April 20, 2008

SNOW HERE!

KOMO-TV 4 reported,
“We thought it was pretty amazing when it snowed on April 18th. We were astonished when it snowed on April 19th.

And now (searching thesaurus) we are completely astounded that it snowed on April 20th.

Sunday morning brought another round of snow showers to a few areas scattered across Western Washington, with some spots seeing a fair amount of accumulation.”


April 20, 2008

SPRING HAS ARRIVED IN YELM


Photo courtesy of Victoria Blaze, taken at the 5-Corners Chevron


April 19, 2008

AREA REPORTER EXPLAINS FED’S “ECONOMIC STIMULUS” CHECK FOR US ALL



Dispatch reporter Bruce Smith
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave

Eatonville Dispatch Reporter Bruce Smith penned a fabulous article last week titled “Your ‘Economic Stimulus’ check explained – sort of”

The Graham-based reporter began his story in The Dispatch as follows:
“Starting in May, most American households will be receiving a check from Uncle Sam as part of the economic stimulus package recently authorized by Congress.

However, the confusion surrounding this money is reaching proportions unseen in recent memory.

To begin, everyone will be getting a slightly different amount because the dollar figure will be based on their 2007 taxes actually paid, their tax bracket and the types of deductions they declared.

But worse, and contrary to popular opinion, it is not “free money,” but merely an advance on the refund that you might be getting next year from your 2008 taxes…

Thanks to Wilma Bennett of the GBA, and Bob Riler, of the Pierce County Department of Aging and Long-Term Care, for help in understanding this program.”

Mr. Smith sent this clarification on his story to the Yelm Community Blog:

“Yes. The recent Dispatch article on Uncle Sams Economic Stimulus Payment was incorrect.

The check that tax payers, and selected pensioners, will be receiving in May is free money in the sense that it is a bonus payment from the government It is not merely an advance on a 2008 tax year refund, as was written in the April 9th issue of the Dispatch.

According to Wilma Bennett, a Graham-based accountant and tax expert, the payment is an advance on a tax credit applicable to 2008 federal income taxes.

As a tax credit, however, you only get the money if you owe taxes for 2008. Nevertheless, many individuals will also be getting a payment in a kind of piggy-back deal: ie: folks who dont ordinarily pay taxes because all their income is derived through governmental benefits such as VA benefits or social security pensions. These folks will be getting a payment, too, as will folks whose income did not generate any liabilities, such as people with enough deductions to drive their taxes to zero..

In addition, the advance is a refundable tax credit, meaning that you do not have to pay back Uncle Sam if you have no tax liabilities next year.

Further, whatever tax refund you might be entitled to next year – based upon your 2008 income, deductions and tax bracket – you will receive that refund in full. This years stimulus payment is awarded to you as additional money. Nor will it be subject to taxes next year.

Lastly, if your tax liability increases next year, you might receive a second stimulus payment if your first one this year was less than the maximum.”


April 18, 2008

DOES GROWTH HERE COME WITH A COST? SCIENCE WEIGHS IN ON THE SOUTH SOUND!

1. GROWTH OF REGION
Thurston County growing at fast pace
Price, availability of land make area desirable

“Many of Washington’s metropolitan areas have grown substantially since 2000, with Thurston County, Tri- Cities and Bellingham showing the highest percentage growth, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday [March 26].

The state’s smaller communities, called “micropolitan” areas, also showed solid growth, the agency said…
The data show that the Olympia area, which the study defines as Thurston County, grew in population from 207,355 to 238,555 in the study period.

Thurston County’s cheaper and more available land compared with Pierce and King counties has sparked much of the growth, said Mike Edwards, former president of the Economic Development Council of Thurston County’s board of directors. “Clearly, it’s the price and availability of land,” said Edwards, who remains an EDC director. “We have populations willing to come down here. It’s been convenient to do that.”

Also helping Thurston County grow is its stable economy, helped by the presence of state government and new job opportunities coming from businesses to serve the growing population, Edwards said.

Rising gasoline prices could stem the growth for employees willing to commute farther while saving on home prices, Edwards said.

“We could easily see a drop-off if gas stays at $4 a gallon and above,” he said.

An increased number of troops at Fort Lewis also is contributing to South Sound’s growth as some military families choose to live in Thurston County, Edwards said,” quoting The Olympian.

2. VERSUS GROWTH CAUSED ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Scientists: Puget Sound species in decline as pollution increases

“Scientists gathered Wednesday [March 26] to share their latest research on what ails South Sound, painting a picture of a shallow, poorly circulating water body with a host of pollution problems on the rise and many species in decline.

The research presented at the South Sound Science Symposium sobered the crowd of 400. It also drove home the fact that the root causes of a South Sound ecosystem out of whack are not fully understood.

Population growth and all of its trappings including polluted stormwater runoff, nitrogen and bacteria loads from human and animal waste and habitat loss seem to lurk behind many of the signs of an unhealthy Sound, the science suggested.

Preliminary studies suggest that more than half of the toxic chemicals delivered to South Sound come from stormwater runoff that originates from urban areas, noted Puget Sound Partnership toxics reduction program manager Scott Redman,” quoting The Olympian.

These two reports came from the same day.

Quite interesting!

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Now, The Washington State Dept. of Ecology announces layoffs
“The state Department of Ecology plans to lay off up to nine workers in its 250-person Water Quality Program, prompted in part by declining construction statewide.

The division works to prevent pollution of the state’s lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. It sets guidelines for handling discharge, such as stormwater runoff from new developments….

The agency projected income growth when it set its budget a year ago because planners expected increasing construction projects to require more permits.

But the economy has slowed, those expectations have been trimmed back twice, and the agency faces a $1.8 million shortfall by the end of the fiscal year in June 2009,” quoting The Olympian.


April 17, 2008

THIS SATURDAY IS THE GRAND OPENING OF YELM’S LONGMIRE PARK

“You’re invited to the Longmire Park Grand Opening celebration Grand Opening of Longmire Park, noon, Saturday, April 19. The park is located on Canal Road between Grove Road and Railway Avenue. The celebration incudes a special program and celebrity-thrown first pitch. Essay winners will be honored and receive their prizes. 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,” quoting the city’s website.

“Longmire Park is now open to the public from 8 a.m. to dusk, all year. The park is located on Canal Road between Grove Road and Railway Avenue. Baseball fields may be reserved for league and community use by calling 360-458-3244. Sundays are generally intended for drop-in use only. Everyone is invited to enjoy the walking trails, new playground set and ball fields.

Click here for park rules.


April 16, 2008

YELM AREA HOME FEATURED IN COSTCO CONNECTION MAGAZINE

A Yelm area home featured in Cosco Connection Magazine

see page 30
TREEHOUSES FOR THE UPWARDLY MOBILE

Treehouses add to the value and charm of your property.
For more information:
Treehouses.org
Treehouses.com

The company that built the Yelm Treehouses is Seattle-based Treehouse Workshop.


April 15, 2008

YELM LIBRARY HOSTS “OUR PAST – OUR PRESENT” TOMORROW



Yelm Timberland Regional Library

Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

Wednesday, April 16
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


April 14, 2008

DO WE KNOW WHAT IS IN YELM’S DRINKING WATER?

This recent news has raised alarm bells in cities all across the USA as reported in The Olympian on March 17th:
“A five-month inquiry by the AP National Investigative Team found that many communities do not test for the presence of drugs in drinking water, and those that do often fail to tell customers that they have found trace amounts of medications, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones. The stories also detailed the growing concerns among scientists that such pollution is adversely affecting wildlife and might be threatening human health.”

This was further highlighted on March 21st when “Gov. [Colorado] Bill Ritter declared a state of emergency in Alamosa in the wake of an outbreak of salmonella directly linked to the town’s tap water, quoting Denver’s ABC affiliate.

Then this news from the Fluoride Action Network:
*HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF FLUORIDE IN YOUR DRINKING WATER*
This quick Fluoride Action Network video shows us some of the major concerns of fluoride in drinking water. Check out the warning label on your toothpaste tube. It notes that the amount of fluoride in a single brushing (.25 mg) should not be swallowed, and if so, the label says you should contact a Poison Control Center. Interestingly, that’s the same amount that’s in an average glass of tap water.”

Even locally owned & operated Yelm Earthworm and Castings Farm raised this issue in their March Newsletter:

“An Inconvenient Truth II

In previous newsletters, we have addressed how toxic chemicals and metals ever present in our food, water, and environment are detrimental to our health, and the health of the world and all of its inhabitants. In a new and highly documented book by Mark Schapiro entitled /Exposed The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and Whats at Stake for American Power/, Mr. Schapiro points out there is much more at stake for Americans. For them, the Inconvenient Truth II is about to get much more inconvenient.

Today, the AP reports, “A White House task force that was supposed to devise a federal plan to research the issue of pharmaceuticals in drinking water has missed its deadline and failed to produce mandated reports and recommendations for coordination among numerous federal agencies.”

AND, TAKE A LOOK AT THE DRUGS FOUND IN 28 USA WATERSHEDS, FROM NEWSVINE.

SHOULDN’T WE KNOW WHAT IS IN YELM’S DRINKING WATER?
EVEN IF YOU OWN A WELL, HAVE IT TESTED ANNUALLY.
IF YOU DRINK WATER IN YELM’S RESTAURANTS, DON’T YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN IT?

WHAT DO YOU SAY?


April 13, 2008

MAYOR HARDING SAYS BY-PASS CONSTRUCTION TO BE BUILT WITH LEFTOVER R-O-W FUNDS NEXT YEAR — SOMEONE NEEDS TO ASK THE LOCATION OF THE FUNDS IN THE STATE TRANSPORTATION BUDGET — AS THE BYPASS REMAINS UNFUNDED!


THE HONORABLE MAYOR RON HARDING

This writer acknowledges Mayor Harding, the City Council and City Staff for all of their fine work in getting funding and construction on the Inner Loop. Certainly, this city’s traffic is the number one issue and for drivers to finally have an east/west alternative to the choked traffic through Yelm is an asset.

However, I do wish to raise an issue and question the heralding by officials of Yelm’s Bypass construction to begin in 2009 using left-over right-of-way acquisition funding of $9-10 million, as the Mayor reportedly stated to the Yelm Chamber Forum on Tuesday, April 8, 2009. Regarding Mayor Harding’s assertion, I ask anyone to present where the $10M construction fund is located in the Transportation Budget.

The Yelm Loop Project team has posted their April 2008 status on the WSDOT website still saying:
“The construction phase is not currently funded” !

As I mentioned previously, there is a potential to start construction in 2009. However, at this point, only a politician’s verbal promise to get construction funded as part of the Winter 2009 Legislative
Session is all that exists. To get the money put into a construction account, we need majorities in the House and Senate, and then a signature by the Governor. None of that has happened yet, so there is no guarantee at this point.

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.” Again, please let us know where the $10M construction fund is located in the Transportation Budget.

The status of this project was throughly outlined in the March 21 blog entry that was WSDOT fact-checked and remains current today as verified by this writer’s WSDOT source…

Quoting Mayor Ron Harding in the Nisqually Valley News last week, Some say we should stop growing, but council and I have always contended that was the wrong decision.

Whenever I raise an issue with City Hall, they are predisposed to thinking I am being critical or anti-growth.
Such is not the case. I am for a through research and reporting of the facts as well as for controlled growth,
rather than the unbridled growth going on here for the last 3 years, with little regard for the future of the land & Mother Nature to handle thousands of homes (traffic, water & sewage). Yes, I called on the city to stop approving new construction until issues regarding water availability and aquifer recharging can be addressed. How can this city continue accepting applications for new homes without having first acquired water rights to support them? And, an unfunded Bypass is still approx. 7-8 years away from opening, when funding IS approved for that road. There are no more additional connector streets planned in Yelm’s urban core in the Six-year Transportation Improvement Program covering a period through 2013, only upgrades to existing streets. While the Mayor says in the April 11 NVN “congestion in Yelm has decreased and Levels of Service increased at various intersections throughout the city,” how is this town going to handle the traffic from over 1,000 new homes being planned in the next 5 years with no increase in our roads capacity? Remember, the Bypass is still years away from opening, so the Inner Loop and existing streets will have to handle the annual increases in traffic.

ONE CANNOT HAVE CONSTRUCTIVE DIFFERENCES & RAISE AWARENESS ON ISSUES WITH THIS CITY WITHOUT BEING LABELED IN SOME MANNER AND SPUN AS ANTI-SOMETHING. THAT IS ASHAME AND REFLECTS THE MALAISE HERE, INDICATED BY THE LACK OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ISSUES.


April 13, 2008

AREA TIES RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE YESTERDAY!

Olympia Regional Airport reported a high temperature of 82 degrees yesterday, which tied the record set in 1951.
Further, there was almost a 50 degree swing in temperatures from a low of 34 to a high of 82.

Today will be much cooler.


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