Recent local blog posts

Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Sun, 03/08/2015 - 4:23pm



Submitted by Sara Hollar, Olympia High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Our Australian foreign exchange student Leah and I take a picture with the George Washington bust in the Olympia Capitol building.

Our Australian foreign exchange student Leah and I take a picture with the George Washington bust in the Olympia Capitol building.

For ten days in January my household gained a new member – foreign exchange student Leah from Australia. Leah was our fourth exchange student in three years, preceded by Guillaume from France, Jorge from Spain and another Australian, Larissa. Over the years we’ve gained some insight on what to do with a visiting teen in Olympia, from the sights to the entertainment to the food. With a little creativity it’s easy to give your foreign exchange student a fantastic time during their stay in the United States.


Taking foreign exchange students sight-seeing around Olympia is a fun opportunity to play tourist in your own town. We’ve showed all of our exchange students around the Capitol campus. It’s a chance to show off not only our most impressive architecture, but also explain some of the history of Washington State and a bit about how our government operates. The gift shop is great for buying souvenirs for exchange students to bring back to their families. Taking a picture with George Washington’s bust (and rubbing his nose for good luck) is likewise a necessity. Outside the buildings, the campus provides a beautiful view of Capitol Lake and the Puget Sound.

If the weather is nice, it’s also fun to walk along the Percival Landing boardwalk and look at the sculptures or visit the Heritage Park fountain. While we’re downtown I love taking exchange students to the small boutiques and shops that line the streets. My favorite is Archibald Sisters because we always find something entertaining and very “Olympia” for our students to take home.

The other main attraction is Capital Mall. To understand an American teenager, it is required to spend some time at a mall. Our students come in search of clothing and shoes that are wildly more expensive in their home countries. The mall is also our destination for an American cinema experience and food court cuisine. A good bet with exchange students is to explore a mix of classic Olympia landmarks as well as local favorites.


My friend Katie, Leah and I attend OHS's Mystery Theatre.

My friend Katie, Leah and I attend OHS’s Mystery Theatre.

Entertainment in Olympia for teenagers is easy to find when you know where to look, especially when school is in session. Leah and her classmates from Australia really enjoyed going to the basketball games at Olympia High School to cheer on the team. Sports aren’t as much of a focus in Australia as they are here, so the idea of a pep band and cheerleaders was foreign to them. They loved learning the school cheers and taking picture with our mascot, Pepper. I told Leah that she would have to visit again in the fall for the infamous Spaghetti Bowl. Whichever sport is in season, exchange students love to be a part of the American custom of high school sports.

While Leah was here we also got the lucky chance to support the OHS drama program. We attended the Mystery Theatre that students organized. This production was particularly exciting because of the interactive nature but really any OHS play or concert is a great experience.

Outside of the local high schools, other amazing entertainment awaits. There’s so much to pick from but my family looks for endeavors that feel uniquely American. When our French exchange student Guillaume was with us, we attended Harlequin Productions’ “Set in the ‘70s”. The play was a look at quintessential American rock and Guillaume, an avid music lover, even recognized some of the songs.  Good entertainment for foreign exchange students is simply accessible, American fun.


One of my favorite things about hosting foreign exchange students is the excuse to eat out all the time. My friends and I welcomed the opportunity to frequent our usual favorites under the guise of showing them to our student. We visited King Solomon’s Reef for milkshakes and fries and Bonsai Wok for teriyaki. Sharing my favorite restaurants really felt like sharing a piece of my life, considering how much time I spend at these places.

Leah sports her new Olympia gear with my brother Devan and I during her last day with us.

Leah sports her new Olympia gear with my brother Devan and I during her last day with us.

And then there were the places that I don’t visit as often but were still very important for the foreign exchange experience, the fast food joints. Leah and I made a little game of ticking them off a list, from Dairy Queen to Taco Bell. We were both surprised at how much food we could buy for such little money. For Leah it was a lot of fun to try food she’d heard about before and then telling her friends back at home what it was like.

One of the most surprising hits for food was actually a simple trip to the grocery store. Our student Jorge liked going grocery shopping with my mom because our Safeway was so vastly different than the fresh fruit markets and butcher shops that he had in Spain.

During Leah’s last weekend with us, we went to the grocery store and picked out the most “American teenager” food we could find. We bought Pizza Rolls, Bagel Bites, mini egg rolls, cheese fries, Twinkies and Hot Pockets. Then we invited some friends over and ate all of it in one night. Safeway’s frozen section may have provided our favorite food episode. In the end, dining with an exchange student is a lot more about the new experience than the actual food.

I’ve loved the opportunity to show my hometown to these exchange students and they’ve also taught me so much about their cultures. Hosting a foreign exchange student is richly rewarding and simple to do with a little insight on how to give a teenager the full American adventure.


Left Bank Pastry: Baker Gary Potter Brings Paris to Your Sweet Tooth

Thurston Talk - Sun, 03/08/2015 - 6:00am



By Kelli Samson

greene realtyFor me, it was love at first bite.

When I first tasted one of Left Bank Pastry’s apricot croissants, or “oranais” in French, it was like my surroundings shape-shifted. Suddenly, my taste buds transported me to the front stoop of a patisserie in Colmar, France, where I once stood out of the rain during a sudden summer storm, un-daintily shoving an apricot tart into my mouth.

left bank pastry

Owner Gary Potter bakes out of the commercial kitchen he built next door to his home in Olympia.

If you found a way to teleport yourself to a happy memory, you would, right? I feel very fortunate that, at least once a week, I experience a tasty flashback to this exquisite moment just by eating one of Gary Potter’s pastries. I swear he somehow bakes all that is enchanting about France right into the dough.

When I mentioned to others that I was going to meet the man behind this culinary magic, I got intriguing responses. Erica Kinsel, the French teacher at Capital High School, wondered if she could tag along. “Please tell him that I developed a bit of an afternoon almond croissant habit at the end of my pregnancy,” she begged. “But what I really love are Left Bank’s kouihn amanns. They are buttery, salty-sweet deliciousness. Olympia Coffee Roasters usually sells out quickly, so it’s a good day when there’s one left in the case.”

Alison Kloft of the Back Door Bakery and Michael Elvin of Bar Francis both told me what a great guy Potter is, that he really cares about quality, and that he can be, well, mysterious.

My interest was further piqued because Left Bank Pastry has had no internet presence during the four years since it opened, though this will change in the coming months.

And did I mention that Gary Potter has never before granted an interview?

The pressure is on.

Foodies, allow me to introduce you to Gary Potter.

He is very tall.

You have likely tasted his fine pastries at establishments such as both the East and West-side Olympia Co-ops, Bar Francis, Olympia Coffee Roasters, Mud Bay Coffee, the Back Door Bakery, and, recently, Lacey’s Schoolhouse Coffee. These are merely a few of the places to which he supplies delectable treats.

We may love every bite of everything he makes, but what’s the scoop on Left Bank Pastry?

left bank pastry

Employee Tristen Eastin is just finishing up culinary school at South Puget Sound Community College. She is one of three bakers who now works steadily along with Potter, who worked solo prior to hiring them over the past six months. When asked to describe Potter, she says, “best boss ever!”

Originally from Eastern Washington, Potter attended college at Western Washington University. It was there that he became friends with someone who taught him how to make baguettes. Baking bread became a bit of an obsession for him as he worked on his psychology degree, giving him a creative outlet and enabling him to work with his hands. “I totally romanticized it,” he admits. “This is a labor of love.”

He continued to bake at home while he worked as a teacher at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla for nine years. After honeymooning in Paris with his wife and Left Bank Pastry co-owner Rochelle, Potter decided he wanted to bake full-time. But he didn’t want merely to bake, he wanted to bake like a Parisian. There is a difference.

This took a lot of advanced planning. And, during our interview, I learned that Potter is a master of advanced planning. He is of the “slow and steady wins the race” mindset. My dad would say he measures twice and cuts once. He is careful.

For two years, he took French classes. “I was planning my exit from the prison, kind of like Shawshank Redemption,” recalls Potter with a smile.

He moved with his wife and then-two-year-old daughter to Paris for two years while attending Le Cordon Bleu. His typical day at the acclaimed school was intense. “You could hear a pin drop during the three hours of lecture, then it was on to three hours in the kitchen,” shares Potter. “There were no machines. We had to do everything by hand.”

The original plan was to remain in Paris, working for a bakery, but the French have very high rates of unemployment. It was difficult for an American to find a job, even with appropriate documentation. Potter was understanding. “If there was a job, the bakeries were giving it to someone they cared about, like I would do.”

left bank pastry

Freshly-baked Madeleines have a tender crumb and a sweet dusting of powdered sugar.

His family returned to Washington, where Olympia reminded Potter of Bellingham. They settled here, and he worked at local bakeries like the Bread Peddler and San Francisco Street Bakery. He built his own kitchen with the intention of selling his goodies at the Olympia Farmers Market, but that has been a waiting game.

In 2011, Left Bank Pastry officially got under way and the accounts with local businesses began to roll in. And the name? “I really like the Left Bank in Paris. It’s the bohemian part where all the great philosophers are from,” he explains.

Over the years, even without a website or Facebook page or any kind of advertising, Potter has grown his business methodically and on his own terms. He is known for his commitment to perfectionism in his authentic Parisian baked goods. “Quality is key over everything else,” he says. Most recently, Bayview Thriftway became the latest place to get your Left Bank fix.

With two small children, Potter’s life is undeniably full. He fits baking in around his other duties, sometimes staying awake in the kitchen on his property until 3:00 a.m., baking to fill the next day’s orders.

Potter is still plotting and planning out how to fulfill his ultimate goals: having a stall at the Olympia Farmers Market and owning a custom cake shop. “I’m going to go fancy,” he says.

He may work one step at a time, quietly and mostly behind the scenes, but do not underestimate the persistence of Gary Potter.

Afterall, anyone who can take me to France for the price of a pastry has got a little something up his sleeves.


Jeremy Jay “Covered in Ivy”

K Records - Sun, 03/08/2015 - 1:15am
Yeah! Jeremy Jay at his luscious best. View the “Covered in Ivy” video HERE. K Song of the Day: Jeremy Jay “Covered in Ivy”, from  Abandoned Apartments [KLP247]. The Jeremy Jay album Abandoned Apartments [KLP247] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Rocket Mass Heater, Part 2

Small Blue Planet - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 7:54pm
We want to keep as much heat from the mass heater in the house as possible.  One of the ideas with the rocket stove is that we will be able to dispose of trash wood, prunings, etc more easily than we can now, but another idea is that we want to extract the heat from … Continue reading Rocket Mass Heater, Part 2 →

Rocket Stove Mass Heater Preparation

Small Blue Planet - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 7:21pm
Ok, time to build the rocket stove mass heater.  We have been thinking about it long enough.  These things look amazing and they don’t look like they are too hard to build, but we will find out about that. Here is the setup: Took out the two windows.  Sills were rotting out.  Reframed those for … Continue reading Rocket Stove Mass Heater Preparation →

Walking Side by Side to End Homelessness

Thurston Talk - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 8:53am



By Lisa Herrick

oly fed sponsorImagine 172 people in our community moved off the streets, out of shelters and into permanent housing in less than six months. Consider one benefit dinner raising $50,000 to help people escape homelessness. Envision five staff and nearly sixty volunteers dedicated to the pursuit of ending homelessness in Thurston County. This is SideWalk, a local organization with a mission to eliminate homelessness in our community.

The largely volunteer operated program was started nearly three years ago by Phil Owen, SideWalk Director. In the first full year of operation, Owen claims the community experienced a 36% drop in chronic homelessness. That means those who were considered repeatedly homeless or over a long-term were brought off the streets and out of shelters into permanent housing. Since its inception, SideWalk has consistently transitioned single adults out of homeless situations and into housing.

sidewalk olympia

SideWalk Director, Phil Owen stands in front of the real-time data whiteboard tracking successful housing outcomes of the chronic and non-chronic homeless clients. SideWalk recently completed an ambitious six month campaign moving 172 clients into permanent housing.

A key factor to SideWalk’s success is the rapid rehousing approach, which focuses on immediate solutions to move clients into housing by providing a small amount of financial assistance followed up by more intensive case management. Owen comments, “People think that homelessness is too big of a problem and it is an insurmountable issue. Homelessness has not always been with us. There is no need for people to sleep outdoors. This is a solvable problem.”

There are a myriad of factors that may lead one to homelessness but typically what keeps someone homeless are basic economic factors such as the lack of affordable housing. Barriers to paying for a place to live can be overcome through the assistance of a rent subsidy. It is a shift of thinking to approach the issue of homelessness by looking at economic factors such accessible, affordable housing.

SideWalk addresses homelessness as a housing crisis backed up by evidence based practices, intensive community engagement and rigorous data-driven methods. Modeled after cutting-edge strategies in the corporate world, SideWalk implements real time data to be responsive to current conditions. SideWalk reports that the average cost to move a person off the streets into permanent housing is $1,200. Owen emphasizes that moving clients into private market housing is a great solution as it is faster and cheaper than continually using shelter beds and provides a permanent remedy.

Consider Dave, a recent SideWalk client who shares his story on a SideWalk video. Dave simply needed to get past the hurdles of large rental deposits and the challenge of being awarded disability pay. SideWalk’s rapid rehousing program provided Dave the needed rental subsidy and case management services, which enabled Dave to find housing and return to work. Now back in a more stable living and employment situation, Dave is positioned to buy his own home.

sidewalk olympia

Fred, a SideWalk Volunteer Advocate, has assisted dozens of clients like Dave (right) move from homelessness into permanent housing.

Dave fell into a homeless predicament after suffering cardiac arrest during work on a day labor job. “I am so thankful for SideWalk’s help. I know that I could not have done it without them. They not only assisted me in renting a room but so much good has happened in my life since SideWalk – my disability has been approved, my teeth have been fixed, my surgery was successful and now I am looking to buy my own home. I used to frown on them (homeless), until it happened to me. Now I want to help others out. I am able to do just little things now, like cooking a pot of chili or baking cookies. Once I get more established, I will start volunteering at SideWalk. In my heart, I know what they are going through.”

SideWalk relies upon intensive community engagement to achieve its mission. They have effectively brought together the committed service work within the faith community and the outreach efforts of the business community. Businesses such as Olympia Federal Savings have supported SideWalk since its very first event. The next growth phase for SideWalk focuses on engaging neighborhood associations through house parties and community events such as the SideWalk Benefit Party sponsored by The Washington Center for the Performing Arts and the Olympia Downtown Association on March 25. Tickets are free and available here.

House parties are a more intimate way to enjoy friends and learn more about SideWalk.

Owen reports that recent house parties have averaged $1,900 in donations. Just think if SideWalk could cover the costs of moving a few people off the streets through each of the house parties. Or imagine how many people could be assisted through the rapid rehousing program by funds raised at a community party held at the Washington Center on March 25. Owen comments, “We can’t end homelessness fast enough.”

Join your neighbors and SideWalk at The Washington Center or plan a house party. Click here to learn more about SideWalk.


The Force Is With Us: “Star Wars” First Shown in Olympia in 1977

Thurston Talk - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 8:39am



By Jennifer Crooks

Capitol City Honda sponsorMost everyone these days has heard of “Star Wars,” the science fiction cinema phenomenon. The Star Wars epic has influenced popular culture and society from its inception in 1977. However, the premiere of the first “Star Wars” movie (later retitled “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope”) in Olympia is not very well known even though it had by far the longest run of any movie locally up to that time. Telling the story of Luke Skywalker as he begins his battle against the evil galactic Empire, the movie was a big hit across the nation as well as in Olympia, spinning off a franchise that still is going strong today.

star wars jostpru

The State Theater, built in 1949, showed “Star Wars” in 1977. This building is now home to Harlequin Productions. Photo courtesy Karen Crooks.

“Star Wars” opened nationally on May 25, 1977. However, the movie would take a long time getting to Olympia. While the Olympia area had several movie theaters at the time, they typically showed a single movie title for a couple of weeks because they only had a limited number of screens. It could be months or even years between the national premiere of a movie and when it would be shown in Olympia. “Star Wars,” despite its popularity, was one of these movies.

Although a glowing review of “Star Wars” by Bernard Drew of Garrett News Service (“‘Star Wars’ Best Since ‘2001’?”) was published on June 10 in The Daily Olympian newspaper, the movie would still take a month to arrive in Olympia. People who did not want to wait could go to Tacoma or Seattle theaters. Perhaps some Olympians even went to see the main cast of the movie when Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill visited Seattle in mid-June during a promotional tour for the movie.

“Star Wars” finally premiered in Olympia on July 8, 1977 at the State Theater (704 E. Fourth Avenue.) The movie proved incredibly popular. Lines of eager people snaked around the block, some waiting over an hour to find out that the tickets were all sold out for the day.

Although the lines would shrink over time, the enthusiasm and high attendance would not. While weekdays tended to be slack, weekends could be bustling. On October 1 and 2 over 1,700 people attended the showing of “Star Wars” at Olympia’s State Theater. Several special matinees were held for children on other dates. By October 18 and after 320 trips through the projector, the film was starting to wear out so a replacement was requested. According to the manger of the theater, the overworked projectionist finally took a vacation around this time.

star wars history

“Darth Vader” greets children at Seattle’s Bon Marche department store on April 1, 1981. The author’s parents, both Olympians, attended. Photo courtesy Drew and Karen Crooks.

Those hoping for “Star Wars” souvenirs would have to be patient. The theater was supposed to be selling merchandise such as T-shirts and souvenir booklets but the shipment never arrived. These items, now prized by collectors, later became available at variety and discount stores in the area. But everyone could enjoy, for free, a display at the Ken Meixner Lincoln-Mercury-International car dealership (2516 E. 4th Avenue). The business displayed, as advertised in the paper for October 21, “a decorated van to gladden the hearts of R2D2, C3PO and Luke Skywalker!!”

“Star Wars” in Olympia attracted all types of moviegoers: young, middle age and elderly. When interviewed on October 18, Vicki Fine, manager of the State Theater, commented that “almost everybody that sees Star Wars likes it” and was impressed at the audience’s emotional reaction. “They stomp their feet, shout and scream. It’s unreal what the movie does to some people.” She recalled that some people saw the movie every day for the first two or three weeks.

The movie remained quite popular and was shown for many weeks with daily matinees, evening showings and weekend matinees. By the end of its 14th week over 59,300 people had attended the movie in Olympia.

Attendance slacked off a little after initial enthusiasm, but picked up again after the September 16 showing of the ABC special “The Making of Star Wars” on TV. “Star Wars” was almost pulled by October 20, however it defied expectations and lasted all the way to December 20, 1977. It then closed and the State Theater started playing “Oh, God!” (1977) the next day.

“Star Wars” was thus shown for 24 shockingly successful weeks in Olympia, the longest run of any movie in the city up to that time.

star wars history

Located at 710 4th Avenue in Olympia, this Star Wars mural is signed “Menes 1995.” Photo courtesy Jennifer Crooks.

That was certainly not the end of “Star Wars.” The original movie would reappear in Olympia theaters with various re-releases. Its sequels, “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983), would also be incredibly popular. The franchise would return to the silver screen with several prequels: “The Phantom Menace” (1999), “Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Revenge of the Sith” (2005). “Star Wars” entered a new era with two recent animated television series: “The Clone Wars” (2008-2014) and “Rebels” (2014-present).

The “Star Wars” phenomenon still remains a powerful force in our culture, beloved by fans and recognized by all. At the same time, the entertainment heritage of the State Theater lives on in Olympia as it is now the home of Harlequin Productions. This professional not-for-profit theater company is a major cultural institution in the Capital City, producing a wonderful array of plays for public enjoyment.


Oakland, Mark. “Star Wars Sets Long Run Mark.” The Daily Olympian (Olympia, WA). Tuesday October 18, 1977, A7.

Windham, Ryder, Daniel Wallace and Pablo Hidalgo. “Star Wars Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle.” New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2012.

Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty Recognized as #1 Office in its Size

Thurston Talk - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 8:02am



Submitted by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty

olympia real estate

Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty was recently awarded the #1 office for its size by Coldwell Banker.

Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. of Olympia, WA was recognized by Coldwell Banker as the franchisor’s Number One Office in its size category for the Western Region of the United States. This award celebrates the achievements of the number one producing, independently owned and operated Coldwell Banker® office for each U.S. region within six office size categories. Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. achieved this top honor amongst 175 offices throughout 17 states in the western U.S.

Upon receiving the news of the award, Ken Anderson, President and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, said “this is quite an achievement for our firm. The companies who franchise with Coldwell Banker are leaders in their respective markets. To be at the top of that list is humbling, but also a reflection of the hard work and dedicated service to clients that our 50 real estate brokers and staff display every day.”

The company is the longest established, locally owned real estate firm in Thurston County. The firm is the area’s most productive real estate company, with 50 brokers nearly doubling the market share of the second largest firm in Thurston County.

“While these types of accolades are nice, they simply reflect our group’s uncompromising dedication to our clients,” Ken shared.  “We could not be as successful as we are without the tremendous support we receive from our community of clients.” He went on to explain the company’s mission. “Our goal is to help more people with the important work of buying and selling their most treasured assets – their homes and other real estate. We want to ensure that everyone receives the service they deserve from practiced, dedicated professionals.”

For more information, visit Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.

The Hive Dwellers “Ask You”

K Records - Sat, 03/07/2015 - 1:20am
Hammond organ undertones, guitars spiral up. K Song of the Day: The Hive Dwellers “Ask You” from their  Moanin’ [KLP249] album. The Hive Dwellers album Moanin’ [KLP249] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Jillian Telnack Serves as Page in State Senate

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:27pm



Submitted by the Washington State Senate

Sen. McAuliffe with Page Jillian Telnack

Sen. McAuliffe with Page Jillian Telnack

During the week of Feb. 23, Jillian Telnack of Olympia served as a page in the Washington State Senate. Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, sponsored Telnack’s weeklong experience in the Legislature.

“It was a pleasure to sponsor Jillian this week,” McAuliffe said. “She was a bright student and I hope she enjoyed her time here.”

During the week pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Telnack drafted a bill affecting later school start times. The bill aims to improve students’ health and awareness during school. “In my science class, someone did a study on how teens are sleep deprived, which is why I picked this bill,” Telnack said.

Telnack heard about the page program in 5th grade, and had been interested ever since.

“You get to meet new people, and go to page school and learn about government more in-depth than in school,” Telnack said. “You really learn about how everything works.”

Running errands in the Legislative Building was one of the highlights of the week for Telnack.

“That’s where you run the most errands. I really like working in there,” Telnack said.

Telnack’s favorite classes are Spanish and art. She wants to learn how to speak Spanish fluently so she can travel. She also likes taking pictures and is interested in photography.

The mother of a friend of Telnack’s works in the photo department at the Legislature and Telnack has plans to shadow her and learn about careers and internships.

“I would recommend the page program to other people,” Telnack said. “Do it. It’s really fun.”

Telnack, 14, is a freshman at Olympia High School. She also enjoys tennis, skiing and working with animals.

For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact


Olympia Residents: Saturday Drop-off Site Opens for the 2015 Season

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:11pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

The City of Olympia’s Saturday Drop-Off Site opens for the season on Saturday, March 7, 2015. The site is located at the City’s Maintenance Center, 1401 Eastside Street, SE. The site is open every Saturday through November 21, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. We accept scrap metal, yard debris and traditional recyclables at the site. The site is open all holiday weekends.

Recycle Non-Appliance and Clean Scrap Metal

Are you cleaning out your barn or garden shed? Have any metal waste, such as tools, fencing, fenders, wheels, posts, tanks, wire, car parts or outdoor furniture? Bring them to Olympia’s Saturday Drop-off Site, where we accept clean, non-appliance scrap metal. There is no fee for scrap metal disposal. Please note the following:

  • All plastic must be removed.
  • No fluids or gasses of any kind. For safety reasons, an attendant will check that all units containing oil, hydraulics or transmission fluids, gasoline, other fuels or gasses, etc., have been properly   drained or otherwise cleaned. See the web site listed below for more information.
  • Sorry, no paint cans or batteries.
  • No refrigerators, microwaves, television sets, washing machines or other appliances.

Yard Debris and Waste

Olympia residents may bring grass, garden clippings, prunings, brambles, brush, and branches. Wood is also acceptable as long as it is untreated and unpainted (nails are okay). Rates are assessed on load size and type of material, cash and check accepted. Customers are required to unload their own vehicles, so bring only what you can physically handle.

Traditional Recyclables

Do you have extra recycling from a special clean out, a recent move, or simply more than your cart can hold? Olympia garbage customers can now bring their extra recyclables at no charge to the Saturday Drop-off Site:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum and tin cans
  • Plastic bottles, jugs, dairy tubs
  • Plastic rigid flower pots
  • Plastic buckets
  • Glass bottles and jars

Visit for additional information and resources.


Westport Winery Adds Wedding Venue

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 5:04pm



Submitted by Westport Winery

westport winery gazeboWestport Winery has expanded its offerings to include a destination wedding venue. There are several new components to the winery property that will allow those seeking a beautiful location to marry in casual coastal comfort.

A lovely white gazebo covered with wisteria provides one of two locations for a wedding ceremony. This location features a large lush lawn for guest seating next to the winery’s popular lavender labyrinth. A second gazebo with a large adjacent patio near the winery’s solar array offers the second option for couples to select for their special day.

“We have had a few couples come here for their photographs in the past. As our gardens have matured it simply made sense to make the property available for the complete ceremony and reception,” winery co-owner Blain Roberts explained.

The destination can accommodate parties from 10 to 150 guests. Naturally, the winery is the exclusive provider of beer, wine and spirits for their venue. They welcome parties to use caterers or potluck for their outdoor receptions

As part of creating a traditional, romantic setting, winery co-owner Kim Roberts, has designed the new Something Blue Garden. “I originally wanted to create a garden with a recycled theme, but as the wedding venue developed I thought of the famous poem and decided to incorporate the components together.”

With the phrase “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…” as her inspiration she said, “As much as possible I used plants with blue blooms or blue in the name. My favorites are four Tolleson’s Blue Weeping Juniper that stand as sentinels around the circular lawn.” The winery’s famous blue bottles are natural accents in the project. Roberts also designed two portable changing rooms from recycled pallets for bridal party changing areas.

westport wineryThose interested in more information on the winery’s wedding venue are encouraged to contact the winery’s event coordinator Dawn Jones. All the information regarding the options available are also on the winery’s website.

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. For numerous years Westport Winery was named Best Northwest Wine Destination.

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


Westport Winery’s 7th Annual Fleur de Lis Festival to be held May 3

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:54pm



Submitted by Westport Winery

Westport WineryWestport Winery will hold its seventh annual Fleur de Lis Festival on Sunday, May 3, from noon to 4 p.m. (This is a change from a previously published date.) This celebration of flowers is free to attend and open to all ages. The winery is known for its extensive iris plantings which bloom for this festival. In addition, the winery’s eclectic plant nursery will feature a wealth of exciting new selections for the event.

Christine Hill and Ken Albert will perform live throughout the afternoon under the gazebo in the Color Wheel Garden where the Westport Art Festival will host Art in the Vines. This precursor to their annual summer art festival at the docks in Westport on August 17 and 18 is your opportunity to discover the latest creations from some of the best known artists in the region.

As a special part of this celebration the winery will release their latest vintage of Message In A Bottle, the first blush wine they have produced in several years. This Rosé of Syrah was crafted with grapes from Dave and Jacquie Stephens’ Songbird Vineyard on Red Mountain. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits West Coast Search Dogs of Washington. A new watercolor by Darryl Easter graces the label.

At noon the Roberts family will perform a ribbon cutting of their new five acre Quote Garden. “There’s simply so much wisdom to share from those who have lived in interesting time in the past,” said Kim Roberts. Following the opening of the garden guests are invited to move into the garden to unveil two new sculptures. Frank Ratte of Elma will unveil Swimmer while Beau Finley of Westport will unveil Mercy.

westport wineryVisitors are encouraged to check in by 12:45 p.m. for the 1 p.m. Backstage Winemaking tour. The price is $5 per person and free for wine club members and their guests. Good walking shoes and ability to walk on rough surfaces required.

Bring your favorite pooch to party at Westport Winery’s Best Friends Dog Park. The pups are always welcome at the winery on leash in the gardens and off-leash in the park. Lulu and Curzon are often in attendance.

It will be a perfect day to launch spring fun with the winery’s unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor Scrabble game, and grape maze, all located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery is known as having been voted Best of the Northwest Wine Destination.

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

Westport Winery’s Charterboat Chick Earns Gold

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:49pm



Submitted by Westport Winery

2015 Chick FrontWestport Winery’s varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Charterboat Chick, earned 92-points, a gold medal and cellar selection designation at the World Wine Championships in Chicago, Illinois. This wine was made with grapes exclusively harvested at Discovery Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills in 2012.

The label features winery co-owner Kim Roberts as a young charter fishing crew member in the 1980s. She and her husband, Blain, contribute a portion of the proceeds from each of their wines to different local charities. This wine benefits the Westport Charterboat Association. The winery’s tasting notes describe it as “an elegant, smooth and classic red fruit aria”. They suggest it is best enjoyed with a bowl of the homemade tomato basil soup in the winery’s Farm to Fork restaurant while listening to Aerosmith’s Don’t Want to Miss A Thing.

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

Launch spring at the winery’s unique sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, all located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. You will see why Westport Winery was named Best of the Northwest Wine Destination.


Friendship First at Oly Taproom

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:16pm



By Nikki McCoy

south sound trucksDowntown Olympia’s only bottle shop and taproom is officially open. The historic site, located at 312 Columbia Street, rests on urban waterfront property and now hosts Oly Taproom that boasts 14 taps and 600 bottles.

Co-owners Levi Hendricks and Sanrica Marquez strive to be the best in the business, but the act of dreaming together, stripping something to its bones, and then building it back up again – a feat only good friends could accomplish – are the roots of what Oly Taproom is about.

“It began with seeing others do this, and loving beer,” says Levi. “And then thinking, ‘We can do this!’ We began doing research and making a business plan and making sure we could do it and not affect our friendship, because we’re best friends. That’s the number one thing with this – we’re friends before we’re business partners.”

oly taproom

Sanrica Marquez and Levi Hendricks – BFFs and proud new owners of Oly Taproom.

“It’s rooted in deep respect and mutual admiration,” agrees Sanrica. “Things that make us different also make us great for each other.”

The bond began more than eight years ago when the two worked for Thurston County Sheriff’s Department.  Their friendship was cemented by a love of the outdoors, hard work and good beer.

Their concept of an on/off premise bottle shop and taproom is greatly inspired by a variety of locations throughout places like Portland, Seattle and Bellingham – one place, and one owner in particular, really encouraged Levi and Sanrica to reach for their goals.

“Levi and Sanrica asked to come up and ask me some questions, and I could tell they were ultra serious about this,” says Patrick McEvoy, owner of Elizabeth Station in Bellingham. “It was a ‘caution to the wind, win at all cost’ seriousness about making their dream happen. I was very impressed by their friendship and partnership.”

The friends were able to fulfill that dream from concept, to execution, in two years. Part of that dream was to have a huge selection of craft beers and ciders. In their first week, they went through 21 keg rotations. While you may not find the same beer on tap twice, Levi does take special requests and goes out of his way to find unique beer. (That being said, 99-cent cans of Olympia and Rainier will always be in the cooler).

oly taproom

Fourteen craft beers are on constant rotation. Or check the cooler for your favorite import.

The remodel itself took only five short months (probably the longest five months ever for Sanrica and Levi) but the transformation is remarkable. Once a space that housed a handful of offices, it’s now an open ceiling, multi-level space with beer coolers, seating and taps.

Wood trusses, lattice work in the rafters and wooden bar and benches give the place a cabin-like feel, but cool tones from corrugated tin, exposed concrete floors and grayish-blue paint that seems to reflect our Northwest skies, keeps the place modern.

The wood comes mostly from reclaimed demolition pieces and the corrugated tin that lines the bar is from a friend’s old barn. Oly Taproom strives for a Pacific Northwest feel, with the logo highlighting the Olympic Mountains as its backdrop – The Brothers Peaks as the centerpiece – the same view one can enjoy from just outside Oly Taproom’s door.

“We took all the things that we love from all the places that we love and we built our dream,” says Levi.

“We joke that we built it for ourselves – like a clubhouse,” laughs Sanrica, “And we hope that people come in and love it too.”

And that’s exactly what’s happening – the friends are seeing support from the community, with new people coming in every day.

“Whether you’re wearing a suit up on Capitol Hill or walking in with sleeved-out tattoos, we want everyone from all walks of life to be comfortable. When you see a 21-year-old kid talking to a 50-year-old businessman that just shows you that this type of social environment is for everybody, and it works.”

oly taproom

Oly Taproom will soon have outdoor seating. Here, friends gather inside and out on a recent Friday night.

One new customer, Kent Meneghin, was pleased he could find an imported selection in what he feels is a hop-heavy town.

“It’s great,” he says. “If you want an imported Belgian in a bottle, you can grab one from the case and drink it there.”

On a recent Friday night, plenty of others were checking out the place too. A trio of 30-somethings perused the beer cooler, and other patrons saddled up to the bar. Upstairs, laughter and clinking beer glasses could be heard, and the owners were both there, slinging beers and having a great time – just like good friends should.

Up next for Oly Taproom is outdoor seating, flight samplers, occasional live music, and partnerships with local restaurants. A monthly Brewers’ Night is also in the works, with the first one slated for Thursday, March 12, from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. featuring Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing Company.

Fun Fact: Levi has beer in his blood. His great aunt, Shirley Winkelman, once owned the 4th Ave Tavern.


HazoHouse Now Open Seven Days a Week

Thurston Talk - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 4:05pm



Submitted by Thurston County 

County residents and businesses can bring hazardous waste to Hawks Prairie facility.

County residents and businesses can bring hazardous waste to Hawks Prairie facility daily from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

HazoHouse is now open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The hazardous waste collection site, located at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center in Lacey, collects unused and unwanted household and business-generated hazardous waste. This service is free to Thurston County residents, and businesses pay a small fee to safely dispose of hazardous chemicals, cleaners, and other waste that can harm the environment if not handled properly.

“I’m really pleased to see this expansion of the HazoHouse service to seven days a week,” said Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, who also chairs the county’s Board of Health. “Daily collection not only helps protect the health of our environment, it also helps protect the health of our waste collection workers. This is just one more step Thurston County is taking to keep our drinking water and our environment safe and clean.”

Chemical products like household cleaners, bug and weed killers, auto care products, fluorescent bulbs, and oil-based paints and stains can be harmful to human health, wildlife, and our environment when not handled and disposed of properly. The goal of offering HazoHouse services seven days a week is to make it even more convenient for county residents and businesses to dispose of their household hazardous waste the right way, and avoid pollution from illegal dumping.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of residential customers at HazoHouse each year since 2012,” said Scott Schimelfenig, Manager of Thurston County Solid Waste, “It’s great to see that more people are bringing their household hazardous waste to HazoHouse and disposing of it the right way. We’re happy to offer expanded hours to meet the growing need for safe and convenient disposal of hazardous waste.”

HazoHouse is located at Thurston County’s Waste and Recovery Center at 2420 Hogum Bay Road NE in Lacey. To get to HazoHouse, use the entrance to the right of the main entrance. When you bring your items to HazoHouse, please stay in your car and wait for attendants to assist you. HazoHouse is an easy and free option for county residents to safely dispose of hazardous household products. Go to for a complete list of items accepted at HazoHouse.


Talk Radio

South Sound Arts - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 7:48am

Tacoma Little Theatre is doing a one-night-only reading of Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Mirah “24th St”

K Records - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 1:44am
The most courteous break-up song ever. Mirah, are you always this polite?  K Song of the Day: Mirah, “24th St” from her Changing Light [KLP253] album.   The Mirah album Changing Light [KLP253] is available now from the K mail Order Dept.    
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Did Washington State politics change been 1928 and 1930?

Olympia Time - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 5:50pm
Before the 1932 election, there was hardly a Democrat in the Washington state legislature. One Democrat in the senate in 1929, eight in the house (compared to 89 Republicans). Everything chanted in 1932 when the landslide went to the Democrats.

By 1935 (after the entire Senate has seen an election since 1932), the partisan split in the legislature was 37 to 9 Dems over Republicans in the senate and 91 to 8 in the house.

This isn't a new story in Washington State history, but one that bears investigating.

I'm mostly interested in this political flip because of my interest in Smith Troy. His political life began in the early 1930s. His brother's election as Thurston County prosecutor began with this Democratic wave.

One of the things I've read about the difference between 1928 and 1932 was voter turnout. Prior to 1932, Washington (as the story goes) was a politically ambivalent state. Its long history as a territory when leaders were appointed, not elected, led to a political culture in which most people stayed home. Our live and let live attitude extended to politics.

But, apparently, that all changed in 1932. People who did not vote in 1928 stormed the polls in 1932  in reaction to Republicans not handling the dire economic times well (both back east and at the state capitol),.

But, I'm not so sure its that, or if the vast majority of voters actually changed their votes to Democratic.

I'm not able to find some actual voter turnout data between 1928 and 1932, but I was able to figure out a raw voters per thousand number. They were 32.29 percent in 1928 and 38.81 percent in 1932. So, a bump of roughly 6.5 percent. I'd assume most of those 100,000 plus new voters went Democratic.

But, there also seems to be an erosion of traditional Republican voters between those four years. Republican votes declined by over 100,000 between the two elections, despite a modest increase in the state's population.

So, it was probably a combination of factors, including a wave a new voters. Anyway, just thinking out loud.

A New Conversation at Harlequin Productions

Thurston Talk - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 4:44pm



Submitted by Harlequin Productions

Harlequin Productions newest play, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, will feature a "Talkback" session following the March 6 performance.

Harlequin Productions newest play, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, will feature a “Talkback” session following the March 6 performance.

A long-standing but perhaps underutilized theater tradition, the Talkback, is making a come-back at Harlequin Productions.

Harlequin has offered a talkback session after its special student matinee performances since the late 90s. For select productions, Harlequin invites student groups to a special matinee performance followed by a 20-30 minute talkback session with the director and members of the cast. Over the years, these talkback sessions with students and teachers have proven to be highly thought provoking, fun, and inspirational for both the student audiences and the production teams.

“I’m always amazed by the insightful questions the students ask,” commented Managing Artistic Director Scot Whitney. “And the casts have fun discussing their characters and the artistic process. Over the years, I’ve had several actors tell me they love doing the student talkbacks.”

In the past Harlequin has also hosted talkbacks at some of their mainstage shows, although it’s been several years. Recently, the company decided to bring them back.

“Discussing the play in a group helps an audience member get even more out of the experience,” Artistic Director Linda Whitney explained. “Not only can an audience member ask questions to satisfy their curiosity, but they can also engage in a conversation that explores what the play made them feel.”

23rd floor harlequinHarlequin Productions will now host a post-show talkback with members of the cast and crew after the first Friday performance of every non-musical production. Audiences will get the chance to hear insights from the artistic team, ask burning questions, and discuss the play in a group setting. This is an added exclusive enrichment for first Friday audience members with no extra cost to the ticket price.

“I love the idea of talking with the audience after a performance,” said Harlequin actor and Development Manager Mark Alford. “It deepens the connection I have to the material. And I’d love it from the perspective of an audience member too…I always like a piece of art more after I study it.”

Scot Whitney is energized about Harlequin’s re-energized talkback program. “This is about making the theater-going experience even more stimulating. I can’t wait to see what people have to say.”

The next Harlequin talkback will follow the March 6 performance of Laughter on the 23rd Floor. Audiences can purchase tickets at for any first-Friday showing of a non-musical production and join the conversation.


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