Word on the Street

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

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Archives: Sep. 2008

Sep.
24th

How cute: Check out the zoo’s meerkat pups

Visitors to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium can drop by and check out some new arrivals: a litter of meerkats. (Meerkittens? No, they are called pups.)


Meerkat mom Amelia gave birth Sept. 6, but the four tiny youngsters have been in seclusion until recently, according to a zoo press release. No names yet. (They are so small that zookeepers can’t tell their genders yet.)


"They become more and more adventurous every day," said senior staff biologist Jennifer Donovan. "And they’re growing so quickly that frequent visitors notice their changes."


The

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Sep.
24th

Tension follows tree removal in South Tacoma park

Will Hirsh attended the public meetings. He talked to city and parks officials. He was certain he had secured a promise not to cut some century-old trees in Tacoma’s South Park.

But he awoke Wednesday to a scene he describes as shocking and deeply upsetting: the sight of Metro Parks Tacoma work crews cutting down three trees as part of the construction of the Water Ditch Trail.

"I saw them swarm in this morning, very early, with a huge crew and cut down the same trees that they promised me would be saved," he said. "It’s irreversible damage. It’ll take 120 years to repair. It’s unbelievable."

But Metro Parks’ arborist had signed off on the tree-cutting as part of a necessary renovation to accommodate the South Tacoma-to-downtown urban trail. And a city engineer with whom Hirsh had been speaking said their promise was more of a conversation that might have had both sides agreeing to different things.

"There was no written agreement," said Michael Ahearn of the city’s Building and Land Use Division. "He called me and we talked. It was a little confusing on the phone talking about what trees we’re going to be removed. I tried to explain which ones would be removed. I think there was a gap in communication."

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Sep.
24th

Will the photos come with a yellow frame?

A National Geographic photographer is coming to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium next weekend to tech kids photography.

Don’t know if you’re a Natty G fan like myself, but this would be a cool opportunity if you’re 3-8 years old. Kids borrow a digital camera as Whidbey Island-based Kevin Horan teaches them how to shoot photos. The kids then practice on animals at the zoo.

Click below to read the press release and find ways to sign up.

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Sep.
23rd

Tall Ships comes to city hall

The Tacoma Tall Ships Organization folks appeared before a Tacoma city council committee to discuss their economic impact statement.


Earlier this month, organizers released a study showing a $19.2 million impact. And that played well with the members of the economic development committee.


Councilman Rick Talbert seemed particularly impressed with the infrastructure improvements the festival brought to the Thea Foss Waterway. And, he added, “what isn’t measurable is the positive impact for Tacoma and Pierce County from people who visited here.”

Sep.
23rd

A safe, affordable, permanent home of your own

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity opens its applications for new homes twice a year, and the next round of informational meetings begins in October.


Habitat opens doors to home ownership to low-income families who are living in a situation that does not meet their needs. They must be willing and able to accept the responsibilities of home ownership – and to help build their own house. And they must have lived in Pierce County for a year.


The families don’t need spotless credit histories, but they must show that they pay key bills on time. And they must

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Sep.
23rd

A full-time effort to pay down Tall Ships’ debt

A board member of the Tacoma Tall Ships Organization will head a resource action committee that will raise funds to pay down the deficit from July’s festival and collect donations toward the 2011 event. Already, one anonymous donor has stepped forward with a $100,000 pledge.

Mike McLeod, a commercial real estate developer, will work full-time for the nonprofit organization over the next two months, board members said Tuesday. Tall Ships ran a $500,000 deficit on a $2.5 million budget.

Thirty-five creditors – mostly smaller companies and individuals – have been paid, with 63 still outstanding, board co-chairman Stan Selden said. The organization still owes about $450,000, $50,000 less than the initial deficit organizers announced last month. The nonprofit has received additional payments and bills since then, Selden said.

McLeod was five weeks into a three-month vacation when he decided to return to Tacoma and work to pay down the deficit.

"Bottom line is I couldn’t relax," he said. "I wasn’t comfortable. We cut the trip short by about a month to come back and work on it."

McLeod will approach sponsors from this year’s event and ask them to sign up early for 2011. One such deal he’s proposing to sponsors is a four-year commitment: help toward the deficit this year, money toward organizational operations in 2009-10 and donations toward the event in 2011.

The nonprofit has already received one large gift: An anonymous woman gave $100,000 earmarked for The Pollard Group, the Tacoma printing firm.

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Sep.
23rd

Morning report, Sept. 23

I’ll be talking to board members of the Tacoma Tall Ships Organization this morning about their financial status. And I’ll be at the meeting of the Tacoma city council’s economic development committee. They’ll be discussing the fair’s economic impact.