Griffin ‘Old School’ Reunion this July 21

If you attended school in the original Griffin School building – the one built in 1927 – there is a reunion at the new Griffin School cafeteria, this July 21st. This is a social gathering and will include a tour of the “new” facility. “We did this once before in 1999 and it was a great success!” writes organizer Mike Dermond. “We will again supply name tags and be taking pictures and updating contact information.”

“If your parents are available, bring them too as they supported us during this period and were part of the excellent education we received which continues to this day.”

Old Griffin School Reunion
July 21

12 noon
Griffin School cafeteria

PLEASE PASS THE WORD TO OTHER ALUMS!

Hope to see you there!

For more information, contact Mike Dermond at (206) 962-9337, dermond@uw.edu

 

For the rest of you, interested in learning a little more about the history of the Griffin School – the 1927 building was demolished after the new building was opened, in 1969 – click here to read an article published on the GriffinNeighbors blog.

Sovereign Cellars Spring Wine Tasting Event, POSTPONED to June 23 and 24

Click on the link for a larger image

Cheers from Sovereign Cellars!

Due to inclement weather forecast for next weekend our Spring Wine Tasting Event is postponed to Saturday and Sunday June 23rd + 24th.

We do hope summer will arrived by then!

Kathy and I would like to invite you to join us from 1 to 5 pm, for our Spring Wine Tasting Event.

Enjoy a great time with hors d'oeuvres and five outstanding, award-winning wines.

Please bring your friends and enjoy. We hope to see you!

Sovereign Cellars
June 23 and 24
1 PM to 5 PM 
7408 Manzanita Dr., Olympia WA 98502

Dennis Gross, winemaker
360-866-7991
dwgrosswine@yahoo.com

See their web site at www.SovereignCellars.com

Death to Scotch Broom!

Every year, around this time, all those yellow flags – those scotch broom flowers – come out to wave. Next will come the seeds and, next year, more scotch broom. There are noxious weeds and then there’s scotch broom. Now is an excellent time of year to get serious about reducing the amount of scotch broom on your property.

So, responsible rural property owners want to know: What makes scotch broom so bad?

Scotch broom is a prodigious seed producer. The seeds have hard coats enabling them to survive in the environment for up to 80 years. Once established, scotch broom forms dense brush fields over six feet tall. The brush fields diminish habitat for grazing animals, such as livestock and native animals. Areas of dense brush shade out and kill native grassland plants in invaded areas, and favor invasion by other woody, non-grassland plant species.

Scotch broom prevents reforestation, creates a high fire hazard, renders rangeland worthless and greatly increases the cost of maintenance of roads, ditches, power and telephone lines. Wildlife suffers as the growth becomes too dense for even quail and other ground birds to thrive. Being slightly toxic and unpalatable it is browsed very little by livestock.

If you cut your trees, so that a lot of sunlight reaches the ground, you’ve probably now got scotch broom to cut.

How do you eradicate scotch broom?

There are two schools of thought, those who say pull out the whole plant and those who will tell you, if you’re clever and your timing is right, all you need are a pair of lopping shears.

From the School of Pulling Out the Plant, we get these instructions:

Pull out the entire plant, including roots. When the soil is moist, small plants can be pulled easily by hand. Winter and spring are good seasons to do this.

Larger plants must be removed with a tool such as a Weed Wrench. Be sure to remove the entire plant. Broken stems re-sprout and are much harder to remove for the next person. Plants can be left where pulled.

One of the benefits of being a member of the Griffin Neighborhood Association is members can rent our Weed Wrench.

Not yet a member of the GNA? Dang, what are you waiting for?! Click here to join online.

From the School of Cutting Broom in Bloom, we get these instructions:

First, cut broom in bloom. Use loppers or small saws and cut broom right at ground level.

Broom puts all of its energy into making flowers. If you cut it while in bloom, it will most likely die in the summer’s dry heat.

If you have to make a choice, go after single plants and small infestation to prevent its spread.

If the broom is huge, cut off as many of the branches as you can. If the broom is small and not blooming, you can return and cut it next year when it blooms.

It is most important to not let the broom go to seed! Cut before June 17 (this date is from Vancouver Island’s “BroomBusters” web site, so it’s probably earlier, down here in the South Sound).

CUT DOWN ALL YELLOW FLOWERS so that they can not turn into seeds. Each scotch broom plant can produce 2,000 to 3,500 seed pods – which burst open, shooting seeds into adjacent soil. If you cut them while in bloom – no seeds!

HERBICIDES applied in the spring when new leaves are present are another effective control tool, but always remember to read the labels carefully and exercise extreme care when applying chemicals, especially near waterways.

DO NOT BURN SCOTCH BROOM! When exposed to fire, its seeds burst from their seedpods. Also, the smoke from burning scotch broom is actually toxic and may seriously irritate the respiratory tracts of you, your family, or your neighbors.

TAKE SCOTCH BROOM TO THE DUMP. The best way to get rid of scotch broom, once it is cut, is to take it to Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center. Scotch broom cannot be disposed of as garden waste – you need to dispose of it as garbage – and it’s not eligible for free disposal. This stuff is the worst.

The Thurston County Noxious Weed Control Agency offers the following information and services to the public: Educational presentations, plant identification especially those that may be noxious weeds, consults on your property, prescriptions for specific noxious weed problems and what the county approves for its own use, free disposal of designated noxious weeds at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery centers, and limited use of a manual removal tool called the wrench. Also available are many informational brochures and pamphlets as well as several videos.

So, responsible homeowner, get out there and cut your scotch broom!

Plant Sales Coming in May and June

Feline Friends logoIn recent years we’ve been fortunate to see a series of plant sales, most for the benefit of Feline Friends and related organizations. This year is no different. If you like plants and are looking for some great sales that benefit some terrific organizations, you’ll want to mark these dates on your calendar.

If you would like to get great perennials, beautiful dahlias, herbs, some vegetables, or choose from a large variety of unusual plants at great prices, these sales are for you. Diane Jacob, of Cameron Gardens, says, “You will be helping dedicated organizations in Thurston/Mason Counties in the never-ending quest to spay and neuter all pets to save hundreds of lives every year.” Cameron Gardens and other local gardeners are the source of these plants.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Feline Friends Plant Sale
Saturday, May 5th
9 AM to 2 PM
Griffin School
6530 33rd Ave, Olympia

Adopt-A-Pet Plant Sale
Saturday, May 12th
9 AM to 3 PM
Our Community Credit Union parking lot
2948 Olympic Hwy N, Shelton

S.N.A.P. (Spay & Neuter All Pets) Plant Sale
Saturday, May 26th
Starts at 9 AM
Thurston County Animal Services
3120 Martin Way, Olympia

Close Out Plant & Garage Sale – a benefit for Feline Friends
Saturday, June 2nd
9 AM – 2 PM
Griffin School
6530 33rd Ave, Olympia

For the Close Out Plant & Garage Sale, please bring saleable items to Griffin between 6 PM and 8 PM Friday, June 3rd or call (360) 866-1909.

“Trauma, Toxic Stress, and Building Self-Healing Communities” – a Town Hall on March 27th

Dr. Joyce Gilbert

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
Griffin School

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.”

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic.

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.”

Thurston Conservation District Board Election Ballots Due

Thurston Conservation District logoThree 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.

Board Election

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.

Candidate Forum flyer

Click image for larger view.

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.

Ballot Origami

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

Local Business News from Flying Heron Yoga and Sovereign Cellars

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.

Click image for a larger view

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 dwgrosswine@yahoo.com, 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.

 

Annual Community Meeting to Be Held Thursday, January 25th

The Annual Community Meeting of the Griffin Neighborhood Association will be held at the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters on Thursday, January 25th. The doors open at 6 PM and the meeting begins at 6:30 PM. Everyone is invited. Each year, the GNA hosts an opportunity to reconnect with area residents, meet representatives of local organizations, participate in a brief Association business meeting, and hear from a group of speakers on a topic of general interest.

This year’s keynote speakers are representatives from Taylor Shellfish Farms, Squaxin Tribe Fisheries, and Thurston County Environmental Health. They will present on “The Health of the Sound”.

We’ll also receive an update from Drake Nicholson, on the Steamboat Tennis and Athletic Club and Steamboat Golf Driving Range.

Local organizations will be providing information about their work here in the Griffin area. The half-hour beginning at 6:00 PM provides you with a chance to meet these representatives. Some of the groups attending this year are:

Providence Behavioral Health Services
Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Steamboat Peninsula Lions
Feline Friends
Empowerment 4 Girls
St. Christopher’s Outreach Program

Annual Community Meeting
Thursday, January 25
6 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters

At this meeting, the Association will call for nominations to its Board of Directors. Current members of the Association will vote on a slate of Board members. This meeting is a good time to renew your membership with the Griffin Neighborhood Association, since only current members can vote in the election. Or, you can join or renew your membership online at steamboatisland.org/joinus

The Association exists only through the service of volunteers from our community. Board membership is a terrific way to give back to the Griffin area. You can be a member of our Board! For more information about Board membership, click here to read our frequently asked questions. Or contact any Board member. To learn more about our more than 25-year history here, click this link. ‘Think you can’t make a difference? We do, right here in the community where we live. Join us!

Thurston County Food Bank logoThis year we are especially asking members of the community to help support the St. Christopher’s Community Church Food Bank. This is a satellite of the Thurston County Food Bank and provides important assistance to families in need, right here on the Steamboat Peninsula. Our focus this year is on collecting non-food items that are often provided by our food bank. Please consider whether you can bring any of these to the Community Meeting:

  • Toilet tissue
  • Laundry soap
  • Dish soap
  • Personal items, such as shampoo and hand soap
  • Travel shampoo, conditioner, soap, in the sizes made available at hotels
  • Gift cards for gasoline

Any other items, including furniture donations, are welcome donations. To make arrangements to donate large items, please contact St. Christopher’s directly, at (360) 866-2111 and leave a message. Lindy Vincent will call you back.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Do you need to have your name added to the monthly food distribution from our food bank? Call (360) 866-2111. All names are kept confidential.

Come to our Annual Community Meeting this Thursday. Doors open at 6 PM for a social gathering before the meeting begins at 6:30 PM. Snacks and beverages will be served.

Conservation Easements; An important tool for land protection

Appleby Conservation Easement. One of several easements within our region. Click on the image for more information. Photo by Capitol Land Trust.

Humans have a unique relationship to land; it is at the same time familial, emotional and legal. Some land is passed down from one generation to the next and represents family history and significance beyond its physical attributes. Some landowners bought their land because of the beautiful setting or the richness of its natural features. Landowners who cherish their land often want to ensure it is managed in a way that maintains what they love about it into the future, including after they’re gone. One way to ensure the land is used in line with the owner’s wishes is through a conservation easement.

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and another party – often a land trust – regarding how the land will be used for years to come. This agreement is recorded by the appropriate government entity and becomes part of the permanent legal description of the land.

Capitol Land Trust has partnered with many landowners to develop these agreements, which can be tailored to the desires of the owner while protecting important ecological values – Capitol Land Trust’s goal. Conservation easements also can be employed to maintain working farms and forests ensuring they can continue to produce agricultural or forest products, often for local use.

An easement can identify different uses for distinct parts of a property. For example, land surrounding a stream might be left in its natural state, while a field can be used for growing crops, and yet another area for residential use.

With an easement, the landowner continues to own the land while the land trust agrees to ensure that the land is used in accordance to the agreement. This includes making sure future owners comply with the easement and, if necessary, bring legal action to enforce the agreement.

Capitol Land Trust’s first conserved property was protected through a conservation easement. While the trust also has purchased land for conservation purposes, protecting land through conservation easements can be cost-effective and lessens the burden of long-term management on the land trust. With 38 easements in our portfolio, this partnership with private landowners has meant that some of our area’s most ecologically significant and important working lands are protected forever.

– reprinted with permission from the Issue 63, Fall 2017 of the Capitol Land Trust News

Click here to learn more about conservation easements and land trusts.

Click here to begin learning more about how you can conserve your land

In 2009, the Griffin Neighborhood Association and Capitol Land Trust formed the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Conservation easements are one important tool available to help the Partnership meet its goal of conserving the rich and diverse natural landscapes of the Steamboat Peninsula region. Click here to learn more about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Remember the Steamboat Conservation Partnership in Your Year-End Giving

This time of year, many of us are receiving requests to make year-end contributions to various worthy causes. With the Steamboat Conservation Partnership there exists a unique opportunity to give in a manner that will directly benefit those of us living here in the Griffin area. If your year-end planning includes making contributions to non-profit organizations, consider this your invitation to learn more about the SCP.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership is a unique-in-the-nation collaboration between a local neighborhood group and the very successful Capitol Land Trust. The mission of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership is “to conserve the rich and diverse natural landscapes of the Steamboat Peninsula region.” Since this collaboration took effect, we have been able to protect more than 300 acres in the Steamboat Peninsula region.

The Capitol Land Trust has a proven record of working with land owners, businesses, and government to identify and preserve shorelines, rivers, forests, prairies, and working lands. You can learn more about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership on our web page at steamboatisland.org/scp  You will find a video there, that describes the work of the Capitol Land Trust.

We welcome contributions of any size.

Should you choose to make a contribution to the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, you will find a link on our web page and you can make a secure donation using a credit card. If you prefer, you may mail a check directly to the Capitol Land Trust. Insert “SCP” or “Steamboat Conservation Partnership” in the memo part of the check so we can receive credit. Your check should be mailed to Capitol Land Trust, 4405 – 7th Ave SE, Suite 306, Lacey, WA 98503. In reply you will receive a letter, for your tax records. And thank you, for supporting the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.