February 23, 2021

Yelm’s Public Works Dir. Colt on low interest loan for the water reclamation facility!

https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/yelmonline.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/4b/e4b5c4ae-70a8-11eb-b7fe-bb5fce30a854/602c4b69dc5a3.image.jpg?resize=1050%2C699
Reclaimed water is currently pumped to Cochrane Park from the water reclamation facility (WRF) daily. Credit: City of Yelm

PUBLIC WORKS DIR. COLT ANSWERS QUESTIONS

  • Ed. note: I put some key questions to Public Works Director Cody Colt, who I found open, informative, and welcoming of the opportunity to inform Yelm Blog readers:

Yelm Blogger: Do you have any information on status of the $23M low-interest loan for the water reclamation facility (WRF) the city apparently received, as City Administrator Mr. Graham stated in the Dec. 7, 2020 Study Session?

Dir. Colt: We were on the Draft funding list from Ecology that was sent out in January for the full amount of the 23.8 Million dollar loan. This is a really big step for us and really the last hurdle to getting the WRF funded to be built, interest rate of 1.2% is pretty amazing.

Usually when you make the draft funding list your are guaranteed to get funding, especially when it is a loan vs a grant since they know that will recoup that money.

Yelm Blogger: Will the city council have this on their agenda to formally approve the loan?

Dir. Colt: Council will be the final approval. It is a loan that is based on need. So as we spend money on construction of WRF we Bill it to the loan. We only pay back what we spend, which we estimate to be lower than this amount when all is said and done.

If Council doesn’t approve the construction of the WRF we simply wouldn’t take on the loan.

Yelm Blogger: Thank you for your time and responses. Much appreciated!

Dir. Colt: Always happy to keep the public informed.

+ NVN: Major Improvements Coming to Cochrane Memorial Park [City Council expected to approve approx. $400,000 improvement project]


February 23, 2021

* The National Cathedral tolled 500 bells for 500,000 American COVID-19 deaths,
* WA. COVID-19 metrics trending down!

The President, Vice President, spouses lead nation in mourning 500,000 US Covid-19 deaths, February 22, 2021, The White House entry draped in black bunting. Credit: Doug Mills, The New York Times

*** SELECT REGIONAL NEWS MONDAY ***

+ Yelm Dollars for Scholars: Upcoming Events, Feb. 23, 24, 26

+ The Olympian: COVID-19 Update: A number of COVID-19 metrics trending down in WA, including a case rate of 10.7 per 100,000 people

+ Airways Magazine: The UK bans Boeing 777 PW-powered engines from its airspace [Ed. note: Another blow to Boeing Everett.]

+ CNET: Boeing’s massive foldable-wing 777X jet completes its first test flight

*** SELECT HEALTH NEWS MONDAY ***

Truthout: National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said the proliferation of the virus due to partisan resistance and politicization around wearing a face mask could be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths.

NBC News: Biden upends Trump’s calculation of who gets federal vaccination help – This time, vaccines and supplies are going to underserved communities. “Anything Trump did, we’re doing the opposite,” said one official.

CNBC: New York AG says Trump Supreme Court tax ruling won’t affect her probe of company

*** SELECT NATIONAL NEWS MONDAY ***

CNN: Biden leads nation in mourning 500,000 US Covid-19 deaths

AP: US tops 500,000 virus deaths, matching the toll of 3 wars

Washington National Cathedral: February 22, 2021: Watch Cathedral Bell Tolling for 500,000 COVID Deaths [Ed. note: And 300 bells tolled on December 15, 2020]

McClatchey News: Small businesses to get priority under Biden administration’s new rules for PPP loans

Common Dreams: Texas Refineries Release Over 300,000 Pounds of Pollutants During Storm

USA Today: Supreme Court to hear challenges to abortion, immigration rules held over from Trump administration

CBS News: UN chief says “feeding frenzy of hate” fueling global white supremacy


February 22, 2021

Trump in the news Monday, as he entered a perilous phase!

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Trump lashes out after Supreme Court decision on his financial records.
Credit: © Getty Images

*** SELECT TRUMP NEWS MONDAY ***

The Hill: Trump lashes out after Supreme Court decision on his financial records [Ed. Note: The Court issued a unanimous decision. Trump’s appointees followed the law and not loyalty to him!]

The New York Times: Trump Taxes: Here’s What’s Next in the Manhattan D.A.’s Investigation

Business Insider: Trump says he’s facing ‘political persecution’ after Supreme Court rejects his attempt to keep tax returns hidden [Ed. note: Trump plays his well-worn, aggrieved victim card. He is not above the law.]

Politico: Supreme Court won’t hear GOP’s Pennsylvania election challenge

Truthout: Trump to Push Himself as GOP’s “Presumptive 2024 Nominee” at CPAC, Report Says [Ed. note: Trump being a presumptive nominee for political office will be short-lived with the potential of inevitable civil and criminal indictments coming.]

MSNBC: Just 17 percent of Trump voters think Biden legitimately elected

Forbes: Dominion Voting Sues MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell [for $1.3 billion] For Defamation Over Election Conspiracy

Salon: Republicans Are Keeping Trump’s Big Lie About a “Stolen” Election Alive

CNN: Trump offered Kim Jong Un a ride home on Air Force One following Vietnam summit


February 22, 2021

BREAKING NEWS:
Supreme Court approves grand jury to get Trump’s tax returns!
Trump’s legal options exhausted to block their release.

https://media4.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2021_08/3451746/210222-donald-trump-jm-0937_ac693bf829cb259c46c8476929e7e481.fit-2000w.jpg
President Donald Trump stands in the colonnade as he is introduced to speak in the Rose Garden at the White House on Jan. 19, 2018.
Credit: Mark Wilson, Getty Images file

Supreme Court won’t stop grand jury from getting Trump’s tax returns

“The decision marks a decisive defeat in Trump’s prolonged legal battle to keep his tax records out of the hands of investigators.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to block a New York grand jury from getting President Donald Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, a decisive defeat in his prolonged legal battle to keep his tax records out of the hands of investigators.

“The ruling does not mean the returns will become public any time soon, and they might never be publicly released. Under state law, materials turned over to a grand jury must be kept secret. But Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance can now require Trump’s accountants to turn over the records that the president has steadfastly refused to surrender to prosecutors or Congress.”

“Vance is seeking tax returns covering eight years for a grand jury investigation of hush money payments and other financial transactions. The investigation began after it was disclosed that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim that she had an affair with Trump, an allegation the former president has denied.”

Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for Vance to enforce the subpoena, the president has exhausted his legal options to block it. The full tax return documents, or portions of them, would become public only if Vance brings criminal charges at some future date and seeks to introduce them as evidence,” by Pete Williams, NBC News. Read more

+ MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle: Trump loses Supreme Court appeal on personal, corporate tax returns 

“The Supreme Court has declined to block a New York grand jury from obtaining former President Donald Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, and now his accountants must turn over eight years of tax documents to investigators. NBC’s Pete Williams reports.” 


February 22, 2021

* U.S. reaches 500,000 deaths from coronavirus,
* House Armed Svcs. Chair Adam Smith, D-Wash., cited QAnon chatter,
* The Pizzagate gunman is out of prison. What next?

https://www.thenewstribune.com/latest-news/pdfbvi/picture246937867/alternates/LANDSCAPE_1140/Snapseed%20(5).jpg
Swarm of nearly 20 earthquakes rattles Mount Rainier.
Credit: Stacia Glenn, Tacoma’s The News-Tribune.

*** SELECT REGIONAL NEWS LAST WEEKEND ***

CBS News 60 Minutes: QAnon’s corrosive impact on the U.S. [Ed. note: An outstanding report in understanding Q followers and their affect on our community!]

Salon Magazine: House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., cited QAnon chatter surrounding March 4 during a hearing this week with defense officials flagged by CNN that QAnon followers still think Trump will be inaugurated — on March 4. The National Guard will be ready. [And the next QAnon date is May 20th!]

KING-5 TV: State Politics Washington lawmaker urges schools to swap spring and summer breaks

The Olympian: Washington overdose deaths increased significantly during first half of 2020

The News Tribune (Tacoma): Is it time to plant peas yet? Only for some of us in Western Washington

McClatchey News: Swarm of nearly 20 earthquakes rattles Mount Rainier in Washington, geologists say

*** SELECT HEALTH NEWS LAST WEEKEND ***

NBC News: U.S. reaches 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus – The number of dead rivals the population of Atlanta or Sacramento, California.

The New York Times: Fauci expects Americans could still need to wear face masks in 2022.

Forbes: Face Masks May Act As Humidifiers, Further Protecting You Against Severe Covid-19

CNBC: CDC says these are the most common side effects people report after getting Covid vaccine

Associated Press: Airlines plan to ask passengers for contact-tracing details

CBS News: Former Trump official details “grave misstep” in COVID response

Study Finds: ‘Fat but healthy’ is a myth, new research on weight and heart health concludes

The New York Times: Scientists Call on CDC to Set Air Standards for Workplaces, Now

AARP: Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Adults at Greater Risk from COVID-19 – Higher prevalence of underlying health conditions than heterosexuals cited

*** SELECT NATIONAL NEWS LAST WEEKEND ***

UK’s Daily Mail: United Airlines Boeing 777 rained down debris over a square mile of Denver after its engine EXPLODED before ‘textbook’ emergency landing – as police say they are ‘staggered’ no one died [Ed. note: The most comprehensive report to-date!]

The Daily Kos: Dana Bash rips Texas Rep: Texas begging for federal help when it’s in a mess for its “independence.”

WaPo: It’s time to bury the myth of Texas exceptionalism [scroll down for text]

Truthout: White Supremacy Set the Stage for Texas’ Miserable Disaster Response

*** SELECT TRUMP NEWS LAST WEEKEND ***

The Daily Kos: Steven Bannon wants Trump to run for House speaker in 2022 to impeach Biden

WaPo: The Pizzagate gunman is out of prison. The QAnon conspiracy theories he helped unleash are out of control.

The Seattle Times: A UW professor explains why the GOP, even now, just can’t quit Trump [“They see Trump as the last thing standing between them and a fundamentally changed world. They see him as more than a president, he’s a protector and guardian of a culture,” said Parker, a fundamentally white, Christian culture.]

The Daily Kos: Idiot Who Sat in Pence’s Chair is Arrested. After He Bragged He Would Never be Caught.

WaPo: U.S. investigating possible ties between Roger Stone, Alex Jones and Capitol rioters

The Daily Kos: Prosecutor who brought down John Gotti interviews Michael Cohen in Manhattan DA’s Trump probe

The New Yorker: Meet SG3: The Élite Legal Squad That Vowed to Safeguard the Election – Calling themselves the Three Amigos, a self-appointed legal SWAT team of former Solicitors General ran through all the Doomsday scenarios they could think of—except armed insurrection at the Capitol.

Newsweek: Republicans Hit Back at GOP Censures of Senators Who Voted to Convict Trump


February 21, 2021

Last week’s key stories in cartoons!

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Credit: Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
https://www.charlotteobserver.com/latest-news/ax2tsq/picture249314040/alternates/FREE_1140/0218-siers-cartoon.jpg
Credit: Kevin Siers, The Charlotte Observer
Jaime Herrera Beutler’s brave lone voice in the wilderness.
Credit: David Horsey, The Seattle Times
https://images.theweek.com/sites/default/files/lk021821dapr.jpg?resize=807x807
Credit: Mike Luckovich,
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
https://images.theweek.com/sites/default/files/sbr021921dapr.jpg?resize=807x807
Credit: Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune
https://static.seattletimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Rush-RIP-ONLINE-COLOR-1536x1024.jpg
Limbaugh’s legacy.
Credit: David Horsey, The Seattle Times
Political Cartoon U.S. trump impeachment
Credit: Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison
Political Cartoon U.S. ted cruz texas cancun
Credit: Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

February 20, 2021

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Week –
Support our local agriculture!

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Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Week
Feb. 21 – 28, 2021
. Credit: The CSA Innovation Network

CSA INNOVATION NETWORK: NATIONAL RESOURCES FOR LOCAL FARMS

The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Innovation Network is excited to announce CSA Week, which is set to take place from February 21st through February 28th, 2021. During this special week, we are encouraging farmers and farmer support organizations across the country to come together in promoting CSA, and we want YOU to participate! Read more

The CSA Innovation Network is a resource base of programs and tools built by and for individuals and organizations supporting Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) development. The purpose of the CSA-IN is to generate and facilitate idea sharing across the CSA community and to build awareness of the value of CSA to consumers.” Read more

OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE

+ Community Farm Land Trust: QUICK REFERENCE Community Supported Agriculture CSA GUIDE BY COUNTIES SERVED [scroll down to Thurston County listings.]

Blogger Klein is a long-time member and contributor to Community Farm Land Trust.


February 20, 2021

* Female Republican fan murders woman stealing her Culp sign,
* Biden blames Trump on vaccines while visiting Pfizer,
* NYC’s tax agency subpoenaed in Trump criminal probe!

https://www.mcclatchy-wires.com/incoming/tbvp92/picture249377850/alternates/LANDSCAPE_1140/Mars_Landing_94635.jpg
NASA released a photo of the Perseverance rover lowered towards the surface of Mars during its powered descent, February 18, 2021. Credit: NASA via AP

*** SELECT REGIONAL NEWS FRIDAY ***

Office of Gov. Jay Inslee: Inslee signs $2.2 billion COVID relief bill

McClatchey News: Border closure reaches a year — U.S., Canada extend non-essential travel ban to March 21

The U.S. Sun: Female Republican fan ‘shoots and kills woman, 32, who tried to swipe GOP [Loren Culp] sign from her yard’

The News Tribune (Tacoma): Mount Rainier National Park hiking reservations now online only. Here’s how it works

*** SELECT CORONAVIRUS NEWS FRIDAY ***

CNBC: CDC details most common side effects people report after getting Covid vaccine

Bloomberg: Biden Blames Trump Over Vaccines During Visit to Pfizer Plant

*** SELECT NATIONAL NEWS FRIDAY ***

NBC News: Rush Limbaugh delighted in dividing Americans — and not just because it was profitable – with a shameful history of bullying and making it OK to hate your neighbor. “He persuaded people to embrace their worst selves.”

Associated Press: Mars landing team ‘awestruck’ by photo of descending rover

NBC News: Texas set the stage for its energy crisis more than 80 years ago – Texas utilities vowed decades ago to never allow power outside of the state, thus avoiding federal regulation. The decision has left the state alone to deal with its current energy crisis.

The New York Times: Republicans Struggle to Derail Increasingly Popular Stimulus Package

The Washington Post: State GOP lawmakers propose flurry of voting restrictions to placate Trump supporters, spurring fears of a backlash

*** SELECT TRUMP NEWS FRIDAY ***

The Daily Kos: Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters are ready for him to become the 19th president on March 4

Reuters: Exclusive: New York City tax agency subpoenaed in Trump criminal probe

Axios: Trump inauguration donor sentenced to 12 years for illegal contribution, obstruction

Politico: Anti-Trump group launches Fox News ad buy, o provide backup to Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach or convict former President Donald Trump.

Axios: Trump exile government takes shape


February 19, 2021

Yelm’s Finance Director post vacant – AGAIN!
Why have all 3 of Mayor Foster’s Finance Directors “resigned”?
The constituents deserve transparency and answers!

https://www.yelmwa.gov/Website%20Photos/DSC_0552.JPG
Heidi MacDonald,
Latest Finance Director to “resign”
Credit: City of Yelm

Yelm’s Finance Dir. MacDonald abruptly “resigns”

  • Editor’s note: The recent abrupt “resignation” of City of Yelm Finance Director and Department Head Heidi MacDonald was under circumstances that have not been made public. Why?
  • The January 26, 2021 Council Agenda had a closed to the public Executive Session to review the performance of a public employee, which obviously was MacDonald.
  • The city is yet again left with this crucial position vacant, just as the books for the last biennium are set to be closed.
  • A Brief History of Yelm Finance Dept. Directors:
  • Former Finance Director Noah Crocker, hired by Mayor Ron Harding in late summer 2015, lasted here almost 2 years, and “resigned” in July 2017, a year after Foster became mayor.
  • Former Finance Director Joe Wolfe and his then Senior Accountant Heidi MacDonald were hired with much promise in September 2017.
  • With Wolfe at the helm, the City of Yelm earned the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for the first time.
  • Wolfe was commended on this blog April 2, 2019 and by the City of Yelm in a news release March 13, 2019, after achieving the designation of a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).
  • Finance Director Wolfe was placed on Administrative Leave by city mgt. in a major decision in May 2019, after allegations surfaced. An independent investigation was returned as inconclusive. Yet, Wolfe was suggestively shown the door later that month prior to the investigation’s conclusion, and subsequently “resigned.”
  • That action not being publicly explained by Yelm officials was questioned in a blog entry here on May 28, 2019. Wolfe was eventually hired by the Thurston County Auditor’s office.
  • The replacement for Wolfe in July 2019, Heidi MacDonald was hired on an interim basis, then made permanent Director, becoming the third Finance Director during Mayor Foster’s then-almost 3 years in his position.
  • Now, Heidi (MacDonald) Roberts “recently resigned from her position,” the third such “resignation” in 3 3/4 years.
  • With the Finance Director’s post again vacant and a new-hire coming, Mayor Foster will have 4 Finance Director’s during his 5 year tenure [Noah Crocker, Joe Wolfe, Heidi MacDonald, and a new hire].
  • The word “resigns” usually means the staff person was given the opportunity to be fired or resign. If the employee leaves for another job opportunity, the official response would state that, which did not occur in these 3 Finance Director resignations.
  • This frequent turnover leads to many questions about the constant and disruptive changes in leadership in such a vital city function.
  • A key question: is Foster’s lack of business experience a contributing factor to friction, especially on his understanding how budgets and finance departments function?
  • Mayor Foster told this community of his commitment to transparency via a Nisqually Valley News questionnaire when running again for mayor in October 2017: “Do you consider Yelm government to be transparent?” He replied, “We have glass walls on city hall.” Such transparency has been missing on Finance Directors’ resignations. click here for other examples.
  • Something is definitely amiss between city management and Finance!
  • The public deserves a statement from city officials.
  • I suggest hiring Joe Wolfe to run Yelm’s Finance Dept., as the city needs someone of Joe’s caliber, who knows this city’s finances, and who can get in the saddle now!

Yelm Finance Director Heidi MacDonald “resigns”

I wrote to City Administrator Michael Graham on Tuesday, February 17th with the following questions. He responded on February 18th:

Yelm Blogger: Earlier this month, I was making an inquiry about a Finance Dept. matter and was told that Heidi MacDonald is no longer in her post. Is the Yelm Finance Director position vacant?

Graham: Yes, Heidi recently resigned from her position.

Yelm Blogger: If so, do you intend to hire from within and if not, when will the posting be publicly posted?

Graham: We’ve hired an accounting firm to help us close out the books for the last biennium. We are working to bring on an interim director from outside the city and are updating the job description for posting in the near future. Please stay tuned.

Yelm Blogger: If Heidi is gone, did she leave for another opportunity elsewhere, or was she severed by the city of Yelm?

Graham: No response.

Bottom line: In closing, I wish Heidi MacDonald well. She was in an exceptionally difficult and untenable situation after the departure of Joe Wolfe.


February 19, 2021

* Yelm’s “Lady Liberty” activist’s photo goes national,
* U.S. life expectancy drops due to Covid,
* Trump Frets Foes Will Be ‘Suing Me for the Rest of My Life’!

Yelm QAnon activist “Lady Liberty” has become a public figure, appearing at many area protests.
Credit: MSNBC screen shot

*** SELECT REGIONAL NEWS THURSDAY ***

MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin: The current state of QAnon [Ed. note: Yelm Q Anon activist’s “Lady Liberty” photo featured in national news story.]

The Olympian: $10 million more in assistance coming to Thurston County renters and landlords – largely from the federal COVID stimulus package, plus some state money.

The Olympian: Are you a displaced restaurant or bar worker? United Way, CAC program may help

The Olympian: Providence, state announce second dose delays, postpone appointments

JOLT News: Thurston County Auditor’s office wins national award for financial reporting – in going beyond the state auditor’s minimum requirements by producing a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The Chronicle (Centralia): Smithsonian Looks to Enshrine Tenino’s Wooden Money

*** SELECT NATIONAL NEWS THURSDAY ***

CNBC: Amazon Alexa records your interactions — here’s how to delete those recordings

CNBC: The price of gas continues rising. How you can save at the pump

CNBC: Lumber prices top $1,000 for first time as single-family housing starts drop 12%

Salon Magazine: The founder of The Base [a Neo-Nazi group] worked at the Department of Homeland Security coordinating anti-terrorism programs

MSNBC’s The Reid Out: Republicans in 33 states introduce 165 bills to restrict voting access

*** SELECT CORONAVIRUS NEWS THURSDAY ***

NBC News: U.S. life expectancy falls by a year as Covid causes biggest drop since WWII

The New York Times: A Dismal Spring Awaits Unless We Slow the Spread of Covid-19 – By Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Rick Bright and Céline Gounder

The New York Times: Covid-Linked Syndrome in Children Is Growing and Cases Are More Severe

WaPo: Bill Gates is fighting climate change and covid conspiracy theories. He’s also ‘experiencing the greatest pushback ever in my life.’

*** SELECT TRUMP NEWS THURSDAY ***

NBC News: Why suing Trump over the Capitol riot has best chance of success

CNN Politics: The Supreme Court is still sitting on Trump’s tax returns, and justices aren’t saying why – “All that’s evident is the justices have diverged from long-standing practice and hindered the investigation of a former president.”

The Daily Beast: Trump Frets Foes Will Be ‘Suing Me for the Rest of My Life’ – “[The] Defendant now is no longer President.”

The New York Times: The Manhattan district attorney has enlisted a former federal prosecutor who is an expert on white-collar crime to join the team investigating the Trump family business. [Ed. note: This can only mean D.A. Cyril Vance, Jr. has a very strong case assembled!]

Politico: Ivanka Trump passes up Senate bid against Rubio in Florida


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