August 15, 2020

Red Flag Warning: critical fire weather conditions are imminent!

Credit: Rory Siegel Photography & Fine Art, ©2020. Used with permission.

Red Flag Warning SAT 11:00 AM PDT until SUN 11:00 PM PDT

Affected Area

Southwest Interior Lowlands – including Yelm and vicinity



The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a Red Flag Warning for low humidity and unstable conditions, which is in effect from 11 AM Saturday to 11 PM PDT Sunday.

AFFECTED AREA…Fire Weather Zones 655, 658 and 659. RELATIVE HUMIDITY…As low 15 to 30 percent.

TEMPERATURES…In the upper 80s and 90s with close to 100 degrees possible for locations in the Cascades valleys.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either imminent or occurring now. Any fires that develop will likely spread quickly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

Read more

August 15, 2020

Explore 3 Thurston County hikes this summer that are jewels!

Located outside of Yelm, Deschutes Falls Park shows off nature’s power and beauty through powerful falls. Credit: Alyssa Ramsfield

“3 Thurston County Waterfall Hikes in the Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm Area”

Chasing waterfalls in Thurston County is a great way to spend time outdoors with family and friends. The rushing water and dramatic scenery makes a local waterfall hike worth the sweat! Check out these waterfall hikes in and around Olympia, Tumwater and Yelm.

Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls are the most prominent waterfalls in Thurston County. Constructed in 1962 by the Olympia Tumwater Foundation, this 15-acre park boasts beautiful waterfalls from the Deschutes River.”

“A few miles further up the Deschutes River visitors to Yelm can see more rugged terrain at Deschutes Falls Park. What was once a homestead from 1902 is now a recreational wonder. This 155-acre park has multiple small waterfalls along with a 27-foot falls that cascades into the river below.”

“Ready for a hike? Head out to Capitol State Forest to visit the rushing Mima Falls. Just a short drive from Olympia, this forest is home to some of the most popular trails for hiking, biking, and horse riding in our area,” by Alyssa Ramsfield, in Thurston Talk. Read more

August 15, 2020

* Top DHS officials Wolf and Cuccinelli not legally eligible to serve,
* Obesity raises Covid-19 death risk among men,
* Kamala Harris Crystallizes Trump’s View of Women!
Executive Ordering
Credit: Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer


+ Local land trusts form partnerships to preserve farmland and river and stream habitat

+ Thurston Asset Building Coalition Supports Community Hubs Using Equity Lens

+ Teachers Say They’re Afraid to Go Back to School

+ Enough peanut butter to make 3M sandwiches stored in Fife as part of state food reserve

+ Top DHS officials Wolf and Cuccinelli are not legally eligible to serve in their current roles, congressional watchdog agency finds

+ DHS’s changing mission leaves its founders dismayed as critics call for a breakup

+ How QAnon rode the pandemic to new heights — and radicalized your friends

+ Think QAnon Is on the Fringe? So Was the Tea Party

+ Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): committed to your health and well-being

+ Washington Health Department says COVID-19 cases are beginning to plateau – “Plateauing is not enough to keep this pandemic under control; we must transition to a state of sustained decline in new cases.”


Public Health Officials Are Quitting or Getting Fired in Throes of Pandemic

Why Aren’t We Promoting Health to Combat COVID?

Obesity Raises the Risk of Death From Covid-19 Among Men

How covid-19-related travel restrictions are complicating the once-simple road trip

And speaking of obesity in the U.S., this is instructive: A side-by-side comparison of KFC in the UK versus in the US

US-Canada border restrictions extended to at least September, same with Mexico

80% of people with COVID-19 won’t pass it to others, Seattle’s Fred Hutch study says

** Trump’s Presidency **

Trump Rolls Back Methane Rule as Bankrupt Permian Drillers Ignore Venting Flares

Wash. Gov. Inslee: Trump ‘confessed he wants to disable Postal Service’

House Democrat files criminal referral to NJ AG accusing Trump of subverting election in his state

Postal service seen hauling mailboxes away in trucks as Trump’s pick to lead USPS makes controversial changes before election

Postal Service chief, under fire, admits ‘unintended consequences’ of his policy overhaul

The Postal Service has warned that voters in 46 states might be disenfranchised this election because their mail-in ballots could be delayed.

Trump signals impatience with FBI director’s cooperation with reviews of Russia investigation

Kamala Harris Crystallizes Trump’s View of Women

The Postal Service has warned that voters in 46 states might be disenfranchised this election because their mail-in ballots could be delayed.

Marge Simpson has something to say to the Trump campaign

Trump: ‘A lot of people’ think Edward Snowden ‘not being treated fairly’ [Ed. note: Trump has previously called Snowden a “traitor” worthy of being executed! So, what is the political motivation for Trump, as there must be one, all of the sudden?]

August 14, 2020

Excessive heat watch this weekend, Yelm forecast for 100 degrees Sunday!

Credit: Rory Siegel Photography & Fine Art, ©2020. Used with permission.

Excessive Heat Watch, SUN 10:00 AM PDT until SUN 9:00 PM PDT


WHAT…Very hot conditions with afternoon temperatures in the 90s.

WHERE…Portions of northwest and west central Washington.

WHEN…From Sunday morning through Sunday evening.

IMPACTS…Very hot conditions will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those who are sensitive to heat.

Read more

August 14, 2020

* Lacey Police seek public’s help in search for missing man with Yelm family,
* CDC director says U.S. could have “worst fall” ever,
* Trump says USPS can’t handle mail-in voting – he’s blocking funding!

Still have a problem wearing a mask?


+ Judge tosses Didier and Eyman lawsuit against Inslee’s ‘unconstitutional’ stay-home order

+ Yelm Schools Superintendent Brian Wharton has a Safe Start to Success update

+ Lacey Police seek public’s help in search for missing man – his family owns a Yelm gas station

+ Toxic algae bloom at Lake Lawrence prompts advisory to avoid contact with water

+ COVID-19 a deadly disease that has these long-term complications, Washington state says

+ Yelm’s Public Works Employee of the Month – Aris McClelland!

+ Pregnant patients at Madigan’s OB/GYN clinic sent elsewhere due to staffing shortfalls

+ Do Americans trust the police? It could depend on your political beliefs, poll finds

+ Thurston Asset Building Coalition Supports Community Hubs Using Equity Lens


CDC director says U.S. could have “worst fall” ever

WaPo: The United States recorded the most covid-19 deaths in a single day since mid-May on Wednesday: nearly 1,500 fatalities. 

Record U.S. coronavirus fatalities and ‘startling surge’ of cases in children and teens

Georgia Gov. Kemp Drops Lawsuit Against Atlanta Mayor Over Coronavirus Restrictions

** Trump’s Presidency ** Trump’s War on USPS (video)

Trump Declares USPS Can’t Handle Mail-In Voting Because He’s Blocking Funding

‘From golden showers in a sex club to tax fraud’: Michael Cohen releases explosive foreword to Trump book

Judge orders Trump to prove voter fraud in Pa.

Fact check: Trump promotes another birther lie, this time about Kamala Harris

Trump Campaign Appears to Be Hiding Massive Facebook Spending — But Why?

Mail-in ballots sent to Trump, First Lady in Florida

NYT: How Trump’s Push to Reopen Schools Backfired

Trump suggests Barr could be ‘greatest of all time’ if he finds Obama administration spied on him. [Ed. note: Trump obviously does not know the law, for he just publicly prejudiced Barr’s investigation, rendering whatever he presents as compromised!]

Kyle Murphy: I Resigned from U.S. Government After My Own Leaders Began to Act Like the Autocrats I Analyzed

August 13, 2020

Yelm’s city council tackles term limits,
With intent to attract new minds to government!

City of Yelm Honored with Distinguished Budget Award for Exceptional Budget Document - ThurstonTalk
Yelm City Hall
Credit: City of Yelm

Yelm City Council considers Term Limits on elected positions

At the Yelm city council’s Study Session of August 4th, the council discussed a draft city ordinance introduced by Molly Carmody [though she was unavailable to attend this session] limiting the city’s elected officials to two terms, which would be applicable to the November 2020 election if passed.

The discussion among councilors was robust with support from Councilors Carmody, Blair and DePinto, yet fierce opposition from Councilor Wood (who is expected to run for a 4th term in 2021, and if so, would serve 16 years). This ordnance has become pertinent with council appointments in tie-breaking votes by Mayor Harding for Jen Littlefield several years ago, and Mayor Foster’s appointments of EJ Curry, the 2nd one after she lost her election last Fall:

  • In 2009, Littlefield was a city council candidate who ran against Tracey Wood for the vacated Position 5 city council seat, losing by only 47 votes.
  • In 2011, Mayor Harding appointed her to the Planning Commission.
  • In 2014, Mayor Harding appointed Littlefield in a tie-breaking vote over candidate Tad Stillwell for Mike McGowan’s vacated Position 4 seat, notable for a conflict-of-interest because Harding’s wife was an employee of Littlefield’s husband’s accounting firm.
  • In 2015, Littlefield ran for council Position 5 against Tad Stillwell, narrowly losing by 7 votes.
  • In 2016, (September), Interim Mayor JW Foster cast a tie-breaking vote to appoint EJ Curry to replace his vacated Position 1 seat after he became Interim Mayor.
  • In 2016, (October) Interim Mayor JW Foster appointed Jen Littlefield to replace the Position 3 seat vacated by Robert Isom.
  • In 2017, Curry ran unopposed for her Position 1 seat’s remaining 2 years and won.
  • In 2019, Curry ran for her Position 1 seat’s full term and lost to James Blair.
  • In 2020, Mayor Foster cast a very contentious council tie-breaking vote to appoint Curry to the vacated Position 3 seat held by Cody Colt, who Mayor Foster appointed as Public Works Director.

In an e-mail exchange with Councilor Carmody on her term limits proposal, I described the state of Yelm’s council appointments like a “Banana Republic,” with council’s split votes requiring mayoral appointments that have had an appearance of a conflict of interest due to abject cronyism. The aforementioned timeline reflects why I made such a statement.

As the Nisqually Valley News stated, if the ordinance is “passed by council in its present form, would limit the mayor and city council members to two terms in order to limit power, lessen the chance of abuse of power, stimulate civic engagement by the public, and bring new and more diverse ideas to the council.”

Clearly, the intimidation factor of a new entrant running against a multiple term councilor up for re-election has been a fear driving the lack of candidates running for public offices in Yelm for years. This was another issue I referenced to Councilor Carmody via e-mail. And the way the candidates were treated to fill a vacant seat earlier this year, where a councilor who lost her seat last November was re-appointed, adds to a “why bother” attitude of citizens wishing to serve the public.

Mayors Harding and Foster said they appointed former councilors back onto the council because of the their previous experience and in easily getting “up-to-speed,” after Littlefield and Curry each lost an election. This was a further affront to the public and outstanding candidates who applied for councilor in good faith, and well qualified with diverse qualities. Is there any wonder why participation in citizen committees and council posts has been so dismal?

This has been borne out here for over 2 decades. Below are city council office holders for more than 2 terms, unless the position of “mayor” is noted:

Don Miller, 1999

Robert Isom, 2001

Don Miller, Joe Baker, 2003

Ron Harding (mayor), Robert Isom, Mike McGowan, 2005

Don Miller, Joe Baker, Russ Hendrickson, 2007

Ron Harding (mayor), Robert Isom, Mike McGowan, Tracey Wood, Russ Hendrickson, 2009

JW Foster, Joe Baker, 2011

Ron Harding (mayor, resigned Aug. 2016), Robert Isom (resigned September 2017), Mike McGowan (resigned Aug. 2014), Tracey Wood, Russ Hendrickson, 2013

JW Foster, 2015

JW Foster (appointed mayor), EJ Curry (appointed), 2016

JW Foster (mayor), EJ Curry, Tracey Wood, 2017

EJ Curry (appointed), 2020

At the city council session of August 11, 2020, the council voted to postpone a discussion on this until the next meeting on August 25, 2020, to allow the public to get educated and comment.

Ed. Note: The time has come for Yelm to enact term limits and attract more diversity onto the council with greater frequency. What has been termed by others in Yelm as “The Cabal,” that has dominated the council since approximately 1995, is a relic of the past and has got to go to the rubbish bin, an issue covered here previously. I acknowledge Councilor Carmody for bringing forth this issue and seeing this through to a vote.

August 13, 2020

* NYT: QAnon followers hijacking the #SaveTheChildren movement,
* WA. House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox recovering from COVID-19,
* A GOP voice of sanity explains why voting against Trump is essential!
“QAnon Followers Are Hijacking the #SaveTheChildren Movement”
Credit: Al Drago for The New York Times


+ The New York Times: QAnon Followers Are Hijacking the #SaveTheChildren Movement

+ NVN: WA. House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox Shares His Experience With COVID-19

+ State health officials cautiously give ‘good news’ at weekly COVID response briefing

+ Rent aid program will launch August 24 in Thurston County

+ Primary turnout in Washington state highest seen in decades – 55% of the state’s 4.6 million voters returned ballots

+ Kamala Harris vice presidential run sparks pride in Washington’s Indian American community

+ Lawsuit: State COVID-19 rules deny basic education to children who can’t learn remotely

+ America’s latest must-have home accessory? A dog.

+ San Francisco, New York and Seattle taking a big hit from the coronavirus pandemic

+ The Biden/Harris historic climate plan: via NRDC’s Action Fund

+ REI to Sell Its Never-Used Headquarters Campus Outside Seattle – due to success of staff working remotely


Accuracy of U.S. coronavirus data thrown into question as decline in testing skews drop in new cases

Florida and Georgia set new single-day records for coronavirus deaths [While Gov. DeSantis invited ball teams to play in Florida, America’s virus epicenter!]

‘This is no longer a debate’: Florida sheriff bans deputies, visitors from wearing masks

The New York Times: Bars and restaurant dining responsible for COVID-19 Resurgence

New Zealand had beaten COVID-19, but now its biggest city is back in lockdown

More Experts Point to COVID-19 Being Created in a Lab; WaPo Columnist Complains

Britain plunges into deep recession, with steep job losses and Europe’s highest virus death toll [Ed. note: Is this America’s future?]

Georgia school district that does not require masks has closed a high school and now has over 1,100 students and staff in quarantine

** Trump’s Presidency **

QAnon supporter, with Georgia primary victory, is poised to bring far-right conspiracy theory to Congress [Ed. note: Let’s see how long until her views are tempered with facts .]

MSNBC’s Morning Joe: The wreckage Joe Biden might inherit if he wins in November

State Department watchdog finds fault in conduct of U.S. Ambassador to Britain [the N.F.L. owner, Trump donor who asked Great Britain to re-locate British Open to Trump’s Scotland resort]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) says committee Republicans blocking Comey, Brennan subpoenas

WaPo: Republicans should listen to John Kasich – A GOP voice of sanity explains why voting against Trump is essential.

August 12, 2020

* Gov. Inslee: $40 million Immigrant Relief Fund for those in need,
* Pac-12 follows Big Ten, cancels fall football season,
* “Unwanted Truths: Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies”
“Unwanted Truths: Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies,” by Robert Draper. Credit: The New York Times Magazine.


+ Inslee: $40 million Immigrant Relief Fund to help those who can’t get stimulus money – “COVID-19 doesn’t care what your immigration status is.”

+ Pac-12 follows Big Ten, cancels fall football season

+ Fast food from these chains is ‘packaged in pollution,’ report finds. Does it matter?

+ Boeing order cancellations outpace new sales for sixth straight month as demand continues to fall


Why does COVID-19 strike some and not others? Fauci sees an answer in new study

Reports Show 90% Increase in COVID-19 in Children in 4 Weeks

How to Keep Your Household Infection-Free if Someone Has COVID-19

‘A Smoking Gun’: Infectious Coronavirus Retrieved From Hospital Air

11 Supposedly Fun Things We’ll Never Do the Same Way Again

** Trump’s Presidency **

Harris VP pick creates dilemma for Trump campaign

Trump calls Kamala Harris ‘nasty’ in record time and suggests she lied about smoking cannabis while listening to Snoop Dogg

Trump Plans to Gut Emission Rules for Oil, Gas Industry “Beyond Comprehension”

ICE Is Making Sure Migrant Kids Don’t Have COVID, and Then Expelling Them

Government lawyer suggests Attorney General Barr had secret reasons for dropping Michael Flynn criminal case – appellant court skeptical, likely to send back to lower court

Biden’s viral bike ride video takes everyone back to Trump’s feeble descent down a ramp

Trump actually did build a wall, and we’re all paying; great new ad from Joe Biden [“The world built one around us!”]

If you’re waiting for Trump to drop below 40% approval, don’t worry—he can still get walloped

Appeals court likely to let judge decide whether to drop Michael Flynn charges

“Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History,” by Kurt Anderson. Ed. note: Very instructive!

August 11, 2020

Joe Biden makes history today choosing –
First Black, Female VP candidate Kamela Harris!
VP candidate Kamela Harris
Credit: Elizabeth Frantz, The New York Times, via Redux file.

“Joe Biden selects Kamala Harris as his running mate”

“If elected, she would be the nation’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president.”

“Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris, the prominent senator from California whose political career has included many barrier-breaking moments, as his running mate, his campaign announced on Tuesday.

“The decision comes more than a year after Harris, who was also a 2020 Democratic candidate, clashed with Biden over racial issues during the first primary debate. If elected, she would be the nation’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice president,” by Deepa Shivaram, NBC News. Read more

August 11, 2020

Yelm Lions Club School Supply Drive

Yelm Lions Accepting School Supplies for Upcoming School Year


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