May 21, 2019

While Mayor Foster claimed the State of the City is “Good,” USA Today ranked Yelm as worst city in state

“Washington is the best state in the nation”

“The American rankings and analysis website factored in health care, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime and corrections, and natural environment to create its annual list of the best and worst U.S. states.

“With a GDP of $524.323 billion, Washington came out on top. The state’s economy is largely boosted by the aerospace industry and the military and defense sector, which “employs the second-largest number of people in Washington,” according to the report. Read more

“These are the worst cities to live in, state by state”

Washington: Yelm
• Population: 8,425
• Median home value: $220,100 (state: $286,800)
• Poverty rate: 13.4% (state: 12.2%)
• Violent crimes per 100,000 people: 258 (state: 304)

“Though residents of Yelm, Washington, are far less likely to live below the poverty line or be the victim of a violent crime than those in most cities on this list, other conditions in the city detract from quality of life. For example, property crime – a broad category that includes burglary and motor vehicle theft – is relatively common in Yelm. The city’s property crime rate of 5,750 incidents per 100,000 in 2017 was nearly the highest of any city in the state and well above the U.S property crime rate of 2,362 per 100,000.

“Unlike most cities on this list that are growing relatively slowly or losing residents in recent years, Yelm is growing rapidly. Over the last five years, the number of people living in the city increased by a staggering 24.6%. Over the same period, the U.S. population expanded by just 3.8%.” By Samuel Stebbins, USA Today. Read more

  • Editor’s note: Yelm’s population has more than doubled since 2005, when the population was 4.492, a 100+% increase.

May 20, 2019

City of Yelm voters will have a rare Primary ballot in August for council

Editor’s Note: I applaud everyone who stepped-up to serve the public. Nice to see that the issues will be debated and discussed with a challenger for every candidate up for re-election.

+ City Council Pos. 1, in ballot order:

Lanakila Washington , James Blair, EJ Curry, incumbent

+ Yelm Community Schools, School Board Director, Pos. 2, in ballot order:

Denise Lingle, Donna R. Edwards, Karen (Kay) Anderson

  • Non-Primary Council candidates

+ City Council Pos. 2

Molly Carmody, Cameron (Calamity) Jayne

+ City Council Pos. 6

Joe DePinto, Matthew McLellan

Read more

May 19, 2019

The Dictator-in-Chief ignores rule of law. Decorated Navy Seal says Trump threatens Democracy!
Credit: Jim Morin, The Miami Herald, MorinToons Syndicate.
  • “What threatens democracy? Legendary Navy SEAL warns of Trump’s attacks on U.S. institutions”

“Once the longest-serving Navy SEAL on active duty, Admiral William McRaven played a key role in thousands of dangerous missions abroad, including commanding the one that cost Osama bin Laden his life.

“Now retired, McRaven warns that the greatest threat to American democracy he’s seen during his decades in national security comes not from a rogue regime or a terrorist group but from the caustic rhetoric of President Donald Trump.

“‘An attack on the press or an attack on the Department of Justice, or to imply that there are dirty cops at the FBI or to ignore the intelligence community, I think, really undermines our institutions,’ McRaven told USA TODAY in an interview about his memoir, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, out Tuesday. ‘And that makes me fearful of the future direction of the nation,'” by Susan Page, USA Today. Read more.

  • “GOP lawmaker says Trump’s conduct meets ‘threshold for impeachment’”

“Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a critic of President Trump who has entertained a run against him in 2020, became the first Republican congressman to say the president “engaged in impeachable conduct” based on the Mueller report.

“The Michigan lawmaker, often the lone Trump dissenter on his side of the House aisle, shared his conclusions in a lengthy Twitter thread Saturday after reviewing the full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“Amash wrote that after reading the 448-page report, he had concluded that not only did Mueller’s team show Trump attempting to obstruct justice, but that Attorney General William P. Barr had ‘deliberately misrepresented’ the findings. He added that ‘few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report,'” by Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post. Read more

  • “Tracking 29 Investigations Related to Trump”

Federal, state and congressional authorities are scrutinizing many aspects of Donald J. Trump’s life through investigations related to his businesses, campaign, inauguration and presidency. We’ll be tracking them here. According to reporting by The New York Times, there are currently at least: 10 Federal Criminal Investigations, 8 State and Local Investigations, 11 Congressional Investigations,” by Larry Buchanan, Karen Yourish, The New York Times. Read more

May 17, 2019

Introducing Rainier Saturday Market
Credit: Rainier Saturday Market
  • Rainier gets their own Saturday Market to display community talent!

“Welcome to the Rainier Saturday Market Rainier Saturday Market. The Rainier Saturday Market is the brain child of Council Member George Johnson and is organized by the local We Love Rainier WA group. The event will take place at Holiday Park – next to the Main Street Cookie Company – every Saturday from 9am to 3pm until the last Saturday of August 2019……boasting an eclectic mix of great vendors and a vibrant community-friendly atmosphere. You can even get your hands on authentic artisan crafted magic wands!!! Put it in your calendars… this is certain to become a popular Saturday destination!!! We Love Rainier, WA.,” quoting their Facebook page.

Read more

May 16, 2019

Changes in status of community leaders in the news

  • Editor’s note: Several key community leaders have been in the spotlight in the last week –
  1. Nisqually Valley News (NVN) Editor Megan Hansen has been relieved of her post and replaced by Eric Schwartz from sister newspaper The Chronicle (Centralia).
  2. Yelm High School Principal Ryan Akiyama has been relieved of his post following his recent arrest for an alleged DUI. The NVN reported that Yelm Community Schools officials will place Akiyama “on paid administrative leave for the rest of the school year and that he will be demoted to a subordinate position for the following 2019-2020 school year.”
  3. Yelm Finance Director Joe Wolf has been placed administrative leave for some undisclosed reason, as City Administrator Michael Grayum reported to the city council last Tuesday. Wolf was recently designated a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA), who would adhere to a Code of Ethics in financial reporting.
  4. Yelm Public Works Director Chad Bedlington is on administrative leave for personal matters until late June, as City Administrator Michael Grayum reported to the city council last Tuesday.
  5. City Administrator Michael Grayum reported to the city council last Tuesday that he is now acting Public Works Director and Finance Director, in addition to his regular post.

May 15, 2019

NVN announces new Editor/Manager in Eric Schwartz, replaces Megan Hansen after just one year!

Eric Schwartz
Credit: Lafromboise Communications
  • Editor’s note: Former Nisqually Valley News Editor Megan Hansen has now left the NVN for a second time after serving in her latest capacity there for just over a year, her hiring posted here on April 20, 2018. The NVN’s owner/operator, Lafromboise Communications, made the announcement yesterday that Eric Schwartz has been named as Hansen’s replacement and the new regional executive editor of the company, which also owns and operates The Chronicle (Centralia) and The Reflector (Clark County).
  • Schwartz is a Lafromboise Communications insider who has worked with President Michael Wagar for more than a decade, so do not expect much change at the NVN, except perhaps we may finally see some editorial content and more diverse public interactions (online public posts and letters to the editor), though Schwartz will have his hands filled as executive editor of 3 newspapers. Lafromboise Communications exerts very tight control to ensure their newspapers maintain a strong right-leaning slant with little attention to fostering diverse ideas beyond that scope. The NVN has developed a reputation under the three previous editor’s (Keven Graves, Michael Wagar, Megan Hansen) as giving the City of Yelm a “bye” on key issues that should have been more thoroughly investigated. This has been especially evident since former NVN reporter Steven Wyble left and Hansen has been at the helm.
  • Hansen evidently was just an interim “place-holder” editor hired from former NVN Publisher/Editor Keven Graves’ newspapers on Whidbey Island, as Wagar said of her departure, “Megan stepped up and kept up with the tradition of community news at the Nisqually Valley News. She covered police, city council, and led the newsroom. She will be missed.” Hansen had very little presence in the community in the year she served as editor here, except in her core group.
  • I wish Mr. Schwartz well in his post, however since Mr. Wagar left here 13 months ago to become LafomBosie Communications President, and Advertising Manager Angie Evans left for Prairie Park, the NVN has not had the warm personalities in their community presence once a hallmark of this newspaper.

May 13, 2019

City of Yelm failed to bill commercial business’s sewer bills since November 2018. State of the City: A Transparency Crisis!

  • Editor’s note: This stuff coming from city hall management is another sad tale for lack of oversight and leadership from the top, Mayor Foster, who gives his State of the City talk tomorrow (May 14) to the Yelm Chamber luncheon forum.
  • The State of the City: A Transparency Crisis!
  • The “buck” stops on the Mayor’s desk, yes his desk, for the city’s issues! Where are the city’s Financial Director and the Director of Public Works? The Yelm City Council is also complicit if they do not question on-the-record what led to this and how the city can mitigate such a sting for Yelm businesses.

As has become more persistent, the audio of the Yelm City Council Study Session on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, was not working. However, this line item buried in the Minutes of the meeting stood out: ”
“There has been an error on the sewer utility billing for commercial accounts. There will be a letter going out to commercial accounts explaining the problem.”

I inquired what this was all about and was informed Yelm businesses will soon get a shock of a punch in the stomach, as they will be receiving a sewer bill for 6 months of the sewer consumption rate in one lump sum with an apology insert. This affected about 80 Yelm businesses Not good enough!

This city had been previously labeled as “business non-friendly,” and certainly that nickname will rise to the surface again as Yelm’s business customers get this news in their bills. The Yelm City Council must address this publicly at their meeting tomorrow evening!

May 12, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms

Anna Jarvis, Creator of Mother’s Day,
first celebrated in 1912.
Photo credit: Bettmann/Corbis

Published here annually since May 14, 2006:

1. From Wikipedia:
“The modern Mother’s Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis as a day for each family to honor its mother, and it’s now celebrated on various days in many places around the world. It complements Father’s Day, the celebration honoring fathers.

This holiday is relatively modern, being created at the start of the 20th century, and should not be confused with the early pagan and Christian traditions honoring mothers, or with the 16th century celebration of Mothering Sunday, which is also known as Mother’s Day in the UK.

In most countries the Mother’s Day celebration is a recent holiday derived from the original US celebration…

In 1912, Anna Jarvis trademarked the phrases “second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day”, and created the Mother’s Day International Association.

“She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.”[1]

This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in the law making official the holiday in the U.S. [May 9, 1914], by the U.S. Congress on bills, and by other U.S. presidents on their declarations.”

2. From Women’s Rights.Change:
“From Physicians for Social Responsibility:

Julia Ward Howe proposed the idea of Mothers Day for Peace over a century ago. Howes Mothers Day Proclamation in 1870 was a call for disarmament and for women to come together to seek diplomatic ways to settle disagreements amongst nations.

Today, Physicians for Social Responsibility carries on this work by seeking an end to the use and spread of nuclear weapons, working to end global warming, and stopping the toxic degradation of the environment. We encourage you to share the story of Mothers Day with your mother and other family members and friends.”
Mother’s Day Proclamation 1870
By Julia Ward Howe.

– UPDATE: MAY 13, 2012
“Mother’s Day’s Dark History”
“Fight for holiday said to cost originator ‘”everything, financially and physically.’”
By Brian Handwerk for National Geographic News.
Read more

– UPDATE: MAY 12, 2013
– “Focus on honoring those who have mothered us”
By Pastor Jeff Adams of Yelm’s Paramount Christian Church.
Read more

– UPDATE: May 11, 2014
“Presidential Proclamation — Mother’s Day, 2014”
From The White House of President Barack Obama.
Click here

– UPDATE: May 10. 2015
“How People Celebrate Mother’s Day Around the World”
From MSN.
Read more


May 11, 2019

Trump hijacks the nation’s July 4th event in D. C. – expected to convert this into a campaign rally all about him!

“Trump takes over Fourth of July celebration, changing its location and inserting himself into the program”

“President Trump has effectively taken charge of the nation’s premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials.

“The president’s starring role has the potential to turn what has long been a nonpartisan celebration of the nation’s founding into another version of a Trump campaign rally. Officials said it is unclear how much the changes may cost, but the plans have already raised alarms among city officials and some lawmakers about the potential impact of such major alterations to a time-honored and well-organized summer tradition.

“Fireworks on the Mall, which the National Park Service has orchestrated for more than half a century, draw hundreds of thousands of Americans annually and mark one of the highlights of the city’s tourist season.”

The revised Independence Day celebration is the culmination of two years of attempts by Trump to create a major patriotic event centered on him and his supporters, including failed efforts to mount a military parade modeled on the Bastille Day celebration in France. The new event has become a top priority for new Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who Trump tasked with the job three months ago, officials said.

The president has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning — and initially argued that the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, administration aides said. The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added, ” by Josh Dawsey, Juliet Eilperin, Peter Jamison, Washington Post. Read more

May 11, 2019

Oh my! Trump to deputize local police as ICE Agents!

“New Trump Plan Deputizes Cops as ICE Agents, Even in Sanctuary Cities”

“Trump’s new immigration scheme: Deputize local cops as ICE agents, even in sanctuary cities”

“As Trump spun outrageous “invasion” scenarios in Florida, ICE announces new plan to circumvent sanctuary cities”

ICE has promised that local jurisdictions that join the new program will be temporarily exempted from any local or state rules preventing them from cooperating in immigration arrests or detention, according to an agency release. The newly announced Warrant Service Officer program requires only one day of training. Eleven jurisdictions in Florida have already signed up to participate.

ICE argues that the outsourcing of federal tasks to local officials, with no increase in funding, is necessary because for the agency to do the work itself would just be too hard. Acting director Matthew Albence complained that so-called sanctuary cities “undermine public safety” by adopting policies of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

“But utilizing local police to function as an arm of ICE runs  counter to lessons learned from years of community policing initiatives,” by Sophia Tesfaye. Read more