October 17, 2019

Honoring the life and legacy of a titan –
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) dead at age 68

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD.)
Credit: Andrew Harrer,
Bloomberg via Getty Images file

“Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and House Oversight Chairman, dies at 68”

  • Editor’s note: Rep. Cummings was one of the few Congressional leaders that earned my deep respect over the years. A man of immense integrity, impeccability, intelligence, understanding and wisdom. This man’s leadership in a highly fracture government will be a huge loss for the United States. His wife reportedly said Cummings worked for America until his last breath. I honor him and send blessings to his widow, family and the citizens of Baltimore. The nation now mourns for this great man!
  • Click here to see the passion and sincerity of Cummings as leader of the Congressional Oversight Committee interacting with President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen testifying before the Oversight Committee.

“Cummings passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital, his office confirmed.”

“Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings died Thursday after what his office described as “complications concerning longstanding health challenges.” He was 68.

Cummings, D-Md., passed away around 2:30 a.m. ET at Gilchrist Hospice Care, an affiliate of Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, his office said in a brief statement.

Cummings had represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District since 1996, serving 12 terms in the House, and was at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump in his role as House Oversight Committee chairman,” by Alexander Smith, Geoff Bennett, Rebecca Shabad and Allan Smith, NBC News. Read more

“In photos: Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019”

Click here for the photo gallery from MSN.

Read Rep. Cummings last Press Release, Oct. 11, 2019

Click here

Listen to Rep. Cummings very first speech on the House floor in 1996.

Click here

Rep. Cummings on July 24, 2019: “I’m begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on. Because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children, and your children’s children, and generations yet unborn we’ve got to guard this moment…this is our watch.” Click here for the video.

“Morning Joe: Rep. Cummings, our dear friend, he will be missed”

“Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski reflect on the life and legacy of Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died Thursday morning at the age of 68. Cummings married Scarborough and Brzezinski last year, which Scarborough describes as an honor and perfect,” quoting Morning Joe on MSNBC. Click here for the tribute.

Credit: WBAL-11 TV News, Baltimore, NBC

October 17, 2019

Yelm Public Works now in critical mode,
Public Works Director resigned amid massive issues!

  • Story highlights:
  • Public Works Director Chad Bedlington resigned,
  • Public Works requires $27 million for maintenance upgrades,
  • Council keeps postponing funding decisions,
  • Council asked to consider $350,000 in triage funding to cover emergencies,
  • Yelm residents need to brace for certain water/sewer rate increases,
  • Now two department heads are in an acting capacity (Public Works, Finance),
  • Turnover costs the city in productivity, continuity, dollars to replace personnel,
  • Something is amiss in leadership with too frequent staff turnovers,
  • City needs to hire a head-hunter for a qualified Public Works Director.
  • Our Public Works staff deserve our praise and an expert Director!

Editor’s note: The Nisqually Valley News was invited to the Public Works department last August to write an in-depth report on the aging facility that needs a major and immediate refurbishment, yet there is no funding on the immediate horizon. That means some or a majority of the upgrade costs will have to be born by the users, City of Yelm residents. The NVN story published August 22, 2019, stated the issue clearly:

But there’s one thing that can’t be ignored — the 25-year-old treatment facility and its technology are quickly becoming obsolete, and there are some repairs that cannot be made.

That’s why the city council and staff are discussing the construction of a new membrane bio-reactor system that would bring more efficiencies to the system and process cleaner reclaimed water. It would likely cost upwards of $17 million to construct the facilities and install the system.

Those connected to the facility say it’s likely a question of ‘when a replacement will come and not ‘if,‘” quoting Eric Rosanne.

Over a three-year period, the City has replaced many components to keep the current facility functional, including the system control software, distribution system, and eliminated single points of failure but still requires an estimated $27 Million overhaul to manage current and future demand. The City is exploring a variety of options to renovate the facility while keeping utility rates as low as possible for the citizens and businesses of Yelm. Options include a widely used Membrane Bioreactor system, and advocating for State Funding and allow Yelm to be a leader for other innovative treatment options including ceramics and algae.”

  • On October 8, 2019, the public heard for the first time at the Yelm City Council session that City Administrator Michael Grayum was once again the Acting Public Works Director. However, upon inquiring, this blogger was informed Public Works Director Chad Bedlington was not on leave for a family matter as he was last Spring, rather he submitted a resignation letter. This leads to many questions and places the city in a precarious position in a department that REQUIRES a fully-qualified, daily hands-on manager, expert, and department head. Bedlington had been in this post for almost 3.5 years, replacing former Public Works Director Ryan Johnstone, who also resigned.
  • Bedlington had made a presentation to the city council on September 24, 2019, with a recommendation by public works staff to enter into a water and sewer rate forecasting analysis. That request was tabled by the council, again “kicking the can down the road” due to the council’s concerns that rate increases are in the forecast and will not be favorably received by residents.
  • At the October 8, 2019 council session, Acting Public Works Director Michael Grayum, recommended a $350,000 “triage funding” to have in the ready with the coming emergency breakdowns that will occur with the Public Works facility in such challenging state, since regular maintenance has been deferred since 2009-2010. Click here begin at 35:00 for the monetary gap explanation and suggested $350K triage funding.

Bottom line: With Bedlington taking the heat for Splash Park cost overruns that would have had to have been approved at a higher pay-grade than his, a council that keeps deferring tackling the Public Works debacle, no foreseeable funding, while the city keeps adding more hook-ups, the Public Works Director’s job would have to look like a lose-lose for anyone. To properly replace Bedlington, the city is going to have to jack-up the pay to attract a quality Department Head to take over the issues in Yelm!

I am deeply saddened that a man of Chad Bedlington’s integrity, experience, genuineness and public likeability is leaving Yelm. However, I wish him well in his next endeavors and thank him, for his service to Yelm during a challenging tenure.

Secondly, Department Heads are a vital team for any city. They lean on each other, share ideas, discuss solutions and work through issues for the upliftment of the public, the Mayor and City Administrator under who they serve, the City Council, and their City Hall colleagues.

Therefore, I am VERY concerned that Chief Stancil and Community Dev. Dir. Grant Beck have once again lost two of their vital Department Head colleagues (Finance Director Wolf and Bedlington) with whom they were able to kick-back and “blow off some stream.” As a former corporate director, I can tell you morale among management leaders and their staff must be top priority. And this city is operating with 2 Acting Directors as Department Heads, which leaves the city vulnerable in these key areas.

October 16, 2019

America’s Shake-out Earthquake Drill Oct. 17 at 10:17a.m., includes Yelm


“Join the City in Earthquake Preparedness Drill”

  • From the City of Yelm:

“We hope you join the City of Yelm, the City of Yelm Police Department, and Yelm Community Schools, by participating in the Great Washington Shakeout event at 10:17 a.m. Oct. 17. As part of the Shakedown [Ed. note: must be an error, for obviously the city does not mean “Shakedown,” rather Shakeout!] , the Police Department will test our emergency notification system by sending an internal alert to staff and elected officials, who will then simulate what they would do in an actual earthquake event. Have you thought about what you would do in an earthquake or other emergency?

“For more information regarding the shakeout and the action you should take to protect yourself during an earthquake, please visit:  https://www.shakeout.org/dropcoverholdon/

“If you would like to register for emergency notifications, please visit: https://www.smart911.com/…/regis…/registrationLanding.action

Read more

October 15, 2019

South Sound cities forecast to get nearly 3 inches of rain this the week!

“3 inches of total rainfall possible around Puget Sound in coming days”

“Get ready for a series of storms bringing rain and cooler temperatures to western Washington.”

“The rain picks up Tuesday afternoon on the coast and moves into the lowlands by the evening. 

“The rain won’t let up all week. 

“The heaviest rain is expected Wednesday and Thursday, lasting into the weekend.”

Rainfall totals could reach 3 inches in south Sound cities, including Tacoma and Olympia, over the next several days, according to the National Weather Service,” by KING-5 TV News, Seattle. Read more

October 15, 2019

Yelm Blogger endorses Helen Wheatley for Port Commissioner

Helen Wheatley, Steve Klein at a local fundraiser.
Credit: Helen for Port, Campaign Manager Tyler Gundel
  • Editor’s note: The time for change and fiscal responsibility is now for the Port of Olympia. Property owners in Thurston County fund the port through property taxes and should take a vested interest into seeing this asset is properly managed. Continued losses and doing business the same way for years is not working.
  • I am pleased to endorse the leadership, experience and vision exhibited by Helen Wheatley.
  • A former Fulbright scholar with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Helen taught history at Seattle University and has worked for over two decades as an advocate for cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site in Eastern Washington. In 2018 she was honored as Thurston County Democrat of the Year.
  • “The Port loses money every year. Port taxes have increased 27% since 2016. Let’s stop using taxes to make up for losses and debt. $6.5 million a year is too much to pay for poor decisions. We can turn the Port around with better transparency and more rigorous oversight,” quoting Wheatley’s Voter’s Pamphlet statement.
  • Please consider casting your vote for Helen Wheatley, Port of Olympia Commissioner!

From the website of Helen for Port:

Helen’s Vision for Improving Governance at the Port

Judicious Oversight

Commissioners oversee the annual budget and approve significant capital expenditures. As your Commissioner I will demand transparent reporting and require that all budget information be available to the public. I will hold the Executive Director accountable and act to spare the Port from making costly mistakes with taxpayer’s funds.


Minutes, policy documents and financial reporting should be accessible for the public to evaluate and respond. As your Commissioner, I will make sure that better shared information results in better practices and decisions.

Plan for the Future

The Port’s strategic planning is years out of date. As your Commissioner I will work to develop a financially sound strategic plan for the next decade based on an environmentally sound and economically sustainable vision with broad public input.


Commissioners must be able to work together in order to move the Port forward. As your Commissioner, I will work to make the deliberations of the Port Commission productive and civil, even when individual commissioners don’t completely agree.


The Port of Olympia serves its community best when it collaborates with other governments and agencies to achieve our common goals. As your Commissioner, I will make sure that the Port is an active participant when our communities address important issues.

Read more from Helen for Port.

Please consider casting your vote for Helen Wheatley, Port of Olympia Commissioner!

October 15, 2019

November’s election ballots to be mailed tomorrow – Please vote!

The Office of Thurston County Auditor report the November 5th election ballots will be mailed to voters of record tomorrow, October 16, 2019.

Make your voice heard and vote.

Read more

October 14, 2019

Nonprofit Triad Theater not renewing their lease of the Wolf Building.

Credit: The Triad Arts Theater

The Triad Theater seems to be leaving the historic Wolf Building:

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, Yelm Council member Terry Kaminski reported to the mayor pro tem, city council and the public that The Triad Theater’s lease in the Wolf Building ends in November and she hoped they find a new home in Yelm citing, “It would be horrible if we could not have our live theater.
Click here, begin video at 1:20 for Councilor Kaminski’s comments.

Requesting a comment, I reached out last week to The Triad Theater’s director and city council Position 2 candidate Cameron “Calamity” Jayne [her name as listed in the Thurston County Voter’s Pamphlet]. To date she has not replied, though has responded on her candidacy issues.

Wolf Building owner, Steve Craig, confirmed to the Yelm Community Blog that he received a letter in early September from theater director Cameron Jayne that said the Wolf Building lease would not be renewed at the end of November 2019, and The Triad would be vacating the premises.

I also contacted the Standing Room Only (SRO) Theater Company who has an agreement with The Triad to have their performances in the building. SRO’s Daniel Wyman promptly responded this statement, “We are incredibly grateful to the Triad Theater for the support we have received over the last few years. Our next full-length production is Calendar Girls in March of 2020, and we are fully committed to producing it–along with many after–regardless of the venue in which we perform, so we hope our audiences will rest assured that the show absolutely will go on.

The Yelm Community Blog looks forward to the show going on with Yelm’s live community theater robustly continuing into the future.

October 14, 2019

Pizzeria LaGitana fundraiser for Yelm’s Boys & Girls Clubs this Wednesday!


Pizzeria La Gitana Of Yelm will donate 20% of ALL sales October 16th, 2019 to support the new Yelm Branch – Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County!

“Bring your friends and family and support the Great Futures for Yelm Youth campaign while enjoying delicious pizza & pasta, fantastic deserts and great service.” Read more

October 13, 2019

While Trump could be “self-impeaching” through his recent actions,
there was other major news relegated off the front pages!
Check-out those headlines.

Credit: Kevin Siers
Charlotte Observer

“Impeachment Facts”

By Joanne Freeman, History Prof, Yale. @BackStoryRadio cohost. Expert on early US politics. Read more

“More Than 300 National Security Professionals Commend Impeachment Inquiry, Express Alarm at the President’s Conduct”

Click here for their letter.

“Sen. Mitch McConnell on impeachment: 1998 vs. 2019”

“In a 1998 interview, now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was “shocked” by how partisan the impeachment process was, saying that congress had a constitutional duty. In 2019, McConnell is calling the impeachment inquiry into Pres. Trump a Democratic “obsession,” by MSNBC. Read more

“‘Extremely Dangerous’: Trump Tweet Calling Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Coup’ Heightens Fears of Refusal to Leave Office”

“The orderly transfer of power in the United States has always depended on the active cooperation of the outgoing president. What happens if that cooperation is not forthcoming?” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. Read more

“Federal government has dramatically expanded exposure to risky mortgages”

By Damian Paletta, The Washington Post. Read more

“US manufacturing activity sank to lowest level since 2009”

By The Canadian Press. Read more

“‘Raw bribery’: Groups, foreign governments book rooms at Trump hotel, don’t use them”

“House investigators probing claims that Trump’s hotel gets ‘ghost bookings’ from friendly groups, governments”

By Igor Derysh, Salon Magazine. Read more

“‘Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth’: Sasse decries Trump’s call for probe”

By Joseph Morton, Omaha World-Herald. Read more

“Republican Party needs to ‘get a grip on itself,’ says former Secretary of State Colin Powell”

“The retired Army general stressed the need for members of the Republican Party to “get a grip” and speak out with regards to President Trump’s impeachment inquiry,” by CNN. Read more

“Where Trump’s conspiracy theories come from”

” Where Trump’s conspiracy theories come from The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer tells Chris Hayes about the right-wing ecosystem that creates scandals — and might well inadvertently bring down a president,” quoting All In, MSNBC. Read more

“Paul Krugman: Here comes the Trump slump”

“Now it’s starting to look as if Trump really will achieve something unique: He may well be the first president of modern times to preside over a slump that can be directly attributed to his own policies, rather than bad luck,” By Paul Krugman, The New York Times. Read more

“Dominion buys pipeline support at Supreme Court through GOP Attorneys General”

“With a key Atlantic Coast Pipeline appeal before the Supreme Court, US Attorney General Barr and Republican state Attorneys General have intervened in Dominion’s favor – while sharing close financial ties to the utility,” by Energy and Policy Institute. Read more

“Fired EPA scientists to release air pollution report they say agency unqualified to issue”

“‘In the history of the agency this has never happened. The new panel is unqualified and the new panel has said they were unqualified,’ said a former EPA official,” by Phil McCausland, NBC News. Read more

“Trump’s Syria decision divides white evangelicals as impeachment pressure builds”

“After Trump announced he was unilaterally pulling U.S. troops out of northern Syria, a potential crack appeared in Trump’s evangelical foundation. Here’s why.”

“‘President Trump has committed an egregious act of betrayal,’ conservative Christian radio host Erick Erickson tweeted,” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author, “Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom From Slaveholder Religion.” Read more

“We’re not the Saudis’ mercenaries”

“Robert Gates, the former defence secretary, once scoffed that Saudi Arabia ‘wants to fight the Iranians to the last American.’

“The danger is that we slip toward that nightmare. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Iran has committed an “act of war” by attacking Saudi oil processing centres. Influential hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have suggested carrying out strikes on Iranian oil refineries,” by Nicholas Kristoff. Read more

“Law classmates tell Trump lawyer Cipollone he distorts Constitution by blocking impeachment witnesses”

“Law classmates of White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent him a letter on Thursday [Oct. 10], claiming his decision to block material and witnesses from the House impeachment inquiry ‘distorts the law and the Constitution,’ according to a copy of the letter obtained by NBC News.

“We are sorry to see how your letter to the congressional leadership flouts the traditions of rigor and intellectual honesty that we learned together,” said the letter from members of the class of 1991 at the University of Chicago Law School, by Julia Ainsley, NBC News. Read more

Click here for the copy of the letter obtained by NBC News.

October 12, 2019

Yelm Farmers Market open Saturdays through Oct. 26th!

  • From the Yelm Farmers Market:

Yelm Farmers Market is open through Oct. 26th 2019!

Saturdays, 10 am – 3 pm. Yelm Community Center

Your seasonal resource for local produce and products. Read more

“2019 Market Financials”

“Commitment To Transparency”

“Bounty For Families [non-profit organization under which the Yelm Farmers Market operates] is committed to our donors, sponsors and the community to streamline our operations to provide instant access to our financial data.  Here you will find the data from our 2019 Master Spreadsheet published in real time.” Read more


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