May 23, 2019

2 water issues making news here: Deschutes River basin in drought area and concerns over vanishing glaciers

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Credit: Dept. of Ecology


“Thurston’s Deschutes River watershed added to state’s drought emergency list”

“The Deschutes River watershed in Thurston County is among the vast portions of Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has added to an emergency drought declaration he first made in April.

“On Monday [May 20], Inslee expanded the drought emergency declaration to cover nearly half of Washington state because of poor water supply and warmer, drier weather predictions this summer, according to a Department of Ecology news release.

“Snow pack is less than half of average for this time of year, according to Ecology. Ecology experts expect the warmer, drier weather to cause the smaller snow pack to melt more quickly, reducing water availability this summer when it is needed most for farms, communities and fish.

“Rainfall for the state remains below normal, Ecology said in the release, by The Olympian Staff.
Read more



“Vanishing mountain glaciers will kill off ecosystems and the creatures within them”

“When it was built in the early 1900s, the road into Mount Rainier National Park from the west passed near the foot of the Nisqually Glacier, one of the mountain’s longest. Visitors could stop for ice cream at a stand built among the glacial boulders and gaze in awe at the ice.

“The ice cream stand is long gone, and so is the ice. The glacier now ends more than a mile farther up the mountain.

“As surely as they are melting elsewhere around the world, glaciers are disappearing in North America, too.

“This great melting will affect ecosystems and the creatures within them, like the salmon that spawn in meltwater streams. This is on top of the effects on the water that billions of people drink, the crops they grow and the energy they need,” by Henry Fountain, The New York Times.
Read more


May 22, 2019

Plan ahead for holiday weekend travel at Sea-Tac if flying! Be aware of busiest freeway congestion times.

Sea-Tac Banner for News Release
Courtesy: Port of Seattle

“Sea-Tac Airport Reminds Travelers to Plan Ahead for Busy Memorial Day Holiday Weekend”

“Nearly half a million travelers will head out Wednesday through Friday”

  • Plan ahead and get here early – two hours ahead of time for a domestic flight and three hours for an international flight;
  • Avoid driving if you can – use light rail, public transit, taxis, airport shuttle or ride-share vehicles and Think Opposite;
  • Limit carry-on food items for faster screening – large food items could trigger additional screening. In addition, security checkpoint wait times are unpredictable, plan to arrive early in case of long lines.

By the Port of Seattle. Read more

“Be ready for especially busy holiday traffic and travel conditions starting Wednesday”

“Drivers are expected to experience the worst congestion on Thursday and Friday in the late afternoons as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers, according to a AAA news release,” by Rolf Boone, The Olympian.
Read more


May 22, 2019

Greg Simmons offers Bitcoin presentation @ The Triad this Sunday – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

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Photo courtesy of Greg Simmons

“I am inviting you to a talk at The Triad Theater 102 E. Yelm Ave in Yelm on Sunday, May 26th, 2 PM –4 PM.

“I have learned that the greatest joy comes from finding your passion and giving it away. I want to share with you the many compelling reasons why bitcoin will reach NEW, all-time highs before the end of 2020.This information is fully researched, and the conclusion I have drawn after many months of study and being involved in the bitcoin phenomena.

“I bought my first bitcoin for $2700 in April 2017 and I watched it soar to $20,000 in 18 months. Bitcoin has begun its next rally that will reach and surpass $20,000 before the end of 2020; maybe well before that date.I am charging $10, a minimal amount to cover the expenses of the event, AND, I will not turn anyone away.

“There is nothing to buy and no program to join –SIMPLY A PRESENTATION.I want to encourage you to make every effort to attend as I believe this information will be life-changing.”

Read more

  • Editor’s note: This message is provided as a public service for the community and does not imply any endorsement by this blog.

“Bitcoin’s wild ride”

“Anderson Cooper reports on how bitcoin was started, where it may go and some of the people who have ridden the cryptocurrency roller coaster over the last 10 years,” quoting CBS News 60 Minutes.

Read more


May 21, 2019

NTSB delivers report on causes of 2017 Amtrak derailment near DuPont

https://southsoundbiz.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Derailment-Courtesy-of-Washington-State-Patrol.png
Dec. 18, 2017 derailment @ I-5
Credit: Washington State Patrol

“Human error, safety oversights caused 2017 Amtrak derailment that killed 3 near DuPont”

“An Amtrak train derailment near DuPont that killed three and injured dozens happened because the engineer lost track of where he was on the route and was going more than twice the speed limit when he hit a curve, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday.

“The agency also blamed Sound Transit for not sufficiently mitigating the danger of the sharp bend, Amtrak for not better training the engineer, Washington State Department of Transportation for not ensuring the route was safe before green-lighting a passenger train and the Federal Railroad Administration for using rail cars beneath regulatory standards.

“‘The engineer was set up to fail,’ said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt,” by Stacia Glenn, The Olympian.
Read more

  • UPDATE: May 24, 2019

“Final report details complacency before deadly 2017 Amtrak derailment”

“The National Transportation Safety Board has published its final report on a deadly Amtrak derailment in Washington state in 2017,” by Gene Johnson, Associated Press, KING 5 Staff. Read more


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!

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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

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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.

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