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Capitol Lake: Beauty and controversy

by Katy Payne | July 30th, 2014 2:38 pm | No Comments


In the midst of summer, people in the Olympia area seem to flock to Capitol Lake. The lake, which sits at the mouth of the Deschutes River at the edge of downtown Olympia, provides a scenic 1.5 mile loop with an amazing view of the state capitol buildings. The trail attracts walkers, runners, bikers, dogs, children, skaters and even the occasional unicycle.

Of course, the trail around the lake is open year round, but several activities are hosted in the summertime. Capital Lakefair, an Olympia tradition that takes place every year in July, just wrapped up their 57th celebration a few weeks ago.

Every night from June through mid-August, people also enjoy walking the loop around the lake at dusk, when thousands of bats can be seen feeding on insects over the lake. Most of the bats are pregnant, and they commute 16-20 miles round trip every night from Woodard Bay in North Olympia. The typical bat species that visit the lake are the Yuma Bat, Little Brown Bat, California Bat, Silver-haired Bat and the Big Brown Bat.

As some people may know, Capitol Lake is actually not a lake, but rather a shallow reservoir created by damming the Deschutes in 1951. This was a result of a state Legislature decision that was almost 15 years in the making. In July of 1948, an article in the Daily Olympian indicated that the area was an “eyesore,” that would be “replaced with a clear beautiful freshwater lake with mirrored reflections of the Capitol Building dome.”

Capitol Lake is currently facing a variety of challenges, including water quality, invasive species, and sediment management. Because of these issues, the Capitol Lake Adaptive Management Plan (CLAMP) Steering Committee has researched and considered four alternatives for the future of the lake. These alternatives are keeping the status quo; managing the lake, where the committee will restore the depth of the lake and then periodically dredge the new sediment coming down the river; creating an estuary, by dredging the sediment, removing the dam and constructing a new 5th Avenue Bridge; and creating a dual basin estuary, which is the same as the estuary alternative but with a barrier dividing part of the lake into a saltwater reflecting pool.

The alternative futures have sharply divided the community and no scenario has gained the upper hand. The Legislature will be asked to finance dredging, but that doesn’t resolve the larger issue.

Although Capitol Lake may change in the future, it will always remain an icon of Olympia and one of the best trails around.

An aerial view of Olympia taken sometime between 1928 and 1940, before the dam was built. (Photo courtesy of WA State Archives)

An aerial view of Olympia taken sometime between 1928 and 1940, before the dam was built. (Photo courtesy of WA State Archives)

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An aerial view of Olympia, taken in 1955 after the dam was built. (Photo courtesy of WA State Archives)

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The view of Capitol Lake from the Capitol Campus. (Photo courtesy of Katy Payne)

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This was taken from the Capitol Lake trail, and the Lakefair ferris wheel is in view behind the lake. (Photo courtesy of Janet Lee)

Next Legacy exhibit using Kickstarter

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History fans and supporters of our office have a chance to help fund the next great exhibit about Washington — one that celebrates the year we actually became a state!

Our Legacy Washington program has just launched its first Kickstarter Campaign! This goal is to raise funds needed for a new exhibit: “Washington 1889, Blazes, Rails & the Year of Statehood.”

The privately funded exhibit, highlighting the major stories of the year Washington achieved statehood, will officially open in our lobby at the Capital on Nov. 11. That’s the day a major celebration is held in the Capitol to mark the 125th anniversary of Washington becoming the 42nd state.  The Office of Secretary of State is partnering with the Washington State Historical Society and others on a free, colorful celebration for the whole family on the state holiday.

The Kickstarter fundraising goal is $5,000 in the next 28 days. There are two ways you can help:

1)    Visit here to learn more and support Washington 1889 (you can donate as little as $1)
2)    Tweet or share our Kickstarter page with friends via e-mail or through Facebook

The Legacy Washington Kickstarter page and information about the exhibit can be found here.

Kickstarter is a global crowd funding platform that helps “Bring creative projects to life.” Kickstarter projects range from everything from films, games, music, art, design, technology and more. We hope you will consider checking out our Kickstarter page and helping to celebrate Washington Statehood by supporting this exhibit.

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Lombardi Trophy helps draw 750+ to CFD birthday bash

If you throw a birthday party and want to attract a huge crowd, just make sure the Lombardi Trophy is there! That’s what our office did when it hosted a 30th birthday celebration last week for the Combined Fund Drive, the largest giving program for public employees in Washington.

Attracted by the trophy given to the Seattle Seahawks for winning the Super Bowl last winter, more than 750 people attended the bash, the most ever for a CFD event. Other highlights included a live auction and a barbecue. Notable guests included Gov. Jay Inslee, Secretary of State Kim  Wyman, former Secretary of State Sam Reed, TwinStar Credit Union CEO Jeff Kennedy (TwinStar sponsored the birthday event), and Gail Rothrock, the first CFD program manager. Almost $15,000 was raised for charity.  Separately, CFD donors have given $5,800 so far for relief efforts for those affected by the Eastern Washington wildfires.
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Secretary Wyman with the Lombardi Trophy in her office.

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Two CFD birthday party attendees enjoy the live auction.

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Gov. Inslee addresses the crowd during the CFD birthday celebration.

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I-1351 qualifies for WA ballot

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Secretary of State Kim Wyman on Friday certified an initiative aiming to lower class sizes in Washington public schools. The measure, Initiative 1351, will be placed on the statewide ballot this fall after a check this week determined it has enough signatures to qualify.

A team of 10 signature checkers finished their work late Thursday afternoon after beginning Monday morning.

For an initiative to qualify for the statewide ballot, sponsors must submit at least 246,372 valid signatures, equal to 8 percent of the votes cast for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. Sponsors are encouraged to turn in an additional 25 percent as a buffer in case of invalid signatures. According to Elections Division officials, I-1351 sponsors brought in 348,072 signatures, allowing for a random 3 percent check of the total signatures, or 10,442.

Of the 10,512 signatures that actually were reviewed, 9,606 were accepted, 737 were not found, 153 had no match, nine were duplicates and seven had missing signatures. The error rate was 11.37 percent. The average error rate is 18 percent.

This isn’t the first time Washington voters have pondered an initiative that sought to lower class sizes. In 2000, voters approved a similar measure, continue reading

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Wyman: Tips for voters affected by wildfires

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A wildfire rages near Malott in Okanogan County. (Photo courtesy of Omak-Okanogan Chronicle)

As crews continue battling the largest wildfires in Washington history, Secretary of State Kim Wyman is offering assistance to affected counties and voters as the state’s Aug. 5 Primary Election voting period is underway.

Wyman said Friday that counties in the wildlife zones of north-central and northeastern Washington, particularly Okanogan and Ferry counties, are dealing admirably administering the Primary Election under adverse circumstances, including lack of electricity, spotty phone service and e-mail access, and some ballots held at the post office.

All election offices remain open, including those in Ferry and Chelan counties. The Okanogan County post offices are holding ballots for voters who have lost continue reading

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From Your Corner of Washington: Fireworks!

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(Photo courtesy of Scott D. Nelson)

Last week’s annual Capital Lakefair event in Olympia concluded Sunday night with a spectacular fireworks show with the Capitol Dome visible in the lower-right corner. This stunning image was sent to us by Scott D. Nelson of Olympia.

We invite you to e-mail your photos and stories to us as part of an ongoing feature called “From Your Corner of Washington” – we want to gather images of landscapes, homes, views and personal narratives from all over the state.

Q) How do I submit a photo or story to be used in “From Your Corner of  Washington”?

A) Please send your text or image attachment (in JPG format) via e-mail to Brian Zylstra at brian.zylstra@sos.wa.gov.

Q) What are the guidelines for submissions?

A) All submissions will be screened according to our blog use policy. By submitting a photo to us, you are acknowledging that you are the copyright owner of the image or have the owner’s authorized permission to supply this to the Secretary of State’s website for use on its blog.  For questions, please contact our communications staff.

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Checkers reviewing I-1351 signatures

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A signature checker reviews some of the signatures for I-1351. (Photo courtesy of Katy Payne)

Our Elections Division is busy this week checking signatures that were submitted in early July for Initiative 1351. The initiative, if passed, would affect grades K-12 by lowering class sizes and increasing school staff.

For an initiative to qualify for the statewide ballot, there needs to be at least 246,372 valid signatures submitted (8 percent of the votes cast for Governor in the most recent gubernatorial election). Sponsors are encouraged to submit an additional 25 percent to allow for invalid signatures. I-1351 has far exceeded this minimum by turning in 348,072 signatures, according to an Elections Division official, allowing for a random 3 percent check of the total signatures, or 10,442 of the total.

The signature checking staff, comprised of 10 people who underwent State Patrol signature verification training, examined signatures Monday and Tuesday. They reviewed 1,666 signatures on Monday. Of those, the staff accepted 1,523 signatures; 125 signatures were not found, meaning the name and address were inconsistent; and 18 did not match, meaning the signature on the petition and the signature in the Voter Registration Database were not the same. Of the 4,294 signatures reviewed on Tuesday, 3,934 were accepted, 292 were not found, 64 had no match, two had missing signatures and two were duplicates.

Elections Division officials hope to complete the signature check for I-1351 by Thursday. If the completed signature check indicates there are enough signatures, Secretary of State Wyman will certify the check’s results, sending the initiative to the statewide ballot.

For more information about initiatives in Washington, please see the Secretary of State Initiatives FAQ.

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Lombardi Trophy guests at CFD’s 30th birthday event

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Vince Lombardi Trophy. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Horn)

When the Office of Secretary of State hosts a 30th birthday event for the Washington State Combined Fund Drive Thursday at the State Capitol in Olympia, a special “guest” will appear – the Vince Lombardi Trophy, courtesy of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s executive office, located on the second floor of the Legislative Building. There is a $10 entry fee. Guests can enjoy dinner, drinks, entertainment and a live auction, as well as view the Lombardi Trophy and have their photo taken with it. Among the live auction items is a pair of tickets for the Seahawks’ home opening game against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4. And one of the door prizes is a pair of tickets for the Seahawks’ final game of the regular season, against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 28.

“We’re excited to celebrate 30 great years for the Combined Fund Drive, and we’re grateful that the Seahawks are bringing the Lombardi Trophy to this event,” Wyman said. “The CFD is a tremendous program because it allows donors to give to their favorite charities quickly and easily. I’m glad we can bring so many people here this week to celebrate the CFD and thank the many donors who make it such a success.”

At least 400 people are expected to attend the birthday bash for the CFD, the state’s workplace giving program for public and retired public employees. Each year, more than 15,000 active and retired public employees pledged more than $5 million to over 3,800 local, national and global charities. Washington ranks fourth nationally among state employee giving programs.

“This is an amazing feat considering that our state is 12th in overall population,” Wyman said.

Since its creation in 1984, the CFD has raised more than $115 million for charities.

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2014 WA Primary: Your vote, your voice

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Ten years after Washington voters adopted the Top 2 Primary system by initiative, it’s time for the 2014 edition.

Check your mail over the next few days for your Primary ballot.  Although it’s a mid-term election, there are races and propositions that are significant for your community, and we’re hoping for an excellent turnout, state Elections Director Lori Augino said this week.

The 2014 Primary actually got under way last month when county election officials sent ballots by mail and electronically to about 65,000 military and overseas voters.  Now it’s time for the rest of us.

This year’s Primary, which ends Aug. 5, will be dominated by races in all 10 congressional districts, including the competitive race in Eastern Washington’s open 4th Congressional District to replace retiring U.S. Rep. “Doc” Hastings. The Primary also includes all 98 state House seats and 25 of the 49 state Senate seats. Among the state Senate battles is the crowded race in the 37th Legislative District to replace retiring Sen. Adam Kline.

There are no races for U.S. Senate or statewide offices this year. None of the four state Supreme Court races will be on the Primary ballot.

The top two vote-getters in each partisan race advance to the General Election, regardless of party preference. Go here to view our online Primary Voters’ Guide on the congressional and legislative primary races.

Voters in many counties also will see many local races and ballot measures on their Primary ballot. Among the most publicized in King County is Proposition 1, which would create the Seattle Park District.

Secretary of State Wyman predicts that Primary voter turnout will be about 40 percent, which is in the same range as the 2010 Primary (41 percent) and 2006 Primary (38.8 percent).

Wyman, Washington’s chief elections official, encourages voters to take part in the Primary by filling out and returning their ballot in time for their vote to count.

“Several important local ballot measures will be decided in this Primary, and congressional, legislative and county races will be pared down to two candidates for the General Election, so I encourage voters to study the races and measures and take a few minutes to fill out and return their ballot by Election Day,” Wyman said.

Ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 5 or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots can also be returned to accessible voting centers during business hours.

If you aren’t registered to vote in Washington, you have until July 28 to do so. You need to visit your county elections office to register in person.

The Top 2 system, since adopted by California voters and explored by other states, was approved by citizen initiative in 2004 after the Supreme Court tossed out the old “blanket” primary.  The political parties sued. Ultimately, the high court in 2008 upheld Top 2, saying that as implemented in Washington state, it does not infringe on the parties’ constitutional rights.  This will be the seventh running of the Top 2 here.

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From Your Corner of Washington: Mount Rainier & other peaks

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Summer temperatures in Western Washington usually are warm and comfortable. When temps around here become too hot for comfort, many people do one of two things: They either find saltwater or head up to the mountains. If you choose the latter, it’s tough to beat a day on majestic Mount Rainier.

A day hike to Camp Muir, nestled on Rainier’s south side, can bring a cool, gentle breeze and plenty of quiet and solitude. Remember to use lots of sunscreen while plodding on that bright reflective snow.

The photo above shows a hiker making his way from rocks onto the Muir Snowfield while a nearby team of climbers heads back down to Paradise. The photo below offers proof of the spectacular view of three Cascade peaks looking south from Camp Muir — Adams, Hood and St. Helens (left to right).

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We invite you to e-mail your photos and stories to us as part of an ongoing feature called “From Your Corner of Washington” – we want to gather images of landscapes, homes, views and personal narratives from all over the state.

Q) How do I submit a photo or story to be used in “From Your Corner of  Washington”?

A) Please send your text or image attachment (in JPG format) via e-mail to Brian Zylstra at brian.zylstra@sos.wa.gov.

Q) What are the guidelines for submissions?

A) All submissions will be screened according to our blog use policy. By submitting a photo to us, you are acknowledging that you are the copyright owner of the image or have the owner’s authorized permission to supply this to the Secretary of State’s website for use on its blog.  For questions, please contact our communications staff.

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2014 Primary: online registration deadline July 7

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Hey, voters and would-be voters! This year’s Primary is just a few weeks away. In fact, it ends on August 5.

If you haven’t registered to vote and want to take part in this year’s Primary, you need to register soon. Monday, July 7, is the deadline for online and mail-in registrations, and voter registration updates.

For citizens who have not already registered to vote in Washington, Monday, July 28, is the last day to register in-person at their county elections office.

To be eligible to register to vote in time for the Primary, you must be:
• 18 years old by Election Day (August 5).
• A United States citizen.
• A legal resident of the state of Washington.
• Not under the supervision of the state Department of Corrections for a Washington felony conviction.
• Not disqualified from voting due to a court order.

More information for voters or would-be voters can be found here.

Counties will be mailing Primary ballots to most voters by July 18. Counties recently sent out Primary ballots to military and overseas voters. This includes ballots issued electronically.

The top two finishers in each Primary race advance to this fall’s General Election, which ends November 4.

Go here to view the 2014 Primary Online Voters’ Guide, which includes info on candidates in all 10 congressional district races (including the hotly contested battle in the 4th CD to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings) and state Senate and House races.

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The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog provides from-the-source information about important state news and public services. This space acts as a bridge between the public and Secretary Kim Wyman and her staff, and we invite you to contribute often to the conversation here.

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