March 21, 2010


Worst skin cities

“Before blowing your next paycheck at the dermatologist’s office or on pricey skin care products, take a closer look at the place you call home. We looked at pollution levels, sunshine and humidity averages, skin cancer, smoking rates, and even tanning salons per capita to determine which U.S. locales could be disastrous for your skin. Did your city make the list?” quoting the TODAY Show on NBC.

No. 12: Tacoma, Washington

“Not a fan of stress breakouts? (Stress raises your level of cortisol, which can affect oil glands and acne.) You may want to avoid Tacoma like the plague, because — along with 21 tanning salons and a high incidence of skin cancer according to the Center for Disease Control — it is the most stressed-out city in our country,” quoting the TODAY Show on NBC.

March 20, 2010


The date (near March 21 in the northern hemisphere) when night and day are nearly the same length and Sun crosses the celestial equator (i.e., declination 0) moving northward… The vernal equinox marks the first day of the season of spring, quoting Science World.

From the US Naval Observatory, the Vernal Equinox is Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 1:32PM EDT or 10:32AM PDT here in Yelm.


March 20, 2010


Sandra Romero

Commissioner Sandra Romero Hosts Monthly Coffees with Area Residents

“Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hours in Rainier, Yelm and Lacey on Monday, March 22nd.

This months coffee will focus on the countys Solid Waste Department.
Come find out how to reduce the amount of waste you generate, how to give products a second life, and how to know what can and cant be recycled. Our special guest will be Thurston County Solid
Education and Outreach Specialist, Terri Thomas.

‘For the last 24 years, Thurston County commissioners have personally hosted an annual pancake breakfast for the public at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. Last year, we decided to try for Zero Waste. The amount of garbage left over from serving more than 400 breakfasts was so minimal that it fit into one small container about the size of a microwave oven, and this years will be even better.’

These coffees give you the opportunity to talk about issues, ask questions about the county, and share ideas. Commissioner Romero provides to participants coffee that she pays for herself. She is the
representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier,” quoting the Commissioner’s Press Release.

What: Citizen meeting with second district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

When: Monday, March 22, 2010

Rainier: 9:30am 10:30am
Rainier City Hall 102
Rochester St. W.

Yelm: 11:00am Noon
Blue Bottle Espresso
309 East Yelm Avenue

March 19, 2010


Yesterday, a judge heard arguments in a bankruptcy case involving the owners of Thurston Highlands, a 1,250-acre property in Yelm. Owners Steve Chamberlain and his partner, Dr. Paul Liao have different views on how to move forward in the future. As I mentioned last week, this has been a sad affair for all involved.
CLICK HERE to read The Olympian’s report on yesterday’s bankruptcy hearing.

However, there is now a much larger, yet unreported story going on here in Yelm as a result of the city’s actions about the defaulted properties of Thurston Highlands & Tahoma Terra.

Yelm’s Draft Water System Plan (WSP), a 6 year operating document covering 2009-2015 that is the foundation for a final, approved and enacted Water System Plan, has not been approved by the Depts. of Health or Ecology, yet the City Council voted to allow water rate increases based on this unapproved WSP, which includes almost $71 million for water system improvements in the Thurston Highlands area, yet provides no details as to how the public will be reimbursed if that mutli-planned community (MPC) was not built and those water infrastructure expenses were not incurred.

This action resulted in a 16% water rate increase last summer, another 16% water rate increase April 1st of this year, and subsequent 8.25% water rate increases from 2011-2015 voted in by Yelm’s City Council. Think about it, Yelm water rate-payers will pay a 32% rate increase on their basic water rate from early last summer to this Spring alone.

I provide details & supporting documents to verify what I state:

1. Link to the City of Yelm Draft Water System Plan (WSP)

2. Link to the City of Yelm Ordinance 918 approved March 9, 2010 enacting water rate increases for April 1, 2010 & 2011-2015

3. Dept. of Health letter to the City of Yelm stating the city’s Draft WSP was not approved & what the city must do for the Draft WSP to be approved

Please note at the bottom under WATER RIGHTS, the letter references the City’s stated water rights are not consistent with Dept. of Ecology records. The City of Yelm is currently in negotiations with Ecology on what the two can agree upon are Yelm’s actual water rights. Once that is resolved and announced, in all likelihood, the City of Yelm will be found over-pumping their Ecology-allocated, acre-feet per-year in 2009, as they continued to issue building permits when they knew they did not have enough water. This led to the City Council voting to seize a citizen’s water rights last year.
The city’s imminent domain document to seize those citizens’ rights
Also, the Mr. Klein who signed the DOH letter is not related to me.

4. A January, 2007 letter from City Administrator Shelly Badger indicating the city had no contract for the taxpayer to get reimbursed for the $550,003 authorized for a water study the City Council funded for the purpose of a development on private property (Thurston Highlands).
The City Council later raised the amount of funding the study to over 2/3 of a million dollars.
While $350,000 was from a state grant, this is still taxpayer money

5. In response to my FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, this response from 2009 by the then-City Community and Government Relations Coordinator stating the city has no documents for the city to get repaid for the Water Study

6. Yet, Badger is on-record saying the pro-rata share of the water study, and I quote will be determined from the Thurston Highlands impact analysis completed during the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and stated as a condition of the Conceptual Master Plan.” However, the city continued working on the Thurston Highlands EIS until the November, 2008 EIS public release, two months after Thurston Highlands, LLC entered into default and three months after the city invoiced Thurston Highlands, LLC for services rendered, yet remained unpaid in violation of the Agreement for Conceptual Master Site Plan

7. The Thurston Highlands impact analysis completed with the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), says nothing about Yelm getting reimbursed for the Water Study, or what happens if the developer does not build or pulls out of the project. The developers are now in default and left the city taxpayer with their unpaid taxes & bills.
The Thurston Highlands, LLC Final EIS

8. The City has not been totally up-front and in serving the public’s interest by saying the Golder Water Study expenditure was not for an MPC. If the Golder Water Study and the city’s Draft Water System Plan are not for an MPC, then why has the city been looking to build a whole new system out in the south west area (location of Thurston Highlands)?
If not to support an MPC there, the city would have no need to spend the money on miles of pipes and other infrastructure to the tune of $11.4 million, and raise water customers rates to pay for this when the city already has enough infrastructure to support current and future customers by simply upgrading their existing system.
Chapter 8.8 of the Draft Water System Plan:

9. Chamberlain & co-developer Doug Bloom were owners of the Tahoma Valley Golf Course in Yelm & transferred the Golf Course’s water rights to the city for a credit to bring the Course’s water to the city with their application for the 5,000-home Thurston Highlands development. However, when Bloom & Chamberlain defaulted, the city was left with the Golf Course well project, “previously assumed to be fully developer-constructed and then to be turned over to the city, is now required to be 100% City-funded at a cost estimated to be $1.6 million”.
Now, Yelm water rate-payers will bear these costs.
The aforementioned quote is from the City’s Draft Water System Plan, Chapter 9, page 13

10. A newspaper ad taken out by JZ Knight in the NVN & The Olympian in mid-2009 addresses some of the “spin” by City Hall on the water issue that is not supported by the city’s facts or the city’s own documents

Now, Yelm city residents are left holding the bag on all of these things one would think are made-up, if the provided documents did not reveal the extent the city lacked protecting the public’s interests with these developments – protecting the public’s interest their number one responsibility.
A 32% water rate increase in 10 months speaks volumes.
This is an in-depth story in and of itself is not covered by any newspaper out here.

For four years, my inquires and comments about the city’s responsibility in protecting the public’s interests on this very issue have been put asunder every step of the way by Mayor Harding, Mayor Pro-tem Isom, the Yelm City Council, City Development Director Grant Beck & City Administrator Shelly Badger.

And last, least you think I am involved in this city’s issues “just to cause chaos” as Mayor Harding described some in his NVN column today, I leave you with this question to ponder for yourself:

How is the Yelm water-rate payer going to be reimbursed for their water bill payments that go to support infrastructure costs for a multi-planned community, as outlined in some no-longer-valid & still-unapproved Draft Water System Plan, all while the city keeps increasing rates annually to cover those expenses through 2015?

The true chaos is from a City Hall not up-front with its constituents about why a 32% water rate increase within a year has been placed on the backs of city residents, the very people who are city administrators’ own friends and neighbors.

March 18, 2010



The Nisqually Valley News called me yesterday to ask me about Ed’s life.
There was a key question asked on which I paused:
“Why was Ed so involved in Yelm city issues.”

It was then in that moment that I paused & realized people did not truly understand Ed and his pasison for this community. Mayor Harding has said about people who speak-up on city issues that they are against growth here – people such as this writer, Bill Hashim, Ed & others. That is just not true & the way politicians spin things these days about anyone not in-line with their agenda — make them the villain!

I told the newspaper Ed was an educated and experienced man.
Ed had BS & MS degrees in Civil Engineering with specialization in Soil Mechanics, Hydrology and Coastal Processes. He worked in General Civil Consulting, Geotechnical and Structural Design in the New York/New Jersey area for 9 years & then spent 7 years with the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) as the Corporate Waterfront/Offshore Geotechnical Specialist. He then moved to Exxon’s Production Research Company (EPRCo). He lived with his family during those years on a compound in Saudi Arabia.

Ed saw the Mayor, his predecessor, Yelm’s City Council & City Planners making decisions that would affect this town for generations, all without proper knowledge and due diligence. Indeed, most of the people who serve as this town’s leaders have little experience or wisdom gained from living outside of this area for any length of years and in many aspects, do not have the education or background to support some of their actions, often times placing sole responsibility on being informed by a mere staff report from a city planner, a report not fully read or understood. Ed was for responsible growth in alignment with the land, air & water resources to be able to integrate that with little environmental impact.

Ed’s experience was in soils, ground water run-off, ground water recharge and he was an expert in his field. He shared his views only to assist this town’s leaders to be better informed and was not involved in this city’s issues “just to cause chaos” as Mayor Harding described some in his NVN column today. City Hall was not Ed’s enemy. He respected & honored everyone, even those with whom he disagreed.

Ed Wiltsie loved this town as much as any father who loves his children. Everyone who knew Ed can tell you his paternalistic nature to care for all he loved. That’s why he was involved, period!
If that caused chaos and the community was pressed to take their blinders off and see things going on here in a different light, then that was a good thing. Ed wanted this pristine place to remain unmolested for future generations by the likes of a 5,000 home development, super big-box store & choking traffic – a place he genuinely loved & relished the beauty!

Ed Wiltsie’s story in the NVN

March 17, 2010



Ed Wiltsie passed just before midnight last night in Reno, NV. with his family at his side.
Ed has been a community leader, activist on issues of importance at City Hall and a devoted husband, father, grandfather & friend to many people, including a wonderful friend, confidant and comrade to this writer and his wife.
Just type the name Ed Wiltsie into this blog’s search engine & you can see the impact Ed has had here for years.

Ed’s body will be flown to Seattle later today and his family is asking for your prayers & focus for the next three days as they remain in vigil. Their home is in the Bald Hills.


More about Ed:
– From Beyond the Ordinary – KRSE internet radio:
Edward A. Wiltsie, an owner in the firm J. W. Morrissette & Associates Inc., P.S. in Olympia, has a BS and MS in Civil Engineering with specialization in Soil Mechanics, Hydrology and Coastal Processes. He worked in General Civil Consulting, Geotechnical and Structural Design in the New York/New Jersey area for 9 years. He then spent 7 years with the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) as the Corporate Waterfront/Offshore Geotechnical Specialist. In this effort, he was responsible for designing and monitoring pile installation at over 100 steel jacket offshore platforms, and performed and applied the results what was the Worlds Highest Capacity Pile Load Tests at that time. He then moved to Exxon Production Research Company (EPRCo) where he worked on the first application of Compliant Piled Tower Technology for use at the RAM Project in the Gulf of Mexico in 3500 ft of water.
“On completion of the Ram Project work in 1987, I left Exxon to trek to the Pacific Northwest and enter Ramthas School of Enlightenment and begin my next great adventure.”

Since arriving in Washington [22 years ago], Ed has worked on numerous notable projects, including the research and analysis that has lead to the present process for designing stormwater infiltration and disposal in the 2000 Washington State Department of Ecology Stormwater Manual, Earthquake Damage Assessment and Remedial Design on the Washington State Capitol Campus and Capitol Lake Area, as well as new building construction and all stormwater facilities on the South Puget Sound Community College Campus in Olympia.

– And this from his firm’s website, J. W. Morrissette & Ass.

– Ed loved to explain the science he experienced as much as he did in learning! His website shared his wealth of knowledge to assist those wishing to prepare for what he felt were coming Earth changes.

– Ed was a devoted family man, who had immense pride in his chosen hometown of Yelm and passionately loved what he learned at Yelm’s Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment (RSE), insuring 3 generations of his family had access to the teachings. All who knew Ed will remember his devotion & demonstrative love for his family, his commitment to learning grand knowledge & his signature belly laugh.

– Ed’s legacy shines on in his beautiful family:
the love of his life, wife Amber, daughters Amie & Arianne and their husbands Brook & Michael, son Eddie, and grandsons Nalani and Zeus.

– Ed’s wife Amber is an accomplished author, having written “Ramtha and Me: On Woman’s Journey in a School of Ancient Wisdom.”

March 17, 2010


Join the fun at Thurston County Fairs second annual Community Garage Sale and Reuse Fair! This community event is being held on Saturday, May 1st from 8:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m at the Thurston County Fairgrounds. The event includes garage sale booths, educational booths, free book and magazine exchange, recycled art, food, music, and more! This is a great opportunity to sell, trade, and barter with others in your community. There will be $2 early-bird admission between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. and $1 admission after 9:00.

Sign up now and get ready to clear out your clutter. Coordinate with your friends, make it a family event, or use the opportunity to raise money for a charity. Booth space is $25 for an outdoor booth and $40 for a covered booth. Set up will be the Friday before from noon until 10:00 p.m. The doors will be locked after set up Friday evening and security will be on-site until Saturday morning. Goodwill will have a trailer on-site and will be accepting donations throughout the day. This is a great opportunity to donate your leftovers at the end of the day. Items are accepted for donation at Goodwills discretion. Dont forget to bring your books and magazines for the free exchange table!

So come and take advantage of this great opportunity to pass on treasures to others, and benefit from the advertising and exposure you wouldnt otherwise get with a garage sale at home! Last years event drew in a crowd of over 3,000 people and were expecting even more this year.

To reserve your space or for more information please call 786-5453 or visit If you would like to have an educational booth sign up now! All community groups, non-profits, businesses, agencies and individuals working on sustainability issues are welcomed.

Amber Smith
Thurston County Solid Waste
2404-A Heritage Court SW
Olympia, WA 98502
Phone: (360) 754-3355 ext. 7669
Fax: (360) 786-5582

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

March 16, 2010


Stream Team is seeking volunteers to help plant native trees and shrubs along the upper Deschutes River on Sunday, March 21 from noon to 2 p.m. near Rainier. The new trees will help protect the health of Deschutes River and its salmon by providing shade, food and habitat, and by reducing stormwater runoff and erosion.

The planting will occur rain or shine. Volunteers should bring sturdy shoes or boots and dress appropriately for the weather. Stream Team will provide gloves, tools and refreshments. Volunteers under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

For directions or to register for a carpool, please contact Ann Marie Finan at 754-3355 ext. 6857 or Directions are also available on

Stream Team is a volunteer-based program that helps protect and enhance local streams, creeks, rivers and other water resources in Thurston County. The program is sponsored by the storm and surface water utilities of Thurston County, Tumwater, Lacey and Olympia.

March 15, 2010


Thurston County Fire Protection District 17 Logo
Steve Slater, Deputy & Acting Fire Chief

Lts. Rod McClennan, Dale Bamford, Ron Smith, Stu Linde

Fire Commissioner Bill Owen has informed the Yelm Community Blog that Thurston County Fire Protection District 17, Bald Hills Fire Dept. will again in 2010 offer the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver CPR and First Aid classes.

These classes are open to the public and satisfies the requirements for teachers, health care workers, etc. to be current in these skills.

Unlike community colleges which charge $50-$70, these classes are FREE to District 17 residents, $25 for all others.

Bald Hills Fire Station
16306 Bald Hill Road SE
Yelm,, WA. 98597
7:00 to 9:00 PM on the following dates;

CPR: Feb 10, May 12, Aug 11, Oct 13

First Aid: Mar 10 Jun 9, Sept 8 Nov 1

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.

Commissioner Owen said, “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 several times and love our interactions with these fine people, many are familiar faces that are your friends & neighbors.

The Fire Dept also suggests every residence have the street address posted in a prominent area at the entrance to their property to save time in an emergency. The rural residences are often-times difficult to locate. More to come on this from the Bald Hills Fire Dept.


March 14, 2010


Remember that Daylight Savings Time began Sunday, March 14th at 2am, so be sure to set your clocks ahead one hour in most of the USA.
From the US Naval Observatory website.


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