Recent local blog posts

Andrew Wright and Olympia High School Swimming Continue To Make A Big Splash

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 6:03am



By Gail Wood

oly ortho logoIf you can’t find Andrew Wright, check the swimming pool.

In addition to his afternoon workouts with the Olympia High School’s swim team, he’s in the pool by 5:30 a.m. three mornings a week, swimming lap after lap, improving his endurance and perfecting his stroke.

What’s the price of success? For Wright, a junior who’s shooting for his third straight trip to state, it includes early morning, fight-the-sleep rises. He’ll tell you there are no shortcuts to success.

olympia boys swimming

Andrew Wright (left) and James Waltz are Olympia’s two top swimmers.

“It’s all about hard work,” said Wright, who is seeded second in the 100-yard breaststroke for Friday’s district meet at Curtis High School. “I’m hoping to make it to state again.”

That’s the dream for Wright, who swims year around and is on the Evergreen Swim Club. Besides his drive to succeed, there’s another motivation for swimming laps about 13 hours a week.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Wright, who started swimming when he was seven years old.

The fun includes the winning, the success. And there’s the friendships and the teammates. That comradeship is a big reason why Anthony Newsome-Moffa turns out for swimming. But unlike Wright, a year around swimmer, Moffa swims only during the season. A week after his final football practice with the Bears, Moffa was in the pool, swimming laps. He’s not chasing the same dream of going to state as Wright. He’s never qualified in his four years with the swim team. But that doesn’t diminish his influence as a leader. Even if he’s not the fastest swimmer on the team, he’s still a leader, an encourager and a friend.

olympia swimming

Bears coach Henry Valz talks with his team during a recent practice.

“Anthony’s a great leader,” said Henry Valz, the Bears assistant coach. “He’s in his second year as a captain and I couldn’t ask for anything more out of a senior captain.”

Moffa, a wide receiver on the football team, isn’t sure what hits harder – a linebacker or the swimming pool wall.

“When I was younger, I chipped a tooth on the wall,” Moffa said with a chuckle.

James Waltz, while only a sophomore, is already making a big splash for the Bears. He’s seeded fifth at district in the 200-yard individual medley with a 2:07.9, eighth in the 100 freestyle with a 51.6 and 11th in the 50 freestyle with a 23.6.

“James is our sophomore phenom,” Valz said. “He’s on track to be our most improved swimmer this year, probably. We’ll see how district goes. He worked really hard in the off season. He put in a lot of yardage with Evergreen and got ready for this season.”

Waltz, who also swims year around with the Evergreen Swim Club and has been swimming competitively since he was in the seventh grade, has been focusing on improving his start this week, hoping to trim his times.

olympia swimming

Andrew Wright is seeded second in the 100-yard breaststroke at district.

“My starts are really slow,” he said.

What Waltz likes most about swimming on his high school’s team is the teamwork, sometimes a forgotten part of swimming.

“A lot of people don’t know how swimming is a team sport,” Waltz said. “They think of it as an individual sport. We know it as a team sport because of all the cheering.”

And, in addition to the cheering, there’s the “hanging out” together. On a number of Saturdays during the season, the team gets together for breakfast. Before a practice this week, Valz handed out donuts – just for fun.

Waltz said the secret to what makes a good swimmer is simple. “Dedication is probably the biggest thing,” Waltz said. “You need to be willing to put in the effort and the hours to get faster.”

While Waltz works hard in swimming, he’s not just a swimmer. All the dedication hasn’t hurt his grades. He’s a 4.0-student, never getting a B.

olympia swimming

The Bears listen to their coach talk as they prepare for more laps.

“I got an A-minus once, but I got it raised back up,” said Waltz, who wants to be an engineer.

The Bears have been a ship without their captain this week. Long-time coach Mel Smith had shoulder surgery last Friday and is on the mend. Valz, who is the head coach of the girls swim team at Black Hills High School and has been assisting Smith for the past four years, is filling in.

“I’d have liked to have finished the season out, but the shoulder and three hours of sleep at night weren’t working out well,” Smith said.

Wright, Waltz and Eli Champagne are the Bears’ top seeds. Listed below are Olympia’s district qualifiers and what they’re seeded and what their top times of the season are.

200 freestyle: 11. Alex Hougan, 1:56.2; 200 IM: 5. Andrew Wright, 2:07.9; 18 Zabdi Hernandez, 2:17.8. 50 freestyle: 11. James Waltz 23.6, 21. Zach Walker 24.2. 100 butterfly: 8. Eli Champagne 58.8. 100 freestyle: 8. Waltz 51.6, 17. Zach Walker 53.5. 500 free: 13. Ben Matthews 5:32; 15. Zabdi Hernandez 5:33.2, 24. Henry Nordhorn 5:50. 100 backstroke: 14. Eli Champagne 1:03.3. 100 breaststroke: 2. Andrew Wright 1:01.8, 10. Matthew Kamimura 1:72, 24. Ryan Underland 1:11.1.


Spurred By Brandon Sparks’ Dream, Semi-Pro Indoor Soccer Comes to Olympia

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 6:02am



By Gail Wood

lucky dog casinoBefore Willie Spurr could score his first goal for the Oly Town Artesians, before Nate Salveson could be the team’s player/coach chasing his dream of playing professional soccer, Brandon Sparks first had to ask one important question.

He had to ask Tim Smith, “Do you want to start an indoor soccer team?”

Surprisingly, Smith, who had never played soccer, said, “Yeah, sure.”

oly town artesians

Matt Stalnik celebrates a goal scored early in the season. In another game, he tore his ACL and hopes to recover for next season. Photo credit: Charis Wilson

And, in an abbreviated version, that’s how the Oly Town Artesians, a semi-pro indoor soccer team, started and played in the new, five-team Washington Indoor Soccer League.

“It all made sense to me,” Smith said. “I liked the business model and what the league was trying to do and the approach they were taking.”

Since Smith had taken over the Olympia indoor soccer facility, he was the person Sparks wanted to talk to first. They needed a place to play. Then after getting an owner and a facility, he needed a coach. Salveson, after he played at The Evergreen Green State College, became an assistant coach at Evergreen and is now the head soccer coach at South Puget Sound Community College.

“Both Nate and Brandon have done outstanding jobs,” said Smith, who works for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “I just feel very fortunate that they both agreed to sign on with a club that they didn’t know and with an owner they didn’t know.”

On Saturday, the Artesians, after finishing 3-5 during the regular season, will be the underdog in a playoff against the undefeated Tacoma Stars. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Tacoma Soccer Center.

After Smith committed to financially supporting the indoor soccer team, Sparks turned his attention to finding a coach. Salveson, who played at Evergreen from 2006 to 2010, was the likely choice.

oly town artisans

Willie Spurr, the Artesians leading scorer, moves for a shot on goal. Photo credit: Charis Wilson

“He sent me an email and asked if I was interested,” Salveson said. “I wouldn’t say it didn’t interest me, but at the time I was playing with the Seattle Impact team.”

Salveson’s quandary was whether or not he could fit in more soccer. Besides coaching at SPSCC from August until mid-November, he was also a player/coach for the Kitsap Pumas indoor team. And he was playing for a Seattle team.

“It’s been one season to the next,” Salveson said. “Maybe a two week break between seasons or so.”

He’s not complaining. It’s just his life.

“I’ve been training and have talked with outdoor teams, but I don’t have anything concrete yet for the summer season,” Salveson said.

The lure of the Oly Town Artesians is that it’s a showcase, an opportunity for area players to hook up with professional teams.

“This really fills a void for that,” Smith said. “As the professional indoor game continues to mature and stabilize, I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for some of our players to play professionally, either indoor or outdoor. It’s a great chance to be seen.”

oly town artesians

Brett Benraven brings his drums and plays throughout the Artesians home games. Photo credit: Charis Wilson

During the season, the Artesians, which is made of college and ex-college players, lost to the Tacoma Stars 15-2. But last week they won 9-7 against the Arlington Aviators. Spurr, despite not playing last week because of an injury, leads the team with 10 goals. Greg Wolfe is second on the team in scoring with eight goals.

Spurr, a three-time all-conference player at Evergreen, is likely to play Saturday against the Stars.

“He’s been doing fantastic,” Salveson said. “He’s been a great player.”

Kyle Wiese and Matt Stalnik, two more former Evergreen players, are two more key cogs to the Artesians offense through the season. However, Stalnik, who played professional indoor in Denver and California as a goalkeeper, is out with a knee injury after scoring 10 goals.

“He played a field position for us and he had played goalie his whole life,” Salveson said. “It’s not his natural position playing forward, but he understands the position after seeing it at a professional level. He was pretty much our offensive hub until his injury.”

To beat the Tacoma Stars, the Oly Town Artesians will have to get tougher defensively late in the game. While they’ve outscored opponents 19-10 in the first quarter, they’ve been outscored 39-21 in the middle of the game

It was such a successful season, there will be another one for Artesians, who drew 250 fans to their last home game.

“It’s been great. I haven’t lost nearly as much money as I thought I was going to lose,” Smith said with a chuckle. “All is good in the world of semi pro soccer here in Olympia.”

oly town artisans

At every home game, the Oly Town Artesians arrange a kids table as they want to have a family atmosphere. Photo credit: Charis Wilson

The winner of Saturday’s game will face the winner of the Wenatchee Fire/Bellingham United game on February 14th for the league title.

Tickets cost $10 and are available at the Tacoma Stars website.

Whatever happens Saturday, this has been a dream-come-true season for Sparks, the team’s general manager.

“I’m kind of a Bill Veeck disciple,” said Sparks, a 1994 North Thurston High School graduate. “I want to put on a show. My goal would be to put on a circus each and every game. Something surreal. Something that if you missed it, you would miss something that people would be talking about.”

Sparks isn’t a player or a coach. His calling is promotions.

“Hopefully we can expand a bit next season and really go full bore with our in-game production and have an absolute blast at all of our home games,” Sparks said. “That being said, our games were well run, well attended and I think we put together a professional product off the field that isn’t matched in our league.”

Shivas “Stalking Legs”

K Records - Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:19am
Guitars and fishnet stockings, a deadly combination.  Rock’n'roll lifts its skirt and does the boogaloo. K Song of the Day: Shivas “Stalking Legs” from their album You Know What to Do [KLP252]. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available now from the K mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Pink Elephant’s Gravecast 032

K Records - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 7:14pm
The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is also available from Stitcher and iTunes. The Pink Elephant’s Gravecast is an on-going audio exploration of all things K, recorded at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington. Host Calvin Johnson discusses the new All Your Friend’s Friends [KLP255] video “Trial by Water” with MC (and the album’s executive producer) Eprhyme. […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Tom Anderson at Childhood’s End

South Sound Arts - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 4:10pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Feb. 5, 2015
"Kyoto" mixed mediaTom Anderson is one of the most prolific and most popular artists in Olympia. His public works include the Park of the Seven Oaks, paintings in the lobby of Providence St. Peter Hospital, Panorama City, St. Martin’s University, Bates Technical and Olympia’s City Hall. Childhood’s End has been showing his work on a regular basis for at least 25 years.
Anderson paints with chemicals, gold leaf, pastel, Graphite and varnishes on recycled metal and aluminum sheets. In the 26 years since I first saw his work I’ve observed an endless recycling of a relatively small selection of motifs and techniques. There are metal squares and rectangles attached to the surface with brads; there are large circular shapes, usually in the center and sometimes surrounded by smaller circles or other shapes; there are shapes seemingly derived from Asian writing that look like something you might find on the walls of an ancient temple; there are decorative leaf patterns that appear to be stenciled; and there are swirling graphite marks that are similar to the artist’s signature.I get the impression he could continue recycling these motifs until the day he dies and never run out of variations.

"Samic Bass Guitar" mixed media on guitarThere are a lot of these works in Anderson’s current show at Childhood’s End, plus three guitars — making art from guitars being his latest thing. These are actual guitars that he has decorated with the same techniques he uses on his paintings. They can still be played, although I imagine the addition of metal, varnish and gold and silver leaf might affect the sound.
There are a number of two- and three-panel pieces with high-value painting (meaning predominantly light colors). One of these that I like is called “Danish Modern.” It features small Mondrian-like squares and rectangles in primary red, yellow and blue.Among my favorites are three large square paintings, each with a single splashy circle in the middle in, respectively, white, light blue and gold on almost black backgrounds, one with a Pollock-like splash of red flung across the circle.
There’s a sweet little painting called “Birch” that features a leaf pattern on a brushy background. I usually don’t like painting to which the word “sweet” can be applied, but I love the interaction of background and foreground in this one. The ground is made of transparent layers that are both under and over the leaf pattern. Look closely at this one to see what I’m talking about.
Also featured is a selection of ceramic vessels by Rabun Thompson with colors and surface decoration so much like parts of Anderson’s paintings that if they were not labeled I would have thought they were his works.
There will be an artist’s reception Friday, Feb. 13 from 6-8 pm.


Childhood’s End Gallery, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, through Feb. 28, 222 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia, 360.943.3724.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Studio News: Wide Open and Cedar Dreamer

K Records - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 3:26pm
This past Janaury, Dub Narcotic hosted the first in a regular series of in-studio performances. It was a pleasure to have Wide Open and Cedar Dreamer, two Olympia drone acts, start things off for us.  Wide Open is Kevin Doria, Dave Harris, and Dave Harvey. Fans of all three of the members’ other projects (I’m […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Calvin Johnson, Woolen Warrior, Fera, Zoe Sundra in Olympia

K Records - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 2:57pm
A musical rip snorter of an acoustic romp is set to happen in Olympia, and everyone is going to be there! Featured will be two Olympia mainstays, Calvin Johnson and Woolen Warrior, and two out-of-town troubadors, Fera (Chico, CA.) and Zoe Sundra (Brooklyn, N.Y.). It’s all happening at the Rose Home for Folk, 1613 Brawne […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Orca Books event: local author Bill Lindstrom discusses his bestselling book, "Villain or Victim?: The Untold Story of the Wildman of the Wynooche"

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 1:23pm
Event:  Sat, 02/07/2015 - 3:00pm

A FREE event at Orca Books, 509 4th Ave in downtown Olympia:

Northwest author Bill Lindstromwill talk about his popular new book, "Villain or Victim?: The Untold Story of the Wildman of the Wynooche".

The book is about John Tornow, alleged killer of six men, including his two nephews on Sept. 3, 1911. This triggered a 19-month manhunt, the longest in Northwest history at the time.  He killed two deputies in March, 1912, before he was killed in a shootout on April 16, 1913, but took two more deputies’ lives before he was gunned down. “Villain or Victim?” asks if the man was ever guilty of the murders, for he was never charged with a crime, though a $5,000 warrant was on his head. John is pictured as a wildman of the Wynooche, referring to the area in which he roamed and subsisted in for two bitter winters in a feat that bewilders those who know the area.

The John Tornow the author introduces is a far more compassionate individual, who only wanted to be left alone in the solace of the woods he so much enjoyed. Was he a “Villain or Victim?” The book attempts to find the truth as through the examination of newspaper articles, trial transcriptions and interviews with descendants of friends and neighbors who knew him. It is a novel based on actual events, utilizing actual people who knew him, befriended or was sympathetic to him. The story is told through the words of an actual reporter, who writes his narratives after interviews with sheriffs, posse members and Tornow advocates. Many news articles of the day are reproduced.

“Villain or Victim?” leaves readers to decide by arming them with enough facts and fallacies to formulate their own opinions after studying the numerous conspiracy theories that have kept this story alive for more than 100 years. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Sub Pop U.S.A. at the Sou’wester!

K Records - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 12:13pm
The word is out and everyone is psyched to get some Sub Pop U.S.A. action, so the roadshow continues: next stop Seaview, Washington, February 7. Bruce Pavitt is the founder of mega-independent record label Sub Pop. His underground music world origins are in Olympia, Washington where in 1979 he established a show about independent […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment


OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 12:08pm
Event:  Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm - 9:15pm

A free workshop for those who live along a stream, lake or Puget Sound is set for Thursday, February 26 from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the Tumwater Fire Hall. Participants in the "Beyond Landscaping" workshop will learn landscaping ideas to enhance the beauty of their property while also protecting shorelines from erosion; how to get rid of weeds and replant with beneficial plants; tree-care tips to protect both trees and shoreline views; and how to make an affordable action plan for shoreline landscaping activities.  Participants can also enroll in an optional follow-up class on March 14 to receive expert review of their own landscape plans and learn several specialized planting techniques in an outdoor classroom.


The class is sponsored by Stream Team and WSU Extension's Native Plant Salvage Project. Advanced registration can be done online at or by contacting or calling (360) 867-2167. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like


OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 12:08pm
Event:  Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm - 9:15pm

A free workshop for those who live along a stream, lake or Puget Sound is set for Thursday, February 26 from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the Tumwater Fire Hall. Participants in the "Beyond Landscaping" workshop will learn landscaping ideas to enhance the beauty of their property while also protecting shorelines from erosion; how to get rid of weeds and replant with beneficial plants; tree-care tips to protect both trees and shoreline views; and how to make an affordable action plan for shoreline landscaping activities.  Participants can also enroll in an optional follow-up class on March 14 to receive expert review of their own landscape plans and learn several specialized planting techniques in an outdoor classroom.


The class is sponsored by Stream Team and WSU Extension's Native Plant Salvage Project. Advanced registration can be done online at or by contacting or calling (360) 867-2167. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Celebrating the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County Youth of the Year

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 11:12am



By Kathryn Millhorn

boys girls clubs

Audrey Preti, Olympia

The Boys and Girls Club of America began in 1860 and strives to improve the lives of children through activities which “capture their interest, improve their behavior and increase their personal expectations and goals.” In the 150 years since, they have grown to more than 4,000 Club locations serving nearly 4 million kids each year.

In our area, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County (BGCTC) began in 2001. From the humble beginning of 45 children meeting in the bus driver’s lounge at Capitol High School, they now influence more than 2,300 kids each year. The four regional clubs within the organization are based in Lacey, Olympia, Rochester, and Tumwater.

2015 marks the second year in which the BGCTC held a ‘Youth of the Year’ event. One nominee from each regional club is celebrated at a showcase event for the organization. As BGCTC Marketing Coordinator Christine Hoffmann explains, “Each Club chooses a teenager who shows leadership, is within good academic standing, and is involved in the Club and their community in a positive way. Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as ‘Youth of the Month’ winners and select a ‘Youth of the Year,’ who then participates in state competitions. State winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competitions. Five regional winners each receive a $10,000 scholarship and compete on the national level. The National ‘Youth of the Year’ receives up to an additional $50,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States.”

boys girls clubs

Emily Sharwark-Todd, Lacey

At this year’s event at South Puget Sound Community College on January 30, the four local nominees gave official speeches to an array of Club donors and supporters. This year’s spotlight members are Mara Harris from Rochester, Emily Sharwark-Todd of Lacey, Natasha Brooks from the Tumwater Club, and Audrey Preti from Olympia.

Mara Harris is a senior at A. G. West Black Hills High School in Tumwater. She is proud that “I have been given so many extraordinary opportunities by the staff I now call family at the Boys & Girls Clubs which has helped prepare me for the real world. That alone has always given me the strength to strive to be the very best I can be and pursue my dream of working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.”

Lacey leader Shellica Trevino remembers that nominee Emily Sharwark-Todd was shy when she first joined their branch. But now Chinook Middle School eighth-grader Sharwark-Todd shares that “the Club isn’t just a place to hang out, it’s a place where I can make an impact on the lives of kids, the same way the Club has impacted mine”

Tumwater branch attendee and A. G. West Black Hills High School senior Natasha Brooks, explains that “my mother signed my up to attend the Boys & Girls Clubs so she can work.  It turned out to be the best place to be. My favorite thing to do at the club when I was younger was hanging out with my friends and go outside. Nowadays I enjoy coming to the club and working. It is exciting to be a part of the youth of the year. I like to be a role model for all club kids; it makes me feel good knowing that others look up to me. The Boys & Girls Clubs has benefited me in many ways such as I become a better leader in my personal life, done better in school, and has prepared me for college.”

boys girls clubs

Natasha Brooks, Tumwater

Olympia’s Audrey Preti joined the Boys & Girls Clubs for one simple reason. “One day I was bored and I needed to go somewhere. I heard about the Boys & Girls Clubs one time and asked my dad about it. He said yes and that was that.” The visit paid off and now, as one of the year’s nominees, the Black Hills High School senior explains that “becoming a role model has always been one of my biggest dreams. So when youth of the year came along I was so honored to finally make that dream come true.”

At the end of the evening, Mara Harris was selected as the 2015 Youth of the Year. The celebratory press release cites her as “a true example of an extraordinary teenager in our community. As the Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, Mara is among thousands of local youth across the country recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for strong character and leadership skills and a willingness to give back to the community.”

Questions about joining, donating to, or sponsoring the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County can be directed through their website or by calling 360-956-0755. Notable Boys & Girls Clubs of America alum Denzel Washington sums it up simply, “It was a place not only just to play basketball or ping pong or something, but just to learn. I had great mentors.  It was a safe place. It was a place that made you feel important.”

Considering Washington joined when he was six and now has more than 50 years of experience with the Club, I’d say he knows what he’s talking about.

Congressman Heck Calls Students to Participate in 2015 Valentines for Veterans Drive

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 10:01am


Submitted by the Office of Congressman Denny Heck

valentinesCongressman Denny Heck (WA-10) has launched his third annual “Valentines for Veterans” Drive. Students from around the South Sound are encouraged to decorate cards thanking our local veterans for their service to the United States. Congressman Heck and his office will then deliver the cards to the American Lake VA and other locations in the South Sound—including local chapters of The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)—on Valentine’s Day.

“Valentines for Veterans is a fun project for art class and a great family-friendly activity,” Heck said.  “Last year we were able to distribute 2,487 valentines to veterans throughout the South Sound and I’d like to have even more this year. Of course, quality is as important as quantity, so I look forward to the handmade cards created by our talented students to give our distinguished veteran community a sign of our gratitude and respect.”

The 10th Congressional District includes more than 81,700 veterans.

Students of all grade levels and ages are welcome to participate. So far more than a dozen schools in the South Sound have signed on to participate.


  • Aylen Junior High (Puyallup)
  • Christensen Elementary (Tacoma)
  • Collins Elementary (Tacoma)
  • Fruitland Elementary (Puyallup)
  • Naches Trail Elementary (Tacoma)
  • Pope Elementary (Puyallup)
  • Zeiger Elementary (Puyallup)


  • Chambers Prairie Elementary (Lacey)
  • Evergreen Forest Elementary (Lacey)
  • Horizons Elementary (Lacey)
  • Lakes Elementary (Lacey)
  • Lydia Hawk Elementary (Lacey)
  • Meadows Elementary (Lacey)
  • South Bay Elementary (Olympia)

Anyone wishing to participate can drop off Valentine’s Day cards at Congressman Heck’s district offices between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, prior to or on February 11, 2015.

The Pierce County office is located in the William Factory Small Business Incubator located at 1423 E 29th Street, Suite 203, Tacoma, WA, 98404.

The Thurston/Mason County office is located on the third floor of Lacey City Hall located at 420 College Street SE, Third Floor, Lacey, WA 98503.

Participants with questions can call the Congressman’s offices at (253) 722-5860 for Pierce County or (360) 459-8514 for Thurston or Mason County.


Thrifty Thurston Makes a Valentine’s Day Date with the Kids

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 6:38am



By Megan Conklin

thurston solid wasteWhat are you doing for Valentine’s Day? I unwittingly planned my next eighteen or so Valentine’s Days three years ago when I gave birth to my fourth child, our daughter Grace, on this romantic, pink hued holiday. When discussing my due date with my midwives, I adamantly refused to acknowledge the possibility of giving birth on a holiday I considered to be off limits to the kiddos. Yet, Gracie proved to be defiant, even in-utero, and made her first appearance on February 14 regardless of my desires.

Many couples with children have Valentine’s Day plans that include a sitter and a dreamy date. But, if you are like me, and are planning a Valentine’s Day activity that is kid friendly, there are plenty of options for fun in Thurston County. And because all kids are created differently, I offer four distinct styles of Valentine’s Day Dates from which to choose.

The Simple Cupcake Date

abbys cupcakes

A small investment in a flavorful cupcake from Abby’s Cookies and Cupcakes can make everyone’s Valentine’s Day bright.

The thing about cupcakes is that they are modest and inexpensive, but really celebratory. Eating a cupcake is always a festive occasion. In our family we love to drop by Abby’s Cookies and Cupcakes for a treat. We are especially enamored with Abby’s new location in the south capital neighborhood. With cozy chairs and cute décor, it is the ideal date spot for you and the kids in your life. Other favorite cupcake spots around the county include Bonjour Cupcakes in Lacey and downtown Olympia and Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes’ adorable new storefront at the Capital Mall or their downtown location. Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day” like a meticulously decorated, pink frosted cupcake.

The Creative Painted Plate Date

The Painted Plate, Olympia’s pottery decorating spot is open on Valentine’s Day this year. Visiting The Painted Plate with your child on Valentine’s Day gives you the unique opportunity to create a heartfelt (pun intended) work of art together. Some friends we know have made it a tradition for one parent to take the kiddos to The Painted Plate either on or right before Valentine’s Day (giving the other parent some alone time). Once there, the kids select and paint a special family Valentine’s Day platter which is used later to serve up celebratory treats – a sweet tradition for a decidedly sweet holiday. Be sure to make reservations and check the store’s website for Valentine’s Day specials.

The Messy Hands On Children’s Museum Date

The Hands On Children’s Museum never fails to serve up kid friendly holiday themed fun. This year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, there will be a special, self-guided card making exhibit in the Museum’s MakeSpace arts and crafts area. Open from February 8 – 14, the space will have a variety of blank cards, fabric, lace, paint, and every other material you could use to create one of a kind valentines with your child. This is the perfect opportunity to have the messy and creative Valentine-making experience with your kids – without the clean up!  (Side note – the Museum’s monthly Parent’s Night Out is slated for February 14, if you need a moment of separate play time. Get details here.

The Old Fashioned Bowling/Roller Rink Date

olympia skateland

Try a family skate at Skateland. A two hour rental is only $4.50 per person.

For some families, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to talk about timeless values such as friendship, love, and togetherness. A trip to the neighborhood roller skating rink or bowling alley is the epitome of old fashioned fun. In Thurston County, our local roller rink, Skateland on South Bay Road, is a blast from the past in of itself. They are open on Valentine’s Day this year and families can skate for $4.50 per person for up to two hours – which is a great deal. A variety of area bowling alleys will be open and ready for Valentine’s Day family fun this year. Westside Lanes in West Olympia is my family’s bowling alley of choice and I am always surprised at just how much fun we have when we go bowling as a family. Aztec Lanes in Lacey and Yelm’s Prairie Lanes are other great options for family bowling dates.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about the grown-ups. Kids enjoy this love laced, candy laden holiday too. Me? I will be hosting a “princess-cupcake” three-year-old birthday party on Valentine’s Day this year. If a romantic date with the love of your life is not on your agenda this year, perhaps a simple, creative, messy, or old-fashioned date with the whole family is.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a story, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

Why not punch a nice passenger line straight into downtown Olympia through Lacey?

Olympia Time - Thu, 02/05/2015 - 5:41am
Connect one of those green lines up with the light blue line: BANG. Passenger rail!I swear I was going to write this piece way before the Olympian had a story yesterday. But, here it is: you know there used to be a rail line that passed through Lacey from a connection with a major line and into downtown Olympia?

Did you know that that rail line closed down in the 1990s and was eventually turned into a walking trail? And, did you know this sort of railbanking is sometimes reversed, trails back into rails-style?

Unfortunately, what was eventually turned into the Woodland Trail wasn't railbanked at all, it was abandoned and taken over by the cities. Railbanking implies a continued ownership by a railroad company and a temporary use as a public trail.

From what I can tell, Burlington Northern totally walked away from the old line.

There is one section at the edge of the Lacey border that is still owned by Burlington Northern, but the rest of the old rail line is now owned by Lacey and Olympia.

And a discussion between local leaders about 10 years ago about local rail options didn't cover reactivated this line much at all.

Here's what I don't get about what was going on in Olympia and Thurston County in the early 1990s. Why not use the old rail line as a passenger terminal, a way to bring Amtrack into Olympia proper? 

This is the is the same era that saw the old Amtrack shed at East Olympia replaced with a semi-useful station at Yelm Highway. The Centennial Station is still way out in the sticks though. So, instead of taking of half-step with Centennial, why grab the old Burlington line through Lacey and into Olympia and go whole hog and bring Amtrack Trains downtown?

I'm sure there would have been logistical challenges with turning a passenger train around Union Pacific line south of town, and possibly other logistical challenges I'm not getting. But, the history I've found no discussion at all about the idea. We seemed stuck on having passenger rail all the way out beyond Lacey and turning over an urban rail line to a trail.

Just seems weird to me.

Allison Cobb reads at Evergreen

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 8:44pm
Event:  Wed, 02/11/2015 - 11:30am - 1:00pm

Allison Cobb: Wednesday, February 11th
11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1, The Evergreen State College

Allison Cobb is the author of Born2 (Chax Press) about her hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Green-Wood (Factory School) about a nineteenth-century cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Times called Green-Wood “a gorgeous, subtle, idiosyncratic gem.”

Cobb’s work combines history, nonfiction narrative and poetry to address issues of landscape, politics, and ecology. She is a 2015 Djerassi Resident Artist; a 2014 Playa Resident Artist; she received a 2011 Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Oregon Arts Commission; and she was a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. She works for the Environmental Defense Fund. She lives in Portland, Oregon. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Tooth Time

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 3:20pm
Event:  Thu, 02/26/2015 - 1:00pm - 1:30pm

It’s a special Tumwater Timberland Library storytime! Children 3-6 years will learn about taking good care of their teeth, listen to a story and make a tooth puppet to celebrate Dental Health Month. Dental health goodie bags will also be available while supplies last. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Allison Cobb: Wednesday, February 11th, 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 2:43pm

Allison CobbAllison Cobb is the author of Born2 (Chax Press) about her hometown of Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Green-Wood (Factory School) about a nineteenth-century cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Times called Green-Wood “a gorgeous, subtle, idiosyncratic gem.”

Cobb’s work combines history, nonfiction narrative and poetry to address issues of landscape, politics, and ecology. She is a 2015 Djerassi Resident Artist; a 2014 Playa Resident Artist; she received a 2011 Individual Artist Fellowship award from the Oregon Arts Commission; and she was a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. She works for the Environmental Defense Fund. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Thurston County Legislators Want to Give Voters the Option to Join Sound Transit

Thurston Talk - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 2:21pm



Submitted by Washington House Democrats 


 Photo credit: Andre Nordheim

Residents of Olympia could one day take Sound Transit to work in Seattle, Tacoma, and other King and Pierce County cities. That day may be a little ways away, but Rep. Sam Hunt (D – Olympia) and Sen. Karen Fraser (D – Thurston County) want to set in motion a process that may bring this a little closer with their introduction of two companion bills that would put the decision to a vote.

House Bill 1921 and Senate Bill 5780 would allow voters in all or parts of Thurston County to vote on a ballot initiative to join the Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit). More specifically, the legislation would allow for a public vote of counties, or portions of counties, west of the Cascades that are contiguous with Sound Transit boundaries to vote to join.

“The most important part of this bill is that it would allow residents of Thurston County to make their own decision about public transit in their community,” Hunt said. “This puts the decision-making process in the voters’ hands. It is clear that I-5 will not be able to bear Thurston County’s continued growth, and joining Sound Transit would increase transportation options in our region and help remove vehicles from our overcrowded highways.”

“The goal of this bill is to give local governments in northern Thurston County more transit options,” Fraser said. “The voters would ultimately decide if they want to join a sub-area of Sound Transit, but in the meantime, we need to give the people and their local governments another option in order to help reduce traffic congestion and improve bus routes north from our region.”

If passed by voters, the designated communities could begin raising revenue for Sound Transit projects in their area.

Rep. Chris Reykdal (D – Tumwater) has also signed on to Hunt’s bill.

Both bills are awaiting public hearing in the House and Senate Transportation Committees.

The Washington Center Announces Anacker Scholarship for the Arts

Thurston Talk - Wed, 02/04/2015 - 2:15pm



Submitted by The Washington Center for the Performing Arts 

washington center

The Washington Center Anacker Scholarship applications are due March 30 2015.

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is pleased to announce the 2nd annual Washington Center Anacker Scholarship for the Arts application.  This $1,000 award is designed to recognize, encourage and support a Thurston County scholar’s study in the field of the arts.

Applicants will be a one academic year or longer resident of Thurston County, who is graduating in that year as a senior of a Thurston County high school, who intends to pursue a career in the arts and who has enrolled or will be enrolling in a future course of study to that end.

The deadline for applications shall be March 30, 2015.  The successful candidate will be announced in April 2015, and the award presented during a Washington Center event in May 2015.

Please find more information and an application form here or at the Washington Center administrative offices located at 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA.

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