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Applications Available for 2016 Arts Walk Cover Art

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 10:03am



Submitted by The City of Olympia

Olympia Arts Walk spring and fall 2016 will each celebrate the work of a local artist in the design of the maps for the events. A jury panel will recommend two artists – one for spring and one for fall – to be commissioned by the City of Olympia to each create a new, original work of art for the cover of the Arts Walk 2016 maps.

Intent of the annual selection is to provide a wide variety of style, media and subject mat­ter that reflects the diversity of the Arts Walk event.

Application Details:

  • Eligibility: Artists who have officially (name on the map or in a group show) participated in Olympia’s Arts Walk within the last two years are invited to submit images of current work; students are not eligible to apply.
  • Honoraria: $600
  • Deadline for Receipt of Application: Monday, November 16, 2015, 5pm
  • Applications Available:
  • Online:
  • Via Email:
  • By Calling:709.2678
  • In Person: The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW

Port of Olympia Marine Terminal Adds Dairy Cattle Cargo

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 9:18am


Submitted by The Port of Olympia

 Port of Olympia

The cows will travel on the MV Falconia, a specialized humane animal carrier. Photo courtesy: Port of Olympia

Port of Olympia is proud to announce the anticipated movement of 1400 head of dairy cattle to Vietnam in late November on the M/V Falconia, a specialized humane animal-carrier.

The country of Vietnam has launched a campaign geared toward minimizing childhood malnourishment through a strategy of providing “one glass of milk per child per day”. In doing so, they have followed the example of other countries who have been importing dairy cattle from the United States’ east coast.

The dairy cows will come from Idaho and Washington farms and will first stop for a 28-day quarantine at a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved farm facility. There, veterinarians will observe the condition of the animals prior to transporting them overseas.

Following the USDA-regulated holding period, the dairy cows will be moved to the Port and directly loaded to the ship. The cattle will board on a specialized platform and gangway that keep any hoof from touching the dock. The loading process is expected to take two days.

The loaded vessel will make way for Vietnam on about a two-week voyage with a veterinarian on board to ensure the cattle receive the best treatment. The USDA has vetted all parts of this supply chain to ensure the most humane handling of the animals, and the Port has taken the appropriate measures to alleviate environmental concerns.

The Marine Terminal’s efforts to attract new and diverse cargoes caught the attention of an agricultural customer working with local support. The Port hopes that this loading operation will encourage other companies moving cattle to Eastern Asia to consider Olympia, due to its highly-trained labor force and strong team approach.

Port of Olympia is proud to be connecting regional agricultural initiatives with global projects that diversify their cargo portfolio and help children around the world.


Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 8:57am



Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton

Rex is the Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Dog of the Week.

Rex is the Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Dog of the Week.

Meet Rex, a young Boxer Mix who is full of love and enthusiasm. Just over a year old, he is a puppy in an adult body. Even though he is full of energy, he does settle down nicely when you get him to focus on you, then he is full of snuggles and rolls over for belly rubs. He has been neutered and is up-to-date on his shots. He loves everyone and will make a wonderful companion for an active family who can devote time to working with him.

Rex is a friendly, social guy who will want to explore the neighborhood to meet everyone and all their pets so a secure fenced yard is needed.  This young boy has great  potential, loves people, thrives on attention, and with training, will grow up to be a wonderful adult.

We have many great dogs and always need volunteers to help them.  Visit our website at or contact Adopt-A-Pet, on Jensen Road in Shelton, at or (360) 432-3091. Join us on Facebook at “Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Washington”.

Filling Station Espresso: A Downtown Landmark

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 5:00am



By Jordyn Aden, Olympia High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Hometown logoFilling Station Espresso, located on the corner of 4th and Plum, is a known landmark in downtown Olympia. Before the building served coffee and dished out scones, it was a gas station called the Service Station, opened in the early 1900s. Now, alongside the food trucks and Abby’s Cupcakes, the Filling Station is thriving and luring a large and loyal customer base.

Longtime employee Iana Franks (left) and owner Carissa Dickson pose with Cyndi's loyal dog at the walk up window at Filling Station Espresso.

Longtime employee Iana Franks (left) and owner Carissa Dickson pose with Cyndi’s loyal dog at the walk up window at Filling Station Espresso.

Filling Station Espresso is a special place for many people. Over the years it’s grown and so has the area around it. Cyndi Dickson, Filling Station Espresso’s previous owner, built the once nearly vacant lot into a community with color, smiling faces, and good food and drink. There are a variety of different food shops and places to sit and eat. Cyndi Dickson created a very comfortable environment for people to come utilize during their lunch break or on the weekend after a long day of shopping or activities.

Cyndi passed away January 14, 2015 leaving the Filling Station in the hands of her hard-working daughter, Carissa Dickson. Her passing tugged at the hearts of everyone who knew her.  Carissa hopes she and her husband, Gaelen Fechner, can keep the Filling Station running in her mom’s memory. “It was always my mom’s little dream to create her own type of food or coffee,” Carissa explains. “We really hope that [the Filling Station] just continues to grow and thrive and we want to try to create a strong memory and presence of my mom.”

Cyndi bought Filling Station Espresso from Gary Couch in 1995 after working there for about a year with her daughter. Carissa remembers coming to the coffee shop after school when she was only 15 to work with her mom. Soon after, it began to bloom. After Carissa went off to college, in Bellingham, and her mom continued to put her heart into the business she now owned. In the beginning, Cyndi brewed Endicott Coffee from Puyallup and now the Filling Station uses locally roasted Hawthorne Coffee (previously Dino’s). But the quality coffee is only one of the reasons the business is still around today.

The caring community surrounding the Filling Station is a big reason why it’s still running. Many commented on how Cyndi and her giving spirit contributed to the business’s ongoing success. “I really feel like my mom was the big reason why people kept coming because she just loved it and she was so easy to talk to.  She genuinely cared about what was going on in your life,” Carissa says.

The Filling Station Espresso is an Olympia icon on the corner of 4th and Plum.

The Filling Station Espresso is an Olympia icon on the corner of 4th and Plum. Photo courtesy: Filling Station Espresso

“Everybody loved Cyndi. She was like the Olympia mom,” customer and friend, Shawn Harris, explains.

“[Cyndi] was always very supportive of me and my kids and she always gave good advice. She was like that with employees and customers,” longtime employee Sarah Roney says. Sarah has been working at the Filling Station for around ten years and has witnessed a lot of the progress Cyndi and her business promoted in the area. “I think, at first, we were the first espresso place in town so we got established that way,” Sarah says.

Before Cyndi was involved with the Filling Station, Gary Couch owned the building and used the garage behind it to store used cars that he sold. He began selling a few hot dogs and soon opened up the coffee shop to attract more customers. “When I first started going to the Filling Station there was coffee, but there were also cars out there,” says Shawn. At one point, Shawn recalls a group of guys turning the adjacent garage into a place where they would convert cars into hybrids. “They were turning diesel engines into hybrid cars for a little while, which was really weird. And I don’t think that lasted for very long,” he shares.

 Filling Station Espresso.

Filling Station Espresso began as an actual gas station (on the right in this image) early in the 1900s. Photo courtesy: Filling Station Espresso.

The Filling Station welcomes all and Shawn has always found the coffee shop to be an iconic Olympia location. The famous Star Wars wall stands behind the food trucks on the lot. Shawn remembers many people coming to take their picture by the wall. “Olympia always had this funky, artsy feel and the Filling Station totally has that.  It’s so representative of Olympia in that way,” he explains. Along with being very “Olympia,” the Filling Station has a close family of employees, past and present. “We always have good girls working there and we’re all friends,” Sarah says.

Cyndi worked hard to create a strong foundation for her business. Carissa worked all day with her mom on the weekends and after school on weekdays when she was younger. “We would work, just the two of us, from open to close,” Carissa remembers.

Cyndi’s great management skills allowed her to create the Filling Station Espresso vibe, always able to give advice or support valued by both employees and customers. “Cyndi, in general, was a very giving person and you never felt judged by her. She was just a really great friend,” Sarah Roney says. Many of the Filling Station customers had known Cyndi personally and when she passed away their loyalty did not fade. They now continue to come to the coffee shop to show their support and keep the customer employees bond strong.

It's the people that make FSE a special, and long-lasting, business.

It’s the loyal employees and customers that make Filling Station Espresso a special, and long-lasting, business. Photo Courtesy: Filling Station Espresso

Alongside her husband, Gaelen, Carissa hopes to continue to pursue her mom’s dream and stay connected to the Filling Station Espresso family that Cyndi constructed over the years. With the help of the loyal customer base, the Filling Station Espresso will be standing for many years to come and Cyndi’s memory will live along with it.

Filling Station Espresso

Corner of 4th and Plum, Olympia


Monday – Friday 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


Jeff Gaeckle Leads CBC Racing Team with Third Place Finish at USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 5:00am



By Grant Clark

red lionNearly three decades ago, Jeff Gaeckle, who was 16 years old at the time, suffered a significant injury. The incident occurred while he was skiing and he immediately knew it was bad.

As it turned out, the injury was so severe that knee surgery would be required, forcing the active teen to the sidelines for a considerable amount of time.

Thankfully, the operation went smooth and by all accounts was successful. However, at the time that did little to console Gaeckle as he knew it would be quite a while before he could return to the slopes.

Yes, he would be absent from the wintery sport he loved, but it didn’t take long for the silver lining to surface.

jeff gaeckle cyclocross

Olympia Orthopaedics Associates/CBC Racing Team member, Jeff Gaeckle, finished third in his category at the 2015 USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals. Photo credit: PB Creative.

“I needed to strengthen my leg. So, my doctor suggested I pick up cycling,” said Gaeckle about the conversation he had during the early stages of his rehabilitation.

The physician’s advice was immediately taken.

Gaeckle hasn’t stopped pedaling since.

Gaeckle is a member of Olympia Orthopaedic Associates/CBC Racing team – a regional race team based in Thurston County that supports road, mountain, track and cyclocross racing year round with its primary goal of growing its rider development program.

The team, open to men and women of all ages, aims to promote the training and participation in the sport of cycling through a model of health, discipline and cooperation.

“We won’t turn anyone away if they have the desire to be out there,” Gaeckle said. “We want people to enjoy it. We want people to come out and see if this is something for them.”

It’s already been a busy 2015 for Gaeckle and the OOA/CBC Racing team. Gaeckle has competed in approximately two dozen USA Cycling events and plans to close out the year by competing in several more.

He finished third in the Master 45-49 Category 1/2/3 division at the 2015 USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals on September 11 in Ogden, Utah, finishing the race in 2:26.59. Fellow OOA member David Chipchase was 39th overall (2:33.32). Dave Gordon, another OOA member was fifth overall in the Masters 55-60 Category.

It marked the fourth time since 2011 that Gaeckle has placed in the top 10 at the USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals. He finished 10th in 2011, ninth in 2012, and eighth in 2013 nationally in the Masters 40-44 division.

jeff gaeckle cyclocross

Olympia Orthopaedics Associates/CBC Racing team member, Tom Potter, leads the pack in the 56 – 59 age group of the Criterium during the USA Cycling Masters Road Nationals. Photo credit: Jeff Gaeckle.

In addition, Gaeckle finished fifth in the road racing men’s senior Category 1/2 division at the Washington State Road Race Championships at Northshore in June with OOA teammate and team president Gordon finishing 11th.

Currently, Gaeckle, and several of his teammates, have focused their training on the Deschutes River Cyclocross/Washington State Bike Association Cyclocross Championships on November 7 at Tumwater’s Pioneer Park.

Cyclocross, if you are not familiar with the unique sport, is a mixture of mountain biking and road racing. Riders navigate through a course filled with obstacles, several of which require them to dismount and carry their bikes for a portion of the race before remounting and continuing on the course.

The shortened course, which is usually between 1.5 and 2 miles, can feature a wide variety of surfaces integrated into the course, including grass, sand, pavement, gravel, mud and dirt, and is one of the more spectator-friendly cycling races you can find due to the fact that most races will consist of many laps with fans close to the action.

“The set-up really makes it exciting for the fans to watch,” Gaeckle said.

Gaeckle did not participate at last year’s Deschutes Cyclocross. Seattle’s Ron Huebner of the Bikesport Racing Team won the Men Master 45+ Cat 1/2 division.

A total of 24 categories will be contested at the WSBA CX Championships, beginning with the Category 4/5 Men, Category 4/5 Men Master 40+ and Category 4/5 Men Master 50+ at 9:00 a.m. and concluding with the Open All Categories at 2:40 p.m.

The event, which is sponsored by 53eleven, is expected to draw riders from Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Northern California and is free to spectators.

A USA Cycling license is required to participate in the race, which can be purchased at Online registration is $30 for standard categories and $15 for junior categories. Junior categories include a Tikes and Trikes Kid Race at noon, junior boys/girls 10-12, junior boys/girls 12-14 and junior boys/girls 15-16.

More information can be found at the Deschutes River CX/WSBA CX Championships website.

Ken Nelsen Finds Inner Beauty in the Ordinary

Sun, 10/25/2015 - 7:39am



By Kathalina Hoffman, Northwest Christian High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Ken Nelsen's over-sized rock tumblers are center stage in his workshop.

Ken Nelsen’s over-sized rock tumblers are center stage in his workshop.

From the outside, Ken Nelsen’s Tumwater house appears somewhat ordinary. However, upon entering, you will find it to be anything but. Spheres in an array of colors and sizes line the windows and occupy the shelves. Approximately 140 cut, shaped, and polished rock and mineral orbs hold residency inside Nelsen’s seemingly ordinary walls, turning the inside of his home into something remarkable.

The wonder does not stop there. His garage, or “the workshop” as he likes to call it, is teeming with an energy that is audible, even from the outside.

Ken’s garage has two rooms, both of which put parking as a second priority. The first holds five massive, homemade rock tumblers (hence the noise), the biggest built by Ken himself. Ken Nelsen is a rock tumbler:  an artist who finds exquisite beauty in the mundane. In multiple buckets and sprawled across the countertops are beautifully polished rocks bearing every color and design imaginable. Tucked away in cabinets are precious stones of exotic beauty that glisten when shown in the light of day.

It doesn’t stop there. The next room is where Ken’s true passion takes its shape – literally.  Almost perfectly round rocks are scattered about the room, waiting to be ground down into a perfect sphere before being polished to perfection. Over the years, Ken estimates he has polished over 200 spheres.

Ken Nelsen has an amazing collection of polished spheres on display in his house.

Ken Nelsen has an amazing collection of polished spheres on display in his house.

Ken Nelson’s passion for rock tumbling started in the 1950s at the bottom of a pit, digging for sapphires in Montana. His hobby started off small as a silversmith working with semi-precious stones. Later, he purchased his first rock tumbler. Then in 1988 he began making spheres. It wasn’t until 1990, when Ken retired, that his hobby transformed itself into the passion it is today.

Once retired, Ken and his wife Helen set off across the United States in search of beautiful rocks in the rough with nothing to guide them but a book.  Ken proudly states, “I’ve gathered 90 percent of all my rocks myself, about 35-40 tons over the years. Of course I’ve bought a few.”

Every year since retiring, Ken and Helen make a trip to Quartzite, Arizona, for the biggest rock show in the United States. There, rocks from all over the world can be bought and sold. Some of Ken’s more interesting purchases include Fire Opal from Australia, Star Granite from India, Crazy Lace agates from Mexico, natural Asbestos from Russia, Unakite from Africa, agates from Brazil, and Ocean Jasper from Madagascar.

He has also collected rocks and precious stones himself from all 48 continental states (he claims to have no interest in Alaska or Hawaii). The more memorable finds have been White Quartz in California, Pink Zebra in Utah, Lilypad in Oregon, Purple Sage in Wyoming, and Plume Agate from a now restricted zone in Death Valley.

While searching for the perfect rocks to tumble, Ken has made a few interesting finds. He has accidentally dug up fully intact fossils, purchased glass-gold stone that was made by monks in Italy, and came across a few meteorites. His best find, in his opinion, is a fossilized dinosaur dropping that he turned into a sphere. He jokingly disregards the find and complains on the quality of the sphere insisting, “It’s a real shame!”

Finding, polishing, and sharing rocks is Ken Nelsen's passion.

Finding, polishing, and sharing rocks is Ken Nelsen’s passion.

Rock tumbling, although not widely known, is not an uncommon interest. You do not have to be a “Ken Nelsen” to enjoy the hobby. Tumbling rocks is a fairly easy process with a large supply of patience as the main requirement. The rock tumbler itself is a cylinder placed sideways on a tumbler that spins the container. A mixture of grit, water, and the desired rocks are left to tumble for three to five weeks. Every week the grit inside is rinsed out and replaced with a softer, more powdery one until, during the final week when a polisher is substituted.

Rock tumbling is a fun and interesting hobby that is easy for anyone to do. You do not have to go far to find rocks that emerge transformed when tumbled. Everywhere you go, even in your backyard, there are different types of rocks with an inner beauty waiting to be discovered.

Growing up, I was a rock collector. Everywhere I went I insisted on taking a few home with me. When I received my first rock tumbler as a gift for my twelfth birthday, a new perspective emerged for my sought out treasures. I could now transform my findings into colorful, smooth handfuls of precious bobbles. I could take something ordinary and turned it into something extraordinary right inside my garage.

Through all his years, family has been the most important part of Ken’s life. He discovered tumbling from his father-in-law and has shared his passion with his own parents. His wife Helen used to make jewelry out of the little precious rocks and gems he tumbled, but has now, like Ken, retired.

When the day comes that Ken is unable to continue his hobby – “Not any time soon!” he insists – his son will be there to follow in his father’s footsteps. Ken’s joy for rock tumbling will be passed on through generations as members of his family continue to reveal the inner beauty in the ordinary.


Faces of the Olympia Farmers Market – Pieces to Peaces Gets ‘A Head’ One Headband at a Time

Sat, 10/24/2015 - 5:00am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

thurston solid wasteWe’ve heard that when life passes out lemons, make lemonade. When Danielle Hale found her life in pieces, she transformed it to ‘peaces.’ Hale channeled her time and artistic talents into a full-time business called Pieces to Peaces, that creates fashionable, comfy headbands, beanies, bows, scarves and more.

For years, Hale had been known by many as the person who wore big headbands. When her daughter Emerie was born, Hale right-sized the headbands to fit the baby’s smaller head. At first she simply “ripped up old t-shirts and tied them.” They were soft and cute.

When photos of Emerie in her charming head ties showed up on her Pieces to Peaces Instagram, friends began requesting them for their own children. Social media made the colorful bands popular. Pieces to Peaces has thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram.

pieces to peaces

Touch and try on Pieces to Peaces products at the Olympia Farmers Market.

Customers’ orders have been shipped to New York, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Oregon, North Dakota, Delaware and Arizona (to name a few), but Hale resides right here in Thurston County.

When Hale moved across the country, she left behind her skin care business but brought along her sewing. A leap of faith brought her all the way out to the Pacific Northwest. She landed in Seattle but a friend recommended Olympia. Hale moved here in 2014.

Since then, her business has quadrupled. Part of the growth has come from setting up shop at the Olympia Farmers Market this past spring.  (The Pieces to Peaces Etsy shop is also open 24/7.)

Wearing her own designs is always excellent advertising. Now the living room of her home is stacked with bolts of 4-way cotton with spandex stretch material (like yoga pants) made in the United States. Colorful patterns and bold solids line the shelves. Sometimes she finds 15 yards at a time; sometimes it’s 150 yards. People love the fun prints.

pieces to peaces

Hale still spends time at her sewing machine. In this photo, she is working on the popular Lumber Jane pattern.

To keep her Olympia Farmers Market stall open, Hale hired six women (mostly moms). The staffers enjoy the part-time employment while meeting Market shoppers and showing off the headbands, scarves and beanies.

Last year you would have found Danielle sitting at her sewing machine for more hours than you’d want to count. In order to expand the business, bring a degree of balance into her life, and keep some level of stock, she recruited four women (also mostly moms) to help her with the actual sewing. This in-home work provides an income source for these women, too. Though Hale realized it was hard to have items that she didn’t sew herself, she can now spend more time on the designs and running the business.

Handmade boutique products are a special treat.  We have Pieces to Peaces right here in Thurston County. View designs on the Pieces to Peaces website or touch the headbands while visiting the Olympia Farmers Market.  To connect with Pieces to Peaces, follow the shop on Facebook.

Sizes range from little baby heads to full-sized adult heads. The affordable fashion runs from $4 – $22. If you are looking for even more personal attention, you might order matching headbands for your cheerleading squad or select team-colored beanies for your favorite sports league or tailgating friends. Not surprisingly, the blue/green Seahawks items are wildly popular. Local orders are shipped for free.

Pieces to Peaces is the fruition of Danielle Hale’s dedication to creating a self-supporting enterprise while being environmentally conscious. The business provides fun fashion and warmth at affordable rates.

pieces to peaces

Headbands, bows, and beanies await you at the Pieces to Peaces stall at the Olympia Farmers Market.

Hale is happy to make her home here. She says, “Olympia is my place.” Success has in no way gone to her head, but her business certainly revolves around the head.


The Grass is Always Greener with Spring-Green — Thurston County’s Lawn Care Experts

Sat, 10/24/2015 - 5:00am



spring green lawn care

As the owner of three Spring-Green Lawn Care franchises across the South Sound, Mike Bell knows lawns.

Your lawn is important. It’s the first thing people see pulling up to your home. It’s where your family spends summer afternoons, and it’s the splash of green that — at least in the Pacific Northwest — adds color to our otherwise gray and gloomy days.

But unless you’re a lawn care expert, properly maintaining your lawn can be a challenge. From wild grasses and unruly weeds to unwanted pests and a variety of lawn diseases, keeping your grass looking its finest can be time consuming and expensive.

When you’ve exhausted your resources and feel like giving up, there’s a team of local experts you should call: Spring-Green Lawn Care.

Since 2006, Mike Bell and his talented team at Spring-Green have been helping Thurston County-area residents grow and maintain lush lawns that are certain to make any next-door neighbor green with grass envy.

Spring-Green grows local roots

Mike’s background is in management, and his experience has taken him all around the world. But despite living and working in countries like Brazil and Turkey, Mike always felt close to the Pacific Northwest — after all, his wife grew up in Shelton and the couple even had a beach house on the Hood Canal while living overseas.

In the early 2000s, Mike and his wife moved back to Washington, but only in his mid 50s, Mike wasn’t quite ready to retire. Mike decided that purchasing a local Spring-Green Lawn Care was the right choice for him.

In his first year owning Spring-Green, Mike says business doubled, and in the years that followed, it continued to grow. It even persevered through the economic downturn that hit in 2008, and today Mike’s area of service has expanded to Thurston, Lewis and Pierce Counties.

Sowing success

Spring-Green’s success can be attributed to many factors, but at the root of it all is the local business’s top-notch customer service. “We strive to make sure our customers are satisfied,” says Mike. “Our contract is the customer’s satisfaction.” And at Spring-Green, there really is no contract – just a commitment to quality lawn care and unmatched customer service.

spring green lawn care

From aeration and overseeding to speciality care for ornamental grasses, shrubs and trees, Spring-Green Lawn Care is a local, affordable choice when it comes to the health of your lawn and yard.

“Our philosophy is that we strive to provide our customers with balanced lawn care programs that are environmentally sound and reasonably priced,” says Mike. “And, the customer is always right.”

Offering everything from lawn fertilization and weed control, to aeration and overseeding, moss control, root feeding and more, Spring-Green Lawn Care offers Thurston County-area residents a wide range of services tailored to meet their lawn’s individual needs.

Keep it green

In addition to offering a wide variety of lawn, shrub and small tree care services, Spring-Green is also committed to practicing environmentally sound practices, which, for lawn owners with children and pets, can be a real game changer. Using methods that pinpoint problem areas rather than saturate the entire lawn in chemicals, Spring-Green is able to stamp out weeds, wild grasses and other problems without introducing new ones.

In addition to the environmentally-friendly efforts Spring-Green makes on its own, the neighborhood business also strictly adheres to all of the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s lawn care recommendations.

The grass is always greener on the other side

Maintaining your lawn is tough work. No matter the season, there’s always work to be done. However, if you’re tired of spending hours of your weekend working in the yard, Spring-Green Lawn Care offers an affordable and effective alternative to DIY lawn care.

And they don’t just stop at lawn. Ornamental grasses, shrubs and small trees require special care, which is why the experts at Spring-Green are a trusted choice when it comes to caring for the most delicate parts of your lawn.

Whether you need help controlling pesky weeds, breathing new life into your lawn, or rehabilitating a withering shrub, Spring-Green is an affordable, trusted choice.

Spring-Green Lawn Care

Mike Bell, Owner

360-438-2885 |

Olympia Author Ellen King Rice Launches New Thriller, EvoAngel

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 10:54am



Submitted by Ellen King Rice

Ellen King Rice's new book, EvoAngel, is a thriller set in Olympia.

Ellen King Rice’s new book, EvoAngel, is a thriller set in the Pacific Northwest.

The foggy days of autumn are perfect for creepy thoughts about what might lurk in our wild woods. Olympia resident, Ellen King Rice, has been at work creating a “mushroom thriller” that explores potential changes in our DNA. Ellen’s book, The EvoAngel, is set in the Pacific Northwest and features two special fields of science: epigenetics and evolutionary development. Ellen says, “Both of these sciences will provide frequent news stories in the next decade as they reveal the power, adaptability and symbiosis of life on earth. My thriller connects climate changes to activation of existing segments in our DNA. The catalyst for activation may come from the fungi.”

“I turned to modern technology to address the expense of launching a book. I created a Kickstarter campaign. It was fully funded in one week! I’d like others to know how useful Kickstarter can be to support publications and other creative works. My campaign runs until October 31 and can be seen here:

People can still participate in this campaign if they would like to have an advance copy of The EvoAngel.

“The Kickstarter campaign will give me the funds to have a professional book cover and professional book formatting. It will also pay for the printing of advance copies so I can begin promoting the book.

There’s more information on the book and the sciences behind the story at Ellen’s website:


Olympia’s Stella Grimsted Puts The Pedal Down In Cross Country

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 5:00am



By Gail Wood

mullinax fordThis is a story about Stella Grimsted’s unexpected journey and her surprise success.

Last year, as a freshman at Olympia High School, Grimsted lined up at the starting line in her first cross country race not knowing what to expect. It was a team time trial, a test to see who were the team’s fastest runners. And, to Grimsted’s surprise, she finished first.

“I didn’t even know I was going to be on varsity until that first race,” Grimsted said at a recent practice. “I was surprised.”

And Grimsted, who is quiet and soft spoken, continued to surprise everyone for the rest of the season, eventually qualifying for state and placing 26th. with a season-best time of 18:56 to help the Bears place 10th. She continues to be her team’s top runner. But now instead of being the surprise package, she carries the burden of expectations. It’s a role she’s adjusting to.

olympia cross country

Kiersten Kimminau (left), Stella Grimsted (middle) and Brenna Carlson are the Bears top three runners.

“I like being the surprise better,” Grimsted said with a smile.

But Grimsted hasn’t buckled. She’s got plenty of support and teammates to push her. Rather than being a one-rabbit team, Olympia is loaded. And to help the team achieve, Olympia coach Cris Violette has bumped up their workouts, running 40 to 50 miles a week.

“The potential I see in this team is probably the best I’ve seen in my 27, 28 years I’ve been here,” Violette said “We’ve already had three girls break 20 minutes. There’s a possibility of a couple more.”

Besides Grimsted, Brenna Carlson and Kiersten Kimminau, the Bears’ No. 2 and No. 3 runners, have already finished under that 20-minute mark for a 5K race. They’ve been taking turns finishing second at meets behind Grimsted. Last year, Carlson, now a senior, finally broke through the “I can do this” barrier. Her break through moment came in track last spring when she ran 1,600 meters in 5:16.

“I finally convinced her that she could do it,” Violette said. “She ran a 5:16. Stella was our top cross country runner and she ran 5:25. So she’s gotten faster this year. She’s gotten a lot better.”

olympia cross country

Coach Cris Violette talks with his team before the start of the recent Capital Invite.

Believing is the first step to doing in cross country.

“I’ve told her she’s going to be a very good runner,” Violette said. “She just has to start believing in herself.”

Last spring when she went from 5:37 to 5:16 in the 1,600, Violette gave her some encouraging words.

“I told her, ‘You still have more in the tank,’” Violette said. “‘It’s getting her to believe. We’re seeing that. Not letting her mind go, ‘Do I belong here?’”

Kimminau, a junior, is a transfer from Northwest Christian High School, a 2B power that has won numerous state titles. It didn’t take long for the new kid to fit in.

“The team brought her in right away,” Violette said. “She just fit in. Kiersten and Brenna are close. It was a really good fit for her.”

Like Grimsted, Kimminau puts down the pedal and keeps a good hard pace during a race.

olympia cross country

Kiersten Kimminau (left) and Brenna Carlson build their lead in a race at Capital High School.

“She’ll go out with the leaders,” Violette said about Kimminau. “She’s not afraid to go out. Her strength is her whole race.”

Grimsted, who started running in eighth grade, is glad she’s got teammates pushing her with a fast pace at practice. It prepares her for meets. At the recent Capital Invite, Carlson won the 2.1 mile race in 14:21 and the Bears took the top six spots. Kimminau was second in 14:34, and Maia Halvorson was third in 14:44. Grimsted didn’t race because she had a meet in Gig Harbor for sophomores.

“Like for workouts, it pushes me,” Grimsted said about the Bears’ depth. “I don’t think I’d push myself as much at workouts if I didn’t have them with me.”

Grimsted doesn’t just push herself in cross country. She also pushes herself in the classroom. She’s got a cumulative grade point average of 4.0. She’s never had anything lower than an “A” on her report card – not in grade school, middle school or high school.

“School is important,” she said.

Carlson’s big breakthrough came last year when she beat a friend and a teammate for the first time in a race at Yakima.

olympia cross country

The Olympia Bears get set to begin a race at the Capital Invite. The Bears took the top six places.

“I was intimidated,” Carlson said. “Physically I was there, but mentally I was thinking she was always ahead of me. So, once I had a break through race and I figured out what I could do. It clicked.”

And Carlson finished with her best time.

“I said you know what I’m not going to hold myself back,” Carlson said. “I’m going to do what I can do.”

That’s been a team motto for the Bears. To accomplish that, they’ve put in the miles and they’ve also had time for having fun. Recently, the team had a “lasagna hangout” at Halvorson’s home. Halvorson, a senior, is usually the Bears’ fourth finisher.

“It’s about having fun and letting go,” Violette said. “It’s about building friendships.”

That’s another of Violette’s ingredients to success – having fun.


YWCA Announces 2015 Olympia Women & Business of Achievement Honorees

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 5:00am



Submitted by YWCA of Olympia

Khurshida Begum

Khurshida Begum

Khurshida Begum: Khurshida is an internationally renowned speaker and human rights advocate for survivors of modern day slavery. It is her goal to provide comprehensive, culturally competent, interactive training sessions through her business Humanity Unlimited.  Her work educates and empowers first responders, community members, educators, and youth on human trafficking and other forms of human exploitation.  According to her nominator, “Khurshida has been victimized by racism and sexism but she is not a victim. She has emerged as a leader who not only refused to be broken by cruelty and violence but who has also devoted her life to ending it everywhere.”

Khurshida’s dramatic story of survival and overcoming has molded her into a powerful, credible leader and speaker.  Her audiences leave having been deeply impacted, changed, and with a new commitment to being compassionate. Khurshida teaches what it means to be a bigger, better human, and shows by her own example what extreme kindness looks like…and what is possible. She deliberately engages with her audiences, sharing her unbelievable experiences for the purpose of changing old thought patterns and habitual behaviors into real individual accountability for humanity.

As a survivor of human trafficking, Khurshida brings insight only gained through first-hand experience. She uses this level of personal understanding when approaching vulnerable situations and is passionate about teaching others how to properly engage with survivors of violence and exploitation through emotional and cultural competency. Her priorities are to share with others her secrets to survival as well as how to identify and empower victims of exploitation and abuse by extending trust and support. It is her goal to educate, inspire and challenge those passionate about eradicating exploitation of human beings and to take positive and effective action.  She is truly a Woman of Achievement whose efforts will allow many more women and children to live their lives with freedom and dignity.

Barbara Clarkson

Barbara Clarkson

Barbara Clarkson (Racial Justice): Barbara Clarkson is a longtime community advocate and Trustee at South Puget Sound Community College and the SPSCC Foundation, passionate about letting us know “It is time for the community to show up” and leading by example. As a charter member of the Thurston Group of Washington Board of Directors, she has helped raise over $6M to support over 850 students with scholarships and financial aid. As one nominator noted “Barbara’s vision is to help children and young adults see beyond their cultural and economic circumstances and learn to look past the perceived limiting factors in their lives and dream by continuing their education, to achieve their dreams”. Barbara “transcends the community of color to all colors of our rainbow community.”

Barbara has always embraced the entire community by forming alliances and partnerships. As a Black person residing in Thurston County, her enjoyment comes from exploring opportunities that have allowed her to continue volunteering and meeting new friends. Barbara is past and/or current volunteer with South Puget Sound Community College, Thurston Group of Washington State, Lacey Sister City with Minsk Mazowiecki, Poland, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at SPSCC, the Black Alliance of Thurston County, Ladies of Elks Lodge #186, Kiwanis Ladies, and the Urban League Branch of Thurston County.

Barbara enjoys traveling, where exposure to different cultures and ways of life truly provide an understanding of the ways of life.  Barbara refuses to let her life be one dimensional. She believes that you cannot break down the racial divide by staying on your side of the fence.  She truly embodies the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women

Kristin Jacobsen

Kristin Jacobsen

Kristin Jacobsen: When Kristin gave birth to her daughter in the summer of 2009, she was sure that she had made a horrible, selfish mistake. She saw the life she had before growing fainter with each night of no sleep, and with every infant cry, she was unknowingly stepping further and further along the path of postpartum anxiety and depression. Now, with her sweet baby girl in first grade, Kristin remembers all too clearly the shame she felt at being a mom who was not head-over-heels in love with her new role – and who felt like she could not tell anyone how she actually felt.

Now, as a business owner and advocate, Kristin has found her passion in life lies with lifting up moms who are on their own journey of growth, and who may see their own experience as a mom reflected back at them in the story of someone else.  She lives and amplifies the notion that empowered moms lead to healthy families.

She is a volunteer leader for the Climb Out of the Darkness, a fundraiser for the non-profit Postpartum Progress, and has brought the Climb to Olympia ever since its inception three years ago. In 2015, Jessica Juergens joined her as Climb co-leader. Based on the idea that every day with a postpartum mood disorder is the longest day, the Climb is held on or near the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, and represents the fight and the journey back to self that moms go through as they identify and treat postpartum mood disorders. Postpartum Progress is the world’s largest and first patient-focused organization that works to create a safe space where women can recognize when they need help for maternal mental illness, feel safe reaching out for help, are armed with accurate information in order to be their own advocate and know that a community of thousands of other mothers stands behind them and next to them. One nominator noted that, “Kristin’s work gives a voice to an illness which is so often cloaked in shame and isolation, letting us know that we are not alone, it is not our fault, and with the right treatment and support, we can get better.”

Kristin is a Trustee on the Board of Directors for the Child Care Action Council, which serves parents and early learning providers in Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam counties. The Child Care Action Council advocates for children and families at the local, state and federal level, helps create new child care programs to meet needs, offers training programs for child care professionals and educates parents in evaluating the quality of their child’s care.

Kristin owns a local FIT4MOM franchise, bringing Stroller Strides classes to moms in Lacey and DuPont. More than a workout, FIT4MOM classes are about empowering women to build the strength for motherhood. Whether it is about sleeping, teething, feeding, tummy time, learning to walk, doctor’s appointments, funny rashes, tantrums or any of the other new and big questions that moms must face, the FIT4MOM village is that safe space where all moms can find an understanding hug and ears to listen. Kristin’s clients are largely military families, based out of Joint Base Lewis McChord, and she feels particularly strongly that military families need and deserve a supportive village of moms immediately upon their arrival at a new location. The activities offered by FIT4MOM are shown to reduce the length and severity of postpartum mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and Kristin sees a strong and important connection between the advocacy and empowerment work of Postpartum Progress and the strength-building and empowerment work of FIT4MOM.

Marsha Tadano Long

Marsha Tadano Long

Marsha Tadano Long: In almost all of her positions with the State of Washington, from Vocational Education Program Specialist to Director of the Department of General Administration, Marsha was the first woman and/or person of color to hold that position.  She was a trailblazer who knew very well that her success as a woman of color would bode well for those women and people of color who came behind her.  “I understood the significance of performing well, and I welcomed the challenge,” she says upon reflection of her 29 years in state government.

Marsha has a long history of service to the community as a volunteer supporting various organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League, YWCA of Olympia, the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, the Thurston County Food Bank, and the Hands on Children’s Museum.

With her husband, Merritt D. Long, she founded the Learning Seed Foundation in 2001, currently held at the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, which awards new and renewable scholarships to graduating high school seniors, primarily students of color.   Most of the students are the first in their families to go to college.  As of 2015, over $278,000 has been awarded to 79 students from Thurston and Pierce counties.  89% are students of color, and 82% are women. On a personal level she provides ongoing support and leadership for students through mentoring, tracking progress, hosting them in her home, and inviting them back to speak about what their education has meant to them.

Marsha’s commitment to supporting young people extends to mentoring young professional women in our community.  Her actions over the years clearly reflect the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racial and gender inequality and advancing the social and economic status of all women and girls.

 Kimberly Perry

Kimberly Perry

2015 Young Woman of Achievement, Kimberly Perry: Kimberly has possessed a love of science and medicine her whole life and is a tremendous example of a girl without limits!

She is currently a junior at Black Hills High School and is enrolled in the Running Start Program at South Puget Sound Community College. Kimberly has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her entire academic career while taking on AP and Honors-level classes. She plans on graduating in 2017 with her high school degree and an Associate in Biology, heading to medical school shortly thereafter.

Kimberly is an 8-year member of the Girls Without Limits! Program at the YWCA. She has a passion for STEM and she has served as a GWOL Jr. Counselor for the past three years, dedicating her summers to empowering and encouraging girls who are interested in STEM.  She leads by example and is a wonderful role model for campers.

2015 Business of Achievement: TOGETHER!

Local nonprofit TOGETHER! was selected as the 2015 YWCA of Olympia Business of Achievement for their active support of women and families in the workplace, leadership development and commitment to racial & gender equity.

TOGETHER! offers flexible work schedules to meet the needs of their employees and have a children-at-work program that provides the flexibility required for families with babies, toddlers, adolescents and teens.

Together! logoThey are also dedicated to leadership & career advancement and have created and are implementing a new professional development process for their staff, serving to better support employees’ growth and development. In addition, TOGETHER! aids staff in continuing their education, offering flexibility work schedules and a supportive work environment for employees. Their efforts have directly supported four current staff members to continue college or graduate school coursework, and the agency remains committed to assisting their staff to obtain professional certifications to advance their skill, professional standing and earning potential.

To address economic parity among their staff and organization, TOGETHER! engaged in an intensive assessment of the competitiveness of their staff wages through regional salary study, which resulted in wage increases for a large proportion of staff at multiple levels.

Finally, their Board of Directors and employment recruitment practices engage women and communities of color. While acknowledging that their staff is not as diverse as the community in which they provide services, they are working tirelessly to address race, gender and wage gaps and they continue to engage in conversations about race, disproportionality (inequitable discipline in school), and social justice, incorporating their learning in leadership of the agency.

TOGETHER! walks their talk supporting other local organizations, whether it be to address classism, sexism and racism, women’s health, in-school programming, parent engagement, economic empowerment and collective impact public health initiatives. Their work aligns with the YWCA mission to eliminate racial and gender inequity and advance the social and economic status of all women and girls.

The YWCA of Olympia congratulates TOGETHER!, whose mission is to engage and mobilize families, schools and the community to advance the health, safety and success of local youth.


Boggs Inspection Services, Reynolds Real Estate Donate $1110 to Muscular Dystrophy Association

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 5:00am



boggs home inspection

Dwayne Boggs, Heather Rowell, and Randy Reynolds celebrate their donation to the Muscular Dystrophy Association to be matched by Reynolds Real Estate.

During the month of September, Dwayne Boggs and his team at Boggs Inspection Services pledged to donate $5 for every inspection they completed to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. September, being national Muscular Dystrophy month, was a natural place for the South Sound home inspection team to extend their already local charitable donations to the national level.

The close relationship between the real estate team at Weichert Reynolds Real Estate and Boggs Inspection Services sparked the idea and Randy Reynolds agreed to match the donations Dwayne and his team would make. Read more about Reynold’s personal connection to Muscular Dystrophy here to learn why this cause is so near and dear to his heart.

Little did Dwayne or Randy know when they struck their bargain that Boggs Inspection Services would have one of their busiest months in the history of the company. During September, the Boggs Inspection team logged 111 inspections amounting to $555 for MDA. With dollar for dollar matching from the Reynolds Team, the donation totals $1,110 for Muscular Dystrophy.

boggs home inspection

Each holiday season, Boggs Inspection Services purchases hundreds of poinsettias, supporting a local dance group, and delivers them to local realtors as a thank you for working with the Boggs Team.

“We really wanted to do something to give back, and not just take in the dollars, along with the trust, that the community gives us,” shares Dwayne of his motivation for the donation.

Reynolds was moved by the donation, saying “Dwayne, I want to thank you for all you’ve done to support MDA. The donation means a lot to families going through the struggle of diagnosis and treatment.”

Reynold’s knows first-hand the challenges, both financially and emotionally, for families facing a Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis and shared with his real estate team the impact that every dollar has for families.

“I want to thank each and every one of you,” said Dwayne to a conference room filled with Weichert Reynolds Real Estate agents and brokers on October 14, 2015. “Each one of you who chose to use us during the month of September contributed to this donation.”

The two partners and friends celebrated after Boggs and office manager Heather Rowell presented Reynolds with a ceremonial check to the applause of the entire staff, knowing their teamwork and philanthropy would extend far beyond the office walls to help others.

boggs home inspection

Dwayne Boggs is involved throughout the community, giving back as a “thank you” to all those who support him and his team.

Boggs Inspection Services is no stranger to giving back, however, and they engage locally in a number of annual and individual charity activities. Each holiday season, Boggs Inspection Services supports a local dance booster club, Inspired to Dance Booster Club, by purchasing hundreds of holiday poinsettias from the group. The fundraiser helps cover the significant expenses of competitive dance from costumes to travel to competition fees. Read more about Inspired to Dance and their teamwork with Boggs Inspection Services here.

In addition, Dwayne is an active member of the Gateway Rotary Club, a local group whose motto is “Service above Self.” Their annual Brats Brews and Bands event brings in a significant amount for local charities and Boggs is ready to pitch in each year to make the event a success.

Boggs Inspection Services also supports education through donations to the scholarship fund at South Puget Sound Community College. Their $500 donation helps fund training and classes for students aiming to earn degrees and launch more productive futures.

When asked if he intends to continue his charitable giving efforts, locally and nationally, Boggs smiles. “Oh, I’m just getting started. I love to give back and support the community that supports my small business and helps it to grow. It’s a natural partnership and one I will continue with.”

To schedule an inspection with Boggs Inspection Services call 360-480-9602 or visit Boggs Inspection Services online.


Ronelle Funk Empowers Women with a Purple Purse

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 5:00am



ronelle funk

Ronelle Funk (right) with Marilyn Zuckerman Funk (left) on the Purple carpet before the unveiling of the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse in New York City.

Ronelle Funk, owner and president of Ronelle Funk Insurance, and member of the national Allstate Against Abuse Team, recently returned from New York City after attending an unveiling of the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is a public awareness and fundraising campaign aimed at creating long-term safety and security for domestic violence survivors through financial empowerment.

One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Most people think only of physical abuse when they consider domestic violence, yet financial abuse happens in 98 percent of all domestic violence cases, leaving women trapped and unable to leave. In fact, the number one reason domestic violence survivors stay or return to an abusive relationship is that they don’t have the financial resources to break free.

“Domestic violence exists across all socio-economic sectors,” says Funk, who attended the fundraising event. “The biggest obstacle women face when it comes to financial abuse is that their abuser controls access to their resources making it almost impossible for women to escape the situation.”

Unveiling of the Purple Purse in NYC

Funk was one of only 14 agents selected by Allstate—out of the more than 900 agents involved nationwide—to participate in the kick-off of this year’s campaign held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on September 24. The event featured designer Dee Ocleppo, her husband Tommy Hilfiger and actress and spokesperson for the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse campaign, Kerry Washington.

“We personally met with all three of them in Tommy Hilfiger’s private suite in the hotel, prior to the event”, says Funk. “Over 100 purses were personally signed by Tommy, Dee and Kerry, and have been used for fundraising efforts across the country. People can purchase their own purple purse from Saks, and a portion of the proceeds from every sale will benefit the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse non-profits.”

ronelle funk purple purse

Ronelle holds one of the autographed Purple Purses that will be auctioned off to raise money to fight financial abuse.

“The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse represents the center of a woman’s financial domain,” explained Washington in her public service video. “Our campaign uses a purse as the symbol to educate people about domestic violence and the financial abuse that usually traps women in violent relationships.”

The Purple Purse campaign involves more than 160 national, state and local organizations that provide life-changing services to domestic violence survivors across the country.

In 2014, the community partners that joined in support of Purple Purse fundraising raised over $2.5 million to help give survivors of domestic violence the financial knowledge, skills and resources they need to be free from abuse.

Call for a quote and raise awareness

“I was very inspired to be at the unveiling of the Purple Purse,” explains Funk who has joined with Fund for Women & Girls of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to auction off one of the autographed Purple Purses at their 2016 Power of the Purse fundraising luncheon on March 8, 2016.

A 2014 survey, commissioned by The Allstate Foundation, reported that nearly eight in 10 Americans (or 78 percent) say they have not heard much about financial abuse as it relates to domestic violence. Additionally, Americans think that financial abuse is the least likely form of abuse to be recognized by an outsider.

ronelle funk purple purse

Ronelle poses with actress Kerry Washington, the ambassador for the Purple Purse Campaign in NYC.

During October, if you call one of Funk’s offices at (360) 491-3376 in Lacey or (360) 458.6061 in Yelm for an insurance quote, she will donate $10 to SafePlace Olympia. There is no obligation to purchase insurance.

“As a member of the Allstate Against Abuse Team, I am willing to speak to any group about the importance of women’s financial independence and security,” says Funk. “Women who want to leave an abuser are often trapped. And if they do leave, they often come back because they have no resources to escape the situation. As with so many issues, education is the key to empowering and inspiring someone who otherwise would be trapped in the abuse cycle.”

Groups that would like to invite Ronelle Funk to speak on the subject may contact her via email at

To make a donation to raise awareness of financial abuse visit


Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 5:00am



Falls colors are stunning as you drive around town.  Take a moment in the hustle and bustle of work, school, soccer and dance practices, and errands to appreciate the crisp air, blue skies, and gorgeous views of fall.  And, if this weekend finds you in need of something do to fill those beautiful fall days, turn to ThurstonTalk’s event calendar. It’s packed with the goings on around town and offers a little something for everyone.  Below are some highlights along with information on the best fall fun around.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our events calendar.


The Mud Bay Jugglers Celebrate their 35th Anniversary with a Benefit Show

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 9:24am



Submitted by the Olympia Family Theater and Mud Bay Jugglers


mud bay jugglers

For their 25th anniversary show in 2005, the Mud Bay Jugglers included (from left) Larry Levine, Alan Fitzthum, and Doug Martin (left to right). Photo credit: Jason Hunter.

Celebrate 35 years with the Mud Bay Jugglers! On November 14th at 7:00 pm the internationally acclaimed Mud Bay Jugglers will present their 35th anniversary show at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. “Thirty-five years is a big milestone for us, a milestone we would like to share with our community, friends and family here in our hometown,” says Doug Martin co-founder of the collaborative performing arts company. “Most of the time we are on the road from Alberta to Ohio and everywhere in between, but our anniversary show is for Olympia.”

This special show promises exceptional juggling, music, physical comedy and a touch of sentiment. “Our show is definitely for all ages, no need to be a child or have a child with you to enjoy it, we all bring our inner child with us,” says Alan Fitzthum, second longest standing member of the company. “I can’t believe that it’s been 35 years, it just proves the old adage that time flies when you’re having fun.”

“What really excites me about this production is that we are coming together in collaboration with others both onstage and off, ” says Doug. “My son, Amiel, will be joining us on stage with his two juggling partners, Jules and River. They will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary as the Juggling Jollies. Also joining us will be the Tune Stranglers blending music with action to create a visual and sound collage pleasing and entertaining at every beat.”

Thirty-five years ago, two bearded young friends began experimenting with gravity. These unabashed and exuberant risk takers were soon entertaining and amazing audiences. Their joy and humor compelled another to join, and the collaboration expanded. Taking their name from Olympia’s magical Mud Bay, they traveled the continent, performing thousands of shows at festivals, colleges, and theaters. They developed a unique performance style that combined impossible looking juggling with precise choreography, physical comedy, and theatrical flourishes.

mud bay jugglers

Harry Levine (left), Alan Fitzthum (center), and Doug Martin (right) juggle fire during the finale of The Mud Bay Jugglers’ 30th Anniversary show in 2010. Photo courtesy: Mud Bay Jugglers.

Like fine wine (and facial hair) their show has grown richer and fuller over the years. The beneficiary organization for this event is Olympia Family Theater, a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 that engages audiences of all ages in performances and programs that entertain and educate. Olympia Family Theater is your community partner in raising imaginative, loving, joyful and confident children. Their educational programs provide opportunities for personal development for young people, teaching creativity and responsibility, encouraging teamwork and personal integrity, and fostering self-esteem and appreciation for the performing arts.

The last Mud Bay Jugglers show in Olympia was five years ago and was a benefit for Encore Arts. “That show pretty much sold out and we were happy that we could raise some funds for Encore Arts and have great fun at the same time!” says Doug. Do reserve your tickets soon for the best seats!

The performance will take place Saturday November 14 at 7:00 p.m. at The Washington Center, located at 512 Washington St SE, Olympia.  The Lobby opens at 6:00 p.m.
Advance ticket purchase is recommended and can be made online or by phone with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Tickets are available 24 hours online at or at The Washington Center box office. The Washington Center Box Office is open Tuesday-Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. and two hours before any ticketed event.

  • Single Adult Tickets: $25.00
  • Senior/Student/Military: $16.00
  • Youth (Under 12): $13.00
  • Groups of 20+ get 20% discount

Thrifty Thurston Picks 9 Family Friendly Fall Activities in Olympia

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 5:16am



By Kate Scriven

Capitol City Honda sponsorColorful leaves. Crisp walks in the park. Pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Pumpkin spice everything.

These are some iconic images and outings of fall in Thurston County. And while I love everything on the list above, there is fun to be had beyond the pumpkin patch and scenic stroll all throughout Olympia. Engage in the arts. Lace up your running shoes for a fall 5K. Meet your neighbors at a local Harvest Festival. Tap into your creative side as a family.

Pick from our list below for fall family fun with a twist.

olympia family theater

The Olympia Family Theater is running the family favorite “Mercy Watson to the Rescue” through October 30. Photo courtesy: Olympia Family Theater.

1.   The Washington Center for the Performing Arts – This downtown anchor isn’t just for the grown-ups. Many of The Washington Center’s shows are family friendly, with several sure to delight this fall. Not only will the performance on stage dazzle your kids, but the experience of visiting this intimate, yet impressive venue, will leave them feeling all grown up. Good family picks for this fall include Exploring Mars: Rovers of the Red Planet, SOGO’s Fall Concert, Golden Dragon Acrobats, Warren Miller’s Chasing Shadows, Mud Bay Jugglers 35th Anniversary Show, or the super popular Stunt Dog Experience.

2.  Olympia Family Theater – If your kiddos aren’t quite ready to sit through a full length performance, consider introducing them to theater this fall through Olympia Family Theater. With their new location on 4th Avenue in downtown Olympia and mainstage and daytime performances, there is certainly something to suit your brood. Their feature this fall is “Mercy Watson to the Rescue”. This stage adaptation of the popular children’s book will delight all ages with the antics of adorable pet pig, Mercy. OFT will follow with the classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

3.  Thurston County Ghost Towns – Forget the haunted houses and creepy corn mazes. Find some real live ghost towns right in our county. Tono, south of Tenino, isn’t just a ghost town, but has nearly disappeared. Read the story of Tono here, then head south to explore the eerily empty site. Near the Mima Mounds, Bourdeaux is another previous boom town that has nearly vanished. Find details here on the history on this ghost town and how to visit. Head a bit further south (between Chehalis and Adna) to Claquato, a ghost town with an 1857 historic church and old cemetery to explore.

lattins cider mill

Lattin’s Cider Mill hosts special events each weekend in October to celebrate their Apple Festival.

4.  Lattin’s Cider Mill Apple Festival – Well, this sort of falls into the “pumpkin patch” category as Lattin’s has a little bit of everything to offer to offer families looking for fall fun. However, visit during their Apple Festival, held each weekend during the month of October. Hay rides and live music, including an appearance by local favorites Oly Mountain Boys, are featured as is all things apple. Do not miss the apple fritter. It really is worth the drive.

5.  Olympia Film Festival – Capitol Theater, in the heart of downtown Olympia and home to the Olympia Film Society, hosts the Olympia Film Festival from November 6 to 15 this year. While many of the features are for the 18 and up crowd, the festival also boasts “Kids Club” selections, a great way to introduce your kids to the world of film beyond the Disney standards. Check the festival website for full listings.

6.  Visit a Holiday Bazaar – These handmade shopping events start populating the ThurstonTalk Events Calendar earlier and earlier each year and are a great way to spend a day as a family. My girls like to search for fun, unique gifts for their cousins or grandparents among the offerings and it’s a great opportunity for them to work from a budget (supplied by mom). These events are also a fun way to truly shop local, sending your hard-earned dollars directly back into the pockets of you neighbors, enriching our whole community. Use our categories feature on the calendar to search only for Holiday Bazaars coming up.

7. Run a 5K (or fun run) as a Family – There are tons of opportunities to stretch your legs and get fit with your family this fall. Even better? Most of these runs support local charity groups. Here are a few races to check out:

stunt dogs

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts has multiple offerings to delight the entire family this fall, including the popular Stunt Dog Experience. Photo courtesy: The Washington Center.

8. Find a Harvest Festival – Fun fests featuring apple bobbing, cake walks, live music and more are offered throughout the county. Bonus with these events is that they are usually indoors. Perfect when the weather isn’t cooperating. Search our Events Calendar for county wide festivals and parties and don’t miss the South Sound YMCA’s free Harvest Festival on October 30 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

9. Build a bonfire – With county-wide burn bans lifted on October 15, it’s open season on burning again. As always, be responsible with any open fires and have a hose handy. However, clear and crisp nights beg for cozying up in an outdoor chair with a big blanket, a mug of cocoa, and a marshmallow on a stick. Sometimes, the best things are right in your backyard.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, visit our complete event calendar.


South Sound YMCA Reaps Joy at Annual Harvest Festival

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 5:00am



south sound ymca

The Harvest Festival is a safe, family-friendly way to celebrate Halloween.

Writer Orison Swett Marden wrote about success: “We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.” His declaration perfectly embodies the caring 120 year mission of the South Sound YMCA and their many programs to educate, nurture, and support local families.

On Friday, October 30, the Briggs Community branch of the Y will host their annual Harvest Festival from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. With entry open to everyone, member or not, and suggested admission of a non-perishable food item to support the Thurston County Food Bank, it will be a safe, family-friendly way to celebrate.

Briggs Youth and Teen Director Shilpa Johnson promises a “fun filled event, packed with loads of prizes and games. The YMCA Harvest festival provides a safe and enjoyable get-together for kids and families during the Halloween season.”

With more than 350 attendees in 2014, the Festival is one of the Y’s most popular open-door activities. Aside from returning fan favorites like the cupcake walk and glow-in-the-dark-room, Johnson will also welcome vendors like Wolf Haven, Home Depot, South Sound Reading Foundation, Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers and Usborne Books.

south sound ymca

While at the Festival, take time to learn about the Y’s many other teams, classes, and activities.

This opportunity is also a great way to learn more about the Y’s many other programs. Whether its afterschool Y-Care or health and fitness classes lessons, classes or sports teams, there’s always something going on. Ask too about their seasonal day camps for school’s Winter Break.

The South Sound YMCA offers opportunities for adults as well. While at the Harvest Festival, you can find information on Personal Well Being: blood pressure checks and nutrition consultations, group exercise classes, and social or fitness activities for active older adults.

South Sound YMCA membership details can be found online here or by calling 360-753-6576. Many local businesses, organizations, and health plans offer their employees or members discounted rates so check with enrollment staff when you inquire.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox once said, “With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.” The local YMCA touches lives community-wide, young and old. Public festivals like this one let their tireless, dedicated staffers celebrate alongside newfound friends.

“The law of harvest is to reap more than you so. Sow and act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny,” explained James Allen. The Y does all that and more, 365 days a year, in 10,000 neighborhoods across the country. They’re proud that “Our cause defines us. We know that lasting personal and social change comes about when we all work together. That’s why at the Y, strengthening community is our cause. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.”

The Briggs Community branch of the South Sound YMCA is located at 1530 Yelm Highway SE in Olympia.

Synergy HomeCare: Knowing When It’s Time

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 5:00am



olympia home care seniors

Brad Rossman is the General Manager for the Olympia branch of Synergy HomeCare.

One too many slips, moments of confusion, and loss of mobility are all red flags that independent living may no longer be an option. When a senior starts slowing down mentally or physically, an extra set of hands and a pair of watchful eyes can be just what’s needed to ensure the quality and length of a senior’s life.

Sometimes a doctor may recommend in-home care to help with rehabilitation or day-to-day living, but without a doctor’s referral, sometimes knowing when it’s time isn’t so easy. That’s why the knowledgeable staff at Synergy HomeCare are here to help you determine when in-home care is right for you or your loved one.

Synergy HomeCare General Manager, Brad Rossman, says there are different signs that can indicate when a transition to in-home care may be necessary. Rossman says budgeting, medical health, and safety are just a few factors that you should consider when determining whether it’s time.

Because accidents usually happen when you least expect them, Rossman says sometimes the best time to consider in-home care is before you even have an accident. “One of the first things that can get a senior in trouble is if they were to fall and break a hip or an arm,” explains Rossman. “As we age, the healing process takes longer and it can really turn a corner in the rest of your life if you have a bad fall.”

Things like falling, mixing up medications, bad dietary habits and other common accidents can be avoided with the help of an in-home caregiver who can monitor a senior’s safety and wellness by ensuring the home is clear of fall hazards and they receive healthy meals every day.

Rossman notes it’s important to remember in-home care doesn’t mean you have to have someone by your side 24/7. Having a caregiver visit the home just a few times a week can be all it takes to prolong and improve the quality of your loved one’s life.

Developing a relationship with an In-home care agency, like Synergy HomeCare, before the need is emergent can make the transition more easy and less upsetting.

If you think it could be time for in-home care or want to start planning for the future, contact Synergy HomeCare online or by phone at 360-338-0837.


Protect Your Pets This Halloween

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 2:44pm



Submitted by Joint Animal Services

DDM Pet Parade-1Halloween can be spooky fun, but it can also be stressful for pets when masked trick-or-treaters come knocking at the door.

Animal Services recommends keeping pets inside your home in a quiet area away from the front door on Halloween night. Bring cats indoors before the big day to protect them from pranksters.  

Keeping your pets safe also means stashing goodies away from pets. Chocolate and some artificial sweeteners in gum can be very toxic for dogs. Be mindful of pet dangers when hanging decorations, and check pet costumes for comfort and safety.  Be sure your pets wear ID tags at all times, because even big dogs can be ‘fraidy-cats!!

Let’s make Halloween safe and fun for everyone. For more information, visit or call 360-352-2510.


Community Resources is Now Hiring

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 2:37pm



Submitted by Community Resources

Community Resources is a small, locally-owned business located in Olympia. We are dedicated to serving the needs of adults with disabilities and elders in the South Puget Sound region through a variety of flexible programs and contracts by building relationships based on support for each other through mutual learning, loving, healing and acceptance.

Community Resources is now hiring full and part-time employees. Find satisfaction in a dynamic job assisting adults with developmental disabilities and build invaluable communication, health and money management skills. Channel your creative energy to find inventive and effective ways to help others.

We take a person-centered approach in designing our work, focusing on the unique goals, communication styles, and needs of the people we support.

Join our team to support individuals to lead rich lives rooted in their passions, cultivate relationships that are meaningful to them, and maintain all aspects of individual health.

Minimum requirements Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have a high school diploma/GED.
  • Be able to pass a background check.
  • Possess a current driver’s license and a vehicle with minimal liability insurance.
  • Be willing to use personal vehicle for work purposes.
  • Must have open availability.

Pay Structure:

  • 0 to 4 months $10.00 introductory wage
  • 5th month of employment $10.25 an hour
  • 8th month of employment bonus up to $250.00

Apply in person:

Monday – Friday, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM,

at 208 West Bay Dr. NW Olympia,

or direct your question to Terrie Mount-Fouth @ (360) 943-6257ext. 106