December 31, 2009


The Olympian has an excellent story in today’s editions titled:
Decade in Review: Extraordinary Times

“If one theme unifies the top stories of the past decade, it’s an unfortunate one: loss.

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In one fell swoop, an entire nation lost its once-ironclad sense of security.

For many in South Sound, it would get worse; the region lost an icon and economic engine in the form of the Olympia Brewery; an Olympia woman, who posthumously became a local legend, lost her life while trying to block a bulldozer in the Gaza Strip, and many people lost their jobs or homes as the economy went south toward the end of the decade.

Following are some of the stories, photos and faces that defined a sometimes-painful decade.

No. 1: 9/11 attacks rattle nation, and Fort Lewis is heavily affected (2001)

No. 2: Nisqually earthquake hits; damage lingers for years (2001)

No. 3: Olympia Brewery closes; more than 400 lose jobs (2003)

No. 4: Local economy fluctuates, ends decade on sour note

No. 5: Razor-thin governors race stirs political passions (2004)

No. 6: Attempts to block convoys at port turn violent (2007)

No. 7: Rachel Corrie killed while trying to block bulldozer (2003)

No. 8: Mother Nature packs a punch with windstorms, flooding

No. 9: Cowboy Mike convicted of killing Lacey woman (2008)

No. 10: Olympias Linehan gets 99 years for murder plot (2007).”

December 30, 2009



“Become a volunteer at Yelm Food Coop. Our store has a dedicated volunteer staff performing a variety of functions, from customer service, cash register, pricing, restocking shelves, inventory, data entry, product pick-ups, to cleaning and store maintenance.

Volunteers receive 20% discount on all store items and discounts in bulk ordering through the Buy Club.

Become part of this growing store that serves the community with healthy choices for foods and natural products.

Visit the Coop and fill out a volunteer application.

The Yelm Food Coop is happy to announce the appointment of Sean Patrick Kelly for Store Manager.

With years of customer service and managerial experience, Sean is well known and highly regarded in the local community. Many are familiar with his easy manner and smiling face from Mountain Lumber, where he was the store manager for a number of years. Sean’s familiarity with food products and business training makes him an ideal individual for the position.
The Coop has evolved from a small refrigerator to a thriving store. With the new manager, with Florence Vincent, the Coop’s long term buyer of organic and natural products, as well as the highly dedicated volunteer staff, further growth and success is in the future.

Please stop by to say hello, and shop at your local Yelm Food Coop, ” quoting Coop President Susan Mayer.

Corner of 1st St and Mosman Ave
in the Pioneer Village Mall off Hwy 507


December 29, 2009


Representative Tom Campbell
Photo from Representative Campbell’s official website


OLYMPIA Following a week during which legislators convened in Olympia to discuss priorities for 2010, State Rep. Tom Campbell (R Roy) came ready with bills in hand, prepared to meet the tight deadlines of a short 60-day session.

His legislation ranges from a further crackdown on the chemical components of methamphetamines to property tax relief for disabled veterans.

After leading an effort in the state legislature to control the large sales of pseudoephedrine, used as an ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine, Campbell wants to reduce its accessibility even further. The previous legislation, which led to an 80 percent reduction in large meth labs around the state, needs new teeth to control the backpack and pop bottle labs that have replaced them, Campbell believes. Hes working with law enforcement officials to model his legislation on an Oregon law, which requires a prescription to purchase any amount of pseudoephedrine and better accounts for each consumers use via the prescription network used by pharmacies. We have a great opportunity here to eradicate meth production in the state in a cost-effective way by utilizing a system thats already in place. (HB 2454)

Campbell also aims to crack down on domestic violence crime with a proposal that would require any alleged DV perpetrator to stand before a judge for arraignment prior to posting a release. This would allow for a cooling down period, as Campbell calls it, citing examples of offenders released soon after their arrest who return to terrorize their victims once again. Right after a report of DV is not a good time to put someone back on the street, when emotions are running even higher and the threat of danger grows worse, said Campbell. Its a sad fact, but one we have to face: By requiring this, well reduce the rate of DV recidivism in Washington.

After successfully passing new protections for patients in hospitals and health care clinics around the state, Rep. Campbell also hopes to reduce the climbing rate of dangerous infections contracted in nursing homes. Statistics show that thousands of deaths occur every year when patients contract the flesh-eating bacteria methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), called a superbug due to its drug-resistance. Up until now, nursing homes have not been required to report any infections. Campbell wants to change that. (HB 2453)

Other legislation Campbell plans to introduce in the 2010 legislative session includes property tax relief for people awarded disability income. Those disability payments are presently considered income by County Auditors in calculating eligibility for property tax deferments and exemptions. These same disability payments are not considered income or taxed by the Internal Revenue Service, just the County Auditors. (HB 1405)

A bill filed at the end of the 2009 session, HB 2387 Humane Treatment of Dogs is also under consideration. This bill would set uniform standards of care throughout our State in the availability of fresh water, food, exposure to cold, heat and other environmental elements.

The Environmental Health Committee of which Rep. Campbell serves as Chairman will address Bills that prevent exposure to toxic elements such as Mercury and Bis-Phenol A as well as furthering Food Safety in Washington State. A bill that has been pre filed HB 2459 Updating Hazardous Waste Fee provisions also sponsored by Rep. Campbell will reduce the Hazardous Waste Fees for small business in our State. I look forward to passing this bill to assist small businesses by reducing the burden of excessive fees.

Above all else, Campbell believes the states number one priority must be creating and protecting jobs. In these tough budgetary times, dont expect a lot of innovative new programs this year. Were going to focus on the kitchen table issues that are going to help keep families employed and businesses running. Campbell points to projects like the Bethel Skills Center, which provides training and retraining in vocational skills from robotic technology to criminal justice education. Last year Campbell championed a $10 million allotment for improvements at the school. Schools like the Bethel Skills Center will help keep kids in school and provide a path to family wage jobs and a brighter future.

Contact: Tom Campbell 360-786-7912
Downloadable photo

December 28, 2009


“If Santa left you a new computer or laptop under the tree, you may be looking for a good way to get rid of your old one. Fortunately, the state’s largest non-profit computer refurbishing center, InterConnection, is based in Seattle. Depending on what you are getting rid of, InterConnection can either recycle or refurbish your computer. Refurbishing, they point out, is actually the greenest way to go.

InterConnection takes unwanted computers and turns them into something useful, which is particularly fortunate for Washingtonians not only because computers contain hazardous materials, but also because it is illegal for people in our state to put old computers in the trash,” quoting KING-5 News.

December 27, 2009


“A Stage One Burn Ban has been EXTENDED for Thurston County and will remain in effect at least until Monday morning. Conditions will be reevaluated at that time to determine when the ban can be lifted.

Under a Stage 1 Ban, no burning is allowed in fireplaces or uncertified wood stoves, and all outdoor burning is prohibited, even in areas where outdoor burning is not permanently banned. Additionally, no visible smoke is allowed from any wood stove or fireplace, certified or not, beyond a 20-minute start-up period.

A system of stable, high pressure over Western Washington, coupled with cold overnight temperatures has resulted in air pollution levels climbing enough to raise concerns about the air quality and its impacts on health. A change in weather will be needed to restore cleaner air quality, yet thats not forecast to occur until early Sunday,” quoting the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA).

December 26, 2009


Most Americans have heard of nor know of Boxing Day December 26th around the world:

“Boxing Day is a bank and public holiday in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Greenland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Nigeria and countries in the Commonwealth of Nations with a mainly Christian population. In South Africa this public holiday is now known as the Day of Goodwill. Though it is not an official holiday in the United States, the name “Boxing Day” for the day after Christmas has some currency among Americans, particularly those that live near the Canada United States border.

The name derives from the tradition of giving seasonal gifts, on the day after Christmas, to less wealthy people and social inferiors, which was later extended to various workpeople such as labourers and servants.

The traditional recorded celebration of Boxing Day has long included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, the needy and people in service positions. The European tradition has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown and there are some claims that it goes back to the late Roman/early Christian era; metal boxes were placed outside churches used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen.

In the United Kingdom it certainly became a custom of the nineteenth century Victorians for tradesmen to collect their “Christmas boxes” or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year on the day after Christmas. The exact etymology of the term “Boxing” is unclear, with several competing theories, none of which are clearly true.

The establishment of Boxing Day as a defined public holiday under the legislation that created the UK’s Bank Holidays started the separation of ‘Boxing Day’ from the ‘Feast of St Stephen’ and today it is almost entirely a secular holiday with a tradition of shopping and post Christmas sales starting,” quoting Wikipedia.

December 25, 2009


Mt. Rainier looking due east, taken from our home Dec. 24th, 4pm

December 24, 2009


This Christmas Guest Entry original published here in 2007 is timeless.

A Christmas story by Guustaaf Damave

The light of the of the street lamp barely made it to the ground, so thickly was the snow coming down. At three in the morning the street was empty. A faint bluish glow emerging through the flakes directly above betrayed where the full moon was revealing itself. It was a cold winter’s night in 1964, a week or so before the Dutch holiday of Saint-Nicholas. The snow had covered all traces of the day’s comings and goings and was quickly covering a fresh track of footsteps leading to a broken window. Inside, the beam of a flashlight moved across the wall, from painting to painting. The thick white carpet outside hushed every sound. Carefully avoiding the sharp glass, the man climbed out of the window with two paintings under each arm and dissolved into the curtain of icy flakes.

I was born in that old town, the son of a fine artist. That year I was eight. I enjoyed going for long walks looking at shop windows, building sites and ships moored on the river Spaarne, on which we lived. The snow made it a little bit harder to get around, but the river and canals being frozen over, more than made up for that. A trip with a note from my mother and a ten guilder bill to the grocery store only took half as long walking over the ice.

For a young child the sight of the full moon on a cold and crispy night stirs the sense of wonder and imagination like nothing else. I had looked at it often and read about it. The idea that the light came from the sun meant that the sun shone at night too! Was there really no one living there on that moon? I wasn’t so sure about that. On my many walks through the streets of our nine century old town I frequently included one particular store in my route. In the window there was an instrument of magic and mystery called telescope. If only I could own this. Many of the questions that occupied me could be settled once and for all. I would be able to look at the moon and the stars whenever I would like. My life as I knew it would definitely be over and new and brighter existence would be mine. The telescope… I wiped the fog of my breath off the store window. The price tag was the appropriately astronomical sum of twelve guilders.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ eve is the primary occasion for gift-giving. Even though it is his birthday being celebrated, Sinterklaas is the one who gives the presents. Children are allowed to express their wishes by putting a note in one of their shoes and putting it near the fire place. I had my own ideas about where exactly these presents came from but I carefully played along with the traditional protocol so as not to interfere with any of its mechanics. I had written down the telescope as the only item on my list and the address of the store that was displaying it in its window. It was a lot to ask for, and I was one of ten children. All the same, if there ever was a chance that this telescope could be mine, this was it.

As the long awaited evening drew closer and the air became thicker with expectation, I made my daily rounds to the store window and imagined everything I would be able to see once I could look through the telescope’s eye piece. The glance that my mother gave me however, when I came home, made me think that I had asked for too much and that I would probably have to settle for perhaps a new sweater.

Early that morning they found the broken window and the empty spaces on the wall. It is not hard to guess at the motives of the mysterious man who broke into the museum on that icy cold night so close to gift giving day. More mysterious than his identity was his particular taste in art. Maybe his choices were dictated by the convenient size of certain works or their proximity to the shattered window. Still, there were quite a few works to choose from and the burglar left slushy footsteps throughout the contemporary wing of the Frans Hals Museum.

That afternoon as I got ready to leave to continue my explorations of the snowy landscape the newspaper dropped on the floor inside the front door. It reported the art theft from the museum on the front page. I knew my father would be interested in this and took the paper to him in his studio. He read the article with rapt attention. He looked at me and said that they stole one of his works. He went to the front of the house to tell my mother about it. A burglary in the museum is serious business I thought, but they did not seem particularly distraught.

Over the next few days there were frequent phone calls and visitors interested in purchasing one or more works of this artist whose work was stolen from the museum. The unknown burglar had unwittingly brought abundance to our house. I knew that my chances of having a close-up view of the moon had taken a turn for the better. Saint Nicholas’ eve was only two days away now and as I was approaching the store window with the object of my desire and felt pretty sure that indeed it would be mine. But as I came closer I was struck with shock and horror. It was gone! Someone must have bought it. I had to muster all my restraint not to let tears roll down my cheeks. I slowly turned around and walked away. I wandered the cold dark streets in a blur of disappointment. When I came home too late for dinner my mother asked what was the matter. I explained to her that the telescope was gone, the only thing I really wanted. “That’s terrible,” she said.

When the evening of great expectations arrived the air was charged with excitement. Knowing that I would not get what I really wanted, I was prepared to pretend to be happy with whatever I would get. But when the package with my name on it was pulled out of the large pile I could not believe my eyes. It had a long familiar shape. In a frenzy I ripped off the paper. I was surprised and delighted that I did get the telescope. It had disappeared from the store because it was making its way to me. My father also had his best present ever because there is no more honest recommendation than that of a thief in a hurry.

2007 Guustaaf Damave

The author, Guustave Damave

December 23, 2009


“The Thurston Climate Action Team is a public/private partnership dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable future for Thurston County by encouraging, coordinating, and taking action on climate change. TCATs founding members include individuals serving on local jurisdiction governing bodies, along with citizen activitists, representatives of key planning entities in the county and the educational community. TCAT has identified three priority areas for its work

1. energy efficiency in buildings
2. transportation, and
3. land use,” quoting their website.

The Thurston Climate Action Team was introduced to the Yelm City Council at their November 24th meeting by Thurston Economic Development Council’s Executive Director Michael Cade seeking support from the City of Yelm.

December 22, 2009


Thurston County Commissioners adopt 2010 budget

“Thurston County Commissioners have adopted a spending plan designed to guide the County through 2010. The overall budget for next year is set at about $317.6-Million, down about 17% from 2009 levels. The general fund is approximately $74-Million dollars. Thats down about 2% from 2009 spending levels.

Thurston County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe says work done on the 2009 budget made putting the 2010 plan together a little bit easier. ‘We took some very significant steps regarding the 2009 budget. Between adoption of the budget at the start of the year and a mid-year adjustment, we cut about $7-Million from the Countys General Fund. Thats about 10% of the funding that we have the most control over. In order to accomplish that level of reduction, we had to eliminate approximately 12% of county workforce positions and initiate a painful cut to Public Health and Social Service programs.

While that process was very difficult, it was necessary to accommodate the drop off in revenue that the county is dealing with.’ Commissioner Sandra Romero agrees that working on budget issues in 2009 has been very difficult. ‘Considering limitations on revenue caused by initiatives, we have crafted a responsible budget that still provides important programs and services. For example, we were able to restore funding for special recreation which is vitally important to people with special needs. Its a responsible budget that contains significant cuts but keeps county government whole and provides the services that taxpayers expect from county government.’

Wolfe says it has taken cooperation from county workers, elected officials and department directors to get this far… Among other changes, Commissioners reduced the number of county departments from 16 to 8, improving lines of communication and saving money. Thurston County residents are encouraged to contact the county with any questions or suggestions. Those interested can call (360) 786-5440 or fax to (360) 754-4104 or send email to:

Budget materials can be viewed on line at: Look for the Budget Information button on the opening page of the web site,” quoting the NVN.


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