1. Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil and Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards presented a business safety update and police report to the Yelm Chamber of Commerce breakfast on June 13. They both mentioned the Washington State Patrol (WSP) received a DOT grant for overtime which is partially being used in and around Yelm. The WSP is monitoring for seat belt violations (placing the shoulder belt beneath the underarm is a violation) and speeding infractions on Bald Hills and Vail Roads due to the volume of accidents. [Ed. Note: This writer has seen them outbound on Bald Hills Rd past the sheep farm turns on the right in the new construction turnoff. Further, they sit in an unmarked SUV across from the Ycom Networks Garage on Bald Hills Road aiming their radar guns at drivers who have not adjusted their speed from 50 to 40 mph at the Harris Road railraod tracks. Beware when you come to town and are nearing Stiebrs Farms, as they lie in wait on the other side of the left bend. This writer got caught in their snare as the WSP officer stated I was still at 55mph coming around the bend in a 40mph zone @ $132 at 7pm on a Thursday evening. There are no red flags as in other speed zone change areas to mark that the speed limit transitions from 50mph to 40mph way prior to the Harris Road railroad crossing, except two small 40mph speed limit signs before the tracks, even though the road was recently widened, improved and paved after the tracks. So beware.
2. S. E. Thurston County Fire Co-Chiefs Rita Hutcheson & Mark King presented their Fire Department Services and Funding Report at the same meeting and gave a warning that if the fire levy fails in September, the response times to emergencies will be unacceptable due to a lack of funding. They are asking eveyone’s assistance to get educated on the levy issue and get the vote out FOR the fire levy.
3. The LID has now been approved by Yelm City Hall. With Yelm’s traffic studies showing that a 3-laned Yelm Ave. West can handle the traffic with a Highway 507 Loop/bypass, look for major gridlock in Yelm beyond just weekday afternoons, because Senator Patty Murray told Mayor Harding and Mayor Pro-Tem Isom there are NO federal funds for any infrastucture or highway projects – NONE. Unless the State comes up with the funding, the 507 Loop is in jeopardy. The unfunded amount for a Loop is $35 million, according to the DOT website [Ed. Note: this will continue to rise with interest rates and property values.]. Better revise the LID to widen Yelm Ave. west to 5 lanes NOW or rip up the 3-lane LID project within 3-5 years due to a traffic gridlock emergency.
4. As federal interst rates continue their rise along with inflation and home sales drying up, look for more issues from the Tahoma Terra & Thurston Highland owners to come before the city, like their just-passed LID. They will have to defer some of their expenses somehow, as national home sales are almost at a stand-still. They have 1,200 homes that must be financed and sold, plus a proposal for 5,000 more. Yikes!