March 21, 2008

YELM BYPASS: IN-DEPTH UPDATE

Quoting the March 14th edition of the Nisqually Valley News in a story titled “Bypass funding is back on track”, Mayor Ron Harding is quoted as saying, “It is quite possible they could start phase one of the construction project in 2009.”

POSSIBLE? MAYBE…

BUT LESS LIKELY, IF ONE REALLY LOOKS AT THE PROCESS!

The construction of the Bypass has not YET been funded.
As reported here on March 11th, our State Legislature was able to secure right-of-way acquisition and design funding for the Bypass, as quoted in The Olympian on February 22, 2008, which was passed by the State Senate on February 27, 2008, according to Sen Marilyn Rasmussen. The Senate approved its version of the 2008 Supplemental Transportation Budget, which includes $9 million left over from the Highway 510 Loops right-of-way acquisitions. The $9 million is a prediction by WSDOT of how much will be left over after all of the right-of-way is acquired for the project. Right-of-way acquisition has not been completed, so we may not know until next year the status of any leftover balance.

Remember, this $33 million funding that was reinstated was for the Bypass design and right-of-way acquisition from the 2005 gas tax and was proposed in the Governor’s 2008-2009 supplemental budget. Our State Legislators first got a recommendation from WSDOT to reduce bypass funding from the Governors proposal, and thus help out other needy highway projects. The funding cut was incorporated in the first draft of House and Senate legislation. Our local Legislators then identified the funding cut as a mistake, and prevailed in getting that previously promised gas tax funding reinstated. However, the amount of funds and their allocations in 2008 remains identical to what was previously appropriated in 2007. They just prevented funding from being cut. There is an expected future surplus of funds for the right-of-way (r-o-w), which will stay in the r-o-w account, at least until the Legislature revisits the Transportation budget in early 2009. There is no official accelerated construction schedule at WSDOT, because there are still no construction funds allocated.

Construction of the Bypass is still unfunded.
Some were under the impression (apparently including Sen. Rasmussen) that some r-o-w funds would be moved into a construction account, so Phase 1 could start right away. However, that did not happen when the Transportation Budget reached the Senate-House Conference committee. The extra money was left for the r-o-w, and one can only speculate why, however a good guess is that the r-o-w acquisition is still ongoing and not complete. Another reason to consider is that the gas tax money is supposed to be designated for design and r-o-w only.

Bypass construction funding will likely be a topic among our State Legislature in the January to April, 2009 budget session. There is a strong potential Rep. Campbell and Sen. Rasmussen will deliver something to their constituents in 2009 in the form of construction funds. If that is the case in the 2009 passed legislation, that bill would go to the Governor’s desk for signing in late April-early May, 2009.

Then, for a phased approach, the Phase 1 construction documents need to be assembled, reviewed and approved by the WSDOT Regional office, then the WSDOT Headquarters office.

Next, the construction package is put out on advertisement. From the first day of advertisement to awarding the contract, to execution of a contract, another 2 months is typically the time required for a road the size of Yelm’s Bypass Phase 1 (Mud Run to Cullen Road).

If all of the timelines are met perfectly, there is an outside chance clearing and grading could start in late 2009 during the rainy season, with paving in Spring, 2010.

This potential assumes all of the right-of-way for Phase 1 is owned by WSDOT before the construction advertisement. According to a source at WSDOT, this may already be the case for the Phase 1 property.

WSDOT Bypass Project Manager Bill Elliott told the City Council on November 13, 2007 that a Phase 1 buildout timeline was March, 2010, quoting the City Council Minutes.
To read the Minutes, click here, then click MINUTES, then November 13, 2007.

WSDOTs construction timeframe of 2013-2015 for a non-phased approach is still the only official schedule in place at present. The schedule has not yet been revised based upon an expected early completion of r-o-w phase, but that is a potential as we head toward 2009.

Were Phase 1 to be built, all traffic would intersect Yelm Ave. West at Cullen Rd., an intersection to which there is no planned traffic signal. That would have the potential to create a bottle-neck of immense proportions, unless the City of Yelm diverts Phase 1 traffic prior to Cullen, onto Killion. The only relief Yelm would see in a 2-phased construction approach with Phase 1 would be to get around the High Schools traffic.

What does the city gain by taking bypass traffic only to Cullen Rd. in a two-phased buildout?

Our city/county/state officials can say we are “making progress” and “delivering on our promises” without really adding additional capacity to the highway, something this writer has stated several times is the main issue. The real improvement for Yelm will not happen until all of the right-of-way at the east end is secured, and Phase 2 is completed – which is still in the 2015-16 time frame, quoting the City Council minutes.

So, there still are over 8 years before Yelm’s Wal-Mart traffic will be mitigated with a Bypass.

This blog entry has been fact-checked by a source at WSDOT.

WHAT SAY YOU?


March 20, 2008

SUPPORT OUR LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES: SCHAFER GALLERY EXHIBITION

Rainier Art Studio
Student Works

Exhibition
March 21st – April 4th

Reception
March 21st 6pm – 8pm

Schafer Gallery
104 Yelm Avenue East
Yelm, WA
360.458.5509

For information regarding
classes at Rainier Art Studio
please call 360.259.8934

PLEASE TELL SCHAFER GALLERY YOU READ ABOUT THEIR EXHIBITION ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG.


March 19, 2008

SPRING OFFICIALLY ARRIVES IN YELM TONIGHT!

HAPPY SPRING!

The date (near March 21 in the northern hemisphere) when night and day are nearly the same length and Sun crosses the celestial equator (i.e., declination 0) moving northward. In the southern hemisphere, the vernal equinox corresponds to the center of the Sun crossing the celestial equator moving southward and occurs on the date of the northern autumnal equinox. The vernal equinox marks the first day of the season of spring, quoting Science World.

Spring begins at 10:57pm on March 19 in Yelm.


March 18, 2008

YELM LIBRARY HOSTS “OUR PAST – OUR PRESENT” TOMORROW



Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave

Wednesday, March 19
Our Past, Our Present: Share Your Memories on video for city archives
Elders of the community are invited to join in a conversation about their life experiences at school, on the farm, with pets, in Yelmand more. Members of the Yelm Historical Society will facilitate. This session will be videotaped as a resource for present and future generations.
3 – 4:30 PM


March 17, 2008

SUPPORT OUR LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES: YELM SMOKE PLUS

Yelm Smoke Plus has reopened with a new owner dedicated to providing top-notch, quality service and products to Yelm area customers.
Mark Ryan purchased the closed business last December and invites all area smokers to come in and check-out his quality selections.
If he does not have what you are looking for, ask and he’ll get it.

This writer received a call from Mr. Ryan asking to get the word out about his tobacco varieties. I must say I had never been in this shop previously and was so touched by this man’s enthusiasm about his store in Yelm, I had to go by and meet Mark.
I listened to his unique story and had to write down highlights to share with Yelm Community Blog readers:

Mark Ryan worked for Philip Morris Tobacco Company for 6 years as an independent contractor on the wholesale side of the business.
When his wife was told of the Yelm Smoke Shop being for sale, the idea to own a quaint store in a small town so appealed to him, he jumped on the chance to purchase the business. He was successful.
Mark and his wife live in Kent and he commutes 40 miles each way daily, however he says that the reason he can be so successful here is the exemplary customer service he can provide by being able to fulfill customer requests by going to the wholesalers near where he lives in King County, rather than wait on deliveries that may take days or up to a week.
Ryan points out that Yelm area “young people had better have a valid ID before they walk in this door.” He looks forward to meeting new customers and welcoming locals into his shop.

Located across from McDonald’s:
Yelm Smoke Plus
508 Yelm Ave W.
Phone: 400-4338

WON’T YOU STOP IN AND SAY HELLO TO MARK RYAN, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT USE TOBACCO PRODUCTS? THE AROMA AND SMILE FROM THIS MAN ARE WORTH THE STOP ALONE.

TELL YELM SMOKE SHOP YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


March 16, 2008

SUPPORT OUR LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES: META DESIGN GRAPHICS

I have been working as a graphic designer in this area since I moved here (to go to Ramtha’s school) in 1998. I worked many years prior to that as a graphic designer in the newspaper and magazine publishing arena.

I was a full-time designer in a studio in Olympia called Graphic Concepts for 4 years, and had many great experiences working with clients such as the Office of the Governor, St. Martin’s College, The Washington Center, Little Creek Casino, and many others.

I have been working steadily as a freelance designer for the last 5 years, and I currently maintain a part-time graphic design job at a company in Gig Harbor.

My freelance company name is MetaDesign Graphics and Design Services.

[Many readers] are probably familiar with some of my work;, following are a few links to websites I have designed:

www.theglobalintelligencer.com

www.manyworldspress.com
www.equine-mind.com
www.babysleepsonic.com

Other work of mine you may be familiar with is the cover of Greg Simmons‘ [local Rainier-based author]
book “These Things You Shall Do and Greater” and both of Suzanne Nichols’ [local science author]
books “Science You-nified” and “The Life and Times of Schrodingers’ Cat”

Thank you,
Shelley Lucus


March 15, 2008

EUROPEAN VIOLINIST RETURNS TO YELM FOR YPAA BENEFIT


Ian Mardon

THE YELM PRAIRIE ARTS ASSN. (YPAA) ANNOUNCES A BENEFIT EVENING
WITH
Ian Mardon on Violin accompamied by Wolfgang Wortberg on Piano
Performing
Fuego Espanol
The Fiery Passion of Spain
Works by Sarasate, Albeniz
as well as a repeat performance of
Mardons “Lux Aeterna”

Due to the overwhelming number of people that packed the Yelm Timberland Library last year for a special performance by German violinist Ian Mardon, he has been invited to return to share his music with the entire community in a unique evening at the Yelm High School Tuesday, April 1st at 7pm to benefit the Yelm Prairie Arts Assn.

The artists [Mardon] repertoire ranges from the major works for violin and orchestra, through a broad selection of solo and chamber music, to his own exciting compositions.
Mardon has, over the course of the years, performed on many TV shows and in numerous movies.
Additionally he has worked for advertising and appeared on a multitude of CDs.
Together with pianist Quitterie Larr, he recorded works by Beethoven, Brahms, Franck and Kreisler.
His enthusiastic performance style has resulted, through appearances with numerous orchestras in Canada, USA and Germany, in his establishing himself as a renowned soloist.
Today, he is continuously performing as a soloist and chamber musician in Germany and North America,” quoting Mr. Mardon’s website.

Tues. April 1st, 2008 @ 7 PM
Yelm High School Auditorium
Tickets sales at the door @ 6:30 PM
Admission $10 Cash or Checks only
ALL NET PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT THE YPAA

– L i m i t e d S e a t i n g –

For information, contact Yael Klein 458-4422
Co-sponsored by Yael & Steve Klein and the Yelm Prairie Arts Assn.


Ian Mardon at his October, 2007 Yelm Library performance
Photo courtesy of Miceal Ledwith


March 14, 2008

LONGMIRE PARK’S “SOFT OPENING” THIS MONDAY

Mayor Ron Harding told the Yelm City Council last Tuesday at their regular meeting that the long-awaited Longmire Park will open to the public for use on Monday, March 17th, with a grand opening slated for April 19th.
At that meeting, the Council authorized a $40,650 design contract of an estimated $368,000 extension of the city’s reclaimed water line to Longmire Park for irrigation.

“The greater Yelm community is invited to the Grand Opening of Longmire Park athletic complex at noon, Saturday, April 19. To commemorate the occasion, an essay contest is being held for youth age 7 through high school,” quoting the City of Yelm website.

PLAY BALL ESSAY CONTEST
The City of Yelm is sponsoring a community-wide essay contest to commemorate the Grand Opening of Yelms new athletic complex at Longmire Park.
All youth, ages 7 through high school age are invited to submit an essay titled,
How organized sports have made my life better.
Tell us in 350 words or less and be eligible for prizes, donated by the Nisqually Valley News.

Top essays in three categories will be honored and authors receive their prizes at the Grand Opening of Longmire Park, Saturday, April 19.
The party starts at noon, with a special program and celebrity-thrown first pitch.
The community is invited to join us for free hot dogs, chips and soda, along with cake, games, and other surprises.
Check out our new playground equipment, walking trails, soccer/football field, volleyball court, and three classy ball fields.

Deadline for the essay contest is 5 p.m., Friday, April 4.
Bring entries to Yelm City Hall,
mail to the NVN at PO BOX 597, Yelm, 98597,
or
email to class@yelmonline.com
or cindyt@ci.yelm.wa.us


March 13, 2008

“JZ KNIGHT CHALLENEGES CITY OF YELM’S APPROVAL OF 5 PROPOSED SUBDIVISIONS”


JZ Knight

This writer has received several requests for a further explanation as to JZ Knight’s challenge to 5 proposed subdivisions the City of Yelm approved. While The Olympian covered this issue in a brief story on March 5th, the local Nisqually Valley News (NVN) did not.

[UPDATE: The NVN published a front page story on this issue in their March 14th edition, 10 days after Ms. Knight’s Press Release.]

This story was covered here on the Yelm Community Blog on March 6th and The Olympian on March 5th.

On April 28, 2006, The Olympian reported this about Lacey, “Last June, the city imposed a de facto moratorium on new development within its urban growth area because it is rapidly running out of water its authorized to withdraw.” [For access to this story, scroll down on the hotlink to ” Lacey signs on to water deal”].

Is Yelm next?

For area readers to see Ms. Knight’s views unabridged, the following is the Press Release from her Public Relations firm on this subject:

JZ Knight challenges City of Yelms approval of five proposed subdivisions
Knight files Land Use Petition in Superior Court of Washington citing lack of available water resources to meet current & existing demand

Yelm, WA. [March 4, 2008] JZ Knight, the founder of Ramthas School of Enlightenment (www.ramtha.com), has filed a Land Use Petition in the Superior Court of Washington challenging the City of Yelms decision (Resolution No. 481, adopted February 12, 2008) approving five proposed subdivisions (Tahoma Terra Phase II, Divisions 5 & 6; Windshadow I; Windshadow II; Wyndstone; and Berry Valley I). The petition states that the Petitioners personal and property rights and interests will be directly and adversely affected by the Citys decision based on the fact that substantial new development and new water demand will greatly exceed the Citys ability and legal rights to provide adequate water service.

City evidence shows that the City of Yelm exceeded its water rights in both 2006 and 2007 and has not accounted for the water supply that will be needed to serve approved projects. The Petitioners opinions are further bolstered by evidence from the Washington State Department of Ecology confirming that the Citys water demand exceeds the Citys water rights.

The Land Use Petition affirms that Petitioners water rights have priority over, and are protected against impairment by, all subsequent new uses of water, including new water rights and changes to all existing water rights, such as would be required to serve the proposed subdivisions. Yet, despite lack of demonstrable water availability, the five proposed subdivisions were approved by the Yelm City Council on February 12, 2008. In fact, the Citys own Comprehensive Water Plan concedes that acquiring any new water rights is increasingly difficult, if not impossible.

With respect to additional water rights the City hopes to acquire by 2012, the Citys own water plan acknowledges that it is unlikely that a new well source will be approved or that water rights will be granted by the Department of Ecology. Knights Petition asserts that the Citys own water plan undermines the Citys claim that it will acquire significant new water rights to serve future development.

It is abundantly clear that the City of Yelm does not have an adequate potable water supply to serve these approved projects, states Knight. The City has not been able to stay within its legal water rights for the past two years. How will it serve the hundreds of homes it approved last year, which have not yet been built, when it already has a water deficit? And now it wants to approve another 568 homes? As Ive stated all along, I am in favor of measured growth in Yelm but cannot, in good conscience, remain silent as the City of Yelm continues with unchecked development at a pace that cannot accommodate either current or future water needs without adversely affecting the existing residents of Yelm.

This court appeal would have been completely unnecessary if the Washington State Department of Ecology and Department of Health would have stepped in to protect the public interest by requiring that the City of Yelm have responsible plans in place for providing potable water to new development. Unfortunately, the agencies have not used their authority to protect the publics interest.

The Land Use Petition also cites a number of erroneous interpretations of the law by the City of Yelm in its final decision on the five proposed subdivisions, including the following: the City relied on erroneous information regarding its legal water rights in making determinations of current and future potable water supplies; the City failed to provide reasonable and non-speculative evidence of an adequate future potable water supply to serve these five proposed subdivisions; and, the City failed to require compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and other conditions imposed on these proposed subdivisions in the Citys prior land use approvals.

Copies of the Land Use Petition filed in the Superior Court of Washington in and for Thurston County are available for review upon request by contacting Liam Collopy, Media Representative for JZ Knight, at 310.300.0950 x 232 or via e-mail at lcollopy@LCOonline.com.

About JZ Knight
JZ Knight was born in Roswell, New Mexico, in March 1946. She is the author of the bestselling autobiography, A State of Mind: My Story, the unique channel of Ramtha the Enlightened One, and one of the most charismatic leaders of the Schools of Ancient Wisdom and the Great Work in the world today.

Press Contacts for JZ Knight:
Liam Collopy
Vice President
LCO – Levine Communications Office
1180 S. Beverly Dr. Third Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90035
E: lcollopy@LCOonline.com
T: 310.300.0950 x 232
F: 310.300.0951
www.LCOonline.com

Andrea Nicastro
Account Executive
E. andrea@LCOonline.com
T. 310.300.0950 x236


March 12, 2008

YCS’S BURKE ON THE SCHOOLS EXPANSION FUNDING TIMELINE


Yelm Community Schools Superintendent Alan Burke

With Mayor Ron Harding’s announcement in his State of the City address last month that planning for a new City Hall and Yelm Community Recreation Center are underway during a major economic slowdown, this writer was wondering about other potential, upcoming projects that would be presented to the local property owner for funding purposes, in addition to levies. One that comes to mind is the Yelm Community Schools’ High School expansion that Superintendent Alan Burke explained on this blog in May, 2006.

I wrote Dr. Burke for an update and here is his unabridged reply:

“Yelm schools are just now finishing construction projects using monies from the $46 million 2003 construction bond. Lunchroom additions toPrairie and Ft. Stevens Elementary Schools should be completed by November of 2008. The Yelm High School, Ridgeline Middle School, McKenna Elementary and Lackamas Elementary projects are completed, with the exception of the Ridgeline track, which will be ready for use in September. With interest earnings and state-match monies, $74 million was spent on these projects over the past five years.

However, student growth continues at a high rate. Since 2000, we have added 1109 students to our rolls. Assuming that we add between 100 and 150 students per year for the foreseeable future, we will need to ask voters for another construction bond within five years. Right now, we are predicting that 2012 probably will be the year that a bond will be necessary. In the interim, we will continue to purchase portable classrooms to supply classroom space. We bought two double-classroom units for 2007-08 and will be ordering one double unit for Ft. Stevens in 2008-09.”

THANKS TO DR. BURKE FOR THIS INFORMATIVE UPDATE!


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