December 21, 2011


Pat Richker and her volunteers.
Richker is standing in the front row, fourth from right
Photo courtesy: Yelm Community Services

From the Yelm Community Services Press Release:

“A new event started at Yelm Community Services (YCS) on Thanksgiving Day [November 24, 2011].
Pat Richker is one of the special people who has been connected with Yelm Community Services for many years. One can never know for sure what she might show up with,whether a few hundred pies to give out to people, or some gift cards to go to families with just one parent, or just to show up and ask how she might help out.”

“Pat first met Cindy Marchand-Cecil, Executive Director of Yelm Community Services, in the early 1990s when Cindy was at the local store hurriedly purchasing a bunch of food, just in case they ran out at Christmastime, so that no one would go unserved. Ever since, she has been just showing up with surprises of all kinds, just to help out.”

“This year Pat ‘pulled out all the stops’ and put on the grandest show ever with a great deal of volunteer help. Together with Vanessa Ellis, Director of Operations at Popeyes Chicken for Tacoma/Seattle, and Cindy Marchand-Cecil of YCS, over 300 meals were going to be served on Thanksgiving Day.”
Read more


December 20, 2011


The following is a brief chronology of Yelm’s water actions that clearly paints a picture of the steadfastness in which this city’s aim was on the side of developers, instead of inquiring into and being guided by supporting the public’s interest:

1. “April 2005, [the Yelm City Council ] voted to prohibit future discussion of the topica moratorium on moratoriums” on the public mentioning the word “Wal-mart” to the Yelm City Council. Many of the current council members, including then Mayor Pro-tem Ron Harding were on that council. With Harding declining to participate in the local newspaper’s public forums as a 2005 mayoral candidate, the Jefferson Muzzle Award given the Yelm City Council in early 2006 became the defining theme throughout Harding’s tenure – the disdain of public comment and discourse. Read more

2. June, 2006, Environmental Planning expert Bill Hashim wrote he “offered to write a grant that would provide free Smart Growth technical help for the city. Council members were appalled that I thought Yelms growth was not smart, and as they were bantering at me I heard one of their voices wanting to know whether I thought they were dumb. I left the meeting wondering what the heck just happened and then I realized that our council members were not aware of the sustainable communities program called Smart Growth.”
Read more

3. October, 2006: Ed Wiltsie, Professional Engineer, P. E. (now deceased) went “on the record stating the Council’s traffic and groundwater decisions have opened the City of Yelm to major issues including potential future litigation, if not addressed soon. Even Mr. Beck [Community Development Director] stated in his Staff Report recommendation to the City Council of October 23, 2006 that they “consider the points raised by Mr. Wiltsie…”
“While the respect and admiration was noted from the City Council towards Mr. Wiltsie and his report, not one member of the City Council raised their hand to say they would like to table the adoption of Ordinance 858 amending the Yelm Comprehensive Plan” based on Wiltsie’s remarks.
Read more

4. February, 2007: “The NVN reported in its January 19 and 26 editions about Yelm Mayor Ron Harding turning over the first blade of dirt in the new Tahoma Valley Golf Clubhouse owned by Thurston Highlands Associates Steve Chamberlain and Doug Bloom, also featured in the February Yelm Chamber Prairie Viewpoint. Yet in the January 19 NVN, The owners of the golf course, also the developers of Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands, offered to give the city water rights if half of the available water could be used for the Tahoma Terra development.

“Now, Thurston Highlands owners are working with the City of Yelm to exchange water rights, get approval for the Thurston Highlands development, Tahoma Terra issues, the City of Yelm is fronting funds for the Thurston Highlands EIS [Water study] and now the Mayor does the groundbreaking for the Thurston Associates owned Tahoma Valley Clubhouse. Couldn’t the Mayor turn over those duties to the Yelm Chamber President or some other city luminary like Larry Schorno or recently retired Thurston County Sheriff Edwards?”

“And now a very nice donation to the Mayor’s Scholarship Fund by Thurston Highlands Associates owner Bloom. Couldn’t Mr. Bloom have made an individual scholarship donation in the name of the “Doug Bloom Scholarship” instead of via the Mayor’s Fund? In his position, the mayor will be required to represent all constituents and perhaps comment on the Thurston Highlands application, Tahoma Tera construction & creek flooding, Tahoma Valley Golf water rights exchange and the EIS. I know everyone will all say they see no conflict of interest, yet any observer would have to say HMMM! Surely seems Thurston Highlands Associates and city officials’ interactions are getting very, very cozy, indeed! Is there some preferential treatment going on?”

No effort was made to avoid a conflict-of-interest between Mayor Harding & the one of the developers in JZ Knight’s case with the City of Yelm.
Read more

5. February, 2007: “Yelms City Council has stated public funds will not be used in private for-profit developments.”
“The City of Yelm has no contract, pro-rata or otherwise with the Thurston Highlands Associates for the SW Aquifer study.” Yet, the City of Yelm approved over $600,000 in taxpayer money to fund the Golder Water Study for a private, for-profit development. The city said the pro-rata share would be determined later in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The developer went bankrupt and the pro-rata share was never determined nor repaid to the taxpayers.
Read more

6. February, 2007: Kevin Farrell as a private citizen posted comments relating to an NVN story of Feb. 2, 2007, “I wanted to respond to the inaccurate statements that Grant Beck, Community Development Director for the City of Yelm, apparently made to the Nisqually Valley News regarding the recent meeting on Thompson Creek,” issues allegedly caused by developmental construction.
Read more

7. November, 2008: “Can the City of Yelm approve new development without proof of an adequate water supply?”
Thurston County Superior Court says No!
Read more

8. May, 2009: The Yelm Community Blog breaks the story that Thurston Highlands, LLC defaulted and left the city with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes and services. The report is undisputed and picked-up by The Olympian as a series of posted public documents demonstrated the city’s lack of sound business principles in protecting the public’s interests.
Read more

9. July, 2009: “A Citizen Responds: JZ Knight Sets the Record Straight on the City of Yelm Water Issue in Public Ad” in local newspapers after the “NVN used copious amounts of space in its May 22nd and May 29th editions to publish the Citys misleading comments and disparaging remarks about citizens who speak out against improper and unlawful City conduct.”
“JZ Knight bought space for full page ads in the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) & The Olympian to alert citizens to the Citys failure to protect the local aquifer and to provide a reasonable opportunity for citizen input.”
Read more

10. October, 2009: “In a letter dated October 26, 2009, Mayor Ron Harding wrote private citizen Alice McMonigle to condemn her water rights. Mr. Harding stated that the city intends to acquire those rights ‘through the exercise of power under eminent domain for the purpose of providing municipal water for the City Water System.'”
Read more

These are just a few of the incontrovertible facts that show a concerted effort at running roughshod over citizen input.


December 19, 2011

THIS WEEK: Knight vs. City of Yelm, A Perspective


With the stunning 7-2 Supreme Court decision for JZ Knight last week against the City of Yelm, one could not help but notice that The Arab Spring arrived here with an explanation point, “The Yelm Fall”. One citizen prevailed through persistence against Mayor Harding, Yelm’s City Council, Community Development Director Beck, developers and the local newspaper, who all used intimidation calling her “anti-development”.

Whatever your opinion of Knight and her Yelm-based School, there were many people who have no association with her yet sided with a citizen’s rights to protect their property from the encroachment of developers, who in their ignorance, “threw their bags” in with the city. One of the developers had plans to more-than-triple the size of Yelm with a proposal for a 5,000 home development.

The issue became very simple – the City of Yelm simply did not want to prove they had the water rights to supply water via their city’s water system at the time a Preliminary Plat for a development was submitted, rather wanting to prove water at the time of a building permit for an already submitted plat. The building permit could come years after the Preliminary Plat and if the city had not enough water rights at that time, there would be no building approval, yet the developers would have then spent thousands of dollars to Plat a development, then be unable to build.

Knight saw the potential harm to her property from 5 developments totaling 588 proposed homes, located a mere 1,300 feet away. Yet the harassment of Knight began in earnest:
– Mayor Haring described Knight as being “anti-development”
– The Thurston Highlands, LLC developers hired repeated helicopter overflights of Knight’s property to photograph what they perceived as Knight’s violations of her School’s operating permit. They filed numerous complaints with Thurston County, who sent staff out each time to investigate the School’s grounds. All complaints were investigated and were unfounded.

At the time, local environmental experts Ed Wiltsie (now deceased), a geologist and Bill Hashim, a more than 25 year veteran of state Environmental planning issues were rebuffed by the Yelm City Council on several occasions when they provided advice and comment to the Yelm City Council. And, the City Council adjourning regularly into closed-door Executive Sessions and away from the public so often that raised even more questions about their motives.

However, the WA. Supreme Court decision affirmed Knight’s contention:
– Page 19
“The importance of preliminary plat approval within the scheme of planning and approving new development demonstrates that the injury Knight alleges is immediate and specific. ‘A preliminary plat application is meant to give local governments and the public an approximate picture of how the final subdivision will look. It is to be expected that modifications will be made during the give and take of the approval process.’

– The Court went on to say, page 20:
“A local decision-making body cannot conditionally approve a preliminary plat and then disapprove a final plat application for a project that conforms to the conditions of the preliminary approval. Id. The failure to challenge environmental issues at the preliminary plat stage could result in decisions by the local land use authority that have a binding impact on interested parties without their consent or participation.”

– Further:
“In this case, while the hearing examiner conditioned approval of Tahoma Terras preliminary plat on a showing of adequate provision of water at the final plat approval stage, the City Councils Resolution 481 did not contain such an explicit statement. Instead, Resolution 481 indicates that the City complied with RCW 58.17.110, removing any burden on the City to make a showing of adequate water supply at the final plat approval stage.”

– Finally, on page 21 –
“Knight was entitled to clarification of the City Councils decision and an opportunity to challenge the Citys evidence of water provisions before final plat approval, and that is exactly what the superior court provided when it stated that all requirements must be satisfied and confirmed in writing before final plat approval, when it provided Knight notice of any final plat approval proceedings, and when it remanded to the City Council for modification.13 Knight also satisfied RCW 36.70C.060(2)(b) because her interests were among those that the City Council was required to consider when it granted preliminary plat approval to Tahoma Terra.”

The Court also noted the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force.

“RCW 58.17.110(1) requires a local governmental body to inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served by a new development and to determine [i]f appropriate provisions are made for . . .the public health, safety, and general welfare . . . [and] potable water supplies . . . .

“Determining whether there are adequate water sources to serve the Tahoma Terra development is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application.”

Reported in the Nisqually Valley News:
“Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said the decision is a moot point because it didnt make any new law in regards to water.

‘We will continue to operate the way weve been operating,’ he said.”

Ed. note:
To say: “We will continue to operate the way weve been operating,” is ridiculous!
What an ignorant comment!
Who is Harding kidding?

The Court’s decision cited state law from which the city can no longer sidestep or dance around:
“RCW 58.17.110(1) requires a local governmental body to inquire into the public use and interest proposed to be served by a new development and to determine [i]f appropriate provisions are made for . . . [and] potable water supplies . . . .

“Determining whether there are adequate water sources to serve … development is certainly within the public interest the City Council must consider before approving the plat application.”

The City of Yelm has been put on notice that state law must be adhered & continuing “to operate the way weve been operating” quoting Mayor Harding, is no longer an option!

As Knight’s attorney Keith Moxon stated, “The Court not only agreed that Knight had the right to challenge the City of Yelm’s approval of these subdivisions, it agreed that the City failed to meet the water availability requirements of state law.”

Knight vs. Yelm WILL be a case quoted for years on water law in this state.

And last:
were it not for Knight’s persistence and deep pockets with her will to continue this fight, we would not have this new state ruling upholding that municipalities must provide for the public’s interest. Many property rights issues fall by the wayside allowing governments to become too intrusive just because of the huge toll in legal expenses and intimidation for a citizen to move forward.

Obviously, others in the community agree, as reported on Knight’s website:
“Local praise in support of Knights Supreme Court win”
Read more

December 18, 2011


“YELM TRAVEL is a full service travel agency that has been serving the needs of the Yelm community since 1983. We are a hometown business that prides itself on treating people on a personal level. We offer first class service at competive prices. We are experienced Travel Professionals and have traveled extensively. Let an expert do ALL your travel leg work for you,” quoting Yelm Travel’s website.

This writer has been a customer of Yelm Travel & have known current owner Elizabeth Felix since 1988. As a former airline sales manager, I appreciate the thoroughness & persistence of Elizabeth & Cary Dvorak to “get it right” to insure all facets of my family’s personal travel requirements are met and exceeded. “Making dreams come true” is not just some slogan at Yelm Travel, rather a commitment to outstanding service in a travel world that gets more complicated by the week.

Yelm Travel
Prairie Plaza (next to post office)
10501 Creek St SE
PO box 730
Yelm, WA. 98597

Call Elizabeth or Cary


December 17, 2011

“Take Stock and Opt Out of Phone Books”

From Thurston County Public Works:

“Do you ever get the feeling that multiple phone books are being delivered to your home? Well, it’s true! If you are frustrated by this duplication or find that you don’t even use any of the phone books, now you can do something about it.

You may have recently heard the news that Seattle has an opt-out program for residents that don’t want these phone books. The good news is you have the exact same program available to you. Just go to Catalog Choice at for a quick and easy way to opt out of phone books. To get started, type in your area code. You can see immediately how many different phone books are delivered to your address each year. Then, set up an account. Once you receive your password via e-mail, you can start deleting phone books that you no longer want to get.”

“For any other questions on junk mail or phone book opt out programs contact Thurston County Public Works at 360-867-2491 or email”

Read more
from the Thurston County News Release.

Ed. Note:

this writer has been a member of Catalog Choice for years. This is an invaluable service!

December 16, 2011


“Congratulations to Yelm High School teachers Robyn Fisher and Jennifer Weatherman for earning National Board Certification, …(which) is a rigorous process that requires research, testing and evaluation of classroom teaching.”

“Mrs. Fisher and Ms. Weatherman join Ed Bergh, Josh Hamblin, Alexis Underhill, Karla Blowers and Tania Albert as YHS teachers who have met the National Board standards. Latasha Johnson and Jeannie Beierle are currently in process of earning certification,” quoting Yelm High School’s website.


December 16, 2011


From JZ Knight’s Press Release:

“In a landmark 7-2 decision, the Washington Supreme Court confirmed that JZ Knight had standing to oppose five large residential subdivisions in Yelm. The Supreme Court held that Knight had established that Yelm’s erroneous land use decisions were likely to prejudice her senior water rights.

Knight said, ‘I am elated to know that the Supreme Court saw the potential harm to property owners who have legal rights to the aquifer that would serve these proposed developments. This decision sends a clear message to municipalities who make land use decisions without due consideration of the consequences to people who will be adversely impacted, even when those people own property outside of their jurisdiction.’

Knight’s attorney, Keith Moxon, said, ‘I am very pleased that the Court affirmed what JZ Knight has been saying since 2007 about the City’s failure to show water availability for proposed subdivisions. The Court not only agreed that Knight had the right to challenge the City of Yelm’s approval of these subdivisions, it agreed that the City failed to meet the water availability requirements of state law.’

December 15, 2011


JZ Knight
Photo Copyright 2011 JZ Knight.
Used with permission.

Read more from the WA. Supreme Court opinion: Knight v. City of Yelm, No. 84831-9.

In a 7-2 decision by Justice Charles Wiggins, the WA. Supreme Court opinion released today held that JZ Knight had established that the land use decision by the hearing examiner for the City of Yelm IS likely to prejudice her water rights and the Thurston County Superior Court case she won satisfies the statutory standing requirement.

“Tacoma News Tribune staff writer Sean Robinson wrote an in-depth report in June, 2011 titled JZ Knights bid to halt development heard by states Supreme Court.
Note: The print edition was titled JZ Knight proves to be a warrior vs. development

Robinson stated:
Neighbors often groan about the new housing developments next door. Typically, thats all they do but JZ Knight, 65, is no ordinary neighbor. Shes started an argument that could change the rules of local land-use planning throughout the state, and shes determined to finish it.

If Knight prevails, the legal precedent could echo across the state, especially in rural communities where water is scarce. Owners of senior water rights could halt development in its tracks.
Read more

Knight has previously stated to halt development was not her intent.
Knights case was about the City of Yelms attempt to approve five proposed new developments without adequate proof of a sufficient water supply.

JZ Knight presented evidence at five public hearings showing that the City of Yelms water rights are not adequate to serve five proposed Yelm subdivisions.
Read more from Knight’s Nov., 2008 Public Notice to Residents, Taxpayers and City of Yelm Water System Customers.

Read more from KOMO-TV News 4 in Seattle.

December 15, 2011

“Come Join Me Shopping!”
JZ Knight shops locally in Yelm stores today

JZ Knight invites you to join her as she shops locally in her Yelm store JZ-Rose Thursday, Dec. 15 @ 2:30PM.

Knight will then do holiday shopping in at Yelm’s Giorda E. Thursday, Dec. 15, at 4 PM.

Read more from JZ Knight’s e-mail: Come Join Me Shopping!
Read more from JZ

December 15, 2011


Yelm’s JZ Rose received notoriety by recently being featured in Beauty NYC.

Reprinted here from, used with permission.

Beauty NYC had this to say about JZ-Rose:
JZ-Rose presents all things delightful, and if youre not convinced, visit their distinctive and magical website:, where youll find the unusual and the eclectic, and the magnificent and the memorable. For example, the Jessie Steele Ava 50s Kitchen Bib Apron has an heirloom quality and French flair that will inspire creativity in the kitchen. The same is true of the festive candy striped Caddy Utensil Set and Jessie Steele Parisian Toile Rubber Kitchen Gloves for once, youll want to cook and clean! Form, function and style meet at your fingertips.
Read more from Metro Home: Home for the Holidays by Bonnie Kimberly Taylor for Beauty NYC.

Explore and shop at JZ Roses Online Store.

About Beauty NYC:
Beauty News NYC was founded in 2003 by former Dior makeup artist and now lauded jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald as the first, true online beauty magazine. Since then, weve blossomed into one of the most highly respected online beauty publications, both within the industry itself and with our readers who are looking to make themselves more beautiful, healthy and happy, quoting Beauty NYC.


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