Imagine Van Gogh: Coming to the Tacoma Armory

In 2008, Annabelle Mauger crafted her very first immersive Van Gogh exhibition and, in the last few years, the finalized project has become an incredible hit. Imagine Van Gogh, the Original Exhibition in Image Totale© sold over 500,000 tickets across Canada in 2020 alone. The exhibit will be presenting stunning renditions of Van Gogh’s classic artwork in over 200 of his paintings brought to life in a breathtaking immersive experience. Mauger and Julien Baron, renowned for their work at Cathédrale d’Images in Les Baux-de-Provence, France, are no strangers to the immersive art world — in fact, they are pioneers of the medium. Since 2016, the duo have developed and expanded Image Totale© to create a truly emotionally cathartic experience for visitors.

In order to create such a unique exhibition, Mauger and Baron used warping techniques to adapt the surface to the projected image, releasing the art being trapped inside of the canvas. “The choice of images, the way they are positioned, their rhythm and their association with the music all compose this original creation conceived by Annabelle Mauger and developed with Julien Baron.”

Online reservations for Imagine Van Gogh are encouraged, as admission is based on timed-entry and tickets are sure to sell out quickly! Each ticket is valid for one person, with no re-entry permitted and they are nonrefundable. The exhibition is open at the Tacoma Armory until January 30, 2022, with shortened hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

For Additional Information and Tickets


The TwinStar Credit Union Difference

When you put the community first, people notice. TwinStar Credit Union is certainly making people notice. Their two-fold community outreach approach includes the TwinStar Foundation and strong corporate giving coupled with employee volunteerism.

TwinStar was founded in 1938 by and for teachers in Thurston County and, while education is still a primary focus for TwinStar, they expanded their field of membership and welcome anyone who lives or works in Washington to join the credit union.

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, TwinStar is owned by its members and governed by a volunteer board. They serve their members in person at any of their 20 branches throughout Western Washington as well as offer a full suite of digital services. TwinStar members are able to conduct their financial transactions anywhere they go.

Along with serving their members, TwinStar believes in serving their communities. Believing that well-fed kids create well-fed minds and that hunger among school-aged children creates a significant barrier to their education, the credit union formed the TwinStar Community Foundation in 2015. With the mission of ending hunger in school-aged children, the foundation pays off school lunch debt, offers Classroom Cash grants for teachers, and scholarships for higher education.

The Foundation, together with strong corporate giving, employee volunteerism programs, and Team TwinStar service projects, sets TwinStar Credit Union apart from other financial institutions. Whether it’s helping repack food for the Emergency Food Network, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army or holding fundraisers supporting the American Cancer Society, TwinStar team members have amassed more than 1200 hours of service in 2021.

In 2021, TwinStar initiated partnerships with local school districts and community colleges to provide much-needed funding to help bridge the education gap for students of color as well as provide opportunities for students to celebrate their heritage through cultural events and graduation attire. TwinStar is committed to continuing to invest in programs that promote equity and inclusion.

Pierce County TwinStar locations can be found in Spanaway at 13505 Pacific Ave S. and in Lakewood at 9601 S. Tacoma Way.

Twinstar Credit Union


Pediatrics Northwest: Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet!

We’ve all heard that healthy eating is important. But did you know that the eating habits your child develops now can have a lasting impact for years to come? Research shows that how your child eats and drinks in their early years can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating and living. With all the different terms and tactics used in food packaging, though, sometimes it can be hard to figure out which foods are actually healthy.

Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar

As you look for healthy foods and recipes for your family, it’s important to consider added sugars. Natural sugars are found in many foods (e.g., fruits, dairy), but added sugars are supplemented to foods during the manufacturing process. Too much added sugar over a lifetime can increase a person’s risk for a number of ailments.

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

Most of us enjoy having a special treat from time to time, but at what point does added sugar start posing an increased risk for developing health problems? Here are the current recommendations:

  • Infants and toddlers under age 2 should get 0 grams of added sugar per day.
  • Toddlers and children over age 2 should get less than 25 grams of added sugar per day (equal to about 6 teaspoons).

Simple Ways to Cut Back

Here are a few ways to help limit added sugars in your child’s diet:

1. Eat fresh and whole foods

Sugar is often added to processed and prepackaged foods. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and other foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed will help cut out added sugars.

2. Eliminate juice and soda

Beverages like sports drinks, sweetened teas, fruit juices, or diet sodas are not advised. The best beverages for your child are water and unflavored milks. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends children should not get more than 1 cup per week of any sweetened beverage.

3. Compare food labels

Start looking at and comparing food labels. Much of the added sugar in our diets comes from sneaky places like ketchup, condiments, dried fruit, packaged foods, and sometimes even seemingly healthy foods like yogurt and peanut butter. Start comparing food labels so that the options in your home have low or no added sugars.

4. Limit sugary treats

Make treats an exception. We all enjoy sharing treats with our loved ones, but make these sometimes foods instead of everyday foods.

5. Keep at it!

In the beginning it might seem hard to make these changes to your diet. But once you discover some healthier options, you’ll quickly find that this becomes part of your new family routine.

Happy eating!

Pediatrics Northwest


Danny Vernon – Elvis Illusionist

Call them what you will … Illusionist, Impersonator or Tribute Performer … many of us love hearing a great Elvis song that brings the King of Rock ‘n Roll to life. If you are one of us, your chance to see an award-winning local Elvis performer is coming up Wednesday, December 22nd and Thursday, December 23rd at the Muckelshoot Casino in Auburn.

For more than three decades, Danny Vernon has been performing his Elvis show honed by listening and singing along to records purchased by his Dad.  “Dad would buy the sound track soon after seeing the movies in the 60’s,” said Vernon. “I do those songs really well, so I enjoy performing them,” he added.

Vernon is known for his high energy Elvis Tribute shows that focus on connecting with his audience while performing three distinct areas of Elvis’ career. From Hillbilly cat of the 50’s, to the sleek 60’s movie years and then of course onto the sexy 70’s jumpsuit era, each show highlights the voice, look and passion of the musical icon known as Elvis.

Vernon strives to celebrate Elvis not to pretend to be him. “I know people like the show to be as authentic as possible, so I try not to lose my own personality in it,” he said recently.

Tickets for the 8 o’clock shows at the Muckelshoot can be secured by contacting the Muckelshoot via phone at (800) 804-4944 or on-line at

Don’t miss your chance to celebrate the holidays in true Elvis style with Danny Vernon’s Elvis Tribute shows.

For more general information about Danny Vernon and his performances around the Puget Sound, visit his website at

Washington State History Museum hosts 25th annual Model Train Festival

For 25 years, the Washington State History Museum has been bringing families, friends, and train enthusiasts together for an annual model train festival. Train clubs from the region bring their large layouts into the museum and set up on every floor of the building, and the festive sights and sounds of tiny trains mingles with the excited exclamations of visitors. The festival opens on Friday December 17, 2021, and operates daily from 10 AM-5 PM through January 2, 2022. The museum is closed on December 24 and 25, but open on January 1. 

“It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for a quarter of a century, and that is a testament to the joy that the model train festival generates. We have folks who came as children and are now bringing their own kids, and those who came as parents and are now back as grandparents, seeing the trains anew through the eyes of the youngest generation,” said Jennifer Kilmer, Director of Washington State Historical Society. “The only year we missed was 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. We are incredibly grateful to bring this event back to the community this year to share some light and happiness,” she added. 

One change for 2021 is timed ticketing. Building capacity is limited to support physical distancing recommendations. WSHS members get free admission, and a members-only night will be held on December 18. General admission visitors can enjoy the event at regular museum rates. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at Remaining tickets will be available daily on-site, as capacity allows. 

Seven train clubs will share their expansive model railroads with guests. The museum’s mascot, Seymour History, will make special appearances (see for schedule). Collectable train club trading cards and the annual festival button will be offered to visitors. The popular train-themed green screen photo opportunity along with a snowy train depot setting offer multiple backgrounds for holiday photos. The museum’s Great Hall of Washington History includes history about the railroads, and guests can explore two brand new galleries that opened earlier this year.

“There’s something magical and nostalgic about trains that resonates with a great number of people. The annual Model Train Festival is a tradition our community really looks forward to, and this 25th anniversary feels extra special. We look forward to welcoming everyone,” said Julianna Verboort, the Historical Society’s marketing and communications director. 

Get all the details and book tickets for this event at

Six Ways to Boost Your Immune System During the Holiday Season

“Have fun with flavor and color to boost your immune system this holiday season,” says Professor and Department Chair Anne VanBeber, R.D. With the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 and the holidays around the corner, VanBeber provides easy tips and recommendations of food and drink to consider when planning weeknight and holiday meals.


Experts have strongly suggested adding vitamin C to our daily diet to boost immunity during the global pandemic. Lemon is high in vitamin C and, as an antioxidant, this helps our bodies prevent disease and reduce inflammation. VanBeber suggests adding lemon to your water each day.

This advice goes for warm or cold drinks. VanBeber recommends drinking more teas, which tend to contain phytochemicals – biologically active compounds found in plants. “Phyto is the root word for plant, and chemical means compounds, and phytochemicals help fight disease, keep our cells healthy, and boost immunity,” she says.

Red and Purple Foods

Dark red and purple fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, eggplant, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries each contain phytochemicals that boost the immune system. For the holiday season, try preparing fruit salads with these darkcolored berries – you can even squeeze some lemon juice and raw honey on top for added nutrients or cut up fresh mint or add some dried mint from your pantry and add it to the dressing.

Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs come from different parts of the plant, but they have disease-fighting benefits and nutrients that are equivalent to whole foods. VanBeber suggests incorporating fresh or dried herbs into dishes whenever possible. For example, if you are making mashed potatoes, add garlic or onion powder. If you are making roasted carrots – add some dill.

Beans and Greens

Greens, high in chlorophyll — a powerful antioxidant — are popular during the holidays, and they provide a good source of vitamin A in plant form. Greens are also a significant aspect of the Mediterranean diet. Spinach, broccoli, arugula, kale, turnip greens, romaine and Bibb lettuce need to be emphasized because in the U.S., we often don’t eat enough servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Legumes, such as lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas are high in fiber, inexpensive and shelf-stable foods. Fiber also protects our gut, which is the first line of defense in our immune system.

Nuts, Seeds and Supplements

Nuts and seeds are foundational to the Mediterranean diet. People who eat nuts are known to have reduced chances of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans can easily be added to other vegetable dishes such as green beans or broccoli.

Zinc is known for boosting immunity and wound healing because it helps us build proteins. This is widely found in animal foods such as beef, fish, and oysters as well as tofu and seeds such as pumpkin seeds. Vitamin C and D have been commonly referenced by leading experts during the global pandemic.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Prebiotic foods such as legumes, onions, garlic, apple skins and bananas help to protect your gut. Probiotics include fermented and cultured foods such as kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi and fresh sauerkraut (not canned). All of these foods promote a healthy gut and good bacteria to help us fight off illness. “Overall, we need to focus on eating real foods like fruits, vegetables and good lean meats (if you eat meat), and avoiding prepackaged, high-sodium foods that are devoid of nutritional value,” says VanBeber.

Don’t be afraid to make your holiday dishes fun and be sure to add colorful foods from a variety of food groups.

Out and About This Holiday Season

Don’t let the winter weather stop you from getting out and about this holiday season. Fill your thermos with hot cocoa, bundle up with hats and coats, and head out to enjoy one or more of these wonderful ways to spread holiday cheer.

Winter Markets at Point Ruston

Saturdays on December 5, 12, and 19
Enjoy live music and explore the offerings of over 40 vendors, all with products grown or made in Washington State. Shoppers will be able to find seasonal vegetables, treats to take home, gifts for the holidays, and more.

Olympia Holiday Farmers Market

Saturdays and Sundays, November 6 – December 19

As the nights get longer, enjoy the season of lights with one or more of these illuminating experiences.

Gig Harbor Lighted Boat Parade

Watch the boats circling the harbor all along the Gig Harbor waterfront.
December 11

Winter Solstice Lights

Lakewold Gardens
November 19-28


Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
November 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Winter Wonderland

Northwest Trek
December 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Fantasy Lights

Spanaway Park
November 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022

If you are seeking an indoor festive experience in venues with plenty of physical distancing, consider one of these options.

Wander through the decorated trees at Christmas in the Forest held at the Olympia Hotel at Capitol Lake (formerly Hotel RL Olympia), this year celebrating “Hope and Joy” and raising funds for the Providence Southwest Washington Foundation.

Immerse yourself in the world of Vincent Van Gogh with the unique exhibition, Imagine Van Gogh, presented by Tacoma Arts Live at the Tacoma Armory.

Plan a special gathering to make gingerbread houses. This year Greentrike will present its annual Gingerbread Jamboree as individual private parties where families are provided with kits that include everything needed to build their own sweet constructions.

Please check websites for details regarding health precautions related to any of these events.


Meet Sumner’s Cool Vintage: Inta Vintage

Owner Pam Johnson describes her store Inta Vintage in Sumner’s Main Street shopping district as a unique shop with something for everyone. Inta Vintage has 7,500 square feet dedicated to 40 vendors featuring one-of-a-kind items and handcrafted fare. There is another 1,500 square-foot area called the Cellar that hosts classes and special events throughout the year.

According to Johnson, who owns the store with Curt, her husband of more than 30 years, “We don’t have NEW stuff … we promote craftspeople who upcycle and recycle. We collectively pride ourselves in bringing a new face to old stuff.”

Johnson credits her appreciation of older items to her grandmother with whom she began collecting with as a child. “I was always into my grandma’s older stuff that told our family history, so I started going to auctions with my husband and we began working at estate clean-outs.”

Inta Vintage’s new location at 1109 Main Street opened following an extensive renovation last October 31st. Specializing in repurposed and newer furniture, home decor and personal products, Inta Vintage features a wide spectrum of vendors.

From mid-century modern, farmhouse style, wine barrel furniture and art, painted furniture, garden art, linens, vintage clothing, jewelry, goat milk products, specialty incense, local honey and Dixie Belle Paints, the selection is vast. There’s even a vendor that makes lamps out of cameras and projectors and one that creates one-of-a-kind clothing treatments and pillows from quilts.

The Johnsons and their variety of vendors truly appreciate how well they were supported by the community this past year. They are especially looking forward to bringing back the many special events that Main Street is known for.

“These events are the lifeblood of what makes downtown Sumner function,” said Johnson.

For Additional Information
1109 Main Street, Sumner


Puyallup teacher named 2021 PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion

 Puyallup teacher named 2021 PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion

KBTC recently announced Amy Reed-Ferguson, a kindergarten teacher at Puyallup School District’s Pope Elementary School, is one of 11 educators from across the country to be named a PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion.  

The award, established in 2018, recognizes and celebrates passionate educators who work with young children from infants to second graders, and offers professional learning and networking opportunities provided by PBS KIDS and KBTC, a service of Bates Technical College. 

Reed-Ferguson was selected for her deep experience with tools and resources available from PBS KIDS through the station, and her creative approach to applying them in the classroom, said KBTC’s General Manager DeAnne Hamilton.  

“Amy is passionate about supporting young learners and truly believes that KBTC and its PBS KIDS resources are a partner in her teaching journey, as well as her own lifelong learning,” said Hamilton. 

As part of a two-year cohort, Reed-Ferguson will have the opportunity to participate in a collection of community building, leadership and professional development activities.   

Hamilton said, “KBTC is excited to spotlight the importance of early education and professionals in the field like Amy. She is making a difference for our youngest learners. We are honored to partner with and celebrate her as someone who is passionate about teaching and is using media to help students understand and relate to the presented material.” 

The program honors those who positively impact young learners. As they continue to move through the uncharted territory of pandemic-impacted learning, including the proliferation of hybrid teaching environments, PBS KIDS and KBTC continue to support skill-building within the classroom, in person and at home. 

According to a statement from PBS, this year’s honorees were chosen for their passion and devotion to early education, strengthening the ecosystem in which children learn and innovating the teaching experience as we know it. Through the Early Learning Champions program, PBS KIDS aims to create a unique environment that includes professional learning and networking opportunities for educators, while fostering relationships between them and their local PBS stations like KBTC. 

Read the full list of the 2021 PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions here

WA529 Plans Have Added Perks

Studies show that students who know they have the college savings available to them are nearly seven times more likely to attend higher education than those who don’t.  Starting a WA529 GET or DreamAhead account can put students on the path to a brighter future through higher education. 

What are WA529 plans?  In the simplest description, the Washington College Savings Plans, or WA529, are a collection of 529 college savings plans offered by the State of Washington.

The first program, created in 1998, is Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET, which entails paying tuition in advance at a set price. The value of GET units is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state college tuition and fees at the state’s highest-priced university (currently UW Tacoma).

Even after more than 23 years, the GET program continues to evolve and improve to ensure that it equitably meets the needs of those enrolled.  For example, recent adjustments have been made to limit the annual increases to the unit purchase price and those limits were retroactive.  This means that GET account owners who bought units during the last two enrollment periods (July 2019 to June 2021) have either had additional units deposited into their accounts, or soon will, to make up for the adjustment. 

For the first time in the program’s history, the 2021-22 GET unit price has been set at $114.01, which matches the 2021-22 GET Unit Payout Value.  “In addition to creating an unprecedented opportunity for GET savers this coming enrollment year to literally ‘purchase tomorrow’s tuition at today’s price,’ the cost of units in future enrollment years should be more affordable,” said Rodger O’Connor, Associate Director for Marketing and Communications for WA529.

The second WA529 plan is the DreamAhead College Investment Plan, a Bronze Award winner by Morningstar, Inc.  In this college investment plan, for which enrollment is open year-round, returns are tied to the performance of the financial market. Account owners select one of two saving options: year of enrollment portfolios, which gradually grow more conservative the closer the student gets to attending college, or static portfolios, that always let the account owner set the strategy.

DreamAhead savings and GET units can be used nearly everywhere—including out-of-state institutions, private schools, community colleges, trade and technical schools, and even to cover the cost of an apprenticeship.  Since 1998, more than 55,000 students have used GET in all 50 states and 15 countries worldwide.  The benefits of the two WA529 plans are vast.

For more detailed information on these programs or to get started visit