Recent local blog posts

Ziya Laura – Local Young Lady to Compete for Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Tacoma/Seattle Pageant

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 3:41pm



Submitted by Adrienne Cherry

miss jr. preteenZiya Laura of Olympia was recently selected to participate in the 2014 Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Tacoma/Seattle pageant competition that will take place on Saturday, October 11, 2014.  Ziya learned of her acceptance into this year’s competition when the pageant announced their selections following interviewing in the local Tacoma/Seattle area.  Ziya submitted an application and took part in an interview session that was conducted by this year’s Tacoma/Seattle Pageant Coordinator.

Ziya will be competing, for her share of thousands of dollars in prizes and specialty gifts that will be distributed to contestants. Ziya will be competing in the Miss Jr. Pre-Teen division, one of four divisions that will have young ladies ages 7 and 19 competing in modeling routines, which include casual wear and formal wear.  Most important, Ziya will display her personality and interviewing skills while interviewing with this year’s Tacoma/Seattle judging panel.  Personality is the number one aspect that each contestant is judged on during all phases of competition.

If Ziya were to win the title of Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Tacoma/Seattle, she would represent Tacoma/Seattle and the surrounding communities at the National Competition that will take place in Orlando, Florida.  Over $30,000.00 in prizes and awards will be presented at the National Competition while each winner enjoys this expense paid trip of five nights and six days in Orlando, Florida.

Community businesses, organizations, and private individuals will assist Ziya in participating in this year’s competition by becoming an official sponsor to her.  Through sponsorship, each contestant receives all the necessary training, rehearsals, and financial support which will allow Ziya to become a very confident and well-prepared contestant in this year’s Tacoma/Seattle Pageant.

Ziya sends her thanks to her local sponsors – Elly Molina, did, inc., McLendons Hardware, and Vision Health.

Emily Abendroth: Wednesday, October 15th, 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 2:05pm
Headshot PicEmily Abendroth is a poet, teacher and anti-prison activist. Much of her creative work attempts to investigate state regimes of force and power, as well as individual and collective resistance strategies to the same. Her poetry book, ]Exclosures[, was just released from AEmily AbendrothPress this May. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna (New York), Horse Less Press (Denver), Little Red Leaves (Texas), Albion Press (Philadelphia), and Zumbar Press (San Francisco). She is an active organizer with Decarcerate PA (a grassroots campaign working to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania) and is co-founder of Address This! (an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania).
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 018

K Records - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:12pm
 The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. As the repository of all things uniquely K, the Pink Elephant’s Graveyard is pleased to explore the new Northwest hip-hop compilation, All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255].All Your Friend’s Friends is produced entirely off of samples pulled from the catalogue of said legendary K. Featuring 30 […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

High School Students From Across The State Coming to Olympia For A State Leadership Conference

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 11:10am



By Gail Wood

dairy queenAbout 900 high school students from across the state will come to Olympia for a three-day leadership conference Friday, sharing insights to fundraisers, helping-hand projects like food drives and other community service events.

The objective is to learn from others.

“Our theme this year is capitalizing on leadership,” said Tyler Bonnell, the ASB president at Olympia High School. “What we’re hoping to do is build networking connections between all the schools.”

olympia high school

Olympia School District students are excited to host the Association of Washington Student Leaders.

It’s the first time in over 20 years that Olympia has hosted the leadership conference, which is now called the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL) Conference. Two years ago, Olympia applied to host the conference and got the go ahead last November.

“We’ve been planning for it ever since,” said Angel Elam, the Capital High School activities director who also teaches leadership. “It’s a full year of planning.”

In addition to sharing insights on how to do certain projects and events, there will also be four motivational speakers coming to share about the values and qualities of leadership.

“If we can learn what they’re doing well in their own communities and see what works, that will help everyone,” Bonnell said. “The networking is a big part of this conference. But we’re here to also learn about leadership philosophy, to hear the different philosophies of the keynote speakers.”

olympia high school

Over 900 students will arrive in Olympia this weekend for a leadership conference.

Speaking at the three-day conference that begins Friday will be Jeff Yalden, a tell-it-like-it-is youth motivational speaker, and Scott Backovich, who says his objective is to connect with students and not talk at them.

Also speaking will be will Stu Cabe and Geoff McLachlan. In 2004, Cabe started the Ovation Company, which stands up for good. McLachlan, who recently joined the Idaho Drug Free Youth team in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, says he couples a youthful approach to life  with an “old world charm” that makes speaking and teaching a good fit.

“This conference is a pretty big deal,” Bonnell said. “It’s the big one for Washington. We’re trying to pull out all the stops.”

In addition to trying to put on a quality conference, the conference leadership is also trying to save money for the students attending. They’re doing that by finding host families, saving students hotel costs for two nights.

“Each school has been in charge of trying to find home space,” Bonnell said. “It’s a big deal. We’re still looking for home space. Anyone interested can contact me via email at” With families hosting between three and as many as eight students, they will need about 150 families to host students. Bonnell’s parents will be hosting eight students.

olympia high school

“It’s been a lot of work. But it’s been a good experience,” says Olympia High School ASB President, Tyler Bonnell

“Eight sounds like a huge statement. But it’s not that big of a commitment,” Bonnell said. “They’re at the school all day. The only meal they need is Friday night dinner. And two breakfasts.”

Students arrive at Capital at 3:30 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the conference will begin with some of the guest speakers talking in the morning and then the students will be given a tour of the Capitol Campus. After the tour the students will have a parade around Capital Lake. They’ll be holding posters promoting the projects and objectives of their leadership conference.

“We like to call it a demonstration,” Bonnell said. “We want to really make a statement about how our student leaders are doing incredible things.”

Bonnell said the intent of the parade is to highlight the projects that were successful at other schools across the state.

“It’s also another way to network with other students,” Bonnell said. “The main idea is to show the events they’re proud of at their school.”

The students will gather for an evening of talks from the guest speakers at Olympia High School and conclude around 10:00 p.m. The evening talks on Saturday will conclude a full day that began at 9:00 a.m. with guest speakers.

Organizing the statewide leadership conference took a lot of time and effort in inviting the speakers and planning the activities.

“To put it into perspective,” Bonnell said. “We’ve really been planning this since last November. We’ve been meeting with all the schools. We’ve had our planning team. It’s been a lot of work. But it’s been a good experience.”

olympia high school

Motivational speakers will be on hand during the state leadership conference.

Bonnell said he’s learned a lot from the 11-month experience of planning the event. There’s book knowledge, information and insight gathered from reading. And then there’s practical roll-up-the-sleeves experience. He said his hands-on experience has taught him more than he could have learned in a book.

“What people have to realize is the practical knowledge that’s gained from leadership classes like this,” Bonnell said. “That’s why I’ve been in leadership for three years. It’s a real world experience.”

Michelle Anderson, Capital’s Vice Principal, is part of the Washington Association of Student Councils. She first pitched the idea of Olympia hosting the statewide conference in 2012.

“She heard that there was an opening,” Elam said. “We put in for this two years ago. Then you have to be selected and we were chosen to be a host site.”

Elam said the hardest part was finding enough host families. Without enough hosts, all the students couldn’t come. As of Tuesday, Elam still had 10 students to find a place to stay for the weekend.

“You don’t want to say you can’t come,’ Elam said.


Letterpress Printing Classes

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Laurie Barta Lovingly Sells Raw Milk at Cozy Vale Creamery Farm

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 7:36am



By Lindsey Surrell

hirschTwenty miles from Olympia, off a small road, and down a long driveway, you will find Laurie Barta’s 70-acre farm. Having moved from Wisconsin in 1988 to become a student at Yelm’s Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, Laurie also sought out her dream to live on a farm.  After her first purchase of a 20-acre farm in Tenino, she said that the transition to owning land and raising cattle was not difficult because she loved animals.  Plus, “hands on learning has always been the best teacher.” Currently, Laurie still loves animals, and even though she has become a slightly hardened farmer (“At the beginning, I use to cry every time I put down a cow”), she still calls each cow by name and pets them lovingly while we chat.

olympia raw milk

Laurie Barta, owner and founder for Cozy Vale Creamery, enjoys farm life.

Laurie bought the land that became Cozy Vale Creamery Farm in 2003 but did not become a full time farmer until 2008 when the mortgage crisis occured and she left her job as a mortgage loan counselor. Noticing the growing interest in a local food movement, and the lack of raw milk dairies in Washington State, Laurie started her raw milk creamery in 2009. In addition, she loved raising her cows and the taste of raw milk and knew this would be the best business for her.

Currently with nine shorthorn and Jersey cows and one friendly bull (“if they’re not nice, they leave”), Laurie runs this farm with her 15-year-old son and one other worker who helps on the weekends in exchange for housing on the land. In addition to cows, the farm also houses Katahdin sheep, horses, chickens, a cat and a dog.

She milks her cows twice a day, usually producing eight gallons per day, depending on the cows.  Although she tries to schedule her cow’s pregnancies, three of her cows will deliver in the next month and milk production will significantly increase. Cows, like humans, are pregnant for nine months.

olympia raw milk

Cozy Vale Creamery is one of only few raw milk dairies in Washington State.

Cozy Vale Creamery is also licensed for cheese making, but Laurie, with her Wisconsin roots, has high standards for how her cheese tastes and is still working on the art of cheese making. In addition the cheese, eggs and lamb are sometimes available at the farm for sale.

Although she has no plans on stopping her creamery any time soon, Laurie has considered raising more Katahdin sheep.  Since the Katahdin variety do not produce fleece, they are low-maintenance and as Laurie said “I am not as strong as I once was and since the sheep are not as big as cows, I have to think of the future.”

One big difference that Laurie points out about her farm compared with big dairy farms is the smell.  Even though we are feet away from her cows, she encourages me to take a deep breath. I agree with Laurie – it smells more like grass than any overwhelming cow waste. With 70 acres, the ten cows have plenty of room to roam. The cows are mainly grass-fed and supplemented with organic alfalfa grains in the winter.

Although her farm is not certified organic, Laurie tries to keep her production as organic as possible, including no antibiotics unless necessary. Washington State Department of Agriculture visits Cozy Vale Creamery once a month and tests for pathogens and coliform bacteria within the milk. Laurie recommends using or freezing her milk within two weeks.

olympia raw milk

The farm is open on Saturdays for visits and purchases.

For those wanting to try Laurie’s local milk and live in the Olympia area, Westside Olympia Food Co-op and Eastside Olympia Food Co-op both carry Cozy Vale Creamery milk, available in whole and skim.  Laurie does the deliveries to Olympia on Mondays and delivers to Shop N Kart in Chehalis on Friday, and Marlene’s Market in Tacoma and Federal Way on Thursdays.

But I believe one of the best parts of having local farms is being able to visit and see where your milk comes from. Every Saturday, customers can journey down the long driveway at Cozy Vale Creamery Farm and purchase their milk ($4 for half gallon at the farm) based on the honor system.  With luck, you might also be able to pet the cows.

Cozy Vale Creamery Farm

7018 Churchill Rd SE, Tenino, WA 98589

360-264-GOOD (4663)



John Erwin Remodeling Helps with Small Jobs around the House

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 6:49am



olympia remodeling contractor

Billie’s threshold was improved by John Erwin Remodeling so that visitors could more easily access her home.

Billie M. called John Erwin Remodeling for a relatively small, but necessary fix to improve the safety and comfort of her home. One can understand why. Billie is a senior and lives in a condo where the threshold—the strip of wood and metal across the bottom of her doorway that everyone must cross to enter her home—was too high, a potential trip hazard for her and her friends that visit.

“Working with the people at John Erwin Remodeling, Inc was a pleasure from the beginning (the pleasant helpful voice on the phone) to the finalization of my small project,” wrote Billie. “My new threshold is perfect and a great help to those who visit my condo. Two folks with walkers were completely thrilled. Good work, timely, pleasant as well as competent crafts people.”

There is no job too small for John Erwin Remodeling.

“Sure, we do major bathroom and kitchen remodels, but we put the same care and quality into a small project too,” says John Erwin, the owner of the award winning company. “It was a one-hour minimum of labor, and a $75 rubber transition, but to Billie that threshold made a difference in her quality of life.”

Need to paint, treat a deck, pressure wash your walks and patio, clean gutters, install a closet, do custom trim and woodwork or even change a light bulb that is located on a vaulted ceiling?

Sometimes like Billie, you just need a little help to update things in your home and John Erwin Remodeling brings decades of combined experience to any job large or small.

Small work projects are when people ask for a new screen door or having a couple of grab bars installed, or maybe their front door doesn’t lock,” says Erwin. “At John Erwin Remodeling, it is not about how big the job is, it is about how important it is to you.”

Call John Erwin Remodeling, Inc for a quote at (360) 705-2938. Visit their website at John Erwin Remodeling, Inc .


Women, Power and All that Goes With It: Ruth Ozeki speaks at SPSCC

Thurston Talk - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 6:00am



ruth ozeki

Author Ruth Ozeki will be reading from her newest book on Thursday, October 9 at South Puget Sound Community College. Photo credit: Kris Krug

This year’s South Puget Sound Community College Artist and Lecture Series takes on the daunting task of highlighting the role and power of women.  While gender can be a political, economic, and emotional minefield, lead-off speaker Ruth Ozeki begins the dialogue through a reading from her newest book ‘A Tale for the Time Being.’

Like all women, Ms. Ozeki is multi-faceted, creative, and passionate.  At once a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest, she divides her time between the bustle of Manhattan and the serenity of British Columbia.  This latest offering is set in familiar geography and “tells the story of a mysterious diary, which washes up on a beach on the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada in the wake of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The diary, written by a troubled schoolgirl in Tokyo, is discovered by a novelist named Ruth, who becomes obsessed with discovering the fate of the girl.”

She’ll be reading, speaking, and signing on Thursday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m., at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center Main Stage and later on November 20 at the Seattle Town Hall Arts and Lecture Series.  Her local visit promises to be a treat as she “loves speaking to students, it’s my favorite thing to do!  I was an avid reader and writer in college; it was such an alive time in my life.”

Dean of College Relations Kellie Braseth explains that “our overall, three-year, umbrella theme is ‘Reflections.’  Last year, we reflected on issues of diversity, particularly since last year was framed by two monumental historical moments in the Civil Rights movement: the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington in August and the 60th Anniversary of the Brown v Board of Education decision in May. This year, we focus on the experience and power of women…Ruth Ozeki is up for that.”  While this is Ms. Ozeki’s first visit to the campus, “We’re thrilled to have her launch this year’s series.”

The evening coincides with what Braseth explains is a “Campus-Community Read program using Ms. Ozeki’s ‘Tale for the Time Being.’  It’s been well received.” SPSCC hopes the interest in the Read program translates into strong ticket sales.

ruth ozeki

Thursday will mark Ruth Ozeki’s first visit to the SPSCC campus. Photo credit: Kris Krug

Described as “full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.”  Said Ozeki, “I realize that the book has some very powerful women characters.  Not only are they powerful, some of them have super powers!”  She echoes that the lecture series is “a theme that resonates strongly in this book.”

New England writer Buffy Andrews states that “writers see the world differently.  Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch could become story fabric.”  With books published in more than 30 countries and 11 languages, Ruth Ozeki is a skilled weaver of such story fabric.  Don’t miss the chance to hear her read in person.

Tickets are available online and SPSCC students and staff may attend for free.


Randy Norris – One of Sunset Air’s Greatest Renewable Resources

Thurston Talk - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:55am



sunset air

Randy Norris, shown here with his wife, Joyce, began working for Sunset Air in 1979.

Small businesses do more than keep our money local.  They train amazing, hardworking staff to become assets to the community for years to come.  This is perfectly exemplified in the longstanding success of Lacey’s Sunset Air.  For over 35 years they have maintained that “one of our core values is integrity.  We always try to do the right thing by our customers and also by our employees.  We make sure that we treat our employees like family because they are the ones who make this business work.”

Sunset Air’s Residential and Renewable Energy Division Manager, Randy Norris is truly a hometown hero.  An alumnus of North Thurston High School, Centralia Community College, and Saint Martin’s University, he owned a small business in downtown Olympia in the mid-1970’s and began working for Sunset Air as an apprentice in 1979.  His work with green energy products began early.  “My first exposure to a renewable energy installation took place in 1981 as I was introduced to a thermal solar water heating system we installed.  I had also been part of a geothermal heat pump installation during that early part of my career as well.”

After a brief time away from Sunset Air in the 1980s, Norris returned in late 1987 and hasn’t looked back.  In August 2000, he was asked to take over the newly opened South Bend branch of the company but returned to the Olympia area in 2011.  Since then he has been a wealth of experience and knowledge on green practices and equipment.

sunset air

Randy Norris is excited about local solar installation projects.

In 2010, he became the project manager for the photovoltaic solar installation at the Olympia Farmers Market.  Says Norris, “The Olympia Farmers Market solar project was quite unique in that it was one of only a handful of ‘Community Solar’ projects in the State of Washington entirely funded by a group of investors.  Once on line it also became the largest array installed in Thurston County at that time.”

“The Farmers Market array consists of 192 solar panels, six inverters and comes in just shy of 37 KW,” explains Norris.  “The only other installation larger than the Farmers Market was also installed by Sunset Air.  On line July 2013 on the roof of the Roosevelt Grade School [it contains] 262 solar modules, eight inverters and is a whopping 50 KW array.”

In 2011 Sunset Air installed Washington’s largest ground mounted residential array, with the only larger array being on a roof in King County.  The Stone Hedge project’s uniqueness comes from the combination of solar array with ground loop geothermal systems, meaning the environmental energy produced will pay off the tremendous project in only seven or eight years.

sunset air

Randy wrote a grant for an installation of an electric vehicle charging station at Sunset Air’s Lacey showroom.

The Platinum LEED certification of Saint Martin’s University’s Fr. Richard Cebula, O.S.B. Hall Engineering building illustrated to many local businesses and regional governments that energy savings can be accomplished through green methods.

With Sunset Air’s tremendous success in green technology and equipment, Randy finds himself at the forefront of many exciting upcoming projects.  Some notable solar array clients on Sunset Air’s  calendar include the South Bay Fire Department, the Cities of Tumwater and Leavenworth, and even the Norris residence “I love this part of my job as Sunset Air continues to support and allow me to have my hand in the design and installation of these projects.”

Even Thomas Jefferson was a believer in green energy: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ’til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Life-long students of the subject like Randy Norris prove that it’s a worthy topic of learning and an accessible tool for everyone.  Let him answer any questions you have on the subject.

Sunset Air can be visited at 5210 Lacey Blvd SE.


Olympia’s Evan Taylor Not Afraid to Think Big While Planning FBLA Conference

Thurston Talk - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:36am



By Gail Wood

heritage bankDredging up his go-big or go-home gusto, Evan Taylor reached for his telephone and made an unlikely call to a TV celebrity, ready to ask for a favor.

Taylor wanted to know if Bill Stainton, producer of the award-winning TV comedy Almost Live, would be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) conference that will be hosted by Olympia High School. To Taylor’s surprise, Stainton said, “Sure.”

“I just decided what the heck, I’m going for it,” Taylor said. “The mentality we’re trying to take on this year is that nothing is out of our reach.”

evan taylor

Olympia High School senior, Evan Taylor, is coordinating an upcoming FBLA conference.

Armed with that gutsy “let them say no” mentality, Taylor landed a big-name motivational speaker for the FBLA regional conference that will be hosted by OHS on November 4 and held at the Little Creek Casino Conference Center. Usually, the regional conference has 18 schools from southwest Washington attend, averaging about 300 students. Taylor is hoping for over 700.

Just three weeks ago, Taylor first made his phone call to Stainton’s agent and things came together quickly. With some bargaining through an exchange of emails and phone calls, Taylor got the unexpected yes.

“It was a challenge and it was a surprise,” Taylor said.

Typically, the FBLA has a $500 budget for keynote speakers for the regional conference.

“That can make it hard to bring in speakers who are the most polished and enthusiastic,” Taylor said. “So I thought I’d reach out to some experienced, incredible speakers, speakers who don’t normally speak at conferences our size. And just see what happened.”

evan taylor

By bringing in big name speakers, Taylor is hoping to raise attendance at the conference.

Normally, Stainton receives $17,000 for speaking. He agreed to $1,000.

“We were able to make it work,” said Taylor, who has been involved with FBLA since his freshman year and now as a senior is the club’s state vice president. “He was really, really helpful.”

Overseeing this project, making sure things are getting done, is Skip Fabritius, an OHS teacher and FBLA advisor. He lets Taylor do the planning, giving him a genuine, hands-on experience that Taylor has enjoyed.

“He’s done an amazing job,” Fabritius said. “He’s approached it with this no fear attitude, why don’t you contact these people because all they can do is say no. He’s done a great job.”

Besides Stainton, Taylor also has to line up four other speakers, entrepreneurs who will talk about what it’s like to run your own business. Taylor has arranged for a couple of other big-name speakers to come. Lieutenant Governor, Brad Owen, recently agreed to speak.  Two entrepreneurial grandmothers from Yelm, Bev Hines and Charlotte Clary, will also speak about how Ice Chips, their small garage business grew into a successful multi-million-dollar candy business after an appearance on the TV show Shark Tank.

evan taylor

Taylor works with Olympia High School teacher and FBLA advisor, Skip Fabritius.

“Evan has been rock solid,” Fabritius said. “He’s been great to work with.”

To promote the conference and boost turnout, OHS has put together a video and has posted it on social media, letting students know that Stainton, Owen and the grandmothers are coming.  (You can watch Evan’s video here.)

“Then afterwards we’ll do what we can on social media and by word of mouth to let people know what Bill did for our conference,” Taylor said. “Give him the most exposure we possibly can. And let everyone know what a great guy he is and what a great speaker he is.”

Typically, high profile speakers like Stainton speak at the state or national conference. Taylor wanted to raise the bar.

“We really wanted an enthusiastic, energetic, high octane speaker at our regional conference because not all of our members are able to go to the state conference,” Taylor said. “So hopefully he can inspire some of the kids who were not able to make the trip to state before to work harder and get more excited about FBLA.”

Planning and putting on the regional FBLA conference has been a challenge Taylor has embraced.

evan taylor

Olympia High School FBLA members gather on campus.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding,” Taylor said. “It really hasn’t bothered me because this is what I like to do.”

To compensate Stainton, Taylor helped arrange free lodging at the Alderbrook Resort, which waived room charges for FBLA. Taylor also worked a deal with Little Creek, which is letting FBLA use its conference room without a charge and is serving lunches at a discounted cost.

“It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve gotten a lot of help,” Taylor said. “My advisor Mr. Fabritius deserves a lot of credit, too. He’s very supportive and a great guy to work with. I couldn’t ask for a better advisor.”

Taylor also gave the state’s new state FBLA executive director, Lindsay Andreotti, a double thumbs up for her support and her big-dream planting.

“She says nothing is out of your reach,” Taylor said. “If I want to go big she let me go big. Just learn from mistakes if things go wrong.”


Small Town Celebrities – Coaches Gallegos, Key and Smith Lead Youth Football Team

Thurston Talk - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:22am



By Gail Wood

woodshed furnitureThere were a lot of other places they could have been.

But over an hour before kickoff, the three coaches – Tony Gallegos, Shane Key and Leonard Smith – were putting their seventh-and-eighth grade youth football team through some plays, preparing for the game.

“Don’t let them get to the outside,” Gallegos said to his defensive end as a running back ran up field.

It’s Saturday, game day. And for the past 11 years that’s meant Gallegos, as a coach for the Thurston County Youth Football League, is on a football field throughout the fall, coaching the Hawks.

tcyfl coach

From left, Leonard Smith, Tony Gallegos and Shane Key are the coaches of a youth football team.

“I love it,” Gallegos said. “I do it because it’s fun.”

It’s not like Gallegos’ life isn’t already busy. In addition to being a dad and a husband, he works for DSHS as a social security disability judicator, and he’s working on his masters in social work through an online program with the University of Southern California. But four times a week – two-hour practices are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with games on Saturdays – Gallegos is coaching.

TCYFL started in 1973.  Currently, there are about 90 coaches in the league.  This year marks an all-time high 2,100 kids playing in the league. There are teams from Lacey, Olympia, Rainier, Tenino, Tumwater and Yelm. Teams are divided into five different age groups starting with second grade and continuing through eighth grade.

Without volunteer coaches like Gallegos, Key and Smith, there’d be no youth football. Each of them has or has had a child on the team.

“I do it to spend time not only with my son, but with young kids who are going to be the future of this community,” Gallegos said. “I want to do my part to make sure that they grow up to be productive members of our society. And that they’re making the right choices in life.”

tcyfl coach

Gallegos (with hand up), Key (gray sweatshirt) and Smith put their team through plays before their game at Steilacoom High School.

Football, Gallegos will tell you, isn’t just about learning how to block, tackle and throw and catch a football. It’s about how to be a good worker, a good neighbor and a good parent.

“My coaching staff and myself teach the fundamentals of the game,” Gallegos said. “That’s an emphasis. But we’re also teaching these young kids how to be successful adults in life and productive members of society. That’s what’s important.”

Football is the lure.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that they’ve got the skills to make them good adults and to make good decisions in their lives,” Gallegos said as he watched his players warm up.

Like Gallegos, Key got involved in coaching youth football because his sons wanted to play football. Key’s oldest son started playing football in second grade and he’s now a senior at River Ridge High School. Even though his sons have finished playing in the TCYFL, Key keeps volunteering to coach. One of the things that keeps him coming back to coach, in addition to just enjoying it, is that he enjoys the ah-ha moment – the time when a player finally understands a technique or strategy.

tcyfl coach

Gallegos (blue shirt) and Key give their players some instructions before their game.

“There’s usually a time in the season when it starts to click,” Key said. “And they start to understand. And that’s enjoyable to see when they figure it out. There’s nothing better than to see the light go on.”

Key is clearly all in on coaching football. In addition to coaching in the TCYFL, Key also coaches the running backs on the River Ridge High School football team. So three days a week, Key goes from the high school football practice directly to the youth football practice. He likes what football teaches.

“You have to be disciplined,” said Key, who is a paraeducator at River Ridge. “It teaches you discipline. And your team is like family. Once you start football for that season you’re family.”

Naturally, playing football, Gallegos tells his players, is about trying to win. They keep score and the objective is to score more points than the opponent. But that’s the game-day goal. Coaching, Gallegos said, goes deeper than that.

“And that’s to let them know that there’s people out there that love them and care about them and that they care what they turn into as adults,” Gallegos said.

Smith, a 1997 River Ridge graduate, likes what football teaches you. It goes beyond learning the Xs and Os.

“It teaches you to be part of a team,” Smith said. “To do what’s right. Always try to do for someone else first. Team goals over personal goals.”

tcyfl coach

Key (gray sweatshirt) watches as his quarterback is about to take the snap while preparing for their game Saturday.

Smith, who joined Gallegos’ coaching staff four years ago, is still a proud Hawk, 18 years after playing the line for River Ridge.

“He’s the proudest River Ridge Hawk I’ve ever met,’ Gallegos said with a smile. “He loves being from River Ridge High School and being a Hawk. He still has his letterman’s jacket from high school. He’ll wear it to games on Friday nights.”

Part of the reason for Gallegos’ commitment to coaching is what he calls “payback.” As he looks back on his life, he thinks of the coaches who influenced his life.

“I’m also giving back to coaches who helped me out as a youngster,” Gallegos said. “I appreciate the time they spent to help me become the man I am today. If one of the kids I’m coaching today becomes a volunteer youth coach as an adult, then I’ve done my job.”

Smith felt the same indebtedness. He still appreciates what his high school coach, Dan Clark, did for him. He said the influence of a coach is huge in shaping a life.

“I’d still run through a wall for Coach Clark,” Smith said. “I still call him Coach.”


Simon Calcavecchia – A Rugby Player’s Journey Back to the Sport He Loves

Thurston Talk - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:18am



By Nikki McCoy

oly ortho logoEight players, donned in jerseys and sweatbands, and seated in what looks like armor-laden wheelchairs, circle the floor. Then one team makes a play, and it’s the smashing and crashing of wheels, bodies and ball.

Wheelchair rugby may be Simon Calcavecchia’s latest hobby – but it’s not new.

Before an injury that paralyzed much of his body, Simon attended Capitol High School, enjoying life as a typical teenager. A lover of sports, especially anything where he could “run the ball” led him, a group of school mates, and Coach Pete Sullivan, to bring the first organized rugby team to Olympia.  The year was 2000, and Simon was a junior.

simon calcavecchia

Simon Calcavecchia helps a customer during his shift at the Olympia Co-op. Photo credit: Mark Woytowich

“We had a tremendous bunch of fine young men,” reflects Sullivan. “Simon was a powerhouse, a solidly built rugby player, and he had a really outgoing, dynamic personality and an infectious smile – he seemed to really enjoy this new sport.”

The second year, their team – the Budd Bay Barbarians – won the state championship and took 5th in the nation.

It was after this feat, and graduation, that Sullivan invited Simon to live and play a season in Australia.

“I was sold as soon as he finished his sentence,” laughs Simon. “I was having the time of my life, living on the beach – living with a bunch of rugby guys and just having an incredible time.”

It was a scrum play, during his third game in Australia, which instantly broke Simon’s neck, causing a C-5/C-6 injury, resulting in quadriplegia.

“I woke up with tubes in my throat, unable to move,” says Simon. “I remember waking after surgery with my mom and dad there and I’m just laying there with tubes coming out of me – I can’t talk, I can’t move, tears are just streaming down my face.”

wheelchair rugby olympia

Simon Calcavecchia prepares to play ball. Photo credit: Tyler Davis

“I never really had that depressing, down and out feeling – except for a couple of moments,” he continues. “I always believed I would walk again – that’s what’s carried me through this entire thing. It helps keep my spirits alive and well, plus I had so much support from the people of Australia. I had only been there a month and a half, and I built all of this community up – I had so much love and support.”

That community spirit resonated with Simon.

Now, he works at the Olympia Food Co-op, he’s an ambassador for GRuB, he volunteers at Olympia Film Society and Hands On Children’s Museum, he graduated from The Evergreen State College, he is a hip-hop artist who goes by the name Abiliti (he just performed at Lord Franzannian’s Vaudeville Show) and has a YouTube channel with more than 40 episodes exploring the life of a quad (stockcar racing anyone?).

His community involvement doesn’t stop there. Simon is also an artist. Last year, he worked with a team to create a komodo dragon for the Procession of the Species. Mounted to his power wheelchair, the dragon came to life.

“I’ve been able to realize that – especially with building the dragon – how much the community is there for me and wants to be a part of the things I’m doing to create these adventures.”

Because of his artistic interests, and his passion for accessibility, Simon is working with members of Earth Bound Productions and Kokua Services, (both agencies support Procession of the Species builders) to bring support to artists year-round, not just during the seasonal Arts Walk.

procession of the species

Simon Calcavecchia’s dragon comes to life during the Procession of the Species. Photo credit: Bill Lowers

Simon’s own experience made him realize this is something Olympia needs.

“It’s so vital to me to be able to create something and not have to depend on someone, or pay someone to be able to help me,” he says. “It allowed me to express myself in another art form.”

The Inclusive Community Art Space Project, as it will be called, is described by Chris Rasmussen-Barsanti, Executive Director of Kokua, as “a place where people, regardless of ability, disability, age, or socio-economic factors, can come together and create art.”

And her thoughts on Simon?

“Simon’s like a cheerleader,” she says. “I feel like he’s telling the world, ‘Come on guys, life is short, come on and live!’ I find him inspirational.”

This momentum of risk, leadership and success has brought Simon into his next phase of his life – physical activity. Beginning with simple workout routines, then sharing them on his YouTube channel, and viewing others, Simon became inspired to try rugby again, and found his team – Seattle Slam.

wheelchair rugby

Simon Calcavecchia plays with his rugby team, Seattle Slam. Photo credit: Tyler Davis

“Wheelchair rugby is a great fit for him,” says Coach Jeremy Hannaford. “He’s just got that go get ‘em mentality. He’s a high-spirited dude and was gung-ho from the start.  Even in the beginning, he wasn’t fast  and he didn’t know what he was doing – but he did it all with a smile on face. And now he’s doing really amazing, he’s grabbed on and learned a lot.”

Simon has organized a fundraiser for Seattle Slam to offset travel and equipment expenses. The event is Saturday, Oct 18 at the Olympia Armory. Tickets are $5 and a raffle will be part of the fun.

But, Simon also wants to raise awareness.

“I want to show people, even though we may have disabilities, we can still feel normal by having this outlet to engage in athletic activities,” he says.

“Plus, I want to have a really good time and show my hometown what wheelchair rugby is all about.”

His smile is as big as ever.


Migraine, Migraine, Go Away…Relief Through Oxygen Therapy

Thurston Talk - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 6:00am



oxygen therapy olympia

A soft hyperbaric chamber is used in the private therapy rooms at H3 Therapy Services, shown here fully pressurized.

Life’s a headache sometimes, that’s unavoidable.  But for the 36 million migraine sufferers in the U.S., it’s a much bigger obstacle.  The Migraine Research Foundation says that “Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone with migraine” ranking it “in the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses.”  Migraine sufferers battle through pain, nausea, and sensory sensitivities and “American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraine.”

While migraine causes vary, there is no concrete illness for physicians to conclusively treat.  Because of this, sufferers face difficulty in finding relief for their intense, often debilitating, pain.  But studies have shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy, offered locally by Olympia’s H3 Therapy Services, is effective for some patients.

The human brain is only 2.5% of your body’s weight but uses 25% of your total oxygen consumption.  When this oxygen supply is reduced, pain ensues in the form of a migraine headache.  A recent study showed that with sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy “relief of symptoms occurs as quickly as 5 minutes after the migraine.”

Michael Pfeifer, RRT, H3 Therapy’s Clinical Director, says that often sufferers find their headache gone after 10-15 minutes in the chamber.  Hyperbaric treatments work by using “filtered pressurized ambient air in order to dissolve oxygen into the body system, flooding tissues and essential organs with oxygen.”  This “provides the best environment for the body to handle vital cell processes, therefore improving the capacity for the body to heal itself.”

oxygen therapy olympia

Educating patients is a primary focus for Michael Pfeifer, RRT, Clinical Director at H3 Therapy Services in Olympia.

By designing their clinic to maximize color and music therapy as well as the hyperbaric chambers, Pfeifer’s “goal is a resting state where your body heals best.”  The chambers can accommodate 1-2 people—with the dual units intended for family or loved ones—and allow for street clothes and the use of electronic devices, music players, and books to enhance relaxation.

Because migraines are something of a medical conundrum, with no definitive cause or cure, H3 Therapy Services works in tangent with Nearing Total Health in Lacey.  There a team of professionals offer naturopathic medicine, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and an array of complementary treatment options.  As Pfeifer says, “hyperbarics enhance massage, acupuncture, chiropractics…when you combine the therapies it works much better.”

Long-term sufferers may find the cost of continued out-patient hyperbaric sessions prohibitive.  In these cases, Pfeifer and his team will work to enable rental or purchase of a chamber for extended use.  The office facilitates financing and represents all major manufacturers.  Says Pfeifer, “it’s much easier to have a chamber at home where everyone can benefit.”

Hyperbaric chambers can benefit many physical issues, from anemia and carbon monoxide poisoning to burns and bone infections.  They’re used in the military for high altitude flying and by “cutting edge athletes who know it can give an edge that’s not drug related,” explains Pfeifer.  Sessions are approximately an hour long and H3 Therapy Services promises a flexible schedule to accommodate our busy lives.

When faced with a painful medical mystery, it’s good to have a wealth of treatment options at your fingertips.  Migraines have multiple causes and just as many solutions.  Call Michael Pfeifer, RRT of H3 Therapy Services at 360-515-0681 or drop by their offices at 405-D Black Hills Lane SW, at the junction of Harrison and Yauger, to schedule a visit or ask questions of the knowledgeable staff.


Heck and McDonald Debate 10th District Issues

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 2:27am

By Janine

A debate Monday night between the 10th Congressional District candidates, incumbent Democrat Denny Heck and Republican challenger Joyce McDonald, drew about 60 people. The event was held at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.Cythnia Iyall, chairperson of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, moderated 11 pre-determined questions, and Allyson Brooks, vice president of the Olympia chapter of the League of Women Voters, asked several questions posed by audience members, written on index cards.

The debate was taped for broadcast on Thurston County Television (TCTV).

Heck mentioned the Seahawks game in progress as a possible reason for the sparse crowd and kept the audience up on the game score during the debate and announced its outcome at the debate’s end, which received the loudest cheer of the evening.

Heck answered each question with confidence while McDonald read some answers about national or international issues from prepared notecards.  She spoke most warmly and effectively about being a former foster parent and softball coach, and her time as a state legislator. McDonald also has several years of experience on the Pierce County council. Questions covered standard election issues: the revenue disparity between rich and poor, federal legislation for curbing carbon emissions, the quality of the rail system with regard to safe fossil fuel transport, immigration, foreign policy, wounded veterans, jobs and more.Questions posed by the South Sound audience were also wide ranging. McDonald was sometimes vague, as was Heck, who also liked to tell stories and use his allotted time to its fullest capacity.

In brief:

Should the Washington Redskins be compelled to change its name or face Congressional censure?

McDonald: …Public pressure should do the job for them…. the market tends to work quite well in these cases...I don’t think it’s the role of government….

Heck: Yes. Nobody has the right to engage in a racial slur….It's deeply insensitive to the First Peoples of this nation....

The Trans Pacific Partnership - How can we protect our local environment and jobs?Heck: Well, I think you've touched upon two of the three criteria I think applies to any proposal for the Partnership...this is kind of a big deal - this is a proposal to enter into a trade agreement with 11 other nations…it is fraught with both danger and opportunity: Three criteria should include: 1) assurance that its adoption will not harm workers…2) Assurance that we are not just exporting low governmental standards… 3) assurances that it will protect our sovereignty….we ought not to delegate the right to set policy for America. 

McDonald:  …At the Congressional level, I would very clearly be working on it depending on what committee picked it up…this is a very important issue, a more important issue for Washington State than for some others so I’d be following this very closely….The proposal to de-list the Great Wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species Act:

McDonald: I wouldn’t support that...I don’t think they’ve come back with enough population to warrant that…Heck: …Science ought to dictate this…it ought not to be a political decision, it ought to be based on science. It just seems to me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to determine whether or not the base of that population is sufficient….

What to do about the high incarceration rate in the United States: Heck: …I think it’s more than worrisome when America has the highest incarceration rate in the world…This is a very expensive way to deal with problems in our’s a lot cheaper to invest up front…in a strong education system so they can see the future of hope….

McDonald: …In Pierce County, we put in place other alternatives to incarceration and allow… alternatives to court such as drug court and veteran’s court…and put people into pathways…rather than just put them in jail and throw away the key…As a former foster parent, I understand that some people have to play the hand they are dealt, but we need to bring people alongside so they can get the help and encouragement and modeling that they need to become productive citizens….Funding priorities and if you would increase funding for the National Park Service:

McDonald: I’d love to but… my priority will be getting on board with a plan that will reduce the federal debt so we don’t continue to burden our future generations….so I won’t be going there to increase funding. I’ll be going there to see if we can’t find a way to maintain…what we have….Heck: The fact of the matter is that we get to the point that the funding for providing for some of these facilities and services is so low that it will end up costing us more in the long term… our national parks have been degraded over the last several years…The bigger threat is sequestration….

If Shelton were to receive 400 new immigrants who are meeting their families in Mason County, who should pay for the bi-lingual teachers and the load on the schools and the community?Heck: It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provisions for the education of all children….It is unequivocal….

McDonald: Unfortunately, the state of Washington would have to pick up the bill for those children… but this is just another example of …where the federal government has…failed to do its job….to enforce existing law. In my perspective, this is something that should be picked up, at the very least, by the federal government….Should President Obama ask for a declaration of war against the Islamic State? How would you vote and why:

McDonald: Well, I think it’s evident that the Islamic State has made a declaration of war against the United States and its citizens by beheading American citizens and other citizens of allies of the United States…I think it’s definitely something that should be debated in Congress. It’s not that simple, an act of declaring war and then we run into a country, and start bombing and put troops on the ground…. War is a very serious matter and people’s lives, people we love, who put their lives on the line….Our military is the best in the world….so I’m just not sure this is the right time to be making a declaration of war….but when the time comes, the President should go with Congress, and with one voice, we should take care of the business that must be taken care of.Heck: …Not once has war been formally declared since WWII….think back to all our conflicts we’ve been involved with in the last seven years – not once, except WWII, did we formally declare war. What’s happening now at least is that the President is operating under…the Authorized Use for Military Force, AUMF, it is called. It was adopted by Congress in 2002, and that’s what he’s using… as his justification… What I do think is appropriate…and it’s past due, is for Congress to at least try…to… make it more reflective of our times… new conditions and/or limitations, new instructions to the President and our Armed Forces with respect to our involvement there….I think it’s a Congressional responsibility… to at least attempt it.

For more information on Representative Denny Heck’s positions, see an article dated January 8, 2014 titled, “One Year in Congress: Is Congressman Heck Giving ‘Em Heck?” go to www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words into the search engine.  

Unwritten Rules of Archaeology. Version M.0

Mojourner Truth - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 10:37pm
This summer, the blog Archaeology In Tennessee posted an invitation for archaeologists to submit the "Unwritten Rules" of the profession. I not only procrastinated posting anything, I also failed to follow up and see what Rules were published until linking them just now. Instead, I pecked out a list of my own, and didn't even post anything myself until now. This post is going to be long as hell, and there are no images to delight and distract, but it's about Rules, so what did you expect?

Unwritten Rules of Archaeology  
Who They Think You Are...
Most people think you dig for dinosaurs or gold. You can educate them, maybe. You will chuckle or sneer about them with other archaeologists, later. But try not to be mean to them, for they know not what they do.

In the real world, there are usually people with far less education than you who know a lot more about a particular place, or how people used to live there. Learn from them before you go telling them about their past.

Who You Think You Are...
We belong to what the social anthros call affinal kinship groups (or used to, before several jargon changes), and can trace our lineages back through crew chiefs and academic descent; we recognize families accreted around certain projects of yore.
  • Corollary 1: Be careful when dissing the founder of a school of thought, for the person you're speaking to may belong to that lineage.
  • Corollary 2: Be careful when exalting an archaeological ancestor above all others, for it makes you come off like a zealot.
Unless you are in a field school or surrounded by people with little experience, limit yourself to a single field school story within any given work group. Mostly, these stories show how little you've experienced, and they become tiresome. If you participated in multiple field schools, best keep mum, lest you be branded Dolt or a Dilettante.

As in all anthropological endeavors, listen first and talk later, especially when there are experienced elders involved.

Archaeologists can be real backbiting bastards, but as far as I know that strategy proves maladaptive outside of the shrinking niche of tenured academia, and maybe won't even work there. Criticize all you want, with the understanding that you must either pledge fealty to a strong camp or risk not getting work in your area.

Join your state or regional archaeological society, attend its conferences, and give papers. Archaeology is not the same everywhere, and you'll learn more that is of practical value by meeting and listening to your local/regional peers than you will in several years of national conferences; it's also beneficial to your job prospects, from shovel bum on up to principal investigator. Once you've given a few papers, people think you're an expert, or at least aware enough to be more desirable than the person with a fancy degree but no local reputation.

If you are a young archaeologist enamored with the latest technology, try not to dismiss archaic fieldcraft. When the satellites don't cooperate or the batteries go dead, tech savvy gets you nowhere. Besides, sometimes the old tech works best, which is why the best maps in Hawai`i are still made with plane tables and alidades.

The digital camera may be the greatest technological innovation in modern fieldwork. Take lots of photos to remind yourself of what you did all day. Shoot overviews, mid-range, and details. Take a shot of your GPS screen (see Redundancy). Get photos of flora and fauna for reference, and of anything that will look cool on your archaeology blog.

"Write in Rain" fieldbooks have their limits. Among these: too much rain, rainless but very high humidity weather, the inks of certain pens, and of course those ink-impervious clay smears on the paper. For pencil devotees, remember that after an erasure or two, you may not have full functionality.

The tool you buy needs to be modified. Unsharpened shovels and trowels are are the mark of an oaf. Grab a sharpie and draw a scale on your fieldbook, McGyver up a tool from things you can afford on perdiem (bamboo skewers have no equal in some situations, and stand in just fine for a handful of others). Watch and listen to the vets, but don't assume that they figured out all the best hacks.
Fieldwork...Redundancy is your friend, and its value increases in proportion to the distance of the project area from your office. I know that the GPS unit stores coordinates, but writing them down in your field notebook will one day save you the pain and humiliation induced by lost or malfunctioning GPS units, not to mention software glitches, sunspots, EM-pulse warfare, whatever.

You will find things where you least expect them sometimes, but you never know which times. So stop whining and finish the transect.

After a long day of survey, or at the end of a project, be prepared to find something while walking back to the truck.  If at all possible, plan on a half day on the last day, to allow time to record this find. The worst case scenario is that you find nothing and have enough time for a few beers or maybe even a shower.

Don't pretend to be more precise than your data merits. I cut my teeth (shins, really) on dry masonry field stone features, and measuring these to the nearest centimeter is not only more effort than it's worth, but is fakery. 10 cm increments are fine. Most of the time, think millimeters for artifacts, centimeters for depths, meters for site areas, …
  • Corollary: Larger increments (rounding off to 5s or 10s, for example) can alert readers to uncertainty or imprecision they should be aware of in an honest report.

Unless you are a historic archaeologist working in a Commonwealth, use the metric system. (In the US, this trick mystifies the general public and our stature as scientists is enhanced.)  Be ready to be conversant in feet and tenths thereof when the engineers and project manages show up, though. Also, be aware that when they talk about "1:100," it's inches:feet, which is 1:1200 in like units (this is a trick engineers use to confuse and cow the populace).

The observation so obvious you didn't need to write it down will be the one you forget. (I phrase this truth thusly because the brilliant wording of my initial realization was not written down.)

When writing reports, stick to the facts for the most part, and relegate interpretation to a short section near the end.
  • Corollary 1: However, you should speculate frequently and in depth while in the field, drinking beers when the day is done, and drinking more beers at the local archaeological conference. This can help you discard the ridiculous and discover the creative, although it can end up the other way around if the drinking goes on too long.
  • Corollary 2: Be extremely careful when speculating with non-archaeologists. Off-hand and joking interpretations may be later repeated as facts by people who put a bit too much stock in archaeologist's words.

And Finally,

The Written Rule of Archaeology
It's spelled with two A's. Archaeology, not archeology. Don't be an idiot.

Olympia: Home of the (Halloween) Partiers

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 6:29pm



Submitted by Harlequin Productions

halloweenOlympia loves a celebration. In a town so rich in arts and culture, Olympians are always looking for a reason to throw a festival, a parade, or some other form of organized merriment. The Halloween season is no exception.

It’s no surprise that Olympia is home to an array of fantastic annual events in town this time of year. For instance, on October 25, the Hands on Children’s Museum is hosting Boo Bash, its annual children’s costume party. Don your favorite costume and enjoy educational art and science activities and treats. The museum is planning 20 fun, fall-inspired activities including: face painting, creepy crawly insects, carnival, games, scavenger hunt, mad science lab, and more! The event will take place from12:00-5:00PM and cost $4-$10 per person. For more information on this event, click here.  

Another annual event is taking place on October 18, when the Combined Fund Drive partners with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to bring you the 3rd Annual Masquerade Ball. This year’s event is held in the Rotunda at the Capitol Building in Olympia. Enjoy food, wine, dancing, psychics, and even a casino night as you don your finest attire and mingle with others. And don’t forget your mask! The event will start at 7:00PM and tickets cost $50 in advance or $65 at the door. For more info, click here.  harlequin nightmare befor improv

For the first time ever, Harlequin Productions is getting in on the annual autumn action by launching their 1st annual Halloween Improv show: The Nightmare Before Improv! On Wednesday, October 15, starting at 8:00 p.m., Harlequin Productions presents a haunted improv show with their celebrated improv comedy troupe, Something Wicked. The Nightmare Before Improv is Something Wicked’s annual Halloween spectacular! Those brave enough to attend can expect frighteningly funny, Halloween-themed improv comedy, a costume contest, and an evening of ghostly delights. Guests are encouraged to come dressed up and join the fun as Something Wicked puts the “Ha!” in Halloween. Prepare to laugh yourself…to death!! More information at the Harlequin Productions website.

So much to do, so little time. If you live in Olympia, there’s never a shortage of reasons to celebrate.


Evergreen’s Galerie Fotoland presents Kirk Jones’ “The Urban Farm”

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 3:15pm



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

Kirk Jones' "Grey Cherry Tree"

Kirk Jones’ “Grey Cherry Tree”

Galerie Fotoland is pleased to present Kirk Jones’ The Urban Farm–an ongoing effort to document many of the Portland metro area’s urban farms and farmers.

Jones’ passion is examining the environments that we surround ourselves in—“the structure of our housing, and how we co exist… some of the most interesting people and lives can be right next to you and the most exotic places just over the hill somewhere close.” Jones’ observation of beauty and nature in unexpected places comes through in The Urban Farm, where Jones says what interests him most is the variety of farm settings. “Some farms are only side yards hidden within inner Portland neighborhoods – just beyond a normal looking fence there could be 2 acres of working farmland.” Jones goes on to explain that the images of the farms and landscapes double as portraits of the farmers themselves.

For the past five years, Evergreen alumnus Jones has been making photographs with the Gigapan System, creating high-resolution

Northwest Organic Field by Kirk Jones

Northwest Organic Field by Kirk Jones

panoramic images that can be printed in very large format and provide exceptional detail. He prefers a slower work pace, which allows for more an engaging and deliberate process. He likens this high tech approach to photographers of the past, working with large, heavy and unwieldy equipment.

Jones has shown extensively around Portland and the Northwest. He recently received two commissions by Portland’s landmark Pittock Mansion and the Lan Su Chinese Garden. This January, his series on Northwest logging will be included in The Meaning of Wood at The Seattle Convention Center. He has been published, and He is a 2014 recipient of the Bronze Award in the Epson International Pano Competition.

For more information on this series or to see more of Jones’ work please visit his website.

Galerie Fotoland is an exhibition space supported by Evergreen’s Photoland.

The gallery is open during normal school hours most days of the week. For more information regarding this show and others at Galerie Fotoland please contact Briana Martini at



OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 3:13pm
Event:  Thu, 10/23/2014 - 7:00am - 8:00am

Bring your friends, family, and colleagues to enjoy a delicious hot breakfast at Indian Summer Golf & Country Club. We hope you will join us to learn more about all the Family Support Center does in your community and hear what an incredible impact your support has on the lives of families and children.

RSVP Online Here:

Are you or your business wanting to show the community how much you support families? We are looking for Event Sponsors. Opportunities available from $250-$2500 level. Contact Schelli to learn more:

We are also looking for Table Captains! Have 8 people you want to invite and share the program with? Contact Sara Holt-Knox to sign up!:

FREE BREAKFAST, DONATIONS APPRECIATED! logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

New L-4 Bridge “Christened” at Grand Re-opening Celebration

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 2:54pm


Submitted by Thurston County

County commissioners were joined by Public Works staff and guests from the community and partner agencies to break a symbolic bottle of sparkling water to “christen” the new L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge. “Today, we’re not only celebrating the end of noisy construction and detours and delays, we are celebrating the incredible success of taking what was a failing bridge and creating a brand new bridge under budget and ahead of schedule,” said County Commission Chair Karen Valenzuela, whose district includes the bridge. “I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating—we could not have done this project without the help of so many partners,” said Commissioner Cathy Wolfe. “Our county staff members, our contractors, and our partner agencies have all done a top notch job. We are truly grateful for all of your efforts, and I know the community is grateful, too.” The L-4 Salmon Creek Bridge on Littlerock Road Southwest located between 110th Avenue Southwest and 93rd Avenue Southwest was first closed on Monday, January 27 after structural deficiencies were discovered. After thorough inspection, county engineers determined that the damage to the center pier was severe and the bridge structure was compromised beyond the point of repair, and that a new bridge structure with up-to-date safety standards was needed. The L-4 crossing was re-opened temporarily on March 22 thanks to the loan of a temporary Bailey bridge from the Washington State Department of Transportation. Passenger vehicle traffic was able to use the Bailey bridge until Monday, August 11 when crews removed the temporary bridge and began demolishing the old bridge to make way for a new bridge structure. The new bridge has a longer span and is 15 feet wider than the old bridge, which will improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The new bridge does not require a center pier in the water like the old bridge structure, and this will allow better fish passage and can accommodate larger stream flows. It also reduces the potential for the kind of scouring that undermined the center pier of the old bridge structure and caused it to crack, making the old bridge structure unstable and unsafe. The L-4 Bridge project is paid for using a combination of federal highways grant funds and county road funds. The L-4 Bridge project is on track to be approximately 25 to 30 percent under the budgeted amount of $3.4 million—that’s a savings of about $750,000 to $1 million. Along with the Thurston County Public Works Department, project partners include the Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Fish and Wildlife, the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Army Corps of Engineers, and contractors Active Construction, Inc. and Zemek Construction.

Westport Winery Adds Patty Cakes to Bakery

Thurston Talk - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 2:48pm



Submitted by Westport Winery

Westport Winery owner Kim Roberts and baker Patty O'Conner, creator of Patty Cakes.

Westport Winery owner Kim Roberts (left) and baker Patty O’Conner, creator of Patty Cakes.

Westport Winery has added Patty Cakes to their bakery’s offerings. This is a recipe named after team member Patty O’Connor who has been making these decadent treats for the staff to rave reviews for several years. O’Connor said, “Everyone loves this amazing cross between a cupcake and a bar cookie.”

O’Connor, who joined the then fledgling winery in 2008, is an avid home baker. Converting the recipes to the commercial kitchen was stressful but worth the challenge. Winery co-owner Kim Roberts said, “We created four unique variations of the Patty Cake: Tahitian Vanilla, Chocolate Brown Butter, Pineapple Upside-Down, and Pink Lemonade.”

With the many berries grown on the winery’s Vineyards By-the-Sea farm O’Connor and Roberts also created the Ultimate Berry Shortcake which is a Tahitian Vanilla Patty Cake topped with vanilla bean ice cream, homemade berry compote, whipped cream, blackberry sauce and raspberry sauce.

By popular demand from their guests the winery has added baked fish and chips with wild Alaskan cod and garlic Parmesan Yukon gold potato wedges on both their lunch and dinner menus. And to add a vegetarian option to their appetizers they created Northwest Nachos with Tillamook and Cougar Gold cheddars, green onions and tomatoes topped with winery co-owner Blain Roberts’ made-from-scratch guacamole.

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea with the unique outdoor sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery was named Best Northwest Wine Destination in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Westport’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


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