Recent local blog posts

Design Review for Second Hotel on Henderson

Janine's Little Hollywood - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 8:14pm

Above: A Hilton Garden Inn on Henderson Boulevard near I-5 and Watershed Park is currently under construction. A new Marriott owned hotel is proposed to be built on two lots adjacent to the Hilton. Both hotels would share a main access road, seen here, stemming from the roundabout on Henderson.
By Janine
The city’s Design Review Board will hold a special meeting on November 12, at 6:30 p.m., Room 207, at Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Avenue. This meeting will offer the opportunity for the public to comment on the designof a second new hotel off Henderson Boulevard.
The hotel applicant, SPS Lands, LLC of Lakewood, is Han Kim of Hotel Concepts, and is represented by architect Glenn Wells of Olympia. 
The four story, 113 unit hotel called Olympia Courtyard Hotel would be owned by Marriott and could accommodate 250 persons on a nightly basis. It will have a restaurant, but no swimming pool.
The 2.82 acre property is situated on lots 1 and 2 of a commercially zoned area near I-5 near Watershed Park and the future Olympia Woodland Trail. A Hilton Garden Inn is currently under construction nearby on what is called Lot 3 of the Henderson Commercial Park.
According to the project’s State Environmental Policy Act report, 73.8 percent of the property will be covered by impervious surface, including room for 118 parking stalls.
Moss Lake is on the site, as well as standing water. The lake was filled in due to the construction of I-5, but is still noted on maps. All trees and vegetation would be removed from the site and upland neighborhood views of I-5 and the sky could be obstructed by the hotel. 
Members of the Wildwood Neighborhood Association worked with the city and the applicant of the Hilton Garden Inn to improve its design, and will be communicating their concerns regarding the new hotel, such as visual and light pollution, traffic, and other environmental issues, as well as cumulative impacts to the area. 
The hotels will be a stark visual contrast to the tranquility of nearby Watershed Park, a protected 153 acre area which contains trails, wetlands, and the Moxlie Creek Spring Basin that served as Olympia's first water source.
In a February letter to the city, the Wildwood Neighborhood Association board says that freeway noise has increased substantially since the clearing of the property.
The project is projected to generate 980 trips per day with 64 trips anticipated for the morning peak hour and 72 trips during the evening peak hour. The neighborhood is concerned about the increase in traffic along Henderson Boulevard, which will make the intersection at Henderson and Eskridge even more difficult to navigate.
Developers hope to break ground in spring of 2016.
Comments about this project may be submitted to Cari Hornbein, Senior Planner, Community Planning and Development Department, City of Olympia, 601 4th Avenue East, Olympia, Washington 98501 or chornbei@ci.olympia.wa.usor (360) 753-8048.
For past articles about the land use history of the Henderson Business Park area, the hotels on Henderson Boulevard and the Wildwood Neighborhood, go to Little Hollywood, and type key words into the search engine.

City May Take Olympia Wedding Venue Operator to Court

Janine's Little Hollywood - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 7:01pm

Above: The City of Olympia is pursuing the option of taking Olympia wedding and event venue operator Bart Zier to court to obtain an injunction that would prohibit his continued, unlawful commercial use of property in downtown Olympia. Tacoma Rail clearly uses the tracks in front of the venue along Deschutes Parkway. Photo taken November 4, 2015.
By Janine
The City of Olympia is actively pursuing the option of taking Olympia wedding and event venue operator Bart Zier to court to obtain an injunction that would prohibit his unlawful commercial use of property in downtown Olympia.
In a letter written in late October, city staff informed Zier and his mother, Donna Zier, who owns the properties at 915 and 1007 Deschutes Parkway, that they had violated the terms of the temporary permit issued to them so that they could carry out several August and September weddings.
The Zier's have continued to flagrantly violate federal and state laws and city codes and zoning ordinances in the course of operating their wedding and event venue, Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake, within a residential area.
In a telephone interview this week with City of Olympia attorney Mark Barber, Barber told Little Hollywood that no new fines have been imposed as a result of the most recent violations. The city has tried to work with Bart Zier on voluntary compliance, however, that is not working, and is now exploring the option of taking him to court.
Barber described how Zier has steadfastly refused to cooperate with the city, which included the options of voluntary compliance and dispute resolution without attorneys.
“….As you know, the city was trying to work with Mr. Zier to see if he could bring himself into compliance.  After his request for a conditional use permit went to the wayside, it put the city in a difficult position,” said Barber.
The “difficult position” was potential liability, and the city issued Zier a temporary use permit to hold the summer weddings that Zier was unwilling to cancel.
In 2014, Zier and his family actively marketed the property as a wedding venue, provided tours, signed contracts, and took large sums of money from families expecting to have their weddings there in 2015. Unbeknownst to the families, Zier did not have a permit to operate.
“These are not small events. They involve large groups of people…a physical facility, parking, food preparation, sanitary concerns, and public health issues. These become much different in a commercial setting. In addition, we have a number of unpermitted construction and archaeological issues.”
“The code violations don’t seem to be subsiding or resolving. By and large, this is a residential area, and the railroad hasn’t given up its tracks. It’s like pounding a square peg in a round hole. There’s not a lot of alternatives if someone is not going to play by the rules….”
The city will most likely make its decision by December 1, said Barber. He said the city is soliciting the assistance and support of the county, tribes, and other involved entities.
“If we could work with the others, that would be the best alternative. If we can’t, we’ll go it alone to seek an enforcement mechanism,” said Barber.
As of this writing, the venue is still marketing itself with an active website and Facebook page.
Above: This smart gentleman looked for a train before crossing the tracks with his date as they arrive for a wedding at Grande Terrace. Tacoma Rail actively uses the railroad tracks along Deschutes Parkway. During weddings and events, guests routinely park along Deschutes Parkway and the parking lot at Marathon Park, which is owned by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. At times, hundreds of guests cross the road to reach the venue. As parking nearest the driveway becomes scarce, guests walk from various access points along the railroad to reach the venue, as these guests did this summer. 
For more information, pictures, and stories about Grande Terrace, go to Little Hollywood, and type key words into the search engine.

Aging in Place Requires Special Retirement Planning

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 3:28pm



Submitted by Thurston County Public Health & Social Services

Thurston County Public HealthSaving enough money to support ourselves throughout our golden years is key to planning for a comfortable retirement. Retirement planning should also include preparing for where we live when we retire, as well as when we age. Because of healthier lifestyle choices and medical advancements, more of us are choosing to “age in place” in our pre-retirement homes.

Since we are living longer, we need to plan for things we will need for longer than our parents and grandparents did, knowing that the choices we make today will influence how we are able to live in the future. And, although our homes may be paid off by the time we retire, we will still need to maintain our homes after we stop working.

Consider that your home is a system made up of many inter-connected parts that work together. There are structural, electrical, plumbing and mechanical parts that all need to be maintained to keep them in good working order.

When you purchased your home, you probably made payments that included principal, interest, taxes and insurance. You also paid your monthly utility bills (gas, electricity, sewer, water, etc.). But, depending on the age of your home when you bought it, you may not have been investing much into maintaining your home’s systems, because many of them can last 20 years or more. As you enter retirement, you may no longer be making principal and interest payments, but you will still be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities, and repairs and replacements.


As a home ages, many repairs and replacements are needed and these expenses should be factored into retirement planning.

If you’ve been in your home for close to 20 years, major systems in your home may be reaching the end of their useful lives. This could mean repairing or replacing the roof, the water system, , the electrical system (panel, outlets, light fixtures), the heating system, the floor coverings and countertops, siding, steps, porches, decks, paint, gutters and downspouts, cabinets, appliances, and the waste disposal system (septic or sewer). Paying for all of these on a fixed income will require planning ahead.

If we plan to stay in our homes as we age, we also need to think about and plan for accessibility issues, which may include adding exterior ramps, grab bars, lever faucets, making bathroom modifications, lowering kitchen countertop and appliances, and widening of hallways and doorways. We can also invest in making our homes more energy efficient, fix leaking plumbing and drafty windows, and improving ventilation—these investments will not only help keep our housing costs affordable, but will also help keep us healthy by preventing mold growth and improving indoor air quality. Making these modifications will make us safer and more comfortable in our homes as we grow older, but will take significant financial resources at a time when they are limited.

Planning and saving for future housing system repairs, improving our homes’ energy efficiency and indoor air quality, and making our homes more accessible now—while we are still earning an income—will improve how we live out our golden years. If you can, begin saving some money now; create an emergency fund to address the unforeseen roof leaks or plumbing problems, and start upgrading systems and making your home more accessible. Do this while you are working to prevent problems down the road, when your resources are limited.

Thurston Thrives Housing for Health Strategy calls for creating safe and affordable housing for all in our community—with careful planning, we can get closer toward achieving this goal, one home at a time. Plan, save and prepare your home now so that your retirement can truly be golden.


Port of Olympia Receives a Clean Audit Report

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 3:16pm



Submitted by the Port of Olympia

Port of Olympia recently received a clean audit report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office for the period Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2014.

The Audit’s Results in brief stated: “In the areas we audited, Port operations complied with applicable requirements and provided adequate safeguarding of public resources. The Port also complied with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures in the areas we examined.”

At the Exit Conference, the State Auditor’s Office identified the following Audit Highlights:

  • “The Port improved procedures over financial reporting of decentralized departments; therefore correcting issues over prior Statement on Auditing Standards finding.
  • “The Port welcomes insight from the State Auditor’s Office and therefore provides a comfortable environment to work in.
  • “Port Staff did an excellent job providing required documents in a timely manner.”

The scope of the audit for 2014 included an accountability audit, financial statement audit and federal grant compliance audit.

Commissioner Michelle Morris commented on the audit at the Commission meeting on Sept. 28, 2015, “I would like to congratulate the Port’s Finance Department for a clean Audit Report. I especially want to thank Director Jeff Smith, CPA, for the changes made and the systems implemented, ensuring the Port is in compliance with State Audit requirements.”

The State Auditor’s Office’s next scheduled audit of the Port of Olympia will be conducted in 2016 and will cover the following general areas for 2015:

Accountability for public resource

Financial statements

Federal programs.



Cody Jenkins Return to Quarterback Powers Capital’s Playoff Run

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 7:10am



By Grant Clark

oly ortho logoCody Jenkins watched from the sidelines, still feeling the painful effects of the strange accident which resulted in his right index finger receiving 15 stitches, as Capital High School opened its 2015 season with a lopsided 42-9 loss to Tumwater.

Hopes had been high during the summer. A strong senior class, with quarterback Jenkins leading the charge, was supposed to contend for one of the 3A Narrows League’s top playoff slots – maybe even challenge heavy-favorite Lincoln for the league crown.

But here it was week No. 1 and Jenkins was reduced to a spectator.

“That was frustrating. It was the first game I wasn’t out there with my brothers,” Jenkins said. “It was hard not being out there because I felt so useless. I just did the best I could to be a good teammate.”

Making matters worse was the fact that Jenkins’ injury was not football related. It didn’t happened during a game nor was it the end result of some overzealous scout team member who failed to remember the starting QB is not to be touched during practice.

capital football

A freak accident, unrelated to football, caused Capital High School’s starting quarterback, Cody Jenkins, to miss the first six games of the season.

No, Jenkins missed his senior season opener due to a pesky moth.

“It was just a freak accident. I was just hanging out with a bunch of friends and there was this moth,” Jenkins said. “People were getting all upset about it so I swung at it and missed and hit this metal thing around the light fixture.”

The moth escaped unscathed. Jenkins wasn’t so fortunate.

A quick trip to the emergency room and Jenkins was all sewn up, but the injury, which occurred on his throwing hand, would prevent him from playing quarterback for the first six games of the season. By that time Capital had limped to a 1-5 start.

The playoffs looked bleak at best.

But if one thing sticks out about head coach John Johnson’s tenure with the Cougars is that no season is unsalvageable.

“We suffered a lot of injuries at the start of the season, and were forced to play younger players,” Johnson said. “We just told them to grind it out. We were starting to get healthy. The younger players were gaining experience and improving. The key is they never gave up on the season.”

Why would they?

The Cougars could turn to a number of recent seasons for inspiration.

In 2008, Capital started 0-2 and were 3-3 before rallying down the stretch and advancing to the Class 3A state semifinals. A similar 0-2 start happened the following season before the Cougars advance to the state playoffs.

The most recent example occurred in 2011 when the team start 0-3 and ended with an appearance in the state quarterfinals where it took eventual state runner-up O’Dea three overtimes to end Capital’s season.

capital football

Now healthy, the Capital High School football team is looking at post-season play.

“We talked about that,” Jenkins said about the Cougars recent success with rebounding from rough starts. “When there’s stuff you can look back on for reference it definitely helps.”

This year’s Capital squad could add to that history. The Cougars will take a three-game winning streak into a state play-in game on November 6 against 3A Greater Saint Helens League champion Columbia River. The winner of that contest will advance to the state playoffs as the top seed out of District 4, meaning Capital, rough start and all, could potentially be hosting a first-round state playoff game.

“We kind of fell apart early in the season,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t have a lot of confidence, but after that first win we kind of got things rolling a little bit. The sky’s the limit I think.”

The Cougars opened their playoff surge in a 37-18 victory over Mount Tahoma in a game where Jenkins finally got the start at quarterback. He proceeded to toss a pair of touchdown passes to Zach Smith.

Up next was a showdown against North Thurston, a team squarely in the playoff hunt. Jenkins threw five touchdown passes, four in the first quarter, as Capital thumped the Rams, 49-7, to put a dash to North Thurston’s postseason hopes.

“It was like a breath of fresh air,” Jenkins said about the victory over the Rams. “We both came in with high hopes for the game and Zach really got us off to a great start by taking the kickoff back. Everyone just rallied around that. We had great energy that game – something we have been lacking honestly.”

Then came the eye-opening 31-0 win over Shelton, which was looking to wrap up the league’s second seed with a victory.

“It’s been a combination of a lot of things,” said Johnson about his team’s turnaround. “One is we got healthy at the quarterback position. This is Cody’s team. We knew if we were able to get him back we’d roll with it.”

The Cougars have certainly done that and are now just one win away from another state playoff berth.

“The plan for next week is just keep this thing rolling,” Jenkins said. “Everybody has been having a lot more fun and are more confident. It’s all been kind of surreal. It’s going to be weird when it does come to an end, but I made a lot of friends and a lot of memories.”


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 6:38am



xeroxDid you feel like the weather patterns were shifting this week?  That nighttime cold that seeps into your bones was upon me last night.  I lamented to another mom about the chills while we picked up our daughters from basketball practice.  “It just gets inside you,” she agreed.  It’s tempting to just snuggle up under a blanket this weekend.  But, with so many interesting and diverse activities happening around Olympia, you may want to get out and try just one thing from our list.

Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend. Enjoy!

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, visit our events calendar.

Shelby Walks On Water – Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation Helps Dogs Heal

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/06/2015 - 6:00am



By Doris Faltys

olympia furniture“We tell people Shelby walks on water,” says owner Dennis King. “Shelby loves her hydrotherapy treatments.”

Dennis and his wife, Cheryl, bring Shelby, a golden retriever to Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation once a week for therapy that includes massage, cold laser, and hydrotherapy.

“She has had four surgeries,” says Cheryl. “The most recent operation added two plates and thirteen screws.”

“Shelby has multiple arthritic problems,” says Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation owner Dr. Gregg Bennett, DVM, of Tumwater Veterinary Hospital. “She literally does not have a good leg to stand on.”

dog hydrotherapy olympia

Dr. Gregg Bennett and Dana Gordon administer a range of motion exam on Shelby.

Dr. Bennett opened Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation within his Tumwater Veterinary Hospital in the fall of 2008. “It is common for dogs to develop arthritis as they get older,” Dr. Bennett explains. “For years, we have treated them with medications for pain and inflammation, but in many cases they reach a point where the medications no longer work and a pet begins to suffer. That often ends up with a dog being put to sleep. At some point I began to wonder what I could do differently – where alternative medicine can provide a choice.”

“The purpose of rehabilitation therapy is to help animals be more comfortable, recover from surgery, and improve quality of life,” continues Dr. Bennett.  “You cannot make a dog do something that hurts. You have to find ways to exercise that don’t involve more pain in the process and that is what water therapy does more than anything else. It gives us an ability to help strengthen their muscles when there is no other way to do it.”

Dr. Bennett first examines Shelby to determine and measure her range of motion improvement since last week. “Her range of motion has improved, and she is not reacting painfully with the knee joint,” he says.

hydrotherapy olympia

Dennis King and Dana Gordon watch Shelby complete her hydrotherapy at Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation.

The exam is over in a few minutes and Shelby is panting with excitement and eager to go into the water treatment room, pulling on her leash to lead the way.

“She is telling you what usually happens next,” Dennis tells me.

The water treatment chamber is a glass box with a treadmill floor. The chamber stands open at one end and Shelby walks in without any urging. Once the chamber door is closed, the treadmill floor begins to move and Shelby walks. Slowly, warm water begins to fill around her feet until it reaches a bit above hip height. Dana Gordon, Small Animal Massage Practitioner (SAMP) talks soothingly to Shelby and gives the dog a treat.

“Basically the primary idea is pain control. If you are recovering from surgery and you are in pain, the first thing is you stop using that part of the body. Less use means more atrophy – a vicious cycle. What water therapy provides is a way for a dog to exercise without stressing out their joints,” explains Dr. Bennett who once treated an African Clawed Frog that was having a hard time swimming.  The frog needed surgery to remove five large glass aquarium rocks it had swallowed.

olympia hydrotherapy

Dr. Bennett pets Shelby while discussing her care with owner, Cheryl King.

“We are looking at a way to maximize muscle use in relation to impact,” continues Dr. Bennett who has owned Tumwater Veterinary Hospital for 26 years. “Walking in water causes way less impact, because we can make an 80 pound dog, like Shelby, weigh 20 pounds in the water. She is actually putting a fraction of the weight on her legs. Twenty minutes of walking in the water is basically equivalent to two hours of walking. But, it is not even twenty minutes worth of impact. It is like five minutes of impact for two hours of walking.”

Dr. Bennett says that most dogs like water therapy as much as Shelby.  Many dogs are scared or confused in the beginning, as the floor starts moving and the water begins to fill the tank.  In the early stages, the dogs visit twice per week and then transition to a single weekly session to gain strength.  “It usually takes two or three visits to get to the point where they are pulling us into the treadmill like Shelby,” he adds.

“In some cases, it is not a pain issue, but a nerve damage issue. Dogs who have serious back problems, like a herniated disk, have been paralyzed and they have been dragging their back legs. Obviously some of them we can’t help because there has been too much damage. But some dogs, who are at that stage on dry land, we can take into the water and with the buoyancy of the water, they are able to take a step,” says Dr. Bennett, who has also treated wild animals including an albatross, bear cub and bat.

olympia hydrotherapy

Shelby exercises in the water therapy tank at Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation. The clinic is located inside Tumwater Veterinary Hospital.

Besides being fun, Dr. Bennett says that hydrotherapy is rewarding.  “I was looking at a dog walking in the water treadmill this morning, basically looking like a completely normal dog – legs moving, every step placed right where it should be.  Then, (the dog) gets out of the treadmill and can’t walk, but that is just a stage in the process. When we see that the signals are firing slowly but working, it is occupational therapy time. Dogs have to learn to walk again with what they’ve got. And the good news is that a lot of dogs can walk pretty well,” says Dr. Bennett, who knew in seventh grade that he wanted to work with animals.

“For most dogs there will be a little bit of a deficit, but they are happy and mobile and pain-free,” he summarizes.

Tumwater Veterinary Hospital also treats birds delivered to the practice by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Dr. Bennett provides free services to Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue.

To learn more about Four Paws Animal Rehabilitation, visit their website or call 360-753-7297.


Night of the Iguana at Dukesbay Theater

South Sound Arts - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 2:37pm

Rarely produced Tennessee Williams play hits the mark
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Nov. 5, 2015Malcolm J West as Nanno and Ellen Peters as Hannah, photo by Jason Ganwich.Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, now playing at Dukesbay Theater, is not an easy play to watch. It is tough, complicated, and riveting, with a fascinating cast of characters, few of whom are nice people but a few of whom — notably the defrocked Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon (played by Mark Peterson), who is likeable despite being a oft’ disgusting human being.Locked out of his church, Shannon is in Mexico where he works as a tour guide for a second-rate company.  He is caught having sex with Charlotte (Chevi Chung), an underage girl. Stranding his tour group, women from a Baptist college in Texas, he takes refuge in a run-down hotel run by his old friend, the recently widowed and outrageously lusty Maxine Faulk (Stephanie Leeper). Stephanie Leeper as Maxine,Ellen Peters as Hannah, and Mark Peterson as The Rev. Shannon, photo by Jason Ganwich.A middle-aged artist, Hannah Jelkes (Ellen Peters), shows up pushing her 97-year-old grandfather Nonno (Malcolm J. West) in a wheelchair. Billed as the world’s oldest living poet, Nonno recites poetry for tips when he can remember the lines, and Hannah sells watercolors and charcoal portraits wherever they go. Maxine’s Costa Verde Hotel seems to be their last refuge after they’ve been refused lodging at every other hotel. They’re flat broke. Hannah and Shannon become friends during their wild night in the hotel — despite helping Maxine keep him imprisoned and hog-tied in a hammock, ostensibly for his own good.The set designed by Burton Yuen is gorgeous thanks in large part to Jennifer York’s great faux painting of floors and walls. The only problem with that is according to Williams’ script, the Costa Verde is a shabby hotel, which would be much more fitting.Under the able direction of Dukesbay co-founder Randy Clark, the acting is superb. Peterson is commanding, sometimes funny and often pitiable as the complex defrocked priest. West, known to Dukesbay audiences for his outstanding performance as the chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy, turns in another award-worthy performance as the elderly poet, Nonno. Peters underplays Hannah Jelks with controlled energy. The audience senses great reserves of strength underneath her quiet demeanor. Leeper’s brazen performance seemed overly dramatic to me, but that’s precisely the kind of character she was playing. Maggie Knott, superb in the supporting role as Miss Judith Fellowes, has been a behind-the-scenes force in South Sound theater for years. This is her first time on stage in a long time, and she inhabits the role like a seasoned pro.From the beginning, multiculturalism has been a strong part of Dukesbay’s mission. In their production of The Night of the  Iguana black men, Peterson and West, play characters traditionally play by white actors, and Chung is multiethnic. Quoting from promotional material sent out by the company: “Williams might not have originally imagined his play in this way, but incorporating actors from various backgrounds brings home the universality of loneliness, redemption and the need for honest human contact.”

The Night Of the Iguana, Friday-Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. through Nov. 15, no performance Nov. 13, $15, Dukesbay Theater, Merlino Arts Center, 508 S. Sixth Ave., Tacoma,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Healing With Flames

South Sound Arts - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 2:26pm

Art by Iraq and Afghanistan Vets at MOG
Published in the Weekly Volcano, Nov. 5, 2015
"Nasty Surprise Underfoot," blown glass, sand, boots, collection of Museum of Glass, photo by Duncan Price. On a shelf in the Museum of Glass lobby stand boots in sand. Underneath lies a glass art rendition of a red, white and blue improvised explosive device. The wall label explaining the art says, “You never know. Step one way and you’re safe. Step another and you’re not. Happenstance. Luck of the draw. A good day or a really, really bad one.”The art described above is "Nasty Surprise Underfoot" by the Hot Shop Heroes Team and is part of the exhibition Healing With Flames.In 2013, Museum of Glass introduced Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire. This partnership with the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord serves soldiers with the most complex and devastating physical and mental injuries. Most recently, the classes have expanded to serve soldiers outside of the WTB and veterans. They are offered two eight-week classes in glassblowing and flameworking. The current exhibition features work from students in this past summer’s classes.“Most of the artists have served a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan at least once, and many have served multiple tours. Healing With Flames gives voice to their personal and shared experiences while being deployed and deals with their feelings about war, military life, and cultural differences,” says a Museum of Glass spokesperson.An unidentified student in the classes was quoted in the press release: "This class awakened a previously hidden joy in creating things by hand. I was able to actually feel something other than numb." All works in the exhibition are displayed in the lobby area with detailed wall labels which explain the art, as well as the soldiers’ experiences in war and back home in the classes. Among the more moving pieces are “The Final Goodbye,” the traditional memorial to soldiers lost in battle, with boots, helmet and dog tags, and a rifle made of clear glass and stuffed with shell casings, and “Taste of Blood and Tears,” an abstract red glass teardrop inside a blue glass teardrop representing the tragic loss of life and limbs.  Both of these are collaborative efforts from the Hot Shop Heroes Team.Another piece by the team that is well executed and fascinating is “Mortal Combat,” a sculpted glass scorpion and a sculpted glass camel spider facing each other in battle in the sand. The label explains: “As a way to relieve boredom in the desert, some soldiers would put a camel spider and a scorpion in a box and the creatures fight to the death.”MOG spokesperson Alex Carr told me there have been more than 160 participants in the program so far, with more to come as it is an ongoing program.“Hot Shop Heroes is absolutely one of the most important and life-changing programs presented by Museum of Glass,” says Bonnie Wright, curator of education and community engagement. “Healing in Flames presents an opportunity for the public to learn about this amazing program and the overwhelming positive effect art has on healing.”The program is sponsored by the Joint Base Lewis McChord Office of Morale, Wellness and Recreation; Northwest Military; KUOW-FM; and The Ranger/Volcano.Healing With Flames, Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through March 2016, $12-$15, members free, Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street Tacoma.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment


Sherwood Press - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 12:45pm
Nearly at $10K! Unbelievable!  every contributor's name on a copper tag. "The Nutcracker". Yes, the press is the nut.

I’m just so thrilled to have such a positive update about our Indiegogo campaign: The Sherwood Press 75 Year Restoration Fund. We launched last friday and thanks to 118 wonderful friends and supporters, we are now just dollars away from reaching the $10,000 mark! Thank you everyone who has helped bring us to this point and all those who intend to take us further!

I’m pretty sure than everyone who launches a fundraising campaign feels a mixture of fear, doubt, embarrassment, humility, excitement, and hopefulness. I did. I was really worried that repairs aren’t “sexy” enough to stimulate people’s generosity. I’m so glad to say I am wrong! I like to think we have a great story and great perks, too. But what we really have are great friends and community here in Olympia, and a supportive community of letterpress printers, designers and enthusiasts who are giving our campaign this unexpected lift.

The next big goal is to raise enough to remove “The Nutcracker”. This enormous fir tree has lived a wonderful life here at the press, but it has to go. You can see that it now stands less than an inch away from the eaves of the press building. And the roots are already crushing our bathroom. We have lots of great ideas for the large amount of wood that will come of this tree, and will be planting more seedlings to help compensate the loss of this beloved tree.

I am in the process of hanging a copper tag for every single contributor to our campaign. My hand is quite sore from writing everyone’s name deeply into the copper. This “Garland of Well-Wishers” is hanging over the window that we are NOW ABLE TO RESTORE because of the campaign. and once it is, we will take the garland outside and hang it in the memorial garden I built for Jocelyn back in the spring of 2004, and every name will wave and rustle among the trees from now on. Soon you will be able to not only visit your name in the garden, but visit the new window and the spruced-up building, ready for the next 25 years!

Thank you everyone!

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

FirstLight HomeCare Now Serving Clients of Olympic Home Care

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 11:18am



Submitted by FirstLight Home Care

Greg and Sarah Lane, owners of FirstLight Home Care, chose to open a business that would offer a needed service to the Olympia community.

Greg and Sarah Lane, owners of FirstLight Home Care, look forward to serving the clients of Olympic Home Care.

When the management team at Olympic Home Care decided to close their business, their top priority was to ensure their clients would continue receiving the highest quality care from another home care agency that shared their mission and values.

That’s why they chose FirstLight HomeCare – South Sound, a locally-owned provider of in-home care for seniors and disabled adults, to assume the responsibility of providing care to Olympic’s clients beginning this week.

“We took tremendous pride in providing the best skilled, experienced and compassionate in-home care possible,” explained Callie Martinez, Assistant Manager at Olympic Home Care since 2012.  “If we were no longer going to provide care, I felt strongly we owed it to our clients and their families to find a provider who we could trust to deliver the level of service our clients have come to expect.  FirstLight HomeCare was the agency I felt most confident about recommending to our clients and their families, and am relieved to know they are choosing FirstLight as their new home care agency.”

Martinez said that she has been impressed by the dedication FirstLight demonstrates to their clients and to their caregivers.

“The owners of FirstLight talk a great deal about a ‘Culture of Care’ in their agency,” said Martinez, “and they really live up to those core values they promote. They hire and support great caregivers, have tremendous passion for helping their clients and provide very high quality services.”

Sarah Lane, co-owner of FirstLight HomeCare – South Sound with her husband, said she was pleased to be endorsed by Olympic.

“Olympic had a great reputation in the health care community for providing wonderful care,” said Lane.  “Delivering the best care possible to the people we serve is our highest priority as well, so it’s gratifying to have the people at Olympic – a respected former competitor – recommended us to their clients.  And we’re excited to have already started caring for them.”

About FirstLight HomeCare South Sound

FirstLight HomeCare – South Sound is owned by Greg and Sarah Lane, long-time Olympia residents. To learn more about companion and personal care, dementia care, respite care or other non-medical home care services offered by FirstLight, give Sarah a call at 360-489-1621 or visit


Port of Olympia Creates Platforms for Nesting Ospreys

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 10:30am



Submitted by Port of Olympia


Port staff designed and installed a stable, steel osprey nesting platform that tops a marine terminal light  pole which is easily visible from Port Plaza.

Port staff designed and installed a stable, steel osprey nesting platform that tops a marine terminal light
pole which is easily visible from Port Plaza.

Last spring, while Port of Olympia staff were in the design phase for installing osprey nesting platforms on Marine Terminal light poles, a pair nested within the light structure of one of the poles. During the summer, Port staff monitored the nest and watched the two chicks grow and leave the nest.

In the meantime, Port staff continued their efforts to design, construct, and install osprey nest platforms on light poles prior to the 2016 nesting season.

Staff recently installed, under the watchful eye of the Black Hills Audubon Society (BHAS), the first of two platforms on the light pole directly north of the Port Plaza. The second platform, anticipated for installation in December, will be located at the northern end of the Marine Terminal near the Hearthfire Grill Restaurant.

Both locations have close proximity to Budd Inlet, which ospreys need, and also offer the community easy viewing opportunities.

Among those working on the project are (from left) Duane Tranmer, Craig Merkel, of the Black Hills Audubon Society, and Paul Mickelson.

Among those working on the project are (from left) Duane Tranmer, Craig Merkel, of the Black Hills Audubon Society, and Paul Mickelson.

Executive Director Ed Galligan credits BHAS for encouraging the Port to attract a variety of birds for community enjoyment. “BHAS has brought us many bird houses which are now attracting birds around the peninsula,” said Galligan. “We were also working together to design osprey poles and platforms, but the ospreys got ahead of us. This coming season we are offering improved accommodations!” he said.

About the Port of Olympia
The southernmost deepwater port on Puget Sound, the Port of Olympia owns and operates an international shipping terminal that handles a range of breakbulk and project cargoes. The Port also owns and operates Swantown Marina & Boatworks, a 733-slip recreational marina and boat haulout/repair facility, a regional airport and a real estate division.  A community port, it generates an estimated 7,249 total direct, induced and indirect jobs as documented by Martin Associates in the 2009 data study, The Economic Impact of the Port of Olympia, January 2011, available at

North Thurston Rams Have All the Ingredients of a Winner on the Volleyball Court

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 9:22am



By Gail Wood

indian summer logoShe’s easy to overlook. At 5-foot-1, Morgan Stroud is usually the smallest player on the volleyball court.

But come game time for North Thurston High School’s volleyball team, when that first serve sails over the net, Stroud magically turns into a walking, talking giant. As the Rams’ libero, she’s King Kong.

“She’s the smallest player on our team but she has to be our biggest player,” said Jackie Meyer, who is in her third season as the Rams head volleyball coach. “She covers the most court. She does a really good job of that.”

north thurston volleyball

Olivia Fairchild leaps to block a shot at the net during practice.

Stroud, only a brief starter on last year’s playoff team, is a “big” reason for the Rams success this season. Add Olivia Fairchild, a 6-foot-2 shot-blocking phenom with a knack for spiking game winners. And add Kailey Losey, the Rams’ setter and queen of passing, and Alex Porter, with her knack for slamming kill shots. They all add up to an impressive team, one that finished the regular season at 13-1 and head into the playoffs.

But coming into the season, Meyer was only cautiously optimistic. Five starters off last year’s team that finished seventh at state were seniors. There were a lot of unknowns about this year’s team.

“We lost five starting seniors last year,” Meyer said. “I knew I had some talent coming back. But I didn’t know we’d come out as well as they did.”

What’s impressed Meyer – beside the team’s record – has not only been this team’s ability to play together, but it’s their cooperative, get-along nature. During crunch time, when the match’s outcome is on the line, this team pulls together. Tension doesn’t divide them.

north thurston volleyball

Olivia Fairchild (far left), Kailey Losey (in red), Morgan Stroud (in black) and Alex Porter (far right) are four big reasons why the Rams are going to the playoffs.

“They’re phenomenal to coach,” Meyer said. “They’re a team. We do well because we’re a team. It’s not like we have these outstanding, super stars. They work together well as a unit.”

That unity is born in after practice get-togethers the team has throughout the season. On Halloween, after North Thurston lost to Central Kitsap in the league tournament to get the No. 2 seeding into district, the team went to Meyer’s house for a party. They ate and handed out candy to trick-or-treaters that came to Meyer’s home.

“It definitely helps,” Losey said about her team’s get-togethers. “Because I know if there’s drama or anything happens it will carry onto the court because of how much the attitude from the drama brings. But being a family, being able to come together, it helps so much.”

The get-togethers are Meyer’s cure for that divisive drama. Nobody wants to let down a friend.

In a lopsided win over Wilson earlier in the season, Losey had 37 assists and Alex Porter had 21 kills.

“That’s a pretty phenomenal combo right there,” Meyer said.

north thurston volleyball

The Rams play tough at the net at a recent practice.

Losey and Porter were both second-team all-league players last year.

“Alex is an intense player,” Meyer said. “If you need somebody to do something you can rely on Alex. She has the highest kill percentage in the league. She has very limited errors. She’s a phenomenal, intense all-around volleyball player.”

Fairchild, who was first-team all-league last year as a sophomore, is the designated rally stopper. She leads the 3A Narrows League with 50 blocks. She’s a disrupter.

“She’s a dominate blocker,” Meyer said.

After losing five starters off last year’s playoff team, Fairchild is surprised by her team’s success this year.

“I didn’t think we’d win as many games as we have and to be in the position we are,” Fairchild said. “But I’m really excited about it.”

north thurston volleyball

North Thurston coach Jackie Meyer instructs her team at a recent practice.

Fairchild, like Losey and other teammates, is a year-around volleyball player. When the Rams’ season ends, Fairchild will start playing for her club team, the Puget Sound Volleyball Academy. And next year when Fairchild’s high school career comes to an end, she’s hoping she hasn’t played her last volleyball game. She hopes to get a college scholarship. And Fairchild, who has a 3.5 GPA, will likely get her wish. She’s already being recruited by some major colleges. Last week on her birthday, she got a birthday card from the University of Wyoming.

Fairchild played basketball for nine years, but she now focuses on volleyball.

“It’s just extremely fun,” she said. “I love how everyone works together as a cohesive unit. I like the idea of family that comes along with it.”

As the setter, it’s Losey’s job that Fairchild and Porter stay busy at the net. She’s the coach on the floor.

“My responsibility is to talk to my players and tell them what they’re going to run for that one play,” Losey said. “I’m like the quarterback in volleyball. It can be hard at times. But it’s really rewarding when you get that play down.”

north thurston volleyball

North Thurston practices in preparation of the district playoffs.

Last year as a junior, Stroud got her chance to audition for the libero when senior Liz Colon, who is now playing at Saint Martin’s University, was out for a week with a mild concussion.

“So, we kind of knew she’d our libero this year,” Meyer said.

Stroud has the personality and the physical skills to be a libero.

“They kind of have to be an intense person,” Meyer said. “Morgan is an intense person.”

And because of Stroud’s intensity, Porter’s and Fairchild’s net play, and Losey’s setting, the Rams are the surprise winners heading into the playoffs.


Thrifty Thurston Appreciates Nature at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 6:00am



By Melanie Kallas Ricklefs

awesome rvWatching the salmon run at Kennedy Creek is one of our family’s autumn traditions. We’ve been taking our daughter to the trail since before she was in preschool, and each year we witness something we haven’t seen before. It’s the perfect outdoor educational experience, and it’s located right in our community. The forest trail is easily accessible, and the viewing platforms provide fantastic vantage points to watch the salmon spawn.

The courting and mating behaviors that salmon exhibit are fascinating, and knowing the purpose of these behaviors makes the experience even more meaningful. Every year, dozens of Kennedy Creek docents volunteer their time to walk the trails and explain the salmon life cycle and behaviors to trail visitors. One of Kennedy Creek’s most dedicated docents, Leeann Tourtillott, has been volunteering for 13 years, and her enthusiasm for the job has not diminished a bit. In fact, Leeann is so passionate about her work at the trail that she brought her children to docent for over a decade as community service for their homeschooling curriculum.

kennedy creek salmon trail

Students learn about the salmon life cycle while examining a carcass along Kennedy Creek. Photo courtesy: South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group.

Leeann thoroughly enjoys being outdoors and providing environmental education for anyone eager to learn. She particularly adores teaching preschoolers about the forest, stream, and salmon life cycle. She delights in birdsong, falling leaves, and the sight of salmon spawning, and her excitement about nature is mirrored by young children as they connect with their surroundings.

After years of being a docent, Leeann is happy to say that she still learns something new every season.

One of the highlights of Leeann’s time at Kennedy Creek was witnessing the rarely seen gamete release. Gamete release is essentially the coincident release and fertilization of salmon eggs and it happens so quickly that many biologists, who spend their lives studying salmon, have never seen it in the wild. Leeann has seen it only once in 13 years and was elated to share it with the group of students she was teaching at the time.

kennedy creek salmon trail

Leeann Tourtillott has been a docent at Kennedy Creek for 13 years. She loves to educate the public about the trail, the stream, and the history of the area.

“There are two things I want every group to walk away with,” said Leeann, “the first is how ecology links everything.” The Kennedy Creek area is an excellent example of the interconnectedness of all things in nature.

According to Leeann, the salmon that spawn in Kennedy Creek are basically “ten pound sacks of fertilizer delivered by tail from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” After spawning, the salmon die and decompose. This process deposits nutrients in the streambed, along the banks, and upland where carcasses have been relocated by wild animals. Leeann says that the nitrogen from spawning salmon in the creek has been found to be identical to the nitrogen in the leaves of surrounding trees. So, the salmon not only feed wildlife, they also feed the trees, which house wildlife, shade the stream, and provide a lovely space for human recreation.

The second piece of information that Leeann hopes to impart is the history of the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail.

The development of the Kennedy Creek Trail is an inspiring story of cooperation to effect environmental change. In 1979, the salmon run in Kennedy Creek was down to its lowest point at only around 800 fish returning to spawn.   Realizing that this level of return was not sustainable, Jeff Cederholm of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and The Evergreen State College developed the concept of the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail. His idea brought together non-profit agencies, Taylor Shellfish Farms (which owns the land where the trail is located), Green Diamond Resource Company (which owns some of the surrounding land), the Squaxin Island Tribe, and government agencies to clean up the stream. By 1996, the salmon return had climbed to over 80,000 fish.

kennedy creek salmon trail

Students observe chum salmon spawning in Fiscus Creek from Cederholm Bridge on the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail. Photo courtesy: South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group.

To support the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail, which is funded by visitor donations and small local grants, you can visit the trail for their annual fundraiser. The Fourth Annual Chum, Chowder and Chocolate Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, November 21 between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. During this event, you can walk the trail, enjoy delectable local seafood and chowder from Taylor Shellfish, and sip some cocoa. There will be docents on the trail to answer questions, and South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) staff to take your donations (a $5 donation is requested). Donations will help to keep the trail open to the public, and provide supplies such as polarized sunglasses, which reduce the glare from the water’s surface to allow for better visibility of the salmon.

Access to the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail is free for everyone. The trail will be open to the general public on November weekends, Veterans Day, and the Friday after Thanksgiving from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. During weekdays, the trail is reserved for pre-scheduled school groups. For more information, or directions to the trailhead, visit the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail website.


Stillwater Dental Wellness Center: What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/05/2015 - 6:00am



olympia dentist

Another unique aspect of Dr. Telloian’s practice is the use of a neuromuscular based approach to TMJ or jaw dysfunction.

Chewing, speaking, yawning and kissing all use a neuromuscular system, so it makes sense that neuromuscular dentistry focuses on the teeth, jaw joints, and facial muscles.

Neuromuscular dentistry promotes the correction of jaw misalignment. Properly aligned facial muscles can improve balance and agility; reduce neck pain, headaches, jaw pain and migraines. Essentially, re-alignment of the jaw joint alleviates stress from the jaw muscles and eliminates painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD).

Dr. Telloian of Stillwater Dental Wellness Center is one of the few dentists in the region who practices neuromuscular dentistry, examining the relationship between the muscles in your face, your teeth and your bite. He explains, “If we can get your muscles to relax, then your painful symptoms will go away. If you are an athlete, we’ll relax your facial muscles and you’ll see improved performance.”

Stillwater Dental Center uses a computer program to help find a jaw position that creates the desired relaxed muscle state and balanced system. Then he builds an appliance for the patient to wear at night. “I’ve treated dozens of patients over the years, and they usually notice a difference after the first night wearing the appliance. When their bite is corrected, the pain goes away, whether it is migraines, jaw pain or neck pain,” he said.

Not just for TMJ sufferers, Dr. Telloian also creates neuromuscular sports guards for athletes who want to step up their game. Dr. Telloian says, “The neuromuscular sports guard can do amazing things, such as increase an athlete’s strength and flexibility, all stemming from the proper alignment of the jaw, which creates relaxed and better performing muscles and joints.”

For more information on neuromuscular dentistry and treatment, contact Stillwater Dental Wellness Center at 360-352-0847.


Compass Rose – Remodeled Downtown Olympia Merchant Creates Adaptable Space

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 6:44am



By Lynn West

heritage bankWandering through downtown Olympia during Fall Arts Walk, we were delighted when we walked into Compass Rose on Capital Way. It was alive with activity and totally transformed. From the homey and ordinary, it now, according to our visiting relatives had “the ambiance of an Apple store.”

Even with the wider aisles, clean lines and sharp lighting, it was impossible to take in all the changes that evening. Elbowing our way to the rear of the crowded store, we saw many inviting displays of attractive merchandise. As always, friendly staff wove in and out offering help. “Let’s go back to that gift store and look around before we leave town,”suggested our guests. We did.

compass rose olympia

Customers enjoy the new look of Compass Rose in downtown Olympia.

For a good part of the six years she has been managing Compass Rose, Alana Carr has been envisioning a new look for the store. When she and Compass Rose owner, Paul Shepherd, started developing Captain Little, the downtown toy store they co-own, they knew the time was right to modernize. Compass Rose had been unchanged since 1998 when Paul moved his store to its current location on Capitol Way after ten years at the Mall.

Moving the large children’s section to Captain Little in the former Wind Up Here space gave Compass Rose room to expand. Alana explained, “We hadn’t really even painted the walls in the last 17 years, so the time was right, and we wanted to make an investment into downtown.” Many familiar handbags, candles and journals are tucked into beautiful displays among new and, in some cases, expanded lines.

Compass Rose has been my go-to store for unique gifts and beautifully wrapped packages, and I have never lacked the help of the staff when I needed it. After casually talking to Emily Hennig and Chrissy Bunell over the years, I finally formally met them. “Emily has worked here for five years, and I have been here for seven,” Chrissy told me. “We do not have much turnover, so we know our store very well.”

compass rose olympia

The transformation of Compass Rose didn’t happen overnight. The team worked long hours to get the shop ready to open for Fall Arts Walk.

Emily detailed several additions to the many “lifestyle” collections the store has carried. Clothing lines, such as outdoor specialist Woolrich and a brightly hued selection of unisex socks are new. More space has also been given to the unique supply of kitchen items and eclectic cookbooks.

Jewelry is now beautifully showcased and it’s much easier for the buyer to select from the many intricate styles. The additional open space allows for more special events, such as an upcoming Margaret Solow jewelry trunk show.

Alana explained that the Compass Rose buyers try to offer local products as often as possible. “Many of the items in the store are from the Northwest region. Since both our Olympia and Tacoma stores are about mid-way between Portland and Seattle, we showcase artisans from those areas.” She added that most of their jewelry is handmade in the United States.

Fine food items, such as caramels, chocolates, honey, tea, and various specialty salts are always popular. Chrissy said, “It should be easy for folks who are on their way to a party to be able to stop by and find some local consumables to take with them.” With the holidays approaching, this is definitely an idea to store away.

“We have also expanded our stationery,” Alana added, “but we keep in mind that our customers may have a different sense of humor in the cards they choose than ones they might find elsewhere.”

compass rose olympia

The staff of Compass Rose toast their new look on opening night during Fall Arts Walk.

She stressed how important collaboration is for downtown merchants.  “If we don’t have a product that fits a customer’s needs, we know where to send them. For example, we do not complete with Olyphant, which specializes in professional grade art supplies, and we decided not to apply for a liquor license because Little General sells wine.” She added, “Everybody does better when everybody does better.”

Compass Rose takes that saying to heart since they donate 10% of their revenue to local and international non-profits. GRuB, Community Youth Services, Syrian refugees, Doctors Without Borders and Unicef have been recipients over the past few years.

Alana told designer Sean Sifagaloa, that she wanted the store to “feel like vacation.” She had seen his design of the Gastropub, Good Bar in Pioneer Square in Seattle, and knew he was the one who could do it. “It needed to be light and airy, have clean lines and be adaptable for the next ten years.”

compass rose

Gordon’s Garden Center in Yelm created these succulent vessels that line one wall at Compass Rose.

Local businesses helped create Alana’s vision. Contractor Greg Lopez worked with Martin Furniture, who made the white wood shelving and Zeigler’s Welding, who created the jewelry cases. Gordon’s Garden Center in Yelm created the wall of live succulents behind the sales desk. Plants, available for purchase, will be changed seasonally.

Expect the same great service, but enjoy a new shopping experience the next time you visit Compass Rose.  Follow Compass Rose on Facebook or Instagram.

Compass Rose

416 Capitol Way S in downtown Olympia




Shanna Paxton Photography Helps Share Visual Messages of Gratitude and Love

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 6:23am



gratitude video

Christmas cards are a great way for businesses to remind their clients that they’re thinking of them during the holidays. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography.

There are many ways to say thank you. You can send a card, give flowers or just say “thanks.” The only problem is, these ways of showing appreciation aren’t very memorable. After all, cards get lost, flowers wither, and words are easily forgotten.

When you want to say thank you in a way your loved ones won’t soon forget, Shanna Paxton of Shanna Paxton Photography recommends saying it with a video — a Gratitude Video.

“In the 50s and 60s, families would take 8 millimeter videos during the holidays,” says Shanna’s husband and business partner, Jeff. “When the kids grow up to be adults, they look back on these videos and it makes them feel nostalgic. The Gratitude Video is a 21st century version of that.”

Instead of an 8 millimeter video, Gratitude Videos are recorded digitally, so family and friends can simply load the videos to their computers for easy watching and sharing — which is great for military families and long distance relatives.

gratitude video

Have portraits taken in the comfort of you own home against the Christmas tree, perfect for shy little ones. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography.

And Gratitude Videos don’t stop at saying thanks. Gratitude Videos range from messages from proud parents sending their student off to college or wishing grandma a happy birthday on her 80th. And don’t worry if you’re not sure what to say — Shanna is happy to hold an in-person consultation (especially if there are kids involved) prior to the actual filming of the video.

During the holidays, Gratitude Videos are a great way to capture the cheer of the season with the whole family. Of course, if you would rather send out a more traditional greeting, Shanna recommends a holiday card.

Creative poses, ugly sweaters, funny faces and scenic settings can all be portrayed in a photo and transferred into a festive card that you can send out to friends, family and colleagues. With holiday cards starting at $150, Shanna says people can be as posed and poised or playful as they want.

gratitude video

Brighten up a bare, winter landscape with colorful clothing and cheery poses. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography.

But the holidays aren’t the only time of year sending out a photo greeting is appropriate. Shanna says she can create cards for all types of events — birthday invitations, thank you cards, and miss you notes are just a few of the ways people can turn their photos into visual greetings for their loved ones.

You don’t have to wait for the holidays to say “thanks” or “we love you,” but it’s a great time to start thinking about the creative options that exist for sending fun and thoughtful messages to the ones you love.

For more information about Gratitude Videos, holiday cards and other photography services available through Shanna Paxton Photography, visit Shanna Paxton Photography online.

Thurston County Election Results

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 6:07am



Candidates are waking up this morning with either a new job or a continuation of a previous job.  School administrators and fire departments are checking results of levies and bonds that will fund their programs.

You can find all of the election results from the November 3 general election on the Thurston County Auditor’s website.  You can see who is leading in Port Commissioner races, school bond levies, Olympia and Tenino mayor races and all other election returns across Thurston County.


Students Show Patience, Eagerly Await Remodeled North Thurston High School

Thurston Talk - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 6:00am



By Rachel Booth, North Thurston High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

The North Thurston High School remodel is well underway with improvements planned across campus.

The North Thurston High School remodel is well underway with improvements planned across campus.

North Thurston High School, home of the Rams, has recently begun construction on its new remodel. Considering the last remodel was in 1983, both students and staff are looking forward to the update. In 2014, a bond passed approving a $75 million upgrade to the school. Nearly every school in North Thurston Public Schools will receive improvements through 2022. Along with the construction of the new Salish Middle School,  North Thurston is the most extensive project by far in the district currently.  Target completion date is set for fall 2018.

Construction on the project began in May. The first phase includes an extension of the 1995 James Koval Center for the Performing Arts  facility to house the music programs. The Koval Center extension will give dedicated rooms to band, and orchestra, which will be shared with the choirs. There will also be additional instrument storage.

A new building behind the stadium will house the gyms and fitness classrooms. The project will also include a new school building, which will eventually replace 16 portable classrooms and add extra rooms to accommodate the growing student population. Sports fields and facilities will also be upgraded as funding allows. Some of the softball fields will be replaced and the tennis courts adjacent to the pool will also be repaired or replaced.

Seeing walls going up around campus is exciting for students as they practice being flexible during the construction process.

Seeing walls going up around campus is exciting for students as they practice being flexible during the construction process.

The demolished gym is being replaced temporarily by the recently vacated Bally’s Athletic Club building.  The space is now called the Sleater-Kinney Annex, located across Kasey Keller Drive.  Students will access the new building in November 2015 using a crosswalk until the new gym is completed. PE classes, as well as athletic events, will be held in the new facility.  Students and community members will enter through the North entrance on Kasey Keller Drive. Aspire Middle School for the Performing Arts is scheduled to move into the Annex as well in 2017.

Outbuildings for welding, horticulture, and other programs will receive selected upgrades as the school experiences major modernizations. The next phase of the project will improve parking, safety systems, and technology on campus.

Students, who are already being rerouted to their classes, are excited for the remodel nevertheless. “It’s going to be a big change,” junior Veronica Emmerson says. “I won’t be here to see most of it, but I can’t wait for the new orchestra room and it will be great to have some more space.”

The process is a long one, and students will definitely be affected, but Courtney Schrieve, director of community relations says that “living through construction take patience, flexibility and sometimes humor.”

This year, North Thurston High School boasts over 1,400 students and 74 teachers. Since the original school’s construction in 1954, the school has grown immensely and is North Thurston Public Schools’ oldest high school. Though Timberline High School, remodeled between 2006-10, has a higher student count, North Thurston campus holds the Koval Center and South Sound Stadium, both of which are shared by all of the NTPS high schools.

Construction begins early at the North Thurston High School site, even before students arrive on campus at 7 a.m.

Construction begins early at the North Thurston High School site, even before students arrive on campus at 7:00 a.m.

Steve Rood, the current North Thurston High School principal, says “With each phase, we will create a plan to keep everything moving with the school and continue to communicate to students, staff and parents,” says NTHS principal Steve Rood, citing the common theme in the remodel plan.

As the school rebuilds both physically and as a community, the 2015-2016 ASB team has themed this year as “Construct Your Future: Zone In.”  The theme is designed to encourage students to keep working hard despite distractions. The five goals of the year are recognition, spirit/energy, communication, support, and environment. The ASB team, led by President Andrea Luper, said, “We knew that with the school being remodeled, we wanted to incorporate construction into our theme. While working hard over the summer, we truly grasped the idea that ASB not only means ‘Associated Student Body’, but ‘All Students Belong.’”

The remodeling of North Thurston High School will be vital to strengthening the school’s spirit and confidence, and is eagerly awaited by all!

To learn more about the modernization project at North Thurston High School, click here.



The Wanted 18

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 4:31am
Event:  Sun, 11/08/2015 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm

The Rachel Corrie Foundation (RCF) is pleased to sponsor the documentary film The Wanted 18 at the Olympia Film Society's 32nd Annual Film Festival Sunday, November 8, at 12 p.m.  Tickets are on sale at the festival website and at the historic Capitol Theater, 206 5th Avenue SE, Olympia.  Following the noon screening, RCF will host a Q&A with Palestinian director Amer Shomali via Skype. The film is co-directed by Canadian director Paul Cowan. 

About the film:

"It’s 1987 and the Israeli army is in hot pursuit of eighteen dairy cows in the town of Beit Sahour, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The cows are declared a threat to Israel’s national security after a group of Palestinians begin producing milk for the town’s residents...Humorous and thought-provoking, The Wanted 18 shows the power of mass mobilization and nonviolent resistance to the Israeli Occupation during the First Intifada..." More here from Just Vision

"...the astonishing true story of a Palestinian uprising of cows on the lam from the Israeli Army.... Featuring claymation, archival footage, and a light hearted tone, The Wanted 18illustrates this courageous act of rebellion with a farcical tone that emphasizes the ludicrousness of the situation, while also underlining its historical value and weight."  Film trailer and more from the Olympia Film Festival logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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