November 30, 2018

Yelm’s “Christmas in the Park” 30th annual event is Saturday

Photo credit: Yelm Chamber of Commerce, circa 1990

The 30th Annual Christmas in the Park Parade!
Saturday, December 1st, begins 9:30am
Theme: “Party like it’s 1988.”

– Editor’s Note:
Former Mayor Ron Harding said this about Christmas in the Park, “a traditional centerpiece for the city of Yelm and those who have called this place home for many, many years.”

This IS true as I can attest, for I was here for the very first Christmas in the Park celebration in 1988 after moving to Yelm in September 1988.

From the Yelm Chamber of Commerce:
The Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas parade is the kick-off to the holiday season. We invite all our local businesses and organizations to join the Saturday morning parade, held the first Saturday of December. We also invite area citizens to come out and enjoy the spectacle!
The Parade starts at 9:30am.
Followed by a day of holiday cheer and family-fun activities at Yelm City Park.
The community blessing and lighting of the Christmas Tree and Water Tower will begin at 4:30pm.
Sponsored by the Yelm Chamber and city of Yelm’s Parks Advisory Committee.
Read more

November 29, 2018

Thurston County issues making news

Select Thurston County issues in the headlines of interest locally:

– “Loans for veterans soar in Washington state, lender says”
“Loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, otherwise known as VA loans, have soared in Washington state, including in Olympia, Tacoma and Bellingham, according to fiscal 2018 data released by Veterans United, a lender,” by Rolf Boone, The Olympian.
Read more

– House Republicans named top leadership posts
“The top two spots remained the same Rep. J.T. Wilcox, of Yelm, was re-elected minority leader and Rep. Joel Kretz, of Wauconda, was re-elected deputy minority leader, the Number 2 position in the caucus.Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, of Republican, was named assistant floor leader,” by Jim Camden, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane).
Read more

– “Frank Chopp will relinquish speaker’s gavel, press ahead with causes”
“Seattle Democrat Frank Chopp has announced that next year will be his last as Speaker of the House. He’ll give up the gavel after 20 years.”

“Chopp expects Democrats will again propose a Capital Gains tax on the wealthy– while lowering taxes on middle and working class who now pay a greater share of the tax burden.”

Republican J.T. Wilcox is the newly elected minority leader in the House.”

“He may oppose Chopp on policies but praises his approach to leadership.”

“He recently hosted Chopp at the Wilcox family farm near Yelm — which has supplied western Washington markets for five generations,” by Essex Porter, KIRO-TV 7 News, Seattle.
Read more

– “Thurston County unemployment remains below 5 percent for 7th straight month in October”
“In another sign of a strong economy, Thurston County unemployment has remained below 5 percent for the seventh consecutive month, according to state Employment Security Department data released this month.

“Since April, the county’s jobless rate has been 4.9, 4.7, 4.7, 4.4, 4.4, 4.1 and 4.2 percent last month, the data show,” by Rolf Boone, The Olympian.
Read more

– “Crime Stoppers of the South Sound holds dress-sale fundraiser”
“YELM, Wash. – Crime Stoppers of the South Sound held a dress sale at the Yelm community center.

There were a variety of designer dresses in multiple sizes, colors and designs to choose from.

Each dress is $20, and the funds raised go to help pay for rewards for tips.

There will be another sale at Lacey City Hall in the community room next Saturday, Dec.1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” by KCPQ-TV 13, Seattle.
Read more

– “Lewis County commissioner calls for administrative changes at Timberland library”
“Timberland Regional Library needs to oust its leadership, Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund said this week, following the revelation that administrators prevented staff from warning the public as they crafted a plan to close a third of the system’s branches,” by Alex Brown, The Chronicle [Centralia], in The Olympian.
Read more

November 29, 2018

Washington state agencies purchase renewable energy

Wind turbines as proposed for Lewis and Thurston Counties.
Photo credit: Tim Roske, AP file photo.

– “State Agencies to Make Massive Renewable Energy Purchases”
“In the wake of the United Nations’ recent report on climate change and the damage that could result from it as soon as 2040, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is reportedly more urgent than ever.

“One way in which Washington state is attempting to lower its emissions is by investing in renewable energy resources. Last week [Oct. 16], Gov. Jay Inslee announced that eight state agencies will purchase more than 100 million kWh of electricity by 2021 from wind and solar projects built in Washington.

“The purchased electricity will cover a quarter of the demand required to run state agency operations — enough to power more than 6,000 houses,” by Kirsten Abel South Sound News.
Read more

November 28, 2018

Council took an oath and has a fiduciary responsibility to their citizens,
And 2 citizen committees need scrutiny for conflicts of interest,
City officials should have a mandatory, refresher ethics course!

– Editor’s note:
I was asked by a city official a few months ago why I periodically post what was termed as a “gotcha’ piece on city issues. The posts are only “gotchas” to those elected officials that have something to hide!

I responded all of these posts are based on facts for the public to scrutinize and check-out for themselves. I am not afraid to speak-up when I see city issues where the public should be informed. While some of this information may not be popular for leaders to have exposed, I do not care what anyone at city hall thinks about me, nor am I seeking to be their friend either.

This Blogger has always let the facts speak, has never taken a dime from anyone to disseminate info via this site, and owes no deference to anyone, unlike other local news sources who have their alliances and allegiances.

– UPDATE: December 3, 2018:
[As covered here October 23, 2018, “I e-mailed City Administrator Michael Grayum for his comment on the poor optics of having 2 of 3 Salary Commissioners who currently serve on the Board of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce. Summarizing his response; the city had advertised extensively and only received these three people as respondents…. To just accept only these folks on the committees just because they were the only applicants, full well knowing there was at best an appearance of a conflict of interest, is not in the public’s interest.

In a city of almost 10,000, the staff can get more interested persons to serve if only they would make an effort, i.e solicit business owners and managers to apply at the Yelm Chamber Forum, Yelm Real Estate Network, Yelm Schools (teachers, administration), and non-profit Boards in our community, etc. Where there is a will, there is a way to attract talented individuals to participant.]

– The issue: a conflict of interest
While I know the ladies serving on the citizen committees referenced below have been expecting my blog comments, their concerns of my criticism about them are misplaced, as this issue is not about them. Rather, I applaud their giving spirit in volunteering their time and effort. However, this issue goes way beyond an appearance of a conflict of interest about the city’s leadership that allows the following to go unchecked:

Yelm Salary Commission
* Denise Hibbeln, Line Critchfield were 2 of 3 appointees to the Yelm Salary Commission,
* These 2 of 3 Salary Commissioners also currently serve on Yelm’s Chamber of Commerce Board,
* 2 persons out of 3 from a singular organization can unduly influence the commission’s vote/decisions based on their relationship between the mayor, city, and the Yelm Chamber, either positively or negatively.

Yelm Lodging Tax Advisory Committee
* Denise Hibbeln, Line Critchfield also serve on the Yelm Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, which recommends to the council dissemination of tens of thousands of dollars. Hibbeln represents a hotel collecting the tax (Prairie Hotel), Critchfield represents a potential recipient from a non-profit (Yelm Chamber). Yet the Chamber also receives city funding annually to produce a map, joins the city as partner on civic events, and rents the Community Center gratis.
* Margaret Clapp also serves on this committee as the 2nd hotel representative, along with Yelm business owner Cynthia Schmier. Clapp also provides space in one of her buildings to the Yelm Chamber.
* City Finance Dir. Joe Wolfe plus Chair Mayor Foster also serve this group.
* The Chamber website lists councilors Tracey Wood and Terry Kaminski as Board members.
* While well-deserving, the Chamber is a Christmas Parade co-sponsor [with Yelm’s Parks Advisory Committee] and they chose the mayor and his wife as 2018 Christmas Parade Grand Marshalls.
* A blog reader wrote to suggest the Chamber has an “incestuous” relationship with the city. I agree.
* The State Auditor’s Office also raised a city/chamber relationship issue in Feb. 2013.
* The optics on all of this information do not shed the city in a positive light.
* With these kind of issues continuing, city officials should have a mandatory ethics course!

– Bottom Line:
Two non-elected citizens both serving on the same 2 committees which recommend distribution of vast city resources is not conducive to providing the council with the broadest diversity of experience and viewpoints.

What about the city offering other non-profits a seat at the table, rather than always deferring to the Yelm Chamber Executive Director?
A sample of some Yelm non-profits include and are not limited to BFF/Yelm Farmers Market, YoungLife Hwy. 507, Friends of the Library, and Standing Room Only (SRO) Theater Group.

The city needs to be more responsible about avoiding all appearances of conflicts of interest, as the State Auditor’s office previous told city leadership in a former interaction with the Yelm Chamber, as reported here.

If the mayor is not going to assume a leadership role, the council needs to be more aggressive in holding city hall responsible for conducting the highest quality of business ethics.

[As covered here October 23, 2018, “I e-mailed City Administrator Michael Grayum for his comment on the poor optics of having 2 of 3 Salary Commissioners who currently serve on the Board of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce. Summarizing his response; the city had advertised extensively and only received these three people as respondents.” Further, to just accept only these folks on the committees just because they were the only applicants, full well knowing there was at best an appearance of a conflict of interest, is not in the public’s interest.

In a city of almost 10,000 within the city limits, the city can get more interested persons to serve if only they would make an effort,
i.e solicit business owners and managers to apply at the Yelm Chamber Forum, Yelm Real Estate Network, Yelm Schools (teachers, administration), and non-profit Boards in our community, etc.]

November 28, 2018

Tye Menser now certified County Commissioner, Dist. 3 –
Incumbent/Opponent Blake out-raised Menser by 24% and lost

Tye Menser (D-Olympia)
Photo credit: Tye for Thurston

– Editor’s note:
Tye Menser kept his lead and won the seat for County Commission, District 3 by 861 votes, or .74%.
The vote was certified by the County Auditor on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 1:27pm.

– The interesting facts in this race are as follows by the Public Disclosure Commission:
* Incumbent Blake out-raised Menser by 24% or $18,383,
* Blake raised $95,538 to Menser’s $77,155.
* Blake had many donations from real estate & mortgage brokers, contractors.
* Yet Blake still lost, and as an incumbent.
* Blake never held an open-to-the-public forum in SE Thurston County, Menser held 2.

* A sample of Blake’s large donations came from groups such as:

In addition, Blake had access to Independent Expenditures FOR his campaign (made by third parties without the candidate’s approval or collaboration):
This means that Blake outspent Menser actually out-spent well over 2 to 1.

* A sample of Menser’s large donor groups included:

Menser has Independent Expenditures AGAINST his campaign (made by third parties without the candidate’s approval or collaboration):

“Follow the money” yet in this race, money could not get the incumbent re-elected, as the voters called for change!
Menser had a well-thought vision for the next four years, Blake did not enunciate his well. Menser’s impact was being on-message in his commitment “to help find solutions to important problems facing the county,” he said. ‘We have much work to do as we move forward: balancing the budget, improving water quality, building up mental health treatment services and planning for a 40 percent population increase.”
Read more

Congratulations to Commissioner-elect Menser!

Blogger Klein was a Menser for Commissioner campaign supporter, volunteer, and contributor.

November 27, 2018

4th National Climate Assessment: “Grim picture for Northwest” –
New climate change report commissioned by Trump Administration,
In a flagrant lack of leadership, Trump tossed aside the report’s findings!

Olympia engulfed in smoke, Aug. 21, 2018.
2nd summer of wildfire smoke here.
Photo credit: Steve Bloom, The Olympian.

– Editor’s note:
While the 4th National Climate Assessment painted a “grim picture” for the world, the nation, and us residents in the Pacific Northwest, the pathetic attempt by the Trump Administration to bury this report, with the release on a holiday weekend, demonstrates once again the flagrant lack of leadership by the President! And this on an issue that is affecting the world now and more to come soon!

– “From skiing to salmon runs, the national climate report predicts a Northwest in peril”
“The 1,000-plus-page report, produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, is the most comprehensive evaluation to date of climate change’s effects on the nation’s economy, human health, agriculture and environment. Thirteen federal agencies contributed to the report, which was required to be published by Congress.

The federal report’s stark, direct and largely negative projections are at odds with President Donald Trump’s skeptical view of climate science. But federal officials, like National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher David Easterling, left little room for ambiguity about whether climate change was real and who was causing it,” by Evan Bush, The Seattle Times.
Read more

– “U.S. Should Expect Worsening Weather Disasters, New Government Climate Report Warns”
“A new federal report warns that disasters are worsening in the United States.”

The report quietly released on Friday [the day after Thanksgiving when Black Friday holiday shopping was in full swing] frequently contradicts President Donald Trump,” by the Associated Press, on
Read more

– “The Trump administration tried to bury its own climate change report — and right-wing media helped”
“Trump doesn’t want you to see the climate change report produced by his own administration”

“President Donald Trump is trying to bury the findings of a new climate change report commissioned by his own administration.

The National Climate Assessment, which is required to publish its findings every four years, released its latest 1,656-page report during the holiday doldrums on Black Friday. In the process, the administration effectively buried the scientists’ conclusions on how man-made climate change will devastate America’s public health, economy, infrastructure and coastlines, as well as cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage to the planet over the next few decades,” by Matthew Rozsa, Salon Magazine.
Read more

– “Absolute Disgrace’: When No One Looking, White House Plans to Dump Major Climate Report on Black Friday”
“The administration just announced Wednesday [Nov. 21] that the National Climate Assessment Volume II would be released Friday afternoon

“Environmental groups, journalists, and climate scientists are reacting to the Trump administration’s decision to release a major climate report the day after Thanksgiving—a move some are describing as an effort to bury an assessment packed with an “astonishing amount of science,” and they are hoping to see that effort backfire ‘bigly.’

“‘It’s an absolute disgrace to bury the truth about climate impacts in a year that saw hundreds of Americans die during devastating climate-fueled megafires, hurricanes, floods, and algal blooms,’ said National Wildlife Federation president and CEO Collin O’Mara,” by
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams.
Read more

– UPDATE: December 5, 2018
“‘We are in trouble.’ Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018.”
By Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney, Washington Post.
Read more

November 26, 2018

‘Giving Tuesday’ – a global day of giving is Tuesday Nov. 27, 2018

Credit: #GivingTuesday

– About #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

“Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

One of the best ways to get involved is in your own community. We’ve created a directory to help you find organizations, charities, events and more in your own community.”
Read more

Click here for donation options in the Yelm area.

– “Take Part”
“This November 27th, join the movement and give – whether it’s some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community.

“It’s a simple idea. Whether you come together with your family, your community, your company or your organization, find a way to give back and then share your idea. Get started below by choosing a path below,” by Giving Tuesday.
Read more

November 25, 2018

Today’s morning sun, clear sky laden with contrails goes by-by,
A very wet and rainy 2 week period set to begin!

Back to back storms aim at west coast
Credit: Weather Channel

– “A storm that is expected to bring three to four inches of rainfall between Sunday night and Tuesday could cause rives to run high in Snohomish, Skagit, and Mason counties.”
“Three to four inches of rain could fall between Sunday night and Tuesday. All this rain will increase flood threat around tributaries. That combined with snowmelt could create local flooding around Western Washington.

“Rivers will be running very high once this storm moves in [from the Thanksgiving Day storm].”

“November is known for bringing Washington the most rainfall of any other month, but that didn’t quite happen this month. Before Thanksgiving’s storm, we had less than one inch of rainfall at Sea-Tac Airport. The average for this month is more than 6.5 inches,” by Jordan Steele, KING-5 TV News, Seattle.
Read more

– “Active Weather Pattern Will Bring Heavy Rain and High Elevation Snow Back to the West Coast”
“Rain will begin early Monday for parts of western Washington and spread inland across much of the Pacific Northwest during the day. Rainfall may be heavy at times in the higher terrain of the Olympic Mountains and the lower elevations of the Cascades of Washington and Oregon,” by Jonathan Belles, Weather Channel.
Read more“>Read more

November 25, 2018

Christmas Tree Farms in the Yelm area now open!

Credit: Sprouffske Trees

– Christmas Tree Farms closest to Yelm now open!
Sprouffske Tree Farm
14020 Finian Road SE, Rainier.
Phone: 360-446-2212
Come by anytime from 9-4 to find your tree through Christmas Eve.

Hunter Family Farm
7401 Yelm Highway SE, Olympia.
Phone: 360-456-0466
Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Schilter Family Farm
141 Nisqually Cut-Off Road SE, Olympia.
Phone: 360-459-4023
Open daily from 9 a.m. til dusk or until the trees are gone.

November 24, 2018

Beware of package thieves this holiday season – take precautions!

– “Stores aren’t the only ones starting the holiday season early. Package thieves are, too”
“The holidays are approaching, which means South Sound Crime Stoppers and local law enforcement are once again reminding residents to safeguard their gifts and packages.

“In other words, don’t leave newly purchased items in your vehicle, and if you’re expecting a delivery at home, be there when the package arrives,” by Rolf Boone, The Olympian.
Read more


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