February 1, 2019

South Sound Business Magazine Staff toured and experienced Yelm today!

Many of these South Sound Business Staff toured Yelm
with Jeff Burlingame, Editor, 2nd from left.
Photo credit: Premier Media Group

Editor’s note: I have subscribed for over 12 years to the various incarnations through different owners of what today is known as South Sound Business Magazine, now owned by Premier Media Group, Inc. of Tacoma. I have been very impressed with how Premier Media has expanded and highlighted coverage of what is occurring in the productive areas “off the I-5 corridor.”

Last July, Premier Media Editor Jeff Burlingame sent a request to readers that if they would like to host a tour for him and some of his staff of area towns, they would like to come learn about the variety our region possesses to highlight in future editions. I immediately volunteered Yelm and that I would be willing to host. Knowing the expertise of the team of Experience Olympia and Beyond, I invited them to join me in this endeavor.

So this morning, 6 staff from Premier Media, 3 staff from Experience Olympia and Beyond, and I toured Yelm for 2.5 hours with the intent to highlight the UFO Fest, Jazz Fest, and Yelm’s Community Center, coming Splash Park and the SPSCC collaboration with Yelm Schools. First stop was The Triad Theater, where Cameron Jayne had an outstanding presentation on her vision and the role of community theater in Yelm, plus her idea for a UFO Fest which will be in Yelm again this summer for the 3rd year. With the tour van passing by the Prairie Hotel, Yelm Skate Park, Yelm-Tenino Trail, the old city hall, the historical water tower highlighting the coming light extravaganza feature, the next stop was the Community Center.

Mayor Foster, City Administrator Grayum and Public Works Director Chad Bedlington presented Yelm’s plans to update Yelm City Park with new play equipment, the proposed splash park, and a coming Mermaid Festival. Kelly Green, Public Relations & Events Manager for SPSCC, gave an excellent presentation on the collaboration with Yelm Community Schools and the City of Yelm on SPSCC offering classes in Yelm.

The tour continued past the new city hall building, and the Yelm Prairie History Museum and ended at the last stop, Pizzeria LaGitana, where I hosted a lunch. Owners Marian Licxandru and Alin Stanciu shared their vision of their investments in popular restaurants in Yelm and Olympia during our wonderful meal. Marian also enunciated his vision for a Jazz Fest that he created here 2 years ago, and will be expanded this August to a two day event. The next stop was Tenino, followed by the last stop at Yelm’s Uptown Lounge to sample their popular fare. The group left uplifted in knowing more about this area than when they came. I thank Editor Burlingame for bringing his enthusiastic team to our area and look forward to how they convey to their readers what they learned here. I also sincerely thank Shauna Stewart, Moira Davin, driver Joshua and the entire Experience Olympia and Beyond team for their fine support.

A sample of Premier Media Group’s work is this excellent story titled, “South Sound Business Staff Experiences Olympia (and Beyond).” Click here

About South Sound Business “South Sound Business [published by Premier Media Group] is a business-lifestyle magazine from the publishers of 425 Business, 425, and South Sound magazines. The magazine and its corresponding website provide information and ideas about business news, opinion, startups, fashion, philanthropy, travel, business lifestyle, technology, products, and more. South Sound Business is a monthly, high-quality, full-color publication found throughout the region.” Read more

January 7, 2019

Council does not follow Yelm’s Municipal Code on Mayor Pro-Tem post!


Correction published January 9, 2019: I incorrectly reported the Yelm City Council did not follow the Yelm Municipal Code (YMC). The council did follow the YMC by having a biennial appointment January 9, 2018. However, in a 4-3 split of the council between nominees Joe DePinto and Tracey Wood, Councilor Wood was appointed to an additional 2 year term. With Wood serving out the term vacated when JW Foster became mayor in August 2016, Wood had already been pro-tem for over 1 1/3 years. The 4-3 split vote for Wood to serve yet another term was exemplified in a 2018 study session where a councilor raised the issue that mayor pro-tem appointments should be rotated among the council and should not be a “popularity contest” appointment. The council agreed and discussed looking to rotate the position, perhaps as early as Jan. 2019. Nothing else followed from the study session for 2019. With Wood having been mayor pro-tem for 3.3 years at the end of this year, Yelm will assuredly see a newly appointed councilor for this post in January 2020.


The Yelm Council is one year overdue in appointing a new mayor pro tempore according to Yelm law!

  • Editor’s note: Yelm Mayor Pro tempore Tracy Wood was appointed January 12, 2016. His length of service was questioned by a council member at a study session in mid-2018, with the council agreeing to rotate this appointment at the end of the 2018. The council ended their 2018 business December 11, 2018, with no mention of a new pro-tem. The council agenda of January 8, 2019, mentions nothing of a pro-tem replacement. The city council should appoint a new mayor pro-tem on January 8 to serve for one year to the end of this biennium, as required by city code, then a new pro-tem appointment in January 2020, to serve the full 2 year term.  

Click here for the Yelm City Council Agenda of January 8. 2019.

Bottom line: Quoting the Nisqually Valley News on January 15, 2016, “[Former] Mayor Ron Harding said the city code states the appointment of mayor pro-tem occurs at the first council meeting of the year.”

While the mayor pro-tem appointment may be yet another oversight, I have seen many items mentioned at council study sessions set for future meetings that were also dropped, unintentional or not. However, Yelm Municipal Code (YMC) requirements should be placed on city officials’ annual calendars to be followed. The YMC states, “A mayor pro tempore shall be appointed from among their membership by a majority of the city council members at the first meeting of the newly elected council at the beginning of each biennium, commencing January 1, 2002.” The Yelm Council is one year overdue in appointing a new mayor pro tempore, in addition to missing scheduling this as an agenda item in December and now the first meeting in 2019.
Read more from the YMC.

December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas to you and yours – From the Yelm Community Blogger!

Yelm in the Christmas Spirit!
Credit: Rory Sagner Photography & Fine Art, © 2018.

The Yelm Community Blog has published an annual Christmas message since 2006.
In the Christmas Spirit:

– The Polar Express – “I Believe” scene
This except reminds us that the true spirit of Christmas lies in each of our hearts.
Watch here

“Christmas in the Northwest – Brenda Kutz White”
“Post production opening clip taken from The Christmas in the Northwest Christmas special that aired on KOMO TV [Channel 4] in Seattle back in December of 1987 featuring Brenda Kutz White’s song “Christmas in the Northwest.”

All proceeds from the Christmas in the Northwest project go to Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington.”
Copyright © 1987 Fisher Broadcasting, Inc.
Click here for the video.

– 10,000 singing Beethoven’s – Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy)
Worth hearing and seeing, from 2012.
Click here

– Michael W. Smith – Christmastime (Live From Portland, Oregon, On November 20, 2016)
Click here for this moving song.

– “Do You Hear What I Hear? (Home Free) (Christmas A Cappella)” 2015
“Originally written during the Cuban missile crisis [Oct. 1962], a parallel can be drawn to any time when the world needs a reminder to love not hate.”
Click here for the video.

– “Christmas Gift Suggestions”
By Oren Arnold
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

– “Interesting Facts About Christmas”
“No matter how many Christmases you’ve celebrated, you may not know how five of the most common Christmas traditions came about. Let’s begin with a few interesting facts about Christmas from History.com:
* Christmas was declared a U.S. federal holiday on June 26, 1870
* Every year, 30 to 35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S., most of them cultivated by one of the nation’s 21,000 Christmas tree growers
* Poinsettias are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the plant to America from Mexico in 1828
* The Salvation Army has been collecting Christmas donations on the streets across the U.S. since the 1890s
* “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written in 1939 by copywriter Robert L. May as a marketing piece to attract customers to the Montgomery Ward department store2
* Construction workers initiated the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in New York City in 1931
* The first eggnog made in the U.S. was consumed at the Jamestown settlement in 1607
By Dr. Mercola.
Read more

December 23, 2018

NORAD to track Santa despite partial government shutdown!

Credit: NoradSanta.org

“NORAD to track Santa and USPS to deliver packages despite partial shutdown”

“North American Aerospace Defense Command tweeted that it was prepared to track Santa’s flight across the globe as it had done for more than six decades.”

Click here for the Official NORAD Santa Tracker.

“North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tweeted on Friday [Dec. 21] that it is prepared to track Santa’s flight across the globe as it has done for more than six decades.

“Military personnel who conduct NORAD Tracks Santa are supported by approximately 1,500 volunteers who make the program possible each and every year,” the tweet read.

“First lady Melania Trump, who arrived at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, said she would still participate in the annual tradition of calling in to NORAD on Christmas Eve,” quoting Kalhan Rosenblatt and The Associated Press.

Read more

December 14, 2018

Microsoft donates $3+ million modernization gift to Yelm region’s Goodwill!


“Goodwill Modernizes with Support From Microsoft”

“A $3-million-plus donation from Microsoft allowed Goodwill of the Olympics & Rainier Region to implement a real-time analytics platform.”

“Over the last eight months, the Goodwill of Olympics & Rainier Region — which includes 37 thrift stores — embarked on a major technology upgrade that will influence the daily actions of each store, and this overhaul was made possible by a $3-million-plus market value donation from Microsoft.”

“‘This will allow us to run our organization more efficiently and more productively,’ said Lori Forte Harnick, president and CEO of Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region, of the donation,” by South Sound Business.

Read more

December 14, 2018

Salmon Recovery projects get almost $5M in grants for South Sound,
Gov. Inslee makes budget initiative for salmon, orcas


“South Sound Salmon Recovery Projects Receive Nearly $5M in Grants”

“Ninety-five salmon habitat restoration projects in 30 counties around the state will receive a total of nearly $18 million in grants, Washington’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board announced this week.

“Three-quarters of those projects will work toward restoring Chinook salmon populations, a dietary staple of southern resident orca whales.”

“Grants are being awarded to projects in the following South Sound area counties in the following amounts:

Thurston County: $308,390

“See the full list of projects and counties here,” quoting South Sound Business.

Read more

“Inslee’s budget takes big steps to save orcas and salmon”

“Supporting Southern Resident orca recovery efforts is one of the top priorities of Gov. Inslee’s 2019–21 budgets. His operating, capital and transportation budgets for the next biennium include a combined $1.1 billion in investments that will help ensure a thriving and resilient orca population,” quoting Office of Gov. Inslee.

Read more

December 13, 2018

“The Yelm Banquet” – Come meet your neighbors this Saturday!

Yelm’s Summer Sunset

Editor’s note:

Congratulations and appreciation go to this event’s initiator Matthew McLellan and his team who created the first-ever Yelm Banquet happening this Sunday, Dec. 16, 5 p.m., at the Yelm Community Center.

From The Yelm Banquet:

Attention Yelmites!
The citizens of Yelm are hosting a FREE community catered event at the local Yelm Community Center. Lets get together and celebrate our unique culture!
Food will be provided by local businesses as well as community members (you) in a potluck fashion. Do you own a crockpot?!
Plugins for warm food are limited. Keep an eye on the page to reserve your own crocks-spot.

Our mission is to share the strength of our community with its members by plugging our selves and our crockpots into a neighborhood environment, free of self interest.
Our vision is to create a space free of inhibitions and conflict where citizens of the nisqually valley gather to feast and dialogue. This will organically stimulate the cultivation of friendships, other community events, and the permeation of energies that make Yelm such a great place to live.

Come experience small town camaraderie, culture, and unity.
Come-unity.  Read more  

Sunday at 5 PM – 6:30 PM
 Yelm Community Center 301 2nd St SE, Yelm, Washington 98597

December 12, 2018

One year since being elected, still no Town Halls by Mayor Foster.
Our town deserves public forums committed by Foster as Interim Mayor,
And an interactive, public issues-oriented social media page of the mayor, not just photo ops!

Yelm Community Center,
site of previous Town Halls.
Photo credit: Yelm Chamber of Commerce

– Editor’s Note:
The city of Yelm should consider adopting a format similar to Tacoma,
“Four town hall meetings with Tacoma City Council members have been scheduled for this fall, the city recently announced. At the meetings, residents can learn about the city’s proposed 2019-2020 biennial budget and share comments with council members,” quoting South Sound Business.

Yelm has had none in 2018 and has none scheduled for 2019. The Yelm city council can schedule their own public Town Halls, seeing how Mr. Foster has held zero Town Halls since being elected mayor, even though he committed to them as interim mayor.

– Story highlights:
* Town Hall public forums are a community investment, as we are all TEAM YELM!
* Prior to 2016, the previous Town Hall here was in 2004 for a proposed NASCAR track.
* Yelm’s first Town Hall in a dozen years was held Nov. 4, 2016.
* Two issues for discussion then: allowing marijuana retailers and food trucks in Yelm.
* A cross-section of the public attended and excellent comments were presented for both issues.
* So successful, Mayor Foster announced that regular public meetings would be returning to Yelm.
* The 2nd Town Hall/Community Meeting was conducted March 27, 2017, focused on Public Safety.
* Yelm’s Community Center has served as a perfect venue for the community’s public forums.
* With no further Town Halls since, Mayor Foster should resume these based on what he said Feb, 28, 2017, supporting “Open Government, best run government,”…reaching out to our community.”
* And Mayor Foster should have an interactive social media platform to interact with his constituents, as his Facebook page is merely for photo ops as if a campaign was underway. Councilors Carmody and DePinto have had interactive Facebook pages with their constituents for years.

– In conclusion:
Outside of political candidates Town Hall public forums, Yelm has not continued having these meetings, yet this is an excellent vehicle for Mayor Foster, councilors, and city staff to engage with the public on issues of mutual interest. The previous public meetings were specifically topic-driven and very successful. New food truck and marijuana regulations were enacted from ideas expressed by the public, in addition to a greater understanding about Public Safety issues exchanged at the 2nd forum.

Whether citizens live within the city limits or in the greater Yelm area, we’re all TEAM YELM, as we shop here, pay taxes here, property owners fund our community schools, library and cemetery, and have a stake in our community. Town Hall public forums led by the mayor with councilors and staff present are an investment in the constituents they serve.

Let’s bring back Town Hall public forums and engage in open and regular dialogue. After all, the sum of our parts is greater than the whole, which creates dynamic synergy for the future of our town.

Click here to express your support for regular Town Hall public forums with the mayor, councilors and city staff.

December 11, 2018

Handel’s Messiah performed in Yelm this Saturday!

Saturday, Dec. 15th at 7:30pm, $10 – The Messiah – Conducted by Claudia Simpson-Jones.

Participants & Details on poster below and on this Ticket Link: Click here 

December 9, 2018

December 7 , 2018 is a day that will live in infamy for Trump!
Trump’s DOJ accuses him of 2 felonies. Economic uncertainty follows.
Americans should take note: “a storm’s a comin'”


“President Trump boarded Air Force One with toilet paper stuck onto his left foot.”  Oct. 4, 2018. Credit: UK’s Daily Mail.

  • Editor’s note: President Trump clearly has more than toilet paper stuck to his shoe now that his own DOJ has accused him of committing two felonies according to documents released by the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Friday, December 7, 2018. That was the 77th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing, “a day which will live in infamy,” quoting President Franklin Roosevelt.
    Clearly, December 7th is a day that will live in infamy for the Presidency of Donald Trump, now more weakened on the world stage in being accused of 2 felonies.
    This is not good for America and as with Nixon in 1974, the uncertainly of what will happen with this country’s leadership in the future will spill over into economic uncertainty reflected in the markets, and eventually hit your household’s wallet.  I am a Constitutionalist, so whatever you think of President Trump, I am for our laws being followed and if those are broken by our leaders, then they should be prosecuted as any other citizen.  

Stormy Daniels said this to President Trump May 5, 2018, on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL), “a storm’s a comin'”!
Click here for the video.

– These stories making news in the last week:

Trump Accused of Multiple Felonies

Trump is losing the trade war with China based on his favorite report card, and it’s probably going to keep getting worse

Frida Ghitis Trump’s worst week ever? From Mueller and Michael Cohen to Bush’s funeral, the past seven days were disastrous


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