September 30, 2023

RFK Jr. set to announce run for President as an Independent!

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Credit: The Defender.

RFK Jr. to Announce Independent Run for U.S. President?

According to Mediaite, which broke the story late this afternoon, a “campaign insider” revealed that Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Children’s Health Defense founder and chairman on leave, will announce a third-party run for president on Oct. 9 in Philadelphia.

Excerpt from Children’s Defense:

Media outlets today reported that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is expected to announce he will run as an Independent for president of the U.S.

According to Mediaite, which broke the story late this afternoon, a “campaign insider” revealed that Kennedy will make the announcement on Oct. 9 in Philadelphia, because he “feels that the DNC [Democratic National Committee] is changing the rules to exclude his candidacy so an independent run is the only way to go.”

Kennedy is the founder and chairman on leave from Children’s Health Defense. He announced his run for the Democratic nomination for president on April 20, in Boston, with the promise to “reduce chronic disease in children.”

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From Mediaite:

Kennedy’s campaign machine is now planning “attack ads” against the Democratic National Committee in order to “pave the way” for his announcement in Philadelphia about running as an independent, according to a text reviewed by Mediaite.

“Bobby feels that the DNC is changing the rules to exclude his candidacy so an independent run is the only way to go,” a Kennedy campaign insider told Mediaite.


September 30, 2023

Yelm’s Hope for Heroes Horsemanship Center to see $70K in federal funds!

Credit: Horse for Heroes

Thurston County center to see $70K in federal funds for veteran equine therapy

Excerpt from The Chronicle:

On [September 22], U.S. Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, and Marilyn Strickland, D-Tacoma, announced $70,000 in federal funding for the Hope for Heroes Horsemanship Center in Yelm.

The center offers therapeutic horsemanship, including horse training, riding and grooming for people who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, chronic depression and injuries including traumatic brain injuries. 

A news release Friday [Sept. 22] stated the nonprofit provides therapy for around 200 veterans and people on active military duty, many of whom have had suicidal tendencies. “Most all” of the center’s participants have PTSD or chronic depression, according to a quote in the release from Bob Woelk, manager of the center. 

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“This grant will help them invest in the equine therapy facilities and instruction needed to support our nation’s heroes,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in the release, later adding, “I look forward to working with the Hope for Horsemanship Center to expand mental health services in Southwest Washington.”

Learn more about the Hope for Heroes Horsemanship Center at http://www.hope4heroesconsulting.org/ or by following the nonprofit’s Facebook page. 


September 29, 2023

Thurston County Sheriff Sanders declares staffing emergency –
Issues letter to constituents!

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders addresses a community gathering in the Rainier High School gymnasium during a March 7 evening vigil held in memory of senior Jessie Uch. Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders addresses a community gathering in the Rainier High School gymnasium during a March 7 evening vigil held in memory of senior Jessie Uch. Credit: Steve Bloom, The Olympian.

Click here to read Sheriff Sanders’ letter to the community.

Some misdemeanors to be referred to online reporting during Thurston County staff emergency

Sheriff Derek Sanders said deputies are working dangerously long days and overtime costs are forcing cuts elsewhere in the department’s budget.

Excerpt from KING-5 TV News Seattle:

Thurston County Sheriff Derek Sanders declared a temporary staffing emergency in the department Wednesday, citing only 36 active deputies for the county of 150,000 people. 

Sanders said the department has been in a “perpetual state of severe staffing issues for the past three years,” in a letter posted to social media. Employee sickness or injury, academy wait times, background investigator constraints and a low number of funded deputies per the county’s population size were all listed as reasons for the shortage. 

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Declaring a staffing emergency will allow Sanders to alter employee schedules to address the station’s needs. Sanders listed the following changes: 

  • Lieutenants assigned to the Field Operations Bureau will return to minimum staffing day shift slots as supervisors
  • Captains in the Field Operations Bureau and the Support Services Bureau will be reassigned a number of administrative duties held by lieutenants
  • Sergeants will be expected to conduct fieldwork as “rover” units, handling calls and backing up deputies when a lieutenant is on shift 
  • Two deputies have been rotated to the swing shift 
  • Transfers from the Field Operations Bureau to the Support Services Bureau (detectives) have been placed on hold, leaving three vacant detective positions

In some instances, when staffing requires, non-emergency and misdemeanor property crimes may be referred to online reporting to ensure there are enough deputies available to respond to violent and “in-progress” calls during peak hours of call volume, Sanders wrote. Putting a pause on transferring new detectives may also delay serious cases being assigned in the Support Services Bureau. 


September 28, 2023

Fall Foliage Map Shows When Leaves Will Peak

Photo credit: SmokyMountains.com

This 2023 Fall Foliage Map Shows When Leaves Will Peak Near You

Excerpt from Travel + Leisure Magazine:

Summer is coming to an end and that means cozy sweaters, PSLs, apple picking, and gorgeous fall foliage. But predicting exactly when the changing leaves will peak has always been a bit of a guessing game. 

That’s where SmokyMountains.com comes in, using data like temperature and precipitation, historical trends, user-generated reports, and the type of trees in each area to produce an annual Fall Leaf Map. And now, the 2023 version is ready, the company shared with Travel + Leisure.

The interactive map allows users to drag a tool across the timeline, seeing peak foliage move across the country.

“Similar to a weekend weather forecast, the timing of our map update is important,” the map’s creator David Angotti said in a statement provided to T+L. “The backbone of the map is meteorology… With our unique blend of historical and forecast data, we are able to make a highly accurate prediction by the end of August. The drastic year-to-year changes dictate that we create a new map from scratch with new data each year. Our end goal is to produce a map that’s useful and fun.”

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Predictions are also similar on the West Coast as leaf peepers can expect to see peak colors change around the same Oct. 9 to Oct. 13 dates in Washington state.


September 28, 2023

Explore Autumn’s activities in Thurston County!

Washington State Capitol, Olympia.
Credit: Experience Olympia and Beyond

Top Fall Activities in Thurston County

Excerpt from Experience Olympia and Beyond:

Autumn in Olympia brings cooler weather, changing leaves, and abundant opportunities to get outdoors. Celebrate the season with these top fall experiences! Explore a fall festival, catch the salmon swimming up river, and explore our family-friendly farms along the Thurston Bountiful Byway.

Explore a fall festival

Celebrate the Tumwater Falls Festival on Saturday, September 20, 2023 at Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls. During the festivities visitors can sip a hot cup of coffee, attend an educational talk, watch a live demonstration, and shop local artists, makers, and food vendors. Bring the entire family! There are plenty of activities for children, including face painting and a scavenger hunt.

The Olympia Fall Arts Walk takes place throughout the month of October offering visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of artwork, watch live art demos, and go to special events. Be sure to catch the downtown celebration on October 6 and October 7, 2023.

Don’t let the name fool you, Lacey’s Winter Fest – Sip, Savor, Shop event actually takes place in the fall. Head to the Lacey Community Center on November 4 to support local artisans and small businesses as you Sip, Savor & Shop to your heart’s content. The festival features crafts from local artisans, tastings, music and more.

Fall Fun on the Farms along the Thurston Bountiful Byway

Nothing says fall quite harvest time on the farm. There’s lots of fall farm fun to be had along the Thurston Bountiful Byway. Wander through a corn maze after picking the perfect pumpkin at Schilter Family Farm & Rutledge Family Farm. Stop at Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm during their annual Apple Festival and Pumpkin Festival to snack on apple fritters and apple cider while pumpkin picking. Then visit the petting zoo filled with adorable farm animals sure to thrill children of all ages. See the map below for more adventures along the byway!

Read more here for additional ideas.


September 27, 2023

Yelm’s Dog Park Phase II approved by council.

Yelm’s off-leash dog park will be located on Rhoton Road, across from the City’s Public Works building. Yelm was awarded $575,000 in grant money to pay for the park, with the City paying the difference of $118,000. Credit: Jacob Dimond, Nisqually Valley News.

+ Nisqually Valley News: City of Yelm breaks ground at off-leash dog park location on Rhoton Road

Yelm council approves construction for phase two of dog park

Excerpt from the NVN:

Local dog owners will soon have a local, off-leash dog park for their four-legged companions to run, play and socialize as the Yelm City Council voted 6-1 in favor of a new contract bid for the construction of the park.

During the Yelm City Council meeting on Sept. 12, councilors Amanda Johnstone, Joseph Richardson, Holly Smith, Brian Hess, Ashley Brooks and Terry Kaminski all voted in favor of approving a new construction contract valued at $693,529.20.

Yelm Public Works Director Cody Colt said the total price does not include the cost of bathrooms, which are slated to be installed in the future. The cost also includes the sum of the pavilions, engineered mulch, grass, a walking path, fences, hook-ups for an eventual bathroom and concrete.

Richardson asked Colt how much of the city’s money would be used for the project. Colt said the city has $575,000 of grant money meant for the off-leash dog park, and the city would pay the $118,000 difference. He added that if the city didn’t use the grant money for this project, the money would go away.


September 27, 2023

County’s Transportation planning boundaries to change.

TRPC Senior Planner Michael Ambrogi presented a map showing the proposed additions to the Federal Highways urbanized area boundary. Credit: JOLT Staff photo via Zoom

Transportation planning boundaries to change after being categorized as urban for county

TRPC met with staff from Thurston County, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and the cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm, to review the proposed urban areas and discuss potential adjustments.

Excerpt from The JOLT News:

The Thurston Regional Planning Council – Technical Advisory Committee (TRPC-TAC) approved the proposed adjustment to the urban area boundaries set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at its Thursday, September 21 meeting.

TRPC Senior Planner Michael Ambrogi announced the recently completed review of the region’s federal urban area boundaries. He explained that the FHWA urban areas establish eligibility for transportation planning, operational, and funding purposes.

The urban area boundaries, Ambrogi said, determines the federal functional road classification. These boundaries are closely associated with funding requirements for various programs such as the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG), Transportation Alternatives (TA), and Carbon Reduction Programs (CRP). Each of these programs has specific funding targets tied to urban areas versus rural areas.

“We have an opportunity to adjust these areas. We have some discretion over where they are,” Ambrogi said, adding that Metropolitan Planning Organization/Washington State Department of Transportation (COP/WSDOT) can modify the boundaries collaboratively.

TRPC met with staff from Thurston County, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and the cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm, to review the proposed urban areas and discuss potential adjustments.


September 26, 2023

Judge: Defendant Trump and his company “repeatedly” violated fraud law!

Defendant Trump.
© / Getty Images

Donald Trump and his company “repeatedly” violated fraud law, New York judge rules

Excerpt from CBS News:

Donald Trump and his company “repeatedly” violated state fraud law, a New York judge ruled Tuesday.

The ruling came in response to a request by New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking judgment on one of the claims in her $250 million civil lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 2. Judge Arthur Engoron agreed in his ruling with James’ office that it is beyond dispute that Trump and his company provided banks with financial statements that misrepresented his wealth by as much as $3.6 billion.

“The documents here clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business,” Engoron wrote in his ruling, in which he ordered the defendants’ New York business certificates canceled. He ordered that within 10 days, they must recommend potential independent receivers to manage the dissolution of the canceled LLCs.

James’ office sued Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and the Trump Organization in September 2022, claiming they committed extensive fraud over more than a decade while seeking loans from banks. In addition to $250 million, her office is seeking several sanctions that would severely hamper the company’s ability to do business in New York.

Both sides sought summary judgments from Engoron. James’ office asked for the ruling delivered Tuesday, saying it would streamline the trial if Engoron found certain facts were beyond dispute: that Trump and the company issued false business records and false financial statements.


September 26, 2023

Yelm Community Schools enrollments near pre-pandemic level,
Superintendent Chris Woods’ goal: to make students successful!

Yelm High School students arrive for the first day of the 2023-24 school year on Sept. 5. Credit: Dylan Reubenking, Nisqually Valley News.

Yelm district enrollment figures nearing pre-pandemic numbers

Excerpt from the Nisqually Valley News:

Yelm Community Schools counted 5,549 full-time equivalent students enrolled for the 2023-24 school year, 81 students higher than the district anticipated in its budget. The district also tallied a headcount of 5,648 students.

These totals are the highest the district has had since the 2019-20 school year, when an average of 5,574 full-time equivalent students were enrolled. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the enrollment numbers to dip significantly, as the district recorded average annual full-time enrollment numbers of 5,203 in 2020-21, 5,219 in 2021-22 and 5,446 in 2022-23.

The district estimated 5,468 full-time equivalent students would enroll before the 2023-24 school year began. The actual total was tallied after the fourth day of school, as the district counts students who have participated in school those days. This number starts the district’s budget clock for the first half of the year.

Despite the higher enrollment, Superintendent Chris Woods said that class sizes will not be an issue for the majority of grades, with the exception of third grade. Woods said during a school board meeting on Sept. 14 that third-grade class sizes are too large at every school and that the district will need to add teachers to help with this.

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Yelm Community Schools superintendent discusses current state of the district

Excerpt from the Nisqually Valley News:

Newly appointed Yelm Community Schools Superintendent Chris Woods wants to give every student within the school district the opportunity to succeed.

He expressed that goal on Sept. 12 at Yelm Cinemas during the Yelm Chamber of Commerce’s September Forum, where he talked about the current state of Yelm Community Schools.

“Our goal is to make sure our students will be successful regardless of the path they choose, the school they attend, regardless of where they live. It should not matter,” Woods said. “When they show up, they’re going to get the same high level of education in every classroom in every building.”

The district has focused on creating a sense of belonging for students within Yelm Community Schools, Woods said. He said YCS staff know that students can’t learn to their greatest ability if they’re in an environment where they don’t feel loved or cared for, regardless of the student.

YCS could have the best strategies and curriculum in the world, but it wouldn’t matter if students don’t feel they belong, Woods added. The school district is working on identifying what a sense of belonging within every student looks and sounds like.


September 25, 2023

Alaska Airlines entices disaffected Delta frequent fliers,
in wake of Delta’s SkyMiles benefits devaluations!

Credit: The Points Guy.

Alaska Airlines targets Delta with lucrative status match offer

Excerpt from The Points Guy:

Alaska Airlines is out with a new status match and making no secret about who it targets.

Branding this as an opportunity “in the wake of recent loyalty changes at one of our competitors,” the Seattle-based carrier is making an overt attempt to lure Delta Air Lines loyalists disenchanted by the recent SkyMiles overhaul.

Between now and Oct. 31, Alaska is letting SkyMiles Medallion members match into elite status within the Mileage Plan program, including — for the first time — to Alaska’s top-tier MVP Gold 100K status. Historically, you haven’t been able to reach that top rung through a status match.

There are a couple of other factors that make this status match opportunity particularly notable.

First, it is not a status challenge. Lately, most status matches require some kind of flying or spending requirement. Not this one, which is a straight status match for those who have an active Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card by the end of the year.

Additionally, SkyMiles members with Medallion status for 2024 can actually qualify one level higher than the “corresponding” Mileage Plan tier if they have an active Alaska Airlines cobranded Visa — or secure one by Dec. 31.


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