August 31, 2011

YELM:
“AUDITOR SAYS CEMETERY SUPERINTENDENT MISUSED FUNDS”

Nate Hulings reports in The Olympian:

“An investigation released Monday by the Washington State Auditors Office says the Yelm Cemetery District superintendent misused $62,000, depositing district money in his personal bank account and giving himself unapproved raises and unauthorized employee benefit payments.

Findings in the investigation were forwarded to the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorneys Office, said Mindy Chambers, spokesperson for the auditors office. She identified Tony Ward as the districts superintendent implicated in the investigation.”

“The state auditors office is recommending that the district attempt to recover more than $77,000 from Ward, including investigation costs. According to the report, the district board must also improve oversight of cemetery operations, including adopting policies and procedures to more closely monitor revenue and expenditures.”

“The investigation also found that the district had no formal policies or procedures in place to cover daily operations such as cash receipting, purchases, employee reimbursement and payroll and that it operated on verbal agreements.

In a response to the auditors office, cemetery district commissioner Judith Cusick stated that the board needs new policies and oversight but also defended the commissioners, saying the elected volunteer board depends on employee honesty and integrity.”

Ed Note:
This is totally consistent with the City of Yelm’s lack of oversight, doing the minimum to get by and appearance of conflicts of interest that continue to this day.

As examples:
1. This is not the first time in the last decade the Yelm Cemetery oversight has been in the news.

2. Appearance of ignorance and/or neglect on the city’s part for not placing a lien against unpaid expenses owed to the City of Yelm in the hundreds of thousands of dollars by Thurston Highlands.

3. Appearance of a conflict of interest for the Yelm Chamber of Commerce placing a sitting Mayor as their President.

4. Appearance of conflicts of interest in the Wal-mart Street naming and placing of the Yelm Chamber sign on city land..

While Cusick is correct that employee honesty and integrity were expected, ALL of these things seem to indicate people in Yelm leadership positions that do not understand nor know standard business operating practices and principles where of additional oversight and avoidance of appearance of conflicts of interest are employed.
The same can be said of the recent revelations in the Rainier Area Building Community issue (RABC is the parent corporation to the Rainier Historic Society, the Rainier Food Bank, the Ol School Thrift Shop and Ol School Gallery, all housed in the Rainier Historic School), – lack of proper oversight of the Treasurer.


August 30, 2011

JBLM Commander from Yelm comments on end to “gay ban”

Adam Ashton of McClatchy Newspapers reports:
“The 17-year-old policy requiring gay service members to hide their sexual orientation is scheduled to end Sept. 20, two months after the Pentagon formally certified that it was ready to accept the change.

‘There’s not a lot of change as far as I’m concerned,’ said Capt. Ben Schneller, 30, who delivered a series of briefings at Lewis-McChord on the new policy as commander of the 472nd Signal Company in the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment.

Schneller said his 75 soldiers paid close attention during their 90-minute briefings and appeared ready for the policy shift.

“Hey, it’s a change, and our job is to move out smartly and accomplish the mission regardless of anything,” said Schneller, of Yelm, Wash.”


August 30, 2011

“BART and the New Era of Censorship”
Could this happen in Yelm?

Timothy Karr of MediaCitizen reported,
“I have spent most of the week poring over news stories, blogs and commentary on last week’s decision by Bay Area Rapid Transit officials to shut off cellphone service to quash planned protests on its trains and platforms.

Opinions are many and range from BART spokesman Linton Johnson, who says constitutional rights end the moment people walk through transit-authority turnstiles, to “X” of the hacker collective Anonymous, who protested BART’s action and said our freedom to connect should be absolute and universal.

I tend to agree with “X,” but adding my criticism to what has already been heaped on BART seems of little consequence at this point.

What does matter is the dangerous precedent set by public agencies that silence new media, and the need for clarity about our free speech rights regardless of the medium.

The San Francisco incident is not unique. Earlier this summer Cleveland’s City Council passed an ordinance outlawing the use of Facebook and other social media to assemble unruly crowds. While a mayoral veto struck down the Cleveland ruling, the overreaction is part of a spreading official backlash against political organizing on new media.”

Ed. Note:
Could this happen here?

ABSOLUTELY!

We already have a local government considered by many to be one of the most citizen-adverse in the state.

Just because this happened in San Francisco does not rule this out for this area. If Yelm’s City Hall had a circumstance in which they did not want their citizens to rally, don’t you think they would do the same?

After all, in 5 1/2 years of the Harding Administration, there has been NO Town Hall meeting for the citizens to meet with city officials and there will not be one as long as he is mayor, for he fears citizen backlash in public. The ONLY way a citizen can speak collectively to the mayor and city officials is during the twice-monthly City Council meetings – and then only 5 citizens limited to 3 minutes each per Council session, in a controlled City Council environment, where a speaker can be cut-off at any moment.

THINK ABOUT IT!
HMMM!!!!!


August 29, 2011

“TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT”
THIS WEEK: YELM WATER ISSUES MAKE INT’L NEWS

“TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT”

This summary of Yelm’s water issues was published in FourWinds10.com, August 17, 2011, garnering international attention:

Public Notice to Residents, Taxpayers and City of Yelm Water System Customers

“Can the City of Yelm approve new development without proof of an adequate water supply? The Court says ‘No’!

“Citizens of the City of Yelm and other communities in this region should note and ask:

Why did the City of Yelm spend over $145,000 defending subdivision approvals that were clearly contrary to state law and Yelm Municipal Code requirements that demand proof of an adequate supply of water for new development?

Why would the City of Yelm attempt to prevent a court of law from reviewing accurate water rights information from the Department of Ecology?

Why has the City of Yelm been approving new development projects since 2001 without requiring any documentation of an adequate water supply?

Why has the City of Yelm been exceeding its lawful water rights since 2001?

Why has the City of Yelm not adopted a temporary moratorium on new development until it solves this water supply shortage?

When the draft environmental impact statement was issued for Thurston Highlands ( a proposed development of 5000 homes and 1.5 million square feet of commercial and office development ), why did the City of Yelm refuse to require any evaluation of the water supply that would be needed to serve this gigantic development?

Are City of Yelm staff and elected officials protecting the interests of local developers more than they are protecting the rights of its residents and taxpayers?”

Currently:
– Last week [August 23], the Yelm City Council approved adding new water customers to the water conservation program, giving those businesses a water budget during irrigation months. Yelm businesses have a mandatory 50% irrigation cutback for the 2nd summer in a row while the city planning department keeps approving new water hook-ups on the backs of this water conservation from businesses.
Will the 50% cutback on local businesses turn into an annual affair?

– The Washington State Supreme Court is now deliberating Yelm water issues in the case of JZ Knight vs. City of Yelm.

In closing:
Keven Graves is quoted from his November 25, 2005 editorial in the local newspaper:
“We (he & then Mayor-elect Harding) agree that a transparent government is better government.”

The water issues of the City of Yelm covered here for 5+ years have been conducted in an environment far from being “a transparent government”.

‘TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT’ IS A WEEKLY SERIES DISCUSSING LOCAL ISSUES EVERY MONDAY!

Quoting American Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
“To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men.”


August 28, 2011

MOLLY PIPER’S PUPPETS TOUCH AUDIENCES IN RAINIER & YELM

Seeing the recent write-up in the local newspaper of Molly Piper’s Acorn & Rose Puppet Theater presentation in Rainer, which followed a recent write-up on the Yelm performance, was heartening, as this show is so worthy to be publicized. Her work has been covered here twice, previously.

From Acorn & Rose Puppet Theater:
“Acorn & Rose Puppet Theater is the love-child for children’s author Molly Piper. Having written, designed and illustrated several books, conducted young author programs for more than 75,000 children, teenagers, teachers and parents, Molly found that it was time to expand the adventure. The “new day” began with a grant for teaching puppetry to a small group of fifth and sixth graders.”

“The excitement and joy of this workshop resulted in wonderful puppets, exuberant little performances, and surprised audiences of families, friends, and fellow students. Teachers at the school requested that Molly return the following year to do puppetry in their classrooms. As one teacher said, “This has changed my life! I want Molly in my classroom. I can use puppetry to teach science, history, literature, everything. My sixth graders will love learning this way.”

“Teaching and performing a live theater art seems to be the natural culmination of many years as artist, writer, teacher, story teller, carpenter, sculptor, mother and friend.”


Yelm’s treasure, Molly Piper

Molly Piper
PO Box 1390
Yelm, WA 98597

TELL MOLLY PIPER YOU READ ABOUT HER ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

UPDATE:
September 2, Molly Piper was featured in the RSE Newsletter.

September 9, Molly Piper was featured in a profile in The Mountain News.


August 27, 2011

YELM’S SIMPLY ORGANIC CAFE MAKES NEWS

Yelm – SIMPLY ORGANIC CAFE covered here on July 2nd was recently featured on the website of KOMO- TV 4 News in Seattle.
Read more.

Read more from Thurston First Talk:
“The arrival of the Simply Organic Caf has been part of a long-awaited positive food trend in Yelm. Just five years ago Yelm was a culinary backwater with a scant few good restaurants of any kind. Fast-forward, and in this past year the number of new and delicious restaurants have grown steadily along Yelm Avenue. All to the absolute delight of native patrons who couldnt quite embrace the idea of constantly driving almost an hour to Lacey or Olympia for good fresh food. Now we have a caf that has great food, inspiring values, and a growing following that I hope will spur on more growth in the food-scene in this town.

Simply Organic (105 East Yelm Ave. Yelm, WA 98597) opened up just over a month ago smack in the middle of downtown Yelm. In a town dominated by Mexican food and coffee huts, it wouldnt seem that a small organic sit-down would find much success. In fact, most would imagine the Simply Organic Caf as something that would be much more at home in downtown Olympia than five minutes from cattle farms. Yet, its first month of business has gone without a hitch. Mainly due to the fact that their food is downright delicious and refreshingly affordable.”

Ed. Note:
This writer agrees!

TELL SIMPLY ORGANIC CAFE IN YELM YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


August 26, 2011

YELM AREA STORIES IN THE NEWS

1. “Yelm store chosen for hard-liquor tastings”
KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle reports:
“Starting next month, customers will get to try out samples at some liquor stores around the state, including Yelm.

The store at 1110 Yelm Avenue is one of the 30 stores participating in a year-long spirits tasting pilot program, the Washington State Liquor Control Board announced today [Aug. 18].”

“The store will be allowed one tasting event per week on either Fridays or Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.”

2. “Yelm Community Schools announces policy for free and reduced-price meals”
Yelm Community Schools has announced its 2011-2012 school year policy for free and reduced-price meals or students unable to pay the full price of meals or milk.

Applications for the program are available online,” quoting KOMO-TV 4 News in Seattle.

3. “YELM: A potent ground attack and a new starting quarterback will depend this season on the Tornados big line, which averages 260 pounds”
“In coach Randy Swilleys three previous seasons at Yelm High School, his running backs have had the luxury of having mammoth-size linemen. This year, hes going a little smaller.

The Tornados wont have a 300-pounder on the line but will still enjoy a significant size advantage over most teams on the offensive and defensive lines,” quoting Meg Wochnick in The Olympian.


August 25, 2011

YELM’S ‘LAUGH DAY’ IS SATURDAY, AUGUST 27

From Yelm-based Laugh-day.com:
“My husband is an Improv teacher, and even though Improv is about so much more than just comedy, he is awesome at making people laugh! It is his mission in life to get people smiling and laughing, he said

Imagine what change could happen in the world if the whole world took the time away from their worries for a moment and all just took the time to laugh at the same time, I wonder what it would sound like from space a whole planet being happy.

Nothing makes him happier than getting another person to smile. So, he wanted to create a national laugh day. A day where everyone takes the time to laugh. All offices, workers, schools, everyone no matter who they were or what they did take a moment in the day to laugh.

Being that he makes me laugh on a daily basis, I thought that national laugh day should be on his birthday, which is August 27.

So, how does someone start a movement? How do we start a national laugh revolution? How do we get the planet happier? Any ideas? We would love to hear it! If you like the idea, please pass it on and tell your friends about this site. Please feel free to comment, or email us. We want to hear any and all ideas!!!

Grab someone and LAUGH!
What are you going to do this August 27th to have a good belly laugh?”

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
~Victor Borge

Read more from Laugh Day.

TELL LAUGH DAY YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


August 24, 2011

Ecology: Court decision is big gain for groundwater protection

Dan Partridge, communications manager, Water Resources Program at the WA. Dept. of Ecology reports:
The state Supreme Court has reaffirmed local governments obligations to ensure groundwater protection when making land use decisions.

In Kittitas County vs. EWGHMB, the court on July 28, 2011, upheld a decision of the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board that Kittitas County violated the Growth Management Act. The county was not preventing subdivision applicants from using more than one permit-exempt groundwater well per development. Washington allows the drilling of wells without a water right permit provided that groundwater withdrawals are limited to 5,000 gallons per day.

In considering Kittitas Countys appeal of the hearings board decision issued in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the county failed to protect groundwater resources by approving side-by-side subdivision proposals allowing developers to evade legal limits on the use of permit-exempt wells.

Protection of existing water rights

This could come at a great cost to the existing water rights of nearby property owners, even those in adjoining counties, if subdivisions and developments overuse the well permit exemption contrary to law, the court said in a 6-3 decision.

Water Resources Program Manager Maia Bellon said counties obligations in determining the legal availability of water in addition to the physical availability of water when making land use decisions is nothing new.

Land-use decisions, water availability linked

The decision recognizes the critical importance of marrying land-use decision-making with water supply and its availability. Those are and should be inextricably linked, Maia said in news stories following the ruling.

“A link to the Supreme Court decision is available on Ecologys Web page for the Water Resources Advisory Committee.”

Read more from Ecologys ECOconnect.

Read more from Four Winds10.com which posted an excellent summary of the case JZ Knight vs. City of Yelm now before the WA. Supreme Court.

Reprinted from JZ Knight.com. Copyright 2011 JZ Knight.
Used with permission.

The Washington Supreme Court conducted a live hearing on Thursday, May 26, at 9:00 a.m. (PDT) in Case No. 84831-9, Knight v. City of Yelm.
Click here for the video archive of the 45 minute hearing, from TVW, Washington Public Affairs Network.

Ed. Note:
These are major statements that are certain to ultimately have an impact here in Yelm:

1. “The state Supreme Court has reaffirmed local governments obligations to ensure groundwater protection when making land use decisions.”

2. Water Resources Program Manager Maia Bellon said counties obligations in determining the legal availability of water in addition to the physical availability of water when making land use decisions is nothing new.

3. The decision recognizes the critical importance of marrying land-use decision-making with water supply and its availability. Those are and should be inextricably linked, Maia [Ecology’s Water Resources Program Manager Maia Bellon] said in news stories following the ruling.


August 23, 2011

The Olympian: “State budget cuts lead to layoffs at Providence”

Rolf Boone reports in The Olympian:
“The parent group of Olympias Providence St. Peter Hospital is set to cut 8 percent of its work force as part of an effort to close a $28 million gap in its 2011 budget, the chief executive of the medical network said this week in a memo to employees.

The budget gap is the result of cuts to Medicaid and other state-funded health care cuts, according to Providence Health & Services, Southwest Washington region.

Job cuts at the regional medical network, which includes Providence Centralia Hospital and Providence Medical Group, amount to 250 full-time-equivalent positions.”

“Providence Health & Services, Southwest Washington, employs 3,539 people; Providence St. Peter Hospital employs 2,366.”


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