A day at Neighborwoods Training

The city plans an anti-tree topping campaign? Sounds ominous:

Today we went to a training session for the city’s Neighborwoods program. The program coordinator, Micki McNaughton, gave a presentation for the first part, and then we planted some trees for the 2nd part.

Presentation is maybe the wrong word.  It was a friendly and energetic conversation and explanation of the program and general care of young trees from a woman with obviously love for both trees and her job.  I have handouts, with notes on them; I almost wish I’d had my camera to take pictures of her sketching on the whiteboard the various sections of the tree, how they work, etc.

Topping is her particular nemesis, and apparently the city is getting ready to roll out a huge anti-topping campaign soon.  My favorite trees in the whole city, lining a street which I’ve loved since before I moved to Olympia, are all in serious trouble because of topping done in the 1950s.

And yes, then we (me, C, and two other attendees) went out with Micki to a site where we planted three flowering plums along Capitol Way south of the freeway, and yes, we worked in the rain...

The Neighborwoods program is one of the best things that the city of Olympia does: trees, civic involvement and betterment. Goes to show that cities can do good things to get people more involved. Conversate over at epersonae's emergency weblog (best blog name in Oly, by the way).

Rose Melberg

[from doubleagent records]

The former leader of Tiger Trap, The Softies, and Go Sailor has always been a productive overachiever - giving us a seemingly endless avalanche of mellifluous albums to treasure - but the past 5 years have been uncharacteristically quiet.

After moving to a small Canadian lakeside town, she started a family, developed into a mature singer/songwriter akin to Nick Drake, Tracey Thorn, Elliott Smith and Isobel Campbell / Belle & Sebastian, and created her solo masterpiece, "Cast Away the Clouds", the spellbinding continuation of an impressive career.

May, 18 2006 at Midnight Sun
113 Columbia St, Olympia, WA 98501
Cost: $6

w/ Jenny Jenkins and special guests, all ages

The Brief Town of Sine, Washington

If you travel a mile south of McCleary and pass the intersection where the Mox-Chehalis Road East joins Mox-Chehalis Road, you will see no trace of the once promising community of Sine. Yet early in the 20th century this settlement counted 52 resident families and had a school with 85 students. Sine had a post office, grocery store, dance hall, and shingle mill. If not for Henry McCleary, it is possible this area would have been known as the home of the twin towns of Summit and Sine.

The Sine family left their home in Monongalia County, West Virginia (on the Pennsylvania border) in March, 1891. The trip to the new State of Washington required 10 train changes. Upon arrival they spent their first week with George Wade, a relative of Mrs. Sine, up the Wynochee. The final leg of the trip to what would later be known as Sine was made by oxen team.


Olympia's entry

Here is Burke. He is representing Olympia in The New York City Beard and Moustache Championship. Here's what Burke says (via NYCGMCB):

I work at a restaurant called Ramblin' Jacks located in downtown Olympia. I'm just a lowly kitchen worker there, washing dishes, prep cooking, and I'm in charge of loading/unloading the smoker. The owner is a local guy who owns 2 other restaurants. I've been working for him for about 3 years now and he thinks I'm awesome, but is hesitant to make me a line cook because of my beard.

The Mystery of "Kid" Swanson

Our sources of information are sketchy, but it would appear that in 1932 an African American drifter known as Jimmy "Kid" Swanson found his way to McCleary, Wash. and somehow connected with Frank and Ruth Fox. They owned the Fox Cafe as well as the (still in operation today) McCleary Hotel. Little is known of Swanson's past, except he claimed to have been the welterweight boxing champion of North and South Dakota. We don't know the circumstances surrounding the Kid's arrival.

During 1933-34, Frank Fox acted as Kid Swanson's manager. Ken Boling recalls the boxer being known as "Frank's guy." Swanson used to practice on a punching bag behind the McCleary Hotel, and these sessions would draw a crowd of admirers. In 1992 Doris Buzzell Irwin told historian Charles Fattig she remembered those workouts, and "supposed that he lived in the McCleary Hotel."

He was in several boxing matches in the Olympic Arena, corner of 4th and Jefferson in Olympia. The Kid broke his hand in his Apr. 21, 1933 bout with Tiger De Villa. By Jan. 1934 he was back in the ring and appearing in Tacoma fights. The Elma Chronicle of Jan. 25, 1934 called him, "The McCleary colored boy well thought of in Tacoma boxing circles."


Olympia's Anna Sjoblom, Survivor of the Titanic

Anna Sjoblom's first person account of the Titanic sinking is a heart-wrenching read. This was her story as published in the Olympia Daily Recorder, 4/30/1912. Anna later married Gordon Kinkaid and lived at 1220 S. Jefferson St. in Olympia from 1956 until her death in 1975. Anna's Titanic boarding pass, worth six figures on the auction circuit, became the object of a "custody battle" in the late 1990s. Anna died on 3 November 1975.


One of the most dramatic and thrilling narratives of the scenes attending to the disaster of the Titanic and the perishing of more than 1,600 people, is that related by Anna Sjoblom, an 18-year-old girl who arrived in Tacoma yesterday on her way from Finland to join her father and brother, Gabriel Gustafson and Dan Gustafson, who work in a logging camp at Matlock, in Mason County. Mention was made in the local papers last week of the fact the Gustafsons, then on a visit to Olympia, had just received word of the safety of the girl. Miss Sjoblom is staying at the home of her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Nelson of Tacoma, and will remain there for the present.

The Tacoma Ledger this evening contains an interesting interview with the girl, obtained through the aid of Mrs. Nelson as interpreter.


Tumwater may ask Olympia to think again on Capitol Way plan

In their city council packet this week, the Tumwater city council will read about the thoughts of their staff to ask Olympia to go back and reconsider the Capitol Way plan. Read all about it (and comment if you want) at Better South Sound.

Also over there is some stuff about Tumwater maybe not having enough staff time to work on all the annexations they have coming up. 

Also, I don't read the Tumwater packets all that often, so if anyone wants to take that on, I'll open a Tumwater forum at BSS.

Legislative Building Lore

I was browsing old issues of the Morning Olympian and ran across this article from Apr. 22, 1925, p. 1 and 6. You would think an incident like this would remain alive in the Capital Campus folklore. Even though I have been employed on that campus in the past, the death of Emmett Godat was news to me. Here's the article:

Emmett R. Godat drops down elevator shaft to his death; Coroner says end came instantly

Emmett R. Godat, 29, Tumwater, was killed Monday, it was discovered yesterday morning, when he fell down an 80 foot elevator shaft in the new capitol building. His body was discovered in a pool of water in the bottom of the shaft as the result of a hunt instituted when his father, D.M. Godat, reported that the young man had not been home Monday night.

Godat was missed by workers Monday afternoon, but no one suspected that a tragedy had occurred. He had started to work shortly after noon Monday and the fatal fall took place at about 3:50 p.m., it is believed as a watch in the dead man's pocket had stopped at that hour.

At the time the accident had occurred Godat was at work on an upper floor of the new building. He is believed to have stepped onto one of the narrow concrete ledges in the elevator shaft on either the fourth or fifth floors and fallen to the pit below when he lost his balance. The elevator shafts are barred with planks on all the floors but there are openings between the boards large enough for a man to crawl through.

Deputy Coroner Arlie Mills investigated the accident Tuesday morning and reported that death was instantaneous and due to accidental causes. The body was removed to the Mills Undertaking parlors where it remains pending funeral arrangements.

The death is the first serious accident that has occurred during the construction of the capitol building, said C.C. Hastie, representative of the contracting company. "Godat had only been employed that

Towns names they will never use

Over at The Rambling Taoist, Trey muses:

...I soon realized that a great many models of various types of vehicles are named after geographical locations

...Anyhow, I got to thinking about which towns will never, ever have a vehicle model named after them; the kind of towns with a weird name that doesn't conjure up the kind of imagery that, say, Malibu or Seville does.

Though certainly not an exhaustive list, here's what I came up with. Please feel free to add to the list.

Toad Suck (AR)
Humptulips (WA)
Tittybong (Australia)
Bumpass (VA)
Dogpatch (AR)
Knob Noster (MO)
Chugwater (WY)

Add your own thoughts via comment over there, but I was thinking of the "Toyota Totten," a very badly selling light truck.

Day reporting

An alternative to spending money we don't have on a new jail? From the Spokesman-Review:

With the jail constantly overcrowded, Spokane County leaders are trying different ways to set lawbreakers on better paths.

The Spokane County District Court is one month into a 90-day experiment in "day reporting," an alternative to jail in which convicts must account for eight hours a day of their time with work or education. A judge determines if a person is eligible for the program.

"There's an emphasis on the defendant being a productive member of society," said Percy Watkins, co-director of the program. "When they're in jail, they can't work."

The program is open only to those who committed nonviolent and nonsexual misdemeanors. Almost all of those participating would have been sent to the Spokane County Jail or Geiger Corrections Center. Their crimes will remain on their records when they complete their sentences.

At the beginning of the year, county commissioners allocated $30,000 for a 90-day test of the day-reporting system. The program started March 20 with three defendants, said Barbara E. Miller, executive director of Friendship Diversion Services, an Olympia-based nonprofit agency that runs the county's day-reporting program.

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