July 31, 2007

GUEST ENTRY: JEAN MARIE CHRISTENSON WITH THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FIRE LEVY



Jean Marie Christenson with WA. Gov. Christine Gregoire
Photo courtesy of Ms. Christenson

Guest Entry from JeanMarie Christenson:

Today I am sharing with you about a meeting I had with Fire Chief Rita Hutchenson in regard to the upcoming Levi for Fire District 4, and some of the brainstorming ideas that came out of our meeting.

Fire Chief Rita Hutcheson has done a stellar job of championing her cause on behalf of the Fire Department. I don’t think any Candidate-for-office could say they were out more than Rita enlisting support for issues. I shared with Rita that I would like to see a more affective way to bring funds to our Fire District then have been traditionally used. I would like to get away from a bandaide approach and see if we could find more long term solutions.

Listed here are some of the ideas I’ve been thinking about and shared with Rita at our meeting:

(1) The Lottery was originally presented to the voters as a means to support schools. In the end however, the money was not used specifically for schools but instead went into the General Fund.

Question: Are Fire Districts able to tap into that fund, or make application in some way to be supported by that fund?

(2) Developers and impact fees: Developers should be helping to relieve the stress brought by their projects to the local area with impact fees substantial enough to absorb this burden, including that on Fire Districts. It is my understanding that impact fees are used by the Fire Department for equipment only…but wouldn’t that be a substantial help when we are taking about tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars in needed equipment?

(3) Could City, County, District and State General Funds all help?

(4) I asked Rita if different Fire Districts supported each other? It seems to me a system of Sister-Districts (like certain cities have sister-cities) could be helpful because not every Fire District is short of funding, and some are actually quite flush. The Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Districts could be supporting each other, or perhaps there could even be a Statewide Fire-District-General-Fund?

(5) Of course, individual contributions, and local events to raise money for the Fire Department are always fun, and a great way to get citizens involved directly at the same time.

(6) Also, with the numerous projects the Capital Budget helps to fund, could some money be allocated from that source? Certainly local Fire Department facilities could greatly benefit from Capital Budget funding.

(7) And, it seems to me, the single most helpful thing that could happen for Fire District 4 is a 24 hour Medical Emergency
Facility in Yelm or Rainier. 80% of our Fire District’s funds are spent on response to Medical and Health Care urgencies/emergencies.

If the burden were taken off of the funding needed to respond to these situations with a local Medical Emergency Facility, those funds would be freed up for other Fire District needs … and again…we are talking about 80% of Fire District 4’s available budget. I know Representative Tom Campbell has supported the idea of a Medical Emergency Facility in our area for some time, and I think it is time we step forward and ask the State to fund this project.

While it is clear that Fire District 4’s need for funding is immediate I feel we should additionally look for long term support systems and resolutions that will work into the future. I know that Fire Chief Hutcheson agrees.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

JeanMarie Christenson
1st Vice Chair, Democratic Party
Legislative District 2
& Precinct Committee Officer
Weir Prairie Precinct 128 (near Rainier)

Find out more about the upcoming Fire Levy.



Logo from Citizens for Fire Protection website


July 30, 2007

CSE AUCTION A STUNNER!



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

The Children’s School of Excellence (CSE) raised a reported $132,000+ at the auction last Saturday night, and that does not include 4 scholarships totaling $20,000 given at the event’s conclusion. Auctioneer Larry Schorno and his energetic daughter Cindy outdid themselves in this year’s auction as they were so much a part of the collective body of participants. Their love and care was visible and experienced by all !!!
Retired Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards made a dramatic entrance on his Harley motorbike with Auction Chair Linda Evans !!!
Yelm Community Schools’ Denise Bagwell brought her experience with the annual Dollars for Scholars and recorded the auction sales along side CSE’s Shuba Nandyal & Vivian Clermont.

Jeevan Anandasakaran is the School’s internet programmer, engineering the whole site. He volunteers all his time.

Janine Olson reportedly procured more goods than any volunteer, drove more miles, resolved more problems, and kept a cheerful outlook for months. With three children, this lady made tireless efforts at the drop of a pin. The auction would not have been a success without her!

Yvonne Lebron, CSE’s administrative assistant, kept every loophole sealed, kept all the volunteer teams supplied with material, kept a smiling face throughout chaos at every turn.

Omey Nandyal is CSE’s newest board member and the mind and man behind CSE’s growth. He has been instrumental in helping realize CSE’s ambitious operational and educational goals, with emphasis on fund raising.

The CSE board is a progressive, caring, capable, hands-on board. They are behind every action, every call, every step. They do more than any school board. They give time when there isn’t any. They do whatever it takes to keep the school in seamless operation, improve every level, and plan for future growth. Congratulations to Board President Carey Miller & all of the Board of Trustees.

Larry Schorno announced he is the auctioneer at most of the large auctions in Washington State and CSEs was the most successful in the State he has ever seen. A big congratulations goes to Chair Linda Evans and Co-Chair Roberta Brittingham for the event and in charge of the fantastic decorations and bountiful table spreads.
Everyone deserves praise for their hard work to pull off such a fine event for our community’s children!

The highlight of the evening was the $40,000 paid by Sir Robert Jones for a pair of Ramtha’s boots, donated by channeler JZ Knight.


July 30, 2007

BALD HILL ROAD UPGRADE TO BEGIN TODAY

Thurston County Roads & Transportation Services officials have announced the Bald Hill Road upgrade project will begin today. Motorists are recommended to allow extra time when using the 3.6 miles stretch of this road.

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


July 29, 2007

LAST NAIL IN THE COFFIN – USA NOW A DICTATORSHIP



THE WHITE HOUSE Seal
Logo from the official White House website

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq
Office of the Press Secretary

The White House
July 17, 2007

Quoting Truthout,
“Editor’s Note: Posted below is the recently dispatched Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq, and notice to Congress of its issuance. It is a remarkably broad assumption of power taken unto the executive branch by George W. Bush.

While there are references to making persons that “… pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence …” specific targets of this action, the order also names a far broader spectrum of individuals and actions that may be subject to punitive measures as well. Mr. Bush’s order names persons that “have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.”

Further, while this order empowers/instructs “… officers and agencies of the United States Government …” to assist in its enforcement, ultimately judgment is rendered to members of the executive branch, each of whom serves at the pleasure of Mr. Bush. Since the order seeks to circumvent both judicial and Congressional oversight, it renders unto the executive branch, and ultimately Mr. Bush, absolute power of law.

Congress has moved in recent weeks to confront Mr. Bush, his cabinet and staff. At the center of each Congressional action against the White House is what Congressional leaders view as misuse of executive privilege. – ma/TO”

And, this NY Times editorial on this subject.


July 28, 2007

CSE AUCTION TONIGHT – TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE AT DOOR



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

The Children’s School of Excellence (CSE) has announced their 4th Annual Auction & Garden Party tonight on their Rainer Campus.
Last year they raised more than $175,000. For 2 years in a row, this little 70-student private school has raised more money for their students by auctioneer Larry Schorno than the Yelm Chamber of Commerce’s Dollars for Scholars has raised for the multi-thousand students Yelm Community Schools by the same auctioneer.


July 27, 2007

“WHY WASL”

The Dispatch’s Bruce Smith filed this in-depth report on the WASL:

“Why WASL?
Who pushes the WASL and why
by Bruce Smith

Rep. Tom Campbell (R) declares we’ve spent over a billion dollars on the WASL, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, and exclaims, “What have we’ve gotten? Not much!” He says we should repeal WASL, disband the agency that concocted it – the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction – and better empower local superintendents to teach our children.

Rep. Jim McCune (R) pledges a fight on WASL and a return to the solid fundamentals of pre-WASL curriculum.

Senator Marilyn Rasmussen (D) calls WASL “horrible” and a “tragedy,” and charges OSPI with reckless spending, all in pursuit of fostering a test which “punishes children.”

With all three local state legislators adamantly against WASL, who is for it? Rasmussen, McCune and Campbell point their fingers at many facets of society, but they all agree on one major player: a quiet, behind-the-scenes group of business leaders called the Washington Roundtable.

Marc Frazer, Vice-President of the Washington Roundtable, characterizes his organization as a non-partisan group of CEOs representing many of the largest corporations in the state. Boeing, Microsoft and Washington Mutual are some of the Roundtable’s members. In addition, executives from the Tacoma News Tribune and the Spokane Spokesman Review sit at the Roundtable, while the organization’s current chair, W. Stacey Cowles, has family ties to the Seattle Times and the New York Times,” quoting the Eatonville Dispatch.

Be sure to read the full article.


July 26, 2007

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES 6-YEAR TRANPSORTATION PLAN

This writer has missed very few City Council meetings in the last three years and has rarely seen Council Chambers standing room only or public comments lasting an hour. Most Council sessions are concluded in under 25 minutes. Get traffic on the docket and citizens turned out in force.
Mayor Harding obviously read this blog [see July 19th entry] and announced that Level of Service (LOS) was not pertinent to the Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) saying that LOS had nothing to do with the STIP.
As mentioned by this writer on the record, it has to do with pubic safety on city streets, which needs to be considered in road projects here.

My letter to our State & County officials sums up the evening quite well:

Dear Senator Rasmussen, Rep. McCune,
Rep. Campbell & County Commissioner Oberquell,

Last night was the Yelm Public Hearing on the city’s 6 year Transportation Plan (STIP). Council Chambers were packed with a “standing room only” crowd & citizens commenting on various issues about Yelm’s traffic & road
conditions, with the hearing lasting for 1 hour & 4 minutes.

Many of the comments were about the many Level of Service (LOS) D + F intersections along the Yelm Ave. corridor that affect public safety. Pointed out was the fact that the City of Yelm has accepted LOS F conditions along this road since 1992, an LOS that was supposed to be temporary until fixed, unless something was being done to mitigate the situation. That mitigation has always been the bypass, which we all know is not totally funded and if so, will not begin construction until 2013 and opening in 2015, almost 25 years with LOS F conditions. Also mentioned were that developments adding to an LOS F road need to be kept to a minimum until the road is brought to a higher threshold. As we all know, such is not the case what with Tahoma Terra and so many other approved developments in Yelm alone. While many new road projects have added to Yelm overall, the main corridor is backed up to the Red Wind Casino on Thursday & Friday afternoons, and is nearing a gridlocked condition, which will eventually stifle growth in the area of the county.

Why even Community Development Director Beck stated last night to the Council in his Staff Report that the Hearing Examiner here for four hearings on developments Monday showed that traffic figures should be combined from new developments back in the Tahoma Terra area and when doing so, Longmire St. accessing Tahoma Terra then failed; the City had separated the traffic numbers, lessening the impact on paper. Not one question was raised about that from Council. And a failed Longmire feeds onto Yelm Ave. West! How long is this city going to keep adding failed roads to an LOS F SR 510 in city limits?

Mayor Harding stated to the audience,
“You need to be a voice and contact your State representatives. We have ongoing meetings with State officials and are very active.”
He further stated that 67% of the traffic on Yelm Ave. is from outside the City limits and originates in Thurston & Pierce Counties. He said we need to contact our County Commissioner.

Mayor Pro-Tem Isom added,
“It’s (the Yelm Ave. road conditions) a State problem. Put pressure on your State Representatives.”

Further, Council member Don Miller asked Community Development Director Grant Beck if the state controls the road, with Mr. Beck answering the city has to get permission from the State to do anything on Yelm Ave. (SR 510 & 507). Mr. Beck further stated that while that is the case, the city asked and approved a LID on a portion of that road. Mr. Miller re-emphasized that it’s still a State Highway that the State controls. In my view, using this as an excuse is absurd. The City can do almost anything they want on that road, if they consult the State.
[Mr. Miller, the city sure got a Wal-Mart entrance/egress approved quite easily on a state highway within city limits. HMMM!]

Additionally, a lady asked why Yelm even bothered having a Public Hearing, since the vote was scheduled right after the hearing. No discussion amongst the members was even scheduled or raised about all of the public comments. She suggested the decision was already made and asked Council to wait at least until the next meeting and discuss what the public said at the Study Session. I suggested tabling the STIP until further review could occur. Bottom line, the Public Hearing seemed just for show. The vote went on unanimously to approve the STIP, slam dunk.

For over three years, I have attended almost every Yelm Planning Commission Meeting & City Council meeting, as anyone there can attest. I have repeatedly spoken out on the record about traffic here, including my statements last night about deteriorating public safety along Yelms main corridor, requesting a further look at the STIP to work with State & County officials to get funding for improvements. I have spoken to Reps. McCune & Campbell in their Town Hall Meetings here about this issue.

I am writing asking for help:
City officials say to pressure you.
OK, here I am.
Or, is this issue just another toss of the football amongst our jurisdictions elected officials, while Yelm is choking in unbridled growth & traffic?

Most sincerely,

Stephen R. Klein

cc: Mayor Ron Harding

So, expect more of the same:
gridlock, safety compromises, & loss of revenue to local businesses in the “downtown core” as citizens avoid the traffic here, which was mentioned by one lady. This writer is so surprised local businesses do not go on-record to the Council about the loss of revenue because of the traffic here.

And, stay tuned for more traffic woes to come, as highlighted by the front-page headline article in the NVN out today:
“Yelm Wal-Mart busier than expected.”

And, nary a word was mentioned in the city’s newspaper of choice for public listings, the Nisqually Valley News about the largest attendance for a Council public hearing in years and the length of said meeting. The NVN had a reporter there, too.
Wazzup with that?
Why was that not considered a newsworthy item to report?

What say you?


July 25, 2007

AMERCAN CANCER SOCIETY RELAY FOR LIFE AUG. 4-5



Relay For Life logo
Logo from the American Cancer Society website

Yelm’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life is August 4-5 at the Yelm High School.

“Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight event designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer in our community. At the event, we celebrate survivorship and raise money to help the American Cancer Society in its mission to save lives, help those who have been touched by cancer, and empower individuals to fight back. During the event, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

But, Relay is much more than a walk around a track. It is a time to remember those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. It is a night for people who have shared the same experience to comfort and console one another. During this event, we honor survivors during the Survivors Lap and we remember those we lost to cancer during the Luminaria Ceremony. We also celebrate life, friendship, and a chance to work together toward a cancer-free future…

Sign up today to become a part of the Relay phenomenon. Together we will fuel the work and the hope that can help make a cancer-free future a reality,” quoting their website.

Sign up.

This writer thought this letter to the Eatonville Dispatch and the newspaper’s reply was instructive on the Relay for Life proceeds.


July 24, 2007

NVN’S TEIXEIRA CHOSEN FOR CITY OF YELM POST



Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave Photography

CITY OF YELM COMMUNITY & GOVERNMENT RELATIONS POST FILLED WITH VETERAN NVN REPORTER

A new position was created in this year’s budget for a
Community & Government Relations coordinator.
That person will begin working for the City of Yelm on August 1, 2007.

The position entails the following:

* Policy analysis
* Public surveys
* Pending legislation

There were several applicants that made their way through the interview process to their 2nd & 3rd interviews.

Cindy Teixeira, our local veteran newspaper reporter was selected.
Her last day at the Nisqually Valley News is Thursday, July 26.

The Yelm Community Blog congratulates Cindy in her new post
& wishes her lots of fun in her new adventures…


July 23, 2007

CLEARWOOD COMMUNITY BOARD HAMPERING CELL TOWER KNOWLEDGE?



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

Former Clearwood Community Board member Valerie Cawley has given the Yelm Community Blog permission to print her letter exchange with the Clearwood Community Assn. Board last week on one facit of the cell tower issue.
Is the Clearwood Community Assn. Board hampering knowledge on the propsed cell tower from being disseminated to the members? You decide:

1. Letter from the Board to Mrs. Cawley:
July 17, 2007
The Association has received calls at the office from Clearwood members that you are knocking on doors
soliciting your agenda ([against a] cell phone tower) and they are upset.

Please refrain from doing this; you can only solicit for the Heart Fund, Cancer Fund, Boy Scouts etc, Please
read the Red Book Pages 9-10, item 7 in regards to soliciting.

Thank you.

Sincerely

Richard Hintze
Secretary
Clearwood Community Association
Violation Committee of the Board of Directors

2. Letter from Mrs. Cawley to the Board:
July 18, 2007

Subject: Letter dated July 17, 2007

Dear Mr Hintze

It is my understanding that complaints are usually reviewed before Violation letters are mailed.

A review of the complaint that I have been “knocking on doors soliciting my agenda (cell phone tower)
may have saved the community a $0.41 stamp, and your time. It did not happen!

You refer me to a section of the Red Book concerning “Solicitation”! I am aware of the CC&Rs for Clearwood
Community Association, and I suggest that the Board’s interpretation, with regard to soliciting, is flawed.

I see nothing in the Rules and Regulations that prohibits free speech, the right to assemble peaceably to discuss common interests, or the right to petition. Members have every right to discuss any issue at any time or place.

Solicitation is clearly defined as “commercial” or “sales”. Neighbors discussing up-coming elections or handing out flyers does not fall under these categories. This is not a “Banana Republic”!

If I feel the need to knock on doors in the future, I consider it my right to do so. If members of our committee wish to knock on doors they also have that right. This is our First Amendment Right under the Constitution. I refer you to The Bill of Rights.

I think you will find that the problem is with the Board and how it choses to its interpret the Red Book.

If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to call me.

Sincerely,

Valerie Cawley

3. Further quoitng Mrs. Cawley,
Here is the bylaw regarding “solicitation” as it appears in our CCRs;

Red Book (Rules and Regulations) Pages 9-10, Item 7

Quote, “No solicitors shall be permitted within Clearwood. The preceding sentence shall be interpreted as follows:

a) To prohibit commercial soliciting (by members or non-members) seeking to promote sale of commercial products or services.

b) To prohibit soliciting by non-members within Clearwood for donations or sales of items on behalf of any non-profit charitable, religious, community welfare or similar organizations.”

THAT IS BASICALLY IT, but they clarified above items (a & b) as follows:

c) to NOT prohibit soliciting of donations or the sale of items, by members, on behalf of non-profit charitable, religious, or limited to, Heart Fund, Cancer Fund, and recognized fund raising groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Lions, Kiwanis, or local Fire Dept.

The “Solicitation” concerns as stated in the original CCRs was solicitation for money or services not sharing of information.

Valerie Cawley

From the Yelm Community Blog:
The Clearwood Community Board has sent out ballots regarding Resolution No. 2007-02-06 on cell towers being allowed in the Community.

Community property owners received their ballots enclosed with their Clearwood Summer Newsletter on Saturday, July 14th.

Ballots must be mailed by August 10th or dropped off at the Clearwood Office by August 15th.
P.S. If you are renting, contact the owner of your property!

YOUR VOICE MATTERS, SO PLEASE VOTE!

While Cindy Teixeira’s Nisqually Valley News story and Clearwood Board President attempted to make my comments the issue and sidestep important points in this debate, both the pros and cons of a cell tower in the Bald Hills Community have staked their cases to the Clearwood Community members. My previous comments stand unchanged, recorded here previously for all to read and discern for themselves. Scroll down to May 19 & May 14, 2007


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