October 11, 2018

An abdication of leadership in not stepping-up to inform Yelm residents,
Mayor Foster’s silence on 640 acre deal details requires Council scrutiny!

Mayor JW Foster
Credit: City of Yelm

– Editor’s note:
* Sept. 4, 2018, Councilor Stillwell asked Foster for a briefing on the 640 acre deal.
* Mayor Foster said details would be presented at the following Oct. 2 Study Session.
* Nothing was presented Oct. 2, nor Oct. 9, there still has been no public accounting on this.
* On Dec. 29, 2017, Mayor Foster unilaterally signed this deal without notice.
* The city council was not consulted, never informed until first questioned June 26, 2018.
* The mayor has provided no details to the Yelm taxpayers and the council in the 10 months!
* At end of 2019, Yelm may be out the LID revenue and own 640 acres. What is the city’s plan?

– Bottom line:
The continued stalling without explanation by Mayor Foster in not coming forward to address his city council and constituents about unilaterally signing an Agreement-for-Deed-in-Lieu-of-Foreclosure on December 29, 2017 is a clear and unequivocal abdication of leadership, and especially so after being questioned by Councilor DePinto on-the-record in a council session (June 26, 2018) and Councilor Stillwell in a Study Session (Sept. 4, 2018). And the Yelm city council is abdicating their role if they allow Foster’s obfuscation to continue!

Facts speak to truth and Foster needs to explain and have his staff detail his signed agreement.
Click here for his 38 page signed document that he unilaterally directed a Seattle law firm to draft and file as a public record in Thurston County, which Mayor Foster still has not presented to the council or the public!

October 11, 2018

Intercity Transit accepting 2019 Discounted Bus Pass Applications

Photo credit: Intercity Transit

– “Discounted Bus Pass Program Accepts Applications for 2019”
Intercity Transit is accepting applications for the 2019 Discounted Bus Pass program. The program discounts the price of adult and youth bus passes for qualifying local non-profit and human service agencies, who pass them on to their clients. Applications are due by 4:00 p.m., Friday, November 16, 2018. Applications are available on the Intercity Transit website or by calling 360-786-8585. Awards will be made on December 5, 2018. The program begins on January 1, 2019.

“Qualifying agencies must serve clients within the cities or urban growth areas of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, or Yelm, demonstrate a direct link between transportation and the provision of agency services, and address how using the transit pass program benefits the overall community,” by Intercity Transit.
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– “Retired Vanpool Vans Available to Community Organizations”
Intercity Transit is accepting applications for surplus vanpool vans. Five 12-passenger vans and two seven-passenger vans are available for granting to qualifying non-profit organizations and agencies. Applications are due Friday, November 16 by 4:00 p.m.

“Non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status and agencies located within and serving residents of the Intercity Transit’s Public Transportation Benefit Area (PBTA), which includes the cities of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater and Yelm and their urban growth areas, are eligible to apply,” by Intercity Transit.
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October 11, 2018

County holds Courthouse and Civic Center Open House,
Mon., Oct. 15., Yelm Community Center, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m

– “What’s in a Courthouse and Civic Center? You Tell Us!”
“County to host open houses in October and November on the Courthouse and Civic Center project.”

“Do you have an idea of what you would like to see in a new Courthouse and Civic Center? Come to our open house and give us feedback on your experiences and perspective of the current courthouse and tell us what you would like to see in the new Courthouse and Civic Center on October 15 and 16, and November 6 and 7. The Commissioners and County leadership will use your feedback in making a final decision on one of three sites.”

Open House on the Thurston County Courthouse and Civic Center Project:
The Challenges – What are we solving?

* October 15, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Yelm Community Center, 301 2nd St. SE, Yelm

* November 7, 2018 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.,
City of Rainier, 102 Rochester St. W, Rainier

Click here to learn more about this project and upcoming meeting dates.

Read more from the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners.

October 10, 2018

An evening of conversation with 3 challengers to county incumbents,
Friday, Oct. 12, 7-9pm, Yelm’s Triad Theater, Open to the public!

– Three challengers to county incumbents coming to Yelm for an evening of public discussion.
Free – Open to the public.

* Thurston County Prosecutor candidate Victor M. Minjares (D-Olympia), website

Victor Minjares (D-Olympia)
Credit: Victor for Justice

* Thurston County Commission District 3 candidate Tye Menser (D-Olympia), website

Tye Menser (D-Olympia)
Credit: Tye for Thurston

* Thurston County Public Utility Commission candidate Andrew Saturn (District 1, non-partisan), website.

Andrew Saturn (I-Olympia)
Credit: Friends of Saturn

• Friday, Oct. 12, 7-9pm

The Triad Theater
102 E Yelm Ave.
Yelm, WA 98597
Facebook page

October 9, 2018

Congrats to Mayor Foster, appointed to Assn. of WA. Cities Board

AWC’s RMSA Program Manager Adrienne Beatty, Mayor JW Foster
Credit: Association of Washington Cities

– From Mayor Foster’s Facebook post:
“The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) provides many services to Yelm including our insurance coverage through the Risk Management Service Agency (RMSA). I was asked to serve on their board of directors, which is an unpaid position, but extremely beneficial to our relationship with this important organization. Board members help create the policies and work with staff to provide services to our member cities. The Association of Government Risk Insurance Pools, (AGRiP) is the national organization that provides support to hundreds of risk pools across the country that serve municipalities, school districts, etc.. They have a formal recognition for risk pools that function at a high level, and RMSA was so recognized this past weekend at the AGRiP education conference in Portland. It’s a recognition that only about 30% of risk pools nationally have received. I was honored to be able to attend the conference and accept the award along with our Director, Adrienne Beatty.”
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October 9, 2018

Yelm Liquor makes state’s top 50 in sales, places Yelm in top 50 selling cities

– “Washington’s boozy cities: Here’s a look at the top 50 cities and stores for liquor sales”
“Sales of spirits in Washington state increased 5 percent in fiscal 2018, coming in at $654.9 million.”

“Here are the stores that together sold the most hard alcohol in the state and the number of locations they had here as of June 2018:
Fun Facts

* The only other non-corporate liquor stores to make the list of the top-selling store for the top selling cities were Yelm Liquor & Beverage in Yelm and Duannes Liquor Mart in Lakewood. Both beat out corporate stores, such as Safeway and Walmart.”
By Coral Garnick, the Puget Sound Business Journal.
Read more

October 8, 2018

What has happened to the formerly venerable Nisqually Valley News (NVN)?
‘Best of Nisqually’ 2018 vote tainted by their website’s voting inaccuracy

NVN Best of Nisqually 2016 logo
Credit: NVN

– Editor’s Note:
While newspapers in this country and worldwide are having financial challenges competing with more and more sources where people are obtaining their news, local newspapers have been the shining star in weathering the changes. However, the winds have noticeably changed affecting Yelm’s locally venerable Nisqually Valley News (NVN), which the public has been noticing. The following lists several of their issues in the last year:

* The difficulties in figuring how to properly cast votes in the 2018 “Best of Nisqually” contest may result in inaccurate or questionable tabulations, highlighting the NVN’s issues now more than ever. Each category has three selections, yet four circles to check, meaning a voter is unable to distinguish if they are casting their vote properly. Additionally, this contest is one of the year’s most anticipated by local businesses and their public’s participation, in previous years with a nice newspaper insert of the categories and finalists, including advertisements from those selected with their appreciation. My newspapers have had no “Best of Nisqually” inserts this year, only a single page listing of all of the entries. And no 2018 “Best of” logo. There has been no “buzz” and excitement this year in the newspaper as evidenced by comments on the NVN’s Facebook page focused on the voting discrepancy.
Click here to cast your ballot. Do you know if your vote is properly recorded for your choice?

– Additional observations about the NVN previously reported on this blog:
* There has not been a single comment in the online edition in months, only to the Facebook page. Lack on online comments by the public and subscribers is usually not a good sign, especially for a newspaper’s interactive website.

* The Sports Desk with Tyler Huey was one of the best features, and the newspaper suddenly released him last November, with no thanks of support for his years of service and no reason why he was severed. There has been no weekly sports editorial since.

* Publisher Michael Wagar assumed duties in Centrailia at the NVN’s parent company last April, leaving a vacuum without his outgoing warmth and community involvement here. While we may have disagreed on some local issues, Wagar always exchanged a kind hand-shake and greeting wherever I saw him. His door was always open and he returned phone calls and e-mails. His Op-Eds were timely and on-point, like this one in 2015 “Best of Nisqually Showcases Area Excellence.” Wagar remains the NVN Publisher.
There has been no Op-Ed since he vacated his Editor post at the NVN.

* Wagar hired former NVN Asst. Editor Megan Hansen last April to return here filling his shoes as NVN Editor. Interesting that Hansen has yet to write an Op-Ed, comment on hot-button city issues she covers at the city council meetings, nor used her “pen” to establish a personal connection with the community. I am certain she has had her hands filled with all of the changes in managing the Yelm office, plus putting together a weekly newspaper. However, the time has come for Hansen to connect more with this town, beyond interacting within her comfort zone at the friendly Chamber functions, city council sessions, and her circle of people she knows from when she was previously at the NVN. This town has grown, expanded and evolved, and the newspaper needs to evolve beyond the past, as well. She is now the face of the NVN in the community and needs to lead in her role.

* Last May, the stellar up-and-coming star reporter Andrew Kollar resigned to go on a personal quest, later announcing he would probably seek to further his career ambitions elsewhere. Kollar filed regular contributing reports in the NVN during his 4 months hiking the entire Pacific Coast Trail from the Mexican to the Canadian borders. Having recently concluded the hike, his fine contributions will be sorely missed and another vacuum both in his articles and calibur of reporting is yet to be filled.

* On May 25, the exemplary Advertising Mgr. Angie Evans announced she was leaving the NVN for higher ground after 15 years of outstanding service, amidst the tsunami of all of the aforementioned NVN management changes. She became the new Manager at the Prairie Hotel. Her passion, enthusiasm, goodwill and trust she garnered from a large cross-section of the community can not be easily replaced in the Advertising Dept.

* More reporter changes are in-progress, as well. Racquel Muncy, who has brought consistency in her Sports stories, is reportedly leaving as her husband is being transferred out of the area. Her smile and upbeat demeanor has been a welcome addition here.

– Bottom line:
Clearly our local newspaper is undergoing many simultaneous changes, yet as I have often written on this blog, local newspapers are the backbone of a community in keeping the fabric of our local talent connected for area readers.

The Yelm Community Blog wishes the NVN smooth sailing into the future once these challenges are behind them!

October 7, 2018

Recent Trump policy initiatives set to affect Washington state

– Story highlights affecting Washingtonians:
* “Trump admin. repeals train safety regulation, triggering new oil spill fears” Sept. 25.
Sen. Maj. Leader McConnell’s wife heads DOT; RR industry applauds her dept., cozy hmmm?
Gov. Inslee called this a “reckless disregard for the life and property” near tracks.

* “President Trump is ‘not happy’ with Fed’s decision to raise interest rates” Oct. 3.
Trump has done nothing to address his debt explosion, while interest payments rise.
The U.S. national debt exceeded more than $21 trillion on March 15, 2018.
U.S. debt is now greater than the economic output of the entire country.

* “Experts say Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits” Oct. 3.
Trump’s EPA turns to scientific outliers; argue a bit of radiation damage is good for you.

– “Trump administration repeals train safety regulation, triggering new oil spill fears”
Click here for Gov. Inslee’s Statement to the Trump Administration.

[Editor’s Note: The Sec. of Transportation is Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who’s Dept. ruling in this case has immensely pleased the railroad industry.]

“The Trump administration has repealed a safety regulation governing trains that carry large quantities of oil, sparking new fears among Washington state officials and environmental activists that devastating oil spills could be more likely.

“The Department of Transportation announced last week that trains carrying flammable liquids such as crude oil and ethanol would no longer be required to install electronically controlled pneumatic braking systems, an Obama-era rule instituted to decrease the chance of train derailments.

“Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, blasted the decision as a “reckless disregard for the life and property of all who live or work along the rail tracks” that transport oil.

“‘I fear the day we witness a destructive or deadly derailment that could have been prevented with readily available technology,’ he said in a news release.

“But the railroad industry was pleased by the administration’s change,” by Kellen Browning, McClatchy Newspapers.
Read more

– “President Trump is ‘not happy’ with Fed’s decision to raise interest rates”
[Editor’s note: The President says he’d “rather pay down debt,” yet our country’s debt has exploded more under Trump in his approx. 1 3/4 years in office than any other President. And the interest on the debt is also exploding!]

“‘Unfortunately they just raised interest rates a little bit Wednesday [Oct. 3] because we are doing so well. I’m not happy about that,’ President Trump said at a press conference in New York Wednesday. ‘I’d rather pay down debt or do other things, create more jobs.'”

The Federal Reserve hiked its benchmark interest rate a quarter point Wednesday, and raised its expectations for economic growth for this year and next,” by Kate Rooney, CNBC.
Read more

– “Don’t be fooled: Working Americans are worse off under Trump”
“Despite robust economic numbers during the Trump presidency, the American public has seemed curiously unmoved by such good news as the lowest U.S. unemployment level in nearly half a century. Its enthusiasm might have been dampened by this underappreciated economic reality: The typical working American’s earnings, when properly measured, have declined during the Trump administration,” by Robert J. Shapiro, Washington Post.
Read more

– “Experts say Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limits”
“The EPA is pursuing rule changes that experts say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.

“The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk. And critics say the proposed change could lead to higher levels of exposure for workers at nuclear installations and oil and gas drilling sites, medical workers doing X-rays and CT scans, people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release.

The Trump administration already has targeted a range of other regulations on toxins and pollutants, including coal power plant emissions and car exhaust, that it sees as costly and burdensome for businesses. Supporters of the EPA’s proposal argue the government’s current model that there is no safe level of radiation — the so-called linear no-threshold model — forces unnecessary spending for handling exposure in accidents, at nuclear plants, in medical centers and at other sites,” by Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press.
Read more

October 6, 2018

Yelm’s Rory Sagner has another photo recognized by National Geographic

“The Rhythm of Love” photo noted by Nat Geo Producer.
Courtesy: Rory Sagner Photography & Fine Art, © 2018.

National Geographic’s Your Shot Producer David Y. Lee on Sagner’s photo
“I love Your Shot photographer Wendy Stone’s comment: “I love the limbs all over the place in this shot, but how my focus goes right to the couple in the middle in spite of all the people. I also like the tones of the black and white and the lovely caption you wrote! Great shot!

– How Sagner captioned her photo submission
THE RHYTHM OF LOVE #dancing #dances #rhythm #seniors #everydaymoments #senior_center
A couple dances cheek to cheek at my local Senior Center, a regular activity for many. I take a client there for yoga & often we stop to watch these beautiful seniors gliding across the dance floor. There’s such a sweetness to seeing them enjoying themselves, knowing that a loving connection is possible at any age, like the couple in the middle of the frame who especially caught my eye. They looked to me to be so caught up in their dance together it was if every one else in the room disappeared.
Click here

October 6, 2018

Yelm’s Kim Eckroth making a difference,
2018 South Sound “40 Under 40” honoree

Kim Eckroth
Credit: Michael Nunes

– From South Sound Business – “Class of 2018, 40 Under 40 Honorees”
“We asked, and you totally delivered.

“As we began culling through the stacks of reader-generated submissions for our annual 40 Under 40, we were amazed by the quality of the nominations. You opened our eyes to so many ambitious, goal-oriented, and passionate South Sound professionals that it was difficult to choose only 40.

“After much debate, we landed on what we felt was the best of the best. So we present to you: the 2018 class of 40 Under 40 honorees, who we feel will only get better with age.”

Yelm resident Kim Eckroth honored
Optometrist and Owner, Vision Care Associates

“Kim Eckroth believes the gift of sight is precious. That’s why she pours all her energy into her small business and optometric practice. Whether she’s meeting with a new patient or reconnecting with patients she has seen for years, Eckroth values each interaction. On a few occasions, Eckroth has found and diagnosed tumors and other life-threatening conditions during eye exams. Outside of the office, she carries her skills into humanitarian efforts. Eckroth has provided free eye care to patients in Honduras and Moldova, as well as free exams at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission.”
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