GNA Asks Local Businesses to Sponsor Food Drives

Thurston County Food Bank logoThe Griffin Neighborhood Association is asking local businesses, especially those in the commercial district on and around Steamboat Island Road and Sexton Drive, to help collect donations for the Thurston County Food Bank and the local satellite at St. Christopher’s Community Church. The Association hopes to find businesses that are willing to host a Food Bank collection point for one month. At least every other month, a collection point could be set up at a different local business location. Customers and local residents would then be invited to visit the business to make their donations of food, supplies, and pet food and supplies. A GNA member would stop by weekly to pick up donations. All donations will be given to the food bank satellite run by St. Christopher’s Community Church, where everything will be put to work supporting residents in need right here in our neighborhood. Any surplus donations will be taken to the Thurston County Food Bank.

“We see this as a ‘win/win’ for our community,” says GNA Board member Becky Reavis. “Folks have an opportunity to give back, and the sponsoring location has the opportunity for those bringing in donations to learn more about the local business.”

In January and July, the Griffin Neighborhood Association hosts the collection drive at its events, the Annual Meeting and Community Picnic, respectively. Local postal carriers host a drive in May. Companion Cove has already signed on to host the drive in September. The Steamboat Animal Hospital has signed up for November.

That leaves just a few more months to be chosen by local businesses who agree to participate.

Becky Reavis asks local business owners to contact her at furacres@gmail.com or text/call at (913) 909-8215 if interested in hosting a collection. If you contact Becky, “Let me know a first and second choice of the month you want.”

In addition to donations of food and supplies, the Food Bank satellite at St. Christopher’s Community Church provides gas cards and emergency assistance that sometimes includes gift cards to Grocery Outlet. Your cash donations are always welcome to help fund that kind of support. There are two ways you can make a cash donation that will be put to work right here in the Griffin area.

Click here to make a secure online donation to “St. Christopher’s Food Bank”.

If you would prefer to mail a check, please make it out to “St. Christopher’s Community Church.” Your check’s memo line should say “Basic Needs Program.” Checks can be mailed to St. Christopher’s Community Church, 7902 Steamboat Island Road NW, Olympia, WA 98502.

For more information about the St. Christopher’s Food Bank, click here to see their web page. Or call St. Christopher’s directly at (360) 866-2111.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association is grateful for this community’s support of the Thurston County Food Bank and the efforts of St. Christopher’s to help address needs right here on the Steamboat Peninsula.

At US-101 and the WA-8 Underpass, It’s Called a “Zipper Merge,” and We’ve Been Doing it Wrong

Originally published January 10, 2017, we can now update this article with news that WSDOT will be installing signs for a zipper merge in late June, 2019. Click here to read the entire article, including ‘Update #2’.

Most weekday mornings traffic begins to stack up where southbound US-101 merges from two lanes, to one, under WA-8. Drivers line up in the left hand lane and sometimes traffic slows almost all the way back to the onramp at Steamboat Island Road. As traffic slows, drivers entering US-101 at Steamboat Island Road scramble to join the line forming in the left lane. It sometimes creates a dangerous situation. And those drivers who cannot move left, or choose to remain in the right lane, feel like they are cheating, cutting into the line closer to the actual point the two lanes merge into one.

Transportation engineers call it a “zipper merge.” It is not taught in driver’s education. And the Washington Department of Transportation doesn’t normally provide the correct signage instructing drivers how it’s supposed to work. And it turns out we’ve been doing it wrong, all along.

At normal highway speeds, when traffic is moving smoothly through the WA-8 underpass, it’s correct for drivers to move to the left lane early, when the sign indicates there is a merge ahead.

But, when traffic begins to stack up and slow down, the correct way to use a zipper merge is for drivers to fill in both lanes. If the roadway was signed correctly, long before the right lane merges into the left, there would be a sign reading, “Use both lanes to merge point.”

Then, actually at the point the right lane merges into the right, drivers should file through the underpass one at a time. First a car from the left lane, then a car from the right, then the left, and so forth.

Cars from each lane file together, at the merge point, just like the teeth of a zipper.

If the roadway was signed correctly, there would be a sign at the merge reading, “Take turns merge here.”

Or perhaps a single sign, like the one pictured at the bottom of this article, would suffice to notify drivers that, when there is congestion, they should use both lanes and then take turns at the merge.

When both lanes are used correctly, a zipper merge could reduce by 50% the length of the backup along US-101. At the height of out little morning rush hour, drivers using the Steamboat Island Road onramp would easily be able to get into either the right or left lane. And everyone would get under WA-8 and on their way, just as quickly as before.Read More

Town Hall Meeting on Roadway Safety This June 19th

The Griffin Neighborhood Association will host a Town Hall meeting on roadway safety in the Steamboat Peninsula/Griffin area. The principal presenter will be Scott Davis, P.E., Traffic Engineering and Operations Manager for Thurston County Public Works. Joining Mr. Davis will be representatives of Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

This Town Hall is for anyone interested in joining a discussion on traffic safety in the Steamboat Neighborhood, and providing their input on traffic safety issues as part of the creation of a ‘Community Vision Statement’ for the Steamboat Neighborhood.

Town Hall Meeting on Roadway Safety
Wednesday, June 19
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters
3707 Steamboat Loop NW

A Community Vision Statement is a document that describes community values and aspirations – a shared image of what we want our community to look like over the course of the next 5 to 10 years. This document will be used to leverage funding and support for our community as we move forward on these efforts. In the future, there will be more information posted here and elsewhere about the creation of a Community Vision Statement.

For more information about what Thurston County Public Works Department does, click here to see their video.

Local Businesses and Organizations, “Won’t You Join Us For a Neighborhood Picnic?”

It’s that time of year again. The annual Griffin Neighborhood Association Neighborhood Picnic will be held Saturday, July 20th at Prosperity Grange and the Tin Cup Golf Range. As in the past, we will have booth spaces available on a first come, first serve basis for businesses and organizations from around the Griffin/Steamboat Peninsula community.

We hope to have a big crowd attending this year. Every year, attendance has grown. We will have Live Music, a Bouncy House, children’s face painting, children’s games, and alpacas.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, soft drinks, and desserts will be served. Taylor Shellfish will also be serving up their wonderful chowder and shellfish. Free food is all part of the deal for our Businesses and Organizations!

You will need to supply your own canopy, table, and chairs. The fee is $10 for businesses and free for non-profit organizations. Sales of merchandise are allowed for all.

If you would like to reserve a space for this event, please click here to download our application.

If you cannot attend, we gladly accept donations as all monies will go towards the picnic costs.

We are lucky to live in a community rich with a variety of businesses and organizations as well as such awesome people. This is an excellent way to showcase your group to all our neighbors.

Please feel free to contact Joanie Zelasko with questions or any additional information needed. We look forward to hearing from you!

Feline Friends Plant Sales are in May and June

Feline Friends logoPlant sales to benefit Feline Friends have become an annual series of events we’ve come to expect. The schedule of these plant sales is now available and they’re coming up fast! You can find perennials, beautiful dahlias, herbs, some vegetables, and choose from a large variety of unusual plants at great prices. The best part is, according to Diane Jacob, “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.”

Feline Friends Plant Sale
Saturday, May 4th
9 AM to 2 PM
Griffin School
6530 33rd Ave, Olympia just off Hwy 101 at Steamboat Is Rd Exit

Adopt-A-Pet Plant Sale
Saturday, May 11th
9 AM to 3 PM
Our Community Credit Union
2948 Olympic Hwy N, Shelton

S.N.A.P. (Spay & Neuter All Pets) Plant Sale
Saturday, May 25th
Starts at 9 AM 
Thurston County Animal Services
3120 Martin Way, Olympia

Close Out Plant & Garage Sale
Saturday, June 1st
9 AM to 2 PM
Griffin School
6530 33rd Ave, Olympia just off Hwy 101 at Steamboat Is Rd Exit
Please bring saleable items to the Griffin School between 6 PM and 8 PM Friday, May 31st or call (360) 866-1909.

Plants are provided by Cameron Gardens and many other local gardeners.

For more information about Feline Friends, click here to visit their website or call them at (360) 866-0599.

Thank you for supporting our local Feline Friends!

Town Hall Meeting April 24th to Focus on Wildfire Season

“In Thurston County, wildland fire is the most frequently occurring hazard, seeing an average of 70 wildland fires per year.” So begins the County’s web page regarding how you can make your home more secure during wildfire season. We don’t think of wildfires in our part of Western Washington, but as the summers become drier it may be prudent to familiarize ourselves with some basic changes we can make in order to build a defensible space around our homes. On Wednesday, April 24th the Griffin Neighborhood Association will host a presentation by Thurston County Emergency Mangement on the topic of “Neighborhood Preparedness and Home Protection during Wildfire Season and the ‘Ready, Set, Go’ Evacuation Program.” We hope you’ll join us.

The National Fire Protection Association has created an informational program called “Firewise.” Their website contains a wealth of useful materials for homeowners in rural areas such as ours. This page, in particular, describes the concept of the “home ignition zone” as a means of describing how controlling fuels can build a natural defense protecting homes and outbuildings from wildfire.

Click the image for a larger version.

There are three zones radiating out at distances of zero to five feet, five to 30 feet, and 30 to 100 feet from the home. The space within five feet – the “immediate zone” – is the non-combustible area. “Science tells us this is the most important zone to take immediate action on as it is the most vulnerable to embers.”

From five to 30 feet, tree spacing and creating breaks in lower vegetation provides the greatest benefit.

Beyond 30 feet, “the goal here is not to eliminate fire but to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames smaller and on the ground.”

For more details about these three zones, click here.

Firewise is on Facebook, too.

At this month’s Town Hall meeting, Vivian Eason, Emergency Management Coordinator for Thurston County Emergency Management, will also speak about the County’s evacuation plan.

One important step you can take to help in an evacuation is to sign up for emergency alerts and notifications. Click this link for more information about the kinds of alerts available and to sign up.

Town Hall Meeting: “Neighborhood Preparedness and Home Protection during Wildfire Season and the ‘Ready, Set, Go’ Evacuation Program”
Wednesday, April 24
6:30 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters

A wealth of information about preparing for a variety of disasters is available on the Thurston County Emergency Management website.

If this information is valuable to you, and you would like to see more like it, please join the Griffin Neighborhood Association. If you own property, a business, or reside in the Griffin area, you are eligible to become a member of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Click here for more information and to join online. Thank you! from the GNA.

“Steamboat Soiree” to Benefit Prosperity Grange This March 23rd

Click the image to view a larger version.

Since 1909 the Prosperity Grange has provided community support and event space on the Steamboat Peninsula. This March 23rd the Grange will host a fundraising event with proceeds to go to the maintenance of this valuable local resource. The feature of the night includes a chocolate demonstration from Blissful Wunders and music by the five-piece jazz band Vendredi’s Bag. Appetizers, Blissful Wunders’ chocolate truffles, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. A silent auction will be held and all donations to Prosperity Grange are welcome.

According to their website, “Vendredi’s Bag comprises a group of musicians who love Django and Jobim right along with Irving and Miles. They draw songs from across continents and ages, incorporating jazz standards, Latin grooves, bebop, acoustic funk, and gypsy swing into their performances. The group is based in Olympia, WA and includes mandolin, flugelhorn, electric piano, upright bass, and drums.”

“Steamboat Soiree” to benefit Prosperity Grange
Saturday, March 23
6:30 to 10 PM
Doors open at 6:30.
Vendredi’s Bag takes the stage at 7:00.
The chocolate demonstration by Blissful Wunders is at 7:30.
The silent auction will close at 9:00.

Prosperity Grange is located at 3701 Steamboat Loop NW, Olympia, WA 98502.

The folks of Prosperity Grange have planned a terrific event. We hope you can join us in supporting the 110-years-young Prosperity Grange this March 23rd!

Also, mark your calendar for April 6, when Prosperity Grange will host a flea market.

Are you planning a public or private event? Let Prosperity Grange provide you with the perfect venue. Rental of the Grange is open to anyone in the community. The Grange features a stage and full kitchen. For more information, contact them at (360) 970-5652.

Prosperity Grange is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/prosperitygrange/

Vendredi’s Bag

Roadside Litter Pickup This Saturday is Part of a Quiet, Long Tradition

In April 2006, John Dodge, the features writer for the Olympian, published an article entitled, The Angels of Steamboat Island Road’ – Dedicated crew incorporates exercise, cleanup into daily routine. The article began:

Just about every morning, anywhere from one to four retirees who live near Totten Inlet’s Gallagher Cove lace up their shoes for a two- to three-mile walk on the county roads in their neighborhood.

But they do more than walk. They pick up litter, too.

Local residents included Keith Anderson, Tom Martin, and Edward and Susan Hill. For more than four years, Dodge wrote, these “Angels of Steamboat Island Road” combined walking with a little community service. “It’s rare for volunteers to stick with it as long as they have,” said the head of Thurston County’s litter control program. “The low-traffic, low-speed county roads don’t get cleaned up without the volunteers.”

Coverage of our 1st Annual Picnic, in 1996, mentioned the “Litter Patrol Contest.” Click the image for a larger version.

Of course, the history of litter cleanup dates back earlier than the Angels. For example, in 1996, the Griffin Neighborhood Association held its 1st Annual Potluck Picnic. One of the events at that picnic was a “Litter Patrol Contest.” Teams of contestants picked up litter from 10 AM to noon. The team collecting the most won prizes. The event was repeated at the following year’s picnic, too. History does not record who won the contest or what the prizes were. What is certain, however, is the entire community benefitted from a little less litter along our roadways.Read More

Community Meeting Wrap-up: “Living With Wildlife” and GNA Year in Review

It was standing room only at the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters when the Annual Community Meeting of the Griffin Neighborhood Association was convened this last week. The keynote speaker was Matt Blankenship, a wildlife conflict specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, whose presentation was entitled “Living with Wildlife.” The Association held its Board election, and a video presentation provided a photo review of some of the Association’s activities over the last year. Representatives of several local organizations were also available to meet with residents interested in learning more each group.

The Year in Review

In 2018 the GNA continued its tradition of offering a summertime community picnic. Musical guests Humor & Heart played. Taylor Seafood Farms made a generous donation of seafood and staff to prepare and serve shellfish delights we’re fortunate to offer at a community event of this kind. Association Board members and volunteers crewed the event and local businesses and organizations pitched in with donations and staffed informational tables. We covered the event in two pieces published before and after the picnic.

This last November the Association hosted a town hall on traffic safety, featuring representatives of the Sheriff’s Department. If you’re on Nextdoor, you can read a thorough summary here.

Volunteers associated with the GNA also conducted several trash clean-ups along area roads in the last year. A schedule of future clean-up events will appear on our Facebook Page and Nextdoor’s Events calendar.

Click here to view photos from this last year’s events.

Local Organizations Featured

Here are the names and links to information for the not-for-profit organizations that provided information at the Community meeting:

Arbutus Folk School. Local contact is David Paul.

Catholic Community Services

Feline Friends

Fences for Fido. Local contacts are Mike and Becky Reavis.

St Christopher’s Church and Food Pantry. Local contacts are Lindy Vincent or Bill Hanna.

Steamboat Island Church

“Living With Animals”

Matt Blankenship’s presentation greatly interested all of us. Before this meeting who knew Fish & Wildlife employed “wildlife conflict specialists”? Mr. Blankenship described many of the animals with whom we share our Peninsula and provided tips about how to enjoy them and, in some instances, how to protect our property from them. His presentation highlighted the presence of deer, woodpeckers, coyotes, bobcats, black bears, and cougars in our area. There were a lot of questions at the Q&A that followed! One big takeaway had to do with the variety of resources available to us from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Also discussed was the importance of reporting especially large animal sighting (for example, bears and cougars) to Fish & Wildlife. Their phone number is (877) 933-9847, and there is a web page for making reports of dangerous wildlife at https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/dangerous/reports/

Here is a link to a downloadable PDF copy of the “Living With Animals” presentation.

Thank you to Board members Jan Hopwood and Jim Goldsmith for this year’s keynote speaker.Read More

Annual Community Meeting Thursday, January 24

The Annual Community Meeting of the Griffin Neighborhood Association will be held on Thursday, January 24th. This meeting is at the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters. Doors will open at 6:00 PM for a half-hour of socializing. Snacks and beverages will be provided and local non-profit organizations have been invited to set up at tables within the meeting room. This is a nice opportunity to meet with neighbors and catch up on what’s happening in the Griffin area.

The formal program begins at 6:30 PM. There will be a brief business meeting of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. This includes nominations and voting for half the positions on the Board of the Association. The Bylaws of the GNA provide for a Board of between 10 and 17 members in size. Folks owning property or residing within the Griffin School District are eligible to serve on the Board and each year about half the Board positions come up for election.

Please consider this your invitation to join our Board. If you or someone you know are interested in serving on the Board of the GNA, this link to the Board Member FAQ (frequently asked questions) may answer some questions about what it means to work on the Board.

This year’s keynote speaker is Matt Blankenship from the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife. Mr. Blankenship is a “wildlife conflict specialist” and he will speak on the topic of “Living With Wildlife.” In our rural environment, this is a topic sure to be of interest to all of us!

If you represent a local non-profit organization and would like to host a table at the Community Meeting, please email Becky at furacres@gmail.com.

Annual Community Meeting
Thursday, January 24
6:00 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters

We look forward to seeing you at this year’s Community Meeting!