Thurston County Unveils Emergency Alert System

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Click to sign up for AlertSense notifications

Thurston County Emergency Management now makes available to all residents a system to send emergency alerts via text message, email, pager, or voice mail (in extreme cases), based on your preferences. “It is important that we collect this contact information because many households no longer utilize traditional land-based telephone lines,” reads one web page describing the system’s function.

This new notification capability – called the “AlertSense Notification System” – joins several other means available for the County to help keep the public apprised of hazardous conditions in our area.

Emergency Alert System (EAS) alerts are broadcast on television, radio and NOAA weather radios. The alerts begin with a loud audible beep followed by specific instructions. You are also probably aware of AMBER alerts you can already receive through a smartphone. River flood notifications are available for public sign up, too. The new AlertSense system will help to provide localized information to you, using your preferred method(s) of contact.

The [AlertSense] system is intended to be used for emergency alerts, as well as non-emergency incidents that may have significant impacts to residents. Emergency Alerts could be related to specific hazards that require some kind of action be taken such as evacuation, shelter in place, boil water orders, etc. Non-emergency alerts could include significant transportation problems with prolonged impacts or significant ongoing police or fire activity. This list is not meant to be all inclusive, and demonstrates that this system will not be used for routine information. In addition to receiving information on your wireless device, you may also receive notification on your land telephone line (if you have one) depending on the type of incident or event.

Click here to learn more about the different means by which you can receive information about hazardous conditions in the area and how you can sign up for AlertSense.

Don’t forget this Saturday’s Emergency Preparedness Expo, at the Rochester Middle School.

Emergency Preparedness Expo
Saturday, September 17
10 AM – 3 PM
Rochester Middle School
9937 US Hwy 12, Rochester

For more information about the Expo, contact Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management, at 360-867-2825 or emaileasonv@co.thurston.wa.us

September is National Preparedness Month. There are easy steps you can take to help your family weather an emergency. And there are important steps you can take to help you and your neighbors make it through a disaster. Click here to learn more.

Thurston County To Install Shoulder Rumble Strips on Steamboat Island Road

This fall, Thurston County Public Works will be installing shoulder rumble strips, weather permitting, along portions of Steamboat Island Road. "While we work to make your community safer," a recent announcement reads, "construction activity and minor delays will occur."

Postcards have been mailed to residents near where this work will take place.

If you have any questions, contact Brandon Hicks at (360) 867-2358 or click this link to visit the web site of Thurston County Public Works.

Click the images below, to see larger versions of them.

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Griffin School Foundation Benefit Auction Moves to New Venue and Online, Too

GriffinGrizzlyEvery other year, the Griffin School Foundation holds its annual benefit auction. The ninth of these biannual auctions will be held on Saturday, September 24 at the Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club. Two years ago, nearly 300 community members joined celebrity host/auctioneer Pat Cashman under a big tent in front of the Tin Cup driving range. In what was the most successful auction to date, the 2014 auction raised over $140,000.

The Foundation’s auction is a fun event, with a purpose. The GSF funds a variety of grants and scholarships, educational and training opportunities for Griffin School employees and Board members, and raises money to make capital improvements and purchase equipment in our school district. The GSF also hosts community events, including breakfasts honoring local seniors.

The emphasis this year is funding grants supporting teamwork, arts, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) at Griffin School.

The theme of this year’s auction is is “TEAM STEAMBOAT: It’s for the kids!” Attendees are invited to come dressed in sports or team spirit gear. This year’s auction will be held at the Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club. So, please wear no cleats or heels.

A new feature this year is an online auction. Online bidding starts on September 16th at noon and closes on September 23rd at 10pm. An online auction means friends and relatives near or far can support our local school district and snatch up some great auction items.

For more information, auction tickets, and to register for the online auction, click this link. But don’t delay, as there are a limited number of tickets available.

Griffin School Foundation Auction
Saturday, September 24th
Kickoff is 5:30 PM
Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club
3505 Steamboat Island Rd NW, Olympia

 

JAMorris

The GSF thanks this year’s Presenting Sponsor.

“30 Days 30 Ways” Kicks Off September Emergency Preparedness Month

cropped-cropped-cropped-30days11“30 Days, 30 Ways” is a disaster preparedness game that started in 2010 in Vancouver, Washington. It’s an easy way to use September (Emergency Preparedness Month) to get your home and neighborhood prepared for an emergency or disaster*. Each day the web site at 30days30ways.com have a different emergency preparedness theme and a daily winner will be selected from among the participants. You can also follow along on Facebook or Twitter.

Sure, it’s a game, but here in rural Thurston County, we know preparedness is no laughing matter. Each day’s activities highlights an important step you can easily take to become better equipped to weather out anything from an extended electrical power outage to The Big One we know is going to come, someday.

On Saturday, September 17, Thurston County Emergency Management will present it’s annual Emergency Preparedness Expo. This year it’s at the Rochester Middle School. This free event is a terrific way to hear speakers and meet with vendors with information about preparedness.

emergency expo flyer

Click to download the event flyer.

Emergency Preparedness Expo
Saturday, September 17
10 AM – 3 PM
Rochester Middle School
9937 US Hwy 12, Rochester

For more information about the Expo, contact Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management, at 360-867-2825 or email easonv@co.thurston.wa.us

On Thursday, September 15, Thurston County Emergency Management will present a free class on “Map Your Neighborhood.” Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) is a program designed to help neighborhoods prepare for disasters. According to their web page, MYN will help you to:

  • Learn the 9 steps to take immediately following a disaster to secure your home and protect your neighborhood.
  • Create a neighborhood map identifying locations of natural gas and propane tanks.
  • Create a contact list that helps identify those with specific needs such as elderly, disabled or children who may be home alone during certain hours of the day.
  • Identify the skills and equipment each neighbor has that would be useful in effective disaster response.
  • Work together as a team to evaluate your neighborhood during the first hour following a disaster and take the necessary actions.

Map Your Neighborhood
Thursday, September 15
6 PM – 7:30 PM
Tumwater Fire Department
311 Israel Rd. SW, Tumwater

Please RSVP at easonv@co.thurston.wa.us

Click here for more information about this class. Or contact Vivian Eason, Thurston County Emergency Management, at 360-867-2825 or email easonv@co.thurston.wa.us

When an emergency strikes, you’re going to be glad you planned ahead. When disaster strikes, you’re going to be glad if both you and your neighbors have planned ahead.

*What’s the difference between an “emergency” and a “disaster”? Click here to check out our own disaster preparedness page, for the answer.

Africa Library Project Book Drive Connects Steamboat Little Free Library With Larger World

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Click to see a larger image.

The Steamboat Little Free Library, located at the front door of the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters, is part of a worldwide network of community sharing libraries. No less than the Wall Street Journal has declared, “Little Free Library is a Global Sensation!” Our Little Free Library is charter number 6039. The mission of the global Little Free Library movement is, “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.” One way of continuing this mission is the Africa Library Project. Bruce Conklin, a resident in northeast Olympia, is reaching out to residents of the Steamboat community to help with a regional book drive for the Africa Library Project.

Conklin is specifically collecting children’s books (pre-k through 8th grade) to create a library in Sierra Leone, Africa. “The non-profit sponsor is African Book Project but I have to collect 1,000 books and $500 to cover
shipping,” writes Conklin.

Would you like to donate new or gently used books, for Bruce Conklin’s drive to create a library in Sierra Leone? You may drop off your books at 2605 18th Avenue NE, Olympia, 98506. For more information, contact Bruce Conklin at (360) 250-6620 or by email at conklinbruce@hotmail.com.

Thanks for your support of the Africa Library Project. And come by the Steamboat Little Free Library sometime, and “Take a Book, Return a Book.”

St. Christopher’s Blueberry Bash Makes Its Annual Return August 21st

Click for a larger image.

Click for a larger image.

This year’s Blueberry Bash is almost here! We may have lost count, but some of us think this will be the 39th year our neighbors at St. Christopher’s Community Church have hosted this not-to-be-missed, end-of-summer event. Entertainment will be from The Oly Mountain Boys, playing from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.

In addition to some of the best bluegrass you’ve heard, St. Christopher’s will lay out their fine blueberry pies and thick ice cream milkshakes, brats and 100% beef polish sausages, vegetarian burgers, Lew’s Famous Baked Beans, and hey! Xinh’s eggrolls.

Also returning this year are lots of activities for the young and young-at-heart, including a story time every 30 minutes and old-fashioned games. Egg toss, three-legged races, and balloon toss games will be held throughout the day.

The Oly Mountain Boys

The Oly Mountain Boys

The Blueberry Bash is a fundraiser for St. Christopher’s. There’s a bingo garden, silent auction, and a quilt raffle. A portion of this year’s proceeds will go to a local charity.

Blueberry Bash
Sunday, August 21
12 noon to 4 PM
St. Christopher’s Community Church
7902 Steamboat Island Rd. NW, Olympia, WA 98502

We hope to see you at the Blueberry Bash!

Prosperity Grange More Than 100 Years in Griffin Area

Steamboat-Island-article-Prosperity-Grange-300x224Prosperity Grange is part of the Griffin, Steamboat Island neighborhood. The first building was built in 1909, burned down in 1928, and was replaced in 1930 by the one we see today. Since the beginning, it has stood for community and was the gathering place for the betterment of the area in which we live.

In the early years it served as the meeting place of farmers and families. Meetings were held to discuss the political, religious, and personal needs of the community in an effort to work together for a more prosperous environment.

The Grange stood for family fun and gatherings as well. Many dances, weddings, celebrations of life, and neighborhood picnics have graced its walls. Farmers and their families made their own entertainment with bands, dancing, games, parties, and contests.

Neighbors came to the grange to share information, new developments in farming, and sharing of goods. The ability to gather together and support one another was crucial to survival.

Today the Grange still serves as a gathering place for this community. Weddings, dances, bands, celebrations of life, and Grange contests are held here. Members still hold regular meetings and potluck dinners once a month. Membership is open to any of our Steamboat Island neighbors.

Rental of the Grange is open to anyone in the community. The price is $225 a day with a $200 deposit. Members can rent for a discounted price as long as they attend at least five of the ten monthly meetings. The Grange features a stage and full kitchen.

A Karate class, taught by Authority Martial Arts, is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone age seven and older is welcome. The first two weeks are free. Continued instruction is available at $40 a month. There is a discount for two or more family members. Click here for the Facebook Page of Authority Martial Arts.

A one-day community flea market is held in April and again in October. Tables are available for $15 and the hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All table rental monies go to the grange for maintenance and other expenses.

Monthly meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month (except July and August). There is a potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7 p.m. We welcome anyone who is interested in our grange to attend these meetings. Dues are $39 a year, renewable the first of every year.

Look us up on Facebook.

If you would like to rent Prosperity Grange, please call Bill Wake at (360) 970-5652, Faye Olson (Grand Master) at (360) 534-0456, or Marie Burfoot (Secretary) at (360) 878-9216.

Prosperity Grange #315 is located at 3701 Steamboat Island Rd. NW, Olympia, WA 98502.

text from a June 2015 brochure by Prosperity Grange #315.

2016 Annual Update from the Steamboat Conservation Partnership

Steamboat Conservation Partnership logoWe just completed our 7th year of successful operation. It’s time to look back on our accomplishments and ahead to the future.

During our just ended 2015-2016 fiscal year (July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016), we raised $13,905 for the Capitol Land Trust (CLT). This is $1095 below our annual goal of raising $15,000. Over the seven years of our existence, we have raised $113,382 for the CLT, which is $8382 above our goal of $105,000 for that period. We should all be very proud of generating these funds to ensure that many of our natural areas will be available to our children, grandchildren and beyond.

Since the SCP was formed in 2009, with our help, CLT has been able to add several areas to its bank of conserved properties within the Partnership boundaries, including:

  • The Adams Cove Preserve, 35 acres and a pocket estuary in Totten Inlet.
  • The Lower Eld Estuary Preserve, 55 acres along southern Eld Inlet.
  • The Schmidt Conservation Easement addition, 5.5 acres near Hunter Point, adding to 29 acres already conserved.
  • A stewardship fund established to protect the remaining 175 acres of the Wynne Tree Farm that was conserved last year. The 530 acre Wynne farm has now been conserved. This jewel of a farm is located in the Schneider Creek Valley with the headwaters of the creek.

These properties join many other properties in our area conserved in prior years:

Wynne Tree Farm. Image credit: Capitol Land Trust.

Wynne Tree Farm. Image credit: Capitol Land Trust. Click for a larger image.

The SCP has three committees: 1) Fund raising; 2) planning or technical committee; and 3) general operations. We are always seeking members to serve on these committees. Let us know if you are interested.

The fund raising committee solicits continuing, monthly contributions, as well as periodic contributions, including end of the calendar year contributions in December and hosts tables at the annual Capitol Land Trust Conservation Breakfast every February.

The planning committee is our most active committee and, with the assistance of CLT staff, researches properties within the Steamboat Peninsula region that would be appropriate for long-term conservation. Contacts are made with property owners explaining the SCP and our relations with CLT, and inquiring if these property owners are interested in conserving or preserving their properties. As you know, all conservation or preservation efforts are entirely voluntary with the property owners. Through these efforts, CLT is in discussions with several property owners who may seek to conserve their property.

The general committee consists of all members of the fund raising committee and planning committee. This committee basically runs the SCP.

We thank our past contributors to the Partnership. Please once again make an annual contribution to ensure natural areas continue to be conserved. While many of you like to make your donations at this time, the beginning of our program year, others donate at the end of the calendar year or at the Annual Capitol Land Trust Breakfast in early February.

If you have never made a donation to the Steamboat Conservation Partnership before, we hope you will remember us when planning your tax deductible donations for the year. Donations are welcome in any amount and at any time convenient to you.

We are currently embarking on an effort to further publicize SCP and solicit additional members. The July 16th bike ride on the Steamboat Peninsula and notices on Nextdoor are part of this effort.

You are invited to attend Capitol Land Trust’s annual summer gala and auction at Ralph Munro’s home on Saturday, August 13, from 5-9 pm. General admission tickets are available at $85 per person as well as deluxe tickets at $175 per person. Click here for more details.  This is a great event and an opportunity to meet many other contributors to CLT.

Thank you for your past support,

Peter Reid 360-259-3591

Steve Lundin 360-866-1214

Co-Chairs, Steamboat Conservation Partnership

Click here for more information regarding the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Why Conserve Marine Shorelines?

Capitol Land Trust (CLT) and our many partners play a key role in protecting natural marine shorelines of Puget Sound by identifying productive and sensitive habitats, and by working with willing landowners to protect these areas using methods such as purchase, conservation easements, and restoration. We strive to maintain our shoreline heritage so that future generations will also be able to enjoy a meal of fresh salmon and shellfish, a day of clam digging and beachcombing, and see a great blue heron stalking fish along the water line, or glimpse an otter scampering down the beach.

Our extensive marine shorelines are a special feature of the southern end of Puget Sound. They formed when, during past ice ages, huge glaciers from the north plowed through lowlands between the Cascade and Olympic mountains, carving out a series of narrow fiords (inlets) separated by higher peninsulas. When the glaciers retreated, the low areas were connected with the Pacific Ocean, creating the complex of inlets and marine shorelines we see today.

Our shorelines provide inspiring views of glistening mountains across sparkling water. We enjoy and share many recreational and educational pursuits such as clam digging, fishing, crabbing, boating, bird watching, beach combing, and nature study made possible by access to shorelines and beaches.

Twin Rivers Ranch Preserve on Oakland Bay in Mason County. Photo by Bonnie Liberty.

Twin Rivers Ranch Preserve on Oakland Bay in Mason County. Photo by Bonnie Liberty.

Natural shorelines consist of beaches of sand and gravel, which are replenished by erosion of adjacent banks and bluffs. These beaches provide spawning habitat for small fish such as surf smelt, sand lance, and herring. They also provide productive habitat for shellfish such as littleneck clams and Olympia oysters, as well as other intertidal organisms like sand dollars and moon snails. Steep banks and high bluffs adjacent to the water provide habitat for kingfishers and pigeon guillemots that nest in burrows in the bluffs. Trees leaning out from the shoreline provide cover for fish and perching sites for kingfishers, bald eagles, and crows. Near-shore waters adjacent to the shoreline are used by salmon, sea-run cutthroat trout, and seals, as well as diving ducks such as goldeneyes and buffleheads while they over-winter in Puget Sound.

In estuaries, fresh water from rivers and streams mix with salt water, producing a rich environment for fish and wildlife. Estuaries range in size from small coves or “pocket estuaries” like Allison Springs, where CLT has done extensive restoration, to those associated with large rivers and streams, like the Nisqually River. Regardless of size, estuaries and their associated salt marsh and mudflat habitats are important rearing areas for young salmon leaving our rivers and streams. Here they acclimate to salt water and put on rapid growth, feeding in the rich salt marsh sloughs and shallow waters. Estuaries are also important stopovers for shorebirds on their migrations, where they rest and feed on invertebrates to replenish the fat that will fuel their long flights to northern breeding areas in the spring, and back south in the fall.

The abundant fish and shellfish available in our inlets were key to supporting Native American communities along the shores of Puget Sound, and the linkage between salmon, shellfish, and Native American culture remains strong today. The shellfish and salmon were also a foundation for the economy of the pioneers and settlers. Totten and Little Skookum Inlets, and Oakland Bay are still some of the most productive shellfish-producing areas in the country.

Our shorelines provide many important ecological, economic, social and aesthetic values.

Triple Creek Farm Conservation Easement on Eld Inlet. Photo by Capitol Land Trust.

Triple Creek Farm Conservation Easement on Eld Inlet. Photo by Capitol Land Trust.

Ecologically, shorelines provide diverse habitats, including estuaries, mudflats, and beaches. These are dynamic places, where the land meets and interacts with the sea. Our attraction to the many wonders of shorelines can also be a threat – we are in danger of loving them too much. Shoreline home sites are highly valued because of the beautiful views, natural setting, and ready access to the water. Consequently, many of our shorelines have been overtaken by residential development. The combined impacts of bulkheads, tree and native vegetation removal, and runoff from driveways and yards, can reduce and alter beach habitat.

That is why Capitol Land Trust, with your help, has been protecting these vital places. While proper planning and stewardship can reduce the impact of development, it is critical to maintain natural areas with highly functioning habitat if we are to ensure shoreline health and productivity. We have protected over 14 miles of Puget Sound shoreline and continue to work with private landowners, public agencies and others to ensure we have shorelines abounding with life into the future.

By Dave and Joanne Schuett-Hames

Text reprinted with permission from Capitol Land Trust News, issue 61, Spring/Summer 2016.

In 2009, the Capitol Land Trust and Griffin Neighborhood Association formed the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Since this collaboration took effect, we have been able to protect more than 300 acres in the Steamboat Peninsula region. Click here to learn more about this first-in-the-nation partnership between a neighborhood group and land trust.

Bike Ride on Steamboat Peninsula – July 16

Beach at Schmidt Conservation Easement.

Beach at Schmidt Conservation Easement.

Join us on Saturday, July 16, for a bike ride around the Steamboat Peninsula.

“Don your bike shorts,” reads a web page for the Capitol Land Trust, “grab your bike and head out to the Steamboat Peninsula for a short (15.5 miles) or long ride (21 miles) with Capitol Land Trust and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.”

Saturday, July 16, 2016
10 AM
Steamboat Peninsula, Olympia

The ride will start at the Wynne Tree Farm, a 530-acre working tree farm at the base of the Steamboat Peninsula. If you haven’t seen this property, you’re in for a real treat. It’s located up Whittaker Road NW, which is what Steamboat Island Road turns in to, south of the US-101 overpass. Schneider Creek flows through the parcel, then alongside US-101, and on to Oyster Bay.

Riders will travel along Whittaker Road, and will be able to see the beautiful, and vast, forest and fresh water areas that comprise the Wynne Tree Farm, and that are permanently conserved by Capitol Land Trust and the Wynne family.

The short ride travels up the Peninsula and will stop at Frye Cove Park. Riders can take a short (approximately 1/3 mile) walk to the beach, and will enjoy the scenery while having a snack at the picnic tables. Riders will learn about conservation on the Steamboat Peninsula, especially about a hopeful addition to CLT’s conserved areas which is next to Frye Cove and is home to a half mile of Frye Cove Creek, the stream that drains to Frye Cove and that contains important salmon spawning habitat. After this stop, riders will ride back to the Wynne Tree Farm.

The long ride travels up the Peninsula, and will take a short stop at the entrance to Frye Cove, but will then continue to ride to the Schmidt Conservation Easement towards the tip of the Peninsula. Riders can then stop and will learn about this beautiful 35-acre property along with a walk (approximately 1/3 mile) to the beach. Also enjoy a snack and learn about conservation on the Steamboat Peninsula. As an optional addition, riders can choose to continue their ride out to Steamboat Island, approximately 5 miles more to the overall ride. Or riders will ride back to the Wynne Tree Farm.

This is a free event. However, registration is required, so event organizers can prepare to host the event. When you register, you’ll be asked for your email address. You will receive event directions and other event details to this email address.

To register, click here to visit the Capitol Land Trust’s web page. Scroll down to the bottom and fill out their form.

Click here to read a reprint of an article about Tom and Charlene Wynne’s rescue of Schneider Creek. This article was published in the January 1998 issue of the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s “Neighbors” newsletter.