July 31, 2006


S. E. Thurston County Fire Co-Chiefs Rita Hutcheson & Mark King have been presenting their Fire Department Services and Funding Report around the district with the September 19th Fire Levy on the upcoming ballot.

Your vote for this levy is needed to insure funding for these critical services.
Won’t you consider becoming educated and mark your ballot FOR the Fire/EMS levy?

“Yelm Fire District, Thurston County Fire District #4 (Rainier), and Thurston County Fire District #17 have been operating together as S.E. Thurston Fire/EMS for the past 3 years. The City of Yelm has also received emergency services through a contractual arrangement. All contracts are due to be renewed in 2006. A decision was made as a result of increasing service demands with little increase in resources, to contract with a consultant to review the current operational agreements, to identify strengths, to identify weaknesses, and to make recommendations for the future direction of the organization. The purpose of this consultation was to assist the Fire Chiefs and elected officials in working together as a cohesive group for a common goal: better service for our communities. Mr. John Murphy, a consultant with Baldwin Resource Group, Inc., obtained information about the organization through personal interviews with the department Chief Officers, Fire Commissioners from each of the 3 boards, City of Yelm Council members, and the local representative for IAFF Local 3825 (Yelm). Also reviewed were written documents regarding budgets, contracts, response data, etc. from the fire districts and from the City of Yelm.”
Click on the report’s strengths, weaknesses and suggestions.

July 29, 2006


Did anyone notice that the exact same string of days cracked the upper 90’s and 100’s in other years, as the record heat wave in 2006? These are the official readings from Olympia Regional Airport.

July 20 102 record set in 1994
July 21 96 record set in 1994
July 22 99 record set in 1978
July 23 99 record set in 2004
July 24 99 record set in 2004
July 25 93 record set in 1988
July 26 96 record set in 1998
July 27 99 record set in 1998
July 28 100 record set in 1998
July 29 96 record set in 2003
And all but one record of these dates was set within the last 18 years. HMMM!

July 20 87
July 21 101 new record
July 22 99 tie with 1978 record
July 23 98 one degree short of a tie with record
July 24 95
July 25 81
July 26 86

July 28, 2006


Dear Readers,

This writer sent an invitation to the two announced candidates for State Representative, District 2, Position 1, which includes this area to present their stands to all of you in depth, since the September 19 Primary is closing fast:
The incumbant Rep. Jim McCune (R)

Photo from Rep. McCune’s website

The challenger Jean Marie Christenson (D)

Photo courtesy of Stephany Ray, Professional Photographer and Webmaster of MastersConnection.com

To date, only Ms. Christenson has responded to the request. Her statement to the Yelm Community Blog is below, unabridged in any way and in its entirety. This writer hopes Rep. McCune will share his vision with all of you, as well.

Dear Steve Klein and Voters,

Thank you for your invitation to be a guest on your Blog, and congratulations on the great reviews your Blog has been receiving!

As a resident and voter in District 2, I would like to thank you for your willingness to put yourself out there. As a Candidate for State Representative for District 2, I thank you for your participation in the political process, and for always encouraging others to do the same.

Additionally, I would feel remiss if I did not say, Bravo, Mr. Klein for your direct influence in the passing of Senate Bill 6323 which requires all candidates raising more than $5,000 file a public disclosure report regardless of the city’s population.

I have personally felt this sort of legislation has been way over-do, and now because of your direct influence the citizens in our State will be protected from a loophole that had allowed candidates in smaller jurisdictions to raise and spend unreported money. Bravo, Mr. Klein. Bravo!

With the upcoming very important September 19th Primary, the Campaign to elect Jean Marie Christenson is going full speed ahead. Campaign press releases will be going to all our Districts newspapers the first week in August.

We have a wonderful crew of volunteers and welcome everyone to participate. The Campaign to Elect Jean Marie Christensons wonderful Volunteer Coordinator, Jennifer Braun and I invite anyone who would like to support this incredible campaign to come aboard. You can contact Jennifer at quantummonad@hotmail.com

or phone her at: (360) 446-5623.

Out on the Campaign trail I am often asked to share something about my own life.

Well, I am a lifelong Washington resident, born in Spokane, and grew up in Wenatchee. I am the mother of a grown son, and my home is in Rainier, Washington.

Growing up in a rural community meant that I went to work in local orchards at a young age. Picking fruit in orchards, and packing fruit in the local packing sheds, along with income from my parents farm and cattle ranch, I was able to earn enough money for a good education, and I subsequently pursued a career as a counselor, both in private practice, and as a teacher of motivational seminars.

I have always held the belief that we should give back to our communities, and with that belief I made sure to find time to donate my services as a counselor to youth-at-risk, as a foster mother, and in the psychiatric department of the hospital at Washington State Reformatory. My experiences at the Reformatory led to my published book, The Keepers and the Caged.

My background has given me the life experiences that allow me to understand how to get something of value accomplished. In order for District 2 to have the sort of considerations it deserves, we must elect someone who is not afraid to stand up, challenge the status-quo, and be heard.

District 2 is known as the abandoned child of the State, and it is about time someone has the courage to say so, and declare, We deserve considerably more attention, respect, and funding!

If the current popular consensus is that District 2, a rural district, is not that important, I would say, Where do you think the food you are going to eat for your dinner came from? I will tell you, It came from a farm or a ranch!

I am committed to success for District 2, and hold a strong focus for the creation of jobs, protecting the environment, pursuing alternative energy resources, encouraging economic vitality for our farmers, supporting our educators and schools, and requiring accountability for our taxpayers dollars.

I ask you to please vote in the upcoming Primary Election on September 19th. Many political races are won or lost in the Primary Election!

You do not have to register by Party, but in order to vote you must be registered by August 19th.

September 19th … Primary Election:

You will receive 2 Ballots for the Primary Election. One will be Democrat … and the other Republican. You must choose which Ballot you wish to vote on, and may only vote on one-or-the other! This is the case only for the Primary Election. No one will know which you choose. (In the General Election you will be able to cross Party lines.)

Please remember to vote for your Candidate in the Primary Election!

Thank you again, Mr. Klein, for this opportunity to address the voters of District 2.

And I would remind all the voters that even if you think you may not be interested in politics, that does not mean politics is not interested in you!

Its about the future, now.

Jean Marie Christenson, Candidate for State Representative, District 2, Position 1

July 27, 2006


Quoting City of Yelm Community Development Dept. Director Grant Beck “At the request of the Yelm Community Development Department, in order to keep interested parties up to date during the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement, the developers of the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community have prepared a newsletter which provides a project status update. The newsletter was mailed by the developers to all interested parties who provided a mailing address during the expanded scoping process for the Environmental Impact Statement. The update is also posted on the City’s website at www.ci.yelm.wa.us.”

Further, Mr. Beck will be providing a Thurston Highlands Update to the City Council in the Council Study Session tonight at 5pm, which is open to the public for observation only, as there is no public discourse allowed at these meetings. Tonight’s agenda may be found on the city’s website, then click “Upcoming Agenda”

Photo courtesy Free Flow Media
Yelm Ave. East looking West

Additionally, Yelm Mayor Ron Harding gave the oath of office to just-appointed 7th Council member Russ Hendrickson last night, an installation and repair technician for YCOM Networks (Yelm Telephone) who is married to Yelm School Board member Denise Hendrickson. No local newspaper reporter was present as they were reportedly covering the Yelm Loop/DOT Open House & Access Hearing, so no photo was taken. However Mayor Harding stated there would be a reinactment for a journalistic photo/story. Congratulations to Mr. Hendrickson. In addition to Mrs. Hendrickson and City Planning Commisioner Perez, only this writer and his wife were in audience. [Ed. Note: We both felt that a 7 member City Council will greatly benefit this town and with three new members of late, there would be more ideas and discourse. Congratulations to the entire Council for this achievement. All were present last night and revealed a glimpse at the change to come. However, the City Council touted “diversity” would be the criteria in the selection process. A former City Council member & Mayor Pro-Tem plus a representative from Yelm Telephone, who’s previous owner served on City Council defies the “diversity” intent. How about another woman from the many qualified applicants, for example? Or one not connected to in some way to city politics? ]

July 24, 2006


1. WSDOT will host an open house [for the SR510 Yelm Loop Project] directly followed by an access hearing at the Yelm Middle School Commons at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, 2006. The access hearing will start at 6 p.m. (“An access hearing is a legal procedure to allow abutting property owners and others the opportunity to provide testimony related to property access. A Hearings Examiner will conduct this formal process. Comments will be recorded and included in the project record.”) Yelm Middle School Commons is located at 402 Yelm Avenue West. The 2005 Transportation Partnership Project program allocated $33 million to fund the design and right of way for this project.”
Key questions to ask at this hearing:
A. The March, 2006 report shows construction from 2013 to 2015, meaning the road will not be fully operational for 10 years (subject to funding). This schedule has been pushed back several times in the last 2 years. Is this a reasonable timetable?
B. The report shows an unfunded amount of $35 million. With continued delays on the start of this project, has the costs of acquiring land, interest on borrowing money, construction costs & fuel, plus inflation made this balance inaccurate? Are we looking at a project total closer to $100 million?
C. Although this is a State hearing, the question this writer continues to have is how City of Yelm traffic studies
for local developments still base their figures on a completed Loop to mitigate traffic, when the State DOT website says the Yelm Loop will not be open until 2015 subject to funding, which is tenuous at best.
Do you think that is very wise – saying that traffic from current and new developments will be handled by a road 10 years from opening?

July 23, 2006


Global warming is now at the forefront of massive heat waves occurring in a large part of the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan & China and right here at Olympia Regional Airport, Thurston County’s official weather station, and 20 miles from Yelm.

Photo from Port of Olympia website

Indeed, the triple digit heat record broken at the airport Friday and the 99 degrees Saturday which tied the former 1978 record have affected this area, too. The interesting thing this writer observed is that the low on Saurday was 69 degrees, 8 degrees below the normal high.
The Olympian reported that “Temperatures of 100 and higher have happened only eight times in Olympia since 1948, said Ted Buehner, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Seattle.”
Even Seattle & King County are taking global warming seriously, according to this Seattle Times report.

The 98 degree high temperature recorded today was one degree short of a tie with the 2004 record high of 99 degrees.

Reuters reported today on the climate debate and points out some interesting observations:
A. “Skeptics of the global warming theory, which predicts droughts and floods this century unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, say the media play up hot summer days for dramatic effect.
Bill OKeefe, a board member of Washington think tank the George C. Marshall Institute and a consultant to the oil industry, said the record heat could be seen as part of a natural cycle of highs and lows.”

B. “But many scientists say a warming trend is already clear. U.S. space agency NASA says 2005 was the warmest globally in more than a century and that the preceding three years were also the warmest since the 1890s. The U.S. National Climatic Data Center said the first half of 2006 were the warmest six months since records began in 1895.”

Whom do you believe?
The usual skeptics and an oil industry consultant?

the facts and supporting scientific evidence?

You decide…

July 21, 2006


According to NOAA’s official record keeping station closest to Yelm at Olympia Regional Airport,
July 21st recorded that date’s hottest temperature on record at 101 F (38 C), breaking the former record for which this writer was here and experienced the 96 F (36 C) this date recorded in 1994.
The all time high for July 20th is 102 (39 C) also set in 1994 and is the hottest temperature ever recorded during any month of July.
Olympia’s hottest all-time high temperature ever was recorded on August 9, 1981 of 104 F (40 C). Today’s temperature was 3 degrees from a tie for the all-time record high.
The Olympian filed this report on the triple-digit weather.

July 21, 2006


USA Today reported on July 17th “For the first time in years, the $70 billion casual dining industry sit-down eateries that generally serve alcohol and sell entrees from $10 to $20 is taking a hit. Some of the big names from Applebee’s to Cheesecake Factory to Outback Steakhouse report recent slides in sales at stores open at least one year. Many of their stocks are hovering at 52-week lows. Some folks are eating out less. Others are trading down to fast food. Some are skipping dessert or ordering less wine. The result is that casual dining’s growth is slowing, and no longer outpacing the industry…For the first time in years, the $70 billion casual dining industry sit-down eateries that generally serve alcohol and sell entrees from $10 to $20 is taking a hit. Some of the big names from Applebee’s to Cheesecake Factory to Outback Steakhouse report recent slides in sales at stores open at least one year. Many of their stocks are hovering at 52-week lows…
Driving the downturn:
Rising gas costs. A home with two SUVs in the driveway needs an extra $1,500 per year to pay for costlier gas, Oakes says. “And the consumer is thinking the price hikes aren’t temporary this time.”
Better downscale choices. Upgraded options at fast foodies such as McDonald’s and fast-casual spots such as Panera Bread are attracting penny-pinchers, says Ron Paul, president of research firm Technomic. McDonald’s on Monday reported second-quarter same-store sales up 4.2%.
Higher credit card costs. Most major credit card issuers raised minimum payments last year, so many consumers have less “fun” money, Collier says.
Weaker real estate market. As housing prices weaken, some folks “feel” less wealthy, Oakes says.”

Yelm has several terrific casual-dining choices including:
Arnold’s Country Inn
Annie’s Bistro
Bar Cinco
Blue Bottle Espresso
Mr. Doug’s
Casa Mia
Chinese Wok
Puerto Vallarta
And Toscano’s
to name a few.

Won’t you consider supporting one of these fine purveyors by taking your family out to dinner?

July 17, 2006


This writer wishes to share with the Yelm Community the
Justin Norton Scholarship Fund
honoring Rainier, Washington’s fallen soldier in Iraq.

Sgt. Norton wrote this about himself:
“I am 21 and from a small town in Washington state. I am a nice guy who likes to hang out with friends and meet new people. I enjoy working out indoors and outdoors. I seem to be looking for love in all the wrong places so I just quit looking. My motto is nice guys finish last but they do finish. I am in the army and deployed in Iraq.”

According to the sign posted at Arnold’s Country Inn entrance,
“One of his requests if he did not return was to have this fund established.”
Won’t you please consider making a generous donation?
Donations can be mailed to:

Justin Norton Scholarship Fund
c/o Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 444
Yelm, Wa 98597

Donations can also be made at any Key Bank. If going to a Key Bank outside of Washington State just mention that the account is set up in Washington State.

The goal is to provide funds for Rainier High School students and also reach out to Yelm and Tenino. The family would like this to become an ongoing foundation in Justin’s name.

July 16, 2006


In today’s Olympian, the war in the Middle East is not the top headline,
rather this writer is pleased to see Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment gets top billing.

JZ Knight’s invitation for her Fabulous Wealth Retreat at the Ramtha School’s campus sent to community leaders, business owners and the media was accepted by only one of the invitees: The Olympian, who sent Lisa Pemberton, their Features Reporter. Her report appears today in stark contrast to Yelm’s local newspaper, the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) which sent no one to the Retreat. The NVN front page headlines for this retreat’s invitation screamed “Councilman critical of JZ Knight invite”, previously covered here on this blog.
However, The Olympian provided the greatest in-depth report on JZ Knight and the Ramtha School of Enlightenment this writer has ever seen. Sincere thanks and appreciation go to Olympian reporter Lisa Pemberton for her research and commitment to provide Olympian readers with a balanced report and to Vickie Kilgore, Olympian Executive Editor for her courage to accept Ms. Knight’s invitation in sending a reporter for three days to the RSE campus.
Here are The Olympian reports:
“Behind the gates at Ramtha’s School”
“The business: Economic opportunities spring from teachings”
“The school: Personal journeys lead to Yelm”
“Striving for enlightenment”
“Questions and answers about Ramtha, JZ Knight”


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