January 31, 2013

Ridgeline Middle School classes canceled Friday

From Yelm Community Schools:
“School is canceled for Ridgeline students February 1 due to a heating/boiler issue. Staff should report to school for assignment. All other schools are open as usual.”
Read more

And, last Monday, Ft. Stevens Elementary School was closed due to a water line break.
“The Water Line has been repaired, so we will be back on a regular schedule Tuesday, January 29th.”
Read more

January 31, 2013

“Fuddy Meers” community theater tonight thru Saturday

STANDING ROOM ONLY presents the award winning contemporary comedy, Fuddy Meers by David Lindsey-Abaire, voted New Yorks most promising Dramatist, 1999.

Fuddy Meers tells the story of an amnesiac, Claire, who awakens every morning as a blank slate, on which her husband and teenage son must imprint the facts of her life. The pattern of Claires days remains unchanged until one morning she is abducted by a limping, lisping man in a ski mask who claims her husband wants to kill her. The ensuing mayhem takes the family, the kidnapper, as well as a lady cop and a convict, to Claires grandmothers house, herself a stroke victim behind whose fractured language lies the revelation that the truth is never what it appears to be.

The play is directed by Nancy Tribush Hillman and features well known SRO performers, Sarah Brewer, Patrick Wigren, Doug Johnston, Sonia Pena, Mary Lou Mills, Jan Van Hess and Daniel Wyman.

WHERE: Gordon’s Grange, 302 Yelm Ave. E

WHEN: Jan. 31, 7:30pm and Feb. 1-2, 8:00pm

How: All seats $10

For reservations and information, call 360-446-2188

January 30, 2013

U.S. Rep. Heck holds “Open House” today in Lacey

Congressman Denny Heck was sworn in as a Member of the United States House of Representatives by House Speaker John Boehner January 3rd, 2013.
Rep. Heck with the 113th Freshmen class, standing on the center balcony,
4th from the right end


From the Press Release:
I would like to invite you to an Open House I am hosting to mark the opening of my 10th Congressional District Thurston/Mason County Office in Lacey, WA!
The event details are as follows:

Open House
January 30, 2013
From 4:00pm until 6:00pm
10th Congressional District Thurston/Mason County Office
420 College Street, S.E.
Suite 3000 (Third Floor)
Lacey, WA 98503

I hope you will be able to join me, meet my staff and learn about the services we can provide constituents of the 10th Congressional District. If you have any questions or are in need of directions, please call my District Staff at 360-459-8514. I look forward to seeing you!
Read more

Heck’s district office is located on the third floor of Lacey City Hall. Mayor Virgil Clarkson commented that the location of Congressman Hecks District Office in Laceys City Hall is a proud example of the way we can make government at both the local as well as the national level more open and accessible to our citizens. This partnership will be of great value to our community.

Washington, DC Office
425 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-9740
Hours: M-F 9-5:30pm

Congressman Hecks new website can be found at www.dennyheck.house.gov

January 29, 2013

Harding withdraws as County Auditor candidate –
Gary Alexander selected

Chelsea Krotzer reports in The Olympian:
“The Thurston County commission unanimously chose 2nd District lawmaker Gary Alexander to replace newly elected Secretary of State Kim Wyman as county auditor.

The decision was made during the commissions Tuesday afternoon meeting.”

“The third candidate, Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, pulled out of the running Monday, citing the desire to focus on ‘several high impact issues still unresolved’ in Yelm, according to a letter addressed to the commissioners.

‘I feel that even though becoming the next auditor would be a great honor, leaving my responsibilities as mayor at such a critical time would not be honorable,’ Harding said in the letter, citing the citys various road projects, water rights and the citys park master plan.'”
Read more

Ed. Note:
After two high-profile & top-headline, front-page stories in the Nisqually Valley News on January 25 and 18 quoting a robust Mayor Harding, plus an interview with the commissioners on January 22.

Why would the mayor withdraw the day before the commissioners were to choose an Auditor?
He knew about all of the city’s projects before & after he accepted being on the list!

Could the reason be the Assistant State Auditor just advised the City of Yelm they completed an audit after a “hotline referral” from this writer about an appearance of a conflict of interest on Mayor Harding’s part in May, 2010?

He was the then-Treasurer & President-elect of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and Mayor of Yelm and “brought a proposal to the chamber board to purchase an electronic sign” to rent to advertisers and be placed on a city-owned easement at the corner of Killion Rd. & Yelm Ave.

As Nisqually Valley News Editor/Publisher Keven Graves said in his May 21, 2010 Op-Ed:
“As mayor, Harding has the potential to knowingly or unknowingly ‘grease the skids’ for the chamber in this process.”

“I believe the ‘perception’ of a conflict of interest can be every bit as damaging as a genuine conflict of interest.”

The State Auditor’s results of the City of Yelm audit were outlined to me as follows:
A. Mayor Harding should have –
– identified publicly and to the council he was on the Yelm Chamber Board of Directors when the Chamber’s sign discussion(s) occurred.
– recused himself of any and all Chamber sign discussion(s), allowing Mayor Pro-tem Isom to conduct this discussion, as council member McGowan does by example on all library issues, as he is a TRL employee.
3. “bent over backwards” to prevent any and all appearances of a conflict of interest.
This has been communicated verbally with the city by the Auditor’s office.

B. The City of Yelm did not properly follow procedures requiring a city of Yelm’s size to publicly post any contract details the city proposes over $10,000.

The State examined city procedures & conducted an audit of the city in 2012.
I did not hear from them until now and thought they had just ignored my letter.
Such was not the case. They meticulously examined all facets of the city’s operations on this issue.

The State Auditor is therefore sending a letter to the city to remedy these issues in the future, which will also be posted on the State Auditor’s website, for the public’s welfare.

Klein was a Yelm mayoral candidate in 2005, running against Harding.

January 29, 2013

Mary Hall announces for Thurston County Auditor

Olympia resident Mary Hall announce on Monday, January 22, 2013 her candidacy for Thurston County Auditor in the November, 2013.
Read more

Hall has 16 years election administrative experience in the Pierce County Auditor’s office.
Read more

Yelm Mayor Ron Harding is one of three Republican candidates being considered by Thurston County Commissioners to fill the vacant County Auditor’s position until the Fall, 2013 election. Harding says he has 20 years business management experience – as a contractor running a partnership business in Yelm with his wife, and lists no education beyond high school.
Read more about Harding’s “baggage” below this story.

January 29, 2013

Nisqually Valley News omits facts about Yelm’s Harding –
as County Auditor candidate

Yelm Mayor Ron Harding

“The Thurston County Republicans have named three candidates to replace secretary of state-elect Kim Wyman as Thurston County auditor. Yelm Mayor Ron Harding is one of three considered by the Thurston County Commissioners, as Wyman became the 15th secretary of state Jan. 16, leaving her county position open until the election in November.

The Nisqually Valley News (NVN) published Harding-for-Auditor stories heralded on the front pages the last two weeks. However reporter Steven Wyble omitted many facts about Harding’s history, while understandable since he is so new at the NVN, however facts his readers, the public and Thurston County Commissioners should be aware in considering Mr. Harding for any position:

– July 31, 2005:
The Tacoma News Tribune reported, “The city of 4,455 [Yelm] is the fastest-growing city in Thurston County.”

“The Ramtha school brought some of these newcomers, but many others unaffiliated with the group were drawn by lower housing prices compared with bigger cities, work at nearby Fort Lewis or the dream of living in a quaint community off the beaten path.

These transplants never knew a Yelm without Ramtha. And many say the school has been a positive influence in their community.”
Read more by Angie Leventis.

Ed. Note: Now, in 2013, the City of Yelm has almost doubled the population since 2005 with about 8,000 people and is in the top 10 growing cities in the state, thanks to Harding’s unbridled growth policies. Harding has been an advocate of grow-Yelm-at-all costs since first elected to the Yelm City Council in 2001 and acknowledged the growth here is now driven by JBLM military families.

– September, 2005:
Then-city council member and mayoral candidate Ron Harding refused an invitation by the Nisqually Valley News to participate in a candidates’ Town Hall Forum on the issues and to this day, has never held a Town Hall with his constituents.

Ed,. Note: Harding’s State of the City addresses are his only public presentations on city issues outside of Yelm City Council sessions and are delivered before a closed-to-the-public group of Yelm Chamber of Commerce members once a year, a chamber on which he sits as a board of director.

– October 1, 2005:
In the 2005 Thurston County Voters Pamphlet, Harding said he was then 39 years old and had “more than twenty years with “business management experience.”

Ed. Note: So in 2005, Harding asserted since age 19, he has “business management experience.” He was listed only as co-owner of a local contractor and his family has a flower business. Harding has no college education and experience beyond high school and the confines of his Yelm representations.

– October 17, 2005:
The Olympian Editorial Board said this about then-candidate Harding, running for his first term as mayor at the time [Harding ran unopposed for mayor in 2009].
“Councilman Ron Harding is giving up his council seat to run for mayor. As a fifth-generation Yelm resident who is active in the local chamber and community events, Harding sees the mayor’s job as the next logical step in his political career.”

‘He sees himself as more favorable to growth than his opponent.'”

Where we find fault with Harding is his failure to stand up for citizens who want to speak to the council.

Mayor Adam Rivas in effect issued a gag order against people talking about Wal-Mart at council sessions. And Harding was complicit in that censorship. He should have insisted his citizens be heard.

Ed. Note: Harding says he wants to advance a political career.
His Yelm growth policies have come at a cost: traffic, pollution, water issues, crime & stress on city infrastructure.

And, the ACLU challenged Yelm City Council’s “speak no Wal-Mart” policy in 2005 on which Harding was Mayor Pro-tem, receiving the Jefferson Muzzle Award for prohibiting citizens from using the terms Wal-Mart or big box stores public council sessions.
Read more

– October 23, 2005:
The Tacoma News Tribune asked then-mayoral-candidate Harding:
“How can the city do more to get all its diverse residents more involved in the public process?

“Getting more citizens involved is important to all elected officials. Encouraging diverse groups to get involved makes our process even stronger. As mayor, I would over time reschedule local meetings to be more convenient for the public. In addition the city would sponsor local forums, as needed to update the public regarding our progress.”

In the same column, under Harding’s Education (post high school graduation), was: “none listed.”

Ed. Note: While the Yelm City Council moved their meetings from Wednesday to Tuesday to accommodate the NVN publishing deadline, and then later the start time was switched from 7pm to 6pm, there has been NO city-sponsored local forum since Harding became mayor in January, 2006.
Harding has no college education and experience beyond high school and the confines of his Yelm representations.

– December 6, 2005:
A month after the City of Yelm election for mayor in which he won, the State of WA. Public Disclosure Commission notified mayor-elect Harding of this:
“apparent failure to include real property on your F-1 report filed May 11, 2005. Based on our telephone conversation today [Dec. 6, 2005 where the PDC contacted Harding], it appears that real property was left off your most recent F-1 report.”

“In addition, you need to include the Rental Income from the rental property in Part 1, Income.”

Ed, Note: ANY “20-year Business Management” experienced candidate would never just forget to report rental property on a public disclosure document.

Ed. Note:
Looking back many years, the only year City of Yelm voters only had choice of mayoral candidates was in 2005, as all other mayoral candidates ran unopposed (2009, 2001, etc.). Harding has NEVER been challenged in a Town Hall Forum with the pubic for his positions on any of his views.

Harding told the Thurston County Commissioners last week he had 20 years business management experience. Shouldn’t he now have 27 years business management experience, since he used the same line 7+ years ago? Can’t he add?

Bottom line: Is this the type of person we want as Thurston County Auditor or in any political position?

Blog writer Klein was a 2005 Yelm mayoral candidate.

January 28, 2013

‘Tahoma Vista Free Clinic’ to dissolve

With the recent announcement that Sea Mar will purchase the former Yelm Family Medicine Building with to open a clinic here in 2013 [covered here January 18, 2013], the Tahoma Vista Free Clinic has announced that they will dissolve.

Sea Mar provides “quality, comprehensive health and human services in Washington State.”
“More than 90 percent of Sea Mars clients had incomes below the federal poverty level,” which is similar to the group Tahoma Vista was aiming to serve.

Tahoma Vista’s Dr. Bill Elledge said,
“As some of our team pointed out, the idea of a free clinic in Yelm was born out of a perceived need for medical care for those in need and without access, and the availability of a clinic space from which to meet that need. And ultimately this new and unintended outcome will fulfill that mission: SeaMar will provide that care, and from the very space which we originally planned-and in a much more comprehensive way than a free clinic could ever hope to do. So, though we likely won’t be directly involved, the end result is even better than we ever dreamed.”

“So now I think it’s time to celebrate the coming of SeaMar to the community. This is truly an exciting development, and one that is full of potential. If is some way you all can support their effort as much as you have ours, SeaMar will have a great start in a very welcoming community!”

The Yelm Community Blog congratulates Dr. Elledge and all of the volunteers expending countless hours as a group of concerned citizens who planned to implement a Free Clinic in the Yelm-Rainier area. We are grateful for their efforts.

January 27, 2013

Introducing Rainier High Senate Page Kade Brackett

Sen. Randi Becker & Rainier Page Kade Brackett in the Capitol
Photo courtesy: WA State Sen. Randi Becker’s Capitol Bulletin

From Sen. Becker’s January 25, 2013 Capitol Bulletin:
“It was a pleasure to sponsor Kade Brackett for the Senate Page program this week. Kade is a sophomore at Rainier High School. In his free time, he participates in FFA and last summer I was able to bid on Kades pig at the Thurston County Fair. Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be a champion pig and I couldnt afford it! Kade is a great young man and I really enjoyed getting to know him, particularly after being able to sponsor his brother for the page program as well.”

About the Senate Page Program
“The Senate Page Program is open to Washington students between the ages of 14 and 16. Pages spend a week at the capitol attending classes and assisting with legislative duties. If you know of any students who are interested in applying, please have them contact my office,” quoting Sen. Becker’s Jan. 25 Capitol Bulletin.

Read more about the Senate Page Program.

January 26, 2013

Yelm Animal Alliance saved 27 dogs in 2012

Steven Wyble of the Nisqually Valley News reported January 25, 2013:
“Yelm City Council voted Tuesday [January 22] to renew its service provider contract with Yelm Animal Alliance.

The city first entered into an agreement with Yelm Animal Alliance in 2010 to foster and adopt unclaimed dogs from Yelm animal shelter.

The arrangement was formalized in a service provider contract in February 2012.

That contract expired Dec. 31, 2012.

In 2012, Yelm Animal Alliance provided fostering and adoption of 27 unclaimed dogs from the citys animal shelter.

‘Thats 27 dogs that would have gone to Thurston County for euthanasia,’ said City Administrator Shelley Badger. ‘So its a very valuable service that we get for a very, very reasonable amount.'”
Read more

Editor’s note:
While City Administrator Badger and Mayor Harding are jumping all over themselves in this story with “high-fives”, Wyble omitted that kudos really go to the Yelm Animal Alliance and their volunteers who dedicated countless hours and effort educating the City of Yelm to take the issue of an Animal Shelter seriously, all while finding homes for dogs all those years. The Yelm City Council’s embarrassing lack of knowledge on this issue was discussed here beginning in May 2008 [click here and start at bottom].

While the Yelm City Council was not very supportive and sidestepped the issue by focusing on spay/neuter questions, a conversation was begun as stated here December 2, 2008.

Back then, the City of Yelm’s animal control was only housing stray animals that were picked up, taken to the less-than-adequate Public Works facilities on Rhoton Road, from where the city would hold animals for owners to reunite with their pets for 10 business days and if not claimed, then turn them over to be euthanized. I know as I visited when they had animals there.

Blessings to YAA President Elizabeth Felix and YAA volunteers for finally getting the city to recognize the value of a pet fostering program that was signed in February, 2012.

Our patting-themselves-on-the-backs city leaders also deserve acknowledgment for the small role they played in saving 27 unclaimed dogs in 2012.
Read more and contribute to the YAA.

January 25, 2013

Monday, January 28 in Yelm

Sandra Romero

Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hours in Rainier and Yelm on Monday, January 28th:

Grains and Gardens
Meet with District 2 Commissioner Sandra Romero and her guest, WSU Extension Director Dr. Lucas Patzek, PhD, and learn about how Thurston County WSU Extension can help provide you with the resources you need this growing season.

There is a lot happening in Thurston County and we want to hear from you!
These coffees give you the opportunity to talk about issues of concern, ask the Commissioner questions about the county, and share ideas.
Commissioner Romero provides participants’ coffee that she pays for herself. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

Citizen meeting with second district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

Monday, January 28, 2013


– Rainier: 9:30am 10:30am at Rainier City Hall, 102 Rochester St W

– Yelm: 11:00am Noon at ** new location ** Tacos Gaby.
Read more


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