran guides in: Council PracticeConflict Mediation, GRuB communication and multicultural tools workshops, ASIST Suicide Intervention, and The Wilderness Rites of Passage model
  • Provide small scale urban agriculture training for veterans and their families
  • Send veterans across the threshold on their own Wilderness Quests
  • Hire additional veteran staff

To learn more about the Victory Farmers visit them online.  You can support the group through their Commit Change site here.  The Victory Farmers empower veterans, active duty service members and their families to establish strong roots in community through continued service, peer to peer support, and a deeper connection with the natural world. We are a program of GRuB, in partnership with Growing Veterans.

Together, we are welcoming veterans home, growing good food and building community.


SCJ Alliance Landscape Architecture Studio Expands

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 4:33pm



Submitted by SCJ Alliance

Landscape Architect Miranda Estes joins SCJ Alliance.

From private residences in Martha’s Vineyard to resorts in places like Dubai and China, Landscape Architect Miranda Estes has honed her design experience working on world class projects. Miranda is the latest team member to join the growing SCJ Alliance landscape architecture and design studio.

Branded as “Project Groundwork,” the studio specializes in residential gardens and estates, urban design, parks and public spaces, natural resources-based recreation, and restoration projects. A significant number of the team’s residential and recreation projects have been situated along shorelines.

“I’m excited to work with this talented team,” shares Miranda. “They transform spaces where people live, work and recreate, enhancing their experiences.”

Miranda’s background encompasses projects in more than 10 countries, including: a luxury resort in coastal Morocco, conceptual design and construction documents for the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and master planning for a planned Ritz Carlton in the Bahamas, as well as high-end residential landscapes on Cape Cod.

Miranda also owned her own special events and photography business in Florida, from where she most recently hails, giving her insight and appreciation for the attention needed to both beauty and functionality in design. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Kentucky and pursued interior architecture in a master’s program at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“Miranda has a broad scope of experience in the design world and a proven record of creative problem-solving,” shares SCJ’s Principal Landscape Architect David Stipe. “She has managed large-scale and complex projects from initial concept through construction administration, as well as leading in-house design teams and outside consultants.” David is currently President of the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

SCJ Alliance is a consulting firm specializing in transportation planning and design, civil engineering, landscape architecture, and land use/environmental planning. Over the last nine years, SCJ has grown steadily from three employees in one location to a dynamic team of over 60 employees in five locations. The firm has been nationally recognized for growth, project success and as a great place to work. The Project Groundwork Studio is located in Seattle.


Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest Cancel Fire Restrictions

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 3:26pm



Submitted by The Olympic National Park 

Due to notable widespread rain with resulting decrease in fire danger, Olympic National Park and Forest have lifted all fire restrictions as of September 09, 2015.  The restrictions included a ban on campfires outside of developed areas as well as some campgrounds.  Fire restrictions are typically lifted when a significant amount of precipitation is recorded in local weather stations and the fire danger has decreased dramatically.   Rainfall amounts on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula have reached 11 to 12 inches since the end of August, with amounts up to one to two inches on the northeast side.

Fire restrictions were implemented on June 25.  This was unusual for the Olympic Peninsula, but was necessary due to a dry winter and impacts of long-term drought across the Park and Forest.  Additional fire restrictions and area closures were implemented by other land management agencies throughout the Olympic Peninsula.  National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service firefighters responded to over 20 fires within the park and forest this summer, ranging from burns of less than ten acres to the 2,800 acre Paradise Fire.

Olympic National Park information:

Olympic National Forest

State and county area burn bans:

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.  For general information on the Olympic National Forest, visit


Evergreen Receives Strong Rankings from U.S. News & World Report

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 3:23pm



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

The 2016 U.S. News & World Report college rankings are out today and The Evergreen State College continued to make a strong showing. Evergreen ranked sixth among public regional universities in the West. Among all regional universities in the West, public or private, Evergreen ranked first for most innovative colleges, second for best undergraduate teaching and 29th in the best for veterans category.

Evergreen was also one of 26 colleges and universities in the nation praised for providing outstanding first-year experiences for freshmen and one of 19 noted for creating strong learning communities that help students get to know one another and their faculty well, building solid foundations for learning.

The rankings are based on graduation and retention rates, peer assessment, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.

“Along with Evergreen’s recognition as one of the nation’s best colleges by Fiske Guide, Princeton Review, Washington Monthly and others, the U.S. News & World Report rankings add another important lens for prospective students and their parents,” explained Evergreen spokesman Todd Sprague. “While a personal visit to campus remains the best way to find a good fit, these rankings can help highlight schools, like Evergreen, that should be on the radar in a student’s college search.”

The Evergreen State College is a public four-year college nationally recognized for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach to the liberal arts, strong academics and focus on undergraduate teaching. The college also has an upper division bachelor’s degree program and facility in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood, annual upper-division offerings at Grays Harbor College and a Reservation-Based Community Determined program at tribal reservations in western Washington. In addition to undergraduate education, Evergreen offers three graduate degrees: Master in Teaching, Master of Environmental Studies and Master of Public Administration, including a distinctive tribal governance

Fall Arts Walk Returns to Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 3:13pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

Fall Arts Walk 2014 Olivia 8Mark your calendar for Arts Walk LI! On Friday, October 2, from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 3 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m., 91 downtown businesses will open their doors to showcase the wonderfully rich and diverse resource of visual and performing arts of the South Sound Region. Enjoy two days of drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fibers and other visual art. Take in diverse performing arts, from family theater to a variety of musical styles and dance! Whatever art form moves you, chances are you’ll find it downtown during Arts Walk. Arts Walk maps are available at participating locations, The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW and Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Ave E, after September 21.  You can also download/view a digital version after Sept 21 at

For youth and families, the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department sponsors a hands-on activity area with the Hands on Children’s Museum. Stop by Friday, October 2, at Washington Street and 5th Avenue between 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. for kid’s face painting and art making.

The Arts Walk map cover this fall features the artwork of Doyle Fanning, In the Night Sky. Fanning is a photographer, printmaker and paper cut artist living and working in Olympia, Washington.  Since 2003, her work has been exhibited throughout the south sound and as far away as Yakima, Tieton and Laguna Beach, CA. Earlier this year, her work was featured in the “Her Story” juried exhibit at the Gallery in the Minnaert Center for the Arts and in an exhibit at Childhood’s End Gallery. Regarding her artwork for the Arts Walk cover: “In the Night Sky suggests a solitary moment of silent beauty as the year comes to an end and turns in on itself. A time of reflection and wonder only known in the darkest days of the year. It is in those restful moments that the seeds of spring and renewed life take root.”

Sponsored by; Arts Walk is sponsored by the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department and the Olympia Arts Commission, with support provided by Art House Designs, Capitol City Press, Mixx 96 FM, and the Washington State Employees Credit Union along with participating artists and businesses.

For more information, please contact Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation, at 360.753.8380 or


Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool Announces their Grand Opening

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 3:05pm



Submitted by Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool

Sequoia's Treehouse

Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool’s new building is nearly ready to welcome your little one.

Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool is excited for their Grand Opening, to be held Saturday, September 26 at 11:00 a.m.  The address of Sequoia’s is 3319 33rd LN NE, Olympia, WA 98506 near South Bay Elementary School.  Come meet the director and teachers, tour the facility, and explore the large playground. Light refreshments, door prizes, arts & crafts and more will be offered for all guests.  All are welcome.

Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare and Preschool is a nature inspired, play-based childcare and preschool serving children ages 6 weeks to 5 years with 5 classrooms and 2 spacious exploratory age appropriate outdoor play areas.

Classes and ratios are small so we may give students our full attention.  Staffing includes a Director/Lead Teacher, 1 Lead Teacher and 1 Asst. Teacher per classroom (there may be up to 2 Asst. Teachers depending on ratios).  The 2 spacious outdoor areas provide children many opportunities to engage in water play, digging, building with sand, gardening, running, and observing weather patterns and nature.

Our program is play-based with some teacher-led activities and a variety of open-ended materials that allow children to build, create, pretend, and use their own ideas. Many of the materials are designed to help children develop the skills needed for later learning. Children have the opportunity to represent their ideas in different dimensions, scales and perspectives. Teachers facilitate their use of materials for more complex projects.

lacey childcare

Kids at Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool learning through nature, like this activity of painting acorns.

Sequoia’s Treehouse Preschool is managed and owned by Sequoia Hartman, a childcare professional with over 15 years’ experience working with a diversity of families and youth from many backgrounds and family dynamics. Eight of these years are in non-profit management.  Sequoia has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies which has a strong focus in early childhood development.

Sequoia has always had a passion for the outdoors but became inspired in providing children opportunities to interact with nature while working on Orcas Island, WA as a naturalist/outdoor school educator.

Sequoia’s goal is to inspire and encourage the love of nature and education within children while bringing families and communities together.  Sequoia believes strongly in the expression ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ in that we are here together to encourage every child to believe in their own capabilities to accomplish or do everything while offering the understanding how the integral part our planet plays in their lifelong success.

For more info please email or (425) 298-5013.


14th Annual Summer’s End Car Show set for September 19

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 2:49pm



Submitted by The City of Lacey

00 p.m. during the Summer's End Car Show.

Bobby Sox & the Jukebox will play from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during the Summer’s End Car Show. Photo courtesy of The City of Lacey

The fact that summer is coming to an end is not all bad news! It means it’s time for the 14th Annual Summer’s End at Lacey Car Show.  Set for Saturday, September 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Huntamer Park, the show is open to all years/makes/models and past year’s have seen everything from a 1906 Holsman Horseless Carriage to a 2013 Tesla!   We also welcome motorcycles.

In addition to all the cool vehicles to see, there will be a variety of vendors (food, crafts, commercial)and the Lacey Sunrise Lions provide car related games including the piston toss, lug nut challenge and the fan belt toss for kids and adults to participate in.  Live music will be provided by the oldies band Bobby Sox and the Juke box from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Car entries receive a good bag with a commemorative dash plaque (to the first 200) along with a photo of their car taken at the entrance.  In addition they contend for 50 different awards. Also, the winner of Show Favorite will have their vehicle featured on all of next year’s promotional items.

The cost to enter a vehicle is just $15 if pre-registered by September 11, or $20 at the gate.  Proceeds from the event go to purchase defibrillators for small community fire departments via Cool Creek Nites Car Club.  The event is free to attend. Visit for more info.

Car Shows are held every weekend in every community but Summer’s End is special because of the beautiful location at Huntamer park, the family games and activities, the great variety of vehicles you might see, and the vendors and live music truly make this a great event for the whole family!


Is it the Flu or Just a Cold?

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 2:38pm



Submitted by Thurston County Public Health

Back-to-school means different things to different people. For those of us with school-aged children, it often means, among other things, the beginning of cold and flu season.

The flu (influenza) and common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses, whereas colds can be caused be several different kinds of viruses. Because these two illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell which virus you have based on symptoms alone.

The flu can be mild to severe, but quite often it is worse than the common cold. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills

    Thurston County Public Health

    Flu vaccines are now available from your physicians office and many sources throughout the county.

  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Children may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

Every year, the flu season varies—when it occurs, when it’s at its highest (peak) level, how long it lasts, and the severity of illnesses. Flu season typically begins in early October and can last through the end of May. Last year’s flu season was worse than normal; the CDC reported that flu activity was widespread in 40 states, including ours. In addition, last year’s flu hit people 65 and older very hard. We don’t know yet what this year’s flu season will bring.

Complications of the flu can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections, but it can also lead to hospitalization and death. People who are high risk of complications from the flu are those 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Testing is the only way to be sure if an illness is a cold or the flu, but it must be done within the first few days of illness.

The single best way to protect against the flu is to get yourself and your family vaccinated each year. The vaccine doesn’t always prevent the flu, but it can lessen the severity and length of the illness. Antiviral medications may be recommended for people who are at high risk of complications (people 65 years and older, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic health conditions).

Bacteria and viruses are all around us; the best way to fight them off is to take care of yourself. This means getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet with minimal sugar, caffeine and alcohol, balancing work and play, and practicing good hygiene

If you do get sick, follow these guidelines to help prevent the spread of illness:

  • Stay home if you are sick. This means not going to work or school, and staying away from public places.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or your sleeve (preferably the crook of your arm), and teach your children to do the same.
  • Dispose of used tissues in the nearest waste basket.
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Teach your children to do the same.
  • Sanitize equipment like shopping carts, gym equipment, toys, fuel pump nozzles, key boards, phones.

The vision of the Thurston Thrives Clinical and Emergency Care Action Team is that “more people live longer, healthier lives, because they take care of themselves and received right care at the right place at the right time.” Taking care of yourself and contacting your healthcare provider when needed supports this vision.

When it comes to cold and flu season, please do your part to help keep yourself, your family and others healthy; if you and your family haven’t gotten flu vaccines yet, now is the time to do so. Call your child’s pediatrician’s office if your child has a fever that doesn’t come down with age-appropriate doses of Tylenol or Advil, if she can’t keep fluids down, has uncontrollable diarrhea, has difficulty breathing, or if is in a high risk group for flu complications.


The City of Lakewood Celebrates Lakewood Playhouse Theatre Day

South Sound Arts - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 12:58pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Sept. 10, 2015
poster for A Few Good Men, art by James StoweBy way of celebrating a local treasure, the City of Lakewood has proclaimed Sept. 18 Lakewood Playhouse Theatre Day. The day will be celebrated with a special ribbon cutting ceremony presented by the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and with a reception with food provided by Carr’s Restaurant and a house full of local dignitaries and actors from previous and current Playhouse shows.
The company was founded in 1938. The building that now houses the theater was built in 1965 by the Lakewood Community Players and the Lakewood Arts Foundation. Since opening its doors 50 Years ago, it has presented more than 300 productions on both its main stage and through its Lakewood Institute of Theatre Education Program (established in 2002). 
During those 50 years, the Lakewood Playhouse has hosted special presentations by hundreds of local groups including The Lakewood Senior Players, the Pierce College Theatre Group, Last Ditch Efforts, New Muses Theatre, The Outfit Theatre Group, the Asian Film Festival and countless number of music groups.
A true community theater that provides education for youth and performance opportunities to local actors, Lakewood Playhouse has always striven for professional level performances. Former Managing Artistic Director Marcus Walker, who died March 11, 2011 of metastatic melanoma, often told me he wanted me to review their shows with the same strict criteria I would use when critiquing a professional company such as Seattle Repertory Theater. That is indicative of the level of professionalism Lakewood Playhouse has always insisted on. And by-the-way, I reviewed My Name is Asher Lev, the last play Walker directed, at both Seattle Repertory Theater and Lakewood Playhouse, and the Lakewood play was the better of the two.
The theater’s current manager, John Munn, is only the sixth managing artistic director in the theater’s 50-year history. This season is Munn’s fifth at the helm. He says he is proud to be supported by a staff of “incredibly creative and dedicated professionals and artists.”
“We have assembled an amazing array of shows this season with something for everyone,” Munn says. “The directors for each of the productions have such a passion and vision for their shows that we can’t wait to share them with you.”
Munn says he has no formal training as an artist. Outside of a few years in college and in high school, his training comes from working in local community theatres over the past 40 years in more than 100 shows as either an actor or director. 
 “When I sit inside our 172 Seat Theatre, and I start to think about all of the shows that have happened under its roof, it is both staggering and humbling to know that we are the caretakers of that. Just stop and think of the lives that were changed here by either being in a show or by seeing one. I know that almost sixty thousand people have seen our shows over the last four seasons that I have been here. Imagine that number over this Playhouse's 50-year history. Consider all of the actors whose lives were forever changed by being a part of that "one show." There you have to realize all of the amazing stories that have been told by the thousands of creative artists who have made them possible. Fifty years. One building. Only made for one purpose. To house a rich theatrical history. We are all a part of that. You. Me. Folks that are reading this article and smiling. All of us. With this next season, we begin the journey of the next 50 years ... and who wouldn't want to be a part of that?”
The 2015-2016 season kicks off Sept. 11 with A Few Good Men, the military court drama by Aaron Sorkin, winner of the 1990 World Theatre Award. A Few Good Men will be followed by the live radio show of the horror classic The Birds Oct. 23-25. This will be the eighth of the Playhouse’s live radio shows. They are always wonderfully fun entertainments. Next up will be Treasure Island, followed by Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the ever-popular Noises Off, and finally the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q.
“We have so many other 50th Anniversary Surprises in store for you,” Munn continued, “You won’t want to miss a single thing.  And, as you know, we always look forward to welcoming you home soon!”The ribbon cutting ceremony and reception on Sept. 18 is scheduled for 5:30-6:30 p.m. Guests are invited to come back later that evening for the 8 p.m. performance of A Few Good Men.
Lakewood Playhouse Theatre Day, Sept. 18, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, 253.588.0042
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Blackbird Mercantile and Trading Co: Fancy, Vintage, and Approachable

Thurston Talk - Fri, 09/11/2015 - 6:59am



By Kelli Samson

thurston first bankThe fans of the recently closed Red Door can dry their tears, because all is not lost.

Lela Cross and Sandy Hall, the dynamic duo who brought us Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen, are packing up a little of their signature swank and bringing it down the street to their new shop, Blackbird Mercantile and Trading Company. Blackbird is now open for business.

The high-ceilinged space, formerly occupied by its beloved predecessor Red Door, still focuses on repurposed furniture and unique home goods, but Cross and Hall are putting their own spin on things.

Blackbird owners Lela Cross and Sandy Hall are excited to bring a little bit of the spirit of their swanky bar to the goods in their new shop down the street.

Blackbird owners Lela Cross (left) and Sandy Hall are excited to bring a little bit of the spirit of their swanky bar to the goods in their new shop down the street.

They’ve painted the interior a stately shade of blue, for one thing. “We’re going for a bit of a vintage, industrious feel,” says Hall. “I want it to feel fancy, old, and approachable for everybody.”

They’re also planning a full line of products for men.

“There aren’t a lot of things out there for guys, either for us to buy them gifts or for them to shop for themselves,” explains Hall. “We’d like to be able to cater to them, as well as a younger crowd.”

As a nod to the gin-joint Dillingers, Blackbird will carry barware and a collection of boutique wines, in addition to beer, vermouth, sherry, and bitters. Hall has studied viticulture (the study of grapes) and enology (the study of wines), and Blackbird gives her another opportunity to showcase her knowledge and indulge in her hobby.

“This shop is full-circle for me,” says Hall.

The other connection to Dillingers is that the shop is named for bank robber John Dillinger’s girlfriend, who notoriously served two years in prison for harboring him as fugitive.

Billie Frechette said in a letter she wrote from prison in 1934, “Only one big thing ever happened to me in my life. I fell in love with John Dillinger.”

This intricate chalk art was done by Sylvie Sovina, and employee of both Dillingers and Blackbird. Her work will has been on display at Dillingers.

This intricate chalk art was done by Sylvie Sovina, and employee of both Dillingers and Blackbird. Her work will has been on display at Dillingers.

Rumor has it that Dillinger gave girlfriend Frechette the nickname of “Blackbird,” either for her raven-colored locks or as a nod to the first song they danced to together. Whether it’s fact or fiction, the name carries weight with the location.

“People love blackbirds in Olympia, and I thought it would be a nice connection,” says Hall.

Fans of Red Door can still purchase the genius RD Shady lampshade at the location. “We are so grateful that they’ve trusted us with their product and with their space,” says Cross of RD Shady inventors Kathy Lathrop and Lara Anderson.

Cross and Hall were shocked and saddened when Red Door, an Olympia institution for the past nine years, went up for lease.

“At the time, I was looking for space for a cooking school. Sandy and I were sad that one more downtown business wasn’t going to be here, so that motivated us. Red Door gave so much to downtown. They were pretty interested in us taking over the space, and suddenly the opportunity came up for us to purchase it. From there, it just went like a boulder downhill, really fast,” recalls Cross. “We’re excited to keep things going, but also about the changes we’re making.”

“It’s such a beautiful location, and right in the heart of downtown,” adds Hall.

Leave it to Cross to come to the rescue. She believes in a vibrant downtown so fully that she can’t help but continue to spread her sparkle around. She is persistence and perseverance embodied. From her days at the romantic restaurant Capitale to those spent at the vibrant Cielo Blu, Cross has never given up her dream of welcoming people into downtown Olympia. She’s had to change how that dream took shape over the years, but she’s never let it go.

The shop’s grand opening will be a 5 day affair, beginning on September 23rd.

The shop’s grand opening will be a 5 day affair, beginning on September 23rd.

It’s truly the visionaries like Cross and Hall who keep us coming back. Next time you’re downtown, pop in for a visit. You won’t be disappointed

Blackbird Mercantile is hosting a grand opening event that kicks off on the first day of Autumn, September 23 (11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.), and goes through September 27. Naturally, there will be drinks and appetizers. But there will also be trunk shows featuring various artists and merchants stocking their goods in the shop.

“Each night we’ll feature someone who has something in the store,” says Cross. “They’ll be present.”

Downtown Olympia is ever-changing, and this is one change you’re not going to want to miss.

LC’s Blackbird Mercantile and Trading Co.

430 Washington St. SE in downtown Olympia

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Generifus “Extra Bad”

K Records - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 4:45pm
“Extra Bad” is the title song from the Generifus album Extra Bad (Sultan Serves Records), which is available now on cassette from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Beach Seining it up!!

Squaxin Natural Resources Blog - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 4:08pm


Pictured: Will Henderson (Fisheries Biologist), Daniel Kuntz (Fish Biologist), and Candace Penn (CC Ecologist Trainee)

Photo credit: Sarah Zaniewski


Categories: Local Environment

Plastic Recycling 101

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 3:01pm



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecycling can be complicated and plastic items confuse people the most. Contrary to popular belief, the chasing arrow with the number on the bottom of a plastic product does not mean it is recyclable – it just provides the type of resin the product was made from. To make things easier, here are some tips on what plastic does and doesn’t go in your curbside recycling bin if you live in Thurston County.

Bottles, Jugs and Jars –  These can all be recycled with the rule being that the neck must be at least slightly narrower than the base. Think soda bottles, detergent jugs, and peanut butter jars. These are items products came in, not your food storage container or reusable water bottle.

Tubs –  You can recycle opaque dairy tubs: cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, etc. But the clear tub that your salsa or fancy olives came in are not recyclable. And just to throw you, the clear container that your parmesan cheese is in cannot be recycled. Yes, I know that it is dairy, but the container is clear. So it is just the whitish or opaque tubs that go in your recycling.

Medicine Bottles – See the above two items – neck narrower than the base and opaque. The white bottle you’re over-the-counter antacids came in is fine, but the orange tinted, straight sided, brittle bottle from your prescription is not. However, prescriptions are starting to come in orange tinted bottles with narrow necks and those are recyclable.

Rigid Plant Pots and Buckets – These go in your recycling bin but take the metal handles off of your buckets. The thin crinkly little plant pots are not recyclable.

Lids – All plastic lid go in the trash. Loose lids from bottles are small and fall out during the screening process to end up in the trash. Lids from tubs are flat and end up in the paper that goes to paper mills. People often leave lids on when there is still liquid or other products in the containers. When the recycling is compacted in the truck, the lids come off and everything gets contaminated – especially the paper – and reduces the value.

Plastic Shopping Bags – These never go in your recycling bin. Plastic bags and film cause more problems than any other item in the recycling system since they get wrapped up in the equipment and cause expensive shut downs. Bags also catch wind during bin pickups and float like butterflies to create ugly litter and cause damage to wildlife and the environment. If you place loose plastic bags in the trash, tie them in knots so they can’t become airborne.

Plastic Clam Shells – No, no and no. Try to buy the foods that are not in these containers.

Styrofoam – This does not go in your bin but you can take it to the DART facility in Tumwater or at the WARC recycle center. Check for details.

Just remember, when in doubt – leave it out. You can always find recycling and waste reduction information on the Thurston Solid Waste website at or call 360-867-2491.

53rd Foofaraw Honors Military

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 12:07pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

FoofarawWhen you see lights flashing on the Port of Olympia docks on September 11, 7:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., please do not be alarmed. It is not an emergency. It is the Port and local “First Responders” joining with the Olympia Yacht Club and Thurston County Chamber in honoring our Armed Forces with the 53rd Annual Foofaraw.

On Friday, September 11, the Thurston County Chamber and the Olympia Yacht Club will host over 225 active duty military men and women at Island Home, a private island owned by the Olympia Yacht Club.

As vessels carrying military members pass the Port, they will see the American flag hanging from the crane and the salute from members of the Association of United States Army, the Port of Olympia staff and Harbor Patrol, the Olympia Fire and Police Departments, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, and Washington State Patrol. The Port is pleased to have several airmen and airwoman from the United States Air Force 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron present on the docks.


Bragging Rights on the Line in Annual Spaghetti Bowl on Friday Night

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 10:15am



By Grant Clark

little caesars logoThe score still sticks with Jeff Markoff – 21-20.

“I’m almost 50 years old,” Markoff said. “I should be over it by now.”

Markoff was a 1985 Olympia High School graduate and was an all-state defensive lineman for a Bears squad that won the 3A state championship during his senior year.

Olympia opened the playoffs that year on the road by shutting out Kelso, the defending state champions, 20-0. The Bears parlayed that success to the quarterfinals where they were once again the visitors, traveling to Stanwood. The result would be almost identical against Burlington-Edison as they blanked the Tigers, 14-0, to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 1981.

olympia football

Olympia High School football coach Jeff Markoff (left) with son Clay Markoff (right) will fight for bragging rights against Capital High School during the annual Spaghetti Bowl.

O’Dea would be the first playoff team to find the end zone against Markoff and Olympia’s stingy defense, but it didn’t matter as the Bears bested the Irish, 21-7, in the Tacoma Dome nearly 31 years ago.

The crowning achievement came the following week with a 28-14 victory over West Valley of Spokane in the state championship.

The Bears marched off the Kingdome turf with their newly earned trophy in tow. It was a fitting end to a spectacular 12-1 season.

It’s the 1 loss in the 12-1 season that still remains present in Markoff. And if you were to ask any other player on that year’s Olympia team you would probably get that same reaction.

“Part of me,” Markoff said as a slight smile overtook his face, “would give up (the state title) to have beaten Capital that year.”

Olympia’s lone blemish that season was to the Cougars, 21-20, in a game that ultimately determined the Black Hills League champion.

Great rivalries have that lasting effect on those involved.

The Capital/Olympia football rivalry may not be the oldest around, but there’s been plenty of history packed into its 38-year existence.

The latest chapter will be written on Friday, Sept. 11 when the two teams meet in the annual Spaghetti Bowl.

“It’s just a fun rivalry,” said Kevin Gunther, a 1991 Olympia grad who along with Markoff, is an assistant coach on the Bears staff. “You never see the stadium as packed as it is for that game. It’s almost like a small college atmosphere. You have people standing on the track and behind the end zone. It’s something when you come out on the field and see the people lined up all the way to the parking lot.”

olympia football

Olympia head football coach Bill Beattie address his team following a practice.

While the Markoff and 1984 state championship team dropped its match to the Cougars, Gunther went a perfect 3-0 against the cross-town foes. Both, however, have invested interest in this year’s battle.

In addition to coaching, both Markoff and Gunther will watch sons play in their last Spaghetti Bowl.

Markoff’s son Clay will start for the Bears at middle linebacker and fullback, while Gunther’s son James is a starting offensive lineman for Olympia.

Gunther’s other son, Scott, will also see plenty of action. The junior is Olympia’s starting running back and is coming off a two touchdown performance in the Bears’ 42-0 drubbing of Ferris in week one.

“It’s extremely special to be able to coach them at Olympia,” Gunther said about his sons. “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach them since they started in elementary school.”

One aspect the sons will experience that their fathers did not is the traditional spaghetti feed between to the two schools, which started in 1993 by the Rotary Club of Olympia and West Olympia Rotary Club.

“It’s maybe taken the edge off the rivalry a little bit,” Markoff said about the spaghetti feed, “but (the game) is still huge. The addition (of the feed) really heightens it. It adds a lot to the whole hoopla around the game. It’s great event.”

olympia football

Kevin Gunther (center) is flanked by his two sons, Scott (left) and James (right).

The winner of the game gets to house the Spaghetti Bowl trophy for a year – something Gunther didn’t even know about during his high school playing days.

“I didn’t find out until after I graduated that the game had a trophy. We never lost to them so we never had to hand it back, I guess,” Gunther said. “It just stayed in the trophy case all four years.”

Capital, which lost 22-21 to West Valley (Spokane) in the 1984 state semifinals, halting what could have been an all-city state championship game, knocked off the Bears last year, 17-7, and hold a 21-17 all-time series lead.

The two teams have alternated victories the last six years with neither squad posting consecutive wins in the series since the Bears won five straight between 2005 and 2009, and even though the game has been a non-league affair since 2006, expect Ingersoll Stadium to once again be standing room only.

“It’s all about bragging rights,” Gunther said. “It’s the one game everyone in the community gets up for.”


Thrifty Thurston Finds Solitude, Isolation and History at Hope Island State Park

Thurston Talk - Thu, 09/10/2015 - 5:34am



By Douglas Scott

red lionDeep down in the southern reaches of the Puget Sound, a small state park is waiting for your adventure. Located between Budd Inlet and Oyster Bay, Hope Island sits alone, removed from the mainland by about a half a mile.

Unlike most state parks around America, Hope Island isn’t accessible by car. Instead, the only way into this park is by private boat, with the majority of visitors paddling kayaks from one of two nearby launch points. While that may be a deterrent for many, those who do get out to Hope Island State Park are rewarded with stunning views, amazing wildlife and isolation that only an island can bring.

Hope Island is only accessible by boat and many people kayak to the secluded State Park. Image from Washington State Parks Foundation

Hope Island is only accessible by boat and many people kayak to the secluded State Park. Image from Washington State Parks Foundation

The allure of staying on an island for a night or two isn’t something everyone experiences. Yet, for some, the pull of solitude is too much and exploration of this distinct setting beckons. Those who answer the call are faced with finding transportation to the island and then paddling up to a mile and a half across the southern end of the Puget Sound to reach the island.

To get to Hope Island State Park, your two best options are launching from either Boston Harbor, north of Olympia, or from Arcadia Point boat launch, located east of Shelton. Boston Harbor tends to be more popular, as the marina offers kayak rentals and is 1.5 miles from the island. However, for those already with a boat and seeking a short paddle, Arcadia is just seven tenths of a mile from the park.

Once on the island, there are eight campsites to choose from, all located on the southern end of the island. However, you don’t have to camp overnight to explore the 106 acre island. There is a 1.5 mile long beach, a historic homestead, and two miles of hiking trails through pristine forests. With deer commonly seen, eagles overhead and seals off-shore and sometimes on the beach, exploring Hope Island State Park is a quintessential Pacific Northwest activity.

What makes Hope Island unique is it has only been open to the public for 25 years. Before that, it was a homestead and vacation destination for the Schmidt family of Olympia Brewery fame. The Schmidt’s homesteaded the island over 100 year ago, constructing a farmhouse, a well and windmill, and even established and maintained a five acre vineyard on the southeastern end of the island. Today, the house, windmill, numerous artifacts and the vineyard can be explored at the tallest point of the island, with trails through forests and to the beaches spread out in every direction below.

Experience homesteading history at Hope Island State Park. Image courtesy of the Washington State Parks Foundation.

Experience homesteading history at Hope Island State Park. Image courtesy of the Washington State Parks Foundation.

Rarely in life are you able to completely disconnect from the rest of civilization in the way Hope Island State Parks offers. There is no television or internet, no cars or stores – just miles of wilderness and history to explore.

While the trip to Hope Island can enjoyed over and over, many will not get a chance to see the park. That is why, with the help of Jonathan Nelson of Kenmore Cameras, the Washington State Park’s Foundation (WSPF) has created virtual tours for everyone to enjoy. The virtual tours bring people to parks through their screen of choice, something WSPF is eager to expand.

“Screens can bring people to parks. We are currently working on getting Lime Kiln State Park the ability to live stream orca migrations,” explained John Floberg, the executive director of the Washington State Park’s Foundation. “If you could see more about life in parks, you can emotionally connect with a region. The virtual parks are a step in the right direction, allowing classrooms around the state and country to connect kids with nature.”

The virtual tour of Hope Island State Park helps the State Parks communicate to potential visitors the terrain, views and layout of the park, all in an attractive and modern format. In the past, you could read about a park and see a few photos. Thanks to the virtual tour, you can now explore Hope Island State Park in every direction. Online you can look up to the tops of trees, out across the Puget Sound, and even around the old homestead. The virtual tour helps show off one of the many amazing locations in our State Park service, and will help to inspire you to explore in person.

The beauty of the Puget Sound, as seen from Hope Island State Park. Image courtesy of the Washington State Parks Foundation

The beauty of the Puget Sound, as seen from Hope Island State Park. Image courtesy of the Washington State Parks Foundation

“The parks are our jewels, located in some of the most important and beautiful areas in the state,” beamed John Floberg. “They represent some of the most historical and cultural sites in the state, including 700 archaeological and historical building sites. State Parks help get people started in nature, getting their feet wet, literally. With ranger programs and facilities that don’t exist in our national parks or forests, our state parks are great stepping stones to the wilderness.”

Hope Island is one of the amazing jewels of our state, and is a great starting point for amazing adventures. While few take to time or effort to paddle out to this isolated island, those who do are rewarded with solitude, adventure and the knowledge that they are one of the few each year to camp or day hike on an uninhabited island in the Puget Sound.

With beaches and old growth forests, Hope Island is sure to get you excited for a life of wilderness exploration. The best news is that it is waiting for you and your fellow explorers year round.

For more information about Hope Island State Park, please visit the WSPF website or the Washington State Park’s website.

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, visit our complete event calendar.

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