December 31, 2019

WA. State Parks free days in 2020 include January 1st and 20th.

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Thurston’s Millersylvania State Park
Credit:
Washington State Parks

“Fish for free or visit Washington state parks on these 2020 dates”

“Daytime visits to Washington state parks will be free on 12 days in 2020, starting with Jan. 1.

“On other days of the year a Discover Pass will be needed for parking.

“June 6-7 will be the free fishing weekend, when no fishing licenses or endorsements are required in the state of Washington, along with no Discover Pass at state parks,” by Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald. Read more

▪ Jan. 1, a Wednesday, for New Year’s Day.

▪ Jan. 20, a Monday, for Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday.

▪ March 19, a Thursday, for State Parks’ 107th Birthday.

▪ April 11, a Saturday, for a spring day.

▪ April 22, a Wednesday, for Earth Day.

▪ June 6, a Saturday, for National Trails Day and also a free fishing day.

▪ June 7, a Sunday, for the free fishing day.

▪ June 13, a Saturday, for National Get Oudoors Day.

▪ Aug. 25, a Tuesday, for the National Park Service Birthday.

▪ Sept. 26, a Saturday, for National Public Lands Day

▪ Nov. 11, a Wednesday, for Veterans Day.

▪ Nov. 27, a Friday, for an autumn free day

To find a park to visit, check here.

Click here for free 2020 national park days.


December 30, 2019

Top Blog stories of 2019 for the City of Yelm:
* Public Works requires $24-27m. in upgrades, $350k “triage fund” requested,
* City is about out of water for hook-ups, awaits more water rights,
* City to own foreclosed 640 acre parcel + $1.1 million in L. I. D. debt!

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City Hall
Credit: City of Yelm
  • Editor’s note: The City of Yelm has many issues in closing out 2019, however three stories will dominate this town’s budget in 2020.
  • Current lack of water rights plus Public Works infrastructure challenges are major issues. Of course, the question remains as to how a decrepit sewer infrastructure can handle the current load plus additional approved hook-ups, hence the need for a required Public Works triage fund.
  • The city will have to put up alot of personnel time in handling the disposition of 640 acres and funding $1.1 million in L. I. D. debt if they end up acquiring them as a result of the mayor’s unauthorized contract for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.
  • Putting our heads in the sand and thinking these will go away or the council “kicking the can down the road” and not making those difficult decisions, is not responsible to serve this city’s future!
  • Steve Klein, Yelm Community Blog host

Yelm’s Public Works infrastructure is under duress from a decade of major deferred maintenance and system upgrades

Former Public Works Director Chad Bedlington notified the Yelm city council last summer that Public Works required $27 million for maintenance upgrades. The council keeps postponing funding decisions. So City Administrator Michael Graham requested the council to consider a $350,000 triage fund to cover eventual emergencies in the water/sewer systems. Bedlington’s sudden “resignation” effective October 1st was very untimely – Yelm is currently operating with an interim director on contract from an executive talent agency and expected to seek a permanent replacement in the first quarter of 2019. Yelm residents need to brace for certain and major water/sewer rate increases. Read full details, Click here

Yelm is about out of water hook-up availability

On December 16, 2019, the Nisqually Valley News said city associate planner Tami Merriman, reported there were 208 hook-ups left last summer and with 2 recently approved developments, that leaves 113 remaining until Yelm gets more water rights. (208 minus 57 for Wyndstone Apts. + 75 for Nisqually Landing = 113 remaining). Yelm is effectively nearly out of hook-ups entering 2020. This is an important issue since former Mayor Ron Harding began his growth policy here in 2005, followed by Mayor Foster in 2016, the city has relied solely on issuing building permits and property taxes for the vast majority of their revenue (which would be such a policy instituted only from limited leaders who did not earn a business or economics degree). Read more

Yet another Yelm development is awaiting more water rights to build. Read more

Yelm set to own 640 acres plus $1.1 million in L. I. D. debt! City set to discuss land sale options in Executive Session

Covered here many times previously is the fact that Mayor Foster signed a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure with a Yelm landowner on December 29, 2017, without council’s approval, without notifying the council, and against the Yelm Municipal Code and the RCW, which limits him authorizing expenditures up to $35,000, where anything over that amount requires council approval. If the landowner did not pay the tax debt on this parcel by December 31, 2019, the property and L. I. D. debt of approx. $1.1 million will be the city’s responsibility. The city council was told if this occurs, there will be an Executive Session to discuss this real estate matter. Clearly, the city had heard nothing from the landowner at their last council session of the year and opportunities for the city to recoup the sale of the land have been swirling in the public domain, regardless of the mayor’s denial at the December 10th council session. Read more about this land and L. I. D. debt from City Administrator Grayum’s letter to the council.


December 30, 2019

Drinking at New Year’s Eve Parties?
Then don’t drive, 2 excellent options to consider!

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Credit: Bill’s Towing & Recovery

Two excellent options to avoid getting behind the wheel drunk:

– Bill’s Towing & Recovery Tipsy Tow Service

“Bill’s Towing & Recovery is offering Tipsy Tow service on New Years to provide a safe alternative to drinking and driving on Yelm area roads.

“The service will be available in the greater Yelm, Rainier, and McKenna area from 9:00 p.m. on New Years Eve, December 31st to 3:00 a.m. New Years Day, January 1st.

“Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver can call 360-458-5963 between the hours above and request a free tow home of up to ten miles. Callers simply tell the dispatcher, “I need a tipsy tow,” to receive the free tow and ride home.

Callers need to keep in mind that the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver, and the destination is limited to the drivers residence. Reservations are not accepted, and tows over ten miles are subject to normal rates.

“Drinking drivers frequently fail to seek and obtain alternative ways to get home because they are concerned about retrieving their vehicle, the expense of taxis and the inconvenience of alternative transportation. Tipsy Tow is intended to give motorists a safer option for getting themselves and their vehicles home, instead of driving while intoxicated,” quoting Bill’s Towing & Recovery.
Read more

– Kelly Kab Taxi Service for the Yelm, Rainier, Clearwood, Roy.

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Credit: Kelly Kab

– Kelly Kab is an excellent option, then return to pick-up your vehicle the next day.
Call them at (360) 791-1925.
Read more


Blogger Klein is a Bill’s Towing & Recovery customer.


December 29, 2019

During this 3rd impeachment, past Presidential quotes are instructive – Part II,
In 2019, foreigners asked me, “What happened to America’s commitment to ideals?

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Thomas Jefferson
Credit: The White House
  • Editor’s note: The Presidential quotes below were compiled by the author of “Anonymous: A Warning” and opened each of the chapters in the second half of the book.
  • As 2019 comes to a close, I was reflecting on the 3 roundtrip trans-Atlantic crossings I took this year. One thing I heard consistently from people I engaged in France, England, Greece, Netherlands, Canada, and Romania, was what happened to and where was America’s leadership in facing the truth of facts and standing up for our principles and the commitment to our ideals.
  • The understanding in this country on the agreement of underlying facts has became secondary to “alternative facts,” which in my view, has divided America unlike anytime since 1968. That was the year of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, when election year politics were fueling the caldron of summer riots with African-American urban centers set ablaze, and where every neighborhood knew of someone being shipped off to the Viet Nam War, knowing many of them would not return home. We were clearly a country tearing itself apart, highlighted by the violence at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, where Richard M. Nixon again became the party’s nominee. Fast-forward 51 years where one commentator recently referred to our country as now being in a cold civil war that could bubble-over and be worst than that seething year of 1968. I was then a mere 14 years of age beginning American civics studies and passionately interested in what was dividing our country.
  • We leave 2019 a people more divided than ever, with Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner tables across this land being tested in the pure love of allowing divergent viewpoints among families and friends. Reportedly, some did not fare so well.
  • The USA we all know and hold dear is going to be put to a test in 2020.
  • May a new decade bring on the dawn of change with a sense of hope that we will emerge from the heap of ashes left behind from the burning away of the past and with leadership that unites us as a people, rather than dividing us.
  • Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, wrote in his notes this exchange: Questioner: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

   Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

  • 2020 will be the year that this question is answered.
  • Can we keep our Republic?
  • Or will our Republic gravitate into an Autocracy?
  • Let the motto of the Commonwealth of Kentucky be our guide causing profound introspection as we enter the promise of a new decade: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

Steve Klein, Yelm Community Blog host.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

John F. Kennedy

“If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.”

Ulysses S. Grant

“The President hears a hundred voices telling him that he is the greatest man in the world. He must listen carefully indeed to hear the one voice that tells him he is not.”

Harry S. Truman

“Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government.”

Thomas Jefferson

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Abraham Lincoln


December 28, 2019

If Commissioner Edwards decides to run, he has a formidable 2020 challenger!
Introducing Lacey City Councilor Michael Steadman for District 2 Commissioner.

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Credit: CITIZENS FOR MICHAEL STEADMAN

Local veteran seeks to get Thurston County Moving Again.”

  • Editor’s note: Thurston County District 2 encompasses Lacey, Yelm, and rural areas outside of both and into the Bald Hills. Click here for the map.

Local veteran, Michael Steadman, has announced his bid to move the Thurston County Commission forward into prosperity for the people. Thurston County is an economically diverse, environmentally conscious, and tight-knit community. Michael Steadman seeks to prepare Thurston County for the imminent growth and opportunity that awaits the county in the near future. He will accomplish this through the support of family, community, and business.

Michael’s vast experience as a Lacey City Councilman, businessman, Veteran and father has shaped his strong character into a valued community member. As a City Councilman, he understands the challenges of the community. His military service taught him loyalty and honor. His days as a sheet metal worker taught him the importance of respect, working with others and having a strong organized workforce. His hard efforts and growth as a small businessman have given him the understanding and importance of how local business is a driving force to the economic impact of the community. Michael firmly believes that small business creates jobs and opportunity for everyone and are a vital path to the prosperity of the community.”

Michael Steadman has the qualities and experience required to serve as the Thurston County Commissioner for District 2. He seeks and is grateful for your vote on November 3, 2020. Together, we will thrive into the future,” by Citizens for Michael Steadman. Read more


December 27, 2019

NBC’s Meet the Press looks at who we lost in 2019,
Leaders in politics, culture, media,
Including one of my personal heroes, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD.)

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Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD.)
Credit: Rep. Cummings’ Twitter

NBC’s Meet The Press Looks Back On Who We Lost In 2019

Click here for this moving tribute!

Click here for last major Congressional speech of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) prior to his death, where he said, “When we’re dancing with the Angels the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to keep our Democracy intact?”

‘We can do better’: Elijah Cummings’ most memorable speeches” Click here

“Famous People We’ve Lost in 2019”

From AARP. Read more


December 27, 2019

Two stories of note for Washington drivers

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“Washington Supreme Court: Turn signals are always required to turn and change lanes”

“The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that drivers must use their signal every time they turn or change lanes on a roadway.

“Thursday’s [Dec. 26] ruling reverses a Court of Appeals ruling that said a signal is required only when public safety is affected. The high court ruled that the plain language of the law requires drivers ‘to ensure turns and lane changes are done safely and with an appropriate turn signal,'” quoting the Associated Press. Read more

“Oregon-based Les Schwab tire company looking for a buyer”

“Les Schwab, the Bend [Oregon] tire powerhouse known for its customer service, company culture and — once — its fierce commitment to keeping the business in the family, is considering a sale.

“The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the privately held company on Tuesday [Dec. 24] confirmed it had hired hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer. It didn’t disclose a potential buyer or expected price tag.

“Bloomberg News reported earlier that the company expected it could fetch a price of at least $3 billion. The report, attributed to people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because of the deal’s privacy, said that the company is working with an adviser as it weighs alternatives including divesting its real estate portfolio.

“It’s a historic, and surprising, move for the business. Long after Les Schwab founded his eponymous company in 1952, he made it clear that he had no interest in passing control of the company to anyone outside his family,”.

Read more


December 26, 2019

Christmas Tree Recycling for Yelm, Rainier and Thurston County Residents

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Christmas Tree Recycling for Thurston County Residents”

“Multiple drop-off and pick-up locations”

“All Thurston County residents: Trees are accepted at the Waste and Recovery Center located at 2420 Hogum Bay Road NE in Lacey from December 26 – January 12 (closed January 1). Hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and Saturday – Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.”

“Rainier residents: Take trees to the Rainier Drop Box Facility at 13010 Rainier Acres Rd. from December 27 – January 12. Hours of operation are only Friday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Yelm residents: Residents can place trees in a designated dumpster at Yelm City Park anytime from December 26 – January 11, or until the dumpster is full,” quoting Thurston County. Read more

“Thrifty Thurston Figures out What to Do with Your Christmas Tree”

Terrific ideas in addition to recycling. By Alyssa Ramsfield, Thurston Talk. Read more


December 26, 2019

Three stories making news that affect Yelm:
1. Another unexpected Nisqually Jail death raises alarms
2. Is Congress doing enough to help homeless in Thurston County?
3. Rep. JT Wilcox directs legislature to focus on Nisqually salmon survival

Another Nisqually Jail death raises alarms, especially that Yelm’s prisoners are housed there

“A 28-year-old man who was in custody at the Nisqually Jail died over the weekend after being transported to an Olympia hospital, the Thurston County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

“The inmate was identified as Joseph Cagey, according to Coroner Gary Warnock. The coroner said the man was from Bellingham and that Cagey’s family has been notified.

“‘This is an unexpected and unexplained death,’ Coroner Warnock said,” by Sara Gentzler, The Olympian. Read more

Is Congress doing enough to help homeless in Thurston County?

“More and more people are living on the streets of Thurston County’s cities, as well as in makeshift encampments or their cars — or what the federal government calls “other places not suitable for human habitation.”

“The county’s 2019 homeless census officially found 394 unsheltered people living in the county, up from 320 last year and 124 in 2017.

“The unofficial estimate for unsheltered people is between 800 and 1,000, a discrepancy attributed to the high percentage of people who refuse to participate in the voluntary homeless census,” quoting David Lightman, McClatchy’s chief congressional correspondent. Read more

“Rep. Wilcox: Salmon Need to Be Priority in State Legislature”

  • Editor’s note: Yelm is going to have to grapple with upgrading their Public Works system to ensure there are no accidental breakdowns allowing sewage effluent into the Nisqually River watershed!

“House Minority Leader and 2nd Legislative District Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, says he’s looking forward to making salmon habitat legislation a bipartisan priority following the recent Billy Frank Jr. Pacific Salmon Summit. 

“‘I’m going to be joining with my caucus and with anybody who wants to be a part of the effort to effectively and efficiently address the salmon crisis clear across the state, in Puget Sound and especially here along the Nisqually River,’ Wilcox said in a November video update to constituents, by Eric Rosane, Nisqually Valley News. Read more


December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas to you and yours – From the Yelm Community Blogger!

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The Flott Family is in the Yelm Christmas Spirit!
Credit: Rory Sagner Photography & Fine Art, © 2018-2019.

The Yelm Community Blog has published an annual Christmas message since 2006. The following are in the Christmas Spirit:

– The Polar Express – “I Believe” scene
This excerpt reminds us that the true spirit of Christmas lies in each of our hearts.
Watch here


“Christmas in the Northwest – Brenda Kutz White”
“Post production opening clip taken from The Christmas in the Northwest Christmas special that aired on KOMO TV [Channel 4] in Seattle back in December of 1987 featuring Brenda Kutz White’s song “Christmas in the Northwest.”

All proceeds from the Christmas in the Northwest project go to Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington.”
Copyright © 1987 Fisher Broadcasting, Inc.
Click here for the video.


– 10,000 singing Beethoven’s – Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy)
Worth hearing and seeing, from 2012.
Click here


– Michael W. Smith – Christmastime (Live From Portland, Oregon, On November 20, 2016). Editor’s note: Long-time RSE students will recognize and be touched by this song!
Click here for this moving rendition of a holiday favorite.


– “Do You Hear What I Hear? (Home Free) (Christmas A Cappella)” 2015
“Originally written during the Cuban missile crisis [Oct. 1962], a parallel can be drawn to any time when the world needs a reminder to love not hate.”
Click here for the video.


– “Christmas Gift Suggestions”
By Oren Arnold
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.



– “Interesting Facts About Christmas”
“No matter how many Christmases you’ve celebrated, you may not know how five of the most common Christmas traditions came about. Let’s begin with a few interesting facts about Christmas from History.com:
* Christmas was declared a U.S. federal holiday on June 26, 1870
* Every year, 30 to 35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S., most of them cultivated by one of the nation’s 21,000 Christmas tree growers
* Poinsettias are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the plant to America from Mexico in 1828
* The Salvation Army has been collecting Christmas donations on the streets across the U.S. since the 1890s
* “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written in 1939 by copywriter Robert L. May as a marketing piece to attract customers to the Montgomery Ward department store2
* Construction workers initiated the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in New York City in 1931
* The first eggnog made in the U.S. was consumed at the Jamestown settlement in 1607
By Dr. Mercola.
Read more


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