Recent local blog posts

Complete Care For Your Family Through The Debra Daniels Insurance Agency

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 5:41am



olympia insurance

Debbie Daniels opened her insurance agency in 1992 with State Farm.

We all know Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  This is all well and good if you know exactly what you’re trying to prevent… I worry more along the lines of author K.M. MacAulay, “You can’t prevent what you can’t predict.”

This is where seasoned insurance providers like Lacey’s Debbie Daniels come in.  Owner of the Debra Daniels Insurance Agency, an Agency of State Farm Insurance, she offers the experience to address any need: past, present, or future.

Insurance issues can be overwhelming.  Debbie and her team handle policies for home, automobile, renters, commercial, life, and just about anything you may require.  A Vancouver, Washington native, Debbie has spent her life in Western Washington.  Recruited to the industry by a former co-worker of her husband, she opened her Agency in 1992, when State Farm was recruiting more women into their workforce.  Though there were only three available positions in the region, she set her sights—and heart—on Thurston County and has thrived here ever since.

Debbie has worked locally for over twenty years, many of those with the same team members.  Now the proud owners of a new office in Lacey, her employees are entirely based in Thurston County.  With staffers who have worked for her for many years, they’re like family.  When her husband joined the business 17 years ago, and nieces and nephews hired for college breaks, they’ve been “a family run business ever since,” says Daniels.

Their goal is simple: “Families are our focus, we love working with families because we are a mom and pop place more than anything else.”  Because of this nothing is too big or too small for their skilled agents to handle.  Debbie hopes people will call, email, or just drop in any time with questions about policy needs.  They always make themselves available to serve the community one need at a time.

With this service mentality at the forefront, Debbie Daniels is a long-time volunteer with the Special Olympics and other community activities.  Staffer TeAnna Thompson, who joined State Farm in 2002, volunteers as Head Committee Chair for the HWY 507 Young Life’s Annual Fundraising Auction, which serves middle and high school students in the Rainier, Yelm, and Tenino districts.  Their Agency received an Agency Achievement award in 2012 and was lauded by The Olympian as a preferred agency that year as well.

olympia insurance

Debbie Daniels has operated her insurance agency for more than 20 years, with many of the same team members.

Throughout, customers sing their praises as well.  Says one happy client, “Been with Debbie for well… decades now and she and her staff are outstanding!  They bend over backwards to help and when you need them, they have your back!  Our daughter is a third generation State Farm Insurance client if that tells you something about the great treatment we have had.”

The Debra Daniels Insurance Agency can be found at 8765 Tallon Lane NE in Lacey, two blocks from the Hawks Prairie Costco.  Regular business hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. but after hours appointments can be easily arranged by calling 360-493-8284.

Because they understand local families and the variety of needs which can arise, no question is too silly and all inquiries are welcomed.  You can read customer reviews or frequently asked questions on their Facebook page as well.

Einstein once said that “the only source of knowledge is experience.”  Unfortunately these wise words are often secondary to those of universal Hitchhiker Douglas Adams who acknowledged that “human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”  Debbie Daniels and her team are a wealth of knowledge just waiting to make your life easier – all it takes is a phone call.


JPNSGRLS, robotsvsghosts, Calliope

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:00pm

Tuesday, August 26th, doors at 8pm

JPNSGRLS (Vancouver, BC)



Facebook invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

41st Harbor Days Maritime Festival

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 2:54pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Tugs, history, arts, crafts, food and fun for All Ages at Olympia's Harbor Days

Tugs, history, arts, crafts, food and fun for All Ages at Olympia’s Harbor Days

Vintage, working and retired tugboats return to the southernmost tip of Puget Sound for three days of fun at Harbor Days, Aug. 29-31. Experience it all at Percival Landing and Port Plaza on Olympia’s downtown waterfront.

The tugs leave shore on Sunday at noon for the annual Tugboat Races in the deep channel of the Budd Inlet. Many of the tugs offer tours on Saturday.

Port Plaza features Kitsap Live Steamers model trains and a mini Steamer that kids can ride along a 100-foot track! Model tugboat demos, Dragon boats, robotics, Tacoma Railways Centennial celebration, and the Port’s giant-sized building blocks add to the fun.

Browse over 200 arts and crafts booths and enjoy entertainment, festival food and a special area just for kids.

Port of Olympia partners in Harbor Days to celebrate the maritime heritage of our community. For more information:

Plum and prune

The Plum Palate - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:57am
About a month ago I found a flyer hanging on the front gate. I thought it might be an invitation to the neighborhood block party or another solicitation from a hopeful investment adviser. But this one, hanging by a hole shaped to fit over a doorknob, was neither. It had a photo of a pedestrian […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

OlyKraut and Home Fermentation in Olympia – The Flavorful World of Beneficial Microbes

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:03am



By Cara Bertozzi

Edward Jones Block AdFermentation is an ancient method of food preservation and flavor development.  Fermented foods, such as bread, wine, and beer, have long been mainstream. However, raw fermented foods, often termed probiotics, have more recently been commanding real estate on shelves in traditional grocery stores, where they are popular as tasty vectors of helpful live cultures of bacteria.

Sash Sunday, an engaging food activist and the owner of OlyKraut, credits two primary trends in food with creating the market for her pungent raw sauerkraut and fermented brine products. One driving force is the foodie or artisanal demographic.  These individuals are fascinated with the movement away from highly pasteurized, processed foods to more traditional methods of food preparation that result in tantalizing flavors, deemed worthy of the associated extra costs and time.


OlyKraut is brightly colored, crunchy and full of flavor.

The second driver are people who are increasingly convinced of the link between the consumption of raw fermented foods with health and wellness. Many people struggling with food sensitivities, allergies, and disease have turned to cultured foods, including miso, kefir, kimchi, kombucha and yogurt, to replenish their gut flora and heal their bodies. Scientific studies also support the connection between a healthy gut microbiome and mental well-being.

Founded in 2008, OlyKraut has been doubling their production annually.  Sash is quite pleased to partner with largely local farmers.  Last year, she sourced 60,000 pounds of cabbage and employed local workers to handcraft a healthy food that not only electrifies the tongue but also nourish the body.

Sauerkraut was a natural draw for Sunday because of the increased bioavailability of the cabbage nutrients due to the bacterial breakdown, cabbage’s anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and the incredibly simple method of preserving the cabbage through acidification as the Lactobacilli produce lactic acid as a byproduct of their metabolism of lactose and other sugars. Did I mention that it’s delicious?

OlyKraut products are sold in 60 locations throughout Washington and in the Portland area and can also be sampled at a variety of farmers’ markets or purchased as an add-on through many local community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, such as those of Oxbow Farm and Helsing Junction Farm.


Here is everything you need to make a batch of raw fermented sauerkraut.

Consumers in the Olympia area are fortunate to have many high-quality fermented foods at their fingertips. There are also great resources available to get you started if your interests include culturing ferments at home as a low-cost way to add healthy probiotics to your family’s diet. Meghan Hintz, a certified fermentationist and LMP who is deeply interested in digestive healing, recently taught Sauerkraut 101 to a group of 20 budding home cabbage connoisseurs at Eastside Urban Farm and Garden Center (EUFGC).  This is just one of their many great classes offered at the bargain price of $10.

Participants enjoyed tasting some of OlyKraut’s fare while Meghan shared the science behind sauerkraut ferments of anaerobic bacteria and their preferred environments, what types of ingredients work well in sauerkrauts and, correspondingly, which foods to avoid adding.  Then she walked us through the actual method itself by preparing a green cabbage, fennel, daikon radish, and green onion kraut.

We each tasted the salted cut vegetables to familiarize ourselves with the proper amount needed to maintain the crispness of the vegetables – it should be tasty like a chip. I was impressed by the level of questions attendees had regarding the type of kraut equipment to use, the ideal temperature and light conditions for ferments, and tips for identifying unsafe ferments gone rogue. Interestingly, each type of bacteria has its own preferred pH level, and the pH of finished krauts, which typically ranges from 3.8 to 4.2, is incompatible with the dreaded botulinum toxin-producing pathogen Clostridium botulinum.


Ingredients such as blackberries and sage can be used to flavor home-brewed kombucha. Note the SCOBY floating at the liquid-air interface.

This feature of bacterial life contributes to the potency of sauerkraut because you are not only consuming colony-forming units (CFUs) of microbes but you are also ingesting their preferred environment, which may help them successfully traverse the stomach and establish colonies in the small intestine.

Meghan was a knowledgeable and pleasant educator, and the experience gave me one more reason to adore EUFGC, a fantastic local resource for people who want to grow and make their own food. Each day that I pass by my freshman ferment on the kitchen counter, my anticipation grows.

Another easy way to get started with home fermentation is to brew your own probiotic drinks using an organic, live-culture starter kit from Oly-Cultures, another local company started by Julie Kamin after years of helping friends culture kefir and kombucha. In addition to milk and yogurt kefir grains, you can purchase a kombucha symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), and using just tea leaves and sugar, you can propagate your own kombucha.

By performing a secondary fermentation in a closed jar, you can create a carbonated tea that can be flavored in endless combinations. Just don’t let it ferment more than a few days or the pressure may crack your container. Our blackberry sage kombucha was a hit, and the best part is that you can reserve a portion of the previous brew and have an endless supply after your initial investment.

Be adventurous; there are lots of tasty ways to experiment with raw fermented foods, and it just may improve your health.


Categories: Local Food Blogs

Sunrise Landscaping: Growing Thurston County, One Yard at a Time

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 6:00am



sunrise landscapingEleven years ago, Heath Howerton started Sunrise Landscaping out of a shed in his parent’s backyard. He was freshly graduated from Washington State University, having studied business entrepreneurship and landscape architect design. He got right to work building his landscaping business and never looked back.

Today, Sunrise has approximately 40 employees including two landscape designers, an architect, and a certified arborist. His tree service, which includes removal, chipping, limbing and animal tree rescue (that’s right cat owners!) averages three jobs a day, five days a week, and his design and install team produce over 300 landscapes a year.

Today, instead of working out of a shed, he has one of the best business locations in Thurston County, right on Martin Way.

sunrise landscaptingHow did Howerton’s backyard business grow so quickly and survive the 2008 economic downturn that hurt so many other local businesses?

Early on Howerton created a simple business plan, which included offering the best service in the region, and focusing primarily on residential landscape design, tree removal and lawn maintenance in Thurston County. He says that he is able to do this by hiring well. “I have some of the most incredible installers that I could ever imagine. They can do anything that is involved in landscaping. I can’t say enough about them,” said Howerton. “We also pay the best rates and hire trustworthy staff that go through background checks. We want homeowners to feel comfortable with our crew,” he added.

Dana Encheff is a licensed landscape architect as well as a local artist, and is on the Sunrise team. His landscape designs are beautiful to look at on paper, but are even more beautiful when they come to life as a vibrant, thriving garden. “Our designers are the best and are perfectionists. I’ve learned a lot working with them,” said Howerton.

sunrise landscapingHowerton is also committed to investing in the community. “We buy our landscaping supplies and plants from local suppliers rather than from large corporations,” Howerton described.  “We could save more money if we bought from those larger nurseries, but we believe in supporting local businesses. Also, the quality of their products is outstanding.”

Business really began booming for Sunrise when he opened his gallery and showroom on Martin Way. Howerton created an outdoor design studio displaying different options in landscape design, including water features, decks, patios, flagstone walkways and fire pits. Step inside the office and you’ll see photos everywhere of completed projects — everything from outdoor kitchens to ladder trucks taking down tricky trees. “We like people to come in and look at our idea books, look around the gallery and walk along our beautiful flagstone paths,” said Office Manager Lynnette.

sunrise landscapingShe said that many people don’t really know what they want their yard or lawn to look like until they see some ideas. The gallery is a great place to start, and it doesn’t cost a thing to look. “For most homeowners the process starts when they give us a call and we send a designer out to look at the project. Sometimes they want a design and other times just a quote. Usually, the project takes a few weeks from the first phone call, to the quote and the work. Our team is very efficient. Tree removal is similar. We can get a crew out to a homeowner very quickly,” she said.

Homeowners call Sunrise for a variety of projects, and recently Howerton and his team have been enjoying fun projects like wood fired pizza ovens, swimming pools and outdoor spas, but they also work on more serious projects like shoreline mitigation, erosion control, retaining walls and stump grinding.

“In the beginning, when I started out, I did a lot of lawn mowing, weeding and spring cleanup. That tapered off over the years, but now we’re getting many requests for maintenance work again. We do one time or annual contracts. Homeowners love knowing that we’ll take good care of their lawns and gardens,” he said.

Howerton and his crew can take on just about any project that customers send their way. “Just yesterday a woman stopped by and asked if we’d take down a dilapidated shed on her property that was close to falling over. I told her I’d send a team over to take care of it for her,” he said

And right there is the real secret behind his success. His team has the tools, knowledge and manpower to do just about any project a homeowner could want.

sunrise landscapingSunrise Landscaping & Tree Removal

6325 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA 98516

(360) 556-3002


Tree removal

Landscape Design

Yard/Lawn Maintenance

Pools & Spas


Plan an Olympia Weekend Staycation

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 5:47am



By Gale Hemmann

xeroxThe last days of summer are upon us. As families prepare for back-to-school and busy schedules ahead, you may find yourself yearning to maximize these last few days. One way to enjoy family time without spending much money is to have a “staycation.”

Staycations have been gaining popularity in recent years because they offer a chance to unwind and enjoy the fun of a vacation without ever leaving town. Whether you plan to literally stay at home and do activities together or take a day trip somewhere, there are tons of ways you can plan to spend your staycation right here in Thurston County. This seasoned “staycationer” explored some unique options and themes for staycations that are easy, affordable, and most importantly, fun.

Planning the Perfect Staycation

olympia beach

Spend a day at the beach. This timeless option is a great, free way to send out the summer Northwest-style.

A little planning goes a long way when it comes to creating the ideal staycation. Sure, you can be spontaneous – but having at least a rough idea of what you want to do in mind is helpful. Involve the whole family in the decision-making – pick a theme or activity that is interesting to everyone. Check out the hours of and get directions to places you may want to visit.

Prepare ahead of time: Go shopping to get any groceries or supplies you may need. Take care of any chores and last-minute “to-do” items before you unplug. Clear the calendar, just for a day or weekend. The goal of a staycation is to relax, and you want to be able to just focus on enjoying the time together with minimal distractions. And of course, here in late-summer Washington, it’s always helpful to have a back-up plan in mind in case of weather changes.

Your options are literally limitless. Of course, you will tailor your staycation plans to best suit your family’s interests and kids’ ages. The key element is this: do something you wouldn’t ordinarily take the time to enjoy. Here are some ideas for sending summer out with style.

Staycation Ideas:

  • Backyard Camping: One option is to head to a local campground for an end-of-summer trip that is budget-friendly. But you can also have a “campout” right at home. You can set up tents in your backyard or even in the living room (or have kids make a blanket tent). Kids can sleep in sleeping bags, and you can make camp foods. You can make microwave S’mores and eat easy “camping” foods like hot dogs or veggie dogs and hot cocoa. During the day, you can take a nature walk in your yard or at a local park. You can also tell “campfire stories” around a flashlight. Get creative: You can make up silly camp songs, give your family camp a name, and make up camp nicknames for each other to use throughout the day or weekend.
  • Tourists in Your Own Town: Pretend you are tourists visiting Olympia for the first time. See everything with fresh eyes. Where would you go? What would you do? Use this day as an excuse to get out and see something you’ve always been curious about, but never had the time to stop by. Visit a new park, a new part of town, or a historical landmark. (Thrifty Thurston checks out local kid-friendly museums here.) Talk with kids about what you see throughout the day that makes your town interesting. Have fun with it: pick up little souvenirs, take plenty of “travel photos,” and even create a trip itinerary for the day. It will make you see your hometown with new eyes and will show kids you can find adventure without going far.
  • ellis cove trail

    We will be hiking the Ellis Cove Trail in Priest Point Park in the Spring.

    Pajama Day: If you’re looking for a more relaxed pace, you can have a family “Pajama Day.” A family I know takes time out of their busy schedules every once in a while to do this and unwind. The rules of pajama day: Everyone stays in their pajamas all day. You eat breakfast-themed foods (kids can help make fun-shaped pancakes, for example). You can play family board games (or make up one of your own), watch movies (or make up a play), read together, or just sit around and talk. Quiet, low-key family days like this can be amazingly restorative. Getting to spend time at home together, without having to rush around, is a rare treat for many of us.

  • Hit the Beach: As someone who grew up in the Northwest, one of my favorite ways to unwind at any age has always been to go to the beach. There is something about the vast swaths of sand, soothing waves and wind in your hair that feels timeless and free. Have kids help pack a picnic lunch, throw in some sunscreen and towels, and hit of the many beaches in Thurston County or beyond. (Check out ThurstonTalk’s pick of local beaches here.) I have always enjoyed the quiet town of Westport in Grays Harbor County too, about an hour’s drive from Olympia – walk the sand, get an ice cream cone, and climb the famous tower overlooking the ocean.  Find even more beach ideas on
  • Get Out Into Nature: Time spent in nature is beneficial to our health and overall well-being. The whole family will benefit from a day outdoors hiking or walking. Put on your hiking shoes and hit one of the kid-friendly (and dog-friendly) trails listed here. And older kids might enjoy a longer hiking day trip.  Check out some great tips and destination ideas here. It doesn’t matter how far you go, just that you’re out spending some time in nature. You can identify different plant species, birds and other things you see along the way.
  • traditions cafe

    Go out for an espresso or a sweet treat. Traditions Café in downtown Olympia offers ice cream, espresso, and more. It is conveniently located across from Capitol Lake, so you can take a walk afterwards.

    Go Swimming: When my niece and nephew come to visit, the top items on their agenda: swim, swim, and swim some more. What better way to end the summer than with a splash at a local beach or pool? Find ThurstonTalk’s pick of outdoor swimming spots here. Another memorable option is the Tenino Rock Quarry Pool. And if it’s a cooler day, check out these indoor pools, including Discover Aquatics. Try somewhere you’ve never been before – that will add to the sense of adventure and novelty.

  • Splurge on a Sweet Treat: One way to get something special to eat without the cost of a full meal is to take the kids out for dessert. It’s a “sweet” way to top off the day. Get ice cream in a hand-made waffle cone and enjoy the old-school, family-friendly charm at Grandpa’s Soda Shop. Get a hand-crafted milkshake or Italian soda at Mud Bay Coffee Company (you can stop in or visit the drive-thru). You can also enjoy the frozen yogurt at locally-owned Twisties in Lacey. Or, try a healthy, eco-friendly popsicle from the Oly Pops cart in downtown Olympia (both Twisties and Oly Pops sell no-sugar-added flavors as well, for any diabetic family members).

Another idea is to check the ThurstonTalk’s weekend event calendar for a range of upcoming events. The ideas are endless – no matter what you’ll do, you’ll have a change of pace and some great family time while going easy on your budget. Older kids can burn off some energy before the school year starts and hopefully everyone will have a memorable time.

Who knows? Your staycation might be so much fun that you make it an annual tradition. Make sure to find some kind of little mementos along the way to save as a reminder of your staycation. It will be like holding onto a little piece of summer memories as the fall approaches.


Community Rights Forum

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 7:49pm
Event:  Sat, 09/13/2014 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Help draft a Community Rights Ordinance that will give us the tools to stop the ongoing degradation of the South Puget Sound.  The new Ordinance will allow citizens to reclaim their power, while corporations will be barred from claiming Constitutional rights won by human beings over the years. 

Help us iron out the details.  Bring a mug.  MIXX96 MEETING ROOM, 119 NE WASHINGTON ST., OLYMPIA 98501.

Workshop will be moderated by knowledgeable environmentalists Cindy Beckett and Harry Branch. 

Later workshops will focus on other possible Community Rights Ordinances:   one for citizen civil rights vs. the police, and one which would ban genetically modified organisms in Thurston County.   We will, of course, also welcome your original idea for a CRO!  

All CRO's extend the rights of communities to legislate their own well-being in an environment typically controlled by State and Federal governments.  We're trying to craft the right Ordinance for our community:  one that will significantly change the power balance and help us achieve goals we care about.   Please join us. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Emby Alexander ,,, Middlewav ,,, The Straws ,,, Crowd the Sky

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 5:00pm

Monday, August 25, doors at 8pm

EMBY ALEXANDER … Phoenix chamberpowerpop

MIDDLEWAV … Olympia experimental electrofolk

THE STRAWS … Oly alt groove, multigenre sprawl

CROWD THE SKY … Oly synth sounds, ex-Celestials

Facebook invite


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Rock Around the Block

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:28am
Event:  Fri, 09/12/2014 - 5:00pm - 9:00pm

From today's inbox: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Timberland Libraries Boost Service Hours

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 10:44am



Submitted by Timberland Regional Library


Senior - Older couple TRLLibrary patrons in the five-county Timberland Regional Library (TRL) service area asked for longer hours; starting September 2, they’ve got them! District-wide, 26 libraries and the Ask-A-Librarian service will add hours – a total of 58 more each week. The increased schedules come at no additional cost. TRL administration, branch librarians and staff members gathered public comments in the libraries, at public meetings and from online surveys. They counted usage hours, studied peak use times for computers, meeting space and circulation materials. Then they got creative – shifting people and duties into longer open hours and reducing the amount of work done while libraries are closed. Many communities will experience an increase in Saturday hours, resulting in all libraries being open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The new schedule provides more consistent, easy-to-remember opening times and in the largest libraries an extra hour on Friday evenings. “Libraries are at the heart of healthy communities,” Timberland Library Director Cheryl Heywood said. “They have one simple mission: to serve the public.”

“To do this,” Heywood continued, “we have to listen to our communities, understand the issues and make the best changes possible. More open hours,” she added, “is a very good change.”

Foofaraw: Ready….Set….Sail!

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 10:23am



Submitted by the Thurston County Chamber

Port of Olympia FoofarawFor over five decades, the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce has been honored to partner with the Olympia Yacht Club to host local military personnel, at Foofaraw, an event unmatched anywhere else in the world.  Always the first Friday after Labor Day, we will be shoving off from the Olympia Yacht Club main station for the fifty-second year on Friday, September 5.

One dictionary defines Foofaraw as “much ado about nothing” and, at one point in history the official “purpose” of the day, claimed that a “Foofarite [military attendee] has earned the right to say ‘Foof’ to all duties and responsibilities for one day each year.”

Foofaraw has grown to be well known throughout the United States armed forces including the 62nd & 446th Air Force divisions, the Western Air Defense Sector, Bangor Naval Station, Madigan Army Medical Center, the Washington National Guard and among many others from Joint Base Lewis McChord. Guests are transported by yacht club members to Island Home, where they are treated to a full day of games, served a terrific salmon BBQ lunch, and honored by local dignitaries.  We average two service members to every one civilian.

For the last several years, the Port of Olympia has shown their gratitude of service to our military by arranging an unofficial sendoff including representatives from local police, medic, and fire departments and always hanging a large American flag from one of their cranes.

Sponsor tickets for this year’s event are accounted for; however, we are collecting donations for the free military raffle that takes place throughout the day.

For more information about Foofaraw or other Chamber events, please call the Chamber at 360.357.3362.

Your Healthcare Connection: Oly Ortho Welcomes Dr. Tracy Hamblin

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 10:03am



oly ortho

Dr. Tracy Hamblin will begin seeing patients at the Olympia Orthopaedics Walk-In Clinic starting September 2.

For the most part, we are a healthy community.  We hike on the weekends, join in community 5K runs and participate in active outdoor recreation in beautiful Thurston County.  And that means for many of us, we may need a quick visit to the doctor from time to time to check out a new ache or pain or possibly an injury.

Whether you have a repetitive motion injury from marathon training or simply played a little too hard with the kids on the weekend there is a quick, easy and injury specific option beyond your primary care doctor:  the Sports Medicine doctors at Olympia Orthopaedics Associates.  The very popular sports medicine physician, Dr. Leyen Vu, has been serving patients at Oly Ortho for the last 2 years with fantastic results.  Patients are seen quickly, assessed by trained injury specialists, and treated by top physicians in the field.  Backed by a comprehensive team of surgeons and orthopaedic specialists, Dr. Vu is able to provide quick and effective diagnosis and treatment including referral to the Oly Ortho team.

And now Dr. Vu has a little help.  Oly Ortho is excited to welcome a new Sport Medicine doctor, Dr. Tracy Hamblin, providing a second physician on site daily to assess patients with sports related injuries and provide care for non-surgical musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.

Dr. Hamblin joins the group after extensive training.  A Utah native, Dr. Hamblin completed her undergraduate work at the University of Utah in Biomedical Engineering.  “I always thought when I was a kid that I’d grow up to be a doctor, but I just wasn’t ready when I finished my undergrad work,” she explains.  As a result she enrolled in graduate school at Syracuse University, earning her masters in the same field.

oly ortho

Participating in triathlons is one of Dr. Hamblin’s hobbies along with Pilates and a teaching herself to knit.

“It was my first semester of grad school,” Dr. Hamblin recalls, “when I realized I really was ready to go to medical school.”  She completed her two years of study at Syracuse and moved back to Utah, enrolling in University of Utah Medical School.  She loved being back home in the west and stayed put for her residency in Family Medicine.

It was during this time that she met Dr. Vu as he was completing his Sports Medicine work at the University of Utah.  “We became good friends.  Both of us did residencies in family medicine but we both had a passion for sports medicine,” says Dr. Hamblin.

The pair continued to see each other at professional conferences throughout the next year while Dr. Hamblin completed her fellowship at the John Peter Smith Sports Medicine program in Fort Worth, Texas.  When she was ready to begin her full-time clinical work, she looked again to her friend Dr. Vu for guidance on where she could use her specialized training in Sports Medicine.

Luckily the stars aligned and Oly Ortho was looking to expand their Sports Medicine services and Dr. Hamblin was a perfect fit.  “I really wanted to find a job where I could fully use my sports medicine training to help patients live healthy lives,” she shares.  “I also really wanted to use my unique skills, developed during my fellowship, for fluoroscopic injections to aid patient healing and not all clinics offer that service.  Olympia Orthopaedics not only offered it but was excited about my specialized training.”

Fluoroscopic injections are x-ray guided injections directed at very specific areas of a joint.  By utilizing small amounts of contrast dye in the joint, along with a live x-ray image, Dr. Hamblin is able to pinpoint an injection, directing medications exactly where they are needed, alleviating pain and helping with diagnosis of injury.

oly ortho

Dr. Hamblin embodies a “Life in Motion” with her love of the outdoors, biking and living a healthy lifestyle.

When asked what she is most excited about in her new position at Oly Ortho, Dr. Hamblin shares, “The opportunity to be around so many Ortho docs will be great.  The learning opportunities will be tremendous plus I’ll be able to use the skills learned in my fellowship on a daily basis.  But the most exciting is that this position is 100% Sports Medicine related.  It is my passion and I never tire of seeing patients with injuries and helping them get back to an active lifestyle.”

Dr. Hamblin will also serve as team doctor for many of the area’s college and high school athletes.  “I love working with the students, seeing them grow as athletes throughout the season and helping them through any injury challenges.”

She is uniquely suited to working with students, too, as Dr. Hamblin was a competitive gymnast for over ten years and continues to value an active lifestyle.  She has completed at least one triathlon a year since 2007 and explains, “I’m not out there to win the race, but simply to finish.  It feels good to finish – to accomplish my goal.  That’s what keeps me coming back to races each year.”

It’s this value on staying active and healthy that she hopes to instill in her patients as well. “Olympia Orthopaedic’s motto is to get your Life in Motion. I always try to live my life as an example for my patients – showing them that staying healthy and in motion leads to a happy life.”


Olympia and Thurston should follow Poulsbo and Kitsap's lead (at the very least) and what your PUD candidates think about that

Olympia Time - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 6:39am
Internet connectivity should be a basic utility, like sewer, water and garbage. Directly speaking, that isn't possible in Washington State. Some local governments can, but PUDs cannot directly connect their customers. They can provide service to businesses that sell retail connections to customers.

So, in Kitsap County, the PUD up there is wiring up the cities of Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island, which then are turning on municipal wifi:
There were four antennas placed in downtown Poulsbo.
“Which was not enough,” Jones said.

An upgraded system will likely equate to more antennas throughout a coverage area.

“I’m willing to put a tower on my house,” joked Poulsbo Port Commissioner Jim Rut-ledge, who attended the May 28 meeting.

“I’m willing to wear one,” quipped Councilman Ed Stern.Improving the system may require KPUD to further expand its fiberoptic system to accommodate additional antennas.A few weeks ago, I asked various PUD candidates what they thought about the Thurston PUD rolling out not only internet service, but reaching out to customers.

Here is my question:

PUDs are allowed by law to become wholesale internet service  providers. With the already limited number of private companies providing internet access abandoning net neutrality, we have the opportunity through our PUDs to help provide inexpensive and fair access.

Do you think the Thurston PUD should enter the broadband market? Here are their responses.

Chris Sterns:
I would say yes, if we could do it with a successful business plan. Each county PUD has entered the Telecom/Fiber Optic wholesale marketplace under their own different business model. This reflected whether or not they were already an electric utility, how big they are and whether or not their model was successful. Noanet is the consortium of PUD's that provides the main conduit of the internet fiber-optic system that everyone already uses including the private telecoms and the cell phone towers which are now hooked up to it! It passes through our county along side of the federal BPA transmission lines. Electric utilities utilize fiber to run their electric utilizes more efficiently (connecting up all their electric substations) that a water utility cannot do. Both electric and water utilities have cut back on Noanet participation due to revenue losses that their electric customers made up. Some had more secure private sector participation, others dropped out since customer density was low in rural counties. I will not enter this business to become a loss leader (lose money just to get into the market). Some other counties had residents who felt this was a good idea, I don't and their commissioners rejected the federal grants to start up services because they felt they couldn't make it work profitably. I have attended along with Commissioner Russ Olsen Washington PUD Association meetings on how each PUD runs their fiber optic system. We are looking closely at what would work best here. The first place to go would be the densest areas in the north county cities. These cities have already laid down dark fiber when they dig up their streets for water line replacement. All it needs is to be connected and lit up. Other areas can be added from a profitable core area. C.S.

P.S. The federal regulators (FCC) are considering overriding our state law that limits us to only wholesale service, we are the only state with those direct restrictions and yet cable remains unregulated. They have better lobbyists! The only other proposed systems are government to government services. Brian Hess:
I am still researching this issue and have found some things that I think the PUD can do to assist with the challenge.  One way to assist is being the repository of information not only about telecommunications, but also water and power.  The PUD should have available data for all within the county to look at and research and then be able to make educated decisions about their choices.  The PUD currently puts out a newsletter, but only to those that receive services from it.  I believe that the newsletter should go out to all residents within the county.  While campaigning it has occurred to me that not many know that there is a PUD and what it does.  This is wrong since each property owner within the county pays taxes to the PUD.

One of the challenges we face with telecommunications, or any other utility, is the infrastructure of such utilities.  I have read a story about how cities are being challenged by the telecommunication companies when the city wishes to install fiber optics within their limits.  I am still researching this issue, but my first response is that it is not right that a city cannot provide infrastructure for its residents.  I am still researching this issue and will hope to have a better response soon.

I have also read about a city in Washington that set-up free WiFi for all within the city limits.  I am trying to find that article again to share with you.  I am also wanting to follow-up on it to see how successful it has been.  This is another way that telecommunications can be provided to all.Hess went on for a lot longer than that, but didn't end up coming back to the internet issue at all.
Basically, Sterns seems more versed on the topic, and makes a great point towards the end. The urban part of the county seems better suited for connectivity soon. Fiber has already been laid and it would just take the PUD to light it up. Since the PUD right now is a somewhat disconnected water utility, it doesn't have the built infrastructure to just add on internet.

Diane Hall Creates a Culture of Kindness at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary and Beyond

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 6:31am



By Kate Scriven

russell dentistry logoSchool may be out for the summer, but Diane Hall’s students will still be using what she has taught them this year.  As the Reading Specialist at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary in Tumwater, Hall’s students will be diving into new books, reading restaurant menus, looking for street signs and more.  Reading is all around us.

But more than that, the over 550 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade she taught this year will be practicing creating a “Culture of Kindness” in their daily lives.  Being kind is a concept that Pete G. Schmidt teachers and administrators added to their building wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) this year, building on the concepts already in place of being Safe, Respectful and Responsible.

tumwater school

Diane Hall, reading specialist at Peter G. Schmidt elementary school in the Tumwater School District, created a Culture of Kindness program.

Why add being kind this year?  “We added the concept of creating a ‘culture of kindness’ this year to focus on building community in such a large school.  I have a unique opportunity to do that because I see all the students,” explains Hall.  Teaching the concept of kindness came easily to this creative, inspired teacher and mom of two kids of her own.

Combining a need to support writing instruction along with teaching the students to support one another, Hall created a school-wide letter writing project centered on the annual Math assessments.  These assessments were identified by the school counselor as one of the most stressful times for students and Hall’s goal was to ease the stress by creating an atmosphere of kindness and support among the students.

“The classroom teachers have so much work to do,” shares Hall. “To tackle something like our ‘culture of kindness project’ would be overwhelming.  But for me, seeing all the students, I can create a community-wide project and I’m grateful to be able to do that.”

Hall introduced the project to all Peter G. Schmidt students, sharing how they would write letters to students in other grade levels giving support and encouragement for their math assessments.  Letters were then delivered to students just prior to taking their tests this spring.  “The letter writing served several purposes,” explains Hall. “First it builds community.  Second, we were focusing on an authentic purpose for writing with a real audience, part of the common core writing standards.”

The older students were a bit grumbly, Hall admits, about writing a letter to a younger student they might not know.  Hall reframed the assignment, showing them this was an opportunity for leadership and support.  “It’s the first time the third graders take the MSP and the older kids had a chance to support and encourage them at a stressful time.  The big kids really liked that,” Hall shares.

tumwater schools

Over 550 students participated in the letter writing project.

The letters were crafted during time in Hall’s reading classroom and were required to include two things:  words of encouragement and at least two test-taking strategies.  “The encouragement provides community, positive reinforcement, and has the kids simply thinking positively about taking a test,” says Hall. “The strategies allow the letter writer and letter reader a refresher of some of the strategies taught in the classroom prior to taking their own assessment.”

For the younger grades (kindergarten through second grade) the students brainstormed kind words and test strategies and created a poster with their words that was delivered to their buddy classroom prior to testing and displayed proudly.  The goal of formal letter writing is not a standard for the primary grades, so Hall adapted the assignment to fit with goals appropriate for their skill building standards – writing creatively and for a specific purpose.

Here are a few of the letters that students shared with their schoolmates in the “Culture of Kindness” letters:

  • Culture of Kindness poster flower“To my buddy, I told him to make sure to skip an answer and go back later if he didn’t know it.  And just relax.” – Ben, sixth grade
  • “I wrote to be confident, not to be stressed, that you can do it and you know these answers.”  – Malachi, sixth grade
  • “I wanted to encourage other students.  Mine said to keep up the good work.” – Lillian, second grade

Students also shared how receiving the letters just prior to their test made them feel.

  • “I felt very happy to get the poster and read the kind words.  With it in here all the time I just feel happy.” – Violet, second grade
  • “Reading my letter before the test felt like it gave me more courage.” Damon, sixth grade
  • “I always get so worried at MSP time.  Reading my letter sort of felt like someone was helping me get through it and it helped.” – Morgan, sixth grade

Kindness - Madison, JakobWhat have the students learned through this project?  Certainly, they’ve learned they are all in it together when it comes to assessment.  But more than that, the students have learned that their kindness can positively impact others.  Hall hopes the lessons in kindness extend beyond Peter G. Schmidt’s walls, creating children who view being kind and supportive of each other with the same level of importance as all the other skills they learn at school.

Second grade student, Katie, sums it up.  “This is an important thing to do.  It makes people feel happy inside and it’s really important to feel happy, not sad.  It’s just better.”

Surprise Proposal With Long-Distance Ring From Hartley Jewelers

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 6:04am



Submitted by Hartley Jewelers

hartley jewelers

Eliot Wong worked with Hartley Jewelers via phone calls, emails and instant messages to pin down the design of this engagement ring.

Eliot Wong thought about a big box jewelry store when the time came to propose to Emily Becker, but he kept coming back to Hartley Jewelers.

Eliot, who lives in Denver, grew up in Olympia and was best friends with Travis Thornton, Hartley Jewelers’ marketing manager and son of owners Rick and Linda Hartley.

“In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to go through Hartley Jewelers, because I trust Rick and Linda,” Eliot says. “I shopped around a little here in Denver, thinking it would be easier to do something local, but I felt like I wasn’t getting the full story from them.”

Eliot wanted a very specific stone clarity, cut, size, and certification for Emily’s engagement ring, but the big jewelers he spoke to told him they don’t certify every stone because their inventory is too large to do so.

“That’s when I contacted Linda at Hartley Jewelers,” Eliot says. “And they were awesome.”

Eliot spoke to Linda in January and, working via phone calls, emails and instant messages, the rest of the Hartley team helped him find the perfect ring with which to surprise Emily.

Eliot proposed this past April while the couple vacationed in Tulum, Mexico. But before he could get down on one knee, he needed just the right ring in hand.

First he searched for clues on Emily’s Pinterest page.

“I knew Emily wanted a skinny ring because she had all these things on Pinterest,” he says with a laugh. “I had to break into her account to find a picture.”

Working with Rick, Linda, Ashley and Craig at Hartley Jewelers, Eliot pinned down the ring’s design – a narrow band with an ideal-cut, round diamond – and purchased the somewhat rare stone he desired.

“It’s very simple but elegant,” he says of the finished ring. “I wanted something that would show off the diamond and Linda recommended white gold, because it will maintain it’s high polish for longer and will be easy to restore its luster when it gets scratched.

“My ring is a really timeless, classic design,” says Emily. “I feel like if you were to find a picture of a wedding ring in a fairy tale book, my ring is exactly what it would look like.”

olympia custom jeweler

Craig Oliver has created one-of-a-kind jewelry for Hartley Jewelers clients for 16 years.

The finished design is a tapered band with a six-prong setting and a stunner of a round solitaire diamond.

“Because the ring is rather simple in design, it’s really the details that you notice,” says Emily, who likes the low setting, which helps the ring not spin on her finger or catch on things.

Eliot is quick to say that Hartley Jewelers made the whole process – even from long distance – fun and simple.

“For a guy, it can be extremely overwhelming,” Eliot says of picking out an engagement ring. “With the number of vendors Hartley Jewelers uses, they have access to tens of thousands of rings.”

But Craig was there to answer every question Eliot had about diamonds and Ashley did extensive research to find just the right band. When the first diamond they selected arrived, Rick and Craig scrutinized it carefully.

“It was a stone that was on the rare side and they did a lot of work to find it,” says Eliot. “When Rick and Craig inspected and sent it back because they didn’t think it was good enough, I just thought, these are the best, most trustworthy people in the industry.”

Eliot is the first to admit he’s a tough customer. “I was extremely picky,” he says, “and they were upbeat and very helpful the whole way through.”

In fact, the experience was educational for Eliot. “Craig, their diamond guy, is amazing. He’d write these super-long, detailed explanations in response to my questions. He really educated me far beyond what I think the normal jeweler would.”

olympia custom jewelry

Most of Hartley Jewelers staff has been with the locally owned store for more than 15 years.

With the finished ring in hand, Eliot surprised Emily – with the help of an employee of the hotel they were staying at in Tulum, Mexico.

“I had called the owner to see if I could arrange for them to put a sign on the beach in kind of an isolated area so we’d walk by and she’d be totally surprised,” Eliot explains. “But it ended up being too windy.”

So a hotel employee stood holding the sign on the beach at the appointed time and place – but mistakenly facing the wrong direction.

Eliot laughs at the memory. “So we walked right by her and I made something up – ‘Oh, hey honey, I think there’s an old Mayan ruin over here!’”

The couple turned around and the woman holding the sign ran toward them. Eliot got down on one knee and held up the very special ring.

“I had wanted to do it in an isolated, secluded area but it just so happened there were tons of people around, so we got a lot of cheers and clapping and yelling after I proposed,” he said. “It all worked out.”

“When I first saw the ring I thought, I can’t believe this is happening!” says Emily. “And then I thought it was the most beautiful ring any girl had ever said yes to. It was a really special moment for us.”

The couple will marry next June in Denver. They plan to pop in at Hartley Jewelers later this year while visiting Olympia to pick out their wedding bands.

“It’s absolutely incredible how accommodating Hartley Jewelers have been,” Emily says. “I feel like they have really gone above and beyond to help both Eliot and I throughout the process.”

“I would recommend anyone anywhere go through Hartley Jewelers,” he says, “And I actually have.” He’s suggested Hartley Jewelers to other Denver friends in the market for engagement rings.

Learn more about Hartley Jewelers by visiting


Last week for Music in Sylvester Park

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:37pm
The Olympia Jazz Senators will play this Wednesday, August 27 for the final week of the 35th annual 2014 Music in the Park Series. Bring your blanket, your family and your dinner and enjoy the festivities!  Sylvester Park7:00 - 8:00 P.M. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Home Brew Craft Root Beer with the Bayview School of Cooking

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:44am



By Cara Bertozzi

bayview school of cooking

The Bayview School of Cooking at the Thriftway presents many unique opportunities for food education and DIY culinary projects.

There are few better ways to transport back in time to the summers of your childhood than to pour yourself a cold glass of sweet, caramel-like root beer with a slightly spicy finish. Simply add two scoops of creamy vanilla bean ice cream, and you have the perfect foamy dessert.

Leanne Willard, the director of the Bayview School of Cooking (BSC) in Olympia, was exploring Puyallup for new ideas for her summer events program when she walked into the world’s largest Root Beer Store (RBS).

Willard was instantly mesmerized by their collection of more than 100 types of small-batch craft root beers, gourmet root beer varieties such as ginger beer and bark beer, and old-fashioned sodas of every shape and color, as well as fizzy candies. The store also carries extracts and brewing equipment, and thus, the idea was born to have a root beer brewing demonstration at Bayview.  The goal is to showcase the art of brewing your own delicious soda and empower people to experiment with blending root beers and find their own preferences.

As an added bonus, it is also a great opportunity to share both savory and sweet recipes that incorporate the unique flavors of sassafras and other roots and herbs imbued in this sweet beverage.

Tracy Lauricella, a passionate aficionado of home-brewed root beer, was game for the task of teaching a Make Your Own Root Beer class, which has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 27 at the BSC. Tracy is not an employee but is rather an ardent root beer fan.  He developed a taste for gourmet varieties by systematically working his way through the RBS selections and engaging their knowledgeable employees on the finer points of flavor combinations. Through extensive experimenting, he developed his current recipe, Anvil, which is so-named for his other hobby, blacksmithing.

Attendees can expect that the majority of class time will be spent discussing step-by-step instructions and tips for home brewing, but participants will also be able to sample and receive recipes for Root Beer Pulled Pork Sliders, Root Beer Baked Beans, Root Beer Cupcakes, Root Beer Fudge, and Root Beer Floats (with or without Bailey’s Irish Cream), which will be provided by the BSC.

bayview school of cooking

After the class, stroll along the boardwalk outside Bayview Thriftway.

Tracy will cover safety aspects of brewing regarding both the cooking method and sanitation. Next, he will elaborate on the many creation methods of home root beer brewing, ranging from simpler recipes that make use of extracts and pre-made mixes to more complicated techniques using dried herbs and fresh ingredients. Natural yeast carbonation versus forced carbonation will also be discussed, and creative methods for refrigeration and storage, from kegerators to bottling techniques, will be critiqued. Who knew there were so many angles to consider before brewing your first tasty batch of homemade root beer?

There is no better way to fully appreciate a favorite food than to put a little of your own sweat into making it yourself, and root beer is a treat the whole family can enjoy. The class promises to be educational and fun, and Tracy has promised to bring along a keg of Anvil to share.

Don’t be surprised if you are inspired to make a trip north to admire the RBS collections. In addition to more types of soda than you ever imagined existed, the store provides plenty of fodder for themed parties, a Pinterest cap art page, extracts, and brewing equipment and a root beer-of-the-month club and collectors’ items for more serious root beer fans.

Come enjoy this unique Bayview School of Cooking class offering in Olympia, or check out one of their many other upcoming cooking classes, which range from cultural cuisine explorations to educational classes for kids to tips for successfully hosting a PNW dinner party. For more information on the BSC class schedule, click here.


Saint Martin’s University Gathers for Orientation

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:31am



By Morgan Willie

Incoming freshmen and their parents were warmly welcomed at the Saint Martin’s University Orientation by a magnitude of helpful students on August 22. The event was easy, and steady-going.

A family would drive up to the back doors of Parsons Hall, unload a few things, and let the orientation crew handle the rest. Like little worker bees, the crew strategically hustled bed sheets, luggage, and basic college essentials to the new students’ rooms. It was quick, yet almost graceful.

Freshman Taylor White was pleasantly startled by how easy the move-in process was.

“Saint Martin’s really helped a lot actually, I was surprised,” she said. “They came in and lofted my bed for me, they helped me move anything heavy, and I was done in about an hour.”

The swiftness of the orientation allowed Taylor to concentrate on having fun and meeting new people instead of troubling over her dorm set-up.

“This entire place is super fun and everyone is friendly,” she commented. “You can walk around campus and say ‘hi’ and someone will be like ‘oh, hey, what’s up?’ You don’t even need to know somebody’s name – you can just invite them to go hang out.”

Director of Campus Life Laurel Dube was an integral part of the move-in day. She coordinated with crew members, faculty, students, and parents simultaneously to ensure the process when smoothly.

“The ultimate goal for the parents during orientation is for them to feel at ease; that after 18 years with their children they are now stepping into a family that will take care of them, and will make sure that [the students] succeed,” Laurel said. “The ultimate goal for the students is that they make a lasting connection, either with a program that we’re doing or with one of the faculty or staff members, so that they know somebody is here for them, someone they can trust for the next four years.”

Laurel truly understands how difficult a transition into college can be for some. The objective of Saint Martin’s orientation crew was to make this transition as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

“We move them into their rooms and they get a sort of crash course on what it’s like to be a Saint,” Laurel said. “It’s fun to see everything come into place and have so much happiness going on.”

Orientation crew member Hope Chamberlain showed up to the university a week early for training like many others did. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It’s a really great opportunity to meet all the new students as they come in, and let them know what a great place Saint Martin’s is,” Hope noted. “We got in anywhere from a couple weeks to even longer. A lot of students came in really early because we have different trainings going on. I’ve been here since August 15.”

Hope was excited to share about her work on the Nortia Floor in Parsons Hall with me.

“I’m a Nortia mentor,” she asserted. “Nortia is a leadership floor, so we take freshman who either have demonstrated leadership or want to really grow as leaders and get involved in the Saint Martin’s community. We live together and they are paired up with mentors who can help them find their place and establish themselves.”

As an outsider looking in, it was easy to see that leadership, establishment of the self, and a sense of community are all vital elements in the Saint Martin’s experience. Watching the ebb and flow of orientation day at the university was just a glimpse at the true initiative and resourcefulness students at Saint Martin’s are encouraged to have. ​

movein6 movein8 movein10 movein2 movein4 movein9 movein7 movein3 movein1 movein5


Olympia Harbor Days: Tugs, Trains & Ports on the Waterfront

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 6:00am



By Lisa Herrick

oly fed sponsorCome celebrate the final days of summer and Olympia’s maritime history during the annual Olympia Harbor Days starting Friday, August 29 and concluding on Sunday, August 31. Harbor Days is a three day festival of entertainment, food, art, and history all highlighted by the vintage, working and retired tugboats that convene on the southernmost point of the Puget Sound.

The tugboats will be moored at Olympia’s Percival Landing and most will be open for tour on Saturday. Then Sunday at noon the tugs will head out for a raucous, horn blasting, water splashing display of the Harbor Days Tugboat Races in the deep channel of Budd Inlet.

harbor days“Every year we offer new features as we continue to grow the festival,” explains Shelly Lively, Harbor Days Executive Director.  “This year we will be highlighting how tugboats, trains and the port have worked together for decades.”

Harbor Days will be honoring Tacoma Rail during its Centennial Celebration at Port Plaza.  Tacoma Rail will exhibit a live engine and caboose with opportunities to tour a real working train. Train lovers of all ages will want to climb aboard.  And for the little ones, Kitsap Live Steamers will build over 100 feet of track for kids to ride a small train.

“I encourage people to start their day at the Port Plaza where there will be lots of kid activities and history of tugs, trains and ports collaborating. Then walk to the center of the festival at Percival Landing for the main stage entertainment, booths, food from around the world and of course the tugboats. Going from Port Plaza to Percival Landing will give everyone the full experience of the event,” advises Lively.

Olympia Harbor Days 2013 (32)Percival Landing will be the hub for entertainment, food and booths. This year, the Chehalis Tribe from Lucky Eagle Casino will prepare salmon in the traditional tribal way using alder wood and hot rocks. Additionally, Lopaka Logs will feature their “Tiny Cabin.”  Modeling after the Tiny House craze, Lopaka Logs custom builds Tiny Cabins hand crafted with all natural wood with functioning kitchen and bathroom.  Harbor Days presents over 250 arts and crafts, commercial and nonprofit booths throughout the weekend.

The main attraction of Harbor Days continues to be the tugboats. Pick to view the model tugboats, tour a tug, watch them depart for the races, or Take the opportunity to meet famous tugboat crewmembers such as Lenny Lekanoff, the tough deckhand from the Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch.” As many as fifteen modern and vintage tugs are expected to participate throughout the weekend’s festival.

Olympia Harbor Days 2013 (24)“Harbor Days is a true community event,” shares Lively.  “It brings tourism to town, gives opportunity to 250 businesses and nonprofits to be on display, keeps maritime history alive, and creates opportunity for families to come together for a free event while enabling Olympia Kiwanis to offer a service to the community.”

Olympia Kiwanis hosts Harbor Days through sponsorship from organizations such as Olympia Federal Savings. “We think the world of Oly Fed,” explains Lively. “Everyone can be successful when we have organizations such as Oly Fed and Olympia Kiwanis working together to provide a community festival for families to enjoy at no cost.”

Lively continues to explain that any excess money from Harbor Days gets distributed to Olympia Kiwanis programs such as one of their three food gardens that donates fresh vegetables to Thurston County Food Bank, the fire wood crew that helps heat people’s homes throughout the winter, and scholarships for young students.

For more Harbor Days Maritime Festival and Tugboat Race information click here.  Harbor Days begins on August 29 and continues throughout Labor Day weekend.


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