All posts by Melissa Genson

My husband Steve and I raised four children in Thurston County. In addition to South Thurston Journal, we also own Thornfield Acres, a small organic farm, and Mason Dixon Line, a small restaurant in Rochester. I'm also a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor.

Visit Peaceful Mineral Lake

Beautiful, Pristine Mineral Lake

Mineral Lake is a wonderfully scenic and peaceful place.

It’s a great place for a relaxing day hike, or just to gaze out over the beautiful lake.  If you want to stay overnight, there are options that range from bed and breakfasts to tent camping.


Mineral Lake, “home of the ten pound trout,” is famous for its trout and bass fishing.  It’s stocked annually by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Click here to see the leaders of the 2016 Mineral Lake fishing derby!

Click here for more information about Mineral Lake fishing from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Find Mineral Lake

mineral lakeMineral Lake is just a brief jog off of either Route 7 or Route 706, on near the west entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park.

Click on the thumbnail map to the right to see Mineral Lake’s location –

Camping around Mineral Lake

Mineral Lake has several nearby options for camping, either in tents or RVs.

Mineral Lake Resort – 148 Mineral Hill Road, Mineral.

Besides offering cabins, RV and tent camping accommodations, Mineral Lake Resort has special amenities for fishing.

They have dock fishing, pontoon and rowboat rentals, boat moorage, and a tackle, bait and snack shop.

They also have a special swimming area–where bathers won’t get mistaken for a trout and snagged–and a small water ski area.

Click here to see Mineral Lake Resorts’ website for more information.

Eastcreek Campground – 184 Naugle Road, Mineral.

Eastcreek Campground is a private campground on 20 pristine wooded acres near Elbe, Washington.  Reservations are suggested.

The campground has spots with water and power that will accommodate RVs up to 45 feet, and tent spots.

They have modern restroom facilities.  Showers and a dump station are also available for guests only.

Eastcreek has large campsites with fire pits, private tent areas, and a dump station on site.  Firewood, propane, and ice are available for purchase on site.  Pets are welcome, but they have to follow rules.

Click here to see Eastcreek’s website for more information.

Click here to see more camping options around Mineral Lake.

Mineral Lake’s 1947 UFO Sighting–REAL flying saucers!

At 3:00 pm, on Tuesday, June 24, 1947, near Mineral, a man named Kenneth Arnold claimed the first widely reported UFO sighting in the U.S. press.  Go figure!

While flying his private plane, Arnold said he saw nine flashing, blindingly bright, disc-like or saucer-like objects flying in a chain formation at high speed past Mt. Rainier, weaving and maneuvering in unison.

Arnold also said they weren’t perfectly disc-shaped, but were chopped in the back and came to a point.

Arnold further estimated the distance of flight south of Mt. Rainier and timed it.  He arrived at the then astonishing speed of at least 1200 mph.

Arnold’s sighting resulted in the coining of the popular terms “flying saucer” and “flying disk.”


Madeleine LeBeau’s Real Life Casablanca Story

Madeleing LeBeau died in May.  At ninety-two, she was the last surviving member of the cast of the 1942 film Casablanca.

LeBeau played Rick’s spurned girlfriend, Yvonne.  She was just nineteen years old at the time.

LeBeau will always be remembered for Yvonne’s stirring response to the French national anthem, and her cry of “Vive la France” at the end of the song.   For the time being, Rick had been pushed out of her mind.

What isn’t widely known is that Madeleine LeBeau’s tears in that scene were real.

LeBeau had just lived through a real life escape from the Nazis.  She and her husband, actor Marcel Dalio, had fled Paris just hours before the invasion.  They were both Jews.

Dalio’s face had been used in Nazi posters to identify Jewish-looking features.

Dalio was also in the cast of Casablanca.  He played Emil the croupier in Rick’s illegal casino.  (Colorized version) –

French Jews are frightened again, seventy-five years later.  As are Bulgarians, and much of Europe.

At times like these, we need to reflect on the character Yvonne’s passionate singing of her national anthem.

We need to remember why Madeleine’s tears were real.


Rochester UMC’s Pastor Heather Sparkman energizes her flock

  1. Rochester United Methodist Church’s Pastor Heather Sparkman delivers lively sermons that include participation from her flock.

On June 5, 2016, Pastor Sparkman spoke about 2 Corinthians 4:7-15.  She discussed how people are like simple clay pots with a hidden treasure inside.

Here are Pastor Sparkman’s thoughtful words –

rumc mapRochester United Methodist Church is at 18206 Corvallis Street, Rochester.  Each Sunday’s service is preceded by a free breakfast, and services include both contemporary and traditional music.

Click on the image to the right to see a large version of the map.

RUMC also has programs for children, adult Bible studies, and does outreach in the community.

Click here to see RUMC’s website, which includes more videos of Pastor Sparkman’s weekly sermons, along a sermon by Pastor Golden Neal.

RUMC has also started “Candlewood Ministries” in Centralia’s Candlewood Apartments at 1322 Harrison Avenue.  Twice a month, Candlewood Ministries has an informal service with singing and sharing.  The services end with a potluck.

Click here to learn more about Candlewood Ministries.


Pet of the Week – Peanut Butter Cup Bunny

From Thurston County Animal Services –

6-13 bunnyMeet this week’s Pet of the week–he’s an adult rabbit, ID # 108017.

Please come visit this little guy.  He is a very sweet bunny!

He has the colors of a peanut butter cup, which makes him very unique and the other bunnies envy him.

If you are considering adding a low maintenance pet to your family, come see this guy and give him a name as unique as he is. Continue reading Pet of the Week – Peanut Butter Cup Bunny