Recent local blog posts

Schoolhouse Coffee – Specialty Coffee Comes to Hawks Prairie

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 7:21pm



Submitted by Schoolhouse Coffee

schoolhouse coffee

Schoolhouse Coffee has opened in Hawks Prairie.

Schoolhouse Coffee, a new locally owned cafe, has opened at 3205 Willamette Blvd in Lacey and will be celebrating their grand opening on Friday and Saturday March 13-14 with drink specials and live music. The cafe serves specialty coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., made to order la Marzocco espresso drinks, house made smoothies and fruit, pastries by Left Bank Pastry, artesanal toast by Essential Baking Company, sandwiches and more. There is ample indoor seating available for customers to stay and enjoy and a drive-thru for those on the go. An outdoor seating area will be installed to take advantage of the approaching summer weather.

The building is reminiscent of a historic one room schoolhouse with vaulted ceilings and a central clerestory that creates a cheerful, light-filled space. The owners, Trina and Barry Jespersen, named their business after the building and the interior carries the motif subtly inside with a beautiful tile feature wall in a composition paper pattern, a large community table with routed pencil trays and schoolhouse inspired art and décor. Many of the bespoke fixtures and materials used in the buildout were sourced and built locally. The interior was designed by Roussa Cassel, signage hand painted by local legend Ira Coyne and sustainably sourced maple wood tables, wall cladding and bases by Windfall Lumber. The interior build-out was carried out by Barry Jespersen himself, who owns and operates Oyster Bay Construction.

schoolhouse coffee

The new coffee house in Lacey serves specialty coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasting.

The Hawks Prairie area in northeast Lacey is known for its beginnings as a commercial and industrial development. But recent trends towards residential have brought demand for neighborhood oriented retail to serve the needs of residents and employees. Schoolhouse Coffee shares a parking lot with the Lacey Learning Center (preschool and child care) and the Jubilee retirement community and golf course are just down the road.

The Jespersens have been extremely pleased with the outpouring of support and excitement from the community during the construction phase. At a recent open house, the cafe was filled with folks of all ages who had driven, walked, and biked from the surrounding area to celebrate a unique addition to the neighborhood.

Regular hours are 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. weekdays, and 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. weekends.

Learn more and get updates through Schoolhouse Coffee on Facebook and schoolhousecoffee on Instagram.

Chasing Rainbows – 1st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Gold Run 5K with Friends of Mia

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 3:06pm



o'blarneys irish pubMembers of the Thurston County community will be running for rainbows during the 1st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Gold Run 5K this weekend. The runner’s sights are set not only on the finish line but also on a pot of gold that will go to a very worthy cause – Friends of Mia.

“Casey and I are Mia’s parents and founded the organization shortly after Mia passed in 2012,” explains co-founder and mother, LeLani Benavente. She got sick when she was 2. Mia was diagnosed with High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. We created the foundation to help offset our medical expenses and help raise awareness to childhood cancer.”

After a three year battle with cancer, sadly, Mia passed away in 2012. “We wanted to keep the foundation going in honor of her memory. There are so many families in our area dealing with childhood illnesses. We want to help connect to these families and continue to support the fight against cancer.”

friends of mia

Runners will take their mark at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 14 to raise money for Friends of Mia.

Part of supporting that fight is by creating fundraisers like the St. Patrick’s Day Gold Run 5K. “We want to engage our community,” explains Benavente. “Mia got sick in March of 2009 so this event really ties back to that moment in our lives. I remember her eating a green bagel she was in isolation at the hospital. This run is something anyone can be a part of to help bring awareness and raise money for cancer research.”

All of the money raised during the run will go directly to Seattle Children’s Childhood Cancer Research. “That hospital and those doctors did so much for us,” says Benavente. “There are so many children here, in town, dealing with treatment. We are raising money to help fund research into t-cell therapy. It is a very new treatment but it could eliminate chemotherapy. It has fewer side effects which can make a big difference in a child’s life. It means a lot to us to be able to fund that continued effort.”

The goal of the run isn’t just the funds raised, but overall awareness in our community. “Awareness is super important to us,” adds Benavente.  “We want people to know there are resources and they aren’t alone. We hear about new kids that are diagnosed and try to embrace their families. We want to try to help them through it. We want the community to know about these families and embrace them as well.”

friends of mia

Rainbows are unofficial mascots of this weekend’s 1st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Gold 5K.

The family friendly race will start from O’Blarney’s Irish Pub rain or shine. “During Mia’s service we were able to see a double rainbow. It reminded me of Mia’s beautiful spirit. Ever since then, rainbows really speak to our family. If it rains this weekend, we won’t just be running, will be hunting for rainbows.”

Friends of Mia Presents: The 1st Annual St. Patrick’s Day Gold Run 5K on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

Faster Runners start at 8:30 a.m. with joggers, walkers, and strollers beginning at 8:40 a.m. Last minute registration includes a Green Beer (21+w/ID) at O’Blarney’s and a raffle ticket for prizes.

Registration is $30.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids ages 12 and under.

All proceeds will benefit Friends of Mia and support Childhood Cancer Research Seattle Children’s Hospital.

St. Patrick’s Day Festivities for the 21+ Crowd

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Lindsey Surrell

volkswagenThe Irish in each of us shines through with the celebration of St Patrick’s Day. If your celebration style for the holiday is more for the green beer, live music, and delicious Irish food, check out one (or more!) of these local spots for St. Patty’s Day fun.

Saturday, March 14

Little Creek Casino

st patricks day

Celebrate the Irish in you this St. Patrick’s Day at various local restaurants and bars! (Photo courtesy The Office Bar and Grill)

Head 15 miles northwest of Olympia to listen to Irish music by Tiller’s Folly and a U2 Tribute Band, Hollywood U2, while enjoying beer, spirits, and specialty Irish food. $10 includes 10 tasting tickets and a souvenir keepsake mug.

Start time: 3:00 p.m.

O’Blarney’s Pub

Where better than an Irish pub to celebrate Saint Patrick all week long? Two opportunities on Saturday to watch Irish Dancers while drinking green beer and eating a special Irish stew: one at noon and one at 6:00 p.m. In between, listen to the Olympia Highlanders Pipes and Drums. And later that night, a DJ will be playing from 9:00 p.m.- 1:00 a.m.

Start time: 12:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.


St. Patrick’s Day: Tuesday, March 17

Tugboat Annies

Sit back and enjoy the scenery of being right on the water while listening to an Irish band and drinking green beer, perhaps even after a kayak adventure (weather depending). Also, Tugboat Annies continues the St. Patrick’s Day festivities every Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. with live Irish music.

Start time: approximately 1:00 p.m.

st patricks day olympia

Enjoy Guinness or another Irish drinks with this St. Patrick’s Day list.

McMenamin’s Spar Café and Bar

Listen to one of the largest pipe bands in the Pacific Northwest, Clan Gordon Pipe Band, while enjoying an Irish Reuben and Corned Beef and Cabbage. St. Patrick’s Day drink specials, including Irish Stout from the Nitro tap and Irish coffee, will surely make your skills on the 22-foot shuffleboard table and pinball games even better.

Start time: 8:00 p.m.

The Office Bar and Grill

Gather your group of friends and head to the Office Bar and Grill and celebrate the holiday in matching Derby hats- free for the first 100 customers in the door. While complimenting each other’s hats, enjoy the green beer and Corned Beef Sandwich with side for only $4.99.

Start time: 5:00 p.m.

O’Blarney’s Pub

Continue in the weeklong events at O’Blarney’s with two opportunities to listen to live Irish music while enjoying specials on green beer and Guinness: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. In between, listen to Olympia Highlanders Pipes and Drums. At 7:00 p.m., That Irish Guy takes the stage to play Irish folk songs. Fill up on Irish favorites from the kitchen, including Bangers and Mash and Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Start time: 11:00 a.m.

Fish Tale Brew Pub

st patricks day olympia

The Office Bar and Grill is offering free Derby Hats to the first 100 customers. (Photo courtesy The Office Bar and Grill)

Local brewery Fish Tale is inaugurating two new beers at 5:00 p.m. – Over and Out Oatmeal Stout and Hodgsons Double IPA.  Enjoy $1 off select pints while listening to Bagpipe players. The pub’s new chef also has a special menu of Scotch Eggs and Corned Beef Brisket served all day long.

Start time: 11:00 a.m.

4th Ave Tavern

Did you know that the complexities of a bagpipe can take years of study to master? Give the players an extra round of applause this St. Patty’s Day while enjoying drink specials and Corned Beef and Cabbage at 4th Ave Tavern.

Start time: 7:00 p.m.

Whichever place you choose to celebrate the culture and heritage of the Irish, stay responsible and wear green.


Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs Brings New Business Niche into Thurston County

Thurston Talk - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 6:00am



By Holly Smith Peterson

fastsignsLacey has welcomed its first distillery, and the first organic such business in Thurston County – Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs.

“So far so good,” says general manager Sandy Desner. “It’s going great, and it’s been very, very, very busy,”

That’s an understatement for the brand-new business whose only promotion has been word of mouth. To walk-in customers alone, the distillery sold roughly 20 cases — 200 to 300 bottles — in its first week.

“And that was just people who wandered in and wanted to see what we have or take a taste,” he explains.

salish sea distillery

You might think it’s wine in these genuine oak barrels, but it’s actually where the liqueurs settle into their final flavors.

Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs was actually the inspiration of Desner’s son, Sam, who for years had been experimenting with different liqueur concoctions at home. Vexed by the lack of organic ingredients available, about five years ago he began making his own organic liqueurs with all-natural and organic flavorings and herbs. Two years later, he wrote up a business plan, which both father and son saw could be brought to life.

“When we realized that the business was actually viable, we decided to give it a go,” Sam says.

How the business found its name and its way to Lacey was, “a fun little adventure,” he adds. The hunt for a building first took them to Squaxin Island, where a 40,000 square foot warehouse had potential for functioning as the distillery site, storage and distribution area, and tasting room. Although that deal didn’t work out, it did inspire the name Salish Sea, from the waters surrounding the island.

“The majority of our ingredients aren’t based in Washington State because the quality and quantities of what we need aren’t available,” says Sam. “So we wanted the name to bring the focus of the business back to our location, and Thurston County.”

Adds Sandy, “We wanted to reflect the environment of the Pacific Northwest and a product that was organic. We also wanted to recognize and respect the South Sound community.”

As for the Lacey location, the Desners kept on with their search for a high-quality, good-looking manufacturing space in Thurston County. When they saw that the space adjacent to the already popular Stottle Winery and tasting room was open, they knew they had the perfect fit.

“With Stottle Winery next door and a couple more in the area, plus Top Rung Brewing down the way, we’re starting to build into a destination,” Sandy says.

If there’s a future distillery hotspot on the “Ale Trail” that Lacey is quickly developing, Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs is likely it. As the duo describe the business, they produce “handcrafted, small-batch, USDA-certified, top-quality fruit and herbal organic liqueurs created via cold maceration — a concept that’s completely unique to the area.”

salish sea distillery

The distillery setup at Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs looks a bit like a mad scientist’s lab — but with much tastier results.

What’s not in Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs – additives, artificial flavors, artificial coloring, and preservatives. What they infuse is simply real herbs and flowers. The uses for the flavorings are myriad, but in particular for sipping on their own, for cocktail infusions, and for additions to culinary endeavors. Some of Sam’s favorites include hibiscus-infused syrup for french toast and pancakes, sage liqueur brushed on grilled chicken, and lemongrass liqueur drizzled on barbecue shrimp.

There’s no surprise behind Sam’s enthusiasm for the liqueurs, given that he’s the genius inventing the flavorings. Mixologist training and years of concocting unique flavors at home have given him a feel for both what will work and what customers will prefer. Which ideas he decides to run with for the business begin with browsing through catalogs of drinks and ingredients, plus mulling over suggestions from friends.

“Of the first 11 experimental batches, five turned out well, three were abysmal, and the rest were a work in transition,” he describes.

Right now, Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs offers 16 different fruit and herbal liqueurs, with six more — amaretto, grapefruit, jasmine, limoncello, nectarine and vanilla — on the way. Since he tempers all to his own personal palate, Sam declines to pick a favorite when asked.

However, the bestseller is ginger, followed by raspberry, made of the leaf rather than the berry itself to provide an extra flavor boost. The latter is particularly popular for making raspberry tea. Another quick-seller is rose petal liqueur, useful in both a “good-night” glass of milk and orange frosting.

“The possibilities are endless, as far as what people suggest and how to use the flavors in new ways,” he says.

salish sea distillery

The set of pumps that helps infuse the liqueurs with each flavor. Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs offers 16 different fruit and herbal liqueurs.

The flavors currently available include anisette, chrysanthemum, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, hibiscus, honeysuckle, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, red raspberry, rosemary, rose petal, sage, spiced anisette and thyme coriander. Bottle prices range from $20 for a pint to $30 and up for a fifth, with alcohol content between 16% and 23%.

Sandy and Sam’s goals for the immediate future are to stay small, catering to the public and a range of exclusive clients. In the coming months, Sam also envisions opening an exclusive liqueur club, similar to a wine club. Currently the Desners’ target market is those who purchase a half case to a case annually. Salish Sea also has plans to approach high-end Seattle restaurants and other dining venues in the immediate area to use their liqueurs on a regular basis.

Flavor-wise, Sam is eventually aiming to create an organic absinthe, as well as gin and fruit brandies. And if you find something you like there while on a tasting stop, you’d better buy it. Many flavors are seasonal and sell out quickly until the next batches are distilled.

All in all, the work is very labor-intensive and time-consuming, Sam emphasizes. But, more importantly, it’s challenging and satisfying.

“The best thing about this job is being able to do what I love to do and to make my own hours,” he says. “To no small degree, this business consumes your life.”

Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs

2641 Willamette Drive NE, Suite D in Lacey


Wednesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more details, visit

Shivas “You Know What to Do”

K Records - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 1:07am
Raw words pictures & songs and you instinctively know what to do. K Song of the Day: Shivas “You Know What to Do” from their album You Know What to Do [KLP252]. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available now from the K Mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

National Animal Poison Prevention Week

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 12:11pm



Submitted by Joint Animal Services

dog adoptionAwareness is the key to preventing poisoning emergencies.  It only takes a few minutes to educate yourself on how to pet-proof appropriately and avoid a possible heart-breaking situation.   Follow the same general tips for humans to protect your animals.  In addition to those precautions here are some tips especially for your pet:

  • Never give your pet human medications including pain relievers, vitamins or supplements.  Store them where animals cannot accidentally get them.
  • Be aware that some human foods including bread dough, chocolate, onions and garlic and alcohol can have dire consequences for animals.  When in doubt if it is harmful, the best advice is to avoid it and keep it out of reach.
  • Keep all insecticides, rodenticides, lawn products and any other chemical products well out of reach of animals and use caution when applying them to insure that animals don’t come in contact with them.
  • Read the product labels before you begin using any pet products such as flea or tick treatments–some that are fine for dogs are toxic to cats.
  • Be aware of your houseplants.  Many common houseplants can cause kidney damage to your pet if swallowed.

If you think your pet may have ingested something harmful take action immediately.  Contact your veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 (there is a charge for these services).


Private Lending…A Fit for your Investment Portfolio?

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 11:33am



Submitted by Dan Martinez, Keller Williams Realty South Sound


Before pictures of a kitchen renovation in Lacey using Private Money.

Before picture of a kitchen renovation in Lacey using Private Money.

The stock market is at all-time highs.  The economy seems to be on the mend.  You are feeling better about your investments but historical events still make you wary about future growth or the next crash, so you have reluctantly kept a good portion of your savings in low interest securities to avoid significant losses of your hard earned dollars.

However, you know you are losing ground to inflation and wonder if there is a better way to get a higher return without being exposed to significant risks.  If you have funds that could use a higher return and you understand real estate, Private Lending could be a strategic part of your portfolio.

What is Private Lending?

Private lending is a loan,usually given to a real estate investor, which is secured by real estate. Private money lenders  are given  a  first or second mortgage that secures their legal interest in the property and secures their investment. When a property is found, private lenders are given the opportunity to fund the purchase and/or rehab costs of the home. Through this process, the lender can yield interest rates several times highter than  the rates available on bank CD’s and other traditional investment plans.

Essentially, private money lending is your opportunity to operate like a”be the bank”, collecting interest on a secured property. It’s a great way to generate cash flow and obtain a predictable income stream, while at the same time, provide security and safety for your principle investment. Like a bank , you can make a profitable return on investment backed by real estate.

Sources of Funding for Private Lenders

  • Cash
  • CDs and Money Market Funds
  • Home Equity Line
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Liquidated Securities & Investments

How the Process Works

 After picture of kitchen renovation in Lacey using Private Money.

After picture of kitchen renovation in Lacey using Private Money.

The process is simple. The investor finds a property, which meets specific yield  requirements, and sends theproposal  to the Private Lender for review.  The investor borrows the funds from the Private Lender to purchase and renovate the property. At closing, the Lender receives a mortgage on the home along with other important documents. Next stage is the property renovation. Once the renovations are complete (typically 3-6 months depending on the size of the project), the property is listed and sold. When it’s time for closing, the Lender receives their principle plus agreed upon  interest payment. The goal is to keep turning that money so it continues to work hard for you.

Is it Really Safe?

Obviously, no guarantees can be made about investment safety and returns.  However, real estate provides safeguards that are familiar and understandable to most people.  In this scenario, the investment  properties are purchased at below market value so they typically come with equity.  You get to decide which properties you want for your investment.  Market risk is minimized since funds are commonly on loan for less than 6 months.

For your protection, there are three primary documents securing your investment.

Promissory Note:  This is your collateral for your investment capital

Deed of Trust/Mortgage:  This is the document that is recorded with the county clerk and recorder to publicly secure your investment against the real property that we are providing as collateral

Hazard Insurance Policy:  This is where you as the private lender would be listed as the “Mortgagee” for your protection in case of fire or natural disaster, etc.

In addition, investors will be working hard on your behalf since they don’t make any money if you don’t make money.  They also want to gain your trust and confidence in developing a long term relationship for the opportunity to borrow funds on future projects.

real estate agent olympia

Dan and Peggy Martinez share their knowledge about private lending and real estate with area investors.

Does Anyone Really do This?

I’m glad you asked!  I am currently investing in real estate as a Private Lender using three different strategies.

  1. First, I have a personal loan secured by promissory note and property lien, which is paying interest each month and will return principal amount when the home sells.
  2. My company, M3D Real Estate, LLC entered into a joint venture for another renovation and will receive a fixed return on the sale of the property.  More like a profit share arrangement.
  3. Finally, I used my self-directed Roth IRA to assist in the rehab of a third property for a fixed monthly interest rate. This income will be tax free.

Do your Homework

As with any investment, you need to educate yourself and consult professionals such as real estate attorneys and CPAs to determine if private lending is an appropriate strategy for your portfolio.  However, with some effort you can get “lazy” dollars working much harder for you and achieve your financial goals sooner.  There are many online resources and books available to assist you in learning how to lend safely and profitably.  Your local Realtor® will likely know of investors who are familiar with the private lending process and willing to pay a higher interest in order fund more projects.

Best wishes in your all of your investing endeavors.


Private Lending 101  – a good place to get started learning more.




Saint Martin’s University Students are Recognized at the Circle K District Convention

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 11:12am



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

St Martin Circle KFive students at Saint Martin’s University recently received several awards and two scholarships totaling $3,000 during the Annual Pacific Northwest Circle K District Convention, which was hosted in DuPont and attended by approximately 12 clubs from the Pacific Northwest area.

The 24-member Saint Martin’s University Circle K Club also was recognized with the Outstanding Single Service Award for 2014-2015 for assisting the residents of the RooLan Retirement Home.

Circle K International (CKI) is the collegiate service organization associated with Kiwanis International.  CKI has more than 12,000 student members on more than 500 campuses worldwide.  It is a student-led organization with an elected International Board of Representatives.  CKI tenets are leadership, fellowship and service at the club, district and international levels.  The concept of present-day Circle K began at the collegiate level in 1936 at Washington State University.

The following individuals, as well as Kiwanis Club of North Thurston/Lacey, were honored during an awards ceremony hosted February 21.

  • Bailey Cammann (junior-senior) received the Volunteer Scholar Award in recognition of her number of service hours while maintaining a high GPA (3.81), the Most Service Hours by a Single Member Award, in recognition of her 400 hours of individual service for the year, and the Gene O’Brien Scholarship for $1,500.
  • Jeremiah “JJ” Olson (senior) received the Charles Hindes Humanitarian Award in recognition of his compassion in contributing to the greater good of society and community with no need or desire for recognition. He also received the President’s Walter Zeller Award in recognition of his tireless efforts to bring awareness to others and raise funds for the Kiwanis International/UNICEF Eliminate Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus Project in developing countries. He also received the Roy Frisch Scholarship for $1,500.
  • Emy Suazo (sophomore) was awarded the International Service and Awareness Award in recognition of her efforts to increase awareness and understanding of international issues affecting underdeveloped countries and for service to the global community.  Emy is originally from Honduras and speaks six languages.
  • Maddison (Lotz) Lee (senior) was given the Outstanding Club Member Award in recognition of her commitment to the Saint Martin’s Circle K group through involvement in club meetings, service projects, district and international events and service projects.
  • Bianca Lupercio (junior) received the Outstanding Club Scrapbook Award for maintaining a written and visual history record of club service activities and events for each calendar year.  The events and service projects required to be included in the club history are district events, campus service projects, community service projects, fundraising projects, social events, interaction with high school K Clubs and sponsoring Kiwanis clubs, international events and service projects.
  • Toni Christy was recognized with the Outstanding Staff/Faculty Advisor Award for her participation in and leadership of the Saint Martin’s club.  Christy is staff advisor and a member of the Board of Directors for the Kiwanis Club of North Thurston/Lacey. She is also an active Kiwanis Club member.

The Kiwanis Club of North Thurston/Lacey received the Outstanding Sponsoring Club Award for its support of the Saint Martin’s University Circle K Club.

This year’s Club President, Jeremiah “JJ” Olson, is graduating in May.  Bailey Cammann has been elected as the incoming Club President and will step into the role in May.


Homeless Backpacks – Students Helping Students

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 7:07am



By Alyssa Ramsfield

hometown logoThe Homeless Backpacks organization began with one mission: to end homelessness, one student at a time. As the need in our area continues to grow, the organization grows along with it. (Read the history of the local nonprofit organization here.) Many teens are fed through government funded programs during the day, but when they leave school for the weekend, there aren’t many nutritional options. This is where Homeless Backpacks jumps in – providing meals for hungry kids throughout the weekend.

homeless backpack

Aspire Middle School students, Tyler Underwood and Ryan Moe, sort food for an upcoming Homeless Backpack delivery.

“My husband Dan and I got involved with Homeless Backpacks in November 2012 when they needed volunteers for their Annual Bountiful Harvest Auction,” explains Homeless Backpacks board member, Shelley Nicholson. “It was a huge eye opener for both of us. We had no clue how many homeless students were in our community. Homeless Backpacks is truly a special program.”

Homeless Backpacks works to feed teens through a simple solution: backpacks filled with food. “The schools do an amazing job of making sure students have a healthy breakfast and lunch during the school week,” says Nicholson.

“Our hope is to take away that worry from students who do not have food at home when the school bell rings on Friday afternoon.  We answer the question about where their meals will come from all weekend. We are there to fill in that gap by providing weekend food bags, filled with foods kids will actually eat,” adds Nicholson.

The organization runs on partnerships between volunteers and donations. This year, they have worked to get students involved. “We asked our friends from Hometown Property Management and Dzines if they would like to be PIE Partners with us and join forces making this an amazing year for Aspire Middle School students. They happily agreed since their son is a current Aspire student,” explains Nicholson.  “When we sat down for our first meeting with Aspire, we laid out a plan to go hand in hand with the Compassion Program North Thurston Public Schools is sharing with students and the community at large. We wanted the students to have an opportunity to give back – thus showing compassion but in a unique way. So we thought…kids helping kids. Homeless Backpacks is a perfect fit for this.”

homeless backpacks

Autumn Hakes, Valerie Mosier, Aubrey Martin, and
Emily Preuss participate in a fundraiser to bring in food items for Homeless Backpacks.

“I have really enjoyed the partnership with Aspire Middle school this year,” adds Hometown Property Management owner, Andrew Barkis.  “Working with the students and seeing their genuine concern for others has been incredible.”

This partnership with the school has been a yearlong work in progress. “In the fall, all Aspire students wrote a short note to Homeless Backpacks students that were sent out over Thanksgiving,” explains Nicholson. “In January, Aspire held a school-wide food drive to college items for the Homeless Backpacks  bags. In March, the final stage of this project is a school wide bagging party.”

“I hope that when the students get older and become a part of the working community they remember seeing businesses such as Dzines and Hometown Property Management give back to the schools and are inspired to do the same,” adds Nicholson.

The partnership with the students of Aspire has made an impact. “I think that students partnering up with Homeless Backpacks is a good idea,” describes Aspire 8th grader, Maile Brown. “We can learn about how to do community service and learn what it is like for others who aren’t as fortunate as us. It shows us that there are other kids who don’t have enough food. It makes me sad but it also makes me feel like I can help them.”

homeless backpacks

Aspire Middle School has partnered with Hometown Property Management and Dzines to support Homeless Backpacks. Pictured here is Emily Duncan, Alana Hall, Kylee Bair, and Lilliana Peden.

With students helping students, the future is bright for Homeless Backpacks. “It is easy to put blinders on and think that in such a clean well-kept community such as Lacey that there is no homelessness, but that in fact is not true,” says Nicholson.

Homeless Backpacks is currently serving over 400 students a week with weekend food bags. “These kids all have unique stories…some are couch hopping, some living in cars (with or without their families), some are staying in shelters or homeless camps in the area,” says Nicholson.

“I truly hope that the Aspire students are humbled by this experience and are aware that someday they may be sitting in class next to a homeless student or be one themselves. I know as a kid it is hard to think you can be part of solving the problem, but just knowing where to go for help can make a difference in a student’s life,” summarizes Nicholson.

For more information on Homeless Backpacks or to become a volunteer visit


With Rubadue As Their New Coach And With a Talented Lineup, Timberline Baseball Has Reasons To Be Optimistic

Thurston Talk - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 6:39am



By Gail Wood

washington orthopaedic centerRather than panic and throw his hands up in despair, worrying about their new, last-minute coach and fretting about not having their ace-in-the-hole pitcher for the entire season because of an injury, Taylor Adams is focusing on the positives.

And a Timberline Blazers’ baseball team loaded with talent has lots of reason to be optimistic.

“Right now, we’re just trying to stay positive,” said Adams, a center fielder and a returning starter off last year’s team that won a league title. “Really, I think this will be about our seniors and how we lead, how we take on the challenge.”

It’s a talented group of seniors. Six of them have signed baseball scholarship offers. However, the best of them, Matt Mercer, who will pitch for the Oregon Ducks next season, is out for the season, recovering from tendon surgery in his elbow.

“That hurts a lot not having Matt,” said Adams, who has accepted a baseball scholarship to Tacoma Community College. “He’s a great player.”

timberline baseball

Mark Rubadue gets ready to hit some grounders to his infield during just his third day of practice as the Blazers new coach.

Adams and his teammates got a surprise when Matt Acker, a former college coach with a reputation for developing talent, announced he wasn’t returning to coach at Timberline a week before the season started. Mark Rubadue, a Timberline teacher who had coached the Blazers baseball team for seven years, became the emergency replacement.

“They asked me if I’d please, please do this,” said Rubadue, who coached the Blazers baseball team from 2004 to 2010. “It was a week before the season started. I told them I’d do it for the kids. The administration knew they needed to get someone in there who had done it. I said I’d do it.”

And Rubadue’s entire team breathed one big sigh of relief.

“Yeah, it was a surprise,” senior infielder Ryan Connor said about the sudden coaching change. “But right now we’re just trying not to focus on the past and focus on the right now. We have a great coach and a great coaching staff.”

Mercer just began throwing again and doesn’t want to push his recovery, risking injury. Although Mercer won’t play for the Blazers, he won’t miss a practice. He’ll be at every turnout, helping and doing whatever he can. He’s gone from being a star on the team to being the designated manager, a cheerleader giving support.

timberline baseball

The Blazers work on fielding some grounders at a recent practice.

“It’s definitely going to be hard,” Mercer said at a recent practice. “Senior year you want to help your teammates, guys you’ve been playing with since you were about 10 years old. It’s going to be hard this season just watching. I’m glad Coach Rubadue has allowed me to come out and kind of be with the team and be with my teammates. I’ll contribute where I can.”

While Mercer wished he could play, the typical recovery time for Tommy John surgery is 12 to 14 months. He had the surgery in August, taking a slice of his hamstring and replacing the torn tendon in his elbow.

“Hopefully, I’ll start throwing off the mound maybe at the end of April,” Mercer said. “Nothing hard. I’ll work up to it. My goal is to be 100 percent when I go to Oregon.”

Timberline will miss Mercer’s bat and his pitching.

“Matt was a big part of our team last year,” Connor said. “Great pitcher, great infielder, great hitter – just a great player overall. But I think we have a lot of good guys who can help fill the role. I think we’ll still be good.”

timberline baseball

Mark Rubadue talks to pitcher Jackson Spencer at a recent practice.

Even with Mercer out, the Blazers are still loaded with talent. Besides Mercer and Adams, the Blazers have three more players who have already signed baseball scholarship offers. Joining Adams, Zach Owens and Connor are also headed to TCC. Jackson Spencer will pitch at Skagit Valley Community College and Chris Roy is signed to play for Lower Columbia College.

Last season, Adams batted .385, giving the Blazers a steady bat in the middle of the order. As a team, Timberline batted about .350 last year, helping them finish 23-3.

“It hurts not having Matt. He’s a great player, but we’ve got a lot of seniors,” Adams said. “Hopefully, we’ve got some guys who are ready to step up this year.”

Spencer is one of those seniors who could fill a big role pitching. While he’s not overpowering – his fastball is about 82 miles per hour – he’s crafty, mixing a changeup with his split-finger fastball and a wicked slider. Last summer while pitching for the Thurston County Saints, Spencer tossed a no-hitter. He’s also got an impressive pick-off move to first when a runner is on base.

“My dad taught it to me,” Spencer said. “I’ve been practicing it since I was little.”

timberline baseball

Matt Mercer (gray sweatshirt) goes through some stretches with his teammates at practice.

Spencer, who is left handed and threw on the junior varsity last year, is optimistic about this year’s team.

“Our focus is just on playing baseball and having fun. And obviously winning games,” Spencer said. “That’s why we’re here.”

Connor was another steady hitter for the Blazers last season and batted .397.

“I think we’re pretty solid all around,” Connor said. “We lost a few guys pitching from last year’s seniors and Matt. I think overall we’re good in all areas.”

Timberline opens its season with a jamboree game on March 14 and opens its season on the following Monday.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm out there,” Rubadue said. “We’ll be ready to go.”

Thee XNTRX “Work Is the Principle”

K Records - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 1:12am
Ang P. and Afrok at Olympia Hip Hop 4 the Homeless, January 2015 MG! the Visionary One of the catchiest numbers on a hit machine compilation album, All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255], featuring legions of Northwest hip hop luminaries. Check out the two All Your Friend’s Friends events at Treefort Festival in Boise ID March […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Old Time Relijun in Portland, OR!

K Records - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 1:10am
May Day! That will mark the return to the stage by Old Time Relijun, who have been inactive for several years. Inactive as a band, but productive in other areas and other ways (check out the many albums and musical entities Arrington de Dionyso has been involved with, for instance). As you can see from […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Chekov's "The Cherry Orchard" at Evergreen

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 8:22pm
Event:  Fri, 03/13/2015 - 8:00pm - 9:30pm logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

John Bash offered Tumwater School District Superintendent Contract

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 5:05pm



Submitted by the Tumwater School District Board of Directors

Mr. John Bash, Deputy Superintendent for North Thurston Public Schools

Mr. John Bash, former Deputy Superintendent for North Thurston Public Schools, has been offered the position of Tumwater Schools Superintendent.

The Tumwater School District Board of Directors met this evening in executive session to review each superintendent finalist’s experience, training and information gathered during interviews, site visits and public forums. Following a review of all the relevant information, the School Board met in regular session to discuss the qualities of the applicants. By motion, the Board unanimously agreed to offer a contract for the position of Tumwater Schools Superintendent to Mr. John Bash beginning July 1, 2015.

The School Board wishes to express appreciation to the staff and community for their valuable input into the process and in making all of the applicants feel welcome.


Naomi Punk, PC Worship, Mother Tongue and Broken Water

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 5:00pm


Welcome Naomi Punk back from their European Tour and send them off again w/ PC Worship down the west coast. Also playing is Mother Tongue from Rhode Island. with support from local favorites Broken Water. ?

“Also, the Homie, Shane Yee, and I will be doing an installation”- Scott Young

Show really starts at 8pm sharp :)

Facebook Invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Providence Health eXpress Brings the Doctor’s Visit to You

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 4:52pm



Submitted by Providence Health and Services

A new Providence service now lets you see a doctor when you want, wherever you want, without having to leave your home or workplace. Providence Health eXpress brings the doctor or nurse practitioner to you for a live video visit through your computer, smart phone or tablet.

As a Providence service, Health eXpress connects you with physicians and nurse practitioners, and send follow-up reports to your primary care provider if you approve. It’s safe, secure and confidential, just like a regular doctor’s visit..

To add to the convenience:

  • Health eXpress offers extended weekday and weekend hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • No appointment is needed. Just connect when it’s convenient.
  • Wait times are generally less than five minutes.

Health eXpress is not intended to replace your regular primary care visits. If you need to be seen for an ongoing chronic condition or for your annual checkup, your primary care provider is still the best person to see. But it’s a great alternative when you can’t get in to your doctor’s office or immediate care center, or when you’re too sick or busy to drive to an appointment. Providence Health eXpress providers can make diagnoses, recommend treatments and write prescriptions for common conditions like colds, the flu, allergies, bladder infections and rashes. Click here for more information on common conditions.

Each online visit costs a flat, up-front fee of $39 which may save money if you have a high-deductible health plan or a high out-of-pocket copayment. If you are a Providence Health Plan member, Health eXpress will bill the plan for you. If not, check with your insurance company – many now reimburse for telehealth visits. Click here for more details on costs.

Ready to start?

It costs nothing to sign up for Health eXpress. Don’t wait until the next time you’re juggling three kids and a cough, or dealing with a sore throat on a busy workday; create an account today and you’ll be good to go – whenever and wherever you need to see a doctor.

Create an account and be ready when sick happens. Download the Health eXpress app or register online here.


See How it works or go to our frequently asked questions page.


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 4:28pm



Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet

Adopt-a-Pet Dog of the Week, Dexter

Adopt-a-Pet Dog of the Week, Dexter

Meet Dexter, a Brindle Chow Chow who is as gentle as a lamb. He was found as a stray and was very cautious when he first arrived at the shelter but with time and patience from all the volunteers, he is learning to walk on a leash and is more confident every day.  This older big boy loves everyone he meets and is looking for someone to scratch his ears and give him loving belly rubs. In return he’ll lavish you with sloppy kisses and his undying loyalty.

We have lots of great dogs and always need volunteers to help them. Contact Adopt-A-Pet dog shelter on Jensen Road in Shelton at or contact us at or (360) 432-3091.

Bayview Catering is Ready for Wedding Season with Top-Notch Food and Service

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 2:09pm



By Gale Hemmann

wedding caterer olympia

With professional service and top-notch presentation, the staff at Bayview Catering consistently wows clients, handling the big day with finesse. Photo credit: Bayview Catering

Food is an important part of a wedding. Whether your wedding is large or intimate, casual or formal, celebrating by dining and toasting with your guests is a time-honored tradition. While your guests are there to celebrate your big day, everyone will remember a wedding where the food and service were exceptional. And providing great food and beverages ensures that everyone will have plenty of energy to enjoy the reception.

Equally important to food quality is professional service. On your big day, you want to enjoy yourself and spend time with your guests. You want to rest assured that the catering staff are experienced and will provide excellent support. In short, on such a busy day with so many details to attend to, you want to make sure that you have a solid caterer to count on.

With over 30 years of experience, Bayview Catering is ready to handle your every need. Since 1982, they’ve been the area’s “go-to” wedding caterers (read some customer reviews here). I spoke with Kelley Young, Catering Manager at Bayview, to learn more about what they offer. As we talked in the beautiful waterfront dining area above Bayview Thriftway, where their catering services are headquartered, she told me more about what makes them unique. “We offer one-stop shopping for your wedding reception needs,” says Young.

olympia wedding caterer

For Bayview Wedding Catering clients, Ralph’s Thriftway meets all your cake and pastry needs with their beautiful creations. Photo courtesy: Ralph’s Thriftway.

I asked Young why so many couples choose Bayview. While they earn rave reviews all around, customers especially like the high quality of food, artful presentation, and professionalism of the staff. They also appreciate Bayview’s ability to create custom menus based on any wedding theme (from Hawaiian to classic Hollywood themes, they can do just about anything).

For your reception, you can choose either a standard buffet-style spread or the Bride’s Choice Dinner, for a sit-down dining experience. (View their wedding menus here.) Bayview will work with you to create an elegant dining experience that fits your event size, location, and budget. They offer several different price points, as well as nearly endless options for customization.

Young says the Bride’s Choice Dinner menu is one of the most popular options. Brides get to select an entrée and side dishes, along with fresh-baked breads to be served.

Another area where Bayview wins rave reviews is their staff. Young notes the catering staff at Bayview are selected and trained to be top-notch customer service professionals. Even at the busiest reception, they are always courteous, helpful, and ready to meet any need that arises. Reading customer reviews, one repeatedly finds comments like “your staff are exceptional,” “the staff you chose did an excellent job,” and “we were very impressed with the organization and promptness.”

Bayview partners with Ralph’s Thriftway to bake all their cakes and pastries. They also partner with Celebrations and can help coordinate your event rentals. Together, they’ll work with you to create the “total vision” of what you want.

Every couple’s vision of a perfect wedding reception is different. That’s why Bayview offers a full range of services, so you can select what best fits your theme, location, and budget. They offer full bartending services as well as meat-carving stations as two possible options.

olympia wedding caterer

Bayview Catering can help you create the custom wedding reception or dinner of your dreams, such as this Hawaiian-themed reception. Photo credit: Bayview Catering.

Young notes that Bayview Catering can also work with clients to accommodate any special dietary needs they may have. Whether you are vegetarian, have to eat gluten-free, or have another special need, they can come up with some creative and tasty options that will please everyone.

One more tip from Kelly? Plan ahead. If you’re thinking about a summer or autumn wedding, book now with Bayview Catering to reserve your date. Their catering services are in-demand around South Sound, especially during wedding season, so you’ll ensure a top-notch caterer is in place and enjoy peace of mind by booking far ahead of time.

Bayview Catering offers the best of both worlds: their experience means they’ve successfully catered hundreds of weddings, and their commitment to making your wedding unique and customizing the details means you’ll have a one-of-a-kind day.

They also offer a complimentary consultation, so you can discuss your overall desires, food support needs, and budget as you plan the event.

olympia wedding caterer

Working with sister business Ralph’s Thriftway to bake your dream cake, Bayview Catering will work with you to cater the wedding reception of your dreams. Photo credit: Bayview Catering.

Bayview and Ralphs Thriftway stores have been serving Olympia since 1956. They are family-owned and a vital part of the local community. Choosing Bayview Catering for your wedding needs is also a great way to “shop local.”

To check out more about Bayview Wedding Catering, visit their website and find them on Facebook. You can also call them at (360) 357-8016 or email They are happy to talk with you about how to make your wedding vision into a reality.

Fish Brewing Company’s Over and Out Oatmeal Stout Is Not Just for Drinking

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 1:38pm



By Kelli Samson

thurston solid wasteI am well-versed in borrowing a cup of sugar or a bit of flour from a neighbor for a recipe, but some stout beer? This was a first.

When I told Fish Brewing Company’s events manager, Max DeJarnatt, that I wanted to feature a St. Patrick’s-themed cake using one of their stouts, he didn’t let the fact that it wasn’t quite done brewing yet stop them from being neighborly. Since the cake’s success doesn’t depend on the carbonation of the beer, he invited me down to the brew house. Head brewer Paul Pearson opened the vat and cheerfully sent me home with enough for a few cakes.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take some free beer – flat or not – over a cup of sugar any day.

fish brewing

Paul Pearson, head brewer at Fish Brewing, taps into a vat of Over and Out Oatmeal Stout.

Fish Brewing’s Over and Out Oatmeal Stout fittingly debuts on St. Patrick’s Day this year at the Fish Tale Brew Pub. In addition to this rich, chocolate-y spring seasonal, there will be a special menu served for the evening. After the holiday, it will take about a week for this new stout to make its way to the stores.

I’ve certainly celebrated more than one birthday at the Fish Tale. Being a St. Patrick’s Day baby, it’s a given that I love this unique holiday. After all, what’s better than everyone dressing in green, pinching one another, and boisterously drinking black and tans in what feels like your honor? I could do without all of the St. Patrick’s Day-themed gifts I have managed to receive over the years, but it’s not a bad trade off.

This year I thought I’d give back by sharing one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. It’s one that incorporates that holiest of Irish beers – the stout. The combination of the beer, chocolate, brown sugar, and cacao nibs adds a complex depth of flavor to this treat, while the presence of sour cream makes it perfectly moist.

I highly recommend waiting for the Fish Tale Over and Out Oatmeal Stout to arrive in stores later this month, but, if that’s just not possible, another stout will do.

This cake perfectly serves twelve, and it’s particularly indulgent when served with a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

May the road always rise up to meet you, the wind always be at your back, and all that jazz.


Chocolate Bundt Cake with Over and Out Oatmeal Stout


1 cup salted butter (plus extra for greasing the pan)

1/4 cup cocoa powder (for greasing the pan)

chocolate stout cake recipe

Guests at your home on or near St. Patrick’s Day will consider themselves lucky to enjoy a slice of this beauty.

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup Fish Brewing’s Over and Out Oatmeal Stout

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup cacao nibs (Theo Chocolate makes the best. These can be found at the Thriftway stores in the bulk section and at both Olympia Co-op locations)

1/2 cup heavy cream



  1. chocolate stout cake recipe

    The cake’s depth of flavor comes from the Fish Brewing Company’s spring seasonal, Over and Out Oatmeal Stout.

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.

  2. Generously grease a bundt pan with softened butter, then coat with cocoa powder. Tap out the excess powder.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter with the stout in a small pan on the stove. Once melted, remove from heat and add eight ounces of the chocolate chips, whisking until smooth. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugars together until fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and sour cream, continuing to beat until combined.
  6. Reduce speed to low. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and cacao nibs until combined.
  7. Pour batter into bundt pan. Bake 45-55 minutes, until few crumbs show on a toothpick.
  8. Let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes. Then release the cake onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  9. Once cake is cool, make the glaze. Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small pan. Remove from heat and add the remaining four ounces of chocolate chips. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, then whisk until smooth. Set some waxed paper on your counter beneath the cooling rack, because this will be messy. Pour the glaze over the cake. Let set.


The Fish Tale Brew Pub can be followed on Facebook.

515 Jefferson St. SE

Olympia, WA


All Your Friend’s Friends at Treefort!

K Records - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:48pm
If you be heading to Treefort Music Festival in Boise, ID. next month (and aren’t you?) dunt miss out on two All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] live-on-the-mic events Saturday, Mar. 28 and Sunday, March 29. It’s gonna be the biggest, baddest All Your Friend’s Friends happening in the West. Inspired by the D.I.Y. ethics and […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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