Recent local blog posts

National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 4:02pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

City of Olympia Mayor, Stephen Buxbaum, is joining mayors across the country in asking residents to make a commitment to conserve water by taking part in a national contest aimed at drastically slashing water and energy use across the nation.

Throughout the month of April, WaterWise Olympia residents are encouraged to make their pledge to water conservation at  Last year, residents from over 1,000 cities pledged to reduce their annual consumption of drinking water by nearly a billion gallons.

Mayor Buxbaum says, “By saving water, our community saves energy, money and valuable resources.  That’s why I am encouraging you to take the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation this month.”

This non-profit campaign is presented nationally by Toyota and the Wyland Foundation, with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and National League of Cities. The Wyland Foundation is a 501(c)3 dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways and marine life.

The city with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category wins.  Participants in the winning cities are eligible to win hundreds of prizes, including a Toyota Prius V, water saving home products, home improvement gift cards and more.

City of Olympia residents have done an excellent job in using our precious drinking water efficiently.  In fact, citizen’s efforts resulted in exceeding our 2009-2014 Water System Plan goal of reducing consumption by 5% per connection, with a 9% reduction in water use.  That’s over 98 million gallons!  Olympia residents have demonstrated their commitment to water conservation and deserve to be recognized.  Make your pledge today!

Did you know that about 400 billion gallons of water are used in the U.S. daily?  Or that a running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons per day?  For our Top 10 indoor and outdoor Water Wise tips, visit



OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 4:01pm
Event:  Sun, 04/19/2015 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm

Harlequin Productions’ annual fundraiser and season announcement party, Eclectica!, is coming up on Sunday April 19th at the State Theater in downtown Olympia. The event will take place from 5:00-8:00 PM and include catered dinner, no-host bar, live entertainment, a wine toss, a live auction, and the announcement of Harlequin’s Season 2016 lineup of shows.

“The 2016 Season is Harlequin’s 25th anniversary season,” said Managing Artistic Director Scot Whitney. “We’ve got some surprises in store to mark the occasion.”

Entertainment will be provided by the acclaimed musical duo Red & Ruby, featuring LaVon Hardison and Vince Brown. In addition, Harlequin’s improv troupe, Something Wicked, will present live improv comedy.

Eclectica! is always a very fun event,” commented Harlequin Artistic Director Linda Whitney. “Red & Ruby are fabulous, and Something Wicked will be hilarious as always. The evening promises to be a lot of fun for all.”

Tickets can be purchased by calling 360-786-0151, or online at logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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April 15 Marks Hot Water Heater Regulations Affecting Homeowners

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 2:16pm



Submitted by Springer Plumbing

April 15 isn't just tax day.  It marks the start of new water heater regulations affecting homeowners.

April 15 isn’t just tax day. It marks the start of new water heater regulations affecting homeowners.

When you hear April 15, what do you think of? Taxes, right? Well, this year we should also be thinking about water heaters.

As of April 16 2015, a new energy efficiency mandate is going into effect that will directly impact your wallet and possibly the location of your water heater. This revision to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, otherwise known as NAECA, will change the design of most new water heaters.

 What is changing?

The Department of Energy is requiring higher energy factor ratings on virtually all residential water heaters including gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric.

Water heaters under 55 gallons have to meet a considerably higher minimum energy factor requirement. In some models, the new minimums will be met by increasing the amount of insulation around the tank.

For water heaters over 55 gallons, the biggest changes apply. Typical gas and electric models will not be able to meet the new requirements and will be diminished. Instead, electric heat pump and high-efficiency condensing gas water heaters will be the new standard.

What does this mean for you?

All new water heaters manufactured after April 16 will be physically larger, up to 2” taller and 3” wider. For some homeowners with units installed in a small closet or alcove, this will result in relocating their water heater or downsizing to a smaller tank size.

These newly designed tanks will also have a higher price tag, which is a great reason to think about installing a new unit in the near future. The average lifespan of a water heater is about 11 years. If you are approaching that mark, we recommend looking into replacement. These new units will be phased in as old inventories are depleted, but given the circumstances the supply is expected to deplete quickly.

So when you hear April 15, think “new water heater deadline!”

If you would like to talk about your replacement options, contact us for a free estimate.






26th Rachel Carson Forum - on Urban Ecology

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 2:11pm
Event:  Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:30pm - 9:00pm

From today's inbox:

The 26th Annual Rachel Carson Forum

Urban Ecology

Date & Time:
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 5:30-9:00pm
(5:30pm-6:30pm - environmental organization fair; 6:30pm-9:00pm - speakers)

The Evergreen State College Recital Hall in Olympia, WA

Gail O’Sullivan & Karen Nelson are co-founders of the Commons at Fertile Ground, a non-profit in downtown Olympia whose mission is to demonstrate urban sustainability. For the last 16 years they have been developing the site for use by the community. They host many large and small events and have incubated a number of small, local businesses by adding their support and exposure. The Evergreen State College has played a key role in their development by participating with internships, field trips and panel discussions on urban sustainability. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Music Out Loud – Names Requested to Honor Local Musicians

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 1:49pm



Submitted by City of Olympia

Help us honor musical legacies in our community!

The Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department and the Olympia Arts Commission need your help to posthumously honor musicians who have significantly contributed to music growth in the area or made a name for Olympia, through artistic design and a music performance series at up to three sidewalk sites in downtown Olympia.

Citizens are asked to submit names of deceased local musicians who has been pivotal in the musical growth of the Olympia community. Commissioners are looking for musicians to honor who meet the following criteria:

  • Are deceased.
  • Was born or has lived (10+ years), and has had a significant connection with the Olympia area.
  • Pivotal in the musical growth of the Olympia community.
  • Accessible to the public.
  • Contributed to vitality of Olympia’s music scene.
  • History of musical achievement.
  • Respected by peers.
  • Has made a significant contribution to music.
  • Honored by local musicians and aficionados for his/her contribution to the community.
  • With his or her passing, left a lasting legacy that will forever be remembered.
  • The City’s ability to establish positive communication with family or estate of the musician.
  • Consideration of diverse styles of music.

Submittals are REQUIRED to include the following information:

  • Musician suggestion
  • Why should this musician be honored
  • Your name and contact information

Names must be submitted by 5:00pm on April 30 and be based on the criteria specified above. Names will be accepted by email at or mail/drop at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia 98501.

The Olympia Arts Commission will hold a public hearing on Thursday May 14, at 6:00 pm at Olympia City Hall, 604 4th Ave. E, Room 112. The public is encouraged to attend. For special accommodations, please contact Stephanie Johnson at 360.709.2678.

20 Designs to be Selected for Traffic Control Boxes in West and Downtown Olympia

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 12:58pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

The City of Olympia is seeking up to 20 art designs to be applied to vinyl wraps to cover traffic control boxes in Downtown and Westside Olympia.

General Guidelines

  • $500 honorarium for use of design.
  • Artist will submit concept designs using supplied templates HERE.
  • Designs will be made available online at for public vote to determine the 20 to be fabricated.
  • Artists do not fabricate or install the final art on the box.
  • Selected artist designs (which can be prepared as illustrations, paintings, computer designed images, quilts, mosaics, photographed sculptures or photographs), will be printed on to a vinyl wrap, and applied to the traffic boxes.
  • Wrap will be removed after 2-3 years, depending on condition. They may be removed at any time at the discretion of the City.
  • Find additional details in the Call for Art/Entry Form HERE.
  • Entry Deadline: Receipt of Entries – Thursday, May 28, 2015, 5pm

For more information, please contact Stephanie Johnson, Arts & Events Program Manager, at 360.709.2678.



Spring RBB trips

The spscclogo1Spring catalog for the South Puget Sound Community College continuing education program have been distributed.  Already two of the trips are full; one with a wait list!

To avoid disappointment, be sure to sign up soon for the remaining trips!

Register at:

Connect with Rebels by Bus via Facebook to communicate with other Rebels by Bus fans, or chat about trips you’ve taken or would like to take… rbb_100_sq (100x100)

Categories: Local Environment

Olympia Family Theater Announces 2015 Summer Camp Line-up

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 10:37am




Submitted by Olympia Family Theater 

OFT summer campOlympia Family Theater has 11 weeks of amazing theater camps lined up for the summer of 2015 with something for all kids ages 4 to 17.

Olympia Family Theater is your community partner in raising imaginative, loving, joyful and confident children. Our educational programs provide opportunities for personal development for young people, teaching creativity and responsibility, encouraging teamwork and personal integrity, and fostering self-esteem and appreciation for the performing arts.

Each summer camp is designed around a show or theme, which students get to showcase at the end of the week with a performance. Our camps offer a variety of theater skill-building opportunities including comedy, poetry, singing and choreography, prop making, improvisation and of course acting!

Each camp is staffed by a teacher with an intern assistant. The staff bring a wealth of theater knowledge and experience to each camp. Teacher Bios HERE.

REGISTRATION: Register online or use the printable forms from our camp webpage. Space is limited in each camp. Olympia Family Theater is committed to making theater education accessible through tuition scholarships. The application for summer camp scholarships is available on our website.  A full schedule of summer camp offerings is listed below.


June 15- 19

Dr. Seuss 1
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Kate Ayers
A Seuss inspired camp with songs and silliness and a play taking us to Whoville. Who knows?
Cost: $190

June 15- 19
Superheroes & Silliness
Ages: 4 to 6
Hours: 9:30 am- noon
Teacher: Vanessa Postil
Pretend play, stories, songs, and games will help these Heroes-in-Training to feel empowered, strong, and confident. Campers will each get a super cape and create their own super characters!
Cost: $90


Olympia Family Theater's new location is on 4th Avenue, across from City Hall.

Olympia Family Theater’s new location is on 4th Avenue, across from City Hall.

June 22- 26
Broadway Kids
Ages: 6 to 9
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Vanessa Postil
Musical Theater FUN for all skill levels where campers discover their artistic voice through creative play! Students will be immersed musical theater training in acting, dance, singing, improvisation, auditioning techniques, and much more! We will SHOWCASE our work for friends and family on the last day of camp!
Cost: $190

WEEK 2 & 3
June 22- July 3
Slam Poetry/ Spoken Word
Ages: 12 to 17
Hours: 4 – 6 pm
Teacher: Brian McCracken
An energetic and experimental workshop using performance techniques to bring poetry to life. Exploring the page In week 1- crafting poems that we’ll bring to life in week 2. Bring a sense of fun, a readiness to explore your voice- taking another step on the path of great storytelling. No experience necessary!
Cost: $125

June 29- July 3
Riding a Tornado!!
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Kate Ayers
Put on a show all about American Tall Tales! Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind and Sal Fink the Mississippi Screamer! Use your apron as a sail, wrestle an octopus, and dance with a bear.
Cost: $190

July 6- 10
Stinky Cheese Man
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Amy Shephard
Come and join in the fun- You’ve heard of the Gingerbread Boy? Well this is NOT that story. This is the story of the Stinky Cheese Man! A farcical fairy tale full of laughs and unexpected turns, this play will involve comedy, movement, and creative acting skills.
Cost: $190


olympia family theater

During Summer camps, students enjoy acting, playing and just being silly at Olympia Family Theater.
Photo credit: Mandy Ryle

July 13- 17
Comedy Camp “Make ‘em Laugh”
Ages: 9 & up
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Vanessa Postil
Camp for aspiring comedians/comic actors- exploring the world of improvisation, sketch and stand-up comedy. Through theater and improv games and ensemble-building activities students will build the performance skills necessary to deliver an impressive and hilarious end-of-session show for friends and family.
Cost: $190

July 20- 24
Dr. Seuss Too
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Mandy Ryle
A Seuss inspired camp with songs and silliness and a play taking us to Whoville. Who knows?
Cost: $190

July 20- 24
Teddy Bear Picnic
Ages: 5 to 6
Hours: 9:30 am- noon
Teacher: Vanessa Postil
“If you go into the woods today…” you’ll find a week of games, stories, songs, and fun inspired by the “Teddy Bear Picnic”! A perfect camp for students to get their very first taste of theater in an educational and safe learning environment!
Cost: $90

July 27- 31
Don’t Wake the Giant
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Jen Ryle
Put on a show! This story is set in a town built at the foot of a mountain that is a sleeping giant. You had better whisper and tip toe, and Shhhh! or you’ll wake him. Everything changes when Carolinda Clatter comes along- you won’t believe it!
Cost: $190

August 3- 7
Never Never Land
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Kate Ayers
The Adventures will never never stop in our story of Never Neverland! Mermaids’ Lagoon, Marooner’s Rock, Crocodile Creek, and Pixie Hollow! Swordfights, flying, swimming, and encounters with Pixies, Pirates, Mermaids, Lost Boys, and Tiger Lily! SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT AND STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING!
Cost: $190


olympia family theater


August 10- 14
Broadway Kids 2
Ages: 10 & up
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Vanessa Postil
Musical Theater FUN for all skill levels where campers discover their artistic voice through creative play! Students will be immersed musical theater training in acting, dance, singing, improvisation, auditioning techniques, and much more! We will SHOWCASE our work for friends and family on the last day of camp!
Cost: $190

August 17- 21
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Mandy Ryle
What’s going on with the weather? Join us for the creation of a play about the most hilarious tale of the town of Chew and Swallow. How will we be saved from this tidal wave of food? This week will be full of acting and prop making fun!
Cost: $190

August 24- 28
A Dragon in the Mix
Ages: 7 to 12
Hours: 9 am- 3 pm
Teacher: Jen Ryle
Rehearse and perform a fairy tale farce! Combine one royal family full of bored princesses dying to have an adventure, with mischievous fairies, lost knights, and oh- did we mention a Dragon?
Cost: $190

August 24- 28
Adventures with Lowly the Worm
Ages: 5 to 6
Hours: 9:30 am- noon
Teacher: Vanessa Postil
Spend a week of fun with Lowly the Worm, creating short plays together inspired by the beloved storytelling of Richard Scarry! A perfect camp for students to get their very first taste of theater in an educational and safe learning environment!
Cost: $90


Country Singer Aaron Lewis’ Defense of a Young Girl Leads to a Surprise from Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 7:23pm



By Nikki McCoy

lucky eagleAs Johnny Cash played in the background and beverages were passed around, anticipation filled the Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel event center Saturday night as a sold-out crowd of nearly 1,000 waited for Aaron Lewis to take the stage.

But little did they know the country singer was about to get a surprise.

With lowered lights and hushed audience, Chehalis Tribe members, along with the Executive Director of SafePlace, climbed on stage with an over-sized check.

aaron lewis

Aaron Lewis (far left) gets close with Chehalis Tribal Enterprises CEO Rodney Youckton, while SafePlace Executive Director Mary Pontarolo gives thanks and Tribal Member Danny “Bones” Gleason looks on.

Rodney Youckton, CEO of Chehalis Tribal Enterprises gave a synopsis of what happened at a concert last June where a teenage girl was being pinched and fondled while crowd-surfing. Lewis stopped mid-song to make sure the young men knew he disapproved.

“You should all be beaten down by everyone around you,” was just the tip of the profanity-riddled verbal assault Lewis gave the young men responsible.

Lewis’ fierce defense of the girl moved Lucky Eagle CEO John Setterstrom to donate a $2500 check, on behalf of Lewis, to SafePlace, a non-profit advocacy agency and confidential shelter for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Thurston County.

Tribal members presented the check to Lewis, and after responding simply, “I just did what any father of three little girls would have done,” he hugged CEO of Chehalis Tribe Enterprises, Rodney Youckton, and the crowd exploded into applause.

“It was very, very, honorable for calling out those guys for their poor behavior and choice. We are very honored and thankful for what he did,” said Youckton.

“I think it’s awesome what he did,” agreed Danny “Bones” Gleason, tribal elder and 5th council member, who thanked Lewis for his act, and encouraged him to “keep on saving.”

SafePlace Executive Director Mary Pontarolo, who was present to receive the donation, was glad to bring awareness to a demographic that normally doesn’t get reached – country music fans.

aaron lewis

Rocker turned country star Aaron Lewis brought his high-energy show to Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel recently.

“This is a great country crowd tonight,” said Pontarolo. “I’m honored to be on the same stage as this man. I’ve listened to the YouTube video I don’t know how many times. It’s not very often that a man would stand up and try and protect us and I appreciate the fact that Aaron did.”

“I think it is great,” she said off stage. “I love to be able to talk to a group of people that love country music, particularly about our issues and to dispel myths. I just think it’s an important message and this is a good group to be able to share the information with.”

I spoke with a variety of audience members, and while everyone knew of Aaron Lewis’ music, only a few knew about the back story to the donation they just witnessed.

As I explained about SafePlace and the concert, people were impressed.

“That’s my kinda guy,” replied one man dressed in camo. “I’m not surprised, he’s really cool,” said another.

And another gave kudos to the casino for getting involved.

“It’s something our CEO felt strongly about,” said Kevin Burrus, Advertising Director for Lucky Eagle. “We felt Aaron’s actions reflected the Chehalis Tribe and Lucky Eagle, and is something we try to embody… and we try to support organizations like SafePlace -it’s a giving back thing.”

After the gifting ceremony, Lewis began his concert by asking the audience to join him in the Pledge of Allegiance, and then eased into his set-list with his signature voice and crowd-favorite, “Country Boy.”

And as I looked around to the couples with arms around each other, the faces of people moved by music, and tribal members and employees with big smiles, it was comforting to know that Lewis’ one act of defending one girl, has made an impact on so many people.


Claire Smith Wins State Drill Down Championship as Capital Cougarette

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 1:15pm



By Amy Rowley

russell bode dentistryThe college-sized basketball court fills with more than 200 drill team members, all state qualifiers from 1A, 2A and 3A high schools. Each competitor stands ready, at attention, to receive a list of commands. The Drill Down competition occurs at the end of a long day of performances. To win this competition, you must be completely focused, shutting out all distractions. You are performing on your own, show the judges your very best.

capital drill team

Claire Smith (back center) and the Capital Cougarette Dance Team placed second in military at the state tournament.  Photo credit: Amy Mullin.

Claire Smith, a sophomore at Capital High School and a first year drill team member, describes Drill Down as a “hard core version of Simon Says.” She’s quick to add, “This makes it sounds childish. It’s very complicated.”

“It’s crazy how intense the Drill Down is,” adds Claire’s coach, Jan Kiefer. “You must get into a mental zone that requires an extraordinary amount of focus.”

A caller announces commands that could include a series of pivots or turns, along with hand movements. Sometimes you are marching while you memorize the order of the commands. The caller also may change the cadence, insert a hesitation or other tricks to try to make the competitors lose concentration or miss a beat.

When the Yakima Valley Sun Dome filled with state-qualified high school drill teams, Claire took the floor with her Capital Cougarette teammates. She explains that during the first few rounds each participant is on their honor to sit down after a mistake. There are simply too many competitors for the judges to watch each movement. “It’s simply disrespectful to not honor your mistake,” says Claire.

As Claire advanced further in the Drill Down competition, the commands became more complex, the caller’s tricks more intense. A quick flinch or even a hesitation can result in elimination. “My heart was pounding so fast that I was shaking. I was worried that this slight movement would get me eliminated,” she recalls.

But it was this adrenaline rush that Claire was searching for. “It’s so empowering,” she adds.

As the Drill Down continued, three of Coach Kiefer’s Capital Cougarette drill team members were in the finals.  Alongside Claire was Kathy Ly and Vivian Ha who finished fifth.

capital high school drill team

Once full of more than 200 Drill Down competitors, only two participants – Claire Smith (front, in black) and Becka Heelan –  are left standing. Claire will ultimately win the state championship.  Photo credit: Amy Mullin.

Finally, it was Claire and Becka Heelan from Elma High School. “There were a couple thousand people in the audience,” recalls Coach Kiefer. “You could have heard a pin drop. That’s how intense the final round was. I found myself whispering ‘come on, Claire.’”

Claire shut out the audience and focused only on the caller’s series of commands. Becka performed one hand command. Claire did a different one. “I knew right then that Claire had won. I didn’t need to wait for the judges,” says Coach Kiefer. “Our team exploded, jumping up and down, cheering and yelling. It was a great moment.”

“Both her mom and I are so proud of Claire,” says her dad, Steve, who was watching intently in the audience. “We know how hard the coaches and the girls work throughout the year and this was an awesome experience.”

“In that moment, I had so much pride in my team. I was able to show everyone that I do pay attention and that I’m good at following commands,” says Claire.

Claire will treasure her 1st place Drill Down medal. “It’s so hard for anyone to win Drill Down,” adds Coach Kiefer. “For Claire, in her first year of drill team, this is simply amazing. It’s unheard of for a first year participant to win.”

capital high school drill team

Coach Jan Kiefer praises Claire Smith’s dedication and focus. Here she is crowned champion of the state Drill Down competition.

“Claire is so focused and determined. She is one of the most coachable kids that I’ve had on our drill team in a long time,” summarizes Coach Kiefer. “You can see the results of Claire’s hard work. She keeps getting better and better.”

Claire notes that the drill team has spent more than 700 hours on practice throughout the year. “Drill team takes so much dedication but it feels so good at the end. It’s taught me a lot about the power of positive thinking. I’ve also learned the value of stepping up, even if something seems tough.”

Claire is already looking towards next year when she returns to drill team. “I hope that I have improved. I want to put myself in a position that will make me a very valuable dancer to the team.”

She also credits her coaches with the success that the Capital High School team had at the state competition, placing 2nd in 3A military, 2nd in 3A pom, and 3rd in 1A, 2A, and 3A dance. This was the first year for the Capital Cougarette Dance Team to compete in the dance routine and the group is quite proud of their performance.

“Our coaches shape our team,” says Claire. “They are the reason our team is as good as it is. Not only are they good coaches but they are good people. This was my way of showing them how much they are worth to me.”

The Capital Cougarette Dance Team will be holding tryouts during April. To learn more about the team, follow them on Facebook.

Legislators Push to Strengthen Coastal Economies, Create Jobs

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 12:29pm



Submitted by Capitol Land Trust

nisqually land trust

Today, the Washington State House of Representatives Capital Budget Committee released its proposed budget which will dedicate $8.2 million from the Capital Budget for a suite of habitat protection and restoration projects in coastal counties as well as Thurston, Lewis, and Mason counties. The Washington Coast Restoration Initiative (WCRI) will bring sustainable, family-wage jobs to dozens of small, rural communities from Neah Bay to the mouth of the Columbia and inland as far as Thurston County.

“This is the time to invest in the future of rural Washington,” said Amanda Reed, executive director of the Capitol Land Trust. “When we fund restoration projects, we get a win-win:  local jobs today, and healthy rivers and forests that will sustain our economy over the long-term.”

Washington’s coastal economy and culture are built on its forests, rivers, and marine waters, but a lack of consistent funding has undermined progress of ongoing protection and restoration needs. The WCRI package will leverage $6 million in existing federal, state and private resources to pay for 33 restoration projects that will benefit both residents and the natural resources that provide local jobs. The Coast continues to experience the highest unemployment in the state, which is still over 10% in some counties. Restoration projects create more jobs than other types of construction sector projects. Ninety cents of every dollar spent on restoration stays inside the state, and 80 cents of every dollar stays within the county where a project is located.

Capitol Land Trust has put forward two large projects in Thurston County as part of the WCRI package.  These projects would restore over 400 acres in the Black River watershed, including 3 miles along the Black River and its tributaries Mima, Darlin and Dempsey creeks near Capitol State Forest.  Restoration work would support 10 full time jobs and many local contractors, and improve spawning grounds for steelhead, cutthroat trout, Chinook and coho salmon.  Both private lands and lands already conserved using county, state, and federal conservation funding sources would be restored.  For these reasons this initiative has received strong support by all three Thurston County Commissioners.

The WCRI has gained widespread support from the fishing industry, coastal tribes, watershed groups, the conservation community, local government, state and federal agencies. The coastal coalition has developed a comprehensive database of restoration and sustainable job needs that will be matched to high priority projects to restore forests, water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. The projects will provide well-paying jobs to local people while improving the health of natural resources to ensure sustainable employment in the future.

“Today’s proposed budget is a critical step toward preserving the commercial, recreational, and ecological value of coastal lands and waters while strengthening one of the most diverse economies of the state,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director of The Nature Conservancy.

“A big shout-out goes to Representatives Dan Griffey, Drew MacEwen, Richard DeBolt, and Ed Orcutt who were instrumental in getting support for the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative in the House,” said Reed. “They have set the tone for the Senate to vote in support of strong rural communities and economies, and healthy forests and rivers.”

The Senate will take up the Washington Coast Restoration Initiative in the coming weeks. The coalition is looking to the Senate to fully fund the Initiative at the original budget request of $15 million.

For more information on the WCRI program, click here.


Arrington de Dionyso Exhibition, Performance!

K Records - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:51am
This Friday evening (April 3) coming up fast is the opening reception for a group art show in Los Angeles featuring Olympia folks Arrington de Dionyso and China Faith Star. Performing at the reception will be Arrington de Dionyso (who provided the poster illustration for the reception invite, above), Lilacs and “Special Guests” (top secret! […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

40 Years of History at the Olympia Farmers Market

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:34am



By Emmett O’Connell

SCJ Alliance logoThe Olympia Farmers Market has held an important place in the Olympia community landscape for the past 40 years. As the market’s season opens this year, it will be celebrating its fourth decade in existence.

But, the history of markets where local farmers sell direct to the public have a much longer history in Olympia, stretching back over 100 years.

olympia farmers market

The Olympia Farmers Market hosts more than 250,000 visitors each year.  This year, the market will celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The first farmers market in Olympia existed roughly from the 1910s to the 1930s. A 1912 article in the Olympia Recorder promoted the opening of an early public market:

Mayor Bridgford and members of the city council are confident (the public market) will be a great success and are trusting that the ranchers of the vicinity will be on hand with their supplies of vegetables and other farm products of all kids. It is the universal opinion that Olympia householders will patronize the market if the ranchers are in a position to supply their demands.

Much like the current incarnation of the market, early markets also had substantial official help from the city government.

These efforts continued through the 1930s when the supermarket trend finally swamped outdoor, direct to consumer farmer’s markets across the country.

olympia farmers market

Live music is a mainstay at the Olympia Farmers Market.

The effort to revive the Olympia Farmers Market first came in the early 1970s. There are various references to when the modern Farmers Market began. One points to the organization “Retired Senior Volunteer Program” jumpstarting the new market in 1973. Another points to four farmers selling produce at the old community center at Bethel and State in 1974. Yet another points to farmers at the Lacey Village shopping center in 1975.

By 1976, 50 farmers got together and set down roots for two years on 7th Avenue near Capitol Lake. This location was actually a sort of homecoming for the market. Forty years before, another public market featuring local farm products had been located in the same neighborhood.

In 1978, the market finally settled down, finding a home on Plum Street across the street from Olympia City Hall.

Even across city hall, popular with the community, with two covered market areas and 60 vendors, the market in the early 1980s was a somewhat neglected feature of the city.


From the Olympian:

olympia farmers market

More than 150 vendors sell fruits, vegetables, plants, and other homemade goodies at the Olympia Farmers Market.

…(the market) once found itself homeless when its lot was put up for sale.

When a ditch was dug through property used as parking for market patrons, the downtown around City Hall became choked with marketers searching for parking.

Tempers flared. An Olympia City Council member walking through the market was chided by vendors and patrons alike for not doing something to help the market.

And, if Olympia didn’t know what a good thing it had going with its downtown market, Tumwater and Lacey sure did. Both cities (and even the Port of Olympia) made bids to attract the market.

Eventually, a site on Capitol Way at A Avenue opened up in 1984.

During those first years at Capitol Way and A, the market operated between both Olympia and Lacey on alternating days. But, if Olympia was learning to start supporting the market (putting $110,000 into improvements into the market in 1984), Lacey was forgetting why it even sought the market.

camping meal ideas

Oakland Bay Farm’s Jason Dexter shows off strips of bacon for sale at their stand in the Olympia Farmers Market.

The Lacey version of the market migrated around the city. It went from a site on Sleater-Kinney to Pacific Avenue, eventually landing outside the city’s core at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. Constant movement eroded consumer support, and the Lacey market finally shuttered in 1989.

After another ten years at Capitol and A, the land was again sold out from underneath the market. The owners of Yard Birds put the land up for sale, and the market organizers looked just two blocks north for a new home.

The market’s new site at the north end of Capitol Way had historically been the home of two veneer plants, marking that place as the center of Olympia’s portside industrial history. But, those uses were nearly gone by the time the Farmers Market was shopping for a new home.

Moving quickly, the city council put a bond on the ballot to pay for a new home, but that effort failed when only 58 percent of the voters supported it. A 60 percent yes vote was needed to authorize new spending on the market. So, the council changed gears, and worked within their current budget to provide $850,000 for the market’s new home. The Port of Olympia (on whose land the new market sits) paid to prepare the site and paid $123,000 towards construction.

olympia farmers market

Food vendors supply even the littlest shoppers with yummy treats at the Olympia Farmers Market.

The impact of the market on the neighborhood was immediate. Anthony’s HomePort, a highly visible regional seafood restaurant, committed to opening a location next door once the market had signed its lease. Since opening, a new “Market District,” including retail shops, a restaurant and offices has opened across the street.

Today, the market itself is a thriving endeavor, welcoming more than 250,000 people each year across almost 150 vendors, with a gross sales of more than $5 million.

Olympia Farmers Market

700 Capitol Way N in downtown Olympia

From April to October, the market is open Thursday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Free parking is available onsite or use Intercity Transit’s free DASH service to travel throughout downtown Olympia.

College Names Tanya Mote New SPSCC Foundation Director

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:30am



Submitted by South Puget Sound Community College

South Puget Sound Community College has named Tanya Mote the Interim Executive Director of the College Foundation. Mote joined the college in June 2014 bringing 20 years in nonprofit fundraising and administration. She previously served as the Foundation’s Director of Development.

“The College and the Foundation were fortunate to have someone with Tanya’s skills and talents perfectly situated to step into this position,” said President Timothy Stokes. “The move was seamless.  We haven’t missed a beat in the important work of supporting students’ journey through the college and on to a good life.”

The College Foundation Board of Directors also expressed their unanimous support for Mote’s move to the new post.

“I’m excited about this new role, the work ahead and the opportunity to work with our amazing Foundation board and staff to support student success,” Mote said. “I feel fortunate to do meaningful work that I love and for the support of the Foundation Board, Dr. Stokes and the college administration.”

Mote is a community college alumna.

The Foundation team will be further filled out by the new hire of Sandy Sinnett as Development Manager. Sinnett comes to the College with a background in marketing, events and community relations.

“Sandy will be a great addition to the Foundation team,” Mote said.

The South Puget Sound Community College Foundation maintains more than 150 active scholarships for students. Last year, it awarded more than $380,000 in local scholarships and emergency assistance to Thurston County residents.  The Foundation also funds activities in support of the college’s commitment innovation and excellence. For more information on the Foundation, visit


Olympia Family Theater Announces Spring After-School Drama Workshop

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 11:04am



Submitted by Olympia Family Theater 

OFT summer campOnly the best for the Emperor! The best food, the best horses, the best palaces. When two weavers arrive with silk so fine that only those with exquisite taste and refined judgment can see it, the Emperor demands all new clothes. The whole town seems to have exquisite taste and refined judgment… except one truth teller. Be always on the lookout for the next best thing.

Olympia Family Theater’s after school workshop is a 4-week long program where students are cast in an original production, this year “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, rehearse over the session, and put on a weekend of shows on our main-stage.

Olympia Family Theater is your community partner in raising imaginative, loving, joyful and confident children. This program provides opportunities for personal development for young people, teaching creativity and responsibility, encouraging teamwork and personal integrity, and fostering self-esteem and appreciation for the performing arts. Olympia Family Theater is committed to making theater education accessible by providing sliding scale tuition for this program.

The program is geared for children ages seven to thirteen and will be directed by Kate Ayers with Vanessa Postil as assistant director.

Schedule:  April 13-May 9, 4-6 p.m. (M-F)
Public Performances: May 7, 8, 9
Cost: $250 (sliding scale available)
Register online or use printable forms from our website here.

About Olympia Family Theater

Olympia Family Theater offers accessible children’s theater and programs that entertain and educate while stimulating dialogue and personal growth for young people, their families and the wider community.

Olympia Family Theater has been serving families in Thurston County and surrounding areas since 2006. We offer quality theatrical productions for the young and young at heart in a variety of settings, as well as educational programs for youth.

Olympia Family Theater has an amazing new location at 612 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia which includes a main stage theater with seating for 109.


WDFW Approves Morning Razor Clam Digs Starting April 4

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 10:45am



Submitted by The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)

razor clam digState shellfish managers have approved a weeklong series of razor clam digs starting April 4 at four ocean beaches.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed the digs after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.

All of the digs are scheduled on morning tides. No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, reminds diggers they will need a valid 2015-16 fishing license to participate in all upcoming razor clam digs, since the new license year begins April 1. Various types of fishing licenses are available online, by phone (866-246-9453), and from authorized license dealers throughout the state.

“The razor clams we’re seeing are really fattening up, and are perfect for the frying pan,” Ayres said.

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

The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:

  • April 4, Saturday, 7:23 a.m.; 0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • April 5, Sunday, 7:57 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
  • April 6, Monday, 8:32 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 7, Tuesday, 9:09 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 8, Wednesday, 9:48 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 9, Thursday, 10:32 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • April 10, Friday, 11:23 a.m.; 0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

WDFW has also proposed additional digs in April and May, pending the results of future marine toxin tests. Tentative dates for those digs are posted on the department’s website.

During all upcoming digs, state wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula, and on a section of Twin Harbors beach.

The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.” Both species are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.


Westport Winery Earns Best In Class At Capitol Food and Wine Festival

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 10:40am



Submitted by Westport Winery

Rapture of the Deep_Front_COLAWestport Winery earned three medals including a Best in Class at the 2015 Capitol Food and Wine Festival held on March 28, in Lacey, Washington.

Rapture of the Deep, Westport’s iconic sparkling cranberry wine, earned a gold medal and was named Best Fruit Wine at the event. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits Aberdeen’s Driftwood Theater.

Smoky Nor’wester earned gold medal. This wine is composed of 95% Sangiovese from Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA and 5% Petite Sirah from Jones Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. This wine benefits the Museum of the North Beach in Moclips.

Elk River Riesling won a bronze medal. These grapes also come from Red Willow Vineyard. This wine benefits the Twin Harbors Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

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

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


O Bee Credit Union Offers $500 Prize Money to Yelm High School Students

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 10:37am



Submitted by O Bee Credit Union

Obee signO Bee Credit Union is offering a $500 first-place prize to a Yelm High School student as part of a contest to design the best image for O Bee’s new “Famous Yelm” debit card.

The contest will be administered through the Yelm High School ASB Office. Students may use original photography, sketches or other media to create the design. There is also a website where students may download an electronic template, then submit the design electronically. The design must include the word “Yelm,” and attempt to capture what Yelm means to the community.

“The City of Yelm has a distinct history and unique character all its own. We know that. There’s a lot of community pride in Yelm and who better than the high school students to capture the image that reflects that pride?” said Lee Wojnar, VP of Marketing at O Bee.

The winning design will be featured on the new “Famous Yelm” debit card which will be available at all O Bee branches in early summer. There will also be a $250 prize for the second place winner, and a $100 prize for the third place winner. Only the first place design will appear on the card. Currently O Bee offers special debit cards for the Olympia and Rainier communities, featuring iconic images from O Bee’s historic roots as the original credit union of the Olympia Brewery.

All entries are due by 3:00 pm on Friday, May 15, 2015 and must be submitted to the ASB Office at Yelm High School,
O Bee Credit Union’s Yelm Branch, or to Contest open only to Yelm High School students.

About O Bee Credit Union: O Bee Credit Union (The Olympia Brewing Co. Employees and Families Credit Union) is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. It was started February 16, 1955, by Ted McGill, who worked in the bottle house of the brewery. This full service, non-profit credit union, owned by its members, has five branches located in Lacey, Tumwater, Tenino, West Olympia and Yelm. Membership is open to all Washington residents. Visit for more information about O Bee Credit Union.


Working to Keep Us Safe – Olympia Fire Prepares for Worst Case Scenarios

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 6:45am



By Laurie O’Brien

lucky eagleThere are a lot of things the majority of Thurston County citizens don’t think about very often. Among them is what we would do if our lives were put in danger as a routine part of our jobs.

olympia fire

Captain Jim Brown takes a group of OFD firefighters through a training on their new “Active Shooter” protocols.

For firefighters and law enforcement personnel, however, that situation is a daily reality. Taking it a step further, those same public servants are willing to step in and put themselves in harm’s way when those of us who don’t face it every day are put in life or death situations. In short, they often risk their own lives to help save ours.

With that in mind, Captain Jim Brown, Medical Services Officer for the Olympia Fire Department (OFD), has been working with the entire department as well as Thurston County law enforcement agencies to help roll out a new protocol for responding to worst case scenarios in our community.

The Rescue Task Force provides standard operating procedures for situations that call for a “Unified Command” of both Law Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) – situations in which there are multiple victims but in which an active shooter is still on the scene.

Although they are trained to fight fires, 80% of the calls the OFD responds to involve EMS. For this reason, all firefighters are certified Emergency Medical Technicians, and the department has 17 paramedics on staff as well. Any time they respond to a call, risk assessment must take place. If there are no victims, EMS personnel will not be sent into a hazardous environment. However, says Brown, if there is a known rescue, “… we’re willing to risk a lot for a lot. With the right gear, with the right approach, that’s part of what we do.”

oly fire training

Thirty new flak jackets equipped with medical supplies have been purchased.

Part of the roll out of the Rescue Task Force has been equipping the OFD with the right gear to operate in an Active Shooter Situation. Thirty new flak vests outfitted with medical supplies and evacuation tools have been purchased and are being distributed to each fire station.

Firefighter Shane Dobson, who worked as an infantry combat medic in active war zones, is helping train his coworkers to use the new tools available to them. “The only really good thing about being at war for 15 years is the progress in battlefield medicine,” says Brown. The military has figured out ways to treat victims in the field, minimizing risk to both patients and rescuers.

New tools like battlefield tourniquets can be used, keeping someone from bleeding out before they can be evacuated to a safe zone where they can be more fully treated.

The establishment of zones is one of the priorities of the Rescue Task Force. Brown and others have spent a lot of time studying active shooter situations in which multiple victims could have been saved if only EMS personnel had been able to get to them sooner.

The key to saving lives in these types of situations is making sure that Law Enforcement and Fire personnel work in tandem. In practice, this means that the OFD incident commander and the Law Enforcement incident commander (the ranking officers on site at any major situation) must establish a Unified Command, making sure they know which zones are “hot” (the situation is active and too dangerous for EMS personnel), which zones are “cold” (there is no imminent danger) and which zones are “warm.”

oly fire training

Shane Dobson helps train his fellow firefighters how to use battlefield tourniquet.

Under the new protocols, EMS can be escorted into warm zones established by Law Enforcement personnel. Wearing the proper protective gear and working with a dedicated security force – roughly four cops for every two EMS workers – the firefighters will be able to focus on doing their job. “We (EMS) still need to have situational awareness,” says Brown. But, he adds, when they know that Law Enforcement is dedicated to keeping them safe, his people can focus on getting in, triaging and evacuating patients and saving as many lives as possible. “They’ve got our backs and any threat that comes our way, they’re going to cover.”

Communication is the key, says Brown. In many situations, OFD and Law Enforcement work independently and only communicate via Emergency Dispatch (TCOMM). Establishing Unified Command is a relatively new concept and has been developing nationally as more major incidents involving both Fire Departments and Law Enforcement take place. In these situations it is imperative that information be relayed as effectively as possible. To Brown, Unified Command means that “… our (OFD) commander and their (Law Enforcement) commander are in the same place, communicating face to face, using the same language.” It’s a direct line of communication, he says. Nothing can be lost in translation with TCOMM.

oly fire training

Basic life support equipment can be carried by each EMS worker in a “warm zone.”

This change in the way things are done is being driven by Capital Metro – the combined Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater fire departments. Steve Brooks, Lacey’s Fire Chief, created the original protocols. Brown is helping implement them within the OFD and is serving as the liaison to the Olympia Police Department.

All other Fire and Police Departments in Thurston County as well as TCOMM have been given the protocols and will be adopting the same strategies.

Multiple Thurston County fire, medical, emergency management, public works, and law enforcement agencies will be participating in an Active Shooter Exercise on April 1, 2015 at South Puget Sound Community College. This drill will be the official roll out of the new protocols for the Olympia Fire Department.

Obviously active shooter and mass casualty incidents are worst case scenarios. Like most people, these types of situations are my worst nightmare. But, as a resident of this area, I rest easier knowing the people who need to are training to make sure they are prepared.


Yonatan Gat in Olmypia!

K Records - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 3:30am
Yonatan Gat is touring through the NW this week making a stop in Olympia to play a house show Thursday, April 2, at 1611 4th Ave. E. with the Philadelphia combo Sheer Mag and Olympia bands Vexx, Gag and Nasti. Could be a time.  
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