Recent local blog posts


Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 5:00pm

ZEAHORSE … Australians!!! noisecore meets shoegaze

EX-GODS … Tacomans!!! sludge punk

MAGNETIC ROSE … Olympians!!! experimental rock


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Crazy Faith Pastor Ben Charles Fined For Using Downtown Parking Lot; Hearing Today

Janine's Little Hollywood - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 4:30pm

Above: Crazy Faith Outreach pastor Ben Charles, right, meets with his wife, Denise, and his attorney, David Roland, before his civil infraction hearing this morning at the Lee Creighton Justice Center in Olympia. Charles was cited and fined on June 19 in violation of a city code for using a downtown parking lot without a permit to serve food to street people. By Janine

The City of Olympia came prepared for battle this morning at a civil infraction hearing against Crazy Faith Outreach pastor Ben Charles. Charles was cited on June 19 by the City of Olympia and the Olympia Police Department for using a downtown parking lot without a permit. Crazy Faith was using the lot to feed street people, an activity they have done for about four years. The city owned lot in question is on the corner of Washington and State streets, located across from the Intercity Transit station.Charles was fined $103. The citation was not given to Charles directly, but mailed to a reservation address. Charles is a member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.The city was represented by attorney Jeffrey Myers with assistance by deputy city attorney Darren Nienaber. Presenting multiple exhibits over the objections of Charles’ attorney, Myers worked to illustrate that the city has informed Charles and Crazy Faith Outreach that they are in violation of city code OMC 10.16.140, as passed by the Olympia city council in December 2013. The city stated that it has offered alternative locations for Crazy Faith to conduct its mission of feeding street people. The city ordinance states, in part, that lots may only be used for parking, unless an activity is authorized by a city issued permit, lease or unless the activity is conducted by the city. Crazy Faith uses the parking lot for its service to feed those who come on Thursday and Saturday evenings.Charles is being represented by former Olympia based Freedom Foundation constitutional rights attorney David Roland, who is now with the Freedom of Missouri.  Roland requested that the case be dismissed, challenged the amount fined, and found inconsistencies in Officer Paul Lower’s report.
Given 20 minutes notice, Municipal Judge Christopher Coker presided over the case, replacing Judge Scott Ahlf, after Ahlf revealed a possible conflict of interest. The non-traffic civil infraction hearing often felt like a criminal trial, and lasted one and a half hours. While Myers produced maps, email exchanges, and letters, Roland raised multiple objections that the city was trying to call into question matters that were beyond the scope of the citation. At one point, after Myers asked Charles if he had a permit through the state department of health, and whether or not he believed in the Bible, even Judge Coker asked where Meyers was going in his line of questioning. Roland also pointed out inconsistencies in Olympia Police Department Lieutenant Paul Lower’s report. Lower, who has been with the department for about 18 years, is assigned to walking patrols and specialty operations with a focus on downtown.Although Lower checked the box on the citation indicating that he had checked Charles’ identification, Lt. Lower testified on the stand that in fact he did not check Charles’ identification on that evening, but had on a prior occasion.

In his report, Lower wrote that, “he (Charles) arrived with a large white van…from this van he and other members of his group unloaded large tents and multiple tables and merchandise….” Roland questioned the use of the word “merchandise,”  and Lower admitted that he didn’t know what word to use, but the “merchandise” was in fact food, and there was no buying or selling observed.

Lower also said that he had spoken with City Manager Steve Hall and city attorneys prior to issuing the citation, and that Hall and city attorneys knew that he was going to issue a citation that evening.

Crazy Faith Continues Its Mission
Crazy Faith has continued to serve food and beverages to street people since the citation was issued.“It gets busy toward the end of each month,” said Charles outside the courtroom before the hearing. “A lot of folks are now telling me that their hours, if they work, are being cut to 25 hours a week. We’re feeding 4,400 servings of food per month. There’s still a great need. Not only is the physical food a benefit, but I believe we are providing emotional and spiritual support as well.” Crazy Faith supporters Amy and Shea Renecker joined Charles and his wife Denise before the hearing. They said they have been helping serve food with Crazy Faith for almost a year. They said that Papa John's Pizza on the Westside has been especially generous in providing food.“It’s a service that’s desperately needed in our community – we bring our daughter down and she serves the drinks,” said Shea Renecker. “The Crazy Faith feed is a safe place, a neutral area. We’re feeding people. It’s a peaceful gathering where people get fellowship. If you need to pray for something, come….” The Reneckers dispute reports that the feeds have posed any problem to downtown businesses. “We have contact with the Olympia Police Department all the time. They walk on through just to see if everything is o.k. There’s never been an arrest at one of our feeds. We’re being part of the solution to downtown crime. The Harlequin Theater manager even says there’s less crime on the nights we’re here….” said Renecker.After the hearing, attorney David Roland said that he suspects the city is using Charles as a test case, and that the city hasn’t taken further action against Charles because it wants to see what their next step should be.

“I find it appalling that (the city) wants to reserve this space for a 'better class' citizen. Not everyone can afford cars. The city can’t condition a constitutional right to gather as long as they are peaceful and that’s the definition of what Crazy Faith has been doing – they are doing this for a laudable purpose.”

Judge Coker said he would issue a decision in the case in about a week.For more information about Ben Charles and the mission of Crazy Faith Outreach, go to www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand use the search button for past stories.

United Way Launches Make the Match Campaign to Build a Brighter Future for Children

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 4:00pm



Submitted by United Way of Thurston County

ymca olympiaUnited Way of Thurston County announced a Make the Match campaign to raise extra funds for its Community Care Fund. Text-donating has revolutionized the ease and effectiveness of giving money to charities and through community partners, United Way is launching a text-donating application to raise money that supports local non-profits preparing children to be resilient, learn and succeed.

In Thurston County, 63 percent of low-income kids don’t start kindergarten with the skills they need to be successful and 1,123 children were recorded homeless in 2013. United Way understands the importance of addressing such community conditions and helps to find solutions in collaboration with partners.

In effort to increase fundraising, United Way received support from OBee Credit Union to launch the campaign using Cafe Give, a social fundraising platform. In addition, Puget Sound Energy Foundation will help leverage donations through a dollar for dollar match up to $10K.

“Puget Sound Energy is dedicated to helping address local needs and priorities in our community, and our Foundation is honored to help double United Way’s fundraising power through this match,” said Farra Vargas, PSE manager of energy efficiency outreach.

Supporters can text “UNITED” to 5-5-1-5-5 to donate or pledge. Those who text the keyword will be directed to a website where they can complete their donation or pledge and announce their contribution through social media.

“The text-donating application allows donors to give what they can via their mobile phone or social media,” said Lee Wojnar, United Way board president and marketing vice president of OBee Credit Union.

“Advocates of the campaign are encouraged to use their personal social media pages to inform their followers of United Way’s efforts and how they can also contribute.”

“We’re embracing the power of social media and mobile giving to shake up our fundraising efforts,” said United Way Communications Director, Michelle Rodriguez. “This is simply a new way for us to reach the online community, strengthen partnerships and increase donations.”

United Way continues to build strong relationships with community partners such as local nonprofits, government and businesses to leverage more investing and volunteering in the community. For more information about how to support United Way of Thurston County, go to or call (360) 943-2273.


Rob Rice Homes: Green is More than Lawn and Landscaping

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 3:47pm



Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

Sunset AirFor those who are a part of the team that builds Rob Rice Homes, being “green” is more than the lush landscaping, green space and parks so typical of its communities.

It means meeting the highest standards of energy efficiency and practices that not only protect the environment, but ensure maximum comfort and savings for homeowners.

“The Washington State Energy Code is one of the strictest in the nation,” explains Rob Rice who has been building homes in the South Sound for more than 30 years. “When we look at how we build a house today versus how we built one 10 or 15 years ago, there is no comparison.”

Superior Contractors and Products

What allows Rob Rice Homes to meet and often exceed the stringent standards of Washington energy code are the top quality contractors, vendors and products for  building his homes.

Many of his partners have worked for him as long as 20 or 30 years, which assures him that his standards will be met, and his customers are taken care of.

One of those companies is Sunset Air, which installs the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems in every Rob Rice Home.

As with many of Rob Rice’s sub-contractors, Sunset Air may be a more expensive system to install but Rob spares no expense to ensure superior quality and service.

“Rob Rice doesn’t cut corners and wants the best,” says Brian Fluetsch, president of Sunset Air, who has partnered with the local builder for nearly 25 years. “And, that is especially true

Brian Fluetsch - President of Sunset Air

Brian Fluetsch – President of Sunset Air

with the heating and cooling system in a home. When you are talking about the HVAC system, it is the mechanical side of a home. In the middle of winter if your heat goes down, it is critical and to some, even life threatening.”

Brian shares Rob’s commitment to improving the efficiency of a home’s heating and cooling system.

“We ask ourselves if we are using the latest technology and techniques for the most efficient transfer of the heat from the furnace into the home,” Brian explains. “The furnaces we install are highly efficient and we use the most advanced thermostats available to control the system for the most energy savings for those homeowners.”

Two tests are conducted on each and every Rob Rice Home to ensure its energy efficiency.

The first test is a “blower door test” which de-pressurizes the home to determine if there is any air leakage from the outside. The second test is the “duct blaster test”, which determines any leakage in the duct system.

“Duct testing substantiates that what we install meets the requirements,” Brian adds. “We get air delivered.”

Energy savings in long lasting features

There are many other ways Rob Rice Homes ensures that their homes have enduring value and have less of an impact on the environment.

  • Energy Efficient Exterior Framing – Rob Rice Homes builds 2×6 exterior walls to achieve energy code requirements. These walls have a greater capacity for insulation and provide more structural stability.
  • Hot Water Tanks – Highly efficient, insulated 40-50 gallon gas hot water tanks that use less gas to heat water and meet new energy requirements are installed in every Rob Rice Home.
  • Windows – As required by state’s energy code, the windows installed in a Rob Rice Home are vinyl and dual-paned. What is exceptional is that they are made by Milgard, a local company in Tacoma that backs them with a lifetime warranty.
  • Exterior Paint – The “Best of South Sound” Builder uses a higher grade satin water-soluble paint that resists fading and lasts between 8 to12 years compared to a less expensive paint that only lasts for five.

“We stepped up with a paint that costs 40 percent more,” says Larry Hanson, owner of Imperial Painting another longstanding partner with Rob Rice Homes since 1986. “It is better for the homes, is more environmentally-friendly and lasts longer.”

  • Lumber Conservation - To eliminate waste, the lumber used on the majority of Rob Rice Homes is all pre-cut specifically for a home before it gets to the job.

    Premium features come with the price of the home.

    Premium features come with the price of the home.

  • Quartz - The new Quartz countertops are a standard feature offered homebuyers, another quality item that is a natural and lifelong product. Quartz requires little maintenance, resists damage and rarely has to be replaced.

“Rob Rice picks superior partners who share his commitment to quality,” Brian Fluetsch concludes. “We don’t look at how cheap or how fast something can be put in. Energy efficiency is about well-built homes, customer comfort and savings, and protecting the environment. Rob Rice Homes and his superior partners do all of them extremely well.”

Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson.  Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.



Washington Center Kicks Off Annual Art Auction at Fall ArtsWalk

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 3:28pm



 Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

The walls of the Washington Center Gallery are covered with art once again this autumn.  The annual ArtsWalk Arts Auction showcases local artists who generously donate their work to benefit the Center’s mission and to help make art more accessible to the south Sound community.   This year, the Center has received works of art in a variety of styles; selecting photographs, acrylics, textiles, wood, oils, and photo-etched copper pieces in the juried selection process.

Also available for viewing are several works by celebrated local painter Ira Coyne.  These heavy-duty plywood pieces graced the front of The Washington Center during last year’s renovation project and are suitable for indoor or outdoor display.

“We love displaying local art on our Gallery walls, and when the community gets excited about taking these pieces home to their walls, it’s even better!” said Executive Director Jill Barnes.  “These artists help create vibrant cultural opportunities downtown, providing accessible art experiences and contributing to our Arts Education programming.”

All of the art is available for bidding here, starting Friday, October 3 at 5 p.m. There is even a Buy-it-Now option for the piece you just can’t live without!  All Buy-it-Now purchases will also receive two complimentary tickets to select Washington Center performances.  Bidding is open through Sunday, October 19 at 9 p.m. The Gallery is open for viewing Tuesday through Friday noon-4 p.m.; other times can be arranged through the administrative office at 753-8585.

The entire Washington Center will be bustling with activity during ArtsWalk, as Olympia Artspace Alliance will be in the lobby sharing updates, RADCO will be performing on the Mainstage Friday at 6 p.m., and Gingerbread Village will be promoting the return to Downtown for the Holidays.  The Washington Center ArtsWalk hours are Friday, October 3,  5p.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday October 4 noon - 5 p.m.


Tody Tolo Named GNAC Player of the Week

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 3:11pm



Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martins Overview CourtyardSaint Martin’s University forward Tody Tolo has been named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week for September 21-27.

Tolo, a senior from Tukwila, Washington, played a key role in the Saints 3-1 wins on the road to South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and University of Mary.

For the week, Tolo recorded three goals on seven shots, five of which were on goal, while playing all 180 minutes.

“It is always great when an athlete performs a little higher than the expectations that you gave him,” said Director of Soccer Rob Walker. “We asked Tody to hold the ball up for us, take players on and be dangerous. Now we will have to add scoring goals like Saturday to that request.”

On Saturday against Mary, Tolo recorded a hat trick. He scored all three of the goals in the win.

His hat trick ranks Tolo second in school history for most goals in a game. He is tied with Ruben Orozco, who scored three goals against MSU-Billings in 2008. Xan Nixon holds the record of four goals set in 2008 against Northwest Nazarene.

Saint Martin’s men’s soccer is home this week. On Thursday, the Saints will see Simon Fraser at 3 p.m. and on Saturday SMU will face Western Washington at 1 p.m.



Fitness Ablaze Training Center Holds “30 Days of Charity Project”

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 2:54pm



Submitted by Fitness Ablaze Training Center

Fitness ablaze sign and womenFitness Ablaze Training Center will be holding 30 Days of Charity Project for the Project Fit America Organization.   Owner Andrew “Bo” Tinaza  and the rest of the Fitness Ablaze Team will be offering monthly specials, providing seminars, workshops, Saturday charity team training (bootcamp), and will give as much value as possible with the mission to raise money for a great cause but also to inspire and motivate people to reach their true potential.

How can you get involved?

Fitness Ablaze will begin by holding a free seminar at Fitness Ablaze.  Hear owner Andrew “Bo” Tinaza share with you everything he has learned to help people be successful in fitness and life. He will review mindset, nutrition, training, and more. The seminar will be open to the public on Saturday October 11 at Fitness Ablaze Training Center. This is a must attend seminar!  To learn more click here.

The seminar is free. We only ask for a donation that will go towards Project Fit America.

To inspire you to meet your fitness goals and make it easier than ever to join the Fitness Ablaze Team, several specials are being offered in the month of October.  Together we can raise a ton for Project Fit America.

New Member Specials: Fitness Ablaze Inclusive Packages

Option 1 $77:Fitness ablaze group

  • Unlimited Team Training (bootcamp, hurricanes)
  • 1x per week semi-private training sessions
  • Nutrition plan
  • Access to seminars and workshops

Option 2 $47:

  • Unlimited Team Training (bootcamp, hurricanes)
  • Nutrition Plan
  • Access to seminars and workshops

We have limited space for both of these packages and anticipate them selling out quickly.  To reserve  your spot e-mail or call  (360)529-3925.

Fitness Ablaze will also be holding workshops on Kettlebell and Sandbag Training, dates to be determined.  We are simply going to give more and more so we can raise as much as possible for an amazing cause.  Together we can all be a part of something more.

Fitness Ablaze Training Center

2727 Westmoor Court SW Suite 100

Olympia, WA 98502






Trouble in the Camera Club, Live!

K Records - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 11:53am
Are you in Portland, OR tomorrow night? You must attend the out-of-focus talking slideshow extracted from Don Pyle‘s epic photo journal Trouble in the Camera Club. It all happens at the Portland Museum of Modern Art. Learn more HERE. Ramones!   Don Pyle has appeared on volumes of our International Pop Underground series: Vol. XIX […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Psychic Sister Horoscopes

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:39am
by Sarah Adams ARIES: The math seems daunting because you are solving a problem with exponential outcomes. Instead of standing in opposition, invite it to sit next to you and...

TheatER vs. TheatRE: “…a play by any other name…”

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:38am
by Lauren O’Neill and Morgan Picton   MORGAN: Hello again, friends! Lauren and I are delighted to be back covering local theatrics for Olympia Power & Light. Thank you so...

New Biz Oly: Ground Inn Bunk & Breakfast

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:37am
Fertile Ground Guesthouse and Commons have become beloved places on the Olympia scene under the excellent guidance of Karen Nelson and Gail O’Sullivan, who deserve their good reputations for successfully...

Old Growth Poetry Collective spawns new slam scene

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:36am

Public Utility District Race: the PUD doesn’t affect you now, but it could

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:34am
by Matthew Green   You don’t care what the Thurston County Public Utility District (PUD) is doing. Admit it, you don’t. Nothing wrong with that. You have no reason to...

County Commissioner Race: Two different visions worth staying awake for

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:33am
by Paul Pickett   You might easily fall asleep and miss this fall’s election, but one race will serve up a double mocha latte for your political attention. For countywide...

What I did on my summer break

Olympia Power & Light - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 9:32am
by Meta Hogan   1. I slacked off (which requires considerable effort if you’re accustomed to nonstop activity!). I slept in on Wednesdays, I didn’t talk to Matthew for at...

Thrifty Thurston Celebrates Cider Sunday at Tumwater Falls Park

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 6:35am



By Katie Doolittle

tumwater auto spaI am a self-proclaimed history nerd and have been since childhood. I crossed the Oregon Trail (otherwise known as my parents’ backyard) many times, trailing a Red Flyer wagon full of Cabbage Patch Kids behind me.

It’s therefore no surprise that I’m counting down the days to Cider Sunday, an annual event occurring on October 5 this year. Come join the fun at Tumwater Falls Park. You won’t be disappointed! The Tumwater Middle School Homesteaders recreate the pioneer era with considerably more veracity and panache than my childhood self ever possessed. All day, these budding young historians will adhere to the period-correct personas they’ve adopted as children of the Bush-Simmons party, the first wagon train to this area. They will be joined by adult living historians, portraying Thurston County residents from the era spanning roughly 1850 to 1875.

tumwater cider sunday

The Homesteader Program brings history to life for Tumwater Middle School students.

“This is a very wholesome, family friendly event which teaches local history as a side benefit,” says Sandi Gray, a member of the Tumwater Historical Association (THA). She goes on to mention the other exciting opportunities occurring simultaneously. “The Olympia Tumwater Foundation, which owns the park, will be providing its popular riverwalk tour, and the Stream Team will be there offering salmon watching and activities.”

All of the events are wallet-friendly. In fact, the whole day can be enjoyed for free.

I’m looking forward to viewing the salmon as they navigate the three fish ladders at the falls. Together, these ladders form an 80-feet hurdle in elevation. There are also holding ponds–the main purpose of which is to imprint the juvenile salmon, but which will also provide easy fish-viewing for my small children.

After the Salmon Stewards teach us a thing or two about the salmon life cycle, we’ll head down the trail to enjoy Cider Sunday’s period music and fashion. We may buy some tasty treats or pioneer-era goodies, such as quilts and sunbonnets, from the Tumwater Historical Association. Additionally, there will be demonstrations on 19th century ranching, basket-making, stone-cutting, and blacksmithing. Children can participate in pioneer games or even give rope-making a try.

The hands-on nature of this event mirrors the activity-oriented approach of the Tumwater Middle School Homesteader program. Originators Brian Buntain and Anne Kelleher founded the Homesteaders as a Washington State Centennial Project. Its goal has always been to change how kids see history. Now entering its 27th year, this exciting program meets the required eighth grade state history requirement… and then far exceeds it.

tumwater cider sunday

Social Studies teacher Robert Cooksey says, “There will also be a variety of other historical groups present to help visitors learn about the rich heritage of the South Sound.”

Robert Cooksey, the Social Studies teacher in charge, explains, “They actually learn the skills, language, and mannerisms of the 1800s while at the same time researching primary and secondary sources.  It isn’t just studying an old dusty book with names, dates, and places.  It is about students being part of history. They do this by actually doing the tasks along with studying the history.”

THA member Chuck Hornbuckle elaborates. Skills students learn are period-correct and, as such, gender-specific. Girls practice carding wool, spinning, knitting, and quilting. They also learn to do laundry with lye soap on a washboard. Hornbuckle notes, “They have won blue ribbons and outstanding exhibit ribbons at the Thurston County Fair for their hand-stitched quilt blocks.” Boys apprentice in tinsmithing, woodworking, and blacksmithing using period appropriate tools.

Hornbuckle adds, “All students also learn and practice skills so they are able to teach and explain how pioneers churned butter, made rope, pressed cider.  They are also able to explain what lessons were like in a pioneer schoolhouse, and what games children in the 1800s would play as a pastime.”

The Homesteader program also includes a service learning component. Cider Sunday is one of several events in which the middle schoolers educate the general community. They also teach younger students, most notably through a partnership with fourth graders in the spring.

tumwater cider sunday

Dave Shade, Treasurer of the Tumwater Historical Association, demonstrates rope-making.

The program is so popular that students write essays to apply for the two Homesteader classes. Cooksey says, “We attract kids from across the spectrum of ability.” He appreciates how the hands-on approach can open doors for all types of learners, which is the ultimate goal of every teacher.

Come support the Homesteaders as they reenact a seasonal pioneer activity. You’ll have a fun time learning about local history. And if you bring a gallon jug and your own apples or pears, they’ll even clean and cut your fruit before pressing it into cider on your behalf. The cost is $3 and all proceeds benefit the Homesteader Program.

Cider Sunday is October 5, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Go to Tumwater Falls Park, located at 110 Deschutes Way SW in Tumwater.

All photos courtesy Tumwater Historical Association.


Maintenance Massage for Stress-Free Living

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 6:00am



olympia massage

Touch Therapy’s vision is hanging on the wall at their Olympia clinic.

Between work, family, and chores, life can get pretty stressful. And, with so much going on, it is hard to find time to relax. But, what if you set aside just one hour, once a month, that was just for you?

While massage is a form of physical healthcare, it is also a great way to nurture your mental health and alleviate stress that builds up from the day-in and day-out of our lives. Founder and Clinic Director of Olympia’s In Touch Therapy, Kenton Stuth, understands the importance of maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit, which is why he offers new and existing clients Maintenance Massage packages to combat their stress and help them unwind.

“I have a client who comes in every three weeks. My role in her life is getting rid of her three weeks of stress,” says Stuth. “She’s a mom, a wife, and she works at a computer 40 hours a week. Her interval is three weeks. If she comes in once every three weeks, she can keep an even keel. But, she says, if she misses her massage, it really throws her off,” explains Stuth.

For people looking to melt away stress regularly, In Touch Therapy’s Maintenance Massage package subscription is a great way to relax – and save money. In Touch Therapy offers its clients reduced massage rates when they subscribe to one of the two Maintenance Massage packages designed to relax and renew, regularly.

Silver Level packages are available at $59 per month and include one hour of maintenance massage each month, with additional massages available at the subscription price. For people in need of a little extra stress relief, In Touch Therapy’s Gold Level membership provides two hours of maintenance massage per month for only $99, or $49.50 per massage, with additional massages available at the subscription price.

Both the Silver Level and Gold Level packages require a low commitment equivalent to a three month minimum enrollment. You get to choose the monthly billing date that works best with your finances, and at the end of each three-month cycle you are given the option to either continue or cancel your membership.

In Touch Therapy’s Maintenance Massage packages are a great, low cost, low commitment way to give your mind, body and spirit a break, so you can get back to life feeling relaxed, renewed and ready to take on whatever comes your way.

For more information about In Touch Therapy’s Maintenance Massage packages, visit their website here.


Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Retirement Benefits – Part II

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 6:00am



Submitted by Nancy J. LaPointe, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL® for Navigate Financial


Nancy J. LaPointe, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL®

The following information addresses common concerns about collecting social security retirement benefits, including the effects of part-time work and other earnings on benefits, the age at which you may begin collecting, and spousal benefits.

Q: Can a retiree choose which benefit to receive—his or her own benefit or his or her spouse’s?

A: If your spouse has already applied for retirement benefits, you cannot apply for a reduced spousal benefit at age 62 and then step up to an increased benefit based on your own record at FRA. There are two limited exceptions, however. If you haven’t received any benefits before reaching your FRA, you can then apply for spousal benefits and delay applying for benefits under your own record up to age 70. This will allow you to take advantage of the delayed retirement credit, which increases your benefit by a certain percentage if you delay your retirement beyond your FRA.

Another exception applies if you claim benefits before your spouse does. In that case, you can start to receive benefits based on your work and elect to add a spousal benefit when eligible. Remember that your combined benefit will be reduced based on your age at application.

Here’s an example:

Jane qualifies for her own benefit at age 62, when her PIA is $800. Because she is 48 months under her FRA, her benefit is reduced to $640.

Two years later, when her husband, Jack, retires, Jane qualifies for a spousal benefit of $900 at her FRA, based on Jack’s PIA of $1,800. She has the option to wait to apply for a spousal benefit at her FRA, but she decides to apply for her increased benefit at age 64. The SSA will first subtract her PIA from one-half of Jack’s PIA ($900 − $800). It will then reduce her spousal benefit of $100 to $91 based on her current age of 64. Her new combined benefit is $731 ($640 + $91).

Q: How can a couple maximize their social security benefits?
A: If current cash flow is not an issue, the spouse with the lower earning history could apply for benefits as early as possible while the higher-earning spouse would delay benefits as long as possible. Let’s say Sally and Jim are age 62 and 65, respectively. Sally retires at 62 and applies for reduced social security benefits. Her husband, Jim, also retires but does not apply for benefits. At his FRA of 66, Jim applies for spousal benefits based on Sally’s work record. At this time, he would qualify for 50 percent of Sally’s PIA. He will continue to accrue delayed retirement credits of his own—equivalent to an 8-percent increase per year—until age 70. At age 70, Jim will need to apply for social security under his own work record.

Q: How does a divorce affect benefits?

A: A divorced spouse can get benefits based on a former husband’s or wife’s social security record, provided the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and the divorced spouse is 62 years old or older and unmarried. You do not have to wait until your former spouse retires to receive benefits, and you can receive benefits even if your former spouse remarries.

Q: What happens when my spouse, or divorced spouse, dies?

A: You can receive widow or widower benefits at age 60 (age 50, if disabled). You will get a survivor’s benefit equal to 100 percent of your spouse’s benefits. You will not receive both your spouse’s and your own benefit, however. The amount you receive will depend on your age at application for widow(er) benefits and whether your deceased spouse was receiving reduced benefits.

Please note: A widow or widower has the option of taking a survivor benefit now and then switching to an unreduced benefit based on his or her own work record anytime after FRA, or vice versa.

Q: What happens if I remarry?

A: If you are a widow(er) or divorced widow(er) and you remarry before age 60 (age 50, if disabled), you are not eligible for your deceased spouse’s benefits. You can apply for spousal benefits under your new spouse, however. If you remarry after age 60 (age 50, if disabled), you can choose between your deceased spouse’s survivor benefit or your new spouse’s spousal benefit.

Q: What does windfall elimination provision mean?

A: This term relates to a job, such as a public school teacher or government worker, where no contributions were made to social security because a public pension was available. If you also worked at jobs covered by social security, your social security retirement benefits may be reduced by an amount equal to 50 percent of your public pension.

Please note: This provision will not reduce your survivor’s social security benefits.

Q: What does government pension offset mean?

A: This term relates to a job during which one spouse did not contribute to social security—usually because he or she was employed in a federal, state, or local government job. If you receive a public pension, you may also be eligible to receive spousal or widow(er) benefits from your spouse who worked in private industry. Your spousal or survivor benefits may be reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds of your public pension.

Q: How reliable is the estimate on my social security statement?

A: The social security statement assumes you will continue to work at the same level of earnings until retirement. If you stop working but decide to delay benefits, your benefits may be less. Use the Retirement Estimator on the SSA website to see how not working could affect your monthly benefit.

This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a tax preparer, professional tax advisor, or lawyer.


To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

Nancy J. LaPointe is a financial advisor located at 4520 Intelco Loop Ste 1 D Lacey, WA 98503.   She offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. She can be reached at 360-628-8175 or at

© 2014 Commonwealth Financial Network®


Last Comic Standing Creates Laughs at the Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Thurston Talk - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 6:00am



Last comic standing-Lucky Eagle CasinoAutumn is upon us, the season of abundance and festivity.  What better way to celebrate than with the competitors—and winner—of NBC’s Last Comic Standing?  Mel Brooks, when not leaving 11-fingered handprints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, wisely declared that “Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.”  On Saturday, October 18 you won’t have to look further than Rochester’s Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel.

With Season 9 filming now to air in May 2015, Last Comic Standing began with open casting calls more than a decade ago.  Their stages have been graced by such comedy legends as Gabriel Iglesias, Ralphie May, Kathleen Madigan, and Joel McHale.  The show uses experienced comedic judges as well, including Roseanne Barr, Drew Carey, Brett Butler, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kathy Griffin, Garry Marshall, and Tim Meadows.

Marketing Manager Lindy Waring says, “The Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel is really excited to have this nationally televised hit show in our Event Center.  We have not teamed up with a reality show before and it should be a big hit.  Tickets have been selling fast!”

Amongst the night’s performers are finalists Nikki Carr, Rocky LaPorte, Lachlan Patterson, and Joe Machi, as well as winner Rod Man.  On their season of the show, “comics had to participate in a variety of challenges that tested their improvisation, roasting and talk show guest skills.  Here, they received advice from comedians Cheryl Hines, Howie Mandel, Jeff Ross, Jay Leno and executive producer Wanda Sykes.  Ellen Degeneres hosted the talk show guest challenge on the set of her show, while Gilbert Gottfried was the target for the roast challenge.”  With those difficult performances under their belts, the evening is sure to be a laugh riot from start to finish.

Prices start at $30 for Players Club members and the event promises to sell out quickly.  Make a night of it and arrive early for dinner or a few hands, rounds, spins, pulls, or throws beforehand.  For an early autumn fling, book one of their many gorgeous rooms for a pre-holiday-madness staycation.

Season 8’s top 5 will be in town for one show only so don’t delay.  Tickets are on sale now at the Lucky Eagle Box Office, online, or by calling  Lucky Eagle Casino at 800-720-1788.  Nearly one thousand guests are expected for such an amazing evening of laughter and fun.

As one of only two Washington stops on their three month, nation-wide tour, don’t be the last one standing out in the cold when Last Comic Standing comes to town.  Before the holidays fill our calendars and drain our wallets, make time to laugh with the ones you love…it IS the best medicine, after all.


Thomas Brents and Cascadia

Olympia Time - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 5:25am
Its a fairly old trope in Washington State history and civic life that the name Washington State is pretty horrible. Our own state and territorial founders wanted Columbia as a state name, but eastern politicians hung the name Washington around our neck as a way to avoid confusion with the other Columbia.

I hope I don't have to tell you how well that lack of confusion thing worked out.

But, along the way, there were a handful of other suggestions for names, including (you guessed it) Cascadia. Our territorial representative, Thomas Brents, suggested in 1885 that a new name accompany the territory when it gained statehood:

Cascadia, in allusion to its many grand waterfalls and to the name of its principal range of mountains, the cascades (sic).Brents was a bit early in his urging for statehood, and he also suggested that we bring in the northern part of Idaho along with the rest of the state. This was an obvious suggestion by the Walla Wallan Brents, as it would have tipped the balance of power in the new State of Cascadia to the east (given Idaho's mining industry and eastern Washington's agriculture).
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