Recent local blog posts

Bagged Ceramic Proppant

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 4:15pm

Word on the street is that the company (Rainbow Ceramics) that has been shipping Bagged Ceramic Proppant (the product used for extreme hydro-fracking in North Dakota,) is due to renew its contract with the Port, soon. Photos of Proppants at the Port:

Bagged Ceramic Proppant

Bagged Ceramic Proppants from Isoldana

Pile of Bagged Ceramic Proppant

Isoldana Unloading Bagged Ceramic Proppant logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Northwest Christian High School Students Pitch in During April’s National Rebuilding Day

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:41am



Submitted by Rebuilding Together Thurston County

Students from Northwest Christian High School joined forces with Rebuilding Together Thurston County to help neighbors in need.

Students from Northwest Christian High School joined forces with Rebuilding Together Thurston County to help neighbors in need.

We would like to share great news of our most recent Rebuilding Together Thurston County Project.  On April 16, 118 student volunteers along with staff members from Northwest Christian High School in Lacey, walked around the corner from their school to make improvements to Candlewood Manor, a neighboring low-income mobile home park, to provide a day service to the community.

In consideration of the larger group of volunteers, Christina McNair from NWCHS divided the students into 11 teams, each headed by an efficient school staff member and they arrived at the park early that morning.  Raechel Kilcup, Susan Newman, Shirley Jones, Deb Parent, Brandy Farnsworth, Theresa Becker and Lane Sater were on hand from RTTC to provide coordination, along with several of their family members and friends.  Pam Folsom with SCJ Alliance and her daughter Nicole were also on site to provide communication, first-aid and logistics services.  Kim O’Hara from NWCHS was on-site to photograph the event.

Armed with maps of each home site provided by SCJ Alliance and tools and equipment provided by the Olympia Downtown Association, the volunteers worked on much needed home and yard improvements for a large number of elderly and disabled homeowners.  They pulled debris from roofs, cleaned gutters, painted, washed homes, weeded flower beds, repaired porches, repaired fences, installed new gutters, washed and repaired decks and raked lawns.

The volunteers also trimmed bushes and trees.  Chris Gillaspie of Gillaspie’s Tree Service in Centralia was on hand to trim some of the larger vegetation and

NWCH students worked on home and yards to pitch in on National Rebuilding Day.

NCHS students worked on home and yards to pitch in on National Rebuilding Day.

provide pruning counsel.  Ted and Shirley Jones of T&S Cleaning provided much needed pressure washing and Jim Simmons of Mr. Electric installed a new light and made panel repairs on a home in serious need of electrical improvements.

In one day, the volunteer’s hard work resulted in improvements in 23 homes, to the extent that one owner exclaimed, “I don’t recognize the place!”  The teams efficiency also allowed them to provide improvements to the community park and clubhouse, touching the lives of over 100 home owners residing in the neighborhood.  “Amazing!”, “They were so well mannered!”, and “What can we do for the students besides give our thanks?” were among many positive exclamations from the recipients.

Reflecting on the day’s work, Dr. Terry Ketchum, the school principal and team leader had this to say about the volunteers, “Several of our students were commenting on the value they saw in what they were doing – helping those who had difficulty helping themselves..”  Park Manager Donna Hayward commented that the volunteers worked very hard and that residents were extremely pleased with the outcome.  Rebuilding Together Thurston County thanks all involved in this successful project that affected so many people!



Saint Martin’s to Offer Free Chinese Language and Culture Camp

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 9:28am



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

chinese new yearChildren can cross the Pacific on an imaginary adventure this summer and learn about living in another country – free –at the Saint Martin’s University Chinese Language and Culture Camp for kids. The camp will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 21-July 23 on the second floor of the University’s Harned Hall, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey.

Designed for children 5-12, the camp will have a daily mixture of Chinese language, writing and cultural activities, including constructing dragon masks and lanterns, practicing some tai chi moves, learning Chinese hand-counting and many more. Office staff members will lead the camp in collaboration with visiting students from Saint Martin’s sister school, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, says Marco Tullock, director of international programs and development for the University’s Office of International Programs and Development.

“We are very happy to present this exciting cultural immersion camp free-of-charge to kids in the local community. It is a great opportunity for children to learn about the Chinese language and culture through interaction with Chinese students at Saint Martin’s University,” Tullock says.

The camp is offered to the community free-of-charge by Saint Martin’s. However, children must be registered by a parent or legal guardian, and parents are asked to commit to bringing their child or children all three days. “Parents are welcome to stay onsite, if desired,” Tullock says. Registration can be completed by online, by clicking here.  Registration also can be done by telephone. Parents who register by calling will need to sign and return a printed permission form and liability waiver. To register by phone, or for questions, please call Brenda Mueller, summer program assistant, 360-438-4504.

A pound of tiny strawberries

The Plum Palate - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 7:57am
A couple of weeks ago my father-in-law and I went rummaging through their neighbor’s groundcover, uncovering tiny strawberries. Even the largest ones were no bigger than the fingernail on my index finger. The seeds were the inverse of those on a supermarket strawberry–instead of a seed at the base of a dimple, these perched halfway […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Thurston County Special Olympics Softball Hosts Regional Tournament

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 7:53am



By Tom Rohrer

tagsWhen he began working with the Thurston County Special Olympics Softball program, Mark Barker remembers the initial turnout.

“We had about nine players,” said Barker, a coordinator and planner for Thurston County Special Olympics. “It just wasn’t well known then.”

special olympics softballTwenty years later, the program has an enrollment of around 90 individuals, ranging in age from age eight to 65.

One of eight sports within Thurston County Special Olympics, softball is the most popular activity according to Barker.  Up to 10 players can be on the field on a time and the game is played outdoors, as opposed to sports such as basketball and weightlifting.  Seeing the participation and interest in the sport grow over two decades has been special for Barker.

“It’s big to my athletes that they have a place to compete, and I know it makes them feel good,” Barker said. “They just enjoy it.”

In late July, the local athletes will welcome competitors from across Washington State for the annual Southwest Region Softball Tournament.  The tournament, which will be held on Saturday, July 26 at LBA Park and Stevens Field, will feature around 100-120 local athletes along with 500-600 out-of-town competitors.

“We have athletes coming in from Tacoma, Vancouver, Grays Harbor, all over,” said Barker, who coaches a team within the TCSO softball program. “It’s great because a lot of athletes are beginning to form friendships with each other because of tournaments in the past.”

special olympics softballThe tournament format will be similar to any Special Olympics event.

“We will have opening ceremonies, athletes giving out our official athlete’s oath and one athlete will be singing the national anthem,” said Barker.  “After the games are over, there will be awards, medals for first second and third place in each divisions.  It’s a tremendous day for everyone involved.”

Teams that win their division will move on to the Washington State Special Olympics Softball Tournament in August, held in Everett and hosted by Boeing.  Barker has coached a team to the state tournament the last five years, an incredible feat that has led to even more incredible experiences.

“It’s a tournament that requires a stay overnight.  There’s an athlete’s dinner and an athlete’s dance,” said Barker. “The competition is very high. The athletes, they really respond to that.”

The teams within the local softball program vary in age and skill level.  Barker and the collection of Special Olympics volunteers make it their mission to move athletes up to higher skill levels by teaching them the fundamentals of the game in tightly structured practices.

special olympics softball“As any coach would tell you, seeing that improvement is why you’re coaching,” Barker noted. “We want the kids to have more fun playing, and that happens by them learning the correct fundamentals and how to play the right way.”

Barker became involved with Thurston County Special Olympics through his 35-year-old son Dustin, an athlete within the program.  For years, Barker has been coach and father to Dustin, though at times, he prefers that other coaches instruct his son.

“We’re around each other a lot, so it’s good for both of us to have some other coaching now and then,” Barker said. “We still enjoy it just the same.”

There is plenty of enjoyment from the parents of Barker’s athletes.  Special Olympics coaches and coordinators are all volunteers, meaning their work is done out of care and passion.

“We have a great support group around here from the parents who are involved,” said Barker. “When you’re around and working with people on a volunteer basis, a bond naturally forms.  We’re all there for the same cause, and that’s very unifying.”

special olympics softballThough he receives support from parents and volunteer coaches, Barker needs additional help for the upcoming tournament.

“We need all sorts of help,” he described. “People to keep score, announce awards and just to make this tournament function.”

Barker will likely gain the help he needs, as the Thurston County community has continued to show support for the Special Olympics programs.

“It’s really cool to see people come out just to watch and take in the tournament,” Barker said. “The support means a lot to us but most importantly, it means a lot to the athletes.”

For more information on volunteering for the Thurston County Special Olympics Softball Program, contact Mark Barker at 360-791-0742 or at  You can also visit or follow their Facebook page.

Thrifty Thurston Splashes into Puget Sound

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 7:51am



By Lisa Herrick

alley oop gymnastics Adventures in the water of Puget Sound are plentiful. And there is no better time than the summer to take the kids out for a free swim in the salt water or an inexpensive excursion renting a water vessel.  Even take advantage of the ebb and flow of the Puget Sound and plan your salt water activities based on the tides.  Explore the shorelines at low tide or jump on a standup paddleboard during high tide.



swimming puget sound

When the weather is warm enough, salt water swimming is a treat.

Salt Water Swimming

Swimming pools are an obvious choice but there are few months of the year when you can dive into the Puget Sound for a refreshing salt water swim. My kids’ favorite swimming hole is at Burfoot County Park just north of downtown Olympia. Parking is easy and there are not any fees to use the park including beach, trails, picnic shelters and playground. The forested trail down to the beach is almost adventure enough. Yet the view is breathtaking once you emerge from the hike on to the rocky beach overlooking the expansive Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. The water is calm for those just wanting to wade along the shoreline while offering gentle waves for the frolicking swimmers.

Low Tide Adventures

What lies beneath the water is relatively unknown except for a few times in the summer when the low tides meet warm weather-giving us the opportunity to explore sand and sea creatures normally hidden beneath the waves. Low tide exploration is both fun and free. There are even organizations, like the South Sound Estuary Association, who sponsor regular opportunities to explore area beaches at low tide with volunteer naturalists. South Sound Estuary Association hosts “Meet us at the Beach.”  Find the beach naturalist schedule here.

olympia beaches

Beach comb while dipping your toes in the cool water at Burfoot County Park.

Low tide exploration is also an easy event to do on your own. Just pick the right day, read the tide charts and find a good spot.  Tolmie State Park, a 105-acre marine day-use park with 1,800 feet of saltwater shoreline, is an excellent spot to explore tide pools. Exploring is free but you will need a Washington State Discover Pass to enter the state park.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The first time I went on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), I placed my five-year-old daughter on the front of the board with a picnic lunch and off we went for the day’s adventure on Budd Inlet.  While we fortunately did not tip over, admittedly the water was more still than she was. Depending upon the ages and level of squirminess of your children, it might be advisable to have them on their own board. There are several locations to rent SUPs including Sound Board Northwest Standup Paddleboards or West Bay Paddleboards where you can also get an instructional lesson from a fitness trainer and certified ASI Stand Up Paddleboard instructor before you go. Paddle out to Boston Harbor or if the tide is in head north to Harstine Island for the sandy beaches.

Sea Kayaking

kayak olympia

Rent a double kayak if you have a younger child that may tire easily.

Nothing gets you closer to the water and marine life without actually getting in to the water than sea kayaking. Budd Inlet is an ideal location for beginning kayakers as the waters are still with mild currents. Additionally, the rental locations help you in and out of the kayaks from their docks as well as provide ideas where to go such as to Hope Island from Boston Harbor Marina rentals. Tugboat Annie’s might suggest a leisurely paddle to the Farmer’s Market, to Priest Point Park or simply tour the nearby log jams. (Read a full story about kayak rentals from Tugboat Annie’s here.) Wherever your destination the journey will be scenic and can be enjoyed with a group of single kayaks or shared in a double kayak with a child in the back.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County.  The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.


Freedom and Walla Walla

Olympia Time - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 6:02am
On Independence Day in 1861, the Steilacoom paper mentioned that the soon to be ex-acting governor of the territory would make his own person independence in Walla Walla.

Just a couple of months after shots were fired to open the Civil War on the opposite coast, in his capacity as acting governor, Henry McGill had called out the troops. McGill issued a proclamation bringing the Washington territorial militia back into existence.

McGill was just waiting out the time until he (the territorial secretary) and his Democratic Buchanan appointed territorial governor were replaced by Lincoln Republicans. Before coming west, Ireland born McGill has been Buchanan's personal secretary. Buchanan president under whose presidency the nation began to fracture.

McGill visited the office of the Puget Sound Herald (reported on July 4, 1861) and gave an impression about his own search for freedom. Clearly looking past the time when Lincoln would appoint his replacement, McGill said that maybe Walla Walla (in the growing eastern portion of the territory) might be the place for him.

McGill was put in charge of the territory on an acting basis because his governor, Richard Gholson, made his way back to Kentucky, in an effort to get that state to join the Confederacy.

But, McGill mentioning Walla Walla in the summer of 1861 was an interesting dream. Secession had tossed McGill's career. Walla Walla was the center of its own local secession movement that Olympia and the rest of Puget Sound played to their benefit in the era of national fracture.

McGill's stay in Washington was only a few months old when the territorial assembly shot down the idea of letting eastern Washington and much of what is now Idaho seceded from the territory. In a 18-12 vote, the assembly voted down a memorial to Congress to create the massive inland and economically powerful territory.

Between the rising agricultural territory around Walla Walla and the mines upriver, Walla Walla was a community on the rise and it wanted to the center of its own territory. Puget Sound and Olympia obviously didn't want this at all. They were able to hold off the 1861 memorial, but people were streaming into the east. Eventually, the population and the votes over the mountains would end up drawing a line unfriendly to Puget Sound.

The question remained, how do the Puget Sounders keep at least a portion the economically vital region in the fold? As miners flooded into the east in the fall of 1861 and into 1862, the solution became dividing the farms from the mines.

Thus, Idaho:

Thousands of gold-seekers rushed to the Salmon River mines as soon as travel became practical in the spring of 1862. At the height of the excitement, a new boundary suggestion came from Olympia. There, on April 5, 1862, the Washington Standard indicated that Washington territory should be divided, but not on the Cascades. In order to keep Washington as big as possible and yet get rid of the mining area with its controlling majority of Washington's population, a new territory was advocated foe the miners only. After all, there was no need to cut off anything more: if just the mines were detached, the danger that political control of Washington would shift east across the Cascades would end suddenly. Walla Walla and the potential farming section of the Palouse, therefore, might stay in Washington without endangering Olympia's future. A boundary much farther east than the Cascades would leave Olympia with a Washington territory of respectable size to preside over. To accomplish this, Washington's eastern boundary might properly be made a northern extension of Oregon's eastern boundary. Dr. A. G. Henry - surveyor general of Washington, and an exceedingly able and influential agent for Olympia - selected the exact line that would meet these new Olympia requirements. His choice was a meridian running due north from the new town of Lewiston, which had been established the season before at the mouth of the Clearwater. From that time on, that was the line that Olympia partisans worked for.
War and death raged in the east, but Olympia civic leaders and bureaucrats quickly and coolly dispatched with the secessionists on the Snake River.

I'm not sure if McGill ever made a stop in Walla Walla. He did some lawyer work around Puget Sound in the 1870s, by 1870 he was lawyering and getting elected to local office in San Francisco.

Fifty years after the last battle of the Civil War (the battle of Columbus, Georgia) McGill died in San Francisco. 

8 Essentials in a Northwest Harley-Davidson Riding Tool Kit

Thurston Talk - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 5:47am



When you head out on a ride, you want to have a great time.  And nothing ensures a great time more than being prepared.  Once you’ve done a “walk-around” of your bike to ensure its ride-ready, the next critical step is gathering the essential supplies needed on the road.

NW Harley St Patricks BikeMike Searcy in Northwest Harley-Davidson’s service department knows a thing or two about a successful ride.  Not only does he help customers keep their bikes in top shape, but the former director of South Sound H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group) has logged plenty of miles on the road and shares his recommendations for a riding toolkit.

  • Phone and credit card – This may seem silly, but Searcy points out accurately that there are few things that can’t be solved with these two tools.
  • A properly serviced bike – Don’t hit the road without knowing that your bike is in top condition.  Schedule a service if you are unsure of the condition of fluids, belts and tires.
  • A Motorcycle Toolkit – Create your own kit with proper sized tools needed for small adjustments.  Or purchase a kit at NW Harley-Davidson.  Small enough to fit in your bag, they include all you need, even a 10mm wrench for your battery terminal.
  • “Fix It Kit” – Carry a small spool of bailing wire, a roll of electrical tape, and zip ties.  These help rig temporary solutions to small problems, allowing you to finish your ride.
  • Water and food – Don’t forget these essentials.  Especially in hot weather, riders forget the wind on their skin dries sweat instantly.  Even though you might not feel like you are sweating, dehydration can set in quickly.
  • Rain Gear – With unpredictable weather always a factor, carry gear at all times.
  • Bungee Cords – Really, everyone should travel with these.  When on your bike, they come in handy to strap down unneeded coats or secure things picked up along the way.
  • Electronics – Many bikes have a 12 volt outlet for your car phone charger to ensure full battery.  Download apps before your ride including maps with your route and weather apps.

Ultimately, a well maintained bike is the best “tool” you have to ensure a terrific, trouble free ride.  The Northwest Harley-Davidson service crew will keep your bike in top shape and keep you on the road.


CD Safari: Positively 4th Avenue!

K Records - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 1:53am
Olympia underground music scenes have been going strong for decades, now healthier than ever with labels like Perennial, Brown Interior Music, Sultan Serves, Antiquated Future, Rumbletowne and many more producing fab new sounds on every block. The K Mail Order Dept. has gathered together this CD Safari: Positively 4th Avenue featuring ten compact discs from […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Coal Train Today

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 9:08pm

Wednesday 2 July 2014, Northbound at 143rd Ave logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings – From Garage Sales to Massive Warehouse Sale

Thurston Talk - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 3:01pm



lacey furniture store

Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings is hosting a massive warehouse sale between July 4 – 6.

Jeff Olson’s career in the furniture industry began in his garage.  While that’s not the typical starting point for a furniture store owner, it was this experience that led him to offering fantastic deals to Thurston County residents this weekend.

After selling furniture via craigslist, Olson opened Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings in 2008.  “I am a believer in going where doors open for you,” explains Olson reflecting on how he jumped at the opportunity to rent a vacant building.

At the time, the building owners were desperate for a tenant at their Martin Way retail space.  They offered Olson a sweet deal.  “I figured I had just rented myself a big garage at a discounted rate for a year,” he says, figuring that he would continue selling odds and ends and closeouts to online buyers.  “I thought that I would keep my business in this location until the rental rates started adjusting to the actual market.”

Fast-forward six years and Olson’s business is in the same location at 8221 Martin Way East in Lacey.  He’s added three delivery trucks, an off-site warehouse and 12 employees.  “We’ve really grown into a legitimate business,” says Olson proudly.

With more than $1.8 million dollars in furniture in stock, it was time for Olson to clearance some items.

“We have a surplus of furniture,” comments Olson who handles all of the furniture buying.  “Sometimes I go a little crazy.”

lacey furniture store

Jeff Olson is excited about the variety of items for sale during the warehouse sale.

After tossing out the idea to add another warehouse, Olson opted to rent a 20,000 square foot warehouse space for a special sale.  On Friday, July 4 through Sunday, July 6, Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings is hosting a warehouse sale.

Located across from Shipwreck Beads, the warehouse space is packed with furniture at all different price points and styles.  Olson mentions bedroom sets right along with scratch and dent sofas starting at $49.

Besides surplus items purchased specifically for the store, Olson worked with his manufacturers to get good deals on overstocks.

“We have such a wide variety of items in the warehouse sale,” he adds.  For example, customers can find $29 nightstands, brand new and still in the box.  Or, check out a leather sofa and love seat, originally priced at $8,000, but now on clearance for half price.

“We don’t want to move anything back to the store,” notes Olson.  “I’ve priced everything to sell.”

The expansive list of furniture items will suit any budget.

Olson credits his wife, Stevie, with helping him expand the business.  Stevie is no stranger to the small business world.  She recently opened her own business, LOLA Lifestyle Boutique in downtown Olympia.

Delivery options are available.  Customers are welcome to pay with cash or credit.  More items, sales and flexible buying options are available in the store, but Olson stresses that the unique deals are at the warehouse this weekend.



Jeff and his wife, Stevie, celebrate the opening of her clothing boutique.

Jeff and his wife, Stevie, celebrate the opening of her clothing boutique.

Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings

Warehouse Sale

8535 Commerce Place Drive NE in Lacey

Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 6 from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Store Location:

8221 Martin Way East in Lacey



Session Notes: In the Studio with Fast Heart Mart

K Records - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 2:08pm
Fast Heart Mart tore into Olympia on June 26th, 2014 around noon after an all night drive from Eugene, Oregon. They had a show that night at the Guest House. But did they stop to rest and recuperate? Of course not, who needs sleep when you could be recording at Dub Narcotic? With only a […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Register Now for 31st Annual Saint Martin’s Golf Tournament

Thurston Talk - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 8:30am



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

St Martins golf tourneyEven Saints need a hand when it comes to paying for college. Help the Saint Martin’s Saints student-athletes by raising some green on the greens at the 31st Annual Saint Martin’s Golf Tournament. Registration is now open for the event, which will take place Friday, Aug. 1, at the Capitol City Golf Club, 5225 Yelm Highway SE, in Lacey.

The tournament has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Saint Martin’s student-athletes in all sports since it was founded in 1983. It is a joint project of the Saint Martin’s Athletic Foundation, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Athletics Department. The tournament continues to help SMU student-athletes carry on the tradition of being successful athletes, students and community members. Presenting sponsors for this year’s tournament are Charles Schwab and Bon Appétit Management Co.

“Having the support from scholarship donors has allowed me to continue my passion of playing soccer and to work toward accomplishing my academic goals,” says Kari Inch, a biology major at the University. “The game has taught me to be a team player, to work well with others, and has also helped shape me into the individual I am today. Your support has encouraged me not only to work to the best of my abilities, but to also motivate my peers on and off of the field.”

Bob Grisham, the University’s athletic director, says, “The tournament has a long history of providing scholarship support for our student athletes and this support plays an important role in our success.”

Grisham says the golf tournament attracts about 200 golfers each year. This year’s competition is a scramble format. Prizes will be awarded in the following divisions: alumni (foursomes with at least two SMU alumni golfers), mixed foursomes with at least two women golfers, open and senior (at least three golfers over 65).

Individual tournament registration is $150; team registration is $600.

An optional coupon book, available for $25 with pre-registration or $30 if purchased the day of the event, will provide entry to all on-course contests. Registration covers 18 holes of golf, cart rental, course refreshments, tee prizes and the Backswing Banquet dinner and program.

The event begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., following the tournament, at the Norman Worthington Conference Center on the University campus, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey. For banquet guests not participating in the tournament, the cost is $20, which will include the awarding of prizes and a raffle drawing.

For questions, please contact Bianca Galam, SMU fundraising event coordinator, 360-486-8885.

To learn more about the 2014 event, or to register online, visit the Saint Martin’s Golf Tournament webpage,


Visitors Encouraged to be Fire Safe in Olympic National Forest this Summer

Thurston Talk - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 8:25am



Submitted by Olympic National Forest

The Olympic National Forest (ONF) encourages visitors to enjoy the forest this July 4th holiday, and reminds them to be fire safe throughout the year. Last year, nearly half of all fires reported in Washington and Oregon national forests (and about 95% on the ONF) were caused by people, often unintentionally from abandoned campfires, cigarette butts, or poorly disposed of hot charcoal. Though not as fire prone as national forests in arid regions, the ONF has a history of wildfires. Steep slopes and natural fuel conditions (soils with thick layers of organic material, moss and lichens that easily combust when dry) can provide opportunities for wildfires to grow and spread, depending on other variables such as wind and weather.

In an effort to prevent human-caused wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service prohibits fireworks, explosives, and exploding targets on national forests. Visitors are also expected to follow campfire and burn restrictions that may be activated as necessary throughout the summer. “Even on the Peninsula,” explains ONF Fire Staff Officer Rita Chandler, “people need to be vigilant about fire hazards. Especially during dry summer weather, visitors should take special care to properly dispose of cigarette butts and charcoal, keep motor vehicles and equipment properly maintained to prevent sparks, and never walk away from a hot or burning campfire.”

ONF law enforcement officers may levy fines if fire safety prohibitions and restrictions are not followed. Persons responsible for starting a wildfire, even if unintentional, may also be required to provide reimbursement for the costs of the resulting fire suppression effort.

Preventing wildfires saves money and keeps people safe. Please enjoy the forest responsibly now and throughout the season.

For more information on campfire and wildfire safety, visit

For Jim Findley, Heaven Is A Gust of Wind And A Sailboat

Thurston Talk - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 6:27am



By Gail Wood

sunset airIf you can’t find Jim Findley, try checking the Puget Sound around Harstine Island.

He’s probably there, sailing.

Findley was ten when he and his dad first climbed aboard a 12-foot runabout, catching the wind to move their boat. Later, he went on a neighbor’s sailboat. And he was hooked.

“I was just amazed that you could just go anywhere out there on the bay,” Findley said. “And it was the wind that moved you.”

Findley’s getaway is sailing, his heaven on earth. Some guys golf or putter with cars. Findley? He sails.

south sound sailing

For Diane and Jim Findley, sailing is a natural part of their life on Hartstine Island.

“He really, really likes to be out on the water,” said Diana, his wife and first mate. “Some people ski. Some race cars. He plays with boats.”

At Diana’s last count, Jim had nine boats, counting the crew boat he enjoys going out on when the wind is calm and the Puget Sound is flat. She figured he’s out on the water three or four times a week. During the summers, he’s racing twice a week. On Mondays, he races in the Star Fleet. On Thursdays, he races, or helps coordinate, in the Dingy Fleet.

Since Jim and Diana live on the water on Harstine Island, having a boat is, well, a necessity.

“I’ve got web feet I think,” Jim said. “I need to be by the water all the time.”

For the past eight years, he’s been in charge of the Dingy Fleet that races in Budd Inlet, getting people signed up and ready for the races. There were 20 boats signed up for the race a couple of weeks ago, which is as high as it’s ever been. Sailing interest isn’t dying out in the smaller boats.

“This year we’re back up to record numbers,” Jim said. “We’re back up to really a lot of people coming out. Which is really neat.”

Entries, however, have dipped a little in the bigger boat races.

south sound sailing

At last count, Jim Findley had nine boats.

“Maybe that’s because the bigger boats are getting so expensive,” Jim said.

There was nothing mentioned in their wedding vows about sailing when they were married in 1965, but when Jim and Diana were professing their mutual love there was an assumed commitment to sailing. Diana knew about her husband’s love for sailing. And, over the years, they sail together. Of course, Jim sails more than Diana. There’s one thing Diana doesn’t enjoy about sailing. That’s seasickness. She’s prone to feeding the fish.

“We both grew up on the water,” Diana said. “So, we’ve been around it all our lives.”

Jim grew up in Federal Way and lived on a lake and his parents had property on the Puget Sound. Diana, whose father was a college professor, moved around a lot from Palo Alto, Calif., to along the Puget Sound here in Washington.

“Jim and I were raised on different kinds of water,” Diana said. “He was raised on a lake. I was raised on salt water.”

While Jim was on the water a lot as a kid and growing up, it wasn’t until he turned 35 that he really got into racing. By then, he had his own boat, a Hobie Cat 16. At that time, Jim, who worked as a carpenter throughout his job career, was living in Rochester and sailed in Olympia.

When he was younger, Jim, who recently turned 71, talked to Diana about sailing across the Pacific.

“It went into my mind and floated out again,” Jim said with a chuckle. “Never got serious about it to do anything about it.”

south sound sailing

Jim Findley coordinates sailboat races through South Sound Sailing Racing Club.

Jim said he’s got a couple of reasons for going out on the Puget Sound and rowing in his sleek crew boat. And getting exercise isn’t the first reason.

“It’s just being out on the water,” Jim said. “It’s peaceful out there. I pretty much just go out when it’s dead calm. It’s really nice and relaxing. It’s fun. I enjoy about anything on the water. I love boats of any kind.”

Even motor boats. But for Jim there’s something fascinating about catching a breath of wind that fills the sails, moving his boat across the water.

“Knowing how to make a boat move under sail is kind of tricky,” Jim said. “Being able to do that kind of makes you feel good.”

But that’s only part of the excitement. There’s also the competitive edge to racing.

“On race nights, there’s the adrenaline and all of that,” Jim said.

For Jim, boating, whether it’s sailing, rowing or taking one of his motorboats out, being on the water is a way of staying young. It keeps him active.

“We’re old. We don’t keep track of age anymore,” Diana said. “Jim will probably sail until the day he dies. He just loves it.”

For information about the South Sound Racing Club visit


Your Healthcare Connection: Jessica Matriotti’s Journey to a Pain Free Life

Thurston Talk - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 6:04am



By Kate Scriven

olympia spine surgeon

Jessica Matriotti smiles for the camera just six days before her surgery to correct her severe Kyphotic spinal curve, easily seen in the photo.

It’s a refrain heard by many of us throughout childhood from teachers, parents and grandparents – “sit up straight in your chair.” But for Jessica Matriotti, try as she might, she could not “sit up straight.”

Starting at a young age, Matriotti and her family noticed she had a larger than normal curvature to her spine, most noticeably in her upper back.  Despite repeated doctor’s visits, her parents were told time and again that Matriotti just needed to sit up straighter.  She simply couldn’t.  Her spine would not allow it.  All x-rays taken when she was young were done lying down, making the abnormal curvature unnoticeable and therefore dismissed by her physicians.

Around middle school, the Olympia native began to notice intermittent pain in her back.  It wasn’t constant and seemed tolerable.  As the years progressed, Matriotti’s pain increased, as did the abnormal forward posture of her spine.  After graduation from Olympia High School in 2004, the pain was so constant she’d take breaks from her desk at work to lie on the floor, straightening her spine as much as she could, releasing the pressure.   “By the end of the day, I was always in a lot of pain, and I finally just couldn’t put up with it anymore,” shares Matriotti.

After many years of undiagnosed pain, she wasn’t hopeful for a diagnosis, let alone a cure, for her chronic back pain and increasing spinal curvature.  Matriotti had been through physical therapy and pain management with Dr. Zachary Abbott at Olympia Orthopaedics Associates and despite their best efforts, the results weren’t lasting.

“It was around the time that I was getting married that I talked with a friend who had recently had surgery with Dr. Clyde Carpenter at Olympia Orthopaedics.  I told her ‘I’d love to look normal for my wedding.’  I had my primary care doctor refer me to Dr. Abbott,” explained Matriotti.  Ultimately, she visited Oly Ortho again in September 2012 when the physical therapy wasn’t providing any more benefits.  ”I knew surgery was the next option and decided to it,” she said.

oly ortho

Jessica Matriotti’s spinal curve began when she was in elementary school and increased in severity through the years.

Matriotti was referred to Dr. Andrew Manista in the Olympia Orthopaedics Associates Spine Center.   “I was finally diagnosed with Scheuermann Kyphosis.  Everyone has a kyphotic curve [the outward rounding of the upper back below the neck] up to 40 degrees.  Mine was at a 94 degree curve.  Anything over 70 is considered very serious,” Matriotti explains.  Dr. Manista was able to further educate Matriotti that the condition is genetic and after talking with her mom, she discovered many extended family members also suffered from forms of Kyphosis.

“It was a relief to hear a true diagnosis after so many years of being told to just sit up straight,” Matriotti shares.  Not only was it a relief, but Dr. Manista’s willingness to answer her questions, educating her about the condition, was something new and appreciated. “It was nice to have a doctor that actually had the patience to sit with you and to know that he’s willing to answer anything before going into surgery,” said Matriotti.

“I felt comfortable right from the beginning and wasn’t scared at all,” added Matriotti.  “In fact, I was really excited knowing that Dr. Manista had a plan and knew he could help me.”

Surgery was scheduled for November 28, 2012 and was performed at Capital Medical Center.  Matriotti was hospitalized for six days post-surgery where Dr. Manista and his Physician’s Assistant Omar Gonzalez visited several times to check on her pain and recovery.

The surgery entailed a 19-inch long incision down her spine, two rods placed on the sides of her spine and 26 screws to secure them.  Her back had to be broken during surgery in eight places where the vertebrae had fused over the years, and realigned in their new, straight position and then fused from the T2 to L3 vertebrae.  The surgery took five to six hours and after, for the first time, Matriotti could truly “sit up straight”.

oly ortho

Dr. Andrew Manista placed 26 screws and 2 rods into Matriotti’s back, giving her perfect posture and taking away her lifelong pain.

The recovery wasn’t easy, she’s quick to admit, but well worth every minute.  She slept in a recliner and spent time learning proper movement protocols.  She wore a back brace for 12 weeks and learned to negotiate daily tasks without bending her back or neck.  Plus, Matriotti had a two-year-old daughter at the time and had to explain to her why mommy couldn’t pick her up for several months.

The result?  “I have no pain and that is the best thing I could ever ask for.  And, my posture is amazing.  The first time I went out to buy clothes, I felt like I had a new body.  I’d been given a whole new me,” she shares with a smile.

Now, 18 months post-surgery Matriotti is living the life she only dreamed about before.  “Olympia Orthopaedic Associates has helped me get my life in motion,” she states.  “I’m able to actively participate in a circuit training class without pain and play with my daughter like I couldn’t before.  Living a life in motion, pain free – that’s the best gift I could have asked for.”

All photos courtesy Jessica Matriotti.


Helsing Junction Sleepover – Alexander’s Real Time Band, Camp Wisdom

K Records - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 1:55am
As we’re getting excited about the upcoming Helsing Junction Sleepover (August 15-17, get ready, get set, to go!! – three days of music, films, dancing, food, swimming, camping, all that) we’re profiling some of the bands that are playing here on the K weblog.  This week we highlight Alexander’s Real Time Band and Camp Widsom. […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia Federal Savings Named one of 100 Best Companies to Work for in Washington

Thurston Talk - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:38pm


Submitted by Olympia Federal Savings

OlyFed cornerOlympia Federal Savings was named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Washington by Seattle Business magazine.  The company was honored at a ceremony on June 17th in Seattle.  Winners included companies from 18 cities across the state and were chosen based on extensive surveys completed by nearly 10,000 employees.

“We are honored,” said Olympia Federal Saving President and CEO Lori Drummond.  “We have always strived to make our association not only a great place for customers to save and borrow, but also an enjoyable work environment that rewards hard work and dedication.  This award is in recognition of these efforts, and is exemplified by the long tenure of so many of our dedicated staff.”

Olympia Federal Savings was founded in 1906 and is a state-chartered mutual savings institution with seven branches serving Thurston and Mason counties.  As of their year-end of March 31, 2014 Olympia Federal had assets totaling $554 million.

For more information on Olympia Federal Savings visit

Dub Narcotic Studio Shirts!

K Records - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Show your love for everything Dub Narcotic with this New shirt! Screen printed in house by Calvin & Jill. 100% cotton, made-in-the-U.S.A., blue on white. Check them out in the K Mail Order Dept.!  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Griffin/Steamboat Peninsula Joins Nextdoor

Griffin Neighborhood - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Local residents have created an online "neighborhood" for the Griffin area on the web site Over 37,000 other communities use Nextdoor across the U.S. to provide a way for neighbors to communicate online in a safe environment. There are a number of Nextdoor neighborhoods right here in Thurston County, including Boston Harbor, McLane Point, and across the city of Olympia. Nextdoor is described as "the private social network for your neighborhood."

More than a year ago, members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association discussed the book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In this book, author Robert D. Putnam wrote about "how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures - and how we may reconnect." GNA Board members asked what they could do to foster a greater sense of community among residents of an area as large as the Griffin School District. One of the projects undertaken because of this discussion was to create a unique logo for the Steamboat Neighborhood logo and to distribute that logo on free stickers now seen on cars around the peninsula (these stickers are often available at the Island Market, on its post office counter). Nextdoor, too, was created in part to address the challenges presented in Putnam's book. The folks who created Nextdoor found that although 65% of all online adults use a social networking site such as Facebook, only 28% know their neighbors by name and only 26% speak to their neighbors. However, 79% of people who use an online neighborhood forum talk with neighbors in-person.

How does Nextdoor differ from other social networking sites? One important way is how Nextdoor "verifies" its members are actually residents in the area. In addition, members have to use their real names and they cannot join as a couple. Folks who join Nextdoor can invite their own neighbors, either by word of mouth, by email, or even by requesting that a postcard invitation be mailed to the neighbor.

Neighbors use Nextdoor to share recommendations, post classifieds, and discuss suspicious activities. They can create groups and organize local events. Mobile apps are available for Apple and Android devices and alerts can be sent by SMS, if needed and your profile includes a cell phone number.

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