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Oly Talks A podcast focused on civic affairs in Olympia, Washington. The show focuses on building bridges and talking about things we hope are relevant to everyone. Hosted by Emma Margraf and Jim Cooper.

Oly Talks A podcast focused on civic affairs in Olympia, Washington. The show focuses on building bridges and talking about things we hope are relevant to everyone. Hosted by Emma Margraf and Jim Cooper.
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Oly Talks A podcast focused on civic affairs in Olympia, Washington. The show focuses on building bridges and talking about things we hope are relevant to everyone. Hosted by Emma Margraf and Jim Cooper.








Episode #14 Art & Learning are for Everyone

Programming for people with intellectual disabilities is in short supply, and free programming is even harder to find. Two staffers from the local organization Kokua are changing that with LEAD, an education program that pairs local college students with folks with disabilities who have learning objectives, and Hummingbird Studios, a downtown Olympia art studio that is about to be open free of charge five days a week for art workshops and more. This episode is an interview with Randi Miller,...


Episode #13 Graduate Citizenship

What does graduate school have to do with citizenry? As it turns out, quite a bit. We invited Doreen Swetkis and Cheryl Simrell King on the podcast to discuss the impact that the Evergreen State College's Master's in Public Administration program have had on the south sound community, Those who work in non-profits or government have all run across MPA graduates, and they are some of the most civically engaged folks there are. Listen to find out more.


Episode #12 Be Jim's Boss, Join a City Commission!

The City of Olympia counts on the recommendations of citizen advisory committees on topics ranging from zoning to utilities to public art. They are currently recruiting for new members for all of these commissions, so we thought we'd talk to someone with experience. In this episode we chat with Brian Mark, former Planning Commission Chair, about what this type of citizen engagement means for the community, your resume, and your relationships. To find information on all of the commissions, go...


Episode #11 We Are Sanctuary

Immigration, refugees, people who are undocumented. They are on the national news regularly, but what impact does this issue have on our community? To discuss this topic we invited Kathy Baros Friedt of Strengthening Sanctuary to discuss what the group is doing to support undocumented folks in our area. In the meantime we are reminded that we should all, always, know our rights.


Episode #10 Meet Jim Cooper

Check out this mini episode to get to know our host Jim Cooper. Jim Cooper is a city councilmember, nonprofit executive and community organizer. He lives in southeast Olympia with his wife, daughter, and dog Rusty and loves to spend summer weekends camping in his travel trailer.


Episode #9 We voted! (More than usual!)

For a midterm election, this year was big. In Thurston County we voted in huge numbers right along with the rest of the nation, and to talk about it we invited Dani Madrone and Emmett O'Connell from The Olympia Standard podcast to help us make heads or tails of the importance. Here’s to democracy!


Episode #8 Deep Dish for Kids

Rosalinda Noriega is a long time award winning advocate for youth who is currently the Executive Director of Pizza Klatch, a program for LGBTQ youth in our local schools. Pizza Klatch has become very popular among our youth, who in some circumstances have been asking for it to come to their schools. We really enjoyed this conversation about the needs of LGBTQ youth, how supporting them helps all of us, and what allies can do to help.


Episode #7 Vote Oly, Vote!

For some of us, voting season is like the best of the holidays. Elections are full of possibility. They are full of promise. They are full of hope. While we are in a dark time nationally right now, in this mini-episode Oly Talks addresses why voting is crucial, what is great about it, and where you can get the information you need to be an informed voter. In Washington you can register in person until the end of the day on October 29 (at your county courthouse), and your ballot needs to...


Episode #6 Meet Emma Margraf

Check out this mini episode to get to know our host Emma Margraf. Emma Margraf is a writer, communications strategist, and former foster parent and advocate for children. She lives in northeast Olympia with her cat Yara and hopes to get back out paddle boarding soon.


Episode #5 Service is our Business

In some ways, Olympia is a company town, where our largest employer is the State of Washington. Thousands of us are engaged in state service, and so we invited a long time and recently retired state leader named Wally McClure to chat about what the presence of so many state employees does for our community and our general sense of what service means.


Episode #4 Polarize This

In our fourth episode we chat with Rabbi Seth Goldstein about polarization in our communities and our nation, how we can come together with those we are different from, and how we develop ally-ship within ourselves. Rabbi Seth and his family just returned from a 25 day social justice road trip which gave him some new insights in this topic, which he has thought quite a bit about over his fifteen years as a religious leader in our area. Tune in and and reach out! It's about relationships...


Oly Talks is a Conversation

Oly Talks is a Conversation Emma and Jim talk about the creation of Oly Talks and why it is important. Have you heard our first three Episodes? Check them out: #1 Everyone Wants Homelessness to End - with Meg Martin #2 The Kids Are Alright- with Joe Ingoglia #3 How Community College Education Pays- with Kelly Green In just a few weeks we will publish Episode 4 with special guest Rabbi Seth Goldstein. let us know what you think!


Episode #3 How Community College Education Pays

In our third episode we're talking about education, specifically about South Puget Sound Community College, where our guest Kelly Green works to promote the variety of programs SPSCC offers. It's an extension of our last episode, "the Kids are Alright", but now we get into the subject of how our community is impacted by the availability and accessibility of credential programs, running start, and early interventions for non-traditional students. Listen in and let us know what you think!


Episode #2 The Kids Are Alright

In our second episode, we talk to Joe Ingoglia, former CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County, about the fear that comes with raising kids, the challenges we face as a community in raising kids, and the benefits that come from investing in kids and young adults. Join the conversation. If you have something to say about this or future episodes, let us know! Civics matters.



In the first episode, Meg Martin joins Emma and Jim at the dining room table for a conversation about homelessness in Olympia. Meg is Program Director at Interfaith Works (IW), responsible for the Emergency Overnight Shelter run by IW. We talk to Meg about the increase in homelessness, why she does the work she does, and how it impacts the local conversation.