January 25, 2009

CITY & MAYOR HARDING RESPOND TO YELM BLOG STORIES ABOUT PEREZ

Regarding the Yelm Community Blog entries about Yelm’s Planning Commission Chair Carlos Perez of January 14, 2009 and subsequent questions answered by Mr. Perez on January 17, 2009 in a Yelm Community Blog exclusive report, the Mayor and City Community Relations Coordinator have responded:

1. On Thursday, January 22, this writer received an unsolicited e-mail from Cindy Teixeira, Community and Government Relations Coordinator for the City of Yelm saying about my records request of Jan. 15, 2009, “We regret the oversight and subsequent delay in providing this information to you” regarding an attachment from Community Development Dept. Associate Planner Tami Merriman who said she found the e-mail she sent to Mr. Perez on December 1st — and does not know how it was overlooked (in the records sent to Mr. Klein).

2. On Saturday, January 24, this writer received a call from Mr. Perez saying he received a letter today (Jan. 24) from Mayor Harding thanking him for his service to the City, two weeks after his appointing someone else with nary a word at the January 13th City Council meeting about Mr. Perez’s 2 1/2 years of service for the City, and the last year as Chair.


January 25, 2009

NVN STOOPS TO NEW LOW – EVEN FOR THEM !

These sensationalistic headlines on January 24th ‘above the fold’ on the front page, plus a header on the online edition within hours of the January 17th accident shows the NVN must be desperate by using the misfortune of others to sell newspapers.

“Driver hits RSE wall after falling asleep at wheel”
“A Yelm man got quite the wake-up call after he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a wall fronting the home of channeler JZ Knight and her Ramtha School of Enlightenment.”

“Joshua A. Lambert, 28, was driving home from work around 8:30 last Friday morning when the accident occurred.

He fell asleep, stayed straight in the curve and left the road, said Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brandy Kessler.”

While the NVN quoted the Ramtha School of Enlightenment public relations firm’s statement,
“Despite this extremely unfortunate event, we are pleased to report that the driver, although shaken, suffered no injuries and we extend our thoughts and well wishes to him and his family, nothing was said of the true story they COULD HAVE reported from a compassionate, human-interest standpoint.

Mr. Lambert is a Yelm resident working a graveyard shift to support his family in Olympia/Lacey and recently-returned Iraq War Veteran in service to our country.

As the NVN’s local contact for the Ramtha School, reporter Megan Hansen called me for comments. I asked Megan to have compassion on this man as he was shaken enough, as anyone would be, especially with an NVN photographer at the scene just minutes after the accident. I suggested the newspaper not use the engagement of the RSE wall from the misfortune of a serviceman & night-shift worker to sell newspapers with Ramtha’s and/or JZ Knight’s name.

Ms. Hansen said, “We have to report a story.”

Interesting, the NVN chose NOT to mention anything nor send a reporter to cover new County Commissioner Sandra Romero’s first public open house in Yelm last Monday, as a vital story to report on the front page!
That Monday was a national holiday and they could not send a reporter does not hold water!

Nisqually Valley News newspaper Editor-Publisher Kevin Graves printed an editorial in the January 10th edition touting his studies that instilled in him proper journalism practices…
“Having studied journalism – things such as journalism ethics, reporting and news style – I take great care to keep this newspaper’s coverage fair and objective.
I believe it’s up to readers to interpret the facts of a story, not to have some egomaniac bloviate and twist information to serve his or her own ends.”

HOW CAN THE READER INTERPRET THE FACTS OF THE STORY, WHEN KEY FACTS ARE OMITTED?
WHERE IS THE ETHICS IN PUTTING A SERVICEMAN’S ACCIDENT ON THE FRONT-PAGE?


January 24, 2009

YELM IS PROUD OF JANET HARDING AS MISS WASHINGTON IN THE MISS AMERICA PAGEANT TONIGHT


Photo from the Miss America website for Miss Washington

Although not taking in top honors, all of Yelm is proud of Janet Harding representing Washington in the Miss America Pageant tonight. The newly crowned Miss America is Miss Indiana.

See photos from the Miss America website and the Top 15: CLICK HERE

More from MSNBC.

This experience will serve her well as her future unfolds!


January 24, 2009

CITY WANTS BYPASS FUNDING ALL SHIFTED TO STAGE 1 – DROPS 2/3 OF BYPASS TO 2021

This writer has been hearing of a Yelm Bypass being divided into two phases and getting the Legislature to shift the Phase 2 (the eastern, much longer portion Wal-Mart end) project money for engineering and right-of-way acquisition to Phase 1 (the 1 mile section from Mud Run Rd. to Cullen) construction dollars, so that a partial Bypass can begin construction – a partial Bypass that would put all of the traffic on Yelm residential side streets to return to Yelm Ave. W at Cullen.

IF YOU ARE A RESIDENT ADJACENT CULLEN RD. AND DO NOT LIKE THE PROSPECT OF TRUCK AND VEHICULAR TRAFFIC COMING DOWN YOUR STREET IN A CITY-SUPPORTED PARTIAL BUILD-OUT OF THE BYPASS, PLEASE VOICE YOUR CONCERNS TO THE CITY COUNCIL ON THE 2ND & 4TH TUESDAYS OF EVERY MONTH IN THE PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING AT 7PM!

This writer decided to go to WSDOT Bypass Project Manager Dennis Engel to get some straight answers, and not a politician’s spin. Here are those questions & answers:

YELM BLOG: At the January 13th, 2009 Yelm City Council Meeting, Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom said that if funding for the Bypass comes through, construction could start by this May on Phase 1 (Mud Run Rd. thru to Cullen).

Mayor Harding interrupted and said, “or sooner.”

Isom said the Bypass deserves a more thorough look from the Legislature because the Bypass is already engineered and is a shovel-ready project, which deserves priority. Therefore construction could start as soon as funds are released.

MR. ENGEL: The 2007-2009 budget for SR510 Yelm Loop Highway has $3.4 million for PE (design) and $15.5 million for Right of Way. There is no money allocated for construction.

We have been working on purchasing the right of way for the entire project and have acquired about 75 of the 105 needed parcels. We are continuing the right of way acquisition and hope to secure the entire corridor by June 2009.

We have been working on preliminary engineering and permitting for the entire project. We have now moved into the final design phase, preparing the plans for construction.

YELM BLOG: There seems to be a move afoot to divide the Bypass project into two parts:
1. Stage 1 – a “Yelm High School Bypass” from Mud Run Rd. to Cullen Rd.
The idea of dividing the Bypass into two parts was an idea presented by then-WSDOT Bypass Project Manager Bill Elliott when told the City Council on November 13, 2007 that a Phase 1 buildout timeline was March, 2010, quoting the City Council Minutes and covered on the Yelm Blog in March, 2008.

2. Stage 2, the eastern, longer end of the Bypass, from Cullen Rd. to SR 507 & Wal-Mart.

MR. ENGEL: In discussions with the City of Yelm, the merits of designing and constructing a stage 1 project have been evaluated. This would be the part of the project from Mud Run Road to Cullens Road. This section of the roadway is a relatively basic design and construction.

Our current design work is focused in the area of what could be stage 1, this work is also needed for the entire project. The City of Yelm is working with the legislature about the possibility of splitting the project into stage 1 and 2, and changing some of the funding to construction so stage 1 could be built.
As you mentioned in your e-mail, one possible solution is to move some of the PE and Right of Way for the
stage 2 area money to construction of the stage 1 work.

As far as timing of the project, we could have a stage 1 set of plans completed and out for bids in October 2009, assuming the Governor and the legislature approved the above.

However the current proposed Governor’s budget shows all of the funding for Yelm Loop gets moved out to the 2021-2023 biennium. If approved, we will not have funding past the end of June and all work on the design and right of way acquisition would stop.

YELM BLOG: Mr. Isom said, “the gas tax funded the Bypass and if people knew the Governor was pulling gas-tax funding for the Bypass which they voted on to implement this road, they would be angry.”

Can you verify Mr. Isom’s statement as fact?

MR. ENGEL: I do know that part of the Transportation Partnership Act funded $33 million for Yelm Loop Highway and did not specify the split for design, right of way or construction.

ED NOTE: The WSDOT site for the Bypass shows Financial Information for this project is funded through the following fund sources:

2005 Gas Tax (Partnership Funding) – $33,000,000
Existing Funds – $1,200,000
Other Agency Funds
High Priority – SAFETEA-LU ($1,713,274)
Total Funding Available From All Sources – $35,913,274
Unfunded Amount Remaining – $56,059,900


YELM BLOG
: Isom did say funding looked distant and only the proposed stimulus package would give the Bypass a chance.
He said the legislature will have a challenge on this.

MR. ENGEL
: A third option is the possible stimulus package from the Federal Government. If Yelm Loop receives funding, we could accelerate the design effort and begin construction on stage 1 in the summer of 2009.
Thank you for your interest in the Yelm Loop project.

ED. NOTE: If a Federal Stimulus package allocates money to the State of Washington, there will be many roads from across the state vying for their project’s funding, as well.
So now we have official word that the City of Yelm is focused on shifting some of the Bypass funding from Stage 2 to Stage 1, so as to begin construction on Stage 1. With Yelm’s allocating paying a lobbyist to keep this road alive in the State Legislature and Rep. Tom Campbell on the House Transportation Committee and Sen. Randi Becker on the Senate Transportation Committee, a Stage 1 construction in late 2009 might just happen.
Then the Mayor can proclaim victory for at least construction on this part of the road. When that occurs, I will introduce a request to name this the Ron Harding Bypass.

I reminded newly-elected County Commissioner Sandra Romero at her Yelm “coffee” open house last Monday that Yelm’s Super Wal-Mart (Bypass Stage 2 area) was ONLY given a permit to build in Yelm subject to a Bypass being built within 7 years of their July, 2007 opening to mitigate their traffic. Now, sure seems with the City’s plan to shift funding away from Stage 2 to Stage 1, that might not happen for 17 years of opening, if at all.

I told her I hoped permits are no longer going to be issued using unfunded roads to mitigate traffic from those projects.
Given she is a land-use advocate, she said she was going to be examining the concurrency issue. Hooray.

So, based on all of the officials, sure looks like Stage 2 of Yelm’s Bypass will be shifted to another future generation?
What we will have left if funded, is a Bypass to nowhere, that dumps all of the inbound traffic back onto Yelm’s residential side streets like Cullen Rd to merge with Yelm Ave. W., where there is no traffic light, at present.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA?


January 23, 2009

KING-5 TV: YELM’S GROWTH WESTERN WASHINGTON’S ‘BRIGHT SPOT’

KING-5 NEWS IN SEATTLE REPORTED ABOUT YELM’S GROWTH ON THEIR BROADCAST LAST NIGHT!

“Amid all the bad news about the economy, one Western Washington town is bucking the trend.

It’s the city of Yelm. Since 2003, the Thurston County community has grown by about 35 percent. It is one of the few bright spots in the state’s economy…

Yelm is the only Thurston County city to see an increase in retail sales, according to the most recent figures.

So what does Yelm have that Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater don’t?

One contributing factor could be growth. Since 1995, Yelm’s population has doubled. The city is a half hour off Interstate 5 and right next to Fort Lewis.

‘Our location is ripe for development,’ city administrator Shelly Badger said. ‘We have available land in our community, and commercial land.’

But the “buy-local” mentality gets some credit too.

The city hasn’t been immune to the nation’s economic problems, and city leaders fear for the first time in five years, 2009 will be flat for growth.

But folks say they will continue to adapt and survive.

The economy’s not the only thing folks in Yelm are proud of. The daughter of Yelm’s mayor is representing the state of Washington at this weekend’s Miss America pageant.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT!

Here is what the report failed to mention:

1. “Since 2003, the Thurston County community has grown by about 35 percent. It is one of the few bright spots in the state’s economy…”
YES, AND AT WHAT COST?
HAS ANYONE NOTICED INCREASED TRAFFIC, THE STRAIN ON WATER RESOURCES, MANY AVOIDING SHOPPING IN YELM DUE TO THE BACK-UPS, ADDED AIR/WATER POLLUTION (NOT THE FIRST ‘BOIL-WATER’ ORDER ISSUED FOR A YELM AREA STREET IN THE LAST YEAR) AND NOW A REPORT IN THE NVN THIS WEEK ABOUT A 6% INCREASE IN CRIME?

2. “Yelm is the only Thurston County city to see an increase in retail sales, according to the most recent figures.”
WHILE TRUE, 2008 SALES FIGURES OF COURSE, WOULD SHOW A MAJOR INCREASE, SINCE 2008 HAD A NEW SUPER WAL-MART OPERATING FOR 12 FULL MONTHS, COMPARED TO ONLY 5 1/2 MONTHS OF OPERATION AFTER ITS GRAND OPENING IN 2007. FULL 2008 SALES FIGURES ARE NOT AVAILABLE AS OF YET. THIRD QUARTER NUMBERS RECENTLY RELEASED SHOWED SALES GROWTH IN YELM, HOWEVER WE HAD A WAL-MART OPEN FOR THE FULL QUARTER IN 2008, AND ONLY A PARTIAL 3RD QUARTER IN 2007.
WAL-MART WAS ONLY APPROVED WITH A BYPASS BEING BUILT WITHIN 7 YEARS OF THEIR OPENING TO MITIGATE THEIR TRAFFIC. THERE WILL BE NO BYPASS FUNDING FOR THE EASTERN SECTION OF THE BYPASS TO WAL-MART FOR YEARS, IF NOT ANOTHER DECADE.

3. “‘Our location is ripe for development,’ city administrator Shelly Badger said. ‘We have available land in our community, and commercial land.'”
NOT SO FAST MRS. BADGER! WHILE YOU MAY SAY WE HAVE PLENTY OF AVAILABLE LAND, WHAT THE CITY OF YELM DOES NOT HAVE IS AVAILABLE WATER. THE CITY HAS A COURT ORDER TO NOT ISSUE ANY FURTHER PERMITS IN 5 DEVELOPMENTS DUE TO LACK OF AVAILABLE WATER. ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPT. OF ECOLOGY WHO GRANTS AND ENFORCES MUNICIPAL WATER RIGHTS, THEY ARE “WORKING WITH THE CITY RELATIVE TO SOURCE WATER METERING AND SUBMITTAL OF THEIR 2008 DATA.
WE ANTICIPATE THE CITY WILL SUBMIT THEIR 2008 BY THE END OF THIS MONTH.”

I WROTE TO THE WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL & DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY REQUESTING
INFORMATION ON ENFORCEMENT OF YELM’S WATER RIGHTS. ONCE YELM SUBMITS THEIR 2008 DATA LATER THIS MONTH, THERE WILL BE AN AGREED-BASELINE FOR ENFORCEMENT.

I ASKED,
“I would find an interesting data point to know how many more houses/businesses could be built before the current water right limit is reached in Yelm, given that they are full-speed ahead in approving permits?”
THAT WILL BE AN INTERESTING ANSWER.

THEN WE HAVE THIS WEEK’S PIERCE COUNTY BUSINESS EXAMINER LAUDING THE CONTINUED THURSTON HIGHLANDS DEVELOPMENT & AVOIDING THE WATER CONSTRAINT ISSUE:
“Yelms first planned community inches forward”

The Olympian reported Yelm modest growth in Yelm’s third quarter “data for taxable retail sales… at 5.35%”
and “taxable retail sales known as retail trade, which excludes sales generated by construction and is considered a better measure of consumer purchases….at 9.58%.”
WOULDN’T ONE EXPECT SOME KIND OF GROWTH, SINCE A NEW YELM WAL-MART WAS ONLY OPEN FOR PART OF THE 3RD QUARTER IN 2007 VS. THE FULL 3RD QUARTER OF 2008? TO PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE, WAL-MART WAS OPEN 17% MORE DAYS IN THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2008 VS. THE 3RD QUARTER OF 2007! DOES THIS EQUATE TO NET NEGATIVE SALES GROWTH THEN? YOU DECIDE.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE:
MAYOR HARDING’S STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS IS FEB. 10TH AND THERE WILL BE ALOT OF DESERVED ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABOUT SEVERAL CITY ROAD PROJECTS. I HAVE WRITTEN TO THE WSDOT SR 510 PROJECT MANAGER FOR COMMENTS TO SEVERAL INCONSISTENCIES REPORTED AT THE CITY COUNCIL ABOUT THE YELM BYPASS – HOPEFULLY YOU WILL HAVE THE RESULT OF THOSE QUESTIONS BY FEB. 10TH.
WE’LL ALSO KNOW FEB. 4TH ABOUT THE VOTERS’ DESIRE TO FUND A LIBRARY LEVY LIFT.
Expect little or nothing to be said about all of Yelm’s business closings in the last year, the one’s barely holding on and the water limitations. And, no one has mentioned the doubling of families requesting assistance for donated Christmas Dinners in 2008 vs. 2007 at U. C. B. O. in Yelm!

WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THIS STORY?


January 22, 2009

BALD HILLS FIRE DEPARTMENT’S CPR & FIRST AID CLASSES


Thurston County Fire Protection District 17 Logo
Mark Gregory, Fire Chief

From Bill Owen, Fire Commissioner:
Would you please put the word out that the Bald Hills fire dept. has a web site (finally) which is www.baldhillsfire.org

On this web site we have the up coming schedule for CPR and first aid classes.
These classes are open to the public which, I believe, satisfies the requirements for teachers, healthcare workers, etc to be current in these skills.

Unlike community colleges which charge $50-$70, these classes are free (there will be a nominal charge for the first aid class to cover our cost of materials, probably $20 or less).

Anyone who wants to take these classes needs to register in advance.

Call the fire station, 360.894.2517, to register.

The Bald Hills Fire Dept. service area comprising 38 square miles with a population of almost 3,000.

We would love to have anyone interested in either helping us out, or who have questions or ideas drop by for a visit.
We have a dinner on the first Tuesday of the month, and are open all other Tuesday evenings (7-10 PM). Also the Chief is in during “banker hours” most of the time.

The fire commissioners meet at 8 AM on the second Thursday of the month and we welcome visitors, especially if you come with suggestions how we can serve the community better.

Too many folks think that we are only interested in those people who want to volunteer as fire fighters. In fact there is a place here for everyone.
The fire house is a community facility an is available for community activities, meetings etc.
We’ll even make the coffee.

This writer & his wife (and our dog) have visited these gatherings on more than one occasion and loved interacting with these fine people.

WON’T YOU STOP BY AND TELL THESE FINE PEOPLE YOU READ ABOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


January 21, 2009

COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROMERO HOLDS FIRST “COFFEE” IN YELM


Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero

This area’s new County Commissioner Sandra Romero and her delightful assistant Lisa Paribello came to Yelm on Monday, January 19th for what is promised to be a regular “community coffee” session open to the public. The meeting was an opportunity for Mrs. Romero to listen and solicit suggestions, ideas and concerns as she seeks a forum with Yelm area constituents.

I must say this writer found Mrs. Romero to be a breath of fresh air with her enthusiasm and attitude of the challenges she inherited in her post viewed as opportunities to make progress and changes.

About a 1/2 dozen area citizens came and had a lively exchange on topics that included, yet were not limited to:

– A request for Mrs. Romero to explain why the Governor got involved on the 3rd open position Commissioner replacement.
– An explanation to Mrs. Romero that the City of Yelm’s Comprehensive Traffic Plan was rejected by the Thurston County Planning Commission and was overridden by the Commissioners. Mrs. Romero was told her help about the Yelm traffic issue was going to be important.
– Mrs. Romero said that the City of Yelm & WSDOT are looking at dividing the Yelm Bypass into two phases and push funding for the Western Phase only, from Cullen Rd. to just before Southworth Elementary, the so-called Yelm High School Bypass. That would leave the rest of the Bypass funding to approximately 2021. I reminded Mrs. Romero that the Yelm Wal-Mart was allowed to be built only with their traffic mitigated with a Yelm Bypass. Since this is not now going to happen, I asked her about rejecting any permit application that uses an unfunded road to mitigate traffic. She mentioned she was going to be looking at the concurrency issue relating to this.
[CORRECTION: When on the topic of the Bypass, this writer & not Mrs. Romero brought up that the City of Yelm & WSDOT are looking at dividing the Yelm Bypass into two phases and push funding for the Western Phase only. I apologize to Mrs. Romero for the error. However, prompted by the Bypass discussion at the gathering, I contacted SR510 Yelm Loop Project Engineer Dennis Engel asking questions about several issues. Mr. Engel’s reply was posted on the January 24th Blog entry.]
– Mrs. Romero informed the group that 75% of the County Commissioners’ budget deals with correctional expenses.
– There may have to be more cuts than previously announced. The current budget deficit is $4 million and may get larger.
– Mrs. Romero was reminded that the City of Yelm Mayor Ron Harding has stated that the traffic issue in Yelm is 60% created from county growth, not Yelm. There will have to be some understanding between the new Commissioners and Yelm.
– There was an interchange about the water aquifer, Yelm’s limited water rights to be agreed upon with the Dept. of Ecology later this month.

What was very telling about this meeting was that the local newspaper of record the NVN, nor any city official were present for the first of these local gatherings. Granted, the session was on a national holiday, however since most had the day off, one would have thought there would have been more participation. Not even the City’s Community and Government Relations Coordinator came out to welcome Mrs. Romero to town!

Mrs. Romero will be back again soon and again, the meeting will once again be announced on Yelm’s Community Blog!


January 21, 2009

SOUTH PUGET SOUND SALMON ENHANCEMENT GROUP ANNUAL MEETING THIS THURSDAY

Who We Are

The South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to protecting and restoring salmon populations and aquatic habitat with an emphasis on ecosystem function through scientifically informed projects, community education, and volunteer involvement. Part of our mission is to seek out and work in cooperation with other organizations to help plan, fund, carry out, and monitor fishery enhancement and habitat restoration projects.

JOIN OUR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING THIS THURSDAY

Every January SPSSEG hosts our annual membership meeting. Of course, you do not have to be an SPSSEG member to attend this FREE EVENT. All are welcome to come enjoy refreshments, an SPSSEG restoration project showcase, and our keynote speakers!

When: Thursday, January 22, 2009
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Lacey Community Center
6729 Pacific Ave SE,
Lacey


January 20, 2009

ONE PERSON’S PERSPECTIVE: THE INAUGURATION OF THE 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES


Philadelphia – President-elect Barack Obama,
cheered by onlookers along the train route Abraham Lincoln took on his journey from Illinois to Washington nearly a century and a half earlier.
Saturday, January 17, 2009.
(Photo: Reuters)
Jim Crow laws.

If you are not old enough to have lived during the last years of the 1950s and the early years of the 1960s, then the best you can do is read about the vestige of segregation. You can not really “feel” how abhorrent it was to live through a shameful part of our Country’s history when citizens of color were ridiculed, scorned, and thought of as faceless second class citizens.

To the “youngsters” think of this:

1. I graduated from Ramsay High School in 1960. I never had a black class mate or team mate. It was UNLAWFUL for whites and blacks to learn together, to eat together, to watch a movie together, or to enter the same rest room together. All public association of the races was a violation of the law. If a black person and a white person were sitting next to each other on a bus, they were arrested.

2. Until 1964, it was unlawful in the segregated South for blacks and whites to athletically compete on the field or in the gym. Not only were there black only schools and white only schools, but the students at their these schools were denied the right to play sports against athletes of a different race. There was the deep rooted feeling that mixing the races would soil Caucasians.

3. Public association between Negroes and Caucasians in the Deep South was unlawful. White politicians were elected to office by shouting “segregation now and segregation forever!” A politician could not be elected to office unless on the record he denigrated the Negro, and decried the notion of justice for all. A candidate was required to enforce the idea that association between the races was evil, and against God’s Law!

Think, the above social environment was less than fifty years ago. Can a young person fathom that blacks and whites could do not associate unless in hiding or in the privacy of a home?

When I remember the past, see the present, and think of the future, I truly appreciate the concept of an America that will provide opportunity, fairness, and justice for all Her Citizens. I pray for a Nation that truly abides by Dr. King’s words that he looked to a day when a person is judged not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.

The 44th Inauguration is making so many people proud, excited, happy, and fulfilled. I join in their sentiments. Hopefully, the best is yet to come! That is why my soul is stirred with exhilaration!”

Louis Bayer
Birmingham, AL.

Mr. Bayer is a cousin of this writer.


January 19, 2009

VOTE “APPROVED” ON THE LIBRARY LEVY BALLOT BY FEB. 3RD


Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave

This writer knows that you share my love of reading and an appreciation for our great public libraries throughout the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) system. TRL needs our help!

On February 3rd, voters will be given an opportunity to show their support of public libraries. The Timberland Regional Library system is asking voters to approve a ballot proposition to restore funding to TRL, so the quality library services they provide can be continued. Ballots went into the mail on Friday, January 16th.

Won’t you join me in voting to support our public libraries and this valuable public resource for our area. Throughout the country, public libraries are closing. Lets not let that happen in here.

PLEASE VOTE “APPROVED” ON YOUR BALLOT.
Then postmark by February 3rd or drop in the secure Voter’s Drop Box in the parking lot directly across from the Yelm Community Schools district office on First St. in Yelm by 5pm February 3rd.

FROM YES! LIBRARY:
“Residents in the Timberland Regional Library Districts five-county service area will vote next February 3 on a proposal to restore the systems property tax levy from the projected 2009 rate of 34.5 cents per $1000 of assessed valuation to the constitutionally-allowed level of 50 cents. It marks the first time in its 40-year history that Timberland has sought voter approval for a tax increase to maintain current levels of service to residents within Thurston, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Mason and Pacific Counties.

A combination of steadily-reducing rates of property tax collection and sharply-declining timber tax revenues has caused the Timberland system to spend down its cash reserves to avoid cutting back library services to rural areas and cities within the district. Property tax assessments are limited by voter-approved Washington State law, while timber revenues have fallen due to both economic conditions and mandated harvest restrictions.

Timberland Trustees this year made major reductions in the 2008 and 2009 budgets by instituting a hiring freeze, eliminating Sunday operating hours, reducing other personnel costs and slashing funds for the acquisition of new library materials. Despite these actions, the district will consume its cash reserves by the end of 2009.

Without authority to lift the lid on property tax assessments, service levels will need to be drastically cut either late that year or beginning in 2010. Budget reductions could impact staffing, hours of operation, core programs, reference services, collection development, and the ability to respond to changes in technology.”

“Library use jumps in Seattle area; economy likely reason”
This Seattle Times headline says it all on why supporting TRL is so critical now!

“Voters should OK more funds for libraries”
This January 15th Olympian Op-Ed piece is well-researched and echoes this writer’s views.

Mayor Harding finally speaks to Yelm Library’s future
This front page story from the January 16th edition of the NVN quotes Mayor Harding about the future of Yelm’s Library beyond the current facility’s 2012 lease expiration:
“‘As we look toward the future we may need to sacrifice some of the current library facility amenities to continue to provide library services to our citizenry.’

Last year, the most promising option was to move the library into the current City Hall building.

Harding said that appears to be the most viable option given the location and cost.

‘There would be no additional monetary cost to the taxpayers.’

[Ed. Note: We finally have the Mayor giving us citizenry a direction in the future for a greatly reduced-in-size Yelm Library.
That is probably wise in this economic environment and given this city’s officials have done little to nothing in almost a decade about a securing a public facility beyond the generous TRL exemption to operate in a privately rented building until 2012. Mayor Harding has barely said anything about the Yelm Library’s future the last three years he has been in-office and little to nothing since the 10 year lease in a private building began in 2002, just after he joined the City Council.
I would guess going back into a City Hall set-up is consistent with TRL’s leaner budgeting, too.]

This writer asked TRL Administrative Services Manage Michael Crose,
“While a vote in favor of a levy will maintain the current level of services throughout the 5-county system we would hope (at least through 2012 in Yelm), what can I tell Yelm Community Blog readers who say we’ll be getting alot less and paying alot more here, now that the Mayor is prepping the public for a much smaller facility sacrificing some “amenities”?”

Mr. Crose responded,”
“Thanks for asking the question. As you probably are aware, we are continuing to discuss options for the City of Yelm. The City Hall building was viewed as a possible location. I believe that from TRL’s perspective that City Hall would be OK as a temporary fix. We will continue to explore other possibilities. Our preference, of course, would be for a more substantial facility.

You are correct that we are all swamped with details relative to the Feb. 3 levy. The outcome of that ballot measure will determine in some part how flexible the District can be regarding the development of new, or remodeled facilities. Once we get past that date, “Yelm 2012″ will hit my front burner. Regardless of the eventual location, size or shape of the building, we are committed to providing the best possible service to Yelm and the rest of the District.”

VOTE “APPROVED” ON THE LIBRARY LEVY BALLOT DUE FEB. 3RD!


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