December 31, 2010

ACKNOWLEDGING THE LIFE & WORK OF YELM’S RONNI NUTTER

The Olympian reports that Verinoca (Ronni) Nutter passed away on Wednesday, December 29th at her home in Yelm at age 69.
Ronni was a tireless volunteer giving of herself on citizen committees & wherever a need to support Yelm required help. My wife & I served with Ronni on Yelm’s citizen committees for several years. Ronni served with me on the Yelm Library Board (see related library story below, Ronni’s term serving there expired earlier this month) & with my wife on Yelm’s Historic Preservation Commission. Ronni also officiated at Cochrane Memorial Park’s dedication.
She sorely will be missed.

Her husband is Glen Nutter, who for 18 years was the highly respected Superintendent of Yelm Community Schools. He was also a candidate for State Representative District 2, Position 2 in 2004. Glen currently serves on the Yelm Planning Commission.

Our thoughts & prayers go out Glen Nutter & the entire Nutter family.


December 31, 2010

YELM LIBRARY’S FUTURE NOW 365 DAYS & COUNTING


Yelm Timberland Regional Library

OP-ED

Interesting that area property taxpayers & library patrons still have heard nothing about the future of the Yelm Timberland Regional Library (TRL) branch. The current lease in the private facility expires one-year from today & to remain in that building, the city will be fully responsible for the monthly rent if the library remains there, beginning January 1, 2012. The TRL Board agreed that Yelm’s library must be in a public building.

– As reported here on November 22nd:
Megan Hanson reported in the Nov. 19th Nisqually Valley News:
“The library budget was also increased to $53,000.

The city budgets money every year to help cover facility costs for the Yelm Timberland Library. This year the library budget increased about $6,000.”

– As reported here on April 5th:
The current lease is for about $140,000 a year for a state-of-the-art 8,962 square-foot facility…

The city can afford roughly $50,000 a year to put toward a library facility, city officials said…

Harding said the city submitted a proposal to Timberland extending the facilitys lease to give time to come up with a solution.”…

“The TRL Board of Directors met on Wednesday, March 31 and in public action, considered Mayor Harding’s proposals and will honor their contract with the City of Yelm to provide service from the current location through December 31, 2011. However, the TRL Board agreed that after the conclusion of the current contract, the city will be responsible to provide an appropriate library facility.”

KEY QUESTION:
The question this writer is often asked –
What will the city get with a budget of $50,000 rent per year for a library facility [Yelm is on their own a year from now], when they [TRL & City of Yelm jointly] pay $140,000 now?
Will current library locale & Prairie Park building owner Margaret Clapp offer the city a sweetheart deal to remain leasing space in her private building for a few years, collecting a low rent from the city rather than having her building mostly empty, while the city says they will look for a suitable public building?

BOTTOM LINE:
TRL’S AREA PROPERTY TAXPAYERS SUPPORT YELM’S LIBRARY THROUGH TAXES & HAVE A RIGHT TO AN UPDATE FROM MAYOR HARDING.
HIS CONTINUED SILENCE ON THIS ISSUE IS UNACCEPTABLE.

YELM’S LIBRARY IS FUNDED MORE BY THOSE PAYING TAXES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS THAN IN THE CITY OF YELM.
WHILE MAYOR HARDING IS NOT ELECTED BY UNINCORPORATED AREA VOTERS NOR HAS JURISDICTION OVER THOSE PROPERTY OWNERS, HE DOES HAVE A FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE A PUBLIC LIBRARY IN YELM AS THE CITY AGREED & TO KEEP ALL OF THE TRL TAXPAYERS INFORMED OF THAT PROCESS.


December 30, 2010

“HOW TO SAVE MAIN STREET” – YELM COULD LEARN

NEWSWEEK Magazine had a wonderful story that is a lesson for Yelm officials:

“One New Jersey city has started to turn its Main Street around, but political operators from either side wont like how it happened.”

“But this year, Wilson [Stephen Wilson, a baker] persuaded his landlord to let the Sweet Life Bakery expand from its location into the Wells Fargo space. Soon Vineland lost a defunct mortgage office and gained a corner shop to buy wedding cakes or sip cappuccinos. Wilsons move was part of a larger growth trend: 60 businesses have been created around Vinelands downtown in the past three years. While some of those failed, the total number of businesses in the area has hovered around 230. But even as the nationwide economy has tanked, the city has managed to generate a buzz that has put its downtown back on the map. “We have comments from people [visiting downtown] that said I havent been downtown in years, says Gary Galloway, chairman of Main Street Vineland, a local nonprofit organized to help the citys downtown. The metamorphosis is unbelievable.

The story of how Vineland has started to turn the corner offers lessons for reviving small businesses on main streets across the country. For this rural town, it was about offering government loans to kick-start small-business growth and then rallying local support to keep those new storefronts afloat. In Vineland, as in many other towns and cities, small businesses have been the backbone of the citys economic growth, says Todd Noon, Main Street Vinelands executive director. (the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program, the national affiliate of Vinelands nonprofit, says it has helped establish about 1,100 local programs to spur economic growth in local downtowns.)”

YELM OFFICIALS COULD LEARN BY THIS EXAMPLE.
THE CITY OF YELM CONTINUES TO TOUT THEIR SUCCESSES OF BRINGING IN BIG-BOX STORES & MULTI-NATIONAL CONGLOMERATES & CHAIN STORES.
THIS IS IN TOTAL DISREGARD OF YELM’S 1995 VISION PLAN, WHICH DEVOTES THE PLAN TO PRESERVE & PROMOTE THE DOWNTOWN CORE OF LOCALLY-OWNED, SMALL BUSINESSES.

YELM’S MAYOR & YELM CHAMBER PRESIDENT URGING EVERYONE TO SHOP LOCALLY MISSES THE POINT!
SHOPPING AT YELM’S WAL-MART OR LES SCHWAB, WHILE GIVING YELM SALES-TAX REVENUE, PROVIDES RESOURCES THAT WILL BE EXPATRIATED OUT OF OUR STATE TO THOSE COMPANIES HEADQUARTERS IN THEIR HOME STATES.

RATHER, SUPPORT LOCALLY-OWNED (PUGET SOUND-BASED) BUSINESSES SHOULD BE THE MAYOR’S & CITY’S CLARION CALL.


December 29, 2010

YELM CONTINUES TO DENY HOME OCCUPANCY TO OWNERS

Megan Hansen’s Nisqually Valley News story of published Thurs., December 23, 2010 was titled:
Court fight over Yelms denial of occupancy heads into another year

Highlights of her reports said:
“Heading into the new year, a battle is continuing between the City of Yelm and a local family blocked from moving into their new home.

Yelm residents Andrew and Cynthia Smith filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court against the city, Community Development Director Grant Beck, the propertys developer, its builder and a real estate agency.

A hearing for a motion for summary judgment dismissing the case against the City of Yelm and Grant Beck was originally scheduled for last Friday [Dec. 17].

The hearing was postponed because the court had a full docket, Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said…

The Smiths assert the city wrongfully issued a building permit for the home in the 24-lot subdivision.

Now, citing public safety regulations, the city wont issue a certificate of occupancy, meaning the family cannot move in.

Last year, a claim was filed seeking $450,000 in damages.

In the claim, the Smiths allege the city was negligent in its supervision of Community Development Director Grant Beck, saying it enabled Beck to use city legal services for his personal biases and benefit.

They claim Beck used his power to delay and oppose the familys occupancy and plat amendment, including burdening the family with tasks and conditions that are not required by other citizens.”

Ed. Note:
Unfortunately, the City of Yelm made an error and are not big enough to correct their ways & allow the Smith’s an occupancy permit to move in.
This writer previously suggested Community Development Director Grant Beck be fired. This man has caused so many issues for the City of Yelm costing the city revenue & expenses, though is supported by Mayor Harding & the City Council.

As reported here on November 10, 2009 about the Smith’s situation,
“The Smith’s home builder told this writer after tonight’s Council meeting that SE Thurston Fire/EMS Chief Rita Hutcheson issued a letter saying their Mill Pond Fire Station could respond to any issue in Pacific Palisades West within 3 minutes, due to the close proximity.”

This letter from the Fire Chief alone should have been enough for the City Council to approve an occupancy permit for the Smiths & resolve this issue. However, not in Yelm.
How sad taxpayer money is going for legal fees to uphold the city’s argument.

Even The Olympian’s Christian Hill weighed in on this issue with this Nov. 29, 2009 report:
“Permit process gone awry creates nightmare in Yelm
Land Use: New house empty as pair try to get it back on track”


December 28, 2010

KY. GOV. ORDERS HALF-STAFF FLAGS WED.-
HONORS YELM’S COLLINS


Cpl. Sean M. Collins
Photo courtesy of News Hopkins County, KY

“[KY] Governor Steve Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 in honor of a Fort Campbell soldier who died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

According to the Department of Defense, Cpl. Sean M. Collins, 25, of Ewa Beach, Hawaii died Dec. 12 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

Funeral services for Cpl. Collins will be held on December 29 at 11 a.m. Pacific time at St. Columbus Catholic Church in Yelm, Wash. Burial services will follow at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash. Governor Beshear has directed that flags at all state office buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday December 29th and encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute,” quoting iSurf Local News & Community Information Affecting Madisonville and Hopkins County Kentucky.

THIS WRITER IS FROM KENTUCKY & APPRECIATES GOV. BESHEAR’S RECOGNITION OF YELM’S COLLINS & OTHERS IN HIS BATTALION.


December 28, 2010

“YELM: Mass planned for fallen soldier”

Adam Ashton of The Olympian reports today :
“A Yelm soldier [Cpl. Sean M. Collins, 25] killed in Afghanistan this month is to be buried Wednesday with military honors at Tahoma National Cemetery…

A Mass is set for 11 a.m. at St. Columban Catholic Church, 506 First St., Yelm. The funeral is to follow about 2:30 p.m. at the cemetery, 18600 S.E. 240th St., Kent.”

Ashton also reports:
“Fallen soldier from Yelm “raised the morale” of his platoon”

Read the full story by Megan McCloskey in Stars and Stripes:
“Company B bids a tearful goodbye to fallen friends”

McCloskey reported this about Yelm’s Collins:
“Collins, 25, raised the morale of 2nd Platoon, Yu said, and Kastl praised him as a soldier who always picked up on the small details that the rest of the platoon missed. Collins could be counted on for a laugh and offered great advice, ‘except when it came to women,’ Sgt. Lance Chaulk said, eliciting the first smiles from 2nd Platoon.”

Stars and Stripes is a Department of Defense-authorized daily newspaper distributed overseas for the U.S. military community. Editorially independent of interference from outside its own editorial chain-of-command, it provides commercially available U.S. and world news and objective staff-produced stories relevant to the military community in a balanced, fair, and accurate manner. By keeping its audience informed, Stars and Stripes enhances military readiness and better enables U.S. military personnel and their families stationed overseas to exercise their responsibilities of citizenship. (Source: Revised DoD Directive 5122.11)”


December 28, 2010

CHRISTMAS TREE DROP-OFFS FOR YELM & RAINIER

KOMO-TV News 4 in Seattle reports:
“Yelm residents can drop off Christmas trees at Yelm City Park any time between Dec. 26 and Jan. 10.

Trees are also accepted from Dec. 26 – Jan. 16 (except Jan. 1) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Waste and Recovery Center, 2418 Hogum Bay Road N.E., in Lacey.

Rainier residents can take trees to the drop box at 13010 Rainier Acres Road from Dec. 26 – Jan. 15 (open Friday and Saturday only, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).”


December 27, 2010

HEALTH APPROVES YELM’S WATER SYSTEM PLAN –
INCLUDES 69% WATER RATE INCREASE 2010-2015

Megan Hansen of the Nisqually Valley News wrote Friday, Dec. 17, 2010:
State approves Yelm water plan

and included nothing of what this approval means to Yelm’s water rate payers.

Highlights of what she DID say:
“The Washington State Department of Health approved the City of Yelms Water System Plan…

The Water System Plan is a six-year plan that outlines the citys water system and infastructure plans.

Recent water rate increases over the last year are consistent with infrastructure plans highlighted in the citys water plan…

A total of 3,235 connections are approved within the budget, with 20 connections still available…

The city is expected to establish a process to maintain an accurate assessment of the remaining service capacity so that physical capacity and water right limitations are not exceeded.”

So, let’s examine what Ms. Hansen omitted:

– Yelm’s Water System Plan approval resulted in a 16% water rate increase in Summer, 2009, another 16% water rate increase April 1, 2010, and subsequent 8.25% water rate increases from 2011-2015 (a 69% rate increase for the 6-year period 2010-2015, inclusive).
CLICK HERE for those details in the Water System Plan.

– Yelm’s Water System Plan includes funding requirements for the 6 year plan at almost $11 million without Master-Planned Communities [MPC], $16.5 million with Master-Planned Communities.

– Yelm’s water rate payers will be funding almost $20 million dollars to move the city’s water system to the SW area [Thurston Highlands site]?
Why is the city moving their entire water infrastructure 2 miles from their current water system?
Their answer to lessen impacts on Yelm Creek are insufficient.

– Steve Chamberlain & co-developer Doug Bloom were owners of the Tahoma Valley Golf Course in Yelm & transferred the Golf Course’s water rights to the city for a credit to bring the Course’s water to the city with their application for the 5,000-home Thurston Highlands development. However, when Bloom & Chamberlain defaulted, the city was left with the Golf Course well project, “previously assumed to be fully developer-constructed and then to be turned over to the city, is now required to be 100% City-funded at a cost estimated to be $1.6 million”.
Now, Yelm water rate-payers will bear these costs. That well project is not completed & remains unavailable for use.
The aforementioned quote is from the City’s Draft Water System Plan, Chapter 9, page 13
CLICK HERE for that document.

– The City of Yelm’s “1995 Yelm Vision Plan” laid out how this town was to be developed with input from such locally notable people as Glen Cunningham and others. That has been totally usurped and overlooked in the planning process here in recent years.
Again, why is the city building a new water infrastructure 2 miles from the exiting one?
CLICK HERE for Yelm Vision Plan.

CLICK HERE for the link to the City of Yelm Draft Water System Plan (WSP).

CLICK HERE for the city’s engineering firm’s response to Health’s issues, prior to the Waster System Plan’s approval.

AND LAST:
In response to Mr. Graves’s Op-Ed in this week’s Nisqually Valley News where he said:
“Many websites have none of the checks and balances of proper journalism: quotes from multiple sources on the various sides of the issue, absence of opinion in news copy and, usually, supporting documents.

A lot of them regurgitate information that appears in multiple places on the Internet, true or not.

That is why its unwise to rely solely on the Internet for information.”

Unlike the local newspaper & their website, Yelm Community Blog readers have direct access to the official, supporting documents & can discern information for themselves, without bias & omissions.
Those documents are also archived here for free, so the public can easily access them anytime.


December 26, 2010

‘YELM BACKYARD BIRDS’ HIGHLIGHTS YELM’S HIGH-RATE OF URBANIZATION & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT POTENTIALS

The Yelm Backyard Birds website has brought forward the issue of the high rate of urbanization in the City of Yelm & the impact of the Yelm Loop Stage II issue’s impact on the environment that support bird habitat.

“Thurston County Rate of Urbanization and Forest Harvest c. 2002 vs. Rate of Urbanization and Prairie Oaks 2010 Yelm,” quoting Yelm Backyard Birds, Yelm, Washington Birding.

This website highlights a good point:
“The mapping provided for Critical Areas that included Oak Prairies in Thurston County is insufficient.
The area identified as YELM obscures the data the map intended to represent and display.
It is a simple map symbol choice error that can be fixed through choosing a map symbol for the area of YELM that is not opaque and would allow for the yellow/green areas of Oak Prairie to be properly identified as the WA DNR map intended…

This does not solve Yelm Loop Stage II issue, however, that will pass through areas of oaks in Yelm’s Urban Growth Area.
One would think, considering that Yelm’s motto “Pride of the Prairie” that they would properly identify Oaks and Prairies within Yelm and its Urban Growth Area.”


December 25, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS –
MAY YOUR DAYS BE MERRY & BRIGHT


Mt. Rainier looking due east, taken from our home.

WARMEST WISHES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON FROM THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG TO YOU & YOUR FAMILY!

“Yelm brings Christmas to the Capitol [in Olympia]”
From My Northwest.com & The David Bose Show on KTTH-770 AM radio.


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