Thanks to You: Our Community Picnic

Thanks to the support of valued event sponsors, members of the Griffin Neighborhood Association, local businesses and organizations, and volunteers, this year’s community picnic provided a fine mid-summer event for friends and neighbors in the Griffin area.

This year’s picnic featured a wine and beer garden provided by NW Beerwerks. Local musicians Deb and Roger Hamilton provided live music. And area residents made donations to the St. Christopher’s Food Bank.

Special thanks to event organizers Becky Reavis, Mike Reavis, Joanie Zelasko, Dee Tropp, and Michelle O’Dell.

Many thanks, too, to the sponsors and donors who made this year’s Community Picnic possible. For a list of sponsors and links to their websites, see our prior piece about this event.

We hope to see you next year!

 

Annual Community Picnic to Feature Food, Live Music, Local Businesses, a Beer & Wine Garden, and More

Please come join us for the 2019 GNA Community Picnic on July 20! This year’s event has it all: great food, live music, children’s activities, local businesses and farms, and much more. Brand new this year – drum roll please – a beer and wine garden provided by NW Beerwerks!

The picnic is held to foster community in the Griffin area. All community members are invited to attend.

Annual Community Picnic
Saturday, July 20
3 PM to 7 PM
Prosperity Grange and Tin Cup Golf Range

Current or newly joining Griffin Neighborhood Association members will receive a wristband for unlimited food and drinks. Non-members are asked to pay $5 per adult for wristbands while all children are free. Any new members joining the day of the picnic will be entered into a raffle for a $40 gift certificate donated by Character’s Corner.

Food offerings include hamburgers and hot dogs from your neighborhood grill masters, yummy seafood provided by Taylor Shellfish Farms, and assorted desserts. For $6 you can enjoy a refreshing adult beverage from NW Beerwerks. 10% of the profits from the tent sales of beer and wine will go to support the Prosperity Grange.

There are lots of great things for the kids to enjoy including a bouncy house, games, alpacas, and one of the Griffin Fire Department’s trucks!

Live music provided by Deb and Roger Hamilton.

Local businesses and farms use this event as a showcase. If your local business isn’t represented, but you would like more information about attending, click here to see our prior article. Sales of merchandise will be permitted.

Some of the businesses and local organizations we expect to be present are:

Capstar Solar
Cyndi Purvis Headband Scrunchies
Dogwoods Canine Play & Stay
Dreamscapes Landscape & Design
Feline Friends
Griffin Fire Department (complete with a DUNK Tank!)
Home Meat Service
Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch
Our Community Credit Union
Saint Christopher’s Community Church
Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Steamboat Animal Hospital
Thurston County Master Gardeners
Thurston County Sheriff’s Office

Click on the business’ name, above, and sponsor logos below for more information.

An on-site food drive for the local St. Christopher’s Food Bank will be held. Bring two or more items from the list below and you will be entered into a gift drawing.

Canned food, especially protein type food

Paper towels

Toilet paper

Laundry soap

Dish soap

Personal items, such as shampoo and hand soap

Travel shampoo, conditioners, soap – the kinds of item sizes you pick up from hotels

Gift cards for gas or to the Grocery Outlet

Won’t you please help us to provide this event to our community? No big committments, just an hour of your time, then stay to enjoy the food and fun. Click here to volunteer for a job and a time slot. Tasks include set-up, tear-down, and lending a hand along the food line. Thanks to you, we’ll have a terrific community picnic this year! 

Many thanks to the sponsors and donors who are making this year’s Community Picnic possible.

 

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.

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!

Litter is Pollution, Say Local Volunteers

Thank you to all the volunteers for a successful roadside litter pickup this weekend!

On Saturday, April 20th members of the Griffin Neighborhood Association and neighborhood volunteers cleaned up litter and debris along sections of Steamboat Island Road, Old Steamboat Island Road, 33rd Ave NW, Sexton Drive NW, and Madrona Beach Road NW. Roadside signage, safety cones and safety gear were provided by Thurston County Public Works.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts in reducing and eliminating litter and pollution in our neighborhood and shared spaces. Whether it be cleaning up roadside litter in front of your home or business, participating in a litter cleanup event, or simply picking up litter in your free time – know your efforts are noticed and do make a difference. Here are some facts you may not know about litter:

Washington Ecology reports that in 2018 Thurston County was counted as having the second highest number of pounds of litter cleaned up by paid workers in the Southwest Region of Washington: 190,223 lbs. In comparison the highest was Clark County at 290,982 lbs, the lowest was Wahkiakum at 120 lbs of litter. Thurston County also had the second highest number of illegal dump sites cleaned up at 307 sites. The highest was Cowlitz County at 494 dump sites, the lowest was Wahkiakum at 3 dump sites.

Volunteer litter cleanups events DO NOT count towards these statistics and government agencies such as Thurston County and Washington Ecology are limited in their ability to clean up all the litter. Many dumpsites go undiscovered or left in place, and much of roadside litter is either scattered by wind, animals and/or rain, or deposited in places too difficult and/or dangerous for cleanup crews to access. Finally, the efforts it would take to clean up all litter and debris out there is far beyond the time and ability of the current number of cleanup crews and volunteers on task. A much as we wish and hope that litter will become a thing of the past through education and litter prevention programs such as Washington Ecology’s ‘Litter and it Will Hurt’, that simply has not been the case. The ‘Litter and it Will Hurt’ program did reduce overall litter by 25% while it was in effect, however, the program was suspended in 2009 when Washington litter cleanup taxes were diverted to support other state priorities. Since then it has been left to Washington Patrol Officers to enforce Washington litter laws. Thurston County Public Works runs a volunteer program but also does not have the means to enforce litter laws. (References: https://ecology.wa.gov/Waste-Toxics/Solid-waste-litter/Litter/Past-litter-prevention-programs and https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks/Docs/LitterControlProgram.pdf).

Litter is pollution. Litter is comprised of various paper products, metals, plastics, food waste, wood waste, rubber and cement products, among other things. Even seemingly innocent “compostable” items such as banana peels, apple cores, and food paper wrappers are in fact litter, and while they may not contain pollutants (possibly pesticides) are simply unsightly and unwanted on our roadsides and in our public places. Plastics, metal containers and treated paper products have component such as dyes and additives that can be toxic and/or carcinogenic, with the potential to leach into soils and water-ways disrupting the natural food cycle. Litter has been linked to algal blooms, poisoning of fish and wildlife, and can even harm your pets and livestock. It is now estimated that there is more common household litter polluting our waterways than pollution from industry. According to USA Today the “worst offenders” are cigarette butts, fast food wrappers and cups, plastic bags and food (again, yes, that apple core is in fact litter).

This is why it’s so important for litter cleanup to be a combined community effort. If you care for your neighborhood, your neighbors will take notice and care more too. The opposite effect is if you litter (or leave litter in place when you see it), other people will see the litter and litter too. This is known as “The Broken Windows Theory”: the concept that each problem that goes unattended in a given environment affects people’s attitude toward that environment and leads to more problems.

There is a saying that goes “If you see it, you own it.” If you see litter, join us in this effort and please pick it up – we and your neighbors thank you!!

To get on the GNA Litter Pickup mailing list and get involved with volunteer efforts in your neighborhood please email Rob Helms at robdhelms@gmail.com. The next litter pickup is scheduled for 9 AM Saturday, June 1, 2019. Meet in the gravel parking lot across from Steamboat Tennis and Athletic Club.

Click here to read our prior article on this topic, “Roadside Litter Pickup This Saturday is Part of a Quiet, Long Tradition.”

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.

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!