April 29, 2006

Misc. News

Eugenio Abad Invites you on the journey with his Art from the Future show May 5-7, 2006 from 10am until 7pm at the Prairie Hotel in Yelm. Abad will be signing purchased work all three days. Contact Marilyn Reardon at 360.985.2258 for further information.

April 28th tied the all-time record high temperature ever recorded that day with 79 degrees
as reported offcially at Olympia, WA. Municipal Airport.
then type in the date.

The Yelm Prairie Arts Assn. (YPAA) is pleased to announce their support of the YELM ARTWALK 2006 ~ May 6th through 13th. This is what The Olympian said about last year’s walk.

And the YPAA site.

Rep. Tom Campbell held a Town Hall Meeting in Yelm on April 29th with this writer in the audience hearing him to say that the city council approved Wal-Mart using incorrect traffic numbers and are
permitting every project leading to the creation of major issues for traffic, water and sewage. This man gave a frank assessment about Yelm’s Wal-Mart approval that drew a heated response from Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom. Rep. Campbell told Mr. Isom this was his meeting, enough of an argument and would give him his due at the end. This did not arise again.
Mr. Campbell clearly stated we must get involved in our local government and tell them what we want – that they are here to serve their constituents, not the other way around. He encouraged us to keep speaking out on issues
of importance to us and learn the processes to enact change and challenge the status quo.

Saturday, May 13 from 8-11am marks the City of Yelm’s annual Spring Clean.
All City of Yelm Residential Garbage Customers are invited to participate by bringing
their Spring Trash free to Yelm City Park for disposal. Permit required. If you did not
receive yours, call Yelm City Hall.458-3244.

COMMENT
Just 5 days after my Yelm Community blog went public it has become the talk of the town, from a full editorial column in the local newspaper by the publisher and managing editor to a public remark by the mayor pro-tem in the Yelm City Council study session of April 27th about a comment recorded on the blog by a reader.

Wonderful that this blog is creating such discourse!

Leave your comment or topic of interest you would like discussed about our community.


April 28, 2006

Roads Capacity Needs to be the Issue

Yelm Mayor Ron Harding touts “Getting Aggressive on Transportation” in his monthly column in the Nisqually Valley News of April 28th mentioning two major items:
1. The Stevens St. Y-4 connector.
2. Killion Rd. and Yelm Ave West instersection improvements.

Both of these miss the point!
While both projects will be beneficial, they both will add major traffic onto Yelm Ave. West:
1. The Stevens St. Y-4 connector ends at Edwards St. for westbound traffic, which will have to empty onto Edwards St. and then Yelm Ave. West to continue the journey out of town.
2. The Killion Rd. intersection will add the proposed entry into the 1,200 Tahoma Terra development on the south side of this new light the mayor mentions. This road is also proposed to access the 5,000 home Thurston Highlands complex, meaning it will service 6,200 homes from the south side.

Adding a turn lane aids flow, yet adds no capacity. There is NO plan on the books to add additional lanes to carry all of this increased traffic on Yelm Ave. West. There still is one lane in and one lane out. And this city will have 1,800 new homes within 5 years according to city officials as mentioned in the January 1st Tacoma News Tribune, plus the growth in traffic from new construction outside of the city that passes through town, the new Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other construction soon to follow.

And remember, the State Highway 510 Yelm Loop the Mayor mentions in his piece will not even begin construction until 2012 and open 4 years later, 2016 — subject to funding. Read this for yourself:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR510/YelmLoop/

Quoting Mayor Harding, “”the benefits to the travel around the community will be greatly improved.”

I ask “HOW?”

To summarize:
1. 1,800 new homes built in city limits within 5 years.
2. Wal-Mart adding 6,900-8,000 cars a day.
3. A highly touted Yelm Loop not coming online until 2016 if at all.
4. No added capacity to carry additional through Yelm Ave. West traffic.

You do the math!

Is the city, county and state ready to discuss 5-laning Yelm Ave. West?


April 24, 2006

Thurston Highlands Application

This writer has noticed certain city institutions seem to be of the mindset that Thurston Highlands’ 5,000 home application is a “slam dunk” for approval. Or at the very least, their actions speak louder than their words.
This writer has observed the following in the last week:

A. The city of Yelm formally sent out a Public Notice for a Thurston Highlands open house with city officials on April 21, just 4 days prior to the April 25 session. Not much advance notice for people to hear about and plan to be there.
B. The Thurston Highlands public session is scheduled for 5pm, prior to the time most can be there as they work in Olympia, Lacey, or Tacoma until 5pm, must drive to Yelm, have dinner and then get there.
C. The city of Yelm has placed the Thurston Highlands link on the right side its own webpage with the Thurston Highlands logo. This is in addition to a hotlink to the Thurston Highlands story on their homepage. Two links all for a private developer; my, how generous and unbiased of the city!
D. The Nisqually Valley News has also placed Thurston Highlands as the ONLY non-NVN business link under Local Business on their homepage, yelmonline.com. This is a direct link to the Thurston Highlands homepage, NOT to the city of Yelm’s application and information on this developer. WHY use the developer’s own marketing link instead of the city’s? How nice of the NVN to market and promote this developer! If the NVN wanted to give their readers information as a “public service”, they should link to the city’s application information on the city site.
E. The April 21st Nisqually Valley News Talk Back question asked the public, “With nothing off the table for Thurston Highlands in Yelm, what would you like to see included in this new 5,000-home development?” This question certainly has the tone and context that the NVN sees this being approved. If not, they would have asked,
something like “What do you think of tripling the growth in Yelm traffic, water consumption, sewage and paving over of green spaces with the Thurston Highlands application for 5,000 homes.”

Bottom line, we need to press city of Yelm officials, Thurston County Regional Planning and Growth Management with the issue of inadequate Comprehensive Planning for the development being entertained. Your voice can be heard at this Open House on Tuesday, April 25th beginning at 5pm at the Yelm Middle School.


April 15, 2006

Yelm expanding

A. A 5,000 home development has been proposed for Yelms former NASCAR site. In addition to the 1,200 home development under construction by the same owners, some 6,200 total new homes by these people alone will bring 12,000 20,000 new residents to Yelms current 4,455 residents as reported in the April 14th NVN. [Ed. Note: story not archived.] link here

“In this website, you’ll find information relating to the new Thurston Highlands Community coming to Yelm. Learn about what a “master planned community” is, how this will affect the community you live in, and much more.” [I guess tripling + the population of this town will “affect the community!”] link here

Has anyone noticed the Thurston Highlands link is the only one of two listed under “Local Businesses” on the Nisqually Valley News homepage? HMMM! WHY? How about other locally owned businesses being listed? What’s up with that? The Yelm Chamber ad does not even have a link. This writer wrote the newspaper publisher and asked what he requires to be listed there. Awaiting response. link here

B. Yelms City Council received the dubious honor of being one of the most egregious entities to public free speech with the 15th annual Jefferson Award. link here

After reading the Mayors comment to The Olympian stating that Yelm supports him because he received 79% of the vote, here are those facts provided by the Thurston County Auditor:

The 79% (848 votes of 1,076 cast for Mayor) that voted for Mr. Harding to which the Mayor refers in The Olympian piece was actually 19% of the official population of Yelm (4,455 at election) and 40% of the registered voters (2,110) on November 8, 2005. 51% of registered Yelm voters actually cast a ballot for Mayor. Those results are difficult for anyone to call a mandate supporting their policies. And, the Mayor and City Council still have not:

1. Lifted the ban on the “W-word” being mentioned during the public comment session of council meetings.

2. Lifted the moratorium on moratoriums.

3. Held any kind of public town-hall meeting or forum.

C. This from Turlock, CA.: A state appellate court ruled Wednesday [Apr. 5] that the city’s ordinance designed to keep discount “big box” businesses from operating grocery stores is legal. The Wal-Mart corporation sued Turlock soon after the City Council passed the ordinance with a 5-0 vote in 2004. Council members said then that the 225,000-square-foot-supercenter the Wal-Mart corporation wanted to build in the city would cause substantial traffic congestion and resulting environmental harm, quoting the Modesto Bee. [Ed. Note: They used the same grounds on which the Yelm Commerce Group based their arguments for Yelm, yet Turlock had their City Council working with them.] link here

D. In one victory though, Amtech Corp., one of Yelms two fiberglass factories, announced this week that it is shutting down its Yelm plant on July 31. The company said that it will close the Yelm production facility, located at 406 Railroad Street, effective this July. In a brief press release issued Tuesday [Apr. 4], the company said that senior management decided to close the Yelm facility on Railroad Street…One reason cited for the move is the increasing residential development surrounding the Yelm facility, quoting the NVN in this front-page, un-archived story. [Ed. Note: Now with 6,200 new homes to be built within two miles of the plant, I suppose so. This place spews out odorous toxins from their stacks that descend on neighboring children playing after school] link here .


April 5, 2006

Open debate among citizens

This writer watches no network television except one weekly program – CBS News 60 Minutes. A KK reader sent this clip from a show I have never seen and presented in this 5-minute scene from ABC’s Boston Legal is one of the most compelling descriptions of the current state of compromise among Americans’ political and personal freedoms. While one’s politics does not win court cases, this argument to a jury is worth sharing with all Americans. Turn up your volume, click this link and prepare to be moved: link here
And the transcript: link here

This very issue has trickled down to the local level (perhaps to your town as well) with the City of Yelm’s embarrassingly ignorant “moratorium on moratoriums” and the public restriction from mentioning the W-word, “Wal-Mart” in Council Chambers. This in a town where 5 persons from the public are limited to 3 minutes each to speak twice a month before the Mayor & Council in meetings that rarely run more than 30 minutes total. Why cant the public speak here at ANY Council meeting for their collective 15 minutes on ANY subject? Why? Because the Council wishes not to have discourse taken up by one subject? Not good enough! This is a republic where government is supposed to serve the citizens, not restrict their interactions by said government. There is no other opportunity to meet collectively with our elected City Hall officials because this Mayor & Council hold no Town Forums. And in Yelm, we have Baptist ministers assailing divergent views to their own parishioners and writing letters to the local newspaper condemning differences of opinion and breeding fear, when empowering through encouragement of self-discovery would uplift their fellow citizens. And anyone challenging their views in this day is smeared as a heretic or worse. The voting public should strongly consider electing officials that will listen to their constituents and booting out the ones that act otherwise.

This writer has always been for as long as I can remember, for regular open debate among citizens and elected officials and will be a supporter for this Mayor and Council’s Town Hall Forums when and if they hold such and as vigorously as I am with the upcoming Fire/EMS co-chiefs’ meeting. Quoting The Olympian on October 12, 2005, “Klein is a strong advocate for residents being allowed to express their views at council meetings…” link here


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