November 23, 2016

FINALLY! Yelm City Administrator post filled –
Michael Grayum, former Mayor of Dupont, an outstanding choice

Michael Grayum
Photo credit: Twitter

Interim Mayor JW Foster appointed Michael Grayum as City Administrator last night during the Yelm City Council session. Grayum is the former Mayor of Dupont and replaces Shelly Badger, who resigned effective September 1, 2015 to take another job after a stellar career in Yelm. Grayum was one of three City Administrator candidates interviewed November 16th and comes to Yelm with excellent experience and an outstanding résumé:
* Since August, a Managing Partner for Tacoma’s Pando Consulting Group.
* 2014-2016, Republic Services-Division Mgr., Seattle.
* 2008-2014, Puget Sound Partnership, Dir. of Public Affairs & Dir. of Communications, Tacoma.
* 2005-2008, WA Dept. of Natural Resources, Dir. of Government Relations.
* 2003-2005, Legislative Aide for the Washington State House of Representatives.
* 1999-2005, WA Commission for National Service, Commissioner.
Mr. Grayum served as the Mayor of the City of DuPont, Washington, from 2012-2016. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the University of Washington. He will take his Yelm post at the first of the year.

– Editor’s Note:
I was on the city administrator interviewer panels from the Yelm Business Assn. (YBA), invited by Mayor Foster to send a representative. I was extremely impressed with the thoughtfulness of Grayum’s answers to panel questions and his self-confident, composed manner. I know Mr. Grayum will bring an immediate salve to city employees who have been missing the foundation of leadership from the year and a third of a vacated city administrator post. The tense working environment from the former mayor that led to city employees overwhelmingly voting to be unionized will soon be a thing of the past. In the wake of Badger’s resignation, the mayors handling daily city administrator duties did not have the required skill sets, leaving the Dept. Heads and city staff “family” disintegrated, and they are a “family.” While the interim city administrator did an admirable job, this was for a 6-month period, with a transition in the city’s direction continuing to exist for another year, as an interim mayor and 5 councilor positions are open for the 2017 election. With Grayum’s experience, he will create the platform for the staff to have stability and provide them support beginning in early 2017, through next year’s transitions, and beyond. Our fine, dedicated City of Yelm staff deserve no less than a hands-on-the-tiller leader like Grayum, city employees who have been stretched to their capacity to hold their departments together.
My hat is off to Yelm’s public servants. THANK YOU!
I look forward to meeting with Mr. Grayum and sharing his vision with Yelm Community Blog readers.

The Yelm Community Blogger welcomes Michael Grayum and invites you to as well!

November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Veterans Dinner in Yelm

– Thanksgiving Veterans Dinner in Yelm
VFW Post 5580 will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner for Veterans, Active Duty and anyone who needs a meal. No charge for this meal. We are accepting donations to help with the cost of this meal.”

The Cattleman Restaurant, 1506 Yelm Ave W.
Thursday, November 24th, 10am
Read more

November 23, 2016

Opt Out of Black Friday – #OptOutside, The REI Inspired Movement

Photo credit: RSE

– From REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke
“For eight decades our co-op has been dedicated to one thing: a life outdoors. That’s why last Black Friday we put purpose ahead of profits, closed our doors and paid our employees to head outside. And 1,408,117 of you skipped the stampedes and joined us. Our values haven’t changed. This year we’re closing again. And together we can create a new tradition—millions and millions of people celebrating in our parks, on the trails, in the mountains and on the water. But we can’t do it without you.

So consider this your invitation. On November 25, REI will close our doors and #OptOutside. Will you go out with us?”
Read more

– From Seattle-based REI
2,310,980 people are choosing to #OptOutside on Black Friday
Find ways to #OptOutside near you.
Read more

November 22, 2016

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Elbe – Available thru Dec. 29

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ by Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad
Photo courtesy: Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad.

– THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride – Magic in the air
“The magic of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ comes to life in Elbe, Washington. This story of a child’s Christmas Eve journey comes alive on-board THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. All ages can enjoy the warmth and fun of the Christmas season as you depart for a trip to the North Pole.

“Passengers will be entertained by Chefs, enjoy Hot Chocolate and Cookies, and listen to a reading of THE POLAR EXPRESS™. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa will board the train and give each child the first gift of Christmas (a silver bell),” quoting the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad.
Read more

– Book now through December 30, 2016
Click here to buy tickets online.
Call or e-mail for reservations: 1-888-783-2611 or

THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.(s16)

November 21, 2016

Coal trains’ spills/dust threatens Columbia River, Puget Sound salmon –
Yet Corps of Engineers approves Longview coal terminal

Coal train along the Columbia River.
Photo by Daniel Dancer.

* Coal and oil trains transit Thurston County.
* Coal dust and spills threaten salmon habitat
* Army Corps of Engineers denies Bellingham area coal permit
* Army Corps of Engineers flip flops on WA. coal trains
* Army Corps of Engineers says coal trains no threat to Longview/Columbia River
* “Who’s on First?”

– “What?
Army Corps Suddenly Decides Coal Trains Won’t Harm Salmon-Filled Columbia River”

“The next Standing Rock is the Longview Millennium coal export facility. Water protectors know coal dust is like a pipeline accident that happens daily.

“In May, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for a coal shipping terminal north of Bellingham in Washington. The $700 million project would have interfered with the Lummi Nation’s treaty rights to fish for salmon. ‘The Gateway Pacific Terminal would have a greater than de minimus impact on the Lummi Nation’s (treaty) rights,’ said Seattle District Commander Col. John Buck.

So no permit. Whew! The Army Corps gets it. Progress.”

“The Army Corps, the same agency, the same office that a few months ago championed treaty rights for the Lummi Nation, now says another major coal terminal 200 miles down the road in Washington is just fine. A couple weeks ago, the Corps released a draft environmental impact statement for the Millennium Bulk Terminal port in Longview. The project would ship coal from Montana and Wyoming out of a port on the Columbia River.”

“Coal could enter water as either coal dust or as the result of a coal spill,’ the draft EIS says,” quoting Mark Trahant, YES! Magazine.
Read more

– “Old treaties, new alliances empower Native Americans”
“The simmering standoff between the police and Native Americans and their allies who oppose a giant oil pipeline project in North Dakota is the most visible sign yet of an emerging movement that is shifting the debate about how public lands across North America should be managed.

From the rocky, pebbled beaches north of Seattle, where the Lummi Nation has led the fight against a proposed coal terminal, to southern Utah, where a coalition of tribes is demanding management rights over a proposed new national monument, to the tiny wooded community of Bella Bella, British Columbia, 350 miles north of the U.S. border, Native Americans are asserting old treaty rights and using tribal traditions to protect and manage federally owned land,” quoting Kirk Johnson, The New York Times.
Read more

November 20, 2016

‘Spamalot’ review – Yelm’s SRO Theater Co. achieves new heights –

– “Standing Room Only Theater Brings Community Theater (and Spamalot!) to Yelm”
“A willingness to adapt and collaborate is at the core of Yelm’s Standing Room Only [SRO] Theater group, along with an emphasis on trying new roles and breaking out of your comfort zone. Spamalot is a case in point, containing multiple music and dance numbers, complex – and very funny – dialogue, costume changes, and complicated props.

‘It’s important to have a big, beloved show at least once a year,’ says co-producer Dave Champagne, who also plays King Arthur. ‘Monty Python spans an audience that goes way outside of musical theater. The Holy Grail is a cult classic, and the troupe is world renowned. It’s about making theater accessible to a broader base of people.'”

“Spamalot has been a stretch for several of the group’s members, with Wyman taking on the director role for the first time.”

“Vocal Director Ian Montgomery has been singing and performing with the Olympia Choral Society and SPSCC for years, but had never tried to teach anyone what he knew.”

“Choreographer Fred Loertscher has had a similar experience. The former Washington State University cheerleader has directed professional half-time shows for the NFL, NBA, and college bowl games, and says he’s been surprised by what he discovered in Yelm.”

“For actress and singer Dawn Young, the show is a chance to co-produce as well as perform as The Lady of the Lake, (aka ‘some watery tart throwing swords at you’ for fans of the film). ‘I grew up on Monty Python,’ she says. ‘Daniel and Dave had seen Spamalot in Seattle and their enthusiasm and excitement had me on board.’ She agreed to co-produce and organize auditions that reached out to the community outside of Yelm,'” quoting Heidi Smith, Thurston Talk.
Read more

King Arthur (Dave Champagne) gets a blessing for the Holy Hand Grenade
from the archbishop (Joel Derefield), as Patsy looks on (Champagne’s son Will).
Photo credit: Bill Wyman.

– Editor’s Note:
I attended this show Friday, November 18 to packed house and was amazed at the joy and fun exhibited by the cast. The professionalism of taking SRO to the next level was noticeable in the quality of the programs and in the performance, quite a tribute to the 20+ years of community theater in Yelm provided under the direction of Nancy Hillman. This show was directed by her student, first-time Director Daniel Wyman, who was superb!

Standouts in this play were perennial favorites and accomplished thespians Dave Champagne as King Arthur and Dawn Young as Lady of the Lake. This role gave Young the ability to fully express the range of her very impressive talents! I was thrilled to see the skills of Jesse Geray put to the test in this performance, as he once-again proved himself as quite a diverse and talented actor. The highlight of this show was clearly Champagne’s son Will as Patsy, who nailed the nuances of this character. And, I am ever-so-elated to see that Kevin McManus has found his “Holy Grail” back on the Yelm stage. McManus always delights in the way he enunciates the depth of any character in utilizing his stage experience. Kellie Petersen’s proficiency was once again demonstrated in her casting of her role. Shilo Wilson is someone who shows his adeptness and I expect to see more of him on the Yelm stage. Other standouts that exhibited their talents include Kyle Burke, Alex Brown and Kalen McCrea. Joel Derefield and David Fairley added to the color. Vocal Director Ian Montgomery and Choreographer Fred Loertscher, Jr’s experience were a perfect match for this show. The entire play was well-cast by an outstanding ensemble!

– Spamlot story line
“Spamalot is the story of King Arthur, his legendary Knights of the Round Table and their noble quest to find the Holy Grail. The show is filled with iconic imagery from the classic movie (Lady of the Lake, Excalibur, The Black Knight, The Knights who say ‘Ni’, a Wooden Rabbit, etc…) and is set to amazing music by Python Legend Eric Idle, with real Broadway style musical dance numbers.

SRO has a cast of local seasoned actors, singers and dancers. The Show is produced by Dave Champagne and Dawn Young, and is directed by Daniel Wyman – an SRO veteran actor, making his directorial debut.

The show performs are at The Triad Theater on Friday and Saturday nights November 25th & 26th at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinee November 27th at 2pm.
November 19th is a special kids friendly version of Spamalot at 1pm. Some tickets still available at the door.
Regular Ticket price: $24.50 with discounted tickets for Seniors, Military, and Students: $15.00

– Buy tickets for these showtimes
Nov 20th 2pm,
Nov 25th 7:30pm, Nov 26th 7:30pm, Nov 27th 2pm.
Click here to buy tidkets.

The Triad Theater
102 Yelm Ave. E.
Yelm, WA. 98597

November 20, 2016

Thurston United Way’s Reading Buddy Program comes to Yelm

– Thurston United Way’s Reading Buddy Program comes to Yelm
“Reading Buddies helps developing young readers reach benchmark reading goals by the end of the third grade. Volunteers are paired with a first, second, or third grader who is below grade level reading, for 45 minutes a week during the school year. Trained volunteers use a variety of tools to help emerging readers learn their sight words, comprehension, identify new words, gain confidence in their reading skills, and more!

One-to-one tutoring with an emerging young reader forms a bond between students and their tutors; this is a successful strategy to help students improve their reading skills,” from United Way-Thurston.
Read more

– For more information
Click here for a 5-minute YouTube video about Thurston County Reading Buddies.

Anyone wanting more details about volunteering as a Reading Buddy may attend a Reading Buddy Orientation on Tuesday, December 6, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at Prestige Senior Living, 215 Killion Rd NW, Yelm. (Note: Prestige Senior Living was formerly known as Rosemont Retirement & Assisted Living.)

Those planning to attend are asked to contact Sierra Abrams, Reading Buddy Program Coordinator, at the United Way of Thurston County, 360.943.2773 x124, or email

– Editor’s Note:
The Reading Buddy program of United Way-Thurston is in the fifth year of making a difference in steady growth and is now extending to include Yelm. United Way has recruited editor and writer Sara Steinberg to serve as Local Leader, recruiting volunteers and educating our community. Yelm’s Reading Buddy Program will be introduced at Fort Stevens Elementary School.

November 19, 2016

You won’t read about this in the NVN!

– 6 Yelm area businesses are KING-5’s Evening Best of Western Washington finalists!
Out of all of the fine businesses in the region’s catchment-area from Everett to Centralia, Post Angeles to Issaquah, Yelm was well-represented by 6 area businesses achieving a stunning record of top 5 finalists!
Click here

You won’t read about this in the Nisqually Valley News (NVN), hence the Yelm Community Blog being a finalist!
See main story below this post.

November 19, 2016

6 Yelm area businesses are Best of Western Washington finalists!
THANK YOU Yelm Community Blog readers for your votes

Out of all of the fine businesses throughout Western Washington, 6 Yelm area businesses were finalists in the KING 5 Best of Western Washington Evening contest.
THANK YOU Yelm Community Blog readers for your votes making this blog a finalist as Best Blogger!

– Don Juan’s Mexican Kitchen, Tenino, Best Mexican Restaurant #5 finalist
Click here to vote, then click Easts, scroll down Mexican.

– JZ Rose, Best Antiques #5 finalist
Click here to vote, then click Shopping, scroll down to Antiques.

– Simply Organic, Best Healthy Eats #5 finalist
Click here to vote, then click Eats, scroll down to Healthy.

– Stewart’s Meat Market, Best Butcher #2 finalist
Click here to vote, then click Specialty Food & Drink, scroll down to Butcher.

– Wine Cellar of Yelm, Best Wine Shop #5 finalist
Click here to vote, then click Specialty Food & Drink, scroll down to Wine Shop.

– Yelm Community Blog, Best Blogger #5 finalist
Click here to vote, then click Online and Social Media, scroll down to Blogger.

November 19, 2016

Marijuana sales break records – Tax revenue may entice Yelm to allow retail sales here

“2016 is a milestone year for sales of pot in state”
“Sales of marijuana products are nipping at the heels of hard alcohol and have for the first time surpassed $200 million in a quarter.

Residents and visitors bought more marijuana than ever before in the second quarter of 2016, based on an analysis of purchase and tax records from two state agencies.”

“Marijuana sales in the second quarter of 2016 amounted to nearly $212 million. Spirits sales in the same period amounted to almost $249 million,” quoting Kate Martin, Tacoma News Tribune.
Read more

– Editor’s Note
Will the Yelm City Council allow marijuana retail sales here? Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater all do. Stay tuned!

– UPDATE: November 22, 2016
“Can Medical Marijuana Fight the Opioid Epidemic?”
“A study is underway to determine which works better for chronic pain – medical marijuana or prescription opioids. In states where medical marijuana is legalized, rates of prescription drug use and opioid-overdose deaths have declined, hinting that marijuana may be a key player in fighting the opioid epidemic,” by Dr. Mercola.
Read more


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