GNA Offers Updates, Information on Local Developments, and Columnist John Dodge at Annual Community Meeting


John Dodge

Thursday’s Community Meeting was the once yearly opportunity for the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association to report to the community on recent activities, to vote in new members of the Board, and to provide a program of interest to residents on the Steamboat Peninsula. This year’s featured speaker was Olympian columnist John Dodge.

Bud Blake, Thurston County’s newest member of the Board of County Commissioners, attended the meeting and was able to speak with residents before and after the program. Mary, his wife, also attended and spoke with those eager to meet her and Commissioner Blake.

Also before the meeting, representatives of Feline Friends and Open Hands Food Bank Garden at St. Christopher’s Community Church met with interested residents.

2015 is the 25th Anniversary of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Originally founded in 1990 as the Oyster Bay Neighborhood Association, the GNA has operated more or less continuously since that year. A video presentation was displayed during the half-hour before the meeting. It contains images from our first 25 years. Photos from the Oyster Bay Farm and the Steamboat Square development project were part of the presentation, too. Those of you interested in watching this silent presentation can click here to stream the video.

GNA President Diane Jacob reported briefly on this last summer’s picnic and local business and farm fair. The picnic was held this last July. The staff from Xihn’s Clam and Oyster House prepared wonderful seafood provided by Taylor Shellfish Farms. Local resident Ellen Rice brought a mountain dulcimer to play and another for visitors to try out. The Griffin Fire Station had an open house and there were cats and dogs and alpacas to pet. The Picnic hosted nearly thirty local organizations, businesses and churches. The lawn between the Prosperity Grange and Steamboat Golf was filled with local entrepreneurs. The Steamboat Golf Driving Range hosted a number of contests, the Steamboat Trading Post supplied drinks and hot dogs, and the Thurston County Explorer Search and Rescue Organization provided traffic control and helpful information.

GNA Board member Peter Reid spoke about the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. This partnership between the Capitol Land Trust and Griffin Neighborhood Association reached the end of its first five years, last summer. We exceeded our fundraising goal and have identified a number of parcels of interest. The Land Trust and Board of the GNA agreed to continue the Partnership for another five years. The Capitol Land Trust will hold its annual Conservation Breakfast the morning of Tuesday, February 10. Local residents are invited to contact Steve Lundin (360-866-1214) or Peter Reid (360-867-0919) to reserve a seat at one of our several tables at the Breakfast.

Mike Murphy, the owner of Steamboat Animal Hospital, also owns the Steamboat Square commercial center, located on Sexton just off US-101. Mike is renovating the existing center and adding three new buildings and other improvements. He described the project, answered questions, and encouraged local residents to help to find tenants who will provide services of value to those of us living here. Click here to see the project’s web page, which includes general pricing and contact information for business owners interested in occupying portions of the new buildings. Let’s see what we can do to help fill this expanded commercial center with the kinds of businesses we need close to our homes!

Fire Chief John Wood spoke about disaster planning and the need for homeowners to plan for their well-being should a disaster occur. An “emergency” presents a situation which isn’t lengthy and which usually can be addressed within the household or by requesting assistance from outside the area. But a “disaster” is a catastrophic event that is significant enough to prohibit or delay immediate response by first responders from outside the area. A disaster is beyond the abilities of the household and it requires assistance from neighbors. Planning for a disaster often requires some level of planning together with neighbors. Free literature to help families plan for disasters was available at the meeting and can be picked up from the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters during regular business hours. Several of these are also available for download from the GriffinNeighbors’ disaster preparedness web page.

Drake Nicholson described the tennis facility being built on Steamboat Island Road, near the intersection with Sexton. He also answered questions from residents and introduced the facility’s tennis pro. The building currently going up will house tennis courts. A second building, not yet begun, will house office space and provide other facilities related to tennis.

The annual election of nearly half the positions on the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association was also held. Several current members of the Board allowed their names to be entered into nomination. Diane Jacob, Peter Reid, Dave Schuett-Hames, Amanda Waggoner, Bob Whitener, and John Wood were nominated for new terms on the Board.

Nominations were opened for another six positions on the Board. Local residents Janice Boase, Jim Goldsmith, Jan Hopwood, Kris Ness, and Leihla Scharlau were nominated. Kathleen O’Shaunessy, who served on the Board and as its President several years ago, also offered her name in nomination.

Association members present at the meeting voted to approve the entire slate of nominees. Those elected to Board positions join continuing members Gary Goodwin, Norm Johnson, Mark Messinger, and Missy Watts.

A meeting in February will be held to organize the Board’s meeting schedule for the rest of this year. All Board meetings are open to the public and the dates, times and locations of those meetings appear on the Association’s web site and Facebook Page. Notice of Board meetings are also posted on Steamboat Peninsula Nextdoor.

John Dodge, a columnist, editorial writer and editorial board member at The Olympian, was the featured speaker. Ten years ago, Dodge asked readers to nominate Special Places in South Sound worthy of preservation for their value as open space and fish and wildlife habitat. Thirty places were selected for long-term protection. “What ever happened to those places?” Dodge asked. A significant number of the places recognized a decade ago are in or near the Griffin area. Through the efforts or individuals or organizations such as the Capitol Land Trust and the Steamboat Conservation Partnership, some of those areas have been preserved or, at least, have not been developed. Dodge also reassured readers of The Olympian that the newspaper will continue to operate as a local newspaper, instead of being rolled into Tacoma’s News Tribune.

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Posted in Griffin Neighborhood Association.