May 31, 2023

House passes debt ceiling bill to avoid default,
Now goes to Senate, then if approved, to President Biden!

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walks to the House chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Credit: AP via KING-5 TV News, Seattle.

House OKs debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

With the House vote of 314-117, the bill now heads to the Senate with passage expected by week’s end.

Excerpt from KING-5 TV News, Seattle:

Veering away from a default crisis, the House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

The hard-fought deal pleased few, but lawmakers assessed it was better than the alternative — a devastating economic upheaval if Congress failed to act. Tensions ran high throughout the day as hard-right Republicans refused the deal, while Democrats said “extremist” GOP views were risking a debt default as soon as next week.

May 31, 2023

Thurston County designs trail extensions for the Yelm-Rainier-Trail

The Yelm-Tenino Trail was once a railroad corridor that now takes hikers through a variety of landscapes. Photo by Geroge III, via the Washington Trails Assn.

Thurston County is designing trail extensions near Tenino, Glacial Heritage Preserve

Excerpt from The Olympian:

Two trails in south Thurston County are slated to be extended over the next year to better serve the region.

Public Works staff is designing paved extensions for the Yelm-Rainier-Trail near Tenino City Park and the Gate-Belmore Trail near Glacial Heritage Preserve, which is south of Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, between Littlerock and Mima roads.

Both projects are part of the county’s Trail Connectivity Program, an ambitious effort to link the county’s disparate trail systems and corridors. The Board of County Commissioners authorized staff to begin designing the two projects in April.

The Yelm-Rainier-Tenino trail extension would start at the Tenino Train Depot and run south along West Park Avenue to Crowder Road Southeast, according to county documents. Staff estimate it will cost $352,000.

In its current form, the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino trail is a 14.5-mile paved path that runs east-west from near Yelm City Hall to Tenino City Park, according to the county website.

May 31, 2023

Washington’s new capital gains tax brings in a windfall for schools!

The Washington state Capitol building stands against clear skies in Olympia on Thursday, Jan. 5. Credit: Isabel Vander Stoep, The Chronicle.

Washington’s new capital gains tax brings in a surprising pile of money

Washington’s new capital gains tax is raking in way more cash than expected. Here are the latest projections, and who stands to benefit.

Excerpt from The Seattle Times:

Early figures suggest Washington could bring in $849 million in its first year of collecting the state’s new capital gains tax, potentially sending hundreds of millions more than expected to schools across the state.

State lawmakers passed the 7% tax on the sale or exchange of stocks, bonds and certain other assets above $250,000 in 2021. It has faced legal challenges, but got the go-ahead from the state Supreme Court in March.

The Legislature passed a budget based on earlier projections indicating Washington could collect $248 million in capital gains tax payments in the 2023 fiscal year, which ends July 1.

Instead, as of May 9, the state has collected $601 million more.

However, that figure could change later this year, once the roughly 2,500 taxpayers who have filed for extensions submit their returns, according to the state Department of Revenue.

But if that amount holds roughly the same it could mean significantly more money going toward K-12 schools, early childhood education and building and repairing schools.

May 30, 2023

Republican 2022 losers run for public offices again!

Joe Kent in Washington and J.R. Majewski in Ohio are considering running again in 2024. Credit: AP file via NBC News.
  • Editor’s note: Joe Kent for WA. District 3 Congressional Representative signs are all over rural Thurston roads already!

Republicans brace for 2022 losers to take another crack at winning

From Ohio to Arizona, some of the most prominent far-right candidates who lost key swing races last cycle are gearing up to run again, thinking this time will be different.

Excerpt from NBC News:

In the 2022 midterms, a number of far-right candidates cruised to primary victories with former President Donald Trump’s backing — only to blow key races with a general electorate who viewed them as too extreme. 

And now, Republicans are nervously bracing for many of them to run again. 

At least fourof these candidates who ran, and lost, in 2022 are making it known that they’re interested in running again in 2024 — or have already announced bids. They’re testing the party’s commitment this cycle to emphasize “candidate quality” and offering Democrats a sliver of hope as they navigate a difficult Senate map and a narrow field of swing House races.


But at the House level, Republicans Joe Kent in Washington and J.R. Majewski in Ohio — two MAGA-aligned candidates who hugged Trump tightly but fell short in districts Republicans were favored in — have already launched their next bids. Others may soon join.

All of these candidates put Trump’s false claims of a stolen election front and center in their campaigns, helping them get through contested primaries but putting them at a disadvantage with independents in the general election. Their defeats have led some party leaders to suggest they may take a more active role in the primary process. 


+ From The Olympian [May 31, 2023]: WA candidates are lining up for the 2024 election. Here’s who stands a chance | Opinion

Third Congressional District: By far the most interesting, impactful and competitive race in Washington next year will be in the 3rd Congressional District, which ranges from Olympia to Portland. This is a Republican-leaning district, but in 2022 ultra MAGA Republican Joe Kent defeated long-time GOP representative Jaimie Herrera-Beutler in the primary, then went on to lose to Democrat Maria Gluesenkamp Perez by just 2,629 votes in November. This will likely be one of the handful of races that will decide the majority in the U.S. House and should draw national attention and national money. Perez was able to eke out a win last time, so she starts out as the favorite, but this will be close.

May 30, 2023

Jeanne and Butch Carlson receive the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award!

Jeanne and Butch Carlson honored with the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award. Credit: Facebook post of Mayor Joe DePinto:.
  • Editor’s note: I add my congratulations and appreciation to Jeanne and Butch Carlson, as well.

From the Facebook post of Mayor Joe DePinto:

Earlier this month I attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County ‘s Foundation for the Future breakfast where we heard from speakers like the outgoing CEO (our incoming Yelm Superintendent) Chris Woods and their Youth of the Year (great speech Lily).

My favorite part was the recognition of Jeanne and Butch Carlson with the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award. Jeanne and Butch own and operate Stewarts’s Meats but they also are huge philanthropists and supporters of everything Yelm. You may have seen a youth sports teams sponsored by them or maybe you won an auction item they donated to impactful organizations like the Boys and Girls Club or Dollars for Scholars.

I was really happy to see them recognized and you better believe I love their meat market. Best jerky this side of the Mississippi.

Congrats Butch and Jeanne!

May 29, 2023

Most expensive ever Thurston residential home now sold,
$11 million original listing price went for $2.3 million!

The most expensive personal property ever listed in Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties is now sold in Tenino. Credit: Joshua Bessex, The News Tribune (Tacoma).

‘Karate Kid’ actor turned energy drink maker buys heiress’ Tenino estate after huge price cut

Excerpt from The Olympian:

A unique estate near Tenino with one-of-a-kind features has sold after a huge price reduction and four years on the market. The buyer is a 1980s actor turned energy drink mogul. Scott Strader said Thursday he paid $2.3 million for the 85-acre Merkaba, as it’s called — a fraction of its original $11 million asking price. When it was listed in 2019, it was the highest listing price ever in the region, according to Gig Harbor-based listing agent Michael Morrison of Sotheby’s International Realty.


Home to an heiress

The home was built by South African De Beers diamond heiress Rebecca Oppenheimer, who was an acolyte of the nearby Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Ramtha is, according to school founder J. Z. Knight, the spirit of a man who lived more than 30,000 years ago. Knight claims that she communicates with Ramtha’s spirit.


New owner

Strader said the Tenino home will probably not be his and wife Michele’s main residence as they have several homes around the West including at Lake Tahoe, Sacramento and the Palm Springs area.

“But this one is just so special,” he said. He might turn the property into a retreat.

Strader starred as Eddie in the original “The Karate Kid” move. He starred in the 1986 movie “Jocks” with “Law & Order” actor Mariska Hargitay. He’s also appeared on “General Hospital”, according to his IMDB page. He said he is scheduled to appear in the final season of the Netflix reboot of the “Karate Kid” franchise, now called “Cobra Kai”. It will mark the end of a long absence from acting.


Sight unseen

Strader bought Merkaba without ever having visited the property. He first set foot on the estate on Tuesday. But, he said, he’s been aware of it for several years through Sotheby’s listings. Hi goal now is to recapture the home’s vibrancy from when Oppenheimer lived there.

May 29, 2023

Memorial Day 2023 –
We pause top remember those who gave for our country!

Caisson enters Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
Photo from Arlington National Cemetery website. Credit: Andrew V. McMaster, May 2006.

Memorial Day 2023

This Memorial Day story has been posted annually since May 28, 2007:
This weekend is our Memorial Day holiday when America pauses to honor those that have given their lives in service to their country. The Yelm Community Blog host appreciates and honors all of those who have served to defend, protect, and preserve our country from outside invaders.

“Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action,” quoting Wikipedia.

The wars have left their mark on this area, as we are reminded of one of the first from this area to give the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq War, Rainier’s Justin Norton, who was killed in June 2006:

Rainier’s fallen son, Justin Norton

Justin Norton Scholarship Fund honoring Rainier, Washington’s fallen soldier in Iraq, June 24, 2006.
About Sgt. Norton

Donations can be mailed to:
Justin Norton Scholarship Fund
c/o Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 444
Yelm, Wa 98597

Delta Airlines honors our military on their last flights home (February 13, 2013).
“A group of Delta Air Lines employees has made a commitment to honor and recognize members of the military who have made the ultimate sacrifice. A solider and his military canine who both died in action return home, their remains arriving on U. S. soil in Atlanta in this video.
The Delta Honor Guard, which has been operating since 2005, is composed of approximately 30 men and women who volunteer their time to honor fallen troops whose remains come through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport aboard Delta flights, according to Brian McConnell, coordinator of the Delta Honor Guard.

Click here for this moving ceremony, which occurs plane-side in the rain, and all weather conditions.”

Memorial Day 2023

+ The Jolt News: Memorial Day Reflections, a mindful code to follow – P’s and Q’s of understanding Memorial Day, and a nonprofit biker group in support of veterans

May 28, 2023

The White House and G.O.P. strike deal to avert default!

President Biden meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the Oval Office. The deal capped months of political brinkmanship and a marathon set of negotiations. Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times.

White House and G.O.P. Strike Debt Limit Deal to Avert

The bipartisan deal would raise the debt limit for two years while cutting and capping some government spending, a breakthrough after a marathon set of talks.

With the government on track to reach its borrowing limit within days, negotiators sealed an agreement to raise the debt ceiling for two years while cutting and capping certain federal programs.

Excerpt from The New York Times:

President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Saturday reached an agreement in principle to lift the debt limit for two years while cutting and capping some government spending over the same period, a breakthrough after a marathon set of crisis talks that has brought the nation within days of its first default in history.

Congressional passage of the plan before June 5, when the Treasury is projected to exhaust its ability to pay its obligations, is not assured, particularly in the House, which plans to consider it on Wednesday. Republicans hold a narrow majority in the chamber, and right-wing lawmakers who had demanded significantly larger budget cuts in exchange for lifting the borrowing limit were already in revolt.

But the compromise, which would effectively freeze federal spending that had been on track to grow, had the blessing of both the Democratic president and the Republican speaker, raising hopes that it could break the fiscal stalemate that has gripped Washington and the nation for weeks, threatening an economic crisis.

Mr. Biden urged the House and Senate to pass the agreement in a late-night statement issued by the White House, saying it would prevent a catastrophic default.


+ Common Dreams: Biden-GOP Debt Ceiling Deal Slashes Assistance Programs and Protects the Wealthy – The deal will impose new work requirements on benefits recipients while protecting the spiraling pentagon budget.

+ Daily Kos: Furious Freedom Caucus vows to scuttle debt deal

May 27, 2023

Pizzeria La Gitana’s ‘Basin Youth Baseball in Yelm’ fundraising Tuesday!

Credit: La Gitana’s Facebook post

Fundraising for ‘Basin Youth Baseball in Yelm’

Excerpt from La Gitana’s Facebook post:

TUESDAY, MAY 30, 2023 AT 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM

Pizzeria La Gitana Of Yelm

20% of all sales we be donated to Nisqually Basin Youth Baseball in Yelm so join us for our annual fundraiser this Tuesday May30th.

Dine in & Togo options available, all day long. Pizza, pasta, salads… 😋🔥❤️🍕🥗

May 27, 2023

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park opens 2023 season today!

Credit: Wild Waves Theme & Water Park

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park Announces 2023 Season Opening May 27

Exciting New Events, Food, Fun and Milestone Celebrations Await Guests This Season

Video and Photos Available at: Wild Waves Media Kit Dropbox

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, Washington’s largest combination theme and water park, will open for the 2023 season May 27. The park will offer exciting, new events, delicious, new food options, and new games of skill. In addition, Wild Waves will commemorate the anniversary of two signature attractions, including the 20th anniversary of the  wooden roller coaster Timberhawk: Ride of Prey.

“As Seattle’s most iconic destination for classic thrills and nostalgic charm, we’re excited to welcome guests back for our 47th season of family fun,” said Park President and Regional VP Jody Kneupper. “We are committed to continually enhancing our park offerings, such as the rides, slides and experiences that bring families back year after year.”

New additions for the 2023 season include:

·       New Special Events: The park will expand its robust special events program with several new events, including the World’s Largest Coaster Ride June 16 in conjunction with the American Coaster Enthusiasts, the World’s Largest Swim Lesson June 22 in partnership with the World Waterpark Association, and Blast from the Past throwback weekends July 21 to 30 with live entertainment, music, prizes, special guests and more. Fan-favorite special events will return in 2023 including Dive-In Movies every Thursday from June through August; Wags N’ Waves dog swim event with “yappy” hour specials, July 4th Celebration Weekend, and the “family by day, fright by night” excitement of Fright Fest weekends in October. A full list of events can be found at;

·       New Season Pass Events: The park will celebrate its most loyal fans with four special events, beginning opening weekend May 27 to 29 with a limited-edition pin giveaway, while supplies last;

·       New Dining Options: Savory tacos, cool aguas frescas and creamy, new fudge flavors are among the additional food offerings this season; 

·       New Cashless Payments: For safer, easier transactions, Wild Waves will only accept card payments in 2023 with its new Cash-to-a-Card program. Restaurants, retail stores, games, ticket windows and parking booths will accept credit cards, cash-free cards and mobile payments. Guests visiting with cash can convert their payment to a debit card at multiple convenient kiosks throughout the park. Debit cards can be used for purchased inside and outside of the park; and

·       New Games: Guests can try their luck at a new fishing game, and kids can test their strength at a new, pint-sized “high striker.”

Park Will Highlight Ride Milestones in 2023

In celebration of the park’s rich history as a cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest, Wild Waves will commemorate a pair of attraction milestones in 2023:

·       Timberhawk: Ride of Prey, 20 years: The park’s thrilling and legendary wooden coaster stands seven and a half stories tall and reaches a top speed of 50 mph as it soars and swoops over 2,600 feet of twisting track; and

·       Timber Axe, 5 years: This dynamic, looping thrill ride propels passengers 70 feet into the air. Riders sit face-to-face as they dramatically rise and fall with every circular pass of the axe.

Memorial Sale Offers Special Pricing

Guests can splash into summer with big savings on tickets during the Memorial Sale beginning May 25. For a limited time, Wild Waves will offer one-day admission and a meal for only $59 plus tax. For just $10 more, guests can purchase a Season Pass with unlimited visits, special events and exciting perks all season long. Visit for more information.

Wild Waves Now Hiring for Summer Season

Wild Waves is looking for people with a passion for great guest service to join their team this summer. From lifeguards to food service, and security to cash control, select positions are available for those age 16 and up. Interested candidates can apply now at

Wild Waves will open weekends and select days beginning May 27, and begin daily operation June 16 (exclusions apply, please visit the operating calendar). Information regarding Wild Waves Theme & Water Park tickets, group outings, Season Passes and early Season Pass processing can be found at, by signing up for the park newsletter, and by following the park on social media.


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