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Centennial Elementary Students Climb and Sing for Worthy Causes

Thurston Talk - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 6:00am



By Tom Rohrer

putnam lieb logoHope can appear in a variety of forms.

A hug, a kind word and a simple gift all have the power to inspire joy and camaraderie.

Centennial Elementary School students will inspire through climbing. The school will host the 10th Annual Centennial Climbing for Kids Competition.

The competition will be held during school hours on Thursday, April 3 through Friday, April 4.  Students will attempt to complete marked climbing routes on the schools indoor bouldering wall and their points will be tracked onsite by local firefighters.

olympia elementary school

On April 3 and 4, kids at Centennial Elementary School will boulder and collect points.

Climbing for Kids serves as a fundraiser to support children in need, and this year’s theme is ‘Bringing Hope.’  Fundraiser proceeds will benefit both the Seattle Children’s Foundation and the Tronie Foundation, which focuses on the prevention of child trafficking and the rehabilitation of trafficking victims.  Students are asking family, friends and the community to donate a penny for every point scored in the competition.

In 2013, Centennial students generated over $4,500 for the Tronie Foundation.  That money went towards hiring an English teacher at a school in India that rehabilitates child trafficking victims.

These efforts from the students and the surrounding community have had a profound impact on Centennial music and physical education teacher Jana Gedde.

On staff at the school for over two decades, Gedde has enjoyed seeing her student’s dedication to helping others.

“I think this is an important part of a child’s education,” she said. “Caring goes beyond the walls of Centennial.  There are so many chances to make a difference, and this is one of those totally amazing opportunities.”

olympia elementary school

Centennial Choir students performed “Hope” with professional musician, Derik Nelson.

Centennial’s indoor climbing wall was built in the early 2000′s following a fundraiser for the school.  Later on, Gedde’s oldest daughter created the climbing fundraiser for her senior project during her final year at Olympia High School.  The combination of fitness and fundraising has had a huge impact on the student body.

“A climbing wall is great for so many things.  It’s a different sport than most kids are used to,” Gedde noted.  “They visualize and plan their route and that’s just a whole new way of thinking for them in terms of sport.  It’s something they can carry on in their lives.”

Combining her passion for physical fitness and music is a daily task for Gedde, and her involvement in the fundraiser is no different.  Every year, the Centennial Elementary choir creates a music video to promote the fundraiser.

While in Hawaii last summer for her youngest daughter’s wedding, Gedde connected with musician Derik Nelson, who performed at the service.

Nelson, a recording artist and performer based out of Los Angeles, is a friend of Gedde’s daughter from their time together at Capital High School.   Impressed with Nelson’s musical talent and pleasant demeanor, Gedde extended an invitation to the Olympia native to become involved with the fundraiser.

“I thought it would be a good match and luckily we nabbed him.  I asked him if he would come to one of our bi-weekly Friday sings at school and when he showed up, our kids were just swooning over him,” said Gedde.  “I thought, ‘oh this would be fun to work with him.’ That’s where Climbing for Kids came in.”

Nelson, along with his siblings who serve as his videographer and manager, shot and produced a music video with the Centennial Choir performing “Hope,” a song written by Gedde herself.

olympia elementary school

Centennial students hope to raise around $4,500 to support the Tronie Foundation and Seattle Children’s Foundation.

Having a chance to perform with a professional, touring musician is an experience the students will remember forever.

“It made our kids feel so special.  I felt like what it would be like to be in (the student’s position).  To them, he’s a star,” Gedde said. “He’s on TV, performing in concerts, making music videos.  How cool of an experience for those kids.  They’re so proud and excited and have been sharing the video with everyone they know.”

Along with an opportunity to work with professional musicians, the students also interact with the heroes of their community.

“The firefighters are great, and we have an awesome relationship with them,” Gedde said. “Our kids know that our firefighters are here to keep us safe and they look up to them.”

To thank the firefighters for providing on site supervision, the Centennial Choir performs at the firefighter’s annual fundraiser ‘Fire and Ice.’

“They’ve performed the National Anthem and a song called ‘Heroes,’ which is about how firefighters are our true heroes,” Gedde said. “The kids love doing that so much and you can tell it’s a proud moment for both sides.”

Gedde has noticed the same pride stem from her students when they refer to supporting the Tronie Foundation.  The foundation is headed by Rani Hong, a Centennial Elementary parent who is a human trafficking survivor from India.  Hong’s story can be read here.

“One of her sons is in the choir for the music video,” Gedde added. “The personal connections with this whole fundraiser, they’re something else.”

olympia elementary school

The Centennial Choir has also performed at community events, linking their fundraiser to the greater community.

Last year, the Centennial Choir performed ‘The Voice’ at a Tronie Foundation event, an experience Gedde believes will stay with them their entire lives.

“I think they realized exactly what they are helping raise money for,” said Gedde.  “They saw the whole picture and got a broad idea of what it means to be a survivor.  They know they are specifically making a difference and what their efforts are going towards.”

This helping mindset of the students speaks volumes about the school’s staff and the surrounding community.

It’s a real special school and a special staff. It’s important to educate in terms of testing.  However, it’s vital to help our students understand the world around them and how to help others,” Gedde said. “That’s exactly what Climbing for Kids does, and it’s a great experience for the kids every year.”

To make a personal or business donation or to become involved in the Climbing for Kids Competition, contact Jana Gedde at Centennial Elementary at 360-596-8300.

Highlights from last year’s fundraiser can be seen at while the ‘Hope’ music video is available at


Whidbey Island

The Plum Palate - Wed, 04/02/2014 - 5:50am
The stretch of beach outside the cottage was piled with driftwood logs, and strewn with narrow bands of pebbles, broken purple clam shells, and thin black strands of seaweed. My daughter and I were lucky enough to escape to Whidbey Island on a weekend that, we heard, was a soaker further south. Facebook posts from […]
Categories: Local Food Blogs

Spring Celebrations of Easter and Passover in Olympia

Thurston Talk - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 7:07pm



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

EasterPassoverASpring marks the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ, the Jewish celebration of the deliverance from slavery in Egypt and the secular celebration of the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Many people integrate their festivities by sharing meals, egg decorating and religious services with friends and family.

I can still recall the pungent vapors arising from cups of boiled water and vinegar that dissolved colored tablets of PAAS dyes. My whole family decorated eggs, some hardboiled and others with the insides blown out. The following week’s menu included egg salad and deviled eggs, with wildly colored veins. Before church, I hunted the house for hidden jellybeans and a basket filled with chocolate morsels. Then the family headed to church. I was usually wearing a new spring dress and a shiny pair of patent leather shoes.

EasterPaasThe egg decorating tradition carried through to my children, albeit, PAAS figured out how to eliminate the need for the vinegar. Church did not require new outfits, but I noticed that hats were often popular.

My mom’s husband observed Passover in his family with a seder dinner and special foods through the week. He remembers pillows they used to recline on the floor, which is part of the traditional celebration. I once took part in a Greek Easter meal where we took turns tapping our red hard-boiled eggs with each other – the most intact egg at the end wins and gets good luck for the year.

In whatever manner you celebrate Easter and/or the Passover season, Ralph’s Thriftway and Bayview Thriftway are stocked with the food, decorations and miscellaneous items for you to craft the holiday that you want to enjoy.

The centerpiece of a Jewish Passover table is the seder plate. Each item represents part of the story of Passover. For example, the Zeroa or shank bone represents the sacrifice made the night the ancient Hebrews fled Egypt. Non-meat eaters might use a roasted beet. Some say the bone represents the outstretched arm of God. The bitter herbs can represent the harshness of slavery and can also mean one’s enslavement to a habit or addiction.

Here’s a list for the seder plate:

  • Karpas – vegetable could be lettuce, cucumber, radish or parsley
  • Zeroa – shank bone or roasted beet
  • Baytzah – hardboiled egg
  • Charoset – mixture of apples, nuts, wine and spices
  • Maror – bitter herbs, usually horseradish – the root or the prepared paste
  • Hazeret – bitter vegetable perhaps romaine
  • Salt
  • Orange – sometimes used
  • Matza
  • Wine

EasterBasketThriftway is ready for you to have a traditional or unconventional Easter dinner. You decide. Ham is popular and Cook’s hams have various sizes and cuts. Maybe you want to roast a turkey. Linger in the produce department for plenty of fruit and vegetable options. You will find organic asparagus and fresh spring greens. If you want bread, there are frozen rolls in the freezer case and several fresh options from the San Francisco Street Bakery, the Essential Baking Company or the La Brea Bakery. Wagner’s rolled cinnamon bread loaf would be fun on Easter morning. Remember to get your eggs, too.

Help for the Easter Bunny

asaparagusThe famous Easter Bunny has been known to bring jellybeans and prize filled baskets to many a youth. Ralph’s and Bayview have colored baskets, grasses, and plastic eggs that can be filled with coin or candy. Of course, you will find chocolates galore – in the shape of rabbits, carrots, and sheep to name a few. Don’t forget the Peeps, neon bright puffs of marshmallow dusted with sugar. Yes, they will expand mightily in a microwave – but keep watch. Barely a few seconds.

You don’t have to remember that Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Or that Passover begins on the 15th day Nisan, which is the seventh month in the Jewish calendar. Just remember that when spring officially arrives, neither is far off.

Hop on over to Bayview or Ralph’s. Notice the lovely spring flowers on display, inhale deeply and buy a bouquet and a little chocolate to share.

Eat Well – Be Well

Studio News: April 1st, 2014

K Records - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:45am
After the the tumult of the move last month, it was nice to swing back into production here at the studio with a whole mess of sessions gracing our space. Davey Jones came all the way from Maryland to record a whopping 13 tracks in 3 days. And he performed all the instruments himself. Wowza! […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Centralia Steam Plant

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 04/01/2014 - 11:10am

On a country drive yesterday, snapped a couple of pictures of the Centralia Steam Plant: the generator is the single largest point source of carbon emissions in Washington State [See on Map]. I had to wait about 10 minutes for a coal train to cross before proceeding from SR507 onto Big Hanaford Road.

Centralia Steam
Centralia Steam Plant

Centralia steamer
Centralia Steamer

Coal fired capacity is 1340 MW, and the plant is capable of burning up to nine 110 car coal trains per week. According to Internet sources, Transalta has been working hard in recent years to clean up its Centralia operations. Still, annual releases of mercury, a neuro-toxin, are estimated to be around 350 pounds. Exposure to mercury has been linked to intellectual and other developmental disabilities. In a deal with former Governor Gregoire, and the Department of Ecology, the plant owners and operators have agreed to shut down the coal burning operation by 2025.

Media starting with a couple of short videos: logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Rotary Club of Olympia Gives “Rosie’s Place” A Helping Hand

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:41pm


Submitted by Rotary Club of Olympia

CYS - Cindys closet

The newly updated Cindy’s Closet at CYS Rosie’s Place offers youth a chance to find clean, gently used clothing at no cost.

There are smiles all around these days at Rosie’s Place when their clients are in the need of “new” or clean clothes.   Rosie’s is a teen drop-in center focused on providing services for homeless youth, as part Olympia’s Community Youth Services’ new Brighter Futures Youth Center at 520 Pear St. NE, Olympia.

“Cindy’s Closet,” a name transferred from what began as a real closet in the original Rosie’s Place largely operated by CYS board member and volunteer Cindy Berger, is now an attractive outlet for donated duds where young people in need can expand their wardrobes.

“It’s fantastic,” says Cindy.  “When you operate largely without a budget, you scrounge a lot.  When we started in the old building and kids would come in and pick out clothing items from a box on the floor or recycled bin we got for free. Having pristine display racks and shelving in the new building elevates everything and it really shows respect for the kids.  They get to browse, and what I particularly enjoy about that is it gives me a chance to interact with them more, show people care about them and how they are doing.  It is particularly gratifying to be able to go a little further in helping them understand and make the best use of the services available to them.”

Rosies Place Rotary Project CYS

Rotary members, including retired professionals from all fields, very much enjoyed the day at Rosie’s Place. As Dr. Gerald Pumphrey, center above, recently retired president of South Puget Sound Community College said, “When you put together a group of Rotarians with good senses of humor and power tools, it is bound to be a very fun event.”

The new Cindy’s Closet is the result of a District Community Grant from Rotary Club of Olympia.  “The way it works,” says Rotarian Brian Martin, DSG Committee chair, “is we put up $2,500 in club funds which is matched by $2,500 from district, then volunteer Rotarian labor executes the project.”

Development Director, Lynsi Polanco, explained, “This was a huge project that took a lot of resources to make it a reality.  Rotary surpassed what we could have expected of their donation.  The time and effort that was put into making Cindy’s Closet, the sorting area, and laundry room was a remarkable addition to a traditional donation.”

“Brian was terrific,” according to Keylee Marineau, Rosie’s Place Outreach Director.  “He worked with us every step of the way to be sure we got the outcome we wanted.  He and his committee did all the leg work, purchased all the items, painted, assembled all the shelving and display materials, and got the washer and dryer delivered and set up.  The value of their efforts probably doubled what we could have done had they just given us money.”

CYS - Rosies place Oly High Student Help

Students from Olympia High School’s Interact Club, a Rotary sponsored service club, help paint Cindy’s Closet.

The commercial washer and dryer accounted for more than half the grant budget, but clearly was a good investment.  “It is used all day, every day,” says Keylee.  “By having it in an accessible area, our kids can use it any time it is free, unlike the old place where they needed to find a staff member to unlock and relock the room.  They love it.”

Kadi Townsend, CYS Director of Administrative Services, called the project amazing.  “It came at a perfect time for us,” she said.  “Having Brian and the Rotary committee just take over that room and make it exactly what we wanted freed up a lot of time and resources we could dedicate to other aspects of the move into the new building.

In addition to Rosie’s Place Drop-In Center and Street Outreach, the Youth Center also features an all new Young Adult Center and Gravity High School, a program to help drop-out students complete GED requirements and otherwise expand their educational opportunities.


Answers to 13 Common Questions about Retail Marijuana

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 8:25pm


By Eric Wilson-Edge

Retail marijuana shops will be opening soon in Thurston County.  In an effort to answer a load of open questions, I called Brian Smith of the Liquor Control Board, the Washington State agency responsible for monitoring the new retail marijuana industry.  Smith answered 13 of my questions about what retail marijuana will look like in our community.

1.  What’s the timeline for implementation?

We have already begun issuing producer and processor licenses to growers. We’ll soon begin the lottery process for retail stores. You’ll start to see stores opening in June 2014.

2.  What’s the formula for how many retail marijuana locations will be in an area?  How many will be in Thurston County?

 I-502 directed us to limit the number of stores per county while, at the same time, we were charged with minimizing the current elicit market. You have to make it accessible enough so that people will make the decision to get their marijuana at the store instead of where they get it from now.

In Thurston County there will be 11 stores. Two will be located in Lacey, two in Olympia, one in Tumwater and six could be elsewhere in the county. The number of applicants exceeded the number of licenses so we’ll be holding a raffle sometime in April.

3.  What are the rules concerning public consumption?

You cannot consume marijuana in public. You can’t stand and smoke marijuana on a street corner without running the risk of getting fined or ticketed.

4.  The law says marijuana shops can’t be within 1,000 feet of certain places likes schools or playgrounds.  Is that 1,000 feet as the crow flies or by common path of travel?

We were initially going to say straight line which is how we measure things. We heard from a lot of people who said it would be difficult to open a store if we did it this way. The board tried to accommodate that and allow common path of travel which is how we did it with liquor stores. We met with the Department of Justice and decided to consider it as the crow flies. We’re following federal regulations.

5.  Will all transactions be in cash?

This is one of the biggest challenges going forward. Many in the medical marijuana business have bank accounts because they classify themselves as a medical supply company. The questions for retail marijuana businesses is will they will be able to use a bank or not? They’ll likely be cash only until a bank steps up.  Banks want the business but they don’t want to run afoul of federal government regulations.

6.  What can be solid in a retail marijuana shop?

There are limits to what you can buy. These are marijuana only stores.  You can buy marijuana for smoking. It can be in a solid form like edibles or liquid like a juice and other concentrates. You’ll also be allowed to buy paraphernalia.

7.  What’s the vetting process to determine who is eligible for a license?

You have to pass a criminal background check. We have a point system. If you’ve committed a felony in the last 10 years then you’re not going to get a license. However, minor marijuana infractions are not going to be counted against you. We want to move people who grew marijuana in the basement and put them into a state system where they can be monitored.

As for the process, you need to show us you have a location, send us your criminal history and your financial history. With the finances we need to see if you’re just a straw man being financed by a drug cartel.

8.  What are the regulations on employees? Have to be 21?

Employees of retail stores do not have to pass a background check or pass the stringent criminal and financial investigations that we do on (individuals receiving) licenses. They just have to be 21 or older.

9.  What about advertising? I know you can have a 1,600 square foot sign which tells the name of the business.  What about packaging? Is it similar to restrictions on cigarettes where you can’t advertise to children?

We have strict advertising rules so you can’t depict children using it or use something that is appealing to children like cartoon characters, etc. 

10.  Will there be monitoring similar to alcohol sales?  

We will be doing compliance checks because you have to be 21 to go into a store. The first violation for selling to a minor results in either a ten day suspension or $2,500 fine. The second violation results in a thirty day suspension and the third violation results in a cancellation of the license. Basically, in this case you’re allowed three strikes before your licensed is revoked.

11.  What is the difference between medical marijuana establishments and retail marijuana establishments?

The recreational market is going to serve recreational users. You don’t have to have authorization in these shops to purchase marijuana. The medical system is confusing because it’s essentially unregulated.  We’re trying to get regulations around the medical system.  We were close this year but it didn’t pass.

Something needs to be done about the current medical system. It would be competition if allowed to continue in its current state. The recreational side has all these rules and taxes. The medical side doesn’t have these same restrictions.  The bottom line is there are a lot of medical patients who really believe they’re getting benefits from the system and there are a lot of people who are abusing that system.

12.  Where should people go if they have questions or concerns?

You can always contact us. Our main number is 664-1600. You can also visit our website

13.  Are there any other questions you think people would want the answer to? 

Price. Right now on the street or in the medical system, the price is between $10-15 a gram. It will be more expensive at first in retail stores. Over time they will be very competitive even with the tax.

Right now, people are taking a risk growing and selling marijuana. That risk is included in the price. Once people are operating without fear of committing a felony or going to prison then things are going to even out.

For more information, click here.


Rain Garden Design Workshop

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 6:07pm
Event:  Thu, 04/24/2014 - 6:00pm - 8:15pm

Popular Rain Garden Workshop Helps Protect Water, Home

Learn how to help protect streams and Puget Sound while also keeping stormwater drainage away from your home by using a beautiful rain garden. A free workshop will provide all the details needed to build one or more rain gardens in your yard to create a low-maintenance, attractive feature that will also provide habitat for birds and butterflies. 

This how-to workshop will be offered on Thursday, April 24, from 6 to 8:15 p.m., with an optional hands on plant-design activity from 8:15 to 9 p.m. at the LOTT board room, 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia.  Each participant will receive detailed information about designing and building a rain garden, as well as a free full-color handbook and beautiful poster.

The workshop is free but registration is required by visiting or calling the WSU Native Plant Salvage Project at 360-867-2167. This workshop is co-sponsored by Thurston County Stream Team and WSU Extension’s Native Plant Salvage Project. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Thankful and Happy – A Wedding Do-Over at Lucky Eagle Casino

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 4:20pm



galvan wedding lucky eagleAsk most women—and all English majors—and they’ll tell you that Jane Austin knows a thing or two about love.  She once wisely proclaimed that “it is such a happiness when good people get together—and they always do.”  The road to the altar, however, is sometimes bumpier than the bridal magazines lead you to believe.

For Richard and Tammy Galvan, the journey began on a sour note.  Tammy was in a car accident on the way to the ceremony, the wedding tent leaked from torrential rains, her wedding dress got grass stained, and her shoes sank into the mud as she walked up the aisle.  The food was in her smashed van, the photographer never arrived, and the cake topper fell and was decapitated during the cutting of the cake.

But with seven children their budget was limited so a do-over wasn’t in the cards…until Richard heard about the Lucky Eagle Casino’s 2014 ‘Lovestock’ promotion.  The winner would receive a dream proposal (or re-do), ceremony, concert, and other prizes.  Contestants simply created a petition video and winners were chosen via internet votes.  While the Galvan’s didn’t win the top prize, they were runner’s up and presented with a vow renewal ceremony, stay at the Casino, meals, flowers, cake, and concert tickets, all over Valentine’s weekend.

galvan wedding lucky eagleOne of Tammy’s favorite parts of the prize package came in the form of Gabe, the photographer from Carroll’s Photography.  The Galvan’s went from having only three blurry, cell phone pictures of the ceremony to an entire album; he even took extra time to include their children.

Richard initially entered the contest in secret, not wanting to disappoint Tammy if they weren’t selected as finalists.  As he said “I was hoping to win.  I wanted to win for my wife.  This was 10 times better than the original ceremony.”  Richard’s heart-felt video is available online for viewing.

Lovestock 2014 also featured the ‘Room for Romance’ contest, which awarded spa treatments and a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge, a ‘Honeymoon Giveaway’ prize of $5,000, and the ‘Loaded Luggage Giveaway’ where the winning suitcases could contain prizes like a trip to Las Vegas.  Weekend performers included Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers and singer Christopher Cross.

We all know the Lucky Eagle Casino as a great escape for food, games, and concerts.  They also host and sponsor many local events, all around Thurston county.  This time they’ve entered into a new market: making dreams come true.


SOGO Seeks New Rehersal Space

Thurston Talk - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 3:54pm



Submitted by Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO)

Student Orchestra of Greater Olympia gives young musicians a chance to work on their ability and showcase their talent.

Student Orchestra of Greater Olympia gives young musicians a chance to work on their ability and showcase their talent.

After thirteen years and two moves, Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO), a youth symphony organization, is soon to be moving again, but where?  SOGO will be without rehearsal space on Sunday afternoons beginning in September.

In the early days of SOGO, we rehearsed in schools, but the growing cost of facility rental forced us to look elsewhere.  In 2008 we formed a wonderful relationship with the First Christian Church in downtown Olympia. It was a perfect fit for SOGO, and a boost in usage for the church’s historic building. However, due to First Christian’s recent program expansions, we have been informed that they are no longer able to accommodate SOGO’s rehearsal needs.

“I have been involved with SOGO since its beginning in 2000. I have had three children go through the program. As president, and more importantly as a parent, I see the value that SOGO brings to our community. I know, firsthand, what music does for kids and the community at large. As culturally rich as Olympia is, I’m sure there must be a space…a place where SOGO can continue making beautiful music,”  shares Colleen Welch, SOGO President.

SOGO rehearses for about 28 Sunday afternoons, 2-7:30 p.m. from September to May.  The 140 SOGO musicians gather to rehearse for three series concerts, the Community Messiah Sing Along in the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and Olympia’s Arts Walk in the spring.  Musicians with two years’ experience through early college perform in one of three orchestras, Debut (elementary), Academy (middle school and early high school) and Conservatory (high school and college).

James Wood - a bass player with SOGO

James Wood – a bass player with SOGO

Different than the public school experience, SOGO musicians, representing over 30 schools from four counties, have a weekly full orchestral experience, including strings, winds, brass, and percussion.  Members

receive professional conducting and coaching, music theory and history and experience playing in small ensembles.

“I love playing in SOGO.  It is challenging and it provides me more musical opportunities outside of my public school experience,” shares Keadrin, a cello player in the orchestra.

A real unfortunate situation, once again, to find ourselves in, we are asking the community for their help.  The unique needs of the organization include two large rehearsal spaces with enough room for an orchestra of 50 – 80 young musicians.  In addition, to accommodate the coaching staff there would need to be 12 small rooms to rehearse 4-12 students each.  Tuition fees and board fundraising cover the program costs, including rehearsal venue rental.

“SOGO has become a community treasure.  We find ourselves with a great need and we are asking that same community for help.”  Greg Allison, Artistic Director


Earth Day to May Day Olympia!

OlyBlog Home Page - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 1:08pm

22nd: Tuesday, Earth Day

9-11AM: Coffee and CommuniTEA (Media Island International, MII) 12-2PM: Seed Bombs and Guerrilla Gardening (MII) 1:30PM: Port Plaza Earth Day Rally! 2-5PM: Bee at the Procession Studio! 5-6:30PM: Oly Community Media Convergence (MII) 6:45-7:15PM: Rally at City Hall for a Carfree City! 7:30PM: Kickoff Earth Day to May Day! (MII) 9PM: KOWA show (MII)

23rd: Wednesday

9-11AM: Coffee and CommuniTEA (MII) Evergreen Earth Fest 2014 4-6PM: Banner Making (MII) 6:30-8PM: OMJP Spokes Meeting on Global Climate Convergence, POWER Office

24th: Thursday

9-11AM: Coffee and CommuniTEA (MII) 4-6PM: Street Theater Rehearsal (MII) 6-10PM: Grand Strategies (MII) 5-8PM Climate Solutions Event at their office

25th: Friday: ARTSWALK logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Testimonial: Banner Driskell of the Pro-Nouns

K Records - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 12:38pm
Banner Driskell and the Pro-Nouns finished up their first EP at the studio this month. I asked Banner to write a little something about their experience at studio. Meanwhile, please dig the new release, already available on the interwebs.       I discovered Dub Narcotic Studio after reading “Love Rock Revolution: K Records and the […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Java Tacoma – Episode 4: The Merry Wives Americano

South Sound Arts - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 8:36am

Opening night of Java Tacoma at Dukesbay Theatre was a lot of fun.That’s Java Tacoma Episode 4 — or so it was listed on the program even though the previous episode was Episode 38. You just can’t trust these home-grown soap operas for truth in advertising.
Rehearsal for Java Tacome. Aya Hashaguchi Clark (left) and Chevi Chung. Director Randy Clark in background.Photo by Jason Ganwich
from left: Aya Hashiguchi Clark, Marie Tjernlund and Chevi Chung. Photo by Jason GanwichThe show was written by Matthew L. Anderson, directed by Randy Clark, set in Tacoma, and  performed by a fun ensemble cast featuring some well-known and well-loved actors. I won’t risk spoiling it by saying anything about the plot (thin but interesting), because there are surprises and a mystery at the heart of the story. I will say, however, that it is a parody of . . . well, just about everything from murder mysteries to soap operas to Broadway musicals. I will also venture to say — because this doesn’t give anything away — that at least one character in the story hates show tunes so much that if you wanted to torture him or her the best way to do it would be to force him (or her) to listen to show tunes. And I will also say that there are some political shenanigans going on and threats of bribery, and karaoke and a war between vegan and paleo cookies.
Did I give away too much? There’s a lot going on in this show.
Susan Mayeno, whom local theater-goers will remember from The Joy Luck Club at Tacoma Little Theatre, plays Jeri “Effen” Rockwell with unbridled intensity.
Aya Hashiguchi Clark plays Linda, the frustrated and put-upon owner of the coffee shop where all the action takes place.
Chevi Chung plays Anna, Linda’s headstrong daughter. To my knowledge, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Chung on a South Sound stage. She’s a graduate of the Guildford School of Acting in England.
Jack House, known for his roles in August Wilson’s great drama Radio Golf at the Broadway Center and for The Color Purple at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, is great as Linda’s clueless husband, Bert.
Longtime Tacoma favorite Micheal O’Hara is outstanding as the sleazy cop, Frank.
O’Hara’s equally renowned and much loved wife, Sharry O’Hare, proves to be a karaoke queen and a dancing fool as Phyllis, perhaps the worst barista in the West.
John Pfaffe, another local favorite, plays the thespian wannabe John, and does screamingly funny impersonations of a slew of popular movie stars.
And finally, Marie Tjernlund is commanding as Kate, the ultra-vain entrepreneur who lost a recent city council race to Bert. How could anybody lose to Bert? He can’t even go to the store to buy coffee without screwing up.
During the first scenes I thought the entire cast was over acting, hamming it up like self-absorbed amateurs, which surprised me because I knew most of the actors were better than that. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I decided that maybe they seemed overblown because the seats were so close to the action. But quickly I realized they were lampooning overly dramatic actors and doing it well, especially when they burst into song and even more so when they went into stop-action poses.
Anderson’s script is clever and rife with insider references to Tacoma. It is a short play, about an hour in length with no intermission.  It starts early, at 7:30 p.m., and lets out early enough for patrons to go out for drinks or an after-show dinner.
An interesting thing I noticed opening night: The theater seats around 30, and most seats were filled. In the audience I counted five actors and three critics, a potentially critical crowd. They were laughing throughout. This tells me two things: 1) that local theater folk support one another, and 2) that it was a funny show. (Full disclosure: I didn’t see if the other critics were laughing, but I certainly was.)
WHERE: The Dukesbay Theatre, 508 S. Sixth Ave #10, Tacoma (3rd Floor Merlino Art Center)WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 13TICKETS: $10, advance tickets at
INFORMATION: 253-267-0869,
Also read

Michael Dresdner's review
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

The deep politics of Oso

Olympia Time - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 6:09am
The thousands of tons of mud aren't dry, the recovery isn't complete. But, people are alrady scratching their heads why more wasn't done to warn or prevent people from living beneath "slide hill."

When I look at the hear of the area covered by the slide, a neighborhood along Steelhead Road in an oxbow of the Stillaguamish River, I can see a neighborhood already familiar with the perils of living at the business end of nature.

Riverside living and the floods that go along with it is already ignoring the risk that you'll face floods every once in awhile. Living in an oxbow is just asking for floods.

So, asking why the county didn't do more to warn or move these people from the riveside or from below the slide area is asking a big question. It centers on the difference between the perspective of rural landowners and suburban and urban people that make up of Snohomish county civic life.

Plainly said, the people who run the county and the people who lived on Steelhead Road are the faces of two radically different parts of Cascadia. This is more than a traditional right/left or red/blue political and social divide. While in many ways it follows that dichotomy, it has its own Cascadian flavor to it.

And, the answer goes back to the founding of the non-native society out here. There are two major groups that put down early roots and still define much of our society: New England capitalists and Appalachian farmers (mostly from the Ohio Valley).

For much of our history out here, the New Englanders migrated to the urban Puget Sound. They founded timber companies, ran the Republican political machines and owned the newspapers. Before the Democratic surge in the 1930s that wiped away the Republican political advantage, these New Englanders were political life in Cascadia.

But, the Appalachians were always there. While they identified as Democrats nominally early on, they stuck to the well-spaced rural areas of the state. Their influence on our political culture has been the strain of what we'd now call libertarianism that stretches pretty far across our political spectrum. In the recent election returns on gay rights and marijuana (that included both rural and urban votes) and one recent local election for me, it is possible for this libertarian strain across both liberal and conservative politics in Cascadia to unite.

So, back to Snohomish County and the folks on Steelhead. What was it about our political origins that caused this tragedy?
  ...there were discussions over the years about whether to buy out the property owners in the area, but those talks never developed into serious proposals.

“I think we did the best that we could under the constraints that nobody wanted to sell their property and move..."Take a simple look at it like this. Urban and suburban Snohomish County (and Cascadia) are the decedents of townie Republican New Englanders. They're business friendly and with a deep seeded civic mindedness that has sprouted a sense of environmentalism. That sense of doing what is right for the good of the community brought them to point out that slides happen were they do and to map flood areas.

But, the ability to do anything about it stopped where it became obvious that no one wanted to listen to them. The deep sense of individualism that came west with the Appalachians in Cascadia still rules the point of view, especially along the Stillaguamish River.

Sadly, one of the former political leaders on the Appalachian end of the spectrum likely died in the Oso mudslide.

Sure, it is possible to offer enough money to make anyone want to move. But, it isn't like Snohomish County had magic public funds growing fairy dust. And, when it came to spending that limited public money on someone that really didn't want to move in the first place. Well, you see where the attention of Snohomish civic leaders can be distracted.

Its easy to point to the available evidence and blame well intentioned people for not doing more. But, it is worth looking back at our origins here and seeing that it isn't simple.

Silence of the Dams Lifted (Temporarily)

Mojourner Truth - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 9:08pm
Recently, I walked what had been the bottom of a lake for the past 50 years. A crack had appeared in the dam plugging that stretch of the Columbia, and as a precaution, the lake had been mostly drained. The fat placid bullfrog of a lake became a snake, flaccid flow replaced by rapids.

Shallow soundings, deep sounds
With the water level dropped, rocks and riffles raise their voices.  The Big River (translation of many Tribes' names for the Columbia) sings its song for the first time in decades. Some say that there's a stretch just below the Priest Rapids dam where the river runs free, but for the most part, the Oregon/Washington part of the river (hundreds of miles) has lost its voice in the age of hydro-electric power and irrigation diversion. Hearing riffles and rapids amounts to time travel, and I was lucky enough to hear that past, now. 
One goose says to another...
With the Columbia back in it's channel, creatures from geese to archaeologists walk the flood plain again. Minus the muffling waters, footsteps echo, gravel slips and crunches. The old fords become visible again, instead of dark placid waters crossed only by bridges and damns. 
Threatening to fight, even in death.On the other hand, dropping the level of a dam lake leaves a lot of creatures accustomed to the sodden past 50 years high and dry. What the photos don't convey is the smell of millions of mussels rotting in the Spring sun, the stench of crayfish turning to rotten goo in their exoskeletons. Weirdly, there was little evidence of gulls and crows Columbia Gorging themselves on this buffet. No wheeling and squawking birds, and the aquatic critters even more silent than usual.
Hopefully, I'll get back again before the dam is fixed, and waters rise again to swallow the roar of rapids, the rhythm of riffles.

Mere Mention Comedy Show

Northern - Olympia All Ages Project - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 4:00pm

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be LION if i said I LAMB excited for comedy!

March is ending, spring is springing, and the last Sunday of the month is soon upon us. That means Northern is hosting some comedy!

This month’s mere mention is a doozy of quality laughmakers. All of them are exponentially better than that opening joke.

From Seattle we have the beguiling Tyler Schnupp, the charming Travis Watt, the splendid Vangelina Jolie, and representing Olympia is the effortlessly and eternally hilarious Phoebe Moore!

As always we start at 7 and the show is 5 dollars. This is my favorite night of the month. Please tell your friends, bring your loved ones, share as you do, and come on Sunday ready to laugh your ass off. It’s so funny, you won’t believe your ides!

Facebook invite:


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

90 Years of Theater History at The Washington Center

Thurston Talk - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 3:40pm



By Emmett O’Connell

ramblin jacks logoFor 90 years, performers have graced the current site of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia. Since 1924, when the Liberty Theater opened on Washington Street, various types of entertainment have been available on that lot.

But, before theaters, the residence of the Thomas Reed family occupied the space, during an era when much of what we think of downtown Olympia wasn’t occupied by multi-story commercial buildings, but by historic single family homes. The Reed Block (in which Drees is currently located) was the house’s first neighbor in 1891.

olympia wa historyWhen the Liberty Theater joined a photography studio and the Reed Block in 1924, the makeup of Washington Street between 5th and Legion for the next several decades was largely complete. Brothers-in-law Mark Reed and George Ingham financed the movie house, which sat on the site of Reed’s childhood home.

Ed Echtle, in a yet unpublished essay on the history of the site, gives us a picture of what took place at the Liberty through the Great Depression:

“While feature films were the Liberty’s main offering, from early on, weekend matinees for children were a staple at the theater. Former Olympia Mayor Bill Jacobs recalled attending the Liberty as a child, to catch the weekly cartoon lineup billed as ‘Popeye Theater.’ While vaudeville performances were becoming less fashionable, live performances in the theater continued in diverse forms. One of the more unusual were the midnight ‘Spook Frolics’ presented by performers such as ‘Francisco’ who traveled the west coast in the 1930s and 40s.”

In the late 1940s, the new manager of the  Liberty Theater spent $75,000 to renovate the movie house and the Liberty became the Olympic Theater. Over thirty years, according to Echtle, the Olympic Theater tracked the slow decline of downtown with the expansion of commercial areas in Tumwater, Lacey and west Olympia.

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts

The new marquee hangs proudly at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia.

In 1977 (at Capital Mall) and 1979 (on Martin Way), two new multiplexes opened. Multiplexes were newer multi-screen cinemas that could show more than one movie at a time. They began to spread across the country in the 1960s and became common in later decades. They also spelled doom for one screen operations like the Liberty.

Eventually, the site was caught up in the local movement to create a performing arts center. In 1979, the state legislature put up $1.5 million towards the Washington Center for the Performing Arts project, a proposed regional arts center. The local community eventually chipped in $1.2 million and the City of Olympia matched the state’s contribution of $1.5 million.

While at one point the organizers thought the old Olympic could be updated as an entertainment venue, the building was eventually gutted to make room for the Washington Center.

The new Washington Center opened in the fall of 1984 and has played a central role in the city’s cultural arts since then.

In recent years, the original 1980s construction started showing its age, requiring the city to step up and finance a $4.6 million reconstruction of the Washington Center’s exterior and some interior systems. The overhaul of the Washington Center began in the spring of 2013, wrapping up just a few months ago. The most notable change was the modernization from the stucco fronting of the building to a more contemporary stone and brick siding.

Tickets to upcoming performances are available at


Swirling Up a Green Smoothie

Thurston Talk - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 10:26am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

oly ortho logoI used to think ‘greens’ meant grass – like on the golf course. Then I learned greens were leafy things primarily eaten in the south. Overcooked spinach doused in vinegar and butter was as close to greens as my Midwest upbringing brought me. As I dove into my nutrition education, greens kept showing up. The message was simple: fabulous nutrition. Eat them every day.


green smoothie recipeKale, chard, turnip or mustard greens, and collards; are you sure? Spinach – maybe. But the evidence kept building that consuming copious amounts of these vegetables was mighty nutrition – a powerhouse of nutrients sorely lacking in most people’s diets.

OK – I’ll try.

I asked friends for recipes. The most proffered advice was to take whatever greens passed my way, chop them a bit and lightly sauté them in olive oil with a dash of garlic and salt. Truthfully, this never excited me nor did it get me eating more of them.

A friend passed along an amazing risotto recipe that actually took only 30 minutes to make and included pieces of greens. They practically disappeared; it was a dish the whole family could love. The sweet of the peach, the tang of the cheese and the creaminess of the risotto – what’s not to love? However, this did not radically increase my overall intake.

Last summer I told myself, “It’s finally time.” I will take all the greens I get from my CSA farmshare and use them. No matter what. In the past I had either politely refused to take them or if I did bring them home they went straight out to my worm bin. No more.

green smoothie recipeAs berry season launched, I had the idea that I could add a few cups of greens into my morning smoothie. I started with spinach, which is surprisingly mild and almost disappears into the drink. With fresh frozen berries, a splash of water and almond milk, the spinach went down with a smile. Easy.

It might not taste like a malted milk shake, but over time my taste buds have become accustomed to the desirable sweetness of fruit tempered with a few cups of greens. As the summer progressed, I experimented with rainbow chard, curly chard, beet greens and anything that was leafy but not lettuce. I did use lettuce once. Not great.

My husband is more a morning oatmeal person and not fond of thick liquids in the morning. He lovingly called my nutrient rich shake, sludge, as it is often a brackish green color unless there are ample amounts of red berries. I prefer to call it my Morning Glory. My blender makes enough for two servings, so I drink one and save the other for tomorrow. It might separate a little, but a few stirs and it’s as good as it was the day before.

Jason Phillips, Zoe Juice Bar owner, agrees that smoothies are a “real simple, easy, convenient way to get your greens.” He drinks them almost every day, because he likes them and because of the serious health benefits. At home he doesn’t use a recipe but uses what is on hand. He likes both spinach and kale. Zoe Juice Bar receives 500 pounds of produce every other day, so you can be sure they can whip you up a fresh drink.

green smoothie recipeHere’s an easy way to get started:

2 cups greens (spinach)

1 -2 cups berries (I like to add them frozen)

1 ripe banana

1 – 2 cups water or coconut/almond milk

I whirl the greens and liquids first then add the banana and then the berries.

You can add just about anything to your shake. All fruit works. Berries may be my favorite addition, but I also like pineapple and kiwis. There are other vegetables that might be of interest to you. You can choose carrots, cucumbers, celery, or beets. If your blender is strong, add nuts or seeds. A piece of sweet potato adds quite a bit of sweet and will thicken up your mixture. It’s great.

Depending on your eating program, you could add yogurt (please use unsweetened). Some people might add protein powder or supplements as prescribed.

GreensBananaA smoothie is quick, easy to make, can be taken with you and depending on your ingredients, makes a healthy, nutritious breakfast.  It might also satisfy an afternoon hunger pang or an evening sweet need.


Greens:  Spinach, kale, chard, bok choy, collard, mustard and dandelion, parsley, mint

Fruit:  All, even avocados

Add:  Seeds, nuts, yogurt, coconut oil, peanut butter and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and even turmeric.

I am toasting your vibrant health!

Eat Well – Be Well


Teaching – The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

Thurston Talk - Sun, 03/30/2014 - 9:54am



By Laurie O’Brien

olympia teacher certificate program

Chad Stussy initially wanted to be teacher but opted for a career as a biologist first.

Most teachers come to the profession straight out of college. They make the decision to enter the classroom because they have a passion for working with kids. Others take a more circuitous route. They discover a taste for sharing knowledge a little later in life. Take, for example, Melissa and Chad Stussy, science teachers at Tumwater High School.

The married couple, who, oddly enough, first met when they were students at the high school where they currently teach, had college degrees and jobs in other fields before making a career change to teaching. One at a time, each completed the Secondary Teacher Alternate Route (STAR) Program at Saint Martin’s University. In a year’s time, both husband and wife earned their secondary teaching certification.

According to Dr. Ann Gentle, Ph.D., the STAR Program Director, “Each was the right fit for the program. They knew they wanted to be in the classroom.”

Melissa Stussy earned her certification first. After receiving both a B.S. and an M.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from Central Washington University, Melissa worked a variety of jobs involving individual and group nutritional consulting, counseling and meal planning for at-risk populations. Most of those jobs involved education at some level, and she even taught for a while at South Puget Sound Community College. The choice to move into the classroom fulltime seemed like a natural step. “My favorite part of my job as a dietitian was education, so I decided I wanted to just focus on that,” she says.

Like his wife, Chad Stussy attended Central where he earned a B.S. in Biology. “Initially, when I started my undergraduate program at CWU, I had intended to go into education to become a teacher.  As time progressed while at CWU, I drifted away from the education route,” he says.

tumwater teacher

Tumwater High School teacher, Melissa Stussy, moved into the classroom about ten years ago, after a career as a dietitian.

However, during his career as a biologist with various public and private entities, including the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chad says there was always a lingering desire to be a teacher.  So, a couple of years after his wife completed her certification program, Chad took a year and earned his secondary teaching license, too.

Special Education, Math, Science, English Language Learners (ELL), and Humanities: Those are the teaching areas with the highest demand, according to Gentle. Applicants with degrees or real-world experience in those areas are a great fit for the STAR Program. Given their resumes and the secondary endorsements they received, Melissa and Chad were able to find teaching positions almost immediately after completing their programs. Melissa has been teaching for 10 years, the past nine of them at Tumwater High School. Chad spent one year at North Thurston High School before moving to THS five years ago. Melissa teaches chemistry while Chad teaches physical science and biology.

While they lack teaching certification, everyone who enters the STAR Program must have a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of experience in the workforce. Some have advanced degrees, including at the doctorate level, but if a candidate doesn’t already have an advanced degree, a Master’s in Teaching (MIT) track is available. “People who know they want to be in the classroom are ready for an intense ‘honors like’ program to reach their goal,” says Gentle.  Classes for the STAR Program begin in June at Saint Martin’s and all course work, including student teaching and internships, are completed by the following May.

olympia teaching certificate

Tumwater High School teacher, Chad Stussy, returned to Saint Martin’s University to earn his teaching certificate.

Gentle tells a story of one recent STAR participant, an engineer with a specialty in robotics.  “He is now working in a local school district, teaching his special interest. Beyond that, he assists teachers in other school districts wanting to get a robotics program started.” Nothing beats doing what you love.

Melissa and Chad Stussy are happy with their career changes, too.  Although there have been some hurdles along the way, “I love teaching – most days – and have enjoyed being involved in the lives of so many kids in our community,” says Melissa.  For Chad, it’s all about making a connection with his students, “…not just with content but shaping them into being good citizens for our community.” As he says, “It’s the toughest job I have ever had and the most intrinsically rewarding.”

Gentle encourages anyone in the community who may be interested in the STAR Program to attend an informational meeting on April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Worthington Conference Center at Saint Martin’s University. It will be an opportunity for those who may be interested to see if the program would work for them.

If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like more information, she invites you to call 360-438-4566 with questions or to read about the STAR Program.


I Am Troy Davis: The Human Impact of the Death Penalty - At Orca Books

OlyBlog Home Page - Sat, 03/29/2014 - 11:27pm
Event:  Wed, 04/09/2014 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

On September 21, 2011, Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia, despite a compelling case of innocence.  His execution was protested by hundreds of thousands around the globe.  Pope Benedict XVI, President Jimmy Carter, and 51 members of Congress appealed for clemency.  How did one man capture the world's imagination and become the iconic face for the campaign to end the death penalty?

Wednesday, April 9, 7 pm, at Orca Books, 509 East 4th Avenue, in Olympia, Troy's sister Kimberly Davis and I Am Troy Davis co-author Jen Marlowe will unpack Troy's case, demonstrating how emblematic it is of our broken justice system.  They will share stories of the Davis family's two-decade struggle to prove Troy's innocence, and reveal the human impact of capital punishment.  Davis and Marlowe will also discuss how Troy's case continues to galvanize the fight to abolish the death penalty, including in Washington State where Governor Jay Inslee recently placed a moratorium on executions.

Marlowe will also describe her years-long collaboration with Troy Davis and his family to write the book I Am Troy Davis, and will share passages from it. A book signing will follow the presentation.  The free event at Orca Books is cosponsored by the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Washington Coalition Against the Death Penalty, and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice.  For info, contact or (360)754-3998.

I Am Troy Davis by Jen Marlowe and Martina Davis-Correia with Troy Anthony Davis logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like
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