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.


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.

September 25, 2023

Gov. Inslee presented Washington’s advances at Climate Week in NYC!

Gov. Jay Inslee had a busy week in New York City telling the Washington story of climate action to world leaders, business leaders, and environmental advocates during Climate Week NYC. Credit: Office of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Newsletter.

Inslee tells the Washington story at Climate Week NYC

From the Office of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Newsletter:

At the same time as Climate Week NYC brought environmental advocates and public officials to New York City, world leaders were also gathering there this week for the United Nations General Assembly with a focus on climate change. Washington state was one of only 10 subnational entities invited.

That privilege was earned by the state’s demonstrated leadership in climate action. Gov. Jay Inslee represented Washington state at the summit, and he was afforded the rare honor of addressing the assembly as a governor.

“The road to destruction is paved with long-term aspirations,” said Inslee. “Today is one hundred times more important than tomorrow on what we actually need to do to solve this problem.”

The governor highlighted Washington’s advances in the climate fight. This includes the state’s Clean Energy Transformation Act to transition to 100% clean electricity by 2045, and the Climate Commitment Act’s cap and invest program for slashing pollution and reinvesting in cleaner options for transportation, energy, buildings and more.

Inslee also joined fellow governors from the U.S. Climate Alliance and the Biden administration Thursday to announce ambitious plans to quadruple heat pump installations nationwide by 2030. Collectively the Biden administration and the 25 states in the Alliance will install 20 million heat pumps in the next seven years. Heat pumps can heat and cool homes without releasing carbon emissions and with more efficiency than most heating and cooling systems, reducing energy use and saving consumers money.

September 24, 2023

Highlights of another really bad week for Trump!

Trump’s Oath of Office.
Credit: Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Trump’s calendar while out-on-bail is full

+ Just Security: Master Calendar of Trump Court Dates: Criminal and Civil Cases

While the full calendar tracks hundreds of events, here are the top 10 legal and political dates we have identified as of now: 

  1. September 18, 2023GA (Clark): Removal evidentiary hearing at 9:30 AM
  2. September 20, 2023GA (Shafer, Latham & Still): Removal evidentiary hearing held together at 9:30 AM
  3. October 2, 2023NY Corporate Lawsuit: Trial begins (to end by Dec. 22, 2023)
  4. October 23, 2023GA (Chesebro & Powell): Trial begins
  5. January 15, 2024 Carroll I: Trial begins (on damages only) & Iowa Republican Presidential Caucuses
  6. March 4, 2024DC Trump Case: Trial begins
  7. March 5, 2024 – Super Tuesday Primaries
  8. March 25, 2024 NY: Trial begins (The Hill)
  9. May 20, 2024MAL: Trial begins
  10. July 15-18, 2024 – Republican National Convention


+ Newsweek: A Favorite Republican Legal Strategy Gets Turned Against Trump – deploying Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—a statute that allows a court to issue a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order—against Trump’s 2024 campaign.


+ Raw Story via MSN: ‘Flat ridiculous’: GOP and Dem White House ethics experts unite to condemn Trump’s judge recusal effort


+ Rolling Stone: Why Did Trump Lose His ‘Billion Dollar Lawyer’? – Nasty infighting and a brutal indictment led to Trump parting ways with “one of the finest lawyers I’ve ever dealt with,” says one Atlanta defense attorney


+ Truthout: Trump Wants Republicans to Shut Down the Government to Block DOJ Charges – Trump wants GOP members of Congress to “defund all aspects” of government on his behalf, he said on Truth Social.


+ Raw Story via MSN: Experts ask if Trump’s new attack violated bail: ‘Is he on the government’s witness list?’ – Trump on Friday suggested a retiring general [Mark Milley] might deserve the death penalty. [Questions have been raised “about whether Milley is connected to Trump’s court cases. If so, some onlookers posit, Trump may be subject to consequences in the courtroom, or potentially jail,” for witness tampering.].


+ The Atlantic: The Patriot: How General Mark Milley protected the Constitution from Donald Trump


+ MSNBC’s Morning Joe: Trump privately worries over going to ‘bad’ prison, wearing ‘one of those jumpsuits’: Report – Former President Trump is privately fretting he could be sent to jail, according to new RollingStone reporting. The Morning Joe panel discusses.


+ MSNBC’s Morning Joe: ‘A sign of weakness’: WSJ asks why Trump is afraid of debate stage – The Wall Street Journal editorial board is calling out former President Trump for not taking the debate stage. The Morning Joe panel discusses.


+ MSNBC: The Christian right ‘s wish list for Trump is worse than you think – Trump is all four horsemen of the Christian right’s judicial takeover.


+ MSNBC: Rupert Murdoch is Dr. Frankenstein, and Donald Trump is his monster – Murdoch and Fox News bore almost as much responsibility for the destruction of Jan. 6 as Trump.


+ NBC News: Pre-trial hearing in Trump civil case leads judge to ‘literally’ pound the bench

September 23, 2023

The I-5 corridor may see the wettest day of 2023 on Monday –
‘Bomb cyclone’ atmospheric river aimed at Pacific NW!

Credit: NWS, Seattle.

As summer winds to close, Seattle could soon see its rainiest day of the year

+ The Washington Post: Atmospheric river, early-season bomb cyclone to hit Pacific Northwest

Excerpt from KIRO-7 TV News, Seattle:

Thursday marks the last day of full day of summer, and that will soon flip the switch on fall weather across the Puget Sound region.

Although temperatures will reach 76 degrees on Friday, rain isn’t far behind. Showers will roll in on Saturday, and then the main event arrives on Monday, which could end up being our wettest day of the year.

So far this year, Seattle had its most rain in a single day on May 5, when 0.70 inches fell. The forecast for Monday calls for at least a full inch. While we’re unlikely to see river flooding or landslides because of how dry it has been, we could have urban flooding when rain is heaviest.

September 23, 2023

Nisqually Tribe plans a centerpiece 155,000-square-foot casino in Lacey!

Nisqaully Tribe’s land in Lacey by Cabela’s. Credit: The Olympian.

Nisquallys unveil sweeping, eye-opening development plan for land in Lacey near Cabela’s

The centerpiece? A 155,000-square-foot casino

Excerpt from The Olympian:

The centerpiece? A 155,000-square-foot casino

Nisqually tribal representatives unveiled before Lacey City Council Thursday night an eye-opening plan for land the tribe owns near the outdoors store Cabela’s, including a 155,000-square-foot casino and a 350-room hotel.

In addition to the casino-resort, which the tribe has previously disclosed as the Quiemuth Resort (pronounced kway-mooth), there’s also Quiemuth Village, a mixed-use development proposal.

Both development proposals were presented to the council by Nisqually representatives, including tribal Chairman Willie Frank III. “This is a huge project for Nisqually,” he said, adding that there has been a lot of conversation over the years about what the land near Cabela’s might become. “The Nisqually tribe is in a good place right now to move forward together with the city of Lacey to really develop something that’s going to benefit the city for the next seven generations,” Frank said.

The Nisquallys own the 250-acre parcel that surrounds Cabela’s. It is north of I-5, west of Marvin Road Northeast and south of Britton Parkway Northeast.


+ The JOLT News: Lacey signs cooperation agreement with Nisqually Tribe on 250-acre development into a resort and mixed use community – “[It’s] really to develop something that is going to benefit the city, tribe and county for the next generations and provide jobs and opportunities to everybody.”


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