Griffin Resident Joanne Schuett-Hames to Speak at Science Café April 13

The Science Café presentation in April is Amphibians: Local to Global Conservation.

Amphibians have risen to the top of the global conservation crisis due to basic aspects of their natural history and physiology, and an introduction to the global issues and features that make them vulnerable will be provided. We’ll also hear how the natural history of amphibians can be used to inform landscape analysis using GIS to better understand landscape level habitat conditions for amphibians. The analysis can identify potential migration and dispersal zones between wetlands and the results can be used to indicate where functional connectivity remains or has been lost to assist with identifying locations needing special conservation and restoration attention during land use planning. We’ll wrap-up by hearing about the very intriguing behaviors of our local amphibians and how these behaviors can inform actions all of us may take in support of their survival in our increasingly populated landscape.

To present and discuss this topic, we will have a panel of three speakers. Dr. Marc Hayes is a Senior Research Scientist for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Molly Levitt is a planner with Thurston County and will be speaking about her recent Master of Science thesis results. Joanne Schuett-Hames is a Conservation Biologist with WDFW who will be speaking on amphibian behavior, an area of research that is independent of her work at WDFW.

When: 7:00 pm, Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Where: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House, 516 Capitol Way S. Olympia, WA, phone (360) 786-6717.

Batdorf & Bronson has three locations in Olympia. Science Café meets in the downtown coffee house on Capitol Way. On-street parking is available on Legion, Capitol Way, Columbia Street, and Water Street. After 6 p.m., there is parking available at Heritage Bank on Columbia Street between 5th and Legion.

Coming in May:

Mike Brennan. Radiation Health Physicist, Washington Department of Health

The Science Café welcomes comments and suggestions on topics, speakers, and how they can improve their meetings. Also, please feel free to pass this notice on to like-minded friends.

Science Café of Olympia provides an informal atmosphere where people both with and without scientific background can meet to gain a better understanding of interesting topics in science and technology. After a brief presentation by an expert in the field, the meeting will be opened to discussions. Science Cafés are found nationwide and are loosely affiliated with the U.K.-based Cafe Scientifique, an international organization promoting public engagement with science. The website is produced by the Science Unit of WGBH in Boston in association with Sigma Xi. Support for Science Café of Olympia is provided in part by the Puget Sound Chapter of The American Chemical Society.

The Science Café thanks Batdorf & Bronson and its staff for inviting the Science Café into their delightful gathering spot.

County Commissioners to Hold Public Hearing on Cluster Developments – March 30

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners has scheduled two public hearings at the end of March. The Board may take action at the conclusion of the hearings. The first of these hearings is regarding a moratorium temporarily prohibiting any new uses for the portions of Thurston County in Maytown. The second topic is one of significant interest to residents in the Griffin area: Cluster Development Regulations. We are uncertain as to whether the Maytown Moratorium will be covered in the hearing first, or the topic of Cluster Development regulations.

Date: Tuesday March 30, 2010
Time: Beginning at 5:30 P.M.
Location: Room 280, Building 1 of the Thurston County Courthouse Complex
Address: 2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW, Olympia, WA 98502.

Cluster Development Regulations: The public hearing is to accept public comment on the adoption of regulations to limit cluster developments. Through these proposed amendments, Thurston County will consider making the interim regulations permanent until the County has time to make additional changes to the cluster development provisions. Contact Olivia Terwilleger, (360) 754-3355 ext 7544, More information:

The web site of the Griffin Neighborhood Association has some material related to Cluster Developments, also called Planned Rural Residential Development or PRRD. Some details on our web site may be out-of-date, but it may give you some background on the topic. Click here to read that information page. The Thurston County Planning Department also offers current information regarding PRRD. Click here for the Planning Department’s information page.

Referenced ordinances, draft regulations, and maps are available at the Thurston County Resource Stewardship, Permit Assistance Center at the address below or online. Those wishing to testify should appear and be heard. If unable to attend, written comments maybe sent to the staff contact listed above by March 30, 2010, 4:00 P.M., by email or mailed to Planning Department, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, WA 98502. If you need special accommodations to participate, call (360) 786-5489 by 10:00 a.m. at least three days prior to the meeting and ask for the ADA Coordinator. Citizens with hearing impairments may call the TDD line at (360) 786-2933.


Also, we ask that you subscribe to our new Web Mail service in order to continue to receive e-mail updates after April 15. The Web Mail service offers several advantages to the traditional way of sending out e-mails. The new service provides a secure way for residents to subscribe, unsubscribe and forward e-mails, and it makes the e-mail process more efficient and dependable for Thurston County planners. After April 15, e-mail updates will be sent exclusively to Web Mail subscribers.

Click here to sign up for our new Web Mail service.

Thanks, in advance, for helping us transition to the new system. We look forward to staying in touch.

Thurston County Planning Staff

UPDATE: From Futurewise, we received this email:

It’s time to permanently protect rural areas from sprawl.

In 5 days the Thurston County Commissioners will be asked to decide whether to make temporary protections to discourage rural sprawl more permanent. The Planning Commission and County staff recommends we keep protecting our rural lands – and we agree.

Please take a moment right now and let the County Commissioners know that you too support making the cluster development regulations permanent in order to protect Thurston’s water quality & quantity, reduce traffic congestion, and keep working lands productive. Click here to email your Commissioners today!


Thurston County’s clustering regulations, and their rural density bonuses, have long created problems for Thurston County residents and property owners because they allow the overdevelopment of rural areas. In response to these concerns, the county eliminated the density bonuses in rural areas in 2004 as part of an interim regulation. Now the Planning Commission and Planning Department both recommend the County permanently eliminate the density bonuses in rural areas – and we agree.

The recommendation also includes other improvements to the county’s cluster development regulations which will help protect Thurston County’s rural character, Thurston County’s working farms many of which are located in rural Thurston County, help protect the water quality of Puget Sound and the county’s rivers and streams, and help conserve ground water resources as higher density rural development is typically served by wells.

On Tuesday, March 30 at 5:30pm, the County Commissioners are holding a public hearing to determine whether to adopt these recommendations. Please click here to let them know that you too support these efforts because they will help to permanently protect the rural character of Thurston County.

Thanks for all that you do,

To read the Planning Commission & Department’s recommendations, please click here.

Community Comes Together for Successful St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser

More than 120 people attended the community party hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association this last Friday at the Prosperity Grange. The community party was an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration and a fundraiser for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. The Partnership was established between the Griffin Neighborhood Association and the Capitol Land Trust.

The goal of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership is to conserve land critical to the wildlife and natural beauty of this area. The event featured delicious local clams grown on Eld Inlet by Chelsea Farms, locally brewed keg beer from Fish Tale Ales and festive live music performed by local folk band Gaelica.

Alongside Steamboat peninsula residents were such Olympia notables as former Secretary of State Ralph Munro and Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela. Eric Erler, executive director of the Capitol Land Trust, spoke at the event as well, urging everyone to be visionaries who see the need to protect wild lands around us while we still can.

Watch the GNA web site for more information regarding the donation amount raised to benefit the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. As many of you may already know, our goal is to raise $15,000 a year for each of the first 5 years of the Partnership. Donations received at this event already appear to have put us over-the-top, for our first year’s goal. More details will be available soon.

Many thanks to all the volunteers from throughout the local community without whose help this event could not have happened. Thank you, Mary Skelton, Paul Meury, and GNA Board members Norm Johnson, Beau Altman, Peter Reid, and Steve Lundin. There were a lot of other folks, too, whose names are missing here, but who worked to ensure the event came off so very smoothly. Particular thanks to Denise Lynch and to GNA Board member Jim Lynch for planning the entire affair.

GNA Hosts Annual Membership Meeting, Votes on Board

This last Friday evening, community members converged first on the Griffin Fire Station and then on the Prosperity Grange to attend a pair of events hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

The first event of the evening was the organization’s Annual Membership Meeting. GNA President Dave Schuett-Hames described some of the Association’s activities during the prior year. Topping the list was the creation of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. This relationship, unique in the South Sound, was created between the GNA and Capitol Land Trust. This year marks the first in a five-year effort to fund activities by the Capitol Land Trust to identify and conserve marine shorelines, freshwater wetlands and forests in the Steamboat Peninsula region. The Partnership came from an idea of GNA Board member Chris Wickham. He was joined by Board members Peter Reid, Elizabeth Rodrick and others, who worked with Capitol Land Trust to hammer out the details for the Partnership.

Board members Beau Altman and Norm Johnson continued the GNA’s emergency preparedness planning efforts. Norm has piloted a very successful neighborhood plan, along Sunrise Beach Road. His efforts have produced a model we hope other neighborhoods will follow, to more effectively plan to respond to natural or man-made disasters.

Community members came together to sponsor a successful food drive, this last year. And, the GNA made donations to local support through St. Christopher’s Community Church.

The web site of the GNA, it’s companion blog, online discussion group, and presence on Twitter were also described. Members were reminded that purchases through can produce a small commission, back to the Association, if visitors start their shopping at

Election of Board members was also a principal purpose of the Annual Meeting. Each year, roughly half of the Board membership is up for election. This year, the GNA recognized its outgoing Board members: Fred Finn, Eric Moll and Chris Wickham. And, the community was saddened by the loss this last year of Gayle Broadbent.

Nominations were opened for new Board members and four names were added to those of returning Board members. The slate of candidates was offered to the membership and was elected, unanimously. The new members of the Board of the GNA are Randi Johnson, Linda Lentz, Dave Peeler, and Missy Watts. Click here for a complete list of the current members of our Board.

The Bylaws of the Association provide for a Board comprised of as many as 17 members. There are still two open positions remaining. Community members interested in serving on the Board are encouraged to read our Board Member FAQ and Bylaws and to contact any Board member for more information.

Following the Annual Membership meeting, everyone moved next door to join the Community Party and fundraising event for the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, which featured musical guest Gaelica.

Many thanks to the GNA members who turned out for our Annual Membership meeting and to vote on our Board. Thank you, also, to the community members who have agreed to become our newest Board members: Randi Johnson, Linda Lentz, Dave Peeler, and Missy Watts.

World Affairs Council to Discuss Turkish Politics March 18

Olympia World Affairs Council Lecture ( Free and open to the public.)

THURSDAY, MARCH 18, Olympia Center, 7:30 PM, Room 101

SPEAKER: Turan Kayaoglu, Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Washington
TOPIC: Issues in Contemporary Turkish Politics
There are two interrelated questions dominating popular debates about Turkey in the United States: Is Turkey moving away from the West? Is Turkey moving away from secularism?
Professor Kayaoglu will explore these questions and also question regarding politics, religion and Turkish history which these questions are predicated upon. He will evaluate Ataturk’s legacy and Turkish democratization, discussing the controversies over the involvement of the military in politics and the possibility of a Turkish Islamic republic. He will also discuss how these topics affect Turkey’s relations with the United States, NATO partners, the European Union, Greece, Cyprus and the Middle East.
Professor Kayaoglu received his undergraduate degree from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, his MA in International Studies from the University of Denver and his PhD from the University of Washington. He has published numerous articles, and his book Legal Imperialism: Sovereignty and Extraterritoriality in Japan, the Ottoman Empire and China will be published by Cambridge University Press. He is working on a second book examining the structure and operation of Islamic groups and activists in the United Nations.

Karen Valenzuela Campaign Kickoff, Thursday, March 18

As you may recall, Karen Valenzuela was appointed to serve on the Board of County Commissioners when Bob Macleod retired from the position. She later ran for and retained her seat, through the end of Bob’s term. Now she must run yet again, for a new term. Her campaign kicks off with an event next Thursday, March 18.

Thursday, March 18th, 5:00-7:00pm
River’s Edge, 4611 Tumwater Valley Dr., Tumwater
“Light food, good friends, and one great Commissioner. No host bar.”

Donations are appreciated! If you cannot attend this kickoff event but wish to help, you can contribute on-line at

As Commissioner, Valenzuela has remained interested and supportive of the efforts of community members here in the Griffin area. This last Friday night, for example, she attended our fundraising party to benefit the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. Thurston Conservation Voters endorsed Karen Valenzuela when she ran successfully for Tumwater City Council in 2005 and Valenzuela earned their endorsement for County Commissioner in 2009. Click here for more endorsements she earned, in her prior campaign.

Local supporters ask you to please join them and help re-elect Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela: “See you on March 18th!”

According to the web site of the Thurston County Republican PartyPat Beehler, who was defeated by Valenzuela, last November, is going to make another go at the office.

Join the Griffin School District Board to Discuss “Planning the 2010-11 Budget”

Come join Griffin School staff, students, parents and community members in charting budget direction for the 2010-11 school year while planning for future years as well. Mr. Steve Bayer will facilitate a two-hour “Community Café” meeting.

Saturday, March 20, 2010
Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. with RSVP
Griffin School Library, 6530 33rd avenue NW, Olympia WA 98502

The idea behind a “café”style meeting will be to gather important input and encourage dialogue that will assist the Griffin School Board and staff in planning for future budget and programs needs to serve Griffin students. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. for those who RSVP by Wednesday, March 17.

Please accept this invitation — your input and participation will help create a better future for our children and community. RSVP by calling 360-866-4918 or send an email to

The Griffin School District is online at

Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Quarterly News

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office recently released a quarterly newsletter, dated March 2010. It’s not yet on their web site, but we have a copy for you here.

Here are some highlights:

Sheriff Kimbal writes, “Recently, on a national television news broadcast, it was mentioned that approximately 63% of law enforcement agencies across the country are shrinking in size due to the budgetary reductions. . . It is because of this unfortunate fact that I wanted to take a moment and ask each of us to stay focused on what we can control, and that is in the area of prevention.”

Recognition of Deputy Dave Claridge, a “Champion for Kids”

A report on the Thurston County Sheriff ’s Office Gang Enforcement Project.

A description of the Sheriff’s graffiti abatement program, “ERASE IT! Record. Report. Remove.”

Graffiti can hurt your neighborhood in many ways. According to the National Association of Realtors, graffiti can cause a loss of 15% in a homes value. When graffiti is present and not removed, it invites more serious crimes to the area because it appears to be tolerated.

First Quarter Awards Ceremony 2010.

The story of Zachary Guill, the son of Thurston County Corrections Deputy Skip Guill. Zachary was wounded in Iraq and has now become a participant in the Federal government’s “Wounded Warrior Program”

This is a program put together by the House of Representatives that allows wounded soldiers with 30% or more disability to work for congress helping veterans and handling military issues. This program allows veterans of the 8th Congressional District to relate with the person helping them and feel more at ease.

Click here to download your copy of the Quarterly News.

The newsletter is distributed by Community Outreach Deputy J. Snaza. Deputy Snaza can be reached at 360-786-5855 and

See the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department web site at

This Month’s Science Café to Explore Rainforest Canopies and Communication to Public Audiences

This month’s Science Café topic is “From ivory towers to prison watch towers: Research on rainforest canopies and its communication to non-traditional public audiences.”

When: 7:00 pm, Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Where: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House, 516 Capitol Way S. Olympia, WA
Batdorf & Bronson has three locations in Olympia. Science Café meets in the downtown coffee house on Capitol Way.

On-street parking is available on Legion, Capitol Way, Columbia Street, and Water Street.

After 6 p.m., there is parking available at Heritage Bank on Columbia Street between 5th and Legion.

Our speaker is Dr. Nalini M. Nadkarni. She is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College and President of International Canopy Network.

Rainforest canopies foster tremendous diversity and complexity, but remain one of the most poorly understood communities on Earth. Using mountain-climbing techniques, construction cranes, and hot-air balloons, canopy researchers have documented the rich flora and fauna that live their entire lives in the canopy. My research in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula has shown that canopy communities contribute substantially to maintenance of biodiversity, nutrient cycling, and enhancement of wildlife habitat for the whole ecosystem. However, human disturbances such as forest fragmentation, air pollution, and global climate change, can have strong negative effects on canopy biota. To raise awareness of the fragility of forest canopy biota and encourage their protection, I have developed pathways to communicate results of my canopy studies to the public by creating partnerships with artists, faith-based communities, and incarcerated men and women. I describe this work as a potential model for other scientists to bring their research to the public and thereby become open to new perspectives on their studies.

Coming in April:
Amphibians in Western Washington
Presented by local Griffin-area resident Joanne Schuett-Hames, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife