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Sand in the City Hosts First-Ever Masters’ Exhibition Featuring Local and World-Renowned Sculptors

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 3:53pm



Submitted by The Hands On Children’s Museum

Sand in the CIty Masters SculptureThe South Sound’s largest family festival, Sand in the City®,  is bringing expert sand sculptors from the West Coast to captivate festival-goers at its first Masters’ Exhibition.

The masters will soak, stomp and shake sand into works of art Saturday, August 23, and Sunday, August 24, at the Hands On Children’s Museum on Olympia’s East Bay.

Public viewing of the Masters’ Exhibition will take place from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday. Visitors can view the masterpieces and vote for their favorites. The winners will be announced at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Bert Adams, master sculptor and Sand in the City founder, has gathered a talented group of sculptors to wow visitors. Members of this group have participated in or won world sand sculpting competitions. One is even classically trained in sculpture design and has also carved ice and snow. All of the masters are Sand in the City graduates, Adams said.

Solo sculptors are Lisa Donze, Eric Hawley, Sandis Kondrats and Michael Velling. Those sculpting in pairs are Bert Adams and Shiloh Kauzlarich, Tom Rieger and Kate LeGault, Dave Miller and Rocco DeBrodt, Pam Leno and Lorie Gordo, and Jim Butler and Amos Callendar.

Adams said it takes a special person to be a sand sculptor and he is confident this group will put on a great show for families, especially the younger children who already love playing in the sand.

“Watching sand sculpting can be very inspiring for kids,” he said.

sand in the city

Master Sand Carvers will create the beloved, giant sand sculptures at Sand in the City this year. Photo credit: Aaron Barna

Also during the event weekend is a free Beach Party where the public can enjoy giant sandboxes loaded with sand toys and sculpting tools, along with 40 interactive art and science activities in the museum, spread around the East Bay Plaza and streets adjacent to the museum.

Activities include a rock climbing wall, giant bubbles, a Tot Spot Early Learning Center and museum-led art activities. Make-and-take crafts include Hawaiian leis, wax paper flowers and sand bands. Inside the museum, families can learn about the music of the Pacific Islands and make musical instruments and crafts.

Sunday, Aug. 24, is Grandparents’ Day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Families can enjoy all of the fun activities of Saturday’s Beach Party and participate in additional activities designed for children and grandparents to do together.

During Sand in the City, all event activities and entertainment on the streets surrounding the museum and the East Bay Public Plaza are free. Donations are appreciated and support the museum’s Free Access Program at the Hands On Children’s Museum.

Festival-goers can also explore museum exhibits Aug. 22-24 with a discounted admission rate to the museum of just $5 per person. Families can play and learn in nine themed galleries and 150 hands-on exhibits, including MakeSpace in the Arts & Parts Studio, where kids can tinker, design and build using real tools and materials.

For the price of admission, festival visitors can also explore the museum’s Outdoor Discovery Center, including new exhibits opening on Sand in the City weekend such as the giant trike loop, stage and Children’s Garden in the Outdoor Discovery Center.

For more information about Sand in the City®, visit


The War on Food Waste – We can all Win

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:35am



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

The topic of wasted food is on everyone’s minds. How could it not be when Americans are throwing out 25% of their edible food? The percentage gets closer to 40% when you include retailers and restaurants, but the take-away  is that, in the developed world, consumers and retail/restaurants share roughly equal responsibility. And wasted food impacts lots of different things that are important to Thurston County residents.

For starters, the American family of four is wasting roughly $1600 a year, on average, for food they don’t eat. That’s $130/month! With the economy making a very slow crawl out of the depths, no one can afford to throw that money away with their rotten tomatoes. Remembering that one in six people are unsure of where they’ll get their next meal makes that affordability even more important.

Food is costing more too, in part because of the increasing use of natural resources needed to produce that food – things like farmland and irrigation water. Every year, America is wasting an amount roughly equal to the annual flow of the Mississippi river to irrigate just the food we waste. So…we’re paying more for the food we eat, and for the food we throw out, because it costs more to grow and water it.

Add to this natural resource cost, the fact that when we waste food it decomposes and creates major greenhouse gases. If “Wasted Food” were a country, it’d be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China. Yes, really. Shocking, right?

What’s even more crazy-making is how easy making impactful changes can be. Sure, it takes a little effort, but this is not sacrifice-your-lifestyle stuff.  Instead, positive change is as easy as: making a quick menu plan at the start of the week, sticking to your grocery list, preparing and serving less (allow seconds), eating leftovers, and using your freezer more.

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

Photo Courtesy of Thurston County Solid Waste

If you knew that doing a handful of things might save your family hundreds of dollars, help your community and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, wouldn’t you do it?

Some Thurston residents already have! Here’s what some say about the experience:

  • When I bought and prepared less, I could SEE what was in the fridge and was more likely to eat it.
  • It was great. We learned a lot!
  • This program has helped me to be more mindful of the quantity of food I am buying. I now go the grocery store with shopping list in hand and do a pretty good job of sticking to the list. Even though my trips to the grocery store have increased (average about 2 trips per week), total dollars spent on groceries has decreased. I’m glad I took the time to take this challenge. Thank you!

Taking the challenge is easy. Give it a try and see for yourself.  The packet download is free at If you want your church, workplace, school, or club to know about the financial, social and economic impacts of wasting food, and how they can waste less, contact us at and we’ll come give a free presentation on this topic. For more tips, ideas, recipes and news about innovations and research, join our Waste Less Food Facebook page where you can also sign up for The Clean Plate quarterly newsletter.


Woman Wins Biggest Bingo Jackpot in Lucky Eagle History

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 9:19am



Submitted by Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel CEO John Setterstrom presents Dorothy Black of Olympia, Wash. with a check for $133,639. She won the jackpot playing Bingo at the casino on July 29.  – Photo courtesy of Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel.

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel CEO John Setterstrom presents Dorothy Black of Olympia WA with a check for $133,639. She won the jackpot playing Bingo at the casino on July 29. – Photo courtesy of Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel

When Dorothy Black of Olympia, Wash., went to Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel in Rochester, Wash. on July 29 to play Bingo, she was hoping to win big, but she never expected to make history by winning $133,639, the largest bingo jackpot the casino has ever awarded.

Black won the Teeter Totter Bingo game as part of the regular evening Bingo program and what she thought was a nice $300 prize. It wasn’t until after a Lucky Eagle Bingo team member looked at her card, that she was informed that she had also won the MPBingo® Blue Jackpot, a multi-progressive Bingo jackpot linked to more than 20 casinos nationwide.

“I thought I had won $300,” Black said. “When they told me I had won $133,639, I just freaked.”

Word spread quickly and soon everyone in the Bingo Hall was standing and cheering, a feeling Black described as “unreal.”

“It’s awesome to have one of our own win such a huge regional jackpot,” Lucky Eagle CEO John Setterstrom said. “Thanks Dorothy for choosing Lucky Eagle.”

Black plays Bingo a couple times a month at Lucky Eagle, traveling from Olympia because she loves the Bingo staff, the games and her fellow Bingo players.

“I love Bingo at Lucky Eagle,” she said.

With her winnings, Black is planning a trip to bring her whole family to visit her ill brother whom she hasn’t seen in more than 25 years, she said.

“I have other plans (for the money), too, but that’s the most important one.”

Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel has live Bingo five days a week, and features among the richest programs in the region. Guests can buy-in for $4 into the MPBingo® jackpots that are featured within several bingo games.

“Everyone who plays Planet Bingo (MPBingo® Jackpot) here hopes of winning,” Bingo Manager David Dupuis said. “Winning the Blue jackpot would be like winning the lottery!”

MPBingo® Blue Jackpot is a supplement to regular Bingo program in which players can win large jackpots by getting a special Bingo within regular games. The last MPBingo® Blue Jackpot awarded was in April 2014 for $182,002 to a man playing at Ft. McDowell Casino near Phoenix, Ariz.


Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is proudly owned and operated by the Chehalis Tribe. The casino features more than 1,000 slot machines, plus live poker, blackjack, keno and bingo. The newly expanded 171-room Eagles Landing Hotel is connected to the casino. More information on upcoming events and promotions at Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel is available at


SPSCC Partners with Thurston County Jail to provide GED classes

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:28am



By Cameron Maltby for South Puget Sound Community College

The Thurston County Jail program at South Puget Sound Community College provides inmates at the Thurston County Correctional Facility a free opportunity to earn their General Education Development (GED) certificate through SPSCC while incarcerated. The program began in 1996, and for the last ten years has had 2,138 registered students with 292 graduates earning their GED.

The program is taught by Adult Basic Education instructor Bonnie Rose. She has taught the program for seven years.

Students study GED materials during the week and take tests on Fridays. The SPSCC Testing Center goes to the jail and administers the GED tests.

“It’s a big collaboration. Different parts of the college work together, the Testing Center, the Adult Basic Education Department, Thurston County Corrections, and also the Thurston County Commissioners,” said Rose. The commissioners pay for half of the program’s expenses, including the student tuition and testing fees. A memorandum of understanding says that SPSCC will pay all other fees.

The program has its origins in Mason County at Olympic College. Rose began her teaching career at Olympic College. She started working as a classroom assistant and was later hired by the college to start a GED program at the Mason County Correctional Facility. Rose worked there for five years before transferring to SPSCC.

Rose teaches two classes at the jail: “One of the classes the college pays me to teach, and one of the classes the jail pays me to teach,” she said.  All funding goes through SPSCC. Officially, Rose works for SPSCC, but the correctional facility pays for half of her salary.

Since its start in 1996, the GED  program has served about 3,037 students and awarded 546 GEDs. Many students continue their education after going through the program.

To learn more about the program, contact Bonnie Rose at


Little Red Schoolhouse, Mixx 96.1 Back-to-School Supplies and Fund Drive

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:24am



Submitted by Little Red Schoolhouse

olympia free school suppliesAs part of the Little Red Schoolhouse Project, Mixx 96.1 (96.1 FM radio) is holding a Back-to-School Supplies and Fund Drive Friday, August 15 from 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Drop by their broadcast site at the corner of State and Washington in downtown Olympia with school supplies (such as lined paper, 3-ring binders, rulers, markers, child-size scissors, pencils, and backpacks), coats or new socks and underwear, or cash to buy calculators, backpacks, and school supplies in bulk. Used clothing, aside from coats and jackets, will not be accepted this year.

Checks can be made out to Little Red Schoolhouse and mailed to: P.O. Box 6302, Olympia, WA 98507.

Supplies, backpacks, socks and underwear will be distributed FREE to all Thurston County families in need at a new location, Komachin Middle School, 3650 College St. SE, Lacey (IT route #64) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, August 21.

The Little Red Schoolhouse Project is under the umbrella of TOGETHER!. Partners include Junior League of Olympia, Sound to Harbor Head Start/ECEAP, Community Action Council, The United Churches, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, St. Michael’s Parish, Independent Order of Oddfellows, Olympia-Lacey Church of God, Garden Courte Memory Community, and Mixx 96.1 KXXO.

For more information or to volunteer your services, please call Community Action Council, 360-438-1100 extension 1143 or see

Olympia’s Own Bon Odori Festival Celebrates Diversity

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:12am



Submitted by Dr. Diana Yu

Bon OdoriOne of the things I love most about living in Olympia is the way we celebrate diversity.  Instead of pointing out our differences, we embrace everyone else into our culture and traditions.

A multi-ethnic group of dancers, led by Reiko Callner, have been practicing for the past month so that they in turn can help other community dancers at the upcoming Bon Odori Festival held August 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. on Water Street in Downtown Olympia.

The annual Bon Odori is a street dancing festival honoring ancestors.  In Olympia, it is organized by the Japanese American Citizens’ League and welcomes participation from the entire community.  In addition to the traditional Japanese folk dances, there are Taiko drumming exhibitions, food vendors, street lanterns and a whole lot of folks dressed in traditional attire.  The entire Water Street area by Capitol Lake is turned into a little bit of Japan for one evening.

Come join in the celebration, enjoy some Japanese delicacies, step into the circle and try some traditional dance, take pictures and when dusk settles, help carry lanterns on a walk around the lake and honor your ancestors.  It is a wonderful tradition and one you and your family can enjoy as part of our Olympia community.  For just one evening, experience a bit of Japanese culture and tradition.Bon Odori - Taiko 4

Festivities start at 5 p.m. with food booths, followed by demonstrations from River Ridge High School Taiko drummers and Aikido in Olympia martial artists.  Traditional music and dancing begins at 7 p.m.  There will be a group dressed in Japanese yukata (summer kimonos) helping to lead the dances.

Folks interested in learning the dances before Saturday can attend a free workshop from 7 – 9 p.m. on Friday August 15 at the Olympia Center.

For more information contact Reiko Callner 360 791-3295 or Bob Nakamura 360 556-7562.

August 13 Music in the Park Concert Moved Due to Weather

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:13am



Submitted by Olympia Downtown Association

Due to inclement weather overnight and the moisture levels in Sylvester Park, the performance by the Tacoma Concert Band has been moved to the Washington Center for the Performing Arts located just half a block away from Sylvester Park (512 Washington St. SE). The Tacoma Concert Band will still perform from 7 p.m.-8 p.m. and concert admission remains FREE to the public.

Remember, parking is free after 5 p.m. in downtown Olympia (excluding Diamond lots).

Support this wonderful community event by purchasing a commemorative button for $3. Buttons are available at all concerts.

Remember to enter our FREE raffle each week. Must be present to win.

This event is sponsored by Olympia Downtown YMCA.

For more information regarding Music in the Park, click here.


Four Evergreen Swim Club Members Compete at Western Zone Championships

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:52am



By Gail Wood

color graphicsLast September, when Randy Trowbridge returned to Olympia to become the head coach of the Evergreen Swim Club, his mission was to raise the level of performance.

Consider it mission accomplished.

With Trowbridge’s team committing to two-a-day workouts, four Evergreen swimmers – Hannah Barker, Annika Eisele, Everett Werner and Alex Wright – qualified and placed at the Western Zone Championship meet at Federal Way in early August.

evergreen swim club

Four Evergreen Swim Club members competed at the Western Zone Championships. (From left): Annika Eisele, Hannah Barker, Alex Wright and Everett Werner

At the Pacific Northwest championships, a qualifier for the Western Zone meet, Wright won seven of the eight events he qualified in, helping Evergreen take a best-ever 11th place finish. Evergreen had 14 swimmers qualify for that meet.

“They’ve made some great strides this year,” Trowbridge said about his team. “They’ve worked hard for it. So, they’ve earned it. They’re swimming at a totally different level now.”

At the Pacific Northwest championships, Wright, competing in the 14-year-old division, was a one-man team as he won the 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 400 freestyle, 800 freestyle and 1,500 freestyle. He placed third in the 200 IM. His winning 400 IM time broke a 12-year-old meet record.

A week later at the Western Zone and against some of the top swimmers in the country, Wright won three events, placing first in the 800 freestyle, 400 freestyle, and the 200 freestyle. He placed third in the 100 back stroke, second in the 200 butterfly and fifth in the 200 backstroke. Wright also swam legs on four relays, competing on the 400 medley (10th), 200 freestyle (10th), 400 medley (12th), and the 200 medley relay (second).

evergreen swim club

Alex Wright stands behind the starting blocks before his 200 butterfly race.

Werner competed in six individual events at the Western Zone, placing seventh in the 800 free, seventh in the 200 back, 15th in the 400 IM, 10th in the 400 freestyle, sixth in the 1,500 freestyle and seventh in the 200 butterfly. In the relays, Werner swam a leg on the 400 free (10th), 200 free (10th) 400 medley (second) and 200 medley (second).

Trowbridge, who helped start the Evergreen Swim Club 31 years ago, is impressed with his team’s progress.

“I’m very proud of them,” Trowbridge said. “And I’m impressed with their poise in managing two championship meets essentially back to back and doing so well.”

At Western Regional, which included teams from 12 west coast states and was held in Federal Way, Barker and Eisele also placed. Barker was 10th in the 200 backstroke, third in the 800 free, 15th in the 100 back, 16th in the 400 free, and 10th in the 1,500 free. She also swam on relays in the 400 free (ninth), 400 medley (11th) and 200 medley (12th).

Eisele swam in two individual events and three relays. She placed ninth in the 50 butterfly and 12th in the 100 butterfly.

Tiffany Wright, an Evergreen Club assistant coach and Alex’s mother, was impressed with Evergreen’s improvement in the past year.

evergreen swim club

Everett Werner takes a breath during the 400 IM.

“They worked very hard,” Wright said. “Swimming can be so difficult because it’s a singular sport. It’s not really a team sport. You’re in the water by yourself. Swim up and down the pool. You have teammates. But you’re under water so much of the time.”

As a result, Wright said it’s the individual swimmer who has to push themselves.

Trowbridge is pleasantly surprised by his team’s progress in the past 11 months.

“It was a surprise to me what they did,” he said. “You do that with training and raising everyone to a new level of fitness.”

Trowbridge began coaching while attending Olympia High School, working with the YMCA. After swimming at Western Washington University, Trowbridge returned to Olympia and was part of the founding of the Evergreen Swim Club in 1983. In 1986, he moved to Wisconsin and coached the Verona Aquatics Club until returning to Olympia last year.

evergreen swim club

Annika Eisele swims backstroke.

“I am back where it all started and my dream is to guide as many athletes as I possibly can in fulfilling their dreams in competitive swimming,” Trowbridge said.

Trowbridge sees and appreciates the lessons swimming teaches. He said it helps young swimmers develop discipline, determination, leadership, poise and perseverance. In swimming, as in other sports, Trowbridge said the biggest challenge is learning how to cope with setbacks, with defeat.

“You’ve been knocked down and then you have to get back up,” Trowbridge said. “It doesn’t matter if you fall down. You just don’t want to lie down. You have to stand back up. Every race is a new beginning.”

That’s one of the many lessons Trowbridge teaches his swimmers at Evergreen Swim Club.

evergreen swim club

Hannah Barker swims the 400 freestyle.

Now, Trowbridge is looking forward to taking them to the next step, to the next level of competition where his swimmers start qualifying for national meets. Alex Wright has already qualified for a national meet in Orlando, Florida.

“That will take us to a totally different level,” Trowbridge said. “We have a few others knocking on that door. That’s the next thing. I’m excited for the kids. But having been there before I know that means a lot of travel.”

To learn more about the Evergreen Swim Club, click here.

The Volunteer Pillars of the Little Red Schoolhouse Project

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:27am



By Lisa Herrick

hometown logo‘Tis the season for school supply shopping.

Schools have posted supply lists on their websites, sent out welcome back letters including the lists, as well as distributed the list of requested items to local stores. Having spent the last few weeks strategically reviewing sales flyers against my children’s school supply lists, shopping is time consuming and financially demanding. The long list for crayons, markers, pencils and notebooks is overwhelming.  Even the cheery “Happy Shopping” statement at the end of the school supply list, while certainly well-intentioned is a daunting statement.

olympia school supplies

Liz Kapust, pictured in red Little Red Schoolhouse (LRSH) apron, poses with volunteers who helped with the set up for Distribution Day in 2013. Kapust has volunteered for LRSH for sixteen years.

Sometimes school supply shopping is not a happy experience. Often families are faced not with which color of notebook to choose but rather if they can even afford the notebook. Returning to school and shopping for school supplies can be stressful or even a financial impossibility.  Fortunately, in our community the Little Red Schoolhouse Project (LRSH) has made school supply shopping fun, pleasurable and financially possible.

The goal of the LRSH is to see every child start school with basic school supplies, a backpack, new socks and underwear, and an adequate clean coat. It is best known for its annual free Distribution Day, which will occur on Thursday, August 21 in its new location of Komachin Middle School. While thousands of volunteers and families convene for the one day extravaganza each August, two women have worked relentlessly year-round to make Distribution Day possible for the families in Thurston County.

Denise Hardcastle and Liz Kapust, both board members of LRSH have been instrumental to the success of the non-profit organization. Hardcastle, a board member since 2007, is a retired teacher from Komachin Middle School. “As a former teacher, it is my absolute joy to see children of all ages come to LRSH Distribution Day to pick out a backpack and get the school supplies they need to begin their school year successfully.  It is the goal of LRSH to send every child back to school with pride regardless of their circumstances and on Distribution Day we are able to do that for thousands of children,” shares Hardcastle.

olympia school supplies

Denise Hardcastle (right), Little Red Schoolhouse Board Member, enjoying a break and friendship with fellow volunteer Lori Allsup during last year’s distribution.

“In 2013, supplies and clothing were given to 3,384 students,” continues Hardcastle.  ”Providing school supplies, backpacks and coats to that number of students in our community would not be possible without the support of local donors such as Junior League of Olympia, Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation, and Capital Lakefair.

Hardcastle adds that MIXX 96 hosts Radio Day where people can drive or stop by with donations. Volunteers will be standing on the corner of State Avenue and Washington Street on Friday, August 15.

Kapust, lead of the school supplies section of LRSH has been collecting, organizing and distributing school supplies for LRSH since 1998. “I am amazed at how the program has grown in the sixteen years that I have been involved. The school supply budget in 1998, my first year volunteering, was only $2,000. Now that budget is $26,000. We could not serve as many people as we do without the generous support of Thurston County residents,” shares Kapust.

Kapust originally became involved with LRSH before having her two children, Ryan, 13 and Ella, 11. Kapust comments, “Ryan and Ella have grown up with LRSH and look forward to helping out each year. In fact, Ryan recently mentioned he wants me to be sure to stay involved until he is out of high school.”

olympia school supplies

Jessica Hill and family are both recipients of Little Red Schoolhouse as well as volunteer during set up for Distribution Day scheduled for August 21.

Both Hardcastle and Kapust share that participating with LRSH has numerous rewards, including enabling many children in our community to return to school with pride, witnessing the incredible support and generosity of our community, and the energizing experience of working alongside so many caring volunteers.

And, some volunteers were previous recipients of generosity.  Hardcastle explains, “Jessica Hill and her children have not only been on the receiving end of LRSH but believe in giving back by volunteering their time for a number of years. The Hill family arrives at the beginning of setup for distribution week and just dives right into whatever needs to be done. We know we can count on them every year as volunteers and we love their commitment to do their part for their community.”

LRSH is dependent on volunteers. Throughout the year volunteers from local churches wash donated coats collected from schools. Each year there are over 150 volunteers on Distribution Day. The past few years Meconi’s Italian Subs has donated sandwiches so volunteers have a healthy lunch to keep them fueled up for the busy day.

To learn more about the Little Red Schoolhouse Project visit their website or Facebook page. Distribution Day will be on Thursday, August 21 at Komachin Middle School from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  The middle school is located at 3650 College Street SE in Lacey.


Mutual Trust – Thanking Olympia Police, Citizens after a Car Accident

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 9:05am



Submitted by Stephanie Keahey

stephanie keaheyYou’re driving on State Avenue in downtown Olympia, just up from the old Olympia Glass Co. when you notice the traffic in front of you putting on their brakes.  You start to slow down.  Your CD player is looping through “The Lion King II” for the second or third time that day.  Screeching brakes sound behind you.  You look up to see a red car in your rearview mirror.  Time slows down as you see the car get closer to you and your foot presses down harder on the brake, but you were already at an almost complete stop.  The music fades, and all you hear is those brakes.  You think about getting out of the way, but there isn’t anywhere to go.  You sit there while you wait for the red car to hit you.  You hear the bang.  You feel the jolt.  You feel your body hit the seatbelt.  You see the white truck in front of you get closer.  You feel a smaller jolt as your car is pushed into the truck.  Your left leg starts to quiver.  Your hands can’t stay on the wheel.  You instantly lose that mutual trust that you share with all other drivers on the road.

An older gentleman gets out of the white truck.  He looks at his truck.  He looks at you.  He notes that his truck is fine, so you see him get back in his truck and drive away.  You still aren’t sure what to do.  Cars drive around you as you look for somewhere to pull off to the side of the road.  The red car pulls in front of you and stops off to the side.  The driver gets out.  You note his long black shirt and baseball cap.  Your Driver’s Ed teacher did always warn you to watch out for boys wearing baseball hats in red sports cars.  You see a mechanic, who saw the whole thing, ask if you are okay.  You tell him yes, but you don’t know what to do.  He tells you to back up into the spot by the parking meters off to your right.  You’re in the process of doing so – legs still shaking – when you see the driver of the red car get back in and zoom off down State Ave.  You stare in disbelief as he weaves through traffic.  You hear the mechanic yell, “That’s a felony right there!”

stephanie keaheyYou are about to get out off the car when a police vehicle comes driving down the road.  You hear the mechanic flag him down and say something along the lines of, “Hey, there was a red car that just hit this girl. You should go get him!”  You open your car door as the officer drives off to find the guy.  You cross the street when you hear a voice from above you say, “I called 911 for you.”  You look up to see a painter up on a ladder.  He tells you that he saw the whole thing.

You stand by the mechanic shop and start talking to a guy who was having his car worked on during the time of the accident.  You introduce yourself and learn that his name is Tim.  He tells you that he saw the whole thing because he came out when he heard screeching brakes.  He compliments your driving.  He tells you that it was the other guy’s fault.  You were slowing down just fine.  You had the perfect amount of distance between you and the truck.  You were paying attention.  You say thanks and tell him that you’ll have to tell your dad, because he is the one that taught you how to drive.  You both stand there in mutual silence as the mechanic walks down the street to see if the officer caught the guy.  You look at your car across the street and notice that that is the best parallel parking job you’ve ever done.  You then think it’s odd that that’s what you’re thinking about.  You tell Tim that your lower back hurts.  You see the mechanic come back and say they didn’t get the guy.  You’re all standing there when the guy on the ladder says he saw another police car pull around the corner and that he’s pretty sure they got him.

You watch as the police officer talks to the mechanic and then moves to talk to you.  He asks if you will come with him to identify the suspect.  You follow the officer around the corner, expecting the red car to be there.  Instead, you see the police car and the officer opens the passenger door for you.  You feel excited that you get to ride in a police car.  The officer makes small talk as he drives you around town to where they caught the guy.  You hear him radio in that he is bringing the victim to ID the perp.  You are nearing the scene when the officer pulls up near some bushes so that the other driver cannot identify you.  He asks you if you recognize the car.  You do.  He then asks you to identify the man that another officer leads around to stand at the back of the red car.  You note that the guy is handcuffed.  You recognize him, especially his shirt and hat.  You tell the officer that that was the guy and that he was the driver of the car.  The officer radios in what you said.  He pulls up behind a bush and asks, “Do you feel safe here?”  You say yes.  The officer leaves to talk to the guy.  You sit in the police car and think about taking pictures.  You decide against it.

stephanie keaheyThe officer comes back and tells you that the driver was uninsured and that he made it worse for himself by running.  He shows you the other driver’s ID.  You note that it’s vertical.  The officer drives you back to your car and asks you to fill out a statement.  He asks if you want to write it in his car or yours.  You tell him that you’ll stay in his car.  He leaves to talk to the three witnesses while you write out the statement.  You feel cool sitting in the police car.  The officer comes back and says he took pictures of your car because there is a hole in the front bumper.  He hands you a plastic Toyota hood ornament.  It came off the car that hit you.  He says you should keep it because of all you’ve been through.  He then tells you what to do next.  Call your doctor because of your back.  Call your insurance to tell them what happened.  He then tells you that if this happens again to call 911 right away and they’ll take care of it.  He gives you his card.  You tell him thank you and say that you are going to go thank the three guys that helped you.  He says that’s probably a good idea but to be careful when crossing the street because the cars will be watching his lights, not you.  You walk to the crosswalk.  You yell up a thank you to the painter guy, who tells you, “No problem!”  You look for Tim, but you don’t see him anywhere.  You think that his car must have been finished.  You find the mechanic who says his name is Mark, or was it Mike?  Markie-Mike.  He looks very excited that they caught the guy.  You go back to your car.  You call your family.  You call your boss.  You call the doctor.

You drive back to work.  You realize that you should not be driving because you are paying more attention to the cars behind you than the ones in front of you.  You make it to work, and your boss tells you to go home for the rest of the day.  You have your mother-in-law pick you up.  You run around town with her, and she drives you to the doctor.  You find out that your back in strained, and you shouldn’t lift things that are over ten pounds for two weeks.  You learn that your back could hurt for up to six weeks.  You also realize that everyone, even the receptionist, wants to hear the whole story when they hear that the police caught the guy.  Your mother-in-law takes you back to your car.  You take the long way to her house on purpose so that you get used to driving after the whole incident.  You make it there fine, and you tell the story at least three more times.  Your oldest sister-in-law had the best reaction.  You love telling her stories.  You give her permission to tell other people.  You think about writing the story down for people to read…

YWCA of Olympia Seeks Business of Achievement Nominations

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:06am



Submitted by the YWCA of Olympia

The YWCA of Olympia is pleased to announce a NEW nomination category for their Twentieth Annual Women of Achievement Celebration. The agency welcomes nominations from the community in support of businesses who exemplify the YWCA of Olympia mission:  To empower women and eliminate racism through education, advocacy, service and leadership opportunities.  Nominations can be for both public and private businesses located in Thurston County and encourage nominations of businesses both large and small.  Businesses will be considered based on one or more, but not limited to, the following factors:

  • Employing family friendly policies (flexible scheduling, breastfeeding, paid leave, etc.)
  • Their dedication to the social, economic and professional advancement of women
  • Their commitment to providing opportunities that help women achieve their potential
  • Their commitment to addressing workplace racial and/or gender discrimination

How to nominate a Business of Achievement:

  • Complete the form online at, under News or Events
  • Complete the form in Word by sending a request to and returning  electronically to The form is also available in PDF.
  • Complete the form in Word and mail to Business of Achievement Selection Committee, 220 Union Ave SE, Olympia, WA  98501

Deadline:  Thursday, September 4 at 5:00 pm.

Selection: An independent and confidential committee will select the winners.  Honorees will be notified on or around Tuesday, September 9.

The Business of Achievement will be formally announced to the community in September.  The Twentieth Annual Women of Achievement Gala will take place on Thursday, November 6 from 5:30pm – 9:00pm at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets will be available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at 352-0593 or online at Once again Titus-Will has stepped up as the WOA Presenting Sponsor with WSECU and Lucky Eagle  as our Sustaining Sponsors.

For more information about the Women of Achievement Celebration Gala, contact Cherie Reeves Sperr, Special Events & Communications Director at 352-0593 or


Sunset Air’s Handiwork On View at the 2014 Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:55am



sunset air generator

Sunset Air will be one of the vendors at this year’s Tour of Homes.

Pliny the Elder is attributed with one of our time’s most accurate—and ubiquitous—sayings: “Home is where the heart is.”  Though beautiful, it’s a bit tired after 2000 years of overuse.  Personally, I prefer the words of Jane Austen: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

In these days of endless reality shows featuring home improvement, sales, restoration, and development, we can definitely see where America’s heart is.  If the intricacies and craftsmanship of real estate make your mouth water, don’t miss this year’s Olympia Master Builders Tour of Homes.

Taking place the weekends of August 16-17 and August 23-24, tours run from 11:00am-5:00pm each day.  Lacey’s Sunset Air will be a proud co-main event sponsor for this year’s Tour.  A community institution for almost 40 years, they put their quality on display throughout our region.  Look around at such gems as the Hands On Children’s Museum, the new Centralia LED streetlightsRoosevelt Elementary, and many state office buildings and you’ll see green technology, tremendously skilled employees, and work that will stand the test of time.

olympia window replacement

Solar energy is one of the areas that Sunset Air will be talking about during this year’s Tour of Homes.

Sunset Air’s New Construction Project Manager Matt Jones explains that the Tour’s goal is “to highlight some of the quality work some of the outstanding builders and trade contractors that are providing valuable services in our community.”  Consisting of residential new construction, remodels, and additions, the houses showcased often use the latest in green building practices and cutting-edge technology to prove how obtainable it can be for any- and everyone.

Each tour site layout is determined by its builder but Sunset Air will provide representatives at some locations where their staff or equipment were involved.  Says Jones, “We typically are the HVAC design and install for some of the homes that local builders display on the tour.  While we are driven by our HVAC expertise we also do provide other services for builders such as renewable energy technologies (Solar, Geothermal Heating), Windows installations, Fireplace Installations.”

“I think two items that excite me are the increase in builders recognizing the benefits of tankless hot water heaters and high efficient furnaces and implementing them into their houses,” Jones continues. “The second item that I think is important is the overall performance of newly constructed homes. These new homes are required to adhere to the 2012 Washington State Energy Code and what this means to the home owner is the potential for lower energy bills, better indoor air quality, and improved comfort.”

For additional details about the event, including how to have your home on next year’s showcase, contact the Olympia Master Builders at 360-754-0912 or email Brianna Bedell at

For questions about almost anything to do with home heating, cooling, windows, doors, fireplaces, generators, solar, electrical, and more on either a commercial or residential property, Sunset Air can be reached at 360-930-6298.  Trust me; if they don’t know the answer, they know someone who does and the job will be top quality from start to finish.


Run with the Troops during the Thunder Rumble on Saturday

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 6:47am



By Jean Janes

Olympia Auto Mall sponsorImagine a gorgeous summer day in Turnwater, Washington. Crowds gather and mingle near booths for water and running paraphernalia. Joggers and runners warm up while the anticipation of a race about to begin electrifies the already buzzing atmosphere. American flags fly proudly at the starting line, and at 8:30 a.m., a cannon boom starts a tremendous mass of runners on their way.

thunder rumble

The Thunder Rumble is a family friendly 5k or 10k run. Photo credit: Melanie Barrow, Bodhikai Imagery

This will be the second annual Thunder Rumble, a 5k and 10k race taking place on Saturday, August 16 near the corner of 78th Avenue SW and Center Street SW in Tumwater. While all races have an element of excitement and fun about them, this event is special. The military and the local civilians are teaming up to run, raise money, and celebrate their community spirit.

At last year’s Thunder Rumble, Captain Jeanette Rivera attended as a volunteer. This year, she’ll be participating as a runner, specifically in the 10k. Already familiar with weekend running, Rivera explains, “I enjoy getting out on the weekends and running a 5k every now and then. So, for me, it’s kind of fun.”

The Thunder Rumble, though, is about more than just the fun. Funds raised at this run will be used to aid families and soldiers of the 17 Field Artillery Brigade, the brigade in which Rivera is a soldier. “I wanted to kind of basically support them as well as the AUSA (Association of the United States Army).”

thunder rumble

Civilians and soldiers participate together in the Thunder Rumble, a community run. Photo credit: Melanie Barrow, Bodhikai Imagery

As a volunteer during the 2013 Thunder Rumble, Rivera helped pass out water, prepare running packets, and set up tents and booths for local business sponsors. Soldiers and civilians working together to create and then run in this race was memorable and meaningful. Rivera articulates this sentiment, saying, “It’s interesting to see the dynamics of the community involvement with the military. It kind of showed that whole aspect of us coming together as a community—the military and the civilians. I always hear that a lot, of us partnering with the community, and seeing the Thunder Rumble was actually seeing that initiative in action.”

At its core, the Thunder Rumble is a family oriented event. Last year, soldiers brought their families to the race to cheer and to participate. Rivera recalls, “The chaplain brought his wife, and our XO brought his little kids. I think he did a stroller race.” Soldiers and their leaders “decided to come out and support and they also incorporated their families into it which was kind of cool.” She laughs, “I think there were a couple of people who brought their dogs out to run, too.”

Rivera goes on to describe the unique quality of this event. “I think it’s kind of neat, last year, to see how the civilians who were running the race respond to the soldiers out there.”

thunder rumble

Soldiers will run again in formation as they did last year. Photo credit: Melanie Barrow, Bodhikai Imagery

Soldiers ran in formation, singing cadences behind their organizational flags, or “guidons,” held aloft and proud. “I’ve never really seen something like that, where, you know, you see soldiers with guidons and they’re singing cadences, and then you see like these really avid runners who are out there as well.” Loud and proud, civilians and soldiers ran with a common purpose, to support the military families in their shared community.

Rivera maintains that the experience is worth repeating. She says, “It was a really cool atmosphere and that’s why I wanted to run it this year.”

This year will not disappoint. A battalion of 300 soldiers will participate in the 5k, running in formation and singing military cadence, a display of Army pride not to be missed. Additionally, the deployed components of the 17 Field Artillery will be participating from overseas via satellite feed. This shadow run will occur in tandem with the 5k race here.

Also, from Kuwait, Colonel Tim Kehoe will address spectators and runners. American flags will once again mark the starting line thanks to wear blue: run to remember. This is an event of epic patriotic proportions, with proceeds donated to military families in need.

There are many ways to participate. Besides running, volunteers are welcome. Contact information is available on the Thunder Rumble Facebook page. Cheering and enthusiasm is always a welcome contribution, reminding runners that they have the support of both the AUSA and the local community.

Rivera sums it up, saying, “If you like to run and you’re interested in doing something next weekend, it’s a pretty fun, low-key event. Just come out and support it, and kind of see what it’s about.”


SCJ Alliance Earns National Recognition for Growth

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:03pm



Submitted by SCJ Alliance

In June 2014, SCJ President Perry Shea cuts the ribbon for the grand opening of SCJ Alliance's new, expanded headquarters in Lacey, WA.

In June 2014, SCJ President Perry Shea cuts the ribbon for the grand opening of SCJ Alliance’s new, expanded headquarters in Lacey, WA.

For the fourth time in five years, SCJ Alliance was named one of the fastest growing firms in the nation, earning a place on the ZweigWhite Letter Hot Firm List for 2014. SCJ was also on the list in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Winners will be celebrated at the Hot Firm & A/E Industry Awards Conference in September in Beverly Hills, CA.

SCJ is a consulting firm specializing in transportation planning and design, civil engineering, and land use/environmental planning. SCJ was 94th on the ZweigWhite list, which boasted an impressive median growth rate of 72 percent, up significantly from 44 percent in 2013. “Getting on The ZweigWhite Hot Firm list is very rewarding for us,” shares SCJ President Perry Shea. “The goal post is getting higher all the time.”

The ZweigWhite list is an exclusive ranking of the fastest growing firms in the architectural, engineering, planning and environmental consulting industry. The rankings are based on the highest percentage revenue growth, and dollar revenue growth, over a three-year period compared to the other entrants from this dynamic industry comprised of over 100,000 firms.

“SCJ is always looking forward — seeking new opportunities, new geographic markets and new technical disciplines to enhance client services,” says Shea. SCJ’s most recent acquisition was June, a site design and landscape architecture firm, further expanded service offerings and added an office in Seattle.

SCJ has also received the 2012 Spotlight on Business award from the Tacoma- Pierce County Chamber, the 2009 Small Business of the Year award from the Thurston EDC, and the 2009 and 2010 Best Firms to Work For award from Civil Engineering News.

Since its founding in 2006 as Shea Carr Jewell, SCJ has grown steadily from three employees in one location, to nearly 60 employees in six locations across three states ─ Lacey, Seattle, Vancouver and Wenatchee, WA; Boise, ID; and Westminster, CO.

Eco-Friendly Roof Cleaning Solutions

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 5:20pm



Submitted by Town and Country Roofing

Town and Country roofing issuesIn the Pacific Northwest, you can’t walk down a street without seeing a roof with fir needles, moss, or other debris on it.  We get asked by our customers what is the difference between algae and moss?  How can we treat it?  Basically algae are seen as black streaks on a roof, where moss is seen as clumps of green that look, well, like moss. Lichen (like the stuff that grows on our trees) is often seen with moss.

The reason algae and moss are growing on your roof is simple. Algae and moss spores are always in the air, but they will only take hold and grow in a hospitable environment. Moss loves a shady climate, acidic environment (moss grows optimally at a pH level of 5.0 to 6.0), and a moist/humid environment. It is no surprise then that Western Washington roofs are a haven for moss.

There are three effective ways to prevent moss growth.  Take away the shade, take away the moisture, or turn its environment extremely acidic or alkaline. Because it is virtually impossible to do the first two in the Pacific Northwest, we are left with option three.

The first step is to remove any existing moss using a leaf blower or hand brush.  If you have a composite or asphalt shingle roof, it is very important not to pressure wash it. Pressure washing can remove the shingle granules which help protect the shingles and ensure a longer life span.  Once you have the majority of the moss and other debris removed, it is time to apply something to kill the remaining moss.

There are a lot of chemical moss removers out there, but Baking Soda or Vinegar work just as good.  Using baking soda or vinegar can also be cheaper and is better for the environment and animals.  Since moss grows in a pH environment around 5.0-6.0, changing the environment to an alkaline level it will effectively kill the moss. This makes baking soda a great product to use.  By mixing it with water or by applying it directly, it can kill moss in yards, off of roofs or other unwanted areas.  Another household item you can use is white vinegar (making environment too acidic for the moss to flourish).   Using vinegar with a mixture of water and applying it directly to the moss can kill it. Be careful though, some acid products erode certain types of surfaces. By diluting the mixture you may prevent unwanted corrosion.

When using these items, keep in mind you are killing the moss, but it might not fall of your roof immediately. Depending on how long it has been there, it can take 2-3 months to come off.  Moss has a thick root system that sets itself directly into the granules of the shingles.  When the roof is treated, these growths die, but it takes a while for the root system to disintegrate and let go of the roof. For large areas of moss, a second treatment may be needed.

Although you may be tempted to clean your own roof, you are better off leaving it to the professionals like Town & Country Roofing.   Roof Cleaning is not as easy as you think and not always a job for amateurs.  In fact, it can be dangerous.  According to the National Safety Council, more than 8.5 million people were treated in an emergency department for fall-related injuries in 2009.  .

Let Town & Country Roofing take care of your roof cleaning needs  Our workers have years of experience working on roofs, that they just know how to walk around, even on a slick roof.  Also we can spot any potential problems areas (missing shingles, loose flashing, etc) and bring it to your attention.

It takes experts like Town & Country Roofing to handle the job safely and properly. A clean roof is indeed a welcome sight to behold, but it can be best achieved when you let the experts do the work.   Call Town and Country Roofing for your free estimate today.

For more information about Town & Country Roofing please call 360-704-7663 or visit


Westport Winery Wins Platinum on Sparkling Pomegranate

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 5:13pm



Submitted by Westport Winery

2013 Boom PosterWestport Winery earned its two highest point-ratings on June 30, at the World Wine Championships in Chicago, Illinois, for Boom Runner a sparkling pomegranate wine and Maritime their sparkling Moscato.

Boom Runner earned an astounding 96-points and a platinum medal in the evaluation. The judge’s comments were, “Deep, lustrous garnet color. Aromas of berry custard tart with a tangy, frothy fruity sweet medium-full body and a long, robust pomegranate gelato and blood orange finish. Impressive richness and depth; will be great with vanilla bean ice cream or soft cheeses.”

At the winery—the sole location to taste and purchase this wine—the tasting notes say it is, “A harmonious, fireworks of bold, blue fruit and pie filling.” They suggest it be paired with coconut cream pie from their bakery while listening to the song Raise Your Glassby Pink. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits Polson Museum in Hoquiam. The sculpture for this wine was created by Tavis Highlander.

Maritime earned an impressive 92-points and a gold medal. The judge’s comments say it has a “Bright golden yellow color. Fruity aromas and flavors of peach sorbet, orange blossom honey and golden raisin with a fruity sweet medium body and tangy sweet citrus, grape, and delicate creamy spice finish. A wonderfully vibrant dessert wine.” The winery’s tasting notes compare it to a “girl’s weekend with orange creamsicles and sexy perfume.” It’s no wonder they suggest you pair it with their lavender crème brulée  and the song We’ve Got The Beat by the Go Go’s. A portion of the proceeds from this wine benefits the Northwest Carriage Museum in Raymond. Winery co-owner Blain Roberts’ surf partner Darryl Easter painted the watercolor on the label.

Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea Gardens with the unique outdoor sculpture garden, lavender labyrinth, musical fence, 9-hole executive golf course, giant chess set, outdoor scrabble game, and grape maze, is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. Westport Winery was named Best of the Northwest Wine Tour in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.

Westport’s award-winning wines are exclusively available at the winery. The tasting room, gift shop, produce market, plant nursery and bakery are open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant is open for lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner on Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information contact Westport Winery at 360-648-2224 or visit the website


Isaiah Dominguez: Olympia-Based Musician Makes Music for Ears, Hearts

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 6:56am



By Gale Hemmann

SCJ alliance logoIf it’s possible for music to have a geographical heart, the heart of Isaiah Dominguez’s music is in Olympia. The talented singer-songwriter grew up here, and though he now calls Seattle home, he has carried the spirit of Olympia with him in his songs.

And Isaiah Dominguez’s songs are very good. If you give a listen to some of his most recent efforts, such as “Paper Tigers” and “Beautiful” (off his five-single LP, Nothing Left Unsaid), you’ll soon find yourself humming along with the melodies and hitting “replay.”

isaiah dominguez

Isaiah Dominguez aims to write music touching on universal themes of love, loss, and the redemption of the human heart. Photo by Dorothy Hyunh

I caught up with the busy Dominguez by phone to learn more about his work. He was upbeat and pleasant, equal parts serious about his music and down-to-earth, with an easy laugh.

He told me his family moved to Olympia when he was in the fifth grade. He came to music at a young age, playing in his elementary school band. (He also comes from a musical background: his dad plays jazz guitar, his mom is a flautist, and both sisters also play instruments.) Dominguez then picked up a guitar and started jamming with his friends. They formed a pop-punk band here in town, Take Me Instead, and he fondly recalls their gigs played at the Midnight Sun and Java Flow Café.

He notes that Olympia was a great place to hone his musical chops: “Everyone was so supportive. We were this high school band, and they would book us to play gigs and be totally confident that we’d put on a good show.”

It was actually a performance at Capital Lakefair that made him realize he’d made the right decision in following his passion. His band played in the iconic “Battle of the Bands” two years in a row, and won one year. Though he now lives in a much bigger city, it was right here, over the glimmering twilight of Capitol Lake, that Dominguez felt the inner vote of confidence that he could make it in music.

After graduating from Black Hills High School, Dominguez moved north to Bellingham to be with his band mates, who were attending Western Washington University. He enjoyed his years playing with Take Me Instead, but as everyone graduated and their paths diverged, he decided to set out on a solo career.

Dominguez then decided to test the waters in a bigger music market, Seattle. He tells me his move to Seattle paralleled a shift in his music. Coming from a pop-punk sound, he decided to start playing acoustic guitar, and to focus on a more mature, polished style.

isaiah dominguez

Dominguez got his start in Olympia, and says the musical experiences he had here and the natural beauty of Puget Sound figure as prominent elements in his creative process. Photo by Dorothy Hyunh

So far, the music life has worked out well for this up-and-coming artist. He regularly plays gigs around town, and just released a single, “Vultures,” with Seattle’s London Tone Music. He currently works in IT at a law firm, and is hoping to transition to playing music full-time.

When I asked Dominguez if he still visits Olympia, he said, “absolutely.” He travels down on weekends to visit his parents whenever he can, and enjoys watching the subtle changes in the city over time (as well as the landmarks that remain the same). Our city retains not just a geographic but an artistic influence on Dominguez. He says the images of the downtown waterfront remain imprinted in his mind as metaphors which still call to him as he writes songs. “I spent my formative years in Olympia. It’s the place I’ll always, in some way, refer back to.”

I also asked Dominguez what musical influences have inspired his work. He said that his first inspiration was his dad’s collection of jazz records – in fact, he can still remember the cover art on each album vividly (Earl Klugh was a favorite). Over time, his collection of influences came to encompass everything from alt-rock (Snow Patrol) to pop-folk (Dashboard Confessional) to acoustic rock (John Mayer). You can hear a bit of each of it in his sound. Dominguez notes, “You take a little something from everything and make it your own.”

So, what’s next for Dominguez? This summer, he will be playing at several private events as well as a show at the Hard Rock Café Seattle. In the fall, he will embark on a tour to promote Nothing Left Unsaid. He is enjoying working with the crew at London Tone, and says they have taught him a lot about the business side of music. He also likes that they work collaboratively with an artist, allowing them a great deal of creative freedom. “They want you to be yourself. It doesn’t get better than that,” Dominguez says. (You can learn more about London Tone on Facebook and on Twitter at @LondonToneMusic.)

isaiah dominguez

Dominguez loves playing live gigs, and the opportunity to connect with his audience through his music. His blend of thoughtful lyrics and smooth melodies make it easy to listen to. Photo by Danny Miller

When asked how he wants his music to be known, Dominguez says, “If my music can help people connect, if my themes reach others who have felt the same way and experienced the same things, that would be great.” Though his music works through themes of love, loss, and change, he hopes it is an overarching theme of “hope and light” that will most reach listeners.

So how can you support this artist, who has held Olympia close for so many years? You can check out his songs on his website, and follow him on Facebook or on Twitter at @IsaiahD. If you like what you hear, tell your friends about his music. And keep an eye out for his upcoming live shows.

I was pleased to come across Dominguez’s music, and found myself repeating the tracks for inspiration during an afternoon of writing. In talking with this hard-working musician, I found myself rooting for him as he aims to go further with his career. I bet, after listening to his songs, you’ll feel the same way.

And remember, when he makes it big as a full-time musician, you can say, “he’s from my hometown.”


Looking Through the Lens at Molley Gillispie Photography

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 6:50am



By Libby Kamrowski

dairy queenSimply stated, Molley Gillispie, the one woman show behind Molley Gillispie Photography, has gotten a head start on life. At just nineteen years old, she is already a junior at Western Washington University in Bellingham because she participated in the Running Start program at SPSCC to earn an Associate’s Degree. At Timberline High School, she was the Graphics Editor of the nationally award winning newsmagazine The Blazer, and won high ranking awards at national competitions with her photos personally. And quite impressively, she is the sole owner and operator of her own photography business through it all.

olympia senior photo

Harrison Hannon mixed the great outdoors and his love of percussion for his senior photo shoot.

As a self-described amateur photographer with five years of experience, Gillispie seems to have chosen a humble path to keep room for artistic originality. But a quick browse through her Flickr gallery will leave any viewer inspired to venture among the Evergreens with a Nikon. For just $100 for a session, you’ll feel as if you are low-balling her talent, but it is the cheapest, local flat-rate photography service.

“She charges a lot less for more unique photos that capture your personality,” said two-time client of Gillispie, Chloe O’Brien. “You are more than just a client to her and it is clear she loves what she is doing, and cares about the end result.” In the past, her clientele have been acquired through mutual friends and connections, but her services are available to be extended to anyone.

Gillispie ensures the possibilities of your photo shoot to be endless. Senior photos, weddings, engagements, maternity, and family portraits have all been the subjects of her photo shoots. The locations are chosen by the client, providing shoots that are truly unique to each customer. No imitation backdrops have ever been used, as the settings for all photo sessions are authentic life outdoors.

olympia senior photo

Elizabeth McKay shows her “true colors” while mixing it up for her senior photo shoot with Molley Gillispie.

“I do mostly portrait photography. The difference between mine and someone else’s is that my subjects aren’t always looking at the camera. They can go outdoors and explore for themselves, and they don’t worry about me taking the pictures,” Gillispie said. Sessions do not have time restraints but typically take one to two hours.

“Senior photos are stressful for some people; I don’t know why, because they don’t have to be,” Gillispie said. “It’s nice to commemorate the end of high school, but they don’t need to break your bank.”

In terms of the summer rush for senior portraits, Gillispie can feature up to 20 clients in a season. The stress of cost-comparison and scheduling can be solved before school starts. Gillispie will schedule new clients until the end of August when she returns to college, but wants her future customers to rest-assured. Post-photo shoot, it takes one to two weeks for editing, and the 30 or so final images are saved onto a disc for the customer to print via their own means.

olympia wedding photographer

Couples are another popular subject for photo shoots, as shown by Shelby and Randy Johnson to celebrate their two year anniversary of marriage.

She describes her style as “50/50.” 50% of the pictures that she will take in a session feature the subject posing how they want to, classically looking into the camera in positions that they feel comfortable in. The other 50% of the time is filled with candid shots, as the subject explores their environment naturally. This organic style usually produces the best results, in Gillispie’s opinion.

“Artsy and unique,” O’Brien described the style of photography. “I would recommend Molley.  She takes really artistic photos and makes you feel comfortable. She knows what she is doing.”

Versatility is forte of Gillispie’s. You can find her photos in full color or black and white, full body or head-on, and also in macro detail. The settings are just as varied as the style. Ranging from the urban alleys of downtown Seattle and Olympia, to the pastoral fields of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, she has even shot the exotic but beautiful Badlands desert of New Mexico.

olympia photographer

Molley Gillispie of Molley Gillispie Photography, finally caught in front of the lens rather than behind it.

In 2014, in the world of self-proclaimed professional photographers, Molley Gillispie Photography sports talent that exceeds the world of Instagram. Don’t expect to see cheesy filters or poor editing, because Adobe Photoshop CS6 is her touch-up program of choice. I’ve heard many people rave about her skills, saying that she has talent that can’t be taught. But she has something to teach aspiring photogs. “Keep shooting. Shoot anything and everything. Don’t be afraid to ask people who know more than you to help you, or even to go out and shoot with you,” she said.

Looking forward to the future of Molley Gillispie photography, there doesn’t appear to be any outstanding concerns to hire assistants or rent an office, or anything of that sort. In five year’s time “I’ll have a degree in graphic design. But I want to do it [photography] on the side, basically forever,” said Gillispie.

You can reach Molley Gillispie via her Facebook page and see more of her work on Flickr.


Neighborhood Notes – New Vet Continues a 34-Year Tradition of Service to Pets at West Olympia Pet Hospital

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 7:00am



By Gale Hemmann

van dorm sponsorAs any animal lover can tell you, a good veterinary clinic is about much more than medicine. Yes, a veterinarian provides critical medical care to your four-legged loved one. But it is also so important that they treat animals kindly, build relationships with customers, and create a welcoming environment. Your pet is a family member, and a terrific veterinary clinic understands that.

For these reasons, and many more, the West Olympia Pet Hospital has been a trusted place for local pets’ needs since 1980. The clinic was opened by Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell, DVM. He ran the clinic for over three decades before passing away unexpectedly in 2013. During those years, he built a loyal following of pet owners for his compassion and skill. “He was one of those rare people who had both great surgical skills with animals and great interactions with clients. He treated us like a family,” says Aleisha Wilson, office manager and veterinary technician.

west olympia pet hospital

The West Olympia Pet Hospital Staff with Dr. Nathaniel Stewart, who is taking over ownership of the clinic. His veterinary expertise and caring demeanor have already been embraced by both staff and the local community.

While many local residents were saddened to hear of Dr. Mitchell’s passing, there is a happy new chapter to this story. An enthusiastic new vet, Dr. Nathanial Stewart, DVM, has stepped in to help the clinic keep going as strong as ever. So far, it’s been a great fit, and a wonderful blessing to the many people around town who have come to depend on West Olympia Pet Hospital’s care for their animals. Dr. Stewart has kept all of the original staff, and has worked tirelessly to keep the clinic running smoothly during the time of transition. “He’s been really supportive and great,” notes Wilson. “We are lucky to have him step in to operate the clinic.”

Meeting Dr. Stewart: New Vet Brings Dedication, Ample Experience

I stopped by the West Olympia Pet Hospital to meet with Dr. Stewart who took time out of his busy day to chat with me. Pleasant and upbeat, it is easy to see why clients are taking to him so quickly.

Dr. Stewart brings 14 years of veterinary experience to his practice at West Olympia Pet Hospital. He received his veterinary education at Washington State University. He has worked in both emergency and general veterinary medicine. Wilson says it is a wonderful gift to have both his strong medical and leadership skills at the clinic.

Stewart is excited about taking on the role of veterinarian and owner at the West Olympia Pet Hospital. “My goal right now is to make sure everyone – pets, people and staff – are taken care of,” he says. He understands how important animal companions are to their humans. Stewart notes, “We try to treat animals with the same amount of care we would want for ourselves.” He also works to help rescue local animals in need – the clinic currently has three “office cats” who live there while looking for permanent homes.

Dr. Stewart lives with his wife, Linda, and their two sons, Ethan and Shaun, in the Roy area. They have several animals at home – a Great Dane, a Dachsund, a Pomeranian, two cats, four horses and five koi fish. Clearly, Dr. Stewart is thoroughly an “animal person.”

When he’s not busy with veterinary work, Dr. Stewart enjoys life in South Sound including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and martial arts

Remembering Dr. Jeff Mitchell

west olympia pet hospital

Dr. Jeff Mitchell started the West Olympia Pet Hospital over 30 years ago. He is known for his dedication to animals and his compassion as a person.

Dr. Mitchell was a well-loved and active member of the Olympia community. Originally from Illinois, Dr. Mitchell loved the beauty of the Northwest and eventually made it his home (he was known for being an avid fan of both the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners). He loved horses and the great outdoors. He was also known for dedicating his time and resources to help with wildlife rescue in the area.

Of course, he is probably best-known for being a compassionate and skilled veterinarian to many animals in Olympia. He originally founded his practice as the West Olympia Animal Hospital, and the name later changed to West Olympia Pet Hospital. Many locals can tell you stories of how Dr. Mitchell helped their pet. When I asked Wilson one thing she thinks people would remember Dr. Mitchell by, she said “he was always going above and beyond to help others.”

A Legacy of Great Service Continues

One amazing aspect of the transition at West Olympia Pet Hospital is that Dr. Stewart is not just keeping the original staff, but also the same spirit and values of the clinic. Stewart says that it is of great importance to “preserve the legacy” left by Dr. Mitchell of running a great hospital. Wilson says she is happy to see that the focus on client relationships will continue. “It’s always been such an important part of working here, and Dr. Stewart absolutely shares that value.”

If it takes two things to become a great veterinarian – skill and heart – it seems both Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Stewart are cut from the same cloth. As are the rest of the staff at the West Olympia Pet Hospital. Wilson says, “We’re an extremely close-knit group. We are all dedicated to helping animals and getting to know the people and animals who are our clients.” Wilson has worked at the clinic for 12 years and is enthusiastic about seeing it continue under Dr. Stewart’s leadership.

west olympia pet hospital

The West Olympia Pet Hospital has been a top spot for veterinary care in Olympia for its long-standing reputation for quality. This tradition will be continued under the new ownership.

So, whether you are already a loyal client of West Olympia Pet Hospital or are looking for a vet, you’ll be happy to know that the legacy of top-notch care the clinic has become known for over the years will continue. When your animal needs veterinary attention, Dr. Stewart and his staff looking forward to serving you.

West Olympia Pet Hospital

1602 Harrison Ave NW in Olympia

(360) 352-4414

You can also find the West Olympia Pet Hospital on Facebook.


Hometown Celebrities: Local Firefighters Help Battle Washington State Wildfires

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 6:59am



By Eric Wilson-Edge

boggsfinallogoA firefighter’s day typically starts early and ends late. The time between is packed with a little bit of everything from training to public outreach to helping someone in need. “Sometimes our only job is to give people better options,” says Lieutenant Rob Randall of Lacey Fire District 3.

lacey firefighters

Lacey Firefighters Bill Matney, Rob Randall and Sean Christin were sent to Central Washington to battle the Chiwaukum Complex Fire.

Randall has been a firefighter for 16 years. He grew up in the restaurant business but found the work wasn’t for him. He started volunteering and soon after decided to make firefighting a career.  “It’s a huge unknown coming to work every day,” says Randall. “Life changing decisions happen in very little time with little information.”

Recently, Randall and two other firefighter from District 3 were sent to Central Washington to help battle the Chiwaukum Complex Fire. A lightning strike started the blaze back in mid-July. The wildfire has burned more than 20,000 acres according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

Washington has an agreement whereby communities can call on each other for help if needed. Randall and his crew spent a week in Central Washington. Their primary role was to assess the viability of protecting homes in the area and to come up with a plan should the fire progress.“We went into neighborhoods and looked for ways to improve properties to make them more defensible,” says Randall.

Randall has worked several wildfires over the years. He describes the experience as “fairly miserable.”  The days are long and brutally hot. Each firefighter wears thick protective gear which keeps them safe while ratcheting up the temperature. At night firefighters sleep in tents. Running water and other amenities are hooked up, but that takes a few days. “We’re pretty dirty and grungy,” says Randall. “It’s definitely not a fashion show.”

lacey firefighters

Lieutenant Rob Randall has been a firefighter for 16 years.

Oppressive heat isn’t the only issue. The wind also plays a role. A good breeze can shift fire lines in a moment’s notice.  Randall worked the Taylor Bridge Fire back in 2012. That wildfire burned more than 25,000 acres and destroyed 61 homes near Cle Elum. Randall says the wind ripped tents out of the ground and blew them into trees.

Firefighting is a dangerous and necessary profession. Not every firefighter can be deployed to assist with a wildfire. There’s a rigorous training process and yearly recertification is required. Randall chooses to re-up each time.  “If our community was in danger I would want people to come and help,” says Randall.  “It’s a great opportunity for us to go out and help others that don’t have the resources we have.”

This year’s wildfire season has been especially rough.  At the time of writing there were 10 wildfires on the books for 2014 including the largest ever in the state – the Carlton Complex Fire. That means firefighters like Randall will be busy. It also means they’ll be in harm’s way, something they don’t have to travel over the mountains to experience. It’s part of their daily lives.