Thanksgiving Thanks from The JOLT

If you could sit around the virtual newsroom table with us, these are some of the things we'd tell you.


There are all sorts of reasons

I think we will all agree that there are all sorts of thank-yous.

There's the polite thank-you to the door stop, the more fervent and vigorous thank you between business folks, and then there's the thanks I received while loading food into a human's car. That human was in tears because this holiday means something to them and they didn't think it was going to happen.

Thing is, my loading food into that car was the easiest part of that food's journey to the trunk. There were the people who donated the food, the people who sorted those donations, and the people who assembled the food into bags with handy acronyms. There're the people who coordinated these efforts, the drivers who move the food to where it needs to be, and the people who navigate the web of programs that make it all possible.

There are so many people that it boggles the mind and I'm probably over my word count. It is my hope that these people can hear that human's thank-you as the food entered the trunk of their car. Thanks!

           ~ Joe Riehle, JOLT contributor and food bank server

I love Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving, it’s absolutely one of my favorite times of the year.  It’s the time to set aside life’s normal aches and pains and appreciate the comfort and joy friends and family provide.  The spirit of the season is so positive, the expectations so clean: love, enjoy and be thankful for the people in our life.  After all, is anything more important to our well being in every way?  What could be better than that?

          ~ Pat Cole, JOLT Editorial Writer

Happy to be in Washington and not in Texas

In addition to family, friends, home, and health I am mostly thankful to be living in Washington State. My husband Rick and I moved from Texas into our home in Tumwater on Valentine’s Day, 2020. The next week Washington went into full lockdown. There were pros to the timeliness of this situation (all boxes were unpacked), however we regret that there are many local traditions that we have missed (Tugboat Races) and we have not met as many people as we would have liked. Still, everyday we are thankful to be living here.

When I say this to folks, I often get a quizzical look; some wonder why it took us so long to get here and others wonder why we would leave the wild west of Texas where it seems everyone can do whatever they want (not true). So, as we gather for this day of thanks, let me give you our Top 10 reasons for being thankful to live in Washington State….

10 – The weather. Really! We will take a cold rainy day over a 105-degree 4-month drought or worse 90 degrees and 90% humidity any day. (and by the way, I learned when I worked for the Dallas/Fort Worth Tourism Council that Dallas gets more rain than Seattle – just all at once.)

9- No major storms. Yes, the weather here lately has been a bit dicey but there is no need to worry about tornadoes, hurricanes or lightening and thunder that breaks windows.

8 – The trees. Sure, we have our fair share of tall trees in Texas (Live Oaks, Pecan, even Cedar in the Davey Crockett National Forest) but it certainly is not the same.

7 – Clean air. I did not realize the sky is actually blue.

6 – Health Insurance. Not to get too political but you all do not know how incredibly good your health insurance (even Washington Apple Pay) is.

5 – The infrastructure. Sure, it is a pain when WDOT closes a bridge or there is construction on I-5 but at least you are not having to get your car realigned every 6 months after hitting potholes that are half the size of your car!

4 – A reliable electrical grid. Last February, need I say more?

3 – Clean water. Many communities in Texas regularly must boil their tap water before drinking it.

2 – No poisonous snakes. Seriously, that is a deal-breaker.

1 – Mount Rainier. Down around El Paso they have the Franklin Mountains, but I still am awestruck when I go around a curve and see Mount Rainier rising towards the sky.

Those are just the Top 10, I could go on with more (seafood, attitude of kindness, incredible parks/trails) but I am trying to limit myself to ten. Yes, there are many wonderful things in Texas (did you know the entire population of Washington State is the same as Dallas?) but still we are grateful for each of you for sharing this wonderful state with us.

                ~ Mary Beth Harrington, columnist, “Thurston County’s Hidden Sector”

For my circle

I am thankful that my neighbors and family and circle of friends and business acquaintances support science-based solutions to problems (like pandemics) and will wear a mask to protect themselves and others. I'm thankful they will nominate and elect open-minded problem solvers to public office -- and replace them if they stumble. Working quietly is always better than shouting loudly. Selflessness trumps (oops, wrong verb) selfishness!

                ~ Bill Will, member of the board of directors of The JOLT News Organization

Grateful for a thorough look

Thanksgiving is always a reminder for me to take a more thorough look at what I’m grateful for;  and in December I set my sights on the new year and set goals.

This year I am especially grateful my wife and I and our extended family have avoided serious illness from Covid 19.  I remain grateful for my wife, who has been my partner for 50 years; for the unconditional love, support and guidance of my parents; for my family and friends who provide constant love and support; for the forests and streams that are my sanctuary and provide me nourishment and renewal throughout the year; for moments of silence I find each day; and for my good health. 

                ~ Chuck Pfeil, member of the board of directors of The JOLT News Organization

Dirty diapers

I am thankful for my new husband and my new baby. I am grateful for dirty diapers, as strange as that sounds, and I'm grateful that no matter how challenging life is, at any given moment, everything always turns out well in the end. This year has presented its fair share of challenges, but I'm glad to know that I have the strength and support to face it all.

~ Alexis Rae Baker, columnist, “Advice from A Lexis”

What I am grateful for

When my parents were manufacturing the product that in due time became me, they inserted several optional buttons into that product. They inserted some non-negotiables such as good citizenship, common sense, fidelity to truth, etc. Inadvertently (or not) other buttons were added. The ones I enjoy most are curiosity and agency. I have benefitted by all of these for the last 77 years, all the while thanking my thoughtful parents for being my heroes.

          ~ Priscilla Terry, member of the board of directors of The JOLT News Organization

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our home to yours, we hope your Thanksgiving Day is filled with love, family and memories. At our house we love to take some time to share memories about those no longer with us. The good times and laughter we shared, the hard times we got through and the misadventures that surprised and delighted us.

                ~ Kathleen Anderson, columnist, “The Sage Connection”

Some beautiful memories 

When the holiday season comes around, some beautiful memories come to mind. I am so thankful for how my parents celebrated. They were generous. My mother baked Mexican breads, cookies and fruit cakes, and she prepared “plates” with these goodies. I took one of these offerings to each of our neighbors on our block. Here in Olympia, I truly appreciate connecting with friends and neighbors. The best is being with my son. We share good times and often goodies. Long distance, I relate with family, grateful for phones and even Zoom.

 ~ Linda Villegas Bremer, member of the board of directors of The JOLT News Organization


Me? Thankful on Thanksgiving?

You betcha.  Very thankful.

I hope you’ll indulge me as I try to thank everyone who’s been involved with The Journal of Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater since the beginning, or before.

First, of course, is my friend Marcia Hamilton, a prelaunch supporter who inspired me to dig deeper to find the right name for this experiment in local news. Without her you might (or might not) be reading what was going to be called Thurston Digest.

Founding board of advisors

Before we launched, a founding board of advisors agreed to offer a sympathetic ear and an occasional introduction.  Thank you to Bill Will, Bob Jacobs, Eileen McKenzie Sullivan, Graeme Sackrison (and Happy Birthday, Graeme!), Janine Gates, Jenna Mason, Ken Balsley, Linda Villegas Bremer, Makieda Hart and Paul Pickett. Your support at the start gave me hope.

Financial backers

In case you’re wondering, “we” launched The JOLT as a for-profit using my own funds. If this thing wasn’t going to work, I wanted to be the only one to lose money on it. Silly, I now know. But I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone to contribute until we could demonstrate that we could make it work.

The Nisqually Indian Tribe has been a consistent and substantial supporter of our work and I’m very grateful to them. Other early supporters included – and generally still include:  Tom Kuhlmann (State Farm Agency), Brian Johnson (Johnson Medicare Solutions), Kristy Woodford (Holistic Home Group), Eric Smith (The Pet Works), Washington Orthopaedic Center, Connie Kiser (Classy Canine Country Club), Laurie Berryman (Tumwater McDonalds), Reid Bates (Express Employment Professionals), Jeff Seeman (PC Technologies), Vena Villanueva (Academy of Aesthetic Arts), Stacy McIntyre (Rejuvenate IV Hydration & Wellness Center), Love Local LLC and Timberland Regional Library.

Early individual contributors

Our first individual contributor, Jon Halvorson, sent us a check before I had the nerve to ask for community support. I still have Jon’s note on my desk, too.

Others who contributed during the Before Days (when we operated as part of my small for-profit business) included:

Phil Rollins

Dale Larson

Jim Pitchford

Gordon Ensign

Ryan Rutledge

Priscilla Terry

Dana Mcinturff

Civillia (in cash at an event!)

Gery & Valerie Gerst

Mike Carlson

Jean Meyn

Richard L. Jones

Judy Corcoran

Jack Vanzandt

Virginia Drake Cocayne

Thomas Johnson

Angela Jefferson

Elizabeth Lord

Genevieve Pisarski

Jill Severn

Janice Larsen

Jim Longley

Linda Panowicz

Diane Coulter

Pam Folsom

Binda Douglas

Scott Swindler

Barb Carey

Denis Langhans

Tim Kelly


New donors to our NewsMatch campaign

Over the past two months we’ve converted The JOLT to a nonprofit, The JOLT News Organization, and are participating in the national NewsMatch program.  In the past 25 days we’ve been fortunate to receive $5,001.38 in donations from 49 individuals, including:

Barbara Carey

Bernie Friedman

Betty Watson

Caroline Lacey

Cathy Freer

Charles Shelan

Chuck and Cathy Pfeil

Elizabeth Hauser

Janice Larsen

Jeff Evans

John & Glenda Drebick

John Gear

Jon Halvorson (again!)

Kris Goddard

Larson Law, PLLC

Lee Ann Gekas

Leslie Wolff

Maril Burgesser

Mark Kenney

Mary Condon

Nancy Ronning

Nancy Steiner

OLY Parle

Richard and Mary Beth Harrington

Sherrie Hovde

Sherrie Wilson

Stewart Ridgeway

Susan Pearson

Taylor Steil

The Nexus Group LLC

Virginia Hadley

Anonymous (18)

So many bylines

Thank you to our writers and former writers.  Our initial editors, Madeline Shannon and Margie Slovan, helped me get my sea legs again as a news editor.  (Soon we’ll be looking for a new editor here, in case you know of someone to introduce.) 

Thank you to Prachi Gohil, who’s been with us since our second month, who handles our social media outreach, edits our calendar and a variety of other projects. Thank you to Kristine Javier, who reports on public meetings and to Julia Ornedo, who focuses on criminal justice and other beats, too.

Our columnists: Kathleen Anderson, Jill Severn, Alexis Baker and Mary Beth Harrington – thank you for your consistent contributions. Thank you to Pat Cole and David Ross, who sticks their necks out every couple of weeks to offer well-informed opinions.

Other writers and photographers have included Gloria Towne, Jenna Mason, Laurie Barnoski, Daryl Murrow, Ken Balsley, Chelsea Baker, Troy Kirby, Joe Riehle, Dan Hu, Denny Hamilton, Nikki McCoy, Cody Neuenschwander, Katie Hayes, Andrew Oslin, Nichole Woolsey, Emma Dobbs, Olivia Alvord, and several local people who have written Letters (to the Editor) we’ve published.  Thanks to all of you.

Occasionally we republish stories that are particularly relevant to Thurston County residents.  We’re grateful to the following nonprofit news organizations that have shared their excellent journalism with us. These include:

  • Crosscut/Cascade Public Media
  • High Country News
  • InvestigateWest 
  • The Conversation U.S.

Our vendors have helped in many ways

Creative Circle Media Solutions runs websites for some 200 newspapers around the U.S., including ours, and has kept our site and its various services running nearly flawlessly for the past 18 months. Most of the failures to present stories on the site are due to, um, operator error.

News organizations today need insurance even before technology. I’m grateful to Brian Riley of Backholm Insurance for his help finding our niche “markets.”

We’ve recently begun working with Broadstreet Ads, an innovative service provider that offers us dozens of creative formats to our advertisers. (Yes, even nonprofit news organizations usually run paid ads to help get the bills paid.)  I hope that next year we’ll say a BIG thanks to them.

Somewhere between a vendor and a kind uncle

Two national organizations have been of immense help.  These are LION Publishers, which supports local independent online publishers (like us!) and INN – the Institute for Nonprofit News. Thank you to them.

The Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce and the Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce – all have helped us to get the word out, introduced us to people we might not have met. Thank you to them and their staffs, particularly Elizabeth Bretschneider of the Thurston Chamber. 

The Thurston Economic Development Council, through its Center for Business & Innovation, has partnered with us to be our fiscal sponsor until The JOLT News Organization receives its own 501(c)(3) designation. We’re especially grateful for their help.

Speaking of kind uncles, I’d like to thank Noah St. John of The Success Clinic (creator of Afformations), the well-known editor and journalism guru Tom Stites, and the Tucson Sentinel’s Editor and Publisher, Dylan Smith, for their help.

Volunteers, too!

Nonprofit organizations can't survive without volunteers.  Our first volunteers are some of my favorite people: longtime friend Cathy Pfeil, and #1 daughter, Anna Stusser. They have participated at public events, buttonholing attendees to sign them up to receive The Daily JOLT headline newsletter. Thank you, Cathy and Anna. 

Thanks to my bosses

An important component of creating a nonprofit organization is assembling a board of directors. I’m grateful for the efforts and leadership of the following eight people who have gone from readers to friends and, well, my bosses, as the initial Board of Directors of The JOLT News Organization.

Linda Villegas Bremer

David Hanig

Makieda Hart

Chuck Pfeil

Jeff Seeman

Priscilla Terry

Alan Wertjes

Bill Will

The big boss for sure

Shannon, my patient, brilliant and more circumspect wife who, for most of the most recent 348 business days, has tolerated my eating dinner alone at my desk. Without her support, both The JOLT and I would have starved to death.


You, our reader, our audience member, without your clicks and attention there would be no reason for us to be making this experiment in local journalism real. Thank you.

          ~ Danny Stusser, founder, publisher, editor and executive director


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  • Drutty

    Thank you for your "Thankful list" and a reminder of what a wonderful place Wa. state is.

    Friday, November 26, 2021 Report this