November 23, 2011

“Cuts to higher education system could well be catastrophic” –
May impact Yelm area folks

The Olympian Op-Ed from November 21st lays it all on the line, before the Governor’s cuts were announced:

“Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to unveil her budget proposal this morning a plan to close a $2 billion gap in the states 2011-13 spending plan. Shes expected to announce additional budget reductions on top of the $10 billion in cuts the state has taken over the last three years.

South Sound residents have a special interest in the governors plan for higher education spending because it will have a direct impact on our two local institutions South Puget Sound Community College and The Evergreen State College.

Both colleges have taken huge hits to their budgets over the last three years and college presidents warn that additional reductions will reduce the number of students able to attend classes. And because SPSCC and Evergreen are two of South Sounds largest employers, additional budget reductions will have a negative impact on the local economy. The Thurston County economy annually receives about $30 million in income due to SPSCC operations.”

“Both Purce and Pumphrey say that enrollment levels simply cannot be sustained with additional cuts. More students will be denied admission and depending on cuts to student financial aid, work study and federal Pell grants fewer students will be able to afford a college education.”

November 22, 2011


In what has become an annual affair for the property owners of Yelm, the Yelm City Council WILL vote another ad valorem tax on their property owners tonight, with little or no comment nor reports about this in the newspaper. Add up all of the years in the last decade the city has imposed this tax and there is quite a hefty tax increase from just this, not to mention water rate increases, business taxes and others. Nothing like a city council here to protect the public’s interests that continues to annually impose a tax they do not have to get public approval to place on their citizen’s shoulders for annual revenue production.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from your Yelm City Council!

November 22, 2011

“Squaxins, 3 local cities to run water-restoration fund”

From Matt Batcheldor’s report in The Olympian November 20th:
“The Squaxin Island Tribe and the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Yelm are joining to manage a $500,000 fund for restoration of Budd Inlet and the Deschutes watershed.”

“Each of the cities will put $166,000 into the fund, the latest step in a partnership that has been forged by a shared quest for water rights. The new water rights, after a process of more than 15 years, may get final approval from the state Department of Ecology by the end of the year, barring appeals.

The $500,000 in funding is contingent on the water rights being approved.

The coalition members will begin developing a strategic plan for long-term restoration of the watershed and will invite other parties to join them, according to the agreement.”

“The Squaxin Island Tribe retains hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the waters of Budd Inlet and the Deschutes watershed, dating to the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854, the agreement notes.

Keeping a clean watershed is in each of the parties best interest, and is important in securing water rights. Before the state gave tentative approval this year, the three cities had to protect habitat to prove they can extract water without further damaging stream flows and fish.

The cities bought a 197-acre farm on the Deschutes River south of Yelm this year where existing water rights were to be retired. Habitat restoration is planned. Wetlands will be created on the property, and stream channels will be enhanced for fish, Hoey said.

The cities also proposed other mitigation measures, such as using reclaimed water and starting other habitat-restoration projects in the Woodland Creek and Nisqually basins.

The water rights, if approved, will allow each city to develop its water system.”

Read more

November 21, 2011


Photo credit: Mr. Wilcox’s Legislative Office website

From Rep. Wilcox’s website:

Constituents in the 2nd District are invited to join Rep. J.T. Wilcox for an hour-long telephone town hall.

People can call in toll-free (877) 229-8493, then enter pin number 17544 on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6:35 p.m. to ask questions of their state representative.

I held a telephone town hall in February at the beginning of this years regular session and received some good feedback from people, said Wilcox, R-Yelm. Im always curious what they think about various issues and whats been on their minds. I encourage people to join the call even if they just want to listen in and hear their neighbors questions.

No RSVP is required. Once people are on the call, they will have the opportunity to ask questions by pressing star (*) 3 on their phones and to answer live poll questions.

Members of the media are also encouraged to ask questions about the upcoming special session and the budget.

Wilcox can also be reached by calling his Olympia office at (360) 786-7912 or by e-mail at

November 20, 2011


From Jeremy Pawloski’s report this morning in The Olympian:
“Buyers at Lost Lake Resort, marketed throughout South Sound since 2005 as an upscale RV community on the outskirts of Yelm, thought they were purchasing a little slice of heaven.

The resort was pitched as a place where they could spend the summer months of their retirement years living in peaceful seclusion on 130 acres of pristine wilderness.”

“But several RV lot owners at Lost Lake Resort, at 1546 Reservation Road in rural Thurston County, say dreams of easy living have collapsed because of the resorts developer, Jeffrey Graham, 48, of Tacoma, and the complications of his financial meltdown.

Graham says hes done everything in his power to get deeds to buyers and to fix the facilities at the resort. ‘I have been trying to help my owners get what I owe them,’ he told The Olympian.

The park itself is a jewel.”

“But Graham says hes limited in what he can do because a Thurston County Superior Court judge appointed a receiver to oversee the resorts future after Graham defaulted on a $3.3 million loan to develop the property.

Hes also dealing with the fallout from filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”

Read more in Pawloski’s thorough report.

November 19, 2011


The Yelm City Council posted their agenda for their meeting Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 6PM that includes two gifts Thanksgiving gifts for citizens who own property in the city limits:

1. The 2012 City of Yelm $5.9 million Budget presentation and public hearing.

2. A public hearing & immediate vote for another tax levy on Yelm property tax payers.
“In order to set the property tax rates they must be identified in the adopting ordinance both by the dollar and percentage increase amounts and certified with the county by a November 30th deadline,” quoting the city’s Staff Report.

From KOMO-TV -4:
“The highlights in the budget, according to the city are:

Mosman Corridor Phase 1 design or construction based on State grant funding;
An effort to obtain funding for phase 2 of the SR 510 Yelm Loop;
SW Yelm Well 1A engineering of treatment system and reservoir; water rights mitigation projects associated with Deschutes River Farm;
General Sewer Plan completion;
State of the City publication;
Purchase of Yelm Library Building”

This clearly shows the city council’s disregard for their citizens expecting the public to show up for this meeting the day before the long Thanksgiving holiday begins & after the November 17th posting right before many will take off on holiday next week.

Was this designed this way on purpose?
Will anyone show up to make a public comment!
We’ll see!?

– An unaware and uninvolved public are Yelm City Council’s greatest allies in carrying forth their agenda.

November 18, 2011


Yelm Timberland Regional Library

“NaNoWriMo Library Writing Night” is TONIGHT at the Yelm Timberland Regional Library.

“Write your novel at the library and participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, at this Friday Night write-in. The library will support NaNoWriMo throughout November. Refreshments and support provided by the Friends of the Yelm Timberland Library,” quoting the Yelm Timberland Library.

Time: 7PM

Location: Yelm Timberland Regional Library

November 17, 2011


“Thurston County is an incredible place to live, work and play. We have it all from open prairie lands, to sweeping mountain views, to the sparkling Puget Sound. Within our gorgeous natural environment are thriving communities that offer something for everyone. Come enjoy a vibrant music and arts scene, prowl stores, or simply relax in beautiful rural settings. Thurston County truly showcases the best that Washington State has to offer. But don’t take our word for it! We asked our local residents to nominate what they consider to be the wonders of Thurston County. Here’s what they think you should know about the county we proudly call home,” quoting Thurston County.

Read more

November 16, 2011


Blogger visits Yelm High School Robotics Class
Photo courtesy: Yelm Community Schools

Yelm Community Schools (YCS) Superintendent Andy Wolf hosted about 30 people yesterday for a 3.5+ hour familiarization tour of the Administration Offices, then a school bus ride to Yelm High School, Ridgeline Middle School and Mill Pond Elementary School. A broad cross-section of the community joined in this uplifting and eye-opening experience. Some recognizable faces on the tour were YCS Community Relations Coordinator Denise Bagwell, Mayor Ron Harding, City Administrator Shelly Badger, City Council members Don Miller & Russ Hendrickson and his wife, YCS Board President Denise Hendrickson.

As the guests arrived on each of the school’s campuses, they were warmly welcomed by the Principal and staff, along with volunteers from the student-body to conduct tours. After a briefing by each Principal, we divided into small groups of 3-4 people for each tour and were escorted to the students in their classes, got to observe the curriculum and interact with teachers & the students. Each of us had ample opportunity to ask questions along the way of our student guides.

In addition to all of the impressive statistics of what YCS has done to improve in so many areas since Superintendent Wolf took the reigns, several things stood out at this writer on the tour:

1. Our first and longest stop was at Yelm High School. An exuberant welcome was extended by Principal Brian Wharton, in his second year here as Principal. As he said on reflection of his first year:
“It has been an amazing year at YHS! We received accolades for our FFA Chapter and the students Project Tornado! YHS athletes earned two Narrows League Scholar Athlete Awards and won a state championship in wrestling (Dylan Hyder) and the state 4 X 100 Relay Championship (Michael Herlinger- Hopkins, John Larsen, Taylor Mitchell and Spencer Good). Our graduates earned $2.1 million in scholarships offers and at least 155 seniors earned some form of scholarship or aid.

There is outstanding momentum heading into 2011-12.”

This momentum was truly felt by all of us. Wharton’s volunteer students did a fabulous job of guiding us around the campus. While we had been to public events held at Yelm High, this was the first time we have visited inside the classrooms or common areas. Classes visited were Robotics, First year Spanish and U. S History. We met and spoke with Robotics Team members, who earned a State Berth in competition in Seattle.

As described at the Yelm High School, the “F” rates and student absences are both decreasing. I asked Celeste what she was doing that improved the school’s attendance rate so significantly. She said calling unaware parents to let them know their children had not been in class was a key. By getting the students to participate just by “showing-up” more has had a marked improved in the dropping “F” rates.
That was impressive!

We were told about this unique program:
Students Teach Respect to Fellow Students

“On October 19, YHS students watched a video created by YHS students for their peers. The video urges all YHS students to treat their classmates with respect and dignity. This video kicks off our efforts by students and staff to promote positive choices in behavior at school.”
Click here to see the video.

We also were reminded that a Yelm High teacher was recognized as Ag Teacher of the Year, Mike Patrick.
Read more

2. Our second stop was at Ridgeline Middle School, Home of the STORM! From their website:
“Middle school is an exciting time in a students life. It is a time of transition as they leave behind the first phase of their educationelementary schooland enter a fast-paced, sometimes hectic, adolescent period in their life known as middle school.”

After a welcome briefing by the Principal and staff introductions, we again divided into small groups and toured with students Ariel Temra, Kendall & Danny, who were all so animated & robust in their enthusiasm for their school. Each student wore a snappy blue school shirt with a name-tag. They guided us to a writing class and Geometry class in-progress, as well as several others.

Principal John Johnson was nominated Principal of the Year. One could definitely see why – his sincerity and purposeful intent came through immediately in his introduction. His school’s volunteers were so well-organized in their line-up welcome and on the tour.

3. Our third stop was to Mill Pond Elementary School, where we were all greeted by Jeri Person, Principal. Mill Pond is a K-6 elementary school with about 460 students and is home to one of the YCS Developmental Preschool Programs. We gathered in the school’s library and were familiarized with the unique curriculum offered. Other elementary School principals also joined us there and was nice to meet each from McKenna, Prairie, Ft. Stevens & Southworth Elementary Schools.
Here we toured the Music & 5th grade math classes, as well as viewed the challenged children’s & pre-school areas.

My wife & I will be scheduling a tour at Lackamas Elementary School soon, named 2011 School of Distinction, whose tour will be reported here, too.

Our last stop was back at the Administration Offices with a closing talk by Superintendent Wolf.
He said the Yelm Schools are our area’s “Best Kept Secret!”
All of us agreed on that as we left.
This tour was very important for the community to see what goes on in our schools, what our property tax dollars are providing and how Wolf and his fine team have really done the remarkable to bring YCS into the upper tiers of our state’s school programs.
The Yelm Community Blog acknowledges Andy Wolf and all of his staff at YCS for this unique opportunity to tour and interact with school administrators, teachers and students!

Having a broad understanding and knowledge base as to what is being done to lead our area’s children is vital to the February, 2012 YCS levy on which taxpayers will be voting. If you would like to visit these schools and take a tour, please contact Community Relations Coordinator Denise Bagwell – click here.

Be sure to check-out Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools and their Facebook page.
Read more


November 15, 2011


“Seattle began its curbside recycling program in February of 1988 with an assortment of colored, small, plastic bins delivered to customers who wanted to take part.”

“On this November 15, America Recycle Day, 70 percent of Seattle’s residential customers take part in what has become a massive industry with hundreds employed at facilities all over the state,” quoting Gary Chittim of KING-5 TV News.

Read more from America Recycles Day dot org.


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