August 20, 2019

Popular Farmers Market participant featured in the NVN: Bees Forever Apiary

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Bee Forever Apiary co-owners Karla Broschinski and Thomas Mani on their Bald hills property.
Courtesy: Eric Rosane,
Nisqually Valley News.

“Business Is Buzzing: Bees Forever Apiary Provides Bee-Based Products and Hive Services”

  • Editor’s note: An always popular blog post is about Bee Forever Apiary’s co-owners Karla Broschinski and Thomas Mani. Eric Rosane of the Nisqually Valley News filed this excellent report about the work and passion of a beloved Yelm couple. Used with permission.

“[Thomas] Mani and [Karla] Broschinski are the co-owners of Bee Forever Apiary, a local business providing hive servicing to local keepers, consultation and a plethora of locally-harvested bee products. 

“The business is a frequent presence at the Yelm Farmers Market. Their business cards read “Beekeeper for Hire. You own the bees. We do the work!” 

“And that’s exactly what they do.”

“The two are also members of the Olympia Beekeepers Association, a nonprofit organization that supports education, training and support for regional beekeepers. The group teaches a lot of aspects of honeybee sustainability, Mani said.”

“For more information on their services or products, visit their website at www.bee4ever.com or call them at 360-894-6038.”   

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August 19, 2019

Two high-profile Yelm commercial real estate parcels for sale!

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CCI maintenance/storage yard
Credit: Greene Realty Group
  • Editor’s note: Last week, the Consolidated Communications (CCI) maintenance/equipment storage yard was listed for sale. CCI is making some internal changes regarding their technicians service trucks being driven to their homes at night, negating the need for the structure (built by CCI’s Yelm predecessor Fairpoint Communications). CCI also intends to lease back one bay from the buyer for equipment storage. This is a huge change in that Yelm will have a greatly reduced footprint from CCI!
  • Quoting the listing:
  • 10812 Bald Hill Rd SE, Yelm, WA 98597
  • $1,200,000 list price
  • “This is a great site for a contractor yard or manufacturing with a very nice building. Other building is for equipment parking with a wash bay and a fueling bay with above ground tanks. Fully fenced and gate and the site is 95% paved. Nice two story offices in one bay.”

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Frontier Village
Credit: Greene Realty Group

FRONTIER VILLAGE

404 1st St SE, Yelm, WA 98597

$1,100,000 list price

Listing Office: Westlake Associates, Inc.

“The Frontier Village Retail Center is a fully leased, six-tenant retail investment opportunity located a third of a mile from downtown Yelm and is being offered for sale for $1,100,000. There is a potential to add more tenants with the current division of the building, and an ability to increase rents with professional property management. This is also an excellent 1031 Tax deferred exchange opportunity. With minor changes to how the property is currently being managed, Frontier Village could easily have an 8% Capitalization Rate,” by Greene Realty Group.

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August 19, 2019

July was the hottest ever recorded planet-wide – serious repercussions on the horizon!

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“Beachgoers pack their belongings near the end of day at Sunset Beach in Huntington Beach, California on July 21, 2018. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)”

“Scientists: July set new global heat record”

“July was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880, the latest in a long line of peaks that scientists say backs up predictions for man-made climate change.

“The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday [Aug. 15] that July was 0.95 degrees Celsius (1.71 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 20th century average of 15.8 C (60.4 F) for the month.

“Because July is generally the warmest month on the calendar, meteorologists say this means it also set a new all-time monthly record for the past 140 years,” by the Associated Press, on FOX News.

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“Alaska records its warmest month ever; future records likely”

“Alaska has been America’s canary in the coal mine for climate warming, and the yellow bird is swooning.

July was Alaska’s warmest month ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Alaska’s average temperature in July was 58.1 degrees (14.5 Celsius). That’s 5.4 degrees (3 Celsius) above average and 0.8 degrees (0.4 Celsius) higher than the previous warmest month of July 2004, NOAA said,” by Dan Joling, Associated Press.

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August 18, 2019

President Trump is building his wall – the one dividing America!

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Credit
https://www.charlotteobserver.com/latest-news/upyrd/picture233793677/alternates/FREE_960/SIERS081319.jpg
Credit: Kevin Siers
The Charlotte Observer
August 12, 2019

“Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict”

“In practice, this executive order would mean that whichever political party is in power could dictate what speech is allowed on the Internet,” by Ion Queally, Common Dreams.

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“As Scientists Warn of Biodiversity Crisis, Trump Administration Guts Endangered Species Act”

“The Trump administration finalized its drastic rollback of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), just months after the United Nations released a dire report warning that one million species could go extinct if business continues as usual. ‘We’re facing an extinction crisis, and the administration is placing industry needs above the needs of our natural heritage,’ says Rebecca Riley, legal director for NRDC’s Nature Program,” by NRDC.

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“U.S. Budget Deficit Already Exceeds Last Year’s Total Figure”

“The U.S. fiscal deficit has already exceeded the full-year figure for last year, as spending growth outpaces revenue.

“The gap grew to $866.8 billion in the first 10 months of the fiscal year, up 27% from the same period a year earlier, the Treasury Department said in an emailed statement on Monday [Aug. 12], by Sarah MacGregor, Bloomberg News.

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“Business groups to Trump: Tariff delay isn’t enough”

“Business groups on Tuesday [Aug. 13] said President Trump’s decision to postpone and exempt some consumer goods scheduled for tariffs did not go far enough, and urged him to take additional steps to wind down the trade war with China, by Niv Elis, The Hill.

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“Trump Tariffs to Hurt U.S. Farmers More Than China Counterparts”

“President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese agricultural products are likely to hurt a lot less than the retaliatory tariffs Beijing levies on the U.S., by Bloomberg News.

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“Americans Say They Can’t Afford a Vacation”

“More than 40% of Americans have opted out of a getaway over the past year specifically because of the cost, a new study finds,” by Luke McGrath, Bloomberg News.

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“Trump Administration’s Attacks on Science Already Surpass Two Bush Terms”

“Since taking office, the administration has launched more than 100 attacks on science, according to my organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists — more than the George W. Bush administration amassed over its two four-year terms,” by Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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“FEC chair challenges Trump to provide evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire”

“The Democratic chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission on Friday challenged President Donald Trump to provide evidence of the voter fraud he insists cost him New Hampshire in 2016 or quit talking about it.

“In a letter to Trump, Ellen Weintraub said the country’s democracy depends on ‘the American people’s faith in our elections. Your voter-fraud allegations run the risk of undermining that faith,'” by Fredreka Schouten, CNN.

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“‘Outrageous’: Trump DOJ Urges Supreme Court to Legalize Firing Workers for Being Transgender”

“The equality principle is so simple and obvious; it’s a disgrace the government is affirmatively arguing for a narrow, pro-discrimination interpretation.” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams.

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August 17, 2019

YEA – new I-5 southbound lanes open through Tacoma, SR 16 interchange!

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Credit: WSDOT

“SB I-5 lanes in Tacoma to shift to final alignment this weekend”

“Southbound I-5 will no longer be directly adjacent to the northbound lanes though downtown Tacoma.”

Southbound Interstate 5 is expected to move to its final alignment Sunday morning. Two previously closed ramps from South Sprague Avenue and to South 38th Street have re-opened.”

“Although it’s a big milestone in Tacoma traffic construction, there’s still more work to be done.

“The new I-5 alignment and ramps are part of a bigger project to build HOV lanes between I-5 and SR 16. Those HOV lanes are expected to open this fall, according to WSDOT,” by KING-5 TV News, Seattle.

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August 17, 2019

EPA rescinding water quality standards outrages NW Tribes

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Credit: Northwest Treaty Tribes

Tribes Outraged by EPA Move to Rescind Human Health Water Quality Standards

  • Editor’s note: While this story posted today is from last April, the interest in this issue has been gaining traction in western Washington.

“Treaty Indian tribes in western Washington are outraged that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planning to roll back hard-fought improvements to water quality standards regulating the discharge of toxic chemicals in our state’s waters.

“Tribes are especially shocked by EPA’s backdoor approach to rescinding the standards. “There was no notification to tribes or state agencies that EPA plans to revoke the standards. Neither was there any justification of need to weaken water quality protection,” said Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“‘To knowingly allow increased discharge of dangerous chemicals that harm human health is unacceptable to us. A pollution-based economy is not sustainable,’ Loomis said,” quoting Northwest Treaty Tribes.

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August 16, 2019

Biologist: “Southern resident orcas will likely go extinct”

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“A southern resident orca leaps out of the water in Puget Sound.”
Credit:
Center for Whale Research

“Biologist warns it’s ‘past the time’ to act for Southern resident killer whales”

“On the one year anniversary of J35’s journey pushing her dead calf around the Salish Sea, one biologist said the Southern resident orcas will likely go extinct.”

“Many called it a “tour of grief” when orca J35 or “Tahlequah” captivated the world by pushing her dead calf for a thousand miles over 17 days around the Salish Sea.

“A year later, biologist Ken Balcomb said nothing significant has changed to keep the endangered Southern resident killer whales from disappearing forever,” by Alison Morrow, KING-5 TV News, Seattle.

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August 15, 2019

Yelm’s Boys and Girls Club announces a Sept. 4th opening, and a Facebook page!

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  • From the Tweet of the Yelm Boys and Girls Club:

“The Yelm Branch of @BGCThurston Facebook page is now live. Please share with friends and colleagues interested in registering their child or supporting our newest #ThurstonCounty Club!”

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August 14, 2019

Thurston’s chief criminal prosecutor resigns –
Conflict of interest cited

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Jeffery Lippert
Credit: Linkedin profile photo
via
The Olympian

“Why did Thurston’s chief criminal prosecutor resign? Complaint alleges conflict of interest”

“When Thurston County’s chief criminal prosecutor resigned last week, he cited recent events in his personal life that had compromised his ability to effectively serve the office.

Now, details of what led to his resignation have emerged showing Jeffery Lippert had been in a relationship with a woman whose estranged brother was facing criminal charges in Thurston County. That relationship raised questions about whether Lippert had influenced the case, and prompted Christopher Westfall, the brother and defendant, to file a complaint with the Washington State Bar Association, interviews by The Olympian and documents show.

“Westfall believes the relationship between the prosecutor and his sister unfairly impacted his case, and that the prosecutor was helping his sister exact a vendetta against him, according to the complaint,” by Sara Gentzler, The Olympian.

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August 14, 2019

Splash Park opens, followed by council inquiry into park being way over budget –
Unauthorized funding from city’s capital projects covered cost overruns!

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Credit: City of Yelm
  • Story highlights
  • Final Splash Park cost of upgrades and the splash pad was $1,005,359, yet the 2019-2020 budget for the project had been $641,984, or $363,375 over budget.
  • Splash Park overruns were underwritten by re-allocating $363,375 in city street, water and sewer capital project funds.
  • Councilors Carmody and DePinto noted the council was not consulted on the overruns nor the re-allocating of capital projects to cover the overruns, lacking transparency.
  • Council has sole responsibility for funding the budget and capital expenditures.
  • Where is Mayor Foster’s oversight to ensure the council IS the singular funding authority for city of Yelm capital projects? Sorely lacking at best!
  • Did Public Works Dir. Bedlington’s superiors direct him to enact the cost overruns?
  • The Yelm Municipal Code clearly states oversight of city regulations being followed falls first with the mayor and then his city administrator.
  • Even the NVN did not give the city a “bye” on this one. Read more

On July 19, 2019, I wrote City Administrator Michael Grayum the following, “Would you please provide an explanation to me for publication to Yelm Community Blog readers why the Splash Park is reportedly a quarter of a million dollars+ over-budget and detail the city’s plan to cover those overrun expenses?”

Mr. Grayum’s response, “I don’t have a comment at this time and personally wouldn’t characterize it in such a negative or inflammatory way. As background, there were definitely some lessons learned about how the total costs of a project can be better understood in the budget and communicated by some Council members and Public Works and Finance employees when the budget was prepared, vetted, and adopted by Council.

“Council members on the finance Committee were fully briefed by the Public Works Director and the project manager at their last meeting. The best resource for you and YCB [Yelm Blog] readers would be to attend the briefing on the final costs and cost allocations to help understand the big picture and briefing the Finance Committee received about the revenue (grants and other sources) and the total investments made for the playground and splash pad, which staff proposed be provide (sic) to the entire Council at the August Study Session. The committee members concurred with that recommendation and that is our path forward.”

Turn’s out my question was bang-on, though the cost overrun amount I mentioned to Mr. Grayum was low. The August 6, 2019 Study Session confirmed the Splash Park overruns were underwritten by re-allocating $363,375 in city street, water and sewer capital project funds, all without providing an update to councilors, according to Councilor Molly Carmody. Both Carmody and Councilor Joe DePinto stated the council had not received a budget update since the council’s March 2019 project bid approval of $443,000. 

Further, sail shades in the park allocated in the 2018 budget by line-item have not been installed, the city reports they had to make some cuts to accommodate other projects, so scrapped the sail shades without asking council, moved money from that line item to other unidentified projects, and again without asking Council.

Public Works Director Chad Bedlington reported the city acquired about $544,600 in grants to fund the splash pad portion and new play equipment (a $305,019 federal Community Development Block Grant and $239,590 from the state capital budget), plus the aforementioned $363,375 in city street, water and sewer capital project funds. The final cost of the park upgrades and splash pad was $1,005,359, yet the 2019-2020 budget for the project had been $641,984. The difference is the re-allocating of city project funding = $363,375.

Councilors Carmody and DePinto admonished Public Works Director Chad Bedlington as follows:

Carmody: “I think that the entire council deserves to know how much money you’re spending on these funds. And you didn’t come to council and ask, and we didn’t authorized this. Any kind of budget amendment needs to be voted on by council.”

DePinto: “It was a lot more money than we were told … It’s a good project though … We just need to learn from our mistakes. I just wish the method was a little more transparent.” DePinto noted the Finance Committee learned just over a month ago about the Splash Park costing over 1 million dollars.

Councilor Carmody requested at the August 13th council session an answer “regarding the over-budgeted Splash Park and playground equipment [discussed at the Aug. 6th Study Session]. I wonder when we’re going to be seeing a request for a budget amendment for council to vote on?” Mayor Foster’s uncommitted response was, “We’ll get the answer to you as soon as we know.”

Mayor Foster’s response was tepid at best in saying staff will do a better job of forecasting future projects to the council and public. Foster ran a campaign of being more transparent, and he has repeatedly been just the opposite, as covered here several times.

Bottom line: The city’s legislative branch is the city council, which has the responsibility to allocate funding for city projects as Carmody and DePinto recognized! City Hall leaders MUST get that they have a responsibility to ensure the city council has oversight and is consulted on expenditures. The council should put constants on city expenditures, as an example, anything over $25,000 MUST go to council for approval, since Mayor Foster is not providing oversight of the council’s role.  

One has to wonder if Public Works Director Bedlington’s superiors directed him to enact the cost overruns. After all, we’ve witnessed City Administrator Grayum having been thrown under the bus several times, the most recent with the mayor not sharing his role in working with UFO Fest organizer Jayne Cameron. The council was thrown under the bus for not being informed the mayor signed a contract for a deed in lieu of foreclosure on 640 acres. And former Finance Director Wolf was thrown under the bus having been recommended to find another job prior to an independent investigation being concluded, results which were inconclusive.

“Splash Pad Now Open”

“The moment many families have been waiting for is finally here – the Splash Pad at Yelm City Park is officially open!” quoting the August 6, 2019 city release.

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