40th Annual Blueberry Bash is Sunday, August 19

St. Christopher’s Community Church will once again offer up some great summertime family fun, in the form of their ever-popular Blueberry Bash. This year’s Bash benefits the Thurston County Food Bank and you are invited to bring a canned food donation.

The Oly Mountain Boys will provide live entertainment, playing their Pacific Northwest Bluegrass from 12:30 to 3:30 PM.

Oly Mountain Boys – Pacific Northwest Bluegrass

The Bingo Garden makes its return with great prizes and there will be a raffle for a beautiful handmade quilt. A bounce house, giant bubble station, face painting, and many more kids activities will be offered.

Don’t forget the awesome local food! Their famous homemade blueberry pies – by the slice or buy a whole pie – will be available. Pies with other fruit fillings will also be sold. Special thanks, to Spooner Berry Farms, for all the delicious fruit.

Brats and 100% beef polish sausages, and milkshakes, too!

Your purchase of a homemade pie will benefit the Thurston County Food Bank.

40th Annual Blueberry Bash
Sunday, August 19
12 noon to 4 PM
St. Christopher’s Community Church

St. Christopher’s is a satellite of the Thurston County Food Bank providing access to food and other support to families here on the Steamboat Peninsula. Their Open Hands Food Bank Garden grows food that is distributed here and donated to the Food Bank. Anyone can come to lend a hand in the garden at the weekly work day.

“All summer long, there’s a work day in the garden every Tuesday from 5-7pm. Just show up with your gloves and a readiness to work; we’ll show you what needs to get done that day. The garden is located on the grounds of St. Christopher’s.”

Our Annual Community Picnic is July 21st

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Perhaps the biggest event in the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s yearly calendar is the Community Picnic. On Saturday, July 21st we will again take over the lawn in front of the Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and overflow into Prosperity Grange with food and fun for the whole family. Come join your neighbors!

This year we’ll have live musical guests Humor & Heart. Local resident, Ellen Rice, will also perform with her mountain dulcimer.

Our popular bouncy house will be back, along with other kid’s activities: face painting, bag games, bubble stations, hula hoops and more. Try your skill on the golf driving range, with pro tips and prizes provided by the Salish Cliffs Golf Club.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, and beverages will be provided and, thanks to generous donations from Taylor Shellfish Farms, seafood dishes featuring the recipes of local favorite Xinh Dwelley will also be served.

A number of local organizations and businesses will provide information about their work and some great items for sale. Here are some of the local businesses and organizations who are expected to attend:

Bay Mercantile
Companion Cove
DiversiTree Arbor Care
Dogwoods Canine Play and Stay
Feline Friends
Griffin School Foundation
Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch
Melody Byrd Aprons
Nicholson Insurance
OCCU (Our Community Credit Union)
Rainbow Girls
St. Christopher’s Community Church
Stacy Lynn Wellness
Steamboat Animal Hospital
Steamboat Island 4H
Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Steamboat Island United Methodist Church
Thurston County Master Gardeners Foundation

Mark Iler and Jess McKeegan are two of three members of Humor & Heart.

Admission is free to all Griffin Neighborhood Association members. All other residents will be charged $5 per adult, or $10 per household. No charge for children. If you choose to become a member of the GNA on the day of the picnic, not only is your entrance free but you will be able to participate in a members-only choice of several raffle items donated by local businesses. We have a $25 gift certificate from Character’s Corner, website development services valued at $600 and two hours of home computer service (a $250 value) from Continental Computer Services of Olympia, and more. Your admission includes all activities and food!

Annual Community Picnic
Saturday, July 21
3 PM to 7 PM
Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and Prosperity Grange

Many thanks to our sponsors!

Blissful Wunders Confectionary Chocolats’
Character’s Corner
Continental Computer Services of Olympia
Island Johnny
Nicholson & Associates Insurance, LLC
Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Steamboat Island Church
Steamboat Trading Post
Taylor Shellfish Farms, featuring recipes from Xinh Dwelley
Thurston County Explorer Search & Rescue
Tin Cup Golf Driving Range

We need your help to put on an event this big! Some areas of need are children’s activities, food/beverage prep and serving, set-up and take-down, etc. High school kids looking for service hours would find this a great fit too. We could really use some help handling the grill, too. It doesn’t take a full-time commitment; if you can help for even an hour or two, please contact Becky at furacres@gmail.com.

We hope to see you Saturday!

Steamboat Conservation Partnership Reports to Its Members

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership has released its 2018 report to supporters on the completion of their ninth successful year of operation. Here is that report.

Donations:

During our 2017-2018 fiscal year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018), we raised $14,818.86 for Capitol Land Trust (CLT), earmarked to finance part of their operational activities within the Steamboat Peninsula Region where most of us live and/or own property. This was slightly below our annual goal of $15,000 in collections.
Over the nine years of the existence of the SCP, we have raised $148,447.96 for CLT, which is $13,447.96 above our goal of $135,000 for that nine-year 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.

The SCP is a five-year agreement between the Griffin Neighborhood Association and Capitol Land Trust during which we attempt to raise at least $15,000 per year to help finance the operational activities of CLT within the Steamboat Peninsula Region (the watersheds of Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet). After completion of the first five-year agreement in 2014, a second agreement was made. We have just completed the fourth year of this five-year agreement. The SCP is unique. We are told that no other agreement for raising earmarked funds exists between a neighborhood association and a land trust in the nation.

Activities:

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 Steamboat Peninsula Region, including:

Read More

Here are the Candidates on August’s Primary Ballot

The Primary Election is Tuesday, August 7. If you are not yet registered to vote, or if you have had a change of address and haven’t informed elections officials, there is still time. The last day for new registrations is July 30, but you must register in-person at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office in order to be eligible to vote in the Primary.

Voter’s Pamphlets will be mailed on July 11 and the ballots will be mailed a week later, on July 18. As usual, ballots must either be dropped in a ballot box before 8 PM on election day or they must be postmarked by that day. There’s a ballot box conveniently located in front of the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters. Have questions about voting? The County’s elections officials have an online FAQ here. Contact the Thurston County Auditor’s Office directly, if you have other questions.

Under our state’s primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party.

Here’s a rundown of the candidates you will see on your ballot. Where the candidate’s web site could be found, the candidate’s name is linked to the web site.

U.S. Senator

There are 30 candidates for this position (according to the Spokesman-Review, “The modern record for a U.S. Senate race in Washington is 33, set in 1983”). The entire list appears in the Voter’s Pamphlet.

Maria Cantwell is the Democratic incumbent. Her chief challenger is Susan Hutchison (Republican Party)

U.S. Representative – Congressional District No. 10

Denny Heck is the Democratic incumbent. His challengers are:

Nancy Dailey Slotnick (Indep. Centrist Party)

Tamborine Borrelli ( Ind. Progressive Party)

Joseph Brumbles (Republican Party)Read More

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

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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