Recent local blog posts

July is Smart Irrigation Month in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:38am



Submitted by The City of Olympia

Less is more when watering your lawn.

woman wateringJuly is Smart Irrigation Month in Olympia.  Because lawns and landscapes are typically over-watered by up to 30%, the City of Olympia’s Water Conservation Program is encouraging water customers to cut their irrigation water waste through a variety of incentives. By watering wisely, maintaining and upgrading automated irrigation systems, consumers can save money and help protect our drinking water resources for future generations.

The City’s Water Conservation Program offers residential water customers a $200 rebate on the installation of a “smart” irrigation controller and/or a FREE rain sensor – both for in-ground irrigation systems. Smart controllers automatically adjust watering times based on weather conditions to provide optimal moisture for healthy plants and landscapes, and conserves water. Rain sensors simply shut off irrigation systems when it is raining, so you don’t water when nature is doing it for you. Customers who water with a hose-end sprinkler can benefit from a free hose watering timer.

City of Olympia commercial water customers may be eligible for a rebate of up to $2500 on efficient irrigation system upgrades, including spray nozzle retrofits, smart controller upgrades and drip irrigation conversions.

The City’s efficient irrigation consultant says, “Olympia has made it easy for commercial customers and irrigation contractors to get rebates for installing efficient sprinkler nozzles, controllers with conservation features, and other water saving equipment. The rebate process is simple for most items, and the rebate amounts are generous enough that customers can start saving money right away.”

Visit our website for Smart Irrigation Month incentives, rebate applications, resources and tips on how you can join your fellow neighbors and get smart about irrigation!

Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation.

For more information, contact the City of Olympia Water Conservation Program at 360.753.8271 or

Westport Winery’s Two “biggest reds” Earn Big Points at the World Wine Challenge

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:34am



Submitted by Westport Winery

Westport WinerySwimmer, the winery’s iconic Petite Sirah made with grapes from Jones Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, earned 89 points. The label features winemaker Dana Roberts as a young competitive swimmer. The tasting notes state that it is “A tattooed biker wine, muscular and dangerous.” It is suggested to pair it in the winery’s restaurant with their Bubba Burger (a Certified Angus Beef  burger with the winery’s homemade bacon jam, Swiss cheese and greens on a grilled hoagie) while listening to Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Grays Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center

Surfer, the winery’s varietal Syrah made from grapes grown at Discovery Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, earned 88 points. Like father, like son, this label features winery co-owner Blain Roberts as a nationally rated surfer on Maui in the 1970s. On the tasting notes it says this is “The Edgar Allen Poe of wine, dark, brooding and intense.” It is well-paired with Surf and Turf (a prime Certified Angus Beef garlic tenderloin served with bacon-wrapped prawns in a pineapple-horseradish glaze) in the winery’s Farm to Fork restaurant while listening to Pipeline by The Ventures. A portion of the proceeds from this wine is donated to South Beach EMS.

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

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

Liquor Control Board Issues First Marijuana Retailer Licenses

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:04am



Submitted by Washington State Liquor Control Board

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) today issued the state’s first 24 marijuana retailer licenses. A complete listing, including contact information of the new retail licensees, can be found online within the Public Records section of the WSLCB website.

The 24 applicants were notified via email early this morning that they were approved for a retail license. Once approved for a license, producers and/or processors are able to file a required manifest for transporting to retail locations. Following a 24 hour quarantine period, they may begin transporting products to retail stores. Marijuana retailers may begin selling marijuana at their discretion following receipt of product and entering it in to the traceability system.

Businesses receiving their licenses today represent the first of 334 licenses allotted by the WSLCB for retail sales who have successfully completed the licensing process. Locations receiving licenses were selected by taking into account population, geographic dispersion and the individual applicant’s readiness to be licensed.

Today’s issuance of the first retail licenses represents the latest step following nearly 18 months of establishing a tightly controlled and comprehensive system of producing, processing and retailing recreational marijuana. Highlights include:

  • Crafting the rules governing Washington’s recreational marijuana system;
  • Establishing a traceability system for tracking marijuana products from production to retail
  • Establishing a system and certification requirements for laboratories and testing procedures for labs testing recreational marijuana;
  • Building and training marijuana licensing, enforcement and financial teams for administering and enforcing the law;
  • Conducting thorough criminal and financial investigations of all license types;
  • Developing a process for a third-party to conduct a double-blind lottery for establishing an ordered list of retail license applicants; and
  • Actively working with industry members, public agencies and community organizations to further public and consumer safety education.

The WSLCB was especially concerned with the impact to children. There are strict rules regarding packaging, labeling and advertising to ensure they not appeal to children. In June, the LCB announced emergency rules that include a label and product approval process.

WSLCB licensing investigators will continue to issue producer, processor and retailer licenses as those applications are completed. To date the WSLCB has licensed over 687,000 square feet of plant canopy for marijuana production, roughly the equivalent of a dozen football fields.

For more information including summaries of the rules frequently requested lists please visit the LCB website at


Get to Know Lasting Touch Memorials’ Tony Ward

Thurston Talk - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 6:00am



lasting touch memorials

Tony Ward, owner of Lasting Touch Memorials, has over 30 years of industry experience.

Tony Ward is a funny guy. In his line of work, humor is important. Ward is the owner of Lasting Touch Memorial in Yelm. “I try to tell a funny story to get a laugh or smile – to break the mood,” says Ward.

That doesn’t mean he’s insensitive. Ward takes his work seriously. He understands how important picking the right memorial can be to a family who has just lost a loved one. “You have to care for people and you have to be a good listener,” says Ward.

Patience is a must. “I have to find out what that person meant to them,” says Ward. Sometimes it takes a while. Ward once worked with a client who needed seven months and more than 30 changes before she felt satisfied. “I’ll go back until the person is happy,” says Ward.

Tony opened Lasting Touch 12 years ago but he’s been involved with the death care industry for almost three decades. He started as a truck driver for a company that installed headstones, among other things.  Ward worked his way up before leaving to start his own business.

A delivery truck pulls up. Ward takes me out back. He talks to the driver for a few minutes then takes me on a tour of the lot. He shows me a beautiful, deep red memorial. It’s granite and looks pristine.  He bought the piece in China and also purchases domestically and internationally. There is some kind of defect but it’s not visible. Ward thinks it was cut too short. As we walk, Ward rattles off information about the different colors of granite and where they originated. He’s a flesh and blood Wikipedia only without the inaccuracy. I can’t help but think that it must be nice to be in such capable hands.

For more information about Lasting Touch visit the website or call 360-458-9070.


Pretty, cheaper and better for fans. Great new indoor soccer league, I wish it was a futsal leauge

Olympia Time - Mon, 07/07/2014 - 5:22am
I'm glad the new Western Indoor Soccer League is coming online. The old national minor league indoor teams around here had been associated with just seemed so disconnected. And, there was a bit of drama in there that I didn't like.

And, most importantly, I think local leagues should be local. Sure, organized with some sort of national system (like US Club Soccer), but local teams controlling local leagues. Just makes sense.

But, where I wish these team owners had changed their approach would be to abandon the historic tangent that is indoor soccer. In no where else in the world does anyone play our version of indoor soccer. Its odd in that way. Our version seems to be based on a need to use underutilized indoor hockey rinks. They are laid out almost exactly the same, with team boxes and tall walls that keep the ball in play.

Futsal is just a better sport. The rest of the world plays futsal, which more closely resembles actual soccer.

I'd even say that futsal is more exciting. And, after watching more than 10 indoor games right on the walls, indoor is plenty exciting on its own. What I've read makes me believe that futal would also be cheaper to implement. Mostly what worries me is the need to essentially replicate hockey arenas to play what should be a simple sport. Futsal can be played anywhere basketball or volleyball is played. It is just another series of lines on the same gym surface. Even if you're buying a futsal floor, they can be purchased in the neighborhood of $10,000, which is near what an indoor field (with turf and walls) can be set up for.  

The biggest argument for me is fan experience. The indoor arenas I've seen around here have pretty bad fan experiences. Small metal bleachers awkwardly arranged around an indoor arena, I mostly ended up standing, and I felt I was in the way of people trying to walk by. The facilities are obviously built for recreational players with a fan experience jammed in. Even if you took an average high school gym and laid a portable futsal court, you would increase the fan experience by 100 percent.

And, according to FIFA indoor isn't real soccer. And, they're right.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 5:24pm
Event:  Thu, 07/24/2014 - 7:00pm - 9:15pm

This summer, Animal Fire Theatre presents William Shakespeare's THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA. Shakespeare fans know that this comedy of love and friendship lost and found again is a true time capsule of its age and of sixteenth century ideas about how love and relationships should work. Today, some of these ideas have been discarded and others have been allowed to change form and linger. Animal Fire chose this comedy as their followup to Hamlet and Julius Caesar because it engages with issues far more present our modern world with a joviality guaranteed to please. Staged with a sharp wit and packed to the brim with comic delights, the show features some of Olympia’s best talent, music and even “a bit with a dog”. 

The Two Gentlemen of Verona runs July 24 – August 10th. During the first weekend, you will find the show at Animal Fire's old home of Priest Point Park, July 24th – 26th at 7 pm and July 27th at 2 pm. The show goes on tour during its second weekend, with two 7 pm stops on July 31st and August 1st at the Tumwater Farmer's Market, at the southwest corner of Capitol Boulevard and Israel Road, plus a 2 pm matinee at the Griswold Building in downtown Olympia, 310 4th Ave E. The troupe returns to Priest Point Park for closing weekend, with 7 pm shows August 7th, and 8th and 2 pm matinees on August 9th and10th. All shows are free to the public and guests are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Loni Smith Masters the Science of Barbecue

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 7:06am



By Katie Doolittle

QuinaultLoni Smith is a true Renaissance man with deep roots in the Lacey-Olympia community. Many locals know him as Mr. Smith, the caring and committed teacher who led them through physics, chemistry, or calculus at River Ridge High School. Others—specifically, barbecue enthusiasts—know him as the cooking genius behind Smitty’s Bar-B-Grill.

loni smith bbq

During the summer months, Loni Smith balances his professional catering business with plenty of relaxation.

Smith started making his own pickles as a complement to his main dishes. Now, he’s got repeat customers begging him for large take-home orders. “I will sell pickles hand over fist,” Smith laughs. “That’s been the biggest surprise.”

Smith’s astonishment probably derives from his general attitude about cooking for the public. “I find it strange that people pay me for food because it’s just what I love to do,” he says. Strange or not, Smith could easily have a bustling business on his hands. His food is marvelous and his prices reasonable. But he only cooks professionally during the summer, and he tries to balance his market days and catering gigs with plenty of relaxation time. That’s especially important this year, as Smith explains, “My daughter is on her way off to college so I don’t want to take on too much.”

It’s no wonder that Smith gets excellent word-of-mouth referrals. Though barbecue is his passion, his culinary skills are varied. He makes everything from pulled pork cooked low and slow to toothsome treats for a vegan birthday party. His signature side dishes have me drooling just thinking about them… especially the “Smitty Beans” in their rich, bacon-studded sauce.

loni smith bbq

Loni Smith is affectionately called “teacher, coach, friend, parent, and district alum” by a co-worker at River Ridge High School.

Smith describes grilling as “a more scientific endeavor than teaching,” and he’s certainly in a position to know. From September through June, he submerses himself fully in his job at River Ridge High School. Student athletes benefit from his coaching of boys’ soccer and golf. Colleagues respect his knowledge, work ethic, and caring demeanor. And students appreciate his total commitment to their learning and well-being.

He’s the kind of teacher who makes an impact long after a final exam. River Ridge alumna Kindra McDougall recalls, “He knew exactly how to control the [class] environment and engage every individual.” Jordan Cobb, class of 2010, concurs. She says, “He taught in a way that was interesting, fun, often funny, and energetic, which helped me stay motivated to learn and understand the material.” She describes Smith as someone who “genuinely cared about helping them grow into awesome adults.”

Smith’s competence and popularity were highly evident at graduation this past June, where he wowed the crowd as the class of 2014’s student-elected speaker. The graduates broke into spontaneous cheers on Smith’s behalf, chanting his name and nearly moving him to tears.

Co-worker Angela Farley sums it up: “He’s such a valuable asset to our building: teacher, coach, friend, parent, district alum.”

Intriguingly, this last bit has had a huge influence on Smith’s cooking style. Growing up in North Thurston Public Schools, Smith’s social network was quite diverse. Many of his friends came from military families, and others had first-generation immigrant parents. Eating at one another’s homes was a culinary experience Smith still appreciates to this day. Enthusiastically, he recalls the homemade sauerkraut and kimchi he encountered as an adolescent, describing how the flavor of a vegetable changes and sweetens in the pickling process.

loni smith bbq

You can find Loni Smith’s tasty barbecue (and his famous pickles) at the Lacey Community Market.

“I’ve enjoyed cooking since I was a young kid,” says Smith. “As a Boy Scout I realized I liked cooking over an open flame… and I was pretty good at it.” His focus on barbecue began around age 18, and Smith describes his learning process as “burning and overcooking a bunch of stuff before I started to get it right.” It’s a process he recommends wholeheartedly for any budding barbecuer. “Experiment. Don’t be afraid to burn food. Don’t be afraid if it tastes bad. Don’t be afraid to fail.”

Does that advice come from Smitty the grill master, or Mr. Smith the teacher? Actually, it’s nearly impossible to separate these facets of Smith’s personality—a fact he readily recognizes. “There is a definite science [to barbecue],” he says. He goes on to describe how he develops various flavors and techniques using observation, measurement, and testing. It’s the classic scientific method at work in the kitchen. Smith says the process “is much like that in a science experiment, but at the same time it’s very natural and holistic.”

There is, of course, one important distinction: I’ve never wanted to eat the results of a high school chemistry or physics lab. But you can bet I’ll be in line at Smitty’s Bar-B-Grill this summer, waiting to taste the fabulous results of his latest culinary experiment.

Smitty’s Bar-B-Grill has been a food vendor at the Lacey Community Market for the past four years. (The Lacey Community Market runs once a month on July 12, August 9 and September 13, this year.)  Do yourself a favor: come for the barbecue. Stay for the pickles.


Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor – Family Friendly Throwback With Tasty Treats

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 8:41am



By Libby Kamrowski

Puget Sound EnergyThe door to Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor is secretly a time portal.

One minute you’re on Fourth Avenue in 2014 downtown Olympia, and the next you’re blasted to Olympia of the 1950s. Black and white checkered floor. A long counter with scarlet red barstools. Young “soda jerks” working side by side Larry and Drue Brown, otherwise known as Grandpa and Grandma. A family-run business for a family-welcome atmosphere, Grandpa’s Ice Cream is the surest destination to get your kids tasty treats.

olympia ice cream

Larry and Drue Brown, benevolent owners of Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Shop, work daily to supply sweet treats to the families and patrons of Thurston County.

The idea for the shop was sparked by a chance encounter. “I was painting the building, and a fellow came by Fourth Avenue and stopped in the middle of traffic. ‘Hey – can you tell me if there is a decent ice cream place in this city?’” Larry Brown said. “So it made me think- this would be a great place for that.” The shop took a year to complete, and even longer to generate the flow of customers. But now the shop is close to selling its seventy thousandth ice cream cone in its third year of business.

Few know that in the 1950s, there used to be an ice cream parlor by the name of Kress Ice Cream. A photograph of this historical memory of Olympia can be found inside Grandpa’s, which modeled its own interior as closely as possible to Kress’s. The next time you stop by for a scoop, take a look among the framed historic pictures and you may find it.

The Browns built the shop on the foundation of family. “We wanted to make it family friendly. We wanted it to work for everyone, but especially for when the family comes down and brings their kids downtown in a place to enjoy,” Larry Brown said. The Browns are continually coming up with ways to help out young patrons- they are even expanding the menu board to feature pictures of special ice cream concoctions to meet customer demands.

olympia ice cream

Drue Brown, otherwise known as Grandma, serves me up a scrumptious scoop of Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream in a homemade waffle cone.

But this surely isn’t the only way that the Browns have helped out the youth. In fact, the success of the shop directly benefits the young soda jerks of Grandpa’s. The profits of the store help the young workers pay for college educations. The Browns continually express their amazement with how many young people are working to achieve higher level educations, and receive stacks of resumes.

Soda jerk Belana Anderson, advocate of the cotton candy soft serve and a student of Saint Martin’s University’s class of 2018, says “He opened the shop to hire employees for the purpose to help them make money. For school, or missions. Grandpa and Grandma don’t take any of the profit,” Anderson said. “They are some of the sweetest people, and both very hard working.” Anderson emphasized the generosity of the contributions of the Browns and to their genuinely positive relationships with the staff.

The owners of Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor are truly as sweet as the treats that they serve.

This summer, customers can expect something new from Grandpa’s in the form of refreshing local fruit. In the near future, fresh flavored lemonades will be available. But the innovation does not stop there. “We’re thinking of a promotion, ‘Until the Cows Come Home.’ It is different kinds of ice cream sodas, which we plan on introducing probably by the first of August,” said soda jerk Michael Kent.

The pre-existing products on the menu are suitable for all tastes. Two dozen flavors of soft serve are advertised on a banner located on the back wall, for the nearly unbeatable price of $1.25 per cone. Hand scooped Olympic Mountain Ice Cream (locally made) is also available, as are sundaes with plentiful toppings to choose from. They’ve thought of everything, as shakes and malts are made from the hand-scooped ice cream and Torani flavors.

For those with creative pallets, Italian sodas are made to order for $2.99, and ice cream sodas for $3.99. Visit the glass case for chocolate confections and penny candy for additional tasty joy. Anywhere you look in the store, you’ll find something else you want to eat.

olympia ice cream

Larry Brown owner of the shop, otherwise known as Grandpa, tidies up the ice cream shop by cleaning the soft-serve area counters by hand.

You may have heard about the waffle cones, or smelled them as you walked past the shop. Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Shop makes the cones on site, and from personal experience, they are worth the hype. Drue Brown scooped me up a Pistachio Cherry Chocolate Chip in a waffle cone while I was in, and I melted for the cone faster than the ice cream did. If gold were edible, it would taste like the waffle cones that Grandpa’s produces. “People come from all over the area to follow that scent. We sell our ice cream in waffle cones as fast as we can make them,” Larry Brown said.

The next time you’re at Percival Landing or visiting the fountain, be it by yourself or with your family in tow, Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor will be right around the corner to serve you up a scoop of sugary throwback.


olympia ice cream

Take a look into the glass case, featuring penny candies and decadent chocolate confections.

Grandpa’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream Parlor

208 – 4th Avenue West in Olympia

Summer hours:

Monday through Thursday – 12:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday – 12:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday – closed


Nature in the Making

South Sound Arts - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 8:31am

Outstanding fabrics at B2
The Weekly Volcano, July 3, 2014  "Growth Forms" by Stacey Harvey-BrownThree outstanding fabric artists are represented in the latest show at B2 Fine Art Gallery. The show is called “Nature in the Making: Geo-Tiles” and is subtitled “Geology Interpreted through Woven Textiles.”  Participating artists are Stacey Harvey-Brown all the way from the UK, Agnes Hauptli from New Zealand, and Tacoma’s own Bo Chambers.
Not only is the art by each of these exemplary, but it is beautifully displayed in such a way as to create natural interactions between installations and individual pieces and groupings of two and three pieces so that they read as diptychs and triptychs. This is especially true of Hauptli’s work as exemplified in her tapestries “Undulations,” “Waves” and “Double Vision.” These three pieces are grouped together in such a way as to form a single three-part piece with patterns that undulate with soft gold, mauve and tan colors in such a way as to lead the eye from one to the other. The same holds true for her “Petrified Sand Dunes,” a group of three large, hanging tapestries grouped in descending size and position as if pictured in one-point perspective. Inspired by the landscape of the Southwest, the colors are that of sand dunes and there is what appears to be a Native American petroglyph. Even more outstanding is her installation with three hanging tapestries: “Glistening I,” “Glistening II” and “Dripstone,” which constitute a depiction of dripping limestone in a cavern with hanging woolen linen representing stalactites. It is in installations such as this that the geological references in the show’s title become crystal clear.
I also was much impressed with a group of scarves by Hauptli in beautiful shades of gold and purple, which are displayed in such a manner as to look like religious vestments.
Also looking a lot like a group of stalactites is Harvey-Brown’s “Growth Forms,” 13 hanging tapestries in cotton, wool and linen in the shapes of windsocks that hang floor to ceiling. Her large pieces “Strata Walls 1” and “Strata Walls 2” are huge and imposing sheets of mixed fibers arranged in loosely woven bands of white, gray and tan. All of her work is impressive in size and impact.
The artworks by Harvey-Brown and Hauptli are from a show of the same title in New Zealand. Chambers was added to the Tacoma show. Chambers is showing about a dozen wall hangings in various eccentric shapes made up of sticks, thread, rope, and beads. They look like her personal take on shamanistic objects inspired by dream catchers.
Nature in the Making, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, till 9 p.m. Third Thursdays, through July 25, B2 Fine Art Gallery,711 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, 253.238.5065]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Safer Surgery at Washington Orthopaedic Center

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 7:42am



washington orthopaedic center

Members of Washington Orthopaedic Center took a mission trip to Nicaragua to perform joint replacement surgeries.

In September 2013, Consumer Reports published a guide titled “Your safer-surgery survival guide.” The article included ratings of surgery centers in Washington State. Providence Centralia Hospital received the third highest rating, with a “best” score, right behind Overlake Hospital in Bellevue.

“Our staff at the Washington Orthopaedic Center is proud to be part of the highly recognized care provided at Providence Centralia,” said Maretta Boes, patient services representative at Washington Orthopaedic Center.

You’ll find the center a short 20-minute drive south on I-5 in Centralia, right off the highway. The group of four orthopedic surgeons and four physician assistants serve a large region, covering Thurston, Grays Harbor and Lewis counties.

When you step into the lobby of Washington Orthopaedic Center you know you’re in a special place. One of the first things you see is a large, living tree, bent and twisted and beautiful, but braced to a straight stick. “The traditional symbol of orthopaedics is the bent tree that has been braced to make it grow straight. We use this symbol throughout our building,” said Boes. Not only is there a living tree in the lobby, but the tree is painted on walls and is on their letterhead.

“The Greek roots of the word ‘orthopaedics’ are ortho (straight) and pais (child). Early orthopaedists often used braces or other forms of treatment to make the child ‘straight’’, Boes explained.

Washington Orthopaedic Center's Dr. Slattery (in red jacket) attends a US Ski Team medical emergency training.

Washington Orthopaedic Center’s Dr. Slattery (in red jacket) attends a US Ski Team medical emergency training.

The waiting room features art by local artists, rotating every sixty days, creating a welcoming environment.  The receptionists are warm, as well. Continue walking through the state of the art facility and you’ll pass numerous plaques and awards from local sports teams that have been sponsored by Washington Orthopaedics.  Along with supporting local teams, Washington Orthopaedics is also the official medical provider for the US Ski & Snowboarding teams.

The practice started in 1973, founded by Dr. Larry Hull, and has been at their present location on Cooks Hill Road for 25 years this July. Due to growth in the practice, the building has seen a number of renovations. Currently they are installing new digital imaging equipment. They also have open extremity Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which is helpful for patients that experience claustrophobia in traditional MRIs. MRIs provide detailed information about tendons, ligaments, muscle, and bone marrow that standard x-rays cannot. It is particularly useful for looking at knees, shoulders, wrists, ankles, and other small joints.

Washington Orthopaedic Center patients also benefit from the latest technology in tele-radiology. This is where the image is sent electronically to specialists that read results with expert accuracy. Today’s imaging technology has virtually eliminated the need for invasive exploratory surgeries.

Other services provided at the center include sports medicine, total joint replacement, hand surgery, minimally invasive procedures, fracture and trauma surgery and ImPACT testing for concussion.

In July, Dr. Michael Dujela will join the team. He is a nationally recognized expert in foot and ankle surgery who has trained with some of the world’s leading orthopaedic surgeons. There are less than five surgeons, in the nation, who have completed training similar to Dujela.

Many people would think that appointments with highly-trained providers like Dujela would take months to get, but that is not the case at Washington Orthopaedic Center. “We’ve made it a huge priority over the last few years to improve our scheduling times,” said Boes referencing the quick scheduling.  “We want patients who are in pain or are waiting to return to work to get the care they need and get on with their lives.”

washington orthopaedic

Quick scheduling is a hallmark of service at Washington Orthopaedic Center.

Boes notes that many first time visitors are surprised by the size of the facility, the number of doctors, the proximity to Providence right next door, as well as the lower cost of many of their services. Washington Orthopaedics accepts nearly all insurance plans, including Group Health.

Scheduling appointments is a breeze.  A quick phone call (360.736.2889) to Washington Orthopaedics and you will likely be seen within 24 hours.  A commitment to easy, rapid scheduling is a hallmark of the practice.

Washington Orthopaedic Center is located at 1900 Cooks Hill Road and can be reached at 360.736.2889 or appointments can be made at

Services include:

  • Sports Medicine
  • Total Joint Replacement
  • Hand Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Procedures
  • Fracture and Trauma Surgery
  • Open Extremity MRI
  • Out-Patient Surgery Center
  • Digital X-Ray
  • ImPACT Testing for Concussion


2014 July 4th Parade in Tumwater

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 6:01am



All eyes are on Tumwater during the annual 4th of July parade.  The Grand Marshal for the 2014 parade was former Sea Gal, Stephanie Hemphill.  For more information about celebrating Independence Day in Tumwater, click here.

tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade parade tumwater tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade tumwater parade


Pop into a Local Canning Class

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 6:00am



By Katie Doolittle

hirschHome canning: it’s a chance to preserve the season’s bounty. It’s also an excellent option for people wanting more control over their pantry or pocketbook. Whenever I slather my morning toast with homemade blackberry jam, I get a bit of self-satisfaction as extra sweetener. Picking those berries cost nothing more than effort, and my sugar-free recipe tastes marvelous.

Turning local berries and fruit into jam is a favorite activity.

Turning local berries and fruit into jam is a favorite activity.

I am not alone in my fondness for food preservation. “I think there’s a fun nostalgia about the process of canning and having a pantry filled with the fruits of your own labor.” So says Leanne Willard, Director of the Bayview School of Cooking. She acknowledges that some people may be intimidated by the idea and mentions that “canning jam is a wonderful way to get in to the whole thing.”

Happily, multiple upcoming classes offer guidance to novice food preservers in the Olympia area.

Bayview School of Cooking will offer “Jam Session” on Wednesday, July 9th, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. The cost is $45, and space is limited to 25 people. To register, call 360-754-1448.

Though Bayview has separate programming for kids, teenagers (and sometimes younger children) often come to regular programming. Usually, teens come with someone older but they are perfectly welcome to come alone. If you have any questions about your eligibility, just ask when you call to register.

olympia cooking classes

Faye Mueller has over 38 years of experience making jam.

Faye Mueller is the instructor for “Jam Session,” a demonstration-style class that will cover two jam recipes, a chutney, and a jam-filled gluten-free breakfast bar. Participants get to take home some jam that Mueller makes for her company, Sweet Pea’s Specialties. Mueller jokes that her business came into being because she’d already gifted her friends and family with a gargantuan surplus of jam. She says, “I started making jam at age 19 and I’m 57 now. There’s been a lot of jam between then and now!”

In addition to jam-making, Mueller has plenty of experience with food and cooking. For over a decade, she ran the Seward Park PCC Deli. Currently, she assists Joy Templeton at Once Upon a Thyme with recipe development and monthly cooking classes. Mueller described the connection: “We are long time cooking buddies and share a similar whole food style.”

When I asked Mueller why someone should consider taking her class, she explained, “Canning as a means of food preservation is an old art. And these days, kind of a lost art. It is not difficult to do and is very rewarding. If the power goes out, your canned goods in the pantry are going to be just fine. You’ll have a great start to your disaster kit as well as always having a lovely homemade gift on hand.”

Valarie Burson, another local instructor, agrees. “A class on food preservation gives immediate results and instills a degree of confidence and success in the moment.” She believes that this confidence is key for eliminating concerns over germs or botulism. She goes on to say, “Food preservation closes the loop between the local food and farm connection.  In the Pacific Northwest our growing seasons are limited, yet bountiful at their peak.  We can take advantage of peak production through preservation practices.”

olympia cooking class

Valerie Burson is a certified nutritional therapist and will be teaching some jam making classes this summer.

In terms of seizing opportunity and eliminating waste, canning falls right in line with the Olympia Food Co-Op’s values. It’s no wonder that the co-op’s summer class line-up will feature several courses on food preservation. Burson explains that the co-op’s educational program focuses on “cooking basics, sustainable living, and health/wellness. Additionally, there is instruction about developing food cooperatives, labor movements, and food politics.” Co-op classes are purely nonprofit, taught by qualified volunteers. The budget-friendly $5 registration fee makes each class widely accessible.

In August, Burson will run two Saturday sessions through the Co-Op. Both will focus on food preservation. On August 9 from noon to 2:30 p.m., she’ll lead a group through jam-making. On August 16 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., her students will be pickling beets. Both classes will be held at the GRuB Farmhouse.

Burson’s classes are hands-on; therefore, enrollment for each is limited to 15. She would welcome youth to either class. If you are old enough to handle a knife and avoid getting burned, you are old enough for canning and pickling, according to Burson.

Burson is a nutritional therapist – a certification that seemed natural given her “long term love of food, nutrition, and cooking.” She says, “My interests lie in educating people about food choices, cooking, and shopping.”  She’s also passionate about “transitioning people to better nutrition.”

When we spoke, Burson offered the following advice: “Don’t fear the kitchen.  Never miss an opportunity to add to your larder. Share your abundance.”

These are powerful reasons, indeed, to consider taking a canning class this summer!


July 3 Fireworks from Boston Harbor

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 2:14pm



Special thanks to Chris Hamilton for these wonderful photos taken from Boston Harbor during the July 3rd fireworks display.  This neighborhood traditions draws local residents for live music and a BBQ at the Marina and the spectacular fireworks show in the harbor.  The fireworks are funded entirely by donations to the Boston Harbor Association.

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More photos!

DSCN7793 (300x225) DSCN7844 (300x225) Here are more of Rick’s photos from the Madison Park trip.  These are of the Japanese Garden, which is a block from the Lake Washington Blvd/Madison Street intersection.

There is a charge to enter this oasis ($6 for adults; $4 over age 65).  Public guided tours are available on some days.


For a special experience, attend a Chado tea demonstration in the beautiful tea house. There is a minimal fee to participate in this cerermony, but you can view the demonstration at no charge.

The Gardens have variable hours, depending on the season and weather.  For current information, check their website, which is attached to the Seattle Parks listings:

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Categories: Local Environment

More photos from the Washington Park Arboretum…

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These lovely photos are of the Washington Park Arboretum.


The Arboretum was a suggested “side trip”
on our Madison Park trip.  Rick was adventuresome… he got off the bus at Lake Washington Blvd and Madison Street to walk through the Arboretum and also the Japanese Gardens (which will be featured on the next post)



Thank you, Rick, for sharing these photos!


Categories: Local Environment

Cloud Poster in PDF

Maria Mudd Ruth - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 10:23am

Art Rangno has posted a pdf of the 10th edition his popular Guide to the Sky Poster for mass consumption. Printed copies of these beautiful posters, published between 1987 and 2005 are no longer available so this is your chance to enjoy Art's beautiful photographs of clouds and his clear, succinct, and poetic descriptions of the clouds, how they form, and what they mean weatherwise.

Art is a meteorologist formerly in airborne cloud studies at the University of Washington and now lives in Arizona where he has an unobstructed view of the western sky and posts fabulous photographs of the clouds, meteorological news, and fun facts for skywatchers on his website

It was Art's poster, taped to a closet door, that sparked my interest in clouds in 2008. And, because there are so darn many of them, it has taken me longer than I had planned to write my book about them. I am making progress. Stay tuned!

Categories: Local Environment

Fireworks at Boston Harbor

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 9:46am

After a super gorgeous sunset, the fireworks display at Boston Harbor was great. There was a huge crowd there too.

Fireworks display

— Robert F W Whitlock (@berdww) July 4, 2014

Boston Harbor Sunset

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Olympia 4th of July Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 6:00am



Happy 4th of July!  Like many of you, I’m busily making potato salad and slicing a huge watermelon this morning in preparation for afternoon festivities.  All we need is apple pie for an All-American celebration.  And, like many of you, our family’s weekend includes three days of fun to enjoy, celebrate, and relax.  Luckily there are plenty of happenings around Thurston County to keep us busy and gorgeous weather for the foreseeable future.  Gather with friends, bask in the sun, and celebrate the freedom we all enjoy every day.

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.


Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 6:00pm

Thursday, July 3rd, doors at 9pm

Boris a.k.a. The Keys, a French-born & raised but now Toronto-based singer-songwriter playing somewhat Edgy Pop & Folk’n'Roll music. He’ll be playing a solo West Coast Summer Tour to promote the upcoming release of his 8th album “You Can’t Beat Me If I’m Not Playing”


Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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