April 29, 2016

Yelm Schools Superintendent Andy Wolf resigns –
Accepts job at WA. Assn. of School Administrators

Yelm Community Schools (YCS)
Superintendent Andy Wolf
Photo Courtesy: YCS

Yelm Community Schools (YCS) Superintendent Andy Wolf formally submitted his resignation to the Yelm Schools Board effective June 30 for a position at the Washington Association of School Administrators.

– Editor’s note:
That Superintendent Wolf and former Superintendent Yelm Community Schools Superintendent Alan Burke (resigned January 2009) were hired by distinguished state organizations in Olympia demonstrates the caliber of talent Yelm Community Schools has been fortunate to garner in leading education excellence here.


April 29, 2016

Roundabouts save lives – Yelm nixes them in city limits

SR 510 & Reservation Rd. roundabout
Photo courtesy: WSDOT

– “Americans don’t like roundabouts, but they should”
“…researchers say roundabouts can save lives. According to data by the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control.” Apart from preventing cars from crashing into each other, roundabouts also saved the lives of countless pedestrians.

Why is that? The Washington State Department of Transportation points to several main reasons. First, curved intersections “eliminate” the possibility of deadly head-on collisions.

Second, the nature of roundabouts forces drivers to reduce their speeds as they approach them. And third, “because traffic is constantly flowing through the intersection, drivers don’t have the incentive to speed up to try and ‘beat the light,’ like they might at traditional intersection,” the Washington State Department of Transportation writes on its website.

Despite all that, the United States is vastly outperformed in the number of circular intersections compared with many European nations,” by Rick Noack, Washington Post.
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– Editor’s Note:
Yelm rejected a proposed roundabout at the Mossman & 1st St. interchange.

April 29, 2016

Oil train safety meeting well-attended with frank discussions

An oil train snaking its way through downtown Seattle
Photo credit: Marcus R. Donner/Puget Sound Business Journal

– “Oil train safety symposium draws crowd”
“Dozens of policy makers and emergency responders filled a room in Lakewood at the Clover Park Technical College on Wednesday [April 27] to discuss the latest threats and safety measures involved in increased oil train traffic throughout Washington.

The Oil Train Safety Symposium was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s Center for Regional Disaster Resilience,” by Alison Morrow and Glenn Farley, KING 5-TV News.
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April 28, 2016

More record heat on the way!

Monday’s forecast for the Yelm area calls for an 85 degree high temperature, which would break the former 78 degree record for any May 2nd set in 1966.
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April 28, 2016

Yelm’s 20th annual Arbor Day this Friday – 11am

Credit: Arbor Day Foundation

Yelm’s Arbor Day Celebration
Friday, April 29th, 11 AM
Yelm City Park

From the City of Yelm:

“The City of Yelm has been recognized by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City since 1997. To achieve the recognition, four standards must be met each year, one of which is a proclamation and observation of Arbor Day.

Yelm’s Arbor Day is organized by the Tree Advisory Board, representing civic leaders, educators, and private citizens. The Arbor Day celebration is an event involves presenting Yelm’s sister city, Lacey, a tree, recognizing local students talents, and local school bands and choirs. Yelm’s Arbor day is one of the largest in the State and is held the last friday (sic) in April at Yelm City Park.”
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– From Yelm Community Schools:
The Yelm Tree Advisory Board and Yelm Community Schools will be giving recognition to the winners of the Arbor Day Art contest. Congratulations to our Prairie winners:
Kindergarten 2nd place – Kiley Mueller
Third Grade 2nd place – Hannah Larsen
Fifth Grade 2nd place – Drew Larsen
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April 27, 2016

Mayor requests Chatwin appointment postponement –
Harding suspiciously absent from Council session

Mayor Ron Harding

Just prior to last night’s last night’s City Council session, the Council was informed the mayor had obtained new information about City Administrator candidate Stefan Chatwin which required more due diligence on the mayor’s part. Therefore, Mr. Harding requested the City Council Agenda be amended to remove his request for Chatwin’s appointment. Then, Mr. Harding did not attend last night’s City Council meeting, deferring to Mayor Pro-tem Tracey Wood to conduct the session. WHY? No explanation was given.

– Editor’s note:
If Mr. Harding performed a thorough due diligence by calling Council members in Hayden, ID and/or Santaquin, UT about Chatwin, then the Yelm City Council would not have been put in this position and more time lost on a City Administrator appointment. Chatwin’s two prior City Administrator resignations and a vote of no-confidence raise significant red flags themselves, covered here previously. And next week, the City of Yelm marks 11 months since former City Administrator Badger announced her resignation.

Perhaps Mayor Harding felt he should defer from being present in the Council’s discussion on the this new information when they went into Executive Session, however that is very suspicious. If there was further incriminating evidence Mr. Harding possessed about City Administrator candidate Chatwin over and above what has been publicly covered here, then why had that been hidden from the council and the public?
If Harding purposefully withheld any information he had about Chatwin from the Council, then the mayor should be sanctioned by the Yelm City Council.

Will Harding withdraw or submit Chatwin for approval at the next Council session on May 10th?
Stay tuned!

– Bottom line
With Mayor Harding’s absence from a controversial meeting highlighting his lack of due diligence, and the fact that Yelm’s former City Administrator Badger announced her resignation almost 11 months ago and that post remains vacant, the Harding era in Yelm IS coming to an end.
This is not a leader for the present and the future!

April 26, 2016

Home and Garden Show this weekend in Yelm

– From the Yelm Chamber of Commerce April Newsletter
Nisqually Valley Home & Garden Show 2016
Save The Date!

Are you ready to enjoy spring? We certainly are! On April 30th and May 1st, the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 2016 Nisqually Valley Home & Garden Show at Yelm High School. This is the 14th annual show, bringing together residents and area business as well a large number of visitors in a bustling festive atmosphere.

* Shop at local businesses
* Learn from experts in their fields
* Tour over 100 exhibitor booths and demonstrations
* Sample foods from a variety of vendors
* Connect with friends and neighbors
* Bring the entire family
* Discover your hidden treasures at the Antique Fair
* Explore Classic Vintage Cars at the Car Show

Mark your calendars now and get ready for the Nisqually Valley Home & Garden Show 2016!
Admission is Free!
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Click here for the event schedule.

April 25, 2016

Council to vote tomorrow on City Admin. candidate –
Chatwin’s approval should be rejected

Steve Klein, left, talks with city administrator candidate
Stefan Chatwin at April 7th Yelm Chamber event
Photo credit: Michael Wagar, Nisqually Valley News

– City Administrator candidate Stefan Chatwin’s appointment should be denied
I have observed Mayor Harding’s style of management for 11.25 years, so when he had a community meet and greet April 7th for City Administrator candidate Stefan Chatwin, I KNEW he was Harding’s nominee. Harding mentioned no-thing about Chatwin being among several other candidates he would introduce to the community at this or other functions. The very first question I asked Chatwin when the photo above was being taken was whether he was Harding’s appointee. Of course, Chatwin said he had not been informed of such, however following Harding’s so-obvious modus-operandi of subterfuge, Chatwin being presented to the Council tomorrow for approval merely followed Harding’s “script,” meaning there were NO other candidates qualified to present for consideration.

There are so many red flags in this man’s management past, that the Yelm City Council should REJECT this candidate, or he will also eventually add the Yelm City Administrator position to his string of “resignations.”

Chatwin’s past requires through examination, covered here previously
* After 2 years on the job, Chatwin earns vote of no confidence in Hayden, Idaho in 2011.
* Chatwin “resigns” in December 2015 from Hayden, ID. City Administrator post.
[I trust the Yelm City Council will have done their due diligence in calling Hayden Council members about these issues with Chatwin, since Harding has obviously done little or kept his information hidden, since there is no advanced report on the Council’s Agenda about this candidate, hmmm.]
* Chatwin “resigned” as Santaquin, UT City Administrator in October 2008.

– Bottom line
Mr. Harding’s lone City Administrator candidate comes before the Yelm City Council with too many unanswered questions and not enough due diligence on the mayor’s part, if any background checks were conducted at all. Yelm requires a qualified City Administrator that will be effective here for many years, and especially in the post-Harding era!


April 25, 2016

Yelm Community Center dedicated –
yet no naming for former Mayor Kathy Wolf?

Yelm Community Center
Photo credit: Yelm Chamber of Commerce

While the Yelm Community Center was formally dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 23rd, the Yelm City Council has not had an Agenda item to consider the 2015 formal requests by the Yelm Business Assn. to name the Community Center for former Mayor Kathy Wolf.

Interesting that Mr. Harding and the former City Council provided no feedback or response to the community from this suggestion reported in the Nisqually Valley News and lauded throughout our area. Did the preceding Council just bury this proposal?

Blogger Klein is a founding Board member of the Yelm Business Assn.

April 24, 2016

Thurston County’s “agritourism” poised for take-off in 2016

“Farmers in rural Thurston County hope agritourism efforts will encourage
customers to buy directly from the growers, instead of the store.”
Photo courtesy: Helsing Junction Farm, Rochester, WA

“Connecting with Thurston County’s farms”
“With new marketing, membership efforts under way, 2016 could be hallmark year for agritourism around the state capital area.”

“Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero explains she was moved to help the region’s farms before they are forgotten and lost to time. Farmers are aging out, land is getting expensive and it’s getting harder and harder for new farmers to enter the market. Since 1975, the county has lost over 75 percent of its working agricultural lands, and in a five-year period from 2002 to 2007, it has lost 50 percent of the remaining farmland, according to the Washington State University Thurston County Extension.

‘It’s alarming to see the amount of farmland that was lost. Being able to help farmers stay in business all year round is really on our mind. We want them to make money,’ she says. ‘We can get people off of I-5, we can entice them. We have so much to offer in Thurston County.’

Right now, all the pieces are falling into place to finally make agritourism take off.

In October of 2013, the county created the agritourism overlay district.”

“To funnel visitors to farms and businesses like Helsing Junction, the Bountiful Byway — a 60-mile horseshoe-shaped scenic route that winds its way through Yelm, Tenino, Rainier, Bucoda, Grand Mound, Rochester and Littlerock — was established in October of 2014. There are more than 90 suggested agricultural, ecological and cultural stops,” quoting Zachariah Bryan, Business Examiner.
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