Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Archives: Sep. 2008


Public document showdown averted

A court battle over open records and the company that operates the Northwest Detention Center has been avoided.

The GEO Group, which has operated the 1,030-bed Northwest Detention Center since 2004, filed a petition in Pierce County Superior Court last week to block the release of several documents requested through public-disclosure laws.

Here’s what happened:

Tim Smith of the Bill of Rights Defense League filed the request to obtain tax records from The GEO Group. He said he filed the records to "better understand the operations of the facility and current efforts to expand its operations." The detention center will expand by 545 beds. The $40 million project should be completed by September 2009.

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As many as 10,000 Lewis soldiers in Iraq next year

It’s official: I Corps is heading to Iraq next year to take on day-to-day operations.

And the unit that runs Fort Lewis will have two familiar brigades under its command.

The Department of Defense announced the major units in its next rotation Tuesday, and joining I Corps will be the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and the 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division – both based at Fort Lewis. The announcement likely caught few people by surprise on post, where personnel have expected this decision.

A firm timetable hasn’t been set, but I Corps is expected to arrive in the winter. The two Stryker brigades will arrive during by summer; a more exact time or location hasn’t been determined because it’s not certain which units they will replace, I Corps spokeswoman Maj. Kathy Turner said.

With smaller units also expected to deploy, as many as 10,000 Fort Lewis personnel will be serving in Iraq next year, Turner said.

This will be I Corps’ first combat deployment since the Korean War. 3rd Brigade will make its third trip to Iraq, and this will be the first time 5th Brigade sees combat.

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Jenny’s “Throwdown on Hilltop!”

You have to love Jenny Severns’ style.

She’s sent a challenge to Tacoma’s Hilltop volunteer groups, via Hilltop Action Coalition’s massive e-mail list.

"Read this now! Throw Down on Hilltop!" she wrote to HAC Director of Community Initiatives Jeanie Peterson.

"I’m putting up $100 to go to the neighborhood organization that signs up the most voters. They can be former voters that changed addresses, names, made good on their felonies or are just signing up to make sure. I don’t care. They just have to do more than leave registration forms around. They have to stand there

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Out from under the overpass

Never mind that homeless encampments are illegal in Tacoma, and with good reason. They are unsafe and unhealthy – and that’s for the people who live in them. For neighbors, they’re biohazard and crime magnets.

When the city of Tacoma outlawed them, it was in conjunction with Housing First programs aimed at getting encampment residents into housing with the support of social services.

The switch did not work for everyone. Some people had felonies and couldn’t find housing. Some got into housing but lost it. So police and public works crews have kept busy shutting down and

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If she’s the queen, can she serve on a jury of peers?

So how often do you get the chance to raise $1,235 for charity and make the lawyers back slowly away from you when you show up for jury duty?

Eleanor Cozart pulled it off Wednesday.

Cozart, a member of Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, showed up for the early a.m. meeting geared up to promote the club’s annual auction, with its “Knights of the Rotarian Round Table” theme. She was wearing a midnight blue velvet gown with white satin accents in the Medieval style.

She gave her pep talk for the Oct.

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No kidding: Boonie the goat loves his new prosthetic leg

Boonie wasn’t quite sure how to react. At first, he just looked at the plastic contraption attached to his leg. And when he wanted to walk away he limped off on three legs.

After all, it takes a while to adjust to a new prosthetic – especially if you’re a goat.

The 3-year-old, white-and-brown animal received a plastic device Wednesday that will substitute as his new hoof almost three months after it was amputated. But Boonie needed a bit of coaxing to use it.

"Come on Boonie," his owner, Marna Peterson of Edgewood, told him. "It’s your new foot, Boonie!"

After a few minutes, he began walking gingerly on the device and resting against it. And that had Peterson, who owns five goats, beaming.

Boonie’s stump – the vets amputated just above his front right hoof – fits into a brace and is secured with Velcro. At the bottom of the device is a plastic semi-circle with rubber, tire-like tread.

His veterinarian, Dr. Krystal Grant of Tahoma Veterinary Hospital outside Spanaway, believes he is the third or fourth goat to receive a prosthetic leg.

A rope and a taste for blackberries led to the loss of Boonie’s leg on July 3.

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