ThurstonTalk Writers Pick Favorite Stories From 2015

Photo credit: Kim Merriman.

At the end of each year, ThurstonTalk writers have formed a tradition of looking back on the stories that we have published.  Each writer picks a favorite article and shares a few sentences about why the article was impactful.  Over the past 12 months, has published more than 1,750 positive stories about what it’s like to live, work, and play in Thurston County.  Thank you, readers, for being a vital part of our success.

Grant Clark

My favorite article in 2015 was on North Thurston football player Michael Crook. The story isn’t about championships or statistics, it’s just about an extremely likable individual finding a place within a team, and pushing himself to compete while inspiring his teammates through his dedication.

Katie Doolittle

Lizzi Jackson is an amazing young woman and is actually a former student of mine. Staying involved in her life, supporting her success, and telling this chapter of her story meant so much to me. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Doris Faltys

None of the descriptions of a bee swarm prepared me for witnessing the real thing! It was an amazing experience seeing so many bees seemingly stuck together in one big buzzing mass. Watching beekeeper Rich Kalman pluck the swam from the tree and maneuver it into a bee box was surprising. Leaning about queen bees was very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview.

Katie Hurley

My favorite story this year is Leslie Merchant’s story about Nancy Miller. It is inspiring to see such a positive impact come from one family’s tragedy and another family’s expression of gratitude.

Barb Lally

My favorite story this year was Bill Lenker: Creating Sanctuaries with Classic Stonework. Bill’s work is a unique, history-based craft and is so genuinely an art. He is fulfilling his drive to be creative, while preserving natural spaces that encourage people and human interaction. We are fortunate to have him in the area.

Nikki McCoy

This story about Joy Johnston and a healing garden at Providence St. Peter Hospital was such an honor to share. From the beginning, Joy’s energy was just so comforting and inspiring that I will always remember our interview day together. Her smile and passion was fueled by the dozens of caring employees and nurses at the hospital. The work they did together will provide many years of solace for the oncology patients, their families, and the care providers that are fighting each and every day just to see another smile. And to know that the Healing Garden is now open is a testament to our amazing community members who supported the Foundation’s mission to make the Healing Garden a reality. Olympia, you rock! And I am so very grateful to be a part of it all.

Leslie Merchant

My article about Nancy Miller and an anonymous donation to South Puget Sound Community College has by far been my favorite story this year. It comes at a time when there seems to be so much hardship and heartache. It is a reminder that life is good so look for the silver lining in every moment. It is always there.

Laurie O’Brien

My favorite story of the year is actually a follow up to one I wrote in 2012 about the K9 unit in the Thurston County Sheriff’s office. I know that Rex is fully retired as of December 31, 2015, and he should have a couple of really good years left with Ditrich and his family.

Mary Ellen Psaltis

I pick Danielle Hale and her business Pieces to Peaces as my favorite article in 2015. Danielle contributes to her family, her community and the world. I am inspired by people making choices to create lives with meaning. And it’s bonus that she is a young adult who lives in Olympia.

Alyssa Ramsfield

The story about two friends connected by a liver transplant had such an impact on my life. I’ve always considered my friends family, but these friends prove that strong relationships define family. It’s not blood, but instead love, understanding, and encouragement. I have enjoyed updates from these two during their recovery. Both Jaime and Kailyn are doing well and their lives are changed for the better.

Melanie Kallas Ricklefs

My interview with Bob Kramer had a profound impact on the way I view the need for higher education.  Bob reminded me that by promoting a college education as the only way to succeed, we lose the craftspeople and tradespeople that carry forth arts and skills into each new generation.  There are many paths to success in life, and some lead to excellence.

Kelli Samson

My favorite article was about Browsers Book Shop. This article was easily my favorite because Andrea is now a dear friend of mine. Her book shop has become an important place to my family and me. I love the connections that these stories create.

Douglas Scott

My favorite post is probably the article about five mountains to climb in a day.  I have enjoyed writing stories that stretch a bit outside Thurston County and into Mason County, along Hood Canal.

Kate Scriven

Chris Hamilton is a friend and neighbor.  He’s also one of the most humble and generous men you’ll meet. Convincing him to allow me to write a story about him, and not just share his beautiful photography, was the hard part.  Once he agreed, it was an pleasant afternoon spent getting to know the amazing person behind the amazing photos.  Chris is a friend and I was honored to share his story with ThurstonTalk readers this year.

Lynn West

I enjoyed many of the articles I wrote this year, but my favorite was Never Ending Scales Are No More.  I learned so much about the music schools in the area and chatted with such passionate and interesting musicians.  My sons-in-laws and their lessons inspired the story and now more young members of the extended family are students at the various schools.  I feel like I know more about their experiences after writing the story.

Gail Wood

In my 30-plus years as a sportswriter, I’ve listened to a lot athletes talk about their comebacks. I’ve listen to Matt Hasselbeck talk about coming back from an injury, Trent Dilfer facing his child’s illness and John Olerude needing emergency surgery. But nothing compares to the challenge and the triumph of Jamin Rader. His story will make you cry and then he’ll bring you to your feet, cheering.

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