May 21, 2009

WILCOX FARMS MARKS 100 YEARS IN AREA!

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of Wilcox Family Farms. While the brand and its products have changed slightly over the years, the Wilcox family commitment to quality has not – and the Northwest egg producer is proud to celebrate a century of farming and entrepreneurial business operations that have helped uniquely shape the Pacific Northwest.

Wilcox Farms Inc. was started in Roy, Wash. in 1909 by Judson and Elizabeth Wilcox. In the beginning, the family raised chickens and vegetables and milked a few cows, peddling the products to the local logging camps.

Back then, it would have been difficult to imagine that the business and a 240 acre farm would grow to 1,800 acres and become home to over one million Leghorn hens and pullets, a shell egg processing plant, and a liquid egg processing plant. Today, the company operates two egg production facilities – in Roy and Aurora, Ore. – and is one of the leading egg producers in the Northwest, with approximately 770,000 eggs gathered daily and packaged for supermarkets and restaurants in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and California. In addition to shell eggs, Wilcox also provides liquid eggs to food retailers, bakeries and food service operations.

Northwest consumers now find Wilcox eggs in some of the area’s — and nation’s — most well-known retailers, including Costco, Wal-Mart, Albertson’s, Haggen/Top Foods, Metropolitan Market, Target, Walgreen, Rite-Aid, Bartells and many more…

Today, Wilcox Farms remains family-owned and operated, with Andy, Brent and Chris Wilcox still involved in the day-to-day management…

In the year of Wilcox Farms’ centennial anniversary, the company has also earned an additional distinction. All of its farmland has earned 100 percent organic status, of which the family farm harvests organic hay and other crops.

‘We have always been very conscious of the land and our animals, wanting the best care for both,’ says Chris Wilcox. ‘When researching the ‘green movement’ we found that it was nothing new to us. We’ve been ahead of the curve and our goal is to continue setting the highest standards for the next 100 years.’

For more information about Wilcox Farms Inc. and to find out about centennial celebration events scheduled throughout the year, visit www.wilcoxfarms.com,” quoting PR Newswire.

CONGRATULATIONS to Wilcox Farms and the Wilcox Family for their commitment to quality.


May 20, 2009

YELM BYPASS FUNDING UPDATE – YOU WON’T HEAR ABOUT THIS FROM MAYOR HARDING OR THE NVN!

With the local newspaper touting Yelm’s Bypass funding by the State Legislature and Mayor Harding saying this is “tangible”, one would come to believe we would have a partial Bypass built soon. However, the newspaper and Mayor Harding have omitted so many hurdles that still have to be overcome before this area sees construction funding even allocated for Phase 1 of a Bypass.

When the State Legislature concluded appropriating the $11 million Yelm Loop monies for ’09-’11, the funds were divided into $2.3 million for engineering and $8.7 million for right-of-way acquisition, not construction, which the newspaper & Mayor failed to mention.

You can see the Bypass funding allocation listed from the Washington State Transportation Executive Information System (TEIS). “TEIS is a set of applications designed to facilitate transportation budget planning and oversight,” quoting the website.

1. The current funding for right-of-way (r-o-w) acquisition and engineering will have be converted to construction funding for a Bypass to begin. That will now be left up to WSDOT and to be discussed when they meet the week of June 1st.

2. WSDOT will now have to take up the City of Yelm’s request about the possibility of splitting the Bypass project into phase 1 and 2, which the Legislature did not do. There has to be a scope change request for a phased project that would include construction and that has not happened, yet. With the way the budget is currently written, phased construction is possible, yet would require WSDOT Headquarters to reinterpret legislative intent.

Bottom Line: The only way now available for Yelm’s Bypass Phase 1 construction funding to be approved is for the Yelm Bypass to be officially divided into two Phases by WSDOT
(Phase 1 & 2 as previously discussed here),
change the Legislature’s funding to construction monies, then allocate those funds for construction for Phase 1.

Is that possible? Yes! Though not assured….

We could see construction start on Phase 1 by year’s end, followed by an official opening in 2010 with Bypass traffic then traversing neighborhood streets (Killion & Cullens) with children playing and not designed to handle the load, because the the 2 Phase split.


STAY TUNED!


May 19, 2009

WAL-MART’S CONNECTOR TO 103RD NOW LONG OVERDUE

This marks 6 months after the land use approval and MDNS required the Wal-Mart to 103rd connector be constructed.

As I reported here on November 19, 2008, 6 months ago:

On Friday, July 20, 2008 the Nisqually Valley News reported about Yelm’s new Wal-Mart opening and noted the official opening on July 18, 2007. The City of Yelm said then about the store’s requirements to mitigate traffic,
“Wal-Mart will also pave 103rd Avenue from Creek Street to the new connection, which must be built within 10 months of the store’s opening.”

That 10 months was up on May 19, 2008

Not seeing any connector, this writer wrote to Yelm’s Community and Government Relations Coordinator
Cindy Teixeira for an update for Yelm Community blog readers.

Here is her response (November, 2008):

“The land use approval and MDNS required the connector be constructed within 18 months of the purchase of the right of way. The State DOT closed on the property June 22, 2007, with the deadline being November 22, 2008. Wal-Mart contributed nearly $220,000 to the purchase of the right-of-way and the construction plans are in for review.

Wal-Mart has also submitted a letter of credit toward construction of the connector road.”

That was November 19, 2008!
November 19, 2008 came and went and still there still is no connector.

Now, this marks 6 months after the land use approval and MDNS required the connector be constructed.

So, again, I wrote to Mrs. Teixeira to get an update. Here is her April 30, 2009 response:
“Final approvals for the 103rd connector road project are in the works. Timeline for bids and construction is dependent on the weather and all the usual factors which play a part in road construction. I do not have any definite timeline information at this time.”

Final approvals still in the works?
No timelines?
“The land use approval and MDNS required the connector be constructed by November 22, 2008.”

Is another large commercial project getting a “bye” from the city? HMMM!

To reiterate, the Yelm Wal-Mart was ONLY permitted to be built by using the Yelm Bypass to mitigate its traffic, an unfunded and unbuilt Bypass to handle Wal-Mart’s traffic?!.
The connector to 103rd was supposed to assist in that until the Bypass was built. As has been reported here ad nauseum, the Bypass was unfunded then and now the city has asked to divide the Bypass into two Phases, leaving the Wal-Mart Phase 2 end to the 2021-2023 biennium for the Legislature to next consider funding for that area of road.
That means Wal-Mart may not see a Bypass at their door until almost 20 years AFTER they opened, if at all!

THANK YOU AGAIN, CITY OF YELM OFFICIALS FOR TAKING CARE OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS SO APTLY BY THUMBING YOUR NOSES AT THEM AND THROWING YOUR BAGS IN WITH LARGE DEVELOPMENTS AND COMMERCIAL INTERESTS!

YELM COMMUNITY BLOG READERS HAVE TO ASK YOURSELVES:
HAS THE BEST INTEREST OF THE ENTIRE CITY BEEN SERVED?


May 18, 2009

PUTTING THE HIGHLANDS’ MARKETING CLAIMS INTO PERSPECTIVE

Dear Readers;

A very astute Yelm Community Blog reader wrote with these observations about claims on the Thurston Highlands website copyright, 2007:

1. The title says:
Thurston Highlands Paying for More Than Its Share of Growth

The question from a reader:
Have any of the commitments been kept?

What did Highlands owners do on this one?
We now know Thurston Highlands have not kept their commitments to the city and are in default, thanks to this Blog bringing this issue to the surface, resulting in front-page stories in The Olympian & Nisqually Valley News last Friday

2. Road Improvements
From Thurston Highlands’ website:
“A second major investment being covered by Thurston Highlands is the new traffic crossing at Yelm Avenue and Killion Road, as well as the road completion and widening for several blocks in each direction. Killion Road will be extended all the way to the proposed Yelm bypass, and Yelm Avenue will be improved from 93rd to Collins Road.”

What did Highlands owners do on this one?
They went to the city of Yelm and got the City Council to vote in an L. I. D. to transfer 46% of the improvements to Killion & Yelm Ave. West to property owners saying their community would add value to their homes. Now the city just approved last Tuesday an ordinance to tax each property owner approximately $73,000 over 15 years for these roads projects.

See these 2006 stories covered here on the L. I. D.
May 24, 2006
June 13, 2006
June 18, 2006

December 1, 2006

3. Staff added to city
From Thurston Highlands’ website:
“Acknowledging that the work being done on the new Master Planned Community could be a strain on the City of Yelm development staff, Thurston Highlands has also agreed to pay for three additional staff members in the department for three years. These additional staff positions are designated to work on projects other than the Thurston Highlands development.

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, a number of other “impacts” are likely to be identified. Thurston Highlands is expected to pay for mitigation costs for utility lines, sewer treatment facilities, and additional schools, among other items.”

What did Highlands owners do on this one?
Thurston Highlands has not paid $121,500 for all of 2008 for this invoice by the city.
The EIS did not specify what happens if the builder pulls out or defaults and how the city would then collect
what is owed the taxpayer.

Quoting The Olympian,
“Also, other bills still need to be settled.

Yelm is owed $121,500 for last years staff work to process an environmental impact statement.

Grant Beck, the citys community development director, said his department will not process any applications related to the project until the bill is paid.

‘Well get paid eventually,’ he said. ‘Its just a matter of when.’

Thurston Highland Associates owes more than $57,200 in back property taxes, including interest and penalties, that were due last year, county records show.”

Mr. Beck, will the city get repaid in your lifetime, unless the default is cured by some “11th-hour” funding? And, how are enough homes going to be able to be financed and built to cover all of the expenses?

Even if Thurston Highlands cures the default and moves forward, how are any homes really going to be built out there to pay back the debt via water hook-ups & other ideas. In this economic environment, getting bank credit for new home building now requires stellar credit qualifications that few have, as demonstrated recently by mounting foreclosures, falling home sales and dropping home values.

WHAT SAY YOU?


May 17, 2009

COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROMERO RETURNS TO YELM FOR HER MONTHLY COFFEE WITH CITIZENS


Sandra Romero

Youre invited to coffee with County Commissioner Sandra Romero

Do you care about Thurston County?
Have an issue that is important to you?
Want to find out more about the county?

Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hour at the Blue Bottle Restaurant in Yelm,
Monday, May 18th from 10:00 am 11:00 am.

There is a lot happening in Thurston County.
This coffee will focus on roads and transportation services, and give residents the opportunity to talk about issues of concern, ask Commissioner Romero questions about the county, and share ideas. Public Works Director, Lester Olson will be this months guest speaker.

I want to listen to Yelm citizens and see how we can work together.
A healthy community is an engaged community and I want to be part of that conversation.

Commissioner Romero is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

What: Citizen meeting with second district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

When: Monday, May 18th from 10 AM to 11 AM

Where: The Blue Bottle Restaurant- 309 E Yelm Ave. Yelm, WA 98597.

Coffee provided.

If you have any questions contact:
Lisa Paribello at 360-786-5747 or paribel@co.thurston.


May 16, 2009

YELM COMMUNITY BLOG BREAKS RECORD VIEWERS THIS WEEK

The Yelm Community Blog broke all records this week for individual visitors & hits to the website everyday from Monday, May 11th thru Friday, May 15th.

This blog is a free community service.

I am no journalist and was never trained in reporting.
There is no staff, as several of you have asked.
I write local items of interest to me and record my observations.
I do this all on my own free time, including publishing each entry.
By the length of time each visitor remained on the site this last week, one can see those who accessed this blog were stopping to read and did not just happen to get to this site by mistake.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!

On another note, the public comments posted on The Olympian story yesterday of the Thurston Highlands default have been resoundingly negative about Yelm’s city officials’ handling of this whole affair. Seems the public “got it” on this story!
And, thanks to The Olympian for carrying this important regional story, and on the top front page of their print edition, too!
CLICK HERE to read The Olympian comments.
As per usual, no comments were posted on the Nisqually Valley News story on the Highlands default. The Yelm locals just do not participate in their local city’s affairs, which is why City Hall has gotten away with so much over the last 8 years!
2009 is time for change, one can only hope, in who the citizens of Yelm elect to mayor and City Council. Do I expect any change? No! Do I hope there will be change? Yes! HMMM!


May 16, 2009

ARBOR DAY CELEBRATED IN YELM YESTERDAY

The City of Yelm Tree Advisory Board had their 12th annual Yelm Arbor Day celebration at 11am Friday, May 15 in Yelm City Park (First St. & Mosman).

This is a good time to remind everyone of the YELM TREE ADVISORY BOARD’S work.
Click here, then Citizen Committees, then Tree Board

Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care.

Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April.

Washington State’s Arbor Day is the second Wednesday in April.

“The National Arbor Day Foundation has published a new hardiness zone map, based on climate data from the past 15 years, that clearly shows the warming trend across the country,” quoting the National Arbor Day Foundation website.

Won’t you donate a tree to our town by sending a check to Yelm City Hall for Yelm’s Tree Fund!

As a note,
I was just looking at the members of each Yelm’s Citizen Committees in researching today’s blog entry and found one name on most of them:
Glen Cunningham.

Let’s do a tally:
Mr Cunningham is President-elect of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Yelm Planning Commission, Yelm Tree Advisory Board, Civil Service Commission, and the Yelm Parks Advisory Committee. While Mr. Cunningham’s service to the city is commendable, his being on so many of our citizen committees begs two questions:
1. Is there NOT nay other Yelm area citizen wishing to serve on these committees?
2. Is there some conflict of interest in his Chamber & Planning Commission rolls and all of these other committee posts? HMMM!

WHAT DO YOU SAY?


May 15, 2009

BOTH THE NVN & THE OLYMPIAN RUN HIGHLANDS STORY TODAY – BADGER MISLEADS NVN READERS – HARDING UNSURE/SURE HE SHOULD BE CITIZEN OF THE YEAR

Both The Olympian and the Nisqually Valley News ran the Thurston Highlands story in their editions out today, which was first brought to public light by the Yelm Community Blog last week.

Interesting that both the NVN & The Olympian chose NOT to report that the City of Yelm used taxpayer money to fund a private developer’s water study, which caught several people’s eyes, including a State Representative, who also wrote the WA. State Auditor & Attorney General requesting they look into that issue. HMMM!

Here is my letter to Yelm City Administrator Badger about her ridiculous comments in the NVN today:

Dear City Administrator Badger,

While I find most unfortunate that the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) chose not to share with their readers the City of Yelm never had a contract with the Thurston Highlands developers to get repaid for the city funding a private developer’s water study, I find even more disturbing your misleading answers to serious water issue questions.

Your comment in the NVN’s print edition out May 15th is just one example:
“Badger said the city needed to conduct the study regardless of the master planned community.
While the water study will impact the Highlands, the study was needed for the development of the city as a whole.”

Mrs. Badger, the Golder Water Study the City Council authorized for Thurston Highlands had only one purpose and that was to find water for a private developer to locate water on their private (not city owned/controlled) land and bring to the city with their 3 applications. As a matter of public policy, developers are supposed to pay for their impacts up front, just like schools, roads, traffic and water. However, the public has paid instead with Thurston Highlands because the city funded the water study up front and has maintained they will be reimbursed by impact fees from building permits in the development as outlined in the EIS or as the City Staff Report in 2006 said, “Through the Conceptual Master Plan process for the Thurston Highlands community, there will be a determination on the pro-rata share of private financial participation towards this project. The Conceptual Master Plan process is on hold, the developers are now gone and left the city with 2/3 of a million dollars the taxpayers will have to swallow, unless the developers somehow cure their $12.5 million default.

Developers are supposed to present all aspects of their project to the city, not the city to the developer. The Mayor, Community Development Dept., City Council and you Mrs. Badger lost sight of that 2 1/2 years ago when I asked you then about a contract with the developer for this water study. Nothing was done and now that decision has come home to roost!

Then you say, “Some ideas the city is looking at rather than charge the developers a lump sum is tacking on an additional charge for every water hook-up.”
Mrs. Badger, even if Thurston Highlands cures the default and moves forward, how are any homes really going to be built out there to pay back the debt via water hook-ups. In this economic environment, getting bank credit for new home building now requires stellar credit qualifications that few have, as demonstrated recently by mounting foreclosures, falling home sales and dropping home values. Your idea for the city to repaid via water hook-ups rests on shifting sands!

Subterfuge continues to be the city’s policy of the day.
The fact that the city did not have a contract with a private developer and used taxpayer money for a water study on private land has been turned over to the Washington State Attorney General & Auditor’s Offices requesting an investigation into these and other city practices.

I own land in Yelm.
Would the city fund a water study on my private land without a contract?
Or for anyone else?

Your first responsibility is to protect your community and constituents from any harm, which you did not do!

Mayor Ron Harding accepts Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award


MAYOR RON HARDING

Mayor Ron Harding received the Citizen of the Year honor from the Yelm Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, May 12. Quoting the NVN,
“While Harding said he is humbled by the honor, he says he wishes someone else was being recognize (sic).

He even tried to step aside.”
[Ed. Note: One does not try to step aside; they either step aside or they don’t, period!]

“I’m not sure if the mayor is suppose (sic) to be Citizen of the Year, but I’ll accept it,” Harding said.
[Ed. note: I am sure, as I wrote on May 12th. Why didn’t he just not accept the award when asked, if he really wanted to step aside? HMMM!]

Yelm Chamber’s Executive Director Cecelia Jenkins told the NVN,
“One of the reasons Harding stands out, Jenkins said, is because of the volunteer hours he put into remodeling the new Yelm Historical Museum.”
That is laudable, however to help clarify, a mayor’s duty and indeed, responsibility is to serve his community. The reward is in re-electing him to office. There were others that deserve praise and this award, as well!

The Mayor’s first responsibility is to protect our community and constituents from any harm, which he did not do, tarnishing this award!

WHAT GIVES?
IS EVERYTHING JUST SOME KIND OF GAME WITH OUR CITY OFFICIALS?


May 15, 2009

WILD EDIBLE PLANTS WORKSHOP OFFERED THIS SATURDAY

Skydancer’s Wild Edible Plant’s Workshop
Saturday, May 16
at 10:30 am

We will be STALKING RESVERATROL IN THE WILD, plus many other wonderful forms of food and medicine in nature’s pantry.

Meet at:
Yelm Earth Worm & Castings Farm
Directions:
Lawrence Lake Lake Rd.
Sign up at:gardensgregarious@juno.com


May 14, 2009

YELM’S JZ KNIGHT ON CNN’S LARRY KING LIVE THIS SATURDAY!


JZ Knight

“JZ Knight will appear with distinguished guests this Saturday, May 16th on a panel discussion led by ‘James Van Praagh! He says the dead can teach us about life. Learn how when he tells Larry what the spirits are saying,’ quoting CNNs Larry King Show.

View the announcement here.

James is a survival evidence medium, meaning that he is able to bridge the gap between two planes of existence, that of the living and that of the dead, by providing evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages. Im clairsentient, he explains, which simply means clear feeling, according to his website www.vanpraagh.com.

Also, on the panel are
Debbie Ford, author of Why Good People Do Bad Things: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy and other titles and is a noted speaker, teacher & trainer to find new ways to inspire others to go on this lifelong journey to clean up their past, to forgive themselves for their flaws and shortcomings, to make peace with their humanity, to open up to their divinity and allow themselves to be guided by a power greater than themselves, according to her website.

Dr. Michael Beckwith founded the Agape International Spiritual Center, a trans-denominational spiritual community whose doors are open to all seekers in search of authentic spirituality, personal transformation and selfless service to humankind, according to his website.

Dr. Beckwith appeared previously with JZ Knight on CNNs Larry King Live.

JZ Knight has been the Channel for Ramtha the Enlightened One for 32 years and is President of Ramthas School of Enlightenment (RSE) established in 1988 in Yelm, Washington. A Channel is different from a medium in that the channel is not the intermediary between consciousness coming through them and the audience. The channel does not remain in a transfixed, altered state while channeling; rather they leave their body completely and allow the consciousness coming through to have full faculty over all their bodily movements and functions. Ramtha, while being channeled through JZ Knight, has the ability to open his eyes and teach his students personally, quoting RSEs website.

Ms. Knight introduces on the show Ramtha’s book Last Waltz of the Tyrants- Revisited.
CLICK HERE for information on this book.

The program will air Saturday, May 16th at 6pm PDT, 9pm PDT & at midnight. Check local listing and times at CNNs Larry King Show,” quoting Ms. Knight’s website.


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