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Agamemnon scores big at Dukesbay Theater

South Sound Arts - Sat, 06/06/2015 - 6:45am

 Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 4, 2015Samantha A. Camp and Brian Wayne Jansen, J. Carrie Ivory in background. Photo by Bruce Story-Camp.Watching Agamemnon at Dukesbay Theater opening night was a totally immersive theatrical experience. This is the way theater was in the beginning when many theatrical traditions still in common use were first invented, and it plays as well in 21st century Tacoma as it must have in Greece 2,400 years ago. The set by Matthew Philbrook and Brittany Porter is thoroughly modern and gorgeous; the movement of the actors — most notably the chorus — is highly stylized like a ballet set to words, and those words are plain spoken and easily understood. The drama is so intense it’s a wonder audience members did not flee screaming, especially taking into account the intimate seating where actors practically touch some of the audience.
Photos by Bruce Story-CampThe story is set at the end of the Trojan wars. Greek King Agamemnon (played with gravitas by Brian Wayne Jansen) has triumphed in war and is on his way home. He has sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia (J. Carrie Ivory) to the gods, an atrocity which his wife, Clytemnestra (Samantha A. Camp) can never forgive, and he is bringing home with him a slave concubine, Cassandra (also played by Ivory), who was captured in Troy. She is also a prophetess who can see the future.In a Greek tradition that has endured up until modern times, much of the story is told by the chorus. Every cast member is in the chorus at some point and each steps out of the chorus to play various characters. Even the lead characters, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, take their turns in the chorus, and Jansen even takes a turn as an unnamed guard.The abstract patterns of movement by all of the actors in and around the equally abstract set is choreographed by Katie Lappier and creates an otherworldly mood suitable to a time in which gods interacted in the lives of men and women. There is chanting and poetry from the chorus and both Ivory and Glenn Guhr, who plays Menelaus and Aegisthus, sing separate funeral laments. Ghur’s voice is deep and beautifully controlled while Ivory’s is hauntingly sad and lovely. Jansen’s and Camp’s performances are almost indescribably intense. Jansen, a large man who somehow looks even bigger than he is in this performance, is magisterial and commanding. It is believable that his subjects would look to him as to a god. His expressions of grief and pain are overwhelming. I first saw Jansen in a couple of comedies, Picasso at the Lapin Agileand Take Me Out, and thought he was a natural comedian. And then I discovered upon seeing him in Titus Andronicus (in which he was also paired with Camp) that he can be equally adept at high drama. Camp is also amazing. She begins as likeable and charming but devolves into a hideous person in an acting stint that is spectacular.No makeup artist is listed in the program. I suspect the actors did their own.  Clytemnestra’s blood smeared face and the black makeup around Agamemnon’s eyes are simple and highly effective. The costumes are clearly put together with little or no budget and almost succeed in making contemporary clothing look like clothes worn in ancient Greece. The light gray hoodies worn by the chorus and the women’s gray skirts create an overall ashen look of mystery.The set is a modern art installation of brightly colored twine in cones of light that flow from platforms on the floor to high on the wall. They are strikingly minimalist and highly appropriate to the stylized manner of presentation.Agamemnon is not an easy play to watch. It looks into betrayal and murder and deals unflinchingly with difficult questions or loyalty and justice without providing easy answers. The drama is heavy and unrelenting. But anyone who appreciates fine art should find it fascinating.Congratulations to the cast and crew and especially director Kathryn Philbrook for a job well done.Agamemnon,  Friday.-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m. through June 14, Dukesbay Theater in the Merlino Arts Center, 508 South 6th Ave., Tacoma, $15, $10 students/seniors,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Northwest Christian Track Team Overcomes Adversity During State Championships

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 10:27am



Compiled by Dr. Karl Hoffman for Northwest Christian High School

northwest christian trackThe Northwest Christian High School boys and girls track team got much more than points and places in this year’s State Championships. Despite much adversity, the team responded ultimately responded positively.  In a meet where three of our athletes were tripped and fell on the track, they persevered with encouragement and with positive attitudes and continued to compete with everything they had. Through all of this, the girls team deserves congratulations for their 3rd place finish in State while the boys team had a great improvement over the previous year moving up to an 8th place finish.

Following Abby McSheffrey’s painful fall which resulted in some injuries, she not only got up and finished the race, but came back and ran her 800m preliminary race in a lot of pain later that day. She competed in the 300m hurdles finals the next day.  Throughout her pain, her teammates encouraged her and looked past the points lost as a result of the fall in the relay.  Everyone tried to pick it up elsewhere in the meet.

“Unfortunately, when I fell, we were in second place,” shares Abby in relation to her fall during the anchor leg of the 4 x 200 m relay.  “In the prelim heats, the top three teams in each heat and the next two fastest advance to finals. We were pretty much assured a place into finals at that point.”

northwest christian track“After I finished the race in 7th place, I was in shock of what just happened,” she continues.  “I looked up and saw Megan VanMarter and Megan, my little sister, crying and waiting to help me off the track.   As I was getting cleaned up, I couldn’t understand why all of this had happened. Our relay team had finally had perfect legs and perfect handoffs. The relay girls and I were sitting together waiting for the results.  We were crying and praying together.”

Luke Bredeson was tripped in the 1600m at about the 200m mark, went to the track, got up and did his best to get back into the race. The outcome was not at all what he desired, but he came back the next day with a big PR in the 800m prelims (where yet another fall occurred in front of him, causing him to hurdle another competitor) to make the finals.  Luke then ran a very strong anchor leg on the 4 x 400m relay to post a big PR and get the team into the finals.

Luke Schilter was tripped in the 800m with about 350m to go, rolled, got back up, caught back up to the pack and finished 3rd in the State with the second best time he had ever run.

First time State participant Zeke Taylor was nearly tripped in the 800m and came nearly to a stop to avoid it and still ran very close to his PR.

northwest christian trackCongratulations to the State medal winners:

  • Elizabeth Stottlemyre: 3rd in the Javelin, 7th in the 4 x 400m relay.
  • Lee Thibodeau: 8th in the Triple Jump, 8th in the 4 x 400m Relay.
  • Luke Schilter: 2nd in the 1600m, 2nd in the 3200m, 3rd in the 800m, 8th in the 4 x 400m Relay.
  • Cathy Can: 7th in the 4 x 400m Relay.
  • Connor Beck: 6th in the 800m, 8th in the 4 x 400m Relay.
  • Luke Bredeson: 8th in the 800m, 8th in the 4 x 400m Relay.
  • Corban Phillips: 6th in the 3200m.
  • Megan VanMarter: Tied for 3rd in the High Jump, 7th in the 4 x 400m Relay.
  • Anna Brooks: 5th in the 3200m, 7th in the 1600m, 8th in the 800m.
  • Kiersten Kimminau: 4th in the 3200m, 6th in the 1600m.
  • Ellie Summers: 8th in the 3200m.
  • Heidi Sowers: 2nd in the 300m Hurdles, 2nd in the 100m Hurdles, 6th in the 200m.
  • Abby McSheffrey: 8th in the 300m Hurdles (following the injury in the first race on Saturday morning).
  • Megan McSheffrey: 4th in the 300m Hurdles, 7th in the 4 x 400m relay.
  • Colton Buster finished 10th in the State in the 3200m.
  • Brandon Stickney finished 13th in the State in the 3200m.
  • Levi Schilter finished 14th in State in the 3200m.

northwest christian trackCoach Michael also wants to recognize Austin Teigen who was an alternate on the 4 x 400m Relay but did not run. However, had he not been part of the 6 person relay team (including alternates) and had he not run exceptionally well in the qualifying meets where he stepped in for Luke Schilter, the relay team would not have been in the State meet at all.  The team barely got through the League championships in a very tight finish.

It takes a lot of effort by a lot of people to build and maintain such a quality athletic program as we enjoy at NCHS Track & Field. Thanks goes out to Tad, Larry, Lou and Emilie for their selfless giving of their time, expertise and wisdom. Thanks to the parents for taking care of so many logistics that allows us to focus on the coaching knowing that the athletes have the proper nutrition and shelter at their disposal. Thanks to Doug Stickney for all of the trips driving the bus to the meets. And thanks to the athletes on the team who were not in the meet but made the trip to State to cheer on their teammates and to the NCHS Track & Field alumni who attended the meet to cheer them on – that encouragement is so important.

“It is truly a pleasure to coach such a wonderful group of young adults and to watch them grow and develop physically, mentally and spiritually. They are an inspiration to me as a coach,” says Coach Michaels.

“Our graduating seniors Abby McSheffrey, Anna Brooks, Levi Schilter, Connor Beck, Brandon Stickney and Megan VanMarter will be greatly missed at NCHS but will be a blessing to where ever their next journey takes them,” summarizes Coach Michaels.

“I would go through all of the disappointment and the pain again if it meant bringing glory to the one who gave me my ability,” adds Abby.

Click to view slideshow.

Paint, Steel, Porcelain at Brick & Mortar Gallery

South Sound Arts - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 8:40am

Published in the Weekly Volcano, June 4, 2015
"Lafawnda’s Cancan” oil and copper on canvas by Laura Hanan. Photo courtesy the artistIt makes my heart happy to see that Laura Hanan has re-opened Brick & Mortar Gallery. The once funky little gallery on Pacific at 9th street is now elegant and welcoming and in business again after a hiatus of six years with a selection of Hanan’s paintings plus porcelain wall reliefs by Steve Portteus and steel sculptures by Josh Lippencott.
Both Lippencott and Portteus are showing work that is gift-shoppy and appealing to popular taste but finely crafted and, particularly in the work of Portteus, original in concept. By way of contrast, there is absolutely nothing gift-shoppy in Hanan’s paintings. They pure, bold and unpretentious. They are abstract oil paintings on canvas based on an image of a workbench, a photo of which is projected onto the wall of the gallery.
“My new paintings were inspired by minimal marks left in construction environments such as the stains and scars on a carpenter’s workbench and the paint-splatter left on sidewalk public works barrels,” Hanan said. “The intrinsic beauty in these random marks, textures, contrast, and earth/mineral tones motivated creations of strange, otherworldlylandscapes and creatures.”
Many of her paintings have one or two circular discs made from copper and glued to the surface of the canvas amidst loosely painted organic shapes applied in washes so thin as to soak in and show the weave of the canvas. In contrast to the Helen Frankenthaler-like washes of color are the hard circles and black shapes layered on with thick paint that looks like hot tar. The contrasts of these divergent forms and methods of paint application is bold and startling, yet the different shapes and surfaces blend together into a single whole. This is painting that is gritty, raw and accomplished.The paintings look spontaneous and quickly done, but Hanan confirmed that some of them were re-worked extensively.
Viewers should be able to easily read landscape into her forms, and they may also see reflections of grease and oil and tar soaked into concrete or brick or the surface of the afore-mentioned work bench.
I like all of her paintings, but if asked to pick a favorite it would be “Cryptonic Crusades,” which has a black shape in the center perched atop a white shape. It looks like a black bear on a floating chunk of ice, like a scene of melting ice in the arctic but with a stranded black bear instead of the expected polar bear.
Lippencott’s welded flower sculptures and cut-steel landscapes are technically well done but not original in thought or execution. His two standing steel sculptures are by far his best works in the show.
Portteus’s relief sculptures of landscapes and flowers are quite attractive. The most interesting aspect of his work is the use of little multi-colored balls of clay arranged into fields of color.
“Daisy” is a single flower with white petals and a yellow center on a field of blue, green and olive balls. It has a pop-art sensibility that is refreshing. His best works are “Tide Pool #1” and “High Tide.” The former is a tide pool created from clear epoxy at least an inch deep with star fish and flowers floating on the water and a crab clinging to the rocks. The latter is a field of large clay balls partially submerged in clear epoxy. It is the most abstract of his pieces. It is astonishingly beautiful.
Paint, Steel Porcelain, Tues. and Thurs. 20 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fri.-Sat., noon to 9 p.m. through June 15, Brick & Mortar Gallery, 811 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.591.2727.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 8:02am



It’s the last weekend before summer officially starts.  The “official” start to summer in our house is the minute the last school bell rings next week.  No more bus schedules, lunches to pack or homework papers to finish.  No matter when you celebrate the start of summer (have you checked out this weekend’s weather forecast!?!), ThurstonTalk has all you need to make 2015 an awesome summer to remember.  Check out our full event calendar for things to do around town or rely on our Friday highlights each week.  Cheers!

Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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

North Thurston Public Schools: Making Early Learning a Priority

Thurston Talk - Fri, 06/05/2015 - 6:00am



By Alyssa Ramsfield

north thurston early learning

“Children who come to school without important language, literacy, numeracy, motor, and behavior skills are at a disadvantage for success in the first years of school.” Foundation for Early Learning

Early learning has been proven time and again to be a pinnacle piece in a child’s education. North Thurston Public Schools has heard this message loud and clear. The North Thurston Public Schools Early Learning Centers and the new Family Partnership Center provide necessary services to our youngest Thurston County residents.

“The time from birth to age 5 is when the brain develops rapidly, so education during those years is essential to success in school,” explains Debby Gaffney, a former kindergarten teacher and Director of Early Learning for North Thurston Public Schools. “That’s when we learn and grow those necessary skills for life. We are working on providing those cognitive skills necessary to be a productive citizen in the future.”

Early learning has always been a strong priority for North Thurston Public Schools, but more so recently under the leadership of Superintendent Raj Manhas, who made it a district goal in 2009. “We know from research that early learning is vital for success in school. The more we can help educate parents earlier the better for the children involved, in terms of brain development, success in school and positive behaviors. It needs to be a community effort and we are proud to do our part,” says Manhas.

The Family Partnership Center is one example of where this is happening. Located in a former childcare center near North Thurston High School, the Center is home to the Early Intervention Program that provides services to families with children birth to age 3 who qualify.

“Early learning has really become a passion in our district,” says Gaffney. “There are about 2,000 days between birth and the first day of kindergarten. We need to maximize that time. Studies show that 85 percent of the human brain develops between birth and 3 years of age. Anything we can do as a community to promote growth we need to do.”

north thurston early learning

“Early learning has really become a passion in our district,” says Debby Gaffney, Director of Early Learning for North Thurston Public Schools.

Currently about 113 children are enrolled. South Sound Parent to Parent is the lead agency for this group. Parent/toddler groups meet daily at the Center to work with their children to develop skills and work with early learning educators. The district Early Childhood Assessment team is also located at the Center. This team provides assessment services for children ages 3 – 5 who reside within the district boundaries.

Throughout the district, there are currently about 250 students enrolled in NTPS preschool classes. In an effort to free up more classrooms across the district and consolidate preschool services in several locations, the district opened an Early Childhood Center this year at Meadows Elementary with five preschool classrooms.  This move helps staff to enhance their service model.

“The ability to collaborate in person with therapists and other teachers simply by stopping by their classroom has been invaluable. It is convenient and time-saving to share preschool-themed resources and materials with my colleagues, as well,” said Stacey Smith, a preschool teacher at Meadows. She credits the district with the vision to create the centralized locations designed specifically with students’ and staff needs in mind. “A lot of thought went into this…down to a reinforced beam for an Occupational Therapy swing in each center, pull-down changing tables in each classroom’s bathroom, and a sanitizing dishwasher in each center for toys and snack dishes. Early learning is the place to be.”

north thurston early learning

Throughout North Thurston Public Schools, more than 250 students are enrolled in preschool classes.

The Meadows ECC joins Seven Oaks which already has three preschool classrooms.   Another center with five preschools is scheduled to open in the fall at Mountain View. These preschool classrooms allow for many necessary programs. “Having classrooms that are designed for preschoolers allows children to grow and learn in a developmentally appropriate environment,” Gaffney said. “Children get the opportunity to build important skills with kids their own age in a cohesive learning environment that they may not get through other programs.” Cognitive skills, fine motor skills and social skills are just a few of the abilities taught throughout the daily routine.

Families from different parts of the district agree that the focus on early learning is a blessing for their children’s education. “The developmental preschool program at Meadows Elementary has exceeded my expectations this year.  Not only has my son made friends and interacted with a variety of kids from different backgrounds, he has thrived academically, socially, emotionally, and developmentally,” said mother Genevieve Matokovic.

“His academic success has been exponential, but it has been his growth socially and emotionally that has truly amazed me,” continues Matokovic. “I see huge leaps in how he interacts with his peers and siblings at home as well as developmentally.  This along with the amazing and caring staff, I wholeheartedly recommend this program to future families of preschoolers.  My four-year-old has thrived and blossomed into a curious, confident, compassionate, and passionate five year old excited about learning and more than ready for Kindergarten in the fall.  Way to go Meadows!”

For information about North Thurston Public Schools’ early childhood education programs, visit North Thurston Public Schools online.

North Thurston Public Schools staff contributed to this article.

Tilson Is a Man Who Rocks!

K Records - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 3:29pm
Last week Emily Nokes and Bree McKenna profiled “Men Who Rock II” in The Stranger (a Seattle, WA weekly newspaper). Included are several fine, upstanding young fellows (including Kenneth Piekarski of Off Tempo and Slashed Tires!). Of particular interest to the discerning K-o-phile is the inclusion of Tilson, NW hip hop enigma (you must scroll […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Sixties Chicks Too

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 2:37pm
Event:  Sun, 06/21/2015 - 2:00pm

A Musical Celebration at Harlequin Productions

 On June 18, Harlequin Productions opens Sixties Chicks Too, a musical celebration of the 1960’s greatest female singers and songwriters. This Harlequin original musical runs through July 19 at the State Theater in downtown Olympia.

The show features songs by such artists as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, The Supremes, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and more. 

The cast includes Harlequin veterans Stacie Calkins (A Rock’n’Roll Twelfth Night), LaVon Hardison (Clybourne Park, Intimate Apparel, the 2009 staging of Sixties Chicks, and multiple Stardust musicals), and Amy Shephard (Or, The Stardust Christmas BlizzardThe Stardust Christmas Commotion) plus newcomer to the Harlequin stage, Gretchen Boyt. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Sixties Chicks Too

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 2:34pm
Event:  Thu, 06/18/2015 - 8:00pm

A Musical Celebration at Harlequin Productions

 On June 18, Harlequin Productions opens Sixties Chicks Too, a musical celebration of the 1960’s greatest female singers and songwriters. This Harlequin original musical runs through July 19 at the State Theater in downtown Olympia.

The show features songs by such artists as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, The Supremes, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and more. 

The cast includes Harlequin veterans Stacie Calkins (A Rock’n’Roll Twelfth Night), LaVon Hardison (Clybourne Park, Intimate Apparel, the 2009 staging of Sixties Chicks, and multiple Stardust musicals), and Amy Shephard (Or, The Stardust Christmas Blizzard, The Stardust Christmas Commotion) plus newcomer to the Harlequin stage, Gretchen Boyt.

   WHO:               Harlequin Productions logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Apply for WIN! Youth Service Projects by June 15

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:59pm



Submitted by Thurston County Water Resources Division

WIN Youth Service Project

Local youth groups can earn $300 for environmental restoration projects      

The  is now taking applications from local youth groups and clubs for 2015 projects with the Work Involvement Now program—WIN! But hurry, project applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, June 15.

Local non-profit youth groups and clubs that receive approval for their WIN! project and provide a minimum of 40 total hours of labor will earn a $300 stipend. Groups must have a minimum of 10 youth participants who are between 10 and 18 years old, and groups must show sufficient adult leadership to be eligible to apply.

The WIN! program engages youth groups to help protect local water resources, including area creeks, streams, parks and Puget Sound. Typical projects will involve trail maintenance and pruning, spreading wood chips, removing invasive weeds, and planting native trees and shrubs. Tools and supplies are provided for projects, which typically are done on weekends.

There are a limited number of project slots available for 2015, so youth groups are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To download a WIN! program application, go to For more information about the WIN! program, contact Chris Maun, Thurston County Water Resources Education Specialist, at or (360) 754-3355 ext.6377.


Salish Sea Native Arts Celebration Brings Regional Native Arts, Canoe Families and Food Vendors to Olympia

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:55pm



Submitted by Erin Genia for The Evergreen State College Longhouse Education and Cultural Center

salish sea native arts

Carving, weaving, and other fine arts vendors will be on display at the Salish Sea Native Arts Celebration.  Photo credit: Laura Grabhorn.

At the meeting site of waterways and trails, Budd Inlet, known to the Squaxin Island Tribe as Steh-Chass, has historically been a place of trade. Coast Salish tribes, including Squaxin and Nisqually tribes lived and traded here for thousands of years. After American settlement, Salish people continued to trade here with settlers. Today, the port is an economic generator for the city.

This year, the Salish Sea Native Arts Celebration aims to pay tribute to this history by bringing regional Native artists, canoe families and food vendors to the Port of Olympia’s Swantown Marina at 1022 Marine Drive, NE in Olympia to revitalize Budd Inlet’s Native culture and trading heritage.  The event will take place at June 27 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

In 2012, the Squaxin Island Tribe hosted the annual canoe journey. Scores of Tribal canoe families hailing from across the region, Canada and Alaska paddled to Budd Inlet that brought an estimated 12,000 people together. Building off the excitement generated by the “Paddle to Squaxin,” this year’s Salish Sea Native Arts Celebration will bring traditional cedar canoes to Swantown Marina once more, share culture and honor past, present and future generations. Chris Sigo (Squaxin Island) said, “In upholding the Native tradition of hospitality and intertribal sharing, we are pleased to announce the participation of Coast Salish canoes from a number of neighboring tribes. This is a rare opportunity to see tribal paddlers display their renowned skill in canoe travel as they prepare for summer journeys to Potlatch with tribes throughout the Northwest and Western Canada.”

The event will highlight contemporary Coast Salish artists who work in a variety of mediums. Some of the invited artists are: Patti Puhn (Squaxin Island) who is a master weaver and recently completed an artist residency in New Zealand, Dan Friday (Lummi), a glass artist who has taught workshops at Pilchuck Glass School and the Museum of Glass, and John Smith (Skokomish) a prolific wood carver and canoe maker and teacher based in Shelton. These artists and others will be on hand to show and sell their unique, high quality work. All artists are selling original works featuring their own artistic vision and designs.

salish sea native

Canoe Families will be sharing songs throughout the event.  Photo credit: Laura Grabhorn.

Visitors can also look forward to dining options from Native food vendors, sampling a variety of tasty treats as they browse fine art booths, watch a performance by the “Little Wolves” youth theater troupe and view canoes on the water. Canoe Familes will be sharing songs throughout the day and Lower Elwha Klallam artist Roger Fernandes will be sharing stories at 3:30 p.m. The event is family-friendly, open to the public and free.

The Squaxin Island Tribe and the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center are partners in the National Endowment for the ArtsOur Town” 2015 creative placemaking program. The program brings partners together to strategically shape the social, physical, and economic character of a locale around arts and cultural activities.

“We are pleased that Our Town gives the Longhouse an opportunity to build on and strengthen the long-term partnership that Evergreen has enjoyed with the Squaxin Island Tribe over the years. We always remember how strongly members of the Squaxin Island Tribe supported the dream of a Longhouse on the campus at Evergreen,” says Longhouse director, Tina Kuckkahn-Miller. The NEA Our Town initiative also provided support during the 2012 Paddle to Squaxin Canoe Journey.


Mason County Realtor Named Washington Realtor of the Year

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 1:22pm



Submitted by Barb Lally for Mason County Association of REALTORS®

Rob Drexler was named the “Realtor of the Year” by the Washington Association of Realtors.

Rob Drexler was named the “Realtor of the Year” by the Washington Association of Realtors.

Mason County Realtor Rob Drexler was recently named the “Realtor of the Year” by the Washington Association of Realtors, the highest honor awarded by the trade organization of more than 17,000 members.

Drexler received the award on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at a ceremony during Washington Realtors’ annual Spring Business Conference held in Vancouver, Wash. The event was attended by hundreds of Realtors from around the state, including a delegation from Mason County.

“This award is a great distinction in our industry in Washington,” said Richard Beckman, president of the Mason County Association of Realtors and owner of Richard Beckman Realty Group, LLC in Shelton. “Rob has dedicated himself to working tirelessly for fellow Realtors and property owners and is a sterling example of volunteerism in our communities in Mason County.”

Currently the co-owner of John L. Scott Real Estate – Belfair, an office of 13 brokers serving Allyn, Belfair and Shelton, Drexler has been a real estate broker for 12 years and was selected for the award from among several other candidates from across the state.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather,” says Drexler about his reaction to the announcement. “Like so many Realtors, I don’t volunteer for the recognition but because I care deeply about the quality of life in our community. The award comes from an organization of peers that I highly respect and it left me dumbfounded.”

A retired U.S. Navy Master Chief petty officer, Drexler is an active member of Washington Realtors’ legislative steering committee that determines association positions on real estate issues considered in Olympia.

Drexler is a past president of Mason County Association of Realtors. He has received national recognition for his work to initiate its Quality of Life committee, a program that guides the local association’s work to protect property, property owners and communities.

Locally, Drexler has been a Mason County planning commissioner and is currently the chair of the Mason County Economic Development Council and the vice chair of the Mason County Planning Advisory committee as well as the Mason County Belfair Sewer Advisory committee.

He volunteers for the Allyn Community Association, the North Mason Chamber of Commerce and various local charitable organizations.

“Rob is well known in our area as someone who goes above and beyond,” adds Beckman. “He is an example to all of us.”

The Mason County Association of Realtors is organized for the benefit of its members to advance the business interests of its membership, to promote and preserve private property rights, and to uphold and enforce the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.


Olympia High School Students Find Experience and Friendship with Oly Bear Preschool

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 12:42pm



By Sara Hollar, Olympia High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Hometown logoOlympia High School students spend their school day surrounded by peers. They are submerged deep into a world of schoolwork, tests and teenage obstacles. However, for one period a day, the students enrolled in OHS’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) class are catapulted back into preschool.

The Oly Bear Preschool and their Early Childhood Education buddies celebrate Valentine's Day together.

The Oly Bear Preschool and their Early Childhood Education buddies celebrate Valentine’s Day together.

The Early Childhood Education class, taught by Katie Turcotte, was created to give students a first-hand experience with the development and care of young children.  When they spend time in the Oly Bear Preschool at Olympia High School, ECE students are not just reviewing the days of the week or how to hold a pencil, they are forming meaningful bonds with their preschool buddies and learning skills that will last a lifetime.

Early Childhood Education students split their time between the classroom and the preschool, alternating in two week rotations. Days in the classroom are for important lessons, including worksheets, projects and activities centered on childhood development and proper care. The other half of the time, ECE students are one door down from their classroom, where they are matched up as “buddies” to the three-, four- and five-year-old children in the Oly Bear Preschool.

The high school and preschool students spend their time together in various ways, often making crafts or playing games. The preschoolers are able to work one-on-one with their buddies at improving skills such as pre-reading and writing techniques or fine motor manipulations. For young children, the full attention of an older person during school hours can be very valuable. But there is plenty of playtime added in, too. This free time especially allows preschoolers and buddies to create mutually significant relationships.

Jessica McGregor (left) and Hope Dorris smile with their preschool buddy Madison at Hands On Children's Museum.

Jessica McGregor (left) and Hope Dorris smile with their preschool buddy Madison at the Hands On Children’s Museum.

Megan Temple is in her second year as the director of Oly Bear Preschool. She and Turcotte work together to make ECE a great experience for all of the students involved. Temple says one of her favorite parts of the job is watching the preschool and high school students get to know each other and then growing because of that connection.

“The preschoolers get the experience of having an older buddy, someone who teaches them and plays with them and they can look up to as a role model. A lot of high school students may not have been in that mentorship role, so it’s really great to see them step into those shoes and have a positive influence on someone else’s life, especially at such young ages themselves,” Temple states.

Many ECE students are looking toward careers in teaching or child care in the future and they revel in the skills that they’re learning every day in the classroom and preschool. OHS and ECE student Christine McIntosh wants to be involved in speech pathology or teaching so she took the class to try to increase her comfort around children. Not only does she feel much more relaxed and confident with kids, but McIntosh finds ECE is a constant source of entertainment.

“I love spending time with my preschooler. I always go home with stories, there’s always something to tell about the preschool,” she laughs.

Sophomore Hope Dorris has learned patience in ECE above all else. She understands the value of regular interaction with a young child to realize that everyone needs their own space to express how they feel.

“ECE has helped a lot with my patience and letting the kids grow. It’s about being gentle and affirming. Validating whatever they feel the need to do has really been important. Teaching them to be creative and think outside the box is the goal. I’m learning to be constructive without being too harsh and to teach kids how to do something without telling them what to do,” Dorris says.

oly bear preschool

ECE students accompany Oly Bears preschool kids on a field trip to the Hands On Children’s Museum.

Some of the happiest hours that the Oly Bear preschoolers and their buddies spend together aren’t in the classroom, but on the field trips the classes take to Lattin’s Cider Mill and the Hands On Children’s Museum. One of ECE student Cullen Crowe’s favorite memories of the school year was the visit to HOCM. Crowe loves working with children and already volunteers at the Museum so he was very excited to share the experience with his Oly Bear buddy.

There are OHS students who love ECE so much that they want more than one year of it. Students who have already completed ECE can become Advanced Oly Bear students, functioning as teacher’s assistants for Temple and Turcotte. Advanced students take on more responsibility such as helping with lesson plans, making snacks and reading stories. Several teens have spent all four years at OHS as ECE or Advanced Oly Bear students.

The primary goal for Oly Bear Preschool and the high school students who visit is to maintain an atmosphere of joy, learning and creativity. OHS buddies and their preschoolers are genuinely glad to see each other day in and day out.  Temple says she wants nothing less than for the classroom to be “a happy place.”

“I make one guarantee in my work life and it’s that the hour that you spend in Oly Bear as a high school student will the happiest and most fun hour of your day,” Temple promises.

Volunteer Summit: Bringing Organizations and Volunteers Together

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 12:13pm



Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is partnering with United Way’s Volunteer Connection and the Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau to host a Volunteer Summit on June 17 from 3-7 p.m.

Looking for your next community service project? Need volunteer hours for school but aren’t sure where to start? Or are you just plain excited about involving yourself in your awesome community? Mark your calendar for June 17 and come learn how you can make a tangible difference in this world through partnering with one of the diverse non-profits in Thurston County.

Come join us in experiencing the rich and unique volunteer culture of Thurston County. There will be representatives from avenues such as theater, housing services, child and youth mentorship and care, as well as many other genres. These organizations are excited and motivated to educate the attendees on the myriad of opportunities available.

Light snack and beverages will be provided.


Who: United Way, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau

What: Volunteer Summit

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

When: June 17 from 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

Why: To give back to your community through service


Sara Kukkonen at the United Way

Chad Carpenter at the Washington Center

Charles Clapp at the OLT VCB


Lacey Alternate Watering Schedule Begins June 1

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 11:50am



Submitted by The City of Lacey

LawnLacey water customers will follow an alternate day watering schedule for their yards and outdoor landscapes beginning Monday, June 1, 2015. Alternate day watering is mandatory for all Lacey water customers during the months of June, July, August, and September.

The Lacey City Council approved the watering policy in 2006, as an effort to reduce peak water demand during the summer. Lacey’s water usage has exceeded 13 million gallons per day during summer months compared with only five million gallons per day in the winter.

Water customers with addresses ending with an odd number (i.e., 1, 3, 5, 7, & 9) may water Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday. Addresses ending with an even number (i.e., 0, 2, 4, 6, & 8) may water on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Friday is a non-watering day for all Lacey water customers.

Scheduled watering applies to turf (grass), annual and perennial ornamental flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, and any other landscaping plant material that is regularly maintained outside of a residence or commercial building. Water used for other purposes such as pools, pressure washing, outdoor potted plants, hanging baskets, and plants inside greenhouses are not currently restricted by this policy. Lacey water customers failing to follow the alternate day watering schedule will receive a warning. Repeated violations could ultimately lead to service being discontinued.

Yard PhotoThe water policy does allow limited exemptions. For example, newly seeded lawns, newly installed landscapes, and publicly-owned facilities with active playfields may be watered more frequently. To obtain an exemption under the alternate day watering schedule, customers must contact Lacey Water Resources.

On May 15, 2015 Governor Inslee declared a drought emergency for Washington State. Lacey does not anticipate water shortages in the near future nor does it anticipate a need to enforce water conservation measures or place restrictions on water use because of the 2015 drought emergency. Regardless, Lacey Water Resources encourages all of its customers to conserve water both indoors and outdoors. Lacey Water Resources requires all customers to follow the odd-even watering policy, which is designed to limit peak water demand, June 1 through September 30.

For more information regarding the alternate day watering policy, please contact Lacey Water Resources at (360) 438-2687, or by email at Information is also available on the city’s website at

Come to the Cabaret at TLT

South Sound Arts - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 9:21am

Posted on The News Tribune
Mauro Bozzo, center, plays the emcee in Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of “Cabaret.” He is surrounded by dancers, from left, LaNita Hudson, Haley Kim, Kathy Kluska and Amanda Jackson. Courtesy DK Photography
Read more here:
Stated as succinctly as possible, I love “Cabaret.” It is one of the greatest of modern musical theater productions. Whether done on Broadway or in a community theater, it is a knockout – funny, titillating, and heart wrenching. Combining hedonism run amok with one of the most horrific events in human history and setting it to music makes for theater that grabs the mind and heart.
The staging of “Cabaret” at Tacoma Little Theatre is as good as any production I’ve ever seen. The music, the acting, the costumes and choreography are outstanding, and the icing on the cake is that director John Munn has added some surprisingly effective twists to this well-known show.Elise Campello as Sally Bowles. Courtesy DK PhotographyIt is Berlin 1931. Hitler is coming into power. The Kit Kat Klub revels in decadence with performances by showgirls and boys that celebrate lewdness. The headliner at the Kit Kat is English showgirl Sally Bowles (Elise Campello), who makes no bones about having slept her way into a showbiz career. An expatriate American writer, Cliff Bradshaw (Niclas R. Olson) comes to Berlin and gets involved in the seedy life of Berlin’s bohemian scene and falls in love with Sally. As they try to navigate the ups and downs of love and life, the Nazi juggernaut comes to power. Cliff sees that the Nazis are a threat to them and their friends, but Sally and many of the others shrug it off.
The emcee at the Kit Kat (Mauro Bozzo) stirs the already boiling pot.
Bozzo is sassy and flirtatious as the naughty emcee. His holds the audience in his hand from the rousing opening number, “Willkommen” through the sexy “Two Ladies” and the absurdly comical “If You Could See Her (through my eyes),” which makes a powerful political point disguised as pure silliness. Bozzo is simply marvelous both as an actor and as a singer.
Campello plays Sally Bowles as a lurid and brazen sexpot with undertones of sweetness and even naiveté – undertones that are skillfully conveyed not so much with her words but with her expression. Her brashness in songs like “Mein Herr” and “Don’t Tell Mama” perfectly complement the emcee’s risqué demeanor. She elevates brazen sexiness to high comedy and then becomes achingly serious with the sadness and longing of the song, “Maybe This Time,” expressing self-doubt in private that she can never show publicly. And she reveals shocking raw anger and hurt in the final version of the title song.
Rosalie Hilburn as Fraulein Schneider and Joseph Grant as Herr Schultz capture our hearts in the subplot centering on their love affair. Both are charming and delightful, and they break our hearts. The tenderest of moments in the developing love story between these two elderly Germans is when they sing “It Couldn’t Please Me More (the pineapple song). In the midst of this sweet love song they stop singing and pantomime the actions of the elderly lovers as the song continues offstage, sung by Rachel Fitzgerald, who is also hilarious as the happiest of hookers, Fraulein Kost.
The book by Joe Masteroff skillfully weaves together raunchy good times and the looming terror of Nazism’s rise to power, intensified by the music of the great songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Adding significantly to the devil-may-care atmosphere of the Kit Kat Klub are the scantily dressed Kit Kat Girls (Amanda Jackson, LaNita Hudson, Haley Kim and Kathy Kluska) whose dancing to Lexi Barnett’s choreography is acrobatic and comical. Also adding significantly to the air of decadence are the costumes by Michele Graves.
The house was full the night I went, and I suspect it will be every night of this show, so call for tickets as early as possible.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. Sunday through June 14WHERE: Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N “I” St., TacomaTICKETS: $22-$15INFORMATION: 253-272-2281,

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

2015 Olympia Comics Festival: Vive La Difference!

Thurston Talk - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 7:33am



Submitted by The Olympia Comics Festival 

Olympia Comics festival ExpoThe 2015 Olympia Comics Festival will take place on Saturday, June 6.  This festival represents Olympia celebrating  the creativity of comics and graphic literature in its own oddball way.  The Olympia Comics Festival brings together cartoonists and comics aficionados from all over the Pacific Northwest to focus on the art of comics.  This event is not about Hollywood, corporate merchandising, or how much cash some old (but lousy) comic magazine is going for.  The Olympia Comics Festival is about creators making comics that are as good or better than work found in any other medium.

The Olympia Comics Festival is also unusual in the access it creates for readers to creators.  It’s a very social event, and accessible to those casually interested, as well as those deeply involved with the medium.  This event is all about meeting both local cartoonists as well as the more famous guests.  The expo portion in particular is a great introduction to alternative comics and is completely free to the public.

Our fifteenth annual festival will include a stage-show at The Capitol Theater, a Cartoonists Expo at The Olympia Center, and a signing with the Guests of Honor at Danger Room Comics.

Olympia Comics Festival Stage ShowThe Comix Stage-show:

The festival kicks off with a stage presentation at the Capitol Theater downtown (206 E. 5th Ave.).  This event will include a round-table interview with the Guests of Honor, dramatic interpretations of terrible comics, various short presentations, and stand-up comedy.  The stage-show tends to be very goofy and entertaining for all comics fans.   Attendance cost for the stage-show is $6 at the door or folks may purchase the tickets in advance at Danger Room Comics (201 W 4th Ave.).  This event will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with doors opening at 10:30 a.m.

The Cartoonists Expo:

Following the stage presentation will be a Cartooning Expo.  This will take place at The Olympia Center (222 Columbia N) just a few blocks from the theater.  The expo will last from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM.  The expo is an informal event where cartoonists from near and far will display their work and chat with members of the public.   The public will also be invited to vote on which comic they think is the Best in Show. This portion of the festival is free to the public and is perfect for anyone the least bit curious about comics to come on down and check it out.

Various panels and other events will run concurrently with the expo and will also take place at The Olympia Center.

Our Guests of Honor this year are Eric Shanower, Farel Dalrymple, and Jason Little.  The guests will be participating in the stage show, taking part in panels during the expo, and signing books at Danger Room Comics.  The signing will begin at 6:00 PM and last until 8:00 p.m.  Danger Room Comics is at 201 W. 4th Avenue, on the corner of 4th and Columbia.

Guest Of Honor bios:

Farel Dalrymple is an eerily talented artist and writer, known for his work on his creator-owned comics titles The Wrenchies, It Will All Hurt, and Pop Gun War, the Image Comics series Prophet, Omega The Unknown (with writer Jonathan Lethem), and his rugged fashion sense.  He has won the Xeric Grant and a Society Of Illustrators Gold Medal, and been nominated for the Eisner and Russ Manning Awards.  We are very pleased to host him as a Guest Of Honor!

Olympia Comics festival Expo1Jason Little is a delightful cartoonist known his comics Motel Art Improvement Service, Shutterbug Follies, Jack’s Luck Runs Out, and the upcoming Borb.  His work is pure sugar for the mind.  Little teaches at the School Of Visual Arts, and is a recipient of  the Ignatz Award and the Xeric Grant.  We are delighted to be able to bring him in all the way from New York to be a Guest Of Honor.

Eric Shanower is a wonderful writer and illustrator and veteran of the comics industry.  His work includes a wide swath of genre and subject matter, with highlights including Age Of Bronze, his various Oz books, The Fall (with writer Ed Brubaker), Little Nemo in Slumberland, and his work in Fantagraphics’ LGBT anthology No Straight Lines.  Shanower has won the Eisner Award and been nominated for the Ignatz.  Shanower may be the only cartoonist to ever get a glowing review in Archaeology Magazine.  We’ve wanted to nab Eric as a guest for a few years now, so we are delighted that he’ll be joining us as a Guest Of Honor!


The fifteenth annual Olympia Comics Festival will take place on Saturday, June 6 in Olympia, Washington.  Attendance cost for the stage-show is $6 at the door. There is no attendance cost for the expo, the panels, or the signings at Danger Room Comics.  Please check our website at or send an email to for more information.


You know what guys? All the good ideas fell through for today. So, here's a story about a barber that I already wrote

Olympia Time - Thu, 06/04/2015 - 5:55am
This is one of my favorite all time stories I've written for Thurston Talk. Its politics and barbers.

Seriously, that was a thing once:

By the fall, Gov. Mead traveled to Spokane, hearing the wrath of Spokane barbers and their local backers. He promptly sent Collins a telegram asking him to resign. From the Daily Olympian on October 5, 1907: “The governor’s telegram so implied and Mr. Collins, nor his friends know of any reason why his services as a member of the board have not been satisfactory. Mr. Collins is reported to be cogitating the matter and nursing his wrath, but while some of his friends have advised him to refuse to resign, he will probably comply with the governor’s request.” Collins refused. From the Seattle Times, October 10, 1907: “The Olympian man sent back a message just as promptly and just as emphatically and declined absolutely to tender his resignation.” For over a month Spokane barbers and politicians pushed on Mead until November 17, 1907 when he finally pushed Collins off the board. From the Seattle Times, November 17, 1907: “The governor and Collins have been having a regular battledoor and shuttlecock game for several weeks past. When Gov. Mead returned to Olympia he took the matter up with Collins personally and urged him to file his resignation. Collins, acting on the advice of his friends and backers, particularly the labor unions of Olympia… still persisted in his refusal to resign. The governor assured him, he says, that the request made was not at all personal, but that political conditions made it necessary to give the three large cities of the state the membership of the board. The two men were entirely friendly in their numerous conferences.”Read the entire thing here.

Yoram Bauman in Olympia

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 11:48pm
Event:  Wed, 06/17/2015 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Environmental economist, author, and stand-up comedian Dr. Yoram Bauman - the principal organizer of Carbon Washington's Initiative 732, which would help slow global warming without raising taxes - will be in Olympia Wednesday, June 17th.

Yoram is the author (with illustrator Grady Kline) of The Cartoon Introduction to Microeconomics (now translated into 14 languages), The Cartoon Introduction to Macroeconomics (now translated into 10) and The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change (just out!). The YouTube videos from his shows now have had over a million views.

He'll be interviewed for Dick Pust's "Saturday Morning Conversations" show on MIXX 96, and talk about carbon pricing and Initiative 732 at 6:00 PM, with opening music by the Artesian Rumble Arkestra... (It's at the Unitarian Universalist church, 2315 Division St NW, but you get to the parking lot by turning left off Division onto 20th/Elliot Ave where the Handy Pantry used to be, and then turning right on East End St.)

In case you haven't heard, or signed it already - Initiative 732 would cut the state sales tax by one percent, basically get rid of the B&O tax for manufacturing, give a tax rebate to 400,000 working families, and then raise the same amount of money for the State budget by taxing fossil fuels. It’s an even tax swap - it taxes things we’d like more of less, and taxes something we’d like less of (CO2 pollution) more. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Concern for Animals Seeks Help for a Large Number of Abandoned Bunnies

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 4:19pm



Submitted by Barb Lally for Concern for Animals

animal rescue olympia

Help is needed to care for these abandoned bunnies.

Concern for Animals is seeking assistance for a local resident living near an abandoned “bunny factory” who is trying to help a large number of bunnies that have been released in the area.

The woman resident, who is unemployed and disabled, has spent a considerable amount of her own money helping the animals and has reached out to organizations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Only Thurston County’s Concern for Animals has responded.

The resident is currently caring for 28 bunnies, 23 of which are babies under 12 weeks old. She estimates there are as many as a dozen bunnies still outside, two of which are adults that continue to breed. Right now she is housing the animals in various bins and crates in a converted storage unit where the space is cramped. The bunnies that are still out and breeding, need to be captured. The woman trying to care of the animals says she has raised about $600 and is willing to put it all towards spay or neuter procedures, but help is needed to get them all spayed, neutered and adopted out.

animal rescue olympia

Almost 30 bunnies were abandoned. Help is needed to care for these animals.

“We are doing the best we can to help with some supplies—food, bedding, bunny crates— but the situation is overwhelming,” says Sarah Hinman executive assistant to the Concern for Animals Board. “We’re hoping that people’s generosity will include Del’s Feed And Farm Supply gift cards so we can purchase supplies. We have found an organization that will do the surgical procedures but they will cost $70 for each male, $80 for each female, so we need help there as well.”

Individuals or organizations willing to help should contact Sarah Hinman at Concern for Animals by calling (253) 394-2872 or email her at

Ingersoll Stadium to Close this Summer for New Field Turf Installation

Thurston Talk - Wed, 06/03/2015 - 2:10pm


Submitted by The Olympia School District

spaghetti bowl 2013Ingersoll Stadium will close June 15, 2015 for the installation of new field turf. The stadium is expected to re-open in late August. During the closure, there will be no public access to Ingersoll Stadium, including key card access, due to the work that will be ongoing across the entire turf area and staging of the work in the area along the track.

The new turf will replace an 11-year-old surface that has exceeded its eight-year life span. The surface has become uneven, and there are bare spots without any turf covering, numerous patches prone to coming lose, and tripping hazards. The turf also needs additional cushion, as it has worn down over the years.

Work will include removing the current turf, leveling the underlying surface, laying the new turf, adding the markings, allowing it to sit and settle, and then re-checking the surface to see if it needs any final alterations before re-opening the stadium for student and public use. The Olympia School District will make use of the time to conduct additional projects inside the stadium, including painting goal posts, installing new signs and painting ticket booths.

“We would like to thank students, families and citizens for their patience as the school district undertakes this important safety project,” said Rebecca Japhet, Communications and Community Relations Director for the Olympia School District. “We will keep people updated via the district’s web site and social media as the turf project nears completion and we are able to re-open the stadium.”

The cost of the new Ingersoll Stadium turf is $524,000. Funding for the project will come from the district’s Capital fund.

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