September 26, 2022

NYT: Providence hospital system trained staff to wring money out of patients!

Credit: The New York Times

With the help of a consulting firm, the Providence hospital system trained staff to wring money out of patients, even those eligible for free care.

From The New York Times [accessible text]:

In 2018, senior executives at one of the country’s largest nonprofit hospital chains, Providence, were frustrated. They were spending hundreds of millions of dollars providing free health care to patients. It was eating into their bottom line.

The executives, led by Providence’s chief financial officer at the time, devised a solution: a program called Rev-Up.

Rev-Up provided Providence’s employees with a detailed playbook for wringing money out of patients — even those who were supposed to receive free care because of their low incomes, a New York Times investigation found.

In training materials obtained by The Times, members of the hospital staff were instructed how to approach patients and pressure them to pay.

“Ask every patient, every time,” the materials said. Instead of using “weak” phrases — like “Would you mind paying? — employees were told to ask how patients wanted to pay. Soliciting money “is part of your role. It’s not an option.”

If patients did not pay, Providence sent debt collectors to pursue them.

Read more

September 26, 2022

Jupiter is coming closest to Earth in 59 years on Monday!

“A view of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and turbulent southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft in 2019.” Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill via NPR

Jupiter is coming its closest to Earth in decades

From NPR:

The gas giant Jupiter is coming the closest it has come to Earth in 59 years this Monday and will be particularly visible because it coincides with another event called opposition.

When in opposition, a planet is on the opposite side of Earth from the sun, so you could draw a straight line from the sun to Earth to Jupiter, all in alignment. Jupiter’s opposition happens every 13 months. Looking from the Earth, when the sun sets in the west, Jupiter will rise in the east, directly opposite. During opposition, planets appear at their biggest and brightest.

Separately, Jupiter is coming closer to Earth than it has since 1963. Because of Earth’s and Jupiter’s differing orbits around the sun, they don’t pass each other at the same distance each time. When it’s closest on Monday, Jupiter will be about 367 million miles from Earth, according to NASA. At its farthest, it’s 600 million miles away.

The result of both is that the views may be somewhat better than normal.

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September 25, 2022

The James Webb Space Telescope shows us Neptune and its rings like never before!

“A photo provided by NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI shows Neptune with its rings and several of its moons clearly visible, as captured by the James Webb Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera.”
Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI via The New York Times.

Neptune and its rings come into focus with Webb telescope

From The New York Times [accessible text]:

No spacecraft has visited Neptune since 1989, when the NASA probe Voyager 2 flew past on its way out of the solar system. Neptune, which is four times as wide as Earth, is the most distant planet of our solar system. Voyager 2’s observations whetted the appetites of astronomers, who were eager to learn more about the ice giant.

Now we’ve returned. Sort of.

On Wednesday, the James Webb Space Telescope cast its powerful gold-plated eye onto this remote world. The power of this infrared machine, the largest and most advanced telescope ever sent to space, has provided some of our best views of Neptune in 30 years.

Ground-based observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope have taken many images of Neptune in the past three decades. But the Webb’s views of Neptune, taken in July, provide an unprecedented glimpse at the planet in infrared light.

It took just a few minutes for the telescope to image Neptune close up, and an additional 20 to take a wider view, revealing not just the planet but myriad galaxies behind it stretching into the cosmos.

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September 24, 2022

Thurston proposes 4 new trails including a Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail extension!

“A map showing four potential trail extensions or developments in south Thurston County. Staff presented the Board of County Commissioners with the options during a Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022 meeting.” Courtesy of Thurston County via The Olympian.

Looking for new trails? Thurston County officials consider developing these four options

From The Olympian:

Thurston County officials are considering extending and developing four trails to better serve the region. Staff presented the four options to the Board of County Commissioners last week and identified an early front runner near Littlerock. However, the board delayed picking an option to pursue. With these options, the county aims to link trail systems and corridors as well as improve accessibility in underserved areas, said strategic and long-range planner Shannon Shula.

The Chehalis Western Trail also could be extended 3.15 miles from where it intersects the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail to Vail Loop Road, Marson said. Additionally, the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail could be connected to Bucoda, he said. This extension could start at Tenino City Park and run 3.6 miles south, mostly along State Route 507.

September 23, 2022

City of Yelm seeks city council candidates for vacant post!

City Hall
Credit: Thurston Talk

The City of Yelm has a vacancy on the City Council and is seeking qualified applicants to fill Position No. 6.

From the City of Yelm:

The City of Yelm has a vacancy on the City Council and is seeking qualified applicants to fill Position No. 6.

The person appointed by the Yelm City Council to fill this vacancy will serve through the certification of the next election near the end of 2023.

If you are interested in applying to fill this position, please complete the application that is available on our website using the link.

September 23, 2022

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad reformed to bring railroad back to operation!

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad
Credit: Western Forest Industries Museum (WFIM)

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Comes Back to Life

From Western Forest Industries Museum:

Click here for the video.

Western Forest Industries Museum (WFIM), the nonprofit organization that founded Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad in 1980, has been reformed in order to bring the railroad back to operation. While the road ahead is long, WFIM intends to reopen the museum, and the railroad, and expand operations to the town of Eatonville, creating a significant economic demand generator for the town, while improving the museum, and highlighting the stories of the people that lived along and worked on the railroad.

Read more from the Nisqually Valley News.

September 23, 2022

Visit national parks and state-managed lands for free on Saturday.

“Entrance fees at 122 National Park Service sites will be waived Saturday, Sept. 24.”
Credit: NPS/Neal Herbert via The Olympian.

Washington residents can visit state-managed lands for free on Saturday, Sept. 24

You can visit national parks for free this Saturday. Here’s what to know

From The Olympian:

It won’t cost you extra money to visit national parks on one day this weekend. More than 120 National Park Service sites typically charge a fee that ranges from $5 and $35. On Saturday, Sept. 24, however, those sites will be free to visit. Park officials are celebrating National Public Lands Day. The day is organized each year to encourage people to get outdoors, help preserve and show appreciation for public lands.

September 22, 2022

PTL Hardwood Floors unveils mural in pride for the city!

Credit: NVN

New Mural in Yelm Pays Homage to City’s Pride

From the Nisqually Valley News:

PTL Hardwood Floors LLC unveiled a new mural showcasing the city’s pride on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The mural, located on the business at 310 Railroad Ave. NW, was made possible in part thanks to a beautification grant from the City of Yelm.

The mural pays homage to Yelm’s roots and traditions. Each letter is painted with a different theme as Mount Rainier looms in the background.

The Yelm City Council previously approved an ordinance to create an arts commission, which has worked to encourage the development and creation of artwork throughout the city. The group is made up of five to 12 volunteers appointed by the city council, according to the city’s website.

The commission serves as Yelm’s primary resource to promote and preserve the city’s notable “community assets” by allowing public input, and creating policies to implement art into Yelm-owned public space.

The commission encourages citizens to engage with the artwork through the city by taking photos with the works of art.

The new mural on the backside of PTL can be viewed from the Prairie Line Trail. The nearest intersection to the mural is First Street and Stevens Avenue.

September 22, 2022

Rebuilt Southworth Elementary reopened on September 7!

“Southworth Elementary originally opened in 1976 and has now been completely rebuilt and reopened on September 7 of this year.” Photo courtesy: Yelm Community Schools via Thurston Talk

Yelm Community Schools Proudly Reopens Beautiful and Fully Rebuilt Southworth Elementary

From Yelm Community Schools via Thurston Talk:

Yelm is a growing community of devoted and locally-minded residents that is deepening its connection with the Nisqually Tribe. In recent years, many community members were concerned by the state of local schools in the community and sought to bring about total reconstruction of both Yelm Middle School and Southworth Elementary. Thanks to the passing of a bond measure at 64% in 2019, Yelm Community Schools was able to make this dream possible. On Tuesday, September 7, the new Southworth Elementary officially reopened after a year of reconstruction and welcomed students into a brand-new, beautiful, and culturally-connected learning space.


A Growing Partnership with the Nisqually Tribe

Nisqually tribe  Lushootseed language on walls in the Southworth Elementary school
The Nisqually Tribe was thrilled to see their ancestral language represented on the walls throughout the school. The 4 primary representations are the salmon, the mountain, the cedar tree, and the river, pictured here with the Lushootseed translation. Photo courtesy: Yelm Community Schools

Yelm Community Schools was honored to work alongside the City of Yelm and Nisqually Tribal Council to ensure the rich history in the community was represented in the rebuild. Collaboratively they were able to work with the design team BCRA and incorporate elements of Yelm’s history and the Nisqually Tribe’s influence into the school for students to easily connect with and learn from. “Our goal at Southworth Elementary was to provide the community with a top-notch learning environment for our kids,” shares Yelm Community Schools Superintendent Brian Wharton. “You don’t do that by not involving the community and the Nisqually Tribe.”

BCRA Principal and Project Manager Heather Hocklander and her team worked diligently to properly capture the essential aspects of the Yelm’s history and the Nisqually Tribe and tie them into core themes of Southworth Elementary. The four main things they highlighted in the new school are the salmon, the water, the mountain, and the cedar tree, which can be seen represented beautifully throughout the school. “We built the school for students, teachers and staff to honor the past and support the future with a learning environment that is welcoming and safe, and provides the best value for the community,” says Heather. “Our team was honored to be a part of a thread of history of Southworth that is set up to acknowledge the past and create the legacies of the future.”

Southworth Elementary
402 W Yelm Avenue, Yelm

September 21, 2022

Attorney says Glen Morgan involved in Tenino shooting,
Morgan is known in Yelm as a Conservative activist!

“Glen Morgan uses a microphone to address attendees of the Lewis County Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner in Chehalis in February.”
Credit: Jared Wenzelburger, The Chronicle.

Conservative activist Glen Morgan involved in shooting Monday in Tenino, attorney says

From The Olympian:

Conservative political activist Glen Morgan was involved in a shooting early Monday on family property near Tenino, according to Morgan’s attorney.

Morgan confirmed the shooting when contacted by The Olympian, then referred the newspaper to Angus Lee, his Vancouver, Wash.-based attorney.

Lee released a statement about the incident late Tuesday, and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza later confirmed some details. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Monday morning incident in the 1200 block of Oak Drive Southeast, west of Tenino off Old Highway 99.

The Monday morning incident is under investigation, Snaza said.

Read more


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