Facebook12Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic RealtyColdwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty was recently awarded the #1 office for its size by Coldwell Banker.Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. of Olympia, WA was recognized by Coldwell Banker as the franchisor’s Number One Office in its size category for the Western Region of the United States. This award celebrates the achievements of the number one producing, independently owned and operated Coldwell Banker® office for each U.S. region within six office size categories. Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. achieved this top honor amongst 175 offices throughout 17 states in the western U.S.Upon receiving the news of the award, Ken Anderson, President and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, said “this is quite an achievement for our firm. The companies who franchise with Coldwell Banker are leaders in their respective markets. To be at the top of that list is humbling, but also a reflection of the hard work and dedicated service to clients that our 50 real estate brokers and staff display every day.”The company is the longest established, locally owned real estate firm in Thurston County. The firm is the area’s most productive real estate company, with 50 brokers nearly doubling the market share of the second largest firm in Thurston County.“While these types of accolades are nice, they simply reflect our group’s uncompromising dedication to our clients,” Ken shared. “We could not be as successful as we are without the tremendous support we receive from our community of clients.” He went on to explain the company’s mission. “Our goal is to help more people with the important work of buying and selling their most treasured assets – their homes and other real estate. We want to ensure that everyone receives the service they deserve from practiced, dedicated professionals.”For more information, visit Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.
Facebook2.2kTweet0Pin2 Submitted by Capital City PrideGovernor Inslee receives a Rainbow Flag from Capital City Pride chair Anna Schlecht and volunteer Sarah Vanucci.In recognition of Pride month, Governor Jay Inslee has invited local community members to help him raise a rainbow flag this Friday, June 19 at 2:30 pm at the State flag circle in front of the State Capitol Dome. Participants are encouraged to arrive by 2 p.m., wear Pride shirts and to bring their cameras to capture this historic moment.This historic flag raising signifies the first time a rainbow flag, long the symbol of LGBTQ rights, will be raised at the State Capitol in honor of Pride Month and in honor of Capital City Pride’s PRIDE 25! Celebration. Governor Inslee will address the crowd and then the flag will be raised by Spencer Daniels, a representative of SAGE Olympia, which serves older LGBTQ community members, and Ruben Garza, a youth participant in PIZZA Klatch which supports LGBTQ+ youth in local high schools. Together, they represent the history and the future of the LGBTQ community.“I never thought I’d live to see the day that a rainbow flag was raised at the State Capitol”’ said Anna Schlecht, Capital City Pride chair, “When Capital City Pride was founded in Olympia 25 years ago, we created a logo featuring the Capitol Dome with a rainbow flag as an expression of our hopes and dreams of equality. And now the day has come when our logo becomes reality.”The public is invited to join Governor Inslee and Capital City Pride for this short ceremony at the flag circle, which is located on the state Capitol campus between the Capitol dome and the Temple of Justice.Capital City Pride will celebrate PRIDE 25!, its 25th anniversary of Pride in Olympia starting with the flag raising. Later Friday there will be a kick-off party from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday night, June 19 . The first portion of events will feature live performance, speakers and complimentary cake indoors at the Urban Onion restaurant at 116 Legion Way. This will be followed by an outdoor lighting ceremony at dusk that features the Phlame Crew.The Pride Festival goes from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21 at Heritage Park. The Festival will feature Grammy award winner Kimya Dawson and LA based drag performer Alusia along with other performers, a family fun area and many booths.The 25th annual Pride Parade will be Sunday noon to 1 p.m., starting at the State Capitol following a route down Capitol Way, turning left on Legion Way to Heritage Park. These family-friendly events are free and open to the public. Please visit us on Facebook or on the web at www.capitalcitypride.net
Facebook19Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Thurston County Board of Commissioners The National Weather Service is showing additional cold weather in the Puget Sound area through Saturday, February 24. On Wednesday, February 21, Thurston County extended the initial activation of a “Code Blue” advisory through Thursday, February 22. Due to continuing cold weather patterns, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is extending the “Code Blue” advisory to increase shelter capacity through Saturday, February 24, 2018.During this code blue activation period, expanded shelter options are available at Salvation Army and Union Gospel Mission for single men and women. In addition, First Christian Church in partnership with Interfaith Works will offer extra shelter capacity. First Christian Church is in need of volunteers and donations of blankets, coffee, creamer, cup of soups, and other snacks. Items can be dropped off at First Christian Church upstairs after 6:00 p.m. Please call or email Faith Addicott at 360-709-2679, or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested in volunteering. Family Support Center’s Pear Blossom Place is available for families with children needing shelter and Community Youth Services is available for youth ages 18-24.BackgroundCounty, city, and local advocacy and non-profit organizations have been working together as the Hazardous Weather Task Force (HWTF) for the past six months to develop a plan to address harsh weather conditions and the effects on vulnerable unsheltered populations. The HWTF developed the “code blue” model to be enacted during extremely cold or hazardous weather conditions. During a “code blue”, organizations, including HWTF members, take special measures to keep people who are homeless safe by expanding shelter services to accommodate the increased need. The HWTF will assess the model used during this event to enhance the response in future events.For more shelter information, call Thurston County’s Coordinated Entry Shelter and Housing Hotline at 1-844-628-7343.
Facebook7Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Zach Powers for The Evergreen State CollegeDr. Damon Williams — a national leader in higher education equity work — will give a talk titled “Making Excellence Inclusive” at 6:30 p.m. on April 19 in the lobby of the Daniel J. Evans Library at The Evergreen State College.Williams has written numerous books and articles on inclusive excellence initiatives in higher education and with Fortune 500 companies. He has worked as an associate vice chancellor, vice provost and chief diversity officer for University of Wisconsin-Madison, inclusive excellence strategy leader with the AAC&U, and chief diversity officer with the American Council on Education.“Dr. Williams will talk about what it looks like for an institution like ours to have a shared understanding of inclusive excellence and how an inclusive excellence framework advances equity through a systemic approach,” said Evergreen Vice President/Vice Provost of Equity and Inclusion Chassity Holliman-Douglas.Sponsored by Evergreen’s Office for Equity and Inclusion, Williams’ talk is part of the Willi Unsoeld Seminar Series. Unsoeld, who passed away in 1979, was an Evergreen founding faculty member and famed mountaineer. Past speakers have included Jim Hightower, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Terry Tempest Williams, Tom Hornbein and The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.The talk will be free and open to the public.“Making Excellence Inclusive” with Dr. Damon Williams6:30 p.m. in the Daniel J. Evans Library LobbyPre-event reception at 6:00 p.m. in the Library MezzanineEvent Contact: email@example.com
Facebook185Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Senior Services for South SoundThe Sharing Teens and Elders Program will celebrate it’s 5th year receiving two national recognitions for this program that fosters meaningful dialog between generations. Led by founder Linda Terry, STEP meets the third Saturday each month at the Olympia Senior Center from 10:30 to 12:30. What started as just a handful of students and seniors, expecting to just meet one time, has grown into a monthly meeting sometimes getting close to 100 participants.STEP is a perfect example of intergenerational engagement and the primary reason why the program was chosen to be featured as an “Inspiring Community Connection” in the 2018 edition of AARP’s Where We Live: A Community for All Ages. Further, STEP has also been honored as a Program of Distinction by Generations United. Generations United’s Program of Distinction designation serves as the US benchmark for intergenerational programs and is based on the criteria that underpin the effectiveness of high-quality intergenerational programs. STEP is in an elite class as a program recognized with a designation of this stature.“STEP provides meaningful connection between youth and seniors while helping to prevent social isolation among seniors. We’ve heard from those who attend about how STEP has expanded their social network and that STEP makes them feel better.” Eileen McKenzieSullivan from Senior Services for South Sound shared. Senior Services provides ongoing funding to support STEP to offer it to seniors in our local community.Beyond STEP, Linda has also provided STEP TWO (The Women Only) which meets the first Sunday of each month at Mercato Restaurant (111 Market ST NW) starting at 3:30. Women 21+ are invited to attend and talk story with each other. Teens or Seniors interested in attending STEP should contact Linda at 360.586.6181, ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Drop-in’s welcome to each group.
Facebook123Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Westport WineryWestport Winery’s first varietal Malbec named True Blue earned a double gold medal and the Best of Class award at the 2019 Women’s International Wine Competition held on June 11 and 12 in Santa Rose, California. There were over 1000 wines entered in this event with only 45 best of class designations.Photo courtesy: Westport WineryThe grapes winemaker Dana Roberts used to create this special vintage were picked at Joe Hattrup’s Sugarloaf Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. True Blue was released in April but was sold out by June. The Roberts family who own the winery have increased the volume of their Malbec harvest in the future. The next vintage of True Blue will be released in May of 2020.In addition to Malbec Hattrup Farms is where the winery also harvests Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc and Petite Sirah.The wine features an original watercolor by Darryl Easter of a blue 1967 Ford Fairlane which is the car Blain Roberts moved to Maui in 1974. At the time there was a housing shortage in the islands, so he shipped this car since it was big enough to sleep in. This was one many sacrifices and compromises he made that allowed him to grow his business, Lahaina Divers, into the largest charter scuba diving enterprise in Hawaii. That business’ success allowed him to launch Westport Winery in 2008 with his family.Westport Winery Seaside received the 2019 Rising Star Award from the Seaside Chamber of Commerce. Westport Winery and the Roberts family were honored with Seattle Business Magazine’s Community Involvement Business of the Year for 2018. In 2017 the Westport Winery Garden Resort was named Greater Grays Harbor Business of the Year. USA Today named the Sea Glass Grill at Westport Winery Garden Resort one of the top five winery restaurants in the nation. The business has been voted Best Winery by King 5 Evening Magazine.In 2016 Westport Winery was honored as one of the top twenty most-admired wineries in North America by Winery & Vineyard Management Magazine. The business earned Best Winery, Best Wine Shop, and Best Boutique Winery for 2016 by South Sound Magazine. They received the Grays Harbor Environmental Stewardship Award in 2015. They are finalist to the Best Washington Family Business competition by Seattle Business Magazine. And in 2011 they garnered Washington Winery to Watch by Wine Press Northwest.In Oregon, Westport Winery Seaside and Seaside Kites are open daily from 11am to 6pm. To book Westport Winery Seaside Retreat (a three, king suite vacation rental) go to https://abnb.me/wm8iVGkHCT.Family-friendly Westport Winery Garden Resort is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road halfway between Aberdeen and Westport. The Sea Glass Grill at the resort is open daily for brunch, lunch, and dinner from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information or reservations call 360-648-2224.
Facebook11Tweet0Pin0Submitted by City of YelmCity of Yelm Mayor JW Foster recently became one of just 300 municipal leaders in the state of Washington to have earned the Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities (AWC), since the program’s inception in 1997.To earn this award, Foster completed more than 60 hours of training through a variety of AWC-sponsored workshops, and demonstrated an additional 30 hours of community service.“Since joining the Yelm City Council in 2011, I’ve been taking advantage of the web-trainings, local seminars and conferences offered by the AWC to be the best leader I can be for our community,” Foster said. “As an elected leader, it is important to utilize the education and support offered by the AWC to continue to expand skills in budgeting, planning, and leadership.”The AWC’s Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership program provides elected municipal leaders with training to effectively operate within the law, plan for the future, secure and manage funds, and enrich community and staff relationships.Foster moved to Yelm with his wife Nicki in 1996 to raise their four children and spent many years coaching youth sports teams, volunteering for Yelm Community Schools, and working with local service organizations on a variety of projects. He was appointed to the planning commission before being elected to the Yelm City Council in 2011 and reelected in 2015. Foster was elected Mayor in 2017 after being appointed in 2016 to replace Mayor Ron Harding, who left to take work in Oregon.Foster currently serves on the Sports Medicine advisory committee and as Chair of the General Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Education for Yelm Community Schools. JW and Nicki also volunteer for the Nisqually Land Trust, Rotary Club of Yelm, and Lions Club projects.“The path to Yelm’s best future starts with a strong foundation in our local schools and organizations,” Foster said. “It’s always been a strong family value of ours to work with our neighbors to make our community better for everyone”In addition to his local Mayoral duties and local involvement, Foster continues to engage at the regional level, serving as Vice-Chair of the Thurston Regional Planning Council, and engaging with other municipal leaders and military counterparts through the South Sound Military and Community Partnership.The AWC is a private, nonprofit, non-partisan corporation that represents Washington’s cities and towns before the state Legislature, the state executive branch and with regulatory agencies. The AWC serves its members through advocacy, education and services.
By John BurtonSuper Storm Sandy was a bipartisan storm, displacing both Republican and Democratic mayors, whose homes were damaged it the storm’s wake.Like so many of their constituents, mayors of Sea Bright, Highlands, Little Silver and Oceanport saw their homes so damaged by last October’s storm they became displaced and three of them still have not returned.Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon and his family had to rely on relatives after the storm. But “I’m one of the lucky ones,” he insisted. His home was repaired sufficiently, allowing the Mahons to return right around last year’s holidays.The others aren’t so lucky.“My home is no longer my home,” said Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long, as she looks toward a year out of her residence. Over the past year, while working on the overwhelming magnitude of issues her community faces following the storm’s devastating effects on the oceanfront community, Long and her family had to address dealing with their own situation.Like so many others in the community, they’ve been at odds with their insurance providers and have had to deal with government red tape, as they attempted to access the various programs intended to assist residents.“You live by the water, you know the risk, you buy a policy,” Long said. “I get it.“But then you’re told it won’t cover your home,” she added.According to Long, her policy should have allowed for $205,000. Instead the carrier is saying she is entitled to $5,000 for her home contents and $60,000 for damages. “My cheapest repair bill is $75,000. And that’s if I cut corners,” she said.“The cruel joke is they don’t give you enough to fix,” she charged.Long is currently waiting for the final determination for the state’s Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grant program before her family can make any final determination on what they’ll do.Mayor Frank Nolan, saw not only one, but two homes structurally damaged by the storm, his family’s and his mother-in-law’s, that he has been caring for. “I just paid my 12th rent payment,” on the rental his family has been using, after having spent approximately 17 days in a housing shelter at Henry Hudson Regional High School.Everything in both homes is being replaced as well as the other work that needs to be accomplished, which he said, “puts me in the same position as most of the downtown residents,” of Highlands, where about 1,250 of the approximately 1,500 homes were damaged to some degree.“It’s frustrating for me, it’s frustrating for everybody,” dealing with contractors, insurance adjusters and red tape. Nolan said he was ready to scream recently, when the windows and doors order arrived and were the wrong ones, causing another delay.Work is moving forward on Little Silver Mayor Robert Neff’s home, slowly but surely, Neff pointed out. Like others he’s had to replace everything in the family home and repair it from the flooding. “Between my wife, my kids and volunteers, I did much better than I might otherwise,” he noted, as everyone pitched in to help clean out the structure, filling two 1-ton dumpsters, to make way for the work.“We’re pretty grateful to be where we are a year from this because of all the help we had,” he said.Neff is very close to being back, hopefully within the week, he said. “It’s been a long year but we’re getting there,” he said.Nolan said he’s about “10 percent away” from returning home.For Long and her family, things remain up in the air. And this experience has caused her and her family to rethink some basic things.“It has certainly changed my relationship with the material world,” she said.“I’m certainly content to rent for the rest of my life,” she said.
By Jay CookThe state’s newly amended Pet Purchase Protection Act is designed to create transparency between pet stores and customers. The law aims to give prospective pet buyers the animal’s veterinary history, breeder or broker information, as well as prohibit New Jersey pet dealers from doing any business with unlicensed breeders or animal welfare violators, also known as puppy mills.But two local stores that recently got slapped with violations, hefty fines and bad publicity for alleged failure to offer required cage label signage are howling mad and fighting back.On Jan. 4, the Division of Consumer Affairs cited 17 pet stores statewide with 683 violations, with fines totaling more than $400,000. Among them was Bark Avenue Puppies, 4 West Front St., Red Bank, which was issued 50 violations, and The Pet Shoppe, 1284 Route 35, Middletown, which had 19 violations.The pet shops must comply with the law and pay a reduced civil penalty. For Bark Avenue, that is at total of $10,000, and The Pet Shoppe, $2,500. Pet shops that fail to address the notice they received, or contest the violations, face higher civil penalties. For Bark Avenue that could be as much as $25,000, and for The Pet Shoppe, $9,500.An attorney representing both pet stores says the charges are unreasonable. “None of the violations pertain in any way to the safety of the animals, the animals’ health or its well-being or care,” said Dean Schneider, attorney with Schneider Freiberger, P.C. of Red Bank and Long Branch. “The squeeze on these local pet stores, who really have nothing but a clerical violation, is just extreme and it’s unwarranted.”Gary Hager, owner of Bark Avenue Puppies, which carries toy and designer breeds in downtown Red Bank, also says he was “ticked off” by the 50 alleged violations, and called it “a money grab.” The store was cited for improper cage labeling, failure to post a “Know Your Rights” statement for consumers, and USDA reports on the cage.“There was no communication between the state, in any way, shape or form, with us to tell us ‘Hey, this is the way you need to run things, post things, and communicate things,’” said Hager, who has owned the store for just six months.The owner of The Pet Shoppe in Middletown, a store that specializes in rare and unusual breeds, vehemently denies any wrongdoing. “It was one violation – because we didn’t have the color of the dog on the card,” said Dana West, who has owned the store for 8 years. “When the new law came out for the cards, they [New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs] gave us a sample card to go by, and ‘color’ wasn’t listed on there. So we made up our cards like the sample card.” She says she explained this to a state inspector who visited The Pet Shoppe on Oct. 14.Mike Bober, president and CEO of Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Washington D.C., which supported the bill and gave input to lawmakers, said better communication is essential. “The first round of enforcement was done without consultation with the stores,” said Bober. “As is the case with new legislation, the law has yet to be interpreted. To put in plainly, this is just growing pains.”Meanwhile, the stores say they’ve been dogged by bad publicity after the announcement of the alleged violations was circulated. “It’s a shame because this thing has really cost a couple of these businesses an extraordinary amount of goodwill with the public,” said Schneider, the attorney. He said the state will consider the way it announces alleged violations, “so that it doesn’t give the appearance of 50 violations, 19 violations or 70 violations, whatever the number may be for each individual pet store.” He added, “We have to keep in mind that these violations are only alleged.”Hager says he is dismayed by the experience. “New Jersey just threw a blanket up for all of us, and said ‘You’re all the same,’” said Hager. “I’m not saying there aren’t bad people out there – bad breeders and bad brokers. But the truth of the matter is that there are good ones out there too.”
By Liz SheehanSEA BRIGHT – A plan to pay for the rebuilding of the borough’s buildings destroyed by Super Storm Sandy, including the firehouse, police department, library and beach facility, may be in jeopardy.At the May 17 Borough Council meeting, Mayor Dina Long voted three times to break the ties on the 3-3 council votes, so that three bond issue ordinances could be introduced and presented for public hearing at the June 1 council meeting.But passage of the bonds requires that not less than two-thirds of the council approve them after the June 1 public hearing. These would mean four votes of approval from the six-member council.On Tuesday, only three members of six voted to introduce the bond ordinance and public hearing. Members Jack Keeler, Peggy Bills and John Lamia Jr., voted against introducing the bill. Members Charles Rooney III, Bryan Kelly and Marc Leckstein voted for it.Lamia said Wednesday that he was meeting with the Borough Administrator JosephVerruni the next day to discuss the details of the plans for the projects the bond issue would finance. “I didn’t have enough information yesterday,” he said, since a planned session on the issue was not held.Drawings show plans for the library and the beach facility.“This is the biggest expense that Sea Bright has ever had,” Lamia said. “It’s going to affect our future.” He said that the bonds would be a heavy debt to place on a town with 1,200 residents.He said that Keeler had researched projects in other towns and found some that would be less costly than what was planned for the borough.Lamia said the council members were told that the bonds would have an effect on the interest rate on future borrowing, making the rates increase.He said the time between Tuesday’s vote and the June 1 public hearing would give him time to learn more about the proposed bonds and the project.“I am still on the fence” about supporting the bond issue, he said.Keeler and Bills could not be reached for comment on the bond issue.“I don’t know if this town will get this opportunity again,” Rooney said, referring to the funds that would come from FEMA to replace the buildings lost in Sandy.He said voting for the bonds “was the biggest vote” council members would ever make.“We need these buildings,” he said.“Why are you telling us now?” he asked of the council members who voted against the introduction of the bond issues. “Where have you been for the last two years?” he asked, while the plans were being formed for the replacement of the lost buildings. “It’s very, very upsetting,” he said.Rooney questioned what “Plan B” was for the council members who voted not to introduce the bonds.None of the council members gave a reason for their votes on the matter at the meeting.Rooney said that the town had not increased taxes since Sandy.The increase in taxes projected for the bonds is 2 cents per $100 of assessed value, according to a presentation on the bonds made by Kelly at a previous council meeting.The bond issues include an issue with a principal of $3,942,500 to be used for the construction of a Municipal Complex, for police, fire and emergency use. This facility will also be financed by “$2,750,000, expected to be received as a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” and $1,000,000 from insurance.The second bond issue would be for a principal of $1,486,750 to construct a beach facility with $1,450,000 expected to be received from FEMA and $185,000 from insurance for the construction of the building.The third bond would be for $332,500 for the construction of a community center which would also be financed by an expected $900,000 from FEMA and $150,000 from insurance.The borough is also counting on revenues from its new metered parking system and the end of the requirement to lease facilities to replace those lost as a result of Sandy to pay for the bond issues.