Recent local blog posts

Serenity Looney – 8th Grader Ranks 4th in National Archery Tournament, Headed to World Competition

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 6:16am


Our family moved to the Steamboat Island peninsula in 2014. Serenity began attending Griffin School during seventh grade and then enrolled in the Archery After-School Program, although she had never held a bow and arrow before. She simply signed up for fun and to see if it was something she enjoyed. Almost immediately, Coach Paul Whitney

Thrifty Thurston Finds 20 Free Things To Do with Kids this Summer in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 6:00am


This summer, we’re packing your calendar full of free, family activities throughout Thurston County. From parks to tours and museums, you are sure to find something to keep you busy. We’ve put together this list of 20 different things you can do with your kids without spending a penny. Cool off at the East Bay Public

The Influential Women of Lacey

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 6:00am


Submitted by Shanna Stevenson for Lacey’s 50th Anniversary Committee Women have always been a part of Lacey history. From earliest times, Native American women and their families frequented the areas around present day Lacey. After Euro-American settlement, Native American women often bridged cultures. One of those women was Nancy Jim Parsons, a Nisqually woman who married American

Olympia’s Jaron Crawford Aims to Light Up the Stage at Carnegie Mellon

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/02/2016 - 6:00am


­­­­Olympia is known for having a unique theater scene, and soon, well-known local actor and musician Jaron Crawford will be taking his talent on the road.  He’ll be taking on life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at The Carnegie Mellon School of Drama.  Crawford, a senior at Olympia High School, grew up surrounded by the vibrant arts

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 5:29pm


Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton This sweet girl is Wilma. She is now one of the shelter volunteer’s favorites with her beautiful coat and happy and loving temperament. She is always ready to join the volunteers for hikes on the trails around the shelter. She walks well on leash but does let the volunteers know

Rochester Primary School’s Kassie MacColl Selected Classified School Employee of the Year

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 5:11pm


Submitted by Rochester School District “Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?” Using that catchy tune to teach a struggling student all the letters of the alphabet, and each of their sounds, was the brainchild of Kassie MacColl, an education assistant at Rochester Primary School (RPS). Kassie was chosen as the 2016 Capital

The South Sound YMCA Announces New Board Chair

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 2:30pm


Submitted by South Sound YMCA The South Sound YMCA is pleased to announce the election of Jon Jones, President and CEO of Washington Business Bank, as chairman of the nonprofit’s board of trustees. Jones will provide leadership to the 25-member board, which sets strategic direction and policy to guide the Y’s work of strengthening communities

Bike Ride on Steamboat Island July 16

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 1:17pm
Event:  Sat, 07/16/2016 - 10:00am - 5:00pm

Saturday, July 16, 2016
10 AM
Steamboat Peninsula, Olympia

The ride will start at the Wynne Tree Farm, a 530-acre working tree farm at the base of the Steamboat Peninsula. Riders will travel along the road that parallels this property, and will be able to see the beautiful, and vast, forest and fresh water areas that comprise this property, and that are permanently conserved by Capitol Land Trust and the Wynne family.

The short ride travels up the Peninsula and will stop at Frye Cove Park. Riders can take a short (approximately 1/3 mile) walk to the beach, and will enjoy the scenery while having a snack at the picnic tables. Riders will learn about conservation on the Steamboat Peninsula, especially about a hopeful addition to CLT’s conserved areas which is next to Frye Cove and is home to a half mile of Frye Cove Creek, the stream that drains to Frye Cove and that contains important salmon spawning habitat. After this stop, riders will ride back to the Wynne Tree Farm. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Thurston County’s Female Track Stars Bring Home Medals in WIAA Meet

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 6:05am


Tumwater High School’s Peyton Russell and Rainier High School’s Peyton Dungan successfully defended their titles, while Northwest Christian’s Heidi Sowers notched her first at the 2016 state high school girls’ track and field championships. Despite being slowed by injuries throughout her senior season, Russell won her third consecutive triple jump title at the 2A state

Tumwater Farmers Market Brings Smiles to Visitors

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 6:00am


The Tumwater Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. from May through September.  You can find the vendors at the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and Israel Road in Tumwater. Photo credits: Diane Waiste.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/31/2016 - 6:00am


Submitted by UW Medicine There is an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is certainly true when it comes to your health. Preventing disease and detecting disease early are important to living a longer and healthier life. You likely already know that getting enough sleep, eating

Memorial Day 2016

Janine's Little Hollywood - Mon, 05/30/2016 - 11:59pm

Above: Members of the Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club honor the addition of the name of Domenick Anthony Spinelli at the Washington State Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Capitol Campus in Olympia on Monday. Spinelli, of Oak Harbor, is listed missing in action.
By Janine Gates
Memorial Day remembrances were held throughout the South Sound on Monday.

At the Capitol Campus, Major General Thomas S. James, CG, 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, delivered the keynote address for an event at the Capitol Rotunda, sponsored by the Thurston County Veterans Council.
“….Many Americans today do not fully understand the meaning of Memorial Day. We must teach our children that Memorial Day is much more than when swimming pools open for the summer….When you see a service member, tell them you honor their service…Tell them simply, ‘Thanks,’” said James.
At another afternoon ceremony at the Washington State Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the name of Navy Commander Domenick Anthony Spinelli of Oak Harbor, Washington, was added to the wall of names, after a mix up in which his name was accidently placed on the memorial wall in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Spinelli served in World War II and Vietnam. He was listed missing in action after he and Lt. Larry Van Renselaar were shot down over North Vietnam on September 30, 1968.
According to the Homecoming II Project, with information from government sources, a Radio Hanoi broadcast on October 1, 1968 was received which alluded to the shooting down of an A-6 jet plane on September 30, 1968 over Nghe An Province. The fate of the crew was not mentioned.
Spinelli and Van Renselaar were not among the 591 American prisoners returned at the end of the war. Their families were told returning prisoners had no information about the men.
In 1987, Van Renselaar’s wife called Spinelli’s wife with information that the two men had in fact been captured and that Spinelli had been identified by a Navy pilot held prisoner in Hanoi. Mrs. Van Renselaar found, after reviewing the men’s files, that Spinelli and Van Renselaar had been included on a 1986 negotiation list.
In 1989, Vietnam returned the remains of Lt. Van Renselaar, which were positively identified as Van Renselaar in 1990.
According to the National League of POW/MIA Families, the number of United States personnel missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of May 10, is 1,621. Of that number, 38 are from Washington State.
According to live sighting statistics provided by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 55 unresolved first-hand reports are the focus of continued efforts: 48 concern Americans reported in a captive environment, and seven are non-captive sightings.
Fourteen of these sightings were reported in 1996 - 2005. One sighting was reported in 2006 - 2013.
If still alive, Spinelli would be 91 years old.

NW Art Now at Tacoma Art Museum

South Sound Arts - Mon, 05/30/2016 - 8:39am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, May 27, 2016NW Art Now at Tacoma Art Museum is a big, colorful, and cutting-edge“Orca Pod,” oil on canvas, by Karen Hackenberg, courtesy of the artistexhibition of new and recent works by 24 regional artists. Included are 47 works in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, craft-based work, as well as conceptual, performance, installation, and digital projects. One of the more cutting-edge and/or conceptual aspects to the show is that a number of pieces are displayed outside the galleries, some in places where you might not even see them unless you diligently search them out. For instance, Dylan Neuwirth’s “Just Be Your Selfie,” a neon installation that hung over Pioneer Square in Seattle, now hangs high over the entrance canopy at TAM; and Lou Watson’s “Section of the I-705, on a Wednesday, for Electric Piano” is an audio and visual projection of a musical score based on the frequency and colors of cars passing by as filmed from the museum, displayed on the wall where visitors enter from the garage.  Much of the show deals with issues of identity, social justice and the environment, and there are hard-hitting feminist and racial statements and works that explore media or combinations of media in innovative ways. The conceptual pieces are exactly what the name “conceptual” implies: art that may be more interesting to think about than to look at. And there are works that meld concept with image in beautiful and thought-provoking ways. Among these are two video projections by C. Davida Ingram, Seattle performance artist and winner of the 2014 Stranger Genius Award. Projected in alternating sequences are “The Deeps: Go Away from My Window” and “Procession” (a video installation with drone footage of four black women in hooded white gowns at the historical King Street station in Seattle). These, especially “Procession,” are among the more haunting videos I have ever seen."M is for Mak'Lak, W is for White" authentic NDN design, oil on linen by Ka'ila Faqrrell-Smith, courtesy of the artist.Ka’ ila Farrell-Smith has paintings in the show that combine Native American traditions with abstract-expressionist paint application. In a statement on her website at, she writes, “I search for my visual language: violent, beautiful, and complicated marks that express my contemporary Indigenous identity.” Hard-edge precision,layering, scratching and splattering are interwoven in shallow spatial movement in her paintings “M is for Mak’Lak, W is for White” and “Noo’a Eqksil’ini.”  Juventino Aranda’s three paintings in oil stick on wool mimic patterns of woven Native American blankets with floating bars of color reminiscent of Mark Rothko, which are homages to and, at the same time, lampoons of each. The texture and edge quality of the oil stick on wool is stunningly beautiful. There is an impressive number of Tacoma artists in the show including Oliver Doriss, Christopher Paul Jordan, Jeremy Mangan, Asia Tail, Jamie Marie Waelchli, and John Sutton of SuttonBeresCuller, who was born in Tacoma and today lives in Seattle. Doriss’s “Alpine Panel Study #1” is cast glass with silver botanical inclusions, a unique and richly textured forest in glass in the shape of Mt. Rainer. Mangan is represented with two hyper-realistic oil paintings of scenes that do not and probably never could exist in nature. “Even on the Most Still Days” depicts clever smoke writing over water, and “Pacific Northwest Desert Island” pictures a floating island with tall trees, a little lean-to and a campfire. The jewel-like painting of reflections in rippling water is stunningly beautiful.I could go on and on describing the rich variety of art in this show. TAM has done many juried shows of Northwest art. Perhaps my memory of previous shows is not to be trusted, but I’m pretty sure this is the best one yet.
NW Art Now, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Sept. 4, closed Memorial Day, $12-$14, Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave. Tacoma,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Hometown Property Management Opens Yelm Office

Thurston Talk - Mon, 05/30/2016 - 8:09am


Andrew Barkis has had his eye on Yelm for a long time. In fact, his Hometown Property Management business has had clients in the surrounding area for the past ten years. Although they were able to provide service through their main office, his team started exploring the possibility of opening a Yelm office in 2008.

River Ridge’s Josh Braverman, Black Hills High School Shine at 2A State Track Meet

Thurston Talk - Mon, 05/30/2016 - 7:41am


River Ridge’s Josh Braverman entered the 2A state track and field championships as the favorite in both the boys 110 and 300 hurdles. A rare defeat in the 110 hurdles, however, dashed the hopes of claiming dual titles. The junior does plan to dwell on the loss, but that can occur at a later date.

Thurston County Sports Writers Share Stories about Student Athletes

Thurston Talk - Mon, 05/30/2016 - 6:00am


Two ThurstonTalk sports writers capture the essence of a high school student athlete’s accomplishments. They actively seek out stories from coaches, athletic directors, administrators and teammates. In each article, Grant Clark and Gail Wood introduce the community to a student athlete or a small group of players that are making an impact. “We cover sports

Jenell Arnold Creates Chic and Bold Brows at Touché Beauty Bar

Thurston Talk - Sun, 05/29/2016 - 6:00am


Whether you like your brows arched and feathered or straight and bold, eyebrows are a distinctive facial feature. There are many ways in which to update brows including gels, pencils, and even tattooing. Yet there is also a very natural option that delivers semi-permanent outcome. Microblading is an advanced brow embroidery technique that results in

Chambers Prairie Grange Rezone Recommendation Passes Tumwater Planning Commission

Janine's Little Hollywood - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 11:55pm

Above:  Tom Schrader untangles the American flag on the historic former Chambers Prairie Grange No. 191 on the corner of Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard in Tumwater on Saturday afternoon. 
By Janine
“Everyone honks and wants to talk about the Grange! When I first put up the flag, I was coming down the ladder and didn't even get to the bottom rung. A guy who looked about 35 years old was standing there. He had stopped his car in the middle of the right lane, jumped out, had his hand out, and just said, ‘Thank you - I'm Chuck - really, thank you!’ I said thanks, and before I could say anything else, he was off to his car. Pretty cool….” said Tom Schrader, owner of the Chambers Prairie Grange.
Every day, tens of thousands of eyes are on the property at 1301 Yelm Highway SE. 

The Grange, built in 1910, sits on the somewhat confusing crossroads to and from the cities of Tumwater and Olympia.
Schrader is full of stories told by well-wishers who thank him for buying the property. Supporters often come in the form of visitors walking by, enthusiastic honking from drivers, happy shouts, and hand waving as he works on the property.

Saturday afternoon was no different. Cars honked in continuous, apparent appreciation
as Little Hollywood met Schrader at the property. 

The mossy covered roof is noticeably scraped clean and will soon be replaced with cedar shakes.
The inside is now cleaned out on both floors, the old heat systems and exposed ducts have been removed, new electrical service panels have been installed, a natural gas line and meter has been installed by Puget Sound Energy, remnants of a previously cut down old maple tree and brush have been removed, and architectural and engineering remodel plans have been completed and submitted to the city. 
Meetings with The Farm Homeowners Association, which is adjacent to the property, are ongoing.Above: Electrical work by Lassen Electric and tree removal was underway in December 2015 at the Chambers Prairie Grange.
Schrader and his wife Tiffany purchased the building in October 2015 with the intention of restoring it and converting it into a neighborhood coffee and sandwich shop.

In order to make that vision happen, the parcel needs to be rezoned. The Tumwater Planning Commission held a public hearing at Tumwater City Hall on Tuesday evening, then passed a site specific rezone recommendation. The recommendation now goes to the Tumwater City Council.
Once in an agricultural area, the Grange is now surrounded by a tangle of different zoning categories.
City staff recommended that the Planning Commission pass the rezone from Single Family Low Density Residential to a category called Community Service, on the basis that the rezone was consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan goals.
The room was packed with those wishing to speak at the hearing, most of whom spoke in support of the rezone.
The board of the 95 lot subdivision called The Farm took a neutral position, saying that there is general agreement that it would be in the neighborhood’s best interest for the property to be improved and maintained.
Several residents spoke in opposition to the rezone on the basis of increased traffic, noise, and light concerns. Some did not understand or see the need for a rezone.
City staff said that the current zoning allows up to six single family lots on that parcel and the rezone is below the required threshold for a full traffic impact analysis.
Schrader addressed neighbor concerns in detail and offered to install traffic calming devices within The Farm. He is also open to negotiating specific deed restrictions for behaviors on the property.  He has already agreed to not be open past 10 p.m. on any day, and not past 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Schrader has been open about the fact that he intends to sell the property. It is currently listed for sale, with conditions, for $450,000. A prospective buyer must keep the Grange and work in cooperation with The Farm to keep it in community use. He says he is in conversation with several local businesses who have expressed interest in the property.
“We’re not in the bistro business, or in the historic preservation business….We wanted to keep the Grange, restore it historically, look around, and see that this was great that this was done. It’s going to be something you can be proud of ….It will be a neighborhood bistro. It won’t be a pool hall with fight nights,” Schrader told the planning commissioners at the hearing.
“The zoning change we are requesting is CS, Community Service, which would allow us to keep the Grange, but more importantly, limit how commercial the site could be developed. The CS zoning would actually protect against the property becoming a gas station, or 7-11 minimart, or a five story commercial building….businesses we don’t want at this site, and in this neighborhood,” said Schrader.
A Community Service zone allows at least 22 permitted uses, including general offices, educational institutions and services, a post office or parcel delivery facility, a museum, library, or art gallery, a child care center, an adult family home, a community garden or a farmers market.
Schrader and his wife are former residents of The Farm and Holiday Hills on Ward Lake and began speaking with neighbors at The Farm even before they purchased the property.
The Schrader's knew that a similar application was filed in 2012 by the Washington State Grange for the parcel to be rezoned to mixed use. That group did not speak with neighbors ahead of time, resulting in a poor relationship between the Grange and the neighbors.
“I want to win not for us, but for the Grange and the property…we’re deeply rooted to that corner,” said Schrader.
“…We are aware of possible unsafe traffic through a residential community. With our young kids, as with all parents, safety was always a concern for us…but remember, even without the rezone approval, the site will be developed, and traffic mitigation measures would still need to be reviewed….The new CS Community Service zoning helps keep the historic Grange, and for a use that the Tumwater community will enjoy for decades to come.”
The Planning Commission was unanimous in its recommendation to rezone the Grange parcel.
Commission chair Deborah Reynolds called Schrader's offer to provide traffic calming devices in the subdivision “generous.”  
Commissioner Nancy Stevenson spoke in support of the rezone, citing the historic value of the Grange, and the unique sense of place it provides the neighborhood.
Commissioner Michael Althauser said he appreciated Schrader’s intentionality and due diligence in meeting with members of The Farm subdivision to address their concerns.
“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve slowly watched it decay over time. It will be a great community center and entrance to Tumwater,” he said.
“It’s the creation of a third place to gather. It would be primarily for people who live nearby. Each neighborhood should have a non-motorized (way to get to a) place to gather,” agreed Commissioner Joel Hansen.
Asked later about the Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard intersection, and whether a roundabout is in its future, Jay Eaton, City of Tumwater director of public works, said the intersection is currently operating at an acceptable level of service. 
“The projections out to 2040 show that, at some point, the intersection level of service will fall below desirable.  Improvements to the intersection could include expansion of the intersection to include a second westbound left turn on to Henderson Boulevard or it could include the construction of a roundabout.  Either option would likely provide an acceptable solution,” said Eaton.
Eaton said about 30,000 vehicles per day use the intersection. A little over 3,100 vehicles use the intersection in the afternoon peak hour. 
Indeed, the area is busy. Several pedestrians walked past the Grange property on their way to the Briggs YMCA and Kettle Park to walk their dogs.

Earlier this week, a woman driving by the property in a motorized wheelchair inquired what was going on with the property. After a thorough explanation by Little Hollywood, the woman said she was supportive of the project and would be first in line for a cup of coffee. 

Little Hollywood first reported in November 2015 that the Schrader's had bought the Grange. For photos and the story, go to Little Hollywood,, and type key words into the search button.

Above: A vintage songbook found in the Grange reminds us all to have fun. (Click on image to enlarge and sing along!)

Volunteers are the Heartbeat of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

Thurston Talk - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 6:00am


When you attend a live theater performance there is typically some advanced planning involved, including securing the tickets, allowing time to park, and possibly having a meal beforehand. Maybe you’ve planned a special outfit for a night on the town? Your preparations are nothing compared to the organization and planning it takes for the venue

With Spring-Green, Lime Benefits More Than Just Your Margarita

Thurston Talk - Sat, 05/28/2016 - 6:00am


The poet Wordsworth lovingly spoke of ‘the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower.’ But such an idyllic setting often requires diligent yard maintenance. This is where Spring-Green Lawn Care’s safe and easy annual lime treatments come in. Studies show that our region’s lawns are prone to “acid conditions, common west of

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