O Bee CU Launches Campaign Aimed at Spreading Kindness

Kindness is contagious. With that in mind, O Bee Credit Union has launched an effort to spread kindness and encourage community members to do the same. As Covid lingers, and pandemic fatigue gives way to frustration for many, O Bee Credit Union is motivating its members to be kind through a Kindness Contest. There are many simple ways to be kind, such as saying thank you, giving a smile or just having a calm presence. To enter, members only need to visit a branch, show kindness, and complete an entry form. O Bee will draw a $100 winner at each of their seven locations weekly through March 4, 2022. Prize winners will be chosen randomly every Friday. Members must be at least 21 years old to participate and can enter each week. Entries are limited to one per family per week at one branch only. 

In addition to spreading a little fun, the Kindness Contest is aimed at helping individuals improve their own health as well as making someone else’s day. Lee Wojnar, VP of Marketing, explained that O Bee simply wants to be a conduit of cheer amidst an overwhelmed society. “As stewards of the community we serve, we continually look for ways to bring about positive interactions,” he said. “These are stressful times. We want to remind everyone that simple acts of kindness like expressing sincere appreciation, holding a door, and smiling, are good for your health.” 

There is much evidence to support the health benefits of practicing kindness. The Mayo Clinic describes kindness as a quality of being that reduces stress by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain that boost moods. “This positive focus is like planting positive seeds in your mind garden” (Steve SiegleThe Art of Kindness, May 2020). Kindness is contagious, so to spread the positivity beyond members, O Bee is distributing smiley face stickers at every branch for people to take and share with others.  

“Members are responding well to our Kindness Contest,” Wojnar said. “Just a week into the campaign, we are hearing first-hand accounts about how forming kindness habits has enhanced moods, improved relationships, and reduced stress.” The contest launched January 10 and will run through March 4, 2022. Visit O Bee’s website for more information and contest terms and conditions.  

Service, Convenience at the Heart of Light Dental Studios

We can all agree on the qualities for the ideal dental provider: round-the-clock service, free consultations, same-day appointments, entire-family bookings, empathetic service and affordable care. It’s nearly impossible to find a full combination of such attributes. But then there’s Light Dental Studios.

Based in Puyallup, The dentist-owned company—with 19 locations in the South Puget Sound—has customer service at the core of its mission.

“We try to treat people the way we would want to be treated,” says owner and CEO Dr. Steven Broughton, who bought his first office from a former dentist in Puyallup in 1997. “People say our practice feels like we’re all neighbors, like they’re just going down the street for friendly dental care.”

With hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. including Saturdays, doctors available 24/7, free consultations, same-day appointments, and entire-family same-day care, Light Dental Studios has solutions patients need.

“We’re trying to make dentistry effortless by making it about our patients, not the dentists,” says Broughton. “Our schedule accommodates their schedule, not the other way around. Our doctors are always available, and almost all procedures are done in-house.”

Besides standard dental checkups, treatments and other services, Light Dental Studios offers on-site orthodontics, implants, surgeries and dentures. Children’s dental care is also offered. In fact, the offices frequently schedule care for entire families side-by-side on the same day to save time.

Light Dental Studios also gives back to the community at the annual South Sound Free Dental Day. That’s when the staff donates its time and skills to give away more than $90,000 worth of dental work—including fillings and extractions—on a first come, first-served basis. “We want patients to feel comfortable,” Broughton says. “Our first goal is to provide same-day treatment.”

Broughton notes that Light Dental Studios will continue to add offices over the upcoming years in growing family locations.

Light Dental Studios


Oly Ortho Has A New Home for Spinal Care

Olympia Orthopaedic (Oly Ortho) Associates Spine Center recently made a big move. And now, the whole family fits under one roof. In the beginning of September of 2021, Oly Ortho moved into a new, specially designed building, to finally have their physicians, nurses, medical assistants and administrative staff working in the same location.

The new home for Oly Ortho, located on 9th Ave. of southwest Olympia, comes with many advantages. Benefits include room for functionality, opportunity for easier collaboration, better patient care and convenience, such as being within a short walking distance of other colleagues, their westside clinic and partners Rapid Orthopaedic Care Urgent Clinic and Olympia Surgical Center. Not to mention, the design of the new Spine Center comes with even the smallest of perks— newest partner Drip Espresso has their own coffee corner with Batdorf & Bronson coffee, fresh salads, sandwiches and baked goods in the lobby of the building for staff and patients to enjoy. 

For patients traveling far, the convenience of a single location is key. Instead of having to chop up treatment with multiple, tedious appointments, much can be taken care of in one stop. Concerning collaboration, one of the prime benefits for patients is the combined services between two Neurosurgeons, Orthopaedic spine surgeons, Interventional Pain Management Physician, Physiatrist (physical medicine & rehabilitation specialist) and more. This means services like assessments of people’s spinal issues like chronic back or neck pain, herniated discs, pinched nerves and spinal fractures, procedures like Kyphoplasty, physical and chiropractic therapy and follow-ups after surgical care will be addressed by top specialists. 

With this transition, the opportunities of spinal care that Oly Ortho can provide are just beginning. Jessica Forsman, VP of Business Development and overseer of the architecture and design of the new building, says they look forward to spring or summer of 2022 for a belated grand opening where, depending on the course of the pandemic, they can invite the public to tour and experience the new Olympia Orthopaedic Associates Spine Center. 

To learn more about the physicians and services of Oly Ortho, visit their website: https://olyortho.com/spine/.

Natalie Benson

Summer Splash Gala 2021

Michael Moore, Barbara and Oscar Soule

The Hands On Children’s Museum hosted its much anticipated Summer Splash! Gala. The Fancy-Pants Picnic fundraising event was held in the Museum’s beautiful Outdoor Discovery Center where visitors could explore the half-acre grounds featuring a 56-foot vintage schooner, lighthouse lookout, children’s garden, gravel dig, and new Bouldering on the Beach exhibit. A gourmet picnic basket was set on blue and white checked tablecloths along with tasty charcuterie boards and picnic entrées crafted by Anthony’s Homeport and Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill.

This special event was the most successful fundraiser in the Museum’s history—over $500,000 to support the Museum’s many free and reduced-fee Access Programs which serve more than one-third of the Museum’s annual visitors.

St. Martin’s University Golf Classic

Jen Liedes Group

One hundred forty golfers attended the Capitol City Golf Club to play in the annual Saint Martin’s University Golf Classic, raising more than $36,000 for student-athlete scholarships. The annual Golf Classic is in its 38th year and is the main fundraiser for Saints Athletics.

Proceeds from the event support the Saint Martin’s Athletic Foundation Endowment, which provides student-athlete scholarships. The University has 13 NCAA Division II athletic programs spanning from men’s and women’s basketball to track and cross country.

More than 200 student-athletes will benefit from the generosity of the golfers, sponsors and volunteers that made the Golf Classic such a success.

Oly Fed’s President CEO Lori Drummond to Retire in June 2022

Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed) has announced that after over 38 years of service to the bank, Lori Drummond, president and chief executive officer, will retire from the financial institution on June 30, 2022. OlyFed’s board of directors has selected Joshua Deck, executive vice president and chief operating officer, to succeed Drummond in the top post; however, she will remain on the bank’s board of directors.

Born in Arizona, Drummond moved to Washington State shortly thereafter, so she has always considered herself a lifelong Washingtonian. In 1977, Drummond’s family moved to Olympia and after earning a degree in business administration from Washington State University, at the urging of her father, Drummond applied for the receptionist position at OlyFed and in 1984 so began her career at the bank.

Drummond was a quick study and in 1987, she advanced to Marketing Director and to executive-level management in 1991, eventually being named president and CEO in February of 2008 – the first woman ever to hold OlyFed’s highest leadership position. Under Drummond’s leadership as president and CEO, the bank has more than doubled in asset size, added a branch in Yelm, expanded with wealth management services through OFS Financial, added services for small businesses, added focus on commercial real estate lending, instituted new technology advancements, and enhanced bank wide culture, all while providing record-level support to the local community.

In fact, Drummond has amassed a long, diverse and impressive resume modeling OlyFed’s people-first values and commitment to civic involvement, serving on the board of directors for several organizations including: Olympia Symphony Orchestra, Washington Center for the Performing Arts, United Way of Thurston County, Rotary Club of South Puget Sound, Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, St. Martin’s University, Washington State Heritage Center Trust, Northwest Financial Association Trust, RoundTable of Thurston County and the Washington Savings League. Lori holds dear the “Distinguished Leader” recognition she received from the Thurston County Chamber Foundation in 2017. Drummond believes that Deck will continue that spirit of leadership as the eighth president of the 115 year-old organization.

Deck is a former commissioned bank examiner with experience in compliance and regulatory management. He joined OlyFed in 2011 as vice president/risk and compliance manager and quickly advanced to higher levels of responsibility and in 2020 was named executive vice president/chief operating officer. Deck serves on the board of directors of the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, and with the Community Bankers of Washington (CBW). Last year he was honored with South Sound Business Magazine’s “40 Under 40” award for his contributions to OlyFed and the community.

Founded in 1906, OlyFed is the South Sound’s only locally owned and operated mutual bank with eight regional branch locations. Throughout its 115-year history, the institution has demonstrated consistent financial integrity, earning a five-star rating from independent research agency Bauer Financial for 33 consecutive years. Only one percent of the nation’s banks have earned Bauer’s top rating for so long and with such consistency. To learn more, visit

Lacey MakerSpace Awarded $1M Grant

Lacey MakerSpace will receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, thanks, in part, to support from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. 

In partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business & Innovation (CB&I), the City of Lacey, and Saint Martin’s University, LMS operates as an innovation lab for small business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs in Thurston County and the greater Southern Washington region. 

“Most of the federal grant funds are earmarked to purchase advanced fabrication equipment and software and to develop skills-based training programs in high demand by industries in the region,” said Michelle Pope, LMS’s director. 

Grant funds will be dispersed over three years. Much of the larger fabrication equipment will be purchased later in 2022 as the space needs upgrades in utilities and size.

“This $1 million grant will help spur innovation and support small businesses in South Puget Sound. The Lacey MakerSpace aims to build a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides local artists, and small businesses access to highly technical fabrication tools and educational resources,” said Cantwell (D-WA), who wrote a letter in August 2020 in support of Lacey MakerSpace’s grant application. “This grant will allow the Lacey MakerSpace to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to continue providing workforce training to help workers and small business owners gain the skills they need to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“The pandemic showed just how overdue investments in our workers and local economies are, which is why I am so glad to see this critical funding go to innovative training programs in Western Washington that will promote job growth, get people back to work, and ensure that we have an economy that works for everyone,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Building back stronger and fairer means prioritizing local workforce development – and I’m going to keep working to secure investments like this one in Washington state’s workers and businesses.”

“We want to build back better and do it inclusively. It’s why we must invest in workers and families right here in Washington State,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10). “Thanks to the work of the US Department of Commerce and the Thurston Economic Development Council, this injection of federal dollars for Lacey MakerSpace will have a meaningful impact on our growing and diverse community to create jobs, support innovation, and expand the base of our economy.”

“We expect to keep growing on two tracks. The first is supporting community members, budding artists, future makers and innovators in learning new skills and the other helping to attract more industry to the region by creating a pool of skilled workers receiving up-to-date training on modern fabrication and technical equipment,” said Pope.

Anyone can participate in Lacey MakerSpace programs by enrolling in a skill-building class or becoming a member, giving users access to over 3,600 square feet of workspace filled with fabrication and prototyping equipment and the support of talented staff to help bring ideas into reality.

Classes regularly offered include woodworking, welding and CNC fabrication, 3-D printing and design, laser engraving, stained-glass construction, resin molding and more. 

LMS is raising funds separately to make utility upgrades required for the added equipment and extend hours of access and increase quality programming, work not covered by the grant.

According to Pope, this award is a result of the intense and committed partnerships – all focused on supporting our region, our employers and communities.  Learn more about Lacey MakerSpace by visiting:

Lacey Maker Space – Create. Innovate. Inspire.

Olympia Harbor Days Changes Course

The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association Board of Directors announces a late schedule change for Olympia Harbor Days Lite, a scaled-down version of its popular 48 year-old tugboat festival.  The event will now be offered as a 1-day only event on Saturday, September 4, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Port of Olympia’s Port Plaza Park, with companion online safe at home activities on their website running from 8/28 through 9/6, according to SSMHA President Don Chalmers. Note that Sunday, September 5 has been cancelled and is replaced by Olympia Harbor Days participation in the LoveOly Summer Fest finale on Saturday, August 28 with a booth, displays and mini tugs on.  All events are free, donations accepted, and organizers request all attendees to be masked and adhere to social distancing for the safety of the community.

The September 4 event will feature a few information booths, mini tug displays, a hands on LEGO Harbor Build Activity for the kids including the professional building and display of a 5’ by 4’ LEGO tugboat, a free custom LEGO Tugboat giveaway drawing, some live music and plenty of photo ops.  The award winning Hands on Children’s Museum will also host a booth offering a make, race and take tugboat activity.  And be sure to catch the display and demonstrations in a 30’ x 24’ pool of remote controlled tugboats.  This year’s event will not include any tugboat touring, tugboat races, vendor or food booths.

Members of SS Maritime Heritage Association will be on hand to share the restoration history of Tugboat Parthia, a new attraction and shelter coming next year adjacent to the Farmers Market.  This display will be part of the National Parks Service state designation of Maritime Washington – National Heritage Area opening in 2023.

The Washington’s Lottery Tower Stage at the Port Plaza will feature local musicians on September 4 including Choro Tomorrow, Cool Breeze, Cosmos Dream, the Terry Ness Band and the Samba Olywa troupe dressed as pirates.  The music schedule is posted at www.HarborDays.com.

All events will offer maps for the year-round Maritime Heritage Self-Guided Tour along Olympia’s boardwalk, including the Olympia Arts + Heritage Alliance “It’s the Water” outdoor exhibit on the windows of the old city hall and fire station.  A one-time only narrated tour by local historian and author Chuck Fowler and City of Olympia Arts and Events Program Manager Stephanie Johnson is also offered on September 4th starting at 10 AM at the Port Plaza.  Again masking and social distancing required.

The Olympia Harbor Days Lite online event features at home self-guided activities including how to build a LEGO Tugboat, historic photos, an at home sing-a-long and more at www.HarborDays.com starting August 28.  

“SS Maritime Heritage Association, despite a number of continuing challenges, is pleased to present these community health-conscious Lite events, with special thanks of support from our community sponsors” said Chalmers.  “As the founding organization, we want to keep this nearly 50-year working waterfront-focused festival alive in preparation for a full version in 2022.” The maritime heritage nonprofit is continuing to operate the event after the Olympia Kiwanis Club had presented it from 2012 – 2019.

For almost a half century, Olympia Harbor Days has been a locally-sponsored free family friendly maritime themed festival with tugboats, historic ships, booth vendors, food, music, educational classes, children’s activities and more, held each Labor Day Weekend.

From Homeless Backpacks to All Kids Win

Homeless and hungry children and teens are an existing, exponential problem in our country. It may not cross one’s mind that the student they see walking down the school hallway or sitting at the bus stop will be struggling to find a meal that weekend. However, there are many people, such as the members of the All Kids Win organization (formally known as Homeless Backpacks), that recognize this issue and are working effectively to feed hungry students and end the cycle of homelessness.

For the last seventeen years, 100% volunteer-based Homeless Backpacks has helped homeless teen students in Washington State. Over the years, the number of teens this organization has fed grew as schools and counselors reached out consistently. In the beginning, Homeless Backpacks quietly donated packed bags filled with foods like tuna, granola bars and instant oatmeal to schools requesting assistance, and the counselors would give the food to the students in need through confidential avenues. Up until last year when COVID-19 hit, Homeless Backpacks was helping over 600 students a week. However, as pandemic restrictions changed the way students were attending school, it also changed the way the organization was giving — big time.

The number of students Homeless Backpacks helped per week went from 600 to over 2200 almost overnight. The operation no longer functioned as it had originally; instead of counselors calling for the delivery of 10 or so bags, school districts began picking up food by the truckloads! The pandemic brought on huge transitions for the organization. It was time to expand their vision and their brand.

At the beginning of 2021, Homeless Backpacks became All Kids Win in reflection of this evolution. Stephanie Hemphill of All Kids Win says, “We rebranded and renamed our nonprofit because we are not only serving homeless students but also serving food-insecure students. They could be kids living with a family below the poverty line, a kid who is couch surfing to escape an abusive home, or any other situation that would put them in a position to not know where their next meal is coming from. Our vision is that hunger never stands in the way of education, so we want our name to reflect our mission and vision.”

Right now, the number of teen clients is up to around 1300 a week. As schools go back to a “normal” routine, All Kids Win plans on adopting their previous model again, although their organization will never be the same. With the overwhelming influx of volunteers stepping in, All Kids Win anticipates a smooth transition and looks forward to the growth. Their hope is to relieve some of the pressure so that kids can simply worry about kid things.

All Kids Win


Elise Landry wins “Chopped Next Gen”

As a contestant and winner on the first season of the Food Network’s show “Chopped Next Gen,” Elise Landry became the chef on everyone’s mind in Olympia almost overnight. Her new restaurant, Chicory, which she co-owns and runs with her husband Adam Wagner, went from just getting open to having to close down online orders to focus on in-restaurant diners in a time when most restaurants were struggling to make it during the COVID-19 health restrictions. 

“It’s been amazing. We’ve had such support from the community,” noted Landry when I caught up with her on a warm summer Monday watering the plants in the restaurant. “In a small, tight-knit town like Olympia, not only does everyone feel connected, but there is already a deep appreciation for sustainable and locally sourced food. We felt like we fit in.”

Growing up in Kansas City, Landry loved her upbringing and region, but wanted to be closer to nature. After a quick scouting trip to the PNW, the couple retrofitted a motorhome, drove West, and spent two summers working in restaurants on Orcas Island. The dream was to open a restaurant of their own and everything came into alignment just when the pandemic hit. 

The process of opening Chicory started long before the pandemic and included navigating new building owners, leases, small business loans, and lots of renovations. Landry shared that, for a while, every day began by watching YouTube demonstrations and learning by doing. From hanging drywall to replacing a water heater, they had to figure it out. “There was no turning back.”

Veterans of many restaurants and kitchens, Landry and Wagner see Chicory as a platform to talk about sustainability and food systems, but also to rewrite the rules and create a truly healthy work environment for staff. “We want to create a place where our staff feels respected and valued.” 

They are walking the talk. In addition to showing care by baking a staff member’s favorite cookie on their birthday, bigger changes have been made at Chicory. Instead of customers leaving tips for their individual server, a 20% service fee is added to the bill which is shared by all employees. This new norm shifts some of the financial inequities experienced by all staff in the restaurant industry and has become common practice in restaurants in major metropolitan centers like Seattle and San Francisco, but has yet to be more widely adopted. In addition, they will be offering a special class with a personal trainer to learn stretching exercises to help alleviate some of the physical stress created by restaurant work. “It’s important to encourage both physical and mental health for our staff,” noted Landry. 

As she finished up watering the plants, Landry paused. “We have amazing light in the restaurant in the mornings when we are closed. I can just imagine a floor of yoga mats and potentially offering wellness classes to others in the restaurant industry,” she said. It might be a dream right now, but this next-generation chef is about more than an amazing menu or time in the spotlight. With Chicory, she is here to change restaurants one small step at a time. Hilary Ryan

Team — CHICORY (chicoryrestaurant.com)