August 28, 2015

Summer heat to end: 48 days above 80 degrees is a record-breaker

“After logging a record number of hot days this year, Western Washington is facing some wetter, cooler weather.

It’s been an exceptionally warm, dry summer, as evidenced by a record set Wednesday [August 26] for the highest number of days with temperatures above 80 degrees in a year. The record now stands at 48 days.

That’s about to change.

On Friday, a storm system is expected to move in and bring 1 to 2½ inches of rain through the weekend. The forecast for early next week shows more of the same,” quoting Stacia Glenn, Tacoma News Tribune.
Read more

August 28, 2015

Thurston County officials left yesterday on Japan visit, joining Gov. Inslee

“A delegation of elected officials from Thurston County and Washington leaves for Japan Thursday.

Washington has a sister-state relationship dating back more than 50 years with Hyogo Prefecture in Japan, where Olympia’s sister city of Kato is located.

State Sen. Karen Fraser said the group of more than 20 includes Olympia City Council members Cheryl Selby and Nathaniel Jones, Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero and county Auditor Mary Hall, as well as Fraser and two fellow Senate Democrats, Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens and John McCoy of Tulalip.

Fraser said travelers would pay for their own trip expenses,” quoting Jordan Schrader, Tacoma News Tribune.
Read more

– “Inslee to lead trade mission to Korea, Japan”
“Gov. Jay Inslee will kick-off a 9-day trade mission to Korea and Japan on August 28, accompanied by Derek Sandison, Director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Brian Bonlender, Commerce Director.

Joined by about 60 leaders from the business, economic development, education and local government communities, the Washington delegation will focus on promoting exports and investment in our state’s agriculture, aerospace, advanced manufacturing and technology industry sectors.

‘Washington state’s trade and cultural ties with Japan and Korea run deep, and I look forward to strengthening these important relationships,’ Inslee said. ‘As their economies thrive, consumers and businesses in Korea and Japan open up new demand and markets for the quality products from Washington. That expansion creates economic activity and jobs throughout our state,'” quoting Gov. Inslee’s official Press Release.
Read more

August 27, 2015

California water issues a portent of things to come for Yelm?
Public outcry over Mayor’s growth policies vs. water rates

– “Yelm Residents Question High Water Rates”
“Paying for Growth: City Says Rates Can’t Go Lower by Law”

“Some Yelm residents are feeling the heat not just in the weather, but in their monthly water bills, and they’re asking why the city’s water rates are so high.”

“Another factor that affects the city’s water rates is the litigation from the city’s water rights case, which was heard by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. The cost of that litigation gets passed on to the ratepayers — and it must, by law, Harding said. Because of the litigation, the city has been under a microscope and been forced to add some additional improvements to the system that haven’t been added by other jurisdictions, he added.

‘If we’re awarded our new water rights and we have more of the commodity to sell and then are able to get more users on the system, that will help us equalize those rates,,'” Harding said, “quoting Steven Wyble, Nisqually Valley News. Read more
[Ed. Note: And if the city is denied the water rights by the WA Supreme Court, then they have saddled their customers with even more expenses, as outlined below.]

Editor’s Note:
Mayor Harding’s recent defense for the $5.4 million appropriation for the SW Well constriction project is pertinent to what is on-going in California, as reported in The New York Times story below. Regardless that Harding says that this well construction must occur anyway despite a WA Supreme Court adverse ruling, the last paragraph in The New York Times story below sums up Harding’s as-usual, self-serving motives on this, too. And, why has the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) not queried him on the capped city-owned Yelm Golf Course well acquired through the Thurston Highlands default, who’s rehabilitation would have been far less costly than this new well? Hmmm.

– Mayor Harding defends $5.4 million construction of new well
“The project comes at a time the city faces uncertainty over the fate of water rights granted to it by the state Department of Ecology. But Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said the well is necessary regardless of whether the city is ultimately awarded the water rights or not.

The Washington State Supreme Court heard oral argument in May regarding water rights granted to the city by the Department of Ecology. The court could take until next June to make a decision in the case.

Harding said Wednesday morning [August 12] the court’s decision won’t have an impact on the well project.

‘We basically have made a conscious decision that that’s a piece of infrastructure we either need as part of that decision, or part of our future decision,’ Harding said. ‘So as the city grows as a piece of infrastructure, we can’t grow anymore without it (the well). We just made the decision that we’re going to continue to move forward in a positive direction and deal with whatever the issues are as they come.’

Currently, the city’s downtown well is its only source of drinking water, and the well draws from a shallow aquifer, Harding said,” quoting the NVN.
Read more

– “Losing Water, California Tries to Stay Atop Economic Wave”
“Despite the drought, communities are pushing ahead with plans for new housing, with advocates saying there will be enough water to meet the demand.”

“Evert W. Palmer has a vision for this city famous for its state prison: 10,200 new homes spread across the rolling hills to the south, bringing in a flood of new jobs, new business and 25,000 more people.

Yes, Mr. Palmer, the city manager, is well aware that Folsom Lake, the sole source of water for this Gold Rush outpost near Sacramento, is close to historically low levels, and stands as one of the most disturbing symbols of the four-year drought that has gripped this state. And that Folsom is under orders to reduce its water consumption by 32 percent as part of mandatory statewide urban cutbacks.

But Mr. Palmer, like other officials who approved the ambitious plan to expand this city, said he was confident that there was enough water to allow Folsom’s population to grow to nearly 100,000 by 2036. It would be economic folly, he said, to run things any other way.

‘That would create unnecessary economic hardships here to benefit others,’ Mr. Palmer said. ‘And while I’m a citizen of the planet, I’m also paid to manage the home team.’

The drought that has overrun California — forcing severe cutbacks in water for farms, homeowners and businesses — has run up against a welcome economic resurgence that is sweeping across much of the state after a particularly brutal downturn. It is forcing communities to balance a robust demand for new housing with concerns that the drought is not cyclical but rather the start of permanent, more arid conditions caused by global warming.

At a time when Gov. Jerry Brown has warned of a new era of limits, the spate of construction, including a boom in building that began even before the drought emergency was declared, is raising fundamental questions about just how much additional development California can accommodate. The answer in places like this — and in other parched sections of the state, from the Coachella Valley to Bakersfield to the California coast — is, it seems, plenty.”

‘It’s very hard to be a local elected official and say no,’ said Max Gomberg, the senior environmental scientist for climate change with the State Water Resources Control Board, the agency with primary responsibility for regulating the water supply. ‘All the reasons to say yes are very powerful, starting with tax revenues. And of course, the self-interest of wanting to be re-elected,'” quoting Adam Nagourney, The New York Times.
Read more

August 27, 2015

Nat’l Weather Service issues statement for Yelm & vicinity – RAINY, WINDY, CHILLY!

Issued by The National Weather Service Seattle/Tacoma, WA
Thu, Aug 27, 5:14 am PDT




Read more

August 26, 2015

Yelm Council passes resolutions last night

Public Safety Building housing Council Chambers, Yelm

1. Ordinance No. 1003 & Ordinance No. 1004
Amendment to the Yelm
Municipal Code relating to animal control and keeping of chickens, ducks and rabbits as pets did pass last night.

2. BCRA Fee Agreement Amendment No. 2 – Yelm Community Center
Authorize Mayor Harding to sign Amendment No. 2 with BCRA, Inc. in the amount of $20,160.00, for additional construction management services required to complete Phase I of the City’s Community Center.
Editor’s notes: Everyone knew more expenses were coming down the pike on the Yelm Community Center, and more are expected. Mr. Harding acknowledged at the end of the Council session that he was responsible for Ryan Johnstone’s (Public Works Director) Staff Report on this project and clarified some Council questions. Why he did not respond to Councilor Littlefield’s initial question during Mr. Johnstone’s presentation was strange, especially in not coming to the aid of Mr. Johnstone.

3. Hotel/Motel Lodging Tax Committee
“The committee’s membership must be a minimum of five members confirmed by the council and made up of equal number of business members of the community that collect the tax and eligible agencies that request funding from the revenue collected from the tax, including any municipality, used directly or indirectly through convention, visitors bureau or destination marketing.”
Editor’s Note: Why is Mayor Harding the Council representative on so many of the city’s committees, including this one?

4. Resolution No. 560 Transportation Facilities Charge Update

Editor’s note:
Clearly, with no Projects Manager nor City Administrator replacements on duty to make Council presentations, the city’s staff presenters at last night’s Council session, while giving their best, do not have the expertise in the areas they presented last night – they are covering for open city positions. Even Mr. Harding commented and joked about the volume of work the staff possess. That the Yelm City Council has done nothing to get Major General Harding to post the city’s highest paid position (City Administrator) and begin interviews for a replacement should be noted by the 2015 Yelm Council candidates!

August 25, 2015

Is Yelm City Hall in a management crisis?
Where is Yelm’s City Council on Mayor Harding’s handling of city affairs?

Mayor Ron Harding

With the resignation of two key longtime City of Yelm staff members within months of each other:
– Projects Manager Stephanie Ray last December and
– City Administrator Shelley Badger giving notice last June to be gone September 1st after a stellar 30 year career, the general consensus of many are asking,
“Is Yelm City Hall in a management crisis?”

Let’s examine the facts:
– Yelm City Administrator open position not posted for replacement
Yelm City Administrator Shelly Badger worked for the City of Yelm for 30 years having been appointed in 1993 to City Administrator, a post she has held for 22 years. She presided over Yelm becoming one of the fastest growing cities in the county and state while working for six mayors. She led the City’s economic development and water resource planning efforts, represented Yelm on the South Thurston Economic Development Initiative (STEDI) committee and participated in the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership Steering Committee.

The Nisqually Valley News reported on August 14, 2015:
“the city administrator position largely operates as support for the mayor, Harding said. Rather than fill the position immediately, he said he’s taking time to evaluate exactly what the city administrator’s responsibilities should be, as it’s been a long time since the city has had to hire someone for the position.”

Editor’s note:
For Mayor Harding to suggest the City Administrator was just someone who largely operated “as support for the mayor” is a degradation to the highest paid staff on Yelm’s payroll (over $130,000 a year). Anyone owning property or a business within the city limits should be concerned about this statement from Mr. Harding, yet even more than this, they should be concerned about a City Council that does not reign-in the mayor!
Mr. Harding should have posted the Yelm City Administrator position to be filled back in June!

– How is Mayor Harding handling the City Administrator functions?
Harding told the NVN:
“‘Technically, we don’t have to have that position filled,’ he said. ‘That position is there to help me manage the city. And so it’s just one of those things, just trying to get my arms around what to do, how much responsibility, where are the key functions that serve the city. … We don’t have any of it sorted out right now.'”

Editor’s note:
Excuse me, Mr. Harding?
You say, “That position is there to help me manage the city.”
This position of the City Administrator is the highest paid city employee and the one person managing the city’s daily affairs.
In this form of government, the mayor is the policy-maker leader, not the city’s admin. director.
Parceling out duties of the Projects Mgr. & City Administrator to other staff who have enough on their plates with the growth in this town is not wise nor fair to them, either.

– Mr. Harding does not have enough fingers to plug the holes in the dike!
Harding was quoted in the NVN, “We’re lacking the project manager’s position [and a City Administrator] in a time when we have as many or more projects as we’ve ever had going on in the city … Those are, I think, really crucial positions that we don’t necessarily have in-house expertise to cover,’ Harding said. ‘We’re covering, but we don’t necessarily have people who are subject matter experts, which is what you like to have as key personnel in those positions.”

– Is Mayor Harding taking any salary for his handling of City Administrator functions?
I put this question to Mr. Harding and he said, “I am currently not taking any additional salary to assume these duties, nor would I be able to take any additional compensation without an action of the City Council.” The Yelm City Council needs to immediately address the issue of the mayor assuming duties of a Project Manager and City Administrator on his annual Mayor’s salary of $30,000 and is he going to ask for more salary? Is he assuming these other functions gratis, which is also not proper? Does he have sights on the City Administrator’s $130,000+ annual salary?

– Mayor Harding is way beyond his expertise in handling City Hall functions –
Where is the Yelm City Council in reigning in Mayor Harding?
Mr. Harding does not have the training, background or managerial experience to be a Projects Manager and/or City Administrator. For Mayor Harding to not have posted the Yelm City Administrator and Projects Manager positions to begin seeking interviews for qualified replacements, while he is performing the UNPAID duties of City Administrator functions, is a travesty to the citizens of Yelm.

– Mayor Harding is on more-than-double committees than other City Council member –
Why? A truly trained/qualified manager delegates to other Council members

* Thurston County Economic Development Council
* Thurston County Mayor’s Forum
* TRPC Transportation Policy Board
* Yelm Finance Committee
* Yelm Emergency Operations Board
* Yelm Transportation Committee
* Yelm Economic Development Committee
* To be appointed as leader of the Yelm Lodging Tax Advisory Committee as of this evening

– Who is to take on the City Administrator’s duties on these committees – Harding?:
* Yelm Economic Development Committee (Harding is fulfilling his role on this committee and the City Administrator’s?)
* Yelm’s water resource planning efforts
* South Thurston Economic Development Initiative (STEDI) Committee
* South Sound Military & Communities Partnership Steering Committee.

– I call for Yelm’s City Council to reign-in Mr. Harding’s dictatorial rule here and post the City Administrator position immediately!

August 24, 2015

Yelm City Council’s Public Hearing Tuesday to allow –
chickens, ducks, rabbits in neighborhoods

Photo credit: Realtor®Mag, National Assn. of Realtors®

– “Yelm City Council Notice of Public Hearing Amendment to the Yelm Municipal Code
relating to animal control and the keeping of chickens, ducks, and rabbits.”

“The Yelm City Council has scheduled a public hearing to receive comments on a proposed amendment to the
Yelm Municipal Code. The hearing is scheduled for 6:00 PM on Tuesday, August 25, 2015, and will take place in the Council Chambers/Court Room at the Yelm Public Safety Building, 206 McKenzie Street SE.

Chapter 6.08 YMC establishes animal control regulations and violations and is being updated to reflect current practices and procedures of the City.

Section 18.30.010 YMC of the Unified Development Code establishes normal accessory
uses to a single family dwelling and is being updated to allow chickens, ducks, and
rabbits in residential neighborhoods, provided certain conditions are met,” quoting the City of Yelm Staff Report.

– “The Rise of the Backyard Farm”
“Governments are beginning to see benefits to localizing food production. More than a dozen states have recently enacted legislation promoting small-scale agriculture, and a smaller number, including Hawaii, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, have looked into or introduced incentives to encourage people to pursue backyard food production on residential property, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Where municipalities and agencies do restrict or monitor agricultural activity on residential land, they are rarely out to squelch those practices with regulations, which are often created to protect home owners,” by Meg White, Realtor®Mag.
Read more

August 23, 2015

“Rainier melting unleashes ‘glacial outbursts’ of debris”

“One “glacial outburst” of churning meltwater and boulders damaged the Westside Road on Thursday [August 13]and terrifying two hikers, who at first mistook the sound for that of a train.

This year’s dry, hot conditions are likely to blame for a series of ‘glacial outbursts’ on Mount Rainier that sent blasts of muddy water, rock and boulders barreling down the volcano’s western flank beginning Thursday morning, says the geologist for the national park.

The powerful surges gouged out channels, swept away trees and shook the ground hard enough to register on seismometers, said Scott Beason,” quoting Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times.
Read more

August 22, 2015

Satellite image of our smoky skies

Photo credit: NWS Seattle

August 22, 2015

“Lawsuit: Salmonella-Infected Pork Sold at Stewart’s Meats” –
Why? Where is consumer responsibility?

In a high profile, top headline, front page story by Steven Wyble in the Nisqually Valley News this week is the following headline:
“Lawsuit: Salmonella-Infected Pork Sold at Stewart’s Meats Sickens Lacey Infant”

I have to ask why is this lawsuit even happening!
Where is consumer responsibility?
The public has been well-informed with warnings on restaurant menus, in grocery store purchases and in Stewart’s Meats about consuming undercooked foods.
Why is a locally owned/operated company being maligned when a consumer needs to also be responsible for food borne illnesses prevention?

This information is clearly posted on the United States Department of Agriculture website
on what the consumer can do about Salmonella:

Q. How can consumers prevent salmonellosis?
A. Bacteria on raw foods of animal origin do not have to cause illness. The key to preventing illness at home, in a restaurant, at a church picnic, or anywhere else is to prevent the bacteria from growing to high levels and to destroy the bacteria through cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature. Follow these guidelines for safe food preparation:

CLEAN: Wash Hands and Surfaces Often
Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.
Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.
Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

SEPARATE: Don’t Cross-contaminate
Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your grocery shopping cart and in your refrigerator.
If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
Always wash cutting boards, dishes, countertops, and utensils with hot soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood.

COOK: Cook to Safe Temperatures
Use a clean food thermometer when measuring the internal temperature of meat, poultry, casseroles, and other foods to make sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature:

Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Stuffed poultry is not recommended. Cook stuffing separately to 165 °F.
Egg dishes, casseroles to 160 °F.
Fish should reach 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil when reheating.
Reheat other leftovers thoroughly to at least 165 °F.

CHILL: Refrigerate Promptly
Keep food safe at home, refrigerate promptly and properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours (1 hour if temperatures are above 90 °F).
Freezers should register 0 °F or below and refrigerators 40 °F or below.
Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Foods should not be thawed at room temperature. Foods thawed in the microwave or in cold water must be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature immediately after thawing.
Marinate foods in the refrigerator.
Divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.

CDC’s Web site: