Nancy Hillman – Iconic Leader of Yelm’s Theater Community – Dies

By Bruce A. Smith

Nancy Tribush Hillman, the long-time director of Stage Struck Productions and the Drew Harvey Theater in Yelm, died of a stroke this week. Forever the trooper, she collapsed during a rehearsal in the Triad Theater last Monday, July 8. Rushed to St. Peter’s Hospital, she finally succumbed on Wednesday, July 11. Nancy Hillman was 78.

Nancy is survived by her daughters Avriel Hillman and Rachel Hillman. Continue reading

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DB Cooper Boat Tours to Visit Tina Bar and PDX

By Bruce A. Smith

AHOY, all DB Cooper enthusiasts! You will have a chance to sail on the Columbia River past the primary DB Cooper landmarks next Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30. This includes Tina Bar, where some of the ransom money was found in 1980, and Portland Airport where the skyjacking commenced.

Leaving from Tomahawk Island and the Jantzen Beach complex just north of Portland, Oregon on the I-5, the voyage – on a pontoon boat skippered by a licensed and Coast Guard-certified captain – will first motor near Portland International Airport, which is where this iconic skyjacking started on November 24, 1971. Since then, nothing definitive from the hijacking has ever been found except for three bundles of twenties from Cooper’s $200,000 ransom, which was found in 1980 at the trip’s next stop – Tina Bar. Continue reading

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Interview with a SAGE radar operator as investigations intensify in the DB Cooper Case

By Bruce A. Smith

Concerns about the flight path abound in the DB Cooper case despite the 47-years since the iconic skyjacking occurred, and the closing the case in 2016 by the FBI due to a lack of any new information or suspects.

Nevertheless, citizen sleuths are carrying the torch, searching for the truth of America’s only unsolved skyjacking. The height of these inquiries deals with the location of DB Cooper’s plane when he jumped at 8:13 pm on November 24, 1971. Was it over Battleground, Washington as the FBI has long-professed? If so, why hasn’t anything ever been found in the FBI’s primary search area near Ariel and Amboy, Washington? Continue reading

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Impact of murder among family members revealed in interview with Manny Silva, father of slain Tacoma woman

By Bruce A. Smith

Manny Silva, the father of Lisa Melancon, a Tacoma woman killed in 2011 during a drive-by shooting, contacted the Mountain News this week to describe the impacts of his daughter’s murder. His testimony reveals how vast and devastating such violence can be to an entire family. Continue reading

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Movie and TV reviews – Focus on Hulu

By Bruce A. Smith

The two primary streaming services in the nation, Netflix and Hulu, are quite different from each other. Netflix focuses on feature-length projects and TV series, much of it done in-house or under contract to independent production companies. Most notably, Netflix is the home of Orange is the New Black, Weeds, and hundreds of comedy specials. It also offers a backlist, so that shows that have been off-the-air for a while, like The Blacklist, can be viewed in their entirety, which is great for binge-watching.

In contrast, Hulu is mostly a re-play of regular TV shows from broadcast networks, like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Law and Order- SVU, or Chicago PD. Generally, only the shows from the current season can be viewed, at least on my payment program. Continue reading

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Movie Reviews: Worthy Shows at Netflix

By Bruce A. Smith

The streaming services Netflix and Hulu are releasing hundreds of new shows every year. However, the algorithms that are supposed to sort out which ones we would like to see, based upon our past viewing selections, are ineffective. Out of ten shows Netflix proposes to me, I may like only one enough to watch more than twenty minutes. In fact, finding shows that I truly enjoy is arduous. It is a modern-day version of trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Some media are trying to correct this, like the New York Times, since the public wants to consume so much TV. Binge-watching is a new reality for us, and I for one, love it. The NY Times has a full-time team watching and recommending new streaming shows, but there are so many platforms, such as Amazon Prime and Sling TV, that these near-global reviews are worthless as well – I simply can not afford to subscribe to every streaming service. Even Hulu has several different program packages to purchase, and I had to up-grade my Hulu account to add “Showtime” so that I could watch Homeland, which I consider to be the finest TV series ever created. Hence, I’ve started to keep my own records to pass on to friends, focusing on shows that may not be headline news or a household name. I trust Mountain News readers will enjoy these broadcasts as much as I have.

This round I’ll focus on Netflix. Tomorrow, Hulu. Continue reading

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Graham-Kapowsin Community Council to host its 16th Annual Expo this Saturday

By Bruce A. Smith

The Graham Kapowsin Community Council has announced this week that it is hosting its 16th Annual Expo this weekend at the Lodge in Frontier Park, Graham. In addition, there will be a Fun Run-Walk. along with a fundraiser to furnish monies for its ongoing program to supplement the free lunch and breakfast programs sponsored by the Bethel School District. The GKCC’s “Feed the Homeless Children” seeks to address the nutritional needs of the hundreds of Bethel students who do not have a permanent domicile, and thus suffer frequent food shortages, especially whenever school is not in session, such as during weekends, holidays, and snow days. Admission is free, and the Expo has art and crafts, along with entertainment. Continue reading

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