Recent local blog posts

Our Indiegogo Campaign is LIVE!

Sherwood Press - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 10:12am

IMG_7761Visit our Campaign Page on Indiegogo!

Folks, if you’ve ever sat around thinking to yourself, “I wish I could give money to a small local business who has an old building that is rotting into the ground,” then today is your lucky day!

Our small, cedar cabin in the woods on the edge of Olympia’s west side just turned 75 years old, and like any 75 year old, is experiencing a certain degradation of form. Standing outside under the trees and in the weather these many years, the big 8-foot window is rotting and sagging into an also-compromised wall.

An enormous fir tree we call “The Nutcracker” is crushing the corner of our tiny structure and stands just 3/4″ away from the eaves. Unfortunately it needs to be lovingly, and respectfully “dismantled” and will soon stoke many future fireplaces and wood stoves around town.

In exchange for your contribution, there are many fun perks for you to claim. Please check them out and help us even more by sharing with your friends and networks!

Thank you SO much.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Changing Lives with Palliative Care

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 6:55am



Submitted by Providence St. Peter Hospital

Harstine Island resident Greg Prosser has benefited greatly from outpatient palliative care after throat and mouth cancer.

Harstine Island resident Greg Prosser has benefited greatly from outpatient palliative care after throat and mouth cancer.

Early this year, Providence opened an outpatient palliative care clinic, and its impact is already being felt by the patients and families seeking care.  This clinic is located on the hospital’s campus and is a precious resource for patients and families.

Providence St. Peter Hospital has provided superior palliative care for hospitalized patients for several years. This type of care is supportive; it focuses on relieving pain, symptoms and the stress of serious illness. Its goal is to prevent and relieve suffering and to ensure the best-possible quality of life for patients and their families, like Greg Prosser, who lives on Harstine Island, Washington. Last year, at age 55, Greg was diagnosed with cancer in the throat and mouth. He had surgery that removed part of his jaw and half of his tongue. Greg completed rehab, but had trouble accessing all the care he needed. “I was in very, very bad shape,” Greg says.

Greg arrived at the Emergency Center this spring suffering from acute malnutrition and severe pain. He was admitted to the hospital, where he stayed for 18 days. The hospital’s palliative care team came to his room to see if they could help. “Their care was all-encompassing,” Greg says. “They coordinated with Department of Social and Health Services. They scheduled appointments and in-home care and helped with pain management and financial problems.”

With palliative care now available on an outpatient basis, patients like Greg can access these services at an earlier stage, with a focus on drawing attention to quality of life and integrating medical, psychological and spiritual aspects of care.

Outpatient palliative care clinic team members include pharmacists, physicians, nurses, social care workers, and more, all focused on easing pain and helping patients live more comfortable lives.

Outpatient palliative care clinic team members include pharmacists, physicians, nurses, social care workers, and more, all focused on easing pain and helping patients live more comfortable lives.

In fact, Greg says it was after he left the hospital that most of the help really started. Greg says the palliative care team helped reduce his pain, change his medications so that they are now affective, and reduced his nausea.

“There’s nothing they haven’t helped me with. I went from nothing, to everything. Every single problem I have, they have addressed.” He now visits the outpatient palliative care clinic each month and has referred a friend to the clinic, as well. “I feel for the first time that anybody gives a damn.”

“They don’t quit on you,” Greg says. “They take their time, and it’s in depth. They have created a tremendous change in my life.”

The new clinic was funded through donor contributions, including last year’s Christmas Forest Fund-A-Need, which raised $268,000 for this clinic.

To make an appointment, call (360) 486-6402. To learn more about the impact of philanthropy at Providence, and this year’s Christmas Forest at


ThurstonTalk Opens Job for Freelance Writer

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 6:09am



ThurstonTalk is expanding it’s writing team.  Join our 20+ paid, professional writers that live, work and play in Thurston County.

ThurstonTalk publishes positive stories about people, businesses and organizations doing good things in communities in Thurston County.  Our stories are published online and distributed via social media to more than 41,000 followers.  Our platform reaches people that want to know about great things happening around us.

Joining the freelance writing team of ThurstonTalk gives you an opportunity to release your creative spirit, meet new people around the community, explore things that you are interested in, and contribute to a locally owned, growing business.  Some of our writers craft more than 10 articles per month, others write just one – and everything in between.  The position is very flexible, based on a writer’s time availability and interests.

Job Requirements:
  • Proven experience creating error-free articles on deadline
  • Ability to interview and interface with local business owners
  • Interest in writing advertising and marketing materials as well as business articles
  • Skills to snap quick photographs during interviews to submit with stories
  • Initiative to pitch story ideas on a monthly basis
  • Sincere passion for sharing the positive stories happening in our community
To apply:
  • Submit a resume in Word format to
  • Include 200 words (or less) about why you love your community.
  • Resumes and writing samples are due by Tuesday, November 3 at 5:00 p.m.
Please address any questions to

Olympia Halloween Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 5:33am



volkswagenGhosts, goblins, tricks and treats… Saturday brings all the candy-loving ghouls out of their caves and into the streets of Thurston County.  ThurstonTalk has you covered for the best Halloween stories around.

Looking for something beyond the mini-size candy bars?  Check out our full events calendar or any one of these other activities.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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


Anthony Zoccola – Hard Work + Great Attitude Pay off at the Valley Athletic Club

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 5:00am




Armed with gloves, towels and cleaning spray, Anthony Zoccola gets to work sanitizing the Valley’s pool hand rails.

Armed with a stopwatch, timer and checklist, Anthony Zoccola puts in long days at the Valley Athletic Club in Tumwater. You’ll find the very popular 30-year-old at the fitness club half-days, four days a week. “Anthony never loses steam,” said Jane Mohr, Anthony’s coach from Morningside.

Morningside helps individuals with disabilities find employment. Over nine years ago, the Valley and Morningside collaborated to place Anthony in a work environment that complements his love of fitness and swimming. The Valley is Anthony’s employer and pays his wages and Morningside provides site support. Morningside employs Jane as an employment consultant or coach, and Anthony is one of her clients. She checks in with Anthony at the Valley at least once a week.

“Anthony’s job is to clean several areas of the facility. He has a checklist with an image for each task, a timer and stopwatch. The timer and stopwatch remind him to move from section to section, and he checks off each task on his list as he completes it. He sanitizes treadmills and bikes. He cleans the men’s locker room. He is a pool assistant on Tuesday and Thursday. At the pool he sanitizes the hand rails, polishes the big slide and cleans floor drains,” said Jane. His manager in each section checks his work and adds a smiley face next to the task he’s completed to approve his work.

Over the years, Jane has worked very closely with Anthony’s managers at the Valley—Candice and Katie—to fine-tune Anthony’s work process and task list so that it is both efficient and manageable. The result is a very self-directed employee using a system that encourages both task completion and accountability. This system plays on Anthony’s strengths, one that took a while to develop, but both Jane and Anthony’s managers knew would pay off over time. Anthony is doing work that he enjoys and his hard work contributes to the Valley’s success.


Anthony Zoccola (right) meets with Jane Mohr and Candice Hampton weekly.

“The Valley really is a role model for supported employment. They are incredible,” said Jane. “We receive regular updates from Anthony’s managers. They understand that he likes knowing what his goals are and that he thrives when they give him praise and positive feedback. They call me anytime we need to make a change in Anthony’s schedule or if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

Jane said that while the Valley deserves a lot of credit for Anthony’s employment success, the other contributing factor is Anthony’s parents. “Anthony has impeccable manners. He’ll hold the door open for everyone. He says ‘please and thank you.’ His mother helped program his watch so that it goes off at regular intervals reminding Anthony that he needs to move to the next set of tasks. They make sure he eats healthy food and gets regular exercise. Their level of support is outstanding,” said Jane.

Anthony says that he likes to go to work. He has a lot of friends, both Valley employees and members of the Valley. When asked what he likes best about his job, Anthony doesn’t hesitate to say, “The pool.” When asked why, he explained it is because people there treat him well and that he likes to swim. In fact, he swam in the Special Olympics.


Before Anthony gets started cleaning at the Valley’s indoor pool he stops by the lifeguard desk and grabs his timer and checklist.

When Anthony isn’t working, you’ll find him in his own apartment, built on his parent’s property. He enjoys watching super hero movies like Captain America and listening to music. Recently, for his 30th birthday present his parents surprised him with a trip to Las Vegas where they attended a Shania Twain concert, which, Anthony says was great. However, it got even better. During the concert, Shania Twain called Anthony up on stage and gave him a hug. Anthony, a man of few words, said, “That was a really good day.”

To learn more about Morningside, visit


Foodies for Thought – Saint Martin’s Gala 2015 Features Cast of “The CHEW”

Thurston Talk - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 5:00am



saint martins gala

A record high of 700 guests plan to attend the Nov. 7 Saint Martin’s gala 2015.

Attendees of the 10th annual Saint Martin’s Gala 2015 are in for a treat. Not only will the stars of ABC’s “The CHEW” — an Emmy Award winning cooking show — be on hand to prepare a five-course meal in front of the live audience, they’ll also have specially designed runways that allow the celebrity chefs to get closer to the crowd. “We really wanted to take advantage of their presence here and create more interaction with the guests,” said Genevieve Chan, vice president of marketing and communications for Saint Martin’s University.

All monies raised at the sold-out Nov. 7 event — which includes a live auction and paddle raise — will go toward student scholarships. Each year, the event has grown in popularity, with attendance increasing from 500 to a record high of more than 700 guests who plan to attend Gala 2015. Due to this rise in attendance, the organizing committee has added more television screens for additional viewing access. “We want people to feel like they’re hearing and seeing the chefs’ demos,” Chan said. Daphne Oz, the fifth member of “The CHEW” team, will be making an appearance via video due to the recent birth of her second child.

saint martins gala

Mario Batalia will be accompanied by his “The CHEW” stars at the Saint Martin’s gala 2015. Batali was the first celebrity guest to headline the event.

For the fifth time, the event will have a hospitality-based theme, an idea that began with Armandino Batali, a Saint Martin’s alumnus and the father of celebrity chef Mario Batali. “As a Benedictine university, one of our key tenets is hospitality,” said Chan. “This event is an expansion of that theme — the idea of celebrating with food and coming together.” In 2011, Mario Batali became the first celebrity chef to headline the gala.

This year, Batali is accompanied by his “CHEW” co-stars, Michael Symon (who was the featured chef at the 2013 gala), Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly. Aside from creating gourmet dishes and pairing them with selected wines, all four chefs will be posting and tweeting live throughout the evening. “We wanted to incorporate a lot of social media,” Chan said. Doing so gives alumni far and wide a chance to follow the event, even if they can’t attend.

Preparation for the gala starts literally a year in advance. “The planning for this began the day of the 2014 gala,” Chan said. “It takes a university. It’s just amazing how much faculty, staff and students participate. This is an all-in event.” More than 200 volunteers from the university and surrounding community come together to make the gala happen. “We have professors in the audience rallying support for auction items, students acting as runners during the auction, and student speakers,” she said. “They get pretty excited about it.”

saint martins gala

More than 200 volunteers come together to pull off the annual Saint Martin’s gala.

Three members of the board of trustees act as a tri-chair for the gala’s executive committee: Armandino Batali ’59, Rick Panowicz and Kathy Lombardo. They meet two times a month and are responsible for all of the planning around fundraising and logistics. “We have a fabulous tri-chair,” said Chan.

Cecilia Loveless, vice president of institutional advancement, said the gala is unique in one important way: “One hundred percent of the proceeds support scholarships for students,” she explained. “It’s an opportunity for Saint Martin’s to showcase its mission and dedication to its students.”

Since 2011, the event has raised over $3 million toward scholarships, creating opportunities for many students who would otherwise struggle to attend. “We make every effort to make this education as accessible as possible,” Chan said. “Ninety-four percent of our students receive some sort of financial aid.” More than one-third of the university’s students come from underrepresented populations, including first-generation college students and students from low-income and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

saint martins gala

To date, the event has raised more than $3 million in scholarship money for Saint Martin’s University students.

While the gala is in its 10th year, the celebrity chef theme is in its fifth. After Mario Batali was the guest of honor in 2011, other celebrities like Guy Fieri, Michael Symon and Lidia Bastianich followed. This is the first time the university has had multiple headliners in one year.

­The five “The CHEW” hosts share a passion for food and lifestyle. Batali and Symon are both renowned chefs who have been featured on “Iron Chef America,” Carla Hall is an alumnus of “Top Chef,” Clinton Kelly is an entertainment specialist who co-hosted “What Not to Wear” for 10 years, and Daphne Oz is a wellness enthusiast and author. Between the five chefs, they run 31 restaurants and have authored 14 books.

You can learn more about Gala 2015 by visiting the event website or by contacting the Saint Martin’s University Office of Institutional Advancement at 360-486-8885 or


Revisiting Art AIDS America

South Sound Arts - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 2:01pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Oct. 29, 2015
“Untitled Memory (projection of Axel H.), 1998,” Ektacolo photograph by Shimon Attie, Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
I must return to Tacoma Art Museum at least one more time to slowly peruse the Art AIDS America exhibition, which is likely the most affecting exhibition ever mounted at TAM and the most thorough exhibition on the AIDS epidemic ever mounted anywhere in America. There is simply too much to take in on a single visit. Plus there are many planned discussions, workshops and other events in conjunction with the show, including an artist talk and performance by notorious performance artist Karen Finley and a rare opportunity to talk with members of the artist collective Gran Fury.One of the first things to strike my eye upon entering the first gallery was a little photo by Peter Hujar of his bedroom, “Ruined Bed, Newark.” Hujar was closely associated with Andy Warhol and famous for his book Portraits in Life and Death, featuring portraits of Susan Sontag, Candy Darling, Devine, and his lover, David Wojnarowicz. This photo is gripping, dark, moody, and beautifully composed. Hujar and Wojnarowicz both died of AIDS-related related illnesses.Similar to Hujar’s photo but even more disquieting is Shimon Attie’s photo of a bed with the ghostly projected image of Axel H., a friend of the artist who also died of AIDS.David Lebe’s photograph, “Morning Ritual 29,” is a self-portrait of the artist injecting his morning medicine. It is gut-wrenching.Easily overlooked but powerful is Charles LeDray’s untitled teddy bear in a casket. LeDray, who was born in Seattle, made many of these little boxes with padded interiors and teddy bears representing people who died of AIDS. It is much more moving than can possibly be conveyed in words.Izhar Patkin’s “Unveiling of a Modern Chastity, 1981” is a large yellow panel with huge, gaping eruptions like Kaposi sarcoma lesions. It is breathtaking.These are but four of 125 works by both famous and unknown artists.Special events in conjunction with the exhibition include:●     The AIDS Memorial Quilt with Julie Rhoad, Project Director of the NAMES Project Foundation, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2 p.m. Rhoad will share the quilt’s history and evolution from personal memorial to the world’s largest example of folk art. $10, $5 members/students.●     Drop-In Art Workshop: activism and Printmaking, Thursday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. This printmaking workshop with University of Puget Sound art professor Janet Marcavage focuses on making creative, bold graphic statements. $15, $10 members/students.●     Faith and Positivity: An Interfaith Panel about HIV/AIDS, Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. This discussion with Tacoma-area faith leaders is free.●     Art Salon: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Art AIDS America, Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m.●     World AIDS Day program with Pierce County AIDS Foundation, Tuesday, Dec. 1.●     Artist Talk with Karen Finley, Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. $10, $5 members/students.●     Closing Celebration featuring “condom couture” fashion show, Sunday, Jan. 10, noon to 4 p.m. with discussion by Gran Fury at 3 p.m. $10, $5 members/students.Art AIDS America, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Jan. 10, 2016, $12-$14, Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave. Tacoma,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Griffin School Looks to Add More Technology in Each Classroom

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 9:48am



By Amy Rowley

sunset airEmily Schall, a teacher at Griffin School, greets her middle school students. Each one is carrying an iPad as they settle into her language arts class.

“iPads at school really do get the job done quicker,” says Griffin sixth grader Brooke Brandsma. “The school trusts every middle school student with their own iPad and that makes me feel really good and also, at the same time, worried that something bad will happen to mine.”

The students pick up their iPads when they arrive at school and carry the devices with them throughout the day to each of their classes.

griffin school

Griffin teachers (from left) Emily Schall, Lori Buma, and Tammy Phillips have a combined 66 years of teaching experience.

“I can see what has been completed, review revisions and easily make comments or give partial credit to an unfinished assignment,” says Schall, who now uses Google Classrooom to manage assignments.

Schall adds that the computer technology has been a huge bonus for students that struggle with handwriting. “Handwriting assignments are no longer a block. Students can use a talk-to-text feature to speak their ideas. For kids that struggle to write, this technology gives them something to fiddle with, as a starting point, to turn into sentences and complete ideas. Plus, I like it as a teacher because I can read their work,” she says, smiling.

With the introduction of iPads in her classroom, Schall has adjusted her teaching techniques. “There is a lot less paper shuffling,” she summarizes simply. “I can’t hand off a stack of papers for a TA to grade, but, at the same time, we are able to create self-paced learning options for kids,” says Schall. “For middle school students switching between classes, technology is one continuity that they have.”

Now, Griffin School is looking to extend the one-to-one ratio (one iPad for every student) to the adjacent elementary school.

griffin school iPads

Seventeen iPads sit in a cart waiting for Mrs. Buma’s assignment to some of her students.

“Kids are motivated by learning through iPads,” says Lori Buma, a veteran teacher with more than 30 years of experience in the primary grades. “Research is even beginning to show that kids score better on their assessments.”

Tammy Phillips, a second grade teacher at Griffin School, adds that technology in the classroom is giving kids another way to show what they know. “I look for iPad applications that are going to help students work smarter,” says Phillips. “I want to provide opportunities for kids to practice skills and concepts by adding meaningful work, not simply more work.”

As teachers, keeping up with the ever-changing technology is a new twist to their career. Both Buma and Phillips attended a national conference two years ago that provided excellent ideas. Schall simply “used the iPad a lot.”

Another bonus is the ability for teachers to communicate with each other and with parents. The learning tools are more accessible to students and Buma explains that parents can see videos and instruction tools to help with homework.

“Technology is a way of life for kids,” shares Katie Hackney, a parent of two Griffin School elementary school kids. “Technology in the classroom should enhance learning to keep our kids at the forefront.”

“Parents should be reassured that the current technology at Griffin School is being used today to enhance and differentiate learning for kids,” adds Phillips, who has taught at Griffin School for 15 years. “An iPad for every kid would mean that we can monitor their progress and growth across a lot of different subject areas.”

Buma agrees. “We can meet each child at their own level,” she says.

griffin school

Griffin School elementary students work on desktop computers before school.

“For example, in creative writing, kids can start a story and then share their ideas with classmates online,” chimes in Schall. “Last year, a group of 7th grade students wrote a fantasy novel online, expanding on the story throughout the course of the year. The students took charge of their learning.”

Troy Peternell, a 7th grade Griffin student, confirms Schall’s comments. “When I write a story on the iPad, I can share it with my class and other classes and get immediate feedback.”

Schall is excited about the options that exist for technology-based learning. “We are looking at electronic textbooks to help reduce costs and keep content relevant,” she explains. “In 8th grade history, students are using a web-based program to view interactive videos and then discussing the content. You can re-watch videos and travel at your own pace.”

“Using technology in the classroom is an investment in our future and a priority for creating future leaders,” says Buma. “Kids need to be able to access information. I can’t teach the amount of information that is available to kids today, but I can teach them how to access the information they need.”


Rob Rice Homes: I’m In. Simply Comment to Win

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 5:00am



Submitted by Rob Rice Homes

Rob Rice homes is offering this ultimate Seahawks Fan basket, including tickets to the November 14 home game, through their Facebook contest.

Rob Rice Homes is offering this ultimate Seahawks Fan basket, including tickets to the November 14 home game, through their Facebook contest.

It couldn’t be simpler to enter to win much-coveted Seahawks tickets and a basket overflowing with $150 worth of Seahawks gear with our contest “”I’m In. Simply Guess What We Are Building and You Could Win!”

From scarves to Skittles, you will have everything you need to cheer on your Seahawks at the November 15 Seahawks-Cardinals game at CenturyLink Field!

Simply liking the Rob Rice Homes Facebook page and commenting on a photo we post each day of a project we are building and your name is entered to win! It is all for a worthy cause and it is so easy to enter.

What’s your guess?

Rob Rice Homes is building a “mystery” project in the garage of one our homes at Chestnut Village on Yelm Highway. The finished project will be donated to Saint Martin’s University for their Gala to raise money for student scholarships, without which many students’ education would not be possible.

This year’s event on November 7 marks the tenth anniversary of the Saint Martin’s Gala and the event will be even more remarkable than ever this year as it will feature the popular cast of ABC’s The CHEW, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly. For this special anniversary, and in honor of the celebrity guests, the gathering will resemble a lively television studio audience, complete with runway and more opportunities to interact with the cast onstage.

We will post a picture of our “mystery” project as it progresses each day on our Rob Rice Homes Facebook page from October 29 to November 5. During the festivities at the Gala on Saturday, Nov 7, our mystery project will be revealed on Facebook. The Winner of our contest will then be chosen by random drawing and notified via Facebook Message on Sunday, November 8.

Imagine being fully decked out in new fan gear and cheering on our Seattle Seahawks with the rest of the 12s at CenturyLink and helping them beat the Arizona Cardinals. Just for liking a page and making a comment on Facebook!

Don’t miss this. It is so simple to enter.

How to Enter*

 Rob Rice Homes

The cast of ABC’s The CHEW: Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly, will all be featured at this year’s Saint Martin’s University Gala. Photo courtesy: Rob Rice Homes

Each time we post a picture on the Rob Rice Homes Facebook page you have an opportunity to guess what the project is.

First, be sure you like our Facebook page and then comment with your guess. You don’t even have to be right! Just by commenting we will enter your name in our drawing for the basket of Seahawks gear and the tickets. After liking our page and commenting on the picture of the project, if you then share our post on your Facebook Page, we will enter your name twice that day!

You can comment once a day, so check in with our Rob Rice Homes Facebook page daily. Then, be sure to watch for the big reveal of our mystery project posted directly from the Saint Martin’s University Gala on November 7!

*Eligibility and Rules to Enter

  1. Eligibility: No purchase necessary to win. The Rob Rice Homes “I’m In.  It’s As Simple As Guess What We Are Building and You Could Win” promotion (the “Contest”) is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older and who have the access to Rob Rice Homes Facebook page photos as of date of entry. Employees of Rob Rice Homes and subsidiaries, affiliated companies, advertising or promotional agencies and the immediate family (defined as parents, spouse, children, siblings, grandparents) of each such employee, and all those with whom such employee are domiciled, are NOT eligible. Void where restricted or prohibited, and subject to all federal, state, provincial and local laws.
  2. Contest Period: The Contest begins on Oct 29, 2015 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time (“PT”) and ends on November 5, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. PT (the “Entry Period”).
  3. How to Enter the Contest: To enter the Contest, you must like the Rob Rice Homes Facebook page, comment on the photos posted to our Facebook page for one entry and share the photo for a second entry. Each comment will be counted as one (1) “Entry” and if shared it will be counted as 2 entries.  This is subject to the requirements outlined below. All Entries must be complete and received before the end of the Entry Period to be eligible for the prize drawing. Entries may only be submitted by a single registered Facebook user, group submissions are not permissible. Use of computer programs and/or other automated devices to enter the Contest is prohibited. Normal internet access and Device usage charges imposed by your on-line service will apply. Sponsor is not responsible for entries not received. Only one entry per day is allowed.  Winner will be chosen by random drawing and notified via Facebook Message on November 8.   Contest not affiliated with Facebook.


Faces of the Olympia Farmers Market – Getting to the Roots

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/29/2015 - 5:00am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

edge fitness logoJust when I am feeling the loss of summer produce, I am reminded of the saturated colors fall vegetables display. Winter greens such as mizuna and rapini, golden pumpkins and beets (both ends) invite me for a closer look. Now is the time to pull up roots and use them in all manner of soups, stews and salads. The market stalls are brimming with roots we all know – carrots and beets – and also a few we might be less familiar with – burdock and celeriac. Let’s take a closer look.

I had a taste of burdock root at Wobbly Cart Farm’s stall at the Olympia Farmers Market. It’s mindful of carrots but earthier. Marshall Atwood was on hand to engage with shoppers and tend to the vegetables. His five years at the Wobbly Cart Farm have provided him with a wealth of experience and information. “I get to do everything,” he told me. That means fixing things, driving the tractor, harvesting and answering questions from curious customers. He’s likes his burdock root raw.

olympia farmers market

Marshall Atwood from Wobbly Cart Farm can introduce you to numerous vegetables.

Burdock boasts of nutritional and medicinal power. Considered a purifier, burdock is taken to kill germs, reduce fever and increase urine flow. Known in Japan as gobo, it’s also thought to help lower blood pressure and ease arthritis. You can simply eat it. Roasting will sweeten it a bit. Then it can be put into soup, stew or other casserole. It goes will with other root vegetables like turnips or rutabagas. Use sliced burdock for dipping guacamole. To reduce discoloration, put the burdock pieces into acidulated water (one tablespoon of lemon juice with one cup of water) until you’re ready to use.

A fun note regarding the burdock plant: Various sources credit Swiss inventor George de Mestral with the idea of Velcro. It was those pesky burdock seeds that attached themselves to his clothes and his dog’s fur. A closer look under a microscope gave a clear view of the hook-like system used by the plant to get mobile. Regardless, we appreciate Velcro for its many uses.

Another lesser know root is celeriac or celery root. Its bulbous and knobby appearance gave way to the sleek eye appeal of the celery stalks we usually see now. However, its popularity is on the rise (it was once prevalent in the U.S.) because it can be easily stored and has the variety we crave in the winter months.

Although cooked celery root is excellent in soups, stew, and other hot dishes, it can also be enjoyed raw, especially grated and tossed in salads. Raw celery root has an intense flavor that may dominate salads, so pair it with other strongly flavored fruits and vegetables. You might consider carrots, beets, and apples.

Martin and Coleen Rose’s Skokomish Valley Produce array of fall vegetables looks like Thanksgiving. The Rose’s have been tending to their land for 30 years. You can behold the winter squash, dry onions, garlic, carrots and beets. It all comes from their three acre garden. You’ll be amazed to know that every stalk and leaf is transported in one car. The family business is located ten miles north of Shelton and is run by the Roses with occasional help from their children and grandchildren.

olympia farmers market

Celeriac or celery root may not be comely but it’s a lovely find.

Martin Rose said that as the weather gets cooler the vegetables get sweeter. His appreciation for growing food was engendered by his grandparents, who raised him and his brother. A garden was part of life and he liked it.

Carrots are still many people’s favorite go-to vegetable. The local carrots are so much sweeter and tastier than any I have found in the grocery store – organic or otherwise. Try some for yourself. It’s soup time and carrots are happy to oblige. They also like being shredded into muffins and bread.

Carrot Ginger Soup 

Here’s a soup that is easy to love. You can dress it differently for each bowl. The basic soup is a mixture of sautéed carrots, onions and minced ginger with vegetable or chicken broth. Puree and add liquid until it gets to the consistency you like. For variety add cream or yogurt, and spice it up with orange zest, parsley, dill or fennel. Add garlic or chives. Sprinkle with cinnamon. You get the idea.

Behold the bounties of fall produce. In addition to Wobbly Cart and Rose’s Skokomish Valley Produce, discover your roots at Kirsop Farm, Pigman’s Organic Produce Patch, Stoney Plains Organic Farm and Calliope Farm.  All of these produce stands are located at the Olympia Farmers Market.  Hours and directions can be found here.

Eat Well – Be Well


Book Release Party!

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 3:32pm
Event:  Tue, 11/10/2015 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Join us as we celebrate the release of local author Lindsay Schopfer's new book: Magic, Mystery and Mirth!  The book is a collection of short stories that range from humorous fantasy to surreal horror. The author will read from his book as well as have a Q & A session.

Location: Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St SW, Tumwater WA 98501.

Phone: 360-943-7790.

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Fairy Tea Party

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 3:30pm
Event:  Fri, 11/06/2015 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Discover the enchanted world of the fairy folk at our annual children's Fairy Tea Party!  Kids can dress in costume and enjoy a fairy tea and activities so exciting they're magical. Dancers from Ballet Northwest will also be performing two dances from the Nutcracker ballet. Free tickets will be available at the Tumwater Library information desk, beginning Friday, October 23. The library is normally closed at this time and will be open only for the program. Sponsored by the Friends of the Tumwater Timberland Library.


Location: Tumwater Timberland Library, 7023 New Market St SW, Tumwater WA 98501.

Phone: 360-943-7790.

Intercity Transit route 12/13. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Four Humans Using Words to Communicate

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 12:12pm
Event:  Wed, 11/25/2015 - 7:30pm - 8:45pm

Location: Olympia Timberland Library- 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia.
Contact: 360-352-0595

Description: Four authors - Kate Robinson, Caleb Beckwith, Alice Wynne, and Reid Urban - will read excerpts from their works on topics such as rage, lust, romantic comedy and madness. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Parenting Plus: Positive Discipline

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 12:11pm
Event:  Mon, 11/23/2015 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

Location: Olympia Timberland Library- 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia.
Contact: 360-352-0595

Description: Positive Discipline is a workshop designed to give parents a clear vision, goals and techniques to facilitate healthy discipline. Candyce Lund Bollinger has been a parent educator at South Puget Sound Community College for the past 32 years and has offered private parenting services for 28 years. This presentation is part of a series of three offered by the Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey Timberland libraries that focus on the topics of bullying, discipline, and divorce/blended families. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Hugelkultur, Hedgerows and Fungi Workshop

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 10:22am
Event:  Sun, 11/08/2015 - 10:30am - 4:00pm

Fungi Perfecti and the Native Plant Salvage Foundation will team up to present a field-based, hands-on workshop, "Hugelkultur, Hedgerows and Fungi," on Sunday, November 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop will be hosted by Hoof Hearted Farm, located in Rochester. The class is a valuable opportunity for any commercial farmer or home gardener to learn the benefits and "how-to" of these three techniques for landscaping success, habitat, and water resources protection of these features.

Morgan Wolff, of Fungi Perfecti, will teach Hugelkultur concepts and technique; this is a centuries-old farming technique, originating in Germany that encourages long-term soil development and nutrient release, as well as increased soil retention.

Erica Guttman, of WSU Extension water resources program and Native Plant Salvage, will cover the benefits and plant-selection options of hedgerows.

Blake Westman, of Fungi Perfecti, will demonstrate the techniques of inoculating mulch with edible fungal species to release nutrients and increase organic matter, while also producing edible mushrooms.

To register and receive more details, contact Native Plant Salvage Foundation at or 360-867-2167. An optional sliding-scale donation is requested to cover workshop expenses. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Free Naturescaping for Water & Wildlife Class

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 10:20am
Event:  Thu, 11/12/2015 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Interested in sustainable landscaping practices that can result in reduced maintenance chores, including watering and mowing, while also attracting birds and butterflies? Join Stream Team and WSU’s Native Plant Salvage Project for their popular "Naturescaping" workshop on Thursday, November 12 from 6-9 p.m. at Lacey Community Center.An optional follow-up class in March will offer expert help reviewing participants' landscape plans.

The class is free, but you  must register to participate. Go to and click on “calendar.” For more information contact WSU Native Plant Salvage Project at or 360-867-2167. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Caregiver Support Offered at Garden Courte Memory Care Center

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 5:00am



garden courte

While at Garden Courte Memory Care Community, loved ones enjoy classes, activities, and events. Photo credit: Garden Courte Memory Care Community.

Studies estimate that almost 30% of the adult population serves as caregivers for an aged, ill, or disabled family member. Of these, more than 43 million adults care for someone over the age of 50, with almost 15 million of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

These same reports show that “the majority of caregivers (55%) in the Gallup study reported they had cared for three years or more. The average days per month spent on shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and giving medication is 13, and 6 days per month on feeding, dressing, grooming, walking, bathing, and assistance toileting.”

This high demand often leads to caregiver burnout. Defined as “a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude—from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able—either physically or financially. Caregivers who are ‘burned out’ may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones.”

caregiver support

The Garden Courte team can share the burden of care for a few hours, days, or weeks. Photo courtesy: Garden Courte Memory Care.

One solution to caregiver burnout can be found through adult day care options and caregiver support groups, provided locally at Olympia’s Garden Courte Memory Care Community. Dawn Peterson and Viki Engstrom, Community Marketing Directors, warn that often the “caregiver does not know the amount of time it takes to care for a loved one, the stress it can cause, and the progression of the disease. They often forget the importance of taking care of themselves while they are caring for their loved one in this journey. Caregivers don’t realize how isolated they can become.”

Garden Courte’s Respite Care is available for overnight stays. This allows families the chance to travel, schedule business trips, or simply take a recuperative break. Whether for a few days or a few weeks, their team is fully equipped for any guest or situation.

For shorter-term options, consider their Adult Day Care programs. As Peterson explained to a worried caregiver in her ‘Ask Dawn’ column, “It is important to know the signs of stress, and ask for help as often as you need it. Warning signs of Caregiver stress are: denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, health problems. Ways in reducing caregiver stress would be to get in contact with helpful resources in your community, learn all you can about Alzheimer’s disease and care giving techniques, join a support group in your community, get help from family, friends, and your community. Get your loved one involved in an adult daycare program so that you can do something for yourself. Give yourself credit for what you do!”

garden courte

Respite care and adult day care help caregivers stay physically and mentally healthy knowing their family is in good hands. Photo courtesy: Garden Courte Memory Care.

Both Day and Respite Care services can be used on an as-needed or regularly scheduled cycle. It’s up to families and Garden Courte staffers to determine the best choice for their current situation.

In between breaks, Garden Courte also offers education for families. Their monthly News & Events page lists classes, Caregiver Support Groups, and open to the public events as well as links to a Newsletter full of recipes, biographies, information, and upcoming activities.

Garden Courte has a long history of caring for our loved ones. As such, they are a resource not to be missed and can help local families navigate the often stressful aging process. Dawn, Viki, and their team are always happy to provide support to anyone needing a helping hand.

Relieved families have written in their thanks for these sanity-restoring breaks. These notes praise day care and respite options as “they didn’t realize how important it was to get away until they started the program.”

Looking for more information on Caregiver Burnout? The AARP website offers insight into both symptoms and solutions and the adult services website has an array of online support groups. But if in doubt, reach out to the helpful staff at Garden Courte. They’re always available to answer questions, share resources and support, or simply welcome your loved one with open arms. Don’t carry the burden of care alone.

Garden Courte can be reached by calling 360-491-4435 or visiting 626 Lilly Road NE in Olympia.

Puddle Jump Helps PARC Foundation Support City Parks and Rec Projects

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 5:00am



By Heidi Smith

puddle jump

Dogs are welcome on the Puddle Jump course, as long as they are leashed.

Odds are, if you live in Thurston County either you or someone you know has benefitted from the work of the PARC Foundation. If you’ve ridden at Olympia Skate Court, enjoyed the Quarry Pool in Tenino, used a kayak through Olympia Parks Arts & Recreation, or borrowed a bicycle from the Yellow Bicycle Project, you’ve been impacted by their efforts. The challenge?  “A lot of people don’t know that we exist or what we do,” says Heather Antanaitis, one of the all-volunteer staff at the foundation.

How this organization helps is by supporting city parks departments and other organizations throughout Thurston County in raising funds for their programs and initiatives. “The PARC Foundation is the only non-profit in Thurston County whose sole purpose is to raise funds and advocate on behalf of parks and recreation services,” says Paul Simmons, Director of Olympia Parks, Art and Recreation. “They are such a huge resource and asset for us.”

On Saturday, November 7 the PARC Foundation will host the 6th annual Puddle Jump, with all proceeds going to support their efforts. Participants can run, walk or stroll through a 5K or 10K course starting at the Chehalis Western Trailhead at 9:00 a.m. Registration will begin at 7:30 and end at 8:45. Participation costs $35.

Originally the Puddle Jump was organized by the Thurston Chamber of Commerce, says Antanaitis, which funded it through a grant focused on workplace wellness. When the grant expired, Chamber planned to discontinue the race, which is when the Foundation stepped in. The goal of this year’s event is two-fold, she says: raise money and increase the organization’s public profile. “We’re all volunteer right now,” she says. “Our goal is to move into having paid staff.”

puddle jump

Participants can run, walk, or stroll through the 5K or 10K course, which begins at the trailhead of the Chehalis Western Trail

As a non-profit, the Foundation is able to go after grants that support multiple local groups, including some that don’t enjoy non-profit tax status, like the City of Tenino. “The PARC Foundation has been really good for Tenino,” says city council member Wayne Fournier. “We don’t have a lot of civic groups that apply for grants, so they’ve helped us get a lot of things off the ground.”

For example, he says, “When the Adam Craig Foundation wanted to start the Four Square Mile Music Festival, a PARC grant helped them do that.”  Every two years the city hosts the Splash Bash, a fundraising event to support the Tenino Quarry Pool. Since it’s a bi-annual event, it didn’t make sense to create an entire non-profit to support it. Instead, says Fournier, PARC acts as financial wing of the committee that organizes the dinner. “As a 501(c)(3), they can accept corporate donations,” he says.  “Every year they raise around $20,000 that supplements what the city does.”

In Tenino, PARC has also helped to facilitate the Yellow Bike Project through a grant from the Nisqually Tribe. “It started as a guerilla public works project,” says Fournier. “A group of citizens were taking bicycles, painting them yellow and leaving them for public use. Now they’ve been able to get a bike corral. It’s like a public library. The business gives you a key and you go check out a bike for as long as you want.”

For the City of Lacey, the Foundation has played a key role in providing outdoor programs for kids, including specialized recreation for those with physical and mental disabilities. “There are so many programs that kids wouldn’t have without the Foundation,” says Lori Flemm, Lacey Parks and Recreation Director. “They’re very supportive of our youth programs. We have gotten so much equipment, including backpacks and tents, for our teen outdoor program through the grants they’ve facilitated.” PARC also sponsored an application to the Nisqually Tribe for Lacey’s Summer Lunch program, says Flemm. “These are people who are passionate about giving kids opportunities.”

puddle jump

An awards ceremony will follow the race, with medals provided by PKMM Inc.

Simmons says the group has been an incredible partner for the City of Olympia. “They’ve helped us with a scholarship program so that low income folks can gain access to our recreation programs,” he says. “They were instrumental in getting the Olympia Skate Court built.”

While PARC has been a great support to other organizations, their goal is be able to support themselves. Currently they keep very little of the grant money they facilitate for other groups, despite incurring costs in the process. Events like the Puddle Jump help to leverage those costs.

A similar organization in Vancouver, Washington, seems to have figured out how to be sustainable, says Antanaitis. “The city gave them office space,” she says. “They understand the value of the organization and supply them with all their office needs.”  That group has a three-quarter time director, a half-time marketing director and several paid staff. “They’ve done a really good job of creating awareness,” she says. “That’s one of the things we want – for people to realize what we can do.”

To register for the Puddle Jump, click here.

To learn more about PARC, visit their website at or contact them at 360-352-0980 or


Cooper Point Public House – Homemade Meals in a Family-Friendly Setting

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/28/2015 - 5:00am



cooper point public house

With homemade food and the region’s best spirits, the Cooper Point Public House is welcoming year-round. Photo courtesy: Cooper Point Public House.

Across the globe, few places are as welcoming as your neighborhood pub. “One of my beliefs is that there are certain institutions within a community which stand for the spirit and heart of that community – there’s the church, the local football team, the local pub and the theatre,” says Starsky and Hutch actor, David Soul.

Whether you’re watching the Seattle Seahawks or stopping in for a quick homemade meal, the Cooper Point Public House in West Olympia always provides a warm, family-friendly welcome.

Offering breakfast, lunch, dinner menus and an array of mouthwatering beers from across the region, Cooper Point Public House is a family-owned and operated community hub. Husband and wife owners Sam and Melissa Rasmussen worked together in the restaurant industry for 10 years before starting the pub with Sam’s mom Cathy.

The building’s 3002 Harrison Avenue location is part of the Steadman Properties holdings and echoes Michael Steadman’s passion for local, small, family and veteran-owned businesses.

cooper point public house

Sam and Melissa Rasmussen opened the Cooper Point Public House with his mom, Cathy, in 2012 to celebrate the birth of twins, Anton and Isabel. Photo courtesy: Cooper Point Public House.

Sam and Melissa live nearby. “One day at random I stopped by to peek in the windows and ran into Steadman,” recalls Sam. “We started talking about the possibility of leasing it; I spent the next several months writing a new business plan for this space before deciding we wanted to go for it.”

“When I called Mike, he was very interested in having a small, family business in his building and we met and worked out a lease in his living room over coffee, just the way both of us would prefer to do business,” he adds.

But don’t write the pub off as just another bar. A larger purpose was written into the Rasmussen family’s heartfelt endeavor. “We named our business after Cooper Point because we wanted it to be part of the community. We made it a public house so people could feel free to use it for their own needs: business meetings, charity events, get-togethers, or just a casual night out with good friends. We focus on using quality, non-GMO products, and are constantly adding more locally produced items,” explains Rasmussen.

As with so many of Steadman Properties other clients, Sam continues to become a vital part of his neighborhood. “We love our location and our neighbors and look forward to growing with the help of a quality landlord like Mike,” says Sam. “He truly cares about our business and is always offering to help with any problems we may have. He knew we were a risk being small but he took it anyway.”

Follow the Cooper Point Public House on Facebook where they list daily food and drink specials like jambalaya, all-you-can-eat fish and chips, and a new pizza delivery program slated to begin in January 2016. Their website lists hours, directions, and menus galore. Happy hour is from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

These days it’s a treat to find that wonderful combination of good food, family-friendly, local, and community-minded. Find all that and more on your next visit to the Cooper Point Public House.

Call Sam and his team at 360-915-7880 with any questions.

Cooper Point Public House

cooper point public house

Follow the Cooper Point Public House on Facebook for their most recent food and drink additions. Photo courtesy: Cooper Point Public House.

3002 Harrison Avenue in Olympia


Monday – 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday – 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday – 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Thursday – 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday – 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday – 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sunday – 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.



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