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Olympia Arts Walk & Procession Weekend Event Calendar

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 6:45am



Budd Bay cafe logoI would classify this weekend as the granddaddy of community events.  Three massive events culminate in one weekend of free, family-friendly entertainment in downtown Olympia.  Here’s my suggestion for the best strategy to be able to experience all three events while still leaving some time to hit some other activities.  Click on the links below to get complete event information.

  1. Start Friday night off with meandering through downtown Olympia for Spring Arts Walk.  Visit shops and galleries through Saturday.
  2. Grab breakfast on Saturday morning and head back to downtown Olympia. Get a Springs Arts Walk map here.
  3. Watch the Dragon Boat Festival throughout the day on Saturday.  The event includes free entertainment at the Port Plaza.
  4. Stake out your spot, make some chalk art, and experience Procession of the Species which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.  The Procession route can be found by clicking on this link.

Want to try something else this weekend?  Here are even more ideas for activities and events around Thurston County on April 24 – 26.

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, click here.

West Olympia Farmers’ Market Opening Day is May 12

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 4:50pm


Submitted by West Olympia Farmers’ Market

flowers - West Oly Farmers marketWest Olympia Farmers’ Market is pleased to announce the opening of its fifth season on Tuesday, May 12th at 4:00 pm. The market has brand new location this season at 1919 Harrison Ave. NW in the West Central Park. Hours are Tuesday evening from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, mid-May – mid-October 2015. Keep an eye out for the signs on Harrison Ave and Black Lake Blvd.

In addition to a great selection of local food vendors, this season will feature a monthly Crafter’s Market showcasing handmade goods from local artisans. Also, to make shopping even more convenient and accessible, West Olympia Farmers’ Market accepts EBT and debit transactions. Drop by the Market Information booth for more information on all of this year’s happenings or check the West Olympia Farmers’ Market website and facebook page.

West Olympia Farmers’ Market (WOFM) is your neighborhood market. WOFM strives to help build a vibrant local food economy by supporting small-scale and beginning vendors. All of WOFM’s farmers, artisans and producers are based in Thurston, Lewis, Mason, or Grays Harbor county, with the majority based in Olympia. Products at this years market include fresh produce, baked goods, pastured poultry and meats, flowers, veggie starts, crafts, and much more.  Everything is locally grown and produced, so come on out and support your local producers.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Dres at and find us on facebook.



48 Teams Will Compete in Dragon Boat Festival

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 4:47pm



Submitted by The Port of Olympia

dragon boat festival

The amount of paddlers participating in the race has nearly quadrupled—from 260 in 2006 to 1,000 in 2015.

Paddles up! Two teams from China will join 46 local and regional teams in the race for the gold at the 10th annual Saint Martin’s University Dragon Boat Festival on April 25 at Port Plaza.

More than 6,000 spectators are expected to cheer the racers on, enjoy cultural performances, and browse the booths along the boardwalk. Booths include food, fun and cultural arts and crafts.

The Dragon Boat teams represent colleges, universities, high schools, school districts, government agencies and community organizations.

Saint Martin’s University (SMU) hosts the festival in cooperation with Kaikane Events. The event is free and open to the public.

If you go: Saturday, April 25, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Port Plaza on Budd Inlet, immediately north of Percival Landing at 701 Columbia Street NW. Look for the large viewing tower.

The Port of Olympia is a proud sponsor of this community event.

For more information, including ways to support the festival or organize a team, visit or contact the SMU Office of International Programs and Development at 360.438.4521.

Dead Man Walking Author, Sister Helen Prejean Speaks at Pope John Paul II Gala

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:32am



Submitted by Pope John Paul II High School

Author of New York Times Best Seller Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean C.S.J., will be the Keynote Speaker for Pope John Paul II High School’s Light & Truth Gala on May 2 at St. Martin’s University in Lacey.  Prejean has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on the death penalty and is helping to shape the Catholic Church’s newly vigorous opposition to state executions.

A life-long resident of Louisiana, Prejean moved into the St. Thomas Housing Project in New Orleans and began working at Hope House from 1981 – 1984. During this time, she was asked to correspond with death row inmate Patrick Sonnier at Angola.  She agreed, becoming his spiritual adviser, and eventually accompanying him to his death. She has since accompanied five other men to their deaths.  In 1995 Dead Man Walking was made into a major motion picture featuring Susan Sarandon as Prejean and Sean Penn as Sonnier.

Of tackling one of the most complex issues of our day, Prejean stated, “I have no doubt that we will one day abolish the death penalty in America.  It will come sooner if people like me, who know the truth about executions, do our work well and educate the public.”

She has also been featured on an NBC series on the death penalty and has appeared on 60 Minutes, and ABC World News Tonight.  Published articles have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the St. Petersburg Times, and the Baltimore Sun.  She has received no fewer than 60 honorary degrees from colleges and universities throughout the world.

This Fall, JPII students brought Dead Man Walking to the stage, marking the high school’s first full-scale dramatic production.

In it’s fifth year of operation, Pope John Paul II High School provides a college preparatory education to South Puget Sound students in the rich tradition of Catholic education. The mission of JPII is to educate young men and women who are intellectually strong, spiritually alive, and committed to serving the needs of others. The school is located at 5608 Pacific Avenue in the former Lacey fire station building, just east of St. Martin’s University.

JPII is open to all young men and women, regardless of their faith tradition. We are committed to serving students from all economic backgrounds and provide financial assistance to families in need. The Light & Truth Gala is JPII’s primary source of scholarship funding.

Reservations for the event can be made by calling JPII at (360)438-7600 or visiting the website at

SPSCC Wins Gold Honors for Catalog, Artist & Lecture Series

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:19am



Submitted by South Puget Sound Community College

Paragons Award SPSCCSouth Puget Sound Community College recently won two Gold Paragon Awards at the national convention of the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR). The 2015 national conference was held March 22-24 in Portland, Ore.

SPSCC, represented at the conference by Dean of College Relations Kellie Purce Braseth and Communications Consultant Aaron Managhan, earned Gold Paragon awards in two categories, placing those entries as the top submissions for community and technical colleges in the U.S. and Canada.

The college won for its redesigned print catalog, taking the gold in the Academic Catalog category, as well as for the marketing successes of the relaunched Artist & Lecture Series, which was honored with gold in the Communications Success Story category. The latter category focuses on media coverage and outreach of a college event, program crisis, news story or feature.

The NCMPR is the representative trade group for public relations and marketing professionals at community and technical colleges in the U.S. and Canada. The NCMPR’s Paragon Awards recognize outstanding achievement in communications at community and technical colleges. It is the only competition of its kind that exclusively honors excellence among marketing and public relations professionals at two-year colleges. While at the district level, the awards are judged by other member colleges in other districts, the Paragon Awards are judged by marketing and public relations professionals in the private sector.

WDFW Plans Additional Razor Clam Digs at Mocrocks

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:16am



Submitted by  Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

razor clam digRazor clam diggers will have another beach to consider in May, thanks to a decision today by state shellfish managers to add Mocrocks to the list of tentatively scheduled openings.

Updated harvest estimates for Mocrocks show that beach has sufficient clams to support additional digs, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“We have reviewed our harvest levels to date and are excited to offer additional dates to round out a great razor clam season at Mocrocks,” Ayres said.

Final approval on upcoming digs will be announced after marine-toxin test results confirm the clams are safe to eat. For additional information about upcoming razor clam digs, see WDFW’s website.

Proposed digs are tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides (newly added digs are in bold):

  • May 2, Saturday; 6:23 a.m., 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 3, Sunday; 6:59 a.m., -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 7, Thursday; 9:30 a.m., -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
  • May 8, Friday; 10:14 a.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 9, Saturday; 11:03 a.m., -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 10, Sunday; 11:58 a.m., -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 15, Friday; 4:58 a.m., -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 16, Saturday; 5:50 a.m., -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 17, Sunday; 6:38 a.m., -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • May 22, Friday; 10:18 a.m., -0.8 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 23, Saturday; 11:03 a.m., -0.2 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 24, Sunday; 11:51 a.m., 0.3 feet; Mocrocks

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at and from license vendors around the state.


Thurston County Commissioners Honor Local Environmental Heroes at Earth Day Event

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:43am



Submitted by Thurston County


Procession of the Species founder Eli Sterling presents Commissioner Blake with his first “sparkle” parade pennant.

Thurston County Commissioners today proclaimed Wednesday, April 22 to be Earth Day in Thurston County and celebrated the event with the fanfare, music and dancing that have become the hallmark of the county’s annual Earth Day recognition.

“Our Earth Day proclamation is our chance to thank the people in our community who really do the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting the environment,” said Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe. “There is no government, no institution that can accomplish our environmental protection goals alone. We need partners in the community just like the wonderful people who joined us here today. It’s great to see so many people in our community who embrace the environmental protection effort on Earth Day and every day of the year.”

Commissioner Bud Blake said, “I think it’s important to remember that protecting the environment is serious business. No matter where you live in Thurston County, you need clean water to drink, you need clean air to breathe, and you need clean soil and clean water to grow the food you eat every day.”

samba olywa

Thurston County Commissioners are photographed with members of SambaOlyWa.

“I always look forward to our annual Earth Day celebration—it’s so much fun and our guests always bring such spirit with them,” said Commissioner Sandra Romero. “This celebration is well-deserved in our community. Thanks to our partners and volunteers throughout the years, I think we can say we’ve truly accomplished a lot since the first Earth Day in 1970. That said, we know there’s so much more we can do to protect our air, our water, our forests and our prairies. But when we put community first, great things can happen.”

Wednesday’s Earth Day proclamation event included presentations from:

  • Eli Sterling, Director of Earthbound Productions and Founder of the Procession of the Species. Founded in 1995 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, the Procession of the Species celebrates cultural connections between communities and the natural world each year with a parade in Olympia. This year’s Procession of the Species parade will be Saturday, April 25.
  • David Moseley and the music group Samba OlyWa. Samba OlyWa is an all-volunteer amateur group that performs music and dance in the South Sound. The group formed in 1995 as part of the Procession of the Species celebration, and performs annually at the parade along with other performances throughout the year. Samba OlyWa’s mission is to build community and honor the natural world through art, music and dance.
  • Jacqueline Freeman, owner of Friendly Haven Rise Farm, expert beekeeper and author of the book “The Song of Increase: Returning to Our Sacred Partnership with Honeybees.”
  • Laurie Pyne, President of the Olympia Beekeepers Association. Pyne has worked in the South Sound region to raise awareness about the harm certain pesticides like neonicotinoids can have on pollinators like bees, which can have a negative effect on the environment and the agricultural economy.
  • Josh Cummings, Thurston County’s Sustainability Coordinator. In honor of Earth Day this year, Thurston County employees will be participating in an “Earth Day Unplug” event. Employees in office spaces throughout the county will unplug personal use space heaters on Earth Day, which each cost the county about $400 annually to run. The energy savings from the Earth Day Unplug event will be calculated and presented to commissioners later this spring.

To view more pictures and video of today’s Earth Day celebration at the Board of County Commissioners meeting, visit the Thurston County Facebook page.

Property Tax Payments Due April 30th

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:08am



Submitted by Thurston County

The deadline is April 30 for Thurston County residents to pay their 2015 first half property taxes.

Property taxes can be paid through the Thurston County Treasurer’s web site.  There is no additional charge for the electronic check payment option on-line, but there is a 2.5% fee for a major credit card payment and a flat $3.95 fee for a VISA debit card payment.  Payments can also be made in person at the Treasurer’s Office or the courthouse parking lot drop box – located at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Building One, Olympia 98502. The same fees apply for payments made in person.

Treasurer’s office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Payments made by mail must be postmarked by the due date.  Penalties and interest will be charged for those who do not have their payments in on time.



Thurston County Brings Out Marchers of All Ages Raising over $75,000

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 8:05am



Submitted by March of Dimes

It was the best feel-good moment of the week in Olympia when 400 residents joined together in support of the smallest citizens in Thurston County —babies—by participating in March for Babies to benefit the March of Dimes.  Heritage Park in Olympia was packed with strollers, families and teams today to celebrate raising more than $75,000 to help babies be born healthy.

“We’ve seen how important it is to help our babies,” said State Director Jean Allenbach with the March of Dimes Washington Chapter.   “It is so rewarding to be part of a community where people come together for such a great cause.  This has been an incredible event, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished here together today.”

Money raised from the event funds research, awareness, education and local community grants to see that all babies are born healthy.

The most urgent infant health problem in the U.S. today is premature birth. It affects nearly half a million babies each year.  Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have disabilities. The March of Dimes is committed to reducing this toll by funding research to find the answers to premature birth and providing comfort and information to families who are affected.

About the March of Dimes

For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by participating in March for Babies at  For the latest resources and information, visit or  Find us on Facebook @marchofdimeswa and follow us on Twitter @marchofdimeswa.

The 2015 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Macy’s, Famous Footwear, Cigna, Mission Pharmacal and United Airlines.

March for Babies is sponsored locally by KeyBank, Twin Star Credit Union, Olympia Federal Savings, Providence Southwest Washington Region, Capital Medical Center, Les Schwab Tires, Heritage Bank, Hardel Builders Center, John L. Scott, KING 5, WARM 106.9, Click 98.9 and MOViN 92.5.


Downtown Olympia Structure Fire Follow-up Investigation

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 7:14pm



Submitted by City of Olympia

olympia fireIn the early morning hours of April 20, the Olympia Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 911 4th Avenue East. Once the fire was extinguished and the area fenced off by building officials, this matter was turned over to the City of Olympia Police Department for follow-up investigation.

This particular building was an abandoned structure with a history of transient camping and activity. At the request of the Olympia Police Department, Search and Rescue K9 teams from Pierce County were called to the scene to search for any other signs of potential human victims. Those K9 teams found signs that suggest there is a probability of human scent present at this site.

olympia fireAt this time, this fire site remains under law enforcement protection for further investigations and on-going excavation. The site is contaminated with very large amounts of debris and hazardous conditions and will take specialized contractors to remove the debris.

The Olympia Police Department is working with the City Public Works Division to begin excavation of this site.

Olympia Detectives are requesting anyone with information on any occupants that may have been present in the building at the time of the fire to contact Detective Bryan Houser at 360-753-8413 or Sgt. Sam Costello at 360-753-8205.

To read more about the April 20 fire, click here.

Tumwater Hill Elementary Recognized for Tolerance Efforts

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:16am



Submitted by the Tumwater School District 

The Teaching Tolerance program has hosted Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the past 14 years to help students demonstrate the importance of respecting each other’s differences.

The Teaching Tolerance program has hosted Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the past 14 years to help students demonstrate the importance of respecting each other’s differences.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has named Tumwater Hill Elementary as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among its students and throughout its campus during the 2014-15 school year.

Tumwater Hill Elementary is among 104 schools to receive the honor.

“We are delighted to recognize Tumwater Hill Elementary,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “Mix It Up Model Schools have found innovative ways to create school environments where respect and inclusiveness are core values. They all serve as great examples of how a school—any school—can cultivate these values among their students, faculty and staff.”

The Teaching Tolerance program has hosted Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the past 14 years to help students demonstrate the importance of respecting each other’s differences. This year’s event will be held on October 27. Schools are encouraged to register online here.

Tumwater Hill Elementary students learn tolerance through Mix It Up lunches.

Tumwater Hill Elementary students learn tolerance through Mix It Up lunches.

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a simple call to action. By asking students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch, the event encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off yearlong explorations of social divisions.


The Mix It Up Model Schools met five criteria: They each hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day during the 2014-15 school year; they included different members of the school’s community—cafeteria staff, aides, administrators, teachers and students—in organizing the event; they followed up with at least two additional Mix It Up-related programs or events on campus; they publicized Mix It Up at Lunch Day or celebrated inclusiveness with posters, announcements and other media; and their event was seen by students and school officials as a success.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., is a nonprofit civil rights organization that combats bigotry and discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy.  For more information, see

Get Green This Season with Secondhand Safari May 2

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 10:06am



Submitted by Thurston County

Green is springing up all over this season, including in your wallet! Spring cleaning can make you a tidy sum at the Thurston County Fair’s annual Secondhand Safari on Saturday, May 2.

It’s not too late to reserve a booth and help keep usable secondhand goods out of the landfill. Buyers, sellers, swappers and traders can all feel good about making the green choice while keeping more greenbacks in their pocket at Secondhand Safari.

Not sure if you have enough gently used treasures for a booth? Secondhand Safari is a great fundraising opportunity for your family group, school club, church, charity or scouting club.

Outdoor spaces and covered spaces are going fast for the May 2 event, so call the Thurston County Fair Office today at (360) 786-5453 to reserve your booth:

  • $25 for outdoor booth, approximately 10×10 feet
  • $40 for covered booth, approximately 10×10 feet

Saturday, May 2 will be a springtime extravaganza where bargains abound with over 1,500 visitors and 100 vendors in years past. Along with garage sale booths, the Secondhand Safari will also have educational booths, a free book and magazine exchange, entertainment, food, and more. Admission to Secondhand Safari is just $1 all day long, so get ready for bargain hunters galore!

The Secondhand Safari will be on Saturday, May 2 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Set up for sellers will be on Friday, May 1 from noon to 10 p.m. The doors will be locked after set up Friday evening and security will be on-site until the event opens Saturday.

Representatives from Goodwill Industries will be on hand throughout the day on May 2 to accept donations (at their discretion), giving sellers the chance to donate any of their unsold items at the end of the day.

For more information on the May 2 Secondhand Safari, or to reserve your booth, contact the Thurston County Fair Office at (360) 786-5453 or visit

Olympia Yacht Club Invites you to Celebrate Opening Day

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 7:30am



Submitted by The Olympia Yacht Club

Opening Day 2014 pic 2 olympia yacht clubSaturday May 9 is the annual Sound Sound Opening Day of Boating Season Celebration held in downtown Olympia at points along Percival Landing and all residents are invited to attend .  Sponsored by the Olympia Yacht Club (OYC), Opening Day is a ceremony and celebration that marks the traditional start of the boating season in the South Sound.   It has been held for decades and similar ceremonies happen in other marine cities throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Key elements of South Sound Opening Day include live music, the Ceremony and Blessing of the fleet and a decorated boats parade along the downtown Olympia shoreline. Concurrent with Opening Day is the Olympia Wooden Boat Fair held on May 9 and 10, sponsored by the Olympia Wooden Boat Association.  The Wooden Boat Fair includes displays of wooden boats, music, food, activities for children and arts & crafts.

Opening Day 2014  olympia yacht clubThe Opening Day Celebration starts about 9:30 a.m. when the American Legion Band begins playing on the deck of the Olympia Yacht Club located at 201 Simmons Street.  At 10:00 a.m. a 30 minute ceremony gets underway and includes a Blessing of the Fleet.  Attendees of the Ceremony are the Olympia Lakefair Court and local dignitaries.

As part of the ceremony, the state senator for the Olympia area, Karen Fraser will be inducted as an honorary member of the OYC in recognition of her long standing contributions to and support of boating on Puget Sound.  The best vantage point to watch the American Legion Band and Ceremony is the Percival Landing boardwalk near the Olympia Yacht Club and Bayview Thriftway.   Also along the Percival Landing boardwalk, dock and park you will find wooden boat displays, the food court and children’s activities from the Wooden Boat Fair.

Opening Day 2014  olympia yacht clubThe South Sound Opening Day Parade of Decorated Boats begins at 12:00 noon and features both power and sail boats as little as 20 feet and as large as 55 feet from the South Sound.  The Lakefair Court is embarked on the judge’s boat and help award prizes for categories such as Best Dressed boat and Best Wood boat.  An ideal place to watch the start of the Parade of Boats is the Port Plaza Park near Anthony’s Restaurant.   After starting near Port Plaza Park the Parade heads out further into West Bay before circling back to return to the Port Plaza Park and Percival Landing.

South Sound residents and families interested in Olympia’s beautiful marine environment, a great local fair and wooden or decorated boats should make the time to attend this long standing maritime tradition on Saturday May 9.


Life on the Farm with Wendy Clark

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 6:41am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

providence medical group sponsorAs the morning sun reaches up for the horizon, Wendy Clark has already pulled on her boots and grabbed a large wire basket. She’s headed to the chicken coop to let the flock loose and provide their breakfast. Mr. Sunshine, one of the proud roosters, announces her arrival. A cackle of 88 hens surges at the chance for fresh feed. The other six roosters join in, as they puff up their chests and chase the hens. “I want to keep doing this,” smiles Clark, who calls herself the eyes and ears of the farm. She and her husband Ted Clark, a software developer, live on the Scatter Creek Farm and Conservancy.

scatter creek farm

Wendy Clark stands on the Scatter Creek Farm and Conservatory land with her newest charge, Buttercup.

The Scatter Creek Farm is part of South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust (SSCFL), which is dedicated to preserving and keeping farmland. Kirsop Farm owners Colin Barricklow and Genine Bradwin are leasing 60 of the 100 acres. They also purchased several outbuildings, an historic farmhouse and the house where the Clarks live.

While Kirsop Farms grows rows of nutrient-packed vegetables, Wendy tends to the Rhode Island Reds and Plymouth Barred Rocks. If you have ever stroked the silken feathers of a nesting chicken or listened to their throaty coos, you might know the calming joys they inspire. Cracking open a fresh egg to discover an intense orange yolk and eating it is another high point in chicken ownership. The rich yolk color is indicative of the nutritious diet these birds enjoy. Ultimately they impart to the eater higher levels of carotenoids and micronutrients such as vitamin A and omega-3. Many locals love these eggs.

The less fun part of chicken ownership is the regular moving of the coop. Of course, this means daily when the weather is sloppy and the ground a mess. The portable electric fence also requires regular moving to provide plenty of grass and grubs for the birds. Hay is changed, eggs are gathered, and care and attention is given to the flock. At evening time it’s necessary to make sure all the guys and gals are back in the coop. Predators like chicken for dinner.

scatter creek farm

The flock of 88 hens keeps Wendy Clark busy. An afternoon snack of mealworms results in a feeding frenzy.

Soon Clark’s brood will grow by 100 broiling chickens. These are not egg layers. They are raised for their meat. The birds will grow up in separate areas, as they have different requirements for their care. Kirsop Farms previously had chickens for sale twice yearly, but this summer they will have broilers regularly available at the market.

Farming runs in Wendy’s blood. For years, she had it in her mind to live and work on a farm, in spite of the fact that she lived in a house in Lacey. As Wendy became a regular customer, she and Kirsop’s Bradwin developed a relationship. Her love of fresh, local food grew. Clark took Master Gardener classes, grew some of her own vegetables and canned like crazy. Kirsop Farm’s desires for property and Clark’s dream of living on a farm unfolded together. Her time on the land trust homestead will end in approximately two and a half years when Kirsop Farm owners Colin and Genine take residence. However, Wendy still sees farming in her future. Perhaps it will manifest as ‘hobby’ farm – that’s a scaled down operation with the ability to have a few selected animals and room to do some of their own food growing. Who knows? It’s an ongoing journey.

In the meantime homeschool studies are coming to a close with their son Ryan, a talented musician who will be starting college at Centralia Community College. But, Wendy will still have her newest family addition – Buttercup – a young Jersey who will eventually provide milk for homemade butter. She is a shy cutie. Wendy spends more time at the farm instead of working the stall at the Olympia Farmers Market. She misses chatting with customers but is finding pleasure in all aspects of animal husbandry.

Her convictions to educate people about local food continue. Ask her about chickens, CSA’s (community support agriculture) or what’s happening in the world of farming.

scatter creek farm

The deep orange yolk on the right is from Clark’s brood.

“Farmers aren’t just farmers,” noted Clark. “They attend civic meetings and are on boards. They are tireless, hardworking people who are always ready to jump in and help.” I’d say that describes Wendy.

She and Ted appreciate the peaceful country quiet and are regularly dazzled by the display of stars. They wake up to various birds each morning. John Denver sang that life on the farm is kind of laid back. I don’t know if that’s true for Wendy, but I can confirm that she is grateful that she’s a country girl.

Learn more at Kirsop Farm’s stand at the Olympia Farmers Market.


Eat Well – Be Well

Sensory, Science and a Little Bit of Magic – A Family Tour at Sandstone Distillery

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 6:00am



By Nikki McCoy

sandstone distillery

The author and her family enjoy a tour of the Sandstone Distillery.

During my first phone call with John Bourdon, co-owner of Sandstone Distillery in Tenino, we talked tours. We chatted about aspiring distillers and brewers, curious tourists and even school-age children coming through his family’s craft distillery.

His passion for community involvement was evident, and on his mention of being able to bring kids, I knew I had to bring mine. (My husband was definitely on board as well.)

Our first step into the tasting room, we were greeted by history, in the form of photos, tools and artifacts. There is a lasting connection between the Bourdons’ business and Tenino’s world-renowned rock quarry.

We were also greeted by the strong smell of fermenting mash.

“It smells like apple cider,” said my 5-year-old. “It smells good!”

My husband waxed nostalgic about touring the Olympia Brewery, and my 9-year-old buried his nose in his shirt, a pained look on his face, his eyes imploring, “Do I have to do this?”

sandstone distillery

John, Jenni and son Justin smile for the camera. Say “whiskey!”

This solicited chuckles from John, who recognizes family dynamics. He and his wife Jenni, along with their mother, son and grandkids all contribute to the distillery. (The 2-year-old is in charge of “marketing and adorability.”)

John is well-versed in the language of children, and as we begin the tour, he sits on a sack of grain and instantly engages us all with samples of malted barley, encouraging the kids to feel and taste the raw product.

I could sense a shift in my almost-tween’s interest as the activity became hands-on, and the boys (husband included) eagerly followed John to the next part of the process.

“We believe that responsible stewardship begins early,” explains Jenni in regards to having younger generations tour the distillery. “Parents are inherently tasked with providing an environment that fosters responsibility, sound choices, social-mindedness, and fiscal excellence.”

“We find that school-age tours result in an intensified interest in the natural sciences among children, and an increased awareness among parents,” she continues. “Science should always be entertaining, and should foster a desire to responsibly go higher. Engaging both parents and children in the distillation process allows us to fire the imagination while fostering good conscience.”

sandstone distillery

The kids taste a sample of raw grain given to them by John.

And for the kids, the beauty of Jenni’s statement was perhaps summed up in her husband’s one word: “Fart.”

Yes, this was the word he used to describe the churning of the processing grains, and my boys were right at home.

They were asked to lean in their heads and smell the batch, they were encouraged to listen to the popping of the yeast, their small hands were allowed to go in a portion of the pot and feel the temperature differences. The boys were in sensory heaven – and they were thinking. Questions were asked and giggles were had, and even math equations came into the conversation.

The tour was equally engaging for my husband and I – we giggled, felt and smelled as well – and an added bonus of being an adult – we tasted. It was a pleasure hearing Jenni describe the notes in their small-batch blends, and we were eager to hear about upcoming plans, for the booze, as well as for the company’s investment in agritourism.

sandstone distillery

The author’s 5-year-old Nicolas gets ready to smell the mash.

A Danish-Style Black Gin is slated for June, and the family has begun growing a variety of fruits and herbs to infuse in the future. This is in line with their “Farm to Bottle” philosophy which makes them perfect partners with Thurston County’s agritourism culture.

“Agritourism should not be a gimmick,” says Jenni. “It is either a viable opportunity for people to embrace and engage local, sustainable, farm-to-table (or bottle, as the case may be) agriculture in a meaningful, entertaining way, or it is just talk.  Thurston County offers a wonderful variety of agri-tourism opportunities…We are pleased to be a part of this growth, and hope that people from our local region and beyond are able to experience the delightful agritourism Thurston County provides.”

Sandstone is currently working on a series of invite-only concert offerings (Whiskey Nights: Music at the Stills) where they will promote locally-grown/nationally-known artists in an intimate venue, providing the public with both music and agri-culture. They are also expanding their distribution footprint, with sales to customers in Alaska, Kentucky, and Switzerland.

On the car ride home, the family and I discussed our adventure. We all agreed that science was like magic, and that John and Jenni’s dog was very cute. We also noted that we would like to do more agri-tourist activities as a family.

And later that night, as my husband and I sipped our Sandstone Distillery white whiskey, and muscles relaxed and tensions faded away, I had to re-consider my earlier comment – was the magic really in the science? Or was it in the result?

Visit Sandstone Distillery at online or at 842 Wright Road SE in Tenino. Call 360-239-7272 with any questions or follow Sandstone Distillery on Facebook.

Arts Walk Maps Now Available

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:47pm



Submitted by The City of Olympia

Fall Arts Walk 2014 Olivia 22Grab your guide to the 2015 Spring Arts Walk in downtown Olympia – April 24 and 25. Arts Walk maps are available at participating downtown businesses, The Olympia Center (222 Columbia St NW), and City Hall (601 4th Ave E). Digital maps and the new interactive mobile app can also be found at

The spring Arts Walk also includes the spectacular Procession of the Species, an artistic and environmental celebration presented by Earthbound Productions. The Procession begins at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Due to the popularity of the Procession, it is extremely important for individuals to pay close attention to street closures and tow away zones.

As part of your planning for festival-going, consider your transportation options. Area residents have the option to bus, bike, or walk to the event. Transit information as well as individualized trip planning for bus, bike and walk routes are available at

Arts Walk is sponsored by the City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department and Olympia Arts Commission, with support provided by Art House Designs, Capitol City Press, Heritage Bank and MIXX 96fm. For more information, contact Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation at 360.753.8380.


Stretches to Prevent  Spring Time Shoulder Pain

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:16pm



Submitted by Comstock Physical Therapy

shoulder stretch - Comstock PT

Latissimus stretch

It’s spring time! It’s time to get out there and play catch with you kids, or spring clean the house (which may include washing some windows).  What happens if you have shoulder pain?  Will you make it worse?

If you have a desk job, and sit with your arms unsupported , gravity might be pulling and straining on your shoulders and shoulder blades. The ribs and flank muscles can shorten up and pull down on your shoulder blades.  If you have a heavy lifting job your larger chest muscles can become short and pull your ribs down as well.

What can you do to help relieve shoulder pain?  Here are a few stretches that help the tight muscles:

comstock PT shoulder

Pectoralis stretch:

Latissimus stretch:  Stand right in front of a wall, hands on the wall, on either side of your head.  Slide your right arm up over your left shoulder and then gently lean to the right.  You will feel a stretch along the right flank, shoulder blade and upper arm.  Repeat on the other side.

Pectoralis stretch:  Stand at a square angle to the wall, with your finger tips on the wall and palm facing forward.  Your arm should be in line with your shoulder and elbow extended.  Just standing that way should give you a stretch along your upper arm and chest.

Ryan Connor Steps Up to the Plate

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 6:15am



By Mary Ellen Psaltis

infernos pizzaAt the tender age of three, Ryan Connor played on his first baseball team. It was T-ball through the South Sound YMCA. He remembers having a good time. Now, as a senior at Timberline High School, Connor says that he still finds baseball fun. That’s a good thing since has been playing non-stop ever since. He aspires to play baseball as long as he can, which means he’s aiming for the major leagues.

In the early years, Connor played with South Sound Baseball and continued with the Cal Ripken League, where he has since donated time as a coach to the ‘rookie’ levels. Summers were consumed with travel teams. Playing for the Milltown Bombers select baseball team meant travel to Colorado (they came in second), Texas and the Tri-Cities. Of course, this was before he could drive. Parents Jemme and Joe Connor put more than a few miles on their family van. Connor also played with the Auburn Bombers. All this action was prior to starting high school.

ryan connor timberline

Ryan Connor takes a rare break from sports and academics.

Connor will be graduating from Timberline High School this spring. He’s been on the school team all four years, beginning on JV as a freshman. Even then he was called up at times to play on the varsity squad. Connor is recognized as a versatile player. Last year he was the varsity team leader with a .395 batting average. “I like short stop and middle infield,” he says. But he pitches, too. At a recent Blazer game, he pitched the first three innings and gave up just one run.

Coach Mark Rubadue remembers seeing Connor play back in the baseball camp days when older brother Matthew also played. He was a “pretty good little athlete,” said Rubadue. Now Rubadue appreciates the “tremendous young man” Connor has grown into. With Connor’s demeanor and abilities, Rubadue is confident that as he continues to go through life, “he’ll do something good for sure.”

One of the challenges of being deeply involved in team sports is the time commitment. Practice is at least two hours per day, six days per week. Connor hits the field as soon as the school day ends. It’s dinnertime when he gets home where he can fuel up before tackling a serious academic load. This semester includes four Advanced Placement courses in Calculus, Literature, Government and Physics. His fifth class is a digital photography class, which will satisfy his art credit. The last class is Leadership. He is serving this year at the Public Relations Officer. He’s volunteered at HomesFirst! and was picked to be a Blazer Citizen. Last fall his classmates elected him as their Homecoming King.

There’s not much spare time, but he enjoys hanging out with friends and bowling. Perhaps there is time to sleep once in a while! As the school year closes in, Connor is preparing for three AP tests. They are in essence the culmination of the year’s work. High scores on tests translate into college credit, saving both time and money.

timberline baseball

Ryan takes some pitching practice at Timberline High School.

Along with teammates Taylor Adams and Zach Owens, Conner has been accepted to Tacoma Community College where two important things will take place. First, he’s on the baseball team and being coached and groomed for continued success in playing ball. Because it is a two-year school, he will get more time actually playing than at many four-year schools. Connor will also earn an associate’s degree, most likely in psychology or business, both possibilities for continuing in the sports field.

Success in professional sports takes a combination of hard work and fortunate timing. Ultimately, the only way to explore your options is to take the path. Matthew, Ryan’s older brother said, “My bro and I loved baseball growing up. We both got to play for Timberline. We both dreamed of becoming professional baseball players. That dream passed for me a few years ago. But now I look up to him, because he has made it further along in this dream we shared.”

Connor is a bright, conscientious and hard working young man who will have success. He uses visualization to get fully into the game. “I see myself hitting the perfect line drive into the gap.” Now that’s an excellent metaphor for life. We’ll have to keep watching to see which path he takes.


The Barn Nursery Celebrates Spring with Gardening Expert Marianne Binetti

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 6:08am



By Heidi Smith

barn nursery events

The Barn Nursery owner, Carla O’Neill, appreciates the experience, passion, and knowledge her staff brings to the nursery.

Carla O’Neill wants visitors to The Barn Nursery’s Spring Fling to drive away with one core message: everyone can garden, including themselves. Plus, it’s fun.

The April 25 Spring Fling event will serve as a combined educational opportunity, celebration and customer appreciation day, with a little something for everyone. “I want people to take away that it’s okay to get your fingers dirty,” says O’Neill. “Gardening is fun and we’ll have vendors that know a lot about it. It’s going to be a real educational experience. We want people to go away feeling that they have been inspired and even if they don’t have a green thumb, gardening can actually work for them.”

Gardening maven Marianne Binetti is the featured speaker, and will play a key role in inspiring that level of confidence, says O’Neill. “We’re all thrilled that she’s coming. She’s a fabulous speaker and she’s just a hoot. She can convince everyone that they can do this.”

Binetti is an acknowledged gardening expert whose syndicated column runs in local newspapers. She has also written or co-written ten books on the subject and hosts a weekly show called Dig in Seattle. Along with her husband Joe, she leads international gardening tours to places like France and Portugal.

barn nursery events

The Barn Nursery Spring Fling event is slated for April 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Her talk will focus on Pocket Gardening, the art of breaking gardening into small spaces and doing one little space at a time. “If you’ve got a big yard, just do an entry garden,” says Binetti. “You can have more fine with the design aspects and not think gardening is hard.”

Binetti looks forward to the visit for several reasons. “I really like The Barn Nursery, Dan and Carla and all the staff,” she says.  “I get to leave my area and see all the new things they have. I’ve also gotten to know a lot of people in Olympia so it’s like a big reunion. We get pretty excited when we all see each other, so when people who are new to gardening see us, they catch the gardening bug.

Aside from Binetti, the event will include representatives from the Bonsai Society, the Rhododendron Society and other experts in their fields, along with multiple vendors.  “We’ve got entertainment and door prizes, specials and music, plus food and beverages,” says O’Neill.

It will also include activities for children.  “We want it to be fun for the kids,” says O’Neill.  “We’re going to have face painting and a rock painting/gardening class for them. We want to start these children out with gardening.”

barn nursery

Inside the store, everyone from experienced gardeners to beginners can find products and information.

Now in its 25th year, the celebration is a chance for local gardeners from experienced old hands to beginners to get inspired and ask questions of professionals. The community response has been strong, says O’Neill. “We get great feedback,” she says. “People are really attuned to gardening at this time of year.”

Many customers have been coming for years. A key reason for that, says O’Neill, is the knowledge and experience of the staff. “We have a combination of many years of experience here,” she continues. “Our staff is awesome. They’re very knowledgeable and are such gardeners themselves. That really helps. It’s a passion that they have and they want to share it.”

One of their core values is carrying local products as much as possible, particularly in The Barn’s gift shop. “We really believe in our local vendors,” she says.  “We have incredible artists in our community. We probably have 15 consignments here. We always want to support local business.” As an example, aside from hand-made jewelry, the store carries a variety of Seahawks memorabilia, all made in the Pacific Northwest.

barn nursery events

The Barn’s gift shop features products from more than 50 local vendors, including some that will warm the hearts of Seahawks fans.

Carla started the business with her husband Dan back in 1986, while they were already running Great Western Supply, a landscape and garden products store. “Customers were coming in to get manure or bark and they would ask, don’t you have a rose or a rhody?” she explains.  “This barn was sitting in a field of grass and we decided to convert it into a nursery.”

Now, she says, the barn is their icon. “There’s an incredible history with the people and animals that lived here. It’s been really wonderful having the people that live in this area who know about the heritage come and share it with us.”

As for the Spring Fling, O’Neill’s goal is simple. “What we really want to do is sell success. We want it to be a great experience for the public, both those who are perhaps just getting into gardening and those who have been in it for a long time. Whoever it is, we want them to experience being successful.”

barn nursery

Horticultural expert and writer Marianne Binetti will be speaking about pocket gardening at the annual Spring Fling.

Binetti is more ambitious. “People think gardening is like when you were a kid and were forced to mow the lawn and pull weeds,” she says. “They don’t realized it’s very creative, good for your health, good exercise, and uses all of your five senses. It’s the answer to our obesity epidemic, it’s the answer to our health epidemic. Gardeners are going to save the world.”


Spring Fling Festival

April 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Marianne Binetti will speak at 1:00 p.m.


The Barn Nursery is located at 9510 Old Hwy 99 SE in Olympia. Call 360-943-2826 for more information.


Olympia Firefighters Respond to Structure Fire in Downtown Olympia

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 1:14pm



Submitted by City of Olympia

olympia fire

Olympia Firefighters responded to the flaming building at 2:30 a.m. this morning.

Olympia Firefighters responded to 911 4th Avenue East for a reported structure fire at 2:25 a.m. this morning. Firefighters could see the fire as they left their station a little over a block away. Calls to 9-1-1 reported a fire in an abandoned church building. The first fire unit arrived at 2:28 and reported a working fire with a person trapped on the roof.

Firefighters used the ladder truck to rescue the person off the roof approximately 3 stories above the ground. She had cuts and scrapes but refused aid and fled the scene. She reported that her friend was missing. Olympia Police reported a male jumped from the back of the building, complained of a broken ankle but ran away before receiving any aid. A man and women matching the description on the ones leaving the scene did seek aid at a local hospital but the extent of any injuries are unknown. Unauthorized persons have been seen in this building in the past. The fire was too intense to enter the building; firefighters worked from the outside.

At about 3:30 am the roof collapsed, weakening the rest of the structure. Several sidewall sections collapsed from the fire but the main front wall and steeple areas built in the early 1900’s did not fall. The building became even more unstable threatening to fall into the roadway. Firefighters pulled back further and monitored the situation.

Fire Commanders worked with the City of Olympia Building Official and Public Works to bring in an excavator from a private company to push down the remaining walls at about 8:00 am.

Adjacent businesses, the Fourth Avenue Market and A-1 Rentals, did not receive any fire damage and only cosmetic wall damage when the fire building collapsed. An office across the alley behind the fire building received significant water damage in the basement from the runoff.

olympia fire

The structure at 911 4th Avenue East used to be a church.

Fourth Avenue, the main eastbound street through downtown Olympia, was closed between Plum and Eastside with traffic detoured to Legion. Fourth Avenue is expected to remain closed until 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Olympia Fire Department responded with 4 engines, 1 ladder truck, 2 medic units, and a command unit. Additional units form City of Tumwater, Fire Districts 6 and 8 also responded. There were approximately 40 firefighters working on the second alarm fire. The only injury reported was a minor leg muscle strain sustained by one firefighter.

After the unstable walls were pushed down, fire crews worked with the heavy equipment operators to tear apart the pile and extinguish any hot spots. This activity is expected to continue throughout the day.

Damage is estimated at $100,000 for the property. It is unlikely that there will be any ability to investigate the fire as the building collapsed and was pushed into a pile. Fire Investigators will observe the scene but the cause will likely remain undetermined.