March 2012 Archives

March 31, 2012


"We only have one planet. You can help protect it. Participate in the world’s largest single campaign for the planet: Earth Hour. It starts by turning off your lights for an hour at 8:30 pm on March 31, 2012 in a collective display of commitment to a better future for the planet. Think what can be achieved when we all come together for a common cause."

Participate in Earth Hour

Pledge your support
Sign up to participate and turn off all non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 pm local time.

Editor's Note:
For years, this Blogger has urged the City of Yelm to take the lead in our area and sign-up our city to participate. Sadly, they have declined.

Read more from World Wildlife Fund.


"Olympia, Hoquiam and Sea-Tac Airport broke rainfall records for March 29 on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Olympia had 1.98 inches; the airport had 1.08."

"Also Thursday, Spokane has set a record for the wettest March since record-keeping began in 1881 [3.89 inches of rain].
Read more from The Olympian.

"Thurston County courts to waive traffic-infraction fees in April"

Jeremy Pawloski filed this report in The Olympian:

"Thurston County District Court and municipal courts countywide are offering a program in April that potentially waives interest and partial collection-agency fees for unpaid traffic fines.

Participating courts include Thurston County District Court; Olympia, Tenino/Rainier, Tumwater and Yelm Municipal Courts; and the Lacey Traffic Violations Bureau."

"In April, the courts and their collection agencies will waive interest and half the collection-agency fee, and will remove cases from credit bureau listings once payments are received, Pearson said [District Court Administrative Services Manager Jerry Pearson].

March 30, 2012


Wilcox Family Farms Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Download the Wilcox Annual Easter Event Poster

Wilcox Annual Easter Event
Saturday March 31st 2012
Come join us for a fun-packed DAY!

11am AND 2pm
By popular demand there will be 2 hunts so one is sure to fit your schedule
Come join the fun!

Activities for EVERYONE!
- Hay Rides
- Guided Farm Tours
- FREE Omelets
- Face Painting...and more!

Admission is FREE.
Wilcox Farm
40400 Harts Lake Valley Rd.
Roy, WA

CLICK HERE to see the 2011 Wilcox Easter Egg Hunt on YouTube.

Wilcox Farms donates 54,000 eggs to Yelm Community Services
"The donation was part of a national effort organized around the Easter holiday by the United Egg Producers.

'We provide donated Wilcox eggs to the Yelm Senior Center, the Rainier Senior Center, and the Nisqually Elders Center, who have been our partners for many years, said Cindy Marchand-Cecil of Yelm Community Services. 'Our hats are off to everyone at Wilcox Farms, who has regularly contributed to Yelm Community Services since 1989. They are, by far, the single largest source of food to this agency’s food bank over time,'” quoting KOMO-TV 4 News in Seattle.
Read more


Chelsea Krotzer reports in The Olympian:
"The Timberland Regional Library Board unanimously voted to fire Director Michael Crose Wednesday night, saying he was paid by another entity while acting as a library employee and used library equipment for personal purposes."
Read more

"Thurston County's jobless rate rises again"

Rolf Boone reports in The Olympian:

"Thurston County’s jobless rate rose to 8.5 percent last month from a revised 8 percent rate in January, the result of seasonal changes in employment following the holidays, a regional economist said Tuesday [March 27].

County unemployment rates, which are not seasonally adjusted, tend to rise in January following the holidays, but that also can continue into February, regional economist Jim Vleming said.

He expects the county’s jobless rate will fall in March as another wave of seasonal hiring begins in the spring. Still, the county added 700 jobs in the January-February period, he said."

Editor's Note:
Thurston County unemployment rates may not recover as fast as Vleming stated with the announced closure of Lacey's K-Mart, 750 jobs slashed at Verizon, state liquor stores closing and now the 50 store closures of Best Buy nationwide.

March 29, 2012


George Ray Cowles George passed away March 13, 2012 in Yelm, WA.

"George married Mary Frances Aschenbrenner-Fields on Dec. 20, 1946. Mary and George co-owned and operated the Yelm Garage with Mary’s twin brother Joe Aschenbrenner and his wife Rose. George was a founding member of the volunteer Yelm Fire Department and proudly served as its Fire Chief for 25 years".

"He will be remembered for his love of family and friends, vast knowledge of history of Yelm and his enjoyment of sharing it with everyone. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Cowles, daughters Marilee Bollinger and Karen McCarrell, son Jerry Cowles, and grandson Billy Ray McCarrell.

He is survived by his son, Bill Cowles (Margo), daughter Ruth Cowles-Porterfield (Michael), grandchildren, Dennis McCarrell, Mary Shephard, Margaret Sims, Michael Bollinger, Kara Tappan, Mitchell Cowles, Donovan Olson, Kurtis Olson, and 12 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren along with many cousins, nieces, and nephews. George loved many things but, most of all life and the people in his life.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations go to the Alzheimer’s Research."
Read more from Funeral Alternatives.


Exciting News from Gordon’s Garden Center and the Yelm Food Coop

Yelm, WA, March 27, 2012 – "Kellie Petersen, owner of Gordon’s Garden Center, and Bill Wyman, President of the Board of Directors of Yelm Cooperative, are pleased to announce the relocation of the Yelm Food Coop Retail Store to the Gordon’s Garden Center complex during the month of April in 2012.

Gordon’s opened in Yelm 47 years ago as a food market, and over the years expanded to include garden products including premium quality decorative and food producing trees and plants for the home gardener. Today, Gordon’s stands as one of the region’s premiere retail destinations for quality gardening products, and has achieved the Washington State Environmental Award of Excellence for their organic program. This year, Ms. Petersen is expanding Gordon’s services to include a Wedding Registry, Design on Demand, Personal Shopper, and an innovative Best Food Forward to better serve the Yelm Community."

"Gordon’s Garden Center and the Yelm Cooperative are forming a “Perfect Partnership” by operating independently yet together at the Gordon’s Garden Center complex. Organic and sustainable principals guide both operations, and provide the community with a centralized hub for shopping and access to their complementary services.

Working together, Gordon’s Garden Center and the Yelm Cooperative help to promote a healthy and sustainable community, now and for future generations."

Read more from the Press Release.

Editor's Note:
Now this is a wise move for the community & both organizations - unique & innovative.
A true home-run outta da ballpark!

Yelm Community Blogger Klein is a founding member of the Yelm Food Co-op.

March 28, 2012


Mayor Harding's Proclamation of March 27, 2012 recognizes April as Arbor Month in Yelm, for the 16th year.
Yelm's Arbor Day celebration will be at 11am on April 27.
Mayor Harding said the celebration "will be fun."

Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care.

Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

Washington State's Arbor Day is the second Wednesday in April.

"The National Arbor Day Foundation has published a new hardiness zone map, based on climate data from the past 15 years, that clearly shows the warming trend across the country," quoting the National Arbor Day Foundation website.

Won't you donate a tree to our town by sending a check to Yelm City Hall for Yelm's Tree Fund!

March 27, 2012


Yelm Timberland Regional Library

City of Yelm taxpayers will officially authorize the funds for the library condo purchase tonight!

UPDATE: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3pm
This action item on tonight's Yelm's City Council Agenda was removed today without explanation.
In writing to the the City of Yelm for an explanation since none was explained publicly, an official wrote "the documents were not ready to come before Council that evening."
Interesting, because they certainly were posted on the city's website prior to the meeting.
Why would the mayor not officially go on the public record saying this item, 8B was removed?
Why does the public have to find out about the reason for a public agenda change in the local newspaper?

From the Yelm City Council Agenda & Staff Report for tonight's Agenda:

To: Mayor Ron Harding
Yelm City Council
From: Grant Beck, Community Development Director
Date: March 15 (for March 27, 2012 City Council Meeting)
Subj: Purchase and Sale Agreement - Timberland Regional Library

"Authorize Mayor Harding to sign a purchase and sale agreement for the purchase a condominium unit within the Fay Fuller Building at Prairie Park for $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars), subject to approval of the final declaration of condominium and covenants, conditions, and restrictions by Mayor Harding."

"The building will be divided into three units, the largest of which is the library, at approximately 10,000 square feet including the ‘loft’ and first floor lobby. The library space represents approximately 59% of square footage of the entire building."

Editor's Note:
Not mentioned in the Staff report is the interest expense and other Yelm taxpayer expenses totaling $2,275,000 in bonds to acquire the library portion of the building and to purchase other property and capital improvements that include an additional one million dollars for a city owned community center, for which the public was not informed. The Yelm taxpayers knew only they were buying a $1 million library condo!

Something that should be celebrated here will garner nothing more than a yawn, due to almost a year of hype. Yet, a regional library is a wonderful thing for our area.

However, the city's purchase of a less-than-satisfactory, second-floor and way-to-large condo just to appease former lessor Margaret Clapp is poli-tics as usual in Yelm. "I'll rub your back if you'll rub mine." So, Clapp lowered the asking price by $200,000 from $1.2 million and called that her "gift", IF Harding agreed to buy her condo.

You can see that with the library comprising almost 2/3 of Clapp's building she would have alot of vacant space if the library went elsewhere, seeing how there are so many other unoccupied, commercial facilities in Yelm. Knowing what I know from my experience with the library, I am certain Clapp's "full-court press" was on Harding to do any-thing to keep her building's 2nd floor occupied. Harding threw a "Hail Mary' pass last April to the Timberland Regional Library Board about purchasing Clapp's condo, all without prior consultation or authorization with his own city council. That takes alot of hubris!

Donors saw through the smokescreen of Mayor Harding's request for the greater Yelm community to contribute to defray the $1 million cost of the condo, and raised only $30,000. There were no fundraising goals nor was Harding forthcoming to the public at the time of what the costs would be. Harding would never publicly disclose the other options he and city staffers investigated as library facility options. Further, Harding never galvanized the entire library patron area to join in this effort, rather divided the community between Yelm patrons and those not living within the city limits. And now, the library fundraising effort's leader Glen Nutter will be leaving Yelm for his philanthropy work in Africa.

Then former US Presidential candidate Bo Gritz & decorated Green Beret Veteran was in Puget Sound in the early 1990's & I went to hear his talk. He said,
"I have only 2 things to say about politics:
Poli means many &
Tic is a blood-sucker"

Mayor Harding's handling of the whole library issue going back 7 years in which I have been involved, has been Yelm poli-tics as usual!

Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star

Yelm Community Blogger Klein is a former mayor appointee to the Yelm Library Citizens Advisory Board and subsequently that Board's selected Chair.

March 26, 2012


Photo courtesy Yelm Community Schools (YCS)
YCS Superintendent Andy Wolf, Civic Educator of the Year Ed Bergh,
YHS Principal Brian Wharton, and Legislative Representative JT Wilcox.
Bergh being honored as Washington Civic Educator of the Year

Lisa Pemberton penned this report in today's Olympian:

Educating kids, learning himself

YELM: Recently honored by the state, teacher Ed Bergh talks about life, career

"Yelm High School’s Ed Bergh recently was honored as Washington Civic Educator of the Year by the state Legislature.

He teaches world problems, history and a variety of American government electives.

'He loves what he helps his students accomplish,' said Yelm High Principal Brian Wharton. 'This passion and energy motivates other teachers.'

Bergh, 60, of Olympia, talked to The Olympian about his career. Here are excerpts of the conversation."

"I’ve taught for 38 years (all at Yelm High School). I’ve also ended up doing quite a bit of research and writing on the history of Yelm."

"Two years ago, while I was watching television, I suddenly developed double vision. It turns out I had a walnut-sized tumor on my brain. The tumor is a chordoma tumor. It’s not cancerous, but it’s very difficult to treat."

"The tumor’s remnants are dormant, so I get to live forever again."

Editor's Note:
Bergh is also the founder of the Yelm History Project.
Read more

March 25, 2012


A sign on the former Little Caboose Restaurant in Yelm (at the corner of 93rd and Yelm Hwy), which was previously a convenience store, Tomassini's Restaurant and then in 1989 a flower shop says The Bunkhouse is to open soon. Their Facebook page says they are moving from McKenna to this Yelm location on April 1st.

Read more on the Facebook page of Bunkhouse BBQ and Burgers, Burger Restaurant McKenna, Washington.

UPDATE: March 30,2012
Now open in Yelm, relocated from McKenna location.
Congratulations and wishing them well.

March 24, 2012

BPA: "Wind Farms Generate Record Power"

"Wind farms have generated a record-breaking amount of power this month. The Bonneville Power Administration [BPA] is hoping to avoid over-generation problems that happened last spring.

Strong winds generated 4,000 megawatts onto the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission grid on a single day this month. That’s as much as four nuclear power plants.

This spike comes at a time when the Pacific Northwest grid already has an abundance of power. That’s because rivers are running high as the snow melts.

Last year BPA shut down wind facilities because there was more power than the grid could handle. Spokesman Mike Hansen says BPA is trying to avoid those problems," quoting Courtney Flatt in OBP News.

Read more from the Bonneville Power Administration, United States Department of Energy

March 23, 2012


Nisqually Indian Tribe
12th Annual Nisqually
Wellbriety Pow-Wow
March 23th, 24th, and 25th 2012
Nisqually YC Community Center
1937 Lashi St. NE Olympia, WA 98513
Grand Entry: Sat & Sun@ 1pm and 7 pm

Flyer Information

More information:
Nisqually Youth and Community Center
Address: 1937 Lashi St. NE Olympia, WA 98513

Grand Entry: Sat & Sun@ 1pm and 7 pm

Master of Ceremonies: Sonny Eaglespeaker

Arena Directors: Casey & Buck Wallahee

Host Drums: Creekside and Wild Rose

Head Man Dancer: Mark Sison

Head Woman Dancer: Bridgett Eaglespeaker

All Dancers-Registration closes @ 3:00 on Saturday March 24th

And First 7 drums-To register will be paid
Read more

March 22, 2012

Tenino Police Chief resigns -
cites affair with Yelm PD officer

Jeremy Pawloski reports in The Olympian:
"Tenino Police Chief Sean Gallagher resigned Wednesday [March 21] after Mayor Eric Strawn said he planned to place Gallagher on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation into what Strawn said was evidence of 'conduct unbecoming of an officer.'”

"After Marlo Gallagher’s [the Chief's wife] suicide, Sean Gallagher denied to detectives that he’d been having an affair. But after further questioning, 'Mr. Gallagher disclosed that he was having an extra-marital affair and was romantically involved' with a Yelm police officer.

He later apologized for lying, saying he was concerned about his law enforcement reputation."


Photo courtesy: Rainier High School

KOMO-TV 4 News in Seattle reports:
The Rainier High School "Dollars for Scholars" auction is coming up March 24.

In its 13th year, the event will be held at the Rainier Middle/High School campus and features a lasagna dinner at 3:30 p.m. ($7.00 for adults $4.00 for children).

The silent auction starts at 4 p.m. with the live auction following at 7 p.m. Free childcare is available.

For more information, call Traci Carli at 360-446-3207, Suz Miller at 360-894-3377 or Jill O'Brien at 360-446-0730.
Read more

March 21, 2012


Mayor Harding's annually announced goal since 2006 at each State of the City address to build a Community Center during his term has now been eclipsed by the recent announcement of the Yelm Lions Club's proposed youth and community center that would cost an estimated $10 million.

Tyler Huey reported in Friday's edition of the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) the Yelm Lions Club is "charging forward with plans to build a center" and their board "authorized the establishment of the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit foundation." Huey reports "millions of dollars to be raised by the Lions through grants and fundraising."

Editor's Note:
One HAS to question what is going on in Yelm:

1. Yelm has a quality community center with Yelm Community Services, also supported by donations and tax-deductible funds from the public. I have commented for years why Mayor Harding, city staffers and others always ignore this fact.
And, why hasn't the Yelm Community Services board not shouted this out!
Click here for Yelm Community Services' fabulous website.

2. Harding's newspaper column last week titled "Clearing up confusion on community center" just added more confusion!
Harding said that the city's community center "could be structured to offer classes that would provide things to do for all ages."
Harding also told the Nisqually Valley News on February 10, 2012:
"The city wouldn’t be able to afford to staff the building."
The city already provides taxpayer support to the Yelm Adult Community Center with classes for our area's seniors and now the Yelm Library, which offers a wide variety of programs!

Harding continued saying "The Lions Club model is more of an activity center. Programs like those offered at the city facility could be included."
"Our goal as a city is to provide an additional community space that can be enjoyed by all, yet is financially sensible for our community and current economy."

Harding really needs to get a grip & put himself in the shoes of his constituents!
Where is HIS mind in providing something "financially sensible for our community and current economy?"

1. He just spent over 2 million dollars to buy a library condo facility for area citizens to have a place where classes and programs could be offered for all ages. That bond debt is now placed on the backs of city property owners.

2. The Yelm Community Services Center already exists and has been supporting this community since 1971.

3. The Lions Club is going to raise $10 million for a facility?
Harding has previously said in the NVN even the YMCA "realized the city's model [for a community center] missed the mark compared to the YMCA model in several areas, including population density, facilities, programs and fee structure."

4. Yelm Lions Secretary Dave Pratt said, "Yelm Community services focuses primarily on social services, so this will flush out the needs of the community."

How myopic of a comment is that?
Does Mr. Pratt know that the Yelm Community Services center has classrooms, a gymnasium and currently offers several youth and adult programs that have been assets for this community?

We have a very fragile economy and have watched for months as the city grappled with financing the purchase of a way-too-large, less-than-desirable 2nd floor library condo at a cost to Yelm property owners of over $2 million dollars. The community already supports the 501 (c) 3 non-profits in the Yelm Adult Community Center and Yelm Community Services organization and now property owners are expected to pony up for two additional community centers via grants, donations and taxpayer funding?

Please tell us how and why our officials are spending this kind of money like "drunken sailors"?
Why are so many good people going in different directions, which in the end, works against each other?


March 20, 2012



"The vernal equinox — the first day of spring — will arrive tomorrow (March 20) at 05:14 Universal Time, or 1:14 a.m. EDT. Even more intriguing is that for those in the Mountain and Pacific Time zones, the equinox will actually arrive tonight (March 19)," quoting

Spring began in Yelm last night at 10:19pm.

March 19, 2012

Chief Seattle’s attributed legacy -
proper stewardship of our area's lands

The only known photo of Chief Seattle, 1864

From Wikipedia:
"Chief Seattle (an Anglicization of Si'ahl), originally (c. 1780 - June 7, 1866) was a Dkhw’Duw’Absh (Duwamish) chief, also known as Sealth, Seathle, Seathl, or See-ahth. A prominent figure among his people, he pursued a path of accommodation to white settlers, forming a personal relationship with David Swinson "Doc" Maynard. Seattle, Washington was named after him. A widely publicized speech arguing in favor of ecological responsibility and respect of native Americans' land rights has been attributed to him; however there is controversy about what, if anything, he actually said."

"No one alive today knows what he said; he spoke in the Lushootseed language, and someone translated his words into Chinook jargon, and a third person translated that into English."

"Some years later, Dr. Henry A. Smith wrote down an English version of the speech, based on Smith's notes. It was a flowery text in which Si’ahl purportedly thanked the white people for their generosity, demanded that any treaty guarantee access to Native burial grounds, and made a contrast between the God of the white people and that of his own."

Editor's Note:
Chief Seattle's speech has been noted for acknowledging the USA's purchase of native tribal lands and potentially offering counsel for the land's proper stewardship.

The leaders of Yelm, in particular, could learn from Chief Seattle.
After-all, their own Comprehensive Plan states that sustainability will be the guiding principle —“A sustainable community thoughtfully provides or the needs of its residents with efficiency and stewardship for the future.”

The city's focus on obtaining more water rights, issuing more permits to build more homes and attract more growth in this town has garnered the following:
1. one of the top cities in the state for growth
"Yelm Morphs From Prairie Town to County’s Fastest Growing City"
2. the number one issue here - traffic
3. more pollution problems
4. more air problems
5. more crime problems
6. more water problems - gosh, the state's Supreme Court ruled against Yelm in a noted water rights case.

Regarding the continued plundering of this town's resources, Chief Seattle's attributed comments AND the words of Yelm's own Comprehensive Plan regarding stewardship should be the guide, rather than the almighty dollar firing the twinkle in the eyes of our city's leaders.

March 18, 2012


Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza

From KOMO-TV 4 news in Seattle:

"Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza and his staff will hold a town hall meeting on March 21 to discuss the department's Field Operations Bureau.

Snaza will display equipment used by the F.O.B. and the a K-9 team will be on hand.

The meeting will take place at the Griffin Fire Department, 3707 Steamboat Loop NW in Olympia.

This is the first in a series of town hall meetings planned by TCSO."
Read more from the Press Release.

Editor's Note:
In his 6 1/4 years as Yelm's Mayor, Ron Harding has NEVER held a town hall meeting. Our Congressional Representative, state legislators, County Commissioner & County Sheriff have all held forums here.
Not Harding!
Of what is Mayor Harding afraid?

Perhaps his constituents will ask him this question and our local newspaper will report his answer.

March 17, 2012


Road sign entering Ferns, Ireland
Courtesy: Flanagan's Apple Irish Pub, Yelm

Ferns, Ireland is the Sister City to the City of Yelm

From Wikipedia:

"Ferns (Irish: Fearna, meaning "alder trees" short for Fearna Mór Maedhóg) is a small historic town in north County Wexford, Ireland with a population of about 900."

"Ferns is believed to have been established in the 6th century, when a monastery was founded in 598 dedicated to St Mogue of Clonmore who was a Bishop of Ferns. The town became the capital of the Kingdom of Leinster when the kings of that southern part of the province established their seat of power there. King Dermot MacMurrough founded St. Mary's Abbey as a house of Augustinian canons c. 1158 and was buried there in 1171.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Miceal Ledwith

Ferns Castle, an Anglo-Norman fortress, was built in the 13th century by William, Earl Marshall. Today about half of the castle still stands. The town also contains the 13th-century St Edan's Cathedral (Church of Ireland) and several high crosses and parts of crosses.

The 19th century population peaked in 1851, but never reached the levels of medieval times. Lewis's Topography of 1834 claimed the town 'consists chiefly of one irregular street, and contains 106 houses indifferently built, retaining no trace of its ancient importance'."

Editor's Note:
The Yelm area has another connection to Ferns, Ireland, as well.
Yelm-based Ramtha's School of Enlightenment (RSE) Teacher Dr. Miceal Ledwith [L.Ph., L.D., D.D., LL.D (h.c)] is from the Fern's Diocese in Ireland. The diocese was founded in the year 598 AD.
Read more

Dr. Ledwith was the former adviser to Pope John Paul II for 17 years as Member and Chairman of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission.
Read more on Dr. Ledwith.

This post was written by Steve Klein.
Klein is employed as the Event Services Manager for JZ Knight and Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment.

March 16, 2012

J.T. Wilcox sponsors new wetland mitigation option

Representative. J.T. Wilcox

"Gov. Chris Gregoire plans to sign a bill on Monday that would allow project planners an option to fund environmental programs if they cannot comply with wetland mitigation requirements.

Currently, one of these programs has about $10 million in dues to small-forest landowners, according to officials in forestry.

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, sponsored House bill 2238, which would allow public or private entities, looking to start projects, the option of providing monetary funds toward state environmental agencies in lieu of required on-site wetland mitigation.

'(This option) is good for small private landowners,' said Wilcox. 'A lot of promises were made to them in the course of passing forestry regulations that were never fulfilled. So this is a way of helping them, without taking new taxpayer dollars,'" quoting Raechel Dawson, WNPA Olympia News Bureau, for the Auburn Reporter.

March 15, 2012

"Seattle to Build Nation’s First Food Forest" -
How about Yelm?

From Take Part:

"Forget meadows. The city’s new park will be filled with edible plants, and everything from pears to herbs will be free for the taking."

"Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest."

"The concept of a food forest certainly pushes the envelope on urban agriculture and is grounded in the concept of permaculture, which means it will be perennial and self-sustaining, like a forest is in the wild. Not only is this forest Seattle’s first large-scale permaculture project, but it’s also believed to be the first of its kind in the nation," by Clare Leschin-Hoar.

Editor's Note:
How about Yelm joining Seattle in leading the way on this, too?

Wouldn't this idea be a wonderful addition to the Yelm Food Co-op's Farmer's market?
"We will be establishing the Yelm Cooperative as a 501.c.3 federally approved non-profit organization. It will oversee the programs of the Retail Store, the Farmer’s market and the Community Food Education Program. The latter will now encompass what was earlier seen as the Community Garden program," quoting the Yelm Food Co-op.

March 14, 2012



Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(360) 458-4230
Read more

Serving Yelm and Rainier School Districts, and the Nisqually Tribal Reservation since 1971
Yelm Community Services is proud to be the first and oldest food bank in Thurston County.
Open on Thursdays from 1-4 p.m.
For emergencies, we are open Monday through Friday, 9-5
(360) 458-4003
Food Bank and USDA Commodities
Read more

Spring, Summer, 2012
- After School Activities from 2:30 to 6 p.m., ages 5-18, Monday through Friday
- Late Night Teen Dances, April and May, 2012
- Saturday Fun Events, May and June, 2012
- Great Escapes Day Camp – 2012
Read more

March 13, 2012

"Families from Around the World Travel to Washington State for Ramtha's Primary Retreat March 17-25"

From the Ramtha School of Enlightenment Press Release:

"YELM, Wash., March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
More than 600 people around the world, ranging from infants to age 90 and above, will gather at Ramtha's School of Enlightenment (RSE) for the Yelm Primary Retreat. The annual nine-day event is open to all current students and will be conducted at the School's campus in Yelm, Washington. A live video stream will be available to current students across the globe."
Read more

Yelm Community Blogger Klein is employed as the Event Services Manager for JZ Knight and Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment.


From Yelm Community Schools:
"There was something for everyone at the 17th Annual Yelm Dollars for Scholars auction. With over 400 silent auction items and 40 live auction items, everyone was able to contribute toward the main goal of raising scholarship funds for this year’s senior class. Over $145,000 poured in from community members as students paraded across the stage with college hopes in their hearts.

'A big thank you to the citizens of Yelm for all you do to support our children and their dreams of higher education. Once again, the generosity and support for our students and their education is alive and well here in Yelm,' said auctioneer Larry Schorno."


Yelm's First Annual Wedding Walk
Saturday, March 31st, 2012
Free Admission 10am-5pm
1202 Yelm Ave. E.
Grand Prize valued at over $1000.
Register at Willow Spa & Nail Clinic

Click here for the the Facebook page link.

Read more

March 12, 2012


Guest entry from Yelm-area property owner Sara Foster, in her own words:

"On November 18, 2011, Sara Foster submitted an Appeal against the City of Yelm and the Dept of Ecology to stop the pumping of 942 acre feet of water, every year for 20 years, from our aquifer. Ecology had just rubber-stamped Yelm’s Mitigation Plan and the city was approved to begin pumping. This amount has huge environmental impacts to the aquifer. It means all of our wells in a vast surrounding area [outside of Yelm city limits] could drop in static level and people would have to drill new wells...In 2009 our community became aware of this same Mitigation Plan submitted to Ecology, and wrote over 85 letters in protest. It was subsequently withdrawn.

So Yelm waited 2 years and then very quietly resubmitted the same old plan, putting it on a fast-track with Ecology for approval.

I discovered this with just 2 days to spare. With the help of a friend, I filed an Appeal as "Sara Foster & The Downstreamers" . . . but in the beginning, there were no Downstreamers. And no one else filed an Appeal. Because no one knew!! Yelm right now would have begun pumping out of our aquifer, effecting all of our static levels.

I had legal assistance from a non-profit organization for the first few months, so I could file motions and respond to everything Yelm sent our way. I got our case on the docket for a hearing date of July 25th, 2012, so Yelm was not granted these water rights and cannot pump any water [additional water over the city's exiting water rights] until after this Hearing. In the meantime, 9 other dauntless entities have stepped up to become “The Downstreamers”.

I have now hired an attorney to represent us... I’m pleased to answer any questions you might have.

Thank you all so much! You are a great community!"

Sara Foster

March 11, 2012

"Thurston County precinct map changes available"

From the Thurston County Auditor:
The Board of County Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. The subject of the hearing is the proposed amendments to Chapter 1.08 of the Thurston County Code, relating to Election Precincts. It is necessary to amend certain voting precinct boundaries because of Congressional and Legislative redistricting.

Hearing Details

Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Time: Hearing begins at 3:00 p.m.
Location: Building 1, Room 280
County Courthouse Complex
2000 Lakeridge Drive SW
Olympia, WA 98502

The Thurston County Auditor's Office is currently accepting written comments on the proposed ordinance, and will do so until the close of business on Monday, March 12, 2012. Comments may be submitted to Tony Wickie at or send comments to:

Thurston County Auditor's Office
Attn: Tony Wickie
2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW
Olympia, WA 98502

Read more

Seattle Composer Eyvind Kang:
"I also went down to Yelm and Olympia, and music just came to my head."

From World Music Central,

"The Narrow Garden (Release Date: Jan. 31, 2012) is the new album from Seattle composer Eyvind Kang. A multi-instrumentalist, Kang is well-known for his string arrangements and recordings with John Zorn, Sun City Girls, Mike Patton, John Doe and Bill Frisell.

Kang has released many recordings of original music, including the acclaimed choral piece Athlantis (Ipecac) and The Yelm Sessions (Tzadik). The Narrow Garden is no exception, offering one of his most original and perhaps one of his most playful recordings to date. The album was recorded in Barcelona (Spain) with a group of thirty musicians directed by Kang.

'I composed most of the songs at a pond on Vashon Island,' explains Kang. 'I also went down to Yelm and Olympia, and music just came to my head. There were birds, plants and flow.'"
Buy yours here.

March 10, 2012

"Leadership Thurston County now accepting applications for 2013"

From Rolf Boone in The Olympian::
"Leadership Thurston County, a leadership training program, is accepting applications for its class of 2013.

The program runs September through June and participants meet once a month to learn about community issues, build relationships and explore opportunities for leadership, according to a news release.

The cost of the program is $1,750. Applications are due May 15 and participants must live or work in Thurston County."

Read more on Leadership Thurston and for more information, view the brochure.


Sen. Randi Becker & Yelm Page Cassandra Faber in the State Capitol, Olympia
Photo courtesy: Washington State Senator Randi Becker's Newsletter

"Cassandra Faber participated in the Senate Page Program during the sixth week of the 2012 session. Cassandra is the daughter of Alan and Dawn Faber of Yelm. She is a freshman at Yelm High School. Great job, Cassandra!" quoting State Senator Becker.

Read more
on the Senate Page Program

Read more
on Senator Becker.

March 9, 2012


There will soon be a change in the way readers access the Yelm Community Blog!

If you wish to directly access the blog after next week, please bookmark this link:

Once a new design of is activated next week, this blog will only be accessible on via another click-though to



This shocking video of Yelm City Park vandalism has been turned over to Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil for investigation. As of March 8, 2012, this video had 17 views.
View the video "A day in yelm washington" on YouTube.


Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 2am, meaning all clocks must be turned forward one hour before retiring THIS Saturday night.
Read more

March 8, 2012

"Can I have it back please?"

Yelm is in the news spotlight AGAIN for burglary and an unusual theft!

From Natasha Ryan at KING 5 News in Seattle:
"It's a cold hearted theft that robbed a man of a possession he relies on."

"In a small community, Jen says they never lock their doors. The thieves took the family's computer, a gun, a camera and something even more valuable, Zac's prosthetic running foot.

'I don't care about all the electronics things, they're easy to replace but that is fairly expensive to replace,' said Zac".

"The foot is custom made for him and isn't worth much to anyone else.

'Can I have it back please?' said Zac."

Editor's Note:
Mayor Harding was quoted in the Nisqually Valley News Feb. 24th:
"Any jurisdiction's job is to improve the quality of life for its residents."

However, the grow, grow, grow policies of this mayor bring all of the big city issues with it, as Yelm has witnessed a continued escalation in crime.

Now this has propelled Yelm onto the national news scene today.
Read more on MSNBC.


SE Thurston County Relay For Life

Relay For Life® logo
Courtesy of the American Cancer Society

Yelm's American Cancer Society Relay For Life® is July 21st & 22nd, 2012, 3pm at Yelm High School with a kick-off this Saturday.

Open to the public.
Kick-off Winter Wonderland Ball
Saturday, March 10, 7 PM.
Nisqually Valley Moose Lodge
1117 Yelm Ave. W
Yelm WA. 98597

Read more

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

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


Come join the Nisqually Land Trust on Saturday March 10, from 9am-noon

for a day of stewardship on our protected lands in Yelm. We'll be removing invasive Scotch broom and Himalayan blackberry in order to create wildlife habitat and improve water quality in the Nisqually River.
Read more

March 7, 2012

“Tatemae” - 6 one-act plays come to Yelm Friday

(The Public Face)
Comprised of six one-act plays

Kellie Petersen, Western Washington University and Ambassador’s Tour present...

"We have a great show coming up March 9th at Gordon's Grange.
This play will prove to be a very fun event, comprised of six 10 minute, one-act plays plus a bonus play. The actors are a troupe of Japanese exchange students from Western Wash U.," quoting Kellie Petersen.

- “Awesome Power of the Black & Decker”
By Bryan Willis - An inventive backyard comedy of possible romance & nature vs. machine

- “The Course We Set” by Amy Tofte - A generational bittersweet piece about the viability of love

- “A Tall Order” by Sheri Wilner - A humorous look at our perceptions of the opposite sex as it relates to the dating scene

- “Signs” by Deborah Yarchun - Comedy on a street corner regarding friendship, peer pressure & inventive parental guidance

- “Cafeteria” by Arlene Hytton - Loyalty, friendship & the new lunch wrap come into question at the work place

- “Playground Confidential” by Bryan Hawthorne - A hilarious “who done it” that takes place on the children’s playground ala Film Noir

- Plus…the one-act play “Sophie” By Bryan Willis

Co-sponsored by Northwest Playwrights Alliance

When: Friday, March 9th, 8:00 pm

Cost: Tickets: $12

Gordon’s Grange, 302 Yelm Ave E.

Ticket and play info: Phone 458-2481 or e-mail

Read more

March 6, 2012


Longmire Park's Public Building pictured March 5, 2012

This writer has long proclaimed the over $400,000 spent for a structure to house 8 flushing toilets at Yelm's Longmire Park was a ridiculous amount of money for facilities that may see major use 4 months of a year during summer weather. I love the park and seeing families there. However, the expensive toilets structure was a misplaced decision, in my view.

One could build 2 nice $200,000 homes for the price of 8 flushing toilet suites and a concession stand -
AND that does not even include the additional $400,000 to put water and sewer pipes to the structure!

I grew up in Louisville, KY. and our park there had three baseball diamonds, tennis courts and a hockey field. Our park's toilet structure had a men's & women's section on each side and an open breezeway in the center, on a building footprint the size of Yelm's. That was always sufficient for Louisville teams when using the park, and built for under $50,000 in today's dollars.

Amazing that Yelm's has eight individual toilets, 8 individual sinks, 8 individual electric hand-dryers, 8 metal doors and on and on. I know jobs were provided for a short while, yet the almost 1/2 million dollar cost to this city and state during an economic downturn was incomprehensible for 8 individual flushing toilet suites then and still is today by any standard. And, the toilets grant money could have been used for a library structure, especially relative with the library purchase deal now loading over 1 million dollars of interest debt on the backs of city residents.

Now, Yelm's golden park is showing signs of tarnish, as crime rises with the growth here, the park has been the recipient of juvenile vandalism that includes destruction to signage and spray-paint graffiti on dugouts and other buildings.
Note: see the differences in the pictures above and below, as an example!

Longmire Park's Public Building pictured in 2010


Indeed, on a recent visit last week, I noticed that 2 of the toilets were not only locked, the door handles were removed. Two additional toilets were closed (presumably for winter) and most of the sleek signage has been vandalized and stolen.

This is a sad state for a jewel that the city says the public so much wanted and to a family name with a proud tradition in Yelm.

March 5, 2012

"Using Antarctic Ice Cores to Understand Climate Change"

Photo courtesy of: Bess Koffman

A public lecture by:
Bess Koffman
PhD Candidate, University of Maine

Tuesday, March 6th,
7:00 PM
Phoenix Rising School
13411 Cedar Grove Lane
Rainier, WA

The lecture is open to all ages, and there will be plenty of time for questions.

Bess Koffman, a PhD candidate at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, will speak about her research using Antarctic ice cores. Ice cores allow scientists to study how Earth’s climate has changed in the past. Bess will speak about her three field seasons in Antarctica, her PhD research on atmospheric dust contained in polar ice, and how ice cores provide an important context for the climate changes underway today.

About Ms. Koffman
Bess studied at New Century High School in Lacey for three years, and graduated from Olympia High School in 1999. She completed her undergraduate degree in Geology at Carleton College in Minnesota.
Bess has been a graduate student in Earth Sciences at the University of Maine since 2007, and expects to complete her PhD in 2013.
She is the daughter of local gardener Reva Giese.
Read more

Koffman was featured in a June, 2011 Guardian News (UK) story.
Read more

March 4, 2012


Photo credit: Donna & Cisco, Rainier Therapeutic Riding

After war, service members find peace on horseback

"Service members turn to horses to heal from post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses at Rainier Therapeutic Riding program in Yelm."

"A white Frederiksborg gelding, Fred is one of the horses in Debbi Fisher's Rainier Therapeutic Riding program in Yelm, where servicemen are matched with horses they learn to groom and eventually ride."

"Fisher, 53, has spent 40 years riding and training horses. After her first husband, an Air Force pilot, died in a car crash in 2006, she felt lost.

Seeking a purpose, she knew there was a need for helping soldiers with physical and emotional difficulties, and had heard of the Horses for Heroes program. The idea of starting a program took off after she married Bob Woelk, who became the co-founder," by Nancy Bartley, Seattle Times staff reporter.
Read more


Dr. Andrew Iverson's book, Photo courtesy of Trilium Foundation

Jaime Leal-Anaya interviewed Dr. Andrew Iverson in the Yelm-based SuperConsciousness online magazine:

"Dr Andrew Iverson, an unconventional herbology and botanical medicine expert, and author of Nature’s Diet, goes a step further in his diagnosis of our current state of health. He presents to us in his book a more comprehensive vision of healing and well being that includes the whole person, not just the physical body. Surprisingly, he successfully shows how personal health today inevitably has a spiritual dimension to it, as well as a social and political one. As an expert herbologist, he insists in going back to the roots to find the answers.

Dr Iverson explains that News breakthroughs in medicine today often echo our grandparents’ traditional wisdom and ancient remedies, and that nature provides everything we need for a full and rich life. He insisted that by identifying the causes of disease, we have the power to make changes that will create health, and thus our primary healthcare provider is us. This adds a sense of personal participation in our own well being, a sense of personal ritual, becoming consciously aware, and waking up."

"The solutions are all around us, and are simple, easy to learn and apply for ourselves, according to Dr Iverson. “Nature holds the answers to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. All we have to do is be still, observe, and listen! Do not miss this important and exclusive interview by SuperConsciousness Magazine."
Read more

Dr. Andrew Iverson
Photo courtesy of: Trilium Foundation

About the Author
A Yelm High School graduate, "Naturopathic Doctor Andrew Iverson has been helping patients through holistic medicine for nearly 15 years. He specializes in nutritional medicine, pH balance, detoxification through fasting and botanical formulation. Dr. Iverson has earned a B.A. in Physiological Psychology and Pre-Medicine from University of Washington in Seattle, a Masters in Medical Botany from the School of Natural Healing in Provo, Utah and a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Degree from National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Currently, Dr. Iverson travels extensively throughout the world exchanging traditional healing methods with native practitioners in remote villages and he practices Naturopathic Medicine as the founder and director at TRILIUM HEALTH, a holistic health clinic in Tacoma, WA."

[This post was written by Steve Klein. Klein was a founding subscriber to SuperConsciousness Magazine and knew Iverson when he was at YHS.]

March 3, 2012

"Collaborating to Repair Units at the Yelm Project"

PennEnergy reported this last week:
"By Jay Pickett, John Stender and Linda Fulsaas

The city of Centralia, Wash., sought a 15- to 20-year maintenance solution in early 2010 for its 12-MW Yelm Hydroelectric Project, a run-of-river facility on the Nisqually River about 20 miles east of Olympia, Wash. The city has routinely maintained this 1930s facility, which supplies nearly a third of the city's electrical needs.

The project consists of a 20-foot-high concrete gravity dam that diverts water to a downstream powerhouse via a 9.1-mile-long canal. There is no impoundment at the diversion dam, which has a hydraulic height of only 4 feet and during high stages is almost completely submerged. (The difference between headwater and tailwater is less than 1 foot.) The diversion dam, which includes a fish bypass, was constructed in 1930, expanded in 1955 and reconstructed in 1985.

The powerhouse contains three vertical Francis units that operate at 208 feet of head and are fed by two 7-foot-diameter penstocks. Units 1 and 2, both 3-MW machines built by Pelton Water Wheel, share a penstock. Unit 3, a 6-MW unit built by S. Morgan Smith, is fed by the other penstock. The first two units were installed in the 1930s, and Unit 3 was added during an expansion in 1950. Discharge from the powerhouse is returned to the Nisqually River several miles downstream from the diversion dam.

Through a competitive bid process, the city sought services to perform repairs for known conditions and inspections to evaluate the condition of Units 1 and 3."

March 2, 2012


The general meaning of S & P's investment grade ratings:

‘AAA’—Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.
‘AA’—Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.
‘A’—Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.
‘BBB’—Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.
‘BBB-‘—Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.
Read more

Mayor Ron Harding said at the State of the City Address last month that the city is financially doing "fantastic". This was followed by the City of Yelm's "A" financial rating from Standard & Poor's (S & P) on February 20th. While an "A" rating is investment grade for the city's library bonds, this rating is in the middle of investment grades and not in the upper tier of graded investments.

The S & P rating cautions that while Yelm has "strong capacity to meet financial commitments" the city is "somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances."

By comparison, Standard and Poor's lowered the United States of America's long-term rating last summer to "'AA+' due to political risks and rising debt burden; Outlook Negative."
The USA's AA+ rating is much higher than Yelm's A financial rating,
Read more


[This post was written by Steve Klein. Klein and his wife are founding and annual contributors to the Yelm Animal Alliance. Klein has reported on this blog about the Yelm Animal Alliance for 4 years.]

From the City of Yelm Staff Report, which the Yelm City Council approved February 28, 2012:

To approve the Service Provider Agreement between the City of Yelm and Yelm Animal Alliance (YAA) for dog fostering and adoption services.

The City entered into an arrangement in 2010 with Yelm Animal Alliance for the fostering and adoption of unclaimed dogs from the Yelm animal shelter. In 2010, they provided these services for 32 dogs and in 2011, 39 dogs.

Current Situation
Mayor Harding and staff propose to formalize the current arrangement and provide compensation to the YAA for the valuable service they provide to the City. The proposed agreement recommends an annual administrative fee of $500.00 and $50.00 per dog fostered and/or adopted by the Yelm Animal Alliance. The 2012 Budget includes funding for this service.
The attached IGA has been reviewed by Brent Dille, the City’s legal counsel and the Yelm Animal Alliance.

Read more from Yelm Animal Alliance Facebook page.

Editor's Note:
The City of Yelm and especially Mayor Ron Harding have not been so ecumenical in working with the Yelm Animal Alliance dating back to May, 2008, as recorded here many times. Now, the city's agreement with YAA is a move in the right direction, one that took four years to get finalized.

March 1, 2012


This full-page advertisement thanking voters for passing the Yelm Community Schools Levy is published in this week's editions of the Nisqually Valley News.
Read more

[This post was written by Steve Klein. Klein and his wife contributed scholarships to Yelm Community Schools seniors for many years and donated the aforementioned newspaper advertisement. The Kleins are proud supporters of Yelm Community Schools]


From Yelm Community Schools:
Yelm Dollars for Scholars Hosts 17th Annual Auction
Spend a Night with the Stars on March 3.

The annual Yelm Dollars for Scholars silent and live auction will be held at Yelm High School. Preview items beginning at 4 p.m. The food booth opens at 5 p.m. Live auction action begins at 7 p.m.

This is THE event of the year. It's fun and lively. All proceeds will go toward scholarships for the Yelm High School Class of 2012.

Dollars for Scholars Auction
March 3 at Yelm High School
Silent & Live Auction Preview: 4 p.m.
Food Booth: 5 p.m.
Live Auction: 7 p.m.

Visa and Mastercard accepted.

Read more from Seattle's Craiglist.

Read more from KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.


Photo courtesy Yelm Community Schools (YCS):
YCS Superintendent Andy Wolf, Civic Educator of the Year Ed Bergh,
YHS Principal Brian Wharton, and Legislative Representative JT Wilcox.

Yelm Community Schools report:
"YHS teacher Ed Bergh was named the Washington Civic Educator of the Year by the state legislature. Nominated by State Representative JT Wilcox, he was honored at a private luncheon at the state capitol on Civic Education Day (February 20).

Mr. Bergh began teaching in Yelm in 1974 (38 years) and currently teaches both Advanced Placement United State History and Advanced Placement Government."

Mr. Bergh is also the major contributor to the Yelm History Project.
Read more

"Teacher health benefits ripe for restructuring"

From the Tri-City Herald:
"Legislation that would restructure the state education system's fractured approach to health insurance pits teachers against virtually every other school employee.

Put us on the side of the janitors, bus drivers and secretaries, many of whom are desperate for better benefits.

Those essential workers -- along with state taxpayers -- stand to gain if Washington consolidates health insurance policies for school employees.

The bill's primary sponsor, state Sen. Steve Hobbs, has collected a sampling of horror stories.

-- A classroom assistant in Yelm who makes $900 a month and pays $750 a month in insurance premiums.
Read more

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