Beyond the Column

Larry's LaRue-minations

Archives: May 2013


Relay for Life fan? Stop by for BBQ today

It’s Relay for Life time of year,  and that event – created by Tacoma’s own Dr. Gordon Klatt – has spawned any number of fund-raisers to help battle cancer.

One of those is a barbeque at the downtown Columbia Bank today from 11 a.m to 2 p.m.

It’s an annual event thanks to bank manager Sandy Snider, a cancer survivor. Good cause, good folks, good chow. Why not stop by?

The bank is at 1301 A Street. Bring an extra  napkin.



Feel like volunteering? Come paint a house

Each summer since 1985, a Pierce County project begun by Associated Ministries – Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful – has painted homes free for low-income families and the elderly.

“We’re trying to help eliminate blight, make the community more beautiful,” Megan E. Shea said. “It’s like the Christmas-lighting effect – someone in the neighborhood puts up a display and everyone else goes along, and pretty soon the whole street is lit up.”

Since ’85, the project has painted 2,082 homes, with the backing of various communities and an all-volunteer work force. This summer, they hope to paint 60 more, 50 in Tacoma

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Paranoia strikes deep: Another Journalistic Fable

Dinosaurs had just about disappeared the year George Cunningham and I took on the men who ran the Playgirl Club in Southern California – before they were arrested for murder.

It was a complicated story, involving police corruption, federal incompetence, machine guns and the death of a courageous man who tried to take the bad guys down.

The bar managers gave free after-hours drinks and girls to cops who looked for such things, and in exchange would ask to have a license plates from cars in the parking lot traced. Innocent enough – but it was their way of seeing

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Repay a Good Samaritan: Eat at Alfred’s Cafe

We used to take honesty for granted, but most of us know better now. We used to believe if we lost something and someone found it, we’d get it back.

Now? Not so much.

So tomorrow’s column may bring a smile and a sigh to the cynics among us. A woman visiting Tacoma from Phoenix spent a frantic week here last month, when her grown daughter was in the hospital.

Somewhere during her stay, her wallet disappeared.

“I didn’t know if it had been stolen or if I’d lost it, but I knew there was cash and gift cards in

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A story, a friend & a .357: A journalism fable II

Southern California always had a serial killer working in the ’70s, and newspapers ran out of ideas to cover them long before the decade ended.

Yes, Virginia, here’s another journalistic fable from the days when the earth was still cooling.

It started in LA’s skid row, which oddly enough was on the backside of the Bonaventure Hotel – at the time, one of the ritziest in the city. From a room that cost $300 a night, you could look down 20 floors or so to the streets where the homeless slept.

And, for a time, where someone stalked them and

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One boy, two bike racks & two years of bureaucracy

Zachary Ouellette was 16 when he took his mother’s suggestion to create bike racks for the Proctor District Farmers Market, and he began raising money that summer.

He was 17 when he found a Proctor District businessman who said he’d put them in front of his shop – and a local architect designed them for him and helped Zach build ‘em.

Zach is 18  now, and has learned that trying to gift the bike racks to the Farmers Market involves dealing with bureaucracy.  The Farmers Market wants those racks. A businessman is still willing to install them. But when Zach

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40 miles down, only 2,623 to go for NW trio

You may recall the May 7 column on siblings Gus and Elena Wimberger who, along with Elena’s boyfriend, Carter  Chaffey, were going to try to walk the Pacific Crest Trail – all 2,663 miles of it.

Gus and Elena each promised to update their blog once a week, and Elena has posted the first entry from the trail.

After two days and 40 miles, all is well.

But not easy. The trio left Saturday morning at 7 a.m., having driven non-stop with their father from Tacoma to the Mexican border. The first two days were without water resources

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Love and faith – and anger from some readers

Carlos Sandoval and Bashair Alazadi – a Catholic from Tacoma and an Iraqui Muslim whose family had settled in Everett – fell in love and married while students at Pacific Lutheran University.

It was a romance that now has a prominent role in an Emmy-nominated documentary produced by PLU students, ‘“Beyond Burkas and Bombers: Anti-Muslim Sentiment in America.”

Anyone who doubts there’s anti-Muslim sentiment need only check out today’s column online – and read some of the comments left by readers.

Sandoval, after more than two years of studying Islam, converted before the wedding.

I didn’t do it just

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