June 13, 2019

Kayak Nisqually offers summer adventures right here in the South Sound!

Blogger Steve Klein (left), Larry Grossman (center), Sam Kaviar, guide (right)
Photo courtesy: Judy Mullan, June 3, 2019
Used with permission of Kayak Nisqually

Fabulous outings in our own ” backyard” with Kayak Nisqually in the Billy Frank, Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and beyond

Story Highlights
* Kayak Nisqually, a south Puget Sound eco-tourism company, offers various tour options,
* All skill-sets welcome – you do not have to be an experienced kayaker,
* Owner-operator Sam Kaviar is a dedicated biologist and experienced sea kayaker,
* Tours feature paddles near wildlife, dynamic scenery around the Nisqually Delta.
* No better way to experience the marvels of our region than on the water’s surface.

– Editor’s note:
As a repeat customer, I took my out-of-town friend, Larry Grossman, on a half-day Kayak Nisqually adventure observing birds and wildlife on the South Sound’s waters on June 3, 2019.

We met at the assigned location, the boat-ramp adjacent the Nisqually Reach Nature Center north of Lacey, where we introduced ourselves to Kayak Nisqually owner/operator Sam Kaviar, who we discovered is from my hometown, Louisville, KY. After a very thorough technique demonstration, we were ready to go for our paddle. Kayaking is very different from canoeing in that one must paddle and turn the boat opposite of the methods used in canoeing. I likened the experience to driving on the left side of the road overseas. The 2 1/2 hour trip passed by way too fast, yet we left with wonderful experiences viewing birds, seals, and the beauty of the Olympics and Mt. Rainier. I am looking forward to my next tour on the South Sound with Sam later this summer.
What an outstanding kayaking tour guide!


Kayak Nisqually
Puget Sound Adventures
Sam Kaviar, owner/operator
Email: adventure@kayaknisqually.com


June 13, 2019

Don’t miss SRO’s musical “Spelling Bee” – Fun for the whole family!

SRO’s “Spelling Bee” on The Triad’s stage
Courtesy: Standing Room Only (SRO)

– Standing Room Only (SRO) is proud to present…

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
WHEN: June 6-23, Friday & Saturday nights at 8pm, Sunday matinees at 3pm.
WHERE: The Triad Arts Theater, 102 Yelm Ave. E., Yelm WA 98597
TICKETS: $25 General Admission, $20 Senior & Military, $15 Students, $10 Child.
Click here to pre-purchase tickets online.

Click here for the Review and story line.

June 12, 2019

Public hears from councilor that Yelm’s Splash Park is $160,000 over budget to-date!

Splash Park Rendition
Credit: City of Yelm

Will Yelm have another budget crisis with Yelm’s Splash Park $160,000 over budget?

In a very challenging questioning session last night by councilors to the mayor and city administrator for information on whether they requested funding from our legislature for a business incubator without consulting the council and to get their approval, the public heard Councilor Carmody, in her frustration, state that any funding the city requested from the state should go to handle the Splash Park’s over-budgeting expenses. That comment caught my attention as this was the first time the public heard of the cost overruns, yet the Community Center was also way over budget, covered here previously.

I was hoping to hear how much the Splash Park was over-budget, yet that was not disclosed, however Councilor Carmody explained on her councilor Facebook post the following:

“I questioned City Admin Michael Grayum why they were asking for funds for a potential new building [business incubator space] right after we had just bought the new city hall, and why on earth they didn’t use those funds to correct the $160k overbudget (sic) splash park. I didn’t get any satisfactory answers.” Read more

Bottom line: Mayor Foster’s condescending and belittling remarks about his Yelm Splash Park being bigger than Olympia’s west side spray park was juvenile [listen here beginning at 1:01]. Though I am certain the Olympia west side spray park is not dealing with $160,000 in budget overruns to-date. Councillor Stillwell said last year he wanted the council to commit to ensuring the new city hall loan was paid off within the 5 years and not to do what previous councils have done – overspend and then extend loans and use those funds to balance the budget. Let’s hope the city does not have to do that with the $160,000 Splash Park overruns.

There are many financial challenges the city is facing and the lack of a full-time Fiance Director in hands-on daily operations is not encouraging, what with the city’s pedal-to-the-medal on spending!

June 12, 2019

#ImpeachTrump Day this Saturday, June 15 has 133 events nationwide, including Olympia!


“Saturday: #ImpeachTrump Day of Action takes off, 133 events nationwide”

“Saturday’s planned #ImpeachTrump Day of Action has expanded greatly in the past week with over 100 events now set around the nation to call for House impeachment hearings against President Trump,” by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner. Read more

“#ImpeachTrump: Act to Defend Democracy June 15”

Click here

#FindYourSpine Impeachment Inquiries NOW!” in Olympia

Click here

June 12, 2019

Human Composting now legal in Washington


Gov. Jay Inslee, center, turns to talk with Katrina Spade, upper left, the founder and CEO of Recompose, at bill-signing for human composting.
Credit: Ted S. Warren

“Washington becomes the first state to legalize composting of humans”

“Washington has become the first state in the nation to pass a law allowing composting as an alternative to burial or cremation of human remains.

“Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Tuesday [May 21] legalizing human composting. The bill will go into effect in May next year.

“Currently in Washington, bodies can either be cremated or buried. The process of recomposition provides a third option that speeds up the process of turning dead bodies into soil, a practice colloquially known as ‘human composting,'” by Faith Karimi and Amir Vera, CNN.

Read more

June 11, 2019

Council candidate James Blair raises “serious” questions about Yelm’s state funding requests. City leaders go rogue on the council!

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Yelm City Council candidate James Blair raises “serious” questions of city leadership – lack of transparency, city council in the dark!

  • Editor’s note: Yelm City Council candidate James Blair (Pos. 1) asked the mayor, city administrator and council about two line item requests in the state budget for Yelm: 1. $307,000 for the nonprofit Historic Water Tower Preservation foundation, 2. $200,000 for the City of Yelm to create a business incubator space.
  • Blair asked why the $200,000 funding request was listed if the city council did not originate this in the first place. There was no public request and/or council approval for such.
  • Blair said he heard through an anonymous source that the city was attempting to divert the nonprofit’s funding for the city’s incubator space and requested the council look into this further.
  • Councilor Carmody asked, “Are you saying the city was attempting to take money from the water tower project for the incubator” space. This is “a serious allegation to take a non-profit’s money for the city’s purpose,” Carmody said. Blair confirmed.
  • Blair made his point that the city should not be interjecting the city into the private market by using taxpayers dollars, which he called the definition of cronyism. Councilor Stillwell said business incubator spaces created with public funding work, as he explained was the case of the Ellensburg (WA.) Business Incubator, where he had familiarity.
  • Councilor DePinto said he was not fully briefed on the city’s $200,000 line item in the state budget request. Mayor Foster deferred to City Administrator Grayum to explain. Grayum said he had mentioned this previously to DePinto in a phone call. Yet if so, this should have been sent to the entire council PRIOR to the city’s request to the state legislator(s).
  • Councilor Carmody was concerned the city leadership requested $200,000 from the state for a business incubator with an over-budget (by $160,000) Yelm Splash Park that needs to be funded, and especially for a project (the business incubator) NOT approved by the council.
  • Councilor Wood asked for a full explanation since he was unaware of the city’s funding request to the state for this.
  • The fumbling and bumbling responses by Mayor Foster and City Administrator Grayum were especially troubling, as the perplexed council’s questions reflected.
  • Later in the session, Grayum said he found the e-mails related to the incubator funding request and will forward to all councilors. He also said he located the two original requests the city sent to the legislature and will forward to councilors. THESE were the requests that circumnavigated the city council, about which Mr. Blair commented.

+ Bottom line: Three things were very apparent in this exchange –

  1. Mayor Foster “threw City Administrator Grayum under the bus” yet again, as the mayor would be aware of any funding request that was submitted to our state legislators, yet said nothing to address the particular “serious” allegations,
  2. Was there evidence the city attempted to get a portion of nonprofit’s funding diverted and if an elected official is aware such information exists, they have a fiduciary responsibility to honor their oath of office and share that on-the-record to the city council,
  3. The city council MUST initiate an investigation on why they were not informed nor included in the decision-making about this issue, the 640 acre contract, and other key areas of their oversight when city leaders go rogue on them!

Unclear was if the city is getting the $200,000 from the state or not, and if so, the council will have to vote on whether that goes for a business incubator or reducing debt on the Splash Park.

June 11, 2019

One Republican stood-up in 1974 against Presidential conduct of obstruction – M. Caldwell Butler’s statement is required to be heard today!

M. Caldwell Butler, right (R-VA)
House Judiciary Committee debate, July 1974
President Nixon’s Impeachment Proceedings
Credit: Associated Press (AP)

“A Republican who voted to impeach Pres. Nixon told Republicans ‘Watergate is our shame’ [and Republicans’ duty to ‘clear it up’]”

“Republican Congressman M. Caldwell Butler’s mother told him to stay loyal to President Nixon but he still voted to impeach him,” from MSNBC‘s ‘Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,’ June 10, 2019. Click here for this important video.

M. Caldwell Butler (R-VA) was a member of the Judiciary Committee during the 1973-1974 Watergate hearings.

June 11, 2019

Spooner Berry Farms open their local stands today

  • From Spooner Berry Farm:
  • “Our strawberries are getting ripe!
    “We have them available now @ farm stand in Olympia on Yelm Hwy, Westside of Olympia on Harrison St, and also now in Seattle! We hope to have ALL locations open by Tuesday June 11th…” Read more

Read more from The Olympian.

June 11, 2019

Yelm government in Groundhog Day – 2 years later Yelm has identical, simultaneous issues: a departed Finance Director and Public Works challenges!

  • Editor’s note: Just short of two years ago, the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) published a Letter to the Editor I wrote concerning water issues at Public Works coupled with the then-resignation of Yelm’s Finance Director (Noah Crocker). Interesting that the Yelm City Council heard last week (June 4th) of water issues at the city’s Cochrane Park and the resignation of yet another Finance Director. The Yelm city council had previously been told that the estimated costs to upgrade the Public Works Dept. just to current standards would be $15-$24 million due to required maintenance and upgrades deferred since 2009. That estimate still stands, as Councilor Carmody confirmed in reply to me on her Facebook post last week. Carmody also wrote, “Cochrane Park is choked with invasive species and the ponds aren’t doing their jobs to properly return water to our aquifers. We’re running a few studies to see exactly how the ponds are (not) working. In the next few months we’ll be dredging them and replacing the liners.”
  • Why are these issues repeating themselves here?

Read more from my August 3, 2017 letter published in the NVN.

  • NVN story dated June 7, 2019: “Yelm’s Finance Director Resigns After Period of Administrative Leave” Read more
  • NVN story dated April 4, 2019: “City’s Reclaimed Water System to get Redesign” Read more

June 10, 2019

NVN’s parent Lafromboise Communications, Inc. gains efficiencies, shutters printing business

  • Editor’s note: I am elated to hear these efficiencies of scale, as local newspapers’ survival is paramount to smaller, local communities being connected by the area’s published stories!

“The Reflector’s [and the Nisqually Valley News] parent company implements operational changes.

“Lafromboise Communications, Inc., the parent company of The Reflector, The Chronicle in Centralia, Nisqually Valley News in Yelm and a sign printing shop has implemented company-wide changes. 

“First, Lafromboise will be centralizing its customer service at its corporate office in Centralia.”

“Lafromboise is also shutting down its printing division.”

“Lafromboise leadership expects these changes to result in significant cost savings for the company,” by The Reflector [Battle Ground, WA.].

Read more 

The NVN will now publish on Thursdays instead of Fridays

Read more