Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fallen Police Officers' Names Added To Memorial Wall in Olympia

Above: Joe Garrison of Quiring Monuments uses a stencil to reveal the name of Officer Tina Griswold at the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on Wednesday. Garrison, who has worked for Quiring Monuments for a year and a half, says, "Engravings are hard, emotionally...I have a 15 month old baby girl and a four year old boy...but I know I'm doing it for a good cause."

By Janine Gates

Deputy Stephen (Mike) Gallagher, Jr.
Lewis County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: 08-18-2009

Officer Timothy Q. Brenton
Seattle Police Department
End of Watch: 10-31-2009

Sergeant Mark J. Renninger
Lakewood Police Department
End of Watch: 11-29-2009

Officer Tina G. Griswold
Lakewood Police Department
End of Watch: 11-29-2009

Officer Ronald W. Owens II
Lakewood Police Department
End of Watch: 11-29-2009

Officer Gregory J. Richards
Lakewood Police Department
End of Watch: 11-29-2009

Deputy W. Kent Mundell, Jr.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: 12-28-2009

Deputy John Bernard
Grant County Sheriff’s Office
End of Watch: 01-03-2010

Control Officer Joseph B. Modlin
Washington State Patrol
End of Watch: 08-15-1974

On Wednesday morning, the names of nine officers who died in the line of duty were engraved into the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial’s granite wall in Olympia.

Working quickly and quietly, the whole process took two workers with Quiring Monuments of Seattle about an hour and a half to complete. In about an hour and a half, the names of nine men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice were immortalized, to be remembered forever. They finished the job just before it began to rain.

The fallen officers and their survivors will be honored at a ceremony that will likely attract over a thousand officers from across the state at the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial, May 7, 1:00 p.m. in Olympia.

Above: Tim Tiffany of Quiring Monuments sandblasts the names of fallen officers on the wall of the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on Wednesday. Tiffany, who has worked for Quiring Monuments for ten years, has participated with the assignment since the Memorial was created in 2006.

The Officers

Gallagher of the Lewis County Sheriff's Office was gravely injured on Monday evening August 17, 2009, while responding to assist another deputy with a domestic violence 911 call. He died of his injuries a day later.

Brenton of the Seattle Police Department was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol car with a trainee. They were discussing a just completed traffic stop when a vehicle pulled alongside the patrol car and an occupant opened fire. Officer Brenton was killed instantly.

Griswold, Owens, Renninger, and Richards of the Lakewood Police Department were ambushed and killed as they sat in a coffee shop, preparing to start their shifts.

Mundell of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department was killed as he and a fellow officer responded to a call of a domestic disturbance.

Modlin of the Washington State Patrol was killed in 1974 when he was struck by a logging truck trailer at a weight station on Highway 14 near Stevenson.

Bernard of the Grant County Sheriff's Office died in the line of duty in a one car crash on January 3, 2010. Because Deputy Bernard’s death was five days after Deputy Mundell’s, it was determined to honor his sacrifice at the 2010 Memorial ceremony instead of waiting until 2011.

"The horror of eight officers dying in the line of duty from August 2009 to January 2010 is a horror that happened to us all,” says Gayle Frink-Schulz, Program Director for the Behind the Badge Foundation.

No matter how long ago the incident, Washington law enforcement families still reel in the aftermath of grief, says Frink-Schulz. She knows. Her husband, King County Trooper Steven L. Frink died in the line of duty in 1993.

“The 2010 Medal of Honor - Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony is our time to stop, reflect, and encourage one another. Together, in community, we take steps to heal," said Frink-Schulz.

According to Frink-Schulz, there are numerous incidences of multiple officers dying in the line of duty as a result of the same incident in the state of Washington: four officers, the same as that lost by the Lakewood Police Department, died in 1941. In that incident, two were from the Tacoma Police Department and two were from Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Three officers from the Kennewick Police Department were killed in 1906, three Seattle Police Department officers were killed in 1921 and three officers from the Pullman Police Department were killed in 1949.

The Memorial

Located in Olympia on the Capitol campus in the shadow of the Temple of Justice and looking north to Heritage Park and Puget Sound, the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial was designed to be a lasting tribute to law enforcement officers who give their lives in the line of duty. The site was specifically chosen for its nearly unencumbered view of Budd Inlet.

Above: The view from the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on the Capitol Campus.

The Memorial began when a number of surviving families of line of duty death and law enforcement officers traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1995 to visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The officers discovered over 35 states had law enforcement memorials honoring officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Because Washington State did not have a state memorial, the need to honor Washington heroes was recognized.

The Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation became a nonprofit organization in 1995. On May 1, 2006, the Memorial was officially dedicated to the citizens of Washington.

Behind the Badge

On January 1, 2009, the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial (WSLEMF) and 10-99 Foundations became one organization – Behind the Badge Foundation (BtBF). Both organizations achieved significant goals which are still carried through by the Behind the Badge Foundation:

Twenty eight dollars from each Law Enforcement Memorial license plate sold by the Washington State Department of Licensing is forwarded to an endowment held by Behind the Badge Foundation. These funds ensure maintenance of the Memorial in perpetuity and provide financial assistance to the families of Washington police officers killed in the line of duty.

To keep the family of fallen officers from bearing the considerable cost of the memorial ceremony honoring their loved one, the Behind the Badge Foundation defrays the expenses of line of duty death memorial ceremonies. Police funerals cannot be paid for using public funds.

For more information, contact the Behind the Badge Foundation at or (425) 747-7523.

For more articles by Janine Gates about the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial, see other articles at and

Above: Tim Tiffany of Quiring Monuments completes his job by wiping down the new names he just added to the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial. Asked what doing this job every year means to him, Tiffany said, "It's an honor."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Artswalk and the Procession of the Species: Here Comes the Sun!

Above: A young artist plays for the crowd at Artswalk before the Procession of the Species on Saturday.

by Janine Gates

I'll let the Artswalk and Procession of the Species event speak for itself. With 350 pictures to choose from, it was hard to pick just one or two....The rain held off and the sun made a spectacular appearance.

Above: Eli Sterling chats with Olympian photographer Tony Overman. Thank you Eli and Earthbound Productions for coordinating another great Procession!

Overheard conversations:

Before the Procession, walking downtown from the Westside across the Fourth Ave Bridge:

Girl: "So what will they call Lakefair if they turn Capitol Lake into an estuary?"
Response: "It doesn't matter if they call it Toiletfair, they'll still come for the rides!"

During the Procession:

Man: "What is that?
Woman: It doesn't matter!"

After the Procession:

"Some of the best parties were at Evergreen...."

Created by the community for the community, the Procession of the Species is a joyous, artistic pageant, embracing the languages of art, music and dance to inspire learning, appreciation and protection of the natural world. At its very heart, the intent of the Procession is to elevate the dignity of the human spirit by enhancing the cultural exchange that we and our communities have with each other and with the natural world...and to do that through imagination, creation, and sharing. - Earthbound Productions.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

County Scientist Reveals Rain Trends: "Not to Scare You, But...."

by Janine Gates

About 100 community members packed a room at The Olympia Center Monday night to hear about the very latest local hydrological cycles of Thurston County and its climate impacts on the region. The event was sponsored by Olympia Climate Action and the League of Women Voters, with city and county representatives giving presentations.

The discussion had direct relevance to the city of Olympia's update of its Shoreline Management plan, due to the state in September. City staff held a series of public meetings on the shoreline update in February and March.

The city's Planning Commission formed a subcommittee and has been meeting regularly to discuss issues pertinent to the update.

Cari Hornbein, senior city planner, gave the audience an update of the city's shoreline master plan's progress. The city will make a presentation to the city's Planning Commission on Monday, April 19, on "early plan language for their review and contemplation," said Hornbein.

Future planning commission meetings on May 3 and May 17th will also review and discuss sections of the draft Shoreline Master Program. Hornbein said a draft will be available for the public to review in about a month to five weeks. Several Planning Commission members were in the audience as well as Olympia City Councilmember Stephen Buxbaum.

Amy Tousley, Planning Commission vice-chair, gave a presentation on the commission's shoreline master plan sub-committee work thus far and encouraged community dialog. Several in the audience questioned the tight timeframe in which the document needs to be completed.

"It has put us in a crunch," Tousley admitted. "If we don't submit the document to Ecology, what are the ramifications? I don't think we can afford to fail....I am feeling quite pressed."

Thurston County's Hydrogeological Cycles

Nadine Romero, hydrogeologist for Thurston County, gave a well-received Powerpoint presentation featuring the very latest data on rainfall patterns and trends facing Thurston County. Prior to the county, she spent four years with the Squaxin Island Tribe to quantify the region's small rivers, something which hasn't been done in Thurston County since 1948 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

"At the county, for the last three years, I've worked on 70 projects per year, ranging from two to 280 hours of hydrologic analyses. We are putting together quite a big puzzle," said Romero.

"We have 14 precipitation stations, eight stream gaging stations, 80 groundwater monitoring wells which monitor at 15 minute and one hour intervals, the daily average flows and water table maps, figuring out their pulse."

The statistics don't lie. Romero explained, in simple lay-language to the captive audience, the graphs and charts that showed how sensitive our rivers are to precipitation, and given change, how the rivers behave.

Using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data from 1948 - 2010 gathered at the Olympia Airport weather station, trends show that springs are getting wetter, summers are getting warmer, winters and autumns are getting drier.

Out of 18,900 daily precipitation events during this timeframe, Romero mapped out the Top 20 daily extreme rain events and discovered more extremes (greater than 3.5 inches per day) in the last decade than in the previous five decades, and notes a three year cycle in the last decade.

The region experiences an average yearly rainfall of 4.33 feet. That's 86.7 billion cubic feet in total yearly rainfall volume. We measure 35 billion cubic feet every year. She shared information on Salmon Creek Basin, Scatter Creek Basin and Scott Lake flooding, and seven years of data on McLane Creek at the Delphi Bridge.

Above: Storm damage at McLane Creek Nature Trail in 2006.

Plotting huge daily and monthly storm data, Romero determines trends such as the six heavy precipitation patterns which leads to various types of flooding. In October, for example, when it rains more than three inches per day; consecutive daily totals of one inch or more for five days; consecutive monthly totals of more than 15 inches per month. In November 2006, we experienced a 19.68 inch rainfall.

Climate Change and Our Shorelines

What all this data means with regard to climate change, according to the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, is that the average temperature will increase 2.2 degrees by 2020, all seasons will be warmer, sea level rise is expected to reach 22 inches by 2050 and 50 inches by 2100.

Locally, Romero says another significant event could happen sometime between November of 20111 and February of 2012. "These are interesting trends. At the county level, we plan for six inch storms. Not to scare you, but at 2020, 2030, what happens? Are we in for more saturation? " said Romero.

Romero was asked about capturing water in cisterns or rain barrels, clarifying that this excessive rainfall is not necessarily going into our groundwater supply at a time during the year when we need it most. She cited an example in the Tanglewilde subdivision where she went out last December and did soil core samples. The ground, just a few inches below the surface, like many lawns in older subdivisions, was bone-dry.

"It is running off as surface water....We need to save it, manage it, plan for the future, and be innovative," Romero urged.

Romero said she is scheduled to give the Thurston county commissioners a field trip to local rivers with an explanation of her most recent findings on May 3. "I will create a field trip guide and we'll put that online so you can see what we've shown them," Romero promised. Romero says this information is all brand new and will be placed online on the county website by August.

Impressed by the wealth of information just presented, audience member Sherri Goulet asked Tousley if this information should be formally incorporated into Olympia's update of the comprehensive plan and shoreline master plan. Tousley agreed that it should be, saying, "showing our homework justifies the shoreline designations - to defend our work."

Goulet pressed Tousley if there is a plan to formally incorporate the information. "I don't have a plan myself, but I've taken copious notes tonight," she responded.

For more information on the city's Shoreline Management plan process and Comprehensive Plan process, go to

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Evergreen Students Celebrate Spring Through Environmental Programs

Above: Master in Environmental Studies (MES) student Travis Skinner shows MES professor Gerardo Chin-Leo how to make bike panniers at The Evergreen State College's Rachel Carson forum yesterday.

by Janine Gates

Spring was anything but silent at the Rachel Carson forum at The Evergreen State College yesterday as the college celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) Program. Botanist and conservationist Estella Leopold was the keynote speaker.

Several breakout sessions throughout the morning included an opportunity for participants to learn how to make homemade bicycle panniers. Participants could also take a tour of the garden surrounding the college's Native American Longhouse.

Travis Skinner, 24, is an MES student and coordinator of Evergreen's Bike Shop. He demonstrated how to construct bike panniers out of cat litter buckets. Skinner says he puts out a request on Craig's List for the containers, buys nuts and bolts from downtown's Olympia Supply, and makes washers by smashing beer bottle caps and drilling them to the correct size. The buckets can be made for just about $5.00 a pair.

Skinner, who is focussing his environmental studies on the connection of land use planning and transportation, lives near Priest Point Park, and bikes to and from Evergreen everyday.

"For riding in the rain, you need something rainproof. It may not look as chic as fancy panniers, but there's something about doing it yourself. I rode to Vancouver for Spring Break and didn't have one problem with them. They work well," says Skinner.

Skinner is excited to launch a new bike share program in about two weeks. To learn more about the student project, go to

Another part of the forum included an ethnobotanical garden tour around the college's Longhouse by students of the "Tend and Tell" program. Student garden stewards Luna Krahe, Angel Chandler, Marja Eloheimo, Emily Driskill, and Krista Koller took turns explaining each section. The garden contains different themes and includes a seasonal creek, swordferns that are estimated to be 75-100 years old, and plants that are used for medicinal purposes.

Above: Student Luna Krahe, center, in orange coat, led a group tour of the garden area around the Longhouse at The Evergreen State College yesterday.

"'Ethno' means "people" and "botany" means plants. Through the garden, we are teaching people about that relationship," explained Krahne. The class is writing a book and working on an educational garden curriculum that can be used in K-12 classrooms.

The Rachel Carson forum was started in 1990 by Eli Sterling, a MES student and graduate student association coordinator. Sterling now coordinates Olympia's annual Procession of the Species event, which will be held later this month.

For more information about the Master of Environmental Studies Program, contact The Evergreen State College at (360) 867-6225 or go to

Above: Swordferns welcome spring.