June 2, 2023

Yelm’s Drive-Through Coffee and Bubble Tea to open June 8,
European Bubbleology franchise is first on the west coast!

Look for the colorful Bubbleology logo to know you are in the right place for amazing coffee and unique boba drinks! Photo courtesy: Bubbleology
  • Editor’s note: Northwest Grind’s new store set to open on Yelm’s western edge across Burnett Rd. from Wellspring Plaza, will have European franchise of Bubbleology.

Drive-Through Coffee and Bubble Tea in Yelm is the Perfect Combination

Excerpt from Thurston Talk:

When the craving hits, you just have to have it. Whether that’s your favorite espresso drink or a refreshing milk tea with boba, you head to the closest place. In Yelm, that place is going to be the first combination Northwest Grind and Bubbleology drive-through, opening June 8, 2023. Bubbleology is a European franchise and this will be the first location on the west coast!


Northwest Grind in Yelm Will Serve Up Great Coffee and Food

In tandem with Bubbleology, Northwest Grind will be serving up all your favorites in their new location in Yelm! Every Northwest Grind has special ovens that heat food fast, to help speed up service. Meaning you can get your biscuits and gravy – along with your mocha or milk tea – fast.


Future Plans with Northwest Grind and Bubbleology

The future is colorful at Northwest Grind and Bubbleology. Crystal already is working on getting a trailer, so she can offer bubble tea at the Rochester location, hopefully this fall. In addition, Crystal is planning on continuing to expand both Northwest Grind and Bubbleology throughout Washington and into other states. “Assad gave me the west coast to continue to expand the Bubbleology brand,” shares Crystal. “And I am excited about that.”

In the meantime, we are all going to need to head to Yelm to get our bubble tea fix. For those of us that don’t live there, it will be well worth the drive.

Northwest Grind and Bubbleology
9241 Burnett Road SE STE B4, Yelm

June 2, 2023

Fun things to do in Thurston County on warm weekends!

Yelm Splash Park, Credit: City of Yelm via Thurston Talk

Summer Activities in Olympia and Throughout Thurston County

Excerpt from Thurston Talk:

The sun is finally shining and the temperatures are rising. It’s time to start thinking about crawling out of hibernation and back into the world. Organizers throughout Thurston County make that easy, with fun events and activities everyone will enjoy. Looking for something to do in Thurston County? Check out this list of summer activities in Olympia and throughout Thurston County.

Click here


Explore the Capital of Washington State in South Puget Sound 

From AAA Washington:

Nestled at the base of South Puget Sound, the historic city of Olympia is the state capital of Washington. It’s also a hub for outdoor recreation, arts and culture, artisanal food producers and more. Located 60 miles south of Seattle, Olympia makes for a great road trip for anyone who wants to explore everything from historical architecture and wildlife to beaches and breweries. These 10 fun things to do in Olympia are just the beginning when spending time in Washington’s capital city. 

June 1, 2023

Several of most unsafe, congested Thurston County roads are in rural Yelm!

The intersection of Rainier Road and Fir Tree Road Southeast has been listed in the Thurston County Mobility Strategy Study as one of 14 locations where improvements should be made. The intersection of Rainier Road and Fir Tree Road Southeast has been listed in the Thurston County Mobility Strategy Study as one of 14 locations where improvements should be made. Credit: Steve Bloom, The Olympian.

Here are the most unsafe, congested Thurston County roads, according to a new study

Excerpt from The Olympian:

An in-progress study has identified rural roads where Thurston County should prioritize safety and traffic flow improvements.

The Thurston County Mobility Strategy Study has developed a list of three priority corridors and 14 intersections where improvements should be made, said Aidan Dixon, associate planner for the Thurston County Regional Planning Council.

Dixon updated the Board of County Commissioners on the study earlier this month. This update came about three years after the Thurston County Public Works partnered with the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) on the study.


Staff scored the 14 Intersections on the list based on several equally weighted performance measures, Dixon said. These measures including their level of service, safety concerns, and equity factors as well as population and employment density.

The intersections were ranked in the following order with the worst at the top.

Old Pacific Highway Southeast and Reservation Road

Bald Hill Road and Vail Road

26th Avenue Northeast and Sleater Kinney Road

Rainier Road and Fir Tree Road Southeast

Rich Road and Old Highway 99 Southeast

Sargent Road and 183rd Avenue Southwest

Bald Hill Road and Lawrence Lake Road Southeast

Vail Road and Hannus Road Southeast

Old Highway 9 and James Road Southwest

Vail Road and 153rd Avenue Southeast

Old Highway 99 Southwest and Prather Road

Vail Road and 148th Avenue Southeast

Old Highway 99 and 183rd Avenue

Southwest 26th Avenue Northeast and South Bay Road

May 31, 2023

House passes debt ceiling bill to avoid default,
Now goes to Senate, then if approved, to President Biden!

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walks to the House chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Credit: AP via KING-5 TV News, Seattle.

House OKs debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

With the House vote of 314-117, the bill now heads to the Senate with passage expected by week’s end.

Excerpt from KING-5 TV News, Seattle:

Veering away from a default crisis, the House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

The hard-fought deal pleased few, but lawmakers assessed it was better than the alternative — a devastating economic upheaval if Congress failed to act. Tensions ran high throughout the day as hard-right Republicans refused the deal, while Democrats said “extremist” GOP views were risking a debt default as soon as next week.

May 31, 2023

Thurston County designs trail extensions for the Yelm-Rainier-Trail

The Yelm-Tenino Trail was once a railroad corridor that now takes hikers through a variety of landscapes. Photo by Geroge III, via the Washington Trails Assn.

Thurston County is designing trail extensions near Tenino, Glacial Heritage Preserve

Excerpt from The Olympian:

Two trails in south Thurston County are slated to be extended over the next year to better serve the region.

Public Works staff is designing paved extensions for the Yelm-Rainier-Trail near Tenino City Park and the Gate-Belmore Trail near Glacial Heritage Preserve, which is south of Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, between Littlerock and Mima roads.

Both projects are part of the county’s Trail Connectivity Program, an ambitious effort to link the county’s disparate trail systems and corridors. The Board of County Commissioners authorized staff to begin designing the two projects in April.

The Yelm-Rainier-Tenino trail extension would start at the Tenino Train Depot and run south along West Park Avenue to Crowder Road Southeast, according to county documents. Staff estimate it will cost $352,000.

In its current form, the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino trail is a 14.5-mile paved path that runs east-west from near Yelm City Hall to Tenino City Park, according to the county website.

May 31, 2023

Washington’s new capital gains tax brings in a windfall for schools!

The Washington state Capitol building stands against clear skies in Olympia on Thursday, Jan. 5. Credit: Isabel Vander Stoep, The Chronicle.

Washington’s new capital gains tax brings in a surprising pile of money

Washington’s new capital gains tax is raking in way more cash than expected. Here are the latest projections, and who stands to benefit.

Excerpt from The Seattle Times:

Early figures suggest Washington could bring in $849 million in its first year of collecting the state’s new capital gains tax, potentially sending hundreds of millions more than expected to schools across the state.

State lawmakers passed the 7% tax on the sale or exchange of stocks, bonds and certain other assets above $250,000 in 2021. It has faced legal challenges, but got the go-ahead from the state Supreme Court in March.

The Legislature passed a budget based on earlier projections indicating Washington could collect $248 million in capital gains tax payments in the 2023 fiscal year, which ends July 1.

Instead, as of May 9, the state has collected $601 million more.

However, that figure could change later this year, once the roughly 2,500 taxpayers who have filed for extensions submit their returns, according to the state Department of Revenue.

But if that amount holds roughly the same it could mean significantly more money going toward K-12 schools, early childhood education and building and repairing schools.

May 30, 2023

Republican 2022 losers run for public offices again!

Joe Kent in Washington and J.R. Majewski in Ohio are considering running again in 2024. Credit: AP file via NBC News.
  • Editor’s note: Joe Kent for WA. District 3 Congressional Representative signs are all over rural Thurston roads already!

Republicans brace for 2022 losers to take another crack at winning

From Ohio to Arizona, some of the most prominent far-right candidates who lost key swing races last cycle are gearing up to run again, thinking this time will be different.

Excerpt from NBC News:

In the 2022 midterms, a number of far-right candidates cruised to primary victories with former President Donald Trump’s backing — only to blow key races with a general electorate who viewed them as too extreme. 

And now, Republicans are nervously bracing for many of them to run again. 

At least fourof these candidates who ran, and lost, in 2022 are making it known that they’re interested in running again in 2024 — or have already announced bids. They’re testing the party’s commitment this cycle to emphasize “candidate quality” and offering Democrats a sliver of hope as they navigate a difficult Senate map and a narrow field of swing House races.


But at the House level, Republicans Joe Kent in Washington and J.R. Majewski in Ohio — two MAGA-aligned candidates who hugged Trump tightly but fell short in districts Republicans were favored in — have already launched their next bids. Others may soon join.

All of these candidates put Trump’s false claims of a stolen election front and center in their campaigns, helping them get through contested primaries but putting them at a disadvantage with independents in the general election. Their defeats have led some party leaders to suggest they may take a more active role in the primary process. 

May 30, 2023

Jeanne and Butch Carlson receive the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award!

Jeanne and Butch Carlson honored with the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award. Credit: Facebook post of Mayor Joe DePinto:.
  • Editor’s note: I add my congratulations and appreciation to Jeanne and Butch Carlson, as well.

From the Facebook post of Mayor Joe DePinto:

Earlier this month I attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County ‘s Foundation for the Future breakfast where we heard from speakers like the outgoing CEO (our incoming Yelm Superintendent) Chris Woods and their Youth of the Year (great speech Lily).

My favorite part was the recognition of Jeanne and Butch Carlson with the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award. Jeanne and Butch own and operate Stewarts’s Meats but they also are huge philanthropists and supporters of everything Yelm. You may have seen a youth sports teams sponsored by them or maybe you won an auction item they donated to impactful organizations like the Boys and Girls Club or Dollars for Scholars.

I was really happy to see them recognized and you better believe I love their meat market. Best jerky this side of the Mississippi.

Congrats Butch and Jeanne!

May 29, 2023

Most expensive ever Thurston residential home now sold,
$11 million original listing price went for $2.3 million!

The most expensive personal property ever listed in Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties is now sold in Tenino. Credit: Joshua Bessex, The News Tribune (Tacoma).

‘Karate Kid’ actor turned energy drink maker buys heiress’ Tenino estate after huge price cut

Excerpt from The Olympian:

A unique estate near Tenino with one-of-a-kind features has sold after a huge price reduction and four years on the market. The buyer is a 1980s actor turned energy drink mogul. Scott Strader said Thursday he paid $2.3 million for the 85-acre Merkaba, as it’s called — a fraction of its original $11 million asking price. When it was listed in 2019, it was the highest listing price ever in the region, according to Gig Harbor-based listing agent Michael Morrison of Sotheby’s International Realty.


Home to an heiress

The home was built by South African De Beers diamond heiress Rebecca Oppenheimer, who was an acolyte of the nearby Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Ramtha is, according to school founder J. Z. Knight, the spirit of a man who lived more than 30,000 years ago. Knight claims that she communicates with Ramtha’s spirit.


New owner

Strader said the Tenino home will probably not be his and wife Michele’s main residence as they have several homes around the West including at Lake Tahoe, Sacramento and the Palm Springs area.

“But this one is just so special,” he said. He might turn the property into a retreat.

Strader starred as Eddie in the original “The Karate Kid” move. He starred in the 1986 movie “Jocks” with “Law & Order” actor Mariska Hargitay. He’s also appeared on “General Hospital”, according to his IMDB page. He said he is scheduled to appear in the final season of the Netflix reboot of the “Karate Kid” franchise, now called “Cobra Kai”. It will mark the end of a long absence from acting.


Sight unseen

Strader bought Merkaba without ever having visited the property. He first set foot on the estate on Tuesday. But, he said, he’s been aware of it for several years through Sotheby’s listings. Hi goal now is to recapture the home’s vibrancy from when Oppenheimer lived there.

May 29, 2023

Memorial Day 2023 –
We pause top remember those who gave for our country!

Caisson enters Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
Photo from Arlington National Cemetery website. Credit: Andrew V. McMaster, May 2006.

Memorial Day 2023

This Memorial Day story has been posted annually since May 28, 2007:
This weekend is our Memorial Day holiday when America pauses to honor those that have given their lives in service to their country. The Yelm Community Blog host appreciates and honors all of those who have served to defend, protect, and preserve our country from outside invaders.

“Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action,” quoting Wikipedia.

The wars have left their mark on this area, as we are reminded of one of the first from this area to give the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq War, Rainier’s Justin Norton, who was killed in June 2006:

Rainier’s fallen son, Justin Norton

Justin Norton Scholarship Fund honoring Rainier, Washington’s fallen soldier in Iraq, June 24, 2006.
About Sgt. Norton

Donations can be mailed to:
Justin Norton Scholarship Fund
c/o Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 444
Yelm, Wa 98597

Delta Airlines honors our military on their last flights home (February 13, 2013).
“A group of Delta Air Lines employees has made a commitment to honor and recognize members of the military who have made the ultimate sacrifice. A solider and his military canine who both died in action return home, their remains arriving on U. S. soil in Atlanta in this video.
The Delta Honor Guard, which has been operating since 2005, is composed of approximately 30 men and women who volunteer their time to honor fallen troops whose remains come through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport aboard Delta flights, according to Brian McConnell, coordinator of the Delta Honor Guard.

Click here for this moving ceremony, which occurs plane-side in the rain, and all weather conditions.”

Memorial Day 2023

+ The Jolt News: Memorial Day Reflections, a mindful code to follow – P’s and Q’s of understanding Memorial Day, and a nonprofit biker group in support of veterans


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