Recent local blog posts

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

ART OPENING: No Easter For Jim

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 9:49am

Please join us for the last visual art show that Northern will be offering (for the time being). Northern (Olympia All Ages Project) will be continuing operations for musical preformances at the Midnight Sun in future months, but the gallery spaces as we know it will be closing due to the this move. I'm very excited for this last show and feel like we couldn't have chosen a better artist to help us celibrate this change:

Alex Coxen Solo Exhibit

DECEMBER 7th, 7pm, free to the public. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Steamboat Christmas Caroling @ the Grange! Saturday, December 13

Griffin Neighborhood - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 9:42am

Come join the Steamboat Community for our 3rd Annual Old Fashioned Christmas Caroling in the Grange.
December 13th at 2:00 to 4:00 PM
Along with the Griffin Fire Department's Santa Sleigh!
Hosted by Restoration Home - Ingrid Olszewsky, Catherine Haag, and Heidi Sheffels.
2:00 Doors Open - Visit Santa's Sleigh at the Fire Department3:00 Candlelight Christmas Singing inside the Grange
Hot cider, hot chocolate, cookies and light appetizers.
Any donations will go to our Community Outreach Program which will help local families in need this Christmas season.
We look forward to seeing you!    

Jacknut Apparel: “Real, Raw, Fresh” Designs and Locally Made Custom Apparel

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 6:48am



jacknut apparel

Christian Burgess is the creative mastermind behind Olympia’s Jacknut Apparel.

Entrepreneurs know a good idea when they see one. They recognize the quality of a product or service, its marketability, and its one-of-a-kind consumer appeal. Some entrepreneurs are academically or professionally trained in this field and make careers out of building businesses, while other entrepreneurs stumble upon a good business idea almost by accident. The latter is what happened to Aberdeen-born artist Christian Burgess.

From the time he was in high school, Christian Burgess was developing a business and a brand – he just didn’t know it. The name for his business came to him as a teenager in high school when he called his wrestling coach a “jacknut.” His coach laughed it off, but the word stuck with Burgess, and he started using it in conversation with his friends. After graduating from high school, Burgess found himself as an art student at the Art Institute of Seattle. While enrolled in the Institute’s Industrial Design program, Burgess drew a bird design which would later become the logo for his company.

Burgess asked a friend of his who had experience printing t-shirts if he would be willing to print Burgess’ bird design with the word “jacknut” on a few shirts he planned to gift to some friends and family. People started asking Burgess if he was selling the shirts. He started making more and Jacknut Apparel was born.

jacknut apparel

In addition to custom orders, Jacknut features unique apparel at their Olympia store located on Mottman Road, across from South Puget Sound Community College.

After operating in Grays Harbor for nine years, Jacknut Apparel recently celebrated its one-year anniversary at its new Olympia location across from South Puget Sound Community College on Mottman Road. “It’s been a good year,” Burgess says, excited about the potential available in Olympia and the surrounding South Sound community. “It’s more our market here,” he says. With a diverse community, abundance of college students, and countless sports teams, Burgess says opportunities abound on both the apparel and custom side of Jacknut.

“We’re kind of like two businesses,” explains Burgess. “Jacknut Apparel is our clothing brand. We design and print all of that in house. Then we do custom stuff for baseball teams, football team, events like races – or for anyone who just wants some clothing screen printed or embroidered.” In addition to their custom work and unique line of Jacknut tees, hoodies and more, Jacknut is also a local outfitter for blue and green 12th man gear – available online, in-store, and at 26 Just Sports retailers across Washington State.

Jacknut Apparel has been busy building their brand for nearly a decade and Burgess says he’s excited to now be a part of the Olympia market. But, despite Jacknut’s humble hometown beginnings, this trendy apparel company is no stranger to national recognition. Several years ago Jacknut was nationally recognized for the shirts they created for the annual Loggers Playday event in Hoquiam. The shirt sales, proceeds of which benefitted local youth programs, were higher in this one-year than all past year’s combined.

jacknut apparel

Jacknut Apparel sponsors two Seafair hydroplanes.

“We’ve been taking steps each year and I feel like the company has grown surprisingly considering it started as kind of an accident,” explains Burgess. “I’m just going along with the ride and having fun.”

This type of mindset it what keeps Jacknut Apparel’s clothing fresh and unique. Burgess is passionate about creating apparel that he cares about, which is where many of Jacknut’s series come from. Currently on display online and in the store, patrons can peruse from the “Rock 27” and “Icons” series. Rock 27 is a series of four shirts commemorating famous musicians, all of which died at the age of 27. The other series, Icons, showcases Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Ghandi. “Sometimes we just do things that we really have a passion for,” says Burgess.

But clothing isn’t the only thing Burgess is passionate about. Wanting to give back to the communities that have supported him, Burgess and Jacknut sponsor several race cars and two Seafair hydroplanes. “We had a lot to give back and we like to do that,” explains Burgess.

jacknut apparel

Cheer on the Seahawks this season decked out in unique 12th man apparel created by Jacknut.

Burgess invites the community to come into Jacknut Apparel and peruse their selection in person, or visit their online store to see what’s in stock. Anyone in search of custom made apparel for sports teams, clubs, or special events, can also stop by Jacknut to put in a custom order – no minimum purchase necessary. You can also follow Jacknut on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the latest on special promotions.

Jacknut Apparel

2320 Mottman Road SW #102

Olympia, WA 98512



City of Olympia Partners with JBLM to Demolish Isthmus Building 505

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 6:38am



By Cara Bertozzi

chehalis sheet metalLiving in Olympia, there is evidence everywhere of the impact that the waters of the South Puget Sound have on shaping the land and how we use it. The isthmus of downtown Olympia serves as a poignant example of this dynamic interplay. A connector between the east and west sides of Olympia, the isthmus is bound on the north by the southern reaches of Budd Bay inlet and on the south by Capitol Lake, over which the imposing Capitol campus is situated with unfettered views of the Sound.

isthmus building demolition

An aerial photo from 1971 shows Building 505 across from the Bayview Thriftway and the dock. Photo credit: Washington State Archives

Historical photographs demonstrate how many changes this little strip of land has undergone, as the city has widened the isthmus, allowed building development, and created parks and trails for all to enjoy. The land has been used as a wharf, lumber yard and mill, boat building site, and for oyster packing and restaurants.

In the 1950s, Thurston County purchased and developed a parcel of the isthmus. Building 529, a two-story 14,000 square foot building, was built first and was used by the Health Department for decades. The single-story Thurston County Housing Building, Building 505, was built in 1968 and was later expanded to approximately 7,000 square feet. The County relocated their operations in the 1980s, and both buildings have stood essentially vacant since then.

A new development proposal came before the City Council in 2013.  After much debate, the City decided the best course of action was to purchase the two vacant sites, with a vision to potentially expand Olympia’s public park space. The first step in this long-term urban renewal project is to remove the existing condemned structures.

Residents will be happy to know that a mutually beneficial demolition agreement has been reached for Building 505 between the City of Olympia and components of the 555th Engineering brigade at JBLM. In an all-hands-on-deck feat of collaboration, Brett Bures, the City of Olympia’s Department of Public Works demo project manager, members of the Olympia City Council, and representatives from JBLM have forged a historical partnership that provides a unique training opportunity for local soldiers while saving the city the expense of hiring a private contractor.

isthmus building demolition

A recent photo of Building 505 shows its unusable condition. Photo credit: City of Olympia

The Army has been in an expeditionary phase for more than a decade. Most of their structures are built in austere international locations as temporary additions to the landscape. When it is time to close down a camp in a combat environment, the disassembly of crude buildings in rural environments is performed quickly. However, as our forces transition to a peacetime Army, it is critical to reengage other skill sets and reconnect with communities near bases.

The deconstruction of a building that has stood for 46 years in an urban environment presents a compelling challenge for the Army.  It also serves as a great way to beautify a heavily used area. In addition, source separation of the original materials will be conducted, with a goal to recycle as much as possible.  The target is 60%.

The JBLM construction engineers are excited for the opportunity to work in the community and engage the civilian sector. Not only is it a chance to contribute to a positive local development project, but it is also a chance to validate their processes by working with outside units and gaining exposure to civilian regulations. All involved parties believe this project will strengthen the relationship between the military base and the City of Olympia, with everyone learning and improving their methods in the course of doing business.

isthmus building demolition

Civilian and military stakeholders have collaborated to plan the demolition of Building 505 on the isthmus. Photo credit: City of Olympia

Notably, the Engineering Brigade tasked with this project has quite a few factors to consider in their coordination of multiple variables. The critical path method was used to establish a plan and predict the completion of the project, and a GANTT chart was created that outlines the final timeline. Resources have to be pulled in. Convoys must be organized to safely transport soldiers and equipment, and site safety is also an important factor to plan for. These tasks are great opportunities to validate the unit’s training programs.

Contracted asbestos crews have already completed their cleanup of the site, and the City of Olympia is providing much of the support measures needed for this project., including renting a scissor lift and heavy equipment like an excavator, wheelbarrows, security fencing and lighting, and portable toilets. JBLM is providing the labor for the deconstruction, an assortment of handheld tools such as crowbars and saws, and 10 vehicles, including seven 10-ton dump trucks that will be used to haul the exterior concrete to a concrete recycling facility in Tumwater.

The demolition will take place in two phases. From December 1 – 19, the interior of Building 505 will be deconstructed by hand. The stair banisters will be saved to donate to Habitat for Humanity, and the untreated wood, wiring, air conditioning units, piping and conduits will also be sorted for recycling. In the second stage, the support structures and concrete exterior will be dismantled using heavy equipment. It is expected that this phase will be conducted for about one month, beginning on January 5.

As Building 505 comes down, residents can continue to stroll the waterfront trails at Heritage Park and savor our magnificent location on the water.


Restyling Event at Kluh Jewelers

Thurston Talk - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 6:26am



Submitted by L. Jeanette Strole Parks for Kluh Jewelers

Steve Hawkins Kluh Jewelers

Steve Hawkins, Kluh Jewelers on-site goldsmith, can create nearly anything for your new or re-styled piece.

Most everyone owns a few items of jewelry that look dated, worn, or perhaps those inherited pieces that are sentimental but not quite to your liking. A perfect solution to make better use of those items is to take them to the restyling event at Kluh Jewelers on December 5 and 6.

Within the realm of possibilities, options include the more basic concepts like resetting gems from old rings into new mountings, or changing the metal to a more modern finish like palladium, white gold, or platinum, instead of yellow gold. But if you really want to get creative, you could take grandpas old tie-tack and create a pendant or ring out of it, or maybe put additional birthstone gems on your wedding ring to represent your children’s births. Perhaps you want to turn a necklace into a bracelet by shortening the chain, or resetting a brooch. If the same type of chain is available, you can also sometimes lengthen a necklace. Any gold that is removed can also be traded in. Maybe this is an opportunity to modernize and pass down a family heirloom to a recent high school or college graduate for Christmas or Hanukah. And don’t forget to use this reminder to check the prongs on your gems to make sure you are not in danger of losing your precious stones.

Given that there are so many options to mull over, and hundreds of available items to choose from in the store, such as new pendants or ring settings, it makes the most sense to look over the options in the store and get some input from the pros. While some of the restyling options require off-site work in Seattle, there is also an in-house goldsmith that will do repairs and adjustments on several types of restyling projects. Kluh Jewelers can also assist you with custom CAD drawings and wax models to show you what the final product will look like.

While custom-design is available year round, the featured jewelery designer will be in the store for two days straight to answer questions and create solutions to your jewelry dilemmas on site. He can look at the gems and settings that you have and help you come up with ways to revive and revitalize your pieces.

The Restyling Event at Kluh Jewelers is a perfect way to kick off the holiday shopping. So set yourself a reminder to dig through your jewelry box or sock drawer for those forgotten, dormant pieces and come down for some personal consultation. The biggest question you will be left with is how many items you want to have restyled.






Ebenezer Howard, 3 Magnets and the bad bad City Beautiful

Olympia Time - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 6:04am
Just below the surface of the best new place in Olympia, the 3 Magnets Brewpub, is a fascinating way to look at cities and communities.

One of the 3 Magnets owners vaguely references the ideas of Howard here:
“Three Magnets is based on a 115-year-old book called Garden Cities of To-morrow by Ebenezer Howard,” explains Sara. ”Basically, Ebenezer considered himself an inventor of the perfect community. He thought he could take the best of both rural and urban living and blend them into a perfect town-country. When reading this, everything called out to us as Olympia, either what we are or what we strive to be.”So, to delve more specifically into the imagery, the three magnets are "Town," "Country," and "Town Country."

It proposed the creation of new suburban towns of limited size, planned in advance, and surrounded by a permanent belt of agricultural land. These Garden cities were used as the model for many suburbs. Howard believed that such Garden Cities were the perfect blend of city and nature.Howard believed that a new civilisation could be found by marrying the town and the country.The towns would be largely independent, managed by the citizens who had an economic interest in them, and financed by ground rents on the Georgist model. The land on which they were to be built was to be owned by a group of trustees and leased to the citizens.So, in at least not in an intentional way, this sounds a lot like what people in Olympia would like Olympia to be, post Growth Management Act. Lots of rural space around us for small scale agriculture, vibrant urban community on a human scale.

So, if you're following me so far, this sounds pretty typical. Nothing special here, just a reference back to a nice idea that we might draw from.

But, then there's the City Beautiful Movement. If you've listened for more than five minutes about any discussion about Capitol Lake or the so-called isthmus, you're familiar with this term. I think its a bunch of bunk myself. It was a short lived, classist and based on importing old world esthetics and pasting them onto North American cities. Just dumb.

Both the Garden City (Howards') and the City Beautiful movement came along at the same point in history, when people were facing the pressures of dealing with industrialization and urbanization:

While the Garden City movement shaped a design aesthetic and pattern for satellite towns, the City Beautiful movement was aimed at restructuring American downtowns around a coordinated ideology and strategy. Just prior to the 20th century, America was becoming an international economic power, and its cities were in need of an urban form indicative of the new national identity. America's cities were fraught with problems, and the City Beautiful movement helped provide a physical form for the previously established Public Health Movement. The City Beautiful movement envisioned the city as an entire work of architecture; its practitioners insisted that all construction conform to a singular vision. They believed that cities had failed and that a new expression of values would inspire good government and public stewardship....

He envisioned Garden Cities as compact, transit-oriented communities surrounded by greenbelts of natural landscape; they were to contain all the pieces of a town, integrating residential, commercial, industrial, landscape and agricultural uses. Howard authored the first radial city plan, which is a useful diagram for city planning even today. Garden City architectural styles were diverse but inspired by expressive, picturesque and romantic designs appropriate to natural settings.We're not facing the same pressures that urban leaders in the 1890s faced. Instead of trying to make urban areas livable because of pressure from industrialization and population growth, we're trying to make them vibrant to fight against suburbanization. Thurston County is already one of the most sprawled counties in the country. We want people to be in downtown Olympia because it is a nice place to be.

And, it seems like the diversity offered in the Garden City ideal, rather than the monolith of the City Beautiful Movement, offers a much better answer. It speaks to making the country productive while also making our city livable.

Shivas Tour Europe, Right Now!

K Records - Mon, 12/01/2014 - 12:18am
The Shivas blast off to Europe last week, touring around the continent in celebration of their new K album You Know What to Do [KLP252], released mere moments ago. More detailed information about the Shivas tour is available on the K SHOWS page. The Shivas will be back eventually. In the meantime You Know What […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The Thanksgiving Salamander Hunt

Bees, Birds & Butterflies - Sun, 11/30/2014 - 6:33pm
    It is the day after our American Thanksgiving.  We are stuffed full of roast turkey and pumpkin pie.  We are sedentary, groaning from too much rich food and disinclined to leave the warm comfort of our couches,  but I have a longstanding tradition:  I make a point of getting out somewhere for a nature walk during this weekend, no matter how bad the weather.  So I grabbed a friend and we went on the great salamander hunt.
     We both have a burning ambition to see a mass amphibian migration.  In the Pacific Northwest the salamanders, newts and frogs march to the breeding ponds in spring and then march back into the upland woods to find a safe quiet place to hole up for the winter.  They often do these marches in large groups and we would love to see this.  Over the last couple of years, we seemed to have missed these moves:  they happen in unpredictable surges in the dead of a wet winter night so that’s not a surprise.  Part of catching these migrations in the act is to have a deeper understanding of the animals themselves.  So today’s field trip was in the nature of a scouting expedition to some possible breeding pond sites.  Long-toed salamanders, Northwestern Salamanders and Rough-skinned Newts were on our search menu, since they often time their return to the breeding ponds in early November into December.
Northwestern Salamander, sadly flattened    Our first site showed no signs of amphibians and I was pretty disappointed. But then we moved on to another site in our region which is known to be a rich area for amphibians.  It is a county road that cuts through some high quality Douglas fir woods.  On one side are the woods, but on the other side are a series of shallow ponds.  The amphibians cross the road to get to the pond. On this road, there is little traffic and most make it across.  Though there are occasional fatalities:  here is the remains of a Northwestern Salamander, who met its doom under the tire of a car.  Far too many of our migrating amphibians are meeting this fate;  in Thurston county there is a real effort to identify the high-risk crossing areas and look at strategies for reducing this mortality. 
Rough skinned Newt in an alert, partially defensive posture    As we drove along we saw more car-flattened remains.  Then suddenly I hollered STOP STOP STOP!!!!!  A salamander was lurching across the road.  When it saw us (or felt the vibration of the car) it stiffened its forearms and raised its head and tail in defensive posture.  That stance tipped me off to a salamander rather than a stick or leaf in the road.  This was a rough-skinned newt.  
     There was a mad scramble to park the car, grab cameras and boots and get to the critter before it made it across the road and into impenetrable shrubs.  Slipping and sliding on the wet grassy verge, we raced towards the newt. 
     The newt stayed where it was, still in defensive posture.  Rough skinned newts are poisonous to most other animals; only garter snakes seem to eat them with impunity.  Part of this defensive posture may be letting the bright orange underside be visible, which is a warning coloration to predators:  (if you eat me we’ll both be sorry).
   Checking the newt for gender     We gently moved the critter on to its back:  this was to check for gender.  In the breeding season the males have a swollen vent or anus at the base of the tail, just below the back legs.  The males also develop special dark friction pads on the bottoms of their feet, to allow for a better grip during a top-mounted copulation.  This animal has neither, so is probably a female.  Except it’s November and the breeding season has yet to begin.  So who knows?
     There are also adaptations it makes for living in the drier woods in winter versus the breeding ponds in spring.  In winter, its skin is tough, even warty and the tail is round.  For the breeding season it spends most of its life in water, so the skin loses its wartiness and the tail flattens out into a blade suitable for navigating in ponds.  This animal is still pretty warty on top so may just now be making its first move to the breeding pond. 
Rough skinned newt in pond     We began prowling around the ponded waters on either side of the road.  Here we found a large rough skinned newt that had probably been living in water for a while:  its skin is fairly smooth on top and its tail forms a narrow blade for swimming.  In these ponds we found several more salamanders.
     We trotted up and down the road, from pond to pond, exploring all the salamander sign.  Though it is late November, cold and rainy and dark, there are still plenty of signs of life.   In the midst of winter, these animals are getting ready for the season to come.  It gives us great hope:  the wheel of the year is turning and sometime soon spring will be on its way. Yet another good reason for Thanksgiving…
Resources:• Photos by Nancy Partlow, Glen Buschmann   Some YouTube videos we made of this field trip:      Rough-skinned Newt Crossing Road      Rough-skinned Newt in Pond•  Olympia Stream Team newsletter:    For local folks, Stream team will be offering a workshop on amphibians on Saturday Feb. 7, 2015•  Amphibians of the Pacific NW by Lawrence Jones, William Leonard and Deanna Olson•  Wikipedia - Rough-skinned Newt (Read the section Toxicity, which explains the RSN's neurotoxin and garter snakes' resistance to it.)

Freshwater amphibian pond near Olympia, WA
Categories: Local Environment

Why Olympia Small Business Owners Choose to Shop Local

Thurston Talk - Sat, 11/29/2014 - 7:10am



By Kate Scriven

chehalis sheet metalThe holiday season is upon us.  During this time of year, we hear a lot about “Shop Local – Buy Local – Be Local.”   Supporting small business owners not only creates a stronger economy, but creates community.  A dollar spent at a local business instead of a “big box” store goes beyond helping one individual store.  It creates connection between neighbors and bolsters our local economy.

shop local olympia

Stroll through Olympia to support local small business owners.

The American Independent Business Alliance sites that “independent retailers return [to the local economy] more than three times as much money per dollar in sales than chain competitors.”  This infusion into our community creates jobs, fills storefronts, and brings shoppers to independent retail cores.  The impact of local dollars divides into three categories:

  • Direct Impact – the money spent by small businesses to run their operations
  • Indirect Impact – the re-circulating of dollars local businesses spend at other local businesses
  • Induced Impact – the additional spending by business owners and employees when they spend their income locally
    • Source: The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Businesses,

Shopping locally generates all of these impacts.  I spoke with four local business owners about why they choose to shop locally and their answers show not only their commitment to fellow business owners, but their understanding that supporting one another builds community.

Amy Evans – Bon Lemon

spruce bon lemon

Amy Evans (right) operates Bon Lemon in the same space with her sister, Annie Johns, who runs Spruce Skin & Wax Shoppe.

“I shop locally, because I know what a difference it makes when someone supports my shop.  It means I can have a delicious lunch, grab a latte, or pick up a cute new dress. I want Christian at Iron Rabbit, Deborah at Jinjor, Cyndi at The Filling Station, or any of my local business owner friends to be able to do the same.”

Evans connects dollars spent in her West Olympia boutique with her ability to shop at other local merchants.  Without dollars coming in, they cannot go out.

“Additionally, as a philanthropist,” Evans continues, “I know local businesses are the ones at our charity auctions and the first to raise their hand to donate to our non-profits.  This commitment furthers my resolve to spend my dollars locally.”

Many of us relate, having been delighted when a local business owner simply hands over a gift certificate, pair of earrings, or pound of coffee with a smile when we ask for a donation to benefit an important cause.

“Sometimes, I would rather shop online in bed at ten at night,” admits Evans. “But then I think about a town with empty storefronts and a community without entrepreneurs. I shop local, because it makes a difference, and I like things a little different.”

Lara Anderson – Red Door Interiors

Lara Anderson (left) and Kathy Lathrop stand by their display of RD Shady inside Red Door Olympia.

Lara Anderson (left) and Kathy Lathrop stand by their display of RD Shady inside Red Door Olympia.

Lara Anderson is the creative mind behind Red Door Interiors unique and well-priced home décor and accessories.  The shop, like many, has felt the economic pinch of this year. “In March, I wasn’t sure if Red Door was going to be able to keep our doors open. We, along with many other downtown businesses were seeing big decreases in sales. Instead of locking the door and giving up, I got informed and engaged.”

By working together with other small business owners, supporting each other, Red Door Interiors is doing well as they head into the holidays thanks to a commitment by the community, and other business owners, to shop local.

“Why do I shop downtown? First, I love the aesthetic of our downtown. The beautiful old buildings that each tell a story about our city’s history. I love the subtle bay breeze that sends hints of our beautiful waterfront that hugs our unique downtown,” says Anderson.

“When I am downtown, I feel a sense of community pride because I know that the money I spend will go directly into this beautiful city,” she continues.  ”Finally, I shop downtown because I find the most unique items from jewelry and fragrances to furniture and art. These items are often one of a kind and I know that the shop merchants tirelessly hunt for unique products that you can’t pick up at the mall or at big box stores.”

Christian Skillings – Iron Rabbit Restaurant

dicks beer

Iron Rabbit owner, Christian Skillings, is committed to sourcing ingredients locally including craft beer.

Shopping local isn’t confined to retail.  Iron Rabbit Restaurant is an example of a locally owned eatery supporting local food growers, and retailers, too.  Owner Christian Skillings knows that there is an essence in something crafted and sold locally that you don’t get elsewhere.

“When it comes to shopping locally, I know it’s often simple. Locally grown, prepared, made, constructed, served, owned – it just tastes better.  It’s made by people who get our community, listen to our community, and engage in our community,” explains Skillings.  ”Olympia is a beautiful, diverse place with so much passion and strength in its abundance of perspectives. It is these intangibles, our eclectic blend, that makes up the heart of where we are and who we are, from our youngest children to our elders. Local gets it more, and I always want the unique perspective – the story, the history, the reasons why something is made.”

Trisha Claridge – Woodshed Furniture

After 30 years in business locally, the Claridge family, and current owner Trisha Claridge, understand the impact of shopping locally on the greater community.  In fact, they have fostered strong partnerships with other local shops, building a network of support and customer referral.

“We like to shop at local, family owned businesses like ours,” shares Claridge.  “We know how hard the owners work and want to support them any way we can.  You can always count on great customer service and their knowledge of what they sell is excellent.  I know when I shop in a locally-owned store I’ll get the best information and knowledge about what I want, not just what they are trying to sell that week.”

Her commitment is demonstrated with a long-standing partnership with Desco Audio and Video.  “We refer customers purchasing entertainment furniture to them and they likewise send new TV or stereo buyers to us to complete their media rooms.  It’s a partnership that enriches both our businesses and puts our dollars back into a local family.”

“Buy Local” may be a slogan seen on bumper stickers and t-shirts.  But to these local business owners, supporting each other is simply part of the who they are and what their businesses stand for.

Support your local small businesses throughout the year.


12 Small Businesses Featured Today on ThurstonTalk

Thurston Talk - Sat, 11/29/2014 - 6:40am



Today we celebrate small business.  We loaded 12 articles about outstanding local businesses on our social media page.  Whether you share your hard-earned dollars with one of these shops this holiday season or pick a different one, we applaud you for shopping small.  Because at ThurstonTalk, we believe in community and our community is full of fantastic small businesses that deserve our attention.  Cheers!

When you find a great gift, share it with us on social media using #shopsmalloly.  Know a small business that you think is worthy of a profile, drop us a note at


Neighborhood Notes: Cetak Family Christmas Tree Farm Creates Holiday Traditions

Thurston Talk - Sat, 11/29/2014 - 6:21am



By Melanie Kallas Ricklefs

van dorm sponsorI step out of the car at the Cetak Family Christmas Tree Farm and am enveloped by the serenity that always accompanies me in the forest.  The Cetak family owns over 40 acres of forestland and their 4-acre tree farm sits in the middle of the property along with their farm house.  As I walk through the tree farm, beautifully tended trees surround me, each one waiting to become part of the family for the holidays.

The Cetak family began planting their Christmas trees in 2004.  Now the trees range in size from 10 feet tall to newly planted seedlings.  This is the second season that they have been open to the public for the U-cut family experience.  Most of their customers last year were families that Jolene Cetak knows from Griffin School, where she has worked for the past 18 years.  She enjoys seeing current and previous students come to build family traditions on their farm, and would love to provide the same experience for your family this year.

olympia christmas tree

Kristi (left), Charlie, and Jolene Cetak stand in front of one of their favorite trees on the farm.

The Cetak family sells Noble and Douglas fir trees at reasonable prices to make this holiday tradition accessible to every family.  In fact, no tree costs more than $40, including their Noble firs – that’s a bargain! They specialize in Noble and Douglas fir because they are the two most popular species of Christmas tree in the Northwest.  Noble fir is known for its stout, evenly-spaced branches, which make it the perfect tree for decorating.  The aromatic scent and blue-green hue make Noble fir the Christmas tree of choice for my family.  Douglas fir has a classic Christmas tree shape of full branches, soft needles, and a fresh scent that will last through the holidays.  When asked which tree the Cetak family chooses each year, they all answered at once “Noble fir” because its branches can hold their heavy ornaments.

The farm is locally owned and operated by Charlie Cetak, his wife Jolene, and their family.  Charlie spends his summers captaining a salmon fishing boat in the Bering Sea.  He hasn’t captained a ship in the winter months in many years, so he decided to find a new way to occupy his time.  The Christmas tree farm was a perfect fit for him as he likes to keep busy and loves to be outdoors.

There is always something to be done around the farm.  Charlie plants new seedlings every March to keep a steady inventory of trees because it takes eight years for a Noble fir to grow big enough to become a Christmas tree.

olympia christmas tree

The blue-green hue of a Noble fir stands out among the surrounding Douglas fir trees.

The family spends much of their time walking through their trees, and they know each one well.  Try as they may to keep every tree safe and healthy, some trees just don’t want to conform to Christmas tree perfection.  These trees will still fulfill their Christmas destiny by providing boughs for local wreath makers and fundraisers, such as the Griffin ASB wreath sale.  The trees that become too large to be chosen as Christmas trees will provide boughs for future fundraisers.

The Christmas tree farm is truly a family business and they love to see other families enjoying their time together on the farm.  Charlie and Jolene manage the day to day business, while their daughter Kali and her husband Ryan, help out with social media and maintain their website.  Their youngest daughter, Kristi, comes home from college to help at the farm on winter break.

Even LuLu, the family boxer, gets in on the action.  LuLu may be the first to greet you as you drive up to the farm, so please drive slowly.  You may also get to meet Buster, the family’s toy box terrier, if he isn’t staying warm and dry inside the farm house.  The Cetaks love their pets and consider them part of the family.  They know that many people feel the same way, and welcome you to bring your friendly family dog along for this special holiday tradition.

olympia christmas tree

Decorating a Christmas tree on the farm makes for a unique holiday card. Photograph courtesy of Angela Courter of Irie Photography.

In addition to their U-cut business, they are happy to provide wholesale trees for western Washington vendors, and because of their reasonable prices, they are the perfect Christmas tree farm to help out with fundraisers.

Give Charlie a call at (360) 791-8749, or e-mail him at to talk about their wholesale pricing, pick-up times, or delivery options.

The Cetak Family Christmas Tree Farm is located at 6648 41st Avenue NW off of Steamboat Island Road.  The tree farm is located ½ mile off of the main road and the parking area is clearly designated.

They will open their U-cut lot on weekends between November 29 and December 21.  They are open Friday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to dusk.

Get more details by visiting the Cetak Family Christmas Tree Farm on their website or following the tree farm on Facebook.

Art from Rubbish by Michelle Reader

Olympia Dumpster Divers - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 10:51pm
Fox recycled art sculpture by Michele Reader

Fox recycled art sculpture by Michelle Reader

Since 1997, Michelle Reader has been working to make recycled materials into sculptures, often incorporating mechanical elements such as the working parts of toys and clocks. Her materials come from city dumps, roadsides, and thrift shops, and include both household and industrial waste. “I love the unpredictability of found materials and enjoy the inventiveness necessary to transform them into a sculpture,” she says. “I try wherever possible to use materials that are reclaimed, things with a history that have been discarded and might otherwise end up in landfill.”

Seven Wasted Men recycled art sculpture by Michele Reader

Seven Wasted Men recycled art sculpture by Michelle Reader

Perhaps her most famous work is this family portrait, known as “Seven Wasted Men,” that was made from one month of household waste from the family. “The materials not only highlight a need to address the amount of waste each of us produces, but also tells the story of each individual through the things they discard—a child’s drawings, a shopping list, a birthday card,” she says. via Jill Harness/mental_floss

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Dick Nichols, Larry McMillan Team Up Again on KGY to Announce Tumwater’s Playoff Game

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 2:33pm



By Gail Wood

dick nichols

Dick credits his “gift of gab” for his success on the radio during sporting events.

They’re back.

After a two year absence, Dick Nichols and Larry McMillan, the voice of South Sound sports for 32 years, will announce Tumwater’s 2A semifinal playoff football game at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Tacoma Dome for KGY 95.3 FM

“I’m excited about doing it,” McMillan said. “Obviously, our history is long. We’ve been at many state championships over the years for football and basketball.”

In November 1979, Nichols and McMillan first teamed up to broadcast a game for KGY. McMillan was a fill-in for Olympia High School’s football playoff game at Mark Morris in Longview.

“Dick’s broadcast partner couldn’t make it,” said McMillan, who remembered that game played 35 years ago in detail. “Olympia went down to Mark Morris and a guy named Allan Peterson ran for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns and they just beat the snot out of them.”

Their reunion, made possible by KGY, is a moment for South Sound fans to cheer.

“I’m so pleased Dick and Larry have agreed to rejoin us at KGY for the high school playoffs this season,” said Kevin Huffer, KGY’s program director. “They’re announcing of ball games is legendary, not least because of the years of local knowledge they bring to the games.”

In the fall of 1980, Nichols and McMillan teamed up full time, beginning their long run together on KGY that stretched until 2012. Nichols, 78, began calling play-by-play of high school sports for KGY in 1961 and was needing a color commentator in November 1979. He gave McMillan a call.

tumwater football radio

Dick Nichols teamed up with Larry McMillan in 1980 to begin calling sports events on the radio.

“I knew Larry. I had met him,” Nichols said. “In talking with him you could see how articulate he was. He had played football and baseball in high school. He had a great knowledge. I got to thinking this is a guy who knows sports, who can talk out loud. If you put him in front of a mic, he probably wouldn’t die.”

McMillan survived the audition and became Nichols’ permanent sidekick on KGY.

“We just clicked right off the bat,” said Nichols, a 1954 Shelton High School graduate. “He really knew the games and he was articulate. I was a fan with a microphone. He was a guy who knew the game. Larry knows ten times more about athletics than I do.”

Nichols has the ability to see something and quickly describe a play with detail, painting a picture so the listener can see the quarterback drop back for a pass or the running back burst through the line.

“I felt it worked pretty well, right off the bat,” Nichols said.

Each one understood their role.

“We very quickly developed an on-air relationship,” Nichols said. “Larry knew this was my gig. He didn’t get on me. He didn’t jump on my lines when I was talking. But I also knew when it was time to stop and let an expert on the game make a comment. We never actually had an agreement on how it was going to actually work. We just kind of innately knew it.”

dick nichols

Dick Nichols called high school sporting events for 50 years. He is back on KGY 95.3 on Saturday afternoon.

So, McMillan, who is 71 and is a 1961 Elma High School graduate, knew when to step in and talk and when not to talk. From the start, it worked out very well.

“He was a great partner over the years,” Nichols said.

And now they’re partners again, teaming up to announce Tumwater’s semifinal game against Sedro Woolley. Even after not announcing a game for some time, Nichols and McMillan are excited and preparing for their return.

“I may have lost a step, but I’ll give it a try,” Nichols said. “I’m trying to put together rosters and team information. We’ll get it done. I’ve done this enough times that I’m sure I’ll pull it together by Saturday.”

Preparation, knowing about the teams and the players, has always been a big part of the responsibility.

“I’m a little nervous,” Nichols said. “You do have your pride. What I want to do is a good job. You can’t do everything from nostalgia and memory. I’m going to have to deliver. I’ll be doing a lot of mental preparation so I can be as sharp as I can.”

Over the years, announcing games for KGY meant more than talking about a game for both Nichols and McMillan. It meant making friends.

tumwater football radio

Larry and Dick will be calling Tumwater High School’s playoff football game on KGY 95.3 Listen in at 1:00 p.m.

“We made great relationships over the years with coaches and kids,” McMillan said. “Our relationship between is pretty strong, too. Dick is a great guy.”

McMillan talked about his admiration for Sid Otton, Tumwater’s long-time football coach who has his team back in the playoffs and two wins from another state championship.

“I was thinking about the impact he’s made on the lives of his players over the years,” McMillan said. “It has nothing to do with football. Just life’s lessons, being involved in their community, and drawing on never give up, never give up, when things are going tough. In the larger scheme of things, Sid probably doesn’t know the impact he’s really had.”

Because of KGY’s commitment to high school sports, Nichols and McMillan will get a chance to team up again and be the voice of South Sound sports for at least another game. If Tumwater wins, they’ll be back at the Tacoma Dome for the 2A state championship.

Listen to KGY Radio at 95.3 FM beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 29.


Gingerbread, Gum Drops, and a Good Cause: Gingerbread Village Benefits SideWalk

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 2:11pm



By Gale Hemmann

oly fed sponsorThere’s been an excited buzz going around Olympia. After a brief hiatus in 2013, the much-loved Olympia Gingerbread Village is back. This magical holiday event brings together gingerbread creations of every kind for a two-day viewing downtown (November 29-30, 2014).  And even better, the proceeds from this year’s event will benefit SideWalk, an organization working to end homelessness in Thurston County.

The last Gingerbread Village brought over 3,000 excited kids and families through the door. I met with Mary Ann and Kelly Thompson, the local couple who have led the effort to bring back the village this year. Working in partnership with the Olympia Downtown Association, they have been organizing for months to bring the winter wonderland to Olympia families.

gingerbread village olympia

Olympia residents Kelly and Mary Ann Thompson volunteered to organize the Gingerbread Village this year to help continue the joy it brings so many residents. Photo by Gale Hemmann

The Thompsons, a retired couple with grown children, had always enjoyed baking gingerbread houses as a family tradition. They enjoyed the Gingerbread Village in past years, and missed it last year. They decided to put their love of gingerbread (and helping the community) to work by organizing the 2014 village.

I met with the Thompsons on their boat-home at the Olympia Yacht Club to learn more about this year’s event and everything gingerbread-related, from how they build the amazing creations (hint: plenty of hands, a good recipe, and patience), “building tips” (melted Jolly Ranchers make good windows) and whether you can eat them (you can’t).

At the time of our interview, they had already recruited quite a few “builders” for the event. Participants pay a suggested entry fee and must complete a “building permit” for their structure. The Thompsons have been busy spreading the word, registering builders, securing sponsors, and seeing to all the details. Mary Ann serves as the “Mayor” of the Gingerbread Village, and Kelly wears the hat of “Public Works Director.” Clearly, they put their hearts into this event.

In addition to organizing village, the Thompsons remain avid gingerbread architects. This year, they have headed up a team of culinary artists to create a replica of the Olympia Yacht Club lighthouse.

There are always some unique designs in store at the Gingerbread Village. Last year’s village included everything from a replica of the Washington State Capitol Building (built by the Thompsons and friends) to an A-frame and Rapunzel’s tower. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but this year’s village is going to boast some very creative buildings too.

gingerbread village olympia

The Thompsons say that seeing children’s eyes light up with excitement as they take in the gingerbread creations is what makes the event so worth it. Photo by Lucie Khadduri

It has been quite a task to put the village together. Warm and personable, the Thompsons have also been providing good-natured moral support for builders – they are willing to share their favorite gingerbread recipe, for example, and other building tips to encourage others along. But it is absolutely a labor of love – Kelly says that the look of delight on children’s faces when they enter the village is what makes it all worthwhile.

Kelly and Mary Ann Thompson would like to thank the Olympia Downtown Association, the Olympia Yacht Club, and Olympia Federal Savings for their support of the event.

SideWalk: Connecting People with Homes

The Thompsons are excited that this year’s Gingerbread Village will support SideWalk. Every dollar raised from the Gingerbread Village, from builders’ entry fees to community donations, goes directly to help the nonprofit.

SideWalk earns lots of local praise for their effectiveness and collaborative approach to solving homelessness in Thurston County. Working in partnership with local groups, they offer a range of services to people experiencing homelessness.

gingerbread village olympia

The Thompsons, with the help of friends, built this replica of the Washington State Capitol Building in 2012. Photo by Lucie Khadduri

Aslan Meade, Volunteer Recruiter for SideWalk, told me that the Gingerbread Village will help SideWalk in several ways. One major way the village benefits SideWalk is through the publicity that comes along with being part of such a beloved local event. He says it’s already been a great way to get the word out about the organization.

He also says the event will hopefully tap into people’s holiday spirit. The funds they donate through the event (the free event has a donation-based voting contest, as well as an auction) will help go directly toward providing homes for Thurston County residents. It takes SideWalk about $2,000.00 to move someone into a home. Each dollar raised by SideWalk is matched by local funds. So for every $1,000.00 the community raises at the Gingerbread Village, a person can be moved into permanent housing. Talk about a “sweet” deal.

Meade says SideWalk has over 50 volunteers doing direct outreach, and a few part-time administrative staff. Over the past three years, they’ve already helped over 200 people transition into housing. Meade says their success in Thurston County has been based on their positive approach. “We play well with everyone … we’ve broken a lot of barriers to help end homelessness and we’re making an impact,” he says.

To find out more about SideWalk and why so many people are excited about what they’re doing, visit their website. You can also “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter (@walkthurston) to keep up to date with their work and accomplishments.

gingerbread village olympia

Thoughtful details and whimsical touches are what make the handcrafted creations at the Gingerbread Village so special. Photo by Lucie Khadduri

Come See the Gingerbread Village

Are you as excited as I am to see the Gingerbread Village? Well, mark your calendars – the 2014 Gingerbread Village will be open for two days, on Saturday, November 29 (1:00-5:00 p.m.) and Sunday, November 30, 2014 (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) in the lobby of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

Admission is free. For a pay-what-you-can donation, you can vote on your favorite buildings (kids will love choosing among their favorites). Contest proceeds will benefit SideWalk.

The Gingerbread Village is part of the Olympia Downtown Association’s Downtown for the Holidays event on November 30. If you visit the village on this day, you can also partake in the free day of fun throughout downtown (including a holiday parade, music, and more).

For those who want to have one of the buildings as a lovely holiday decoration for your home or workplace, you can bid on them during a silent auction at the Gingerbread Opening Reception on Saturday evening, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. After the public viewing, these creations will live on in holiday-time homes around Thurston County. Of course, all proceeds from the auction will go help SideWalk as well. (The Thompsons note that the houses will actually stay intact for a year or more if well-stored.) The Opening Reception is also a fun way to get a sneak-preview of the houses as they are officially unveiled.

gingerbread village olympia

You can expect to see some creative structures at the Gingerbread Village, such as the “Rapunzel’s Tower” created in 2012. Photo by Lucie Khadduri

Christmas is all about the spirit of giving. The Gingerbread Village offers a great way to experience something magical while contributing to a worthy cause. Who knows what kinds of creations you’ll see this year, or where the money raised will help take SideWalk?

Gingerbread Village to Benefit SideWalk

Washington Center for the Performing Arts

512 Washington Street SE

Olympia, WA 98501

Saturday, November 29, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 30, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 –p.m.

Olympia Thanksgiving Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 6:20am



Shopping.  I’ll say no more. Unless you are in the Buy Nothing Day camp.  And, then there are lots of experiences around town to keep from opening your wallet.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

Maggie Blomgren – The Girl Behind the Bird

Thurston Talk - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 6:00am


By Taylor Tryon, Tumwater High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

dairy queenThe Thunderbird, Tumwater High School’s mascot, is a symbol of school spirit, dedication, and tradition – everything a mascot should be. You’ll find the notorious Bird roaming around the stadium (or lately the halls of the school), pumping up the super-fans in The Nest, and cheering on THS athletes.

But have you ever stopped to wonder who was inside that costume? While in past years it has usually been a member of the Tumwater High School cheer squad, this year it’s a whole different type of spirit.

tumwater mascot

Although she may stand out in the Nest, Maggie fits right in to the enthusiastic atmosphere.

Margarett Blomgren, a Tumwater High School senior who loves singing, hiking, and Taco Bell, found herself wanting to find a way to get involved in her final year at THS. So Maggie started exploring her options, telling me she didn’t want to join a new sport in her senior year. “That’s way too competitive,” she said smiling. “I was really, more or less, looking for a way to get involved in my school for my senior year.” So with athletics out of the pictures, I asked Maggie how she came to be the mascot for Tumwater. She replied simply and shortly, “One day I woke up and I thought ‘I want to be the mascot.’”

From that point on everything seemed to fall into place for Maggie. She heard an announcement at school that they were looking for someone to fill the position and immediately contacted the coach of the cheer team.

Anyone who knows Maggie would probably agree that, even with no prior experience in spirit or cheerleading, she’s a natural fit for the job. Full of enthusiasm and laughter, she really knows how to raise the energy in a room, or the stands. “I get out there and I put my all into getting people excited, and making people smile,” she shares.

tumwater mascot

Fight for the Cure! Maggie showcases her spirit and shows support for Breast Cancer Awareness by sporting a pink T-Shirt over her T-Bird costume.

She’s a very upbeat person, always positive and happy, making her a great fit. The energy and spirit Maggie brings makes the environment at Tumwater all the more special.

With no hesitation, Margarett will tell you how much she loves being the T-Bird. “Getting people excited to be a part of something, getting people to join others and make them feel wanted and part of our school, like a family,” she says, is her favorite part. “And the little kids,” she adds with a laugh. “Little kids love the T-Bird and that always makes me happy.”

The worst parts, she told me, all seem to come along with the costume itself. The ultimate downfall of being the school mascot? “Sweat. You sweat buckets. I probably sweat as much as the football players,” explains Maggie.  People also try to take the head off of the costume which seems to be a pet peeve of Maggie’s. “It’s attached to your armpits and people don’t know that.”

tumwater mascot

One with the team, Maggie stands with the Tumwater Cheer Squad on their boxes while cheering on the football players.

Unfortunately for the Tumwater High School spirit squad, this is Maggie’s senior year meaning she won’t be here to keep the fans pumped up and happy in the future.  She has high hopes for the student who will fill her shoes next year, however, even offering some advice for the future Thunderbird. “You really just have to be happy and not care what people think. I’m invincible inside that bird.”

This holds true if you’ve seen Maggie in action at a Tumwater football game this year. She is all over the stadium, posing for pictures with little future T-Birds, dancing in the Nest, and cheering alongside the cheerleaders.

What makes her such a talented T-Bird is that Maggie takes the time to make sure she brings happiness to those she interacts with. “That’s what it’s about, seeing the joy in other people,” she explains.

Maggie has brought something extra special to Tumwater this year, not only by being a fantastic T-Bird mascot, but by doing it for all the right reasons.

New Saint Martin’s Team Ranks 4th Among Northwest Schools in Ethics Bowl Tournament

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 12:49pm



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin's University's Ethics Bowl Team - (l-r) Matthew Tietjen, Alyssa Hancock, Simone Smith, Evan Lake, Steven Smith, Father David Pratt, and Michael Artime, Ph.D.

Saint Martin’s University’s Ethics Bowl Squad – (l-r) Matthew Tietjen, Alyssa Hancock, Simone Smith, Evan Lake, Steven Smith, Father David Pratt, and Michael Artime, Ph.D.

The Saint Martin’s Ethics Bowl squad made a strong showing this past weekend at the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl competition at Seattle Pacific University. Saint Martin’s finished as semi-finalists in a field of 14 teams from universities that included the University of Puget Sound, Gonzaga University, Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Montana, the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and Whitworth University.

Representing Saint Martin’s were students Evan Lake, Simone Smith, Steven Smith, Matthew Tietjen, and Alyssa Hancock. Additionally, accompanying the students were squad head coach, Michael Artime, a lecturer in political science, and squad director, Father David Pratt, assistant professor of philosophy.

Saint Martin’s dominated in the preliminary portion of the debate, achieving an undefeated record of 3-0. In their first debate, Saint Martin’s defeated Gonzaga University in an evaluation of the ethical implications associated with at-home genetic testing and the use of physician-assisted suicide for minors in Belgium. In their second debate, Saint Martin’s defeated the defending national championship team from the University of Montana in a discussion of the use of an untested nutritional supplement for food aid and the ethical concerns surrounding the commercial sale of robots designed for sex.

In the final preliminary debate, Saint Martin’s defeated the University of Puget Sound in a contest that featured discussions of environmental practices that killed certain species in an attempt to save others and the degree of responsibility held by the United Nations for the spread of cholera in Haiti linked to Nepalese peacekeepers.

Advancing to the semi-finals, Saint Martin’s eventually lost to the University of Alaska-Anchorage in a close, split decision.  This result means that Saint Martin’s is ranked 4th among all northwest schools in the Ethics Bowl competition. This is an important achievement for Saint Martin’s squad competing in only its second tournament.

“This was a tremendous tournament for our students,” said Artime. “We finished as one of the top teams in the region and won many competitive matchups, including one against the reigning national championship squad from Montana. I could not be more proud of our students and I am so happy that their hard work was recognized this past weekend.”

“Our team did a marvelous job with some very thorny cases,” Pratt stated. “I think the best praise came from a number of judges and coaches who praised our students for their grasp of moral theory and exciting arguments, as well as their command of biology, psychology and business. It was a joy to see our people being both intelligent and persuasive in an important regional competition.”

The Ethics Bowl squad will compete again in April at a tournament hosted by the Independent Colleges of Washington in Seattle.

Uhlmann to Expand Under New Name at New State of the Art Dealership

Thurston Talk - Thu, 11/27/2014 - 12:40pm



Submitted by Uhlmann Ford and Uhlmann RV

olympia rv

Uhlmann RV is conveniently located at Olympia’s Auto Mall.

Uhlmann Ford and Uhlmann RV are happy to announce they will be renamed to Awesome Ford and Awesome RV effective December 1, 2014. The name change is part of a rebranding initiative to better align the company’s name with its current operations and take the company into the future.

Heidi Pehl, owner of I-5 Auto Group, says “Our name change will better differentiate ourselves from the competition and allow us to market ourselves in the manner in which we currently operate. Our customers are Awesome, and our services are Awesome. That is the message we want to convey to all of our customers and employees. We take great pride in continuing the Uhlmann family name for so long, but it is now time for a change to better meet our current business and carry us into the future.”

The name change coincides with a major remodel of the existing Uhlmann Ford and Uhlmann RV facility located on Interstate Avenue in Chehalis, Washington. The Ford Service and Parts Department will relocate from their current location at I-5 Toyota, finally joining the Ford Sales Department that had previously relocated with Uhlmann RV.

Both the Ford and RV dealerships will open under their new name on December 1, 2014. The newly remodeled dealership also will include the all-new I-5 Tire Center, which will provide all vehicle maintenance needs, including brakes, tires, and batteries on all makes and models. Awesome Ford and Awesome RV look forward to the next generation of selling and servicing Fords and RVs in the Northwest.

Awesome Ford and Awesome RV are part of the I-5 Auto Group, which employs 193 people and consists of I-5 Toyota Scion, South Sound Trucks, South Sound Trucks of Olympia and Volkswagen of Olympia. For more information on these dealerships, visit


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