September 24, 2015

Saturday: Thurston Preparedness Expo comes to Yelm for the 1st time!

– Hope for the Best…Prepare for the Worst!
Emergency Preparedness Expo
Saturday, September 26, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Yelm High School
1315 Yelm Ave. W.
Yelm, WA. 98597

This years Emergency Preparedness Expo “is a great opportunity for our local residents to come out and spend a day learning and purchasing items associated with emergency management,” quoting Todd Stancil, Yelm Chief of Police.
Click here for Printable Flyer.

– Guest Speakers/Schedule:
10:30 a.m. Ted Buehner, National Weather Service
Winter Weather Outlook and Impacts

1:30 p.m. Andrew Kinney, TC Emergency Management
Thurston County Hazards

– Information Booths Include:
Realistic Survival Equipment Outfitters
Rescue Tape NW
Thurston County ARES/RACES
Thurston County Sheriff’s CSU Team
Thurston County Sheriff’s Dive Team
Thurston County Sheriff’s K9 Team
Thurston County Solid Waste
Yelm Amateur Radio Group
Washington Military Department 419 Systems, LLC

– For More Information Contact:
Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management,
360-867-2825 or email
Read more

September 23, 2015

Roger Erskine resigns at Thurston County Democrats Chair

Roger Erksine
Courtesy: Thurston County Dems

– Roger Erskine resigns as Chair of Thurston Democrats
“Thurston County Democratic Chair Roger Erskine has resigned for health reasons. He will remain closely involved with the party’s Executive Committee and is helping with party business and a leadership succession plan. Your good wishes are much appreciated,” quoting the Thurston County Democrats.
Read more about Erskine’s role.

Editor’s note:
I have had the sincere pleasure of being approached several years ago by Mr. Erskine to expand the Thurston Democrats reach into the Yelm area. I have sponsored forums here for Democratic candidates, leading to Rep. Denny Heck coming to Yelm in support of then-candidate Auditor Mary Hall, who was successfully elected. The Yelm area districts’ support led to Hall being the first Democratic County Auditor in 71 years.

I wish Roger and his family well. I all-ways found him a man of backbone and integrity in a sea of politicians where what I heard then-Presidential candidate Bo Gritz say in Puyallup in the early 1990’s is mostly true:
“I have only two things to say abut politics – “poli” means many and “tic” is a blood-sucker.

Erskine’s passion, charisma, morals and ethics propelled Thurston Democrats to achieve new heights not seen here in decades. He will have huge shoes required to be filled.
Godspeed you kind and humble man.
You are remembered and loved!

September 23, 2015

Yelm Business Assn. on Community Center naming for Kathy Wolf

– Naming the Yelm Community Center for former mayor Kathy Wolf and to honor the Wolf Family
Last June, the Yelm City Council heard a suggestion on behalf of the Yelm Business Association (YBA) read by Executive Director Dan Crowe, with the entire YBA Board present, to name the soon-to-be-completed Yelm Community Center for former Mayor Kathy Wolf. The proposal has the approval of the Wolf Family and the formal written letter was also presented to Mayor Harding and the Yelm City Council.

After hearing nothing from the Yelm City Council, the YBA submitted a second request to the Yelm City Council to name the community center for Kathy Wolf when opened next month.
Read more of the full letter.

– Yelm Business Association Reschedules Art Show
As reported in the Nisqually Valley News September 18, 2015, “Yelm Business Association Reschedules Art Show”
“because of the city’s initial determination that each artists participating in the art show be required to have a business license, may artists declined to participate.”
The City of Yelm finally changed their requirement after checking with other nearby cities and discovered none of them required a business license from art show participants, which limited participation.
Read more from the full YBA letter that was printed verbatim in the NVN.

Yelm Blogger Steve Klein is a Yelm Business Assn. founding Board member.

September 22, 2015

Yelm City Council to enact needed Finance Dept. changes tonight

Public Safety Building housing Council Chambers, Yelm

The Yelm City Council is expected to approve changes in the organization and staffing of the Finance and Administrative department this evening.

From the City of Yelm Staff report:
Subj: Authority as agency representatives to access financial information

Authorize the following individuals: Noah Crocker, Finance Director and Janine Schnepf, City Clerk/HR Manager as agency representatives with the authority to access bank, loan, account and other financial information as required on behalf of the City of Yelm.

The City of Yelm has had some changes in the organization and staffing of the Finance and Administrative departments, and as such need to authorize the new Department Head with authority to access bank, loan, account and other financial information on behalf of the City.

Editor’s note:
With the loss of former City Administrator Shelly Badger and Mayor Harding assuming many of those functions (unpaid according to him), yet not posting the City Administrator position to seek a replacement, the hiring of Noah Crocker as Finance Director, who brings a sterling reputation to Yelm from Olympia, will provide some needed stability to financial matters, what with the leaking dike of frequent personnel changes at City Hall. Hopefully, Mr. Crocker will have a long tenure in Yelm, though the staff changes in this position after hiring previous qualified replacements gives one cause to reflect otherwise, what with has been described as the mayor’s dictatorial management style and several city staff having been released or “jumped ship.”

September 22, 2015

Chinese President to stop in Tacoma tomorrow

Chinese President Xi Jinping
Photo credit: Lintao Zhang

– “Chinese President schedules stop in Tacoma”
“Tacoma’s Lincoln High School is getting a special visitor [Wed., Sept. 23]: The paramount leader of China himself, President Xi Jinping.

The Sept. 23 visit comes twenty years after Jinping came to personally witness the establishment of Tacoma’s Sister Cities relationship with Fuzhou, when he was Chairman of the Standing Committee of Fuzhou Municipal People’s Congress.

‘Tacoma is an international port city with strong ties to China,’ said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. ‘Since 1994, our cities have both benefited from a variety of educational, cultural and sports exchanges, and Tacoma has hosted at least 30 delegations from Fuzhou.’

Jinping will also visit Boeing’s Paine Field, Microsoft’s main campus and Seattle, where he will host a technology forum,” quoting the Business Examiner.
Read more

– “Expect really bad traffic as China’s president comes to Seattle”
Keep up to date on traffic issues in Puget Sound from KING-5 TV News.
Read more

September 22, 2015

Fall begins in Yelm –
Autumnal Equinox tonight just after midnight

Yelm, Stevens St, Oct. 11, 2012
Photo credit: Yelm Community Blog

“Fall begins on September 23, early in the morning at 4:21 A.M. (ET) [1:21 A.M. Yelm time],” quoting The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Read more

September 21, 2015

Opinion: Yelm newspaper should also check their facts!


I take issue with Nisqually Valley News (NVN) Editor/Publisher Michael Wagar criticizing an unidentified Yelm City Council candidate in his Op-Ed this week titled:
“Candidates Need to Fact Check Before Throwing Stones”
regarding Yelm City Council candidates’ statements at the Chamber-sponsored forum September 8:

1. Yelm Police Dept. staffing
Wagar said, “One candidate said the Yelm Police Department is at the same level as it was 20 years ago. The truth is that in 1995 the city had seven officers at a cost of $489,000. Today we have 12 with a department cost of $1.6 million.”

If Mr. Wagar did the math, he would note the City Council candidate was correct:
* In 1995, the $489,000 police dept. expense for 7 officers per 2,500 residents = $196 per resident.
Note: The $196 per resident spent in 1995 equates to over $300 per resident in today’s equivalent dollars.
* In 2014, the $1.6 million police dept. expense for 12 officers per 8,223 residents = $195 per resident.
* In 1995, 7 officers equaled one for every 357 residents.
* In 2014, 12 officers equaled one for every 685 residents.

The statistics reflect the City Council candidate was CORRECT in asserting “the Yelm Police Department is at the same level as it was 20 years ago” – on dollars spent on Police staffing per resident, yet Wagar did not follow-up to ask about the category of the comparison. Yet, the police staffing per resident today is almost half of what it was in 1995.

Wagar said:
“I do, however, suspect our staffing levels for our current population and volume of police calls are below standard, which is an issue that needs to be addressed. The Nisqually Valley News intends to publish a news article about current police staffing levels in next week’s edition.”

Editor’s note:
We’ll look forward to that report, however these statistics should be duly noted, rather than unrighteously putting down a council candidate’s comments. That the NVN did not follow-up with the candidate to get the details is also placing their spin on this issue through omission of the facts!

2. Why Ice Chips did not move their manufacturing facility within the Yelm city limits
Wagar said, “Another inaccurate statement at the forum has been circulating around the city for about a year. It has to do with the Ice Chips grannies expanding and moving their operations out of town because the city wouldn’t allow them to grow here in Yelm.”

“They did ask if there was any space available already built in the area, was told there were no existing structures they were seeking, and that was the extent of their dealings with the city.”

The NVN published on November 6, 2014 why Ice Chips did not relocate within Yelm City Limits, which also differs with Mr. Wagar’s assertions:
The two [Ice Chips owners Beverly Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary] were even considering constructing their own building, but were told by city of Yelm Building Official Gary Carlson and Yelm Mayor Ron Harding they did not think they could zone the business, according to Vines-Haines.

‘I feel bad, because I love Yelm, but cities that keep business away never reach the status they think they are,’ she said.

‘When I read about Yelm in the Chamber of Commerce information, it’s read like they’re pro-growth,’ Clary said. ‘What concerns me is that they might think they are, and they are so not.'”

Looking for “any space available already built in the area” was NOT the “the extent of their dealings with the city,” as Mr. Wagar stated. His own newspaper reported the Ice Chips owners “were even considering constructing their own building, but were told by city of Yelm Building Official Gary Carlson and Yelm Mayor Ron Harding they did not think they could zone the business.”

Yet, the City of Yelm has an industrial zone, as another council candidate thoroughly discussed at the forum which needs to be exploited.

3. Yelm water rates
The issue raised was the fact that there have been ANNUAL water/sewer increases for Yelm property owners since 2008, to fund a more the infrastructure for a doubling of Yelm’s water rights to grow this town, yet is the subject of a WA Supreme Court case in which the City of Yelm is currently a defendant. What will Yelm do with the property owners’ water/sewer system expansion funds if they lose this case and not be allowed to have a more than doubling of the city’s water rights?
Read more

The annual per capital water/sewer rate increases for Yelm property owners from 2008-2015 are some of the highest anywhere locally.

Mr. Wagar’s closing sentence of his Op-Ed also applies to him, does it not?
“As is the case for everyone and every business, we can all do better, and that includes the city administration.
But before throwing stones, I urge all to check the facts first.

September 21, 2015

Yelm Community Schools infrastructure needs our help

When the scent of natural gas was detected, classes were cancelled at Yelm High School less than a week into the new school year, due to an emergency closure Monday, September 14. This is yet again a clarion call that the aging infrastructure [and overcrowding] in the Yelm Community Schools needs voter attention, especially during the levies.

– “Yelm High cancels classes for gas leak”
“Students are expected to return to classes Tuesday at Yelm High School, which underwent an emergency closure Monday.

The scent of natural gas was detected at the school at about 5:10 a.m. by the assistant principal, according to principal Brian Wharton,” quoting Lisa Pemberton, The Olympian.
Read more

– How you can help
Contact “Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools” for information on how you can contribute and assist in educating the pubic on school levy issues
Click here

The Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools Auction is Wednesday, September 30,
5pm Social, Dinner, Raffle & Silent Auction
6:15pm Live Auction

Nisqually Springs Farm
17835 SR 507
Yelm WA.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools replacement levy campaign fund.

To donate an item, contact:

September 20, 2015

Yelm Timberland Library Children’s Story Time Wednesday & Thursday

Yelm’s Timberland Regional Library, 2nd floor
Photo courtesy: Yelm Community Blog

– Toddler Story Time
Yelm Timberland Library Wed., Sep. 23 10:30 AM
Programs include simple stories, rhymes, songs, & movement games that children and adults can enjoy together.

– Preschool Story Time
Yelm Timberland Library Thu., Sep. 24 10:30 AM
Join in a program of stories, rhymes, songs and movement games. Parents or caregivers are welcome to attend with their children.

Click here for a calendar of more of these type of events in the fiuture.

September 19, 2015

Rainier’s Dr. Ana Mihalcea making news

Dr. Ana Mihalcea is 5th from the left
Photo courtesy: Providence Health & Services, Southwest WA

– “Regional Providence Geriatric Center of Excellence Fall Prevention Program Launched”
“A recent Providence St. Peter Foundation grant of $40,000 awarded to the Geriatric Center of Excellence at Providence Clinic at Panorama is resulting in a collaborate effort between the Providence Medical Group, Providence St. Peter Hospital Rehab Services, the Department of Health and community organizations to help reduce falls in senior citizens.

In Thurston County, 41 percent of older adults have fallen at least once in 2012 per WA DOH statistics. Nationally, 1 in 3 older adults fall once a year. Falls cause injuries, fractures, hospitalizations and loss of independence.

The grant is to fund training, education, marketing, and administration of the Falls Prevention Program across a continuum of care. Providers, Rehabilitation staff and community fitness instructors work together to create a safer geriatric community together and reduce the risk of falls.

The Integrative Geriatric Center for Excellence (GCOE) Fall Prevention program, under Leadership of Medical Director Ana Mihalcea, M.D., has been implemented by the Panorama Clinic provider team – Dr. Rennie, Dr. Elliott and Alison Meyer ARNP. Providers are using the CDC’s STEADI guidelines and offer multifactorial fall risk factor modification visits. The program will be expanded to Providence St. Peter Family Medicine Residency in the near future.”

“Community outreach and education events were attended by Smith and other therapists, … Dr. Mihalcea will be presenting with therapists at the Panorama City Fall Prevention event Sept. 23,” quoting Providence Health & Services, Southwest Washington in Thurston Talk.
Read more

Click here to read Dr. Mihacea’s inspiration for creating a Fall Prevention Program for older adults in our region published in the RSE-Newsletter.


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