“Flu Happens” Timely Topic at Next Science Cafe – October 13

What is an influenza virus and how does it spread? How can it be contained or treated? Are vaccines effective in prevention? What is a pandemic and what can people expect at the height of an outbreak? What do we know about the H1N1 virus?

Dr. Diana Yu will speak about this and more, including examples of past and present pandemics, why pandemics target different groups, and why being older may be better in the 2009 influenza pandemic. Dr. Yu, M.D. is the Health Officer for Thurston and Mason County.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009, at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers (in the cookbook alcove)
1530 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Olympia, WA

The Science Café of Olympia, based on the Cafés Scientifique which began in the UK, provides an informal atmosphere where people both with and without a scientific background can meet and gain a better understanding of interesting topics on science and technology After a brief presentation by an expert in the field, the meeting will be opened to discussions among everyone in attendance.

Presentations will focus on issues that impact our lives locally, nationally and internationally.

The next Science Café is Tuesday, November 10, 7:00pm. Join the Science Café for their version of You Are There. Madame Curie and the discovery of radio-active elements.

Click here for more information regarding the local chapter of the Science Café.

Local Resident Creates “Eyes Over Eld” Web Site

Local resident Gail Sheikhizadeh, an extremely active and wonderful person, has created a new online resource for homeowners living on or interested in Eld Inlet. Gail has created Eyes Over Eld, at http://www.eyesovereld.com/. I urge you to become an active follower and to give your input whether you agree or disagree with the topics at hand so that progress can be made for the good of all.

Gail is working hard gathering facts and support for the need of a no shooting/controlled shooting zone and to convince the Commissioners it’s overdue in Eld Inlet and the surrounding area. Work is being done with Karen Valenzuela and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish not only a no shooting zone in Eld Inlet, but a safer shooting zone on the interior lands of the area.

Ours seems to be one of few states that have no regulations on how far away a hunter needs to be from a residence for hunting practices. With rapid population growth in our area, this is a much needed change in how we look at hunting laws as they exist today in this state. What has been learned so far is that it’s up to individual counties to decide on a safe distance for hunting and then have it implemented either for that county alone or to take it to the next level to get it enacted as a state regulation. This is in no way a measure to impede your rights to defend your property, take care of domestic animals or to go “plinking” in your backyards (in moderation, please) but rather, a way to have a say in where hunting can and cannot take place in this ever growing peninsula which extends via water to Cooper Point and other areas.

As an attendee of the recent meeting at the Griffin Fire Station concerning this matter, it has become all too apparent that we need reform or, at the very least, hunter enlightenment. And it has also become all too apparent that there are waterfowl that may need to be placed on the protected species act instead of having their declining numbers completely ignored, allowing hunting of them into extinction.

No one is trying to abolish hunting; this is a simple matter of safety. I hope that all of you will either contact our county commissioners via email in support of this effort, or voice your concerns about this proposed change. All thoughts and opinions need to be fairly considered before a decision can or should be made.

If you agree with this endeavor, please go in and sign the online petition (all links are provided on Eyes Over Eld). Thanks to all of you who have already signed both the paper and online version of the petition. For anyone interested in getting their name on the petition but not on the online form, there will be an email link coming soon and I’m sure that a paper petition can be brought in your direction upon request.

This is going to be an ongoing topic for our commissioners in the months ahead and we need to thank Gail for having the guts to get this topic on the agenda with a public meeting at Griffin Fire Hall. The meeting was attended by Commissioners Karen Valenzuela and Cathy Wolfe (Commissioner Romero was out of town that day), Sheriff’s Dept’s Deputy John Snaza., WDFW agent Duane Mackoviney, Robert Smith from Thurston County Development Services, and Mike Gaffney (the Associate Director of the WSU Deptartment of Governmental Studies & Services).

Thank you, Gail, for building this new website with the advantage of bringing up any and all other topics for this area that do not belong on the agenda of the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

As Gail continues saying, “It doesn’t get any closer to home than this.”


Local residents can also join the social networking site, “Eld Shoreline Community,” created by Gabrielle Byrne, Community Educator for People For Puget Sound. Click here to see our prior post describing Eld Shoreline Community.

Oyster Bay Farm to Test Innovative Method of Cleaning Surface Water

Readers of this blog have, in the past, been informed of a variety of workshops and programs to assist property owners in mitigating possible sources of pollution which could foul surface and ground water. A particularly innovative approach to managing pollution from agriculture is being tested locally at Oyster Bay Farm. According to a recent press release from the Washington State Conservation Commission, a “$46,901 grant will pay for work to improve habitat for salmon and water quality in Pierre and Burns Creeks and in Totten Inlet while also increasing the capacity of the Oyster Bay Farm to pasture livestock and harvest shellfish.”

“This project will install low-cost mycoberms (mushroom bags) and plant native vegetation along 5,000 feet of stream that empties into Oyster Bay. These mycoberms will filter nutrients generated on the farm”, says Kathleen Whalen, Administrator for the Thurston Conservation District. “We hope, over time, to improve water quality to a point where it becomes healthy for salmon, shellfish, and other marine life in the area. At the same time, we can solve a problem for this farmer, increase the utility of the land to support livestock, and maintain a viable farming operation on the site,” says Whalen.

Surface water runoff into the Sound presents a very significant source of pollution. The use of mycoberms could go a long way to mitigating the stress that local agriculture – or even pollution from suburban lawns and driveways – puts on local streams and larger bodies of water.

Click here to learn more about “mycoberms” from a local resource, Fungi Perfecti.

Photos of Orcas in Eld Inlet

From local resident Kim Merriman, we received a set of photos of orcas in Eld Inlet, just this morning. Ms. Merriman writes,

This is the fifth morning the orcas have come into the Budd/Eld inlets. They came right before sunrise this morning, went down Eld to Sanderson Cove, and then headed back out toward Harstene Island. It was a gorgeous, magical sight – even though most of the photographs I took were out of focus because it was too dark. But the sound! It was amazing . . . no one on the water except a few shore birds, a few scared seals, and a handful of our neighbors watching with astonishment.

What magnificent creatures these are.

How blessed we feel to have them visit.

All images © Kim Merriman.

Learn About Shoreline Restoration – October 17

Join People For Puget Sound as we explore ideas and resources for shoreline restoration! What do you get when you combine a shoreline engineer, a restoration biologist and two shoreline landscapers? You get answers! Bring questions about your property, pen and paper and pictures of your shoreline (if you want).

October 17, 2009 from 2pm to 4pm
Griffin Firehouse #2 – 8113 Steamboat Island Road
(note that this is not the main fire station for the Griffin Fire Department)

Registration is free, limited and required. Contact Gabby at gbyrne@pugetsound.org to sign up, or call (360) 754-9177.

Are you a property owner, near the Eld Inlet shoreline? Visit the social networking web site created by People for Puget Sound, just for homeowners like you. Click here to visit the Eld Shoreline Community social networking site.

Free Shoreline Living Workshop: Creating a Sound Landscape

People for Puget Sound, who host the Eld Shoreline Community social network, are offering a free Shoreline Living workshop. The workshop is through a partnership between WSU Mason County Extension, Native Plant Salvage Foundation and People for Puget Sound and will teach shoreline residents how to preserve and replant shorelines to stabilize slopes, protect Puget Sound, and provide wildlife habitat. It will be held on Thursday, December 3rd, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Griffin Fire Hall, 3707 Steamboat Loop Rd NW.

Topics will include how to create a beautiful landscape that protects the shoreline and requires little maintenance once established, what you can do on your own and when to call in the experts, how to have a view and trees, too, and other shoreline stewardship tips.

Shoreline Living Workshop: Creating a Sound Landscape
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 6-9 p.m.
Griffin Fire Station

Bring your questions and take home answers along with reference materials for later use. The workshop is free, however advanced registration is requested to ensure materials and space for everyone. Call 360-427-9670 ext. 680 to register or for more information. You may also register by emailing nmoloney@wsu.edu.

Madrona Grove’s Fruit Truck to Close for Season, but Apple Event is October 25

This Friday, September 18 is the last day for this season’s fruit truck. It’s time to stock up, until next year, folks.

The Madrona Grove’s Fruit Truck is located behind the Subway Sandwich shop at 6541 Sexton Dr NW. They are open on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 12 noon to 7 PM.

Although Madrona Grove is shutting down, for the season, they take it out, in style, with their annual apple event:

An Apple Affair

Sunday, October 25
12 Noon to 4 PM
Prosperity Grange

Taste and buy over 25 varieties of apples from three or more small Washington farms. This year we’ll be offering apple baked goods for sale as well as select winter storage vegetables.

Indulge in tasty apple dishes from the community apple potluck and if you have a favorite apple dish, bring it and the recipe to share. We’ll provide Olympic Mountain Ice Cream, coffee, tea and hot apple cider.

Apple supplies will be limited on the day of the event, but you can order supplies by the box for pickup on that day by calling us at 866-2810 or by stopping by the Fruit Truck before September 18.

Madrona Grove’s Summer Fruit Truck
1001 Cooper Point Rd. SW #140-178
Olympia, WA 98502

Help Keep Our State Parks Open

People interested in the status of State Parks, Schafer and Lake Sylvia in particular, may want to attend a meeting next Tuesday to plan the future of these parks. Set out below is an invitation from the Washington State Parks Department to the public. As many of you know many State Parks were designated for closure earlier this year. In order to keep our parks available to the public it is important that people attend these meetings and speak out on the vital role the parks play in Washington State.

Are you interested in Lake Sylvia and Schafer state parks? If so, Washington State Parks is asking you for your ideas. If you want to participate, you can do so in two ways.

  1. You are invited to a workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. September 15 at the Montesano City Hall, 112 N Main Street, Montesano, WA
  2. Send me comments about the parks. I will record your comments and keep you on our contact list so you will receive updates.

If you would like to know more about the planning process, please click here to visit State Parks’ planning page and choose the Lake Sylvia Schafer web page from the hyperlinks on the right side of the page.

Thank you to the City of Montesano for hosting this meeting.

Brian Hovis, Parks Planner
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
Mail: P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650
E-mail: brian.hovis@parks.wa.gov
Phone: (360) 902-8635
Fax: (360) 586-0207

Olympia World Affairs Council – “The Japanese Election”

The Olympia World Affairs Council is offering another in their series of informative programs on Thursday, September 17. Takao Inukai, Professor, College of Foreign Studies, Reitaku University, Japan will speak on “The Japanese Election”.

For only the second time in postwar history Japan’s voters rejected the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on August 30 in a landslide victory for the opposition Democrats, resulting in considerable speculation about the possible effects on the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. We are fortunate in having as our opening speaker for the 2009 – 2010 year Takao Inukai, who has the background and expertise to address this topic. For the current academic year he is a Visiting Researcher at St. Martin’s University, which is co-sponsoring this event.

Thursday, September 17
7:30 PM
Olympia Center, Room 101
222 Columbia St NW, Olympia

Free and open to the public.

Upcoming Topics:

October 15, 2009 Professor Peter Dorman, Evergreen State College, will discuss the subject of International Child Labor.

November 19, 2009 Julie Boltz , of the American Friendship Foundation, will speak about her experiences in Building Schools in Afghanistan.

December 10, 2009 Retired Justice Robert Utter and Betty Utter will inform us about The Rural Development Institute and The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

January 21, 2010 Professor David Price, St. Martins University, will discuss Anthropology, Intelligence & War.

For more information on the Olympia World Affairs Council, visit their web site at http://www.olympiawac.org/