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Who is the Griffin Neighborhood Association?
The Griffin Neighborhood Association (GNA) is registered with the State of Washington as a non-profit organization. We are a nonpartisan group of neighbors living within the boundaries of the Griffin School District, Thurston County, Washington.
Any person owning property, a business, or residing in the Griffin area is eligible to become a member and participate fully in the Association. Membership is also open to community groups and students of the Griffin School District. If you live or work in the Griffin neighborhood or Steamboat Peninsula, the Griffin Neighborhood Association is you.
Originally organized as the Oyster Bay Neighborhood Association in 1990, we were registered with the State of Washington as the nonprofit Griffin Neighborhood Association in December, 1995.
The mission of the Griffin Neighborhood Association is to help build community consensus on major issues confronting the Griffin area, including growth, land issues, habitat, water quality, transportation and school planning. When appropriate, we research issues as honest brokers of information, provide forums for debate, attempt to arrive at community consensus and issue resolution, and present this consensus to appropriate decision makers.
The Griffin Neighborhood Association also undertakes and supports projects that benefit our community, help to build a sense of community, and educate the community on topics of interest.
Our Board and Officers
Our Board is comprised of current members of the Association, elected by members of the Association present at the Annual Meeting. Officers are elected from Board membership by members of the Board.
Our Upcoming Events
Local residents: Join Nextdoor to see GNA events, plus many more goings-on here in our neighborhood!
At the Fall Town Hall Meeting presented by the Griffin Neighborhood Association, the theme was public safety. Invited speakers included Sheriff John Snaza. Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney, Jon Tunheim, also attended. The standing-room only crowd had many questions regarding neighborhood crime. Worries and concerns regarding mail theft, property theft, prowlers, drug activity, and personal safety were brought up. A common theme expressed was a sense of vulnerability, isolation, and powerlessness to crime, be it real or perceived.
The topic of our next Town Hall dovetails well with the concerns expressed last Fall. In conjunction with Providence Health & Services, the GNA will hold our Spring Town Hall at Griffin Elementary School on March 27, 6:30 – 7:30. We have invited Dr. Joyce Gilbert. With 30+ years as a pediatrician and multiple roles, Dr. Gilbert is fascinated with the science of trauma, and how stressors in early life become potentially toxic and life threatening to adults.
Dr. Gilbert will be explaining the difference between stress, toxic stress, trauma and how we process each. A sense of safety versus threat can trigger chemical changes in the brain that impact our ability to be resilient. Resilience is our internal ability to adapt to big or small stressors. Our Steamboat community will learn about the biochemistry of stress, trauma, and the long term effects, if not interrupted. Dr. Gilbert will discuss how we can affect change, particularly when we have no control over these traumas. Skills and strategies for grounding, calming and staying present are critical and basic maneuvers we can all implement, benefiting both in the moment and over a lifespan. The research is clear: both the quality and quantity of your life is directly related to what you do or do not do, with stress.
Dr. Gilbert set a personal goal: Teach all of our elementary school educators about trauma within this school year, almost 40 schools total. At this Town Hall meeting, we will learn just how important it is to take care of ourselves in our daily lives, and feel safe.
There is no charge to attend this event.
A Town Hall: “Trauma, Toxic Stress, and Building Self-Healing Communities”
Tuesday, March 27
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
We hope to see all our community members there.
Are you interested in learning more about this topic? A variety of online resources are available. Here are just a few:
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a video of a TedTalk presentation entitled, “How childhood trauma affects health throughout a lifetime.” And Dr. Harris’ book, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. In this book, Dr. van der Kolk “uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.”
Epigenetics: The Science of Change. “For nearly a century after the term ‘epigenetics’ first surfaced on the printed page, researchers, physicians, and others poked around in the dark crevices of the gene, trying to untangle the clues that suggested gene function could be altered by more than just changes in sequence. Today, a wide variety of illnesses, behaviors, and other health indicators already have some level of evidence linking them with epigenetic mechanisms, including cancers of almost all types, cognitive dysfunction, and respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, autoimmune, and neurobehavioral illnesses.”
Three candidates are vying for a single empty seat on the Thurston Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors. Every registered voter in the Griffin area are eligible to participate in the election. However, the balloting is done outside the County’s normal process. If you are not familiar with the Conservation District, let me take this opportunity to provide a little background. I also want to describe the very odd ballot procedures and encourage you to participate, even though the cumbersome process seems designed to discourage voter participation.
What is the Thurston Conservation District?
Created in 1947, our conservation district is a legal subdivision of state government. It administers programs to conserve natural resources. The Conservation District is self-governed by volunteers who establish priorities and set policy. According to the TCD’s web site, “Conservation Districts exist in practically every county throughout the United States.”
Many of us, particularly in rural and semi-rural parts of the county, have used services from the TCD. “From a one-time soil test to an in-depth Conservation Plan, we’re here to help people feel comfortable and prepared when working with and on their land.” Equipment rental, access to advice and resources for habitat restoration and preservation, and a wealth of information to help property owners to manage their land are all available – some at no extra charge – from the Thurston Conservation District.
The TCD receives financial support through a number of means. You may be familiar with the District’s annual plant sale (this year’s is March 3rd). Some modest revenue is also generated from equipment rental and soil testing. TCD receives most of its money from state, federal, and private grants. An important source of financial support comes from a per-parcel assessment, included as part of our property taxes. I am seeking confirmation of the amount of that assessment, and how it is paid to the TCD. I’ll update this article, as soon as I get some clarification.
In 2017 TCD’s budget was for nearly $1.7 million in expenses. This budget was for projects that conserve soil, restore water quality, protect shellfish and salmon, and educate the public.
The TCD is a very useful resource, whether you are a farmer or simply wish to maintain your parcel of land in a way likely to preserve its highest value.
Five members comprise Thurston Conservation District’s Board of Supervisors, each serving three-year terms, without compensation. Three of the five Supervisors are elected by registered Thurston County voters, and two are appointed by the Washington State Conservation Commission.
– TCD web site
Since the TCD is governed by a volunteer Board of Supervisors, it’s very important that competent and dedicated individuals be elected. Board members who don’t participate threaten the success of the TCD and potentially squander the funds that support the important services provided by the District.
One of the candidates named on the ballot – Deston Denniston – has withdrawn from the race. There are three candidates remaining. [Update: A second candidate, Edward Steinweg, has now dropped out.] Official statements by each of the candidates are posted on this web page. Beyond advising you to search online for information about these candidates, I am at a loss to provide additional information about the qualifications of each. But click here and scroll to the bottom if you would like to leave a comment, particularly if you have an informed opinion or a line on a good online resource.
There is a candidate forum, sponsored by the Sierra Club and Thurston County League of Women Voters. That forum is Tuesday, February 13! Click on the image of the flyer here, to get a larger view.
Normally, I’d say the easiest way to vote is by mail. But this election appears not to be “normal”. There are two ways for you to vote.
Vote By Mail (“absentee ballot”)
Begin by requesting a ballot. They are calling this an “absentee ballot.” One way to get one is by phoning the Thurston County Auditor’s Office at (360)786-5408 and requesting that a ballot be mailed to you. Absentee ballots may be requested between February 5th – February 28th, 2018. You can also get a ballot by going to the Auditor’s Office, 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Building 1, Elections – Room 118. I assume, if you request one to be mailed to you, what will arrive is a ballot similar to the ones you normally receive, for things like general elections.
Another way to get a ballot is online using this link. You enter your name and date of birth and, if the County Elections system can identify you, you are given the opportunity to either enter your vote or download a ballot with no vote (you can then manually enter your vote). No matter which online method you choose – enter a vote for a candidate or request a blank ballot – you’ll need to download and print out a four-page PDF file.
One of the pages is a set of Ballot packet instructions. Another is the ballot itself. A third page is a Declaration and Signature Sheet containing language like that you normally see printed on the outside of your mail-in ballot. The fourth page is a “Return envelope cut-out template.”
Here’s where the fun starts. It’s what I’m calling “ballot origami.”Read More
The Griffin Neighborhood Association works to promote local business on and around the Steamboat Peninsula. You can see some of these efforts if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter. In case you don’t, here’s some news you might have missed.
The Steamboat Square is on the grow. Our Community Credit Union recently opened a branch. This Saturday, the new Flying Heron Yoga will begin its regular schedule of studio classes. Owner Heidianna Brown has announced an opening schedule of Gentle Yoga and Flow (Vinyasa) Yoga. A meditation class, Warm Slow Flow, and Strength and Balance class is also on the schedule. Additional classes and class times will be added.
The last Sunday of each month is a community class, offered at no charge. It’s “teacher’s choice” of class style and RSVP is required, due to limited space.
Flying Heron Yoga is located right on Sexton, next to the Subway Sandwich shop. Click on the image here, for a larger version of the class schedule that includes contact information at the bottom.
Sovereign Cellars, our local winery on the Eld Inlet side of the Peninsula, has announced a special Sweetheart Sale on its gold medal-winning 2014 merlot. Regularly sold at $35 a bottle, it’s available for a limited time at $20 a bottle. This special price ends on Valentine’s Day or while supplies last. Contact Dennis Gross, the winemaker at Sovereign Cellars, at (360) 866-7991 and firstname.lastname@example.org, for purchase details.
Are you a local resident who owns or operates a business? Let us help you tell your story. Add your business to our online directory. And, if you’re a resident on or near the Steamboat Peninsula, visit our local business directory whenever you are looking for services close to home.