January 31, 2011

REP. WILCOX TO HOLD UNIQUE ‘TOWN HALL MEETING’ VIA PHONE-INS


Photo credit: Mr. Wilcox’s Legislative Office website

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, is inviting his 2nd District constituents to join him for a live telephone town hall Tuesday, Feb. 1. The call works much like a radio show; callers can ask questions from Wilcox during the hour-long call.

‘Im excited to hold this community conversation, because it will give me a chance to hear from the people I represent,’ Wilcox said. ‘Many people have already written or called my office with questions or concerns about legislation. This call gives us a chance to have a dialogue with the maximum number of people in the district.’

To participate, constituents can call toll-free (877) 229-8493, then enter PIN number 17544. The call will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last one hour,” quoting Washington House Republicans.


January 30, 2011

SMITH’S CASE AGAINST CITY DISMISSED –
CITY OF YELM AGAIN ‘SHOVES IT’ TO THEIR OWN CITIZENS

Megan Hansen in the current issue of the Nisqually Valley News reports:

“Claims the City of Yelm mishandled the permitting process on a familys home were dismissed in Thurston County Superior Court last week.

Judge Thomas McPhee found there was no ‘genuine issue as to any material fact’ that the city and Community Development Director Grant Beck are entitled to judgement as a matter of law.

Claims brought forward in a suit by Andrew and Cynthia Smith were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot refile the case.

The Smiths are suing most parties involved in the construction of their home located in the Palisades West subdivision. It is the only house currently built.

The family is unable to move into the completed home because the city will not issue a certificate of occupancy without the installation of a booster pump…

The Smiths are a military family and had intentions of settling down in Yelm. Theyre children attend Yelm schools and the family has integrated themselves into the community.

The family hasnt visited their once dream home in several months.

‘If I could leave Yelm tomorrow I would, Smith said…”

Andy Smith told the Yelm Community Blog that Judge McPhee was provided details by the Smith’s legal team which included:
1. The City of Yelm’s lack of following their own City Code in ensuring that all plat upgrades are completed at Final Plat,
2. The City of Yelm’s lack of having the unfinished upgrades bonded,
3. The City of Yelm’s complete disregard for violating their very own plat amendments (an amendment that stated “No Building permit will be issued until a booster pump station is installed and approved by the City of Yelm”).

Smith added, “Judge McPhee was clear in stating the ‘honest, tax-paying, citizens of Yelm, should not be burdened with a debt that was solely incurred by me.'”

Ed. Note:
Interesting that the City of Yelm
– made the errors with respect to the Smiths
– did not follow their own Water Plan on fire flow
did not heed the advice of Southeast Thurston Fire Authority Chief Rita Hutcheson who told the City Council the fire dept. could respond within 3 minutes to the Smith’s home and she had no issue not having a booster pump
– could not admit their errors which would allow the Smiths to move in – a win-win situation for all.
All the City Council had to do was admit their error and grant an exception to the Smiths.

So, the City thinks they saved face — they did not!
They have an undeveloped neighborhood with a single, unoccupied home and a hard-working military family denied occupancy there.
Once again, the City of Yelm creates a lose-lose situation for their own citizens!

Andy Smith closed by saying to the Blog, “I don’t know if I have the emotional and fiscal means to pursue an appeal so as wrong as it is, it looks like the City will get away with it.”

THIS IS ANOTHER BLACK-EYE ON YELM’S CITY HALL
&
A SAD DAY FOR OUR FELLOW CITIZENS.


January 29, 2011

AREA’S ECONOMY STILL SHOWS SIGNS OF SLOW RECOVERY

While the economy has shown a few signs of recovery, stasitics locally reflect this is tepid at best in these recent stories:

1. “Housing sales fall throughout South Sound in 2010”
“Housing sales fell during 2010 compared to a year earlier throughout the South Sound, and with the exception of Mason County, so did the median price, according to the latest information from Northwest Multiple Listing Service… .

In Thurston County, sales were down 3.54 percent, falling from 2,938 during 2009 to 2,834 last year. The median price was off 3.79 percent, falling from $239,000 during 2009 to $229,950 during 2010,” quoting the Business Examiner.

2. “New-home sales in 2010 fall to lowest in 47 years”
“Buyers purchased the fewest number of new homes last year on records going back 47 years.

Sales for all of 2010 totaled 321,000, a drop of 14.4 percent from the 375,000 homes sold in 2009, the Commerce Department said Wednesday [Jan. 26]. It was the fifth consecutive year that sales have declined after hitting record highs for the five previous years when the housing market was booming,” quoting the AP on KING-5 TV News.

3. “Thurston County bankruptcies rose 10 percent to 1,270 in 2010”
“Thurston County bankruptcy filings rose to 1,270 in 2010, a 10 percent increase over 2009, and experts say the pace of filings likely won’t decline in the new year because unemployment remains high and many people still are struggling with their mortgages, ” quoting Rolf Boone in The Olympian.

Ed. Note:
Falling home sales and dropping home median prices equate to less tax revenue for area governments, which continiues to hamper budgets. Be prepared for more cutbacks, not only on the state level, yet particularly affecting local cities.


January 28, 2011

GUEST ENTRY: VOLUNTEER FIRE-FIGHTER BEVERLY WRIGHT – IN HER OWN WORDS


Bald Hills Fire Dept. Volunteers,
Beverly Wright is top row, 4th person from the right

I received this touching letter about volunteering & giving back to the community and asked letter-writer Beverly Wright for permission to share with Yelm Community Blog readers. Here is her letter, in her own words:

“Volunteering for your local fire department is a great way to better know and support your community. You get to meet people and see places youd never have otherwise. Working with neighbors fosters community. Theres nothing like seeing a familiar face at your emergency to help bring calm and focus back to you. Fire department service can be an opportunity to serve as an ambassador of our school. Its also a way to understand the emergency services system, and provides valuable training.

My fire department participation has provided me with important knowledge, practical skills and improved physical fitness. Im also better prepared for disastrous events – and I was no slouch prior to the training. Through the Bald Hills fire department (Thurston County Fire Protection District 17), Ive received state certification as an emergency medical technician, wild land fire fighter, structural fire fighter, and fire services instructor. The fire department is supported by tax dollars, therefore volunteers trained by the fire department do need to give back to the community in the form of service. That service is a great way to hone skills. Volunteering can also be a first step into a new career. There are many windows of opportunity available through the fire department.”

Beverly Wright
Bald Hills

UPDATE:
Saturday, Feb. 15th
On Friday night, February 4, the Bald Hills Fire Department held its annual banquet to recognize and celebrate the commitments made by its volunteers. Beverly was named as the Fire Departments 2010 Volunteer of the Year. Beverly has been a volunteer member of the department since 2007. She is an EMT, a firefighter, and a CPR instructor.

CONGRATULATIONS TO BEVERLY WRIGHT FOR HER CONTRIBUTION TO OUR AREA!


January 27, 2011

LETTER WRITER ASKS: “How long would man have waited along the road?”

Yelm-area resident Dawn Young wrote a moving Letter to the Editor of the Nisqually Valley News letter, published January 21st based on her astute observation and quick thinking when she encountered a seemingly confused man on near Four Corners.
While we may not agree on issues around town, one thing in which we ALL can agree is we are neighbors and as Dawn suggested, we have to take care of each other. Ms. Young has given permission for her letter to shared with Yelm Community Blog readers, as well:

“Wednesday morning I was taking care of business in town, on my way home I saw a man standing on the side of the road at Four Corners in Yelm, long red beard, green John Deer cap, yellow plastic bag in hand, he looked cold and confused, so I stopped.

He said he had been trying to get home for more than six hours Home from where?

He was coming from Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.

He said he was admitted Tuesday night via ambulance for high blood pressure, the Yelm Fire Department drove him from home to meet with the ambulance, because they thought he was having a heart attack.

His name is Mike, he is in his 60s, he lives off of Longmire Road in Yelm, he doesnt drink or use drugs.

He has no health insurance.

He was treated for dehydration then he was discharged at 4 a.m., with no ride home and directions to the bus.

Buses do not start running till around 6 a.m. and this man had no coat.

He said he could not call his wife because their phone was not working. He had called a taxi, but he did not have the money to pay.

He had called 9-1-1 to see if they could help him get home because he was freezing and was stuck.

Would it have taken him collapsing on the side of the road and 9-1-1 being dispatched for a second emergency?

This man was so appreciative for the ride home, and that I was not afraid of him, he teared up.

His wife was shocked to see him, she was just on her way to pick him up; no one told her he was discharged when she called.

I am shocked. St Petes has great staff and care, how could this happen? Does it happen all the time?

Picking up strangers on the side of the road is not something I teach my daughters to do; reaching out and caring for our neighbors is.

If I had passed him, how long would he have stood there?
Preventing illness and emergency is a lot cheaper than waiting for disaster.”


January 26, 2011

“Animal-welfare groups ask egg producers to meet higher standards”

Claudine Erlandson of Shoreline wrote to the Seattle Times in her letter published January 23rd:

“It is our gain every time we raise the bar for more humane treatment of animals. In this case, it is chickens that will benefit from this new initiative, which hopefully will be on the Washington ballot in November [Groups fault egg producers practices, NWThursday, Jan. 20].

I applaud the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary and local groups to organize Washingtonians for Humane Farms, a process long overdue in our state. Maureen OHagan writes that ‘There are seven egg producers in Washington, and together they have about 6.5 million hens. That is a lot of chickens confined in tiny cramped cages causing them unimaginable suffering.'”

TWO REPORTS OF LOCAL NOTE:
1. “Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture”
A Report and Scorecard by The Cornucopia Institute

2. The Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Scorecard notes our area’s organic egg producers Wilcox Family Farms and Stiebr Farms both obtained a “3-egg rating” out of 5
[Ed. Note: This means that while these companies do a good job complying with ‘Minimum USDA Standards’, they have room for improvement to exceed minimum requirements, to then warrant an “Excellent” or “Exemplary” rating.]:

Very GoodOrganic, Complying with Minimum USDA Standards
“Brands with a three-egg rating are very good choices. Eggs from brands in this category either come from family-scale farms that provide outdoor runs for their chickens, or from larger-scale farms where meaningful outdoor space is either currently granted or under construction. All producers in this category appear committed to meeting organic standards for minimum outdoor space for laying hens.”


January 25, 2011

LETTER WRITER:
“WE NEED TO WAKE-UP OR OUR WAY OF LIFE IS GONE”

Yelm-area resident Milt Gordon wrote a poignant and touching Letter to the Editor of the Nisqually Valley News letter, published January 21st based on his experience serving in the military. Mr. Gordon has given permission for his letter to shared with Yelm Community Blog readers, as well:

“There is a young military man sitting in solitary confinement awaiting trial for releasing classified documents, a major compromise of military and national security.

My first reaction was he should be called to account for his compromise and then I began to remember.

Fifty years ago I served our country for three years in the U.S. Army. I held a top secret and cryptographic clearance and much was made of the fact that severe penalties awaited anyone who compromised this trust.

I was also required to attend monthly briefings that discussed the Geneva Code of Conduct. Name, rank and serial number were all you were required to offer the enemy and torture or physical violence of any form were in no way acceptable by either side.

German war criminals were used to illustrate the fact that the excuse of I was only following orders was an absolutely unacceptable defense to justify crimes against humanity.

This message was repeated every month for the 36 months I served on active duty.

Today I sit and listen to the ex vice president of our country justify torture to extract information that presumably will be used to protect us from those who might harm us.

A young man apparently saw videos of our soldiers killing innocent Iraqi civilians, released the video and is charged for compromising classified information.

If he is guilty, what about his superior officers? Are they released from responsibility by the defense? I was only obeying orders.

Somehow I feel my values as an American Citizen are being compromised by the dont do as I do, do as I say attitude.

How long do we sweep dirty laundry under the rug by hanging top secret or other restricted classified ratings on information that reveals a compromise of human dignity and values?

We need to wake up or our way of life is gone.”

FOLLOW-UP:
Jim Miklaszewski, Chief Pentagon Correspondent for NBC News reported on January 24th:
“U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure…

Assange told msnbc TV last month that WikiLeaks was unsure Army PFC Bradley Manning is the source for the classified documents appearing on his site.

‘That’s not how our technology works, that’s not how our organization works,’ Assange said. ‘I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media.'”

SO, WHY IS ARMY SPECIALIST BRADLEY MANNING:
“being held in connection with the WikiLeaks’ release of classified documents”, quoting the US Military?

TO QUOTE MR. GORDON:
“We need to wake up or our way of life is gone.”


January 24, 2011

INTRODUCTORY CLASS IN BEEKEEPING
OFFERED BY THOMAS MANI

Honeybees working a frame and clustering around the queen (with red dot).
Picture taken by Thomas Mani

To All People Interested in Honeybees

The decline in honeybee populations has not been changed since the dreary losses have been reported in 2007. Approximately one third of all colonies in the US have been lost every year since then. However, the headlines about the disappearance of the honeybees have boosted a enormous interest in these fascinating insects. Many Beekeepers Association have reported remarkable increase in membership.

Can the hobby beekeeper help to save the honeybees? Absolutely.

Every beekeeper in a community makes a difference! Pollination through the honeybee is essential not only for our food production but also for wildlife.

Learn what it takes to become a beekeeper or how to support the honeybee otherwise!

A great introductory evening about honeybees will take place

Wednesday, February 2nd 2011 at Gordon’s Grange (white building besides Gordons Garden Center, downtown Yelm) from 7 to 9 pm (cost $10 for adults, kids free).

Please let us know that you are coming at bee4ever@fairpoint.net.

A great opportunity to explore one of the mysteries in Nature….

See you all there!

Thomas Mani, Bee Forever Apiary in Yelm

P.S. We will sell our own honey and bee pollen, produced locally in the unpolluted Bald Hills. For more information visit our website: www.bee4ever.com

Mr. Mani’s interviews on Beyond the Ordinary Internet Radio.

TELL MR. MANI YOU READ ABOUT HIS CLASS ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


January 23, 2011

COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROMERO’S OPEN-TO-THE PUBLIC COFFEE JAN. 24TH –
NOTE NEW YELM LOCATION


Sandra Romero

Commissioner Sandra Romero Hosts Monthly Coffees with Area Residents

Monday, January 24, 2011.

FROM COMMISSIONER ROMERO’S E-MAILER:
Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hours in Rainier, Yelm on Monday, January 24, 2011.

This months coffee will focus on Thurston Countys Juvenile Court.
Find out how programs such as Aggression Replacement Training and Functional Family Therapy are helping juvenile offenders. Thurston County Juvenile Court provides legal intervention for youth up to 18
years of age who have been arrested and/or charged with criminal activity. Our special guest will be Probation Manager, Mike Fenton.

Commissioner Romero stated, The court system is made up of many moving parts. To make this process as streamlined as possible our Family and Juvenile Court program was the first in the state to co-locate all
family and juvenile operations in a single facility. This creates a unified system to better serve families and children.

Commissioner Romero provides coffee to participants. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

What:
Citizen meeting with second district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

When:
Monday, January 24th, 2011

Where:
– Rainier: 9:30am 10:30am – Rainier City Hall 102 Rochester St. W.

– Yelm: 11:00am Noon Yelm Fire Department 709 Mill Road SE.
New Location: S.E. Thurston Fire Authority.

Commissioner Romero provides to participants coffee that she pays for herself. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

Lisa Paribello
Commissioner Staff
paribel@co.thurston.wa.us


January 22, 2011

TUMWATER & YELM STUDENTS PLACE 6TH & 8TH AT STATE ROBOTICS COMPETITION OF 24 TEAMS

“A team from New Market Skills Center in Tumwater took sixth place and a team from Yelm High School finished eighth out of 24 teams during Sunday’s [Jan. 16] state robotics competition at Sammamish High School, according to Yelm teacher Doug Meyer.

Both teams are relatively new to the high-tech sport that involves building robots from scratch and programming them to perform tasks in obstacle courses.,” quoting The Olympian.

“Four Washington state robotics teams will be heading to St. Louis in late April to compete in the FIRST world championships.

In the end, four area teams came out on top Sunday at the FIRST Tech Challenge State Championship tournament. The top teams were the CyberKnights from Kings High School in Shoreline, Brit Bots of Sammamish, and Syzygy and SAAS, both of Seattle.

The teams will head to St. Louis in April to compete in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) world championships. FIRST was started in New Hampshire in 1989. One of the founders was Segway inventor Dean Kamen.

Twenty-four teams from around the Puget Sound participated…

Robots, about the size and weight of small microwave ovens, are required to complete a set of tasks, or in the very least, try to prevent their opponents from completing the tasks, to earn points. Teams also can win awards for other skills, such as creativity and cooperation,” quoting the Woodinville Patch.

Marius Wegmann of Yelm’s Bald Hills area and a team member of Tumwater’s New Market Skills Center Robotics told the Yelm Community Blog he learned alot being part of a team and got to expand his mind into areas that were previously unfamiliar. That was the gift of participating in this competition, he explained.

OUT OF 24 TEAMS, NEW MARKET SKILLS CENTER (WHICH HAS YELM AREA STUDENTS ENROLLED) & YELM HIGH SCHOOL DID VERY WELL.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THEM BOTH!


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