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!

Your Online Shopping Can Help Support the Griffin Neighborhood Association

Did you know your purchases on Amazon.com can benefit the Griffin Neighborhood Association? It’s true. At no additional cost to you, any purchases you make on Amazon can return a modest commission to the GNA, but only if you visit Amazon using our special Internet address.

It’s easy. Just begin your browsing at SteamboatIsland.org/Amazon It’s that simple. Or, find our link, near the links to our Facebook Page, Twitter feed, and Nextdoor, located to the right of our website’s masthead.

Any purchase you make, when you start your shopping at SteamboatIsland.org/Amazon will return a little commission to the Association. The price you pay will not change. 

Thanks for your support! from the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

Thurston County Offices on November’s Ballot

For this election, “local candidates” include offices in the County government, District Court, and the Thurston Public Utility District.

As I have noted in the prior pieces of this series, a good starting place to familiarize yourself with the candidates is the online voter’s guide. This is an online version of the paper one you probably received a week or two ago. The online version, however, includes links to campaign web sites and campaign financing details.

Among the offices within County government there are only three positions where there is a contest between two candidates. The race for Commissioner of the Public Utility District also has two candidates. For the other five non-judicial positions, the incumbent is running unopposed for reelection. Let’s focus our attention first on the races that involve actual contests between two candidates. These are the Auditor, County Commissioner (District 3), Prosecutor, and Commissioner of the Public Utility District.

County Auditor

The incumbent is Mary Hall, a Democrat. Hall was first elected Auditor in 2013 and she is running for re-election.  

The challenger is Stuart Holmes, an Independent. 

It may be worthwhile to take a pause here and point out there are no candidates running for the County’s partisan positions who describe themselves as Republicans. The easiest way to determine the political leanings of any candidate is probably to look at who’s contributed directly to the candidate’s campaign. This won’t easily answer questions about non-campaign spending – that spending made by interest groups working for or against specific issues of candidates – but a visit to the state’s Political Disclosure Commission’s website can be enlightening. In the online voter’s guide, too, there are links to “Who donated to this candidate’s campaign?” that provide the same details.

County Commissioner

The Griffin area is within District 3 and this seat is our district’s commissioner. We choose, in the primary, what candidates are promoted to the General Election. But, in the General Election, all voters in the County will be eligible to vote for the Commissioner.

Bud Blake, Independent, was elected to the seat in November 2014 and he is running for re-election.

Tye Menser, Democrat, is running to unseat Blake.

Both candidates have extensive lists of endorsements and additional information on their campaign websites. By clicking on any candidate’s name here, you will be taken to that candidate’s website.

County Prosecutor

Jon Tunheim, a Democrat and Steamboat Peninsula resident, is looking to retain his seat for another 4-year term.

Victor M. Minjares, also a Democrat, is the challenger.

Read More

Legislative Candidates on the Mid-Term Ballot

Because the President isn’t on the ballot, some voters consider the midterms to be less important. If the list of initiatives described in an earlier part of this series doesn’t argue convincingly that’s not the case, the number of legislative representatives on this November’s ballot just might.

The Griffin area is contained within a portion of the 35th Legislative District. This district covers parts of Kitsap and Thurston counties and all of Mason County. For this election, all three of our representatives in the state Legislature are being decided. These are our State Senator and two State Representatives.

As we have noted in the prior pieces of this series, a good starting place to familiarize yourself with the candidates is the online voter’s guide. There you will find biographical information and statements from each candidate. Among the links below are those to each candidate’s campaign website. The key votes of incumbents can be reviewed online at VoteSmart.org and elsewhere.

State Senator

State Senators serve 4-year terms of office.

The incumbent is Tim Sheldon who was first elected to this office in 1998. From 1991 to 1997 he was one of the District’s representatives in the House. These are only two of the several elected offices in which he’s served, sometimes simultaneously. He runs as “prefers Democratic Party,” but his top two contributors are the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. Click here to see his key votes. In his voter’s guide statement, his campaign wrote, “He is known as a legislator who works with members of all political parties to find common sense solutions without new taxes.”

The challenger is Irene Bowling, who unsuccessfully ran against Sheldon in 2014. Like Sheldon, she is also running as “prefers Democratic Party.” However, her top single contributor is the 35th Legislative District Democrats. In her official statement she writes, “I know how frustrating it is to see Washington State’s economy flourish while our own district has struggled.” “As a small business owner, I understand the struggles people face every day with red tape, paperwork, and government inefficiency.”

Read More

Here are the Initiatives Coming to Your Ballot this November

This November we’ll see four initiatives on our ballot. And one of those “Advisory Votes” required by law, but which do not carry the force of law. The requirement to hold advisory votes came about through an initiative (I-960) approved by voters in November, 2007.

The online voter’s guide contains a good deal of useful information about each of the initiatives. There you will find a link to the full text of the initiative, an explanatory statement, fiscal impacts, and official arguments for and against each initiative.

Initiative Measure No. 940 “concerns law enforcement.”

According to the explanatory statement, “This measure addresses three aspects of law enforcement. First, it addresses when law enforcement officers may use deadly force. Second, it requires de-escalation and mental health training for officers. Third, it requires officers to provide first aid in certain circumstances.”

It’s important that voters realize the importance of this this initiative removes de facto immunity enjoyed by law enforcement in Washington, when deadly force is used. That immunity from prosecution is replaced with a so-called “good faith” standard. It also requires independent investigations of police who use deadly force.

The website at https://www.deescalatewa.org/ provides information in favor of the initiative.

I have been unable to locate a comprehensive website representing arguments opposing the initiative. However, voters should know the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police agreed to restrictions on the use of deadly force, and some of the ideas contained within I-940. But the FOP ultimately announced it opposes I-940. The history for this is confusing. It has to do with steps taken by the Legislature.

The State Legislature passed a bill, HB 303, which was signed in to law this last Spring. You can read that law here and the FOP has said it supports HB 303. The Legislature had expected the passage of HB 303 would ensure I-940 would never make it to voters. A court challenge, however, put the initiative on the ballot, even after a compromise law was passed. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled the passage of HB 303 didn’t follow the law. In its ruling, the Court said lawmakers only have three options when an initiative is qualified for the ballot: approve a competing ballot initiative; reject the voter’s initiative; or amend it, in which case voters have to make the final decision between the original initiative and the amended version. In passing HB 303, the Legislature didn’t choose any of these options. So the Court voided HB 303 and cleared the way for I-940 to appear on the ballot.

Leslie Cushman, co-chair of De-Escalate Washington, was reported to have written, “We appreciate and honor the work we did with law enforcement and will work with law enforcement to make sure the policies in 3003 become law. And to do that, we need the solid policies of 940 in place.”

Read More

Labor Day Marks the Unofficial Start of Election Season; Here’s How Our Ballot is Shaping Up


“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.”

This is the first of what may become a series of articles providing information in advance of the upcoming General Election. In this first article, we ask the question, “What candidates and measures will appear on November’s General Election ballot?” The easiest answer is provided by the Secretary of State’s website. This web page is the online voter’s guide for Thurston County.

Federal offices that are up for election this year include one Senate seat. Incumbent Maria Cantwell faces off against Susan Hutchinson. The online voter’s guide includes a statement by each campaign and links to the candidate’s website. There are also links to the Federal Election Commission website. But you have to find the candidate there, to see campaign finance data.

The Griffin area is in Congressional District 10. In our Congressional District, Incumbent Denny Heck is being challenged by Joseph Brumbles.

The Griffin area is in Legislative District 35. The candidates for the State Senate are Tim Sheldon, the incumbent, and Irene Bowling. There are two State Representative seats. In Position 1, incumbent Dan Griffey is challenged by James Thomas. In Position 2, the incumbent is Drew MacEwen, whose challenger is David Daggett. The online voter’s guide includes links to information describing the principal donors to each campaign.

Three positions on the State Supreme Court appear on the ballot. Positions 2 and 9 are uncontested; there’s only one candidate for each. In Position 8, however, incumbent Steve Gonzalez is being challenged by Nathan Choi. As with the Legislative District candidates, in addition to campaign statements, there is a link to information describing the donors for each campaign. But in the case of Nathan Choi’s campaign, there is no campaign finance data reported, at all.

For the Court of Appeals, Division 2, District 2, Rebecca Glasgow is the single candidate in this uncontested race.

In Thurston County government there are three positions where there is a contest between two candidates. The other eight positions are uncontested. For the sake of brevity, what follows only describes the three races where there are two candidates.

For Thurston County Auditor, incumbent Mary Hall is being challenged by Stuart Holmes. The voter’s guide includes links to campaign finance data.

The race for Thurston County Commissioner for District 3, where the Griffin area is located, has incumbent Bud Blake facing off against Tye Menser.

For Thurston County Prosecutor, incumbent Jon Tunheim is challenged by Victor M. Minjares.

One seat on the Thurston Public Utility District is up for election. Incumbent Linda L. Oosterman is running against Andrew Saturn.

Read More

Thanks To You, Our Community Picnic Was A Success

Taylor Shellfish Farms provided delicious food, featuring recipes by local resident Xinh Dwelley.
GNA hosts greeted event attendees.

A huge “thank you!” to all who attended this year’s community picnic, hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association. A special appreciation is extended to the sponsors who donated supplies, the volunteers who donated their time, and the many local businesses and organizations who participated.

This year’s picnic featured seafood prepared by Taylor Shellfish Farms and hamburgers and hotdogs prepared by volunteers and members of our Board. Drinks and chips were donated by the Steamboat Trading Post. The Island Market and Steamboat Trading Post provided the ice. Over at the driving range, the Salish Cliffs Golf Club hosted a game with prizes and there were kids’ games and face painting provided by the Steamboat Island Church. More than a dozen local businesses and organizations attended.

The Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club donated their facilities for the event. Thurston County Explorer Search & Rescue directed traffic, particularly into and out of the parking area. Wash facilities were provided by Island Johnny. Click here for a complete list of this year’s sponsors, with links to their websites.

The booths of local businesses and organizations arranged under sunny skies.

Musical guests were Humor & Heart and dulcimer musician Ellen Rice.

Each year we strive to provide a picnic event our community wants. In order to do that, we need your feedback! If you attended the picnic, let us know what you enjoyed or didn’t, and what you would like to see added or changed for next year.

If you weren’t able to attend, what would it take to get you there, next year?

Please email us with your comments and suggestions.

Read More

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.Read More

Our Annual Community Picnic is July 21st

Click for a larger image.

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 FoundationRead More