January 31, 2007

GUEST ENTRY: “A TIME COMES WHEN SILENCE IS BETRAYAL” SUMS UP THIS LETTER

This letter was received by the Yelm Community Blog and permission was granted to share it with all of you by the writer. It has been edited in no way:

Dear Steve,

I continue to be deeply inspired by your dedication to our community — running for Mayor, tirelessly informing us, and making sure we have the information necessary to chart a course that will make our community truly thrive and be sustainable.

And at the same time I am disheartened at the lack of comments to your posts on many vitally important issues. Week after week I have seen many important issues and questions raised only to scroll down the page to see “comments: 0” on nearly every one of the articles posted — and not being inclined to post one myself.

And so I ask myself why, and I am pretty sure the answer to that is the same for a lot of people and the solution probably is too.

Is it because of the hectic construction of my life where I just don’t have enough time or energy to put my mind to writing something good, much less really do what needs to be done to help remedy the problem?

Answer: Yes, I have constructed my life around filling immediate personal needs in the short term to the detriment of many long term necessitites, with one of the first to go being participation in community.

Do I feel that since no one else is saying anything, why should I?

Answer: Yes, it is the second best excuse of all, next to having a hectic, busy life of paying bills. It also brings the great joy of having an opinion and never doing anything about it.

Is it that I just dont care?

Answer: Yes, sometimes the problems appear too big for “little ol me” to do anything about and a sense of defeat and fatigue creeps in. And then for some reason warm flannel sheets and down comforters seem like a workable solution.

Do I consider myself a private person, not really suited to social affairs?

Answer: Yes. I am very private and am uncomfortable in social situations, I am also deathly fearful about speaking in public — so therefore I vigorously avoid putting myself in those positions.

So what is the solution?

Isnt it simply to just “get over it?”

Is there really anything further that needs to be said for me to do that?

Nope.

From now on I am going to make comments however small on all the articles in your post that I have thoughts about. Then, I am going to actually take some kind of further action on at least one issue that I feel especially concerned about — whether it be attend a meeting or write a letter.

And I think that will be a good start for now.

Thanks for the inspiration Steve!

Sincerely,
Shelley Lucus
Rainier

[Ed. Note: The title quote “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” is from
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)
American Civil Rights Leader in a
speech delivered on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City.]


January 30, 2007

YELM’S THOMPSON CREEK SUBJECT OF STATE DEPT. OF ECOLOGY MEETING

The Agenda from the meeting regarding Yelm’s Thompson Creek
at the Washington State Dept. of Ecology in Lacey took place Monday morning January 19th at 9am.

All gathered introduced themselves including state, county & city officals, residents, and property owners
of the affected area…
The introduction to the Thompson Creek flooding area was with maps, site pictures, charts, and graphs
provided by Bill Hashim of the Dept. of Ecology and Ed Wiltsie, PE of the Olympia engineering firm Morrissette & Ass.
with an excellent, clear and concise presentation on the creek’s geology.

The public expressed their concerns followed by comments and presentations from:

Kevin Farrell. Dept. of Ecology about flooding, channel modification
Key McMurry of the WA. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife about undersized culverts & reeds canary grass blocking flow
Derek Rockett of the Dept. of Ecology on sedimentation & stormwater
Bill Hashim of the Dept. of Ecology on impervious surfaces and runoff
Grant Beck, City of Yelm Development Director, who declined to make a presentation

Others present in audience were:
Thurston Conversation District
Thurston County engineers
City of Yelm associate planner
Tahoma Terra engineer
Yelm Community Blog host
JZ Knight’s general manager
Nisqually Tribe representative

The fact that all of these people came together to discuss this issue created an atmosphere of understandings from all viewpoints on the problems for everyone…
The one glaring omission was the deferral of comments by the City of Yelm representatives. Only when pressed by several questions as to who was the governmental entity responsible for Thompson Creek issues upstream of 93rd in Yelm, did all of the officials in the room specify the City of Yelm. When asked, Yelm official Grant Beck deferred questions to the developer, who opened his remarks by saying he does not represent, nor was he answering for the City of Yelm.
[Ed. Note: Everyone was in wonder as to the attitude of City of Yelm officials present not engaging with State & County representatives or their own fellow neighbors, nor making a presentation of any kind. This was an embarrassment. Yelm property owners/taxpayers pay these peoples’ salary to serve the city, yet were on the receiving end of blatant silence.]
Also noticed was that no one from the Nisqually Valley News identified themselves. That’s interesting since they had a large story about this meeting on page A3 in their January 19th edition.

At the end of this meeting, there was an understanding of who is responsible for what in each governmental
entity and whom to call when the public needs assistance:

Key McMurray – Fish and Wildlife 360 249 4628 ext 231
Key is the habitat manager for this area

Joe Butler — Thurston County 754 3355 x6699
Joe is the flood control officer for Thurston County

Kevin Farell — Dept. of Ecology 407 7253
Kevin the flood control manager for this area

Derek Rockett — Dept. of Ecology 407 6697
Derek is a enforcement officer for Dept. of Ecology

Deb Cornett — Dept. of Ecology 407 7269
Deb is the unit supervisor for enforcement

Grant Beck — City of Yelm 458 3835
Grant is the development director for the city

WHAT SAY YOU?
YOUR COMMENTS WOULD BE WELCOME!


January 29, 2007

TACOMA NARROW SECOND BRIDGE PROGRESSING

Flying in and out of Sea-Tac, the progress of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge becomes very apparent.
For those of you that have not flown over the Narrows, check out the latest pictures from the WA. DOT website.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Snapshots:
By mid-January 2007, the final set of deck sections that arrived last month in the Narrows will all have been lifted into place into the center and side spans.

This aerial image of the eastbound SR 16 provides an excellent view of the new 24th Street on-ramp adjacent to the 24th street overpass. The eastbound ramp will be a restricted to vehicles with the electronic toll pass adhered to their windshields.

The new bridge deck is making its way across the Narrows. All 46 sections are expected to be lifted and in place by mid-January.

Construction camera view.


January 28, 2007

REMINDER: STATE DEPT. OF ECOLOGY HEARING ON YELM ISSUES

A multi-agency meeting about Yelm’s Thompson Creek flooding with officials from the Washington State Department of Ecology & Department of Fish & Wildlife has been scheduled for Monday, January 29th in the Department of Ecology auditorium 300 Desmond Dr., Lacey
from 9-noon.

The Dept. of Ecology has received several complaints in regards to flooding issues, water quality issues, wetland filling, channel modifications and other activities that have affected Thompson Creek in Yelm.

This meeting is open to the interested public!

Kevin Farrell
Floodplain Management Specialist
Washington Department of Ecology – SWRO
(360) 407-7253
kfar461@ecy.wa.gov


January 27, 2007

CHECK YOUR CITY’S WATER QUALITY REPORT

“Drinking water suppliers now provide reports (sometimes called consumer confidence reports) that tell where drinking water comes from, and what contaminants may be in it.

* Read your water quality report if it is online, or
* contact your water supplier to get a copy.

Local information, such as contacts, case studies, and more on source water protection for your state can be found here .

To view the information about your drinking water supplier that is in EPA’s database, please visit the Envirofacts page on your state.

* Envirofacts data on Washington

The Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), together with states, tribes, and its many partners, protects public health by ensuring safe drinking water and protecting ground water. OGWDW, along with EPA’s ten regional drinking water programs, oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America,” quoting the EPA.

Hopefully, this information will give the citizens of Yelm the motivation to get their city’s water supply listed as public documents on these sites.

WHAT SAY YOU?


January 26, 2007

“TAKE BACK WASHINGTON WATERS”

“Puget Sound is one of Washingtons most precious state treasures. But toxic chemicals called PBDEs, found in everything from furniture to laptops, are polluting the Sound and its wildlife, from orcas to harbor seals, fish, and shore birds.

Weve been working to protect the people of Washington from PBDEs, and now that Governor Gregoire has made cleaning up Puget Sound a top priority for 2007, we have an amazing opportunity to make Washington a leader in phasing out these chemicals. To sign the petition, fill in the form below,” quoting WashPIRG.


January 25, 2007

CITY OF YELM OPEN HOUSE ON STEVENS ST. PROJECT

The City of Yelm has announced an Open House for the Stevens Street Northwest Roadway Project
on Thursday, January 25 from 5-7pm at the Public Works Facility,
901 Rhoton Rd.
Yelm
This is an informal discussion & project update.

The chief question that should be asked is how will the city handle the left turn traffic in the afternoons from Yelm Ave. West Eastbound that will turn left onto Edwards St. to access the Stevens St. connector?
Also, with the new Tahoma Terra roadway at Killion Road plus this connector both dumping traffic onto Yelm Ave. West, how does the City expect Yelm Ave. West to handle the additional traffic from these roads with only a center turn lane added — meaning there is still only one lane in and one lane out of town via Yelm Ave. West — with Thursday & Friday afternoon inbound traffic gridlocked NOW for over a mile each week?

No, this Open House was not listed on the new City of Yelm Public Notices page on the city’s website. Click Agendas, then Public Notices.


January 25, 2007

RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE TIE

Olympia Regional Airport recorded a tie for record high temperature on January 23, 2007,
56 degrees set in 2005.


January 24, 2007

“YELM WATER CONCERNS REACH BOIL” SAYS NVN

I would like to acknowledge Cindy Teixeira of the Nisqually Valley News for her in-depth report published on January 19, 2007 in response to questions I posed to the City Council on January 9, 2007 and to the Yelm area community on this very Blog January 14, 2007. I have received no response to those questions to date from the City of Yelm and they still remain unanswered.

This was an informative piece however far from investigative journalism, as there were no questions printed as to anything Ms. Teixeira may have asked City Administrator Shelley Badger to address regarding the SW Aquifer Project, so the front-page story was just a vehicle for the City Administrators views only, without cross-examination. Additionally, there were no further comments from some county residents [critical] for the money the city is spending to conduct water studies on the site of the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community, quoting the NVN.

The questions still remain and even more come to mind from this report:

1. Does the City of Yelm have any contract with the Thurston Highlands developers about water?
Based on comments from Ms. Badger in the NVN, obviously not, If a good water source is found on the Thurston Highlands site, developers will have to pay their fair share, which won’t be determined until the Environmental Impact Statement is complete later this year.

2. Does the City of Yelm have a pro-rata contract with the Thurston Highlands developers about water?
Based on comments from Ms. Badger in the NVN, obviously not, It’s after the EIS “when it will be determined how much they have to pay.”

3. Quoting the NVN, If a good water source is found on the Thurston Highlands site, developers will have to pay their fair share, which won’t be determined until the Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] is complete later this year.
Oh really? Says who? There is no contract with the developers for such.
What if a good water source is not found there? Who pays?
What if the developers pull out? Who pays?
There is no contract with the developer for water, so who is giving permission for wells to be placed on the Thurston Highlands property? Where is the right to do that?
Is the City going to bill the interest payments to the developers for reimbursement for loaning them city money for this study?
Is the City fronting the money for a developer’s EIS to be repaid when the EIS is complete preferential treatment?
Would they do that for you or I?
The Yelm City Council has stated publicly it will not use public funds for private for-profit developments.
Why is the city using taxpayer money to fund a developer’s EIS for Thurston Highlands?

4. Quoting the NVN, But, said Badger, and Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, pursuit of water from that location would be taking place regardless of who owns the property and what they plan to do with it. This is private property that has had various owners during the last decade. What if there is no agreement reached with the current owners?
What will the city do; seize the land and water rights as the City of Olympia did with the brewery last year,
as reported in the Business Examiner?

5. How is the City of Yelm going to recharge the aquifer with all of the treated water it must put back, based on what it proposes to remove? Wont that volume of treated water being placed back in the aquifer contaminate it? Dont you think that is a good question to ask?

6. How do downstream users of the aquifer like the Cities of Olympia & Lacey feel about Yelms treated water recharging the aquifer from where they derive their water?

7. Lets see, the City of Yelm is nearing a water emergency with so much development and one of the citys three wells is unusable, quoting the NVN, A third well is available for emergencies, but the water supply must be treated in a special fashion because it is “under the influence of surface water,” said Tim Peterson, Yelm Public Works director.
Dont you think a good question to ask would have been what/where were the surface conditions that caused this well to be unusable and where does that put the city with 1/3 of its wells out of service? What is the proximity of that third well’s surface conditions to Wal-Mart & its traffic? Will Wal-Mart’s daily traffic pollution from dripping oil & fuel runoff from their proposed volume of vehicles affect those surface conditions in high groundwater areas even more?

8. Quoting the NVN, The owners of the golf course, also the developers of Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands, offered to give the city water rights if half of the available water could be used for the Tahoma Terra development. Clearly the developers are in the need for some deal and the city needs their perceived water. Therefore, this question needs to be raised, What limits and conditions have the developers placed on the city for the SW Aquifer Project? Where is the accountablility on all of this between the Thurston Highlands developers and the City of Yelm? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Bottom line:
There continues to be sidestepping of the answers to these specific questions and others posed, indicative of community lack of interest for not demanding answers.

What WILL make this community care about this and other issues to want to get involved and demand a full accounting to these questions?

What say YOU?


January 23, 2007

PUBLIC NOTICES NOW ON CITY WEBSITE

Due to input from area citizens, the city now has a PUBLIC NOTICES section on the City of Yelm website:

click AGENDA then PUBLIC NOTICES


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