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Mushroom Hunting around Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 7:59pm



Photos by Megan Conklin

mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting mushroom hunting


Hysterics Final Show in Olympia! With Bricklayer and VEXX

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 5:00pm

Friday, October 10th, doors at 8pm. Advance tickets may be purchased here:


Facebook invite

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Clybourne Park at Harlequin

South Sound Arts - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 4:30pm

Published in The News Tribune, Oct. 10, 2014
Left o right: Lavon Hardison, Jason Haws, Phillip Keiman, Nikki Visel and Mark AlfordIn the history of theater, only two plays have won the triple crown of theatrical awards – the Pulitzer, the Tony and the Lawrence Olivier. They are Glengarry Glen Ross, which will be performed by Lakewood Playhouse this season,” and Clybourne Park, now playing at Harlequin Productions in Olympia.
“Clybourne Park” is not a sequel but a spinoff from A Raisin in the Sun. It begins when “Raisin” ended in 1959. Bev and Dan (Nikki Visel and Phillip Keiman) have sold their home in Chicago to a black family (the Younger family from “Raisin,” although they are not named). A priest, (Mark Alford) comes calling, as do their neighbors Karl Lindner (Jason Haws) and his deaf and pregnant wife, Betsy (Maggie Lofquist) – Karl is from the neighborhood association which is trying to prevent the sale to a black family from going through, and has just come from an unsuccessful meeting with the buyers. Karl is the only carryover character from “Raisin.” 
From left: Jason Haws, Maggie Lofquist and Nikki ViselBev and Dan were not even aware that the new owners are black, nor do they mind. The discussions that ensue are dramatic, frightening and yet hilarious as they both expose and make fun of racial and other societal stereotypes of the 1950s. Things get even sticker when the black maid, Francine (LaVon Hardison) and her husband, Albert (Robert Humes) get drawn into their arguments.
The audience is not granted the indulgence of thinking that we are far beyond such bigotry today because the second act is set half a century later in 2009 and the ensuing arguments prove that the so-called post-racial society hailed by some following the election of Barack Obama is skin deep if it exists at all. In the second act we find ourselves in the same house with a different set of characters, some of whom are related to characters from the first act, and we see that the racial tensions have not disappeared at all. In place of Bev, who was something of an Edith Bunker type in act one, always trying to appease and be open minded, we have Kathy (Visel), a haughty and ‘politically correct’ white woman whose correctness falls apart under scrutiny. In place of Francine, the black maid who is troubled but solicitous in act one, we have Lena (Hardison), a strong black woman who will not kowtow to anyone. Tensions mount as the white couple prepares to move into the neighborhood, which over the years has become a black community.
Among the more ingenious strokes of playwright Bruce Norris is that act two does not so much follow act one as it parallels act one with similar yet different conversations. For example, act one begins with Dan and Bev hilariously arguing over what people from different cities are called, for example, Neapolitans for people from Naples. The second act begins with similar arguments, this time about the names of capital cities. The parallelism of these arguments echoes the parallelism of today’s racial and social strife and that of 50 years ago.
Harlequin bills the play as a comedy, and it is bitingly funny. Political correctness is put to the test and fails miserably, not because political correctness is not a good thing but because nearly every one of these characters is a miserable human being. They are insensitive and tactless. They pretend to be open minded but are not good at hiding their prejudices. What little remains of the masks of decency they wear is stripped away as the second act deteriorates into flinging offensive jokes at one another. The jokes are not only racially offensive, they are also homophobic and misogynistic, and the rejoinders are funnier than the jokes. The playwright does an admirable job of balancing between laughing at and laughing with the characters as he exposes character flaw after character flaw.
The ensemble cast is as strong as any I’ve seen. Each actor does a commendable job of believably embodying totally different characters in the second act. Haws proves once again that he is one of the South Sound’s best actors; Lofquist makes deafness uncomfortably yet delightfully funny; Hardison’s metamorphosis from Francine to Lena is astounding; Keiman, a newcomer from Britain, is solid as the gruff and inflexible Dan and funny as Russ, the hired hand. Similar praise is due to Visel, Alford and Humes.
The period costumes by Jocelyne Fowler are spot-on, and she has strategically placed Velcro on some of the costumes to allow for astonishingly fast costume changes.
Linda Whitney has done her usual excellent job of set designing, and the rapid change in the set between acts is made possible by some brilliant engineering by Marko Bujeaud.
Seldom do all of the many elements of good theater come together so completely as in this production. It is no wonder that Clybourne Park made the grand sweep of top theatrical prizes.

WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays, 8p.m., Sundays 2 p.m. through Oct. 25WHERE: State Theater, 202 E. 4th Ave., OlympiaTICKETS: prices vary, call for detailsINFORMATION: 360-786-0151;

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Simple Cloth: Olympia’s Unique Baby Boutique

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 12:06pm



By Katie Doolittle

heritage bankOnce upon a time, Julie Triplett was skeptical of cloth diapers. The mess, the time commitment, the potentially injurious pins: these concerns seemed to far outweigh any potential benefits.

But luckily for families in the Puget Sound area, Triplett did some research. She discovered that modern cloth diapers are both convenient and effective. And for the past seven years, she’s been sharing that knowledge at Simple Cloth, her downtown Olympia boutique. Technically, Simple Cloth specializes in cloth diapers, baby carriers, and natural parenting items. But ask any of her devoted clients what keeps them coming back, and they’ll tell you it’s the exceptional customer service.

olympia baby store

Julie Triplett started Simple Cloth as an online business in 2007. The brick-and-mortar store opened in 2008.

Triplett’s thoughtful efforts are in evidence throughout her store. First and foremost, Simple Cloth is family friendly. There’s a private area in the back where caregivers can change a baby’s diaper or feed a hungry infant. A selection of toys can occupy children while parents do their shopping. Often, former customers will swing by to use the amenities while doing other shopping downtown. “I enjoy getting to see the babies we’ve helped diaper,” says Triplett. “It’s a fun way to stay connected with this community.”

That welcoming atmosphere extends to the staff; they’re all free to bring their kids to work. Triplett smiles as she acknowledges, “Sometimes it’s a little more hectic but it’s a part of life.” Having been in the store multiple times, I can attest to the charm of a pint-sized greeter giving me a cursory wave before inviting my toddler to go play.

Triplett’s also very intentional about the merchandise she stocks. “I’ve had the benefit of having great little guinea pigs,” she jokes. She is, however, quite serious about quality. Her kids—or her employees’ kids—have tried every product at Simple Cloth. Triplett has to love it to sell it, whatever “it” might be.

Another factor: she works exclusively with ethical businesses that fully back their products. What does that mean? Triplett only sells merchandise supported by warranties, manufactured reputably using safe materials and practices. Thirsties is a perfect example. The company’s diapers are completely USA-made, down to the snaps and elastic. Moreover, their facilities make use of green energy supplied by wind and solar technology. Listening to Triplett describe this company, I can’t help but admire her passion and knowledge.

olympia baby store

Simple Cloth, located in downtown Olympia, stocks a variety of diapers to meet customers’ differing needs and budgets.

“I have a background in education and international development,” says Triplett, which may explain why she (and her employees) feel less like salespeople and more like advocates. They give each potential client a diaper tour, explaining the variety of styles available while listening to the client’s feedback and input. Then, says Triplett, “we’ll work with the customer to find something that meets their need and their budget.” She wants cloth diapering to be a viable option for every interested family.

How many diapers should I buy? What brands work best for a particularly petite (or chunky) baby? Do daycare employees prefer a certain type or style? And how do I go about laundering these diapers, anyway? These are just some of the questions Triplett addresses on a regular basis.

I have a question of my own: what’s the main issue that prevents families from choosing cloth diapers? She quickly answers, “People think that the washing is going to be terrible, but it’s not like that now.” Accessories like diaper sprayers or flushable, biodegradable liners help to limit any mess. The store also offers complimentary postcards listing simple diaper laundering instructions—a boon for the often sleep-deprived new parent.

olympia baby store

Following Simple Cloth’s laundering recommendations leads to clean, long-lasting diapers.

Another concern is ease of use. But happily, modern cloth diapers come in a variety of styles. Something with Velcro tabs, like a bumGenius 4.0 diaper, comes on and off just like a disposable would. And guess what? There’s nary a pin to be seen in the store.

Even if cloth diapering isn’t feasible for you, Simple Cloth is still well worth a visit. Come for the natural diaper rash creams and baby sunscreens. There are also lead-free toys, a variety of baby carriers, functional nursing covers, and large but lightweight swaddling blankets. “As a parent I was looking for things and couldn’t find them,” says Triplett, which is why she now carries those hard-to-find products in her store.

Triplett and I agree that Simple Cloth is special because it staffs “people who know about these products and can help clients troubleshoot.” Best of all, that support continues long after customers make their purchase. Triplett and her employees will help adjust a baby carrier until it feels comfortable. They might steer someone towards the most economical place to buy a particular brand of diaper-safe laundry detergent. They’ve even been known to troubleshoot washing machine issues. “Those all sound like little things,” says Triplett, “but they add up to a big thing.”

Simple Cloth is located at 210 1/2 W 4th Avenue in Olympia, WA. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. You can call them at (360) 753-2420.



Tumwater Firefighters Engage Community to Warm the Hearts of Children

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:34am



Submitted by Tumwater Firefighters

tumwater coat driveOn November 21, the Tumwater Firefighters, IAFF Local 2409, will provide brand-new winter coats to children attending Tumwater Hill Elementary School in partnership with Operation Warm, a national non-profit dedicated to warming the hearts, minds, and bodies of children living in need across North America. This is the second year Tumwater Firefighters have participated in the “Firefighters for Operation Warm” program. Last year, Tumwater Firefighters distributed nearly 200 American-made coats to students attending Peter G. Schmidt Elementary School.

This year, Local 2409 hope to raise enough money to distribute coats to 400 children attending Tumwater Hill Elementary School. They are asking the community to support their efforts through monetary donations— an event will be held Saturday, October 25 from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Pint’s Barn located in Tumwater. The event will feature a silent auction, food, and music provided by Ethan Tucker. 

tumwater coat drive“With our poverty levels reaching 11%, our children and schools benefit from this program in more ways than one,” stated Donovan Cathey, Local 2409 President. “By nature of our service to the community, we’re able to see the harsh effects poverty has on these children first hand.” Tumwater Firefighters will arrive at Tumwater Hill Elementary, personally fitting each child with a new coat, and helping them to write their name in the interior tag which reads, “Made Just for You.”

Specifically for their Firefighter program, Operation Warm has been able to manufacture 60,000 100% American-made coats, supporting over 200 jobs. These children will receive bright, new coats made with American pride. “This is so much more than a coat,” said Cathey, “beyond warmth and dignity for children, American coat production targets a root cause of poverty for so many families.”

“This is a program that strengthens communities and the overall well-being of children,” stated Rich Lally, Executive Director of Operation Warm. “A new coat boosts a child’s self-esteem and allows families to stretch limited financial resources to other basic necessities, such as food and shelter.”

To donate to Tumwater Firefighters click on or for more information visit Firefighters for Operation Warm.


Heather and Jon Almeda at Mod Curio

South Sound Arts - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 11:22am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 9, 2014
I was visiting Lisa Kinoshita at Moss + Mineral and she said I absolutely had to visit the new shop next door, Mod Curio. She said they had some cool stuff, and boy-oh-boy was she ever right about that.
The new shop, which opened for Art Walk Sept. 18, is run by the husband-and-wife team of artists Heather and Jon Almeda. Both are artists, and the classy little shop is tastefully filled with their unique art. Since the work is mostly functional and decorative — Heather’s photographs being the exception —I would say “arts and crafts” or simply “crafts,” but the inventiveness and style of their pieces warrant the term “art.”
Let’s start with the radios. A shelf along the back wall is lined with them. These are not really radios, they are CD players in radio shells. Jon has gutted classic radios from the 1950s and ‘60s and turned them into players with speakers on the back. From the front they appear to be antique radios, but the sound quality is anything but antique. There is an elegance to the way they are displayed that remind me of commercial objects as displayed by Jeff Koons. Like Koons and Warhol before him, and Duchamp before him, Almeda has elevated a common everyday item to the level of art.
He has done something similar with common pottery by creating thumb-sized pots thrown on a wheel in the traditional manner. The business cards he has created for these say “Size Does Matter,” and it does. The pots are traditional and no different than thousands of others except for the size. They have to be seen to be believed.
And then there are the sculpted cardboard guitars and cameras. These are pure pop art. Life size replicas of guitars and old box cameras.
In their “day job” — as if making all of this stuff and running a store were not enough to qualify as full-time employment the Almedas do commercial wedding photography. Heather recently attended a photography workshop in New Orleans and returned home to Tacoma with some outstanding urban scene photography, many examples of which are displayed in the shop.
They will take part in the next Thursday Art Walk. Be sure to stop by. Or anytime you’re in the neighborhood, stop by. And while you’re there, visit Moss + Mineral. These two shops make that block of 9th street something fabulous.
Mod Curio, Heather & Jon Almeda, Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m., through Oct. 31, 313 S. 9t St., Tacoma, 253.720.4899,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:02am



The return of the razor clams often brings a notion of cool temperatures, rainy weather, and long johns under the hip waders.  This weekend, however, appears to be a continuation of our warmer temperatures with a mix of drizzle.  The beach-goers this weekend will find ample clams and calm weather patterns to make digging even better.  (Get complete tide information here.) Want to try razor clam digging for the first time?  We make it easy with this article by one of our writers.  The author, Britta Folden, doesn’t simply talk to expert diggers. Instead, she pulls on her rain gear and heads out for a lesson on how to snag your limit.  In our circle of friends, it’s always a race to limit the fastest with the fewest number of holes dug.  And, then the competition for best clam chowder or fried fritters ensues.  No matter what you do this weekend, ThurstonTalk has you covered with entertainment throughout the community.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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


The Conference Room at Mud Bay Coffee Company Offers a Unique and Tasty Meeting Experience

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:00am



mud bay coffee

Set the right tone for your next meeting: When you meet in the Mud Bay Coffee Company’s conference room, you’ll find yourself downright excited for your meetings. Photo courtesy of Mud Bay Coffee Company

Imagine you’re in a meeting. But it’s a different kind of meeting. You are sitting around a comfortable café table, your favorite espresso drink in hand as you nibble a locally-made pastry. Or perhaps you’re a little hungrier and want a quiche or personal pizza. As the backdrop to your meeting you have large, floor-to-ceiling picture windows, with sunlight streaming in. The room is air-conditioned and bright. There’s art hung on the walls and graceful overhead lighting. You can close the double French doors and have a private meeting, all while having the amenities of a coffee shop nearby.

This ideal meeting can be a reality if you hold your meeting at Mud Bay Coffee Shop. Their conference room has been gaining a reputation as the “it” meeting spot because of their great atmosphere, hand-crafted beverages, and convenient location on Olympia’s West Side. The room seats 12 -18 people comfortably, and provides a professional-yet-inviting place to meet.

I stopped by Mud Bay Coffee Shop to meet with co-owner and coffee roaster Ken Campbell. Campbell notes that one reason the room is popular is because the room rental fee can be applied to food and beverages purchased at Mud Bay. Everyone likes a treat during meetings or gatherings, and Mud Bay offers a practical, affordable way to make meetings more enjoyable.

mud bay coffee

While meeting in the Mud Bay Coffee Company conference room, you’ll have your pick of delicious hand-crafted beverages and food items to pair it with. Photo courtesy of Mud Bay Coffee Company

When asked what kinds of groups typically use the room, Campbell notes that it suits a vast variety of purposes. From business and political meetings to knitting groups, Bible studies, book clubs (and even a bridal shower), people are finding the room a great value and a favorite spot. Law enforcement and EMS groups have also met there. They are glad the conference room can meet such a wide variety of needs.

Part of the space’s inviting quality is that the building was custom-designed by Mary Campbell and her son, Brian Gregory, who originally co-owned the business together (Mary and Ken took over co-ownership together about a year and a half ago). The large windows, soothing feel and gracious layout of the café make it a pleasant atmosphere for getting together with people any time you have a meeting or group to host. Expert baristas, who will help you have the best meeting possible, complete the experience.

Your attendees can choose from a full menu of espresso beverages and a full tea lineup. You also have your choice of pastries, including gluten-free items from Smiling Mo’s Bakery. Mud Bay takes great care in their food selections, and don’t use any products with high-fructose corn syrup.

They source as many local products as possible, and work with a company in Gig Harbor to create their custom chocolate sauce, as well as white chocolate and caramel sauces, which they use in all their drinks. They use local milk and source most of their pastries from local bakeries.

mud bay coffee

Who knew meetings could be this fun? Plan to have your next meeting in the conference room at Mud Bay Coffee Company, where you can get work done while enjoying the environment and tasty treats.

Mud Bay also offers some appealing breakfast and lunch items. You can enjoy a breakfast burrito at a morning meeting. And for lunch fare, Mud Bay offers quiche, burritos and personal-sized thin crust pizzas. There are also fresh smoothies and milkshakes available. So there is definitely something for everyone. How many meetings can you say you’ve attended with a mango chai smoothie or chocolate milkshake in hand?

This coffee shop has been in Olympia for over a decade, and it’s easy to see why it’s gained such a loyal following. Stepping into the conference room, you’ll be downright looking forward to your meeting: you can get work done while feeling like you’re not in an office, but in a chic café instead. You will feel like you are stepping into a calm, tranquil oasis of great coffee in the midst of a busy day.

Want to make your next work meeting or group get-together unique and memorable? To reserve the meeting room, visit their website or call them at (360) 754-6222.

You can also find Mud Bay Coffee Company on Facebook.


mud bay coffee

Located on Olympia’s West Side, Mud Bay Coffee Company offers gracious conference room amenities and a convenient location for your next business or social gathering.

Mud Bay Coffee Company

1600 Cooper Point Road SW

Olympia, WA 98502

Business Hours:

Monday through Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

You can reserve the conference room here.


Sleep: The Secret Ingredient to Achieving Fitness Goals and Weight Loss

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 6:00am




Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep as part of a healthy fitness and weight loss routine.

When Amanda Price-Salazar, certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and owner of Edge Fitness trains for an event, it’s not just her workouts that are important, but what she does in her down time as well.

Price-Salazar shares that when training hard daily, weekly, and monthly, sleep becomes even more important. Exercise increases the body’s need for sleep and recovery. The average adult should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

“Sleep is crucial. Lack of sleep creates chaos with your hormones and your body will begin to crave sugar, fats, salts and refined carbs.  Your body wants everything that is not healthy for it, ” she explains.

To make matters worse, energy drinks and coffee can interrupt sleep patterns and cause increased fatigue over time.  It’s easy to get into a cycle of sleep deprivation followed by drinking energy drinks or extra caffeine to compensate. Eventually, your fitness goals are sabotaged by overwhelming fatigue.

Getting enough sleep, however, will help you reach your goals more quickly.

olympia personal trainer

Edge Fitness encourages healthy habits including group fitness classes, personal training, proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

“Sleep is one of the key elements to having a successful weight loss program. If your body can’t function or recover properly, it is maintaining a constant state of ‘fight or flight’ and eventually you will see negative changes in your body,” she explains.

“A lot people work long hours and don’t get enough sleep,” Price-Salazar says. “Lack of sleep makes it difficult for your body to function and it struggles with pushing toxins out. This can lead to increased illness, fatigue, weight gain, and more.”

Additionally, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body tends to produce an increase of cortisol in the liver that in turn can make it more difficult to lose weight.

Finally, sleep has a huge impact on performance.  Whether in the gym, at work, or at home, it is difficult to perform your duties with 100% efficiency and enough energy when sleep-deprived.

She offered a few tips to ensure good sleep:

  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet including whole foods.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Manage stress.
  • Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before sleeping.


Arrington de Dionyso, Elliott Sharp, Greg Saunier at Silent Barn

K Records - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 1:17am
On a sojourn to New York City in September, 2014 to make exhibition arrangements for his visual art Arrington de Dionyso found time for a few spontaneous get down sessions with the local weird-outs. Here is an improv performance with Arrington throat singing and playing bass clarinet accompanied by Elliott Sharp on guitar and Greg […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Oysterfest Photojournalism

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 9:18pm


You can see the rest of these at Shelton Blog: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Cotton, Fall of Electricity, Woolen Warrior and Howdy Rowdy

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 5:00pm

Thursday, October 9th, doors at 8pm

Cotton (Portland)
weird songs lay claim to your skull

Fall of Electricity (Oly)
righteous math frees you from your mortal shell

Woolen Warrior (Oly)
contemplative gnar shreds power pop ambience

Rowdy Howdy (Oly)
a new shoegazy thing from Garrett, Aaron, and Sam

Facebook Invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Studio News: Artswalk Fall 2014

K Records - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 2:51pm
This past weekend was Fall Artswalk, which is just about the biggest thing that happens in this neck of the woods. Packs of newly minted Evergreen students wandered the streets, ignoring the art and complaining about the crowds. To celebrate the season, the studio participated with a sound installation, from local artist, Ben Kamen, seen […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Local Young Lady Competes For The Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Tacoma/Seattle Title

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:44am


Local Young Lady Competes For The Miss Jr. Pre-TeenTacoma/Seattle Title logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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My First Time at Centerstage

South Sound Arts - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 9:28am
left to right: Hannah Ruwe, Joe Cummings and Joshua Williamson. Photo by Michelle Smith Lewis

In 1998 a website was created that allowed people to share true stories about their “first time”.  It was an instant phenomenon as 100,000 stories poured in from around the globe: silly, sweet, absurd, funny, straight, gay, shy, sexy and everything in between. These true stories are brought to life in the acclaimed play by Ken Davenport, author of Altar Boyz.

Recommended for 18+ My First Time runs Thursday-Sunday through October 26
Tickets and 253 661 1444

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

3 reasons why I wish I could tell you to vote for none of the above in the Clerk race, but I won't

Olympia Time - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 6:24am
1. For the love of Pete, would someone return a damn email?

I know I'm not anyone that important, it isn't like I contribute money to that many (if any campaigns). But, I emailed both campaigns months ago about what I consider to be a pretty big issue. And nothing. Not even an "I got your email, I'll get back to you later" or a "No, this isn't that big of a deal."

Just silence.

2. Could you make the race any less relevant to voters?

This race is so damn insular, the one time (one time!) I ever received any communication about this race from anyone connected to the campaigns, it highlighted an issue so low and degrading, that I would never repeat it here. Suffice to say, this race has been issue free.

Even the one difference that the campaigns bring up publicly is about an internal court system. Really? An internal office data management system? Wow. Killer stuff.

Here's a better issue to chew over.

3. I feel like I shouldn't even be voting in this election.

This post is starting to become a trip around my own favorite issue, but be patient with me. Yes, I feel that public access to court records should be easier than it is and that county clerks should serve the public in this regard.

And, when I poked around, the Whatcom County clerk provided the best answer to why he makes court records free and searchable online:

We wouldn't charge for someone to come into the office to look at a file. If they chose to make copies, there would be a cost and staff time. I believe it actually saves money by freeing up staff time to do more important tasks. We have had significant reductions in force over the past several years. Further, it provides equal access regardless of financial resources.The difference here is that the clerk in Whatcom county is appointed, while the clerks here are elected. I'm not sure it makes sense, but that means an appointed clerk is more willing to provide for the public than an elected one.

The only reason this makes sense to me is that an appointed clerk would possibly see their role as providing services to the public and the county as a whole. While, an independent, elected clerk would be interested in protecting their own budget and the structural power of their office. So, a creaking and old document management system that doesn't serve the public, but rather charges them for public documents, possibly makes sense.

So, I suggest you vote in this election and vote for Linda Enlow. At the very least, she seems like she's willing to change the office.

But, what we really need is a clerk that is willing to go out on a limb like the Whatcom County Clerk. And, we need to change the law that allows clerks to charge crazy fees for public documents.

But, in the end, support a Home Rule effort for Thurston County. This would allow us to rewrite how Thurston County government operates. And, if we decided to change the clerk position to an appointed one, we could do that.

Thrifty Thurston Picks a Pumpkin Patch

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 6:16am



By Megan Conklin

Capitol City Honda sponsorIt’s pumpkin time. We know this because, in addition to the newly falling leaves, glowing harvest moon, and crisp, cool morning air, flashes of orange are appearing on neighborhood porches. Pumpkins are fundamental to fall, and a trip to the pumpkin patch makes for lasting family memories. In Thurston County, we have an abundance of patches to pick from, and they are all unique. In my family, when autumn arrives and a trip to the patch is on everyone’s mind, we always ask ourselves the following question: Do we go big or go small? Are we in the mood for an all-out harvest experience that includes hay mazes, farm animals, tractor rides, and games? Or do we want a quaint, beautiful field full of pumpkins to choose from and nothing else?

olympia pumpkin patches

Massive pumpkins and loads of activities occur during October at Hunter Family Farm.

Because this is the perennial pumpkin patch question, I have decided to group my round-up of area pumpkin patches into two categories.

The Biggies

Hunter Family Farm

Hunter’s will always be referred to as “the giant slide place” by my children because its kid friendly hay maze ends with a super fun trip out of the hay loft and down a large metal slide. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Hunter’s also has pony rides, camel rides (yes, you read that right), a carousel, a pumpkin sling shot, kiddie trains, and loads of other out-of-the-ordinary pumpkin patch activities. The tractor ride to the pumpkin patch is just bumpy enough to be exciting for the little ones, and the patch itself is vast and loaded with pumpkins. Some of Hunter’s exciting events and activities are week-end only, so check their website or Facebook page for details and pricing.

Open daily through October 31 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

7413 Yelm Highway SE in Olympia



Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm

olympia pumpkin patch

Pick a pumpkin at Lattin’s Country Cider Mill and Farm.

My family adores visiting Lattin’s Cider Mill for the fritters, cider, animals, and country store. In fact, there is so much to love about Lattin’s, sometimes I forget that they have an amazing pumpkin patch as well. It is large and holds pumpkins of all colors, size and shape. Be sure to wear your boots, because Lattin’s patch is authentic and muddy on a typically drizzly northwest day. Read more about the fun things to do at Lattin’s during their annual Apple Festival here.  Find more details via their Facebook page.

Open: Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. plus Sundays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

9402 Rich Road SE in Olympia

(360) 491-7328


Schilter Family Farm

olympia pumpkin patch

Schilter’s hay maze is a fall favorite for the kids.

Schilter’s farm in the Nisqually Valley is the “field trip” pumpkin patch to me because I have been there with many preschool groups and have loved it every time. Schilter’s is a family run farm and is about as kid friendly as they come with hay and corn mazes, a giant sand table in the barn, and even a playground. While the added activities do cost extra, they offer affordable family pricing and “activity bracelets” that let parents to pay a flat rate for all the fun games and rides. And the fun really does abound during Schilter’s annual Harvest Festival. This year they are also hosting a Wizard of Oz themed corm maze that promises to be spooky and surprising – not intended for small children!  Keep track of the farm by following their Facebook page.

Open daily through October 31 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. on 10/31)

141 Nisqually Cutoff Road SE in Olympia



The Smalls

Shorty B’s

pumpkin patch olympia

It’s nothing but pumpkins at Shorty B’s patch off Rainier Road.

You may not have noticed, but Shorty B’s Christmas Tree Farm on Rainier Road also has the sweetest pumpkin patch. It is this mama’s favorite spot to pick pumpkins with the kiddos each year for a variety of reasons. As much as my kids (and my husband and I, we admit it) love the big patches and all the fun that is to be had there, sometimes we just want to pick pumpkins. At Shorty B’s, you never encounter parking issues. You never have to say no to a ride or a deep fried food item, because there aren’t any. There are no animals to pet, no ponies to ride, and no giant bouncy things as far as the eye can see. Just pumpkins – and they are all $3. The only thing to do at Shorty B’s is to grab one of the charming, rusty old wagons parked by the tiny farm stand, and wade out into the patch to hunt for the perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Seriously, just thinking about this place makes me happy.

Open: Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

1842 Rainier Road SE in Lacey


Helsing Junction Farm

olympia pumpkin patch

Which local pumpkin patch will your family choose this Halloween season?

We were part of Helsing Junction’s CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program for many years and loved receiving our weekly, bountiful, certified organic box of produce from the farm. When we journeyed out to Rochester (a beautiful thirty minute drive from Olympia) to visit the farm one fall, we realized that they also have a sizable pumpkin patch and sell pumpkins to the public. This year, their plan is to harvest the pumpkins (due to the large and muddy fields one would have to cross to pick their own) and sell them at the farm stand along with the other delicious and nutritious fall veggies. This time of year affords some of the most beautiful views of the changing leaves and fall colors on this amazing farm – it is well worth the drive.

Open daily through Thanksgiving from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
12231 Independence Rd in Rochester



Pigman’s Organic Produce Patch

Jan and Dean Pigman have been running their farm in the Nisqually Valley for almost a quarter of a century and this quaint, beautiful pumpkin patch is high on my list of the small and not to be missed.  The simple, but truly lovely patch offers the pumpkin picking experience of years past, when getting muddy in the field and scouting the picture-perfect carving pumpkin was more than enough fun. The farm is also certified organic, so be sure to pick up a few pie pumpkins for the holidays while you are there.

Open:  Monday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

10633 Steilacoom Road SE in Olympia


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.


Everything Old is New Again – Lost Arts Become Today’s Hobbies

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 6:15am



By Kathryn Millhorn

rivers edgeDon’t throw the past away, you might need it some rainy day, dreams can come true again, when everything old is new again… wrote Peter Allen in his famous song.

Life seems to move in cycles, be it clothing, politics, baby names, hairstyles, or hobbies.  What was the height of fashion is often decried as tacky before making a full, celebrity-endorsed rebound.  Good, bad, or otherwise, there is nothing new under the sun.

olympia sewing class

Olympia is a wealth of hobby classes and opportunities

In 2009 Forbes magazine asked the question, “Have old-fashioned hobbies gone out of fashion?  Quite the contrary: It turns out that traditional hobbies are simply evolving, not disappearing…Maybe it’s because of high unemployment, which can result in idle hands.  Or could it be a sense of nostalgia that leads us to desire something more tactile in a virtually run world?”

Whatever the reason, Olympia is a hotbed of crafty geniuses.  Want to make sweaters for lamp-posts?  Done.  Drink craft beer while knitting?  Got you covered.  Create jewelry for friends and family from the comfort of your own home?  Easy!  Fly a miniature helicopterDance the night away?  Walk a tightrope?  Check, check, check.

Forbes goes on to say that “while many of the hottest hobbies are new riffs on old traditions, there are some plainly traditional crafts, such as sewing, that are experiencing a renaissance–driven in part by modern necessity.  The act of sewing itself hasn’t changed, but the reasons for doing it have. While affordable ready-to-wear made at-home sewing [was] a dying hobby in the 1980s and 1990s, the popularity of fashion competition shows like Project Runway–combined with dwindling incomes–has once again made sewing one’s own clothes an attractive alternative.”

olympia sewing class

(re)fabulous and shops like it are open to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or skill.

Locally, crafters are all ages and skill levels.  On the west side, (re)fabulous offers training and so much more.  As they explain, “(re)fabulous is the place to play and find the creative in YOU. We are committed to green-inspired projects with such a passion that it will make you think twice about what you are tossing out. We offer classes, community and inspiration mixed with an example of how fabulous repurposed creating can be.”

Their training includes everyone aged 4 and up and occasionally culminates in a fashion show spotlighting the results.  The next such event takes place on October 12 and showcases items made by local tweens and teens.  The designers themselves will walk the runway, with hair styled by Dell’s Hair Design.  The evening will be a fundraiser for Community Youth Services Haven House, an Olympia youth shelter for 12 – 17 year olds.

Four local students will be amongst those showing off their items.  Alina Benson, 14, attends Olympia High School and has been sewing for four years.  She learned with her grandmother and created a sunny yellow dress made entirely from bed sheets.  Eleven-year-old Karena Meinhardt goes to Holy Family School and grew up wanting to be a fashion designer.  Her two-piece pink and black outfit is the result of two years as a sewer, mostly through classes at (re)fabulous.  Erin Joe is 12 and attends Jefferson Middle School.  She watched her mom sew for years and this is her first event through the studio.  She’ll wear a knit hooded dress with a belt purse in dark blue.  Finally Genevieve Nguyen, 10, of the Olympia Waldorf School made a blue and green dress.  She not only crafted the item but designed the pattern herself.  All four girls are excited to learn—and do!—more though the studio.

olympia sewing class

Sewing students will host a fashion show on October 12 to benefit local charities.

Local pattern designer Rebecca Anderson finds her classes contain many younger members these days.  “I’ve noticed that young sewists are interested in making their own clothing as a creative outlet.  It expresses individuality and is fun.”  On an outdoorsy note, gentleman farmer Dave Toht (author of ‘Backyard Homesteading’) says that “I find young families much prefer a big garden and a flock of chickens to a meticulous lawn. They like the fun of growing their own.”

Whatever the reason, hobbies once considered dead or dying are now experiencing a healthy rebirth.  We’re blessed that living somewhere like Olympia makes trying a new hobby easy, fun, and affordable.


Have Your Cake and Eat It Too – Holiday Celebrations with Bayview Catering

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 6:12am



olympia catering

Bayview Catering staff can arrange, serve, and clean up after your holiday party.

School’s back in session, rain has returned to the forecast, and it’s time to settle in to the ups and downs of a Northwest winter.  While this is often a nose-to-the-grindstone time of year, we can look forward to the season of holiday parties, celebrations, and time spent with family and friends.

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis acknowledges that “the holidays stress people out so much.  I suggest you keep it simple and try to have as much fun as you can.”  But too simple and you lose the magic; reminds Julia Child, “a party without a cake is just a meeting.”

Whether you’re planning a gorgeous autumnal wedding or a simple office celebration, Bayview Catering can handle it.  Located in Bayview Thriftway in downtown Olympia, they partner with some of our region’s best party suppliers and planners to insure your event is all you hoped for and more.

Catering Manager Kelly Young explains that they have offered catering services since 1984 and “are a full service catering company, the only part we are missing is a venue.  Celebrations is available for the dishes, linens, tents, tables and chairs, Finishing Touch Florist and Gifts is our floral department and Classic Creations Bakery makes the wedding cakes.”

olympia caterer

No event is too big or too small for Bayview Catering.

Bayview Catering is truly a one-stop shop for party needs.  Says Young, “we offer full service catering with delivery, set up, onsite catering staff, bartending, take down and clean up.  We also are available if a customer just needs a tray of lasagna or a veggie tray.  We can have them ready to pick up at Bayview.”

Complete menu planning services are also available, and they “can create a menu just for you which will accommodate your special diet needs, ethnic preferences, budget, time or space limitations.”  Beverage service is available as well and can include beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks.

After a summer of salads, we all love the richer, heartier dishes of autumn.  These are some of the highlights of the seasonal menu available for your event or party.  “Fall favorites are heartier foods like sweet potato with pineapple, yam and cranberries, beef stew, chili, beef stroganoff, roasted veggie lasagna rolls.  Holiday favorites are: prime rib, beef tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted turkey breast, shrimp, and Rumaki with scallops.  Foods that make a special occasion and that people don’t eat all the time,” says Young.

To schedule services with Bayview Catering, a simple phone call, email, or online submission is all it takes.  As with any busy holiday event, booking early is always better.  Simple meat and cheese or vegetable trays are usually available for instant pick-up but 7+ days notice is preferred.

olympia caterer

The Bayview Catering team can work within any dietary needs, budget, or guest list.

No event is too big or too small and it never hurts to make an initial inquiry.  Their accolades page lists praise from the hosts of 200-250 guest wedding receptions, a 400 person company picnic, an intimate 30 person in-home Christmas party, and a 500+ attendee Legislative reception.  Young remembers “one memorable catering event was a Christmas party in the warehouse of Brown and Hayley in Tacoma.  We saw where they made the Almond Roca and the conveyer belts were running over our heads!”

Parties are stressful enough without having to remember the many intricacies involved in a successful get-together.  This is especially true over the holiday season when many stores operate on shorter hours.  Why fret when you can leave everything in the capable hands of Kelly Young and the team at Bayview Catering?  Whether you need a last-minute veggie tray or a feast fit for your mother-in-law, they can handle it all, including service and clean-up.

As the days darken and everything gets soggy, it’s therapeutic to treat yourself every once in a while.  Whether it’s something pumpkin spiced or allowing yourself to sit back and pass the turkey stress-free, don’t forget to give thanks for family, friends, and our talented local community.

Bayview Catering can is located inside Bayview Thriftway at 516 West Fourth Ave.  Give them a call at 360-357-8016 or email the to set up an appointment.


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