August 31, 2013

County Auditor candidate Alexander’s voting record –
Votes time & again against human rights


Rep. Gary Alexander

As we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream” speech this week, I find the voting record of Thurston County Auditor candidate Gary Alexander in the State Legislature against civil and human rights issues to be deplorable.

What kind of County Auditor will this man be who votes against basic human rights?

Gary Alexander’s human rights issues voting record speaks volumes:

2006 HB 2661 Expanding Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission (anti-bullying) 61-37 NO
2007 SB 5336 Domestic Partnerships 63-35 NO
2009 SB 5688 Anything but marriage 62-35 NO
2011 HB1267 Domestic Partners & Parentage 57-40 NO
2012 SB 6239 Marriage Equality 55-43 NO

Not only an opponent of the most basic civil rights for gays and lesbians, which was widely supported in Washington, in 2007 he even voted against a law affirming the state legal rights of those with disabilities a law that passed the Senate 46-2.

Thurston County deserves an auditor who values the rights of all of its citizens.
Gary Alexander is not that candidate.

– “Alexander has opposed most civil rights measures”
Published in The Olympian August 30, 2013 by Brendon Williams.
Read more

– Alexander’s Dep. Auditor Harding “cut from the same cloth.”
Yelm Mayor Ron Harding has also demonstrated his lack of tolerance for his constituents’ rights in using eminent domain to seize water rights from property owners, which devastated that family, and now land from his own citizens, as reported in this week’s Nisqually Valley News.
Read more


August 30, 2013

Phoenix Rising School showcases campus facelift –
Yelm officials join in ribbon-cutting


Yelm Chamber President Ronelle Funk observes
Phoenix Rising student Tahsis Fairley’s ribbon-cutting
Photo provided by Phoenix Rising School

The Rainier-based, private Phoenix Rising School (PRS) conducted an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Thursday, August 29th at their Cedar Grove Lane campus after a summer of major renovations, which showcased the school gardens exploding with life and renovated classrooms that have doubled in size.

PRS Executive Director Aaron Rodriguez extended a warm welcome to those gathered and explained the Vision and Mission of Rainer’s Phoenix Rising School.
Read more


Yelm Chamber Executive Director Cecelia Jenkins,
Yelm Chamber President Ronelle Funk shares her views,
PRS Executive Director Aaron Rodriguez,
PRS Board Chair Jeevan Anandasakaran
Photo provided by Phoenix Rising School

Notable quotes from officials in the ribbon-cutting:
Aaron Rodriguez, Executive Director, Phoenix Rising School:
“I love what we are building here at Phoenix Rising (PRS); it is entrepreneurial, creative, community oriented and cutting edge. This School has a great story to tell and highlights how we’re making private education affordable. We want to keep telling our story and ask for you to join us in talking-up PRS at every opportunity. ”
Rodriguez also acknowledged the terrific work of Dave Hygaard in the renovation of the facilities.

Jeevan Anandasakaran, Board Chair, Phoenix Rising School:
“The future always starts with the children. Its our duty to invest in these children, so much so that theyre inspired to invest in their own children and it becomes a part of the community culture. I am passionate about what Phoenix Rising is doing to contribute to our community’s young minds.”

Ronelle Funk, President, Yelm Chamber of Commerce:
“I am familiar with the fine reputation of the Phoenix Rising School and am very exited to have this institution in our area. My own children are enrolled in an alternative school in Olympia, so I know the value of alternative education. A school of this quality is an asset for our community.”

Cecelia Jenkins, Executive Director, Yelm Chamber of Commerce:
“The enthusiasm set by-example of your representatives is infectious in our community. We are proud to have them [Phoenix Rising officials] as part of the Chamber.”


Yelm City Council member Mike McGowan joined the festivities
Photo provided by Phoenix Rising School

Also present and visible as guests arrived were:
Mike McGowan, Yelm City Council member
Cindy Teixeira, contributing reporter for the Nisqually Valley News
Jessica Caldwell, newly appointed Office Administrator, PRS
Heidi Smith, Communications and Outreach Manager, PRS
and the Phoenix Rising School Faculty.


A walking tour through the PRS garden
Photo provided by Phoenix Rising School

The session included light refreshments and walking tours of the classrooms, school gardens, and grounds, which are just gorgeous and a wonderfully conducive place to conduct children’s education!

Additionally,
Heidi Smith, Communications and Outreach Manager of the Phoenix Rising School had her byline published recently in ThurstonTalk, as their new school year began August 14.
Read more

– UPDATE: September 5, 2013
“Phoenix Rising Hopes to be Model for Change”
“Yelm Private School Brings Outdoors Back Into the Classroom”
By Cindy Teixeira in the Nisqually Valley News.
Read more


August 30, 2013

Yelm Schools start Tuesday – with a healthier budget

Yelm Community Schools are please to announce:

– First day of school is Sept. 3, 2013
Read more

– “Yelm school budget gets boost”
“All-day kindergarten, salary reduction rollbacks, updated technology and money for special education gets increased funding”
From Steven Wyble in the NVN.
Read more


August 30, 2013

Rainfall record set for Aug 29

Olympia Regional Airport established a rainfall record of 1.33 inches of rain on August 29, 2013, the highest single-day rainfall total ever recorded for this date.
Read more


August 29, 2013

Rainier Vail Neighborhood Group succeeds –
Cadallic Ranch ORV permit denied


Rainier Vail Neighborhood Group

Special Use Permit for the ORV Track at Cadillac Ranch – DENIED!
Thurston County Hearing Examiner Sharon Rice denied a special use permit for a motocross track expansion outside of Rainier.

SUMMARY OF DECISIONS
Because the Applicants did not demonstrate compliance with the special use permit criteria, the proposed land use cannot allowed in the underlying zoning district. The permit must be denied and environmental review pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act is moot. The application for SUP is DENIED, the MDNS is ordered to be WITHDRAWN, and the SEPA appeal is DISMISSED.

Click here to read the decision from the office of
Cami Petersen, Land Use Clerk
Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department

– “County denies permit for proposed Rainier motocross track expansion”
By Matt Batcheldor in The Olympian.
Read more

– UPDATE: September 3, 2013
LATEST UPDATE ON CADILLAC RANCH MOTOCROSS TRACK
From the Rainier Vail Neighborhood Group (RVNG)
To ourselves our members and supporters
Read more


August 29, 2013

Introducing Jeff Davis, Port Commissioner candidate

Port Commissioner candidate Jeff Davis was in Yelm last Saturday and joined the Thurston Democrats in their first annual Pancake Breakfast in Yelm to support LD2. Jeff’s vision and his work on the Port Commission deserve our attention and to be knowledgeable when the ballots arrive in November.


From Port Commissioner candidate Jeff Davis:

Citizens of Thurston County,

I want to first Thank You for the enormous trust you put in me four years ago when electing me to the be your Port Commissioner. It is because of your support for my vision and values that we’ve been able to accomplish so much over the last four years.

In 2009 I laid out areas in which the Port could do better. As we look at those areas today, I’m encouraged to see great progress made in a short time, and all in a period when the economy that has been struggling to recover.

I stated that we could have a stronger active marine terminal in Olympia and improving business at the Port would be a strong priority of mine. Over the past four years we’ve seen the previously stagnant activity grow by leaps and bounds ($700,000 in revenue compared to $50,000 between 1999 and 2011) as a result of many things, but clinched with a change in attitude and a commitment to investing in our infrastructure.

I also wanted to ensure that outlying communities could take greater advantage of enterprise zones. The port has now developed the small cities program in order to bring economic development assistance to cities throughout Thurston County that apply to the program. The fund now has a dedicated funding source based on the Port’s profit and will continue to provide the outlying areas the benefit of creating jobs and growth in their communities.
Read more


August 28, 2013

Yelm Animal Alliance holds their annual fund raiser –
Won’t you donate as little as a dollar, all helps?

Yelm Animal Alliance President Elizabeth Felix tells the Yelm Community Blog:
“Like me, you love dogs.
I am a volunteer in the Yelm Animal Alliance.
We have rescued dogs in our community since 2008.

Our big fund raiser is our yearly raffle.
I invite you to buy a ticket at $1 each or donate a prize for a lucky winner and supporter of our work.”

Please read our Mission Statement:
“The Yelm Animal Alliance is a small, all volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the rescuing and re-homing of lost, homeless, discarded, often abused and injured dogs in our community.

We do not operate a shelter and depend entirely upon our amazing foster families who are willing to take a strange and frightened dog into their home where it is loved and nurtured until it is adopted into it’s forever home. We provide all food, supplies, equipment and necessary medical treatment, at no cost to the foster famiIy for the dog under their care.

We work closely with Yelm Animal Control, Yelm Veterinary Hospital, and local businesses to first rehabilitate and then re-home these wonderful dogs entrusted to our care, giving them a second chance at life.

The majority of our dogs come from Yelm Animal Control and we only take in “owner surrender” dogs under very certain circumstances. All of our dogs are given a thorough veterinary health examination. In addition they are micro-chipped and brought up to date on their vaccinations, including rabies.

Prior to their adoption they are spayed or neutered. We have a very thorough individualized screening process in selecting our adopters to ensure they are making an informed and compassionate decision in choosing the right dog for their family and that they understand they are making a commitment to that dog for the rest of its life.”

To contribute as little as $1, please contact or drop by and meet Elizabeth Felix,
President, Yelm Animal Alliance
Office, Yelm Travel
10501 Creek St SE # 1
Yelm, WA 98597
(360) 458-2333
Yelm Animal Alliance is on Facebook.

Editor’s Note:
Mrs. Felix and her team deserve this community’s support.
Elizabeth was with Ms. Brewer from the start in 2008 in addressing the issue of Yelm’s then-very poor policies regarding rescued animals. She never wavered from the abysmal response of Mayor Harding and the Yelm City Council in May 2008, to achieve the acknowledgments to the Yelm Animal Alliance service to our community of today!


August 27, 2013

There goes the Yelm City Council – again! –
Uses eminent domain to take citizen’s property


Yelm Public Safety Building & City Council Chambers

The Yelm City Council has rescheduled from their Agenda today to September 10th the approval of a
NOTICE OF PENDING EXERCISE OF EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY
against property owner Steve Craig for his land in the Mosman Avenue realignment.

Mr. Craig reports to the Yelm Community Blog that the City of Yelm has offered him far below the fair market value of his property, hence his unwillingness to just capitulate to the City of Yelm. He will not cave-in unless he is paid the fair market value for his land and has hired an attorney in what the City of Yelm seems willing to engage, a battle that will begin September 10th, when the Yelm City Council votes for eminent domain.

However, City of Yelm tax payers will again shoulder the burden of enormous legal bills, which as is usual, and the City will blame on the property owner.
Don’t buy such rhetoric!

However, THIS is how the Yelm City Council and Yelm’s City Hall officials treat their constituents!
They ruin them if their fellow citizens do not have the resources to fight “City Hall”!

This was highlighted in the Nisqually Valley News on February 18, 2011 about the city seizing the McMonigle’s water rights in a story titled “Family devastated by water sale”
Read more

From today’s Yelm City Council Agenda:
BEFORE THE CITY OF YELM CITY COUNCIL, THURSTON COUNTY, WASHINGTON (rescheduled from August 27 to September 10)

NOTICE OF PENDING EXERCISE OF EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY
Mosman Avenue Improvement Project -Property Acquisition
City of Yelm hereby gives notice of its intent to consider the adoption of Ordinance 977 providing for the exercise of the power of eminent domain for the acquisition of necessary property interests for the purpose of improving the intersection of Mosman Avenue and First Street S. (SR 507); trail improvements; and, associated public improvements within the City (the “Project”). While the City Iemains (sic) willing and able to discuss settlement of just compensation for the property acquisition, voluntary efforts to acquire the necessary property rights for the Project have not been successful to date. The properties subject to the pending proceedings are:

401 First Street SE; 403 First Street SE; and 405 First Street S.E., Yelm, Washington; Tax Parcel No.’s: 227-19-332500,227-19-331000 and 227-19-330900.

These property rights are related to real property in the vicinity of the intersection of Mosman Avenue and First Street S. (SR 507).

It is necessary to move the Project forward. Therefore, the City of Yelm Council will consider the adoption of an ordinance authorizing the condemnation of the property and any necessary property interests for the Project, at its regular public meeting of August 27th, 2013 , at 6:00 p.m., at the City Council chambers in the Yelm Public Safety Building at 206 McKenzie Avenue SE, Yelm, Washington.

– UPDATE: August 29, 2013

” Yelm property owner fights over eminent domain”
“City of Yelm attempts to acquire property for pending Mosman Avenue realignment”
Click here for the NVN rpeort by Steven Wyble.


August 26, 2013

Pacific NW story in international newspapers


A train leaves Spokane, Wash., a funnel for rail traffic to the Pacific Coast.
Energy firms want to move more raw materials through the region.
Photo credit: Rajah Bose for The New York Times.

Last Thursday, I purchased the International Herald Tribune (IHT) in Europe, the USA English-language newspaper available overseas, from where I saw this headline about the Pacific Northwest and a story covered previously on this blog that could affect our area:

“With Proposed Rail Expansion, Northwest Confronts Its Clean Image”
“The Pacific Northwests sense of itself can sometimes seem green to the point of parody: a medium-roast blend of piney peaks and urban cool, populated by residents who look descended from lumberjacks or fishermen.

Now, plans by the energy industry to move increasing amounts of coal and oil through the region by rail, bound for Asia, are pulling at all the threads of that self-portrait.”

“‘The proposals do violence to many Northwesterners concept of their place and what it stands for,’ Alan Durning, the founder and executive director of the Sightline Institute, an environmental research group in Seattle, said in an e-mail.

Environmental groups led by the Sierra Club have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the BNSF Railway, which dominates the freight system, of violating the federal Clean Water Act by letting coal spill into waterways from its tracks. The State of Washington, in assessing the permit application of a proposed coal terminal near Bellingham, said in July that it would take a macro-environmental approach, looking at impacts of the project along the entire length of the coal transit route, including the burning of the coal in China
[Air pollution from China reaching the Pacific Northwest & trains could pass through Rainier] ,” quoting Kirk Johnson in the IHT from The New York Times.
Read more


August 25, 2013

Rainier’s Phoenix Rising School gets campus facelift


Photo courtesy: Phoenix Rising School

From Rainier-based Phoenix Rising School:

“Change is in the air and we hope you’ll join us to celebrate! Our campus is practically unrecognizable after a summer of major renovations. The school garden is exploding with life, and the classrooms have doubled in size. It’s a new day at Phoenix Rising and we are commemorating that fact with a ribbon cutting ceremony.”

The Phoenix Rising School will be conducting an official, on-campus Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Thursday, August 29th, 5:30pm to 7pm, 13411 Cedar Grove Ln. Rainier, WA.
Read more


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