Recent local blog posts

Panorama’s Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center Knocks It Out of the Park with a Perfect 20-Star Rating

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 6:57am




Panorama’s C&R restorative nursing department finds ways to make exercise and movement fun.

Panorama is a unique non-profit residential community situated on a 140-acre campus in Lacey, Washington. It offers a suite of solutions for retirees ranging from independent houses and apartments to assisted living options and a Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R).

When you enter the high-ceiling, sunny foyer at the C&R, it is immediately obvious that this is not your typical nursing home. The hallways and sitting areas are spaciously appointed, the space looks, smells, and feels inviting and homey, and there appears to be a lot of socializing taking place both among the residents and with the staff.

When I meet with administrator Sharon Rinehart, she explains that the C&R was designed around a hospitality concept rather than a clinical one. Most of the 155 beds are occupied by permanent residents.  The goal is to foster an engaging, warm community atmosphere. Sharon’s aunt recently passed away but called Panorama home for 26 years.  This is a good indicator that the staff truly believes in the work they are doing to provide their residents with top-notch care if they count their own family members among their clients.

Sharon can often be found walking the halls with Coconut, a Miniature Goldendoodle therapy dog, who is much beloved by the C&R residents. They watched her grow from the time she was a 9-week-old puppy.  Accompanied by Sharon, Coconut spends 40 hours a week bringing joy and companionship wherever she trots.


A visit with Coconut, the therapy dog (shown dressed in her Pumpkin Parade garb), may inspire residents to successfully complete a PT routine.

The C&R at Panorama offers two levels of care. Skilled nursing patients may require 24-hour skilled care or post-acute care, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy. The goal for these patients is to eventually be discharged. Long-term care patients in the C&R are considered permanent residents of the facility. They require assistance with three or more activities of daily living, such as walking, bathing, dressing, eating, or taking medications.

This quarter, the C&R is celebrating their perfect 20-star rating, one of only four such scores awarded to the 222 eligible facilities in Washington. Of note, the other three facilities that received a top score are much smaller, which makes it even more remarkable that the C&R can deliver exemplary service on a large scale.

If you’re like me, you may be wondering what this designation represents and why it is so difficult to earn all 20 stars?

Selecting a skilled nursing facility can be a daunting task. A patient may require short-term sub-acute care following a surgery, accident or medical incident, which may be unexpected, or long-term end-of-life care, which is commonly accompanied by a host of emotions. Oftentimes, family members who live remotely may wish to be involved in the decision, and all stakeholders crave data and guidelines to help them prioritize the specific needs and wishes of the patient. Patients and family members alike want to identify a pleasant living environment with a level of care they can count on.

In response to this need, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created a US-wide objective rating system that is used to evaluate nursing homes on a five star scale, similar to a hotel, across four categories.

The CMS understands that educated consumers make better choices in pursuit of high-quality care.  It’s also a tool to reinforce and sustain the best healthcare businesses. The quality indicator system serves as an easy way to survey and evaluate nursing homes online. Potential customers can search the available options by zip code, city, or state.


The nutrition services team created a healthful and creative display for the recent Pumpkin Parade.

The rating system includes four metrics that are each rated on a five star scale. They include overall quality, health inspection, quality measures, and staffing. The health inspection includes a survey of the residents which provides a regular outlet for them to voice their perspectives and to be heard, a survey of the clinical medical records, and observations of staff providing care. Staffing ratios also include the percentage of registered nurses that work in a facility, as well as the ratio of LPNs and certified nursing assistants.

Sharon attributes much of the success of C&R 5 star (20 star) rating to the skilled, dedicated and compassionate staff. Maintaining a positive work culture among the employees is so essential that they would rather work short, if necessary, than hire someone who is not the right fit for the job. The nurses, social workers, and activity personnel comprise a dynamic team, focused on the same mission of excellence.

One of the major benefits of living at the C&R is the connection to the larger Panorama community. Amazingly, there are 100 Panorama residents who volunteer at the C&R. They work as greeters, lead groups and classes, read to residents, stroll around the campus on a walk, give art lessons, and offer prayer services.

But they don’t stop there. Panorama residents brainstorm about ways to further enrich the lives of C&R residents and organize fundraisers to make those dreams become a reality. Two of the groups specifically supplement the operating budget for activities, activity supplies, entertainment and special purchases, such as blanket warmers.

With fantastic support like that, the team at C&R has created an exceptional nursing home environment where you truly do feel like family.


Donedei Wines: A Taste of France in Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 6:00am



By Margo Greenman

Thurston First BankFrance and Italy are both often revered as two of the most enchanting and romantic destinations on earth. Exquisite wines, sumptuous eats and breathtaking sights – all of which are offered in abundance – set a magical stage for charming visits through vineyards, candlelit tours across canals, and more.

donedei wine

Donedei Wines owner and winemaker, Carolyn Lakewold, became interested in winemaking after tasting wines and touring vineyards with her husband, Fred Goldberg, in Italy and France.

While many may only experience the regality of these destinations during the occasional holiday abroad or vicariously through friends or photographs, Carolyn Lakewold and her husband Fred Goldberg are reminded of the region daily right here in Thurston County at their Bordeaux-inspired Tenino winery, Donedei Wines.

While Carolyn was teaching at South Puget Sound Community College and working as an NCAA Champion Fastpitch coach, she and Fred traveled to France and Italy often. Both interested in food and wine, they would focus their trips around visiting wineries and experiencing great meals. Because of this, it comes as no surprise that Carolyn and Fred both became well educated about identifying different varietals, understanding what makes some wines better than others, and knowing why fish pairs better with a buttery Chardonnay than a hearty Syrah.

When Carolyn decided to take a break from her teaching career, Fred knew she would find herself wanting something to keep her busy, so he suggested she offer-up her knowledge to a local winery. Carolyn started volunteering at McCrea Cellars in Rainier, WA, shortly after. Here, Carolyn learned the ins and outs of winemaking, shadowing winemaker Doug McCrea. Assuming she could occasionally volunteer a few hours to keep busy, Carolyn anticipated that her time with McCrea Cellars would not exceed six months. However, six months soon turned into one year, and one year turned into two. Carolyn had no idea that the time she spent at McCrea Cellars would inspire a career switch and the start of her own business, but it did.

donedei wine

Donedei Wines produces Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons produced in the traditional Bordeaux style.

After her time at McCrea, Carolyn headed back to Europe and shadowed a few more wineries around Tuscany, Italy, before opening her own winery at the couple’s property in Tenino in 1997. Donedei (meaning “Gift from God”) celebrated its first crush the following year and introduced their first commercial release, a Merlot, in 1999, followed by their Cabernet Sauvignon in 2000. Since their debut, Donedei Wines has not added additional varietals to its repertoire, instead focusing on producing only quality, handcrafted Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons made in the traditional Bordeaux style.

Carolyn starts their wines by first sourcing the best grapes in the region. Most of Donedei’s grapes come from Ciel Du Cheval, a vineyard located at one of the state’s most renowned viticultural areas, Red Mountain. Once the grapes arrive at Donedei, they are then hand sorted and hand picked. The grapes are then ready to be turned into wine and are gently crushed to create the Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons Donedei is celebrated for.

“I love the creativity of it,” explains Carolyn. “It’s a challenge everyday. It makes you think. It makes you become a chemist. It makes you become a chef, and it makes it fun to come into work everyday.”

donedei wine

Visit Donedei Wines on Saturday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 14, during the winery’s Holiday Open House events in Tenino.

Carolyn clearly loves her job – and people love her wine. So much in fact that Carolyn is often asked if she plans to grow her business. To answer that question, Carolyn says she’s not interested in increasing production or growing to become bigger. “It’s about doing it right,” she says. “Doing it where I can be absolutely proud of every glass poured. We’re committed to that philosophy.”

Thirsty yet? Donedei’s wines can be found throughout the region at Thurston County-area stores like the Wine Loft, Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway and Haggen, to name a few. You can drink a glass at several Olympia restaurants like Gardner’s, Waterstreet Café and Bar, Dockside Bistro and many more.

Donedei opens its doors to the public two days per year.  During the month of December, Donedei will be celebrating its Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 14, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. During both days, Fred will be manning the barbecue building, dishing-up locally sourced sausages and other meats to pair alongside Donedei’s delightful wines. The event (and food) is free to the public and serves as a great opportunity for the community to stock up on wine for the holidays, as well as for Carolyn to say “thank you” to all of those who have supported her throughout the years.

To learn more about Donedei Wines, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, or try the wine firsthand on December 6 or December 14 at the winery, located at 12035 Gibbons Lane, Tenino.


Signing Santa Provides a Special Holiday Opportunity

Thurston Talk - Wed, 12/03/2014 - 6:00am



By Katie Doolittle

capital medical centerOn December 5, Chambers Prairie Elementary School will host a Santa event much like any other. There will be entertainment (think Christmas carols) and holiday snacks (the usual selection of cookies, cider, and such). The central focus, of course, will be Kris Kringle himself: the line of children waiting to meet him, the lucky kiddo enjoying his or her turn, and the nearby parents with cameras at the ready.

There is, however, one crucial difference at this particular event: this Santa is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). And, like many of the children who come to see him, he is deaf.

signing santa

A larger chair enables kids to sit next to Santa instead of on his lap. This way, they can communicate more effectively.

That’s the reason you’ll see a bigger Santa chair at the event—it’s hard to sign while holding someone in your lap! Several talented helpers from Signing Santa made the chair so that Santa and the child sitting next to him can face one another and communicate effectively. It’s just one of the many special touches that this 100% volunteer-run nonprofit brings to their annual event.

Signing Santa’s purpose is to provide a positive Santa experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, as well as CODAs (children of deaf adults). Family, friends, and the community at large also join in to make this a special event for all who participate.

“Deaf children can’t go see Santa at the mall unless they have a parent along to translate. Here, they can talk directly to Santa. It makes for a more personal experience. It’s much more memorable,” explains Jim Hancock, a member of the Board of Trustees.

The Signing Santa event has a long history in our community. Begun in 1991, it ran for thirteen consecutive years before a committee’s disbandment led to its temporary hiatus. This prompted Hancock, plus three other interested members from the deaf community, to form the current volunteer nonprofit. Together, they resurrected the program in 2008. And ever since, Hancock’s been helping to run the event.

signing santa

Jeanette Sieler of Lacey Parks and Recreation says, “The best part is seeing kids get to talk to Santa in their own language. Actually, the hearing children at the event are the ones who need an interpreter!”

Other groups get in on the action, too. Pierce County Toys for Tots provides a toy for every child who visits Santa. Lacey Parks and Recreation has been instrumental in securing event venues and helping to get the word out.

As recreation supervisor for Lacey Parks and Recreations, Jeannette Sieler is in charge of all her department’s special events. The job keeps her busy year-round. However, she has a special place in her heart for the Signing Santa event.“I enjoy reaching a part of the community that Lacey Parks and Recreation doesn’t always get to serve,” she says.

It’s worth noting that the community being referenced here is quite widespread. Attendees come from as far as King County, and the organizers have come to expect between 200 and 300 people each year.

The event is free and open to anyone who wishes to attend. There are even volunteer interpreters on hand to help non-ASL speakers converse with Santa. Hancock says, “Over the past few years it has really grown into a community event. In addition to the families coming to see Santa, there are also the families coming to watch their high school student perform.”

signing santa

Another classic Christmas moment: parents coaxing their kids through an unsure reaction to Santa.

High school students performing? That’s right. Cathy Miller is the ASL teacher for North Thurston Public Schools, with programs at both River Ridge and North Thurston high schools.  Her students sign Christmas carols as part of the entertainment, then stick around to help out. Hancock appreciates the high schoolers’ willingness to pitch in, citing their enthusiastic participation in event set-up and tear-down. Sieler sees the benefit for the teenagers, as well. “The high school students get a chance to practically apply their learning. For some, this may be the first time they’re using sign language to communicate with a deaf or hard-of-hearing person.”

Sieler and Hancock agree that the best part of the event is seeing kids talk to Santa in their own language. Hancock is rightly pleased by the impact his efforts have on the deaf and hearing-impaired community. He perfectly sums up the spirit of giving that motivates so many volunteers to put on this event: “To see the smiles and excitement on the children’s faces as they meet with Signing Santa tells it all.”

The Signing Santa event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Chambers Prairie Elementary School. For more information, contact Lacey Parks and Recreation at 360-491-0857.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos courtesy of Signing Santa.


A Conversation with Harlequin Productions “Stardust” Author, Harlowe Reed

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 2:05pm


Submitted by Harlequin Productions

I was lucky enough to sit down with the mysterious Harlowe Reed for an exclusive interview with the author of the Stardust Musical.

Harlequin Stardust 2014 - 2Where do you find your inspiration for story lines?
Inspiration is everywhere, but largely it comes from having watched actors work in other projects and beginning to see Stardust characters emerge. These are situation comedies, so the next step is finding a situation. The ideas for the situations or problems are one percent pure luck that must be supported with the ninety-nine percent hard work.

Do you ever decide to abandon plot concepts mid-way through writing?
If a plot will be abandoned, it needs to happen right at the beginning. That’s the place you have to recognize that you’re headed to a dead end. Not half-way through. Once you are committed to a storyline, you tend to make it the story you want even if it requires a staple gun, a shoe horn, and bailing wire. If a sledgehammer is needed to get you to the finish line, you’ll know better next time.

Any particularly strange Stardusts we almost had?
They are all strange. We joke about various concepts like setting the show in the Star Wars Cantina or in a remote future where all the performers are robots or clones. These ideas are unlikely to be explored anytime soon; however, the Cantina version has its attractions. I always loved the jazz combo in that scene.

Do you have any favorite Stardusts past?
Naturally the shows I like the best are the shows that audiences like the best: Stardust for Christmas, Operation Stardust, The Stardust Serenade, and last year’s Stardust Christmas Blizzard rank highBut, as you know, the real favorite is always the one you are working on at the moment.

Do you find that your original vision usually comes to fruition in the final product, or does the vision tend to evolve during a process?Harlequin Stardust 2014 - 5
It has absolutely got to evolve in the process. It can’t be helped. The performers bring their own brilliance to the project and new and irresistible possibilities come to life. And that is what makes the “original vision” viable. You have to begin with raw eggs to end up with an omelet. The ideas are the raw eggs BTW …not the actors. With an original script, you can’t go in thinking it’s already cooked. That’s a formula for disaster. You might get a disaster anyway, but the chances are greatly reduced by letting it morph organically into its true potential. This does, however, require knowing what and what not to keep. You have got to know a speed bump for what it is.


How has your writing style changed over these 19 years?
Writing comedy is trial by fire. You learn the hard way what has a chance of working and what makes it work when it does. I’ve learned a lot about tempo and phrasing. I like broken and overlapping lines because it’s the way people actually banter with each other. Smart actors can do that, but the tempo has to be correctly balanced in the line. Also, consonants are vital. Finding the clear words that help actors communicate a feeling or situation to the audience can be the difference between keeping them with you or confusing them. I’ve done the confusion part and now attempt to do something else. I also used to be much more sentimental. We still want a happy ending, but keeping it terse actually seems to make that more rewarding.

What led to your decision to move from the 1940’s to the 1950’s?
We spent seventeen Christmases in the 1940s, mostly the war years. We covered well over 200 songs from the period. Most of them were ballads. It’s time to move it to the 1950s and the more upbeat popular music of that decade. It was an optimistic time, maybe the last non-cynically optimistic period in American history.

Harlequin Stardust 2014 - 8What do you love about this year’s feature?
The homeless youth element and the way it resonates with contemporary problems. His situation is a catalyst for a sequence of crazy events that (I hope) keep us engaged and rooting for everyone concerned.

What would you say is the thesis of this entire body of work?
Simple: The Stardust Series is really a collection of big noisy Christmas cards. These are alternative holiday shows that provide a bit of added cheer and entertainment. I have nothing as lofty as a “thesis,” but the intention to reach out to the community with a happy offering has endured.

Do you have any relation to Fletcher Reed, Jim Carry’s character from the 1997 smash Liar, Liar?
Sadly, no. That was one of Jim’s better roles. I am, however, tangentially connected to the journalist John “Jack” Reed (1887 – 1920). He was born in Portland, Oregon, lived for a time in Greenwich Village.  He had Communist leanings and wrote prodigiously about the Russian Revolution and was given a hero’s funeral when he died in Moscow. Obviously he got in lots of trouble. I’m nothing like that.

Do you spend much time with the Director, the fabulous Linda Whitney?
Collaboration is required to pull these things together. Time is an imaginary concept.


Clista Rakow Reflects on Her Reign as Miss Thurston County 2014

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 1:14pm



By Kate Scriven

Edward Jones Block AdMany of us tune in each year to the Miss America Pageant, oohing and ahhing at the dresses and holding our breath at each interview question.  The accomplished young women on stage started their journey with a county-based pageant.  Locally, the Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program (MTCSP) has been active since 1975 and in recent years has seen resurgence in sponsorship and participation.

Held in March, the Miss Thurston County Pageant gives young women ages 17 to 24 the opportunity to compete for scholarship dollars as well as the crown.  The pageant is focused on helping young women develop character, prepare for future opportunities, and promote their dreams.

miss thurston county

Clista Rakow was crowned Miss Thurston County 2014 last March on a platform of Suicide Awareness and Prevention.

The current Miss Thurston County 2014, Clista Rakow, knows first-hand how hard contestants work and the rewards, and responsibilities, which come with winning the crown.  Rakow was born and raised in Yelm, Washington, daughter of a local dentist and 2012 Yelm High School graduate.  She hadn’t competed in pageants when young and admits applying for the Miss Thurston County pageant was partially motivated by the prize money and scholarship award as she is attending Pierce Community College and supporting herself.

However, she quickly learned she’d gain more from her experience than money.  “As the workshops started prior to the pageant and we started learning different things, I noticed that I began developing into a different person,” she shares.  “I was becoming more confident and motivated.  I wanted to be like those girls you see on the Miss America stage – doctors, lawyers, Ivy League students – these are some of the most promising women you’ll ever meet.”

Rakow was excited to compete, feeling it would create opportunity for her.  “I competed in 2013 and lost,” she recalls with a laugh. “But I learned so much that year and when I returned in 2014 I was much more calm and able to learn even more.”  Each time she participated at the local level, then again during the 2014 Miss Washington Pageant, she gained something new.

The organization trains contestants in interview skills, financial planning, character and more.  These skills are used during the pageant, but also as the winner and into the real world.  “I’ve nailed every interview I’ve had since the pageant,” shares Rakow.  “The practice and coaching has taught me how to prepare and deliver during tough situations.”

One aspect of the competition is to select a platform. Introduced in 1989, the platform concept is a social issue that contestants care deeply about and is important to their greater community.

“My personal platform is something very close to my heart – Suicide Prevention and Awareness,” shares Rakow.  “I am a suicide attempt survivor and a daughter of a veteran.  These two really interlinked with wanting to help our military and rehabilitate our veterans who struggle with PTSD – really opening the conversation about mental illnesses and ending the stigma.”

miss thurston county

Clista’s parents have supported her throughout her reign as Miss Thurston County.

Rakow opens up to people about her own story and is able to start conversations in the greater community through personal experience.  Through these conversations, and her dedication, Rakow has helped pass House Bill 2315.  “The bill requires all front-line health care workers to take six hours of continuing education in suicide management assessment and prevention,” Rakow explains.  “Washington is the first state to require this training.”  There are now several other states following Washington, and Rakow’s, lead.

In addition, she is also a Field Advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention working on local, state and federal bills and policies related to suicide prevention. Through this work, Rakow contacted the governor of California in an effort to install a safety net under the Golden Gate Bridge.  The $76 million project passed in June 2014 and is a huge victory for suicide prevention advocates like Rakow.

Locally, she participated in this October’s Out of the Darkness Walk and was moved by the open dialogue among participants impacted by mental illness and suicide.  “I’m thankful that I’ve been given a second chance to help people and really find out my true passion,” Rakow reflect.

miss thurston county

As Miss Thurston County, Clista Rakow participates in community-wide activities such as face painting at Fall Arts Walk.

Holding the title of Miss Thurston County 2014 initially entailed ongoing preparation for the July Miss Washington Pageant. “You build a great sisterhood with the other contestants,” she shares. “It’s not like anything you see on TV with all the drama and cattiness,” explains Rakow of the supportive environment she experienced.

As Miss Thurston County, Rakow makes appearances and gives speeches throughout the area.  She can be found face painting at Arts Walk, picking up road-side trash, or speaking on suicide prevention to area high schools.  She will also serve as mentor to the 2015 contestants and help prepare them for what lies ahead.

“For me, the title and life are not two separate things.  I am myself 24/7 and hope people see me as approachable and real,” Rakow says.  “After nine months as Miss Thurston County, my white sash is all dirty and stained.  I think that characterizes my year wearing the crown.”

For more information about the Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program, visit their website here.  Applications for 2015 contestants are due Friday, December 5 and can be filled out online here. Completing an application is not an obligation to participate.  Stay up to date with Clista and Miss Thurston County Scholarship Program on Facebook.


WDFW Approves Razor Clam Digs Starting December 3

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 1:05pm



Submitted by  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Razor clam diggers can count on a week-long opening beginning Dec. 3 and start planning trips to Washington’s beaches in early 2015, after state shellfish managers today announced a schedule of proposed digs through February.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the seven-day dig, which runs December 3-9, after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide. No digging is allowed at any beach before noon.

“Crowds of diggers have been on the light side, but the clams continue to grow and are getting fatter,” Ayres said. “If you’re willing to brave the elements, it’s a great opportunity to get some clams.”

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Digging days and evening tides during the upcoming opening are:razor clam dig

  • Dec. 3, Wednesday; 4:14 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 4, Thursday; 5:02 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 5, Friday; 5:45 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 6, Saturday; 6:26 p.m., -1.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Dec. 7, Sunday; 7:05 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 8, Monday; 7:44 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 9, Tuesday; 8:21 pm, -0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

WDFW has proposed another dig in mid-December, if upcoming marine toxin tests are favorable. That dig is tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

  • Dec. 19, Friday; 4:41 p.m., 0.0.feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 20, Saturday, 5:23 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Dec. 21, Sunday, 6:06 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 22, Monday, 6:48 p.m., -1.3 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Dec. 23, Tuesday, 7:31 p.m., -1.3 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors

Shellfish managers also announced a new schedule of proposed digs for early 2015, which extends an opening tentatively set for Dec. 31. The schedule announced today proposes six more days of digging during the first week in January and three more multi-day digs through February.

“We’re announcing these dates now so people can start making plans for the New Year,” Ayres said. “We’ve had a terrific season so far and expect plenty of great digging in the months ahead.”

Below is the schedule of proposed razor clam digs, along with evening low tides and beaches and if marine toxin tests are favorable:

  • Dec. 31, 2014; Wednesday, 3:05 p.m., 0.6 feet,  Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • Jan. 1, 2015; Thursday;  4:01 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Jan. 2, Friday; 4:49 p.m., -0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Jan. 3, Saturday; 5:32 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Jan. 4, Sunday; 6:12 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 5, Monday; 6:48 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 6, Tuesday; 7:23 p.m., -0.3 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harborsrazor clam dig
  • Jan. 7, Wednesday; 7:57 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 17, Saturday; 4:15 p.m., 0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Jan. 18, Sunday; 5:02 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 19, Monday; 5:47 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 20, Tuesday; 6:30 p.m., -1.4 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 21, Wednesday; 7:13 p.m., -1.4 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 22, Thursday; 7:56 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 23, Friday; 8:40 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 24, Saturday; 9:25 p.m., 0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Jan. 30, Friday; 3:43 p.m., 0.5 feet Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 31, Saturday; 4:32 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Feb. 1, Sunday; 5:15 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 2, Monday; 5:53 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 3, Tuesday; 6:27 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 4, Wednesday; 6:59 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 5, Thursday; 7:30 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 6, Friday; 8:00 p.m., 0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 15, Sunday; 3:47 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 16, Monday; 4:37 p.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 17, Tuesday; 5:24 p.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 18, Wednesday; 6:08 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 19, Thursday; 6:51 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 20, Friday; 7:33 p.m., -0.7 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 21, Saturday; 8:16 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
  • Feb. 22, Sunday; 9:00 p.m., 0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at and from license vendors around the state.

WDFW has razor clam recipes as well as advice on digging and cleaning clams on its webpage at


Westport Winery Earns Medals at Grand Harvest Awards

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 12:51pm



Submitted by Westport Winery

2013 Elk PosterElk River Riesling, crafted with grapes from Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA, earned a gold medal. This wine offers a spine-tingling aftershock of flavor that is luscious, bright and penetrating. In the winery’s restaurant it is paired with their homemade wilted spinach salad. Suggested listening while enjoying this wine is the song The River by Garth Brooks. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Twin Harbors Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Surfer’s Syrah, made with grapes from Discovery Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, earned a silver medal. The winery says this is the Edgar Allen Poe of wine as it is dark, brooding and intense. It pairs especially well with Surf and Turf at the winery while listening to Pipeline by The Ventures.

This wine benefits South Beach EMS and fittingly features winery co-owner Blain Roberts on the label when he was a competitive surfer on Maui in the 1970s.

Fleur de Lis Pinot Gris earned a bronze award with grapes from Airfield Vineyard. This wine offers a floral kaleidoscope of jasmine, melon and white tigers on the nose and palate. The winery’s homemade vegetarian broccoli bisque offers the perfect complement while reminiscing with As Time Goes By as sung by Louis Armstrong. This wine benefits 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam.

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with the unique outdoor 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 Northwest Wine Destination in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Westport’s award-winning wines are exclusively available at the winery. The tasting room, gift shop, 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

Oly Town Artesians’ Spurr Named WISL Player of the Week

Thurston Talk - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 11:52am



Submitted by Oly Town Artesians

Willie Spur was named Player of the Week.

Willie Spurr was named  WISL Player of the Week.

With two goals on Saturday night including the first league goal in Oly Town Artesians’ history, the Western Indoor Soccer League has named Willie Spurr as their Player of the Week for week two of the inaugural WISL season.

The Seattle native put the Artesians up 1-0 with a strike just three minutes into the home and league opener against the Tacoma Stars and then got on the board once again late in the game during a furious comeback attempt by Oly that ultimately fell short in an 8-5 loss.

Despite the loss, Spurr made quite the impression.

“The indoor game really puts his unique talent and athleticism on display,” Artesians head coach Nate Salveson told the WISL. “Even playing against one of the league’s top defenses he was able to score a couple of nice goals and was dangerous all night.”

His two goals moved him into a tie with seven other players for the league lead in goals scored.

Spurr just wrapped up his junior season for the men’s soccer team at The Evergreen State College where he was named to the All-Cascade Collegiate Conference first team for the third year in a row.  The Geoducks finished third in the CCC and fell in the first round of the playoffs.

Spurr joined Oly Town a few days after his college season ended and only practiced with the team for a week before making the start on Saturday night.

The Oly Town Artesians take a break for the Thanksgiving weekend but will return to the Olympia Indoor Soccer pitch on Saturday, December 6 at 6:00 PM for a match-up with the Wenatchee Fire. Tickets are available at or by calling (360) 561-7252.

My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg Revised

South Sound Arts - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 9:30am

Peter Serko in My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg. Photo courtesy Peter Serko

 Peter Serko is enjoying much deserved but surprising success with the one-person play, My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg. After it premiered at Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma Serko took it on the road where it was performed at the Cider Mill Playhouse in Endicott, New York, where much of the true story took place. The story, written and performed by Serko, is the true story of his brother who died of AIDS. It is touching, dramatic and surprisingly funny.
Serko has re-written it with minor tweaks written with the help of playwright Bryan Willis, and the revised play will enjoy a brief run in South Sound theaters beginning in January.  
Here is a slightly edited version of the review I wrote a year ago:

My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg
In the early 1980s local photographer Peter Serko found out his brother David was gay, and it was not long before he found out that David had AIDS, which in those devastating days of the epidemic was called the gay cancer. He flew to New York City, an epicenter of the disease, to be with his brother and was by his side along with their loving parents and David’s closest friends when David died at the age of 32.
David was a singer, a dancer and an actor. Among other productions he performed in, he toured with A Chorus Line.
Peter loved his brother. They were close at the end, but there had been a 20-year period when they were apart and knew nothing of one another’s lives. Another 20 years after David’s death, Peter felt compelled to learn as much as he could about those year’s when they were apart. Therefore he started the David Serko Project ), searching out hundreds of David’s friends, interviewing them and filming them, and finding photographs to document David’s life. This dramatic production at Dukesbay Theatre is a small part of that project.
Peter tells his and his brother’s story with the aid of projected videos and still photos. It is a moving story that is heartbreaking and funny, and adeptly staged with direction by Brian Desmond, lighting by Beth Steele and scenic and technical design by Henry Loughman.
To my knowledge, Peter is not a writer. He says in the show that he has never before written poetry; yet he wrote 14 poems for this show. He is also not an actor, yet he performs in this self-penned two-hour dramatic presentation with skill worthy of a theater professional. From a critical point of view the only quibble I have is that he was not able to hide his self-consciousness opening night.
Nevertheless his demeanor and timing were impeccable. His voice is soft and well-articulated, and his sincerity is palatable. The almost two-hour show zooms by. It is heartbreaking, inspirational, and generously peppered with comic relief. The descriptions of what AIDS did to David Serko’s body are hard to take, but this is not something we should close our eyes to. AIDS is very much still with us and despite marvelous advancements in treatment it is still destroying lives.
Upcoming Performances
Dukesbay Theater
508 S. Sixth Ave #10, Tacoma (3rd Floor Merlino Art Center), Tacoma
January 9,10,17 @ 7:00pm
Sunday Jan 18    @ 2:00pm
Tickets available @ Brown Paper Tickets

University of WA Tacoma
April 2015

Seattle Repertory Theatre
September 8, 2015

Pacific Lutheran University
October 2015
 More info at

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Restoring the Deschutes Estuary to its Natural Flow

Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 8:53am

by Glen Anderson, producer and host of this TV series

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s December 2014 TV program, “Restoring the Deschutes River to its Natural Flow,” will air three times a week during December – every Monday afternoon at 1:30 pm, every Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 pm, and every Thursday evening at 9:00 pm on Thurston Community Television (TCTV) cable channel 31 for cable TV subscribers in Thurston County.

Even if you live elsewhere or don’t have cable TV, you can watch this program anytime from anywhere:

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s December 2014 TV program examines an environmental problem that has hurt the greater Olympia and south Puget Sound areas for more than half a century – the problems in the waters near the west side of downtown Olympia where the 5th Avenue dam prevents the Deschutes River flow freely into Budd Inlet, the southernmost tip of Puget Sound.

Only in the past few years have people been organizing vigorously to solve the problems with this natural solution.  Two knowledgeable and articulate guests help us explore this topic.  Both are active with the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT):

Dave Peeler is President of DERT’s Board and has 40 years of professional scientific experience working on environmental issues, with special expertise in water quality.

Helen Wheatley is an historian who has extensively studied the history of the 5th Avenue dam and Capitol Lake.  During this hour she will show photos – some historical and some recent – to illustrate the case for removing the 5th Avenue dam and letting the Deschutes River run freely through a natural estuary.

A basic environmental principle is that Mother Nature knows best, and we should avoid disrupting natural ecosystems, such as the estuaries where rivers flow into salt water.  Another basic environmental principle is that Mother Nature is resilient.  If we would remove the dam and stop causing the damage, Mother Nature could do a lot to restore and heal the natural ecosystem.

Throughout the program, Helen provides a number of historical photos and two videos that help viewers see the specific area and understand the problems and solutions.

Dave explains what an estuary is and how an estuary works.

Helen provides interesting history about the background that led to the 5th Avenue dam, and some misconceptions that occurred then and have persisted since.

Our guests explain the scientific issues about water flow and circulation, and how the dam impairs those and causes unhealthily low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.  They explain the algae that plagues the lake, and the interactions of water quality elsewhere in Puget Sound.

They explain the continual problems related to sediment that flows downstream in the Deschutes River and settles in Capitol Lake because the dam prevents it from flowing out.

They discuss the dam’s hurtful implications for fish.

A local non-profit organization, the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) (see contact information below) has been working to solve the problems and has produced recommendations for removing the dam and restoring the Deschutes Estuary to a natural ebb and flow that would significantly improve water quality and the health and sustainability of local plants and animals.

Our guests also explain the governmental involvement in the issue.  Many entities have a hand in this local area, so it’s hard to reach decisions, but progress is underway.

Yet another complexity is public opinion, which is mixed and sometimes misinformed.  Often it is hard to let go of the artificial status quo and choose a more natural future.  But if we do, we will find it more satisfying for us, besides being better for the environment.

Indeed, Western Washington has two good recent examples of success stories:

–  At the Nisqually Delta, we removed the dikes and allowed the Nisqually River estuary to return to a more natural ecosystem.  While some people were apprehensive about doing this, now the results are wildly popular besides being better for the environment.

–  On the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River, we removed the dam, and salmon runs have vastly increased beyond our wildest hopes.

For more information, contact the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT).  You can e-mail them at, visit their website,, or write to them at DERT, PO Box 11093, Olympia WA 98508.

Our guests recommended two governmental sources of information about this:

The Washington State Dept. of Ecology has info about “Deschutes/Budd Inlet TMDL at

The Washington State Dept. of Enterprise Services has info about Capitol Lake at

Categories: Local Environment

Sub Pop U.S.A. Live in Portland!

K Records - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 8:26am
There’s a party happening in Portland, Oregon next weekend, and everyone’s invited! We’re celebrating the publication of Sub Pop U.S.A., the Subterranean Pop Muisc Anthology 1980-1988, a 400 page trade paperback book compiling all nine issues of Subterranean Pop (or Sub/Pop as it quickly became known), along with several years worth of  Bruce Pavitt‘s Rocket […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Real Life Click “Been too Long”

K Records - Tue, 12/02/2014 - 5:22am
“Been too Long” by Real Life Click with special guest Lega’C Jones. An excerpt from SANGVIS REGVM: Blood of Kings EP. Blood so fresh, don’t wipe your hands on your pants you’ll get it all over the furniture. Real Life Click is the Olympia hip hop syndicate featuring MCs Ang  P and Miz, both of […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thurston County Swearing In Ceremony Scheduled for December 30

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 4:45pm


Submitted by Thurston County

Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall certified the results for the November 4 General Election.  Below is a list of the elected officials:

Thurston County Assessor: Steven J. Drew
Thurston County Auditor: Mary Hall
Thurston County Clerk: Linda Enlow
Thurston County Commissioner District No. 3: Bud Blake
Thurston County Coroner: Gary Warnock
Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney: Jon Tunheim
Thurston County Sheriff: John Snaza
Thurston County Treasurer: Shawn D. Myers
Thurston County District Court Judge Position No. 1: Kalo Wilcox
Thurston County District Court Judge Position No. 2: Sam Meyer
Thurston County District Court Judge Position No. 3: Brett Buckley
Thurston County Public Utility Commissioner District No. 2: Russ Olsen
Thurston County Public Utility Commissioner District No. 3: Chris Stearns

The Secretary of State’s Office will certify statewide initiatives, as well as Congressional and State Legislative elected officials on Tuesday, December 2.

More details about Thurston County’s Swearing in Ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday, December 30, will be available soon.

Ford Donates $77,500 to Feed Boys and Girls As Holidays Approach

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 3:57pm



Submitted by Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County is receiving $2000. Half  from Ford Fund and  half from Mullinax Ford in Olympia.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County is receiving $2000. Half from Ford Fund and half from Mullinax Ford in Olympia.

Ford Motor Company Fund is donating $77,500 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho, Montana and Alaska, in keeping with its commitment that no child should go hungry — especially as the holidays approach.

Sixty-four clubs across the five-state region are receiving Ford Fund grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 as part of the Ford Focus on Child Hunger campaign. This donation will expand the previously launched Ford Focus on Child Hunger campaign and increase the number of children who benefit from this hunger initiative.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County is receiving $2000. Half of the grant is coming from Ford Fund and the other half from Mullinax Ford in Olympia.

“As many families prepare for holiday celebrations, others are struggling simply to keep food on the table,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Today’s donation is one more step to support families and children who face food insecurity.”

“Every day after school our kids come to us hungry and we make sure they receive a healthy snack. The sad reality is that some of these kids come to us extremely hungry as they may not have had breakfast or lunch. We are very grateful to Ford Motor Company and Mullinax Ford for providing funds to support our healthy snack program,” said Joe Ingoglia, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County.

Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is working in several ways to address food access and food insecurity throughout the U.S. In the five-state Pacific Northwest region, Ford Focus on Hunger has donated more than $800,000 and provided one million meals to regional programs. Earlier this year, Ford dealers in the region collected more than 30,000 pounds of peanut butter, enough to make 420,000 peanut butter sandwiches.

A fleet of more than 35 Ford Mobile Food Pantries provides food banks across the country with added flexibility in delivering food. Over the last five years, the Ford Fund has given over $5.3 million to hunger-related organizations across the country and nearly $420,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs.


Port Commission Invites Applicants For Citizens Advisory Committee

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 3:49pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Port of OlympiaThe Port of Olympia Commission is seeking applicants for the Port of Olympia Citizens Advisory Committee.

The Citizens Advisory Committee comprises 9-14 citizen volunteers who meet monthly, or as needed, to address assignments from the Commission. Individual members also may be asked to participate with Port staff on a range of Port programs and projects. The committee has contributed citizen advice and assistance to the Port since the Commission formed it in 1994.

Applicants must be Thurston County residents. A Port Commissioner, the Executive Director and the Chair of the committee will interview applicants and recommend appointments to the Commission. Criteria for selection are community and economic development activities; volunteer, board or committee experience; work experience; experience or knowledge of the Port; and reasons for serving.

For an application form and information about past and current Citizen Advisory Committee projects, please click here or call 360.528.8014.

The application deadline is Monday, December 15, 2014.

Urban Forestry Restoration Project: Helping our Trees Help Us

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 3:36pm


Submitted by The City of Lacey The Urban Forestry Restoration Project, administered by the Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program, is an exciting opportunity to enhance the capacity of urban forests to manage storm water and improve air and water quality by improving the health and functionality of trees and forested sites in urban settings. Even more exciting is our opportunity to participate in this program here in Lacey at Lake Lois Habitat Reserve. A Puget SoundCorps team will work with City staff to remove the English ivy, Himalayan blackberry, Spurge Laurel, Scotch Broom and Robert’s Geranium from Lake Lois Habitat Reserve during the month of December. These invasive non-native plants prevent forested areas from providing our community the full benefits and services of healthy forests by competing for water and nutrients, and in some cases even killing trees. Many undesirable plants that grow in dense thickets also harbor rats and other vermin, creating a public safety hazard as well. Once the unwelcome plants are gone, native vegetation will be planted in its place. The Lacey Board of Park Commissioners approved the Forest Management Plan for Lake Lois Park and Lake Lois Habitat Reserve in September of 2012. Volunteers have been removing invasive plants and re-planting those areas with native trees to implement the recommendations in the plan.  Paul Royer, Chair of the Park Board states, “Many people are not aware of Lake Lois Habitat Reserve, but once they have been out to volunteer, they realize the importance of what they are doing and the difference it makes in the health of the forest.” To learn more about future volunteer opportunities, contact the Lacey Parks and Recreation Dept. at (360) 491-0857, or Lacey’s official website at For more information about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project, visit the Project online or contact Micki McNaughton at (360) 902-1637 or DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Puget SoundCorps is part of the broader Washington Conservation Corps program administered by Washington Dept. of Ecology. Puget SoundCorps crews work on projects that help restore and protect water quality in Puget Sound. The Washington Conservation Corps is supported through grant funding and Education Awards provided by AmeriCorps.

Joe de Jesus – Dentist By Day, Dancer By Night

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 2:59pm



By Emily McMason

washington orthopaedic centerDr. Joe de Jesus is Olympia’s own Clark Kent. He’s got the glasses. He’s got the dark hair. He’s got a respectable daytime job. He wears a disguise (well, in his case, a costume). But only seasonally. You, and especially your children, may know him as Dr. de Jesus, local orthodontist. What you may not know, is that de Jesus has a very busy schedule away from the office.

Every weekend, September through December, he is busy rehearsing for the ballet. For four years, de Jesus has been a part of Studio West Dance Theatre’s production of the holiday classic The Nutcracker.

olympia nutcracker

The de Jesus family of dancers includes Eliana, Mary, Joe and Naomi who all perform in the Studio West production of The Nutcracker.

This year, he is reprising his role as Herr Stahlbaum, Clara’s father and host of the Christmas Eve party that dominates the opening of the first act of the ballet. A role that, in many ways, doesn’t take much practice.

As the father of three and an orthodontist, de Jesus is used to interacting with kids. It was, in fact, due to his daughters’ interest in dancing that he began participating in The Nutcracker. “In 2011 Naomi [one of his daughters] was a junior snow, baker and Russian. I was a party parent in one of the casts.” De Jesus continues tongue and cheek. “I owe my meteoric rise to principal dancer to my daughters’ critical instructions on ‘how not to embarrass us.’”

More seriously, it is the chance to be with his daughters year after year that brings him back to the ballet. “I wanted to be with my daughters during formative experiences. I did not produce volleyball or basketball-playing kids, my personal sports experiences, so I joined them in the endeavors they love. I really enjoy being with my daughters in rehearsals every weekend, and backstage. Creating our mutual experiential memories is way better than commercialism in this season.”

olympia nutcracker

Dr. de Jesus goofs around back stage with his daughter, Naomi, as a Gypsy.

Before joining his daughters on stage, de Jesus’ dance training was, well, eclectic. “The only dancing I did before was break-dancing with friends in high school every day after school, club hopping in San Francisco for the four years of dental school, ballroom lessons as wedding prep, and two quarters of ballet before [our] children [were born].” Now, in addition to The Nutcracker, he performs as part of the “Dentists on Broadway” show for the Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s Dental Clinic.

De Jesus’ impact is felt not just by his own children, but by the other dancers as well. Studio West co-owner and director Stephanie Wood commented on this connection he makes with others. “Joe is a treasured part of Studio West’s Nutcracker and is a fabulous Herr Stahlbaum,” says Wood.  ”In the many years I have been setting the Nutcracker, I must say he brings something special to my rehearsal. He is funny but serious, charismatic yet playful and I know the rest of the Nutcracker cast feels his genuine spirit as well.”

From his side of things? “Part of the fun has also come from being a Nutcracker veteran, and encouraging more comfortable and confident performances from new cast members. Sharing in the camaraderie of all these great folks who perform is heady stuff,” comments de Jesus.

olympia nutcracker

Joe de Jesus poses with his two daughters, Eliana as a lamb and Naomi as a Spanish dancer, during a previous Nutcracker performance.

What are de Jesus’ favorite on-stage moments that the audience should be watching for during the party scene in Act I? “I’d prefer that no one was watching for me, particularly. I’d rather be a non-show-stealing addition to creating the ambiance of the scene. If there are highlights, they would be watching to see how well I catch my stage son as he capers across the stage, seeing if I drop my stage wife in any of the dips, and checking to see if my affection for my Clara and Fritz (daughter and son on stage) resonates.”

For de Jesus, the eclectic love of dancing continues in his future plans. “I enjoy bar/bat-mitzvah parties because 13 year-olds pick great dance-party music,” he says.  ”I’d like to get back into ballroom dancing. It takes a lot more confidence in one’s skill than freestyle.”

As for his participation in The Nutcracker? “I’ll continue until my daughters are done, or alternately, my grandkids are (none available yet).

If you’d like to catch Dr. de Jesus in his role as Herr Stahlbaum this year, you can see him on stage December 11 – 14 at the Minnaert Center for the Arts on the South Puget Sound Community College campus.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 360-753-8586 and asking for the Studio West production of The Nutcracker.


Encore Arts Now Accepting Grant Applications

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 2:57pm



Submitted by Encore Arts

Encore Arts 11Chimes Sculpture for Jasmine

This sculpture is located at Lincoln Elementary school in honor of Jasmine Ball’s life of creativity and love of the arts.

Encore Arts is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 to connect young people in the South Puget Sound area with arts opportunities.  It offers a listing of youth arts organizations online and it offers small grants for visual and performing art projects or programs that involve youth.

Encore Arts also celebrates the life of Jasmine Ball, a young girl from Olympia who died in 2006. Jasmine participated in all types of art and always encouraged other young people to participate with confidence and full heart.

Encore Arts honors the spirit of Jasmine’s life as well by picking the most thoughtful and meaningful projects for its grant awards.  According to Cheryl Petra, former Lincoln Elementary Principal, “Jasmine was creative, funny, strong and feisty. She spoke to the world in a clear sweet voice about art, kindness and justice. Her life, her spirit, and her courage remind us how good and just the world is meant to be.”

In previous years, grants have been awarded to a variety of organizations, such as Mary M Knight School District music program, Inhabit Artist Collective and Sound Kids Drum and Dance. Grants may be provided for supplies, performances, artists in residence, learning experiences through the arts or other creative ways that organizations involve young people in the arts in a meaningful way. Preference is given to organizations that demonstrate need and have a social justice orientation. New organizations as well as prior applicants and recipients are encouraged to apply.

Grant applications can be found online. All applications are due no later than January 23, 2015.

For more information about Encore Arts, please call Alexis Sarah, Encore Arts President and Co-founder, (360) 259-9393.

Rob Rice Homes for the Holidays: Dining Options

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 2:22pm



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

Home buyers still seek floorplans with formal dining rooms which are found in many Rob Rice Homes.

Home buyers still seek floorplans with formal dining rooms which are found in many Rob Rice Homes.

Family traditions… entertaining friends…celebrations with lively conversation…dinner parties and sharing good food—they all involve the dining room.

What is your picture of holiday entertaining or a family gathering? Is it a dinner at a long table with linens and china? Or maybe you prefer a buffet line in the kitchen with football on in the family room and an open dining room where guests can choose their seat.

No matter what your traditions or plans for the holidays, there is a Rob Rice Home with the perfect dining area to suit your preferred hospitality and your family’s needs.

Formal Dining Rooms are not Passé

Recent focus groups and surveys asked home buyers what they want in a home and many still want the traditional dining in a room separate from the kitchen.

One recent survey this spring said that nearly two-thirds of home buyers want both a great room for casual dining and one or two more formal spaces.

Formal dining rooms are for those who love to entertain, especially those who enjoy sit-down dinners with candlelight or a dimmed chandelier. For some, the formal dining room provides a place to decorate and dramatically set the mood.

“The formal dining room is a great place to celebrate special family occasions and holidays,” says Lisa Poundstone, Home Staging® expert and owner of Design Smart Home Staging &

A butler's pantry is ideal for homeowners who entertain large groups.

A butler’s pantry is ideal for homeowners who entertain large groups.

Redesign. “You can create different looks for each of the seasons by layering the table with different colors and textures using tablecloths, runners, placemats, chargers, dishes and napkins. The centerpiece, typically the focal point of the dining table, can be a simple vase with your favorite flowers or a more dramatic combination of candles and flowers.”

The formal dining rooms available in some Rob Rice Homes are a place to display art as well as your crystal, china and silver. Tables for eight and family china hutches, often hard to place in other parts of the home, fit well in the formal dining area. In a pre-sale of a Rob Rice Home, a buyer would also have a choice of several lovely chandelier lighting fixtures.

Both the Rainier plan and the home we call the Magnolia at Evergreen Heights, a conveniently-located community nestled into gently rolling hills in a country setting in Lacey, offer a formal dining room.

And, in addition to their beautifully-designed kitchens with alder cabinets, stainless steel appliances, slab granite or quartz counters and hardwood flooring, these homes have a special “butler pantry” between the kitchen and the dining room with a granite countertop and a wine cooler that allow you to stage food and drink for a formal dinner and serves as storage for that special holiday dinnerware and any other items to graciously serve your guests.

At Campus Highlands in the Meridian Campus amid the beautiful Northwest woodlands and a neighboring popular golf course there are three gorgeous quality-built homes that include formal dining rooms: the Riviera, the Sahalee and the one-story Valhalla.

All of these homes have the potential for both formal and casual dining as they have a dining nook off of the kitchen as well as the open and light great room concept for the wonderful flexibility of entertaining and dining in two separate spaces.

Open concept dining rooms are popular for more casual dining and family gatherings  like the Spruce plan at Evergreen Heights.

Open concept dining rooms are popular for more casual dining and family gatherings like the Spruce plan at Evergreen Heights.

Open, Casual Dining

According to the National Homebuilders Association report “What Home Buyers Really Want,” 66 percent of buyers said a dining room is either essential or desirable in their home.

But that does not necessarily mean they all want a formal space. Many homebuyers today are looking for open floor plans, where the kitchen, family room and dining room share one space and a busy family can see and talk to one another.

Many Rob Rice Homes have the great room concept and have kitchens with granite or quartz raised counters where family members can pull up a stool for breakfast. The popular Spruce at EvergreenHeights is an example of a one-story home with a stylish kitchen that looks out onto a bright great room for more casual dining.

Rob Rice has the Home you Want

Find the home that matches your wish list at any of the nine sought-after Rob Rice Communities throughout the area. You can also find a quality-built home on an individual, larger-sized lot outside of our communities at one of our Select Home Sites in ThurstonCounty.

And don’t forget that the area’s top rated builder, Rob Rice Homes, can custom-build your home with features specific to your family’s lifestyle, including your dining preferences.


Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He has built more than 3000 homes over the last 30 years. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.








Jean Nagai's "Correctional/Fluid"

South Sound Arts - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 12:05pm
Jean Nagai: Correctional/flud opens Friday, Dec. 5 at Salon Refu in Olympia. I have never seen Nagai's work and can only begin to imagine what it may be like based on the show announcement and images and artist's statements on Nagai's website. I won't be able to make it for the opening reception either, but I will visit the show and review it for my regular "Visual Edge" column in the Weekly Volcano.

All I know at this point is (1) Salon Refu shows are always outstanding, (2) the Nagai show announcement mentions works on paper and fabric, and there was mention in an email from gallery owner Susan Christian of white-out paintings, and (3) there is going to be a multimedia happening in the gallery Friday, Dec. 19 with "music talk refreshments batic project gift items." 

The show runs Dec. 5 to Jan. 4 and is open every Thursday through Sunday from 2-6 p.m. Salon Refu is located at 115 N. Capitol, Olympia.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
Syndicate content