County to Remove Recycling from Island Market

It’s regrettable the County has decided to close the recycling station at the Island Market, along with four other similar locations, on January 1st. Local neighbors, with the Griffin Neighborhood Association, have worked in the past to ensure this location remains open, clean, and as little a burden to the Island Market as possible.

Long gone is the recycling station that used to occupy the Top Foods parking lot, in West Olympia.

The nearest station, but by no means the easiest to get to, for most of us, will be Summit Lake transfer station, 12133 Summit Lake Drive. And, the Summit Lake transfer station is only open on Sundays.

According to an article in today’s Olympian, “Expansion of curbside recycling programs also makes the free residential recycling centers, which have been around since 1992, a less-vital recycling tool, county solid waste education and outreach specialist Terri Thomas said.”

“It costs the county about $180,000 a year to operate the blue box residential recycling program through a contract with LeMay. The county must reduce its solid waste budget to respond to a slowing economy and reduced solid waste revenue because of increased recycling efforts countywide.”

In addition to the Summit Lake transfer station, free recycling will continue to be available at:

  • Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center, 2418 Hogum Bay Road N.E.
  • Rochester transfer station, 16500 Sargent Road (Saturdays and Sundays only)
  • Rainier transfer station, 13010 Rainier Acres Road S. (Fridays and Saturdays only)

Most residents within the Griffin School District can arrange for curbside pickup of recyclables. While curbside recycling is not free, it is easy, without the need to transport recyclable materials yourself.

Local recycling efforts will face a setback, as a result of this decision, and that’s unfortunate.

What are some of the other alternatives available to local residents? The Olympian runs an ongoing informational series, called “Where Do I Take My. . .” Click here to access the web page for that series.

Several alternatives exist for handling reusable stuff – that is, items that have more life still left in them. There is a local Freecycle group and also OlyReusables. These free groups allow members to post “offers” of usable items, made available for free, which can be claimed by other members of the group. Even more, members may post “Wanted” messages, in the hope that things they want can be given by members who have those things to give. And, the Department of Ecology sponsors a similar site, called ““.

What alternatives to the free recycling centers do you use? Click the “comment” link below, to leave your comments.

Taylor Shellfish May Pay Hefty Penalty for Local Geoduck Harvesting

The Olympian is reporting today that “The state might seek more than $1.3 million in damages from Taylor Shellfish Co. for geoducks the company raised and harvested on state lands in Totten Inlet the past three years without a lease.”

This is the latest turn of events for an issue that’s been brewing for a good portion of this year. Click here to read an editorial the Olympian ran, back in July, entitled “Fines warranted if shellfish were farmed illegally” and click here for the Olympian news article “Taylor Shellfish speaks out after tidelands survey.”

An interested party is the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat. A representative of that group has filed a lease application, for the same area in Totten Inlet, to protect habitat from seeding for geoduck.

For those of you interested in reading material which questions the environmental impacts of commercial geoduck harvesting, the Protect Our Shoreline site is a good place to start.

Vote in Favor of the Griffin School District Technology & Capital Projects Levy

The “Yes for Griffin Kids” Committee is urging homeowners within the Griffin School District to vote in favor of the Technology & Capital Projects Levy. The levy appears on this month’s General Election ballot as Proposition 1.

The “Yes for Griffin Kids” Committee and the Griffin School District have this month released two publications which describe the levy. Click here to download a PDF copy of these two documents.

What follows is some of the information sent to us from the school district and Yes for Griffin Kids.

What Is the Bottom Line?

  • Griffin School has never before needed a special levy and has previously been able to support programs from the Maintenance & Operations Levy.
  • This special levy passage equals an estimated tax increase of $0.345 per $1000 assessed valuation.
  • Griffin’s current estimated tax rate is $2.40 per $1000. Passage of the special levy will bring the new tax rate to approximately $2.75 per $1000.
  • Griffin School District continues to have the lowest tax rate in the area. For example, the Shelton School District’s 2008 estimated rate is $4.82 per $1000. Tumwater SD’s estimated rate for 2008 is $4.16 per $1000.
  • Ultimately, without these funds, Griffin faces consolidation into the Olympia School District.

Griffin School District recently implemented $400,000 worth of cuts. Among other cost-saving steps, the school facilities are also scheduled to be closed twenty additional days per calendar year, instead of being open to the community as it in the past.

The potential impacts of not passing this proposed levy are both financial and academic. If this levy is not passed and Griffin is absorbed into the Olympia School District, our tax rate will be an estimated $4.54 per $1000 (estimated 2008 OSD rate). Although Griffin has the lowest local tax rate, it holds the highest level of meeting national standards in the county.

Click here to read the materials regarding the levy distributed by the school district and the “Yes for Griffin Kids” Committee.

I hope property owners will vote in favor of Proposition 1. Our Griffin School District is making the tough choices necessary to operate – and continue providing a high-quality educational experience – and this levy is carefully crafted to meet a well-defined need. The amount requested in the levy is not excessive.

The “Yes for Griffin Kids” Committee was created by local members of the community to support the school district in its efforts to secure appropriate funding for its programs. For more information and to join the “Yes for Griffin Kids” Committee, call Rhonda Fry at (360) 432-2337.

UPDATED: The Olympian ran an article, on October 25th, which describes the levy. Click here to read that article, which provides a good summary of the levy. In the article, Superintendent Don Brannam is interviewed:

Brannam said if Griffin voters decide against the levy, those costs would start to eat into the district’s general fund and affect the kindergarten through eighth grade school — and possibly the district’s independence of Olympia or other surrounding districts.

“I could see us being in serious trouble in three to five years,” Brannam said. “The dialogue in this district is going to be pretty interesting around our own ability to pay our bills and maintain the sovereignty of our school district.”

Have You Received Your Ballot?

The County Auditor’s Office has mailed out ballots to all registered voters. You should have received your Saturday or perhaps today.

If you have not yet registered to vote, you may do so by 8 PM tonight, Monday, October 20. However, you must do this in-person at the Auditor’s Office. Their office is in the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, Washington 98502.

There’s a drop-box located in the parking lot of the main Griffin Fire Station, at 3707 Steamboat Loop NW. Click here for more drop-box locations, throughout Thurston County. Ballots are accepted in these locations up to 8 PM on Election Night. Use this convenient drop-box; you do not need to pay postage for a ballot delivered to the drop-box.

If you believe you are a registered voter, but have received an address verification notice, instead of a ballot, please respond to the verification request as soon as possible. We have received initial allegations of “purging” of voter rolls. Click here for more information on these reports and suggestions on additional steps you can take to secure your rights as a voter, if you believe your valid voter registration is being questioned. Click here for a follow-up which clarifies what the County appears to be doing with these verification requests.

Click here for the County’s Elections web pages.

Free Streamside Living Workshop: Wednesday, October 22

If you have a stream on your property, are interested in reducing erosion, or looking for more ways you can protect water quality and enhance salmon and wildlife habitat, you will be interested in this free workshop. The workshop is entitled “Streamside Living: A Landowners Guide.”

Wednesday, October 22
Griffin Fire Hall
3707 Steamboat Loop Rd

Although the workshop is free, advance registration is requested. Register at: 360.427.9670 x 680 or by email at

The workshop is sponsored by Mason County Extension, Mason Conservation District, South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group, and Thurston Conservation District and is made possible by a grant from the Department of Ecology.

Do You Recognize This Truck, Illegally Dumping Off Gravelly Beach Road?

Do you recognize the truck in this photograph? This truck was seen traveling into the Steamboat Springs development, off of Gravelly Beach Road, late the afternoon of Saturday, September 27. This photo was taken at 4:16 PM.

The driver of this truck is engaged in the illegal dumping of garbage.

This appears to be a white, 4-door Ford truck and may be a diesel. There is a wide silver plate along the bottom of the truck that doesn’t show up very well in the photo. Take a good look at the wheels, too, as they’re fairly distinctive.

Among the garbage dumped by this person was a note. On the note were the names “Mike” and “Jon”.

If you have any idea as to who this is, please contact John and Gail Kaufman at or (360) 866-2484.

UPDATED (Oct 13): Below is a photo of some of the material dumped by the driver of this truck. It’s been speculated this was the result of cleaning up a rental property or an apartment.