April 17, 2021

Yelm Prairie Line Trail funding in jeopardy in state legislature,
Your help is needed to save funding!

Your help is needed to save funding for the Yelm Prairie Line Trail!
Forevergreen Trails – Pierce County WA

URGENT: Yelm Prairie Line Trail Funding in Jeopardy!

From Yelm Prairie Line Trail:

Your help is needed NOW to save the funding for Phase 2 of the trail (to extend it from Yelm to Pierce County). Like many trails, this project relies on grant funding. The State budget item that provides such grants is called the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP). In the Legislature, the House budget includes $110 million for that program, however the Senate budget only includes $100 million for it. At the higher (House) amount, this grant request is almost fully funded. However, the Senate proposal would greatly reduce that award resulting in a huge funding gap that would likely delay trail development for years. Our region can’t wait — we need to stay on schedule and finish this trail!

Budget negotiations are currently underway and the last day of the legislative session is April 25th. Please, RIGHT NOW, contact your legislators — particularly your senator — and deliver the following messages:

-Senators: Match the House proposal of $110 million for WWRP

-Representatives: Hold firm on the House proposal of $110 million for WWRP

Feel free to tell them about the trail and what it will mean to you and the region. Info can be found here: https://bit.ly/2PX9kJ2

Legislator email addresses: https://app.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/

Find your district/legislators: https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

For more information:

https://www.instagram.com/fgt_253/ Newsletter signup: http://bit.ly/2XfDXaV

April 17, 2021

* Gov. Inslee signed Humane Pet Sales Bill,
* Patty Murray has a formidable Republican challenger,
* Groundhog Day For A Black Man from 2016, more pertinent now!

Alaska Airlines to use biofuel from municipal waste.
Credit: Alaska Airlines


+ Yelm Bounty for Families: Hiring Power of Produce (PoP) and Community Garden Program Manager

+ Pasedo’s Safe Haven: Humane Pet Sales Bill (HB 1424) has just been signed into law by Governor Inslee on April 16.

+ The Washington Post: Patty Murray has a Republican challenger. She shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss her.

+ Associated Press: Alaska Airlines and SkyNRG sign partnership to advance sustainable aviation fuel made from municipal solid waste

+ YouTube: Groundhog Day For A Black Man – “When a black man lives the same day over and over again, he tries changing his behavior to survive a police interaction.From 2016, more pertinent today!


Salon: Ivanka and Jared are “advisers” to new post-Trump right-wing think tank loaded with cash

Politico: Pompeos violated rules on use of State Department resources, IG finds

The New York Times: The Justice Department sues Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally, alleging tax evasion.

NBC News: U.S. has new intel that Manafort friend Kilimnik gave Trump campaign data to Russia [Ed. note So there WAS collusion after all!]

Business Insider: 10 Things in Politics: Donald Trump ditches his spray tan

April 16, 2021

Mark your calendars – Yelm Cinemas special screening April 29-May 2!
Yelm Filmmaker Paulina Amador’s movie Evolution – The Genius Equation!

Provided courtesy of WEGenius Minds Productions

From Yelm-based Director, Paulina Amador to the Yelm Community Blog:

Do we really think for ourselves?
It’s important that people have the freedom to dig deeper and follow their curiosity. Many feel they are not allowed to think for themselves. It is the biggest problem in our current society that people don’t value their own thoughts.

“We are pleased to announce that the Yelm Cinemas will be hosting a special screening of EVOLUTION for our beloved local community, April 29 through May 2. Please visit the Yelm Cinemas website for showtimes.

“As always, we are committed to unfolding the Genius within us and bringing exceptional knowledge to a world on the cusp of magnificent change and EVOLUTION!

Click here to watch the trailer.

April 16, 2021

* Rainier, Yelm, Tenino schools expand in-person learning to 4 days,
* Gov. Inslee warns of 4th COVID-19 wave,
* WA. bans for-profit jails, including Tacoma’s

The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma – Washington bans for-profit jails.
Credit: KING-5 TV, Seattle


+ The Olympian: Rainier, Yelm, Tenino schools expand in-person learning to 4 days; Tumwater in May

+ Associated Press: Inslee warns of 4th COVID-19 wave in Washington state – “We have knocked down this virus, already, three times. But we have to knock it down a fourth time,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

+ JOLT News: Know Your Rights: Thurston County Eviction Protections and Housing Assistance in These Times

+ KING-5 TV: Washington bans for-profit jails, targeting Tacoma’s Northwest Detention Center

+ Nisqually Valley News: How They Voted: Decisions of Local Lawmakers on State Spending Plan, Cap-and-Trade Program and Clean Fuels [Ed.note: Notice how our area’s 3 representatives voted “NO” on all!]

+ McClatchy News: Meteor shower with a dozen meteors an hour kicks off this weekend. How to see Lyrids

+ The Olympian: Local jazz icon brings live music back to Olympia’s Washington Center


History Professor Heather Cox Richardson: A unique perspective on the April 15th impactful announcement from The White House on the direct links between Russian and the Trump Campaign. Now, collusion has been established!

CNBC: Companies are reporting earnings way above what Wall Street expected

Associated Press: With layoffs down and spending up, US rebound gains momentum

CNBC: Airline executives cast doubt on European summer vacations with borders still closed

CNBC: Pfizer CEO says third Covid vaccine dose likely needed within 12 months

CNBC: Dr. Fauci: ‘We very well may need to get booster shots’ for Covid — here’s when

The Washington Post: D.C. Guard misused helicopters in low-flying confrontation with George Floyd protesters, Army concludes

The Daily Kos: Sorry, Republicans. You’re basically just Matt Gaetz now

The New York Times: Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods – Focus on conflict. Feed the algorithm. Make sure whatever you produce reinforces a narrative. Don’t worry if it is true.


Veterans Today: Feds Finally Confirm That Trump Campaign Data Ended Up in Russian Intel Hands – Trump Can Now Be Prosecuted As Government Confirms His Campaign Worked With Russia

Mediaite: Chris Christie Reportedly Buries Trump in Closed-Door Speech to GOP Congressmen: I Warned Him to ‘Knock Off Some of This Crazy Stuff’

The New York Times: Trump’s Mideast success — and failure. The failure of Trump’s strategy helps explain why Iran has been in the news so much this week.

April 15, 2021

Yelm’s Mayor JW Foster set to retire – not running again!
Accolades ensue from Wednesday’s public announcement!

Mayor JW Foster
Credit: City of Yelm

  • Ed. note: With filing week a month away, the City of Yelm has the mayor’s seat and 4 councilor seats up for election, plus Finance Director and Community Development Director vacancies to be filled this year.
  • The greatest changes to Yelm’s government in 2 decades lie ahead: a new vision, a bold direction in 2022!
  • Congratulations to Mayor Foster for his decades of public service as he is set to retire.
  • Accolades pour into Mayor Foster’s Facebook page.

Mayor JW Foster issued this public statement via Facebook:

“Many years ago, my dad told me that life was not so much about getting to some destination – it was about making the most of the journey. It was about the people you meet along the way and the impacts you have on each other. It was about developing trust and building relationships and helping each other. Life was to be lived, not observed. And he and Mom demonstrated that if you live your life in service to others, the reward is a life well lived. And that’s the point. Thanks, Dad.

“I practiced that ideology for 5-years in the Marine Corps infantry, followed by 34-years as a Paramedic/Firefighter, then for our home community since 1996 when we moved our family to Yelm. During our time here, Nicki and I volunteered with the schools, coached a whole bunch of kids in baseball, soccer, basketball.., chaperoned dozens of field trips to music events, plays, NW Trek, Mt. Rainier, etc., and worked as parent volunteers and ‘camp medic’ at Cispus – some of the best years of our lives. We spent a lot of our family time working with the Nisqually Land Trust to leave a legacy of a cleaner, safer environment for generations to come. And I was honored to be asked to play a part in our city’s government – first on the Parks Committee, then Planning Commission for 5 years, two stints on City Council, first as an appointed ‘fill-in’ in 2001, then elected to serve again in 2011. And in 2016, I was appointed to serve out the remainder of the Mayor’s term and was elected to the position in 2017. Throughout my time working for the citizens of Yelm, I feel we’ve accomplished good things together and that Yelm is a better place for it. By the end of this year, it will be 50 years of public service and I have to tell you, I feel really good about it! And I’m pretty sure Mom and Dad would too. But now, as the circle of life demands, Nicki and I must turn our attention to other pursuits of happiness – aka Grandkids. So, we will not be running for re-election.

“With four Council positions and the Mayor’s seat on the ballot in November, there could be a lot of new faces in the Council chamber in 2022. I hope this becomes an opportunity for others to step up and start their own journeys of public service. And I truly hope they realize that the job is not about them, it’s about taking care of people. And most importantly, it’s about supporting the team of professionals who work for the City of Yelm and who will carry the daily weight. They deserve all the credit for the smooth-running machine we’ll turn over to a new leadership team in January.

“Now having made the announcement to retire, I’ll tell you that we still have a long year ahead of us. I will continue working for you until the last day of December, and I look forward to this exciting year of recovery and rebuilding. Thanks for making my journey memorable and rewarding. Here’s to new beginnings!”

April 15, 2021

* Inslee signs bill for Billy Frank Jr. in U.S. Capitol,
* Seattle’s Amazon, Starbucks oppose ‘discriminatory’ voting legislation,
* Thurston Green Business Awards Event April 22!

Billy Frank Jr. signing
Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1372 Wednesday, which will place a statue of tribal leader Billy Frank Jr. in the National Statuary Hall. Inslee was joined by members of Frank’s family, tribal and community members, Lt. Gov. Denny Heck and Rep. Debra Lekanoff, in a ceremony at Wa He Lut Indian School in Olympia.
Credit: Office of Gov. Jay Inslee


+ Office of Gov. Jay Inslee: Bill signed to put statue of Billy Frank Jr. in U.S. Capitol

+ Joint Base Lewis McChord: JBLM Rental Partnership Program Helps with Off-Base Housing

+ South Sound Business: Lead + Follow: Meet Yelm’s Senior Housing Advisory Services Owner April Sage

+ NBC News: Seattle’s Amazon and Starbucks join forces to oppose ‘discriminatory’ voting legislation

+ South Sound Business: Registration Open for Thurston Green Business Awards Event on April 22

+ NBC News: Most stimulus checks aren’t going to travel and luxury goods, but groceries and rent


NBC News: Without his Twitter account, Trump’s conspiracy theories find little traction

MSNBC’s The Last Word: Rep. Barbara Lee on joining lawsuit against Trump: ‘We seek accountability’

Business Insider: Rep. Liz Cheney tells Fox News she would not support Trump if he were the 2024 GOP nominee

April 14, 2021

New Earthquake Early Warning system coming to WA. state on May 4!

Credit: Washington Military Dept. Emergency Management Division

From the City of Yelm Police Dept.

This is a great opportunity for Washington residents. Every second counts in an earthquake.

From Washington Military Dept. Emergency Management Division

A new Earthquake Early Warning system is coming to Washington state on May 4. This is NOT earthquake prediction. This infographic explains how it works. You can check to make sure your phone settings are correct to get wireless emergency alerts at mil.wa.gov/alerts

April 14, 2021

* Native American school mascots banned by WA. Legislature,
* Red Wind Casino preparing next phase of reopening,
* Sea-Tac’s TSA lines require allowing much extra time!

Native American school mascots banned eff. Jan 1.
Credit: KING-5 TV News, Seattle.


+ The Seattle Times: Washington Legislature approves ban on Native American mascots at schools

+ Office of Gov. Jay Inslee: Signs commutations for 13 individuals convicted of drug possession following Blake decision

+ Nisqually Valley News: Red Wind Casino Preparing to Enter Next Phase of Reopening, Expanding Services

+ KING-5 TV: TSA shortage to blame for lengthy Sea-Tac Airport security lines, port says – Getting to the airport an hour before your flight is no longer enough and could get worst.

+ McClatchy News: Thurston County median home price rises 20 percent compared to March 2020

+ Associated Press: Washington state proposal targets Boeing plant’s pollution

+ The Olympian: Small percentage of vaccines in Washington state have been Johnson & Johnson


MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber: ‘We need to reimagine policing’: Obamas speak out after Daunte Wright’s killing

NBC News: U.S. health agencies urge pause of J&J vaccine after ‘extremely rare’ blood clots

CNN: Nearly 40% of Marines have declined Covid-19 vaccine

NBC News: Get ready for higher grocery bills for the rest of the year

CNBC: Executives call on Biden to slash greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate change

The New York Times: Defying Republicans, big companies keep the focus on voting rights


MSNBC’s Morning Joe: John Boehner: Trump abused the loyalty, trust of the people who voted for him during election

The Washington Post: Kristen Clarke faced abuse for taking on Trump. Now she’s poised to lead Justice Dept.’s civil rights team.

April 13, 2021

UPDATE: Property owner asks Yelm council to pause annexation petition vote!

UPDATE: Application to circulate a petition for annexation requested of council postponed

[Ed. note: This issue was covered here extensively on Monday.]

This Yelm City Council Agenda item was postponed at the request of the property owner this evening. Glen Schorno told the council he wants to do no harm to the city’s water rights application.

Therefore, the council voted to postpone consideration of the Application to circulate a petition for annexation until the WA. Dept. of Ecology (DOE) approves additional water rights for Yelm or approves the annexation without harming the current water rights application in conjunction with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

Community Development Director Grant Beck provided the council a water rights overview, saying he expects an update by the end of this summer from DOE on the amount of water Yelm will be granted. He said the city requested 942 acre feet of water lasting for 20 years, which is more than doubling the current water rights.

+ Nisqually Valley News: City Staff: Council-Approved Annexation of Vancil Street Parcel Would be Risky Political Move, Go Against Existing City Policy

April 13, 2021

* Special in-depth report:
Yelm’s council discusses L.I.D.’s 640 acres + loan debt,
Their questions reflect a lack of understanding!

Yelm’s City Hall
Credit: City of Yelm

In-depth report: Yelm’s acquired 640 acre deed, associated loan debt

  • Editor’s note: The Yelm City Council Study Session of April 6, 2021, encompassed a discussion of what to do with the land the city will possess free and clear when the L.I.D’s bond payments for the Killion/Yelm Ave. West roadway intersection improvements have been concluded in 2024.
  • Yelm’s council was fully briefed on this January 7, 2020, a summary published by the city here.
  • Yet last week, Councilor Wood asked 1) who owns the property right now, 2) how did Yelm come into possession of the 640 acre deed? The mayor said the 640 acres and debt was retained by the city when an L.I.D. taxpayer defaulted, without saying why.
  • Mayor Foster signed a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure without telling council or getting their approval, yet why he did so was again not addressed!
  • ===========================================
  • On December 29, 2017, without consulting nor receiving proper authorization from the city council, Mayor Foster unilaterally signed a contractual Agreement for Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on behalf of the City of Yelm. This agreement gave the property owner, DDD Washington LLC, two years to pay the back taxes, interest, and any fees, or 100% forfeit to the city the 640 acres and loan debt balance owed to the Local Improvement District (L.I.D.). DDD defaulted for non-payment as of December 31, 2019, and the city subsequently reported the parcel became an asset of the L.I.D. as of January 3, 2020. The City of Yelm owns the parcel 100%, yet is encumbered by and responsible to reimburse the remaining loan debt to the L.I.D. by 2025, before any disposition of the property can be initiated by the city.
  • The City of Yelm is listed as the owner and taxpayer, with the L.I.D. assessment against the real property. Balance owed = $1.5 million + interest.
  • The Agreement for Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure signed by Mr. Foster.
  • The City of Yelm L.I.D. loan and payment schedule, with remaining balances.
  • =============================================


Regarding the city’s recently acquired 640 acres parcel, the Yelm City Council received a briefing from Community Development Director Grant Beck at the January 7, 2020 Study Session. While an introductory overview, the council received little information on how contentious this L. I. D. (Local Improvement District) became when former Mayor Harding led the charge in 2006 on behalf of the Thurston Highlands developers, who went bankrupt in late 2008. This 2006 council-approved L. I. D. put a portion of the cost of road improvements at the then-proposed Tahoma Blvd./Yelm Ave. W. intersection onto the backs of adjacent property owners.

Thurston Highlands developers Doug Bloom & Steve Chamberlain asked the city for help in funding road improvements necessitated by traffic impacts from their Tahoma Terra developments.

The city advocated the L.I.D. property owners’ land values would substantially increase due to proximity to the developments.

Property owners in the impact zone of Tahoma Terra were forced to pay a City Council imposed L. I. D. covering 46% of the costs of road improvements to Yelm Ave. West, Killion, & Tahoma Blvd. via mandated property taxes, or almost one-half of the cost of the road improvements, work that should have been borne totally by the developers.

Then, property values fell after the 2008 downturn and property owners who were forced into the L. I. D. carried an undue debt load for the roadwork. Read more

Mayor Foster unilaterally contracted an Agreement for Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure [Dec. 2017] to a delinquent L.I.D. taxpayer, and when they defaulted according to this contract [Dec. 2019], they left the city a deed for 640 acres, plus an approx. $2 million loan debt, which is paid to 2024-2025.

This defaulted L.I.D. taxpayer, from a very high-profile family in Seattle, was an owner of three major parcels of undeveloped land in the far western portion of the Thurston Highlands development, made a decision to part with one of their parcels (640 acres), for which they were multiple years behind on property taxes/interest payments. For some unexplained reason, Mayor Foster signed a clandestine contract for a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on December 29, 2017, leaving the city with the land plus over $2 million in debt IF/when the land-owners defaulted. This was all set-up to get them out from under what they owed the city, so of course they were going to default! Council requested explanations from Foster since June 2018, only to be told to wait until the end of 2019 to see if the land-owners would eventually make their payments in full. If in default on December 31, 2019, the city would take on the land and the L. I. D debt. That occurred, so on January 7, 2020, the council began to get their minds around what Mayor Foster had fostered onto the city’s back and budget.

Councilor Carmody asked, “Where did the Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure come in?”

Carmody did not get a response and Mayor Foster’s silence was palpable. He KNOWS he was the one who negotiated the contract, without council’s approval.

Why has the council not demanded a straight answer from Mayor Foster?

The Yelm City Council needs to demand an answer from Mayor Foster as to why he agreed to this contract of a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure and accompanying $2+ million L. I. D. debt WITHOUT COUNCIL’S AUTHORITY.

The mayor’s authority for expenditures without council’s approval is a maximum of $35,000. The laws/regulations of the state and city do not convey to the mayor the authority to unilaterally negotiate and sign this agreement, according to: + the RCW [42.30.070, “No governing body of a public agency shall adopt any ordinance, resolution, rule, regulation, order, or directive, except in a meeting open to the public.”] and the Yelm Protocol Manual [2.02 A 1e, Summary of Council Duties and Responsibilities as Provided in, but not Limited to, the Washington Administrative Code and Revised Code of Washington, Establish Policy, Approve contracts].

Bottom line:

  • Yelm Ave. West, and Killion property owners were unduly burdened by the city in 2006!
  • This blog covered the extremely controversial council sessions that brought this L. I. D. into fruition. Click here
  • The Yelm city council keeps asking why the city has this debt, as Councilor Wood did on April 6th, yet has never pressed Mayor Foster for his explanation.


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