October 28, 2020

Message to Trump:
If testing makes case numbers rise,
Why are hospitalizations and death rates also increasing?

Credit: CNBC


Trump testing czar says rise in cases is real [Ed. note: If testing makes case numbers rise according to Trump, then why are hospitalizations and deaths spiking?]

Inslee: Washington state joins Western States Pact for COVID-19 vaccine review

Jolt News: Thurston County Health Officer Dr. Abdelmalek describes what’s risky behavior — and what’s safe behavior.

Covid hospitalizations rising in 36 states as U.S. hits another record for average new cases

MAP: See where the virus is hitting the U.S. hardest

Majority of Americans know someone who’s had Covid-19, new poll finds

Snohomish County COVID-19 cases climbing close to record peak [Ed. note: How will this impact Puget Sound?]

The Seattle Times: ‘Passion and expertise’: UW’s Dr. Vin Gupta shares coronavirus insights with the nation

Seattle startup creates spray to help cloth masks block COVID-19 particles

Harvard study: Flying presents lower risk of COVID-19 than grocery shopping, dining out,” by Delta Airlines

October 27, 2020

* Thurston’s 7 COVID deaths last weekend a new record,
* From allies to foes, the world watches our election – and worries,
* Trump declares virus is ‘ending’ while markets dip as cases spike!

Trump is Mussolini
The Autocrat
Trump plans to purge his own appointed heads of FBI, CIA, and Pentagon if re-elected.
Credit: The Daily Kos


COVID-19 claimed the lives of seven Thurston County residents over the weekend – a new record high

Scoop: Trump’s post-election execution list,” by Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene, Axios

What to do if you receive duplicate ballots in Washington state

WaPo: In a divided country, it feels like hatred for each other has become one more American value. Can we ever heal?

Gold gains as second-wave fears counter firm dollar – The effects of the virus on the economy is a major concern for investors

Immigrant workers affected by COVID-19 now can apply to the state for relief money

New UN report details environmental impacts of export of used vehicles to developing world

Foreign allies quietly ask the Biden team: Who do we call if you win?

From allies to foes, the world watches — and worries. Here’s where some stand on the election.

Americans fear rising cost of working from home as pandemic continues

Fresh hopes wreckage of MH370 could be found six years after the plane went missing – as experts finds a likely crash site and say they would ‘bet their house on’ it being there

VMI superintendent resigns after Black cadets describe relentless racism

A Biden win would bolster American Electric Power’s clean energy plans, CEO says

Donald Trump has now appointed 1/3 of the Justices to the U. S. Supreme Court as Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed – expected to consider overturning Roe vs. Wade case this Friday

CBS 60 Minutes interview: Joe Biden makes the case for why he should be president


President Trump declares coronavirus is ‘ending’ as virus rates spike and financial markets dip

Average daily new coronavirus cases in U.S. hit all-time high, Gottlieb warns of ‘exponential spread’ – hospitalizations are rising, and deaths, which lag furthest behind those other indicators, are beginning to tick up.

Fear and anxiety spike in coronavirus hot spots across US

Trump Calls the Media “Losers” for Reporting on Record-High Daily COVID Cases

Minnesota reports three Covid-19 outbreaks related to Trump campaign events in September

A resurgent virus attacks the heartland, just before the election.

Twitter sticks ‘misleading’ label on Donald Trump’s tweet about problems with mail-in ballots


Trump Aims to Convince Supporters That a Loss Means Election Is “Rigged”

Trump campaign flouted agreement to follow health guidelines at rally, documents show

Trump plans to purge his own appointed heads of FBI, CIA, and Pentagon if re-elected

Mike Pompeo under investigation again for abusing his post for political gain by delivering his Republican National Convention policial speech from Jerusalem.

The Fox News president and several anchors were advised to quarantine after possible virus exposure on debate flight.

Supreme Court won’t revive 6-day ballot deadline extension in Wisconsin, siding with GOP – a pandemic related request to allow people to mail-in ballots up until election day and allow postal delivery to the clerks offices, rather than stand in lines in a state with a major virus outbreak

The New York Times: Rallies Are the Core of Trump’s Campaign, and a Font of Lies and Misinformation – A recent rally in Wisconsin was typical. In 90 minutes, President Trump made 131 false or inaccurate statements.

October 26, 2020

Council member Joe DePinto addresses coming Yelm water rate changes!

Joe DePinto
Credit: City of Yelm

* From Council member Joe DePinto on water rates:

[used with permission]

In the picture below is the current water rate structure and the proposed water rate schedule here in Yelm. You will notice a slight increase in the base rate (most people have residential 5/8) from $37.47 to $37.84, the current 4 tier system for consumption rates reduced to 2 tiers (so rates will no longer escalate to some of the highest rates in WA state), and the first 400cf of water included in the base rate (so if you want to live frugally your bill for water will only be the base rate of $37.84). The current average water bill (not including stormwater or sewer) for someone using 800cf of water is $71.63 and if this proposal is adopted in the budget, starting in January 2021 it will be $55.08. On the high usage side, someone currently using 4500 cf of water is paying $521.59 and if passed will pay $279.05. The senior water rate resident is on average spending $35.82 and in January 2021 if passed it will go down to $18.93.

I was very pleased and thankful that the Mayor included this Public Works proposal in his budget which will likely pass. This is going to help lower the water rates in Yelm for the first time ever. I know prices are still going to be higher when compared to someone living outside of the city limits or even a lot of other cities, but this is a good start in my opinion.

“Thanks for reading and feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer them.” Read more

Credit: Joe DePinto, Yelm City Council

October 26, 2020

* Thurston’s 151 cases last week set record high,
* U.S. cases spike with over 83,000 two days in a row,
* White House chief says ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic’!

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks to reporters at the White House on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic’! Credit: Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images News, Getty Images, via CNBC


Thurston County ends week with 151 COVID-19 cases, a new weekly high, breaking last week’s record high

AARP: 10 Top Hikes in U.S. National Parks – Mt Rainier National Park’s Skyline Trail ranked # 2

Economist Sees Positive Signals in Thurston’s Economy

JBLM soldier [from Roy, Utah] killed in non-training related incident

About 47% of Thurston County voters had cast their ballots as of Thursday

Russia, Iran did not breach Washington state voter registries, officials say

Public meetings set to cover next steps in Thurston’s Habitat Conservation Plan

Port of Olympia Commissioner responds to a call for her to resign

Severe animal cruelty cases more than double in 2020, Seattle Animal Shelter says

62 years ago today, Boeing’s 707 was inaugurated by Pan Am into passenger service

President Barack Obama Shows You How to Vote By Mail for Joe Biden for President 2020 [Ed. note: There are many first-time mail-in voters in 2020, and we have not seen such a public service like this from a President since President Carter.]


U.S. reports more than 83,000 coronavirus cases two days in a row as experts warn of difficult winter

White House chief says ‘we’re not going to control the pandemic’ after coronavirus cases hit record high

Trump’s campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases [1,500] surged in his wake in at least five places.

Five Pence aides test positive for Covid-19; vice president still plans to campaign [says he is an “Essential Worker,” yet still campaigns without mask]

‘Toxic’: CDC staffers say morale inside the public health agency has plummeted during the pandemic – One CDC staffer said a Trump victory in November could be a “tipping point” for a mass exodus of employees.

France hits record 52,010 daily Covid cases, Spain declares new state of emergency

It’s time to rethink how we celebrate Thanksgiving

October 26, 2020

* Trump’s White House signals pandemic defeat,
* Trump tells donors ‘very tough’ for GOP to hold Senate,
* Biden campaign launches ‘TrumpCovidPlan.com’ — the site reads ‘Not Found’

The Lincoln Project’s billboards in Times Square, New York
Credit: The Daily Kos


White House signals defeat in pandemic as coronavirus outbreak roils Pence’s office [Ed. Note: “The Trump Administration’s Response to COVID-19 – Statement by Vice President Joe Biden“]The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats

Trump privately tells donors it would be ‘very tough’ for GOP to hold Senate

Biden campaign launches ‘TrumpCovidPlan.com’ — a site that reads ‘Not Found’

With a little more than a week until Election Day, Trump and Biden make closing pitches on ‘60 Minutes.’ [Ed. note: Trump presented no plans, vision, or direction on how he would turn around the pandemic or economy for the next 4 years!]

WaPo Opinions: Trump may be running the sleaziest presidential campaign ever

Trump Thwarted in Latest Bid to Kill Solar-Tariff Loophole

Video of Trump rally appears to show attendee making hand gesture commonly used by white supremacists

Former Giuliani associate raises questions about Hunter Biden’s ‘hard drive from hell’

Tumult at home, ailing alliances abroad: Why Trump’s America has been a ‘gift’ to Putin

Trump hasn’t asked Barr to open investigation into Bidens, McEnany says

New Research Shows Masks Are Helping Hold Down COVID Death Rates Significantly – yet Trump Pence rarely seen wearing them

Mary Trump on her Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric: ‘It’s not just ridiculous, it’s dangerous’ – there are “a lot of incredibly racist people in this country who understand that Donald has their backs.”

Trump immigration policy employs cruelty [UN calls U.S. separating children from parents and placing them in cages torture] to send message of deterrence

He’s a former QAnon believer. He doesn’t want to tell his story, but thinks it might help.


NBC News:Pizzagate-style rumors in 2016 were largely confined to far-right message boards. This year, they are reaching the mainstream with help from a website boosted by Trump.

“…pushing child abuse conspiracy theories echoes what Bannon has publicly advocated in an effort to alter how voters feel.

“‘This is gaslighting of the highest order,’ Phillips said. ‘This has been the Steve Bannon playbook this entire time. He has celebrated the strategy of ‘flooding the zone with s—‘ — when you confuse people, when you make them angry, when you just sort of throw too many things at them for them to process.’

“The re-run of an identical conspiracy theory from 2016, this time with Hunter Biden as the new target, gathered momentum in part because of a new disinformation pipeline promoted by high-profile conservative figures — including the president.”

October 25, 2020

Part III: Trump’s election interference in our faces,
Voter suppression directed from on high,
America sees what Blacks have known for centuries!

Maryland voting .JPG
“Maryland election judge Cassandra Campbell helps a voter wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cast his ballot in the Maryland U.S. presidential primary election as other voters stand in a long line waiting to cast their votes in College Park, Maryland, U.S., June 2, 2020.”
Credit: Reuters, Jim Bourg

Breaking News: Pence chief of staff, senior political adviser both test positive for Covid-19

  • Editor’s note: 2020 has seen one of the most contentious elections in our lifetimes.
  • The Washington Post Opinions page says: Trump may be running the sleaziest presidential campaign ever.
  • Nowhere has this been demonstrated more clearly than in the outright voter suppression on a scale never seen here.
  • White America has finally awakened to what Black Americans have known for generations – the lengths to intimidate and suppress the vote.
  • These select stories outline the depths of such desperation!

[Thanks and appreciation to Shelley Lucas for collating this list.]

Mother Jones: Bill Barr Is Using an Old Voter Suppression Tactic. Don’t Fall for It.

Business Insider: Racist voter suppression tactics are making a comeback in the 2020. And Florida shows just how bad it could get.

WaPo: Videos show closed-door sessions of leading conservative activists: ‘Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor’

The Center for Public Integrity: Trump reshaped the courts. Now his lawyers want them to limit voting


+ Texas counties can offer only one drop-off ballot location, federal appeals court rules, upholding Gov. Greg Abbott’s order
+ Federal judge issues scathing decision to allow more ballot drop boxes in Ohio


+ Trump Told Supporters to ‘Watch’ Voting. His Staff Is More Than Watching.
+ Why President Trump’s ‘Poll Watchers’ Are Raising Voter Suppression Concerns


+ Report: Social media influencers push voting misinformation
+ Fake Twitter accounts posing as Black Trump supporters appear, reach thousands, then vanish


+ In Ohio, voter list purges and strict ID law could suppress turnout
+ Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Voter Purge, Mail-In + Ballot Cases
+ List maintenance or voter purge? Georgia notorious in left-right divide


+ A Brief History of Texas Gerrymandering
+ Inside the Republican Plot for Permanent Minority Rule
+ In Heavily Gerrymandered Wisconsin, a Bipartisan Grassroots Movement Fights for Fair Maps


+ Supreme Court ruling on Voting Rights Act opened floodgates for new restrictions
+ Block The Vote: Texas Voter ID Laws + Gerrymandering In Michigan
+ There’s a new ruling on voter ID in North Carolina. What does it mean?

October 24, 2020

A brief history of Yelm’s quarter century of poor water planning –

Credit: City of Yelm
  • Editor’s note: I have received numerous requests from new and long-time area residents, Yelm City Council candidates and Yelm Community Blog readers to publish a summary of Yelm’s key water stories that are easily accessible in one place.
  • A history of Yelm’s water issues presents a context of how we got to where we are today and how we can plan for the future.
  • The following is my report, with each date hot-linked with documents where available:

* January 1995, Yelm Vision Plan adopted, never updated.
Partially funded with $30,000 from the Yelm Chamber of Commerce with regular updates and strategies inherent in the plan – nothing has been added in the over 25 years since adoption.

* 1995, Yelm annexed land SW of town [an area now known as Thurston Highlands].
The City of Yelm was then looking at the potential to develop water rights in what is known as the SW Aquifer since it annexed that land in 1995. That was one of the chief forces behind the annexation.

* June 2006, Yelm’s Council voted $550,000+ to partly finance a private developer’s water study.
The City of Yelm partially financed the Golder Water Study for a private developer [Thurston Highlands], which was against city rules and without a contract. When the developer went bankrupt, the city was not reimbursed for the outlay, nor did the city file a lien against the developers for their portion of this study. Thurston Highlands was a 5,000 home planned community, one of the then-largest in WA state, which would have more than tripled Yelm’s population.

* January 2007, Yelm reportedly accepted Thurston Highlands application without certified water resources.
The question was asked, “Why?”

* January 2007, NVN: Yelm water concerns reach boil”
The Nisqually Valley News (NVN) reported, “The owners of the golf course, also the developers of Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands, offered to give the city water rights if half of the available water could be used for the Tahoma Terra development.”

* July 2007, Senior Water Rights holder JZ Knight takes on Yelm in a high-profile water rights case.
Knight’s case started in July, 2007 in front of the Yelm Hearing Examiner and continued through appeals to the Yelm City Council and State Superior Court.
“In 2007, five developers filed applications with the city of Yelm (City) for preliminary plat approval of proposed subdivisions.”
“After a hearing examiner granted Tahoma Terra preliminary plat approval, JZ Knight, a nearby property owner and senior water rights holder, appealed to the Yelm City Council (City Council), arguing the hearing examiner’s conditional approval of the plats erroneously allowed the developers and the City to delay showing adequate water provisions for the subdivision until the building permit stage. The City Council affirmed the preliminary plat approvals, and Knight filed an action in Thurston County Superior Court under the Land Use Petition Act (LUPA), chapter 36.70C RCW.”

* March 2008, JZ Knight files suit against the City of Yelm in the Superior Court of Washington.
“[March 4, 2008] JZ Knight, the founder of Ramthas School of Enlightenment (www.ramtha.com), has filed a Land Use Petition in the Superior Court of Washington challenging the City of Yelms decision (Resolution No. 481, adopted February 12, 2008) approving five proposed subdivisions>”

* May 2008, The Olympian: Billy Frank, Jr. calls for better water management in the Nisqually Watershed.
Nisqually Tribal Elder & Northwest Fisheries Commission Chair Billy Frank, Jr. in his column titled “Time for better water management” talks about exempt wells “that could potentially run our rivers dry”.
“The City of Yelm will have to be brought into the agreement about McAllister Springs since the city’s water policies affect this water source.” .

* October 2008, Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham issues opinion upholding the case against Yelm.
The Judge agreed with Petitioner Knight that a “reasonable expectation” of potable water is not sufficient to meet the legal requirement of making “appropriate provisions” for a potable water supply. The Judge required the City to prove it has an adequate water supply at the time of final plat approval for these five subdivisions.

* November 2008, The Olympian files a thorough investigative report on Yelm’s water case.
“Judge says Yelm must prove it has water”
“Condition placed by city on subdivisions ruled illegal”
By Christian Hill.

* February 2009, Mayor Ron Haring appeared before the State Legislature about water case.
Yelm’s Mayor Ron Harding answered questions on Tuesday, February 17, 2008 before senators in the State Legislature about State Bill 5867 stemming from the case of JZ Knight vs. City of Yelm et al.

The Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee asked about why the lawsuit against the city came forward.
Mayor Harding said the litigation is a land use issue.
He opened his remarks by saying funding for city improvements to roads could not have been accomplished without the growth here, and to limit growth because of this water case would hurt the city in the long term.
[Editor’s Note: That was not exactly true, as many of the existing street and sidewalk improvements were completed with federal or state grants. Most of the miles of new roads and sidewalks added to the city’s grid were in new developments, for which the developers and L.I.D. financed.]
Harding went on to tell the legislators, “The opponent (JZ Knight) used water and water timing as a mechanism to stop growth in the area.” That was false.
While Knight originally filed a land use appeal (LUPA) in Thurston County Superior Court, her intent was only to protect her senior water rights.

* May 2009, Thurston Highlands default story was first reported by the Yelm Community Blog.
*Thurston Highlands, LLC defaulted on the entire Highlands property, a 1,200 acre property in southwest Yelm that proposed 5,000 residential units with up to 1.5 million sq. ft. of commercial space (comparable to the square footage of 8 Super Wal-Marts). The records showed that the amount to be collected was almost $12 1/2 million dollars. including massive new additions to the citys water & sewer systems. In order to accomplish this, The City of Yelm had proposed to obtain enormous new water rights by application to the State Dept. of Ecology, and fund water/sewer rate increases on the backs of property owners for massive new additions to the city’s water & sewer systems.

* June 2009, The Yelm City Council implemented a water rate increases for an updated Water System Plan.
The mayor said purpose of the Water Rate increase is to meet debt service obligations and will be solely used to keep Fund 401 in-status [an operational and maintenance fund].
Staff Representative Stephanie Ray said the City Council can raise rates for operations as they see fit – the last time there was a water rate increase was in 2003. She added there was a need to raise rates to keep up with operational costs.

* July 2009, JZ Knight takes our newspaper ads titled “A Citizen Responds.”
In the ads, Knight addresses the City of Yelm’s and newspaper’s [Nisqually Valley News] misleading and inaccurate city water/MDNS reports.

* August 2009, The City of Yelm withdraws MDNS after Knight’s ads repercussions.
The City of Yelm stated, “This action has been taken after the Washington State Department of Ecology indicated that it will not take action on Yelms applications for additional water rights in 2009.”

* September 2009, Yelm property owners vent their anger to City Council about water rate increases.
The Yelm City Council received an earful for almost an hour from local citizens’ about the water rate increases, September 8, 2009.

* September 29, 2009, Thurston County Commissioners briefed on the Yelm water issues.
Commissioners Cathy Wolfe, Sandra Romero and Karen Valenzuela requested this briefing from Thurston County and Ecology Staffs and were all very interested and engaged in learning about the nuances of what Commissioner Romero described as one of the most critical issues in the years to come for government.
Commissioner Romero asked why the Commissioners were not notified of nor did the County respond to the City of Yelm MDNS during the public comment period.

* October 2009, Mayor Ron Harding shocks Yelm with letter seizing a citizen’s water rights.
Harding’s letter to private citizen Alice McMonigle said the city will condemn her water rights, with the city’s intent to acquire those rights through eminent domain.

* November 2009, Yelm City Council unanimously approves condemnation of the McMonigle Water Rights.
The Yelm City Council approved Ordinance 914 unanimously and without discussion to begin the condemnation and eminent domain seizure of the McMonigle Water Rights in order to acquire them for the city’s use, City Administrator Badger saying the city had spent $200,000 in legal fees on this issue alone.

* November 2009, The McMonigle response.
This was the letter to the public from the McMonigles – in their own words.

* March 10, 2010, City Council votes water rate increases for next six years, 2010-2015 inclusive.
The Yelm City Council approved Ordinance 918 – a 16% water rate increase effective April 1, 2010 and annual water rate increases of 16% January 1, 2011 and 8.25% each year, for 2012-2015.

* March 23, 2010, “If the city is out of their DOE water allocation, then why do they keep issuing building permits?

* April 2010, NVN: reported Mayor Harding suggested condemning Tahoma Terra land to get their water.
“‘The property the well is being drilled on is currently owned by developers, but within its master plan is an agreement to gift the property to the city.’
Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said if for whatever reason those plans don’t move forward, the city can always condemn the property.”

* April 13, 2010, State Appeals Court overturned JZ Knight’s case against city water practices.
Knight subsequently asked the WA Supreme Court to present her case, which they accepted to hear.

* April 2010, Yelm City Council approved $615,223 to dig a production well on Tahoma Terra property.

* July 2010, Yelm’s State & Congressional Representatives get water briefing from Mayor Harding.
Then-Representative Tom Campbell said, “The topic was DOE handling of the McMonagele (sic) water right transfer. The purpose of the legislative delegations presence was to promote a meeting with the Governor to discuss the problem directly.” [Mayor Harding’s & the Yelm City Council’s seizing a citizen’s water rights.]

* October 2010, Yelm City Council approves $76,000 for update to 2008 Water Mitigation Plan.
On August 14, 2009, the City of Yelm withdrew their MDNS (Mitigated Determination of Non-Significance) for an incomplete and unapproved draft Water Mitigation Plan.

* September 2011, Yelm asks Ecology to “fast track” a more than doubling of the city’s water rights.
“The City of Yelm requested Ecology “fast-track” a pending water rights application for an additional 942 acre feet of water per year, which if approved, would more than double Yelm’s current annual water allocation withdrawn from our local aquifer.

* December 2011, WA Supreme Court overturns city’s appeal, Yelm loses water case.
In a stunning 7-2 decision written by Justice Charles Wiggins and finalized January 2012, “the Supreme Court held that Knight established that the land use decision is likely to prejudice her water rights and satisfies the statutory standing requirement.” The City of Yelm had approved 5 development plats without proving the city had water rights availability at the time of plat approval. Knight pressed the city to follow the process, arguing that not doing so would have adversely impacted her senior water rights downstream of the development.

* March 12, 2012, Yelm water rights not a ‘Slam Dunk.’
On November 18, 2011, Sara Foster submitted an Appeal against the City of Yelm and the Dept of Ecology to stop the pumping of 942 acre feet of water, every year for 20 years, from the aquifer. Ecology had just rubber-stamped Yelm’s Mitigation Plan and the city was approved to begin pumping. This amount would have had a huge environmental impact to the aquifer. It means wells in a vast surrounding area [outside of Yelm city limits] could drop in static level and property owners would have to drill new wells. In 2009, the Yelm community became aware of this same Mitigation Plan submitted to Ecology, and wrote over 85 letters in protest, which was subsequently withdrawn.

* May 2012, Council purchases golf course water rights for $151,000.
[City staffe]r Stephanie Ray reported the settlement agreement would settle proposed potential litigation on water rights that were owned by Tahoma Valley Golf and Country Club and were subsequently transferred to the City of Yelm for municipal water use. The City had been working with Tahoma Valley Golf and Country Club for the previous few months to come to an equitable and fair resolution to the transfer of these water rights that were already put to beneficial use.
Councilmember McGowan feels the agreement is fair for both parties involved but does not feel that the public was properly notified and will not be voting on this item for that reason. 5-AYES, 1-NAY (MCGOWAN). CARRIED.
$151,000 = 77 afy of water

* March 2013, Yelm: Doubling of city’s water rights “affirmed” by Pollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB).
Approval of the water right was originally granted by the Department of Ecology in October 2011, but was appealed by a local group of residents led by Sara Foster.

* June 2013, City of Yelm water rights appealed by local citizen Sara Foster.
Yelms water rights, which were granted by the Department of Ecology and affirmed by the Pollution Control Hearings Board in March, were appealed by Yelm resident Sara Foster.
The appeal was to be heard in Thurston County Superior Court. Fosters lawyer was Patrick Williams, from the Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) in Seattle.

* December 3, 2013, City of Yelm proposed to construct a municipal water treatment facility, a 600,000 gallon at-grade reservoir tank, and booster pump station, located on Tahoma Boulevard SE under a Conditional Use Permit for Yelm SW Well 1A Development. [estimated cost = $5 million.]

* June 2014, NVN: “Foster Appeals Yelm Water Right Ruling”
“Southwest Yelm Well: Citizen Seeks Direct Review by State Supreme Court”
Steven Wyble wrote this in the Nisqually Valley News:
“Yelm resident Sara Foster has appealed a recent court ruling affirming the city of Yelms water rights.
Foster is seeking direct review to the state Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decides not to take the case, it will go to the Court of Appeals.”

* May 2015, The Washington State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Foster vs. Ecology.
On Thursday, May 21st, the case of Sara Foster v. WA State Department of Ecology, et al was presented to the Washington State Supreme Court.

* August 2015, Yelm City Council approves $5 million expenditure for SW Well 1A project.
With the WA Supreme Court having Yelm’s water rights case in their hands, which could overturn Yelm’s water rights reducing the need for an additional well, the Yelm Council voted August 11th to spend $5 million for well project anyway.

* October 8, 2015, WA Supreme Court sides 6-3 in Sara Foster v. WA State Department of Ecology, et al.
“Cancelled water rights permit could stymie Yelm’s growth,” quoting the Pierce County Business Examiner.

* October 9, 2015, “The West’s AG Website” weighs in on the Foster case
“Washington Supreme Court: Ecology wrong on water right”
By Don Jenkins, Capital Press
“The Washington Supreme Court has ruled the Department of Ecology erred in granting a city a new water right at the expense of downstream rivers.

“For a second time, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled the Department of Ecology was wrong to cite an overriding public interest in permanently redistributing rights in a water-short basin.

The court ruled 6-3 Thursday that DOE erred when it permitted the Western Washington city of Yelm to draw more groundwater to accommodate growth.

The withdrawal would have put the basin’s rivers and creeks at risk of occasionally falling below state-mandated minimum flows, a water right senior to Yelm’s new right.

DOE argued that the move was in the public’s interest and that a mitigation plan would actually enhance the environment. Yelm resident Sara Foster, who feared the city’s withdrawal would harm her domestic well, sued and received support from the Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Carnegie Group, a Thurston County landowners’ organization.

Writing for the majority, Justice Charles Johnson dismissed the mitigation plan as irrelevant and said a growing city was hardly unusual.

He stated that overriding public interest could only justify temporary water withdrawals. Using it to support a permanent transfer of water rights was ‘an end-run around the normal appropriation process, he wrote.
Read more

* October 12, 2015, KING 5 TV interviews Sara Foster from Yelm for the evening News.
“Water rights battle pits growth against rivers”

* October 13, 2015, Yelm City Council’s first meeting after WA Supreme Court loss.
The City Council mentioned nothing about losing their DOE-granted water rights.

* October 15, 2015, Sara Foster recognized by CELP.
Sara Foster acknowledged by The Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) in Olympia for her water rights win against DOE/Yelm.

* October 23, 2017, Yelm was warned their water rights would be fully used within 3-4 years if home permits continued apace. The city anticipates receiving additional rights soon.

* October 30, 2017, Mayor Foster responds to constituent Brian Hess on water issues incorrectly putting blame elsewhere; blames stellar-credentialed former Public Works Dir. in supplying council with “bad” info, then blames Ecology for Yelm water rights issues “not based on any particular science…” – both incorrect.

* April 3, 2018, Council questions/learns about Yelm’s water rights. Councilor Carmody leads Study Session in wanting to know the facts. City had not received additional water rights, council was told that would occur within 2 years.

* April 10, 2018, Yelm’s council approves application of Tahoma Terra Phase II, Division II. Councilor DePinto only one voting “No.”

* October 21, 2020, Yelm takes public comments for the application of Tahoma Terra Phase II, Division III. Yelm has not announced having yet received any additional water rights. This plat has a planned 234 homes, yet the City of Yelm did not have the Dept. of Ecology-granted water allocation to support this application [If approved, this plat may be in violation of SEPA regulations, RCW laws, as the city reported to this blogger in September they had only 192 connections available then.]

+ UPDATE: October 27, 2020: Yelm City Administrator Michael Graham informed the council their additional waters rights plan has been supported by two area tribes, and that process is moving forward.

Citizens stand-up for their rights, challenging Yelm leaders to follow the process
Two wins in historic WA Supreme Court cases make Yelm the center for crafting Washington Water Law for the future!

October 24, 2020

Trump news in the last 24 hours. More chaos!

Trump Called The $10 Million A Loan. His [2016] Campaign Called It A Donation. Who Paid It Back, And How?
Credit: BuzzFeed.News

BuzzFeed: Trump Called The $10 Million A Loan. His Campaign Called It A Donation. Who Paid It Back, And How? Trump boasted about self-funding his 2016 campaign, but in its tense final moments, his advisers could only get him to agree to a loan. “It was like a cash advance.”

Netanyahu dodges Trump’s invitation to slam Biden on conference call

A Wall Street Journal columnist said Joe Biden was part of Hunter’s business deal. Hours later, its news reporters said the opposite.

WaPo Op-Ed: Trump’s newest executive order could prove one of his most insidious – [intended to strip civil service protections, threatening “those who have frustrated the administration in its attempts to impose its agenda over ethics, evidence and good sense.”]

Trump Administration officials sign U.S. in global anti-abortion pact

Former Mueller deputy predicts Trump will pardon himself if he doesn’t win reelection

The Trump Administration Shut a Vaccine Safety Office Last Year. What’s the Plan Now?

As Trump fights for his political future, the outcome could affect his company, which owes more than $400 million

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules ballots can’t be rejected based on ‘signature analysis’

USPS Ordered to Reassemble Sorting Machines for Election Mail After States Sue DeJoy, Trump

Trump’s Lawyers Want Trump’s Judges to Limit Voting

Trump may fire Bill Barr and FBI director for not aiding his campaign by investigating Biden: report

Texas Sees Highest Youth Voter Turnout in Country as Dems Aim to Win State for First Time in Over 40 Years

Progressive lawmakers call for United Nations probe into DHS ‘human rights abuses’ [under Trump’s ICE]

A 19-year-old with a van full of guns and explosives plotted to assassinate Biden, federal officials say

October 23, 2020

* Coronavirus News:
* Friday’s 82,600 cases is worst single day of U. S. virus,
* Contrary to Trump, we are not “rounding the corner.”

Source: New York Times database of reports from state and local health agencies


U.S. Breaks Record [Thursday, then again Friday] for New Virus Cases That Was Set in July

Trump says virus spikes have gone away when they haven’t

Wearing masks could save more than 100,000 US lives through February, new study suggests

One Death, 38 New COVID-19 Cases Reported Friday in Thurston County

Thurston County Enters Into ‘High’ Risk Transmission Phase by State Standards

Coronavirus updates: State passes 100,000 cases as third wave continues

[Former FDA Chief Dr. Scott] Gottlieb warns of ‘staggering’ Covid death totals in U.S. as case counts rise

October 23, 2020

Yelm Farmers Market extended into Nov., Dec.

Image may contain: sky, house and outdoor
Yelm Farmers Market at the Community Center
Credit: Yelm Farmers Market

From the Yelm Farmers Market:

“The Yelm Farmers Market will be extending the market days into November and December, the dates are November 7th , November 21st , December 5th and December 21st. We hope everyone will come out and do some of their holiday shopping at the market and help support our local vendors through the holiday season.” Read more

  • Editor’s note: Just one of the fine Yelm Farmers Market vendors I visited this season was Shannon, owner of BasketCaseNW [Facebook access: basketcasenw]. Available this weekend at the Farmers Market in Yelm as well as the LeMay Fall Bazaar at Marymount in Spanaway.


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