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Updated: 16 hours 37 min ago

Merle Norman Creates Customers for Life

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 6:43am



acne treatment olympia

Learn about acne care in a private setting at Merle Norman.

It is a story Merle Norman consultants hear from their customers all the time. It goes something like this, “I began using Merle Norman because my (mom, aunt, grandma) brought me here when I was a teenager with terrible acne. I started using Merle Norman products, my skin cleared up and I’ve been a customer ever since.”

In fact, some of these women are in their nineties, and almost without exception, the women look 10 to 20 years younger than other women their age.

Here is the secret: Merle Norman acne products clean out pores and help remove dead skin cells.  Continued use of these products will keep your skin clear of any more problems.  In addition, the skin is exfoliated which also results in younger looking skin.

Women who continue to use the products do so because they continue to get results and great looking skin.

Most anti-acne regimens involves four steps and Merle Norman products to too: A great cleanser with salicylic acid, toner, clear complexion spot treatment, and moisturizer. However, Merle Norman is not interested in selling a “one-size fits all” product bundle. Instead, they’ll create a skin-care regimen that is customized to each skin-type.

It’s All About Privacy

Let’s face it, acne is embarrassing for most teenagers, and seeking help at a busy department store’s make-up counter is far from private. Merle Norman offers a private setting in their Lacey store. Skincare consultants take the time to help customers find the right product for their skin, then provide necessary training for proper product use for optimum results.

Merle Norman consultants help customers learn about their skin type and the best way to treat breakouts. Take it from their many customers, from teenagers and on up, these products work, and great skin-care now creates amazing skin for a lifetime.

For more information about acne-prone skincare, contact:

Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa

3925 – 8th Avenue SE, Suite F

Lacey, WA 98503


Northwest Christian Senior Jessica Griffin Set to Graduate after 13 Years on Campus

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 6:52am



By Emily Van Marter, Northwest Christian High School Intern to ThurstonTalk

Northwest Christian High School Senior Jessica Griffin has attended school on the Foundation Campus since Preschool.

Northwest Christian High School Senior Jessica Griffin has attended school on the Foundation Campus since Preschool.

At Eighth Grade Promotion, most schools have the students stand based on the number of years they have been enrolled in the school. It is a way of honoring not only the students that have been there as little as a year, but also the students that have been there from the beginning, some since preschool.

Jessica Griffin was one of those students standing for her attendance since day one, and though she is now a senior in high school, she has kept the Foundation Campus as her choice for academics.

Griffin has attended the Foundation Campus’ school programs since preschool. As a senior at Northwest Christian High School, she is in her thirteenth year with the program. Though this may seem like a long time in one place for some, Griffin has loved every second of it. “I never wanted to transfer schools, or move somewhere else. I loved the place where I was. It was small enough where the people I went to school with weren’t just my friends, they were like my family.”

Griffin’s involvement in the Foundation Campus program stretches outside of the classroom as well. For many years, Griffin and her family also attended the church connected to the school. “We started going there when I was young. The church moved a couple of different places on the school grounds. My family and I continued to go there until the church got its own building of campus, and then we moved somewhere else,” she recalls. Even though her family no longer attended the campus-based church, Griffin found meaningful ways to get involved in leadership outside the classroom.

Griffin's graduation from 8th grade launched her into new leadership rolls in high school, including as an ASB Officer.

Griffin’s graduation from 8th grade launched her into new leadership rolls in high school, including as an ASB Officer.

Griffin demonstrates her leadership in multiple ways on the Foundation Campus. Since middle school, she has played sports, a leader on her team, setting examples of hard work and perseverance for her teammates. Griffin is also the secretary for the ASB at Northwest Christian. Through this, she has been able to plan events, lead activities at the school, and ultimately help in making positive decisions impacting students she may not otherwise interact with.

“I think that going to this school, and coming through this program for so many years has really helped me come out of my comfort zone,” shares Griffin. “Because our school is so small, it has really given me the opportunity to get to know the people here on a deeper level. I feel more confident in myself as a person, and my abilities to lead because I know I have people that will stand beside me.” Though Griffin doesn’t know many people outside of her own school, it doesn’t bother her. “I would rather know everyone in my school than not know everyone in just my own class.”

Though Jessica sets an example for the school and its students, she hasn’t been alone in her journey. “The teacher that has influenced me the most would be Mrs. Ketchum,” she says, referring to the English teacher at Northwest Christian. “I had her for seventh and eighth grade, and also my junior and senior year, but she has been a very present person in my life in between those years as well,” she explains.

Jessica Griffin Senior Picture“(Ketchum) is someone who not only teaches you a subject, but also teaches you life skills,” Griffin adds.  ”She cares so much for her students, and I know I could go to her for anything. She never lets us forget that we have the power to change the world, and that we can do great things with the power we have been given.”

Griffin feels that all of the teachers, not only Ketchum, show this same level of care. “My favorite part about this school is the involvement of the teachers and faculty. You can tell with how hard they work that they really do care about the students and their well-being, not just in school, but also in life.”

Griffin has been able to use this encouragement from her teachers, and also friends, to grow as a person over the years. “I honestly love all of my friends so much, and I wouldn’t change anything about my school career. The people in my life have really made me the person I am today, and I am so lucky I got the opportunity to become as close with all of them as I did.”

Jessica will be graduating with the 2014 senior class of Northwest Christian High School, ending her thirteen year career on the Foundation Campus and heading off to college. “I’m excited and nervous, all at once,” she confides. “But I know I’m prepared because of the people I knew here.”


Elite Cleaning Gives You the Gift of Time

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 6:00am



olympia house cleaner

Scottiejo McNulty is the owner of Elite Cleaning Services of Washington, an Olympia-based house and office cleaning company.

I admit it; I tidy my hotel room so the maids don’t think I’m a slob.  I’d probably do the same before a cleaning service arrived too, which always led me to think I wouldn’t benefit from their help.  But something Scottiejo McNulty of Elite Cleaning of Washington said struck me: “I truly believe that hiring cleaners gives you the gift of time.”

That’s a tremendous gift in our busy day and age.  Imagine no more snapping at spouse and kids to vacuum, sweep, or dust (and receiving sloppy work in response), no more wasted sunny days washing the windows when you could be out meeting our award-winning friendly neighbors.  Elite Cleaning’s successful, customer-first philosophy means that no job is too big, small, weird, frequent, rare, or difficult.

Whether it’s advice on the perfect home cleaning toolkit of supplies or how to remove gunk from the walls of your microwave, McNulty is always available to answer questions.  But more importantly, the team will do the jobs that make you wince, wrinkle your nose, or postpone until they’re a crisis like the underside of the fridge, toilet seat, or oven.  Blech.

If your allergies make cleaning solutions irritable, they’ll use natural products; if you can’t bend or stretch, they’ll reach what you can’t.  If your in-laws are arriving next week and the whole family has been down with the flu, Scottiejo and her ladies will have the house germ-free and ship-shape before and after the visit.

Because they have the flexibility inherent in a successful small business, Elite Cleaning can work with almost any schedule, cleaning frequency, or request.  They offer free on-site estimates, competitive rates, 100% satisfaction guarantees, and rave reviews from happy customers.

Renters, imagine being able to move your last box onto the moving truck and leave clean-up to the professionals.  Home sellers, imagine letting someone else handle the cleaning before your big open house.  Office managers, imagine things returning to normal after the holiday bash while you’re home with your feet up.  This is the kind of peace-of-mind Elite Cleaning can provide.  And for my money, it’s well worthwhile.  Call or text 360-529-2277.


Synergy HomeCare Offers Tips to Keep a Senior’s Home Safe

Mon, 03/17/2014 - 6:00am



olympia home care seniors

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

We’ve all probably stubbed our toes on a piece of furniture or tripped over something in the hallway.  Usually these blunders only hurt our pride. The same can’t be said for the elderly. Our aging friends and family can get seriously injured by what might look like a harmless fall.

The staff at Synergy HomeCare want to prevent these kinds of accidents from happening. Synergy offers a free home assessment to all of their clients. The assessment is a four-page inventory of what seems like every feasible scenario from poor lighting to throw rugs. “Throw rugs can become a tripping hazard,” says Brad Rossman, General Manager of the Olympia branch of Synergy HomeCare.

You don’t necessarily need a walkthrough by a professional to make sure your loved one is safe, however we offer that as a free service to the community. “The older we get, the more our homes tend to get cluttered,” says Rossman. Making clear lighted pathways and getting rid of clutter will lessen the chance your friend or family member will get hurt.

Also, check the lighting. “Because of how our eyes age we don’t see dark shadows as well as we used to,” he explains. Rossman says it’s a good idea to paint a white line on steps to increase visibility.

Finally, don’t forget about the garage. Make sure boxes and crates are not stacked too high or that often used items aren’t stashed away on the top shelf.

If you’re interested in learning more about Synergy’s home assessment call 360-338-0837 or visit their website by clicking here.


Suzana Bulatovic – The Artist Next Door

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 12:05pm



By Lisa Herrick

salish cliffsInside a typical home in a quintessential Olympia neighborhood lives a fascinating artist, Suzana Bulatovic. Visiting Bulatovic’s home is like walking into an art gallery. Paintings and sketches adorn the walls, sculptures decorate the shelves, individual beads lie upon an art table transforming into beautiful pieces of jewelry.  Bulatovic appears humble, gracious, and witty. She is many things-wife, mother, graphic designer, tennis player-but most authentically and in her core she is an artist who likes to experiment and create.

suzana bulatovic

‘Umbrellas’ was Suzana Bulatovic’s first painting upon moving to Olympia.

Bulatovic was born in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia where she got a degree in fine arts at the Academy of Art, Sarajevo University. “For four years, I strictly studied art – history of art, painting, sculpting, drawing, printing making,” she comments.

She explains that she was always doing something creative growing up and was the illustrator for her high school newspaper. In fact, she met her future husband through illustrations she would leave upon a high school desk that he sat in later in the school day. They exchanged notes and drawings before their actual face to face meeting following one of his basketball games.  Bulatovic left Sarajevo upon the start of the war in (former) Yugoslavia. She initially emigrated to Canada, then moved to Chicago before settling in Olympia.

Bulatovic shares, “I immediately felt at home in Olympia. Olympia reminds me of my country – the smell of the sea and being surrounded by mountains.  The one difference is that Sarajevo has four specific seasons while Olympia has more rain.”  This dissimilarity in weather led Bulatovic to paint ‘Umbrellas’ when she moved to Olympia.  ‘Umbrellas’ is a distinctively eye catching piece of artwork upon entering her home. She explains with laughter, “When I moved to Olympia I realized that this is a rainy area.”

suzana bulatovic

Bulatovic enjoys experimenting with her artwork from painting in oil and acrylics to jewelry making, sculpture, and even 3D digital art.

However, she is quick to point out that she did not paint in greys but rather used lots of color to express a brightness. Bulatovic claims that her artwork is portrayal of her moods and personality. She is a happy person, optimistic, and someone who looks toward the opportunities of the future not the sorrows of the past. The painting depicts a rainy sidewalk scene teeming with people carrying umbrellas, while colors are vibrant yet subtle and figures are evident yet not defined.

Much of Bulatovic’s artwork is of women. She comments “Women are something I know best. That is who I am and I am most familiar with women.”  Although she briefly reflects that while in art school most of her subjects were men. Bulatovic then points to a painting above her couch that is an alluring self portrait. She explains it represented a time in her life when she was missing her husband. You can feel the longing exude from the painting.  Bulatovic paints to express her feelings.  Each piece of her art tells a story or expresses her mood all the while with her experimenting as an artist.

suzana bulatovic

Suzana Bulatovic’s art palette in 3D digital art form.

“I just like to make things. I like 3D art where the image rotates. I like sculpturing.  I also like making jewelry, not like industry jewelry but more like pieces of art. For me, my artwork is all connected even though I create in different forms. I like to experiment. And I like colors – sometimes I just put colors on a canvas and see what I can do with it.”

Bulatovic prefers oil painting and pencil drawing. Many of her commissioned portrait pieces are done in oil so that she can achieve more realism. However she currently works mostly in acrylics confessing, “I don’t have to wait for acrylics to dry. I can better express myself in acrylic because it dries immediately and I can put on more layers instantly. I want to see how my work is emerging while I am creating it and feeling it.”  Bulatovic also enjoys the creativity and exploration allowed by mixed media. She will often paint a portrait in acrylic but use oil for the skin to create a smoother and more realistic appearance.

suzana bulatovic

Pencil sketched self-portrait of Suzana Bulatovic

Most recently, Bulatovic has been focusing on her freelance graphic design business where she has a variety of international clients. While Bulatovic is not actively selling her artwork right now, she continues to do commissioned work and charitable donations-primarily portraits. In fact, recently she donated a portrait to a fundraiser for SafePlace. She glances around and says, “I might need to sell something so that I can get more space on the walls for my new stuff.”

Bulatovic has been a member of the Olympia Art League, as well as exhibited her art locally at South Puget Sound Community College’s Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts Gallery where she was described as “fascinated with the process of painting, she puts particular emphasis on color, texture, shapes and light. She aims for the paintings to reflect her state of mind rather than the reality of the external world.”

To view the vast array of Bulatovic’s artwork visit her website.


Leslie Demich Practices a Gentle Art

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 11:29am



By Giovanna Marcus

salish cliffsLeslie Demich is not only a Jin Shin Jyuststu (JSJ) practitioner, she is an awareness-raiser.

In her practice, Body in Balance, Demich helps people become more in tune with their body’s subtle but powerful energy system.

So what is this Jin Shin Jyustsu anyway (besides a whole lot of vowels that are fun to say)?

body in balance

Leslie Demich practices Jin Shin Jyuststu in her Lacey studio.

JSJ is an ancient Japanese art form that moves stuck energy in a person’s body. Similar to the principles of Acupressure and Acupuncture, but without the invasiveness of deep pressure or needles, JSJ practitioners work with patients’ energy, using gentle touch to unblock what some call ‘chi.’ This concentrated focus facilitates healing, releases stress, and promotes general wellbeing. During visits, patients lie on a massage table fully clothed, while Demich uses her extensive training and intuitive gifts to seek out areas in the body that are “stuck.”

Patients have likened her gentle technique as similar to the mysterious but effective healing power of a “laying of hands.” Without any tissue manipulation whatsoever (no massage, no skeletal adjustment), most patients have reported benefits such as faster healing times from injuries, emotional shifts, relief from chronic illnesses, and debilitating stress relief, as well as disease prevention. Does all of this sound more than a touch hokey? Don’t worry. Demich herself was once the most cynical critic of them all.

Demich once ran a highly successful public relations firm for thirty years before trading it all in for a life where she could use a more hands on approach to help people. Her journey as a JSJ practitioner began when she met a woman who was versed in the art form that originated in Japan thousands of years ago. In private, she scoffed at this person’s profession and held little respect for her—that is, until Demich’s husband’s medical condition became so extreme that they were left with no room for skepticism.

“I thought it was just some froo-froo new-agey thing that required a healthy dose of gullibility to make it work.  IF it worked.  Which I doubted.  But by then we were desperate for relief,” says Demich.

 Dinnea Photo

Photo credit: Dinnea Photo

After five session, her husband, who hadn’t been sleeping or able to sit, walk, or stand, was suddenly doing each of these things with renewed ability. Demich was convinced. She began her training immediately.

I saw Demich for a treatment, and besides being wonderfully soothing; I left with glow and a buzz that lasted for days. Due to the nature of the subtle healing power of JSJ, Demich recommends anywhere from three to six visits to work on a condition. The testimonials are outstanding.

One of the best parts of Jin Shin Jyustsu is the self-help aspect. Demich and others JSJ practitioners are encouraged to share their knowledge with patients, so each visit includes a lesson in order to continue to facilitate the body’s positive progress. Patients who dutifully do their “homework” are the ones who really thrive with this kind of framework.  “Jin Shin Jyustsu is best recommended for individuals who are committed to participating fully in the healing process,” says Demich. So if you are the kind of person who expects someone else to just fix you, Body in Balance probably isn’t your place.

 Dinnea Photo

Photo credit: Dinnea Photo

Instead, Demich uses her wisdom and expertise to help those who are seeking some guidance. During my initial visit with Demich, she taught me that humans are practicing Jin Shin Jyustsu all the time, whether we know it or not. Have you heard the expression that if your ears are ringing, someone is talking about you? It may be little more than superstition, but even a quasi-skeptic has to seriously question why old-time sayings like that stick around in popular use for so many generations.

For example, have a tickle on your ear? It could be your small intestine crying for help. One of the self-help power moves Demich recommended to me was to hold my thumb, touting that simple gesture’s ability to improve my night’s sleep among a host of other benefits. If someone keeps doing something, like touch their nose, JSJ teaches people to think about how an action like that is viewed as a message from the body to pay attention to something.

“[Jin Shin Jyustsu] isn’t a problem fixer; it’s an awareness raiser,” says Demich, who further distinguishes what she does as a “harmonizing art,” rather than a healing art. JSJ works with what are called “energy locks.” These are 26 points that a JSJ practitioner works with on each side of the body. “When stimulated in a certain order, these points (we call them Safety Energy Locks) work together to open any of the thousands of highly defined energy pathways in the body,” writes Demich.

body in balanceSound complicated? Well, a visit to Demich’s Lacey office is anything but. Demich has a confident, friendly air about her and immediately puts new clients at ease during initial visits. She is booked out weeks in advance and comes highly recommended.

Body in Balance Jin Shin Jyustsu

677 Woodland Square Loop SE, Room A18

Lacey, WA 98503


March Brings Poetry Madness to River Ridge High School

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 7:22am



By Katie Doolittle

woodshed_logo03In Angela Farley’s English classroom, the connection between classic poets and college basketball is clear: every March, they both inspire enthusiasm and competition.

Farley is the Advanced Placement (AP) Literature teacher at River Ridge High School and creator of the legendary Poetry Madness unit. This unit prepares seniors for a specific essay question on the AP Lit test. As Farley explains, this particular prompt requires students “to analyze a poem they’ve never seen, often by a poet they’ve never read. I wanted to demystify the process.”

poetry lesson plan

Angela Farley’s teaching style intrinsically motivates students to learn.

“Poetry Madness also stemmed out of my attempt to have a greater understanding of my husband’s passion for March Madness.” Farley remembers the night she was inspired to merge aspects of sporting competition with literary content. She was staying up late to grade papers while her husband watched an NCAA tournament game. “How can I attach this to something I’m passionate about?” she wondered. On a broader level, she questioned if this might be an opportunity to better engage the athletes and sports fans in her classroom. Farley notes, “As teachers we are always looking for ways to help our students make meaning and we try to attach content to things that already matter in their lives.”

Thus was Poetry Madness born.

The process actually begins every February, when Farley’s coworkers help with seeding. They do so by ranking a list of poets according to perceived literary merit.

Next comes the draft. Students randomly draw numbers from a deck of cards. Then, they take turns picking poets until the entire 32-slot bracket has been filled.

During the actual competition, students face off in pairs. They each select one poem to read out loud at the beginning of the round. Each student will then have four 30-second opportunities to defend the worth of their poet. First, they analyze their poet’s use of stylistic devices within the poem. Then, they argue for their poet’s overall literary significance. Next, students explain their poet’s position in what Farley calls “the family tree of poets.” Who did the poet influence? By whom was the poet influenced? Finally, students have an opportunity to share any remaining information they deem pertinent.

Classmates watch the competition and vote on a winner. Victorious students advance through the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four, analyzing a new poem by their poet for each round until, finally, a champion is named.

poetry lesson plan

Patrick Sitama, the 2013 third period champion, poses before the finished bracket.

Many students believe that certain poets have an innate advantage over others. This is not necessarily the case, although some poets always seed high. Upon observing this year’s bracket, Farley’s husband notes, “Emily Dickinson and William Shakespeare? They’re just like Syracuse and UCLA. They always get into the tournament. They have the skills, but you never know how far they’re actually going to get.”

“I was an underdog going in to Poetry Madness,” reminisces Patrick Sitama. He was the third period champion in 2013, winning with Langston Hughes. Currently in his first year at South Puget Sound Community College, Sitama appreciates how AP Lit prepared him for success. “Ms. Farley was a great teacher. She truly loves the subject matter she teaches, and it showed every day in class. The workload she assigned was immense, but we benefitted from the experience because it disciplined us for the workload of college courses.”

Katie Hovde, another past champion, concurs about the advantages of working with Farley. “In college, I’ve met a lot of people who did AP English at their high schools and they didn’t receive nearly the level of well-roundedness, creativity, diversity, or challenge that I received at River Ridge.” In addition to honing her academic skills, AP gave Hovde intellectual confidence. She further adds, “Maybe it is just the rare diversity of River Ridge, but I really appreciate the fact that I spent high school not only learning the ins and outs of language and literature, but also learning how to be a good human being.”

Hovde will graduate from Central Washington University next spring with a double major in Music and Public Relations. She’s years away from her Poetry Madness victory, yet still vividly remembers the experience. Hovde took two poets through the competition. Though she won with Shakespeare, she actually gained a greater appreciation for her other poet, Sylvia Plath. “Her poetry is so raw and honest. ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’ had a particularly long-lasting effect on me.” From memory, Hovde launches into a description of the poem’s rhythmic juxtapositions. She then says, “On a less technical note, I love how heart wrenching it is. You could give this poem to someone who has no idea what heartbreak even means, and they’d read this and very clearly and deeply feel it.”

This, ultimately, is the true prize of Poetry Madness: strong analytical reading skills, rich understanding of theme, and deep appreciation for literature. Through her commitment to teaching and continued creativity in the classroom, Angela Farley has given every one of her students the chance to keep winning long after the Poetry Madness competition ends.


Swing Doctor Joe Thiel Lives His Dream

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 7:10am



By Gail Wood

pints logoJoe Thiel’s cell phone rang in his pant pocket.

“Where am I at?” Thiel said, repeating the caller’s question.

It was a no-duh question. Naturally, he was at the golf course, teaching a student at the Tumwater Valley Golf Club. Where else would he be?

On this beautiful, sunny day, Thiel is at his office – a driving range.

joe thielFor 41 years, Thiel has been a swing doctor, teaching students from around the world. Considered one of the country’s best, he’s been named the PGA’s teacher of the year three times and Golf Magazine has included him in the country’s top 100 golf instructors list numerous times.

He’s lived his dream.

“I’ve always wanted to be a golf teacher,” Thiel said.

On this day, Thiel is giving a 90-minute check-up lesson to Hiroi Ukigaya, a 17-year-old from Japan with aspirations of turning pro. To pursue that dream, Ukigaya, while still a high school student, has left his family and moved to Olympia so he can take lessons from Thiel.

“He helps my game,” Ukigaya said. “He’s taught me a lot of things.”

Ukigaya first met Thiel three years ago, during one of his teaching visits to Japan. At least three times a year, Thiel flies to Asia and teaches in Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, instructing players on the Japan and European pro golf tours.

Later this year, Thiel will be at the British Open to help Alex Wuashun smooth any wrinkles out of his game as he plays in that PGA tournament.

Thiel’s students past and present stretch from the PGA to the LPGA, from Texas Tech to Capital High School, from Seattle to Singapore. He’s taught some of Japan’s best, including LPGA players Won Han, Kang Soo Yun and Se Ri Pak. He admits his Japanese isn’t that great, but his understanding of the game is impeccable.

joe thiel“He’s why I’m here,” Ukigaya said, who is still mastering English.

Shot after shot after shot, Ukigaya launches a golf ball and Thiel analyzes the technique, commenting on the positioning of the hands, speed of the club and the face of the club. It’s a swing under a microscope.

“Got to get a feel for that down swing,” Thiel said as Ukigaya launches another iron shot, the white ball slicing the blue sky.

Besides his worldwide tours, Thiel stays busy locally, hosting classes at the Tumwater Valley Golf Club when he is in town. He spent the last two months in Palm Desert, Calif., teaching students from across the country and around the world who fly there for sessions.

“I’m trying to slow down as fast as I can, but it doesn’t seem to happen,” said Thiel, who recently turned 65 but has the spunk and get-up of a kid. “But really all I care about is having an opportunity to make a difference in some of these people’s lives, using golf as my platform.”

For Thiel, it’s not just about the back swings. It’s about life’s approach.

“I use this fantastic game of golf, whatever God has given me,” Thiel said. “I use that as a means and an opportunity to influence people in many different directions in their lives and impact them.”

He sees himself as one piece of the puzzle. Working with the parents, grandparents and of course the student, he says it’s a group effort. He also asks that the students have a passion for the game.

joe thiel“Joe isn’t the kind of golf instructor who wants to put Band-Aids on your game,” said Michael Putnam, a PGA golfer from Tacoma who took lessons from Thiel. “He’ll change your game so you can play well the rest of your life.”

After graduating from business school, Thiel got his start as a golf instructor in 1971 when he landed his first job working at two public golf courses in Denver. After stops in Florida and Seattle, where he managed three courses, he moved to Olympia and bought the Capital City Golf Course in 1987 and sold it five years later.  He then built a three-hole practice course with a driving range which began as Eagle Quest. In 2003, Thiel partnered with Kevin Bishop to start The First Tee, a golf instruction school for kids. Several years ago, they sold that course and Thiel is teaching full time.

But Thiel isn’t just a swing doctor. He’s also a motivator who prods by challenging. His cell phone is like a psychiatrist’s couch. On a weekly basis, he analyzes the mental game of players like Putnam.

“For 30 seconds he tells you how good you’re doing, then he’ll kick your butt for the next 30 minutes,” Putnam said.

Thiel’s not about false praise, pumping up a student’s ego with “you’re looking great” when there is room for improvement.

“He doesn’t just tell you things you want to hear,” Putnam said.

joe thielWith Thiel’s love for the game of golf, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that he met the love of his life, his wife, Susie, on a golf course. Before they were married and as Thiel was getting ready to move from his apartment, Susie visited and saw a pile of trophies and awards he had won in golf tournaments.

“She asked me what I was going to do with that?” Thiel said with a smile. “Well, I told her we could put them in a room in our new place.”

Susie responded, “We can put a plaque up and say this is Joe’s trophy room.”

Thiel wisely picked up on the sarcasm and got rid of the trophies. And he’s been living his dream ever since, helping others collect trophies along the way.


Something Wicked is Happening at Harlequin

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 6:52am



By Alec Clayton

heritage bankI recently discovered that when you sit down to interview members of an improv comedy troupe you immediately relinquish all control; all you can do is hang on in gleeful desperation while the madcap actors take you on a roller coaster ride.

Christian Doyle, improv teacher and manager of Harlequin Production’s Something Wicked Improv, said when auditioning for the troupe he looked for people who were quick and supportive of each other, not just funny, and the original four members of the troupe — Doyle, Mark Alford, Vanessa Postil, and Dave Beacham (aka David Axhandle Bulletwound Beachham)  — are all of that plus funny.

Doyle and Alford, newly hired as Harlequin’s Development Manager, proposed to Harlequin co-founder Scot Whitney that they do a night of improv comedy as a fundraiser. Doyle said, “Mark was very excited about it but I wasn’t.” Much to his surprise Whitney went for it, but Doyle didn’t get the message until he saw it on the theater’s schedule — “Improv with Christian Doyle and Friends” slated for the next night. They had less than a day to put it together.

olympia improv

Humorous improv comes easily on stage to Something Wicked co-stars (from left) Christian Doyle, Mark Alford, and Dave Beacham.

Fortunately, his friends were old hands at improvisational comedy.

The four actors decided to do a more ambitious show and invited every improv company in the area to take part in the “First Annual South Sound Comedy Festival.” Beacham feared that only friends and family of the actors would show up. Alford thought, “If only we could get a hundred people that would be great.” With greater confidence, Doyle told Whitney, “I think we can sell it out.” He was right. It was standing room only, and from there Something Wicked (the name taken from a line from Macbeth) was off to an auspicious beginning.

Local actor Brian Hatcher, most recently seen as the dour but loveable Eeyore in The House at Pooh Corner and prior to that as the heartless title character in Titus Andronicus, said, “comedy improv is one of theater artists most difficult challenges — stay focused, keep the action moving, be clever, and for the love of the gods keep the audience entertained. Watching the crew of Something Wicked perform their inaugural show, it is clear that these folks have what it takes to become Olympia’s top Comedy Improv Troupe. Oh, and they’re quite funny, too!”

Actor and professional storyteller Elizabeth Lord, locally famous as the impresario and mustachioed master of ceremonies of Lord Franzannian Royal Olympian Spectacular Vaudeville Show, said, “as a seasoned Improv actor myself I went to the Something Wicked show with a critical eye expecting to cringe. Not the case. They were surprising fluid together on stage, doing all the right things. I guffawed outloud several times, and am looking forward to their next performance.”

Unlike many improv groups, they do not do short, game-type bits, made popular by the television show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Instead, the foursome performs full-length but unscripted plays. Each actor is given a character and put in a situation and is expected to stay in character throughout the show, reacting to the other actors as their character would in any given situation. Doyle said, “It’s acting without thinking. It’s Zen archery, shooting without aiming.”

olympia improv

The cast of Something Wicked (from left) Robert Humes, Dave Beacham, Maggie Lofquist, Vanessa Postil, Christian Doyle, Mark Alford, Taylor Dow, Ryan Holmberg, Miguel Pineda, Lauren O’Neill, Chris Ode.

They say their next show will be about conflict. “It’s a war story,” one of the actors said, but they were firing back and forth so quickly during the interview that I don’t know which one said that, or perhaps maybe it was a joke.

Despite not having a script, the group does rehearse to grow accustomed to working together. Postil said they get to where they almost know what each actor is going to say before they say it. When asked what they do when having to respond to something unexpected Beacham said, “If you’re given a square peg for a round hole you grab a big hammer and pound it in.”

Doyle said, “It’s all very risky. Rehearsal is preparing yourself for almost anything.  Almost none of rehearsal ends up in the show.”

Something Wicked is also different from other improv troupes because their shows are musical. Almost everyone in the troupe sings, dances or plays a musical instrument.

Other members of the troupe are Taylor Dow, Ryan Holmberg, Robert Humes, Chris Ode, Lauren O’Neil, Maggie Lofquist, and Miguel Pineda. Their next performance will be “Something Wicked Strikes Back,” Wednesday, March 19 at 8 p.m. at the State Theater, 202 4th Ave E, downtown Olympia. Tickets are $10-$25.

Call 360-786-0151 for tickets and information or visit Rush tickets available 30 minutes before curtain.


Father, Son Face Off on the Soccer Field While Raising Funds for Relay for Life

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 7:54am



By Tom Rohrer

capital medical centerA father and son go through so many things together.

Success, failure, love and loss are all characteristics of a healthy relationship between a boy and his dad.

Together, Bryce Winkler and his father, Bryan, have experienced towering highs and trying lows.

Those experiences eventually lead back to soccer, where Bryce is a senior captain for the Olympia High School varsity team and Bryan is in his first year as head coach of the boys team at Clover Park High School.

On Saturday, March. 15, Bryce and his father will face off for the fourth consecutive season, as Olympia will host Clover Park at Ingersoll Stadium beginning at 7:00 p.m..   Prior to taking over at Clover Park, Bryan Winkler served as head coach of the Tumwater boys team.  The T-Birds faced off against Olympia in a non-league match for six consecutive seasons.

Saturday’s game will serve as a fundraiser for the Thurston County chapter of American Cancer Society Relay for Life, with a suggested donation of $5.

winkler soccer

Saturday’s boys soccer match between Olympia and Clover Park will serve as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. It will also be the fourth consecutive season that Bryce (left) and Bryan Winkler have faced off against each other as player/coach for opposing teams.

A co-captain for Rachel’s Warriors Relay for Life Team, Bryce set up the fundraiser for his high school culminating project.

“I put some serious thought into my project and wanted to work on something really meaningful,” he said. “I’ve become passionate about fundraising for cancer research.  It’s something so close to my family.”

Bryce’s best friend, Rachel Vaughn, and the namesake for Rachel’s Warriors passed away following a battle with kidney cancer when she was 17.  In August 2012, Bryan lost his sister, Leanne Winkler Hogan, to lung cancer.  A track and field standout during her time at Capital High School, Winkler Hogan would be turning 45 on the day of the match.

“It’s affected us every day really,” said Bryan Winkler.  “Cancer affects everyone in some way and we have our own story.  It’s something Bryce, I and our family share and have gone through together.”

To go along with the fundraising effort, Bryce wanted to share the stories of other individuals and families impacted by cancer. Through social media and email, he reached out the Olympia community to obtain photos of loved ones who have beaten, fallen to or are currently battling cancer.  A flat screen at the stadium entrance will display a slide show of the submitted photos.

Though not surprised by the support, Winkler has been overwhelmed by the volume of responses.

“I’ve received hundred (of photos) the last few days, and they keep coming,” he said earlier this week. “It’s touching to see the faces of cancer and it just goes to show how far it reaches.”

Sports have a way of bringing people together in challenging times and for powerful causes.  Athletic memories elicit emotional responses in young and old athletes alike, something the Winkler’s have experienced first hand.

“The day of (Vaughn’s) service, we had a game at Gig Harbor.  That was the only game where I was playing for someone else, which is corny but so ridiculously true,” said Bryce, a four year member of the OHS varsity team. “I hadn’t cried to that point, even after attending her ceremony. Then I started sobbing in the locker room and it hit me that I had lost a best friend.  I’ve been able to take that emotion and put it into a sport I love throughout my life and I see the same thing from my dad.”

winkler soccer

Tumwater and Olympia High boys soccer teams posed for a photo prior to the start of their 2013 match. The game served as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, an effort spearheaded by Olympia coach Ty Johnson and then Tumwater coach Bryan Winkler. A year later, Winkler is the coach at Clover Park High School, and the Warriors will face-off against Olympia Saturday night. The match will serve as a fundraiser for the ACS Relay For life and is the culminating project of Winkler’s son, Bryce, a senior captain for Olympia.

“Everyone has that memory of playing sports as a kid,” said Bryan Winkler, who played soccer at Capital High School and then The Evergreen State College in the 1980s. “Sports take people back to a simpler time, a carefree time really.  Everyone connects to that and it makes people happy to see athletes put their cares aside for a few hours and compete.”

Prior to the start of Saturday’s match, the two teams will circle together at the center of the pitch.  Both Winkler’s will say a few words and a moment of silence will follow.

“It’s a time where both teams can come together, think outside themselves and say a prayer or a few words for a loved one,” said Bryan.  “It’s an emotional moment not just for the teams, but everyone in attendance.”

Emotions will continue to run high during the game, which serves as the finale of the ‘Winkler Bowl.’

“It’s going to be hard to focus,” said Bryce, who will attend and play for Colorado State University-Pueblo next fall.  “I grew up with him coaching me, and I decided I didn’t want that in high school.  We went our different paths in that respect and being able to play him one last time, it’s the perfect ending.”

“We’ve had fun in this game and we’re going to have fun again,” said Bryan.  “It’s been great to see him from the opposing sideline these last four years because I notice how hard he works.  Competing against his hard work has been a challenge as an opposing coach, but as a father and fan of the game, it’s fun to be on the same field as him.

The two have been instrumental in the creation of the fundraising match but are quick to cite several individuals who’ve helped along the way.

“(Olympia boys coach) Ty Johnson and I have a mutual respect for each other, and he’s as big a part of this game,” said Bryan. “He lost his father to cancer, so this event is for him and his family too.”

“I couldn’t have done this without Chris Miller. I reached out to him when I decided I wanted to do this project and he’s been so helpful,” said Bryce of the Tumwater citizen involved with Thurston County Relay for Life and a number of other fundraisers.  “Rachel’s Warriors co-captain Stefanee Erdahl has been with me every step of the way.”

The support they’ve received from the Olympia community does not surprise the two.

“Olympia really comes together in a big way,” said Bryce.  “We’re known as a ‘small town,’ but together we have a big impact and can display a lot of passion.”

“You’ve seen it with all the fundraisers and events going on,” said Bryan. “We as a community, we support one another.”

Bryce has developed into a beneficial byproduct of his environment, something his father relishes in witnessing every day.

“I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of him.  In high school, he started waking up at 5 a.m. every day just to get in extra work.  Not many high school kids do that, let alone on their own,” Bryan said.

“He’s been through a lot at a young age. Losing a great friend and then an aunt, that’s not easy,” he continued.  “But the way he’s responded, I couldn’t be more proud to be his father.”

For more information on donating to Rachel’s Warriors or becoming involved with the Relay for Life of Thurston County, email

Leaks Can Run, but They Can’t Hide During Fix a Leak Week, March 17 – 23

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 6:41pm



Submitted by the City of Olympia

March 17 – 23 is national Fix a Leak Week sponsored by EPA WaterSense. The City of Olympia’s Water Conservation Program is urging you to chase down leaks in your home. Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so race over to your plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems, fix any leaks, and save valuable water and money.

Common leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and shower heads, and other leaking valves – all easily correctable. Take 10 minutes to investigate your plumbing, and you could save 10,000 gallons of water per year! Visit our website for information on leak detection and repair at


Jacob Julagay Serves as Page in State Senate

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 3:28pm



Submitted by Sen. Adam Kline

Jacob JulagayJacob Julagay served as a page this week in the Washington State Senate.

Julagay was sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle. “It is great to meet young people who are interested in learning about state government.  I sponsored Jacob because I wanted him to have a hands-on experience that would be fun and educational.  I am glad he enjoyed his week here,” Kline said.

Julagay first learned about the page program from his brother, who had previously participated in the page program. When asked what the best part of his week was, Julagay responded, “working on the floor and seeing how the senators debate different bills.”

Julagay would like future pages to know that they should make sure to show up every day dressed nicely.

Julagay, 14, lives in Lacey where he attends Komachin Middle School.

Energy Efficiency First Explains Green Building

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 12:28pm



Olympia Energy Auditor, Bernie Miller has a passion for making your home more comfortable and efficient.

Olympia Energy Auditor, Bernie Miller has a passion for making your home more comfortable and efficient.

The word “green” has become a catch phrase for anything even remotely environmentally friendly. It’s tossed about with such frequency that it’s difficult to know what “green” really means.

The team at Energy Efficiency First has a very specific definition. “Green building means using designs and materials that will diminish impacts to the natural environment, reduce exposures to toxic materials and increase a home’s energy efficiency and building durability,” says Energy Efficiency First’s Jacqui Brown Miller.

Let’s say you’re doing a remodel. Energy Efficiency First would tap into a specialized knowledge of building science, design and construction practices that are proven to make homes more energy efficient and comfortable.  They also make it their business to know how the products are manufactured, how they impact the natural environment, and whether they contain toxins that can harm you.

Green begins with green design.  Routine components of a green remodel include framing and construction methods that use less material and are more energy efficient.  Another must is making the building envelope energy efficient through air sealing, mega insulation, and high efficiency windows and doors.  Green means choosing options for lighting, HVAC, and water heating that use less water and power.  This could mean, for example, installing a ductless heat pump or an electric heat pump water heater.

Materials are also selected that won’t “off-gas” and contaminate your home’s air with formaldehyde or other nasties.  A green remodel will usually incorporate materials made from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo flooring, and sustainably harvested products such as Forest Stewardship Council certified woods.  When it comes to finish materials, there are a wide variety of eco-friendly options for any budget.

Green building does not have to cost more.  Ductless heat pumps actually cost less than conventional furnaces, and high efficiency windows and doors are not appreciably more expensive.  Any added costs associated with energy efficient building practices and equipment are recouped through lower power bills and the value of added personal comfort.

Keep in mind everything doesn’t have to happen at once. The professionals at Energy Efficiency First will work with you to create a sensible plan. “Healthy and sustainable designs and construction methods should be standard building practices that every family can afford,” says Brown Miller.

To learn more about the services Energy Efficiency First offers, in partnership with Quality Renovation and Carpentry, give them a call at 360-236-9684 or visit their website here.



Thurston County Launches Bountiful Byway, Agritourism Route

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 11:12am



Submitted by Thurston County

Imagine you could follow a dreamy pathway that led you to Thurston County’s best farms, wineries, nurseries, cultural attractions and more! Now imagine that winding, serene pathway became a reality. On Tuesday, March 18 the Thurston County Board of Commissioners will officially designate the Thurston Bountiful Byway—a scenic route in the heart of Thurston County’s most picturesque rural and agricultural lands. The public is invited to celebrate the adoption at a free event at 4 p.m. on Tuesday immediately following the board meeting at the County Courthouse in Olympia.

The byway will be a scenic route that promotes agricultural tourism, or “agritourism,” in the rural parts of Thurston County. The proposed route starts in the Nisqually Valley, stretches south to the city of Yelm and west to the Capital Forest before ending at the intersection of Mud Bay Road and Delphi Road SW. Along the way you can explore dozens of special stops and activities including creameries, nurseries, wineries, sculpture gardens, and historic sites. There are more than 90 suggested agricultural, ecological and cultural stops along the Bountiful Byway. Pick a day and stop at as many attractions as time allows.

The route was developed in cooperation with several community partners including local farmers and business owners, the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau, Thurston County WSU Extension, the Thurston Regional Planning Council, and other organizations. For more information please visit

WHAT:    Thurston County Bountiful Byway Celebration—free and open to the public

WHEN:    Tuesday, Mar. 18, 4-5 p.m. (immediately following the Board of Commissioners meeting)

WHERE: Thurston County Courthouse Building One, Room 280 at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW in Olympia

Olympia Weekend Event Calendar

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 6:55am




Who can complain about the weather earlier this week?  Glorious sun shined down on Olympia, drying us out for a bit and reminding us that Spring weather is just around the corner.  While the rain clouds have returned, I’m confident that with flowers blooming and buds showing on the trees that I can weather the next few weeks of (likely) continuous drizzle.

Here’s what is going on in Olympia this weekend.

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.

Calling all Ladies: Northwest Harley-Davidson Throws a Women’s Only Garage Party

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 4:13pm



By Kate Scriven

NW Harley Row of BikesWhen you hear the name “Harley-Davidson,” an image of women gathered together, chatting and drinking chardonnay, enjoying a fashion show is likely not the one that forms in your mind.  Yet the Lacey based dealership will be packed on Friday, March 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. with only women, out to enjoy a night on the town with their girlfriends at Northwest Harley-Davidson’s Women’s Garage Party.

The evening is dedicated to showing women the softer side of Harley.  “The night is all about education, fun and fashion,” shares NW Harley co-owner Julio Valdenegro.  Guests at the event can expect a fun night with food catered by Hawks Prairie Casino, drinks, and an inviting and non-intimidating atmosphere.  In a brand which has historically catered to men, the owners at NW Harley-Davidson know that women love to ride, love the brand and they want to make them feel welcome at the shop.

The last several years have seen a steady increase in numbers to the free evening event.   Local businesses get involved, donating goody bags for the first 25 women to RSVP.  Guests can mix and mingle with their friends, browse throughout the store, and visit with NW Harley-Davidson staff, who will be on-hand all night to answer questions and fill glasses.

NW Harley Womens ApparelIn addition, the event will include a fashion show right in the store.  The show will feature the newest Harley products made exclusively for women.  And as important as the proper fit is when buying a bike, the proper fit is key in protective riding gear.  Harley’s women’s line is tailor to fit a woman’s body and give her a full range of motion, and protection, when riding.  Attendees will see a full line-up of protective gear, leather outerwear and riding boots along with items such as heated clothing and rain gear, perfect for riding in our unpredictable Northwest weather.

Not a rider, just a fan of the Harley brand?  The two-story Lacey store is filled with Harley fashions and the latest designs will be featured in the show.  From hoodies to hats and purses to pajamas, Northwest Harley-Davidson has a little something for every taste.

And while the evening is really about fun, there will be plenty of focus on education as well.  Women can learn riding tips such as how to lift up a motorcycle if it falls over, by yourself… really.  Tips for riders such as local riding routes and toolkit essentials are also among the educational aspects.

But why a women only event?  Why not a couples party?  “Women enjoy social events, getting together.  They love to do things with their friends and we love to invite them into the store for this friendly, easy-going night,” explains Valdenegro.

“It’s a great way to interact with our female customers one-on-one and let them know we appreciate their support,” continues co-owner Joe Deck.  “This really is a night for them.”

NW Harley Womens apparel 2So who is this party for?  It’s for the seasoned Harley rider, looking for camaraderie and fun with other Harley riders.    It’s for the Harley fan, thinking that they might be interested in taking up riding, getting into the saddle.  It’s for the “girls-night-out” group, just looking for some fun, knowing that NW Harley-Davidson is always a class act.  Whichever group you may fall into, you’ll need to RSVP soon.  Spaces fill fast for this annual event you won’t want to miss.

Where:  Northwest Harley-Davidson at 8000 Freedom Lane NE in Lacey

Cost:      Free

When:   March 21, 6-8 p.m.

RSVP:     360-705-8515


Thurston Car Talk – Repair Estimates are Not All Created Equal

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 2:56pm



Submitted by Bron’s Automotive

olympia mechanicWhen folks have their vehicle in the shop, they sometimes call other shops for a second estimate to compare prices.  While this is fine, I thought I would write this blog to explain some things that might come up to aid your thought process.  While different shops sometimes charge different prices, it’s fair to say that there can also be a big difference in the quality of parts and workmanship, as well as the style of quoting.

First, be aware that if you brought your vehicle into the shop, and testing and diagnosis was needed to determine what part needs to be replaced, there is normally a charge for this testing, which is fair since the shop owner has to pay a technician a wage to make that determination.

An engine overheat condition would be a good example of this. Your question to us will be “why is my car overheating?”  If for example, the technician determines that a defective radiator is the cause of the overheat condition, most shops similar to Brons Automotive, will put together an estimate for replacing the radiator that includes parts, labor, new coolant, and sales tax.  When we call you to tell you how much it will cost to fix your car, we will also include the cost of the original testing, so you have the complete cost of the testing and repair “out the door” including tax and all associated parts needed for a proper and long lasting repair.

If you call another shop and ask, “How much is it to replace my radiator?” the answer will always be less because no testing was required by the second shop to determine the cause of the condition, and therefore testing will not be part of the second shop’s quote. The second shop may or may not include new coolant in the estimate.  Many shops giving a second quote at this point make sure their estimate does not include sales tax, which makes their price seem even lower.  So make sure you know what the original quote includes and what the repair alone costs.  Most shops will fax you a copy of a detailed quote so you can fairly compare.

At times the two quotes will be for a different level of service.  An example of this would be asking for a transmission service on a Honda.  A Honda transmission holds about 12 quarts of transmission fluid, but 7 of those quarts are in the torque convertor, which cannot be drained, only flushed.  A shop that refers to a “drain and fill” as a service will give you a quote for about 5 quarts of fluid and about a half hour of time.  In my book this “service” is not the best course of action.  We prefer to load our transmission flush machine with the full 12 quarts of Honda fluid and put 100% new fluid in your transmission.  It costs a little more but is well worth it when taking care of a transmission. (Why leave 7 quarts of dirty fluid in it?)

There is also a difference in parts quality that different shops use.  Some parts will last as long as or longer than the original, while others of a lesser quality might not last a year.  Closely tied to parts quality is the warranty a shop gives out on their work.  You want to have work done by a shop that stands behind their work, in case of a parts failure. Does the second shop offer 6 months/6,000 miles?  12 months/12,000 miles?

At Brons automotive we will soon be offering a LIFETIME parts and labor warranty on most repairs.  Yes, you heard it, a lifetime parts and labor on repairs!  This will be available by April 1st, 2014.  At Brons automotive we like to repair and maintain vehicles the right way so you have peace of mind on the road.


South Sound Women’s Day Features Keynote Speakers Dr. Angela Bowen and Carol Schillios

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 2:33pm


Submitted by South Sound Women’s Day

South Sound Womens Day 2012 (3)Several hundred women are expected at South Puget Sound Community College on Saturday March 22, 2014 for South Sound Women’s Day, presented by South Sound Women’s Events Inc.,  a local non-profit whose mission is to encourage leadership through personal, professional and community growth and education opportunities for women of the South Sound.  President Elyse Harrington says “The day has really become more than we ever dreamed it could be.  We want every woman in Thurston County, whether they are 18 or 80 to be able to experience this.”

The event has evolved over the past ten years, most recently as “The Day of Empowerment” in 2012.  For a one day seminar, this one packs a punch!”  says prior attendee Heidi Brotche McCutcheon.  With 25 local speakers presenting on everything from protecting your credit score, social media marketing for your business and volunteerism to belly dancing, self-defense and connecting in your community, South Sound Women’s Day offers something of interest for every woman.

The day will feature 2 inspirational keynote speakers, Carol Schillios of Fabric of Life, and Olympia native Dr. Angela Bowen, several local exhibitors, buffet lunch, three breakout sessions and a wine and cheese networking session at the end of the day.  Attendees can also attend an optional VIP Welcome Reception Friday evening to gain one on one time with presenters, sponsors and organizers.

Carol Schillios 2400 x 3000 (300 dpi) WebKeynote Speaker Carol Schillios calls herself a facilitator of change.  As a master trainer, she believes every woman has the capacity for self-transformation.  When she is not mentoring and training leaders in the U.S., Carol works with women in developing countries of Mali, Senegal, Uganda and Ethiopia.  Carol also established a skills training center in Bamako, Mali, West Africa to help young teens get off the streets.  Participants spend 18 weeks learning and developing skills to become artisans and leaders in their community.

Olympia native, and award winning humanitarian Dr. Angela Bowen will present the closing address.  Dr. Bowen received the Leadership in Human Protection Award from the World Health Organization in 2010 and is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Office of Human Research Protections, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  A healthcare pioneer and passionate patient rights advocate, Dr. Bowen will discuss how even locally, we can change the world one woman at a time.

“It is quite an honor to have two passionate and distinguished speakers at one event,” says Board Member Julie Darby.

South Sound Women’s Events Inc. invites local women of all ages to attend South Sound Women’s Day, Saturday March 22, 2014.  Register at Tickets are $65.00 in advance, or $85.00 day of.  Participants are encouraged to register by March 18, 2014.

Synergy HomeCare Partners with Dinners Done Right to Provide Healthy, Delicious Meals

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 12:43pm



Submitted by Synergy HomeCare of Olympia

eldery people caregiver synergyIn celebration of “March National Nutrition Month”, Synergy HomeCare of Olympia is partnering with “Dinners Done Right” in Lacey.   The theme of the national month long campaign is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”  Many people associate eating “right” with sacrificing taste and this is simply not the case.

The partnership between Synergy HomeCare and Dinner’s Done Right allows your parents or loved ones delicious and nutritional prepared and cooked meals.  The best news is the price.  Meals range from $4.00 to $6.00 per serving.*

Synergy HomeCare will pick up these deliciously prepared meals from Dinners Done Right for our clients.  Our caregivers will help our clients plan when they want to enjoy and cook the meals.  They can assist in storing any leftovers carefully to be enjoyed over the next few days.   The program can introduce new flavors and dishes into your loved one’s weekly rotation and hopefully create a lasting habit of incorporating healthy eating in everyday life.

Dinner’s Done Right allows us to offer great nutritional meals that are prepared fresh, from scratch ingredients.  The meals are very affordable and result in little waste, both due to their proper portioning as well as their excellent flavor.

Dinners Done Right is offering a wide variety of March Meals to choose from.  You can pick one or more of these items for delivery.  Full descriptions can be found on the Dinners Done Right website.  Menus include the following:

  • Irish Pub Beef Stew   olympia urban gardening
  • Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
  • 4 Bean Baked Chicken Stew
  • Pork Brisket with Apricot Glaze
  • Chinese Chicken Drummetts
  • Chicken Breasts with Mango Sauce
  • Coq Au Vin
  • Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice
  • Irish Pie
  • Thai Chicken
  • Southwest Roll-Ups
  • Tilapia w/Mustard Cream Sauce


While these great nutritional meals are cooking, Synergy HomeCare will provide all their other services for our clients, keeping them safely and comfortably in the comfort of their own home.   Services include:

  • Meal Planning & Preparation
  • Medication & timely reminders
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Incontinence management
  • Incidental Transportation
  • Dusting & Laundry
  • Assistance with dressing
  • Bathroom maintenance
  • Bathing and personal hygiene assistance
  • Enjoyable conversation
  • Assist with walking and light exercise
  • Social Stimulation
  • Maintain clean and safe environment

March’s focus on healthy eating and “Enjoying the Taste of Eating Right” can be a welcome addition to your loved one’s daily routines, providing meals you know will be healthy and most importantly, delicious.



Thrifty Thurston Finds a Pot of Gold in St. Patricks Day Activities

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 8:57am



By Alyssa Ramsfield

Gyro PsychologyBlimey! The calendar pages are turning quickly and we are only days away from one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day! Although it falls on a Monday this year, there is plenty to do around town to celebrate all weekend long on a budget.

Irish Dance with Scoil Rince Slieveloughane

This free event kicks off a weekend of St. Paddy’s fun.  The renowned dancers of Scoil Rince Sleveloughane (Hillside Lake Irish Dancing School) will perform Irish Dance at the Tumwater Timberland Library. These dancers come from the biggest Irish dancing school in the region! They have the goal of sharing Ireland’s rich history through movement. If you want to enjoy traditional jigs shaking the bookshelves, the dancing begins at 6pm on Friday, March 14.

Friendship Run 2014

st patricks day olympia

Shamrock cupcakes will be featured throughout the weekend at Mystical Cupcakes.

Looking for something to do with someone special that will get your heart racing? Check out the 2014 Friendship Run on March 16.  The 11th annual run features a variety of events for everyone. There is a 5k run/walk, 10k run, and free Tot-Trot for kids ages 2-8. Prizes will be awarded to top three finishers in each category. Food, music, and a raffle will also be available during the run. All proceeds benefit Olympia’s Westside Cooperative Preschool.

Miss Moffet’s Mystical Cupcakes

After working up a sweat from running, treat yourself to one of Miss Moffet’s Mystical Cupcakes. The divine sugar shop will be open on a usually closed day, Monday, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The cupcake case will feature a variety of holiday themed flavors including Chocolate Stout, Celtic Faerie, Irish Cream, and Shamrock Shake! Miss Moffet’s opens at 11am and supplies are limited.

Four Leaf Clover Hunting

While some people look for gold from those mischievous leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day, why not look for a rare gem in your own backyard? Thurston County is a great place to go hunting for four leaf clovers. Our parks and playgrounds are a treasure trove full of these little guys.

Here are some words of advice while you are out scouring the countryside for your very own shamrock. First, pick a good spot. Look for a large patch of grass with a bed of clovers to begin your search. Second, try to be patient. This is not an easy task so take your time and don’t get frustrated.  Third, observe the patch closely. You many need to get down to eye level with the ground to find that hidden gem. Lastly, preserve your find. Bring clear tape and press your clover into it. This way you can show off your hard work.

Irish Music with The Burren Boys

st patricks day olympia

Traditional Irish dancers will be showcased at Tumwater’s Timberland Library on Friday.

Finish your St. Patrick’s Day with authentic, Irish music.  The Burren Boys will be playing at Cascadia Grill on Monday, beginning at 6pm for a free show. These guys play music that will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands along to the beat. Fiddles, whistles, banjos, and guitars are just a few of the instruments they have on hand to play their Irish tunes. Many of these melodies require audience participation so be ready to sing and dance along!

There are so many fun and thrifty things to do around Thurston County for St. Patrick’s Day! Good luck on deciding which one will be your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

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, click here.