April 30, 2016

National Geographic chooses Yelm Award-Winning Rory Sagner’s photo

A CHERISHED MEMORIAL: Yelm Photographer’s Mother’s end of life portrait
published in the National Geographic Your Shot story “When Death Comes.”
Photo Courtesy: Rory Sagner Photography

– Editor’s note:
After reading about Yelm-area photographer Rory Sagner’s impressive achievement of having her photo selected for publishing by National Geographic, I asked if she would share her touching story with Yelm Community Blog readers. Rory’s story is important in the simplicity expressed and is unabridged.
Click here for Rory’s photo selected by National Geographic.

– From the photographer:
“I’ve spent the better part of the last 5 years managing the affairs of and helping to care for my mother who had multiple health issues, all of which finally culminated in cancer, dementia and then her death just over a year ago. I’m sure many of this Blog’s readers have found themselves in, or currently are in a similar situation, so know firsthand how challenging it can be on every level. While I am a licensed CNA and have worked as such for many years, I’ve also been a photographer and artist for most of my life. Shortly after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, I took mom home on hospice and spent the last 13 months of her life with her. It was a time of wonder and incredible gifts, the greatest of them being an experience of unconditional love. However, it was also an incredibly difficult time in that her care was very demanding and the dementia in particular was a great challenge to deal with. Out of necessity nearly every aspect of my own life was put on hold during those 13 months including my photography business, however I found that actually taking photos was a way of not only maintaining my sanity in an incredibly trying situation, but gave both myself, my mom, and others a great deal of joy. I took photos of my mom with friends, family, caregivers, hospice staff….anyone and everyone, including portraits of her at various times during that period. Those photos not only served to give happiness, but also helped my mom remember who was who in the face of a rapidly escalating short term memory loss. Looking through a book of photographs with favorite quotes and poems that I’d made for her 82nd birthday was one of her absolute favorite daily activities. I added photos to that book, which I’d made in a ringed binder with that in mind, on a regular basis. The last photo I took of her, barely able to focus the camera through tears, was two days before she died. She was unconscious, but looked so incredibly beautiful to me.

I found out a short while ago that portrait was just published in the National Geographic story, “When Death Comes.” A few of you know, (but most probably do not), that after she died I literally could not rest until I had edited that particular photo and although greatly conflicted about it at the time, I surrendered to a compelling need to upload it to my National Geographic Your Shot gallery. Later on I came to understand why, and wrote about how I realized it was not only an attempt to hold onto her, but that it was not enough for only me to know that she was gone. She’d been such a huge part of my life that I needed to share my grief with the world. Now I am so glad that I followed that compulsion, not only because it’s been published, but more so because of all the people that it’s drawn into my life who are also trying to navigate the challenges of helping care for loved ones and overwhelming grief. In one case a woman wrote to me that after seeing that photo (and it’s commentary) it gave her permission and courage to photograph her own mother who was also dying from cancer…something they were both wanting, but afraid to do. Being able to help others through my work is the real treasure.

It is strange and yet so perfect that this is the first of my photos to be published in a National Geographic story, something I’ve been focusing on for some time now. Strange because the person who would be the most excited, and who I most wanted to call to tell about this news IS my mom, and perfect because it’s an incredible and wonderful memorial for her. I know she would be thrilled as she so loved my photography and was the biggest fan of my work. I cannot help but believe, that wherever she is now, she somehow knows and is beaming that “I’m so proud of you” smile.

The timing of this assignment/story felt very purposeful to me. My interaction with other National Geographic Your Shot photographers from around the world, all dealing with this sensitive subject, has been an incredible opportunity for healing, for me and for many others. The way the Your Shot Community came together, the honesty, openness, and the incredible input from the story’s two editors was amazing.

Click here for the link to the “When Death Comes” story. My photo of mom is near the end and there are many other awesome photos in the story worth your time. Mine was one of 29 photos selected for the final story out of what was originally 8067 submissions. Quite an honor.

This hotlinks to the photo in my NGYS gallery and you can see to the right under the photo the little ribbon symbol that shows it was published as well as the editor’s wonderful note in the black box above the photo.

This link is to a composite photo I did recently (for an assignment submission as well) which is also very meaningful to me and I hope will be to many others. It addresses the questions many of us have about what happens as one nears the end of life. In my NGYS gallery there are several other photos I took during my mom’s hospice and I invite you to explore and welcome your impressions and comments.

Lastly I want to thank everyone for the love, support, and encouragement during the time I was immersed in helping mom, and the support I’ve experienced in this community for my work in general.”

– Rory can be reached at rorys@cco.net
or though her sites:
National Geographic

April 29, 2016

Yelm Schools Superintendent Andy Wolf resigns –
Accepts job at WA. Assn. of School Administrators

Yelm Community Schools (YCS)
Superintendent Andy Wolf
Photo Courtesy: YCS

Yelm Community Schools (YCS) Superintendent Andy Wolf formally submitted his resignation to the Yelm Schools Board effective June 30 for a position at the Washington Association of School Administrators.

– Editor’s note:
That Superintendent Wolf and former Superintendent Yelm Community Schools Superintendent Alan Burke (resigned January 2009) were hired by distinguished state organizations in Olympia demonstrates the caliber of talent Yelm Community Schools has been fortunate to garner in leading education excellence here.


April 29, 2016

Roundabouts save lives – Yelm nixes them in city limits

SR 510 & Reservation Rd. roundabout
Photo courtesy: WSDOT

– “Americans don’t like roundabouts, but they should”
“…researchers say roundabouts can save lives. According to data by the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 75 percent at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control.” Apart from preventing cars from crashing into each other, roundabouts also saved the lives of countless pedestrians.

Why is that? The Washington State Department of Transportation points to several main reasons. First, curved intersections “eliminate” the possibility of deadly head-on collisions.

Second, the nature of roundabouts forces drivers to reduce their speeds as they approach them. And third, “because traffic is constantly flowing through the intersection, drivers don’t have the incentive to speed up to try and ‘beat the light,’ like they might at traditional intersection,” the Washington State Department of Transportation writes on its website.

Despite all that, the United States is vastly outperformed in the number of circular intersections compared with many European nations,” by Rick Noack, Washington Post.
Read more

– Editor’s Note:
Yelm rejected a proposed roundabout at the Mossman & 1st St. interchange.

April 29, 2016

Oil train safety meeting well-attended with frank discussions

An oil train snaking its way through downtown Seattle
Photo credit: Marcus R. Donner/Puget Sound Business Journal

– “Oil train safety symposium draws crowd”
“Dozens of policy makers and emergency responders filled a room in Lakewood at the Clover Park Technical College on Wednesday [April 27] to discuss the latest threats and safety measures involved in increased oil train traffic throughout Washington.

The Oil Train Safety Symposium was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s Center for Regional Disaster Resilience,” by Alison Morrow and Glenn Farley, KING 5-TV News.
Read more

April 28, 2016

More record heat on the way!

Monday’s forecast for the Yelm area calls for an 85 degree high temperature, which would break the former 78 degree record for any May 2nd set in 1966.
Read more

April 28, 2016

Yelm’s 20th annual Arbor Day this Friday – 11am

Credit: Arbor Day Foundation

Yelm’s Arbor Day Celebration
Friday, April 29th, 11 AM
Yelm City Park

From the City of Yelm:

“The City of Yelm has been recognized by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City since 1997. To achieve the recognition, four standards must be met each year, one of which is a proclamation and observation of Arbor Day.

Yelm’s Arbor Day is organized by the Tree Advisory Board, representing civic leaders, educators, and private citizens. The Arbor Day celebration is an event involves presenting Yelm’s sister city, Lacey, a tree, recognizing local students talents, and local school bands and choirs. Yelm’s Arbor day is one of the largest in the State and is held the last friday (sic) in April at Yelm City Park.”
Read more

– From Yelm Community Schools:
The Yelm Tree Advisory Board and Yelm Community Schools will be giving recognition to the winners of the Arbor Day Art contest. Congratulations to our Prairie winners:
Kindergarten 2nd place – Kiley Mueller
Third Grade 2nd place – Hannah Larsen
Fifth Grade 2nd place – Drew Larsen
Read more

April 27, 2016

Mayor requests Chatwin appointment postponement –
Harding suspiciously absent from Council session

Mayor Ron Harding

Just prior to last night’s last night’s City Council session, the Council was informed the mayor had obtained new information about City Administrator candidate Stefan Chatwin which required more due diligence on the mayor’s part. Therefore, Mr. Harding requested the City Council Agenda be amended to remove his request for Chatwin’s appointment. Then, Mr. Harding did not attend last night’s City Council meeting, deferring to Mayor Pro-tem Tracey Wood to conduct the session. WHY? No explanation was given.

– Editor’s note:
If Mr. Harding performed a thorough due diligence by calling Council members in Hayden, ID and/or Santaquin, UT about Chatwin, then the Yelm City Council would not have been put in this position and more time lost on a City Administrator appointment. Chatwin’s two prior City Administrator resignations and a vote of no-confidence raise significant red flags themselves, covered here previously. And next week, the City of Yelm marks 11 months since former City Administrator Badger announced her resignation.

Perhaps Mayor Harding felt he should defer from being present in the Council’s discussion on the this new information when they went into Executive Session, however that is very suspicious. If there was further incriminating evidence Mr. Harding possessed about City Administrator candidate Chatwin over and above what has been publicly covered here, then why had that been hidden from the council and the public?
If Harding purposefully withheld any information he had about Chatwin from the Council, then the mayor should be sanctioned by the Yelm City Council.

Will Harding withdraw or submit Chatwin for approval at the next Council session on May 10th?
Stay tuned!

– Bottom line
With Mayor Harding’s absence from a controversial meeting highlighting his lack of due diligence, and the fact that Yelm’s former City Administrator Badger announced her resignation almost 11 months ago and that post remains vacant, the Harding era in Yelm IS coming to an end.
This is not a leader for the present and the future!

April 26, 2016

Home and Garden Show this weekend in Yelm

– From the Yelm Chamber of Commerce April Newsletter
Nisqually Valley Home & Garden Show 2016
Save The Date!

Are you ready to enjoy spring? We certainly are! On April 30th and May 1st, the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 2016 Nisqually Valley Home & Garden Show at Yelm High School. This is the 14th annual show, bringing together residents and area business as well a large number of visitors in a bustling festive atmosphere.

* Shop at local businesses
* Learn from experts in their fields
* Tour over 100 exhibitor booths and demonstrations
* Sample foods from a variety of vendors
* Connect with friends and neighbors
* Bring the entire family
* Discover your hidden treasures at the Antique Fair
* Explore Classic Vintage Cars at the Car Show

Mark your calendars now and get ready for the Nisqually Valley Home & Garden Show 2016!
Admission is Free!
Read more

Click here for the event schedule.

April 25, 2016

Council to vote tomorrow on City Admin. candidate –
Chatwin’s approval should be rejected

Steve Klein, left, talks with city administrator candidate
Stefan Chatwin at April 7th Yelm Chamber event
Photo credit: Michael Wagar, Nisqually Valley News

– City Administrator candidate Stefan Chatwin’s appointment should be denied
I have observed Mayor Harding’s style of management for 11.25 years, so when he had a community meet and greet April 7th for City Administrator candidate Stefan Chatwin, I KNEW he was Harding’s nominee. Harding mentioned no-thing about Chatwin being among several other candidates he would introduce to the community at this or other functions. The very first question I asked Chatwin when the photo above was being taken was whether he was Harding’s appointee. Of course, Chatwin said he had not been informed of such, however following Harding’s so-obvious modus-operandi of subterfuge, Chatwin being presented to the Council tomorrow for approval merely followed Harding’s “script,” meaning there were NO other candidates qualified to present for consideration.

There are so many red flags in this man’s management past, that the Yelm City Council should REJECT this candidate, or he will also eventually add the Yelm City Administrator position to his string of “resignations.”

Chatwin’s past requires through examination, covered here previously
* After 2 years on the job, Chatwin earns vote of no confidence in Hayden, Idaho in 2011.
* Chatwin “resigns” in December 2015 from Hayden, ID. City Administrator post.
[I trust the Yelm City Council will have done their due diligence in calling Hayden Council members about these issues with Chatwin, since Harding has obviously done little or kept his information hidden, since there is no advanced report on the Council’s Agenda about this candidate, hmmm.]
* Chatwin “resigned” as Santaquin, UT City Administrator in October 2008.

– Bottom line
Mr. Harding’s lone City Administrator candidate comes before the Yelm City Council with too many unanswered questions and not enough due diligence on the mayor’s part, if any background checks were conducted at all. Yelm requires a qualified City Administrator that will be effective here for many years, and especially in the post-Harding era!


April 25, 2016

Yelm Community Center dedicated –
yet no naming for former Mayor Kathy Wolf?

Yelm Community Center
Photo credit: Yelm Chamber of Commerce

While the Yelm Community Center was formally dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 23rd, the Yelm City Council has not had an Agenda item to consider the 2015 formal requests by the Yelm Business Assn. to name the Community Center for former Mayor Kathy Wolf.

Interesting that Mr. Harding and the former City Council provided no feedback or response to the community from this suggestion reported in the Nisqually Valley News and lauded throughout our area. Did the preceding Council just bury this proposal?

Blogger Klein is a founding Board member of the Yelm Business Assn.


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