January 31, 2024

Tribal history curriculum implementation in K-12 schools pushed by native, state leaders.

A book by Traci Sorell for teaching contemporary Native issues to young children. Nov. 15, 2023.
Photo by Grace Deng/Washington State Standard
via The JOLT News.

Native and state leaders push for K-12 schools to fully implement tribal history curriculum 

The program is required under a Washington law passed eight years ago but still hasn’t been fully adopted. A pending bill would tighten standards and provide additional support.

Excerpt from The JOLT News:

According to a 2022-2023 school year report from the State Board of Education, around 80% to 90% of school districts are incorporating tribal history and culture in their social studies programs. That’s a big jump from the last report from the 2021-2022 school year when 44% of districts reported having yet to implement tribal history and culture into their social studies curricula. 

But without minimum standards, Henry Strom, executive director of the state’s Office of Native Education, said it’s difficult to know how many schools are providing quality Since Time Immemorial curricula because the original 2015 legislation did not set minimum standards. That’s why HB 1332 is important, he said. 

At a meeting last month between tribal and state governments, Gov. Jay Inslee asked Suquamish Tribe chair Leonard Forsman how many districts were “cutting the mustard” when it came to implementing Since Time Immemorial. 

“I think we’re probably under a third,” said Forsman, also a University of Washington board of regents member. He said the actual statistic may be lower. 

“So that’s not exactly a success,” Inslee responded. 

In the 2022 report, some officials in districts that had not yet implemented Since Time Immemorial reported that their districts had not updated their overall social studies curriculums. 

“A district could, in theory, choose to delay the onset of a social studies [curriculum] adoption if they weren’t inclined to support Since Time Immemorial,” Strom said at the meeting where Forsman and Inslee spoke. 

The work to create and implement Since Time Immemorial began in 1989, said Bill, whose father was one of the first tribal leaders to work on the curriculum. Tribes started funding the work in 2003, and the first legislation “strongly encouraging” implementing the curriculum came in 2005. 

“This is some legacy work for us that we’re carrying on,” said Bill, a member of the Muckleshoot Tribe. 

‘Place-based’ curriculum

Studies of school programs across the country indicate that teaching Native history to Native students often improves their educational outcomes. Native students have the lowest graduation rate in Washington state compared to other races and ethnicities. 

January 31, 2024

Deschutes Estuary work in 2024 will focus on sediment control!

Tessa Gardner-Brown, a consultant from Floyd|Snider, showed the Port of Olympia Commission several sediment management measures that DES had studied.
Credit: JOLT Staff photo via Zoom

Sediment control planning is the focus of Deschutes Estuary work this year, state tells port

The 2022 MOU was non-binding, so the next step is for the parties to sign an interlocal agreement this year.

Excerpt from The JOLT News:

The Washington Department of Enterprise Services (DES) continues to plan the removal of the 5th Avenue Dam and restoring the Deschutes Estuary. For this year, DES will focus on completing an interlocal agreement between project partners, as well as determining future measures to mitigate the buildup of sediment due to the removal of the dam, a team of consultants told the Port of Olympia Commission on Monday, January 29.

Project Director Ann Larson from DES, along with consultants from Floyd|Snider and Eco Northwest, gave a presentation to the commission to discuss their next steps and to refresh the topic, especially since the commission has new members.

The Port signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on October 2022 outlining the project’s governance and funding. Other parties involved in the MOU were Olympia, Tumwater, Thurston County, LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Squaxin Island Tribe, and the state.

The MOU was non-binding, so the next step is for the parties to sign an interlocal agreement. Lorelei Juntunen, president of Eco Northwest, said that DES is legislatively mandated to have the agreement signed by the end of the year.

January 30, 2024

WA. is first in the nation for need-based financial aid!

Credit: WSAC

ICYMI: Washington state ranks first in the nation for need-based financial aid

From the Office of Gov. Jay Inslee:

Washington state is first in the nation for need-based financial aid for college or career training, according to annual survey data released by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP). The generous Washington College Grant (WA Grant) program is the reason. WA Grant is available to families making up to 100% of the state’s median family income—meaning about half of all Washington households could get some money to help pay for education beyond high school.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t surprised by his state’s strong showing. “The power and promise of higher education is more accessible than ever thanks to the work of my administration, the Legislature and other Washingtonians in supporting students,” says Inslee. “It’s no secret around these parts that we have the best college financial aid in the country, and we’re proud more people are taking notice.”

Unlike its predecessor program, the State Need Grant (SNG), WA Grant is guaranteed to eligible Washingtonians. For many years, SNG funding was insufficient to serve all eligible people, leaving tens of thousands of otherwise-eligible students annually without support. Since the WA Grant program was established, the number of people getting grants each year has ranged from 14,000 to 22,000 above the service level of SNG in its final year.

NASSGAP’s annual rankings consider the total amount of need-based financial aid that is provided by the state, adjusted to account for the total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollments. Currently, Washington is the only state—and first ever—to provide more than $2,000 per undergraduate FTE.

More information about WA Grant is available on the Washington Student Achievement Council website.

Read the full announcement: Washington is #1 in Nassgap annual survey

January 29, 2024

America’s life expectancy is in crisis and heading the wrong way!

The United States trails peer nations such as Canada and Germany and rivals such as China in life expectancy. Credit: Alexandre Tziripouloff, Getty Images, via The Washington Post.

America has a life expectancy crisis. But it’s not a political priority

No national strategy exists to reverse a years-long slide that has left the United States trailing peer nations in life expectancy.

Excerpt from The Washington Post:

The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration had an urgent message last winter for his colleagues, brandishing data that life expectancy in the United States had fallen again — the biggest two-year decline in a century.

Robert Califf’s warning, summarized by three people with knowledge of the conversations, boiled down to this:

Americans’ life expectancy is going the wrong way. We’re the top health officials in the country. If we don’t fix this, who will?

A year after Califf’s dire warnings, Americans’ life expectancy decline remains a pressing public health problem — but not a political priority.

President Biden has not mentioned it in his remarks, according to a review of public statements; his Republican challengers have scarcely invoked it, either. In a survey of all 100 sitting senators, fewer than half acknowledged it was a public health problem. While recent federal data suggests that life expectancy ticked up in 2022, a partial rebound from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, no national strategy exists to reverse a years-long slide that has left the United States trailing peers, such as Canada and Germany, and rivals, such as China.

“I wish that life expectancy or health span were a fundamental political issue in the 2024 presidential campaign,” said Dave A. Chokshi, a physician and public health professor who formerly served as health commissioner of New York. “We’re not living the healthiest lives that we possibly could.”

The Washington Post spoke with more than 100 public health experts, lawmakers and senior health officials, including 29 across the past three presidential administrations, who described the challenges of attempting to turn around the nation’s declining life expectancy. Those challenges include siloed operations that make it hard for public- and private-sector officials to coordinate their efforts, a health-care payment system that does not reward preventive care and White House turnover that can interrupt national strategies.


+ The Washington Post: America’s epidemic of chronic illness is killing us too soon

January 28, 2024

President Trump’s henchmen keep getting jailed –
Peter Navarro sentenced to four months in prison!

Peter Navarro, former advisor to President Donald Trump, Sept. 7, 2023.
Credit: Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images via ABC News.

Trump, you’re next’: What Peter Navarro’s sentencing means

Video from MSNBC’s The Weekend:

Another Trump ally has been sentenced to prison time. The Weekend co-hosts unpack what the Peter Navarro case tells us about executive privilege and why the judge said it’s not a “get out of jail free card”.

  • Editor’s note:
  • Trump and his cronies say/act as if the rules of law do not apply to them.
  • The court’s are the back-stop: treating them like everyone else, even deferring to Trump as a former President several times, where no one else would be considered similarly.
  • Trump is in the crosshairs next, “the same reality Peter Navarro is in now”
  • All the President’s Men keep going to jail: Allen Weiselberg, Rick Gates, Roger Stone (sentence commuted by Trump), Michael Cohen, Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort – based on the under-oath testimony of fellow Republicans.

Click here for the video

January 28, 2024

Yelm celebrates centennial year in 2024 –
City incorporated December 8, 1924!

James Longmire (1820-1897), Yelm’s founding father James Longmire arrived in 1853.
Courtesy: Washington State Historical Society (2015.0.282)

Yelm incorporated on December 8, 1924, 2024 is the city’s Centennial

Excerpt from History Link.org:

Nestled in the Nisqually Valley, the city of Yelm, Thurston County, is home to 10,707 residents (2021). Its name is believed to come from the Coast Salish word “shelm,” which means “land of the dancing spirits,” a reference to the shimmering heat that rises off the prairie floor during the summer months. For generations, the area was inhabited by members of the Nisqually Tribe. One of the earliest white settlers was James Longmire, who arrived with his family from Indiana in 1853, pioneering a wagon route over the Cascade Mountains at Naches Pass. As a Yelm founding father, Longmire represented the town in the territorial legislature and helped explore what was to become Mount Rainier National Park. Once the Northern Pacific Railroad began to serve the area in 1873, Yelm attracted more settlers, mostly farmers and loggers. In 1916, one of Western Washington’s first irrigation systems was installed at Yelm, providing benefits to the region’s agricultural economy. The city was incorporated on December 8, 1924. Once renowned for its berry and vegetable crops, in the twenty-first century Yelm is home primarily to commuters who work in Olympia, Tacoma, or Centralia, and military personnel stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

James Longmire: From Indiana to Yelm

Yelm and the surrounding area are the ancestral home of the Nisqually Tribe. The town name is said to come from the Coast Salish word “shelm,” meaning “land of the dancing spirits,” which refers to the heat generated by the prairie floor during the dry summer months. The earliest white settlers came in the mid-1800s to join the Hudson’s Bay Company sheep farmers. In 1853, Yelm founding father James Longmire (1820-1897) traveled to the area with his wife and children.


In 1870, Longmire assisted in the first known expedition to reach the summit of Mount Rainier and he successfully summited the mountain himself in 1883. That year he discovered hot springs around Mount Rainier and filed a land claim for the property. Two years later, he established a wagon road for easier access to the springs and built cabins “at what is now called Longmire along the Nisqually River southwest of Mount Rainier’s summit, which the family developed into a major tourist destination.

+ NVN: Fires in 1924 helped shape Yelm’s incorporation – City was officially incorporated on Dec. 8 of that year

January 27, 2024

100+ homes sold for $1 million in Thurston County in 2023 – See where!

Homes in Olympia. Credit: Steve Bloom/The Olympian, via yahoo!

More than 100 homes sold for $1 million in Thurston County in 2023. Here’s where

Excerpt from The Olympian, via yahoo!

More than 100 Thurston County homes sold for $1 million or more for the second straight year, according to year-end real estate data released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

In total, 109 homes sold for $1 million or more in the county, the data show. That was down from 130 homes in 2022.

What’s driving these higher-end home sales? Steve Garrett, owner of Windermere Olympia, thinks it’s a combination of factors: out-of-area buyers who built up a lot of equity in their previous homes, then took advantage of previously low mortgage rates to increase their buying power and “moved up” to purchasing a seven-figure residence.

Of the 109 sales, more than half — 61 units — were sold in northeast and northwest Thurston County and west Olympia, the data show.


Where the million-dollar homes sold in 2023

▪ Northeast Thurston County: 23 homes.

▪ West Olympia: 21.

▪ Northwest Thurston County: 17.

▪ Boston Harbor: 9.

▪ North Olympia: 8.

▪ Rochester: 6.

▪ Southeast Thurston County: 5.

▪ South Thurston County: 5.

▪ Black Hills: 4.

▪ Yelm/Rainier: 4.

▪ Hawks Prairie: 3.

▪ East Olympia: 2.

▪ Lacey: 1.

▪ Tumwater: 1.

January 27, 2024

Pineapple Express rainfall river in Western Washington into next week!

A Pineapple Express, from the Pacific Ocean is aiming right at the United States’ west coast. Credit: yahoo!

The Pineapple Express is hitting the West Coast…again. Here’s how hard it’ll hammer WA

Excerpt from the Tacoma News Tribune:

Western Washington could be in for several torrential downpours starting Friday night and lasting into next week.

An atmospheric river, also known as a Pineapple Express, from the Pacific Ocean is aiming right at the United States’ west coast, bringing heavy rainfall to Washington, Oregon, and California.

A similar weather phenomenon occurred in Washington in early December 2023 when Puget Sound had approximately 6.5 inches of rainfall from Dec. 1 to Dec. 10.

“It’s probably going to be more like a series of three (rain events), heading into early next week,” Maddie Kristell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, told McClatchy News. “We’re expecting round one to arrive later (Friday) afternoon into this evening, along the Olympic Coast first and spreading inland overnight, so it will probably be a wet overnight period.”

Kristell said the rain will continue through Saturday before breaking on Sunday. The second round will occur on Monday, and the final round of rain will be Tuesday into Wednesday.

Read more

January 26, 2024

Trump must pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million says jury –
Finally, Trump accountable for his big mouth!

Former U.S. President Donald Trump departs for his second civil trial after E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of raping her decades ago, outside a Trump Tower in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., January 26, 2024. Credit: Eduardo Munoz, Reuters via CNBC.

Jury rules Trump must pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in damages for defamation

Excerpt from CNBC:

  • A federal jury said that Donald Trump must pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages for defaming her in statements he made as president when the writer said he had raped her in the 1990s.
  • The massive verdict came less than three hours after the nine-member jury began deliberating in U.S. District Court in Manhattan following closing arguments in the trial.
  • Trump earlier this week defeated former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley in the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire. Last week, he won the Iowa GOP caucuses.

The massive civil verdict — which comes on top of a $5 million sexual abuse and defamation verdict that Carroll won against Trump last year — was delivered than three hours after the nine-member jury began deliberating in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Trump was not in court for the reading of the unanimous verdict at 4:40 p.m. ET. But shortly afterward, he said in a social media post that he would appeal it.

Jurors awarded Carroll $7.3 million for compensatory damages other than reputation repair, and another $11 million for repairing her reputation.

They then awarded her another $65 million in punitive damages after finding that Trump in a June 21, 2019, statement about Carroll had “acted maliciously, out of hatred, ill will or spite, vindictively or out of wanton, reckless, or willful disregard of Ms. Carroll’s right.”

Earlier Friday, Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan, in her closing argument, had urged jurors to award her a “very large” amount of money, to make the billionaire former president “stop” slandering her, as he has continued to do since June 2019.

“He doesn’t care about the law or truth but does care about money and your decision on punitive damages is the only hope that he stops,” Kaplan said.

January 26, 2024

February 13 Special Election Ballots available – Drop Boxes open!

Ballots being checked against their envelopes
Ballots being checked against their envelopes
Credit: Sage Hamilton via The JOLT News.

Ballots Available and Ballot Drop Boxes Open for the February 13 Special Election

From the Thurston County Auditor:

The Thurston County Auditor’s Elections Division mailed more than 190,000 ballots to voters in the county for the February 13 Special Election. 

Any registered voter who thinks they should have received a ballot but hasn’t by Wednesday, January 31 should contact the Auditor’s Office at 360.786.5408 or elections@co.thurston.wa.us. Ballots for military and overseas voters registered in Thurston County were mailed on Friday, January 12. 

The Auditor’s Office opened 30 secure ballot drop boxes throughout the county. A list of ballot drop box locations and addresses is included in the mailed ballot materials and online at ThurstonWAVotes.gov. 

Ballots must be postmarked by February 13. Voters are advised to check mailboxes for pickup times to make sure their ballots will be postmarked by Election Day. No stamp is needed to mail your ballot. If you miss your mail pickup time, ballot drop boxes are open until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13 (Election Day).

The Thurston County Elections Division is a designated voting center during business hours beginning January 24. Voters may register to vote, update their current registration, obtain a ballot, or use a voting assistance device. 


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