Recent local blog posts

Pie in the Library: a Community Pie Contest

OlyBlog Home Page - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 12:38pm
Event:  Sat, 08/22/2015 - 2:00pm - 4:30pm

Calling all pie bakers – the Lacey Timberland Library, the Friends of the Lacey Library and Olympia Food Co-op are co-sponsoring the 2nd Annual Pie in the Library Pie Contest. Special guest judges will determine the most amazing pies in three categories: fruit, other (everything that isn't fruit), and teen/youth bakers. Guidelines will be available at the library information desk and on the Olympia Food Co-op website starting August 1. Beverages and pie will be served, prizes will be given, fun will be had. logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Seven Incredible Viewpoints and Stops Along Hood Canal

Thurston Talk - Sun, 07/26/2015 - 6:00am



By Douglas Scott

waterfront at potlatch lucky dogHood Canal is a scenic wonder, with its fjord like canal stretching 65 miles in length. Home to migrating salmon, fantastic spot shrimp, and incredible scuba diving, the region not only grants access to some of the greatest hiking around, Hood Canal gives those fortunate enough to visit incredible viewpoints and vistas from seven roadside stops. Stretching along Highway 101, and up the steep, wild river valleys, visitors to Hood Canal have the best of everything. Whether you want to see wilderness from tall bridges, gaze upon the city of Seattle from a mountain top overlook, or just enjoy sunrises and sunsets from beaches and pullouts, Hood Canal will wow you with beauty from your car window or along a short hike. These seven stops shouldn’t be missed, as they are just the start to discovering the amazing beauty of the wilderness, cities and views of Hood Canal.


Lake Cushman Overlook

hood canal things to do

An aerial view of Hood Canal showcases the area’s beauty.


Why: With stunning views of Mount Rose, Mount Ellinor and Mount Washington, as well as incredible panoramic views of Lake Cushman, it is little wonder why the Lake Cushman Viewpoint is a popular stop for locals and tourists alike. Located on the road to Staircase, stopping at this viewpoint gives you a chance to take in the beauty of the region while gazing up the North Fork of the Skokomish River, into the wilderness of Olympic National Park. Getting here for sunrise or sunset makes this already gorgeous location a must see.

Best Time: Sunset

Other cool areas nearby: Staircase, Mount Ellinor


Potlatch State Park


Why: Directly next to Highway 101, Potlatch offers something that very few state parks in the nation can offer. Located along the Hood Canal on the Olympic Peninsula, Potlatch State Park gives you a park by the water with majestic views of Mount Baker to the north, and glimpses of Mount Rainier to the east. Potlatch is also an amazing spot to sit and watch herons, seals, salmon, eagles and migratory birds in nature. For the most incredible experience, catch a morning sunrise, as few places are more beautiful in the early morning light. This area, named for the gift giving ceremony, called a potlatch, was known by the Skokomish Tribe as “Enetai,” which translates to “Beyond” in English.

Best Time: Sunrise, Lunch

Other cool areas nearby: Lucky Dog Casino, El Puerto De Angeles, Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman


high steel bridge shelton

Visitors take in the view from the High Steel Bridge, located 420 feet up in the air.

High Steel Bridge


Why: The High Steel Bridge stands 420 feet above the South Fork of the Skokomish River and is quite impressive to stand on. Originally built in 1929 by the Simpson Logging Company, the High Steel Bridge helped open up logging to the Skokomish River Valley. Towering over huge fir and cedar trees along the river bank below, the bridge causes severe vertigo for many who dare peer over its side. With guardrails, looking over the bridge is extremely safe, though all visitors should use caution. Staring down over 400 feet, look for remains of car tires, pumpkins and just about anything else locals have thrown over the edge. The High Steel Bridge is the 12th tallest bridge in the United States, and the tallest in Washington State. With the easy access and incredible views, a side trip to the High Steel Bridge makes for a great quick stop for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Best Time: Any time

Other cool areas nearby: Olympic National Forest trails and campgrounds, Hoodsport Coffee, Lucky Dog Casino


Dosewallips State Park


Why: The views from Dosewallips State Park are some of the best on the Hood Canal, and access to hiking, biking and kayaking await those looking for adventure. Split into two sections, Dosewallips State Park gives both visitors and campers access to the both salt and fresh water. To the west of Highway 101, Dosewallips campground sits along the river, giving campers an excellent view and access to hiking trails. With stunning views of Mount Constance looming large upstream, herds of elk, rivers full of salmon and trees for of bald eagles greet those who make Dosewallips a stop on their adventures on Hood Canal.

Best Time: Any time

Other cool areas nearby: Olympic National Park, Pleasant Harbor Marina Resort, Seal Rock Campground


hood canal things to do

A hiker looks across at Mount Rainier from the top of Mount Walker which is accessed near Hood Canal.

Mount Walker


Why: Straight up to a tree-lined mountain top, a few thousand feet above sea-level, the Mount Walker trail and road rises and circles a cone shaped mountain near the mouth of the Hood Canal. With a panoramic view of the Salish Sea and the Puget Sound on one side, and a stunning view of the Olympic Mountains at the other, the sights from this mountain are awesome. With two unique views, there are two ways up to the top of this mountain. One is a half-day hike that zigs and zags up the mountain in a great display of the Olympic Peninsula’s forests. The other is by car, up a dirt road that circles the small mountain. On a clear day, your eyes will rest on the glacier-filled peaks of Mount Rainier, then fall to the emerald city of Seattle. Never pass this road up.

Best Time: Lunch, Sunset

Other cool areas nearby: 101 Brewery at Twana Roadhouse, The Timberhouse Restaurant, Falls View Campground and Hike


hood canal things to do

Murhut Falls is a two-tiered waterfall, a short hike away from Collins Creek Campground.

Collins Creek Campground and Murhut Falls


Why: Often passed over, the Duckabush River region along Hood Canal offers amazing camping, great river access, and easy hikes to gorgeous waterfalls. A favorite lunchtime spot just a few miles away from Highway 101 is the Collins Creek Campground. Up the gravel forest service road from Collins Creek, Murhut Falls gives visitors of all abilities a fun little trail to hike to see a gorgeous two-tiered waterfall from a well-maintained trail. Closer to the paved road, the US Forest Service also maintains Interrorem Cabin and access to a historic fishing area along the Dosewallips called the Ranger Hole Trail. The short trail is easy to walk and gives impressive views of the always beautiful Duckabush River.

Best Time: Lunch

Other cool areas nearby: Lena Lake, Hama Hama Oysters


Twanoh State Park


Why: Located east of the Great Bend of Hood Canal, Twanoh State Park gives off great views of Hood Canal, incredible access to shellfish harvesting, and access to one of the warmest saltwater beach in all of Washington State. Sporting over half a mile of shoreline, this areas gives visitors a chance to see all sorts of wildlife, ranging from deer and eagles, to seals and porpoises. Perfect for a side trip off of Highway 101, Twanoh State Park is an excellent place to unwind after a day of hiking, or a perfect spot to take in lunch along the beautiful beaches of Hood Canal.

Best Time: Any time.

Other cool areas nearby: Hunter Farms, Lucky Dog Casino, Alderbrook Resort and Spa

County Commissioners Honor Departing JBLM Base Commanders

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 12:31pm



Submitted by Thurston County  

Cols. Hodges and Davit recognized for fostering partnerships with neighbor jurisdictions.

Cols. Hodges and Davit recognized for fostering partnerships with neighbor jurisdictions.

Thurston County Commissioners issued a proclamation today honoring JBLM Base Commander Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr. and Deputy Base Commander Col. Anthony J. Davit, who will both be leaving Joint Base Lewis-McChord in August.

In today’s proclamation, commissioners expressed their gratitude to Col. Hodges and Col. Davit for their leadership both on base and in the surrounding community, and for their work to reach out to the cities and counties that neighbor the base to build and strengthen the level of cooperation and partnership between the military and the communities where many of JBLM military personnel and their families live.

“During their tenure, Col. Hodges and Col. Davit have really made the relationships between the base and the neighboring jurisdictions a top priority,” said Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe. “I would say that the level of collaboration now is at an all-time high because of their efforts, and the positive impact they’ll leave on this community is tremendous.”

Col. Hodges said, “It has been an amazing partnership with Thurston County. Three years ago, we didn’t really have a relationship, and today it is so very strong and beneficial.”

“We continue to work to keep the relationship strong,” said Col. Davit. “The benefits gained by all parties allow everyone to understand each other’s perspectives. Being able to give back in this way makes a difference in the larger community.”

“We have a great relationship with JBLM that is just incredible, and I think a big ‘thank you’ goes to Col. Hodges and Col. Davit for that,” said Commissioner Sandra Romero, who serves on the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership. “The relationship we’ve built has helped the base, and I know it’s helped the county and other jurisdictions, but I think the real winners are the people who live in our communities—the troops, their families, the civilian workers, and even those who are not directly tied to base. We all benefit from a strong base-community relationship.”

“Col. Hodges and Col. Davit have laid a foundation for continued success in many areas. Their work has strengthened JBLM’s relationship with surrounding communities, such as recently fighting to keep troop reduction to 1,250 personnel. They also commanded garrison functions, formulating policy and plans for soldier readiness for deployments and redeployments and logistic services to thousands of families who work and reside at JBLM. Thurston County values their leadership, and I thank them for their dedication and professional service.” said Commissioner Bud Blake.

Col. H. Charles Hodges, Jr. took command of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in August 2012 and will be retiring from military in August after serving for 30 years in the U.S. Army. As JBLM Base Commander, Col. Hodges is responsible for the general management of the systems and infrastructure that make up the “city” of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, such as facility maintenance and construction, environmental protection, housing, emergency management, police and fire services, and roads and transportation, among others. Col. Hodges manages and oversees an annual operating budget of $438 million for JBLM.

Col. Anthony J. Davit was named Deputy Base Commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in August 2013, and also serves as Commander of the 627th Air Base Group. Along with his duties as the Deputy Base Commander, Col. Davit is responsible for organizing, training and equipping more than 800 Airmen in five squadrons, as well as managing the chaplain and equal opportunity offices. Col. Davit has served in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years, and will be leaving JBLM for his new post as Director of Readiness for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is the Defense Department’s premiere military installation on the West Coast. JBLM is home to more than 41,000 active, Guard and Reserve Service members and about 15,000 civilian workers. The base supports nearly 55,000 family members who live on and outside the base, and nearly 30,000 military retirees living within 50 miles. That makes JBLM the fourth largest military base in the United States by population, and the seventh largest “city” in Washington state.


Fun-Filled Entertainment and Events at the Thurston County Fair

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 12:18pm



Submitted by The Thurston County Fair

quinault beach resortThis year’s Thurston County Fair is chock full of sights, sounds, tastes and good old fashioned fun to entertain the whole family from Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, August 2.

Savor South Sound beverage tastings

The Savor South Sound beverage tasting event is back this year and better than ever, featuring dozens of delectable Northwest drinks. You’ll find Savor South Sound on the Gazebo Green with tastings from a dozen cideries, breweries and wineries on Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1 between 5 and 10 p.m. Patrons must be 21 or over to enter the event. Get more Savor South Sound details at

Live & Local concert series

If you are looking for even more reasons to visit the fair this year, then consider the line-up of local entertainers that will be delighting crowds with their sizzling summer sounds during the “Live & Local” concert series that is free with your fair admission. The Live & Local line-up features South Sound favorites like East Bay on Thursday, Backlash on Friday, and The Great Pretenders on Saturday, all playing on the Main Stage sponsored by Les Schwab Tires. And be sure to catch this year’s KACS Sunday Concert featuring Holly Starr.

The Oly Mountain Boys will play at the Thurston County Fair.

The Oly Mountain Boys will play at the Thurston County Fair’s “Live and Local” music series.

Savor the sounds of the Live & Local line-up on the Food Court Stage, including Hook Me Up on Thursday, The Pine Hearts on Friday, and Oly Mountain Boys on Saturday. Get more Live & Local details and other entertainment information at by clicking on the “Entertainment” link.

New events in 2015 include fun games and contests like the Diaper Derby on Heritage Green at 11 a.m. Thursday, followed by the Father-Son look-alike contest and the Mother-Daughter look-alike contest at 1:30 p.m.

Join us on Heritage Green on Friday for a Rubber Chicken Toss at 11:30 a.m., a Water Balloon Toss at 1:30 p.m. and a Watermelon Eating Contest at 3 p.m.

Saturday’s contests include a Bubble Gum Blowing Contest at 10:30 a.m. and a Pie Eating Contest at 2 p.m., and Sunday’s events include a Seed Spitting Contest at 11 a.m. and a Hay Scramble at 2:30 p.m., all on Heritage Green.

There are also several fan favorites making a comeback this year at the fair, including:

  • One Buck Wednesday on July 29, when admission is just $1 per person when you bring a non-perishable food donation for the Thurston County Food Bank. Tons of other $1 deals are featured inside the fair.
  • Kid’s Day is Thursday, July 30. Kids 14 and under pay just $2 for admission, and enjoy the carnival armband “Buddy Special”—get two armbands for the price of one when you and a buddy are both present at the time of purchase. Don’t forget, admission for kids 5 and under is always FREE at the fair!
  • Military Appreciation Day is Friday, July 31. Active duty and retired military personnel and their families can get $2 admission to the fair with your military ID.
  • Author’s Corner is back in the Sokolik Building and will once again feature local authors selling books, greeting fans, and autographing everything from children’s books to crime dramas.
  • The Thurston County Commissioners Annual Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, August 1 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Breakfast is free with fair admission. Join us at Gazebo Green on the east side of Heritage Hall.
  • The annual Animal Market Sale will be in the Hicks Lake Barn on Saturday, August 1 at 6 p.m.
  • The annual 4-H Equine Western Games begin early at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2.
  • The second annual Rescue Pet Round Up will be on Sunday, August 2 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hicks Lake Barn where you can meet all of our furry friends who are available for adoption.

For more information about these events and other fair entertainment and attractions, go and click on the “Daily Events Calendar” link.

The last day to purchase discount carnival ride armbands is Tuesday, July 28. Visit and click on the discount passes and armbands link for more discount this year’s discounts and deals.

To learn more about all of this year’s events, entertainment and exhibits, contact the Thurston County Fair Office at (360) 786-5453 or visit

“Picture Yourself at the Thurston County Fair!”

July 29 – Aug. 2


More Sand Sculptures Featured at 15th Annual Sand in the City

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 11:57am



Submitted by the Hands on Children’s Museum

sand in the city smoky the bearAt the 15th annual Sand in the City®,  families from across the country will enjoy more than 14 sand sculptures carved by master sculptors and local community groups in a new hybrid sand sculpture exhibition on Aug. 22 and 23 at the Hands On Children’s Museum.

This beloved free family festival features more than 40 interactive art and science activities, stage entertainment, live animals, festival foods and parking shuttles. Event attendees can also visit the museum at a discounted event rate of $5.50 per person.

Event hours for the free Beach Party are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Sand in the City’s Big Beach Party is filled with hands-on activities where children can dig in giant sandboxes loaded with sculpting tools, climb a rock wall, blow giant bubbles and create sand bracelets and crab hats in the Make-and-Take Tent. Sunday is also Grandparents’ Day and families can enjoy all of the fun activities from Saturday and participate in additional activities designed for children and grandparents to make memories together.

On Saturday, watch the sculptors soak, stomp and shake sand into works of art. Families can view the completed sculptures and vote for their favorites on Sunday. The People’s Choice sand in the city forma constructionAward for the favorite sculpture will be announced at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Festival-goers can also explore inside the museum exhibits August 21-23 for a discounted admission rate of just $5.50 per person. Families can play and learn in nine themed galleries and 150 hands-on exhibits, including the MakeSpace in the Arts & Parts Studio, where kids can tinker, design and build using real tools and materials.

All donations, food and store sales and event sponsorships support the museum’s Free and Reduced Admission Programs, which serve more than 76,000 children and adults each year.

For more information about Sand in the City®, visit


Olympia City Council Approves Option to Purchase LBA Woods Parcel

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 11:48am



Submitted by The City of Olympia

LBA Park Olympia Washington (68)

Olympia City Council Unanimously Approves Option to Purchase 74 Acre Portion of the Property Commonly Referred to as the “LBA Woods”.

The Olympia City Council unanimously approved an option to purchase real estate owned by DR Horton, consisting of approximately 74 acres adjacent to LBA Park, at its regular business meeting on July 21. This parcel, located at 3355 Morse-Merryman Road, is the site of the proposed Ashton Woods Development, formerly known as Trillium. As a condition of the option agreement, DR Horton is preserving their ability to move forward with the preliminary plat process to protect their ability to develop the property, in the event the City does not fully exercise the option to purchase.

Acquisition of “LBA Woods” was the top priority identified by the community during a public process the City recently conducted as part of its update of the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan. If purchased, this parcel would be the largest property acquired by the City since Grass Lake Nature Park in 1990.  LBA Park would also become Olympia’s fourth largest park behind Priest Point Park, Grass Lake Nature Park, and Watershed Park.

In 2013 the City purchased a 5.3-acre portion of this (originally 79.3-acre) property to locate the City’s planned Southeast Olympia Water Supply reservoir. The City desires to purchase the remaining 74-acre parcel to expand its inventory of passive open space and secure additional athletic field-oriented community park acreage, both of which can be accommodated on this site. Additional efficiencies are presented by the parcels location adjacent to the existing developed support facilities at LBA Park. Field investigations indicate that athletic field drainage problems currently being experienced at LBA Park can be solved in a cost-effective manner by draining these fields into a former quarry excavation located nearby on the D.R. Horton parcel.

The D.R. Horton Company is concurrently seeking approval of a 400-lot preliminary plat for “Ashton Woods,” proposing 238 single-family lots and 162 townhome lots on the same property. The D.R. Horton Company has submitted a preliminary plat proposal and will continue to proceed in that process.  A summary of the Option’s terms are below:

Option Terms:

The initial cost of the Option is $250,000, with the first Option term expiring on March 30, 2016. The Option can be extended to June 30, 2017, with payment of an additional $250,000 option fee on or before March 30, 2016. If the Option is exercised and the balance of the acquisition price is paid in full prior to June 30, 2016, the total acquisition price will be $5,000,000. If the option is exercised on or after July 1, 2016, and before June 30, 2017, the acquisition price will increase to $6,000,000. In either case, at closing, all Option to Purchase fees will be credited towards the purchase price of the property. The balance of the purchase price is anticipated to be paid with a combination of revenue such as the proposed Olympia Metropolitan Park District, if approved by voters, or the 2004 Voted Utility Tax. As a condition of the agreement, D.R. Horton will maintain the ability to advance entitlements to the property (the ability to continue to pursue approval of the preliminary plat for Ashton Woods).


Old-Fashioned Fair Offers Five Days of Fun

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 11:38am



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

Thurston County FairThe Thurston County Fair is better than ever with fabulous food, dizzying rides, Olde Tyme games, arts and crafts, model railroads and kids showing their animals and hoping to qualify for state. Experience it July 29 through August 2.

Port of Olympia is proud to again be a partner in the Fair. Stop by the Port booth to receive a souvenir and information.

The Live & Local Concert Series is a chance to see hot local bands every night. The concerts are free with Fair admission.

Taste locally crafted beer, wine and cider at the 3rd annual Savor South Sound, July 31 and August 1 from 5 to 10 p.m. This year the Nisqually Tribe will also be serving freshly caught salmon as part of a custom menu.

Admission hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Daily parking is $5.

Fair tickets can be purchased in advance at a discount or at the gate. Ticket specials include: Thurston County Fair 2014 (90)
·        One-Buck Wednesday, July 29: Admission is $1.00 with a non-perishable donation for the Thurston County Food Bank.
·        Kid’s Day, July 30: Kids 14 and under pay only $2 admission.
·        Military Appreciation Day, July 31: Show military ID and pay only $2.

Arm bands for Carnival rides are good Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Arm bands can be purchased in three ways:
·        Purchase by Tuesday, July 28, at the Fair office – $19.
·        Bring a buddy at time of purchase on Buddy Day, July 30, to buy one Arm Band and get the second one for free – $24 total.
·        Purchase at the Carnival during Fair Week – $24.

For more information:


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 11:22am



Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Dash Adopt-A-PetDash is a 2 year old, white, Bichon Frise/Jack Russel Terrier mix who weighs under 15 pounds. He has been neutered, is up-to-date on his shots, and has a micro-chip. Dash loves older kids who know how to be gentle with him and who are big enough that he won’t accidentally knock them over when he’s running and playing.

Dash has been around cats but thought they were great fun to chase. Dash enjoys other dogs and loves to run and play with the bigger dogs. He enjoyed the freedom of a doggie door in his previous home so he could go out into a fenced back yard whenever he needed to potty. Dash loves to be with his people and would enjoy a home where he has company throughout the day.

We have lots of great dogs and always need volunteers to help them.  Visit our website at or contact Adopt-A-Pet, on Jensen Road in Shelton, at or (360) 432-3091.  Join us on Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington”.

Evergreen Staffers Win In The Spirit Regional Native Arts Awards

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 11:17am



Submitted by The Evergreen State College

Longhouse Art Evergreen State CollegeTwo staff members associated with the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College have won awards in the Tenth Annual In The Spirit: Contemporary Native Arts Market and Festival, a regional juried show celebrating Native American arts and artists.

The festival, which will be held August 8 at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, features pieces by Linley Logan, director of Evergreen’s Northwest Heritage program and Erin Genia, the Longhouse’s program coordinator and a two-time Evergreen graduate. Linley won the Innovation award, for his vessel entitled MANInfestation, and Genia won Best of Show, also for a vessel, entitled Open Pit Gold Mine Vessel.

Logan’s piece, a 24 inch high and 22 inch wide vessel shaped at once like a mutated fish and a bomb, is made from cardboard, plaster of paris, gauze, bullet shells and paper pulp, and took four years to complete, in part because desired thickness and hollow walls posed a challenge. (Linley applied his Industrial Design background to achieve his goal.) Miniature replicas of Edvard Munch’s The Scream adorn the four corners of the piece. “The Scream itself was based on a Peruvian mummy that Munch had seen,” said Logan. “So, I am culturally re-appropriating it back to its indigenous roots.” The piece is painted gold, to represent idol worship, and its themes cover war, climate change and industrialization.

Evergreen longhouse potteryGenia had traveled extensively and was on her way to a gathering of indigenous artists in New Zealand when she saw pit mines in the landscape below the plane. “I wanted to reflect the similarities between the indigenous experiences of the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand. The extraction of resources is something we’re dealing with across the globe,” she said.

She created the vessel at the gathering through a Raku firing technique for pottery, but it broke in her suitcase on the way home.  Undeterred, she put the piece back together using a Japanese technique known as Kintsugi, in which gold is painted along the crack lines. “The philosophy is that it’s more beautiful after being broken,” said Genia, “but it also reminds us that gold extraction is very harmful to the planet.”

The In The Spirit Festival, August 8, involves a day of dancing, drumming, singing, and shopping with a diverse group of Native American artists. The museum plaza will be filled with vendors selling artwork in all price ranges and all exhibits are free to the public that day. The In the Spirit Exhibit runs until August 30.

The Evergreen Longhouse, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is the first of its kind on an American college campus and is known locally, regionally, nationally and throughout the Pacific Rim, as an educational and artistic hub for Native American culture and voices.


Heroes and Survivors

South Sound Arts - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 9:02am

Two important exhibitions coming to TAM and MOGPublished in the Weekly Volcano, July 23, 2015Kia Labeija,“Mourning Sickness,” 2014. Inkjet print, 16 × 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist. Hey Tacomans, do you know how fortunate you are to have two world-class art museums? Few cities the size of Tacoma have such treasures Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass. These museums not only bring great art and great artists to town (and show the works of great artists already living and working here), but they also touch our hearts and minds and educate the populace about critical social and political issues and events that touch the lives of everyone. Scheduled for fall openings are two exhibitions that should be of interest to many Tacomans and, particularly, to the soldiers and their families at JBLM.Art AIDS America at Tacoma Art Museum Art AIDS America at Tacoma Art Museum explores the AIDS epidemic from the early days in the 1980s when no one fully understood what it was, how it was contracted and spread; to today when many people have now lived with HIV/AIDS for decades —albeit with drug regimens that are themselves devastating. Ten years in the making, and featuring more than 115 works of art created over a 30-year span, Art AIDS America is America’s first comprehensive exhibition of art by and about the AIDS epidemic. Throughout that 30-year history, artists have created AIDS-related art that is angry, sad, hopeless and hopeful, including political protests against the lack of government reaction to the epidemic and against drug companies that were more concerned with the bottom line than the lives of fellow citizens. Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire at Museum of Glass In 2013 Museum of Glass piloted a new program called Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire. Led by glass instructors, soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord’s Warrior Transition Battalion worked in the museum’s hot shop to fire glass art expressing their experience as warriors. Hot Shop Heroes is an exhibition of work created by JBLM soldiers who are veterans of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldiers in the program have all served at least one deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan; some have multiple deploymentsNot all work created in the program is included. The exhibition is from spring and summer classes in 2015, classes that are ongoing at the time this article is being written, meaning we do not yet know what works will be included.A MOG press release states that the works includes personal expressions of the soldiers’ personal experiences and feelings about war and life in the military and also "a few pieces that are more lighthearted and are representational of the basic glass-working skills acquired during their participation in the program."Hot Shop Heroes opens Sunday, Nov. 8 at Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma, AIDS America opens Oct. 3 at Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma,
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Family Support Center Launches Campaign to Raise $100,000 to House Homeless Children

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 8:06am



Submitted by Family Support Center of South Sound

family support center babiesThe Family Support Center of South Sound has received a $50,000 matching grant from local nonprofit Help Us Move In Inc. (HUMI) to help children experiencing homelessness move into stable housing by connecting community donors to service providers to create a sustainable program for children to be homeless no more.

According to the 2014 Thurston County Homeless Census, there are more than 1,500 homeless public school students in our community. The Family Support Center needs your help in raising the $50,000 match portion to help homeless children. For 14 years the Family Support Center has partnered with First United Methodist Church Olympia and HUMI to provide over 800 children and their parents with the last dollars needed to achieve stable housing.

The successful partnership in Olympia inspired a generous donor to expand HUMI to become a 501c3 and created a matching grant formula intended to raise awareness and continuous support for qualified communities throughout Washington and eventually spread across the nation. Sarah Scherer, Executive Director of Help Us Move In Inc. said, “Our success is measured by the absolute joy and relief on a child’s face when they become Homeless No More!”

Family Support CenterNow, a $50,000 “Homeless No More” challenge grant has been offered to the Family Support Center; dollar for dollar up to $50,000 will be matched by Help Us Move In Inc. 100% of funds raised will help children and their families escape homelessness and move into their own home.  So far we have raised almost $10,000; we have $40,000 remaining to raise before October 31, 2015 in order to secure the full available match amount.

The Family Support Center has provided services in Olympia since 1992 with the mission of “Working Together to Strengthen All Families” and is the coordinated entry point for all homeless families with children in Thurston County.  The Family Support Center also operates Pear Blossom Place: A Family Support Community and has sheltered over 175 children since opening one year ago. Families residing at the shelter are hard working, motivated, and determined to find a stable and affordable home to call their own for themselves and their children, but struggle with the financial costs of moving into a new home. The Family Support Center works alongside community partners, such as Help Us Move In Inc. to support families in reaching their goal of having their own home. With the help of a “Homeless No More” grant, families and their children are able to access the final costs necessary to move into housing.

Schelli Slaughter, Executive Director of the Family Support Center stated, “We are so appreciative of this amazing donation from Help Us Move In Inc. By raising a $50,000 match we will have $100,000 to help homeless children and families in our community who just need that extra little bit to move into their own home. This is a great opportunity to double the impact of every contribution and truly help to end family homelessness in our community.  ”

Family Support Center mom and child$100,000 will help support families like Crystal, a single mother with three children who stayed at Pear Blossom Place. With intensive case management support from the Family Support Center staff, financial assistance from the Family Support Center and Help Us Move In, and Crystal’s determination, the family is now thriving in a home of their own. Crystal starts work at her children’s neighborhood school this fall as a student teacher.

You can help support families like Crystal’s by donating to the Family Support Center’s Go Fund Me Campaign.  All donations up to $50,000 before October 31, 2015 will be matched 100%. Help us support children in our community by donating today; together we can reach our goal of $100,000 to house homeless children.

Donate today by visiting us at .  For more information contact Schelli Slaughter at 360-754-9297 x211 or .  To learn more about Help Us Move In Inc. visit us at or contact Sarah Scherer at or call 360-890-1174.

Landwehrle Family Challenges Ironman Canada

Thurston Talk - Sat, 07/25/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

capital medical centerIt all started with a jog.

Actually, make that a walk, albeit a brisk one with the occasional trot thrown in for good measure.

Nine years ago, when Kathleen Landwehrle Roberts was visiting home during her freshman year of college, she asked her dad, Paul Landwehrle, to go for a run with her. It took some convincing. He had always been active, but lately the couch was more to his liking. Throw pillows currently offered the sanctuary and escapism physical activity used to provide.

“She was persistent about it,” Paul said. “And finally I agreed,”

paul landwehrle

Paul Landwehrle, 60, will be competing in his first Ironman on Sunday, July 26.

Paul, who had retired from the Air Force before moving on to work for Intel, best summed up the casual jog as a struggle, at least for him. Brief movements of running were followed by extended periods of walking.

It was strenuous. It was joyless. But above all that, it was a start.

Now where is he at? Heading to Whistler, British Columbia with the entire family in tow to take on the IRONMAN Canada – a triathlon event on July 26 featuring a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2 marathon. It draws competitors from all over the world, enticed by the 50 qualifying slots it receives into the 2015 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Marino Vanhoenacker of Belgium won the event last year, finishing with a combined time of 8 hours, 16 minutes – or a touch longer than the average standard workday or the recommended hours of sleep we’re informed to get each night. A total of 226 individuals did not finish – more than 10 percent of the field.

Approximately 2,000 athletes will challenge the daunting course this year – among them will be 60-year-old Paul Landwehrle.

However, he will not be going at the course alone.  He will be joined by sons Kevin and Kyle, son-in-law Matt Roberts, and daughter Kathleen, who could be labeled the instigator of this avalanche of athletics when she simply dragged her father out of the house one warm evening for what seemed like an innocent stroll around the neighborhood.

ironman race

In preparation for Ironman Canada, the Landwehrle family competed in the Boise Half Ironman. Here, Kathleen powers through the bike portion of the race.

“I was sick of seeing him not be active,” said the 28-year-old Kathleen, who is a nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. “And he gets crazy and goes and does a marathon.”

A total of 20 people will make the trip to B.C. for the event, including Paul’s wife Denise, who has a half-marathon on her resume, and son Keith. Some will participate. Those who don’t will offer the much-needed motivation.

“The support from our family has been the biggest help,” said Kyle, 32, a fireman with the Lacey Fire Department. “It’s inspiring. We’re all pushing each other.”

The Landwehrle troop do head into the competition with some insider information.  They will have the benefit of having one of their own successfully complete the event. Kevin, participated in his first Ironman in 2013, crossing the finish line in just under 13 hours.

“They definitely picked my brain once we decided to do this together. I started getting a lot of texts from everyone,” said the 34-year-old Kevin, an officer with the Lacey Police Department. “I got a lot of questions, mostly about nutrition.”

It was Kevin who initially sparked the idea of the Ironman to Kathleen. Towards the conclusion of the 2013 Seattle to Portland bike race, he casually informed his sister she would be capable to accomplishing such a feat.

ironman canada

One of the family’s last training obstacles, in advance of the Ironman Canada, was to complete the Capital City Marathon. Kevin, Kathleen and Kyle Landwehrle all finished the full marathon in May.

The wheels immediately began to turn. She was game and not long after, turned into a family affair.

And while the physical trials have now been increased, the Landwehrles, who also did the Boise Half-Ironman together, have a lengthy history of family involvement with sports.

“We’ve always been an active family.” Kyle said. “Growing up we would snow ski and water ski as a family. My dad and I do white-water rafting. It seems like we’ve always done things together. We’ve very fortunate for that.”

Training began last October. The physical part was difficult – increased running, added time on the bike and in the pool, but the juggling of everyone’s schedules proved to be the most tasking.

“(The training) has been rough on all our families. It takes away a lot of the free time you would be spending with them,” Kevin said. “When you take on that training lifestyle, everyone in your house takes on it as well. It’s a minimum of 24 weeks, around six months to get ready for this.”

As the lion’s share of their training began to tail off, one of their final major training obstacles was running in the Capitol City Marathon in May.

Paul and Denise ran the half-marathon – a race Kathleen originally signed up for before a conversation with her brothers convinced her otherwise.

“It was five minutes before registration closes and they tell me they’re running the marathon,” Kathleen said. “Up until that point I thought everyone was doing the half-marathon.”

Some good-natured sibling prodding followed before Kathleen doubled down and elected to join her brothers. It would be her first marathon.

ironman canada

The Landwehrle family will be together this weekend for the Ironman Canada. Pictured here following the Boise Half Marathon is (from left) Matt Roberts, Kathleen Landwehrle Roberts, Kyle Landwehrle, Kevin Landwehrle, Mike Conner and Paul Landwehrle.

Kyle stopped the clock in 3:37.29, while Kevin finished in 3:42.16. In between the two was the younger sister with a time of 3:41.17 – placing her eighth overall among female runners.

“I was ahead of both of them until around the 20-mile mark when suddenly they caught up with me,” Kathleen said. “I have Kevin on my left and Kyle on my right, both are encouraging me. You need that during those last miles.”

Once the Ironman is officially off the family’s to do list, one wonders what Paul has in store for the family next.

“What will he do after this?” Kathleen asked. “Probably something crazy.”


Wordstock Olympia

South Sound Arts - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 9:12am

I just finished reading ebook/dp/B00UW51OLW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1437672910&sr=8-3&keywords=the+protest" target="_blank">The Protest by Dianne Kozdrey Bunnell. Wow! What a powerful and moving story. It’s a classic tale of good and evil with the good personified by a naïve and open hearted young mother and the evil in the guise of a charismatic and manipulative fundamentalist preacher.  And it is a fictional memoir, meaning it really happened, only the names (and maybe a few other things) have been changed.

I was lucky enough to get to read an advance copy of The Eagle Treeby Ned Hayes. It is set in Olympia, Washington and is the self-narrated story of a teenage boy with severe autism who takes on big-time developers who are dead set on destroying a part of a local nature park. Hayes is the author of previous novels Couer d’Alene Watersand Sinful Folk (a 2014 Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Award nominee).I was also honored to be able to read an advance copy of Christian Carvajal’s Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride, an hilarious adventure in a theme park devoted to sexual pleasure. Imagine Disneyland for swingers. Forget 50 Shades of Grey, this is a rainbow of primary colors celebrating libidinous pleasure. Carvajal is a well-known local actor director as well as a writer for the Weekly Volcano and author of the novel Lightfall.So why am I introducing these novelists? Because they will be joining me as featured writers at Wordstock Olympia 2015 at the Midnight Sun in Oympia on Wednesday, July 29 — graciously hosted by Theater Artists Olympia whose Improbable Peck of Plays IVopens  in The Midnight Sun Aug. 7. Wordstock will be an evening of readings by local actors from these books plus my novel Visual Liberties. Carvajal and his wife, Amanda Stevens, will read a selected scene from Visual Liberties. Deya Ozburn will read Carjaval’s short story “Retreat,” a “funnel” story for Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride written under the pseudonym Lynn Savage (no secrets here). Bunnell will read from her own novel, and actor Jackson Jones will read a selection from Hayes’s The Eagle Tree.Following the readings there will be book sales and schmoosing with the authors. If you’re anywhere near Olympia, you don’t want to miss this. Tell your friends about it.Wordstock Olymia 2015, Wed. July 29, 7 p.m., the Midnight Sun, 113 N. Columbia Street in downtown Olympia.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Kids Thrive at Nature Inspired Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 9:10am



lacey childcare

Founder Sequoia Hartman shares her love of nature and learning with children ages 6 weeks to 5 years at the newly opened Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool.

Hey parents of kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years – summer fun doesn’t have to end when September rolls around! With almost 30% of 4-year-olds participating in preschool programs nationwide, new studies are consistently publishing “about the importance of physical play, and play generally, in early childhood development. Not only does research suggest that play supports academic-related skills, but also physical skills and development.”

Locally this early development thrives in the hands of Sequoia Hartman and the team at Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool. Their brand new nature inspired school’s mission is an “emphasis is on the physical, cognitive and social/emotional growth of children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Children are presented with experiences allowing them to discover and explore their world through art, science, language, music, dramatic play, and the natural environment.”

Hartman has over 15 years of experience in the childcare field and is proud to pass on her deep love of nature and the outdoors, family, and community to others.

At Sequoia’s Treehouse, class sizes are kept small with lots of time spent outdoors. Hartman is proud of their “two spacious outdoor areas which provide children many opportunities to engage in water play, digging, building with sand, gardening, running, and observing weather patterns and nature.”

The school’s philosophy is “play-based with some teacher-led activities and a variety of open-ended materials that allow children to build, create, pretend, and use their own ideas.”

Overall, the school’s primary goals are simple: to help children become good friends and community members, independent learners, problem solvers, and music and art lovers. They work with parents and families to keep creativity flowing and engage “in the development of the whole child growing cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally through play.”

lacey childcare

Kids at Sequoia’s Treehouse Childcare & Preschool learning through nature, like this activity of painting acorns.

Whether you’re the proud parent of an infant, toddler, preschooler, or pre-K student, programs like Sequoia’s Treehouse are a blessing for both parent and child. The U.S. Department of Education reports that “the importance of early learning is clear. Studies prove that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in kindergarten and beyond.”

The program opens September 2015. Parents wishing to enroll in the September session are encouraged to sign up before August 31 to receive free registration and $300 off tuition. The school will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. to assist working families.

Follow Sequoia’s Treehouse on Facebook or read more about their classrooms, teachers, and curriculum on their website.

The school is located off South Bay Road NE near South Bay Elementary School near Lacey, WA at 3319 33rd Lane NE in Olympia. For more information, you can call 425-298-5013 or email

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 7:00am



I counted it out with my daughter earlier this week.  We’re almost to the half-way point in the summer (at least if you are keeping track on school calendars).  Make the most of the second half of summer in Olympia.  Use the ThurstonTalk activities section or our full event calendar to plan your fun.

Here’s what is going on around Olympia this weekend.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

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

Victoria Clarke Reaches the Top of Youth Climbing World

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

Ronelle Funk Allstate LogoVictoria Clarke has always been a climber.

Growing up it was not uncommon for her to scale the large trees that surrounded her Lacey house. It was here, high up among the branches, where she felt comfortable.

“It’s been that way for as long as I can remember,” Clarke said. “I just always wanted to be up there.”

The joy of climbing still remains for the 18-year-old. The heights have certainly increased over the years and the venues now far exceed her backyard.

No longer is she simply climbing the neighborhood trees. She’s gone worldwide.

victoria clarke climbing

Victoria Clarke, now 18, was introduced to climbing by a friend at Olympia’s Warehouse Rock Gym.

By finishing third overall at the recent USA Climbing Sport and Speed Youth National Championships, Clarke advances to the International Federation of Sports Climbing World Youth Championships later this summer in Arco, Italy.

“Totally unexpected,” said Clarke about the achievement. “It’s been the goal the past six years. I have to keep pinching myself to know that it’s really happening.”

The event, which begins August 28 and runs through September 6, draws participants from around the globe and will be held at what is largely regarded as the birthplace of competition climbing. Located in the Trentino area of Northern Italy, Arco has been a top destination for climbers since the 1930s due to the surrounding long limestone walls

“It’s the place everyone in our sport wants to visit,” Clarke said. “Getting to go there is so incredible plus I get to represent the United States which just makes it even more special.”

Clarke, who spent the first eight years of her life living in California before moving to Lacey, tried a variety of sports during her youth and while enjoyable, none offered the same satisfaction rock climbing would eventually provide.

No, it wasn’t until she was 10 when she accepted a friend’s invitation to the Warehouse Rock Gym.

Clarke knew nothing about top roping or bouldering when she walked into the climbing facility during that initial visit, but it didn’t take her very long to realize this was where she wanted to be.

“She was the quietest, shyest person I’ve ever been around when she first got started, but she was determined,” said Jimmy Chulich, one of Clarke’s former coaches at the Warehouse Rock Gym. “She was completely committed to this sport from the beginning.”

victoria clarke climbing

When not climbing, Victoria Clarke is a dedicated student receiving both her Associate’s degree and high school diploma in June.

It didn’t take long for her dedication to be tested as a nasty fall just two months after she started the sport resulted in a fractured wrist, sideling her for several months.

“Gravity is my worst enemy,” Clarke said.

To the average individual the injury would have been sufficient cause to ground them permanently. Learning a new sport is difficult enough without the constant looming threat of plummeting to the floor with every move.

The pain in her wrist, however, was trumped by the agony of being unable to climb.

“That was the toughest part – just waiting to get back in there,” said Clarke, who was a member of Warehouse Rock Gym’s youth team for nearly seven years before moving on to a Seattle-based team a year ago. “It never really entered my mind to quit.”

Once healed, she was right back at the gym, and saw her skill level ascend to the point where trips to the national competition became an annual occurrence as she has participated every year in nationals in either Bouldering or Sport climbing since 2010.

Five years ago, she placed 10th in the nation. This year’s nationals resulted in a 3rd place finish, sending Clarke, a member of Seattle’s Vertical World, to the podium, as well as the World Championships, for the first time ever.

“It was crazy. The best competition I’ve ever done,” Clarke said about the 2015 nationals, which were held July 6-9 in Atlanta. “It was three or four straight days were I climbed my best.”

victoria clarke climbing

Victoria Clarke finished third overall at the recent USA Climbing Sport and Speed Youth National Championships, Clarke advances to the International Federation of Sports Climbing World Youth Championships later this summer in Arco, Italy. Photo credit: Cierra Jack.

The World Championships features three types of disciplines – Lead, Speed and Boulder, the last of which being the youngest category in the group and the one Clarke excels at the most.

No ropes or harnesses are used in Bouldering. In indoor climbing at the youth level, the height is set at 15 feet and safety mats are placed at the bottom to prevent injuries.

Clarke plans to do several fundraisers to accommodate her trip to the World Championships. She has set up a funding account through USA Climbing and plans to place a fundraiser box at the Warehouse Rock Gym, in addition to other activities.

A Running Start student, Clarke graduated in June, receiving both her high school diploma and her Associate of Science (track 2 – Engineering). She will enroll at the University of Washington and pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering, while competing for one final year in youth climbing with

Of course, that will all come after Italy and the World Championships.

“It’s been amazing,” Clarke said about her time in climbing. “It’s not like any other sport. I’ve been really fortunate to have so many great experiences because of it.”


Rocky Top Homebrew Helps Home Brewers Achieve Greatness (in a Bottle)

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 6:00am



By Kate Scriven

rocky top homebrew

Larry Pendleton and his daughter Carol O’Sullivan have been running Olympia’s Rocky Top Homebrew since 2008.

Craft breweries – and craft beer drinkers – are everywhere. The love of high-quality, small-batch beers is embraced around the country, but particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State ranks second nationally with 256 craft breweries and 405,131 barrels produced in 2014. Thurston County is home to at least six craft breweries. And while they boast unique styles, most have one thing in common. The founders started as homebrewers, crafting batches in their basement or filling bottles in their garage.

My family isn’t immune and our garage holds a designated shelf (or two) filled with stainless steel pots, yards of tubing, mysterious coils of copper, and giant spoons. While these items are foreign to me, they represent a beloved hobby for my husband. While he doesn’t brew as much as he’d like, a Saturday spent in the garage cooking a batch with his buddies – watching temperatures and timers, proofing yeasts, scooping grain, and of course sampling – bring peace through a project producing delicious results.

For the past 15 years, the numerous supplies to nurture this hobby have come from Rocky Top Homebrew. Located in West Olympia, the dedicated homebrewing shop was opened 15 years ago by Dave Pendleton. If the name rings a bell it’s because Pendleton, like so many others, has made the leap from brewing at home to brewing as a business. He is the head brewer at Dick’s Brewing Company, a 20+ year anchor in the craft brewing scene located in Centralia.

rocky top homebrew

Everything homebrewers need to craft a batch of beer can be found inside west Olympia’s Rocky Top Homebrew.

Pendleton, a Montana native, opened Rocky Top in 2000 after graduating college and relocating to the Puget Sound. His timing was perfect. Homebrewing as a hobby was on the rise. “I learned to brew with my dad when I was in high school,” Pendleton shares. His interest continued and spurred the opening of Rocky Top. The shop grew in size and reputation and customers visited for both consistently high-quality ingredients and supplies and for sound brewing advice from Pendleton.

“We’ve built a relationship with the homebrewing community by taking the time to educate them and to answer their questions,” he shares. “Offering the best customer service we can keeps us number one on people’s lists for supplies.”

For ten years he built these relationships until one day a position opened up for a brewer at Dick’s Brewing. “I thought the interview would just be good practice,” recalls Pendleton. But after 5 minutes of talking with Dick’s Brewing founder, and former homebrewer Dick Young, he had the job. “Dick just said, ‘So, can you be here at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning?’ and of course I said no problem,” he laughs.

rocky top homebrew

Dick’s Brewing Company hosts its 5th Annual Beer for a Cure Homebrewing Contest in September. Homebrewers can get supplies for their batch at Rocky Top Homebrew.

While the transition to brewing large scale batches was challenging, he had an excellent mentor in Young and worked hard to learn the systems in the established brewery. The biggest surprise? “I lost about 30 pounds,” shares Pendleton. “It’s hard, physical work brewing batches that big.”

Despite achieving the homebrewers dream of working full-time for a successful craft brewery, Pendleton’s established business at Rocky Top Homebrew was still a priority. He knew he needed continuity of knowledge, customer service, and supply for the Thurston County homebrewing community. Luckily, Pendleton’s original source of brewing inspiration had moved to town – his dad.

Larry Pendleton had retired and made the move from Montana to Olympia to be closer to his kids. Larry, along with Pendleton’s sister Carol O’Sullivan, a fixture at Rocky Top for years, took the reins and have continued to foster the homebrewing culture in our area.

Larry’s experience with brewing began later in life than his son’s. “About 19 years ago, my wife gave me a homebrew setup for Christmas,” he recalls. And while he started slow at first, brewing with Dave at home in Bozeman, Montana, he now cooks up a batch every three weeks or so.

“I’ve never brewed the same beer twice,” he admits. “I like to experiment – it’s part of the fun.” And while his tastes run to more traditional beers, he easily guides Rocky Top customers to a wide variety of ingredients to create beers with exotic flavor profiles.

dicks brewing

The Pendleton family, (from left) Carol O’Sullivan, Katie Pendleton, Dave Pendleton, Larry Pendleton, and Alice Pendleton celebrate during the 1st Annual Beer for a Cure.

Rocky Top’s customers range from the novice just starting out to experienced homebrewers. Whatever their stage, brewers find the highest quality grains, ground in-house, a variety of hops, malts, yeasts and even ready-to-brew kits on the well-stocked shelves. The shop even carries supplies for wine, mead and soda.

Larry echoes what most homebrewers enjoy about the hobby. “I love the fun and joy of making a product from start to finish that’s tasty and I can share with friends.”

This passion has fueled several local brewers to launch from Rocky Top Homebrew customers to craft brewery owners including the brewers behind Top Rung Brewing, 3 Magnets Brewing, and Triceretops Brewing Company.

One venue that helps this transition is the annual Dick’s Brewing Company Beer for a Cure Homebrewing Contest benefitting Lewis County Race for a Cure. In its fifth year, the contest allows homebrewers to submit their favorite brews for judging by a panel of experts (Larry and Dave included). The winning recipe will be produced by Dick’s for a limited release at the Centralia tasting room.

Top Rung Brewing’s Hose Chaser Blonde was a past winner and is now a foundation beer for the Lacey brewery. Rules for entry can be found on the Dick’s Brewing website and entries can be dropped off between September 1 – 12 at both the brewery and Rocky Top Homebrew. Winners will be announced on September 19 at the Beer for a Cure event at Dick’s Brewing tasting room from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

dicks brewing

The panel of judges tastes homebrews during Dick’s Brewing Company’s Beer for a Cure Homebrewing Contest.

If the aroma of yeast, malts and hops fills your home on certain Saturdays and puts a smile on your face, then swing by Rocky Top Homebrew for fresh supplies. Dick’s Brewing is calling all homebrewers to give it their best shot. Who knows? You could win, realizing the homebrewers dream: your beer on tap for all to enjoy.

Rocky Top Homebrew

1617 Harrison Ave NW in Olympia


Open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


MOD Pizza Fills Timberline Students’ Bellies

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 6:00am



By Esti Izuagbe

mullinax fordHow do you feed four growing boys?  Lots of pizza, according to MOD Pizza founders Scott and Ally Svenson.  The business was an experiment of the husband/wife team that quickly took off.

Now, MOD Pizza has recently launched a restaurant in Lacey that has quickly become popular among local residents.  The MOD Squad (the people who work there) make it feel like a family friendly environment and it is especially popular with Timberline High School students.

My friend had two free pizza coupons and wanted to try it out so I tagged along. As soon as I opened the doors I was greeted by the employees. They were smiling ear to ear and were ready to get to work.  There was soft, upbeat music playing in the background. All the employees appeared to be in a good mood and I watched them prepare my pizza. I knew I wanted a pizza with a lot of vegetables on it and that’s exactly what I got because I could build my own pizza.

mod pizza lacey

I like to order my own personalized MOD Pizza with tomatoes and lots of vegetables.

The location was spacious and had a comfortable setting. The large windows allowed me to take a look outside, so I did not feel caged in. They had tables with standing umbrellas outside which was convenient for sunny days. After my first bite, I was hooked.

Local teenager, Isabelle Morrison, first discovered MOD Pizza when she was in Puyallup. She was very excited to find out that one had opened in Lacey. “I think it’s a really cool idea because it’s kind of like a Subway for pizza; you can decide what you want on your own pizza,” she says. “It’s better than ordering pizza with a ton of people because each person gets their own. It’s filling, so everyone’s happy.”

Morrison claimed that her first experience with Summerwalk’s MOD Pizza was comforting. Another thing she really liked about this place was the design. “I think this is a really social design. They designed everything in a really open way. There’s a garage-type window that opens so you can sit outside when it’s nice out, which is really cool for the summer.”

For people who have never been to MOD Pizza, she really recommends it. “I think kids would think this is really cool because you get to make your own pizza,” describes Morrison.

Mason Kuenstler, a Timberline junior, heard about MOD Pizza through close friends. His favorite pizza to get is the Dillon James, which includes ingredients like asiago cheese and fresh chopped basil.

mod pizza lacey

Mason Kuenstler and Christina Ortega share a special MOD Pizza combination – the Dillon James.

Kuenstler says he keeps coming back because “I love the atmosphere, the food is good, and everyone is friendly.” He is fond of his first experience here because he was with family and it was smooth sailing from beginning to end. “If you’re looking for a good place to (relax) in, good people, good food then this is the place to go to.”

MOD Pizza

5128 Yelm Hwy SE in Lacey


Open Sunday – Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.


Kelsi Stockert Earns Place on US National Rugby Team

Thurston Talk - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 6:00am



By Grant Clark

edge fitness logoIt’s one of the most recognizable traditions among all international sports – the Haka. It’s the iconic trademark of New Zealand rugby. A pre-match war dance designed to intimidate the opposition.

And it’s having the reverse effect on Kelsi Stockert.

“I’m a couple meters away and I’m watching the intensity in their eyes. They’re singing their hearts out,” said Stockert about her recent match as a member of the United States national team against New Zealand. “It’s inspiring. All I can think about is how this is where I’ve always wanted to be.”

usa rugby

Kelsi Stockert is shown here in a match between USA Rugby and the Canadian National squad.

It’s been a whirlwind summer so far for Stockert. And one of the biggest realizations is how badly she needs a passport.

Stockert, a 2011 graduate of Tumwater High School, opened June by traveling to Virginia to participate in the inaugural National All-Star Competition – a week-long event put on by USA Rugby with a goal of selecting players for the national team.

More than 200 of the nation’s top rugby players were invited.

Stockert was one of the few who flew home with a luggage full of USA Rugby gear.

Two weeks later, she finds herself in Calgary, Alberta playing for the US National Team – known as the Eagles – in the Women’s Super Series against the likes of England, who are the reigning world champions, Canada and the aforementioned New Zealand squad.

“In a matter of a month it seemed as if all my dreams came true,” Stockert said. “It’s been unbelievable.”

Stockert’s rugby story begins about a decade ago when a friend convinced her to “just try it once.”

us rugby team

A 2011 graduate of Tumwater High School, Kelsi Stockert was recently selected for the national rugby team. She is pictured here, playing against the New Zealand Nation team.

She already had the pedigree for the physical side of the sport – credit older brothers and a childhood filled with “roughhousing” for that.

She did all the sports leading up to that moment – volleyball, gymnastics, track. Heck, she even wrestled her sophomore year of high school. But one seemingly innocent trip to a Budd Bay Rugby practice changed everything.

“I was planning on doing track that spring, but the moment I tried rugby, I dropped all the other sports,” Stockert said. “It was such a different sports environment than what I was used to. All you have out there is your mouth guard and your teammates to protect you. It truly is a family.”

Stockert, who was also a cheerleader at Tumwater High School, rose through the ranks of Budd Bay, starting out with the Steelheads, the organization’s U19 team, during her high school years before advancing to the Bandits, Budd Bay’s women team.

“She always gave 115 percent at practice and more during games,” said Dan Smith, President of Budd Bay RFC, when describing Stockert. “She rallies her teammates to work harder and support each other – always giving a nod of encouragement when it’s needed most.”

Eventually, Stockert moved on to her current team, the Seattle Saracens squad. This decision significantly altered her travel schedule as she now frequently travels up and down I-5, logging 700 miles a week in the process.

Days usually begin at 4:30 a.m. when she makes the trek north to train with the Seattle Saracens. Then back south for her day job in Olympia at Budd Bay Promotions and Apparel, followed by some more training at night and matches on the weekends.

us rugby team

Kelsi Stockert and a teammate celebrate following the Seattle Saracens D1 National Title victory.

“It’s been worth it. To finally see everything pay off, it’s completely been worth it – a dream come true,” said Stockert, who juggles the rugby schedule while also being a mother to 3-year-old daughter Lily. “I’m incredibly lucky to have such a great support system behind me – my family and my adopted rugby family. I couldn’t do any of this without them.”

Stockert was one of six Seattle Saracens players invited to the USA Rugby National All Star Camp at James Madison University in June. It marked the biggest gathering in USA Rugby history for the Women’s National Team with the lone goal of determining the nation’s elite players.

“When I went there I just was excited to have the chance to train with the top athletes in the nation,” Stockert said. “The last night the coaches pulled me aside and told me I was selected for the national team.”

Elated, Stockert accepted. And then it dawned on her.

“I don’t have a passport,” Stockert said. “All I had was an enhanced license. I had to drive up to Vancouver and cross the boarder there and fly to Calgary. I need to get a passport.”

She certainly does especially considering her plans over the next few years which involve making the US National Team for both the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2017 World Cup in Ireland.

“Kelsi will make an impact on any team – on and off the pitch,” Smith said. “She’s a strong and intelligent athlete, a dedicated teammate and a tremendous mom. When Kelsi’s around, she raises the bar and we have to keep up.”


Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets “Solid Home Life”

K Records - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 1:52pm
Mini-vans au go-go! Direct from the Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets album Love in the Morning [KLP256] it’s Angelo Spencer and assorted cast of Olympia characters – just a typical day of kidnapping and throwing dice.   The Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets album Love in the Morning [KLP256] is available now from […]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
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