Mason Transit Authority Returns Limited Saturday Service

The Mason Transit Authority has returned limited Saturday service, including service on Route 6, which runs between Shelton and Olympia. This service, now running Monday through Saturday, allows Steamboat Peninsula residents to call ahead to get the bus to make a stop. Just call Mason Transit at 360-427-5033 and request that a bus pull off US-101, either heading to Olympia or to Shelton.

The bus will stop at different locations, depending on whether you are heading to Olympia or heading toward Shelton.

If you are heading to Olympia, the bus will stop at the corner of Whittaker Rd. NW/Steamboat Island Rd. and Old Highway 101 NW. In the illustration below, you can see the little blue bus symbol marking that location.

If you are heading to Shelton, the bus will stop on Sexton Dr. NW, in front of the Island Market.

Here is a link to the timetable running from Shelton to Olympia. The bus continues from Steamboat Island to Westside of Olympia, Mud Bay Rd, Harrison Ave, and the Olympia Transit Center.

And here is a link to the timetable running from Olympia to Shelton. The bus leaves the Olympia Transit Center and its first stop will be at Steamboat Island. From there is goes on to the Kamilche Transit Center, Cole Rd Park & Ride, Shelton Outfitters, Transit-Community Center, and Kneeland Plaza (7:40PM Route only).

The fare is $1.50 one-way, Seniors (65+) are $0.50 and children under age 6 ride free. Exact change is required.

Local Resident Peter Reid’s New Book is “Every Hill a Burial Place”

Click the image to see event details.

This September, local resident Peter Reid’s latest book, Every Hill a Burial Place, will be available.

In 1966, Peace Corps Volunteer Peverly “Peppy” Kinsey mysteriously fell while out on a picnic with her husband, Bill. The two were both volunteers for the Peace Corps in Tanzania. Local authorities arrested Bill and charged him with murder as witnesses came forward claiming to have seen the pair engaged in a struggle, a bloody iron bar was found near the scene. The incident had the potential to be disastrous for both the Peace Corps and the newly independent nation of Tanzania.

Reid, who was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania at the time, has exposed inconsistencies and biases in the case and a prosecution “severely overmatched” by the resources the defense brought in to argue for Bill Kinsey’s acquittal.

“Peter Reid has written a meticulously researched and fascinating true story about the ambiguous death of a female Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania in the 1960s and the subsequent prosecution of her husband, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer, for murder. Equally compelling is the backstory about a range of issues receiving intense local and worldwide attention, including calls to “send in the Marines” to rescue the accused, an apparent lack of concern about justice for the deceased, and the perception of special treatment for a white American in a newly independent African nation.” — Skip McGinty, 1960s Peace Corps Africa Volunteer and Peace Corps Country Director, Oman

You can order a copy at Orca Books or online, on Amazon.

Peter H. Reid, past member of the Griffin Neighborhood Association and one of the principal organizers of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, is also the retired founding director of the Community Law Clinic at Stanford Law School. Peter previously served for more than thirty years as executive director of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. He lives in here on the Steamboat Peninsula and in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife Barbara.

Mason Transit Proposal Will Increase Stops Available to Steamboat Area Riders

As some of you may be aware, Mason Transit Authority operates bus service between Shelton and Olympia. Service runs Monday through Saturday. This is Mason Transit’s Route #6. On this route, a “call-requested” stop is available on the Steamboat Peninsula. This means riders can contact Mason Transit at 360-427-5033 and request that a bus pull off US-101, either heading to Olympia or to Shelton.

When you are heading from Olympia to the Steamboat Peninsula, you can simply ask your driver to make the stop at Steamboat Peninsula.

The bus will stop at different locations, depending on whether you are heading to Olympia or heading toward Shelton.

If you are heading to Olympia, the bus will stop at the corner of Whittaker Rd. NW/Steamboat Island Rd. and Old Highway 101 NW. In the illustration below, you can see the little blue bus symbol marking that location.

If you are heading to Shelton, the bus will stop on Sexton Dr. NW, in front of the Island Market.

At the current time, the schedule for this service along US-101 starts weekday mornings with the earliest call-requested stop on the Steamboat Peninsula at about 9 AM. Saturday service begins at about 8 AM.

To estimate the Steamboat Peninsula arrival times when heading to Olympia, just add about 5 minutes to the time at the Kamilche Transit Center, on the chart below.

Click on the image, to see Mason Transit’s web page for Route 6 from Shelton to Olympia.

Click here to see the timetable for Route 6, heading from Olympia to the Steamboat Peninsula. For this trip, subtract about 10 minutes from the Kamilche Transit Center arrival time, just to be on the safe side.

Mason Transit is now proposing to expand their service in our area.

If the proposal is accepted, the number of times you can take a bus will expand dramatically. See the proposed timetables below.

A series of two public hearings is scheduled to receive comments on the proposed service changes. A hearing will take place in Shelton on Tuesday, December 10. Click here for details, if you would like to attend the hearing.Read More

You are Invited to Bunco Night Tuesday, October 15th

The days are shorter and the skies are cloudier. What better time for an evening of fun, indoor activity? The Griffin Neighborhood Association invites you to do just that!

On Tuesday, October 15th, we will be hosting our first community game night. It will be held from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Prosperity Grange Hall, 3701 Steamboat Island Rd NW. We will be playing a rousing game of Bunco!

Light snacks and water will be available but feel free to bring a snack of your own to share and the beverage of your choice.

We are hoping to make this a monthly event throughout the fall and winter months, having a different choice of games each time. This is a great way to meet your neighbors and have some fun!

Bunco Night
Tuesday, October 15
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Prosperity Grange
3701 Steamboat Island Rd. NW

Are you unfamiliar with the game of Bunco? Here’s a link to one of the many web pages that describe Bunco game play.

We hope to see you at Bunco Night.

Local Chip Sealing and Regional Transportation Highlight Recent Town Hall

On June 19th, the Griffin Neighborhood Association hosted a Town Hall on roadway safety in the Steamboat Peninsula/Griffin area. We want to begin our wrapup of that meeting by thanking Scott Davis, of Thurston County Public Works, for his great presentation on roadside safety, and for all of the Public Works Departments’ good work in keeping our roadways well maintained and safe to drive!

During the Town Hall, Scott Davis provided a great deal of information including the chip seal schedule for local road maintenance and information on other current Thurston County roadway projects.

Mr. Davis also suggested ways the public can report any suggestions or complaints directly to Thurston County Public Works. Thurston County does not monitor Nextdoor or other social media. But you can report issues and also transmit ‘thank you’s’ and other notes of appreciation, as well, online at https://www.co.thurston.wa.us/publicworks/onlinerequest.html or by phone at (360) 867-2300. Normal office hours are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. 

“Because of the need for fast response, we ask that you do not report missing or downed stop signs using the online form. Instead, please call us directly at (360) 867-2300 during business hours. After hours you can report missing or downed stop signs using the Thurston County Sheriff’s Non-Emergency line at (360) 704-2740.”

During regular business hours, you may report road blocking hazards (for example, large tree limbs or flooding) either online or at (360) 867-2300. After hours, reports of blocking hazards should be made to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Non-Emergency line at (360) 704-2740.

We learned that Public Works crews do not respond to calls to remove deceased domestic animals or small wildlife from the right of way. For that, contact Animal Services at (360) 352-2510.

2019 Chip Seal Information

Chip sealing is a process where roads are coated with a thin layer of liquid asphalt and gravel chips. When complete, treated roads become skid resistant and more resistant to water penetration. According to Thurston County’s web site, the life span of a road with chip seal treatment increases by about eight years when compared to roads without it. The work is usually performed on roads in good condition, in order to keep them from falling into costly disrepair.

In 2019, Thurston County will be focusing on chipsealing roads in the Northwestern portion of Thurston County including areas of Steamboat Island, Summit Lake, Cooper Point and parts of Delphi Rd. A downloadable map of roads to be chip sealed is available here. For our area, “The current plan is to start at the north end of Steamboat Island Rd, do the main road, and then the side roads on the list.”

Please remember to be kind and patient to roadside workers as they make improvements to our neighborhood roads this summer. A small note of gratitude goes a long way.

Doolittle Construction was low bidder for chip sealing, at $1,937,993.

Click here to see more information about the County’s chip seal program, including updates and lists of roads that are to be chip sealed. And click here to learn more about travel impacts as the project proceeds

Regional Traffic Studies

Thurston County, Olympia, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) are studying traffic and planning improvements which will impact residents in the Griffin area. Among these are projects that will improve access to West Olympia and install the state’s first “diverging diamond interchange” at Marvin Road and I-5. Traffic along I-5 is also being studied and information regarding the regional transportation plan is available online. 

Read More

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

“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

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

Click on the link for a larger image

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!