December 2011 Archives

December 31, 2011

BILL'S TOWING OFFERS FREE RIDES TONIGHT - "FREE TIPSY TOW"


"Bill's Towing & Recovery is offering a "Tipsy Tow" service that includes free tows and free rides home to those who find themselves incapable of driving after celebrating the new year.

The service is available in the greater Yelm, Rainier, and McKenna area from 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve to 3 a.m. on New Year's Day," quoting Chris West at KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.
Read more on how the program works.


YELM CINEMAS HOSTS SPECIAL SCREENING NEXT SATURDAY -
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Yelm Cinemas Saturday morning Special Screenings announced for January.
All screenings are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


Click here for Yelm Cinemas showtime information.

Yelm Cinemas at Prairie Park
Photo courtesy of Yelm Cinemas

The screenings are as follows:
1. Saturday, January 7
Margin Call

An all-star cast including Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, and Penn Badgley. The movie encompasses a 36-hour period at a large investment bank (loosely modeled on Lehman Brothers), presenting the affects of the 2008 financial collapse and closely documents actions taken by a group of employees during the crisis.

Doors open at 8:15a.m., and the film will begin at 9 a.m.
Tickets are $6.75 for all seats.

2. Saturday, January 21
Revenge of the Electric Car

“In Revenge of the Electric Car, director Chris Paine takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. Without using a single drop of foreign oil, this new generation of car is America’s future: fast, furious, and cleaner than ever.
Revenge of the Electric Car is narrated by Tim Robbins," quotingt he movie's website.
Doors open at 8:15a.m., and the film will begin at 9 a.m.
Tickets are $6.75 for all seats.


These special one-session screenings are only at Yelm Cinemas - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

"Yelm Paramount Christian Church 2011 Christmas Video"

"Yelm Paramount Christian Church 2011 Christmas Video - Music Videos"
"This video was played in the Yelm Christmas Eve Service, 2011. Music is from Kutless "This is Christmas" from BEC Records," quoting Godtube.
Click here

Yelm Celebration Services
December 31, 2011 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Click here

December 30, 2011

CITY OF YELM'S SPIN DOWNPLAYS COURT'S RULING

This writer sent a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper in response to the city's downplaying of the Supreme Court decision in Knight vs. City of Yelm:

"In the NVN December 23 issue, in light of the Mayor's small-minded comments regarding the final decision of the state's highest court where 7 of 9 justices sided with a citizen (JZ Knight), the Supreme Court clearly stated that municipalities cannot run roughshod over, and must consider, the public's interests to ensure adequate water sources before approving a developer's plat application. The decision is a significant event in support of property owners across the state."

"This decision will be a showcase for future citizens desiring to challenge local governments who endanger their precious water resources. The aftershock from this earthquake will echo 100 years from now where Knight vs. City of Yelm will be cited for upholding the rights of private property owners to challenge unlawful land use decisions."
Read more

'WA. FOOD INDUSTRY ASSN.' AWARDS REP. WILCOX


Photo credit: Mr. Wilcox's Legislative Office website

"The Washington Food Industry Association recently announced the year’s winners of their prestigious grocery industry awards for their contributions to the industry."

"The Keystone Award—for excellence in Government Affairs: Representative J.T. Wilcox of Wilcox Farms in Roy," quoting the Progressive grocer website.
Read more

CITY'S CITIZEN COMMITTEE VACANCIES UNFILLED -
OPEN TO AREA'S COUNTY RESIDENTS, TOO

The City of Yelm has unfilled openings on the Parks Advisory Committee, Planning Commission & Tree Advisory Board. According to Yelm Community Development Grant Beck in response to a question at the December 27 council meeting, a participant does not have to reside within the City of Yelm.
Contact City Hall or e-mail to express your interest.

Ed. Note: The City of Yelm continues to have issues with lack of citizen participation in city government.

December 29, 2011

"Radical changes in U.S. House district boundaries"

"A bipartisan plan for Washington's 10 U.S. House districts, unveiled Wednesday, creates a new Olympia-centric 10th District and radically expands two Western Washington congressional districts," quoting Joel Connelly in the Seattle P-I.

FREE TREE RECYCLING NOW AVAILABLE


From the Thurston County News Release:

RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE FREE

Pick-up Information

LeMay compost collection/yard waste customers: Put trees in or near your compost cart (in sections 3 ft. or less). Call 923-0111 for information.

Drop-off Locations

All Thurston County residents: Take trees to the Waste and Recovery Center at 2418 Hogum Bay Road NE, Lacey. Dec. 26 - Jan. 16 (closed Jan. 1) Mon. - Fri.: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat. & Sun.: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rainier residents: Take trees to the drop box at 13010 Rainier Acres Road from Dec. 26 - Jan. 14. Fri. & Sat.: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Yelm residents: Take trees to Yelm City Park anytime from Dec. 26 - Jan. 10.

Flocked trees are accepted. Please remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, stands, and nails from trees prior to recycling. Multi-family complex residents should check with their property manager for tree placement locations.

"Spread the Message of the Yelm Food Co-op"

"Our Co-op is taking a turn towards a more farmer-based approach to our food supply. By reducing the amount of product we source from faceless distributors at the end of long, unaccountable, international supply lines, the better off we feel we will be. In fact, if we make this approach work, we will be creating a system of sustainability for the farmers we buy from, and for our Co-op," quoting the Yelm Food Co-op.

Yelm Food Co-op
404 1st Street, SE
Yelm, WA. 98597
Phone: 360-400-2210

Monday – Saturday 10 am – 7 pm
Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm.
www.yelmfood.coop
Follow us on Facebook @ Yelm Food Co op

TELL THE YELM FOOD CO-OP YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

December 28, 2011

YELM COMMUNITY SERVICES -
A 40 YEAR LEGACY OF GIVING TO OUR COMMUNITY

With the increase in requests for families needing help in our area during the holidays, I recently connected with Yelm Community Services Director Cindy Marchand-Cecil to gather information for Yelm Community Blog readers on the vital programs and social services this agency has continuously provided since 1971 to Yelm and Rainier, the Nisqually Tribe, and the surrounding rural Thurston County community.

While fragments of the recent Press Releases were covered in the local newspaper, all of them are here for the public, providing a detailed record of all this fine organization does to uplift our area neighbors:

1. "Two Sixth Graders make the Yelm Community Services Homeless Shelter their Special Project"
Read more

2. "Yelm Community Services: Puget Sound Energy Warm Home Fund Begins January 7, 2012"
Read more

3. "Northwest Harvest and Safeway Team up to 'Help Us End Hunger'"
Read more

4. "Wal-Mart Contributes $1000 to Yelm Community Services"
Read more

5. "Yelm Community Services receives $2,500 gift for holiday hams/turkeys"

Cindy Marchand-Cecil, Executive Director of Yelm Community Services, Rod Barker,
Manager, Yelm Safeway Store, Yael and Steve Klein

Read more from the Press Release.

Ed. note:
My wife & I have been quietly donating holiday turkeys/hams for several years to ensure every family in need receives one for their family. With the recent op-ed critical of Marchand-Cecil, the facts of which were not investigated prior to the published comments, we are going public with our support for Yelm Community Services, their staff and Board!

Marchand-Cecil told the Yelm Community Blog that they would not have financial challenges if area patrons would just purchase their annual car tabs via Yelm Community Services.
Read more to learn how to renew your car tabs locally to support a worthy cause.

Yelm Community Services

624 Crystal Springs Road NW
Yelm, WA 98597
Phone: 360.458.7000
www.yelmcommunityservices.com

Supporting our public servants during these challenging times is our top priority:
Southeast Thurston Fire/Bald Hills Fire, Yelm & Rainier Police & Thurston County Sheriff, Yelm Community Schools and Yelm Community Services (UCBO).

TELL YELM COMMUNITY SERVICES YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

December 27, 2011

YELM CITY COUNCIL IGNORES MAYOR'S APPREARANCE OF A CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST

This writer sent an official letter for consideration at tonight's City Council session, that while City Administrator Badger referenced prior to the vote, the entire City Council ignored, except for a joke by Council member Don Miller:

"I am writing to request that you again reconsider Agenda item 8C (Mayor Harding to authorize a 2012 contract on behalf of the City of Yelm and the Yelm Chamber of Commerce) Tuesday, December 27, 2011, which presents an appearance of a conflict of interest with the fact that Mayor Harding also serves as the Yelm Chamber of Commerce President.
I suggest you intervene and instead of Mayor Harding being involved on this item, that you should direct Mayor Pro-tem Isom to authorize.

Mayor Harding's signing the previous provider agreements with the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and his involvement in getting the Chamber's electronic sign approved while serving as their Treasurer and then President after Glenn Cunningham's departure, were also appearances of a conflict of interest, as the city's of newspaper of record then reported, as well."

Ed. Note:
I have always been amazed that this city's leaders will do nothing to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest.

THIS IS THE KIND OF COUNCIL THAT YELM CITIZENS HAVE AS THEIR REPRESENTATIVES, ALL IGNORING AN APPEARANCE OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

THANKS GO TO TONIGHT'S DEPARTING COUNCIL MEMBERS

While I do not agree with many of their votes on our town's issues, I do acknowledge Council members Don Miller and John Thompson, who will preside at their last council meeting tonight and retire from their positions.
I am a strong supporter of public service and applaud them for stepping up-to-the plate and wish them well in their future endeavors.

"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"
THIS WEEK: Wazzup with the Library purchase?



"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"


Timberland Regional Library's agreement to support the Yelm Library lease ends this Saturday, requiring the City of Yelm to bear the full amount of expenses for monthly rent beginning January 1, 2012. TRL will continue to provide library services and staff.

Wazzup with the Library purchase?
The question remains as to what could be taking so long to get a contract finalized for purchase, given Mayor Harding said the City of Yelm and seller Margaret Clapp agreed on a $1 million purchase price back in April. The public is still in the dark.
Where are Mayor Harding's regular updates to inform the taxpayers & patrons?

While the Save the Yelm Library group raised $25,000 to add to other contributions of approx $5,000, their Facebook page has nothing to say about the fact that no contract has been shared with the public and HOW the city intends to pay for the purchase. No fundraising goals have been set by the city since no one knows to what terms and at what interest rate their donations for a library purchase are aimed.
Read more

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."

Since taxpaying citizens both within and outside of Yelm support the library financially yet do not demand transparency nor answers, the city has no incentive to publicly comment unless necessary.
The lack of transparency and away-from-public Council Executive Sessions have NOT made for better government here.
Perhaps this story here will garner an NVN article with an update on Thursday?

- An unaware and uninvolved public are Yelm City Council's greatest allies in carrying forth their agenda.

December 26, 2011

JBLM HONORS YELM RANGER WITH PTSD WHO KILLED HIMSELF

- The Olympian's Adam Ashton filed this report:
"Ranger who killed self honored by comrades JBLM"
"Widow gets wish for ceremony now that unit has returned home"

- Michael Prysner, a veteran of the war in Iraq and an anti-war activist, filed this excellent report August 30, 2011, about Staff Sergeant Jared Hagemann, an Army Ranger in the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft. Lewis, Wash. who lived in Yelm and was "suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and had been trying desperately to avoid a pending deployment to Afghanistan - what would be his 9th combat tour. He was 26-years-old, with a wife and two young children."
Read more

'STANDING ROOM ONLY'S' HOLIDAY SHOW OPENS TOMORROW

STANDING ROOM ONLY presents Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

From the media release:
December 27- January 3: STANDING ROOM ONLY, the Yelm/Rainier Community's very own Acting Company is now presenting its holiday show!

At the time it was first produced, garnering rave reviews on Broadway, Stop The World, I Want To Get Off, by Anthony Newly and Leslie Bricusse, was labeled a "new style" musical. Now, some fifty years later, it is as fresh and funny as ever.

Within a colorful, circus and mime milieu, this sparklingly satirical show tells the story of one man, Littlechap, and his journey through the tunnels of Love, Laughter, and Life's Lessons. Stop The World was nominated for five Tony awards, and won best featured actress for its female star, Anna Quayle.

This show has only been revived once, in the 70’s. Director Nancy Hillman has both resurrected its unique carnival flavor, and added the blend of charm and surprise for which STANDING ROOM ONLY has become known.

Where: Spiral Café - 201 Yelm Ave. East

When: 8pm Dec. 27, 28, 29, 30, Jan. 1, 2, 3

All tickets $12. and may be purchased at the Spiral Cafe, Gordon's Garden Center and the Yelm Food Co-op. It is appropriate for all ages.

Ms. Hillman is assisted in her presentation, as usual, with New York Musical Director Stephen Borsuk and a cast which stars GW Taylor as Littlechap, and features Kellie Petersen, Sarah Brewer, Rachel Martinez, Holly Lehikoinen, Shelby Gebb, Rebecca Bonnett, Kate Morgan, Alexandria Longshore, Mark Carlson, Livvy Coverdale, Olivia Kearns, and Dustin Wood.

BE SURE TO ADD THIS HOLIDAY TREAT TO YOUR LIST!

December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
MAY ALL YOUR DAYS BE MERRY AND BRIGHT...


Mt. Rainier, as seen from Yelm, Nisqually Plaza, December 24, 2011, 4:15 PM
Photo courtesy: Yael Klein



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

December 24, 2011

"FRIENDS OF TENINO" WEBSITE IS BACK ONLINE!

"The Friends of Tenino website is back online! This website is meant to be a free informational resource for residents of the City of Tenino and vicinity. The website provides news, city government information, and useful links to local businesses and regional government. There is also a functioning forum feature that will allow any and all to carry on discussions of important or unimportant topics, it is up to you."
Read more

December 23, 2011

MAYOR HARDING'S COURT DECISION RESPONSE:
A SAD COMMENTARY!


Mayor Ron Harding
gives small-minded response to WA. Supreme Court decision


Megan Hansen reported in today's edition
of the Nisqually Valley News that Mayor Harding said this of the city's loss in Knight vs. City of Yelm:
"Bottom line - this decision does nothing more than say that Knight had the right to file a lawsuit and because so, does not have to pay attorney fees."

However, Harding's statement is contrary to the Court decision:
Seven justices of the Washington Supreme Court agreed "that the City failed to meet the water availability requirements of state law."

Indeed, on page 21 of the Court's decision, the justices wrote:
"Determining whether there are adequate water sources to serve ... development is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application."

Further, the justices gave a stunning rebuke to the city's request for Knight to pay the city's attorney fees:
"Knight was the only party to improve her position in the superior court.
Moreover, because the superior court did not uphold the City Council’s decision—affirming the preliminary plat approval and finding Knight lacked standing—the City is not eligible for fees under RCW 4.84.370(2). Tahoma Terra and the City were not prevailing parties in the superior court."

The Court went on to say this about the subject of attorney fees [pg. 25]:
"Finally, the purpose of RCW 4.84.370 is to discourage meritless appeals. Gig Harbor Marina, 94 Wn. App. at 800. In this case, Knight did not appeal the decision of the superior court. A party such as Knight who does not choose to advance the litigation should not be at risk of paying another party’s attorney fees."

The City of Yelm has been put on notice that state law must be adhered. Continuing "to operate the way we’ve been operating" quoting Mayor Harding from the NVN's website last week, is no longer an option!


To continue from Hansen's NVN report:
"The Superior Court decision came down to 'and/or' in a hearing examiner's preliminary approval of the subdivisions, which would bring more than 500 homes into the area."

"Yelm Community Development Director Grant Beck said the 'and/or' was included because some of the sites had binding site plans, but that the city regularly operates showing proof of water at both stages."

"The approvals were upheld with that change and the city didn't have a problem with that," said Yelm City Administrator Shelly Badger.


Oh brother, the back-pedaling here is mind-boggling!

- Beck says "the city regularly operates showing proof of water at both stages" however, the city spent over $132,000 and countless hours of staff time to defend their stand to show proof of water at the building-permit stage and not at the earlier preliminary plat approval.

- And Badger's comment the city didn't have a problem with the previous Superior Court ruling is ridiculous.
The City fought Knight's issue to the tune of over $132,000 plus countless hours of staff time BECAUSE they did have a problem with the ruling.


Further to quote Hansen's report:
"City of Yelm decided to join the developers involved with the case in appealing the decisions (Thurston County Superior Court siding with Knight) because during the Superior Court case finding the city deemed "offensive and inaccurate" about its water rights were included in the decision."

You bet they were offensive - even the WA. Dept. of Ecology filed an Amicus Brief in the case supporting Knight's claims about Yelm's water rights, or over-pumping and lack thereof, at the time of this case.

"A lot of public time and resources have been spent and we're in the same place as 2008," Badger said.

Badger's statement is ridiculous for 2 reasons:
- The Court denied the developer's and city's requests for Knight to reimburse their attorney fees. After the city won the Appeal, they were elated to report they expecting over $90,000 from Knight in reimbursed fees. Yet, Yelm is now out $132,000 plus alot of staff time.

- The Court's decision cited state law from which the city can no longer sidestep or dance around.
The City of Yelm has been put on notice that state law must be adhered. Continuing "to operate the way we’ve been operating" quoting Mayor Harding, is no longer an option!
We're NOT in the same place as 2008!

And last, this Badger quote from the NVN:
"The city's original preliminary plat approval of the five subdivisions was upheld by Superior Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. The city's process of determining adequate water supply at the preliminary stage was deemed appropriate."

This is NOT true, Mrs. Badger!
The Supreme Court clearly stated on page 21 of their decision:
"RCW 58.17.110(1) requires a local governmental body to “inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served” by a new development and to determine “[i]f appropriate provisions are made for . . .the public health, safety, and general welfare . . . [and] potable water supplies . . . .”

"Determining whether there are adequate water sources to serve the Tahoma Terra development is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application."

The city did not do that [determining adequate water supply at the preliminary stage], which was the crux of this case ("...is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application.").

THE CONTINUED SUBTERFUGE BY MAYOR HARDING, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR BECK & CITY ADMINISTRATOR BADGER IS NOTED!

Ed. Note:
I was manager for the University of Miami (FL) Football team for 7 season in the 1970's. At the end of every game, no matter how contentious, the coaches, staff and team managers of both teams shook hands with each other and the victors were duly congratulated.
When I was a Sales Manager and became Regional interim Director for the then-largest airline in the "free world", when a route award was parceled out by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) after a long fight with another airline, the loser still worked with and collaborated with the winners, right down to the rank and file.


That City of Yelm officials continue to twist the truth to supposedly make themselves look good or for some unknown other reason to suit themselves, demonstrates how small-minded these "leaders" at City Hall truly are. Why can't they congratulate an area citizen with whom they battled and show their community they can be bigger than their small mindedness?
Where is their grace and humility?

THIS WOULD BE SOMETHING FOR WHICH THIS COMMUNITY SHOULD BE AWARE!

I love this town - however, nothing personal, I just have little respect for it's government leaders!
Change comes with 2 new Council members in 2013. Let's hope they will be strong enough individuals to stand tall and have the public's interest first in their minds, and not always having to cover their own backsides for the city's agenda.

December 22, 2011

LOCAL AUTHOR MARK REMILLARD PUBLISHES 2ND BOOK -
"SOLAR FLARE SURVIVAL"

Congratulations to area resident Mark Stanley for an amazing achievement in completing his book project Solar Flare Survival: Protect Yourself And Your Electronics From The Sun And EMP’s With Faraday Cages.

Mark states, “I find new developments fascinating. Is it not one of the most admirable facets of our human consciousness–to wonder, learn, explore, and grow?”

Mark’s book is published under his pen name Mark Remillard:
“We now know that the question is not if a major event will occur–But when? Solar Flare Survival first discusses what our scientists have learned so far about the Sun and how it affects our planet. Furthur chapters illustrate how the Sun can, and has in the past wreaked havoc on worldwide national power grids, spacecraft, and electronics.

Key questions are discussed objectively drawing from some of the latest technology and current scientific studies.
- How do solar flares affect the human body?
- Can solar flares trigger earthquakes?
- Is a Faraday cage that has been designed to withstand a geomagnetic storm adequate for an EMP attack as well?
- Faraday cage theory, design and construction for the common man. Where to get current alerts and information about extreme space weather, and how to understand them,” quoting the local source for buying Mark's book, JZ-Rose and their Online Store.

CONGRATULATIONS TO MARK FOR A FABULOUS AND INFORMATIVE BOOK!

December 21, 2011

WINTER BEGINS IN YELM AT 9:30PM TONIGHT

Read more about December's skywatching from Space.com's By Geoff Gaherty.

Read more about the Winter Solstice from Life's Little Mysteries.

YELM COMMUNITY SERVICES UNVEILS NEW THANKSGIVING PROGRAM


Pat Richker and her volunteers.
Richker is standing in the front row, fourth from right
Photo courtesy: Yelm Community Services

From the Yelm Community Services Press Release:

"A new event started at Yelm Community Services (YCS) on Thanksgiving Day [November 24, 2011].
Pat Richker is one of the special people who has been connected with Yelm Community Services for many years. One can never know for sure what she might show up with,whether a few hundred pies to give out to people, or some gift cards to go to families with just one parent, or just to show up and ask how she might help out."

"Pat first met Cindy Marchand-Cecil, Executive Director of Yelm Community Services, in the early 1990s when Cindy was at the local store hurriedly purchasing a bunch of food, just in case they ran out at Christmastime, so that no one would go unserved. Ever since, she has been “just showing up” with surprises of all kinds, just to help out."

"This year Pat 'pulled out all the stops' and put on the grandest show ever with a great deal of volunteer help. Together with Vanessa Ellis, Director of Operations at Popeye’s Chicken for Tacoma/Seattle, and Cindy Marchand-Cecil of YCS, over 300 meals were going to be served on Thanksgiving Day."
Read more

CONGRATULATIONS to YCS DIRECTOR CINDY CECIL-MARCHAND, PAT RICHKER & ALL OF THE VOLUNTEERS WHO SERVED OUR COMMUNITY ON THEIR THANKSGIVING!

December 20, 2011

A CHRONOLGY OF YELM'S WATER ACTIONS -
WHERE WAS THE PUBLIC'S INTERESTS SERVED?

The following is a brief chronology of Yelm's water actions that clearly paints a picture of the steadfastness in which this city's aim was on the side of developers, instead of inquiring into and being guided by supporting the public's interest:

1. "April 2005, [the Yelm City Council ] voted to prohibit future discussion of the topic—a moratorium on moratoriums" on the public mentioning the word "Wal-mart" to the Yelm City Council. Many of the current council members, including then Mayor Pro-tem Ron Harding were on that council. With Harding declining to participate in the local newspaper's public forums as a 2005 mayoral candidate, the Jefferson Muzzle Award given the Yelm City Council in early 2006 became the defining theme throughout Harding's tenure - the disdain of public comment and discourse. Read more

2. June, 2006, Environmental Planning expert Bill Hashim wrote he "offered to write a grant that would provide free “Smart Growth” technical help for the city. Council members were appalled that I thought Yelm’s growth was not smart, and as they were bantering at me I heard one of their voices wanting to know whether I thought they were dumb. I left the meeting wondering what the heck just happened and then I realized that our council members were not aware of the sustainable communities program called Smart Growth."
Read more

3. October, 2006: Ed Wiltsie, Professional Engineer, P. E. (now deceased) went "on the record stating the Council's traffic and groundwater decisions have opened the City of Yelm to major issues including potential future litigation, if not addressed soon. Even Mr. Beck [Community Development Director] stated in his Staff Report recommendation to the City Council of October 23, 2006 that they "consider the points raised by Mr. Wiltsie..."
"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" based on Wiltsie's remarks.
Read more

4. February, 2007: "The NVN reported in its January 19 and 26 editions about Yelm Mayor Ron Harding turning over the first blade of dirt in the new Tahoma Valley Golf Clubhouse owned by Thurston Highlands Associates Steve Chamberlain and Doug Bloom, also featured in the February Yelm Chamber Prairie Viewpoint. Yet in the January 19 NVN, “The owners of the golf course, also the developers of Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands, offered to give the city water rights if half of the available water could be used for the Tahoma Terra development.”

"Now, Thurston Highlands owners are working with the City of Yelm to exchange water rights, get approval for the Thurston Highlands development, Tahoma Terra issues, the City of Yelm is fronting funds for the Thurston Highlands EIS [Water study] and now the Mayor does the groundbreaking for the Thurston Associates owned Tahoma Valley Clubhouse. Couldn't the Mayor turn over those duties to the Yelm Chamber President or some other city luminary like Larry Schorno or recently retired Thurston County Sheriff Edwards?"

"And now a very nice donation to the Mayor's Scholarship Fund by Thurston Highlands Associates owner Bloom. Couldn't Mr. Bloom have made an individual scholarship donation in the name of the "Doug Bloom Scholarship" instead of via the Mayor's Fund? In his position, the mayor will be required to represent all constituents and perhaps comment on the Thurston Highlands application, Tahoma Tera construction & creek flooding, Tahoma Valley Golf water rights exchange and the EIS. I know everyone will all say they see no conflict of interest, yet any observer would have to say HMMM! Surely seems Thurston Highlands Associates and city officials' interactions are getting very, very cozy, indeed! Is there some preferential treatment going on?"

No effort was made to avoid a conflict-of-interest between Mayor Harding & the one of the developers in JZ Knight's case with the City of Yelm.
Read more

5. February, 2007: "Yelm’s City Council has stated public funds will not be used in private for-profit developments."
"The City of Yelm has no contract, pro-rata or otherwise with the Thurston Highlands Associates for the SW Aquifer study." Yet, the City of Yelm approved over $600,000 in taxpayer money to fund the Golder Water Study for a private, for-profit development. The city said the pro-rata share would be determined later in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The developer went bankrupt and the pro-rata share was never determined nor repaid to the taxpayers.
Read more

6. February, 2007: Kevin Farrell as a private citizen posted comments relating to an NVN story of Feb. 2, 2007, "I wanted to respond to the inaccurate statements that Grant Beck, Community Development Director for the City of Yelm, apparently made to the Nisqually Valley News regarding the recent meeting on Thompson Creek," issues allegedly caused by developmental construction.
Read more

7. November, 2008: "Can the City of Yelm approve new development without proof of an adequate water supply?"
Thurston County Superior Court says ”No!”
Read more

8. May, 2009: The Yelm Community Blog breaks the story that Thurston Highlands, LLC defaulted and left the city with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes and services. The report is undisputed and picked-up by The Olympian as a series of posted public documents demonstrated the city's lack of sound business principles in protecting the public's interests.
Read more

9. July, 2009: "A Citizen Responds: JZ Knight Sets the Record Straight on the City of Yelm Water Issue in Public Ad" in local newspapers after the "NVN used copious amounts of space in its May 22nd and May 29th editions to publish the City’s misleading comments and disparaging remarks about citizens who speak out against improper and unlawful City conduct."
"JZ Knight bought space for full page ads in the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) & The Olympian to alert citizens to the City’s failure to protect the local aquifer and to provide a reasonable opportunity for citizen input."
Read more

10. October, 2009: "In a letter dated October 26, 2009, Mayor Ron Harding wrote private citizen Alice McMonigle to condemn her water rights. Mr. Harding stated that the city intends to acquire those rights 'through the exercise of power under eminent domain for the purpose of providing municipal water for the City Water System.'"
Read more

These are just a few of the incontrovertible facts that show a concerted effort at running roughshod over citizen input.

WHERE WAS PROTECTING THE PUBLIC'S INTEREST?

December 19, 2011

"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"
THIS WEEK: Knight vs. City of Yelm, A Perspective

"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"

With the stunning 7-2 Supreme Court decision for JZ Knight last week against the City of Yelm, one could not help but notice that The Arab Spring arrived here with an explanation point, "The Yelm Fall". One citizen prevailed through persistence against Mayor Harding, Yelm's City Council, Community Development Director Beck, developers and the local newspaper, who all used intimidation calling her "anti-development".

Whatever your opinion of Knight and her Yelm-based School, there were many people who have no association with her yet sided with a citizen's rights to protect their property from the encroachment of developers, who in their ignorance, "threw their bags" in with the city. One of the developers had plans to more-than-triple the size of Yelm with a proposal for a 5,000 home development.

The issue became very simple - the City of Yelm simply did not want to prove they had the water rights to supply water via their city's water system at the time a Preliminary Plat for a development was submitted, rather wanting to prove water at the time of a building permit for an already submitted plat. The building permit could come years after the Preliminary Plat and if the city had not enough water rights at that time, there would be no building approval, yet the developers would have then spent thousands of dollars to Plat a development, then be unable to build.

Knight saw the potential harm to her property from 5 developments totaling 588 proposed homes, located a mere 1,300 feet away. Yet the harassment of Knight began in earnest:
- Mayor Haring described Knight as being "anti-development"
- The Thurston Highlands, LLC developers hired repeated helicopter overflights of Knight's property to photograph what they perceived as Knight's violations of her School's operating permit. They filed numerous complaints with Thurston County, who sent staff out each time to investigate the School's grounds. All complaints were investigated and were unfounded.

At the time, local environmental experts Ed Wiltsie (now deceased), a geologist and Bill Hashim, a more than 25 year veteran of state Environmental planning issues were rebuffed by the Yelm City Council on several occasions when they provided advice and comment to the Yelm City Council. And, the City Council adjourning regularly into closed-door Executive Sessions and away from the public so often that raised even more questions about their motives.

However, the WA. Supreme Court decision affirmed Knight's contention:
- Page 19
"The importance of preliminary plat approval within the scheme of planning and approving new development demonstrates that the injury Knight alleges is immediate and specific. 'A preliminary plat application is meant to give local governments and the public an approximate picture of how the final subdivision will look. It is to be expected that modifications will be made during the give and take of the approval process.'”

- The Court went on to say, page 20:
"A local decision-making body cannot conditionally approve a preliminary plat and then disapprove a final plat application for a project that conforms to the conditions of the preliminary approval. Id. The failure to challenge environmental issues at the preliminary plat stage could result in decisions by the local land use authority that have a “binding impact” on interested parties without their consent or participation."

- Further:
"In this case, while the hearing examiner conditioned approval of Tahoma Terra’s preliminary plat on a showing of adequate provision of water at the final plat approval stage, the City Council’s Resolution 481 did not contain such an explicit statement. Instead, Resolution 481 indicates that the City complied with RCW 58.17.110, removing any burden on the City to make a showing of adequate water supply at the final plat approval stage."

- Finally, on page 21 -
"Knight was entitled to clarification of the City Council’s decision and an opportunity to challenge the City’s evidence of water provisions before final plat approval, and that is exactly what the superior court provided when it stated that all requirements must be satisfied and confirmed in writing before final plat approval, when it provided Knight notice of any final plat approval proceedings, and when it remanded to the City Council for modification.13 Knight also satisfied RCW 36.70C.060(2)(b) because her interests were among those that the City Council was required to consider when it granted preliminary plat approval to Tahoma Terra."

The Court also noted the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force.

"RCW 58.17.110(1) requires a local governmental body to “inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served” by a new development and to determine “[i]f appropriate provisions are made for . . .the public health, safety, and general welfare . . . [and] potable water supplies . . . .”

"Determining whether there are adequate water sources to serve the Tahoma Terra development is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application."

Reported in the Nisqually Valley News:
"Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said the decision is a moot point because it didn’t make any new law in regards to water.

'We will continue to operate the way we’ve been operating,' he said."


Ed. note:
To say: "We will continue to operate the way we’ve been operating," is ridiculous!
What an ignorant comment!
Who is Harding kidding?

The Court's decision cited state law from which the city can no longer sidestep or dance around:
"RCW 58.17.110(1) requires a local governmental body to “inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served” by a new development and to determine “[i]f appropriate provisions are made for . . . [and] potable water supplies . . . .”

"Determining whether there are adequate water sources to serve ... development is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application."

The City of Yelm has been put on notice that state law must be adhered & continuing "to operate the way we’ve been operating" quoting Mayor Harding, is no longer an option!

As Knight's attorney Keith Moxon stated, "The Court not only agreed that Knight had the right to challenge the City of Yelm's approval of these subdivisions, it agreed that the City failed to meet the water availability requirements of state law."

Knight vs. Yelm WILL be a case quoted for years on water law in this state.

KUDOS TO KNIGHT!
And last:
were it not for Knight's persistence and deep pockets with her will to continue this fight, we would not have this new state ruling upholding that municipalities must provide for the public's interest. Many property rights issues fall by the wayside allowing governments to become too intrusive just because of the huge toll in legal expenses and intimidation for a citizen to move forward.

Obviously, others in the community agree, as reported on Knight's website:
"Local praise in support of Knight’s Supreme Court win"
Read more

December 18, 2011

SHOP LOCALLY THIS HOLIDAY:
YELM TRAVEL

"YELM TRAVEL is a full service travel agency that has been serving the needs of the Yelm community since 1983. We are a hometown business that prides itself on treating people on a personal level. We offer first class service at competive prices. We are experienced Travel Professionals and have traveled extensively. Let an expert do ALL your travel leg work for you," quoting Yelm Travel's website.

This writer has been a customer of Yelm Travel & have known current owner Elizabeth Felix since 1988. As a former airline sales manager, I appreciate the thoroughness & persistence of Elizabeth & Cary Dvorak to "get it right" to insure all facets of my family's personal travel requirements are met and exceeded. "Making dreams come true" is not just some slogan at Yelm Travel, rather a commitment to outstanding service in a travel world that gets more complicated by the week.

Yelm Travel
Prairie Plaza (next to post office)
10501 Creek St SE
PO box 730
Yelm, WA. 98597

Call Elizabeth or Cary
360-458-2333


TELL YELM TRAVEL YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

December 17, 2011

"Take Stock and Opt Out of Phone Books"



From Thurston County Public Works:

"Do you ever get the feeling that multiple phone books are being delivered to your home? Well, it's true! If you are frustrated by this duplication or find that you don't even use any of the phone books, now you can do something about it.

You may have recently heard the news that Seattle has an opt-out program for residents that don't want these phone books. The good news is you have the exact same program available to you. Just go to Catalog Choice at www.catalogchoice.org for a quick and easy way to opt out of phone books. To get started, type in your area code. You can see immediately how many different phone books are delivered to your address each year. Then, set up an account. Once you receive your password via e-mail, you can start deleting phone books that you no longer want to get."

"For any other questions on junk mail or phone book opt out programs contact Thurston County Public Works at 360-867-2491 or email ThurstonSolidWaste@co.thurston.wa.us."

Read more
from the Thurston County News Release.

Ed. Note:

this writer has been a member of Catalog Choice for years. This is an invaluable service!

December 16, 2011

YELM HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS HONORED

"Congratulations to Yelm High School teachers Robyn Fisher and Jennifer Weatherman for earning National Board Certification, ...(which) is a rigorous process that requires research, testing and evaluation of classroom teaching."

"Mrs. Fisher and Ms. Weatherman join Ed Bergh, Josh Hamblin, Alexis Underhill, Karla Blowers and Tania Albert as YHS teachers who have met the National Board standards. Latasha Johnson and Jeannie Beierle are currently in process of earning certification," quoting Yelm High School's website.

PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN ON "YELM'S BEST-KEPT SECRET" - YELM COMMUNITY SCHOOLS!

KNIGHT RESPONDS TO SUPREME COURT OPINION

From JZ Knight's Press Release:

"In a landmark 7-2 decision, the Washington Supreme Court confirmed that JZ Knight had standing to oppose five large residential subdivisions in Yelm. The Supreme Court held that Knight had established that Yelm's erroneous land use decisions were likely to prejudice her senior water rights.

Knight said, 'I am elated to know that the Supreme Court saw the potential harm to property owners who have legal rights to the aquifer that would serve these proposed developments. This decision sends a clear message to municipalities who make land use decisions without due consideration of the consequences to people who will be adversely impacted, even when those people own property outside of their jurisdiction.'

Knight's attorney, Keith Moxon, said, 'I am very pleased that the Court affirmed what JZ Knight has been saying since 2007 about the City's failure to show water availability for proposed subdivisions. The Court not only agreed that Knight had the right to challenge the City of Yelm's approval of these subdivisions, it agreed that the City failed to meet the water availability requirements of state law.'

December 15, 2011

WA. SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH JZ KNIGHT -
RULES AGAINST CITY OF YELM


JZ Knight
Photo Copyright © 2011 JZ Knight.
Used with permission.

Read more from the WA. Supreme Court opinion: Knight v. City of Yelm, No. 84831-9.

In a 7-2 decision by Justice Charles Wiggins, the WA. Supreme Court opinion released today held that JZ Knight had established that the land use decision by the hearing examiner for the City of Yelm IS likely to prejudice her water rights and the Thurston County Superior Court case she won satisfies the statutory standing requirement.”

"Tacoma News Tribune staff writer Sean Robinson wrote an in-depth report in June, 2011 titled “JZ Knight’s bid to halt development heard by state’s Supreme Court.
Note: The print edition was titled “JZ Knight proves to be a warrior vs. development”

Robinson stated:
“Neighbors often groan about the new housing developments next door. Typically, that’s all they do – but JZ Knight, 65, is no ordinary neighbor. She’s started an argument that could change the rules of local land-use planning throughout the state, and she’s determined to finish it.”

“If Knight prevails, the legal precedent could echo across the state, especially in rural communities where water is scarce. Owners of senior water rights could halt development in its tracks.”
Read more

Knight has previously stated “to halt development” was not her intent.
Knight’s case was about “the City of Yelm’s attempt to approve five proposed new developments without adequate proof of a sufficient water supply.”

JZ Knight presented evidence at five public hearings showing that the City of Yelm’s water rights are not adequate to serve five proposed Yelm subdivisions.
Read more from Knight's Nov., 2008 Public Notice to Residents, Taxpayers and City of Yelm Water System Customers.

Read more from KOMO-TV News 4 in Seattle.

"Come Join Me Shopping!"
JZ Knight shops locally in Yelm stores today

JZ Knight invites you to join her as she shops locally in her Yelm store JZ-Rose Thursday, Dec. 15 @ 2:30PM.

Knight will then do holiday shopping in at Yelm's Giorda E. Thursday, Dec. 15, at 4 PM.

Read more from JZ Knight's e-mail: Come Join Me Shopping!
Read more from JZ Knight.com.

JZ ROSE IN YELM GARNERS NATIONAL ATTENTION

Yelm's JZ Rose received notoriety by recently being featured in Beauty NYC.

Reprinted here from JZKnight.com, used with permission.

Beauty NYC had this to say about JZ-Rose:
“JZ-Rose presents all things delightful, and if you’re not convinced, visit their distinctive and magical website: http://www.JZ-Rose.com, where you’ll find the unusual and the eclectic, and the magnificent and the memorable. For example, the Jessie Steele Ava ‘50s Kitchen Bib Apron has an heirloom quality and French flair that will inspire creativity in the kitchen. The same is true of the festive candy striped Caddy Utensil Set and Jessie Steele Parisian Toile Rubber Kitchen Gloves – for once, you’ll want to cook and clean! Form, function and style meet at your fingertips.”
Read more from Metro Home: Home for the Holidays by Bonnie Kimberly Taylor for Beauty NYC.

Explore and shop at JZ Rose’s Online Store.

About Beauty NYC:
“Beauty News NYC was founded in 2003 by former Dior makeup artist and now lauded jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald as the first, true online beauty magazine. Since then, we’ve blossomed into one of the most highly respected online beauty publications, both within the industry itself and with our readers who are looking to make themselves more beautiful, healthy and happy,” quoting Beauty NYC.

December 14, 2011

SHOP LOCALLY THIS HOLIDAY:
'GIORDA E.' HAS A SPECIAL SHOPPER THURSDAY


Giorda Elie
Photo Copyright © 2011 Giorda E. Used with permission.

Reprinted from JZ Knight.com (used with permission):
You are invited to join JZ Knight as she shops locally at Giorda E. Thursday, Dec. 15, at 4 PM.
Knight will also be in her Yelm Shop JZ-Rose Thursday, Dec. 15 @ 2:30PM.

Read more from JZ Knight's e-mail: Come Join Me Shopping!

- JZ Rose - For All Things Beautiful
207 1ST Street South
Yelm, WA 98597
Phone: 360-458-4618

- Giorda E.
Designer & Owner
301 Yelm Avenue E.
Yelm WA 98597
Phone: 360-400-1125


Check out Giorda E. on Facebook
CLICK HERE
Tell your friends! Click the "Like" button, and then the "Share/Save" button to spread Giorda E. News!


About Giorda E.
"Giorda E. is a treasure trove where fashion is vibrant and style flourishes. Giorda famously dresses women and men to cultivate their individuality in a wide range of selections from every day elegance to absolute extravagance. Indulge in the Giorda E. experience to freshen up your wardrobe with classic styles, current trends, and accessories with flair!" quoting the Giorda E. website.

TELL GIORDA E. YOU READ ABOUT HER SHOP ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

YELM STORIES MAKE WA. NEWS

- Yelm Walmart received $5,000 from woman to pay customers' layaway gifts
Read more from MyNorthwest.com - Seattle's KIRO-97.3 FM radio.

- "Puppy, presumed dead after being hit by car, survives"
Read more from the Associated Press.

This video was on CNN from KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.

"State and local taxes drop to lowest level in 50 years"

From the Pierce County Business Examiner:

"State and local taxes as a percent of personal income dropped to their lowest level in 50 years during Fiscal Year 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Taxes dropped to $93.24 per $1,000 personal income from $105.49 in Fiscal Year 2008."

While many states experienced declines in taxes relative to personal income during that period, Washington's decline was steep enough to change its national ranking to 35th highest among the states in 2009 from 30th highest in 2008. The national average for Fiscal Year 2009 was $102.10, down from $111.99 the prior year.

"The $93.24 figure, comprising $56.70 in state taxes and $36.54 in local taxes, is the lowest since the Department of Revenue began tracking this statistic in 1960, when the rate was the second lowest at $98.43."

"Taxes per capita also declined to $4,049 in 2009 from $4,354 in 2008, dropping Washington's per capita ranking nationally to 21st lowest from 16th. The national average in 2009 was $4,141."
Read more from the Business Examiner.

Read more from the Department of Revenue.

More information on changes in rankings from 1960-2009 in State and Local Taxes 2009:
See the chart.

December 13, 2011

YELM HIGH BAND STUDENT TO REPRESENT YELM
IN THE "WA. ALL-STATE MARCHING BAND"

"Garrett Cady was nominated, accepted, and will represent Yelm in the Washington All-State Marching Band. The Washington All-State Marching Band is run by Dr. Brad McDavid, Director of the Husky Marching Band.

The tour schedule is as follows:
June 9, 2012: 96th Annual King Kamehameha Floral Celebration Parade Performance - Honolulu, Hawaii
June 10, 2012: Arizona Memorial/Battleship Missouri Performance

It's a pretty big honor and I know that Garrett will represent Yelm well in this," quoting the Yelm High School website.
Congratulations to Brian Wharton, Yelm High School principal, his team & students.

REMOVING THE VEIL ON "YELM'S BEST-KEPT SECRET" - YELM COMMUNITY SCHOOLS!

December 12, 2011

"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"
This week: Yelm Budget



"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"

"The Yelm City Council will take public comments on the draft 2012 City of Yelm budget until the regular City Council meeting of December 13, 2011, at 6:00 PM at the Public Safety Building."

Read more
from the City of Yelm 2012 Preliminary Budget presentation to the City Council.

This is the public's last chance to comment on the 2012 Draft budget.

Ed. Note:
No one usual comes to these hearings, so again this year, the budget hearing should be short.
Why do Yelm citizens not take an interest in their government?

The Library Building Fund has $26,083 listed.
Unknown what this means since Yelm citizens are ending 2011 not knowing what their tax burden is going to be to buy a $1 million library condo.

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."

Since Yelm citizens do not demand transparency, the city can post any budget figures they wish and no one will comment.

- An unaware and uninvolved public are Yelm City Council's greatest allies in carrying forth their agenda.

December 11, 2011

Yelm Backyard Wildlife Project

Yelm Community Backyard Wildlife Habitat

"Join us in creating, preserving, enhancing, and restoring wildlife habitat by providing food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young - one yard at a time. Our project goal is 250 to 325 Certified yards in Yelm and its neighboring communities within the 98597 zip code."

"Add your backyard wildlife habitat or wildlife sightings to the map!"

"Yelm is a diverse community comprised of riparian and prairie habitat located on four watersheds and near two rivers: Deschutes River and the Nisqually River. Yelm covers 954 square miles and its latest census suggests over 6,000 residents."

"Yelm Backyard Wildlife is helping to create a Certified Community Wildlife Habitat Team in Yelm and its surrounding communities."

Yelm Community Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Yelm, WA 98597

TELL YELM COMMUNITY BACKYARD WILDLIFE HABITAT YOU READ BAOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

December 10, 2011

MISS WASHINGTON ON HER YELM CHRISTMAS PARADE APPEARANCE

The Yelm Chamber of Commerce sponsored Yelm Christmas in the Park and the Parade. This year, Miss Washington Lisa Bluhm participated and filed this report on her blog of her experience:

"The Yelm Christmas parade is an amazing event. So many people came out and lined the streets at 9:30 am [Saturday, December 3] in the morning despite the freezing temperatures!! The city of Yelm is so welcoming! After the parade their is a holiday celebration in the park. Everything is FREE!! The cocoa, hot dogs, tacos and photos with Santa!

Our Miss Thurston County Tasia Jungbauer was presented with several awards one of which the fabulous Mayor Ron Harding presented her with a proclamation of Tasia Jungbauer day! July 7th the day that she will compete at the Miss Washington pageant. Mayor Harding's daughter Janet was Miss Washington 2008 and he and his family support the Miss Washington Scholarship program in many ways.

Yelm truly welcomed us with open hearts and gave us the Royal Treatment! It is a great place to visit and a great place to live!" quoting Lisa Bluhm.

Ed. Note:
The Proclamation of Tasia Jungbauer Day was presented by:

1. Yelm Mayor Ron Harding
2. Yelm Chamber President Ron Harding
3. Miss Thurston County 2012 judge Ron Harding
4. Miss Washington 2008 Janet Harding's father, Ron Harding.

December 9, 2011

LACKAMAS SCHOOL TOUR AN AMAZING EXAMPLE OF OUR SCHOOLS' COMMITMENT TO CHILDREN


Photo Courtesy: Yelm Community Schools

This report is the second in a series highlighting Yelm Community Schools ahead of a crucial February 14, 2012 Replacement Levy.
Read more from the first report.
The time has come that our schools are no longer "Yelm's best kept secret."

This writer had the distinct pleasure of being a visitor at Lackamas School in the Bald Hills on Thursday, December 8 for a campus tour escorted by Kurt Fourre, Lackamas Principal. Mr. Fourre was raised in Puget Sound and served in the Kent, WA & Tenino School Districts and the Yelm Community Schools Administrative Offices prior to being named Lackamas Principal 3 years ago.

Kurt explained Lackamas opened 7 years ago, and is a K-6th grade school, which means this year's 6th graders will be the very first to have attended Lackamas for all 7 years. The main buildings were originally built in 1914 and have been beautifully restored to their original splendor, being brought up to date to modern codes, yet providing a wide array of functionality, void of coldness of the usual concrete/glass structures built today. One houses the office, a few classrooms, maintenance staff and teachers' study, the other building is the gym, which also is used as the cafeteria area. The balance of the buildings are very strategically placed and comfortable portable buildings.
Read more about Lackamas School.

Mr. Fourre's enthusiasm for kids was felt immediately upon entry and his popularity amongst his own office staff, teachers and students in all the classes we visited was genuine and sincere. I could not help but notice the affection Kurt received from students we passed along the way. This is a testament to this man's nature and his work!

While all I encountered were exceptional, there were a few things that stood out in my mind:
- Mrs. Adams works with very small groups of children (six at a time) that are on the lower end of the spectrum in reading skills and assists them in moving from the bottom of their group's skill-set to becoming more competent in basic abilities. If Yelm Community Schools (YCS) Replacement Levy does not pass, this is a program that would be in jeopardy. The performance jump attributed to Lackamas's recognition (see below) are from classes like this that work with small groups of children, Kurt explained. This is a Title I special program funded by the state and when the state cuts funding to education, YCS's goal is to keep funding directly to the kids, so their levy is relied upon to support these types of vital programs.

- Kurt stated that his desire and indeed, the intent of all of his colleagues at other schools, is to keep the budget cuts away from the classroom as much as they can. This was underscored by Superintendent Wolf on the schools bus tour a few weeks ago.

- Another standout was the 6th grade class of Teacher Reenie Morgan. They were engaged, open to questions and an exchange with a visitor and excited to share their math curriculum being taught, encouraged by Ms. Morgan. Of course, these are students of the "upper class" in this school!

- Ms. Nass employs a unique teaching technique I observed, having 4 students sharing one table in "pods." Clearly, teachers using this format have to be on their toes to utilize this teaching method properly. I thought how much I would have liked that when I went to school.

In closing, Principal Fourre said the key to the progress at Lackamas is collaboration - staff, parents & teachers and all strive to have no issues.
CONGRATULATIONS & WELL-DONE!
Read more from KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.


THANKS GO TO MR. FOURRE AND HIS TEAM FOR THEIR WARM WELCOME!

If you would like further information about the Yelm Community Schools Replacement Levy on February 14, 2012, I encourage you to contact YCS Community Relations Coordinator Denise Bagwell. click here.

"Lackamas Elementary was named as a 2011 School of Distinction."
"This award recognizes Lackamas as one of the 5% highest improving schools in the state of Washington for Reading and Math achievement over the past five years. Only 53 elementary schools across the state earned this honor.

Principal Kurt Fourre credited the school's improvement to the hard work, programs and processes the staff have put in place to help students achieve at high levels. 'I am very proud of the commitment our staff has to the district's mission and vision,' he said. 'The Lackamas staff is truly 'dedicated to learning and achievement.'' District-wide initiatives such as Response to Intervention helped create smaller groups for struggling learners," quoting YCS.
Read more from Yelm Community Schools (YCS).

December 8, 2011

COUNTY'S CRITICAL AREAS ORDINANCE
PUBLIC HEARING
SATURDAY, DEC. 10

From Go Thurston!

"The Thurston County Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on revisions to the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), which hasn't been updated since 1994.

It is imperative that the community speak up in support of this much needed revision.

People are welcome to speak at the hearing by signing the sign-in sheet. They will then be assigned a number designating when they will be called up to speak.

See draft chapters of the reivsed CAO on the County's CAO Website.

IF someone can’t speak at the hearing, they are encouraged to send in their written comments
by email to Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner.
The county is accepting written public comments from November 18th until 5 pm on December 23rd."

Read more - Helpful talking points for CAO hearing on December 10th.

December 7, 2011

SCHOOLS SUPER. WOLF BEGINS Q & A SESSIONS TONIGHT

From The Olympian:
"Yelm Community Schools superintendent Andy Wolf will host a series of informal question-and-answer sessions about the upcoming levy measure, how community members can get involved in schools and other district issues."

The first session is tonight.
Read more on the sessions' dates/times.

WHILE THURSTON HOME SALES INCH UP,
MEDIAN PRICES WEAK FOR OCT. & NOV.

Rolf Boone reported in The Olympian:
"Thurston County home sales activity showed little movement in November as sales rose 1 percent from the previous November and median prices stayed unchanged at $215,000, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released this week."

The Pierce County Business Examiner reports:

"October's housing activity had both tricks and treats. While pending sales were up almost 21 percent from a year ago, prices were down almost 11 percent area-wide compared to a year ago, according to the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service."

"In Thurston County sales increased 6.99 percent (245 vs 229), but the median price fell 6.25 percent ($210,000 vs $224,000)."

Ed. Note:
The decreasing pricing declines will have an effect on government budgets again from a continued downward spiral via tax income. Will the City of Yelm's budget estimated to be 2% lower in sales tax revenue be enough to avoid cutbacks in 2012?
HMMM.

December 6, 2011

COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROMERO HOSTS Dec. 12th COFFEE - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Sandra Romero

Commissioner Sandra Romero Hosts Monthly Coffees with Area Residents - Monday, December 12, 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 and Lacey on Monday, December 12th.
Note different day: 2nd Monday rather than 4th

Thurston County Coroner, Gary Warnock, will answer questions about the Coroner’s Office and his duties as the County Coroner.

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, December 12th, 2011

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

Yelm: 11:00am – Noon – Fadi’s Restaurant (Tahoma Golf Course) 15425 Mosman Ave. SW.

Read more from Commissioner Romero's quarterly Newsletter.


For more information, contact:
Mary Anderson
Commissioner Staff
360-786-5747 or anderma@co.thurston.wa.us

December 5, 2011

"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"
THIS WEEK: City Hall should get behind the Yelm Community Schools Levy


"TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT"

Did you know there are will be a Yelm Community Schools Replacement Levy on the ballot February 14, 2012?
Gotta love that date!

This is a very critical time for Yelm Community Schools (YCS) and a very important REPLACEMENT Levy.
Our area's children ARE our future.
Won't you gather information about the fabulous work of the Yelm Community Schools and cast your ballot in support of their 2012 Replacement Levy to continue to provide our youth with an outstanding, quality education?

Afterall, so many Yelm Community Blog readers are former students of Yelm Community Schools & you can attest how how experiences there impacted your lives!


1. Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools says there are a few ways you can help out between now and January.

- Provide us 10 email addresses of friends and family who are YCS voters that might be interested in the levy

- Share our email link with all of your local contacts

- Like us on Facebook and ask your friends to like us too!

2. Attend one of YCS Superintendent Andy Wolf's 4 community "chats" in December.
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
Read more on the dates/times.

3. Read why "Today more than ever our schools are full of great hope and promise!"
By Andy Wolf, Yelm Community Schools Superintendent
Read more

4. Read the 2013-2016 Maintenance & Operations Replacement Levy Presentation.
Read more

Mayor Ron Harding was on the Bus Tour of Yelm Community Schools on November 15, 2011 and commented at the last City Council Meeting on-the-record at how much he learned about YCS he did not know. As a former YCS attendee, he above all should be proclaiming his support for the February Replacement Levy to his citizens in every way, plus enlisting the support of his City Council and Council electees.


As Superintendent Wolfe told the bus tour participants, Yelm Community Schools ARE Yelm's Best-kept secret."

THE TIME HAS COME WHERE YELM COMMUNITY SCHOOLS ARE NO LONGER A SECRET, RATHER AN ASSET TO BE TOUTED AT EVERY TURN.

THE FIRST PLACE THIS SHOULD BEGIN IS FROM OUR OWN CITY HALL!

SOME MAY SAY THIS IS POLITICIZING THIS ISSUE.
FINE!
I AM ALL FOR EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THIS CRUCIAL UP-COMING BALLOT & SEEING THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL GET ON-BOARD WITH AS MUCH ENTHUSIASM AS THEY HAVE HAD FOR A $1.2 MILLION LIBRARY CONDO PURCHASE AND WHO TOUT THE LIBRARY FOR OUR CHILDREN.
WHATEVER WILL SOUND THE ALARMS TO GET THIS CITY PASSIONATE FOR OUR SCHOOLS' LEVY IS AS IMPORTANT FOR OUR STUDENTS, TOO.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE YELM COMMUNITY SCHOOLS BALLOT ON FEBRUARY 14, 2012!

OUR YOUTH ARE OUR FUTURE.

December 4, 2011

WINTER FARMERS' MARKETS FEATURE YELM PRODUCTS

From the report by Jennifer Johnson in the WEEKLY Volcano:

"One of the largest outdoor markets in the region, the Olympia Farmers Market operates on winter hours through Dec. 18 - open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market may be a little smaller this time of year, but there are still many vendors selling quality, locally raised, grown and crafted products. In operation since 1975, farms that participate in the Olympia Farmers Market are carefully selected to ensure high quality organic produce is what you will find. All produce offered is grown in Washington, so seasonal selections reflect what is truly growing in the field, not what came in on a truck from warmer climates."

"Does the idea of antibiotics and hormones in your meat freak you out? Me too. Stewart's Meat Market solves that problem. Stewart's raise much of the meat it sells and does so humanely - free of unnecessary additives. Lamb, beef, goat, veal, buffalo, chicken and pork are available pre-wrapped and frozen. Non-traditional pepperoni, anyone? Stewart's makes it with ostrich, buffalo, venison, elk and antelope. And don't forget the prize winning beef jerky. Like the other meats, it's sold by the pound - prices vary. Sugar-free alder garlic beef jerky is a personal favorite. You can even get hard to find buffalo jerky. Stewart's Meat Market advises calling the shop in Yelm in advance to place orders for pick-up if you're looking for specific cuts or meats. They'll have it with your name on it for pick-up at the market."


Olympia Farmers' Market

700 N. Capitol Way
Olympia, WA. 98501


"After the holiday season has passed, watch for the black van that brings in great smelling baked goods from Yelm's Stone Ground Bakery to the Proctor District's Winter Market. Who doesn't love a slice of buttered fresh made bread? Selling at the market provides customers a direct buying experience, cutting out the middleman (grocery store). Organic wheat is freshly ground; no preservatives or oils are used creating the breads and other baked products, increasing the healthy factor. Refined sugar is not an ingredient. Instead, honey and molasses supply the sweet component. Specialty round loaves of jalapeno cheese, pumpernickel and onion dill rye ($5) line up next to traditional sliced wheat and white loaves ($4.50) at the farmers market booth. Pumpkin muffins (both with and without chocolate chips), cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread and cookies will also be sold."

Proctor Farmers' Market
2702 N. Proctor
Tacoma, WA 98407

The Proctor Market is currently open Saturdays through Dec 17. The Proctor Winter Market begins Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and runs the second Saturday of the month between 10 am and 1 pm through the end of March when the regular market reconvenes.

December 3, 2011

INTRODUCING 'REFLECTIONS GYM' IN YELM

From the Reflections Gym website:
"We are a Complete Women's Health Club

We offer all the equipment that giant fitness centers do, 24/7, but without the large crowds and high membership cost. Our goal is to empower women by giving them the tools for a healthy lifestyle.

Let us help you achieve your fitness goals!
We invite you to stop by for a tour and learn more about us.

Ask about our FREE WEEK TRIAL!

Men are welcome to use our Nutrition and Spa Services!"

"Become our fan on Facebook"

REFLECTIONS GYM
303 Creek St.
Yelm, WA. 98597
(360) 400-1499
reflexionshc@gmail.com


Gym Hours:
Mon - Thurs: 7:30 AM - 7 PM
Fri: 7:30 AM - 5 PM
Sat: 9 AM - 12 PM
Sun: Closed
24/7 access available.

TELL REFLECTIONS GYM YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!

YELM PROUD - OF OUR LOCALLY OWNED MERCHANTS!

December 2, 2011

"Voluntary burn ban issued for Thurston County"

From John Dodge in The Olympian:
"Air quality is on the decline in South Sound this week, prompting the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency Thursday to issue a voluntary burn ban in Thurston and Mason counties."

"Overall, air-pollution levels are on the rise, which could lead to a mandatory burn ban later this week, clean-air agency spokesman Dan Nelson said.

For now, residents are asked to not burn wood to heat their homes unless they have no other source of heat."

PARADE & CHRISTMAS-IN-THE-PARK TOMORROW


Photo courtesy Yelm Chamber of Commerce.

Posted on KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle:
"Yelm is getting into the holiday spirit with its annual Christmas in the Park parade and celebration next weekend.

Saturday’s event is free to the public and includes craft activities, a gingerbread house contest, photos with Santa, performance by school choirs and the community tree lighting.

The event starts at 9:30 a.m. with a parade and ends with the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. at Yelm City Park."

December 1, 2011

YELM HIGH'S DRAMA CLUB PRESENTS THEIR VERSION OF "THE NUTCRACKER" DEC. 1-3

From Yelm High School's (YHS)website:
"The "Nutracker" will be presented by the Yelm High School Drama Club on Dec. 1, 2 & 3.
Bring the family for this shortened, "child-friendly" version of this Christmas classic."

Where: YHS Performing Arts Center.
When: 7 p.m. start, length about an hour.
Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors. On Dec. 1, students with ASB cards get in free.

YELM COOP MEMBERS INVITED TO CELEBRATE VOLUNTEERS THIS SUNDAY

Put it on Your Calendar
There's a party this Sunday!

Come and celebrate our Volunteers!

Sunday, December 4th
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Gordon's Gift Shop
308 Yelm Avenue East
Evening highlights include:

Members only shopping event at Gordon’s, 1
10% off everything
Spin the prize wheel to get additional special discounts
Eat, drink and be merry with good food, good friends and delicious appetizers
Get to know our members and volunteers amid festive holiday décor and music


Join us for an after-party across the street at Spiral Café at 8:00 pm

RSVP by replying to this email
or to grapevine@yelmcoop.com

Read more

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