Sheriff’s Department Asks for Help to Find This Man

mail_thief_suspect1 - Edited

Do you know this man?

Local residents have suffered through a wave of mail thefts for the last several months. One recommendation from law enforcement and the postal service has been to send outgoing mail from the postal station at the Island Market. There is a mail drop inside the market. There is also a mailbox outside the market, to the left of the front door.

mail_thief_suspect2 - Edited

If you know this man’s whereabouts, call Detective George Oplinger at (360) 786-5746

The night of March 26th someone broke into the mailbox outside the Island Market. Now photographs of the suspect, taken from a security camera outside the Island Market, have been released by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department wants to find and speak to this man. Do you know the man in these photographs?

If you know the man in these photographs please call Detective George Oplinger at the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department at (360) 786-5746. If you see this person at a location and you are not sure if he will be around long then call 911 to report the location. You will have to tell whomever answers that this is the suspect from the Island Market mail box theft. A deputy will be dispatched and they will also contact Detective Oplinger.

Another option is if you don’t want to get involved or be identified you can remain anonymous and call the Olympia/Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) and even receive a reward.

mail_thief_suspect3 - Edited

Click these photos for a larger image.

Update: The Thurston County Sheriff’s Department is reporting the suspect has now been identified. The US Postal Inspector is handling the case and will be forwarding criminal charges against him.

Thanks for helping us to find this man.mail_thief_suspect4 - Edited


What’s the Story Behind the Steamboat Neighborhood Stickers?

steamboat_logo_1950x1050You have probably seen them around. The Steamboat Neighborhood stickers have found their way on to a lot of cars. And trucks, boats, and laptop computers. More than a thousand have been distributed at community events and from the countertops of several of the local businesses in our area.

Click here to learn more about how the Steamboat Neighborhood logo art and the sticker were created.

The story of the Steamboat Neighborhood stickers is just another of more than twenty-five years of stories from the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Join the GNA today. Your support will help us to pay for more Steamboat Neighborhood stickers, among other things.

Mail Safety: A Town Hall Meeting, March 16, Griffin School Gym


Click the image to view a larger copy

Mail theft. Either there’s been a real increase in the incidence of theft or we’re much more aware of it than in the past. We’ve been reading on Nextdoor about the many mailboxes broken into or mail scattered along the roads, particularly from this last Fall and through the Winter. On Wednesday, March 16th the Griffin Neighborhood Association is hosting a special Town Hall meeting on the topic of Mail Safety.

Invited guests are a representative from the USPS Postal Inspector, Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, local USPS Mail Delivery personnel, and County Commissioner Bud Blake.

Mail Safety Town Hall
March 16
6:30 PM
Griffin School Gym
6530 33rd Ave NW

Hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Are you a member? If not, click here to join us.

Local Author Ellen King Rice Pens “The EvoAngel: A Mushroom Thriller”

evoangelElderly mushroom hunter Edna Morton has a health problem. She’s sprouted feathers. A trip to her health clinic brings her to the attention of an aggressive and ambitious physician, Dr. Theodora Band.

Is there something in the local mushrooms that activates DNA? Why now? Why Edna?

Edna knows which mushrooms could eliminate Dr. Band, but Edna would rather look at her family history to see if this has happened before. Could those stories of witches and toadstools be aspects of evolutionary development?

There’s no time to dawdle. Edna’s family is at risk of sprouting feathers too. Then there is a murder at the health clinic followed by the arrival of a National Security analyst who wants to learn about the ability of mushrooms to degrade sarin gas and neurotoxins.

Edna’s challenges are sprouting like mushrooms after rain.

Part adventure, part science class and totally fungi friendly, The EvoAngel delivers a grand gallop through the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

— from the description on of the new book The EvoAngel.

Here on the Steamboat Peninsula, we’re used to reading about the release of new books by local authors. Now there is a new first novel with a familiar setting but which takes place within a newly-emerging area of scientific inquiry. The book is The EvoAngel, written by Ellen King Rice.

The EvoAngel is a fictional thriller that features the activation of human DNA by the use of wild mushrooms. It is set in the Oyster Bay neighborhood and includes local sites and much information on the new science of epigenetics. It also includes pen and ink illustrations of local fungi.

Not only is The EvoAngel an exciting story based in a new area of science, the book itself was created in a new way. When asked about how the book was financed, Rice replied, “To my surprise I learned that it can easily cost $5,000 or more to self publish a printed book.” Cover design and interior book formatting take either a professional hand or a skill set in learning many technical details. “I cut corners where I could but I also ran a Kickstarter campaign last fall.” Rice turned to our local Nextdoor neighborhood to find a videographer and hired Madison Rochelle, a Capital High School student to record a video segment for the Kickstarter campaign. “The video is an important part of a successful campaign and Madison did a great job.” The Kickstarter campaign went on to raise $2,400.

When the Kickstarter campaign took off, Rice realized she could have illustrations of local mushrooms to add to her story. “Again, I returned to the neighborhood forum. I found Duncan Sheffels, who is a student at SPSCC. Duncan has a full schedule but he was able to fit in some trips to the woods and came up with 18 pen and ink drawings that are amazing.”

The story includes epigenetics, mushrooms and even a National Security Agency analyst. When asked about the research required to cover such a scope of action, Rice replied, “I spent the better part of a year doing background reading. I read an incredible book on mushroom lore called Mycelium Running that is written by Evergreen College alum Paul Stamets. I also read the guide to evolutionary development, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, by Sean B. Carroll and a book on dinosaurs, birds and prehistoric atmospheric conditions called Out of Thin Air by UW professor Peter Ward.”

The EvoAngel is an adult book. It does contain sex and violence (which are biological features of our species!). Most of the action takes place in Olympia and in our neighborhood. The book is available on Amazon, both in a printed copy and a Kindle edition. Rice will also have print copies available for local purchase at Orca Books.

Residents are invited to join Ellen King Rice for a night at the Olympia library, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.  She’ll have a short talk on evolutionary development and will read from the story. Says Rice, “Come learn about poisoning by mushroom!”

Learn more at  and join Ellen King Rice for “Mushroom Tuesdays” on Facebook. Just click this link.

Your purchase, on Amazon, of any books using links from this page will support the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

GNA Board Asks Local Residents to Give Generously to St. Christopher’s Basic Needs Fund


Donate now to the St. Christopher’s Basic Needs Fund

A recent report by the United Way, published in The Olympian, found more than one-third of all households in Thurston County are living either below the poverty line (12%) or are earning above the poverty level but cannot afford necessities such as housing and childcare (23%). “1 in 3 Washington households struggle to afford basic life necessities,” read the headline. Here in the Griffin area, too, there are families either in poverty or unable to their meet basic needs. In many instances these are families where one or both parents are fully-employed, but where “incomes for these residents were low enough that a single incident — such as a broken-down vehicle or lengthy illness — could trigger a household crisis.” In 2015, nearly 120 children were participating in the free or reduced-price meal program at the Griffin School District.

On the Steamboat Peninsula, St. Christopher’s Community Church acts as a satellite location of the Thurston County Food Bank. But what started in 2007 as a Food Bank Satellite program has expanded into much more than just food for members of our community. Organizers at St. Christopher’s realized local residents in need required other kinds of assistance, too. Clothing, household items, cash donations, and gift cards for gasoline purchases are sometimes what’s required. Emergency power assistance has been provided in the form of aid to pay electric bills. St. Christopher’s program has even been able to obtain emergency supplies of firewood.

We have written about the activities of St. Christopher’s Community Church and their program’s coordinator, Lindy Vincent, in the past.

At their November meeting, the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association voted to make a $400 donation to the St. Christopher’s Basic Needs Fund. The Board challenges other local residents to make a donation now to St. Christopher’s. Click here to make a secure online donation in any amount. Specify the amount as a donation to “St. Christopher’s Food Bank”. If you prefer to make a donation by check, your donation should be payable to “St. Christopher’s Community Church Basic Needs Fund”.  The check can be mailed to St. Christopher’s Community Church, 7902 Steamboat Island Road NW, Olympia, WA 98502.

A monetary donation to the Basic Needs Fund will be put to work immediately, helping people right here in the Griffin area.

Thank you, from the members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association and from St. Christopher’s Community Church.

Annual Community Meeting – January 28 at 6:00 PM

If the entire Cascadia Subduction zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2.

Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”

In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.

— From The Really Big One, published July 20, 2015 in The New Yorker

Verizon Cell Tower Proposed for 5541 Steamboat Island Rd NW

Tallest surrounding trees are about 118 feet high. The proposed tower is 150 feet tall.

Local residents have received notice of a proposal to install a 150-foot tall monopole with six panel antennas “and associated equipment cabinets” on the property of Robert Skillman at 5541 Steamboat Island Rd. NW.

The notice implies that an initial balloon test has already been conducted. In this test, a balloon is hoisted to a height equivalent to that of the proposed tower to assist planners and local residents in assessing the visual impact of the tower with respect to the surrounding landscape. A second balloon test is scheduled for “8 consecutive daylight hours between 7am – 7 pm on January 8, 2016 (primary) or January 22, 2016 (secondary) if weather does not permit the January 8th balloon flight.”

The application is now in its 20-day public comment period. The period expires 4PM on January 6, 2016. During this period, interested parties can ask to be added to a mailing list to receive the findings from the Hearing Examiner, when the Examiner’s decision is made.

We note the second balloon test is scheduled to be run after the public comment period has ended.

During this public comment period, residents may make comments by mail or email to the County’s Resource Stewardship Department. For additional information or to make a comment, contact Scott McCormick, MES, Associate Planner by calling (360) 754-3355, ext. 6372 or email Refer to Project Number “2015107101”. The Resource Stewardship Department is at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98502 and online at

End of Public Comment Period: 4 PM January 6
Balloon Test: January 8 or January 22 (weather depending) for eight hours after 7 AM.

Additionally , there will be another 14-day public comment period when the environmental determination is issued. It appears the environmental determination has not yet been made.

Click here to view a copy of the Notice of Application issued by the County.

Click here to view a copy of Verizon’s plan for the installation.

Other items related to this project can be found on this page of the County’s web site. Click here and enter a search for Project Number 2015107101.

As of today, there are no third party reviews of wireless facilities listed on the County’s web page.

Local residents considering opposing this project are encouraged to contact Amy Ramsey at or (360) 878-2755.

Steamboat Conservation Partnership Update

Steamboat Conservation Partnership logoThe Steamboat Conservation Partnership recently released an update to supporters.

“We want to wish you a happy holiday season,” wrote Partnership members Steve Lundin and Peter Reid, “and to remind you of some of the important work supported by your donations to the Capitol Land Trust and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.”

Our fundraising efforts for Capitol Land Trust have been a huge success. During the first five years of the Partnership, with your help, we raised $81,647. Since the beginning of our second five-year program year on July 1, 2015, we have raised an additional $19,865. Total collections now exceed $100,000!!! Congratulations everyone.

As you know, Capitol Land Trust uses our donations for operating expenses to conserve critical properties in the drainage basins of Eld Inlet and Totten Inlet. This includes expansion of Stewardship funding for the Wynne properties guarantying Capital Land Trust will have the finances to protect this property in perpetuity. In July of this year, we held a very successful gathering of donors at the Randall Preserve, in Mud Bay across the road from Buzz’s Tavern, and toured that property as well as the nearby Allison Springs property. You can view both properties in a recent video that Capitol Land Trust just posted.

Allison Springs Transformed from Kathy Strauss on Vimeo.

The Steamboat Conservation Partnership now has two committees. A planning committee, consisting of 10 residents of our area, who generally meet every other month. This group organizes activities for the Partnership, including providing tours and soliciting contributions. There is also a technical committee, which meets on every other month when the planning committee does not meet. This group studies critical properties in our area and advises the Capitol Land Trust on these properties. Each of the members of the technical committee also serves on the planning committee. Meetings usually last about two hours. Capitol Land Trust staff attend meetings of both groups.

If you are interested in becoming a member of either group, please let us know. You will find participation in these groups to be a very rewarding experience and very valuable for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership.

Set aside Tuesday, February 9, 2016, for the Capitol Land Trust’s 12th Annual Conservation Breakfast at St. Martin’s Marcus Pavilion. Peter and Steve will again be table captains for folks associated with the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Doors open at 7 a.m. This is a great event, with interesting speakers and an opportunity to hear about the work of Capitol Land Trust and its plans for the future.

Also, remember that time still remains to make a contribution to Capitol Land Trust for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership this tax year. You may make a secure contribution online by clicking this link. Enter your contribution amount as a “Steamboat Conservation Partner.” Please contribute whatever amount you feel appropriate. If you would prefer to contribute by mail, be sure that in the lower left hand side of your check to insert “SCP” in the memo section.  Your contribution should be mailed to the Capitol Land Trust, 209 Fourth Avenue E., Suite 205, Olympia, WA 98501.

–Peter Reid and Steve Lundin

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar, Cat Adoption Day, and Santa – Saturday, December 5


Click on the image for a larger version.

The annual Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar will be Saturday, December 5th at Griffin Fire Station  from 10am – 3pm. Many of the crafters/artists are from the local area featuring handmade wreaths and Christmas decorations; beautiful gifts for people, pets, gardens and birds; homemade jams, jellies, and seasonings; beautiful jewelry and woodwork to list just a few items. There will also be a raffle and bake sale with goodies donated by friends and neighbors.

Santa will be available for pictures with pets (on leashes only) and children. The coffee is on, so stop by for fun and good cheer.

Feline Friends Holiday Bazaar
Saturday, December 5
10 AM to 3 PM
Griffin Fire Department

The Cat House (6515 Sexton Drive NW) will be open for viewing and adoptions. Many kitties would love to begin the holidays with a forever home and there are so many to choose from.

For more information about Feline Friends, click here.