Serving the cities of Yelm, Rainier, and surrounding unincorporated areas.
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Category Archives: Recent News

All general news stories will be filed under this category.

Bicycle Helmet Safety

Bike riding is a lot of fun, but accidents happen. Every year, about 300,00 children pay a visit to the emergency room because of bike injuries. These injuries vary in severity from sprains and broken bones, to serious head injuries. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of serious head and brain injury by 85 percent. Wearing a helmet doesn’t give you a license for recklessness, but it will provide you some protection for your head and brain in case you fall down.

Helmet tips

  • “Helmets are a necessity, not an accessory.” If you’re shopping for a bike helmet for your child, go pick it out as a family, and make sure it’s one they really like. If they like it, they are more likely to want to wear it.
  • Your helmet should have a sticker that says it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Your bike helmet should fit you properly. You don’t want it too small, or too big. Never wear a hat under your helmet.
  • When you put the helmet on, you should have only two fingers between the eyebrows and the front brim of the helmet. You should be able to look up and see the front of the helmet.
  • The straps of the helmet should make a ‘Y’, coming together just below the ears.
  • When your helmet is buckled, you should be able to open and close your mouth comfortably.

Best to Leave Fireworks to the Experts

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades and fireworks displays. But along with all the festivities are plenty of visits to emergency rooms – especially during July.

In 2016, at least four people died and about 11,100 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. And while the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, thousands were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers.

Read More…

Why Fire Engines Respond to Medical Emergencies:

During a medical emergency, seconds count. All fire department personnel are trained Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and will often arrive before an ambulance. The firefighters can immediately initiate appropriate medical care and in more complicated medical emergencies, fire department paramedics will simultaneously be dispatched. Our department is committed to providing the highest level of care possible and this means getting our emergency personnel to you, as quickly as possible.

Our apparatus serve a multitude of purposes and are designed to address all potential risks that exist in our community (medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, structure fires, rescue and other calls for service). In the event of a subsequent fire call, personnel can respond immediately without needing to return to the fire station for the appropriate equipment.

Action Alert!

Please call or email,
Ways and Means Committee Members,
Capital Budget Committee Members,
Appropriation Committee Members

Contact the legislators:

S.E. Thurston Fire Authority provides medical service and fire protection to about 35,018 citizens covering 84 square miles including the cities of Yelm, Rainier, and unincorporated areas. When the fire department goes on a call to the Lawrence Lake or Vail Road area (15 minute travel time each way due to traffic plus time at location), the city of Yelm, with a population of 8,230 is left without medical service and fire protection.

Lawrence Lake fire station project is currently included in the House Capital Budget to receive $252k, many thanks to Rep. JT Wilcox. We are now asking that Lawrence Lake Fire Station be added to the Senate Capital Budget during your negotiations to ensure the project will be included in the final Capital Budget. S.E. Thurston Fire Authority’s area of coverage includes Legislative Districts 2 and 20.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.


Chief Mark King and Joyce Willms

S.E. Thurston Fire Authority

Rivers and Lake Safety

Remember to use caution around rivers and area lakes. The river is still flowing at a high rate, the water is very cold. Debris carried by the current and snags mean the shoreline are still dangerous. Due to these extreme conditions, people are urged to use caution when walking near the river banks and know unsuspecting children or pets should be away from and out fo the water for their safety. With the cold water temperature, a person or pet could easily be overwhelmed by the current and succumb to hypothermia within minutes even if they are a strong swimmer.

Mayor Randy Schleis

On February 21, 2017, Randy Schleis of Rainier, Washington, had unexpected complications to an outpatient heart procedure. He spent more than two weeks in critical care at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, and fought valiantly to spend time with family and friends before his death on March 10, 2017.

Randall Leroy Schleis was born in Sioux City, Iowa on February 28, 1953, to parents Walter Leroy Schleis and Iola Hazel Heiden. He grew up in Struble, Iowa, with parents, Wally and Berniece, brothers, Brian and Mike, and sister, Shelly. He graduated from high school at Gehlen Catholic School in Le Mars, Iowa in 1971. Randy joined the United States Air Force in April of 1972 and served 20 years, with one tour of duty in Vietnam and active duty during Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Calm. He was a recruiter for the Air Force for five years and a security supervisor for 15 years, to include serving as Robins Air Force Base SWAT team leader. Awards during his service to his country include various Meritorious Service, Achievement, Good Conduct, National Defense, Longevity and Small Arms Expert recognitions, in addition to “Best Medium-Sized Security Police Unit in Air Force Logistics Command.”

Randy was a living example of heroism as he protected and served his country, community and family.

He served his community as a volunteer fire fighter, a reserve officer with the City of Olympia Police Department, and a Chief-of-Police (1993-1999) and Mayor of City of Rainier (2010-2017). Randy loved the Nisqually Valley and its residents, and worked to advocate for his community. He was actively involved in Rainier schools and Rainier Community Cares, a youth and young adult outreach program.  He was instrumental in building Rainier Veteran’s Park, involved in the LEOFF Retirement Board and Thurston County Emergency Management, and FEMA planning to include working with the 62nd Medical Brigade and recently worked to recognize Rainier as the second Purple Heart City in Washington.

Randy worked at All Star/Mullinax Ford as an IT Manager for more than 10 years, retiring in 2015. He served his church in helping with youth Bible quizzing and volunteering in sound/media. Many young adults share how Randy mentored them in their youth when they were struggling to make good choices in their lives.  When his health was more robust, he loved playing Santa for community events that involved kiddos. He enjoyed reading, softball, fishing, camping, church, country and bluegrass music, and was a brilliant storyteller. Friends and family know that his three grandchildren thought he hung the moon.

Survivors include his best friend and wife, Kathie Darlene Schleis of Rainier, Washington; daughters, Linda Schleis Addy (Cameron) of Portland, Oregon, and Jennifer Schleis Corn (Bryan) of Newberg, Oregon; grandchildren, Ella Claire, Wilson Harris and Vera Gail; brother, Mike Schleis (Heidi) of Le Mars, Iowa; sister, Shelly Schleis Schmitz of Struble, Iowa;  in-laws, Lynda Hollinger, Myrna Beckwith (Frank), Sandy Ketchum (Verle), and Candy (Doug) Morgan; and many loved nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Iola (1953); brother, Brian (1989); father-in-law, Darrell (1985); father, Walter (1997); mother, Berniece (2014); and mother-in-law, Kate (2014).

Randy was honorable, kind, clumsy, funny, wise and an earnest example of how we can all make a difference if we live life with a serving heart.  While his physical heart struggled with his disease, his giving heart beats in his family, friends and community of Thurston County.