March 24, 2014

CBS News: “Drones over America”

“Will the skies of the future be filled with buzzing drones? Morley Safer explores the new, hardly regulated world of commercial drones,” quoting CBS News 60 MINUTES broadcast March 16, 2014.
Click here for the video.

March 24, 2014

“The Kochtopus” & The Waltons – local impacts

Photo credit: Jared Rodriguez/Truthout

With several of our area politicians on the receiving end of Koch Brothers’ funding via their association with ALEC (often referred to as “The Kochtopus”), and the recent Business Examiner report highlighting that the City of Yelm turned their backs to issue a Wal-Mart building permit without having a Bypass constructed within 7 years of their opening to mitigate their traffic, the following recent stories demonstrate how these two families’ moneys are affecting us locally. As examples, our local politicians’ connections:

– Recent Thurston County Auditor candidate and retired Rep. Gary C. Alexander (R-2), was an ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member.
– Health Care Committee Chair Sen. Randi Becker is a member of the ALEC Education Task Force.

– “Six of the Top Ten U.S. Billionaires Are Kochs and Waltons”
“The profits of corporate giants that crash our economy and corrupt our politics deserve your outrage. But the efforts to curb them need your creative energy.”

“For the first time ever, according to Forbes magazine, the 400 richest Americans have more than $2 trillion in combined wealth. And, a fifth of that amount is held by just 10 individuals. Of those top 10 richest Americans, six hail from two familiesthe Kochs and the Waltonswho are destroying our economy and corrupting our politics. We all should be outraged.

Arguably, the two most urgent tasks in this country are to transform our economy and to clean up our politics, and these two families stand in the way of both.

Our economy is addicted to fossil fuels and Charles and David Kochs company, Koch Industries, is a key driver with investments in pipelines and refineries across the United States. These two Koch brothers rank four and five on the billionaire list.

In addition, our economy is marked by stagnating wages, which have sunk to poverty levels for millions of workers. The key driver of our low-wage economy is Walmart, with its 11,000 stores worldwide that pay so little that many of its workers get by on food stamps. The four main heirs to Walmarts founder, Sam Walton, rank numbers six, seven, eight, and nine on the billionaires list. Three sit on the Walmart board, including Rob Walton, the board chair. (Other U.S. billionaires have made their fortunes in destructive Wall Street financial firms and through the generous government handouts of what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”)

The problem is, of course, not just economics. Its the way that economics interacts with politics. The Koch brothers have poured some of their combined $72 billion in wealth into conservative and tea party politicians at the governor and state legislature levels,” quoting John Cavanagh, Robin Broad in Yes! Magazine.
Read more

– “What Wal-Mart is telling us about middle and lower income consumers”
“Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has cut its outlook for the fourth-quarter of 2013. And that may have a lot to do with the American consumer, particularly those in the lower and middle income segments.”

“According to Steve Cortes, founder of Veracruz TJM, Wal-Mart shares are suffering because consumers in the lower income are having a rough time with high costs. Wal-Mart’s stock is down nearly 5% so far in 2014,” quoting Lawrence Lewitinn in Yahoo!
Read more

– “Issue ad or political ad? You be the judge”
“School board candidates backed by Koch-connected nonprofit”
From Rachel Baye from The Center for Public Integrity
Read more

– “Judge rules tea party group a PAC, not a nonprofit”
“A Travis County district court judge ruled this week that a Houston-based tea party group is not a nonprofit corporation as it claims, but an unregistered political action committee that illegally aided the Republican Party through its poll-watching efforts during the 2010 elections,” quoting Joe Holley in the Houston Chronicle.

March 23, 2014

Official Document issued on detained Yelm couple

The official public document of the
“Memorandum of Law in Support of Extradition”
from Magistrate Judge Karen L. Strombom
of the

is now available from the website of Nisqually Valley News (NVN) reporter Steven Wyble:
Click here

Quoting from the document:
Extradition is primarily an executive responsibility with a specially defined role for a judicial officer, who is authorized by statute to determine whether to certify to the Secretary of State that the submitted evidence is sufficient to sustain the charge. 18 U.S.C. 3184. The Secretary of State, and not the court, makes the decision regarding whether the fugitive should be surrendered to the requesting country.

March 23, 2014

“Court Filings for Adult Marijuana Possession Offenses PLUMMET” in WA

From the ACLU of Washington:
“Passed by Washington voters on November 6, 2012, Initiative 502 legalized marijuana possession for adults age 21 and over when it went into effect 30 days later. New data show the law is having a dramatic effect on prosecutions for misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses in Washington courts. The ACLU of Washingtons analysis of court data, provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts, reveals that filings for low-level marijuana offenses have precipitously decreased from 2009 to 2013:

2009 7964
2010 6743
2011 6879
2012 5531
2013 120

‘The data strongly suggest that I-502 has achieved one of its primary goals to free up limited police and prosecutorial resources. These resources can now be used for other important public safety concerns,’ says Mark Cooke, Criminal Justice Policy Counsel for the ACLU of Washington.”
Read more

March 22, 2014

Delta Airlines inflight SKY Magazine’s Seattle coverage

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Photo courtesy: Delta SKY Magazine

Delta Airlines featured Seattle area companies and Seattle-based Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on the cover of their March 2014 SKY Magazine in the seat-back pockets on all worldwide flights for the month, commemorating the Atlanta-based carrier’s decision to make Seattle an international hub.
Read more

Click here

March 21, 2014

County Commissioner Romero’s Coffee Mon., March 24 –

About Commissioner Sandra Romero

Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hours in Rainier and Yelm on Monday, March 24th:

There is a lot happening in Thurston County and we want to hear from you!
Once a month, Commissioner Romero meets with community members for informal coffee chats. These meetings give you the opportunity to talk about issues of concern, ask her questions about the county, and share ideas. Commissioner Romero provides participants’ coffee. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

Citizen meeting with 2nd district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

Monday, March 24, 2014


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

– Yelm: 11:00am Noon at regular location
Tacos Gaby, 307 Yelm Ave E
Read more

March 20, 2014

Spring begins in Yelm today @ 9:57am PDT

“In 2014, spring begins with the vernal equinox on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. EDT.
Heres more information about the equinox, signs of spring, and stunning spring photos!” quoting the The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Read more

March 19, 2014

“Libertarian Steven Nielson taking on…Rep. J.T. Wilcox”

Interestingly, the day after this story ran in the Yelm Community Blog, The Olympian covers the same topic:
“Libertarian Steven Nielson taking on GOP Rep. J.T. Wilcox in 2nd LD”
By Brad Shannon in The Olympian.
Read more

March 19, 2014

More intrusion in our lives?

– “Small town America shouldn’t resemble war zone”
“Why do police departments need military vehicles and weapons?”

“Something potentially sinister is happening across America, and we should stop and take notice before it changes the character of our country forever. County, city and small-town police departments across the country are now acquiring free military-grade weapons that could possibly be used against the very citizens and taxpayers that not only fund their departments but who the police are charged with protecting,” by Hank Johnson and Michael Shank in USA TODAY.
Read more

– “Crews to begin removing trees on I-5 to put in new traffic cameras”
“First, 500 trees between Lakewood and Lacey must go, then cameras will help improve traffic”

“Contract loggers soon will remove about 500 trees along Interstate 5 between Lakewood and Lacey to improve sight lines for new state traffic cameras.

Seven closed-circuit TV cameras will be installed along the 14 miles between state Route 510 in Lacey and state Route 512 in Lakewood. The cameras need clear lines of sight to operate properly, the Transportation Department says.

WSDOT says the stream of live images from the cameras will help it manage traffic and communicate real-time traffic conditions to the public,” by Rob Carson in The Olympian.
Read more

Editor’s Note:
How much more intrusion in our lives do we need to “keep us safe?”

To quote one of this nation’s founders Benjamin Franklin:
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

– Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 – 1790)

March 18, 2014

Introducing the Thurston Bountiful Byway

Logo courtesy: Thurston Bountiful Byway

“On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners is slated to designate a nearly 60-mile route as the Thurston Bountiful Byway.

The scenic course which skirts the county beginning in the Nisqually Valley, stretching to Rainier and Yelm, up to Capitol Forest and ending at the intersection of Mud Bay Road and Delphi Road Southwest was created to help promote tourism in the rural areas of the county, according to county commissioner Sandra Romero. Its part of the countys larger plan to promote agritourism, she said.

‘The goal is to entice people to get off the freeway and tour Thurston County,’ she added ‘To really see it and appreciate it because we have so much bounty here.’

The route was developed in partnership with the county, the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau, Thurston County WSU Extension, the Thurston Regional Planning Council, and several farmers, business owners and others, according to county officials,” quoting Lisa Pemberton in The Olympian.
Read more


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