April 30, 2007

REGION’S STATE LAWMAKERS PROGRESS REPORT

The Olympian reported in the April 23, 2007 edition,
“2nd District Lawmakers Have a Mixed Session


Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen
Photo from Senator Rasmussen’s official website
Senator Marilyn Rasmussen:
Bills Sponsored: 40
Bills Passed: four laws, seven resolutions
Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen sponsored 40 bills this session, well above the Legislature average of 23 bills sponsored. She is on three Senate committees, including the Senate Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Committee and the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. She said amusingly Friday, My focus has always been on kids and cows. Well more than half of her bills are about rural industries or child well being.



Representative Tom Campbell
Photo from Representative Campbell’s official website
Representative Tom Campbell:
Bills Introduced: 18
Bills Passed: three laws
Known as an independent both in thought and party loyalty, Campbell this session won a three year battle to require hospitals to report how many of their patients pick up infections during treatment.
Weve accomplished a lot of things, he said, noting he supported some of the years bigger measures, like paid family leave.



Representative Jim McCune
Photo from Representative McCune’s official website
Representative Jim McCune:
Total Bills: 10
Bills Passed: 0
Rep. Jim McCune is the assistant ranking minority member on the House Technology, Energy and Communications Committee.
He is also on the Capital Budget Committee and the Housing Committee.
He sponsored 10 bills but only one got out of committee in the House of Representatives”


April 29, 2007

THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING



Yelm Mayor Ron Harding
Photo from the City of Yelm website

1. MAYOR ASKS FOR WATER CONSERVATION – WHAT ABOUT THE CITY BEING AN EXAMPLE AND SLOWING DEVELOPMENT TO CONSERVE WATER?
Mayor Harding’s byline in this week’s edtiton of the NVN titled “Getting serious about conservation (water)”
is interesting since the City of Yelm has footed the bill for a water study for the Thurston Highlands developers
without a contract with the city for repayment, interest on the loaned money or any commitment on the part of the developers.
So, Mayor Harding places the water issues here clearly on the backs of city residents, beseeching them to conserve.

After all, the city has one of its well shut due to contamination.
And, the city has accepted an appllication for a development from the Thurston Highlands developers without proof of adequate water, all along requiring all others to prove water availability BEFORE aceepting an application.
Mr. Harding, City Administrator Shelly Badger’s explanation to the NVN in answer to questions on the city’s water issues was wholly inadequate and now you write about water conservation?
So, water is definitely the citizens’ problem.
And, that is true as long as no one gets involved to demand the City of Yelm be accountable on this issue.
Badger’s comments to my letter was printed in the NVN and on the Yelm Community Blog.
scroll down to February 3, 2007

The Mayor tells us “Use water wisely.”
I say let the developer prove water BEFORE acccepting their application and pay for the aquifer study on their own dime! This issue has been raised here on the Yelm Community Blog here previously. Scroll to February 5, 2007.

While conservation is to be lauded, isn’t this coming from the Mayor a bit over the top?
Mr. Harding, “get serious about Yelm’s water”!
What about the City of Yelm getting serious about water?

2. HAS ANYONE SEEN THE NVN POLL ON CITY OF YELM GROWTH PUBLISHED?
The Nisqually Valley News ran an informal poll on growth here last February asking,
“Do you think the City of Yelm is on the right path, or wrong track, when it comes to dealing with residential and commercial growth?”
Please select one:

0 -The city is doing a great job dealing with, and planning for, growth

0- The city is doing an OK job, but could do better

0- The city is keeping up, but isn’t doing much planning

0- There is no planning

0- The city is doing a flat out lousy job”

At the time of this writing, 53% of those respondents said, “The city is doing a flat out lousy job.”

Did anyone ever see the published results?
NVN, did you report on your poll?
This was listed on the Yelm Community Blog .
Scroll to February 13, 2007
HMMM!

3.STATE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION RETIRING – HIS IDEA INSPIRED OFFER TO CITY OF YELM – CITY DECLINED
“Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald announced Friday he will resign, stepping down as the state gets ready for a pair of huge, politically touchy highway projects in the Seattle area,” quoting The Olympian

Sec. MacDonald came up with a unique offer to the State of Washington providing funds from his own pocket for a contest to garner “out-of-the-box” ideas from the public for fixing Washington State’s transportation issues:

“State Secretary of Transportation Doug MacDonald wants to move beyond bureaucratese … to fresh ideas for solving transportation problems and is putting up $1,000 of his own money to reach that goal. It’s called the $1,000 Doug MacDonald Challenge, sponsored by the national Transportation Research Board, an organization with the National Academy of Sciences. The idea of generating new transportation ideas from the public with a contest came to him while he was sitting around one day,” quoting the Seattle Times last September.

The exact same idea and dollar amount was offered to the Mayor and Yelm City Council on October 10th, 2006 by this writer and his wife to solicit ideas and public involvement in Yelm’s traffic issues. Not only was this idea not even considered by the Council, there was no reply from the Mayor or Council to our offer. So, this writer had to call the City Clerk to insure the contest offer was received and delivered to the Mayor and Council. It was.
See the Yelm Community Blog of October 10 & 14, 2006.

Congratulations and best wishes to Sec. MacDonald.

4. DR. BILL ELLEDGE RETIRING – YELM DOC FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS
Dr. Bill Elledge will retire from his post at Yelm Family Medicine after 28 years of service to this community. While he will still remain owner, he and his wife Cathy are moving to Olympia and Dr. Elledge will join the staff at Capital Medical Center as hospital physician.
Cathy & Bill were champions for slower growth in this town and Bill testified against the superstore at the Wal-Mart hearings in 2005. His voice of reason about the increased traffic, noise & light pollution, as well as the effect this store would have on the area’s quality of life, was noted as a highlight during those discussions by this writer.
The Elledge’s home is very near the Wal-Mart site and the soon-to be-opened store with all of these
factors he mentioned plus the ensuing development that will be approved around Yelm’s Wal-Mart are a few of the reasons contributing to their decision to leave now, I am sure.
CONGRATULATION CATHY & BILL AND BEST WISHES ON YOUR NEW ADVENTURES!
YOUR SWEET SMILES, WARM HEART & VOICES CHAMPIONING OUR TOWN WILL BE MISSED AROUND HERE.


April 28, 2007

RAINIER’S CHILDREN’S SCHOOL OF EXCELLENCE (CSE) MAKING NEWS



Children’s School of Excellence (CSE) entrance
Photo from CSE website

Rainier-based Children’s School of Excellence has unveliled a new, expanded website.

The Children’s School of Excellence is now taking applications for the following full time
teaching positions for the 2007/2008 school year:

Pre-kinder- Kindergarten – Full time teaching position
1st/2nd grade split Full time teaching position
3rd/4th grade split Full time teaching position
5th/6th grade split Full time teaching position
7th/8th grade split Full time teaching position

Interested persons should send a resume with a cover letter to:
Annie McCandlis, Director
Children’s School of Excellence
PO Box 1065
Rainier, Washington 98576
or
Email to: eamccandlis@gmail.com

The Children’s School of Excellence
IS HAVING A YARD SALE
Saturday May 12th 10:00am to 5pm
13411 Cedar Grove Lane SE, Rainier
360-446-1100
Come, Have Fun and Shop With Us!

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!


April 27, 2007

WASHINGTON STATE’S FIRST STATEWIDE SHRED-A-THON

Washingtons Law Enforcement Group Against Identity Theft, better known as LEGIT, is excited to announce Washingtons first statewide shred-a-thon to raise awareness of identity theft prevention and assist the public in keeping sensitive documents out of the hands of crooks.

On April 28, 2007:

* Financial institutions, retailers, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and law enforcement agencies have volunteered to host simultaneous shredding events for the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations across Washington.
* Commercial shredding companies will donate their time and resources to destroy sensitive documents at no charge.
* Police, government officials, business leaders and other experts will be on hand to answer questions and share valuable information about preventing identity theft.

Our goal is to make SMART handling of personal information second nature, like locking your front door, wearing a seatbelt, and putting out a campfire. Think SMART:

Secure your identity and financial information.
Minimize risks.
Act responsibly.
Restrict access to only those who need the information.
Think before providing personal information to requesters.

You aren’t helpless in the face of identity theft, the fastest growing crime of our time. Join us and learn how to lock up your identity. In order to accommodate as many people as possible, there is a limit of three grocery bags or two file boxes per customer,” quoting their site.

And:
LeMay Mobile Shredding along with Washingtons Law Enforcement Group Against Identity Theft, better known as LEGIT, is excited to announce Washingtons first statewide shred-a-thon to raise awareness of identity theft prevention and assist the public in keeping sensitive documents out of the hands of crooks. On April 28th, 2007 we will provide free shredding for anyone wishing to drop off up to three paper grocery sacks of paper or two small banker boxes to be shredded. The hours will be from 10:00m to 2:00pm at the following locations:

Bank of the Pacific
300 East Market
Aberdeen

Red Apple parking lot
822 Alder St.
Sumner

Rainier Pacific Bank
3123 56th St Court NW \
Gig Harbor

Rainier Pacific Bank
109 35th Avenue
Puyallup

Key Bank
2920 Harrison Ave
Olympia

Should you have any questions please call Lemay Mobile Shredding at 877-898-0112,” quoitng LeMay’s site.


April 27, 2007

BUDGET CUTS AFFECT NISQUALLY REFUGE



Nisqually Refuge
Photo from Nisqually Refuge website

“South Sound schoolchildren are among the likely losers as the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge grapples with budget cuts imposed on the national wildlife refuge system by the Bush administration.

By the next federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, there will be 67 permanent employees at the 22 wildlife refuges in Washington, down from 93 in 2004.

The number of full-time U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees at the Nisqually refuge, 8 miles northeast of Olympia, has dropped from nine to seven; the positions lost were an assistant refuge manager and a maintenance worker…

“By the next federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, there will be 67 permanent employees at the 22 wildlife refuges in Washington, down from 93 in 2004.

The number of full-time U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees at the Nisqually refuge, 8 miles northeast of Olympia, has dropped from nine to seven; the positions lost were an assistant refuge manager and a maintenance worker…More than ever, the refuge will rely on the Friends of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge for volunteers to operate the visitors center and help with visitor programs…’Our national wildlife refuges are literally crumbling before our eyes,’ said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. ‘Across the country, were seeing how the culmination of years of negligent funding devastates these special places.,’
quoting The Olympian.


April 26, 2007

HAPPENINGS IN YELM



City of Yelm welcome sign
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

Monday, April 30
Yelm honors Agnes Bennick, the city’s clerk and treasurer for more than 18 years as she retires.
The event is open to the public from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at Yelm City Hall.

Saturday, April 28
Yelm pays tribute in remembrance of former Mayor Kathy Wolf.
A memorial service for Kathy will be at 1:00 PM at Yelm High School.

Friday, April 27
Quiche-making class with Sebastian Schefer, owner and Swiss Pastry Chef
of Yelm’s Sebastian’s Best – Fine European Pastries.
Class is $34 per person, $60 per couple for 3 hours beginning at 7pm
Call ahead to register 458-9313

Thursday, April 26
Yelm welcomes Rep. Jim McCune for a Town Hall Meeting
Yelm Rosemont Asst. Living Center, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Tuesday, April 24
Mayor Ron Harding issued Proclamations that Yelm recognizes
April as Arbor month &
May as Bicycle Commuter Month

Monday, April 23
Yelm kickoff event of Timberland Reads Together.
This year’s program invites community members in the Timberland Regional Library five-county district to read and discuss My ntonia by Willa Cather. This year we are participating in a national program, The Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.
Invited local dignitaries read excepts and described their immigrant fore bearers’ journey to America.


April 25, 2007

CLEARWOOD CONSIDERING CELL TOWER – YIKES!



Cell Phone Tower
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

The Clearwood Association office has advised that the installation of a cell phone tower in the community was the only topic up for discussion at the May 19th meeting. Only members can make a comment at this session.

If you or someone you know lives in Clearwood, encourage them to attend the meeting to make their voices heard.
If they are unable to attend the meeting, a letter or email as a community resident would be beneficial.

That being said, of course, the broadcasting of frequencies from a cell phone tower in the Bald Hills would effect those living around the Clearwood Community, so if you would like to express your views, Connie Sheehan maintains the Clearwood Community Association website.
Her email address is: ConnieS@ywave.com
Clearwood’s Board President is Ron Smith.

A resident reports, “I just spoke with Ron & he said that the Board pursued this possibility due to safety issues — accidents on Bald Hills Rd & not able to make a phone call, injuries on the trails & not able to call, etc. The cell tower issue is not on the Board agenda for this Saturday. The voting will occur by mail, probably in June & the results should be out in August.”

[Ed. Note: Why on Earth these owners would want their pristine environment in which they invested invaded by a cell phone tower is beyond me. Is the loss of their protected community’s culture worth the so-called convenience of cell phones ringing by the lake or on summer walks – not to mention the frequencies affecting all around?
Ignorance IS bliss! Is some multi-national company throwing a boatload of money at the Clearwood Assn. that this even gets on the docket? With all of the homes in Clearwood with land line phones, the argument about safety just does not hold water, IMHO. ]

“Located on Bald Hill Road, 10 miles South East of Yelm, Thurston County, Washington.
Clearwood is a lakeside residential community nestled around three lakes.
This uniquely private, gated community is set in 900 forested acres against a backdrop
of rolling hills including Bald Hill and Mount Rainier.”

The informational meeting is listed here.
12 noon at Reichel.


April 24, 2007

PLANNING COMMISSION TO DRAFT TRANSPORTATION CHAPTER TO CITY’S COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Dear Readers;



Road signs at Yelm intersection of SR 507 & 510
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

No issue has area residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors more galvanized than the Yelm traffic.
Even with the addition of city road projects, most are cosmetic at best helping with flow, yet, do little to tackle this mess.
This writer and others have gone on-record with the Yelm Planning Commission and City Council several times baout this issue alone.

Now, the Yelm Comprehensive Plan will be updated this year and the first step in that process is a draft from the Planning Commission, which they will begin on May 21. The public can attend the session at 4pm.
Once that is completed and an anaysis released, there will be an Open House for public comment.

What I have witnessed is that by the time of the Open House, the Planning Dept. and City Administrators have locked-in their views and strongly provide those as the basis for decisions to the Planning Commission & City Council. The Open House then becomes nothing more than a routine drill and the projects are “rubber stamped” by the officials elected to represent our interests – the property owners and residents of this town.
We all have witnessed this time and again. The 2006 Jefferson Muzzle award to the Yelm City Council highlighted
this as truth, with many of those on the Council then, still sitting there today.

With that in mind, doesn’t this require your education and participation now?

The following from this Blog of October 24, 2006 will educate you about the transportation issues the Planning Commission MUST consider:

Ed Wiltsie was the only speaker to make a public comment at the Oct. 24 City Council meeting regarding Ordinance 858 amending the Yelm Comprehensive Plan. He spoke brilliantly about traffic and water issues.
Regarding traffic, the points he made are as follows:
A. The major thoroughfares through town (SR 507 to the east & SR 510 to the west) carry
school traffic, emergency responders to medical treatment in Olympia and serves as the
only alternate route around I-5 closures between Tacoma & Olympia.

B. Since 1992, major intersections of this road have been graded level of service (LOS) F,
the lowest grade possible. There is no lower threshold and there is not a method for measuring or establishing how far below the LOS F threshold the system can go. Considering the full scenario in Yelm, a LOS F means the road conditions need to be immediately improved because of safety issues while development adding to a LOS F road needs to be kept to a minimum until the road is improved to a higher threshold.

C. Yelm has laudably performed all of the improvements that are possible along the Commercial Corridor, Yelm Avenue, which partially offsets the impact of modest development. However, the recent approval of mega developments (i.e. Wal-Mart, Tahoma Terra) and consideration of Thurston Highlands (which has been noted as one of the largest residential development projects in the United States) does not seem to be consistent with the intent of the concession granted by the language in the Comprehensive Plan. This size of development will lead to unsafe conditions on Yelm Avenue and the numerous side streets that will experience more and more bypass traffic as congestion increases.

D. Mr. Wiltsie was asked if the City Council should shut off development. He said no because funding to support the construction of traffic improvements is derived from such development. Mr. Wiltsie did suggest the city council should not be considering mega-developments (i.e. Thurston Highlands) until the Y3 Loop is in place, as it will add too much additional traffic, creating a more dangerous situation and more safety issues. The city at this point needs to look to improving SR 507 & 510 conditions or reconsider approving further development until such time that SR 507 & 510’s LOS F is improved.
The implication was clear in this listener’s mind: the City of Yelm is going to be liable in lawsuits from traffic deaths because of its acceptance of LOS F intersections all-the-while adding development and worsening the conditions for 15 years. HOW LOW CAN LOS F CONDITIONS GO?

E. Mr. Wiltsie stated that a city can temporarily approve development with a major road graded LOS F as long as there is some remediation to improve that LOS F roadway, such as a bypass. He stated that when (and if) the bypass is open approximately 2015, almost 25 years will have passed with SR 507 & SR 510 being graded LOS F (1992-2015). Mr. Wiltsie said that means this is not a temporary condition, since this road has been graded LOS F since 1992 and the City Council & Planning Commission have deemed this LOS F acceptable.

F. Even the city’s own Development Director, Grant Beck stated in his staff report:
“The City Council should carefully consider the points raised by Mr. Wiltsie in which he indicates that the establishment of a level of service F in the downtown core is not being used as intended by the 2001 Comprehensive Transportation Plan as adopted by the Yelm Planning Commission and the Yelm City Council, as the intention of the City Council is ultimately determined by the City Council. If the Council’s intention is correctly expressed by Mr. Wiltsie’s comments, it should clarify that for the record.”

Bottom line:
The City approved the Comprehensive Plan revisions unanimously anywayOctober 24, even with all of the questions of Mr. Wiltsie added to Mr. Beck’s suggestion to consider Mr. Wiltsie’s comments. While the respect and admiration was noted from the City Council towards Mr. Wiltsie and his report, not one member of the City Council raised their hand to say they would like to table the adoption of Ordinance 858 amending the Yelm Comprehensive Plan and do further research regarding Mr. Wiltsie’s comments.
The citizens of Yelm owe Ed a great deal of thanks for his constant efforts on their behalf at bridging these understandings for the Planning Commission and City Council.

WILL THE PLANNING COMMISSION AND CITY COUNCIL CONSIDER AND INVESTIGATE THESE ISSUES IN 2007?

It’s up to the public to ask their elected officials to do so!

What say you?


April 23, 2007

THURSTON COUNTY ROADS DEPT. PROJECTS IN OUR AREA



Road signs at Yelm intersection of SR 507 & 510
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

Capital construction projects in the design, permitting or right of way acquisition phase:

Project: Bald Hill Road
Location: Four Corners to Smith Prairie Road
Description: Road upgrade.
Expected Completion Date: 2007
Estimated Cost: $3,700,000
Funding Sources: $2,160,000 Federal

Project: Vail Road
Location: Bald Hill Road to SR 507
Description: Widening and safety improvements.
Expected Completion Date: 2009
Estimated Cost: $800,000
Funding Sources: Federal/County

Project: Morris Road Curve
Location: near 115th Lane SE
Description: Realign curve.
Expected Completion Date: 2007
Estimated Cost: $400,000
Funding Sources: Federal/County

Project: Vail Road
Location: 153rd SE to Bald Hill Road
Description: Realign and widen.
Expected Completion Date: 2009
Estimated Cost: $3,000,000
Funding Sources: Federal/ County

Source: Thurston County Roads & Transportation Services Dept.


April 22, 2007

REP. JIM MCCUNE TO HOLD TOWN HALL MEETINGS



Rep. Jim McCune
Photo from Rep. McCune’s website

Rep. Jim McCune will be holding Town Hall Meetings

Tuesday, April 24 – Eatonville Library
6:30 – 8:30pm

Thursday, April 26 – Yelm Rosemont Asst. Living Center
5:30 – 7:30pm


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