June 14, 2024

Introducing Rachel Dreon (D-Lacey) for Thurston Commission’s District 2 (includes Yelm area)!

Rachel Dreon for Thurston County Commission (District 2).
Credit: Rachel Dreon for Thurston County.

Thurston’s District 2 deserves a young, passionate leader with fresh ideas – not another publicly-pronounced, several-year retiree coaxed back as a place-holder!

We need a leader with compassion, understanding and empathy!


Introducing Rachel Dreon for Thurston County Commission District 2

DONATE to Rachel’s campaign.

Statement to Yelm Blog readers from Commission Candidate Rachel Dreon:

I wanted to take a minute to address the Yelm community and introduce myself as your candidate for Thurston County Commissioner in District 2. My name is Rachel Dreon, and I am not a politician but a local girl who has worked her way up in life and understands the values and needs of our community.

Raised between Olympia and Shelton by Iowa farmers and educators, my journey has been shaped by personal challenges, including being a widowed single mother who struggled with addiction. As a 2005 graduate of drug court, I found transformative services that changed my life, inspiring me to serve others in recovery and in my professional life. I have gone from homeless to homeowner, from three-time college dropout to three-time college graduate. Now, with a master’s in public administration and 15 years of professional experience, I have managed some of the largest budgets in the state to support behavioral health services while delivering opportunities for system change across federal, state, local, and tribal governments.

I have dedicated my career to transforming lives, from owning two recovery houses to working at the highest levels of Washington state. My experience includes designing and implementing policies for the Department of Social and Health Services, the Medicaid Authority, and King County. I am running for County Commissioner because Thurston County needs bold leadership, broad experience, and fresh ideas to address rising rents, opioid overdoses, climate emergencies, and housing shortages.

We need a commissioner who deeply understands the challenges our community is facing. A commissioner who wants to be in the community with the people of our district and will make every effort to add your voice to the decisions based on actual input. I am committed to holding town halls, pulling in public voice, and developing a strategic plan for the county with clear, measurable outcomes. By reporting on our progress and holding local offices accountable, we can ensure that our community’s needs are met. Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive Thurston County.

I am happy to connect at any time. Just email me at racheldreonforthurstoncounty@gmail.com or give me a call/text at 360-463-8926.

In community, Rachel Dreon.

Read more: About Rachel Dreon.


Blogger Klein proudly endorses Rachel Dreon for Commissioner District 2, and is a contributer to her campaign.

June 14, 2024

Thurston County Sheriff arrests 2 in connection with Yelm homicide!

Credit: Thurston County Sheriff’s New Release via Facebook.

From the Thurston County Sheriff:

With the help of Yelm Police, Tumwater Police, and the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, TCSO detectives made two arrests in the recent Yelm homicide investigation.


+ KOMO-4 TV News, ABC Seattle: 2 people arrested in Yelm homicide investigation of man buried near Nisqually River

June 13, 2024

Authorities seek your help on flights to Seattle!

FBI launches campaign about sexual assault on aircraft.
Credit: KIRO 7 News Seattle.

Reports of sexual assaults on flights to Sea-Tac are on the rise, and the FBI wants your help

“If you see something, say something and do something,” said Richard Collodi, the Special Agent in Charge at FBI Seattle.

Excerpt from KING-5 TV News, NBC Seattle:

Federal officials are asking for help from the public to combat a disturbing upward trend: sexual assault on airplanes.

“When something seems unusual, as we always say, if you see something, say something and do something,” said Richard Collodi, the Special Agent in Charge at FBI Seattle.


In recent years, the FBI said more people are reporting sexual assaults on airplanes. Between 2019 and 2023, the FBI said they saw a 60% increase in cases like these.

“There is a threat to people on airplanes,” said Collodi. “We want passengers to be paying attention, not only for themselves but for their co-travelers.”

Since the beginning of this year, law enforcement has responded to SEA Airport for nine instances of inappropriate touching on an aircraft. To put that number into context, the FBI investigated 96 cases across the nation– in all of last year.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a disturbing uptick in these really horrible assaults,” said Gorman.

Too many of the victims, Gorman said, are minors. “A lot of these crimes are affecting kids from 14 to 16. So, they’re young people,” said Gorman.

Ahead of the summer travel rush, many travelers are expected to take to the skies, and data research company Morning Consult reported last year that members of Gen Z are traveling as often as Millennials and more often than Gen X’ers or Baby Boomers.

Federal officials want you to be their eyes and ears. They urge you to reach out to flight attendants when something doesn’t seem right because they are trained to know how to deal with such reports.

“Bystanders can really help out victims and survivors of this crime,” said Gorman.

As for why we’re seeing an increase in aircraft assaults, federal officials told KING 5 they hope it’s that these days, more people are reporting.

June 13, 2024

Summer Getaways and events in Yelm!

Credit: Thurston Talk.

+ Remember: 2024 Summer Movies in the Park (Longmire Park) on Saturday June 29, 2024, beginning at 5pm, movie starting at sunset. Click here to get tickets.

2024 Summer Movies in the Park

2024 Summer Events in [Yelm] and Throughout Thurston County

Excerpt from Thurston Talk:

It’s time for barbecues, fun runs, parades and fairs! If you are looking for family-friendly summer events and activities in Olympia and throughout Thurston County, you’ve come the right list! There is so much to do in Olympia during June, July and August, you are going to have a hard time choosing which events to do. Summer weekend events in Thurston County are full of everything your family loves: food, fun, shopping, activities and shows! Here is a list of some of the 2024 summer events in Olympia and throughout Thurston County.


Yelm Prairie Days

June 21-23
Downtown Yelm

Head to Yelm Prairie Days for tons of fun! You will find summer kids activities, vendors, food, and even a mushball tournament! This free event is perfect all ages. Learn more at the Yelm Prairie Days website.


Nisqually Valley Barbecue Rally

July 27, 2024
Yelm City Park

Who doesn’t need more summer barbecue? The Nisqually Valley Barbecue Rally is a great, family-friendly summer event in Yelm. Eat your fill of all things grilled while enjoying kids’ activities and entertainment! Learn more in this article.

June 12, 2024

Yelm’s Prairie Hotel listed for sale at $8.25 million!

Prairie Hotel, Yelm. Credit: Crexi.com.

Tacoma’s Neil Walter Company is representing the sale of the Prairie Hotel

Excerpt from the listing at Crexi.com:

Marketing Description

Neil Walter Company is pleased to present the fee simple acquisition of the Prairie Hotel in Yelm, WA. Sale price of $8,250,000 which includes the business value and FF&E inventory. A unique investment opportunity for an owner-operator/ investor to acquire the only hotel in Yelm, consisting of 67 rooms between two buildings on 3.44 acres. Locally owned and operated by the original developer, with a successful track record of historical sales data that has exceeded pre-pandemic levels in both ADR and occupancy. The property showcases strong pride of ownership, check out the Google reviews below! 

Investment Highlights

  • An exceptional opportunity to acquire an established limited service hotel that caters to both business and leisure travelers. Spacious guest room options include a mix of King, Double Queen, and Suite configurations. Inside guests will find everything they need: premium beds with quality linens, microwave, coffee maker, fridge, multi-use desk and chair, digital locking safe, flat-screen TV, and high-speed Wi-Fi. Additional room offerings include suites with jetted tubs, gas fireplaces, and private patios. All 67 rooms are fully air conditioned via PTACs, there is an on premise commercial laundry facility, and guest laundry machines are available
  • Immediate proximity to several restaurants, bars, and entertainment. The property offers mature landscaping with ample parking. The additional gravel lot is currently used as big-rig/trailer parking and could be room for future hotel expansion. 
  • Above all, the Prairie Hotel offers a comfortable, clean, and quiet experience. Providing guests an enjoyable stay at a reasonable price, which makes many of them repeat customers.

June 12, 2024

Thurston County declares June 2024 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month!

A window in downtown Centralia, Washington on April 24, 2024.
Will Matsuda/High Country News via
The JOLT News.

County proclaims June 2024 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Formally states ‘equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination are among the basic, inalienable moral rights of every person.’

From The JOLT News:

The Thurston Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) officially declared June 2024 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, emphasizing the importance of equality, liberty, and justice for all residents.  

This proclamation comes as a part of the broader national recognition of Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots of June 1969, widely acknowledged as the catalyst for the LGBTQ rights movement. 

In a formal resolution, the Board underscored that “equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination are among the basic, inalienable moral rights of every person.”  

They called on the community to embrace these principles and work towards eliminating prejudice in all its forms. The resolution highlighted the foundational values of the nation, noting that “our nation was founded on principles that every individual has been created equal and with indefinite dignity and worth.”  

It further stated, “Thurston County is strengthened by and thrives upon the rich diversity of ethnic, cultural, racial, gender, and sexual identities of its residents; all of which contribute to the vibrant character of our County.” 

Reflecting on the progress made by the LGBTQ+ community, the proclamation celebrated “the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community and their hard-won victories to advance acceptance and equality.”  

The BOCC expressed a unified stance to “defend and build on the progress of the LGBTQ+ community toward a better, more inclusive, and safer future for all.” 

The Board also encourages all residents to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by members of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month.  “We stand together, united, to defend and build on the progress of the LGBTQ+ community toward a better, more inclusive, and safer future for all,” the resolution stated. 

As June unfolds, Thurston County will see various celebrations and activities that honor LGBTQ+ Pride Month, fostering a spirit of inclusivity and acceptance throughout the region. 

Click here for more information.


+ The JOLT News: How Western Washington history explains the rise of hate groups – “Fascism cannot be explained only in terms of fanaticism. The history of the places where it gains a lodging must also be taken into account.”

June 11, 2024

Thurston County Comp. Plan Community Forum in Yelm, June 13, 5pm!

Credit: Thurston County
Thurston 2045: Community Forums

From Thurston County Planning:
Join Thurston County staff and other members of your community for conversations about the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan. Focus will be on Climate and Housing chapters but all feedback is welcome. Come for thirty minutes or stay the whole time. Food will be provided.
June 13, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. @ Yelm Community Center
June 15, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. @ Tenino Quarry House

This is the link to the Yelm Comprehensive Plan, which warrants citizens participation. The “Get Involved” button has two ways to participate: https://yelm-wa-comprehensive-plan-hlplanning.hub.arcgis.com/


  • Find more information, view upcoming events, and get involved at Thurston2045.org
  • For questions about Thurston County’s comprehensive plan update, contact Senior Planner, Maya Teeple at maya.teeple@co.thurston.wa.us or call 360-786-5474.

June 11, 2024

The Pacific Northwest is within one of Earth’s top hazards – the Cascadia Subduction Zone!

A map of the Cascadia Subduction Zone shows the depth of the fault. Colors indicate depth, with shallowest areas in yellow and orange, then progressively deeper with green, blue and purple. The wavy red line indicates the edge of continental rocks. Credit: Science Advances, 2024, via The Washington Post.

Scientists map one of Earth’s top hazards in the Pacific Northwest

A catastrophic earthquake and tsunami will one day hit the Pacific Northwest as tectonic plates slip at the Cascadia subduction zone

Excerpt from The Washington Post via MSN:

Scientists have mapped one of the most hazardous spots on the globe in unprecedented detail: a 600-mile geologic boundary just off the Pacific Northwest coast.

Along this fraught stretch, called the Cascadia subduction zone, two pieces of the Earth’s crust slide against each other, building up stresses capable of unleashing a catastrophic 9.0-magnitude earthquake and generating a tsunami, with waves as high as 40 feet.

Because scientists don’t know when that day will arrive, they prepare by trying to better understand the geological state of play.

To do that, a 235-foot ship cruised for 41 days along the coast of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia in summer of 2021, sending sound waves deep into the ocean and recording the echoes with a “streamer” — a 9-mile-long waterproof cable containing 1,200 specialized microphones. Similar to how doctors use ultrasound to see inside the body, they used the data to construct a comprehensive map of the underwater geology in a study published Friday in the journal Science Advances. The newresource will help scientists understand the range of earthquake and tsunami scenarios — and help policymakers devise building codes that protect people.

The entire area, which stretches from Northern California to Vancouver Island, is at risk. But the scientists found that the geometry of the faultoff the coast of Washington, where the fault is flat and smooth, closer to the surface and extends farther onshore, may be particularly at risk.

“I’m excited to use these results to make sure the shaking estimates I’m producing are as accurate as they can be,” said Erin Wirth, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey who was not involved in the study. “I’ll be busy now.”

June 10, 2024

Yelm Prairie Line Ribbon Cutting June 12, 11:00am!

Credit: City of Yelm Government.

Prairie Line Trail Ribbon Cutting

From City of Yelm Government:

Join us as we cut the ribbon and celebrate the expansion of the Prairie Line Trail!

Date & Time

Wednesday, June 12, 2024 at 11:00 am to 11:30 am


9131 Bridge Rd SE, Yelm, WA 98597

Click here

June 10, 2024

Yelm homicide update – Detectives seek info on buried body identified as Robert Erwin!

Credit: KIRO-7 TV, CBS Seattle, file photo.

Thurston County detectives search for who killed a homeless man, then buried him near river

On June 4, detectives discovered the man’s body buried near the Nisqually River outside of Yelm.

Excerpt from KING-5 TV News, NBC Seattle:

Thurston County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating a homicide after the body of a man was found in a shallow grave near the Nisqually River earlier this week.

The sheriff’s office said detectives received several tips about a missing man who was presumed to have been killed and buried near Yelm.

On June 4, detectives discovered the man’s body buried near the Nisqually River outside of Yelm. He was identified as Robert Erwin, who was believed to be in his early 40s and was homeless in the Yelm area.

His family has been notified, the sheriff’s office said.

Anyone with information about Erwin or his death is asked to contact the sheriff’s department via email at detectives@co.thurston.wa.us.


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