September 30, 2012

September 2012 one for the weather record books

Olympia Regional Airport,
National Weather Service official reporting station closest to Yelm

Today will mark one of the driest Septembers on-record!
The trace of rain recorded for September at the National Weather Service at Olympia Regional Airport with the dry August is giving this area the driest summer and early Fall, ever.

The “burn-ban” is set to end October 16, however may have to be extended since long-range weather models show NO rain is forecast at least through October 10.

UPDATE: October 1
From Susan Wyatt at KING-5 TV News:
“No significant rainfall in sight for the next 10 days”
“KING 5 Meteorologist Jim Guy says at Sea-Tac, the September rainfall was .03 inches. Normal rainfall for the month is 1.50 inches.

‘This ties the record for the third-driest September,’ said Guy.”
Read more

September 30, 2012

“World Rivers Day 30 September 2012”

“World Rivers Day is an annual global celebration of the worlds waterways, observed on the last Sunday in September. Established in 2005 by the internationally renowned river conservationist Mark Angelo, World Rivers Day highlights the global importance of rivers and aims to increase public awareness and encourage greater stewardship of rivers around the world.”

“Rivers underpin many freshwater ecosystems and play a critical role in sustaining the lives of thousands of different species and habitats worldwide. Despite their importance, rivers and their associated freshwater ecosystems are actually extremely rare. Only 3% of the worlds water is fresh water, and freshwater ecosystems account for less than 1% of the planets total surface area,” quoting
Read more

September 29, 2012

Yelm Farmer’s Market ends season Sunday

“We are wrapping up the season at the Yelm Farmers Market, and we are finding that we only have a few vendors able to go all the way through October. Therefore, our final day at market will be September 30th at our Cultural Heritage Explosion. Come be a part of this closing session.”
Read more


September 29, 2012

Yelm man pleads guilty to Mt. Rainier waste dumping

Mount Rainier (Wikimedia Commons photo by Stan Shebs)

“A waste treatment operator at Mount Rainier National Park pleaded guilty Friday to dumping 200,000 gallons of sewage over a waterfall and into the Nisqually River, in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

James Barber, 52, of Yelm, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.

According to court records, Barber worked as an operator of the wastewater treatment plant at Paradise, which is designed to provide advanced secondary treatment of sewage generated at the Paradise Visitor Center before it is discharged into a waterfall that flows into the Nisqually River.

But in his plea agreement, Barber admitted that during spring and summer 2011, he failed to stop the build-up of solid waste in the treatment plant, which clogged filters and disabled the advanced treatment portion of the plant.

Instead of fixing the problem, Barber used a bypass around the advanced treatment section of the plant, allowing minimally treated sewage to be dumped directly into the the waterfall and river, according to court records.”

“He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura on Dec. 14,” quoting KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.
Read more

September 28, 2012

Yelm Council approves $1 million library payout –
Fairpoint bldg for sale, would have been best option!

Yelm’s Timberland Regional Library condo, 2nd floor

After Mayor Harding announced to the public the City of Yelm could only afford up to $600,000 to purchase a new library building, he presented a plan April 27, 2011 to the Timberland Regional Library (TRL) Board to purchase the leased Yelm library facility for $1.2 million in a unique condo-deal.

Harding told the TRL Board during his presentation that he had not previously discussed this proposal with the Yelm City Council, which was against the Yelm Municipal Code and Revised Code of Washington (RCW), as covered here June 13, 2011.

On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, the Yelm City Council authorized a Wire Transfer to Prairie Park for the $1,011,918.33 balance owed on the condo, as building owner Margaret Clapp gifted $200,000 through a price reduction.

This blogger previously suggested the Fairpoint Communications Building and the vacant former Yelm Family Medicine building as excellent choices for a library, with these features:
1. Both have ample street or lot parking available, where Prairie Park does not.
2. Both are first floor facilities, Prairie Park is in a less-than-suitable second floor for a community library.
3. Yelm pays for unusable square footage on two floors with a foyer and elevator hall in Prairie Park, not so in the other structures.
4. The Fairpoint Building would have provided better public access, more usable square footage and at a lower overall price and is more centrally located.

Let’s compare:
The price for the Prairie Park facility was $1.2 million for 8,962 square feet = $134 for a square foot ($112 per square foot, after subtracting Margaret Clapp’s $200,000 price reduction).

The Fairpoint Communications Building has a list price of $875,000 for 7,400 square feet = $118 for a square foot for all first-floor preferred accessibility. (this is the list price, which means the purchase price could be less.)

The Fairpoint Building has no unused square footage as in Prairie Park’s two floors with an elevator foyer, has a beautiful courtyard outside that would have been a wonderful reading retreat for the public plus an open and airy accessible first-floor.

Editor’s Note:
No matter what I did to suggest this option and others, the city said they looked at 4 alternatives and all were unsuitable, though they never revealed those options to the public nor why they were declined.
The city kept saying the moving costs to another locale were too high. I never bought that excuse and was never shown statistics to convince me otherwise.
The only library option Mayor Harding publicly presented was always Clapp’s Prairie Park, as if this choice was already decided, regardless of the fact the price was double what Harding previously said the city could afford.
Purchasing Clapp’s 2nd floor library condo at any cost was the SCRIPT all along, IMHO!

Perhaps now, Yelm would consider buying the Fairpoint Building for their proposed $1 million community center, which the City Council tacked onto the Library bond without public discourse!

[This post was written by Steve Klein. Klein is a former 2003 Mayor appointee to the Yelm Library Citizens Advisory Board and subsequently that Board’s chosen Chair.]

September 28, 2012

Yelm: “New coptor procedures mean less noise”

Christian Hill reports in The Olympian:
“Army aviators training at Joint Base Lewis-McChord are no longer flying over highly populated areas of Thurston County in response to noise complaints.”

“Aviators also were instructed to increase their altitude to least 1,800 feet when flying near Rainier and Yelm. Hodges [Col. H. Charles Hodges Jr., Lewis-McChords new garrison commander] said the base also is studying whether helicopters can safely maneuver to training areas without having to fly outside the base.”

Read more

September 27, 2012

Donated blood needed in Puget Sound

From The Olympian:
“Western Washington’s blood supply has been reduced by a spike in demand over the past 10 days, prompting the Puget Sound Blood Center to call for donations.”

“It takes more than 900 donor registrations per day to maintain an operational supply in western Washington, the release said.

Donating blood takes less than an hour. Each donation of one pint can potentially save three lives.

Anyone interested in donating can schedule an appointment by calling 800-398-7888 or visit for donation centers and hours of operations for walk-ins.

There is a donation center in Olympia at 1220 Eastside Street SE, 360-352-1100.”
Read more

September 26, 2012

Yelm City Council leaves Y-5A intact, for development-
Surprise, surprise, surprise!

After so much public comment to remove this project, the Yelm City Council unanimously decided to leave the realignment of 93rd & Burnett at Yelm Ave (Y-5A) intact on the 6-year Transportation Plan.
To quote Gomer Pyle: click here


Editor’s Note:
Clearly, as the Council discussed with Yelm Community Development Director Grant Beck, the Y-5A is all about allowance for development.

The Staff Report even warned if the Y-5A is removed, development on the west side of town could be curtailed:
“it is possible that commercial developments within the western commercial core may be delayed or denied due to level of service failures along Yelm Avenue. An enhanced traffic study was completed when the Medical Center was permitted that examined build out of the western commercial core. This study indicated that at some point before full build out, the level of service along Yelm Avenue would drop to unacceptable levels without the Y5A improvement being in place. If Y5A is removed from the STIP, the City loses the ability to collect impact fees towards the improvement and could be in the position of denying development permits for new commercial developments.”

Interesting that the City of Yelm did not widen Yelm Ave. West to 5 lanes to handle traffic when they could several years ago, as recommended on this Blog then, to bring up “level of service” from the bottom level F at some intersections (i.e. Edwards, in front of the Middle School). Yet city staff are are concerned about “unacceptable levels without the Y5A improvement being in place” on the far western edge of city limits and to connect a residential county road (93rd)?

Come on guys – REALLY?
That’s the best you can do in the public interest?

September 26, 2012

Yelm’s 510 Roundabout to get repair – beware!

By Rob Carson in the Tacoma News Tribune:
“Later this week, crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation will reduce traffic to one alternating lane through a roundabout built in 2010 on State Route 510 in Yelm. The restriction is necessary so crews can repair curbing damaged by a vehicle.

A pilot car will provide an escort through the construction zone. The restriction will be in place from 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, to 5 a.m. Friday, Sept. 28. If needed, the restriction will also be in place from 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, to 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. Motorists are advised to expect delays.”
Read more

Ed. Note: I always thought the Yelm roundabout was too large and lanes too narrow, especially for trucks. One does not see roundabouts this wide in Europe, where they are much more prevalent than here.

Bottom line: Expect more damage in the future – this roundabout’s lanes are not wide enough to be negotiated easily and as traffic builds going straight through on 510 to the bypass, more damage such as this will occur. This was such a poorly planned roundabout.
And the original eastbound traffic lane to Yelm should have remained intact, rather than bringing that traffic to the roundabout, as well.

September 25, 2012

Proposition 1 – Public Power Forums today & Thursday

– Tuesday, September 25th @ 6pm: City of Yelm Public Hearing
The City of Yelm has scheduled a public hearing to receive public comment on Proposition 1, the Thurston Public Power Initiative. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the Public Safety Building, 206 McKenzie Ave SE at 6:00 pm as part of the regularly scheduled Yelm City Council meeting. Proposition 1 will be on Thurston County ballots November 6th and states, ‘Shall Public Utility District No.1 of Thurston County construct or acquire electric facilities for the generation, transmission or distribution of electric power?’
Click here for Yelm’s Public Hearing info, posted on MastersConnection2020.

– Thursday, September 27th @ 7pm: Forum in Olympia
Olympia, WAThis Thursday, September 27, the League of Women Voters, Thurston County Progressive Network, and The Olympian are sponsoring a community forumPublic Power: Yes or No on Proposition 1starting at 7 p.m. at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia.

Thurston County Proposition 1 qualified for the November ballot when a group called Thurston Public Power Initiative collected sufficient signatures from Thurston County registered voters as required by RCW 54.08.070. Proposition 1 asks for a Yes or a No to the question, ;Shall Thurston County Public Utility District 1 construct or acquire facilities for the generation, transmission, or distribution of electric power. The RCW also provides that if the Proposition receives a majority vote, the district shall be authorized to construct or acquire electric facilities.

The current provider of electricity in Thurston County is Puget Sound Energy (PSE), a privately-held corporation owned by the Australian investment bank, Macquarie, and with local offices in Bellevue. Both Puget Sound Energy and Thurston PUD have completed preliminary studies of the feasibility of an electrified PUD and, as would be expected, they differ greatly in scope and results. This Forum is an opportunity for both sides and their supporters to both be heard and hear from the people of Thurston County.

The highlight of Thursdays Forum promises to be the Question and Answer period during which attendees will be able to ask questions of the four speakersThurston County PUD Commissioner Jim Lazar, Puget Sound Energy Vice President , Corporate Affairs Andy Wappler, Thurston Public Power Initiative Chair John Pearce, and Alliance to Protect Thurston Power Co-Chair Ralph Munro. Grays Harbor Public Utility District Commissioner Tom Casey will also be present to answer questions about PUDs that already provide electricity for their customers.
Read more from the web site.


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