We just want to say thank you for making last year's festival amazing.
We are getting ready for this year's festival...
Will you be here?
Process Improvement Update #2
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2017
SUBJECT: Updates to Lewis County Community Development Website
CONTACT: Lee Napier
Director of Community Development
The Lewis County Community Development Department has updated its website. The changes, recommended through the recent Permit Process Improvement Initiative, simplify the look and feel of the site and better showcase the available online content.
The site is broken into three major sections: Get a Permit, Explore County Information, and Track Long-Range Planning Projects. Relevant information for the topic is provided under each of the headings. Upcoming meeting materials including agendas and handouts are included in the Calendar on the main
page of the site.
The changes are the first of additional improvements to the website that are intended to clarify the permitting process, better provide information about ongoing planning projects, and assist residents in locating information about their property.
To explore the changes, please visit: http://lewiscountywa.gov/communitydevelopment. Thoughts
about missing or desirable content should be provided to Fred Evander at (360) 740-1389 or
Our mailing address is:
Lewis County Board of County Commissioners
351 NW North St.
Chehalis, WA 98532
Weekly commission meetings are held on every Monday (except holidays) at 10 a.m. in Room 223. If you cannot attend, meetings can be viewed at
Or so says this article published in The Guardian. The article is written by George Monbiot. In it he talks about how participatory culture like the one we are building on Onalaska, stimulates government. He also states that it helps citizens to take back the control of their government. Very interesting thoughts I think. I've included an excerpt of the article below... What do you think?
This is how people can truly take back control: from the bottom up
By George Monbiot,
@GeorgeMonbiotWednesday 8 February 2017 01.00 EST
"Without community, politics is dead. But communities have been scattered like dust in the wind. At work, at home, both practically and imaginatively, we are atomised.
"It is in the powder of shattered communities that anti-politics swirls, raising towering dust-devils of demagoguery and extremism. These tornadoes threaten to tear down whatever social structures still stand.
"When people are atomised and afraid, they feel driven to defend their own interests against other people’s. In other words, they are pushed away from intrinsic values such as empathy, connectedness and kindness, and towards extrinsic values such as power, fame and status. The problem created by the politics of extreme individualism is self-perpetuating. Conversely, a political model based only on state provision can leave people dependent, isolated and highly vulnerable to cuts. The welfare state remains essential: it has relieved levels of want and squalor that many people now find hard to imagine. But it can also, inadvertently, erode community, sorting people into silos to deliver isolated services, weakening their ties to society.
"... We could restore political life by restoring community life. This means complementing state provision with something that belongs neither to government nor to the market but exists in a different sphere, a sphere we have neglected.
"There are hundreds of examples of how this might begin, such as community shops, development trusts, food assemblies (communities buying fresh food directly from local producers), community choirs and free universities (in which people exchange knowledge and skills in social spaces). Also time banking (where neighbours give their time to give practical help and support to others), transition towns (where residents try to create more sustainable economies), potluck lunch clubs (in which everyone brings a homemade dish to share), local currencies, Men’s Sheds (in which older men swap skills and escape from loneliness), turning streets into temporary playgrounds (like the Playing Out project), secular services (such as Sunday Assembly), lantern festivals, fun palaces and technology hubs.
"Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.
"Participatory culture stimulates participatory politics. In fact, it is participatory politics. It creates social solidarity while proposing and implementing a vision of a better world. It generates hope where hope seemed absent. It allows people to take back control. Most importantly, it can appeal to anyone, whatever their prior affiliations might be. It begins to generate a kinder public life, built on intrinsic values. By rebuilding society from the bottom up, it will eventually force parties and governments to fall into line with what people want. We can do this. And we don’t need anyone’s permission to begin."
Read the full article here.
So my fellow Onalaskans, I want to say good work. By participating with the Onalaska Alliance we are creating one of those "thick networks" that will stimulate better government and allow us as citizens to reclaim control over our government, our community and our lives. Keep up the good work! We can do it together.
February 7, 2017 – Fred Evander, Lewis County Long-range Planner, will speak to residents of Onalaska and the surrounding area about re-designating Onalaska as an Urban Growth Area. This discussion will take place at the monthly community meeting hosted by the Onalaska Alliance. The meeting will be held at Onalaska High School (OHS) in room 408 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
In July of 2016, Evander spoke to Onalaska residents about general priorities for the county as a whole, and general priorities for the Onalaska area. Evander says, “From that discussion, we came to the conclusion that the County should conduct additional planning for the Onalaska area and ultimately pursue an Urban Growth Area, which would allow some additional development in the community.”
At the meeting to be held in February, Evander will be focusing on the creation of an Urban Growth Boundary for Onalaska within the Lewis County Comprehensive Plan. He hopes to get community feedback on boundaries and road, pedestrian and park improvements.
As of right now, Onalaska is designated a Limited Area of More Intensive Rural Development (LAMIRD). That designation does not allow for any sort of expansion, or any further development. An Urban Growth Area is essentially an area of more urban types of growth. Right now, Onalaska already exhibits the majority of the characteristics of an Urban Growth Area. The community makes intensive use of buildings and structures, there is a water and sewer infrastructure, and we also have a green belt area, Carlisle Lake.
If you have any further questions about how this designation change will affect you or your family, please attend the Onalaska Alliance Community meeting on February 7, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in OHS room 408.
To find out more about the updates being made to the Lewis County Comprehensive Plan, visit: http://lewiscountywa.gov/comprehensive-plan-update.
Onalaska Alliance is a non-profit volunteer organization that is 100% volunteer run. Learn more about Onalaska Alliance and how we are building partnerships for a sustainable community at our website: www.onalaskaalliance.org
This Press Release was written by PR Volunteer, Lindsay Hodge. Lindsay Hodge moved with her family to Onalaska in 2013, and is looking forward to spending the rest of her life here. When Lindsay is not volunteering with us, she is a writer, small business owner, wife, and proud mamma of two very precocious children. To find out more about Lindsay, visit:
www.lindsayhodge.com or www.havenhomestead.com
Posted by Lindsay Hodge, PR Volunteer
A Candidate Forum for local elections will be held on November 1, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the Onalaska Elementary School Gym. Election Day is November 8, 2016, and in an effort to connect voters with their potential candidates, the Onalaska Alliance is hosting a candidate forum. This forum is an opportunity for local candidates to meet with their constituents. It is also an opportunity for voters to meet with, and get to know the men and women who are asking for their votes in Lewis County.
At the forum community members will get to hear from candidates for state legislature and Lewis County offices. Each of the candidates present will be given an opportunity to express their stances on issues facing Lewis County. Then moderator, Jeff Davis, Onalaska School District Superintendent, will ask questions of each of the candidates. There will be a meet and greet with community members in attendance following the forum.
If you are interested in learning more about voting in Lewis County, visit the Lewis County Auditor's Voting Home page, https://wei.sos.wa.gov/county/lewis/en/pages/home.aspx.
The Onalaska Alliance holds monthly community meetings that are of interest to residents of Onalaska and the surrounding area. For more information on the Onalaska Alliance, visit our website: www.onalaskaalliance.org.
Posted by Lindsay Hodge, Public Relations Volunteer
Jayme Jo, '09 OHS Alumni recently purchased the Onalaska Custom Meat shop right here in Onalaska. Here is an excerpt from my interview with her in July 2016. When she does get her hands on a website, we will be sure to update this page so be sure to check for updates.
How long have you lived in Onalaska?
I was born on Gore Road and with the exception of the little bit of time that I went away for college, I have pretty much lived in the same house my whole life.
Where have you been and what have you been doing since High School?
After I graduated I went to Walla Walla Community College, and got a technical degree in water resource management. I got a job mapping an irrigation canal systems in Oregon, which I loved but I wanted to do something else. I decided to get some more education at Oregon State and I started working on a degree in Ag Science. I am still doing that online, at their E-campus. I'll still be doing that for the next couple of years.
What brought you back?
I missed the farm and my horse. I missed being in the barn, mom and dad, my two older brothers. I just missed being around family.
Purchasing the meat shop is just one small step in the direction of much bigger plans. Eventually I want to produce my own meat from start to finish. I want to breed, birth, sourcing feed, I want it to be an honest, heartfelt product. I love my cows so much. I love to spoil them, but they have to support me back. I need to be able to make a living from them. Cows have this cool ruminant system that allows them to turn pure fiber into a useful protein. We can't eat grass and grow, but they can. They can eat grass and grow, and we can eat them and grow. I want them to be compassionately raised. I want folks to have honest, healthfully, heartfully, raised meat that a family can enjoy around the table.
I do hope to get a commercial smoke house where I'll be able to make and sell my own smoked products like sausages, too, but that is a few years out.
What do you do at the Meat Shop?
A farmer brings his slaughtered meat to me. I cut to specifications. I wrap and freeze and send it back all for a small fee. I can also help source meat for folks. Meaning if you are looking for a half a cow, or any other type of meat, I can tell you which farmer has them for sale.
Why “Fin's Meats”?
Fin is my dog. a cute little border collie. She is my child since I don't have any human children. When we were younger and raising calves, she would always go to the barn with me every morning. When I first started with calves I called my business Finley Calf Company, cause she was my best hired hand. She still goes to the barn with me every day, so I named it after her.
Where can folks find out more about you and your shop?
I am working on getting a website, but for now just call, Jayme Jo Ahmann (360) 986-4007
Posted by Lindsay Hodge, Public Relations Volunteer
Kevin and Christy Anderson officially opened The Mason Jar Gathering Barn for business early in 2015. Christy's plans for their barn had been rolling around in her head for some time before that, and she even hosted events before they opened for business. However, it was her daughter's wedding that gave them the catalyst they needed in order to turn their old-fashioned barn into what it is today. They ripped out old fluorescent lights, dressed up the inside and made their barn into an event center.
Just three months after that first event, the Anderson's property was threatened by the fire that ripped through the area last year. Christy and Kevin both feel like God had spared them for the purpose of bringing families and friends together at The Mason Jar. What a blessing it is, too! The Mason Jar can host just about any event, from a baby shower to a prom to a wedding or luncheon. There are many different amenities that you can add on, including a bride's room.
Christy and Kevin try to keep things real and easy. They offer a no-pressure experience and their motto is to try to cater to every clients need. “We don't want anyone to leave here and say, 'Man, I wish I had asked for (fill in the blank).'”
The Mason Jar Gathering Barn is quickly becoming the most popular event center around. They are booked nearly every weekend until Christmas and they even have a few reservations for early next year! As their popularity grows, so will the barn. The couple has big plans for expanding the barn and putting in a beautiful gazebo.
Here's an excerpt from my interview with them:
How long have you been in Onalaska?
All in all, about 22 years. My family has all kind of migrated to the area all around us.
What's your most favorite part about hosting these events?
The people. Families. Getting to know their stories. It's maybe even seeing that there are two families that don't get along with each other and being able to help folks get through issues. You get to see so many family dynamics and we've felt like we have been here to help and share our faith. Even if its a couple of seconds, we get to share these moments and our love for Jesus Christ with folks. That is the best part.
What's your least favorite part about it?
It is time consuming, and some times it takes away from my family. We both work full-time jobs outside of the barn, and nearly all of our weekends are booked into January of next year. We've had to bring in my daughter-in-law, Samantha Hutchison, and my daughter Karlee to help with different things so that I don't get overwhelmed.
Why did you decide to call it The Mason Jar Gathering Barn?
Well, I have a thing for mason jars. My mom always had jars around and so do I. A friend at work, suggested it because of that, and really it just fit. We decided to have the “Gathering Barn” bit because we really want it to be a place for families to come together.
What makes you different from other event centers?
We are a little different than most places because we aren't so focused on making money. We want to provide a really great experience. We want folks to come together and really enjoy themselves. We also try to find local businesses that will work with our clients and give them good deals.
For more information about The Mason Jar Gathering Barn, visit their Facebook page by clicking here, or by copying and pasting the link below.
Onalaska Alliance would like to invite the community and interested persons to a Ribbon Cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Carlisle Lake Restroom Project.
Date: May 21, 2016
Location: Carlisle Lake Parking Lot, Onalaska, Wa
The bathroom project at Carlisle Lake, which began in the spring of 2015, is now complete. Onalaska Alliance, a community non profit and landowner of the Carlisle Lake property, partnered with Lewis County in the use of 09 funds to finance the project. Another 09 fund project was paving the parking lot.
The bathroom project was designed to accommodate small and large groups of people using the lake for recreation. Carlisle Lake is open for trout fishing and is stocked by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. There is also a one mile trail around the scenic lake which includes areas of wetland, timber, and open meadow. Locals often take daily walks around the trail to view the lake and stand under the tall, historic smokestack from the old Carlisle Mill.
The 5 stall bathroom is a great addition to the development of Carlisle Lake as a community park. It will also be used during the annual Apple Harvest Festival, held the first weekend of October. Participants in the Apple Fun Run/Walk will appreciate this convenience and more events will now be able to be held at this location. Onalaska Alliance has future plans to build a community playground and picnic areas, and to continue to develop the trail system.
Here we have another submission from our resident bird guru, Larry Gessele. This was submitted on April 20th.
"A pair of Wood Ducks have arrived on the little pond above Carlisle Lake. Beautiful birds but very shy. If you approach the north end of the lake quietly and slowly and if you are lucky you might be able to see them. They fly away quickly when you get close"
Thanks again Larry!
Bird watcher, Larry Gessele submitted these photos for you visual pleasure on April 19th. He says,
"The Yellowthroat Warblers are busy around Carlisle Lake this morning. These small warblers have a distinctive call and a bright yellow throat band. Definitely a challenge to see and even more of a challenge to photograph but well worth it when you do."
Thanks Larry for your efforts! You are awesome.
Onalaska Alliance Blog, News, and Updates
We want this to become a community message board. If you would like to share an experience, photo, or announcement, please check out this post for instructions.