April 17, 2015

Commissioner Romero’s Coffee Mon., Apr. 20 – in Yelm,
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!


April 16, 2015

Yelm’s State Farm broker fined

The office of Mike Kreidler, Washington state’s insurance commissioners, has announced that it has levied sanctions and fines against State Farm and a pair of South Sound brokers in March.”

Yelm’s John S. Clayton was fined $1,500 for offering $25 gift cards to clients for referrals without documenting the use of the gift cards. State insurance law allows agents to give prizes worth $25 to each client only once and also requires agents to document prizes, recipients and dates they were given,” quoting the Business Examiner.
Read more


April 16, 2015

Don’t miss “You Can’t Take It With You” at The Triad


Photo courtesy: Standing Room Only

STANDING ROOM ONLY (SRO) presents:
“You Can’t Take It With You” at the Triad Theater

“Directed by Nancy Tribush Hillman, playing April 17-18-19, 7:30pm at the Triad Theater.
Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door, on sale at Gordon’s Garden Center and the Yelm Food Coop.
Call 360-446-2188 for advance reservations,” quoting SRO.

This blogger says of our Yelm performing arts:
“Better than Off Broadway in New York!”
Support our local community theater and these fantastic actors.”


April 15, 2015

SE Thurston Fire Chief Mark King – An Interview


Chief Mark King presents Lee McGill the Citizen Life Saver Award, for his heroic acts
saving neighbor Vernon Jacob Horst in a house fire the evening of February 3, 2015.
Photo courtesy: SE Thurston Fire Authority

Yelm Community Blog Interview – SE Thurston Fire Chief King

Following the public interest and huge outpouring of support for the Yelm Community Blog Interview with Police Chief Todd Stancil last January, I requested to sit down with SE Thurston Fire Authority Chief Mark King to ask about his department in an effort to inform Yelm Community Blog readers and the public.

– I began by asking Chief King about his background.

Chief King graduated from the Fire Academy in 1991. He obtained his initial experiences working for a private ambulance service from 1992-1998. In 1998, King started service in this area with Southeast Thurston Fire. At that time, Yelm was an all-volunteer firehouse. King was the first career person hired as a firefighter, working for Chief Rita Hutcheson (now retired). He added that he would like to finish his career in Yelm, saying “there are too many good things to come and opportunities I That don’t want to miss.”

- What is your level of staffing and how have you managed the challenges your department has faced?

“We currently operate with 19 Line Firefighters/EMTs, 1 Fire Chief, 1 office manager, 1 mechanic/facilities maintenance, and 1 part-time IT position.
As 90% of the department’s revenue is directly related to assessed property values, budget cuts were required as a result of the 2008-2009 economic meltdown which led to a consecutive decline lower property tax rates.
At the same time, the Fire Authority with the City of Yelm was being formed, which would have increased revenues to the department. However revenue dropped 17.5% from 2010-2013.

In 2011 as an example, we had 4 Fire Chiefs and 3 office administrators. Then, budget cuts forced the elimination of all but one in each area, and are not slated to be refilled.”

– What additional challenges do you and your team face, not budget related?

“Call volumes keep climbing, yet revenues have not.”

- What are your standards your department strives in providing quality service?

“Service standards are set from nationally recognized criteria, including the National Heart Assn.

Our goal for a high level of service involves:
* number of people/staffing to have on scene,
* response time, which is measured annually to see where our service standards are met and to make adjustments if not.

If the Fire Authority had not been passed by the voters, we would be in a far worst place budget wise. I have spent the last several years working within the department to do things more efficiently to maintain a high level of service.”

- Moving forward what do you envision for the future from your department’s point of view?

“We will remain conservative in our goals and budgeting.
We have little capacity in reserve, yet we are working with what we have so we don’t have to go to the voters until perhaps 2017-2018.

Fire Service Departments in Washington State have numerous ways to save through consolidation yet still provide quality service to constituents.”

- What would you like the community to know that I have not asked?

“We have such positive feedback from the community in cards, letters, e-mails and phone calls we receive commenting on the friendliness and quality of our staff.
That makes me very proud of our team.”

Stop in and visit:
S.E. Thurston Fire Authority
Mark King, Chief
Johnathan A. Sprouffske, Commission Chair
709 Mill Road SE
P.O. Box 777
Yelm, WA 98597
Phone: (360) 458-2799, non-emergency calls


Yelm Police Department’s Reserve Officer Don Wilson receiving “2014 Reserve Officer of the Year” award. (left) Mayor Ron Harding, (center) Reserve Officer Don Wilson, (right) Police Chief Todd Stancil. Photo credit: Washington Media Services.

“Aside from working with the Yelm Police Department, Reserve Officer Don Wilson works full-time with South East Thurston Fire Authority (covering the areas of Yelm, Rainier, and their surrounding unincorporated areas). Wilson has been employed with the fire department since 1993 and currently holds the position of Captain. It is estimated that he’s been involved with around 20,000 calls between his duties as a fire fighter and reserve police officer.

Congratulations to Reserve Officer Don Wilson on your award as the ‘2014 Reserve Officer of the Year!'”
Read more


April 14, 2015

“Communities Can Take Back Power in City Planning”

“Although low-to middle-income residents are most affected by zoning and land use decisions in their neighborhoods, they are rarely given real power in the city planning process. Instead, city planning departments and developers rig the process so that their interests are served, at the expense of local residents. The problem is, most times, residents don’t know they’re getting played.

‘Throughout the city, community groups tend to be seduced by what city planning claims is an open process,’ said Tom Angotti, director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development. ‘The truth of the matter is, a lot of communities don’t know zoning. [Information] is filtered through planners who have a stake in the game, which is to get the zoning through.’

“‘[City Planning] approaches a community to do a zoning study, and many community board people say, okay, let’s do a study. But the blueprint is already laid out; the formula is already clear,’ Angotti said. ‘The City Planning Department has already had a discussion with developers who know the pattern. So they have already moved in and bought land. Property owners have already been alerted to the possibility to an upzoning. So there is a tremendous up-value of the land, and [all these players] can make a killing,'” quoting Zara Nasir, Truthout.
Read more

Editor’s note:
This sounds exactly what happened in Yelm with the mega Thurston Highlands and Tahoma Terra developments, which eventually went bankrupt. The city did not have all of the water rights, yet the city approved the plats anyway – done deal. Except JZ Knight challenged the City of Yelm on the water rights issue, as she was/is a senior water rights holder, potentially adversely affected being downstream of the Yelm developments. She won in the WA Supreme Court.
Had she not been successful, the blueprint was “already laid out” and residents didn’t “know they were getting played.”
Though Knight won, the developers defaulted, the city had to seize a citizens water rights, leaving Yelm fleeced with unpaid taxes and fees in the 100s of thousands of dollars.


April 14, 2015

2nd Yelm citizen’s case accepted by WA Supreme Court – a rarity!


City of Yelm’s new well being drilled at end of Tahoma Blvd.,
Photo Copyright © 2010, 2012, 2015 Yelm Community Blog.
Photo taken with zoom lens June 21, 2010

- That the WA Supreme Court has accepted a 2nd water rights case from property owners in the same city’s watershed, Yelm, is extraordinary and should have been underscored! [JZ Knight’s was the other.]

- A stunning achievement for Yelm property owner Sara Foster:
This week’s headline story in the Nisqually Valley News titled “State Supreme Court Accepts Yelm Water Right Case” is a landmark achievement for Yelm property owner Sara Foster, yet the newspaper’s story was all about Mayor Ron Harding’s needs for Yelm to have the DOE approval of more than doubling Yelm’s water rights affirmed for his continued growth plans. I found very unfortunate that NVN Reporter Steven Wyble did not present the merits of Foster’s case weighed in contrast to Mr. Harding’s needs to grow Yelm even more.

- The merit of Foster’s case
Sara Foster submitted an Appeal against the City of Yelm and the Dept of Ecology November 18, 2011 to stop the pumping of 942 acre feet of water, every year for 20 years, from the aquifer. She asserts Ecology had just rubber-stamped Yelm’s Mitigation Plan and the city was approved to begin pumping and that this amount has huge environmental impacts to the aquifer. Foster suggests wells of property owners in a vast surrounding area [outside of Yelm city limits] could drop in static level and people would have to drill new wells. She contends the city’s new well (pictured above), even at a depth of 750 feet, would impact Foster’s well “downstream” in the same aquifer less than a mile away, affecting her property.

- Two Amicus Briefs filed supporting Fister’s case
“In Foster’s case, an Amicus Brief (friend of the court) was also filed on behalf of The Carnegie Group and CELP (Center for Environmental Law & Policy), Washington’s water watchdog, protecting streams, rivers and aquifers.
These groups found that Foster’s lawsuit was not frivolous and had merit.
Published in the Yelm Community Blog June 23, 2014
and in a Letter to the NVN Editor published June 13, 2014.

Additionally, a through examination of Foster’s case was covered here on December 28, 2012.

- Interesting so much of the NVN story this week was about Yelm rather than the significance of Foster’s case.
Foster’s attorney Patrick Williams previously stated in the NVN, “his client’s problem isn’t with the city of Yelm as much as with the Department of Ecology for granting the water right. The department used an exemption in the existing code, which the Supreme Court said doesn’t really exist in the way Ecology was trying to use it.”
That’s the reason the WA Supreme Court accepted Foster’s request for direct review of her case, which should have been the main topic to go with the story title, instead of being shoved to a few short paragraphs at the end of Wyble’s story.

After the City of Yelm won in the Court of Appeals in another case, Yelm citizen JZ Knight also sought the WA Supreme Court for their review, which accepted her case and overturned the appeal, ruling in favor of Knight 7-2. Precedent has already been established by the Supreme Court about water issues that impact the City of Yelm, adding to the merits of Foster’s case, as well.

With the WA Supreme Court ruling so strongly [7-2] in favor of Knight after losing on appeal, many in Yelm are concerned that Foster will win, which would severely impact Yelm’s DOE-granted water rights.

– Jenna Loughlin penned this in the Nisqually Valley News

“At the last meeting of the boundary committee for Yelm Community Schools, the recommendation was made to put off proposed school boundary shifts until the 2016-17 school year.”

“The reasons it listed, according to YCS Superintendent Andy Wolf, are:…the results of a water rights case regarding the city of Yelm that may come from the Washington state Supreme Court in the next few months, which would impact housing and growth in the city;…”

- Bottom Line:
The City of Yelm seized a citizen’s water rights in 2009 to continue issuing housing permits and water hook-ups. If the doubling of Yelm’s DOE water rights is denied by the Supreme Court, will the city revert to such tactics again to continue their grow, grow, grow policies? hmmm
Stay tuned!


April 13, 2015

Introducing the Yelm-based Northstar Newsletter


Michael Knight

RSE Student and lifelong journalist Michael Knight (no relation to JZ Knight) has been licensed by JZK, Inc to explore almost 40 years of Ramtha prophecies and compare them to current events in his new North Star Newsletter.

Knight admits that as an investigative journalist his first visit to RSE in 1988 was “to see for myself what this channeling was about – and maybe make some money by discrediting it and selling articles to international magazines. But that doesn’t mean I had a closed mind.”

Here is Michael Knight’s story in his own words:
“A good journalist doesn’t prejudge or write with bias and innuendo, as so many do these days. In my case, it was a matter of ‘if in doubt, find out.’ So I came to see for myself.”

“I paid my own way from New Zealand – went to an event in Yelm and another in Colorado – and although it was a mystery as to how channeling actually worked, I had to admit that no human being that I knew could talk and teach for hours at a time without notes and with such profound knowledge on such a wide range of subjects. In short, I had to admit there was no fraud involved.”

“Now, as Editor of The North Star Newsletter I can apply the skills I’ve acquired as a journalist since 1960. I’ve worked internationally in all branches of the media, but I left the mainstream behind long ago because their standards and ethics leave a lot to be desired. Rather than ‘if in doubt, find out,’ they ‘never let the facts spoil a good story’ (a direct quote from a radio news editor I worked with long ago – and soon left).”

“My company and the The North Star Newsletter are completely independent of RSE and JZK, Inc; the relationship is simply that North Star Publishing Inc is licensed to use certain prophecies and statements made by Ramtha over the years, and to compare them with current events.

“One example would be his statement back in 1999 that water would become more precious than gold. That would be hard to believe in a place like Washington. But in the feature article on the front page of our web site we see that not only are California and neighboring states in severe drought conditions, but it is even worse in other places around the world. And it won’t get better any time soon.”

“Thanks to the Internet, this is an international newsletter – but the majority of subscribers do come from the Yelm area – and not just RSE students either. I’m sure that anyone with an interest in current – and future – events will find the information in these exclusive articles extremely useful. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.”

Subscribe here:- North Star Newsletter


April 12, 2015

“Rural Pathways to Prosperity” conference Friday

The Thurston Chamber and the Thurston Economic Development Council are hosting a “Rural Pathways to Prosperity” conference on April 17 at the Yelm Public Safety Bldg, 8 am – 2:30 pm. Cost is $30 or $25 before April 10.
Click here for more information.

Below is a map showing our twenty sites, and you can click on the “Locations” button on the left navigation bar to find more details about the site nearest you.” Click here for Yelm.

“Featured speaker Erik Pages…. a leader in rural entrepreneurship.”

“The 2015 Rural Pathways to Prosperity Conference is sponsored by WSU Extension, Washington State Department of Commerce, Association of Washington Cities, USDA-Rural Development, Avista Corporation and the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.”
Click here to learn more about this Conference.


April 11, 2015

Of Note From:
Thurston County Waste Reduction News

– Please join the Master Gardeners and Master Composter/Recyclers for these fun events and/or spread the word to those who may be interested. Please call Cori Carlton at 360-867-2162 or email carltoc@co.thurston.wa.us with questions.

Upcoming FREE HOME COMPOSTING workshops click here
___________________________________________________

– Upcoming GARDENING WORKSHOPS & EVENTS click here

Home orchards & grafting
Botany basics
Strawbale gardening
Is there something wrong with my plant?
Drip irrigation
Small scale/apartment gardening-using composting socks
Small scale/apartment gardening-using tomato buckets

Read more


April 11, 2015

“Yelm Business Association Seeks Much-Needed Changes”


Dan Crowe
Photo Courtesy: The Crowe Law Office

Submitted by Yelm Business Assn. Executive Director Dan Crowe

Also posted: Thursday, April 9, 2015 in the Nisqually Valley News.

By Daniel W. Crowe

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of moderating Yelm’s first town hall meeting in many, many years.

The event was hosted by the Yelm Business Association, and the intent was to gather information so that we can work together as a community and collaborate with the city of Yelm for much-needed changes in our community. The Yelm Business Association was formed because many local businesses felt that the concerns of the community, especially the business community, have not been heard by the city.

Since its formation, the Yelm Business Association has grown significantly and now represents many locally owned businesses. We have formed committees dedicated to the advancement, the beautification and cultural identity of Yelm, and we are in the process of forming a citizen’s advisory committee so that all voices may be heard.

The meeting went extremely well. Over 60 people showed up at the Yelm Middle School and aired their concerns and their visions for the future of the city. The optimistic view that many people took of the future of our community was inspiring.

Many envisioned a community that was friendly to our youth and our military families, with safer schools, and adequate budgeting for the police force. People spoke of a community with child- and family-friendly parks and events, a community that promotes the arts. Many others stressed the importance of Yelm’s agricultural history and its influence on our cultural identity. People expressed surprise that the Yelm Farmers Market was located outside of the city, and that we do not have more shops selling the produce of our local farmers and artisans.

I was especially happy to hear the overwhelming support for locally owned and operated businesses and the realization that those are the businesses that build our tax base, drive employment and create a sense of community and cultural identity for our city.

As the discussion turned to the issues that face the community today, people became much less optimistic. Many expressed concerns at the poor impression our community is making on others, with ramshackle, dilapidated buildings on Yelm Avenue, a business core that is dying of neglect, and with the city’s apparent focus on courting big box stores and large chain stores and restaurants, to the detriment of smaller, locally owned businesses. Yelm was described as a drive-through town, with no incentive for people to stop, except perhaps to escape the horrible traffic.

The YBA now has an obligation to act. We will continue to try to communicate with the city of Yelm in a meaningful way. The information we gathered, and the ideas and visions that we heard, need to be communicated to the city and to the mayor, if we are to grow together as a community.

To that end, we will deliver an open letter to all of the councilors and to the mayor. We will also work to develop a long term partnership between local businesses and the city. Finally, we will work on developing a strong business core, beautifying our city and holding fun, relevant events that bring people from the surrounding areas into the city.

Dreams require action to become realities. We recognize that, and we hope to see you at our next town hall meeting in June.

Daniel W. Crowe owns The Crowe Law Office in Yelm.